Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Bagger History Lesson: Federal Gov't Was Created To Be Strong

On this day in history, 16 April 1789, Revolutionary War hero and Sarah Palin’s Favorite Founder George “Father of My Country; Also, Owner of 316 Slaves” Washington set off from his posh digs at Mount Vernon (“The Mount That Slaves Built”) for New York City, loathed metropolis of punchy-faced Glenn Beck, to get his inauguration on.
Teabaggers idolizing Sarah Palin because she’s so smart and contains untold quantities of something called “spunk” should note that Washington is indeed the exemplar of their anti-taxation movement, most notably in his response to my favorite of all historical uprisings, the Whiskey Rebellion, sponsored by Maker’s Mark Fine Kentucky Bourbon. See, in the 1790s a bunch of toothless hooch farmers got their corncobs in a twist over a tax levied by the U.S. Government (“So Far This Is Working Out Fine!”) on whiskey so that Alexander Hamilton could pay off that troublesome Revolutionary War Debt. Getting together a drunken little Tea Party of their own, these anti-tax Patriots started a rebellion that – not at all like what is going on today, because this shit never Repeats Itself – led to the harassment, beating and tar-and-feathering of tax collectors. Hahahahaha! History's funny because it's tragic!
Now here’s the part Sarah Palin loves about George Washington, her favorite Founding Father: Agreeing with Hamilton that some serious taxation was necessary to pay for the ass-kicking we’d just handed Britain and to “secure the power of the new federal government,” Washington did what any freedom-loving anti-tax Teabagging historical Super-Patriot would have done. He got the fuck on his horse and – in the first real test of Federal Authority – led a massive army against these tax-dodging pricks.
Let me repeat this for our Teabagging friends who don’t read so good, or can’t understand “irony”: In the first real crisis of the new Federal Government, Sarah Palin’s bestest Founding Father Figure (you know, the one she loves because he’s the one she remembers from all the crisp one dollar bills she feeds into the Fox News Mountain Dew machine) personally horsed up and led a federalized army into battle against protesters bitching about high federal taxation. And he kicked the shit out of them, which wasn’t difficult because most were – much like today’s Teabaggers – drunken or retarded.
States' Rights with a weak central government did not work, FAIL. They tried, it failed. That's why the Constitution was written. That is why they created the Federal Government.  It was created to be powerful.

They did not create them to be weak or because they were not needed. They did not say "let's create this system to take over a weak system that does not work, but let's make it weak, too". 

The Federal Government had to be strong to levy and collect taxes. They had to pay for the war they just had. Sound familiar?

The Whiskey Rebellion of 1793 and President George Washington's response proves this: "This marked the first time under the new United States Constitution that the federal government used military force to exert authority over the nation's citizens. It was also the only time that a sitting President personally commanded the military in the field."

Michele Bachmann: 100% Moron

Staggering how misleading she has to get:
"But today, the federal government literally owns banks" - Rep Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

"the U.S. government doesn’t own any banks. Anything that might come close to making this claim true would be the existence of the Federal Reserve, which has been around since the early 20th Century. She could perhaps be referring to the bank bailouts (which happened under President Bush). But even in this case — while the U.S. government’s influence on American financial institutions has certainly increased since TARP — its ownership in any of the nation’s banks is paltry (6 percent of Bank of America and 7.8 percent of Citigroup as of early 2009, for example). And, it is helping the banks to get back on their feet while earning a profit for taxpayers."
This is the kind of willful idiocy that equates Government spending and loans with government ownership. The same logic that equates health insurance reform with owning all the hospitals and the doctors. The private sector is 100% private.

What's worse, people go along with the myths. Both annoying and dangerous.

Source: Think Progress

Krugman Explains McConnell In Layman's Term

On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, called for the abolition of municipal fire departments.

Firefighters, he declared, “won’t solve the problems that led to recent fires. They will make them worse.” The existence of fire departments, he went on, “not only allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of burning buildings; it institutionalizes them.” He concluded, “The way to solve this problem is to let the people who make the mistakes that lead to fires pay for them. We won’t solve this problem until the biggest buildings are allowed to burn.

McConnell does not understand the full scope of bank failures or how crucial it is to stop the spread of bank failures. He latches on the Frank Luntz' talking points and spews away.

Obama wants better regulations on banks, derivatives and financial instruments that led us into this mess. The Republicans oppose them. By trying to broadly paint all Government oversight as a bailout, McConnell and the Republicans are giving the banks everything they want.

"It’s a truly shameless performance: Mr. McConnell is pretending to stand up for taxpayers against Wall Street while in fact doing just the opposite."

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So Fox Does Not Promote Tea Party Yet Hannity To Host Event?

So Fox pulled the plug on Hannity's Cincinnati Tea Party show, good for them. But let's not forget that critics of Fox News who accuse the network of promoting the Tea Party as it covers the political movement as a news story are correct. It's "Fox GOP Opinion", not Fox News.

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"Permanent Bailout" Is The New "Death Panels"

"Permanent Bailout" is the new "Death Panels", a complete GOP misreading of the bill designed to inflame passions and prevent anything from getting done.

Lucky for them their base largely ignores the facts and go along with the "freedom vs slavery" all-or-nothing meme they love to spin.

Sullivan: Why I'm Passing On Tea

Over the last decade, it is surely evident that big government has come back with a vengeance. And one has to grasp that part of the tea-party anger is pent up from the Bush years. Most of the rational tea-partiers accept that the GOP has been as bad - if not worse - than the Democrats on spending, borrowing and the size and scope of government in recent years. They repressed this anger during the Bush years out of partisan loyalty. Now, they're taking it all out on the newbie.

Andrew Sullivan is on the mark when discussing the "cultural vents, wrapped up with some ugly Dixie-like strands" called Tea Partiers.

I like this Republican call out: "They both support lower taxation and yet bemoan the fact that so many Americans do not pay any income tax."

Sullivan also sums up their take on anything Washington as "the childish reduction of necessary trade-offs as an apocalyptic battle between freedom and slavery."

Their cultural hostility to Obama, while intense, reflects a "lack of seriousness [and] is complemented by a near-fanatical cultural alienation from the modern world."

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McConnell: Parroting Frank Luntz' Lies

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has his marching orders from Frank Luntz and it's the Senator's Republican robotic duty to repeat false attacks, ad nauseum. Last time is was health care reform, now it's financial reform.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Climategate" Whimpers To A Close

"Climate change researchers accused of manipulating or hiding data in last year's "Climategate" affair were guilty of sloppy record-keeping but not bad science, an independent panel in Britain concluded Wednesday."

This will be considered a whitewash from the Right. Typical group think.

There are thousands of other scientists doing great work in the climate field and the news decides to show one email from one scientist. How do you disprove a theory accepted by thousands of scientists from around the world based on one email containing no data, and no facts?

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"Spontaneous" Anger Of 1961, 1977 and 1993

Every time a Democrat wins the Presidency you get the same historical myopia: "they are the same angry, ill-informed, overwhelmingly white, crypto-corporate paranoiacs that accompany every ascendancy of liberalism within U.S. government."

The same “spontaneous eruption” of folks never before engaged in politics. The same blithely narcissistic presumption that the vast majority of Americans (or, at least, “ordinary Americans”) must already agree with them, and incredulity that anyone might not grasp the depth of the peril.

The shrieking from the Right will always be there just like when Kennedy, Carter and Clinton were Presidents. Thinking they have something important and useful to say, or that bipartisanship or a consensus is even an option for them, is to dream the impossible dream.

Even the lunatic persecution fantasies are the same: "In Robert Welch’s 1961 it was probable internment camps for conservatives. In Glenn Beck’s 2009 it was … probable internment camps for conservatives."

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25 Separate Tax Cuts Is The Reality

Belief in higher taxes in triumphing the reality that most are paying less taxes:
"The only tax I think that has been put in place so far is an increase in the federal cigarette tax. I can't think of another Obama tax that has gone in place so far," said Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies at the conservative Cato Institute. "I would say that people are angry because big taxes are coming down the road because of the gigantic deficit built up under Bush and continued under Obama."
The numbers don't lie:

The non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported on Wednesday that "Middle-income Americans are now paying federal taxes at or near historically low levels." How low? The average family of four right now is paying 4.6 percent of its income in federal income taxes -- the second lowest percentage in 50 years.

A Phrase For Fox: "You Lie"

So Sen. Tom Coburn set the record straight and debunked a Right Wing talking point about going to jail for not buying health insurance. Bill O'Reilly threw a hissy fit. Too bad Fox transcripts prove Billo 100% wrong.

After an audience member mentioned “the possibility of imprisonment” for those who don't buy health insurance, Coburn told her, “The intention is not to put anybody in jail. That makes for good TV news on FOX but that isn't the intention.”

(This is true, the reform law expressly prohibits the government from jailing anyone who fails to either obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty.)

Then, last night Fox News's Bill O'Reilly raked Coburn over the coals for his comment about the network. O'Reilly said no one had ever appeared on Fox News and told viewers they would go to jail if they didn't buy health insurance. “We researched on Fox News if anybody had ever said you're going to jail if you don't buy health insurance. Nobody's ever said it.”

O'Reilly checked and still got it wrong. He not only didn't know about the false claims. He says he went looking for them and failed to find any.

Kate Pickert of Time goes on to point out numerous times Neil Cavuto, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Dick Morris, as well as a few guests, asserted insurance evaders would be jailed. They made these comments after passage of the Senate bill which specifically prohibits imprisoning people for failure to purchase insurance or pay the penalties.

Fox specializes in sensationalism more than news. Fox is to journalism what WWE is to sports.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dodd: 'My Patience Is At An End' Due To GOP's Lies

Sen. Chris Dodd calls out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP snake oil salesman Frank Luntz for spreading falsehoods about the financial-regulation bill.

Just like the lies spread about health care reform, Luntz is coaching the GOP on how to kill a much needed bill. The strategy is to falsely attack the bill for perpetuating bailouts for giant banks.
"Nothing could be further from the truth. The bill as drafted ends bailouts," Dodd said, describing how regulators would get new powers to dissolve large financial institutions, even healthy ones if their size is deemed to threaten the broader financial system.

What Did Jesus Say About Gays?

He had 33 years to say something.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CNN poll: Dems Retake Lead In Generic Ballot

At this point in the cycle, the generic ballot isn't the best predictor of November's final results, but nonetheless this is a nice trend to see:
CNN, 4/9-11. MoE 3.5% (3/28 results)
Generic ballot preference
among registered voters:

Democratic Party: 50% (45%)
Republican Party: 46% (49%)

That's an 8-point swing in the Democratic Party's direction in the wake of the passage of health care reform. It's also the first CNN generic ballot showing the Democrats leading since mid-November.
A couple of other interesting findings from the poll:
First: In the (unfortunately) unlikely event Sarah Palin were to run for president, she'd be in real trouble. 69% of registered voters think she's unqualified to be President and she trails President Obama by a 55%-42% margin.
Second: Among Republicans, Mike "The Gay Basher" Huckabee is the leader of the field. Huckabee took 24%, leading Mitt Romney (20%), Palin (15%), Newt Gingrich (24%), and Ron Paul (8%).
There's a big gulf between the GOP's elite and their rank-and-file: Although Mitt Romney won last weekend's straw poll at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Huckabee managed just 4% of the straw poll vote of GOP insiders. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out in the event Huckabee runs.
Update, 1:18PM: Contra CNN's poll, Gallup shows the GOP with a 4-point edge in the generic ballot, a net gain of 4 points from last week's tie.
As I have been saying all along: where is this Republican landslide in 2010 coming from? Fund raising is off, Michael Steele is in charge, and GOP leadership is laughable.

You can only get so far with "Obama Is Black".

Liberals Are Cool Has A Facebook Page

Click the above link and become a "fan".

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Papal PR Ain't Working: VIDEO

When Justice Works And Stops Attacks

Kevin Drum on Subway Bombers vs. Airplane Bombers:

Ever since he pled guilty to terrorism charges a few weeks ago, would-be subway bomber Najibullah Zazi has been cooperating with authorities. The New York Daily News brings us up to speed:

Chilling new details about the foiled Al Qaeda plot to blow up the city's busiest subways have emerged as a fourth suspect was quietly arrested in Pakistan, the Daily News has learned.

The unidentified man, who helped plan the plot, is expected to be extradited to the U.S. to be tried in Brooklyn Federal Court with Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay of Flushing, Queens, sources said.

Am I missing something here? Because I don't remember Fox News putting Zazi on a 24/7 loop and insisting that trial in a civilian court was basically a surrender to al-Qaeda. The right wing world doesn't seem to be objecting to this latest development, either. Why? Is blowing up an airplane somehow different from blowing up a subway? Are civilian courts and Miranda rights OK if the terrorist plot is broken up before it can be carried out, but not after? Or what? I'm a little confused about the conservative position on this stuff. Help me out.

When the system works, there is nothing to exploit for Fox and the Right.

The Rule of Law is logical. For the fearful and unjust, this is counter to the narrative of their predetermined media. The weak-minded want to impeach Obama and canonize Cheney based on what they are told, but not what actually happens.

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Comparative Righties

How far to the Right has the American Conservative movement gone? Here's some perspective using the UK Conservative Tory Party's defense of socialized medicine:
"We are the party of the National Health Service today because we not only back the values of the NHS, we back its funding and we have a vision for its future."
Those "values" are collectivist healthcare delivered, for the most part, to everyone free at point of access via general taxation in government-owned and run hospitals and government-employed doctors.

All we want in the US is access to health insurance and the Conservatives are ready to revolt. Forget that in the UK the hospitals are owned by the Government, i.e., the people.

Only in America you can get a collection of people who have a little, get brainwashed by by people who have it all, to go after people who have nothing.

Source: The Daily Dish

The Return Of Diplomacy

Great Rachel Maddow segment on the Nuclear Security Summit hosted in the US by President Obama. Forty-seven countries' World leaders, the biggest since 1945, brought together to enact treaties and enforce rules regarding nuclear proliferation.

Not unilateral cowboy bullshit like Bush. No anti-UN ambassadors like John Bolton. No breaking of international agreements. "Coalition of the Willing"?

This is change that puts the US back in a leadership role. If you're cynical and believe the Government can't get anything done, well it seems you're are wrong.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What Is a Conservative Judge?

As the search for John Paul Stevens replacement heats up, the "whatever's good for me" spin kicks in:

Since they don't control Congress or the White House, conservatives are avoiding the term "conservative" as they gird for battle over a replacement for Justice Stevens. Instead they say "mainstream" or "centrist." But this resolves none of the contradictions in their general position on Supreme Court nominees. Do they want someone who respects precedent, or someone who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? Do they want an "originalist," or do they want to poison President Obama's health care victory? Do they really believe in "judicial restraint," or do they want "activism" in their own favor?

Conservatives have no trouble advocating for "principles" or platforms that are inherently contradictory. Hell, they cheered when the "activist" court decimated the campaign spending laws.

Their political and judicial philosophy amounts to squat. They don't define one, and they surely don't live by one.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

The Real Fiscal Conservatives: Democrats

The truth of that matter is that for at least twenty years, and really more like thirty-five years, the Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility and the Republicans are the party of deficits.  That's complicated a bit because Democrats also are the party of Keynesian economics, and therefore do believe in running deficits during recessions -- but that's not incompatible with fiscal responsibility.  It's especially true at the presidential level; Carter, Clinton, and Obama were all fiscal conservatives, while Reagan and George W. Bush were obviously not.

Republicans talk the talk, Democrats walk the walk:

"But it seems clear to me that the path to deficit reduction for those who do care about it is Democratic control, rather than hoping for a grand bargain that in effect asks pro-deficit Republicans to surrender to anti-deficit Democrats. "

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Dawkins And Hitchens To Pope: "Lawyer Up"

The Pope probably just took travel plans to the UK off of his "bucket list".
The Vatican has suggested that the pope is immune to prosecution as he is a head of state - Dawkins and Hitchens suggest that he is not immune as the Vatican is not represented at the United Nations.

"I'm convinced we can get over the threshold of immunity," their lawyer Mark Stephens told The Guardian. "The Vatican is not recognized as a state in international law. People assume that it has existed for time immemorial but it was a construct of Mussolini, and when the Vatican first applied to become a member of the UN, the US said no. So as a sop they were given the status of permanent observers rather than full members."

From last month's Washington Post, Richard Dawkins had this to say about the Pope:
"A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence."

Medvedev: ‘Obama Is A Thinker — Unlike Other People’

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that President Obama is a "thinker" unlike "other people." The Russian president seemed to be referring to President George W. Bush.

"I won't name anyone by name," he said.

Not only was it embarrassing when Bush was President, it's even embarrassing to mention his room temperature IQ after he's out of office, too.

Never has one person doing so little effected so many people. Dividing a country, dividing a world, borrowing trillions adding to historic debts, listening to his closed circle of cronies, wasting the goodwill of a nation for a bogus self-serving neo-con/theo-con agenda.

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G.O.P. Confidence vs Searing Divisions

The warning was delivered by Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who said that his party’s outlook could fade if differences over ideological purity intensified and created discord among establishment Republicans, the Tea Party and other ordinary voters, who may share the same frustrations but be turned off from aligning with any of the movements within the party.
Barack Obama has worn out three sets of knee pads, down on his knees praying that the conservative vote is split in 2010,” Mr. Barbour said, speaking to about 3,000 party activists gathered at the conference. “We can’t let that happen. We can’t let that happen.”
The same party that has lost big in the last 2 elections and the media that never predicted Obama would beat Hillary or become President is now having us believe the "Party Of No" and their purity tests will all of a sudden not back down to the closed information loop of Rush and Beck and win by landslides in 2010. All while raising less money by the democrats and having Michael Steele run the RNC.

If their is one thing Republicans should not do, like split into a third party, that is exactly what they will do. You can count on them to do the wrong thing all the time. Bush proved that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Real Welfare States

Redistribution of wealth in America.
Perhaps more interesting is looking at where federal spending is directed. The red states in the map below are states which received more than $1.00 in federal money for every $1.00 in taxes paid by residents of that state. Blue states are states which received less than $1.00 in federal money for every $1.00 paid by residents of that state in taxes (information from a 2005 study by the Tax Foundation).

This one should look familiar:

Source: The Fourth Branch