Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mid-Week Song

Today is rock/blues/jazz vocalist Van Morrison's 65th birthday. Honored with 6 Grammys, induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1993) and Songwriter's Hall of Fame (2003), and awarded the Order of the British Empire (1996), Morrison's early albums, Astral Weeks and Moondance, were considered groundbreaking works. His popular hits include "Brown Eyed Girl," "Domino," and these two classics: the first when he was the lead singer with Them, and the second a mellow solo effort from the early '70s.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's a Wildfire! Pass the Tax Cuts!

O.K., it's satire, but oh so close to teahadist/ Rethuglican Reality (see "Cantor, Rep. Eric "Can't"):
"With a massive wildfire currently raging out of control in his district, Tea Party Caucus member Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) pressed Congress to pass immediate tax breaks Tuesday to combat the rapidly spreading blaze. 'This fire has already burned hundreds of square miles and left thousands of helpless families with only one hope: across-the-board income tax cuts and a sharply lower corporate tax rate,' said Franks, stating that broad-based tax relief would spur investment and extinguish the towering flames that grow larger by the minute. 'We must act now. The longer the oppressive tax burden on honest, hardworking individuals remains unaddressed, the larger and more deadly this fire will become.' According to staffers, Franks plans to honor the nine individuals who have perished in the blaze by introducing additional legislation this week that would eliminate Medicaid."

(h/t Daily Kos)

Department of Unmitigated Gall

The ferocious attack by Rethug politicians in Wisconsin on the collective bargaining rights of public employees is gradually being turned back by voters. With Labor Day approaching, Rethuglican politicians are eager for the voters to develop temporary amnesia and let them strut in Labor Day parades around the State. However, the unions in Wausau are having none of it, and have disinvited elected Rethugs who have opposed union rights from Labor Day parades. One Rethug, Rep. Sean "Puffy" Duffy is crestfallen:
"Having walked in this parade in past years, Congressman Duffy was hoping that for a moment, we could set our differences aside and simply have some fun in a family-friendly event."
Why, yes, the Rethugs say! Let's set aside the fact that our party is doing its daily best to kill unions in the State and nationwide. Let's have a beer and brat together to celebrate labor, which we're trying to destroy the other 364 days of the year! Cheers!

In His Dreams

Former (Vice) President Dick "The Dick" Cheney's memoir, "In My Time," is making its appearance today, and from the initial snippets that have been released to publicize it, it's vintage The Dick: arrogant, delusional, unapologetic, and dishonest. His version of events often diverges from those of his clueless boss, Dumbya, especially surrounding the events of 9/11. Dumbya retold it as a "let's get them" moment; The Dick says Dumbya asked him what to do. The commercial plane shootdown order issued on 9/11? Dumbya says it was his order; The Dick says it came from him. It appears that The Dick's most cutting comments are aimed at Dumbya's two African-American Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice. Under both, The Dick says the State Department worked at cross-purposes with the Administration. A true misogynist, he suggests that Rice was too emotional for the job (nudge nudge -- can't trust those weak wimmen!).

Well, The Dick is gone, but not forgotten. Some of his targets -- notably Powell and Rice -- haven't published their version of events, so there's time for setting the record straight with The Dick.

(photo: The Dick is shown developing material for his memoirs)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Krugman on the "Anti-Knowledge" Party

Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman on the state of the Rethuglican Party, the "anti-science," "anti-knowledge" party:

"Within the G.O.P, willful ignorance has become a litmus test for candidates..."

Why? Because, as any reader of this blog should know, willful ignorance defines the teatard, Rethuglican base.

"Hair"-Brained Keep Digging Comment

Texas Governor and crackpot cowboy Rick "Hair" Perry is refusing to back down from his previous description of Social Security as an unconstitutional "ponzi scheme." Doubling down on dumb, Hair told an audience of wingnuts in Iowa that Social Security was also "a monstrous lie." That should work with senior voters, who turn out in high numbers for elections.

We're pleased to see this big-mouthed dunce keep digging the hole deeper. With the next Rethuglican candidate debate coming in a little over one week, Hair will have an opportunity to do further excavation before a national audience.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Quotables

"The people of this country recognize when a leader is trying to do what is right. Take a stand, he [Martin Luther King, Jr.] would say. Go with your gut. Let the people of this country see that you are fighting for them and they will have your back." -- Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), veteran civil rights leader, in "What Would King Say to Obama?" in today's Kaplan Daily.

"I said to him [Obama], 'Do not look at what is possible -- look at what is necessary...If you only propose what you think they'll [the Rethugs] accept, they control the agenda...You need leadership with a sharp cutting edge to say, 'This is what I stand for, this is what they stand for'...Give them the narrative about why it will work [rather than] 'more of the same, of "we're muddling along.'" -- brother Hackwhacker's friend and AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, today in Milbank's Kaplan Daily op/ed, "When will the Great Nibbler show bite?"

Are you seeing a common thread here?

"Hair"-Brained Cartoon of the Day

This just about sums it up (click to enlarge):

(Drew Sheneman via and Balloon Juice)

Obviously, notwithstanding Irene, the Hackwhackers have the Power!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Al Qaeda's Top Operative Killed

U.S. officials have announced that al Qaeda's operational chief, and number two in their organization, was killed in an August 22 drone strike in Pakistan. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman was a major figure in the organization's apparatus, and was second in command to Ayman al-Zawahiri. He was the key conduit for messages from Osama bin Laden to al Qaeda units around the globe.

With major blows being struck against al Qaeda in recent months, many U.S. officials are saying the organization is nearing its demise. Let's hope that we keep the pressure up, and that the "Arab spring" will make that terrorist organization irrelevant to a new generation.

Rethug Family Values, Salsa-Style

Rethuglican Commonwealth Sen. Roberto "Mucho Hango" Arango from Puerto Rico is following in the proud tradition of self-loathing gay Rethuglican office holders (see yesterday's post, below): the fervently anti-gay Rethug had pictures of him show up on the "gay hook-up site" Grindr. From looking at one of the photos, it appears Sen. Arango wants to be some lucky hombre's catcher. Shocking indeed! Can we now say it's pretty much axiomatic that the more a Rethug politician proclaims his anti-gay bona fides (hee-hee, he said "bona"), the likelier it is that he's a closeted homosexual (not that there's anything wrong with it, except for the transcendent, destructive hypocrisy)?

UPDATE: Adios, "Mucho Hango!".

(Photo: "Mucho Hango" Arango (Rethug-PR) in partying attire (left) and in his closet-wear.)

Just In Case...

This Hackwhacker is already experiencing hinky internet tube issues possibly related to Hurricane Irene. If blogging ceases in the next 24 hours, it's likely due to a power outage, not because we don't love you any more. Yay!

Monterrey Casino Tragedy

At least 52 people, mostly women, were killed in a drug-cartel terrorist attack Thursday on the Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico. The drug-cartel carnage that has taken place in Mexico in the last decade numbs the mind (perhaps as many as 40,000 since 2006 alone), but often only rises to world attention when there's a concentrated loss of life as has occurred in Monterrey. That these were innocent victims of psychopathic killers makes the crime even more horrific.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Good Advice, But Will Obama Listen?

In a new Pew poll out, the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party's favorable ratings are at all-time lows, at 34% (Dems fare better at 43%). Not a big surprise, given their antics during the debt limit fiasco. What is more surprising is the public's view that President Obama needs to push back more on the Rethugs. A plurality of 37% wants him to oppose the Rethug agenda, including some Rethuglicans.

The question now is whether the Administration will respond to the public mood and show some spine in dealing with unpopular Rethug obstruction, or whether they'll continue to give up ground that even the Rethugs haven't asked them to give up.

Weekend Hurricane Song

With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast, let's hope people stay safe and that the water doesn't rise too high!

Rethug Family Values, Cont'd.

Indiana Rethuglican State Rep. Phillip "Kinky" Hinkle apparently is a fan of the "casual encounters between men" section of Craigslist. That wouldn't be especially noteworthy until you understand that Kinky Hinkle is a big "family values" opponent of same-sex marriage. Kinky, 64, is alleged to have offered his 18 year-old male meet-up $80 "for a good time." What's Kinky say to all this? He admits he paid the youth, but that all they did was talk about baseball. Riiiiight! Maybe they were comparing bat sizes. Better work on that explanation a little, Kinky.

(photo: Kinky must have misplaced his catcher's mit)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Hair"-Brained Profit from Death Scheme of the Day

Here's what teatard wet dream Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry (Zombies!-TX) wanted to do back in 2003 to raise a little cash for the Texas State gummint (from the Huffington Post):

"According to the notes, which were authenticated by a meeting participant, the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live. Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.

All they had to do was convince retirees to let UBS buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died, those policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators, and the state, supposedly, would get paid for arranging the bets. The families of the deceased former teachers would get nothing.

The meeting notes offer the most direct evidence that the Perry administration was not only intimately involved with the insurance scheme, but a leading driver of the plan...

The governor’s office was even prepared to put down a little cash up front. If retirees balked at the notion of the state profiting from their deaths, Perry’s budget men suggested they could be persuaded for the cost of a pair of shoes, according to the meeting notes. If a retiree signed a contract allowing the state’s teacher pension fund to buy life insurance on them, the governor was prepared to give them between $50 and $100.

'Precious little for what they were giving up,' said the meeting attendee.

The notes make clear that the governor’s proposal deliberately targeted the elderly. The state was only seeking to take out life insurance on people between the ages of 75 and 90. At a separate meeting five days later, the plan’s proponents discussed the 'mental capacity' of these retirees to grant consent as one of three major technical obstacles to the plan, according to notes from that meeting."

That's thinking out of the, Hair!

Dick of the Month

We Hackwhackers love formally recognizing the truly awful, hence our new "Dick of the Month" award. The inaugural "winner" is Rep. Eric "Can't" Cantor (Dick-VA), that puddle of sleazy goo who represents the Congressional district in Virginia where Tuesday's earthquake was centered. Remember when Cantor infamously declared after the Joplin, MO, tornado that the gummint weren't not never gonna pay for them damages unlessin' there was Spendin' Cuts (One could almost hear the teabaggers cheering "Woo-hoo!", except those in the Joplin area who might've said, "Huh? What was that agin'?")? Well, at least the dick is consistent in his mania to Cut Spendin'! Seems he's telling people in his own district who were affected by the Tuesday earthquake that, nope, no help unlessin' there was Spendin' Cuts! I guess they were just middle class folks, not "job creators!"

Qaddafi's Crush

Libyan rebels ransacking the fortress of Muammar "Daffy" Qaddafi have certainly found some expected things: comic opera uniforms, weapons, etc. What was unexpected was a photo album dedicated to former Bushite Secretary of State Condoleeza "Uncle Ben's" Rice. Apparently, the Libyan lunatic was smitten with the former Secretary, whom he referred to as "my darling black African woman."

Perhaps we can get the former Secretary to act as "bait" to lure Daffy out of his hidey-hole. Those leather boots and tight fitting suits might do the trick that NATO bombs couldn't do.

Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

"Hair"-Brained Book Club, Cont'd.

It turns out that Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry is the author of more than one wingnut work of literature. Although last year's "Fed Up!" has been drawing attention for its far-out statement on Social Security, the Constitution, etc., he wrote a book a few years ago in which he compared homosexuality to alcoholism, putting him squarely in the "you can pray away the gay" camp of the Minnesota Loon and other Talibangelists. He also apparently thinks there's a heretofore undiscovered problem with families who "teach the gay lifestyle" (Gay 101?) as an "acceptable alternative" to heterosexuality.

While this ignorant nonsense goes down well with the mouthbreathing wingers that make up the Rethuglican / New Confederate base, it's rejected by the vast majority of Americans who know better. Again, as we've noted, the more that's known about this cowboy clown, the less likely the all-important independent voters will be to vote for him, should he be the Rethug nominee.

(photo: Hair's been drinking his non-alcoholic Kool Aid again)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quote of the Day

Harold Meyerson in today's Kaplan Daily:

"Republicans like to complain that Democrats practice 'class warfare' and 'the politics of division,' as House GOP leader Eric Cantor argued on this page Monday. What the Republicans’ position on the payroll tax makes high-definitionally clear is their own class warfare on working- and middle-class Americans. Their double standard couldn’t be more obvious: Tax cuts for the wealthy are sacrosanct; tax cuts for everyone else don’t really matter. Norquist, Cantor, Ryan, Camp, the Journal editorialists and the whole Republican crew give hypocrisy a bad name."


Mid-Week Song

After yesterday's east coast earthquake, we were tempted to pick something like "Shake, Rattle and Roll," or "I Felt the Earth Move." Instead, to note the passing of one of rock music's great songwriters, Jerry Leiber, who died earlier this week, we have his beautiful "Stand By Me." Leiber, along with his partner Mike Stoller, wrote such classics as "Hound Dog," "Charlie Brown," "Jailhouse Rock," "On Broadway," "Yakety Yak," and "Love Potion #9." RIP.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Hair"-Brained Book Club

By now, many of us have concluded that Texas Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry is unfit for office higher than county court baliff. Just 9 months ago, Hair published a book, "Fed Up!", which contains some truly bizarre right wing nonsense. Social Security? A "ponzi scheme" that was "violently" forced on the public. Medicare? It violates the Constitution. Now that people are actually reading his book, Hair is on the defensive for these and many other nutty statements, and his spokespeople are spinning and denying.

Hair's loony writings weren't written decades ago; they were written in the last 12 months. The more this cowboy clown is exposed, the more he'll lose ground to centrist voters needed to win a general election.

44-48% of Americans Are Idiots

Here's the proof. You don't have to be a big fan of Obama; you just need to realize that the alternatives are no alternatives at all.


We just had a 5.9 magnitude earthquake here in the DC metro area at approximately 1:53 edt. No damage nearby neighborhood.

UPDATE: USGS says it was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia, but felt as far away as South Carolina and New England.

UPDATE 2: Best quake related quip - "I think Chris Christie just jumped into the race" (Alex Pareene - via Rising Hegemon). Bada-bing!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trivial Pursuit

(Click to enlarge slightly)

(Tom Tomorrow via Daily Kos)

Rethugs Favor Tax Increase on Middle Class

Rethugs hate the idea of tax increases on the "job creators" (i.e., the rich), but they're all for letting the payroll tax cut, benefiting low-and-middle income Americans, expire. Why?

Qaddafi's Regime Close to Finished

Thousands of rebel fighters are close to toppling the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar "Daffy" Qaddafi, as thousands poured into Tripoli's streets and squares. Reports are that two of Qaddafi's sons are in custody. Qaddafi's whereabouts are unknown, as his soldiers continue to shed their uniforms and join the rebels. His compound has not yet been seized by rebel forces.

Hopefully, his defeat will be swift and as bloodless as possible. It's hoped that he can be taken alive, and tried by his own people for the crimes he's committed against them. The hours and days ahead will be critical in determining the future of Libya.

(photo: Looks like Daffy had a rough night)

Huntsman Takes Aim At Wingnut Rivals

To appreciate just how far to the extreme right the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party has gone, one only need to hear yesterday's comments by former Utah Gov. and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman. Ten years ago, Huntsman was considered an orthodox conservative; now, he's seen as a librul by the extremists who are dominating his party. Huntsman unloads on Hair Perry's successionist babble, Minnesota Loon Bachmann's fantasy world, and Mittens Romney's flip flopping to appease wingnuts. He won't win the nomination, but he may cause some Rethugs who haven't completely lost their minds to consider the situation they've created.

Ironically, the candidate least likely to get the Rethuglican nomination would be the most likely to defeat President Obama, since he'd draw a lot of independent -- and some Dem -- voters to his side. He's right when he says the current field of extremists are unelectable.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rethug Gilded Age Economics and Dismantling a Century of Progress

We have two articles appearing in the Kaplan Daily today on the dangerously extreme economic philosophy of the current Rethuglican/ New Confederate Party. [Note: to read both articles in their entirety, once you go to the page link, click on the underlined introduction in each.] One, by Greg Ip, reviews the retrograde "voodoo economics" of leading party lights (as in "light-weights"). Alexander Keyssar traces the campaign to unravel nearly a century of social and economic progress by right-wing yahoos and plutocrats who want to turn back the clock to the 1880's (see Perry, "Hair", below):
"...To a historian, the agenda of today's conservatives looks like a bizarre effort to return to the Gilded Age, an era with little regulation of business, no social insurance and no legal protections for workers. This agenda, moreover, calls for the destruction or weakening of institutions without acknowledging (or perhaps understanding) why they came into being."

The only thing missing in the equation is a muscular, dynamic progressive counterweight to the momentum on the far right (paging Barack Obama...).

"Hair"-Brained Constitutional Changes of the Day

Noted Constitutional scholar and Rethug/ New Confederate Party Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry wants a number of changes to the U.S. Constitution! (Not very "conservative" you might say.) Here's a short, incomplete summary of Hair's desired changes:
-- end the Federal income tax;
-- allow Congress to override Supreme Court decisions by a two-thirds vote;
-- end the direct election of Senators;
-- define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman; and
-- make abortion illegal.
In short, Hair makes Dumbya look like a raving librul.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Unleash Michele Bachmann, Secret Agent!

Now that we know Rep. Michele "I See Commies" Bachmann (Loon- MN) was an undercover infiltrator at the Internal Revenue Service, gathering intel on "the enemy" (i.e., the U.S. Government), we propose she be unleashed (arf-arf) to halt the rise of the Soviet Union!

(Image: Secret Agent Bachmann, reporting for duty!)

"We Will Help You Out"

In a revealing moment at a Rick "Hair" Perry event in New Hampshire, a Bank of America official glided up to Hair and said, "Bank of America. . .we will help you out." Nice to know who Hair's big money supporters are. Hair's already made it clear that he'd be a very business-friendly, e-coli conservative President, to put it mildly, who would dismantle the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Food and Drug Administration wouldn't be far behind, no doubt. Obviously, Bank of America sees profit in a loosely-regulated financial market (it worked so well in the past), and sees Hair as the candidate to make it happen. Ca-ching!

Hair would like to create a laissez-faire Federal government not seen since the 1880s, and he's not shy about advocating it. He's not only an idiot, as Republican advisor Bruce Bartlett said, he's a dangerous one at that.

Morning Reading

From the New York Times' Charles Blow:
"The country needs the president to rise to this crisis in word, spirit and deed. We need him to reach out of his nature and into the nation’s need. We are on the precipice. There’s growing concern that we may slip into a second, more painful recession. There is little optimism that the housing crisis will loosen its grip on the economy anytime soon. The unspeakable truth is that we may well be on the leading edge of a prolonged period of national stagnation, if not decline.

A robotic Sustainer-in-Chief with an eerie inhumanity will not satisfy. At this moment, we need less valley and more mountaintop."
More and more progressives are concerned about the seeming passivity of President Obama. As many have said, the President needs to "go big" with a jobs and economic recovery plan, and dare the Rethugs to oppose it. With interest on Treasury notes at record low levels, the U.S. can borrow money almost interest free, and we need to get large public works projects underway that will have good return on investment. Time to get going and get serious.

BONUS: Here's Jonathan Alter's take on the same subject.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekend Birthday Song

Tomorrow is Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant's 63rd birthday. Still going strong today, Plant is considered one of the most significant and influential singers in rock history. Listen to this classic and know why.

"Hair"-Brained Comment of the Day

Today's "Hair"-brained comment from Rethug/ New Confederate Party Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry (Idiot-TX) is on the topic of abstinence education programs -- specifically Texas'. Sez Hair, over and over, "Abstinence works!" Um, not so much. (If only his parents had been abstinent during their marriage!)

Say It Ain't So, Russ

One of the best progressive Senators who lost in the teabangelist tide last November was Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. With Wisconsin Dem Sen. Herb Kohl deciding not to run in 2012, it was hoped that former Sen. Feingold would run for that seat, and give voters in Wisconsin a chance for a do-over. Now, sadly, it appears that Feingold has ruled that run out.

Hope he reconsiders, but in his stead Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has a good shot at holding the seat for the Dems in the wake of Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker's monumental right-wing overreach.

Quote of the Day

On CNN's "American Morning" today, former Reagan and G.H.W. Bush official Bruce Bartlett:
"Former Treasury official Bruce Bartlett labeled newly-minted Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry 'an idiot' Friday. Bartlett, who served at Treasury under former President George H.W. Bush and as a domestic policy adviser to the late President Ronald Reagan, delivered the choice words to the Texas Gov. in reference to his recent comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. “Rick Perry’s an idiot, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that,” Bartlett said Friday on CNN’s 'American Morning.'”
We suspect that the more that Hair Perry talks, the more that will become blindingly obvious to many Rethug elites and everyone else but the broken Beltway media.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Class Whorefare, Cont'd.

As we noted yesterday, country club Rethuglicans are being dragged to Crazyland by the teabangelist mob they funded. We're loving it.
(click to enlarge)

Run, Elizabeth, Run!

It's good to see that progressive star Elizabeth Warren has established an exploratory committee for a possible run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 against Rethug Sen. Scott "Pretty Boy" Brown of Massachusetts. A champion of reform on Wall Street and consumer protection, Warren is currently on the faculty of Harvard Law School.

Pretty Boy was elected in a special election to fill the seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy, and ran against an extremely weak Dem whose campaigning left a lot to be desired. Here's hoping the outspoken and popular Warren will run, and send Pretty Boy packing.

"Hair"-Brained Maneuver of the Day

Wherein Rethug Gov. and future hair care product spokesperson Rick "Hair" Perry finds a sophomoric way not to answer to why he said Social Security was unconstitutional (!). This may be the Hair campaign's best tactic to keep Hair's foot from becoming permanently stuck in his big mouth.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blimey! Is That A Smoking Gun?!

We're a little late on this, what with all the Hair news, etc., but it seems Rupert "Arrgh!" Murdoch and son Little Arrgh (not to mention Andy Coulson, former flack for British Conservative PM David Cameron) may have been involved in a cover up of illegal phone hacking. (Who could have seen that coming! Pass the smelling salts!) A letter written 4 years ago by former "News of the World" reporter Clive Goodman claims that phone hacking was "widely discussed" at editorial meetings at NOTW while Coulson was editor. It's expected the Murdochs will be called back to Parliament, where Arrgh! will have to amend his earlier comment that "This is the 'umblest day of my life, guvner!"

"Hair"-Brained Comment of the Day

It's no secret that Rethug/ New Confederate Party Gov. and future hair care product spokesperson Rick "Hair" Perry is a climate change denier. But check out what he told a group in New Hampshire about why he thinks it's a hoax. It's our "Hair"-brained comment of the day (we expect this to be a daily feature as long as his handlers let Hair be Hair).

Take Note

Despite the Rethuglican /New Confederate Party's fealty to the teabangalist element, the teatards are less popular than "Mooslims" and atheists, by a margin of 20 percent approve/40 percent disapprove. Who'd a thunk it? Certainly not the Beltway media, who continue to characterize the teatards as "average" independent Murkins.

Here's hoping that they continue to exercise an out-of-proportion influence in the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party.

(BONUS: Here's a portion the analysis that accompanies the poll (h/t Hullabaloo)):

"Beginning in 2006 we interviewed a representative sample of 3,000 Americans as part of our continuing research into national political attitudes, and we returned to interview many of the same people again this summer. As a result, we can look at what people told us, long before there was a Tea Party, to predict who would become a Tea Party supporter five years later. We can also account for multiple influences simultaneously — isolating the impact of one factor while holding others constant.

Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.

What’s more, contrary to some accounts, the Tea Party is not a creature of the Great Recession. Many Americans have suffered in the last four years, but they are no more likely than anyone else to support the Tea Party. And while the public image of the Tea Party focuses on a desire to shrink government, concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters.

So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government." (My emphasis)

Class Whorefare

Was Rethuglican Presidential hopeful Willard "Mittens" Romney the main beneficiary of Texas Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry's extreme statements about Ben Bernanke? Perhaps. Certainly, as this article points out, it exposes an internal "class war" within the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party, between the teabangelist, secessionist right (see Hair Perry) and the Wall Street / country club Rethuglicans (see Mittens Romney).

From the day's of Nixon's "Southern strategy" to the present, the Rethuglicans have tried to stitch together an uneasy alliance between low-information "God & guns" voters and the economic elite which largely funds Rethuglican campaigns. Now that the party seems to be trending toward the former, the big-money guys are extremely nervous that the teabangelist yahoos will topple them along with the Dems. We love their predicament.

Mid-Week Song

Today is the final day of President Obama's bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, before starting his vacation in Martha's Vineyard. In a stroke of good luck, as we noted yesterday, one of his potential Rethuglican opponents, Rick "Hair" Perry, planted his shiny Texas cowboy boots deep in horse manure when he suggested Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (a George Bush appointee) might be committing treason in his monetary policy. Well, secessionist Hair Perry is a good one to accuse someone else of treason, right? In any event, here's The Who's 1968 recording, "Magic Bus."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Conservative Movement on Display...

Driftglass nails it, with style:

"The Conservative Movement on display is not something new: it something old. Ancient.

It is the Mob, now finally being given a place at Democracy's table. A tribe of superstitious blood-drunk savages baffled and terrified and lost in a world of angels and demons, looking for a demagogue to give them succor, and a convenient devil on which they can heap the blame.

Bachmann is not simply a liar: she comes factory-equipped with that Conservative evangelical capacity to preach lies with eyes wide open and in the face of a firehose of facts that would upend mere reason. But reason just bounces off of Conservatism because is a cult -- a cult of enraged White Conservative victimhood jacketed in the language of the divine -- and its power is anchored a mile deep in the fanaticism of its saints and prophets.

Which is why their rage and incoherence always catches the corrupt humdrums of the Beltway by surprise -- why it appears so bizarrely out of proportion to whatever crisis their Brain Caste has them tweaked out of their skulls about this week.

Because they are not fighting on policy or economic grounds; they are fighting on holy ground. And Barack Obama is not just a President with whom they have disagreements (which, considering how much ground he pre-concedes to them before negotiations even begin, is objectively nuts): he (like Clinton...and anyone else with a [D] after their name) is a Satanic Usurper who has stolen the Mantle of Heaven from its Righteous Whiteous Conservative owners, and therefor against whom any measure whatsoever (up to and including impeachment or destroying the global economy) is permitted."

("Voice of Empire, Ctd", Driftglass, 8/14/2011)

Hair He Goes Again

Texas Rethug/ New Confederate Party Gov. and future hair care product spokesperson Rick "Hair" Perry thinks Fed chief Ben Bernanke would be committing "treason" if the Fed pumps more money into the economy before the election. Really? "Treason?" As in proposing your state secede from the Union? With "ideas" like this floating in Hair's spacious cranium, it's no wonder that, this article notes, some Rethug power brokers are absolutely horrified at the prospect of this clown being the Rethuglican nominee. Join the crowd.

Quote of the Month

"My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice." -- Billionaire Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, in a New York Times op/ed, August 14. (h/t Silver Spring/Wheaton bureau chief Brian)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Is Perry Undermining National Security?

This must be Texas Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry Day. We saw this article in the Kaplan Daily that should cause great concern about Hair's judgement and grasp of national security. Here's the key part:
"After a months-long courtship that included a trip to China, where he dined with the company’s chief executive, Perry announced that telecom firm Huawei Technologies would base its U.S. operations in Plano...While Perry focused on Huawei’s ability to create jobs in a sluggish economy, national security experts in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had concluded that the global telecom giant poses a potential cybersecurity risk to U.S. military and businesses. Three times since 2008, a U.S. government security panel has blocked Huawei from acquiring or partnering with U.S. companies because of concerns that secrets could be leaked to China’s government or military."
The headlong rush by Rethuglican Governors (e.g., Wisconsin's Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker) to sell their states to the highest corporate bidder was bound to result in something like this. Hair has some 'splainin' to do. ("Huawei? Shoot, Ah thought they said 'Hawaii'").

When The Past Is Prologue

Expect continued swooning from the Beltway media over Hair Perry. They'll glide over the secessionist talk, the homophobia, the poor educational performance in Texas, and his record of rewarding polluters and large corporations. They'll chatter mainly about the superficial: manly man, stump speech, Texas swagger, etc.

By the way, visit Mario Piperni's site for more hard-hitting photo graphics.

(photo illustration: Mario Piperni)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Buh Bye

Former Minnesota Governor Tim "Not So Good And" Pawlenty has announced that he's no longer a candidate for the Rethuglican Presidential nomination, just a day after the Ames (IA) straw poll, where he finished third. The former Governor, after only a couple of months in the race, never polled in double digits, and looked weak in debates. His silly macho ads and boasts of being a hockey player belied his Ichabod Crane persona and hesitant manner.

Farewell, Not So Good And. You can always shill for a reverse mortgage company.

The Grifter's Return

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker isn't a fan of former half-term Governor and full-time grifter Sarah "Mama Fizzly" Palin. Today, Parker fires another salvo at Snowbilly Snooki:
"Time will tell, but what recent history already confirms is that Palin isn’t a serious person. If she had been serious about running for president, she would have completed her term as governor. Or, having left office, she would have spent her time hitting the books and filling in knowledge gaps so painfully exposed during the 2008 election. Instead, she hit the road in a series of moneymaking, self-promoting stunts and has succeeded in achieving the true American dream: fame and fortune. Good for her. But all those people who have written checks and invested good faith in their chosen one will be justified in feeling played like any other heartbroken victim of a terrible flirt."
The Alaska con artist was in Iowa this weekend to try to grab the spotlight from the actual candidates for the Rethug nomination. At some point, as Parker suggests, the rubes that idolize her will notice that their wallets are empty as she counts their money on her tour bus as it gathers speed leaving town.

Obama: Why Not Call Them Out?

It's become a constant theme in President Obama's rhetoric: Congress / Washington is the problem. It's very rare that he mentions that it's the Rethuglicans who are the negative force obstructing the recovery. Here's the latest example from yesterday's weekly Presidential radio address:
"Members of Congress are at home in their districts right now. And if you agree with me–whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican or not much of a fan of either–let them know. If you’ve had it with gridlock, and you want them to pass stalled bills that will help our economy right now–let them know." (emphasis added)
"Not much of a fan of either"? Please. We understand the game he's playing. With Congress as an institution having record low approval ratings, he's reinforcing the public's view and maintaining a posture of being above partisan politics. But by doing so, he's undeservedly spreading the blame equally for the dysfunction of the last two years. Maybe he doesn't care if a Rethug Senate and House is elected in 2012, only that he's reelected.

It would be refreshing if, for once, he would call out the Rethugs as the party of opposition to fixing the economy. His failure to single them out by name only lets the Rethuglicans duck responsibility -- and Dems share the blame. He shouldn't forget that he's not only the leader of the country, but also the leader of his party. Time for him to start playing both roles a lot better.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Picture of the Day

As The Twilight Zone's Rod Serling used to say, "Submitted for your consideration."

Calling Dr. Freud, calling Dr. Freud.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekend Twofer

Two beautiful songs in the Anglo-Scottish folk tradition. Enjoy.

Here Comes Hair

Texas Rethug Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry is expected to announce his candidacy for the Rethug/ New Confederate Party nomination for preznit. Hair's platform will likely include a lot of prayin' to make our troubles go away, keeping the executions comin', turning our public educational institutions into free market labs (translation: fire all them teachers and perfessers!) and, if all else fails, secede! Hair is expected to draw support from fellow talibangelist Michele "Minnesota Loon" Bachmann. Yet another sad commentary on the state of the Rethug party that this featherweight with no accomplishments other than being elected by a constituency of yahoos is considered a serious candidate by the "Very Serious People."

(Photo: That hair, it's so... Reaganesque!)

When Rethugs Mass Debate

It seemed like half of Iowa was on stage last night at the Fux Channel's Rethuglican candidates' "debate." No fewer than 8 announced candidates showed up en masse, thereby testing the weight load limits of the stage. Call it the "Crazy Eyes and the Seven Dwarfs" debate.

Full disclosure: instead of the "debate," we were watching some episode of the "World's Dumbest", which was likely an improvement on the Rethuglican fibfest. Fortunately, Think Progress watched it so we didn't have to, and they have the moment-to-moment lowlights captured. Our favorite was when Michele "Minnesota Loon" Bachmann claimed credit (at 9:20 p.m.) for introducing the "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act." Bwahahaha! Good to have a dim bulb weigh in on light bulbs as her signature accomplishment!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Iowa Fairgoers No Likee Mittens Romney

Willard / Muff/ Mittens Romney had a little trouble with a crowd at the Iowa State Fair today. Mittens, looking for all the world like Gordon Gekko, engaged in a "shouting match" with a crowd that shouted "Wall Street greed" and weren't appreciative of Mittens' nuanced refusal to say how he would support Social Security. Mittens' shouted response at one point:
"Corporations are people, my friend!"

Let's remember that one.

So, get used to it, Mittens. The more people know about you and your Wall Street, pink-slip-generating background, the more you're going to hear it from regular folks.

Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

(Apologies to our dear friend PEC on the Vineyard)
Hopefully our "leaders" are having a jolly time on vacation, while millions of Americans remain unemployed. Cheers!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cover Girl

Q. Does this cover photo make Michele Bachmann look loony?
A. Why, yes it does.

Q. Is Michele Bachmann, in fact, loony?
A. Why, yes she is.

Q. Then why is there so much clutching of pearls and running to the fainting couch going on about it(et tu, Jon Stewart?)?
A. Sometimes it hurts to face the truth.

You're welcome.

The Tourniquet Presidency

"Had the administration and the Democrats tried to fight off deficit fever when it first struck with different policies they might have succeeded in persuading the people that it's the government's job to fix the economy when the private sector fails. One wonders what would have happened if Democrats had used a different metaphor such a Krugman's, which says that when the private sector is bleeding jobs, the government steps in with a transfusion -- and that the deficit hawks in both parties are like medieval doctors applying leeches to a hemorrhaging patient. Maybe they could have shown that the function of the government is actually quite different than 'daddy' worrying about how to pay the bills. But some focus group somewhere obviously 'responded' to the family metaphor and so it goes."

"I'm told White House political operatives are against a bold jobs plan. They believe the only jobs plan that could get through Congress would be so watered down as to have almost no impact by Election Day. They also worry the public wouldn't understand how more government spending in the near term can be consistent with long-term deficit reduction. And they fear Republicans would use any such initiative to further bash Obama as a big spender.

So rather than fight for a bold jobs plan, the White House has apparently decided it's politically wiser to continue fighting about the deficit. The idea is to keep the public focused on the deficit drama -- to convince them their current economic woes have something to do with it, decry Washington's paralysis over fixing it, and then claim victory over whatever outcome emerges from the process recently negotiated to fix it. They hope all this will distract the public's attention from the President's failure to do anything about continuing high unemployment and economic anemia."

Department of Utter Hypocrisy

Wingnut Rep. Michele "Minnesota Loon" Bachmann loves to harangue against gummint waste and spending. She still thinks we should have defaulted on the debt. Now, we learn that the Minnesota Loon has aggressively pursued Federal money:
"...on at least 16 separate occasions, Bachmann petitioned the federal government for direct financial help or aid. A large chunk of those requests were for funds set aside through President Obama's stimulus program, which Bachmann once labeled 'fantasy economics.' Bachmann made two more of those requests to the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution that she has suggested she would eliminate if she were in the White House."
The Minnesota Loon represents a subculture in America, one that believes the rules don't apply to them, and that they are somehow entitled to things the rest of us aren't. They carry signs that say "Government Hands Off Our Medicare," while supporting the likes of Paul "Lyin'" Ryan, who will dismantle Medicare and replace it with a private insurance voucher. They are hypocrites and fools.

Mid-Week Song

Woods is a Brooklyn-based folk/indie band, whose new album, "Sun and Shade," was recently released. Their sound has echoes of '60s folk rock. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Approval of Rethugs Nosedives

After the debt ceiling hostage taking, and the subsequent downgrading of U.S. securities, the public appears to be getting fed up with the Rethugs. In a new CNN poll, 59 percent view the Rethugs unfavorably, the lowest level in nearly 20 years for either party. Teatards are viewed unfavorably by over half the public.

With Rethuglican politicians threatening more hostage taking and obstruction, we can only hope the bottom drops out of their support.

Total Recall

Today is election day in Wisconsin, where several Rethuglican state senators are battling for survival. Heavy outside spending by corporate front groups like "Americans for (Corporate) Prosperity" is counterbalanced by on-the-ground, get out the vote efforts by progressive and labor organizations.

Three victories by Dems will change the balance in the State Senate, but whatever the election results, the progressive/labor base has been awakened, not only in Wisconsin, but in Ohio, Michigan and Florida, where collective bargaining rights of police, firefighters, and teachers (among others) has been threatened by far right reactionary Rethuglicans. Let the floodgates open!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rethug Values - Wisconsin DUI Edition

The skeezy sot pictured here, courtesy of the Columbia County Police Department (Wisconsin), is Columbia County Rethuglican Chairman Amber Hahn (or rather ex-chairman - man they move fast to bury their embarrassments). She was arrested after crashing her car -- with her three children inside -- while driving under the influence. As Wonkette points out, Hahn has been seen on Fox "News" as an anonymous "concerned citizen" railing against those darn teachers and their evil unions! She's a charmer.

REMINDER: Tomorrow is recall election day in several Wisconsin State Senate districts.

UPDATE: Dammit! Just when you think you've gotten away cleanly, political karma kicks in...

Cartoon of the Week

(Click to enlarge slightly)

(copyright Tom Tomorrow, via Kos)

Quote of the Day

"I believe this is, without question, the Tea Party downgrade. This is the Tea Party downgrade because a minority of people in the House of Representatives countered even the will of many Republicans in the United States Senate who were prepared to do a bigger deal." -- Sen. John Kerry on Sunday's "Press the Meat." Although Kerry sometimes has trouble getting a message straight, he really hit this one solidly. In contrast, the White House declined to spotlight the malicious role of Congressional teabaggers in the downgrading, choosing instead to focus on an accounting error made by the "messenger" -- Standard & Poor's. That's pathetic and a losing strategy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"What Happened to Obama?"

This op/ed by Drew Westen is like a gut-punch to those of us who have seen the Obama presidency lose its way over the past two years. What happened, indeed. A congenital lack of spine? A clueless naivety? Would that Drew Westen had been Obama's political adviser instead of David Quackselrod or David "Poof" Plouffe during times that called for a Great Champion rather than a Great Compromiser (if by "compromise" you mean giving the hostage-takers "98%" of what they wanted).

Sunday Talking Airhead Takedown

Huff Po's Jason Linkins on a certain wingnut's appearance on "Fox News Sunday:"
"Hooray! Paul Ryan is here today, with his famous haircut. If you're just now joining us, in America, Paul Ryan is the Wisconsin [Randbot] Republican whose plan to reduce taxes is to raise them on nearly everybody, whose plan to balance the budget is to not balance the budget, and whose plan to 'save Medicare' is to stop paying for it, with vouchers that diminish in value over time, relative to rising costs. Only in Washington could someone with the ambition to work little and accomplish less find a field of endeavor suited to those limitations. Naturally, he is a superstar."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Credit Where It's Due

The Standard and Poors rating agency has downgraded U.S. securities from AAA to AA+ for the first time in history. In a statement issued by S&P, they pointed to the protracted hostage-taking over the debt ceiling as a major factor in their decision. Key points:
"The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. . . Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act."
So the teatards "won," if dragging down the economy and the credit of the U.S. government is winning. Well played, wingers!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Headline of the Week

From The Onion:
Obama: Debt Ceiling Deal A Prime Example Of Democrats And Democrats Sacrificing For The Greater Good

Weekend Song


The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly jobs report this morning, and the jobs figures, while not spectacular, were better than expected. The private sector added 154,000 new jobs, but 37,00 jobs were lost in the public sector, for a net of 117,000 jobs. That brought the unemployment rate down from 9.2% to 9.1%.

Meanwhile, a new New York Times/CBS News poll indicates President Obama maintaining his approval level at 48%, while Congressional Rethuglicans/Teatards and the Orange Boner are at dismal levels: 72% disapproved of the way the Rethug right handled the debt ceiling crisis (vs. 66% Dems), and Teatards are now viewed unfavorably by 40% (vs. 20% favorable). A solid 43% think the teabaggers have too much influence in the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More Austerity Will Cure This! (Cont.)

Austerity reality! Will July's jobs report tomorrow be a shocker (our Wall Street overlords think it will). Meanwhile, corporations continue hoarding their record profits. And we have a gelded president held hostage by Randian nimrods. What could possibly go wrong?

Well Done

We never thought we'd have an occasion to say New Jersey Gov. Chris "Kris Krispycreme" Christie did the right thing. But here he is, defending his nomination of Muslim-American Sohail Mohammed as a New Jersey Superior Court judge. Using words like "crap" and "ignorance" to describe the far-right Islamophobic opposition to the nomination, KK also punctures the "Sharia Law" nonsense that animates much of the anti-Muslim fear on the far-right. Well done.

Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Divine Intervention

The big fundamentalist gathering this coming Saturday that secessionist Texas Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry was promoting looks like it's having trouble filling the venue. Having booked Houston's 71,00 seat Reliant Center, only 8,000 free tickets have been taken. Snort. . .Bwahahahaha. Maybe Hair and his Talibangelists are getting a message from above.

Billed as a Christian event to seek God's help for a "nation in crisis" (caused largely by Rethugs), some of the "preachers" scheduled to speak are on the nutzoid fringe, and the Hair man has been under fire for that. Maybe if they promised to burn a cross at the event, it would draw more of the people they're looking for.

Mid-Week Song

Celebrating his 85th birthday today is iconic popular singer Tony Bennett. Bennett's career, which began in the early '50s, was revived in the '80s and '90s as a new generation discovered the mellow, classic vocals that he's known for. Frank Sinatra called him "the best singer in the business." Some of his hits include the classic "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," "Rags to Riches," "Because of You," and "Cold Cold Heart." He's also a painter, a humanitarian, a winner of 15 Grammys and 2 Emmys, and a loyal Dem. Happy birthday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

No It Wasn't & No You Won't

President Obama, in his Rose Garden speech on passage of the debt ceiling ransom bill by the Senate, said that the bill was "a compromise" and that he would "continue to fight for a balanced approach" to deficit reduction. Really?!?

Yes, it was a compromise, if by "compromise" you mean "[smack] Thank you teatards, may I have another?" Orange Boner was caught telling the truth yesterday when he said the Rethugs got "98 percent" of what they were asking for. In whose language is that a "compromise?"

Yes, we're confident you'll "continue to fight for a balanced approach," Mr. President, just as you "fought" for it in the recent debacle, before you folded; just as you "fought" for a larger stimulus, before you folded; just as you "fought" for the public option, before you folded; just as you "fought" to end the tax cuts for the wealthy, before you folded; just as you "fought" to defend Van Jones, before you cast him overboard; just as you "fought" for the nomination of Elizabeth Warren; just as you "fought" for the nomination of Goodwin Liu for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; just as you "fought" for the nomination of Nobel laureate Peter Diamond for Federal Reserve Governor. Yes, we're quite confident in your fightin' abilities!!

The Anti-Jobs Bill

The crap sandwich that passed the House yesterday and is expected to pass the Senate today will have a negative effect on job creation and growth, according to the CEO of one of the largest bond investment firms. Not surprising to anyone who has taken an introductory course in economics -- which most Beltway media villagers apparently haven't -- when in a recession, and the private sector and consumers aren't spending, the last resort is the government. Thus, when the government cuts spending, money is taken out of the economy, jobs are lost, and consumers and the private sector still aren't spending.

As we've noted earlier, the hostage-taking tactics of the far right are being rewarded, and when you reward bad behavior, expect more bad behavior and hostage-taking down the road.