So yeah, the Democrats had a pretty good election on Tuesday: Electoral vote landslide for Obama, wins for progressives like Liz Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown and Alan Grayson, and losses for misogynistic Tea Party buffoons like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Allen West and Joe Walsh. Better yet, as the minority and youth votes grow, it looks like these kinds of results could be the new normal.
Isolated pockets of progressivism notwithstanding, today’s Democrats as a whole are still just as corporate-owned as the Republicans, they’re just subtle enough to frame their sellouts as “pragmatism” and “compromise”. Worse yet, it looks like Obama and the Democrats are poised to Grandly Bargain awaySocial Security and Medicare, the crown jewels of the liberals and progressives who just swept them back into office. So you’ll forgive me if I’m less than excited about Democrats retaining control of the White House and Senate when they’re committed to delivering Republican policy outcomes.
Demographics make the GOP irrelevant, Democrats make it unnecessary.
Apparently Paul Ryan’s plan for Social Security is awfully similar to Pinochet’s, which didn’t end up working out so well. That’s why it’s so important to re-elect Obama, because he’ll fight to keep Social Security intact. Or not.
I also like this right-wing lunatic’s attempt to draw parallels between liberalism and Islam, when fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity have such similar contempt for gays and women and absolute intolerance for all other beliefs.
The Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, was approved in a 233-175 vote, although as usual, the bill many Democrats described as anti-environmental still found some Democratic support — 19 Democrats voted for it.
The legislation is a combination of five bills that would overturn or prevent an array of regulations that Republicans say would harm the coal industry and the economy. Among other things, it would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources, and prevent rules on the storage and disposal of coal ash and limit Clean Water Act rules.
It would also prevent potential Interior Department rules to toughen environmental controls on mountaintop removal coal mining, and thwart other air emissions rules, including air toxics standards for coal-fired power plants.
So apparently imprisoning black and brown people in the name of the wars on drugs and terror is a-okay, but a war on rising oceans and poisoned air is cruel and unjust.
The reason the RNC had to use one of their own staffers to pretend to be a disappointed Obama supporter isn’t that ex-Obama backers are hard to find, it’s that it’s hard to find any that have dumped him for reasons that are favorable to Romney. There are a whole bunch of us out there, but precious few of us have given up on Obama because he spends too much money and hangs out with celebrities. We’ve given up on him because he’s done nothing to roll back Bush’s authoritarian, pro-corporate, pro-wealth policies. If anything, he’s even expanded some of them.
But obviously those reasons wouldn’t really play well in an ad for Mitt Romney. They’d much rather have some phony insisting that they’re mad at Obama because they expected him to have destroyed Social Security and Medicare by now, and to have rolled back all corporate regulations and taxes.
Mr. Ryan also cited bankruptcy numbers to make the point that failing businesses mean fewer jobs. “In 1980 under Jimmy Carter, 330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy,” he said. “Last year, under President Obama’s failed leadership, 1.4 million businesses filed for bankruptcy.”
Of the 1,410,653 total bankruptcy filings last year, 47,806 were business bankruptcies, according to the institute. And, again, the numbers are falling. In 2009, there were 60,837 business bankruptcies.
We can use this to actually quantify a multiplier for Ryan’s bullshit, a “Ryan Constant”, if you will, which works out to be approximately 29.285. Armed with this information, we can now re-examine Ryan’s claim to have climbed 40 of Colorado’s 54 “fourteeners”, or mountains that are 14,000 feet tall or higher. Applying the Ryan Constant, we find that Ryan has actually climbed 1.4 fourteeners. Or 40 mountains that are 478+ feet high.
Funny how Republicans and conservatives are all about small government when it comes to guns, regulating or taxing rich people and corporations, or helping the poor, the sick, and the elderly, yet they can’t get enough government when it comes to voting and registration requirements, security theater, domestic spying, immigrants, drug laws, prisons, abortion, or anything to do with the military.
Why, it’s almost as if “small government” is just a convenient excuse for letting moneyed interests have whatever they want at the expense of everyone else, rather than a bedrock principle conservatives sincerely believe in.
You almost have to admire the GOP’s courage in staking out a position that, if not exactly pro-rape, is not entirely anti-rape either. And emphatically not pro-rape victim. So far, I’ve counted three ways in which Republicans act as rape apologists:
1) De-legitimizing rape: In essence, Republicans believe that, come on, not all rapes are really rapes. That if it doesn’t involve a knife or a gun or physical force, well, it’s only rape in some abstract technical sense – it’s more like a date that just got a little out of control. It’s not only Todd Akin talking about “legitimate rape” as if there’s such a thing as fake rape, but most of the House Republican caucus, which tried to limit the rape exemption for abortion coverage to include only “forcible rape” last year.
(To their credit, the GOP has come up with an elegant way to eliminate this awkward rape caste system: Their 2012 platform calls for a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortions, with no rape exemption for anyone. So now all rapes are illegitimate. See also: Voting against the Franken bill to sever ties with contractors that force employees to settle on-the-job rape cases through an arbitrator.)
2) Minimizing the impact: This is similar to the first, but is more about the aftermath. Essentially, Republicans are claiming that rape victims rarely get pregnant. Again, you have Todd Akin’s now-famous claim that “legitimate rape” victims can “shut that whole thing down,” whatever that means. But you also have Rep. Steve King implying that statutory rape and incest victims (which I’m assuming Akins would not consider “legitimate rape”) don’t get pregnant either.
The funny thing about this line of argument is that it’s deployed as a justification for denying abortion exemptions to rape victims. But if they never get pregnant, why worry about the exemption at all? Oh right, because of all the abortion queens who will falsely cry rape just so they can have more abortions. Damn those abortion queens.
3) Accentuating the positive: This is the most perverse of all. You have Mike Huckabee going on about all the wonderful people who are the children of rape, and Missouri Republican Sharon Barnes saying, “if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.” I’m pretty sure most rape victims are not going to view their rape baby as an awesome parting gift, especially if they end up looking into the eyes of their rapist every day for 18 or more years.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter, since if they were legitimately raped, they wouldn’t be pregnant anyway, right?
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there is a fundamental difference between the way normal people and Republicans perceive rape. Normal people think of rape as a soul-shattering assault, while Republicans appear to think of it as unwanted and not-particularly-good sex. At most, they may view it as something like a punch in the face, where the victim is completely back to normal once they recover from the shock and the pain.
Frankly, the only way I can think of to make Republicans as anti-rape as the rest of us is for Obama to declare that he’s for it.
I really should have posted these when they immediately came to mind, and a lot of this ground has been covered elsewhere, but here goes anyway. In roughly chronological order:
1) Hello GOP base, goodbye everyone else.
2) This is such a repellent combination that it will probably damage Republican candidates downticket.
3) It will put the giant magnifying glass of a presidential campaign squarely on the Ryan budget, which will further damage any downticket Republicans who supported it.
4) The scrutiny of his budget will also have a huge impact on Ryan himself, who will find his reputation changing from “bright young up-and-coming Republican star with Serious Ideas about the economy and stuff” to “the guy who wants to kill Medicare”. He will have a very similar arc to Sarah Palin’s from superstar to albatross, though not for the same reasons.
5) The downticket effects make it very hard for me to believe that this is some kind of diabolical strategy to throw the election so that Obama and the Democrats will take the fall for the effects of Republican obstruction. I think Mitt really is this delusional and/or afraid of his own base.
Funny how the people who argue that corporations will do the right thing in the absence of regulation and government oversight are usually the same people who believe that atheists can’t be moral without the fear of divine retribution.
Although it would probably be an exaggeration to say that I’m rooting for Obama, I’m loving what Harry Reid has done to Romney with his accusation that Mitt is trying to hide the fact that he didn’t pay any taxes. At this point there is really no good outcome for Romney. I can only think of four possible scenarios, and all of them are bad:
1) Mitt finally releases his returns, and Harry Reid is proven right.
2) Mitt finally releases his returns, and it turns out he was hiding something even worse.
3) Mitt finally releases his returns, and there’s nothing really damaging, thus demonstrating that while he may not be a tax cheat, he’s also even more stupid and arrogant than we thought (which is a lot). Especially if this is some kind of deliberate rope-a-dope strategy to bait the Obama camp into making more and more outlandish claims that would make them look foolish when proven wrong, because I don’t really see it playing out that way.
4) Mitt never releases his returns, resulting in continuous speculation as to what he’s hiding, all the way up to Election Day.
#3 is definitely the least bad out of the four, but it would still leave everyone wondering what the hell is wrong with this guy.
Of course I don’t really expect Boehner to remove one of his own caucus members from the House Intelligence Committee for such a teensy-weensy infraction as calling people Islamist infiltrators based on ridiculously flimsy evidence, but saying “I don’t know that that’s related at all” is going a bit too far.
It’s not just that Bachmann is temperamentally unsuited to have a seat on such an important committee, but the fact that she can’t tell fact from fiction, or Muslim from terrorist. How is that level of delusional incompetence anything but a hindrance to the committee’s responsibilities?
Former (recalled) AZ state senator Russell Pearce, blaming CO theatergoers for being too lame and chickenshit to take down a madman with four guns and full body armor:
What a heart breaking story. Had someone been prepared and armed they could have stopped this “bad” man from most of this tragedy. He was two and three feet away from folks, I understand he had to stop and reload. Where were the men of flight 93???? Someone should have stopped this man. Someone could have stopped this man. Lives were lost because of a bad man, not because he had a weapon, but because noone was prepared to stop it. Had they been prepared to save their lives or lives of others, lives would have been saved.
All that was needed is one Courages/Brave man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this it could have been done.
Yeah, I’m sure it’s just that easy. And the Flight 93 comparison is terrible: The passengers had a lot more time to plan their actions (i.e., no one was actively shooting at them), their vision wasn’t obscured by darkness and teargas. Stay classy, Mr. Pearce.
So, in addition to somehow connecting the tragic movie theater shooting to “the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs” (really???), Tea Party Genius Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is also frustrated that there weren’t more guns at the Century 16:
It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?
Yes, what a shame. Because a whole bunch of people with guns in a panicky darkened movie theater surely would have improved the situation.
More likely they’d be so amped up with fear and adrenaline and macho that they’d get themselves killed trying to be the hero, or shoot some innocent bystander because they “thought he had a gun,” or because he fit some rumored description of the shooter, or maybe because he was another wannabe hero shooting at an innocent bystander. Tragedy Plus Guns does not actually equal Less Tragedy.
This is a window into the right wing’s juvenile fantasy world, where they like to imagine themselves in the role of the Courageous American Hero who saves the day. But, of course that would be dangerous, so the next best thing is to try to create the conditions for such heroism, so that they may bask in its reflected glory (See Also: How We Got Into Operation Iraqi Fuckup). Enabling the hero is almost as good as being the hero, and a lot safer!
It’s okay to fantasize about being a hero who wins the game or saves the day, but just because you see those scenarios play out in the movies and on TV, real life is much more chaotic and confusing, especially when you’re in a dark, crowded space full of tear gas. And even if some would-be hero in the audience does get lucky, the shooter is probably still going to kill a few people before he gets taken down. So instead of trying to create some kind of hit-or-miss self-correcting Wild West system, wouldn’t it be better to just make it harder for people – especially dangerously disturbed people – get guns in the first place?
Investigators for an Arizona [Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s] volunteer posse have declared that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is definitely fraudulent.
Mike Zullo, the posse’s chief investigator, said numeric codes on certain parts of the birth certificate indicate that those parts weren’t filled out, yet those sections asking for the race of Obama’s father and his field of work or study were completed.
Zullo said investigators previously didn’t know the meaning of codes but they were explained by a 95-year-old former state worker who signed the president’s birth certificate.
Sooo… Their conclusion that Obama’s birth certificate is fake is based on information from THE GUY WHO SIGNED IT???
Washington state has commissioned a Facebook app to provide another avenue for its residents to register to vote. Officials will soon post the software, developed by local company Microsoft, on the Secretary of State’s page and allow users to like it in order to spread the word. Once it’s ready, residents looking at using it will need to allow Facebook access to their personal info and provide a driver’s license number or state ID number, which the social network will use to put them on the voter rolls….
OMG everyone’s joke Facebook pages will be voting now! It’s the end of democracy as we know it!
[Meet The Press’s David] GREGORY: He was still financially linked to Bain. And of course, a lot his fortune is due to his time with Bain. Even when he was on leave, does he stand by the business decisions that were made by the firm he created?
[Romney campaign adviser Ed] GILLESPIE: He actually retired retroactively at that point. He ended up not going back to the firm after his time in Salt Lake City. So he was actually retired from Bain.
The religious right is now presenting imaginary dinosaurs as established scientific fact in its textbooks. Because apparently if dinosaurs exist today, that somehow disproves evolution, in what I can only assume is a variation of the “if humans evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?” argument.
With today’s decision in Southern Union Company v. United States, the Chamber [of Commerce] has declared victory in all seven of its cases that have reached a clear outcome [this year]….
This string of seven straight victories brings the Chamber’s overall win/loss rate before the Roberts Court up to 68% (60 of 88 cases). As we have reported in prior studies, this is significantly higher than the Chamber’s success before the Rehnquist Court of 56% (45 of 80 cases), and dramatically higher than its success rate before the Burger Court, when the Chamber only won 43% (15 of 35) of its cases.
Yet another sign that government of the people, by the people, and for the people has indeed perished from the earth. Or at least from the United States.
Democrats are hammering Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock over his statement that employers should not have to cover cancer in their insurance plans if they don’t want to.
Mourdock, the state treasurer, argued in a newspaper interview last week that not only should employers not have to cover health care services that they oppose, such as contraception, but they also should be exempt from paying for anything they do not want to include, based on costs.
“Does that employer have the right to do it?” Mourdock told theNews and Tribune, covering southern Indiana. “I would say yes they do if they want to keep their health care costs down but it also means it’s less likely you’re going to want to work here. If that employer wants to get the best employees coming in the door he’s going to offer the best insurance possible.”
Good thing unemployment is so low that workers are totally free to pick and choose their employers, right?
There are several answers. The simplest is supply — there are more rich Republicans than rich Democrats, a lot more.
“Second, there’s no self-interest here,” argues Begala. “Jeffrey Katzenberg is our largest donor. He gave us $2 million. He’s not going to sell any more tickets to Kung Fu Panda 2 if Obama gets a second term. He’s just doing it because he believes in his country. …
“There’s a return on investment for some of the coal and oil billionaires who want to see the president’s clean energy initiative shut down. But the third thing is the deep ambivalence that I and everybody else on my side of the aisle has about superPACs,” says Begala.
It’s an ambivalence President Obama famously shared. After telling independent groups to stand down in 2008, he welcomed them back this year. But that didn’t convince liberal billionaires such as Peter Lewis. His spokeswoman Jen Frutchy says Lewis would rather fund progressive think tanks and media groups than TV ads.
“On superPACs, he really believes that the idea of spending fortunes to denigrate opponents is deeply offensive,” says Frutchy. “I would say that is just not how he wants to spend his fortune, you know, in some kind of arms race. He does not want to be part of the negativity or any kind of corrupting influence that money can have on the electoral process.”
#2 is the heart of the problem. Just as facts have a well-known liberal bias, money has a well-known conservative one, and it’s a much more powerful motivating force than facts. Money is what pulls Republicans towards their traditional core values, and Democrats away from theirs.
In a nutshell: As long as money determines the outcome of our elections, both parties will continue to drift inexorably to the right, and Democrats will continue to be for austerity, endless war and drone strikes, and against unions, taxes, regulations, the public option and the rule of law.