Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mitch Daniels Gets In The Clown Car

For reasons that escape me,the Washington punditry have literally begged Mitch Daniels to throw his hat into the ring for the Republican presidential race. The balding Governor of Indiana won the hearts of people like Ed Klein, David Brooks and Andrew Sullivan by calling for a truce in the culture wars and a renewed focus on the country's economic situation. He called the national debt situation the "New Red Menace."

The Republican-controlled Indiana Legislature put Daniels in a bind with their bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Observers thought this was test whether Daniels had the courage of his convictions. What's more, the bill would cost the fiscally responsible Governor $4 million in federal aid. By signing the bill, Daniels would deprive 22,000 low-income women of basic health services like breast cancer screenings. So what can a courageous politician do? Well, sign it of course.

This gets us back to your definition of serious. Mitch Daniels was W's OMB director. He is the man who squandered the Clinton surplus because, naturally, there was a recession. He is credited by W with coming up with his plan to reduce taxes on the wealthy,which was to stimulate the economy and produce government revenues. You should see his projects of the time to believe it. He projected the cost of the Iraq War at roughly $90 billion, about $2 trillion too low.

This is the new definition of seriousness, which makes Mitch Daniels roughly equivalent with that other demented accountant Paul Ryan. A Daniels-Ryan ticket could be the way to oblivion and they would bore you to death on your way to disaster. So in short, Mitch Daniels today qualified for the Republican race. He would be pitted against Mr. Personality, Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty would have the advantage because Daniels hasn't renounced evolution---yet.

Since January,read this number slowly--it is not a typo--Republicans in D.C. and the states have introduced 916--916--916 bills against choice and reproductive rights. There has never been a more intense war waged against the uteri in our Republic. It is absolutely amazing and disgusting.

If Mitch doesn't do it, the stalwart Christian Newton Leroy Gingrich and his lovely bride Calista are scheduled to make the plunge soon. The questions that should be asked is Where's Newt's Birth Certificate and Whose his Father. Newt wants you to know that the right to bear arms comes from God, not the constitution. He'll be right at home in the roach motel.

The Mitt is already scrambling around to cover for yesterday's "hanging" gaffe. Of course, what it means is that the whole flap just blew the effectiveness of his Misery Index because everyone will just remember his lynching analogy. But maybe that will solidify his southern vote.

Cartoonists have been busy at work on the Ryan Budget and the Donald's escapades. These are being printed in Republican districts and creating enough comments that the GOP should be concerned.

Speaking about the Ryan Budget, maybe we should send him for townhall meetings in Alabama and the South to discuss why he cut FEMA and assistance to NOAA, our weather service. The Washington Post wrote a piece that said that the tornado disaster challenges the Obama Administration. He seems to have gotten down there as fast as possible and FEMA and Homeland Security was already on the phone to the Governors minutes after the disaster. Where's Brownie?

Tomorrow is the eighth anniversary of George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" Speech. Let's all remember the Beltway Pundits who swooned over the codpiece. U.S.A! U.S.A!

Abbie Hoffman Award Goes To Anonymous

After the Citizens United case,American and foriegn coporations got a blank check to interfere with America's elections at every level. And the problem was that these contributions could be anonymous and untraceable.

Shortly after the case, political activists tried to track down the political activities of the Chamber of Commerce when it declared war against the Democrats. And the Chamber retaliated by hiring lawyers and security firms to track anti-Chamber activists and disrupt their websites and follow their families. Some of the e-mails of this surveillance found the light of day and portrayed the so-called Captains of Industry actually trailing young children of people they suspected of engaging in anti-Chamber activism.

The Chamber has felt so empowered by this carte blanche given by the Supreme Court that their chief lobbyist this week threatened to do to Obama what he is doing to Qaddafi.

Well, BOOM! Enter Anonymous who hit the Chanber with a surprise raid, which will link the Chamber to many of the political events around the country. Anonymous did not just have a document dump. It's a tsunami of secret Chamber documents, which will take months to digest. Anonymous makes Wikileaks look like pamphleteers. Thousands upon thousands of e-mails, documents and communications of the Chamber have been released.

The Chamber load is 1.2 Gigabytes. You can access them by going to Dailykos. You will need to decrypt the documents and will need TrueCrypt. A friendly blogger walks you through the steps.

The reason why the Anonymous cache caught the attention of the Dailykos blogger was because the documents link the activities of Michigan's MacKinac Center for Public Policy and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative network which now writes all the state laws where Republicans have won. Digging into these documents, Michigan citizens will probably learn Corporate America's plans for the state in the regime of Governor Snyder.

Bravo, Anonymous.

Romney Wants To Lynch Obama--Not as Bad As That

Since we've been treated to a week of race-baiting by Donald Trump and Fox News, who decided to attack President Obama for attending Easter services at Shiloh Baptist Church,it's understandable that progressive blogs would latch on Romney's statements yesterday at the Koch sponsored forum in New Hampshire. Romney has been peddling the return of the Misery Index for the last several months and yesterday he brought it up again and said " we will hang this on Obama." Check at the video at Democratic Underground or Talking Points Memo. Romney tried to catch himself before it became a major gaffe.

Washington Monthly had the right perspective. This was a lame performance by a candidate that we have been told is actually a front-runner for the Republican nomination. Romney appeared sans tie for his semi-folksy impression and virtually babbled economic platitudes and invoked Ronald Reagan. To me he looked young but pale as if the Koch Brothers had just reamed him out for not being as ruthless as the uberwealthy should be.

You have a real problem when the moderator comes across as more presidential than you are. And the moderator is a teabagger.

Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, Karl Rove and other Republican strategists have been laying down the groundwork for going after Obama as a second Jimmy Carter. If you think about it, no one except the politically active remember Jimmy Carter or his presidency. The man you see today is building homes for Habitat for Humanity and engaged in humanitarian work abroad. So the image among the elderly demographic the Republicans need is of an active, lively senior citizen actively contributing to the world. The hostages have come home from Iran. So the negative connotations of Carter are gone.

So the next hot idea was that you can use the Misery Index Reagan used effectively against Carter, against Obama. I've written about this before. You add unemployment and the rate of inflation. So Carter's was above 20 and Obama in the worst circumstance right now would be about 10. Then you have the very incovenient fact that Obama has created more jobs than the entire George W. Bush years in just 2 1/2. But Romney is fixated on this Misery Index as a great idea and I'm convinced that nothing will push him away from using it.

The Obama strategy is to adopt the Rovian theory of attacking Romney's perceived strength. For Republicans, this is his experience in the private sector and his years as governor. The Obama people should go right at his experience at Bain Capital, where Romney amassed enormous wealth by forcing companies to leverage their debt and then either down-sizing or going bankrupt. In other words, Romney's wealth has been acquired at the expense of thousands of American jobs. As Governor, in a boom economy he had the third worst record of job creation of the nation's governors.

Then we move to regional advertisements. We have the videotape evidence of Mitt Romney, the son of an automobile executive, saying that the American auto industry should not be bailed out and that those jobs aren't coming back. The Obama campaign should run this clip and Romney's treachery to his father's legacy in Michigan, Ohio and every Midwest state. And add how Barack Obama saved the auto industry, despite the criticisms of the Republicans.

I know the Obama people will never do the following. But if you thought like a Republican, you would want to suppress the fundamentalist vote, which always votes Republican. I would run ads in the South saying "Mitt Romney believes Jesus Christ is the brother of Lucifer, Do you?"And for more moderate states, I would link Romney with the most visible Mormon in the country--Glenn Beck. But this isn't going to happen but it should.

But the first entry into a candidate forum was a very lackluster performance by Romney. Romney's strategy has been to hold back and let the other candidates act like the lunatics they are and then emerge as the reasonable white father figure. Yesterday shows he has to pick up his game before he can actually implement such a strategy. He came across as he often does as an Empty Suit.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Weirdly enough Free Republic posted an analysis of the released birth certificate to show it was indeed the real McCoy. Stunning but that lucity didn't last among conservatives.

I received an e-mail from a conservative from Infowars that claimed they did a forensic investigation and that it was photo-shopped.

The Daily Mail in the UK did a hit piece on Barack Obama's father citing his polygamy and womanizing and suggested that he got Barack Obama's mother pregnant so he could stay in the United States. But for conservatives, the piece had one disturbing piece of information that even I never knew. While born a Muslim, apparently Barack Obama's father converted to Roman Catholicism. We better alert Newt and Calista.

Karl Rove continues to try and spin the release of the birth certificate and raising the question why Barack Obama waited so long.

Of course, you have to think back to the 2008 campaign when Gov. Lingle of Hawaii was pulled off the campaign trail with John McCain to fly home and examine the birth certificate, which she immediately proclaimed as authentic. And the whole episode when candidate Obama posted his birth certificate--which is the accepted official version on line. There was never a serious person--Republican or Democrat-- who doubted Barack Obama's birth as an American in Hawaii.

If we walk back birtherism, you find such characters as Andy Martin, a ravving anti-semitie, Jerome Corsi, a Christian nationalist, and Joseph Farah, the same. Then enter Orly Taitz,a Moldovan--Israeli--naturalized American, friend of Bibi Netanyahu, who became the drama queen of the whole thing. And of course Allan Keyes, who was crushed in an election by Barack Obama, has made this his new form of employment.

Alot of the assumptions of birtherism come from the Christian White Nationalist Movement and its very peculiar interpretation of the Constitution. Remember seven American Presidents were foreign born and another eight had at least foreign parents. The idea with these people is that , according to the original intent of the Constitution, only someone like me is a natural born citizen--white, man, and protestant--and only someone like me can become president. All others have derived status--either from the 14th amendment, which so many Republicans want to repeal, or from the Amendment on the woman vote.

This crew goes even further saying that both parents must be Americans--historically that isn't true--and the person must have been born in the United States. That isn't historically true either. And what's even more disturbing for these people is that our President is the product of a white woman and a black man, which was illegal in many parts of the country through the 1960s.

And if you want to go further, then they must insist that he is a Muslim. Now we know he is the product of a Unitarian and a Roman Catholic. That's not got enough because now Jersome Corsi wants to say that he was adopted by his mother's second husband and raised a Muslim. And for full measure, this would in his warped view mean that somehow Barack Obama forfeited his American citizenship. Again this wouldn't be true either.

For African-Americans, the controversy is an old return to the Show Us Your Papers mentality of white America. African American males must constantly prove their identity. African Americans have handled this whole controversy with remarkable cool. The exception I have seen is among young ,college educated males who are furious.

Donald Trump has resurrected the old saw about Barack Obama's education. Today Valerie Jarrett told the press that since President Obama is nearly 50 years old and everyone knows about his intelligence he was not releasing his college transcripts. Laurence Tribe once described President Obama of having an " iridescent brilliance". But no matter, how does such a guy get into college without being a legacy person?

His memoir must have been written by a white man--and one with leftist credentials, Bill Ayers.

While he has been known to the country at large for his eloquence since the 2004 Democratic Convention, his eloquence, a refreshing change after his inarticulate predecessor, must be a product of the teleprompter and his writers. The fact he owned the Republicans in the roundable on healthcare without a single note in front of him isn't mentioned when his critics say he is programmed by others.

Here, old Republican techniques of delegitmizing Democratic Presidents and contenders merges with racism. Barack Obama could never had obtained the Presidency of the United States without afffirmative action, ACORN, the Black Panthers and voter fraud.

The campaign to de-legitimize the first African-American President will not cease. Today Rush Limbaugh said that all of Barack Obama's policies were illegitimate when compared to those of the founding of the country. What ever that means? The statement morphs into Bryan Fisher's statements that Social Security, Medicare,Medicaid, unemployment insurance must be abolished to get the nation back to God and the intent of its founders.

Since the night of the election have you heard any commentators--Democrat or Republican--ever say again that President Obama was elected with more popular votes than anyone in our history? Have you ever heard a single commentator actually talk about his being descended from the Pilgrims? You only hear about his white side of his family when there are the usual fun stories about Irish descent or his grandfather's role in World War II.

The real problem with trying to make Barack Obama the "Other" is that the political language now is twisting to make all of us "The Other", everyone who believes there is a common good or a consensus about our social contract with each other as a country. We have gone beyond demonizing simply Barack Obama to the demonizing of everyone who retains some residual belief in our democratic system and our society.

We are being conditioned to think that there should be a wealthy overclass, that the private sector is the most effective way to deliver social goods, and that people who are educators and involved in social services and the government are parasites.

The President can defend himself as he does very ably but one should not observe attacks on his legitimacy with bemused disinterest. We are being attacked and delegitimized as well.

America The Exceptional--Kochistan

Steve Benen at Washington Monthy justed noted that Mitt Romney, who has refused to be on the stage with other Republican contenders so far, has agreed to kiss the Koch Brothers' ring at the Presidential Summit on Spending and Job Creation, which is funded by the crime family. Steve notes that the Romney family has received Koch funding before. Mitt should remember what happened to the first Mormon who wanted to run for President in 1848. The sect's founder Joseph Smith ended up shot in an Illinois jell cell. He may be lured to New Hampshire by Koch assassins. Joining the Mitt will be Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann.

Remember I wrote it first that Glenn Beck was the stalking horse of the Mormon candidacy of Mitt Romney. Beck has recently attacked Mike Huckabee as a "progressive" Republican or "someone like John McCain" who increases the size of government and has increased taxes while Governor of Arkansas. This odd spat got played out with Huckabee blasting back but the tenor of it was so odd as to reveal Beck's other agenda.

Meanwhile Newt and his lovely Bride Calixto or Calista will appear in their new film "American Exceptionalism", which will be a call to arms to reassert America's special nature--being owned by the Koch Brothers. Newt keeps cancelling appearances at candidate fora because he can't quite wrap up his business empire. He still has too many trinkets to sell.

Tim Pawlenty is really on a roll. After declaring that Planned Parenthood practices euthanasia because they operate in areas serving the poor, He burst on the scene at the NRA to declare that President Obama doesn't understand America and that we are an exceptional country. Wayne LaPierre told his fanatically member that the presidential election will be determined by states with Big Guns and hunting and that Obama will lose. (Of course, Obama never did confiscate the guns as conservatives promised.)

This will be the theme for the foreign policy section of the Republicans in 2012. Charles Krauthammer put teeth in this today with op-ed in the Washington Post by blasting President Obama's lead from behind strategy. He argues that Obama lacks a doctrine--Gee, we have already benefited from so many doctrines--has bowed to the inevitable emergence of China as the world leader and acts quietly because Obama believes the world hates us. As Charles pounds his chest, the world has always hated us and the Chinese are just a regional power. Watch this become a major thread in the arguments leading up to 2012.

Karl Rove is hurt saying that President Obama is waging a dirty campaign for re-election. I guess unlike Karl's genteel Swift Boater effort against John Kerry. No one yet has mentioned that , despite Rove's contention then that the Swift Boaters were not linked to the Bush campaign, that all those who bankrolled the effort were the first donors to underwrite Rove's mysterious Crossroads (Crosshairs) America. Rove said that it was Obama's fault that birtherism took over the Republican party, that the President had played rope-a-dope and made the GOP seem wacky. Of course, Rove says this was all to distract everyone from the serious problems the country has. Which is the perfect inverse of what President Obama said that his release of his birth certificate can allow us to get back to those issues. It looks like Rove is making a comeback. Here I agree with the Donald that Rove should retire.

Conservative Human Events is reporting what I have been noting that Mike Huckabee, the frontrunner for 2012, is sending signals he will not run. He has been avoiding all the candidate fora and telling former supporters to find other candidates. But I'm not sure that he will be allowed to cop out because if Romney is wounded by Romneycare, then if Huckabee doesn't run, Charles Koch will force David to come out and say he's been Born-Again. The Billionaire Club must secured the allegiance of the Religious Right if their plan for the final conquest of America is to succeed.

Inside the Beltway strategists are now talking up a Romney-Petraeus ticket. The one spoilsport to this seems to be Marc Thiessen who says that Petraeus is soft on torture--i.e. he prohibits torture. The problem with this scenario is that no one else in America believes the Iraq was worthwhile. It's not like Ike defeating Hitler. But I was at a Republican event last week and they really still believe in the Iraq war. It was stunning. They glowed when they talked about it. So Petraeus is their hero. What happens when they find out he's a self-described Rockefeller Republican?

We have only about two weeks to go until the world ends so we should expect alot of our religious friends to be "raptured", which would do wonders for our political system.

The Donald--The Id of the Republican Party

Now that President Obama released his long form birth certificate, the Donald hasn't yet released his tax returns as promised. The Donald was too busy in Las Vegas saying that our leaders are weak and that he, the Donald, would tell those Chinese mother--f--ers that he would be taxing all their goods 25%--even the Trump fashions? He would make the South Koreans pay for our military presence and would get on the horn to the Saudis and tell them to cut the price of oil. He would stay in Iraq and take the oil and the same for Libya.

Johann Hari, writing in today's The Independent of the UK,says that the Republican Party always seems to adopt new heroes every six month and each time it is somebody further back on the evolutionary scale. After Palin, he says,"I half-expected the next contender to be a lung-fish draped in the Stars and Stripes." Enter instance the "bewigged billionaire" who has "plastered his name across more surfaces than the average Central Asian dictator." Hari claims that Trump is every trend in republican politics in the last 35 years taken to its logical conclusion.

The first trend is toward naked imperialism. Trump argues that "The world is just destroying our country. These other countries are sapping our strength."

The second trend is to dog-whistle prejudice--pitched just high enough for frightened white Republicans to hear. Hari points to Trump's little campaign on Obama's birth certificate and the suggestions that the certificate said he was a Muslim.

The third Trend is toward the raw worship of wealth as an end in itself--and exempting the wealthy from all social responsibility. Hari points out that Trump inherited his wealth and has filed bankruptcy four times. He points to a 1990 study that showed that while Trump claimed to be worth $1.4 billion, he actually owed $600 million more than he owned and that you and I are worth more than him.

What Cay Johnston , the author of this study, showed was that Trump's fortune comes from "stiffing his creditors" and from government subsidies and favors for his projects--which followed large political donations.

Yet for the Republican party, the simple accumulation of money is proof of virtue. Johnston studied four of Trump's recent tax returns and found that he legally didn't pay taxes on two of them.

The fourth trend is to insist that any fact inconvenient to your world view simply doesn't exist or can be povercome by sheer willpower. Since every economist known to man says that the United States must extend its debt ceiling or else the world will experience another global crash. But Trump snaps,"What do economists know? Most of them aren't very smart."

Hari notes that the denial of reality runs deep. Trump would deal with the rising oil prices by callling in Opec and look them in the eye and say, "You fun is over."

With the Chinese, he would order them to stop manipulating their currency. Hari says that Matthew iglesias has called this "The Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics" because the Green Lantern could only use his superhero powers when he overcame fear and showed confidence and then he could do anything. The world simply needs to be bullied into submission by a more assertive America.

He goes on to Ryan's Ayn Rand fetish that the poor are "parasites" who must "perish".

"The Republican Party today isn't even dominated by market fundamentalism. This is crude Nietscheanism, dedicated to exalting the rich as an overclass and dismissing the rest. "

Hari quips that he heard the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were considering running for the Republican nomination but the Teabaggers thought they were too mild-mannered.

Touche--well done.

"Americans, You've Gotten Too Expensive", Your Corporate Overlords

That's the message Americans are hearing at the Republican townhall meetings and it's just beginning to dawn on a few people. The Koch Brothers must be howling in laughter about naming their creation after a gay sex practice and now seeing these people express astonishment that their teabagger congressmen have voted to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid.

Remember Jack Germond, the veteran political writer. He reappeared in the Daily Beast with an article titled "Is Paul Ryan delusional?" Germond recounts the diasterous days of Newt Gingrich when he thought he could pull off a revolution. What astonishes Germond is the sense that the House Republicans, controlling just one small square of our political system, actually believe no one will notice their destructive behavior and that Americans will simply accept Paul Ryan's fantasy world.

Well, apparently, even with new Koch funded ads praising freshmen Republicans for voting for Ryan's plan,those citizens coming out to the town hall meetings feel they got suckered. Ryan himself had to escape through the back with a police escort and make a getaway in a different car than his own because his constituents were furious with his ideas.

In New Hampshire, ethically challenged Frank Guinta who rode the teabagger faux outrage to victory confronted real outrage at his town hall meeting. A 73-year old asked him whether he was in his right mind when he voted for the Ryan Plan. Guinta, trying to do the new GOP shuffle about how it won't affect seniors, said that these changes would be phased in. Whereupon, one Joe Platte, an eight grader, piped up and asked,"I'm 14, what am I supposed to do?

In North Dakota, a freshman congressman tried to explain to his constituents that everyone over 55 will be covered and protected. He said that the GOP was reforming Medicare to save it. People weren't buying it. A younger constituent said that if the GOP plan was so terrific why doesn't it affect seniors now. This got great applause.

I am absolutely delighted to see that Americans are demanding answers to my question,
"Who is going to insure the elderly under this plan?" So far no Republican has been able to answer this question. But Col. West come up with a uniquely American solution,arrest the constituent asking the question. A liberal blogger happened to ask him this very question, was hauled off, taken to jail and maced.

Paul Krugman in his "Conscience of a Liberal" blog keeps coming back to the Ryan Budget like a mongoose to the cobra. Krugman notes that the question is not that the Ryan Plan reduces the deficit in the right way--on the backs of all Americans except the wealthy--but whether it reduces the deficit at all. Good point. It is simply an ideological exercise to prepare the American people for being absolutely and finally ripped off.

Glenn Kessler writing in today's Washington Post does a fact check on the GOP's talking point that Americans will now have the same health care as members of Congress. Actually, this would be true if the GOP would fund the health exchanges President Obama supports. But in the Ryan Plan, Kessler notes that the government subsidizes the congressional health plans and under the Ryan Plan the whole point was to jettison health costs from government expenses. Kessler, not the first to point this out,notes that the Ryan plan shifts trillions of expenses on the elderly who can least afford it.

In Michigan , "El Duce" Rick Snyder unveiled his educational program. Here he dramatically cuts educational spending in the state, thus weakening the state's educational districts to the point where he will be able to appoint his platoon of emergency managers. The idea is to make the educational system profitable--that is to sell it off like an asset. This remarkable plan has been the brainchild of the De Vos family of Amway fame and the Princes of Blackwater fame, two Christianist families. A similar plan has just been adopted in Florida where we will have a "voucher" educational system, which will defund public education, for one run by profit-making corporations and religious organizations.

Pennsylvania's new Governor Tom Corbett has gutted that state's excellent college system,which was seen by state residents as a magnificent resource. He has told colleges that if they have natural gas under their campuses that they should exploit it to make up for the differences.

Alan Simpson appearing on panels around the country has become quite cranky as people are demanding increased taxes on the wealthy. He rightfully points out that we can confiscate all the wealth of the top 1% and not eliminate our debt. True, but, Alan, we can at least try.

The one who is really enjoying the spectacle of these popular reactions to the Ryan Plan is leftwing radio broadcaster Mike Malloy. Mike, who can be very dyspeptic about the state of the nation, has been enjoying watching all the white-haired teabaggers finally waking up to the fact that ,while they were protesting the Kenyan Muslim President, their corporate handlers have made them commit economic suicide.

And that is what the teabagger phenomenon is --a Ghost Dance to national economic suicide.

Mike Malloy raised a question that should be asked of Mike Huckabee when he declares for the presidency. Malloy pointed out correctly that the religious Right or American evangelicals almost all vote for Republicans, who favor the rich and act against the poor. Now this is against the teachings of the Messiah of these people. So does that mean that everytime the religious Right votes Republican, they are voting themselves into Hell. A theologically good point. This should be asked of former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee.

What the outrage over the Ryan Plan shows is that some Americans are beginning to under the Republican Party and their corporate overlords believe they are just too expensive. They don't really bother to blame the blacks and the "welfare queens" anymore or the poor or undocumented workers as the cause of our economic woes. It's the American Middle Class. Now get used to it.

Make sure you get your "vouchers" at the door. Think they'll give you one for a time-share?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bad Days for the Supermen

Paul Ryan has been dogged in his Townhall meetings on his own budget. He's taken to packing them now with supporters, who have admitted they haven't read the budget nor its first sentence that attacked President Obama. Ryan has been in his district saying that President Obama has taken a partisan tone in attacking his plan. But the average citizens in Wisconsin have been asking pointed questions about Ryan's own votes for the Bush tax cuts and two wars without asking for additional revenues to offset the deficits they caused. He has been pained by citizens asking about his "voucher system" for Medicare, which has gone over like a lead balloon. After a few of these encounters, he's taken to exiting the meetings through back doors.

Daniel Webster, who defeated liberal firebrand Allan Grayson, has been pummelled in his Florida district about the elimination of Medicare. In one townhall meeting, some woman--bless her heart--asked my question," Name one insurance company who will ensure seniors." Naturally, he was unable to.

Mike Grimm of New York was confronted with irate constituents about the Ryan Plan. Local citizens there blasted the Bush policies for creating these deficits. Grimm tried to call that "insane" but ,alas, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says that the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan war account for the entire deficit of the next ten years.

Teabagger Col. Allen West told his angry constituent in southern Florida that "without changing Medicare, you can kiss the United States of America goodby." A winning approach. Much like having a constituent arrested for questioning him.

Dean Baker just released a policy paper that shows that the Ryan budget would shift $34 trillion in healthcare expenses to the elderly over the length of the plan. One of the numerous flaws in the Ryan plan is that it does nothing to curb healthcare costs in the United States. And with making Medicare a "voucher" system it accelerates the cost of healthcare in the country.

The Wisconsin Democrats keep pluggin away, bringing the number of recalls up to 6. The Republicans, who had hired a Utah-based recall company to run theirs, failed to deliver the recall petitions on any of the Democrats. They came far short of the required signatures and they missed the deadlines. The Koch Brothers should demand their money back.

The Republicans' attempt at minority outreach has gotten off to a great start by campaigns in states' arguing that afformative action has not worked. The poster girl for this effort is a Oklahoma legislator who said that minorities earn less because they don't work hard enough and have less focus. And with more Papers Please Immigration Laws being debated around the country, Hispanics can forget about finding a sympathetic audience.

The Beltway pundits amused me about their obsession over Haley Barbour leaving the 2012 race. He not only didn't think he would win but some sense he knows the Republican Party has gone off the rails and knew he would have to wage a race-based campaign, which he didn't want to do given his own controversial past statemenets.

Mitt Romney is beginning to sound a little redundant. His response to the Obama release of his birth certificate was that he should have released "a plan to create jobs." This whole mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs would be clever if we didn't already have a Republican record in the House that so far as been devoid of any ideas to create jobs. The GOP is banking on the fact that by 2012 Americans will want to put them in charge because of the economic situation. Not only would Americans have to forget 8 years of George W. Bush but also two years of the Boehner House. And while Romney has the in-house Republican resume of private-public sector experience he doesn't seemed to have created any jobs either during a boom economy.

The Mitt sort of retracted his statement on Obama's peacetime spending binge only to step into it further by correcting the dates for his analogy and not recognizing we are in three shooting wars right now.

Today's news is that Mike Huckabee is inching to declaring for the Presidency. But this is contradicted by news from South Carolina where he told his followers and past operatives that should feel free to get jobs on other campaigns. The symbolics of this is that the winner of the South Carolina GOP primary wins the Republican nomination. Strange message for someone about to run.

The Ron Paul Love Revolution is gearing up. Ron Paul landed in New Hampshire just after the Donald's visit there yesterday. He said,"I've come to check out the long form of Donald Trump's Republican registration." The Donald has problems in this regard but he has problems in other regards as well. This will be Ron Paul's last hurrah before he hands the family's libertarian franchise to son Rand.

Sarah, O' Sarah, Sad Eyed Ladies of the Lowlands. Palin is trying to squeak back into the tweet world by suggesting President Obama didn't write Dreams of my Father. I just don't sense there is much pop and fizzle there anymore.

Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum is accusing President Obama of being soft on..."militant socialism". That is code for China--another Donald Trump meme. The Donald fashion line--by the way--is all made in China. And we are in a quagmire in Libya. This is an unusual designation for a war in which we have no soliders on the ground. That's the way quagmires should be.

Republican strategists are worried about the fallout of the birth certificate issue because they fear that Obama made them all look like "Wack-Os". While they bank on a bad economy for their restoration to power, they fear citizens will believe they are too crazy to trust. Good thinking.

Meanwhile, Carnival Barkers have protested Obama's reference yesterday saying this was stereotyping and that their profession has changed since the old days. They should get the Donald to pose with them.

Mitch Daniels, the man who blasted "social issues", is now confronted with the Indiana's legislature bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

For the record, I organized a program the other day in D.C. which featured Rudy Guiliani as well as Howard Dean. Rudy sounded like he was interested in 2012 and he never mentioned 9-11 once. Rudy blasted Obama for leading from behind in the Middle East. He told local papers he's leaving the door open for 2012. He's heading up to New Hampshire to speak at a police convention. What was eerie is how much he looks like Theodore Roosevelt in his last years.

On a personal note, we talked about the great Mariano Rivera and the two straight saves we both watched. But I said he had to talk to Mariano for me because of the blown save the other night."Oh hey," he said,"he's 41. He can't be perfect." He also showed off a bracelet that helps balance the wrist that A-Rod gave him. It was nice to talk to a Yankee fan here in D.C.

Huffingtingpost and the Daily Beast are giving press play to former Republican governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. He announced his candidacy before eight people--not the type of thing that puts the fear of God into Obama's heart.

On the Hill, the House GOP are creating a little Christmas tree of cuts to tack on to the debt ceiling bill. GOP financial advisers from past campaigns and former Treasurer Secretaries are warning the Republicans not to play games with this and not to delay passage at all.

Harry Reid is going to allow for a vote on the Ryan Budget. Clever move. This is to force the entire elected Republican party to be on the record as supporting the elimination of Medicare and Medicaid. This would then define the GOP for 2012. Every GOP presidential contender would have to take a stance on why they agree or disagree with the plan.

For the Record, I told Howard Dean the reason I have to be good to him is that I am depending on him to ensure that my wife and I can get to Vermont and be in their single payer system once it's implemented. This led to his explanation of how such a system would work and why single-payer could not in the United States as whole. It's nice to listen to someone who knows what he is talking about. I'm not going to repeat his whole analysis of the health care system. But his is a voice needed to be heard as we move forward.

An American Disgrace

Yes, folks, President Barack Obama is still an American and he still is black. And he also received the largest number of popular votes of any President in history. Yesterday's release of the President long form live birth certificate was a dark day in our Republic. Jesse Jackson was absolutely correct when he said that all these questions about the President's birth, his parents, his religion were all aimed at de-legitimizing the first black President of this country. But the African-American community have known this all along and likened yesterday to the days when all black males were asked for their papers as a matter of course.

Only the naive can believe these efforts will stop. Joseph Farah on World Nut Daily continued his attack yesterday in anticipation of Jerome Corsi's book on the Birth Certificate, saying that the matter still doesn't deal with the President's parents (?), his adoption (?) and the status of his citizenship during the years when he was abroad. What people have missed with the birther nonsense is that it is derived from the White Christian Nationalist movement and the splinter sovereign nation folks, who bring you the militias and the murder of abortion providers. The idea is that a natural born American is a white protestant male; all others received their rights either through the 14th Amendment, which Republicans now want to revoke, or later amendments on women's rights. So, every one is the "other" and not truly American. In today's world, they gussy their position up with pseudo-constitutional reasoning to make their position seem plausible.

The President did the deed with as much style and humor as one could ever expect. But I saw Youtube comments of young African American males who were in a total rage over the incident. If we work hard,study well and even get elected the President of the United States, we still must prove our identity. That's right. And now an American President is under pressure to release all his college transcripts for the first time ever. Apparently graduating magnum com laude from Harvard Law isn't not good enough. And he could not have written his own books--some white man must have done it and that person has to be a former member of the radical Weatherman Underground.

The blogosphere had the predictable responses to yesterday's events ranging from the FreeRepublic total denial on the birth certificate,the progressives' initial disappointment that Obama caved into bullies followed by sharp attacks on the Right, and the very weird remarks of people of diverse political opinions about why it took so long. But the responses that I felt were unsettling and are portends for a dark future came from immigrants and naturalized citizens, who expressed dismay that they would never, ever be accepted as true Americans. This comments were written with an air of depression that this event brought this message dramatically home. If Barack Obama is not the personification of the American Dream, then who is? And if he can't be accepted as a person when he's the President of the United States, who can?

Republicans like David Frum expressed dismay over how deep this racism has penetrated the Republican Party, where nearly 65% either believe Obama is not an American or have doubts. The susceptibility of Republicans to this belief is an example of how Nixon's Southern Strategy has been thoroughly assimilated into the Republican mind and how dangerous that Party has become to the future of the country. Leave birtherism aside, the Republican party agreed one month prior to President Obama taking office not to cooperate with the elected head of state of our nation. That is just mind-boogling considering the Depression left by the last Administration and two wars. All this has been played out in a series of coded behavior and dog whistles to the nation. And our media have amplified this and the Republican leadership has more than tolerated this nonsense. That has never been done in my life-time and I hope never again.

Just yesterday,an amazing attack on the President of the United States was uttered by the lobbyists for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the President's intentions to issue an executive order that all companies receiving or competing for government contracts must openly disclose their political contributions. The lobbyist said the Chamber had all options ready for this and that they would do to Obama what he's trying to do to Qaddafi. And they even got Torture Man Johnny Yoo, an advocate of the unitary theory of the executive, to say that President Obama's actions would be unconstitutional. Virtually no one in the print media has commented on this attempt by the Chamber to blackmail the President of the United States. The reason is the same why there is no public outcry with the Republicans literally playing with the economic viability of the United States by threatening not to raise the debt ceiling. You have to teach this Boy a lesson.

All of this is a direct attack on everything I believe. Make no mistake. This is an attack on the idea of America and anyone who believes in that idea. What the young are supposed to learn is that you must be a rich, white, evangelical male to be anything in this country or to be seen as legitimate. If you're my age, you are conditioned to see these attacks on President Obama as racist--because they are. But they are more systematic with an even more sinister intent. If you happen to be a community organizer, a worker for a non-profit or a teacher, you are considered worthless and not part of the worship of the diminishing dollar. If you are a union member, then you are an obstacle to progress. If you are Hispanic,you are not an American. If you are a single mother, you are a drain on society. If you are gay, God help you.

Because President Obama is the personification of the American Dream, he is the problem, not the example. He must be brought down so that anyone who actually believes in the Dream should give up hope and accept their lot in life. You have to become demoralized and understand democratic elections will not change anything and you have to be made to accept the authority of the billionaire overlords.

These attacks on President Obama are being carried out with parallel actions in the states to restrict voting rights of minorities,the young and single women as well as the political influence of unions. The 2012 elections are meant by the corporate financiers to ratify that President Obama's election was a mistake and you should learn your lesson. We're in for one of the nastiest campaigns in history.

(P.S. The demands to produce a long form birth certificate would have meant that Gerald Ford could not have been President. As an adopted child, Ford would not have the legal right to access his borth certificate in many states.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Clearing the Desk of Debris

Washington is actually pleasant with Congress out of session.

The Republicans are scurrying around to meet tomorrow to figure out how to minimize the damage from their votes for the Ryan Budget Plan. Apparently, word has come from the hustings that the natives are angry with plans to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid. The plan of hoping that the geezers are so selfish they won't mind as long as they got theirs apparently hasn't succeeded. It's the geezers who know what the Republicans are planning and don't like it.

Gary Bauer, one-time Christian Right candidate for President,says that everyone should get down on their knees and be thankful America is a Christian nation.

Gordon Robertson, son of, says that since President Obama was raised as a Muslim (he was not), he could be enlisted to help "other" Muslims to convert to Christianity.

Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Conference says that people who question where Obama was born or whether he is a Muslim are "nuts and emotionally unbalanced". I'm surprised he came out that strongly since he opposes President Obama.

Congresscritter Allan West, who last week described President Obama as a low-life socialist organizer says that "liberal women are neutering American males." I'll have to ask my liberal wife whether that's true.

Haley Barbour called it quits in the presidential race. After setting up the organizational apparatus, Haley decided that he didn't have the fire in the belly. I never thought he could make a strong run of it because of his drawl. But Haley had the organizational genius to mount a credible campaign as well as the access to money from his lobbying days. GOP observers claim this lets Mitch Daniels enter the race as he didn't want to run against his friend.

As for Mitch, whom the Beltway pundits see as representing a true believer on deficits, his strength is also his weakness. Remember he was the OMB director who blew Clinton's surplus. He was one of three people credited by President Bush for the tax-cuts which created the road to nowhere. And Daniels under-estimated the cost of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars by about---$2 trillion. Not the greatest advertisement for fiscal responsibility.

Mitt Romney gets loopier by the minute. The other year he gave a foreign policy speech at Heritage where he argued for steep increases in defense spending and almost declared war on China. Then in his hardback campaign book, he praised President Obama's stimulus package; then in the paperback he re-wrote these passages to blast it as having created no jobs--saved or created about 3 million. But who's counting? Today,he blasted President Obama for engaging in the largest "peacetime" spending binge in American history. His whole op-ed made it seem America was not active in any war--let alone 3 hot ones. These are not the words of an adroit politician. The words "Empty Suit" rapidly come to mind.

Meanwhile, the new darling of Fox News, the Christian Right and the teabaggers, Donald Trump says that President Obama wasn't qualified to attend Ivy League Schools. What are the odds the Donald's investigators will bill him for going to the Hall of Records in Hawaii to read the same birth certificate as the AP reporter. Donald also says that Bill Ayers wrote "Dreams of my Father", another right-wing favorite. Bill Ayers'comment is "I hope you enjoy your time in the Twilight Zone." But the Donald has the support of Meghan McCain and is going to Vegas--naturally--to test how he does with the GOP there.

Meanwhile, more on Fox News' exclusive that President Obama is waging a war against Easter. Steve Benen over at Washington Monthly has followed this all day, including the poor White House press officer answering questions about this. Apparently, it's not only President George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan never signed proclamations about Easter but no President in modern history has. And I am sure if you really wanted to probably none have. Except maybe the Thomas Jefferson of David Barton's revisionist dreams.

Meanwhile, reporters are going to have their job cut out for them when covering Mike Huckabee. Apparently, he has destroyed all records of his time as governor of Arkansas and his sermons while a Baptist preacher. Some note he has very delicate problems with explaining away some of his sons "illegal" activity. My advice--don't run. Plus, observers note the jovial bass-player is personally nasty and quick to anger.

I watched President Obama's campaign manager talk about his 2012 campaign plans. A few problems I see. First, the Republicans now have $120 million in the bank from undisclosed corporate donors. We know the Koch Brothers have pledged $66 million. And that's only now so early in the campaign cycle. The second is that like 2008 the Obama campaign intends to expand the voter base. It was wonderful in 2008 when they captured two-thirds of new voters. But after the 2010 mid-terms, several states are imposing voter suppression laws, particularly aimed at killing off the first -time voter. Basically the strategy of getting more younger voters, Hispanic and minorities will run up against the new voter suppression strategies. And the third, if you look at the map behind him on the video, many of the blue states are now purple, which is another negative factor. But followers of President Obama on Facebook now exceed 1 million. Early in the 2008 campaign, he topped this by a small amount.

Strange Easter Messages from the Religious Right

Easter is the most joyous holiday of the Christian faith. Usually, Easter sermons are about the story of resurrection, redemption and hope. Christmas had a rockier start because the Jerusalem Church never taught that Jesus was born of a virgin. That church was led by Jesus brother James, who said that someone misinterpreted Isaiah. And maybe he would know. But Easter is the first holiday of Christianity celebrated very shortly after the crufixtion and resurrection story.

But if you want to know why young people are running away from Christianity, you don't have to look farther than the Religious Right in this country, perhaps the most harmful factor to any religious faith in our society. Far outstripping any secular temptations.

It amazes me that none of these people ever consider biblical injunctions against "bearing false witness."

Here's Franklin Graham, son of Billy, who appears on television to say he was unsure whether President Obama is an American. No wonder his father kept him out of the meeting with the President.

Then we have Mike Huckabee . a former Baptist minister, attacked Planned Parenthood, calling it Planned Barrenhood and coming out against contraception. Forget abortion, let's do away with contraception now. For investigative reporters, it is curious that all of Huckabee's sermons vanished in a church fire as well as thousands of files on hard drives when he was governor.

Pat Robertson said that progressives want straight women to "abortion their babies" to "put lesbians on a level playing field."

Rod Parsley simply came out to say that Planned Parenthood is leading an "onslaught of evil". It is the "carefully calculated conspiracy of fallen angels called demon spirits."

When the Alan Grumacher Institute found that 98% of Catholic women use contraception, the Catholic Church attacked Alan Grumacher, someone who has been dead for 75 years.

Then we have Newt Gingrich speaking at John Hagee's Cornerstone Chuch. First, Newt is a newly minted Catholic and here he is talking to a violently anti-Catholic preacher, so anti-Catholic that John McCain had to denounce the man's endorsement of his candidacy. Newt repeated his famous claim..." by the time my grandchildren are my age they will be in a secular atheist country, politically dominated by radical Islamists." You have to catch how authoritatively he says this on

Newt should be aware that thousands of years of analysis of Jesus' sayings have come down to the conclusion he was absolutely against divorce and he really meant it when he said a rich person couldn't get into heaven.

Pseudo-Christian, pseudo-historian David Barton said on Easter week that Obama--not President Obama--has " a worldview that is devoid of God". I guess when he reads Reinhold Neihbur he omits all references to God. Obama is a secularist, according to Barton, who wants to get rid of "In God We Trust" as the national slogan. Since Eisenhower bowed to fundamentalist pressure in the first place in 1952, maybe it is time to get rid of it. Ungrateful bums.

James Dobson says that God prevailed "over the "forces of hell" to save the National Day of Prayer. He is referring to the unanimous Seventh Circuit Court having upheld its constitutionality. He then went on to bemoan Franklin Graham not being allowed to preside over the Pentagon's Day of Prayer. It was because Franklin Graham rather gratuitously attacked Islam, while our armed forces are fighting in these countries.

Boy, what a joyful faith! Where do I sign up? Oh, the Easter Bunny came to the United States from the German immigrants in Pennsylvania. A Bunny laying eggs was a throwback to a German fertility cult. Yes, it has a pagan origin.

What Would Abbie Hoffman Do To Stop The Koch Brothers?

This has gone viral. So let me take a stab. First, you have to adopt the Yippie creed of humor and surrealism to go after the Koch Brothers. Stay off the real heavy stuff about their being the country's worst polluters and buying politicians left and right. Second, you have to update the modes of protest. It can't be Woodstock Nation or hallucingens. Third, you have to make sure your timing is perfect. In some ways, the real question is what would Hunter Thompson do to stop the Koch Brothers. Hunter after all burned down McMansions built in Aspen to protest their spoiling the view and was never caught.

Flash Mobs. For such villains, I favor hitting all their political and corporate meetings with flash mobs to create total chaos. But this can't just be done only once. This must be an on-going process to hit them everywhere they appear.

Attacking Them with Paint Balls. Whether at the New York Ballet or Rancho Mirage, Charles and David Koch should be attacked by paint ball assassins who make their hit and escape into the crowd. This should happen as many times a possible to enforce their paranoia.

Shave the Heads of All Politicians Who Are Bought By Them. A technique used in WWII against collaborators--mostly female--but could be a dramatic technique brought to the United States. All that is needed is to use electric razors to make a single cut down the person's head so that it would be noticed for weeks.

Revamp the Billionaires for Wealthfare. This parody group dressed in evening formal wear acted as a protest group during Americans for Prosperity rallies. This time they should hold large pictures of Hitler and Stalin as reminders of where the original Koch fortune comes from. Alongside, one of the tuxedo wearing protestors should hold a Photo of Benito Mussolini, Fred Koch's favorite politician.

Perpetual Pickets Outside Koch Industries Headquarters. Although the brothers aren't there much, it would be good to have an endless string of protests on a variety of Koch crimes. These should change after a few days for variety sake and for the employees' amusement.

Silent Protests at their Residence. A few lonely people holding signs with photos of the Koch Brothers Nazi war criminal relatives should go over well in Manhattan. In Wichita, however, there would have to be another theme.

Award the Koch Brothers Fictitious Doctorates from Legimate Universities. For example, if it hasn't been done yet, a doctorate to David Koch from MIT for his Cancer Institute. Just the invitation and the back and forth between David Koch and the University would be great fun.

Organize Petitions for the Koch Brothers to Seize State Power Plants. Instead of moaning about discovering how Scott Walker was planning to give away the power plants, demand that it be done openly and publically. Once word was out, the Koch Industries fled from the ideas, saying they would not bid on the power plants. That's not good enough. You bought the government, then you should openly be awarded. And the ceremony for transfer demands the presence of the Koch Brothers. What a nice place to ambush them.

Rename Polluted Rivers after the Koch Brothers. I would first try this out on the Arknasas River that has been so polluted by the Koch-owned Georgia paper mills. The river had been a favorite fishing place and recreational center for people in the region. At the renaming ceremony, invite all the fishermen of the region to express their thanks.

Cut Internet ads for the Koch Brothers--"Hating America Since FDR" . Animated Charles and David could list all the Presidents the family is on record for hating.

Mail the Carcasses of Extinct Species to their offices and residences. This would honor their historic role in funding every study that pretends climate change is a hoax.

Give the Unemployed Vouchers for Jobs at Koch Industries. A small payment to an unemployed person could get a stream of them visiting the company demanding a job.

If they have private yachts or planes, Abbie Hoffman would blow them up.

Create a Board Game like Monopoly that voters can play at home. You land on a space and can buy Scott Walker and the state of Wisconsin. Or another throw and you get a no-bid Defense Contract. A whole family can play.

I will refrain from suggesting cutting porno scenes of the Koch Brothers engaging in sex with their politicians. That would be too gruesome to watch.

See it's easy. You too can pretend you're Abbie Hoffman. But beware, David was arrested for protesting when in college. He may be hip to these tricks.

There They Go Again

Scott Walker, the Koch brothers' Governor of Wisconsin,believes that too many recalls makes it too hard to get anything done. Watch this space for a change in Wisconsin's recall laws. Walker should have told his party not to have hired out of state petitioners to come in and offer five shots of booze per signature for recall petitions against Democrats. One of these out-of-staters was a felon and got arrested at Packers' Stadium for trying to steal a purse. Meanwhile, Russ Feingold has tied Walker in a recall poll. It looks very possible that Walker could face recall given the turnout in the recalls of the Republicans.

The Right Reverend Terry Jones, he of burning the Koran fame,plans to sue Michigan officials because he had to post a $1 peace bond. He's up in Dearborn, Michigan to protest that city being under sharia law. Naturally, it isn't but he's protesting anyway. He's the guy who uses slave labor to make products in his church in Florida. Maybe Governor Snyder should just seize Dearborn under the Financial Emergency Act before it is ruled under sharia law.

The IMF says the age of America is over and that the Chinese economy will surpass ours by 2016, many decades earlier than previously thought. The one consolation is that it is the IMF saying this.

The GOP in the House is now going after SNAP,which is what Food Stamp assistance is called these days. Over 40 million Americans--mostly white people--are on food stamps.

Fairbanks, Alaska is about to vote to stop treating drinking water with flouride because of their bircher contingent.

The Supreme Court slapped down Virginia's Attorney-General, the "Cooch", by refusing to expedite a ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act. The important thing to note is that Elena Kagan participated, despite rumors that she would recuse herself.

The D.C. law firm of King and Spaulding withdrew from the DOMA case because they feared defending a case of discrimination when they have an excellent record on gays issues. Paul Clement will take the $500,000 contract from John Boehner and argue it himself.

Fox News is revving up the engines on President Obama's war against Easter. It seems he did not issue a White House Proclamation celebrating Easter. Of course, neither did George W in his eight years in office. It seems the Easter Breakfast Prayer Meeting, the White House Easter Egg Hunt and the first family attending Easter services at Shiloh Baptist Church don't count. I guess you have to treat it like Obama does," The Resurrection puts things in perspective."

I'm as happy as anyone about the recovery of Gaby Giffords and her desire to attend the Space Shuttle Launch of her husband. But the piece in the Arizona Republic should remind everyone how hard and long her route to recovery really is. The whole assassination attempt was ghastly and it's understandable that people should be cheerleaders to every step she makes to recovery. But the details of this are heartbreaking.

Some leftwing blogger posted a shrewd comment about all the Midwestern governors. He wrote that they were following the Republican embrace of the unitary theory of the executive, which almost makes Congress and the legislature redundant. Bravo.

Today we have had the big Wikileaks dump of 1,000s of pages on Gitmo and the interrogation of Gitmo detainees. My prediction is the story will run for a few days with individual aspects pointed out and then die. The supreme failure of the Obama Administration in my view is not having closed Gitmo--even with all the Congressional resistance. Maybe he should have resorted to the unitary theory of the executive. The stories I've read so far don't make this country look good or even smart.

The Syrian Revolution has picked up steam, while remaining in the background of our news cycles. The Assad dynasty looks like it's defunct. This should dramatically unfold now that the regime's attempt to violently repress the people has only increased protests. Curious in our news is the lack of mention that the Iranians have shipped in intelligence agents to assist in the repression.

Is Chris Hedges' Right? The Battle is Over and We lost

Author of "Empire of Illusion" and former Harvard Divinity Student, Chris Hedges just published a piece on truthout saying that the fatal shift in wealth in the United States is a fait accompli and that this was not some conspiracy but was done transparently as lobbyists since Jimmy Carter's time wrote our laws. He writes that the elites will not take care of Americans. We are doomed to become an immensely large underclass. He also says that the elites will not step in when it all unravels.

Pointedly, he concludes the elites don't have a vision. I agree. They just want more. Hedges urges us to create monastic-style communities where we can keep the vision of democracy and a just society alive. It would be nice to treat Hedges' essay as another Cassandra-like note in an age of high anxiety. But there is too much truth in what he says to dismiss him out of hand.

If Viktor Fankl is right that humans are compelled to create meaning, one can't help pondering what Hedges has to say. Hedges has been out front for years on the issue how our media simply creates spectacles and our "news" is driven simply by accenting personalities, while people pick our collective pockets. Since Hedges is my age, it may be the natural aging process and increased cynicism that comes with age. But I don't think so.

How does one explain the extolling of ignorance in our society? Take the right-wing's obsession of birtherism. This weekend I read an amazing piece by an AP reporter, who decided to go to the Hawaii Hall of Records and look up Barack Obama's birth certificate for himself. Right there in front of him was the yellowing record of President Obama's live birth. The amazing part of the article was that only one other person had ever examined it before the AP journalist. This is three years into the manufactured controversy. Yet birtherism is now a requirement for all Republican candidates for office. Apparently fact-based reality has no place in the marketplace of ideas.

How bad has it become? If you are a fiscal conservative, then you have to support the People's Budget of the Progressive Caucus. Unlike President Obama's budget and the Ryan plan , it actually eliminates the deficit and balances the budget and actually produces a surplus. Of course, it also raises taxes, cuts defense spending and gets us out of Afghanistan. But when was the last time,the only conservative option was the progressive one? To me that's scary.

This weekend I was in Barnes & Noble, seeing what the new releases are. One title caught my eye--Why CEOs need a philosophy? It was how the philosophy of Atlas Shrugged applies to business. Does anyone remember a short-time ago the brief spurt of interest in corporate resonsibility? Or that after the meltdown of 2008 Business Schools decided to introduce ethics into their curriculum? Now we get "Going Gault". Even Michael Gerson, the former speechwriter for George W. Bush,has written an op-ed in the Washington Post lambasting Ayan Rand's philosophy as adolescent and warning all who go there to watch out.

The target of Gerson's attack was the Republicans who have embraced the eradication of America's social welfare net. A curious thing has happened to the House Republicans who voted with minor exceptions to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid. They are being pummelled at their townhall meetings by constituents opposing these measures. One townhall meeting I watched a woman raised what is an on-going theme for elected Republicans--whether in Congress or in state houses--"You didn't campaign on this. You didn't say you were going to do this. That's not fair." In townhall meetings around the country, I was proud of my fellow baby-boomers who were "reassured" by the Republican congressperson their retirement was safe but constantly asked their representative about their children and grandchildren. In townhall meeting after townhall meeting, average people suggested that taxes should be raised on the wealthy and corporporations.

If you were born after 1957, you can forget about it. I find it ironic that the generational wars were ignited by a non-Baby Boomer to take all entitlements away from his own generation. Paul Ryan could never have gone to college unless he and his brothers and sisters hadn't received Social Security when his father dropped dead at the age of 55. Yet someone who concretely benefited from entitlements now that he doesn't need them anymore can take them away from everyone else.

Within a day after the House passed the Ryan budget, there were at least five articles commenting on the unlikelihood that the health insurance industry would insure seniors. They don't like Medicare Advantage. But so far, we have yet to hear a peep from the health insurance industry about whether they would indeed insure the elderly under the Ryan proposal. It's just crickets. You would think Ryan, who is funded by the industry to a large extent, would have persuaded one of his patrons to speak up and say it was a great idea. None have and no one in the MSM has asked industry spokespeople about the deal.

Jim Hightower also weighed in on current developments by writing about the plutocracy in the Midwest states. Populist Hightower points out that the Midwest governors are not conservatives they are just serving the plutocrats. You don't have to look anyway else but Michigan where the basic elements of democratic government are being stripped away under the Emergency Financial Laws. In Minnesota, a GOP state senator tried to push the idea that voting was a privilege, not a right. Soon we will have to produce evidence we own property.

Chris Hedges and Jim Hightower are right in claiming the financial elites want more and now they want what assets the pubic sector have. But the question I have is why after the economic situation of the last decade do we believe that the private sector has any special knowledge or talents applicable to the public sector? It was the public sector which had to bail their asses out of disaster. We now the private sector can make profits--but can they create jobs anymore or even a sustainable economy for the country?

I suppose I should take solace in Hedges' call for the creation of monastic communities to keep the democratic ideals alive. After all my namesake St. Columba from Iona,an isolated island off Scotland, kept civilization alive with his library of 13 books during the Middle Ages. With all the teachers being fired or being bullied by the billionaire's club, there will be alot of talent to forge the next civilization. But the unravelling will be ugly.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Claps and Boos

Back from a jaunt to upstate New York,I missed a raft of weirdness on the internet in my days away. Some stories deserve calps and other boos.


Frank Schaeffer's post at his website "Obama is now and will be a great President." Just when you think the left and the right are going to eviscerate President Obama, Frank, recovering from his days as founder of the Christian Right, reminds us all what is at stake with this presidency and ably defends President Obama's record of achievements so far. He manages to punch out the Right for their ravings and slap down the Left for their whining.

Thom Hartmann. Thom Hartmann is growing on me. First, he explained how the original tea party was against huge corporate tax cuts--that time for the East India Company. Now, he runs a montage assembled by Think Progress on how the Ryan Plan is inspired by Ayn Rand. The kicker was his detail that Ayn Rand's libertarianism started with her admiration for a serial killer and a brutal child molester named William Hickman. Hartmann read from Rand's diary, which saw this monster as a type of Superman, who did not care about society. He went on to say that Rand actually started a novel with an Hickman character as the hero. Nice job.

TPM uncovered the nice little historical note that Ayn Rand applied for Medicare when her husband came down with Alzheimer's. The centerpiece of Paul Ryan's Ayn Rand-inspired budget is the elimination of Medicare.

Think Progress for its wonderful montage of House Republicans espousing their belief in Ay Rand interspersed with footage of Mike Wallace interviewing Ayn Rand, where she advocates the destruction of everything about America and Christianity. Her supreme virtue is selfishness and in the tape argues that self-love is superior and that the weak don't deserve love.

Paul Krugman for explaining in his New York Times post that the S&P's warning on the national debt is a big nothingburger. TPM reminds us that the last time the S&P commented on our creditworthiness was in 1995 when Newt and company threatened not to vote for the debt ceiling. Ed Klein reminds us that the S&P gave three stars to the subprime mortgages.

Rachel Maddow for solving the mystery of why Michigan appointed an emergency manager for Benton Harbor, a small lakeside town. The reason is that the town is almost 90% black and has a per capita income of $10,000. But they do have a wonderful lakeside park, which was given to the town by their mayor in the early 20th century. Well, it seems the author of the Financial Emergency Bill has an interest in developing Lakeshore Estates, which would be a high end residential community with golf courses bordering the park. The plan has been rejected by the Benton Harbor Planning Commission. But, never fear, the Emergency Manager has fired all the planning board and installed members who favor the development. A very nice job of reporting.

Wisconsin Recall Drive. The Recall drive has now hit four Republican Senators, enough to turn that body Democratic. Our favorite Senator, Randy Hopper, the one with a mistress hired by Scott Walker, sent out a mailing to his constituents and listed a phone number if they had questions. The problem is that the number is a sex talk line. Tends to reinforce attitudes about Randy Randy.

CNN's latest poll shows that 51% of Americans back same-sex marriage.

A Marist poll shows that 70% of teabaggers are opposed to Medicare cuts.

Mariano Rivero,who saved my short trip, by saving two straight games for the Yankees against the Texas Rangers.


David Barton,phony historian and Christian. David Barton has been hitting them out of the ballpark. Barton's latest big boner was saying that the bible was against "net neutrality". He said that the idea was "evil". Last week, Barton said that Jesus was against the minimum wage and the estate tax. But he hit two today. The second is his claim that Thomas Jefferson allowed the use of Government funds to evangelize American Indians, thereby showing that he did not believe in the separation of church and state. His evidence was the treaty with the Kaskaskia tribe which allowed for funds to pay for the building of a church and the payment of a priest. What Barton never tells his audience was that Jefferson was mortified by this treaty and tried to hide its contents from Congress, precisely because he knew this provision would spark an uproar. The Indians had converted to Catholicism in the 1600s and they had requested these two items as part of the deal. Jefferson OK'd it because of realpolitik but in his writings disavowed any attempt to evangelize the Indians.

John Boehner for hiring Paul Clement , the former Solicitor-General under George W, for $500,000 to argue the case of the Defense of Marriage Act, which has been ruled unconstitutional---and trying to stick the DOJ with the bill for the defense because the Obama Administration decided not to defend the case.

John Boehner again for turning down the opportunity to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that has-- until this year-- been celebrated on a bipartisan basis. I guess if you have access to enough money, you don't need the Hispanic vote.

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Is Not Meant To Be A Factual Statement

(off for a few days to get the feel of real America.)

The title ,which refers to Senator Kyl's preposterous statements on Planned Parenthood, now has become the calls for Democrats on almost anything the GOP has been saying in Congress. Finally there is a catchy way to call out all the lies that are being said everyday on everything.

Paul Krugman picked up on Congressman Ryan's attack on President Obama's deficit speech by saying it was "wildly inaccurate." Krugman noted that this comes from someone who made a $200 billion error on the interest America will have to pay and even a bigger error on Medicaid costs.

The Ryan Plan ups the age of Medicare eligibility to 67. And there is literally no statement from the health insurance industry they would even insure seniors. That is totally an unknown to this plan. In any event, the Plan would incrase insurance premiums for all seniors above the value of the so-called vouchers. As the President noted, this plan would vastly increase out of pocket expenses.

This morning the House soundly defeated the budget proposal of the Progressive Caucus. What's so interesting about their proposal was that it would actually produce a budget surplus by 2021. That's fiscal conservatism at its best. The point was drilled home in a Q and A by Congressman Keith Ellison, who asked his Republican counterparts when the Ryan Plan would produce a surplus. The answer was a resounding crickets. It would not.

This morning the Republican Study Group offered an even more draconian budget plan, which would have ended the entitlements and virtually gutted all discretionary spending, while providing really enormous tax breaks for the rich. In a wonderful parliamentary maneuver, the Democrats, knowing that the Republicans expected them to provide the votes to kill the Plan, decided to vote "present", which would have allowed this totally mad plan to pass. It failed by a 119-136 vote and split the Republican House. Well-played. The visuals of Republicans scrambling to change their votes is a delight to see.

Before leaving for Easter recess, the House really did take a vote on the Ryan Budget. Only one year earlier,the same Republican members campaigned that Democrats would gut Medicare. And now in a politically stunning move, they opted to vote on a plan that would change Medicare in a way that has never existed and would gut Medicaid. President Obama had been right that this was an attack on the way America has been for generations.

For weeks, Republican strategists said that such a vote might lose the Republicans the House in 2012. Democratic strategists were salivating for members to put their names to this radical proposal, which is opposed, depending on the poll, from 59 to 76%.

The Vote was 235 Republicans for and only 4 against. All 189 Democrats voted no.

Missing from any commentary on any of this is the fact that such wholesale changes to programs affecting tens of millions of Americans were never debated in committee, never discussed openly. We never heard from the health insurance industry what they felt about this and they are the big funder of the Republicans. There were no technicians to suggest tweeking this here or there. The whole Democratic process was ignored.

Remember when Republicans howled that the Affordable Care Act had been rammed through Congress. Like in 18 months of endless televised debates. This was all done in secret and the public only heard about the bare bones of the plan for two weeks until the House decided to approve it.

These people are not serious about solving any serious problem facing the country. They are serious about their ideology, and serious about their wiful ignorance.

David Brooks is hurt. He says the two most brilliant people in Washington are Paul Ryan and Barack Obama. He laments the two didn't bond and he faults President Obama for not inviting Ryan to lunch. This social gaffe, according to Brooks, means there can be no compromises. Sadly, there is some truth to the Republicans feeling left out and therefore voted to dismantle programs affecting nearly 100 million people because their feelings were hurt. And that was meant to be a factual statement.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Early Reviews of Obama's Speech

TPM. Washington Monthly and Dailykos weighed in with approval of President Obama's speech. Washington Monthly called it a welcomed articulation of a progressive view of government. The Daily Kos live blog of the speech captured its highlights and captured when President Obama zinged Paul Ryan's Plan.

Most importantly from my point of view was Paul Krugman's instant view that this speech was "wonk tested" and that if the President's speech was the plan forwarded it would be a good one. But Krugman did mention that anything half way because of political negotiations would be bad. Asked why he didn't submit the Obama plan to the same criteria as Ryan's, he noted that was simply no equivalence. Obama's plan was real and Ryan's plan was fraudulent.

The Republicans have gone more ape than usual. Ryan was all huffy about Obama's charaterization of his plans for Medicare and denounced the partisan tone of the speech. For this reason alone, Ryan in his role as President designate says there can be no budget deal for 2012. If anything Obama exposed the poster boy as an asshole. Good for him.

Other House members chimed in that Obama's Plan is too little, too late. Why? Is it who gets there first? So we can expect the House Republicans to continue to act as terrorists taking hostages. Now their feelings are hurt because the President exposed their fraud and sounded like a Democrat. Didn't he promise bipartisanship?

What polls of Republicans show is that one-third of them want no cuts to Medicare benefits. The President simply laid out how the Ryan plan would increase the cost of medical care for the elderly and also would gut care for the disabled. The Republicans know that their rapidly aging base is terrified of these changes.

What I found interesting in the dynamic of the Republican response is the defensiveness over taxes. Gone was the old bravado. Now the line is that new taxes of the wealthy will not generate revenues. They are no longer arguing the position that tax cuts increase revenues since this has been so thoroughly debunked.

I am sure we will have these talking points refined in the upcoming days. But we are in the squirrel stage where Republicans are trying to score points over Obama's wording of these tax increases. This comes when House Republicans, especially freshman, are nervous as well about voting for the Ryan Plan. By early evening, however, Boehner who was himself skittish about it says that it's Ryan's Plan or nothing.

This is where the Democrats need to get the video going. The House is still planning to vote on this Plan. After the President critiqued it today,the House freshmen will be signing their death warrant. Photograph each member as they vote and run the television ads.

Obama deeply wounded the Republicans first when he mentioned that President Reagan and Tip O'Neill came together and saved social security and secondly when he used David Stockman's quotes against Paul Ryan's plan as saying it wasn't serious. Obama used Reagan before when he defended the New Start Treaty. Let's see how far it gets him this time.

As Paul Krugman suggested, President Obama's plan actually will cut 4 trillion from the deficit but Paul Ryan's claim of $4.5 trillion just won't fly in the real world. Just remember Ryan increases defense spending and he cuts the top income tax rate to 25%. This will balloon the deficit. George H.W. Bush didn't call this "voodoo economics" for nothing.

As if primed for the event, all the major economic policy think tanks unleashed data about how we got the national debt in the first place and who was responsible. Overall the President did himself proud and scored heavily. The Republicans, who had the text hours beforehand,I think, underestimated--once again--the effect of the delivery. And I think it sunk in that President Obama was talking about a social contract they now have to attack.

President Obama's Speech of Debt Reduction

President Obama did what he set out to do in his usual articulate and measured way. His plan is to cut $4 trillion from the deficit in five years. Even though he veered into policy wonk land, he made it clear that everything including defense was on the table and that ,no, he was not going to allow the privatization of Medicare or the continued cuts to programs that benefited the less well off. And yes, he came out for tax increases on the wealthy because they should share in the sacrifice.

All of this was good and sensible. What disturbed me was that the President of the United States had to speak about the fact that there is a social contract and there is something called the common good. If you listen to the speech, he had to remind people that Americans shared common values. That shows how far off track the political discourse has become in the country.

The Republicans held a press conference as a pre-response to the President's address. We no longer wait to hear what the man says, we have to create spin beforehand to try and frame the discussion our way. The big Republican talking point was that President Obama wants to raise taxes. Finito.

And I am afraid that actually might determine the beltway discussion since everyone in the Beltway media would have their taxes raised.

President Obama did everyone a service by saying that the Ryan Plan wasn't serious and laid into the idea of turning Medicare into a voucher program. He also went on to say that the budget plan proposed by the Republicans would end the America we have all lived in. True. And he said that it would turn us back to a place that may never have existed in our history. True again.

President Obama made a defense of his priorities talking about government programs as investment for America to be able to compete in the world. He basically made the case for government, which needs to be made again and again as it is under attack at both the federal and state levels. He did get a zinger in that we have to protect those who have no voice in Congress.

This is something that is beginning to distrub people more and more. Lobbyists are getting staff jobs in enormous numbers and corporations are asked to write the regulations that govern their own business.

President Obama did not Punch the Hippies as much as usual. He did say that members of his party felt that you couldn't cut the budget when we are still in a recession. He had the mildest repuke for this criticism, saying we must start now to demonstrate some fiscal responsibility so that this would not negatively impact the economy.

Earlier Dana Milbank wrote a humorous column about Donald Trump's quest for President Obama's birth certificate and discovered that President Obama was a certified moderate and that was the scandal.

Earlier in the day, a group of Senators proposed raising the retirement age to 70. John Boehner had been on the phone with wall Street to ask his overloards how long he can drag out the debt ceiling issue so as to extract more concessions from the President. Wall Street blasted back that this needed to be settled now because once the idea of an American default enters the market, it will not leave and then the interest on our debt will become unmanageable like in other European countries. Whether Boehner listens to his bosses, we'll have to see.

Democrats may not like President Obama's speech but the reason is that they are not sufficient in touch to release that the whole social safety net is now seriously threatened by the ideologues on the Right. While the American public may welcome the speech, this will have absolutely no effect on the House GOP. Eric Cantor went babbly on this morning about the mandate of 2010 and of course he will define that as he sees it. Nothing will deter the House Republicans from their search and destroy mission. That is what President Obama was warning about today.

Also this morning it appears that the teabaggers and other ultra-conservatives are backing away from the budget deal because they realize they got owned by President Obama. The actual cuts are more like $17 billion. This means that Boehner must reach across the aisle for votes to pass it.

When was the last time you even cared about the budget of the United States or if one party would declare default on the country's financial obligations? We are now in the lunatic asylum. I'm sticking with the sane guy because he might get us to the exit safely.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ezra Klein is a Smartass

Ezra Klein is one of the few smart, young policy wonks who has come along in recent years. So after writing extensively about the Ryan Plan, the Obama Budget 2012, and all things concerning health care and government money matters, he springs on all us today a short column advising that the solution to the budget is to do nothing. That's right. Do absolutely nothing. He explains using the September CBO figures that the Bush tax cuts are to expire, the Medicare fix for doctors' payments has to be done but will be pro-rated and that the Affordable Care Act will be implemented. And he has the winning suggestion that this doesn't need 60 votes and we have to torture ourselves about what deals have to be made to get break the filibuster, etc. Check it out at the Washington Post. And look at the graphics. What a wise guy.

Bizarro World

The new Teaparty negotiating tactic seems to be "Unless I get what I want, I kill the country." In a rational world, the debt ceiling vote would be a clean vote and everyone can debate the budget separately. But today, little Ricky Cantor says the Republicans will let the debt hit the ceiling. Mitch McConnell has asked Senate Republicans not to filibuster the vote. He wants the Democrats to be fully responsible. But that strategy may have gone down the tubes today as Rand Paul has vowed to filibuster raising the debt ceiling. John Boehner wants to attach all sorts of draconian budget cuts on top of the bill. Paul Begala, Democratic strategist, says that Republicans are playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun, pointing out themselves.

Just a point of fact--the debt ceiling will have to be raised and very frequently if the Ryan Plan were approved in any event. Yet we have Sean Hannity talking about Obama wanting to raise the debt ceiling. This is not an optional matter. What Republicans are playing with is the total credit of the United States. The credit markets would enter chaos, interest rates would dramatically rise, the market would crash in ways that make 2008 look tame, and there would probably be a global fiscal metldown and the dollar would no longer be used as a reserve currency because we would not be seen as creditable. And all this to score a political point against President Obama.

I agree with Begala in a way but the problem is that President Obama must spell out the consequences of these actions by the Republicans. It is a frontal assault on all of America. We are not broke by any means and there are no winners in this--even the GOP corporate funders would be devastated and all those with 501 (K)s would take serious hits. It is not clear to anyone how America would recover.

The debt issue is coming to a real flashpoint because it's likely that Japan will have to sell American treasuries to recover from the Tsunami and the nuclear accident and China is experiencing a trade deficit so that purchasing more treasuries may be off the table. That's why President Obama's speech tomorrow on his long-term strategies to curb the national debt is important. External events are driving us to have a plan in place for the next few years and not the long horizon of the Ryan Plan, which can not meet any of his goals. The question for Republicans is who do they think will buy treasuries when their own plan intends to add almost $15 more trillion to the nation debt.

Early word about the Obama speech has clarified that he will use only some of the Bowles-Simpson recommendations and add considerably more of his own. I trust that he has developed a plan since he formed an advisory committee on the national debt headed by Paul Volcker before he even took the oath of office. Advance word about his restoring past tax brackets have met with an absolute refusal by John Boehner, who has previously said that everything, including tax hikes should be on the table. For all the chatter that Boehner is being blackmailed by the teabaggers, one should realize that these issues have to be decided somewhat rationally.

The objective problem is that taxes must be raised, even if you cut programs. The United States has created for itself a revenue problem that has existed for at least ten years. But Americans will not support tax hikes unless they understand the broader context. With the right-wing media machine, I fear that may be close to impossible. Bernie Sanders' millionaire surtax is probably the way to sell tax increases because it plays on populism. Obama's more methodical, measured approach will get lost in the din.

What is really fascinating is that there has been no uproad among the 55 and younger about Paul Ryan's plan. Eric Cantor was blunt in saying that Social Security and Medicare would not exist for those his age or younger. There is no financial reason for this to be true, it's simply an ideological position.

We are hearing again that America has the highest corporate tax rates in the world, even though corporate taxes compose only 6% of the government's total revenue. In fact,if you paid any tax this year, you are contributing more to the government's revenues than the top 100 American corporations combined. And you are effectively paying a higher personal rate than the average corporate rate.

To grabble with these issues, you're into sophisticated stuff. I can imagine the GOP attaching Medicare privatization to a debt ceiling bill. Something that needs extensive study and debate used as a simple throwaway. The same applies to most of the next budget debate. Are we actually going to have hearings in the House on the budget? There were none about the financial consequences of de-funding the Affordable Care Act. You don't like it? It doesn't matter what the consequences.

This raw, bullying style negotiation seems to be dominating the political landscape . For instance, The Wisconsin Supreme Court race has raised so many issues concerning how Prosser managed to find enough votes to win that it deserves for the public's piece of mind a recout. Well, Prosser is trying to bully Kloppenberg in not seeking a recout. Governor Scott Walker today threatened that if the Supreme Court race is not resolved soon,he will be "forced" to pay off tens of thousands of workers. Why? There is no financial reason for this. It's just strongarm tactics.

Viscerally the American people are reacting against all this. 48% of Americans now believe--with justification--that the GOP is an extreme party. Almost all the bullies are seeing their approval ratings nose-dive. Boehner has lost 18% in just two weeks. Yet nothing the public believes seems to matter to any of these people. And the sad fact of the matter is that they may be right. After Citizens United,the actual influence of citizens in our political system has been rendered negligible. The progressive reaction against Obama mirrors this frustration that we are all being pushed under the bus by a gang of brownshirts.

I have other problems. They relate to Paul Krugman's attacks on the Ryan Plan as fraudulent. If you go through almost all the proposals being floated by the GOP at both the federal and state level they are so extreme but they also would not achieve even what they say they want. And, here you look behind the scenes of who benefits and even those corporate interests don't either. It is all nonsense.

But the Washington media lets them get away with this. An example of this syndrome is the exchange the Today Show had with Bill Cosby about Donald Trump. Cosby snorted about Trump's birther statements and then the host said,"well, you will have to seriously think about Trump if he runs for President." Bill Cosby,"No, I won't. he's not a serious person." Just because you are crazy and can get on camera doesn't make you legitimate, except here in Washington.

The Donald is tied with Huckabee for number 1 favorite for the Republican nomination, according to the latest CNN poll. Romney is fifth. What does that tell you about the state of the Republican Party?

David Frum is worried that if Mitt Romney gets the nomination and loses, then it will only solidify the teabaggers and that the GOP will doubledown on nutland in 2014 and 2016. What's interesting about Frum and Brooks ,et all, they do not realize how far gone the party is anyway.

My advice to Democrats is to be Democrats. You can not rely on independents. The recent polling shows that independents, who voted 57% for Republicans last elections have totally reversed their position in massive voters' remorse. If Democrats stand against the insanity, the independents should follow. But these people are close to the nuttiness of the GOP.

Beats Me

So Barack Obama caved to the Republicans on the budget deal. Or did he? Now AP reports that Obama protected all his priorities in the deal and gave in on things that either could not be spent anyway or weren't important to him. Boehner, they said, came away with more budget cuts than he wanted. But then again he didn't defund Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.

Progressives are hopping mad because Obama has bought into the whole cut,cut frame of the debate when we still have to secure a strong economic recovery. The right's criticism of the budget deal is so batshit crazy no one can figure it out.

Paul Krugman is still punching away on the Ryan Plan. It's not that it is too radical, it's just that it is fraudulent, says Krugman. It basically doesn't deal with anything in the real universe in any timely matter. And the numbers do not add up.

From a different point of David Stockman blasted Ryan's plan for not addressing the deficit and debt problem. Stockman claimed that any serious plan would have to deal with revenues (Ryan's doesn't), defense cuts (Ryan's doesn't) and entitlements (which, according to Stockman, doesn't except to hide the issue by privatizing Medicare.)

The next real big battle--incredibly so--is raising the debt ceiling. Nate Silver did an excellent piece on his website 538 where he shows that the Republicans in poker language have shown the "tells", the signs they have no leverage despite the bluff.

Silver actually summarizes what a cataclysm would actually happen if the US did not raise the debt ceiling. Even the White House spokesman is using terms like cataclysm and armaggeddon about it. Silver points out that the dire consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling would mean that every incumbent, including President Obama would be voted out of office. The results, which would last years, would be unbearable for Americans, even the wealthy.

Barack Obama is again caving say the progressives when he will address the nation on his plans to cut the deficit and the national debt. It is rumored that he will embrace the Bowles-Simpson--The Catfood Commission's-- recommendations. Not all that is bad.

He would ask the wealthier to contribute more to Social Security, which would put it on secure grounds, and he would ask for increased taxes on the wealthier Americans and propose cuts in defense spending. Over 81% of Americans favor a surtax on those people earning over $1 million a year and on billionaires. Interestingly, Dave Stockman said that these taxes would not be enough and that the middle class would have to pay more.

So will Obama cave? And what does that mean? Richard Wolfe says that the Obama White House has been planning for this moment since the December deal. He claims that President Obama was waiting for the unveiling of the Ryan Plan and the torrent of criticism of it. Then President Obama will emerged as the only sane person in the room and set the language of the debate. Wonderful if true but alot of people are concerned that the insane is dictating the terms and rhythmn of the debate. This means Obama always ends up negitiating with himself before he even meets Republican obstructionism. There is real concern among progressives about Obama's true identity. Is he really a Democrat?

Meanwhile PPP has a devastating poll out on attitudes toward the Republican House. Americans were happier with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats by wide margins. Democrats has over a 5 point generic lead right now. John Boehner is finally beginning to be known by the public and he isn't liked. Some of the state polling is fascinating. For instance, in New Hampshire the approval ratings for the new Republicans have gone through the floor--making Scott Walker look popular. Charlie Cook still holds to the view that the Republicans will lose the House in 2012 if they allow the vote to privatize Medicare. As of today, they really are going ahead with it. Make our Day!

Oh by the way, Mitt Romney announced for President on the fifth anniversary of Romneycare. He adopted the same campaign slogan as John Kerry. And he's running as a CEO who knows how to create jobs--even though he never has. It all came off clumsy and he comes off as an empty suit. But who knows--Mormons are in this year.