Thursday, June 14, 2012

Last Call

Money can't buy happiness, but in post-Citizens United America, you can sure as hell buy a presidency.

Forbes has confirmed that billionaire Sheldon Adelson, along with his wife Miriam, has donated $10 million to the leading Super PAC supporting presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A well-placed source in the Adelson camp with direct knowledge of the casino billionaire’s thinking says that further donations will be “limitless.”

Adelson, who has built Las Vegas Sands into an global casino empire, will do “whatever it takes” to defeat Obama, this source says. And given that Adelson is worth $24.9  billion–and told Forbes in a recent rare interview about his political giving that he had been willing to donate as much as $100 million to his initial presidential preference, Newt Gingrich–that “limitless” description telegraphs potential nine-digit support of Romney.

One.  Hundred.  Million.  Dollars.   And he has literally billions more where that came from.  So when Sheldon Adelson buys himself a President, what will he get for his purchase?  Even if Adelson spends a mind-blowing billion on this election (and there's nothing stopping him, frankly) he's still ridiculously wealthy.  And you can bet the expectations are that Romney will give Adelson whatever he wants.

And now keep in mind that Adelson is just one of that many billionaires backing the GOP this year at the local, state, and national level.  Every politician in the country is bought and paid for now by the top fraction of the 1%.  The rest of us cannot compete with this.  And should Romney win due to a never ending deluge of money and attack ads to reach every American voting this year, he'll make sure that Citizens United will remain the law of the land permanently.

We're basically screwed.

Keep Your Head In The Game, George

Game of Thrones, that is.  Hey, Westeros is a rough place, no doubt

There's one hell of a dragon egg hidden in Game of Thrones season one. Turns out one of the many heads on a spike decorating King's Landing belonged to ex-president George Bush.

If you keep your eyes peeled when King Joffrey takes Sansa Stark to gaze upon the spiked head of her dead father around 12 minutes in, you'll notice that one of the heads looks slightly familiar. Show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explained in their DVD commentary (from Season 1, episode 10) that the decapitated head is actually George Bush. This was discovered by redditor SidIncognito.

This of course completely blew up in their faces, as the right has now declared war on Kings' Landing and is looking to sack whoever's responsible.  HBO is already heading for the Mud Gate:

We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production.

Silly HBO.  That's not good enough for the Brotherhood Of The Perpetual Victim.

I’ve always said far left progressive liberal Democrats reminded me of Islamic extremists. The only difference is that left wingers never really known for beheading people they disagreed with. Well, even that’s starting to change.

Sure, that's it.  Nobody on Earth noticed until somebody actually bought the DVD of season 1 and listened to the commentary, too.

Somebody's head is going to roll anyway, I'm sure.

Pusillanimous Populist Pugilism

Steve M. has a real point here:  the latest focus group from the Carville camp shows that working class white men really are winnable by the least the ones truly worried about the economy and not FOX News.  What it also shows is that deficits don't matter to voters nearly as much as not kicking the blocks out from under them right now.

It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance – and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction.  They are wrong, and that will fail.  The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the President talk about the future.  They know we are in a new normal where life is a struggle – and convincing them that things are good enough for those who have found jobs is a fool’s errand.  They want to know the plans for making things better in a serious way – not just focused on finishing up the work of the recovery.

We are losing these voters on the economy, but holding on because Romney is very vulnerable.  They do not trust him because of who he is for and because he’s out of touch with ordinary people; he is vulnerable on the Ryan budget and its impact on people; he is vulnerable on the choices over taxes.  But in the current context, it produces a fairly diminished embrace of Obama and the Democrats, the lesser of two evils, without much feeling of hope.

The message here is that the Centrist Dalek refrain of "cut the deficit!" is the last thing that voters want to hear.

These participants—especially the non-college-educated men who have been affected personally or know someone who has—are very sensitive to cuts in Medicaid, to disability, and food stamps.  People rely on these programs–and the protection of Social Security and Medicare.  They just can’t fathom billions of dollars in cuts to these programs.  Anger increases when the proposal is juxtaposed with cutting taxes for millionaires.  In addition, the college-educated men seemed to recognize that when these programs are cut at the bottom, the whole economy is affected because people are unable to get ahead, spend money, and get the economy going again.

Carville may be a meathead, but he's right here.  President Obama can engage on this and he can win on this.  It's the Republicans who say Obama can't win on hope.

Sixty Bucks Well Spent

Thanks to one stuffy, bossy old hag, it is now a $20 fine to use swear words in public in Middleborough, MA.  They don't actually tell you what words, because that's just crazy (and they would have to be written out!).  In fact, the cops get to decide when and if to enforce the law.  So you never really know if you're in trouble, until someone decides you're in trouble.

In Springfield, there are laws that forbid lying on the grass in Park Central Square.  Technically, you can't splash or touch the fountain, and you can't throw balls or frisbees.  You can see those things taking place regularly, kids love water and everyone loves a game of catch.  And hey, aren't we supposed to be outside more, relax in some sunshine and enjoy the smell of the grass?  You bet!  Until someone decides they want you to leave, in which case the cops chase off undesirables.  These ambiguous convenience laws are made to be exploited, designed for arbitrary enforcement.

This one goes directly against the First Amendment, not that it slowed her down any.  There are at least 183 people who need a basic refresher in what they can, and cannot control.
"Dropping F-bombs and so on. It was the same group of kids. It was very irresponsible behavior, and it was getting out of hand."
Legal analysts said the law could raise issues for the town under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Part of the Bill of Rights, the amendment prohibits the making of any law that abridges freedom of speech, among other things.
DuPhily said her support for the law, which passed 183-50 at the meeting, has made her an object of ridicule in the media.
"The talk radio is making hysterical fun of me. They're calling me the granny-nanny," she said. "People didn't know what to do. They felt uncomfortable walking down the street with their kids."

Granny nanny?  How dare they?  Hey, try this on for size: kiss my dimpled, lily-white ass.  You look like ten pounds of asshole shoved into a five pound bag.  How are you gonna beautify that, you controlling, self-righteous she-bitch?

It would be worth every nickel.

God Loves This Kid

I don't make religious statements often, but I will today: God loves this kid.  That's the only explanation for this video.  The odds of everything happening the way it did is too high for anything but some sort of cosmic intervention on behalf of this toddler.  The video is below, but let me explain for those who can't watch.  The car full of teen criminals fresh from an armed robbery.  The cops are in pursuit.  The SUV rolls not once but twice.  The first roll blew out all the windows.  The second roll throws an 18-month-old toddler out into the road.  The movement is so fast, she's a blur until she hits the pavement.  Then she gets up and runs after the car, and her mother.  She stumbles and stands up again, and continues to chase the SUV.  She's so little she still runs with stiff legs.  That toddler all-purpose trot you see everywhere.

Several sources confirm the child has only minor injuries.  She not only survived two rolls in an SUV, but two criminal parents who took her along.

Now, if you have a chance, please watch.  It's amazing, and the video gets right to it.

He'll Bet You Dollars To Whatever Those Round Things Are

Mitt Romneybot's programming does not cover Identification of Common Baked Goods That Humans Eat, so he has issues with recognizing things like "chocolate donuts" and "savory crullers" and "breathing".

Error in accessing database "FOOD".  Please reboot Romneybot.exe.

On the other hand, President Obama knows his pie.

Mmm, pie.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Over at the Juice, John Cole asks:

I know this is Greenwald, so some of you are just going to lose your shit whenever you read the link, but someone please explain to me why this is so controversial:

OK, I'll bite.  What's he got to say?

Far from believing that another 9/11 can’t happen, I’m amazed that it hasn’t already, and am quite confident that at some point it will. How could any rational person expect their government to spend a full decade (and counting) invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting huge numbers of innocent children, women and men in multiple countries and not have its victims and their compatriots be increasingly eager to return the violence?

Just consider what one single, isolated attack on American soil more than a decade ago did to Sullivan, Packer and company: the desire for violence which that one attack 11 years ago unleashed is seemingly boundless by time or intensity. Given the ongoing American quest for violence from that one-day attack, just imagine the impact which continuous attacks over the course of a full decade must have on those whom we’ve been invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting.

OK.   At best, this is two wrongs coming together and having wild, passionate wrong sex, getting preggers, and certainly not making a right in the process.  At worst, this is Greenwald, a man who claims that he's interested in peace, justifying boatloads of bloody violence against Americans while being safe in Rio, using much the same logic we've seen from the terrorists themselves.

I'm going to say "I'm surprised Islamist fundamentalists haven't killed more of you" from a disgruntled American ex-pat sufficiently qualifies as controversial, John.  That's being diplomatic.  Even if you can see Greenwald's point (which I can, we have killed the purple quadratic hell out of a lot of people in that region in the last decade), I would still not hesitate to call the use of that point to then seek to justify violence in return very the hell controversial.

You can argue the point, but it's a controversial one, period.

[UPDATEBooMan does indeed argue the point and does so far better than I.

It's actually frustrating that Greenwald won't acknowledge any legitimate rationale for going after people who are plotting (or have plotted) attacks against civilian aircraft or other American interests, including our soldiers in the field. How does Greenwald think the president should handle the folks in Yemen who have been trying to explode bombs on our planes? How does he think Obama can morally and responsibly extract our military forces from Afghanistan? What it permissible when it comes to bringing the people responsible for 9/11 to justice?

If he were more willing to explore these types of questions, it would be a lot easier to debate him. But his overall point is valid. The way we conduct our foreign policy in the Muslim world creates a lot of new enemies and that does suggest that our policies aren't making us safer. And even if they are making us safer, our actions are of questionable morality and come at an unacceptable cost to the integrity of our criminal justice system and our civil liberties. 

I agree with BooMan totally on both points.  He does have a valid point, but he's not trying to argue anything, he's acting like he's already won and is looking to justify his point in hindsight.  It's a decent argument given the shabbiest of treatments.


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