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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Tom T. Hall said “Me and Jesus got our own thing going” and nobody doubted his Christianity. President Obama states that Jesus died for his sins, gets baptized, says he is saved by grace  and nobody believes he’s a Christian. Go figure! Here is sampling of some of the responses on The Blaze today:

Fed up in Mn

Posted on September 28, 2010 at 4:57pmObama is so full of hot air he could float a balloon.

plunderpower

Posted on September 28, 2010 at 5:30pmHe is what he is to whom ever he is talking to. If he’s with muslims, he’s a muslim. If he’s in Africa, he’s a Kenyan. The man has made sure he is the center of attention in any group. He lies when it suits him, and he doesn’t think it is wrong. He takes a little bit of this, and a little bit of that…and says that’s who he is.

NancyJean

Posted on September 28, 2010 at 5:31pmEraty Bab,
I’ll second the motion.

DRAIN_THE_CESSPOOL

Posted on September 28, 2010 at 5:44pmTOTAL BS. He lies. It’s a means to an end. There is no room for God in Communism.

Paul Krugman explodes the myth of structural unemployment:

What can be done about mass unemployment? All the wise heads agree: there are no quick or easy answers. There is work to be done, but workers aren’t ready to do it — they’re in the wrong places, or they have the wrong skills. Our problems are “structural,” and will take many years to solve.

But don’t bother asking for evidence that justifies this bleak view. There isn’t any. On the contrary, all the facts suggest that high unemployment in America is the result of inadequate demand — full stop. Saying that there are no easy answers sounds wise, but it’s actually foolish: our unemployment crisis could be cured very quickly if we had the intellectual clarity and political will to act.

In other words, structural unemployment is a fake problem, which mainly serves as an excuse for not pursuing real solutions.

Who are these wise heads I’m talking about? The most widely quoted figure is Narayana Kocherlakota, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who has attracted a lot of attention by insisting that dealing with high unemployment isn’t a Fed responsibility: “Firms have jobs, but can’t find appropriate workers. The workers want to work, but can’t find appropriate jobs,” he asserts, concluding that “It is hard to see how the Fed can do much to cure this problem.”

Now, the Minneapolis Fed is known for its conservative outlook, and claims that unemployment is mainly structural do tend to come from the right of the political spectrum. But some people on the other side of the aisle say similar things. For example, former President Bill Clinton recently told an interviewer that unemployment remained high because “people don’t have the job skills for the jobs that are open.”

Well, I’d respectfully suggest that Mr. Clinton talk to researchers at the Roosevelt Institute and the Economic Policy Institute, both of which have recently released important reports completely debunking claims of a surge in structural unemployment.

After all, what should we be seeing if statements like those of Mr. Kocherlakota or Mr. Clinton were true? The answer is, there should be significant labor shortages somewhere in America — major industries that are trying to expand but are having trouble hiring, major classes of workers who find their skills in great demand, major parts of the country with low unemployment even as the rest of the nation suffers.

None of these things exist. Job openings have plunged in every major sector, while the number of workers forced into part-time employment in almost all industries has soared. Unemployment has surged in every major occupational category

When Ann Coulter was invited to speak at Homocon, a gay confab (Or gay con-Fabulous! as I prefer), it could only have been because they assumed she was a drag queen. I mean, seriously? Ann Coutler? That is not going to end well. And–surprise, surprise– it didn’t. TPM reports:

Coulter’s speech to GOProud mystifyingly focused on social issues and not the fiscal and foreign policy issues that brought most of the attendees there. For instance, she told GOProud that the conservative gay rights movement ought to make common cause with the anti-abortion movement because, she said, “as soon as they find the gay gene, you know who’s getting aborted.”

This gal has class.

Televangelist Eddie Long has some ‘spaining to do. I think I’ll let the Good Book handle this one:

For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

Larry Summers is leaving the Obama cabinet, which is an event as monumental as Gordon Gekko’s release from prison. The only difference is Larry Summers has done more to enrich Wall Street than the fictional Gekko has ever done inside or out of prison. Apparently, no matter which party is in the White House “Greed remains good.” TruthDig’s Robert Scheer laments the misdeeds of Lawrence the Trerrible:

Obama had absolutely nothing to do with the causes of the financial meltdown, but he wasted two precious years being misled by Summers and Geithner as to how to respond to it. The key error, and it is not too late to rectify it, was the failure to force the bailed-out Wall Street titans to give back something significant to the public in the way of mortgage relief. A temporary moratorium on mortgage foreclosures at a time when 11 million homeowners are “underwater,” at risk of joining the almost 4 million who have already lost their homes, is a must to recharge the economy. That is what Obama should have initiated when he first came into office, and I hope it will be done now that the dead hand of Summers has been lifted.

Perhaps at Harvard Summers will have time to reflect on the dismal arc of his split tenure in government service. Thanks to the banking debacle he did so much to initiate back in the Clinton years, the nation now has more people living in poverty, 43.6 million of them, than ever in our history. Americans have witnessed the disappearance of $11 trillion of their net worth, $1.5 trillion in the second quarter; the debt has risen alarmingly; unemployment is stuck at 9.6 percent; and trillions of dollars in toxic pools of housing stock are still held by the banks to be thrown into the housing market fire sale anytime home prices promise to edge upward. Behold what brilliance has wrought.

The Republicans have been saying for while they need to be the party of “new ideas.” But apparently they are all out. So, they have done the next best thing–they have taken all there old ideas (less taxes, less government, less health care) and they have  put it one document that is about the length of all our founding documents put together. The so-called Pledge to America appears to be an unnecessary bit of stage-craft (they were going to do very well this fall anyway) that simply reminds the social conservatives and the Tea Party activists what they don’t like about either party in Washington. Paul Krugman gives his analysis:

On Thursday, House Republicans released their “Pledge to America,” supposedly outlining their policy agenda. In essence, what they say is, “Deficits are a terrible thing. Let’s make them much bigger.” The document repeatedly condemns federal debt — 16 times, by my count. But the main substantive policy proposal is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which independent estimates say would add about $3.7 trillion to the debt over the next decade — about $700 billion more than the Obama administration’s tax proposals.

True, the document talks about the need to cut spending. But as far as I can see, there’s only one specific cut proposed — canceling the rest of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Republicans claim (implausibly) would save $16 billion. That’s less than half of 1 percent of the budget cost of those tax cuts. As for the rest, everything must be cut, in ways not specified — “except for common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops.” In other words, Social Security, Medicare and the defense budget are off-limits.

So what’s left? Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”

The “pledge,” then, is nonsense. But isn’t that true of all political platforms? The answer is, not to anything like the same extent. Many independent analysts believe that the Obama administration’s long-run budget projections are somewhat too optimistic — but, if so, it’s a matter of technical details. Neither President Obama nor any other leading Democrat, as far as I can recall, has ever claimed that up is down, that you can sharply reduce revenue, protect all the programs voters like, and still balance the budget.

And the G.O.P. itself used to make more sense than it does now. Ronald Reagan’s claim that cutting taxes would actually increase revenue was wishful thinking, but at least he had some kind of theory behind his proposals. When former President George W. Bush campaigned for big tax cuts in 2000, he claimed that these cuts were affordable given (unrealistic) projections of future budget surpluses. Now, however, Republicans aren’t even pretending that their numbers add up.

It’s easy for nervous Democrats to demonize the Tea Party as a group of FOX News-programmed, fear-mongering, racially rigid, flag-waving fruitcakes. But not everyone is buying it. Take, for instance, the over-the-top left-leaning Howard Dean:

“I don’t think they are all racists,” explained Dean, who clashed with Democratic party leaders — including White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — over his “50 State Strategy” geared at tapping grass-roots Democratic activists in deep-red Republican districts. But “if you look at the tea party, they are all people of my complexion and my age. … there are a lot of people who are my age and my color who can’t get their arms around the idea that this country is going to look like California in 40 years in that there’s not going to be a [white] majority. … That is a very hard pill to swallow if you are an American who is my age. That is a swirling issue that nobody wants to talk about.”

Added Dean: “I actually approve of most of what the tea party is doing… I think it’s great to have individuals reach out to take their own responsibility for their own [future] and lashing out against government that has really forgotten them … but I also believe that there is a fringe of racism in the tea party, which unfortunately for the tea party that is focused on” by the media.

The good news for Tea Partiers is they are officially a force to be reckoned with. The latest victory of Palin-backed candidate, Christine O’Donnell, has bested moderate  incumbent Rep. Rick Castle. Which is cool and all, except for one thing, she has put a sure thing Republican seat up for grabs. Translation: Democrats pick up a seat. Not the thing that the GOP was hoping for. Of course, this doesn’t bother most of the Tea Party folks, because they would rather thin out the herd than defeat the Democrats. And the Democrats (who need all the help they get) are deeply grateful. The GOP old guard is a little ticked off, though. Take Karl Rove who went all ballastic live on FOX News the night of the primary. So he met with candidate O’Donnell.

But Karl Rove is still not impressed, calling her “nutty” and unelectable. After taking heat for his comments from the right-wing, including Sarah Palin, Rove doubled down on his criticism of O’Donnell, when he said “She does not “evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character.” Yesterday Rove said, the Delaware voters have a lot of “questions” about her shady background, so “we’ll see.”

Of course, that is the basic difference between men like Karl Rove and the idealistic Tea Party gang. He is all about winning and the Tea Partiers are not. After all, once you win you are part of the political establishment––one of things the Tea Party is against.

The Bush tax cuts are about to expire. And somehow that is Barrack Obama’s fault. Now, the fact of the matter is that Obama wants to keep the tax cuts in place for all but those making under $250,000. That’s most of us. And he wants to allow the tax rates for the rich guys to return to where they were under Ronald Reagan. Remember Reagan? Conservatives love that guy. But apparently he taxed rich guys too much, just like Barack wants to do. Now, most of us like the idea that the people with plenty of money pay plenty of taxes. After all the deficit is growing and Republicans want to do whatever they can to fix that. Well, whatever they can that doesn’t raise taxes on the rich. But they don’t put it that way. They say that this tax “increase” will hurt small businesses. Hold the phone! Small businesses! Nobody messes with small businesses! Now I’m feeling all conflicted. People out of work. Small businesses create jobs. Etc. Only here’s the deal. It doesn’t really work that way. Here’s the way it works:

Step 1: The Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that only 1.9% of small businesses are in the two top brackets that would be affected. That’s a little better than the dozen small farms affected by the estate tax, but not by much.

Step 2: About half of that 1.9% aren’t really small business owners at all. They’re high-income investors who get part of their income from investments in small businesses. So we’re down to about 1% of small businesses that would be affected.

Step 3: The top brackets are just that: brackets. When the top rate goes up, it doesn’t affect your entire income, just the portion in the top bracket. So if the top rate goes back up from 35% to 39.6%, it only affects the portion of income above approximately $400,000. A small business owner making $500,000 would see an increase of about $5,000. This is a fairly modest amount for someone making a half million dollars, and anything higher than that is hardly a “small” business to begin with. And the marginal effect is even smaller for the second highest bracket.

Step 4: The Office of Management and Budget estimates that the 10-year cost of these upper-income tax cuts is $678 billion, the vast majority of which hits wealthy individuals, not small businesses no matter how you define them. That’s a fair chunk of change for anyone concerned about the deficit.

Ted Koppel describes how 9-11 launched a series of ingenious events in which the only operatives were unwitting, overreacting Americans:

Perhaps bin Laden foresaw some of these outcomes when he launched his 9/11 operation from Taliban-secured bases in Afghanistan. Since nations targeted by terrorist groups routinely abandon some of their cherished principles, he may also have foreseen something along the lines of Abu Ghraib, “black sites,” extraordinary rendition and even the prison at Guantanamo Bay. But in these and many other developments, bin Laden needed our unwitting collaboration, and we have provided it — more than $1 trillion spent on two wars, more than 5,000 of our troops killed, tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans dead. Our military is so overstretched that defense contracting — for everything from interrogation to security to the gathering of intelligence — is one of our few growth industries.

If bin Laden did not foresee all this, then he quickly came to understand it. In a 2004 video message, he boasted about leading America on the path to self-destruction. “All we have to do is send two mujaheddin . . . to raise a small piece of cloth on which is written ‘al-Qaeda’ in order to make the generals race there, to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses.”

We have raced to Afghanistan and Iraq, and more recently to Yemen and Somalia; we have created a swollen national security apparatus; and we are so absorbed in our own fury and so oblivious to our enemy’s intentions that we inflate the building of an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan into a national debate and watch, helpless, while a minister in Florida outrages even our friends in the Islamic world by threatening to burn copies of the Koran.

Can we please shut the Internet down, start buying newspapers and giving unemployed journalists a living wage to actually report the real news again? Am I the only one sick of Birthers with blogs? Liberals with endless theories on whether Sarah Palin is her toddler’s grammy? And a mainstream media that is as sensationalized and stupid as any wingnut on FOX News? And twice as lazy? Jason Linkins comments on this pandora box of madness unleashed this summer:

And because the media couldn’t do their job, a group of hack politicians, like Rick Lazio and Newt Gingrich, desperate to get a little famewhore attention for their quixotic political career goals, saw an opportunity to horn in on the “discussion.” They started telling all the sad and angry people that they actually did have the right to expect someone to provide a remedy to their claims. Their case was primarily based on the idea that nobody has the rights of religious freedom, no one has property rights and that the government has the right — nay, the duty! — to intrude.

Right away, they should have been entirely ridiculed, because the people pimping this bilge were primarily right-wing types who would ordinarily say that church and state should not be separated, that property rights are sacrosanct, and that government should be small and unobtrusive. Someone really should have said to Newt Gingrich, “Is this seriously the stand you want to take? Because if it is, we shall never allow you to claim to be a supporter of small government or a ‘Constitutional constructionist’ ever again. And if you try to assert that claim, we will drop on you like a ton of bricks. We will cause you real, public pain.”

But of course, that’s not what happened. The media has too much invested in flattering people like Newt Gingrich, and whoever writes Sarah Palin’s tweets. And so, these inherent contradictions simply became “one side of a great debate” and “an interesting point of view.”

And from there, some idiot news producer said, “Hey, I bet we can shoehorn this into our election narrative somehow!” And so the Park51 community center became an election issue. Imagine that, in a world with a nine year-long, going nowhere war and a massive unemployment crisis! Imagine how many times you would have to hit yourself in the head with a ball peen hammer before you would ask a politician from California how they stood on a local zoning issue in Manhattan.

But ask they did, all the way to the White House. And that’s when Democrats like Harry Reid stepped forward to publicly cover themselves in cowardice. This turned the frenzy up several notches for the media, because suddenly, they had obtained a very precious thing — the right to say “both sides do this.” The matter had become a folie a deux — a madness made for two! — but the media focused all their attention on the “two” and none on the “madness.”

And in that climate, a pastor named Terry Jones saw an opportunity to make himself famous. Jones heads up a heretofore unknown and uncared-about gang of Florida morons known as the Dove Outreach Church — minor bit players in the field of antagonizing American Muslims. This idiot announced that he was going to burn some Qurans on September 11th, and was anyone interested in giving this nonsense a whole lot of media attention?

And boy howdy, lots of people took him up on the offer! And you know why they did that? Because of the shame. Because deep down, your media all-stars knew that they had aided and abetted something that closely resembled an intellectual atrocity, and now it was time to atone by finding the lowest-hanging fruit available and make themselves feel better by beating on them repeatedly for being assholes — something they should have already been doing for months!

And this gave an opportunity for some of those who had opposed the Park51 community center — who deserved the treatment being meted out to Terry Jones — to do the same. They joined their friends in the media in this demonstration of game-show absolution, saying, “This level of bigotry is unacceptable! It’s so declasse in comparison to our own bigotry, which is a refined, ‘Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte’ form of despicableness.”

A few people, like John Boehner and whoever writes Sarah Palin’s tweets went so far as to say, “See, this is exactly the same thing we were decrying with the Ground Zero mosque.” Except it wasn’t, because the Ground Zero mosque was a thing they had made up!

Did someone just open a giant can of stupid and rain down psychos on this  country? No, burning Korans on 9-11 is not a good idea. Put up your hands and back away from the gasoline.  Pastor Jones, listen to Dave Petraeus as he attempts to talk you down from you own special brand of nutso. Then listen to Jesus. He said, “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Not “Stupid as doves and crooked as rattlesnakes.” Anyway, in case you haven’t heard the latest “God spoke to me” insanity that is being dispensed from this Bible-thumping wolf in lambs’ wool:

Terry Jones, the Dove World Outreach Center pastor who plans to lead a mass Koran-burning on — and in commemoration of — 9/11, said on MSNBC today that his intent is to send a “very clear, radical message to Muslims,” that the United States will not tolerate sharia law in its courts.

Jones said he fears that the U.S. will become like Europe, where as the Muslims “gained in population, they also began to demand sharia law, sharia courts, which is a very violent form of punishment.” The Koran-burning day, he said, is about sending a “warning” that “that is not welcomed in America.”

Is it just me, or is the Tea Party’s religiosity a strange ecumenical brew? They seem to be oddly fundamentalist in their rhetoric yet very reluctant to see any problem with an elder in the LDS church (a Christian cult that espouses that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers) being their anointed spokesman. They also seem hellbent to see no discernible difference between moderate Islam rec centers and Jihadist al-Qaeda terrorist camps. So very weird. An unrelenting broadness that masquerades as narrowness. It just gets curiouser and curiouser.

Sure, this has been edited for effect. Sure, there are probably other people that could have been interviewed that wouldn’t make the Tea Party come off sounding so stupid. However, for this Glenn Beck-sponsored rally, I’ve got to believe this is pretty representative of the crowd. Why do I say that? Because, everything these flag-waving solid citizens are saying I’ve heard before. On the Glenn Beck show.