Saturday, October 02, 2010

See The Problem?

No excuse to ignore the problems we have in America. Turning a blind eye, as you go tooting your religious and "exceptionalism" horns, is disgusting.

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Capitalism Gets A Bailout

"Funny thing about Capitalism: it often undermines even the most progressive socialized democracies, but socialism almost always bails out capitalism." 

Friday, October 01, 2010

TARP Cost Will Be Less Than Once Thought. Bailout Rage DEAD

"Even as voters rage and candidates put up ads against government bailouts, the reviled mother of them all — the $700 billion lifeline to banks, insurance and auto companies — will expire after Sunday at a fraction of that cost, and could conceivably earn taxpayers a profit.


But the once-unthinkable possibility that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program could end up costing far less, or even nothing, became more likely on Thursday with the news that the government had negotiated a plan with the American International Group to begin repaying taxpayers."

The Tea Baggers are focused on the TARP and have used it to oust several Republicans during primaries. So when it turns out their rage was for nothing, will they atone and admit they were hyperbolic and misinformed? Nope.

Just like they complain about being "taxed enough" after a year where taxes were historically low and 95% of Americans received tax breaks, the message of the Tea Party is not about facts, it's about feelings.

They feel Obama is an outsider, not on facts, but on a hunch. They hate taxes, but fail to realize the cuts passed by Obama. They decry "bailouts" reflexively as if they could never be used meaningfully, and when programs like the TARP actually work, they don't have the balls to admit they were wrong. [They won't even admit Bush signed TARP into law]

Bit by bit the Tea Party platform, stripped of its bogus issues, is just a collection of people who feel Obama is an outsider, and for them, that is enough.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Obama On Meeting Dylan

"Here’s what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you’d expect he would be. He wouldn’t come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn’t want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn’t show up to that. He came in and played “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage… comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves… That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That’s how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise." - President Obama

That performance:

Back in February Bob Dylan performed “The Times They Are A-Changin’” for President Obama and the First Family as part of a celebration for music from the Civil Rights era. That was a while ago, sure, but we just got Obama’s impressions on it now via a Rolling Stone cover story.

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MC Fallon & Justin Timberlake’s History Of Hip-Hop Medley

Very talented to pull this off. Big ups to the Roots.

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White America Has Lost Its Mind

About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel.
"It had been a pretty good run up to that point. The brains of white folks had been humming along cogently for near on 400 years on this continent, with little sign that any serious trouble was brewing. White people, after all, had managed to invent a spiffy new form of self-government so that all white men (and, eventually, women) could have a say in how white people were taxed and governed. White minds had also nearly universally occupied just about every branch of that government and, for more than two centuries, had kept sole possession of the leadership of its executive branch (whose parsonage, after all, is called the White House).

But when that streak was broken—and, for the first time, a non-white president accepted the oath of office—white America rapidly began to lose its grip."

O'Donnell's History Of Fibbin'

Any single one of Christine O'Donnell's questionable claims over the past several years about her educational background might be able to be written off as a misunderstanding or miscommunication. But when you string them all together, and add in the fact that she wasn't finally awarded an undergraduate degree until this month, and it looks like a classic case of trying to overcompensate for a lack of credentials you desperately want.

Conservatives are so obsessed about Obama's past, they could care less about their own. Plus, overcompensating for your intellect or [mission] accomplishments is the GOP way.

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Fox News Viewership Plunges 21% While MSNBC Grows

"The cable news ratings for the third quarter of 2010 were released today, and Fox News is showing signs of decline as their viewership has decreased by 21%, and their top shows all posted double digit losses, while MSNBC’s shows grew and the network attracted more younger viewers.

Fox News is still dominating the cable news ratings. The network has the top 11 programs in cable news, but there are ominous signs that the empire is starting to crack. Compared to the third quarter of 2009, Fox has lost 21% of their total viewers, and 26% of their younger viewers. The biggest loser on the network was Bill O’Reilly who saw his program The O’Reilly Factor lose 12% of its total viewers and 21% of its young viewers. Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bret Baier, and Greta Van Susteren rounded out the top five cable news shows, and they each posted double digit declines. "

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Confessions Of A Washington Lobbyist

“Williams cited the Supreme Court ruling at the beginning of this year in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (pdf), in which corporations received protection for their First Amendment right to spend money on political causes. Essentially, Williams said, the decision gives corporations the same rights he, a registered lobbyist, has — except the corporations don’t have to register as lobbyists. “If the court is saying that a corporation is a person, then why shouldn’t they have to play by the same exact rules that I have to play by?” he said.”

Do you think this representation without registration pisses of Tea Baggers? The unchecked influence of corporations is encouraged by the Right. Sad.

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Invasion of Privacy Charges After Death of Tyler Clementi

Very sad story of a college roommate using iChat to secretly stream a private encounter between his roommate and another man. After having his private life broadcasted and gossipped on Rutgers campus, 18 year-old Tyler Clementi jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge.

Pictured above is Tyler, an accomplished violinist, Dharun Ravi, his roomamate, and Molly Wei, a classmate. Ravi and Wei are charged with invasion of privacy for using “the camera to view and transmit a live image” of Mr. Clementi.

C'mon Millennials! I thought you were beyond this. Tolerance is a great virtue. My respects go out to the Clementi family.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Breitbart Sees The News Only One Way

KY Elderly In Medicaid-paid Scooters Railing Against Government

"Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn’t a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — “Government’s not the solution! Government’s the problem!” — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

“The scooters are because of Medicare,” he whispers helpfully. “They have these commercials down here: ‘You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!’ Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.”

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it." - Matt Taibbi

People on the Government tab complaining about Government tab. Classic.

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Taibbi Talks Tea

"So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy.

Beneath the surface, the Tea Party is little more than a weird and disorderly mob, a federation of distinct and often competing strains of conservatism that have been unable to coalesce around a leader of their own choosing. Its rallies include not only hardcore libertarians left over from the original Ron Paul “Tea Parties,” but gun-rights advocates, fundamentalist Christians, pseudomilitia types like the Oath Keepers (a group of law- enforcement and military professionals who have vowed to disobey “unconstitutional” orders) and mainstream Republicans who have simply lost faith in their party.

It’s a mistake to cast the Tea Party as anything like a unified, cohesive movement — which makes them easy prey for the very people they should be aiming their pitchforks at.

A loose definition of the Tea Party might be millions of pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the handful of banks and investment firms who advertise on Fox and CNBC." - Matt Taibbi

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Still Waiting For The Seriousness From The Right

It's a recurring theme when it comes to Republicans in recent years -- there's just no seriousness to what they do, how they think, or how they behave.

Just a few months ago, the American Enterprise Institute's Norm Ornstein, not exactly a raging leftist, said House GOP leaders "are becoming the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious."

Ornstein may have thought of that as a throwaway line, but I've considered it rather devastating. He didn't just say Republicans aren't serious; he said they can't get serious and don't even want to try. That's not only a powerful critique, it has the added benefit of being true.

Early last year, as the GOP's descent into nonsense picked up steam, there was some rejoicing on the left, and I understood why. As Republicans took on the collective persona of angry, over-medicated children, it seemed highly unlikely American voters would reward them with power. The GOP was becoming a national embarrassment, progressives assumed, and would need to come to its senses before it could return to the big kids' table.

But that satisfaction was misplaced. Sure, Republicans abandoned the pretense of credibility, seriousness, reason, and thoughtful policymaking, but they're nevertheless poised to make significant gains anyway. Voters care less about the GOP's radical recklessness and more about a struggling national economy.

The result is the worst of all worlds. We're faced with daunting challenges, a dysfunctional political system, and a party poised to gain power despite being woefully unprepared for the responsibilities of leadership.

The Pledge was nothing new. The Tea Party is about to find out that the spending they need to cut, in order to give tax cuts to everybody, is their own self-deserved Medicare, Defense Dept., and Social Security.

Democrats will to continue to teach the people their policies, Republicans will preach gridlock and denial. It sucks for all of us, but when things get serious, you know the Left will be leading the country.

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New Cato Report: Marijuana Prohibition Costs Almost $18 Billion A Year

The United States could improve its national budget by nearly $18 billion annually if we taxed and regulated marijuana like alcohol, according to a newly released study from the Cato Institute.

Not a proponent of pot smoking, but, if you're spending billions on the War On Drugs and you can't stop them, wasting so much money and resources incarcerating people, you have to rethink your approach.

$18 billion could educate a lot of potheads.

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U.S. Said to Be Looking for a Way Out at A.I.G.

The Obama administration is pressing aggressively for a deal to end its support of the American International Group and hopes to have a completed plan to announce by next week, ahead of the midterm elections.

Remember when Bush bought AIG and brought socialism to America? Oh, that meme didn't start until Obama was elected in our democracy.

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CBO: Extending the Bush Tax Cuts Increases Deficit AND Reduces Incomes

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf testified before the Senate Budget Committee today and dropped something of a bombshell. Extending the Bush tax cuts, he said, will "probably reduce income relative to what would otherwise occur in 2020." The reason is simple: Debt.

Cutting taxes does not stimulate the economy, in theory and in fact.

"The less you extend the tax cuts, the less damage you do to the economy." Please read this everyday until the elections. The GOP must be stopped.

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Geir Haarde, Iceland Ex-PM, Indicted For Role In Financial Crisis

Iceland's former Prime Minister Geir Haarde has been referred to a special court in a move that could make him the first world leader to be charged in connection with the global financial crisis.

After a heated debate Tuesday, lawmakers voted 33-30 to refer charges to the court against Haarde for allegedly failing to prevent Iceland's 2008 financial crash – a crisis that sparked protests, toppled the government and brought the economy to a standstill by collapsing its currency.

Bush and Cheney should feel lucky they don't live in Iceland.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

History For Dummies

Enthusiasm Gap Closing: Democrats Getting Excited

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll "shows that the battle for control of Congress has tightened, as key Democratic-leaning demographic groups are expressing more enthusiasm about the upcoming midterms."

Among likely voters, Republicans now hold a three-point lead in the generic-ballot test for control of Congress, 46% to 43%, down from their nine-point lead last month. Among registered voters are split evenly, 44% to 44%.

The pollsters "attribute the tightening to increased enthusiasm for the upcoming midterms by African Americans (who saw a six-point gain in high interest) and Hispanics (who saw an 11-point gain). But young voters, who helped fuel Obama's presidential victory in 2008, are now sitting on the sidelines. Just 35 percent of those ages 18-34 are enthusiastic about the election in November, versus 65 percent of seniors who say that."

We need to get the youth enthusiasm back. And when we do, they'll vote Democrat.

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Right Wing Needs To Stop Obsessing On Obama, Focus On Policies

Heather Mac Donald eviscerates Dinesh D'Souza and the "hackneyed psychological theory" he published in Forbes.

"...there is not a single policy that Obama has pursued since taking office that does not grow out of  the American tradition of left-wing liberalism or more immediately out of the Bush Administration, the latter including bailouts of Detroit and Wall Street, drone strikes in Pakistan, continuation of the doomed Freedom Agenda in Afghanistan, and invocations of the state secrets act to protect anti-terror actions from judicial scrutiny. But D’Souza is determined to present Obama as an alien within the body politic.

D’Souza’s screed is just the latest manifestation of the rebirth of the conservative hysteria that marked the Clinton era. The fact that both Clinton and Obama’s critics became obsessed with the person rather than his policies suggests that those critics have no faith in the public’s ability to grapple with abstract issues, rather than alleged personal failings. The shrillness of the hysteria around the last two Democratic presidents also suggests a conservative sense of entitlement towards holding power."

Obama is more centrist Right then the lunatic Right care to believe. Add the denial the Right has over Bush federalizing the banks, AIG, Fanny and Freddy, and passing the TARP bailout, you have a complete disconnect.

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Truth In Comics: Obama Is Like Most Of Us

Stop with the ignorance. Belittling your opposition, mispronouncing his name, bogus rumors: it's all out of the Lee Atwater playbook. We, as a nation, are better than that.

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Open Your Eyes: The Dream Is Ending For Middle Class

“Americans really think that society should be considerably more equal than it is, and that attitude has not shifted appreciably during the past thirty years. Yet our political system produces policies that make America more and more unequal, predominantly by cutting taxes for the very rich. Hacker and Pierson’s point is that there has not been an ideological shift toward conservative positions in the country at large (at least not on this issue). Instead, it’s the game of politics that has changed, so policy has become more disassociated from the preferences of the people.”

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GOP Pledge: Glosses Over Eight Years Of Bush, Has No Details

Chickenhawks and fake Deficit Hawks = The GOP.

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