Friday, December 30, 2011

The year in deja vu

American and European elites fucked up 2011:

The bottom line is that 2011 was a year in which our political elite obsessed over short-term deficits that aren’t actually a problem and, in the process, made the real problem — a depressed economy and mass unemployment — worse.
Of course, moronic teabaggers - members of the 99% fighting for the 1% - aren't elite. They may think of themselves as elite. After all, they're white and old, so they expect to be elite as their birthright, as their due of Confucian filial piety Ten Commandment Christian honor. And the teabaggers contributed with every vociferous shout-down and reactionary vote to the total fuck-up that was 2011, due to the completely irrational mindfuck of the 2010 midterm elections.

The elite central bankers took care of other bankers and told the rest of us that our dire straits were our own damn fault, never mind that the very same profligate bankers crashed the world economy. But they went to Harvard and the Sorbonne and Heidelberg, so we have to take care of them and their vacation homes and their taxpayer-funded bonuses, even if it means they have to sacrifice - oh, the humanity - by witnessing with their virgin eyes the homeless living in refrigerator boxes - how gauche, how outré, how lacking in fellow feeling toward their noble betters. Where's a Potemkin village when they need one for their refined sensibilities!

I am really fucking sick of the blind selfish wealthy, tired of being an upper middle class peasant with a white-knuckle death grip on my job, destined for Ayn Rand penury in old age, blamed for my own laziness, when in fact I work much harder than the shitheads who cream off an ever-larger proportion of the GDP.

Let me say this right now: If I find myself broke and hungry in old age, screwed out of Social Security and Medicare in a giant profit-making game of three-card monte, discarded by craven plutocratic feudal elites, I will not go gentle into that good night.

Is that a threat? You're goddamn right it is.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Times deigns to permit the L-word

The American Enterprise Institute, which calls its employs scholars but pays them to create propaganda, created the bullshit lie that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial meltdown.

 Peter Wallison, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, [has] almost single-handedly created the myth that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis. His partner in crime is another A.E.I. scholar, Edward Pinto, who a very long time ago was Fannie’s chief credit officer. Pinto claims that as of June 2008, 27 million “risky” mortgages had been issued — “and a lion’s share was on Fannie and Freddie’s books,” as Wallison wrote recently. Never mind that his definition of “risky” is so all-encompassing that it includes mortgages with extremely low default rates as well as those with default rates nearing 30 percent. These latter mortgages were the ones created by the unholy alliance between subprime lenders and Wall Street. Pinto’s numbers are the Big Lie’s primary data point.

Allies? Start with Congressional Republicans, who have vowed to eliminate Fannie and Freddie — because, after all, they caused the crisis! Throw in The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, which, on Wednesday, published one of Wallison’s many articles repeating the Big Lie. It was followed on Thursday by an editorial in The Journal making essentially the same point. Repetition is all-important to spreading a Big Lie.
AEI and the Wall Street Journal know they're lying. They know that Fannie and Freddie were late to big profitable rape and pillage started entirely by private, market-based institutions.

But they lie repeatedly just the same. Oh, yeah, the Republicans too.

Why not call it lying?

They're coming for everything you have:

The GOP is engaged in a wholesale effort to redefine the government help that Americans take for granted as an effort to create a radically new, statist society. Consider Romney’s claim in his Bedford speech: “President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing — the government.”

Obama believes no such thing. If he did, why are so many continuing to make bundles on Wall Street? As my colleagues Greg Sargent and Paul Krugman have been insisting, Romney is saying things about the president that are flatly, grossly and shamefully untrue. But Romney’s sleight of hand is revealing: Republicans are increasingly inclined to argue that any redistribution (and Social Security, Medicare, student loans, veterans benefits and food stamps are all redistributive) is but a step down the road to some radically egalitarian dystopia.
Mitt Romney is supposed to be the sane one, yet he has more than doubled down on the socialist/communist/leveller lies and slander.

(h/t Zandar at Balloon Juice)

Imagine even better



Another case where tepid Democratic insurance reforms are nonetheless vastly superior to Republican plans, which in healthcare, amount to, "Kill the weak!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Radio Rwanda, c. 1994



Fox is blatantly and explicitly dividing its viewership from anyone with the slightest taint of liberalism. They are dehumanizing us with the goal of making us conscience-free for their soldiers to kill. In a Christian way, of course.

The entire War on Christmas trope is a propaganda tool intended to divide Americans. It's working.

You think I'm exaggerating. But the Tutsi never thought their neighbors would hack them to death with machetes.

Update (12/24): Exaggerating?

Monday, December 19, 2011

No coal for you, but a nice oil sand pipeline

Click image for full Deb Milbrath cartoon.

No deal

John Boehner (R-tea-drinker) may have the title and office of Speaker, but no deal he makes is worth the air he wastes in agreeing to it:

Speaker John A. Boehner, who had urged his members on Saturday to support the bill, seemingly [sic] did an about-face on Sunday and said he and other House Republicans were opposed to the temporary extension, part of a $33 billion package of bills that the Senate passed Saturday. In addition to extending the payroll tax cut for millions of workers, the legislation extends unemployment benefits and avoid cuts in payments to doctors who accept Medicare. The measure would be effective through February.
I'm getting strong feelings that America is doomed. Even should the unlikely happen and the Democrats sweep away the teabaggers in 2012, we are sooo divided, and the wingnuts are sooo adamantly determined on a course of fascism.

Fascism? No exaggeration - the Republican option doesn't just tend toward oligarchic rule by wealthy corporate interests. It is oligarchy. They cynically and demagogically fan the nationalism, bigotry, fundamentalism, and hatred of the liberal principles that founded this country. Instead, they off the feudal tribalism in which one aristocrat's peasants fight another aristocrat's serfs, all for the greater glory of the so-called nobles.

Even if Democrats, wishy-washy and thoroughly compromised as they are, win the coming election, Republicans have made the country ungovernable. They did it on purpose because they would rather endanger the country than surrender power, even to a majority. As soon as the 2008 election was called, they set out to take America hostage. And our fellow citizens were too stupid, too easily demagogued, and too irrational to resist.

Yeah, I'm such a ray of sunshine these days.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Apologies for my cynicism

Secret Santas are sweeping the nation, paying off the layaway accounts of a few random lucky members of the 99%. Wonderful Christmas time story to warm the cockles of even Scrooge's heart, right?

“It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year,” said Salima Yala, Kmart’s division vice president for layaway.
Then why are they for the most part only paying off accounts at Kmart? And how does she know exactly?

Oh, sure, we'll start to hear about copycats (and good for them, unless of course they're from a competing HQ in Bentonville). But this smacks of a purely cynical guerrilla marketing campaign. It's brilliant in its way, but at bottom there's a soul-killing ugliness to the willingness to leverage small money into tremendous free media.

If you want to prove that the problem is in my heart, not in the hearts of the secret Santas, find out who called the press. Acts of generosity that happen when no one is looking don't make good copy unless a writer is tipped off.

I'd really like to be wrong about this. But I think it's not even noblesse oblige, instead fakery.

While I'm on the topic, one more thing about layaway: The need for layaway shows how far the middle class has fallen. You only need layaway if you can't get a few hundred dollars in credit. Layaway terms are one-sided - the poor consumer pays and pays and pays and still has to keep returning to the store. This is the world of widespread penury that Republicans want to return us to. So that we'll be more cowed and leave their sponsors an ever larger share of the pie.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Henceforth I claim that I am PolitiFact

This doesn't mean I am ending PolitiFact, oh no! Sure, I may be ending PolitiFact as we know it. But that's a whole 'nother beast.

It's true that I will not be staffing PolitiFact beyond my own herculean efforts. It will no longer be run by the St. Petersburg Times. Nor will I be bending over backward to cast a pox on both their houses whenever possible. I won't be neutral either - how could I with the name lovable liberal?


But this will still be the same program we've come to rely on to distinguish fact from fantasy.

Because it has the same name.

If you believe PolitiFact on Medicare, you should believe this.

(Yes, I realize this is from April. Under my new management, PolitiFact will no longer have to be timely either.)

Update: Now I remember. I was on this topic because of BlueMassGroup, so h/t.

Tell me different



What this means: Republicans want to replace Medicare with vouchers for private health insurance, vouchers whose purchasing power is planned to decrease over the years, vouchers to buy something that at some point in everyone senior's life will not be available at any price. If they succeed, bankruptcy and destitution with no possibility of ever recouping independence will be the lot of most people in their so-called golden years.

The simple objective of the Republican Party is to deny any existence to any of us in the 99% that's not as a captive market. I have a hard time seeing how that can be classified as anything short of evil.

Fly, little ones, fly away

Click image for full Garry Trudeau/Doonesbury cartoon.

Hair club for GOP

Click image for full Bruce Plante/Tulsa World cartoon.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kindred spirits

Rush and Newt go way back. Steve Kornacki speculates about why Rush is helping Newt with wingnuts and teabaggers now.

But maybe they both just recognize each other as their kind of asshole. Both these guys are hugely more hypocritical than even the typical winger.

Newt pilloried Bill Clinton while, for the second time, he was having an affair that would lead him to divorce one wife in favor of his new lover. Rush pilloried Clinton while taking Viagra on a trip to the Dominican Republic, unaccompanied by any woman, which looked an awful lot like sex tourism.

Rush and Newt are both law and order conservatives, yet both have run afoul of the law. Rush was a pain pill addict whose possession of pills and prescriptions gained under false pretenses would have meant jail time for a mere mortal. Newt repeatedly violated the lax ethical standards of Congress.

Hypocritical assholes on this scale need each other.

Friday, December 9, 2011

War on Rick Perry



They don't call us satyrists for nuthin'.

Bring it on, bitches


The worst aspect of this is... Wait, how can I pick any single feature of this colon-load of pandering, resentment-filled ugliness as worst?

Perry appeals to the common sense of grievance fundamentalists have that they are persecuted when you disagree with them, when you won't let them force feed their Christianity (subspecies estupidus estupendum) to your children. This imaginary grievance is the fundies' perverse attempt to be Christ-like martyrs. From the comfort of their armchairs.

Perry whips the gays (no buggering in foxholes on his watch!), kisses some military ass, and makes the bullshit claim that children can't pray in schools. Again, keep your stupid beliefs away from my kids. It's bad enough that you've inculcated stupidity in your own offspring. If America is going to compete globally, someone here has to know something about science. You want your children to pray (for rain, maybe?), get them into the pews every Sunday instead of trying to bring the pews into the classroom.

"...Obama's war on religion..." I'm Rick Perry, and I'm a delusional fundamentalist asswipe. He said it! Between the lines...

Don't worry, Rick, in a real war on religion, you'd be fine. You'd be far too useful for showing how dangerous religion and pandering to it can be. Why is it that you and your mouth-breathing followers think that sectarian beliefs should be a matter for majority vote?

The reality of this ad is that Perry is not the anti-Mitt, so he's angling to be the anti-Newt. He - or his political consultant - think Perry's biggest opening is with Fox-viewing fundies without two ideas to rub together. It's probably canny political positioning. Even that fact that liberals like me hate this ad is all good for Perry. The adverse attention from us will help him circle the wagons with the fundies.

But that's all good for us too. Perry may title his ad "Strong," but he's a very weak national general election candidate. The longer he survives the Republican primaries, the better for us.

So...



Rick Perry. Suck. On. This.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wingnut id


Click image for full August J. Pollak cartoon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Frank Langella theory of executive authority

Rick Perry (R-Duhbya was a genious) believes - if he could only get elected President - he could unilaterally abrogate standing law. Can we go ahead and make Texas governors ineligible to be President? By Perry's hazy, ignorant idea of the Constitution, Barack Obama could make that happen with the stroke of a pen.

This moron doesn't believe in law. He believes in power, wingnut power.

Truth on employment

The drop in official unemployment is not good news. It only looks like good news. Labor force participation is horrible.

I would guess that the picture for would-be workers between 55 and 67 (the most recent full Social Security retirement age) is even worse.

According to Republicans, all this despair is the fault of the despairing. According to Democrats, there's not much more they can do.

The Occupiers are right.

Failure of understanding - mine

Other cultures have different norms:

The problem for Gulnaz and the other women in the film is the deeply held belief that women uphold their family’s honor. Thus any attempt to expose abuse is so humiliating to the family that a woman who speaks out often becomes a pariah among her relatives, ending up isolated as well as abused.

Gulnaz’s case shows the power of cultural norms. On the one hand, the public campaign for the woman prompted the pardon, which ensures that she will be able to bring up her daughter outside prison. On the other hand, the fact that the only imaginable solution to the situation of a woman with an illegitimate child is to have her marry the father — even if he is a rapist — is testament to the rigid belief here that a woman is respectable only if she is embedded within a family.

Ms. Malpas said that Gulnaz talked to her about why she felt that she had to give in to requests that she marry the man who raped her, even though she did not want to, explaining that not only would she be an outcast if she did not, but so would her daughter, and she would bring shame on her family.
I can't even begin to understand this one. A man rapes one of another man's female relatives, maybe even a daughter, and he blames her for shaming him!?

What the fuck is wrong with these people and their misogynistic religion and society?

Testify, brother, I mean, cousin

Why is it that American big media is so thin on brutal truth-telling such as this?

The US Republican race is dominated by ignorance, lies and scandals. The current crop of candidates have shown such a basic lack of knowledge that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein. The Grand Old Party is ruining the entire country's reputation.

...

What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. "A starting point for a chronicle of American decline," was how David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, described the current Republican race.
Remnick, even, is late to the party. The starting point of the chronicle of our decline was the Republican scandal-mongering response to Bill Clinton's election in 1992.

Update (12/5): Is help on the way for the redoubtable Paul Krugman? Thomas Edsall joins the growing chorus of those of us sick and tired of Republican lies:
Struggling to justify a recent television spot that reached new heights of deception, a top operative in Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign put it plainly, while insisting on anonymity:
“First of all, ads are propaganda by definition. We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business…. Ads are agitprop…. Ads are about hyperbole, they are about editing. It’s ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context…. All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”

Looking for grace

Newt Gingrich (R-dumb idea of smart) handles a question about his health - and by implication his plutocratic girth - with humor, self-effacement, and a hint of grace:



Then, he alibis that god wants him to be fat. He held his huge vanity at bay for 30 seconds, but that was all.

Opposites attract


Mitt Romney is so two-faced that Republicans are turning in droves to Newt Gingrich, a man whom they know is also completely untrustworthy but who always takes an ultra-conservative position, even if that requires him to lie about facts. The latest not-Mitt has always played fast and loose with money in politics, always in a way that has enriched him, merely the latest being his acting as an obvious lobbyist while never abiding by the laws about lobbying for pay.

Not to mention that everyone despises Newt Gingrich personally:
[T]he overwhelming refrain from the majority of Insiders on both sides focused on Gingrich's temperament and the unpredictable risks it would create in a general election.

"Winning the presidency is all about discipline, focus, and organization," said one Republican Insider, "none of which are strong suits for Gingrich."

"With Newt, we go to bed every night thinking that tomorrow might be the day he implodes," said another Republican. ... A third Republican stated plainly, "Gingrich is not stable enough emotionally to be the nominee - let alone, the president."

"Newt can't take the scrutiny," agreed a Democrat, "and he has the personality of an angry badger."

...

"Bigfoot dressed as a circus clown would have a better chance of beating President Obama than Newt Gingrich, a similarly farcical character," quipped a Republican.

"Come on," sighed another GOP Insider, "the White House is probably giving money to Gingrich as we speak."

Run away, run away!



Not really a very large message change from Frank Luntz, but another glimpse of the propagandist's modus operandi.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The bullshit outrage machine


Republicans refuse to hold themselves to the standard they hold others to. Morally, their development stopped at age two.

I'm running for office, for Mitt's sake



Mitt's core value: whatever's good for Mitt. The business world trained him for that. He's used to lying for money.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We need more Barney Franks



... especially if Newt Gingrich (R-stupid person's idea of a smart person) wins the Republican Presidential nomination.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why tax the lord of the manor when so many serfs love him?

Jon Kyl (R-vassaline) simply captures the Republican way: If you're not wealthy, they don't give a shit about you. I don't mean 1% wealthy, I mean 0.1% wealthy.

These men in the Republican Party are bad. They're not just sincerely mistaken. They want a society in which all rewards flow to those who already have more than enough. They think this is not only the efficient way to organize the economy, they think it's the moral way. And they're dead wrong on both counts.

They're the kind of people who have deserved revolutions. They're the kind of people who hold up The Road to Serfdom, unopened, and who fail to realize that they are advocating literal serfdom, rather than the figurative kind Hayek feared.

Missouri loves company

Alabama would rather be poor than brown. Again.

Alabama’s competitors certainly won’t waste any time. After the Tuscaloosa incident, the editorial page of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch invited Mercedes to Missouri. “We are the Show-Me State,” it said, “not the ‘Show me your papers’ state.”
Of course, the people who suffer from this sort of draconian response (to a real problem) are those who are already marginal, those for whom this exhausts their margin. Republican political consultants? They have life tenure, assuming they never think outside their ideological constraints.

The New York Times is off-base on one thing. Americans will fill jobs that pay a fair wage. If an economic habit - cheap food - requires penury of its workers, there's something wrong with the habit, not with the potential workers. A previous highly economical agricultural system - holding cotton-pickers in human bondage - didn't argue for the status quo.

Pay the workers better, and they'll show up for this back-breaking work.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wingnut emails are total bullshit

If you get a derogatory email about any Democrat or liberal, chances are good that its content is made up bullshit.

Will Americans be subjected to international gun-control laws under a new U.N. treaty signed by Hillary Rodham Clinton? Is the president honoring Jane Fonda as one of the “women of the century”? Was suspected Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan an adviserto the Obama administration?

Like the Medicare story, these claims are demonstrably false, too. Nevertheless, they are popular on the thriving underground e-mail circuit, a carnival of nonsense whose star attractions have included the canard that Obama is a secret Muslim and variations on the “birther” claims about his origins.
Normal people call this lying. Why are conservatives so eager to be taken in? For them, faith and obeisance to their tribe are more important than reality.

This is why many of them still believe that:
  • Darth and Duhbya were right to invade Iraq.
  • Global warming is a conspiracy of scientists who are too ideological to be paid off by fossil fuel industries but who are too greedy for picayune government research grants to give up their spartan labs.
  • The economy, which was just torched by the free market assholes at the top of the income and wealth distributions, only needs more transfer of income and wealth to the very same rich assholes and then everything will be hunky-dory for all of us.
  • President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim socialist.
Information cannot argue with a closed mind.

The log in conservatives' eye

Republican economics is total bullshit

The puzzle remains why so many otherwise sane middle class Americans still shill for the wealthy, even the very, very wealthy who do nothing more than skim off the cream:

[W]ho are the 0.1 percent? Very few of them are Steve Jobs-type innovators; most of them are corporate bigwigs and financial wheeler-dealers. One recent analysis found that 43 percent of the super-elite are executives at nonfinancial companies, 18 percent are in finance and another 12 percent are lawyers or in real estate. And these are not, to put it mildly, professions in which there is a clear relationship between someone’s income and his economic contribution.

Executive pay, which has skyrocketed over the past generation, is famously set by boards of directors appointed by the very people whose pay they determine; poorly performing C.E.O.’s still get lavish paychecks, and even failed and fired executives often receive millions as they go out the door.

Meanwhile, the economic crisis showed that much of the apparent value created by modern finance was a mirage. As the Bank of England’s director for financial stability recently put it, seemingly high returns before the crisis simply reflected increased risk-taking — risk that was mostly borne not by the wheeler-dealers themselves but either by naïve investors or by taxpayers, who ended up holding the bag when it all went wrong. And as he waspishly noted, “If risk-making were a value-adding activity, Russian roulette players would contribute disproportionately to global welfare.”
They must watch a lot of stupidity-inducing Fox. A lot...

Friday, November 25, 2011

What John McCain means

When John McCain praises Jon Kyl as "a decent & principled man," he means that Kyl is not a bigger asshole than the usual run of unreasonable, unreasoning, and impossible-to-reason-with Republicans.

Uncle Duke monetizes chaos

The vulture feeding off a carcass fills a vital ecological niche.

Even as NATO bombed Libya, the Americans offered to make Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi their client — and charge him a hefty consulting fee. Their price: a $10 million retainer before beginning negotiations with Colonel Qaddafi’s representatives.
And how is it that Republican Montana gubernatorial candidate Neil Livingstone is initially identified in the blandest terms as a "Washington terrorism expert"?

This sort of capitalist is loyal only to the almighty dollar. (Note: They're not all Republicans.)

Exhibit A, Darth Cheney

Anne Laurie on Balloon Juice:

[T]he Republican Party has not recently been stolen by a batch of half-witted bigots, xenophobes, authoritarians, and garden-variety grifters. They’ve had control of the GOP wheel for more than 40 years, at least since Nixon’s triumphant accession to the Oval Office with the help of many of these same fine Heritage Institute ‘statesmen’. They were bad people when they were interning during Watergate, they were bad people when they used Reagan as a figurehead to start the full-scale authoritarian takeover and banana-republic-style looting of our national treasury, and they remain Bad People in Charge even unto this very day.
It's just that the vicious racists who used to be Southern Democrats have joined their particular brand of reactionary wingnuttery to the GOP.

Margin of victory

When you're fighting a class war against freeloading workers, this has to warm the cockles of your heart:

The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).

Dangling modifier

Hope and change come in fitful bursts, followed by reaction and retrenchment. As it is with Occupy Wall Street, so it is in Bahrain:

Of all the uprisings in the Arab world, Bahrain managed to end the unrest, largely by using coercive force. Tensions between Sunnis and Shiites flared, and a country that was once one of the region’s most cosmopolitan is now one of its most divided.
and in Egypt:
[T]he military council began spelling out plans to carve out permanent political powers and protection from civilian oversight under the next constitution. Those efforts exploded after the government used force to clear a small protest camp from Tahrir Square last Saturday, amid mounting unrest across the country.
A few observations, not too taxing for those of you just in or headed for another tryptophan coma:
  • Our reporters know to cheer for the Arab spring protesters and against the Occupiers. Why is that?
  • Go back three centuries and substitute Protestant and Catholic for Sunni and Shiite, and you get Christian Europe with all it sectarian conflict - and the motivation for our separation of church and state.
  • A despotism's power grows out of the barrel of a gun - or the nozzle of a can of pepper spray.
  • Monarchy is never legitimate.
  • I'm a liberal, so it's not nearly as easy to scare me as your average Fox-watching conservamaton, but Islamist co-option of the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Arab spring scares me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Not called the authorities for nothing

I had thought of collecting the videos of police violence against the Occupy movement. Joshua Holland at AlterNet beat me to it. Beat. Ha.

There are sobering lessons to learn here:

  • The police choose violence to enforce order.
  • The police serve power, not the citizens.
  • The police don't give a shit about Constitutional rights, only about authority.
  • The police handle teabaggers much more gently than they handle Occupiers. Teabaggers can carry firearms without being beaten. Unthreatening Occupiers get attacked for their resolute non-violence.
  • The police are trying to provoke a violent response from protesters - and sometimes they succeed.
  • Power is restrained by ever-present video, not fully but often. A few cops are too stupid to realize their actions are going to wind up on YouTube. The rest mill around, unsure what to do.
  • The big media, who should be all over these videos because they're vivid TV, mostly aren't playing them and will never play them in the sort of heavy-handed rotation Fox uses when it can illustrate one of its spin points. (You can bet they'll loop - out of context - any protester violence).
  • Of course, we already knew that big media serve their corporate masters.
  • Net neutrality is essential to showing the world what's true. A corporate-controlled Internet would be a censored Internet - hey, those crummy little videos use too much of their precious bandwidth.
Can you imagine how different the Vietnam War protests would have been with guerrilla video? Or the coal country union wars?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Palace guard

Click image for full Rob Rogers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoon.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wall Street two-step

So often, a Democrat will be suspected of a crime, and wingnuts will appear to say, "Na na, what do you think now?" As if to say, see, you say Republicans should be locked up, but now it's one of yours!

My answer, which they routinely ignore, is that it's fine with me to prosecute guys like Jon Corzine, irrespective of the fact that he's a Democrat.

This disconnect between some wingers and me is that I don't have double standards for members of my tribe. Because they do, they expect me to.

They project every one of their own immoralities onto liberals. We've learned enough not to project our decencies onto them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Tiffany's of historians

If it looks like a bribe, it probably is. With Newt Gingrich (R-money-grubbing), who's spent his entire career in corrupt self-enrichment, that probability is even higher, approaching one. Freddie Mac paid him more than $1.6 million as a historian? You've got to be kidding me. Here's a guy who couldn't get tenure at a third-rate rural state college (for which I'm sure he blames liberals, but which I regard as proof the tenure system can work).

Gingrich "explains" this obvious influence-peddling gig:

“I offered them advice on precisely what they didn’t do,” he said at the debate. “My advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, ‘We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do.’ As I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible.”
What a load of bullshit! He even walked back the lie the next day:
“I have no idea what the dates were,” he said, according to the Web site. “I offered strategic advice over a period of time. I did no lobbying of any kind. And I’m very happy to offer people strategic advice if they come and ask my advice.”

He's simply manufacturing lies to cover his corpulent ass. It's a lot easier to give glib answers if you can just make shit up. Hired historians don't get to make policy recommendations. They don't even meet the leadership.

Gingrich claims Freddie Mac needed his strategic advice and, lo and behold, that advice perfectly anticipated today's Republican claim that private lenders making the bad "innovative" loans couldn't possibly be at fault - since the market is purr-fect - so it had to be 30-year-old anti-redlining law that caused the meltdown. Yet now he doesn't know whether he gave that advice before or after the meltdown.

Even beforehand, the advice would have been worthless in wingnut fantasy land. If the big bad government was really forcing bad loans, Freddie would have been fully aware of that fact - and of Newt's inability, as a historian, to change it. Unless of course he was lobbying...

Gringrich is a sociopathic pig grown fat at the right-wing hog trough. At least Michele Bachmann has principles.

A level playing field is too much to ask

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mayor Orwell

Michael Bloomberg (I-Wall Street) has cleared Zucotti Park with the following bullshit rationale:

“The law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day,” the mayor said in the statement. “Ever since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with” because the protesters had taken over the park, “making it unavailable to anyone else.”
In other, less Orwellian words, the wrong people were availing themselves of the park. Further, they were using all of the park, and of course the terms of the law require using less than all of it. It's right there in black and white!

Plus, up is down.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Multiple guess

One of these candidates will be the Republican nominee. That alone should fill us all with existential dread.
Click image for full Tom Tomorrow/DailyKos cartoon.

If only this were hyperbole

The Republican Party has a fetish for crazy.  Hunter nails it on DailyKos:

Make no mistake here, I haven't ever forgiven you for Bush. Listening to that dimwit speak for five minutes should have convinced you what a mistake it would be to let that barely functioning manchild play with the entire free world like it was his personal Jenga game, and his first few public appearances were when you and I parted ways for-freaking-ever. But Perry, now? Rick Perry, who is the dumber version of George Bush? The less principled version? The less eloquent version? If that's who your leading pundits wanted in the race, if that's the be-all, end-all conservative savior (emphasis on the end-all, I guess), then who is it going to be after eight more years? A goddamn vase full of geraniums?

It makes you look bad. It makes you look dumb. It makes you look like, well, like a party so thoroughly detached from their mental capacities that they would actually look up to a guy like Rick Perry as being their brain trust.
I could have quoted any of a dozen other paragraphs. (But not geraniums - too gay - instead a barn full of tobacco.)

Ron Burgundy without his earpiece

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Karl Rove on an earwig to Duhbya is now even more plausible. But Rick Perry doesn't have Rove.

There is no deficit

Republicans gave it all to the rich. All of it. Not the slightly rich, the very very very rich. Trillions of dollars. They still have it, spoils of their completely successful class war against the rest of us.

The staggering economic inequality that has led Americans across the country to take to the streets in protest is no accident. It has been fueled to a large extent by the GOP's all-out war on behalf of the rich. Since Republicans rededicated themselves to slashing taxes for the wealthy in 1997, the average annual income of the 400 richest Americans has more than tripled, to $345 million – while their share of the tax burden has plunged by 40 percent. Today, a billionaire in the top 400 pays less than 17 percent of his income in taxes – five percentage points less than a bus driver earning $26,000 a year. "Most Americans got none of the growth of the preceding dozen years," says Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. "All the gains went to the top percentage points."
The rich didn't use it for anything the Republicans promised. They didn't create jobs. They didn't invest in anything hard, only in the Wall Street casino. They didn't even trickle it down on us.
The stimulus argument was lousy economics. The previous two decades, after all, had demonstrated that "trickle-down" tax cuts don't juice the economy – they create bubbles and balloon deficits. Proponents pointed to Reagan's original tax cut in 1981, claiming it had spurred economic growth. But that is nothing more than "urban legend," [David] Stockman says. The economy "did recover after 1982," he says, "but mainly because the Federal Reserve defeated inflation."
When money is involved, every single Republican legislative action for many years has had as its purpose the enrichment of the already rich. They want plutocracy.
The deal privileged gambling on stocks over working for a living: The tax rate the richest pay on their long-term capital gains was slashed by 25 percent, while their rate on dividends fell by almost 60 percent. The move not only fueled speculation of Wall Street, it further widened the considerable gap between rich and poor. "It was a very destructive combination to have a national economic policy that stimulated debt-financed capital gains and then taxed the windfall at the lowest rate imaginable," says Stockman. "That contributed, clearly, to the growing imbalance in household income and wealth."

And it's a complete and total lie that beggaring the middle class to stimulate the wealthy provides any benefits whatsoever to the economy as a whole or to the beggared - and buggered - middle class.
As with the offshore profits, the banks used the money to line the pockets of executives and investors – while doing little to speed the recovery of Main Street. "We gave an enormous subsidy to these financial institutions, and they have not returned it to the American people," said Warren. "The administration could have said, 'All right, take this and multiply it throughout the economy.' But Paulson never made that a condition of taking the money."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Securitization Excuse Confabulator

We live in a nation where financial crimes are not punished enough to deter them in the slightest:

So to recap: a unit of Citigroup, having repeatedly violated the same laws and having repeatedly violated the SEC’s own cease-and-desist orders and injunctions, is dragged into court one more time for committing a massive fraud.

And what does the SEC do? It doesn’t even bring up Citi’s history of ignoring the SEC’s own order, slaps the bank with a fractional fine, refuses to target any individuals, allows the bank to walk away without an admission of wrongdoing, and puts a cherry on the top by describing the $160 million heist not as a crime, but as unintentional negligence.
And it's not as though Citigroup is the only home of thoroughly institutionalized fraud. All of its competing syndicates do it too:
According to a New York Times analysis, nearly all of the biggest financial companies — Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America among them — have settled fraud cases by promising that they would never again violate an antifraud law, only to have the S.E.C. conclude they did it again a few years later.
Time to turn this over to the Organized Crime Task Force and pursue a few juicy RICO cases.

(h/t John Cole at Balloon Juice)

My hypocrisy knows no bounds

I'm employed, yet I support unemployment benefits.

I'm white, yet I support civil rights for minorities.

I'm a man, yet I support civil rights for women.

I'm not pregnant, yet I support abortion rights.

I'm not hungry, yet I support food stamps.

I'm not retired, yet I support Social Security and Medicare.

I'm not stupid, yet I support education.

I'm an atheist, yet I support freedom of religion.

What a hypocrite!

Seriously?  Conservatives claim Elizabeth Warren is a hypocrite because she has achieved wealth but still advocates for the middle class?!?

“I don’t begrudge her own personal wealth. I begrudge her hypocrisy of trying to play the demagogue against those who have achieved and who have created wealth,” said Rick Manning of the conservative group Americans for Limited Government.

You'd think they would be celebrating her. Instead, they've gone fucking soft in the head and believe they're permitted to redefine words however they choose to score points with their ignoramus base.

They're not so much post-modern as they have all the ethics of the advertising industry and, like it, are paid to repeat lies so long and so often that they start to sound plausible to the weak-minded.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lying for money

I hear the big lie repeated by weak-minded bullshit-suckers.  This big lie:

Wall Street has its own version: Its Big Lie is that banks and investment houses are merely victims of the crash. You see, the entire boom and bust was caused by misguided government policies. It was not irresponsible lending or derivative or excess leverage or misguided compensation packages, but rather long-standing housing policies that were at fault.

Indeed, the arguments these folks make fail to withstand even casual scrutiny. But that has not stopped people who should know better from repeating them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Situational ethics

Click image for full Rob Tornoe/Media Matters cartoon.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why not the worst?

Charles Pierce channels my anger:

By any conventional measure, and entirely through their own fault, the Republicans have produced a field of candidates so utterly comical, so completely devoid of conventional political merit, that the field itself is a strong evidence for the elimination of the Republican party. ... This isn't a primary campaign field. It's a condo-board election at the Hell Country Estates. ...

[T]he Democratic party has failed utterly in its duty to the country to force the Republicans to regain their sanity or die as a political entity. It has failed utterly even to try. What we see now in the Republican primary field is a result of that failure. It's bad enough that the Republicans will pay no price for embarrassing themselves this way.

Ain't socialism if there's killin' involved

Deposit, no return

Click image for full Paul Fell/Artizans Syndicate cartoon.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yet wingnuts think class jealousy is the problem

The wealthy say that spongers, moochers, and leeches are stealing their rightfully huge share of the GDP. Here's the truth: Unless you're in the top 1%, your share of the GDP hasn't gone up. After taxes.

I guess we now know who the spongers, moochers, and leeches really are. In my dreams.

What the graphs don't say: The bottom 80% did see income some growth, but nearly all of it came from the meteoric rise of two-income households.

By the way, don't forget where these quintiles divide.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Poll-tested in every instance



Even Republicans can tell...

Mitt Romney's message people, I would guess, poll-test his convenient position changes. What they fail to poll-test is his credibility after switching yet again.

(h/t Rachel Maddow)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Who do you think I work for?

Click image for full Tim Eagan/Press Democrat cartoon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Get out your pitchforks


Corporations - actually, not so much corporations as their plundering executives - are screwing you over. If you don't realize this, it's a good bet you're a middle class wingnut who believes all that Ayn Rand, job creator, the wealthy have it sooo bad bullshit.

The C-level greedheads are so avidly grabbing theirs that they can't think long-term. Eventually, a mob will show up at their gated communities, and it won't be pretty.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Something for the end of net neutrality to stomp out

Ideological purity

Click image for full Angelo Lopez/Tr-City Voice/ Everyday Citizen cartoon.

Taking sides


Click image for full MStreeter/Savannah Morning News cartoon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

So-called Democrats

The millionaires won again yesterday. Who were the so-called Democrats who joined the Republican filibuster of Obama's jobs bill?

One of them was, of course, Joe Lieberman, who hasn't been a Democrat for...ever.

I hope Barack Obama and Harry Reid regret their failure to send him packing to the Republican caucus when they had the chance in January 2009 - to repay his betrayal with the back of their hand.

The others were Ben Nelson, always reliable voting for a Republican filibuster, and Mark Pryor. I refuse to put a D next to their names.

Meta-question: Why did I have to visit a third site before finding who the turncoats were? Don't journalists find the question who an important question any more?

Running against Castro, when Batista was the villain

Marco Rubio's parents fled Cuba, not because Fidel Castro and communism were too oppressive but because Fulgencio Batista's militaristic crony capitalism failed to provide economic opportunity.

[A] review of documents — including naturalization papers and other official records — reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 2 1/2 years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.
Yet Rubio is an advocate for the Republican Party's militaristic crony capitalism.

I suspect that Rubio's teabagger views illustrate the power of the social norm he grew up in - a community filled with ideological Cubano exiles. He learned to hate the things they hated and to love the things they loved.

And he filled in his biography with an origin myth to justify those emotions. Factual or not, those emotions are what mattered, not reality.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fox, F-O-X

Just skimming along in another Media Matters takedown of first degree Murdoch, I found this nugget of bullshit:

The Wall Street Journal's current arrangement with CNBC -- wherein CNBC reportedly receives advanced [sic] access to certain original financial reporting from WSJ and all Dow Jones business outlets as well as other perks -- expires in 2012.

While many observers assumed that Fox Business would inevitably form a partnership with WSJ once the CNBC deal expired -- News Corp. owns both Fox and the WSJ -- Journal managing editor Robert Thomson told Media Matters that partnering with FBN would "not necessarily" happen.
Fox's first priority at all times and in all ways is the Fox brand. Whether or not the medium is the message, the brand is the message for Fox. At every level of the Fox media empire, pimping the brand comes first - witness the constant tie-ins and mentions on sports broadcasts. Pimping the brand comes even before fellation of conservatives.

Why Republicans pack the house

Another Republican doesn't want an open town hall meeting. That's because they understand these meetings as theater for the cameras, not for the attendees. The people who go and ask questions or simply listen are extras in the production of stage-managed news.

Democrats may believe that facing flesh and blood voters of all political stripes exhibits their virtues in a democracy. Republicans know that having nameless people shout down Democrats in public perversely harms the Democrats. Even if those nameless shouters are obvious teabagger wingnuts.

So Republicans pack the house so that they can pack the House. It worked in 2010.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Republican humor

Trent Franks (R-shoot somebody) has a problem with his mouth:



He can't keep his first thought - guns! - from coming straight out.

Dreams of...

... American greatness.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Escargot cult

I only eat slugs well salted.

“We hope this will help to remind others to avoid eating raw slugs,” the moderator, Eskild Petersen, said.

Yet it moves

Life will be synthesized from plainly inorganic compounds. Soon.

The genetic material is the harder problem; the chemistry is just more complicated. The puzzle has been understanding how a molecule like RNA can get replicated before there were enzymes and all this fancy biological stuff, protein machinery, that we have now in our cells.
What will the anti-Enlightenment fundamentalists say then? They'll be in denial. Maybe they'll even be in a political position to suppress expression of the truth. But not the truth itself.

Enemies of the state

Democrats may be learning disabled where it comes to the politics of governance. But Republicans spend their entire lives in denial of reality:

In the real world, recent events were a devastating refutation of the free-market orthodoxy that has ruled American politics these past three decades. Above all, the long crusade against financial regulation, the successful effort to unravel the prudential rules established after the Great Depression on the grounds that they were unnecessary, ended up demonstrating — at immense cost to the nation — that those rules were necessary, after all.

But down the rabbit hole, none of that happened. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because of runaway private lenders like Countrywide Financial. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because Wall Street pretended that slicing, dicing and rearranging bad loans could somehow create AAA assets — and private rating agencies played along. We didn’t find ourselves in a crisis because “shadow banks” like Lehman Brothers exploited gaps in financial regulation to create bank-type threats to the financial system without being subject to bank-type limits on risk-taking.

No, in the universe of the Republican Party we found ourselves in a crisis because Representative Barney Frank forced helpless bankers to lend money to the undeserving poor.

Lessons for Democrats

Hey Democrats! You claim that you're reality-based. When it comes to policy, you have a good argument. Sometimes you're even on top of electoral politics. Well, not John Kerry. Or Al Gore.

But you're definitely on the short bus when it comes to the politics of governance.

"Politics of governance? What's that? I got elected, now it's time to govern."

Don't be a moron. President Obama has completely failed to use the bully pulpit of the Presidency to advance his policy goals. He's not the first. Now that Obama is speaking directly to the people - with one eye on 2012 - lots of us who are really liberals have doubts about his sincerity. We knew he was a moderate. But maybe he's really comfortable with his center-right reflexes. Maybe Tim Geithner and Larry Summers are the real Obama.

Democrats also continue to expect - after three decades of contrary experience - that the media are the least interested in what's true. They're not. They're interested in the game show of politics. They gave up being Alex Trebek years ago. Instead, the narrative drama of "Quiz Show" is the media's target. Reality TV!

How long will liberal pundits have to etch the media's malfeasance into sharp relief? As long as entertainment corporations pay reporters, we'll continue to get infotainment. The reality is:

To make it clear: requiring 60 votes for everything is new, and it is overwhelmingly a Republican tactic.
Today's journalists don't care.

Republican Senators have completely abused the filibuster. Anything they can use to increase their power, they'll use. Custom? Comity? They don't give a shit. They think it's weak not to abuse their opponents. It was total pollyannish naivete that led Democrats to ignore this inevitable reality when they took power in 2009.

Why Democrats have failed to learn that Republicans will smile in your face and stab you in the back is beyond me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Can't say I blame them


Click image for full Mike Keefe/Denver Post cartoon.

Booby trap

Herman Cain is an asshole. That's why Republicans are dating him. They won't marry him, but for the American right, being an asshole isn't an unfortunate personality defect. It's an ideological necessity. It's a point of pride.

That's the way it has to be when your economic program is, "Tough shit. You're on your own." Cain goes another step, to wild applause from the fuck you caucus, blaming unemployment on the unemployed as if a sailor becalmed were responsible for the lack of wind, as if there were no larger forces affecting our economic lives.

Oh, and by the way, the middle class aren't paying enough taxes.

Cain also doesn't know much outside the pizza business. He doesn't know what Palestinians mean when they demand the right of return. He doesn't realize that we have no diplomatic relations with Taiwan - and haven't since Nixon. He doesn't realize that the Great Wall of China was an expensive failure.

So it makes perfect sense that Cain would call for fortifying our 2000-mile southern border with an electrified fence that would at least injure and maybe kill anyone trying to get across the border illegally.

[W]e need to secure the border. How? Build a tall fence, make it electrified and a sign on the other side -- in Spanish and English -- warning of injury.

He doesn't realize how easily the fence could be sabotaged - would that bring down the power grid in the Southwest? How many deer would the coyotes have to drive into the world's biggest bug-zapper before Cain realized it wouldn't work?

Maybe that's why Cain backed off and lamely claimed that his mojado-zapper was a joke. Seriously, he knows that wingnuts won't care that "joke" is the all-purpose alibi of conservatives who show their ugly sides a little too graphically. And they claim liberals have no sense of humor. I think they're projecting again.

Update (10/17): Okaaay, not a joke after all. So, in summary, stupid vicious idea, bullshit excuse, no sense of humor, and flip-flop. Cain hits the quadfecta of lame politics.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cain't git no satisfaction

Herman Cain wants your taxes to go up so that the wealthy - who already have everything - can pay less:

The key point is that each of the nines is a tax that would more or less fully fall on middle-income families, who in addition to paying 9 percent of their income in taxes would find their living costs 9 percent higher and their wages 9 percent lower. That’s a 27 percent tax, way above the average federal taxes now paid by middle-income households.

Monday, October 10, 2011

How to deal with non-negotiable opposition

The Obama administration, based on hope and naivete, neither of which constitutes a plan, missed its chance to make the great recession milder and shorter. Ezra Klein tiptoes right up to the argument that missing the chance is politically inevitable:

The tendency thus far has been to look at these crises in terms of the identifiable economic factors that make them different from typical recessions. But perhaps the better approach is to look at the political factors that make them turn out the same, that stop governments from doing enough even when they have sworn to err on the side of doing too much.

These crises have a sort of immune system. It is never possible for the political system to do enough to stop them at the outset, as it is never quite clear how bad they are. Even if it were, the system is ill-equipped to take action at that scale. The actors comfort themselves with the thought that if they need to do more, they can do it later. And, for now, the fact that this is the largest rescue package anyone has ever seen has to be worth something.
Paul Krugman, commenting on Klein's insightful piece, wants President Obama to start even now to make the case for more stimulus, for his jobs bill, for muscular intervention in the economy:
[T]he White House was weak and confused in the face of a political and economic debacle, when it should have gone all out.

And you know what? It should still go all out.
I think the chance has been missed. Permanently. I think Klein is right:
With something extraordinary that is nevertheless not enough, the economy deteriorates, and the government sees its solutions discredited and its political standing weakened by the worsening economic storm. That keeps it from doing more.
Any use Obama can make of the bully pulpit now would be welcome but would be strictly political. The Republican plan - starting November 5, 2008 - was massive resistance.

There was only one way to deal with that, since the Democrat's nominal 60-vote majority in the Senate was a castle built on sand. That was for Obama to call up Harry Reid and to tell him to tell Joe Lieberman to fuck off, to kill the filibuster, and to ram his program through.

That's what Republicans would have done. No quarter.

Then the President would have needed to stay on the campaign trail to fulfill his ambition to be President of all Americans. He needed to appeal directly, not through the GOP, whose leadership only cared about destroying the Obama Presidency, like the Clinton Presidency before it.

The failure of the Obama administration was not inevitable. It was not doctrinal. They just weren't ruthless enough in the politics of governance. They thought governing would be about rational compromise with loyal but tractable opponents. It wasn't, as they should have been able to see from the start.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

There's something happening here

Testify, Paul!

What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.

So who’s really being un-American here? Not the protesters, who are simply trying to get their voices heard. No, the real extremists here are America’s oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth.
Plutocrats are so habituated to thinking only a quarter ahead they can't see that their destruction of the American economy and their refusal to lift a well-manicured pinkie toward its restoration leads toward Madame Defarge. Liberals want to prevent revolution, yet the moneyed interests can't even tell how to protect their own long-term interests.

Occupy Wall Street isn't carrying pitchforks. That won't always be true. Can we please step back from the abyss?

Scepter of the new aristocracy

 Click image for full Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press cartoon.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fact-based economic rejoinder - lalalala



Note that P.J. O'Rourke has nothing but lame jokes. Nonetheless, he'll get attaboys from the wingnuts.

Who's not in the 99%


If your household makes less than half a million dollars a year, you're in the 99%. For all the rest of you, congratulations. Now please fire your lobbyists and pay your share.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Everyone helped everyone



Larger than Dunkirk - in nine hours.

(h/t Mario Vittone)

Sorry, I wasn't paying attention



Proof that when Palin said she was reading "all of them" she was in fact reading none of them.

One terrible fate avoided



How many Republicans are still running? Does this cat have enough lives to survive?

Lots more word salad Sarah at Talking Points Memo.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Massive resistance again

The Tea Party "movement" is yet another case of Southern sabotage of American democracy:

[T]oday's Tea Party movement ... should be called the Fort Sumter movement, after the Southern attack on the federal garrison in Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12-13, 1861, that began the Civil War. Today's Tea Party movement is merely the latest of a series of attacks on American democracy by the white Southern minority, which for more than two centuries has not hesitated to paralyze, sabotage or, in the case of the Civil War, destroy American democracy in order to get their way.
The Fort Sumter movement of course has adherents in all states, but mainly the Confederacy actually elects them.
Contradicting the mainstream media narrative that the Tea Party is a new populist movement that formed spontaneously in reaction to government bailouts or the Obama administration, the facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Knowing our place

Click image for full Mike Luckovich/Atlanta Journal-Constitution cartoon.

This is convenient?

Click image for full Rob Rogers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Full of passionate intensity

The virtue of faith:

So, sadly, I don't think the execution of Troy Davis will have much effect on the national "conversation" about the morality of capital punishment or the glaring flaws in America's system of justice. Because while it's very reasonable to argue that "we" should only kill someone if we're really, really, really sure they did it, the modern American conservative is really, really, really sure about everything.
As in, not a virtue.

If only lightning strikes would demand photo ID

Then no one would ever be struck by a bolt from the blue! According to Republicans, whose talent at making wedge issues out of tiny little runny streams of bullshit would be a great asset to America if turned toward productive uses...

Nine cases in 400,000,000 votes. In other words, waaaaaay less than the known error rate of voting technologies. So low as to be undetectable in the best measuring apparatus for almost anything other than research laboratory chemistry or physics. Far better than the manufacturing control of any process in any factory in any country in the world - even Japan.

For this, Republicans are willing to put laws in place that will definitely prevent thousands or tens of thousands of legal votes in every state-wide election forever. Ya think they want to suppress voting?

How could higher savings be bad?

Paul Krugman puts the pipsqueak stimulus in context:

[C]onsumers suddenly increased their savings. ...

[Y]ou have a negative shock on the order of 6 percent of GDP.

Against this you had a stimulus bill of $800 billion — except $100 billion of that was AMT extension that was going to happen anyway, another $200 billion was other tax cuts of dubious effectiveness, so you were left with $500 billion of spending, spread over more than 2 years — maybe 1.5 percent of GDP or less.

It just wasn’t big enough to do the job.
The $1.5 trillion stimulus package - the one that Larry Summers refused even to present to President Obama - and it's Obama's fault for appointing Summers, whose foremost attribute is undeserved arrogance (though he thinks it's brilliance) - would have filled 75% of the demand gap. We wouldn't have 9% unemployment if Obama had taken this case to the people:
  • It's free to borrow money.
  • The best way out of recession is to grow.
  • We're going to build useful infrastructure that we and our children will benefit from for the next 30 to 60 years.
  • This will heal unemployment, which will take much of the pain - and there will be some pain - out of repaying the debt.
The estimable professor forgets to explain why higher savings in face of a recession could possibly be bad. People are tightening their belts in the face of hard times. Rational, careful, conservative (in the good sense).

The paradox of thrift is the textbook example of the fallacy of composition in Keynesian economics. Behavior that's good for an individual or a family makes a recession worse. Money that's saved - not because people suddenly became virtuous but because they are fearful about the future - is money that's not spent. Since it's not spent, businesses have to contract their economic activity. They may be sitting on big profits (sound familiar?), but there's no reason at all for them to build more capacity, much less to hire unemployed workers.

Only the government, acting on behalf of all of us, can break this vicious cycle with deficit spending. And again, borrowing money is as close to free as it has ever been in history.