Sunday 28 June 2009

Wingnuts blame Sanford's lunatic behavior on Obama and "big gummint"

Exhibit A: the wingnuts blame Sanford's lunacy on...big government.

At the news conference, the governor rationalized his unfaithfulness to Mrs. Sanford by saying that he needed to get out of "the bubble."...The real bubble is a consequence of big government. The more the citizenry expect from the state, the more our political class will depend on ever more swollen Gulf Emir-size retinues of staffers hovering at the elbow to steer you from one corner of the fishbowl to another 24/7. "Why are politicians so weird?" a reader asked me after the Sanford news conference. But the majority of people willing to live like this will be, almost by definition, deeply weird. So big government more or less guarantees rule by creeps and misfits.

Exhibits B and C: Rush blames it all on Obama, even though the Sanford affair began long before Obama was even elected.

"This is almost like, 'I don't give a damn, the country's going to Hell in a handbasket, I just want out of here,'" said Limbaugh. "He had just tried to fight the stimulus money coming to South Carolina. He didn't want any part of it. He lost the battle. He said, 'What the Hell. I mean, I'm -- the federal government's taking over -- what the Hell, I want to enjoy life.'"


"'Rush, are you kidding, this theory of yours about Sanford?' No, I'm not. My first thought was he said: 'To hell with this. The Democrats are destroying the country. We can't do anything to stop it. I gave everything I had to stop it here in South Carolina. My wife's left me, the hell with it. I'm going to enjoy life what little time I've got left.' Folks, there are a lot of people that are looking at life, they're saying screw it. They're saying screw it. Before Obama takes away all their money, before Obama takes away their house or the economy takes away their house, there are people who are simply saying the hell with this. They've tuned out. I'm just going to try to enjoy it as much as I can."

This is something we've seen off and on for the last several years. When GOP scumbags get caught doing something despicable, irresponsible or just plain stupid, their first reaction is to blame their own crimes and follies on Democrats.

It's as though Obama was not elected president -- he was elected to be like an eighteenth-century whipping-boy to accept punishment for some Hanoverian prince whose royal bottom was exempt from paddling for his juvenile crimes. A Republican steals money? Spank Obama. A Republican cheats on his wife? Spank Obama.

This is the kind of infantile crap I expect from my eight-year-old daughters, not from a political party which recently proclaimed itself the permanent ruling majority for the greatest nation on earth.

The real genius here is that the Republicans clearly intend this to be open-ended. Read the end of the second Limbaugh statement: this scumbag is openly asserting that any crazy thing the Republicans get caught doing in the future, is all Obama's fault.

OMG, Obama is a terrible president and we all hate him, so any heinous violation which we commit in the future is all Obama's doing, because the horror of seeing this uppity Negro in the White House has so completely deprived us of our senses that we have carte blanche to commit any atrocity and blame it on him. It's "not guilty by reason of insanity" -- being out of power makes us Republicans craaaazy! Give us our power back, or our crimes and follies will never stop! Elect us or we'll screw all your wimminfolk until they can't walk straight!

So the logic seems to be that those pesky voters who had the gall to elect Obama president committed a crime so awful that it justifies any crime which his enemies commit subsequently.

This, I'm sure, was exactly the logic that was bouncing through the addled brain of the loon who murdered Dr. Tiller.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Palin: "Babies and children are off limits!"

Recently some blogger ran a picture of Palin holding a "baby" whose head actually belongs to one of her big political supporters. Because the original photo consisted of Palin and her son Trig, Palin threw a gigantic hissy, insisting that kids are off-limits.

Um, yeah.

Palin has been shamelessly exploiting her kids ever since she got the nomination last summer. She exploited Trig for political purposes, and repeatedly exposed her daughter Bristol to public ridicule without even bothering to defend her daughter from attacks by Palin's own allies, the religious right.

So...sorry, but you can't have it both ways. Either kids are part of the process, or not. Make up your mind.

Friday 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson and Elvis

Not long ago, someone was comparing Jackson's death to that of his kinda-sorta father-in-law, Elvis.

What we have to remember is that for most of the last twenty years of his life, Jacko knew he was a wildly-spending (actually bankrupt) child-molesting drug addict who obsessively mutilated his own face. He knew this, the people around him knew this, everyone knew this. But he didn't seek real help, and the people around him didn't help him either. If anything they labored with might and main to protect him from the consequences of his own actions -- to shield him even further from reality, the last thing he needed. The people with whom he chose to surround himself were the enablers, the parasites, the yes-men.

At any point in the last two decades he could have fired all his handlers, made a few phone calls, done a month of rehab, hired a credible agent to handle his money, and gone into months of therapy, like any other denizen of Hollywood would do -- in fact, these days, they're almost like Hollywood's twelve stations of the cross. We know much more now about taking care of yourself, self-help, reaching to outside organizations for assistance, and even the hazards of peanut-butter-and-bacon sandwiches, than we did in Elvis' time.

So this is worse than Elvis, because back in the 1960s and 1970s they didn't have all this. Even the business of managing finances in the music industry was still in its infancy, as the Beatles found out when they realized how badly Brian Epstein, Allen Klein and the Apple idiots had frittered away their fortune. But these days, there was a whole phone-book-full of places Jacko could have gotten help, and he didn't make any kind of serious effort to do so.

And the guy had, what 5-6 brothers? What did they do to help him?

Tuesday 23 June 2009

GOP offensive against Obama has failed

Post-ABC poll:

Who do you trust on health care? Obama 55, GOP 27
On the budget? Obama 56, GOP 30
On the economy? Obama wins 55-31
On terrorism? Obama wins 55-34

Also the latest CNN poll of polls has Obama's approval differential at about 2-to-1, at 60-31.

A solid year of Republican smears, to no effect.

Sunday 21 June 2009

Hoekstra equates GOP House members to Iranian protesters

So I guess that in his alternate universe, Obama and Pelosi are the ayatollahs.

Um, yeah. Good luck with that one.

The difference, dear Congressman, is that the Iranians have brains and guts, and love their country, and love freedom, and are on the right side of the issues, policy, and history. None of which applies to you.

Obama wins health care debate, 72-20

The national telephone survey, which was conducted from June 12 to 16, found that 72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers. Twenty percent said they were opposed.

...So not only do the American people want reform, they want government-run reform. By a margin of 52 freakin' points.

**UPDATE** -- Want further proof that the Rasmussen pollsters are a bunch of GOP hacks?

Wednesday 17 June 2009

The Return of Dolly

As you may have noticed, I've been off the air for a while. Team Dolly -- me, the wife and the kids -- is moving, with all our belongings, from Europe back to America. So we've been kinda busy, and we also have no internet access yet. But don't worry, I'll be back comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable very soon.

Monday 8 June 2009

Republicans redefine the word "bipartisanship" on health care

Some Democrats are trying to work with the Republicans on the health care issue, in an effort to craft a bipartisan solution. They have showed willingness to give ground on point after point.

What has the Republican response been? To reject everything except the status quo.

No to an independent insurance board.
No to the public option (and of course no to single payer).
No to mandating employer participation (but yes to employee participation).
No to health care information technology.
No to comparative effectiveness research.
No to eliminating overpayments to insurers.

In other words, to Republicans, "bipartisanship" means "the Democrats surrender".

So sometime soon the Democrats are going to fling their hands in the air, give up on the Republicans, and work for a 51-vote public-option victory in the Senate.

Some want a bill by August, while others want to give the GOP until October to pull their heads out of their asses and play ball. Given the GOP's proven track record of obstructive tactics, I'd be more inclined to look for a bill later rather than sooner.

Logically, single-payer makes the most sense because the insurers have been stealing our money for years and need to be crushed. But there is something attractive about the public option: if we go with single-payer, the insurers are wiped out by government fiat, but if we go with public option, they will be wiped out by the power of the market, since they can't compete and win on an honest, level playing field. That way, all of America will see how they've been ripping us off. The millions of American families who went bankrupt even though they did have coverage from an insurer who refused to help them during a catastrophic illness -- they already know the insurers are crooks. But it would be good for all of America to see them publicly exposed.

Limbaugh admits he's trying to wreck GM to make Obama look bad

More on Planet Wingnut and their effort to boycott GM:

"They don't want to patronize Obama. They don't want to do anything to make Obama's policies work!...This is an untold story, by the way. Of course, the government-controlled media is not gonna report anything like this but there are a lot of people who are not going to buy from Chrysler or General Motors as long as it is perceived Barack Obama is running it, because people do not want his policy to work here because this is antithetical to the American economic way of life."

So all those employees, dealers, suppliers, bondholders and their families who are all depending on GM's success for their way of life -- don't matter to Rush. If he manages to destroy Obama, but destroys those millions of working families in the process -- that's a win for Rush.

Rasmussen pollsters cook the books to make Obama look bad

For quite some time now, the polls on Obama have been pretty stable. About a third of the country strongly agrees with him and his policies, another third agrees with him somewhat, hardly anybody mildly disagrees, and about a third really hates him.

I've been warning folks that the Rasmussen pollsters are Republicans who have a proven track record of skewing their results to favor Republicans and attack Democrats.

And now we have more proof.

Most pollsters add up the strongly-like and somewhat-like numbers to get a roughly 60 percent approval for Obama, and then add the mildly-dislike and strongly-dislike to get a 30 percent disapproval, and then give Obama a net approval/disapproval of 30, the way pollsters have been doing for decades.

But the Rasmussen people noticed that there is hardly anybody in the mildly-dislike category, so they are cooking the books to make Obama look bad. They are looking only at the strongly-like and strongly-dislike categories, ignoring all those folks in the middle who mildly like him. And then they are telling all their readers and customers that Obama's approval/disapproval score -- based only on the strongly-like and strongly-dislike score -- is an even split, and that the country is evenly divided about Obama.

Which is of course untrue. He is one of the most popular presidents in years.

So when you go out into the blogosphere and hear the Republicans screeching that Obama has a net approval/dsapproval of zero, check their source -- it is almost certain to be Rasmussen.

Liars quoting liars. The Republican way.

Thursday 4 June 2009

Wingnuts targeting two more doctors for murder?

Fox contributor Jill Stanek has put the pictures and addresses of two doctors on the web, so any "lone wolves" can exercise a little frontier justice.

The whole point of this is terror: terrorize the doctors and patients with the threat that their "evil deeds" will be put on the internet, so that any wingnut with a gun can target them. The aim is to scare doctors away so that they stop offering services -- which is the whole point. Why make abortion illegal if you can make it impossible, through a terror campaign?

You know, when terrorists actually work out in the open like that, why aren't they being incarcerated? Is it sheer gutlessness on the part of the law? We do know that anti-abortion vigilantes have been operating and terrorizing with impunity for eight years, since Bush refused to enforce the law protecting the doctors and patients from these terror tactics.

Obama must openly and publicly reverse this "open season" policy on physicians.

Cheney admits Bush dumped carmaker bankruptcy on Obama

Hat tip to Empty Wheel for catching this: Cheney admitted that he and Bush knew the carmakers would need to go the bankruptcy route, but they wanted to dump it all in Obama's lap.

And how many billions did that cost us?

...And this time I spelled bankruptcy right.

Almost half of bankruptcies are due to illness in INSURED families

62.1 percent of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are caused by medical disasters.

And three quarters of those families had insurance.

So do the math: 46 percent of bankruptcies are due to families who had insurance but were still wiped out by a catastrophic illness.

Do you need any more proof that the system is broken?

America's health care costs twice as much as it does elsewhere in the industrialized world because the insurance oligopoly, protected by Republican lawmakers, has been robbing us blind. And then they still don't do what they promise -- protect us from disaster.

Monday 1 June 2009

Newsweek on the terror campaign against abortion providers

For abortion providers, his death may have been less a shock and more a reminder of the grave risks they face everyday. "We’re sitting ducks," says Susan Wicklund, an abortion provider who runs a clinic near Bozeman, Mont. and has been in the field for over 20 years. "We have to accept that if somebody is absolutely intent on targeting us, they will be successful." In her 2007 memoir, "This Common Secret," (PublicAffairs) Wicklund wrote about the harassment and stalking she’s faced over the years: Wicklund varies her daily routines to make herself less of a target; her clinic is regularly subject to protesters and she sometimes wears a bulletproof vest to her work.

Tiller’s death, Wicklund says, exacerbates the challenges that she and her colleagues face in making abortion safe and accessible to all women. His murder may deter doctors from entering a relatively dangerous field that’s already struggling with a dearth of providers. 87 percent of counties do not have an abortion provider, according to a 2008 study by the Guttmacher Institute. That same study found the number of abortion providers to have dropped slightly, 2 percent, between 2000 and 2005. At her clinic in Montana, Wicklund sees patients who drive hundreds of miles from South Dakota, which has one abortion provider, and Wyoming, which has two. There’s also been an rise in laws that restrict access to abortion, like 24-hour waiting periods and required ultrasounds. But what seems to trouble Wicklund the lack of a strong activist movement dedicated to defending abortion rights. "We have how many millions of women that have chosen to have abortions," she says. "They have come to us and we have taken care of them. We need their voices."

**UPDATE** -- Other providers will be stepping in to ensure that Kansas still has abortion services. The clinic will be kept open, by three out-of-state doctors.

How did Cheney become Cheney?

Dick Cheney’s recent caterwauling made me stop to think how Cheney got to be Cheney in the first place.

Some men build great nations. Some rise within nations already thriving and rise to powerful positions. But others attain positions of modest power, and expand the power of the post they’re in, while they’re actually sitting in the chair itself. It is this last category that fascinates me: men who work within the system to create an empire.

Early on, Pope Gregory the Great, in the 6th century, successfully asserted the primacy of the Bishop of Rome over the rest of the Christian world, and expanded Saint Paul’s effort to build a well-run church and spread the word to all Europe through missionaries. He made the Papacy matter. Henry Plantagenet did the same for the English throne: he brought the law and the nobility of England under his control by means of a very clever program of legal reform (as well as a long string of military and political successes), becoming the first truly powerful English King of the Middle Ages.

Ambition drove Andrew Jackson to greatly expand the powers of the Presidency; and ambition impelled Henry Clay to do likewise for the position of Speaker, and Marshall for Supreme Court Justice. Senate Majority Leaders were regularly humiliated by committee chairmen until the incredibly ambitious Lyndon Johnson came along and made himself into the most feared Majority Leader in history. J. Edgar Hoover did the same for the position of FBI Director, and H.R. Haldeman did the same for the post of White House Chief of Staff. In the heat of the Cold War, Allen Dulles made the post of CIA chief a pivotal one, aided by the fact that his brother was Secretary of State.

A weak president can pave the way for ambitious men to broaden their portfolios: only under an intellectually challenged, detail-averse president like George W. Bush, could Dick Cheney assume unprecedented powers for the Vice Presidency, and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld control not only military policy but also U.S. diplomacy, rendering two successive Secretaries of State impotent.

So to return to my original point, it was Bush’s stupidity which allowed Cheney to grow into such a Frankenstein monster that he and his views still dominate the Republican party today, even though both he and his ideas are full of crap.

The men I’ve mentioned seized their opportunities, capitalized on power vacuums and managed to build their empires in such a way that there was very little oversight. Almost all were feared.

Then there are a few who made their positions powerful through less forceful means. Let’s look at the position of corporate executive: one could argue that the person who made the position of CEO mean what it means today, was a woman. The Krupps began as 15th-century guild merchants; their rise to power was a bit unseemly -- they got their start by buying up the properties of people who had died of the plague and then branched out into arms manufacturing. In the 18th century one of the Krupps married a girl named Helene Ascherfeld and then died; the widow proceeded to diversify into mills, mines, forges and other investments. She was one of the first, if not the first, chief executives of a diversified business conglomerate.

And likewise, the position of bank executive: Mayer Rothschild managed to do what few Jews had managed to do before him –- amass a sizeable banking fortune and keep it from being confiscated by the goyim. But it was his son, Nathan Mayer Rothschild, who essentially financed the British half of the Napoleonic wars, and branched out into a gigantic network of agents, shippers and the like.

Something to think about when you’re out on the job market. Look at a prospective job (if you’re lucky enough to find one unfilled), and ask yourself not what the job is now, but what you could make out of it. Few of the people I’ve listed here were dazzling intellects, and their luck was streaky for the most part, but they all had drive.

What’s the difference between Operation Rescue and the Taleban?

Once again I am struck by how the efforts of the anti-abortion zealots to use violence and threats to intimidate doctors into giving up on abortion services, are perfectly analogous to the Taleban’s effort to intimidate Afghan teachers from teaching girls. Bombing schools, throwing acid in girls’ faces – these tactics would fit in perfectly with America’s religious right.

And as we know, the difference between rightwing extremists in America, and in the Muslim world – Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia -- is merely a matter of detail. The similarities abound: the rigidity, the condemnation of anyone who dares to question or veer away from the most extreme end of the philosophical spectrum, the gangs of thugs they send out to intimidate “slackers”, the non-stop spewing of hate, the bashing of modern culture, the antediluvian views on women’s rights, the fear of modern education, the exploitation of religious ignorance and poverty, even the oil money that props them up. You could put a turban on an Operation Rescue guy and drop him into Riyadh or Tehran or the Taleban and he’d be right at home within six months; put a beard on Billo and he’s Ayatollah O’Reilly (whose fatwa led to Tiller’s death). And in fact the rightwing nuts here and over on the Muslim side feed off each other and exploit each other for political purposes, just like the American cold warriors and the Soviets, just like Bibi Netanyahu and Hamas. They want the holy war that the rest of us don’t want to fight. The real world war isn’t between the Christian West and the Muslims –it’s the modern secularists on both sides, versus the knuckledragging God-freaks on both sides, the real axis of evil.

The scary thing is that our ayatollahs now control one of our two major political parties.

No great insight here, just ruminating....

Montanans spank Baucus for blocking health care

As we know, Senator Baucus is one of two Democrats dragging his feet on the issue of universal health care (UHC). Recently he got smacked around for it. By his constituents.

It was partly his own fault. He scheduled a bunch of town meetings with his constituents while the Senate wasn’t in session. And then he didn’t bother to show up! He sent a video of himself, and some staff pukes.

But in meeting after meeting, the voters gave the staffers an earful. They hate the employer-based health care which the staffers were praising; they are angry at Baucus for taking campaign money from insurers and for resisting single-payer health care; they rejected the staffers’ warnings that even the public option might not make it through the Senate, and the staffers finally admitted that Baucus was open to the public option.

Those flaming liberals of…Montana.

Quote of the day on the Tiller murder

Imagine an Islamist fanatic had assassinated a pro-Israel rabbi in a synagogue, and had harassed synagogues for years, including one arrest for bomb materials in his car. Imagine if one of his associates had tried to kill the rabbi before. Would there be any question that this was Islamist terror? So why is this not Christianist terror?