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Friday, January 28, 2011

Mahler's 4th Symphony, 4th movement - Leonard Bernstein

Something soothing to ease us into the weekend.

This is Al-Jazeera's revolution

We don't get Al-Jazeera in the U.S. so I have been watching it on line. Remember when George Bush clumsily brought democracy to Iraq and Al-Jazeera was considered the enemy because they dared to report the truth. As the drama in Egypt unfolds, they are the eyes and ears of the world and oppressive regimes in the Middle East are suddenly scared shitless because their citizens are saw what happened in Tunisia and are now seeing it in Egypt, a far bigger player in the region.

The response by the U.S. and particularly by Hillary Clinton has been tepid at best. They need to get ahead of this and quickly. As shown in this clip from NBC News the tear gas canisters being used in the streets of Egyptian cities all say "Made in the USA". Perceptions can change on little things like that.

Egypt's Tiananmen Square moment

Michelle Bachmann wants to cut veteran's benefits

Michelle Bachmann posted her plan to cut $400 billion in Federal spending on her website. None of her suggestions have caused as much outrage as her suggestion to cut veteran's benefits and disability payments by $4.5 billion.

Va healthcare costs are rising by about $4 billion a year or ten percent largely because of the interminable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars are like none other in that medical aid can be provided to wounded soldiers faster than ever before resulting in a low ratio of dead to wounded soldiers. In Iraq traumatic brain injuries were common because of the weapon of choice, IEDs, leaving soldiers disabled for life.

For someone so gung ho on perpetual war against radical Islam she ought to be ashamed of herself but this brain dead hypocritical moron of a Stepford Wife Republican is beyond shame.

We love democracy except when it affects our favorite dictators

I'm waiting for the first pundit to blame Obama for making that speech in Cairo when he riled up the 'unwashed masses' by talking about such inconvenient things as democracy.

The meanest city in America - Sarasota Florida

The statistics are worthy of Detroit or Newark: almost half the children in the local schools are from families poor enough to be eligible for free or cut-price lunches; a tenth of households qualify for food stamps; one in eight residents gets free meals from soup kitchens or food banks; perhaps one in 12 has suffered a recent spell of homelessness. Yet the spot in question is not a benighted rust-belt city, but Sarasota, Florida—a balmy, palm-studded resort town on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

Much of the money for such schemes comes from different local, state and federal government agencies. But all are tightening the purse strings. The county’s revenues have fallen with property values, so it is cutting back. The state, meanwhile, has cut its grants to a local homeless charity by 80% over the past four years. Many of the federal grants come courtesy of the stimulus bill of 2009, and so are quickly drying up. When the federal money runs out, says Carolyn Mason, a county commissioner, “that’s pretty much the end of the road”.

Move along, nothing to see here. The Dow is almost at 12,000 and corporate profits are at record highs.

Deficits as far as the eye can see as long as we keep extending the Bush tax cuts

Tax revenues are expected to drop to their lowest level relative to the economy since 1950. The deficit this year is expected to hit $1.5 trillion and despite all the wishful thinking in the world America can't tax cut it's way to a balanced budget.

The CBO estimates that the deficit will be a more than manageable $551 billion which would put it at 3% of the economy. This estimate is calculated on letting the Bush tax cuts expire in two years as they are currently legislated to do, while the GOP/Tea Party blather about budget cuts is just that, blather with no real substance. If the Bush tax cuts are extended beyond two years the expected deficit will be about the same at $1.5 trillion, something that is only sustainable in the short term.

If the GOP were to ever get its way and eliminate the Estate Tax and Capital Gains taxes completely, $1.5 trillion will seem modest by comparison.

Tea Party economics cause Nassau County in NY to crash and burn

In 2009 Edward Mangano became the first Tea Party advocate to win an election, beating the Democrat incumbent for County Executive in Nassau County. He went to work immediately to repeal a home energy tax costing households an average of $7.27 a month.

Mangano refused to look for alternatives to replace the lost revenue in the already cash strapped county. The result is a budgetary crisis and the appointment of a state-appointed fiscal overseer.

Reuters has the full story here.

In conservative Colorado Springs, citizens voted for a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that killed the city's ability to raise taxes under virtually every circumstance. The result was half the street lights were turned off, park maintenance was ended, police and firefighters were laid off and most libraries were closed.

65% of counties in the U.S. are suffering from budget shortfalls, not as the Tea Party would like you to believe, because spending is too high, but because the recession has decimated revenues.

Budget cuts and layoffs only exacerbate the moribund economy. With the 2010 election, some states are starting to head down the same road. The result is that while the private sector has been adding jobs over the past year at a decent rate considering the economy, job losses in the public sector have ensured that unemployment has remained high.

The GOP is itching to do the same on the Federal arena but as long as ta cuts for the wealthiest aren't raised the budget shortfall will only get worse.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meanwhile out there in the real world - Egypt, the next Tunisia

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have clashed with police in Cairo and other cities in the largest demonstration in Egypt in a generation. Demonstrators want an end to the authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak's near 30 years of power.

The Guardian in the UK has extensive coverage.

The impact of real change in Egypt will have profound effects on the Middle East.

Chris Matthews skewers Bachmann and Sal Russo, Tea Party founder

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

Andy Borowitz perfectly sums up Bachmann's SOTU duelling rebuttal: "Michele Bachmann will push Tea Party agenda, including Don't Add, Don't Spell. #SOTU"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jon Stewart - Fox news never uses the 'Nazi' comparison except whren they do

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Bill O'Reilly "I didn't say (Huffington) was a Nazi, I just said there is no difference between what they do." Enough said.

Michelle Bachmann - world class liar - her record speaks for itself

Anderson Cooper dissects some of her blatant lies., the fact checking and Pulitzer Prize winning website gives her a 100% 'Pant on Fire" rating. All 11 instances they have fact checked proved to be false, a record that no one else has come close to.

Last year they chose the 'death panels' lie as the lie of the year. Bachmann led the charge in those allegations.

She has chosen to give her own rouge response to the State of the Union address tonight. Count the lies if you have the stomach.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The unbridled hypocrisy of Gov Rick Perry of Texas

Gov. Perry had frequently boasted about Texas' economic policies and how his state has avoided the pitfalls that have beset many other states by "making prudent fiscal decisions." He repeatedly chides Washington about putting its fiscal house in order using Texas as the benchmark on how it should be done - low taxes - less regulation and fewer public employee unions.

That bubble bursts when Texas recently announced a projected 2 year deficit of over $27 billion, far more than double Perry's predictions. Obama's stimulus package was another of his targets. He refused to accept any funding for it and seemed serious about his proposal to secede from the Union.

It turns out one of his 'prudent fiscal decisions' was taking more stimulus money than any other state - about $6.4 billion in all, plugging almost all a previous fiscal deficit of $6.6 billion.

Perry's 'fiscal prudence' has led to Texas having more people per capita without any form of public or private health insurance than any other state and less spending on education than all but 2 states. But hey! taxes are low so everything is just great down in Texas.

So how's he going to plug a $27 billion shortfall without any stimulus funds, by cutting even more healthcare and education spending. Texas may end up with the least education and unhealthiest population of all the states but as long as taxes are still low he'll carry on claiming that he's being 'fiscally prudent."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Americans favor cutting the defense budget not entitlements

That's something you won't hear from the GOP. A recent poll clearly illustrates this divide.

Cut military spending 55%
Cut Medicare 21%
Cut Social Security 13%

The divide can't be more clear. Most Republicans refuse to consider cutting the bloated out of control military spending, a big proportion of which goes for weapon systems that have little relevance in today's world. Now if only the Democrats wouls use this.

They hate Union members, they hate government workers

That's the lament from the right. Union workers have too much power, they're paid too much, their health insurance plans are too generous, so are their pensions. Government workers are even worse. Forget the small minority of government workers who make a six figure income, for many, they trade opportunity for the security of health care and a pension while earning relatively modest salaries. The reality is far removed from the picture painted by the right who think it's corporate America that needs all the breaks.

This morning my husband got up at 5:00 a.m. to work outside in 7 degree F temperatures. He sat on the end of the couch, head in his hands sipping his coffee telling me how much he hates his job. How much it’s wearing him out. He makes $29.00 dollars an hour. Roughly $60,000 a year. He’s a union electrician. His health care premiums come out of his pay check; it is NOT subsidized by his “company.” His disability comes out of his pay check. It is NOT subsidized by his company.

I don’t think most people understand this about the unions. These men get paid what they do because they are subsidizing their own care. Men in suits thinks he makes too much money. Men in suits think he doesn’t deserve health care or disability, that he’s just a body to use and abuse.

That's the reality for many. In today's America millions more would be overjoyed to be that electrician. The Blue Collar Life.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona is a vile human being

On the plus side she has finally caved in on taking away funding for people who need transplants by creating a $151 million uncompensated-care pool to pay health-care providers for ‘life-saving’ procedures” like the transplants. This after she once described the procedures as optional and after two people died waiting for transplants.

To offset that and other deficits she will be cutting 280,000 people from Medicaid including 5,200 seriously mentally ill people. If there is another Jared Loughner lurking among those 5,200 mentally ill people, that's just too fucking bad.

Ironically the expected surge in hospital patients who cannot afford to pay for their treatment could very well make her uncompensated care pool unworkable. At the same time she is also proposing a slew of new corporate tax breaks which will wipe out any savings from the Medicaid cuts.

In related news, Texas has proposed cuts of $14 billion to help balance the states $27 billion deficit. Virtually all the cuts are in health care services and education. Texas already has more uninsured people per capita than any other states an ranks 48th in education. No taxes will be raised to close rhe busget gap.

And the beat goes on. We'll all pay in the end.

"You're going to have to shoot them in the head" Glenn Beck

Raw Story has dug up this video from June 2010.

"Tea parties believe in small government. We believe in returning to the principles of our Founding Fathers. We respect them. We revere them. Shoot me in the head before I stop talking about the Founders. Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government.

"I will stand against you and so will millions of others. We believe in something. You in the media and most in Washington don't. The radicals that you and Washington have co-opted and brought in wearing sheep's clothing — change the pose. You will get the ends.

"You've been using them? They believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You're going to have to shoot them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.

"They are dangerous because they believe. Karl Marx is their George Washington. You will never change their mind. And if they feel you have lied to them — they're revolutionaries. Nancy Pelosi, those are the people you should be worried about.

"Here is my advice when you're dealing with people who believe in something that strongly — you take them seriously. You listen to their words and you believe that they will follow up with what they say."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Megyn Kelly of Fox News claims no-one on Fox ever uses Nazi imagery

Kelly is the perfect vacuous blond bimbo for Fox News. Today she argued with a Democratic spokesman that no one on Fox News uses Nazi references, and she watches the news channel every might. She might watch it but she obviously has the soun turned down.

Media Matters has the proof.
They cite 18 different occasion where Glen Beck has used Nazi comparisons. O'Reilly has racked up a slew of them while Newt Gingrich, both Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have chimed in as well. Hannity's was a classic. When Keith Ellison, the only Muslim Congressman was sworn in using a Koran, Hannity said that he might as well have use the "Nazi Bible, Mein Kampf", an act that would "will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones".

Lest we forget, Roger Ailes, Fox Chairman called NPR executives Nazis. Megyn Kelly, proving neither brains or honesty are a prerequisite for being a news anchor on Fox.

GOP to hold hearings on the creeping threat of Sharia Law

Because they've got nothing else to do. Peter King (R-NY), the marginally less insane of the GOP House Peter Kings has already announced he will hold hearings on the threat of home grown 'radical Islam.' King has already accused Muslims of 'non being Americans' when it comes to war.

Rep Louis Gohmert of Texas has waded in as well. As chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security he has the power to start the inquisition. To President Bush's credit he managed to reign in the Islamophobia that has exploded in the past two years. Both King and Gohmert are obviously completely unaware that no religious group came close to emulating the 80% of Muslims that voted for Bush in 2000. Just recently, a prominent an wealthy Muslim GOP supporter in Denver left the party because of the rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric over the past two years.

The absurd and obviously unconstitutional vote in Oklahoma to ban Sharia law heightened the paranoid idiocy, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, no shrinking violet when it comes to conservatism recently ignited a new furor by appointing a Muslim judge to the New Jersey Superior Court. The right wing blogosphere has gone apoplectic over this, with comments like,

“New Jersey, the Garden State, has just taken its first step toward becoming the Sharia State,” and criticized Christie for being “willing to stand up to the teacher’s union, but not to the terrorist’s union.”

The hearings promise to be a complete farce with a parade of witnesses whose only distinction is that they belong to a vociferous cadre of so called 'experts' who have created a very profitable industry out of attacking Islam, In their eyes there is no such person as a 'moderate Muslim'.

If they truly want to investigate the rise of Sharia law in America they should strt in Utah where the state senate recently passed a law that criminalizes women who have a miscarriage due to 'reckless' behavior', a law that would make the Taliban proud.

The difference between the religious right in America and oppressive regimes in the Middle East is one of degrees only.

Michelle Obama is killing pedestrians

That's the new meme from the right wing world. This morning, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report noting that the number of pedestrian deaths has slightly increased. The group, which looked at the first six months of 2010. The report suggested increased use of cell phones by both pedestrians and drivers might be part of the reason while an increase in the number of people choosing to walk may be another reason.

That was enough to get the nutcases going. More people are walking (something about which there is no proof) because of Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign. Nevermind that there is no proof that there are more pedestrians, the fact that there might be is proof enough that Michelle Obama is causing people to die.

Even if more people are walking there is no reason to jump to the conclusion that the choice of a more healthy lifestyle is the cause of the increase in pedestrians. A more likely scenario is the economy could be forcing more people to take public transport which often involves walking at least part of the way.

The Daily Caller's website, run by the bow-tied twit Tucker Carlson had this headline today:

"First Lady's anti-obesity campaign could be causing more pedestrian deaths."

Obama Derangement Syndrome is a cruel sickness.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A quiet few days for the Irritable Liberal

Off to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco for a few hectic days. Lots of fun and great artisan food but little or no time for posting.


Sean Hannity - let's invade Iraq again and take their oil

Might as well throw Kuwait in as well and take their oil as well. It worked out so well last time.

HANNITY: There’s two things I said. I say why isn’t Iraq paying us back with oil, and paying every American family and their soldiers that lost loved ones or have injured soldiers — and why didn’t they pay for their own liberation? For the Kuwait oil minister — how short his memory is. You know, we have every right to go in there and frankly take all their oil and make them pay for the liberation, as these sheiks, etcetera etcetera, you know were living in hotels in London and New York, as Trump pointed out, and now they’re gouging us and saying ‘oh of course we can withstand [these prices].’”

The idea that Iraq owes us for liberating them is a constant meme on the right. What's wrong with these people.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rush Limbaugh on Tucson shootings: A cancer to humanity

On the one hand he whines about liberals politicizing the tragedy in Tucson and thenv has this to say;

What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He's sitting there in jail. He knows what's going on, he knows that...the Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he's just a victim....That smiling mug shot--this guy clearly understands he's getting all the attention and he understands he's got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure he's not convicted of murder - but something lesser."

This is the bloviating fuckwad that no Republican dare criticize. That this draft evading, drug addicted pervert cancer on the human race gets paid millions to spout this mendacious crap tells you everything you need to know about the level of political discourse in America.

Glenn Beck has an anti-Semitic fetish

Glenn Beck ha said that there is no-one more pro-Jewish than him. While that might be hyperbole I don't doubt that Beck believes he isn't anti-Semitic one has to question his choice of targets and his sources.

Two of his favorite and often quoted authors are Eustace Mullins and Elizabeth Dilling. If he had actually read their works he would undoubtedly discover that they both were virulent anti-Semites. Mullins was a conspiratorialist whose main target was the New World Order run by Jewish bankers. He alleged that Jews organized most of the pogroms in Eastern Europe "as a matter of policy" and wrote an article in 1952 titled, "Adolf Hitler: An Appreciation" in which he wrote,

"Eventually America must admit her debt to Adolf Hitler for it was Hitler who first called upon all Aryan people to unite and challenge Jewish economic and political power. It was Hitler who first enunciated the doctrine of national self-determination and led the armies of Christian Europe in a great crusade against the godless Jews of the Kremlin. Hitler, like Christ before him, was crucified on a Cross of Gold through the duplicity of his own Christian people."

It doesn't get clearer than that. Dilling was no better. Under a pseudonym she wrote a book claiming that Jews were the source of all the trouble in the world based on her reading of the Talmud.

His attacks on George Soros, the financier and Jewish Holocaust Survivor recycle the same anti-Semitic tropes. When attacking Soros, Beck seems to go out of his way to mention that Soros is Jewish, claiming that as a 14 year old Jew, hiding with a Gentile family he collaborated with the Nazis.

Last night on his show the subject was the 20th century, which should be seen as the "era of the big lie". He claims a shadowy intellectual minority believes that people are "animals" that should be controlled by propaganda. He went on to list 8 people who epitomize this 'intellectual cabal'.

When it comes to 20th century propaganda the first name that comes to mind is Goebbels. He didn't make Beck's list. Sigmund Freud and George Soros did. So did Edward Burnays who revolutionized 20th century PR. Also making the list was Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, Andy Stern the former head of the SEIU who had the audacity to head a Trade Union and actually care about workers rights as well as Cass Sunstein who he calls, "the most dangerous man in America".

Eight people made his 'most evil' list. All eight happen to be Jewish. I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

Media Matters has the story here.

Jon Stewart on the Tucson memorial: Nails it as usual

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Now it's an "ongoing pogrom" - WTF is wrong with these people

The right wing Moonie rag, The Washington Times, not to be confused with the Washington Post doubles down on offensive imagery. Sarah Palin has rightly been castigated forv her use of the phrase 'blood libel' a smear used against Jews for centuries alleging they used Christian children's blood for their religious ceremonies. The Times described this criticism as an 'ongoing pogrom' against conservatives. Here is Wikipedia's description of a 'pogrom'

A pogrom (Russian: погром) is a form of violent riot, a mob attack, either approved or condoned by government or military authorities, directed against a particular group, whether ethnic, religious, or other, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres.

My forefathers were victims of pogroms in Lithuania. One of my great aunts was allowed to attend university in Russia. There was one condition. She had to wear av yellow star of David to identify that she was Jewish.

In the unlikely event that bands of East and West Coast liberal go rampaging through conservative towns where 'real Americans' live is the word 'pogrom' applicable.

How long before some idiot refers to the conservative holocaust.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A twofer from Creedence Clearwater Revival from the Johnny Cash Show

For Proft Colleges thrive off Federal money: GOP wants to give them even more

For profit colleges account for 11% of higher education students yet receive 26% of Federal money allocated to higher education. They account for 43% of all higher education loan defaults. They have also been accused of using questionable recruiting tactics, as well as leaving students buried in debt and with bleak job prospects. Executives at the schools are paid significantly more than their non-profit and public sector counterparts.

The toil under a burdensome law where only 90% of their revenue can come from Federal loans and that isn't enough for their appetites. They want that waived and the GOP are willing to play ball, allowing them to obtain 100% of their revenue from the government.

You would think that a party that was actually serious about the deficit might do something about this fiscal black hole.

Republicans have made little secret of the fact that they intend to use some of their new-found muscle in Congress to push back on attempts by the Obama administration and Senate Democrats to better regulate for-profit colleges. When asked if he would be of any assistance in regulating for-profit education outfits, House Education Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) replied, “I don’t think so.”

Not to worry, Republicans are on the budget cutting case. today in Iowa they eliminated funding for 20,000 pre school lower income children to pay for a new tax break for corporations. Who said they weren't serious about reducing the size of government. If only low income pre-school children would start contributing to political campaigns they wouldn't suffer such cuts.v

This pattern of "shared sacrifice" is being repeated in other states to offset budget problems. In Georgia they are increasing regressive taxes on groceries, water and phone service, which hits low income earners far harder to offset corporate tax cuts. In Florida Gov. Rick Scott who knows how to skin Medicare for billions is cutting benifits by $1.8 billion to allow for property and corporate tax cuts.

How fucking brazen can they be. "Shared Sacrifice" in these hard times for the GOP means those at the bottom get to share all the sacrifice. Anything else would be 'Un-American.'

Tennesse Tea Psrty: Whitewash history textbooks.

They don't like all the talk about slavery and how American Indians were treated so they want to minimize it in school history textbooks.

The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds

The Tea Party's reverence reverence for the past and the founding fathers is so absolute that they refuse to acknowledge the possibility that a lot of ills also existed during those times. Their worldview is so absolute that no contradictions, however factual can be acknowledged. They aim to dumb down everything in America including its history and education.

Pigs Fly: Glenn Beck praises Obama's speech in Tucson

Many conservative bloggers ranted about the T-shirts saying "together we thrive - Tucson and America". Michelle Malkin complained that, "...that the churning of the instant messaging machine a bit, well, unseemly? Can't the Democrat political stage managers give it a break just once?" Because the idea of bringing people together is just so 'communist'.

Some, however had only praise for Obama. The biggest shock was Glenn Beck. "This is probably the best speech he has ever given, and with all sincerity, thank you Mr. President, for becoming the president of the United States of America last night."

How he squares that with a mindset that Obama is a Marxist/Muslin appeaser hellbent on destroying America is beyond comprehension. Anyway, props to Beck for recognizing that at the same time his BFF Sarah Palin released a videotaped speech that was vapid, self-serving with the prerequisite level of Sarah Palin as victim whining. She also stepped right into a huge pile of steaming dog shit by using the term, "blood libel", a term that is commonly associated with Anti-Semitism going back to the 13th century, referring to Jews using the blood of Christian children for cooking and or religious rituals.

I doubt that it's use was specifically included but it shows that if Palin is ever to get serious about entering the political fray she had better get some smart people around her, not the band of sycophants she currently uses.

She bettered the dismal Erick Erickson who said, "Through it all though, well meaning people on both sides of the ideological and partisan divide are not talking about the one thing that should be talked about — a saving faith in Jesus Christ."

Gabby Giffords is Jewish but Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church known for "God hates fags" and picketing funerals was intent on taking his show on the road to Tucson puts his assumed faith in Jesus.

That CNN chooses to use this two-bit bigot in an attempt to compete with Fox says enough about the standards of the supposedly unbiased and trustworthy news network.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tom Donohue, head of the US Chamber of Commerce - Asshole

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce were celebrating this week at their annual 'State of American Business' and so they should. Record profits and a record number of politicians/lobbyists using the revolving door. Despite their promise to change the way Washington does business newly elected Tea Party candidates have hired a record number of lobbyists as aides to make sure nothing in Washington changes.

Margaret Spellings former Bush cabinet officer and part of the revolving door circus chortled how great things were for business despite the horrible economy. Spellings was grateful that the business community has a seat at the table. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote.

A seat? Business has just about all the seats at the table - and more on back order.

Fifteen million Americans are out of work, thanks in part to reckless Wall Street activities. Yet corporate profits are at record highs, companies are sitting on vast amounts of cash, and, after a tough two years, business interests are again atop the Washington power structure.

At the end of the joyfest Tom Donohue, head of the Chamber was aasked a real stumper by a reporter. What can corporate America do to create more jobs? “I got to think about this for a minute,” Donohue said, then added: “I think the most important thing to tell a company is to return a reasonable return to their investors.”

Obviously a subject he has given about zero seconds of time to. The Chamber cares so much about jobs in America they devote a lot of time and energy into helping large U.S. corporations in their quest to outsource as much work as possible.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The debate about overheated rhetoric offically jumped the shark today.

Today, Rush Limbaugh announced that Jared "Loughner has the full support of the Democratic Party."

You have to be paranoid and delusional to be a Republican these days

Bob Inglis was a Republican congressman from South Carolina with virtually impeccable conservative credentials, until he ran into the Tea Party.

This is from an outsourced article on the Hullabaloo blog:

It was the middle of a tough primary contest, and Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) had convened a small meeting with donors who had contributed thousands of dollars to his previous campaigns. But this year, as Inglis faced a challenge from tea party-backed Republican candidates claiming Inglis wasn't sufficiently conservative, these donors hadn't ponied up. Inglis' task: Get them back on the team. "They were upset with me," Inglis recalls. "They are all Glenn Beck watchers." About 90 minutes into the meeting, as he remembers it, "They say, 'Bob, what don't you get? Barack Obama is a socialist, communist Marxist who wants to destroy the American economy so he can take over as dictator. Health care is part of that. And he wants to open up the Mexican border and turn [the US] into a Muslim nation.'" Inglis didn't know how to respond.

More of the article here. It gets even weirder.

I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there's a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life's earnings, and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks.

Right wing blogosphere puts fake bullseye on Giffords from the Daily Kos

A right wing blogger used a doctored image of a post on Daily Kos to imply that progressive website did exactly what Sarah Palin did. The original post didn't have a picture of Giffords nor did it have an image of a target. The original post listed Democrats who the poster on Kos believed should be targeted in primaries for a particular vote back in June 2008.

The link on the Right wing blog was to the Photoshopped image and not to the original post on the Daily Kos.

The Washington Post wasted no time in reporting the fake image as fact.  Google the story and you will see most of the popular conservative blogs have bought into the fake image hook line and sinker, 

And so it goes, around and around. As Mark Twain wrote, "A lie can travle halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its hoes." And that was before the internet.

Here's the fake image.

The culpability of the Right wing flamethrowers.

The Right continues to deny that anything they have said is inflammatory. During the health care debate and leading up to the elections death threats were received by numerous Democratic members of the House and Senate, more than a few of which were recorded on answering machines. Bricks were thrown through windows at campaign offices. The Tea Party erroneously publicized the address of Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-VA) brother instead of the intended target, his address. The gas lines to his brother's house were cut, creating a lethally dangerous situation. talk about inflammatory.

The Right's response.

Glenn Beck “It's almost as if the left is trumping all of this up just for the politics."

Rush Limbaugh “Our side doesn't do this kind of stuff. It's all made up -- 95 percent of it's made up and it's being done to divert everybody's attention."

Andrew Breitbart "We doubt these threats are actually real and, certainly wouldn't condone them."

The Tides Foundation is a frequent target of Beck. It's a progressive organization based in San Fransisco that raises money for a variety of environmental and social causes. To Beck, Tides is at the nexus of a conspiracy to bring down everything he loves about America. He claims their ultimate goal is to seize power and create a socialist regime in America, along with George Soros et al. He has called them "thugs" and "bullies", the "nasty of the nastiest" by indoctrinating children and creating a "mass organization to seize power."

Byron Williams decided to take matters into his own hands. He set off with body armor and a pickup truck stocked with guns and ammunition to invade Tides' office and start killing it's employees hoping to start a revolution. Fortunately he was pulled over for drunk driving on the Interstate. Williams opened fire, wounding two higway partol officers before being captured after a lngthy shootout.

In a subsequent interview he admitted to being motivated by Beck's paranoid warnings about Tides. For the naive, conspiratorial minded people like Williams Beck's words are the truth and they honestly believe Tides represents a clear danger to the country. Thankfully, Williams forgot the golden rule of politically random shooting sprees. Don't get drunk and drive on your way to committing mayhem.

Three police officers in Pittsburgh weren't so lucky. Richard Poplawski, a white supremacist, shot and killed 3 police officers. The incident was precipitated by an with his mother about his dog pissing on the carpet. When the police got there they found Poplawaski in full body armor, lying in wait to ambush them. His friends say that Poplawaski was convinced that Obama was going to take his guns away. This is a popular meme that has been repeated in the media by Ann Coulter and others that Obama intends to confiscate all guns despite absolutely zero evidence to support such a claim.

A couple of days later Beck said "Before they found out about the dog-peeing story, the press, the blogs, everybody immediately went to, 'This guy's a conservative with guns that says Obama's coming.' " on his radio show. In Beck's twisted mind the the police officers died because a dog pissed on a carpet. End of story.

The flamethrowers on the Right refuse to take any responsibility for such incidents. Mentally unbalanced people like Byron Williams, Poplawaski and now Jared Loughner will swallow these conspiratorial, paranoid rants, believe them utterly and take action. Then the Becks and the Limbaughs turn around and blame the left and the liberal media. They will continue with their vitriol, believing that no sane person, no matter what their political leanings will go. or try to go on a killing spree. What they ignore is that there are many others, not so sane, for whom something as trivial as a dog pissing on a carpet will release a pent up anger that has been stoked, over and over again by the flamethrowers on the Right.

Manassas w/Stephen Stills - It doesn't matter

Stephen Stills short lived band from the early 70's. Their debut double album "Manssas" was a classic that has never received the recognition it deserved. For those old enough, remember when a double album wasn't that exceptional, and perfect for cleaning pot when it still came with seeds.

Crosby, Stills and Nash - from Woodstock

Monday, January 10, 2011

Just how unbalanced is the Senate

The setup of the Senate where every state has two Senators was intended to protect smaller states against larger states. At that time each state was a lot more autonomous than they are now and it made sense. In 1790, Virginia, the largest state by population had 12 times the population of Delaware, the state with the fewest people.

California now has 66 times the population of Wyoming. Today half the Senate seats are instates with 16% of the population. Far more of these states are reliably Republican states where the few Democratic senators are an endangered species at best. Of the seven least populous states with under a million people, only Delaware and Vermont are blue states.

The bullshit of 'moral equivalence' and the shooting in Arizona

The mainstream media is hellbent on equating the rhetoric and actions on the right and the left. Even the old Move-On 'Bush is Hitler' canard was used as evidence. For those who didn't know or who have forgotten, Move-On asked for readers to contribute ads about Bush. One out of thousands referred to Bush as Hitler. It was removed within hours and never saw the light of day other than in those few hours when it was one among thousands. The outrage on the right was deafening. They still bring it up.

Google 'Obama Hitler' and you get about 6.4 million references. Under images alone you get over 1.5 million hits. There was scarcely a Tea Party rally that didn't have at least one sign comparing the two.

More importantly scan the list of right wing violent and often deadly incidents since 2008. I can't recall one 'left wing' incident in that time that can compare. Digby at the blog Hullabaloo has the list as well as a ridiculous exchange between Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borgerof US News and World on CNN. Following is a list of right wing incidents in the past two years. 10 police officers or security guards have died in these incidents.

Anyone who argues there is no correlation between the rhetoric of the right and deadly actions is full of shit.

Tom Delay gets three years in prison - justice is sweet

Sometimes, justice is sweet. There are few in politics more deserving than the former bug exterminator Delay. He, more than anyone, epitomized sleazy partisan politics.

That nasty sneer has finally found a home where it belongs.

The Texas model for fiscal responsibility and Gov, Perry are in deep shit:

Texas has been hailed by conservatives as the model of fiscal restraint. Gov. Rick Perry has spent the past few years lecturing the politicians in Washington how Texas was getting it right, that Texas was the model that the rest of America should follow. Just last week he said that Congress should enact a balanced budget amendment adding, "the hard work that Texas and states like ours have done to make prudent fiscal decisions will be washed away by Washington’s growing avalanche of excess”.

As recently as September he was predicting a relatively benign deficit for 2012/2013 of about $10 billion. In Texas, where the legislature hardly ever shows up to work, uses a two year budget cycle instead of the usual annual budget cycle. His opponent in the recent race for Governor, Mayor Bill White warned that the deficit would be more than double Perry's forecast. Perry naturally shrugged this off.

Turns out White was correct by a long way. Instead of a $10 billion deficit, it's expected to be about $27 billion, putting it the same category as those free spending, overtaxing liberal states like California.

There is already little left to cut in the budget except for education and health. Texas' record in those areas is already pitiful. The state is 4th in spending per capita for education and it also has the highest percentage of people without any medical insurance, public or private.

One aspect of Texas' problems has been largely ignored in the national rush to cut deficits and balance budgets. Revenue from taxes and elsewhere is expected to drop from $87 billion to $72.2 billion or about 18%. That is devastating. Texas is not alone in this, largely a result of the collapse in real estate values. The insanity that reigned on Wall Street is still burrowing deep into virtually every aspect of the economy and the hurt will continue for years.

As Paul Krugman wrote, “Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting — the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending — has been implemented most completely. If the theory can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere.”

Texas has flwon under the radar in all the talk about state budgets. It should be front and foremost if only for Perry's arrogance and stupidity.

This land is your land - Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger

From Obama's inauguration. Something to reflect upon after the horrific events this weekend, Americans cherish their freedom and their right to free speech. Americans will always disagree, especially when it comes to politics but intemperate words can and do incite A segment of the population don't seem to get this and words sometimes have consequences. We have witnessed what intemperate words can do. I fear it won't be the last time.

Civil rights and civil liberties: Not that important to Republicans

A House subcommittee used to be called the 'Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties'. It's got a new name now thanks to the new GOP majority. It's new shortened name is the 'Constitution Subcommittee'.

If they were truly honest it should be named 'The Part of the Constitution that we like Subcommittee'.

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) also introduced a bill to the US House last week that would restrict birth right citizenship to children of US citizens, children of permanent residents and children of non-citizens in active-duty military service.

This violates the 14th Amendment, known as the 'Birthright Amendment' and if it ever gets signed into law, which it won't, it will be struck down by the courts.

If you don't like a part of the Constitution but love the Constitution, as it seems Republicans do, change the Amendment the way the Constitution proscribes, by two thirds of the States voting to change it. That is if they truly respect the Constitution, not a version of it that they would like to see.

Fallout from the Arizona shootings.

A lot has been written about the relationship between the political vitriol prevalent today and the shootings in Arizona yesterday so I will only add a couple of comments.

The vitriol flowed from the right during the Clinton era and from the left during the Bush era. Both were accused of corruption, incompetence and worse but the accusations never strayed into the sort of territory that the right has with Obama.

Clinton and Bush were more or less 'good ole white Southern boys'. Obama, on the other hand is far too exotic, both racially and in terms of his background, for the average neanderthal political thinker to process. The vitriol has changed to "traitor", "wants to destroy America", "working with our enemies" etc. which is stepping into dangerous territory. Corruption and incompetence has always been part of American politics and always will be. When people start believing that the President and his party are committing treason, a crime that can receive the death penalty it's become a new ball game and when a significant percentage of Americans start believing that, as many do now violence becomes something that is not only possible but almost patriotic the vitriol becomes indefensible.

Whether the nutcase in Arizona was actually influenced by this sort of rhetoric may well never be known, the climate is ripe for violence against those who appear to be traitors.

Read my friend Shauna Z's blog on this at The Daily Flog.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Arizona Congresswoman assasinated: one of 20 Palin targeted

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was assassinated along with 5 others this morning in Tucson at a street event.

Last year Sarah Palin published a map of the U.S. with targets painted on 20 Democratic Congressional seats including hers. She also famously tweeted, "Don't retreat - instead reload".

The shooter was captured at the scene but as yet nothing is known about the shooter. It's too soon to connect Palin and others rhetoric to this but an earlier incident in the San Francisco area when police apprehended an armed man on his way to The Tides Foundation an organization that Glenn Beck had railed about frequently. The man had been inspired by Beck. What was The Tides Foundation's crime in Becks' eyes. They were environmentalist and also helped poor people.

In today's right wing America that is a sin that deserves retribution with violence.

Update: Reports now say that Giffords is in surgery but in grave condition.

Eric Clapton - Layla

A rock anthem if ever there was one.

Friday, January 7, 2011

GOP aka Tea Party is ok with 'Taxation without Representation' -

Washington D.C. has never had a full voting member of Congress. Most Americans aren't aware of this. Their representative, Eleanor Norton Holmes, a black woman had voting rights in committee but now that the GOP are back in control, they have removed even those rights. Washington D.C. has more people than Wyoming which gets two senators and a congressman. They have almost as many people as a handful of other states, and more importantly pay more Federal income tax than do 19 states.

Those newly elected Tea Party loving congressmen and women who voted to disenfranchise Washingtonians have obviously forgotten the origins of their party name. Either that, or the fact that Washington always votes for the Democrats, which is even more shameful.

Republican Congressmen try to dance around accepting govt health care

It's more than amusing to see the pathetic excuses Republican Congressmen who intend to vote to repeal health care reform justify why they aren't refusing to get government health care for themselves.

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) justified accepting government-subsidized health care for himself because, “God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation…That can happen to anyone.”

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) uses some severely torture logic to justify the same; "So I think it’s kind of interesting how people make such a big deal out of the health care coverage we have, which is not bad by any means. But I haven’t given it much thought because quite frankly I think I’m helping out the institution by lowering the risk pool for some of my older guys."

Exactly. That is what the reform aims to do by lowering the risk pool.

Newly-elected Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) campaigned for Congress on a promise to repeal health reform. Here's what he had to say, "It’s a policy that’s issued by Anthem and it’s a policy that any– it’s open to the public."

Except that it's not available to the public. Members of Congress on average receive a $700 a month taxpayer subsidy for their private health insurance plan, which they can choose through a highly regulated exchange offered by the government. The federal system mirrors the reforms enacted by Democrats and President Obama, which end health insurance abuses by regulating coverage through an exchange, while offering subsidies to individuals and small businesses to make coverage more affordable.

To sum up what these hypocrites are saying is it's good enough for us but not for the public even though we're not going to acknowledge that.

A mountain of trouble in store for the banks

The Massachusetts Supreme Court confirmed a lower court decision in a case where a homeowner challenged a foreclosure because the foreclosing bank couldn't prove it owned the legal title. The bank may well own the mortgage but as the housing bubble accelerated and mortgages were transferred willy nilly by an electronic transferring bank, the legally required paperwork wasn't signed and filed as the law requires.

The banks are also liable to be sued by local governments who charge a small fee to file the paperwork for a mortgage transfer. This wasn't done in millions of cases as mortgages were sold and then resold multiple times as investment banks bought and sold huge bundled of securitized mortgages.

Felix Salmon, Reuter's financial blogger lays the possible consequences out.

The legal craziness that this decision sets in motion is going to be huge, I’m sure. Anybody who was foreclosed on in Massachusetts should now be phoning up their lawyer and trying to find out if the foreclosure was illegal. If it was — if there was a break in the chain of title somewhere which meant that the bank didn’t own the mortgage in question — then the borrower should be able to get their deed, and their home, back from the bank. This decision is retroactive, and no one has a clue how many thousands of foreclosures it might cover.

Similarly, if you bought a Massachusetts home out of foreclosure, you should be very worried. You might not have proper title to your home, and you risk losing it to the original owner. It might be worth dusting off your title insurance: you could need it. And if you ever need to sell your home, well, good luck with that.

This issue is at the root of the financial folly that led to the 'Great Recession'. Outright fraud was committed at virtually every step of the way. Prudence may in vogue right now but given half a chance Wall Street will happily find a new way to generate huge fees and risk money, some of it loaned from the Fed and therefore backed by the taxpayer, The modest financial reform that was passed might put the brakes on future follies but not if the Republicans have their way. They want to repeal the entire reform bill and kill the Financial Consumer Protection Agency which, has it existed at the time, may have prevented some if not most of this insanity.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

That's what I call chutzpah

A Virginia GOP state rep sponsored a bill to create a position at Old Dominion University and ended up with the job his bill created for himself. He's been indicted.

"Babies are born in garbage cans all the time" - Steve King (R-IA)

Rep. Steve King of Iowa comes up with a novel new argument against the constitutionality of Health Care reform.

Boehner and GOP promised transparency: Not so fast

It was all about changing the waay business is done in Washington, or so the GOP promised. Transparency was going to be the key. John Boehner, who spends as much time playing golf with corporate lobbyists as he does on the floor of the House is already hedging.

Boehner and the GOP have decided that the bill to repeal Health Care Reform will not adhere to the transparency rules the GOP have created for themselves.

"I promised a more open process," Boehner said. "I didn't promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill."

There you have it. Transparency is optional and will only happen when we want it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Repulicans ready to rumble: WIll try to repeal Health Care Reform by next week

The Republicans aren't wasting any time. The 112th Congress will be sworn in tomorrow (Wednesday 5th) and plan to vote on the repeal of Health Care Reform a week later. It will pass in the House and probably fail in the Senate. If not President Obama will use his veto. The GOP will then try to strip away or defund parts of the bill.

It's time for a street fight. Some of the more popular parts of Health Care Reform have already kicked in, Prescription pills for seniors under Medicare have already dropped by 50% and children up to 26 can now stay on their parents plan.

The new GOP majority in the House represents Corporate extremism at its most blatant. Forget the bullshit about the Tea Party demanding transparency and accountability in Washington. They believe with the fervor of fanaticism that there is nothing that government can do well, let the free market reign, and that means giving corporate America all the power and freedom it wants.

The health care industry says 'kill the bill' and they duly oblige. The Democrats have a great opportunity to right out of the gate. Let every senior citizen know that the Republicans want to take away their shining new lower cost prescription costs, Show some balls or get kicked in them again and again. There is no longer any room for negotiation or compromise.

Monday, January 3, 2011

61% of Americans agree - tax the rich to reduce the deficit.

A poll for Vanity Fair conducted by CBS found that 61% of all Americans far taxing the rich as the first choice in balancing the budget. Another 20% believe that the first step should be cutting the defense budget. Way down the list at 3% and 4% respectively are cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

What does that say about the Democrats' ability to get out the message? And what does that say about the claims by the Tea Party and many Republicans that they are in Washington to represent the people's wishes?

For that matter, the media totally failed to frame the debate about extending the Bush tax cuts either. Part of the problem is that most people have no idea how our marginal tax laws work. During the recent debate I saw local newspapers twice print letters where the writer claimed they would have no incentive to earn even a penny over $250,000 because they would then pay the additional taxes on all $250,000 that they earned. That the newspaper printed such an obviously erroneous letter says volumes about the debate.

The poll results aren't surprising. Neither is the fact that the political debate has become so tainted by bullshit and the ability to spend billions to bamboozle the electorate.

The result is that unpopular and unworkable policies become the norm. The results are too ominously obvious, When, or if we come to our senses it will more than likely be too late.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Get ready for the inquisitions

One of the most enduring memories of the Cllnton Presidency, was Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, inviting reporters over to his backyard to watching him shoot up a pumpkin to prove that Hillary Clinton or one of her immediate subordinates murdered Vince Foster despite the official investigation ruling it a suicide.

That was the last time the House was in Republican hands under a Democratic President, until now. Burton came close to losing his chairmanship when his lead investigator and well known dirty trickster, David Bossie was fired for doctoring video evidence for Burton's committee in the Whitewater investigation.

It's going to be deja vu all over again in the 112th Congress. This time the face will be that of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) who heads the committee is a lot smarter than Burton and a tad less ideological. Issa has already laid out a roadmap of where their investigations will go and it's sadly predicatble.

While Issa may be slightly more palatable than the deranged Burton famous for saying, "If I could prove 10 percent of what I believe happened, he'd [Clinton] be gone. This guy's a scumbag. That's why I'm after him." He ended up proving 0% of his conspiracy theories but showed that "scumbag" is perfectly acceptable in the GOP lexicon of words to describe a Democratic president but not vice versa.

Issa got off to a rolling start this morning on CNN claiming that President Obama "has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times." He backtracked quickly on that statement but needless to say, with ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) proving to be far more pervasive and debilitating than CDS (Clinton) anything is possible, even for apparently sane Republicans.

Issa has already shown his mettle. He wanted the Committee he will now chair to investigate the SEC's fraud indictment of Goldman Sachs. He wasn't bothered by by GS's role in the financial meltdown, merely in the political motivation behind the timing of the charges.

He's itching to investigate Acorn, an organization that not only doesn't exist any longer, but was cleared of all charges emanating from heavily edited video transcripts of James O'Keefe's 'pimp and ho show'. He's also going to vigorously investigate the DOJ's handling of the New Black Panther's, which is basically a couple of tough looking black guys who have taking to hanging out at a polling station in Philadelphia.

What is certain is that subpoenas will be flowing once Congress convenes and Washington lawyers will be in heavy demand. We will long for the days when the Committee Issa will now head actually investigated things worth investigating like the disappearance of $8.8 billion in shrink wrapped $100 bills in Iraq and drug companies fraudulently conspiring to overcharge Medicare and Medicaid for millions. Sadly that was when the respected Henry Waxman, the long serving California Democrat chaired the committee.

There's certainly plenty of grist for the mill out there. Is Obama really conspiring to hand America back to the Indians, is he a Muslim, is he still 'palling around with terrorists and are bicycle paths in Denver realy a prelude to a 'one world government'. We'll never know, but not for lack of effort to find proof from a party intoxicated by one too many Tea Parties dosed with a healthy serving of paranoia.

the last time a GOP controlled House served under a

Saturday, January 1, 2011

U2 - New Years Day

Happy New Year = May 2011 be a better year,