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.