Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Republicans Start To Unite Around Call To Allow Billionaires And Corporations To Directly Fund Campaigns


Eight in 10 Americans believe that there is too much money in American politics, and only 17 percent agree with the Supreme Court that corporations should be allowed to spend unlimited money to try to influence elections.

Yet top Republicans are coalescing around the idea that current campaign finance laws — which still prohibit corporations and wealthy individuals from giving unlimited money directly to campaigns — are actually too restrictive. Judging from interviews with ThinkProgress and Republican campaign speeches over the past two months, the GOP’s standard response to the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling has solidified: allow for unlimited contributions directly to candidates while requiring immediate disclosure.

The language used by different high-ranking Republicans is so similar that it suggests a certain level of message-coordination on the subject. Indeed, from GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) to Republican money man Fred Malek, their reactions to campaign finance laws are virtually identical:

  • Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: “The better position is to allow full and free speech in whatever form, but have instant disclosure.” [1/21/12]
  • Top Republican Money Figure Fred Malek: “I would favor unlimited contributions to candidates with full disclosure.” [1/27/12]
  • Presidential candidate Mitt Romney: “We’d be a lot wiser to say you can give what you’d like to a campaign. They must report it immediately…” [12/21/11]

Although Republican supporters of unlimited money in politics seem to have decided that supporting campaign disclosures is an important part of their messaging strategy, the GOP’s actions betray any suggestion that they actually stand behind transparency. Following Citizens United, Democrats introduced the DISCLOSE Act to bring more transparency to the murky world of campaign finance. It passed the House in 2010 but failed to break a Republican filibuster by a single vote.

In other words, Republicans seem to care a whole lot more about letting corporations and the very rich buy elections than they do about protecting the American people’s ability to know about it.

Gingrich Security Heartlessly Tries To Break Toes of Ron Paul Supporter

Probable Florida primary loser and mean-spirited twerp Newt Gingrich will FAIL to colonize the moon because he will never become president, but you know what he CAN colonize? That one little patch of grass, yeah that one right over there where a lone Ron Paul supporter is standing quietly holding up a sign.

Newt Gingrich wants exactly that spot, and he will have it or he WILL ORDER HIS MINIONS TO BREAK SOME TOES, you hear? Well gosh darn it, the Ron Paul guy doesn’t want to move, because hello, Newt Gingrich does not own the sidewalk. And then Drama Ensued. READ MORE »

Rep. Allen West Tries To Walk Back Telling Obama To ‘Get The Hell Out’: ‘I Did Not Refer To Any Person Leaving’


Rep. Allen West (R-FL) once again sparked controversy with a demagogic speech in Florida this past weekend where he demanded that liberals and President Obama “get the hell out of the United States of America.” Now, West is engaged in a rapid backpedal, appearing both on CNN and Fox this morning to insist that what he said is not actually what he said.

On CNN, West demanded that a skeptical host Soledad O’Brien view the entire speech an realize that “he was simply trying to draw attention to the decline of a country” at the hands of people who hold values that are “not in concert with our constitutional republic.” “And if you can’t understand that,” he added, “please come down to South Florida, you and I can read the Federalist Papers.” Later on Fox and Friends, West told host Steve Doocy, “I did not refer to any person leaving”:

WEST: The other thing is that I did not refer to any person leaving. If you go back and read the transcript of the message that I gave, it was about equality of achievement, it was about economic dependence, it was about enslaving the American entrepreneur’s will and spirit. That message needs to leave this country. And that was what I was referring to. And I think that anyone that sat back and looked at the entirety of that 12 minute, 45 second speech would understand that we’re talking about a contrast of visions of this country.

Looking back at the transcript as requested, it’s pretty clear that West specifically named “President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, the chairman of the Democrat National Committee [Debbie Wasserman-Schultz]” to “take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States.”

Nonetheless, West has made a practice of lobbing incendiary rhetoric across the aisle and then blaming the news media for the resulting backlash. Reacting to Fox pundit Bob Beckel’s demand that West apologize, a somewhat thin-skinned West shot back, “I think Bob Beckel owes me an apology for saying that he would not refer to me as a congressional representative nor as a lieutenant colonel, retired.”

O’Reilly: The Muppets ‘better watch it’

VA Lawmaker Adds Male Anal Exam Fairness Rule To New Abortion Law

Hero Virginia state Senator Janet Howell responded to another one of these stoopid bills requiring women seeking an abortion to first undergo a medically pointless ultrasound with a very smart amendment: every man seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction would also by law have to undergo a rectal exam and heart test to get a Viagra prescription. This way, everyone can enjoy the experience of having their nether parts unnecessarily prodded by the cold, uncomfortable indifference of lawmakers’ whims equally. Fair’s fair! READ MORE »

VA lawmaker attaches rectal exam provision to anti-abortion bill

Virginia state Sen. Janet Howell (D) thinks that if the government is going to force women to undergo medically unnecessary tests, then it is only fair to apply the same standards to men.

McConnell’s Revisionist History: Congress Gave Obama Everything He Wanted!


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has embraced the argument that President Obama was able to pass every bit of his legislative agenda in his first two years thanks to large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. It’s intended as a counterpoint to the President’s re-election strategy of attacking the congressional GOP as do-nothing obstructionists. But it’s also a revisionist history of the 111th Congress, during which McConnell more than any other Republican in Washington stood athwart Obama’s agenda to great effect.

The White House has “been trying to pretend like the President just showed up yesterday, just got sworn in and started fresh,” McConnell declared Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “In fact, he’s been in office for three years. He got everything he wanted from a completely compliant Congress for two of those three years… We are living in the Obama economy.”

This isn’t a new claim for McConnell, but it’s audacious even by Washington’s lax standards. It was McConnell, after all, who led Senate Republicans in serial filibusters — a record-setting number — successfully thwarting large chunks of Obama’s agenda.

By forcing Democrats to find 60 votes to nearly every action, McConnell and his members were able to block major initiatives including climate change and immigration reform bills, various appropriations bills, myriad presidential appointments, and arguably also a Democratic effort to let the Bush tax cuts expire for high incomes. Meanwhile, big legislative items that did pass, such as health care reform and the economic stimulus package, were notably scaled back as a result of the GOP filibusters.

McConnell debuted this line of attack last October when Obama began calling out congressional Republicans. “He owned the Congress for the first two years,” he told reporters at the time. “They did everything he wanted. Everything. The only thing they forgot to do — I don’t know why they overlooked this — they forgot to raise taxes.”

What the Kentucky Republican neglected to mention is that Democrats mounted a December 2010 push to end the Bush-era tax cuts on income over $250,000, and for millionaires. The GOP prevented both measures from achieving the 60-vote supermajority required to beat back a filibuster.

McConnell’s Senate minority also thwarted the majority in the Democrats’ DREAM Act, which failed late in 2010 even though they had 55 votes in support.

Senate Republicans blocked key appropriations bills in December 2010 — a gambit that touched off the government shutdown fight in spring of 2011. They prevented confirmation of key bureaucrats, including Donald Berwick, Obama’s pick to run the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Berwick was awarded a rare recess appointment, and led implementation of the health care law until last month as a result. Most others weren’t so lucky.

On the stimulus package, President Obama’s initial proposal was well over $800 billion in new spending and tax breaks, but the 60-vote requirement shrank it to well under $800 billion. GOP opposition to health care reform was a key obstacle to a public insurance option and remained a source of partisan vitriol for months.

McConnell candidly explained the strategy behind the obstruction early 2011, after reaping the benefits in the midterm elections. “We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,” he told The Atlantic’s Josh Green, arguing that it was important to deny Dems any claim to bipartisanship. “When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there’s a broad agreement that that’s the way forward.”

Beyond limiting Obama’s ability to govern, McConnell’s wall of obstruction had the ancillary effect of damaging the President’s public image, as the unified GOP opposition helped them characterize Obama as a polarizing partisan. McConnell, who has said his “single most important” goal is to make Obama a one-term president, is now trying to cash in further politically by claiming that his successful campaign of opposition had no impact on Obama’s governance.

The political potency of McConnell’s argument is obvious: If Obama did everything he wanted in his first two years, it follows that his broadsides against Republicans ought to be ignored. In reality, Republicans had a significant impact on policymaking in 2009 and 2010 — and that was largely thanks to McConnell himself.

Venezuela Welcomes Home Final Shipment Of Repatriated Gold Reserves

CARACAS (Dow Jones)--Venezuelan officials completed a two-month process of repatriating 160 tons of the country's gold holdings Monday, by welcoming home the final shipment of the precious metal from Europe.

Declaring the process a "mission accomplished," government officials and state news crews met the 14-ton load at a Caracas area airport and heralded the televised event as a boost to national sovereignty.

Beginning late November, the government of President Hugo Chavez called back to the central bank's vaults in Caracas about three-quarters of the roughly 211 tons of the country's gold reserves that were stored in U.S., European and Canadian banks.........

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tennessee Restaurant Throws Out Anti-Gay Lawmaker

Tennessee Restaurant Throws Out Anti-Gay Lawmaker

A restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee refused to serve state Sen. Stacey Campfield, the man who sponsored the state’s “don’t say gay” bill, compared homosexuality to bestiality, and most recently told Michelangelo Signorile that it’s virtually impossible to spread HIV/AIDS through heterosexual sex. “I hope that Stacy Campfield now knows what if feels like to be unfairly discriminated against,” the Bistro at the Bijou wrote on its Facebook wall on Sunday. The restaurant has received an overwhelmingly positive response.

Allen West To Liberals, President Obama: ‘Get The Hell Out Of The United States Of America’


Just days after President Obama reiterated his call for an end to partisan gridlock in Washington, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) delivered an incendiary speech at the Palm Beach County GOP Party Lincoln Day Dinner in West Palm Beach calling on prominent Democrats to “get the hell out” of America:

This is a battlefield that we must stand upon and we need to let president Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, the chairman of the Democrat National Committee [Debbie Wasserman-Schultz], we need to let them know that Florida is not on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, and take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.

West went on to say further that he “will not allow President Obama to take the United States of America and destroy it.”

At a time when a rising number of Americans see a major conflict between the rich and the poor and feel that too much power lies in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations, nearly two-thirds of the country (66 percent) would be obliged to follow President Obama out of the door.

This 10-minute speech in West Palm Beach is only the latest controversy in a string of rhetorical hiccups for West. Most recently, he slammed critics who condemned the actions of a group of U.S. Marines who urinated on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters, referred curiously to undocumented immigration as an “invasion,” and marked the repeal of DADT as the harbinger of America’s military decline. Just a month ago, West chided President Obama for his use of “divisive rhetoric” when speaking about “equality and fairness” as he felt such words were contrary to “liberty and [the] pursuit of happiness.”

Metallica - Wherever I May Roam

Metallica - Am I Evil?

Muppets Kermit & Miss Piggy Respond To Charges By Fox News Muppets

It is important that you watch this crucial Fox News Business report on the evil of the beloved Muppets, even if you already saw this clip in December. Why? Because the Muppets have finally responded to these treasonous charges, at a press conference — Miss Piggy even did a SMACKDOWN on the Fox News idiots. It’s a good thing Fox News viewers are all 67-year-old white trash sitting in their soon-to-be repo’d double-wides, because otherwise they would probably stop buying Muppet toys and movies! READ MORE »

Vitter attacks CNN for comparing his sex scandal to Gingrich’s

Brewer Has History Of Getting Facts Wrong

Trouble With The Truth

Back in 2010 as she defended her state’s harsh immigration law, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) told a newspaper reporter that she was deeply hurt by the terrible names people were calling her. The worst, she said, were the comparisons to the Nazis.

“They are awful,” she said. “Knowing that my father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany, that I lost him when I was 11 because of that…and then to have them call me Hitler’s daughter. It hurts. It’s ugliness beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.”

The problem, as many discovered after the quote went viral, was that it wasn’t true. Brewer’s father had in fact died of lung disease in California in 1955, a decade after WWII ended.

As Brewer now faces the fact that another one of her stories is coming under question, this one involving an encounter she had with President Obama, a pattern appears to emerging in her career: The popular conservative bomb thrower often has trouble with the truth.

The governor made the rounds on the cable news networks last week, talking about her run-in with the president on an airport tarmac near Phoenix.

Brewer called it a “tense” encounter in which Obama criticized her book and then walked away from her while she was in mid-sentence. But two other officials who witnessed the encounter said Obama was nothing but calm and described the event as little more than an “awkward moment.”

Still, the governor has used her version of the encounter to get plenty of air time, seeing an increase in sales of her book which she has called a “truth telling” tome. Amazon ranked “Scorpions for Breakfast” at No. 7 on its best sellers list on Friday. The day of the event, the book had been at No. 343,222.

On Friday, her spokesman told TPM the governor is standing by her version of events. But that spokesman, Matthew Benson, also acknowledged the governor has stumbled on certain facts in the past.

“She’s also been in political life for nearly three decades,” Benson said. “Has she ever said things that she wish she’d said more precisely? Of course.”

“I imagine President Obama would say the same thing,” he added.

In the past, when Brewer has been confronted about inaccurate statements, her first move has been to maintain she was right no matter how clear the matter was.

When a journalist for the Arizona Guardian first pointed out the discrepancy between how Brewer’s father actually died and what she had told another news organization, the governor got angry.

“There is no way I have ever misled anybody,” she said. “You’re trying to make a liar out of me.”

Later that same year, the governor went on Fox News to decry the effect illegal immigration was having on her state. Among the problems, she said, were that people were getting their heads cut off.

“We cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, everything from the crime and to the drugs and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings,” she told Fox’s Greta Van Susteren.

When quizzed about the fact that no beheadings had been reported in Arizona at that point, Brewer doubled down on the statement.

“Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert, either buried or just lying out there, that have been beheaded,” she said.

Neither she nor her office could point to an example of when anything like that had taken place. However, she continued to maintain for the next four months that she had not misspoken. Then in November of 2010, just days before her election, she relented.

“That was an error,” she said, then added: “if I said that.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Real Time Panel Embarrasses Dana Rohrabacher After He Claims Obama Wants ‘To Gut The Military’


On HBO’s Real Time Friday night, host Bill Maher said the Republicans “were such sour pusses” during President Obama’s State of the Union speech last week. “Just in your own self interest, wouldn’t it be good to fake it when he’s talking about American succeses?” Maher wondered. Panelist Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) told Maher why the Republicans were in such a foul mood:

ROHRABACHER: Here we have a president of the United States who is just profusely saying how wonderful he thinks of the military and we know, all of us who are sitting in the audience, he’s trying to gut the military!

Maher, co-panelists Kennedy from Reason TV, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir and even the audience joined in to collectively chastise the California Republican for his blatantly false claim. “That’s absolutely not true,” Kennedy said, later adding, “I love the military. I like my SEALs groomed and ready to go but you have to tell the truth.”

“Can I give you the facts?” Maher asked Rohrabacher. “So far every budget Obama has had has increased military spending,” he said. “This year they’re asking a reduction from $531 billion to $525 billion, 1.6 percent. You mean our freedom is in trouble because of that 1.6 percent?” Maher later added, “How paranoid do you have to be to say that this guy is gutting our military?” Watch the clip:.............................................

Norquist: Republicans Will Impeach Obama If He Doesn’t Extend Bush Tax Cuts


Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist has long held a tight grip on the marionette strings of the GOP. Wielding undue influence as the head of the Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist ensures that Republican lawmakers sign his anti-tax pledge and threatens them with electoral defeat should they even think of deviating from it. Norquist has marked a successful few years, killing the deficit super committee agreement, batting down a tax increase on millionaires, and, of course, ensuring the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Pleased with his headway, Norquist is now mapping out how he can ensure further anti-tax victories by securing Republican majorities. In an interview with the National Journal, he mused that a GOP mandate would obviously enact an extension of the Bush tax cuts, work to maintain a repatriation holiday for corporate profits, and even pass House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan that jeopardizes Medicare. But when asked what Republicans should do if faced with a Democratic majority that won’t keep the tax cuts, Norquist had a simple answer: “impeach” Obama.

NJ: What if the Democrats still have control? What’s your scenario then?

NORQUIST: Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach. The last year, he’s gone into this huddle where he does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress.

Norquist certainly revels in his power, but suggesting Republicans impeach the president over tax cuts is wildly outlandish. According to the constitution, the president, vice president, or public officials can only be impeached for “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Preserving a tax cut that gives more to the top 1 percent than the average income of the 99 percent hardly qualifies. But if Norquist’s only goal is to “crush the other team,” it seems he’ll stop at nothing to do so.

2012 Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona Spotters Guide

Click on Pict to Enlarge

Indiana welfare drug testing bill withdrawn after lawmakers included


A bill proposed by one Indiana Republican has been withdrawn after its provision to drug test recipients of government largesse was widened to include lawmakers themselves, according to Arthur Delany at The Huffington Post.

Republican lawmaker Judd McMillan (R-Brookville) removed the bill from consideration by the Indiana General Assembly after Democratic colleagues amended it, but, the Republican says, he intends to reintroduce it on Monday once he has reworked it.

“I’ve only withdrawn it temporarily,” said McMillan, stating that he crafted the bill to elude questions of constitutionality with regards to illegal search and seizure, issues that caused a Florida judge to overturn a similar rule earlier this year.

McMillan’s bill includes a “tiered” testing system, by which some people can opt out of random testing, but will be tested if the government deems that there is “reasonable suspicion” that they may be engaged in drug use. Testing could be triggered by an applicant’s demeanor, arrest or conviction for a crime, or failure to make appointments mandated by the welfare office.......

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Murdoch staff arrested, office searched in probe

Detectives on Saturday searched the offices of Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun and arrested four journalists and a policeman in a widening probe into the bribing of police for information.

Washington state marijuana legalization headed for ballot

(Reuters) Supporters of legalizing marijuana for recreational use have submitted enough signatures to put the matter to voters in Washington state in a bold move that, if successful, could put Olympia on a collision course with the federal government.

The group New Approach Washington submitted nearly 278,000 valid signatures for the measure, more than required to put it on the November ballot, David Ammons, a spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State’s office, said in a statement.

The move comes as federal prosecutors have sought to crank up pressure on several mostly western states, including Washington, that have legalized medical marijuana even as cannibis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law............

Friday, January 27, 2012

Palin Defends ‘Angry Little Muffin’ Newt Against Right-Wing ConspiracyInternet mean girl Sarah Palin is forgoing her usual illiterate tweeting in orde

Internet mean girl Sarah Palin is forgoing her usual illiterate tweeting in order to defend, on teevee, Newt Gingrich, a multimedia huckster who may or may not have illegally promised Palin a cabinet position in his fantasy moon presidency.

The former governor must have really pissed someone off at Fox because she’s been relegated to commentating on some closed-circuit feed called Fox Business News, where she told John Stossel that the establishment (BOO!) is “trying to crucify this man and rewrite history and rewrite what it is that he has stood for all these years.” Never change, Sarah. Never change! READ MORE »

Tennessee Bigot: AIDS Caused By One Monkey-Loving Airline Pilot

Arguably the worst person permitted to make laws on behalf of America, Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield, author of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, recently took part in an interview on Sirius in which he not only defended his already nightmarish views on homosexuality and AIDS, but pushed his insane agenda even farther, twisting the knife all the way through the chest of America and then pulling it out the other side.

And then pushing it back through to create a nice big hole, putting his arm through, waving, making an obscene gesture, etc. Campfield, who evidently grows wild carnivorous rose bushes in his office and has blocked access to every site on the Internet that is not (gay) porn, first of all reminds Sirius OutQ’s “The Gist” show host Michelangelo Signorile that AIDS is all the fault of one monkey-loving airline pilot. It gets wooo-orse. READ MORE »

Conservatives Dumb, Says Science

NEW YORK—Hey look! It’s that time of year again, and the semi-annual release of some or another study claiming that conservatives are stupid has finally landed on liberal doorsteps across America. Perfect timing, really! Since, you know, the one thing the country needs right now more than just about anything else is yet another excuse to avoid the hard work of looking at those we disagree with as equal partners in a national conversation, people who we must engage with and convince—and, oh, maybe as a result challenge ourselves to check our work and, you know, make better arguments!

But hey, now we can all let ourselves off the hook and just deride them as all a bunch of idiots who aren’t even worth talking to in the first place. Thank you, science! Yes, this is quite obviously how we will move forward together as a nation. (It was the dramatic improvement in the quality of the national discourse evidenced after the last two dozen times a study like this was published that gives us so much faith.) READ MORE »

North Carolina Representative: Let’s Bring Back Public Hangings

Republican Representative Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County, NC thinks, sort of like Newt Gingrich did back in the ’90s, that capital punishment is the only way to scare people like “abortionists, rapists and kidnappers” (what, no murderers?) into being better citizens (and more conservative). But Pittman goes a step further than Newt: he thinks we should bring back public hanging. It’s the only way, etc.

Well, about every 36 seconds a Republican calls for the return of some barbaric practice or another, so big deal. But Pittman had a funny way of expressing his views: not boldly or proudly, in front of his fellow lawmakers or at the very least, atop a milk crate in some park, but in an e-mail that he accidentally sent to every member of the General Assembly of North Carolina. Ah, well. READ MORE

2nd Mayor Says Obama ‘Wasn’t Tense At All’ During Brewer Encounter


Out of the three officials who met President Obama on an airport tarmac near Phoenix earlier this week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is now the only one who has characterized the president as anything other than cordial.

In numerous TV and radio interviews since the meeting, Brewer has said the president was “tense to say the least” and took issue with a book she wrote last year. She said Obama walked away from her while she was in mid-sentence and even told one Phoenix television station she felt “a little bit threatened” by the encounter........................

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Romney Omitted Funds Held In Offshore Tax Havens From Ethics Forms

Romney Omitted Funds Held In Offshore Tax Havens From Ethics Forms

A now-closed Swiss bank account and at least 23 investment funds listed in former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R) recently released tax returns were not listed in his most recent financial disclosure forms, which are required to run for office. Among the unlisted funds were 11 based in offshore tax havens like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and Luxembourg, the Los Angeles Times reported today, and many are associated with Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney co-founded. According to the Times, Romney’s campaign dismissed the discrepancies as “trivial” but said they will have to make “some minor technical amendments” to Romney’s disclosure forms.

Newt Gingrich Pledges Moon Base to Aid Interplanetary Tourism Sector

NEW YORK—So here is a thing that happened: Newt Gingrich said four preposterous things yesterday in the span of a single sentence. Let’s parse it! “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.” Ok, first: a moon base! Which, right, is just patently ridiculous.

But moving on: it will be American! Because of course it would be, or, well, at least when you’re the sort of person who will not rest until the entirety of the Middle East is remade in the American image. Thirdly: Newt suggested he will actually get elected president. (LOL, etc.) And fourthly! Newt suggested he will actually get elected president TWICE. (LOL squared, etc.) READ MORE »

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

U.S. Plummets In International Press Freedom Rankings Due To Violence Against Reporters Covering Occupy Movement

U.S. Plummets In International Press Freedom Rankings Due To Violence Against Reporters Covering Occupy Movement

Today, Reporters Without Borders released their annual Press Freedom Index, a leading assessment of how well countries are living up to principles of transparency and media freedom. It had nothing but bad news for the U.S., which dropped precipitously in the rankings to 47th place. The report bluntly explained that the U.S. “owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.” Indeed, the U.S. fell almost as much as Bahrain, which was penalized for its brutal crackdown on reporters covering popular movements for government reform. The U.S. now ranks behind countries not typically known for media freedom, including Niger, Namibia, South Africa and Romania.

Zombie Voters Latest Scourge to Terrorize SC GOP’s Imagination

We all know that Democrats are forever trying to let poor and minority people be allowed to vote, which, you know, huge SCANDAL already right there, but have you heard about the latest Republican voter “fraud” outrage du jour? ZOMBIES, VOTING! (Vampires: so last year.)

South Carolina’s DMV director Kevin Shwedo, a Nikki “what massive state unemployment rate” Haley appointee, produced a list of 957 dead people who he claims managed against all odds to vote in South Carolina’s primary last weekend.

This conclusively proves the need for a voter ID, in order to help poll workers better determine whether the person standing before them at the registration desk is or is not a member of the undead. Shwedo won’t let anyone from the state’s election commission see the list of names, of course, maybe because the whole six names he did hand over to the commission were investigated and did not turn out to be cases of fraud at all? READ MORE »

Davos elite confronts crisis of Western capitalism


Leaders of the global business elite were confronted on Wednesday with the fear that the Western model of capitalism has failed and is about to be shoved aside by emerging powers.

Over four decades, the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos has become an emblem of the triumphant market but this year delegates admitted that state capitalism on the Chinese model is in the ascendant.

Four days of public debate and private networking kicked off with a stark warning from a panel of experts that the historic motors of the 20th century global economy will have to reform or die.

“I think we have three to four years in the West to improve theeconomic model that we have, and if we don’t do that soon I think we’ve lost the game,” warned David Rubenstein, managing director of the Carlyle investment fund.

The 62-year-old billionaire has done very well out of financial capitalism, the US firm paid him a $134 million annual bonus this month, but he warned that the West needs to get its deficits under control and return to growth.

“If we don’t do that soon, when we are here in three to four years … the game will be over for the type of capitalism that many of us have lived through and thought was the best type of capitalism,” Rubenstein said.

Global labour leader Sharan Burrow, general secretary of theInternational Trade Union Confederation, urged corporations and governments to work with workers to develop a new economic model — and warned of a backlash............................

Comedy Saved: Michele Bachmann Running for Congress Again

Were you, like us, very ultra super secretly sighing to yourself — under your breath when you were absolutely sure no one could hear you — hasn’t this campaign season gotten sorta boring since Michele Bachmann dropped out?

WELL SIGH NO MORE: her surrealist sideshow is coming BACK following Michele’s announcement today that she will run for re-election to Congress! Will the voters of Minnesota’s 6th District once again choose to be represented by a whacked out, pill-snarfing lunatic screamer over any other available adult human? True, it’s not like America will be in any DANGER if she wins again — she never actually does anything in Congress, ever.

She is more like very expensive, taxpayer-funded entertainment. But hey, maybe Minnesota’s 6th District is feeling flush again this year? UPDATE: HAHA oh god we love it, Michele Bachmann has no idea what words mean in English and went on Fox News to qualify her initial statement of “yes” with more of a “maybe definitely yes” declaration of non-candidacy candidacy. Who knows! READ MORE »

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunday Morning Talk Shows Featured Twice As Many Republicans As Dems Last Year


The Sunday morning political talk shows have long played a key role in American political discourse, providing a venue for balanced discussion about key political topics. But in 2011 at least, they were heavily skewed to one political party over the other. According to a new analysis of shows like Meet the Press from Roll Call, Republican lawmakers appeared nearly twice as often as Democratic ones last year, and held a smaller advantage in previous years:

In 2009 and 2010, Republican Members held a small advantage over Democratic Members in appearances on these programs, getting 52 percent of the invites in both years. In both years, CBS had more Democrats as guests than Republicans by a narrow margin; in the same period, Fox News had more Republican guests by a wider margin.

But in 2011, the GOP lawmakers captured 64 percent of the Congressional appearances on the five shows that Roll Call tracks, and every network featured more Republican lawmakers than Democrats. Of 330 Congressional appearances tallied by Roll Call last year, 210 went to Republicans and only 120 went to Democrats — fewer if you subtract the eight appearances made by Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent who caucuses with Democrats.

Certainly, some imbalance could be expected given that Republicans control the House and have a presidential primary contest, but the disparity could arguably be too great to explain this way. Michael Shanahan, assistant director of the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, offered another explanation: “Democrats aren’t all that interesting.” In other words, producers find that Democrats provide less entertainment value. Either way, it means that viewers will get disproportional exposure to one world view.

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a pattern on the Sunday morning talk shows, especially for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is famous for his ubiquitousness on Sunday mornings, making at least 53 appearances on Meet the Press alone.

The finding also undercuts the pervasive conservative myth about the media possessing a liberal bias. That is, unless one believes that more chances Republicans get to express their views the more they hurt themselves.

Fact Sheet Responding to Republican “No Budget” Claims

Republican Claims That the Senate Has Not Passed a Budget Are WRONG

(Prepared by Majority Staff, Senate Budget Committee)

It is wrong to assert that there is no budget. The Budget Control Act enacted in August contained the budget for this year. It was passed by both the House and Senate, signed by the President, and enacted into law.

The Budget Control Act achieved all of the essential elements of a traditional budget – setting discretionary caps, providing enforcement mechanisms, and creating a process for addressing entitlement spending and revenues.

In many ways, the Budget Control Act was even more extensive than a traditional budget:

It has the force of law, unlike a budget resolution that is not signed by the President.
It set discretionary caps for 10 years, instead of the one year normally set in a budget resolution.
It provided enforcement mechanisms, including a two-year “deemer,” allowing budget points of order to be enforced.
And it addressed entitlement spending and revenues by creating the “Super Committee,” which was given explicit authority to reform entitlements and the tax code. The Super Committee process represented an enhanced version of the reconciliation process that can be established under a budget resolution. And it was further backed up with a $1.2 trillion sequester.

Republican rhetoric aside, Congress did pass a budget. The Republican-controlled House passed it; the Democratic Senate passed it; and the President signed it. The Budget Control Act set 10 years of spending caps; it established a two-year “deemer” to enforce spending levels; and it created a reconciliation-like process to consider entitlement and tax reform.

The Budget Control Act, passed by the Senate in August, set the federal budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 – a fact acknowledged in recent months by leading Senate Republicans:

Sen. Collins Called the Budget Control Act a “Budget Agreement” and a “Budget Plan.” “The budget agreement also requires a vote on a balanced budget Constitutional amendment by the end of the year…While I supported the budget plan recently passed by Congress, I did so with serious reservations.” [Collins Column, 8/5/11]

Sen. Grassley Called the Budget Control Act a “Budget Agreement.” “We should be doing those things not only in this budget agreement, this deficit reduction agreement, but in all the decisions we make in the Congress.” [Congressional Record, 8/1/11]

Sen. Alexander Called the Budget Control Act a “Budget Agreement.” “The budget agreement we came to in August pretty well got 40 percent of the budget under control, the part we call discretionary spending – everything from national defense to national parks. It’s only growing at about the rate of inflation over the next 10 years.” [NPR, 9/22/11]

CHART – The Cost Of War: Iraq Versus Libya


Sarah Palin Under the Impression That Chris Christie Wears ‘Panties’

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the supposed-to-have-run of the Republican party, declared Newt Gingrich to be an “embarrassment” to the party during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press this past weekend, so as usual a Republican is embarrassed by America, since Newt, you know, won the South Carolina primary with many more votes than John McCain won in 2008.

To this remark, Fox News loiterer Sarah Palin condescendingly forgave Christie immediately — “Poor Chris. That was a rookie mistake” — but at the same time suggested that the New Jersey governor was getting his “panties in a wad,” though this is probably a requirement/side effect of joining the Romney campaign. Romney himself prefers long chastity underwear, worn inside out, with the buttons on the inside to make access by others more difficult. READ MORE »

Sarah Palin Movie … Nominated For An Oscar?

Can the Wasilla Grifter possibly get another five minutes added to her expired fifteen minutes of infamy? Well, yes, of course. Besides, her fifteen minutes actually turned out to be three-and-a-half years, which is pretty substantial for an aging snowbilly grandma whose one and only talent was being less physically repulsive than John McCain, back in 2008.

Anyway, that awful feature-length commercial for Palin’s nonexistent presidential campaign, Undefeated, has been nominated for an Academy Award (TM) … and not even in the expected categories of Animated Feature Film or Hilarious Costume Design.

UPDATE FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS ABOUT MOVIES: Ha, thank Christ, it’s a different movie also called the same thing, Undefeated. Whew. READ MORE »

Monday, January 23, 2012

Guns N' Roses - Civil War

Democratic Operative's Cat Slaughtered, 'Liberal' Painted On Corpse

WASHINGTON -- The race for the Arkansas' third congressional district took a gruesome turn on Sunday, when the campaign manager for Democratic challenger Ken Aden came home and found his cat slaughtered with the word "liberal" painted on the corpse.

According to a press release sent out by the Aden campaign, "The family pet, an adult, mixed-breed Siamese cat, had one side of its head bashed in to the point the cat's eyeball was barely hanging from its socket. The perpetrators scrawled 'liberal' across the cat's body and left it on the doorstep of [Jacob] Burris' house."

Burris, Aden's campaign manager, told The Huffington Post that it was his 5-year-old son who first saw the atrocity. He had taken his children out to fill the family car with gas before going to church, and the young boy was the first one out of the vehicle when they returned..............

The Canada Party - "Meet The Canada Party"

Tennessee Tea Party Don’t Want No Talk o’ Slavery In Them Schoolbooks

Tennessee teabaggers are growing tired of being corrected by their fifth-grade relatives every darn time they get a notion to holler some about how Thomas Jefferson was human history’s inventor of freedom — maybe it’s time to LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD, HMMM KIDS?

The state’s tea party leadership made an indignant request to the state legislature demanding schools quit teaching children that the Founding Fathers owned slaves or killed Indians or made any mistakes whatsoever at any time, which they expressed with a statement notable firstly for its losing battle with grammar and syntax: “We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”

It has sort of a drunk Yoda ring to it, no? “Compel to teach the truth the students we will!” And then it’s pretty much downhill from there. READ MORE »

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Newtmania! Gingrich Wins South Carolina, Will Lose 80%-20% To Obama

That was faster than dumping an ex-wife in the cancer ward! Whining jewelry piglet and serial divorcing sac of ethics violations Newt Gingrich has just been projected as the Big Wiener of the South Carolina confederate primary.

Should we live blog this historic moment, which comes exactly 15 years after the last historic moment for Gingrich? That was when he “became the first Speaker of the House to be disciplined for his ethics violations by his own colleagues,” a violation that cost the Newt $300,000 in penalties — enough to buy a suitcase of tacky Tiffany bling for at least one more new adulteress! READ MORE »

Romney camp marks anniversary of Gingrich House reprimand

The Hill

Is the date Jan. 21 about to be a lot brighter for Newt Gingrich?

As South Carolina votes Saturday, Mitt Romney’s campaign sent a press release wishing Gingrich a “happy anniversary” for the House decision to reprimand him, which happened on Jan. 21, 1997.

Headlined “Happy 15th Anniversary, Mr. Speaker,” the release said, “Fifteen years ago today, Newt Gingrich became the first House speaker in American history to be reprimanded by his colleagues.”

Gingrich was investigated for tax irregularities and for campaign finance disclosure violations in the late 1990s. The matter, conducted when Republicans controlled the House, was settled when Gingrich paid a $300,000 fine and was reprimanded for violating House rules............

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mitt Washes His Magic Underwear For Good Luck in South Carolina Primary

Look at Mitt Romney in South Carolina today trying so hard to operate a small container of laundry detergent like he knows how it works, AW. No no, Mitt, the machine does not have change for a fifty, QUIT jamming the bill into the coin slot. Sigh. What were the other candidates up to? READ MORE »

Newt Gingrich taking a nap between campaign stops ...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Newt Gingrich’s Tawdry Affairs Secretly a Sign of Moral Strength

For anyone out there who continues to be nauseated by Newt Gingrich’s lifelong pattern of deception, adultery, selfishness and cruelty toward his wives, you’re just looking at it wrong! What his affairs actually demonstrate, when you really think about it, are his psychological strength and fitness for office.

Huh? Oh come on now, Slate, you don’t need to be THAT contraria– OH WAIT, no, it’s screechy FOX NEWS family values thug Keith Ablow! And he has a very novel idea about morality to share: if you ignore it completely, Newt Gingrich is pretty much the only guy a right-wing social conservative voter should want to support. READ MORE »

Newspaper Editor Suggests Israel Assassinate Obama

Andrew Adler, who owns an Atlanta-based newspaper called the Atlanta Jewish Times, wrote an op-ed last week in which he theorized on what Israel could do about its relationship with the United States vis à vis Iran. As Adler sees it, Israel has three options, and one of them involves “ordering a hit on” President Obama. Uhhhh. READ MORE »

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Moralizing’s High Cost


Multiple marriages and even adultery are not automatic disqualifications for the presidency. If they were, the country would have a very different roster of former presidents and candidates. But when a political party decides that moralizing about personal conduct is as important as public policy, it inevitably makes some of its leaders vulnerable to the worst charges of hypocrisy.

In this political cycle, it is Newt Gingrich who has been unable to escape the toxic combination of infidelity and sermonizing. The stories about his three marriages have been known for years, but every time he seems to have escaped the wrath of Republican voters, they rise again.

On Thursday, they were resurrected by his second wife, Marianne, who told ABC News that he had sought an “open marriage” arrangement in 1999 so that he could have her blessing to conduct an affair while remaining married to her. She refused, the couple divorced, and the woman he had been seeing is now his third wife, Callista Gingrich, who accompanies him everywhere on the campaign trail. Mr. Gingrich later denied the claim.

Marianne Gingrich’s most devastating memory is that the day after his request, Mr. Gingrich gave a speech entitled, “The Demise of American Culture.” Among other things, he said in the speech that the elimination of prayer in schools had left American teenagers morally adrift.

Thirteen years later, campaigning for president, Mr. Gingrich is still trying to tell Americans how to run their lives. He supports a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. He accuses Mitt Romney of being insufficiently anti-abortion, even pointing out that Mr. Romney expanded access to abortion pills. He lectures black people about valuing jobs and children in the purgatory of housing projects for lacking a work ethic. He signed a personal pledge to, at long last, “uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse.”

The abundant contradictions here are troubling even to some of his most fervent supporters. At a town-hall-style session in Beaufort, S.C., on Thursday, a former Marine drill instructor took the microphone to call Mr. Gingrich as inspiring as Winston Churchill — but also to tell him he remained troubled by his “lapses in personal judgment.” The Marine wondered how Mr. Gingrich could face President Obama in the fall with his past.

Mr. Gingrich responded that he knew the issue would dog him through the campaign, but that he and his wife decided “the country was worth the pain.” He told the Marine — and all voters struggling with the same question — that the decision was one that “you have to make.”

It’s magnanimous of him to be willing to allow voters to decide for themselves on the importance of his moral choices, since he and his party have been so unwilling to allow the public to make its own moral choices.

For too many Republicans, it’s not enough that Americans are free to pray in the house of worship of their choice; they want all children to be required to pray in school. They want to impose their own ideas about sexuality and abortion on everyone. And they love to accuse Democrats of being insufficiently pious. (Rick Perry’s exit from the race on Thursday may mean no more ads accusing President Obama of a “war on religion” and liberals of believing faith is a sign of weakness. Or, it may not, depending on how desperate the other candidates get.)

When Republican officials then get caught violating one of the Ten Commandments, they make an enormous show of contrition and repentance and ask for the public’s forgiveness. But as the hypocrisy level continues to rise, that forgiveness may become much harder to provide.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Facts About President Obama's Energy Record

Gingrich’s Latest Target: Elitist Apartment-Dwelling Subway Riders

In a speech at a rally for the National Association of Home Builders last Thursday, posing in front of an unbuilt home that no one will ever buy because no one can get a mortgage, alleged fiscal conservative Newt Gingrich argued on behalf of home ownership and government support of it, and in the process ridiculed people who ride the subway, of which there are apparently some in this country.

Gingrich determined that people who ride the subway also don’t own homes, and lazily take public transportation that, well, their tax dollars help pay for from their “high-rise apartments” to their jobs at “fancy newspapers in the middle of town.” These elitist assholes don’t see the value of owning their own home (or owning their own job?), Gingrich surmised. Maybe they should just…like…move to Paris! Where there is more subway than there is Subway, and where being a snob doesn’t get you verbally excommunicated by a windbag with too much time on his hands. READ MORE »

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scott Walker Bravely Flees Wisconsin on Recall Petition Deadline Day

Organizers of Wisconsin’s effort to recall remorseless demon Scott Walker from office are said to be dumping three thousand pounds of petition signatures off with election officials today per the collection deadline, hooray! Scott Walker is taking the news exactly like the comical cartoon villain that he is, and he immediately flew to New York City to hide/sob among his only friends, filthy aging kleptocrats. And, of course, to beg for their money. READ MORE »

Romney’s Tax Rate Is About the Same As Congress’s Approval Rating

During a campaign stop in Florence, SC Tuesday, fresh off yet another night of news articles called “Focus Is On Romney at ______ Debate,” Mitt Romney told reporters that he believes his current tax rate is 15 percent. Yeah, that’s right, lower than what most middle class Americans pay annually and two percent higher than the current record-low approval rating of Congress.

The reason? Why, vulture capitalism, of course: most of Romney’s income is from his investments in the smelly carcasses of former companies. As he’s proudly told reporters, he’s been “unemployed” since he left the Massachusetts governor’s office in 2007, meaning all of his income is coming from ancient investments, which is typically part of the deal when you are paid to “turn around” a company. READ MORE »

Monday, January 16, 2012

Colbert Super PAC: Mitt Romney Is a Serial Killer

Stephen Colbert’s super PAC released an attack ad in South Carolina this weekend that makes the brilliant connection between Romney’s “corporations are people” comment and the number of jobs he killed while working at Bain Capital. Duh, that would make him A SERIAL KILLER by his own admission, if he ever admitted to anything. The ad (narrated by John Lithgow!) dubs Romney “Mitt the Ripper” and pleads with the people of South Carolina to vote “Not Mitt Romney” in Saturday’s primary. READ MORE »

Beautiful Day - U2

Friday, January 13, 2012

Romney’s Bain Job Count Goes From 100,000 to ‘Thousands’ in Six Days

Faced with attacks from the left, right, leftish, righter and center forward, Mitt Romney has spent his days in South Carolina focusing on trying to make people forget about Bain by talking about it constantly. After Sarah Palin and the rest of the world called out Romney, or at least called on him to get more specific about the alleged 100,000 jobs his work at Bain created, Romney decided to say Thursday that there was “proof” of those jobs on the websites of the companies that he didn’t bankrupt. But for the most part, the “100,000″ is being dropped from the playbook.

In fact, in a matter of six days, it looks like the Romney camp has gone from saying “over a hundred thousand jobs” to “tens of thousands of jobs” to rolls-off-the-tongue “thousands of jobs.” Happy Friday to you. READ MORE »