Category Archives: Tea Party

Joe the Plumber seems to have fallen off the ‘A’ list

Remember this guy? Such good times. Looks like the invitations have thinned out since over the years (via Wikipedia).

2009: In January , Wurzelbacher began work as a motivational speaker and commentator. His first assignment was to comment from Israel on the fighting between the Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas, focusing on the Israeli experience of the conflict. On February 26, Wurzelbacher spoke at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference), where he led a panel titled “conservatism 2.0”. On February 27, he spoke at the American Tea Party protest in Lafayette Park. In March, Wurzelbacher attended two conferences in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, first speaking to the “Conservative Young Professionals of Milwaukee,” and then at the “Defending the American Dream Summit.” On April 15, he spoke at the Michigan Tax Day Tea Party in Lansing. On May 6, 2009, Wurzelbacher appeared at a campaign event on behalf of New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Lonegan. In May 2009, Time magazine reported that Wurzelbacher was quitting the Republican Party. On September 19 he spoke at a Tea Party protest at Veteran’s Park in Milwaukee.

2010: In February Wurzelbacher attended a political event for Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Sam Rohrer. Speaking to a reporter afterwards, Wurzelbacher said that “McCain was trying to use [him]”, and accused McCain of having “really screwed [Wurzelbacher’s] life up”.

2011: In Wisconsin, in February, he spoke at a counter-demonstration, during protests against governor Scott_Walker.Walker’s attempts to abolish collective bargaining rights of some public employees.

Breitbart’s half-inch weiner

POSTED BY ORHAN
Little comment is required on this, although volumes could be written.

  • Andrew Breitbart really, really wants violent civil war in America.
  • The projection of his own hatred, violent impulses, and sense of inferiority is unambiguous.  This guy calling others bullies and thugs is bizarre.
  • Katie Couric?

How many times do we have to tell you dammit? Obama is a Kenyan! And this time we can frackin’ prove it because Arizona still knows how to pull a posse together.

I’ll bet every single Maricopa County AZ taxpayer is just thrilled with how old Sheriff J0e spends his time (and their money).

Infamous Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio . . .  announced a five-person “Cold Case Posse” that will delve into the issue of President Obama’s birth certificate. The posse follows a request by the Surprise, Arizona Tea Party, who. . .  believe that the long-form birth certificate released by President Obama in April – which put the issue to rest for pretty much everyone – could be a forgery . . .  “If a complaint is legitimate, I don’t dump it into the wastebasket,” Arpaio said.

Go get ’em Joe.

And thus is born the new Flat Earth Society

These are vile people. Vile.

Am I the only one choking on the word ‘Republican’ these days? Eisenhower was a Republican. Nixon and Reagan were Republicans. Gerry Ford was a Republican. George H.W. Bush was a Republican. Not one of them – not one (ummm, maybe Nixon) – would have stood for the truly degenerate behavior of the audiences at the two recent debates. In the first one, when Brian Williams asked Perry if he had any hesitations signing death orders for 234 people, the audience erupted with gleeful applause as soon as Williams said 234.  I posted the video here and said that it broke my heart.

Duane at The Erstwhile Conservative (a fine writer by the way) tells us today:

Patti Davis, the daughter of conservatism’s number one icon, said she remembered the first time her father, governor of California, had to order a state execution:

“He and a minister went into a room, got down on their knees and prayed.”

He also points to this from Reagan’s tombstone:

. . . there is purpose and worth to each and every life

(I think Reagan’s politics hurt this country. Deeply wounded us. But I’ve read his letters and know that he was also a man of personal grace and humility.)

Last night I recoiled in shame and horror when the debate audience topped the earlier cheering for executions. Here’s more from Duane on that subject:

Paul’s answer, which essentially was that such an unfortunate fellow [very ill with no insurance] should rely on volunteers and churches for his care, was drowned out by shouts of “Let him die!” from the Republican debate-watching crowd.

Let—Him—Die.

I’m reminded of former congressman Alan Grayson’s presentation on the House floor in 2009:

“If you get sick in America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly.”

Yeah, I remember that too.

Broke. My. Heart.

This is from Wednesday’s debate. There’s no need to watch the whole thing – just listen to Williams’ question and the audience’s gleeful applause about 12 seconds in. Screw schools and bridges; let’s build us some gladiator stadiums!! Yeah!

Duane gets it exactly right

We built this and it built the Southwest

Duane Graham has a very insightful post on the Obama Speech over at The Erstwhile Conservative (for those of you who don’t know him, he’s in Joplin and wrote very movingly of the devastation that city suffered from the tornadoes a few months back.)

He liked this part of Obama’s speech (and I agree – it had real power):

OBAMA: We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union.  Founder of the Republican Party.  But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future — a Republican President who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad — (applause) — launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land grant colleges.  (Applause.)  And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set.

Ask yourselves — where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways, not to build our bridges, our dams, our airports?  What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges?  Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the G.I. Bill.  Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance?

How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip?  What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do?  (Applause.)  How many Americans would have suffered as a result?

In his own voice, Duane adds:

Recently I heard a story about the eventual deterioration of important National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites, which provide stunningly accurate forecasts of major weather events.  In its Tea Party-inspired wisdom, Congress has more than cut in half the funding for the maintenance and upgrading of those types of satellites.

What a small country we are becoming.  We struggle to pay for weather satellites, for God’s sake.

A post and discussion downstream touches on the same subject. Here.

Plus ca change, plus c’est le meme chose: 1939 edition

In 1939, John Ford (more below), the iconic director of the Hollywood western, made Stagecoach. It was a big hit and is still considered a classic. It also made John Wayne a star.

The plot was stereotypical: a good guy/bad guy story with cowboys, Indians, a few pretty ladies and a banker. In the film, Henry Gatewood, the banker, sayeth [whilst clutching the bag containing money he’s embezzled]:

I don’t know what the government is coming to. Instead of protecting businessmen, it pokes its nose into business! Why, they’re even talking now about having *bank* examiners. As if we bankers don’t know how to run our own banks! Why, at home I have a letter from a popinjay official saying they were going to inspect my books.

I have a slogan that should be blazoned on every newspaper in this country: America for the Americans! The government must not interfere with business! Reduce taxes! Our national debt is something shocking. Over one billion dollars a year! What this country needs is a businessman for president!

More about the film here and more about John Ford:

Ford was well-known as a lifelong Republican and political conservative. But he was the kind of libertarian conservative who places great value on individualism and has the populist’s faith in the ability of ordinary people to detect corruption and power-mongering in their leaders. That his favorite presidents reportedly were Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and John Kennedy shows perhaps that he was more impressed with strength of character and the ability to respond forcefully to crisis than with adherence to political dogma. So it’s not surprising that in Stagecoach the great humanist movie maker who was able to find both noble and not-so-noble personal qualities in his characters reserves his most negative feelings for the banker, a thorough hypocrite willing to cheat and rob while condemning the morality of others.

Was this character the first Tea Party Republican?

They seem to have confused the U.S. Constitution with the Articles of Confederation

Don’t tell the Tea Party caucus who, along with Grover Norquist and a cabal (yes, cabal) of soulless financiers who crave power and hate taxes, that when they dream of a balanced budget and  call for a return to our ‘founding principles’, they only reveal ignorance of American history. In Salon, William Hogeland points out that The Founding Fathers would have hated the debt ceiling.

The Constitution came about precisely to enable a newly large government — a national one — to tax all Americans for the specific purpose of funding a large public debt. Neither Alexander Hamilton nor his mentor the financier Robert Morris made any bones about that purpose; James Madison was among their closest allies; and Edmund Randolph of Virginia opened the Constitutional Convention by charging the delegates to redress the country’s failure to fund — not pay off, fund — the public debt, by creating a national government.

Beginning during the War of Independence, and continuing throughout the 1780s, American nationalists committed themselves to a small class of upscale high financiers (largely identical with the American nationalists), who had bought bonds from the confederation Congress in hopes of earning regular, tax-free, 6 percent interest payments — not in the Congress’s crashing paper currency but in hard, cold metal or its equivalent, stable bills of exchange. Morris, Hamilton, Madison and others believed that swelling the debt to immense proportions would make a coherent nation out of 13 squabbling states and make that nation a player on the world economic stage. Their plan to do so depended partly on making military-officer pay a pension, thus turning the entire officer class into public bondholders — and giving Congress new power to tax all Americans to support that debt.

But they are certain of their righteousness (as defined by right-wing Christian Evangelicals and FOX News) and will fight on, financed by those whose allegiance is not to any nation, much less our own.

Expect radio gas bags to spit and sputter today

In the Wall Street Journal‘s editoriall this morning, we find much admiration for the debt deal (natch), much damning of damn liberals (it’s their job after all), and much admiration for the Tea Party success (political porn).

But there was also this little tidbit:

The same supposedly conservative Republicans and their talk radio minders may denounce this deal as a sellout, but we’ll be charitable and assume they’ve climbed so far out on the political ledge they don’t know how to climb back without admitting they were wrong.

Obama gives good speech

POSTED BY ORHAN

Measured and persuasive, last night President Obama was the soul of moderation, rationality, and responsibility as he made the case for passing his version of the debt deal. But he did leave a few items out of his story:

He blamed his predecessor for squandering the budget on two wars and a prescription drug program. But he neglected to mention that he continued those wars, and expanded American military operations into new countries; meanwhile he secretly bargained away the public option with the same pharmaceutical companies that had benefitted from the drug program he criticized.

He pointed out that Americans making under $250K would see no tax increase at all. But he neglected to mention that those same Americans will be in fact paying more, by having to make up for the cuts to Social Security and Medicare out of their own pockets.

He called his plan a balanced approach and said no one would be required to sacrifice too much, while acknowledging the cuts would be “painful”. But he neglected to mention that he was planning Social Security and Medicare cuts as far back as January 2009; the kind of cuts a Republican president could never push through.

Obama’s narrative of reason and compromise heroically standing up to the Tea Party’s barbarian hordes was quite stirring, and if one ignores the fact that he just happened to shit-can fundamental Democratic principles and programs as the first step in the process, quite true. No doubt at this moment, Democrats are battling tooth and nail to get his version of the debt ceiling deal passed, a deal they would have fought to the death if proposed by George W. Bush.

All in all, it was an excellent speech; classic Obama.

Can’t we all just get along?

I’m losing faith in the ‘Obama plays a long game’ theory. (h/t mac who brought this up today )

Gotta admit though, the Pentagon is about to deep-six DADT and that didn’t happen by executive order. Obama suffered the slings and arrows that descended on him when he didn’t just do it on January 21, 2009. He allowed the process to work until the support was broader. I suppose that’s that is playing  a long game.

Anyway, Tom Tomorrow nails it –  this is how Democrats see things today – click to enlarge.

English as a first language. Yeah.

Benjamine, of course, was Ben’s shy sister.

A dime’s worth of difference?

POSTED BY ORHAN

So Obama offers a debt deal to the Republicans: he’ll cut Social Security and Medicare. In exchange, the Republicans will, maybe, allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. Or hike some other taxes; whatever.

Now the Republicans are saying no deal, they’ll only accept spending cuts; they’ll cut Social Security and Medicare, plus keep the Bush cuts, but deep-six the tax hikes.

So, let’s see, that means if Option 1, the Democratic plan, had been accepted, the rich would have been back to where they were under Clinton, and the poor and middle would have been worse off. But if Option 2, the Republican plan, is enacted, the rich will keep what they got from Bush, and the poor and middle will be worse off.

What can we say about America’s future from the horns of this little dilemma? If it plays out the way the health care farce did, we can make a few predictions:

The Tea Party will be left swinging in the breeze. The folks who screamed, “Keep your hands off my Medicare!” are about to have their Social Security and Medicare seriously FUBARed. Even the most hardcore non-rich Tea Partier will realize sooner or later there’s nothing here but, as the song says, the promise of an early death.

The Democratic base will be left swinging in the breeze, after having its veins opened, its throat slit, and a dagger slipped between its ribs. The new default “far left” bargaining position will start with Social Security and Medicare cuts. Obama will initiate his trademark “compromising” from there. Predicting which once-sacrosanct progressive program he’ll negotiate away next will be all the rage in DC.

Mainstream middle and working class Republicans will be left swinging in the breeze; it’ll just take them a while to figure it out. Sooner or later the most diehard trickle-down true believer will realize the upcoming corporate cash infusion (via “amnesty” or any other method) isn’t going to create any jobs for Americans, other than the corner-office and lobbying jobs for the politicians who sold us all down the river; but CEOs will no doubt receive some kickass bonuses over the next few years.

Life is about to get one hell of a lot harder for most Americans. Thanks to Democrats. And Republicans.

Florida Republicans hate trains unless Dagny Taggart builds them

These work just fine!

Jeb Bush and now Gov. Voldemort – along with our friggin’ insance  legislature – share a scorn for the wishes of the electorate.

Around the time he got his brother elected President, Jeb discarded the results of a voter referendum in which over 60% of the voters demanded creation of a light rail project between Tampa and Orlando. Jep said  “pshaw”. Pshaw he said.

So lobbyists were chosen (financed by who the hell knows),and a multi multi million dollar advertising campaign was launched; they appealed to the segment of the electorate who have the memory of gopher turtles and could be counted on to rise up to stop a gobmint takeover of our nonexistent rails system. It worked and they got a repeal on the next ballot. It worked and bye bye rail.

Now cometh Voldemort with a legislature even more insane than the earlier one. When, as our share of the 2010 stimulus, the Feds offered a few hundred million to start building some in-State rail (and create thousands of jobs in the process), the Gov said – in one of his first acts as governor –  pshaw: give it to someone else, we don’t take charity here. So Congress gave it to Ohio. (Even John Kasich knew a good deal when he saw one.)

The leg ‘s new target is an amendment approved in 2010 by 63% of the voters to reform the completely corrupted re-districting process.

Of course money is pouring in again to turn this one around.

UPDATE: I wrote more about the redistricting effort here. (I actually forgot!)

It’s 1845 in Texas again. Viva la republica!

Pretty Perry of Texas

Governor Goodhair running for President? Ummm, what about:

 “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb its nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”

AND

 He said that Texans “are fed up with what’s coming out of Washington,” and therefore they’ve been inspired to “debate” certain questions among themselves, notably “can we secede.” And just to clarify his remarks further, a gubernatorial spokeswoman said that Perry indeed believes Texas can secede if it so chooses.

Ultimately, however, the Texas governor is further feeding the perception these days that the GOP is simply off its rocker. Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio lamented the other day, in remarks to The New York Times, that independent swing voters are turned off these days to the GOP, because “the more extreme the language, the less likely they are to pay attention. We sound like white noise in the background. It’s like a yipping Chihuahua.”

The man is a fool.

Major hurdle for Republicans in 2012: Reality

POSTED BY ORHAN

Economist Dean Baker points out that Republicans are a tad miffed that their vote for Representative Ryan’s plan to end Medicare is being used against them. Various groups around the country are using the vote in attack ads against incumbents, and they lost an upstate New York congressional seat that they held for 50 years. Says Baker:

Medicare is a hugely popular program. Polls consistently show that the program has enormous public support among all political and demographic groups. Not only do Democrats and independents overwhelmingly support the Medicare program, even Republicans overwhelmingly approve of Medicare. Even Tea Party Republicans overwhelming approve of Medicare.

The Republicans can try to deny that their plan actually ends Medicare and hope that voters will be sufficiently confused that they won’t hold the vote against them. They have already been staking out this ground, claiming that they just want to “change” Medicare. Instead of saying that they would give beneficiaries a voucher to use to buy a health insurance policy, which would allow people to understand their proposal, they are instead saying that it is a system of “premium support,” which is a term that no one understands.

This may help with a few pundits, but if the Republicans can’t keep their political opponents from pointing out that their plan actually does replace Medicare’s insurance with a voucher system, this silly charade will not buy them much. People know the difference between being handed a check for $8,000 and being told to go buy insurance and the current Medicare system, which covers most of the cost of most care.

The problem is that those pesky Democrats are actually talking about what the Republicans did. For instance, New Hampshire Representative Charlie Bass tried to keep television stations from running ads that said that he voted to end Medicare, but ran up against that other pesky little problem, the first amendment. In any case, Republicans are going to do their best to convince the public that they didn’t really do what they did: vote to end Medicare.

Baker offers the GOP a simple solution: reverse the vote. Since Republicans control the House, they could hold a vote tomorrow and repeal the budget plan. And they could probably convince Harry Reid to permit a vote that would allow Senate Republicans to do the same. As Baker says, “This is the sort of advice for which they would pay political consultants millions. But the Republicans can get it here for free. If they were smart, they would take it.”

Florida as fiefdom. Rick Scott’s fiefdom.

“Rick Scott doesn’t seem to care about Florida.”  –  Florida Senator Dan Gelber in a blog post.  (Gelber was the 2010 Democratic candidate for FL Attorney General.)

In just 6 months Rick Scott has dismantled our growth management laws and eliminated Florida Forever (the land conservation program) to allow developers to completely pave over our state; he successfully convinced the legislature to gut education spending in order to provide special interest tax breaks; he’s shown utter contempt for Florida’s open government traditions by operating more secretively than any other administration; he gave property insurance companies the green light to raise rates as they see fit; and advanced policies that will make our state’s oldest and poorest nothing more than profit centers for health insurers. And that’s just the beginning.

Scott is treating Florida much like the companies he bought and sold in his business life. Buy a company, reengineer it so it can be sold for a quick profit and let it’s defects become someone else’s problems down the road.

If you give in on this one Harry, you’ve lost me for good

Dear Senate Democrats:

The Republicans in the Senate in the voice of leader and turtle out of his shell Mitch McConnell have announced they will stop any vote on raising the debt ceiling unless they get their way with Medicare.

A very astute observer Josh Marshall listens to McConnell’s words and hears as self-serving a Senatorial statement as has been heard this session.

Republicans have boxed themselves into a political corner with their plan to end Medicare. It’s a big problem for them politically, and there’s no easy way out . . . [so] McConnell just announced he will not support raising the debt ceiling unless big Medicare cuts are part of the deal. Translation: Unless Democrats get us off the hook by agreeing to deep Medicare cuts (meaning Democrats can no longer attack Republicans for wanting to eliminate Medicare), then we’re going to force the federal government into default on its debt. . . . It’s as stark as that. And the decision for Democrats is equally stark: Do you negotiate with hostage-takers?

No you don’t Mr. Reid. No you don’t and don’t you dare. If Republicans actually would allow us to go into default and suffer all the world wide consequences of such an action, let them pay the price and forfeit all pretense of being part of this ‘governing’ thing.

Let them slink away with their Tea Party buddies to a State with a population smaller than Hartford and let them sit together late at night and plot how to take down those damn Americans. And all their damn American ideas. And all their damn beliefs that people matter.

The debt ceiling is important. More important though, is standing up to threats, threats as cavalier as McConnell’s.

So don’t you dare Mr. Reid.

The Democrats’ 60’s legacy: will that become the Republicans’ 00’s legacy?

The Democratic Party is still trying to shake association with the student demonstrators, war protestors, flower children and the more radical leftists of the late 60’s and early 70’s. That ‘commie, hippie’ label comes from that long ago time – from events of 40 years ago.

I look at the Republican party today and wonder if they’ll pay a similar price for  embracing the Tea Party, the birthers, the creationists and the rancid religious right. Could this be their 60’s? I wonder if indeed they’ll pay a price – and for how long.

In fact, I wonder if they’ll survive the 2012 elections. If the conservative electorate is splintered enough, Democrats could get to pick up the pieces at all levels.

Was Obama born? Did Osama die?

That Obama birth certificate almost shut down the party – but thankfully here’s  a-just-in-time replacement.  Party on.

One in five American voters believe Osama bin Laden still alive

Now comes word from noted pollster John Zogby that while an overwhelming majority buys the administration’s account, a surprising almost one-in-five likely American voters believes the Al Qaeda founder is not dead at all, nor buried at sea, as Obama officials have stated.

Here we go again.

Donald Trump as Ross Perot

Attention is a narcotic. And I think Trump is eating it up. I think Mr. Trump  wants it to go on.

He’ll never be the GOP candidate, but he could run as an independent. And if he does, it’ll be 1992 all over again. Ross Perot split the Republican vote in the Presidential election, getting  20,000,000 votes, most of which would otherwise have gone to GHW Bush.

Twenty. Million. Votes.

Twice in 20 years – could signal that the Republican Party is indeed dissolving from within.

Wonder what’s next?