"The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." Orwell
"“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato
"The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant" Robespierre
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Well, When You Put It That Way...
Some clarity has been brought to the mystery of the R desire to take the country back several decades. Turns out, they're time travelers.
Mitt Romney might have been stretching the truth — and the space-time continuum — earlier this week while telling a Michigan crowd about his fond memories of attending the Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary celebration of the American automobile.
The problem: the June 1, 1946, event took place a full nine months before Romney was born.
Well, I'm a generous guy: I'm sure it's not the first time a person recalled a story told to him as something he'd actually experienced. Hell, Ronald Reagan did it, too.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
And, oh yeah: the guy whose entire campaign (and the title of his book of baloney) is based on the lie that President Obama goes around the world apologizing for America, just had this to say, too:
It's very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments. We've seen throughout the campaign if you're willing to say really outrageous things that are accusative, attacking of President Obama, that you're going to jump up in the polls. I'm not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support.Yep, the inevitable standard-bearer for the former Republican party just makes stuff up as he goes along, and can't remember it from one minute to the next. The sad fact is that, given how far they have gone off the rails of reason, he really is the best Republicans can produce. How far they have fallen.
Of course, he's not alone: Rick Santorum, in his finely-honed religious outrage against the idea of providing contraceptives, is happy to be quite selective when it comes to what he considers teachings of his church. Like most people, he ignores the ones that don't fit. Find me a biblical literalist in this country who's stoned his kid to death lately, for example. And them fundagelicals smoke them some mighty fine pork ribs, too.
1. So for instance, Pope John Paul II was against anyone going to war against Iraq I think you’ll find that Rick Santorum managed to ignore that Catholic teaching.
2.The Conference of Catholic Bishops requires that health care be provided to all Americans. I.e., Rick Santorum’s opposition to universal health care is a betrayal of the Catholic faith he is always trumpeting.
3. The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty for criminals in almost all situations. (Santorum largely supports executions.) ...
Oh, and he bucks the Pope on evolution, too.
Monday, February 27, 2012
From Fox "news'" token liberal:
[I]n looking back on the news coverage and the angry rhetoric used by the GOP during the congressional debate of the stimulus, it is striking how little discussion there was of what the stimulus actually entailed.
First, the bulk of it was composed of tax cuts. In fact, the stimulus was one of the largest single tax cuts in U.S. history. To say the stimulus failed is to make the argument that tax cuts do not stimulate the economy.
Ninety-five percent of all Americans got a tax cut under the plan. Small businesses and working families received a tax cut. First-time homebuyers received a tax credit. Parents caring for their young children received a tax credit. Some 8 million people received tax credits and financial assistance to help pay for their college education.
The next time a Republican brags about his or her opposition to the failed stimulus, a cynic might respond by asking why they hate tax cuts so much.
Gas On Gas
So Newt was in my home town the other day, promising the credulous that he'd bring gas prices down to two and a half bucks. He's impossibly egotistical, and has such an overblown view of himself that I suppose it's not entirely inconceivable that he actually believes it. But I doubt it. Far from as brilliant as he likes to be seen, he's not entirely stupid, either. So, as usual, like every other R candidate, he assumes that lying loud and long will neither be noticed nor criticized by his intended audience. I didn't attend, so I can't say how it floated amongst my fellow citizens; but even in the liberal Pacific Northwest teabaggers are teabaggers. We get letters to the editor that would curl your hair.
I think it's safe to say that, absent a world-wide depression (which could certainly happen if R fiscal policies are once again allowed to play out), we'll never see gas prices at too-fitty again. Nor is it easy to see what Newt could do that Obama hasn't done (other than the tar-sands pipeline) to affect prices, given, as we've seen, that American drilling rigs have quadrupled since Obama took office and that we're now a net exporter. Lying or clueless, or both at the same time, Newt Gingrich is a disgrace. And this oil thing is his least offensive line of attack.
It's pretty amusing to watch Rs stumble around looking for ways to beat Obama, given that the economy is improving, he's buried more terrorists than Bush in his wettest of dreams, he's continued -- efforts to picture him otherwise notwithstanding -- to be pretty moderate on most issues, pissing off liberals nearly as often as conservatives. And the characterization of Obama as waging war on religion is beyond laughable; or would be, were it not for the fact, of course, that it plays perfectly into religionist paranoid self-pity, which will never correlate with reality. So now, everywhere you look, it's gas prices. Gas prices. And the "liberal media," rather than making an effort to educate the public on how it all works, publish stories with headlines like "Rising gas prices spell trouble for Obama."
Most likely, they do. But not because the price of oil has anything to do with Obama's energy policies: if it did, the price would be down, right? If the amount of drilling on U.S. soil related in some inverse way to the price of oil, it should be heading toward a quarter of what it was when Obama took office. Right? But, as I've tried to explain to my favorite critic, the price of oil is world-market based, and is fueled by speculation.
And speaking of speculation, anyone think R sabre-rattling about attacking Iran has more effect on world prices than the number of oil rigs in the Gulf?
I do. [Added: so does Reaganite David Stockman]
Ironic, isn't it?
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Three Sunday Videos
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Tipping His Hand
Friday, February 24, 2012
Here's a report on the impact of Republican candidates' announced fiscal policies, produced by the "Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget," which, based on the people who comprise it (as seen in the linked pdf), is a pretty non-partisan and qualified bunch. It's thorough and complex enough that I don't follow it all (i.e., my eyes sort of glazed over). Someone else has summarized its finding in the above bar graph. Interestingly, only Ron Paul actually reduces deficit long-term, matching Obama. Paul, however, does it by eliminating so much of the essential functions of government that we'd either not make it to the point where the deficit reduction kicks in, or states would have to raise taxes by the equivalent amount, or die.
These plans don't accidentally raise the deficit. They just don't care about the deficit. Deficit reduction isn't hard to do, arithmetically. You raise taxes over time. You control discretionary spending. You clear the way for health care cost innovation while introducing policies that will limit health care in the future. It's not rocket science, it's math. The hard stuff is getting Congress to agree to your math. But how is that supposed to happen if pols refuse to do even the basic addition and subtraction when it's just them and a blank sheet of paper? What does it say about a party that believes "deficit reduction" is a worthy phrase, but not a worthy goal? And what does it say about our political system, and the GOP candidates in particular, that we're normalized to the idea that politicians offer debt-reduction plans that can't even live up to their name?
How many times have I said the Rs are campaigning against a version of Barack Obama that doesn't exist? How much better does Jon Stewart say it above?
Meanwhile, for those who buy the outrageous (even for them) bullshit that Obama is "waging war" on religion, may I suggest they read this article:
That's not the sentiment at the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance (IRFA), which includes such perennial Obama critics as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention. It has taken the uncharacteristic step of siding with the administration.
"We commend your steadfast preservation of federal policies that protect the freedom of religious organizations to consider religion in making employment decisions," it informed Obama last year. "Mr. President, your appreciation for the good that religious organizations contribute on a daily basis to our society is evident."
The administration has also intervened in cases where prisoners are denied religious literature. ...
In doing all this, the administration isn't simply doing the politically appealing thing. Anything but. Those who endorse letting faith-based groups have a free hand in hiring are mostly religious conservatives who wouldn't vote for Obama if he resurrected the dead.
The congregations victimized by zoning regulations are too small to matter. Prison inmates generally can't vote. There is no detectable political gain in anything Obama is doing here.
University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock criticized the contraceptive mandate and opposed the administration in a Supreme Court case involving a teacher fired by a religious school. But on the faith-based hiring issue, he says, Obama has actually been "kind of heroic."
Every once in a while I take a look a right-wing blog or two. It's a pretty depressing and horrifying venture, from which it takes days to recover. I may be a partisan, but everything I say here can be backed up; and is. There, it's paranoia, conspiracy theories, racism, and fact-free aggrievement, lubricated with perseveration. I can say with absolute certainty that this sort of reality-based information makes not the least bit of difference to people like that, and it never ever will.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I Hate It When That Happens
It hadn't kept me awake at night the way the prospect of a Romney or Santorum or Gingrich presidency does, but I have to admit I was, on some level, disturbed to think that Einstein was wrong. If this, then everything. Neutrinos faster than light? It bothered me. But wait:
According to sources familiar with the experiment, the 60 nanoseconds discrepancy appears to come from a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver used to correct the timing of the neutrinos' flight and an electronic card in a computer. After tightening the connection and then measuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the fiber, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed.
Can't count the times I've had to wiggle a cord to get something to work. Shoulda thought of it sooner.
Why It's About Birth Control
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Oily In The Mourning
Why bother with reality, when you figure a lie will get you further politically? Not that there's evidence that the base to whom the lies are directed will ever ever ever demand truth.
The United States' rapidly declining crude oil supply has made a stunning about-face, shredding federal oil projections and putting energy independence in sight of some analyst forecasts.
After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nation's oil fields, suggesting a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon.
The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quadrupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world.
Let's see... "more than quadrupled in the last three years..." "began rising again 2009..." What happened back then? Lemme think...
Taking newspeak to another level still, Rick Santorum claims it's liberals who are anti-science. Got that? The guy who disbelieves evolution, climate change, and the age of the earth, the guy who wants to end public education so parents can teach their kids to think like Rick does, decides to go full Orwell on us all. Seriously. There used to be a time when people who read "1984" saw it as political satire, as an overly dark view of the future. Now there's an entire field of presidential hopefuls for whom the book is on the same shelf as their Bibles. Maybe a higher one. To them, it's a textbook; and for their followers, most of whom won't have read it, whether they recognize it or not it's a roadmap.
Not long ago a reader asked me to suggest which R candidate I'd recommend she vote for, since there's no way in hell she'd vote for a thoughtful middle-of-the-road, oil-drilling, education-supporting, war-ending person like Barack Hussein Obama. I actually took the time to leave her a very lengthy reply, to which she's not responded. Too much food for thought, I guess.
But what does it matter? It's like asking for a recommendation about the temperature at which you'd choose to burn to death: 1000 degrees, 1,500 degrees, or 2000. Pick an extremity, and choose which man and where you want him to put it: the chameleon with his finger in the wind, the religious nut with his thumb in his ass, or the self-important deluded egomaniac with his head up his ass. Every one of these guys is a blatant and unrepentant liar, a deliberate deceiver, who assumes the people to whom they address their bullshit either won't notice or won't care.
Based on any evidence at all, who can say they're wrong?
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Golly. Ya Think?
Speaking, as I was, only a few inches downscreen, of apocalyptic right-wing rhetoric, Newt Gingrich takes a back seat to no one in that regard. Cynically milking the contra-versy for all it's worth, pretending that Obama's policy isn't the very same as what Republican governors (including, it goeth with the saying thereof, Romney, who, naturally, lied about it) have had in place for years, he leapfrogs the phony Phoxian war on Xmas and takes it straight to the heavens. Not only is Obama fighting a war on religion, Newt avers, he actually thinks the President of The United States takes precedence, in the US of A!!! if you can believe it!!!, over the Pope. The horror!
Well, I guess it doesn't exactly just happen, as a national enterprise anyway. Efforts to make our country dumber, as political strategy, began at least as early as Karl Rove's henching of George Bush. And, undeniably, it continues today as the centerpiece of the right-wing master plan (abandoning subtlety, Rick Santorum wants everyone home-schooled, like he was. Look how well that worked out). Now, funded by the Koch brothers and others, a curriculum will be developed to teach kids to be climate change deniers. Given the financial implications for those funding the current Republican party, it's not hard to figure why.
Internal documents acquired by ThinkProgress Green reveal that the Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank funded by the Koch brothers, Microsoft, and other top corporations, is planning to develop a “global warming curriculum” for elementary schoolchildren that presents climate science as “a major scientific controversy.” This effort, at a cost of $100,000 a year, will be developed by Dr. David E. Wojick, a coal-industry consultant.
Well, sure it's a controversy. Like the age of the earth and evolution. Like Obama's birthplace, like the shape of the earth.
Monday, February 20, 2012
This is what it's come to. This is what Rick Santorum says to his adoring base:
"They don't believe you can make these decisions because if you were allowed to make these decisions you would obviously jump off a cliff. Don't you see how they see you? How they look down their noses at average Americans? These elite snobs!"
"I believe that if we are unsuccessful in this election ... it will have horrendous consequences. ... It will be the end of the great experiment in the order of liberty and freedom."
"This is right out of the FDR playbook. Continue to grow government get more and more people on government programs. More and more dependency. ... This is what it's all designed to do -- gradually erode your freedom and increase your dependency on government. This is a chance for Americans to stand up and say... we... will... be... free."
"When it was all the rage ... I stood and said, 'This isn't climate science. This is political science.' And guess who turned out to be right. ... The president still believes this garbage. Why? Because this is how The Left wants to control.... Why? You can't be trusted with freedom."
"Not a word we hear much in America any more — 'honor.' Have people trying to tell us that's one of those old, antiquated terms that really doesn't apply to America any more."
"There are people around this country, mostly in universities, Hollywood, corporate boardrooms, sadly, who believe that that time has passed. That things are just too complex, and we need those who are 'smarter,' who are the elite in society, to be able to manage our affairs."I've said this before: when you campaign on rhetoric like this, stoking apocalyptic fear and hate, counting on them to get votes no matter what, characterizing those with whom you disagree as evil incarnate, caring neither about what's true nor about the consequences of winning on such a message, the wreckage left behind -- the absence of any chance of or desire for reconciliation, the perpetual sense of grievance and self-pity -- there'll be nothing left of governance. You'll be seeing to it that your fevered vision comes true; not because the shadows you imagine to be real are, in fact, real, but because of the cracks in the foundation you've deliberately made.
If this guy (who, it turns out, doesn't even respect Protestants, ferchrissakes) gets the Republican nomination (not that Romney's lies are any better), whether or not he were to win the general election, it'll bespeak a level of insanity on the right from which we may never recover, from which they'll never retreat. Especially when, according to such as Santorum, the president is literally unholy. This is not the discourse of reconciliation, ever. Here we are, what all of them consider the most exceptionally exceptional country in the universe, seeking refuge in hatred of half of ourselves, and calling that holy.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Olympian Job Creator
As our local county executive, a Democrat, is revealed to have been having an affair, probably, in part, on the public's dime, I had a thought. Came up with a witticism, a phrase. I sort of like it, so here it is, apropos past occurrences and current events:
One of those things that sounds good as long as you don't give it much thought.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The way it's supposed to work is that I'm sent an email whenever someone leaves a comment hereon, giving me the choice to publish, delete, or mark it as spam. For some damn reason, it happens occasionally that I don't receive the notification, and the comment will languish on an "awaiting moderation page," looking at which I've not made into any sort of habit. When I do remember to check, as just happened, sometimes I find a few, which I then publish, belatedly.
Bruce Bartlett on Where the Right Went Wrong from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Truth Comes Out
It's finally become clear why Rs are okay with the idea of Mitt "You-Name-It-I'll-Say-It" Romney as president (and, by inference, why they began to worry about Newt): They're expecting to take control of both houses of Congress come December, and all they want from Romney is what exactly what they think he is: a president who'll sit meekly and do what Congress tells him:
They have reconciled themselves to a Romney candidacy because they see Romney as essentially a weak and passive president who will concede leadership to congressional conservatives:
All we have to do is replace Obama. ... We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
The requirement for president?
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.
(The quotes within the quote are from Grover Norquist, recently delivered to an adoring crowd at CPAC.)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I used to pay more attention to Tom Friedman than I have been lately. Nevertheless, there are only a few people who are wrong all the time (most of them currently inhabiting the right side of our congressional aisles), and his latest column is righter-oner than usual. The fact that it says exactly what I've been saying here forever has no bearing on my opinion.
...The [Republican] party has let itself become the captive of conflicting ideological bases...
Sorry, but you can’t address the great challenges America faces today with that incoherent mix of hardened positions. I’ve argued that maybe we need a third party to break open our political system. But that’s a long shot. What we definitely and urgently need is a second party — a coherent Republican opposition that is offering constructive conservative proposals on the key issues and is ready for strategic compromises to advance its interests and those of the country.
Without that, the best of the Democrats — who have been willing to compromise — have no partners and the worst have a free pass for their own magical thinking. Since such a transformed Republican Party is highly unlikely, maybe the best thing would be for it to get crushed in this election and forced into a fundamental rethink — something the Democrats had to go through when they lost three in a row between 1980 and 1988. ...
Because when I look at America’s three greatest challenges today, I don’t see the Republican candidates offering realistic answers to any of them...
... We need to hear conservative fiscal policies, energy policies, immigration policies and public-private partnership concepts — not radical ones. Would somebody please restore our second party? The country is starved for a grown-up debate.
Where we part company a little is on the effects of Republican defeat, because I don't think even a massive one would change a damn thing. (Also, given the filibustering and obstructionism, no Democrat has a "free pass.") They've taken us too far down the road of divisiveness (while, typically enough, lying that it's Obama who's divisive). Sarah Palin, all the RWS™, every one of the R candidates cynically campaign against a non-existent version of President Obama, a version that, were he real, would actually be hate-worthy: actively trying to destroy America, anti-capitalist, bearing resentment of white people, stealthily imposing Sharia law while leading Christians toward the guillotine. (Yes, Santorum really said that.)
Monday, February 13, 2012
I've said many times that Republicans have the messaging advantage because every one of their policies can be made entirely to fit on bumper stickers, whereas Democrats' require a little exposition, and assume a certain willingness to collect data and think about them.
- If we had single-payer health care for all, this bullshit about who gets contraception and who doesn't would be irrelevant. So would the individual mandate hypocrisy.
- It's not hard to see why a misogynist wouldn't want girls to have guns when they're having their period.
- Mitch McConnell "thinks" Obama should stop criticizing Fox "news." And, after weeping that the president is supposed to lead all Americans, he rails that
The proper term for that, I believe, is "projection."You all know the liberal playbook. Here's how it works: Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it and then polarize it. But rarely have we seen those kind of tactics employed with the kind of zeal that we see today.
- Who'd be surprised that Rick "Please-Don't-Google-Me" Santorum, in addition to thinking homosexuality is like bestiality and that Obama is an appeaser, also believes global warming is a "hoax." Not just that it isn't happening, but that the whole idea of it is some sort of coordinated deception (reasons not specified) by virtually all scientists across the planet and, of course, liberals. Well, since understanding requires reading numbers and charts and stuff, maybe we should cut him some slack.... Nah, let's not.
- Speaking of liberals, the best-known one on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, will likely have to deal with his thoughts on peyote smokers, if the contraceptive issue ever gets there:
The Supreme Court said Oregon may deny unemployment benefits to people who were fired for smoking peyote as part of a religious tradition, seeing as the drug was illegal in the state. “To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself,” wrote Scalia.
- There are lots of reasons to want to reelect Barack Obama, but near the top is to see what this guy will say when he's proved wrong. Since he'll never admit it, it should be pretty amusing. On the other hand, who do you suppose would confront him about it? Gun owners?
- If your party is committed to treating women as second class citizens, calling contraception a sin and rape a gift from god, you may as go all the way and fight renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, right? Shows you how far over the cliff the current Republican party has gone: the previous re-authorization, signed by George Bush, passed unanimously in the Senate and had more than 400 votes in the House.
Can anyone explain how these people are given credibility by anyone at all, let alone women?
Sunday, February 12, 2012
We All Need Warm Fuzzies
Friday, February 10, 2012
Fool Me Once, Twice, Whatever You Want
Obama Destroying Capitalism
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Kisses On The Bottom
To the editor:
Other letter writers are raising a really good question: is voting against same-sex marriage an act of conscience or something else? When a person votes to deny a minority of people a right granted to the majority, what should it be called? If the motivation comes from one's religious beliefs, does that make it okay, is it rising above, or sinking below?
I realize there's nothing I or anyone else can say to change minds about this. But since it's likely we'll eventually be voting on whether to institutionalize prejudice or not, it needs saying anyway: if your religious beliefs are telling you to discriminate against people simply because of who they are, then what's an act of conscience is being able to recognize their humanity and, placing it above those beliefs, voting for justice anyway. Especially when, as in the case of same-sex marriage, allowing those human rights will have absolutely no impact on your ability to continue to live by your personal beliefs. My forty-year marriage will be fine, thanks.
For a society to deny millions of people a right afforded to the rest, there must be a very compelling governing principle. When the only reasons are based on your religion (and when many others of that same religion disagree with you!) clearly that's not good enough. Conscience is stepping up for the rights of others, even when it makes you uncomfortable. Not doing so, and calling it conscience, is no more than rationalization of prejudice.
Words from Imam Feisal Rauf, just now, in Bahrain : "Bahrain is already a bridge but we need to put more traffic on it," he told a...
The estimable CPP wrote about the Koch brothers . He's depressed. With reason aforethought. ... This is two guys -- TWO FREAKING...
"Now, some may ask how, at this moment of economic challenge, we can afford to invest in reforming our health care system. Well, I ask ...
Well, I'll give the teabaggers this much: they are indeed bringing transparency to government. In the sense that they've instituted ...
So it seems the insanity known as modern "conservatism" in these parts has infected people north of the border: Back i...