Thursday, September 30, 2010

Train Action 2010 Candidates: Russ Feingold

This endorsement is extremely easy.

In the land of douche bags, prima donnas and unspeakable assholes, Russ Feingold is one of the very few Senators that is right on the issues and uses his power for good.

He opposed the Patriot Act, the Iraq war, and is fighting the good fight on any issue you can name.

He should be coasting to reelection, but unfortunately it isn't the case. He has a multimillionaire self funded opponent who is your average right wing jackass. The polls in this race range from tight to depressing, so our help is absolutely needed.

If we had only one Train Action candidate for this cycle it would be him, because he really is that good, and keeping in the Senate really is that important.

Donate to Russ on our Train Action page!

"Buck Up Or Stay In The Truck"

Taibbi on the teabaggers:
"We're shaking up the good ol' boys," Palin chortles, to the best applause her aging crowd can muster. She then issues an oft-repeated warning (her speeches are usually a tired succession of half-coherent one-liners dumped on ravenous audiences like chum to sharks) to Republican insiders who underestimated the power of the Tea Party Death Star. "Buck up," she says, "or stay in the truck."

Stay in what truck? I wonder. What the hell does that even mean?
Read it, it's as awesome as you'd expect.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Steny Hoyer is a Joke

There are a lot of things happening in congress right now that I would call an embarrassment. This was not one of them:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) was neither humored nor pleased with Stephen Colbert's recent testimony before the House Judiciary committee's subcommittee on immigration, calling it an embarrassment for the Comedy Central host.

"I think his testimony was not appropriate," said Hoyer, during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "I think it was an embarrassment for Mr. Colbert more than the House."

"You asked me, Chris [Wallace] whether the testimony was appropriate," he added. "I think it was not appropriate."

Colbert appeared before the committee on Friday in his trademark unaware, archconservative character to discuss his 10-hour volunteer work as a migrant farm worker. Almost immediately, lawmakers were piqued by the performance, with some cheering him on and others shaking their head in disbelief.
Also worth noting from Colbert's appearance was this:
It was shtick, good shtick, but the best part came when Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) asked, “Why of all the things you could testify about did you choose this issue?” Colbert seemed to surprise himself as he fell out of character—he rubbed his head in thought and said:

"I like talking about people who don't have any power, and this seems like, one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave. That’s an interesting contradiction to me. And, you know, 'Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers'—and this seems like the least of brothers—right now. A lot of people are least brothers right now because the economy is so hard. And I don’t want to take anyone’s hardship away from them or diminish anything like that. But migrant works suffer and have no rights."
All Colbert did was bring attention to the plight of migrant workers, more than anything Steny Hoyer has done in his career. He wants congress to get back to real business, the stuff that matters. You know, like delaying a vote on the tax cuts for the rich because it might upset his precious blue dogs if they have to vote for a bill that doesn't involve blowing someone who makes over $250,000 a year.

Steny Hoyer people think Colbert's testimony was an embarrassment.

I happen to think Steny Hoyer's constant advocacy on behalf of the shittiest members of the Democratic caucus is an embarrassment.

It's all about your priorities, I guess.

Get The Fuck Out

I wonder what industry you cut a deal with to become mayor of Chicago?
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is expected to announce Friday that he is leaving the Obama administration to consider a campaign for mayor of Chicago.

Though ABC News reports that he has yet to make a final decision, speculation has swirled around Emanuel's possible run for the Chicago mayoralty -- a stated goal of his -- since longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he would not seek another term.

And the decision is all but final, CNN reports. According to a prominent Democrat close to Emanuel, "we see nothing that will stop a run. But you don't announce a campaign for Mayor of Chicago in Washington, D.C. You leave and go home and finish your business there."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Biden to the Left: "Stop whining."

This blogger to Biden: "I'm not voting for your stupid party anymore."

Oh, and "Good luck winning elections without your base. Moron."

Train of Thought Lounge: John Legend and The Roots

Covering Arcade Fire's "Wake Up":

Just When Things Can't Get Dumber...

Didn't get a chance to post on this last week, but it just defies all logic.
The Senate will delay action on whether to renew Bush-era tax cuts until after the November election, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has announced.

Democrats don't want tax cuts extended for the richest 2% of Americans, while Republicans say they want tax relief for everyone. The issue is sure to play a prominent role in the fall campaign.

Also today, Senate Republicans again blocked consideration of campaign-finance reform that would require disclosure of groups funding political ads, our colleagues at On Politics say.
So in the run up to an election, this is an issue where the Democrats can position themselves very clearly as advocates for the poor and middle class and paint Republicans as defenders of the rich and powerful. So what do they do? They defer to the biggest assholes in their caucus who to the surprise of no one want to fight for tax cuts for the super rich.

Only Democrats would find a way to blow this, and to the surprise of no one, they did. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Train Theater: Pledge for America!

The friendly guys over at the GOP are tired of getting their shit wrecked on election days, so they came out with a real cool pledge! I found it so inspiring that I logged on to that site where you can create videos and created a video to celebrate the release of this exciting pledge. Check it out!

Government Run Obama-care Socialism In Effect

These changes became law today:
Insurers Will No Longer Be Able To:

* Deny coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions. Health plans cannot limit or deny benefits or deny coverage for a child younger than age 19 simply because the child has a pre-existing condition like asthma.

* Put lifetime limits on benefits. Health plans can no longer put a lifetime dollar limit on the benefits of people with costly conditions like cancer

* Cancel your policy without proving fraud. Health plans can’t retroactively cancel insurance coverage – often at the time you need it most - solely because you or your employer made an honest mistake on your insurance application.

* Deny claims without a chance for appeal. In new health plans, you now have the right to demand that your health plan reconsider a decision to deny payment for a test or treatment. That also includes an external appeal to an independent reviewer.

Consumers in New Health Plans Will Be Able to:

* Receive cost-free preventive services. New health plans must give you access to recommended preventive services such as screenings, vaccinations and counseling without any out-of-pocket costs to you.

* Keep young adults on a parent’s plan until age 26. If your health plan covers children, you can now most likely add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old if they don’t have coverage on the job.

* Choose a primary care doctor, ob/gyn and pediatrician. New health plans must let you choose the primary care doctor or pediatrician you want from your health plan’s provider network and let you see an OB-GYN doctor without needing a referral from another doctor.

* Use the nearest emergency room without penalty. New health plans can’t require you to get prior approval before seeking emergency room services from a provider or hospital outside your plan’s network – and they can’t require higher copayments or co-insurance for out-of-network emergency room services.
The bill was far from what was needed, but these are significant changes.

Things White People Like: Gentrification

Long story short: Prince of Petworth posted something from DC resident "BJ" discussing the effects of gentrification. I gotta say I agree with quite a bit of what he said, and knowing how his readers would flip their shits, PoP deserves a lot of credit for posting it.

When the comments start to get particularly stupid and racist (read through them if you must, but it raised my blood pressure to unhealthy levels), this comment from anan saved by day:
I’m gonna go ahead and back slowly away from this thread now. You people are in hysterics and really just proving BJs point. Stuff white people like. Gentrification. Stuff white people don’t like. Being told that there are some unintended negative effects of said gentrification.
Disclosure: I live in Petworth, and have good relationships with my neighbors.

If you're nice and treat people with respect (and don't have some deep seated fear of black people that you unleash anonymously in PoP comment threads), then you'll probably do just fine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Larry Summers Experience Is Over

Not a moment too soon:
Lawrence Summers, the White House's top economic adviser, will leave at the end of the year and return to his position as a professor at Harvard University, according to a statement released by the White House today. (The news was first reported by Hans Nichols of Bloomberg News.)

Earlier today, amid rumors of their departure, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said that President Obama is "enormously pleased" with the performance of Summers and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Reuters reported.
 Well, we can at least have one day to rejoice...
To fend off claims of being anti-business, the Obama administration may replace Summers, who serves as the director of the president's National Economic Council, with a top corporate executive, Bloomberg reports.
To fend off... claims... that he's been... anti-busi...AARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH

What Zach said


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It Ain't My Fault

(The awesome It ain't my fault video with Silkk the shocker and Mystikal would be here right now if they hadn't stupidly disabled embedding. Moving on...)

In the wake various people (myself included) getting annoyed at President Obama's most recent round of denouncing "the left", it's worth noting that atrios echoed my thoughts exactly yesterday:
I know I'm a broken record on this, but there is no great mystery why the Dems are looking at potentially major problems in November. The economy is truly atrocious and has been for a long time. I remember just before the '08 election - almost two years ago - betting a friend that unemployment would rise above 7.6%. At the time to many people 7.6% seemed to be a pretty crazy number, even in the middle of the unfolding crisis. Soon after the administration projected that unemployment would peak at 9% from Q1-Q3 2010, and then start declining without any stimulus. It's now been above 9% since May 2009, including 3 months where it was 10%+. If I had traveled back in time to warn them of this state of affairs, they would have been more likely to believe the time travel part.

There are areas of this country that are completed devastated, some due mostly to the collapse of the housing bubble and, increasingly, places which are being demolished by the recession even though they were largely untouched by the bubble.

Maybe an "I feel your pain" or "Message: I care" speech isn't going to do it, but jokes about the petulant base at $30,000 fundraisers aren't going to help either. Though, in truth, the petulant base - the assholes who don't cheerlead sufficiently on their blogs - are going to go out and vote. We vote. It's what we do. It's the people who are unemployed, union members wondering what happened to EFCA, immigrants and their families who know that we got a bunch of money to militarize the border and stepped up deportation but no progress on immigration reform, and women who might question the administration commitment to reproductive rights for good reasons.

Now I hope all of these people go out and vote. I certainly think keeping Team Blue in power is important and not just because the Republicans are stupid and crazy, but if they don't vote it isn't my fault.(Empasis mine)
He's said variations of the same thing multiple times this week so it's clearly a strategy, but I really don't understand the point.

May sound crazy here, but "I know we haven't gotten everything you wanted, but we're trying and we'll keep fighting" seems like better motivation than "you're lucky to get the scraps you got, you unrealistic and ungrateful shits".

It should also probably be noted that if Obama had reserved any of this scorn for his economic team, you know the one who will actually be responsible for the Democratic losses this November, we probably be a lot better off.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fuck the Poor, Save the Rich

This graph is really depressing:

99.9% of people think look at a graph and think "that's fucking horrifying".

What does an asshole like Evan Bayh take from this?
TODD: Yesterday, the Census came out and said one in seven Americans are living below the poverty line. Do you look at that story today — you know, you open up your USA Today, right, and you see that story — and you see Washington is debating the tax rates for the wealthy, and you sit there and say, isn’t that a disconnect in America right now?

BAYH: It is a disconnect, Chuck. What we need to be focused on is growth, how do we create jobs, how do we expand businesses. That needs to be job one right now. And all these other issues involving, oh, fairness and things like that can wait.
"Fairness and things" can wait when we need to give the rich more money.

What an disgraceful human being.

Why Dem Hate We

Just a reminder that it's not about our freedom, or because we're just too awesome. There are a lot of people around the world who don't like us because of this: (via balloon juice)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rallying The Base

Stuff like this makes you really want to get out the vote, doesn't it?
PRESIDENT OBAMA, at a DNC event last night in Greenwich, Conn.: "[A]fter being in this job for two years, I have never been more optimistic about America. I am optimistic partly because we did some really tough things that aren't always popular but were the right things to do. Š Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed -- oh, well, the public option wasn't there. If you get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about this particularly derivatives rule, I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven't yet brought about world peace and -- (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.)
Making fun of people for being upset that there wasn't a public option? That position was so far left and out of the mainstream that someone name Barack Obama used it as a campaign promise. Crazy unrealistic hippies! I'm also pretty sure that no one thought you were gonna bring world peace when you campaigned on escalating an un-winnable war.

But more importantly, what point is there in demeaning your already despondent supporters? Pretty sure it won't make them work harder or give more money.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Train of Thought Lounge: Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk: Die Roboter

The video is from German TV in 1978, kind of amazing:

31 Assholes

Tax cuts for the rich! Great message, guys:
Democratic pollsters say keeping the tax cuts for just the middle class is the winning issue for the fall midterms, but at least 31 House Democrats are having none of it.

The ongoing struggle within the party has taken the focus off Minority Leader John Boehner's weekend tax gaffe, but also presents a real problem for the Democratic leadership which believes they must get a legislative victory on this to retain Congressional control.

As TPMDC laid out earlier, Democrats wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for an extension of all the Bush tax cuts, including those for the rich. Pelosi has made clear she favors keeping them for the middle class, especially since she considers it a "black and white" issue that will help her party during the election season.
The names:
Rep. Jim Matheson (UT)
Rep. Gary Peters (MI)
Rep. Melissa Bean (IL)
Rep. Glenn Nye (VA)
Rep. Michael McMahon (NY)
Rep. Lincoln Davis (TN)
Rep. John Salazar (CO)
Rep. Brad Ellsworth (IN)
Rep. Dan Boren (IN)
Rep. Jim Himes (CT)
Rep. John Barrow (GA)
Rep. Ron Klein (FL)
Rep. Zack Space (OH)
Rep. Jason Altmire (PA)
Rep. Allen Boyd (FL)
Rep. Joe Donnelly (IN)
Rep. Jim Cooper (TN)
Rep. Frank Kratovil (MD)
Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC)
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (ND)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Rep. Jim Marshall (GA)
Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (SD)
Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA)
Rep. Mike Ross (AR)
Rep. Rick Boucher (VA)
Rep. Harry Teague (NM)
Rep. Travis Childers (MS)
Rep. Walt Minnick (ID)
Rep. Harry Mitchell (AZ)
Rep. Jim Costa (CA)
I gotta say I can't wait to see a lot of these shitheads lose their jobs when the Democrats get slaughtered this November.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chinese "Political Reform" Shows Signs of Life

One month ago, PLA General Liu Yazhou penned an article for Hong Kong-based Phoenix magazine in which he argued that political reform is urgently needed to ensure China's continued rise.
"If a system fails to let its citizens breathe freely and release their creativity to the maximum extent, and fails to place those who best represent the system and its people into leadership positions, it is certain to perish."
Still, he's just part of the PLA, albeit a high-ranking one. People were more surprised two weeks later, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao went off on the same subject during a speech. He was in Shenzhen at the time, commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the day when the city was established as a Special Economic Zone- an area where capitalist business practices were allowed, which would come to serve as the blueprint for the economic reforms that put the Chinese economy where it is today. Instead of restraining his remarks to economic policy, as Hu Jintao would do a few days later, Wen spoke about the necessity of introducing political reforms as well:
"If there is no guarantee of reform of the political system, then results obtained from the reform of the economic system may be lost, and the goal of modernisation cannot be achieved..." China must loosen the "excessive political control" of the Communist party, which suffers from "the problem of over-concentration of power with ineffective supervision."
Now, the Study Times has entered the fray. Study Times is the signature newspaper of the Central Party School, which is a pretty big deal in China- it's the highest school in the Communist Party hierarchy for training future leaders, and its current president is Xi Jinping, widely viewed as the most man most likely to take Hu Jintao's job in two years. Previous Central Party School presidents have included heavy hitters like Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Wang Zhen, and Hu Jintao himself. The article, which ran two days ago, was entitled "Political Reform is What People Want" and said:
"The country will have a bright future if we succeed in pushing political reform ... otherwise, the fruits of economic reform will be lost and the goal of modernisation cannot be achieved. Going against the people's will would lead the reform to fail."
To be fair, there are still enormous forces blocking the route to reform. But it's definitely becoming harder and harder for Beijing to deny that serious reforms are needed if they want to keep the country in one piece during the decades to come. Political reform is something that a number of my students, some of them Communist Party members themselves, spoke about as well. If Wen Jiabao wants to give himself a legacy that he can be proud of, this is the issue with which to do it.

About Fucking Time

I'll admit this confused the hell out of me, but it seems like she'll be on track to head the agency after she's done setting it up.
The White House has tapped Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser to help set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, affirming its support for a tough new agency charged with protecting consumers from abusive lenders.

The move allows her to act as an interim head of the CFPB and will enable her to begin setting up the agency immediately and prevent the GOP from filibustering her nomination. Warren could serve until President Barack Obama nominates a permanent director to serve the five-year term -- a nomination he's not required to make for some time. Obama also could nominate her as the permanent director in the near future, a prospect that has been discussed among top aides, according to a person familiar with White House deliberations. Warren formally will be named as a special adviser reporting directly to Obama, and serving in a similar capacity to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, later this week.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Inside the Teabagger Mind

Via Think Progress:
Local members of the Tea Party sponsored a float, decorated to look like a Radio Flyer wagon, pulled behind a truck. In that truck a number of people sat holding signs that read everything from “Obama Care” and “Healthcare Take Over” to “Wasted Tax Money.”

But the thing that got people upset was a man in shirt and tie wearing a mask of President Barack Obama. In one hand he held a sign that read “Hey Kids! Thanks for paying out debt!” In the other hand he held a horse riding crop which he snapped at a young teen in front of him pretending to pull the wagon by the handle wearing a shirt that read “Future Tax Payer.”
Obama whipping a white person pulling the float.

I guess our "Obama = White Slavery" sign probably wasn't that far off after all...

He's Not An Employee, Just A Fanboy

Poor Tim Giethner. For some reason, everyone thinks he worked for Goldman Sachs:
Timothy F. Geithner has been misidentified as a former Wall Street insider from Goldman Sachs so many times since he became the Treasury secretary that he and his advisers had taken to joking about it. Then the joke backfired.

Earlier this month, Mr. Geithner had breakfast in Manhattan with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Robert Steel, a deputy mayor and former Treasury official in the Bush administration who had previously worked at Goldman. Facetiously, a Geithner aide said Mr. Steel and Mr. Geithner knew each other from the investment bank, The New York Times’s Jackie Calmes reports.

Later that day at a public event, the mayor in all seriousness referred to Mr. Steel and Mr. Geithner, and added, “They both worked at Goldman.”


Just as the Geithner aide’s humor fell flat, likewise newspaper corrections, Mr. Geithner’s objections to TV news interviewers and his staff’s work to spread the boss’s résumé have failed to dispel the belief that Mr. Geithner is a former Wall Street banker, or more specifically, a Goldman guy.
Yeah, total mystery, why could anyone think this stuff:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has met more often with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein than Congressional leaders, including the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader, according to his official calendar.

Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein has shown up on Geithner's calendar at least 38 times through March 2010 since the Treasury Secretary took office in January 2009, three more entries than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 13 more than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and nearly four times as many as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner combined, according to a copy of Geithner's daily log recently published online by the Treasury Department. The imbalance is striking, considering that Geithner was heavily involved in financial regulatory reform legislation, which Congress was grappling with during the period covered by the calendar.
Or you know, stuff like this:
Beyond his tax gaffe, which will mainly serve to politically weaken Obama's pick, Whalen says Geithner is the wrong many for the job because of his decision-making as President of the New York Fed.

"I believe Tim Geithner only represents part of Wall Street - Goldman Sachs," he says, suggesting Goldman was the "primary beneficiary of the AIG bailout" and notes Goldman alum Stephen Friedman serves on the board of the NY Fed. (Hank Paulson and Robert Rubin, with whom Geithner had frequent meetings in the past year, are also Goldman alum.)
No, Tim Giethner never worked for Goldman Sachs. He's just always been their fanboy, and he loves hanging out with their shady as fuck Chairman.

Is that better or worse?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Delaware Primary Results

O'Donnell wins!

The Sky is Blue, Chris Dodd is an Asshole

He just can't help himself:
Outgoing Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) warned Tuesday that an interim appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "jeopardizes the existence" of the nascent agency.

The White House is considering naming Warren interim head, as the law establishing the CFPB allows, in order to get her into place immediately and head off a Senate filibuster of her nomination. Once she's in place, Obama could nominate her for the permanent position.

"I'm not enthusiastic about that and I think it'll be met with a lot of opposition," Dodd told reporters after coming off the Senate floor.
There's so much opposition to Elizabeth Warren that the only person constantly voicing it from either party is... Chris Dodd. Why Dodd is doing this isn't entirely clear, but considering his past it's probably 60% him being owned by the banking industry, and 40% that he's a self absorbed asshole.
Dodd said that an interim appointment would deprive the director of the legitimacy that comes with Senate confirmation. He added that such an appointment could create a backlash that would lead Congress to defund the bureau.

"This is a big job, an important job, and it needs to be -- you've got to build the support for that institutionally or the next Congress - and none of us know what the outcome's going to be politically -- you could gut this before it even gets off the ground. If you don't have someone running it early on, it jeopardizes the existence of the consumer protection bureau," he said. Asked how Congress would gut it, he said: "Money. Take away the money. That's how you always do it."

The CFPB, however, is designed to get its funding stream from the Federal Reserve, not Congress. During the Wall Street reform debate, Dodd argued that funding from the Fed would protect the CFPB from Congressional efforts to defund it. On Tuesday, however, Dodd said that the funding stream could be altered and then killed. "They can change the funding source and kill it," said Dodd. "That can change with an amendment."
That's even more awesome, in addition to simply opposing her, he's detailing attack plans that the GOP could "hypothetically" use against the agency if she was nominated.

Dodd's douchery aside, the real story here is why the fuck the White House hasn't nominated her yet. She's clearly the most qualified, she's extremely popular and oh yeah... she helped FUCKING DESIGN THE AGENCY SHE WOULD LEAD.

Clearly Giethner's coziness with the banks is a major source of the uneasiness, but there's seriously no excuse that this point. The longer this drags on the longer it will take to get this agency off the ground, which would hurt the chances that this becomes a sound institution that serves us for decades to come.

Daring the GOP to fight against Elizabeth Warren would be like the TKO of Boehner over the bush tax cuts times 10. The Republicans don't want any of this fight, especially not before the election. Get here in there today, so she can finish the work she's started.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Portrait of the Teabaggers as a Mature Movement

Mature as in “more than a year old and thus slightly less likely to literally shit themselves,” that is. Yesterday the Tea Party rolled back into Washington, one year to the day after we first made their acquaintance during the storied 9/12/2009 March on the Capitol. This year, as last, some friends of the Train came out to help us form the second incarnation of The Conductors. Behold:

Dizzle sported a sign which worked on a few levels- none of which were picked up on by the proud teabagging masses. They saw Marxism, they saw crush, they saw something about a final solution- they shouted their approval. Somewhere, a CEO is now wondering if he could actually unironically use this as a slogan.

A mysterious friend known simply as D couldn’t pick just one complaint, and carried a sign expressing some slightly over-generalized frustration. Luckily her sign fit in just fine, given that the crowd was angry about everything from socialism to fascism to Islam to clouds.
La France took up my old sign from last year, and JJ reprised his own. Mine was a variation on a theme- perhaps the fine print will make things clearer:

(Warning: Don’t go to that site. Don’t do it.)

And what were we up against? The crowd itself was noticeably smaller, probably reflecting the split caused by Glenn Beck’s Rambling Jesus-a-thon two weeks ago. Again, many people chose to set up lawn chairs and nap, especially towards the back end of the crowd. There was a distinct aura of drowsiness to the participants this time.

Still, some people managed to stand- like this guy, who is seriously angry about Islam:

This gentleman just likes to keep his options open:

Here we see someone who actually believes that America is being threatened by “Mohammedan Socialists,” in a pretty severe case of tilting at windmills-itis.

This guy was really proud of his faux-Maoist Obama shirt, until Dizzle and I started applying Teabagger logic and loudly berated him for supporting the economy of Communist China. He quickly tried to claim that his “friend” had bought it for him in China, but our righteous pro-capitalist rant continued while we walked away. There’s no winning when you play by Teabagger rules.

Nothing to say here other than that I feel really bad for the kid in the middle, who apparently has a long life of dressing like a frontiersman and hanging out with nutcases ahead of him.

This one really speaks for itself:

This poor woman plans to sit on a lawn chair protesting nonsensically until the end of time:

So yes, the signs were every bit as impressive as last year. But something had changed- some spark has left the movement, leaving it feeling almost despondent at times. Last year the entire thing felt like a festival of lunacy, but Sunday was sluggish and desultory. What happened?

JJ and I tried to figure it out. Maybe the Teabaggers are starting to realize, on some subconscious level, that their entire movement is a sham designed to elect Republicans who won’t actually do any of the preposterous things they demand? The rally was also littered with the ghosts of wingnut memes of the past. Birthers, once stalwarts of the Teabag movement, seem to have almost gone extinct. The survivors seem to understand that they aren’t going to get Obama deported to Kenya any time soon. Similarly, the death panels promised by Sarah Palin turned out to be nonexistent; a figment of the Right’s fevered imagination. Now most of the HCR-related signs confined themselves to complaining about its effects, real or imagined, on the deficit.

The Tea Party gained its strength from an ability to fuse various wingnut memes into one cohesive movement. It gave these people the impression that they’re part of something important- a vehicle for sweeping the Kenyan Marxist Fascist Islamic Fundamentalist back to the moon or something, not just a vehicle for selling Dick Armey’s books and sweeping his friends into office. Perhaps it’s for the best that they start coming to terms with this today- because the Republicans who benefit from their votes in November are no more likely to deliver on their demands than Obama is to please the progressives who voted for him in 2008. If the Republicans win big in November then the Tea Party will have officially outlived its usefulness, and that doesn’t bode well for future 9/12 gatherings.

Our Anti-Colonial Kenyan President

While everyone is rightfully eviscerating Newt Gingrich for his comments, the blindingly stupid article by Dinesh D’Souza that inspired them is so insane that it needs to be discussed:
But to his son, the elder Obama represented a great and noble cause, the cause of anticolonialism. Obama Sr. grew up during Africa's struggle to be free of European rule, and he was one of the early generation of Africans chosen to study in America and then to shape his country's future.

I know a great deal about anticolonialism, because I am a native of Mumbai, India. I am part of the first Indian generation to be born after my country's independence from the British. Anticolonialism was the rallying cry of Third World politics for much of the second half of the 20th century. To most Americans, however, anticolonialism is an unfamiliar idea, so let me explain it.

Anticolonialism is the doctrine that rich countries of the West got rich by invading, occupying and looting poor countries of Asia, Africa and South America. As one of Obama's acknowledged intellectual influences, Frantz Fanon, wrote in The Wretched of the Earth, "The well-being and progress of Europe have been built up with the sweat and the dead bodies of Negroes, Arabs, Indians and the yellow races."
I didn't think the merits of "anti-colonialism" was something we debated anymore, but Forbes magazine decided that they'd give Dinesh D’Souza a platform to spew bullshit from every orifice, so I guess this is what you get.
It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.

For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for.
That sounds just like the Big Bank friendly/Afghanistan escalating President Obama we know and love! But D'Souza isn't done making shit up to flesh out his conspiracy theory:
Why support oil drilling off the coast of Brazil but not in America? Obama believes that the West uses a disproportionate share of the world's energy resources, so he wants neocolonial America to have less and the former colonized countries to have more. More broadly, his proposal for carbon taxes has little to do with whether the planet is getting warmer or colder; it is simply a way to penalize, and therefore reduce, America's carbon consumption. Both as a U.S. Senator and in his speech, as President, to the United Nations, Obama has proposed that the West massively subsidize energy production in the developing world.

Rejecting the socialist formula, Obama has shown no intention to nationalize the investment banks or the health sector. Rather, he seeks to decolonize these institutions, and this means bringing them under the government's leash. That's why Obama retains the right to refuse bailout paybacks--so that he can maintain his control. For Obama, health insurance companies on their own are oppressive racketeers, but once they submitted to federal oversight he was happy to do business with them. He even promised them expanded business as a result of his law forcing every American to buy health insurance.

If Obama shares his father's anticolonial crusade, that would explain why he wants people who are already paying close to 50% of their income in overall taxes to pay even more. The anticolonialist believes that since the rich have prospered at the expense of others, their wealth doesn't really belong to them; therefore whatever can be extracted from them is automatically just. Recall what Obama Sr. said in his 1965 paper: There is no tax rate too high, and even a 100% rate is justified under certain circumstances.

Obama supports the Ground Zero mosque because to him 9/11 is the event that unleashed the American bogey and pushed us into Iraq and Afghanistan. He views some of the Muslims who are fighting against America abroad as resisters of U.S. imperialism. Certainly that is the way the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi portrayed himself at his trial. Obama's perception of him as an anticolonial resister would explain why he gave tacit approval for this murderer of hundreds of Americans to be released from captivity.

Finally, nasa. No explanation other than anticolonialism makes sense of Obama's curious mandate to convert a space agency into a Muslim and international outreach.
There's about as much deep thought in this article as the average all caps resistnet rant, yet Forbes magazine decided it was good enough for it's cover story. And as you may have heard by now, it caused Newt Gingrich to say this:
Citing a recent Forbes article by Dinesh D’Souza, former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells National Review Online that President Obama may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.

Gingrich says that D’Souza has made a “stunning insight” into Obama’s behavior — the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”

“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”
As I've said before when this type of thing happens:
I know that       (Person)        has said some (offensive/stupid) stuff in the past, but this is so over the top (offensive/stupid) that you'd have to think this has to end their career.
It never does, and I'm sure someone will ask disgraced former speaker Newt Gingrich about Obama's anti-colonial Kenyan views on one of the talk shows this Sunday.


Wooo suck it Dallas

Friday, September 10, 2010

Because it's Friday

This might be the funniest video in the history of the internets:

Never Forget Palin/Beck's 9/11 Booze Fest

Wooooo celebrating 9/11 for lots of money!!!
Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are holding an event in Alaska on 9/11, to honor the innocents murdered nine years ago. Then again, they might not have enough time for "honoring," since they'll be so busy counting their blood money.

It appears that this event, on 9/11, is very much for-profit. These shitbirds are charging between $73.75 and $225 for entry, with the most expensive tickets offering a "meet and greet." There will be a bar, too! You just have to get the "wet" section tickets.
This makes sense as the next logical step to last year's 9/12 rally that Beck hosted to celebrate how great everyone felt the day after 9/11. Uh... yeah.

This year's 9/12 teabagging event may not have Beck, but it will have us! After our highly successful tour last year, we're back for more with some new signs and much of the same crew. If you'll be around during the day on Sunday, send me an email and feel free to join us for a great time teabagging with crazy people.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Phil Davison Has Something To Yell At You

This is glorious:
Councilman Phil Davison of Minerva, Ohio made a fiery speech at Wednesday evening's Stark County Republican Party's executive committee meeting to select a nominee to run for Stark County treasurer.

Davison rocked the assembly at Malone University's Johnson Center with his impassioned political presentation the likes of which few politically involved citizens have ever seen.
Sadly enough he didn't win, but I don't think this will get old any time soon:

John Ensign Isn't Done Yet

John Ensign doesn't want anyone to think he's getting complacent:
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) recently told a group of business leaders at a local Nevada golf club that if no one holds lawmakers on Capitol Hill accountable, they'll just wind up embroiled in controversy and scandal.

According to the Reno Gazette Journal, the embattled lawmaker explained, "If you don't hold us accountable, we'll do some real bad things in Washington, D.C."
Just you forgot, we're talking about this John Ensign:
The sex scandal engulfing Sen. John Ensign deepened Wednesday after his former mistress' husband made new allegations about the relationship, saying the Nevada Republican paid the woman more than $25,000 in severance when she stopped working for him last year.

Doug Hampton made the accusation in a TV interview with Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston. He also provided the newspaper with an emotional letter purportedly from Ensign to Hampton's wife, Cynthia, calling the months-long relationship a "sin."

"I used you for my own pleasure," the letter reads, later adding, "Plain and simple it was wrong; it was sin."

The letter, which the Sun put on its website, and Doug Hampton's interview with Ralston marked another embarrassment for Ensign, 51, a Christian conservative who abruptly came forward last month and confessed to the affair.

A severance payment could pose campaign finance or ethics issues for the senator.
See, Ensign didn't want to cheat on his wife, he just needed to show everyone what happens if you don't hold lawmakers accountable. Although if Ensign said he was capable of "real bad things" and he wasn't including an affair with his staffer's wife, what does he have in store for his next term? Killing a man? Treason?

Only one way to find out... Ensign 2012!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Obama Rules Out Extending Tax Cuts for the Rich

This is more welcome news:
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday will make clear that he opposes any compromise that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy beyond this year, officials said, adding a populist twist to an election-season economic package that is otherwise designed to entice support from big businesses and their Republican allies.

Mr. Obama’s opposition to allowing the high-end tax cuts to remain in place for even another year or two would be the signal many Congressional Democrats have been awaiting as they prepare for a showdown with Republicans on the issue and ends speculation that the White House might be open to an extension. Democrats say only the president can rally wavering lawmakers who, amid the party’s weakened poll numbers, feel increasingly vulnerable to Republican attacks if they let the top rates lapse at the end of this year as scheduled.

It is not clear that Mr. Obama can prevail given his own diminished popularity, the tepid economic recovery and the divisions within his party. But by proposing to extend the rates for the 98 percent of households with income below $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals — and insisting that federal income tax rates in 2011 go back to their pre-2001 levels for income above those cutoffs — he intends to cast the issue as a choice between supporting the middle class or giving breaks to the wealthy.
Great progressive policy, great message.

Where has the fuck has been for the last two years?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Potentially Good News for Tibetan Refugees

Things have been getting harder and harder for Tibetans seeking to escape Chinese-ruled Tibet for the last few years. China heavily beefed up border security following the 2008 Tibetan Uprising, claiming that the protesters were actually saboteurs covertly sent by the Dalai Lama from India to destroy China (apparently he was able to sneak in enough people to populate entire towns and villages, which would be pretty cool if it were true).

Additionally, political changes in Nepal have conspired against Tibetan refugees. Since taking power a few years ago, the Nepalese Maoist Party has sought closer ties with China, which has been happy to throw some money their way in return for Nepalese cooperation with curbing Tibetan movement through the border area. The Maoists were successful in turning Nepal, formerly the conduit used by the vast majority of Tibetans headed to India and the outside world, into a much more dangerous place for Tibetans in transit. In the last few months there have been a few incidents in which Chinese border units were allowed to enter Nepalese territory to retrieve fleeing Tibetans- for more on the situation leading up to today, check this out.

Now, finally, what might be the start of something good:
Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda met his Waterloo on Tuesday, losing the prime ministerial election, and dragging his mentor, China, into dispute.

How is China involved?
China has been dragged into the controversy with the surfacing of an audio tape which, apparently, catches Maoist former minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara seeking to meet a Chinese "friend" in Hong Kong ready to pay NRS 500 million, that would have bought the extra votes [the Maoists] need to win the election.

Quotes taken from the tape sound pretty damning- presumably the full transcript will show up online pretty soon. If this leads to the Maoist Party losing some power and generally increased vigilance regarding Chinese influence in the country, Tibetans stand to benefit substantially.

More Like It

Hey look, it's good idea!
MILWAUKEE — A combative President Barack Obama rolled out a long-term jobs program Monday that would exceed $50 billion to rebuild roads, railways and runways, and coupled it with a blunt campaign-season assault on Republicans for causing Americans' hard economic times.
The only negatives are that they didn't do this sooner, and that the administration is constantly contradicting this message with deficit fear mongering and tax cut stupidity.

No clue how permanent the damage from the other BS was, but if people only talked about this type of stuff between now and the election I'd be very happy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Heads In The Sand

A diary that spent most of the day on the Dailykos rec list:
"Dear President Obama"??

Let me get this straight. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) has found an issue that will resonate with the American public: DON'T CUT SOCIAL SECURITY. Fantastic.

Now, who is it that wants to cut or even eliminate Social Security altogether? THE REPUBLICANS. We all know that.

So how does the CPC choose to proceed with this issue? They write a letter to PRESIDENT FLIPPING OBAMA pleading with him not to cut Social Security! I mean, how clusterfuckian is that?!
. . .
Guys, for chrissakes, don't imply that Democrats want to cut Social Security! Don't write letters to Democrats! Get out there and tell the nation that REPUBLICANS WANT TO TAKE AWAY YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY! And you don't even have to lie – because they really do!!

Look, I know Alan Simpson is ostensibly working for the White House on this and it bothers you, but for piss sakes, it's election season! Tell America that REPUBLICANS WANT TO TAKE AWAY YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY! And keep saying it over and over and over again!
Flawless logic.

So the fact President Obama doesn't want to cut Social Security is self evident, even though he appointed a commission stacked with people who want to cut social security.

"Alan Simspon is ostensibly working with the white house". The White House appointed Simpson as the Co-chair of the committee, and has not fired him after he has made his disdain for social security quite clear

The real villain here is obviously the people talking about the Obama Administration's flirting with Social Security cuts, not the Administration's actions themselves. It's election season after all.

That diary had enough positive votes to stay voted the recommended list all day. Fucking depressing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Obama considers more tax cuts"

Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts. Obama considers more tax cuts.

Cee Lo's "Fuck You" Sends Brent Bozell Into a Panic

As you might imagine, the title of the song has pissed off all the right people. The funniest of these is Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center.

The geniuses at Sadly, No already tore his column to pieces (and provoked a hilarious response from one of Bozell's underlings on twitter) but it's so funny I felt like quoting it at even greater lengths.

In the time he doesn't spend as a Kenny Loggins impersonator, Bozell gets angry about things he perceives as "liberal" in the media, which to him can mean anything from being too truthful to not being bigoted enough. In this case means using four letter words:
The pop-music world is turning into a caricature of shamelessness, childishness and even spoiled-brattiness. To get attention quickly, some pop stars will try absolutely anything. The soul singer Cee-Lo Green has a new album coming out. How's this for art: His first desperate single is titled "F—- You."
I'm guessing most people wouldn't call multi-platinum Grammy award winning artist "desperate", but then again most people don't still think Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction either. And he's just getting started:
The shock value is already working. A video was posted Aug. 19, and within four days, it had grabbed 1.4 million views on YouTube — another sign that YouTube is not a safe website for children.
I'm not sure if anyone has breached Bozell's purity bubble in the last 10 years, but at some point he's going to realize that there are a worse things for kids on the internet than a few mean words on youtube.
Green's producer, Bruno Mars, told MTV the whole production was "a dream session come true ... Everyone was just putting their minds together and (we came) up with one of our favorite tracks we've ever done. Cee-Lo came in and we started singing it for him. And he's just, 'I love that, man. That's beautiful.'"

This scenario of allegedly unfolding genius dodges the little reality that the supposed high concept is just a musical middle finger. The singer is cursing out his ex-girlfriend, who apparently left him for a richer man. The fact that the song is catchy and bright only heightens the offense. It's a Motown melody inserted into a manure pile. But, as usual, the Wanna Be Hip critics love it, even with that manure attached. The Wall Street Journal cooed it "may be the best rock and pop single of the year."
Even his precious Wall Street Journal isn't sacred of four letter words? The Horror!
Just a few years ago, we could be certain that a song this stuffed with profanity would never be aired on the radio.
And just think, only a few decades ago, people like this "Ceelo" wouldn't have been allowed to vote! Ahhh, there's nothing like reminiscing about the good old days.
Team Cee-Lo claims they're going to prepare a radio edit called "Forget You" to avoid alienating too many station managers. How thoughtful. But that only raises the obvious question: Why not call it "Forget You" from the very beginning? The answer is the calculation that millions of teenagers will buy the original dirty version as the official version and put it on their iPods. Any radio edit is just a lame Band-Aid for a pus-filled boil.
Wait, why doesn't the radio edit make him happy? Isn't that everything he wanted? You already have BIG GOVERNMENT *fartz* censoring songs for you, isn't that the goal?

And even more concerning, can a band-aid be lame? Is a lame band-aid somehow less suited for a puss filled boil than a normal band aid? Why would you even talk about a puss filled boil in the first place? That's gross, and it deeply offends me.
This is not the first time pop stars have played games with the F-bomb. A few years ago, Britney Spears offered a single very thinly disguised as "If U Seek Amy." Spears boasted, "All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy," which only made sense if it was obscene.
And now, you Brent Bozell, have forced your readers to say "fuck" out loud. For shame.
The British chanteuse Lily Allen offered her own "F—- You" song last year, but it wasn't a big hit here, with its 25 gratuitous F-bombs. It was only a gold record in France, Australia and Belgium. Right there on YouTube, you can see a video of Allen singing her brightly toned song with its ugly, profane chorus — "F—- you, f—- you very, very much" — live on French television. The audience claps and claps. Once again, the future beams out at us.
So if you weren't already convinced that Bozell spends his days furiously masturbating to youtube videos that use the word fuck, that last paragraph pretty much seals it.

The future beams out at us indeed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Disabled Veterans Have It Too Good

Alan Simpson truly is a monster:
RALEIGH, N.C.—The system that automatically awards disability benefits to some veterans because of concerns about Agent Orange seems contrary to efforts to control federal spending, the Republican co-chairman of President Barack Obama's deficit commission said Tuesday.

Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson's comments came a day after The Associated Press reported that diabetes has become the most frequently compensated ailment among Vietnam veterans, even though decades of research has failed to find more than a possible link between the defoliant Agent Orange and diabetes.

"The irony (is) that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess," said Simpson, an Army veteran who was once chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.
Let's repeat that last quote, just to emphasize how appalling it is:
"The irony (is) that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess,"
He thinks our veterans are burdens because of their medical costs... costs that stem from injuries they sustained serving our country.

Fucking unreal.

So Obama was clearly too in love with Simpsons' social security cutting fantasies to fire him the first time around, but what about now?

Does he also agree that disabled veterans have it too good and are hurting our country?

Hey Barack, he speaks for you and he speaks for your administration.

He needs to go, now.

Larry Summers Couldn't Have Predicted That Larry Summers Would Be Wrong. Again.

Stop lying.
Asked if the stimulus bill was too small, [White House press secretary Robert] Gibbs says: "I think it makes sense to step back just for a second. ... Nobody had, in January of 2009, a sufficient grasp of ... what we were facing." He adds that any stimulus was "unlikely to fill" the hole the financial meltdown created.
Yeah, that's just not true.

There were plenty of people who thought the stimulus was too small (even some in your own administration!)
You just put the people who didn't think we needed a big stimulus in charge of making that decision. You chose to hire the same idiots whose ideology ran the economy into the ground, and (stunningly) they were wrong. Again.

That's your fuck up. Own it.