Saturday, September 29, 2012

While You Were Distracted

We probably ought to watch the Samuel L. Jackson "Wake the F**k Up" video every morning, first thing, election or not, winter, spring, summer, fall. It's always relevant. Because this:

is always going on in one form or another. Here in NC our new Fracking Board just met for the first time. Their task, set by our Republican-dominated legislature, is to decide whether and where fracking is to be done. A lot of it is apparently going to be done pretty near where I live, next county to the south. The chairman of the Fracking Board is a Lee County commissioner. He is already quoted as stating that opposition to fracking is based on "emotionalism." He aims to get that out of the way while the Board he chairs discusses whys and wheres. It is said that he has personal ties to some of the likely real estate. Same as it ever was.

I would think that Mr. Obama is aware of much that Mr. Cole relates in the linked post. Probably Mr. Obama doesn't care to have the current political "conversation" (which might be better described by some other name, such as "wrangle" or "posturing pity-party" or, you name it) shift to something real, like the possibility of war with Iran. I doubt Mr. Romney would really want to be forced to expound on his seemingly pathetic sense of foreign policy either. We can just guess what Romney will do by looking at his advisors--pretty much the same point of view is represented that was represented during the last 8-year Republican Administration, the one that shall not be named by the current and identical folks. Even Mr. Rumsfeld has reemerged. Surely there is some job for Scooter.

One can only hope that Mr. Obama can keep this looming catastrophe at bay. It would be really nice if he has the chance to attack the deeper problem of the Palestinian people and their plight. We have already heard from Mr. Romney on that score, in the 47% video.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

But If Government Can't Do Anything...

It's no wonder Mr. Romney doesn't offer specifics. Just read this, and a tip of the Hatlo Hat to Gin and Tacos blog for bringing it to our attention:

You might also want to check out Dog House Riley's analysis of David Brooks' latest column Surprise, Brooks doesn't notice any of these intellectual mistakes rortybomb points out in the link.

I looked more carefully at that trucking firm's sign yesterday. Not only does he assert his rugged individualism, he explicitly denies any role in his obvious success (look at that row of road trailers, all with his name painted on the side; just, wow!) for government generally, or Mr. Obama in particular and in specific. You can stand on the side of the road, read the sign, and listen to those rubber tires whine on the freeway just yards away, under the bridge. After that, you can read the owner's name on the road sign at the intersection a mile or so away, which is pretty damn cool to be sure. I'd be proud to have my name on a road sign. All I got was this stupid CD, and I have to admit that I didn't "make" the CD, only a portion of its contents. If it were up to me we'd be sitting by the fire in the cave and keeping time with sticks. So it goes. They call Alabama the Crimson Tide. Call me Deacon Blue. And a nod to Steely Dan and Jean Richie.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

No Soup For You

It's not just Mitt Romney who imagines that poor people are the same people that mooch off of the hard-working millionaires that provide all the jobs, and would be working if they weren't lazy. Here's a local example of what I mean.

In North Carolina, as elsewhere in the country and probably the world, people stealing copper and items containing copper have become a real problem. One part of this developing problem is that copper, qua commodity, has risen a great deal in value in the past few years. A pound of the best grade copper is about 3/4s the value of a gallon of gas at the moment. Plenty of people have been willing to go to construction sites and rip out freshly installed wiring and plumbing. Some have even gone to occupied houses and commercial buildings. Since copper is a component in air conditioners, stories abound of whole shopping centers missing their H&A when the place opens up of a Monday morning. Sometimes businesses are shut down, sometimes for days. There are stories of police departments having their roof-top central airs go missing. People even drive around the country-side with boom-trucks snipping the wires off the poles. They'll chop up the wire so it's not easily recognized, take it to scrap recyclers in buckets, make a bundle. Or the wire and pipe and air conditioner radiator coils might in some cases get traded for other more usable commodities in the black market. Copper is basically just like silver and gold. When something is just like silver and gold, it draws to it the same economic attributes. You can trade copper futures. You can give someone copper and get something else for it. Most likely you could have a man come and paint your metal roof for a few buckets of copper. For example.

Of course all the folks who are having their copper stolen are pissed off about it. This would include big players in the American economy: power companies, home builders associations, insurance companies who are in some cases paying for these damages. And the loss of value in some cases is surely staggering--a brand new central air unit might cost upwards of $10,000 installed. The unit, scrapped, might be worth $500, or less. The rest of that value is not "retrieved" you might say. It's just gone.

This situation is, as you probably know, not new. There has been copper theft going on in large quantity for a number of years. It was going on at the turn of this century. When they made the HBO series "The Wire," copper thievery is depicted therein. The Wire first aired in 2002. No doubt the thievery was happening a number of years before the series started--otherwise the series writers wouldn't have noticed. A few years back, North Carolina, like many other states, passed more stringent laws dealing with copper theft. For example, it is now required by law that any amount of copper sold for a value over $100 be paid for by check. Other requirements include the buyer obtaining photos of the driver's license of the seller, the license plate of the seller's vehicle, and the seller must tell where he obtained the copper. Law enforcement can at any time ask that these records be produced, and in some NC counties law enforcement requires buyers of copper to fax them every purchase receipt (which includes all this required information) at the end of each business day. Copper thieves have been apprehended with this information. Crooked buyers, not so much. Enforcement is also expensive, and people don't like taxes. Thus doth the rubber meet the macadam.

Last election North Carolina fell into the Tea Party camp, and our current Republican Legislature decided, at the behest of fierce lobbying efforts by the power companies and the building associations, to "do something" about copper theft. They passed a new law, which goes into effect on October 1st, 2012. There are various provisions in the law, but the primary one can be stated as a dictum: NO CASH FOR COPPER. Our little newspaper just ran the press release announcing the advent of this new law. A power company spokesman, who wrote the "story," says in the release that it is believed that NO CASH FOR COPPER will reduce theft, because "thieves want quick cash." This logic was apparently behind the legislature's action earlier this summer.

Well, but if paying by check stops theft, how come paying by check didn't stop theft back when the original law requiring payment by check for copper in amounts valued at $100 and up was enacted? Because as far as we can tell, it didn't. Copper theft continued. My guess, which I'd say is 99% a certainty, is that copper theft will continue after October 1. This is because a valuable commodity remains fairly easily obtainable by "the public." Imagine if the electric wires and plumbing pipes were made of gold. It's really not any different, from an economic standpoint. Like gold, copper has a significant intrinsic value. If all legal buying and selling of copper were outlawed, that value would not vanish, because copper is essential to our way of life. Probably, if all legal buying and selling of copper were outlawed, the value of copper would rise, and theft would likely increase. It's an experiment we might get to witness if Republicans gain more governmental power in the US.

Here's what will happen come October 1. The very poor people who struggle to survive with almost no income will now be given checks for tiny amounts of copper they decide to sell. There are folks who spend their days driving around the county, or walking around their neighborhoods picking up small amounts of various scrap metals discarded by people. If you want to spend a day driving around looking for every scrap of metal you can find, and picking it up, you can go to a scrap dealer and make a few dollars. If you're lucky you might make a bit more than you spent on gasoline. It'll depend on luck, and the kind of metal you happen to score. After Christmas, you might luck out and find a string of Christmas tree lights. The value of Christmas tree lights is, at the moment, $.25 a pound. If you got a few pounds of lights, and you picked up a few pounds of beer cans off the roadside, and maybe you found a rusty bicycle and a piece of metal that fell off a car, you might walk away with $15.35, say. After October 1 that payment will be in the form of a check. NO CASH FOR COPPER. If you go to a bank these days, you'll have to pay a fee of about $10 to cash that check. Third-party checks are becoming unacceptable at banks. So maybe it's possible that for the most destitute, selling their Christmas lights will no longer have any point to it. The Christmas lights will then go into the garbage with the rotten bananas, and from thence to the landfill.

From the lofty heights from which Mr. Romney and his friends view the passing cavalcade, it's all pretty much a bunch of ants down there. Mr. Romney and his friends in the power and building industries can't imagine how a person could end up 70 years old with an income of $540 a month. Must be because they were lazy. And the Social Security System, which was designed to mitigate abject poverty in the elderly, was deemed by Mr. Romney and his cohort (including Ronald Reagan, President) to be a ponzi scheme, so contributions, e.g., the payroll tax, was capped at $96,000 per year, where it still remains. If you thought Social Security was there for you, you deserve what you get. You can still sell aluminum cans (for the moment), but NO CASH FOR COPPER.

Here in North Carolina there is a political example to be taken or ignored. Our legislature made an authoritarian decision last summer. NO CASH FOR COPPER. It's just like the '50s daddy in action. NO CAR KEYS. LOWER THAT HEM, MISSY. WASH THOSE DISHES NOW, MISTER. The fact that there was already no cash for copper in any significant amount, and that such a policy did not seem to have much effect, in toto, was lost on the legislature. They pounded the gavel and went home to campaign, and it was DONE. That we will now have the absurdity of a $.25 check for a pound of Christmas tree lights in the hands of a starving elderly person with no bank account is of no interest to our authoritarian overlords. As Mr. Romney has told us, "some of my best friends are NASCAR team owners."

In related news, our local trucking company has a big sign that just sprouted in front of his parking lot of trailers and road tractors. It says "I Built This." It's pretty hilarious for a business that depends on...wait for it...


Friday, September 21, 2012

The Serious Part

I found this piece via Lance Mannion. Mr. Klein gets to the serious heart of why Mr. Romney is so wrong, and why he would be such a dangerous person if he were President.

The Republicans seem to live in a world of stereotype and cliche. Maybe most of us are guilty of this in some ways. But most of us don't get it as wrong as Mr. Romney does--and we're not wanting to be President, most of us. Another example--Scott Brown said night, in his debate with Elizabeth Warren, "just look at her, she's no native American." (I paraphrase). He said this several times. That's Archie Bunker land. Archie Bunker was, supposedly, a comic character written for our amusement. I mean as opposed to a real person aspiring to be a Senator. Or a President.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Limbaugh Is So Happy

The country is fortunate to have an opportunity to see the "real" Mitt Romney revealed in his "off the cuff" remarks to his peer group. We didn't get to see who Nixon "really" was until the Watergate tapes came out. But it's important to understand that Romney is just mainstreaming the views of the hard right radio ranters--something I recognized when I heard the snippets fifty times in the last two days, and something Mr. Limbaugh recognized too.

While the apologizers and strokers and fluffers in the big media were moving carefully away from Mr. Romney (see, e.g., the ballyhooed Thurston Howell column by David Brooks, who is faster than a neutrino at getting on the safe side of the conflagration--so quick you can't see the flash of movement with the naked eye), for Limbaugh and the hard righters, this is opportunity calling. The hard right dreams of a race war. They hope for a final solution. They imagine that after such a solution the country will be relatively empty again--with close to 50 percent of our citizens vanished. Limbaugh wants Romney to run directly on the platform of "freeloaders" v "job creators." To win on such an argument would be to ratify a national course of action aimed at finally paying these "moochers" back. Romney in his "off the cuff" remarks even suggests a payback to come.

The job plan of the Republican party is to reduce working people to such an abject state that they will never again object to anything about their job circumstances. With such a workforce, jobs will return to America. The folks who continue to object? Well, how far are we from viewing their objections as threats to the national security of the "homeland." Can't be having the power go out unexpectedly.

Go to work with a smile. President Romney will put YOU on the roof. As for that nice Jewish boy, Ez Klein, who keeps crunching the numbers and noticing that almost all of this so-called non-taxpaying 47% actually does pay taxes, and/or is retired and living on the meager benefits of Social Security that they already paid for with their taxes, or falls into some other category such as Tea Party Voter or student. Well, we damn well know what the Germans did with smart-aleck Jews, now don't we.

Romney feeds the right-wing fantasy of hate when he's talking "off the cuff," which someone on MSNBC translated as "from the heart." Look who jumps onto that bandwagon. It's a tell.

photo from

Meanwhile, in the real world, stuff that Presidents actually should be thinking about continues to happen:

I'll bet you that Mr. Obama has a lot of this history and perspective in mind even as we speak. And from the sound of Mr. Romney's recent remarks to the wealthy, he may not even know there is a smoldering war in Afganistan--yet another legacy of the last Republican era, just three years past. Some folks at least fairly close to the Village campfire are taking notice:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Do You Know About Iran

Here's a piece by Juan Cole, who knows the Middle East.

I'll bet if you asked 10,000 Americans about Iran vis-a-vis this Cole piece, maybe one would have even an open mind concerning the factual nature of the piece. Yet Mr. Cole is an expert on the Middle East, and qua his expert status, my guess is that he's pretty much right about everything he says. That leads me to the conclusion that the American press has failed us once again. One of our Presidential candidates is almost surely going to start a war with Iran. Possibly either candidate will do this, with the further possibility that Israel will start a war on its own.

We have but two choices. That's the truth of it. I'd pick the guy who seems the most rational. It's the best we can do.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

While You Were Looking at TV

This happened in Pakistan this past week:

I'd just repost the whole thing, as it is dead on right. But I will leave you to go to Mr. Knuckles' joint, and encourage you with just a tidbit:

This is why OSHA exists.

This [is] where we were a hundred fucking years ago and it happened again yesterday in Pakistan.

300 people burned to death because of greed.

Because some fucking “Job Creator” decided he could make more money selling goods produced by paying near slave wages to non people working in a shithole instead of paying decent wages in a safe workplace.

We used to make those products right here in the good old United States of America.

But we cost too much.

They don’t want to pay us a living wage.

They make more money this way.

Tomorrow they will start building another shithole exactly like the one that just burned down and there will be people lined up to get in it and work for shit wages in unsafe conditions because that’s all there is and there isn’t a fucking thing you can do to change that.

Even the Republicans, now and again, give lip service to the ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence, such as that human beings have some rights simply qua being human. These rights are not rights of American citizens--they are human rights. Work place rules and safety regulations, and even unions, exist to further the actual existence of these human rights. Otherwise, such human rights are just scratches on paper which, when combined with oily rags discarded after being used to clean the knitting machines, can spontaneously combust. It's not magic. It's physics. Mr. Romney spouts his platitudes, but supports the rationalizations that lead to events such as those described.

The photo is from another industrial plant fire with heavy loss of life. The fire occurred in Hamlet, NC, in 1991. Here's some information about the photo:

Joel Sternfeld
American, born 1944

Imperial Food Products Plant, Hamlet, North Carolina, June 1994

Chromogenic print
18 1/2 x 23 in. (unframed); 28 x 32 in. (framed)
Twenty-five employees died and fifty-six were injured in a fire that swept through this chicken processing plant on September 3, 1991. Nearly all of the victims died of smoke inhalation while trying to escape through exits that were illegally blocked or padlocked. The plant had no fire alarm, no automatic sprinklers, and one fire extinguisher. Emmett J. Roe, owner of Imperial Food Products, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to almost twenty years in prison. Loretta Goodwin, a worker who survived the fire, claimed that the company kept the doors locked to prevent employees from stealing chickens.

From the series, On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam
Acquired from the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, through an Anonymous Gift, 1997.287

It might reasonably be noted that North Carolina is a pioneer in the field of "Right to Work" legislation, having passed such laws in the late 1950s, with the result that in North Carolina unions are close to nonexistent. Our laws are the model for the current crop of union-busting legislation cropping up in states which went "tea party right" in 2010. I'm certain that one of these days some one will write a book about the ALEC tutorials which gave rise to the coincidence of so many states passing new legislation on this "front."

For more on the Hamlet fire, see Lawrence Naumoff's fine book, A Southern Tragedy, in Crimson and Yellow (2005).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wheels of Karma Go Round and Round

I really can't believe they're doing it again, but that's a symptom of my chronic optimism. For some reason, when the sun comes up I get to feeling like maybe it's a new day. And maybe that's how Mr. Romney feels, in a way. After two days of suggesting that a President trying to deal with two different overseas crises--one of 'em almost certainly a terrorist attack on an embassy with four fatalities including a top and possibly essential American diplomat who was doing a great deal to keep the Libyan revolution on the rails, the other a general mob frenzy in Muslim countries around the globe driven by an American right wing youtube media ploy aiming to create exactly what was created--was weak and incompetent and even on the side of the murderers and rioters, whom Romney didn't differentiate. After two days of this, yesterday Mr. Romney simply turned the page and told reporters their followup questions were not pertinent to the election campaign.

How convenient for Mr. Romney. Nothing like a sunny new day. Let's make a fresh start. Pass the orange juice. Meanwhile, Naval warships and Marines are being deployed, diplomatic posts all over the world are no doubt working in a frenzy to get as battle-ready as possible, the folks in our intelligence services are doing all-nighters, Mr. Obama and his various advisers are surely trying to get ahead of this jumble of events, and most particularly talking in earnest with every Libyan contact they have at their disposal. Secretary Clinton looks tired, and she looks damned focused. And Mr. Obama still has a campaign to run.

But it's nothing new for Republicans. During the Clinton Administration they harried that President for nearly six years over trumped up rumors of land deals and whatall while Al Qaeda got strong enough to nearly sink a US destroyer and blow up embassies in two African nations. And of course they were also working on the 9/11 plan, training pilots in the US. Back during Reagan it was keys in cakes and back channel deals with Iranians to release the American hostages "later." Before that, Watergate exposed the "dirty tricks" of the "plumbers" in Nixon's White House. There are reputable stories that in '68 Henry Kissinger, at Nixon's behest, helped stall a deal that might have ended the Vietnam War during the fall, thus affecting the Presidential election of, hmmmm, Richard Nixon.

Republicans do not trust democracy. (And let us say that democracy is not and cannot be a lock on a sunny outcome--Hitler was elected.) Right now, Republicans have painted themselves into a corner of absolutes, on nearly all fronts. They are for banning all abortions, and the conversation is about whether there should be a rape exception, with the shrillest Republicans claiming that a rape exception is ok because a raped woman cannot get pregnant. Over in 2nd Amendment territory, it is no longer possible to even talk reasonably about the obvious fact that if you salt a group of people with countless weapons, it's more likely that there will be shootings in the group. The Right to Bear Arms has become absolute, short of classic automatic weapons and rocket launchers.

There was once a common-sense limit on Free Speech. The metaphor was, "you can't shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre." If I'm not mistaken, that metaphor is even found in a Supreme Court decision or two. What the folks at the Egyptian Embassy said was essentially, "Don't shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre." Mr. Romney--and many other Republican spokesmen--have now objected to that dictum. The Embassy, and thus the Obama Administration, is encroaching on Freedom of Speech. This is their "argument."

Meanwhile, a kind of high-tech fifth column cell of far-rightwingers has successfully caused tremendous damage all across the Muslim world by simply posting a blasphemous video on Youtube. And all the Republicans can think of to say is, Obama is encroaching on our Freedoms, be very afraid. This is from the very same people who want a women to be internally ultra-sounded whether she "likes" it or not. The very same people who want rigorous ID laws governing voting and in everyday life. The very same people who, when a deranged student kills over thirty students and faculty at Virginia Tech, throw an absolute hissy-fit if any conversation about gun control comes up. (And they're winning--as Juan Cole pointed out, the Democratic Convention could put Gabby Giffords up on stage, yet remain entirely silent on any efforts at gun control. What a sad irony that is.)

You'd think they would eventually learn something, particularly as they keep wanting us to put them back in government, with a fresh new President at the helm. And you'd think that we'd learn who and what they really are, these so called "conservatives" who seem to lack the most basic conservative trait of all--judgment and common sense.

Saturday Update--Romney did not change course, as I thought from things I'd seen on the teevee Thursday night. He's using many surrogates to continue pressing his absurd, hollow assertion that he, unlike the Obama Administration, possesses "resolve." The Romney supporters are now even saying that the riots would not have happened had they been in power, because of the magic of this "resolve." This is patently absurd, complete malarkey.

I do not believe anything close to a majority of voters will ever buy this crap. It shows Romney to be incompetent in a deep way. He's in total agreement with Palin! That would be a QED indicator in my book. Perhaps it's also worth noting that, per usual, one cannot actually quite say what it is Romney asserts or denies--because per usual he's willing to say contradictory things in the same paragraph, or even in subsequent sentences.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

If You Haven't Seen 'Em

I was laying up stone veneer for a living room chimney in a lawyer's country house on September 11, 2001. There was a nice guy upstairs doing tile in the new bathroom. We were listening to the radio. Every few minutes we'd say, to each other, "Goddam!" After the fourth plane went down in PA, we decided to just go home and watch the teevee. The most remarkable thing, here in central NC, about the week of 9/11, 2001, was how amazingly quiet the skies became. I mean as concerning actual reality, and not what was on the teevee. The sky was blue, clear, empty. The weather is almost identical this year, the first wonderful week of fall by the light and sky, if not by the calendar.

Here's what Charles Pierce wrote about the event yesterday, on it's anniversary:

Of course for people who were there, that day was not serene, as it was for me and my tile-setting co-worker. For people who were there it was a singular hell. Some survived and told about it:

The mistake of electing leaders without any wisdom echos down through the years and decades, yet one of the parties now seems intent on only short-term victory. Republican "pundits" yesterday said that the GOP should simply disband if they cannot win the Presidency this year. Well, while I'd like to see that, such a statement is really just another indication of how myopic the GOP leadership has become. It is possible that the shrill has actually become so intense as to be noticed by even the typical GOP voter, or at least some of the ones not blinded by pure racism and prejudice.

Where I work they come in talking about the Chicago teacher strike as though it was insane, yet typical of "them." Where I work they come in and talk about how the country is "broke." But where I work we mostly deal with white, middle aged, southern men. So far, they have not restored the voting rules to enable only that smallish subset of the voting citizenry.

Update: I wrote the above knowing nothing of events in Egypt and Libya, much less Mr. Romney's remarkably un-Presidential remarks about them. He now stands squarely with Jim DeMint and no doubt Mr. Limbaugh. The rest of us watch the Gorgon's Knot of the Middle East with sadness and concern. A President Romney seems to portend, from his half-baked comments on the crisis, George W. Bush cubed. Now that's a plan from hell.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why They Booed

You can't reasonably argue with this:

A salient quote:

You have to wonder what good it is to bother supporting women for political posts when they can’t summon the courage and common sense to knock out insulting language like this in the 2012 Democratic Platform under the heading “Protecting a Woman’s Right to Choose”:

“Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.”

Well shucks, if her family, doctor, and clergy get to make a woman’s decision for her, why not drag in politicians, governments, and any stray passerby and his dog to have their say as well? What kind of a personal decision is that??

The fact is, the Democrats are a muddled, nervous lot, and that includes their President, Mr. Barack Obama. After Fox News spent hours snarking on the "fact" that the Democratic Platform didn't "include" God, well by gawd the next day they damn well included Him in the Platform, ex post facto, and for that matter, deus ex machina, which caused consternation amongst a majority of delegates (not your low info voters, who make up the vast majority of voters apparently). The Speaker then ruled, and it was Law.

Mr. Clinton made the point that Mr. Obama exemplifies the truth, in his management philosophy, that in order to get something done you have to deal with them what's there, across the table. Mr. Clinton even said that Mr. Obama still maintains this brave approach to dealing with the nihilists who have captured the GOP, and who swore an oath never to cooperate with Mr. Obama on anything, including propositions he might offer which were identical to propositions they had already asserted themselves, such as, e.g., the Health Care Reform Act and Cap and Trade systems.

So who's to say that the political women of the Convention didn't summon the courage and common sense. Who knows. The Chair counted the "votes."

But. Let us be clear. Democrats at the moment face an implacable opposition determined to do just about anything to win, certainly including all manner of appeals to racism, sexism, chauvinism, nativism, and just plain dumbass. Mr. Romney has now suggested that Mr. Obama plans to remove "In God We Trust" from the coinage. Last night during the ragged start-stop last race before the Chase that NASCAR put on in Richmond, Capital of the Confederacy, Mr. Romney asserted in several ads that he would bring 250,000* jobs to North Carolina. That's pretty fucking amazing for a guy who believes that a government job "policy" is equivalent to reducing regulations, period. He didn't address the loss of all those jobs filing the coinage either. Some of them would surely have been happening in the old Nawth State.

Chris Hayes suggested this morning that one reason to vote Rom would be, some "governance" would at least occur, versus another four years of total cynicism from a Republican controlled Congress. This of course presumes that any law-making is better than none. Tell that to the wimmens.

I'd love for the Democratic Party to take better positions. I'd love for the Democrats to tell Fox News it is a lying, obfuscating political advertisment masquerading as a news network. I agree with Charles Pierce--why the hell don't the Democrats simply stand on the law of the land--women have a right to choose, no further modifiers needed or required. I surely do hope that if Obama wins, and if he is saddled with a Republican controlled Congress, that he will STOP with the compromising, with the eye to eye reasoning, with the grand bargain after grand bargain. The last Republican Administration wrecked the country, and they know it--that's why they didn't even invite their last President and Vice President to their Convention. (Not much made of that on Fox "News.") They have no new ideas or plans. They have a Robber Baron as their Presidential Candidate, and an Objectivist as their Veep. They have made promises to their core constituents of racists, chauvinists, nativists, and Christianists, which there ain't no way a President as weak and craven as Mr. Romney can possibly renege on. Sandra Fluke was exactly right in her comments at the Democratic Convention--women will be returned to the '50s at best, and that's just the start of it.

I know it's a broken record here, but what we have is a two party system. The purity objection, when made at the moment by Democrats and progressives who are sick and tired of compromise with the breathtakingly dumbass, only gives dumbass more votes. It ain't rite, but it's true.

Nonetheless, the dissonance created when sensible people are confronted with a deus ex machina or two ought to at least be acknowledged and respected. Somewhere, sometime, the Democratic leadership owes the people who keep voting for reason an apology. Juan Cole is dead right:

Maybe, win or lose, late November, 2012 might be the moment for such an apology.

*The ad keeps running, and I noticed that he's saying 350 K, not 250 K. On the other hand, I'd expect that if queried on a Wednesday or Saturday, Romney will say that he's talking about the whole Great Land of Ours, not just NC. Doing the math, I discovered that he's promising 7,000 jobs per state if that is indeed his actual "promise."

Monday, September 3, 2012

How They Make It Up

There's a video from Bill Maher's latest show floating around the internet right now. It was reposted on Digby this morning. Check it out; link's at the bottom. It's pretty amazing how completely Mr. De Souza ignores plain and obvious facts. But if you think about what he says in response to Maher's point on the Health Care Reform Act, you will recognize that this obvious circularity is exactly what the whole GOP is saying about Mr. Obama. He's a "hateful," "uncompromising" President because he didn't accept ideas that the GOP allegedly presented to him in 2009. Never mind that the whole Health Care Bill is based on a GOP designed framework, namely the plan their own current Presidential Candidate actually instituted when he was Governor, and which he based on their own 1996 Presidential Candidate's plan.

The GOP is not interested in repairing things that need repairing. They are interested in power. Period. Mr. Obama's mistake, in his first term, was to assume that the GOP was a reasonable body of politicians interesting in co-governance. Mr. Obama was, in a word, too reasonable.

Oh yeah. Here's the link:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cudos to Chris Hayes

Well, there was finally some realistic and clear thinking coverage of the RNC just past. Go find the 9/1/12 Chris Hayes show--surely it's at the MSNBC website. Watch the whole thing. Even the Republican representative, a nice naive young man who writes for Bloomberg News, pretty much told the truth.

The trouble with the Republicans is, their positions are so wrong that they dare not tell the voting public what they are voting for. That's the truth, on all fronts, foreign and domestic. (The Republican representative on the Hayes panel is of the view that Mr. Romney is too nice to start a new war, no matter what he or his advisors might imply.)

Instead, the Republicans simply invoke the general angst of an old guard that knows things are changing, and doesn't like it a bit, then toss in all the racism and sexism they can to get the rest of us to vote against our own interests for the sake of some seeming small step for redress.

For leadership to do this--and this has been the Republican way for decades--is a betrayal of itself. All it takes is to see this clear and the voters should run away in droves, leaving only the residue of true racists and sexists.

And, as Bob Herbert says on Hayes' panel, there are just not that many of those. Which in my view is the question.

Meanwhile, Doghouse has found a piece by the Washington Post Fact Checker, which is interesting to read after listening to the factchecking discussion on the Hayes show:

The problem is, it is exceeding hard for many people to awake from this dream. Including, apparently, even people like the Washington Post Fact Checker, who manage to sleep and write at the same time.

Re Clint Eastwood's RNC moment, Juan Cole has the best response:

As all of these points resided in my memory, I cannot understand why professional reporters on the scene failed to recall any of them after Mr. Eastwood had finished his performance.