Sunday, December 16, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Grover Norquist (R-no) threatens massive resistance, not idly but with huge projection of his own wingnut authoritarianism:
NORQUIST: We got lots of things Obama claims to be for, and we will make — we, the Republicans in the House and Senate — will make him actually make those spending restraints, in order to get the continuing resolution out [for] a week, two weeks, a month. Obama will be on a very short leash, fiscally speaking, over the next four years. He’s not gonna have any fun at all. He may decide to go blow up small countries he can’t pronounce because it won’t be any fun to be here, because he won’t be able to spend the kind of cash he was hoping to.This is the radicalism of the right. Norquist has a lot of company in the obstructionist caucus. They're willing to hold America hostage for whatever they want.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
GOHMERT: What was all the rage a year and a half ago? It was the Arab Spring and how wonderful it was! This administration really embraced blowing out Mubarak – yes, do it up by all means – getting rid of Qaddafi, it wasn’t enough to send verbal accolades, this administration sent planes and bombs and support to oust Qaddafi so that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood could take over Libya.You can't make this shit up. Gohmert (R-tertiary rabies) can, but you can't.
There is no one on the left in Congress who is anywhere close to being correspondingly as extreme as Gohmert. He is reliably the craziest man in the House, and his dipshit Texas constituents just reelected him.
I miss Molly Ivins.
Opportunity to shed even more clauses of the social contract...
Monday, November 26, 2012
The wealthy and their corporations whip middle class wingnuts into a frenzy of claims that America is disappearing into a dim socialist future, yet:
The capital gains rate has been steadily eroded since President Ronald Reagan taxed such income equal to wages in the 1980s, and the result has been rising income inequality. A January 2012 study found that low capital gains rates were the biggest driver of American income inequality, which now rivals the levels seen in countries like Ivory Coast and Pakistan. In 2010, the capital gains preference helped the richest 1 percent capture 93 percent of all income gains.In fact, we're disappearing into a dim plutocratic future, in which life for all but the very top is never secure from privation.
There is no visible limit to the greed of the wealthy to slurp up an ever-larger share of the national economy. They don't earn it. They simply have so much already that they can take what they want.
It's really that simple:
[T]he deficit scolds aren’t giving up. Now yet another organization, Fix the Debt, is campaigning for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, even while making lower tax rates a “core principle.” That last part makes no sense in terms of the group’s ostensible mission, but makes perfect sense if you look at the array of big corporations, from Goldman Sachs to the UnitedHealth Group, that are involved in the effort and would benefit from tax cuts. Hey, sacrifice is for the little people.Like private pension funds before them, that's where the money is. You own it, and you should make sure that anyone who covets it for their already grandiose private fortunes does so at risk of being pilloried - or worse.
This is serious, people. The rich want to reduce the rest of us to penury so that we're easier to control and so they can have extra billions they don't need or deserve on top of the billions they already couldn't possibly spend in a dozen lifetimes.
Wingnuts - and, for example, the completely smarmy and duplicitous ad from JPMorganChase on one of the NFL games today - claim that plutocracy is free enterprise. The only thing free about it is the freedom of the moneyed players to lift your bank accounts without any chance of prosecution. Au contraire, they'll be honored as lynchpins of the economy.
Update (11/28): When they keep theirs and arrange for ours to be taken away to avoid paying even a smidgen of their fair share, that's stealing. Eventually, we serfs will rise.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Huge financial institutions thought they could get off Scott-free. Oops.
Now they want to make nice with Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-their worst nightmare).
“They’ll do what big companies always do,” said [David D’Alessandro, former chief executive of John Hancock]. “They’ll say, ‘The election’s over and what contortions do we have to perform to get on her good side?’ I’m sure they’re already figuring out which lobbyists might get in good with her, how to get their chief executives to have breakfast with her.”It's not as though Warren is Che Guevara! Plutocratic fatcats tried during the election to portray her that way, but she is fair-minded, probably already inclined enough to cooperate with legitimate economic and local interests. She understands, if anyone this side of Barney Frank does, that an honest financial services industry is in fact critical to an equity-financed economy.
Warren just believes that banking should be free of extortion, fraud, skimming, and outright theft.
Only a crony capitalist could argue with that.
Friday, November 23, 2012
"An Inconvenient Truth" is an apt description of a huge part of reality as perceived by Republicans:
What was Mr. Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern G.O.P.’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence.Over and over and over again, Republicans rely on propaganda to overcome falsehood. They know they can't win on the empirical truth, so they try to win on bullshit, repetition, and disproven received authority from traditional sources.
As usual, Paul Krugman is right on. Read the whole thing.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Remember when wilding was the new word to scare suburbanites? Remember the screams for revenge? The blood lust to execute these animals? They had gang-raped a passing jogger and beaten their identities out of her mind and into the umbra of amnesia.
Only they hadn't. The prosecution sent them to prison for something they didn't do.
With four other Harlem boys, all of whom refused plea bargains, he was convicted of attacking the jogger and sent to prison. More than a decade later, the convictions of all five were overturned. Another man — a serial rapist and killer who was unknown to any of the five — had convincingly implicated himself as the sole attacker of the jogger. DNA evidence backed his story.I'm not attacking the prosecution. These five defendants confessed, although their confessions weren't really plausible. (Remember, the cops can lie to you when they interrogate you. They can tell you your confession will get you off with probation.)
Justice is hard. Even mere due process is hard. That's why I'm a skeptic about evidence - not a denier, I just need proof.
That's also one reason I'm against the death penalty.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Remember Vietnam? It was a dirty little war that exposed fault lines in American society. Since the Civil Rights movement was going on at the same time, we tend to lump them together as the turmoil of the 1960s. But there are some aspects of the Vietnam anti-war movement that deserve special attention today.
On one hand, during Vietnam, we had the conservatives who thought and said, "My country, right or wrong," and "America, love it or leave it." They meant, shut up and go fight, even in a stupid war. No doubt, they were committed to America, but their idea of the meaning of America was the limited view of an obedient tribalist.
On the other hand, we had liberals (and, yes, radicals) committed to the idea that freedom and democracy could coexist even in a dangerous world. They thought that a bad idea was a bad idea, and the sooner that was exposed, the better. They thought democracy was at its very center concerned with settling in public and by the people what to do, what not to do, and what to stop doing. They knew the difference between the existential threat of the Nazis and the sphere of influence threat of the North Vietnamese communists. In John Kerry's best line (and possibly his only good line), "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
The truth is that we do need people who will go fight without looking for every possible rationalization why whatever conflict is current is a bad war. We also need people who will question every conflict.
Now that President Barack Obama has been reelected, the huge irony is that the same tribalists and their political heirs are beside themselves with the urge to secede. They've completely abandoned "my country, right or wrong," because what they really meant was, "my white, conservative tribe, right or wrong."
In real time, those of us who even contemplated a dovish path on Vietnam, they told to get the hell out. Now that an election didn't go their way, instead of taking their own medicine and, in the extreme, relocating - the way Mitt Rmoney's grandfather did when his sacred polygamy was threatened by secular authorities - they are wailing and gnashing their teeth, threatening to secede again from the Union.
So, even though I didn't sign this citizen-created White House petition, I applaud its in-your-face message to the disloyal secessionists:
You simply cannot be a patriot if you're ready for civil war when you don't get your way.
We can't afford this now, and we never should have afforded it.
Since 1979, nearly a dozen hurricanes and large storms have rolled in and knocked down houses, chewed up sewers and water pipes and hurled sand onto the roads.As the New York Times discovered, Dauphin Island, Alabama, is a spit of sand with real estate under water in the fine tradition of land speculators and fraud:
Yet time and again, checks from Washington have allowed the town to put itself back together.
Across the nation, tens of billions of tax dollars have been spent on subsidizing coastal reconstruction in the aftermath of storms, usually with little consideration of whether it actually makes sense to keep rebuilding in disaster-prone areas.
Dauphin Island is not stable enough to sustain much plant growth, much less homes that aren't houseboats moored to the sand. American taxpayers should not subsidize rebuilding this as if we were King Canute and, worse, unable to learn anything from experience.
Pretty simple: Don't build on barrier beaches unless you can afford to have your property washed away.
And we should learn that Zillow fabulously overstates property values.
Update (11/24): A path less travelled...
[A]t 3 a.m. the next morning, the idea of moving the town woke me up from a sound sleep. I got dressed, went to my office and hammered out a counter-proposal to the Corps: Let us spend the $3.5 million to move the town’s flood prone buildings to higher ground. We’d never ask for federal disaster assistance again.
The Village Board endorsed the idea, but the Corps declined. It was not in the business of moving people; it was in the business of building things and naming them after members of Congress.A calculus like this also pertains to New York City, which will either need vast billions of dollars to create a polder or relocation of low-lying assets or the profligate waste of clean-up and repair funds again and again.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
They call themselves producers, makers, job creators. Occasionally, they are. But they lack the foundation of morality: the ability to hold themselves to the same standards they wish to hold others to.
Don't let the fleeing Republicans trample you. This view of the other half as leeches is a core Republican belief. They've merely learned that they can't speak of it in public. Their true believers will continue to assert it on blogs and comment threads for as long as they have breath.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
European central bankers and the US Republican Party don't understand percentages. It's that basic.
When the New York Times headlines a story, "Despite Push for Austerity, European Debt Has Soared", they should really say, Because of Push for Austerity...
The size of debt only matters when measured against the size of GDP. No matter what you do to the numerator, the denominator is essential to understanding what policy to adopt against debt. Europeans and Republicans are trying to shrink their way out of debt. They are choosing masochism over effective economic policy.
Of course, it's all the little people who do their suffering for them.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Right-wing pundits toe the line far better than left-wing pundits. The wingers know that their job is to provide plausible bullshit for their audiences so that wingnut victories become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Left-wing pundits foolishly think their job is a combination of analysis and opinion, tethered to facts. They fail to realize they're in the propaganda business.
Nate Silver kills them both. He looks at reality with some statistical sophistication, and he and his model learn to reduce new sources of uncertainty. Why no one ever aggregated polls and then simulated outcomes based on their remaining uncertainties is a mystery.
The wingnut pundits whined about Silver's predictions, as they did about all polls. Add one more item to the (overlapping) list of liberally biased areas:
- now pollsters
The Atlantic's pundit scorecard is a wee bit harsh - no reason to flunk the racetrack touts who got it mostly right. Still, we'd be better off if we expected pundits to present arguments, instead of spewing the unreliable contents of their notoriously inaccurate guts. But that would be harder to do, and if there's anything TV pundits hate, it's the slightest whiff of effort.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Thursday, November 1, 2012
The national press corpse (most of it, but obviously not Rachel) eats up theater. The only insight they need to report on it is their subjective impression of how good the production values are. Back in middle school, they already knew enough to write up their feelings about Moby-Dick, so they can surely tell us whether they thought Mitt Rmoney, the charity drive Ahab, performed well in a good show or not. No need to investigate or even question the moral values expressed by his cynical theater, they've got their superficial and banal impressions.
Sure, Rmoney caught a bad break that Hurricane Sandy gave President Barack Obama such an easy chance to look presidential. To be presidential. Never mind how badly past Republicans have muffed that easy chance. But we all know the Mitt is all about ... Mitt, and only his policies are Bushist. You think he's whining behind the scenes about his gosh darn bad luck? While New Jersey and New York recover bodies?
Hurricane Sandy happened. One candidate actually did something constructive. It helped, of course, that he was already President and had that big FEMA club in his hand. The challenger, already on record as favoring the end of FEMA, tried to appear to help - and utterly failed.
Rmoney didn't keep the Potemkin Village of his theatrical presentation hidden. So the press Villagers will probably hit him hard. He unwittingly let the audience in on the seaminess of backstage.
I'm still waiting for the press to care that Rmoney and his kiss-up-piss-down friends are simply and irrefutably wrong, both morally and practically. They don't care what happens to those who suffer disasters, large or small - because they are safe in their gated worlds, looking down on all of us whose lives are so contingent that one natural disaster can leave us homeless.
If we were Galtian heroes, we'd have as many houses as we needed.
In the aftermath of Sandy, scientists are sticking to their guns:
Hesitantly, climate scientists offered an answer this week that is likely to satisfy no one, themselves included. They simply do not know for sure if the storm was caused or made worse by human-induced global warming.This is really pretty simple. Single events are weather. The totality of weather events make up climate. Trends in climate are climate change.
We don't have to confuse the two the way Fox always does in a cold snap - and probably will again this winter.
The trend doesn't look good, though, there's no doubt about that.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The weirdest aspect of extreme Republican opposition to all abortion is that they have succumbed to logic. Once, anti-abortion politicians routinely excepted rape, incest, and the safety of the pregnant woman from their proposed bans on abortion.
We in the women's rights community pointed to this and said, in effect, "See, you don't really believe in the absolute right of the fetus to be born." We thought this was a deft reductio ad absurdum. If they would just admit that the fetus could be aborted in certain circumstances, which they already had done, they could not claim any absolute right of the fetus to birth.
As we had hoped and expected, the GOP came around to our premise.
But they reject our conclusion - the conclusion we thought their humane moral intuition would require - that at least there had to be a balancing of principles such as Roe v. Wade solomonically outlined. Maybe there's a better balance to be found, we had thought, maybe viability is only a contingent rule of thumb. But we were sure that the living, breathing woman standing in front of them would convince them that our less black-and-white view of what constitutes life would win out.
Boy, were we wrong.
Instead, ever more beholden to the most fanatical Christian fundamentalists, Republicans concluded that the woman should be indentured to the fetus. Not just if she had erred, not just if her birth control had failed, but also if a monstrous moral wrong, rape or incest, committed against her had led to her pregnancy. God came in at the instant of conception - whenever in the precise dance of fertilization the fundamentalists decide that is - with the new zygote's fully formed, weightless, immortal soul, and that tiny piece of metaphysics outweighed the woman's self.
This is how they choose a blastula over a woman controlling her own uterus.
Monday, October 29, 2012
'Cause if Mitt Rmoney has his way, some "entrepreneur" will rip you off for food and water after every natural disaster. Profiteers, man, the new ruling class.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
What do the wealthy want?
To run everything, even your vote.
I was canvassing the other day for a local candidate and won a vote from a contractor with a Scott Brown (R-image only) bumper sticker on his truck. Why was he receptive?
His main customer, a big real estate guy, put the sticker there without asking, and my voter didn't feel he could possibly remove it and keep his contract.
Here in Massachusetts, real estate interests have gone all-in for Brown. Business properties everywhere are littered with so many lawn signs that they should come with a Burma-Shave punch line.
I think they won't be satisfied until they reinflate the bubble and drag us all into the next financial panic.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Getting a totally moronic bigot to spout lies when he's not spouting slurs...
Patriarca also appears to call President Obama a “filthy corrupt slimy piece of shit,” a “muslim illegal alien commie douchebag,” First Lady Michelle Obama “the first Wookie,” Obama campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter “a lying KHUNT,” MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell a “Khunt,” and DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz a “sleazeball,” and “a stupid khunt.”Lying about Elizabeth Warren's work on asbestos...
Warren’s version of the case has been publicly backed by several attorneys representing the asbestos victims, as well as leaders of an asbestos workers’ union.Going unremittingly negative...
“[Brown]’s flat out misrepresenting the facts,” Francis C. Boudrow, business manager for the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Union, Local No. 6 told the Boston Globe. “It’s offensive to all these people who’ve lost lives” to asbestos-related illness, he said.
Brown determined to run as a not-particularly-bright evening drive-time AM radio host. He latched onto the nothingburger of Warren's Indian ancestry and went into it all the way back to his molars. He wouldn't shut up about it. Alternately, he tried to make an issue out of the fact that Warren had worked for companies going through bankruptcy, including Travelers Insurance, which was dealing with the whopping awards granted to the people whom the asbestos industry had poisoned and killed. This might have worked — to understand what Warren did required a knowledge of bankruptcy law beyond most people who are not Elizabeth Warren — except that Warren marshalled the lawyers for the plaintiffs in those suits, and the surviving members of the victims' families, and they all went very public about how much Warren's work had helped them and their families. Some of them appeared in a very powerful television commercial called "Ashamed," in which they criticized Brown for politicizing their private tragedies in such a reckless way. That, people could understand.Who knew a Republican would need to work so hard to consolidate the asshole vote? And sayonara to that nice guy image he had somehow created out of undeserved media adoration.
How many Scott Brown supporters decry the lack of civility in politics as they put his signs in the yards of their $2 million houses?
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Some lenders are aggressively pitching loans to seniors who cannot afford the fees associated with them, not to mention the property taxes and maintenance. Others are wooing seniors with promises that the loans are free money that can be used to finance long-coveted cruises, without clearly explaining the risks. Some widows are facing eviction after they say they were pressured to keep their name off the deed without being told that they could be left facing foreclosure after their husbands died.In a market characterized by asymmetrical information, the layering of the industry allows conscienceless, high pressure salesmen to fool their marks into taking on more risk, without the constraints of putting their own money at risk.
Then again, the secondary market for mortgages is filled with players who are just as savvy as the high pressure brokers. These investors know their interests are protected by foreclosure, so they don't care if the mortgage is sound for its intended purpose. Win-win!
Maybe it's always been this way.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Where have political reporters been? Colbert asks (most of) my question: If Mitt Rmoney's tax plan is really revenue neutral for the 1% because it closes their loopholes, what difference does it make?
The rest of my question: How does it stimulate the economy?
Saturday, October 13, 2012
The Taliban know that every girl who learns to think and every father who teaches his daughter to think, subverts the backwardness and evil of fundamentalist Islam. Thinking is a threat to their fervently chosen ignorance. The Taliban are more than willing to kill in defense of their radical refusal to grow into liberal society.
Sirajuddin Ahmad, the spokesman for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, said that Ms. Yousafzai became a target because she had been “brainwashed” into making anti-Taliban statements by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai.This reminds me Kurtz's apologia in "Apocalypse Now":
“We warned him several times to stop his daughter from using dirty language against us, but he didn’t listen and forced us to take this extreme step,” he said.
Both father and daughter remain on the Taliban’s list of intended victims, he said.
I remember when I was with Special Forces... seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn't know what I wanted to do!Kurtz's eventual response was a descent into the heart of darkness, into monstrous depravity, into insane homicide.
What should our response be? Could we retain our moral character, retain our judgement, which Kurtz called our defeat, and nonetheless issue a secular fatwa that anyone who harms Malala Yousafzai or her father Ziauddin will be subject to a U.S. lethal finding?
Moderation needs space and time and tolerance to grow. Extremists of all stripes know this and murder moderates. Would it benefit moderates to exact a deadly cost from the extremists, or would it simply drive others into their arms?
America is already using drones for targeted assassination as a tool of war, if not statecraft, despite a long-standing inclination not to - in reaction to out-of-control spy agencies during the Cold War. Israel has used assassination. Killing the guilty, the enemy, the vicious murderer of your children has visceral appeal, and there's often no civil authority in these cases. Has that been for the good or the bad? It's hard to tell.
It's hard to imagine our government could responsibly manage vengeance orders, when it can't manage a just civilian death penalty. It can't even manage political asylum very well.
But I know that I wish Sirajuddin Ahmad dead. The shooters who have gravely wounded Malala, I wish dead. Their commanders, dead.
Traditional war-making has proven a very poor tool to accomplish those just deaths without a mortgage of further deaths uncounted. This reasoning is how liberals like me get to law as the best tool to accomplish punishment of the guilty. It lacks the immediacy of gunning down your enemies, but it lasts better.
What Mitt Rmoney wants you to trust him about:
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Those great employment numbers for September? Don't believe them.
No, there's no dark conspiracy to make President Obama look good. That's another zombie lie out of the feverish and fact-immune rationalization machines that wingnut brains are. It's just that the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers are too imprecise to justify celebration:
These numbers are always tremendously volatile, but the reasons are statistical, not political. The volatility arises because the numbers are based on a tiny survey with a margin of error of 400,000. Every month there are wild swings that no one takes at face value.So:
- The main signal is there in the data, but it's very noisy due to inherent uncertainty in a small survey.
- There may be an underlying longitudinal change in seasonal behavior that seasonal adjustment models simply haven't yet caught up with.
Update: Paul Krugman believes this jobs report is a return to trend:
[T]here is real if modest improvement over the past year. Also, the September numbers looks not like an aberration but like a return to trend from what looks like noise in the data over the previous couple of months.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
There's only one thing that Mitt Rmoney has been dead solid consistent on: Rich people should pay lower taxes.
Most analysts continue to parrot the wrong prescription for economic woes, at home and abroad:
The fact that Spanish public pensions are not only off limits to the budget knife but also are being enhanced, is a reminder of one reason that European debt and deficit problems have proved so difficult to resolve.
Only Greece, under duress and at a point where the move may be coming too late to salvage the government’s finances, seems prepared to risk the consequences of severe pension cutting.The real crisis is not debt - although it's a long-term problem. The real crisis is:
In Spain, pensions have become a lifeline. With unemployment at 25 percent, and even higher among young people, many Spaniards now rely on pension-drawing parents and grandparents to support them. Economists estimate that up to 1.7 million of Spain’s 16 million households have no salary earners.and:
Of course, as many economists would note, such a reduction in Greek public spending is likely only to compound an economic decline in which gross domestic product shrank 25 percent over the past five years.These countries are in full-blown economic depression, yet their governments and their bankers continue to urge penury and worse on people who did not cause the debt crisis.
Europeans should be in the streets, should topple their governments. Americans should choose a better path, one that grows first, then reduces debt. Paul Krugman gets it, why not the rest of the New York Times?
(Note to American conservatrolls: You think Fannie and Freddie caused the mortgage loan debacles here in the U.S. Does their legal power over the market reach Europe? Of course not, you stupid twerps.)
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012
For wingnuts watching from their moms' basements, since you make your decisions below the waist, please note that Jennifer Granholm is more attractive than Sarah Palin. Not eligible to be President, since she was born in Canada of Canadian parents.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Hilarious. And true.
Forty days to go. Forty days to help your family, friends, and neighbors decide between neo-feudalism and the social compact that has been America since the Great Depression.
Wake the fuck up!
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Scott Brown (R-smallpox blankets) has always been arrogant in the way that good-looking people of both sexes can be. They're ornamental - and in his case athletic - so not much more is expected of them. Intelligence? Who needs it? He looks nice, so he doesn't have to be nice. That came through loud and clear in last week's debate.
And I thought the Republicans already had the asshole vote almost completely locked up.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
Mr. Rhoades also credited the addition of Rep. Paul Ryan to the ticket for being “invaluable” in scaring off potential voters: “Mitt knew he could get booed off the stage at the N.A.A.C.P., but it takes someone special to get booed off the stage at the A.A.R.P.”We Democrats and liberals need to aid and abet Rmoney's implosion. The Republicans are showing us who they really are, but it's up to us to let everyone else know.
Friday, September 21, 2012
... to know which way the wind blows.
Tommy Menino (D-mostly) jumps on the Elizabeth Warren bandwagon just in time to make himself out as the kingmaker on Nov. 7.
Welcome, Mistah Mayuh.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The honest truth is that Mitt Rmoney's latest blithering gaffe is exactly what the Republican base voters believe. No matter how many times you show them that federal taxes don't begin and end with the income tax, that our federal tax system is not very progressive, that almost everyone with a good job pays taxes, that members of the 1% of the 1% (the 0.01%) often pay a far lower rate than anyone but the very poor, even the middle class hard-working white guy pulling down a median income around $50,000 a year thinks he's one of the makers and that other guy is a manipulative taker. I've tried to expose this bullshit, to little avail. Even though Rmoney claims this middle class guy needs another $150,000 a year to join the middle class at all...
I think this comes from the shriveled greedy coal-black hearts of the right wingers. They aren't motivated by anything but money, and they don't have any generosity of spirit (outside very narrow tribal boundaries) nor any ability to evaluate a picture larger than their own wallet, so they assume no one could possibly be a Democrat or a liberal without being paid off. They can't believe a member of the 5% like me could possibly believe the country is better off as a whole with a fairer distribution of taxation, income, and wealth. (Note to moron trolls: fair does not mean equal.)
So Republicans will wonder what all the fuss is about, because they lack basic human sympathy. They've got theirs, devil take the hindmost.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Clearly, the locked-out NFL officials - union members - are better at their jobs than the scab referees who are trying to call the games. And failing.
Update (9/19): Everyone knows they suck:
Two weeks into the regular season, with the N.F.L.’s lockout of its officials going strong, replacement officials have awarded a team an extra timeout in a close game, ruled multiple incomplete passes as fumbles, missed an array of pass-interference and unnecessary-roughness calls, and in one game took six minutes to review a play that they subsequently determined was not reviewable. One referee was removed from the crew of a New Orleans Saints game after publicly proclaiming himself a Saints fan.I'd like to see stupid personal fouls be reviewable so officials could catch the instigators instead of just the retaliators.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Bushists and neocons might have given their best efforts and still not prevented 9/11. But they didn't even try, despite many warnings:
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous.Unconscionable.
Republicans have withdrawn their consent of the governed in favor of massive resistance. Elections only have consequences when they win, in which case they govern as if they won a mandate. When they lose, they'll obstruct all implementation of the majority's plan.
As anyone who was paying attention knows, the period during which Democrats controlled both houses of Congress was marked by unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate. The filibuster, formerly a tactic reserved for rare occasions, became standard operating procedure; in practice, it became impossible to pass anything without 60 votes. And Democrats had those 60 votes for only a few months. Should they have tried to push through a major new economic program during that narrow window? In retrospect, yes — but that doesn’t change the reality that for most of Mr. Obama’s time in office U.S. fiscal policy has been defined not by the president’s plans but by Republican stonewalling.Even those 60 votes included several closet Republicans - not of the Teapublican strain, to be sure, but nonetheless often not willing to side with President Obama. Ben Nelson was probably the most Republican. Joe Lieberman, Kay Hagan, Blanche Lincoln, and Mark Pryor were a few of the other Senators in the 111th Congress who often wouldn't vote cloture.
Nothing the Republicans have done about the economy makes any sense at all unless they are motivated by lust for power more than by the prospect of prosperity for the nation as a whole.
Monday, September 10, 2012
The wealthy and their lobbyists and media propagandists want us to believe that they are essential to job creation. Bullshit!
With cunning and contempt and catechismal fervor the super-rich have argued that all money should move to the top, where it will be used to stimulate the economy and create jobs. But they ignore the facts that prove them wrong.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
[D]oes Romney think we’re stupid? Hey, he also thinks we’ll buy into his promises to slash taxes by $5 trillion but make up the revenue by closing unspecified loopholes in a way that doesn’t raise taxes on the middle class – which turns out to be arithmetically impossible. So the answer is, yes, he thinks we’re stupid.Too boring for Republicans to make it add up.
Fortunately for Mitt, he doesn't have a reputation for telling the truth.
It's pretty clear Rmoney is going to rely on an incredible barrage of negative ads from superPAC billionaires.
Update (9/27): Finally had time to relocate the video that I somehow didn't get inserted when I first posted this.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Mitt Rmoney (R-safe harbor from lies) has spent much of his life approving statements that may or may not be true but which excuse themselves from liability if they turn out to be true. Here's an example from current Bain dealings:
These statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements.Here's another:
A third:This release includes forward-looking statements intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements generally can be identified by phrases such as TI or its management "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "foresees," "forecasts," "estimates" or other words or phrases of similar import. Similarly, statements in this release that describe the Company's business strategy, outlook, objectives, plans, intentions or goals also are forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements.[emphasis added]
There are many, many more, of course. Bain's various companies are involved in a lot of deals.Because such forward looking statements contain risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward looking statements.
Since Mitt never worked under Sarbanes-Oxley (that we know of), he didn't actually sign these statements, but his cavalier attitude toward making shit up shows in practically every statement he ever makes, for example, this piece of pettifoggery:
According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."
In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster – leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC – the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers – out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds.Mitt is a gee-whiz liar to the core. He believes his business and his god entitle him to say whatever he needs to say.
The Democrats' problem is that reason only works with a narrow demographic these days. We didn't always have a culture of bullshit, but we do now. Republicans believe they're entitled to their own facts, whatever they make up on the spot to avoid having to deal with actual reality. The radical right-wing media feeds this irrational belief constantly. That's its purpose - keeping the ignoramuses fooled, with their willing, even eager, participation.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Mark Leibovich is killing democracy, and he doesn't have a clue to his own culpability.
His multi-thousand-word extended fantasy in today's Times is everything wrong with big media political journalism. I guess he had a news hole, and the early washout of the Republican National Convention left him with nothing much to write about other than himself and his feelings.
First off, his dozens of column-inches are all about him. He's too important to recede into the background and report news as if it were a factual topic:
I began to have this goofy notion, which turned into a daydream and eventually became a recurring fantasy.This is his lead! A couple paragraphs later:
This spring, for the first time since I started writing about politics a decade ago, I found myself completely depressed by a campaign. “How am I ever going to get through it?” is not the question you want to be asking yourself as you enter what are supposed to be the pinnacle few months of your profession.If that's all you have, you could always, I dunno, resign and look for a job as a flack.
Of course, in the best (i.e. worst) tradition of Tom Friedman, every single goddamn ordinary person Leibovich talked to liked the idea Leibovich calls "dumb, naïve, unsophisticated and frankly out of character for me, someone with little patience for the Kabuki pleasantries of politics" when he's talking to us, his callous sophisticates.
This all springs from woe is me, it's all too nasty.
The campaigns appeared locked in a paradigm of terrified superpowers’ spending blindly on redundant warfare. How many times do they have to blow up Vladivostok?Of course, a pox on both their houses:
As with Romney, you can picture [Obama] grabbing for the Purell as soon as he escapes the rope line.although there's the obligatory back-of-the-hand nonsense that only suggests the Romney campaign kisses Leibovich's self-important butt with a bit more of a porn star's best fakery.
His retail-politicking chores completed, Obama disappeared behind a thick black curtain next to an empty storefront, into something called the “Good News Center” — a place I was not allowed to go.Yet, despite all the disdain, there's incredible name-dropping. Hey, ma, look who I rub elbows with!
Why do we have to go into a campaign with the press corps we have?
After all this loathing, I'm going out on a generous limb. Leibovich is filled with loathing, all right. But he misidentifies the reason. He has just enough conscience that it's self-loathing. He must realize, deep down, that he's in the dirty, useless business of packaging politics so that Americans can feel virtuous hating and ignoring and pushing away their own government.
Leibovich's problem is not that politicians are letting down political reporters. It's that political reporters are letting down their readers. It's that their readers sponge up vacuous inside-the-campaign reportage like middle schoolers soak up puberty-fueled catty gossip. It's that reporters then give readers more and more of nothing useful.
Leibovich works for what used to be a craft and a calling and now fancies itself a profession. A profession pays enough to justify the self-esteem of highly educated glorified transcriptionists for the ruling class.
Here's a hint: Stop covering the campaign and cover the candidates. Stop bemoaning the superficialities of American politics while, at the exact same time, channelling them straight to readers. Have some aspirations to make a difference beyond false balance and telling the non-cool kids which clique is cool this year.
Never happen. It's far too easy to file bullshit than it is to separate out reality from fiction.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Neo-Confederates fantasize openly about insurgency against an impossible and bizarre scenario that ends in loss of sovereignty:
“He's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?” Head asked. “I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy."Judgement-free Judge Tom Head (R-lunatic fringe, Texas - sorry to be redundant) is canny enough to phrase his dark fantasy as a Lexington-Concord revolution, but you know he's really dreaming of Fort Sumter.
And these Americans have guns and want to budget more locally to train the local lunatics against the federal government.
This will not end well.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Paul RAyn (R-fudge the numbers) gives Mitt Rmoney (R-fudge everything) enough cover from teabagger wrath that he can once again claim parentage of Romneycare and bring it from exile back into the big house.
ROMNEY: Well, absolutely. I am very proud of what we did, and the fact that we helped women and men and children in our state… And then with regard to contraceptives, of course Republicans, myself in particular, recognize that women have a right to use contraceptives. There is absolutely no validity whatsoever to the Obama effort to try and bring that up.Unbelievably cynical!
Suddenly, Rmoney will be taking all sorts of reasonable-sounding positions. Mitt is completely insincere, and the truth is unimportant to him. He says whatever he thinks he needs to say, regardless of what he's said before. He's the most consistent liar I've ever watched in politics, even worse than Richard Nixon.
The Republicans can't win without lying. They know they have to lie early and often to make their points stick with the advertising-addled late deciders.
I'm sure we're all eager for the tsunami of bullshit that's coming our way in the next few months.
Take a look around key committees of the House and you’ll find a governing body stocked with crackpots whose views on major issues are as removed from reality as Missouri’s Representative Todd Akin’s take on the sperm-killing powers of a woman who’s been raped.The GOP has embraced stupidity in order to lower taxes for the very wealthy. That's why Mitt Rmoney and Paul Ryan are perfect nominees.
Congresspeople appointed to the Science and Technology committee don't actually need to understand or rely on science:
In looking for examples of scientifically unsupportable statements by members of the House science committee, every single anecdote involved statements by Republicans.The goal of Teapublicans is to repeal the Enlightenment.
Even trained police officers couldn't bring down a single shooter in a populated setting without hitting nine bystanders:
The volley of gunfire felled Johnson in just a few seconds and left nine other people bleeding on the sidewalk.Yet the NRA's so-called solution is armed amateurs meting out hot lead wherever they feel a threat. This idea is unbelievably stupid.
I shudder to imagine a citizen's intervention by the guy next to me at the handgun range last week, belching out bullets by the clip with his .45. He couldn't hit a zombie poster with a tight group at 10 feet.
(Note to those who can't read without assuming things I haven't said: I'm not saying this was a bad shoot.)
Update: Turns out Atrios was waaay ahead of me in shooting this particular fish in a barrel.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Todd Akin (R-vagina dentata) should have stuck his foot - or something - in his mouth. Instead:
[W]hat I said was, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” But what I meant to say was, “I am a worthless, moronic sack of shit and an utterly irredeemable human being who needs to shut up and go away forever.”Well, the first quote is true.
Then, Akin's excuse machine said he misspoke. Ha. Misspeaking is saying "black" when you mean "blah" or something like that. Or not.
Republicans think women get what they deserve.
The truth would kill their chance of election:
[I]f we add up Mr. Ryan’s specific proposals, we have $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, partially offset by around $1.7 trillion in spending cuts — with the tax cuts, surprise, disproportionately benefiting the top 1 percent, while the spending cuts would primarily come at the expense of low-income families. Over all, the effect would be to increase the deficit by around two and a half trillion dollars.
Yet Mr. Ryan claims to be a deficit hawk.Once they've increased the deficit yet again (see the maladministration of Duhbya and Darth), they'll be back for yet another round of budget-busting tax cuts for the very, very wealthy. And the wingnut morons who vote Republican while living in the shrinking middle class will be fooled again.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I've been too busy canvassing for Elizabeth Warren to post anything, but...
Here's a backgrounder on Warren that I had a moment to read today.
Mixon, the Houston professor, who often had lunch with Warren and became an early mentor, recalled how Warren made an impassioned speech not long after she was hired about her belief in the “middle-class values” of hard work and honesty.The wingnuts and other fans of Scott-free Brown (R-McDreamy) will miss that paragraph. After all, it shows Warren as authentic, and they can't get that into their addle-pated thoughts.
I'm looking for them to call her a liar because she so obviously once was brunette and now is blonde.
Although that does make Native American ancestry more credible in their superficial view of the world...
Maybe they'll decide she's vain. Never mind she's up against pretty boy.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
A man who can brutally suffocate his own daughter has an alien idea of fatherhood than I have. There is evil in every culture. In fact, the evil of treating females as chattel has only recently been extirpated from our social norms - and not entirely from our society.
There is no such thing as an honor killing. Murder of those whom you owe love is an oxymoron, evidence of sociopathy in a social norm.
Ray Flynn thinks Scott Brown (R-whatever Wall St. wants) is a "regular guy." He also thought that pederast-enabling Cardinal Bernard Law should stay in charge of the Boston Archdiocese.
So... Consider the source.
... when we should be laughing at ourselves.
A Pakistani man has "invented" a way of bullshit-olyzing water into hydrogen and oxygen. Is this a sequel to "The Saint"? (Much as I like Elisabeth Shue, even in this movie, her performance as a scientist was completely free of the slightest credibility.)
As in America, there are qualified Pakistani experts who've spoken out against anti-scientific fraud:
It shows “how far Pakistan has fallen into the pit of ignorance and self-delusion,” wrote Pervez Hoodbhoy, an outspoken physics professor, in The Express Tribune, a national English-language daily. He added: “Our leaders are lost in the dark, fumbling desperately for a miracle; our media is chasing spectacle, not truth; and our great scientists care more about being important than about evidence.”Hoodbhoy has had about as much impact as scientists in America when they share their knowledge of evolution, global warming, health, economics, etc. - that is, very little.
Remember, we live in an age when people take literally* the metaphorical aphorism that perception is reality. When American conservatives have built an entire media apparatus intended to provide the resolutely ignorant with excuses to remain ill-informed. When one entire major political party is devoted to lying in order to cover up the plain fact that all it really cares about is the continued establishment of oligarchy.
The pit of ignorance and self-delusion. We Americans are right there with the Pakistanis. Sadly for all of us.
* So sue me for anachronism, but I'm using the literal meaning of literally, not the currently dominant debased meaning that is its exact opposite.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
A fundamental belief of today's wealthy corporate Republicans is that they are deserving and no one else is.
They can take, take, take from the commonweal:
But no one else deserves this sort of help. They're all slackers who can't pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
These Republicans can't even grasp their own selfish double-standard. They invented the Internet, dammit, not the government, not that fat Al Gore guy who tried to steal credit.
It's important to understand the history of the Internet because it's too often wrongly cited to justify big government. It's also important to recognize that building great technology businesses requires both innovation and the skills to bring innovations to market. As the contrast between Xerox and Apple shows, few business leaders succeed in this challenge. Those who do—not the government—deserve the credit for making it happen.Hard to imagine anyone more thoroughly missing the point without trying to, but then he was editorializing for the Wall Street Journal. Until it's monetized, it doesn't exist. What a strange epistemological idea!
Republicans believe that whoever exploits a resource, infrastructure, an externality, or the gullibility of the public should get all the rewards and the credit.
Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R-whatever you need Mitch) shows the problem in more plebeian terms. He had a rough childhood, abandoned by his father, and his mother spend time on welfare, which Scott made her eligible for. Now, however, Brown has money, success, and the gift of forgetfulness. He wants to deny any such help to people like him. I guess they're just not handsome enough to deserve it.
Where I grew up, we called this gittin' above your raisin', and it was a mortal sin for a politician.
Nowadays, though, merely driving a gimmicky pick-up truck and wearing a barn coat every election season is enough to remain a regular guy, never mind that you spend you entire career ardently defending the self-proclaimed right of the wealthy to be taxed and regulated at very low historical rates.
Who feels entitled? Who takes without giving back? Who votes out of selfishness?
Not the middle class, that's for sure.
Update: The wealthy not only don't want to pay, they want to get refunds that make their tax rate negative.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
The NRA can't honestly evade responsibility for the legal environment in which a known lunatic like Kenneth Roop was able to build an arsenal of 14 weapons and was able to retain his concealed carry permit until he executed someone for the minor civil infraction of trespassing.
Roop's neighbors knew he was unstable. They had little power to keep their children safe from Roop, other than abandoning the public street in front of his house. They walked with a neighbor after Roop began to stalk her.
The local cops knew. They did nothing other than put the onus on Roop's neighbors.
This man should not have been permitted to have guns. At all.
The NRA's standard solution, more guns!, would not have worked in this case, even in the fevered imagination of Wayne LaPierre. Maybe full military tactical gear 24/7!
There will surely be dishonest evasions. Mitt Rmoney is trying one that I see frequently from wingnuts in comment threads: If there's any means of killing that's not regulated, no matter how inefficient compared to gunfire, then guns shouldn't be regulated.
The weirdest thing is that Mitt Rmoney's insult tour is actually attractive to the wingnuts. They want America in first place, especially to be the world's biggest baddest asshole. Rmoney can restore us to that role.
(h/t Raw Story)
Thursday, July 26, 2012
See the very end...
Not because Mitt R-money is the most dishonest candidate since Richard Nixon to seek the White House.
Because soft-headed morons still buy into the transparently stupid bullshit that Jon Stewart deftly dissects in a few minutes.
Monday, July 23, 2012
At least we know his name. At least we know who David and Charles Koch are. At least we know the names of Barack Obama's 2008 Wall Street contributors.
In this election cycle, we will never know, thanks to Mitch McConnell (R-double talk) and, yes, Scott Brown (R-whenever you need me, Mitch).