Monday, January 23, 2012

Last Call

Rick Santorum winning the state of Iowa's Republican caucuses despite a position on rape and abortion like this pretty much seals the deal that they should lose their "first in the nation" status entirely.

SANTORUM: Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.

Yes ladies, rape is awful. But you get a lovely parting gift, as decreed by Rick Santorum and his fellow anti-choice nimrods.

Everyone repeat after me:  There's no difference between Obama and the Republicans on issues that matter!

Re-Birther Of The Uncool, Part 3

Whether you believe that the Republicans will self-destruct in November or not, the Birther component of the anti-Obama campaign will never, never end unless the people who continue to spew this nonsense are actually made to pay a price.

A judge has ordered President Barack Obama to appear in court in Atlanta for a hearing on a complaint that says Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen and can’t be president.
It’s one of many such lawsuits that have been filed across the country, so far without success. A Georgia resident made the complaint, which is intended to keep Obama’s name off the state’s ballot in the March presidential primary.
An Obama campaign aide says any attempt to involve the president personally will fail and such complaints around the country have no merit.
The hearing is set for Thursday before an administrative judge. Deputy Chief Judge Michael Malihi on Friday denied a motion by the president’s lawyer to quash a subpoena that requires Obama to show up.

If the President shows up, every other state GOP machine will file similar complaints with friendly judges and he'll have to show up there as well.  If the President ignores the complaints, it will "prove he has something to hide" and feed the nasty e-mail whisper campaign that basically hasn't stopped since early 2008. The sinister point of all this is not to prove or disprove anything, but to so demoralize voters that they'll entertain the notion that if the Republicans win, all this idiocy will go away and that the GOP will behave themselves again.

It's complete nonsense, of course.  All of it.  The idiocy was always there and surrender by the electorate is the only way the GOP wins with their current field of cartoon villain mouth-breathing doucheknockers.  But that's the point:  no matter how many times the President personally staples his birth certificate to people's foreheads, they'll never believe him.  Jesus Christ could descend from the sky with John Wayne's pet T-Rex that's piloting the Millennium Falcon, during halftime at the Super Bowl, grab the mic while Sam Elliott hands him his own mustache and say "You guys, he was born in Hawaii, knock this crap off already" and they would wonder how POTUS managed to brainwash America and the world into seeing such a perfect simultaneous mass hallucination.  They would in fact blame fluoridated water.  I kid you not.

Almost enough to drive a guy to drink.

President Obama, Jobs, And Government

This analysis on government job creation from Gallup economist Dennis Jacobe from last week is notable for two reasons:  first, it shows that President Obama is doing exactly what Republicans say they want him to do by cutting government jobs, especially at the federal level, and increase private sector jobs.  Second, it proves that Republicans are lying about jobs, as usual.

Take this graph, showing the difference between areas of the federal government that said they were hiring, and those who said they were cutting jobs.

Job creation by the U.S. federal government fell further into negative territory in December 2011 with Gallup's Job Creation Index at -20, worsening from -15 in November and from -12 in October. While 23% of federal employees in December said their area was hiring, 43% said employees were being let go -- by far the most negative conditions Gallup has found since it began tracking federal government job creation in August 2008.
Federal government job creation index

Note the area before January 2009...when George W. Bush was still President. In August 2008, that number was +30. In December 2011 under Barack Obama, that number is now -30.  Under this President, federal jobs are being cut dramatically...far more than under the previous president, literally a 50 point swing in the difference between hiring and firing.

But at every turn you hear Republicans on the campaign trail saying how Barack Obama has presided over "unprecedented growth in big government and federal workers."  Nothing could be further from the truth. Federal belt-tightening was happening before the GOP won the House, and the stimulus and Census jobs also dried up. In 2011, Gallup's polls showed federal departments were letting more people go than hiring, despite GOP tinfoil idiocy about hiring "hundreds of thousands of IRS agents to enforce Obamacare" as boldfaced lies.

What about at the state and local levels?  Those jobs cut cut massively too, although they are starting to balance out.

State and local government job creation index

Again, Gallup's numbers show that government employees declined at the state and local level, despite the stimulus.  In fact, at both the local and state level, more employees were getting fired than hired in every single month of the Obama presidency so far.  In spring of 2010 those numbers were brutal.  Only now, three years later, are these number starting to moderate as states, counties, and cities are running out of jobs to cut.

But surely Republicans aren't lying when they say Obama has destroyed private sector hiring, right? The stimulus failed and wrecked the economy?  Wrong.


Job creation levels in the private sector have steadily improved since early 2009...when the stimulus bill was signed into law.  Overall government jobs are shrinking, not growing.  Private sector job growth is increasing, especially since 2010.

In fact, that's exactly what Republicans say the country needs to be doing now:  firing "overpaid" government employees and hiring more private sector workers.  That's exactly what's been going on under President Obama.  But Republicans can't admit that...because it would mean that they were lying.

He has reduced the size of the government.  He cut taxes on the middle class.  Private sector job growth is steadily improving.

But the Republicans have to lie.  It's the only way they can win.

Illinois Catches Missouri's Cold

Illinois citizens may have to provide identification and be listed in a database so they don't buy too much cold medicine, and perhaps contribute to meth production.

It's the dumbest thing in the world.  I can say this from experience, because Missouri's been doing this for a long time.  Zero good has come from it.  Now, our state wants us to get a prescription for over the counter medicine as a secondary measure, because this database is a fail.  Except for collecting information, that is.

If the people of Illinois can't squash this, they face a long spiral of stupidity.  We call that a StupidiSpiral around these parts.  First, someone is going to make a lot of money installing systems and designing the database.  Then the stores raise prices to compensate for the pain in the ass that has become Sudafed. The state will say prescriptions are the next logical step, ignoring why we have over the counter medicines in the first damn place. Now poor people (or uninsured) who can't afford a doctor visit now can't afford basic relief because someone might use it to make meth.

There is no gray area here.  Law enforcement: do your jobs, and stop putting innocent people through harassment to have access to a perfectly legal substance.  Government: know your limits and for once respect them.  It's wrong to have people give their personal information to have access to cold medicine.  This is asinine and backfires on the vulnerable and the ill.

Idiots, all of them.

Obama Gets It Right

While Republicans decide whether they will allow a woman to own her body or have access to birth control, Obama acknowledges that he doesn't have the right to decide for women.  That in itself is refreshing.  Here is what he had to say today, courtesy of HuffPo:

As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue -- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

Obama gets it on many levels.  It's not about his personal beliefs, it's about the right of a person to make medical decisions.  The reality is, our bodies should not be held hostage to the beliefs of someone else.  But that's not all, it's about education, preventing those unwanted pregnancies in the first place so abortions are not necessary.  We can help promote adoption when it's a good option.  It's all about choices, and in this case, protecting them.

Obama isn't afraid to come out and openly support women, and I am so grateful to him for that.  It's a risky move for him, but I admire him for having the strength to speak when many would have remained silent.  He has come out in open support of fair wages for women.  He has demonstrated his respect for women not just through his words, but his actions.

Thanks, O.  We got you in in 2012.

Iran, So Far Away, Part 8

The Republicans continue to attack the President's Iran policy as "weak" and "appeasement", and while they continue to stumble all over themselves saying that they will take "whatever action is necessary" to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, the President's policy has quietly gotten the Iranians back to the negotiating table.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said only negotiations and not sanctions can resolve the standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

“Consensus can only be reached through serious negotiations based on a cooperative approach and not via the wrong path of sanctions,” Ramin Mehmanparast said yesterday according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

The comments come as European Union foreign ministers are set to meet in Brussels tomorrow to consider an oil embargo and additional financial sanctions on the country. The U.S. and the European Union are urging Iran to return to nuclear talks, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Jan. 20. If Iran’s leaders agree to a “serious dialogue,” they must be prepared to discuss steps to give up “options for nuclear weapons,” he said.

Iran is already under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions. The U.S. and its allies say they suspect that Iran’s nuclear program is a cover for developing atomic weapons, a charge the Persian Gulf nation has repeatedly denied, maintaining the program is for civilian purposes. Mehmanparast told IRNA that claims that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons are “baseless.” 

Iran at this point is begging for negotiations, because the threat of US and now EU economic sanctions on anyone who does business with Iran over oil is rapidly killing Iran's currency.

Iran’s national currency fell by 11 percent Saturday amid the government’s refusal to sign off on a move to raise bank interest rates, state news agencies reported.

The semiofficial Fars news agency said the the country’s currency, the rial, was trading at nearly 20,000 to the U.S. dollar on Saturday on the black market, compared to 18,000 rials a day earlier.

The rial was trading at around 10,500 riyals to the U.S. dollar in late December 2010.

In other words, the President's Iran policy has cut the value of the Iranian rial in half.  That's a hell of a "smart power" motivator, is it not?  Enough to have Iran practically begging for a diplomatic solution.  Now granted, there are still tons of ways that this could go wrong, but the alternative is the Republican plan to bomb Iran now and worry about diplomacy after we install a puppet government, plunging us into another ten-year war with unforeseen consequences.

All in all, I'd rather go with the smart power approach.

The Village Is Terrified Of Newt Vs. Obama

If Jennifer Rubin's hacktastic hyperventilation is any indication, the conservative Village is sweating bullets now at the prospect of seeing Mitt lose to Newt Gingrich and hand the election to President Obama and the Democrats come November.  At this point she's begging anyone in the GOP "leadership" to stop Newt, even if it means getting into the race ASAP, and she can't hide her disgust with South Carolina's primary voters.

But here’s the thing: The voters in their infinite wisdom have just given a huge boost to perhaps the only GOP candidate who could shift the spotlight from President Obama to himself, alienate virtually all independent voters, lose more than 40 states and put the House majority in jeopardy.

We’d be looking at four more years of Obama’s economic policies, four more years of strained relations with allies, several new Supreme Court justices and an unprecedented power shift to the executive branch.

It seems, gentlemen, it’s time to get off your . . . er . . . time to get off the bench and into the game. It is time to make the case for winning conservatism — a conservatism attractive to centrist voters that can be translated into a reform agenda. If conservatism becomes a movement of anti-media bashing and hyperbolic rhetoric, it will cease to be a force in American politics. And if it is led by an egomaniac whose personal advancement takes precedence over any principle, the GOP will be (correctly) mocked.

So how about it? One of you can run yourself. Or you can instead collectively get behind a not-Gingrich candidate. But really, if you are to have a Republican Party to lead one day in the future, you can’t very well do nothing.

Part of that of course is Gingrich's win this weekend coming off of racial dog whistles and media bashing.  They didn't much like it when Sarah Palin did it in 2008, and they certainly aren't going to stand for Newt trying to get away with it in 2012.  Rubin is practically in tears trying to get someone like Chris Christie to enter the race at this point just to sink Newt.  The liabilities that Gingrich exposed in Romney's facade are mortal.

Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard is now playing the same song:  it's time for somebody else to run.

Two months ago, I wrote an editorial headlined “Evitable.” The subhead captured the thrust of the piece: “It might not be Mitt. It could be Newt. It could be someone else.”

The editorial concluded:

“Or, if Iowa (January 3), New Hampshire (January 10) and South Carolina (January 21) produce fragmented results, and the state of the race is disheartening to Republicans, a late January entry [I'd now say an early February entry] by another candidate isn't out of the question, either . . .

“With a splintered field in a turbulent time in an Internet age, there are more possible outcomes in today's politics than are dreamt of in the philosophy of inevitability.”

I notice a new online petition was launched Saturday night to try to produce one possible outcome. It’s at

They understand two things:  one, that Newt knows how the game is played far better than Romney does and that means he will force the Village to back his awful dog-whistles and media-bashing and that the Village will lose all credibility or risk getting cut off by conservatives.  Either way, they lose access and influence.  Two, they know it means President Obama will be re-elected as a result.  They don't want either.

I have no sympathy for Rubin.  She and Bill Kristol and others like her helped create this monster.  They are in a near panic now, and they know it.  They wanted Mitt Romney to wrap up the nomination quickly so that he could pretend to be a moderate for the next nine months and win people over.  There is no chance of that now, as Romney will now have to go to the right of Gingrich in order to stop Newt.  By doing so, he destroys all chance he has in the general.  If he doesn't, Newt wins the nomination only with the same result in the general.

Rubin and Kristol pleading for a white knight to save the party is proof enough that they believe this is true.

And Barack Obama will be laughing all the way to re-election.


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