Category Archives: and then?

Go Away. Why Weren’t You There?

My Friends, those blessed/cursed with the vision to see the hypocralypse unfold before us, please remind your colleagues of these simple facts as you congregate by the water cooler or belly up to the bar:

1. Drill Baby Drill.

2. Limit Corporate Liability.

3. Let Them Regulate Themselves, Though Limited Liability Takes Away any Natural Incentive.

4. Orgy and Snort Coke…That Is What the MMS Is Good For.

5. Fuck Regulations and Good Practice, This is the W Administration!

6. Now That Our Reckless Behavior Has Ruined Thousands, Maybe Hundreds of Thousands of Lives, BLAME IT ON OBAMA!

Its His Katrina…Right.  We Want Small Government, Except Now, When We Need Them To….

BUILD ISLANDS!

Fuck You Jindal

Teabaggers Infect Maine GOP

Teabaggers are on the march in Maine! It seems the Maine GOP recently voted to update its old state party platform with a bunch of raving loon tea party gibberish.

The document calls for the elimination of the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, demands an investigation of “collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth,” suggests the adoption of “Austrian Economics,” declares that “‘Freedom of Religion’ does not mean ‘freedom from religion'” (which I guess makes atheism illegal), insists that “healthcare is not a right,” calls for the abrogation of the “UN Treaty on Rights of the Child” and the “Law Of The Sea Treaty” and declares that we must resist “efforts to create a one world government.”

It also contains favorable mentions of both the Tea Party and Ron Paul. You can read the whole thing here.

Dan Billings, who has served as an attorney for the Maine GOP, called the new platform “wack job pablum” and “nutcase stuff.”

Despite the document’s crazy content, Maine Republican Party Chair Charlie Webster insisted to the AP that all of the elements in the platform are things that Republicans support. He claimed to the Press Herald that these issues reflect the values of working-class Mainers.

Every time I hear stuff like this, I’m reminded of this classic post, likening the conservative “Movement” to a “controlling parasite astride its enfeebled Republican host”.  And since true symbiotic relationships are the exception rather than the norm, it is only a matter of time before the enfeebled host is destroyed.  In the meantime, we can expect to see more delightful stories like this one:

The Republican State Convention was held at the Portland Exposition Building, which is on Park Avenue, near the middle school. Party members from Knox County caucused in a classroom used by eighth-grade social studies teacher Paul Clifford.

When Clifford returned to school on Monday, he found that a favorite poster about the U.S. labor movement had been taken and replaced with a bumper sticker that read, “Working People Vote Republican.”

Later, Clifford learned that his classroom had been searched. Republicans who had attended the convention called Principal Mike McCarthy to complain about “anti-American” things they saw there, including a closed box containing copies of the U.S. Constitution that were published by the American Civil Liberties Union.

This story is only shocking until you realize that the actual REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM calls for eliminating the Dept of Education.  They hate public schools!  Why not trash the social studies classroom? God forbid our children learn about the Constitution.

These people are scum.

(Via)

Cinco de Mayo

They fucked with the wrong Mexican…

I came across this via Digby, who also has a must-read post today about the ludicrous discussions going on in Congress about the need to strip Americans of their citizenship if they are suspected of supporting terrorists. The freedom-lovers on the right feel that this is gravely important to secure the homeland.  But when Mayor Bloomberg points out that people on the watch list are currently free to buy guns… suddenly their heads explode and the 2nd amendment must not be abridged at any cost.

Just so we’re all clear:

(1) American citizen + terrorist sympathizer + deny guns = BAD

(2) American citizen + terrorist sympathizer + strip citizenship/torture/deport = GOOD

It’s a miracle we’ve made it as a country as long as we have.  I get the strong sense that it’s mostly been inertial forces that have kept our civil rights intact up until now, but those forces are just about spent. Creeping authoritarianism has really taken a toll if elected officials can have these discussions with a straight face.

Since we’re on the subject, read this too: If the TSA Were Running New York

– All vans or SUVs headed into Midtown Manhattan would have to stop and have their contents inspected. If any vehicle seemed for any reason to have escaped inspection, Midtown in its entirety would be evacuated;
– A whole new uniformed force — the Times Square Security Administration, or TsSA – would be formed for this purpose;
– The restrictions would never be lifted and the TsSA would have permanent life, because the political incentives here work only one way. A politician who supports more open-ended, more thorough, more intrusive, more expensive inspections can never be proven “wrong.” The absence of attacks shows that his measures have “worked”; and a new attack shows that inspections must go  further still. A politician who wants to limit the inspections can never be proven “right.” An absence of attacks means that nothing has gone wrong — yet. Any future attack would always and forever be that politician’s “fault.” Given that asymmetry of risks, what public figure will ever be able to talk about paring back the TSA?

Tardball

HA! I forgot about this… Here’s legendary nitwit Chris Matthews berating Alan Grayson not two short months ago about Grayson’s assertion that health care reform would ultimately get passed via reconciliation.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It’s almost as if Matthews has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. Unpossible!

Meanwhile, Grayson is now up to 80 House co-sponsors of his Medicare For All bill with 40,000 petition signers. Have you signed the petition yet?

Relatedly, here’s a nice summary by Robert Reich about the philosophical roots of the HCR legislation that was passed last night…

Medicare built on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal notion of government as insurer, with citizens making payments to government, and government paying out benefits. That was the central idea of Social Security, and Medicare piggybacked on Social Security.

Obama’s legislation comes from an alternative idea, begun under the Eisenhower administration and developed under Nixon, of a market for health care based on private insurers and employers. Eisenhower locked in the tax break for employee health benefits; Nixon pushed prepaid, competing health plans, and urged a requirement that employers cover their employees. Obama applies Nixon’s idea and takes it a step further by requiring all Americans to carry health insurance, and giving subsidies to those who need it.

So don’t believe anyone who says Obama’s health care legislation marks a swing of the pendulum back toward the Great Society and the New Deal. Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican rather than a New Deal foundation. The New Deal foundation would have offered Medicare to all Americans or, at the very least, featured a public insurance option.

I’m not posting this in order to be (too) cynical about the new legislation.  As Reich notes, the larger political significance is the rebuke of Reaganism, which I can fully appreciate.  But it’s not nearly enough, which is why it is so critical that Grayson continues to push Medicare For All.

UPDATE:

Noam Chomsky’s take on the bill.

Meet the New Boss

Here is a fairly scathing review of Obama’s presidential performance that you should read, written by Dr. Drew Western, a professor of psychology who advised Democrats in the last election.  He definitely gives voice (and then some) to the sense of frustration felt by the progressive left over what has to be considered a year of wasted opportunity.  If I had to summarize Obama’s freshman year in office, it would be: “stabilize the stock market, and fuck the rest”.

Maybe all the recent healthcare drama is inducing amnesia, but I’m having a hard time identifying any significant policy changes from the Bush years.  There’s been no rebuke of the torture years, just a polite brushing under the rug.  There’s been no check on the titans of Wall Street (even the Brits instituted a 50% tax on bank bonus payments).  Anyone recall anything remotely close to that over here?  (This blog doesn’t count).  We’ve got escalation in Afghanistan, and even the Iraq troop drawdown is following the Bush timeline.  McClatchy has a truly infuriating story about the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) which was supposed to help people facing foreclosure stay in their homes, but instead is helping banks to fast-track the eviction process:

To date, more than 759,000 trial loan modifications have been started, but just 31,382 have been converted to permanent new loans. That’s averages out to 4 percent, far below the 75 percent conversion rate President Barack Obama has said he seeks.

In the fine print of the form homeowners fill out to apply for Obama’s program, which lowers monthly payments for three months while the lender decides whether to provide permanent relief, borrowers must waive important notification rights.

This clause allows banks to reject borrowers without any written notification and move straight to auctioning off their homes without any warning.

[…]

Flores bought her home in 2006 for $352,000. Records show that it has a current fair-market value of $99,000. The new owner bought it for $78,000 at an auction Flores didn’t even know about.

You can’t even blame Bush for this one.  Explain to me why it is better for a bank to sell a place to real estate vultures at below market value, rather than let the owner-occupant renegotiate (i.e. cramdown).  We really are on the road to neo-feudalism.  Peace be with you, fellow peasant!

UPDATE

While in no way, shape or form endorsing the thinly veiled racism… this is fun:

What’s our option?

The health care negotiations are a truly sad spectacle.  As the kabuki theater in the senate winds down, it’s worth remembering a few things:

  • With only 40 votes, there is no threat of a republican filibuster
  • A bill without a public option is a crappy bill
  • The “public option” is not even a true progressive policy – it is merely a compromise to single-payer
  • Democrats are corporate whores

It’s fascinating to watch the political dysfunction unfold these days.  Democrats propose bills chock full of republican policy ideas (individual insurance mandates, cap and trade, etc) only to get zero republican votes in return.  So why keep trying to pass this garbage?

It’s because they want to.  The mask is coming off.  Corporate whores.

Matt Taibbi has more.

I’m personally of the opinion that our main problem lay with the fact that the Democratic Party as currently constituted is more afraid of losing the financial support of Wall Street and the health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry than it is of losing progressive voters. In fact, I think I’ve put that wrong, because it implies that the Democratic Party pushes the agenda of industry insiders out of fear. That is a misread of the situation, I think.

Update

Reid pulls the trigger, sez whiny bitches can opt-out…

News Dump or News Pump?

I see now why the Administration has been sitting on the CIA Inspector General’s report regarding torture enhanced interrogations.  It’s a big shiny object to dangle in front of lefties when they start getting too uppity about all the backsliding on healthcare reform.  Newsweek reports that the report will finally be released next week:

Nashiri’s interrogators brandished the gun in an effort to convince him that he was going to be shot. Interrogators also turned on a power drill and held it near him. “The purpose was to scare him into giving [information] up,” said one of the sources. A federal law banning the use of torture expressly forbids threatening a detainee with “imminent death.”

The report also says, according to the sources, that a mock execution was staged in a room next to a detainee, during which a gunshot was fired in an effort to make the suspect believe that another prisoner had been killed. The inspector general’s report alludes to more than one mock execution.

This is the report from May 2004 whose release was ordered earlier this year due to a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU.  They’ve been putting it off since June, supposedly to double-check the redactions of all that super-sensitive information.  More likely, the Administration decided the report was a political liability no matter what, so better to wait for a moment when it could do them some good, i.e. suck the oxygen from an uncomfortable political debate.  Or am I just being cynical?

Totally Wasted

Mother Jones has a great new issue out devoted to the War on Drugs. Every article so far has been money. Check it out!

But then, the drug war has never been about facts—about, dare we say, soberly weighing which policies might alleviate suffering, save taxpayers money, rob the cartels of revenue. Instead, we’ve been stuck in a cycle of prohibition, failure, and counterfactual claims of success. (To wit: Since 1998, the ONDCP has spent $1.4 billion on youth anti-pot ads. It also spent $43 million to study their effectiveness. When the study found that kids who’ve seen the ads are more likely to smoke pot, the ONDCP buried the evidence, choosing to spend hundreds of millions more on the counterproductive ads.)

I also went ahead and threw up some new Rec List headings at right, since Reefercake signaled approval.  I don’t mean to dominate that column, and hope that fellow editors feel free to post their recommended links too.  I originally conceived of it as being a revolving set of links with old stuff falling off, but now that it’s grown long I kind of like that too.

At any rate, here is the full lineup of articles from MoJo:

The Mayor’s Final Presser

Big can of crazy…

I’m guessing it’s the National Enquirer sex scandal stuff about to be verified, but I’m cynical like that.

One thing I can’t help keeping in mind, this person who is the darling of the GOP, who everybody wants to see run for prez in a few years, was quite simply the mayor of a tiny Alaskan town not two years ago.  She has no business on the national stage, at least not as a credible chief executive.  On the other hand, if she wants to fulfill her destiny as the teevee love child of Oprah and Glenn Beck, I say have at it.