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Republican race for the nomination: Ron Paul may be getting underestimated,
Rick Santorum goes on the attack against Paul, Michele Bachmann does not, repeat, does not read from a teleprompter (She used an iPad instead).
"Austerity Economics" ... died of natural causes brought on by prolonged exposure to reality.

Woo-hoo! 65 Occupy encampments nationwide!

Egyptian military is resisting being made subordinate to the peoples' will.

Wow! This'd be cool! It looks like the transaction tax may have more than a snowball's chance in Hell of actually passing!

Very sad to see Politifact toss its credibility on the bonfire by choosing as its "Lie of the Year" a charge that's either flat-out true or, at the absolute worst, arguably true. It's not just bad for Politifact, it's bad for the entire concept of fact-checking as there's no point in anybody telling the truth. Why bother when lying may give one an advantage and there's no apparent down-side to doing it?

Last US troops officially leave Iraq.

Social Security payroll tax cut passes.
Update: Wel-l-l-l, it passed the Senate, anyway. Republicans in the House don't want the act passed, but don't want to be blamed for killing a popular measure. Nobody is on their side. Unlike with the debt-limit fight, Congressional Republicans have no leverage and everyone knows it.

As a condition of keeping the Social Security payroll tax down by two percent, Republicans insist on killing the Keystone XL Pipeline. Um, okay. Sure, we can work with that!

Excellent piece on Wall Street's short-term game being a long-term loser.

Further problem with the Politifact website. Fact-checking is, in general, a very good thing and it should be encouraged, but "expertise" is of  very limited value when a site purports to fact-check a subjective question. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) made a very largely correct statement / prediction about presidential powers and the new AUMF, but Politifact's preferred experts disagreed with him and so Politifact declared his statement "mostly false."

Round-up of political events in early December.

November                         back to top

A bill that could spell the end of the Internet as we know it. It's an anti-piracy bill pushed by movie, TV and music companies and it would come down so hard on possible piracy that essentially any website that features user-submitted content could be shut down. Email your Senator!

How very peculiar! We saw the sexaul harassment claims against Herman Cain and figured that spelled the end of him. Curiously, at the Republican debate, the claims were brought up and "the audience was not happy to hear this inquiry coming up." But then Cain admitted to a consensual affair and Republicans are tossing him under the bus. 

Problem: How to appeal to Roman Catholic voters. Question: Do Catholic Bishops accurately and meaningfully represent those voters? Answer: Erm, no, not really. Just because the whole group of Bishops decides abortion is a truly terrible thing doesn't mean Obama will help himself with ordinary voters by agreeing with the Bishops.

Serious econmic confusion on the part of a guy who's paid to talk about economics. Another comment.

Hard to see why Linda Katehi is still the Chancellor of UC Davis after the famous pepper-spraying incident. And no, I was at the Bradley Manning demonstration where several protesters were carried off by the police and  pepper-spraying was not used, so no, it's not standard procedure.

Round-up on the news 19 Nov 2011. Too much going on to easily summarize.

The Inky writes an editorial the makes an invalid comparison between the 1990 base closing commission and Cat Food Commission II. No, the two commissions are nothing alike as there's far less consensus on cutting the Federal Budget than there ever was or ever will  be on closing bases.

Al Sharpton makes extremely good observations on the conflicts of interests of Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and SCJ Elena Kagan's completely non-existent conflict of interest. Fox News cites a non-existent clause of the Constitution to bolster their case against Kagan.

Poor Herman Cain just doesn't seem to understand this whole "interviewing" thing.

Zucotti Park/Liberty Square where #OWS was staying cleared by New York police at 1:00am on November 15th. Police destroy personal property. Ocupiers learn which side the police are on:

Behind him, a teenage girl holds a hastily written sign saying: "NYPD, we trusted you – you were supposed to protect us!"

We can add Herman Cain to the list of Republican candidates who simply don't know what they're talking about. Cain blamed his "Oops moment" on a lack of sleep, but I seem to remember as ad about a 3:00am phone call and who may or may not be ready for it.

There is simply no better ending for the "Super Congress" than to toss it out with nothing accomplished.

Cat Food Commission II is obviously not going to result in a comprehensive agreement at this point. Problem is, they're not simply dropping it and appear determined to "punt" and "kick the can down the road" and delegate off the hard decisions.

Speaking as someone who was a history major back in college, recent pronouncements by Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are just plain painful to hear about. No, *sigh*, the relationship between the US and China in no way resembles that between the US and the Soviet Union and *no*, Iran doesn't have any insurgents for the US to support. Iranians may be unhappy with their government, but that's a long way from being willing to take up arms against it.

*Sigh*, the President just doesn't appear to have clue number one about how we should deal with Cat Food Commission II. No "tough choices" are necessary, the Federal Budget is not like a family budget, the American people are not expecting, nor do they want a deal.

Fox News' Andrea Tantaros spews a number of wrong, victime-blaming things about the Herman Cain sexual-harrassment case. The piece on her opposition to Cain's victimes makes a number of interesting observations about professional women trying to make it up the career ladder and mentoring. Well worth reading.

I take a look at who exactly the 1% and the 99% are. A right-wing newspaper columnist asserts, correctly, that  the numbers are a shorthand for a more complex reality. 
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) makes one wonder whether President Obama has really gotten the message of Occupy Wall Street or not. BTW, excellent piece on how the "Austerity Class" rules Washington DC. Congress set to vote on one of the worst budget ideas ever, the Balanced Budget Amendment. President Obama's views on enforcing laws against behavior of banks not looking good.

Right-wing media achieves a complete and utter FAIL for their coverage of presidential candidate Herman Cain and his many accusers.

Deadbeat dad (Owes his ex-wife over $100,000 in child support payments) Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) melts down and accuses constituents of "blaming the banks" for the economy being a mess. He's completely wrong, of course, and banks take most of the blame.

Elections of 2011 turn out pretty well for progressives. Lots of good news with Ohio's anti-union measure and Mississippi's "personhood" amendment. Not so hot locally, but Montgomery County got two good Commissioners.

Is Israel about to attack Iran? Sure hope not, but it's very pleasant to see a blogger list many reasons as to why Obama wouldn't welcome such an attack.

Cat Food Commission II appears to be in trouble. With only a few weeks to go, there's no sign that a deal can be reached. Good! The Commission needs to be disbanded anyway.

Update on WaPo Social Security story - The WaPo Ombudsman takes a look at it and, unsurprisingly for this fellow, declares that the dirty hippies of the left are wrong to attack it. Very disturbingly, he concludes that well, lefty economists hate it, right-wingers love it, a Third Way guy who represents the centrists likes it, so the Ombudsman goes with him as the authority. This is a very lazy and irresponsible way to determine what the truth is.

This is so incredibly sad and reveals the utter moral bankruptcy of the Family Research Council. Repesentative Joe Walsh (R-IL) owes over $100,000 in child support, but the FRC gave him a 100% "Pro Family" record as he's an anti-abortionist and wants to eliminate Planned Parenthood.

Gee, why has the right-wing propaganda machine sputtered and died recently? Perhaps it's because Republicans promised to focus on the economy, but instead focused on reproductive choice and wild and crazy ideas that they didn't campaign on.
Very, very good to see some liberal pushback on the WaPo's attempt to pull a "Judy Miller" with Lori Montgomery, to try to present a highly slanted and biased and wildly inaccurate piece as though it were objective news. Oh, and the Democratic establishment is now taking voter suppression tactics seriously. Little late for that, but good to see they're now wide-awake to the problem.

Bit of a problem for the right wings' discrediting of #OWS, a lot of the #OWS people are veterans.

Is Herman Cain being unfairly discriminated against with all of these sexual harassment charges? I really couldn't care less. The guy is as bad as Sarah Palin with his complete ignorace of US policy. About those sex harassment claims, Cain is now doin' the ol' fast-foot shuffle to avoid canceling the confidentiality agreeement that's keeping his accuser quiet. Heh! Rush Limbaugh: "Sexual harassment is a political tool of the left..." Really? Apparently Limbaugh slept through Bill Clinton's entire term in office, where the President had to fend off charge after charge after charge of sexual harassment.

October                         back to top

Very pleased to have seen some pushback on a really bad traditional media story. The WaPo puts out a really, really awful, excruciatingly bad piece on Social Security and the deficit. Fortunately, the piece gets lots and lots of pushback, to the point where the author gets really stressed out and frazzled over the criticism. And while it's all very nice and fine and well for people to realize that they're wrong, they tend to realize this long after the fact and when the damage is long since done.

I review Fair Game, the Niger nuclear-Iraq connection with Joe and Valerie Plame Wilson.

What a wasted opportunity! Cat Food Commission II had the chance to specify to the American people just what Democrats stood for. It was pretty obvious that Republicans wouldn't accept any deal. So the Commission drastically underbids and proposes $2 trillion in cuts and only $1 trillion in new revenue. Not only did Republicans reject the offer out of hand, progressives are infuriated. Bad, pathetic, lose-lose situation all around.

It's absolutely, critically imperative for America to find a way to fix its' broken housing market. Problem is,
...the same players who committed the same crimes are in position at the same points.

Hilarious! Bill O'Reilly makes a number of wild, unsubstantiated charges about OWS being funded and directed by "George Soros, MoveOn, the SEIU and many far-left journalists," but then a Fox News "straight news" contributor DARES to compare these e-e-evill villains to the Koch brothers. O'Reilly goes off on her and insists:

"And I want to remind you not to make statements you can't back up on this network. We don't do that on this network. Other networks do. We don't."

Yeah, okay, well then, we'll patiently await O'Reilly's "proof" about Soros and MoveOn having anything to do with Occupy Wall Street.

Two pieces, one right after the other. An anti-gay bigot saying that marriage equality will be the literal death of us and then a piece about how a group is spending $70,000 in taxpayer funds to deprive students of $300 million in spending. The kicker? They're both Republicans! Which is it, guys!?!?! You like children or don't you? 

#OWS Is About Justice, Not Wealth or Class

Just because Occupy Wall Street keeps their money in a bank doesn't mean they're being dishonest or inconsistent.

Good summary of national political coversation over the last few months.
While ignoring the collapse of the "Climategate" uh, "scandal" (A fellow who was paid by the Koch brothers finds nevertheless, that climate scientists had it right the first time), Fox News did find time to praise Rick Perry's flat tax plan. And yes, the plan is completely insane.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) wants to save money by cutting Pell Grants, the grants that permit lower-income American young people to get college educations. Yeah, who needs an economy full of educated workers?

WaPo columnist Richard Cohen examines OWS for signs of anti-semitism.  Fox News ran a Bill Kristol advertisement warning everyone about how anti-semitic OWS was on same day Cohen visited and Cohen saw no such signs.

President Obama promises all the troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays.
Update: Newt Gingrish flip-flops on whether going or staying is a good thing. Rep. Michele Bachmann complains that "... we are there as the nation that liberated these people. And that’s the thanks that the United States is getting...?"
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was going to give a speech on income inequality at Wharton School, but was dissuaded when he was told there would be protesters at his speech. And no, we didn't miss much.

Thoughts on the brutal execution of Qaddafi.

In the face of 75% public approval for the idea of passing President Obama's jobs bill, the Senate only musters a 50-50 approval of it (It takes 60 to break a filibuster and to permit discussion of the bill). Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) complaned just the other day about the government lacking a sense of urgency to tackling the jobs crisis. Would have helped her credibility had she not voted to filibuster the jobs bill. President Obama says Republicans need to explain why they voted to kill the popular bill. 
Moammar Gadhafi captured, apparently beaten and killed afterwards. White House takes victory lap for successful conclusion of Libyan operation, Republicans refuse to credit President or even American troops for it.

Lots to object to in Dana Loesch's talk here, but I was especially baffled by Loesch's assertion that their was some sort of daylight between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. Sorry, but there were no substantive differences in policy that I was ever aware of. Tea Partiers might have been a bit more extreme in their views, but as befits an astroturf movement, there was no fundmental disagreement on policy questions.

Cat Food Commission II just really needs to cease to exist. They're "dead in the water" as far as finding a budgetary solution to what ails America goes. 
See, the whole idea of centrism/Third Way/Middle of the Road ideology is that the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a valid analogue for leftist=too hot, right wing=too cold, centrist=just right. Major problem with that is that left and right are not exact opposites. Right-wingers care about how much government is spending, leftists care about results and aren't concerned about whether government is thereby bigger or smaller.
James O'Keefe thought that left and right think tanks are the same, that they  were looking for ideologically correct results. No, what lefty think tanks are concerned with is accuracy and credibility, not about being "correct." The Goldilocks metaphor is a really lousy, crappy way to judge ideologies.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq sticks to his guns and insists that the US leave Iraq by this years end. The US leaves behind a failed state with no benefits for itself.

The story that Iran planned to kill the Saudi Ambassador is a highly, highly questionable assertion.

*Sigh* Someone needs to tell Rush Limbaugh that the whole point of "due diligence" is that you're supposed to do it before you go on the air to excitedly tell listeners stuff that makes you sound really effing stupid later! Just because it's called "The Lord's Resistance Army" does not mean that they're Chrisitians!!!
Update: Limbaugh's listeners double down and defend his statement. Limbaugh can't be bothered to correct his obviously-wrong interpretation.

Ya can't keep us down! Occupy Wall Street sparks sympathizers all over the world! American poll results:
Percentage of Americans who support the Tea Party: 27%
Percentage of Americans who support OWS: 54%
Also, New Yorkers fully understand why the OWS people are there and support them wholeheartedly.

Good Lord!!! Horrifying sounds and images of Occupiers being brutalized by police.

See, here's the problem. If Timothy Geithner were describing, y'know, reality and not just some really pleasant, wishful-thinking fantasy, then the OWS movement might not be as large as it is. Quote:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner suggested Friday that a new round of “dramatic enforcement actions” against Wall Street wrongdoing is coming.

I emphasized the word "new" because, well, had we seen any meaningful enforcement actions, the Occupy movement would be much smaller.

“You’ve seen very, very dramatic enforcement actions already by the enforcement authorities..."

Uh, no. No, we haven't.

Geithner also vows to take action against deficits, as if deficits were a problem that any of the Occupiers were worried about.

Excellent, very illuminating set of charts about what America's economy is all about these days.

Very, very, VERY annoying!!! "Free" Trade Agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia get through Congress. The good news is they faced record Democratic opposition. Sort of good news is that the Tea Party freshmen were the decisive positive votes that got the FTAs over the top. Serious problem with the media: The "need" for 60 votes (The actual vote was 50-49 in favor) was due to the filibuster, which is not found in the Constitution and has been really, really abused ever since Democrats took over.

Would Founding Father James Madison have approved of the Tea Party or the Occupy Wall Street movement? No question about it, he'd stand with OWS.

We have the very sad case of propagandized people responding to We are the 99% (Everybody but the Wall St bankers and their sympathizers/ enablers) by opening up a site saying We are the 53% (Which refers to those who earn enough to pay income taxes). The 53% site is really quite sad as it's people who are really just as badly off as the 99%ers, but are proud of it.

Rather serious problems arising with US troops and mercenaries remaining in Iraq past 2011. Not only do Iraqis want US personnel to remain on their bases (Thereby making another 1983 Beirut barracks bombing possible), but they don't want US personnel to have legal immunity for their actions.

It's entirely understandable for regular citizens to not know who the President of Uzbekistan is, but for a presidential candidate to not have any idea is really quite sad.

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman notes that the representatives of the One Percenters (As opposed to the 99 Percenters, i.e., the Occupiers and frankly, the One Percenters actually represent "the wealthiest hundredth of a percent") are showing quite a bit of fear and paranoia over the occupations springing up around the country. If you can judge a movement by its enemies, the Occupy Together movement is a healthy one, indeed!
Female students in Chile have been occupying their university for five months, inisting on free education.

So how's the occupation of Afghanistan going? US troops pulling out soon? Not looking so good on that score. The Bagram Air Force base has 25,000 permanent personnel and an expansion is planned. Also, Taliban rocket attacks are increasing. Some Afghans believe

corruption, insecurity and immorality have flourished since U.S.-backed troops ousted the group from Kabul, and [the return of the Taliban] would end much of that.

Oh, and big surprise, Sarah Palin's not running for President after all. Palin's employment at Fox News creates serious legal and ethical dilemmas.

Right-wingers shouldn't try to discuss racial identity. Seriously guys, just leave the whole issue alone. It's simply not the place of a white person to discuss who's "really" black.

The idea that Senator Obama marched with the New Black Panther Party  back in 2007 never made much sense to me as the group doesn't do marches to begin with, but the idea that Obama marched with the NBPP is complete rot and nonsense.

Huh! Amazing. The Koch brothers have not only been our political enemies for a long time, they've also been criminals. Who'd a thunk it?

Deep thoughts on the al-Awlaki killing. Congress needs to write up rules for this sort of thing, and quickly.

Very, very interesting to see the NY Times change its lede paragraph within 20 minutes of first putting it out. Audio backup. Detailed picture of just what happened. Wow! Airline pilots join the Occupy Wall Street protest! Good overview as to what the fight is all about.

Excellent news! The proposed 50-State settlement of the foreclosure mess that the NY Attorney General had already backed out on sufferd a crippling blow when the CA Attorney General did likewise.  The Obama strategy of sweeping foreclosure faud under the rug is dead.

September                         back to top

Media Research Center's Brent Bozell tries to "prove" that the media has a liberal bias by comparing numbers of on-air minutes that Democratic and Republican presidential candidates received. Not only were the numbers of minutes about the same (247 minutes for Republicans in 2011, 241 for Democrats in 2008), but the Democratic numbers were padded by including Al Gore, who wasn't running.

Government shutdown averted! Republicans blinked and there were no offsets for disaster aid.

Facebook photos of Occupy Wall St in NYC. Brutality against protesters draws some welcome pushback from MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell. Regardless as to how individual media outlets feel about this protest, it still needs to be covered.
Making life difficult for anyone attempting parody: Michele Bachmann thinks Hezbollah could be building missile sites in Cuba! 

Crowd-sourced photos on Facebook of New York's Occupy Wall Street protest. A sort-of anti and an enthusiastically pro-Occupy Wall St protest commentary. The media seems to have taken a very different attitude towards protest, specifically, a much more respectful attitude towards the Tea Party actions. Good point

Ultimately we get the movement we deserve, and if only the oddest ducks are willing to put themselves on the line for actions like this, it's hard to complain too much about the marginalization of the left.

SugarHouse Casino observes its 1st annivesary. Casino-Free Philly points out that "quicksand credit" has cost Philly citizens dearly in lost gambling wagers.

Woo hoo!

Support for Occupy Wall Street is growing by the hour. Solidarity actions in Chicago, Phoenix and Paris, France, are all getting off the ground. In Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Atlanta, actions are in the works.

Very, very sad to see a possibly innocent man be executed. Support Troy Davis!

Strongly agree with this cartoon on Ron Paul's "solution" to medical costs. Depending on churches, friends and family is all very fine and well when you live in  a small town and everyone knows you and when costs are small, but as the third panel of the cartoon shows, not everyone lives in a cozy small town and when those costs go up into the multiple  thousands of dollars, neighbors can't simply hold a bake sale and pay your bills for you.

Republican party leaders explicitly encourage Fed to not stimulate the economy because they want the President to lose in 2012.
"Mainstream" pundits show their complete cluelessness and irrelevance concerning what Americans want in their economy.

RT (formerly Russia Today) explains the Wall St. sit-in. WSQT Direct Action Radio 90.5 in DC posts a piece on Indymedia going in-depth on the sit-in.

New Jersey's Star-Ledger explains what Obama's "class warfare" remarks are all about and Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos gives Obama's America Jobs proposal a hearty thumbs-up.

I spent part of the day looking at Obama's deficit reduction plan, looking for that poison pill. It looked too good to be true—...

But it seems to be entirely true, the plan really is progressive! And a very good thing to keep in mind:

As I kept saying again and again, if Obama was winning support among independents and other key constituencies, then he could hippy-punch to his heart's content.

But the debt-limit negotiations and the whole strategy of pre-conceding were a complete failure. They were strictly a lose-lose proposition. Obama very sensibly chucked that whole strategy.
Heh! Right-wing commenter says President is "Throwing compromise out the window." That'd be real convincing if Republicans had been doing any real compromising to begin with.

Woo-hoo!!! DADT is dead!!! GLBT servicemembers no longer have to hide which gender they prefer to romance. "This is a BFD, and [it was] a long, hard slog."

Speaker Boehner rejects Obama jobs plan, insists that deregulation and lowering taxes will do the job of getting Americans back to work. Heh! President Obama makes jobs speech at aging bridge in Boehner's district.
Interestingly, the bloodthirsty reaction of Republican debate audiences towards death thru insufficient funds is not replicated when students at Liberty University are asked about the issue face-to-face.

Whew! Senate passes disaster relief aid package
62 to 37 without taking money from other programs to pay for it. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) had insisted that money be taken from foreign aid to pay for it.

Blue Dog Democrats and budget issues - the Democratic Party needs to toss these guys out

The President's speech on jobs got pretty generally positive reviews. Recommend we all contact Congress and lobby for immediate passage of whole package!

Think Progress does three pieces in a row that suggest that the Republican Party as a whole doesn't seem to have much use for, y'know, facts and evidence and y'know, stuff like that. Oh, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is a complete jerkwad.

Hmm, this might turn out to be a problem, Turkey is escalating it's complaint about how Israel treated Turkish nationals that were on the "Ship to Gaza," the Mavi Marmara, last year. Israeli plane goes through stringent check.  Israel reacts by downgrading diplomatic ties.

Photostory on Libyan rebels taking control of Tripoli.

Aw-w-w-w! Poor Newt Gingrich! He says people are asking him whether he's still running for president. Gingrich blames the press for public's confusion.

The President will make a speech on jobs this Thursday. Is it anything to look forward to? He's revealed himself to be, essentially, a moderate Republican. He's losing popularity among progressives, who see him as a real good talker, but not much of a doer. His leaked plan is underwhelming.

Not just Fox News and Washington Times, but CNN, the WaPo and USA Today all run doctored quote from Teamsters President James Hoffa. What the hell is wrong with these people!?!?!

DC Establishment reporter Mark Halperin answers his own question, but doesn't seem to realize it. He wants to know why Obama and Speaker Boehner can't work together and reach an agreement, but admitted earlier in the same segment that it's in the interests of Republicans not to have a healthy economy.

Two good pieces on 9/11, both of which denounce "Truthers" (Who feel that Bush planned and supervised the whole thing), the Inky looks at various issues, a blog looks at Bush Administration malfeasance.

The economic recovery is  doing quite poorly. Will it improve if we start using Republican policies? Erm, actually, we already are. It's precisely those policies that are failing us.

A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence...

Not clear what the fall-out from this will be.

Oh, well. So much for the boomlet of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Seems she's not going anywhere after all. TX Governor Rick Perry (R) is stealing all her thunder.

Some right-wingers get a case of the "honesty" bug. Enabling poor people to vote encourages "redistributionist policies" that are, like, uh, bad, I guess. Rush Limbaugh says, flat out "Screw social justice!"

August                         back to top

President has a clear challenge ahead of him. He can keep trying the ol' centrist, DLC, Third-Way game, y'know, the idea of ignoring his base and trying to appeal to the middle-of-the-road voter, or he can try something that's more likely to work and take a progressive approach.
Update: Good! Looks like he's doing just that. 

Excellent! New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, in his quest to hold mortgage lenders responsible for fraud, is finding supporters!

Good piece on why Sarah Palin is no longer taken seriously as a presidential candidate. Lots of factors, including her failure to convince women to vote for her simply because she's a fellow female. 

The Obama Administration very, very seriously needs to stop chasing the mirage of centrist, independent voters. It's a very bad, counter-productive strategy. The public blames Republicans more than Democrats for the lousy economy, but the lefty bloggers are the canaries in the coal mine. They're warning that a revolt in the ranks is brewing.

Apparently it has not escaped the notice of half of Americans that this mumbo jumbo about the deficit and "confidence" and the rest isn't addressing their concerns.

Suspected Al Qaeda trainer Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was rendered by the CIA to Egypt, where he was tortured. To make his interrogators stop, he told them that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This intelligence was used in part to justify the Iraq War. No such link existed.

This is a perfect example of what we call a "self-fulfilling prophecy." Al-Libi figured out, probably by the questions his interrogators were asking him, what it was that his interrogators wanted to hear. So, he told them that. So then, the Bush Administration triumphantly told the world what the results of their illegal and immoral techniques were, techniques they knew full well produced useless results.
Sorry Allen West (The only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus), but Dr. Martin Luther King was a progressive. He never took conservative positions on any issue.
Obama says he's in favor of jobs, that he's ready to pivot to the jobs issue? Fine. Disband Cat Food Commission II or as some refer to it, the joint super-committee. Sorry, but as long as Republicans are saying crazy things, like that disaster relief can only be provided if there are cuts elsewhere in the budget, then no sane proposals can be produced.

Libya just about fully in the hands of the rebels. Juan Cole, a highly respected professor and lefty blogger, feels that this is a very good thing.

Qaddafi had lost popular support across the board and was in power only through main force.

To the annoyance of the right wing, this appears to exonerate Obama's strategy of "Lead from behind." The "Thank America last" crowd, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), of course, disagree. Blogger John Cole has many sensible concerns and reservations.

Not as strong or clear as I'd like it to be, but it's good to see President Obama's Senior Advisor David Axelrod take the right tack in saying that "rebuilding the country's roads and bridges" is important. Disappointing to see how much the Obama Administration is continuing to cling to a failed centrist strategy, though. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration doesn't appear to have any interest in prosecuting bankers for dubious foreclosure practices.

Hm. Seems Sarah Palin will run after all. Meh. As the Republican pollster Frank Luntz points out

"Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin operate in the exact same [political] space. They have similar personalities. They attract similar voters. There's no space for [Palin] right now."

Billionaire Warren Buffet scolds fellow rich people for being willingly undertaxed. Fellow billionaire Charles Koch declares (in a very huffy and offended manner) that he helps society just fine, thank you very much. Comment on piece:

I’m fascinated by the notion that “much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good.” Such as?

Or more to the point, more harm than good for whom?

Very, very pleased to see that progressive citizens are doing what Tea Party activists were doing in the summer of 2009, they're questioning their Congresspeople and well, y'know what? Congresspeople don't seem to like it very much.

'Fraid I have to agree with this. Progressive members of Cat Food Commission II are trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear, but the boat has left the harbor on adding a jobs component to the mandate of the Commission. 

The wrongheadedness of some press corps writers can be a sight to behold.  Wrong conclusions beget wrong conclusions and no, there is no "broad center." Most Americans are on the left side of the political spectrum.
Heh! So who were those people again who said defaulting on our financial obligations wouldn't be a big deal?

Absolutely frikkin' bloody hilarious! The conservative RightNetwork .com hasn't had any new material for several months. Love their explanation!

"Our social media guy accepted an offer somewhere else, so, you know, we're trying to replace him. But, It's just business as usual."

Bwah-hah-hah!!! When RightNetwork debuted, " touted itself as a conservative media alternative..."
Yup, it really, truly is the economy! President Obama better get a move on and get the economy moving to creat new jobs and make life visibly better or he'll be a one-termer for sure!

Deadbeat dad Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) thinks gay couples make bad parents. Gee Joe, if only you were paid up on child support, that might be a compelling case!

Problem that made winning Wisconsin much harder: the messages put out by the President and national Democrats. The messages were all about austerity. Austerity directly contradicts Democratic values. We can't possibly pursue Democratic policies and austerity at the same time as they're completely contradictory goals.

No good news concerning Cat Food Commission II, even though traditional media desperately searches for some. Problem is, the Commission is set up to "make cuts," not to "find answers."

Results in Wisconsin: Not ideal, the balance between Republican and Democratic State Senators was 19 to 14, now that's been narrowed to 17-16.  Could have been better, but was well worth doing. There were questions of irregularities, but Democrats will not pursue them.

So Obama has achieved a perfect lose-lose solution. He's lost in that the economy is crashing and in that nobody is pleased with the deal. Overwhelmingly, the feeling is that the rich got a real good deal and that the not-rich got whacked. Obama is fast reaching a tipping point, where the public is likely to conclude that he's just not a very good negotiator or that he's just not a liberal. Thank heavens, at least  S&P isn't silly enough to endorse the Balanced Budget Amendment. Local and state jobs are not at all difficult to save, it just requires money from the Federal Government, money that Tea Party Republicans don't want to see spent.
Actually, Michelle Bachmann's views on slavery are pretty disurbing.

The credit-rating agency Standard & Poor lowers US creditworthiness from AAA to AA+. Not clear that S&P is really qualified to make any such judgements, though. S&P's motivation is also quite suspect. Remember, agencies were quite slow to pick up on Enron's problems in 2002. And also remember:

[In 1999] a German company pieced together a picture of the Enron Corporation's finances so troubling that it helped persuade the company to call off a merger with Enron...

The failure of regulators and ratings agencies to pick up on Enron's problems were not due to those problems being obscure and unknowable. 
The Republican House Transportation Committee Chairman is very, very upset.  After forcing 74,000 people into a furlogh (They might not get back pay for that time), Rep. John Mica (R-FL) feels like the victim as everybody appears to really hate him for doing that.

Crisis averted! Not much to celebrate other than that, though. Very, very interesting statement from the Vice-President, saying that President Obama was "prepared to 'invoke the 14th Amendment' in the event of the debt limit failing to pass." That means that it really was an entirely fake "crisis" that didn't have to happen. And no, Republicans are not swearing off creating future such "crises."
Obama made a great speech about getting to the job creation business, but it's not clear when he'll do any such thing or with what resources. Great idea otherwise, though. Unfortunately, "Free Trade" agreements are likely to be a big part of any jobs solution Problem "Free Trade" agreements are major job-killers, not job-producers.
Bwah-hah-hah!!! Newt Gingrich claims to have over 1.3 million Twitter followers. Erm, slight problem: most of them are fake. Update: A little over 100,000 are real, live human beings. That means that 92% of his followers are fake.

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*Sigh*! Another centrist, between-both-camps, above-it-all Ombudsman for the WaPo. Jennifer Rubin blogged that the slaughter in Norway was due to al Qaeda (Patrick Pexton, the ombudsman, says he thought much the same thing right off the bat, but thinking and writing are two different things), it was quickly revealed that the culprit was a blonde, blue-eyed Norwegian. Rubin could have corrected her post, but her religious beliefs  insisted that she not work during those hours. This is, then, an editorial dereliction of duty, not so much a writer's dereliction. Anyway, the reason lefty bloggers reached such a hasty judgment is because there's just too much technology involved in blogging and stuff happens so quickly.
"Cat Food Commission II", the unofficial name for Harry Reid's latest brainstorm. Horrible, horrible idea!

As the debt "crisis" continues on and on and it begins to approach actually being a real crisis,  columnist Paul Krugman points to the ridiculous notion that the two sides of the debate "balance" one another, as though right and left were the same and were simply arguing over details. Nonsense! Tea Party Republicans are extremists who want deep and drastic budget-cutting regardless of who gets hurt or how the American credit rating suffers. [Newsbusters quotes Krugman accurately, but doesn't appear to understand his statements, accusing Krugman of advocating censorship, which he hasn't done at all.] Very, very interesting view that the credit-rating agencies that gave AAA ratings to the lousy mortgages that were behind the housing bubble are now threatening to lower America's credit rating. Speaker John Boehner, proving that he's absolutely the weakest Speaker in living memory, prepares a third version of a bill that will be DOA in the Senate.

Well-known Creationist / Biblical Literalist / Intelligent Design guy issues "debunking" of Global Warming.

After leaping to the not-initially unreasonable conclusion that the mass killings in Norway were caused by Muslim extremists, anti-Muslim bloggers are now caling for exactly the sort of nuanced, thoughtful attitude that they've so reviled and condemned when people have tried to apply that sort of analysis to Hamas and other Muslim groups.

Very, very interesting look at the similarities between 1780s France and the US today.

FAA partially shuts down, cannot collect taxes on flight tickets, do the airlines lower prices to reflect that fact? Ha, ha, ha! Of course not. One more right-wing theory blown to crap.
The right-wing Norwegien Anders Breivik is being held for bombings and shootings in Oslo which left 95 dead.  Right wing in the US (Including in Washington Post) leaps to accuse al Qaeda, incorrectly, of being guilty. Analysis of Breivik's views.

Barack Herbert Hoover Obama decides that he's doing the right thing. Don't think people will agree with him for very long. Unfortunately, Blue Dog Democrats agree with him right now. Theirs is an extremely short-range view that's guaranteed to be forgotten by late 2012.

A bit of sunlight peeking out from behind the clouds on the debt-ceiling fight, but overall, a pretty bleak picture.

Heh! Senator Al Franken (D-MN) humiliates a right-winger by reading the source material better than the right-winger did.

Yeah, I agree with this. I just never saw Rupert Murdoch as being a careless, hands-off manager. Come to think of it, I never accepted Reagan's word for it that he was ignorant of Iran-Contra, nor did I ever think that G.W. Bush was ignorant of torture policy.

I just can't come up with any honest or reasonable explanation for how the President is dealing with the debt "crisis" with the Republicans /Tea Partiers.  The cosequences of failing to tend to our crumbling infrastructure could be quite serious. And sorry, but the WaPo's Jeff Greenfield really doesn't get it. this is not a "pox on both your houses" situation. Only one party is seriously threatening default if its demands aren't met.

Good update on the Boat to Gaza and the self-inflicted PR black eye that Israel, the Greeks and the US have dealt themselves.
Problem with the whole debt-ceiling debate is that I really can't cheer for either side. The President's desire to whack huge chunks out of the social safety net is not much better than that of the Republicans. As I said, tell me when we have somebody representing us in this fight.

Pleasant comic relief - Rupert Murdoch's media empire starts falling apart. So very pleasant seeing bad people coming to a bad end

Funny thing, but the Senate Minortity Leader, Mitch McConnell, doesn't appear to have much respect for the actual workings of democracy.

Big surprise (not). Kenneth Gladney's case that he was abused by a "union thug" fell apart. 

A local columnist looks at Iraq with apprehension towards the future. Sorry, but I can't agree that the US needs to pour still more money into that rathole.

%$#@& Looks like the Boat to Gaza effort has pretty much been defeated. Here are the links:

US Boat to Gaza Twitter feed.
The Greek coast guards & commandos have prevented the US Boat from sailing to Gaza.

Updates on situation. Marlene Santoyo's sample letter to various officials.

Good new! Boat's Captain aquitted!!!

Ooh! Clever! I like it!

At 10 am Greek time today (Jul 12th), the shore electricity was cut off to the Audacity of Hope, the U.S. Boat to Gaza, leaving us with no power. The boat has been imprisoned at the US Embassy/ Greek Coast Guard dock.

Infuriating to be following the debt negotiations! Who's out there representing regular Americans?

Rupert Murdoch's media empire (Fox News, NY Daily News, numerous British and Australian publications, etc) is in very big trouble! The 168-year old News of the World will be closed in a few days. The investigation of the phone hacking scandal was botched and it doesn't look like they're at the bottom of it yet. In fact, it's looking a whole lot like Watergate. The essential "nut" of the story is that a 13-year old girl was murdered in 2002. The Murdoch employees hacked into her cell phone and deleted messages from the phone, leading her family to believe she was still alive

Very happy to see this. Donors to an anti-gay marriage group wanted to remain anonymous, citing threats to their safety.  But how can democracy thrive if big-money, corporate donors to causes can remain anonymous?

Very good points here. Right-wingers have insisted that if the government controls too much of the GNP, that that leaves too little left over for private investment and therefore, poverty. Not quite. Englands' government during the 1700s controlled up to 30% of the English economy and they seem to have turned out fine.

Rundown on situation with negotiations over the debt limit.

Extremely sad to read about how incredibly lazy and derelict the NY Times was in a story about Andrew Breitbart. C'mon people! You know that Breitbart's the sleaziest of liars! Why do you fall for his BS?!?!?

American captain of US boat to Gaza arrested by Greek coast guard enforcing Israel's illegal siege of Gaza

Twitter feed to US Boat to Gaza.

Huh! Gee, ya think right-wingers are getting a little defensive about having blithering, ditzy spokespeople such as Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? Includes a Fox News segment where women complain that media criticisms that are about historical accuracy are instead cleverly-disguised atttacks on conservative women.

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Good speech by the President, but as FireDogLake points out, very little and very late. The idea that America is in some sort of acute economic crisis that can only be solved via massive spending cuts has already taken root and has turned into Conventional Wisdom. As Minority Leader in 2005 dealing with G.W. Bush's desire to privatize Social Security, Nancy Pelosi adopted the phrase "There. Is. No. Crisis." There was absolutely no need to adopt panicked, hurried measures. Obama could have taken that stance from the beginning, but instead helped to arrange the Cat Food Commission, which convinced people that there was indeed a crisis (I don't agree with the piece at the link when Klein claims liberals were complacent about the Commission being dissolved. I believe Obama paid it vastly too much credibility, but the rest of the piece is good).

Cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan around $4 trillion.

Yep, poor ol' Glenn Beck is about to do his last Fox News TV show. Let's hear it now: "Aw-w-w-w!"  As with Howard Stern, Beck will probably disappear into something like Sirius XM and no one will ever hear from him again.

Looks like a pretty sure thing that Michelle Bachmann is the Republican most likely to face Obama in 2012.

Yippee! It's a party! Marriage equality passed in New York State! Right-wingers very sad about that. 
WaPo writers are just terribly sad that Americans want to pull our troops out of Afghanistan. Summary of Obama's speech.

Media investigations of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas continue. Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT) asks whether it's time to open up a formal investigation. Thomas has ties to right-wing funders that have still not been explained and evidence that he has received many very expensive gifts is troubling. Question: Does America have a late Roman justice system where some are considered above the law or does America still have a system where the law is supreme and is enforced whether or not the defendent is wealthy or powerful?

Reason #546,873 as to why I think NJ Governor Chris Christie (R) is a complete piece of %$#&. Constituent asks him if he sends his kids to private school (He does), in other words, does he understand the pain he's causing to ordinary folks by cutting education funding for public schools? “Her point is completely ridiculous,” Chrisitie snapped, calling the woman “nonsensical.”
Rick Santorum denies the reality of Global Warming (No, he doesn't have any background in science), so of course Glenn Beck finds his denial completely convincing.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor ditches on deficit talks (Democrats want $400 billion in new taxes to offset $2 trillion in cuts) because his rich sponsors might have to pay a bit extra in taxes.

A litte while ago, I had an exchange with a right-winger who had written to our local paper about voter fraud. He provided a number of documents asserting there was extensive registration fraud, with undocumented immigrants getting improperly registered and then voting as legitimate voters. The Brennan Center takes issue with that assertion, showing in their point #4 that voter registration fraud is a hugely overblown "problem."
Spot-on analysis here. Obama got played by the shrieking deficit scolds who insisted that the deficit was the most important issue evuh and now that it's too late to do much about it, Republicans have switched to criticizing Obama over the lack of jobs.

Not only have Republicans just passed a bill to reduce funding to progams for lower-income women and children, but they're also decided not to increase funding for a commodity market watchdog agency. So, now America can't keep an eye on the oil market.

Very serious problem with the surveillance of Juan Cole (An anti-war critic, who was making use of exclusively open-source information, was surveilled and apparently smeared behind his back). G.W. Bush was pursuing very extensive and warrantless surveillance. Was this surveillance used on Cole? How many other people were illegally spied upon and smeared behind their backs?

The laziness and dereliction of our press corps continues to confound and amaze!  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held a weekly press conference and when it was clear she had nothing to say about the Anthony Weiner case, three TV stations disconected!!!  Never mind the fact that the Republican majority has been in charge for 163 days and still hasn't produced a jobs bill! No-o-o-o, that's boring! Much more exciting to talk about a sexting scandal!

Good summary of America's energy situation. It's quite serious and getting worse. We need action yesterday!

Larry Summers writes a good piece on the economy. It's very late, could have used it two years ago, but hey, we'll take it! And Obama had better take it fast as Romney is showing no shame about being on the other side from the job creators. 

Yeah, I remember this story from back in 2003. Billions of dollars in straight cash sent to Iraq without any accountability involved. Not surprisingly, the money is untraceable at this point.
Problem with Mitt Romney as being the candidate who can create jobs as president: A review of his career demonstrates no such talent. Heck, he spent a tremendous amount of time destroying and outsourcing jobs.

According to The Final Report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a substantial number of banksters are liable for prosection. Why haven't there been prosecutions?

Matt Drudge has been previewing upcoming attractions from the right wing blogosphere this summer by collecting stories of African-Americans being bad. Drudge's new fans, the Council of Conservative Citizens, has taken notice and vigorously approves.

A few years back, Ann Coulter commented on the 9-11 Widows. I never believed that the idea of doing so was original to her (Though I don't think she objected to being a lightning rod for criticism). Now she's attacking the students of the Kent State shootings of 1970. Again, there are people on the other side of the issue who are being overshadowed by Coulter's celebrity.

Placed a comment on Newsvine about businessmen being good politicians. Not sure it got much attention. No comments or recommendations on it.

*Sigh!* What would economic policy in a sane world look like? The blogger Jared Bernstein is a former economics advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. He felt he could do the country more good now as a blogger.

The defeat of Dawn Johnsen's nomination for a position in the Office of Legal Counsel was an early warning sign that the nomination process was badly broken. She speaks and tells us that no one really disagreed with her position on torture, Republican Senators opposed her for office simply because they were trying to gum up the works and slow things down. 

The hysterical, unhinged hatred of Elizabeth Warren that Republicans and financial people have expressed towards her is actually rather puzzling. Isn't it theoretically necessary for customers in a capitalist economy to be well-informed? Isn't it bad for customers to feel vulnerable and easily taken advantage of? What exactly is the problem, here?

Oh yea-a-ah!!! This'll really get people to support Glenn Beck's "Restoring Courage" rally to be held in Jerusalem. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) endorses it!

Top aide makes case for Bachmann: She's as hot as Palin, but not as dumb+

To which Palin responds (Gee, whatta surprise!) "Take that back!!!" to which the aide sorta, kinda walks it back.

Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has confessed that he did indeed send lewd photos of himself to a young woman. Andrew Breitbart crashed the press conference to claim that he had been unfairly maligned.
The Obama Administration appears to have simply given up on any hopes of reviving the economy, dooming several million Americans to joblessness.

Very sad to see that a Nobel Prize-winning economist was waiting since April 2010 to be confirmed for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. He finally quit and went back home, seeing as Republicans are determined not to confirm him. The nomination and confirmation process is clearly broken and desperately needs to be fixed.

*Sigh!* Sarah Palin gets fourth grade American history really, REALLY wrong! ThinkProgress has the detailed corrections. Good comments on issue.

No, sorry, wrong answer! There never was a "Bin Laden Decade." G.W. Bush wanted to launch the Iraq War long before 9-11 and 9-11 was merely the pretext for Bush's warrantless surveillance.  9-11 and Osama bin Laden didn't cause either decision to be made. 
Heh! Poor Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News. Usually, when a show terminates, old fans tune in again to see it off. Not this time. Color of Change figures their boycott of his show cost Fox News $43 million.

Speaker Boehner's list of the economists who agree with him shouldn't be taken seriously.

Sorry, but I don't want to hear anthing more about right-wingers being "fiscal conservatives." Chris Christie, the Republican Governor of New Jersey, took a helicopter to his son's baseball game and then used a limousine to carry him a  hundred yards to his seat. Please don't insult my intelligence by telling me that Republicans care about the public purse.

Wow! Common sense is just breaking out all over! Gotta love it! Fred Phelp's Westboror Baptist Church is now officially less liberal than the Ku Klux Klan! And "The Donald" recognizes that the Paul Ryan plan to wipe out Medicare is "a death wish" for the Republican Party. More of this, please!  

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks Elizabeth Warren and her agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, constitute  "a serious threat to our financial system." Well, they're a serious threat to the privileges of his buddies, the bankers and executives who ran amok under the Bush Administration and who practically toppled the world economy. Are they a threat to anybody else? Not so much. 
Yeah, uh, Chuck Todd of NBC announcees that the Republican race for the presidential nomination is the most important story evuh!!!1!!1 Good grief! I'd love to say that he was simply a  clueless nitwit, but then we have statements like (CNN host John King, after citing some truly important and serious stories) "But, first up, like it or not, she's back." "There is no question Governor Palin is a master of media manipulation." Uh, no guys, she isn't. What you are is a bunch of hopeless fanboys.

Right-winger Rich Lowry writes an essentially decent piece on the Republican failure to create jobs. Couple of problems, of course. He confuses deficit reduction with job-creating policies and seems to be unawae that merely moving money from the less-wealthy to the more-wealthy is a major jobs-killer.

Patriot Act re-passes for another four years.
Opposition was completely steam-rolled.
Rick Santorum doubles down on his assertion that, because McCain was actually, y'know, tortured, that well, McCain isn't necessarily an expert on the subject of torture. Santorum, on the other hand has (Yup, real quote here) "read a lot of articles" on the subject and even though the CIA Director had actually gotten all of the official reports on the subjec of bin Laden, the Director doesn't necessarily know as much as Santorum does.

Woo-hoo! Democrat wins special election in New York!  Kathleen Hochel stomps Republican opponent in a usually-Republican district by emphasizing the threat that the Paul Ryan plan poses to the medical care of senior citizens, even though Karl Rove attempted to suggest that a ticket-splitter was the culprit. Ryan himself denies that his plan is to blame for the loss. Problem is, Hochel very clearly had strong momentum, indicating that she would have won a two-way contest in any event.
Update: 40 Republican Senators and no Democrats voted to adopt the Ryan plan.

Kind of amazing how some Republicans think it's perfectly okay for them to receive free or cheap government services but somehow it's not okay for regular citizens to get the same deal.

A right-winger feels that the US should break our 2008 agreement to get out of Iraq, but doesn't present any reasons that weren't obviouss back then. Will Iran be in a stronger position? Sure. Will the US investment be a waste? Yeah. But we knew all that back in 2008.

Right-wingers defend the Tea Party people by saying they're non-violent and that no one in their group ever showed any signs of violence. Well, a 16-year old girl challenged Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-WN) to a debate on the Constitution and is now getting death threats, rape threats, people calling her a whore, etc., etc.

A look at the movement to institute private, for-profit schools. It's not a populist movement at all. It's engine is the money supplied by millionaires and billionaires, there is little or no public energy behind it and there are no public constituencies pressing for it. .

Provisions of the Patriot Act are due to expire soon. Let's make the early 2000s a time that Americans can look back on as "a time when America went crazy."  Let's lobby Cogress to let those provisions expire.

In December 2000, the Supreme Court shocked Americans by suddenly intervening in the election results in Florida and declaring G.W. Bush as the winner. Triumphant Republicans soon accused bitter and complaining Democrats of suffering from BDS, i.e., "Bush Derangement Syndrome." Well, now the shoe is on the other foot for at least a subset of Republicans as the Washington Times declares that Osama bin Laden "outmanuevered" President Obama by recording a speech praising the Arab Spring. Slight problem with the idea of al Qaeda manuevering to align itself with the Arab Spring is that the two movements have absolutely nothing in common. Al Qaeda is a movement that concentrates on military-style assaults put together by a small, tight, secretive band of co-conspirators. The Arab Spring is a non-violent, open-source, democratic and participatory movement. It takes a devoted sufferer of Obama Derangement Syndrome to say what the Washington Times said.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R - G.W. Bush's former Budget Director) thinks

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal to restructure Medicare and cut social safety-net programs is a good start, but even more needs to be done.

US reaches debt ceiling. What does President Obama intend to do about it? Unfortunately, he appears to be using the debt ceiling to achieve some agenda of his own. Fortunately, financial markets are convinced that a deal will be made. We certainly hope they're right about that.

Wow!! In a sane world, Rick Santorum would have just completely blown his chance to ever be taken seriously.
He esentially claimed that neither the CIA Director nor John McCain (Who was tortured in Vietnam) knew as much as he does  about the effects of torture (Santorum's career is that he went into law, then politics. He has no experience with the military or any other field that would educate him on that issue). As it is? Eh, we'll see.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) suggests that the country would have been better off without the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Interesting back-and-forth:

MATTHEWS: Right. The guy who owns a bar says, no blacks allowed, you say that’s fine. … This was a local shop saying no blacks allowed. You say that should be legal?

PAUL: That’s — that’s ancient history. That’s ancient history. That’s over and done with. [...] [emphasis in original]

First, it's history that's well within living memory for many millions of Americans. It isn't really "ancient" if people are around who can still recall those days.  Second, why are those days "over and done with"? Yup, because the Civil Rights Act was passed and enforced. That era did not spontaneously or naturally end. That era ended because progressives forced it to end!

Wow! A right-winger quotes scripture:

“turn the other cheek,” “love your enemies,” “pray for those who persecute you”...

Okay, but then says:

...freethinking liberals quote these passages of Holy Scripture out of context...

Whuuh?!?!? What, pray tell, is this "context" he speaks of? Oh...okay...I get it.

Liberals will never be happy until they turn America into a nation of PETA-loving, vegetable-eating girly men.

So our right-winger has never actually comprehended the Bible at all. That explains the "out of context" remark.
Does the Obama Administration continue to plan on a withdrawal from Afghanistan in July? Yes, but the withdrawal only involves 10% of the official force. Contractors amd coalition forces will be untouched.

Right-wingers continu to fail to make the case that torture is, was or ever will be useful.
It's very nice to hear from President Obama that he's all fired up and enthusiastic about defending Social Security, but if that's true, why is Alan Simpson still on the Cat Food Commission?!?!? Hell, for that matter, why was the Commission supported by Obama in the first place?

Excellent piece on "swing" voters that makes the case that very minimal numbers of people actually swing from party to party. Mostly, "base" members do or do not remain at home while politicians make up their mind as to how robustly they'll defend core party principles.

WaPo attempts to fact-check Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' comments concerning Rep. Paul Ryan's plans for Medicare. Problem: the WaPo fact-checkers are very severely biased and appear to have an extraordinary faith in the magical power of free markets to overcome all problems and deliver good services. 

No, sorry, but former National Security Adviser / Secretary of State Rice is wrong. Iraq in 2002 was not a "threat," it was a "problem." The invasion in 2003 was completely unnnecessary. Rice compares Libya today with Iraq yesterday. Problem is, the countries in the area were opposed to invading Iraq and were not opposed to invading Libya. In Libya, there was a real and active opposition movement. In Iraq, there was not.

Y'know, it's funny, but if Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was so very deeply convinced of his plan's rightness, why does he keep lying about it?!?!?!
Absolutely fascinating to read this piece by Alfred McCoy on the efficacy of torture, especially the testimony of Roman jurist Ulpian (1,800 years ago) who noted that when tortured the strong will resist and the weak will say anything to end the pain. The piece by Emptywheel details how both KSM and al-Libi knew who OBL's courier was, but "neither of them revealed that information to the CIA." KSM also used lies:

KSM: I make up stories just location UBL. Where is he? I don’t know. Then he torture me. Then I said yes, he is in this area or this is al Qaida which I don’t him. I say no. They torture me.

Torture is, was and always will be worthless for gathering information. It's never been a useful tool and serves only to make morally corrupt people like G.W. Bush feel powerful and in control. BTW, Bush is terribly upset that Obama isn't giving him any credit for getting OBL.  
Update: Ann Coulter weighs in, but the debate is definitively over. The Bush Administration torture policies did nothing to assist the finding of bin Laden.

Reaction to death of Osama bin Laden: Torturers are trying desperately to claim that torture played some positive role. Erm, not so much. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says: "I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice." Nice thought, but Bush closed down the bin Laden unit in 2005.
Right-wingers are screaming and yelling and gnashing their teeth about Obama's Ground Zero appearance being a "Political Victory Lap." Keith Olbermann points out that the death of bin Laden really does great damage to the idea that Democrats can't be effective in fighting the War on Terror.

The Administration begins hearings on the deficit-reduction strateges of the "Gang of Six" (Three extreme, hard-core Republicans, two right-wing Democrats and one liberal Democrat) tomorrow. The liberal has been quiet, but one of the coonservative Democrats has come out with his own plan, a plan that looks a whole lot like the plan of the Cat Food Commission. Democrats are beginning negotiations in a very poor place.

Well, well, well! Osama bin Laden is now officially dead!
(9-11 Truthers have long claimed bin Laden was killed quite some time ago) Birth certificate sillliness looks really silly and petty now. And yes, Pakistan played a substantial role in getting bin Laden.

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Donald Trump promises that if he becomes President, that he'll jawbone OPEC to keep their prices down. Erm, slight problem with that plan. G.W. Bush already tried it, repeatedly, and it was a complete, absolute, utter, unmitigated failure!

Similar to abortion and other social issues, climate change has become a partisan issue, with liberals backing the science, and conservatives denying it.

Serious problem with General Petraeus taking over the CIA, that would put him charge of evaluating his own program. That's an extremely serious, built-in conflict of interest.

Wow, gee, this is amazing! Boy, I never would have seen this one coming. I kid, of course, everybody and his brother and Aunt Margaret and even little Suzy, saw it coming. SB 1070 has hurt Arizona's economy.

Whuuh?!?!? Superman threatens to renounce US citizenship?!?! The Weekly Standard and others object

This is just a truly insane statement:

The press refused to tackle this issue [President Obama's birth certificate] with the same investigative drive with which they did investigated (sic) Watergate, President Clinton’s alleged indiscretions and the Bush administration’s missteps in Iraq...

First off, the press investigated Bush's "missteps" in Iraq?!?!? Really? When did that happen? Second - are they really, truly comparing an investigation of a BJ between two consenting adults to Watergate?!?!?! Really?!?!

Very disappointing to hear tha General Petraeus may get moved to head the CIA. His tenure on Afghanistan will now be seen as just anothe item on his resume rather than as a career-killing failure.

President Obama releases long-form birth certificate. What's that? *Gasp*! What a shock! Right-wingers aren't satisfied.
Update: Excellent commentary on whole situation.

Interesting piece on the disapearance of Sarah Palin as the media juggernaut of yore. Her mistakes appear to be two big ones. 1. She depended almost entirely on Fox News to communicate with the public and 2. She ticked of Roger Ailes (President of Fox News) by running the "blood libel" spot after he advised her not to. Kind of interesting to see that her focus after her remarkably poorly-chosen remark was toward the political left. Oops! Eh, good riddance! 
Unfortnately, there's not much evidence that anybody in Washington DC truly and seriously wants to avoid using the debt ceiling battle to cut government spending.

Cheerful news on Pfc. Bradley Manning, he's been moved to Fort Leavenworth and several officials have anonymously admitted that he was mistreated in the Quantico brig, but even better, this shows the power of the liberal blogs to bring an issue all the way up to where the President has to deal with it. It's also a whole lot of fun to see the President having to deal with a pro-Manning protest at his fundraiser (Protesters had to pay $5k each to get into the fundraiser).

The People's Budget, which "basically just ends the wars, ends the Bush tax cuts, and reduces unemployment" is finally being noticed and picked up by traditional media outlets, a week after it was introduced.  What's truly amazing, though, is to see the really outlandish, over the top, far too impressed press corps praising the Rep. Paul Ryan plan.

My respect for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi increases:

Pelosi’s picks for the [deficit] talks make the meeting “look silly” because Van Hollen and Clyburn “are just going to do what Pelosi wants, and she’s not interested in compromise.”

Woo hoo! We has us a leader!!! We've had far too much compromise from the Democratic side as it is. Republicans hav said a flat "No" to any sort of tax increase, which means there's nothing to talk about.
Update: Pelosi speaks.

Nothing terribly surprising about this. Oil companies said over and over in 2002 that they had no interest in Iraqi oil. Erm, not so much, actually. Seems BP actually signed contracts with the British government for millions of barrels of oil. 
One problem with the idea of tossing everybody onto the tender mercies of the free market for their end-of-life health care is that it's likely to encourage hoarding of cash by older folks, who then might have to spend it all just taking care of themselves. An economically similar situation happened with slavery in the American South. Slaves had to save every penny for years in order to buy their freedom from their masters. This locked up large quantities of cash that otherwise would have been circulating and made the South a good deal poorer than it would have been otherwise.

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman puts out a truly excellent column, saying that no, we can't expect our politicans to simply sit down and work out their differencs and arrive at a compromise. The differences between the parties are broad and deep and are not subject to being quickly and easily resolved.

Fortunately, Wall Street is in no mood to tolerate Republican attempts to threaten to default on the national debt.

Evaluation of Obama's speech -  good, but not great. Takes some good whacks, but long overdue. Disturbing to see that Obama is ready to bargain away government spending and to attack House Minority Leader Pelosi just when he's gaining the upper hand against Republicans. He appears to want to be the Democrats' leftmost voice, but appers to be setting up the Erskine Bowles-Alan Simpson (Former Cat Food Commission members) recommendations as a baseline against which his own plan can compete and be judged.

Very, very interesting piece on the rebellion in Libya. Is it about oil or banking?

Poor President Obama just can't win for losing! Politco gives him very confused advice that's just all over the place and then criticizes him when he does his level best to take it.

Oh, and there's no need to worry about the movie Atlas Shrugged ever becoming culturally significant. Production values are much too low for that to be a concern.

Reasonably good speech by the President on the budget deficit. Whacked Rep. Paul Ryan's plan (Woo-hoo!) and reminded us of just who created the problem, but essentially played it safe without recommending new taxes.  Sharp difference as Speaker Boehner explicitly disagrees. Boehner likes the Ryan plan and doesn't think President goes far enough to cut spending. Keep in mind during all this how austerity is faring in Britain. Valuable presective to have as Republicans are trying to do same thing here.

Rush Limbagh comes up with, uh, an interesting theory. [Media Matters headline]
Idea That Tax Cuts Must Be Paid For Is "Communist Talk," The "Kind Of Thinking That Gets Us $14 Trillion As A National Debt." His words: "It doesn't take $3.7 trillion to run this government."

Okay, this is what's known as "pedantry," picking away at really small words and concepts and getting super-fussy about them. Were the Roman Catholic priests accused of being pedophiles really "just" raping young teens or were they molesting children? Was there actual penetration of just rubbing? Seriously guys, is this the best you've got?

Government will not shut down (For now at least). If the Republicans and Democrats had just held a football match, the game went from the 50-yard line back to the 10-yard line on the Democratic side. The other side didn't get a touchdown, but Democrats lost a lot of ground. 

State Supreme Court election in Wisconsin thrown into doubt by very highly questionable "discovery" of just enough votes to not only let the Republican win, but to prevent a state-subsidized recount. And yeah:
… a powerful band of Republican appointees [who] waited like the strategic reserves of an embattled army…

Interesting parallels between the Confederate Party/modern-day Republican Party and Democrats/old-time Republican Party.
Good piece on the long-term effects of Beck's tenure on Fox News. Pretty sobering.

A review of Rep. Paul Ryans' "Path to Prosperity." Back in the days of paper books, the phrase would have been "They killed a tree for this?"

Bleaugh! Government shutdown looks closer and closer.
And keep in mind that a shutdown requires that the government must spend a lot of money to do so properly.

Woo hoo! Glenn Beck will be "transtioning out" from his Fox TV show. Color of Change and Media Matters have reason to be proud!

Tim Kaine quits as head of DNC. Meh. He did so little in that position, I  doubt anyone will miss him. The 2010 midterms are nothing to brag about. Ooh! Debbie Wassserman Schultz is taking over!

Daily Kos is keeping a continuously updated log of how the nuclear power plant crisis in Japan that was initiated by the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March is going. BBC round-up page. Russia Today round-up page. Amazingly awesome footage of city being flooded. Extremely cool, amazingly heartwarming story.

Government shutdown seems assured. Democrats don't seem to have any idea as to how to negotiate.  Oh, and Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) economic plan is completely insane. Ryan should have zero credibility on economics, but the media has done such a lousy job of examining his lack of expertise, he gets a free pass.

Wisconsin union struggle timeline.

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Eigth anniversary of start of Iraq War. Protest over treatment of Bradley Manning.

So how's the war in Libya going? Er, well, um, not so great, actually.

Hmm, most interesting. Megyn Kelly is one of the Fox News "News Division" people that allegedly puts out objective news versus partisan nonsense. Kelly enthusiastically flogged the non-scandal of the New Black Panther Party last summer. Now that the story has been utterly discredited? You guesed it! She's completely ignoring it!
Why, why, why is Alan Greenspan running around making pronouncements as though he had any credibility whatsoever?!?!? Yeah, the phrase "With notably rare exceptions..." is a shoo-in for Internet immortality.

Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment site confesses to unrestrained enthusiasm for corporate donors to flood Wisconsin with money in order to defeat an election that "threatens" to express the "buyers remorse" of Wisconsin citizens in electing Governor Walker in the first place.

General Electric made $14.2 billion last year, $5.2 of that came from the US. How muc did they pay in taxes? Zilch. Further details on that.

The sheer chutzpah here is just amazing. The Republican Party of Wisconsin wants to see the emails of a history professor who dares to critcize them. They're presenting  themselves as just being simple, honest people making a legitimate request.

Republican Congressmen seek to deny Food Stamp assistance to entire families if even one member of the family goes on strike. There are currently 42 million Americans on Food Stamps.

So it was a year ago today that the Affordable Care Act and hey, right-wingers made lots and lots of predictions as to what would happen. How did those predictions work out? Erm, not so hot, actually.

Split growing between tea partiers and GOP. The two groups just don't see eye-to-eye on the budget. Tea parties are completely and utterly deluded, Republicans have some common sense. Even more conflicts on the right! Glenn Beck and Fox News are now clearly fighting, with corporate big shots from Fox News weighing in on how little they respect Beck and Beck talking about starting his own show.  Interesting piece from American Conservative that asserts that libertarianism is just the right wing equivalent of Marxism.

ACLU gains a victory in the fight against warrantlesss surveillance. The idea of "standing" was a major problem as no one could prove that the surveillance took place. By focuing on overseas clients who can no longer trust their telephone calls or email and who therefore have to make expensive trips, standing now applies and the ACLU has reason to sue.

Ginni Thomas (Wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) gets new job with The Daily Caller, a conservative news website. Not quite the blatant conflict of interest that she had working for the Heritage Foundation.

UN declares that it will establish a "No-Fly Zone" over Libya. Libya responds by ceasing hostilities.
There's actually good reason to think that the US may be using anti-Libyan revolutionaries and might be trying for another oil grab.

It'd be nice to think that Republicans were serious about jobs. Problem is that there appears to be a real disconnect between rhetoric on jobs and between actually allocating money to get jobs created.

Budget austerity gets completely insane when it's carried too far. Tea Party, of course, wants still more cuts.

An extremely good point. James O'Keefe is known well by the blog world as someone who's very dishonest and who makes highly edited, deceptive videos. Problem is, the viewers/ readers of NPR don't know that as NPR has tried so hard to be "fair," they simply haven't made any criticisms of O'Keefe at all!    Update: NY Times severely underplays the debunking of O'Keefe's videos after running several pieces on what was "revealed" by the videos.

The press corps should look more closely at the polls. It's not deficits that worry the American public, it's jobs! The President and the Democratic Party are giving far too much credibility to the deficit scolds and not nearly enough to what really counts.  
Wisconsin Republicans sneak into a back-door move and strip unions of bargaining rights. Wisconsin State Senator says fight over unions is "absolutely" about 2012. The idea is to "defund the left."

As with the Shirley Sherrod case, what we've seen in NPRs reaction to the hidden camera lunchtime interview of National Public Radio’s Senior VP Ron Schiller and Senior Director of Giving Betsy Liley, is just an absolutely hysterical, over-the- top, panicked reaction to what was a pretty innocuous talk by Schiller. What was conspicuously missing from the "sting" video was any indication as to how Schiller's views translated into NPRs coverage of the news. BTW, NPR refused the purported $5 million donation because they couldn't confirm that the "Muslims" were really who they said they were.

A few good items on economic matters.

Pfc. Bradley Manning's condition deteriorates still further.
From Bill Perry of DVVFA:
Why VFP I/P members should fly EAST for March 19 & 20...
We have our annual Commemoration of SHOCK & AWE, on M-19, and a FREE BRAD MANNING Rally, @Quantico Marine Base, on M-20

Newt Gingrich's website touting his possible candidacy for the presidency is getting an underwhelming number of hits.

Is Philadelphia next after Wisconsin? Pennsylvania's new Governor is using rhetoric that sounds suspiciously similar to WI Governor Scott Walkers'. Actually, the battle in Wisconsin has had a galvanizing, unifying effect on the left. The economist Dean Baker shows that union pension funds are simply not the problem.
Excellent warning about the dangers of excessive privatization, especially when it involves infrastructure. Once again, our President and other senior Democrats demonsrate that they simply can't bargain effectively. Excellent piece on the Tea Party and their relationship to Prohibition. 
Iraq isn't doing very well at all. Big protest planned for next week.

Governer Walker of Wisconsin is getting dreadful polling numbers. Unions are clearly winning the PR battle. Republicans in Wisconsin are between a rock and a hard place. Jon Stewart does an excellent job covering Republican hypocrisy on teacher pay vs money manager pay. Extra: "What DO unions do for us?"

The treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, with him now being forced to go naked several hours a day, is approaching the tortures of Abu Ghraib in sheer disgust-inspiring.
CNN enables several whites who feel oppressed in their victimhood. This is just a really awful example of how this whole "He said, she said" nonsense works out in Establishment media articles. By refusing to include a narrative voice that has any real values, the piece just becomes a vehicle for propaganda. 

Yee-hah! Now we're cookin'! Wisconsin Democrats launch recall petitions for eight Republican State Senators. Getting just three of them replaced by Democrats would turn the Wisconsin State Senate over to the Democrats.

$%$@&!! Supreme  Court rules that Westboro Baptist Church has a free speech right to protest at funerals.

It all becomes clear now. Governor Walker's two-year budget for the State of Wisconsin balances the budget on the backs of state employees. Fortunately, we discover this before Republicans could harm the state employee unions.

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Latest from Wisconsin:

The Capitol is currently on "lock down" with only employees, officers, and members of media being allowed in.

Twitter at 6:00pm 28 Feb.
Here's some positive news!

There is currently a "tent city" forming around the capitol!! Bring your tents and hot chocolate!!

The struggle continues.

A blogger reports that he's angry, and rightly so. Howard Kurtz, the WaPo/CNN media critic and buddies, tries to make it sound as though they were wise to James O'Keefe at the time. They weren't. They swallowed the story of O'Keefe and his ACORN "sting" videos as though they revealed something meaningful about ACORN. All they revealed was that ACORN had some stupid people on their staff.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' explanation as to why he failed to report that his wife was working for the Heritage Foundation for five years (earning her $136,000 annually). Sorry, wrong answer, no deal, impeach him! 
Well, the protesters were supposed to leave the Capitol building in Madison, WI, but "There are hundreds of people still in the Capitol..."

Collusion between David Koch and Rupert Murdoch. Details on the alliance between the billionaire funder and the fellow in charge of Fox News/The Wall Street Journal. 
*Sigh!* No, no, no people *exasperated sigh,* you just don't understand!!! Republicans aren't opposed to contraceptives, they're just opposed to women having sex!

Discussing the shock doctrine and how it relates to Wisconsin.

Comprehensive round-up on news from Libya, including excerpts from Gaddafi's / Gadhafi's speech. UN and US reaction.

When one is looking for villains in the housing bubble, it might be best to focus on those who benefited from it.

Ah, poor Joe Klein! Still confused about what side he's supposed to be on!

Very pleased to see my fellow service members do the right thing and to welcome gays into their ranks. Marine Commandant, General James Amos says: “...everyone said, ‘Sir, we got it. We’re going to do this thing.‘”

Libyan dictator opens up on peaceful protesters with heavy weapons. Bahrain is firing on protesters as well. Villager Joe Klein completely misunderstands what the protest in Wisconsin is all about. Experts explain protest in Wisconsin.

People, please! This continued coverage of Sarah Palin is just ridiculous. For Newsday to devote six different stories with photos galore to Palin, while consigning the protests in Wisconsin and Ohio to page 30 is just an obscene misappropriation of resources. Palin's reputation should take a further hit as she revealed that "I hate this damn job" shortly before quitting the Governorship of Alaska partway through her only term.  Rick Santorum recently clashed with Palin, but it's not so clear that he really lost that battle as he got CPAC to toss out anyone who supports gay marriage equality.

Glenn Beck covers the Planned Parenthood "sting" (They caught a grand total of one idiot saying something stupid), funny, but Beck, uh, forgot to include the rather relevant fact that PP promptly reported the people who were pretending to be asking advice on doing something illegal.

And again, on America's fiscal situation, there simply is no crisis.
Update: Rachel Maddow defines the fight in Wisconsin as being entirely, 100% political. The fight has nothing to do with finances.

A year and a half ago, a blogger warned that the government was tracking the purchasers of hydrogen peroxide, a beauty product. Sure enough, the government has confirmed that yes, it's tracking those who purchase exactly that.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has threatened to eliminate collective bargaining for the state's 175,000 employees. February 15th, an estimated 15,000 protesters showed up to make their voices heard in the capitol.  Very cheerful and inspiring piece!
Update: Wisconsin state Senators have walked out to deny the budget committee a quorum. And as with the US federal budget deficit, there is no crisis.

Bahrain is heating up.

Very unfortunately, reporter Lara Logan of CBS News was assaulted a by a mob in Egypt and was repeatedly and viciously sexually abused.
Update: And of course, *sigh*, we get people questioning whether or not Logan was really raped or not. 
Member of the Washington DC traditional press corps "goes there" and takes notice of the fact that Speaker Boehner is unconcerned about the likely effects on regular citizens of a government shutdown.

Yup! I'll endorse this. The slogan for the new Repulican effort on the economy should be named "Eat the Future!"

Wow! A Fox News personality comes out full force against Social Security, claiming "We don't need it."

So, it's been a full year since the Battle of Marjah was launched to great fanfare and many heart-warming predictions of success. How's that workin' out for ya? Erm, uh, not good, actually.

According to the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, in Helmand Province, in which Marjah is located, the number of attacks by insurgents in spiked from 620 in 2009 to 1387 in 2010, a 124-percent increase [pdf].
In short, over the year in which the U.S. was pursuing its escalated military strategy, the insurgency got larger, smarter and more radical.

Latest BS talking points from the deficit scolds. 
After 29 appearances on Sunday Morning talk shows like Face The Nation in two years, it's still far from clear why John McCain is such a sought-after guest who's in such high demand. It's not that he's influencing policy and it's not like he has any real expertise.

UNAC statement on Egypt. Very interesting to see that former Bush Administration offcial considers some countries to be "not ready for democracy."

Credit where credit is due. It took almost two months, but Glenn Beck promised that if he did a show in Wilmington, OH, that Wilmington would profit from his show there. The Beck fans who came to Wilmington were about 2,000 as opposed to 20,000 and he personally earned $32 million last year, but Wilmington charities will get nearly $45,000 from Beck

Woo hoo!!! Egypt is free!!! Mubarak has stepped down! Egypt celebrates as Mubarak resigns!! Mubarak relents, steps down! Excellent speech by our President on Egypt.

A computer security firm tries to attack Wikileaks by going after people in the left blogoshpere who supported it.

Sorry, but Charles Krauthammer is completely wrong. The progressive support of democracy in Egypt has nothing in common with Bush's "Freedom Agenda." Bush wanted to have "democracy," but he wanted to apply the condition that certain political parties would be excluded. True democracy is an all-or-nothing proposition. Progressives are in favor of democracy for Egypt, period. Further commentary on that.

Looks like some people are seriously building a case against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the guy who just, uh, "forgot" to disclose the fact that his wife pulls in a pretty substantial salary from right-wing organizations that have business before the Court. This appears to be a case of very, very serious conflicts of interest.

Repulicans in Congress pushing wildly harmful plan to cut back on te capabilities of the American government in the name of deficit reduction. Oh, and NPR has decided to throw in their lot with the budget-cutters.
Update: Uh. Mah. Gawd! The Tea Party guys aren't even satisfied with that!

Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak resigns from his political party, but not from the Presidency. Not at all clear what that means.
The Egyptian opposition has accomplised many very useful things and appearto be greasing the skids for Mubarak's departure. Interesting analogy between Mubarak/Egypt and an abusive husband/father and his family that's finally had enough.

Don't usually have much use for Bill Kristol, but he's absolutely right that Glenn Beck's increasingly hysterical, delusionary rants are hurting the Republican brand. BTW, it's an extremely bad sign when the host of a program is absent and the ratings for the program remain constant.  MMFA spokesperon Eric Boehlert pointed out that Fox News isn't terribly interested in the Egyptian situation as there's no connection to anyone domestically and there's no anti-Obama angle. Chris Wallace proves Boehlert's  point by refusing to include Egypt in his Fox News Sunday program.

Woo hoo! Caller to Rush Limbaugh's show demonstrates how to talk to right-wingers about Reagan! Great stuff!
Good piece on how the myth of Reagan was created.  
Time bomb hidden in HR 3, the anti-abortion bill that Congress wants to pass. The bill either asks all health insurance companies to drop abortion coverage or to undergo big tax increase.

Have to say, I have  a really hard time understanding why BP hasn't been paying claims right and left, why the $20 billion they set aside for damages hasn't been severaly drawn down yet.

More and more people are beginning to take notice of Bradley Manning's extremely harsh terms of confinement. The British are now being pressured to recognize Manning as a British citizen and to take appropriate action.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has described the Egyptian government as "stable." Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei explains why this description simply isn't true.

We've reached a point in the health care fight where Republicans aren't even pretending that their efforts to tweak the bill aren't also intended to destroy it.

The Egyptian dictator promises not to run again for President.

But the half-way concession - an end to his rule months down the road - was immediately derided by protesters massed in Cairo's main downtown square.

Hoo-wee! Glenn Beck is seriously losing it! The revolution in Egypt is Beck's seventh "Archduke Ferdinand moment" since 2007. 

January                         back to top

Al Jazeera has been running a live feed from Egypt, covering the rebellion there (During the night, they go to regular programming) and will keep it going as long as the rebellion lasts. FireDogLake is doing live-blogging and constant updates. they've got a petition up to ask Mubarak to step down. Mubarak sacks his government. Erm, think he kinda misses the point. Egyptian citizens want him to go. Egyptians seem to be tired of the fellow who has ruled over them for 30 years and wants to put his son into power so that he can step down.

Sarah Palin says that the Soviet Union collapsed because of expenditures on the "space race" that began with Sputnik. Sorry, but neither the space race nor missile defense had much to do with it. In 1964, the US spent 2.9% of GDP on space exploration. In 1985, the Soviet Union spent $23 billion or between 1.5 and 2.0 percnt of their GDP. This is hardly enough of an expenditure to explain the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Response to my question.

Here's some cheerful news! Glenn Beck, whose show used to daily draw almost 3 million viewers just a year ago, is having trouble getting even 2.25 million these days. What's especially interesting is to see how much media attention he gets as the leader of a "growing" (Tea Party) movement.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife Virginia has been employed by the Heritage Foundation for the past 13 years at a total compensation of $690,000. Thomas just sort of, er, forgot to mention that on his financial disclosure form!

FDLs Jane Hamsher and a friend of Bradley Manning try to visit him and run into serious interference.

Back when the 2011-2012 Senate convened, there was a strong expectation that Democrats would change the rules to water down the filibuster. Unfortuantely, Blue Dog Democrats are dragging their feet and the media doesn't have any idea what's going on.

Very good piece that takes strong issue with the false equivalence that Keith Olbermann is just the left's version of Glenn Beck

*Sigh!* This is what "victory" in Iraq looks like.

Aw-w-w-w! Poor, poor Sarah Palin! Looks like her political career has hit its ceiling and she'll never be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. Interesting statement:

Palin admitted "the graphic that was used was crosshairs." And she said it was "not inappropriate" for "a contract graphic artist" to take down the map when it became controversial.

Really? The artist took it down? I thought that she purchased or commissioned the piece. Artists don't usually retain the rights to a piece after it's been integrated into someone's advertisement/piece of agitprop.

He hates us! He really hates us! Glenn Beck says "Philadelphia sucks" as it's an unsafe place to walk around in. Of course, Philadelphia also kicked him off the air here, so there might be an ulterior motive to say that.

Is the left just as bad as the right when it comes to uncivil behavior and violent political actions? Don't think so.

Interesting item on closed information systems and the right wings conviction that we on the left are out to get them.

Awwww! Well, grump, we won't have RNC Chairman Michael Steele to poke fun at anymore. Reince Priebus is the new guy.

Wow! Amazingly enough, Glenn Beck has called upon Senators & Representatives to sign his statement of nonviolence and only 17 of them, very heavy on Republicans, have done so. Of course, it doesn't apply to eliminationalism, i.e., dehumanizing and blaming people in such a way as to encourage people to kill them and it does denounce people who try to make big changes in society.

Arizona Republican legislators are resigning because of threats from Tea Party members. Sarah Palin engages in a lot of fancy foot-shuffling and misdirection and blame-shifting in a statement in response to criticism over her "crosshairs ad."

I'm pretty much a free-speech absolutist, but yeah, I'm pretty comfortable with denying protesters the right to protest at funerals. With the Westboro Baptist Church protesting at the funerals of soldiers and saying that the soldiers were gays and therefore had it coming, I don't think America would sacrifice much by saying funerals are no-go areas for political protests. 

Seriously, South Carolina? I mean, SERIOUSLY!?

South Carolina gun manufacturer offers guns with "You Lie!" serial numbers. 

This piece really resonates with me as I've long believed that Reaganism ("Government is the problem") has hit the end of its shelf life and should be tossed out like you'd toss out moldy bread or rancid cabbage.

ThinkProgrress did a street-side interview with David Koch, a Tea Party-supporting billionaire. Comes away with some interesting quotes.

Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) gets shot. Local right-wingers commenting on the Inky's piece are furious that Sarah Palin and other Republicans are being blamed. And no, banning hateful language is not any sort of solution. The true solution is to get right-wingers to voluntarily cool down their language. Forcing them to cool it down solves nothing.

Heh! Normally, it's bad when people go back on their word and abandon old positions, but in these cases, it's nothing but good! Darrell Issa walks back his declaration that Obama is "corrupt" to the point where the word corrupt becomes meaningless, new Speaker Boehner engages in what Hot Air calls "walkback language on earlier GOP pledges to reduce spending by $100 billion in the first year." Unfortunately, he's now walked back his walkback and is determined to cut $100 billion. Where's he gonna find it? Who knows?

I've been utterly unimpressed with the theory of "original intent" ever since I first heard it articulated by Judge Robert Bork. And no, I didn't regard the  rejection of his application to be a Supreme Court Justice to have been even mildly wrong. He would have made an awful justice.

Very sad to see so many people buying into the talk that there's some sort of deficit "crisis" or that spending is "out of control." It's not. The deficit is a back-burner, non-urgent issue.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie expresses a disturbing thought:

“If someone is snowed into their house, that’s not our responsibility,”
Christie said.

I think the term for that is "Dereliction of Duty." I also find it very disturbing to see that he thinks a family vacation (He was in Disneyworld during the post-Christmas blizzard that put much of the state under snow) takes priority over the State of New Jersey.

Seems the Republican Party has adopted "magical thinking" to address budget problems with.

It appears that Sarah Palin is finally wearing out her welcome. Even the GOP is getting tired of her schtick. Now that she's come out against First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign, people on the right are saying "Wha-a-a?!?!?!"