Politics

Republican threatens to re-open investigation for Hillary’s emails if media keeps reporting on Russia

Republican threatens to re-open investigation for Hillary’s emails if media keeps reporting on Russia:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) appeared on CNN Wednesday morning to issue an ultimatum: Congress would be “forced” to start investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails again if Democrats didn’t stop talking about the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government.

Everything Conservatives Said About the Paris Climate Agreement Is Already Wrong

Everything Conservatives Said About the Paris Climate Agreement Is Already Wrong:

The only reason conservatives hate this agreement is that liberals like it. It’s a non-binding agreement. The sole purpose is to make sure that those who live up to the agreement get a voice in the next phase four years from now. Pulling out serves no US interest other than Trump’s desire to troll the American public.

Scott Adams is a yuuuuge idiot, short attention span edition

Scott Adams is a yuuuuge idiot

Part of the fun in watching Scott Adams justify Trump’s many failings is that he isn’t looking at things through a reality filter. He thinks Trump’s advisors are leaking that Trump has a short attention span, not because Trump has a short attention span but because those advisors can’t tell the difference between short attention spans and a hurried executive. Unlike Scott Adams. Who asures everyone he is really smart. What justification does he give? None. Doesn’t even consider it. Because Scott Adams is so high on his own supply he has lost touch with reality.

Taibbi: Roger Ailes Was One of the Worst Americans Ever - Rolling Stone

We are a hate-filled, paranoid, untrusting, book-dumb and bilious people whose chief source of recreation is slinging insults and threats at each other online, and we’re that way in large part because of the hyper-divisive media environment he discovered.

Ailes was the Christopher Columbus of hate. When the former daytime TV executive and political strategist looked across the American continent, he saw money laying around in giant piles. He knew all that was needed to pick it up was a) the total abandonment of any sense of decency or civic duty in the news business, and b) the factory-like production of news stories that spoke to Americans’ worst fantasies about each other.

(via Taibbi: Roger Ailes Was One of the Worst Americans Ever - Rolling Stone)

Trump loyalists pay little heed to revelations rocking DC

Trump loyalists pay little heed to revelations rocking DC:

“I didn’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to feel that he’s not doing what he said, so I just choose to not listen.”

This is the saddest thing I’ve read in a while.

It’s sadder when you consider that after Trump, she’ll tune into right wing alt facts about how awesome Trump was doing until the liberals in the deep state and media made up all this stuff about him and Russia because they hate American.

Experts on authoritarianism are absolutely terrified by the Comey firing

Experts on authoritarianism are absolutely terrified by the Comey firing:

“This is very common — in semi-authoritarian and authoritarian regimes,” Erica Chenoweth, a professor at the University of Denver, tells me. “Purges, summary firings, imprisonment: These are all things that authoritarian leaders do when they attempt to rid themselves of rivals within government.”

Couple charged with assault in shooting, melee during UW speech by Milo Yiannopoulos

Couple charged with assault in shooting, melee during UW speech by Milo Yiannopoulos:

Marc and Elizabeth Hokoana had armed themselves — him with pepper-spray and her with a Glock semi-automatic handgun in a holster under her coat — and went to the protest intending to goad demonstrators they knew would be there, King County prosecutors allege. Some witnesses said Marc Hokoana appeared to be intoxicated.

According to the charges, the day before Yiannopoulos was scheduled to talk at Kane Hall, Marc Hokoana had messaged a friend on Facebook, stating, “I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’m going to the milo event and if the snowflakes get out off hand I’m going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls.”

Right wing defenders of free speech in action.

The Continuing Fallout from Trump and Nunes’s Fake Scandal - The New Yorker

It is now clear that the scandal was not Rice’s normal review of the intelligence reports but the coördinated effort between the Trump Administration and Nunes to sift through classified information and computer logs that recorded Rice’s unmasking requests, and then leak a highly misleading characterization of those documents, all in an apparent effort to turn Rice, a longtime target of Republicans, into the face of alleged spying against Trump.

(via The Continuing Fallout from Trump and Nunes’s Fake Scandal - The New Yorker)

Abuse of power. Stack this on the pile of impeachable offenses.

Rand Paul on Flynn: 'Makes no sense' to investigate fellow Republicans

Rand Paul on Flynn: 'Makes no sense' to investigate fellow Republicans:

I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.

That’s Rand Paul standing on principal.

One thing red state voters don’t like about Obamacare is that it sucks

One thing red state voters don’t like about Obamacare is that it sucks:

It is absurd that someone whose income is 130% of the poverty line can go to a doctor but someone whose income is 140% (or 150%, 160%, etc.) of the poverty line cannot. Yet that is the reality the design of Obamacare has created. This design generates enormous resentment because it is actually bullshit that making a little more money makes health care unaffordable.

Why did people who are on Obamacare vote against Obamacare? Maybe because Trump promised them something better and Hillary promised them more Obamacare.

Statement for the BBC on the Disruption of Berkeley Speaker Event on February 1, 2017

Statement for the BBC on the Disruption of Berkeley Speaker Event on February 1, 2017:

If the members of the Berkeley Republican Club believe that their invited speaker has ideas about politics and moral philosophy that are–even potentially–great, I really wish that they would explain why they think they are great. They have a duty to the university to do so. But perhaps they invited their speaker because they hoped he would make African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim, and other minority members of the university feel small and unsafe. If so they need to examine their consciences and pray to their gods, and think hard about whether they understand the purpose of a university.

If you only care about free speech when it’s your freedom to insult people you dislike, then you don’t actually care about free speech. You care about insulting people.

US officials: Trump approved Yemen raid 'without sufficient intelligence' - Business Insider

US Central Command said in a statement that an investigating team had “concluded regrettably that civilian noncombatants were likely killed” during Sunday’s raid. It added that children may have been among the casualties.

(via US officials: Trump approved Yemen raid ‘without sufficient intelligence’ - Business Insider)

Who is Trump going to throw under the bus for this one? Expect every botched action to result in someone being scapegoated by Trump.

WHIP COUNT: Here’s where Republicans stand on Trump’s controversial travel ban

WHIP COUNT: Here’s where Republicans stand on Trump’s controversial travel ban:

If you’re a constitute of one of the GOP senators or representatives who is speaking out against Trumps unamerican and inhumane actions, contact them and thank them. Especially if you’re a democrat. This isn’t us and then. This is American values versus Trump.

Donald Trump becomes America’s 45th president

Donald Trump becomes America’s 45th president:

there was nothing for those hoping to see a more pragmatic, moderate President Trump take office, or to hear him admit that the world is complex and less pliable than he pretended on the campaign trail. All populists are at heart conspiracy theorists, who pretend that easy solutions exist to society’s woes and have only not been tried to date because elites are wicked and deaf to the sturdy common-sense of decent, ordinary folk.

Trump's Age of Ignorance Threatens Humanity

Trump's Age of Ignorance Threatens Humanity:

He seems hell-bent on ushering in an era where expertise is not just ignored, but actively disdained. This has manifested itself all over his still-short list of appointees, but the nominees related to science and health seem particularly egregious. These are Trump’s “unspecialists”—anti-experts, candidates that would be laughed off as absurdities if we weren’t living in the middle of a Philip K. Dick dystopia.

Trump’s real war isn’t with the media. It’s with facts.

Trump’s real war isn’t with the media. It’s with facts.:

Delegitimizing the institutions that might report inconvenient or damaging facts about the president is strategic for an administration that has made a slew of impossible promises and takes office amid a cloud of ethics concerns and potential scandals.

I think the lies are just going to get more and more brazen and the defenses of his lies more and more bizarre.

The Case for Not Being Crybabies

The Case for Not Being Crybabies:

Why are we still saying Trump isn’t doing enough to avoid conflicts of interest? He’s made clear he wants to profit off his presidency. Let’s accept that. That is what he wants to do. If you’re a journalist, start documenting the details. If you’re an activist or politician start mobilizing against his corruption.

Authoritarians Distract Rather than Debate - Marginal REVOLUTION

Authoritarians Distract Rather than Debate - Marginal REVOLUTION:

Distraction is a clever and useful strategy in information control in that an argument in almost any human discussion is rarely an effective way to put an end to an opposing argument. Letting an argument die, or changing the subject, usually works much better than picking an argument and getting someone’s back up

That’s the China’s propaganda machine. Remind you of anyone?

The Music Donald Trump Can’t Hear

The Music Donald Trump Can’t Hear:

The collapse has been almost total, and shockingly uncritical. A few resisters aside—in the press, the names Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, and David Frum come to mind—even those who know better, or did, have allowed the ancient habits of hatred to overwhelm their normal sense of right and wrong. Republican legislators who, a year ago, would have been aghast at any politician who praised the brutal dictator Vladimir Putin now have little trouble swallowing their tongues when Trump insists that Putin’s good opinion, however earned, is “an asset.” Those who made a fuss about pursuing any possible conflict of interest among Obama’s appointees now meekly allow the most conflict-ridden and least “vetted” of candidates for high office to walk through largely unmolested. And the insistence of the leader that he has no obligation to release any record of his financial entanglements, with the bold repeated lie that an “audit”—whose existence can’t be confirmed and wouldn’t matter anyway—prevents him from doing so, is simply and mutely accepted. The collapse—motivated for some by opportunism, for others by the intimidation of the mob—is complete.

This should be a bigger story.

Letter-Writing Wednesday: Don't Help Republicans Govern

I expect Democrats to stand together in principled, uncompromising resistance to every Republican initiative. It’s not enough to block GOP efforts to shred the social safety net, appoint radical right-wing judges or trash the environment. It’s essential that Democrats exert the utmost effort to block every bill and nomination by Trump and the Republican Congress. What we can’t block, we must stall, and what we can’t stall, we must attack and criticize in the media as ferociously as possible.

(via Letter-Writing Wednesday: Don’t Help Republicans Govern)

To Stop Trump, Democrats Can Learn From the Tea Party

It’s a simple playbook: organize locally and play defense.

(via To Stop Trump, Democrats Can Learn From the Tea Party - The New York Times)

This is the correct thing to learn. Look at the Tea Party, Dean’s 50 State Plan and even the Gingrich contract for America. The plan should be to get the 7.5 million people who voted for Obama and didn’t vote for Hillary to vote in the mid-terms and turn out in 2020.

Franklin Graham Backs Trump's Job Plan Because There's No 'Pride' In Computer Programming

Franklin Graham Backs Trump's Job Plan Because There's No 'Pride' In Computer Programming:

I keep hearing how liberals are smug and dismissive unlike real Americans from the heartland.

There is a lot of pride in programming. You get to solve interesting problems. You spend more time interacting with your customers than most manufactures would. Systems I worked on have been mentioned in the press.

Divesting the Trump commercial holdings how about Congressional insider trading? - Marginal REVOLUTION

Yes, I absolutely favor enforcing clear commercial conflict of interest regulations on any president, if only for reasons of perception and legitimacy. But may I quote Alex T. from way back when (2010, the rest of the passage is him note I am not double indenting)? Bloomberg: Your senator learns that a much- maligned weapons …

(via Divesting the Trump commercial holdings how about Congressional insider trading? - Marginal REVOLUTION)

Mentions the STOCK act which the GOP scaled back to make it worthless. In a nutshell, insider trading it legal for Congress. And this should be a bigger story.

Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House:

These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history.“

Both of these statements are false.

The CIA didn’t say Saddam had WMD. That was the Bush 43 White house.

And his EC victory was the weakest since Bush 43 in 2000. It wasn’t a landslide.

Trevor Noah didn't 'destroy' Tomi Lahren on The Daily Show. What he did was much better. - Vox

Lahren never gave him a straight answer. But he kept coming back to this point, asking her over and over again until it became clear as she just kept asking after Kaepernick and Black Lives Matters’ motivations that she doesn’t quite have a response to his question, after all.

(via Trevor Noah didn’t “destroy” Tomi Lahren on The Daily Show. What he did was much better. - Vox)

Worth a read. Watch both videos.

Here's Where Donald Trump Gets His News

Here's Where Donald Trump Gets His News:

Our analysis revealed a media ecosystem that appears to largely reinforce and affirm the views publicly expressed by Trump and his closest advisers. The news stories Trump tweets share several characteristics: 1) They often favor sensationalism over facts and reporting; 2) They frequently echo direct quotes from Trump himself or his closest advisers; and 3) They routinely malign his enemies and vindicate his most controversial opinions.

The echo chamber in chief?

How to Deal With the Lies of Donald Trump

How to Deal With the Lies of Donald Trump:

Journalists need to understand what Trump is doing and refuse to play by his rules. He is going to use the respect and deference typically accorded to the presidency as an instrument for spreading more lies. Reporters must refuse to treat him like a normal president and refuse to bestow any unearned legitimacy on his administration.

Trump’s proxies need to be asked over and over again to provide evidence. When they are unable, they need to be asked why they are unable to defend the president’s assertion and if they believe what the president said. You can not play he said she said here.

Kellyanne Conway Gets Flustered Refusing To Answer Whether Trump's Voter Fraud Tweet Was True

Kellyanne Conway Gets Flustered Refusing To Answer Whether Trump's Voter Fraud Tweet Was True:

George replied, “There is no evidence that there were millions of illegal votes, zero.”

Conway continued to whine about the media and legal recounts that are being conducted and cried, “Why can’t you allow this President-elect to form his government the way that President Obama and Secretary Clinton had suggested they would like him to do?”

wow.

NYTimes: Trump Backers Go to Court to Block Vote Recounts in 3 States

NYTimes: Trump Backers Go to Court to Block Vote Recounts in 3 States:

Trump Backers Go to Court to Block Vote Recounts in 3 States

“In an election already tainted by suspicion, previously expressed by Donald Trump himself,” she said, “verifying the vote is a common-sense procedure that would put all concerns around voter disenfranchisement to rest. Trump’s desperate attempts to silence voter demands for recounts raise a simple question: why is Donald Trump afraid of these recounts?”

Good Riddance to Fidel Castro!

Good Riddance to Fidel Castro!:

Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule. Among them, in reality only a dozen outstanding heads do the leading and an elite of the working class is invited from time to time to meetings where they are to applaud the speeches of the leaders, and to approve proposed resolutions unanimously – at bottom, then, a clique affair – a dictatorship, to be sure, not the dictatorship of the proletariat but only the dictatorship of a handful of politicians, that is a dictatorship in the bourgeois sense

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.

Trump’s big infrastructure plan? It’s a trap.

Trump’s big infrastructure plan? It’s a trap.:

Trump’s plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors, and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors. The Trump plan doesn’t directly fund new roads, bridges, water systems or airports, as did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 infrastructure proposal. Instead, Trump’s plan provides tax breaks to private-sector investors who back profitable construction projects. These projects (such as electrical grid modernization or energy pipeline expansion) might already be planned or even underway. There’s no requirement that the tax breaks be used for incremental or otherwise expanded construction efforts; they could all go just to fatten the pockets of investors in previously planned projects.

If you voted for new infrastructure, you were conned.

'I'm in a room full of liars': Trump reams execs and anchors from 'the dishonest media' at 'candid' meeting at Trump Tower that turned into a 'f****ng firing squad'

'I'm in a room full of liars': Trump reams execs and anchors from 'the dishonest media' at 'candid' meeting at Trump Tower that turned into a 'f****ng firing squad' :

Special snowflake in chief is demanding the press hold him to “participation trophy” standards so his feelings can be spared.

Donald Trump’s administration is going to be a bonanza for bankers

Donald Trump’s administration is going to be a bonanza for bankers:

> Trump’s pose as an anti-finance populist may be the single greatest trick of his entire campaign. Alongside some rhetoric, after all, Trump has an actual policy agenda that he is running on — and that agenda is incredibly favorable to bankers. He wants less regulation of banks and lower taxes for hedge fund and private equity managers.

> And despite repeatedly attacking Clinton for her ties to Wall Street, Trump has close ties to the banking industry himself. His real estate empire has created a network of conflicts of interest (and opportunities to massively enrich himself) never before seen in an American president.

Guess which candidate's foundation was caught in an illegal campaign funding scheme?

Guess which candidate's foundation was caught in an illegal campaign funding scheme?:

“recently he’s found out that Trump’s charitable foundation made an illegal campaign contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (this reporting is based, in turn, in part on work done by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington). Then when they found out they had broken the law, they kinda sorta corrected the error but didn’t actually follow their legal obligation to get the money back.

It’s all at least a little suspicious”

High crimes and misdemeanors as of day one.

Trump can now loot millions of dollars from the Secret Service with no disclosure

Trump can now loot millions of dollars from the Secret Service with no disclosure:

> by asking for Secret Service protection for family members who fly on his plane, Donald Trump can directly funnel taxpayer money into his own pocket.

> Justin Bachman at Bloomberg has the story:

> For any of the Trump or Pence clans assigned a protective detail due to safety risks— and the rancor of the 2016 vote could well produce many — Secret Service travel on a Trump-owned plane means the agency would need to reimburse the aircraft’s owner. In this case, the president.

The Italian experience provides a blueprint for how to defeat Mr. Trump. Only two men in Italy have...

“The Italian experience provides a blueprint for how to defeat Mr. Trump. Only two men in Italy have won an electoral competition against Mr. Berlusconi: Romano Prodi and the current prime minister, Matteo Renzi (albeit only in a 2014 European election). Both of them treated Mr. Berlusconi as an ordinary opponent. They focused on the issues, not on his character. In different ways, both of them are seen as outsiders, not as members of what in Italy is defined as the political caste. The Democratic Party should learn this lesson.”

- The Right Way to Resist Trump - The New York Times

Trump poised to violate Constitution his first day in office, George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer says

Trump poised to violate Constitution his first day in office, George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer says:

“the incoming president, in other words, is actively soliciting business from agents of foreign governments. Many of these agents, in turn, said that they will accept the president-elect’s offer to do business because they want to win favor with the new leader of the United States.

In an exclusive exchange with ThinkProgress, Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who previously served as chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush, says that Trump’s efforts to do business with these diplomats is at odds with a provision of the Constitution intended to prevent foreign states from effectively buying influence with federal officials.”

…so the tea party will now call on Trump to follow the Constitution, right?

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 Meeting Suggests He Is Keeping Up His Business Ties - The New York Times

The meeting, with Indian executives linked to an apartment tower bearing Mr. Trump’s name, raises questions about how he will separate his business dealings from his politics.

(via Donald Trump Meeting Suggests He Is Keeping Up His Business Ties - The New York Times)

He isn’t. Or he won’t unless congress forces him. He will use the office for financial gain for himself and his children.

The Right Way to Resist Trump - The New York Times

The Right Way to Resist Trump - The New York Times:

The Italian experience provides a blueprint for how to defeat Mr. Trump. Only two men in Italy have won an electoral competition against Mr. Berlusconi: Romano Prodi and the current prime minister, Matteo Renzi (albeit only in a 2014 European election). Both of them treated Mr. Berlusconi as an ordinary opponent. They focused on the issues, not on his character. In different ways, both of them are seen as outsiders, not as members of what in Italy is defined as the political caste.

The one thing authoritarians want you to do is to accept that their conduct is normal, even when it...

“The one thing authoritarians want you to do is to accept that their conduct is normal, even when it is not. They do not want you to yearn for a freer, less oppressive and less corrupt time, and they do not want you to think it odd when, say, a government agency is purged or a bunch of protesters are arrested and vanish into the prisons without ever seeing trial. They want you to think it is normal when the President is openly selling your interests out to a foreign power, or when he is using the levers of government to materially enrich and empower his family. The presumption of normality during abnormal times is one of the most powerful weapons the authoritarian has, and that is why it is so important to recognize how profoundly abnormal Donald J. Trump will be as president.”

- This Is Not Normal | Joshua Foust

It is not normal for a president-elect to have 75 pending lawsuits against him, ranging from...

“It is not normal for a president-elect to have 75 pending lawsuits against him, ranging from business fraud to illegal hiring practices. It is not normal for his lawyers to demand those lawsuits be delayed until after his inauguration for not discernable reason other than to retreat behind the immunity of the office.”

- This Is Not Normal | Joshua Foust

Placing your children in charge of your business empire, then placing them on your transition team, ...

“Placing your children in charge of your business empire, then placing them on your transition team, then seeking top secret security clearances for them, is not normal. The conflicts of interest that this represents are almost too many to count, but at a basic level: you do not give someone with a financial interest to work against U.S. policy access to sensitive information — at all, ever.”

- This Is Not Normal | Joshua Foust

Trump Wants Son-in-Law to Get Presidential Briefing Too Just for an Extra Pair of Real Estate Developer Eyes

Trump Wants Son-in-Law to Get Presidential Briefing Too Just for an Extra Pair of Real Estate Developer Eyes:

I am confident that those who were concerned about the potential mishandling of confidential material because of Hillary’s email server will hold Trump to the same high standard and demand that his kids and son-in-law be fully vetted before having access to confidential material.

White House Adviser Van Jones Resigns Amid Controversy Over Past Activism | 44 | washingtonpost.com

White House Adviser Van Jones Resigns Amid Controversy Over Past Activism | 44 | washingtonpost.com:

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) called on Jones to resign Friday, saying in a statement, “His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate.”

I’m certain that people who called on Van Jones to resign because of his brief affiliation with unsavory groups combined with his coarse rhetoric will demand the same standard be applied to Stephan Bannon.

Yogurt is not white enough for these white nationalists

Yogurt is not white enough for these white nationalists:

According to the New York Times, the company’s founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant of Kurdish descent, “has stepped up his advocacy” for the rights of immigrants and refugees, by “employing more than 300 refugees in his factories, starting a foundation to help migrants, and traveling to the Greek island of Lesbos to witness the crisis firsthand.”

For his trouble, Ulukaya has inspired death threats…

Donald Trump's companies destroyed or hid documents in defiance of court orders

Donald Trump's companies destroyed or hid documents in defiance of court orders:

Over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders. These tactics—exposed by a Newsweek review of thousands of pages of court filings, judicial orders and affidavits from an array of court cases—have enraged judges, prosecutors, opposing lawyers and the many ordinary citizens entangled in litigation with Trump.

Whatever is actually in Trump’s tax returns is worse than what the New York Times says

Whatever is actually in Trump’s tax returns is worse than what the New York Times says:

Trump could have released his tax returns and proven them wrong. Trump could have shown their speculation to be mere speculation, and used it as a cudgel to discredit their reporting on his campaign. The Times was far, far out on a limb.

But the Times bet correctly. Trump still isn’t releasing his returns. And here’s what that means: whatever is in his returns is worse than what the New York Times is telling the world is in his returns. The Trump campaign has decided it prefers the picture the Times is painting — a picture where Trump didn’t pay taxes for 18 years — to the picture Trump’s real records would paint.

It’s the cover up, not the crime.

The press thought Trump’s first 30 minutes were his best. They were his worst.

The press thought Trump’s first 30 minutes were his best. They were his worst.:

NAFTA was enacted in January 1994 — a few years before one of the strongest economies in American history. It would be foolish to credit NAFTA with the ’90s economic boom, but it is yet more foolish to pretend NAFTA devastated the American economy given the fact that unemployment fell from 6.6 percent in January 1994 to 4.0 percent in January 2000.

There is little to no data to support NAFTA as harming workers yet this is taken as a fact.

The US excels as capital goods production. NAFTA changed nothing there.

Cannes bans burkinis over suspected link to radical Islamism - BBC News

Cannes bans burkinis over suspected link to radical Islamism - BBC News:

I keep hearing that France has totally surrendered to radical Islam. And yet I keep seeing articles about Muslims being treated like 2nd class citizens. Has there been a single attack involving a burka being used to conceal a terrorist or their weapons? What would this law do, other than make some women feel unwelcome?

How the ‘Stupid Party’ Created Donald Trump

How the ‘Stupid Party’ Created Donald Trump:

Many Democrats took all this at face value and congratulated themselves for being smarter than the benighted Republicans. Here’s the thing, though: The Republican embrace of anti-intellectualism was, to a large extent, a put-on. At least until now.

Eisenhower may have played the part of an amiable duffer, but he may have been the best prepared president we have ever had — a five-star general with an unparalleled knowledge of national security affairs. When he resorted to gobbledygook in public, it was in order to preserve his political room to maneuver. Reagan may have come across as a dumb thespian, but he spent decades honing his views on public policy and writing his own speeches. Nixon may have burned with resentment of “Harvard men,” but he turned over foreign policy and domestic policy to two Harvard professors, Henry A. Kissinger and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, while his own knowledge of foreign affairs was second only to Ike’s.

There is no evidence that Republican leaders have been demonstrably dumber than their Democratic counterparts. During the Reagan years, the G.O.P. briefly became known as the “party of ideas,” because it harvested so effectively the intellectual labor of conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation and publications like The Wall Street Journal editorial page and Commentary. Scholarly policy makers like George P. Shultz, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick and Bill Bennett held prominent posts in the Reagan administration, a tradition that continued into the George W. Bush administration — amply stocked with the likes of Paul D. Wolfowitz, John J. Dilulio Jr. and Condoleezza Rice.

Greg Mankiw's Blog: My Take on Mr. Trump

I have Republican friends who think that things couldn’t be worse than doubling down on Obama policies under Hillary Clinton. And, like them, I am no fan of the left’s agenda of large government and high taxes. But they are wrong: Things could be worse. And I fear they would be under Mr. Trump.

(via Greg Mankiw’s Blog: My Take on Mr. Trump)

My favorite right of center economist offers a lukewarm endorsement of Hillary.

The DNC’s Leaked Emails Show It Had No Idea How to Rig an Election

The DNC’s Leaked Emails Show It Had No Idea How to Rig an Election:

Rather than proving that the primary was deviously rigged by Clinton’s cronies—as many Sandernistas clearly believe—the WikiLeaks emails suggest the opposite. The party didn’t seem to have very many ideas at all for meddling with Sanders’ candidacy. And the ones they cooked up were weak and quickly forgotten.

What Does Peter Thiel Want?

What Does Peter Thiel Want?:

Thiel’s motivations become much more legible if you begin with the premise that he is endorsing Trump not because he believes in the candidate’s particular policy prescriptions but because he wants to instrumentalize Trump in an effort to propagate his vision of a political future in which elites are liberated to radically remake the system of governance to better serve their interests.

Dole Kemp '96

Dole Kemp '96:

One fun way to spend an evening while watching the conventions:

Compare the Dole/Kemp ‘96 platform the current GOP platform.

Then, during the Democratic convention, compare the Clinton Gore '96 platform to the current democratic platform.

Then ask yourself the simple question “Which party has changed more in the past 20 years”

In Renovation of Golf Club, Donald Trump Also Dressed Up History

In Renovation of Golf Club, Donald Trump Also Dressed Up History:

Between the 14th hole and the 15th tee of one of the club’s two courses, Mr. Trump installed a flagpole on a stone pedestal overlooking the Potomac, to which he affixed a plaque purportedly designating “The River of Blood.”

“Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot,” the inscription reads. “The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’ ”

The inscription, beneath his family crest and above Mr. Trump’s full name, concludes: “It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!”

Like many of Mr. Trump’s claims, the inscription was evidently not fact-checked.

“No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there,” said Richard Gillespie, the executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, a historical preservation and education group devoted to an 1,800-square-mile section of the Northern Virginia Piedmont, including the Lowes Island site.

“The only thing that was remotely close to that,” Mr. Gillespie said, was 11 miles up the river at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff in 1861, a rout of Union forces in which several hundred were killed. “The River of Blood?” he added. “Nope, not there.

The media have reached a turning point in covering Donald Trump. He may not survive it.

The media have reached a turning point in covering Donald Trump. He may not survive it.:

It happened because the Post’s David Fahrenthold and some other reporters did what journalists are supposed to do. They raised questions about Trump’s fundraiser, and when they didn’t get adequate answers, they investigated, gathered facts, and asked more questions.

It was excellent work — time-consuming, difficult, and ultimately paying dividends in public understanding. And Trump’s attack on them for doing their jobs the way those jobs are supposed to be done couldn’t have been better designed to get every other journalist to want to do the same. They’re no different than anyone else: When you make a direct attack on their professionalism, they’re likely to react by reaching back to their profession’s core values to demonstrate that they can live up to them. Trump may have wanted to intimidate them, but it’s likely to have the opposite effect.

Wow, journalism. It gets stuff done.

Peter Thiel's support for Donald Trump is a bigger threat to press freedom than his lawsuits - Vox

Trump himself, of course, is no stranger to the idea that a rich person can use harassing lawsuits to discourage critical media coverage. When veteran business journalist Tim O'Brien reported that Trump isn’t as rich as he says he is, Trump launched a series of frivolous lawsuits. (via Peter Thiel’s support for Donald Trump is a bigger threat to press freedom than his lawsuits - Vox)

This is a story that isn’t getting enough coverage. Thiel and Trump both have a view that some people, mostly people like them, should not be criticized by the press. They should have the law on their side and it should be possible to use the law to silence others. It’s disturbing. It would be called political correctness if that term were used in this context.

The Surge Of Trump-Fueled Anti-Semitism Is Hitting Jewish Reporters Who Cover Him

The Surge Of Trump-Fueled Anti-Semitism Is Hitting Jewish Reporters Who Cover Him:

Ask a Marxist if they consider Bernie a real socialist and you’ll hear a big resounding no. Bernie ain’t one of us, he doesn’t speak for us. Ask an actual Islamist if they think Obama is in favor of Sharia law and you’ll get the same. Ask a white nationalist if they think Trump is the one they’ve been waiting for and you’ll get a yes. Possibly a fuck yeah!

That’s the reality here.

Trump Hangs Up When WaPo Reporters Ask Him About Posing As Publicist

Trump Hangs Up When WaPo Reporters Ask Him About Posing As Publicist:

they were 44 minutes into a call with Trump about his finances when they asked if he ever employed a man named John Miller as his publicist. Trump immediately went silent, and then the line went dead, they wrote.

Fisher and Hobson wrote that when they called back, Trump’s secretary told them, “I heard you got disconnected. He can’t take the call now. I don’t know what happened.”

Total embarrassment.

24% Opt Out of a Clinton-Trump Race - Rasmussen Reports™

24% Opt Out of a Clinton-Trump Race - Rasmussen Reports™:

Trump is more toxic within his own party than Clinton is in hers. If Trump is the Republican nominee, 16% of GOP voters say they would choose a third-party candidate, while five percent (5%) would stay home. Sixty-six percent (66%) would vote for Trump, but 10% would vote for Clinton instead.

If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, 11% of Democrats would vote third-party, while three percent (3%) would stay home. Seventy-five percent (75%) would support the nominee, but 11% say they would vote for Trump.

Among voters not affiliated with either major party, nearly one-third say they would opt out: 21% would choose a candidate other than Trump or Clinton, and 10% would stay home. Trump leads Clinton 38% to 27% among unaffiliated voters.

Number.

Here are the many ways Trump's big foreign policy speech made no damn sense

Here are the many ways Trump's big foreign policy speech made no damn sense:

We have to be both stable and completely unpredictable: Trump repeatedly said the United States had “no coherent foreign policy” and needed to again become a stable and dependable ally. How to do that? “We must, as a nation, be more unpredictable.”

I don’t think Trump understands the difference between platitudes and policy.

John Boehner just confirmed everything liberals suspected about the Republican Party

John Boehner just confirmed everything liberals suspected about the Republican Party:

John Boehner was the Speaker of the House as recently as a single year ago. He is, himself, a conservative Republican. And he is saying, flatly, that the Republican Party has been captured by morons, goofballs, and “Lucifer.” He is saying that the party has moved so far to the right that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t recognize it.

Boehner is validating one of the most persistent and controversial critiques of the modern Republican Party. And he has the authority to do so.

Wrath of the Conned

Wrath of the Conned:

Both parties make promises to their bases. But while the Democratic establishment more or less tries to make good on those promises, the Republican establishment has essentially been playing bait-and-switch for decades. And voters finally rebelled against the con.

One possible explanation is the decadence of the G.O.P. establishment, which has become ingrown and lost touch. Apparatchiks who have spent their whole careers inside the bubble of right-wing think tanks and partisan media may suffer from the delusion that their ideology is actually popular with real people. And this has left them hapless in the face of a Trumpian challenge.

Worth a read.

College Kids Aren't the Only Ones Demanding 'Safe Spaces'

College Kids Aren't the Only Ones Demanding 'Safe Spaces':

conservatives who get hysterical about the “delicate snowflakes” on campus should take a look at their own media-consumption habits. It’s hard to imagine anything funnier than a 70-year-old who watches 90 hours of Fox News a week and then rails against college kids who are afraid of new ideas.

But it’s not just Fox viewers. Most of the cable TV news industry is just a series of safe spaces. There are conservative channels and liberal channels, all of them huge seas of more or less unanimous opinion. Viewers tune in, suckle their thumbs, and wait to have their own opinions vomited back at them.

The ones complaining about political correctness the loudest and longest are the ones most guilty of missing the point.

Universities: Suspend Social Justice in Universities

Universities: Suspend Social Justice in Universities:

Once again, there is absolutely no difference between anti-pc outrage politics and the worst excesses of the straw SJWs that imagine themselves in battle with. If saying something offensive is free speech worthy of protection, even if you disagree; then saying “that’s offensive” is also free speech worthy of protection, even if you disagree.

That neither side seems to see this is really disappointing.

Goldman Sachs Finally Admits it Defrauded Investors During the Financial Crisis

Goldman Sachs Finally Admits it Defrauded Investors During the Financial Crisis:

This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail

The real story here is that Goldman can no longer get away with paying a fine while admitting to no wrong doing.

Urban poor are parasites who need personal responsibility, Trump fans are victims of economic forces.

Journalists found that in the counties where Trump is most dominant, there are large numbers of white high school dropouts, and unemployed people no longer looking for work. An alliance with the incoherent personality cult of Donald Trump’s candidacy correlates strongly with failure to obtain a high school diploma, and withdrawal from the labor force. The counties also have a consistent history of voting for segregationists, and have an above average percentage of its residents living in mobile homes. Many conservatives, and even some kindhearted liberals, might object to the conclusions one can draw from the data as stereotyping, but the empirical evidence leaves little choice. Donald Trump’s supporters confirm the stereotype against them.

(via Who are these idiot Donald Trump supporters? Trump loves the poorly educated — and they love him right back - Salon.com)

Worth a read.

President Obama’s brutal assessment of the rise of Donald Trump

What is happening in this primary is just a distillation of what’s been happening inside their party for more than a decade. I mean, the reason that many of their voters are responding is because this is what’s been fed through the messages they’ve been sending for a long time — that you just make flat assertions that don’t comport with the facts. That you just deny the evidence of science. That compromise is a betrayal. That the other side isn’t simply wrong, or we just disagree, we want to take a different approach, but the other side is destroying the country, or treasonous. I mean, that’s — look it up. That’s what they’ve been saying.

(via President Obama’s brutal assessment of the rise of Donald Trump - The Washington Post)

Trump isn’t bringing them into the party. They were the party. They knew Trump because they were birthers. They knew Trump because he was a Fox talking head. They aren’t conservative because the party hasn’t been about conservatism for a long while. The party is about Fox News outrage, anger about political correctness and obsession with imaginary enemies.

Breitbart spokesman quits over Trump incident

Breitbart spokesman quits over Trump incident:

“My own personal observation is that there is a cycle of behavior that is escalating and it’s happening exclusively at Donald Trump events,” he said in the statement. “It is wrong, disgusting and indicative of an ugliness that is contaminating the public and political discourse in our country. Life is too short to invest your time in things you don’t believe and aren’t passionate about. That is why I made the decision to resign from representing Breitbart.“

The People Donald Trump Allegedly Ripped Off Through Trump University Look a Lot Like Trump Voters

The People Donald Trump Allegedly Ripped Off Through Trump University Look a Lot Like Trump Voters:

A quick look at the people suing Trump reveals, well, people who might otherwise have been inclined to be Trump voters. They’re people like Tarla Makaeff, a former model and would-be fashion entrepreneur—and currently a yoga instructor—who filed suit against Trump in 2010. She’s now, according to Yahoo, asking to be removed as a named plaintiff in the class-action case, claiming Trump is threatening to financially ruin her.

Worth a read.

Paul Krugman is now accusing Bernie Sanders of “deep voodoo” economics.

Paul Krugman is now accusing Bernie Sanders of “deep voodoo” economics.:

Krugman’s right of course. But the best comment is here:

One of the signatories of the letter, Austan Goolsbee, has also taken Sanders to task for claiming that revenue under his single-payer health plan would match the projected addition, by critics’ estimates, of some $2 trillion to $3 trillion to the deficit every year. He told the Times that Sanders’s “puppies and rainbows” agenda had “evolved into magic flying puppies with winning Lotto tickets tied to their collars.”

To actually pay for Sander’s plans, you’ll need to raise taxes on everyone making over 80k. Not just the top 0.1% as he suggested. Math may have a liberal bias, but it doesn’t have a Bernie Bro bias.

The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter

The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter:

In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism.

That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations. And because of the prevalence of authoritarians in the American electorate, among Democrats as well as Republicans, it’s very possible that Trump’s fan base will continue to grow.

Worth a read.

To Keep and Bear Arms

To Keep and Bear Arms:

Only fantasts can think the self-styled militias of our day are acting under the mandate of, or even in accord with, the Second Amendment. Only madmen, one would think, can suppose that militias have a constitutional right to levy war against the United States, which is treason by constitutional definition (Article III, Section 3, Clause 1). Yet the body of writers who proclaim themselves at the scholarly center of the Second Amendment’s interpretation say that a well-regulated body authorized by the government is intended to train itself for action against the government.

From 1995.

Counterfactual Identity Swap – MattBruenig | Politics

Counterfactual Identity Swap – MattBruenig | Politics:

we actually have historical examples of nonwhite groups doing this that are directly on point. For example, in 1971, the American Indian Movement took over Alcatraz Island and held it for 19 months. The occupation ended after the government laid siege to the island and the thing more or less collapsed.

Way too many people asking “what if they were black?” or comparing the armed group in Oregon to the unarmed Occupy movement. Neither BlackLivesMatter nor Occupy showed up armed. They showed up to protest and only their own lives were at risk.

The real question should be on wether or not we are ok with armed protestors, not skin tone or what they might be protesting.

'Daily Show' Debunks 'Good Guy With A Gun' Theory About Mass Shootings (VIDEO)

'Daily Show' Debunks 'Good Guy With A Gun' Theory About Mass Shootings (VIDEO):

Correspondent Jordan Klepper went across the river to New Jersey to train for his concealed carry permit. After finishing his training, he went to the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training in Texas to learn how to respond to an active shooter.

In a nutshell, it’s the training not the weapon that matters in an active shooter situation.

Trump Proves That Liberals Have Been Right All Along

Trump Proves That Liberals Have Been Right All Along:

the view that Republicans allowed the conservative grassroots to turn their party into a political action committee for white ressentiment has evolved over the years from an argument into a creed. Since at least 2012, liberals have been warning (at times mockingly, but never disingenuously) that by indulging and at times fanning the hostilities and procedural extremism of this part of their coalition, Republicans were letting expediency get the better of them.

The Bosnian Muslim community in St. Louis is doing fine

The Bosnian Muslim community in St. Louis is doing fine:

It’s easy to depict the resettlement of Bosnians in St. Louis – predominantly Bosnian Muslims, called Bosniaks, but also Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs, all fleeing war – as a prototypical American success story. In less than two decades, refugees who arrived with proverbial pennies in their pockets have bought cars, then homes, seen their children graduate from American high schools, then colleges.

But with Syria is would be different? Why? We’ve let groups of people fleeing oppression before and the record is pretty good. They integrate. They do well.

Paul Ryan Throws Support Behind Mental Health Reform Bill

Paul Ryan Throws Support Behind Mental Health Reform Bill:

Ryan called mental health issues the “common theme” you see in mass shootings, along with attackers who are “terrorist-inspired.”

And good for him for noticing and taking some action on it. Let’s see how the rest of his party acts.

The speaker also said he opposed using the No-Fly List as a measure for restricting gun purchases, saying many people are put on the list arbitrarily or by “mistake.”

Maybe the no-fly list can be fixed then? Do we really want people fresh from jihad training walking off the aircraft and stopping at the nearest gun shop on the way to the commit a terrorist attack?

Alex Jones Believes in Donald Trump's 'Epic, George Washington-Level' Campaign

Alex Jones Believes in Donald Trump's 'Epic, George Washington-Level' Campaign:

But by far the best moment came when Jones tried to invite Trump into Jones’s shadowy world of “top generals, former Special Ops guys, former CIA, all top men” to explain how the country is being bored from within by “globalists who want a one-world government, using socialism at the grassroots.”

Alex Jones, unintentional comedy genius.

America Is Too Dumb for TV News

America Is Too Dumb for TV News:

Until recently, the narrative of stories like this has been predictable. If a candidate said something nuts, or seemingly not true, an army of humorless journalists quickly dug up all the facts, and the candidate ultimately was either vindicated, apologized, or suffered terrible agonies. Al Gore for instance never really recovered from saying, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” True, he never said he invented the Internet, as is popularly believed, but what he did say was clumsy enough that the line followed him around like an STD for the rest of his (largely unsuccessful) political life. That dynamic has broken down this election season. Politicians are quickly learning that they can say just about anything and get away with it. Along with vindication, apology and suffering, there now exists a fourth way forward for the politician spewing whoppers: Blame the backlash on media bias and walk away a hero.

Predatory Islamic State Wrings Money From Those It Rules

Predatory Islamic State Wrings Money From Those It Rules:

Across wide expanses of Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State, with the goal of building a credible government, has set up a predatory and violent bureaucracy that wrings every last American dollar, Iraqi dinar and Syrian pound it can from those who live under its control or pass through its territory. Interviews with more than a dozen people living inside or recently escaped from the Islamic State-controlled territory, and Western and Middle Eastern officials who track the militants’ finances, describe the group as exacting tolls and traffic tickets; rent for government buildings; utility bills for water and electricity; taxes on income, crops and cattle; and fines for smoking or wearing the wrong clothes.

Extraction economy.

The Human Impulse to Live Beyond the Law

The Human Impulse to Live Beyond the Law:

The problem in our politics, I think, and certainly the problem of the connection between violent rhetoric and violent action, which is real and growing, lies in the fact that the people who run campaigns—and, increasingly, the people on whose behalf those campaigns are run—construct them along a consumer model and as branding exercises aimed at faceless target audiences. For all the stories of real people that we hear from the stump, the people who organize and run our politics have grown so distant from the actual human beings they seek to represent that many of them have forgotten human nature entirely in their attempts to capitalize on those aspects of it that will close the deal for them at the polls. They have forgotten that humans are not by nature social, and that humans construct laws—and, therefore, governments—to keep both the lone wolf and the pack at bay. Once you’ve forgotten that, you can appeal to the worst instincts of both and walk away from the consequences.

Charles Pierce nails it.

Want to help the Islamic State recruit? Treat all Muslims as potential terrorists.

Want to help the Islamic State recruit? Treat all Muslims as potential terrorists.:

The last time we fought a global battle of ideas, the cold war, we understood the idea of competing narratives and did everything we could to get the peoples living behind the iron curtain to identify with our values rather the values of their oppressors. We somehow lost sight of that in the war on terror.

4 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Free Speech and College

4 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Free Speech and College:

The same month that both the Mizzou protester stories went viral, a Missouri legislator tried to stop a University of Missouri grad student’s research into abortion, saying that the school was breaking the law by allowing her to continue. This happened at literally the exact same school as the protests, and it’s a way more cut-and-dry threat to free speech. The government is literally telling a grad student what they’re allowed to study, which is precisely what the first amendment is meant to prevent.

Student protests are literally free speech. When you complain about free speech, even idiotic free speech you are literally doing the opposite of defending free speech.

Think Campus P.C. Is Out of Control? Look at the Military.

Think Campus P.C. Is Out of Control? Look at the Military.:

it turns out that even the most macho youth, the people who sign up to fight in wars, don’t want to be the butt of racist jokes. And when they are, they turn to an authority to make it stop.

Most talk about millennials and political correctness has an old man yells at cloud vibe to it. Millennials don’t like to be made fun of. They don’t accept being the butt of jokes. Times change and what is acceptable changes with it. Millennials grew up in a consumer cultural with service economy where service is rated by customers. They expect universities being paid a lot of money to treat them like customers and meet their whims, not just their needs.

Looks like this is true in the military as well.

To families of mass-shooting victims in U.S., Paris attacks sadly familiar

To families of mass-shooting victims in U.S., Paris attacks sadly familiar:

She has become painfully familiar with mass shootings since a gunman killed her daughter in a crowded suburban Denver movie theater, and she’s frustrated when pundits wonder if similar attacks on “soft targets” could happen in America.

“What ‘soft-target’ are you talking about? A school? Oh, gee, it’s already happened, several times. A movie theater? Oh, gee, it’s already happened,” Phillips said. “Who are we fooling? We’ve been living under terrorist attacks since Columbine. They’re just being done by our own people.”

the group may spend hundreds of hours trying to enlist a single individual, to learn how their...

“the group may spend hundreds of hours trying to enlist a single individual, to learn how their personal problems and grievances fit into a universal theme of persecution against all Muslims.”

-

Mindless terrorists? The truth about Isis is much worse | Scott Atran | Comment is free | The Guardian

ISIS is yet another in a long line of single villain ideologies.

Fear and Friends

Fear and Friends:

nobody in the GOP field wants to say anything positive about the strength of Western democracy, or make a remark about the nature of a cause that has nothing going for it except the ability to kill innocent civilians. Instead, we have Jeb! insisting that we’re looking at a plan to destroy Western civilization, and Ted Cruz declaring that what we need to do is abandon our own scruples aboutkilling innocent bystanders.

In Response To Paris, Ted Cruz Calls For Airstrikes With More ‘Tolerance For Civilian Casualties’

In Response To Paris, Ted Cruz Calls For Airstrikes With More ‘Tolerance For Civilian Casualties’:

Translation from GOP to sane person, this attack on civilians needs was intolerable therefor we should attack someone with less regard for civilian casualties. It’s two eyes for an eye, a whole mouth for a tooth. Of course, ISIS uses US attacks as propaganda, so what would this accomplish? The right wing in this country is barbaric. The only concern is that blood be spilled.

Bring on the outrage: Go ahead and hate on “coddled” college kids — just admit that anti-p.c. backlash is fueled by outrage, too

Bring on the outrage: Go ahead and hate on “coddled” college kids — just admit that anti-p.c. backlash is fueled by outrage, too:

I think most of what gets lumped into “PC” is silly and counter productive. I think the neo-nazi movements are awful. I think Sharia law is incompatible with a modern society. But as a defender of free speech, I’m not going to support silencing people who belive silly, awful or abhorrent things. If free speech covers your right to be offensive, it covers the right of people to say “I am offened”. If it covers your right to complain about PC culture, it covers the right of the most walking on eggshells-exaggerated-straw-man-SJW to call you problematic.

If SJWs have lack a right to “not be offended” then you have no right to “not be offended” by SJW silliness.

A clash between administrators and students at Yale went viral. Why that is unfortunate for all concerned.

A clash between administrators and students at Yale went viral. Why that is unfortunate for all concerned.:

Nicholas and Erika Christakis have an undisputed right to free speech. No one has argued that they, as individuals, should not. But students have exercised their own free speech in speaking against the way Master and Associate Master Christakis have treated their office. This incident is not analogous to a professor offering an unpopular view, or a controversial speaker coming to campus.

As far as I can tell, the political correct student activists are attacking “free speech” by using “free speech” and the people fed up with political correctness would like to defend free speech by silencing the students. I’d love for some explanation why saying “I’m offended” is somehow less worthy “free speech” than saying “you’re to easily offended!”

OPINION: It’s time to retire the PC police

OPINION: It’s time to retire the PC police:

What “South Park” libertarians don’t seem to realize is that they’ve crafted a whole politics around their bruised feelings, which is exactly what they accuse the PC police of doing wrong.

The First Amendment sanctified freedom of expression in part to ensure that my comfort isn’t an excuse to quash what you have to say. But freedom of speech doesn’t protect a libertarian’s right to misgender a trans woman any more than it protects my right to tell them to shut up. As a political position, anti-PC isn’t about exercising freedom of speech; it’s about wanting to be protected from it.

This guy nails it. The anti-PC people complain about language and hurt feeling just as much, if not more, than the worst of the PC straw men.

Mitt Romney Admits Obamacare Was Based on Romneycare—and That It Worked

Mitt Romney Admits Obamacare Was Based on Romneycare—and That It Worked:

At some point Obamacare is doomed talk will start being treated as conspiracy theory and GOP will demand that it be called the ACA act and argue that Obama actually had very little to do with the ACA and it works because it’s actually very conservative. No one reversing their position will be called out on it. And we will see people with Keep government out of my ACA signs.

A shocking amount of conservative politics is a multilevel marketing scam

A shocking amount of conservative politics is a multilevel marketing scam:

What they found is that most of these groups aren’t really raising money in order to support conservative candidates for office or to lobby on behalf of conservative causes — they’re raising millions of dollars and then spending 80 to 90 percent of that money on fees to consulting firms that are run by the people who started the groups. In effect, you have direct mail and email campaigns whose sole purpose is to raise funds to pay direct mail and email operatives.

This explains why do many want to run in the GOP primary. It’s good for fund raising.

Why Do We Admire Mobsters?

even as late as the nineteen-twenties, Italians and Italian-Americans were often considered “other” by much of the rest of the country. In fact, many people subscribed to what criminologists call the alien conspiracy theory of organized crime—the idea, as Finckenauer puts it, that “Southern Italians came to us with evil intent to create criminal enterprise on our shores.” (Today, Donald Trump advances a similar theory about immigrants from south of the border.)

(via Why Do We Admire Mobsters? - The New Yorker)

Worth a read.

The Bush administration's enormous national security failure, in one tweet

The Bush administration's enormous national security failure, in one tweet:

You see in Bush’s conduct and Cornyn’s tweet a persistent unwillingness to recognize the existence of disparate forces in the world. Al-Qaeda merges alternately with Saddam Hussein or the regime in Iran in a hazy muddle of “Muslims behaving badly.” It’s a deeply flawed analysis of the world and it’s one of the main reasons it took so long for bin Laden to be brought to justice.

What the jihadists who bought “Islam for Dummies” on Amazon tell us about radicalisation

“far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could … be regarded as religious novices.” The analysts concluded that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation”, the newspaper said.

“… what inspires the most lethal terrorists in the world today is not so much the Quran or religious teachings as a thrilling cause and call to action that promises glory and esteem in the eyes of friends, and through friends, eternal respect and remembrance in the wider world”. He described wannabe jihadists as “bored, under­employed, overqualified and underwhelmed” young men for whom “jihad is an egalitarian, equal-opportunity employer … thrilling, glorious and cool”.

Pretending that the danger comes only from the devout could cost lives.

(via What the jihadists who bought “Islam for Dummies” on Amazon tell us about radicalisation)

The profile for new jihadists and western right wing radicals is surprisingly similar

Reporters Scoff At James O'Keefe's Big New 'Scoop' To Destroy Hillary

James O'Keefe promised a new undercover video campaign that would expose “illegal activity conducted by high-level employees within Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.” Tuesday, he released the first video, produced by his group Project Veritas Action. His group’s big scoop? That a Canadian citizen spent $75 on Hillary swag at Clinton’s June campaign kickoff event. Reporters at the press conference O'Keefe held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to unveil the latest “gotcha” could not contain their disdain. “Is this a joke?” one reporter asked O'Keefe.

(via Reporters Scoff At James O'Keefe’s Big New ‘Scoop’ To Destroy Hillary)

No surprise here. James O'Keefe is a con man, not a journalist.

Tea and Trumpism

the conservative explanation of the GOP’s onset of DTs is, as best I can figure, that base voters are victims of celebrity; what they really want is a true conservative, but they’re being hijacked and hoodwinked by someone who makes good TV.

Meanwhile, the liberal version, as I’ve seen it, seems to be that Trump is appealing to resentment that ultimately rests on economic failure: working-class whites have been left behind by soaring inequality, but they mistakenly blame immigrants taking their jobs.

But are Trumpists being hoodwinked? Are they members of the suffering working class who don’t understand why they’re hurting? OK, here’s my guess: they look a lot like Tea Party supporters

(via Tea and Trumpism - The New York Times)

Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted

Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.

It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.

(via Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted - The New York Times)

As Shootings Rise in New York, Police Focus on a Small Number of Young Men - The New York Times

The strategy of targeting those believed to be behind the violence, born of years studying the origins of shootings, has intensified this year. Officers on the street, who are recording far fewer arrests and a still plummeting number of stops, are now focusing on a few hundred people who are believed to fuel rounds of retaliatory shootings. At a recent City Council hearing, Mr. Bratton called it “quality policing, not quantity policing.”

(via As Shootings Rise in New York, Police Focus on a Small Number of Young Men - The New York Times)

It’s becoming clear that stop and frisk was an obstacle to police work.

The Strange Demise of the Confederate Flag

it is important to note that the incorporation of the Confederate battle flag into Southern state flags and flying it at capitol buildings isn’t some relic of the post-Civil War days. It’s quite new. In most cases it goes back a little over 50 years to the 1950s and early 1960s. In other words, the prominent public display of the flag (if not the popularity of the flag itself, though partly that too) doesn’t commemorate the Civil War or the Confederacy, it was the emblem of the ‘massive resistance’ movement of the 1950s and 1960s in which white Southern state government sought to defy the federal government’s effort to force desegration, black enfranchisement and formal legal and political equality for African-Americans on the South.

(via The Strange Demise of the Confederate Flag)

Worth a read. Confederate flag defenders are unintentionally hilarious.

Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water’

Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water’:

Yuhas lives in the ultra-wealthy enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, a bucolic Southern California hamlet of ranches, gated communities and country clubs that guzzles five times more water per capita than the statewide average. In April, after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for a 25 percent reduction in water use, consumption in Rancho Santa Fe went up by 9 percent.

I was a liberal adjunct professor. My liberal students didn’t scare me at all.

I was a liberal adjunct professor. My liberal students didn’t scare me at all.:

it’s truthy: it offers a conclusion that feels as if it should be true, even though it isn’t accompanied by much in the way of actual evidence. In this case, that truthy conclusion is that the rise of identity politics is doing real harm — that this new kind of discourse, whether you call it “identity politics” or “call-out culture” or “political correctness,” is not just annoying or upsetting to the people it targets, but a danger to academic freedom and therefore an actual substantive problem to be addressed.

You’re not allowed to question if this bullshit about out of control political correctness is real.

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me:

“What about Fannie and Freddie?” he asked. “Government kept giving homes to black people, to help out black people, white people didn’t get anything, and then they couldn’t pay for them. What about that?”

The next week, I got called into my director’s office. I was shown an email, sender name redacted, alleging that I “possessed communistical [sic] sympathies and refused to tell more than one side of the story.” The story in question wasn’t described, but I suspect it had do to with whether or not the economic collapse was caused by poor black people.

That was a liberal student?!? It sounds like a libertarian, not a liberal. I’ve never seen a liberal call someone out as a commie for suggesting that poor people didn’t cause the banking collapse.

This is the kicker:

This new understanding of social justice politics resembles what University of Pennsylvania political science professor Adolph Reed Jr. calls a politics of personal testimony, in which the feelings of individuals are the primary or even exclusive means through which social issues are understood and discussed.

And he wishes to fight this by talking about how he fears his students because of their opinions.

Um, yeah.

The Jade Helm Conspiracy Theories Are Moronic, but They’re Still Right About One Thing

The Jade Helm Conspiracy Theories Are Moronic, but They’re Still Right About One Thing:

Worth a read. Alex Jones is like pure, uncut, pharmaceutical grade Glenn Beck. His involvement in making the whole thing comedy gold. And before you warn me that he might be right, broken clocks and all, he is wrong way to often about way to much to view as anything other than a nutter.

The joke was that Obama wasn’t joking

The joke was that Obama wasn’t joking:

There are no jokes there. There’s just Obama saying what he has to say and Luther saying what Obama actually believes.

And what Obama believes is that the press is often sensational, trivial, and fearmongering. He thinks they hype negative stories for weeks on end and then refuse to admit their mistake when the horror fizzles. He thinks he gets the blame for catastrophes but little credit for solutions. He thinks the media has a deep bias toward negative stories (which, of course, we do).

Rand Paul goes full Strangelove: The “anti-drone” candidate is okay with droning American citizens

Rand Paul goes full Strangelove: The “anti-drone” candidate is okay with droning American citizens:

Greenwald also questions Paul’s larger strategy here of trying to tie up loose, dovish ends on foreign policy: “I don’t get his strategy: he’s never going to attract GOP hawks, so why dilute what makes him interesting/unique?” That’s the big strategic oddity hanging over all of Paul’s shifts to the right on foreign policy. There are now several politicians considering presidential runs and 501©(4)s being set up solely for the purpose of combating Rand Paul’s allegedly “isolationist” views, even as Paul has fallen in line behind the GOP’s more traditional, hawkish foreign policy. Why is Paul shedding what makes him unique and interesting on foreign policy, when the party’s hawks aren’t buying it anyway?

One posibility is that he, like his father before him; is a complete fraud and cares little to nothing about his rehtoric about freedom and liberty.

We're Checking the Wrong Privilege

We're Checking the Wrong "Privilege":

Cultural capital—what “privilege” often, but not always, refers to these days—is a seductive concept. It tells us that the rich stay rich through the discreet perpetuation of cultural preferences. Privilege isn’t just money or luxury goods; it’s also about the foods you eat, the shows you watch. When you first learn about it, likely in Sociology 101, cultural capital can seem like a way to explain everything. The problem, however, is that landlords, health providers, and universities don’t accept cultural capital in lieu of monetary payment.

Privilege is a bad argument. Whenever I’ve asked how “checking privilege” somehow leads to individual or collective action that affects positive change, the answer is always hand waving and platitudes.

Major Libertarian Thinker On Human ‘Failures': ‘It Is Best They Should Die’

Major Libertarian Thinker On Human ‘Failures': ‘It Is Best They Should Die’:

The fact that Cato and Reason both reacted so swiftly is a testament to the central place Spencer holds in the development of libertarian thought. According to Rothbard, who the elder Paul describes as the “founder of the modern libertarian movement,” Spencer’s Social Statics is the “greatest single work of libertarian political philosophy ever written.” Yet this foundational libertarian text does not say what Root and Cato claim that it said. Indeed, if Social Statics is, indeed, the “greatest single work of libertarian political philosophy ever written” then that is the most damning indictment of libertarianism imaginable.

This is why it’s a waste of time to argue with libertarians. Both Cato and Reason just flat out denied the text of the book said what it clearly says.

This is exactly how Reason reacted to being called out of publishing Holocaust denials. The PDFs are online but they claim they didn’t publish what you can clearly see they published.

Why not admit you were wrong; apologize and move on?

Rand Paul accidentally proposed legalizing murder

Rand Paul accidentally proposed legalizing murder:

Paul said that in his vision for America, “Any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.” The problem is that that describes pretty much every law that incarcerates a lot of people in America — the nonviolent drug offenses Paul often rails against, sure, but also violent crimes and property crimes.

For those playing at home, Mr. Paul just called for adjusting the law based on the race of the accused. Let’s see if libertarians call him out on this. My guess is no.

Rand Paul Joins Crowded Field of People Who Will Never Be President - The New Yorker

Rand Paul Joins Crowded Field of People Who Will Never Be President - The New Yorker:

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and neurosurgeon Ben Carson are just a few of the men thought to be considering squandering time and money pursuing an office that they will never occupy in a billion years.

Why Is Indiana's Religious Freedom Law Different From All Other Religious Freedom Laws?

Why Is Indiana's Religious Freedom Law Different From All Other Religious Freedom Laws?:

the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs.

Welcome to a world where peices of paper are granted Religious Freedom.

What Conservatives Willfully Ignore When They Cry 'Tyranny'

What Conservatives Willfully Ignore When They Cry 'Tyranny':

One of the regular features of our contemporary political life is conservative complaints about being victims of “government oppression.” You know what I mean: having to pay taxes to help “losers” is an outrage. Having to buy health insurance is tyranny. Not being allowed to discriminate against gay people is a denial of religious liberty. …

The 50th anniversary of the violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, should have served as a graphic reminder of what real “government oppression” looks like: police dogs; fire hoses; truncheons; deputized thugs. An entire state mobilized to deny the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, in the broader aim of denying the right to vote.

This came to mind after reading some of the polemics directed at the Ferguson protests.

Liberals, Conservatives, and Jobs

Liberals, Conservatives, and Jobs:

If creating “millions” of jobs means adding 2 million or more in a given year, then we did that in three of Jimmy Carter’s four years in office, and 13 times since Reagan left the White House — 8 times under Bill Clinton, twice under George W. Bush, and three times so far under Barack Obama. Actually, the only times we haven’t added millions of jobs under Democrats have been in the aftermath of severe shocks — the oil shock of 1979 and the financial crisis of 2008. Am I claiming that Democratic presidents were responsible for all this job creation? No, not at all, nor do I need to. The point, instead, is that their policies didn’t prevent a lot of employment growth. That is, what you learn from both national experience and the California story is that you can raise taxes on the rich and expand access to health care without killing the economy.

Chris Christie Officials Sent Pension Money To Subsidiary of Donor’s Foreign Firm

Chris Christie Officials Sent Pension Money To Subsidiary of Donor’s Foreign Firm:

Chris Christie appointees committed $300 million to a subsidiary of a foreign firm whose executive donated to his campaign and the RNC.

State documents from December 2014 show that one of New Jersey’s investments in Prudential plc has barely broken even, while another is worth less than the original investment, renewing debate about the wisdom of transferring public retirement savings from lower-risk securities to aggressive bets on hedge fund, private equity and real estate vehicles. The donations from Prudential plc’s top executive also underscore questions about the ability of 2016 presidential candidates to navigate pay-to-play rules while raising campaign cash. A top Christie adviser recently said that such rules offer “no loopholes” for candidates to exploit.

Not surprised. And they didn’t have to exploit loopholes.

John Kerry Bashes Florida's Reported Ban On Term 'Climate Change'

John Kerry Bashes Florida's Reported Ban On Term 'Climate Change':

Numerous former officials from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection told the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting that they were banned from using the terms “climate change,” “global warming” or “sustainability.” They said the unofficial ban was put in place shortly after Gov. Rick Scott (R) took office.

The correct description for this is political correctness. I’m guessing its only a matter of time before discussion of climate change requires trigger warnings.

Conservatives are more likely to believe that vaccines cause autism - The Washington Post

Conservatives are more likely to believe that vaccines cause autism - The Washington Post:

The probability of believing in a link between vaccines and autism is much higher among conservatives than liberals — regardless of whether people identified as Democrats, Republicans or independents. The apparent impact of ideology is most pronounced among political independents. There is no evidence that support for the vaccine-autism link is higher among strong liberals. …That liberals are least likely to believe in a link between vaccines and autism might be surprising given well-publicized reports about low childhood vaccination rates in wealthy, liberal enclaves in states such as California. It may be that anti-vaccination liberals are quite rare and that their existence is mostly anecdotal.

Didn’t expect this at all. I’m thinking that at least some of this is tied to the self-reporting. We don’t actually know their political views, only their claimed identity.

Rudy Giuliani, American Soviet

Rudy Giuliani, American Soviet:

in 1990, I went to Leningrad to study. The Soviet empire was in its death throes and most people there, particularly the younger ones, knew it.

But some hadn’t gotten the memo yet, and those folks, usually nice enough, often older — university administrators, check-room attendants, security guards, parents of some of my classmates, others — were constantly challenging me and other exchange students to East-versus-West debates, usually with the aim of proving that “their” way of life was better.

the problem with exceptionalism is that it can turn unintentionally comic with the drop of a hat. You’re made to believe you’re at the center of an envious universe, but then the world changes just enough and suddenly you’re a punchline clinging to a lot of incoherent emotions. I watched this happen with my own eyes to a lot of people in the former Soviet Union.

Matt Taibbi points out the way Soviet exceptionalism looks embarrassing in retrospect is happening right here to the GOP view of American exceptionalism.

Why Conservatives Suddenly Care About Rightwing Mail-Order Scams

Why Conservatives Suddenly Care About Rightwing Mail-Order Scams:

Anyone who follows the conservative movement carefully could tell you that it’s about 25 percent politics and 75 percent mail-order scam. For more than half a century now, charlatans passing themselves off as conservative leaders have exploited ordinary conservatives’ anxiety about a changing America to collect addresses and now email lists in order to sell snake oil and raise funds that followers believe are going to political causes but frequently just line the pockets of the con artists.

Selling outrage and victimhood to conservatives is incredibly profitable. You can literally make millions doing it.

Naked Came The Class Warriors

Naked Came The Class Warriors:

If you look for an overarching theme for overall conservative policy these past four decades, it definitely isn’t liberty — by and large the GOP has been enthusiastic about expanding the security and surveillance state. Nor is it in a consistent fashion smaller government, unless you define military and homeland security as not government. Instead, it has been about making the tax-and-transfer system harsher on the poor and easier on the rich. In short, class warfare.

Rand Paul has a victim complex

Rand Paul has a victim complex:

Paul’s problem is that he doesn’t really see anything wrong with what he said — or at least he won’t admit it. In the tweet showing his booster shot, he commented, “Wonder how the liberal media will misreport this?” It’s the same victim complex he displayed the last time he jousted with the media. In late 2013, multiple reports pretty clearly showed plagiarism in Paul’s speeches and book. Paul’s response? Play it off, blame the “haters,” and issue a non-apology apology.

The people who quoted him correctly and in context are haters.

Vaccine Skepticism Isn't a Conservative Problem, but It's a Problem for Conservatives

Vaccine Skepticism Isn't a Conservative Problem, but It's a Problem for Conservatives:

The two most straightforward ways to increase vaccination rates or otherwise reduce the risk of losing herd immunity are: Imposing government mandates and stigmatizing the white, affluent people who comprise the core of the anti-vaxx movement. Hectoring white people and imposing mandates on their families doesn’t fit comfortably in the GOP wheelhouse these days, and Christie’s awkward walkback underscores the bind that places on conservatives exquisitely.

Plus there is the issue of recognizing that big government stuff like the CDC and health care are actually good things that save actual lives.

Two Contradictory Arguments That Dodd-Frank is Crony Capitalism | Next New Deal

Two Contradictory Arguments That Dodd-Frank is Crony Capitalism | Next New Deal:

I’m pretty convinced that the term “crony capitalism,” as deployed by the right, is useless as a political or analytical tool. I keep a close eye on how conservatives talk about financial reform, and according to the right, Dodd-Frank is crony capitalism. Oh noes! But what does that mean, and how can we stop it? Here’s a fascinating case in point: two AEI scholars with different publications argue that we need to stop Dodd-Frank from enabling crony capitalism, and then proceed to describe two opposite, mutually exclusive sets of problems and solutions.

I missed this the first time around, but I’m glad I got a chance to read it. This is worth a read. There are a few words that are now meaningless in political discussion because they are used to mean different things, even contradictory things. Crony Capitalism joins Socialism as a term that means something I don’t like and has lost all other meaning.

American transit activists need to speak up about exorbitant construction costs

American transit activists need to speak up about exorbitant construction costs:

But the problem hits transit the hardest because the basic fact of the matter is that political and economic elites don’t rely on mass transit. The clearest case is the growing popularity of mixed-traffic streetcar projects. These are much cheaper than grade-separated light- or heavy-rail, but still far more expensive than a conventional bus without actually moving people any faster. In terms of offering a transportation service, spending money on a streetcar is much worse than spending the same amount of money on multiple new bus routes or upgrades to existing ones. Soon this bus will have a streetcar in its way | Elvert Barnes/Flickr Streetcars appeal, however, because those high costs create construction jobs and because the aura of classiness around them appeals to real estate developers and other would-be drivers of gentrification. So cities across America are opening stub streetcar lines rather than investing in improving the transit experience of bus riders.

Human experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program

Human experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program:

Human experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program. The experimental nature of the interrogation and detention techniques is clearly evident in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of its investigative report, despite redactions (insisted upon by the CIA) to obfuscate the locations of these laboratories of cruel science and the identities of perpetrators.

Wow.

Jeb Bush Wants a Tougher Cuban Embargo

Jeb Bush Wants a Tougher Cuban Embargo:

the benefactors of President Obama’s ill-advised move will be the heinous Castro brothers who have oppressed the Cuban people for decades.

Or maybe the embargo was more beneficial to the Castro brothers. The fact that they held on to power for a half century while all the other communist nations, except for North Korea, either reformed or fell should tell us something.

Republicans Believe in the Power of the Free Market—Except in Cuba, Apparently

Republicans Believe in the Power of the Free Market—Except in Cuba, Apparently:

There is no precedent for setting full democratic reform as a precondition to economic relations. Since 2011, Raul Castro has implemented 250 economic reforms modeled after the system in Communist China. In the 1970s, the U.S. normalized trade relations with China, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary after they took similar steps to implement preliminary economic reform. Even after economic normalization, the U.S. continued to pressure these countries to improve their human rights practices. As Obama said, “We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state.”

It seems foolish to think you can push for political or economic reforms in isolation. The two must go hand in hand if you want either reform to yield positive results.

Rand Paul’s “anti-torture” sham: Why his ignoring CIA scandal says so much - Salon.com

Rand Paul’s “anti-torture” sham: Why his ignoring CIA scandal says so much - Salon.com:

Put simply, if Sen. Paul’s commitment to his small government vision extended beyond the GOP’s usual hatred of taxes, throwing himself into the CIA torture scandal by vocally and repeatedly demanding the summary’s release would be the perfect way to prove it. If Paul’s libertarian rhetoric is just a branding exercise to separate him from the rest of the 2016 presidential pack, however, then going after the “patriots” who tortured “evildoers” for George W. Bush is not in his best interest.

I predict that the 2016 GOP pack will come out strongly for the use of torture. I expect Rand Paul to take a lukewarm stance against

The Benghazi Report Truthers: Even The GOP Cant Get To The Bottom Of It

The Benghazi Report Truthers: Even The GOP Cant Get To The Bottom Of It:

When in late November the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee released a report finding that there was no direct wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, it seemed like the case might finally be closed. After all, this was a panel controlled by a Republicans.

But that’s not quite what happened.

Some of the loudest torch-and-pitchfork wielding Benghazi investigation enthusiasts weren’t satisfied.

Expect more Benghazi on FOX. They are going to waste untold time and money until they find something. It’s whitewater all over again.

And this is a shame. There are dozens of actual things they could be investigating.

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.

House Intelligence Committee's Benghazi Report Torches Conspiracy Theories

House Intelligence Committee's Benghazi Report Torches Conspiracy Theories:

Among its findings, the report says CIA personnel responded not just well, but heroically; that there was no “stand down” order, as some critics have claimed; there was no intimidation of witnesses by superiors; there was no intelligence failure prior to the attack; and that a “mixed group” of individuals, including some linked to al Qaeda, participated in the attack.

But perhaps the most significant conclusion is its finding that Rice’s talking points — a key focus of the Benghazi Select Committee empaneled by House Speaker John Boehner — were not part of an attempt to conceal the severity of the incident.

In other words, Benghazi was much to do about nothing. But the GOP got to get angry and toss around conspiracy theories.

Rand doesn't stand

Rand doesn't stand:

If Paul really wanted to help the cause of reining in the NSA, critics say he could have broken with his party and voted to let the bill move ahead — a headline-grabbing moment that would make him stand out from the rest of the Republican presidential field. Instead, the Kentucky senator — the GOP’s most famous libertarian — voted to block the bill from even being debated.

Rand Paul, not a friend of civil liberties.

Fox Host Calls On Fox To Drop 2016 Candidates From Payroll

Fox Host Calls On Fox To Drop 2016 Candidates From Payroll:

Fox dropped Dr. Ben Carson as a contributor, which Kurtz said was a good call.

"This was a smart move by Fox because a guy who’s more or less running for president shouldn’t be on a network payroll," he said. "Which means Fox also faces a decision about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is openly weighing a White House bid as well."

It’s always nice to see actual journalism at FOX.

What’s so new about the Islamic State’s governance?

What’s so new about the Islamic State’s governance?:

of the insurgencies that provided education and health care, nearly 72 percent of insurgencies provided education to civilians, and just over 71 percent of rebel movements provided health care. In other words, if an insurgent group provides social services, they are more likely to offer these services to civilians. Once an insurgency acquired territory, nearly 49 percent would ensure that the civilian population received education or medical care, consistent with recent research on rebel governance.

ISIS thinks education and health care are roles of government.

What the Neoreaction Doesn’t Understand about Democracy

What the Neoreaction Doesn’t Understand about Democracy:

The key conclusion to draw from the Mulligan study is that political competition doesn’t go away when you switch away from democracy; rather, it moves to the metapolitical level. Competition within political systems is a substitute for competition over political systems. When the former is stifled, the latter becomes more important, which is why nondemocratic rulers must take greater pains to prevent an overthrow of government than democracies do. There is no limit on the level of metapolitical competition under a dictatorship other than the state of technology available to the state and to its would-be usurpers.

Interesting read for those following the anti-democracy crowd.

Obama Is a Republican

Obama Is a Republican:

Obama has governed as a moderate conservative—essentially as what used to be called a liberal Republican before all such people disappeared from the GOP. He has been conservative to exactly the same degree that Richard Nixon basically governed as a moderate liberal, something no conservative would deny today.

I would dismiss this as yet another attempt to recast a former president as centrist in the eyes of history. Almost every former president could be called centrist if you cherry pick. But this is a well written article and worth reading.

Sam Harris On the Mechanics of Defamation

Sam Harris On the Mechanics of Defamation:

Why would it be ethical to drop a bomb on the leaders of ISIS at this moment? Because of all the harm they’ve caused? No. Killing them will do nothing to alleviate that harm. It would be ethical to kill these men—once again, only if we couldn’t capture them—because of all the death and suffering they intend to cause in the future. Why do they intend this? Because of what they believe about infidels, apostates, women, paradise, prophecy, America, and so forth.

Aslan and Greenwald know that nowhere in my work do I suggest that we kill harmless people for thought crimes. And yet they (along with several of their colleagues) are doing their best to spread this lie about me. Nearly every other comment they’ve made about my work is similarly misleading.

Shame on Aslan and Greenwald for taking a cheap shot.

Missouri Official Meant 'No Ill Intent' When She Called For Military Coup

Missouri Official Meant 'No Ill Intent' When She Called For Military Coup:

But I cannot and do not understand why no action is being taken against our domestic enemy. I know he is supposedly the commander in chief, but the constitution gives you the authority,” she wrote in the post. “What am I missing? Thank you for your bravery and may God keep you safe.”

Can we agree that discussing a Military Coup is off limits for anyone in uniform, elected or appointed officials and anyone that is part of a militia or political party?

Justice Antonin Scalia: Constitution allows religion to be favored over secularism

Justice Antonin Scalia: Constitution allows religion to be favored over secularism:

I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion

The American Taliban in action.

Scalia told the group, which included lawmakers and other public officials, that Americans honored God in the pledge of allegiance and in “all our public ceremonies.”

That was added in 1954. The pledge wasn’t even in common use until the 1920s and wasn’t official until the 1940s. And there is nothing in the Constitution about pledges and oaths for citizens, only for elected and appointed government officials.

The Worst Governments in America Are Local

The Worst Governments in America Are Local:

Uber has brought taxicab regulations, unlike other manifestations of Big Small Government, onto the national stage. It has scrambled partisan lines. Republicans have attempted to turn Uber into a symbol of free-market economics that can appeal to young and urban voters. Uber hired David Plouffe, the Obama-campaign whiz, to run its political operations. Plouffe’s hire provoked a wave of recriminations from the left wing of his party—here was another D.C. sellout working for the Man. But Plouffe’s support for Uber could also be understood as a natural extension of Obama-style moderate liberalism. At the federal level, where government power is checked by a hostile Republican Party, liberalism means advocating for subsidized medical care, or funding for science and infrastructure. At the local level, moderate liberalism may in fact be at odds with regulation, and advocates of “more government” are sometimes defending an organized racket.

intra-Democratic politics is not optimized to root out most government failure. Democratic voters tend to apply an ideology shaped by high-profile national struggles to their local voting habits; they may, for instance, associate arguments against regulation with the sorts of spurious claims made by polluters, Wall Street, or other robber barons, even if Uber’s argument against intrusive regulations has vastly more merit than the coal industry’s.

Worth a read. While it starts with a discussion of Ferguson, it gets what the liberal position on local regulations should be. Restricted to concerns about public safety, equal access and accountability to the public. The fact is that most of the worst regulations are at the local level. Most of the crony capitalism happens on the local level. It’s not the EPA and OSHA, it’s local intrusive regulations that are a problem.

Why is “libertarian” Uber sponsoring San Francisco’s giant police militarization conference?

Why is “libertarian” Uber sponsoring San Francisco’s giant police militarization conference?:

Given Peter Thiel’s involvement with defense and domestic policing contractor Palantir and now Uber’s support of police militarization, we’re getting a clearer picture of where Valley libertarians stand on the issue. The government is bad… and police militarization is a threat to our liberty. Buuuuuuut, the warrior cop’s money is as good as anyone’s. Business is business.

Pretty much.

Some Self-Described Libertarians Can't Distinguish Libertarian from Communist or Unitarian

Some Self-Described Libertarians Can't Distinguish Libertarian from Communist or Unitarian:

Pew says it could find no larger than a 5% cluster that sorta kinda adheres to what we’re told “libertarianism” is a about. But even that group’s coherence is shaky. There are obviously a lot of ways to ask questions and crunch numbers, but I’d say Pew has at the very least cast some massive doubt on all that “libertarian moment” polling from Reason.

For the most part, libertarians are just republicans under the age of 30.

Black People Are Not Ignoring 'Black on Black' Crime

Black People Are Not Ignoring 'Black on Black' Crime:

The notion that violence within the black community is “background noise” is not supported by the historical record—or by Google. I have said this before. It’s almost as if Stop The Violence never happened, or The Interruptors never happened, or Kendrick Lamar never happened. The call issued by Erica Ford at the end of this Do The Right Thing retrospective is so common as to be ritual. It is not “black on black crime” that is background noise in America, but the pleas of black people.

A must read.

The Guns of Ferguson: When Tyranny Really Comes into Town, the NRA Goes into Hiding

The Guns of Ferguson: When Tyranny Really Comes into Town, the NRA Goes into Hiding:

One would think, given his views on freedom of assembly and the importance of democratized violence, that LaPierre would be shouting through a megaphone for the besieged citizens of Ferguson to powder their muskets and cry liberty!

The NRA represents gun manufacturing and gun sales. They don’t really care that much about the rights of gun owners beyond the right to buy more product.

Senator Rand Paul on Ferguson: We Must Demilitarize the Police

Senator Rand Paul on Ferguson: We Must Demilitarize the Police:

Does Mr. Paul think armed drones are not an example of militarized police?

From Forbes

“I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.

I think the use of an armed drone in the case of an robbery is an example of militarized policing.

From the article:

If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.

That’s called being white. When I was a teen, I had zero fear that I would be arrested, let alone shot. I did not realize how different my experience was until I was much older. As an middle age white dude, the police are polite to me. Even deferential at times.

Lindsey Graham: Iraq And Syria ‘Coming Here’ To U.S. Mainland If Obama Doesn’t Go To War

Lindsey Graham: Iraq And Syria ‘Coming Here’ To U.S. Mainland If Obama Doesn’t Go To War:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned on Sunday that militants in Iraq and Syria would attack the U.S. mainland if President Barack Obama did not immediately take military action to stop them.

I guess we can assume that all those Republicans that called on Obama to attack ISIS will now rally around the president? Probably not.

Explaining the GOP Reagan cult

Explaining the GOP Reagan cult:

the outsize Republican idolatry of Reagan is explained in part by the fact that there’s no one else in their history of whom they can really approve. The Bushes are a bad memory for most, Ford was a non-entity and Nixon was Nixon. Eisenhower looks pretty good on most historical rankings, but he’s anathema to movement conservatives: Eisenhower Republicans were what are now called RINOs.

Never thought of that but it totally makes sense. They must compare everyone to Reagan because there is no one else they can compare to.

Rand Paul: GOP Can’t 'Completely Flip' On Gay Marriage

Rand Paul: GOP Can’t 'Completely Flip' On Gay Marriage:

He went on to say that when it comes to the GOP, “the party can’t become the opposite of what it is” on social matters.

Paul is basically admitting that once the homophobes and bigots in the GOP base start dying off, the GOP will have to change its stance in the culture wars. Liberals have been saying this since the start of the southern strategy.

Two Theories of Poverty

Two Theories of Poverty:

Poverty replicates itself in very predictable structural ways.

Not a perfect article but worth a read. I’ve never seen any reason to support the pull-your-pants up view of poverty being a defect in individuals. If it were true the great depression would have been the great slack where a fifth of the nation decided to become lazy and live off free soup.

Satanists Demand Religious Exemption From Abortion Restrictions, Cite Hobby Lobby Ruling

Satanists Demand Religious Exemption From Abortion Restrictions, Cite Hobby Lobby Ruling:

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Satanists point out, it strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women’s health care that go against their religious liberty.

When the Satanists seem more reasonable than you, maybe you need to start rethinking your position.

George Will Shocks Fox News Panel: Tell Child Refugees 'Welcome To America'

George Will Shocks Fox News Panel: Tell Child Refugees 'Welcome To America':

"We ought to say to these children, ‘Welcome to America, you’re going to go to school, and get a job, and become American,’" Will suggested. "We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county."

Will explained. “We’ve handled what [American poet] Emma Lazarus called the ‘wretched refuse of your teeming shore’ a long time ago, and a lot more people than this.”

I don’t alway agree with him, but he is right here. The idea that there exists some subset of people who can not become American is contrary to all the historical evidence. Those kids will make it.

Sweden school choice: The country’s disastrous experiment with Milton Friedman and vouchers.

Sweden school choice: The country’s disastrous experiment with Milton Friedman and vouchers.:

Advocates for choice-based solutions should take a look at what’s happened to schools in Sweden, where parents and educators would be thrilled to trade their country’s steep drop in PISA scores over the past 10 years for America’s middling but consistent results. What’s caused the recent crisis in Swedish education? Researchers and policy analysts are increasingly pointing the finger at many of the choice-oriented reforms that are being championed as the way forward for American schools. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that adding more accountability and discipline to American schools would be a bad thing, it does hint at the many headaches that can come from trying to do so by aggressively introducing marketlike competition to education.

The argument from the right will be that it wasn’t free market enough. That if there had been less government it would have worked.

Clearly, this reform didn’t work in Sweden. Maybe there was some basic flaw in the implementation. Maybe its just a flawed idea.

Libertarian Accidentally Shows Obamacare Success

Libertarian Accidentally Shows Obamacare Success:

While some of his points have validity, it’s fair to say that the broader narrative conveyed by his work, which certainly lies on the sophisticated end of the anti-Obamacare industry, has utterly failed to prepare his libertarian readers for the possibility that the hated health-care law will actually work more or less as intended.

The better it works, the more likely they will start calling it Romenycare and insist that it works because of capitalism and markets, not government.

That’s the way they square their cognitive bias with reality.

Home-Grown, Right-Wing Terrorism: The Hate the GOP Refuses to See

Home-Grown, Right-Wing Terrorism: The Hate the GOP Refuses to See:

right at the start of the Obama era, when then-Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a report (PDF) entitled: “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”? The report was truly prescient. It alerted us to the rise of right-wing extremism, such as from white supremacist groups, and warned that unchecked, it could lead to violence.

Five haredi men indicted for attacking gay black man in Brooklyn

Five haredi men indicted for attacking gay black man in Brooklyn:

he was walking through the heavily Orthodox neighborhood of Williamsburg on his way home to a nearby neighborhood when more than 12 Hasidic men attacked him while shouting anti-gay slurs.

If 12 members of a Muslim fundamentalist sect attacked a man this way, would it be covered differently? If the attacked man wasn’t gay, would it be covered differently?

Snowden Is The Kind of Guy I Used to Recruit—in Russia

Snowden Is The Kind of Guy I Used to Recruit—in Russia:

As a former director of operations for the CIA, I see Snowden in a very different light. My colleagues and I in the agency spent our careers looking for people like him—on the other side, that is. We worked hard to locate the kind of person who could be persuaded to give up his country’s secrets: narcissistic, often delusional under-achievers whom we could hope to turn into loose-lipped sources in our enemies’ camps and other hostile locations. We understood just how valuable it was to every aspect of our foreign policy to know the plans and intentions of our enemies; the best way to do this was to look for a source and exploit people like Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, ­ to target for this purpose.

Not totally convinced. Not sure if Snowden even fits the description “narcissistic, often delusional under-achievers” very well. He seems to be pretty well thought out. And despite being a high school drop out, he seems not to fit the bumbling under-achievers mold.

Militia Leader Lives Off Gov Disability Checks

Militia Leader Lives Off Gov Disability Checks:

Democratic Underground user Kpete recalled a story in the Washington Post where it mentions Vanderboegh’s disability checks, while in the next breath, the militia leader speaks against what he perceives as President Obama’s ‘collectivism.’

When he gets a check, he is getting his money back. When other people get a check, they are taking his money.

Nevada Militia Sets Up Armed Checkpoints, Demands to See Drivers' I.D.

Nevada Militia Sets Up Armed Checkpoints, Demands to See Drivers' I.D.:

apparently other rightful property owners in rural Nevada don’t feel terribly free under the security regime recently built around them by the militiamen protecting rancher Cliven Bundy.

So if I am stopped by these freedom loving patriots and asked for ID, they are totally not infringing on my freedom? And totally not aggression.

The Koch Attack on Solar Energy

The Koch Attack on Solar Energy:

For the last few months, the Kochs and other big polluters have been spending heavily to fight incentives for renewable energy, which have been adopted by most states. They particularly dislike state laws that allow homeowners with solar panels to sell power they don’t need back to electric utilities. So they’ve been pushing legislatures to impose a surtax on this increasingly popular practice, hoping to make installing solar panels on houses less attractive.

Not surprised.

Is David Brooks an idiot?

Is David Brooks an idiot?:

If you are a young professional in a major city, you experience inequality firsthand. But the inequality you experience most acutely is not inequality down, toward the poor; it’s inequality up, toward the rich.

You go to fund-raisers or school functions and there are always hedge fund managers and private equity people around.

Is Mr. Brooks an idiot? Does he realize that for 98% of the population, this is simply not true.

The inequality problem is not between the 90->99% and the 1%. To think that is to basically discount 90% of the population. The 90% plus of the population that simply doesn’t see the inequality first hand and his eyes, isn’t even worth bringing into the discussion.

emphasize that the historically proven way to reduce inequality is lifting people from the bottom with human capital reform, not pushing down the top. In short, counter angry progressivism with unifying uplift.

Piketty argues that r > g, that return from financial capital is greater than overall economic growth. Brooks totally ignores this point in his criticism of Piketty.

He argues for unifying uplift; a phrase that sounds like it comes from an American Apparel bra ad. What exactly is unifying uplift? If he is talking about increasing social spending, why not actually say that? Is he really just saying we can stop the formation of vast oligarchies if we come up with the right platitudes?

Politics by Subpoena: How Darrell Issa Abuses His Power, and Why

Politics by Subpoena: How Darrell Issa Abuses His Power, and Why:

Issa has been engaged in nonstop investigations since taking power after the 2010 election, drilling into everything from the Fast and Furious operation to Benghazi to Solyndra to Freddie and Fannie to the alleged politicization of the IRS to the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov. He’s talked of finding “Obama’s Watergate,” but that’s never happened and his investigations come up empty handed again and again.

What is so frustrating is that rather than investigate clear and admitted lies by NSA and CIA spokespeople, Issa is spending time and tax payer money on nonsense issues he imagines will look good on fox news.

A Nation of Takers?

A Nation of Takers?:

I worry about those tycoons sponging off government. Won’t our pampering damage their character? Won’t they become addicted to the entitlement culture, demanding subsidies even for their yachts?

Tea Party and Wall Street Are Getting Along Just Fine

Tea Party and Wall Street Are Getting Along Just Fine:

it’s hard to find where the Tea Party and Wall Street disagree. Tea Party senators like Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz, plus conservative senators like David Vitter, have rallied around a one-line bill repealing the entirety of Dodd-Frank and replacing it with nothing. In the House, Republicans are attacking new derivatives regulations, all the activities of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the existence of the Volcker Rule, and the ability of the FDIC to wind down a major financial institution, while relentlessly attacking strong regulators and cutting regulatory funding. This is Wall Street’s wet dream of a policy agenda. Note the lack of any Republican counter-proposal or framework. The few that have been suggested, such as David Camp’s bank tax or Vitter’s higher capital requirements have gotten no additional support from the right. House Republicans attacked Camp’s plan publicly, and Vitter’s bill lost one of its only two other Republican supporters immediately after it was announced. So why is there a lack of an agenda? Because the Tea Party thinks that Wall Street has done nothing wrong.

The Conservative Myth of a Social Safety Net Built on Charity

The Conservative Myth of a Social Safety Net Built on Charity:

One problem with the conservative vision of charity is that it assumes the government hasn’t been playing a role in the management of risk and social insurance from the beginning. It imagines that there is some golden period to return to, free from any and all government interference.

As for social insurance specifically, the historian Michael Katz has documented that there has always been a mixed welfare state made up of private and public organizations throughout our country’s history. Outdoor relief, or cash assistance outside of institutions, was an early legal responsibility of American towns, counties, and parishes from colonial times through the early nineteenth century. During this period, these issues were usually dealt with through questions of “settlement.” A community had a responsibility to provide relief to its own needy, native members, defined as those who had a settlement there. This became increasingly difficult with an industrialized society, as people moved to and fro looking for work and were forced out of communities when they couldn’t find any.

political scientist Theda Skocpol has documented, there were also multiple examples of state-issued social insurance programs before the New Deal. In the wake of the Civil War, Congress established an elaborate system of pensions for veterans. At its height in 1910, this de facto disability and old-age pension system delivered benefits to more than 25 percent of all American men over 65, accounting for a quarter of the federal government’s expenditures. Between 1911 and 1920, 40 states passed laws establishing “mothers’ pensions” for single women with children. These programs provided payments for needy widowed mothers in order to allow them to provide for their children.

Konczal corrects some basic misconceptions about the role of the state in social insurance prior to the new deal. Worth reading.

Promoting Evolution Is 'An Act Of Disloyalty To America'

Promoting Evolution Is 'An Act Of Disloyalty To America':

"American political philosophy is based on the belief that the world was created by God in six days, and that this creation event occurred about 6,000 years ago," he explains, adding that news reports describing the Earth as millions of years old were either ignorant or "anti-American."

Where is genesis mentioned in the constitution?

Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia

Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia:

What infuriated Mitchel was that the Irish were starving to death at the very time that rich stores of grain and fat livestock owned by absentee landlords were being shipped out of the country. The food was produced by Irish hands on Irish lands but would not go into Irish mouths, for fear that such “charity” would upset the free market, and make people lazy.

….

“We have this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” In other words, these people are bred poor and lazy. Where have I heard that before? Ah, yes — 19th-century England. The Irish national character, Trevelyan confided to a fellow aristocrat, was “defective.” The hungry millions were “a selfish, perverse, and turbulent” people, said the man in charge of relieving their plight.

Worth a read. The inference to suffering on the right is amazing.

Koch Group Abandons Obamacare 'Horror' Stories After Fact-Check Backlash

Koch Group Abandons Obamacare 'Horror' Stories After Fact-Check Backlash:

But what’s notable about the ads is what they aren’t: A personalized story of someone who’s been negatively affected by Obamacare, the kind of verifiable set of facts that can be checked — and rebutted, as happened with a recent AFP ad that led to significant backlash from the fact-checking community.

The facts have a liberal bias….so lets base our opinions on something other than facts. Wonderful.

The C.I.A. Torture Cover-Up

The C.I.A. Torture Cover-Up:

Ms. Feinstein’s accusations carry an additional weight and credibility because she has been a reliable supporter of the intelligence agencies and their expanded powers since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001

Can we investigate this rather than a hold a 51st vote on Obamacare and another fishing expedition on Benghazi? Why are the real scandals ignored by this congress while they fixate on phony issues?

Woman with cancer refuses life saving Obamacare coverage.

Woman with cancer refuses life saving Obamacare coverage.:

When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.” “I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.

It represents a kind of final victory for mean-spirited and uncharitable propaganda over reality, a triumph for misinformation, sabotage, and arrant bullshit in the service of a cruel ideology and faceless oligarchy. It is a measure of the failure of all of our institutions, which definitely includes my own, which allowed charlatans and frauds to hijack too much of the public debate. I pray for this woman’s recovery.

This is just sad. She has so totally bought the right wing propaganda that she is choosing to die for a falsehood rather than live and admit she was lied to.

After pledging transparency, PBS hides details of new deal with billionaire owner of NewsHour

After pledging transparency, PBS hides details of new deal with billionaire owner of NewsHour:

since 1994, the NewsHour has been produced and primarily owned by the for-profit colossus, Liberty Media. Liberty, which is run by conservative billionaire John Malone, owns the majority stake in MacNeil/Lehrer Productions – the entity that produces the journalistic content of the show. While other standalone public television projects are often produced by small independent production companies, the NewsHour stands out for being owned by a major for-profit media conglomerate headed by a politically active billionaire.

I was a regular NewsHour viewer for years and have been a regular NewsHour podcast listener since 2007 or so when they started podcasts. I can count maybe a dozen times when I thought the NewsHour was being biased. This is just disappointing.

Wallace to Issa: 'Be honest, you do not have any evidence' linking Clinton to Benghazi

Wallace to Issa: 'Be honest, you do not have any evidence' linking Clinton to Benghazi:

Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday confronted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) after he was rated as having the “highest level of falsehood” for his obsession with the terrorist attacks in Benghazi.

I am still waiting on those who bought the fanciful theories that the right was selling to admit they were wrong.

Putin Declares War on Ukraine. The Why and What Next

Putin Declares War on Ukraine. The Why and What Next:

The internal issues of former Soviet republics, you see, are not truly internal issues of sovereign nations. This is because, by Stalin’s very conscious design and very deliberate border drawing and population movement, most former Soviet republics are ethnic hodgepodges. So Ukraine has a sizable Russian population. Ditto Estonia, ditto Georgia, ditto Kazakhstan. And, according to Putin’s unspoken doctrine, anywhere Russian citizens are determined to be at risk, Mother Moscow can intercede with force on their behalf.

Worth a read. The current Ukraine crisis is crazy complex and TV reporting seem more focused on what Obama might do rather than what the facts on the ground are.

An Apology to Donald Trump: Please Keep Talking

An Apology to Donald Trump: Please Keep Talking:

every little thing he says and does should be covered fully and thoroughly. Because the more that happens, it seems, the more Trump is revealed to be unserious and manipulative. It’s like forcing a kid to smoke a carton of cigarettes. The only thing that will alleviate America’s taste for Donald Trump is more exposure to Donald Trump.

Excellent point. Likewise, Mr. Trump should be encouraged to get into twitter arguments with comedians.

A Midwest Republican Senator Crusades Against the Corruption of Money in Politics

A Midwest Republican Senator Crusades Against the Corruption of Money in Politics:

"I firmly believe that we are beginning in this country to look like a Russian-style oligarchy where a couple of dozen billionaires have basically bought the government," Sen. Dale Schultz on why he is leaving politics.

He is leaving because of a primary challenge by a Koch brothers sponsored oligarchy friendly candidate.

What they seek is nothing short of a different definition of American citizenship granted only to highly religious people, and highly religious Christians in particular.

What they seek is nothing short of a different definition of American citizenship granted only to highly religious people, and highly religious Christians in particular.:

they have made a rather spectacular claim, though not explicitly. What they seek is nothing short of a different definition of American citizenship granted only to highly religious people, and highly religious Christians in particular. They are demanding that our laws stake out for them a kind of Citizenship Platinum, allowing them an exemption from any law or obligation they’d prefer to disregard. They would refashion the First Amendment in their image.

Radical Christians are making America safe for Sharia law by creating legal precedent of religious views being imposed on others by force.

The paranoid libertarian and his enemy, the angry liberal.

The paranoid libertarian and his enemy, the angry liberal.:

A paranoid libertarian is someone who distrusts the government to an unreasonable extent. Sunstein believes that many people who oppose gun control, health care reform, and progressive taxation fit the description. For example, a paranoid libertarian might not object to modest gun licensing requirements or background checks in principle but opposes these policies because he believes that the government will deny licenses to people who deserve them, or that a licensing rule will accustom people to gun control, paving the way to confiscation of all handguns. Sunstein argues that these beliefs are unreasonable, and because they often reflect an exaggerated sense of victimization, “paranoid” (rather than merely “unreasonable”) is the right term for them.

Interesting article. I don’t really buy the argument but it is a pretty good read.

Republicans Using Fake Websites To Trick Donors Is Just The Start

Republicans Using Fake Websites To Trick Donors Is Just The Start:

It turns out that the political organization has purchased over a dozen domain names of Democratic candidates up for election and set up real-looking-but-fake websites. The worst part of all – besides the blatant deception and malice for the electorate – is that fact that since it has been exposed, the NRCC has stated that they are “very proud of the program” and have promised to expand it.

This is basically fraud. You would think it would be against the law to mislead people and take their money.

1.8 Million Definite Militia Members to March on DC, Install New Government #MotherJones

1.8 Million Definite Militia Members to March on DC, Install New Government #MotherJones:

Harry Riley has a dream. On the morning of May 16, somewhere between 10 and 30 million (estimates vary) God-fearing patriots will assemble in Washington, DC, for what Riley, a retired Army colonel from the Florida panhandle, is calling “Operation American Spring.” They’ll protest outside the White House by day and set up in campgrounds and RV parks outside the city by night. They won’t leave until President Barack Obama, along with Attorney General Eric Holder and congressional leaders of both parties, resign and appear before a specially convened investigative tribunal for further disciplinary action—a polite version of a tea party coup. It’s not likely to happen—but two former Fox News personalities have endorsed the endeavor.

I doubt its more than a few hundred.

4 states confirm water pollution from drilling

4 states confirm water pollution from drilling:

Over the past 10 years, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has led to a boom in oil and natural gas production around the nation. It has reduced imports and led to hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for companies and landowners, but also created pollution fears.

Its called an externality. But I’m sure the right will insist that this problem can only be solved by tax cuts and deregulation. 

Will Benghazi Facts Penetrate The Right-Wing Bubble?

Will Benghazi Facts Penetrate The Right-Wing Bubble?:

An exhaustive New York Times investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, published on December 28, discredited the key elements of the right-wing campaign to politicize the attack — a desperate attempt to bring down the Obama administration and sink a possible presidential run by Hillary Clinton.

No, it will not enter the bubble. There are too many people who are convinced that the Times is a liberal media source and can not be trusted, unlike Fox which is fair and balanced. We are stuck with whitewater 2.0. 

I tend to take the stance that Libertarianism is like Leninism

“I tend to take the stance that Libertarianism is like Leninism: a fascinating, internally consistent political theory with some good underlying points that, regrettably, makes prescriptions about how to run human society that can only work if we replace real messy human beings with frictionless spherical humanoids of uniform density (because it relies on simplifying assumptions about human behaviour which are unfortunately wrong).”

-

Why I want Bitcoin to die in a fire

Charlie Stross wrote an insightful post about BtC and Libertarianism, and closes with the above paragraph, which sums up why I looked at Libertarianism when I was younger, realized it was absolutely not for me, and embraced my OMG SOCIALIST ideals.

(via wilwheaton)

For First Time, Anti-Terrorism Law Used to Have Americans Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline Arrested | The Dissenter

For First Time, Anti-Terrorism Law Used to Have Americans Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline Arrested | The Dissenter:

In an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, two individuals locked themselves with a bike lock inside one of the multiple revolving doors that lead into the atrium

Anti-terror laws will be abused to toss non-violent left of center activists in jail. It will never be used against right-of-center groups. 

Gingrich vs. the Right on Apartheid: What Would You Have Done?

Gingrich vs. the Right on Apartheid: What Would You Have Done? :

Where were the masses of conservatives opposing Apartheid?

Gingrich puts on his historian hat and puts Mandela in context.  Coates adds:

Newt Gingrich was among a cadre of conservatives who opposed the mainstream conservative stance on apartheid and ultimately helped override Reagan’s unconscionable veto of sanctions. At the time, Gingrich was allied with a group of young conservatives including Vin Weber looking to challenge Republican orthodoxy on South Africa. 

Worth a read. 

CNN:GOP obstruction of Obamacare is closing hospitals

CNN:GOP obstruction of Obamacare is closing hospitals:

In Georgia, as many as 15 more rural hospitals may close “within months” and in Tennessee, which is putting off a decision on expanding Medicaid, almost half of the 61 rural hospitals in the state might face “major cuts or closure.” This is a direct — and disastrous — consequence of Republicans’ ideological opposition to Obamacare.

There are a bunch of problems with the article, notably that rural hospitals have been closing for years before Obamacare so this might be not that related. But its worth a read.

444 million for a hockey arena, no money for pensions?

444 million for a hockey arena, no money for pensions? :

So when the politicians running Michigan’s state government claim there are no resources that could shore up the pension plan, that’s just not true. What is true is that there’s plenty of money for the state and city to meet the pension promises they made to public employees – but politicians in charge of spending want that money to go to corporations that disproportionately fund politicians’ election campaigns. To insist otherwise – to do what Orr is doing and pretend there’s no money around – is just shockingly dishonest.

 

Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries:

Neoreactionaries believe that while technology and capitalism have advanced humanity over the past couple centuries, democracy has actually done more harm than good. They propose a return to old-fashioned gender roles, social order and monarchy.

I always wondered when libertarians would just drop the BS and just admit they want corporate feudalism. 

Most of NSA’s data collection authorized by order Ronald Reagan issued

Most of NSA’s data collection authorized by order Ronald Reagan issued:

“In 1996, when (12333) was 15 years old, we said, ‘Gee, this probably ought to be revised.’ Now we’re more than 15 years after that,” said John Bellinger, a former legal adviser to the National Security Council during the presidency of George W. Bush. Still, the order hasn’t undergone any major change, “in part, because it’s so difficult and complex to change it,” he said.

If only a congressional law professor were able to talk to the president about executive orders.

No Evidence That The Bulk Collection of Americans’ Phone Records Has Provided Any Intelligence of Value That Could Not Have Been Gathered Through Less Intrusive Means

House Republicans Skip Obamacare Briefing They Furiously Demanded

House Republicans Skip Obamacare Briefing They Furiously Demanded:

most of the House Republicans who had demanded their own closed-door briefing from the administration on President Barack Obama’s struggling health care rollout were no-shows on Wednesday.

This is what is wrong with congress in one simple headline. There is far more interest in outrage than due diligence. You would think that they would want to actually do their jobs, or simply to sit in the briefing and then attack the parts of Obamacare they hate. But no. They just want to yell and scream and don’t care if they get any facts right.

Conspiracy theories explain the right

Conspiracy theories explain the right:

The conservative mindset is in decline. Stories of cabals and secret plots provide comfort as its power wanes

If I were to tell you that a cabal of Congressional Republicans had been quietly working with a roster of little-known political organizations since the last election, many of them funded by a pair of shadowy billionaire brothers, to bring the country to the brink of financial ruin, I’d understand it if you thought I was talking about a conspiracy theory. But really I’d be describing the sausage making that goes on in politics today and the blurry lines between lobbying and influence peddling

Right wing politics is a racket, not a political philosophy. 

The Tea Party thinks it hates Wall Street. It doesn’t.

The Tea Party thinks it hates Wall Street. It doesn’t.:

many Tea Party Republicans are in favor of the same bills favored by the financial industry. Take the Financial Takeover Repeal Act of 2013, a one-line bill sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that repeals Dodd-Frank and replaces it with nothing. This bill has 22 co-sponsors this year, including notable Tea Party senators such Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

The best way to explain the Tea Party and Wall Street is The enemy of my imaginary enemy is my imaginary friend. The Tea Party is in favor of imaginary Randian makers and opposed to imaginary Randian looters. Wall Street thinks the same. The only rift is who they imagine the looters and makers are. This is the problem with Randian thinking. 

Forbes Calls Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Holier Than Mother Teresa

Forbes Calls Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Holier Than Mother Teresa:

there are still huge pockets of these Fountainhead junkies who genuinely believe that the Blankfeins of the world are reviled because they’re bankers and they’re rich, and not because they’re the heads of unprosecutable organized crime syndicates who make their money through mass fraud, manipulation and the shameless burgling of public treasure.

The Ayn Rand crowd insists this is jealousy and not well earned revulsion. 

Why We Should Choose Science over Beliefs

Why We Should Choose Science over Beliefs:

My libertarian beliefs have not always served me well. Like most people who hold strong ideological convictions, I find that, too often, my beliefs trump the scientific facts. This is called motivated reasoning, in which our brain reasons our way to supporting what we want to be true. Knowing about the existence of motivated reasoning, however, can help us overcome it when it is at odds with evidence.

Michael Shermer on dangers of motivated reasoning.

Why We Should Choose Science over Beliefs

Why We Should Choose Science over Beliefs

My libertarian beliefs have not always served me well. Like most people who hold strong ideological convictions, I find that, too often, my beliefs trump the scientific facts. This is called motivated reasoning, in which our brain reasons our way to supporting what we want to be true. Knowing about the existence of motivated reasoning, however, can help us overcome it when it is at odds with evidence.

Michael Shermer on dangers of motivated reasoning.

Forbes Calls Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Holier Than Mother Teresa

Forbes Calls Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Holier Than Mother Teresa

there are still huge pockets of these Fountainhead junkies who genuinely believe that the Blankfeins of the world are reviled because they’re bankers and they’re rich, and not because they’re the heads of unprosecutable organized crime syndicates who make their money through mass fraud, manipulation and the shameless burgling of public treasure.

The Ayn Rand crowd insists this is jealousy and not well earned revulsion.

The Political Legacy of American Slavery

The Political Legacy of American Slavery

>Whites who currently live in Southern counties that had high shares of slaves population in 1860 are less likely to identify as Democrat, more likely to oppose affirmative action policies, and more likely to express racial resentment toward blacks

But if you suggest racism is still a problem, or that it is a problem in the parts of the country that are southern, older and more republican you are accused of as race baiting.

It Takes A Government (To Make A Market)

It Takes A Government (To Make A Market)

there's an additional factor, that even supporters of the Affordable Care Act mostly missed: the extent to which, for the first time, the Act is creating a truly functioning market in nongroup insurance.

Market based reforms often require government. This should be obvious, but since it violates right-wing political correctness, it is ignored or shouted down.

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.

James Clapper, who lied to congress; will pick panel to review if he is lying to congress

James Clapper, who lied to congress; will pick panel to review if he is lying to congress

In practice - not theory - Clapper gets to chop the draft of the interim and final reports, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would - again, in practice - assist in selecting the members of the review group

How is this in any way oversight?

NSA loophole allows warrantless search for US citizens' emails and phone calls

NSA loophole allows warrantless search for US citizens' emails and phone calls

The authority, approved in 2011, appears to contrast with repeated assurances from Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials to both Congress and the American public that the privacy of US citizens is protected from the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs.

Basically, everything we have heard from the NSA about the scope of their activity since 2006 has been a lie.

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.

Intro to the Structure of Lies in Conservative Jurisprudence

Intro to the Structure of Lies in Conservative Jurisprudence

Scalia wasn’t just being hypocritical. He was, quite blatantly, lying. If he actually believed what he claimed to believe in Windsor, then he never would have joined the decision to strike down the Voting Rights Act in Holder. To the contrary, he would have denounced John Roberts’ opinion with venomous glee. To absolutely no one’s surprise, he did not. Because everybody knows he was lying in his Windsor dissent. Everybody knows he’s been lying for decades.

The whole five part series is worth a read. The conservative movement is basically founded on this kind of BS.

Defending the Coup

Defending the Coup

members of the Muslim Brotherhood are defined by certain beliefs. They reject pluralism, secular democracy and, to some degree, modernity. When you elect fanatics, they continue, you have not advanced democracy. You have empowered people who are going to wind up subverting democracy. The important thing is to get people like that out of power, even if it takes a coup.

Replace Muslim Brotherhood with Conservative Movement and it is oddly accurate.

Edward Snowden and asylum: He is a terrible candidate.

Edward Snowden and asylum: He is a terrible candidate.

On the merits, Snowden's claim for asylum would not count for much in any country. Applicants for asylum typically must prove they are the victims of persecution on account of their race, ethnicity, religion, or membership in a social or political group. Frequently, these are political dissidents who are fleeing government oppression, or members of the wrong group in a civil war or ethnic conflict. They have been tortured, their families have been massacred. Snowden could be regarded as a political dissenter, but the United States is attempting to arrest him not because he holds dissenting views, but because he violated the law by disclosing information that he had sworn to keep secret. All countries have such laws; they could hardly grant asylum to an American for committing acts that they themselves would regard as crimes if committed by their own nationals.

Well written and fair article.

War on coal: A pretty good idea.

War on coal: A pretty good idea.

the only way to consider new coal-fired plants a remotely plausible undertaking is to completely ignore the social costs of burning the coal. By the same token, simply throwing all my garbage into my neighbor’s back yard could look like a cheap and appealing alternative to proper trash disposal if I were allowed to completely ignore the costs to my neighbor.

Getting rid of direct subsidies and then attacking indirect subsides is all that is need to make wind and solar competitive.

NSA Surveillance Leaks Prompt Legislation

NSA Surveillance Leaks Prompt Legislation

One of the most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act - Section 215 - allows the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to authorize broad warrants for most any type of records, including those held by banks, doctors and phone companies. Lawmakers have repeatedly voted to prevent the act from expiring. The government only needs to show that the information pertains to an "authorized investigation." No connection to a terrorist or spy is required. Under today's proposal, the act would be amended to require "the government to show relevance to an authorized investigation and a link to one of three categories of a foreign agent, power, or group." Another provision would demand the government "to provide a statement of the facts and circumstances" to the court to justify the surveillance, lawmakers said.

This is an trivial reduction in FISA court power and yet it is far from certain to pass. Undoing the damage of the patriot act will take a generation.

Why 'I Have Nothing to Hide' Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance

Why 'I Have Nothing to Hide' Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance

The programs of the past can be characterized as "proximate surveillance," in which the government attempted to use technology to directly monitor communication themselves. The programs of this decade mark the transition to "oblique surveillance," in which the government more often just goes to the places where information has been accumulating on its own, such as email providers, search engines, social networks, and telecoms.

Worth a read. The defender of the NSA policy seem to think this is a simple matter of privacy. It isn’t.

Senators push bill to declassify secret FISA surveillance rulings

Senators push bill to declassify secret FISA surveillance rulings

"Americans deserve to know how much information about their private communications the government believes it's allowed to take under the law," said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who is spearheading the effort with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The legislation has a powerful backer in Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have also signed on as co-sponsors.

Time to call your senator again.

James Clapper Clarifies Remarks Over NSA Snooping

James Clapper Clarifies Remarks Over NSA Snooping

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday that he stood by what he told Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in March when he said that the National Security Agency does not “wittingly” collect data on millions of Americans.

Do you think the House GOP could take a break from votes on Acorn, ObamaCare and Benghazi to investigate this instead? How about a discussion on repealing the Patriot act?

Colbert Mocks Tea Partiers For Whining About Tax-Exempt Status They Didn't Have to Ask For

Colbert Mocks Tea Partiers For Whining About Tax-Exempt Status They Didn't Have to Ask For

"How is that possible, that I didn't apply?" Colbert asked. "Am I breaking the law?" Potter took that opportunity to remind the Colbert Report host that he was not legally obligated to apply for tax-exempt status in the first place.

Amazing. The IRS blocked them from something that they were not obligated to do in the first place.

The Latest Lie: IRS Targeted Conservatives

The Latest Lie: IRS Targeted Conservatives

All that happened here is that groups applying to the IRS for special tax status were checked to see if they were engaged in political activity. They were checked, not targeted. Only one-third of the groups checked were conservative groups.

Organizations of all walks and all persuasions were pulled in. That's shown by the fact that only 70 of the 300 organizations were tea party organizations, of the ones that were looked at

Yet another trumped up nonsense scandal diverting from actual problems like the AP scandal and the Gitmo hunger strike.

G.O.P. Split Over Whether to Waste Time Investigating Benghazi or Repealing Obamacare

G.O.P. Split Over Whether to Waste Time Investigating Benghazi or Repealing Obamacare

Warning that "the American people don't have an endless appetite for meaningless political theater," Cantor added, "If we're going to do something that's purely symbolic, pointless, and detached from reality, I say it should be repealing Obamacare for the thirtieth or fortieth time."

Anheuser-Busch heir resigns life-long NRA membership

Anheuser-Busch heir resigns life-long NRA membership

The NRA I see today has undermined the values upon which it was established. Your current strategic focus clearly places priority on the needs of gun and ammunition manufacturers while disregarding the opinions of your 4 million individual members.

They get more money from manufacturers. Dues from individual hunters and sportsmen are meaningless to the bottom line of the NRA.

Pirate Democracy? - Why Nations Fail

Pirate Democracy? - Why Nations Fail

In his fascinating book The Invisible Hook, Peter Leeson shows that such democracy was the norm amongst pirate crews who ravaged the Caribbean and other parts of the world in the 18th century. Pirate crews not only elected their captains on the basis of universal pirate suffrage, but they also regularly deposed them by democratic elections if they were not satisfied with their performance.

And all them who agree say Arrrghhhh!

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin's Post-Scandal Playbook

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin's Post-Scandal Playbook

At breakfast, Weiner quickly put all the speculation to rest: he is eyeing the mayor's race. He told me that his political committee spent more than $100,000 on polling and research by Obama's longtime pollster, David Binder …. The focus of the poll, Binder says, was the question "Are voters willing to give him a second chance or not, regardless of what race or what contest?"

I say give him a second chance. What he did was an awful lapse in judgment but not something that should end his life.

Yglesias: Obama's Five Percent Pay Cut Is Absurd

Yglesias: Obama's Five Percent Pay Cut Is Absurd

This business of President Obama giving himself a five percent pay cut in solidarity with sequester-ravaged federal agencies seems totally absurd to me. Who is better off thanks to this? It doesn’t seem to free up any budgetary funds for anything.

I usually refrain form calling out politicians for grand standing. It’s part of the job. As long as it isn’t too bad, you have to let it slide. But this is such silly grandstanding that it needs to be mocked. How exactly will Obama’s life be different after this 5% cut? Will he have to bring a brown bag lunch on Air Force one?

Common sense is almost unknown to authoritarian personalities, who excel nonetheless, because they are extremely highly-motivated, and driven by their usually well-hidden fears. More often than not, they ignore common decency, because they feel so strongly about the correctness of their thinking, and because they believe they can do no wrong since they are addressing a greater good.

Common sense is almost unknown to authoritarian personalities, who excel nonetheless, because they are extremely highly-motivated, and driven by their usually well-hidden fears. More often than not, they ignore common decency, because they feel so strongly about the correctness of their thinking, and because they believe they can do no wrong since they are addressing a greater good.
—John Dean (via murmursofearth)

Boehner and Ryan admit we don't have a debt crisis

Boehner and Ryan admit we don't have a debt crisis

America owes this debt of gratitude to Boehner after he finally came clean on yesterday's edition of ABC's "This Week" and admitted that "we do not have an immediate debt crisis." (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS' "Face the Nation").

So the are they crazy or stupid argument is answered with neither. They are just liars.

Is State Capitalism Winning?

Is State Capitalism Winning?

In the age-old contest of economic-growth models, state capitalism has seemed to be gaining the upper hand in recent years. Avatars of liberal capitalism like the United States and the United Kingdom continued to perform anemically in 2012, while many Asian countries, relying on various versions of dirigisme, have not only grown rapidly and steadily over the last several decades, but have also weathered recent economic storms with surprising grace. So, is it time to update the economics textbooks?

Not an easy read, but worth reading.


Glenn Beck warns people not to trust conspiracy theorists. Irony has died today, let us all morn.

The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that … and we all should be too. In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states…

I don’t agree with this view that militia refers only to slave militias. Most states had militias at the time of the founders, including free states.

Pointing out that the talking points about Hitler and gun control are mostly wrong is the same as holocaust denial?

Pointing out that the talking points about Hitler and gun control are mostly wrong is the same as holocaust denial?

sanctor:

wontoo3fore:

As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler's, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them. The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. "The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition," Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

Worth a read.

Everyone was allowed guns!

EXCEPT FOR JEWS!

Are we really going to start denying that the holocaust happened?

Pointing out that the talking points about Hitler and gun control are mostly wrong is the same as holocaust denial?

Look at the timeline again. The gun ban predates Hitler. Stating that Hitler came to power then took away all the guns is just wrong. Likewise, when the gun ownership was expanded to everyone but Jews, Hitler was already in power.

Nothing in the article denies the holocaust. Why do you feel the need to make that claim?

The Hitler gun control lie

The Hitler gun control lie

As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler's, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them. The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. "The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition," Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

Worth a read.

New York Post Helps NYPD Slander Occupy Wall Street (Again)

New York Post Helps NYPD Slander Occupy Wall Street (Again)

No political writings were discovered, and Kelly said the investigation was continuing into whether the couple had any larger plans or ties to any radical groups.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time that the Post — and more specifically, Schram, one of its top cop reporters — has been a conduit for vaguely sourced and ultimately baseless police claims linking scary high-profile crimes to Occupy Wall Street.

The right is desperate to slander OWS, What else is new.

Republicans are demanding ever deeper spending cuts, but they won't detail with any meaningful specificity what those cuts should be, and they insist they can solve our revenue problem via eliminating loopholes and deductions, but they won't detail with any meaningful specificity what those should be, either. By contrast, Dems have detailed their demands - they have detailed the tax hikes they want.

Republicans are demanding ever deeper spending cuts, but they won't detail with any meaningful specificity what those cuts should be, and they insist they can solve our revenue problem via eliminating loopholes and deductions, but they won't detail with any meaningful specificity what those should be, either. By contrast, Dems have detailed their demands - they have detailed the tax hikes they want.
The Morning Plum: Dems hold the middle ground. GOP is on fringe.

All the "fiscal cliff" nonsense is just acknowledging that contractionary policy is contractionary. That all the serious people have been advocating contractionary policy for years seems to have been lost. Maybe we take the next step and learn that expansionary policy is expansionary.

All the “fiscal cliff” nonsense is just acknowledging that contractionary policy is contractionary. That all the serious people have been advocating contractionary policy for years seems to have been lost. Maybe we take the next step and learn that expansionary policy is expansionary.
Eschaton: We’re All Keynesians Now

RINO Hunters Fire Warning Shots At Republican Senate Candidates

RINO Hunters Fire Warning Shots At Republican Senate Candidates

Tea Party Express has a history of upsetting the Republican establishment. The group backed O'Donnell's Delaware Senate run in 2010 and got behind Mourdock's primary challenge against Lugar this year. Kremer said it was "way too early to make any decisions on what races we will be involved in during the 2014 cycle,"

The Tea Party has been more successful at getting moderate Dems elected in red states than the DLC.

Revenge of the Reality-Based Community

Revenge of the Reality-Based Community

At least a few conservatives now recognize that Republicans suffer for epistemic closure. They were genuinely shocked at Romney's loss because they ignored every poll not produced by a right-wing pollster such as Rasmussen or approved by right-wing pundits such as the perpetually wrong Dick Morris. Living in the Fox News cocoon, most Republicans had no clue that they were losing or that their ideas were both stupid and politically unpopular. I am disinclined to think that Republicans are yet ready for a serious questioning of their philosophy or strategy.

Bruce Bartlett is attempting to pull the right back to reality. I wish him luck.

Robert Reich: Why BP Isn't a Criminal

Robert Reich: Why BP Isn't a Criminal

robertreich:

I'm appalled by the carelessness and indifference of the BP executives responsible for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that killed eleven people on April 20, 2010, and unleashed the worst oil spill in American history. But it defies logic to make BP itself the criminal. Corporations aren't people. They can't know right from wrong. They're incapable of criminal intent. They have no brains. They're legal fictions - pieces of paper filed away in a vault in some bank. Holding corporations criminally liable reinforces the same fallacy that gave us Citizen's United

If conservative billionaires are looking for something else to be mad about, I'd recommend the Romney campaign's apparent habit of paying about 50 percent more for TV spots than the Obama campaign. That helped line the pockets of the consultants who both recommended the buys and got the commissions for placing the spots, but it didn't do much to win the election.

If conservative billionaires are looking for something else to be mad about, I’d recommend the Romney campaign’s apparent habit of paying about 50 percent more for TV spots than the Obama campaign. That helped line the pockets of the consultants who both recommended the buys and got the commissions for placing the spots, but it didn’t do much to win the election.
America’s Billionaires are Pissed Off at Karl Rove

Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations

Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations

In 1997, Congress cracked down on a popular tax shelter that allowed rich people to take advantage of the exempt status of charities without actually giving away much money. Individuals who had already set up these vehicles were allowed to keep them. That included Mitt Romney, then the chief executive officer of Bain Capital, who had just established such an arrangement in June 1996.

The election is only two weeks away, which means the political arguments are getting pretty heated-particularly on Facebook, where intelligent discussion is something one can only dream of. Unpolitic.me takes those annoying political posts and replaces them with Instagram pictures.

The election is only two weeks away, which means the political arguments are getting pretty heated-particularly on Facebook, where intelligent discussion is something one can only dream of. Unpolitic.me takes those annoying political posts and replaces them with Instagram pictures.
Unpolitic.me Replaces Political Facebook Posts with Links to Cat Pictures

Blaming China Masks our Real Economic Problems

Blaming China Masks our Real Economic Problems

For the most part, the response of economists to the candidates' exchange over trade was highly negative. Economists are strong advocates of open, unimpeded trade between nations, and with all that economists have done to promote the idea that specialization and trade is mutually beneficial - an argument with the public that has persisted for hundreds of years how could the candidates regress into this primitive mercantile thinking?

Worth a read.

My effective tax rate is higher than the 13% that Mr. Romney paid so I think I earned the right to consider him a moocher and a parasite and lecture him on personal responsibility.

The use of the MuslimRage hashtag has shown me that I have completely underestimated the comedy potential of the word falafel.

Ground Zero Mosque versus Sam Bacile

Anyone else notice that many of the same people who opposed the Ground Zero Mosque are the same people who are defending the Sam Bacile’s anti-Islam movie? And many of the same people who asked for deference to sensitivity are now demanding the right to offend?

How exactly do you defend the free-speech of Mr. Bacile but not the people who just wanted to build a peaceful prayer space? Likewise, how could you defend the right to peacefully build an Islamic cultural center against the wishes of a community that demanded sensitivity and yet demand sensitivity of others?

Both conventions are about Obama. Neither is about Romney.

Mr. Romney Reinvents History

Mr. Romney Reinvents History

The truth, rarely heard this week in Tampa, Fla., is that the Republicans charted a course of denial and obstruction from the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated, determined to deny him a second term by denying him any achievement, no matter the cost to the economy or American security - even if it meant holding the nation's credit rating hostage to a narrow partisan agenda.

Romney's Former Company Under Investigation For Tax Evasion

Romney's Former Company Under Investigation For Tax Evasion

Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is under investigation for questionable tax practices, according to the New York Times. Since July, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been issuing subpoenas to private equity firms including Bain, which he believes intentionally changed management fees into capital gains as a way of hanging onto millions of dollars that would have otherwise been taxed at a higher rate.

Anyone shocked that the party that isn’t able to function in congress without grandstanding and obstructionism is unable to have a smooth running convention?

Police: All Empire State shooting victims were wounded by officers

Police: All Empire State shooting victims were wounded by officers

The officers unloaded 16 rounds in the shadow of the Empire State Building at a disgruntled former apparel designer, killing him after he engaged in a gunbattle with police, authorities said. Three passersby sustained direct gunshot wounds, while the remaining six were hit by fragments, according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. All injuries were caused by police, he said Saturday.

Why does anyone think that if there were more people firing more rounds, there would have been fewer people hurt?

Is Paul Ryan stupid or crazy?

**The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. — Paul Ryan 2005 **

Is Paul Ryan stupid or crazy?

What kind of person reads Ayn Rand and gets inspired to go into public service or all things? Considering what she thought of public service, politics and politicians. Considering what she thought of the concept of The Public and Service in general.

I’m no fan of Rand. She was an objectively awful writer. Her philosophy is so comically bad to the point that it works better as a parody of philosophy. But I kind of understand someone reading Rand and being inspired to become an inventor or entrepreneur. She creates idealized images of an inventor/entrepreneur archetype and promotes this as man’s highest calling. Badly, but there is no accounting for taste.

Is there some public servant role model in her work that Ryan latched on to?

Anthony Bologna, NYPD Cop Who Pepper-Sprayed Occupy Protesters, Will Get No Help From City In Lawsuit

Anthony Bologna, NYPD Cop Who Pepper-Sprayed Occupy Protesters, Will Get No Help From City In Lawsuit

Anthony Bologna— the NYPD Deputy Inspector caught on video pepper-spraying two women Occupy Wall Street protesters in Union Square last fall— could have to dig into his own pockets to pay for the damages in the women’s civil lawsuit against him. New York City has opted not to defend Bologna in court

I predict that some right wing activists will start a defense fund for him.

Why hasn’t Romney denied paying taxes in Kenya? What is he hiding?

Romney as McCain's VP

The more I hear Romney talk, the further in to this campaign we go, the more sure I am that McCain is being accurate when he says that Sarah Palin was the better choice.

What does it say about Romney's campaign that to run against a sitting president, one with a three and a half year track record, they have to lie about what he said to find a point of attack?

What does it say about Romney's campaign that to run against a sitting president, one with a three and a half year track record, they have to lie about what he said to find a point of attack?

They Didn’t Build That - NYTimes.com

Once again, reality has a liberal bias.

Revealed - the capitalist network that runs the world - New Scientist

Revealed - the capitalist network that runs the world - New Scientist

The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations

Take this with a grain of salt. Being connected may not be the same as being in control. And I am not sure what assumptions they made and how true they may be. But the study is an interesting one and might give rise to more.

"The people who are the engine of the economy."

"The people who are the engine of the economy."

I’m not much of a car guy, but the way I understand this metaphor to work is that if you want to give rich people credit for being “the engine of the economy” then if the economy is performing subpar it follows that something’s wrong with your engine. And yet I suspect Zambrelli wouldn’t take kindly to that diagnosis.

If something good happens, praise me. If something bad happens, blame yourself. And if you disagree you’re a Marxist from Kenya.

At what point with the talking heads on FOX start calling Justice Roberts a liberal?

I love how the SCOTUS upholding an idea that came from the Heritage Foundation is now proof that we are heading toward socialism. Private, for profit insurance plus private, for profit hospitals plus private, for profit doctors equals socialism?

The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal

The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal

A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.

Worth a read. The ATF, while clearly not 100% in the clear here is not guilty of what the GOP is claiming.

Let's Admit It: The US Is at War in Yemen, Too

Let's Admit It: The US Is at War in Yemen, Too

After years of sending drones and commandos into Pakistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week finally admitted the obvious: The US is "fighting a war" there. But American robots and special forces aren't just targeting militants in Pakistan. They're doing the same - with increasing frequency and increasing lethality - in Yemen. The latest drone attack happened early Wednesday in the Yemeni town of Azzan, killing nine people. It's the 23rd strike in Yemen so far this year, according to the Long War Journal. In Pakistan, there have been only 22.

At least Libya was justified with public debate, a vote and Obama on TV explaining the end goal. Neither Yemen nor Pakistan have gotten a public acknowledgement until now.

House GOP Blocking Abortion Access for Raped Soldiers

House GOP Blocking Abortion Access for Raped Soldiers

if an Army medic serving in Afghanistan is raped and becomes pregnant, she can’t use her military health plan to pay for an abortion. If she does decide to get an abortion, she will have to pay for it with her own money. And if she can’t prove she was raped-which is difficult before an investigation is completed-she may have to look for services off base, which can be dangerous or impossible in many parts of the world.

Wow. This is just cruel.

Huckabee suggested that without Fox News acting as a counterweight to "mainstream media," most Americans "will assume that Obama really is just doing a great job and he just can't get those crazy Republicans to help him out.

Huckabee suggested that without Fox News acting as a counterweight to "mainstream media," most Americans "will assume that Obama really is just doing a great job and he just can't get those crazy Republicans to help him out.

Mike Huckabee Accidentally Tells The Truth About Fox News | Crooks and Liars

And we can’t let reality creep into the national debate.

The Real Source of Corruption in Congress: Members' Good-Faith Efforts To Help People

The Real Source of Corruption in Congress: Members' Good-Faith Efforts To Help People

But why does Rogers care so much about Phoenix Products that he wants to send all this business his way? What Phoenix Products has is something unique. It’s based in Kentucky, just like Harold Rogers. Its employees live in Harold Rogers’ district, they shop in stores that are in Harold Rogers’ district, their spouses and siblings live in Harold Rogers’ district, their incomes bolster the tax base for municipalities in Harold Rogers’ district. So if Harold Rogers wants to do the right thing for Harold Rogers’ constituents, he needs to do the right thing for Phoenix Products.

Hayek differentiated between an welfare state of Law versus one of administration. The former would function based on a set of rules in openness and transparency. The latter would be run by bureaucrats who distributed favors for their own political gain. The former would be compatible with a free democratic society, the later would subvert it.

I think we need to start looking at the defense industry as favor distributing patronage system that no longer serves its defined public purpose.

Paul Ryan Claims His Budget 'Preempts Austerity'

Paul Ryan Claims His Budget 'Preempts Austerity'

House Budget Commitee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) says that his plan to slash government spending on programs for the poor while increasing defense spending and giving tax cuts to the wealthy would actually “prevent austerity.”

We must pass austerity to prevent austerity? Not from the onion. Ryan is a smooth talking confidence man. Nothing more.

He raised taxes on the rich - against the wishes of every single Republican in Congress.

Romney and today's GOP often cite the balanced budgets and surpluses that marked the late years of the 1990s, generally crediting them to what was then a Republican-controlled Congress. They'll also give Clinton a measure of credit, if only as a backdoor means of slamming Obama, by citing welfare reform or some other compromise he struck with Republicans. But there's really only one thing that Bill Clinton did to erase the deficit: He raised taxes on the rich - against the wishes of every single Republican in Congress.
When Mitt ridiculed Clinton - War Room - salon.com

Our Corrupt New Old Regime Aristocracy

Our Corrupt New Old Regime Aristocracy

Shortly after Mitt Romney’s failed 2008 campaign for the Republican nomination his son Tagg set up a private equity fund with the campaign’s top fundraiser. One of the first donors was his mum, Anne. Next came several of his dad’s financial backers. Tagg had no experience in the world of finance, but after two years in the middle of a deep recession the company had netted $244m from just 64 investors. Tagg insists that neither his name nor the fact that his father had made it clear he would run for the presidency again had anything to do with his success.

He pulled himself up by his boot straps after using his dad’s money to hire a team of boot-strap-pullers and a staff of advisors to make sure his boot straps and the people helping him pull them would be tax deductible as business expenses.

Glenn Beck started as a no-account shock jock and is now a no-account Internet show host. Breitbart at least went from Drudge lackey to successful right-wing media mogul. Carlson, though, began his career in the most respectable fashion possible and has spent the ensuing decades gradually lowering himself into the gutter. His story illustrates why we can't have a responsible or at least slightly less hysterical conservative media.

Glenn Beck started as a no-account shock jock and is now a no-account Internet show host. Breitbart at least went from Drudge lackey to successful right-wing media mogul. Carlson, though, began his career in the most respectable fashion possible and has spent the ensuing decades gradually lowering himself into the gutter. His story illustrates why we can't have a responsible or at least slightly less hysterical conservative media.
Tucker Carlson’s downward spiral - Media Criticism - salon.com

This is worse than a shell game. It's a shell game without the pea.

Greg Sargent on Charles Krauthammer and Paul Ryan: "This is worse than a shell game. It's a shell game without the pea."

There is a real simple two question test I apply when I am trying to sort out the sincerity of a policy opinion.

  • If the facts were different, would the policy opinion be different?
  • If the facts were opposite, would the policy be opposite?

I first came up with this test during the debate over the Bush tax cuts. The debate quickly when from the economy is doing well, we can afford a tax cut to the economy is in crisis, we need a tax cut for stimulus.

So, if unemployment were low and school costs flat; would Ryan propose the same budget or a different budget?

U.S. Has No Idea Whether al-Qaida is Beat

U.S. Has No Idea Whether al-Qaida is Beat

The official continued, "I think it is a very useful exercise, for us and for you all, to think about how do you conceive of the defeat of an organization like al-Qaida? But I think, I've said in the past, determining whether or not we've achieved strategic defeat may be more a question for historians than for analysts."

So they are going to leave it to historians to decide when the country can get back to normal levels of security and military posture?

Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party. The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country's challenges.

Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party. The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country's challenges.
Let's just say it: The Republicans are the problem. - The Washington Post

Robert Reich: Why Anyone Should Care that Bill O'Reilly Calls Me A Communist

Robert Reich: Why Anyone Should Care that Bill O'Reilly Calls Me A Communist

robertreich:

Bill O'Reilly, the tumescent personality of Fox News, said on his Friday show "Robert Reich is a communist who secretly adores Karl Marx." (This came after Fox News' Neil Cavoto called me a "sanctimonious twit" for suggesting the rich should pay more in taxes.)

O'Reilly's accusation is odd, to…

Conservatives Lose Faith in Science over Last 40 Years

Conservatives Lose Faith in Science over Last 40 Years

Conservatives’ trust of science has gradually decreased over the past 40 years, beginning perhaps when empirical research was increasingly used to justify government regulations, according to a new academic analysis.

This is just sad. Trust in the process should be distinct from trust in the results. A process is worthy of trust if it yields positive results. Even if the results are ones that contradict your biases.

So how come the roads are so bad in the richest part of the country?

So how come the roads are so bad in the richest part of the country? Can't even the rich people get the government to do things for them in Haiti? Actually they can and do, that's not the problem here. Here is a hypothesis that was independently proposed by three different people last summer to Jim when he was in Port-au-Prince: rich people like having roads so terrible outside their houses that you need a four wheel drive to drive on them. This has a number of advantages. First, it makes it less obvious that rich people are living there to potential criminals. Second and more important, it makes it difficult to make a get away after a robbery unless you yourself have a four wheel drive!
Why are the roads so bad in Petionville? - Why Nations Fail - Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson

what the money of rich cranks does is ensure that bad ideas never go away - indeed, they can gain strength even as they fail in practice again and again. The notion that wonderful things happen if you cut taxes on the rich and terrible things happen if you raise them has a stronger hold than ever on the GOP, despite the experience of the Clinton tax hike and the Bush tax cut.

what the money of rich cranks does is ensure that bad ideas never go away - indeed, they can gain strength even as they fail in practice again and again. The notion that wonderful things happen if you cut taxes on the rich and terrible things happen if you raise them has a stronger hold than ever on the GOP, despite the experience of the Clinton tax hike and the Bush tax cut.

Crankocracy - NYTimes.com

Crankocracy. Its a thing now.

Dick Cheney got a heart transplant and no one makes a joke about W getting a brain and the Neocons finding courage?

When lieutenant governor Kerry Healey, a fellow Republican, called for suspending the state's 23.5 cent gas tax during a price spike in May 2006, Romney rejected the idea, saying it would only further drive up gasoline consumption. "I don't think that now is the time, and I'm not sure there will be the right time, for us to encourage the use of more gasoline," Romney said, according to the Quincy Patriot Ledger's report at the time. "I'm very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.

When lieutenant governor Kerry Healey, a fellow Republican, called for suspending the state's 23.5 cent gas tax during a price spike in May 2006, Romney rejected the idea, saying it would only further drive up gasoline consumption. "I don't think that now is the time, and I'm not sure there will be the right time, for us to encourage the use of more gasoline," Romney said, according to the Quincy Patriot Ledger's report at the time. "I'm very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.

Mitt Romney Talking Sense On Gas Prices In 2006

I wish that Mitt Romney was running for office. Sounds like a sensible fiscal conservative with a solid understanding of markets.

Cenk Uygur: A Challenge to Rush: Prove Your Ratings

Cenk Uygur: A Challenge to Rush: Prove Your Ratings

How many listeners does Rush Limbaugh have? Well, in the press there are only two numbers you’ll ever see — 20 million or 15 million. Those are large numbers, so that is why Limbaugh is taken seriously and is believed to be influential. I’ve got news for you — those numbers are a total fabrication. They’re made up out of whole cloth. You want to know where the 20 million number came from? It was first printed in Billboard magazine back in 1993.

Cenk doesn’t buy Rush’s claim and neither do I. There has never been an independent accounting of his listener count. He doesn’t subscribe to any of the radio ratings services. Back in Air America days, there was a discussion that Rush was only in the top-ten in one of the top 20 markets. He had been in the top 25 in NYC only once in the prior 36 months.

Pundits in good standing have been expected to make calls for bipartisanship that involve pretending that Republican politicians are actually the kind of statesmen the party used to contain, but no longer does.

Pundits in good standing have been expected to make calls for bipartisanship that involve pretending that Republican politicians are actually the kind of statesmen the party used to contain, but no longer does.
Looking Back With Shrillness - NYTimes.com

Federal transportation and infrastructure policy has traditionally been an area of strong bipartisan agreement," says Aaron Naparstek, a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and founder of Streetsblog.org. "Now, it seems, Republicans want to turn cities into a part of the culture wars. Now it's abortion, gay marriage and subways.

Federal transportation and infrastructure policy has traditionally been an area of strong bipartisan agreement," says Aaron Naparstek, a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and founder of Streetsblog.org. "Now, it seems, Republicans want to turn cities into a part of the culture wars. Now it's abortion, gay marriage and subways.

The Tea Party's war on mass transit - salon.com

Gingrich was the first to suggest that subways were elitist. I expect this to become a growing non-issue in the next few years with more and more time spent on suggesting that subways hurt the poor, cause urban decay, are wasteful, etc.

Not sure what’s worse, Santorum’s sincere insanity or Romney’s sane insincerity.

Rick Santorum Rejects Catholic Church Teaching on Evolution

Rick Santorum Rejects Catholic Church Teaching on Evolution

I’m a little weary of Rick Santorum prancing around as the “Catholic candidate” when he stands in direct opposition to the Church on a whole host of issues, including torture, the death penalty, pre-emptive war, the welfare state and global warming — just to name a few.

In a nutshell, he only agrees with the church when it comes to gays being icky and women being unable to control their sexuality without the paternal influence of men.

I’m putting the odds that Santorum will make a public comment about the immodesty of women’s clothing before the general election at 5/2.

Rick Santorum uses the word theology the way the rest of the GOP uses the word socialism. Constantly and incorrectly.

Less than 1 percent of registered voters turned out for Maine's caucus. In Nevada, where Republican turnout was down 25 percent from 2008, only 3 percent of total registered voters participated. This is not majority rule by any measure; it barely qualifies as participatory democracy.

Less than 1 percent of registered voters turned out for Maine's caucus. In Nevada, where Republican turnout was down 25 percent from 2008, only 3 percent of total registered voters participated. This is not majority rule by any measure; it barely qualifies as participatory democracy.
The Electoral Wasteland - NYTimes.com

Thanks to the uncertain science of redrawing political boundaries, Larimer County is home to what may be the smallest precinct in the state, if not the country. The precinct contains one house and two registered voters. It's the home of Butch Hartson and Ann Grant off County Road 48 east of Fort Collins.

Thanks to the uncertain science of redrawing political boundaries, Larimer County is home to what may be the smallest precinct in the state, if not the country. The precinct contains one house and two registered voters. It’s the home of Butch Hartson and Ann Grant off County Road 48 east of Fort Collins.
A precinct built for two in Larimer County | The Coloradoan | coloradoan.com

Most of Western Europe today is both more equal in incomes and more economically mobile than the United States. And it isn't just Western Europe. Countries as varied as Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Pakistan all have higher degrees of income mobility than we do. A nation that prides itself on its lack of class rigidity has, in short, become significantly more economically rigid than many other developed countries.

Most of Western Europe today is both more equal in incomes and more economically mobile than the United States. And it isn't just Western Europe. Countries as varied as Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Pakistan all have higher degrees of income mobility than we do. A nation that prides itself on its lack of class rigidity has, in short, become significantly more economically rigid than many other developed countries.
Timothy Noah: The Mobility Myth | The New Republic

When you hear some talk sympathetically about the rights of sovereign citizens; ask them if they are OK with undocumented sovereign citizens coming over the border from Mexico.

CPAC Set to Host White Nationalist Leader

CPAC Set to Host White Nationalist Leader

Following speeches from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Michele Bachmann, CPAC is hosting the panel "The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American Identity" with Peter Brimelow, the founder and head of VDARE.com. VDARE is a White Nationalist website, run by Brimelow, which frequently publishes the works of anti-Semitic and racist writers.

Another one of those isolated incidents. Overt racism is now allowed at CPAC. The wiliness to excuse this has now become part of the conservative movement.

we have become a society in which less-educated men have great difficulty finding jobs with decent wages and good benefits. Yet somehow we're supposed to be surprised that such men have become less likely to participate in the work force or get married, and conclude that there must have been some mysterious moral collapse caused by snooty liberals.

we have become a society in which less-educated men have great difficulty finding jobs with decent wages and good benefits. Yet somehow we're supposed to be surprised that such men have become less likely to participate in the work force or get married, and conclude that there must have been some mysterious moral collapse caused by snooty liberals.
Money and Morals - NYTimes.com

You are a white man aged 30 without a college degree. Your grandfather returned from World War II, got a cheap mortgage courtesy of the GI bill, married his sweetheart and went to work in a factory job that paid him something like $50,000 in today's money plus health benefits and pension. Your father started at that same factory in 1972. He was laid off in 1981, and has never had anything like as good a job ever since. He's working now at a big-box store, making $40,000 a year, and waiting for his Medicare to kick in. Now look at you. Yes, unemployment is high right now. But if you keep pounding the pavements, you'll eventually find a job that pays $28,000 a year. That's not poverty! Yet you seem to waste a lot of time playing video games, watching porn, and sleeping in. You aren't married, and you don't go to church. I blame Frances Fox Piven. How you can tell a story about the moral decay of the working class with the "work" part left out is hard to fathom.

You are a white man aged 30 without a college degree. Your grandfather returned from World War II, got a cheap mortgage courtesy of the GI bill, married his sweetheart and went to work in a factory job that paid him something like $50,000 in today’s money plus health benefits and pension. Your father started at that same factory in 1972. He was laid off in 1981, and has never had anything like as good a job ever since. He’s working now at a big-box store, making $40,000 a year, and waiting for his Medicare to kick in.
Now look at you. Yes, unemployment is high right now. But if you keep pounding the pavements, you’ll eventually find a job that pays $28,000 a year. That’s not poverty! Yet you seem to waste a lot of time playing video games, watching porn, and sleeping in. You aren’t married, and you don’t go to church. I blame Frances Fox Piven.
How you can tell a story about the moral decay of the working class with the “work” part left out is hard to fathom.

Is the White Working Class Coming Apart?-David Frum - The Daily Beast

David Frum makes his case that the decline of the white working class is due to changes in nature of work.

maybe Gingrich deserves some credit for his persistence. He pressed ahead last summer when the entire political world was writing him off and ridiculing him - and by December, he was leading by double-digits in national polls. Then, party elites panicked and cut him down to size and Gingrich was again written off - only to return from the dead and win the South Carolina primary by 13 points. However this campaign ends, Gingrich will have enjoyed far more success than he ever would have if he'd folded his tent when everyone was telling him he was going nowhere.

maybe Gingrich deserves some credit for his persistence. He pressed ahead last summer when the entire political world was writing him off and ridiculing him - and by December, he was leading by double-digits in national polls. Then, party elites panicked and cut him down to size and Gingrich was again written off - only to return from the dead and win the South Carolina primary by 13 points. However this campaign ends, Gingrich will have enjoyed far more success than he ever would have if he'd folded his tent when everyone was telling him he was going nowhere.
Why futility might not matter to Newt - salon.com

We've got to stop the debates," McCain told Meet The Press' David Gregory. "Enough with the debates, because they are driving up our candidates', all of them, unfavorability. We have enough of that. They've turned into mud wrestling instead of an exposition of all our candidates views. And it's time to recognize who the real adversary is, and it's not each other.

We've got to stop the debates," McCain told Meet The Press' David Gregory. "Enough with the debates, because they are driving up our candidates', all of them, unfavorability. We have enough of that. They've turned into mud wrestling instead of an exposition of all our candidates views. And it's time to recognize who the real adversary is, and it's not each other.

Brad DeLong: John McCain Says: We Republicans Don’t Dare Let Americans See Our Candidates in Unscripted Settings Anymore

What does it say about the Republican party that having the candidates to speak is enough to damage then in the face of the electorate?

If Newt is going to talk about a moon base, he should have the self respect to propose it while sitting in a wheelchair and stroking a fluffy white cat.

How Right-Wing Libertarians, John Birchers and Conspiracy Freaks Are Trying to Hijack the Occupy Movement

How Right-Wing Libertarians, John Birchers and Conspiracy Freaks Are Trying to Hijack the Occupy Movement

I Googled "Occupy Federal Reserve," and the first result was a link to Infowars, a Web site run by Alex Jones, a Texas-based wingnut radio host. Jones, a longtime Ron Paul supporter, believes that the government staged both the World Trade Center attacks and the Oklahoma City bombings; that the Gates Foundation is a eugenics operation; and that the government has been taken over by agents of the New World Order who are planning to release a cancer-causing monkey virus.

fact-checking should be about checking facts - not about trying to impose some sort of Marquess of Queensbury rules on how you're allowed to use facts. Aside from undermining the mission, this makes the whole thing subjective - notice that Politifact wasn't even analyzing what Obama said, they were analyzing their impression about what he might have been trying to imply.

fact-checking should be about checking facts - not about trying to impose some sort of Marquess of Queensbury rules on how you're allowed to use facts. Aside from undermining the mission, this makes the whole thing subjective - notice that Politifact wasn't even analyzing what Obama said, they were analyzing their impression about what he might have been trying to imply.
Finding the Truth - NYTimes.com

I like it when people criticize Occupy Wall Street by claiming they are anarchist who want more government. And I love the reaction of those critics when you point out the obvious flaw in their criticism.

There is no way to adjust the color of my TV so Speaker Boehner’s color looks natural and the flag is remains Red, White and Blue.

In the four years since Obama took office, the stock market has gone up 54%, corporate profits are at all-time highs and taxes are at historic lows. America simply can't take much more of Obama's socialism.

In the four years since Obama took office, the stock market has gone up 54%, corporate profits are at all-time highs and taxes are at historic lows. America simply can’t take much more of Obama’s socialism.
Stupid Right-Wing Tweets | Crooks and Liars

Gingrich's Ex-Wife I Refused To Have An Open Marriage

Gingrich's Ex-Wife: I Refused To Have An 'Open Marriage'

Newt Gingrich asked his ex-wife to agree to an "open marriage" so he could carry on an affair, Marianne Gingrich told ABC News in an exclusive interview set to air Thursday evening.

So…he thinks same sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage but swinging is ok? Did his ceremony declare them to be man and wife and a ‘lil something on the side?

One difficulty in fighting against son-of-SOPA legislative efforts is going to be that anti-SOPA campaigning has focused very heavily on the most extreme elements of the bill and not quite aimed at the core of the underlying dubious economic and public policy arguments driving the legislation

One difficulty in fighting against son-of-SOPA legislative efforts is going to be that anti-SOPA campaigning has focused very heavily on the most extreme elements of the bill and not quite aimed at the core of the underlying dubious economic and public policy arguments driving the legislation
What’s Still In Play In SOPA

The Tea Party. Silent on NDAA, Silent on SOPA.

Check out the web sites for the major Tea Party umbrella groups. They had nothing to say about the NDAA and now they have nothing to say about SOPA. They are really upset about the Obama recess appointment for a head of the CFPA. That’s the big outrage story in Tea Party land. Amazing how flexible their strict constitutionalism can be in the face of corporate sponsored tyranny.

Chris Hedges Why I'm Suing Barack Obama

Chris Hedges: Why I'm Suing Barack Obama

Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint Friday in the Southern U.S. District Court in New York City on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31.

I’d like to see more challenges to the NDAA related detention provisions. Why the ACLU is dropping the ball on this is a mystery to me.

as just two recent examples, both Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have championed massive cuts to public education while sending their kids to private school.

as just two recent examples, both Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have championed massive cuts to public education while sending their kids to private school.
America's dangerously removed elite - salon.com

is there anything at all in Romney's stump speech that's true? It's all based on attacking Obama for apologizing for America, which he didn't, on making deep cuts in defense, which he also didn't, and on being a radical redistributionist who wants equality of outcomes, which he isn't. When the issue turns to jobs, Romney makes false assertions both about Obama's record and about his own. I can't find a single true assertion anywhere.

is there anything at all in Romney's stump speech that's true? It's all based on attacking Obama for apologizing for America, which he didn't, on making deep cuts in defense, which he also didn't, and on being a radical redistributionist who wants equality of outcomes, which he isn't. When the issue turns to jobs, Romney makes false assertions both about Obama's record and about his own. I can't find a single true assertion anywhere.
Untruths, Wholly Untrue, And Nothing But Untruths - NYTimes.com

The story of Romney and the auto bailout

what the story of Romney and the auto bailout actually shows is something we already knew from health care: he's a smart guy who is also a moral coward. His original proposal for the auto industry, like his health reform, bore considerable resemblance to what Obama actually did. But when the deed took place, Romney - rather than having the courage to say that the president was actually doing something reasonable - joined the rest of his party in whining and denouncing the plan.</