Friday, February 28, 2014

Predictable News

I'm just going to quote Atrios here, because he says it so concisely and so accurately that there is little left to add.  I hope he will forgive me for just reprinting his entire post:*

"Nothing To Cheer
But for the deficit fetishists, the 2013 deficit is $139 billion lower than Simpson-Bowles promised to deliver.

That's actually bad news, and of course it won't even be seen as good news by people who claimed it was the most important thing ever. Because nobody cares about the deficit."

Of course, Obama actually doing more than the deficit hawks demanded means nothing, while their shouts and demands that produced nothing prove that they are the sage, wise people who ought to be allowed to run the country.

*Ha.  As if he even knows that I am alive. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Republicans Pull the Same Old Trick

And Democrats fall for it, just like always.  This is something that I've been meaning to write about for a while.  The recent dog and pony show in Arizona concerning Jan Brewer's veto of a piggish anti-gay law pushed me over the edge, so here goes:

Every time a Republican acts with the faintest shred of apparent decency, liberals fall all over themselves predicting that the fever has broken and Republicans are now going to return to sanity.  Even reliably left wing sites like Daily Kos and Crooks and Liars are acting as though this is true with the Brewer veto as well as with some other things the Republicans have said or done lately.

Well, everyone knows that the average American voter has the memory of a small mammal, but we expect our liberal pundits to show a little more retention than that- enough, say, to remember the last election cycle.  Apparently, that is not a reasonable expectation.  So, from someone who does remember, here is a pattern that the Republicans have repeated every two years for at least the last couple of decades:  They pass all the piggish legislation they can, squash the middle class, and pander just as hard as possible to their ignorant, vicious base, in the year after every national election.  In the year before every national election, they engage in a grand pretense of (relative) reasonableness, designed to fool the gullible voters into thinking that Republicans have at last decided to act on behalf of the American people, instead of the couple of thousand rich bastards whose money keeps them in office.

It works every time, too.  Right now, Republicans are running ahead of Democrats in generic election polling for 2014, and may well retake the Senate, despite the fact that everyone knows that the result will be a two year impeachment circus which will deal a death blow to any pretense of democracy in this country.  But at least we should expect our best pundits to recognize this inevitable phenomenon and make an effort to point it out.

I am sorry to say that, to date, I have not seen one single person except myself point this out.  Listen, I'm not any smarter or any more privy to inside Republican planning than any of these other guys, but somehow no one else has apparently noticed the latest chapter in this old, old story, guaranteeing that, once again, the Republicans' massive campaign of deception will defeat the truth, which seems to have no friends these days.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Doing the Same Thing

...And expecting a different result.  From Travis Loller at TPM:

"Three days after pastor Jamie Coots died from a rattlesnake bite at church, mourners leaving the funeral went to the church to handle snakes."

No comment needed.  Here's another story from the article:

"Coots' death was the second snake bite death at his church, which was founded in 1978. Melinda Brown, a 28-year-old mother of five, died in 1995, two days after she was bitten by a rattlesnake during a service.

Brown's husband, John Wayne "Punkin" Brown, continued to handle serpents after his wife's death. He was killed by a snake in 1998, at the age of 34, while preaching at an Alabama church."

Oh well, I guess God's will was that the human race is better off without these people.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Shut Up, Dick

Here comes the biggest asshole in America, Dick Cheney, to spread a little more venom, which will of course be spread far and wide by the press, which will pretend that he is an elder statesman, rather than the war criminal he obviously is.

This time, he's attacking Obama (surprise!) for making long past due cuts in our vastly bloated military budget:

"I've obviously not been a strong supporter of Barack Obama. But this really is over the top," Cheney said. "It does enormous long-term damage to our military"

Of course it wasn't "over the top" to squander three billion dollars of our military budget in one of the greatest military blunders in human history. Here, just for your information, is a little map comparing military and education budgets in countries around the world:

Here are the countries that have made a decision to spend more on their military than on education:  Russia, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and of course the good old U.S. of A, which currently spends almost half of the world's total military expenditures.  And is a single one of these countries safer for all of its spending, or does any of them offer their residents a better life that, say, the European democracies?

But of course, it is not enough for Dick.  Less for things that really do some good, and more for corrupt companies that keep people like him in power.

You know, it's been six years since he left, and still, whenever I hear the phrase "the vice President" I shiver.  What a miserable bastard he was, and what an outrage that anyone thinks he has anything positive to contribute to the rest of us. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More Herd Culling

Coming fast on the news, reported here recently, that a snake handler found out the hard way that God wasn't really protecting him from rattlesnake venom, two more stories popped up today, with a lot to say about the mental character of the right wingers who seem to live among us.

First, this rather sad story from the State of Washington:

"US ‘faith healers’ sent to prison for death of second sick child 
A judge in Philadelphia has imprisoned parents who allowed a second child to die from treatable illnesses because of their faith in the healing powers of Jesus. 
Herbert and Catherine Schaible were convicted of withholding medical care from seven-month-old Brandon, who died of pneumonia and dehydration in April. 
Another son, Kent, died under similar circumstances in 2009 at age two. 
Sentencing them to three to seven years behind bars, judge Benjamin Lerner was unsparing in his condemnation of what he said had been their criminal neglect. “You’ve killed two of your children,” he said “Not God. Not your church. Not religious devotion. You.”

And here are these subhumans:
 Not a pretty picture, huh?  Well, I guess it proves that just about anyone can get laid these days.

Sad for the kids, and their brothers and sisters.  Not so for the parents who callously murdered two of their own children, and let us be clear about the motive for this act:  These filthy perverts believed that they were enhancing their own chances of getting into heaven by following their idiotic religious beliefs, and they sacrificed two helpless offspring of theirs for nothing but to enhance their own chance of future happiness.  This sort of conduct is no more noble, in its way, than killing for financial gain.  Call me callous, that's what I believe.

Well, on to the next story of our right wing brethren:

"A white supremacist leader was arrested in Columbia, S.C. on February 19 for child molestation. 
August Kreis III, 59, is charged with criminal sexual conduct of the second degree, according to The State, for alleged abuse of a female relative under 12 years of age. The former leader of Aryan Nation also showed her pornography, Richland County police state."

When Richard Butler, the head and chief theorist of the Aryan Nations died a few years ago, Kreis was one of two chosen successors to him.  Kreis was also involved in the KKK, and was a considerable figure in the Christian Identity movement, which I have written about fairly frequently.  Butler was involved in the modern rebirth of this disgusting phenomenon, whose followers believe that Jews are the children of Satan and that Blacks are not humans either, but some sort of animated mud piles.  Here, for your perusal, is Kreis:

Poor August has been in bad health lately, having had his legs amputated due to uncontrolled diabetes.  Too bad they couldn't have amputated the other end of him.  Now it's going to be so hard for him to run away from the other prisoners he will be encountering, when they give him the traditional prison greeting for child rapists.

And don't forget, people like this have exactly as many votes as you do (well, in the case of the Christian couple, I guess twice as many.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who Is Carrying Their Weight And Who Isn't

Since around the time of the last Presidential election, the right wingers in the country have been on an absolute orgy of abuse directed toward the rest of us for allegedly not carrying our weight.  In this fantasy scenario, it's the patriotic Americans in the South and Midwest (and some rich people too) who produce all the economic value, while those of us in urban areas (you know who they are talking about) are spongers, dragging down the economy by living off of the hard work of white small town and rural people. 

Well, here is an absolutely fantastic map, which I found in a post by David Atkins at Hullabaloo, which sets the record straight on this issue.

As you can see, half of all of the economic activity in the country is produced in about 15 urban areas (inhabited, may I add, largely by a mixture of liberals and, well, you know who) and the other half by all of the misbegotten hellholes which make up the homes of the Republican base. 

Mr. Atkins joins with Green Eagle in a position that I have been advocating for years now- it is not the people in the liberal parts of the country who are living off the work of the conservatives; no, the exact opposite is true, and it becomes clearer every year that the worst of these conservative areas- the South, Oklahoma, Kansas, the Dakotas, are nothing but a drag on the rest of us.  From now on, when they start their whining about secession, we would be a lot better off to just let them go.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wingnut Wrapup

I have to admit that I'm having trouble wading through this garbage these days.  But first, this news:

"A farm responsible for a five-mile-long manure spill in the waters in Allegan County is still working to clean up the mess."

That's nothing compared to the manure Green Eagle sees every day compiling Wingnut Wrapup.


Tom Coburn:   "My Relationship with Obama is 'Cooler'

What do you expect, jackass, considering you're trying to impeach him for nothing.  But no, of course it's Obama's fault that he doesn't have a good relationship with one of the worst right wing racists in Congress, who hates him and constantly tells malicious lies about him.

Conn Carol, Town Hall:  "How Obama Could Get Amnesty Passed In The House...if Obama is willing to force Senate Democrats to move on the House leadership's existing jobs agenda, then that would build enough trust so that Boehner would feel comfortable bringing amnesty to the floor later this year."

Translation into English:  If Obama would only agree to give huge amounts of money to rich people and pretend that it's about middle class jobs, the Republicans would let their party pass some pathetic immigration reform.  One more example of our nation's current governing principle- Democrats get to do one good thing only if Republicans are allowed to do some really evil thing. I mean, fair is fair, right?

Daniel Horowitz, Red State:  "The media is constantly bemoaning the lack of bipartisanship in Congress, with the lion’s share of their scorn directed at conservatives for being too “intransigent.”  Well, almost the entire Senate GOP Conference – both moderate and conservative members – actually united behind a Democrat-sponsored bill to implement sanctions on Iran.  Yet, the Democrats and their allies are spoiling this superlative opportunity to work together on a goal that is supposedly shared by both parties."

Translation into English:  Congressional Democrats (with a few idiot exceptions) are refusing to get behind a Republican proposal to engage in an unconstitutional and treacherous attempt to undercut this nation's foreign policy apparatus, which is taking place because the Republicans have no interest in anything that doesn't sabotage Obama when he is on the point of a great victory, particularly when they can go and kill a whole bunch of brown people in the process.  Bipartisanship- doing what the Republicans want, no matter how malignant it is.

Aaron Gardner, Red State:  "Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan, You Still Inspire Us To Hope"

Yeah, you inspire us to hope we never have to hear your misbegotten name ever again.  Fat chance, huh?

Nicholas Ballasy, PJ Media:  "GOP Needs to ‘Look Like the Rest of America’ to Win Again"

Yeah.  Right now, it looks a little too much like Somalia.

Jonathan Wakefield, American Thinker:  "What Adopting a Child from Africa Taught Me about America"

You know, I couldn't bring myself to waste my time reading this article, but I suspect the answer is that it taught Mr. Wakefield what a wonderful thing it is to buy a black person from Africa.  Just call me cynical, I guess.

Tim Scott, Newsmax:  "Liberals Fear Young Blacks Will Embrace Conservatism"

Yeah, about as much as we fear space aliens coming down and stealing our Stratocasters.  Any way, I'm keeping mine under the bed, just in case.  My Stratocaster, I mean, not my "young Black."  Man, I spent nine and a half months in Charleston, South Carolina and I never got around to going down to the slave market to pick up one of those.

And now One More Scandal That Is Going Nowhere:

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "WHITE HOUSE DOGS WEAR JEWELRY"


And here they are:

The horror.

J. Matt Barbour, Renew America:  "We are not 'all God's children'...You've heard it said that "We are all God's children." It's an insidious lie.  to become a child of God, we must ask God – through Christ – to adopt us. Don't believe? Don't accept? You have no right to become a child of God."

Thanks for that, J. Matt-  I'm so glad to know that only people who follow your religion are "children of God."  Of course, J. Matt explains that all of the rest of us are going straight to Hell.  Well, at least now we know, so we have plenty of time to buy a good pair of shoes.  It's a long walk to hell.

Kevin Fobbs, Renew America:  "Black History Month should increase demands for Obama impeachment now"

Where do they find these black guys to disgrace themselves by writing things like this?  Really, some day I'd like to know.

Daniel Doherty, Town Hall:  "Report: Pope Francis "Secretly" Sneaks Out of the Vatican at Night…to Care For Poor People... attending to and caring for “the least among us” is a central component of his ministry; This is something Christ would do. "

Surprise!  Christ isn't a Republican after all!

Derek Hunter, Town Hall:  "We conservatives are principled, there’s no doubt about that."

Yeah, if greed is a principle.

Cortney O'Brien, Town Hall:  "Cuomo Introduces Initiative to Let Prisoners Take College Courses, Angry New Yorkers Respond"

Angry Republicans respond.  Of course that's what Cortney meant.  After all, it's much better to just leave prisoners without any possibility of getting a job, so they can go back to being criminals when they get out of jail- everybody knows that.

Cal Thomas, Town Hall:  "With less than a year left in her fourth and final term in Congress, it's a little early for an exit interview, but not too early to get the views of Rep. Michele Bachmann on how to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, if the Democrat decides to run."

Yes it is.  It's too early until her lobotomy wears off.

Conn Carol, Town Hall:  "The Greatest Conservative President in American History"

What, not Reagan?  No, according to Conn, that would be Calvin Coolidge, who had "an unparalleled record of limiting government."  Whoopee!  Conn never gets around to mentioning that Coolidge's "unparalleled record of limiting government" caused the worst economic disaster in the history of the world, which it took the greatest progressive President in American history to deal with.  Just not enough room in one column for everything, I guess.

PJ Media:  "Do You Believe in Life After Death?"

Republicans do.  They also believe in life before birth.  In between, not so much.

Rick Moran, PJ Media:  "Cat Lovers Outraged by the Use of Kittens to Sell Obamacare"

Slow news week, huh, Rick?

Rodrigo Sermeno, PJ Media:  "Congress Warned About Evolution of Jihadist Networks"

Come on, guy.  You know there's no such thing as evolution.

Madeline Crabb, Renew America:  "America's turned her back on God--now God's turned His back on us"

I think this is an alternative explanation to global warming.  It will certainly appeal to the "earth is 6000 years old" crowd.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Culling The Herd

I imagine you've heard this story by now, but in case you haven't:

"Reality-Show Snake-Handling Pastor Dies -- From Snake Bite 

A Kentucky pastor who starred in a reality show about handling snakes during church services, died Saturday night after a fatal snake bite, police said. 

Pastor Gregory Jamie Coots — the star of the National Geographic Channel’s “Snake Salvation” — died...after suffering a snake bite to his finger, Middlesboro police spokeswoman Jeannie Miller told NBC News on Sunday. 

Coots was bitten at the church at 8:30 p.m. but died at his home two hours later, after refusing medical treatment “because of religious beliefs,” Miller said."


Not our dead guy, just some other self-destructive moron 
who thinks he knows more than all the rest of us.

Listen, I have exactly as much sympathy for this subhhuman specimen as I have for the idiot who was teaching a suicide bomber class last week and managed to blow himself and his whole class to kingdom come.  They were both religious lunatics who are coddled by their society into thinking that they have a right to be as stupid and vicious as they want, as long as they claim that their religion told them to act that way.

But why in hell are they pandered to by our mainstream media with a TV show?  Just like the disgusting right wing gun nuts on Duck Dynasty, the crude, stupid people on the Honey Boo Boo show, the "sister wives" who are made rich because they are doing something which is a perverse denigration of women, there seem to be no right wingers so degenerate and vicious that they can't be paraded in front of the country as having made some sort of really interesting and valid choice about how they live their lives.

This is part of the insane coddling of the right in our country that allows patent idiocy like global warming and evolution denial to be forced on us as equal choices to the truth; that makes it a legitimate choice to kill abortion doctors, or teenage black kids carrying a soda; that allows them to be perfectly comfortable with shoving ignorance and stupidity down our throats until we give up in the face of their endless tantrums and just let them have their way.

I only wish every one of them would play with rattlesnakes until they are bitten.  It seems to be the only way to get them to leave us alone.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

False Equivalence- The Reporter's Best Friend

Driving home a couple of days ago, I had the misfortune to listen to an interview on NPR's Fresh Air, until I couldn't stand it any more.  Let me state that this is not a particular criticism of Terry Gross, the  host of Fresh Air, who did in the end ask the right question- all she failed to do was to hit the guy she was interviewing with a baseball bat after getting his answers.  Anyway, the best way to deal with this is to jump right in to the transcript:

"Eric Lipton, an investigative reporter for The New York Times...explains the revolving door between Congress and lobby groups, and how non-profit think tanks aren't always what they seem.
GROSS: So one of the things you've been investigating is how corporate lobby groups are funding research that will influence both lawmakers and popular opinion. And one of the ways they're doing that is by funding think-tanks. And give us an example of a think-tank that is funded by a lobby group, although you wouldn't know that if you were reading the research that the think-tank turned out.
LIPTON: Well, there's - for example, there's a group called the Employment Policies Institute, which puts out reports that examines what would happen if we raise the minimum wage, what impact will it have on unemployment and on poverty in the United States. And if you look at the reports, they're very academic-looking, and they say they're, you know, a nonpartisan research organization. 
GROSS: Now, in the Employment Policies Institute, the group that you mentioned that turns out research that opposes raising the minimum wage, they're actually directly connected to a PR firm led by somebody named Richard Berman. The PR firm is called Berman and Company. And this is an interesting group because they actually have created several, you know, think-tanks and, you know, consumer groups that are created because they're funded by a special interest."

Somebody named Richard Berman.  Just a random somebody.  Of course, Berman has been called  "Dr. Evil," the "Conservatives' Weapon of Mass Destruction" and the "Astroturf Kingpin," and has run one of the most notorious corporate propaganda factories for decades.  But that is apparently not worth mentioning on Fresh Air.

"GROSS: You actually went to visit the research director of the Employment Policies Institute, and what did you find about the address of the Employment Policies Institute?
LIPTON: Yeah, I was - you know, set up an interview with the research director. I got the address of his office. I went to the eighth floor of the building on Vermont Avenue, like four blocks from the White House. The elevator opens, and it's Berman and Company. And I go in and, you know, there's a bunch of awards on the wall, advertising awards, public relations awards that Berman and Company has won for its work, you know, doing ad campaigns on behalf of various industry groups. 

And so I didn't see any evidence at all that there was an Employment Policies Institute office. And in fact when I started to interview the people there, they explained that there are no employees at the Employment Policies Institute and that all the staff there works for Berman and Company, and then they sometimes are just detailed to the various think-tanks and various consumer groups that he operates out of his office."

You see, the people who write their reports are not scientists, they are PR hacks pretending to be scientists.  Well, we all suspected that, didn't we?  But now comes the kicker:  the liberals are just as dishonest:

"LIPTON: Yeah, there's another group, a very similar name. It's hard to avoid getting them confused. This one's called the Economic Policy Institute instead of the Employment Policies Institute. And the Economic Policy Institute, you go to their website, and every article you can see is, you know, the case for raising the minimum wage, more than 600 economists endorse the $10.10 minimum wage, which is the higher level. 

The minimum wage is not enough to keep workers out of poverty. But then, you know, as you dig down into their website, and you go to their annual report, and you look through who the contributors are, I found more than 20 labor unions that are among their major contributors. And the organization told me that 30 percent of their money does, in fact, come from labor unions. 

And again, I mean they argue just like the Employment Policies Institute argues, that their academic research is not in any way influenced..."

It's unavoidable!  That is, unless you ask a simple question- Is one of these groups reporting real research?  Is one of them telling the truth, while the other one is just making up lies?  But apparently, that question is irrelevant.  This is where, at least, Terry Gross asks the right question:

"GROSS: Does the Economic Policy Institute, the liberal economic think-tank, do they actually have an office? Do they actually have, like, independent researchers who aren't members of a PR group? 

LIPTON: Yeah, it's a very different organization. They have an office. They have a very large staff. Their staff is, you know, quite a number of, you know, economists with very, you know, good, good reputations. And, you know, so it's not as much of a slight of hand. They are a real organization that does put out reports..."

I see, these two groups are exactly the same sort of lying, partisan hacks, except that the one employed by the unions has a "very large staff," and the other one has no staff at all- i.e. is a phony organization.  Oh, and except that the unions' one employs "quite a number of, you know, economists with very, you know, good, good reputations."  Who publish their results in actual peer reviewed journals.  "And, you know, so it's not as much of a slight of hand."  It's not as much of a slight of hand.

Translation- they are actual professionals doing professional quality research and working for a real organization.  As opposed to a bunch of lying PR hacks who just invent "conclusions" to satisfy their corporate paymasters.  That's the only difference.  Not much, really, is it, when you think about it?  Just the difference between the truth and lies.  But when Republicans are telling the lies, it just isn't polite to notice that.

And this is what we get on the supposedly liberal NPR, and from a reporter employed by the supposedly liberal New York Times.  This is the best it gets in mainstream American journalism, folks.  Is it any wonder that our nation is drowning in ignorance- ignorance which strangely never seems to benefit anyone except the people with the most money?


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Patriot, Yay!

So, yesterday there seems to have been a second disaster caused by the coal mining industry in West Virginia.  This time 100,000 gallons of coal slurry spilled into a river.

Well, I'm sick of writing about this, so I only want to point out one thing.  The company that caused the latest spill is named the Patriot Coal Company.  The one that caused the last one was named Freedom Industries.

What the hell is the matter with these people?  I mean really, do they think it's okay to cause criminal damage to hundreds of thousands of people, if you just name yourself with one of the teabaggers' favorite words.  You can poison anyone you want if you are a patriot, or if you are for freedom.

This is a little thing, but it is just one more example of how sick this country is.

More Fukushima

I'm not going to even bother repeating the latest bad news, which is the same as I've been reporting all along: like all nuclear power companies, TEPCO was interested in profits, not safety.  If you want to see the details, look here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Banality

Evil.  Here's the sort of thing we normally think of when we hear the word:
These days, I'm thinking of something else.  Here's what I think of these days when I hear the word "evil:"
Recognize her?  It's Cokie Roberts, child of inside-the-beltway privilege, and the poster girl for horse-race politics in which everything is personality, nothing has anything to do with the issues.

Well, I made a big mistake yesterday.  They took Stephanie Miller off the air so they could have a fourth right wing radio station in Los Angeles (with no left leaning ones,) so driving to work I made the bad decision to turn on to that bastion of "liberalism," NPR.  There, I had the experience of listening to Cokie Roberts explain the recent  CBO report on Obamacare to the American people.  Here's what she said:

“Well, because the Congressional Budget Office said that the law would result in the loss of two million full-time workers over seven years. That’s a tough one to spin. Now what the Democrats are saying is ‘Look, you know, if people stop working and collect Social Security too, I mean this gives them the opportunity not to be in a job that they don’t want or to have a second job. They can spend more time with their children.’ I mean that’s sort of the talking points you are hearing from Democrats. But that’s a tough one because anything that says ‘jobs go away’ is not something that’s likely to be very popular no matter how sophisticated it is.”

Now, here is what was common knowledge within hours of the release of the report-  you know it, I know it and Cokie Roberts knows it too:   First of all, the report did not say that two million jobs or workers would be lost over seven years.  Second, the Democrats have nothing to spin.  It is the Republicans and Cokie Roberts herself who are "spinning" this story, openly lying to the American people about what the report had to say.

Let me be clear about what the report actually said:  many people who were currently being held in virtual slavery to their employers, afraid to lose their medical coverage by leaving their jobs, would be free to make a decision to change jobs or cut their work hours- to retire early, perhaps, or to start a business of their own, or maybe even to paint pictures or write a novel if they choose, without being afraid that they had signed their death warrant by doing so.  Those jobs- perhaps 2 million- are not going away.  In today's world of not enough work to go around, they will now be available to someone else.  People should be cheering in the street at this unexpected benefit of Obamacare.  Instead, Cokie Roberts and people like her are collaborating with Republicans to spread one more malicious lie about Obamacare damaging the economy.

And I don't even want to hear anyone suggesting that Cokie is too stupid to understand this.  She has demonstrated over and over again through the years that she is abysmally ill-informed, but no one is that dumb.  She is working as hard as she can to delude the American people into once more stabbing themselves in the back, so that rich people like the ones who pay a fat salary to a person with absolutely no sign of competence, like Cokie Roberts, can continue to work their will on us.

Here's another picture:
You may very well not recognize her.  Her name is Hannah Arendt, and she invented the phrase "the banality of evil," the notion that evil isn't largely carried out by mosters like Diablo, but by so many people that just don't care what damage they do to others, as long as they do okay for themselves.  Cokie Roberts is one of those evil people, and Cokie and those like her are destroying us just as fast as they can.  And don't even pretend that they don't know what they are doing.  It's fine with them as long as their paychecks don't bounce.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Regulation, American Style

This is in regard to the recent dumping of a massive quantity of coal ash sludge into the Dan river in North Carolina by a power company, Duke energy.  You may have never heard about this environmental disaster, as the press was far more focused on the Olympic ring that didn't light up in Sochi.

"NC regulators shielded Duke's coal ash pollution...RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools.

Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied — by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The state agency has blocked the citizen lawsuits by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority under the federal act to take enforcement action. After negotiating with Duke, the state proposed settlements where the nation's largest electricity provider pays modest fines but is under no requirement to actually clean up its coal ash ponds."

North Carolina has become one of the most ideological wingnut States in the country in recent years, and here is the result- a perfect example of what Republicans mean when they talk about "deregulation."  At this point, the coal ash sludge is still leaking into the river, and no one has a clue how much damage is going to be done, or what is going to be required to clean it up.

Oh, and did I mention that the current Republican governor of North Carolina worked for Duke Energy for 28 years?   I'm sure that won't affect the State's response one bit.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fukushima Again

Well, here's the latest news about the lies and deception surrounding the Fukushima disaster:

"TEPCO has revised the readings on the radioactivity levels at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant well to 5 million becquerels of strontium per liter – both a record, and nearly five times higher than the original reading of 900,000 becquerels per liter.
Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope of strontium produced by nuclear fission with a half-life of 28.8 years. The legal standard for strontium emissions is 30 becquerels per liter. Exposure to strontium-90 can cause bone cancer, cancer of nearby tissues, and leukemia.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. originally said that the said 900,000 becquerels of beta-ray sources per liter, including strontium - were measured in the water sampled on July 5 last year.
However, the company noted on Friday that the previous radioactivity levels had been wrong, meaning that it was also likely reading taken from the other wells at the disaster-struck plant prior to September were also likely to have been inaccurate, the Asahi Shimbum newspaper reported.
The Japanese company has already apologized for the failures, which they said were a result of the malfunctioning of measuring equipment."

Well, they've already apologized.  That will be a big comfort to the potentially millions of people who will die as a result of TEPCO's behavior.  And let it be noted that, as I have reported before, the measuring equipment did not malfunction.  It didn't go any higher than 900,000 becquerels per liter.  Even though they knew this perfectly well, it apparently never occurred to them that the fact that their equipment was showing the maximum possible, the actual radiation might be higher. So now, as the article reported, the current level is a mere 166,000 times the legal standard.

And lest you think I am solely holding TEPCO and the Japanese government solely responsible for this monstrous behavior, this has been the standard whenever there is a nuclear power disaster- endless lying by the companies involved and the government agencies charged with their oversight, which has but one purpose: to preserve corporate profits regardless of the expense in human suffering.

This is but one more concrete demonstration that the entire nuclear power industry should be dismantled.  Instead, of course, they will continue with this insane conduct, and when disaster does occur, as usual, we will be expected to pick up the tab.



Friday, February 7, 2014

Wingnut Wrapup

And here we go again- another plunge into the insanity that is today regarded as political opposition in the United States.  It would be a little funnier if it weren't destroying us all.

Let's just start with the grand Republican lie of the week.  I have already written about this, but it bears repeating:

Guy Benson, Town Hall (and about a million other similar stories):  "CBO: Obamacare Driving Millions Out of Work Force"

Here is what the report actually said:

"The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses' demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week)."

In other words, once people aren't desperate to hang on to their jobs to keep their health care coverage, they will (the CBO projects) choose to work less.  And in the U.S.-the industrialized country with by far the longest work week, shortest paid vacation, and the worst sick leave policy, that is not a bad thing.  A few decades ago, one full time worker working 40 hours a week could support a family in this country.  Now, we have been so squeezed that it takes two workers to insure any kind of security.  And then, the very people who enabled this vicious squeeze on working people, scream about there not being enough jobs to go around.  Well, maybe ending the need to keep a full time job to have health care will start to change this brutal situation, and it can't happen too soon.  In my opinion, if all Obamacare accomplished was dealing a blow to the employers' stranglehold on workers, it would be enough.

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "O'Reilly Interviews Obama, Obama Quickly Gets Irritated "

You call that irritated, Katie?  Try having O'Reilly interview Green Eagle.  Irritated?  I'll show you irritated.

Daniel Doherty, Town Hall:  "Inhofe: Benghazi Will be the "Greatest Cover-Up" in U.S. History"

Grow up, already.

Mark Skousen, Human Events:  "President Obama Needs an MBA, Not a Law Degree"

Yeah, just like the last President to have an MBA- in fact the only one I can think of.  Let's see now, who was it?  Oh yeah, George W. Bush.  His MBA sure helped him run America, yes sir.  Run it into a ditch.


Stephen Cruiser, PJ Media:  "Why on Earth Is Jeb Bush Still ‘Undecided’ on a 2016 Run?"

Maybe he's not sure whether he can get enough humiliation from his dominatrix, or whether he needs to humiliate himself in front of the whole country.

David Limbaugh, Town Hall:  "One Brave Doctor Stands Up to Obamacare"

Brave but stupid:  She says she can't figure out how to fill out the forms.  This would be Dr. Kristen Held, an opthalmologist, just like Rand Paul and Bashir al Assad.  What the hell is the matter with opthalmologists these days?

Cliff Kincaid, Renew America:  "Maryland mall shooter was a pothead"

No wonder he only managed to kill two people.  Too bad he wasn't a junkie- he would have just stayed home.

Garth Kant, World Net Daily:  "Judge mocks government's NSA lawyer"


And here he is, Judge Richard Leon:



Wait a minute!  that's not Judge Leon, that's Antonin Scalia without his dye job:



Tell me I'm wrong.


Bob Unruh, World Net Daily:  "Frog-march: Push to impeach Obama gains steam"

Steam?  I think you mean hot air.


And just in case you don't have enough to worry about:


Ellie Zolfagharifard , Daily Mail:  "Giant rats, the size of cows or even bigger, could one day fill a ‘significant chunk’ of Earth’s emptying ecospace.  The terrifying scenario could become a reality as super-adaptable rats take advantage of larger mammals becoming extinct, an expert predicts."


Oh God, something else has escaped from Skyrim!


 I mean, this is getting serious.

Sher Zieve, Renew America:  "Should Barack Hussein Obama be tried, convicted and hanged for treason?"

Sher has been a little quiet lately.  I guess she was just saving up her anger for one of her magnum opuses.  Here's a little more from her:

"Florida District 68 House Candidate Joshua Black introduced himself onto the political scene with a tweet he made agreeing with another Twitter user who had written that Obama should be hanged for treason... after interviewing him, I found Joshua Black to be one of those intelligent and articulate Constitutional conservatives who made up the majority of our founders and one whom We-the-People need in order to wrest our country back..."

Intelligent and articulate.  Calling for the death of a legally elected, moderate President because he won't go along with your right wing theocratic agenda.  Just like the majority of our founders, whose authorship of the Constitution proves that their preferred way of dealing with leaders you don't like is to kill them.

Bryan Fischer, Renew America:  "Defeating Darwin in four easy steps"

Four steps, Bryan?  It should only take one step.  Just push him out of his chair- he's dead.

Reverend Austin Miles, Renew America:  "TVs Animal Planet - cruel fakery for money...One thing for certain, those "reality shows" such as Call of the Wildman, are not.  The truth is out and cannot be denied. Animal Planet is all about making money "

Oh my God, please tell me it's not true!  Reality shows that are fake?  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Why, the Duck Dynasty guys would never stoop to something like that, would they?

And the worst of it is Austin's claim that a TV network is all about making money!  What an abominable idea!  How could he even think that!  TV networks are churches of the secular humanist religion which seeks to pervert everything decent in America.  Making money plays no more part in it than it does for, say, the Vatican, which would never amass a vast fortune when it could spend the money helping the poor.  And need I remind you that when a right winger like the Koch brothers makes money it is a testament to the glorious nature of our capitalist system, but when a left winger like Bryan's imaginary TV executives or George Soros makes money, it is an abomination.

Lisa Fabrizio, Renew America:  "Fifty years ago this week, the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show...Gone were the poignant and haunting melodies of George Gershwin, the witty lyrics of Cole Porter, the virtuoso playing of Artie Shaw and Duke Ellington and the sweet and smooth arrangements of Nelson Riddle for Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra. Gone too was the comforting feeling that American culture alone could produce artists and musicians that would appeal to Americans of all ages. – this is what the Beatles hath wrought: the production of popular music became the purview of amateurs; and foreign ones at that."

The Beatles did it all.  It never occurred to Liza, I guess, that in a nation crushing the lives of black people, and killing millions in a war of aggression on another continent, we didn't feel like listening to nice little ditties.   And by the way, Lisa, if selling over 600 million records doesn't make you a professional, this is a really screwed up world.  So stick to politics, lady.  You don't have what it takes to comment on culture.


William Levinson, American Thinker:  "The enemy has deployed military-grade hate propaganda against gun owners.  Does any reasonable person believe that a German Jew could have had a constructive win-win conversation with the creators of this poster?


Because being for gun control is just like exterminating the Jews.  Count on those right wingers to explain it all to us.

World's Worst Ad Placement

From the International Business Times website:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Case Study In Right Wing Lying

Some of you may have seen stories about the release yesterday of the CBO report on Obamacare.  Twisting a sentence to imply something that it was never meant to, Republicans immediately started crowing about an alleged (and nonexistend) loss of two million jobs because of Obamacare.

Numerous people were quick to rebut this belligerent nonsense, but did that stop Conservatives?  At the end of the day, I started looking for how this matter was reported in wingnut world.  Here are a few things I found before I couldn't stand it any more:

Town Hall
"Democrats Spinning Madly on Devastating CBO Report"
"Thanks Obama! Care- Now with 25% Fewer Jobs!"

Red State
"The NYTimes Touts 2.5 Million Full Time Job Losses as a Win"
"ObamaCare Will Cost America More Than Two Million Jobs"

PJ Media:
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Congressional Budget Office report that shows Obamacare will make the labor force lose 2.3 million full-time workers by 2021 is positive because it lets Americans be “free agents.”

Gateway Pundit
"Shocking: CBO Director Admits Obamacare ‘Creates a Disincentive for People to Work’
 "Dingy Harry Reid: CBO Report Doesn’t Cost Jobs – It Means 2.3 Million Americans Can Be “Free Agents”

World Net Daily: 
"The new healthcare law will slow economic growth over the next decade, costing the nation about 2.5 million jobs"

National Review Online: 
"CBO’s Obamacare Scorecard Fewer jobs"

Riehl World View: 
"Obama-Careless: Health-care law will lead to 2 million fewer worker"

Breitbart:
"NYT: CBO's Obamacare Projection of 2.5 Million Jobs Lost 'A Good Thing'
"WH Spin: Obamacare Will Save People 'Trapped in a Job'

Hot Air:
"White House: When you think about it, 2.5 million fewer people working because of ObamaCare is good news"


And here's the thing: even though there is exactly zero truth to this story, Republicans are going to go on repeating it for years- just like Benghazi, just like the IRS "scandal," just like the birth certificate stories, just like the absolutely absurd claim that the Obama administration is the most corrupt in history, just like a thousand other stories.  And the Koch brothers and their associates are going to continue pumping billions of dollars every year into their campaign to make people believe this sort of thing.  And that's why we have two major political parties in this country today, instead of one and a whole lot of seditious criminals in jail.

Update:  Paul Krugman, as usual, with a devastating takedown of the Republican lies about this claim.

And You Think You Had A Bad Day

Not this bad:

"Florida 'Superhuman' Cannibal Shot Dead After Eating Boy's Face"

Florida.  If the cannibal had lived, he would have pled "stand your ground" and been let go.


And I hate to tell you this, but it isn't the first time:

"A similar case of 'face-eating' occurred in December 2012 when Rudy Eugene, renamed Miami Cannibal, ate the face of homeless Ronald Poppo in Florida.

Poppo underwent intensive medical treatment as 80 per cent of his face was eaten by Eugene as he was under the influence of drugs.

Eugene was shot dead by the police following the attack."

Like I said, Florida.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

God, I Just Want To Bang My Head Into a Wall

So, I thought it was about time to check in on Operation American Spring, the sponsors of the forthcoming May 16th March on Washington to Overthrow the Communist Government. In case you're interested, they are now predicting a turnout of 10,000,000.  The last March on Washington to Overthrow the Communist Government, you may remember, drew 130, but they are expecting 9,999,870 more to turn up this time.  Well, anyway, while on the site, I found this video featuring one Joseph S. Perna, who is apparently one of the leaders of the upcoming march.  I have to say that Mr. Perna's demeanor and what he has to say exemplify the American right more than almost anything I have ever seen in my decades of following them.  If you really want to know what they are all about, you could do no better than to watch a little of this video.  I am serious about this- here they are, openly displaying their nature.  Give it a try and see how much you can take:



Well, there it is.  What more can I say?

When Does Incompetence Shade Off Into Collaboration?

 So, the CBO releases a report on Obamacare, and Republicans immediately begin telling a phenomenal lie about it.  What's the reaction of the mainstream press?

Here's a wonderful comment from the White House reporter from the New York Times:

"Tho much reporting & GOP response to new CBO report on ACA is inaccurate/false, problem for Dems: If you're explainin', you're losin'"

If you're explainin' you're losin'.  And I guess if you're lyin' you're winnin'.

Of course, maybe the liars would have a little more trouble winning if the press, whose responsibility it is to report the truth, pointed out the lies.  But no, that would never do.  Driving to work this morning, I made the mistake of listening to an NPR segment about the CBO report.  They allowed three Repubicans to come on and repeat the absolute lie that the report said that Obamacare would cost 2 million jobs- something so false that even the normally oblivious New York Times White House reporter admitted it in a tweet (although not, of course, in the paper itself.)  Then NPR brought on a couple of Democrats.  Did they ask them about this lie about the 2 million jobs?  No, they asked them about something totally different, thus giving a national platform to the lie, and no voice at all to the truth.  The Democrats, of course, could have no idea that their irrelevant comments were going to be edited to follow three Republicans telling the same lie.

This sort of thing happens every day, and every single time it favors the same lying, seditious party.  Is there anyone left that can still believe that this is a result merely of right wing pressure or "working the refs?"  The press at this point is owned lock, stock and barrel by rich corporations, and it no longer even tries to report the truth, when it doesn't suit the interests of those corporations.  And as I have said before, the Democrats can beat the Republicans with one hand tied behind their back, but they cannot beat the Republicans and our miserable mainstream press working together.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Not Such Good News for Republicans

Because everything is good news for Republicans, right?  Here's a map, courtesy of Daily Kos, showing when population peaked by county in the United States.  The palest yellow counties are at essentially peak population now, with successively darker counties having peaked earlier, the violet ones peaked in the 19th century:
Here's another map I found, showing the vote in the 2012 Presidential election by county:

Notice that the areas shown in red or darker in the first map, counties which have declined in population for quite a good while now, are almost entirely in Republican areas.  Democratic areas are mostly near maximum population today.  There are Republican areas that are experiencing relatively stable population, but a lot of them are out West, where there is minimum population.  Other than Florida and the upper South into Ohio and Indiana, most Republican areas are well past their prime.

This does not bode well for the chances for Republicans to reverse their party's decline.  If it keeps up, they can only look forward to representing less and less of the population.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Wingnuts Predict the Future

And boy were they prescient!  I don't know if any of you clicked on the link at the bottom of the last Wingnut Wrapup which contained a list of Obama's murder victims stretching back to before he was ten years old, but if you did, you would have found at the bottom of the story a list from 2008 of what would have happened by 2012 if we elected Obama.  I thought you would all like to see this absolutely magnificent list of predictions of what life under the Black Man would be like:

"Projections of what will happen before November 6, 2012:
•  Major, widespread terrorist attack campaign throughout the United States 
•  Martial law 
•  Use of concentration camps – FEMA camps 
•  Major tactical nuclear war in the Middle East 
•  Assassinations of top political leaders and military generals 
•  Civil war 
•  Major election fraud will occur – big surprise there  
•  European Union will experience an economic crash 
•  Major war with Mexico 
•  Fox News will go off the air 
•  Beginning of World War IV 
•  Stock Market crash – again 
•  Major recession that will dovetail into a depression"

So, how did they do?  Terrorist attacks?  Nope.  Martial law? Nope.  Concentration camps?  Nope.  Nuclear war?  Nope.  Assassinations?  Nope.  Civil war?  Not yet.  Election fraud?  Only by Republicans. European economic crash?  Despite the best efforts of right wing economists, not quite.  War with Mexico?  Not that I'd noticed.  Fox News off the air?  If only.  World War IV?  And here I even missed World War III.  Stock market crash?  If by "crash" you mean it doubled.  Depression?  Despite the dedicated work of Republicans to bring it about, that didn't happen either.

The interesting thing to me is that, though they were ludicrously wrong on all of these thirteen predictions, you can go to wingnut websites today and find every single one of them being touted daily as in our immediate future, if we don't impeach (or kill) Obama, or perhaps if we don't let the Southern States secede and resurrect the Confederate slave state.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the French say.  Unfortunately, for right wingers, things didn't change.  They just stayed the same.