Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Last Call

So, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is, at best, hinting that the Lone Star State might possibly, you know, secede from the United States as John Amato reports.
All the insane talk coming from the Limbaugh National Convention is spreading into the fabric of the entire GOP. Listen to Texas Gov. Rick Perry say:

Perry: Texas is a unique place. When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that.

We got a great Union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it, but if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what may come out of that.

These republicans are talking treason in my mind. As soon as a Democratic president is inaugurated after conservatives led the charge and collapsed our economy, these freak show conservatives are now talking succession. OH, Lord---help us all.

And this is a Governor. The highest elected state official hinting at secession if the duly elected federal government doesn't do he wants.

Obama is not a legitimate President to these idiots. They will never accept him as their President. We have the Governor of a state talking publicly about dissolving the United States of America because Obama is President. They only tried to impeach Clinton. Obama's apparently driving these people so insane that we're talking about, what here? A Second Civil War? Honestly?

Doesn't Perry's public statements more or less count as sedition?

My lord. Republicans are *insane*. The thought of an African-American President is leading their possible Presidential hopefuls to openly speak of seceding from the Union. Bush's war crimes, plenary executive power, and near fascism elicited precisely nothing from this man. Three months of a black man in the White House and Texas should consider leaving the United States of America.

That is how much these people hate Obama. It is an irrational, mass delusion affecting millions of people. We live in dark, dark times.

Will anyone in Texas call for Perry's resignation? Will they even bother to call for him to retract, or even clarify his statement today?

Or should Perry put his state where his mouth is?

Epic Last Word On Teabaggin' Win

From my good friend Jay in the comments section, David Shuster, filling in for Olbermann last night, absolutely hits one out of the park.
The people who came up with it are a familiar circle of Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, both of whom have firm support from right wing financiers and lobbyists. … We can only speculate why widespread tea bagging made [Neil] Cavuto think of the Million Man march, unless he got them confused with Dick Armey. And in Cavuto’s defense, if you are planning simultaneous tea bagging all around the country, you’re going to need a Dick Armey.


Hundred Thousand Here, Hundred Thousand There

Number of people total at all the anti-Obama tea parties nationally today? Neighborhood of 100,000.

Number of people at one pro-Obama campaign rally in Missouri last October? Neighborhood of 100,000.

Here endeth the lesson.

Y'all kinda lost in November.


3,000 or so showed up for the We Hate Obama umm Obama lowered our taxes, the bastard "Tea Party" here on Fountain Square in downtown Cincy. You know, 2,000 fewer people than showed up last month.
One of the organizers, Bruce Knox, a machinery business owner in Franklin, Ohio, told the crowd that the news media is focused on pirates in Somalia when it should pay attention to the pirates in Washington.

After the lunch hour rally, a few thousand people began a march to City Hall to deliver petitions containing 1,700 signatures asking City Council to reject federal stimulus money.
Because creating jobs is bad! You stop that right now! And Obama's a Somali pirate!

I wonder. While Bruce Knox, machinery business owner, is here taking time off for protesting, how many of his employees are busting their asses back at his business and are thankful for the tax credit Obama signed into law that Brucie there is protesting against? How many got laid off thanks to the mess Bush made? Must be nice to have your boss out there protesting that you got a tax cut. I want to work for this guy.

I wonder. Does the story mean Greg Knox instead of Bruce?

[UPDATE] Josh Marshall has me shaking my head at these idiots.
Wow, first video from the Chicago tea bagging event suggests the folks didn't get the cheat sheet from Freedom Works. The first guy interviewed on CNN just said Obama was a fascist and now seems to be saying that they're standing up for the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, who you may recall put in place what was arguably the largest increase in federal power and spending in all of American history.
Le sigh.

[UPDATE 2] Video from Media Matters. It really is that bad out there in Tea Bag Hell.

Teabaggers Are Doing It Wrong

Here endeth the lesson. (The hilarity apparently is only just beginning.)

Watching Us Watching All Of You

While the wingers are still screaming bloody murder at the DHS report on right-wing extremism, it seems the same DHS is also looking at left-wing extremist groups as well, as Greg Sargent points out.
I’ve now obtained, however, an internal DHS assessment for law enforcement officials that sounds equally dire warnings about “left wing extremists.” And it broadly defines these extremists as including people who embrace some components of “anticapitalist” or “antiglobalization” ideas.

You can read the whole thing right here.

While this new memo was mentioned tangentially by The Washington Times, reading the whole memo in full shows clearly that a similar approach was employed towards the left and deflates any claims of DHS “bias.”

Critics are upset with the right wing memo in part because it defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as not just hate groups but also ones that challenge the authority of the Federal government. The outcry has been so vehement that DHS chief Janet Napolitano is expected to address it today.

But the memo I’ve obtained describes “left wing extremism” as including people who “embrace a number of radical philosophical components of anticapitalist, antiglobalization, communist, socialist, and other movements.” That seems equally sweeping.

There are crazies on both sides, folks. The point is that these are domestic terrorists, not foreign ones. And the wingers will never freely admit that domestic terrorists might in fact be right wing ones. All domestic terrorists are Leftists, you know (BILL AYERS! BILL AYERS! WEATHERMEN! BLOOGITY BLOO!)

But hey, isn't the whole point that a surveillance state will watch everyone, innocent or not? The GOP told us that it was necessary. When it was turned against them, only then did it become unconscionable fascism. It was perfectly fine when it was abused by Bush to watch treasonous liberals.

Only NOW do these idiots cry foul.

Pirates Versus Pirates

Ron Paul wants Congress to issue letters of marque and reprisal to aspiring pirate hunters.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and a growing number of national security experts are calling on Congress to consider using letters of marque and reprisal, a power written into the Constitution that allows the United States to hire private citizens to keep international waters safe.

Used heavily during the Revolution and the War of 1812, letters of marque serve as official warrants from the government, allowing privateers to seize or destroy enemies, their loot and their vessels in exchange for bounty money.

The letters also require would-be thrill seekers to post a bond promising to abide by international rules of war.

In a YouTube video earlier this week, Paul suggested lawmakers consider issuing letters, which could relieve American naval ships from being the nation’s primary pirate responders — a free-market solution to make the high seas safer for cargo ships.

“I think if every potential pirate knew this would be the case, they would have second thoughts because they could probably be blown out of the water rather easily if those were the conditions,” Paul said.

Oh yeaaaaaaaaaaah. As I said last week, nothing could possibly go wrong with a plan involving farming out military duties to private contractors.

Tea Totaled

You know it's bad for the Teabaggers when Glenn Reynolds' op-ed in the WSJ (declaring of course that American politics will be changed forever after today) has three blatant lies in the just the first paragraph.
Today American taxpayers in more than 300 locations in all 50 states will hold rallies -- dubbed "tea parties" -- to protest higher taxes and out-of-control government spending. There is no political party behind these rallies, no grand right-wing conspiracy, not even a 501(c) group like
Republicans are most certainly behind it, FOX News is behind it, and FreedomWorks is behind it, asshole.

Reynolds goes on from there to describe how using THE INTERNET, circa the Left 2002, they will recreate the entire political landscape and overthrow Obama unfair taxation, because all taxation is unfair and so is the government and we're all angry and stuff.

No really, that's the entire thing. Giving the fringe nutbars a national platform to hate on Obama is their key to attracting moderate, independent voters that for some reason inexplicable to the teabggers are siding en masse with the Dems. They honestly believe they are right, and if the rest of America can just be made to understand how terribly evil the government is, why we'll all go back to letting the GOP run everything.

Magical thinking. The last three years simply don't exist to these people. They dismiss the progressive movement of the last two elections as "Bush is gone. How could anyone like Obama?" They've already set themselves up as victims should the protests fall on their face. They can't lose, they figure.

Only the 2008 elections kind of proved they already have lost.

[UPDATE] Marc Cooper in the LA Times lets the teabaggers have it right between the eyes.
The Web is buzzing with information about how to throw an anti-Obama Taxpayer Tea Party, something organizers hope will be held today from Santa Monica to South Carolina. But no need to burn up your bandwidth reading complicated instructions. Here's a simpler recipe:

Go to a hobby store. Buy a scale model of a U.N. One-World-Government Black Helicopter and a tube of glue. Toss the model kit. Sniff the entire tube of glue. You're all set for the party.
Nice. Once again, where were you Tea Party guys when Bush did all the things you despise Obama for?

Obama May Be Stressed Out

Despite the serious misgivings about the bank stress tests, the NY Times reports that the Obama administration is planning to reveal data about all 19 banks in an effort to avoid stigmatizing any individual ones.

The administration has decided to reveal some sensitive details of the stress tests now being completed after concluding that keeping many of the findings secret could send investors fleeing from financial institutions rumored to be weakest.

While all of the banks are expected to pass the tests, some are expected to be graded more highly than others. Officials have deliberately left murky just how much they intend to reveal — or to encourage the banks to reveal — about how well they would weather difficult economic conditions over the next two years.

As a result, indicating which banks are most vulnerable still runs some risk of doing what officials hope to avoid.
Yesterday's move by Goldman Sachs to sell stock in order to raise money to pay off its TARP bill prompted this morning's report.

Goldman’s action has put pressure on other financial institutions to do the same or risk being judged in far worse shape by investors. The administration feared that details on healthier banks would inevitably leak out, leaving weaker banks exposed to speculation and damaging market rumors, possibly making any further bailouts more costly.

The Goldman move also puts pressure on the administration to decide what conditions will apply to institutions that return their bailout funds. It is unclear if Goldman, for example, will continue to be allowed to benefit from an indirect subsidy effectively worth billions of dollars from a federal government guarantee on its debt, a program the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation adopted last fall when the credit markets froze and it was virtually impossible for companies to raise cash. In ordinary times, regulators do not reveal the results of bank exams or disclose the names of troubled banks for fear of instigating bank runs or market stampedes out of a stock. But as top officials at the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank focused on the intensity with which the markets would look for signals about the nation’s biggest banks at the conclusion of the stress tests, the administration reconsidered its earlier decision to say little.
So now, Obama is in a jam and in a bad one to boot, and one I predicted he would be in some time ago.

If the banks all pass the test with flying colors, nobody's going to believe him. If he reveals just how insolvent the banks are, it's panic time. If he reveals some banks are more equal than others, then it'll force some banks into recievership as they lose customers and deposits. I've argued that the last point there is the perfect cover for Plan N, but Obama seems more and more determined to take the first option instead, revealing as little substantial information about the banks actual health and depending on wishful thinking to get us out of this mess.

Now having said that, it's entirely possible that the stress test having been publicly revealed to be a sham at this point, Obama has no choice now but to divide the banks into solvent and insolvent and kick in Plan N on the losers.

Then again, he could just pretend they're all fine like the guy on NPR this morning. If that happens, batten down the hatches.

The Driving Argument Behind Fiat/Chrysler

Fiat is playing hardball. The company is going directly to the UAW and wants Chrysler to cut union costs significantly, or the deal to save Chrysler is off.
In a clear message to U.S. and Canadian unions, Sergio Marchionne told Wednesday's Globe and Mail newspaper a deal on the partnership had only a 50-50 chance of succeeding because of lack of progress in talks with union leaders.

"Absolutely we are prepared to walk. There is no doubt in my mind," Marchionne said in an interview posted on the Toronto newspaper's website.

The Chrysler unions had to agree to match the lower labor costs of plants run by Japanese and German carmakers in the United States and Canada, he said, adding that Canadian unions were especially resistant to the idea.

Nomura analyst Michael Tyndall said Marchionne was probably not bluffing in talking tough with the unions.

"He's playing hardball," he said, adding that the unions' position would make the deal too costly for Fiat. "We want them (Fiat) to walk away ... I don't see any benefits in this deal."

Under the latest version of the proposed partnership, first announced in January, Fiat would take an initial 20 percent stake in Chrysler in exchange for the technology to make small cars and access to foreign markets.

The two carmakers are under pressure to reach a deal on the proposal with Chrysler's unions and bondholders before an April 30 deadline set by the U.S. government.

I don't see where the UAW has any choice here whatsoever. With two weeks to go, Chrysler has to get a deal in place, or it's over. It's unfortunate that the deal has to be balanced on the backs of the workers here, but having a job is better than the thousands lost should Chrysler have to declare bankruptcy.

Fiat's not bluffing here, I agree. It's time for Ron Gettlefinger and the UAW to eat this crap sammich and smile while doing it, as unfair as it is. That's how bad the situation is right now.

Out At The Train Wreck Scene With A Notebook

Over at his new blogging digs at True Slant, Rolling Stone's political reporter Matt Taibbi discusses Glennsanity, Bachmanniac, and the carnival of stupid that is the right wing in 2009.
This must be a terrible time to be a right-winger. A vicious paradox has been thrust upon the once-ascendant conservatives. On the one hand they are out of power, and so must necessarily rail against the Obama administration. On the other hand they have to vilify, as dangerous anticapitalist activity, the grass-roots protests against the Geithner bailouts and the excess of companies like AIG. That leaves them with no recourse but to dream up wholesale lunacies along the lines of Glenn Beck’s recent “Fascism With a Happy Face” rants, which link the protesting “populists” and the Obama adminstration somehow and imagine them as one single nefarious, connected, ongoing effort to install a totalitarian regime.

This is not a simple rhetorical accomplishment. It requires serious mental gymnastics to describe the Obama administration — particularly the Obama administration of recent weeks, which has given away billions to Wall Street and bent over backwards to avoid nationalization and pursue a policy that preserves the private for-profit status of the bailed-out banks — as a militaristic dictatorship of anti-wealth, anti-private property forces. You have to somehow explain the Geithner/Paulson decisions to hand over trillions of taxpayer dollars to the rich bankers as the formal policy expression of progressive rage against the rich. Not easy. In order to pull off this argument, in fact, you have to grease the wheels with a lot of apocalyptic language and imagery, invoking as Beck did massive pictures of Stalin and Orwell and Mussolini (side by side with shots of Geithner, Obama and Bernanke), scenes of workers storming the Winter Palace interspersed with anti-AIG protests, etc. — and then maybe you have to add a crazy new twist, like switching from complaints of “socialism” to warnings of “fascism.” Rhetorically, this is the equivalent of trying to paint a picture by hurling huge handfuls of paint at the canvas. It’s desperate, last-ditch-ish behavior.

It’s been strange and kind of depressing to watch the conservative drift in this direction. In a way, actually, the Glenn Beck show has been drearily fascinating of late. It’s not often that we get to watch someone go insane on national television; trapped in an echo chamber of his own spiraling egomania, with apparently no one at his network willing to pull the plug and put him out of his misery, Beck has lately gone from being a mildly annoying media dingbat to a self-imagined messiah who looks like he’s shouldering more and more of the burdens of Christ with each passing day. And because he’s stepping into a vacuum of conservative leadership — there’s no one else out there who is offering real red meat to the winger crowd — he’s begun to attract not professional help but apostles, in the form of Chuck Norris (who believes we have to prepare for armed revolution and may prepare a run for “president of Texas”) and pinhead Midwestern congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, a woman who is looking more and more like George Foreman to Sarah Palin’s Joe Frazier in the Heavyweight Championship of Stupid. Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!

Now I have to admit, Glenn Beck as The Evil Howard Beale isn't a new concept, but it's certainly one to pay attention to. But I don't think Beck is insane at all. I think he knows exactly what he's doing and he's doing it on purpose. He's a huge hit on FOX. They're more than willing to let him roll with the whole Messiah thing, just like Olbermann's Special Comments (Ben Affleck captured this perfectly as Olbermann on SNL) because they're good for ratings.

Glenn Beck is a very, very smart guy in fact. He went from an also-ran on CNN to FOX News's new golden boy, a cross of Olbermann's intensity, Steven Colbert's news-as-prop-comedy approach and Rachel Maddow's "gosh darn it" ordinary delivery. The combination however is something of a trinary explosive mixture.

Beck's problem is he's smart and he's crafty, but he's not taking responsibility for any of his antics. He knows by calling Obama a fascist, dumping on Bush, and pretending to be a champion of the people that he's a ratings monster going up against the largely discredited voices of the Right. His audience members are the Republicans who see the Bush era as a failure (after all, it led directly to the Obama Nation) and have a hard-on for the mass hysteria high of righteous indignation. They liked being in charge. They like playing the wounded victim lashing out even more. He's new, he's fresh, he's what they are looking for. But he's inflammatory as hell and he knows it, and nobody's reining him in over it. That makes him dangerous. Keep an eye on him.

Michele Bachmann, on the other hand, really is kind of depressingly, anti-intellectually stupid across the board. She's just something of a walking joke, really. She's just another dim bulb Republican know-nothing in the House, only meaningful through her self-parody value.


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