Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Cartoon Twofer - Texas, Still Sinking


(click on image to enlarge)


(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


(Steve Benson, Arizona Republic)

We're going again with the theme of the continuing catastrophic floods in Texas and wingnut denial of a global climate change causal effect, a connection not likely to, um, sink in with the mouth-foaming fringe (i.e., the Republican Party base).

The Clinton Impeachment Gang - A Trifecta Of Hypocrisy


Think Progress summarizes the events of nearly 17 years ago, and three of the key players involved in the impeachment of President Clinton:
On December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton on two charges related to his extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky. (The charges were for perjury and obstruction of justice.) The historic vote, and subsequent trial in the Senate, involved the work of three men who were elected Speaker of the House Of Representatives by the Republican majority, Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston and Dennis Hastert.
Speaker Gingrich:  having an affair during the proceedings.

Speaker-elect Livingston:  having an affair during the proceedings.

Speaker Hastert:  allegedly covering-up sexual misconduct with a male minor when he coached high school sports.

Don't think for a minute that these publicly pious, moral midgets are not reflective of the rotten, hateful, destructive, hypocritical political party they were elected to represent.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Beau Biden, 1969 - 2015


Sad news that Vice Presidential son Beau Biden has succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 46.  Biden served as Attorney General of Delaware and was an Army captain who was deployed to Iraq.  He was planning to run for Governor of Delaware in 2016.  The White House issued statements by Vice President Biden and President Obama in memory of Beau Biden.

Today's Cartoon - Featherweights Fighting In A Heavyweight Division


(click on image to enlarge)


(Darrin Bell, via gocomics.com)

They can add half a dozen more (and probably will) and the result is still the same.

Tailgunner Ted's Noxious Hypocrisy


Texas Republican Sen. and human-weasel hybrid Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz is well known for his loathing of Government.  He's tried to cut it down and shut it down whenever the opportunity arose in order to appeal to his radical right-wing teahadist base. He was notorious in 2013 for objecting to Federal disaster funds for Hurricane Sandy, which prompted fellow Republicans in New Jersey and New York to blast him.

When record flooding in the past two weeks devastated his state, Tailgunner Ted put aside his cynical small government "principles" and asked for Federal emergency relief funds.  Ah, sweet Gubmint redistribution of all that "Democrat" tax money from the coasts!  It would absolutely be fair play if the legislators in New Jersey and New York (not to mention Connecticut and other states affected by Sandy) would tell Tailgunner Ted to stick it where the rain doesn't fall.  But then, their idea of patriotism is probably different than Tailgunner Ted's, whose "patriotism" just extends as far as the Texas border and his speeches.

Today's Reading - Knowing Less Than A Fifth Grader About Earth Science


Timothy Egan:
You thought he was the smart Bush. You thought he was the reasonable one. You thought he was the Republican with one foot in the 21st century, the man who wasn’t going to say crazy things to win the primary voter who believes in crazy things. But you haven’t been paying attention to Jeb Bush.  [snip]

...Bush the youngest believes the Earth is warming. No doubt, he’s willing to go further out on a limb and conclude that heat expands, cold contracts and a dolphin is not a fish.


That’s as far as he’ll go. He says the science is “convoluted,” even though the latest assessment from international climate scientists states with 95 percent confidence that humans are the cause of a sick planet. That obfuscation is also understandable. You simply cannot be a leader of the Republican Party without appearing to know less than a fifth grader about earth science.
Catastrophic Texas floods.  Historic California drought.  Polar ice melting.  Highest monthly temperatures on record.  But, they're not scientists.  Just fools and charlatans.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Denny's Diddling Dilemma


Just 24 hours after the news broke that former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicted for lying to the FBI and illegal money transfers for the purpose of paying blackmail, it's reported that Hastert was involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a male student from his days as a high school wrestling coach and teacher. What dilutes any sympathy one might have for the former Speaker, in addition to the obvious misdeed itself, is his abysmal record on LGBT issues, and his general Rethuglican-style sanctimony regarding social issues.  Hastert was also very slow in reacting to the House page scandal with former Republican Rep. Mark Foley that erupted during his tenure.  Makes some sense in retrospect.

In his 2004 memoir, Hastert wrote what has to be one of the most cringeworthy statements ever, in view of these allegations.  He wrote, 
“I felt a special bond with our wrestlers. And I think they felt one with me.”
 Ewww.

UPDATE 6/1: And then there were TWO.

Jon Stewart On Some Republicans Who Will Never Be President


Jon Stewart considers some of the third-tier Republican clown car candidates and their bone-deep stupidity, racism and xenophobia.  We're going to miss this guy (although one potential candidate makes Jon momentarily "waver" on his plan to leave the show). Have a laugh.

Weekend Song - You Good?


The Mowgli's are a Southern California septet that happens to count as one of their musical inspirations one of our musical inspirations, The Byrds.  Here's a "neo-hippie" song from their latest album, "Kids in Love" called "I'm Good."


Tweet of the Day



Fired former Hewlitt Packard executive Carly "Snarly" Fiorina won't get the Rethuglican nomination, but ISIS better watch out for the pink slips. Snarly's good at that.

Armed Bikers At A Mosque. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Armed bikers and assorted nut bags are going to assemble outside of a mosque in Phoenix, Arizona today to threaten and insult the Muslim worshipers as they come and go.  The cretin that's organizing the "event" is a former Marine who served in Iraq and is selling "F*ck Islam" t-shirts and displaying cartoons of Muhammad, which should go over well.  When interviewed by Anderson Cooper, organizer Jon Ritzheimer said the "core values of Islam is what I really hate," claiming that just because he fought to prop up an Islamic government in Baghdad that doesn't mean he supports terrorism, having just said that Islam equals terrorism.  But the biggest howler from this confused bundle of PTSD was when he suggested that his violence-provoking event was meant to teach the worshipers at the mosque tolerance:
"No, I don't want war [against the world's Muslims], but they need to learn tolerance. We're not the ones out committing these acts. We're not the ones threatening anybody." (emphasis added)
The level of delusion is absolutely shocking.  Former CIA anti-terrorist official Philip Mudd tried vainly to point out to Ritzheimer that his actions were the ideal recruitment tool for al Qaeda and ISIS, a fact which the cretin accepted as if it were perfectly fine.  Somewhere, Crazy Pam Geller is cheering.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Former Republican House Speaker Hastert Indicted


It's always the coverup that trips them up:
CHICAGO (AP) — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep an unidentified person silent about "prior misconduct" by the Illinois Republican who was once third in line to the U.S. presidency, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down on Thursday in Chicago.
The indictment, which does not describe the misconduct Hastert was allegedly trying to conceal, charges the 73-year-old with one count of evading bank regulations as he withdrew tens of thousands of dollars at a time to make the payments. He is also charged with one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for the unusual bank withdrawals.
Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  (our emphasis)
Let's review:

1) He's a Republican.
2) Hastert was a high school wrestling and football coach before going into politics.
3) He was paying hush money to someone for "prior misconduct."
4) Did we mention he's a Republican?

Draw your own conclusions.

This Could Be YOOGE



Tangerine-topped buffoon, and fake Presidential candidate Donald "Rump" Trump told Fux "News" yesterday that he has a "foolproof" way to defeat ISIS. The problem is, if he tells us, he'll have to kill us, or something:
"All I can tell you it is a foolproof way of winning, and I’m not talking about what some people would say, but it is a foolproof way of winning the war with ISIS. And it will be absolutely, 100 percent –they’ll at minimum come to the table but actually they’ll be defeated very quickly.”
This opens the door to speculation:  will he offer comped rooms at one of his casinos, draw ISIS fighters in and ambush them?  Will he grab a bullhorn, confront the fighters and yell, "Yer fired?" Will he simply appear on the battlefield, wind blowing through his "hair," and cause ISIS to laugh uncontrollably until they surrender?

Oh well, more people will have to die until we elect Rump as President so he can tell us how to defeat ISIS.  Small price. Whatever his plan is, it could be yooge.  Yooge, we tells ya.

(photo:  J. Samad/AFP/Getty Images. The cat that ate the kitty litter.)

Vladimir Putin: Cleaning Up Corruption Equals "Meddling"


Master meddler =cough= Crimea =cough= Ukraine =cough= and Don President of the world's biggest kleptocracy Vladimir "Vlad The Invader" Putin weighed in on yesterday's bust of FIFA (the world soccer organization) officials accused of (among other things) racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering
MOSCOW, May 28 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Thursday of meddling outside its jurisdiction in the arrest of top officials from soccer's world governing body, FIFA.
Putin said the arrests in Switzerland on Wednesday were an "obvious attempt" to prevent FIFA head Sepp Blatter's re-election this week but that the 79-year-old had Russia's backing.
The world's most popular sport was plunged into turmoil this week when seven senior soccer officials were arrested on U.S. corruption charges to face extradition from Switzerland.
Putin, it may be remembered is no stranger to racketeering, as it is the grease that lubricates the kleptocratic Russian economy;  Putin's Russia is ranked 136th out of 175 nations in terms of government corruption.   Vlad's concern extends to the fact that the corruption investigation will likely involve the awarding of the 2018 soccer World Cup venue to Russia. 

Now that he's drawn world attention to his support of official wrongdoing and his interest in seeing the investigation thwarted, we eagerly await the unraveling of this trail of corruption and see if it leads into the Kremlin.

Rand Paul: ISIS/ISIL Exists Thanks To Republican Hawks


Republican presidential candidate Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul (Dudebro-KY) is refusing to go along with the diversionary "who lost Iraq" script neocons in the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party have been trying to sell ever since John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush's gaffe indicating he would have done nothing different in Iraq, even "knowing what we know now."  Basically, that script holds that the current chaos and the rise of ISIS/ISIL is (spoiler alert) President Obama's fault.  Let's see what a blind squirrel looks like when he finds that acorn:








Somebody pass out the smelling salts to Reince "Prepuce" Priebus, get Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry Butchmeup" Graham to the fainting couch, and check Dick "The Dick" Cheney's pacemaker, stat!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Seventh Republican Enters The Clown Car



Watch out!  There's Santorum in the Republican clown car!

UPDATE:  And we also welcome clown number 8 (this is getting exhausting).

(Photo: From 2006 Senatorial re-election defeat.  There's going to be more tears in your future, young lady.)

The Republican War on Women, Cont'd.



Right-wing Republicans are all for small government, except when it comes to military spending and women's reproductive organs.  The last time we heard a Rethug politician pushing mandatory ultrasounds for pregnant women, it was former Virginia Gov. and convicted felon Bob "Blowdry Bob" McDonnell and his sidekick, former Attorney General Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli, who learned quickly that women objected to being coerced into getting a mandatory invasive transvaginal probe, especially those about to terminate a pregnancy.  And, of course, that is who the mandatory ultrasounds are meant to intimidate and shame out of getting an abortion.

Proving that, for Rethugs, limited Government ends where a woman's uterus begins, Wisconsin Governor and Koch Industries' Employee of the Year Scott "Koch Head" Walker is boasting about signing a law in 2013 that required mandatory ultrasounds in his state.  Wishing to appeal to the fanatic Bible-bangers who dominate his party's base, Walker thinks we won't see any inconsistency with the small Government philosophy cynically pushed by him.  Forcing women to have an ultrasound when they've decided to terminate their pregnancy isn't, as Koch Head says, "just a cool thing out there," but attempted control over women's reproductive decisions by the state. Limited government, indeed.

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Texas Sinking


(click on image to enlarge)


(Clay Jones, via Claytoonz.com)


(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

Bud Kennedy in the Star-Telegram:
This is when Texas nationalists and secessionists really look foolish.
With 46 counties now declared disaster areas by Gov. Greg Abbott and no end in sight until summer, Texas welcomes federal officials and disaster relief.
Texas Task Force 1 and soldiers and pilots of the Texas Military Forces — the National Guard units and Texas State Guard — have worked round-the-clock to save motorists in Krum, lift away flood victims in Cleburne and search for the missing in Wimberley.
But if anyone needs convincing, this reminds us Texas can’t go it alone.
Yes, as ridiculous as it seems, there are "Texas nationalists and secessionists" (former Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry can tell you about them).  But there's also an overlapping group called "Republicans" who have a very situational (if not conspiratorial) view of the Federal-state compact that is, not surprisingly, an extension of their Ayn Rand Objectivist "goodies for me, pain for thee" philosophy.  They'll be squealing for help now from the Obama Administration, but let's remember 8 Congressmen from Texas (out of 67 Republicans total) voted against Hurricane Sandy relief, all the while Texas relies on Federal disaster relief more than any other State.

And global climate change playing a part?  Shhh!  But we're sure that someone like Carly "Snarly" Fiorina will remind us that, just like the California drought, it's all Obama's fault (when she's not saying bone-deep dumb, racist things about Chinese people).

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/bud-kennedy/article22390404.html#storylink=cpy

Marriage Equality: A Tale Of Two Countries


Jonathan Capehart reflects on the outcome of last Saturday's  referendum in Ireland in favor of marriage equality, and how it contrasts with the struggle for rights in America:
Here’s something you will never hear any of the crop of Republican presidential candidates say on same-sex marriage: “With today’s vote, we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people.” Those soothing words came from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny after 62.1 percent of his nation voted in favor of marriage equality on Saturday.
It was a stunning development in one of Europe’s most conservative countries. A nation where the Catholic Church once held great sway. Emphasis on “once.” The resounding victory of same-sex marriage proponents is as clear a sign of independence from the church as you’ll ever see. [snip]
[America] isn’t Ireland. And this certainly isn’t Britain, where conservative Prime Minister David Cameron was a vocal champion of marriage equality and won reelection with overwhelming support. This is America, where once again, the courts will push the nation to live up to its ideal of equal protection under the law. The Supreme Court did it for African Americans in the 20th century and so it must for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans in the 21st.
As is always the case, whether it's marriage equality, global climate change, voting rights, etc., the Republican / New Confederate/ Stupid Party, with its head firmly up its ass, is on the wrong side of history -- and it will be judged as such. 

Erin go Bragh!

BONUSHere's someone we'd recommend Pope Francis sack at the earliest possible time;  we'd like to believe he was only speaking for his warped self.

(Photo:  Irish voters celebrate victory on marriage equality referendum.) 

The Good Archbishop


Argentinian-born Pope Francis has been a -- no pun intended -- revelation to many who had given up on the Catholic Church reforming itself.  From simple things like his disdain for the opulence of the office that his predecessors reveled in, to dealing seriously with past abuses, to his "who are we to judge" compassion for the LGBT community, the Pope has gained the admiration of many millions, while alienating many on the Church's right wing.

Charles P. Pierce has picked up on another gesture by the Pope that will enrage wingnuts:  the beatification of El Salvadoran Archbishop ├ôscar Romero, who was assassinated by right-wing goons while he celebrated Mass in March 1980.  At the time, the right-wing military junta governing El Salvador was facing rising opposition from the Church for its repression of liberties.  Right-wing death squads roamed the country, trying to snuff out opposition to the junta, assassinating priests and nuns among others.  The military junta (and by extension the death squads) were strongly supported by the Reagan Administration. By this gesture, Pope Francis is also holding up a mirror to those who were on the junta's side, as the Archbishop who gave his life opposing them is beatified.

One Of Those Tings Mid-Week Song


The UK indie pop / synth pop duo The Ting Tings formed in Manchester, England about 8 years ago, and released their third studio album, "Super Critical," a few months ago.  One of the cuts from that album is the breezy, dance-inducing "Wrong Club," with wild-haired vocalist Katie White singing (and dancing) on their video, with other half of the duo, Jules De Martino, on guitar. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Smart ALECs Caught Conspiring


The notorious American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a right-wing organization, sponsored by major corporations and the equally notorious Charles and David Koch, which exists solely for the purpose of feeding legislation favorable to corporations and the 1% to state legislative bodies.  They've been behind undermining environmental laws, pushing union busting legislation, and opposing minimum wage increases, among other right-wing causes.

It's fairly rare that the public gets a glimpse into the workings of this secretive organization, mostly because the corporate press has decided that chasing Hillary Clinton's personal e-mails and Clinton Foundation charity money is more scintillating (see today's earlier post).  So it's nice to see a local station, Atlanta's NBC affiliate WXIA, do the type of investigative journalism so lacking in today's media.  They managed to expose a secretive meeting of ALEC lobbyists and members of the Georgia legislature, who sat down as one group to devise legislation that would please the corporate sponsors of ALEC. One former legislative member of the group calls ALEC's activities a "corporate bill mill," with legislators, lobbyists and corporate representatives being almost interchangeable parts in a massive effort to corporatize state resources and laws.  WXIA's report is well worth the viewing, and should be distributed to every media outlet if only to shame them for their cowardice and laziness.

Tweet Of The Day - "Only A Complete Idiot" Like John McCain


From the Twitter archives, then and now:



Yet somehow this "complete idiot" shows up on tee vee with disturbing regularity.

UPDATE:  Maybe this person can rid us of this "complete idiot" in 2016.

(h/t Mock Paper Scissors and Driftglass)

Koch Brothers Casting Call: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Candidate)?


From Bloomberg News:
In a Saturday interview on the Larry Kudlow Show,  a nationally syndicated radio broadcast, David Koch let it slip that the roughly $900 million that he and his brother, Charles, plan to lavish on the 2016 presidential race could find its way into the hands of more than one GOP contender. 

"We are thinking of supporting several Republicans," David Koch said, adding, "If we're happy with the policies that these individuals are supporting, we'll finance their campaigns." (our emphasis)
[Sarcasm alert] Since, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy in Citizens United, "... [I]ndependent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption," the notion that Republican presidential hopefuls will be tailoring their positions to make certain they match those of the plutocrat Kochs (cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, cut programs for the poor and middle classes, weaken environmental regulations, etc.) to get as much of that plutocrat dough as they can, there can't be the slightest appearance of a quid pro quo because those candidates won't owe anything to the Koch brothers =cough= $900 million =cough=, no siree!  Plus money is speech and corporations are people, my friends.

Meanwhile, at the New York Effing Times and once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle, the hunt for the smoking gun Clinton e-mails and charitable donations continues apace by their  Republican-wired, Clinton hating intrepid reporters and pundits.

BONUSCharles P. Pierce elaborates.

Republican Crime Blotter, Voter Aggression Edition



Teahadist nut Holly Nicole Solomon of Mesa, AZ was sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison for running over her now ex-husband in a parking lot after he admitted that he hadn't voted against President Obama in the 2012 election.  Her former husband, who sustained a broken pelvis and other injuries, testified that she believed that the re-election of the President would cause general harm to their family, and that she was enraged that he hadn't voted for man-of-the-people Willard "Corporations Are People" Romney. 

Clearly this loon was either listening to voices in her head or to the right-wing Wurlitzer, or both, about the Armageddon that 'Murica faced if the Kenyan usurper Muslim dictator President was re-elected.  Either way, it's good she's going to the slammer, but it begs the question of how many thousands and thousands of other misguided cranks have the same warped view of reality and are willing to act out on an even bigger scale.

(photo:  Remember, it's all Obama's fault, Holly.)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015



Remembering those family, friends and others on Memorial Day who sacrificed everything for us.

(photo:  The American Cemetery in Lorraine, France)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Courting The Molester Vote


They had fourth-rate former headbanger and confessed pedophile Ted "Crap My Pants" Nugent in their camp, among others, but leading Republicans also sought the approval of Christian Talibangelist and sister molester Josh Diddler Duggar.


And a sweet pic with the chairman of the Rethug crime family, Reince "Prepuce" Preibus:


Hypocritical, Bible-banging pedophile molesters (and parents who covered up for them) have found a place in the Republican / New Confederate / Stupid Party.

BONUS:  It looks like Duggar defender Mike "Huckster" Huckabee  is getting slammed by former supporters for his blame-the-victim absolution of Josh Diddler Duggar and his parents.  Buh-bye, 2016.

UPDATE:  True to form, a Republican wants to punish the police officer who released the report on Diddler Duggar.

Adelson To Face U.S. Trial



A judge has ruled that Sheldon "Smelly Shelly" Adelson, gambling tycoon and financial sugar daddy of both right-wing Republicans here and Likudniks in Israel, will have to face charges in the U.S. over allegations that he engaged in corrupt practices with Chinese officials and members of Chinese triad gangs regarding his casino holdings in Macau.  The allegations stem from the former chief executive of Smelly Shelly's Macau casinos, Steven Jacobs, who claims that he tried to block Adelson's connections with Chinese gangs and was terminated for his efforts. During the jurisdiction phase of the proceedings, Smelly Shelly took the witness stand and at one point declared that Jacobs "squealed like a pig to the Government," not exactly a dignified rebuttal to the charges (imagine 1940s film noir dialogue from a crime boss).  Also, "squealed" -- in the vernacular -- is a concession of sorts that the information provided was a betrayal of, at best, a questionable enterprise.

Smelly Shelly has deep pockets, so his legion of lawyers will do everything to either dismiss the charges, or delay the proceedings ad infinitum.  In the absence of a conviction, it's unlikely that right-wing Republicans will stop kissing his wrinked tuchas in exchange for campaign contributions.  That big money derived from shady overseas gambling is just too tempting for the morally upright Rethugs.

(photo:  Smelly Shelly doesn't like squealers, but is fine with Rethugs.)

Sunday Funnies

(click to enlarge)


The various weasely spins on the answer to "knowing what we know now…" by the Republican 2016 hopefuls gives you an insight into how justifiably terrified they are about the issue of the Iraq war and its present day consequences, and not just the obvious case of House of Bush princeling John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush.  They can't acknowledge the obvious lies told by the last Administration, so they're blaming faulty "intelligence" in one breath and saying "well, Saddam Hussein's gone and that's good, right?" in the next.

The Dems need to hang this anchor around their necks each day until election day.

(cartoon:  Stuart Carlson via Gocomics.com)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Birds Of A Feather Pic



In 2010, Michelle Duggar accepted a "Mother of the Year" award from disgraced pastor Doug Phillips (right with beard), who resigned his ministry in 2013 after an adulterous affair. When she accepted that award, she and her husband already had been covering up for their son Josh Diddler Duggar's sexual abuse of several younger girls, including his sisters.  Great "Christian" holier-than-thou hypocrisy all around.

Trickled On


For the better part of 35 years, one of the myths that Rethuglicans cling to is that tax cuts on corporations and upper income people ("supply side" or "trickle down" economics) produce prosperity through greater economic activity. In reality, what they produce are wealthier plutocrats who donate to the Rethugs, and budget shortfalls requiring government to either borrow money (with interest) or, more typically with Rethug politicians, to slash government services.

Four Rethuglican governors with their eyes on the Presidency in 2016 are now facing crises of their own making:  Chris "Krispykreme" Christie in New Jersey, Scott "Koch Head" Walker in Wisconsin, John "Itchy" Kasich in Ohio, and Pyush "Bobby" Jindal in Louisiana have been merrily cutting taxes, only to find that the cuts didn't produce new revenues through economic growth.  All four states have significant shortfalls in their state budgets which will force confrontations with their state legislatures, which are very reluctant to cut funds for education, public works and public safety.  What makes this situation dangerous for the four is that they have pledged -- three in writing and one (Krispykreme) verbally -- not to raise taxes, a violation that could produce a Teabagger challenge in their next primary or election.  If everyday people weren't going to be the victims of their idiocy, we'd cheer the fix they've put themselves in, once again drinking the "trickle down" Kool Aid.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Weekend Overload Song


Our Memorial Day long weekend song is "Overload," by Life of Dillon, a new London-based UK band with an international music style that incorporates some influences of British pop and of Brazil, where two of the three band members were born, and rhythms of Nigeria, where their mother hails from.  "Dillon" happens to refer to a free-spirit, world-traveling beachcomber that they befriended while on a visit to Brazil in 2014.  Enjoy.

Biting The Hand That Heals You


A key pathology of the far right, as embodied by the Republican / New Confederate/ Stupid Party, is the intentional disconnection from facts and data, unless they happen to support their world view.  A prime example is the role that human activity plays in climate change, which is accepted by 97% of the scientific community.  Yet another is the cause of the current situation in Iraq, which hardcore Rethugs want to blame on President Obama, who has been cleaning up Dubya's magnificent mess for 8 years.  Yet another example is the Rethuglican voter's view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Affordable Care Act suffered from a botched roll-out in 2011, but in the intervening years, has succeeded despite Rethug attempts to block or undermine aspects of the law, including an ill-fated shutdown of the Federal Government.   The Kaiser Family Foundation has found that 74% of all new enrollees in the ACA marketplace rated their health insurance coverage as either "excellent," or "good," a slight uptick from last year's numbers.  Yet, when they surveyed on the basis of party identification, only 25% of Republicans gave an "excellent," or "good" rating to the ACA.  As Kevin Drum says:
"You can buy an ACA plan on the marketplace, get a subsidy, and be happy with your plan—but if you're a Republican you still overwhelmingly hate Obamacare by 74-25 percent."
Hating something that's helped you, just because it's Obama's program. That's pathological, with no connection to what they've actually experienced.

Picture of the Day



This intricate design in the sand on the sea floor was made by a small puffer fish, barely visible in the center of the "wheel" as a dark sliver.

Here's a video of this amazing little artist in action. Truly a natural wonder.

Republican Family Values - Diddling Duggar Edition


Let us say at the outset that it's a real tragedy any time a person -- especially a minor -- is the victim of sexual predation and assault.  That this happened in a family that holds itself up as a paragon of  "pro-family," Christian evangelical, Republican values makes this appalling (but not altogether surprising):
In the wake of a tabloid report alleging that he molested several underage girls while he was a teenager, reality-television star Josh Duggar said Thursday that he “acted inexcusably” and was “deeply sorry” for what he called “my wrongdoing.”

The 27-year-old Duggar, a high-profile member of the evangelical Christian family that stars on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” also resigned his post with the Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying organization.
 But wait, there's more:
Hours before Duggar’s statement, In Touch Weekly had published a partially redacted police report from the Springdale Police Department in Arkansas that, the tabloid said, contained details of the allegations against Duggar. The report redacted the name of the suspect and the alleged victims, all juveniles, but listed Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as relatives. The incidents occurred in 2002 and 2003(our emphasis)
Translation:  several of the victims were his younger sisters.

In case you're not familiar with the Family Research Council's "values":
The FRC, a conservative Christian organization led by Tony Perkins, is known for its advocacy against same-sex marriage, “with the mission to champion marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society.” [snip]
The FRC is known in Washington for hosting a Values Voters Summit, which regularly gathers Republican politicians trying to run for president. The organization’s budget in 2013 was about $13 million, according to its financial statements.

“Family Research Council is one of the major players among the pro-family social conservatives and has a major D.C. presence,” said Tobin Grant, a political scientist at Southern Illinois University, who compared the FRC to the Heritage Foundation or the American Family Association. “It still represents an old guard of people who are pushing the culture wars and traditional family values.”
Not mentioned: the FRC is classified as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Perhaps parents Michelle and Jim Bob (!) were too busy "quiverfilling" their family (19? 20? 21? 22? children - we lost count) to pay enough attention to what Josh was up to:
The Duggars, who endorsed Mike Huckabee for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, have been likened to the “Quiverfull” movement, which urges its followers to have as many children as God will give them.

Many Quiverfull-style families opt to homeschool their children, who are raised in the belief system of their parents.
Or perhaps something else was rotten at the core:
The Duggars have previously promoted the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a conservative organization that was once popular among the Christian homeschooling movement. Gothard resigned from the institute he founded in 2014, after allegations of sexual harassment, molestation and failing to report child abuse.
Be sure to go to the article for bonus pics of Duggar with pals Mike "Huckster" Huckabee, Gov. Scott "Koch Head" Walker, and Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz."

UPDATE:  Huckster comes to the defense of confessed abuser Josh Diddler Duggar.

BONUS:  Is there a connection between home schooling and home sexing?  The indicted members of this North Carolina family seem to raise the question.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Carly Fiorina, Deadbeat Candidate


Toxic former Hewlett-Packard job destroyer (30,000!) and failed Senatorial candidate (in a Republican year!) Carly "Snarly" Fiorina is likely to get a spot on what will be a crowded stage of all-male, mostly white Republicans when the presidential primary debates begin.  After all, it's important for the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party to look inclusive and to have someone who can bash Hillary Clinton without coming across as a sexist bully.  As we've noted before, Snarly's chances of getting elected are the same as ours -- and we're at a disadvantage because we're not running.

It's not for nothing that, as a candidate at any level, she's a toxic hot mess:
Twelve of about 30 people who worked on Fiorina’s failed 2010 California Senate campaign, most speaking out for the first time, told Reuters they would not work for her again. Fiorina, once one of America's most powerful businesswomen, is now campaigning for the Republican nomination in 2016.
 The reason: for more than four years, Fiorina - who has an estimated net worth of up to $120 million - didn’t pay them, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.  (our emphasis)
So, not only a job destroyer, but a golden parachute multi-millionaire deadbeat employer to boot.  She must think the "little people" survive on the sunbeams that jet out of her kazoo.

How bad is she?
I’d rather go to Iraq than work for Carly Fiorina again,” said one high-level former campaign staffer, who asked not to be identified, citing disclosure restrictions in his contract.  (our emphasis)
It's always just about let- them- eat- cake Snarly and what's good for her, and let the "little people" sort the rest out amongst themselves.  That's why (Costco) ham-handed stunts designed to portray the multi-millionaire Fiorinas as jus' folk are doomed to failure, just like her stints at H-P and running for the Senate were.

When does she stop being considered a Serious Candidate?

(h/t Washington Monthly)

Neocon Republicans And The "Who Lost Iraq?" Fast Shuffle


Several perceptive folks have noticed, particularly in the aftermath of John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush's week-long floundering on brother Dumbya's Iraq catastrophe, that Republicans are cowardly trying to turn the issue of ISIL's recent gains (after a series of setbacks) in Iraq into an indictment of President Obama (and, of course, Hillary Clinton) to divert attention from the Republican originator of the mess (and his "smarter" brother):
After more than a decade bearing the political burden of Iraq, Republicans are making a dogged effort to shed it by arguing that the Islamic State’s gruesome ascent is a symptom of Obama’s foreign policy, rather than a byproduct of the 2003 invasion they once championed.
Chaos in the city of Ramadi, which this week fell under the control of Islamic State militants, has only intensified the Republican outcry.
Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog noticed the corporate "mainstream media" is already engaged in tying the recent loss of Ramadi to ISIL into a narrative about the pain veterans of the Iraq War feel over seeing the city fall.  Mind you, not that the whole bloody mess originated in the first place because of the lies of Likudnik chickenhawk neocons.  More evidence, if any were needed, that the "mainstream media" is the perfect foil for Republican revisionists because it has the perspective of Mr. Magoo and the attention span of a mayfly.

Charles P. Pierce noted Steve's catch and had this to say:
...The only way for the people who shook their moneymakers for the war in 2002 to justify their continued place in our politics is to use ISIL to replace the aluminum tubes and hope that enough people don't notice what a grotesque fast shuffle this is. That will clear the way for the candidates on the Republican side -- Rubio, Graham, Jeb (!), and, most recently, Chris Christie -- who want to revive the old neocon hoo-rah while distancing themselves from its savage consequences. It looks very much like "Who lost Iraq?" may replace the disastrous decisions of the Avignon Presidency in this campaign, and that a good chunk of the Republican field will be perfectly happy to allow that to happen. For all the talk of the president's fecklessness from the chickenhawk choir, what those candidates are about right now is the worst kind of cowardice.
That Republicans are trying to turn recent events in the Middle East into a "Who lost Iraq?" narrative is beyond obscene, especially, as Pierce notes, with the same Republican neocons (Sen. "Huckleberry Butchmeup" Graham, Sen. Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio and "J.E.B." Bush adviser Paul Wolfowitz) ready and willing to repeat the same disastrous mistakes all over again, with a new generation of someone elses children. That whirring sound must be George Santayana spinning in his grave.

UPDATE:  Ruben Bolling sums it up also (click on image to enlarge):

(Attribution: Ruben Bolling)

Bumped From The Clown Car?


GOP TV Fux News has announced that it will limit the number of clowns for the August 6 Republican 2016 candidate debate to ten.  Of course, when Fux speaks, the Rethug apparatus listens. The top ten will be determined by averaging the five most recent national polls.  Rethuglican National Committee chairman and human/weasel hybrid Reince "Prepuce" Priebus indicated his support of the decision, which gives him an out, as the list of candidates for the Rethug nomination is getting longer than the Manhattan phone directory (how many already are running or plan to run, 21, 33…?).

It could mean an early demise for such never-gonna-be-nominated-anyway candidates like gay-bashing Gov. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, job-killer Carly "Snarly" Fiorina, theocrat Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum, and bomb-throwing Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry Butchmeup" Graham.  There would still be plenty of craziness in the field of ten, which could include untethered birther Donald "Rump" Trump, and flaming poo-flinger Dr. Ben "Off His Meds" Carson. Here's hoping the other 10 15 247 candidates raise a monumental stink and crash the party.  Popcorn anyone?

(photo:  Huckleberry, is that you?)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Lie That Cost Thousands Of Lives


Within days of 9-11, the Bush-Cheney Assministration was seeking ways to tie the regime of Saddam Hussein to the attack, despite no evidence of it.  Then, for the next year and a half, there were constant claims by Dumbya and The Dick that Saddam Hussein's secular Baathist Iraq regime had ties to the religiously fanatic al Qaeda, which Dumbya eventually had to disavow.  Then, in 2003, with the deadly lie that sealed the false case for invasion, and the fate of many, many thousands, The Dick claimed on national TV: 
"We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." (emphasis added)
Rethuglicans have long asserted that it was "faulty intelligence" that led Dumbya and The Dick astray, but former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell said yesterday on MSNBC that The Dick's claim that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons wasn't supported by any intelligence from the CIA.  The Dick lied, and Dumbya didn't have the curiosity or candlepower to question it (and anyway, he was happy to grasp any excuse because, as he memorably put it, Saddam "tried to kill my dad.")  Another question begs an answer: not that The Dick and the neocons needed help, but were other self-serving governments /intelligence services (Israel's, Saudi Arabia's, even Iran's?) involved in feeding the false claims?

David Letterman Says Goodbye


The great late night host/ comedian David Letterman says goodbye tonight after 33 years on the air.  "The Late Show With David Letterman" has undoubtedly been the gold standard for the genre;  fortunately Stephen Colbert will be taking over the show and promises to be a worthy successor.  HuffPo has a good collection of Lettermania here, but one of the long-running features of the show was the "Top 10 List."  Here's Letterman's compilation of the "Top 10 Special Top 10 Lists", from April 27, 2015 (number 1 is priceless):


Mid-Week Song Twofer


Happy 57th (!) Birthday today to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, native Jane Wiedlin who co-founded the popular all-female New Wave band The Go-Go's in 1978 with vocalist Belinda Carlisle.  Wiedlin, the rhythm guitarist, also wrote or co-wrote most of The Go-Go's songs, including this infectious hit from 1981, "Our Lips Are Sealed" (she's the one with the dark hair in a pixie cut):



We also want to note a belated Happy Birthday to founder of The Who, Pete Townshend, who turned 70 (!) yesterday.  Here's one of The Who's early hits, "The Kids Are Alright," with Pete doing his patented "windmill" guitar strokes toward the end:



Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party - Pious Piyush "Bobby" Jindal Takes A Stand


Louisiana's Republican Governor, the pious Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, has yet to announce that he's running for a future Fox "News" show president, an office he would never hold in a billion lifetimes of course.  But he wants you to know he has no idea what "discrimination" means he's not going to be bullied by the gays:
On Tuesday, to the dismay of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Louisiana’s proposed Marriage and Conscience Act failed in the state’s house. The legislation, which has been compared to “religious freedom restoration acts” (RFRA) in Arkansas and Indiana, would have prohibited “the state from taking any adverse action against a person on the basis that such person acted in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about marriage.” Thus, a pizza shop that said it would not cater a gay wedding — as happened in Indiana — might not be penalized.
But after the bill failed, Jindal stepped into the breach.
“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar,” Jindal said in a statement, as the Times-Picayune reported. “We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will … prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
Hmmm.  Circumventing his (Republican) legislature by Executive order.  Sounds suspiciously like another tyrant. However, unlike that other "tyrant," pious Piyush's action would almost certainly be overturned in court (and certainly would be moot should the Supreme Court rule against discrimination and in favor of same-sex marriage next month), and is not intended to be anything but a campaign talking point (UPDATEMake that a 30-second spot.).  But we hope he and other dead-enders in the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party continue to fight this to the last crumb of the last gay wedding cake, because it defines them so perfectly as the Stupid Party (thanks again, irony-free Piyush!).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"You're A Lousy Governor, But Please Stay"



New Jersey Governor and head of New Jersey's Rethuglican crime family Chris "Krispykreme" Christie wants us to think his constituents love him sooo much that they're telling pollsters that he'd make a bad President just to keep him in Joisey.  A whopping 65% of New Jersey voters think Krispykreme would not make a good President, leading Krispykreme to assert in a jaw-dropping interview with Fux anchor-model Megyn Kelly that they just don't want to part with him.  Unfortunately for the angry Governor's spin, his approval rating among New Jersey voters is a dismal 38% with 56% disapproving of him.  As Kelly pointed out to the too-clever-by-half Krispykreme, the voters of New Jersey "know you the best, why shouldn’t we trust them?”  Indeed, we should trust them.

The Clintons And "Right-Wing Media Rube Fleecing"


TPM's Josh Marshall has a good read today on what he calls the "Vince Fosterization" of all things related to the Clintons.  Here's an appetizer:
... As with most things Clinton, there's enough to get everyone interested and virtually never enough for there to be any real there there. If there were less of the former or more of the latter, the story would have a clearer, more satisfying conclusion. With the Clintons, the inevitable gap between their pursuers' hopes and the mundane reality, the expectations and inevitable disappointment is the beautiful face that sets sail to a thousand ships of nonsense, wishful thinking and right-wing media rube fleecing.
Part of what is endless and exhausting about the Clintons is that they really do always push it right to the line. We've seen it enough times to know they're generally smart enough and careful enough not to go over it. Indeed, one of the paradoxical benefits of the endless and frenetic investigations of the Clintons in the '90s is that these probes stand as an unintentional proof that there's no real goods there to find. One of the countless committee investigations and special counsel inquiries would have found it. But, as I said, they push it right up to the line.
Yet it's never enough for the Clintons' perennial critics to be satisfied with potential conflicts of interest or arguably unseemly behavior. It's got to be more. It always has to be more. There have to be high crimes, dead people, corrupt schemes. And if they don't materialize, they need to be made up. Both because there is an organized partisan apparatus aimed at perpetuating them and because there is a right-wing audience that requires a constant diet of hyperventilating outrage from which to find nourishment. Why else do we have 'Benghazi', the President's birth certificate, the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration of the White House and so much more? And if you think that's bad, you should have seen the '90s.  (our emphasis)
We saw the 90's, lived through it, suffered through it. It was every bit as exhausting as Marshall says, with constant efforts by Republicans (who saw the Reagan years fast disappearing in their rear view mirror) to bludgeon Bill Clinton, capped by an impeachment trial which was not about anything related to governance, but for lying about a b.j.   All the while, the corporate "mainstream media" was happily letting itself be led around by its nose ring by those media-fleecing Republicans. The whole spectacle of undercutting a twice-elected President over fever-brain conspiracies and a dubious impeachment should have kept Republicans out of government at the national level for a generation or more (and would have if the Supreme Court didn't award the Presidency to Dumbya). It also disabused many of us of the notion that the corporate media were  honest brokers when it came to the Clintons or politics in general.

What Marshall refers to the "right-wing media rube fleecing" continues unabated today (witness the digital media anti-Hillary ratf**king and deals cut by the New York Effing Times and the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle to piggyback on the scurrilous "Clinton Cash" book by right-wing hack Peter Schweizer).  The once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's stable of Republican-enabling hacks is working day and night in the hope of uncovering a Clinton money scandal under the "mundane reality" of a successful charitable foundation and publicly available records of speaking fees.  At the very least, these hacks just want to throw up enough mud for others to say "It's out there."

Meanwhile, the hundreds of Adelsons and Kochs in plutocrat land plowing untraceable millions into right-wing coffers, and Jebbie's solicitation of "no more than $1 million, please" from Republican fat cats, is so yesterday's news to these bloodhounds.  Nothing to see here, move along!  But on the other hand, as Marshall notes, critics of the Clintons (and they staff and run both the Times and the Bezos Bugle) are never going to be satisfied in their quest for scandal, because there must be more there!  It feeds their obsession to have Hillary Clinton respond to their questions, as if they were honest brokers for the public's right to know. *

We hope she continues to take questions -- from average Americans, not the corporate "mainstream media."

*BONUS:  Charles Pierce extends and amplifies the point (with ups for slapping the Bezos Bugle's horse race tout rube Chris Cillizza upside the head).

BONUS II:  This is how Hillary recently responded to a "Will you answer my important loaded Fox 'News" question?"  More please.

Today's Cartoon - Mad Men


(click on image to enlarge)


(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Ah, yes, the Republican debates, where the biggest issue leading up might be how to find a stage to fit all the clowns.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bush Steps In Another Steaming Pile


The "smart" Bush steps in it, again:
“A big country, a tolerant country, ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs,” he said. “This should not be that complicated. Gosh, it is right now.”  (our emphasis) John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush Saturday speaking on "Christian" Broadcasting Network.
Gee, no, "J.E.B."  We think it's you who need to figure it out, and we'd like to help.

Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination, no matter how it's cloaked.  Segregationists used to cloak their racism in the "moral belief" that God separated the races on different continents, so man should keep it that way.   Is that so hard for your poor little head to wrap around? And this guy was supposed to be the "gay-friendly, compassionate Republican" this go-round.

This may be what the base wants to hear -- certainly he was pandering to the "Christian" right -- but it won't serve him well with the broader electorate that's moved way beyond his views. 

Meanwhile, we await the second, third and fourth clarifications from the "smart" Bush.

Progressives Beware


Right-wingers are already engaging in a massive digital effort against Hillary Clinton, and they're hoping you join in:
For months now, America Rising has sent out a steady stream of posts on social media attacking Mrs. Clinton, some of them specifically designed to be spotted, and shared, by liberals. The posts highlight critiques of her connections to Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation and feature images of Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, interspersed with cartoon characters and pictures of Kevin Spacey, who plays the villain in “House of Cards.” And as they are read and shared, an anti-Clinton narrative is reinforced.
America Rising is not the only conservative group attacking Mrs. Clinton from the left. Another is American Crossroads, the group started by Karl Rove, which has been sending out its own digital content, including one ad using a speech Ms. Warren gave at the New Populism Conference in Washington last May.
Republicans and their plutocrat dark money dirty tricksters can be counted on to try to undercut Clinton, as they would any other Democrat they see as a threat to their return to power.  Progressives need to be savvy and not amplify the messages these ratf**kers will be sending out from now until election day.

Huckleberry Says He Will Come Out...


…and formally announce his candidacy for the Rethuglican nomination in 2016.  South Carolina Senator, and someone who never met a war he didn't like, Lindsey "Huckleberry J. Butchmeup*" Graham said this weekend that he will announce his bid for President on June 1.  With the Rethuglican race for the nomination becoming increasingly crowded, Huckleberry represents the "go-to-war-or-go-to-hell" segment of the Republican / New Confederate / Stupid Party that continues to see the calamitous Iraq war as a good thing.  Along with sidekicks Sen. John McNasty (Dang Fence - AZ) and former Sen. Joe "Lieberliar" Lieberman (Party of Joe - CT), Huckleberry has been itching for another war in the Middle East -- Libya, Syria, Iran, wherever) for a decade.  He's also willing to bring the war home -- literally -- as he claimed to a room of Iowa wingnuts this weekend
"If I'm President of the United States and you're thinkin' about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL — anybody thinkin' about that? — I'm not going to call a judge, I'm going to call a drone and we will kill you."  (emphasis added)
We're not sure where in the Constitution it says that someone "thinkin'" about something could justify summarily killing them, but we're not from the secessionist state of South Carolina.  It sounds more like something ISIS would contemplate if they had drones.  It also sounds like some overcompensation for someone with an image issue.

* Borrowing Esquire's Charles P. Pierce's moniker for the senior Senator from South Carolina.

Bikers Exercise Second Amendment Rights In Waco, Texas; Nine Die


Nine members of several bike gangs were killed in a shootout in a "Twin Peaks" breastaurant (think "Hooters," but less classy) and parking lot in Waco, Texas on Sunday.  Nearly 200 people were arrested in the aftermath of the carnage.  These thugs good ol' boys had plenty of guns and ammo at their finger tips (over 100 1,000 weapons were seized at the scene).

While some bikers directly participating in the violence were cuffed, here's a photo of another group after the shootout:

(AP Photo - Rod Aydelotte)
Are you noticing anything...  odd?  Like maybe the biker on his cell phone, others hanging around like they were maybe getting a "time out" from the cops?  Oh, yeah.  They're all white.  They're also potential shooters or, minimally, witnesses to the shootout.  Charles Blow detects a teensy disparity between the treatment of Waco and these good ol' white boys and the "blahs" in Baltimore:


Wonkette wonders if the gun-fondlers in the National Gun Manufacturers Rifle Association will come up with a catchy new slogan defending the Second Amendment rights of the bikers to use their shootin' irons in such a way, and adds:
As of press time, we have not yet heard from Alex Jones on the matter, so we aren’t certain whether the bikers were all crisis actors pretending to have a shootout so the feds can seize all the guns, or if the incident is part of Operation Jade Helm 15, and hence a slightly different flavor of false flag incident staged so the feds can seize all the guns. The one thing it couldn’t possibly be was a bunch of armed thugs blowing each other away because guns are always the solution.
Because an armed society is a polite society!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Cartoon - A Solution To Every Problem


(click on image to enlarge)


(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The "Dark And Dangerous" Republican Vision



Wingnuts in Iowa had a chance to listen to a fusillade of scare speech from a number of the Republican / New Confederate / Stupid Party 2016 clown car yesterday, ranging from narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump's fear-the-Muslim-immigrant rant, to Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz's apocalyptic rhetoric about "dark and dangerous times." They know that their End of Times nuttery sells with the clueless teavangelical right in Iowa, so the more extreme the nonsense, the higher their poll numbers.

However, the winner of the Tinfoil Hat award for the day -- and it was a very close call -- goes to Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum, who had the following never-gonna-happen vision to share:
“An electromagnetic pulse over the state of Iowa could knock us back to the stone age.  Worse, [at least] people in the stone age knew how to live in the stone age. We don’t.”
Well, we'd give the wingnuts in Iowa more credit than that.  Living in the stone age shouldn't be too much of a change for them, and anyway, Jesus rode dinosaurs, didn't he?

(photo: "Frothy Mix, " creating his own electromagnetic pulse.)

Letters We Wish We'd Written - Reaganomics And Income Inequality Edition


The once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's non-economist economics writer Robert "Not Paul" J. Samuelson provides a reliably wrong-headed right-wing point of view on op/ed pages once graced by the likes of Walter Lippmann.  Today, two perceptive readers take issue with one of "Not Paul" Samuelson's recent forays into dunderhead economics:
Robert J. Samuelson’s May 11 op-ed column, “Poof goes the big tradeoff,” cited Arthur Okun’s “Equality and Efficiency, The Big Tradeoff,” which theorized that higher growth would come with increased inequality and increased equality would lead to stagnation. But that hasn’t worked out in the real world, and this puzzled Mr. Samuelson.
Mr. Samuelson claimed to have no clue as to why the U.S. economy is stagnating while the richest (after-tax, inflation-adjusted) 1 percent of Americans command nearly half of the nation’s income (almost equal to the lower 80 percent’s total) and how this inequality has occurred.
Hasn’t Mr. Samuelson noticed that the “Reagan revolution” is still going on? Congress’s budgets have given massive tax breaks to the richest while cutting funds for education and making no provision for budget-balancing states and municipalities that have been forced to cut funding for schools, police and other essential services.
President Obama tried to stimulate the economy by proposing measures for necessary repairs and improvements to roads, bridges and other infrastructure, but the Republican Congress turned him down flat.
Mr. Samuelson surely knows that consumer spending drives 70 percent of the U.S. economy’s activity. But skinflint policies have targeted the very people who do most of the consuming. In short, Mr. Okun’s 1975 theories don’t apply today. The billionaires have bought Congress, and the resulting increase in inequality has led to economic stagnation.
Russ Prickett, Austin
Robert J. Samuelson contended that relatively weak U.S. economic growth and widening inequality demonstrate factually that “the big tradeoff has proved unworkable” because “we do not know enough to manipulate economic growth, productivity and income distribution.” Right facts, wrong conclusion. A few years after Arthur Okun’s article, the United States implemented Reaganomics, shifting massive wealth from the public to the private sector. But the “job creators” have not behaved as expected, using a greater portion of these funds to increase their wealth through financial investments (hedge funds, collateralized debt obligations, outsourcing to increase profit margins, executive stock options, etc.) rather than investments in productive equipment and output. With the reduced funds available to the public sector (exacerbated by long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), we get crumbling infrastructure and limited ability to support bootstrapping efforts. We do know enough now: This 35-year experiment has demonstrably failed to achieve the right set of tradeoffs. The United States needs to recalibrate the public-private balance, not just give up hope.
Len Levitt, McLean
Unfortunately for America, the "Reagan revolution" is still going on, as Mr. Prickett notes.  Thanks to the usual suspects -- an infantile media, plutocrats emboldened by Citizens United,  and an array of spineless "centrist Democrats" -- the rather obvious connection of income inequality to policies that have long-favored the wealthiest 1 per cent ("makers!") is obscured  by people like Samuelson to the detriment of us all.

That First Step Can Be A Stinker



"I misstepped, for sure. I answered a question that wasn't asked. That's just what happened." -- "smarter" House of Bush pretender to the throne John Ellis (J.E.B.) Bush in Iowa yesterday, trying to recover from a week of fumbling his response to the question of whether he would have invaded Iraq, knowing what we know now.

J.E.B. is currently polling in 7th place in Iowa, and donors are wondering if he's up to the challenge.  The neocon/Likudnik establishment within the Rethuglican Party is upset that he didn't come to their defense over their disastrous war in Iraq, as his competitors sharpen their knives.

BONUS:  Paul Krugman has a must-read on the "blinkers and lies" we're still dealing with on Iraq and other issues.