Sunday, February 28, 2010

How Did I Miss This?!

In his article from September 9th, 2009, Thomas Friedman opined:

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.
hahahhahahhahahahhahahahha, oh Friedman.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Tough Shit"

A lot of this stuff isn't about policy. The sheer contempt that many Republicans have for those less fortunate than them is really stunning: (Via atrios)
Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.

As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.

And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Politico reports, Bunning replied: "Tough shit."
. . .

The stakes are enormous: provisions of last year's stimulus bill that allow extra weeks of unemployment benefits and COBRA health coverage are set to expire on Feb. 22. State workforce agencies have already sent out letters informing recipients that they'll be ineligible for extra "tiers" of benefits starting next month. The National Employment Law Project estimates that 1.2 million people will prematurely lose benefits in March.

What a monster. If you've got a few extra minutes in lunch hour, let him know how you feel:


Like atrios said, be polite, and don't use any language that the esteemed Senator from Kentucky wouldn't be comfortable with.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Week in Tibet

This has been a busy week for the Tibetan movement- with the Dalai Lama visiting DC and meeting with Obama for the first time since he took office, people on all sides of the issue have been offering their opinions. From the Chinese side, the response has been predictable: complete outrage at a meeting which Obama, for better or worse, kept fairly low-key and delayed initially. Hopefully Obama learned his lesson- the Chinese would have been just as furious if Obama had let the Dalai Lama set up shop in the Oval Office for a few days.

The combination of this perceived snub and the apparent failure of the negotiations between the Central Tibetan Administration and Beijing don’t lend themselves to an upbeat evaluation. In a statement located here, Arjia Rinpoche argues that there is still cause for optimism. Arjia himself is a pretty cool guy- enthroned as the abbot of the massive Kumbum Monastery in the early 1950's at the age of 2, he was responsible for rebuilding Kumbum after the Cultural Revolution left it in ruins (along with almost every other temple and monastery in Tibet and China). Eventually the pressure, scrutiny, and threats from Beijing grew too great, however, and Arjia chose to exile himself from Tibet in the late 90’s.

In regards to claims that Obama disrespected the Dalai Lama, Arjia says:
“My reading is different. The White House had already sent two envoys to Dharamsala to discuss and carefully plan a visit by His Holiness to Washington. These discussions did not seem like a haphazard, spur of the moment apology for a snubbing.”
As for why he remains optimistic:
“I detected in the most recent Tibet Work Issues Meeting [a Chinese task force convened in Beijing for the purposes of addressing Tibetan issues] a softening of tone in the rhetoric. I sensed a shift in nuance. Having grown into maturity as a Tibetan monk of the “exploiting class” and then risen in status in the government religious bureaucracy in the post Mao years, I learned to listen very carefully...”
After detailing some of the changes in official rhetoric seen lately, he concludes that:
“Over the last 20 years freedom has waned; perhaps it is ready to wax once more. The present policy of repression and attempted cultural murder has never worked. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a bad enemy; he never strikes back. He won’t do what is expected of enemies. He has patience that seems endless. So I ask, how long can the government of China stand alone in the world believing that His Holiness represents incarnate evil instead of the reincarnation of Chenresig, the deity of compassion?”
Again, the entire thing is located here. Next, some bits from an interesting interview. Lobsang Tenzin is currently the Kalon Tripa, the elected head of the Tibetan Exile Government. The mere existence of that position is an irritation to Beijing, which claims that the Dalai Lama wants to personally take command of Tibet and institute serfdom because of his irrepressible malice. The fact that the 120,000 exiles are eligible for democratic elections is pretty inconvenient for them.

The Kalon Tripa was recently interviewed by Bi Yantao, a Chinese academic and writer who has managed to push for democratization without being beaten/jailed/disappeared. They discussed the main issue hindering the talks between the Tibetans and Beijing- namely, Greater Tibet. It’s easiest to illustrate this issue with a map or two. First, the status quo-

The Tibetan Autonomous Region is outlined in black. To its north lies the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, then proceeding clockwise around Tibet we have Qinghai province, Sichuan province, and Yunnan to the southeast. According to China, all discussions are limited to policies within the Tibetan Autonomous Region. But now let me fill in Tibet as it has existed for the last few centuries, prior to being divided by China-

Here we have the three traditional regions of Tibet. U-Tsang is mostly mirrored by the current Tibet Autonomous Region, but Amdo and Kham have been divided up into the entirety of Qinghai province, and parts of Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces. These areas are still ethnically and culturally Tibetan, as they have been for generations. By some counts, a majority of the world-wide Tibetan population lives outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Naturally, the Tibetan exiles insist that these areas be reunited with each other, and that any policy changes from the negotiations be effected on all of them. Beijing counters by saying that these regions weren’t controlled by Lhasa, which is technically true of the year when China invaded Tibet but absolutely false historically.

The interview is interesting, because the somewhat antagonistic tone of the interviewer is likely due to the troubles of getting anything sympathetic to the Tibetan cause published in China. The Kalon Tripa frames his arguments from a Marxist perspective and for the most part simply asks that China respect the laws already established in the Chinese Constitution regarding minority autonomy:
Kalon Tripa: The basic concept of national regional autonomy aims to preserve and promote the unique identities of the minority nationalities. To achieve this objective there is need to maintain administrative unity within same nationality, unless this unity is impossible due to geographical conditions. Apart from that, Article 4 of the Constitution says, "Any act which undermines the unity of the nationality or instigates division is prohibited".

It is stated in the autonomy law that national autonomous areas shall be classified into autonomous regions, prefectures and counties… There is no reason or need to deliberately divide a particular nationality by establishing many autonomous prefectures and counties.

Dividing the Tibetan nationality despite the fact that they have lived together for centuries in one contiguous area is considered as a violation of the spirit of the constitution. This is the imperialist policy of "divide and rule". If a minority nationality cannot integrate within itself, then it will become more difficult to integrate with the PRC.
The rest of the interview is here, and worth a read if you have some time and want to get a feel for the kind of nonsense the Tibetan diplomats put up with in Beijing.

11 Dimensional Chess

Rep. Anthony Weiner:
“I’m not sure what we’re doing, and I’m pretty tied in.”
As you may have guessed, he did not get an invitation to today's bipartisan summit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Free Republic on CPAC: "HomoCon"

Fresh of the heels of their enlightened discussion on race, Free Republic is out to set the bar a little higher with their reflections on CPAC. The name of the thread, no joke, is:

"The HomoCon Tipping Point: Why CPAC Was a Milestone Weekend for Gays"

The OP is a repost from another site which actually supported gay participation in CPAC, but the replies are pure Freep. I'm not going to repost any of them here because... well, only so much filth will fit on our front page at any given time.

Which brings me to a question- I think it might be time to reevaluate Field Trips. Since I started posting them, Free Republic has changed in a lot of ways. The combination of Obama winning, the rise of the Tea Party movement legitimizing their more extreme positions, and the ongoing economic downturn have all contributed to a far more openly racist, sexist, and homophobic Free Republic. Their threads have gone from amusingly crazy to a race to the bottom, seeing which post is the first to break out the n-bomb, or the f-bomb in regards to gays, or any number of slurs for Muslims.

With that in mind, I'm going to stop featuring Free Republic on here for the same reason I don't post StormFront threads- hate sites are very predictable in their content. We pretty much know what they're going to say.

So- is anyone interested in Field Trips to ResistNet/Ace of Spades/other major conservative sites? Or should we retire this feature for a bit?

The Audacity of Not Giving a Shit

Yes We Can! Yes We... ehh who the fuck cares?
Speaking at the daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked again why the administration did not include the government-run insurance option in its final health care proposal in light of the fact that 23 Democratic senators signed a letter calling for its passage.

"We have seen obviously that though there are some that are supportive of this, there isn't enough political support in a majority to get this through," Gibbs responded. "The president... took the Senate bill as the base and looks forward to discussing consensus ideas on Thursday."

The remarks were the clearest indication to date that the White House's vote counters don't see a viable path to getting the public option into law, even if Senate Democrats use reconciliation -- which would have allowed for an up or down vote. The outstanding question for advocates of the proposal remains: How many lawmakers could have been persuaded to vote for the public plan had the White House actually pushed for its passage?
White House vote counters my ass. Where were they when there were more than enough bipartisan votes for prescription drug re-importation? Were they out to lunch during the vote counting for the excise tax, something that could very well kill the bill altogether in the house?

I'm so sick of articles that portray the Administration as the only adults in a room full of wide eyed innocents blinded by ideology. OBAMA DOES NOT WANT THE PUBLIC OPTION! When people want something done, they don't spend a year actively removing it from their own bill. There's no 11 dimensional chess or secret plan at work here, it's really that simple.

When you're trying to pass complex legislation, you choose your battles. He picked a fight to drop the public option and he picked another fight to included the excise tax. There's no need to argue about his priorities and values, his actions speak for themselves.

Thankfully despite the Administration's best efforts, the public option can still be passed through reconciliation and added to the senate bill. If enough senators to go on the record signing Bennet's letter, Harry Reid will be under enormous pressure to bring the public option up for a vote.

I'm sure Ben Cardin's intern is sick of me telling him this is why I campaigned for Kweisi Mfume, but who cares? Calls to Senate offices matter (they really shouldn't, but that's another post), and you have the power to help put the public option back in the Senate bill. Do it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Health Summit Positives

I can't be totally against the bipartisan health care and ponies summit if it gave us this picture: (via)

Cantor seems to be kicking things off well:
Cantor throws cold water on health summit, tells Stephanopoulos "there can't be" a deal with ObamaCare on the table.

"The president insists on bringing back a bill that the American people have resoundingly rejected."
Sounds productive already! Maybe if we adopted preemptively adopted Paul Ryan's edgy abolish medicare and social security plan they'd think we're cool! That's what this is about, right?

Monday, February 22, 2010

So Now There's a Plan!

Ten months into the debate, the White House releases their plan for health care reform:
President Obama took the Senate health care bill and stripped special deals and added his preferred compromise for taxing high-end insurance plans, detailing for the first time his preferred approach for finishing the long battle for reform.

The White House just released the Obama plan in advance of Thursday's health care summit, framing it as an improvement to the Senate bill and an ultimate compromise.

The administration is signaling they are prepared to push the plan through reconciliation, talking about the need for an "up or down" vote, and wants the American people to see the negotiations play out on television among Democrats and Republicans.

Obama aides described what they are posting today at as the president's "take" on bridging the differences between the House and Senate bills passed last year. It's largely been crafted based on negotiations Democratic leaders had with Obama in the Cabinet room before the Jan. 19 election in Massachusetts.
I gotta say, I'm still not entirely sure what is accomplished by releasing this to the public. It seems like it will only piss people off (no public option and an increase in the mandate penalty... succeeded!), which is worth it so that you tell the Republicans that you posted the bill online before the summit?

The summit later this week is another move that I just don't understand. The Sunday shows kept replaying a clip of Obama reiterating that this summit was not a political stunt. It better be a fucking political stunt! If it's not then that means you're reinventing the wheel 10 months in, this time with more Republican advice!

If this were 10 months ago, then great! But showing that the Republicans don't have any ideas on health care isn't going to change anything. They're not in power, and I continue to wonder why the Obama administration doesn't understand that Obama will be blamed/praised for whatever is created here. Saying that we have good ideas but the the other side won't play nice is about as weak sauce as reelection arguments get, and if they haven't figured that out yet then the upcoming slaughter in November might change their minds.

It also seems odd to hold the summit to jump start the debate when lots of real activism is currently taking place in support of the public option, something ditched in Obama's proposal. You'd think you'd want the your base's organizing efforts backing up your plan rather than organizing parallel to it, but grassroots organizing is probably too partisan or something. And a reminder:
A batch of state polls by the non-partisan Research 2000 shows that in multiple states represented by key Dem Senators who will have to decide whether to support reconciliation, the public option polls far better than the Senate bill does, often by lopsided margins.

Here’s a rundown, sent over by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which commissioned the polls:

* In Nevada, only 34% support the Senate bill, while 56% support the public option.

* In Illinois, only 37% support the Senate bill, while 68% support the public option.

* In Washington State, only 38% support the Senate bill, while 65% support the public option.

* In Missouri, only 33% support the Senate bill, while 57% support the public option.

* In Virginia, only 36% support the Senate bill, while 61% support the public option.

* In Iowa, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.

*In Minnesota, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.

* In Colorado, only 32% support the Senate bill, while 58% support the public option.
Keep calling your Senators and help save them from themselves...

CPAC Highlight Reel

If you have the stomach for it, check out Glenn Beck giving the keynote speech on Saturday.  It's Beck at his best- there's a chalkboard, he does unfunny voices, there's disconnected lunacy and moments of inexplicably extreme emotion.  It's so cringe-worthy even I had trouble making it through.  The audience, incredibly, eats it all up.

In light of what had happened hours earlier, though, one part sticks out. Beck does a sneering impression of people who say the GOP ought to be a 'big tent.' Apparently he's in agreement with this guy, who had a similar message:

I'm having a hard time deciding which part was funnier- his pseudo-philosophical rant about how allowing gay people to marry each other is a violation of natural law, or his reaction to being booed. "Bring it, bring it... I love it! You have made an enemy here tonight." God forbid they make an enemy of Captain Homophobe and the 'Failed Philosophy 101' Gang.

It's nice that even CPAC attendees weren't having any of it, although I'd bet that's due to how Sorba violated a key rule of modern conservatism- never directly antagonize the groups you're looking to oppress. He's supposed to frame it within slippery slope arguments or as defense against an assault on "traditional values," not as an attack on gay and lesbian men and women. Better luck next time, guy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Train of Thought Field Trip: Niger Madness

In case you haven’t been following the news, it seems the Nigerien military pulled off a coup and removed President Mamadou Tandja earlier today. Tandja has spent the last year reshaping the government in an effort to stay in office after the end of his second term, and the military leadership claims that the coup is an attempt to restore democratic principles. We’ll see if they follow through.

In the meantime, let us all admire this beautiful thread. Freepers saw the headline “Niger president held by troops” and, in the brief moment before they noticed the missing ‘g,’ experienced utter and complete bliss. Old Texan starts us off:
Man, did I read that wrong....
Yeah, I’m sure you did.  Niteranger68 agrees:
You ain't kidding!!!!!!
Uh huh.  Quickgun is left disappointed by the real headline:
I know, all excited for nothing......
Pessimist was about to break out the champagne:
LOL! We were one letter away from a celebration!
Hooray, finally the military has stepped in and removed that… uh, Nigerien?  Loyalist is up next:
Why can’t they write “President of Niger” just to avoid confusion?
I hate it when the media doesn’t restructure headlines to avoid confusing racists!  Iopscusa is an exemplary freeper:
My first thought was America is saved but then I noticed this was in the Kenyan’s home continent.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Life After Death For the Public Option?

Thanks to a letter written by Sen. Bennett of Colorado and the work of many progressive bloggers, there may be renewed hope for a public option:
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has signed a letter urging leadership to pass a public option via reconciliation, the 18th senator to do so.

Shaheen's office confirmed that she signed, following Sens. Chuck Schumer, Barbara Mikulski and Frank Lautenberg today.

The letter was written by Sen. Michael Bennet and will be sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Other signatories so far: Sens. Bernie Sanders (VT), Al Franken (MN), Patrick Leahy (VT), John Kerry (MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Roland Burris (IL), Barbara Boxer (CA), Jack Reed (RI) and Tom Udall (NM).
The story here is that Chuck Schumer signed the letter. Schumer is a good barometer, because he's a member of the leadership and tends to associate himself only with efforts that have a chance of passing. If this was just a PR stunt or a pie in the sky attempt at the impossible, he would not have lent his name to the effort.

Also kind of shocking is really crappy senators like Diane Feinstein and Michael Bennet getting involved. Not sure what inspired them to temporarily to stop sucking but I don't really care either.

There have been conflicting reports on the White House's role and if they'd support this strategy. I'd put more stock in Sebelius' "Of course Obama supports the public option and would fight for it!" line if it didn't require me to ignore everything the White House did over the past year to remove it from the bill. The next meaningful backing Obama gives the public option will be the first, so I'm not too optimistic that this approach will get the administration's backing.

Still a long ways to go, but these are hopeful signs.

Go here to join the effort and see where your Senator stands.

Update: Reid seems at least open to the idea:
Senator Reid has always and continues to support the public option as a way to drive down costs and create competition. That is why he included the measure in his original health care proposal.

If a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care, Senator Reid will work with the White House, the House, and members of his caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstacles and secure enough votes.
Not exactly an endorsement, but a much better maybe than I had expected.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This Week in Tibet

One of the cool parts about my job is that an unbelievable amount of Tibet-related information arrives in my inbox every day. Pretty much every article concerning life in Tibet, the 120,000 Tibetan exiles in India/Nepal, the Dalai Lama, a number of high-profile Tibetan political prisoners, and Chinese human rights in general gets shot my way. Time permitting I’ll probably a post a few of the most interesting things once a week.

First, a poll by CNN shows that “nearly three quarters of Americans think Tibet should be an independent country.” Whoa! The American people have actually taken a stronger stance than where I work, which instead advocates genuine Tibetan autonomy within China. The surprising thing from this poll is that “18 percent [have] an unfavorable impression” of the Dalai Lama. I can see how you might not be crazy about him, but how does someone end up with a specifically unfavorable impression of the guy? Too bad CNN didn’t give more details.

Next, a Newsweek article entitled “China Is Good for Tibet.” Uh oh, I smell colonial rhetoric ahead! Sure enough, after a dismissive reference to angry Tibetans and American activists, the author says:

“But that seems to be the only story about Tibet that is ever told. The other story is that, for China's many blunders in the mountainous region, it has erected a booming economy there. Looking at growth, standard of living, infrastructure, and GDP, one thing is clear: China has been good for Tibet.”

It must have been a challenge to pack so much bullshit into two short sentences. Let’s quickly review some of China’s ‘blunders’- the brutal initial invasion, a bloody pacification campaign which ended with the slaughter of 86,000 Tibetans in Lhasa in 1959, hundreds of thousands of Tibetan deaths caused by widespread famine due to Maoist policies during the Great Leap Forward, the near-destruction of the monastic system which was the centerpiece of Tibetan culture, education, and religious life prior to the Chinese invasion, the vicious suppression of peaceful protests in the late 80's, the abduction of the five year old 11th Panchen Lama and of thousands of dissident Tibetan scholars, monks, and writers, the relegation of Tibetans to second-class citizens within their own homeland, and the crackdown following the 2008 protests, in which an unknown number of Tibetans were killed and a much larger number were imprisoned without trial and tortured in prisons across Tibetan China. Are these the ‘blunders’ to which Newsweek refers? Ludicrously enough, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s entirely possible that the author was referring to an entirely different set of blunders. Either way you’ll have to excuse Tibetans if these ‘blunders’ have left them somewhat dissatisfied with Chinese rule.

Moving on, let’s talk about this ‘booming economy.’ The argument is taken straight from the old colonial-era Western playbook, which sought to justify occupations by waxing poetic about how much good was brought to colonial subjects. Now, as then, it falls apart under scrutiny. Beijing boasts about how much it invested in the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which surely is a feat of engineering. But if that railway brings yet more Chinese immigrants, and ferries in materials and weapons for the Chinese army, and was used to transport Tibetan prisoners to remote gulags en masse, is this really something that benefits the Tibetan people? If a mine opens in an ethnically Tibetan region, but the mining company is owned by Han Chinese, the workers are mostly Han, and the only effects it has on the local populace are ruined harvests and livestock killed by unchecked industrial pollution, is that really something that benefits the Tibetan people? Is a modest bump in GDP which falls in line with rises seen across Asia really worth imprisoned and tortured family members, murdered neighbors, and a life of oppression? I would say no but I guess if you’re a sociopath or something you can feel free to argue otherwise.

Newsweek continues-

Although Chinese statistics on Tibet, like Chinese statistics in general, are impossible to verify, it seems clear that material living standards among the 80 to 90 percent of the population living in rural Tibet are rising rapidly.

Oh right, I almost forgot- the statistics we’re basing this whole discussion on were generated by Beijing, which clearly has a motive to inflate growth numbers and restricts any attempt to verify them. I guess we just have to take their word for it that Tibetans are experiencing an unprecedented wave of prosperity. The author approvingly notes that:

“At the improved schools, students learn Mandarin, which gives Tibetans access to work opportunities in government offices in Tibet and in companies throughout China.”

Hold on, hold on- so you need to speak Mandarin to work in government offices in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and we’re actually supposed to give Beijing credit for marginalizing the Tibetan language inside Tibet?! How very kind of Beijing, to encourage Tibetans to abandon their mother tongue in favor of the language China has imposed on them.

“Beijing won't deal with the Dalai Lama, even though Tibetans revere him, nor will it let his monastic followers build any power or voice any nationalist sympathy. Instead, the government is offering Tibetans the same bargain it has offered the rest of the country: in exchange for an astronomical rise in living standards, the government requires citizens to relinquish the right to free worship and free speech. The Chinese government has kept its end of the deal. Even if Tibetan residents never signed the contract, they have benefited from its enforcement—a fact Obama might keep in mind when he meets the Dalai Lama.”

Slow down, Newsweek! That doesn’t make any sense. So when Newsweek says China has ‘offered’ a bargain to the Tibetans, they mean “compelled by force of arms on an unwilling populace that would declare independence in a heartbeat if it didn’t mean the death of every man, woman, and child in Tibet,” right? Because that doesn’t really sound like an ‘offer’ to me, but Newsweek authors are professionals so I’ll let it slide this time. But then we go on to the ‘astronomical rise in living standards,’ which we’ve already agreed was unverifiable, and before we can even readdress that talking point it’s stated that China has “kept its end of the deal.” Again, the deal that Tibetans didn’t want to make and which entails grievous loss of life and cultural destruction? That deal? Then it’s basically conceded that all this talk of ‘deals’ has been pretty silly because Tibetans never agreed to anything, but instead of accepting that as a refutation of the entire article we’re told that Obama should keep this all in mind when he meets the Dalai Lama.

If the author is saying that Obama should remain mindful of a nonexistent deal which includes death, imprisonment, torture, and the denial of the most basic human rights in exchange for dubious, unsubstantiated claims of development, much of the benefits of which would certainly fall to colonial occupiers instead of local Tibetans, then yes I think we are finally in agreement. Thanks a lot, Newsweek.

Finally, a lighter piece from Reuters. Tibetans listening to Radio Free Asia found out about the meeting which took place today between Obama and the Dalai Lama, and inhabitants of the town of Rebkong (Chinese: 同仁) shot off a round of fireworks to celebrate. A bunch of good quotes, and this from the end of the article:

China blamed the Dalai Lama for inspiring the unrest, and regularly condemns him for seeking Tibetan independence. He has repeatedly denied being a separatist or supporting violence.

"CCTV [China’s main state-run television network]is always saying this and that about him and about us Tibetans," said monk Tarkey. "The world will get a better idea about who he is once he meets Obama."

Think that includes the mysterious fifth of Americans who hold an unfavorable impression?

The Stimulus in Action

It wasn't big enough, (we'll find that out the hard way when it starts to run out this fall) but the stimulus succeeded in creating jobs and saving our economy.

New York Times:
Imagine if, one year ago, Congress had passed a stimulus bill that really worked.

Let’s say this bill had started spending money within a matter of weeks and had rapidly helped the economy. Let’s also imagine it was large enough to have had a huge impact on jobs — employing something like two million people who would otherwise be unemployed right now.

If that had happened, what would the economy look like today?

Well, it would look almost exactly as it does now. Because those nice descriptions of the stimulus that I just gave aren’t hypothetical. They are descriptions of the actual bill.

Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.
So while the Republicans will naturally continue to criticize something in invalidates their theory of government, it sure won't stop them from touting the projects that created jobs in their districts.

I'm a big believer in the power of images and graphics to convey things that words cannot. With that in mind, I better see this graph in the news an average of 6000 times a week between now and November:

Update: Holy crap this ad is brilliant:



Tuesday, February 16, 2010


There is seriously nothing greater then when conservatives try to reach out to those under the age of 50. Introducing XPAC:
Both Thursday and Friday evenings this week, if you’re attending CPAC, or are in the Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, or Delaware areas, you are invited to enjoy “Epic Nites.”

On Thursday night, Stephen Baldwin will conduct an insightful conversation between Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros and Sarah Huckabee over the future of the GOP, the ideas of conservatism, women in politics, and the outlook for the nation. The “10 questions with Stevie B” is something worth making room in your schedule for. Gov. Mike Huckabee will be making a special appearance, and several additional surprises also await.

Michael Steele! Brit Hume! Stephen Baldwin! You know, the people your kids keep talking about! Wait... did they say additional surprises?
"We're gonna have the most popular games. There'll be Guitar Hero. There'll be Dance Revolution. There'll be Call of Duty," said Kevin McCullough, the radio host who created the XPAC Lounge with actor Stephen Baldwin .

"I wouldn't be surprised if somebody of Joe-the-Plumber stature came in three times a day to come in and rally the kids," CPAC spokesman Ian Walters said.
Somebody of Joe-the-Plumber stature? You mean someone else pretending to be a plumber might show up? XTREME!!!!! Any other heroes of the conservative movement plan on attending?
McCullough said young conservatives are plenty capable of being active in the movement, particularly with new media. He said they just need to be "empowered."

He cited James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, activists both in their 20s known for their ACORN sting operation last year. The activists dressed up as a pimp and prostitute and used hidden cameras to capture ACORN workers at offices across the country offering them tax advice.

O'Keefe has since been arrested and charged in an alleged plot to tamper with the phone system in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office. But McCullough said both O'Keefe and Giles will be honored with the "XPAC Annual Award for Impact" this weekend -- it's an award aimed at activists under 30 who did not "wait their turn in line" to make a difference, he said.

Giles is scheduled to attend. O'Keefe has been ordered by a judge to temporarily stay with his parents in New Jersey.
Nothing says "not waiting their turn to make a difference" like wiretapping a senator's phone! RADICAL!

But if James O'Keefe's facing prison time didn't give the event enough street cred, Friday Night is for you:
11pm – XPAC “Late Night” – “Music Jam”
sponsored by
LIVE MUSIC PLUS Special performances by:
Rappers: Hi-Caliber, Young Cons*, and many more!
A "music jam" with Hi-Caliber and Young Cons? Ok... now that $15 entrance fee makes sense. I guess with Sarah Palin out of their price range they had to perpetuate the conservative welfare state somehow. Seriously though, I'm sure Hi-Caliber and Young Cons have no trouble finding work during the 364 days a year that don't include Teabagger youth conferences.

And one last note, in case you want to crappily astroturf your own youth conference:
Brought to you by the GNARLY work of Stephen Baldwin & Kevin McCullough: Xtreme Media, Baldwin/McCullough Radio & Parcbench Media
Teabaggers, please, don't ever stop.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Evan Bayh Decides He Will Best Serve His Constituents By Not Serving Them

One of the worst Senators in a America is retiring. Regardless of what it means for the Indiana 2010 senate race, this is a good thing. His statement is just as self absorbed and shameless as you'd expect:
Sen. Evan Bayh will not run for re-election, a decision that will shock Democrats and Republicans alike in Indiana.

In prepared remarks, Bayh, 54, cited excessive partisanship that makes progress on public policy difficult to achieve as the motivation for his decision.

“After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so in Congress has waned,” he said.
Translation: You can sell yourself some as a politician, but you can't be a whore yourself to your full potential without being a corporate lobbyist.
“But running for the sake of winning an election, just to remain in public office, is not good enough,” Bayh said. “And it has never been what motivates me. At this time I simply believe I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.”
Translation: Doing absolutely fuck all while having my ass kissed and called "Senator" was nice for 8 years, but an attention whore like myself requires a bigger platform, like commenting on every Sunday show until I run for president in 2012.
“Two weeks ago, the Senate voted down a bipartisan commission to deal with one of the greatest threats facing our nation: our exploding deficits and debt. The measure would have passed, but seven members who had endorsed the idea instead voted ‘no’ for short-term political reasons,” he said.
Translation: Some members of congress were politically motivated when they voted down a bullshit commission that I proposed solely as a vehicle for my own political grandstanding.

While this probably reduces our chances of keeping the Indiana seat in Democratic hands, it's not every day that a truely worthless human being like Evan Bayh decides to leave office.

Enjoy the moment, and look forward to the day when Blanche Lincoln does the same in a few weeks.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This Is The Opposition?! February 2010 Edition

From the Washington Post- “Democrats' plan: Force GOP to go on the record.”

The Daily Show also has a good montage of various Republican politicians and pundits talking about how being asked to explain their health care reform ideas is a trap. The crazy thing here is that it absolutely is. Every single person involved, from Obama to Limbaugh to John Boehner, knows full well that the Republicans have nothing. Absolutely nothing.

If asked, they give a quick talking point about tort reform and change the subject. The first anniversary of the march towards HCR is coming up, and all the Republicans have managed to do in that time is wave empty packets of paper at Obama during his speech and get their preliminary proposal torn to shreds by the CBO. Crying about how Democrats have locked them out of the process scores some points on TV news, but being told to put up or shut up clearly scares the shit out of them.

Still, it would be nice if we had a killer alternative bill to push, instead of the watered-down trainwreck we’re left with after months of compromising with the worst senators in America.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Teabaggers in Action

The heroes at New Left Media covered the Teabagger convention.


As a poll on Fox News discovered:
That seems about right.

A Disastrous Year For Labor

Harold Meyerson on the first year of the Obama Administration for Organized Labor:
For American labor, year one of Barack Obama's presidency has been close to an unmitigated disaster.

Labor's primary priority -- the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) -- died when the Democrats lost their 60-vote majority in the Senate. Labor's normal priority -- a functioning National Labor Relations Board -- also seems out of reach, with Republicans on Tuesday blocking the appointment of Obama nominee Craig Becker (that's why Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown scurried down to Washington last week to take his seat). Other key legislation for which labor has lobbied, including health-care reform and financial regulations, languishes in the Senate.

For the unions, the Senate's inability to pass EFCA is devastating and galling. Democratic senators had developed a compromise proposal that would have jettisoned the controversial "card check" process -- by which unions could be organized without a secret ballot -- in favor of expediting the election process (so that management couldn't delay for months, or even years, employees' votes on whether to unionize) and stiffening the penalties for violating the rules that govern election conduct.

The compromise had a shot at winning all 60 Democratic votes. The unions, which spent more than $300 million in the 2008 elections on Democrats' behalf, wanted a vote on EFCA last year, but Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked them to wait until health reform had passed. (Their requests for confirmation votes on NLRB appointees were similarly delayed.)
As much as Obama and the Senate Democrats seem to get aroused at how far they can throw their biggest allies under the bus, I'd always figured they'd throw them a bone here and there out of self preservation. Well, they haven't even done that, and they'll reap the rewards of that strategy this fall:
Union leaders warn that the Democrats' lackluster performance in power is sapping the morale of activists going into the midterm elections.

"Right now if we don’t get positive changes to the agenda, we’re going to have a hard time getting members out to work," said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard, in an interview.

“There’s no use pretending any longer.”

The biggest threat, of course, is apathy from a Democratic constituency that has a history of mobilizing for elections.

"You're just not going to be able to go to our membership in the November elections and say, 'Come on, let's do it again. Look at what the Democratic administration has done for us!'" Gage said. "People are going to say, 'Huh? What have the Democrats done for us?'"
See unlike the corporate front groups that fund the other side's political work, unions are made up of living breathing people that need to be given reasons get off their ass and campaign. Things like "we passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act"(something even zombie Clinton could have done) and "we didn't fuck you over as hard as John McCain would have" aren't really going to cut it. So keep at it guys, not only are you screwing over the working class but you're insuring your own demise in the process.

I'd me more than happy to watch a Democratic bloodletting in November if I thought there was the slightest chance that the party learn the right lesson from it. They never do though, and the media will write about how Blanche Lincoln lost because she spoke nicely about the Kenyan usurper and Harry Reid lost because he pushed too hard to enact a progressive agenda.

I know this may sound pretty dire, but watching these people make the same mistakes over and over again doesn't exactly inspire hope. And when you imagine some generic Scott Borwn looking Republican running a faux populist campaigns based on Obama's ties to Wall Street, it's enough to make you wanna throw up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not Fucking Helpful

Sweet Jesus this is stupid:
President Barack Obama said he doesn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay.

The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is “an extraordinary amount of money” for Main Street, “there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well.”

“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system.”

Obama sought to combat perceptions that his administration is anti-business and trumpeted the influence corporate leaders have had on his economic policies. He plans to reiterate that message when he speaks to the Business Roundtable, which represents the heads of many of the biggest U.S. companies, on Feb. 24 in Washington.
It's great that while unemployment hovers around 10% the administration is trying to "trumpet the influence that corporate leaders have on his economic policies". Paul Krugman's reaction does a pretty good job of summing up my feelings:
Oh. My. God.

First of all, to my knowledge, irresponsible behavior by baseball players hasn’t brought the world economy to the brink of collapse and cost millions of innocent Americans their jobs and/or houses.

And more specifically, not only has the financial industry has been bailed out with taxpayer commitments; it continues to rely on a taxpayer backstop for its stability.
. . .
The point is that these bank executives are not free agents who are earning big bucks in fair competition; they run companies that are essentially wards of the state. There’s good reason to feel outraged at the growing appearance that we’re running a system of lemon socialism, in which losses are public but gains are private. And at the very least, you would think that Obama would understand the importance of acknowledging public anger over what’s happening.
As Krugman says at the end, I'm not sure which is worse: Actually believing what he's saying or thinking that saying it will be helpful politically.

Talking like this is as much political suicide as it is bad economic policy. From the beginning I had close to zero faith in Summers and Geithner, but I thought Obama's political team would be smart enough to not let their sucking shape the administration's overall message. Well, the economy will be front and center and the face of the Obama administration becomes those two fuck ups.

It's gonna be an ugly, ugly November.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Not Even Trying to Conceal Their Racism

Fresh totally not racist ideas from the teabagger convention: A return to Jim Crow laws!
Yesterday was the start of the National Tea Party Convention, which is “aimed at bringing the Tea Party Movement leaders together from around the nation for the purpose of networking and supporting the movement’s multiple organizations’ principal goals.” One of the featured speakers during the convention’s kickoff was former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo. Tancredo told the audience that the country had elected “a committed socialist ideologue in the White House” because “we do not have a civics, literary test before people can vote in this country“:
The opening-night speaker at first ever National Tea Party Convention ripped into President Obama, Sen. John McCain and “the cult of multiculturalism,” asserting that Obama was elected because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.”

The speaker, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., told about 600 delegates in a Nashville, Tenn., ballroom that in the 2008 election, America “put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House … Barack Hussein Obama.”
Given that the convention is being held in Nashville, Tennessee, Tancredo’s remarks are particularly offensive. For years, literacy tests were used across the South to disenfranchise African-American voters, who generally had illiteracy rates 4-5 times as high as whites due to historical discrimination and lack of opportunity. Unfortunately for Tancredo, the 1965 Voting Rights Act makes literacy tests illegal.
Why people keep confusing this well meaning libertarian movement with a group of racist nuts we'll never know...

The Current State of Bipartisanship



DEMOCRATS: "We're going to try to tackle healthcare reform... got any ideas, Republicans?"

REPUBLICANS: "**** MY **** YOU BUNCH OF *** **** *****-SLAPPING **** ****-MONGERERS! ****!"

DEMOCRATS: "Yeah ok."


REPUBLICANS: "We demand that you listen to our ideas!"

DEMOCRATS: "Ok we'll have a HCR summit, everyone will be invited."

REPUBLICANS: "We have no ideas and refuse to attend your summit!"


Monday, February 8, 2010

But Terrorism is different!

As usual, Glenn Greenwald makes a very good point:
If I had the power to have one statement of fact be universally recognized in our political discussions, it would be this one:
The fact that the Government labels Person X a "Terrorist" is not proof that Person X is, in fact, a Terrorist.
. . .
A very long time ago, I would be baffled when I'd read about things like the Salem witch hunts. How could so many people be collectively worked up into that level of irrational frenzy, where they cheered for people's torturous death as "witches" without any real due process or meaningful evidence? But all one has to do is look at our current Terrorism debates and it's easy to see how things like that happen. It's just pure mob mentality: an authority figure appears and affixes a demonizing Other label to someone's forehead, and the adoring crowd -- frothing-at-the-mouth and feeding on each other's hatred, fears and desire to be lead -- demands "justice." I imagine that if one could travel back in time to the Salem era in order to speak with some of those gathered outside an accused witch's home, screaming for her to be burned, the conversation would go something like this:

Mob Participant: Hang the Witch!!! Kill her!!!

Far Left Civil Liberties Extremist-Purist ("FLCLE-P"): How do you know she's a witch?

Mob Participant: Didn't you just hear the government official say so?

FLCLE-P: But don't you want to see real evidence before you assume that's true and call for her death?

Mob Participant: You just heard the evidence! The magistrate said she's a witch!

FLCLE-P: But shouldn't there be a real trial first, with tangible evidence and due process protections, to see if the accusation is actually true?

Mob Participant: A "real" trial? She's a witch! She's trying to curse us and kill us all. She got more than what she deserved. Witches don't have rights!!!

Return to Question 1.

That's essentially how I hear our debates over Terrorism, and how I've heard them for quite some time. And it's how I hear them more loudly now than ever before. And with those deeply confused premises now locked into place on a bipartisan basis ("no trials are needed to determine if someone is a Terrorist because Terrorists don't have rights"), imagine how much louder that will get if there is another successful terrorist attack in the U.S. But in fairness to the 17th Century Puritans, at least the Salem witches received pretenses of due process and even trials (albeit with coerced confessions and speculative hearsay). Even when it comes to our fellow citizens, we don't even bother with those. For us, the mere accusation by our leaders is sufficient: Kill that American Terrorist with a drone!

Our discourse is so absurd on these issues that radical ideas like "following the American justice system" have been equated with varying degrees of treason.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowed in with Sarah Palin

JN and RB have decided to snow themselves in at the Palace/Train HQ with DCJonesy and I for the snowpocalypse. Luckly for us, we still have power, and Sarah Palin's speech at the teabagger convention will be broadcast live on Fox News. Obviously creating a drinking game was necessary:

One (1) shot for-
-Specific mention of Wasilla
-Going rogue/ being a maverick
-Actually saying "teabagging"

One (1) sip for-
-"Politics as usual"
-Vague mention of "change"
-Hockey reference/ analogy
-"You Betcha" or other faux-folksiness.
-"Government takeover"
-Free market ideology being threatened by wave of socialism
-Real Americans/Rugged Americans/ Strong Americans
-"Straight talk"
-Evil lying media
-Creepy reference to freedom
-Vague reference to the Constitution

Wish us luck...

Update: Too bad we didn't add writing notes on your hand...

Friday, February 5, 2010

More on O'Keefe and Race

In the wake of the news about O'Keefe attending a white nationalist forum in 2004, a few more things have appeared giving even more background on this guy. The more people come up with, the less his racially-charged antics seem like a coincidence. Take some posts made on his blog in college:

My freshman year of college I was placed in a triple room on the second floor of Campbell. One of my roomates was gay. The other was just bizarre. Two months in I volunteered to leave and was put on an all-black, floor, the Paul Robeson floor, on Mettler 3 in November. I was placed with, no joke, an Indian midget named "Hashish" who smelled like shit. Then he transfered. I had a single. For the month of January, I never left my room. Then on Valentines day, the one year anniversary of James/Arielle, in came a greek kid named Paul. Paul was an absolute nightmare.

[To] my horror, he actually said to the all-black RAs that I called everyone on the floor "niggers." - a complete lie. It was my word against his. I was lead out of the room crying and screaming at him and my situation, no friends, no one one to talk to., forced to go in front of a black man, Dean Tolbert, to defend myself and help explain that I did not call anyone any names.

Hahahahaha, right, why is it that I'm not at all inclined to take his word on this? Dude attacks ACORN, "pretends" to be a racist at Planned Parenthood, attends a white supremacist forum, and apparently takes note of every interaction he has with black people, and we're supposed to believe that he got along well with his black hallmates? He seems to have specifically left one room because of a gay roommate, but he claims to have been fine with landing in Robeson hall? Sure thing, buddy.

Blame Rahm?

Ta-Nehisi makes a good point about the progressive hatred of Rahm Emanuel:
As reported yesterday by own comments section, Sarah Palin and progressives are apparently in agreement that Rahm Emanuel needs to go.

Whenever this comes up, I'm always "Meh." I said this last week, I think President Obama knows exactly what Rahm Emmanuel is all about. If Rahm is out there freelancing, then Obama is doing a poor job managing him. If Rahm is speaking the truth that liberals should save their powder for Obama.

I may be getting this wrong, but I think we go after Rahm because, given all his bluster and lust for hippie-punching, he makes for a more inviting target. I guess. I just don't think he does much without his boss's approval.
Blaming Rahm over Obama makes sense for a few other reasons too. It makes sense from a tactical standpoint to not blame Obama since he's is still popular in the polls. While he's done his fair share of sucking during his first year in office, in a meeting a few weeks back someone once described presidential poll numbers like turning around a tanker. He'll remain popular for some time, until voters believe he's really gotten a chance to get what he wants, and as long as he remains popular, it's not smart to use him as a target.

While that reason makes sense, I feel like a good bit of the "blame Rahm" talk is simply people who continue to think Obama is far more liberal than he is/was/always has been and are more comfortable deluding themselves that Rahm has "gone rogue" or is part of some absurd good cop bad cop game. If Obama didn't like what he was gonna do, he wouldn't have hired him. If Rahm was advocating conservative policies that Obama didn't support, he would have fired him. Freelancing is just not how Chief of Staffs work.

So blame Rahm, because he's incompetent, a loathsome human being and one of the best conservative organizers in the last 20 years. Just don't kid yourself into thinking that the policies he's advocating are anything different than what Obama wants.

The Train of Thought Lounge : Snowpocalypse II : Electric Boogaloo Edition

You know, with all the heavy politics, and CAPS mania spreading across the district, our blog has forgotten about the little things that matter most. Spending time with family, sharing a beer with friends, and of course the DC tradition of freaking out and abandoning all sanity during snow storms.

According to the weather reports, DC is expected to recieve upwards of 16 inches of snow in the next 36 hours. Panic mode has set in within the District and we must fend for ourselves.

So to ease the tension, I present this classic from my days in high school. Some of you may remember the one-time collaboration group known as Stardust and their hit "The Music Sounds Better With You." Built off of a sample of Chakha Kahn's "Fate", the track ventures into some blissful house and funk melodies while the bass line keeps you grooving. Enjoy, definitely one of my favorites over the years:

Thursday, February 4, 2010


If you want to explore the spectrum of ideas between "warmongering corporate whore" and "completely unhinged warmongering corporate whore", this debate is for you:

RNC Chair Michael Steele and Ex-Dem Rep. and potential NY-Sen candidate Harold Ford Jr. will share the stage Thursday evening at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to "discuss America's future direction."

The event, dubbed "Left, Right, and Forward: On the Future of America" will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday night. According to the school, "the discussion by the two African-American political combatants kicks off UALR's annual Black History Month program."

"As prominent leaders representing both sides of the political spectrum, Harold Ford Jr. and Michael Steele will engage the audience in the most hot-button issues that will shape our nation's future," said Jan Austin, director of the school's Office of Campus Life, in a statement. "Anyone with an interest in politics and in the future of the country will want to attend."

Late Update: Looks like Steele and Ford are getting a significant payday for this event. The Arkansas Times reports that the two men will be paid a total of $40,000 for the event.

If a debate between Michael Steele and Harold Ford says anything about our future, then we are truly fucked.

I'm also glad that despite their superficial differences, both Steele and Ford and come together over something they both believe in: a shared willingness to do anything for money.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We're All Teabaggers Now!

Well, not all of us. Just a majority of the Republican party. The results from Kos' massive poll of self identified Republicans:


Should Barack Obama be impeached, or not?

Yes 39
No 32
Not Sure 29

For what? Who the heck knows. Who needs high crimes or misdemeanors when...

Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?

Yes 63
No 21
Not Sure 16

That's the power of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, after one year of relentlessly claiming Obama is the second coming of Lenin ... and Hitler!

Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not?

Yes 42
No 36
Not Sure 22

We still have over a half of Republicans who don't think Obama was born in the US or think it's a matter open to debate.

Do you believe Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win?

Yes 24
No 43
Not Sure 33

Not just a quarter of Republicans believe this ludicrous premise, but another third think it's a matter open to debate. How do you negotiate with a party whose rank and file are that divorced from reality? And speaking of divorced from reality...

Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?

Yes 21
No 24
Not Sure 55

One in five Republicans think ACORN is so powerful as to magically make 10 million votes appear. Another 55 are open to the theory. In other words, just 24 percent of Republicans have an even passing relationship with reality.

Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama?

Yes 53
No 14
Not Sure 33


Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people?

Yes 31
No 36
Not Sure 33

I bet more people think Obama is racist, but were too afraid to tell a live operator the truth.

Do you believe your state should secede from the United States?

Yes 23
No 58
Not Sure 19

Holy fuck.

Republicans are officially the party of the teabagger, there's no question about it. And as kos points out in the post, this is exactly why striving towards "bipartisanship" is a completely pointless endeavor.

Say you're an elected Republican from a non insane district. You don't think Obama's a Muslim or should be impeached. Policy wise, you don't have that much disagreement with many of the administration's centrist/pro corporate proposals. Obama sees this and asks for your support on a reform that's been watered down enough to your likeness. From a self preservation standpoint there is literally no reason to work with him.

Option A is to work with Obama, leaving the door open for you to get crushed in a primary by people who will accuse you of attempting to aid his socialist Muslim agenda. If you don't get primaried, you risk alienating a majority of your base in the general election for having so much as worked with Obama.

Option B is to do nothing, not face a primary challenge, keep your cushy job, and maybe you'll have much more power in the majority next year!

While Obama may think being nice can change the climate on capitol hill, what he can't change is the craziness of the Republican electorate. Republicans would be insane to work with him, and Obama would be nuts to keep trying to gain their support.

Daily Show on Obama vs. Republicans Baltimore Brawl

I'm pretty sure his bit about the FOX News emergency cutoff is more factual than not:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Q & O
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Race and Conservatism: Where's Waldo Edition

Picture this if you will: It’s August 2006. You’ve made the drive down to Richmond to catch a forum entitled "Race and Conservatism," a fascinating topic to be sure. Let’s take a look at the featured speaker and some of the guests present for this panel discussion:

-Jared Taylor, a white supremacist conservative thinker praised by David “former leader of the Ku Klux Klan” Duke and defended by Stormfront after demonstrators prevented him from delivering a speech in Canada.

-Marcus Epstein. Yep, that Marcus Epstein, the one who “encountered an African American woman on the street after a night of drinking, struck her on the head, and uttered the word "nigger" before fleeing.” Here are a series of interviews he conducted on the behalf of VDARE, an organization which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

-Willis Carto, prominent anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Sample Carto money quote: “How could the West [have] been so blind. It was the Jews and their lies that blinded the West as to what Germany was doing. Hitler's defeat was the defeat of Europe and America.” In his spare time Carto ran a third party called the Populist Party, which was “little more than an electoral vehicle for current and former Ku Klux Klan and Christian Identity members,” as Wikipedia puts it.

-Michael Hart, who advised a panel organized by white supremacist magazine “American Renaissance” that racial partitioning is the only hope for our future. He arranged a conference in Baltimore last year which elaborated on the need “to defend America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and European identity from immigrants, Muslims, and African Americans.”

Wow, cool stuff! With these guys behind the wheel I’m sure that conservatism will finally have its big breakthrough on race any moment now. By the way, “I don’t understand why minorities don’t vote Republican” is actually a thing that Freepers unironically ponder quite frequently.

But if you were there on that warm summer night you would have recognized another face among the crowd of forty or so people. A representative from One People’s Project was there and took a fateful picture, documenting the presence of someone we’ve seen on the news a few times over the last few months:

James O’Keefe! Apparently we can conclude that as early as 2004 James O’Keefe was already really fuckin’ stupid. It does make you take a second look at his recent accomplishments, too- O’Keefe pulled off a ridiculous smear job on ACORN, a group which delivers a lot of assistance to African-American communities? Interesting. O’Keefe attacked Planned Parenthood by purporting to be a donor who wanted his gift to specifically fund minority abortions because "the less black kids out there the better"? Intriguing. I’m not a scientist or anything, but I’m starting to notice a common thread through a lot of his work.

Oh and by the way, 31 House Republicans passed a resolution honoring him. Just saying.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Helping Those that Destroyed Reform

Reason #34828 why you should never give money to the DNC: (via Americablog)
Last month, Ben Nelson did a TV ad defending his vote on health care. He talks straight to the camera and disses those "who wanted a government takeover." That sounds like an attack on people who supported the public option, because that's as close as Congress got to a "government takeover." You'll recall that Nelson helped kill the public option in the Senate and the Medicare buy-in (after he'd already agreed to it), insisted on the inclusion of harsh anti-abortion language, and then threatened to join the Republicans in filibustering the conference report on the deal he already cut. That Ben Nelson.

Turns out, though, that it's not a Ben Nelson campaign ad. It's hard to read the disclaimer, but the ad was paid for by the Nebraska Democratic Party. It's one of a series of ad touting Nelson's "courageous" effort to bring down real health care reform. More of the ads can be seen here and here.

So, one wonders, where did the Nebraska Democratic Party get the money to pay for these TV ads?

Today, it looks like we got the answer: the Democratic National Committee. According to the Nebraska Democratic Committee's latest FEC report, it received a contribution of $459,760.00 from the DNC.
And here is example 1A that should be studied when the Democrats get slaughtered next November.

Yes the Senate is structurally problematic and sucks. Yes some Senators represent states far more conservative than others.

But none of those facts justifies Ben Nelson's actions during the health care debate. He is an attention whore owned by the insurance industry. Staying in the news and killing any type of real reform were his only goals throughout the process.

Until the Democratic party stops rewarding it's worst members, it's hard them moving too far in the right direction.