Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Last Call

Bulk and Skull.  Beast Man and Tri-Clops.  Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo.

None of them have squat on the wildly ineffective supervillain duo of Moose Lady and The Bachmanniac.
Thousands of conservatives flocked to the Minneapolis convention center Wednesday afternoon for a rally on behalf of Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, two heroes of the Tea Party movement.

Though the rally was for Bachmann's reelection campaign, the controversial Minnesota lawmaker was the warm up act for Palin, who told an enthusiastic crowd that "the tea party is growin' and steamin.'"

Introducing Palin, Bachmann, clad in a striking yellow jacket, told the audience: "She is so much one of us."

Before Bachmann's speech, the two women emerged onstage together to the song "This One's for the Girls," by Martina McBride. In her remarks, Palin said studies had shown many of the Tea Party leaders are women.

Bachmann said more than 11,000 tickets had been distributed for the event, adding: "Take that liberals!"

She went on to criticize the Obama administration for its new nuclear weapons policy.

"So if in fact there is a nation who is compliant with all the rules ahead of time...if they fire against the United States, a biological weapon, a chemical weapon, or maybe a cyber attack, then we aren't going to be firing back with nuclear weapons," said Bachmann. "Doesn't that make us all feel safe?"

She stated her support for repealing the health care reform bill, saying "repeal is what this girl is going to be all about after November."

Bachmann also complained of an "infamous monstrosity of a vote to nationalize effectively health care in the United States of America."

Palin spent much of her speech lauding Bachmann for standing up to Democrats in Washington.

"What's wrong with being the party of no when you consider what Obama, Pelosi and Reid are trying to do to our country? So be it," she said. "Not when it violates our Constitution!" 
Sadly, ignorance, mischaracterization of the facts and plain out and out lying does not disqualify one from public office (or in Palin's case, quitting public office to go on a book tour because being responsible is hard.)  After all, doing things that teabaggers don't like violates the Constitution, apparently.

Sarah Palin's bona fides on foreign policy discussions are...what exactly?  She stayed at a Holiday Inn last night?  She wrote some crap on her hand?  She drives a snowmobile?  What?

And Bachmann?  Still lying about this being an effort nationalizing health care?  Exactly what did she contribute to this discussion?

Wisely, the DNC is already hitting back.

Yeah, I know swinging at this pinata is the definition of low-hanging fruit, but you gotta take those swings when they present themselves.

A Tad Too Late For That, Bucko

Seems somebody in Virgina Gov. Bob McDonnell's staff reads that internet thing.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has apologized for not including any mention of slavery in his proclamation declaring April "Confederate History Month" and added an extra clause to the proclamation.

"The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed," McDonnell wrote in a statement. "The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation."

He also added a clause to the proclamation that declares slavery "led to this war."
WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders, and the study of this time period should reflect upon and learn from this painful part of our history.
McDonnell had taken heat from both critics, such as former governor and current DNC Chair Tim Kaine, and past supporters, such as BET co-founder Sheila Johnson.
I'll let Ta-Nehisi Coates take it from here.
That the party of unadulterated quackery also believes that Birth Of A Nation is more true to the Civil War than Battle Cry Of Freedom, is to be expected. Ignorance does not respect boundaries. It is, at times, qualified and those who know more, often struggle to say more. But people who believe that the Census is actually a covert attempt to put Americans in concentration camps, are also likely to believe that slavery was incidental to the Civil War. 

This is who they are--the proud and ignorant. If you believe that if we still had segregation we wouldn't "have had all these problems," this is the movement for you. If you believe that your president is a Muslim sleeper agent, this is the movement for you. If you honor a flag raised explicitly to destroy this country then this is the movement for you. If you flirt with secession, even now, then this movement is for you. If you are a "Real American" with no demonstrable interest in "Real America" then, by God, this movement of alchemists and creationists, of anti-science and hair tonic, is for you.
"Proud and Ignorant" should be the GOP's new slogan.  And it's not just ignorance, but willful denial that facts or evidence that don't fit in their neat little fantasies even exist.  Slavery was just an unfortunate afterthought in McDonnell's original statement.  He has conservative Virginian teabagger voters to win over.  Surely none of them are still sore about this whole slavery thing being part of the history of the Confederacy, so why bother to mention what is, to you, wholly incidental?

You get that a lot, this pride in not being an egghead or a nerd, in not being a latte-drinking elitist or arugula-munching wimp, or braniac loser.  Real Americans believe in God and FOX News and Rush Limbaugh and to hell with everyone else.  "We ARE the Mob" they reminded us last summer and again now.  "We're the silent majority and we're coming for you."  These are the same folks who tell you that black voters should rebel against the Democrats because progressivism is slavery of permanent dependence on big government, the same folks who say that with a straight face while telling you that Democrats are horrific people for cutting Medicare or decry any efforts to trim defense spending as leading directly to the deaths of your entire family.

Republicans love government.  They just don't like government helping non-Republicans.  And if you look at the Republican makeup in Congress, you'll see exactly who they want government to help.

Everyone else is incidental.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

If there's anything there's overwhelming bipartisan support for, it's financial reform.  Both the motivated voters on the left and the right are pissed off because the banks got bailouts and the rest of us are paying for them.  It's such a simple concept to pound the GOP on reform.

But the Democrats refuse to do so.  Specifically, President Obama refuses to do so.  Digby asks:
In any case, financial reform is not health care reform. It's very important, but it doesn't directly affect many average citizens' lives and does not carry the moral imperative that HCR does, certainly among the liberals. Passing something lame is not "laying the groundwork" for something better, it's just passing something lame. It's not creating a huge new program or establishing something important that can be built upon later. This is a fairly simple set of regulations and new regulatory structures which have a targeted job --- eliminate or reduce the systemic risk that caused the meltdown of the global financial system in the fall of 2008. They need to do this right.

I'm sure the White House would love to have a lovely bipartisan bill symbolizing a new day of peace, love and understanding. And maybe they'll get it. But they'd better watch out. There are Democrats on the left who feel zero obligation to play ball on a bill that benefits big banks and whose loyalty to the White House was badly frayed during the last year. And there may be some Republicans on the right who refuse to play ball for any number of reasons, not the least of which is to deny Obama any kind of bipartisan victory. So Obama will likely have to stitch together a coalition of his favorite "centrists" from both parties to put this thing together and hope that he can beat a filibuster in the Senate. (How many of those are there?)It seems to me that if it's going to be that kind of a dog fight he might as well get a decent bill. So far, it doesn't look as if he particularly wants one.

Why the White House doesn't want the Democrats to have even one issue that speaks to the electorate's populist fervor this fall is a question for the age.
Allow me to answer.

Any guy who kept Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner around was never serious about financial reform in any way, shape or form.  Period.  Ever.  The Democrats aren't going to sign off of a real reform bill.  The Republicans will fight it tooth and nail.  It's almost like both parties are in the pockets of the banking industry.  If Obama was serious about financial reform, he would have passed it already.  Instead, it's been sitting on the bench even longer than HCR was.

And on the bench it will remain.  Obama's not stupid.  He knows he can't piss off the big banks, especially not now in the wake of Citizens United meaning banks can unload unlimited millions to destroy the Dems in campaign advertising.  Certainly no Senator is going to make a stand.  Certainly not 60 of them.

No, unlike HCR, which I always knew would pass, financial reform doesn't have a chance in hell.

It never did.  Anyone who thought it did is delusional.

With The Rudy And The Theo And The Ha Ha Ha

Greg Sargent wonders aloud why Rudy Giuliani is on national TV critiquing Obama's foreign policy when Guiliani has no foreign policy credentials whatsoever.
Last night, Wolf Blitzer wanted a guest to come on the air to critique Obama’s new nukes policy, which will have far reaching consequences for our national security and the world. He chose Rudy, who, per the transcript, slammed Obama’s new policy for emboldening Iran:
I was quite confused about it, really. It seems to me he’s got his eye off the ball. The ball is trying to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power…
What he has failed to do is to create in their minds the real sense that there could be a military option. Because I think the only thing that will work with Iran is they’re thinking that there is a military consequence that could be faced if they become nuclear. And the further he moves away from that, the more difficult his role with Iran is going to be.
Wolf, perhaps unprepared for this interview, didn’t bother challenging Rudy by pointing out that the new nukes policy exempts Iran, which seems like a relevant fact. But put that aside. The real question is, Why is Rudy on CNN discussing this to begin with?

Rudy was also invited on MSNBC this morning, where he critiqued Obama’s foreign policy approach thusly: “One of the things this administration does not do well is not use leverage. It`s constantly gotten itself in into a position where it`s getting pushed around.”

Again: Rudy has no basis whastoever for being granted authority or credibility on these issues. Unlike, say, John McCain, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rudy does not hold public office. His resume boasts no meaningful national security experience of any kind. His last foray into politics was two years ago, when he ran a comically inept presidential campaign. He last held public office nine years ago.
I'd say that Rudy's shelf life is just about up, but then again I see Newt Gingrich all over my teevee too.  And what the hell credentials does that clown have?  He resigned in disgrace, for God's sakes.  Now he's a 2012 contender.  For President.

What is it with Republicans and multiple-time losers getting Village respect?  Why aren't Mike Dukakis and Tom Daschle and Al Gore all over my TV every week?

It boggles the mind.

We Report. You Decide (We're Crazy As All Hell.)

Those FOX News guys.  So responsible with their journalism.

I Do Not Believe That Word Means What You Think It Means

In this case, Virgina's Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has an issue with the word "significant" as he doubles down on last night's idiocy.
Last week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) issued a proclamation quietly declaring April 2010 Confederate History Month, saying it was important for Virginians to “understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present.”

Notably absent from McDonnell’s proclamation was any mention of slavery. Yesterday, McDonnell explained that it wasn’t “significant” enough to merit a mention:
McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because “there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.
Slavery?  Not significant enough in Virginia's history to be mentioned.  The Confederacy?  Totally significant!

Also, the word I'm looking for to describe McDonnell is "asshole."   Dave Brockington and the LGM crew educate McDonnell.
The fact that McDonnell is recognizing — and I think pretty clearly celebrating — the Lost Cause is at some level no better or worse than what Georgia or Mississippi does each year.  At the same time, however, Virginia’s importance to the entire history of the Confederacy means that, for McDonnell, hailing the state’s role in the Confederacy means hailing the state’s role in assuring that the entire nation suffered through a war that killed well over 600,000 people and took four years to conclude.  The state was, of course, critical to the lunatic aspirations of the Deep South planter class.  Its manpower, industrial wealth and agricultural resources (to say nothing of its geographic value, perched across the Potomac from the Great Bearded Satan) were essential to the mission of preserving the institution of slavery against the imaginary assaults being made against it by the miscegenationists in the Republican party.  Lacking Virginia, the Confederacy could easily have been choked to death by a prolonged naval blockade; of course, lacking Virginia on the Confederate side, the war would probably never have turned into an abolitionist crusade, so we can at least thank Virginia’s dead sons for that much — though I don’t suppose Bob McDonnell would appreciate the more self-defeating aspects of Confederate Heritage.

In any event, and for what it’s worth, I’m proposing that April be known henceforth as West Virginia Appreciation Month. Feel free to e-mail the Governor’s office and ask him to take a few moments this April to recognize the patriotism of those nearly three dozen Virginia counties that refused to make war in defense of white supremacy.
Hell, even the Power Line guys think McDonnell botched this one miserably.  I'll tell you what, if this is the new "We're not racists!" Southern GOP designed to appeal to a wider voting demographic as the country becomes more and more culturally and racially're doing it wrong.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

The first thing that crossed my mind when I read this story...
The ex-fiance of the leader of the Hutaree Christian militia tells the AP that the group harbored delusions of grandeur to the point that they created "a big map on a room in their house of their own country and their own names of their countries and cities and stuff."

Andrea Harsh, who was engaged to alleged Hutaree leader David Stone, described the map as "very extensive."
...was this scene from Superman (the 1978 Chris Reeve/Gene Hackman classic.)
[Pointing to a map of California and the San Andreas fault.]
Lex Luthor: Everything west of this line is the richest, most expensive real estate in the world: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Everything on THIS side of the line is just hundreds and hundreds of miles of worthless desert land, which just so happens to be owned by...
[whaps Otis with his pointer]

Otis: Uhhh... Lex Luthor Incorporated.

Lex Luthor: Now, call me foolish, call me irresponsible, but it occurs to me that a 500 megaton bomb planted at just the proper point would, uh...

Superman: Would destroy most of California. Millions of innocent people would be killed. And the west coast as we know it would---

Lex Luthor: Fall into the sea. [With a little wave] Bye bye California. Hello new west coast. My west coast. [overlays map with new map] Costa Del Lex. Luthorville. Marina del Lex. Otisburg-- "Otisburg"?

Otis: Miss Tessmacher said. She has her own little place.

Lex Luthor: "Otisburg"?

Otis: It's a little bitty place!

Lex Luthor: [angrily] "Otisburg"?!?!

Otis: Alright, I'll wipe it off, that's all.
[erases "Otisburg"]
Admit it.  You went there on this one, too.  Otisburg.  Bang.

Counting On Paranoia

The nutbars on the right are pushing Census paranoia to new heights, as TPM's Rachel Slajda reports.
When Rush Limbaugh suggested last week that the census was deliberately skipping Republican neighborhoods in order to under-represent the right, he added yet another theory to the growing library of census paranoia stories emanating from right-wing blogs, and Republican congressmen.

Conservatives have kicked up such a fuss about the census -- suggesting, for example, that it will help legalize gay marriage or lead to WWII-style internment camps -- that Republicans have become worried that their supporters will be under-represented. The Census Bureau even pushed back, getting Karl Rove to cut an ad lauding the constitutionality of the head count. 
And I've said this before:  many on the Right understand that the Census is vitally important to everyone.  On the other hand, they've been throwing around years of complete nutjob crazy paranoia like this because they've been pushing the meme that any government headed by a Democrat is illegitimate, and any government action or program undertaken by said government is also illegitimate.

That includes the Census.  One one hand, they've been screaming CENSUS TAKERS WILL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL for a while now.  On the other hand, with millions of idiots on the right refusing to be counted, that gives all the more power to the left, who has traditionally been under-counted time and time again.

We'll see how this goes.

Steele Himself For Battle

The calls for Michael Steele's head from the Republican side are getting louder.
Prominent Republican strategist Alex Castellanos called on Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele to step down Tuesday after a series of embarrassing headlines raised questions about Steele's ability to lead the party into November's elections.

"I think a change in the direction now, at this point, would do the party good," Castellanos told CNN's "The Situation Room."

Castellanos a CNN political contributor, described Steele as a "good man, a very decent man and a tremendously talented man." But he said he had stopped serving as an informal advisor to Steele because "I lost my ability to be of service to the RNC."
And louder...
How to put this politely? Michael Steele is a man of considerable talents — it’s just that he conspicuously lacks those required for his present position. He’s energetic, personable, and articulate. But those are not the qualities most required of a party chairman. The job demands an administrator, a behind-the-scenes schmoozer, and a tactician. Showboating is a hindrance. It’s a job that requires the talents of a stage manager, whereas Steele likes to be the star.

At a time when the Republican party is the indispensable vehicle for thwarting the disastrous policies of the Obamaites, Steele is a costly distraction in more ways than one.
And louder.
But before the RNC can pick new leadership, the current leader must step aside. There are already those who are calling for Steele's forced ouster. But that would be unfortunate, and tough under the party's rules. Far better for Steele to decide it's time to go on his own. 
Remember Josh Marshall's theory:  if Steele is forced out, it all but proves that he was put in the position solely because of his race in the first place as a naked attempt to blunt criticism of the GOP on race.  The dogpiling on Steele from the right shows that he's outlived his usefulness as the puppet at the head of a party without a leader...well, without admission that the leaders are Beck and Limbaugh, that is.

We'll see how this shapes up.  I'm strongly inclined to agree with Marshall here:  Steele as RNC chair was always a naked attempt to pander.

Priced In

Dow's gone up 3,000 points or so since Obama took office.

Of course, it has nothing to do with Obama, it's just the market pricing in a GOP landslide in 2010.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was dissolving Parliament and set a May 6 date for national elections. How does this news translate for the U.S.? Jeffrey Saut, chief investment strategist at Raymond James, shared his views.

“The upcoming mid-term elections in November is going to be an agenda changer if the liberals continue to focus on cap-and-trade and other programs," Saut told CNBC.

"This can put a headwind in the face of the market." 

Saut said programs such as cap-and-trade are job-killing initiatives. 

“If you get a conservative backlash, you can get an extension of the rally,” he said. 
Yep, the last 15 months in the stock market?  Nothing but the market prescience predicting Republican rule forever and ever starting in November.  Obama's economic legislation?  What did that have to do with anything?  Gosh.

It's not like he's President or anything.  Didn't you know we're a center-right country even when 59% of Congress is Democratic?

The Quest For Absolution

The Wingers are claiming absolute victory over this AP article from Valerie Bauman detailing African-American conservatives who have joined the Tea Party movement.
They've been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values. Now black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement — and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation's first black president.

"I've been told I hate myself. I've been called an Uncle Tom. I've been told I'm a spook at the door," said Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group of black conservatives who support free market principles and limited government.

"Black Republicans find themselves always having to prove who they are. Because the assumption is the Republican Party is for whites and the Democratic Party is for blacks," he said.

Johnson and other black conservatives say they were drawn to the tea party movement because of what they consider its commonsense fiscal values of controlled spending, less taxes and smaller government. The fact that they're black — or that most tea partyers are white — should have nothing to do with it, they say.

"You have to be honest and true to yourself. What am I supposed to do, vote Democratic just to be popular? Just to fit in?" asked Clifton Bazar, a 45-year-old New Jersey freelance photographer and conservative blogger.

Opponents have branded the tea party as a group of racists hiding behind economic concerns — and reports that some tea partyers were lobbing racist slurs at black congressmen during last month's heated health care vote give them ammunition.

But these black conservatives don't consider racism representative of the movement as a whole — or race a reason to support it.

Angela McGlowan, a black congressional candidate from Mississippi, said her tea party involvement is "not about a black or white issue."

"It's not even about Republican or Democrat, from my standpoint," she told The Associated Press. "All of us are taxed too much."
I've known, and still know, several African-American conservatives.  I've had long discussions with them in college during the Clinton years about how only by voting for Republicans can we get the real attention of the Democrats and stop being taken for granted as de facto support for the Donks.  One heated conversation about NAFTA's passage led to a good friend of mine (he's now an engineer in Texas) saying that we were basically enslaved by neglect.  I pointed out to him that if conservatism was so great for civil rights, how come it was the Democrats who kept passing legislation towards equality, while Republicans stood against it?

There's a difference between fiscal conservatism, which I can respect, and social conservatism, which I do not.  Dubya-era Republicans weren't conservatives any more than Bill Clinton was and still aren't.  I look at the national GOP right now, without a single elected black face, and then Michael Steele.  And I see some of these tea party folks and I shake my head.  No, not all of them are racists.  Some of them certainly are.  That's actually not the point:  look at Angela McGlowan there.  "All of us are taxed too much."

Obama lowered taxes for 95% of us as a result.  Does MgGlowan give Obama credit for that?  No. She uses the same mendacious half-truths that white tea party folk use to cover up the fact they hate Democrats, they hate being out of political power, and they hate Barack Obama.  Buying into that ignorance...that's what enslaves one's mind and spirit.  As I've said time and time again, the logical, principled arguments that the tea party folks keep bringing up are easily defeated, or they're just plain out lies.

They've convinced themselves they are right anyway.  Self-delusion doesn't need a skin color.  This article continues that delusion and now the Wingers will scream "SEE?!?! Democrats hate black people!!!" when we, you know, elected one President while the GOP has...nobody.

That's evidence that is hard to ignore.


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