Saturday, October 29, 2011

Deja Vu

Reading some of my old posts today.  Here's one that caught my eye.  The quote from Thomas Frank bears re-highlighting in view of this election:

If Barack Obama or anyone else really cares to know what I think, I will simplify it all down to this. The landmark political fact of our time is the replacement of our middle-class republic by a plutocracy. If some candidate has a scheme to reverse this trend, they've got my vote, whether they prefer Courvoisier or beer bongs spiked with cough syrup. I don't care whether they enjoy my books, or would rather have every scrap of paper bearing my writing loaded into a C-47 and dumped into Lake Michigan. If it will help restore the land of relative equality I was born in, I'll fly the plane myself.
Wow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today's Jon Stewart Moment

Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan, two Romney quotes within five months of each other:
"I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing," -- June 3, 2011

"My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." -- October 27, 2011
Cue Stewart's deadpan look into the camera, followed by an excited: "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't be seen believing in climate change!"

Tea Party Group to Bachmann: "Time to Go"

American Majority, a Tea Party group, on Wednesday urged the Minnesota Congresswoman to give up her bid for president.  Basically, the group's president doesn't want Bachmann, who is the leader of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, to damage the brand of the movement.  He also said that her campaign is more about staying relevant and selling books than about reforming government; "a harsh commentary, but true."

Bachmann's campaign is, of course, dismissing the call, saying that Bachmann "enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines."  Really?  I want to hear from one Democrat, just one, who has legitimate reasons why Bachmann should be the next US president.  I want to hear from just one Libertarian who really thinks Bachmann's candidacy really speaks about freedom for all Americans.  No, I'd venture to guess that her entire support comes from the Tea Party (well, less one group, for sure).

Perry is Nearly Done

Rich Lowry at National Review is tired of Perry's "mindless idiocy" who has done "irreparable" damage to his candidacy with his flirtation with birtherism.

The Fundamental Unseriousness of the GOP

John Podhoretz excoriates the 2012 GOP presidential candidates.  Money quote (hat tip Andrew):
Memo to the Republican field: You’re running for president. Of the United States. Of America. Start acting like it.  Stop proposing nonsense tax plans that won’t work. Stop making ridiculous attention-getting ads that might be minimally acceptable if you were running for county supervisor in Oklahoma. Stop saying you’re going to build a US-Mexico border fence you know perfectly well you’re not going to build.  Give the GOP electorate and the American people some credit. This country is in terrible shape. They know it. You know it. They want solutions. You’re providing comedy.
Comedy that will turn tragic unless the American voters wake up and realize that the only righteous, reality-based, serious choice they have for president is Barack Obama.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"What Do You Mean By Christian?"

Some Sullivan readers take on the issue of the Mormon faith.  Some very interesting insights.  Particularly this one from a Mormon:
Every time I have been asked if I am Christian or am told that I am not Christian, my first question back to the person is what they mean by "Christian"?

 
The problem I have is the preoccupation with purity.  I was born a Jew, attended a Yeshivah and belong to an Orthodox shul through second grade, moved to a Reform temple in the third grade where I became a Bar Mitzvah and stayed through ninth grade, then moved to a Conservative synagogue in high school where I received my Jewish Confirmation, then left the faith altogether after my divorce, only to return again to a Reform temple after remarrying.  We are raising our sons in that faith.  We attend services occasionally, and the boys attend religious school and even Jewish summer camp through the temple.  We occasionally have Shabbat dinners at our house, and observe many of the religious holidays.  Yet, I eat shellfish and pork, mix milk and meat on the same plate, don't wear a yarmulke unless I'm in the temple, and drive, work, use money and don't rest on the Sabbath.  I support and defend Israel's right to exist, but don't view the government as infallibly carrying the Zionist banner, and resent deeply the political co-opting of Zionism and ass-kissing of Israel by Evangelical Christianity to further their own selfish need to prepare the world for their precious "end times." 

By no measure am I a pure Jew.  But if anyone asked if I considered myself a Jew even though I don't keep kosher or completely honor Shabbat, I'd have one answer: I. Am. A. Jew.  No matter what prism through which you view me, that's what I am.  So why should it be any different for Christians?  Perhaps it's because each sect of the faith carries with it a particular dogma that, if not adhered to "religiously," would otherwise render the faith nonexistent.  But this obsession with purity and fundamentalism has accomplished nothing but to sow international discord.  So fuck that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

D'oh! Those Republicans

Cesca spotlights the doofus Republican moment of the week (so far; it's only Monday).

This would be par for the course, however. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just Setting the Record Straight...

I hadn't read a thing from Glenn Greenwald in quite a long time.  I found his constant likening of Obama to Bush not only insulting, but tiresome.  But today, I decided to give him another look.

Not much different.   Today, Glenn takes on Obama's announcement today that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by year's end, in keeping with the agreement GW Bush entered into in 2008 with the Iraqi government.  Because we know that spinmeisters on both sides will try to take advantage of this announcement to further their respective agendas, Glenn wants to set the record straight.  The piece is a good read, and he has plenty to fault Obama over, but he at least gives him props for adhering to an idea that he influenced during his 2008 campaign.

One thing, however, did stick with me:
The Obama administration — as it’s telling you itself — was willing to keep troops in Iraq after the 2011 deadline (indeed, they weren’t just willing, but eager). The only reason they aren’t  is because the Iraqi Government refused to agree that U.S. soldiers would be immunized if they commit serious crimes, such as gunning down Iraqis without cause . As we know, the U.S. is not and must never be subject to the rule of law when operating on foreign soil (and its government and owners must never be subject to the rule of law in any context).
Good point, especially about the government demanding immunity for its own actions.  To this date, not one Bush administration official who had a material role in prosecuting not only the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but the systemic torture program that provided no actionable intelligence whatsoever, has been identified as a war criminal, indicted, or prosecuted.  And none ever will.  This little point needs constant repeating just to keep it real.

Toast

Michele Bachmann's paid campaign staff in New Hampshire quits en masse, as reported by WMUR.  Money quote:
"If we go much longer without seeing her, she's going to turn up on milk cartons," Pat Griffin, a senior fellow at Saint Anselm College's New Hampshire Institute for Politics, said at the time, citing Bachmann's three month absence from the state.
Shelly, meanwhile, is as rosy as ever:
"I've got the complete skill set to do this job," she said last month during a stop in Iowa. The GOP hopeful has also predicted she'll emerge "the comeback kid" in the primary contest.

Tee-hee.







Oblivious Quote of the Day

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC):
We can go over there and help them build their infrastructure up.  One of the problems I have from leading from behind is when a day like this comes we don’t have the infrastructure in place that we could have.

Is he talking about some remote corner of America with unsafe roads, crumbling bridges, and outdated schools?  No, he's talking going over to LIBYA.  Why?

Let’s get in on the ground. There is a lot of money to be made in the future in Libya. A lot of oil to be produced. Let’s get on the ground and help the Libyan people establish a democracy and a functioning economy based on free market principles. ... We need to get teams on the ground now that can assist this government to make sure that this stuff doesn’t fall into wrong hands.


That would be non-American hands, by the way.

Foot in Mouth, Head Up A**

A candidate for State Senate in New Jersey (one guess his party affiliation) is now apologizing for a September 2 tweet in which he said, "Women, you increase your odds of keeping your men by being faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom."

Just on Thursday, he refused to apologize for that comment, referring to his tweet as "relationship advice" and a "timeword adage."  Uh, yeah right.

And the day before, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer that what he was actually trying to say was that men who can't respect their women and stay faithful are better off going to hookers.

With his apology, he added, "How the voter interprets my response to [the tweets], I don’t care. I don’t care if I get elected or not.  People came after me to run. It would be a tragedy to be denied … over stupid tweets that are misinterpreted"

Oh, I get it.  He didn't really want to do this, and now that he's blown in this badly, he no longer care if he wins or not.  As Herman Cain recently tweeted, "End of story."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nailed It!

Andrew sums up what's happening in the run-up to the real election season.  Money quote:
I also believe that the GOP debates have only underlined how unserious the GOP currently is. Only Romney looks even close to being a credible presidential contender - and yet it is also clear that he does not represent the real soul of the party. But those who do - Perry, Cain, Bachmann - have come across as extremists or blatherers or entertainers. All you hear are stern demands for an end to Obamacare - which hasn't even been put in place yet - and vague promises to cut taxes and spending. Not too specific on jobs, are they?

...

And, if you haven't noticed, Obama knows how to campaign.


Meep meep, indeed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Soy Independiente"

The Texas state director of Somos Republicans, a Latino activist group whose mission is to bring more Latino voters into the GOP fold, has left the party over recent comments by Herman Cain about installing an electric border fence to kill illegal immigrants, TPM reports.  Lauro Garza now identifies as an Independent.

Cain tried to backtrack on his comment, calling it a joke, but the audience at his speech wasn't laughing; they were cheering.

Garza was an original Reagan revolutionary, voting in his first presidential election (like me) in 1980.  So he's a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. 

His defection may not amount to much in the grand scheme of things, but it is indicative of the GOP's insensitivity to minority issues, and why the GOP will actually suffer a huge defeat in 2012.

The Dangerously Unserious GOP

Jonathan Bernstein sounds the warning to the GOP:
Republicans have some serious questions they could be fighting over, beginning with whether they want to return to George W. Bush's first term foreign policy, and what they actually believe should be done about the economy in the short and long term. If they don't deal with those things now, they're going to wind up (should they win) with someone in the White House who won't really be constrained by actual party preferences on the issues, beyond, you know, not reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. 

It's not Rick Perry and Mitt Romney who aren't serious; it's the party they're trying to lead.

Bernstein writes a blog that a few political pundits like to read.  I wish he'd get read more, because he's so unpretentiously direct.  He can be maddeningly unaffected by what would incense many.  For example, here he asserts that money "just doesn't matter all that much in presidential general elections, given the amount of information available outside of campaign ads."  And here he posts about there not being "any particular reason going in to be alarmed about Perry."  In the comments to that post, I accuse Bernstein of being naive to Perry's shape-shifting, as he adjusts his policy positions "solely based on the direction of the political winds," to which Jonathan replies:
I fully agree that Perry and Romney certainly appear to adopt positions to advance their positions. I just disagree about whether that's a good thing or not; I mostly think it's fine. Noble, no, and I'm not sure about admirable, but generally functional.


See what I mean?  Maddeningly unaffected.  "Generally functional?"  I don't see anything functional about populist opportunism -- generally I see it as dysfunctional, and currently a hallmark of today's GOP.  In fact, Bernstein implicitly contradicts himself, because Perry and Romney actually ARE the party today and will continue to be the party until next November (that is, unless someone else dominates the field).



Monday, October 17, 2011

One Man's Perspective on Love of Country

Ta-Nehisi Coates blogs for The Atlantic.  He's one of Andrew's favorite writers.  With this post, I join Andrew and will now feature his blog site on my website.  So frequently, he soberly and solemnly reflects on his race and its relation to his country.  I wish his voice could be duplicated across the ideological spectrum.

As we have dual, competing movements in the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, both of whom proclaim their love for America and a sincere desire to preserve what's great about it, Coates brings a refreshing perspective as a black man who has transcended his nationalistic and radical beginnings and, finding himself as socially mobile as any white man with his job, tries to put into words what being a patriot actually means:
I think of my parents born into a socially engineered poverty, and I think of their children enjoying the fruits (social mobility) garnered by the nonviolent, democratic assault on that social engineering. And then I consider that for centuries, over the entire world, if your parents were peasants, you were a peasant, as were your children.


I think it is proper to be proud of that change. I would not argue for a pride that insists America has worked out all of its problems, and evidences that work by exporting its institutions via tank and bomber. I would argue for a studied pride, a gratitude, that understands all that was sacrificed, that we could have easily tilted the other way, that the experiment is still, even now, fragile, and remains in constant need of the lost 19th century concept of improvement.


Contrast this humility, mixing pride with gratitude, with the "America, Fuck Yeah!" crowd that boasts that there's nowhere on earth where a person can start from nothing and become a huge success, and that any flaws in our national character wither away in the shadow of so great an accomplishment as "Democracy," or "Capitalism."  Clearly, in light of these two movements, these two words have vastly different meanings.  On one side, we have a true grass-roots movement, unfunded, young, raw, and with a truly wide-open sense of acceptance that America's best days lie ahead.  On the other side, we have a movement of largely older folks with money, whiter, more religious, who believe that America's gone down the toilet with its values and that we have to "take back" our country and return it to its whiter, more Christian roots (or, in fact, introduce a new era where the strict wall of separation between church and state blurs or even develops wide gaps).
 
If this country is ever going to transcend the grip of polarization, we all need to wake up to the fact that polarization is what the elite want.  To distract us from democracy and capitalism while they enrich themselves. 

People Are Just Pissed Off

I missed this Sullivan post from early this morning, but having seen it now, I'm not sure what Sullivan is calling out.  The two pictures show OWS protesters engaging in their protests while conspicuously consuming corporate products, while Tea Party protesters engage in protest while standing/sitting on a street corner that was completely paid for with taxpayer money.

Cesca rants about the false equivalencies present.  To me, it's hard to take any of it seriously.  We can protest against over-taxation and meddlesome social programs while occupying public property and receiving public funds for health care.  We can protest the over-reach of corporations and the obscene wealth inequality that has all but choked the middle class while wearing Izod shirts, using iPhones, and meeting to organize over lattes at Starbucks.  It's not the existence of any social programs that has the Tea Party up in arms, although their calls to end or seriously cut entitlement programs are perfectly in line with their tendency to subvert their own personal interests.  It's not the existence of corporations that has the OWS movement showing up in growing numbers worldwide. 

As a cousin related to me over the weekend on Facebook, her favorite placard at the OWS gathering on Wall Street was one that read, "We're Here, We're Unclear: Get Used to It."  The lack of coherency in either Tea Party or OWS messages is not the point.  President Obama can rail on and on about the excesses of Wall Street in an eloquent and forceful manner (and he has), but he benefited greatly from corporate and financial sector donations during the 2008 election campaign.  Hypocrisy can be rooted out everywhere, easily (see Swaggart, Jimmy or Vitter, David or Haggard, Ted). 

Instead, let's focus on the fact that people everywhere, from all walks of life, are just pissed off.  I'll spend all day ranting about the Tea Party's racism, or the fact that they are willing pawns of the moneyed class trying to sow seeds of discord loud enough to distract from their efforts to enrich themselves.  I'll also get on the case of the OWS crowd for being painfully unclear and lacking in resources when their opponents are painfully articulate and resourceful.  But their rights to protest are not unclear.

Another Facebook friend posted an epic rant by MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan from last week, which hit the nail on the head.  The real enemy is not the Tea Party over there, and it's not the anti-capitalist mobs over here.  It's the unholy alliance between the moneyed class and our politicians at every level of government.  Eisenhower warned us about the military/industrial complex, but he had it only half-right.  It doesn't matter if it's the medical/government complex, or the union/Democratic complex.  The focus is on the money, the money, the money.  As Ratigan shouted, "We have a bought Congress!"  We need to get private money out of politics once and for all, because it is largely the people with the most money who contribute the most to the most influential and powerful politicians.  Do we want action on taxation, healthcare, financial reforms, and the like?  Hell yes.  Well, so long as the law allows for rich corporations to give to political candidates with full anonymity and with the equal protection afforded to human beings, we're not going to end this problem.  Ideally, what we need is one candidate to stand up and proclaim that he/she will from this point forward not take another red cent from private sources but will finance his/her campaign from public funds.  He/she may not win, but if enough attention can be given to that candidate, the message might spread.  It has to be organic, and it has to be honest, and it has to be resonant with Americans who are pissed off. 

Private money has wrested power in this country away from all the people and given it back to the rich white landowners originally vested with electoral rights per the Constitution.  Time to reassert our rights.

"A Spiritual Call To War" for Perry

The Daily Beast on Sunday reported on a series of emails it obtained between a Christian talk radio executive named Dick Bott and David Lane, a Christian "power broker," that suggests the Perry campaign is quietly but persistently using Mitt Romney's Mormon faith against him in the primaries.

Perry has publicly distanced himself from the idea that Romney's Mormon faith is a "cult" that disqualifies him from the presidency.  Despite that, emails from Lane to Bott cite the comments of evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress, who caused a stir at the Values Voters Summit earlier this month by saying that Romney was not a Christian.  Lane wrote: "Getting out Dr. Jeffress [sic] message, juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things.”

Other emails cite a conversation Lane had with a "key Perry aide" where he argued that "the creation of a clarion call to Evangelical pastors and pews is critical and from my perspective is the key to the Primary."

While the official spokesman for the Perry campaign has gone on the record to say that the email exchange "appears to be a private conversation that has nothing to do with our campaign," the implications are very loud and clear: that Rick Perry's campaign has relied heavily on Lane to rally evangelicals to his campaign by pointing out that he is the only one who truly represents their values who can also be nominated and who can beat Barack Obama. 

In fact, Lane writes in one of the emails that he would rather not vote than vote either for Romney or Obama:
“Let me go on the record, I won’t vote for Mitt Romney as Republican nominee in 2012.” He followed the statement with a link to a news article describing Romney’s various ecclesiastical positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He also cited Romney’s past positions advocating for abortion and gay rights before adding, “The Soul of America is at stake, where is the Church? Will a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot please stand?” (The last question refers to Biblical characters whom God called to save the Israelites in the Old Testament—an apparent plea for a candidate who will bring America in line with conservative Christian values.)

My emphasis above, as well as below.

One email concluded: “If RP [Rick Perry] can sound the trumpet to Evangelicals, a spiritual call to war for the Soul of America, Christie is weak on our issues.”







Friday, October 14, 2011

Huntsman Campaign Nearly Broke

The field will narrow down shortly.  Huntsman's departure (I know, I'm calling it early -- sue me) will definitely remove a voice of (relative) sanity from the GOP presidential primary.  Although his poll numbers never looked good, he sure had some interesting things to say.  Can't even put him in the running for VP in a Romney or Perry ticket.  Obama should offer him his job back (too salt-in-the-wound harsh?).

The GOP race is looking uglier and uglier. 

Negative Ads Have No Effect?

Nate Silver is someone with whom I usually agree.  His research is impeccable.  He contends that negative campaign ads don't really work.  And I'll probably look like an uninformed fool for saying this, but there have been a number of negative ads in my memory that did actual harm to the targeted candidate.  First off, the infamous "Willie Horton" ads run by the George HW Bush campaign against Michael Dukakis in 1988.  That series of ads showed how Dukakis let a dangerous criminal out of jail, only to have the guy commit more heinous crime.  Second -- the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry in 2004, calling Kerry's version of events into question, making him out to be less patriotic because he criticized US involvement in the Vietnam War after he was discharged from the Navy.  Finally -- in 1990, Senator Jesse Helms ran for re-election against Harvey Gantt, an African American, beating him by only 5% (contrast that with his previous campaign in 1984, when he beat a white opponent by only 4% at the height of the Reagan revolution).  Towards the end of the 1990 campaign, Helms ran an ad that depicted the hands of a white man ripping up an employment rejection notice from a company that gave the job to a "less qualified minority."  Helms took a lot of heat for that ad, but I'm fairly sure that it generated more white votes for him.  Perhaps this is where Silver would say, "Yes, but did that ad turn an election loss into an election victory?"  I'm not sure; probably not.  Hard to beat an incumbent like Helms.  But I think where negative ads really work is in pushing the envelope of what's acceptable ground in an election campaign.  I'm certain that the Atwater ad for Bush41 and the Helms ad made it more acceptable to attack a decorated war hero like Kerry, or for Bush43 to attack McCain in 2000 as someone who was gay, who had illegitimate children, and a drug-addicted wife.

Now You Can See Why Occupy Wall Street is So Upset

Dear Henry Bloget,

Thank you for your post.  Your inspired series of charts, graphs and photos not only informed and entertained, but it perfectly summed up and brought into VERY sharp focus just why the Occupy Wall Street movement (and its anger) exists and needs to continue to exist.  Send this post to every politician, every news media outlet manager, and every teacher, firefighter, police officer, factory worker, union member, nurse, and bank employee in America. 

Here is my favorite one:

CEO pay has skyrocketed 300% since 1990. Corporate profits have doubled. Average "production worker" pay has increased 4%. The minimum wage has dropped. (All numbers adjusted for inflation).





If there could be one charismatic person who could channel what you've compiled and stand up before the American people (someone who is not a politician or a celebrity), the movement would grow exponentially, and the grievances of the few young protestors could spread to ordinary Americans.

As Blodget writes:
The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation's history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high.

In other words, in the never-ending tug-of-war between "labor" and "capital," there has rarely—if ever—been a time when "capital" was so clearly winning.









Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not a Comedic Headline

Senate Republicans Plan To Unveil A ‘Real’ American Jobs Bill


Here's what the plan will contain, Politico reports: lower tax rates for individuals (read: the rich) and businesses (read: large corporate donors), pursue free trade (so those rich donors can take jobs out of the US), and roll back environmental regulations while expanding domestic energy production (meaning "Drill Baby, Drill).  On top of that, they want to pass a balanced budget amendment. 
 
Bruce Bartlett had a lot to say about a balanced budget amendment way back in July.  Principally, his take is that it can't be enforced, unless you want to give unelected judges that much power over the economy.  Money quote:
Not only is it a really bad idea to give unelected judges such power, it is not really practical. For example, until the last day of a fiscal year, it would be impossible to say, as a matter of law, that the balanced budget requirement had been violated. At that point, spending would have already occurred, and it’s not really feasible to tell people to send back some of their Social Security checks because the budget was unbalanced. And who is to say what spending was the amount that went above revenues and what wasn’t?


Further, there's just no way that two thirds of both Houses would pass it, that the president would sign it, and that three-quarters of the states would ratify it.  In this day and age, it's politically impossible.  So what is it, then?  Yeah, you guessed it: a political sop to the Tea Party to show the base that the GOP is for sane fiscal conservatism.  Meanwhile, older Tea Party supporters would begin to see their Social Security checks and Medicare coverage shrink, and aid to local governments for vital programs like elder day care and transportation evaporate.  All because they were angry that a black man got elected president.

Shoe on the Other Foot?

Ross Douthat believes that, had McCain been elected instead of Obama, the Democratic Party would have been just as obstructionist against McCain's policy agenda than the Republicans have been against President Obama.
[I]n a McCain presidency Democrats would have faced the same political incentives Republicans face now — where it’s easier to blame a terrible economy on the president than to find ways to cooperate with him — with two added reasons to fight rather than to deal: First, they could have easily pinned the whole of the economic crisis on the G.O.P. (“the Bush-McCain Depression,” etc.), and second, they would have had a potentially unbeatable Hillary Clinton rather than a suspect Mitt Romney waiting in the wings for 2012.


Sorry, Ross, but this Sullivan reader has you nailed:
[The 2008 stimulus bill] passed with a majority of the Democrats supporting it, and a majority of Bush's own GOP *opposing* it! The same thing happened with the TARP bill in the fall of 2008; the Democrats were MORE supportive of Bush's emergency measures than the Republicans were.

When the foundational belief of the Republican Party is "government is the problem, not the solution," They are just not going to behave the way Democrats do.  I can point to many instances where government has made things worse, not better (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two), but Democrats in the House and Senate tend generally to do what's right over what's politically better for their party more often than their GOP counterparts do.

Amnesty to Canada: Prosecute Bush

Amnesty International on Wednesday called for the Canadian government to arrest and either prosecute or extradite George W. Bush to the U.S. for authorizing torture during his presidency, when Bush arrives in Canada for a scheduled visit on October 20.  AI has stated that failure by Canada to do something about Bush's program of torture, including waterboarding terror suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times, constitutes a violation of the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Human Rights Watch wants the same thing.

As Andrew says, "the Geneva Conventions are either the law or they are not."  By her actions, Canada will determine this.

I'm all for this myself.  Still, I hate to pop their balloons.  Bush's handlers have probably already dealt with this in advance of his visit.  I cannot imagine that the Canadian government would want to rock the world and signal to every current and former head of state that Canada is off-limits to their visits if they want to engage in violations of the Geneva Conventions exercised during wartime.  There are those pesky little issues of trade, and global economic policy, too.  I don't think Canada would want to risk becoming a country no foreign country would invest in over this issue. 

Missing the Point

Andrew Sullivan characterizes this post from  D.R. Tucker at FrumForum as "pinpointing" the source of Romney's unpopularity with the Tea Party.  Tucker's too simplistic.  The real point here is that the Tea Party has no point.  The Tea Party is an unfocused collective of angry, (mostly) white, (mostly) southern (mostly) Christianists who simply cannot abide a president who does not toe an ideologically pure line, especially one who isn't white.  Their anger dominated the GOP after the 2008 election, and those who chose to ride that wave of anger found themselves with enough votes to force out impure incumbents who were willing to make deals with the president and his party.  In this election cycle, successive Republican candidates have seen their popularities rise and fall as the Tea Party witnesses that the reality of politics involves compromise in order to govern.  They seem just to want the angriest candidate who shows no willingness to make deals.  It is classic backlash politics.  The trouble is that they don't represent anything anymore except that anger, and anger doesn't have the legs to dominate the national polity for very long. 

When a CBS News poll in July revealed that nearly two-thirds of Tea Party supporters wanted the GOP to compromise with the Democrats on the debt-ceiling increase, and a solid 53% wanted the deal to be a combination of tax increases and spending cuts, you know that the idea of a monolithic Tea Party "message" of ideological purity is just pure bullshit.

However, Tucker is right that if Romney gets nominated, the Tea Party brand will be finished as a hallmark of the current GOP.  To stay relevant they'd have to split off and form a third party.  My hope is that they will do that, because that would mean Democratic dominance of national politics for a long time.  Not that I expect brilliance from the Dems -- God knows, I'd like to see a lot of those bums out too -- but it would mean more benefits for the greater good.

Monday, October 10, 2011

American Inferno

The town of Centralia, PA has been on fire for nearly 50 years.  Coal mines under the town caught fire in 1962 and have been burning ever since.  It might take another 250 years to consume the fuel under the ground.

Meanwhile...
The town grew so warm that some residents no longer needed to turn on their basement hot-water heaters. Toxic plumes erupted, tree roots turned to ash, vegetables roasted on their stalks. The earth became unstable, and yawning holes opened into underground pits without warning: in 1981, twelve-year-old Todd Domboski fell into a sulfurous 150-foot-deep maw that appeared suddenly in his grandmother’s backyard, narrowly escaping incineration by grabbing onto a tree root. Efforts to stop the flames—clay seals to cut off oxygen, slurry pumped into the honeycombed caverns—proved useless. In the eighties, the federal government began relocating the town’s remaining population, razing their homes and shutting down a segment of the highway that had erupted.

Feels Like 1968 is Returning

Headline spotted on CNBC's Squawk Box this morning showing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in NYC:
Another Day at Camp Occupy Wall Street
Bob Cesca has this from Fox News.  Seems Chris Wallace thinks OWS is getting too much attention from the mainstream media.

Personally, I'm looking for this to become a huge issue at the 2012 Conventions, like the SDS rallies in 1968.  It's going to get ugly at some point.  There's no sign of a slowdown anywhere.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What Values?

The Values Voter Summit straw poll conducted today has placed Congressman Ron Paul (D-TX) at the head of the GOP field for nomination.  Paul got 37 percent of the vote, while Cain took second and Rick Santorum took third.

We've now had Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain atop the polls.  It just re-affirms what I said earlier, which is that GOP voters are angry, and whoever they pick happens to be the angriest at the moment.  Look for Newt next.

Strains of a Recurring Theme

HuffPost reports on the goings-on at the Values Voters Summit in DC, where the familiar strains of indecision, frustration, and doubt dominate the discussion.  Who can real social conservatives embrace in the race against Obama next year?  Apparently some can take a deep breath and choose Romney, despite his inconsistency around social issues and his Mormon faith.  On the other hand, others want someone who won't compromise and really get into a dogfight against the Democrats -- like Herman Cain or Rick Santorum.  Michele Bachmann, whose "standing room only" crowd at the summit featured not a few empty seats, got the crowd on its feet when she said, "Conservatives, we can have it all this year because Barack Obama will be a one-term president.  Let's finally have one of us in the White House."  A not-so-subtle dig at former president GW Bush?

Those who are trying to get a read on the GOP nominating process right now are going to keep seeing this familiar scene: with no candidate willing to be the loser that Tim Pawlenty was, they will be throwing out their conservative bona fides with gusto to try to persuade the base to go their way.  In the end, though, I think it's going to be either Perry or Romney against Obama, and I relish either of those races.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A "Placeholder Candidate"

Political analyst and blogger Kyle Kondik at the Center for Politics and U.VA. wonders about the seriousness of the Cain campaign:
Cain’s polling numbers are skyrocketing, but then again, this Republican primary battle has been so crazy that another non-politician politician (Donald Trump — remember him?) once led national polls. In fact, as New York Times commentator Nate Silver pointed out recently, 10 different individuals have led at least one national Republican primary poll this year. Cain may very well be a placeholder candidate — a person gaining support in polls and straw polls not because he actually has a chance of winning, but because Republicans are just unsettled and don’t see anyone in the field they are ready to rally around just yet.

Time's Joe Klein thinks Perry is worth a second look:
I’d say that Rick Perry is probably stronger than he seems right now–those who’ve watched him work a crowd think he has excellent retail political skills, which are very important in a place like Iowa. I’d also guess that Herman Cain is an overvalued commodity at the moment–he’s a nice protest parking place for Tea Partisans disappointed by the Bachmann and Perry adventures.


I don't hold myself to be anywhere nearly as competent or insightful as either of these individuals, but here's what I think: I think they're missing a simple truth, one that no one wants to utter because it may be too simple and perhaps insulting to the Grand Old Party (but, since I don't give a shit about them, I'll go ahead and toss it out there).  The GOP, dominated by the Tea Party movement, an older, whiter, and more Christian(ist) body than the party in general, is an angry mob suckling on the backlash teat.  Anger is their raison d’ĂȘtre: anger at losing in 2008 and 2006; anger at being exposed as the fools they truly were in supporting the Bush/Cheney disaster which allowed spending and debt to skyrocket more indiscriminately than during any other presidential administration since WWII; anger that there is a personable, pragmatic, wholesome family man who belongs to a minority group that represents only about 10% of the American population leading the free world.  Enslaved to their anger, they will latch onto ANY candidate on their side who mirrors their anger.  At first it was Donald Trump, who dropped F-bombs with aplomb and blamed the Chinese for our poor economic condition (and who can forget his taking credit for settling the birther controversy?).  Then it was Michele Bachmann, she of the wild conspiracy theories beginning with re-education camps for Obama youth and ending with national vaccination programs that cause Christian whites to go insane (oh, wait, that seemed to work, didn't it?).  Then it was Rick Perry, who rode in on his (what else?) white horse, swinging his big secessionist dick and attacking Social Security as an unconstitutional Ponzi scheme.  And now it's Herman Cain, a man with two black parents who says everyone who isn't rich like him has only themselves to blame for not working hard enough.  He seems really, really angry.  In fact, every time I see a picture of him online or on TV, he looks like this:



Given his recent invective against the Occupy Wall Street protestors, this picture makes me recall the great words of another black man, Jimi Hendrix:
White collar conservative walking down the street
Pointing that plastic finger at me
Hoping that my kind will soon drop and die
But I'm gonna wave my freak flag high... HIGH!

So, in a way, Kondik is right that he is a placeholder candidate, but the truth is -- they have ALL been placeholder candidates.  Placeholder candidates for the anger of the loony Tea Party right wing.  As soon as someone angrier comes along (Gingrich, perhaps, or maybe Paul?) that person will surge in the polls.  The Tea Party was so hopeful of a Palin candidacy because she is the raw nerve ending of white, Christianist, IGNORANT backlash anger (funny how she was right to call Cain "flavor of the week," by the way).  It's one reason why Romney does so poorly with the Tea Party -- he's not angry enough.

The problem for the GOP is that anger eventually has to give way to reason when there are about a hundred million other Americans who are angry, for reasons that are slightly more rational.  And, absent any alternatives for the Obama express with regard to fixing the economy (other than "wait till we are in the White House and things will get way better, you'll see"), right now their anger looks eventually to morph into rage, more than likely of the racist kind.  And ain't no way they'll win the election that way.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Both Ends Burning

Congressman Jack Wolfe (R-VA) took to the House floor to level an attack on Grover Norquist, creator and protector of "The Pledge," which has so far prevented any Republican elected official who has signed it from supporting any legislation that raises revenue for the US government.  A transcript of Wolfe's comments are on his website.  It's Wolfe's Jerry Maguire moment.  Here's one part that seems reasonable enough:
Everything must be on the table and I believe how the “pledge” is interpreted and enforced by Mr. Norquist is a roadblock to realistically reforming our tax code.



When Senator Tom Coburn recently called for eliminating the special interest ethanol tax subsidy, who led the opposition? Mr. Norquist.


Have we already forgotten the battle over earmarks from last year? Unlike an earmark included in an annual appropriations bill, “tax earmarks” are far worse because once enacted they typically exist in perpetuity.


Have we really reached a point where one person’s demand for ideological purity is paralyzing Congress to the point that even a discussion of tax reform is viewed as breaking a no-tax pledge?
However, let's take these comments in context of how he opened his floor remarks, which is thusly:
Like Ronald Reagan said, and I believe, “the problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.” I want to be perfectly clear: I do not support raising taxes on the American people.


Oh, really?  And how does Mr. Wolfe feel about the fact that Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times and raised the debt ceiling 18 times during his presidency?  I'm all for attacking Grover Norquist, whether on his irrational call for ideological purity or his "associations" with Jack Abramoff or individuals with ties to Muslim charities (read: funders of terrorism).  But let's not forget how short-sighted, opportunistic, populist, and hypocritical most Republicans are around fiscal discipline.  To today's GOP, Ronald Reagan would be a Democrat, and Abraham Lincoln a totalitarian dictator.




Herman Cain's Voodoo Economics

By now you've heard of future Republican also-ran Herman Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan, which envisions a nine percent personal income tax, a nine percent corporate income tax, and a nine percent national sales tax (on consumption).  A really simple way for people to pay their fair share and get the government off the backs of "job creators" (like the stockbrokers and bankers on Wall Street, for example).

Well, the Center for American Progress Director of Tax and Budget Policy, Michael Linden, realized that the Cain plan would actually explode the deficit to post WWII levels and shrink tax revenue to half of what it is now as a percentage of GDP.  Further, people in the lowest 20% of wage earners, who currently pay 2% in federal income tax, would see a nearly five-fold increase in their income tax payments, plus the nine percent consumption tax on top of whatever local sales tax they are paying.  A typical middle-class earner would see their federal taxes go up as well.  A member of the 1% Club (like Cain) would see his taxes go down from 28 percent to about 11 percent.

That any voter would take this moron seriously reflects more poorly on the voter than the candidate.  Any self-serving douchebag can run for president, but it takes a special kind of masochistic idiot to vote for that douchebag.

Jaw-Dropper Quote of the Day

From former McCain/Palin senior adviser, Nicolle Wallace, who's got a novel coming out inspired by Sarah Palin:
Palin vacillated between extraordinary highs on the campaign stage — she ignited more enthusiasm than our side had seen at any other point — to debilitating lows. She was often withdrawn, uncommunicative and incapable of performing even the most basic tasks required of her job as McCain's running mate.



The decision to relocate debate prep from the campaign trail, which is where McCain did his prep, to Sedona, was to isolate her and help her overcome the shock of becoming an overnight celebrity. There certainly were discussions — not for long because of the arc the campaign took — but certainly there were discussions about whether, if they were to win, it would be appropriate for her to be sworn in.

The McCain campaign was actually worried about winning because they weren't sure what they would do about Palin, and even considered dropping her as the Vice President after the election because she was just not fit for the job.

No one else on either side would ever confirm that independently, I'm sure, but holy shit.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Go the Fuck Away. Now.

The former half-term and current half-wit announces that she will not be a candidate for president in 2012.  Of course, her stated reasons are obtuse, fully illogical, and completely fail to obscure the truth: namely, that she is the biggest farce ever to be foisted onto the American political stage, nearly a heart-beat away from the Oval Office, complete with her delusional self-image and cellular-level narcissism.

Since she thinks that she will be able to affect more change as a supporter on the outside of the race, my fondest wish is that, perhaps emboldened, the Republican establishment will now summon up the courage to request, kindly or otherwise, that she promptly disa-fucking-ppear.

This news also comes on the same day as we hear of the passing of Steve Jobs, a visionary genius and timeless hero of American business, an icon, and a representative of the very best of what America is.  The announcement of his death will, thankfully, result in much larger headlines, many more words of praise from all walks of life, from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs like this, news sites, news stations, and newspapers all over the world, than anything that Palin could ever have dreamed of.  In the 24-hour news cycle, it took exactly as long as it takes you to read this sentence to move on from her announcement to the next story.  And that's what most of us have wanted since the day she defiled our national politics in August 2008.

Sign Me Up, I'm Now a Believer

No, dear readers, I have not become a True Believer accepting JC as my personal savior.  No, that Kool-Aid is much too bitter-tasting for me.

What I'm saying to you today, unequivocally, is that I now fully believe that Sarah Palin is not the mother of Trig Palin, and that she faked her pregnancy and even gone so far as to switch babies shortly after birth to bolster her version of the story.

I'm sure you all know the details of the story to some degree: Then Governor Palin announces her pregnancy at seven months along, though photographic evidence suggests that she looked extremely NOT pregnant at that time, then all of a sudden her belly ballooned. She recounted her birth story in her book that she was due to deliver a speech in Dallas when she woke up from her bed having noticed her water breaking.  Rather than going immediately to the hospital with a Neonatal ICU to care for a baby she knew had Down Syndrome, she went ahead to deliver her speech, all the while having contractions.  Instead of going to the hospital right after the speech, she went to the airport to hop a plane, not telling anyone -- the flight staff, fellow passengers -- that she was in labor.  When she arrived at SeaTac airport, instead of going to a hospital in Seattle with a NICU, she hops ANOTHER flight to Anchorage.  Instead of going immediately to a hospital in Anchorage with a NICU, she DRIVES 90 minutes to Wasilla to deliver this Down Syndrome baby in a hospital with no NICU.

In and of itself, this story is completely implausible, and anyone with any interest in babies and pregancy (read: parents) would recognize this as a completely implausible story.  And yet, no one -- not the doctor who supposedly delivered the baby, not the Palin family, not anyone -- with an intimate knowledge of the facts around this pregnancy and delivery has talked to the press about this ridiculous story.    And if you've read Andrew Sullivan's blog for the past three years, you know how obsessed he's been about uncovering the real events about it, and how the mainstream press has ridiculed HIM for pressing on with this nutty conspiracy theory-level story.  Even I had gotten a little tired of it, although I was pretty sure that she had faked it, and that someone like her and her family, with the willingness and intent to perpetrate a complete fraud on the entire country, could have been elected to be a cancer-survivor's heart-beat away from becoming the leader of the free world, I was willing to harbor enough doubt (and apathy) about it to keep it from consuming me too.

But no more.  Not after I see the pictures in this article from February 2010.  I got to this article after reading this five-word blog post from Andrew (of course) which links to this blog post from Laura Novak.  In it, she interviews Brad Scharlott, a journalism professor at Northern Kentucky University who earlier this year published a research paper about this pregnancy.  Now, in reading this interview, I admit even then to being a doubtful, because the complete implausibility of the ruse was itself so immense.  That Palin started concocting the plan to cover up the birth of Trig and to even assume motherhood of the baby to gain political advantage -- shit, this woman's a fucking monster, no?  Surely, not even a person with her very thin relationship with, you know, THE TRUTH, would go this far.  But, in this interview he talks about the ears of the baby boy called Trig Paxson Van Palin, and about how the baby in Bristol's lap during the Republican Convention was so much bigger than a typical four-month-old preemie would be (for the record, Trig was born on April 18, 2008, about a month premature).  I looked at pictures of the baby at the convention and I couldn't really say for sure that this baby was unusually large, but I'm no expert.  So I was still doubtful.

Then, just for kicks, I decided to Google Trig's ears, which Scharlott had called "ruffled."  He said that in different pictures, the ears of the baby Sarah Palin called her son Trig were different.  Here's what I saw:


Now, I don't know about you, but I can see that the right ear of the baby on the left is clearly deformed, and the ear of the baby in the center and right photos is not.  Go do the Google search yourself and see that the extracted images don't match.  You'll fail.  No way did Palin have this baby's ears surgically corrected, and no way would the scars from any surgery performed on an infant not be showing on a 5-6 month-old.  And no way would the baby's ears simply be misshapen because he slept on it funny.  My kids' ears never had any funny shapes because of how they slept on them.  When he drank, my younger son constantly pulled on his right ear from the time he nursed until he gave up sippy cups at age four, and the shape of his ear never changed once. 

Why would Palin use two different babies as Trig?  I am now absolutely certain that she did use two different babies as Trig during the 2008 campaign season, so the only reasonable explanation is that having this baby gave her some kind of political advantage.  Given my certainty about her using two babies, I am now also absolutely sure that she never gave birth to either of these babies.  Who did?  I don't know.  Some people believe it was her daughter Bristol, some her sister-in-law, Molly Wooten.  Whoever did deliver this baby, Sarah Palin is now his mother.  No one is talking, the press won't ask the questions, and we will probably never really know. 

The Utterly Laughable Desperation of the GOP

A new poll by PPP has Herman Cain (!) handily leading the GOP field in three states: North Carolina, West Virginia, and Nebraska, capturing anywhere from 24 percent to 30 percent.  Gingrich is in a solid second position in all of these states, sharing only with Romney in North Carolina, with about half of Cain's position.  Perry, who had a meteoric rise since his announcement, falls nearly to single digits in Nebraska.

Looking at this chart, it's clear that the party just doesn't have a clue who to vote for, that they're willing to vote for just about anyone who they think can beat Obama (see: Trump, Donald and Bachmann, Michele), but tire of them just as easily as they get excited about them.  Cain is just the latest in a series of Republican hopefuls who are the "flavor of the week."  Christie got the Republican elite all wet with excitement, and coulda been a contenda, until he unceremoniously put the kibosh on their hopes.

Which means what, exactly?  Once the Cain express runs out of steam, or, judging by this interview on "The View," derails itself (more on this in a moment), will the GOP base finally get behind the good looking Mormon from Michigan?  Does he possess the conservative bona fides to get nominated by the party and elected by the American people?  Well, David Frum seems to think so:
I put my hope in three things: (1) Romney is not only very intelligent, but he also has demonstrated through his career a devotion to facts over ideology. (2) Romney has visibly not been caught up in the panic and rage against President Obama that has done so much to distort Republican thinking since 2009. (3) Romney has not signed up for the kind of ultra-deluded tax-cutting as solution to all ills program advocated by Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman. His unwillingness to over-commit himself during the Republican primaries signals an openness to future contingencies should he be elected president.


Well, David.  Not. So. Fast. (note: watch the whole Stewart video; it's a total hoot!).  Jonathan Chait also senses a real problem here.
Republican moneymen and pundits are starting to flock to the Mitt Romney banner, sending forth the word that it is time to bow to the inevitable. But the Republican voters just do not like Mitt Romney.  The depth the of the base's resistance to falling in behind next-in-line Romney has continuously shocked observers, resulting first in the rise of Donald Trump, then Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry. Now Perry is swooning, and his support has gone to ... Herman Cain!  ... I don't think Cain can win the nomination, and I'm not sure he really wants it (as opposed to a nice Fox News gig.) Saying you might vote for Herman Cain for president — of the United States, not of a pizza chain — can only be read as a cry of protest.  I don't see how Republicans could be making this any more plain. They do not want to nominate Mitt Romney.
Chait's italics, my emphasis.

So, then what?  Does Sarah Palin become a factor at this point by jumping in herself?  Sullivan ruminates on that point extensively (as he always does when thinking about his ex-girlfriend from another life).  Here's his main point:
[R]emember her favorite word and self-branding: the rogue. It's possible she could also run as an Independent or Tea Party candidate next year, especially if Romney wins the nomination, and hits a bump in the road. ... The obvious problem [if she does mount a third-party run] is that she would all but guarantee the re-election of Barack Obama. Is she delusional and narcissistic enough to plow onward regardless? You betcha!

Word.

What this all shows is that, with time really running out for anyone who hasn't yet declared their candidacy, the GOP has to choose from: a well-coiffed Mormon flip-flopper; a shit-for-brains Texan with Dominionist tendencies who sees no daylight between our Middle East policy and that of Israel; a bat-shit crazy congresswoman with a closeted gay husband with some pretty wild conspiracy theories; an inexperienced pizza entrepreneur who still believes being gay is a choice and who would actively discriminate against Muslims if he could; a Jack Mormon with no-name and a previous relationship with the Socialist Kenyan Muslim; a twice-divorced adulterer who opportunistically leapt into religion and a six-figure bill at Tiffany; a former Senator who is eternally Google-hobbled; a whacked-out septuagenarian Texan who would undo the Civil Right Act because it impeded business; and a handful of unknowns whom no one will ever know.

The GOP establishment is sweating bullets right now because they know that Obama can beat every one of these candidates based solely on his record (even if only by a slim margin with some).  He has had some abyssmal failures, of course -- most notably, his failures to get a public option in the ACA or to paint the GOP-led House as completely anti-middle class.  But there is so much meat to his first three years that have improved life for millions (including the lives of the Tea Baggers who would just as soon lynch him from the nearest magnolia tree), that the establishment just knows they're done for until 2016.  I think that there must be some secret discussions going on between them and Palin's people, urging her to hold off until then, when her Democratic opponent (whoever he/she is) will have considerably less star power than Obama.  (The only person I can think of to follow in Obama's footsteps right now is Hillary Clinton, and she'll be 69 years old by that time and not completely dispossessed of the Clinton stigma.)  The last thing the establishment wants is a third party run now to pull the Tea Party base out from under them and cost them not just this election, but perhaps the next two or more.  Seems to me that their enmeshment with the white, Southern, Christianist right was quite the Faustian bargain, no?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Christie Will Not (Repeat, Will Not) Run

Chris Christie announced today at a press conference that he will not, in fact, seek the Republican nomination for president.  Ross Douthat at the NYT laments:
From Jeb Bush to Haley Barbour, Jon Thune to (especially) Mitch Daniels, we’ve watched the party’s leading lights and most experienced national figures repeatedly pass the buck, all of them hoping that somebody else would step forward to supply a credible alternative to Mitt Romney. Individually, their choices were understandable; collectively, they have represented a significant institutional failure — even a generational failure, you might say, which left conservatives scrambling to promote the next generation (Christie, Paul Ryan) ahead of schedule.

I would never call what these otherwise intelligent men have done passing the buck, or a generational, collective failure.  First of all, Christie, like all the others Ross mentions, had to have considered one very important likelihood when making their decisions: namely, the likelihood that Obama will be re-elected.  When the Obama campaign engine is running at full steam (and really, he's just getting started now), all the very BIG facts will come out about his leadership, perfectly framed for consumption by Joe and Jane Indyvoter.  Far right candidates and activists will be apoplectic when the "liberal media" champion all that Obama has done and give him ample air time.  They will pull out every ugly racist, hateful thing they can say (which worked very well for them during the mid-terms, didn't they?) to paint Obama as un-American, un-Christian, and unelectable.

Secondly, why should these sensible men jump into a race for the GOP nomination when it is dominated by thinking they find abhorrent?  Even Christie has called the Tea Party "crazies."  In a way, it is Romney's turn, and in an election to unseat an incumbent, the men Douthat cites as worthy adversaries just, well, aren't.  They might be in four years, when the Democratic Party really has no one in the wings waiting to assume the Obama mantle.  But, for now, "intelligent" Republicans (had to put that in quotes, since I still haven't met one) are going to stay on the sideline.

Occupy Wall Street Sign of the Day

Courtesy of David Shankbone at Flickr.  H/T Sullivan.



This protest needs more people.  Spread the word in your towns that Wall Street must be better leashed if they're going to be able to make a lot of money.  Capitalism is great, but greed is not.

I Don't Know Who to Hate More

Since the House Majority Whip, Eric Cantor (R-VA) has publicly stated that Obama's jobs bill is DOA, it appears that there will be no cooperation at all at the federal level to restore our economic strength.  Ezra Klein thinks it might all be part of Obama's plan to run against a do-nothing, obstructionist Congress.

The Republicans, who have put ideology and party before everything that Americans want and need in this tough economy, or the Democrats, who have absolutely no spine, no courage, and no conceivable means of advancing its agenda.  As Sullivan writes, "it is almost entirely up to Obama."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Direct from the Source

The New Apostolic Reformation's founder, C. Peter Wagner, provides the direct link between the support of Israel by the evangelical Christian community and the eventual conversion of every Jew to Christianity.

Rick Perry's presidential campaign got major support from this movement at the outset.  This is inside the mind of Rick Perry.  Rick Perry wants to be President of the United States.  Rick Perry is dangerous for America and dangerous for Israel (though, tragically, Israel's leadership does not seem to appreciate this fact).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The State that Built Rick Perry

This is a heart-wrenching story that speaks of the universal truth of forgiveness.  The state of Texas, governed by Rick Perry, a born and bred Texan, refused to let the victim of a condemned man meet the prisoner and refused to stay his execution.