Friday, April 30, 2010

Republicans Excel at Putting Words and Thoughts Into Other People's Heads. Remember That in November

Fox & Friends distorted Obama's words to claim he's against the "American dream"

Doocy: Obama "apparently has a problem with the great American dream" and "with money." In two teases, co-host Steve Doocy aired a clip of Obama saying at an April 28 rally in Quincy, Illinois: "We're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." Doocy commented that Obama "apparently has a problem with the great American dream" and "with money." He added: "What's that point? Perhaps we should just spread the wealth around a little bit?"
Poor Steve has a mental disorder which prevents him from understanding words, sentences and history. He yarns for the return of Bush-Tea Party Conservative economic policies that took money from the middle-class and spread it to the wealthy. In Fox and Conservative world - wealth ina and of itself is a virtue. For those that do not suffer from Steve Doocy's mental problems this is what President Obama actually said,

Obama: [P]art of the American way is you can just keep on making" money "if you're providing a good product" or service. In the portion of Obama's speech Fox & Friends did not air, immediately after he said: "I want to be clear, we're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money," Obama added: "But part of the American way is you can just keep on making it if you're providing a good product or you're providing a good service. We don't want people to stop fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow the economy."

Obama: "I believe in the power of the free market," and financial "institutions that operated irresponsibly ... threaten the whole economy." Obama went on to say: "I believe in the power of the free market. And I believe in a strong financial system. ... So there's nothing wrong with a financial system that helps the economy expand. And there are a lot of good people in the financial industry who are doing things the right way. ... But some of these institutions that operated irresponsibly, they're not just threatening themselves -- they threaten the whole economy. And they threaten your dreams, your prospects, everything that you worked so hard to build."
Conservatives have yet to find an historical example of a society that survived for very long by rewarding the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the workers that make wealth possible.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vote for Change Vote Republican

Lawmakers blast RNC for continuing to send deceptive ‘Census’ mailers, despite new law.
An RNC mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker bears the words “Census Document” and, in all caps, “DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT,” on the outside of the envelope. In smaller letters, it says: “This is not a U.S. government document.” The new law requires, among other things, that such mailers state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope — something the RNC’s missive doesn’t appear to do. Inside, a letter from RNC chair Michael Steele, dated April 12, asks recipients to fill out a questionnaire about their political views, and solicits donations of as much as $500 or more.
I can hardly wait for 2010 and 2012 to cast my vote to bring back good old crony right-wing socialism and party like its 2006.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Challenges Spineless Republicans

‘What are you so afraid of?’ Reid taunts GOP

Reid denounced the "absurd, stunning, unheard of" Republican resistance to starting debate on the measure until a middle-ground version has been worked out and accused the minority of siding with Wall Street over US families.

"Senate Republicans are claiming we're moving too fast," he said. "The American people undeniably demand we protect them from Wall Street, which has run wild."

Reid claimed that Republicans were too afraid to discuss the issue out in the open.

President Kennedy once said, 'Let us not be afraid of debate or discussion – let us encourage it.' I ask my Republican colleagues, What are you so afraid of?

As I have said before, the right response to disagreement is not dismissal; it is discussion.

For far too long there has been too much secrecy and too little transparency on Wall Street. The American people have paid the price with their jobs and their life savings, and they demand we fix what’s broken.

As long as Republicans insist on secrecy and resist transparency here in the Senate – and if they don’t let us address the problems we were sent here to solve – we will never fully recover.

[ ]..."I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin," Obama said in a statement.

Republicans "may believe that this obstruction is a good political strategy, and others may see delay as an opportunity to take this debate behind closed doors, where financial industry lobbyists can water down reform or kill it altogether," said Obama.
Republicans and their tea party friends talk populist reform for over a year and when it came time for them to put their votes where their fake populism was , Republicans/tea baggers sided with special interests.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Republicans are the party of the highest ethics - Vote Republican or Tea Party 2010

Abramoff: The House That Jack Built - A comprehensive look at the potential scope of the “biggest scandal in Congress in over a century“: Jack Abramoff *

List of Republicans involved in the Culture of Corruption - Many of tham still in office and running for re-election in 2010 or 2012.

Sen. Conrad Burns +
Rep. Tom DeLay +
Rep. Bob Ney *
Adam Kidan *
Neil Volz

Tigua Casino

Sen. John Cornyn
Rep. Bob Ney * +
Rep. Don Young
Ralph Reed
Michael Scanlon *
Neil Volz
Mariana Islands

Sen. Conrad Burns +
Rep. Tom DeLay +
Rep. John Doolittle
Rep. Don Young
President Bush +

Saginaw Funding

Sen. Conrad Burns +
Sen. Byron Dorgan +
Rep. J.D. Hayworth +

Grover Norquist
Ralph Reed

Capital Athletic Foundation

Julie Doolittle *
Coushatta Campaign

Rep. Roy Blunt +
Rep. Eric Cantor +
Sen. Thad Cochran +
Rep. Tom DeLay +
Rep. John Doolittle
Sen. John Ensign
Sen. Charles Grassley
Rep. J. Dennis Hastert +
Rep. Ernie Istook +
Sen. Trent Lott
Sen. Harry Reid
Rep. Pete Sessions
Rep. David Vitter +
Rep. Roger Wicker
Grover Norquist


Sen. Conrad Burns +
Rep. Tom DeLay +
Rep. John Doolittle
Rep. Bob Ney * +
Grover Norquist
Tony Rudy
Neil Volz
J. Steven Griles
Susan Ralston

Rep. Bob Ney * +
Rep. Richard Pombo +
Rep. David Vitter +
Rep. Don Young
Doug Bandow
Italia Federici
Timothy Flanigan
J. Steven Griles
Gale A. Norton
Susan Ralston


Rep. Tom DeLay +
Rep. John Doolittle
Rep. Tom Feeney +
Rep. Bob Ney *
Ed Buckham
Susan Hirschmann
Ralph Reed
David Safavian

Rep. Richard Pombo +


Rep. Tom DeLay +
Rep. John Doolittle
Sen. Tom Harkin +
Rep. J.D. Hayworth +
Rep. Bob Ney * +
Rep. Don Young

* denotes individuals who have been subponaed, indicted, or found guilty in the Abramoff investigation.

+ denotes individuals who have returned donations from Abramoff, his clients, or his partners.

Methodology: Members of Congress were included if they received over $10,000 from Abramoff, his clients or his partners and have allegedly done favors for Abramoff, his clients or his partners. Members who were acting on behalf of a constituent in their state were excluded, even if those constituents were Abramoff clients. Certain members who received less than $10,000 in Abramoff were included because of extensive allegations of favors done for Abramoff.
Jack Abramoff

Former Lobbyist

INVESTIGATION — ABRAMOFF PLEADED GUILTY TO THREE FEDERAL FELONY COUNTS: Abramoff pleaded guilty in federal court on Jan. 3, 2006, “to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion.” [Bloomberg, 1/3/06]

INVESTIGATION — ABRAMOFF PLEADED GUILTY TO TWO MORE FELONY COUNTS: Abramoff “pleaded guilty in federal court…to conspiracy and wire fraud stemming from his 2000 purchase of a gambling boat fleet [SunCruz Casinos].” [Associated Press, 1/4/06]

INVESTIGATION — ABRAMOFF INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, AND INTERIOR DEPARTMENT: “The FBI, the Justice Department’s public integrity section and the Interior Department inspector general are investigating Abramoff’s lobbying practices, focusing on tribal clients that paid him and a public relations associate $82 million between 2001 and 2003. Among the areas investigators are examining, former Abramoff associates and tribal representatives said, are whether legislative favors were granted in Congress in exchange for tribal campaign contributions, and whether Abramoff opened doors on Capitol Hill by wooing congressional aides with the promise of jobs, as well as tickets to sporting events, trips, meals and other gifts.” [Washington Post, 9/28/05]

CONTRIBUTIONS — ABRAMOFF GAVE OVER $127,000 TO REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES AND COMMITTEES: “Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats. ” [Bloomberg, 12/21/05]

CONTRIBUTIONS — 210 LAWMAKERS RECEIVED CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ABRAMOFF, HIS PARTNERS, AND HIS CLIENTS: “According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, 210 current members of Congress have received contributions from Abramoff, his Indian tribe clients or SunCruz Casinos since 1999.” [LA Times, 12/22/05]

GIMME-FIVE — SCANLON AND ABRAMOFF’S ‘GIMME-FIVE’ SCHEME: In a scheme the duo termed “gimme-five,” Abramoff advised tribes in Mississippi, Louisiana and Michigan to hire Scanlon’s company, Capital Campaign Strategies LLC, for grass-roots public relations work while hiding the fact that Abramoff would receive half the profits. The purpose of the scheme, the prosecutors allege, was to “enrich themselves by obtaining substantial funds from their clients through fraud and concealment and through obtaining benefits for their clients through corrupt means. Prosecutors detailed the alleged fraud perpetrated on four tribes, contending that Scanlon billed the four tribes $53 million and then kicked back $19 million to Abramoff.” [Washington Post, 11/19/05]

CRONYISM — ABRAMOFF TRADED JOBS FOR FAVORS: Federal prosecutors in the Abramoff investigation “are examining whether he brokered lucrative jobs for Congressional aides at powerful lobbying firms in exchange for legislative favors. … Prosecutors are trying to establish that ‘it’s not just a ticket to a ballgame, it’s major jobs’ that exchanged hands, the participant in the case said. Also under examination are payments to lobbyists and lawmakers’ wives.” [New York Times, 12/2/05]

COUSHATTA CAMPAIGN — DELAY ORGANIZED HASTERT, BLUNT, AND CANTOR TO BACK ABRAMOFF EFFORT: One of Abramoff’s tribal clients, the Coushattas, “opposed a plan by the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians to open a casino at a non-reservation site, expected at the time to be outside Shreveport, La., not far from a casino owned by the Coushattas.” The Coushattas wanted to protect their income — “about $300 million a year.” Abramoff lobbied DeLay’s office to organize a June 10, 2003, letter to Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton endorsing a view of gambling law benefiting the Coushattas. The letter was eventually co-signed by DeLay, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Deputy Whip Eric I. Cantor (R-VA), a “group of people, who do not normally weigh in on Indian issues.” Cantor received “roughly $4,500 [from Abramoff and his clients] in the period around which the letter was sent.” [Washington Post, 9/28/04; AP, 11/17/05]

SUNCRUZ — ABRAMOFF AND KIDAN INDICTED: In 2001, Abramoff and his partner, Adam Kidan, were embroiled in “acrimonious efforts” to buy SunCruz Casinos from Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis. “Boulis, millionaire founder of the Miami Subs sandwich chain, sold SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan in September 2000.” To help along the sale, Abramoff had Ney criticize Boulis in statements placed in the March 30, 2000, Congressional Record, putting pressure on Boulis to sell. (Ney also praised Kidan as Suncruz’s new owner on the floor when the sale went through.) “Abramoff and Kidan were indicted [in August 2005] on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with a $60 million loan they obtained to purchase the casino company.” Boulis was killed on a Fort Lauderdale street on Feb. 6, 2001. Two of the three men charged had been hired as consultants by Kidan. [Washington Post, 12/26/04; Washington Post, 9/28/05]

SAGINAW FUNDING — BURNS BENT RULES TO HELP ABRAMOFF CLIENT: Abramoff lobbied Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), who oversaw the budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to help award “a $3 million government award for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan to build a school.” The federal funds were intended for “impoverished Indian tribal schools” and in 2003, the Interior Department ruled the Saginaw tribe too rich to participate. The Saginaws received the funding in 2004 when “Burns pressed for the appropriation over the objections of Interior officials.” Abramoff persuaded the Saginaws to donate $32,000 to Burns between 2001-2003. [Bloomberg, 11/21/05]; Washington Post, 3/1/05]

Bring Back Justice Vote Conservative 2010

Under Republicans, Justice Department took partisan turn

The U.S. Justice Department is easily the most powerful law enforcement agency in the country. If used for the wrong purposes, its ability to commit the vast resources of the federal government against an individual or group can do great damage to lives and careers.

For that reason, laws and rules have been adopted to prevent the hijacking of the Justice Department to advance a partisan or ideological cause. Those laws exist to protect the principle that the law must be applied equally to all Americans, regardless of party, and that government should never be used as a weapon against those who dare to oppose the party in power.

But that's exactly what the Bush administration has done.

"It's a tragedy because, for many years, the only agency that really had a standing as the untouchable agency from partisan politics was the Justice Department," says David Iglesias, a former U.S. attorney and stalwart Republican fired because he refused to use his authority for partisan purposes. "And unfortunately, what's happened over the past couple of years has tarred it with a very, very ugly brush. ... It's a serious problem. The American people have the right to believe that 'prosecutive' decisions are made on the basis of evidence alone. And right now, that's called into question."

The campaign to turn the Justice Department into an enforcement arm of the Republican Party extended even to its hiring of legal interns. By federal law and by longtime tradition, legal internships at the Justice Department had been awarded strictly on the basis of merit. But in the Bush administration, the program was illegally hijacked.

Well-qualified students deemed to have some sort of hidden liberal bent were systematically rejected; less qualified students with poorer academic records but a record of conservative activism were hired instead. It was affirmative action for the dumb but partisan.

The right-wing response to such charges will be that everyone does it. No, everyone does not do it. Before the Bush administration, nobody did it. Before the Bush administration, politicians of both parties had too much respect for the law and the power of the agency to stoop to such intellectual corruption. Administrations would come and go, both Republican and Democratic, and none of them attempted anything like what the Bush administration tried to do at the Justice Department.

According to a new report by the Justice Department's inspector general -- a Republican, by the way -- the Bush approach "constituted misconduct and also violated the department's policies and civil service law that prohibit discrimination in hiring based on political or ideological affiliations."

In other words, those appointed to enforce the law instead knowingly violated it to advance partisan interests.

The internship program is a relatively minor scandal, but it says a lot about the mind-set inside the Bush Justice Department. Other investigations are under way into far more serious allegations made by Iglesias and others.

For example, did Bush officials use the department's immense prosecutorial power to attack their enemies? Did they try to influence elections through selective or timely prosecutions? Were U.S. attorneys -- good Republicans all -- removed because they clung to the notion that the law and those who enforce it should be nonpartisan?

Yes, they probably were.

"It's reprehensible. It's unethical. It's unlawful. It very well may be criminal," Iglesias said in a PBS interview. "I know it's a marked departure from prior administrations, both Republican and Democrat, who understood that U.S. attorneys, as chief federal law enforcement officials, have to stay out of politics."

The days of the Bush administration grow few in number, and as they do, tongues will start flapping a little more freely. I expect we'll start hearing stories of even more atrocious abuses of power by the Bush administration. But what we already know is enough to label it the worst administration in our nation's history.
Using a department of the government meant enforce the laws of the land without prejudice for a partisan political agenda? Sounds a little tyrannical doesn't it, almost like something communist dictator Stalin might do. By all means let's bring back that good old time conservative tyranny in 2010.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fox News - The Lie Machine for Right wing Nuts

Busy repeating GOP talking points on Fannie/Freddie, Fox News forgets to add the facts
On both "opinion" and "straight news" programs, Fox News has channeled the GOP talking points that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis and are "getting a free pass" because they are not overhauled by Democrats' financial regulatory reform legislation. But Fox repeatedly ignored that the Obama administration has initiated a separate effort to reform the housing finance system, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and have warned against moving too quickly on this front given the fragility of the housing market. Moreover, economists reject the notion that Fannie and Freddie were the root cause of the financial crisis.
Fox also promotes right-wing fundamentalism - the philosophy of the Republican Taliban. One has to wonder if they skip over the part where it says thou shall not bare false witness or have they just crossed that part out with a magic marker. It's no surprise that Fox and conservatives think telling the most blatant lies is OK in the name of the cause - authoritarian zealots throughout history have done the same thing.

Once in a while a Republican will forget his oath of the National Kool-aid Drinking Conservative's Club and let lose with a moment of truth - For Republican Wordsmiths, Opposites Attract

In a rare moment of Republican candor, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker debunked the talking point at the center of the GOP's campaign to protect predatory Wall Street bankers. Bucking his party's leadership, Corker defended reform provisions charging banks to create a resolution fund for winding down failing institutions, calling it "anything but a bailout." In so doing, Corker exposed one of the GOP's famously tried and untrue tactics for peddling wildly unpopular Republican policies to the American people.
Bob will run for re-election based on that one instance in which he was honest.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tea Party Plans To Blame Their Abhorrent Behavior on Liberal "Infiltrators"

The Big Lie: Tea Party Rebranding and Liberal "Infiltrators"

While they can be disparaged as being narrow minded ideologues possessed of an authoritarian personality, Conservatives in the U.S.--and the extreme Right wing that has now become the center of the GOP--have long been masters of using emotional and moral appeals to motivate their public. While the Democrats are hamstrung by an issues based approach to politics, Conservatives have mastered the art of creating an alternate world of political facts and reason (enabled by the Right wing media echo chamber) where the reality based community need not tread.

This week the note being struck is that liberal infiltrators (in the guise of "agent provocateurs") are targeting the Tea Parties in order to smear and discredit them. Without any factual substantiation (and ignoring the racist, bigoted, and violent rhetoric that is common at the Tea Party gatherings) the Right has succeeded in reframing the narrative which surrounds the tea baggers. Now, freed from any responsibility for their own actions, the Tea Parties can point to some imagined villain as being responsible for all things disruptive and violent at their protests.

This is a brilliant move because it frees the tea baggers from any measure of responsibility for their deeds. Consider the simple genius at work here: if someone has a racist sign he/she is an infiltrator; if someone spits on a black congressman "they aren't really one of us" (or alternatively John Lewis was not spat upon because there is no "proof" save for eye witness accounts); if someone incites violence "he isn't a tea bagger, it must be a crazy progressive." Not surprisingly, rather than expose this quackery, most in the media are repeating these narratives without critical intervention or comment.

My claim is not that provocation by liberal instigators is an impossibility. No, the rebuttal should be "so what?" With all of the evidence of how central white racial animus and hostility are to the Tea Party movement, what else could the infiltrators possibly do? What other bad behavior--short of bombings, shootings, and other wanton acts of violence--could they possibly provoke the tea baggers into committing?

An appeal to the liberals as infiltrators strategy is also doubly effective because it inverts the political landscape by making the Tea Parties into victims of Jim Crow 2.0 and Barack Obama's America--those liberals whom despise "the patriots" and the good white folk who only want to exercise their first amendment rights against an "oppressive" and "tyrannical" regime that practices "reverse discrimination" and "pays too much attention" to black people's needs.
Use prov active tactics to make it look as though they were the ones being attacked - conservatives would never do that right? To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians And Shoot At Them

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wall Street Robber Barons Love Republicans So Please for Goodness Sake Vote Conservative

Will the Republicans Filibuster Bill to Hold Wall Street Banks by Robert Creamer

The big question in Washington this week is whether the Republican leadership will be stupid enough to filibuster the Senate bill to hold big Wall Street banks accountable.

There are very few things the Republicans could do that would help the Democrats more in their quest to maintain large majorities in the House and Senate. Please Lord...let the Republicans be incompetent enough to filibuster this bill.

When it comes to this issue, Democrats occupy all of the political high ground. Normal Americans -- including much of the Republican rank and file -- detest the big Wall Street banks, since their recklessness caused the collapse of the economy and cost eight million Americans their jobs.

Why then would the Republicans choose to conduct a defining political battle on this political ground? If Republican leader Mitch McConnell leads his troops into battle in this political valley -- surrounded by Democrats on the political hills above -- he will be remembered as the Republican version of General George Custer. In the 1960's there was a popular song called: "Please General Custer, I don't want to go". I would bet there will be more than a few Republican Senators singing that song if McConnell persists in his threat to filibuster a bill to hold the big Wall Street banks accountable.

Frankly, I'm betting that some of McConnell's forces in the Senate will refused to be led onto that political killing field and will end up voting with the Democrats. The only question is whether that will happen early in the game, or after weeks of press focus on the Republican defense of Wall Street.

Right now many Americans still do not fully appreciate the degree to which the Republican leadership is -- and has always been -- a tool of Wall Street. A filibuster aimed at stopping the bill to hold the big Wall Street banks accountable would sear that fact into their minds.

For most of the post-Abraham Lincoln period (with the exception of the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt) the Republican Party has been run by and for big industrialists and the barons of Wall Street.

For the last thirty years the Party's dominant pro-Wall Street wing has teamed up with a more populist rank and file that focused mainly on social issues like abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, and the rights of gun owners. Its modern incarnation is the Tea Party Movement.

As long as the interests of each wing of the Republican coalition did not directly and obviously conflict with the other, the two factions could live in relative harmony under the Republican tent. But a year and a half ago, something unfortunate happened for the future of this marriage: the recklessness and greed of the gang on Wall Street caused the collapse of the World economy and cost eight million Americans their jobs -- including the jobs of many of the Republican's own rank and file.

The subsequent Wall Street bailout that, given the lack of Federal regulation, was probably necessary to prevent the economy from sliding into another Great Depression -- did not please the Republican rank and file, or frankly any other ordinary American. Less pleasing yet were the outrageous bonuses that top Wall Street CEO's and traders pocketed after the generosity of the American taxpayer had saved their companies from the scrap heap. Politically, these bonuses were stupid things to do... but I guess they just couldn't help themselves from getting theirs while the getting was good.

In response, the new Obama Administration proposed legislation to hold the big Wall Street banks accountable, protect the consumers of financial products like mortgages and credit cards from deception and abuse, and make sure that Wall Street does its business in the light of day, through regulated exchanges, instead of the shadows of back rooms.

Most importantly, the legislation is intended to make sure that the CEO's and traders from big Wall Street banks are required to take responsibility for their actions so that their recklessness can never again cost Americans their jobs. The legislation would positively prevent any future taxpayer bailout for the big Wall Street banks by creating an orderly means of dissolving big financial institutions that get into trouble. The new law would require that if a big Wall Street bank fails, the Big Bank shareholders would be wiped out -- and depositors and the economy would be protected, using money paid in by the big banks themselves instead of the taxpayers.

Sounds reasonable, yes? Not if you're Mitch McConnell and the Republican leadership. They went off to New York and got their marching orders (and campaign checks) from Wall Street. Their instructions: delay, weaken and stop this bill.

So, McConnell had the audacity to go to the Senate floor last week and claim that the bill does just the opposite of what it actually does. He argued it was a "bank bailout bill." Why would he make the argument that the bill does its opposite? Because Republican Pollster Frank Luntz found out that when you tell the truth about the bill, pretty much everyone -- including the Republican base -- supports it. In other words, the only way to attack it is to lie.

But this smoke screen of an argument simply won't hold up if the Republicans actually try to block this legislation through a filibuster. As Abraham Lincoln famously said: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." That's especially true if this turns into the major -- spotlighted, regularly repeated -- news item it will become if they filibuster the bill.

Its one thing for Republicans to fabricate fantasies about "death panels." That builds upon the widespread fear among Republicans and some independent voters that Democrats want government that "overreaches" and interferes with their lives.

But it's quite another for them to try to convince Americans that Republicans are standing up against "bank bailouts" when they have always represented the interests of the big Wall Street banks -- and many Americans know it. That simply won't sell. And it really won't sell if Americans watch a protracted battle by Republicans to obstruct passage of a bill designed specifically to hold the big Wall Street banks accountable.
While lack of SEC oversight was not the only reason for the Great Recession that are part of the Republican legacy from 2000 to 2008 - if conservatives had made the SEC do its job rather than tell them to check with the Whitehouse before they started investigating shady business practices it might have made the Recession half as bad. But no, Republicans in their anti-american anti-regulation zealotry thought it was better to let Wall St run itself like a backroom gambling hall run by thugs.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Wholesome Goodness of a Conservative Center-Right Nation

O'Reilly's whopper: "Nobody" on Fox said failing to buy health insurance could result in jail time. Poor Bill suffers from a mental disorder - common to most conservatives - that prevents him from having any integrity.

Just Call Tea Baggers the Gullible Angry Old Conservatives They Are - They're white, they're old, they collect Medicare and they're pissed off. Mostly they're pissed off the President is not pure white and he passed some kind of legislation that prevents insurance companies from canceling the insurance of sick people. Yes many of us thought that was what health insurance was for - including President Obama and Senate Majority Leader harry Reid (D-NV), but health insurance companies and tea bagging conservatives think health insurance policies are expressly to pay for their mansions, yachts and country club dues. No wonder the tea baggers hate Barack and Harry.

Health insurers cooking books to game reforms
Insurance companies couldn't defeat reform legislation, so now they're re-working their books to avoid its impacts.

"Some of the largest U.S. health insurers are changing their accounting practices to book administration costs as medical costs in an attempt to circumvent new industry reforms, according to a U.S. Senate panel's report released on Thursday," Reuters reports.

The move appears to be an attempt to avoid the law's stricter standards for medical-loss ratio, implemented as a way of cutting waste. The law requires 80 to 85 percent of every premium dollar, depending on the plan, to be spent on medical costs.

By logging administrative expenses as medical, insurers can retain more of their income as profits.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee noted that WellPoint, Inc., one of the largest insurance companies, "has already 'reclassified' more than half a billion dollars of administrative expenses as medical expenses."
Story continues below...

WellPoint did not deny or affirm the charge when Reuters inquired, and several other insurers declined to comment.

After the law passed, some insurance companies initially considered exploiting a loophole that allowed them to continue denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions until 2014, but eventually buckled under pressure from the White House and agreed not to block efforts to bridge the gap.

Although the stronger regulations stand to cut into insurer profits in an effort to protect consumers from dodgy practices and denial of care, the industry stands to gain in a different way.

The legislation will provide private insurance companies with over 30 million new customers after the subsidies and mandates are implemented in four years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
President Obama, Senator Harry Reid(D-NV) and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) deliver 30 million new customer to the insurance industry and the conservatives/tea baggers call them socialist. So conservative-tea nuts are illiterate liars determined to deny hard working Americans better access to health care.

Please Vote Republican in 2010. A Reminder of the Glorious Record of Conservatism

The Republican shipwreck - from 2008

Then the luxury liner hit an iceberg known as reality. The biggest damage was done by the Wall Street crisis, which happened just in time to tilt a close race toward Obama. But the economic meltdown was only one of the disasters for which the GOP is largely responsible. The war that was going to establish American hegemony forever turned out to be one of the worst foreign-policy blunders in our nation's history. The GOP's free-market idolatry led to the gravest financial crisis since the Depression. Its ideological insistence on cutting taxes for the richest Americans ran up a record deficit. Its embrace of torture and denial of due process assaulted the Constitution and eroded America's moral standing. Its doctrine of the "unitary executive" concentrated unprecedented power in the hands of the executive branch. Its anti-scientific denial of global warming endangered the entire planet.

It's a historic shipwreck, and the American people are diving off the foundering GOP hulk in droves.

In desperation, McCain has tried to blame everything on the ship's captain. Last week, he launched a bitter attack on Bush. In an interview with the Washington Times, he accused Bush of running up a ruinous debt, failing to fund his vast Medicare expansion, abusing his executive powers, failing to regulate the financial sector, ignoring global warming and mismanaging the war in Iraq. "We just let things get completely out of hand," he lamented.

But the problem isn't Bush, it's American conservatism itself -- or at least the debased, intellectually bankrupt and utterly failed thing that American conservatism has become. For McCain to truly renounce Bush, he'd have to renounce the tax-cut ideologues who have bankrupted the country. He'd have to renounce the neoconservatives who led us into a catastrophic war. He'd have to renounce the culture-war attack dogs like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin who have coarsened conservatism's soul.

....Some conservatives have tried to argue that Bush betrayed true conservatism by running up a ruinous deficit and expanding entitlement programs like Medicare. They compare him unfavorably to Ronald Reagan, modern conservatism's patron saint. But this revisionism gets the historical record wrong. The truth is that Saint Reagan expanded entitlements, grew the federal government -- including a $165 billion bailout of Social Security -- and raised taxes. The right-wing myth of Reagan as an anti-government, anti-tax purist is just that: a myth. The same is true for his anti-Communism. Reagan talked a tough game, calling the USSR an "evil empire" and rattling his saber, but usually behaved pragmatically. When his ill-considered intervention in Lebanon failed, he wisely pulled U.S. troops out. In short, Reagan's ideology and his practice were often at odds.

The dirty little secret of modern conservativism is that Bush is more like "Reagan" -- the mythical Reagan, that is -- than Reagan himself ever was. Bush actually did what Reagan just said he was going to: He cut taxes for the wealthy, handed over the keys to the economy to corporate interests and deregulated everything in sight. His most glaring and destructive imitation of the mythical Reagan was his catastrophic decision to invade Iraq. Fatally, Bush really believed his own Churchillian rhetoric. He decided the fight against Islamist terrorism was an epochal showdown of good vs. evil -- and unlike Reagan, he proceeded to act militarily on this grandiose belief. (Yes, Reagan illegally tried to overthrow the Nicaraguan regime, but the Iran/Contra scandal that tainted his legacy wouldn't even make the Top Ten list of Bush's misdeeds.)

This is why, to this day, the Republican Party and the mainstream right wing has never repudiated Bush. (To their credit, "Paleoconservatives" like Pat Buchanan and right-libertarians like Ron Paul and Antiwar's Justin Raimondo broke with Bush on Iraq, but they are marginal figures on the right.) How can conservatives repudiate someone who put into practice all of their most cherished ideas? To criticize Bush on substantive grounds, they'd have to explain not only why his policies violated conservative orthodoxy, but why they never once made that argument for the last eight years. They can't do either, which is why they are forced to take the evasive, intellectually dishonest line of blaming Bush's failures on his arrogance and incompetence. Of course Bush was arrogant and incompetent, but those shortcomings don't explain his failed presidency. He failed because he acted on the extreme right-wing ideas that Reagan only paid lip service to.

The right wing is running as far away as it can get from Bush, but it still shares his beliefs. That's why it cannot and will not muster any real arguments against his policies.

This explains both McCain's impotent campaign and the failure of the right-wing brain trust to understand the disaster that has befallen the GOP. With very few exceptions -- most notably David Brooks, who on Sunday called for the GOP to reinvent itself as a "progressive conservative" party in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton and Teddy Roosevelt -- the right-wing intelligentsia is still reciting its worn-out ideological mantras, claiming that an Obama victory would mean the death of "freedom," the triumph of socialistic "big government" and abject surrender to our enemies.

For example, in a Weekly Standard column titled "McCain versus the juggernaut," neoconservative pundit William Kristol warned that an "Obama-Biden administration -- working with a Democratic Congress -- would mean a more debilitating nanny state at home and a weaker nation facing our enemies abroad." It takes a deep obliviousness to reality for an ardent Bush supporter to be sounding the alarm about the "nanny state" at the same time that his beloved president and party are solicitously spoon-feeding their wailing Wall Street brat out of a $700 billion jar of Gerber's. As for Kristol's claim that Obama would be "weaker" in facing our enemies abroad, if the great "strength" shown by Bush is the alternative, "weakness" looks good. Bush's "strength" led him to wage an unnecessary and disastrous war that has empowered Islamist terrorists and made America much less safe. That's why al-Qaida supports McCain: A continuation of Bush's policies is its best recruiting tool.

Then there's Peggy Noonan, who writes herself into a typical cloud of lyrical nonsense in a Wall Street Journal column. Striving to hit a Whitmanesque note in praise of the 52 million Americans who say they support McCain, she writes, "They are the beating heart of conservatism, and to watch most television is to forget they exist, for they are not shown much, except at rallies. But they are there, and this is a center-right nation, and many of them have been pushing hard against the age for 40 years now, and more. For some time they have sensed that something large and stable is being swept away, maybe has been swept away, and yet you still have to fight for it. They will not give up without a fight, and they will make their way to the polls."

The "age" that our allegedly "center-right nation" has been "pushing hard against" is relativist, secular, progressive, scientific. And the "something large and stable" that's being swept away is tradition, patriotism, morality, family values, community, God. Noonan believes that conservative Americans have been waging a heroic battle for these Republican-associated virtues for decades. But she never quite reconciles the fact that the last 40-plus years have been dominated by Republican presidents and policies. Apparently "the age," like a Spenglerian villain, works its evil, values-corroding magic independently of whatever party is actually in power. For Noonan, of course, it has to -- because if it didn't, then Republicans would be just as much or more to blame for the corrosion of tradition and morality as Democrats.

And Kristol and Noonan are the restrained face of the conservative reaction. More typical of the Limbaugh-inflected (or infected) movement as a whole is the apocalyptic attitude of right-wing columnist Mark Steyn, who thundered that an Obama victory "would be a 'point of no return,' the most explicit repudiation of the animating principles of America."

The ludicrous hyperbole of such Jeremiads is self-refuting. Americans are desperate to fix their economy, end a ruinous, endless war and restore a sense of common purpose to civic life. As they face these challenging real-world goals, the abstract buzzwords trotted out by the right ring hollow.

The emptiness of these arguments reveals that American conservatism no longer has any purpose except perpetuating its own power and concentrating as much wealth as possible in the hands of the already wealthy. Its internal contradictions can no longer be glossed over. It poses as the guardian of tradition and morality, but its obeisance to an amoral free-market ideology is far more destructive of tradition than the regulated capitalism championed by liberals. It preaches small government, but insists that abortion rights, recreational drug use and gay marriage fall within the purview of the state.
Two things have been said about the American voter - they have a short selective memory and if it did not happen on TV it did not happen. Republican are counting on yet another tiresome campaign of lies, distortions and pure bone headed propaganda and the public's short memory and impatience to regain power. Over the course of eight years Republicans tried to destroy the economy, whittle away large parts of our constitutional freedoms, make many Americans afraid of their own shadow and expand government spending like it was a free ring toss contest a the county fair. The sandcastle rule was at work. It takes only takes a small effort to destroy the castle. The destroyed castle they left for the adult - Democrats - to repair. Now that Democrats cannot wave their magic wand and repair the damage over night Republicans are relying on impatience to give them another chance to give America a rerun of the disastrous policies that got us where we are today. So sure, if you hate America give Republicans another chance.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More Reasons to Vote Conservative Republican 2010 -2012

Deficit & Debt: The Republican Legacy

Deficit & Debt: The Republican Legacy
U.S. Budget History
Jan'01: Bush Becomes President
$850 billion SURPLUS

Nov'04: Bush Re-Elected
$415 billion DEFICIT

Jan'09: Obama Becomes Pres.
$1.2 trillion DEFICIT

Republican Debt Legacy
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Started: $1.6 trillion debt
Finished: $3.0 trillion debt

George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)
Started: $3.0 trillion debt
Finished: $4.3 trillion debt

George W. Bush (2001-2009)
Started: $5.8 trillion debt
Finished: $10.8 trillion debt

As Bush Jr. turned an $850 billion budget surplus into a $1.2 trillion dollar deficit, he became responsible, alone, for about 42% of the current national debt.
Conservatives waved the flag and told us how responsible and patriotic they were as they trashed America under the three most recent Republican presidencies. Now they want everyone to forgive and forget - vote for them in 2010 and 2012 - hey they promise to get it right this time.

The right-wing conservative media has as much integrity as right-wing politicians. None. AP fact-checks Andrew Breitbart; Breitbart loses

Report: Breitbart used 'wrong video' to claim Dem lawmakers lied about racial slurs

For weeks, an argument has been raging between liberal and conservative commentators over whether or not Tea Party protesters yelled racist and homophobic slurs at Democratic lawmakers on the day the House passed the health care overhaul.

During a March 20 anti-health reform Tea Party protest at Capitol Hill, numerous Democratic lawmakers said they had been the targets of abusive language.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), an openly gay member of the House, said he had been called a "fa**ot." Three black members of Congress -- Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) and civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) -- said they had been called "ni**er," and that the epithet had been hurled at them some 15 times as they arrived at the House of Representatives for a meeting.

Stung by such potent linking of the Tea Party movement to racism and homophobia, conservative pundits began to fire back. At the head of the pack was Matt Drudge ally Andrew Breitbart, who asserted that the incidents never happened and offered $10,000 for video footage proving otherwise. He has since increased his offer to $100,000.
Story continues below...

"It’s time for the allegedly pristine character of Rep. John Lewis to put up or shut up," Breitbart wrote. "Therefore, I am offering $10,000 of my own money to provide hard evidence that the N-word was hurled at him not 15 times, as his colleague reported, but just once."

To back up his claim, Breitbart posted a short video clip of Reps. Lewis and Cleaver, among others, walking through the protest with no racial slurs audible on the video.

But an article from the Associated Press says the video Breitbart trumpeted was not shot at the time the black lawmakers say they were targeted with the N-word; rather, the video was shot an hour later, as the group emerged from a congressional meeting. They had alleged that they were targeted as they were walking into the meeting.

Asked by AP about the inconsistency, Breitbart responded, "I'm not saying the video was conclusive proof."

On Sunday, the Washington Post's ombudsman asserted that there was at least some truth to the allegations of abusive behavior at the protest.

Responding to criticism of the paper's coverage by conservative activists, ombudsman Andrew Alexander went through a list of allegations of slurs, and found merit in many of them:

Many readers have told me there is no evidence to support The Post's report that Frank was subjected to anti-gay slurs. They're wrong. An ABC News video recorded the incident inside a House office building. When ABC aired its video, the epithets were bleeped. A review of the unaltered footage, made by ABC at my request, clearly captures a protester shouting, "Barney, you faggot." Case closed.
Brietbart showed a video of some of those Democrats leaving. Andrew has already been caught manipulating video for James O'Keefe's malicious slander of ACORN. Conservatives seem to define "values" different from normal people.

Arizona Doctor Plans To Close His Office Because Of ‘Stress’ Caused By ‘Obamacare’

Last month a Republican urologist in Florida posted a sign on his office door telling his patients that if they voted for President Obama, they should “seek urologic care elsewhere.” Despite later admitting that he knew little about the new law, the sign added: “Changes to your healthcare begin right now, not in four years.”

The Daily Caller reports that another doctor has pulled a similar stunt. Arizona dermatologist Joseph Scherzer put a sign outside his office warning his patients that he will be closing his doors because of the new law. “If you voted for Obamacare, be aware these doors will close before it goes into effect,” the sign reads. Scherzer — a self-described conservative — claims that the “stress” the law will supposedly impose will cause him to close up shop:

“I’m absolutely serious [about stopping practicing] and it’s not just because I’ll be nearing 65,” Scherzer said. “The stress is what would push me out the door.” [...]

Scherzer said the bill’s emphasis on punitive measures for physicians not following government-prescribed treatment methods under Medicare would increase his anxiety level to the point he would no longer be able to practice medicine.

“Doctors have actually committed suicide over these things,” Scherzer said. But it’s unclear what punitive measures Scherzer is referring to. One possibility is comparative effectiveness research (CER) into which treatments work most effectively. Indeed, conservatives have been using this provision in their attacks on health care reform to claim it would ration care, impose standards and prevent certain kinds of treatment. But as the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, “CER is a recommendation, not a mandate.”

Or perhaps Scherzer is referring to basic Medicare billing fraud. But presumably he had to provide proper documentation for Medicare services provided before the President signed the bill into law. The new law simply strengthens these accountability measures to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse.

Like the Florida urologist, Scherzer may not be aware of what’s actually in the law. In fact, if he stays in business, Scherzer has the opportunity to perhaps reduce his anxiety level with added benefits such as an “increase in Medicaid payment rates.” Moreover, the American Medical Association has an extensive list of benefits for physicians that will come from the Affordable Care Act, including bonus payments and geographic payment differentials.
These right-wing conservative doctors that are refusing to treat people or closing down might well be doing everyone a favor. Who wants to go to a doctor that is as stupid and petty as these guys.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Al Gore Said Fox Was The Republican Propoganda Channel, He Was Mostly Correct

David Frum Connects Fox News To Republicans – Oh, No, Say It Ain’t So!

David Frum is a conservative Republican. He was an economic speechwriter for George W Bush and author of a book about the Bush presidency. But he doesn’t fit the mold of today’s conservatives from “real America.” He has an undergrad degree from Yale and a law degree from Harvard so right there he’s one of those “elites” that Sarah Palin loves to pillory. He’s part of a vanishing species of rational and pragmatic conservative Republicans who are able to articulate arguments without resorting to accusations of “baby killing” or “Marxist” when discussing the policy of the opposition. He dared to write an article, on his blog, about how the Republicans could be facing their own “Waterloo” because of their obstinacy during the health care debate – as opposed to the “Waterloo” that Republican Senator Jim DeMint was predicting for Obama. After this heresy was published, he was fired from his job at the American Enterprise Institute. Well, enough of the background. Frum has recently said some juicy things about Fox News. Let’s dish…

In March, on ABC’s “Nightline,” Frum told Terry Moran, "Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we're discovering we work for Fox. And this balance here has been completely reversed. The thing that sustains a strong Fox network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican party." Last week, on CNN, Frum elaborated on that comment during an interview with the Washington Post’s Howie Kurtz. He said “What that means is that Fox, like Limbaugh, has an interest in pushing the Republicans to the margins, making people angry. When people are angry and alienated, they don't vote. They succumb to feelings of helplessness. What people need right now are feelings of power, that they can make a difference by participating in politics.”
Americans interested in the truth about Fox and their fascist-lite political agenda can start at Media Matters.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Conservatives Were For Obamacare Before They Were Against It

Heritage Touted RomneyCare, Key Elements Of Health Reform Heritage Now Opposes

The Heritage Foundation, one of the leading conservative think tanks — which has historically provided many of the policy ideas for the Republican Party, Republican administrations, and Republicans in Congress — has aggressively attacked President Obama’s efforts to reform health care in America. In addition to providing academic voices in the media to knock reform, Heritage has churned out blog posts and reports denigrating reform legislation for various reasons. And in recent days, Heritage has scrambled to mobilize a repeal effort of health reform, calling the law “intolerable.”

But before Democrats took up the mantle of reforming health care on the national level, Heritage experts boosted former Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) health reform plan in the Bay State. In numerous pieces posted on the Heritage website before 2008, Heritage took a markedly different approach to health reform than it does now:

– Heritage On Romney’s Individual Mandate: “Not an unreasonable position, and one that is clearly consistent with conservative values.” [Heritage, 1/28/06]

– Heritage On President Obama’s Individual Mandate: “Both unprecedented and unconstitutional.” [Heritage, 12/9/09]

– Heritage On Romney’s Insurance Exchange: An “innovative mechanism to promote real consumer choice.” [Heritage, 4/20/06]

– Heritage On President Obama’s Insurance Exchange: Creates a “de facto public option” by “grow[ing]” government control over healthcare.” [Heritage, 3/30/10]

– Heritage On Romney’s Medicaid Expansion: Reduced “the total cost to taxpayers” by taking people out of the “uncompensated care pool.” [Heritage, 1/28/06]

– Heritage On President Obama’s Medicaid Expansion: Expands a “broken entitlement program,” providing a “low-quality, poorly functioning program.” [Heritage, 1/28/06]

In fact, in 2007, Heritage again boasted that Romney’s plan is “already showing progress.” That same year, Heritage proudly posted a video of Romney gloating that Heritage officials had supported him in creating “ultimate conservatism” with the Massachusetts health plan. Watch it:

Appealing to right-wing conservatives, Romney, like Heritage, is trying to distance himself from his own health reform ideas. He called the individual mandate unconstitutional, but conceded that the only real difference between his plan and President Obama’s is that his plan was crafted in a “bipartisan” manner with the Democratically controlled Massachusetts legislature.

What's with the Collectivist Church of Libertarianism

What's with the Collectivist Church of Libertarianism

So what is wrong with the libertarian case for extremely limited government? Economics 101 teaches some of the basic justifications for government interference in the economy. Some things, such as the cost of national defense, are "public goods." We can't each decide for ourselves how much defense we want. We have to decide that together. Then there are "externalities," which are costs (or, sometimes, benefits) that your decisions impose on me. Pollution is the classic example. Without government involvement of some sort to override our individual judgments, we will produce more pollution than most of us want.

There are "market-oriented" solutions to this problem, but there is a difference --often forgotten, especially by Republicans -- between using market forces and leaving something to the market. The point of principle is whether the government should intervene at all. How it chooses to intervene is purely pragmatic.

Libertarians have a fondness for complex arrangements to make markets work in situations where the textbooks say they can't. Hey, let's issue stamps, y'see, and use the revenues to form a corporation that sells stock to buy military equipment, then the government leases the equipment and the stockholders vote on whether to user it -- and so on. The point becomes proving a point, not economic or government efficiency.

Libertarians also have a tendency to see too many issues in terms of property rights (just as liberals, they would counter, tend to see everything in terms of discrimination and equal protection). Pollution, libertarians say, is simply theft: you are stealing my clean air. Settle it in court. This is a really terrible idea: inexpert judges, lawyers and juries using the most elaborate and expensive decision-making process known to humankind -- litigation -- to make inconsistent decisions in different cases. And usually there is no one "right" answer: There is a spectrum of acceptable answers, involving tradeoffs (dirty air versus fewer jobs, etc.) that ought to be made democratically -- that is, through government.

Sometimes libertarians end up reinventing the wheel. My favorite example is an article I read years ago advocating privatization of highways. This is a classic libertarian fantasy: government auctions off the land, private enterprise pays for construction and maintenance, tolls cover the cost, competition with other routes keeps it all efficient. And what about, um, intersections? Well, markets would recognize that it is more efficient for one company to own both roads at major intersections, and when that happened the company would have an incentive to strike the right balance between customers on each highway. And stoplights? Ultimately, the author had worked his way up to a giant monopoly that would build, own, and maintain all the roads, and charge an annual fee to people who wanted to use them. None dare call it government.

Something similar goes on when the government forbids or requires people to do something for their own good. Why shouldn't people, at least adult people, have the right to decide for themselves? Libertarian thinking has been useful, for example, in making it easier to get prescription drugs through the maze at the FDA. The Terry Shiavo case of 2005 was libertarianism's greatest moment so far, as the entire nation rose up in defense of her right to die.

The trouble here is that libertarians tend to analogize everything to a right to die. If you have the right to end your own life, you must have the right to do anything else you wish, short of that. If you're allowed to shoot yourself through the head, why aren't you allowed to drive without a seat belt?

The answer is that it's a bad analogy. When you drive without a seat belt, you are not motivated by a desire to die, or even a desire to take a small risk of dying. Why should your motive matter? Because your death -- especially your death in a car crash -- does impose externalities on others. I would pay good money not to have to see your bloody carcass lying beside the highway, or endure the traffic jam, or pay the emergency room costs. A serious right like the right to die may be worth the cost, while a right to be careless or irresponsible is not.

Llibertarians are quick to see hidden costs of ignoring libertarian principles and slow to see such costs in adhering to them. For example, Tucker Carlson reports in the Dec. 31 New Republic that Ron Paul wants to end the federal ban on unpasteurized milk. No one should want to drink unpasteurized milk, and almost no one does. Paul himself doesn't. But it bothers him that the government tells people they cannot do something they shouldn't do.Libertarians would say that if most people want pasteurized milk, the market will supply it. Firms will emerge to certify that milk has been pasteurized. These firms will compete, keeping them honest.

So yes, a Rube Goldberg contraption of capitalism could replace a straightforward government regulation. But what if you aren't interested in turning your grocery shopping into an ideological adventure? All that is lost by letting the government take care of it is the right of a few idiots to be idiots. That right deserves respect. But not much.

A similar flaw affects libertarian thinking about government-mandated redistribution. Extreme libertarians believe this is immoral or even unconstitutional, and even more moderate libertarians disapprove of government social welfare programs as an infringement on the freedom of taxpayers. But freedom is only one of the two core values our nation was built on. The other is equality. Defining equality, libertarians tend to take a narrow view, believing that it means only political equality with no financial aspects. Defining freedom, by contrast, they take a broad view, and see a violation in every nickel a citizen must spend.

Libertarians ask: By what justification does the government concern itself with inequality -- financial or otherwise -- in the first place? They are nearly alone in asking this question. Even conservatives claim a great concern for equality of opportunity, while opposing opportunity of result. And the reasons seem obvious: some degree of material equality as a necessary basis for political equality; the huge role of luck in getting each of us to our relative stations in life; etc.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

These Anti-American Twits - The Tea Party, Conservatives, Republicans - Consider Violent Rhetoric Entertainment

Following Fox's violent rhetoric, mother blames network for son's alleged Pelosi threats
Following the arrest of Gregory Giusti for allegedly threatening Speaker Nancy Pelosi's life over health care reform, Giusti's mother stated that Fox News was a factor in her son's alleged actions. In the wake of this incident, Media Matters for America takes a look back at Fox News' recent history of violent rhetoric and the apocalyptic language the network's employees used to describe the then-impending passage of health care reform.
But isn't Fox providing wise and informed insights to the American public so we can all make better decisions about the future of the United States. Not really, Beck admits he doesn’t give ‘a flying crap about the political process. … We’re an entertainment company.’

Fox News host Glenn Beck’s media “empire” is the cover story of the newest issue of Forbes Magazine. In the story, Beck reveals that his media company Glenn Beck Inc. made $32 million in revenue in the period between March 2009 and March 2010. The host also explains that he sees himself much more as an entertainer than a political activist, saying that he doesn’t “give a flying crap about the political process”

[ ]...This isn’t the first time Beck has suggested he isn’t as radically conservative as he seems. In February he told USA Weekend that “you’d have to be an idiot” to “not notice the temperature change” caused by global warming, and that he thinks mankind may play a signficant role in the phenomenon. Beck has previously described himself as “a rodeo clown” and conceded, “If you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.”
Whatever Beck really believes he is right about one thing - the people that listen to him and act on his opinions are idiots.

Dear Republicans and Their Conservative Guru of Economics - Thanks for the Great Recession

Conservative Alan Greenspan: Not Me, Not Me!

Andy Kroll says The Oracle Rewrites History:

Alan Greenspan, the economic sage and former chair of the Federal Reserve, has been on a mission to set the record straight on the financial crisis—not least his own role in it. In March, the Brookings Institution published a detailed, 66-page paper [pdf], he authored on the crisis’ origins. Most recently, he used a three-hour hearing on Wednesday by the congressionally-chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) to discuss how subprime mortgages and securitization fueled the meltdown. Except Greenspan hasn't been describing recent history so much as rewriting it.

Greenspan, who chaired the Fed from 1987 to 2006, has received plenty of blame and opprobrium for the central bank's role in the subprime meltdown and broader economic crisis. The Fed, critics say, failed to rein in abusive practices by subprime lenders by choosing not to flex its regulatory muscle. For a time, it let credit card companies off the hook with a 2004 ruling that overdraft fees weren’t loans, and thus not subject to fair lending law. Consumer advocates also say Greenspan’s policy of keeping interest rates low during the 2000s paved the way for the housing bubble.

But reading Greenspan's testimony before the FCIC, you'd think the Fed was the Lone Ranger of regulators, a vigilant crusader on behalf of homeowners raising red flags about toxic mortgage products and the looming housing bubble. He touted the Fed's actions under a 1994 law called the Homeownership Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) that gave the Fed the power to prohibit "unfair," "abusive," and "deceptive" mortgage lending practices. "My colleagues at the Federal Reserve were aware of their responsibilities under HOEPA," Greenspan said, "and took significant steps to ensure that its consumer protections were faithfully implemented."

Carolyn Baum says Greenspan’s Delusions Get Much Worse With Age:

As for Greenspan’s claim that only a few predicted the post-bubble fallout, "that’s preposterous," says Bill Fleckenstein, president of Fleckenstein Capital in Seattle. "I had time to write a book about it."

The book, aptly named "Greenspan’s Bubbles," was written in 2007 and published in January 2008.

Greenspan told Bloomberg TV neither he, nor anyone at the Fed, heard about problems brewing in the banking system.

That’s patently false. I know for a fact that regulation and supervision division staff at some of the Federal Reserve District Banks reported risks and irregularities to the Board in Washington.
And why didn't Mr. Masters of Business Administration - George W. Bush see that Republican centric economic policies and anti-regulation zealotry were disastrous. One could easily think that Bush and his Republican hand maidens in Congress did, and still do, hate America and democracy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Like Everything Else Republicans Wrong on Torture

Like Everything Else Republicans Wrong on Torture

Michael Sulick, head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told a student audience last week that the spy agency has seen no fall-off in intelligence since waterboarding was banned by the Obama administration.

"I don’t think we’ve suffered at all from an intelligence standpoint," Sulick told students and some faculty members at Fordham University, his alma mater, on March 25. "But I don’t want to talk about [it from] a legal, moral or ethical standpoint."

According to the university’s news service, Sulick said it was tough for any U.S. agencies dealing with terrorism to balance security and civil liberties.

"If you're a civil servant in any agency dealing with national security issues, you have to grapple with these conflicts," said Sulick, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fordham in Russian studies and a Ph.D. from the City University of New York. He joined the CIA in 1980.

"It’s not easy,” Sulick said. “You’re faced with defending the public trust and are often faced with difficult decisions that affect the public good. Sometimes there are merits on both sides."

"We have to find some way to achieve that balance," he added. "We have to find the common ground between maintaining our values and safeguarding Americans."

Sulick’s National Clandestine Service employs the CIA’s spy handlers, counterspies and covert action specialists -- the so-called “dirty tricks” people- -- along with some elements of the FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency.

But the career operative said he’s no James Bond.

"I do not drive a Jaguar or a Bentley with special gadgets. My watch does not have a laser or a microphone."

"At the same time …” he added, “there is an enormous thrill when you’re out meeting a spy and he or she gives you that one piece of information that answers some critical question the United States government needs to know. I can’t think of any nobler public service than that, and I guess that’s why I’ve been doing it for three decades."

Sulick received a standing ovation, according to Debra Sweet, and antiwar activist who attended the event.

Also attending the event was Fordham graduate Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, an organization critical of the CIA.

“After a lengthy prologue, McGovern, who was not scheduled to speak, pointed out the disconnect between the Catholic faith and the CIA’s killing of innocents around the world in pursuit of terrorists,” the university’s public relations office reported.

“McGovern claimed that the CIA arbitrarily distinguishes between what he labeled ‘good terrorists and bad terrorists.’”
Thiessen's Disaster -- Wash. Post columnist's anti-Obama book filled with falsehoods

In his book, Courting Disaster, Washington Post's Marc Thiessen relies on numerous falsehoods to make his case that "America is in greater danger" than it had been during the Bush administration because of President Obama's anti-terrorism policies. Thiessen's falsehoods repeatedly overstate the effectiveness of Bush administration's interrogation and detention policies and downplay the abuses that took place.
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) - Price expands GOP repeal campaign: We should repeal all of TARP, the stimulus, and ‘the bailout philosophy.’

Price, who first said that the GOP would run on a policy of repeal in Sept. 2009, did not explain how he would repeal the stimulus and TARP money that has already been doled out, including the $134,148,933 that has been sent to Price’s district as of Dec. 31, 2009.
Price is typical of most conservatives: He does not stand for anything, have any real values or care about America's future. He does care about pandering and spinning reality and anything that enriches him personally. We used to call people like that con-men. Now they're just called Republicans.

Beware Scam Artists Exploiting New Health Care Reform

The Real Swindlers

NPR has a good story about how swindlers are already trying to take advantage of the confusion over the Affordable Care Act to run health-care scams:

Days after President Obama signed the $938 billion bill into law, a cable television advertisement exhorted viewers to call an 800-number so they wouldn't miss a "limited enrollment" period to obtain coverage available "now that historic health-care legislation has passed."

And there have already been reports of door-to-door salespeople peddling "Obamacare" insurance policies.

There is, of course, no limited enrollment period for any coverage, and no such thing as a new federal insurance policy named after the president.

As NPR notes, the "bitter and divisive" debate over health reform has been a boon for the scam market, which has sought to exploit the public misconceptions about the bill. Given how quickly the "death panel" meme caught on -- and how long such fabrications have persisted in the political discourse -- the idea of purchasing an "Obamacare" insurance policy might not seem so far-fetched.

The new health law does commit millions of dollars to beefing up anti-fraud enforcement and oversight, as insurance fraud has a long history of plaguing the health-care system, and the system's upcoming expansion will create new opportunities for exploitation. In the Medicare and Medicaid programs, for example, fraudsters have long perpetrated billing scams that prey upon the elderly and the poor -- and their schemes have become increasingly complex, as I explained in the New Republic last year. The biggest scam artists aren't going to be door-to-door hucksters, but sophisticated white-collar criminals who are likely to try to exploit new changes like the conversion to electronic health records to defraud the system on a large scale. And these schemes make dispelling the myths about the new health law -- and clarifying the real changes that are afoot -- all the more important.

Health Care Reform Frequently Asked Questions. Probably not all the answers to every question, but a good start in plain language.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Lowest of the Low in Integrity - Republican Pundits Hannity, North and Erick Erickson

What's Sean Hannity up to now?

Will fans of Sean Hannity and Oliver North feel reassured by the pair's denial of any wrongdoing in the operation of the Freedom Alliance, their multimillion-dollar charity? The Fox News personalities no doubt hope so, as they prepare for the annual series of fundraising "Freedom Concerts" tour that will kick off in New Jersey in August, headlined by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band.

..The CREW complaints, posted on the watchdog group's Web site, provide considerable detail about the facts uncovered in its investigation of Freedom Alliance. Among the documents cached on the site is a contract showing that proceeds from the concert tour are actually controlled by Premiere Marketing, a Tennessee speakers agency that represents Hannity and North, and its president, Duane Ward.

Hannity and North ( who was neck deep in the Iran-Contra scandal) have, like many conservatives, dedicated their lives to giving America the shaft and calling it patriotism.

Erick Erickson Is the New CNN Go-to Bigot, Misogynist and Homophobe

In this quote, unquote “post racial” age, CNN has hired a guy who is not just an apparent bigot, but a misogynist and avid homophobe. Erick Erickson, the editor of will begin working at CNN as a political commentaor opposite John King on John King USA.

Guess the brass at CNN haven’t entirely recovered from their rabid racist withdrawals since Glenn Beck left went to Fox News. Those withdrawals probably worsened when Lou Dobbs quit a few months back.

....Erickson claimed President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize because of “affirmative action quotas” (Think Progress, 10/9/09).

He suggested “feminazis were enraged” by an anti-abortion Super Bowl ad because “that’s what being too ugly to get a date does to your brain.”

He urged that “ugly feminists return to their kitchens” (Media Matters, 2/8/10).

He’s a homophobe who asserted that “the full gay rights agenda” means that “men and boys can have sexual relationships free of prudish moral people frowning” (Media Matters, 10/9/09).

Upon Justice David Souter’s retirement, Erickson called him “the only goat-fucking child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court” (Crooks and Liars, 5/1/09).

He declared that White House spokesperson Linda Douglass “really is the Joseph Goebbels of the White House healthcare shop” (TPM, 10/12/09).

Meanwhile, he suggested that Obama might be worse than Hitler, writing, “Does it say more about the IOC or Obama that the IOC gave Hitler the Olympics, but not Obama?”??As if that weren’t enough, he’s also an advocate of political violence (Yglesias, 4/1/09):

Health Care Reform The Jungle Gym Myth

Is the right-wing conservative obsession with health care reform myths yet another example of conservatism as mental illness -

* Jungle gyms! Jason Mattera, a 26-year-old who was just named editor of the hard-right magazine Human Events, video-ambushed Al Franken on March 10 with the question, "Which portions of the health care bill will lower costs? Is it the provision giving $7 billion to fund jungle gyms or the provision mandating that employers provide time off for breast-feeding?" Franken asked Mattera to show him where in the bill he found jungle gyms. "Jungle gyms," Mattera said, "is on 1,184."

Need I mention that jungle gym is yet another phrase that appears nowhere in the bills (searchable text here, here, here, and here)? The page Mattera referred to concerned federal "Community Transformation Grants" to state and local governments and to private nonprofit organizations to promote preventive health. Grants would require approval from the Centers For Disease Control and "may focus on (but not be limited to)" seven specified goals, one of which is "creating healthier school environments, including increasing healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, promotion of healthy lifestyle, emotional wellness, and prevention curricula, and activities to prevent chronic diseases." The project may entail "a variety of programs, policies, and infrastructure improvements," which suggests it might possibly involve building something (though given the liability issues, I wouldn't bet that the result would be a jungle gym). Where Mattera got his $7 billion figure is anybody's guess. The health care bill authorizes "such sums as may be necessary," and the Congressional Budget Office estimated the Community Transformation Grants' cost at zero, which probably means it had no idea how much Congress would eventually choose to appropriate for the program. If the figure did happen to be $7 billion, that would pay for all the Community Transformation Grants, not just grants to schools. **

Mattera and Human Events are proof that we do need to spend some money promoting "emtional wellness".