Sunday, February 27, 2011

More Union Thuggery

That's right. The evidence is at at Scout's Madison Vids. No one ever expects---the Polish polkas. Unions dragooned a Polish Polka band to play Roll in the Barrels at the Wisconsin capital. Not since Al Shanker dropped the A-bomb have unions resorted to such low tactics. With the snow storms in Wisconsin, the unions only managed to get out between 70-100,000 demonstrators. Even Peter Yarrow showed up with winter clothes to sing "Which Side Are You On?"

Nationwide rallies for public sector unions across 50 states numbered in the 100s of thousands. Yes, you can become an honorary union member by signing up at the AFL-CIO website.

At the Tea Party Convention in racially tolerant Arizona, everytime Scott Walker's name was mentioned he received a standing ovation. Word from Wisconsin is that Walker is not backing down on the law to bust the unions. Michelle Bachmann likened Walker to Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

Teabagger Governor Le Page of Maine suddenly decided that he should try to pass a right-to-work law for the state. He admits it may be an uphill battle since he never thought of it before. Could he sense some funding coming his way? The same day he opined that climnate change was not man-made--a position he never expressed before. We all know the number one climate change deniers are the Koch Brothers, who actually fund every American think tank which counters climate change science. They fund this at a greater level than Exxon-Mobil.

Still waiting for the end in Libya. Appearing for his record breaking appearance on the Sunday Talk Shows, McCain urges Obama to get tough with Libya. I guess John was in a coma for the last few days. The only thing Obama hasn't done is invade--at least overtly. Press reports have American, French and British special forces there already. In the past I have always been sympathetic to humanitarian interventions to prevent further crimes against humanity. Having been bit a couple times during the Bush-Cheney regime I am more hesitant. Libya is basically heading rather rapidly to a civil war and with a decentralized power structure direct American intervention might just exacerbate things further.

I agree with Tom Friedman of the New York Times that the unrest in the Middle East will be with us for years to come. Demonstrators still press for the resignation of Yemen's dictator and now are aiming at Oman. Apparently Facebook has been instrumental in new uprisings in Mauretania. In case you missed it--100s of thousands of Iranians are protesting throughout Iran's major cities.

Bob Gates, speaking at West Point, seemed to slap down Rummy and Dick Cheney saying that any future Secretary of Defense who advocated a ground war in the Middle East should have his head examined.

Bing West, a 70-year old military historian, has just written a book on Afghanistan where he concludes it's the wrong war, in the wrong time and in the wrong way. He embedded himself with our troops and went out on operations to evaluate the enemy. He contacted cholera and had to be airlifted out of country. A good read.

Anonymous promises to target the Koch Brothers and their holdings. They are currently looking for vulnerabilities in their various businesses. Boycotts are beginning against Koch products. You can look them up on line.

Some people think I was too rough in pointing out some of Koch's more unsavory relatives. For balance, Harry Reid always refers to one ancestor as a champion horse breeder. That person was actually arrested for horse rustling and hung. I know that isn't quite the same as someone making lampshades out of skin. But we all have our crosses to bear.

MY OSCAR PICK: Randy Newman for the song for Toy Story 3.

Stochastic Democracy--2012 Results

From the scholars of Stochastic Democracy,we have their first computer runs for 2012. The full article is posted at the Daily Kos. There they explain the enthusiasm gap in the last four elections and what it means for the future. Then they explain using the Kalman filter in statistics and the "weighted least squares regression model, which includes Obama's approval ratings, partisan identification,past election results and the census information. Then they throw in the "dummy variable". None of which I understand so let's go to the results.

Obama versus Romney:

Romney puts New Hampshire and Main in play. He also takes Indiana and does better than McCain in the Midwest. He is weak in the Southwest, except for Nevada where there is a large Mormon population. Obama in this scenario keeps Virginia and North Carolina.

Electoral Votes: Popular Vote:
Obama--329 51.4%
Romney--209 48.6%

Obama versus Huckabee:

Huckabee shores up the South, wins Indiana and has a better shot than Romney at Ohio. Huckabee would be favored to win North Carolina.

Electoral Votes: Popular Vote:
Obama--314 51.7%
Huckabee--224 48.3%

Obama versus Gingrich

Obama takes virginia, would be favored in North Carolina and Florida and even puts Georgia in play. South Dakota would be in play and Arizona competitive.

Electoral Votes: Popular Vote:
Obama--350 54%
Gungrich--188 46%

Obama versus Palin

This would be a landslide on the order of LBJ in 1966. Obama wins Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina. He's competitive in Missouri. Even running with the 2010 enthusiasm gap, Obamawould make Georgia, South Carolina and Arizona competitive. he would put South Dakota,Tennessee, Arkansas and Missippi in play. Both would run even in Indiana and Texas. Obama could even start thinking about campaigning in Palin-leaning states--Kentucky, Alaska, Montana, Nebraska and West Virginia.

Electoral Votes: Popular Vote:
Obama--430 57.1%
Palin--108 42.9%

Stochastic Democracy indicates that if the enthusiasm gap stayed at a 2010 level, Mike Huckabee would be the strongest Republican candidate and Romney a close second with a chance at beating Obama.

Apologies for the difference between the spacing of the numbers I see and the printed version

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Let's Play--Let's Pretend Our Politics Are Normal

Rumors have President Obama already with a $1 billion in the bank with another $1 on the way for his $2 billion presidential campaign. So let's accept President Obama will be the Democratic nominee.

Now let's focus on the Republicans.

Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have natural advantages because the GOP always votes for someone who has run before. Both were Governors, which is a big GOP plus.

Now we've heard a slew of Republicans announce they would not run. So far we have the sense that former Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty and former Senator Rick Santorum will run. Newt Gingrich is acting all authoritarian recently suggesting mentally he's running but physically I can't imagine it. Sarah Palin recently told Ann Coulter that Newt told her to suggest she's running for President so her speaking fees would be larger. Even though Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks salivate at the idea that Mitch Daniels would run,he has too many blackeyes against him from the Princeton drug busts to his being the man who spent Clinton's surplus in the George W administration.

So let's go one by one:
Mitt Romney, one-term Govenor of Massachusetts:
Advantage: Running since 2005, organization and money and access to money,presentable appearance, which this time may be the critical advantage
Liabilities: Romneycare,multiple positions on everything, looks terrible when he panders to the Right, former corporate positions, including Marriott Hotels with its porn connection, Mormon. Mitt Romney would have faced less prejudice in his father's time than today. Most visible Mormon in America is Glenn Beck. Even though Romney has tried to build ties with the evangelical community, his faith still believes Jesus was the brother of Lucifer and many simply won't vote for him because of that.

Mike Huckabee, who sounds more and more like he is not running:
Advantage: former Baptist Minister, has the whole range of social issues wrapped up from the New Republican point of view. He's anti-abortion and totally homophobic, even believing that gays should not be allowed to serve in the military. A Christian fundamentalist and does not believe in evolution. Ran last time and the organization is still in place. Populist in economics (also a liability with the corporate wing.
Liabilities: Doesn't have the ambition. Populist in economics. Says polite things about the First Family saying their are role models for family values. His personal policy views are vicious but he is not as a person. Probably could not raise enough money for a sustained campaign. Loves his new life as a Fox News contributor.

Newt Gingrich, disgraced Speaker of the House:
Advantages: Has ability to access millions from his conservative network. Fairly bright with an ability to throw off interesting ideas. Personally against Obama, claiming the President is trying to create a 'secular society". Has extensive links to the fundamentalist community and will say anything they tell him to. Has no known economic beliefs and will do what corporations tell him to. Basically amoral.
Liabilities: Convert to Catholicism from his Southern Baptist faith. May actually believe in evolution. Serial adulterer, which has not been forgotten by conservative Republicans. Notoriously unorganized personally and politically. May run simply to raise funds for a richer lifestyle.

Sarah Palin, former Mayor of Wasilla and half-term Governor of Alaska, former VP candidate:
Advantages: Perfectly mirrors the beliefs of the new GOP base. Authentically a teabagger. Member of a radical Christian sect. Pro-israel because the end-time will occur there. Has access to certain money. Has campaigned for ONE MONTH in a national campaign. Highly known.
Liabilities: A Quitter. Has marital problems. Doesn't seem to have the stamina for a national campaign. Only talks to tamed media and is hostile to the real press. Feels persecuted. Supremely egotistical. May turn off money people. High negatives within own party. Widely considered incompetent.

Rick Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania and known as the frothy mix of lube and fecal material:
Advantages: Has every social conservative position down pat.
Liabilities: His Google problem courtesy of Dan Savage, no organizational structure, no ability to generate any enthusiasm, no demonstrated ability to raise money, and no known support.

Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota and considered as McCain's running-mate:
Advantages: from the Midwest. Not elderly and fat.
Liabilities: Extremely boring and boring looking, changed all his policies to be more right-wing, now anti-abortion, anti-evolution, anti-his former policies. No known ability to raise funds or form an organization. Smattering of foreign policy experience because he would accompany McCain on trips.

Michelle Bachmann,congresswoman from Minnesota and Queen of the teaparty.
Advantages: Ability to raise millions from teabaggers. Also from the Midwest. Christianist.
Liabilities: Almost everything she says is a lie. Must rely on teabaggers for organization. Perceived by GOP and Americans as a wingnut. No known ability to organize or be organized herself. No known policy expertise. Believes Glenn Beck would solve the economic crisis.

Ron Paul, perennial Presidential candidate and Texas congressman and father of the teabaggers:
Advantages: Mobilizes through his Crusade for Liberty a grassroots following. Prodigious fund-raiser. Godfather of the teaparty movement. Pro-life. Comes from an important electoral state.
Liabilities: Against the military-terrorist-intelligence state. Against foreign aid, even policy. Against war. Against the Patriot Act. Comes across as an elderly small old man. Corporate Republicans are against him because , while he is against all regulations, he is also against corporate welfare.

Overall, the weakest field ever from either party. And remember it is no longer winner-take-all rules in the primaries so this could drag out way beyond our attention span.

Given the heavy corporate tilt to our elections now with the Roberts Court Limited Citizens United decision, I would bet more on Romney today than the past. But Romney has problems first diagnosed by Ted Kennedy. He called Romney "multiple choice mitt".Just his recent political book shows this. The hardcover analyzes the stimulus package of President Obama and said that it was basically the right thing to do and it had success but wasn't enough. The paperback edition has the stimulus package as a total failure and a waste of taxpayer money. And you could go on issue after issue.

But that may not matter in a time when money can wipe out all blemishes. But right now it's very tough to say that anyone has the advantage. That shows you how poor the field is. Most of these candidates should be showing signs of getting their campaigns ready. Except fpr Romney, I don't see it.

If The Hippies Cut Off Their Hair,I Wouldn't Care*

* Jimi Hendrix,paratrooper and Barack Obama's father

How much cooler can President Obama become now that he's the illegitimate son of Jimi Hendrix? Jack Cashill in his new book "Deconstructing Obama" posits the view that Ann Dunham met a left-handed guitarist named "Johnnie" in Seattle in 1960 and had an affair with this person, who later became Jimi Hendrix, whom we also are told loved to have affairs with white women. Ann Dunham would have been two years older than Jimi at the time and she was living in Seattle at the time.

If true this would damage the great birther myths that Obama was a Muslim by birth as originally argued by Daniel Pipes.

But Cashill isn't so sure. You see he spent alot of time researching David Horowitz' bugaboo--Communist poet and jazz critic Frank Marshall Davis, who has been mentioned in Obama's autobiography. Horowitz also maintained that Obama was a Stalinist as influenced by Davis, a man who was exiled by the Communist Party USA to Hawaii. Cashill thinks there is more to this. Davis wrote an autobiographical book under an assumed name about his amorous advantures. Sort of a radical Frank Harris. In it he talks about affairs with white teenagers. Cashill claims to have discovered nude shots taken by Davis, one of which he thinks is Ann Dunham. He suggests Davis may have gotten Ann pregnant with Barack but the time-line doesn't pan out. Instead, he suggests that Davis sexually molested Obama.

Cashill is the genius who discovered that Bill Ayers wrote Obama's "Dreams of my Father". So he must be credible.

Maybe the Hendrix connection is true. Obama is left-handed. He's been great for the American Indians. Perhaps Obama remembered that Hendrix was part Cherokee. Will the Hendrix family give Obama his part of the royalties now that the family has finally secured rights to all of Jimi's work?

Factional fighting has broken out in birtherland. There is a new theory about why Obama's birth certificate is sealed. You see he was adopted when Ann Dunham married her second husband, an Indonesian, so that Obama became known by an Indonesian name. This name would have been considered alien to Americans--Obama's mother was always thinking about the presidency--so these papers were hidden. The author argues that Obama's birth certificate were changed to reflect this new name. Of course, Barack Hussein Obama was simply accepted as another normal American name.

Jerome Corsi and World Nut Daily have a new DVD out about Obama's eligibility to be President. They use the original birther scheme. I'm sure you will have the DVD show up in the mail during the 2012 election time.

But it may not get there. Newt Gingrich claims that Obama's refusal to defend DOMA is an impeachable offense. See, it's unlike Ronald Reagan refusing to defend a "legislative veto" passed by Congress because it would be unconstitutional. The Christian Right is up in arms about this and has started beating the drumbeat for impeachment on DOMA. Don't worry there will many more reasons by the time Obama is done.

Another Georgian--Bobby Franklin, a Republican in Georgia, has introduced a new bill which would require that women who have had miscarriages be tried for homicide. On the flip side, Nebraska and Iowa are introducing bills that would make it justifiable homicide to murder to protect unborn fetuses. You can run the awful scenarios out in your mind--abortion providers, women killed by outraged husbands and lovers. Here in Virginia, our House of Delegates limited abortion rights by adopting a law that requires the procedure to be done in a hospital, not a clinic. The clinics would have to have corridors to fit a full-sized hospital gurney. Some progressive blogger remarked that a woman would have to be right of the Westbro Baptist Church to support any Republican.

Radio D.J. asked Donald Rumsfeld whether he and Dick Cheney were "Lizard people from outer space who eat human flesh." Rummy didn't respond so I guess it's right.

Montana's Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer has patented a VETO cowbrand to use on all "the Republican's lunatic bills." Schweitzer has vowed to veto anything that doesn't deal with creating jobs. The Montana Republicans have drafted bills to outlaw homosexuality,nullify federal laws,and God knows what's next.

As I wrote before, Americans would actually believe that the House vote to repeal the healthreform bill would mean that it actually was repealed. 20% believe this is true and another 25% are not so sure. The Federal judge's decision to uphold the law makes it 3 to 2 so far. But as Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly points out ,media coverage has been overwhelmingly on the two decisions against healthcare, even though the three affirming it are more legally sound and well-argued.

What do Emma Goldman and David Koch have in common? Both are self-proclaimed anarchists. You can look it up as Casey would say.

Remember all the fuss made about Armand Hammer, the owner of Occidental Petroleum? Edward Jay Epstein wrote an entire book proving that Hammer's father, who was a physician to Lenin, was a KGB agent as was Armand. The Right used this against All Gore because Gore's father was Hammer's business partner. Conservatives even pressured Nancy Reagan not to invite Armand Hammer to the White House. Then, why isn't there a fuss about the Koch Brothers?

Fred Koch made his fortune first in Stalin's Russia building refineries and then later hooked up with his German relatives in Nazi Germany. While he later claimed that his falling out with Stalin was because he "purged engineers", he would later state he supported Benito Mussolini for the way he dealt with unions,a trait that lives on in the family. But then he emerges in the 1950s to fund, if not create the John Birch Society, which focused its attention on Communist China and American politicians. Shouldn't some red flags go up on this? Kim Philby was thought to be a Tory who backed Franco while he was a KGB agent all the time. Why should anyone take Fred Koch's account of his Soviet and Nazi German years at face value. After all he was livid at the American oil industry for "stealing his patents" and had every reason to resent the American system. What better way to discredit these people, who were conservative Republicans, then to create the John Birch Society and discredit all conservative thought?

As I wrote last year, the Koch Brothers adhere to a type of libertarianism, which is known as Anarcho-Fascism,first generated by a German thinker about the time their father was politically involved back here in the States.

This stuff makes the Koch Brothers helluva lot more interesting and nefarious than George Soros.

One of the more interesting Koch relatives is an aunt in Germany named Ilse Koch, formerly Kohler. Ilse was married to SS Col.Karl Otto Koch ,who was the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald. He was later investigated for improper conduct that included corruption,fraud, embezzlement, drunkeness, sexual offences and murder. And that was by the Gestapo, not us. Ilse was a "specialist in making artifacts from human skin"--an actual technical title in German.

Ilse became known as the "Bitch of Buchenwald". She was accused of making souvenirs from the skin of murdered inmates with distinctive tattoos. She was investigated by the Gestapo when she built an indoor sports arena costing 250,000 marks. She was suspected of embezzling SS funds and murdering certain inmates in an attempt to cover up her crimes. She was later tried for war crimes by an American military tribunal in 1947. She was charged with "participating in a criminal plan for aiding, abetting and participating in the murders at Buchenwald." She was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

She only served two years. General Lucius Clay , the interim governor of the American Zone in Germany, pardoned her. That should be investigated--why? The Germans themselves were outraged and international pressure was brought so that she was re-arrested in 1949 and tried before West German courts for 135 cases of murder. She was sentenced to life in 1951. She committed suicide in prison in 1967.

Our war commander was naturally Dwight David Eisenhower,which the John Birch Society called "Ike The Kike". I wonder if there are any connections. Also why was the John Birch Society allowed back into CPAC this year--a quid pro quo for Koch money?

One of the sources for Glenn Beck as he has said openly is David Koch. Perhaps his infuence on him is what has suddenly turned Commentary magazine and other conservatives suddenly against him. Morning Joe openly denounced him this week and his conspiracy theories, saying that politicians and people involved in politics could get hurt. Commentary took after him on the whole issue of Reform Judaism and even though they acknowledged Reforms Jews were "lamentably" liberal, they sense the Kossacks were coming with Beck's continued assaults on rabbis and his list of the Nine who govern the United States,eight of whom are Jews. It's Richard Trumpka who might be the clue to the origins of this nonsense. Of east European stock, Ilse Koch would have put his family into the gas chambers for racial impurity.

But let's suppose the Koch Brothers are simply billionaire businessmen. Why would you have the PR people for your business respond to the new Scot Walker was punked by the Buffalo Beast pretending to be David Koch by denouncing "leftists"? This was the strangest response I've seen a business give to any situation. So I guess leftists don't buy Brawny Paper Towels or use any Dixie cups? A little too sensitive--heh?

Oh by the way, Scott Walker says that unions must pay more for their pensions. Taxpayers don't pay for their pensions. Those were actually givebacks over the years in Wisconsin for wage cuts. Also the pension funds--until Walker--were in fine shape. The problem is that he wants to use them to shore up the budget.

The Wisconsin scene gets even more interesting. Democratic Senators, who cooperated with Republican Tommy Thompson for three terms, have contacted him to pull Walker off the union-busting part of the bill. Walker ordered, then didn't order the state police to seal off the Capitol but they refused, saying they would sleep there with the protestors. Dick Morris waved around a poll of his own saying it was good news for Walker--but it showed that nearly 55% of the state opposed what he was doing. The Governor had to leave a tavern last night because the owner insisted on it--he was being booed so loudly it interferred with others' dining pleasure.

It was really classy--that Assembly vote at 1am to pass the union-busting bill. The vote was called and it was closed within seconds. The videos of the Democrats shouting "Shame" had to do with the process, more than the bill itself.

The RNC sent around a fund-raising letter--I received one--that asked for money to fight Obama and his Union Bosses. The national campaign to bust unions seems to be sputtering a bit. Chris Chrissie,Mitch Daniels and even Kasich of Ohio have backed away for now. Rick Scott backed away almost immediately but now he wants collective bargaining stripped from the Florida constitution. Michigan's Snyder, who was mentioned in the Walker fake Koch call, isn't biting at the union business at all.

Poland's own Solidarnosc sent a long letter to Wisconsin in support of their public service unions. Wisconsin union members have been circulating videos of Ronald Reagan saying "everyone has the right to belong to a union", a tape he made in support of Solidarity. Remember Walker believes that Reagan's busting of the air traffic controllers led to the end of the Communist Bloc. Most people think that Poland's own Solidarnosc played a pivotal role in cracking the East Bloc.

I know I feel safer knowing that Jimmi Hendrix's son is in the White House.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Monty Python's Flying Circus

To keep relatively sane after reading the madness on the internet, I sometimes chill out watching Monthy Python. Did you know John Cleese's father's name really was Cheese? Anyway Monty Python might be the model for a film on the teabaggers combining the visual mayhem with the verbal pyrotechnics.

Yesterday Scott Walker thought he was talking to David Koch about his plan to bust unions. For twenty minutes, Walker talked about how he chat with John Kasich everyday about the larger Republican plan to bust all public workers' unions. He also threw in Rick Scott of Florida in the plan. The idea was to lure the Democrats back to the state because they are afraid of losing their paychecks and once there ,declare a quorum even though they leave again. The details of the phone call promoted by the website Buffalo Beast has triggered an investigation in Wisconsin because Walker may have violated two state laws with his comments.

The real kicker for the Madison Chief of Police was Walker saying he thought about inserting troublemakers into the crowds to incite violence. The Chief, who had thanked protestors, was livid and said he stayed up all night fuming about this.

The National Guard's inspection of the penal institutions in the state is actually an assessment about what to do if the corrections officers go on strike.

Walker brags this is his Reagan moment. He believes that the fall of communism happened because Reagan, the only AFL member ever President,busted PATGO, the air traffic controller's union. One historical note--PATGO had rejected an offer from the Reagan administration and went out on a wildcat strike. There are no striking union members in Wisconsin. Another footnote--the busting of PATGO actually cost the airline industry billions of dollars.

Walker's moves will cost Wisconsin another $40 million in federal grants because the US government prohibits funds to specific programs where collective bargaining isn't recognized. Remember this guy refused the high-speed train funds already and cost the state over 7,000 new jobs. If he doesn't get his way, he says he will lay off another 5,000 state workers.

Mark Williams of the Tea Party Express, urged teabaggers to sign up as SEIU organizers and to mingle in the crowds shouting "You Owe Me" and other phrases.

Today, there will be the largest rallies held throughout Wisconsin. Another issue is that some 200 mayors are opposed to the bill, which would wipe out collective bargaining at every level of the state government.

So with union membership at the lowest level in the United States, how does the nation at large think? The Gallup poll showed that 61% favor retaining collective bargaining rights for workers. Another Gallup poll yesterday showed that the same percentage favored compromise between the Senate and the House to keep the federal government opening. Is this a brief moment of sanity breaking through?

Beltway Pundits were puzzled yeaterday about John Boehner's response to President Obama's statement that his administration refuses to defend DOMA (The Defense of Marraige Act) because it's unconstitutional. Boehner said "This will look like I'm biased against gays." Strange but it really makes sense. What Obama did was a deft political move that put the onus of defending the act onto the Republicans.The United States has not removed itself from the case. Instead,Congress can defend it if they want.

Mike Huckabee says that Obama's stance will endanger his credibility and re-election. He claims that if Obama had run against DOMA in 2008 he would not have won. Sorry, Charlie, he did run opposed to DOMA. You can look it up.

Republicans and newspapers are demanding David Wu, democratic congressman from Oregon resign because of his erratic behavior. I want to defend Wu. He is the first openly Furry congressperson. Check out Dan Savage on this phenomenon about dressing up in animal costumes and having sex. I salute Wu's courage.

Sometimes it's the little side comments on Rachel Maddow that deserve mention. Last night in a show from Lawrence, Kansas, the last home of Bill Burroughs, she interviewed the lawyer for murdered abortion provider Dr. Tiller. A conservative Republican, the lawyer commented how it used to be that the boards for Planned Parenthood were mostly Republican women and that the House behavior showed how far out the Republicans have become. Absolutely true. Planned Parenthood was like the League of Women Voters with alot of Republican women participating.

It should come as no surprise that Scott Walker went to Boys' State and got his inspiration for government there. I did too and surprised my local American Legion when I spoke on my return saying it was like a fascist state with its indoctrination.

Finally, the One Nation crowd is planning to beseige Republican townhall meetings with voters complaining about the budget cuts. Good luck. I would like to see a counter teabag movement.

If Obama doesn't excite his base anymore, he doesn't have to worry. The Republicans have hit every hot button to energize everyone from unions, enviromentalists,feminists and minorities. If you're not energeized now, you'll never be.

Andrew Sullivan posted a quote from Dwight David Eisenhower the other day speaking about the need for moderation in politics and how anyone who wanted to dismantle social security, health care and regulations was on the fringe of our society or else a Texas oilman. Little would he recognize the New GOP.

Progressives should have a field day now since they can cherry-pick any good Republican ideas and quote any good Republicans as well as combine them with the heritage of Democrats. Even Obama points out that the tax levels in the US and the size of government proportional to the society is the same as under Eisenhower. And Eisenhower is despised by the new teaparty people.

Yes, indeed, Indiana Republicans are going to primary Dick Lugar, Richard Nixon's favorite Mayor. He used to get annoyed whenever I mentioned that. Maine Republicans are going to primary Olympia Snowe. Don't you want to live in a state with a Senator named--Olympia Snowe? No sense of poetry. And Utah is going to primary Orrin Hatch, Patricia Cornwell's favorite politician. ( I don't know why she idolized him)

Sister Sarah Palin is off to India to burnish her presidential credentials. By the way, she had lasik surgery years ago and only wears glasses to look smart. It turns out that Joe McGinnis leaked the Frank Baily manuscript on Palin to sabotage the author. Interesting. Pretty clever.

The best robocall for the demonstrations came from the Teamsters--"This is Jimmy Hoffa calling..."

Oh, and if you need a job Koch industries are hiring in Wisconsin in anticipation of them being rewarded with the state heating plants.

Glenn Beck had been criticized by over 400 rabbis of every Jewish tendency. He upped the ante with his attack on Reformed Jews, saying they were the same as radical Muslims. I've been thinking of all the Reformed Jews I have ever known and well,I always considered them one of the strongest defenders of civil liberties and social justice in the United States. Well, apparently, so does Abe Foxman, whose Anti-Defamation League blasted Beck. Today, beck apologized sort of---not really.

Hate groups have now ballooned to 1,000 in the United States, according to the SPL.

The verdict is in on the House budget. The GOP's budget cuts will mean about 1 million jobs lost, an unemployment rate of 9.7-10%. Goldman Sachs weighed in and said that current GOP cuts would mean a 2% drop in our GDP and almost certainly a return of the recession.

There is brilliance to this madness. Almost all pollsters show that Obama wins with 8% unemployment--has a close race with 9%--and loses with over 9% unemployment.

Muammar Qaddafhi is still hanging on. Drudge puts center page a quote by Qaddafhi that "Obama is a friend." Qaddafhi blames Al Qaeda for the unrest and that the protestors are drinking NESCAFE with hallucingens. The real problem for American foreign policy types is that beneath the authoritarian surface of the Qaddafhi family the entire society as well as the security forces are totally decentralized. It's not like Egypt where structures exist after Mubarak quits. The civil war has led to thousands of deaths and an increasing number of refugees. Human rights groups are mobilizing for a humanitarian intervention by an international force.

The Washington Examiner published today an article about how the Obama administration is being salted with followers of the Muslim Brotherhood. What's so interesting about the piece is that everyone mentioned is either a known white protestant male or a Shiite Muslim. Shia Muslim Brotherhood--what a cool concept.

One problem is that the source for these accusations used to be a former analyst for the CIA. Now you have some idea about the problems we face.

Facebook cancelled Sarah Palin's false flag account "Lou Sarah" because it violated their rules.

Karl Rove weighed in on Wisconsin in the Wall Street Journal, claiming that Wisconsin is Obama's problem. Au contraire, it's a big-time Republican problem.

Did you know that the Koch Brothers paid for the Brooks Brothers riot in Florida during the 2000 presidential recount? The payoff was that the massive investigation of their pollution would be called off. It was.

The oil companies announced today through the Petroleum Institute, their lobby arm here in Washington, that they would now give campaign donations directly to candidates. Over 90% in the past were Republicans.

As Tom Friedman writes today in the New York Times, the upheaval in the Middle East is a wake-up call to Americans to end their dependence on oil. I agree.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Looney-Tune Nation

This is not about Libya. Although I couldn't tell who Qaddafhi was trying to imitate with his 30 second spot last night with the umbrella--the Pink Panther, 70s Bob Dylan with the headgear, Lionel Ritchie, Snoopy? We'll wait to see if Muammar gets to become a martyr like he wants. Fidel Castro says NATO is going to invade Libya. If you read Paul Wolfowitz's reappearance in the Wall Street Journal you would think so. Wolfowitz reminds us of all the terrible things the King of Kings did in Africa. But Paul did't remind us that Libya was his ally on terror during the last administration.

Michelle Bachmann says that Glenn Beck could solve all of our nation's economic problems. This was said after Beck the same day recounted how down and out he had become after a drug binge, which ended with him believing his dog was talking to him. Apparently, it still does. Beck says that Satan is behind the labor unrest in Wisconsin. Limbaugh, who is trying to steal beck's audience, said that the unions were godless, which also tracks with Mike Huckabee's analysis. Maybe they are right. Remember in Woody Allen's "Sleeper", Al Shanker of the AFT had nuclear weapons. Besides Al was a shachtmanite--a peculiar brand of trotskyism.

David Wu, Democrat from Oregon, appears to be suffering from some mental issues. But he is the first known congressperson who actually is a "furry".

Michelle Bachmann is in South Carolina testing the waters for a presidential run--believe it or not. She got off the line--"Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like Rambo."

Doug Brooks' mancrush on John Thune ended today. Senator Thune announced he would not run for president in 2012.

Chris Christie also said he was not running in 2012.

Mike Huckabee is giving out more vibes he is not. He criticized the tea party and said that if GOP contenders took some loyalty oath to that platform they could never beat Barack Obama. He also said that closing the government down was a good thing.

Bob McDonnell,Christianist Governor of Virginia, said he would accept being vice-president in 2012. The idea is that he would prevent Obama from winning Virginia again.

John Danforth has re-emerged to voice concern about the Republican Party. What really bothers him are the attacks on Dick Lugar and the threats of the tea party to primary him. The latest attack on Lugar is that when he returns home to Indiana he stays in a hotel.

John Boehner's House really a great sense of timing. With the entire Arab world demonstrating, the House cut foreign assistance. With his own party attacking Barack Obama on border security, they not only cut funds once for border security but actually doubled down and cut them again.

Karl Rove is putting out the new line that "birtherism" is a trap laid by Barack Obama himself to make the Republicans look bad. Well, I guess it worked.

Wonkette. com, America's best investigative reporters, discovered that the Facebook entry of "Lou Sarah" was created by Sarah Palin to post praise for Palin's own Facebook comments. Clever, heh?

Frank Baily's "Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin" is being circulated. Baily served her during the run for the Governor's office and later as she ran for Vice President. Using e-mails and diairies, he tarpedoes her mavericky reputation as well as a host of nationally known conservative pundits who fell for her. He concludes she is a dangerous, vindictive, incompetent, congenital liar who has no business in public office. The book is being handled by my old literary agent Carol Mann, who I have not seen in 25 years.

Rick Scott, the felonious governor of Florida, is facing recall. Floridians are outraged he turned down the high-speed rail funds, which would have linked Tampa to Orlando and would have created 22,000 jobs. Apparently the Republicans in Florida, especially the mayors, were looking forward to the project since it had been a dream in the state for the last decade.

Back in Wisconsin,the city and county governments are protesting that they never wanted the state to interfere with their collective bargaining with unions. It seems Walker just put all levels of government in the bill all his lonesome.

Democrats in Indiana are hightailing it to Illinois to escape their legislature's vote on union busting. There is a precedent--Abraham Lincoln escaped through the window of his hotel room to avoid a vote in the Illinois legislature. Or the Texas Skeedaddle where Democrats fled the state when Tom De Lay was trying to redistrict for the Republicans.

Just a reminder--Jacob Law, the new OMG director, repeats that Social Security does not add to the deficit or debt. This was also stated by President Obama.

House Republicans are saying that Obama could avoid a government shutdown if he simply agreed to all their cuts. This seems to be the new GOP strategy--it's my way or the highway. This is sooo conducive to strengthening the idea of a common good.

Ian's Pizza and Tom Morello in Wisconsin

It has not been confirmed that Ian's Pizza in Madison, Wisconsin received an order for a pizza from Egypt for the protestors. But they did get orders from 38 states and over a dozen countries for the pizzas in solidarity with the demonstrators.

But Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine did get a letter from one of the leaders of the Egyptian uprising in support of the Wisconsin demonstrators. Last I watched he read the letter twice --once outside with the demonstrators and again inside the capital rotunda.

Rasmussen thought he was quick to produce a poll which showed support for Governor Walkers' position against union. Unfortunately, this was quickly debunked by an AFL-CIO poll that showed 67% support for public workers,62% for the demonstrators and 59% for unions in the state. Greenberg polling's results mirrored those of the union polling.

The Tea Party Express issued a memo to members to try and infiltrate the demonstrators and alter the "optics" of the rallies by appearing to make provocative statements to the press and taking actions to bring criticism on the demonstrators.

This must have been a raging success because the State Police wrote a thank-you letter to the demonstrators for their conduct and stated there had not been a single arrest the whole week while they were protesting.

Our own mainstream press has been slowly getting around to understanding that this demonstration is against union-busting and that it's not about budgets. The Diane Rehm show had a discussion on NPR yesterday with a CATO Institute writer, the economist for the AFL-CIO and the head of ASCFME. It was no contest--the CATO institute guy kept referring to himself as working in the private sector--the non-profit--and claimed that public workers earned more than workers in the private sector. He also claimed that public workers were the "new elite" of the country with a monopoly. Even the callers to the show didn't buy his argument. The AFL-CIO economist just eviscerated his arguments and raised the issue of who did create the deficits in the country. In my mind, the argument was won by the President of ASCFME who reminded the audience that the average pension of one of his union members is a whopping $19,000.

Even the Washington Post and New York Times finally caught on to the Wisconsin scam. And scam it is. Buried in the same budget bill is a little clause that the Governor can sell its heating and cooling plants to the private sector on a no-bid basis. Bubbling up from the leftwing blogs was an analysis of how this was tailored made for the Koch Brothers, who already own alot of the state. Now this story has moved to the Huffington Post and hopefully will make the mainstream media. Don't hold your breath.

As I noted around election time, Walker won because of a concentrated voter suppression campaign run by the tea party. Also in this session's bills are attempts to tightened the requirements for Voter IDs so as to further restrict the voting base. Wisconsin had started a same-day registration process ,which also will be rescinded.

Walker, who had a whopping 41% approval rate just after the election, also wants to throw 1.5 million off Medicaid and the programs like Badgercare, etc.

What Wisconsin highlights in dramatic form is the New Republican agenda. Even a Walker friendly newspaper commented that the whole deficit could have been wiped out with an additional 6 cent a keg tax on beer! Instead, this is the full scale ideological shock therapy. If we were talking about states like California with massive budget issues, the situation would be more confused as such a state would be fighting for its financial survival. But Wisconsin is not. Walker did the nation a great favor by letting it all hang out. This has fueled the labor demonstrations in Indiana and Ohio.

What's interesting is that newly elected Michigan governor Snyder, a Republican, has been forced to make at least two speeches saying he would not do the same thing. Like-wise Chris Chrissie of New Jersey faced with a Democratic legislature has also said he would not engage in union-busting.

While the Wisconsin demonstrators have captured the imagination of the nation, let's be honest--Democrats and Independents together compose an overwhelming majority in the state but they did not come out to vote in 2010 like the Republicans and the results we see today. You get the government you don't vote for. Now all the non-Voters are responding to the disaster they allowed to happen.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

OMG! They Killed Elmo!

John the Ripper Boehner and his radical Right nihilists zeroed out public broadcasting as part of their blood revenge for Juan Williams. But they did keep the Pentagon's sponsorship of a NASCAR racing car.Democratic representative Barbara Lee's amendment to keep the Pentagon's budget at 2008 levels was defeated. Instead,Republicans opted to kill Elmo, Big Bird and the Cookie Monster.

The House budget is as crazy as you could get in a once developed country. Significant cuts in the Social Security Administration will affect several hundred thousand recipients of disability and first-time social security recipients. The GOP zeroed out funding for the Consumer Protection Agency, implementation of health care reform,severely cut SEC funding so more Madoffs can be created,and cut funding for the EPA so they can not monitor the pollution from Koch Industries. There were also deep cuts in all programs aimed at alleviating the situation of the poor. But they kept the $42 billion of tax credits for the oil and gas industries and all the farm subsidies. They did kill the spare jet engine project located in Ricky Cantor and John the Ripper's district.

A first glance at the budget says that the healthcare provsiion alone will deepen the deficit by another $280 million and some 1 million jobs will be lost. Foreign aid was drastically cut, particularly humanitarian aid. The State Department, which was just trying to comeback in foreign affairs, was cut by 19%.

The Planned Parenthood vote was predicated on the idea that PP receives federal funding for abortion--Apparently, none of its $334 million goes to abortions. But the number figure is interesting. I was watching Frontline's "Bush's War", a two-part series on the Iraq War. In it, military officers spoke on camera that the United States paid Muqtada al-Sadr $330 million in cash to get him and his militia to stop fighting.

Maybe our domestic spending should be linked to our foreign policy bribes. Our Highway Fund--which the GOP also zeroed out-- should be at least equal to the amount our military is spending on the Afghanistan infrastructure.Maybe PP's funding should be pegged to the largest bribe to a foreign personality--apparently it tracks pretty closely.

Everyone says that we are heading to a budget standoff and the government will shut down. Government bureaucracies are already preparing for this eventuality. Coupled with the need--almost as immediate to lift the debt ceiling--we are walking into a volatile time. The Beltway wisdom is that Democrats have wiggle room to compromise but the Republicans don't because they are held hostage by the teabaggers. But remember this could all be a charade. Rep. Ryan was given totalitarian control of the House Budget and maybe the sole arbiter of what actually gets proposed in counter to the almost certain Senate rejection of the looney-tune budget.

Just an aside--I would love one of the remaining conservatives in the Republican party to explain to me how a budget that actually increases the national debt and costs 1 million jobs be considered conservative.

BACK IN WISCONSIN. I have been waiting today for the arrival of the teabaggers who are being bussed into the state for free to hold their Stand By Walker Rally. I think they came because they thought it was Stand By Johnnie Walker Rally. Hermain Cain of Godfather Pizza fame is supposed to go,along with Andrew Breibart for more of his pimping videos. Special guest star is Joe the Plumber, who isn't named Joe and is not a Plumber. 1,100 signed up on Facebook and they expect 4,500 to arrive.

All of this is being paid for by the Koch Brothers. What is actually surprising is that not only are the Koch brothers directly the main contributors to Walker's campaign but they actually own most of the state. The Koch brothers own the gas and oil pipelines in the state as well as the paper mills. Last year they reduced their employees in order to increase their profit margin when demand actually had increased. The reason was that the Koch Brothers feared that President Obama would raise the tax on the top income earners and they wanted to suck $11 billion more out their businesses.

One interesting trivia point--The Koch Brothers are one of the few Americans to have financially benefited from the Molotov-Rippentrop pact between Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia. Fred Koch went to both countries after having his patents stolen in the United States and applied his oil technology in both countries, building the first stage of their massive fortune. Koch actually favored Mussolini at the time and grumbled later that Stalin purged all the engineers in Russia. Apologists have said the United States were allies with the Soviets at that time and therefore old man Koch did nothing dubious. False,this was the United States even considered entering WWII.

A Wisconsin judge refused to order the teachers back to work in Wisconsin. Democrats are now targeting 8 of the Republican senators for recall. Walker can be recalled next January. The law says the office holder must have served at least a year before recall. The teabaggers are planing to recall the democrats.

Two polls of Wisconsin reveal the majority of the state oppose the Budget Repair Bill.

Our media basically frames the issue as a budget crisis. Governor Walker even talked about the budget repair bill today without mentioning all its union-busting elements. Leave it to Pat Buchanan to say that the average teacher in Wisconsin earns $100,000. False--it's $42,000. Ed Schultz has done a superb job covering the demonstrations on the ground but I wish he would knock off the anti-Obama rhetoric. John the Ripper has already blasted Obama for sending his Organizing for America out to Wisconsin to help out. Rumors have Bill Clinton going out to speak to the demonstrators.

Fox and others are circulating rumors that the Governor's life is in danger. I notice they never report on the thousands of death threats to President Obama from their viewers. And the right-wing pundits are denouncing "labor goons". I guess they mean the bagpipe playing firefighters marching in their kilts into the capital and the fact that demonstrators unveiled a huge American Flag in the rotunda. Definitely scary people.

Leave it to Fox News,jr.--CNN--to give the teabaggers publicity for their misspelled signs. If the demonstrators are goons, then why can they spell and the teabaggers can't?

Fox news has reported that the White House is behind the demonstrators--meaning having organized the demonstrators. Their are no grass-roots except the astro-turf groups.

Oh, by the way, the AFL-CIO has offered to agree to the benefit cuts and other budget reducing measures but wants all the union busting stuff dropped from the law.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Government Shutdown Coming Right Up

Steve Benan of Washington Monthly claims there is a 70% chance of a government shutdown. I agree with him. Even Nancy Pelosi agrees. It's not coming because of some ideological stance by the GOP but from sheer incompetence. The House budget process, which has now zoomed to over 500 amendments,physically means the House will miss the early March deadline. There is not even enough time to reconcile the House and Senate since the two exist on different planets. I'm not even sure the House, even though it's been running to 4am, will have enough time to work through their own budget, let alone discuss a Senate version.

There are scads of things to write about in the House GOP budget. They intend to gut all government agencies that make the basic rules for the economy and even the IRS, which has to collect the limited tax dollars needed to keep the sinking ship afloat. Virtually every cut to a program offered by the GOP eliminates jobs. An early estimate of the GOP budget is that it will cost 1 million jobs.

Last night they cut all funding for the new Consumer Protection Agency. The budget goes far beyond just gutting anything that Barack Obama proposed over the last two years. It is a declaration of war on basically all government programs, with the exception of the military,which have been developed since the last Depression. A list of the cuts is mind-boogling. The fascinating point of the exercise is that the overall GOP House budget does not cut the annual deficit or the national debt. Top that off and it kills jobs and doesn't create any.

But the kicker for me was the orchestrated attack on Planned Parenthood, which received $363 million last year from the federal government. Rep. Mike Pence claimed that the elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood was a "victory for life". Planned Parenthood called the act "extreme and dangerous."

Mr. Anti-abortion Chris Smith from New Jersey described a abortion procedure during the second trimester in the graphic detail we haven't heard since Jesse Helms would describe pornographic acts on the Senate floor. Smith let a little cat out of the bag. He said Planned Parenthood performed 300,000 abortions per year. He claimed that was one-fifth of the abortions performed every year. So we have gone from 50 million per year to 1.5 million, closer to a statistical reality. But color me dubious still because we know from Planned Parenthood's own ads that they perform 300,000 screenings for breast cancer per year. So it's odd that the number is identical to Smith's assertions about abortions. But at least we can dispel the 50 million, Mao-purge like figures.

Men should really stop pontificating about women's health issues. Jackie Speier (D-California) immediately responded to Chris Smith and talked about having the very same procedure Smith described because of necessity and talked about losing the child. The American Taliban can't silence American women like they would want to.

Since the House Republicans want to defund Richard Nixon's creation the Environmental Protection Agency,why should we be surprised that they defunded another one of his creations--Title X Programs? Title X was created in 1970 to provide comprehensive family planning services, including all preventable health services for women. This is the program that provides Planned Parenthood with its funding. By eliminating the program,you essentially close down 4,500 community-based clinics. These clinics provide breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV preventative education, pregnancy diagnosis and counseling. Of course, this program primarily supports lower income families. Over 1.2 million youth and adults participated in these programs last year.

Now if you are truly interested in lowering the number of abortions in America, wouldn't you support family planning programs and contraception? We know from Bristol Palin that abstinence programs don't work.

Nancy Pelosi said that the whole night's debate--several hours on Planned Parenthood--was surreal but that it posed serious risks to women's health. She called out Republicans on their clear position against family planning and urged them to go openly on the record against the idea. Jackie Speier wondered aloud what the whole Planned Parenthood debate had to do with creating jobs.

You could go batty just writing about Republican lunacy at both the federal and state level. A Republican legislator in Montana has entered a bill to declare global warming "natural" and "beneficial". After two years of marriage equality in New Hampshire,Republicans want to repeal the same sex marriage law because "it might encourage the development of sharia law."

I leave it to a leftwing blogger who parodied these efforts by writing a brief post that "Arizona has outlawed Karma."

Kill The Bill

Still early afternoon on the East Coast but everyone and their grandmother is pouring into Wisconsin to show solidarity with the public service workers. Joe Scarborough summed up the conservative sentiment calling the workers greedy freeloaders on Morning Joe. Fox national news is complaining about the decorum of the demonstrators in sharp contrast to the teabaggers they supported.

But the local Fox affiliate ran a poll rthat showed 55% of Wisconsin voters support the demonstrators and only 40% are against.

Those teabaggers who still support the corporations promise to turn out 4,500 tomorrow in support of Government Walker. Undoubtedly, they will receive extensive coverage by the media.

If you are going to play such high stakes poker, it's best not to let your opponents know what you did. Governor Scott Walker has been caught out even more on his fiscal wizardry.

One Wisconsin Now has issued a statement analyzing the known Walker tax breaks to the wealthy. They admit that they do not have all the additional tax breaks and loopholes he's added since.

This is what Governor Walker has promised so far and the total is for two years:

*$287 million from an income tax cut to the top 1% earners, more than $225,000.
*$187 million from reopening the "Las Vegas Loophole", which allows multi-state businesses to shleter their tax obligations from Wisconsin by opening "phantom" offices.
*920 million by sheltering assets of the wealthiest citizens from a tax on all retirement income.
*243 million from changes to the capital gains reduction.
$1.032 billion--a transfer of $1,032 billion from the general fund to the transportion fund, which instantly creates the same amount of debt in the general fund.
$892 million--Phase out hospital assessment.
$159 million--end the estate tax.
$35 million--Eliminates the tax on private Health Savings Accounts.

The Total Cost: $3.8 billion.

In addition, Walker wants to cut manufacturing taxes, eliminate the corporate tax for the first two years of operations; and reduce small business taxes by 20 percent.

To pay for all this, Walker wants to cut 400,000 children and working families from Badgercare, which are health services for the poorer citizens of the state. Walker will have to cut some $6.5 billion from education, health care, police and fire protection in order to cover all his tax promises and cover any deficit.

So now you know the motivation.

There is some confusion now about whether the state police refused to go after the Democratic Senate leader. Reports suggest they refused and the Governor ordered the National Guard to carry out that duty.

It's fascinating that a state known for its progressive politics should now become the center for the rebirth of progressive politics in the country. This is reminiscent of the early days of union organizing during the age of the Robber Barons, except for the violence.

"Won't you come to Wisconsin?"

So saith Governor Scott Walker to the Democratic legislators who fled the state to deprive the Republicans of the necessary quorum to pass their union-busting bill. The Governor, who finally surfaced yesterday from seclusion, said today that
he will not be "bullied." This is the guy who threatened to mobilize the National Guard to suppress public workers even though nobody was doing nothing.

The Governor had another bad day yesterday when the Archbishop of Wisconsin came out in support of the demonstrators and issued a statement that union workers should not be "marginalized." It got even worst when the Green Bay Packers put their support for the demonstrators in writing--a second shot at the Governor. To top off the day, local tea party members ran ads apologizing to the citizens of Wisconsin for being dupes of corporations. That didn't stop the Koch-funded groups Americans for Prosperity and the Club of Growth advertising they had busses for counter-protestors. But they were swamped by the state-wide demonstrations for the public service workers.

Today might be even worse if Marquette University makes a statement on why it expelled the Governor--for plagarism

More details on how the Governor ginned up the fiscal crisis are emerging. Basically, there isn't one. But one neat trick was that he said that if the public workers don't take a pay and benefit cut then 6,000 jobs will be lost. Isn't it a coincidence that the number he uses is the same number of jobs lost when he turned down the high-speed rail money from the Obama Administration?

Wisconsin Fiscal Bureau, their CBO, revised their budget projections for the state. By June 2011, it will net a surplus of $56 million and they had projected a $202.8 million surplus over the next two years, except this number has been diminished because the Governor gave $140 million in tax breaks to multinational corporations. This only got state-owned businesses steamed since they were excluded.

Our great news media has neglected to inform the public that the state workers have not had contracts for years.

As demonstrations have spread throughout the state and not just in Madison, it's useful to remember why the whole state is in revolt.

The so-called Stop-gap Budget Repair Bill prohibits any union representation or collective bargaining for most state workers. As Rachel Maddow pointed out yesterday, the workers who were excluded were those like the police and firefighters who backed Walker in his election campaign. But even the firefighters support the demonstrators and ushered them into the State House with fifes and drums.

Here's why public service employees find the bill so disturbing:

*If union representation is allowed at all, it will be limited to bargaining for wages. The Senate each year will set the mandatory limit for these wages.

*Union dues will no longer be collected through payroll deductions. This would force unions to collect from each individual. This tactic has been used in other states to gut unions.

*Unions would have to be recertified every year.

*Not just state employees are affected by the bill, but all city,town, village and county employees in the State of Wisconsin. This is the part of the bill, which sparked demonstrations throughout the state.

*There will not be collective bargaining over insurance (which will be replaced by a high-deductible junk health insurance), benefits, pensions,holidays or personal days, vacation,working condtions, adequate staffing, class sizes, worker safety issues, mandatory overtime, shift selection, etc.

As I write this, Wisconsin State Police have caught wind that one Democratic legislators may have slipped home from Illinois last night. They are en route to try and capture him and bring him back to Madison so that the quorum would exist.

President Obama has stayed away from the pay and benefit aspect of the debate but has strongly come out against the aspect of the bill that is aimed at union-busting. Basically, the Washington reaction is split along party lines. Gentleman John Boehner made a statement in defense of Scott Walker. Strangely, Congressman Pat Ryan , Republican of Wisconsin, likened the demonstrations to what was happening in Egypt. So I guess he agrees with the demonstrators' signs calling on Hosni Walker to Step Aside.

Glenn Beck said that the unions, like the Muslim Brotherhood,are agitating for a new world order. The sign post up ahead...

Today Richard Trumpka will be leading a rally in Madison. But I doubt whether Trumpka can beat the cool Teamster semi that showed up with a flashy new paint job with the entire side painted with TEAMSTERS. I want one of those for Christmas.

If the protestors can make it through the weekend without the bill being passed, I believe it will be a new ballgame. Unfortunately, the bill has enough votes to pass.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Short Note on the War Against Women

I always get annoyed that the pro-choice advocates never challenge the anti-abortion people about the number of abortions performed in the country. We hear from the Christian Right that President Obama is the most pro-abortion president in our history, that more abortions have been performed in his administration than in any other. Mike Huckabee talks about genocide when he says that abortion will be front and center as the most important issue if he runs for President.

This has led to the rash of anti-abortion bills in the new House and draconian measures contemplated in state legislatures. Only by challenging these attacks on women will these people have to pull back. An example of this was the proposed South Dakota law to make it homicide to harm a fetus. When pro-choice advocates pointed out that this was tantamount to issuing a muder sentence on abortion providers under the guise of "justifiable homicide" did the legislator pull it back.

The anti-abortion activists like to use the figure 50 million abortions per year performed in the United States. I tend to think they claim every gynaecological procedure as an abortion. But let's not say that do this and try to figure out the odds of this being right.

Here's the napkin math to figure this out.

The number of women in the United States is 155.8 million.
The average age of menopause is 51.
There are 50.6 million women 51 or older in the United States.
There are 30 million women under the age of 14. (I know you can get pregnant younger, but census figures don't break this out better.)

So the ballpark figure--give or take a million--is 75.2 million women of childbearing age,sort of.

This means 2/3rds of these women must get an abortion every year for the anti-abortion advocates to be correct about their 50 million a year figure. Sorry.

I knew Soviet women used to have abortions as birth control and had a far greater frequency than American women. From my napkin math, I find the anti-abortion people totally impossible, given the availability of birth control in the country.

It really is time for people of choice to push back on this nonsense.

Day 4 of the Love Revolution

Rachel Maddow finally crossed the line--she questioned the competence of Gentleman John Boehner. Unfortunately, Rachel ran a list of all the miscues by the House since Boehner became Speaker. They only reinforced her conclusion. But Ezra Klein gamely tried to defend Boehner's manhood by saying he was having problems with his party.

But one little factoid Ms. Maddow raised should frighten people. The Republicans do not have a budget for this year--even the crazy one proposed two weeks ago. They have 400 amendments filed on the proposed budget and, according to Rachel Maddow, only 4 have passed. Given the work habits of ole' Swizzle Stick Boehner the odds are slim to none that a Republican budget will pass the House by March 4th, when the continuing resolution expires. Hence, the shutdown of the government is not a Republican threat as a grand strategy to extract more cuts from the Obama Administration, It is an almost certainty, a result of incomptence. A government shutdown because you didn't work hard enough to even pass a budget, however horrible, is going to make the public reaction against Gingrich's shutdown look tame.

Everyone and their grandmother is criticizing President Obama because he neglected to put into his budget entitlement reform. Remember his budget is for 2012, not this year. But he was wise to let the GOP define the issue because they have overplayed their hand repeatedly. Obama knows that the House Republican proposals will be so outlandish that they will provoke a backlash and President Obama enters to save the day.

Someone did an analysis this morning of the effect on social security of the current Republican budget proposals. Hundreds of thousands of people will not received their disability payments and other Social Security services because the GOP wants to cut the administrative budget of SSA by 20%. This is incomptence married to ideology. The House GOP is clueless.

One moment of great chutzpah by the GOP was their blast at Obama for proposing cuts for the pro-democracy programs. They cited the events in Egypt and the Middle East as evidence of the need for continued funding of these programs. Yet their proposed budget cuts all these programs out anyway. So where did they think these programs would come from?

Washington is eagerly awaiting Newt Gingrich announcement in two weeks whether he intends to run for the Republican presidential nomination. Check out the time-frame. It would occur when the GOP fumbles with the budget and closes down the Government. Great timing for Newton Leroy. Vin Weber, now associated with TPaw or Governor Polenta,says that Newt has alot of baggage and will need to explain the finances of his little Newt conglomerate. Seeing him at CPAC, I can't see Gingrich physically able to campaign much at a retail level. He has the white man bloat and looks like he suffers from the gout. In 2012, Gingrich will be 67. Do we want another tired old white man?

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin got great news. 51% of Republican primary voters are birthers. 40% of the entire party are evangelical or fundamentalist Christians. Among these people she has an 83% approval rating. But even with a new chief of staff people are wondering why she's not making the necessary booking arrangements for Iowa. Generally meeting places for the Iowa Caucus are rented about now.

Mike Huckabee, Huckabee of Judea, says he would make abortion the central campaign issue in a presidential campaign. But word from his Iowa people suggest Huckabee hasn't hinted to them that he is running. One sign he may not is that he has just taken a $1.2 million mortgage out on a new home in Florida. People have suggested he is just earning a living at Fox News for the first time in his life and may not run this year.

Early polling shows Mitt Romney walking away with New Hampshire ad eeking out primary victories in the West. Interestingly, the Mormon issue still remains. Americans are more likely to vote for a black, a woman or a Jewish candidate than a Mormon for President. Running for President since 2005,Romney has become a familiar face by now but even 20% of the GOP are hesitant to vote for a Mormon.

Could someone tell people to knock it off about Planned Parenthood? I never thought of my sister as Emma Goldman for her work with Planned Parenthood. But now the right is ginning up a campaign like they did against ACORN. Planned Parenthood spends about 3-6% of their budget on abortion services, another 30% on contraception, and the rest of women's health issues in general. In many places,Planned Parenthood is the only available resource for women. This is especially true here in Virginia in rural places. But now Christianist congressman Steve King calls it a " criminal enterprise" and now Glenn Beck has embraced it as part of the on-going progressive plot against the United States. This is because of a James O'Keefe type Breibart fake journalist sting, which Planned Parenthood reported to the FBI.

The Dailkos and other progressive organizations are trying to recuit America's Sweetheart Elizabeth Warren to run for the Senate in Massachusetts against Scott Brown. I thought Rachel Maddow was already doing that. I want to see Elizabeth warren slugging it out with the GOP on the Consumer Protection Agency.

Oh, and it was the George W. State Department and MTV behind the Egyptian Revolution. So saith Glenn Beck.

Does anyone get the impression that the Right simply wants to create chaos, uncertainty and disorder so that the American people will be conditioned to accept order and discipline. That nothing they do has anything to solving a single problem but exacerbating them.

It is year 5 and Clarence Thomas is still silent.

The Wisconsin Death Trip

Freshly elected Governor Scott Walker, who has never held any elected office even at the schoolboard level,kicks off his administration by promising to end collective bargaining and arbitration for public service unions. He instantly threatens to call out the National Guard to deal with any unruly workers.

First problem is that Walker never even asked to sit down and discuss labor problems with the unions or their representatives but simply asserted his position. Second problem is that large numbers of the union members are conservatives and Republicans particularly in the targeted Corrections Officers' union. So rural Republican representatives are fit to be tied as their core constituency--the prison workers--are angry. Third problem, the Wisconsin's state version of the CBO said that if the state did nothing about the workers' it would still have a surplus of over $123 million this year.

Walker's actions and threats galvanized the state. The National Guard shot back at him that they weren't his private political police force. The last time the National Guard was called up in Wisconsin was in the late 1890s where they opened fired and killed striking officers.

When the Green Bay Packers turn against the Governor, you know he's in deep do-do. The Packers came out both at the management and player level to voice solidarity with the public sector workers.

Now the private sector is voicing support for the public sector workers and the UAW and Steelworkers are beginning to show up in support.

Yesterday,thousands surrounded the state capital in Madison demanding the Governors' recall. Today, barricades have been built and the police have cordoned off the capital, which is known to be open day and night for citizens. Symbolically this is considered at the local level as an insult by the Governor, violating the state's open tradition.

Last night 1,000 protestors gathered outside the Governor's private home. Demonstrations were held in every city in the state. 10,000 teachers gathered at a night time rally outside the capital building.

Wisconsin has a long history of progressive politics on both sides of the aisle. ACFSME was created there in 1923. And it was the first state to have kindergarten.The Governors' actions were denounced by conservative Republicans in the state as too radical and a "big government power grab."

The Governor now says that he will use the National Guard to perform the jobs of the public sector. This is only pissing the prison workers off even more. Most of them made the transition to prison work because local manufacturing plants closed down.The prison work pays less but it has some rudimentary benefits and a possibility of a pension. These the Governor wants to take away.

Schools are closed today because the teachers stayed off the job.

The Governors' bill may pass the Republican dominated legislature but there are sure to be ramifications. Next week John Kasich of Ohio is going to try the same thing in an attempt to outlaw collective bargaining and arbitration. He too hasn't asked to talk to any of the unions or their represenatives. Both Walker and Kasich won paper-thin victories in the fall elections but both are committed to govern by ideology and ignore those who didn't vote for them.

Remember, both Governors refused the federal money for the high speed rail projects,the act costing each of their states several thousand jobs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Michael Scheuer's Osama Bin Laden

Michael Scheuer was the chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and remained a counter-terrorism analyst until 2004. The Bin Laden unit was nicknamed the Manson Family and proposed such ideas as creating an ergonomically correct chair to cart Bin Laden back to the States for trial. Scheuer's first books slammed the Clinton Administration for failing on several occasions to assassinate bin Laden when they had a clear shot. He also bemoaned the role of neoconseravtives in pushing the Iraq War which only validated everything bin Laden ever said about America's true aims in the Islamic World.

In recent years Scheuer has shown up on television and appears to be demented, angry and frustrated as if he's the only one in the country who takes bin Laden's seriously. Most people have now turned to Peter Bergen as the bin Laden expert of choice. Bergen's latest book is "The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda", which tracks the history of our conflict with bin Laden and suggests alternative strategies. Bergen is now a fellow at the New America Foundation and the security analyst for CNN.

However, having said that, Scheuer's "Osama Bin Laden"(Oxford 2011)is the best book on Bin Laden I've ever read. Its 183 page text is supplemented by 80 pages of notes and documents. It is simply the clearest and most succinct analysis of the person Bin Laden and the organization Al Qaeda I've ever read. Scheuer could use some media coaching to make himself more presentable for television and hence creditable to a wider audience.

Scheuer stands as one of the few bin Laden experts who reads and speaks Arabic fluently and as he reminds the reader he has read all 789 pages of bin Laden's known writings. He is appalled that other so-called experts seem not to have read bin Laden or thought about what he has said he wants to do with Al Qaeda. He feels without reading him the Western analysts have been manipulated by the Saudis, who have spun the story of bin Laden as the son gone wrong. Instead, as Scheuer writes, Osama bin Laden is the poster boy for the whole Saudi educational system.

Sometimes Scheuer reads like someone suffering from intellectual Stockholm Syndrome where the subject of analysis becomes the noble hero of the story. He reminds us that bin Laden is in the prime of his life and that his personal characteristics of bravery, courage, personal kindness and austerity have won the hearts of those closest to him and made him a genuine hero in the Islamic world. He asserts that bin Laden practices a form of "defense jihad" or Islamic Just War theory and that he believes he is fighting the occupation of the Arab World by Western powers and Israel. Scheuer goes into depth on how this "defensive jihad" works out in reality and explores the whole issue of Muslim victims in the fighting, an issue that turned the Iraqis against Al Qaeda during the war.

What Scheuer wants to convey is that the West must try and understand bin Laden and comprehend that he is a worthy opponent with a strategic mastery of the battlefield. He argues that unless we have a clear-headed view of his life and beliefs we will not understand how he has revolutionized warfare by creating a global organization that has synthesized terrorism and insurgent movements with a central command.

But that task of honestly evaluating him must begin with letting go of some myths created by both the Saudis and our own analysts. Scheuer claims that the bin Laden family for cultural reasons probably did not cut off his finances from the family company. Bin Laden has no serious health problems such as the legend about kidney disease and having a dialysis machine. Mullah Omar did have tactical differences with bin Laden but would never in his lifetime betray him. No bin Laden did not go bad because of the influence of the Egyptians on his thought. Yes, bin Laden was a loyal Saudi until the Gulf War, where he had warned the Saudis against Saddam Hussein and offered to build a frontier to prevent an invasion of the Arabian peninsula. Instead, the Saudis asked for American military troops to be stationed for the first time on the holy land. Also, Bin Laden is not isolated--some of the terrain he lives in has been his home for decades and he has extensive contacts throughout Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,Yemen, the Sudan and Afghanistan.

Scheuer is especially good in examining the various religious thinkers bin Laden had made contact with and been educated by, such as the exiled Muslim Brotherhood who taught in Saudi schools. Bin Laden also has been outspoken all his life on the corruption of Arab politics and even participated in the creation of a non-violent reform moment in Saudi Arabia.

Scheuer points out that Bin Laden does want to destroy Israel and the United States. One of the ways he thought he could destroy the United States was to bankrupt it by forcing it to react to Al Qaeda's actions, which he has come close to achieving. Scheuer is sharp in his criticism of our invasion of Iraq, which he said validated everything Bin Laden ever said about our intentions in the Middle East. But Iraq also became the place where Bin Laden made an atrocious blunder in appointing to the head of Al Qaeda Iraq a person who wanted to start the war against the Shia also, something Bin Laden is also committed to. Scheuer makes it plain that Bin Laden held the Shia in contempt and especially the Islamic regime in Tehran because they failed to implement any of their plans against Israel successfully. The whole neo-con theme of an bin Laden-Tehran alliance Scheuer terms ludicrous.

Scheuer, I believe, gets the whole Al Qaeda global strategy right. Bin Laden always uses indignous forces as the leaders of the local branches and supplements them with foreign backups, who must subordinate their own views to the local leaders but remain in contact with Al Qaeda central. Scheuer does a masterful job of outlining the internal organization of Al Qaeda Central and how it has studied and mastered modern media. Bin Laden's obsession with the media began with the role Saudi media played during the Afghanistan conflict. Also, Bin Laden is extremely flexible in terms of his tactics and does not always act out his maximalist dreams and plans.

What will be interesting is to hear from Bin Laden about the Egyptian Revoution.

No he does not envy our freedoms, he has made it clear he hates them.

This is one short book that is really worth the read. Hopefully Michael Scheuer will calm down now. He did a superb job.

Happy V-D Day--Day 2 of the Ron Paul Love Revolution

Civility is breaking out all over. That's what the C in CPAC stands for. Rush Limbaugh is bitter that conservative principles are up for sale and that Mitch Daniels called on Republilcans to appeal to more than the Dittoheads. Glenn Beck warned conservatives about being infiltrated by communists and Islamists.

Pamela Geller agreed with Beck and David Horowitz that the conservative movement is infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Is she related to Uri Geller? Can she bend spoons with her nose?

The Young Americans for Freedom expelled Ron Paul--not for his age but for his positions on war.

General Boykin told Glenn Beck that he is asked every day about when we should take up arms against Barack Obama. The General previously said that the healthcare bill was meant to create a brownshirt militia for Obama.

John Boehner said that he thinks Obama is a Christian but he wouldn't comment on the whole birther conspiracy. But at the National Prayer Breakfast, Tom Coburn leaped to his feet to declare to the audience that Obama was "his brother in Christ." Tom probably has been expelled from the conservative movement this week.

Ten states have taken up the call for birther legislation. If passed, I can't run for President because I don't have a long-form borth certificate from New Jersey.

It's National Condom Day so don't get any on you.

Barack Obama announced that his new budget would bring domestic spending down to a percentage of government spending equal to Dwight David Eisenhower's day. Was this a slap at the GOP who has abandoned Ike? A little problem with the budget, however, the defense budget is the largest since WWII. That's without the raises the GOP wants to add.

Paul Krugman has an excellent summation of the GOP's budget proposals dubbing it "Killing the Future." Others called it "Killing Elmo" since PBS is under the axe. Does Juan Williams want to be identified with killing Sesame Street?

The teabaggers are saying that shutting down the government is just a "liberal bugaboo". Steve King wants to call Obama's bluff by shutting down government unless Obama withdraws health care.

The Shia in Bahrain are protesting even though the royal family has given out checks for $3,000 to everyone.

Both American and French officials have urged the Algerian government not to crack down and suppress demonstrations there.

The Palestinians cabinet has resigned and Abbas promises elections soon.

The King of Kings, Muammar Qaddafhi has urged all Palestinians to line up around the borders of Israel to demand a state.

The Iranian government has jailed the titular leaders of the Green Revolution and started to repress demonstrators using rubber bullets and teargas. The United States Government openly called for Tehran to allow the demonstrations to proceed since the Iranian Government hailed the Egyptian Revolution. the U.S. Government is tweeting in Farsi as the demonstrations proceed.

A reform movement is beginning to organize in Saudi Arabia. What happens to Fox News when saudi Arabia falls? Their number 2 owner is a Saudi prince. Do they juet light up half the set when his wealth is seized?

The Latest rumor is that Hosni Mubarak is in a coma. This raises the question of how anyone could believe that Mubarak had any role to play in a transition when he is terminally ill. The New York Times ran a piece saying that Secretary of state Clinton and Joe Biden urged such a stance on Obama but Obama refused. Apparently, President Obama was as furious as I was when Ambassador Wisner went on Fox and apologized for Mubarak. Luckily, President Obama didn't listen to the old guard.

But Niall Ferguson feels different in this issue of Newsweek. The neo-imperalist Brit, who has made his recent living travelling to Aspen and Davos selling the dangers of the fall of the American empire, writes that Egypt was a rookie mistake by the "most inexperienced President in foreign affairs" and has created an enormous power vaccuum. Niall thought George W was great even though he had only been to Mexico and once to China prior to assuming the Presidency.

Israel is breathing easier once the Egyptian military said that all treaties would be honored. Now Israel's Defense Minister has gone on the record saying that the Egyptian revolution was far different from the Iranian Revolution. But some of the Israeli press lament that the change in government in Egypt means that an attack on Iran is off. As Wikileaks showed Mubarak was one of the most energetic booster for war with Iran until the last American.

Speaking of treaties, Don Rumsfeld said that he thought it was not advisable for other governments to prosecute George W. Bush for torture because it would admit to the idea of "universal jurisdiction". Curiously enough the Torture Convention ,which we are a signatory to, calls for the "universal jurisdiction" of prosecution to anyone indicted for torture. And the United States under George W actually accepted this when they tried Charles Taylor's son for torture in Florida.

Love is in the air. Italians are demonstrating to bring Sylvio Berlusconi down because of his sex scandals. He said he always made "women feel special". A real candidate for the Love Revolution!

Former Luv Gov Sanford appeared on the beach with his bikini'ed Argentinian journalist. But now he's been replaced with another Luv Gov, the teabagger favorite Ms. Haley, who it seems is still embroiled in the sex controversy that started during the primary. I'm glad South Carolina is keeping up the tradition.

Virginia is no longer for Lovers. The Cooch has decided he wants an immigration law like Arizona.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Going Gault

CPAC's straw poll has always produced the vanguard of political thought. Remember Presidents Gary Bauer, Phil Gramm and Mitt Romney? Even Charles Krauthammer admits CPAC has alot of "marginal characters." Like today's guest star--Pat Boone.

Anyway, it is only right that as the film Atlas Shrugged is about to be released, the winner of the CPAC presidential straw vote is the future President of the United States....drumroll... Ron Paul. Ron Paul's contingent rigged the straw vote this year by buying tickets for 1,000 students as they did last, which means he beat out Mitt Romney, who usually pays voters also in these straw votes. Mitt had won in 2008 and 2009.

Using the combined first and second choice vote picks, the vote tallies are as follows:
Ron Paul 37%
Mitt Romney 31%
Gary Johnson 21%
Chris Christie 16%
New Gingrich 11%
Michelle Bachmann 10%
Tim Pawlenty 9%
Others in the 9% range
Sarah Palin 7%

The basic meaning of all this is that CPAC is almost totally libertarian. Ron Paul and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson combine for 58% of the total vote indicates where the hearts and minds are. The vote for Mitt Romney is not about conservatism, it's about who wants to win.

Mitt Romney's vote does put him as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nominee. Landing second means that to secular conservatives he is acceptable. The woeful results of almost all the standards shows you how weak the field is right now. A candidate could emerge from literally nowhere to win the nomination.

The poll comes as Sarah Palin has hired a chief of staff for her SarahPac, a sign observers believe that she is serious about a presidential run.

(On films--Atlas Shrugged may excite conservatives and libertarians as a film but it does act as an advertisement for high speed trains, which the GOP wants to cut from all budgets. Libertarians are advised to watch the Passion of Ayn Rand starring Helen Mirren and Peter Fonda. It's about Rand's affair with her young acolyte and has wonderful sex scenes with Helen Mirren. Peter Fonda actually gives a superb performance as Rand's husband.)

Ann Coulter graced the confab with her presence and talked about how liberals invented gay marriage to destroy the family as they destroyed the black family. Coulter told the cheering crowd that liberals are committed to destroying the family and religion so that everyone is beholding to the state.

Steve King, Christianist from Iowa, told the crowd that he knew of Jihadist being smuggled across the Mexican border, something Homeland Security denies.

Pat Boone is almost a perfecrt symbol for CPAC. After his pop career fizzled, he made a living singing Christian songs and entertained at Christian and conservative functions. He was eclipsed in his career by Elvis. And that's what the modern conservative movement seems to be longing back towards--the days before Rock and Roll and the Counterculture. That's the America they want back and Pat is a symbol of that. He also was one of the leaders, along with Jon Voight, of the Beverly Hills Tea Party. Former Ramparts editor David Horowitz joined them there.

A fun time was had by all and the hotel was infested with bedbugs.

Organizers? We don't need no stinkin' organizers.

Hold the images of joyous Egyptians in your mind. Then think of President Obama's wonderful acknowledgement that yesterday was their day.

Now Cut TO: CPAC

On Egypt,leading Islamophobe Pamela Geller told a reporter 'We are witnessing a complete seismic shift in the direction of the world away from freedom."

Tim Pawlenty excoriated Obama that "With bullies, might makes right." and that Obama refuses to condemn jihadists and should stop apologizing.

No one spoke at CPAC in favor of the Egyptian people. From the various so-called presidential candidates there was no one word--astonishing when you consider these people are trying to become Commander-in-Chief.

Today's panel on "creeping sharia law" is overflowing. David Horowitz led the way by claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated American life, even the White House and even the conservative movement itself.

James Woolsey, former Freedom House Board member and CIA chief, said that being against the abuse of women and beheadings doesn't make you Islamophobic.

Teabagger Col. West said that it was normal for the United States to monitor all Muslims because we did it during WWI when we interned all Japanese-Americans.

Herman Cain, the black entrepeneur who founded Godfather's Pizza, said that stupid people were ruining America. He apparently didn't advise his colleagues above.

The White Supremacist movement, which is in attendance for the first time this year,reassured Americans that there have nothing against gay people.

However, the new management of the American Conservative Union thinks that next year they are going to re-invite GOProud because they think their wesbite isn't conservative enough.

THE MOST IRONIC MOMENT OF CPAC. Covering the meeting is Dan Savage, famed advocate of gay rights. Savage made Santorum a household word for the leavings of gay sex. While there, Rick Santorum, wearing glasses which he doesn't need, spoke,almost confirming the views of the readers of Savage Sex, who coined the term for him. Santorum spoke on and on about the "stools of conservatism" without any sense of irony or self-awareness.

Why do modern conservatives believe you can persuade people by acting like a bunch of bullies? Do you really want to vote for a thug? Apparently Pawlenty thought so. He acted like the tough guy on the block. Even Romney thought he should start slinging smears and try out nasty cracks about Obama. Romney doesn't do insults very well. In his latest incarnation--he now has surpassed John McCain in the cameleon factor--he went teabagger to link Obama with Saul Alinsky, the righwing's greatest bete noire. Previously, we had Newt Gingrich, who was positively mummified. He makes Haley Barbour look like Jack LaLane. Newt entered to the "Eye of the Tiger" as if it was a funky state of the union, walking through the crowd as opposed to just stepping on stage. Newt has so many double-chins now that it is hard to believe he can phsyically run for President.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who is pro-gay rights, pro-choice, and pro-legalization of marijuana, was run off the stage by the organizers.

The Defender of the Constitution Award was awarded to none other than Donald Rumseld and presented by special guest, Dick Cheney. But the libertarians in the hall chanted "War Criminal","Where's Bin Laden" at the torture chief.

Andrew Breibart had ample speaking time to falsify everything anyone knows about the Pigford settlements with black farmers, which he says was part of the "hidden reparations agenda" of the Obama Administration. He also said that ACORN had set up a children sex ring in every office on the Hill. On this he missed which Administration had pedophile ring issues.

Ron Paul spent over $100,000 to bring college kids to CPAC. Paul denounced bipartisanship and actually made an interesting offer to the young. Would they forego all government benefits and programs for their life if they only had to pay 10% income tax. This is actually a version of Amitai Etizione's communitarian proposal that those who are against government simply pay for the defense bill on their taxes but forfeit any other rights to government-provided services.

Ron Paul did make a good point that the Patriot Act basically nullified the Fourth Amendment.

Rick Perry came in with an argument on state's right and praised to high heaven the Tenth Amendment. he didn't tell the audience he had used the stimulus money to shore up his state's debt, which far exceeds California.

Mitch Daniel, another former Freedom House board member, wowed the crowd by pronouncing the national debt as the "new Red Menace". Previously, Pawlenty in his new tough-guy move said we shouldn't raise the debt ceiling level.

On the second day of the confab, Fox News ran its national poll on Obama versus the leading GOP presidential lights. Obama beat everyone by 6 to 15 pts. PPP did its swing state polls that show basically Obama would win the same number electoral votes.

But Haley Barbour announced to the CPAC crowd that America agrees with the GOP. That's not self-evident. Recent Gallup polls indicate the America people are concerned about health of the economy and unemployment. Last on their list is the deficit or national debt. And almost off the charts are any concerns about so-called value issues. But that was true with the mid-terms also and it still didn't stop the GOP from taking the House.

Rush Limbaugh on his radio show seemed to tap into the new conservative embrace of Egyptian freedom by referring to the demonstrators as "your typical rent-a-mob--cmmunists, environmentalists, feminists and organizers."

Jane Hamisher of FireLake should call home. Her political partner Grover Nordquist said "There were no partnersonthe Left, just parasites who should be crushed."

While some Bush supporters are claiming credit for changes in Egypt as part of his Freedom Agenda, I say people should tolerate this. We need some Republicans left who are internationalists. Progressives criticized Elliot Abrams for quickly endorsing the democratic movement in Egypt. I say hurray. The dark clouds of isolationism have descended on the GOP. Even George W Bush remarked last week about his concerns that isolationism, xenophobia, and nativism have emerged like in the 1920s.

Think about that. When the Bush people sound rational and sound, then you know how far gone the Republican party is.

So far on removing Arab dictators by peaceful means it's Obama 2 Bush 0.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A New Generation Emerges--Obama on Egypt

President Obama's comments on Egypt eloquently emphasized that the Egyptian Revolution was a moment in history where people expressed their "hunger for change" and when the 'wheel of history turned at a blinding pace." He commented on the power of human dignity to inspire us all and urged that we be defined by our common humanity and not our differences. Quoting Martin Luther King,Jr. he said the Eyptian people had used the "moral force of non-violence to bend the arc of history once more." "Something in the Soul cries out for Freedom." President Obama said that the reason why Americans respond to the scenes they viewed in Liberation Square was because of who we are. He praised the Egyptian military for protecting the rights of the people and carrying out their patriotic duty. He closed by saying that the Egyptians had forever changed their country and changed the world.

The remarks were greeted in Cairo by chants of Obama, Obama, Obama and "We love America." A few Egyptians used Facebook and Twitter to thank America for being on the right side of history.

President Obama briefly got into policy details, saying that he expected all of Egypt's voices to be at the table for the discussion on the transition and that he expected that the transition will lead to a full democracy.

Apparently, he did not phone or consult with other leaders in the region before making his remarks. In Palestine, people celebrating the Egyptian Revolution said,"two down, 20 to go",referring to the Arab League leaders. In Algeria, a massive police presence is on the streets before tomorrow's protests. The cafe crowd in Lebanon were celebrating Mubarak's downfall. Only crickets were heard in Israel.

The Swiss have seized all of Mubarak's assets. Leaders of the protests claim that they want to see trials of Egyptians who have pilfered the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood told the BBC quite openly that "this wasn't our Revolution so we are not going to co-opt it." A retired Egyptian general suggested that the next President will not be a military man, who just dons a civilian suit, because the young people created this revolution and they won't want that. He pointed out that both Sadat and Mubarak were from the liberation movement and that it was this current Revolution who would have to choose its leaders. The BBC reporter, who was an expert on the Egyptian military,tried to argue that the Egyptian people would accept another military man. The retired general said that the military had been very moved by these events and wants only to play the role of ensuring the country's stability. He went on to say that his own generation realizes that the young people taught them that they had lost out in both the political and economic area because there had been no democracy.

Of course, Chuck Todd had to emphasize that President Obama was thankful that the military was in place and the National Security types were hopeful that the military would place an essential role in the future government. It's strange how our journalists really fell for the old military regime brings more stability than democracy line. Others have suggested that there would be Mubarakism without Mubarak. I doubt it. I would bet on the view of the old retired general more than Chuck Todd that Egypt is going to transform into a full democracy.

Meanwhile Amir Mussa, the head of the Arab League resigned today, and appears heading to Egypt to run for President. El Baradei said this was the happiest day in his life and credited his young supporters for pulling off the Revolution.

Meanwhile, there were no speakers at CPAC who mentioned Egypt today. OK, one--the candidate who reminded us that the rent was too high. Sad.