Saturday, November 27, 2010

Not Much Has Changed Since 1957

Look at this clip of Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd (1957) starring Andy Griffith.
"Andy plays Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, a vagrant with folksy charm who gets put on the radio and turns out to be a genius at using good ol' country hokum to manipulate his audience into supporting the politics he supports. He ends up remaking an uptight Republican candidate into a 'reg'lar fella' who hunts, sits around the cracker barrel talking politics, etc."
Seeing how the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Nanny State fearmongers who populate the Right Wing, you have to ask yourself: how much has changed in 50+ years of Republican rhetoric?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ex-House Leader Tom DeLay Found Guilty in Texas Case

Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful and divisive Republican lawmakers to ever come out of Texas, was convicted Monday of money laundering charges in a state trial, five years after his indictment here forced him to resign as majority leader in the House of Representatives.


The verdict ends the latest chapter in a long legal battle that forced Mr. DeLay to step down. The trial also opened a window on the world of campaign financing in Washington, as jurors heard testimony about large contributions flowing to Mr. DeLay from corporations seeking to influence him, and about junkets to posh resorts where the congressman would rub shoulders with lobbyists in return for donations.

Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat and Travis County District Attorney, said the decision to pursue charges had nothing to do with partisans politics.

“This was about holding public officials accountable, that no one is above the law,” she said.

If you broke the law, you broke the law. You had your case, you lost.

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Married MN Republican With Gun At Clinic: "I'm Just Stalking My Online Girlfriend"

A security guard at a St. Paul Planned Parenthood clinic called the cops last week after he spotted a Republican state lawmaker with a loaded gun in the parking lot. But the pol says he was only "checking on" his online girlfriend, who he thought may be on a date with another man -- a claim police have not been able to corroborate because the man did not have a phone number or address for the woman.

Rep. Tom Hackbarth said he didn't have her phone number or address, as he only communicated with her via an online dating site. He also told police he didn't remember the name of the site.

Minnesota has some serious wackos for politicians. Jesse Ventura seems normal now. And try not to be too surprised: he represents part of the district represented by Michelle Bachmann.

BTW, Tom is married with three kids. Ah, GOP Family Values. Slinking around a parking lot and alley way with a gun, stalking a woman he met online.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Progressive Taxing Works: FACT

Increasing taxes on capitalist income is anathema to the supply-side economists who have dominated government policy for thirty years. They claim that increasing taxes on the wealthy reduces the supply of funds available for private investment, causing job loss, reduced real incomes, and economic decline. Supply-side economics was a wealth-holders’ reaction to Keynesian demand-side policies.

The Keynesian period—from World War II through the 1970s—had been a response to destructive twentieth century wars, financial crashes, prolonged economic declines, and rising support for militant unionism, socialism, and communism. To counter growing opposition to capitalism, to stimulate consumer demand and to revive opportunities for profitable investments, governments increased spending on pensions, unemployment insurance, education, healthcare and income support. Laws were changed to make it easier for unions to organize and to bargain collectively. Tax the Rich

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Poll Shows "GOP Mandate" Is Fiction

A majority of Americans want the Congress to keep the new health care law or actually expand it, despite Republican claims that they have a mandate from the people to kill it, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

The post-election survey showed that 51 percent of registered voters want to keep the law or change it to do more, while 44 percent want to change it to do less or repeal it altogether.

Driving support for the law: Voters by margins of 2-1 or greater want to keep some of its best-known benefits, such as barring insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. One thing they don't like: the mandate that everyone must buy insurance.

At the same time, the survey showed that a majority of voters side with the Democrats on another hot-button issue, extending the Bush era tax cuts that are set to expire Dec. 31 only for those making less than $250,000.

Of course people do not like certain things in the insurance reform. But that is what pays for the things that they like.

It's amazing how certain Americans want health care as long as the next person does not get any. Like, somehow, they win.

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Palin Is "Diet Bush"

"With Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity on her side, Palin hardly needs the grandees of the so-called Republican establishment. They know it and flail at her constantly. Politico reported just before Election Day that unnamed “party elders” were nearly united in wanting to stop her, out of fear that she’d win the nomination and then be crushed by Obama. Their complaints are seconded daily by Bush White House alumni like Karl Rove, Michael Gerson, and Mark McKinnon, who said recently that Palin’s “stock is falling and pretty rapidly now” and that “if she’s smart, she does not run.” This is either denial or wishful thinking. The same criticisms that the Bushies fling at Palin were those once aimed at Bush: a slender résumé, a lack of intellectual curiosity and foreign travel, a lazy inclination to favor from-the-gut improvisation over cracking the briefing books. These spitballs are no more likely to derail Palin within the G.O.P. than they did him."

- Frank Rich, (via azspot)

Big, big difference. Bush was just the Zoolander of the real machine: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Powell, Addington, and Rove.

These were 30 year in-the-making relationships. Rumsfeld and Cheney were BFFs from the Ford administration. This was a neo-con cabal, where no one would delineate from the predetermined message.

Palin has none of this.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Axelrod Out, Plouffe In [But Sooner]

"David Axelrod’s long-anticipated departure from the White House is happening a little earlier than expected – right after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech in late January or early February – so the senior adviser can “recharge his batteries,” according to a senior administration official.

David Plouffe — Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and most skilled organization builder - will be joining the West Wing staff in early January, also a bit earlier than predicted, to help a reeling White House cope with the biggest midterm rebuke any president has suffered in decades.

Axelrod’s mildly accelerated departure, first reported by CNN Monday night, immediately stoked speculation among some congressional Democrats that the White House is planning a more sweeping overhaul of the West Wing than was expected."

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Wikileaks: New Iraq War Logs 'seven times bigger than the first'

Wikileaks has announced it will release a third set of war logs which will be seven times bigger than the last batch.

In a defiant posting on its official Twitter account, the website’s founders said it was ‘under intense pressure’ over the disclosure but vowed to press ahead anyway.

‘The coming months will see a new world, where global history is redefined. Keep us strong,’ they added.

The Twitter post from Wikileaks which promises to redefine 'global history'

The Twitter post from Wikileaks which promises to redefine 'global history'

It is not yet clear what the new logs would cover but such a vast information dump would create another firestorm in Britain and the U.S.

400,000 classified documents.

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Buffett Says Rich Should Pay More

Billonaire investor Warren Buffett said the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich should be allowed to expire at the end of the year, the Financial Times reports, "adding that, if anything, the wealthiest Americans should pay even more in taxes."

He also "scotched suggestions, promoted by Republicans, that extending tax cuts for the rich would lead to more investment and have a multiplier effect across the economy at a time when growth remains insipid."

Said Buffett: "The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we'll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on."

Keep in mind, Buffett makes money by selling products that avoid income (annuities) and estate (life insurance) taxes.

His self-interest is fueling his insurance empire!

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Palin Won't Talk to Couric Again

In an interview later tonight on Fox News, Sarah Palin said she would never do another interview with Katie Couric, calling it a "waste of time."

Said Palin: "I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism.  And I have a communications degree.  I studied journalism, who, what, where, when, and why of reporting.  I will speak to reporters who still understand that cornerstone of our democracy, that expectation that the public has for truth to be reported.  And then we get to decide our own opinion based on the facts reported to us."


What kind of sentence is "I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism"? Did she pick up those stellar journalism skills at the five colleges she attended over six years?

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Fox's New Slogan

Nov. 22, 1963: Zapruder Films JFK Assassination

26 seconds of silent history. RIP JFK.

"Zapruder sold the publication rights to his film images to Life magazine, which ran the jarring, graphic still frames in its next issue a week later. The sequence was not shown as a film clip on network television until 1975."

We still believe a "magic bullet" theory after all these years? American denial and mistrust in Government embedded permanently.

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Of Course Republicans Aren’t Going To Repeal Health Care Reform

The promise of repeal is a shiny object to distract the drones in the GOP base.

More than a few Republicans know that while the politics of trying to nitpick provisions and curb funding are appealing, any wholesale repeal of major provisions of the health care overhaul is likely to generate a backlash.

Even the Republican-leaning electorate on Nov. 2 was evenly split on repealing Obamacare, the exit polls showed. And many of the major provisions of the bill command broad support or could expose critics and repeal advocates to embarrassing contradictions.

As Bill Maher astutely observed, the common mantra “We’ll keep the parts we like but repeal the parts we don’t like” (aka those “intrusive measures”), is totally un-serious and indicative of the childishness of our electorate because, of course, the parts of the bill you like are PAID FOR by the parts you don’t like.

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Krugman: GOP Sabotage Making America Ungovernable

"The fact is that one of our two great political parties has made it clear that it has no interest in making America governable, unless it's doing the governing. And that party now controls one house of Congress, which means that the country will not, in fact, be governable without that party's cooperation -- cooperation that won't be forthcoming. [...]

On one side, Republicans oppose just about everything that might reduce structural deficits: they demand that the Bush tax cuts be made permanent while demagoguing efforts to limit the rise in Medicare costs, which are essential to any attempts to get the budget under control. On the other, the G.O.P. opposes anything that might help sustain demand in a depressed economy -- even aid to small businesses, which the party claims to love.

Right now, in particular, Republicans are blocking an extension of unemployment benefits -- an action that will both cause immense hardship and drain purchasing power from an already sputtering economy. But there's no point appealing to the better angels of their nature; America just doesn't work that way anymore.

And opposition for the sake of opposition isn't limited to economic policy. Politics, they used to tell us, stops at the water's edge -- but that was then.

These days, national security experts are tearing their hair out over the decision of Senate Republicans to block a desperately needed new strategic arms treaty. And everyone knows that these Republicans oppose the treaty, not because of legitimate objections, but simply because it's an Obama administration initiative; if sabotaging the president endangers the nation, so be it." - Paul Krugman, NYT

Krugman insists that the Republican Party "isn't interested in helping the economy as long as a Democrat is in the White House."

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An Exerpt From Palin's New Book

"But from what I’ve read, family life at the time of the founding was a lot like family life for Americans today: full of challenges, sure, but also full of simple pleasures." - Sarah Palin

Like her coded love for Real Americans reveals, Palin fails to mention things like slavery.

"Often and repeatedly, she writes huge numbers of people out of the American story. In that one throw-away sentence, she did it again.

It’s not a big deal in itself. But it reveals something, and not for the first time or the second time or the third time even. And it’s that something that her words reveal that is a very big deal indeed." - David Frum

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Pentagon Aims To Repeal DADT

Gates, Mullen urge Congress to act on gay ban instead of courts; Gates to release report early

The Pentagon's top leaders warned Sunday that if Congress fails to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military, the courts may order changes that military leaders consider too fast or poorly thought-out.

I'm sure McCain will ask for more time or another report.

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Bernie Sanders Is A Mensch

"The billionaires and their supporters in Congress are hell-bent on taking us back to the 1920s, and eliminating all traces of social legislation designed to protect working families, the elderly, children and the disabled. No “social contract” for them. They want it all. They want to privatize or dismantle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and let the elderly, the sick and the poor fend for themselves. They want to expand our disastrous trade policies so that corporations can continue throwing American workers out on the street as they outsource jobs to China and other low-wage countries. Some also want to eliminate the minimum wage so that American workers can have the “freedom” to work for $3.00 an hour." Sen. Bernie Sanders

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