Saturday, August 31, 2013

America Hating Radical Rafael Cruz Goes On The Road Using God To Cover His Lies About Obamacare

America Hating Radical Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) Goes On The Road using God To Cover His Lies About Obamacare
In a fiery speech about defunding President Barack Obama’s health care reform law on Thursday, Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), told a crowd that “they may take our lives,” but “they cannot take our honor.”

At a town hall in Wilmington, Delaware sponsored by Heritage Action, Rafael Cruz joined anti-Obamacare crusader Jim DeMint, who has launched a nine-city tour to rally Americans against the law.

“We can be complacent no more, we can be silent no more!” the Texas pastor exclaimed. “You know, we have seen our lives under attack. Our quality of life is being eroded more and more and more as our liberties are taken away. As regulations and more taxation, we are seeing our lives being destroyed.”

The Cruz family has long been an anti-American radical family spreading lies to advance their proto-fascist agenda. The fact is that Obamacare or the Affordable care Act will help and is helping millions of Americans with their healthcare costs which have been rising about 14 percent a year for the twenty years. It is a private market solution, that might well not be perfect, but the utterly dishonorable Cruz is spreading the same lies Sarah Pail and other Anti-American zealots have been spreading for years. Taxes? Cruz is not just lying, he is being just plain old evil - wrapping lies in fake patriotism and the Bible is evil. Taxes are at historic lows, the lowest since the 1950s. Cruz senior and junior have no honor, no integrity, no ethics, no sense of American values, yet being a combination of delusional and venal they just keep running their mouths.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Lazy, Pro Dog Fighting Rep. Steve King (R-IA) Who Sponges $179 Thousand a Year From Tax Payers Goes Full Nutbar

 The Lazy, Pro Dog Fighting Rep. Steve King (R-IA) Who Sponges $179 Thousand a Year From Tax Payers Goes Full Nutbar

The trick to fixing the toughest job market since the Great Depression is to send jobless Americans to bed without supper, according to Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday, after arguing that there are over 100 million Americans not even trying to find work, King said, “If you had six kids and a third of your kids would say, ‘I’m not doing the chores, mom… If any of them say I refuse, I’m not gonna participate, I’m not gonna contribute to the American GDP, pretty soon those kids would be on the ‘you get to eat after you do the work,’ not just in hopes that you might one day do the work.” After a brief diversion into immigration reform, King added, “I wanna see more Americans step up.”

But the unemployed, unlike the shiftless children King imagines them to be, seek jobs against huge obstacles. There are currently three job seekers for every job opening in the country — and that is the lowest that ratio has been in years. The severity of the Great Recession has made long-term unemployment far more common than in previous economic downturns, and being unemployed for nine months has the same impact on your odds of getting hired as losing four full years of experience from a résumé. The longer a person’s jobless stint, the worse her odds of ending it become. Millions of the people King disparaged as lazy brats on Monday night have gone back to school in hopes of bettering their job prospects, have retired early after failing to find work, or been looking for jobs for three years without success.

If the analogy is new, the core belief is not. King famously said in 2011 that America has become “a nation of slackers” due to social safety net programs. That view is broadly shared within the conservative media and conservative political movement. Earlier this summer, other congressional Republicans justified their support for food stamp cuts through an erroneous citation of the Bible which they claimed instructs the faithful not to feed anyone who doesn’t work. Last year, presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a private gathering of supporters that half the country is so dependent on government, “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

King may also qualify as one of dumbest nutbars in Congress or he is lying. King wants everyone to blame the jobless for not having a job, not blame corporate America for not hiring and not paying a living wage when it does hire people. King is a conman, a grifter, a peddler of snake-oil who wants everyone to see the illsion of people riding high on the hog of government benefits, when it is the policies of conservatism that caused the economy to crash and has created the worse income inequality since the days of feudal lords and serfs.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why Does Conservative Radical Laura Ingraham Hate Black Americans and American Values

Why Does Conservative Radical Laura Ingraham Hate Black Americans and American Values
Conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham attacked the speakers at the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, at one point using the sound of a gunshot to cut off a sound bite of civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) -- a man whose skull was infamously fractured by a state trooper on "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, AL, in 1965. Ingraham used the speech's anniversary to race-bait about black-on-white crime statistics and hosted Pat Buchanan to bemoan the idea that minorities face any higher level of adversity in America 50 years later.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, DC over the weekend to commemorate and recreate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 March on Washington, an event originally dedicated to calling for civil and economic rights for African Americans. CBS News reported that the 50th anniversary event -- part of a week-long build-up to Wednesday's anniversary -- "was sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, Martin Luther King III and the NAACP, featured a roster of speakers, including King, Sharpton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. They spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where 50 years ago this month King delivered his famous 'I Have A Dream' speech."

On her August 26 radio broadcast, Ingraham criticized the event and its speakers, saying the goal "was to co-opt the legacy of Martin Luther King into a modern-day liberal agenda," and scoffing at the topics speakers supposedly discussed: "From gay marriage, to immigration -- amnesty, was thrown in for good measure. We talked about the Voting Rights Act."

Ingraham ran through a list of African-American crime rates before hosting Pat Buchanan, a prominent racist with white nationalist ties. Buchanan dismissed the idea that minorities suffer any disadvantages in contemporary America, calling the idea "absurd" because "black folks excel and are hugely popular figures in everything from sports to entertainment to athletics to politics. Everywhere you go ... So the progress has been enormous."

At one point during her broadcast, Ingraham began playing a clip of Lewis' speech from the 50th anniversary rally, before interrupting the playback of his comments with the sound of a loud gunshot.

Ingraham's use of a gunshot sound effect to cut off a prominent civil rights leader is troubling given the shroud of violence that surrounded the civil rights movement of the 1960s and '70s, when civil rights activists were literally silenced by assassins' bullets. Martin Luther King, whose famous "I Have A Dream" speech is celebrated today, was shot and killed by an assassin at the age of 39.

The use of violent sound effects adjacent to Lewis' comments is particularly jarring, because Lewis himself was the victim of violence as a result of his support for civil rights. Lewis, who was the youngest speaker at the original March on Washington event, helped lead a march in Selma in an effort to secure equal voting rights for minorities. The march became infamous for the violence perpetrated upon the activists by the Alabama State Police -- Lewis suffered a fractured skull at the hands of state police officers.

Why didn't the American values hating Ingrham ask about the white crime rate or why men commit most violent crimes. Why didn't she wonder about why southern whites collect the most government benefits. One reason the speakers did not discuss anything but civil rights at the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, is because they kept on topic. Why doesn't the Miss America pageant discuss particle physics. maybe because that s not what the pageant is about. Why doesn't the anti-American conservative movement discuss why they are doing everything in their power to end American ideals of democracy, justice, economic justice, the right to privacy and the right of women to be full citizens with full human rights. Why doesn't Ingrahm discuss how she was part of the lie machine that got over 4,000 Americans killed in Iraq for no good reason except it was supposed to make conservatives look good on national security.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It Is a Shame That Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is an UnAmerican White Supremacist

It Is a Shame That Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is an UnAmerican White Supremacist

At a meet and greet fundraiser last week, Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage told a room full of supporters that President Obama “hates white people.”

The comments, which were picked up by the Portland Press Herald, came during a speech from the governor at a private fundraiser in Belgrade, ME. Donors from across the state were invited to meet LePage and the state’s new party chairman Rick Bennett.

The speech was not recorded, but the paper managed to get confirmation from a couple of attendees:

    Two Republican lawmakers confirmed the comment when asked directly by a Press Herald reporter, but asked that their names be withheld for fear of political retribution. Each said LePage talked about how Obama could have been the best president ever if he highlighted his biracial heritage. But, LePage said, the president hasn’t done that because he hates white people.

    “Yeah, he said it,” said one lawmaker. “It was one little thing from a speech, but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate.”

The statement is reminiscent of equally inflammatory comments made by conservative shock jocks like Glenn Beck and Rush Lumbaugh.

The governor’s senior political adviser Brent Littlefield eventually released a statement after the remark began to circulate in the state media, saying that any insinuation that LePage was a racist seemed “farfetched.” According to the Press Herald, the statement also cited LePage’s past involvement in Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration events, though neglected to mention the instance in which the governor declined an invitation to participate in a similar event from the NAACP and told the civil rights organization to “kiss my butt.”

Since assuming office in 2011, LePage has left a trail of controversy in his wake. Last year, he likened the IRS to “the new gestapo,” (IRS facts) warning that the agency would one day be in the business of “killing lots of people.” He denounced the most recent Democratic budget by making an anal rape joke, vowed to repeal Maine’s child labor laws, and blacklisted three of the state’s biggest newspapers after they published a report excoriating his administration for undermining the state’s environmental protections.

LePage uses language in the wink and nod doublespeak of white supremacists. Every piece of pro American legislation that President Obama has signed into law helps Americans and American families of all races, greed and religions. Lepage is practicing the identity politics of the radical anti-American Right. Like most of the conservative movement Lepage has nothing but contempt for American families and American values like honor and common decency.

Monday, August 19, 2013

If Conservative Republicans Love America Why Did They Crash The Economy

If Conservative Republicans Love America Why Did They Crash The Economy

The onset of the recent financial crisis in late 2007 created an intellectual crisis for conservatives, who had been touting for decades the benefits of a hands-off approach to financial market regulation. As the crisis quickly spiraled out of control, it quickly became apparent that the massive credit bubble of the mid-2000s, followed by the inevitable bust that culminated with the financial markets freeze in the fall of 2008, occurred predominantly among those parts of the financial system that were least regulated, or where regulations existed but were largely unenforced.

Predictably, many conservatives sought to blame the bogeymen they always blamed. In March of 2008, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) blamed loans “to the minorities, to the poor, to the young” as causing foreclosures. Not long after, conservative commentator Michele Malkin went so far as to claim that illegal immigration caused the crisis.

This tendency to shift blame to minorities and poor people for the financial crisis soon developed into a well-honed narrative on the right. Swiftly and repeatedly many conservatives blamed affordable housing policies—particularly the affordable housing goals in place for the two government sponsored mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act that applies to regulated lenders such as banks and thrifts—for the massive financial crisis that occurred. This despite the fact that as recently as 2006 prominent conservatives, including FCIC Republican member and American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Peter Wallison, were arguing that Fannie and Freddie needed to do more lending to low-income communities and minorities.

Last week, the Republican minority on the congressionally created Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission continued this tradition of willful blindness, issuing their own self-described nine-page "primer" on the financial crisis—one that attempts to lay the blame once again on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Community Reinvestment Act. The picture they paint is reflective of a mindset they displayed last week when all four Republican members tried to ban the phrases "Wall Street," "shadow banking," "interconnection," and "deregulation" from the final report.

These terms are important to understanding what happened in the 2000s. But equally damning is this—the minority members of the FCIC got their facts wrong, their time frames jumbled, and their selection of relevant facts skewed to reflect their libertarian biases. The ideological imperative to blame the government, and more importantly to avoid the culpability of laissez faire economics, have overridden all other considerations, including those of actually looking at the facts.

As the FCIC staff reports released so far in the run up to the final report have demonstrated, the primary fuel of the financial crisis was a hands-off approach to regulation. This ideologically driven lack of regulatory oversight allowed tremendous growth of the "shadow banking system," a largely unregulated web of complex financial transactions that essentially served the same functions as the existing banking system—attracting short-term funds from those seeking safe, liquid investments and using these to finance long-term loans, particularly residential mortgages—but without government oversight to ensure that these activities were being done safely and soundly.

As the FCIC staff reports demonstrate fairly conclusively, it was the shadow banking system’s unregulated private securitization of mortgages that caused the financial crisis, not affordable housing policies. The FCIC staff has done an excellent job of compiling the facts, and we encourage you to check out the FCIC’s comprehensive reports to date. In our view, below are their most persuasive arguments,
Look at the market share

The market activities of the relevant parties clearly show the problem with the argument made by the minority FCIC members. The market shares of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and CRA-regulated lending institutions dropped tremendously during the housing bubble. Meanwhile, the market share of private mortgage securitization, which the FCIC majority largely blames for the crisis, and which the FCIC minority completely ignores, grew in lockstep with the rise of the housing bubble.

The relative market share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped fairly dramatically during the 2000s bubble, from a high of 57 percent of all new mortgage originations in 2003, down to 37 percent at the height of the bubble in 2005 and 2006. Notably, this decline occurred contemporaneously with the unsupported rise in housing prices and the deterioration in underwriting standards that virtually all observers blame for the collapse of the housing markets.

Similarly, the market share of financial institutions for which CRA applied has been steadily declining since 1977, when CRA was passed. CRA-regulated institutions, primarily banks and thrifts, accounted for only 28 percent of all mortgages originated in 2006 (the height of the bubble), a significant decline from their share in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As with Fannie and Freddie, this market share drop occurred in lockstep with the rise of the housing bubble.

In contrast, the market share of private mortgage securitization, a pillar of the “shadow banking system” that was not backed by the federal government and not regulated for safety and soundness in the way that Fannie, Freddie, and regulated banks and thrifts were, rose sharply and contemporaneously with the rise of the housing bubble. In 2002, the share of mortgages originated by private securitization was just over 10 percent of the total market. Over the next four years, this share grew rapidly, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all mortgage originations by 2006. As a percentage of all mortgage-backed securities, private securitization grew from 23 percent in 2003 to 56 percent in 2006.
Look at the default rates

Equally conclusive are the default rates of mortgages originated for these various lending channels. If the conservative view was correct, one would expect to see mortgages originated for Fannie and Freddie securitization, as well as those originated for purposes of CRA, to default at higher rates, since these were the loans directly subject to affordable housing policies. In fact, we see quite the opposite, as these loans have performed exponentially better than those originated for private securitization, which the FCIC Republicans ignore.

Mortgages originated for private securitization defaulted at much higher rates than those originated for Fannie and Freddie securitization, even when controlling for all other factors (such as the fact that Fannie and Freddie securitized virtually no subprime loans). Overall, private securitization mortgages defaulted at more than six times the rate of those originated for Fannie and Freddie securitization.

Similarly, mortgages originated for CRA purposes have performed at much higher rates than loans originated for private securitization, going into foreclosure 60 percent less often than loans originated by independent mortgage companies that were key to providing the mortgages needed to supply private securitization.

But even if these facts didn’t exist, the FCIC Republican narrative fails miserably in explaining the financial crisis. To illustrate why it fails, let’s perform a simple thought experiment our colleague Matthew Yglesias has suggested: Let us suppose that the GOP’s argument is correct, and that government affordable housing policies were 100 percent responsible for the housing bubble and the flood of unsustainable mortgages that were originated during the 2000s.

How could the FCIC Republican argument possibly explain the analogous housing and financial bubbles that occurred contemporaneously in other countries such as Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Denmark, which did not have Fannie or Freddie Mac or CRA? The FCIC majority argument has a plausible and compelling explanation for the global credit bubble—that an unregulated and overleveraged shadow banking system systematically underpriced credit risk. The FCIC Republican minority has no explanation for these contemporaneous bubble-bust cycles that occurred in other countries.

Or consider that a virtually identical bubble occurred in the U.S. commercial real estate mortgage market. There is no government policy FCIC Republicans can point to that encouraged lenders to loosen underwriting standards for malls or office buildings. (see graph at link)

Commercial versus residential real estate

What’s more, this commercial real estate had a large exposure to private securitization, as did credit card debt, student loans, and auto loans, all of which experienced bubble-bust cycles that were similar to that which happened in residential real estate. (see graph)

Asset-backed securities issuance

Moreover, the FCIC minority narrative fails to explain the huge private-sector demand for subprime and Alt-A mortgages, or the mortgage-backed securities created out of these mortgages. The crux of the FCIC Republican argument is the affordable housing goals and CRA created the demand for risky subprime and Alt-A mortgages, which in turn created the huge demand for the private mortgage-backed securities that led to the 2000s housing bubble.

But this ignores the huge existing demand for private mortgage-backed securities. Even after Fannie and Freddie plunged into the market for these mortgage-backed securities, they never accounted for more than a fraction of the demand for these securities. (see graph)

Fannie and Freddie accounted for a fraction of the demand for private mortgage-backed securities issued between 1998 and 2007

Instead, the common thread was under-regulation at every level of the financial system leading to a general real estate bubble. The bursting of the bubble first in the subprime home mortgage market was a symptom of just how little consumer protection was left, as federal regulators told state authorities who tried to stop more abusive mortgage companies to stand down due to federal preemption doctrines.

Minorities were one group that banks took the most advantage of.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thoughtful Patriotic Americans Do Not Support Crony Corporate Fracking

Thoughtful Patriotic Americans Do Not Support Crony Corporate Fracking
We are well into summer 2013, and in the West temperatures are high, wildfires are raging, and droughts are in effect in many states. Mora County, NM bans fracking, June 2013.

One state that has been hit particularly hard is New Mexico.  Nearly 90 percent of the state is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought conditions, and the Rio Grande is now often referred to as the “Rio Sand.”  This is why a recent headline in the Albuquerque Journal titled “NM Farmers Selling Water to Oil and Gas Developers” makes absolutely no sense.  In fact, it reflects the sheer folly and arrogance of humankind.

The paper reported that some farmers in New Mexico, who have been impacted by the drought, have been selling water to the oil and gas industry for fracking (hydraulic fracturing refers to the process by which fluid is injected into wells under high pressure to create cracks and fissures in rock formations that improve the production of these wells).  Some are even pumping precious water from aquifers to sell to frackers.

A New Mexican water official said “The oil and gas industry is requiring a lot of water and our concern is the effect it’s having on our aquifer,” he added. “We are concerned about losing water that can’t be recovered. Hopefully, we will get through this drought and everyone will be intact.”

On top of the insanity of desperate farmers selling water for fracking is the number of people still moving to arid places, and the impact on the environment.  A recent article in the Los Angeles Times – “New Mexico is the Driest of the Dry” – noted that “As Western cities continue their march into wildlands, the growing desert and the sprawling suburbs are on a collision course.”  At least in New Mexico the population is barely growing, but there is the ever constant push for more and more unsustainable development.

Facts on Fracking and Water

The Pacific Institute, a nonprofit research and policy organization, reported in its 2012 study Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources: Separating the Frack from the Fiction that “The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) reports that fracturing shale gas wells requires between 2.3 million and 3.8 million gallons of water per well.  An additional 40,000 – 1,000,000 gallons is required to drill the well.”  The authors also found that “New data, however, suggest that the water requirements for fracking shale gas wells might be both much larger and more variable than is reported by the U.S. EPA.”

Lastly, the Pacific Institute study also noted that “Water for hydraulic fracturing is typically withdrawn from one location or watershed over several days. Additionally, in some cases, the water is taken from “remote, often environmentally sensitive headwater areas”, where even small withdrawals can have a significant impact on the flow regime.”

Business as Usual or a Move to Clean Energy?

The farmers mustn’t be faulted for trying to survive in a tough business and climate conditions.  Those who can and should be faulted are those pushing business as usual.  The evidence that society must get off fossil fuels is too great to be ignored.   The oil and gas industry are certainly guilty, as are their lobbyists and political supporters, and of course, climate change deniers.

But consumers who continue to ignore the call to invest in clean energy play a huge role too.  When enough people demand sustainable energy options and are willing to pay the price for dirty fuel (such as a carbon or gas tax), more decision-makers will listen.

The fracking companies will take what they want and leave.  Business as usual is too high of a price to pay.  We won’t get off natural gas and other fossil fuels until we prioritize and invest in clean energy.  Additionally, arid regions will need to stabilize population growth and end sprawl. 

Joe Romm of Climate Progress stated it well when he wrote “You’d think state officials would see the value for farmers and residents in sustainable consumption given where the climate is headed.”  This applies to communities not just in New Mexico, but everywhere.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Suzanne York is Senior Writer with the Institute for Population Studies, where she writes the blog She is a contributing author to Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples' Resistance to Globalization (Sierra Club Books).

Fracking is all about a hand full of already very wealthy people getting even wealthier. As usual they warp their message in free enterprise, dire warnings of higher fuel prices ( like they're not going to rise them anyway), the flag and even God. These greedy plutocrats are as shameless as they are greedy.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Sleaziest Anti-American Things Conservatives Have Said This Week

The Sleaziest Anti-American Things Conservatives Have Said This Week
1. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL): Obama’s tax on tanning beds is racist

You may have heard about the frantic, delusional attempts in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to block, prevent, defund, wage war on and just outright deny the reality of Obamacare. These might be comical if they were not actually hurting real people who are suffering, and in some case dying because of lack of health care.

Rep. Ted Yoho probably thought he came up with a real smart argument this week when he went after a provision in Obamacare which places a 10 percent tax on tanning beds. ‘Das racist,’ he said, because dark people don’t need to tan. Here’s a little reality check for Mr. Yoho, as pointed out by Jamelle Bouie in The Daily Beast. Nobody needs to tan. Sitting under the ultraviolet light of tanning beds is bad for you.

“Risk for melanoma increases by 75 percent when people begin tanning before the age of 35, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer [3].

...2. Rick Santorum: Liberals Make It Uncomfortable to Shower at the YMCA

Okay, pay attention here, because this is one of those convoluted arguments that only the deranged ultra-Conservative brain can produce. For those of a more progressive and logical ilk, it’ll be a real mind bender. Former, and perhaps future, Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently told a group of anti-abortion students (misleadingly called Students for Life) that liberals who support abortion rights “make it uncomfortable” for them to shower at the YMCA.

Here’s the background: The Town Lake Branch of the YMCA in Austin did in fact ban the “pro-life” group, who had come to town to support Texas’ severe abortion-restricting legislation, from using their facilities because the group was blatantly proselytizing, disrupting other members, and generally using the YMCA as a forum to express their political views. Some YMCA staff even said the group was intimidating the people who worked there.

Santorum flipped this all around by telling the “Right-to-Life” students that this was a leftist plot.  “Because they live it. They’re passionate. They’re willing to do and say uncomfortable things in mixed company.

3. 3. Rep. Louie Gohmert: Brags about having ‘duct-taped’ a defendant’s head, then later in the week manages to blend his Islamaphobia with his anti-Latino racism.

With some extra time on his hands, Tea Partier Louis Gohmert enjoyed stepping in it at least twice this week.

First, on Fox News on Tuesday, he regaled host Sean Hannity with a delightful little memory from his days as a judge in criminal court in Texas.  “I had one guy that was particularly out of line, and I warned him three times and then we duct-taped his head,” Gohmert told Hannity. “And we didn’t hear from him until it was his turn to talk.”

“That’s when you were a judge?” Hannity wondered. Even he was a little taken aback.

“That’s when I was a judge in felony court,” Gohmert replied. “Gave him three warnings, made the record and then wrapped him up.”

4. Rep. Steve King: Global Warming is more of a religion than a science.

You have to hand it to Tea Partier Steve King. Once he commits to a totally wrong-headed offensive or just vile point of view, he does not back down. When he said a lot of the children of undocumented immigrants were drug mules, with “cantaloupe calves” a couple of weeks ago, the fact that even conservatives in his party rebuked him just made him dig in even further. So it was this week, when, back at home in Iowa, the Congressman decided to spout off ignorantly about climate change. Global warming, he said, is more of a religion than a science, he told the audience at an event for the right-wing, climate-change-denying group Americans for Prosperity.

This is a perfect example of that opposite world, doublespeak, black is white, up is down, lies are truth type of rhetoric that the right wing has perfected. Because, of course, scientific is exactly what climate change is, at least all the scientists seem to think so, and denying climate change is, well, the opposite of science.

The next day, still in home state Iowa, he elaborated on his theme, which evolved into more of a “let’s look at the bright side” of our warming climate, however unscientific that theory might be. For Iowans, he pointed out, there could be more corn. Rising sea levels would mean more rain, more rain means more corn. Simple. Never mind that NASA studies show that, both droughts and rainfall would increase to dangerous proportions with a warming planet. People need to focus on the “positive aspects of global warming,” Pollyanna King said. “I spent a lot of my life cold, it felt pretty good to get warmed up.”

Doesn’t everyone feel much better now?

5. Mike Huckabee: For your weekly dose of Islamophobia

The closing of U.S. embassies in the Middle East due to possibly trumped up terrorism threats gave Fox News host and former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee the opportunity to unleash, or should we say “uncork” his Islamophobic views — which are voluminous.

“Can someone explain to me why it is that we tiptoe around a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called ‘holiest days’?” he asked, rhetorically, of course, since it is his radio show. “You know, if you’ve kept up with the Middle East, you know that the most likely time to have an uprising of rock throwing and rioting comes on the day of prayer on Friday.”

“So the Muslims will go to the mosque, and they will have their day of prayer, and they come out of there like uncorked animals — throwing rocks and burning cars.”

Just to be clear that he is not prejudiced against all Muslims, Huckabee did say not all of them are violent, but he is a serious student of the Islamic faith and habits, and through this serious study and observation, he has learned “that the most likely times for them to erupt in some type of terrorist activity, violent storming of an embassy, is on their holy days.”

Christians, on the other hand, he points out, never riot on Christmas or Easter.

“Now, my point is — I mean do you ever say ‘Oh boy, it’s Christmas! Oh my gosh, these Christians are going to come out of that Christmas Eve service and they are going to Walmart, and they are going to so rip that place apart, because you know what happens when they go in there and pray about Jesus. And they get out of there and they go straight to the mall, and they just, I mean they set fire to the place.’ I mean, when Christians get out of their Christmas services, about the worst thing they do is commit the sin of gluttony when they go to some Christmas dinner, be it at a restaurant or someone’s home.” Huckabee ranted.

Apparently, he has never seen the riotous, mob-like behavior of so-called Christians on Black Friday, the holiest day in American capitalist Christendom.

6. Pat Robertson’s Sanity is In Grave Doubt

Speaking of Christians, and how they aren’t at all crazy or prone to violent outbursts…

We know, we know, it is not exactly news that Pat Robertson may be a little loony. But before we get to this week’s shenanigans, let’s review some of the accomplishments of the right-wing preacher/host of the 700 Club: predicting the end of the world in 1982, calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez and arguing that most recent natural disasters and terrorist attacks result from our sinful ways, translation, approval of gay marriage. Last week, he advised a caller to burn down the house, since it was clearly possessed by demons.

But, as most people know, one of the true marks of “crazy” is not being able to differentiate between reality and, well, non-reality. In that vein, Robertson has said in the past that lusting after a woman is the same as adultery (the assumption is that you are a man, if you are a woman, then it’s not just adultery, it’s going to cause a tornado). This week, he said, murdering someone in a video game is the same as murdering someone in reality. Here’s the exact quote: "If you murder someone in cyber-space, in a sense you're performing the act whether you like it or not."

One would think we could all find some common ground on religious extremism. There is some of that going in the world - and has been for a couple thousand years. These conservatives feel their right to be the American Taliban is fine, but it is wrong when radicals of other religions do it. The radical anti-American conservative movement has always been ethnocentric, immigrants just make easy targets - one of the many problems with their radical hateful ethnocentric attitudes is that many of them were immigrant at one time or their great grand parents were. Many Americans pray that Pat Robertson's god only exist in his wacky head, because who wants to believe there is a god so stupid and mean, and if you live a good life, you have to spend eternity with this stupid hateful deity. Pat has probably turned more people off of religion than any other single person in America. He makes all of Christianity sound like a moronic cult.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Tea Party is Still Composed of The Delusional, The Hysterical and Conspiratorial Fantasists

The tea baggers, the tea smoking wackados, the plastic patriots are still around and still delusional - see the comments in this thread. Not much has changed since Maria Armoudian and Matt Taibbi's research report in 2010, The Tea Party is Still Composed of The Delusional, The Hysterical and Conspiratorial Fantasists

MA: And the rhetoric that you find that has been used over and over from politicians. Sarah Palin’s approach, you said, was right out of the playbook of Richard Nixon.

MT: Right. This is the whole silent majority idea is playing on this kind of Southern white resentment, this idea that, “we obey the law, we pay taxes, we work and somehow it’s all these other people that are reaping the benefits, these people who don’t want to work, these people who are immigrants, and they want to come and steal our social services.” That’s the same kind of idea, the silent majority. Hillary Clinton used some of the same rhetoric in her campaign as well, the “forgotten people” that she talked about. This rhetoric is very useful in getting people to not focus on what happened on Wall Street. It was creating resentment between white middle-class people. And lower-income minorities and the rich New Yorkers were never in the picture anywhere.

MA: How does the Tea Party fit in with your overall assessment of our economic disasters?

MT: I wrote Griftopia really as a crime book about what happened on Wall Street in the last ten or fifteen years. But the politics are an element of the crime, and there had to be a mechanism through which they could get ordinary people to not pay attention to what was going on. To me, the Tea Party was an example of exactly how that works. I see it as a phenomenon where Wall Street has found a way to convince ordinary people to back their political agenda and their deregulatory aims, under the rubric of “we’re going to get the government off our backs,” and it’s really, in the end, it’s just going to be off their backs, but ordinary people believe in it.

MA: People say they don’t want government and yet they still want all the services that government does. But they somehow don’t connect the dots, it seems.

MT: Right, they somehow want their food to be clean; they don’t want to drink poisoned water; they want to have cops to protect them from burglars, but they’re very attracted to this whole idea that the government causes all of our problems. As I travel around the country, most of the Tea Party people I talk to -- a lot of them are small business owners. They have hardware stores or restaurants, and they see regulation as an ADA inspector or a health inspector coming to bother them and ring them up with little fines here and there. That’s their experience with government regulation. And so when they think about JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs and regulating those banks, to them it’s the same thing. They have no idea that regulation for these big companies is really a law enforcement problem, that it’s not this little niggling health inspector type of business.

MA: I think the best description of the Tea Party that I have heard in a long time was when you said, they’re not crazy or necessarily always wrong, but they’re an anachronism, fighting a 1960s battle in a world run by 21st-century crooks.

MT: Right, the Tea Party is really geared up to fight the Johnson-era forced desegregation battle – busing or HUD housing. I was in Westchester County in New York where HUD was forcing this small, mostly white town to accept a low-income housing project. This is the kind of stuff that turns the Tea Party on, this whole idea of the interventionist government, activist judges. And yeah, there are some of those issues that are still extant, that are still being played out.

MA: But they’re small in comparison to the big problems that we’re facing.

MT: Yeah, this space age global financial thing dwarfs all of those issues in magnitude, and they just don’t get it. And there is no politician that’s speaking to them about it, which is the really depressing part.

MA: And overall, mass media have not really done a very good job of explaining this.

MT: Right, I think that part of the problem is that the people who cover this stuff for a living, the financial press, are geared toward a specific audience. That audience is people who are in the business. They have gotten out of the habit, if they were ever in it, of explaining any of it. And to draw on the ESPN analogy, its kind of ESPN is not for people who don’t understand sports. They don’t pause to explain the rules of football to you every two minutes. They assume you know what they’re talking about, and that’s exactly how the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times operate. That’s why I think they were flat-footed a bit when the crisis happened because they didn’t have the tools to explain all this to everybody else.

MA: Another key point you have been making is that while political systems can be really problematic, it sometimes takes a guy at the top to help make this kind of mess. You identify Alan Greenspan as that person. You wrote, “His rise to the top is one of the great scams of our time.” How do you see this as the “perfect prism” through which to see American politics.

MT: Alan Greenspan’s personality embodies the kind of contradiction in American politics. On the one hand we have this propaganda about how government has no place in the economy whatsoever: “There should be no regulation; the government’s only rule is armed forces and the police.” You hear all this talk in the Tea Party now about strict constitutionalists, that the government [should] abolish every department except for the army. Greenspan believed that on the surface, but at the same time that he was preaching this objectivist proto-capitalist religion, he was building a massive welfare state for Wall Street. It is a complete contradiction -- “Get the government off our backs,” but also, “Let’s make the government into a permanent insurance policy for rich people.” All of those contradictions were in his personality.

MA: You connect him to the philosopher/author, Ayn Rand. Talk about her role in his philosophical development.

MT: She was this great novelist who wrote all these very ponderous long novels like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The general theme of all of them was that there were two classes of people: the producers and the parasites. In her books, the producers were the great industrial figures who actually created businesses and commercial empires, and everybody was somehow feeding off of them. You were either making something, or you were a parasite. That ethos is still very much alive; it’s part of the Tea Party rhetoric. They talk about “water carriers and water drinkers” and split the world up into those two categories. Greenspan actually spent a lot of time with Rand, they had these little tea parties at her house, and he was under her tutelage. He was one of her protégés who directly carried the flame for her religion. But it was ironic that he ended up being the chief regulator of the economy that had been an anathema to everything that she believed, being a government regulator. Yet he somehow did it and didn’t feel contradicted about it.

MA: She doubted his commitment to her philosophy at a certain point too, according to your account, calling him a social climber.

MT: In the end she famously said, “I think Alan basically is a social climber.” He had already flirted with government by that time. He had gone to work for Nixon’s transition team. Although he tried to be loyal, in the end she turned against him and said some very bad things about him.

MA: Ultimately, you make Greenspan sound inept, not necessarily a bad guy, and that’s what led to the disasters under his watch.

MT: I think the most important thing with Greenspan as it pertains to the current problem is his attitude towards derivatives. He became the Fed chairman at the very beginning of the age of derivatives. This was right before the ‘87 stock crash, which was caused by derivatives. They were these computerized instruments that were pegged to derivative transactions. He completely missed the significance of that. In the early ‘90s, there was a series of disasters, including the Orange County disaster, that were caused by a variety of these instruments such as the interest rate swaps and foreign exchange swaps. Greenspan never understood this stuff. He thought that they were just tools for creating more liquidity, and he persistently went before Congress and said that we do not need more regulation of these instruments. Later on in the year 2000, he became a pivotal figure in affirmatively deregulating these forever in a law called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. He was very much the driving force behind that, which then led to the mortgage crisis. That’s where derivatives really blew up and where we saw these collateralized debt obligations and other fancy devices that were created to disguise crappy sub-prime mortgages as AAA-rated debt. But he actually thought that they were harmless instruments that banks could use to make a little bit more money. He didn’t see the catastrophic potential.

MA: You’ve said that every country has scam artists; but only in a dying country, only at the low end of the most distressed third world, are people like that part of the power structure. Do you really mean that?

MT: I lived in Russia for ten years, and one of the things that attracts me to this Wall Street story was that it reminded me of what I had seen in Russia. In the former Soviet Union, I saw this incredible pessimism. There was no belief in the future because there was so much instability that people who had the ability to take anything, steal anything were doing it. They wanted to get the money and get out of the country as quickly as possible. They might steal the money from the government and buy a villa in France. That was the modus operandi in those years. That’s how I see the financial services industry in America with the mortgage scam.

It’s the same mindset, whether it was the guys at companies like Countrywide who were pushing people into bad loans when they qualified for good ones, or the banks who were immediately taking these loans and selling them off to pension funds and insurance companies knowing that they were going to explode, or the hedge fund guys who were intentionally creating masses of crappy loans to dump off on other people, or the ratings agencies who were rating stuff that they knew was crap. Then at the very top you had companies like Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank that were basically getting the taxpayer to buy this stuff through the bailouts, knowing that it was severely over-valued. It was the “let’s get what all we can right now before it all blows up” mindset that you see in a third world country.

MA: You say that there’s another half -- the outsourcing through foreign sovereign wealth funds. What are these funds, and how are they connected to all of this?

MT: This is an ancillary part of the story. A sovereign wealth fund is basically like a giant hedge fund that is government owned, and they’re particularly popular in the oil producing countries of the Middle East. You have a country like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, for instance, that gets a lot of revenue from oil, and they put the excess cash in this giant fund that looks for investment opportunities around the world to grow itself bigger. My friend who works at one of these foreign funds called me and said, “I was in a meeting, and a bunch of guys from an American investment bank showed up with a slide projector and tried to sell me and my bosses the Pennsylvania Turnpike. They sat down, showed us all these pictures and said, ‘look the toll booths are in good shape the roads are paved and you should buy this thing.’” And they did try. The State of Pennsylvania shopped the Pennsylvania Turnpike for a period of time. They ended up not doing that deal, but there are cities and states all around the country that are doing these deals.

MA: So they are selling parts of the highways? What else?

MT: In Chicago, it’s the parking meters. They sold 75 years worth of parking meter revenue for the City of Chicago. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is at least a 26 percent owner in the Chicago parking meters now. Now there are no parking holidays in the city of Chicago. You have to pay meters on Lincoln’s birthday, on Christmas, Thanksgiving. If you’re an alderman and you want to have a street fair or something like that, you basically have to pay an exorbitant fee to the investors in order to have the right to hold a fair in your own neighborhoods. That’s happening all over the country. There are dozens of these deals going through.
The tea baggers are still using the general term for their bogieman "big government". One of the problems with that is that more and more of the economy is being privatized, especially at the state level - in return ordinary working American are paying more and getting less in return. Their high taxes protests are just plain silly or delusional sense taxes are at the lowest in decades. The biggest growth in government is in fact being propelled by state tea baggers legislators who are literally putting government in control of the most personal decisions individual citizens make. Several commenters at that thread claim liberals don't like facts. How would these tea baggers know sense they do not seem to have the cognitive skills required to recognize a fact.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Americans Wonder if Virginia Republican Lieutenant Governor Nominee E.W. Jackson is a Nazi Sympathizer

  Americans Wonder if Virginia Republican Lieutenant Governor Nominee E.W. Jackson is a Nazi Sympathizer

In a local radio interview this morning, Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson said the Democratic Party is “anti-God” and that Christians should leave it.

Jackson has said in the past that he thinks believing in God and voting Democratic are fundamentally incompatible, so WLEE host Jack Gravely asked if he still believes it. Gravely explained that he’s a Christian and tends to vote Democratic, just like his parents and family. Jackson didn’t back down.

“You are saying for us, we’re all wrong, leave that party. And all I’m saying to you is, if you said it before, you still have to believe it, why did you say it?” Gravely asked. “Oh, oh, oh I do believe it,” Jackson responded.

He continued: “I said it because I believe that the Democrat Party has become an anti-God party, I think it’s an anti-life party, I think it’s an anti-family party. And these are all things I think Christians hold to very dearly.”
Many Americans may find these expressions of radical ideology and religion by conservative Republican E. W. Jackson both disturbing and familiar. They 're disturbing because E.W. seems to think he has been appointed the entry guard into Christendom. Where did Jackson get the last word, the holy authority to determine who is a actual Christian. E.W. Jackson, who subscribes to far Right anti-American conservatism also seems to betray his ideological roots.

"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.

    -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

E.W. Jackson has simply replaced the Jew in Hitler's speech with Democrat. Countries that have followed the political leadership of freakish zealots like Jackson have done very well. E.W. has all the ideological hallmarks of a proto-fascist.