Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Credit Where Credit Is Due

To FOX News anchor Shepard Smith.

Honestly? It took you how many years to see this, Shep?

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

A shooting at the Washington, D.C. Holocaust Museum this afternoon. Two guards and the shooter were injured, the shooter has been identified as known White supremacist James W. Von Brunn.
This afternoon, a gunman apparently shot at least one person at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. MSNBC is reporting that the suspected shooter, who also sustained gunshot wounds, is James Von Brunn, a white supremacist born in 1920. Brunn has been approvingly cited on Stormfront, a national white supremacist website. He is apparently the author of a tract called, “Kill the Best Gentiles,” which his website describes as “a new, hard-hitting exposé of the JEW CONSPIRACY to destroy the White gene-pool.” Brunn, a WWII veteran, also wrote a screed on President Obama’s citizenship that was re-posted to popular right-wing blog Free Republic:
This guy is a piece of work, an 88-year old WW II vet who happens to be a hardcore Right-wing racist anti-Semitic asshole. Here's hoping both the injured guards and Von Brunn recover fully...there's some justice to be meted out.

(P.S....he's not a Muslim, wingers. He's one of of those guys who hates everyone not a white Christian male, and who doesn't believe Obama is a real US citizen. Oh, and he's a Freeper, too.)

How many of these attacks have to happen before we start admitting we have a right-wing domestic terrorism problem in this country? Just two months ago, the DHS released a report saying right-wing domestic terrorism is on the rise. The Wingers said it was unfair, unfair, UNFAIR to say that!

And since then, we've had several incidents of domestic terrorism here. It's been two months since that report came out. Just two months.

It will only get worse from here. I guarantee it.

Israel, Obama, And The Briar Patch

Israeli Minister Yossi Peled wants to impose sanctions on the US.

No, really.
In the 11-page letter, obtained by The Jerusalem Post from a minister on Monday, Peled recommends steps Israel can take to compensate for the shift in American policy, which he believes has become hostile to Israel.

"Obama's ascendance represents a turning point in America's approach to the region, especially to Israel," he wrote in the letter. "The new administration believes that in order to fight terror, guarantee stability and withdraw from Iraq, a new diplomatic slant is needed involving drastic steps to pacify the Muslim world and the adoption of a more balanced approach to Israel, including intensive pressure to stop building in settlements, remove outposts and advance the formation of a Palestinian state."

Peled added that faced with an American government with an activist agenda that does not mesh with Israel's, traditional reactions are no longer relevant. He said he expected that Obama would eventually realize that appeasement and dialogue with countries that support terror would not have positive results.

But in the interim, the minister suggests reconsidering military and civilian purchases from the US, selling sensitive equipment that the Washington opposes distributing internationally, and allowing other countries that compete with the US to get involved with the peace process and be given a foothold for their military forces and intelligence agencies.

Oh please. No. not that. Please don't throw Obama in the briar patch and give him the excuse to slam the door in Israel's face. By all means, don't punish America so!

Seriously, this has to be the biggest diplomatic screw-up I've seen Israel make in years. Not the letter itself, there's zero chance of Netanyahu actually doing this, our retaliation would be devastating. But letting this go public only makes the entire Israeli leadership look utterly foolish.

Of course Barack Obama is holding all the cards right now. Israel knows this. Kvetching about it won't help. Kvetching about it indirectly like this is actually worse.

At this rate, Obama won't have to bring down the Netanyahu government. They'll bring themselves down.

Pyrrhic Victory Part 2

Yesterday I pointed out how the Tiller family's decision to close Dr. George Tiller's clinic was a terrible decision in the long run, that will only motivate the wingers to take the law into their own hands.

Today, via Digby, we see the wingers running with it.
Why should their victory be "tainted" just because it was made possible through assassination? I would hate for them to feel down about that. After all, it's the most practical way to stop people from obtaining this legal procedure.

I would think the lesson is quite clear and there's nothing tainted about it: if you want to close clinics, kill the doctors. It's very efficient. And since the authorities are likely to see this as the act of a lone nut (also known as a martyr) there's no price to pay.

Their victory isn't tainted. It's brilliant.
Even worse, it's time to capitalize on the event.
How Tiller's Death and Office Closing can Help Propel Pro-Life Movement, Derail Sotomayor and Overturn Roe. Four Key Senators will be Targeted to Vote Against Sotomayor; Catholic Bishops will Play a Role to Defeat Sotomayor

Press conference 1 PM, Thursday, to announce details how Pro-life groups can derail Sotomayor, and root out hypocrisy in pro-life ranks.

Also: Emergency Pro-life leadership training to be held in DC, June 12-14, with Randall Terry, Dr. Alan Keyes, Norma McCorvey, and Fr. Norman Weslin. Pro-abortion activists threaten to disrupt meeting.
In the immortal words of Rahmbo, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

Running The Numbers

The NY Times engages in actual journalism and runs the numbers on how the projected $800 billion surplus projected ten years ago when Clinton was running things became a $1.2 trillion deficit today.
The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years.

You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush’s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.

The first category — the business cycle — accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It’s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.

About 33 percent of the swing stems from new legislation signed by Mr. Bush. That legislation, like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt.

Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent of the swing.

About 7 percent comes from the stimulus bill that Mr. Obama signed in February. And only 3 percent comes from Mr. Obama’s agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas.

If the analysis is extended further into the future, well beyond 2012, the Obama agenda accounts for only a slightly higher share of the projected deficits.
So, Obama's responsible for at most, 30% of that deficit, or $600 billion. $400 billion of that he shares with Bush. The other $1.4 trillion is...tada! Bush's fault!

But Republicans will never admit that Bush ruined our economy.

Elephant Graveyard

A new Gallup/USA Today poll shows the GOP has three massive problems. First, there's a huge leadership vacuum in the party right now.
Republicans, out of power and divided over how to get it back, are finding even the most basic questions hard to answer.

Here's one: Who speaks for the GOP?

The question flummoxes most Americans, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, which is among the reasons for the party's sagging state and uncertain direction.

A 52% majority of those surveyed couldn't come up with a name when asked to specify "the main person" who speaks for Republicans today. Of those who could, the top response was radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh (13%), followed in order by former vice president Dick Cheney, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Former president George W. Bush ranked fifth, at 3%.

"Mitch who? Whatshisface Boehner? Eric...Cantwell? Cantley? That obnoxious Congressman from that state? Oh I know, the black guy, Mr. Hip-Hop Republican?"

No, the GOP's actual leaders have no actual perceived leadership among ANYBODY. It's pathetic. Dubya is seen as more of a party leader than the actual party leadership, and of course the guy getting the most votes is El Rushbo!

Second, the GOP will never, ever shake the label of being the party of the Old White Guys.

So the dominant faces of the Republican Party are all men, all white, all conservative and all old enough to join AARP, ranging in age from 58 (Limbaugh) to 72 (McCain). They include some of the country's most strident voices on issues from Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court to President Obama's policies at home and abroad. Two are retired from politics, and one has never been a candidate.

Only McCain holds elective office, and his age and status as the loser of last year's presidential election make him an unlikely standard bearer for the party's future.

"It's a problem," says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an adviser to McCain's 2008 presidential campaign who this month is filing the papers to create a think tank aimed at generating new ideas for conservatives. "We need the perceived leadership of the party to be those who are the future."

"We cannot be a party of balding white guys," says former Republican Party national chairman Ed Gillespie, a White House counselor for George W. Bush. "We have to have a broader appeal, but there's time for us to make that change."

And finally, a full third of Republicans are unhappy with their own party.
Dissatisfaction with the GOP extends to within its own ranks. Among Republicans, 33% had an unfavorable impression of their own party. In contrast, 4% of Democrats had an unfavorable impression of their party.

The GOP's electoral setbacks, policy divisions and image problems make it harder for the party to influence the national debate.

"It's as if the Republican Party is in a time-out chair," says Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the non-partisan Cook Political Report. "Nobody's really listening to them. Nobody's caring what they think. The question is when they're asked to rejoin the class, are they going to have something new or different to say?"

"I don't think people know what they stand for," says Troy Collett, 39, a Republican from Shelbyville, Ind., who was surveyed. In the 2008 election, he says, "all they knew was there was a war in Iraq that most people disagreed with, and spending was out of control, and gas prices were high."

So what's their big plan for a "Contract With America"-style comeback?
"There's a lot of time and nothing wrong with the Republican Party that health care reform or the cap-and-trade (energy plan) or something like that blowing up wouldn't help fix."
The GOP Plan lives!

Destroy. Obama.

That's their big plan. Trying to scuttle every positive change Obama is trying to make. That's the whole thing. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Republican Party is so bereft of new ideas that they are reduced to seeing Obama fail as their master stroke.

No wonder they are doing so badly. Without Obama Derangement Syndrome, they are nothing.

Epic Mr. Deeds Win

The big national race in 2009 is for the Virginia Governor's mansion to succeed Tim Kaine, and Dems held their primary yesterday. Former Clinton staffer Terry McAuliffe had the money and the backing of the D.C. machine...but he didn't have the votes as Creigh Deeds won the primary going away.
R. Creigh Deeds, a longtime state legislator from rural Bath County, won a stunning come-from-behind victory in the Democratic primary for Virginia governor last night, overwhelming a pair of better-funded and better-positioned opponents.

Deeds beat Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe in every region of the state, including vote-rich Northern Virginia, despite a pro-gun stance and relatively conservative positions that are out of line with many of the area's voters. His victory was so dominant that he captured 10 of the state's 11 congressional districts, including the one held by Moran's brother, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr.

All three campaigns and state political experts had agreed that Deeds was coming on strong in the final days of the race, but no one expected him -- or the other candidates -- to come close to winning the 50 percent of the vote that he captured. In an e-mail sent to supporters less than two hours before polls closed, McAuliffe's campaign predicted that "this thing could come down to the wire." McAuliffe came in second, with 26 percent of the vote, followed by Brian Moran with 24 percent.

Deeds, 51, will face Republican Robert F. McDonnell in a general election battle that amounts to a rematch of the race for attorney general four years ago, which McDonnell barely won after a late surge by Deeds.

This year, Deeds surged when he needed to, airing statewide TV ads in the final weeks of the race and capitalizing on an endorsement from this newspaper that quickly became a theme of his campaign in the Washington suburbs. As soon as it came out, he agreed to make a joint appearance with the other candidates in front of hundreds of business leaders, which he had previously turned down. He then added numerous other events in Northern Virginia and launched a week-long television blitz in the region.

Deeds, already known by Virginians in all corners of the state after his 2005 bid, began receiving the support of many undecided voters who were attracted to his pledge to bridge regional and partisan divides and invest in road and transit improvements.

Deeds has a very good chance to win the whole thing in November, and either way, seeing Terry McAuliffe get the boot like that shows there's hope yet. The last thing we needed was another Serious Beltway Centrist running a state, Dem or not.

Deeds came out of nowhere to seal this thing with just weeks to go.



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