Political

Against ‘Civility’


One might further note that it is simply too comical to be lectured about social decorum by a party whose members shouted “You lie” at a President during a State of the Union address and made Donald Trump their party leader.
via Against ‘Civility’
The GOP demands it’s insults be accepted as politically incorrect free speech while it demands its opposition to act in the more comically deferential way possible.

You are the same people and belong to the same Party that was more than happy to spend tens of...

You are the same people and belong to the same Party that was more than happy to spend tens of millions of dollars going after Clinton on the whiff of a hint of a suggestion of something untoward, and you were quite willing to sit at that fishing hole and lob dynamite into it for seven long years until you knocked something loose.

In light of that, what I don’t quite understand is how you’re going to explain to posterity how you refused to bother to even investigate any of this.



- driftglass: I Have a Trick To Show You

Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement

Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement:

On planet Trump, the fact that Trump is always in court on fraud charges and then agrees to a settlement where the party can not talk about the case somehow proves that the system is out to get Trump.

That Clinton is constantly accused but never charged and everything is in the public record proves that we need a special prosecutors.

Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement

Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement:

On planet Trump, the fact that Trump is always in court on fraud charges and then agrees to a settlement where the party can not talk about the case somehow proves that the system is out to get Trump.

That Clinton is constantly accused but never charged and everything is in the public record proves that we need a special prosecutors.

Britons demand to live in medieval village surrounded by a wall

Britons demand to live in medieval village surrounded by a wall:

Sales manager Roy Hobbs said: “We want to live in tiny villages with our own kind and a big wall to keep out immigrants and wolves. It’s the only way forward.

“We won’t need the EU because we’ll trade with ourselves. If you’ve got apples and your neighbour’s got leeks you’d just barter, although I’m not sure how you’d buy a new laptop.

“The main thing is the wall will keep people out. It’s not racist to want to protect the blacksmith’s job or stop gangs of young men molesting your chickens.”

When someone asks about Black on Black crime, they aren't looking for an answer.

Whenever a black kid is gunned down by police, the first thing I see pop up on my Facebook feeds is Why isn’t anyone speaking out about black on black crime? This is concern trolling at its worst.

Virtually everyone agrees that in the case of black on black crime, that one party is the criminal and one party is the victim. Virtually everyone agrees that the victim is not to blame. That the victim didn’t wasn’t the cause of the crime. Virtually everyone agrees that the black criminal is a criminal and should face justice.

In the case of police shootings of unarmed black kids, there is disagreement if the shooter is a criminal who should face justice. There is disagreement about the role of victim. It’s a completely different situation because of that disagreement.

So when someone asks about Black on Black crime, they aren’t looking for an answer and they aren’t looking for a discussion. They are looking to prevent a discussion.

Lastly, black on black crime is not being ignored just because you aren’t seeing it.

The 10 non-softball questions Ron Paul refused to answer during his Reddit AMA

The 10 non-softball questions Ron Paul refused to answer during his Reddit AMA

ron-paul:

Reddit Ron Paul AMA (question not answered)

Sorry, I don't have any softball questions for you here, but I'm sure many have been wondering the answers to these.

  1. I didn't want to start off with this one, but the populace really wants some answers. To be frank, the only answers you've given…

I always thought of Mr. Paul as half right, half crazy. The 10 questions here are hardly new. But they illustrate the very serious reasons why Paul was never a serious candidate and could only have a career in a safe GOP district in Texas.

Documents show NSA violated court orders on collection of phone records

Documents show NSA violated court orders on collection of phone records

the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court imposed temporary restrictions on the programs after it learned of the violations until it was satisfied the NSA had revamped its procedures to conform to court requirements

NSA officials have lied to congress and to the courts. This needs to be investigated by the house and senate and those responsible need to be tossed out or put on trial.

Rubin said that she was trying to show how easy it would be to commit voter fraud with just a signature and gets arrested for voter fraud.

Rubin said that she was trying to show how easy it would be to commit voter fraud with just a signature and gets arrested for voter fraud.

Democratic Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, who has called for a photo ID law, slammed Rubin in a statement. “If Ms. Rubin was trying to demonstrate how easy it is to commit voter fraud, she clearly failed and proved just the opposite,”

Is there a political Darwin award? She’s a shoe in.

David Brooks Now Totally Pathological

David Brooks Now Totally Pathological

Many moderate conservatives have simply broken off from the party, at least in its current incarnation, and are hoping or working to build a sane alternative. Those who remain must escape into progressively more baroque fantasies.

Those who think the GOP and the Dems are both equally bad are the 2nd biggest obstacle to fixing the nation’s problems.

CBS News' 60 Minutes aired a report last night alleging that several members of Congress have traded stock using information they received during private briefings or meetings, enabling them to profit from inside information.

CBS News' 60 Minutes aired a report last night alleging that several members of Congress have traded stock using information they received during private briefings or meetings, enabling them to profit from inside information.

One Day After Attending Private Economic Crisis Briefing, GOP Financial Services Chairman Bet On Stocks Tanking | ThinkProgress

Worth watching.

Michele Bachmann Repeatedly Sought Stimulus, EPA, Other Government Funds

A Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Huffington Post with three separate federal agencies reveals that on at least 16 separate occasions, Bachmann petitioned the federal government for direct financial help or aid. A large chunk of those requests were for funds set aside through President Obama’s stimulus program, which Bachmann once labeled “fantasy economics.” Bachmann made two more of those requests to the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution that she has suggested she would eliminate if she were in the White House.

From Michele Bachmann Repeatedly Sought Stimulus, EPA, Other Government Funds

She was just asking for some of that common sense spending that helps her and not that evil socialist spending that helps other people.

Romney Irked By Democrats' Prepared Attacks

“It is disgraceful that President Obama’s campaign has launched his re-election with the stated goal to ‘kill’ his opponent with an onslaught of negative and personal attacks,” Romney said in a statement.

From Romney Irked By Democrats’ Prepared Attacks


No fair, he is fighting back! Googling “romney attacks obama” returns 57k hits. “obama attacks romney” just 417 hits.

I remember well the contention that there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between George W Bush and Al Gore. And, indeed, there wasn't. Both wholeheartedly embraced American military hegemony as a foreign policy and the neoliberal "Washington Consensus" approach to international economic policy. Both emphasized improved education as the key to long-term prosperity, both valorized capitalism as an engine of growth, and neither in any meaningful way challenged the various prevailing economic and social dogmas of the era. And yet looking back in concrete terms, it seems to me that the 2000 election turns out to have been one of the most consequential in American history. That's because while both Bush and Bill Clinton pursued policies from within the paradigm of the elite American ideological consensus of the post-Cold War era they actually pursued very different policies.

I remember well the contention that there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between George W Bush and Al Gore. And, indeed, there wasn't. Both wholeheartedly embraced American military hegemony as a foreign policy and the neoliberal "Washington Consensus" approach to international economic policy. Both emphasized improved education as the key to long-term prosperity, both valorized capitalism as an engine of growth, and neither in any meaningful way challenged the various prevailing economic and social dogmas of the era. And yet looking back in concrete terms, it seems to me that the 2000 election turns out to have been one of the most consequential in American history. That's because while both Bush and Bill Clinton pursued policies from within the paradigm of the elite American ideological consensus of the post-Cold War era they actually pursued very different policies.
A Dime's Worth Of Difference | ThinkProgress

Medicaid Spending In New York State

If you have a program that delivers services, and the expense of providing the services seems disproportionate to the benefits, and if the reason the expense seems disproportionate is something that unionized public workers have gotten out of the political process, then it's easy to get conservatives hopping mad about it. But if you have a program that delivers services, and the expense of providing the services seems disproportionate to the benefits, and if the reason the expense seems disproportionate is something that private firms have gotten out of the political proces, then suddenly increased government oversight (regulation of for-profit colleges, IPAB, etc.) is a slippery slope to socialism.

From ThinkProgress

In a nutshell, this is what is broken about our policy making system.

Somalia's al-Shabaab militants ban samosas

Somalia’s al-Shabaab group has banned samosas after ruling the popular snacks are too Christian, it was reported on Tuesday.
But the newspaper said locals believed al-Shabaab leaders had decided the triangular shape was not compatible with their strict version of Islam.
The unexpected move means Somalis could now expect to be punished if caught cooking, buying or eating samosas, known locally as sambusas.
From Somalia’s al-Shabaab militants ban samosas

Glad to see that Somalia has solved all its major problems and can focus on issues like this. Wonder if they will go after by-the-slice pizza next.

Blame Obama Please

Remember when Obama negotiated with the GOP over an extension of the Bush tax cuts and allowed the GOP to take the budget hostage? This phony debt ceiling crisis is directly related to that. If he let the tax cuts expire we wouldn’t be in this mess as the GOP would have been discouraged from further hostage taking.

Bill O'Reilly's Christianism - And Breivik's

it is obvious that Christians can commit murder, assault, etc. They do so every day. Because, as Christian orthodoxy tells us, we are all sinners. To say that no Christian can ever commit murder is a sophist’s piffle. Did Scott Roeder stop being a Christian when he assassinated a man repeatedly demonized by Bill O’Reilly, George Tiller? Do the countless criminals who have gone to church or believe in Jesus immediately not count as Christians the minute they commit the crime? Of course not. What O’Reilly is saying is complete heresy in terms of the most basic Christian orthodoxy.

From Bill O’Reilly’s Christianism - And Breivik’s


Andrew Sullivan on Bill O.

America's creditor identifies its budget problem

The chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, Chen Bingde, told reporters he thought the U.S. should cut back on defense spending for the sake of its taxpayers. He was speaking during a joint news conference in which he traded barbs with visiting U.S. counterpart Adm. Mike Mullen.

"I know the U.S. is still recovering from the financial crisis," Chen said. "Under such circumstances, it is still spending a lot of money on its military and isn't that placing too much pressure on the taxpayers?

If the U.S. could reduce its military spending a bit and spend more on improving the livelihood of the American people … wouldn't that be a better scenario?


From Glenn Greenwald - salon.com

Amazing.

Getting to Crazy

the modern G.O.P. fundamentally does not accept the legitimacy of a Democratic presidency - any Democratic presidency. We saw that under Bill Clinton, and we saw it again as soon as Mr. Obama took office.

As a result, Republicans are automatically against anything the president wants, even if they have supported similar proposals in the past.


From Getting to Crazy

Sad but true.

GOP Victory on Debt Ceiling

I think the GOP won this round. They got to push the odious by necessary task of extending the debt ceiling to Obama and can not stand on the sidelines and complain loudly. And this is all they want to do anyway. They are like arsonists complaining about the shoddy work the fire fighters are doing putting out their fires.

Michigan Woman Faces Jail Time For Vegetable Garden

The fact that this kind of thing doesn't seem to prompt much in the way of outrage from the very same people who are scandalized by increased regulation of light bulbs tells you a lot about American politics. For one thing, there are several giant industries willing and eager to put up lots of money to fund people to complain about the work of climate change activists, so these stories get blown up. But it's also just a reminder that, in practice, things like support for free markets, belief in freedom, hostility to government regulation, support for small government, etc. play no actual role in American politics. It's interesting that the political movement to which a plurality of Americans belong likes to talk a lot about these ideas. But there's no nationwide tea party backlash against lawn regulations.

From Michigan Woman Faces Jail Time For Vegetable Garden


This is just another instance of how the people who are against regulations of industry where there is a real problems of industry shifting its problems onto others by all kinds of externalities don’t seem to be willing to expend that much energy on regulations on individuals where the externalities are trivial.

I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.

I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.
Warren Buffett: I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. | The Big Picture

Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics

That friendship is important to determining whether Justice Thomas's interactions with Mr. Crow conflict with the code, said Raymond J. McKoski, a retired state judge in Illinois who wrote a law review article on charitable fund-raising by judges. If Justice Thomas did not "misuse the prestige of office" in getting Mr. Crow to take on the project, it should not be a concern, he said.

"Some of it depends on the conversations that took place," Mr. McKoski said. "Who brought up the idea? How willing was Mr. Crow to do it? What exact questions were asked by Justice Thomas?"


From NYTimes.com

It is to early to ask what did he know and when did he know it. Plus I doubt he would take any criticism as anything other that liberal partisanship. But this is really creepy and there should be in investigation.

Is Healthcare Worth Jail Time?

Damien Calvert, who was recently released from an Ohio prison for a drug-related murder he committed when he was 18 (he's now a straight-A student at Cleveland State University, studying nonprofit management), said that part of the reason recidivism rates are so high is due to the lack of access to health care on the streets for parolees. "Guys get out with a week's supply of their medications," said Calvert, "and when they're unable to navigate the health-care delivery system out here in the world, they commit another crime so they can go back to their comfort zone, back to where they know they'll be kept alive. But there's something fundamentally wrong in this country when people have to resort to committing crimes to receive adequate health care."

From Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast

This is insane. It’s like Dog Day Afternoon. How much are we willing to spend to avoid spending money on health care?

I don't believe the nomination of Palin is where our system became decadent, nor the Clinton sex scandal. VPs are often chosen for less than scrupulous reason and Clinton just got caught on what something that has and is currently always going on with politicians. I believe that our political system hit its lowest point of decadence during the "Swift Boating" of John Kerry by the Bush campaign. War heroism is something that all sane and rational people honor and respect. Rove's calculated strategy to attack Kerry's strength and besmirch his heroic acts in Vietnam crossed a line that should never be crossed, especially by an administration that started two wars and used them and the military as an advantage in every possible way. At that point, I remember thinking to myself that the floodgates have been opened to a new, bottom-feeder level.

I don’t believe the nomination of Palin is where our system became decadent, nor the Clinton sex scandal. VPs are often chosen for less than scrupulous reason and Clinton just got caught on what something that has and is currently always going on with politicians. I believe that our political system hit its lowest point of decadence during the “Swift Boating” of John Kerry by the Bush campaign. War heroism is something that all sane and rational people honor and respect. Rove’s calculated strategy to attack Kerry’s strength and besmirch his heroic acts in Vietnam crossed a line that should never be crossed, especially by an administration that started two wars and used them and the military as an advantage in every possible way. At that point, I remember thinking to myself that the floodgates have been opened to a new, bottom-feeder level.
When Did We Become Rome? Swiftboating

Global Commission Of Former Officials Says War On Drugs Has Failed

"The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world," the report reads. "Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."

The report calls for an end to the “criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others,” and for governments to experiment with ways to regulate drugs so as to undercut organized crime and improve public health.


From Global Commission Of Former Officials Says War On Drugs Has Failed


Coming to the obvious conclusion about 30 years late.

New study says Paul Krugman is top prognosticator

The Hamilton students sampled the predictions of 26 individuals who wrote columns in major print media and who appeared on the three major Sunday news shows - Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week - and evaluated the accuracy of 472 predictions made during the 16-month period. They used a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being "will not happen, 5 being "will absolutely happen") to rate the accuracy of each, and then divided them into three categories: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The students found that only nine of the prognosticators they studied could predict more accurately than a coin flip. Two were significantly less accurate, and the remaining 14 were not statistically any better or worse than a coin flip.

The top prognosticators - led by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman - scored above five points and were labeled "Good," while those scoring between zero and five were "Bad." Anyone scoring less than zero (which was possible because prognosticators lost points for inaccurate predictions) were put into "The Ugly" category.


From New study says Paul Krugman is top prognosticator


Krugman, better than a coin flip.

GE's Immelt wishes he had soft-pedaled green talk | Reuters

If I had one thing to do over again I would not have talked so much about green,” Immelt said at an event sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Even though I believe in global warming and I believe in the science … it just took on a connotation that was too elitist

From Reuters

It’s a sad day when the CEO of a company has to practically apologize for excepting science because science is too elitist. WTF.

Senators Coburn, Feinstein, Introduce Bill to Eliminate Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff - Press Releases - Tom Coburn, M.D., United States Senator from Oklahoma

U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced the Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff Repeal Act, which will fully eliminate the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and fully repeal the import tariff on foreign ethanol. Cosponsors also include Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jim Webb (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and James Risch (R-ID).

"The ethanol subsidy and tariff is bad economic policy, bad energy policy and bad environmental policy. As our nation faces a crushing debt burden, rising gas prices and the prospect of serious inflation, continuing our parochial ethanol policy that increases the cost of energy and food is irresponsible. I'm pleased to introduce this common sense bill with Senator Feinstein and will push for its consideration at the earliest opportunity," Dr. Coburn said, noting that the bill has been filed as an amendment () to the small business bill pending in the Senate


From Senators Coburn, Feinstein, Introduce Bill to Eliminate Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff - Press Releases - Tom Coburn, M.D., United States Senator from Oklahoma


Bipartisan effort to eliminate a wasteful subsidy that won’t be covered nearly as much as it should be.

Motivated Reasoning : The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

The theory of motivated reasoning builds on a key insight of modern neuroscience [7] (PDF): Reasoning is actually suffused with emotion (or what researchers often call “affect”). Not only are the two inseparable, but our positive or negative feelings about people, things, and ideas arise much more rapidly than our conscious thoughts, in a matter of milliseconds-fast enough to detect with an EEG device, but long before we’re aware of it. That shouldn’t be surprising: Evolution required us to react very quickly to stimuli in our environment. It’s a “basic human survival skill,” explains political scientist Arthur Lupia [8] of the University of Michigan. We push threatening information away; we pull friendly information close. We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself.

We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself.

We’re not driven only by emotions, of course-we also reason, deliberate. But reasoning comes later, works slower-and even then, it doesn’t take place in an emotional vacuum. Rather, our quick-fire emotions can set us on a course of thinking that’s highly biased, especially on topics we care a great deal about.

From The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science

Feynman summed this up as his first principal, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Freedom and The Weak State

Francis Fukuyama challenges the assumption that freedom and a strong central state are opposing values:

In contemporary China, many of the worst abuses of peasant rights, violations of environmental and safety laws, and cases of gross corruption are the work not of the central government in Beijing but of local party officials or of the private employers who work hand in hand with them. It is the responsibility of the central government to enforce its own laws against the oligarchy; freedom is lost not when the state is too strong but when it is too weak. In the United States, the ending of Jim Crow laws and racial segregation in the two decades following World War II was brought about only when the federal government used its power to enforce the Constitution against the states in the South. Political freedom is not won, it would seem, only when the power of the state is constrained but when a strong state comes up against an equally strong society that seeks to restrict its power.

From Yglesias

I Normally loathe Mr Fukuyama but I can’t help but agree with this.

Congress Readies To Mobilize In Favor Of Wasteful Medicare Spending

the very same members of congress who voted this month to privatize Medicare in 2022 and enact draconian cuts throughout the 2020s and 2030s are here in town right now defending health care providers' right to charge the government high prices for services that don't work. Indeed, as recently as 2009 no less a figure than Paul Ryan himself was fuming at the idea of reducing government subsidies to for-profit insurance companies.

From Congress Readies To Mobilize In Favor Of Wasteful Medicare Spending

Being against rationing but in favor of cost-controls is a self contradictory position. Rationing is cost control and there is no type of cost control that isn’t a form of rationing. We have to be honest about this and make a call for rationing.

Paul Ryan booed at his own town hall

A constituent lays out the problem of growing concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent of the U.S. population, and then questions the wisdom of continuing to give tax breaks to the wealthy.

He is applauded by the audience.

Ryan, in response, attacks the notion that wealth should be redistributed, and says “we do tax the top.”

He is booed, heartily.

The message could not be any clearer. The people — arch-conservative Paul Ryan’s people!— have spoken. Tax. The. Rich.


From Paul Ryan booed at his own town hall

The Party's Over?

A listing of events on the umbrella group Trea Party Patriots' website for Monday and Friday showed a total of 145 events - the same listing shows 638 events on tax day 2010.

From The Party’s Over?


Can we stop pretending the Tea Party movement is something other than the republican base with funny hats?

The Power of Mockery

Otpor's strategy mirrors one promoted by a rumpled Boston academic named Gene Sharp, who is little known in America but inspires tremors among dictators abroad. Sharp's guide to toppling despots has been translated into 34 languages so far and was widely circulated in Egypt last year in Arabic.

After Otpor toppled Milosevic, it began to hold seminars for pro-democracy activists from other parts of the world, including many from the Middle East.

"About 15 of us went to Serbia from Egypt," Mohammed Adel, one of the leaders of Egypt's awesome April 6 Youth Movement, which helped lead the way in overthrowing President Hosni Mubarak, told me a few days ago. "The methods we learned from Serbia are what we are using in Cairo."

A crucial lesson, he said, is the power of nonviolence: "If somebody is beating you, don't attack him. Don't use any violence against them. Just take photos of them and put them on the Internet."

From The Power of Mockery - NYTimes.com

The smart-phone as the new kalashnikov.


The real tea-party was about ending crony capitalism. The current tea-party is about abolishing the idea of public goods.

Global Warming Critics Replicate Disputed Climate Change Findings

Gee. Imagine that. That’s supposed to be the test of scientific theory: when the same experiments produce the same results. A team of UC Berkeley physicists and statisticians that set out to challenge the scientific consensus on global ...


From Global Warming Critics Replicate Disputed Climate Change Findings


So they are going to change their minds, right? Those opinions are fact-based not ideological in nature, right?

Glenn Beck Leaving FOX Show by the End of the Year

Glenn Beck is pulling the plug on his popular daily show for Fox News.

In a release his production company says he will “transition” away from his Fox News show later this year.


From Glenn Beck Leaving FOX Show by the End of the Year


I’m willing to bet that he’ll come back with some BS quasi left-of-center persona. The Noam Chomsky books with replace Rand and Hayek.

No degree, little experience pay off big

Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.

Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.

How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team?

It’s all in the family.

His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year’s governor’s race.


From No degree, little experience pay off big - JSOnline


No mention of how Mr. Deschane’s union is bilking the public. The article must be wrong.

Paine and Adams may have been alone among the founders for having literary styles adequate to their mutual disregard. "The spissitude [sic!] of the black liquor which is spread in such quantities by this writer," Adams wrote of Paine, "prevents its daubing." Paine: "Some people talk of impeaching John Adams, but I am for softer measures. I would keep him to make fun of.

Paine and Adams may have been alone among the founders for having literary styles adequate to their mutual disregard. “The spissitude [sic!] of the black liquor which is spread in such quantities by this writer,” Adams wrote of Paine, “prevents its daubing.” Paine: “Some people talk of impeaching John Adams, but I am for softer measures. I would keep him to make fun of.
William Hogeland: How John Adams and Thomas Paine Clashed Over Economic Equality

I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.

I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.
Gingrich Warns America May Become a Secular Atheist Country Dominated By Radical Islamists

Richard Clarke on Chamber Attack Plans: It's A Felony, They Should Go To Jail

Richard Clarke, who served for both Democratic and Republican Presidents, including a stint as the cyber security czar for the Bush administration, denounced the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for plottingwith a group of military contractors to hack into progressive groups. Clarke was in DC speaking at a cyber security conference hosted by Symantec.

Clarke said the Chamber's attorneys had conspired to commit a "felony":


From Crooks and Liars


Calling it what it is.

What the right means when it calls NPR "liberal"

When it comes to covering and analyzing the news, the reverse of right isn’t left; it’s independent reporting that toes neither party nor ideological line. We've heard no NPR reporter — not a one — advocating on the air for more government spending (or less), for the right of abortion (or against it), for or against gay marriage, or for or against either political party, especially compared to what we hear from Fox News and talk radio on all of these issues and more.
So what do conservatives really mean when they accuse NPR of being “liberal”? They mean it’s not accountable to their worldview as conservatives and partisans. They mean it reflects too great a regard for evidence and is too open to reporting different points of views of the same event or idea or issue. Reporting that by its very fact-driven nature often fails to confirm their ideological underpinnings, their way of seeing things (which is why some liberals and Democrats also become irate with NPR).


From What the right means when it calls NPR “liberal”


Quote of the day.

James O'Keefe won't let others videotape him

Hypocrisy, O’Keefe is thy middle name: Conservative activist James O'Keefe, who has gained notoriety for his hidden-camera stings of NPR executives, ACORN employees, teacher unions, and CNN reporters, gave a speech to a New Jersey Tea Party ...


From James O’Keefe won’t let others videotape him


Of course he won’t let people tape him. He knows how easy it is to edit tape to make it look like people are saying something they aren’t actually saying.

Wis. Dems Claim 45 Percent Of Needed Signatures For Recalls | TPMDC

In the latest development in Wisconsin, after the passage of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s new law curtailing public employee unions, state Democrats claim that they have reached 45% of their goal for petition signatures to recall eight Republican state Senators

From TPMDC

Walker is safe until the end of the year, assuming they don’t try some other method of removing him.

GOP's Continuing Resolution Cuts Funding for National Weather Service, FEMA

Back in February 2009, Republicans found a lot of risible spending in the stimulus bill. In his response to the State of the Union, Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., derided the stimulus for including “$140 million for something called volcano monitoring.” The gripe was mostly that the funding, mostly for U.S. Geological Survey upkeep, wasn’t stimulative. (This is a pretty good argument.) But Democrats honed in on that comment to decide that Republicans were going to try to cut funding for natural disaster monitoring.


From Weigel : GOP’s Continuing Resolution Cuts Funding for National Weather Service, FEMA

Yeah, Tsunami/Earthquake/Hurricane warning systems are a total waste of money. Let the free market provide personal disaster prevention domes.

Rand Paul to EPA: Don't protect Kentucky

If there was one form of disastrous pollution you would think everyone would readily agree the Environmental Protection Agency should regulate, it would be mountaintop removal coal mining. It’s hard to think of a modern industrial practice that does more damage than the one that blows up the top of mountains, fills up stream beds and valleys, and poisons the local water supply.

From How the World Works - salon.com

Does Senator Paul care about the property rights of the people who will live downstream and downwind of the coal mining operations?

The View From Rush Limbaugh's Recession

One way to look at this is that when Rush Limbaugh really thinks the “sloth and laziness” of Americans mostly consists of jailed drunks on disability and equivalent cases. Another interpretation is that he lacks the courage of his convictions the minute matters move from the abstract to the real.

From The Daily Dish

Another take is that he doesn’t know what he is talking about on any intellectual level. Its all just bluster and BS. When confronted by even the simplest counter-argument, he begins to contradict himself.

The Left's Tea Party?

The Left's Tea Party?

My point is that when folks get angry, they get stupid, and stupidity knows no party or clique. Progressives should not meet this truism so defensively. I know we want to believe the best of our comrades. And I know that loudly congratulating one’s team for its superior intellect and virtue is a critical part of keeping a bubble of enthusiasm aloft and rising. So we adults can speak in whispers, if we must. But it’s a plain fact that the fuel-mixture of potent populism includes generous helpings of stupidity and self-regard.

One thing they understand very well at Fox, and in the conservative movement more generally, is the political value of shamelessness. As long as you say what you're saying with conviction, it doesn't matter how absurd or hypocritical it is. You may not get the majority of the public to agree with you, but you can get a good number. ... As a result, conservatives may not win every argument, but they almost never get routed completely.

One thing they understand very well at Fox, and in the conservative movement more generally, is the political value of shamelessness. As long as you say what you’re saying with conviction, it doesn’t matter how absurd or hypocritical it is. You may not get the majority of the public to agree with you, but you can get a good number. … As a result, conservatives may not win every argument, but they almost never get routed completely.
Does Shamelessness Pay Off?

the signature initiatives of Republican presidents - the Reagan tax cut, the Bush tax cut, the Medicare drug benefit - have all been unfunded deficit-raisers; the signature initiatives of Democratic presidents - the Clinton tax hike, Obamacare - have all been deficit-reducing. (Yes, the stimulus - but that was intended to be temporary, and has in fact proved too temporary; and Bush I's tax increase was an exception, but the GOP has made it clear that nothing like that will ever happen again.)

the signature initiatives of Republican presidents - the Reagan tax cut, the Bush tax cut, the Medicare drug benefit - have all been unfunded deficit-raisers; the signature initiatives of Democratic presidents - the Clinton tax hike, Obamacare - have all been deficit-reducing. (Yes, the stimulus - but that was intended to be temporary, and has in fact proved too temporary; and Bush I's tax increase was an exception, but the GOP has made it clear that nothing like that will ever happen again.)
Turning a Blind Eye to the Obvious - NYTimes.com

The Kochs will happily put their money behind candidates who agree with their economic agenda but disagree with their social agenda. They will never put their money behind candidates of whom the reverse is true.

The Kochs will happily put their money behind candidates who agree with their economic agenda but disagree with their social agenda. They will never put their money behind candidates of whom the reverse is true.
The Rest Of The Libertarian Agenda

Making Things

As we're able to produce more material goods with fewer people, that ought to lead not only to more chefs and yoga instructors and private security guards but also more preschool teachers and cops and home health aides. There's an argument out there that "we can't afford" the larger public sector that's currently projected for the future. But we can afford it, and the fact that in the future we won't need as many manufacturing workers to have all the manufactured goods we need is a big part of the reason.

From Making Things


The problem is that there a gap between what we can afford and what people will pay for. We’ve had 30 years of government on credit. Asking people to now pay for the services they use is a shock now. How else can you explain the contrast between people voting for people who promise to cut government and people being aghast when those same people want to cut services.

The Egyptian revolution is only the latest example of how people can bring down tyrants without firing a shot. A century of successful nonviolent mass movements, in fact, makes the case that America's bloody insurrection against British rule was the anomaly, and perhaps not worthy of emulation.

The Egyptian revolution is only the latest example of how people can bring down tyrants without firing a shot. A century of successful nonviolent mass movements, in fact, makes the case that America's bloody insurrection against British rule was the anomaly, and perhaps not worthy of emulation.
There Won’t Be Blood - NYTimes.com

What I've found most amusing about the rightblogger critique is that they're trying to frame the teachers as "greedy." These are the same folks, after all, who have told us since Reagan that greed was good! But apparently greed is only good for people doing useful things like trading housing derivatives and not good for people who do useless things like teaching our kids math.

What I’ve found most amusing about the rightblogger critique is that they’re trying to frame the teachers as “greedy.” These are the same folks, after all, who have told us since Reagan that greed was good! But apparently greed is only good for people doing useful things like trading housing derivatives and not good for people who do useless things like teaching our kids math.
Greed is Good… Unless You’re Teaching My Kids Math!

Were they listening when they read the constitution aloud at the start of the congress?

No Constitutional shortcuts. When investigating American citizens, the government must comply with the Constitution, even in national security investigations

Challenging unconstitutional action. If a citizen challenges the government’s use of PATRIOT Act power in a court of law, the case must be expedited to ensure the individual’s rights are upheld.

A total of two House Republicans — Texas’ Ron Paul and North Carolina’s Walter Jones — voted for this, while 234 did not.


From The Washington Monthly

Were they listening when they read the constitution aloud at the start of the congress?

Progressives don't need to indulge the premises of this "welfare state for me but not for thee" brand of conservatism that's taken over the country.

I don't think we should cut Social Security benefits. But if we are going to cut Social Security benefits, I think it doesn't make sense to do what the Obama administration has done and make "No current beneficiaries should see their basic benefits reduced" one of the bargaining points.

In essence, by first separating the domestic budget into "discretionary" and "entitlement" portions and then dividing the entitlement programs up into "what today's old people get" versus "what tomorrow's old people will get" the political class has created a large and vociferously right-wing class of people who are completely immune from the impact of their own calls for fiscal austerity. In my view, that reality is the biggest driver of our current political dysfunction.

Progressives don't need to indulge the premises of this "welfare state for me but not for thee" brand of conservatism that's taken over the country.

Yglesias >> Lucky Duckies

Administration Announces Plan for Nationwide High Speed Rail

Firing the first shot across the budget bow, Vice President Biden announced plans for a high-speed rail network across the United States by 2036, as promised in his State of the Union address.

From Crooks and Liars

If you look at the map that comes along with the description of the plan, you can see exactly what’s wrong with it. It’s 7 High speed regional networks covering populous well-traveled routes with long low-speed connections between them. My guess is that there will be political fights for money that fall in favor of the low-travel low-use slow-train networks to gain the support of those senators. If our system wasn’t so broken, someone could suggest we should be looking at roads, rails and airports as part of a national infrastructure policy that favors that which works best at the local level being what the federal government considers. Those red high speed networks could terminate at regional airports and bus terminals to cover the large rural areas with appropriate money spent on highways rather than rails.

Does Kansas really need more rail travel options?

H.R.3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

For example, it would deny tax credits to companies that offer health plans that cover abortions and it would block anybody with insurance that covers abortions from receiving federal subsidies

From H.R.3

The GOP is against the government take over of health care; unless it can be used to keep women from making their own health care choices about their own bodies. That’s it in a nutshell.

Lawrence O'Donnell Asks Rep. Steve King if He's Got His Christian ID Card to Prove He's Not a Muslim

Lawrence O’Donnell decided that turnaround was fair play with wingnut Rep. Steve King and asked him if he had his Christian ID card or some other means to prove that we should take his word that he’s not a Muslim.

From Crooks and Liars

This is how you deal with evidence free assertions from wing nuts.

Silvio's World

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s legendary womanizing now has Italian prosecutors preparing to try him on criminal charges.

From Silvio’s World


Berlusconi has a model diversity program in that there is a diverse set of models. Blondes, brunettes and red heads are all well represented in his patronage positions.

Paul Ryan, welfare queen

With his father's passing, young Paul collected Social Security benefits until age 18, which he put away for college. To make ends meet, Paul's mother returned to school to study interior design. His siblings were off at college. Ryan remembers this difficult time bringing him and his mother closer.

See how that worked? Congressman Paul Ryan loses his father at age 16, and Social Security steps up to ease the burden. Of course, his mother also received Social Security benefits as his father’s surviving spouse.

Seems like it was such a great hammock for Ryan that he just doesn’t want anyone else to share it.

From crooksandliars

It’s only socialism when it helps other people.

Clinton Sees An Early Payoff of U.S. Debt

Mr. Clinton, in an announcement from the White House, called on Republican leaders in Congress to “put politics aside and join me” in a budget proposal that would pay off dollars 3.6 trillion in debt by 2013. This, he said, would leave the United States debt-free for the first time since 1835.

"What we’re doing by taking this position," Mr. Clinton said, "is maximizing the choices the next president and the next Congress will have."

From Consumer Confidence Hits an All-Time High - Jobs Called ‘Plentiful’ - Clinton Sees An Early Payoff of U.S. Debt - NYTimes.com

Remember when?

Prediction: If the current unrest in Tunisia and Egypt result in stable, Western friendly democracies; the Neo-conservatives will take credit and laud praises on the Bush administration. If it doesn’t end well, those same neocons will blame Obama.

The difference between big and small government is 4%

Until recently, our great, wrenching, economic debate has been focused on whether a whopping 4.6% increase in tax rates on incomes over $250,000 would undermine the American work ethic, shred the nation’s the moral fiber, and constitute the “Second Coming of Socialism”.

Now, with the passage of the tax cut extension, providing us a harrowing, last-minute, reprieve from such a fate, we face another monumental debate about the proper size of government — with the difference, again, being a whopping 4%. Conservatives think government should spend no more than 18-19% of GDP. Liberals about 22-23%.

From Paul Abrams: Beware the Big vs. Small Govt Trap: It’s Only About 4%. Yes, 4%

At this point, right-wing economic policy is becoming farce.

The reality is that people who advocated for small government really want government big enough to help me, too small to help you. Just as they view socialism as when government helps someone else.

Al Franken and Rand Paul?

Paul, the freshman Republican and Tea Party favorite says that he and Franken are hitting it off in the Senate. Franken attended Paul's reception after his swearing in, and Paul has requested Franken be his Democratic mentor (each new senator gets a Democratic and GOP mentor), Politico reported.

Franken has decided to take Paul under his wing, his office confirmed.

From Star Tribune: Franken makes a Tea Party friend | Al Franken - U.S. Senator, Minnesota

Wow.

Economic conservatism as a religion

But beyond the specific facts, it's the logical structure of the argument that's insane. Economic growth is a key predicate for an expansive welfare stare. So it's completely true that if you just started throwing out the key institutional features of modern market economies that you'd strangle big government. But you'd be strangling big government by destroying the economy. Why do this? It's like economic conservatism as a religion, with small government a totem to worship at.

From Bill Kristol, Gold Bug

At some point in the past two decades the libertarian wing of the conservative movement has shifted from the belief that shrinking government would promote growth, liberty and personal responsibility to a belief that shrinking government is a good in and of itself.

I’m going to start referring to the various Republican repeal Bills as a Government Takeover of Government. That will either piss them off or confuse them.

America in the age of primitivism

America needs to have a neomodernist party to oppose the reigning primitivists of the right, left and center. Let everyone who opposes abortion, wants to ban GM foods and nuclear energy, hates cars and trucks and planes and loves trains and trolleys, seeks to ban suburbia, despises consumerism, and/or thinks Darwin was a fraud join the Regressive Party. Those of us who believe that the real, if exaggerated, dangers of technology, big government, big business and big labor are outweighed by their benefits can join the Modernist Party. While the Regressives secede from reality and try to build their premodern utopias on their reservations, the Modernists can resume the work of building a secular, technological, prosperous, and relatively egalitarian civilization, after a half-century detour into a Dark Age.

From America in the age of primitivism

New Modernism? Or just a rejection of utopia-isms?

America in the age of primitivism

America needs to have a neomodernist party to oppose the reigning primitivists of the right, left and center. Let everyone who opposes abortion, wants to ban GM foods and nuclear energy, hates cars and trucks and planes and loves trains and trolleys, seeks to ban suburbia, despises consumerism, and/or thinks Darwin was a fraud join the Regressive Party. Those of us who believe that the real, if exaggerated, dangers of technology, big government, big business and big labor are outweighed by their benefits can join the Modernist Party. While the Regressives secede from reality and try to build their premodern utopias on their reservations, the Modernists can resume the work of building a secular, technological, prosperous, and relatively egalitarian civilization, after a half-century detour into a Dark Age.

From America in the age of primitivism

New Modernism? Or just a rejection of utopia-isms?

Not us (cont.)

You have to go back to the 1960s to find any even remotely comparable legitimization of anti-government violence on the left as we have today from Republican elected officials and party candidates, not to mention the chorus of right-wing talk-radio demagogues. It is simply nonsense to assert, as many right-wing commentators and Republican politicians have in the last 48 hours, that “there are extremists on both sides,” and to speak as if political violence is a random natural phenomenon, a meteorite falling from the blue sky. I defy you to point to a single Democratic member of Congress or comparable official or candidate who has used the kind of rhetoric we have been bombarded with for the last two years from the right

From Not us (cont.)

I’m getting sick of the false equivalence between what candidate X said and what random youtube poster Y did. Public officials should be held to a higher standard than some random citizen.


Tea party nation founder Judson Phillips and Chris Matthews on the right’s gun fetish

Not us (cont.)

You have to go back to the 1960s to find any even remotely comparable legitimization of anti-government violence on the left as we have today from Republican elected officials and party candidates, not to mention the chorus of right-wing talk-radio demagogues. It is simply nonsense to assert, as many right-wing commentators and Republican politicians have in the last 48 hours, that “there are extremists on both sides,” and to speak as if political violence is a random natural phenomenon, a meteorite falling from the blue sky. I defy you to point to a single Democratic member of Congress or comparable official or candidate who has used the kind of rhetoric we have been bombarded with for the last two years from the right

From Not us (cont.)

I’m getting sick of the false equivalence between what candidate X said and what random youtube poster Y did. Public officials should be held to a higher standard than some random citizen.

Rep. Peter King wants gun control for Peter King

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, is planning to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, according to a person familiar with the congressman’s intentions.

From Has Rep. Peter King actually come up with a decent idea on gun control?

Peter King wants gun control for Peter King. He wants the state to ban guns around him. But not for say…schools or hospitals? State parks? The only gun-free zones should be around Rep. King. And presumably his family, friends and coworkers.

A coincidence that keeps on happening

Violent attacks on liberals, imagined liberals or elected democrats from crazy people are just a coincidence. A coincidence that keeps on happening. Over and over again.

The pitched battle over health care has unleashed a rash of vandalism and attacks directed at politicians, with at least 10 House Democrats reporting death threats or incidents of harassment or vandalism at their district offices over the past week.

http://tinyurl.com/yzomn7s

I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.” - Byron Williams

http://tinyurl.com/2azhqkc

Von Brunn refers on his Web site to “Marxist/Liberal/Jews bankers” and provides this information in a long, aggrieved biographical entry:

http://tinyurl.com/n3r2bx

So what’s the left of center equivalent to this pattern?

Rep. Peter King wants gun control for Peter King

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, is planning to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, according to a person familiar with the congressman’s intentions.

From Has Rep. Peter King actually come up with a decent idea on gun control?

Peter King wants gun control for Peter King. He wants the state to ban guns around him. But not for say…schools or hospitals? State parks? The only gun-free zones should be around Rep. King. And presumably his family, friends and coworkers.

House Republican Rule Changes Pave the Way For Major Deficit-Increasing Tax Cuts, Despite Anti-Deficit Rhetoric

House Republican leaders yesterday unveiled major changes to House procedural rules that are clearly designed to pave the way for more deficit-increasing tax cuts in the next two years. These rules stand in sharp contrast to the strong anti-deficit rhetoric that many Republicans used on the campaign trail this fall. While changes in congressional rules rarely get much public attention, these new rules - which are expected to be adopted by party-line vote when the 112th Congress convenes on January 5 - could have a substantial impact and risk making the nation's fiscal problems significantly worse.

I hear that a lot of journalistic insiders were annoyed when I began calling out self-styled deficit hawks like Paul Ryan as flim-flammers. But they are; nobody, and I mean nobody, in a position of influence within the GOP cares about deficits when tax cuts for the affluent are on the line. Deficit hawkery is just a stick with which to beat down social programs.


From House Republican Rule Changes Pave the Way For Major Deficit-Increasing Tax Cuts, Despite Anti-Deficit Rhetoric


And in other news, there is gambling going on at Rick’s

The year in trumped-up pseudo-scandals

Every day, right-wing blogs and Fox News are abuzz with hysterical reports of partly or wholly invented scandals that, in their fevered imaginations, threaten to once-and-for-all destroy the Obama administration. While most of the bloggers are true believers, convinced that they’re one smoking gun away from opening everyone’s eyes to the criminality of the administration, on Fox they just run with whatever sounds good until they get bored with it or something more entertaining comes along. Once a pseudo-scandal ceases to be useful, it doesn’t really go away forever — Free Republic commenters will reference it until the end of time — but most people just sort of forget about it shortly after Megyn Kelly stops mentioning it.


From The year in trumped-up pseudo-scandals - War Room - salon.com


Like a walk down memory lane. A rancid, decrepit memory lane.

Wall Street Whitewash

Last week, reports Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post, all four Republicans on the commission voted to exclude the following terms from the report: "deregulation," "shadow banking," "interconnection," and, yes, "Wall Street."

From Wall Street Whitewash - NYTimes.com

They don’t want to mention Wall Street in a report on the financial crisses. WTF? This should have been a bigger story.

Yglesias on The Conservative Recovery

conservatives should wake up to the fact that their economy theory is nonsense. On their telling, the state of the economy is bleak due to Obama's socialistic policies and if we just trimmed back government the private sector would come roaring back. The truth is that under Obama the private sector has been growing and the public sector's been shrinking. But public sector shrinkage hasn't spurred private job growth, it's been a drag on it. Which is exactly how it should be. Your town's firefighters are also customers for your town's stores and plumbers. Cutbacks in bus service make it more difficult for people to get to work and participate in the economy. If we'd had more stimulus-specifically more fiscal aid to state and local government-then those public jobs wouldn't have gone away (lowering unemployment) and the income streams attached to them wouldn't have gone away either, spurring private employment and further improving the labor market.

From Yglesias >> The Conservative Recovery

If cutting taxes promoted growth or entrepreneurship and all, the 8 years of W would have show some evidence of it.

The year in trumped-up pseudo-scandals

Every day, right-wing blogs and Fox News are abuzz with hysterical reports of partly or wholly invented scandals that, in their fevered imaginations, threaten to once-and-for-all destroy the Obama administration. While most of the bloggers are true believers, convinced that they’re one smoking gun away from opening everyone’s eyes to the criminality of the administration, on Fox they just run with whatever sounds good until they get bored with it or something more entertaining comes along. Once a pseudo-scandal ceases to be useful, it doesn’t really go away forever — Free Republic commenters will reference it until the end of time — but most people just sort of forget about it shortly after Megyn Kelly stops mentioning it.


From The year in trumped-up pseudo-scandals - War Room - salon.com


Like a walk down memory lane. A rancid, decrepit memory lane.

Wall Street Whitewash

Last week, reports Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post, all four Republicans on the commission voted to exclude the following terms from the report: "deregulation," "shadow banking," "interconnection," and, yes, "Wall Street."

From Wall Street Whitewash - NYTimes.com

They don’t want to mention Wall Street in a report on the financial crisses. WTF? This should have been a bigger story.

Yglesias on The Conservative Recovery

conservatives should wake up to the fact that their economy theory is nonsense. On their telling, the state of the economy is bleak due to Obama's socialistic policies and if we just trimmed back government the private sector would come roaring back. The truth is that under Obama the private sector has been growing and the public sector's been shrinking. But public sector shrinkage hasn't spurred private job growth, it's been a drag on it. Which is exactly how it should be. Your town's firefighters are also customers for your town's stores and plumbers. Cutbacks in bus service make it more difficult for people to get to work and participate in the economy. If we'd had more stimulus-specifically more fiscal aid to state and local government-then those public jobs wouldn't have gone away (lowering unemployment) and the income streams attached to them wouldn't have gone away either, spurring private employment and further improving the labor market.

From Yglesias >> The Conservative Recovery

If cutting taxes promoted growth or entrepreneurship and all, the 8 years of W would have show some evidence of it.

House Republican Rule Changes Pave the Way For Major Deficit-Increasing Tax Cuts, Despite Anti-Deficit Rhetoric

House Republican leaders yesterday unveiled major changes to House procedural rules that are clearly designed to pave the way for more deficit-increasing tax cuts in the next two years. These rules stand in sharp contrast to the strong anti-deficit rhetoric that many Republicans used on the campaign trail this fall. While changes in congressional rules rarely get much public attention, these new rules - which are expected to be adopted by party-line vote when the 112th Congress convenes on January 5 - could have a substantial impact and risk making the nation's fiscal problems significantly worse.

I hear that a lot of journalistic insiders were annoyed when I began calling out self-styled deficit hawks like Paul Ryan as flim-flammers. But they are; nobody, and I mean nobody, in a position of influence within the GOP cares about deficits when tax cuts for the affluent are on the line. Deficit hawkery is just a stick with which to beat down social programs.


From House Republican Rule Changes Pave the Way For Major Deficit-Increasing Tax Cuts, Despite Anti-Deficit Rhetoric


And in other news, there is gambling going on at Rick’s

Tea'd Off'

I didn't like Bill Clinton: thought he had sold access to the Lincoln Bedroom and lied under oath about sexual harassment and possibly even bombed Sudan on a "wag the dog" basis. But when I sometimes agreed to go on the radio stations of the paranoid right, it was only to be told that this was all irrelevant. Didn't I understand that Clinton and his wife had murdered Vince Foster and were, even as I spoke, preparing to take advantage of the Y2K millennium crisis-remember that?-in order to seize power for life and become the Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu of our day? These people were not interested in the president's actual transgressions. They were looking to populate their fantasy world with new and more lurid characters.


From Tea’d Off | Politics | Vanity Fair


Hitch points out what the tea party looked like in the 1990s.

A European-Style Fiscal Crisis Is Impossible in the United States of America

The government of Ireland can run out of Euros-they make Euros in Frankfurt. And the government of Peru can run out of dollars-they make dollars in Washington. But the government of the United States can't run out of dollars. The problem we could find ourselves with is the problem of inflation. Problematic inflation is a genuinely problematic thing, but it's a strange thing to worry about at the moment when inflation's been running unusually low for years. Our current problem is that the total volume of nominal spending is way too low, which means that as a country we're producing much less than we could be.


From Yglesias

All we wanted was to be left alone to govern ourselves

the Sons of Confederate Veterans and some of its local chapters are preparing various television commercials that they hope to show next year. "All we wanted was to be left alone to govern ourselves," says one ad from the group's Georgia Division.

From NYTimes.com

Can we reduce the transfer of money from blue states to red states by saying that we just want to leave you alone to govern yourselves?

China's Politburo Ordered Hack of Google

The Chinese government, which has been thought for some time to have been the source of the hacking of Google’s servers, leading to Google’s departure from China, directed attacks on the company’s web servers, according to diplomatic cables disclosed today by WikiLeaks.


From Andy Plesser: China’s Politburo Ordered Hack of Google, WikiLeaks Reveals

Is this an act of war? Can a country launch an attack on a non-state entity without is being an act of war?

A report on the symbiotic relationship between far-right extremists and the Tea Parties

A couple of months ago I traveled out to Montana as part of a project examining how the extremist right — particularly the Patriot movement — has embedded itself within the Tea Party movement, particularly on a local level in rural areas where elements of the 1990s militia movement were still lurking.

From Crooks and Liars

Not surprised.

No. 21: S.E. Cupp

(Cupp was born in California, raised in Andover, Mass., and has degrees from Cornell and New York University. She lives in New York. She totally “gets” Real America way better than you!)

Cupp is proof that being a Young Conservative — especially a TV-ready one willing to cynically tell the rubes that ignorance is noble — is a much easier way to make a living than legitimate journalism.


From No. 21: S.E. Cupp - War Room - salon.com


S.E. Cupp would rank higher on the hack list if she were better known.

No. 3: Thomas Friedman

when he’s not lounging beside the pool at his absurd home — the second-most-influential business thinker in the country is worrying about carbon emissions. Which is, I freely admit, a nice change of pace from back when he was telling the world that the invasion and occupation of Iraq would lead to a glorious new dawn of freedom/democracy/whiskey/iPods/Old Navy in the Middle East as a whole.

From No. 3: Thomas Friedman - War Room - salon.com

And a perfect picture too.

No. 7: Jonah Goldberg

Goldberg favorite rhetorical move is to pretend that he’s making some grand, semi-controversial point, then back off when asked to defend it. He wrote an entire book called “Liberal Fascism,” about how liberals are the real fascists, but constantly insists that the theme of his book was not “liberals are fascists.” He wrote a column about how Julian Assange should be assassinated, but insisted that the point of his column was not to say that Julian Assange should be assassinated. Did you know that proposing that kids perform community service 'is modern slavery?!? (“No, national service isn’t slavery,” he eventually writes, before saying, again, that it’s basically the same thing.)

From No. 7: Jonah Goldberg - War Room - salon.com

If the word shmuck didn’t exist, it would have to be invented for him.

The Tea Party and the market for land

You have people here who enjoy their existing low density lifestyles, they like the fact that said lifestyles are explicitly and implicitly subsidized through a variety of public policy measures, and they don't like the idea of losing those subsidies. What's more, they regard their antagonists as somewhat culturally alien. So they're pissed off. The fact that a small government approach to land use would in fact lead to denser lifestyles, more bus commuting, and smaller homes is of absolutely zero interest to them.

From Yglesias >> The Land Market

But those subsidies that allow for their life-style aren’t socialism. It’s only socialism when government helps other people. When it helps them, it’s freedom.

Women In Hijabs NOT exempt from pat-downs

Recent stories on Glenn Beck’s blog The Blaze, Fox News and elsewhere suggested that the TSA would only pat down the head and neck of Muslim women who objected to backscatter X-ray machines.

From Women In Hijabs NOT exempt from pat-downs

This false story started in the Glenn Beck parallel reality should be debunked in the same media that promoted the story. But it won’t be.