Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ron Paul Postcript: Can The Paulies & Paulines Say ... D'OH!

According to this WaPo article, "people close to Paul’s operations said he was deeply involved in the company that produced the newsletters, Ron Paul & Associates, and closely monitored its operations, signing off on articles and speaking to staff members virtually every day... “It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product. . . . He would proof it,’’ said Renae Hathway, a former secretary in Paul’s company and a supporter of the Texas congressman’s."

There's more from TPM. Gee, this comes as a COMPLETE surprise! (And haven't I said this before?)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quotable: Dylan Ratigan Quotes A Racist

"As Ron Paul once told me, 'politicians simply go whichever way the wind blows, and it is our job to change the direction of the wind.'"
~ Dylan Ratigan, of MSNBC, closing yesterday's vacation report show.

Really. How forcefully has Dylan tried to change the direction of the evil wind of racism and anti-Semitism in Ron Paul's newsletters? It makes little difference when they were written, as long as Congressman Ron Paul was an adult at the time, having reached the age of reason, consent, and personal responsibility. The capacity for blind rationalization by Ron Paul sympathizers is amazing. It isn't just the meek acceptance of absurd excuses, namely that he did not write the newsletters and was unaware of their content. It's the unquestioning acceptance of Paul's evolving contradictions, that his statements were taken "out of context" or happened too long ago to be relevant today.

That's patently ridiculous, but apparently true believers like Dylan Ratigan continue drinking the Kool-Aid. Even Rachel, who should know better, samples the devil's brew. They choose to believe the excuses. The rest is hidden in a penumbra which cannot be perceived without special truth spectacles as supporters continue writing tortuous justifications for immorality. (Question for Rachel: how many straight non-homophobes that you know refer to gays as "queers"?)

Here's the thing. Some people want so hard to believe Paul's mild-mannered demeanor cannot possibly conceal the ugly bigotry of an authentic paleolibertarian (which is just a fancy word for bigot) that they have totally overlooked the fact Paul has already damned himself with his own words. Ron Paul's protestations, (a) that he was unaware of his newsletter racist eruptions, and (b) he didn't read them, i.e., he only knew of the topics, writ large, are lies. In the May 22, 1996 issue of the Dallas Morning News, Paul, "who is running in Texas' 14th Congressional District, defended his writings in an interview ... He said they were being taken out of context." Really? What "context" is needed for this (emphasis mine):
Dr. Ron Paul, a Republican congressional candidate from Texas, wrote in his political newsletter in 1992 that 95 percent of the black men in Washington, D.C., are "semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

He also wrote that black teenagers can be "unbelievably fleet of foot." [...]

According to a Dallas Morning News review of documents circulating among Texas Democrats, Dr. Paul wrote in a 1992 issue of the Ron Paul Political Report: "If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be."

In the interview, he did not deny he made the statement about the swiftness of black men.

"If you try to catch someone that has stolen a purse from you, there is no chance to catch them," Dr. Paul said.

He also said the comment about black men in the nation's capital was made while writing about a 1992 study produced by the National Center on Incarceration and Alternatives, a criminal justice think tank based in Virginia.

Citing statistics from the study, Dr. Paul then concluded in his column: "Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

"These aren't my figures," Dr. Paul said Tuesday. "That is the assumption you can gather from" the report.
In subsequent news reports, Paul spokesman Michael Sullivan deflected the racism charges with more rationalizations, also providing the six degrees of separation and "plausible deniability" that have become the crutch of Ron Paul's excuses for his racism today. Here is a typical series of Sullivan rationalizations:
"Dr. Paul is being quoted out of context," [Paul spokesman Michael] Sullivan said. "It's like picking up War and Peace and reading the fourth paragraph on Page 481 and thinking you can understand what's going on." [...]

Also in 1992, Paul wrote, "Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions."

Sullivan said Paul does not consider people who disagree with him to be sensible. And most blacks, Sullivan said, do not share Paul's views. The issue is political philosophy, not race, Sullivan said.

"Polls show that only about 5 percent of people with dark-colored skin support the free market, a laissez faire economy, an end to welfare and to affirmative action," Sullivan said. [...]

"You have to understand what he is writing. Democrats in Texas are trying to stir things up by using half-quotes to impugn his character," Sullivan said. "His writings are intellectual. He assumes people will do their own research, get their own statistics, think for themselves and make informed judgments."
This passage concisely sums up why Paul supporters earnestly split hairs making specious distinctions between racism and the "political philosophy" in Ron Paul's "intellectual" writings. Since "polls show that only about 5 percent of people with dark-colored skin support the free market, a laissez faire economy, an end to welfare and to affirmative action," and "Paul does not consider people who disagree with him to be sensible," therefore, according to Ron Paul, "only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions."

This is typical of Ron Paul's sophistry, his circular logic and arrogant false syllogism whose reasoning depends entirely on the infallibility of Paul's political libertarian philosophy. No wonder Paul's cult of supporters are so, well, characteristically fanatical and cult-ish. Even worse is the inherent racism of such spurious claims.

On the one hand, Paul denies being a racist, suggesting his paleolibertarianism does not distinguish or discriminate by groups or classes of people; yet on the other hand he does precisely that, with generalizations based on polls or studies. It's a convenient way of dismissing 400 years of slavery and racism, a bloody civil war that claimed 600,000 lives, Jim Crow, and the resulting civil rights and voting rights legislation. As long as we follow those constitutional provisions we like and do others no harm, there is no need for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racism and discrimination based on sex or ethnicity. Ron Paul would have voted against it. How quaint.

Ron Paul's political philosophy isn't centered on reality. The reality is that Ron Paul cannot point to a single solitary historical example of a government that was based on his political philosophical abstractions. His isn't a prescription for "liberty"; it's a roadmap to anarchy and authoritarianism, to exploitation of the weak, the poor, and the elderly — our most vulnerable citizens.

Dylan Ratigan might overlook Ron Paul's hideous and unresolved racist past with a fortune cookie message from this rather pathetic oracle of the misguided and the ignorant. But we should not. (Youth and inexperience are no longer credible excuses for Mr. flip-flops Ratigan ... or is he barefoot?) Quite the contrary. As an MSNBC host with a big megaphone, Ratigan has a responsibility to report the truth and to condemn racism in all its forms.

Meanwhile, back at Dylan's Magical Mystery Jobs Tour, the cocktails with the cherries and little umbrellas (to better protect them from the economy's ill winds) are just off-camera ...  How about that for an envy-causing, midriff-growing gig; Dylan, you bon vivant rascal:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Unofficial "Official" Drudge Poll Gives Romney Double-Digit Win

This Drudge Report internet poll with a large voting sample finds Mitt Romney the winner of tonight's debate by some 11 points, double digits. Bad news for Newt, and inexcusable for the President of the Moon. Keep in mind, the Drudge Report is the unofficial "official" page of the GOP Establishment. Hey, I did my part; I voted for Newt, though I know Mittens won. (Ron Paul is the control; he didn't win, not on the merits; and he needs to get a proper fitting suit.) Count me among the +/- sampling error. Just too many wingnuts, too few of us to skew the results.

Newt Raises White Flag, Will Lose Florida to Romney

Newt Gingrich's lack of combativeness after taking a few hits from Mittens was demonstrated by his wimping out and calling for "a truce" while whining about attacks on him from Romney proxies and distortions of his record by Romney's air attacks. Meanwhile, Romney has outspent his rivals by a mile, and this was Newt's crucial opportunity to level the playing field. He failed.

Gingrich, the celebrated attack dog, folded almost completely, effectively conceding Florida and the race. It was Rick Santorum that attacked Romney's healthcare vulnerability, while Ron Paul made the 99% v. the 1% transfer of wealth argument. Newt Gingrich, by contrast, was flat and never followed up on any of this. He seemed shellshocked by the Romney Machine blitzkrieg. He never raised the tax issue and refused to talk about the Swiss bank and Cayman Islands accounts when given the chance, which was baffling. Instead, Gingrich fell back on his standard tactic of attacking the questioner, Wolf Blitzer. Only this time it was a strained and feeble attack.

The question is why? Either Gingrich got bad tactical advice to pull his punches in the one forum, the debates, in which he has excelled, and where he can achieve parity with Romney and his unlimited funds. Or, as is more likely, Gingrich was told by the Republican Establishment mafia, in no uncertain terms, to back off otherwise he will be treated by them as a total pariah. That's pretty heavy stuff. The trade-off? Romney's sweetener, saying he would consider Newt as a Veep candidate, or for a cabinet position. Unfortunately, it seems Newt was neutered by Romney's Establishment juggernaut. After the debate a cocky Mittens said, "when I'm attacked I'll return fire. I'm no shrinking violet." This last sentence, a line from Romney 'unofficial' adviser and MSNBC Republican Establishment mole, Michael Steele. (Visions of Steele and Capus high-fiving.)

Party's over.

Battle of Jacksonville: Preview of Tonight's GOP SLUGFEST!!

In political campaign buttons ... and cartoon: Mr. 1% versus "Still Crazy After All These Years" ... The Ghost of Republican Presidential Wipeouts Past ... President Obama Pummels 32 Years of Trickle-Down Reaganomics ...


Amazing Grace: Gabby Giffords

Apple of Mitch Daniels’ Eye

Just like everyone else in the known universe — including socialist ascetic Lawrence O’Donnell interrupted by a planted on-camera call to boast he was still trying to figure out how to turn off “my new iPhone” — I use Apple products. But when I saw Scott ‘41’ Brown hawk an iPad at a Senate hearing, Chuckles Toddy balance one on his hand like a Georgetown waiter, and Beltway Media pals Jonathan 'GQ' Capehart et al line up their iPads like iconic status symbols on ‘Now’ with Alex Wagner, there was an uneasy sense Apple had crossed the unhip Rubicon into the Dark Side. Now, if we can only capture Gramps McCain using one, the Apple mystique will be permanently shattered. In the meantime, this dark story of outsourcing and globalization will have to do. Here’s why Apple arouses the Republican Erogenous Zone.

Mitch Daniels, DARKMAN of The Apocalypse

In which Rachel perfectly captures Mitch Daniels' Doom-and-Gloom End of Days VITUPERATIONS while Mr. 'Adee-Tude' says, "I'm still LOVIN' it!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The Wicked Witch of The West, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, seen here wagging a bony finger at the President of the United States. "Welcoming" the President at the airport tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona. The President took issue with something she'd written in her book about their meeting that he was "condescending" and had "lectured" her. A condition known to Brewer as being President while black. Whereupon she mounted her broom and flew back to her Witch's Lair.

PARTY OF LIARS: You Wouldn't Know It Listening To Mr. 'Adee-Tude'

Granted, instant punditry and "analysis" is an oxymoron, but Chris Matthews' deluded Americana fantasy, as usual, takes the cake. (I'm keeping a list of major myths Matthews mouths, including: "Only in America ..." Get back to me when you've elected a true working class hero president who went on to become the world's most popular elected leader ever, succeeded by a woman president, which by the way has happened in countless other democracies on three continents except the United States. Just for starters; we'll revisit other myths, but I digress.)

Fortunately, Rachel tossed cold water on Chris's gushing praise for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels' Republican response to the SOTU. "I could not disagree more," she told an irritated Mr. 'Adee-Tude' who had just asserted Daniels' speech was "midwestern conservatism at its best", "honest values fiscal conservatism" that said the "rich can't plunder the poor anymore." I'm still searching for this passage.

Indeed, Rachel reminded us that Daniels "was George W. Bush's Budget Director," in a gem of understatement, "which does cast a bit of a penumbra on his own comments about fiscal responsibility." In short, the man who was the principal architect of Bush's failed, castastrophic economic policies was cast, in a classic role of doubling down on the failed Republican ideology of Reaganomics, as if nothing has happened in the intervening 12 years, let alone the past 32 years, to bring us to this place.

Daniels even resorted to the time-tested propaganda technique of doubling down on the GOP's most glaring ideological weakness and owning it with the "Big Lie": "The President's grand experiment in trickle-down government has held back rather than sped economic recovery." It's an obvious lie, but the notable phrase is "trickle-down government" which attempts to wipe clean 32 disastrous years of "trickle-down Reaganomics" that gutted our economy and the middle class but was a boon for vulture crony capitalists.

Perhaps Rachel was rightly offended by the benign characterization of one of the villains of our economic distress who is now visiting on Indiana the same toxic and disastrous policies he championed under George W. Bush. If he can reinvent himself and pull the wool so completely over Matthews' eyes, which must have surprised Rachel (but not me), her reaction was to push back hard. Her instinct was right. Few people know better what's going on in those red state laboratories of right wing radicalism than Rachel, reporting nightly on the Republican wave of terror sweeping aside Chris's (and Romney's) amber waves of grain.

Chris's assertion that Daniels is a "responsible" Republican, like the fantasy-lie that Mitt Romney has not called President Obama a "European socialist," is another attempt to fit the political debate to his rose-tinted worldview, unable to confront the reality of right wing extremism at all levels of the Republican Party. If "responsible" and inclusive government is presiding over a Democratic Party in rebellion which refuses to be a rubber-stamp quorum for union-busting "right-to-work" legislation in Indiana, backed by the hardest-hitting union in the world, the NFL Players Union some 10 days before the Super Bowl in Indiana (which is so cool), how far can Michigan-style "emergency rule", voter disenfranchisement, and a militarized police crackdown on popular protest and revolt be?

What fictional "midwestern conservatism" is Chris Matthews channeling from Mitch Daniels, faced with the triple-dose reality of radical right wing extremism from Daniels' comrades, Rick Snyder in Michigan, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin? What Chris heard in Daniels' Republican response to the SOTU was a different speech from the one Rachel and I heard. Here are some of Mitch Daniels' cascading lies from the Party of Liars:

"[President Obama] cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse." Really. Unemployment is still too high, but is down around 8.5%. Jobs were hemorrhaging by the hundreds of thousands after the President took over from Bush, with an economy in freefall. Mr. Obama has presided over a steady and consistent positive jobs growth in the private sector — 22 consecutive months. Furthermore, the economic outlook would have been far better had Daniels' partisans done their patriotic duty and cooperated on several jobs and infrastructure bills with the President, instead of obstructing government.

Even Mitt Romney had to acknowledge the economy is improving. Oops.

As Rachel noted, the rhetorical fig leaves and bromides are a thinly-veiled disguise for the same old Republican fear-mongering — "be afraid, be very afraid." In stark contrast to the President's optimistic message, Daniels said, darkly: "In our economic stagnation and indebtedness, we are only a short distance behind Greece, Spain, and other European countries now facing economic catastrophe." Not even close. Perhaps if he'd mentioned Britain, France, and Germany, countries that are on much more solid economic footing, we wouldn't need to call him a demagogue.

Daniels has outlined the problem of unemployment but offered no solutions: "Those punished most by the wrong turns of the last three years are those unemployed or underemployed tonight, and those so discouraged that they have abandoned the search for work altogether". But he was silent on his party's cruel, mean-spirited, and misguided approach to the unemployed, eagerly slashing benefits and throwing them out on the street to fend for themselves. His own privatization nightmare and benefits-slashing in Indiana belies the empty rhetoric and cruel GOP propaganda that says one thing and does another. Meaningless words. Propaganda so skillful that it even fools Chris Matthews.

This lie is particularly offensive, given its brazenness, bred, I believe, from Republicans' instinctual contempt for working class and middle class people, and the poor: "Contrary to the President's constant disparagement of people in business, it's one of the noblest of human pursuits. The late Steve Jobs — what a fitting name he had — created more of them than all those stimulus dollars the President borrowed and blew." Steve Jobs was admirable in many ways; but creating vast numbers of jobs in America was not one of them. In fact, when asked directly by President Obama why those Apple production jobs in China, Asia, and Europe cannot be made in America, Jobs replied bluntly: "Those jobs are gone forever." Here is Steve Jobs' checkered job-creation history vis-a-vis the United States:
Apple employs 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas ... Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States. Instead, they work for foreign companies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, at factories that almost all electronics designers rely upon to build their wares.

“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.

“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”
Even more disturbing is Apple's child labor problem, which is a big Republican talking point. Newt Gingrich claims it builds character, not exploitation. Former House Republican whip Tom "The Hammer" DeLay proclaimed the sweatshop child labor horrors of the U.S. Mariana Islands territories while on a visit there to be "the future of capitalism".

And, of course, no Republican "response" would be complete without the obligatory LIE that the stimulus bill did not work or create any jobs
The Facts: A more accurate jobs count may come from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimates the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus bill, "increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million" in the second quarter of 2010 alone. The budget office also states that well over half a million jobs were funded in each of the other three quarters of 2010.
Even factoring in the 700,000 jobs Apple created in China, Asia, and Europe, which to Republicans, the kings of outsourcing American jobs, are all part of the mix so long as the foreign jobs are provided by an American company, the Steve Jobs overall job-creation record isn't even close to the millions of jobs created by the stimulus bill. Indeed, Mitch Daniels, that "honest" midwestern conservative is quite a devotée of the "Big Lie" and fuzzy math. Here he is, once again lying about the Keystone pipeline:
"The extremism that stifles the development of homegrown energy, or cancels a perfectly safe pipeline that would employ tens of thousands, or jacks up consumer utility bills for no improvement in either human health or world temperature, is a pro-poverty policy."
Please. The President answered the energy issue quite completely in the SOTU. It's a winning argument for him in this re-election campaign. The purpose of the EPA is to balance environmental concerns and public health issues against our energy needs. Were it up to these wholly-owned Republican puppets of the Oil and Gas industry, we'd be drilling the Grand Canyon and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The alarming rise in fracking, a little known and poorly regulated danger to our environment and health is already generating man-made earthquakes and polluting underground fresh water reservoirs. This new breed of Republican is eons removed from true environmentalists like Teddy Roosevelt and even Richard Nixon. Nixon created the EPA after our rivers began catching fire. It's those rivers of fire to which Republicans aim to return, so long as they're not in their backyards.

As for the inflated jobs figures, well they're LIES, of course. Here are the facts about the Keystone pipeline and jobs:
Transcanada (TRP), the energy giant bidding to build the pipeline, projects the undertaking would create 20,000 jobs in the U.S., including 13,000 positions in construction and 7,000 in manufacturing.

That figure, based on a report by a consulting firm hired by Transcanada to assess the project's economic impact, has been widely cited by Keystone backers on Capitol Hill. Other estimates advanced by supporters of the pipeline have been even more optimistic, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claiming it could create 250,000 permanent U.S. jobs. 

But subsequent analysis suggests that Keystone's job-creating potential is more modest. The U.S. State Department calculated last year that the underground pipeline would add 5,000 to 6,000 U.S. jobs. One independent review of Keystone puts that number even lower, with the Cornell University Global Labor Institute finding that the pipeline would add only 500 to 1,400 temporary construction jobs. The authors of the September report also said that much of the new employment stemming from Keystone would be outside the U.S.

Transcanada itself cast doubt on its employment forecast when a vice president for the company told CNN last fall that the 20,000 jobs Keystone would create were temporary and that the project would likely yield only "hundreds" of permanent positions.
I think we've had just about enough LIES, don't you Chris? Hello? Imagine this: Chuckles Toddy saying to Mitch Daniels: "Would it be fair to say, that you've told one LIE after another in your response to the SOTU? Here are the facts" — (see above.) That'll Be The Day. Rachel is right. There was no "shining city on a hill." At least not on this planet. Maybe Krypton;  and we know what happened there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Memo To The White House Press Office: DO NOT, repeat, do not distribute advance copies of the President's SOTU speech to the networks. Otherwise, IMBECILE producers will cut away from the high points, marked on the text, to some EXPRESSIONLESS LOG in the audience: Israel — Chuck Schumer; Tax Policy — Warren Buffett's secretary; Foreign Policy — Hillary; Education — Arne Duncan; The Osama mission — JCS. Etc., etc.


A Tale of Two Elitists: Swiss Cheese And K Street

This is what it's like when a one-percenter 0.006 percenter runs for president. Depending on the calculus, who'd a thunk Newt and President Obama are 99 percenters by comparison? Mitt Romney paid virtually no payroll taxes because, unlike most working Americans, he earned virtually no income. He didn't have a regular job, he paid a far lower taxable rate on his sizable investments — unearned income.

Mittens parked his investments in British overseas colonial territories Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, as well as in a Swiss bank account (Luxembourg too), where transnational millionaires and billionaires conceal their ill-gotten — or maybe not — gains, no questions asked.

Not exactly the politics of envy. The politics of privilege, yes. And considering Mittens' riff against those terrible European social welfare states, he certainly took advantage of one European social welfare benefit for mega-rich transnational tax evaders, crony capitalists, and money launderers that is out of reach for most regular folks in the 99 percent.

Interestingly, considering Mittens' Mexico family ties, it's quite possible his Swiss bank account gave Mittens one other thing  in common with Mexico. Drug lords. Mittens closed his Swiss bank account in 2010 because it might be "politically embarrassing." Oops. The proverbial closing the barn door Swiss bank account after the war horse ran off.

Quite the company he keeps.

It's not about envy. No one begrudges Romney for being rich and successful. But it is about how he made his millions, as a crony vulture capitalist, and about basic fairness, paying his fair share. Mittens had a tax rate of 14%, give or take some chump change in the hundreds of thousands. Newt paid his taxes at 31% and President Obama at 26%. Like the vast majority of Americans. It's about the fairness of the tax code that taxes earned income from workers who get a paycheck at twice the rate of those in the top 1-to-5 percent whose unearned income is from investments.

Newt the "historian" earned his $25,000 monthly historian's salary from Freddie Mac. With a fat paycheck. He leased K Street offices without being "a lobbyist." Rather, he was a venerable "influence peddler" which is a kinder way of saying consultant, trading his Washington insider's experience for dollars. That makes Newt a "populist" by today's Republican electorate standards, railing against the Washington and media "elites."

So, the choice comes down to a sleazy, pompous, grandiose, opportunistic, influence-peddling politician versus a rarefied one-percent multi-millionaire elitist. Strangely enough, that gives Newt the inside track on being the genuine article, in the grand tradition of corrupt American politics.

We don't elect kings, do we? That's what the American Revolution was all about.

Monday, January 23, 2012

58 SECOND FLAT POST-GOP DEBATE ANALYSIS: Bumpy Ride; Newt On Cruise Control.


This is the kind of ignorant bigotry in the Republican Party that should no longer be tolerated; don't be intimidated by Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich attacking the media with false charges of a "gotcha" question. Seconding what Bob Schrum said: The question and clarification from Mr. Santorum NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED TONIGHT.

An ignorant, racist woman at a Santorum event falsely charged President Obama with being a Muslim (nothing wrong if he were, other than her bigotry) and OUTRAGEOUSLY charged him with not being legally and constitutionally our President. Even more OUTRAGEOUS, unlike John McCain's honorable rebuttal to similar bigotry four years ago, Rick Santorum said NOTHING to correct these falsehoods. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich should be reminded, as Catholics, of their Church calling on them "to reject the politics of racial division":

As Catholic leaders who recognize that the moral scandals of racism and poverty remain a blemish on the American soul, we challenge our fellow Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail. Mr. Gingrich has frequently attacked President Obama as a “food stamp president” and claimed that African Americans are content to collect welfare benefits rather than pursue employment. Campaigning in Iowa, Mr. Santorum remarked: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” Labeling our nation’s first African-American president with a title that evokes the past myth of “welfare queens” and inflaming other racist caricatures is irresponsible, immoral and unworthy of political leaders.

Some presidential candidates now courting “values voters” seem to have forgotten that defending human life and dignity does not stop with protecting the unborn. We remind Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum that Catholic bishops describe racism as an “intrinsic evil” and consistently defend vital government programs such as food stamps and unemployment benefits that help struggling Americans. At a time when nearly 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty, charities and the free market alone can’t address the urgent needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. And while jobseekers outnumber job openings 4-to-1, suggesting that the unemployed would rather collect benefits than work is misleading and insulting.

As the South Carolina primary approaches, we urge Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Santorum and all presidential candidates to reject the politics of racial division, refrain from offensive rhetoric and unite behind an agenda that promotes racial and economic justice.

Francis X. Doyle
Associate General Secretary
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (retired)

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Institute Leadership Team:
Sisters Patricia McDermott, RSM (President) Eileen Campbell, RSM Anne Curtis, RSM Mary Pat Gavin, RSM Deborah Troillett, RSM

Mittens Are Off! Preview of Tonight's GOP Debate ...

"Goodbye, Mr. [ ? ]. That is the sound of INEVITABILITY; the sound of your death."

Sunday, January 22, 2012


NOT REALLY ... I'm sure he's not so upset. But now Big Eddie's tears are a Giants lucky charm, so we gotta keep doing what works:

Chuck Todd Skeert Stephen Colbert Will "Marginalize" The Republican Party

As MSNBC consumers we must endure Chuck Todd, their "political director" (a meaningless title, truly) and his trusted iPad taking incoming direct hits from CNN's John King. By ideological disposition Chuck should be working for FOX rather than crunching political numbers (OK) at MSNBC while carrying water for the Republican Party (not OK) every chance he gets. But the Republican Establishment may not be so monolithic after all. Evidently, Chuck missed his pick-up hoops game with Republican strategist John Feehery, hence he didn't get the memo, so to speak.

In a rare outside "the office" moment, Todd let his guard down giving us a rare glimpse inside the peculiar and bizarre mind of the Idiot Punditocracy. Commenting on Stephen Colbert's SuperPac shenanigans in South Carolina, whose "schtick" as Chuck puts it is training a spotlight on the madness of unlimited anonymous money in politics, Chuck allowed as it was a "noble" effort, then followed up with this jaw-dropping assertion:
"He is making a mockery of the system ... it feels as if he's trying to influence it with his own agenda, that may be anti-Republican ... it's almost as if he's also doing his best to marginalize the Republican candidates in a way in which we're spinning that marginalization ... We in the "mainstream media" need to be careful and wonder what is he up to, what is his main agenda? Is it to educate the public about the dangers of money in politics and what's going on, or is it simply to marginalize the Republican Party? And so I think if I were a Republican candidate I’d be concerned about that."
Excuse me? First of all, Chuck, the obvious question comes to mind: We know it's a farce, but whatever happened to your professional "objectivity" with its customary obsequious fawning to the criminal element (mostly Republican) you cover: "Is it fair to say" this, that or the other? Secondly, what's this revolting obsession of yours with defending the honor of that "shrinking violet" as Michael Steele might put it, ironically of course, known as the Republican Party? Your pal, John Feehery, isn't scared of Stephen Colbert's comedy and neither is Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman. It may be spin, but at the end of the night Colbert had no impact whatsoever on the South Carolina result. Third, this notion that a comedian has the power to "marginalize" the Republican Party is not only absurd; it's insane. And it's quite a typical manifestation of how the Beltway bubble distorts perspectives and worldviews of those who, like Todd, have spent literally their entire careers in that insular, incestuous, elitist media environment.

It's fascinating to me — and I use the word mockingly given its prominent station in the Beltway Media's Narcissists Dictionary — that Chuck should be such a worry wart regarding the "marginalization" of the Republican Party but not once pause to consider the facts on the ground: namely, where (1) money is the mother's milk of politics; and (2) the sweeping Republican wins of 2010, orgasmically reported by Todd, were in no small measure bankrolled by Citizen's United which rendered the Democratic Party significantly less competitive against the likes of the Koch brothers and anonymous billionaire donors — consequently (3) the radical assault by Republican governors on voting rights, unions (the major source of financing for Democrats) coupled with collective bargaining, gerrymandering, and ballot restrictions, has threatened not only to "marginalize" the Democratic Party but outright destroy it as a viable political institution.

And for someone who "idolizes" our government institutions, where's the love not only for this nation's but the world's oldest existing political party, the Democratic Party? Where is Chuck's vaunted idolatry for tradition, now? Somehow, I don't think Chuck has ever corrected his Republican pals when they referred to the Democratic Party as the "democrat party." Indeed, it's fascinating to me how worried the Idiot Punditocracy is about process and preserving the integrity of a "system" that is rotten to the core, while being so blissfully unaware of the historical perspective.

It might surprise Chuck to know that American history is replete with examples of comedians satirizing the political process by running as fake candidates for political office, notably for president. Will Rogers ran a fake presidential campaign in 1928 with the pledge that if elected, he would resign. Gracie Allen ran for president in 1940 on the Surprise Party ticket. Pat Paulsen, a Smothers Brothers (60s cousin to Stewart and Colbert) Comedy Hour regular was a perennial presidential candidate in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992 and 1996, actually getting votes. Comedian Dick Gregory ran for president in 1968 as a write-in candidate for the Freedom and Peace Party, receiving 47,097 votes including one from Hunter S. Thompson. Howard Stern entered the New York gubernatorial race as a Libertarian candidate in a stunt that shook up the race and parallels the Colbert run. He dropped out when a financial disclosure issue came up, ironically enough, without ever disclosing whether or not his was a legitimate run.

So relax already, Chuckles; your fears are unfounded. Here's Toddy committing hilarious self-parody: 
"I enjoy the parody, I enjoy the satire, but I have to admit I’m uncomfortable when it’s, like, actually merging into the real world. If that makes sense. It’s sort of like I don’t know, as William Hurt said in Broadcast News,“you tell me we’re crossing the line; they keep moving the sucker!”..."
Chuckles goes into this whole hand-wringing schtick about parody and satire "actually merging into the real world" ... then quotes a Hollywood actor in a movie drama about the media business to illustrate his discomfort with parody and satire actually merging into the real world!

Here's Chuckles being defensive and totally condescending toward Stewart and Colbert:
"Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have this ability to want to mock us in the media, all the time, claiming we don’t do our jobs, and then when you call them out they say we’re just comedians. Actually no, you’re not anymore! YOU are mocking what we’re doing and you want a place in this, then you’re gonna also be held accountable for how you cover and how you do your jobs!"
Aww ... Chuckles is so offended that a couple of comedians have the unmitigated GALL to mock such an important member of the Fourth Estate, trivializing the vital work he does on behalf of the public. (Wagging finger like Rachel) "YOU are mocking what we’re doing and you want a place in this, then you’re gonna also be held accountable for how you cover and how you do your jobs!" Wow, and here I thought this was all about our sublime, commanding, magnificent, arresting, institutions of government. Instead, we learn that Chuckles is actually, really, like upset that a couple of comedians managed to finagle their way into his exclusive little club through the back door. Right back at ya, Toddy. You can't see this, so just imagine it — we're flippin' the bird at you.

Funny thing is, I came close to agreeing with Chuckles on one issue had he not so strenuously reverted to whiny Beltwayspeak. Chuckles said, "I was very offended when (Colbert) testified on Capitol Hill in character. I was more offended that members of Congress allowed him to do that. He is making a mockery of the system." What bothered me is that Stephen Colbert submitted a straightforward written testimony then departed from the script to turn his testimony on the plight of migrant farm workers into a comedy sketch. He disrespected Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a good person, who had invited him to testify before the subcommittee she chaired. It's exceedingly rude when you're someone's guest to embarrass them in that way. 

So yeah, I'm not a big Stephen Colbert fan. But rest easy, Chuckles. He is no liberal much less a Democrat. Stephen Colbert is a libertarian court jester who will stick it to both parties. I actually think he did more harm to the Democratic Party then, with statements like, "I'm not a fan of the government doing anything. But I've got to ask, why isn't the government doing anything? ... Like most members of Congress, I haven't read the bill." Then using his celebrity to endorse Republicans as the midterms approached, with "I endorse all Republican policies without question." 

Indeed, Toddy's worries that Colbert is "doing his best to marginalize the Republican candidates in a way in which we're spinning that marginalization" are misplaced. But our suspicions that Chuckles is totally in the tank for his precious Republican Party are not. By the way, "parodyzing" is not a word; parodying is. And here perhaps you might want to say exacerbate — "I think this is going to exasperate the process" — Freudian slip.

We're not tourists, Chuck. We're citizens. We're not here to take a virtual tour of Washington's institutions, to gaze upon marble statues, heroic frescoes on the Capitol Rotunda, and words carved in stone with Chuck Toddy as our idolatrous tour guide. Sure, it's nice, and the thing to do if you've never been to D.C. But our institutions of government aren't museums to be fiercely defended by gatekeepers like Chuckles, who get to decide who is worthy of access and who, like Stephen Colbert, is not. These institutions Chuck idolizes are not just monuments of stone and marble. They belong to We, The People. They are us.

You need to get out more, Bubble-Boy. Seriously.

If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.

~ Thomas Jefferson

Quotable: Spin, Romney, Spin Spin Spin!

“We like the way the race looks going forward,” Stuart Stevens, a top strategist to Mr. Romney, said Saturday evening. “A lot of politics is about patience and picking your opponent.”

Right. It's Romney math: Mittens blasted into South Carolina 2-for-2 and limped out 1-for-3. 

PS — The Chris Matthews show; how embarrassing. It was obviously recorded before Newt crushed Mittens in South Carolina. Typical Beltway Media myopia with the usual Establishment suspects — Andrea Mitchell, Kathleen Parker, Major Garrett, and a journalist from the Boston Globe to give us the "psycho babble" on Mittens, the South Carolina victor. Oops.

Oh, so yesterday. Or as Newt might say, another example of the "media elites" FAIL in not covering the REAL story — HIM.