Tuesday 27 April 2010

Endangered: the Dead White Male

More on the dire straits of the white folks.

Many powerful historical movements experience what one might call “The Wile E. Coyote Moment”. That dreadful moment when the coyote runs off the cliff, and hangs in the air, in open defiance of the laws of physics. And then he realizes that he is about to fall 1000 feet to yet another physics-defying nonfatal smack! Into the desert floor.

The day the imperial rulers realize that the empire…isn’t there anymore.

Oh, no!

The ancient Romans of the fifth century had been in decline for at least a century, but they retained the illusion of imperial power. Then the German tribes marched in, destroyed their government, and took over. And still the Romans didn’t get the message: they maintained faux “empires” in Greece and Germany until uncouth barbarians, Turks in the former case, Napoleon in the latter, crushed them again and again. It took a thousand years for the illusion to wear off.

The Soviet Union was an economic disaster from the start, but they retained the illusion of empire, even into the 1980s when they could scarcely feed themselves or tackle a stone-age country like Afghanistan, even through the collapse of the Soviet Union, even through their embarrassing attempt to horn in on the Yugoslavia crisis, even after losing the first war in tiny Grozny, Chechnya, which is the geopolitical equivalent of getting beat up by the Seven Dwarves. Even now, empire gone, they are still starting pissy little fights with Transdniestria (and if you claim you’ve even heard of it you’re lying), and in two booger-sized enclaves in Georgia, and occasionally using their oil wealth to bully Eastern Europe, or turn out the lights in Estonia in a fit of pique over an old statue (true story and an incredibly stupid issue). They are still clinging to the illusion of power, by bullying progressively smaller targets.

France hasn’t been a major power for centuries, but somehow they didn’t get the memo: as far as they are concerned, they were the victors in two world wars, and built nuclear weapons of their own in a fit of national-scale penis envy. And they still have the illusion of power, in part because they still have a seat on the UN Security Council (yet another entity that is in its 14th minute and doesn’t know it).

The British nobility reached its zenith of power in the fourteenth century, building on the follies of weak and evil kings like John and Henry VI. Then they slaughtered each other in the Wars of the roses and were brought to heel by stronger leaders like Henry VIII and Cromwell. They finally lost almost all power in a fight with William IV over the Reform Bill of 1831 and then in two Parliament Acts in 1911 and 1949. But the real leaders let them keep the illusion of power in the House of Lords, where they slumber to this day.

The Brits themselves retained their illusion of imperial power even after losing America. Then FDR came along, drained their national finances dry in the early days of WWII, forced them to live like paupers until the late 1950s, and strongly impelled them to give up their empire (with an assist from Gandhi). But again many of their former colonies have allowed them the illusion of power by means of the Commonwealth system.

America’s day could be coming. Our economic might is waning, Bush has prostituted our moral standing and our status as the citadel of freedom and justice, and our military excels in the kinds of wars we fought…in the last century. Wall Street and Detroit dominated the nation and the world; now they beg for handouts and watch foreigners get rich doing what they used to do. Dictators and crooked politicians quaked in fear of our reporters from our newspapers and the networks; now the traditional media is going broke, drowned out by competitors on cable and on the net, and no one fears them anymore. One sector after another, our greatness is aging, rapidly and badly, like a Hollywood starlet.

And America is fading because the central pillar of America power refuses to face the fact that a new century has begun, and we must change if we hope to lead in that century. That central pillar of power is, of course, white American power. The fat white crooks who have been robbing us blind and shortening our lives in Big Tobacco, Big Oil, the insurers, the drugmakers, Wall Street are still clinging to a world that has “gone with the wind”, just as America’s racists are clinging to the world as it was before 1865.

But now America is seeing that the path away from our current troubles and toward a prosperous future is not through the Dead White Male establishment, but around them. We know that we can’t get out of the swamp by going backward into the swamp again. The part of America that is not living in the stone age realizes that America wins when it hears from all its voices, which is why Obama is in the White House, Pelosi is in the Speaker’s chair, and Sotomayor is on the Supreme Court. But the swamp lizards of the right see all that dark skin coming at them, and they know that soon the Dead White Male will be a minority.

Thus, the Tea Parties. They are the fat useless Roman matron wailing as the Goths knock down her door and grab her roast pig to feed their families with. They are the fat useless former KGB officer forced to stand in line for bread like everyone else. They are the gaseous old French and British noblemen dashing their teacups into the fireplace in fury, as working-class prime ministers set to work undoing all they built and cleaning up their messes. And they are the white corporate whores who have been stealing our money for fifty years, and the white trash rednecks who beat their blacks by day and beat their women by night, who know their day of reckoning is coming. Because it is the aforementioned whores who are writing the checks that make the tea parties happen.

The Dead White Males destroyed the country during the Bush era. The new team is making great strides in cleaning up the mess. And the Dead White Males are terrified. They are screeching “Back to the swamp! Back to the swamp!” but the rest of the country isn’t listening, no matter how loud they get.

Battle stations! The unicorns are coming!

One thing I find fascinating about the wingnut militiamen, is how they think that they are going to be the Darwinesque survivors if they manage to overthrow the government for the terrible crime of allowing a colored feller to run the store. To that end, these “patriots” have built disaster shelters, stocked with food, batteries, radios, and lots and lots of guns. All ready for the day when Big Gummint comes in their black helicopters, airborne beasts which live only in the world of their fantasy, like unicorns, mermaids, and their cherished racial stereotypes.

Thousands of years of human history show us that survival in tough times often has little to do with the tuna fish and bandaids stacked up in your garage. The people who make it are the ones who are smart, who are unafraid, and who never forget who they are or what they stand for. America was built by pioneers, survivors who weren't afraid of new places, new ideas, new ways to live, new ways to build a community. People who didn't think "GUNS!" first in every crisis. Immigrants, risk-takers, explorers, destroyers of the status quo, builders of new things…liberals all, by the way.

And building shelters….what are you sheltering from?...All those chubby suburban Rambo wannabes who are cringing in their little shelters because they are afraid of nukes and Muslims and terrorists and skeery black guys with guns and big gummint and gays and imaginary socialists and new ideas and the revenooers and (OMG!) government bans on extortionate health premiums…all terrified of bogeymen in open defiance of the known facts, people who think that constitutional democracy is great except when they lose, people who fantasize about being the Hardy Revolutionaries of the Forest while driving to the corner drugstore because they would be too winded if they had to walk...

When the Apocalypse comes, those guys are going to be my lunch. Tastes just like chicken!

Doesn't matter how many guns they have -- the British had more guns in 1787, the US had more guns in Vietnam, the Russians had more guns in Afghanistan. If sheer power and force were the tie-breakers in the survival derby, the dinosaurs would be running the store right now.

Mexican ho’s and vaginal probes!

Declare war on Arizona in ten easy steps!

Proceed to your local used-car dealership, and purchase the biggest, oldest car you can find. Cadillacs, old Lincolns, perhaps a really old T-Bird or Monte Carlo.
Proceed to your local body shop, and have the car lowered six inches down to the ground, and painted a cheery pastel color – yellow, pink, lavender, baby blue, minty green. While you’re there, put in an eight-track player. Fuzzy dice if you want to show off.
Next, the hat shop for ten sombreros.
Next, the used music store, for an old eight-track of Abraxas by Santana. Track three, Oye Como Va.
Next, the dentist, to cap one tooth, and only one, in gold.
Next, the drugstore for an eyebrow pencil. Draw a teeny mustache. Girls, you too!
Ladies, into your closets to dress up like cheap ho’s.
Now, load ten folks, all duded up in their hats and mustaches and ho-gear, into the car. Bring no identification whatsoever. Santana up to 11. Sing along, badly.
Point the car toward Arizona. Pick a town. Ride up and down the street in front of police headquarters. Make them arrest you. Take pictures with your cell phone and send them to Rachel Maddow.
Lather, rinse, repeat until election day.

Better yet, get Minnesota to pass the same law to hunt down people who look...Canadian. "What's all the fuss aboooooot, Officer??"

Even better – since these circus clowns also passed a law essentially saying that Obama is an illegal alien, send Obama down there and dare them to arrest him. Unlike those addle-brained Barney Fifes down in the desert who excel only in roughing up defenceless people, the Secret Service actually knows how to use their weapons on armed targets.

And aren’t these the same right-wing yahoos who were out on the Mall with their guns a few days ago, screeching about how overly intrusive the government is, in Obama’s dreaded police state? And now they want the Gestapo pulling people off the streets to check their papers….oh, right, how silly of me. Freedom for white people, Gestapo scrutiny for brown people. My bad! Meanwhile their buddies have passed an unbelievably draconian abortion law in Oklahoma – one minute they want Big Gummint off their backs, and the next thing they are sticking probes up our vaginas.

The GOP is writing Obama’s ads for him: the masturbating SEC inspectors, the chicken to the doctor, arresting Latinos for “driving while brown”, McConnell getting caught spewing dishonest talking points about finance reform, the Oklahoma vagina probes….

And you have to wonder why they’re screaming about this. Illegal immigrants pay more into social security and taxes than they cost in services – it’s a net gain. And the only jobs they’re taking away are coming from blacks and the uneducated who already can’t find jobs anyway. And cities with large immigrant populations see their crime rates drop, particularly since all the Mexican gang violence has been kept on the southern side of the border. The main danger of illegal immigration is to the immigrants themselves; slavery, prostitution and other exploitation, and death by exposure in the desert. So anybody who is ready to yell and scream and fight and kill over this issue is motivated by sheer racism.

Fortunately, the law will not survive in court.

First, it’s not just the Arizona state police who can grab “suspicious” people without a warrant. Any employee of any local government not only can do it, but is required to do it. So the local kindergarten teacher, or the little old lady who prints out the paychecks for the town council, can strap on a gun at quitting time and go a-huntin’ fer Mexicans. The law is so vague that anything that could qualify as a “political subdivision”, which could include everything from a condo association to the local PTA, is not only empowered but required to go catch the bad guys. None of these “officials” can be prohibited from obtaining immigration status information, which could require detainees to incriminate themselves, which has already been ruled unconstitutional. Also, the law says that the police are now allowed to entrap employers, yet another clause which could cause the courts to strike down the law.

Second, the law requires that a violator pay court and attorney costs plus penalties; no commutations allowed. And if a policeman is sued, his attorney fees could be passed to the detainee for payment. This is very likely to violate proper procedure for civil trial, so there’s another court challenge.

Third, any person who is physically in the state of Arizona without an ID is technically in violation of the law; likewise, anyone seeking employment, or working, in Arizona. If you carry someone without an ID in your car, or let them in your house, or invite them to visit you from outside Arizona, you could go to jail and lose your car to the impound lot.

Incidentally, if you have thousands of “officials” out on the streets and highways hunting Mexicans, many with inadequate or improper training, then there are only about a hundred ways to go wrong: people getting hurt or killed, procedures being followed incorrectly, detainees thrown into local rather than federal facilities, “officials” being dragged into court to explain what their reasonable suspicion was, other than brown skin….So, yeah, there’s even more lawsuit activity there.

Even if the law surmounts those three problem areas in court, the law can still be killed easily by Obama. Only the federal government can verify – “yes, you’re legal” – according to the law. So once you’re detained, you must be handed over to federal custody – all Obama needs to do is refuse to accept the detainees or rule on their status, and the law is blown away. These idiots want to send folks out with guns to round up anybody with a vowel at the end of their name and put them in some sort of desert gulag, but they mandated that it must be a federal gulag – notwithstanding the fact that the guy who would have to administer the aforementioned gulag, Obama, says he doesn’t like the law and is very unlikely to cooperate.

So what will happen first, having the law overturned in court, or the first Mexican getting killed by some buckaroo? Particularly given the toxic environment down there: the governor signs a concealed-carry bill which greatly increases the odds on some perfectly legal Mexican getting plugged for no reason, Sheriff Arpaio’s effective declaration of martial law extends to using police powers to terrorize his political opponents (flaming radicals like the mayor, the police chief, the state attorney general), and one Congressman is already getting death threats, probably because his name ends in a vowel.

Take me to the mall, you jerk!

The wingnuts have been screaming about BIG GUMMINT since August.

But what else did we hear from the wingnuts all through the last year or so?

Where's the federal government, we've got flooding down here in Kentucky and Georgia!!
Where's the federal government, we've got a hurricane!!
Where's the federal government, the mine exploded!!
Where's my Social Security?? Where's my Medicare??
We need the Fed to save my job at GM!!
Where's our federal stimulus money so we can spread it around and get reelected??
Why haven't the Feds fixed the volcano so we can fly again!!
Why hasn't my VA hospital been fixed up??
Why can't I get a federal loan to send my kid to college??
Why didn't the gummint catch Toyota faster??
We need the Fed to save my bank!!


Help us! Now leave us alone! Now help us! Now leave us alone!

I get this attitude a lot from my daughters:



Actually, I don’t. Because my daughters were raised better than the teabaggers. And they know how to say “Thank you”. And they have a sense of shame, and a grasp of the consequences of dishonesty.

Now for our next wingnut song:

Cut my taxes!
But don’t cut all the cool stuff we want – get the money from somewhere else!
Don’t cut Medicare, or Social Security, or defense!!
But balance the budget!!
All at the same time!!
Because Reagan promised it was possible!!
Even though he never, ya know, did it…

The GOP, world’s biggest death panel

Kos had a wonderful observation on what the wingnuts really mean when they say they want freedom from Big Gummint, but I wanted to add a couple of observations.

As the Kos gang noted, the Republicans and teabaggers hate hate hate the gummint in Washington. The wingnuts want to take us back a century, when there was no government protecting us from dirty sooty air, from contaminated water, from dangerous quack medicines, tainted food, asbestos, mercury, lead, unsafe products, epidemics, crooked bankers wiping out our savings, company stores enslaving us; no government aid after hurricanes, floods, and snowstorms which killed hundreds. An era when we began working at age 10 for 12 hour days with no minimum wage; day after day men, women and children were killed or permanently maimed in accidents in unsafe workplaces, with no compensation; no health care, no pension, no nothing. The wingnuts want to take us back to the day when even wealthy white men died younger: then add in the working Americans, women enslaved and denied reproductive rights, Native Americans locked in their concentration camps with their two-bit whiskey, Mexicans treated like criminals no matter where they come from or where they go, old people left to beg or starve, and blacks with no schools or voting rights or protection from beatings and murder.

Three hundred years ago, Thomas Hobbes pointed out that such a life, without government, would be nasty, brutish and – the key word -- short. The things that conservatives and libertarians say they want to do, will cut your lifespan in half, from around 80 to around 40, where life expectancy was a century ago.

The entire conservative movement is one big, um, death panel. Cutting off half your lifespan.

Now let’s sing a very moving song from the Judds:

Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days, sometimes it feels like this worlds gone crazy
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday when the line between right and wrong didn't seem so hazy
Did lovers really fall in love to stay and stand beside each other, come what may
Was a promise really something people kept, not just something they would say
Did families really bow their heads to pray? Did daddies really never go away?
Grandpa, everything is changing fast; we call it progress, but I just don't know
And grandpa, Let's wander back into the past and paint me the picture of long ago
Did lovers really fall in love to stay and stand beside each other come what may
Was a promise really something people kept, not just something they would say and then forget

The Judds sang that in 1987, when the Republicans had already had seven years to shove the flux capacitor up our asses and take us back to the past in Doc Brown’s Delorean. The Judds should have been happy: Reagan’s victorious allies were gaily declaring war on women, blacks, Mexicans, gays, poor people, any pretty much anyone who dared to disagree with them. And giving everybody a wild and crazy tax-cut party that we couldn’t afford. Party on!

So what good old days were the Judds hollering about? World War I, the Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II, Korea, McCarthyism, witchhunts, the Cold War, the segregation, Vietnam, the Munich massacre, the energy crisis, inflation, the Iranian hostage crisis? How much worse would all of this have been, if we didn’t have effective government, armies, the law, the Constitution, a government-protected free press?

Or are they hearkening back to the golden era when, come what may, rich white men ruled the roost, and everybody else shut up and did what they were told? Is that what attracts them? When white folks greatly outnumbered the undesirables?

A couple of analysts have pointed out that the rightwing dream of a world without government, first espoused by Reagan – “Gee, what would happen if suddenly the government disappeared?” – is perfectly realized in…Somalia. Now, take a closer look at life in Somalia: thugs running around with guns terrorizing everyone else, terrorizing anyone who dares to try to make things better, anybody who resists the thugs. In other words, it’s the tea-bag wingnuts on steroids. And so far, the only good thing to happen in that neighbourhood was when Obama and Big Bad Gummint showed up with the U.S. Navy and shot those pirates right in their fucking heads.

Freedom means nothing unless there is someone there to protect those rights, and as soon as you holler for the police or the army to protect your rights…there’s government again. There is no freedom without government. And you can’t just do it yourself, because the threats to your freedom and your way of life are too big and too powerful.

Even the militia wingnuts running around with their guns saying they’re going to destroy Big Gummint and protect their own rights – what’s the first thing they do? Draw up new maps of America, renaming the cities, organizing themselves into military ranks, committees….lookee there, government! And it’s only a matter of time before they would impose “dues”, and then “taxes”, and then brutalize you and your neighbors more tyrannically than those skeery bureaucrats from Social Security and the post office ever could.

Don’t believe me? Look at what the revolutionaries did in France after they gave King Louis his haircut. Overthrowing the Big Gummint didn’t end the Reign Of Terror, it began the Reign Of Terror.

Or in the immortal words of Pete Townshend, meet the new boss, same as the old boss, just like the pigs in Animal Farm….The conservatives only hate the current government because they don’t control the current government. They lost the election. Which means they’re not freedom fighters: they are merely sore losers. With guns. Kinda like Hitler in the cellar of that beer hall back in the 1920s.

Unfortunately for them, we got a vivid lesson in what happens to us when they run the whole show. They already gave us a revolution, remember? The Reagan Revolution, the Contract with America, the promise that they would make government smaller? And thus, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, skyrocketing levels of government activity, government lies about WMD’s, government murder at Haditha, government torture at Abu Ghuraib, illegal prisons, illegal government wiretaps, nonstop lies and political smears, violent attacks and threats, Katrina, killing health reform and finance reform, jihads against gays and abortion doctors, trampling all over the Constitution, ignoring Congress and the laws they pass, covering up Republican sex scandals, and using Big Bad Gummint as a tool to attack their political enemies with.

So, happily, we can see their bullcrap promises for what they are.

Here are some not-the-same-but-similar insights at --


Down goes Frazier!

Ron Paul did pretty well in the recent GOP straw poll, because he had his minions vigorously flacking his name there. So some of his supporters are pumping him up as the guy to save the GOP from Palin, Romney, Newt and the teabaggers.

But is he really ready to fight in the heavyweight class? Plenty of fighters look tough when they've never really been in the ring. And Paul has never faced a real heavyweight challenge. So let’s see the tale of the tape.

Even in the featherweight class, he underperformed. As a Republican in Texas he has, at times, struggled to get and hold his House seat. But let’s hope he’s added some muscle since then.

The next step would be the GOP primary process, where the big boys (including Palin) would pummel him for months and months, because wants America to pull all our troops back to the States and reject all military conflict; he wants to pull support for Israel; he wants to end the Cuba embargo; he opposed the Patriot Act; and he wants to end the war on drugs. And he’s run as a Libertarian.

Then if he gets that far, in the general election he'd be pounded by the Democrats because he wants to pull out of the Fed, the WTO and NATO; he hates immigrants of all kinds; he wants to end Medicare, and in fact he wants to cut government programs to the point where it would destroy the economy; his tax policy is simply insane; he hates affirmative action; he liked DOMA; he wants to overturn Roe; he wants to eliminate VA hospitals; and he opposed the Civil Rights Act. And he supported Pat Buchanan in 1992.

And all along he would get pounded by the reporters because of his record, and his controversial positions on racism and other issues.

But of course he will be able to stand up to all that pounding for a solid year. When he’ll be...a 77 year old great-grandfather.

Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!

Sunday 25 April 2010

Graham complains when Obama did what he told him to do: move forward on immigration

Lindsey Graham is throwing a titanic hissy fit, to the effect that he must stop bilateral talks on climate change, because the Democratic effort of immigration is a “cynical ploy” which undermines the legislative process.

The problem?

Graham was working on immigration with Schumer and the other Democrats. In March he even complained that Obama wasn’t moving forward fast enough on it. "At the end of the day, the president needs to step it up a little bit.”

So Obama’s team does exactly what Graham said he should do. Cue the hissy fit.

Which tells us what we already knew: this has nothing to do with immigration, and everything to do with peeing all over Obama no matter what he does.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Biden will be 70 in 2012


Will he want to run for VP a second time?

And will Obama want him? Obama wanted Biden last time to alleviate concerns about his experience, a problem that Obama won't have next time.

Then...If Biden is off the ticket, does Obama make history with Hillary or Sebelius?

If Obama's a shoe-in for 2012, does he try to pick a running mate who would be poised to compete in 2016, like Warner or Schweitzer?

If Obama's in trouble, does he make a geographical pick like one of the Virginia boys or Bill Nelson? A demographic pick, an issue-based pick?

The running mate is unlikely to be a 2008 contender, if it isn't Clinton. The Class of 2008, in addition to Obama, Biden and Clinton, consists of Edwards and Richardson who have ethical issues, Bayh who pissed off the Democratic base, Kucinich who is just a little too Peewee Herman for the vice presidency, Gravel who is just plain nuts and would be in his 80s, Dodd who would probably prefer to stay in the Senate, and Vilsack who campaigned for Hillary and is deadly dull.

Women paid to kill women?

Depends on how you look at it.

We have now learned that Wellpoint, the health insurer who "covers" 33 million customers, is not only targeting new breast cancer victims to have their coverage dropped -- they actually paid someone to write a computer software algorithm to do it, to find their victims. They undertook a deliberate program to systematically make it easier to ruin the lives of these women.

So I wonder: were there any women on this software team? And if so, what the hell were they thinking, when they wrote this computer code, expressly aimed at giving those cancer patients the choice between bankruptcy and death?

**UPDATE** -- Wellpoint, caught with their pants down, promised to execute the new requirements on recissions next week.

Also, the retreat away from recissions has now spread to the umbrella insurance organization, AHIP.

the chicken that roared

Okay, this is a critical test for the Democrats.

First we have the Republican Senate leadership spewing lies about finance reform that are so obviously bullcrap that even the other Republicans couldn't keep a straight face. The Iron Curtain Of Pigheaded Republican Obstruction collapsed in days. They got caught in an obvious bald-faced lie on an issue where the public is fully on the side of the Democrats.

And then Sue Lowden creates comedy gold with "bring a chicken to the doctor", which sounds an awful lot like she wants to wipe out, not just health insurance reform, but health insurance itself.

If the Democrats can't hit 700-foot home runs with these hanging curveballs, and run nine billion "chicken to the doctor" ads this campaign season, and turn the Republicans into the laughingstocks they richly deserve to be...then they should all be sued for political malpractice and drummed out of professional politics. Even a Milquetoast like Harry Reid should be swinging for the bleachers, in his own Mister Whipple kinda way.

...oh wait, I forgot! Hanging Curve Ball #3, Arizona's plan to grab anyone with a tan and toss them in jail for "lookin kinda furrin".

...which the governor actually signed!

Wednesday 14 April 2010

hair mousse can poison your brain

The Republicans seem to think that if they can only find some brain-dead wingnut who happens to have gorgeous, luxurious, Ken-doll hair, they’ve got an instant presidential candidate. Thus all the unwarranted presidential oohing and ahhing over guys like John Thune and Rick Santorum. Pawlenty, Pence, Romney, the whole metrosexual set.

The latest candidate from Mattel Toys: Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

Sadly, like virtually all of these yapping Ken dolls, he is not just a rightwing yahoo, he is OT-NAY OO-TAY IGHT-BRAY.

…That’s “not too bright”, Governor.

We’re removing regulations which protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. No wait, we’re not! Oops!

Hooray for the Confederates, who cares about slavery! No wait, slavery is bad, oops!

Bringing back Jim Crow literacy tests for convicts – no wait, we didn’t mean to send that out. Or rather, we didn’t mean to get caught sending that out. Oops! It wasn’t me, it was a staffer!

With such a talent to stumbling into a minefield and then being forced to backtrack, this guy should be…RNC chairman!

He hasn’t even been governor three months yet! Once a month the guy steps on his crank publicly. Funny how, every time, it takes the form of trying to pander to his bigoted followers by slamming people like blacks and gays, without getting caught. Hey, you're governor, when you do something stupid we're going to notice!

In his spare time he cut almost a billion dollars from elementary schools.

A billion. Just in one state. A cut of $600 per student.

I guess he wants to win by making the whole state ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray.

GOP unity?

Did you notice that Mitch McConnell has struggled to hold his troops together?

1. unemployment benefits, a vote he already lost, and...

2. finance reform, where the other Senate Republicans are hesitating to support McConnell's "Obama wants more bailouts!" nonsense

Seems the other Republicans don't want to campaign this year on a platform of starving unemployed families and giving crooked bankers a free pass. Go figure!

How Steele's troubles hurt the GOP, part IX

When a political party is launching an election campaign, not only must they figure out how to raise money, they must also figure out how to organize the money. And then spend it.

During the course of a campaign, the party coordinates with its national committee, its presidential campaign if any, Senate committee, House committee, state committees, and everyone else, to coordinate where the money is needed most acutely.

Enter Steele.

Now that his grotesque mismanagement of the national committee has become a national joke, the entire apparatus for managing money flow for 2010 is disrupted, and the traditional Republican planning for election funds is out of whack.

Perkins, the powerful rightwing advocate, is telling people not to donate to the national GOP -- give it to the tea party people instead! In other words, give it to people who are already incredibly disorganized even before you get to the friction between the teabaggers and the GOP.

Money is going to an anti-Steele group called American Crossroads.

Money is going to the Club For Growth which has actually attacked Republican candidates for being insufficiently wingnutty.

Money is going to the organization which the teabaggers claim doesn't exist -- Freedomworks, the group which launched the allegedly "grassroots" tea parties in the first place.

Then there's the Republican Trust PAC.

And a bunch of others.

And this is zero-sum -- money that goes to these offshoot groups is, by definition, not going to the actual party.

And all this chaos makes an organized campaign finance effort absolutely impossible for the Republicans. Not only do you have conservatives fighting conservatives, you have money fighting other money.

What a shame. Dang!

Oh, by the way -- guess who is starting to face some exposure for handling their money sloppily and dishonestly? You guessed it, the tea party groups. Suddenly the folks who are donating to those groups are asking -- where is that money going? And some of it is being wasted and/or stolen by the clowns running these groups. So what do you think that will do to their fundraising?

...and Palin's PAC is also under fire for spending very little on the candidates they're supposed to be supporting. So...Palin mismanages money, Steele mismanages money, the teabaggers mismanage money, but they're the ones who insist on grabbing control of America's financial future away from Obama.

another dangerously insane wingnut

Larry North of Texas, hate Big Bad Gummint, plants bombs in mailboxes and other sites, to kill the postal workers and other dastardly representatives from that Big Bad Gummint.

Thirty-six bombs.

Even the rock-ribbed conservatives of Texas call him a terrorist.


Wisconsin DA wants to criminalize sex education

Just another attempt by the wingnuts to go nuclear with every stupid political dispute.

Teaching kids how to keep themselves safe is a good idea. If the wingnuts want to oppose the policy for their own goofy evangelical reasons, that's fine. But elevating sex ed from a mere political dispute into throwing teachers in jail is...just another sign that these yahoos are completely out of control. Anyone who disagrees with them is a criminal, dangerous, un-American, jail em or shoot em.

We must be really really right because we're really really mad!

More bad economic news -- for the GOP

The Council of Economic Advisers reports that Obama's stimulus package already saved or created 2.2 million to 2.8 million jobs, and it will be 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.

In other words, 3.5 million, um, voters.

The deficit has been cut by $300 billion, or a thousand saved for every man, woman and child in the country.

Retail sales are up as consumer confidence increases.

Job growth is the strongest in three years. From 700,000 a month lost, to 160,000 created.

Stocks are above 11,000.

GDP goes from minus six percent to plus six, housing prices are up 20 percent....

The mortgage plan already helped 200,000 families save their homes, and they hope to help 700,000 more.

And all these people vote, folks.

Gingrich warming up to the idea of a 2012 run?

When Republicans start attacking each other instead of, say, a black Democratic president, there's probably a reason.

Four names which are regularly bandied about for the 2012 presidential nomination are the wingnut-friendly Palin and Huckabee, and the would-be grownup "moderates" Romney and Gingrich.

Right now, Gingrich is attacking Romney's health care initiatives in Massachusetts. Which is exactly what he would do if he was thinking about competing with Romney for the rapidly-shrinking non-crazy electorate within the GOP.

Let's see if he also criticizes the other two -- particularly Palin.

**UPDATE** -- Newt is also out raising money for the Iowa Republican party. So, yeah, he's running.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Obama still polls way ahead of GOP challengers

For more than a year, Obama has been pounded with an unprecedented rightwing campaign of lies and smears, on everything from death panels to birth certificates.

Meanwhile his potential challengers for 2012 have gone largely unscathed, except for a few well-earned potshots at Palin for her latest outrages, like resigning her post mid-term.

So you would think Obama wouldn't poll very well in head-to-head matchups with potential GOP candidates, right?


CNN says that if the election were held today, Obama would beat Romney by 8, and Romney is still sinking because of his connection to health reform. Obama would beat Huckleberry by 9, and Huck is signalling that he won't even run. Obama beats Newt by 12 and Palin by 13.

In other words, no Republican can even get as close to Obama, as McCain did in the 2008 blowout. Obama could quite easily in even more electoral votes than he did last time.

And once Obama gives up on trying to make nice with the GOP and begins counter-attacking and exposing their lies and shortcomings, those gaps will widen. And it will be a landslide in 2012.

Also, we learned today that Palin has made special arrangements for her appearances across the country: all questions from the public or the media are to be pre-screened. This means that not only does Palin have no skill in fielding unscreened questions on policy issues, she isn't even going to try to learn. So in 2012, she either will decline to run, or she will run, but refuse to truly face the media. And since the media has refused to challenge the GOP on its endless stream of lies, they will probably make only a feeble effort to force her to face the music. If she runs it will be all Nuremburg-like rallies and fundraisers -- as few reporters as possible.

In the past she has also tried to ban cameras and recorders at her events, in case she makes a booboo.

Monday 12 April 2010

Six insurers seek double-digit rate hikes


No less than six health insurers sought to impose double-digit rate hikes.

Then a judge slapped them down and said "no".

Somebody buy this guy a beer.

Do we need any more proof that the insurers are going to screw us over any way they can, unless Big Bad Gummint brings them under control?

Another national security win for Obama

Obama has pesuaded the Ukrainians to give up their nuclear materials. This is a huge deal, now that we are trying to round up the fissile material which is being managed, or mismanaged, by up to 40 countries across the globe -- the Ukraine being among the leaders in this regard.

So the obvious question is -- are the Republicans going to increase our risk of a terrorist-run nuclear attack, by opposing this deal just to oppose it?

ADDENDUM -- this comes on the heels of Obama's big win with the Russian nuclear deal. The Republicans immediately began screeching that Obama was leaving us defenseless to nuclear attack, but their lies were so obviously stupid that a recent U.S. poll showed 70 percent support for the deal.

GOP is losing support among the military


Support for the GOP has dropped like a rock among military professionals in the last few years. And, more importantly, it has dropped even more since Obama came into the picture.

This is undoubtedly because (a) they know better than anyone else how badly the Bush administration misused them, and (b) they know that Obama hustled to provide them with armor and health care and jobs for wives and better pay and everything else.

If the GOP can't even hold on to the military vote, what is left for them, other than the trailer-trash vote?

The wingnuts have this dream that the military are going to rise up and refuse to obey their "illegitimate" foreign commander in chief. Too bad for them that Obama is playing a dirty trick on them -- giving our troops competent leadership. Which they lacked for eight disastrous years.

ADDENDUM -- However, a tiny lunatic fringe is arising, consisting of both active duty and former military. They are taking the same stance as the Oath Keepers -- we don't take illegal orders from an illegal president etc etc. They overtly state that their aim is to pursue a conservative agenda and oppose Obama: "stand up on the very soil we defended to preserve common sense conservatism and defend our Constitution that is threatened by a tyrannical government".

...and another soldier is in a jam, for refusing to report and follow orders, on the argument that Obama is an illegitimate president. Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin. He's going to be court-martialed. Let the martyrdom begin!

...and the wingnuts, not content with hoping that the conventional military will defy Obama, are now trying to form a militia in Oklahoma to oppose and resist the federal government. They got some state legislators to sign on. And just now John Dean pointed out that the Constitution gives control of state militias to…Obama. So the only way for the Oklahoma militia to execute its stated purpose – fighting the federal gummint – is to violate the Constitution they say they’re defending.

The GOP terrorist campaign is aimed at...you!

Roland Martin of CNN observed that the southern guys who are defending the Virginia Governor’s proclamation regarding Confederate History Month, have been emailing Martin. And they have been using the same arguments to defend the behaviour of the Confederate soldiers, that Muslims use to defend al-Qa’ida and the Taleban. “They invaded our homeland, so we had to defend it, and get revenge for the innocent people killed in the war!” Southerners and the Taleban suffer from many of the same afllictions: their religion and their fanaticism blind them to all contrary argument, and, in their minds, justify any and all atrocities. Martin’s article implied the question: how do we praise the sons of the Confederacy for supporting the same behaviour that we put Taleban members in jail for?

And then Martin went further. He said, of the Confederates, “They were, and forever will be, domestic terrorists.”

So can we take the last step on this logical path, and call today’s Republicans terrorists also? The party leaders have said repeatedly that violent attacks and death threats against Democratic lawmakers are perfectly okay and perfectly justified, because the Democrats had the nerve to pass a law that Republicans don’t like. And the attacks and threats have been incessant: numerous plots to kill policemen, endless death threats against Congressmen and their children, an organized series of vandalism attacks, guys showing up with guns at Obama events…

And now they are coming after me and you. People who have Obama bumper stickers, who express support for Obama and for Democrats, are being attacked and harassed. They are being screamed at and pushed around in town halls. One guy was run off the road in a case of road rage, while his young daughter was in the car.

And that, my friends, is their next goal: not only to make Democratic congressmen afraid to come out of their homes and do their jobs, but also to target you and me, if we praise Obama and Democrats in public. They want to see to it that folks all over your street have “NO OBAMACARE” signs on their lawn, but anybody who dares to leave up their Obama stickers gets a brick through their window.

If the Republican wingnuts can even attack you and me with impunity, then Kristallnacht really has come.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls….


Kristallnacht has come

In Afghanistan the Taliban have a system called “night letters” – they drop a letter at your house, threatening violence unless you do what the Taliban says. So let’s read a few:

“You’re a dead man. We’re coming to your house. We already smashed your window. Now we’re coming back to kill your wife and your kids. We might even run you off the road, and your kids too. We’re in your town every day, with our guns, all reloaded. We’ll kill the local police too. We pray to God for you to die. Because you dared to defy us. And we’re telling all our friends that attacking you is okay. Because you dared to defy us. You can never hide. If I was a boss, I would fire you. If I was a doctor, I would refuse to treat you. The revolution has come.”

Oh wait, that’s the Republicans. Since the passage of health care, the conservatives have gone all Mullah Omar on us.

But think of that last bit. Rightwing whackjobs talking about firing Democrats, or refusing them medical treatment. What if they try to take that national? What if businesses across the country try to figure out your politics, and refuse to serve you if you admit you’re a Democrat? Or refuse to hire you? What would that make us, as a nation?

It would make us 1935 Germany.

“Jews? No groceries for you! Get out of my store! Juden raus!”

Or perhaps the South in the 1950s, when blacks couldn’t use the hotels, the bathrooms, the restaurants…

So what have we got? The violent terrorism of the Taliban and the Klan, and the incipient economic terrorism of the Nazis and Jim Crow. What else do we have? Wow, it’s straight out of Mein Kampf. Using mass communication to drown out facts with lies, semi-irregular groups of thugs to intimidate opponents, shadowy backers from big business, scary rhetoric about Communists, the bombastic militarism, the big rallies, the constant search for new enemies and new scapegoats, the daily incitement of fear and hate, the racism, the eternal appeal to everything that is small-minded and short-sighted and mean-spirited and just plain stupid and ignorant in the human soul….

Kristallnacht has come to America.

While we were worrying about important stuff like Tiger at the Masters, America stopped being America.

It doesn’t matter that the Democrats control the White House and Congress, if the Republicans are allowed to shut down government entirely. Mitch McConnell is promising to shut down the Senate unless Obama picks a fascist Supreme Court justice, other Senators are promising total shut-down in retaliation for the health care bill, and Newt Gingrich is promising to shut down the entire government if they get enough House seats in November. If democracy is meaningless, if elections are meaningless, if the Constitution is meaningless, there’s no America. By the end of the year, America as we know it could be dead.

There was no particular point in the 1930s when the German people suddenly realized that the Nazis had enslaved them.

Hitler won the chancellor’s office and the Germans cheered.

He burned down the Reichstag and suspended the parliament, and they yawned.

He persecuted the Jews, and they shrugged.

He took Czechoslovakia and Austria, and they applauded.

And then it was all too late.

Everyone enjoying the Obama tax cut on tax day?

That's right, girls.

Obama cut your taxes. Because he's a socialist.
Obama removed government-run single-payer from the health plan. Because he's a socialist.
Obama removed the government-run public option from the health plan. Because he's a socialist.
Obama saved the auto manufacturers. Because he's a socialist.
Obama saved the banks, and resisted the urge to impose draconian regulations. Because he's a socialist.
He gave the green light for offshore drilling. Damn socialist, helping out those damn socialist oil corporations….

And because he hates capitalism, he saw to it that the the Dow goes from 7000 to 11000, jobs go from 700K lost in a month to 160K created, stimulus saves a million jobs, GDP goes from minus six percent to plus six, and housing prices are up a whopping 20 percent. Because he's a socialist and hates capitalism.

And at every step of the way, Obama was fought by the Republicans. They impeded his effort to save capitalism. Because they're capitalists, fighting that nasty old socialist.


And, quick recap: HE CUT YOUR TAXES, JETHRO.

Ya see -- when you take Republican "logic" and apply actual logic to their logic, it starts to sound kinda....stupid.

GOP issues fatwas to attack Democrats

The word we’re looking at today is "fatwa".

That's one of those funny Islamic things, in which an imam or ayatollah says "it is permissible and desireable, under Islamic law, for good Muslims to go attack Americans, Israelis, and Jews anywhere." And then the cuckoobirds go and do just that. The Ayatollah Khomeini put a fatwa on Salman Rushdie, and Usama bin Laden put one on all Americans.

Issuing a fatwa, if it goes beyond a certain point, is a crime. Let’s look back at Umar ‘Abdul-Rahman, the blind Islamic shaikh from New York. He often spoke out against America, and issued a fatwa saying it was allowable to attack Jews and rob banks, called for jihad, and called on Muslims to attack the West, to include transportation targets, economic targets, companies, ships, planes, people. He hung out with the 1993 WTC bombers. When he issued a fatwa calling for attacks on targets in New York and New Jersey, he was thrown in prison.

The Republican party has put out their fatwas, saying it’s okay, even patriotic, to attack Democrats.

Steele wants to put Pelosi on the “firing line”
The GOP website shows Pelosi perishing in flames.
The National Republican Congressional Committee addresses the terrorist attack on the wife and kids of Perriellos’ brother by saying, effectively, that it’s all Congressman Perriello’s fault for voting for health care. The attacks are okay!
Fox argues on their morning show that the Democrats should expect the violence and threats because they had the nerve to pass health reform.
Boehner implies that the violence was the Democrats’ fault for daring to pass the health bill, and says a Democratic colleague is a “dead man”.
McCain thinks it's okay to scream "RELOAD!"
Palin, their most likely presidential candidate, wants to put Democrats in the cross-hairs and talks of firing salvos and “reload!” Then she throws gasoline on the fire by urging people to “stop” cars with Obama stickers, right after one wingnut “stopped” such a car by ramming it in a fit of road rage, even though there was a little girl in the car.
Several Republican politicians joke about killing Democrats.
A GOP Congressman is calling Obama an enemy of humanity.
Beck calls for “revolution”.
Lou Dobbs blames the arrival of anti-Obama goon squads on…Obama.

These are just the latest examples – it’s been going on for months. The Republican imams are issuing fatwas against Democrats.

The fatwa against Obama has worked like gangbusters, spurring attacks, threats, and more fatwas:

Skyrocketing Obama threats.
Sending armed thugs to Obama events.
Steven Anderson, pastor, tells his flock to pray for Obama to die and go to hell – another fatwa; parishioner shows up at Obama event the next day, with a gun.
Another fatwa: John Gimbel calls for Michelle Obama and the daughters to be killed right in front of Obama.
The wingnuts have a new slogan: pray for Obama, Psalm 109, “let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
The wingnuts have set up an online “overthrow Obama” game.
Another wingnut runs an internet poll on whether Obama should be murdered.
A rightwing website runs a piece calling on the military to overthrow Obama.
A gubernatorial candidate jokes about buying a license to hunt Obama.

To me, the really scary fatwa is the effort to terrorize members of Congress, so that they either change their policies, or can’t do their jobs at all – threatening not just a politician but democracy itself:

A guy arrested for another death threat against Pelosi.
Another guy arrested for death threat against Patty Murray for voting in favour of health reform.
Wingnut congressional candidate tells audience to make a Democratic congressman afraid to come out of his house. Get over there and scare the hell out of them!
They tried to blow up four children who are relatives of one Congressman.
Threats to assassinate the children of Congress members.
The teabaggers have promised to go “protest” at the home of a Democratic Congressman and his wife and children – his kids can’t walk down the street anymore.
Painting swastikas on the doors of black Congressmen.
Screaming slurs at Congressmen on Capitol Hill, to intimidate them.
Michelle Bachmann directs her storm-trooper mob to run amok in the halls of Congress, to “scare” Pelosi and Congress members into stopping the health reform bill.
The Colorado Democratic headquarters is trashed, thousands of dollars in damage.
Windows smashed at Democratic headquarters in Alaska.
An organized effort to smash windows with bricks.
Committing other acts of vandalism.
Wingnuts planning two armed riots in DC before and during the anniversary of the wingnut attack that killed more than one hundred people in Oklahoma.
Norman Leboon, threatens to kill both Republican and Democratic politicians.

The fatwa to stop all government activity:

The Hutaree, arrested for plotting to kill police and resist the U.S. government.
Joe Stack, flies plane into IRS building, hated the U.S. government.
Richard Poplawski, kills three police after saying he fears Obama would take his guns and fulfil Glenn Beck’s warning about putting people in concentration camps.
John Bedell, shoots two police, hated the U.S. government.
Joshua Cartwright, kills two police, hated Obama and the U.S. government.
Greg Girard, arrested for stockpiling guns and bombs, fears martial law, loves Palin.
The second wingnut shooting in Pennsylvania.
An anti-government group joins in, calling for the “removal” of 30 governors if they don’t leave office voluntarily; the FBI and police prepare for ensuing violence against officials. More fatwas!
A wingnut spokesman is telling folks to get more guns and take back America so as to prevent Nazism.

The fatwa covers blacks: Daniel Cowart pleads guilty for planning a killing spree aimed against blacks. James von Brunn, kills a black guard at the Holocaust museum; a neo-Nazi who loved Palin and birthers.

The fatwa covers abortion: Roeder assassinating the abortion doctor. Another loon arrested for threatening violence at an abortion clinic. A Fox contributor puts addresses of abortion doctors online.

And my favourite fatwa: eleven-year-old girl asks Obama a question at a town hall; wingnuts put their family details online so other wingnuts can hunt them down.

This is a gigantic wave of terrorist attacks openly encouraged by the leaders of a political party, with the specific aim of preventing Democrats from actually governing. A fatwa against America and against American democracy….by a major political party.

If we use the Blind Shaikh rule, the Republican leaders who egged these people on should all be in jail, right?

(Some of this information was unearthed by Talking Points Memo)

Sunday 11 April 2010

Famous Republicans....are they gay?

Look at Republicans present and past, and ponder…

Were they gay?

J. Edgar Hoover, I think we can close the book on that one.

Reagan and Romney, with the perfectly coiffed, laquered black hair, hostile to women and their causes...?

Bush 41, married a woman who looks like his mommy, forever trying to blow shit up and kill people just to prove he was as manly as Ronnie?

Rick Santorum, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, John Thune, pretty boys?

Lindsey Graham, unmarried pretty boy?

Charlie Crist, rumor magnet?

Craig and Foley, too easy…

John Boehner, spends more time in a tanning booth than a 14-year-old girl?

All those loveless, twisted marriages with mechanically-grinning, badly-aging, power-suited Barbie dolls?

All that insane methinks-he-doth-protest-too-much homophobic rhetoric?

Seriously, when you see the Republican leadership line up in the Senate TV gallery with their TV makeup on, to spew lies about whatever the Democrats are trying to pass...don't you get a yen, in the back of your mind, to start singing "Y-M-C-A"?

Lieberman threatens to screw us again, on nukes


Lieberman threatens to block the nuclear arms treaty like he did with the public option.

Now can we strip him of his committee chair and toss him out of the Democratic caucus?

Santorum for President! Down with black Muslim commie terrorists!


Potential presidential candidate Rick Santorum is out there claiming that Obama is…a black Muslim totalitarian communist who hates families – so jump out of your chairs and fight!

Read his words, and let’s break the code together. They’re all about speaking in code words.

“The founding documents upon which our founding documents were based and that's the Judeo-Christian ethics that is the base [i.e. no Muslim presidents for us!]... We are a people of western civilization [i.e. white folks] founded upon the Bible [Ack! Muslims!]. We believe in the ability, the collective ability of free and virtuous people to do more for our society than a benevolent authoritarian government [Obama’s a tyrant!!]….We believe in free markets, free enterprise, we believe in democratic capitalism [He’s a communist!!]. We believe that families are the basic unit of society, not government. That families are responsible for educating and cultivating character in our children, not our schools [no sex ed, no evolution, but pray pray pray!!].….Barack Obama wanted to make us into Europe [scary furriner!]….We are going to fight for America. We are going to fight for the Jedeo-Christian ethic. We’re going to fight for our founding documents and we will win in November.”

Easier with the subtitles, isn’t it?

He missed some of the classic code words – state’s rights, ACORN etc – but it wasn’t a long speech.

Westboro gang brings their hate to West Virginia mine country


The Westboro hatemongers are at it again – in West Virginia. They marched over to coal country to tell all those grieving parents, wives and children that the miners deserved to die because America tolerates gays. And because West Virginia has too many Catholics.

"Community organizer"

Lately the Republicans, in their desperation, have started whinging about having – gasp! – a community organizer as President. That’s their code language for “angry uppity black man who stirs up trouble in the ghetto and maybe even causing a riot in a neighborhood near you”. Scary black man! Be afraid!

Let’s set aside the stupidity of their implications with respect to what a community organizer actually does – in the real world, Obama worked to train people to get jobs and get into college. Quite the radical. Instead let’s look at the timeline here.

Obama was a community organizer before he even went to Harvard. He was practically a child.

After his work as community organizer, he went to Harvard Law, headed the Law Review, became a professor, a state Senator and a U.S. Senator.

Then he built a brilliant, 15-million-man campaign with new, ground-breaking innovations seemingly every week, on everything from fundraising to communication to caucus strategy. He destroyed the invincible Clinton machine and then John McCain, got votes in places that had scarcely seen Democratic candidates in decades, like Indiana, and won in a landslide.

As president, he saved the economy, saved a million jobs with the stimulus package, saved the auto industry, saved the financial industry, got the bailout money back from the banks, turned America around on jobs and GDP and housing prices and the Dow, cut taxes, cut the deficit, helped the unemployed, helped small businesses, punished corporations who send our jobs overseas, punished dishonest credit card companies, threw lobbyists out of Washington, stopped crooked defense contracts, helped our troops with pay and benefits and housing and health care and body armor and jobs for wives, passed a landmark health care plan, stopped the torture, closed the secret prisons, started getting us out of Guantanamo, fixed our policy in Afghanistan, signed a nuclear treaty with Russia, improved relations with Muslims, persuaded the Pakistanis to hunt down the Taliban, freed prisoners in Korea and Myanmar, killed Somali pirates, and won a little thing called the Nobel Prize.

And he’s only been president a little over a year.

The Republicans want you to ignore everything he’s accomplished since his Chicago days. They want to freeze him in your minds, like a fly in amber, as the “angry black man” in Chicago, and ignore everything he’s done since. Because they just can’t accept that their 2001 dream of a thousand-year-Reich permanent-GOP-majority is over, and that they not only got crushed in two consecutive elections – they got beat by a black guy. A black guy, beat them in Virginia, Carolina, Florida, Indiana.

"Community organizer" is one of their substitutes for the N-word, when they're not using "ACORN!".

Saturday 10 April 2010

Interesting day for Romney

At the recent GOP White Boy Conference in New Orleans, Romney won the straw poll although he didn’t even show up. Romney 439, Paul 438, Palin 330, Newt 321. Not bad. And neatly enough, of the four big vote-getters, three are at least seen as sane. The party leaders are clearly nervous about throwing too much meat to the teabaggers by pumping up Palin or Bachmann or some other loon.

Palin marches in to great fanfare…and comes in third, behind a no-show and a guy who is as much Libertarian as Republican. The party base, to include the all-important primary voters, love her, but the party leaders are afraid of her.

Huckabee just went public with his views that gays are like addicts and molesters, and shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children. Huckabee on same-sex marriage: “You don’t go ahead and accommodate every behavioral pattern that is against the ideal. That would be like saying, well, there are a lot of people who like to use drugs, so let’s go ahead and accommodate those who want who use drugs. There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them. There are people who believe in polygamy, so we should accommodate them.”

Huckabee on gay adoption: “I think this is not about trying to create statements for people who want to change the basic fundamental definitions of family. And always we should act in the best interest of the children, not in the seeming interest of the adults. Children are not puppies. This is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out, how does this work?”

So it’s sounding more like he really isn’t running – certainly he isn’t being careful with his words. This could be good for Romney, by removing a potential rival for 2012, but it could also be very bad for Romney, by uniting all the wingnuts behind Palin.

This next one is definitely good for Romney. Ron Paul on Republican foreign policy: “Conservatives spend money on different things. They like embassies, and they like occupation. They like the empire. They like to be in 135 countries and 700 bases. Don’t you think it’s rather conservative to say, ‘oh it’s good to follow the Constitution, oh, except for war. Let the President go to war anytime they want.’ …We can do better with peace than with war!”

So Paul clearly isn’t sucking up to the GOP base any more than Huckleberry is. However, if this is a prelude to Paul running in 2012 as a Libertarian, that could be disastrous for the GOP.

And then Newt. Something which Jon Chait pointed very recently: we ran John Edwards out of town on a rail for cheating on his wife, but Newt did it with two wives in a row. He told Wife 1 he wanted a divorce…while she was in hospital for cancer, just coming out of surgery. And the second time he cheated with a very young aide. And all this crap was going on while he was trying to harpoon Clinton for..infidelity. But he is still taken seriously as a presidential candidate. Perhaps because the Republicans are much more desperate for gravitas than the Democrats are? I mean, how low do you have to go before a guy like Newt counts as “gravitas”?

ADDENDUM -- apparently, Romney, Palin and Paul all had activists drumming up support. Romney's support, interestingly, came from some kind of evangelical group, so apparently all that Mormon-magic-underwear-liberal-health-care stuff is forgiven. The other interesting thing is that Newt was the one big vote getter who had no organization pumping for him. Hmm...

Friday 9 April 2010

Oh, no! Message discipline!

Republicans usually excel at message discipline.

For weeks they screamed that the reconcilation process was an unconstitutional usurpation. It was a laughable lie -- reconciliation is not only constitutional, but the Republicans themselves used it to beat up the Democrats many times. But the GOP maintained discipline and kept hollering the same lie over and over, until a lot of people began to believe it.

Hitler taught the Republicans many years ago that a lie can be sold to a target audience if you maintain discipline and repeat it over and over.

But alas, the Republicans didn't have their mentor Hitler to shepherd them along this week. So while some Republicans were howling the lie that Obamacare will put 15,000 IRS agents on the streets to grab your money, other Republicans were screaming that Obama is completely removing our nuclear deterrent, also a lie.

No no no no no!

This week is Obamacare Lie Week.

Next week is Nuclear Lie Week.

Didn't you get your program? Weren't you watching Fox like you were told to??

John Thune, Man Of Mystery

Some Republicans, in a desperate search for any credible presidential candidate not from Alaska, are touting the clear and obvious brilliance and greatness of that glorious piece of presidential timber, John Thune of South Dakota.

But they don’t really say why he’s such hot stuff.

They’re kinda quiet about Thune and his record.


Could it be because Thune twisted arms in the Senate, to get provisions supporting ethanol, to help South Dakota farmers, even though it is really stupid policy?

Or are they quiet because Thune twisted arms in the Senate, to get language supporting wind-power passed, to help windy areas such as…his hometown in South Dakota?

Or because Thune twisted arms in the Senate, to get a crooked $2 billion deal for the crooked railroads he used to lobby for?

Or because Thune twisted arms in the Senate, to save an unnecessary air force base in…South Dakota?

"I've said all along that I'm going to play whatever cards I have to get the best possible outcome I can for my base."

Or because Thune twisted arms in the Senate, to force an amendment to a troop support bill – so that the folks back home can enjoy concealed-carry gun rights?

If you’re from South Dakota, or one of Thune’s crooked paymasters, or a nut with a gun, or someone who hates gays, or hates women’s rights, Thune is your pal. For the rest of us, who want good honest policy, not so much.

No wonder they’re so quiet about his record.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Who could stop Palin in 2012?

Chris Bowers of Open Left says that the 2012 GOP nomination is Palin’s if she wants it.

She can draw a crowd and raise money, as Bowers noted. Right now the Republicans are intensely focused on fundraising, because Steele clumsily broke the GOP money pipeline right in the middle of the midterms, by angering party donors with his strip-club fiasco.

The Republicans have expressed fear of Palin in the past, due in part to her gaffes and her extraordinary baggage, and the fact that she polls very badly against Obama. She even polls poorly in the south, which could potentially give Obama a shot in a state like Georgia, where Obama made little effort but still came within about 5 points of McCain (Obama lost by 9 in South Carolina and 12 in Texas). The party could have blocked her path to the nomination. But they haven’t done so, for whatever reasons. Right now I think they’re too busy figuring out how to deal with Steele, to worry about reining in Palin. Perhaps they fear to support her, but they also fear to oppose her.

The GOP has a weak primary field for 2012 –- so who could stop her? Huckabee probably won’t run, so he won’t force Palin to split the wingnut vote. Romney did a mediocre job running in 2008 and now has Republicans gunning for him on the health care issue. And the GOP has a historic reluctance to gamble on unknowns.

Does she want the nomination? Is she concerned about embarrassing herself on the campaign trail or in the press, or embarrassing herself in a landslide loss against an incumbent when she could instead run in 2016? So far, her ethos seems to be “nothing to apologize for and nothing to lose”….

If she chooses not to run, she will wait until the last minute to say so –- once she rules out a run, the attention stops. But she needs to decide soon, so she can set up an organization, networks, donors etc.

But the underlying question remains: if Palin decides she wants the nomination, who can stop her? Unless another, stronger candidate can bring her down in the primaries, what other option is there? Senior party leaders could get together and try to block her path, by changing the rules or uniting behind a challenger, but there is no such challenger, and again, currently the party leadership is in disarray, dealing with Steele, the teabaggers, challenges from the right, and so forth.


PS the latest poll, from Clarus, has Obama beating Palin by 18, if the election were held today.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

GOP gets its electoral strategy from...Alf Landon

Currently the Republicans are bellowing all sorts of insane threats about how they're going to beat us up and take our lunch money in the 2010 elections.

"We're going to lie to the American people about the Senate bill and tell people you approved the Nebraska deal! Because we can lie faster than you can tell the truth! Muwahahahahahahahaha!"

Their latest threat is that they are going to campaign this year, on repealing the health reform bill.

So here's a history lesson.

In the 1930s FDR passed a really, really controversial social program. The Republicans lied and lied and lied to try to stop it, but they failed in the end. The program: Social Security.

In 1936 Alf Landon ran for president, promising to repeal Social Security.

Landon sustained arguably the worst ass-kicking in electoral history. He won...Vermont and Maine. Eight electoral votes.

The GOP slides to the right

Earlier I noted how the GOP has slid so far to the right, that it is leaving its former heroes behind -- they have slammed McCain, Lindsey Graham and Newt for being insufficiently wingnutty. Practically socialists!

Keith Olbermann neatly juxtaposed two such stories tonight: Glenn Beck screeching that Mitt Romney is a socialist for advocating a decent health care system in Massachusetts. And Rudy Giuliani equating the dream of a nuclear-free world with leftist silliness, neatly papering over the fact that wingnut icons like Reagan pursued the same dream.

Palin-Bachmann! Palin-Bachmann!

Palin and Bachmann had a monster teabagger rally today, and people were running around wearing Palin-Bachmann buttons.

2012 GOP ticket?

I'm not a praying man, but please please please could we have this ticket to run against?

Can we call the wingnuts terrorists yet?

Here's the news, just from today:

1. Rightwing congressional candidate Allen West tells the people of Florida to use terror tactics against the incumbent congressman, just for being a Democrat.

"Let me tell you what you've got to do! You've got to make the fellow scared to come out of his house! That's the only way that you're going to win!"

So not only are they admitting that terrorism is their weapon of choice, they're also admitting that it's all they have.

2. The police have arrested one guy for making death threats against Pelosi, and another guy for making death threats against Patty Murray, for the terrible crime of voting for health reform.

So the openly-admitted credo of conservatives is that it's okay to kill Democrats if they dare to do what they were elected to do, pass legislation. Democrats pursue democracy, the wingnuts respond by pursuing terrorism.

And just wait! A whole armed mob of them is heading toward Washington to confront Congress on the anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing.

ADDENDUM -- the guy who threatened Pelosi? Yep. Gets goverment help with his housing.

And Allen West? Tossed out of the army because he and his troops were caught beating and threatening a police officer.

Our hero.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Boycott the Dixie Chicks!

Not long ago a wingnut redneck posted some crazy screed about boycotting the Dixie Chicks. And I responded...

So, I’m assuming that you also boycott the Letterman show, because of the adultery. And all of Tiger Woods’ tournaments and sponsors, and Robin Williams’ movies…

And I suppose you burned all your Michael Jackson records when you found out he was a pedophile and a drug addict.

And all the movies of all those actors and actresses who are addicts who had to go to rehab – you don’t watch their movies, you don’t listen to their records, right?

And I guess you don’t watch football or basketball at all, because of all the players who have been arrested?

And you boycotted the work of Russell Crowe, for being a violent boor. Or Tom Cruise for being just plain nuts. Bonnie Raitt, a drunk. James Brown? Johnny Cash, a case of beer a day? Waylon and Willie? Hank Williams? Mel Gibson’s a racist, so goodbye too all the Mad Maxes and Lethal Weapons. All those actors and musicians who died from overdoses – you burned their movies and records the next day, right? Jimi Hendrix, Belushi, half of the Who? All your Elvis memorabilia went in the trash too? To make a full list of all the people whose works you’d have to destroy, would also be cruel.

Throw all this evil stuff on the bonfire, Doctor Goebbels!

So assuming you didn’t do these things, then either you think that exercising free speech is worse that murder, drug addiction or adultery, or you’re a hypocrite.

Oh, and by the way, a huge proportion of those country musicians you grew up on, were overwhelmingly cranked up on amphetamines while they did it.

So, if you don't like the Dixie Chicks, swell. Let's start a new Tea Party movement, to shut down people who say things that rub us the wrong way.

We'll even rewrite the First Amendment, juuuuuust for you. Something like...this:
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech...except for people who say stuff we don't like.

Of course, if that is the way the rules are written, then many of the voices that drove our nation forward -- voices demanding the abolition of slavery, demanding the vote for women, demanding civil rights legislation, protesting the Vietnam War, demanding safe water and consumer products and clean air -- would all have been silenced.

And you know who else would have been silenced? All of your conservative heroes. The anti-evolution Bible-beaters of the 1920s, the isolationists of the 1930s, the anti-Communist crusaders of the 1950s, the anti-tax revolutionaries of the 1970s who spawned the Reagan revolution, the anti-abortion crusade, the anti-gay crusade, the Tea Party protesters, the Swiftboaters....

All human progress begins with some guy saying something new and scary that freaks out the people around him. WIthout unpopular speech, we'd all still be swinging from the trees.

Of course some still do.

How to tell Republicans from Democrats

...and here's an old piece published just before health reform was passed.

On the last day, the left and the right…

The last full day of conflict and strategy on the health reform bill.

Here’s the left, negotiating with the various factions on serious issues such as abortion, Roe, the Hyde Amendment, budget concerns, CBO projections, reconciliation, parliamentary process. You know, doing their jobs, serving the people who sent them to Washington.

Here’s the right, showing their giggling-down-the-hall-chased-by-asylum-nurses insanity and wild-eyed desperation. They’re out on the Hill calling Frank a faggot and civil rights campaigner John Lewis a nigger, shrieking that the health reform “proves” that Obama’s too stupid to be president, and circulating a fake memo trying to scare stupid people on the Medicare issue, trying to stop the government from working entirely by stalking the halls of Congress and demanding that the Democrats surmount one needless hurdle after another (“We demand that all representatives bring their birth certificate to the vote!”), screeching that the legislative tools which are okay when used by Republicans are treason when used by Democrats, making ugly noises about their Brownings and their other guns, threatening doomed lawsuits and doomed violent uprisings, and screaming lies about gay HIV patients, tax hikes, rationing, death panels, killing grandma, freebies for gays and blacks and illegals, and abortions.

One of these lunatics hopes to be “Speaker Boehner” so he can have that tanning bed right there in his office, for himself and for any subteen girl with body image problems who happens to stop by.

One of them hopes to be “Majority Leader McConnell” so he can stop the government from functioning entirely.

And one of these deranged doppelgangers will be Obama’s 2012 opponent. Let’s keep that in mind. The first time since William Jennings Bryan and Horace Greeley that we face the prospect of having a major national party nominate someone who is clinically insane (although we also had a close call with Curtis LeMay and Pat Robertson).

The Republicans as terrorists

This was originally posted elsewhere a couple of weeks ago.

It is the day after health reform became law…and how have the Republicans behaved?

All I can say is…Wow.

How long do we put up with this, before we declare the conservative movement a domestic terrorist group, with the Republican party acting as their Sinn-Fein-like front men? They tried to blow up four children who are relatives of one Congressman, smashed windows, made endless gun threats, and threatened to assassinate the children of Congress members. The teabaggers have promised to go “protest” at the home of a Democratic Congressman and his wife and children – his kids can’t walk down the street anymore. While their front-line troops were trying to intimidate members of Congress by spitting on them and calling them “nigger” and “faggot”, their most likely presidential candidate posted a “hit list” using gun-target imagery to intimidate health reform supporters. Boehner calls a Democratic colleague “a dead man”. Steele wants to “get Nancy read for the firing line”, and the official GOP website shows Pelosi on fire. Beck, like Michelle Bachmann before him, calls for guns and “revolution”. Security is being beefed up for members of Congress, in light of this wave of terrorist threats.

Their intimidation tactics run right into the halls of Congress itself. In addition to screaming “baby killer” on the floor of the House, they are trying to frighten the Democrats by…

…threatening to lie about the Nelson language (trying to prevent it from being removed from the bill, and then claiming it was the Democrats who wanted it),
…threatening to embarrass the Democrats with poison-pill amendments (imagine the ad: “Those damn Democrats WANT to give Viagra to child molesters!!”),
…threatening to block all legislation and nominations in the Senate,
…threatening to slow down reform by challenging every punctuation mark in the health bill,
…threatening to smear the Senate parliamentarian as a tool of the Democrats (he was appointed by Trent Lott because his predecessor didn’t show a sufficiently pro-Republican bias),
…and now threatening to slow down all processes in the Senate, even committee hearings.

As a result of this, a bunch of generals and admirals who travelled halfway around the world to testify before the Senate were bounced out; another hearing on security in Afghanistan was blown away too, and another on helping homeless veterans – so much for protecting our troops.

Lies: in addition to the endless stream of lies they’ve spewed about health reform – the government takeover plan that will decide when you get to live and die, and take care away from white folks and give it to blacks and gays and illegals etc etc – they are now screeching that Obama bought the vote of a Congressman by giving his brother a judgeship. The problem? The Congressman was a “no” vote. And they are still caterwauling that the Democrats will pay for ramming through this “unpopular” bill – while polls show that America likes the bill, and polls also show that many who don’t like it wish it was even more liberal, and Democratic fundraising is skyrocketing, and a new NDN poll shows that when voters who lean either Democratic or Republican are added up, the Democrats are ahead by a whopping 13 points, 47-34.

Once they wash out in the Senate, their options become more desperate – but desperate measures are all they have left. In addition to attempting constitutional challenges and state-level nullification, all of which will be shot down in flames in court, and promising a Congressional repeal which is wildly improbable, they are gearing up for…

The Hypocrisy Olympics!

Chuck Grassley, who did as much as anyone to slow-roll the health reform bill practically to extinction, is now bragging about the bill, as though it was all his idea; this is quite similar to the Republicans who bragged about getting stimulus money for their states after fighting to kill the stimulus package. Mitt Romney is claiming that the health plan he enacted in Massachusetts is very very good while the Obama plan is very very bad, neatly ignoring the rather astounding similarities between the two (they are also similar to the health plan proposed by the Gingrich gang as a counter-proposal to Hillarycare, and the plan advocated by that known socialist, Richard Nixon). The Republicans are also trying to figure out how to campaign on a platform of repealing the health bill, while also campaigning in favor of the provisions that people like. John Cornyn has flipflopped on the health bill so much, so fast, that even ultra-conservative RedState is ridiculing him, and one of the rightwing Attorneys General threatening to sue because of scary provisions like the insurance mandate…previously supported insurance mandates. Senate Republicans have changed their sheet music from “repeal” to “repeal and replace” – they figured out pretty quickly that the American people actually want health reform.

Terror attacks, threatening children, attempted intimidation, bringing all of Congress to a screeching halt in a fit of pique, spewing endless lies, threatening doomed legal challenges, trying to take credit for reform right after trying to kill it….These are the people who demand the right to lead this country, because it’s the Democrats who are unfit to lead…? And this nonsense includes their two most likely standard-bearers for 2012, Romney and Palin.

The only thing standing between these maniacs and the levers of power, which they flagrantly abused during the Bush era as they destroyed our army, our economy, our reputation, our Constitution…The only thing preventing the Nazis from returning to power is the Democratic party.

In a few weeks the teabag wingnuts have promised a “Second Amendment march” on Washington. On the anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing.

The Democrats passed a law -- kill them!

The Republican party is sinking to a new low that even I wouldn’t have expected. Their new argument is that the latest wave of Republican-inspired violence and threats is…all the Democrats’ fault.

This, of course, is not the first time the Republicans have tried to blame Democrats for the consequences of Republican disasters that the Democrats actually opposed – the entire GOP economic policy for the last 30 years has been to blame Democrats for the cataract of deficit spending that was launched by Reagan and the Bushes.

But this is really a new low.

The argument that the Republicans are making, is that the Democrats deserve to be attacked with physical violence, because the Democrats had the nerve to do what we elected them to do: legislate. Pass health reform. As far as the Republicans are concerned, the U.S. government belongs by rights to them, because the Democrats are a bunch of traitors who can’t be trusted, so if the Democrats manage to grab to the reins of power, it must have been illegitimate (“where’s his birth certificate??”), and if the Democrats actually try to use the reins of power and pass their evil socialist legislation, then any violent opposition is justified. And even when Democrats use the same legislative tools that Republicans use – “They’re using sleazy tactics to ram this through!! Kill ‘em all!!”

This isn’t just the teabaggers in the street, either: it’s the party leadership. Boehner offered a feeble condemnation of the violence, but even then he implied that it was the Democrats’ fault for daring to pass the health bill. And the other party leaders made it plain that they think it’s perfectly justified to physically threaten Democrats if they dare to exercise their constitutional responsibilities. Boehner himself said a Democratic colleague is a “dead man”. McCain says the “reload your guns” rhetoric is just fine, happens all the time. Steele wants to put Pelosi on the “firing line”; Palin wants to put Democrats in the cross-hairs and talks of firing salvos and “reload!”; Beck calls for “revolution”; the GOP website shows Pelosi perishing in flames. The National Republican Congressional Committee addressed the terrorist attack on the wife and kids of Perriellos’ brother by saying, effectively, that it’s all Perriello’s fault for voting for health care. Fox, essentially an organ of the Republican party, made the same argument: they asserted on their morning show that the Democrats should expect the violence and threats because they had the nerve to pass health reform.

The Democrats gave the Republicans a chance to walk this back a bit, but the GOP refused. Hoyer offered the Republicans a chance to make a joint public statement condemning the violence, but the Republicans blew him off; they don’t want to stop the violence, they want to exploit it and expand it.

Eric Cantor now claims that someone shot out his window because the Democrats, by complaining about the violence and threats, are really the ones who are at fault for fanning the flames of violence. As it turned out, the “attack” itself was exaggerated: a bullet had been fired up into the air from a long way away, and eventually came down near the building in which the office was located, meaning nobody was aiming at the office. And in any case, after the conservatives spent several months fanning the flames of anger, teabagger-style, it is absurd to blame it all on the Democrats now.

Sorry, buddy, but when we put up our hands and say “hey, teabaggers, would you kindly stop throwing bricks and making death threats?” that is not fanning the flames. That’s like blaming the Pearl Harbor attack on the people of Hawaii – “please, pretty please, would you Japanese stop dropping bombs on our islands?” Or the Poles in 1939, who obviously were the guilty provocateurs for complaining “Please, Herr Hitler, could you get your tanks out of our front yard?”

Equating a complaint about aggression, with aggression itself, is asinine. Seriously, now: throwing bricks at us, trying to blow up our children, and then blaming us when we complain about it? Go pound sand, Sparky. You’ve got more brass than John Phillip Sousa.

And if the Republicans can’t shut down Congress with violence, they will do it through obstruction – frivolous lawsuits (which they usually condemn), state-level nullification, blocking votes, blocking committee meetings, even blocking bilateral policy talks (all while condemning the Democrats for insufficient efforts at bipartisanship). Lindsey Graham has now joined McCain in refusing even to talk policy with Senate Democrats because they had the nerve to pass health reform. “If we can’t run the ship, nobody can! Screw the voters – what the hell do they know! Only we know best!”

Speaking of obstruction, the Republicans are now planning to block unemployment benefits AGAIN – “If you can’t find a job in a recession, too bad, screw you, it’s more important to throw sand in the engine in the Senate. We don’t care about your kids – let them eat cake!”

The Republicans have gone beyond anything like normal political opposition. They are pushing the meme that everything the Democrats are trying to do is not only bad policy, but illegitimate: Obama’s election to the presidency, Democratic control of Congress and their exercise of that control, the right of the majority to legislate, the functioning of our government, the functioning of democracy itself, even the right to protest when people are throwing bricks at you and threatening your family. It all must be destroyed, rather than let the Democrats do their jobs. “We lost the election, so let’s destroy democracy itself!”

This is nothing less than an attempt by one political faction to use violence to hijack the government. And there’s a name for that kind of behavior.


PS – the guy who helped inspire this recent wave of violence, militia-man Mike Vanderboegh, hates Obama, hates Democrats, hates big government? He lives off of your tax dollars. Social Security Disability benefits. Set your Irony Meter on “STUN”. This guy is now promising “a thousand little Waco’s”.

Another PS: one Republican, Bush speechwriter David Frum, recently pointed out the obvious, that the Republicans have suffered a serious defeat on health care. Within days, he was fired from his job at a conservative think tank, where he had worked for years – just for speaking the inconvenient truth. Then, after going public, Frum denied he’d been fired – they just weren’t going to pay him any money. Yo, buddy, when your boss says he’s not going to give you money to do your job anymore….

And another – Frumin!

How many times in one week are we going to look at the behavior of the Republicans and just say…”Wow”…?

The latest insanity involves the Senate parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, a mild-mannered lawyer who referees disputes on Senate rules.

Frumin was appointed to the parliamentarian’s job by arch-Republican Trent Lott. Lott fired the previous parliamentarian because that guy, irritatingly, interpreted the rules impartially, which inconvenienced the Republicans as they – what’s the word again? – rammed their bills through the Senate. Lott wanted a guy with a pro-Republican bias, and screw the rules! So this guy Frumin was appointed in the hope that he would do the GOP’s dirty work for them, by giving the Republicans all the close calls in procedural disputes.

So fast-forward to the health care debate. The Democrats were hoping that Frumin would simply rubber-stamp the health care bill and let it sail through the Senate without any changes – that way, the bill wouldn’t need to go back to the House for another vote.

Instead, Frumin did what the Republicans hoped he would: he stopped the bill, pointed out language in the bill that violated Senate rules in his opinion, and advised the Democrats that they would have to send the bill back to Pelosi to risk another House vote after all. Just as Lott would have hoped.

So you would assume the Republicans like this guy, right?


Because Frumin didn’t slow down the health bill enough, the hard-core conservatives are screaming for his blood. Word leaked out that the teabagger nuts are planning to go to his house to “protest” and to do God only knows what else – perhaps try to blow up the house like they tried to do with that Congressman’s brother. Senate officials and the police are now leaping into action to protect this innocent Republican-appointed bureaucrat from domestic terrorists. Because he isn’t goggle-eyed-crazy enough to suit the wingnuts, his life is in danger.

This is akin to Peyton Manning rounding up the Colts to kill the referee, just because they lost the Super Bowl. Because the referee was giving them all the close calls, but wasn’t willing to throw the game for them.

Oh, and by the way, Vice President Biden, in his capacity as presiding officer of the Senate, could have simply overruled Frumin’s objections to the health bill and passed it as is, eliminating the need to go back to the House. The Vice President does have that power. But Biden, like Frumin, played by the rules: unlike the Republicans, Biden respects the institutions. Can you imagine, if the positions were reversed? If Dick Cheney was in the presiding chair, do you think he would have hesitated for a nanosecond to overrule the parliamentarian and “ram” a Republican bill through the Senate?

Winning stump speech for Democrats, 2010

Yes, America, we know. Times are tough.

But listen now. Let’s remember who got us into this mess: the Republicans, with their irresponsible deregulation, handing incredible power to corporate criminals, and racking up gigantic deficits. The Republicans got us into this recession, they did virtually nothing to get us out of the recession, and when the Democrats took over, the Republicans BLOCKED the efforts to get us out of the recession, for crass political reasons.

The Democrats wrote a jobs bill, the Republicans fought it, and we finally got it signed.

Health care, to protect you from exploitation by your insurer or your boss: Democrats launched it, the Republicans blocked it, we got it signed.

The stimulus package, which saved a million jobs: the Democrats launched it, the Republicans fought it, we got it signed – and then the Republicans began taking credit for a bill they opposed.

Unemployment benefits – the Republicans blocked it twice now.

Student loans, a plan to see to it that more kids go to college, and the taxpayer is no longer taking the risk while the bank gets the profits: the Democrats launched it, the Republicans fought it, we got it signed.

Mortgage law, a plan to make it harder for banks to foreclose on your house if you’re having trouble making ends meet: we got it signed.

Bank reform, to bring the crooked bankers under control: the Democrats wrote the plan, the Republicans won’t even negotiate.

It is the Democrats who are doing all this work to help you through these tough times; and time and time again, it’s the Republicans who are blocking our efforts to help you. The Republicans think it’s more important to attack America’s Democrats than to attack America’s problems, because to them, YOU DON’T MATTER.

But now it’s an election year, and suddenly they decided that you do matter – because you vote.

So remember who started the fire, who is putting it out, and who is interfering with the fireman. And then decide whether you want to vote for the fireman, or the arsonist.

The Republicans want you to forget where they failed, and Obama succeeded.

They want you to forget that Obama saved the economy by using the stimulus plan to save a million jobs; he saved the auto industry, the financial industry and the housing market, he got banks to pay back bailout money, he stopped the slide in GDP and the stock market and unemployment, and he cut the budget deficit by 200 billion a year. He helped American families to survive the recession: he gave food and support and health coverage to the unemployed, he helped people to save their mortgages, he expanded loans to small businesses, he established the homeowners credit, and CUT our taxes. He fixed roads, bridges and power plants, and built schools. He went after the people who helped get us into this mess: employers who ship our jobs overseas, firms that cheat on their taxes, credit card companies that exploit consumers, people who commit fraud. The Republicans didn’t do these things when they had the chance, so we had to clean up their mess.

They want you to forget that Obama brought back honest government with spending cuts, more transparency, less secrecy, more press conferences and town halls, support for the Freedom of Information Act, and less access for lobbyists. He cleaned up defense spending, overhauled procurement, and blocked no-bid contracts and unnecessary programs. The Republicans were incapable of running honest government, so Obama had to clean house.

They want you to forget that Obama supported the troops. He pulled troops out of Iraq and ended the stop-loss system; he increased pay, benefits, housing, better hospital care, and body armor for troops and veterans, and hired military spouses; he stopped the media blackout on war reporting, and brought families of soldiers to Dover when the coffins arrived. He made our troops proud to wear the uniform: again: he stopped the torture, and he directed the closure of Guantanamo and the secret prisons in Europe. The Republicans talked the talk on supporting the troops, but Obama walked the walk.

They want you to forget that Obama made America Number One again. He won a Nobel Prize for getting the world back on track, on arms control, Middle East peace, relations with Muslims, Cuba, climate change, war crimes, torture, diplomacy. He reengaged with the world and improved our image, he persuaded Pakistan to go after the Taliban, freed prisoners in North Korea and Myanmar, used more troops and smarter policy in Afghanistan, and killed Somali pirates. The Republicans truly believe that only they can be trusted in foreign affairs, but Obama showed who the real pro is.

The Republicans can’t lead, they won’t follow, and they won’t get out of the way.

So what will happen, if the Republicans regain power next January?

The Republicans have promised us that will seek to repeal a health reform law that covers young adults until they are 26, cuts drug prices; helps seniors buy medicine, helps employers cover employees and retirees; shifts more disabled people from institutions to home care and community care; simplifies health-care records to save costs and prevent mistakes; offers more insurance choices in exchanges that offer credits and subsidies; and expands Medicaid. If they can’t repeal all this, they will simply refuse to fund it.

The Republicans will try to repeal a law that prevents insurance corporations from dropping you if you’re sick or have a preexisting condition, or denying you without an appeals process, or imposing caps on coverage, or denying preventive care. They will leave you more vulnerable than ever.

They will undo everything Obama did even before the health reform bill: he expanded health care for 4 million children, expanded vaccinations, cut drug costs for seniors, saved hundreds of millions by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, led the fight against the swine flu, and stopped pharmacists from cutting women off from birth control. This is what the Republicans want to take away.

If the Republicans regain power, this will be a vivid lesson to all our leaders and future generations, that using the sledgehammer tactics of political gangsters and thugs is a winning strategy. Because we will be rewarding the Republicans for all their lies about birth certificates, about Sotomayor, about the stimulus, about torture; and the warnings that Obama the Kenyan Muslim Marxist will kill seniors, kill our troops, kill Republicans, promote suicide, let people go blind, invade your home and decide how to raise your kids, impose martial law; the unconquerable myth about the government takeover plan that will decide when you get to live and die, and take health care away from white folks and give it to blacks and gays and illegals. If you vote to put the Republicans back in power, you’re telling the world – “We believe this stuff and it must be true.” You will be affirming the Republican sentiment that Democrats are traitors and any effort by Democrats to govern even when they are elected to do so, is illegitimate.

You will be rewarding the Republicans for sending armed thugs to Obama events, launching violent attacks, shouting down all real debate, committing acts of vandalism, smashing our windows with bricks, trying to bomb the homes of the relatives of Congressmen, painting swastikas on the doors of black Congressmen, making death threats, joking about killing Democrats, screeching insults during a Presidential address to Congress. And all the while, the Republican leaders applaud the attacks, and excuse the violence either by blaming it all on the Democratic victims themselves, or by claiming that “the Democrats do it too”. Vote Republican, and you’re saying “It’s okay to use violence to destroy the government, as long as the government is being run by people we don’t like.”

If they regain power, the Republicans will go right back to doing the same things they condemn Democrats for doing, with no apology for their laughable hypocrisy. It was Republicans who caused government spending to explode, who repeatedly used reconciliation and deem-and-pass, who wrote the infamous “death panel” language, and who advocated a lot of the ideas that are in the current health reform plan – but now they’re condemning the Democrats for their own work.

They want to bring back the Republican thugs who condemned any and all critics as “unpatriotic” and “traitors”, smeared war veterans like Kerry and Murtha and Cleland; attacked the Clintons for 15 years; declared war on gays and lesbians; and declared war on centrists and moderates.

They want to bring back the Republican thugs who allowed their evangelical allies to seize unprecedented power, to drag us away from critical challenges like the economy, so they could screech condemnations at the rest of us about their own top agenda items -- abortion, school vouchers, school prayer, intelligent design, putting the Commandments in courtrooms, stem cell research, euthanasia, cloning, civil unions, HPV shots, contraception, sex education, faith-based initiatives, banning books, assisted suicide.

They want to bring back the Republican incompetents who botched the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security; ignored the threat of Iran; ignored the Middle East peace process; botched Katrina and then deliberately smeared Kathleen Blanco because she was a female Democrat; destroyed our military and ignored the needs of our veterans, all while screaming “support the troops”; ran up trillions in debt which our kids will be paying for; wrecked our international reputation; and set us back a decade in fighting global warming.

They want to give the Pentagon back to the Republican thugs who lied about Iraq; botched the Iraq invasion, stupidly disbanded the Iraqi army, lost track of billions in reconstruction money, created the infamy of Abu Ghuraib, and missed the estimated war costs by about two trillion dollars.

The Republicans who are now screaming about Obama’s alleged violations of the Constitution, want to hand our government over to the same criminal syndicate that spent eight years violating the Constitution by ignoring Congress’s prerogatives -- launching an unprecedented campaign of obstruction in Congress and by lying to Congress to get us into a war, blackmailing Congress into funding unnecessary troop deployments, defying subpoenas, and using illegal signing statements.

This is the same criminal syndicate whom we all saw, perverting the executive branch into a partisan political weapon to attack enemies with, illegally prosecuting Democratic politicians and firing Democratic attorneys, directing government offices to spread dishonest political propaganda, failing to uphold Article II responsibilities by keeping our financial system safe or enforcing product safety laws, sending thugs to disrupt officials from counting votes while screaming “don’t count the votes!”, trying to convert the Vice Presidency into a fourth branch of government with no oversight, violating the prerogatives of the courts by defying orders to preserve emails and concealing evidence, illegal spying and secret prisons and torture, and keeping innocent people behind bars indefinitely.

They want to give power to people like Romney the flipflopper, Alberto Gonzalez, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Delay, Lott, Harriet Miers, Dick Armey, Gingrich, Ted Stevens, Brown at FEMA, George Allen, Rick Santorum, Cheney, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Mark Foley, Jack Abramoff, Scooter Libby, and Karl Rove. They want John Boehner to be Speaker Boehner, and they want Mitch McConnell’s obstructionists to command the Senate. They think Sarah Palin is a great idea for the presidency.

In short, they want to make America into Teabagger Nation.

But they need your vote to make their “dream” come true.