Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rick Perry, Porn Peddler — GASP!

This is not a joke, Teabaggers and Perry aficionados.

The wannabe president with the foul mouth and a smaller-than-Bush brain owns stock in Movie Gallery, a video rental company that distributes such multiple-volume (apparently encyclopedic) porn titles as Teens with Tits Vol. 1, Teen Power Vol. 4, Teens Never Say No, Big Tit Brotha Lovers 6, Bisexual Barebacking Vol. 1. The American Family Association boycotted Movie Gallery, but had no problem partnering with Perry in the "Jesuspalooza" extravaganza FAIL rally held by Perry in Houston before tossing his hat in the ring.
When questioned on August 17, 2011 about AFA’s awareness of Perry’s stock in Movie Gallery, one Cindy Roberts in the AFA press office gasped, "Why, I had no idea!"
Oh Ricky ... Pick up the phone, why dont'cha. You got some 'splainin' to do, HOMBRE TESUDO.

Entertaining Fluff ... Piers v. O'Donnell

Christine O'Donnell is one of Bill Maher's more Machiavellian comic creations. It would have been perfect if Christine had the right-back-at-ya "audacity" to ask "charming" Piers, "What did you KNOW about the Murdoch-News of The World hacking scandal, and WHEN DID YOU KNOW IT, you big ol' RUDE BULLY BRIT!?"


As we were saying all along about the Tea Party ... I guess it took a study to make it official. Although the McGovern parallel is overstated — the progressive movement was motivated by an idealistic impulse that ended our involvement in Vietnam, fought for rights that are taken for granted today,  expanded our consciousness toward stewardship of the environment, and stood for peace and economic justice. If you're gonna go down fighting, you might as well do it for purposeful things.

Progressives stand for saving the planet, and our country, leading a rising tide of justice and prosperity. The Tea Party are the very antithesis of the progressive movement. They would destroy rather than build up this country; retrench into bigotry and theocratic rule rather than open the door of opportunity and religious tolerance; deny the science of global warming; defend polluting, job-destroying corporations as "people" against the Jeffersonian rights of the common man and woman.

No, there is nothing to compare the Tea Party to the progressive movement that backed George McGovern for president in 1972. But if one were to suggest the death of the Tea Party as McGovern's Revenge ... we'll take it. For, long after the schlerotic Teabaggers are consigned to the dungheap of history, succeeding generations of progressives will yet be around to carry the flag ever forward.
Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.

What’s more, contrary to some accounts, the Tea Party is not a creature of the Great Recession. Many Americans have suffered in the last four years, but they are no more likely than anyone else to support the Tea Party. And while the public image of the Tea Party focuses on a desire to shrink government, concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters.

So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

This inclination among the Tea Party faithful to mix religion and politics explains their support for Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.

Yet it is precisely this infusion of religion into politics that most Americans increasingly oppose. While over the last five years Americans have become slightly more conservative economically, they have swung even further in opposition to mingling religion and politics. It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity.

On everything but the size of government, Tea Party supporters are increasingly out of step with most Americans, even many Republicans. Indeed, at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, today’s Tea Party parallels the anti-Vietnam War movement which rallied behind George S. McGovern in 1972. The McGovernite activists brought energy, but also stridency, to the Democratic Party — repelling moderate voters and damaging the Democratic brand for a generation. By embracing the Tea Party, Republicans risk repeating history.

MEMO TO RACHEL: Lest you "treat" us with more dead airtime by trotting out MSNBC train wreck reclamation project Michael Steele to feed us more specious GOP political hack talking points, try looping the best-yet Steele interview on MSNBC, with the Reverend Al: STEELE — "You guys ... (SIGH) ... SI-I-I-I-GH ... (DEEP SIGH.)" Say your brilliant piece, Rachel, then loop Michael Steele sighing DEEPLY into the microphone when it's his turn to speak the talking points.

Re: WWHD ...

Nice try with the straw woman argument, Rebecca. Um ... Bill Maher is a comedian and political satirist — that's what he keeps insisting whenever someone pops out of the woodwork to smear him with that lower form of life nametag that says "political analyst." Besides, I'm sure Hillary hasn't been a wilting flower in the Obama administration ... that was part of the deal. So we still get "two for the price of one" with different outcomes. The real question isn't "what would Hillary do?"— It's how can a Democratic president tack to the right of Bill Clinton and still be a Democrat? How convenient to stand up for His Barackness by telling his critics to STFU already.

What Would Ted Kennedy Say, And Do?

Don't you miss the LION OF THE SENATE? I do.

He was the only voice that the President of the United States would find much too difficult to ignore. What would Ted say of positions President Obama has taken that run counter to everything genuine Democrats stand for?

Here are just two examples: (1) We've already mentioned Mr. Obama's statement about unions having to "sacrifice." Where was President Obama during the concerted radical Republican assault on labor unions — savaging the salt of the earth ... teachers, firefighters, nurses, public employees — throughout the country? Not only have unions been forced to make major concessions on everything from pensions and health care to salaries, but then they were hit with a two-by-four by these scumbag Republican governors from Walker to Kasich to Scott and Christie, who have denied unions even a seat at the table.

In Wisconsin, the Democrats ousted two Republican state senators in recall elections coming to within one vote of a majority. And they have an ally in a Republican moderate senator who opposes Walker. In Ohio, after ramming Senate Bill 5 down the people's throats, that little ratbastard, scumsucking fink John Kasich is running scared. NOW he wants to "talk" to the unions about "grievances" to reach a "compromise." Ah, how so very Obama-esque.

You know what: Fuck you, Kasich. The people of Ohio are going to take this up at the ballot box and RAM IT RIGHT BACK DOWN YOUR THROAT WHEN THEY REPEAL SB5. The time for talk and compromise IS OVER. Are you listening, President Obama? Hardly. Who knows, maybe Kasich can get the President to visit Ohio in an effort to convince the unions of the error of their ways. Maybe he'll get in a round or two of golf with the Prez and his mega-rich entourage at Nantucket Island.

And (2) here's another bookend example from the same "listening tour" of presidential anti-Democratic (big "D") talk. If you haven't heard much about it, it's because at MSNBC they cover for Mr. Obama quite a bit, from Chris to the Rev Al to Lawrence. So here's the deal: President Obama is on board with COLA increases in Social Security and raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Considering the very real likelihood that millions of seniors will NOT have a bridge health care coverage for those two critical years, HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF THEM WILL DIE as result of this hurtful policy at precisely the time in their lives when Medicare coverage is most critical?

Shame on you, Mr. President and on each and every "Democrat" — Senator Max Baucus, mark my words, he's the President's bag man on that "super committee"— who slashes these core Democratic programs. The President made false assurances about so-called "modest" adjustments to Social Security and Medicare: "Most folks won't notice 'em." Yeah, right. Except those who are dead or too ill to make much of a fuss even if they do. Read all about it here.
"Most folks won't notice 'em."

Look who noticed ...

Proposed cuts led 33 disability groups to urge the president and Congress not to cut Social Security benefits.

Groups signing the statement included the American Association of People with Disabilities, the American Council of the Blind, the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs, Easter Seals, the Epilepsy Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Cerebral Palsy, and a number of others.

With all due respect, Mr. President: If you've lost Easter Seals, you've lost America.
I'll say. Which begs the question: Does this President GET IT at all? With a palace guard of Valerie Jarrett, Bill Daley, and David Plouffe (with new, severe Gordon Gekko look) I think the answer is clear. Jarrett and Daley are old corporatist Chicago pols in a one-party town. Ironic considering they've advised the President to take THE TOTALLY WRONG TACK and go the "nonpartisan" route.

Bill Daley? C'mon. This dude was/is a ConservaDem wheeler-dealer in a town ruled for a good century by the Democratic Party. Daley could afford to be magnanimous and play the "nonpartisan" game in Chicago. Washington is a wholly different kettle of fish. One gets the sense they've been rolled so often by the Republicans they're suffering from a form of chronic political dizziness. The polls bear that out.

Look, however much Jonathan Kohn, Chris Matthews, and others would wish President Obama to channel "his inner Harry Truman" (noted here first and subject exhausted) it's not going to happen. Mr. Obama lacks a certain Trumanesque FIERCE bluntness. Somehow, lamenting his generic version of a "do-nothing" Congress (no sir! The Democrats poll MUCH HIGHER in the public's approval, and last I checked you were a Democrat), bemoaning the "frustration" of those no-name obstructionists (they're called REPUBLICANS and TEABAGGERS, sir — okay, say "Tea Party" but you really don't have to mind your words so much), won't quite make the Truman grade. Here's David Cohn, wrestling with the Obama-as-Truman thing. It seems the President's palace guard keeps getting in the way:
"... A reported piece in the Sunday Times, described a split among White House advisers. That article suggested that Obama’s economic counselors, led by National Economic Council chairman Gene Sperling, are squarely behind the jobs agenda, while Obama’s political advisers, including strategist David Plouffe and Chief of Staff William Daley, prefer Obama concentrate more on deficit reduction and further burnish his image as a post-partisan leader. Among the article’s more alarming passages: A suggestion that Plouffe and Daley were making policy arguments, even though their position, as reported, would be at odds with most experts. Keep in mind that Plouffe and Daley, between them, have as much formal economics training as I do: None. ...

Still, the tension between conflict and compromise, between partisanship and post-partisanship, is obviously real. It was even evident at the Michigan and at Minnesota appearances, which for all of their spirited excoriations of Congress conspicuously avoided one word: “Republican.” (He uttered the term twice at the first event and once at the second, in each case to note that proposals he supported had in the past garnered Republican support.)

That’s an intentional decision and, perhaps, a politically logical one. I imagine that criticizing "some in Congress" tests better with focus groups than criticizing Republicans by name. But will that mentality prevent Obama from drawing the lines he needs to draw? Will it limit policy ambitions or constrain his legislative tactics in the coming months? Those are the critical, if complicated, questions. Truman gave more than two speeches, after all. "
Yes, and when all entreaties to the President to be someone he clearly isn't are exhausted, we can always keep hope alive, right Jonathan? Because the alternative is too hideous to contemplate. Word has it there are more presidential theatrics on jobs to come in September ... after Nantucket. Here's your template, Mr. President. Anything less isn't worth the bother.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Best Rejection Letter EVER! Rumored To Be From The Late, GREAT Hunter S. Thompson

I'd like to think this is how Mr. Thompson would have reacted to Mark Halperin's and John Heileman's Game Change, especially after a chapter title that begins with "Fear And Loathing ..." and what I strongly suspect is a fake composite men's room scene, which is liberally borrowed from the incomparable, original Gonzo masterpiece, Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail. There's homage, there's borrowing, and there's "appropriation." In the end, it all depends on the ethics of those doing the plagiarizing. It helps when the gun-toting genius is dead. What are the odds he'll get a single line of acknowledgment when the movie comes out?

Here's the story, and here's the rejection letter believed to have been penned by Hunter S. Thompson:

Brother, Can You Spare A Million?

The world's sixth richest man wants the feds and the Republicans and the Tea Party to STOP "CODDLING" him and his rich friends: "My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice." Gee, what a concept; asking the super-rich to contribute their fair share in taxes and "shared sacrifice."


OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.) [READ MORE HERE ...]

Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

President Obama's Despicable Statement About Unions

Big Eddie, seemingly the only one, I hate have to say it, on the MSN-BARACK-CHANNEL who has THE BALLS to challenge President Obama on his mind-blowing ANTI-UNION statement which is not only FACTUALLY INCORRECT but an egregious and CRUEL thing for a "DEMOCRATIC" President to make. Let us not forget that this is the FIRST "DEMOCRATIC" President to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, and to treat REPUBLICAN proposals to CUT THESE PROGRAMS THEY HATE as the kind of "compromise" we all want and need from Washington.

When are the delusional fantasists on MSNBC going to stop coddling the President and start parsing his statements objectively and critically? Not once, NOT ONCE did the President stand up for working people and public employee unions against radical Republican governors in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, Indiana. Instead, when given the opportunity to make a pro-union statement on his so-called "listening tour," Mr. Obama sided with the BRUTISH REPUBLICAN BULLIES, the radical governors — Walker, Christie, Kasich, Scott — against the working people, telling the unions to, in effect, take their bitter medicine and stop complaining, stop demonstrating, and most of all stop raining on HIS re-election parade.

Well, excuse me, Mr. President, but you can't squeeze water from a stone. The unions have given and given and given already, making one concession after another. When is ENOUGH, ENOUGH? When will this Clintonian triangulation END? When will President Obama remember the "(D)" in front of his name and start TAKING NAMES AND POINTING THE FINGER OF BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS — at the Republican Party, the limitless corporate money in Republican politics, AND NOT AT THE UNIONS AND THE MIDDLE CLASS?

And when will Big Eddie's colleagues STOP papering over the President's REACTIONARY statements? He is no liberal. He is no progressive. Red states and blue states, all together now. Remember the speech that launched Mr. Obama into the national spotlight? It wasn't just soaring rhetoric. President Obama REALLY BELIEVES that pablum.

Dear Mr. President: You're not in Kansas anymore.


It's hard to quibble with Rachel's outstanding segment about a "fake alien invasion" being the catalyst for transformational change that would end our political and economic troubles in a flash. But Rachel, Ronald Reagan never considered his hypothesis of an alien threat from some other planet "cartoony" much less a fantasy. In fact, Reagan pushed back against removal of the alien passage from his speech by insisting that it be reinserted. How interesting that he wrote "fantasy" within quotation marks, as if to emphasize he didn't consider it a cartoonish flight of fancy at all. This is Reagan's handwritten note to his speechwriter, to that effect:

“And toward the end perhaps I still would like my "fantasy" — how quickly our differences world wide would vanish if creatures from another planet should threaten this world.    RR”
Reagan clearly indicated in his handwritten comment he was well aware of the implications of his words and disagreed with anyone who may have called it a "fantasy". Rachel's video clip omits Reagan's most controversial part of the speech, one seized upon by UFOlogists to argue he knew more about the "fake alien invasion" than he was letting on. Of course, they omit the last sentence, which places the second — the clincher about "aliens among us"— in a different, less cosmic, if not more benign context:
I occasionally think, how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask, is not an alien force ALREADY among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?”

It's too bad the burro-DEMO-cratic, techno-DEMO-cratic Ed Rendell was selected as the guest to close out this magnificent segment on somewhat of a down note — we all love Ed, but Rachel, couldn't you have chosen a guest, a creative thinker, on a par with this awesome segment instead of boring old Ed ... Paul Krugman, perhaps, to expand on his headline-making comment? Anyway, why quibble with perfection when you come pretty darn close to it. Thumbs up!

All Creatures, Great And Small ... Even The Creepy Crawlies

We seldom think of insects, bees, and related spiders as endangered; they are so prolific and have such a Biblical pestilential rep, not to speak of stingers that carry quite a (sometimes lethal) wallop to humans. But it's real. And in the case of the mysterious disappearance of pollinating honeybees, their sudden collapse threatens the food chain with profound consequences for human, animal and plant life. It has an unsettling name, "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD, for short), and is a global plague. So it's somehow reassuring to learn that this pretty spider critter in the UK was (a) brought back from the brink of extinction after only 56 such "ladybird" spiders were left, and (b) reintroduced in the wild by dedicated scientists and conservationists into a special bug habitat housing hundreds of species of insects and spiders, many of them endangered. If we don't have such habitats for endangered creepy, crawlies, pretty critters here, maybe we should, for as the honeybees go ... so go we.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lawrence O'Donnell's Mom Passes Away

Just heard the news from sit-in host Chris Hayes. Our sympathies and condolences go out to Lawrence and his family.

Although we poke fun at Lawrence in this blog, I hope he knows it's all in good fun and not meant in a mean-spirited way.

We are sincerely sorry for your loss, Lawrence.

T-PAW Drops OUT; Lawrence Can Really Pick 'Em ... Or Can He?

Tim Pawlenty, The SULTAN OF SIMP, became QUEEN OF CRAZY Michele Bachmann's first casualty in the BIZARRO GOP presidential race, as she edged out the INCREDIBLE INVISIBLE MAN Ron Paul to win the Ames, Iowa BEAUTY CAUCUS. CRAZY reigned in Iowa as MITTZY THE SLY FOX CANDIDATE made an impassioned defense of CORPORATIONS ... they're PEOPLE like us and their "JOB CREATOR" taxes are much too high, the UNITED STATES default and credit downgrade ARE declared desirable outcomes, secession and theocracy — viable options, and Oprah is crowned THE HARLOT OF BABYLON.

THE WEEKEND IN DISTURBING GOP PICTURES in which Marcus and Michele enjoy GINORMOUS "CORNDOGS", the OUTLAW SECESSIONIST Rick Perry rides into Iowa, T-Paw does his best Alan Alda impression for Lawrence, MARCUS AND MICHELE celebrate their own LA CAGE AUX FOLLES REWRITE —


AND MSNBC fantasist Lawrence gets his comeuppance by explaining to us "civilians" the meaning of "political viability." Said colleague Chris Matthews: "He's the BEST POLITICAL ANALYST in the business. I mean it. I really do. You know I do. UP NEXT ... I mean it."

FINALLY ... In a typical BELTWAY non-scoop, the IDIOT PUNDITOCRACY led by Chuck the DUMMY and DICKHEAD Mark Halperin FIND WALDO at the Iowa State Fair and reveal his TRUE IDENTITY: