Saturday, May 19, 2012

Last Call

Want to know why Democrats are winning the battle for the White House and losing the war for Congress?  Here's your answer, plain and simple.

Conservative interest groups have dumped well over $20 million into congressional races so far this year, outspending their liberal opponents 4 to 1 and setting off a growing panic among Democrats struggling to regain the House and hold on to their slim majority in the Senate.

The surge suggests that big-spending super PACs and nonprofit groups, which have become dominant players in the presidential race, will also play a pivotal role in House and Senate contests that will determine the balance of power in Washington in 2013.

The money could be particularly crucial in races below the national radar that can be easily influenced by infusions of outside spending. One example came this week in Nebraska, where a dark-horse Republican Senate candidate upset two better-funded rivals in the GOP primary thanks in part to a last-minute, $250,000 ad buy by a billionaire-backed super PAC.

And in Indiana this month, veteran Sen. Richard G. Lugar was ousted in the GOP primary by challenger Richard Mourdock with the help of millions of dollars in spending by conservative groups. The Club for Growth, which backed a losing candidate in Nebraska, spent more than $2 million to help Mourdock in Indiana.

We’re just getting started,” said Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller, who said the group will soon begin training its fire on Democrats. “Our group has already had an impact on what the composition of Congress is going to look like next year. That’s our whole goal is to have an impact, to improve the gene pool in Congress.

Once again we're now seeing the true aftermath of the January 2010 Citizens United decision.  It cost Democrats 60+ seats in the House.  It may very well cost them the Senate in 2012.  Unlimited money is pouring in to House and Senate races across the country as the one percent move to buy our government, one seat at a time.  It's even worse at the state level.

Not much we can do about it.  Other than VOTE, of course.

While we still can, that is.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Conservatives just need to admit that they believe the only hope is to get rid of all the brown people and make the country safe for the melanin challenged.  Think Progress:

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on new census data which showed, for the first time, that non-white births made up over 50 percent of all births in the United States last year.

It marked an important milestone, indicative of a changing United States that has long been considered the world’s melting pot. Or, if you’re the conservative, Phyllis Schlafly-backed Eagle Forum, it’s a clarion call that America is in grave danger of being overrun by uneducated, un-American brown people:
It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.
Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.

We're just savages and locusts to them, feeding off their sweat and hard work, thugs to be bribed, cattle to be exploited.  They accuse the Democrats of buying our loyalty, then say we're simply too stupid to see the truth that we could "free ourselves" by giving people like Schafly our freedoms and loyalties.

Us dumb darkie peasants, we don't know no better, no sir.  And yet conservatives continue to wonder why they don't get 95% of the African-American vote.

The Politics Of Descent Into The Abyss

Mickey Kaus's descent from "professional left" pundit to full-blown right wing hack was sealed the moment he signed on to the Daily Caller, and he's never given up his outright contempt for President Obama beating Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries.  These days he's reduced to quietly bitching about how the Democrats have abandoned white male pundits like himself.  He's particularly angry about the President publicly backing marriage equality:

Weren’t Democrats supposed to be the party of Everyman? If you went to work and obeyed the rules, Dems would “make work pay”–plus give you unemployment compensation and Social Security and medical care in old age. White male workers are sort of the indivisible denominator in American politics–they have no special economic leverage, and no race- or gender-based claim to special privileges. They’re naked as far as favoritism goes, and thus (not unlike Marx’s proleteriat) are the representatives of universal privileges (such as Social Security). The new Obama coalition threatens to abandon this universality, becoming instead the party of non-universal skills, ethnic and gender identities–of special pleaders, victims and causists. Not of citizens.

P.S.: But isn’t this just a question of strategy or political marketing? No. Different coalitions produce different policies–or, rather, the attempt to mobilize different coalitions produces different policies. (Sorry, Weigel.**) Gay marriage is a New Coalition policy: Young voters love it; white working class voters, not so much. “Comprehensive immigration reform”–e.g. legalization or amnesty– is a New Coalition policy: It is quite explicitly framed as an attempt to win over Latinos. But if it attracts additional unskilled illegal immigrants, from Mexico and elsewhere, unskilled working class Americans are the ones who will see their wages bid down even further. Screw ‘em–they vote Republican anyway!

Similarly, if you don’t care that much about ordinary white unskilled workers you might be perfectly willing to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, as Obama has apparently been willing to do. After all, it”s not such a big deal to retire two years later if you are an accountant. But what if you are a coal miner? The worst example of all would be Obama policies that push poorer workers out of Medicare into often-inferior Medicaid, as Scott Gottlieb has charged the Affordable Care Act will do. (I await Jonathan Cohn’s explanation of why Obamacare doesn’t actually do this).

You can’t blame Obama for trying to win, and if white working class voters don’t like him–well, he has to assemble a majority anyway he can.*** But if you’re not Obama you can hope this particular Emerging Democratic Majority un-emerges soon.

It's pretty sad how far Kaus has fallen since his days at Slate.  He basically despises everything the Democrats have done in the last four years, because he's decided that equality among minorities, women, the LGBT community and yes even the working class is nasty zero sum class warfare where white males lose, and that the Democrats could easily win if they just kicked all those groups to the curb, gave them the "What are you going to do, vote Republican?" speech, and just put them in their place at the back of the bus where they belong in pursuit of the only people that matter in politics anyway, white guys.

He's a not so gentle reminder that not all bigots and fools are in the GOP.  The "behind every successful minority person is a white guy giving them a leg up" force is strong in this one, and he's far from the only one.

Will Smith Gettin' Slappy With It

Will Smith slapped a reporter who kissed him.  I am normally a big fan of his, and this is the first time I've been disappointed with him.  That means that I will eventually forgive him because every single person on the planet can lapse in judgment when surprised.  However, I think an apology is due. The man violated his personal space, but that wasn't the problem and you can tell that.  It was the kiss.  The slap was demeaning and full of contempt.  This wasn't a slug to protect himself, it was a bitchy and shallow act that is beneath someone who I believe is a good guy for the most part. He compounds his error by saying he was lucky he didn't sucker punch him as a joke.  Well, uh, you kind of did.  Jerk.

It is not uncommon for Russian men to kiss in greeting.  While that is being pounced on and exaggerated right now, it truly isn't uncommon.

Am I overreacting?  I don't think I am, but reactions have been mixed.  Watch here and tell me what you think.

People has a poll where the majority of people voted that the reporter out of line.  The article above says the man asked and was granted permission to hug Will Smith.  He had permission to enter his personal space, and while the kiss was over the top it is only by our butch alpha-male Western standards that it becomes truly "offensive"... but take one look at Sacha Baron Cohen's humor and tell me there's no double standard.

One Lucky Defibrillator

SAN DIEGO — A man's implanted heart defibrillator may have saved his life in an unexpected way — by stopping a knife.

San Diego police say the 57-year-old got into an argument with an acquaintance early Thursday near some elevators at the trolley station for the Fashion Valley shopping mall.

Police say the acquaintance pulled a folding knife and stabbed the man in the chest. The knife hit the man's defibrillator, a device that shocks the heart if it gets dangerously out of rhythm.

So remember, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.  I can't imagine the math that calculates the odds of that happening.

The Smartest Man In The Room Is Not Your Friend

Say what you will about Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg, he knows how to pick his business partners.  In fact, the number one qualification for being a business partner with the guy is apparently the ability to be such a self-centered asshole that it completely takes the spotlight off Zuckerberg himself, quietly allowing him to be an even larger schmuck in the process.

When, as Facebook expects, the 187 million stock options are cashed in this year, Facebook will get $7.5 billion in tax deductions (which will reduce the company’s federal and state taxes by $3 billion). According to Facebook, these tax deductions should exceed the company’s U.S. taxable 2012 income and result in a net operating loss (NOL) that can then be carried back to the preceding two years to offset its past taxes, resulting in a refund of up to $500 million.

Oh and that gets worse.

While Zuckerberg will pay a hefty tax bill right off the bat if he follows through on his plan to sell $5 billion in Facebook stock options, as the New York Times noted, he may then never pay a dime of taxes on the rest of his Facebook wealth. “Instead, he can simply use his stock as collateral to borrow against his tremendous wealth and avoid all tax,” the Times reported.

And even more so.

In addition, Zuckerberg’s using a totally legal accounting gimmick to transfer money to his unborn children, thus avoiding the gift tax. He also — by virtue of accepting a $1 dollar salary and purely living off his wealth — could be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is intended to benefit low-income Americans.

Yeah.  Let's not kid ourselves.  Friday was the day Mark Zuckerberg became the .0001%.  He's now one of the richest people on Earth.  Literally, he's #29 on the planet.  And unless you think he's going to say "Hey, I can give $3 to everyone on the planet and still have a billion left over LOL", he's not exactly your new hero.

He's your new overlord.  Might want to keep that in mins when you're all surprised at whatever "leveraging of your online information" stunt they pull next.  Because now?  Now they've got the mega-billions to back it up, stockholders to answer to, and profit margin to exploit.

It's not gonna be pretty, kids.  You want to be online?  You're going to be playing by this guy's rules, and he's already made himself a god among mortals before 30.


GOP Voter Suppression Isn't Enough? Try Candidate Suppression

Want to know how to put swing states like Arizona with Republican Secretaries of State firmly in the Mitt Romney camp?  Use birther nonsense to threaten to take President Obama off the ballot, of course.  Voter suppression not working?  Just eliminate the Democrat as a possible candidate.

The man in charge of running Arizona’s elections has gone to the birthers. Secretary of State Ken Bennett now says he’s not convinced Barack Obama was really born in the United States and so he is threatening to keep the president off the ballot in November.

Bennett’s comments came in an interview late Thursday with conservative radio talk show host Mike Broomhead on Phoenix station KFYI.

Bennett said he was following the lead of the state’s eccentric Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a fellow Republican who ordered an investigation into the president’s birth certificate last year and concluded the document released by the White House is a forgery. Bennett said he is now trying to get verification from state officials in Hawaii that the certificate is authentic.

If you ever really wondered what the Birther stupidity was really about, it's Put The Kenyan Usurper And His Kind In Their Place(tm).   He can't win the state if he's not on the ballot, right?

I’m not a birther. I believe the president was born in Hawaii — or at least I hope he was,” Bennett said on the show. “But my responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure the ballots in Arizona are correct and that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications for the office they are seeking.”

And as Secretary of State for Arizona, what's really stopping him from saying "Hey, this birth certificate is of a black man has too many irregularities for us to allow on the ballot" anyway?

What's to stop Republicans in Ohio, Virginia and Florida from doing the same thing, I wonder.  If anyone knows, please tell me.  These guys are nuts and will do anything to keep him from winning.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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