Saturday, February 27, 2010

GOP Rep. implies blacks were better off as slaves’

GOP Rep. implies blacks were better off as slaves’

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) is well known as a diehard opponent of abortion. He formerly served as the executive director of the Arizona branch of the Family Research Institute and has called President Obama an "enemy of humanity" because of his pro-choice stance.

Franks may have gotten himself in more trouble than he anticipated, however, when he insisted to blogger and political activist Mike Stark that abortion was worse for African-Americans than slavery.

"In this country we had slavery for God knows how long," Franks told Stark. "And now we look back on it and we say, 'Well how blind were they, what was the matter with them.' ... And yet today half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more black children, far more of the African-American community, is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery."

Stark's own comment on the interview is that "it sounds an awful lot to me like the Congressman is suggesting that blacks were better off as slaves. To be fair, Congressman Franks is as sincere as he is conservative. The issue of life never falls out of first place in his legislative priority list. I don’t believe for one second that he intends to insult anyone; I don’t think he sees the racism (or paternalism) in what he’s saying. Still.... This is pretty bad."

According to blogger BruinKid at Daily Kos, however, Franks' claim is not the truth. BruinKid calls Franks' "1 in 2" figure "pure bullshit" and explains that it came from "a blatant misreading of the original 2004 CDC report."

This is not the first time Franks has made similar statements about black abortion rates. He wrote last April in the conservative Washington Times, "The history of the American abortion movement is replete with evidence of the purposeful placement of family planning clinics in areas with high concentrations of minorities. ... The impact has been devastating to black families. Fifty percent - 1 in 2 - of black children are aborted today in America. ... Do we realize that, primarily through federally funded abortion clinics placed in our inner cities, we are contributing to the deadliest form of discrimination in our country's history against the most-discriminated-against minority in American history by systematically eliminating fully half of all blacks waiting to be born?"

According to BruinKid, however, what the CDC report actually says is that among black women there are 472 abortions for every 1000 live births, meaning that "if you want the percentage, it's 472 / (472 + 1000) = 32%. (FYI, the percentage for whites is 13.9%.) Now, I don't want to get into a debate on whether 32% is too high of a number. But we simply don't refer to a percentage that less than one-third as being 'almost half'! Well, unless you're a pro-lifer, I guess."

An additional aspect of the "black genocide" argument was recently addressed by Shani O. Hilton, writing at The American Prospect about an ongoing billboard campaign in Georgia.

"Poor women have four times as many unintended pregnancies as women who live above the federal poverty line," Hilton writes. "Among black women -- who are more than twice as likely to be poor than white women -- the numbers are even more dramatic. Sixty-nine percent of their pregnancies are unintended, and they have 37 percent of all abortions, a number wildly disproportionate to their representation in the population. Black women may be having more abortions, but that doesn't prove that they're being coerced into having them. The only thing it proves is that black women are disproportionately having pregnancies they didn't intend."

But perhaps the aptest comment on Franks' remarks was provided by a blogger from his home state of Arizona, Stephen Lemons. "Republican Congressman Trent 'Foot-in-Mouth' Franks is truly the gift that keeps on giving," Lemons writes. "The goofy, amiable wingnut from Arizona's Second Congressional District is known for his hard-right stance on just about everything from abortion to President Obama's birth certificate, which he desperately wanted to see at one point. To say he's outdone himself with his latest racially-charged statements ... would be ignorant of Franks' history of saying stupid stuff. Granted, though, this one is a dozy."

"Considering his record for wacky statements," Lemons concludes, "Franks should walk around with a sign that says 'I'm sorry' round his neck. Would save us all a bunch of time."

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) is about as sincere as any lunatic.

'Ram it through': Media adopt GOP characterization of majority vote
In the past week, media figures have routinely referred to a potential effort to pass a health care reform bill with a majority vote as an effort to "ram," "jam," or "cram" a bill through Congress, a characterization pushed by Republican politicians. The reconciliation process, which enables the Senate to pass legislation with 51 votes, has been used repeatedly by Republicans, including to pass major changes to health care laws.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) Dismisses The Adverse Effect Of His Holds On The Pentagon, Says He Has No Clue If Nominees Are Qualified

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Conservatives - Crooks, Liars, Thieves and Just Plain Nuts

A Savings and Loan Bailout, and Bush's Son Jeb
After Jeb Bush, a son of the President, and a partner bought a Miami office building using money an associate had borrowed from a local savings and loan, the Federal Government wound up repaying most of the loan.

The savings institution became insolvent, and the Government paid more than $4 million to make good the loan as part of the bailout of the savings industry. Mr. Bush and his partner negotiated a settlement with regulators in which they repaid $505,000 and retained control of the building. While they still have a $7 million mortgage to pay on that property, the settlement with the Government lifted from their backs a $4.565 million second mortgage.

Jeb recently implied that Sarah Palin was an idiot. Who knows, maybe he's right, but it's hypocritical coming from a immoral cretin of the Bush Dynasty who only escaped becoming a convicted felon because of his family's money and power.

John "The Maverick" McCain is running for yet another Senate term. Who says it does not pay to be a two faced faced crook and serial liar.

Thus far 114 Rethuglican Deficit Peacocks have slammed the Recovery Act ( stimulus bill) then gone back to their districts to claim credit for the jobs and economic activity President Obama's Recovery Act created. Honorable behavior? These Conservatives Peacocks would need a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word honorable.

Fox, Andrew Breitbart, Drudge, Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy and Glenn Beck have zero respect for their viewers, have embraced nutball behavior as their norm and do not seemed to have read that commandment about baring false witness - Caught in the act -Kooky Rightwing Media Lies about "nuclear option and health-care reform.

The Attacks on Climate Science Come From Conservative Loons - Media Takes a Nap

The Attacks on Climate Science Come From Conservative Loons - Media Takes a Nap
The Attacks on Climate Science Come From Conservative Loons - Media Takes a Nap
Twenty-one years ago, in 1989, I wrote what many have called the first book for a general audience on global warming. One of the more interesting reviews came from the Wall Street Journal. It was a mixed and judicious appraisal. “The subject,” the reviewer said, “is important, the notion is arresting, and Mr. McKibben argues convincingly.” And that was not an outlier: around the same time, the first president Bush announced that he planned to “fight the greenhouse effect with the White House effect.”

I doubt that’s what the Journal will say about my next book when it comes out in a few weeks, and I know that no GOP presidential contender would now dream of acknowledging that human beings are warming the planet. Sarah Palin is currently calling climate science “snake oil” and last week, the Utah legislature, in a move straight out of the King Canute playbook, passed a resolution condemning "a well organized and ongoing effort to manipulate global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome" on a nearly party-line vote.

And here’s what’s odd. In 1989, I could fit just about every scientific study on climate change on top of my desk. The science was still thin. If my reporting made me think it was nonetheless convincing, many scientists were not yet prepared to agree.

Now, you could fill the Superdome with climate-change research data. (You might not want to, though, since Hurricane Katrina demonstrated just how easy it was to rip holes in its roof.) Every major scientific body in the world has produced reports confirming the peril. All 15 of the warmest years on record have come in the two decades that have passed since 1989. In the meantime, the Earth’s major natural systems have all shown undeniable signs of rapid flux: melting Arctic and glacial ice, rapidly acidifying seawater, and so on.

Somehow, though, the onslaught against the science of climate change has never been stronger, and its effects, at least in the U.S., never more obvious: fewer Americans believe humans are warming the planet. At least partly as a result, Congress feels little need to consider global-warming legislation, no less pass it; and as a result of that failure, progress towards any kind of international agreement on climate change has essentially ground to a halt.

Climate-Change Denial as an O.J. Moment

The campaign against climate science has been enormously clever, and enormously effective. It’s worth trying to understand how they’ve done it. The best analogy, I think, is to the O.J. Simpson trial, an event that’s begun to recede into our collective memory. For those who were conscious in 1995, however, I imagine that just a few names will make it come back to life. Kato Kaelin, anyone? Lance Ito?

The Dream Team of lawyers assembled for Simpson’s defense had a problem: it was pretty clear their guy was guilty. Nicole Brown’s blood was all over his socks, and that was just the beginning. So Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Kardashian et al. decided to attack the process, arguing that it put Simpson’s guilt in doubt, and doubt, of course, was all they needed. Hence, those days of cross-examination about exactly how Dennis Fung had transported blood samples, or the fact that Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman had used racial slurs when talking to a screenwriter in 1986.

If anything, they were actually helped by the mountain of evidence. If a haystack gets big enough, the odds only increase that there will be a few needles hidden inside. Whatever they managed to find, they made the most of: in closing arguments, for instance, Cochran compared Fuhrman to Adolf Hitler and called him “a genocidal racist, a perjurer, America’s worst nightmare, and the personification of evil.” His only real audience was the jury, many of whom had good reason to dislike the Los Angeles Police Department, but the team managed to instill considerable doubt in lots of Americans tuning in on TV as well. That’s what happens when you spend week after week dwelling on the cracks in a case, no matter how small they may be.

Similarly, the immense pile of evidence now proving the science of global warming beyond any reasonable doubt is in some ways a great boon for those who would like, for a variety of reasons, to deny that the biggest problem we’ve ever faced is actually a problem at all. If you have a three-page report, it won’t be overwhelming and it’s unlikely to have many mistakes. Three thousand pages (the length of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)? That pretty much guarantees you’ll get something wrong.

Indeed, the IPCC managed to include, among other glitches, a spurious date for the day when Himalayan glaciers would disappear. It won’t happen by 2035, as the report indicated -- a fact that has now been spread so widely across the Internet that it’s more or less obliterated another, undeniable piece of evidence: virtually every glacier on the planet is, in fact, busily melting.

Similarly, if you managed to hack 3,000 emails from some scientist’s account, you might well find a few that showed them behaving badly, or at least talking about doing so. This is the so-called “Climate-gate” scandal from an English research center last fall. The English scientist Phil Jones has been placed on leave while his university decides if he should be punished for, among other things, not complying with Freedom of Information Act requests.

Call him the Mark Fuhrman of climate science; attack him often enough and maybe people will ignore the inconvenient mountain of evidence about climate change that the world’s scientific researchers have, in fact, compiled. Indeed, you can make almost exactly the same kind of fuss Johnnie Cochran made -- that’s what Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) did, insisting the emails proved “scientific fascism,” and the climate skeptic Christopher Monckton called his opponents “Hitler youth.” Such language filters down. I’m now used to a daily diet of angry email, often with subject lines like the one that arrived yesterday: “Nazi Moron Scumbag.”

If you’re smart, you can also take advantage of lucky breaks that cross your path. Say a record set of snowstorms hit Washington D.C. It won’t even matter that such a record is just the kind of thing scientists have been predicting, given the extra water vapor global warming is adding to the atmosphere. It’s enough that it’s super-snowy in what everyone swore was a warming world.

For a gifted political operative like, say, Marc Morano, who runs the Climate Depot website, the massive snowfalls this winter became the grist for a hundred posts poking fun at the very idea that anyone could still possibly believe in, you know, physics. Morano, who really is good, posted a link to a live webcam so readers could watch snow coming down; his former boss, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), had his grandchildren build an igloo on the Capitol grounds, with a sign that read: "Al Gore’s New Home." These are the things that stick in people’s heads. If the winter glove won’t fit, you must acquit.

Why We Don’t Want to Believe in Climate Change

The climate deniers come with a few built-in advantages. Thanks to Exxon Mobil and others with a vested interest in debunking climate-change research, their “think tanks” have plenty of money, none of which gets wasted doing actual research to disprove climate change. It’s also useful for a movement to have its own TV network, Fox, though even more crucial to the denial movement are a few rightwing British tabloids which validate each new “scandal” and put it into media play.

That these guys are geniuses at working the media was proved this February when even the New York Times ran a front page story, “Skeptics Find Fault With U.N. Climate Panel,” which recycled most of the accusations of the past few months. What made it such a glorious testament to their success was the chief source cited by the Times: one Christopher Monckton, or Lord Monckton as he prefers to be called since he is some kind of British viscount. He is also identified as a “former advisor to Margaret Thatcher,” and he did write a piece for the American Spectator during her term as prime minister offering his prescriptions for “the only way to stop AIDS”:

"...screen the entire population regularly and… quarantine all carriers of the disease for life. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month... all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.”

He speaks with equal gusto and good sense on matters climatic -- and now from above the fold in the paper of record.

Access to money and the media is not the only, or even the main reason, for the success of the climate deniers, though. They’re not actually spending all that much cash and they’ve got legions of eager volunteers doing much of the internet lobbying entirely for free. Their success can be credited significantly to the way they tap into the main currents of our politics of the moment with far more savvy and power than most environmentalists can muster. They’ve understood the popular rage at elites. They’ve grasped the widespread feelings of powerlessness in the U.S., and the widespread suspicion that we’re being ripped off by mysterious forces beyond our control.

Some of that is, of course, purely partisan. The columnist David Brooks, for instance, recently said: “On the one hand, I totally accept the scientific authorities who say that global warming is real and it is manmade. On the other hand, I feel a frisson of pleasure when I come across evidence that contradicts the models… [in part] because I relish any fact that might make Al Gore look silly.” But the passion with which people attack Gore more often seems focused on the charge that he’s making large sums of money from green investments, and that the whole idea is little more than a scam designed to enrich everyone involved. This may be wrong -- Gore has testified under oath that he donates his green profits to the cause -- and scientists are not getting rich researching climate change (constant blog comments to the contrary), but it resonates with lots of people. I get many emails a day on the same theme: “The game is up. We’re on to you.”

When I say it resonates with lots of people, I mean lots of people. O.J.’s lawyers had to convince a jury made up mostly of black women from central city L.A., five of whom reported that they or their families had had “negative experiences” with the police. For them, it was a reasonably easy sell. When it comes to global warming, we’re pretty much all easy sells because we live the life that produces the carbon dioxide that’s at the heart of the crisis, and because we like that life.

Very few people really want to change in any meaningful way, and given half a chance to think they don’t need to, they’ll take it. Especially when it sounds expensive, and especially when the economy stinks. Here’s David Harsanyi, a columnist for the Denver Post: “If they’re going to ask a nation -- a world -- to fundamentally alter its economy and ask citizens to alter their lifestyles, the believers’ credibility and evidence had better be unassailable.”

“Unassailable” sets the bar impossibly high when there is a dedicated corps of assailants out there hard at work. It is true that those of us who want to see some national and international effort to fight global warming need to keep making the case that the science is strong. That’s starting to happen. There are new websites and iPhone apps to provide clear and powerful answers to the skeptic trash-talking, and strangely enough, the denier effort may, in some ways, be making the case itself: if you go over the multi-volume IPCC report with a fine tooth comb and come up with three or four lousy citations, that’s pretty strong testimony to its essential accuracy.

Clearly, however, the antiseptic attempt to hide behind the magisterium of Science in an effort to avoid the rough-and-tumble of Politics is a mistake. It’s a mistake because science can be -- and, in fact, should be -- infinitely argued about. Science is, in fact, nothing but an ongoing argument, which is one reason why it sounds so disingenuous to most people when someone insists that the science is “settled.” That’s especially true of people who have been told at various times in their lives that some food is good for you, only to be told later that it might increase your likelihood of dying.

Why Data Isn’t Enough

I work at Middlebury College, a topflight liberal arts school, so I’m surrounded by people who argue constantly. It’s fun. One of the better skeptical takes on global warming that I know about is a weekly radio broadcast on our campus radio station run by a pair of undergraduates. They’re skeptics, but not cynics. Anyone who works seriously on the science soon realizes that we know more than enough to start taking action, but less than we someday will. There will always be controversy over exactly what we can now say with any certainty. That’s life on the cutting edge. I certainly don’t turn my back on the research—we’ve spent the last two years at building what Foreign Policy called “the largest ever coordinated global rally” around a previously obscure data point, the amount of atmospheric carbon that scientists say is safe, measured in parts per million.

But it’s a mistake to concentrate solely on the science for another reason. Science may be what we know about the world, but politics is how we feel about the world. And feelings count at least as much as knowledge. Especially when those feelings are valid. People are getting ripped off. They are powerless against large forces that are, at the moment, beyond their control. Anger is justified.

So let’s figure out how to talk about it. Let’s look at Exxon Mobil, which each of the last three years has made more money than any company in the history of money. Its business model involves using the atmosphere as an open sewer for the carbon dioxide that is the inevitable byproduct of the fossil fuel it sells. And yet we let it do this for free. It doesn't pay a red cent for potentially wrecking our world.

Right now, there’s a bill in the Congress -- cap-and-dividend, it’s called -- that would charge Exxon for that right, and send a check to everyone in the country every month. Yes, the company would pass on the charge at the pump, but 80% of Americans (all except the top-income energy hogs) would still make money off the deal. That represents good science, because it starts to send a signal that we should park that SUV, but it’s also good politics.

By the way, if you think there’s a scam underway, you’re right -- and to figure it out just track the money going in campaign contributions to the politicians doing the bidding of the energy companies. Inhofe, the igloo guy? Over a million dollars from energy and utility companies and executives in the last two election cycles. You think Al Gore is going to make money from green energy? Check out what you get for running an oil company.

Worried that someone is going to wreck your future? You’re right about that, too. Right now, China is gearing up to dominate the green energy market. They’re making the investments that mean future windmills and solar panels, even ones installed in this country, will be likely to arrive from factories in Chenzhou, not Chicago.

Coal companies have already eliminated most good mining jobs, simply by automating them in the search for ever higher profits. Now, they’re using their political power to make sure that miner’s kids won’t get to build wind turbines instead. Everyone should be mighty pissed -- just not at climate-change scientists.

But keep in mind as well that fear and rage aren’t the only feelings around. They’re powerful feelings, to be sure, but they’re not all we feel. And they are not us at our best.

There’s also love, a force that has often helped motivate large-scale change, and one that cynics in particular have little power to rouse. Love for poor people around the world, for instance. If you think it’s not real, you haven’t been to church recently, especially evangelical churches across the country. People who take the Gospel seriously also take seriously indeed the injunction to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.

It’s becoming patently obvious that nothing challenges that goal quite like the rising seas and spreading deserts of climate change. That’s why religious environmentalism is one of the most effective emerging parts of the global warming movement; that’s why we were able to get thousands of churches ringing their bells 350 times last October to signify what scientists say is the safe level of CO2 in the atmosphere; that’s why Bartholomew, patriarch of the Orthodox church and leader of 400 million eastern Christians, said, “Global warming is a sin and 350 is an act of redemption.”

There’s also the deep love for creation, for the natural world. We were born to be in contact with the world around us and, though much of modernity is designed to insulate us from nature, it doesn’t really work. Any time the natural world breaks through -- a sunset, an hour in the garden -- we’re suddenly vulnerable to the realization that we care about things beyond ourselves. That’s why, for instance, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts are so important: get someone out in the woods at an impressionable age and you’ve accomplished something powerful. That’s why art and music need to be part of the story, right alongside bar graphs and pie charts. When we campaign about climate change at, we make sure to do it in the most beautiful places we know, the iconic spots that conjure up people’s connection to their history, their identity, their hope.

The great irony is that the climate skeptics have prospered by insisting that their opponents are radicals. In fact, those who work to prevent global warming are deeply conservative, insistent that we should leave the world in something like the shape we found it. We want our kids to know the world we knew. Here’s the definition of radical: doubling the carbon content of the atmosphere because you’re not completely convinced it will be a disaster. We want to remove every possible doubt before we convict in the courtroom, because an innocent man in a jail cell is a scandal, but outside of it we should act more conservatively.

In the long run, the climate deniers will lose; they’ll be a footnote to history. (Hey, even O.J. is finally in jail.) But they’ll lose because we’ll all lose, because by delaying action, they will have helped prevent us from taking the steps we need to take while there’s still time. If we’re going to make real change while it matters, it’s important to remember that their skepticism isn’t the root of the problem. It simply plays on our deep-seated resistance to change. That’s what gives the climate cynics ground to operate. That’s what we need to overcome, and at bottom that’s a battle as much about courage and hope as about data.

Monday, February 22, 2010

National Review and Commentary Manufacture Lies to Cover War Criminals Yoo and Bybee

The flailing falsehoods of America's war criminals

I didn't think it was possible, but former Bush officials -- desperately fighting what they know will be their legacy as war criminals -- have become even more dishonest propagandists out of office than they were in office. At National Review, Bill Burck and Dana Perino so thoroughly mislead their readers about the DOJ report -- rejecting the findings of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of ethical misconduct against John Yoo and Jay Bybee -- that it's hard to know where to begin. They devote paragraph after paragraph to hailing the intelligence and integrity of the report's author, career DOJ prosecutor David Margolis, in order to pretend that he defended Yoo and Bybee's work, claiming that Margolis "officially exonerated Bush-era lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee" and that "Margolis rejected OPR’s recommendation and most of its analysis." Perhaps the most deceitful claim is this one:

So, in one corner we have a legal all-star team of Mukasey, Filip, Estrada, Mahoney, Goldsmith [all right-wing Bush lawyers], and Margolis. In the other corner, we have OPR operating far outside its comfort zone and area of expertise. This shouldn’t have been close -- and it wasn’t, on the merits.

Compare that to what Margolis actually said (p. 67):

For all of the above reasons, I am not prepared to conclude that the circumstantial evidence much of which is contradicted by the witness testimony regarding Yoo's efforts establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that Yoo intentionally or recklessly provided misleading advice to his client. It is a close question. I would be remiss in not observing, however, that these memoranda represent an unfortunate chapter in the history of the Office of Legal Counsel. While I have declined to adopt OPR's finding of misconduct, I fear that John Yoo's loyalty to his own ideology and convictions clouded his view of his obligation to his client and led him to adopt opinions that reflected his own extreme, albeit sincerely held, views of executive power while speaking for an institutional client.

Just think about that for a minute. Margolis said that whether Yoo "intentionally or recklessly provided misleading advice to his client" when authorizing torture -- about the most serious accusation one can make against a lawyer, as it means he deliberately made false statements about the law -- "is a close question." That's the precise opposite of what Burck and Perino told National Review readers about Margolis' conclusion ("This shouldn’t have been close — and it wasn't, on the merits").

Moreover, Margolis repeatedly adopted the OPR's findings that the Yoo/Bybee torture memos -- on which the entire American torture regime was constructed and which media elites now embrace in order to argue against prosecutions -- were wrong, "extreme," misguided, and the by-product of "poor judgment." As Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin so clearly explained, the only thing that saved Yoo in Margolis' eyes was that attorney ethical rules have been written by lawyers to protect themselves, and the bar is therefore so low that it basically includes only "sociopaths and people driven to theft and egregious incompetence by serious drug and alcohol abuse problems." As a result, Margolis could not ultimately conclude that Yoo -- as shoddy and misleading as his torture authorizations were -- purposely lied because Yoo "was an ideologue who entered government service with a warped vision of the world in which he sincerely believed." Does that remotely sound like exoneration?

Burck and Perino also include this, a common myth among American elites who do not believe the rule of law should apply to them:

For years now this principle [that "honestly held legal and policy opinions are not cause for prosecution or professional discipline"] has been under sustained attack by hard-core left-wing congressional partisans such as Rep. John Conyers and Sen. Patrick Leahy. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine some of the more wild-eyed among them searching for ways to revoke the law licenses of conservative Supreme Court justices. Fortunately, this country is not Venezuela — at least not yet; we should not rest easy.

This oft-repeated notion -- that prosecuting political officials and high-levels lawyers when they commit crimes in office is the hallmark of the "banana republics" of South and Central America -- is exactly the opposite of reality. As leading political scientists have long documented, the actual hallmark of under-developed and backward nations is the immunity which political elites enjoy from the rule of law no matter how serious their crimes (Thomas Carruthers, Foreign Affairs, 1998: "Rule-of-law reform [in the Third World] will succeed only if it gets at the fundamental problem of leaders who refuse to be ruled by the law . . . . entrenched elites cede their traditional impunity and vested interests only under great pressure").
Giles Admits O'Keefe, Breitbart ACORN 'Pimp' Story was a Lie: 'That Was B-Roll, Purely B-Roll'

Stimulus Hypocrite Rep. McMorris Rodgers Not Invited To Ceremony In Her District Heralding Stimulus Project
The official website of the House Republican Caucus — — features a slew of anti-stimulus criticisms. But as ThinkProgress noted last week, buried amidst these rants is a press release from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) taking credit for $35 million in stimulus money. The release is still currently featured on

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day In Day Out, Conservatism is Built on a Foundation of Propoganda

Right-wing bloggers and pundits spread lie about First Lady Michelle Obama and books in the White House Library. The lie originated with the Christian Broadcasting Network, who has either never read the commandment about baring false witness or are practitioners of right-wing Christianism - a cult-like deviant variation on true Christian values. A thourough debunking of CBN's hate mongering gossip here - Forensic analysis of propaganda: “Michelle Obama Keeps Socialist Books in the White House”. Most of the books in the White House including the ones about black nationalism were in the library while Bush was president - More Shocking White House Library Books!
There's also ... The Autobiography of Malcolm X! Oh my God! The Obamas are socialists and militant black nationalists. That New Yorker cover was true! Oh, wait a second — that photo was taken on December 18, 2008, before the Obamas moved into the White House. So, George W. Bush was a militant black nationalist? We're confused now.
"Conservatives Unveil ‘Mount Vernon Statement’ — Declare That America’s ‘Founding Ideas’ Are ‘Under Sustained Attack’ - If the Nobel committee gave an award for bulls*it, Conservatism would be buried under it.

Conservatism has moved further and further to the Right - a trend started under Nixon - that it no longer contains any actual conservatism. Republican have become - take your choice - the party of ultra-nationalism or soft fascism - it is devoid of any of the Founder's ideal of enlightened democratic republic ideals. Dick Cheney was a despicable example of that uber nationalism and shallow patriotism as VP and dispute the utter failure of his ideas, has the robotic tendency to preach and repeat the same mistakes over and over, Cheney's War - He's fighting not Obama but his own, long-lost battles. By Fred Kaplan

"It's very important," Cheney said, "to go back and keep in mind the distinction between handling these events as criminal acts, which was the way we did before 9/11, and then looking at 9/11 and saying, 'This is not a criminal act. … That was an act of war.' "

But, in fact, this distinction has never been so clear-cut or mutually exclusive, not even during Cheney's time as vice president after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a plane with a shoe-bomb three months after 9/11, was found guilty in a civilian court and is now serving a life sentence in a maximum-security federal prison. His prosecution occurred during George W. Bush's presidency.

Karl asked Cheney how the Reid case was different from Abdulmutallab's. Cheney replied that Reid "pled guilty," so there was no need for a trial of one sort of another. This response skirted the issue of whether Reid should have been brought before a federal judge in the first place.

Then Karl, who'd done his homework, went further and quoted the statement read by Reid's sentencing judge. "You are not an enemy combatant," the judge told the would-be bomber. "You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature." Is that a good point? Karl asked Cheney.

"I don't think so," Cheney replied. The judge's reasoning implied that these are "individual criminal acts," he said. Once they're called "acts of war," we can draw on "a much broader range of tools" to go after the combatants—including military force, punishing those who offer terrorist networks safe haven, money, weapons, or training.

There are at least three problems with Cheney's response. First, nothing said by Reid's judge, or by anyone else in this debate, suggests or implies that these attacks were "individual criminal acts." In fact, many defendants have been convicted in federal courts for aiding and abetting terrorist organizations.

Second, trying these people in criminal courts—treating them in a legal forum as thugs, not soldiers—in no way precludes the administration from going after their organizations with the full range of the U.S. government's power, as, indeed, Presidents Obama, Clinton, and, yes, George W. Bush have done.

This leads to the third problem: The Bush administration, in which Cheney so actively served, held the very same "mind-set" that Cheney finds so disturbing in Obama.

From 2001-08, according to the Bush/Cheney Justice Department's own data, 512 individuals were charged with terrorist-related crimes and, as of 2008 (i.e., when Bush was still president), Justice had won 319 convictions. (Most of the remaining cases had yet to come to trial.)

Human Rights First has parsed and updated this data and concluded that, as of June 2009, 195 of those convictions were in cases where the defendant proclaimed ties to al-Qaida or some other Islamist or jihadist terrorist group.

How many terrorists did the Bush/Cheney administration bring before military tribunals? Three. And only one of them was sentenced to life in prison. The other two were allowed to serve out their sentences at home—one in Australia, the other in Yemen—both while Bush was still president.

In other words, the vast bulk of terrorist cases were handled by the civilian criminal courts—in the Bush and Obama administrations—in part because they have proved much more successful than the still-fledgling system of military tribunals.

Cheney claimed on ABC that "we"—meaning he and George W. Bush—"were successful for seven and a half years in avoiding a further major attack against the United States" precisely because they treated terrorism as a "war" and its practitioners as "enemy combatants."

Yet as its own data clearly show, the Bush administration did no such thing. Or, rather, Bush and his Justice Department officials saw no contradiction between fighting a "war on terrorism" while, quite often, trying the terrorists as criminals.

And here is where it's worth wondering: Just who or what does Dick Cheney represent?

The standard view is that he was the vice president of the previous Republican administration; and, though it's unusual (and a bit un-classy) for someone of his standing to speak out so vehemently against his immediate successor, it is without question newsworthy.

But here is what's really going on. It's not so much that Cheney, the former Republican vice president, is railing against Obama, the standing Democratic president. It's that he's refighting the battles that he decisively lost within his own administration and party.

Cheney admitted as much in the ABC interview. Karl quoted from a 2006 Justice Department report that boasted about how many individuals the Bush administration had indicted and convicted for terrorist-related crimes. And Cheney replied, "Well, we didn't all agree with that."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Are Republicans a Political Party or a Club for Neo Fascist Nuts

Confused Conservative Karl Rove Falsely Accuses Obama Of Having ‘A Little Bit Of Confusion’ About Stimulus Jobs Numbers - Unka Karl went to college, maybe he skipped those arithmetic classes, Judging Stimulus by Job Data Reveals Success
Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.
Tea Party Speaker: Hang Patty Murray
A tea party gathering in Asotin County, Washington turned more than a bit ugly on Saturday when a featured speaker actually called for the hanging of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash), the fourth ranking Democrat in the Senate and a vulnerable re-election candidate.

"How many of you have watched the movie Lonesome Dove?," asked an unidentified female speaker from the podium. "What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd. He got hung. And that's what I want to do with Patty Murray."

The event, which about 500 people attended, was organized by Lewis and Clark Tea Party Patriots, a group that (somewhat appropriately) advocates "Freedom of speech" as a cherished principle.

That a sanctioned speaker called for a hanging of an elected official, however, seriously pushes the boundaries of First Amendment freedom. And it's yet one more example of how the Tea Party movement is a double-edged sword for the mainstream political officials who seek to harness its energy.
So if people that disagree with the tea bagger loons advocate for the hanging of neo fascist tea baggers, the tea party shouldn't object because they are for free speech and hanging. Right?

The Sheer Brilliance of the ‘Mount Vernon Statement’

Quick Fact: Beck advances myth that stimulus bill is not working
Glenn Beck advanced the conservative myth that no jobs have been created under the stimulus and baselessly claimed that its "intent to restore the economy ... [is] not working either." In fact, independent analyses of the stimulus, including those conducted by Moody's and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, have estimated that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased employment by as many as 2.4 million jobs by the end of 2009 and added to real GDP growth in the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2009.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Olympic Sport Proposed - How Often Can Republicans Be Wrong and a Danger to Democracy

Conservatives suggest cutting Utah’s budget deficit by eliminating mandatory 12th grade.
As states around the country face budget crises, “deficit peacocks” continue to demand cutting social spending while ruling out tax increases on those who have benefited immensely from years of conservative policies. In Utah, deficit peacocks are suggesting eliminating mandatory 12th grade to help close the state’s $700 million budget gap
A dumber America is conservatism's goal and has been for some time. Informed educated people tend to reject the anti-american rightwing agenda.

Hannity Ignores Major Taliban Capture
The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks...His capture could cripple the Taliban’s military operations, at least in the short term, said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer who last spring led the Obama administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy review." The news was part of a Fox News alert at the beginning of Greta Van Susteren's On The Record. But there was no such news during Hannity. At several points during the show, I saw "live" on the screen so we know that at least part of the show was live. This clip from the same day shows the time as being about 48 minutes into the hour, when we know the news had already come out, and it has the "live" stamp. Has Sean Hannity suddenly become uninterested in terrorism? I doubt that, especially since on the same show he attacked Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser, John Brennan, as being unfit for the job for at least the second time this week.

Yet more evidence that Hannity and Fox's attacks on Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser, John Brennan are all about the partisan and UnAmerican Conservative politicizing of terrorism. Why Hannity, Fox and conservatives hate America remains a mystery. Congradualtions to our commander-in-chief president Obama and the military for capturing this Taliban scumbag.

When they're not hating America, conservatives are always busy hating science and rationalism, Fox News twists words of climate scientist Phil Jones in its continued assault on global warming theory

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tim Pawlenty, Jon Voight and the Tea Baggers - Deranged Hate Fest

Tim Pawlenty, Jon Voight and the Tea Baggers - Deranged Hate Fest
Three months after the launch of his Freedom First PAC, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty with his interview in Esquire took another step towards a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. But while the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza lauded Pawlenty's "stinging critique of GOP," in words and deeds the man who calls himself "T-Paw" is just the latest in the growing ranks of interchangeable conservative demagogues. From his Tenther fantasies and stimulus grandstanding to his simultaneous calls for making the Bush tax cuts permanent and a balanced budget amendment, he's almost indistinguishable from the rest of George W. Bush's would-be heirs.

It starts, as they say, with the company you keep. This week, Governor Pawlenty told Esquire that Barack Obama was a "movement liberal." Rejecting the notion that the President "rises to the level of being a socialist," Pawlenty also insisted, "I don't think name-calling is helpful." Sadly, Pawlenty's November kick-off event for his Freedom First PAC featured the usual has-been actors-turned reactionaries Kelsey Grammer, John Ratzenberger and Jon Voight.

In sharp contrast, this is an angry room. Jon Voight, one of the evening's speakers, is comparing the Democrats with the Nazis: "At this hour," he says gravely, "it's very similar to the hour during the forties when we were facing the evil of Nazism..."

(Two months earlier, the conservative columnist Rod Dreher pleaded with Republicans to "call off the clowns" after Voight "accused the president of trying to depose God and deify himself -- as, according to the Book of Revelation, the Antichrist will do.")

It's no surprise Pawlenty's ersatz Tea Party populism appeals to the likes of Voight. Because when he- isn't bragging about "my smoking-hot wife," T-Paw is urging the GOP to emulate the fury of Eminem.

The complete article is at the link. The tea baggers are not new. They're the same old hate mongering, conspiracy theory possessed, eliminationist rightwing wackos that have been pretending to be patriots for fifty years. "Tea bagger" and "tea party" are just new labels for the same old flirting with fascism crowd. And another thing that has not changed is none of them read or know anything about the history of totalitarian movements.

Morning Light Country Road wallpaper, The Poor Conservative Felons, Conservatives Fail the Fiscal Responsibility Test

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear Dana Perino, You're Mom called and said she is embarrased by your serial lying

Perino falsely claims Obama administration admitted it "bungled" Abdulmutallab interrogation
On Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Dana Perino falsely claimed that the Obama administration admitted that it "bungled" the interrogation and Mirandizing of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab following his arrest because "they had to do a review." In fact, the "review" the administration conducted following Abdulmutallab's attempted attack on a Northwest Airlines flight focused on intelligence and national security measure failures prior to the incident and was not focused on Abdulmutallab's detention and interrogation.
Perino claims interrogation was "bungled" by the "administration's own admission" because it had to "do a review"

From the February 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Yesterday, Robert Gibbs, who stepped into your shoes at the White House -- stepped into your high heels --

PERINO: They're tight.

DOOCY: Stop it. He actually stood up for John Brennan. Here's a little snippet of that.

GIBBS [video clip]: I know this: John is there each and every day working in his office to try to do everything he can to keep the American people safe. And I would suggest, whether it's to Senator Bond or others on Capitol Hill, that these are decisions best left to people that have an understanding of counterterrorism, experience in counterterrorism and law enforcement rather than to politicians on Capitol Hill.

DOOCY: Well then, this past week, it all got started when he wrote that lecture, essentially, in USA Today. And he said of his critics, "We don't need lectures," and then he went on to say, "politically motivated criticism and uninformed fearmongering only serves the goals of Al Qaeda." Makes it sound like if you criticize the administration, you're helping Al Qaeda.

PERINO: But also remember, he didn't just write an opinion-editorial in the USA Today; he was responding to the USA Today being critical of the administration's handling of the Abdulmutallab situation. I think there's a lot of room for criticism there. I've written about it a lot with my former colleague Bill Burck on National Review Online. Ever since they Mirandized the underwear bomber after 50 minutes of questioning -- and by the administration's own admission, it was bungled. They had to do a review.

Review looked at security and intelligence failures prior to attempted attack, not the interrogation itself

Obama ordered two reviews of air security and announced immediate increased airline security measures. In a December 28 address following the incident, Obama ordered several actions to "protect the American people and to secure air travel," including a review of the watch list and airport security procedures. From his December 28 order:

Since I was first notified of this incident, I've ordered the following actions to be taken to protect the American people and to secure air travel.

First, I directed that we take immediate steps to ensure the safety of the traveling public. We made sure that all flights still in the air were secure and could land safely. We immediately enhanced screening and security procedures for all flights, domestic and international. We added federal air marshals to flights entering and leaving the United States. And we're working closely in this country, federal, state and local law enforcement, with our international partners.

Second, I've ordered two important reviews, because it's absolutely critical that we learn from this incident and take the necessary measures to prevent future acts of terrorism.

The first review involves our watch list system, which our government has had in place for many years to identify known and suspected terrorists so that we can prevent their entry into the United States. Apparently the suspect in the Christmas incident was in this system, but not on a watch list, such as the so-called no-fly list. So I have ordered a thorough review, not only of how information related to the subject was handled, but of the overall watch list system and how it can be strengthened.

The second review will examine all screening policies, technologies and procedures related to air travel. We need to determine just how the suspect was able to bring dangerous explosives aboard an aircraft and what additional steps we can take to thwart future attacks.

White House conducted security and intelligence review. The White House produced a security and intelligence review on January 7 and issued a statement along with it saying it reflected a review of the "terrorist watchlisting system" and "the need to look for ways to constantly improve and assist our CT [counterterrorism] analysts."

White House issued directive for "immediate actions" for intelligence and national security. On January 7, Obama issued a list of "immediate actions" for the "intelligence, homeland security, and law enforcement communities" to take "to enhance the security of the American people." The directive says the "actions are necessary given inherent systemic weakness and human errors revealed by the review." The directive addresses corrective actions for the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, the FBI/Terrorist Screening Center, the National Counterterrorism Center, the National Security Agency, and national security staff. Among other things, the directive orders DHS to "[a]ggressively pursue enhanced screening technology, protocols, and procedures, especially in regard to aviation and other transportation sectors, consistent with privacy rights and civil liberties; strengthen international partnerships and coordination on aviation security issues."
Who established the airline security procedures that allowed the underwear bomber to get on a plane. That's right Dana's old bosses - George and Dick - who were also in charge of national security on... what day? That's right 9-11-01.

America may Drown in a Sea of Conservative Fear Mongering and Bed Wetting

Republicans Demand Brennan Resign For Calling Out GOP Politicization Of Terrorism
Almost immediately after Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab failed to detonate a bomb on an airplane on Christmas Day, conservatives rushed to politicize the attempted terrorist attack. “People have got to start connecting the dots here and maybe this is the thing that will connect the dots for the Obama administration,” Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) said before he’d even been briefed on the incident. Karl Rove and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) criticized President Obama for issuing a statement on the failed bombing 72 hours after the event, even though President Bush waited longer to comment on “shoe-bomber” Richard Reid’s failed attempt to bring down an airliner in Dec. 2001.

The drumbeat of political criticism from conservatives since then has been unrelenting, especially focusing on the fact that Abdumuttalab was read his Miranda rights after he awoke from surgery. Recently, the Obama administration has begun pushing back at the GOP’s political onslaught. On Meet The Press this past Sunday, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, pointed out that he had kept key Congressional Republicans informed of Abdulmuttalab detainment by the FBI:

On Christmas night, I called a number of senior members of Congress. I spoke to Senators McConnell and Bond, I spoke to Representative Boehner and Hoekstra. I explained to them that he was in FBI custody, that Mr. Abdulmutallab was, in fact, talking, that he was cooperating at that point. They knew that “in FBI custody” means that there’s a process then you follow as far as Mirandizing and presenting him in front of a magistrate. None of those individuals raised any concerns with me at that point.

Brennan followed up his critique with a USA Today op-ed arguing that “too many in Washington are now misrepresenting the facts to score political points.” Brennan’s op-ed included the highly-charged assertion that “politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”

Republicans have responded to Brennan’s pushback with incredulity. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, citing former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen’s misunderstanding of the facts, called Brennan “troubling” on Fox News yesterday. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) called Brennan an “egomaniac.” Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) declared Brennan “needs to go,” and is no longer “credible.” On Fox News today, Hoekstra, who repeatedly referred to Brennan as a “White House staffer” as opposed to an intelligence “professional,” said Obama should “fire” him. Watch it:

On MSNBC today, Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie grilled Bond about whether the “Republican Party deserve[s] some blame” for terrorism becoming “too politicized.” Bond responded in denial, saying, “give me a break.” “They’re the ones who went out and called politics and they played politics,” said Bond of the White House. In an ironic twist, however, he then claimed that criticisms of the Bush administration’s terrorism policy during the past eight years had been “political attacks.” The White House said today that Bond’s call for Brennan to resign was “pathetic.”
Conservatives have been playing politics with terrorism and the now silent victims of 9-11 for ten years. Maybe they genuinely believe that al-Qaeda is composed of people who are super human and are more of a threat then cancer and car accidents - both of which have killed more Americans in the last ten years then terrorists. Conservatives are the ones that swore we needed to spend over a trillion dollars on rebuilding Iraq, but think its unconstitutional to spend less then a trillion dollars to save the American economy - an economy they had a large hand in destroying.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If Jesus Was a Republican he Would Have Kicked the Sick and Spit on the Poor

Sen. Kit Bond Wants To Privatize Medicare With Vouchers
Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO)In his interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric before the Super Bowl earlier this week, President Obama said that he was going to ask Republicans to put their health care ideas “on the table.” “What I want to do is to look at the Republican ideas that are out there,” said Obama. “How do you guys want to lower costs?”

So Kit and his co-conspirators in the rightwing party want companies like AIG and Enron to run health care for the elderly and disabled.

Quick Fact: Carlson falsely claimed Republicans were "sidelined" in health care reform debate. Have Republicans ever read that commandment about baring false witness.

A note on the Bush/Republican fiscal legacy
Right now, the OMB is projecting a debt/GDP ratio of 77 percent by 2019 — 69 percent if you net out financial assets acquired via the TARP and all that. This may be somewhat over-optimistic, but stay with it for a bit.

As I’ve been pointing out, the projected debt/GDP ratio will be high by US historical standards, but within a range that a number of advanced countries have entered without catastrophe in the past. Still, it’s not good. And I had a thought that I haven’t seen anyone else explore (apologies if someone has already done this.) Namely, what would things look like if we hadn’t had 8 years of gross fiscal irresponsibility from the Bush adminstration?

There were two big-ticket Bush policies. One was the tax cuts, which cost around $1.8 trillion in revenue; add in interest costs, and we’re presumably talking about more than $2 trillion in debt. The other was the Iraq War, which has cost at least $700 billion, and will cost more before we finally extract ourselves.

Without these gratuitous drains on the budget, it seems fair to assert that we’d be coming into this economic crisis with a federal debt around 20 percent of GDP ($2.8 trillion) smaller than we are. And that, in turn, means that we’d be looking at projected net debt in 2019 of around 50 percent of GDP, not 70.

And that would definitely not be a scary number. Net federal debt was 49 percent of GDP in 1993, at the end of the Reagan-Bush years; Bill Clinton did move to reduce that number, and succeeded, but the nation wasn’t facing imminent crisis.

The bottom line, then, is this: the irresponsibility of the Bush years has left us poorly positioned to deal with the current crisis, turning what should have been an easily financed economic rescue into a more difficult, anxiety-producing process.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Odd Superbowl Ad fails to Mention Conservatives Sold America's Debt to China

The Right-Wing, Pro-Business Advocacy Ad That Went Unnoticed During The Super Bowl
While people were focused on the fact that CBS allowed a pro-life advocacy ad by Focus on the Family to play during the Super Bowl, another one by a right-wing group slipped in unnoticed: a “Defeat the Debt” ad showing schoolchildren pledging allegiance “to America’s debt, and to the Chinese government that lends us money.” Watch it:

This ad has run on other national networks and is part of a campaign by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) that has featured full-page ads in national newspapers and a billboard in Times Square. EPI is a project of right-wing, pro-business lobbyist Rick Berman, also known as “Dr. Evil.” Berman is “one of Washington’s most notorious PR operatives,” who uses his firm, Berman and Company, to fund non-profit front groups for his clients.

Over the years, Berman has gone after Mothers Against Drunk Driving, PETA, and right-wing bogeyman ACORN, and tried to convince Americans that healthier foods, raising the minimum wage, stopping smoking, getting rid of mercury in fish, and unions are bad for them. Berman refuses to reveal his clients, although in 2007, CBS’s 60 Minutes revealed that they included Coca-Cola, Tyson Chicken, Outback Steakhouse, and Wendy’s. According to the watchdog group CREW, Berman “runs at least 22 industry-funded projects, such as the Center for Union Facts, and holds 23 “positions” within these various entities.” Watch Rachel Maddow’s November 2009 report on Berman:

The New York Times reported that EPI, “a conservative research group with close ties to business,” launched its campaign last fall and planned to spend approximately $5 million.

Until recently, CBS and other networks said they had a policy against airing advocacy ads during the Super Bowl. In the past, ads by groups such as, the United Church of Christ, and the pro-marriage equality group were rejected (even though networks have selectively decided to air other advocacy ads). This year, CBS controversially decided to accept a pro-life ad from Focus on the Family, saying that it had changed its policy and was willing to accept appropriate advocacy ads.

Berman and rabid rightwing conservatives would like the entire nation to have a conveniently short term memory, October 25, 2005
The U.S. budget deficit is financed by borrowing. More and more of that money comes from China, now the United States' second-largest lender, after Japan. China's investment in U.S. government debt has more than tripled in the past five years, from $71 billion in 2000 to $242 billion in 2005.
Palin seems to be having a weird contest with herself to see how big a hypocrite she can be, Palin Considering 2012 Run, Defends Limbaugh's Use Of 'Retard' On Fox News Sunday

New Tea Party Conservatives as Racist as Regular Conservatives

Glenn Beck breaks down the president's un-American, African name

Glenn Beck has been known to bristle at the suggestion that he might have a problem when it comes to issues of race. His incredulity is matched only by his crippling lack of self-awareness -- he seems to think that a reasoned discussion of race includes calling the first black president a "slavemaster" and a "racist" who is scheming to enact "reparations."

But I'm feeling charitable today, so I'll offer Beck a bit of advice. If you really are that upset at people constantly accusing you of being, let's say, insensitive when it comes to race, don't say things like this, as you did on the radio earlier this morning:

BECK: He chose to use his name, Barack, for a reason. To identify, not with America -- you don't take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical? Really? Searching for something to give him any kind of meaning, just as he was searching later in life for religion.

OK, let's break down the problematic parts of this, just so there isn't any room for confusion. First, the suggestion that certain names, such as the African name Barack, are un-American. Second, the idea that Obama, in embracing his African name, was doing so at the expense of his American identity, as if the two are mutually exclusive (someone relevant to this discussion once talked about the "the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too"). And third, the implication that Obama's father's Kenyan roots are linked to his "radical"-ness.

That's the best I can do for you, Glenn. I can't break it down any further. If you don't see why some people would get upset that you accused the president of adopting his African name in order to repudiate his American identity and connect with his father's radical Kenyan heritage, then I'm afraid you might be a lost cause.

Tea Party opening speaker suggests law that kept blacks be kept from voting be reinstated

Tea Party opening speaker suggests law that kept blacks be kept from voting be reinstated.The opening night speaker at the Tea Party convention suggested a return to a "literacy test" to protect America from presidents like Obama -- a segregation-era method employed by southern US states to keep blacks from voting.

In his speech Thursday to attendees, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."

Southern states used literacy tests as part of an effort to deny suffrage to African American voters prior to Johnson-era civil rights laws.

"Prior to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965, Southern (and some Western) states maintained elaborate voter registration procedures whose primary purpose was to deny the vote to those who were not white," a website for civil rights veterans explains. "In the South, this process was often called the 'literacy test.' In fact, it was much more than a simple test, it was an entire complex system devoted to denying African-Americans (and in some regions, Latinos) the right to vote."

"Because the Freedom Movement was running "Citizenship Schools" to help people learn how to fill out the forms and pass the test, Alabama changed the test 4 times in less than two years (1964-1965)," the site adds. "At the time of the Selma Voting Rights campaign there were actually 100 different tests in use across the state. In theory, each applicant was supposed to be given one at random from a big loose-leaf binder. In real life, some individual tests were easier than others and the registrar made sure that Black applicants got the hardest ones."
Story continues below...

White applicants could be approved even if they didn't pass the test.

"Your application was then reviewed by the three-member Board of Registrars — often in secret at a later date," the site continues. "They voted on whether or not you passed. It was entirely up to the judgment of the Board whether you passed or failed. If you were white and missed every single question they could still pass you if — in their sole judgment — you were 'qualified.' If you were Black and got every one correct, they could still flunk you if they considered you 'unqualified.'"

Tancredo, who is known for his sharp anti-immigrant rhetoric, also attacked what he called the United States' "cult of multiculturalism," and tore into 2008 Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

"Thank God John McCain lost the election," Tancredo told the Tea Party crowd, citing his positions on government spending and immigration.

"This is our country," he added. "Let's take it back."

Southern voting registrars could employ literacy tests arbitrarily. They included dauntingly difficult questions, aimed at keeping those they didn't want enfranchised from voting.

For example, an Alabama literacy test required would-be voters to know esoteric facts about the US political and legal system (one of the literacy tests can be read here in PDF form).

Among the questions:

"If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?"

"If a president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for consideration?"

"If the United States wishes to purchase land for an arsenal and have exclusive legislative authority over it, consent is required from [fill in the blank]."

The answers to the above questions are two, ten and the legislature, respectively.

Tancredo called Obama a "committed socialist ideologue," and referred to him by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama.

ABC News reported that the former Colorado representative's speech "received enthusiastic applause at times," but said the crowd did not fill the ballroom in which the event was held.

Correction: Tancredo represented Colorado in Congress, not California.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Republican Values are a Hoot and a Half

Republican Values are a Hoot and a Half

For example, who needs Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien for comic relief, when we've got Andre Bauer? He's the Lieutenant governor of South Carolina (a state, by the way, that really is a comer on the political comedy circuit — especially after Gov. Mark Sanford's madcap schtick last year involving his disappearance, the Appalachian Trail and an Argentine mistress.

But Sanford is leaving office, and Bauer, who is now a Republican contender for governor, is the state's new star joker. He had 'em rolling in the aisles recently when he did a wild, slapstick routine on food stamps at a town hall meeting. Andre proclaimed that much of his political thinking was shaped by his grandmother and that he had learned a valuable lesson from her.

"She told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why?" he asked, pausing for comedic effect. "Because they breed! You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce."

I tell you, Andre Bauer is an absolute scream!

But here's the real punch line: The need for food stamps has been soaring as more and more Americans are falling out of the middle class into poverty. From 2000 to 2008, 5 million more were added to the poverty rolls, and that was before the economic collapse of the last two years. In fact, check this out Andre, and laugh if you feel like it: About 6 million Americans today are living entirely on food stamps — they've lost their jobs and have no other income. That's one out of every 50 of us, and their numbers are growing rapidly. Now, isn't that a hoot?

Well, one who's not laughing is Republican member of Congress John Linder. This far-out Georgia right-winger is irked that America's food stamp program will grow to more than $60 billion this year. "This is craziness," Linder barked to a New York Times reporter.
"We're at risk of creating an entire class, a subset of people, just comfortable getting by living off the government."

Comfortable? When was the last time this pampered lawmaker experienced the "comforts" of the food stamp life? Linder himself has been "living off the government" for 18 years, but at the high end — drawing $174,000 a year in pay, plus subsidized health care, a fat pension and generous perks of office.

Hypocrisy aside, Linder is an anti-government, laissez-faire extremist who buys into Bauer's fantasies about lazy, good-for-nothing strays getting food stamps.

"You don't improve the economy by paying people to sit around and not work," he grumps, adding, "You improve the economy by lowering taxes."

Really? Perhaps the gentleman from Georgia has forgotten that he and the whole Washington insider crowd tried that scam again and again throughout the past decade, slashing all sorts of taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Since Linder is a multimillionaire, that economic "plan" undoubtedly worked out splendidly for him.

For the middle class, however, the 10 years since January 2000 are known as "the lost decade." In that period, the U.S. economy lost more jobs than it created — zero job growth. That's the first decade since the end of the Depression that our country has had less than a 20 percent rise in job creation.

Also, after the 10-year frenzy of tax-cutting, middle-class families are earning less today, in real dollars, than they did in 1999. Add in skyrocketing health care costs and the plummeting value of people's homes, and we get the harsh reality of mushrooming poverty.

So that "subset of people" on food stamps whom Linder so callously denigrates are his own spawn! The food stamp program has had to grow because the tinkle-down economy that he pushed has wrecked America's middle class.

Does knocking poor people make these guys feel better about themselves? How pathetic. Bauer and Linder are living proof that when it comes to leadership, America has too many 5-watt bulbs screwed into 150-watt sockets.

The Republican Version of Socialism

The Republican Version of Socialism

People don't want to talk about taxes. Most of us are afraid that a tax increase will impact ALL of us. The media shies away from such a controversial topic. Certainly the rich don't want to talk about it. And even lower-income people seem to have this sense that they will be wealthy someday, and government shouldn't interfere with their plans.

So on we go with the cutbacks in train and bus service, and the loss of teachers, the cancellation of after-school programs in low-income areas, reductions in library hours and park services. Plus, of course, increases in state income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, gas taxes, cigarette taxes, utility costs, license fees, parking meter rates.

The public rarely hears about one of the major causes of this assault on the middle class.

From 1980 to 2006 the richest 1% of America TRIPLED their after-tax percentage of our nation's total income, while the bottom 90% have seen their share drop over 20%.

That's a TRILLION dollars a year, one-seventh of America's total income, that went to the richest 1% while 90% of us went backwards.

But, many people ask, don't the very rich pay most of the taxes? Just federal income tax. And they pay less than 23% of their incomes in federal income tax. If state and local taxes, social security tax, and excise taxes are included, the lowest-earning half of America pays 24% of their incomes in taxes.

But isn't taxing the rich a form of socialism? Since 1980, if the average working family had received compensation based on its relative contribution to America's prosperity, it would be making an average of $45,000 a year instead of $35,000. Through 30 years of deregulation and financial maneuvering, the richest 1% have taken $10,000 a year from every American family. That's socialism in reverse.

But doesn't "income mobility" explain and mitigate the apparent inequities? In his book, "Intellectuals and Society" (Basic Books, 2009), Thomas Sowell claims that statements about inequality are "confusing statistical categories with flesh-and-blood human beings."

Sowell relies heavily on a 2007 U.S. Treasury Department report about income mobility that states "Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996 – the top 1/100 of 1 percent – only 25 percent remained in this group in 2005." But he ignores the fact that nearly 9 out of 10 of those in the top 1% remained in the top quintile of earners over those ten years. They may have dropped out of the most elite 1% group, but they remained close. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

But that isn't even the main point. More significantly, our economy allows a tiny percentage of us to take an inordinate amount of money from society, at an increasing rate. Some people may have dropped out of this elite group, but those who have moved in are making even more! The result is a system in which one man (hedge fund manager John Paulson in 2007) can make more money than the total of the salaries of every police officer, firefighter, and public school teacher in Chicago, while another man stands hungry in the cold. And any attempt to fix the system is called socialism.

So what's the solution? Several states have implemented more progressive tax systems. And they have apparently not caused wealthy people to transfer their fortunes out-of-state. A 2008 study by Princeton University determined that "the 'half-millionaire tax,' at least in New Jersey, appears to be an effective and efficient revenue-generation mechanism, having little impact on migration patterns among half-millionaire households." [1] Similarly, little adverse effect of higher taxes was found in Maryland or Oregon. [2] A study by the California Budget Project revealed that the number of high-income households actually grew during periods of higher income tax rates for top earners. [3] Oregon recently passed Measures 66 and 67, which impose modest income tax increases on the wealthiest residents and raise the corporate minimum tax for the first time in 80 years.

President Obama is right to seek a progressive federal tax structure in which the very rich will return some of the money derived from years of deregulation and shrewd financial strategies. We need Congress and the media to support this way of thinking.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Conservative Legacy - How Republicans used Reckless Spending to Ruin the Economy for a Generation

The Conservative Legacy - How Republicans used Reckless Spending to Ruin the Economy for a Generation

Considering all the claims about an “Obama spending spree” it is important to begin by looking at exactly how much money the government spent in FY09. It’s true that spending in 2009 was much higher than it was the previous fiscal year, by about $602 billion, excluding payments on the national debt (which actually declined in 2009 because of low interest rates). But it turns out that a huge chunk of that increase actually happened before President Obama took office. In fact, fully 41 percent, or $245 billion, came in the form of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the rescues of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, actions taken in the fall of 2008 under President George W. Bush.

In other words, before President Obama had even taken office, federal spending was already up by about 9 percent over fiscal year 2008 levels. So the other $350 billion must be that spending spree we’ve been hearing so much about, right? Not exactly.

Another 18 percent of the spending increase came not from President Obama’s pen, but from growth in mandatory programs set in place many years prior to his presidency. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, for example, cost the government $110 billion more in 2009 than they did in 2008. These cost increases weren’t the result of policy changes made by President Obama—they stem from longstanding demographic trends and the ever-increasing costs of health care.

Tampergate: O’Keefe denial depends on same reporter it damns. How Brietbart and Friends Are Behaving Like Pravda and Trying to Game the Narrative

Conservative Republican Insider Frank Luntz Pens Memo To Kill Financial Regulatory Reform