Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pinching off another Olympic movement

Click image for full Joel Pett/Lexington Herald-Leader cartoon.

Who are the takers?

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:

[Mitt] Romney, ignoring the fact that he has echoed this same sentiment on multiple occasions, organized 24 “We Did Build This” events in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada. At each event, local business owners are speaking about their self-sufficiency in running a business and how government is hindering their growth.
But, like the New Hampshire business owner showcased in Romney’s attack ad on the issue, many of these business owners have received significant support from the government, a ThinkProgress analysis finds.
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

Acceptable breakage

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.

Our rightful place - American exceptionalism

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

Why we're doomed

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.

Nutella 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sheldon Adelson is the tip of the iceberg

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).

(h/t Salon)

Triumph of the nanny state

Rabies in humans is very rare in the United States due to mandatory vaccination of dogs:

Hardly anyone in developed countries gets rabies now because dogs are routinely vaccinated.
In the rest of the world, however, 55,000 people die each year of rabies. The authors of “Rabid,” Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy, a married couple who are, respectively, an editor at Wired, and a veterinarian with a degree in public health, write that most of these deaths are in Africa and Asia, a great many are children, and almost all are the result of being bitten by mad dogs.
This of course is an incredibly onerous restraint of the freedom to put yourself, your children, and your society at risk.

Maybe a slight exaggeration

Another limited hang-out from Mitt R-money:

Minutes after PETA’s response, Mr. Romney released an amended statement, saying that Seamus Romney had served as C.E.O. of Bain “posthumously.”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why did you think I call him Darth?

Click image for full Matt Wuerker/DailyKos cartoon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sleeper cell

Rush Limbaugh "thinks" Hollywood liberals planted an evil reference to Mitt R-money back when production started on The Dark Knight Rises, what, two or three years ago:

Rushbo can make such an absurd claim, straight from his vivid but bullshit-filled imagination and in fact impossible, only because his listeners have no critical thinking skills whatsoever. They believe him simply because they want to believe some dark conspiracy of nefarious others acting for no plausible motive is keeping them down.

It's really depressing to contemplate the rank stupidity that passes for the American public conversation these days.

Whenever the history of this awful period in American history is finally written, either some Leni Reifenstahl in the fanatical wingnut media will write its triumph in glorious tones of fascism, or Rush will be identified as a far worse malefactor than Joe McCarthy ever tried to be. Historians will wonder how his ugliness went on so long without reducing his undeserved credibility.


I come not to apologize to R-money but to bury him.

Helpless to change

Change is not coming. There's no hope for an end to insane massacres:

"I hate to say it, but we as Americans are basically experts at this kind of thing by now,” said 45-year-old market analyst Jared Gerson, adding that the number of media images of Aurora, CO citizens crying and looking shocked is “pretty much right in line with where it usually is at this point." "The calls not to politicize the tragedy should be starting in an hour, but by 1:30 p.m. tomorrow the issue will have been politicized. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the shooter’s high school classmate is interviewed within 45 minutes."
"It's like clockwork," said Gerson, who sighed, shook his head, and walked away.
The tools for mass killing are readily available to a succession of crazy people, but we staunchly refuse to do anything further about it:
“It’s hard to prevent someone who is really bent on committing a crime from getting them,” [Eugene Volokh, an expert in constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles,] added, and “it’s unlikely that gun laws are going to stop him.”
Make no mistake about this. The social and political choice that we Americans have made about guns is that they should be more or less freely available, even if one predictable cost of this free availability is much more frequent mass killings than other nations have. Not to mention much more frequent murders than in other nations.

Good, bad, or indifferent, that's what we've chosen. And it's why we're so familiar with this that the Onion's satire is so apt.

Update (7/22): Some Teapublican wingers will come right out and admit to the inevitable correlation of mass killings with the easy-access gun rights they favor:

I suppose there's value in getting the issue thoroughly out into the open.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Retroactive retirement

According to Mitt R-money's latest lame spin, he didn't retire from Bain Capital until 2002, but he backdated his retirement to 1999.

What I want to know:

Did he give back the money his ownership of Bain made him after 1999?

Nothing Mitt ever says is trustworthy.

Sixty-four years later

Politics ebbs and flows, but it's depressing that we're still fighting so many of the battles Harry Truman identified so plainly in 1948:

Today the forces of liberalism face a crisis. The people of the United States must make a choice between two ways of living--a decision, which will affect us the rest of our lives and our children and our grandchildren after us.
On the other side, there is the Wall Street way of life and politics. Trust the leader! Let big business take care of prices and profits! Measure all things by money! That is the philosophy of the masters of the Republican Party.
Well, I have been studying the Republican Party for over 12 years at close hand in the Capital of the United States. And by this time, I have discovered where the Republicans stand on most of the major issues.
Since they won't tell you themselves, I am going to tell you.
They approve of the American farmer-but they are willing to help him go broke.
They stand four-square for the American home--but not for housing.
They are strong for labor--but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights.
They favor a minimum wage--the smaller the minimum the better.
They indorse educational opportunity for all--but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools.
They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine--for people who can afford them.
They approve of social security benefits-so much so that they took them away from almost a million people.
They believe in international trade--so much so that they crippled our reciprocal trade program, and killed our International Wheat Agreement.
They favor the admission of displaced persons--but only within shameful racial and religious limitations.
They consider electric power a great blessing-but only when the private power companies get their rake-off.
They say TVA is wonderful--but we ought never to try it again.
They condemn "cruelly high prices"--but fight to the death every effort to bring them down.
They think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people.
And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.
Now, my friends, that is the Wall Street Republican way of life. But there is another way--there is another way--the Democratic way, the way of the Democratic Party.
Of course, the Democratic Party is not perfect. Nobody ever said it was. But the Democratic Party believes in the people. It believes in freedom and progress, and it is fighting for its beliefs right now.
In the Democratic Party, you won't find the kind of unity where everybody thinks what the boss tells him to think, and nothing else. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Follow the R-money

There is only one issue on which Mitt R-money has a consistent position: lower taxes for himself.

But even on tax transparency - as with everything else - Mitt has taken multiple contradictory positions:

[Emmett] Hayes had filed his taxes separately from O'Brien – and Fehrnstrom, then Romney's deputy campaign manager, demanded that O'Brien come clean about her husband's financial ties to Enron.

Fehrnstrom made the demand even as Romney was refusing to release his own returns.

That drew accusations of hypocrisy from editorial boards, but Fehrnstrom defended the campaign's posture, saying that O'Brien was trying to hide important information from voters by declining to reveal her husband's returns, while Romney was simply acting on principle.
R-money? Principled?

Only the me principle.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Just a little off the top

Click image for full Elena Steier/ cartoon.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Loyalty to the lie

Research has supposedly shown that conservatives are more loyal than liberals. I suspect that the problem is a bias in the object of loyalty. Conservatives may be more loyal to their tribe, while liberals are more loyal to their ideals.

In any case, conservatives have certainly proven loyalty to their favored lies and the liars who continue to propagate them long after they've been conclusively refuted:

Not long ago, if you told a whopper like [Sarah] Palin's and it was as thoroughly debunked as hers was, that would have ended the discussion. These days, it is barely even part of the discussion. These days, facts seem overmatched by falsehood, too slow to catch them, too weak to stop them. 
Indeed, falsehoods are harder to kill than a Hollywood zombie. Run them through with fact, and still they shamble forward, fueled by echo chamber media, ideological tribalism, cognitive dissonance, a certain imperviousness to shame, and an understanding that a lie repeated long enough, loudly enough, becomes, in the minds of those who need to believe it, truth. 
That is the lesson of the birthers and truthers, of Sen. Jon Kyl's "not intended to be a factual statement" about Planned Parenthood, of Glenn Beck's claim that conservatives founded the Civil Rights Movement, and of pretty much every word Michele Bachmann says. It seems that not only are facts no longer important, but they are not even the point. 
Rather, the point is the construction and maintenance of an alternate narrative designed to enhance and exploit the receiver's fears, his or her sense of prerogatives, entitlement, propriety and morality under siege from outside forces.

Read more here:
The strangest aspect of persistent lying is that it exacts no penalty from the credibility of the liars. In a nation with truth as a social norm, Palin, Beck, Kyl, and Bachmann would long since have been laughed out of the national conversation.

Because wingnuts clamor to be lied to and the media no longer care about anything other than eyeballs on their ads, we are a nation on the path to failure. It may already be too late to rescue the greatness of America from its self-professedly loyal destroyers.

Living a lie will do that to you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

That's no double standard

Obamacare wasn't a tax a couple of days ago, but now it's a tax.

Fortunately, Mitt Rmoney realized that Obamacare could be a tax at the same time Romneycare isn't because the Supreme Court has only ruled that Obamacare is a tax.

“The Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation, and it said that it’s a tax, so it’s a tax,” Mr. Romney told CBS News. “They have spoken. There’s no way around that.”
Since it hasn't ruled on Romneycare, Rmoney can call it anything he wants. Win!

You think I'm kidding.

Furthermore, Rmoney has enough super PAC money to overrule the appearance that he signed universal healthcare (now anathema to Teapublicans) that included an individual mandate (socialistical attack on the freedom to die free from a strong case of freedom) and is paid for in part by a penalty just exactly like Obamacare's so-called tax (SSSSH!  Look over there!).

Tongue piercing

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

View from the cheap seats

Click image for full Scott Stantis/Chicago Tribune cartoon.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dog bites

The Boston Globe has the scoop!

The top “super PACs’’ supporting Republicans in the fall elections have raised more than three times as much money as super PACs aligned with Democrats, $158 million to $47 million, a Globe analysis shows.
Ho-hum. About as surprising as bad hair on Donald Trump...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pity the poor frothing wingnut

Obamacare, take the test.

If you don't get at least 8 out of 10, you need to study the actual law before you pontificate.

Yes, I scored 10 of 10.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Being ignernt was good enough for my daddy

It shouldn't be a surprise that Texas Teapublicans (i.e. the entire Republican Party) prefer ignorance - they've given us Duhbya and Rick Perry, not to mention a host of dismal ignoramus dinosaurs. From their state party platform (PDF):

American Identity Patriotism and Loyalty – We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups.
Only white conservatives are allowed to nurture racial and ethnic alienation.
Controversial Theories – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. 
We all know their standard is not the truth but the bible and the oil industry.
Early Childhood Development – We believe that parents are best suited to train their children in their early development and oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten. We urge Congress to repeal government-sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development.
That last sentence is the repeal of Head Start. They believe their faith-based constituents need more time to turn their children into credulous followers.
Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
They're not interested in a populace that can think, hell no. Too much ridiculous bullshit in their platform to subject it to the scrutiny of critical thinking.

It's an extremist document, and not just on education. In 22 pages, there are possibly four things I agree with, other than a few completely mom-and-apple-pie items.

(h/t Education Week)