Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, August 31, 2012


If there is something funnier than Stephen Colbert interviewing Eastwood's Chair, I don't think I could stand it.

Paul Ryan Might Be A Sociopath

Paul Ryan gave an interview where he boasted of his running a sub 3 hour marathon.  Which is a legit big deal.  For runners.

Well, guess what...He's lying about that, too.

Let's just take a moment to think about that.  Talking about whether you ran a decent marathon time is probably a moment prone to bullshit.  However, he's a politician who probably gave Al Gore grief for "inventing the Internet".  So, Al Gore never claimed to invent the Internet, that was entirely made up.  But Paul Ryan is on the record lying about his marathon time.

That's kind of pathological.

Because you can't - I mean you absolutely can't - expect that in this day and age you can make a statement and not get checked on it.  That was true in Al Gore's day, it was true in George "Macaca" Allen's day and it's true now.

So basically, Paul Ryan is a reflexive liar.  And I mean that in the sense that he really just goes along and... BAM... there goes a lie.  It's not something he consciously thinks about - the way I imagine Mitt Romney lies - but rather a complete reflex.

Of course, there is an alternate explanation.  Paul is so demonstrably awful at math, that he really thought he ran a sub 3 hour marathon, because 3... 4... what's really the difference when you're talking hours... or trillions of dollars.

UPDATE: Fallows does a good job:


Jon Stewart wins the competition of geriatric actors:

UPDATE: Eastwooding.

My favorite tweet of my own: GOP can't decide if he's an Ottoman or a LaZBoy

UPDATE 2: The hits keep coming:
Watching Ann Romney during the Eastwood address, according to NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson, was like watching “the mother of the bride listening to a drunken wedding toast.”

Department of Unintentional Humor Department

Reading Romney's Speech

Wee gymnast is unimpressed.

OK, I wasn't going to watch it, because Mitt gives me the creeps.

But I'm going to read it.

The first bit is just awful.  That "better future stuff"?  Poorly written, like a hack screenwriter writing a generic speech for a generic candidate in a movie that has nothing to do with politics.

I think this sums it up:

The second part about the problems of the last four years was better.  I don't know how it sounded (thank God) but it reads well.  This was the campaign message Romney had been working on since winter.  Obama was a nice guy over his head.  Not surprising that this was strong.

I get the paean to Neil Armstrong, but after a convention dedicated to chanting, "You didn't build that" the best example Mitt could come up with was a massively expensive government program.

The tribute to his parents was nice, but I couldn't help thinking what a fine candidate George Romney would have been.  As opposed to, say, his son.  The pander about Mexico was just one of a great many panders to women and dusky hued Latinos.  I can't imagine them working.

He did a good job talking about his Mormon faith without talking about his Mormon faith.  That was always going to be a tricky act, and I think he pulled that off well.

I thought his stuff about Bain was borderline lies.  A plucky small business?  Please.

When it got into policy specifics, well, that's when the lies started.  "War on coal and gas" - lie, America's producing more gas than ever before, which is depressing coal prices.  "His" cuts to the military - lie, that was part of the deal Paul Ryan voted for.  Medicare cuts - lies.

I guess we can praise him for not bring up the welfare stuff.

His Five Point Plan is a joke.  There's not one specific in it.  It's a series of aspirations without any roadmap how to get there.

Then he goes back to the apology lie, before picking fights with Russia and China.  That will work...

And then he ends with a nice, uplifting vision of America.  But again, generic.

We stopped inviting politicians to speak at our graduation ceremonies, because they usually just give a stock speech.  It's not necessarily a bad speech, but there is nothing resonant about it.

Romney gave a speech that had a good, pointed criticism of the Obama years, but was otherwise generic and bland with no specifics.

He needed to offer America a shot of whiskey and he gave them an O'Douls instead.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Read The Future Today

Remember a few days ago, how I said that the GOP was running the first Dadaist campaign?

I had no idea how right I was until Clint Eastwood took the stage.

UPDATE: There are some awesome tweets out there, but I loved this one:

This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama.

Clint Eastwood Continues To Cut Obama Commercials

Apparently he did one at the RNC....

UPDATE:  Well, that didn't take long:

BTW, Twitter is a great alternative to actually watching the debate.

They Know They're Losing

When they start yammering about ACORN and the New Black Panther party stealing elections... That's when you know they've seen the writing on the wall.

The Big Question

Will Mitt double down on the lies?

It Pains Ezra Klein To Say It, But...

Yeah, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are dreadful liars.

I don't know if this is an example of pained centrism dying beneath the lies or "I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him", but it's an interesting tone.

Klein is pointing out that Ryan's speech was essentially fabricated from lies, hypocrisies and willful misconstruing of the facts.  But it's apparently very painful for him to admit that.

Anyway, he actually levels some pretty good attacks on Obama, which you can argue are plausible.  Ryan didn't use them.  Then - mother of Zeus - he actually compares Ryan's speech to Sarah Palin's.  And Palin comes off as Diogenes compared to the zombie eyed granny starver.

Ryan is a very gifted politician.  He is also a compelling liar.

But I repeat myself.

UPDATE: Chait shows how it's done:

The political blogosphere has taken apart Ryan’s brazen dishonesty brick by brick so that barely anything remains. I have been writing about his dishonesty for three years. I have the equivalent of a master’s degree in Ryan lie-ology. I’ve heard many of his lurid fantasies innumerable times and I haven’t got it in me to go through it all again — his deep dishonesty largely reflects the fundamental gap between the radicalism of his agenda and his need for public acceptance. I’ll merely point out that, even if all the smaller component dishonesties of Ryan’s speech were true, the larger points they undergirded were false as well.

It's A Start...

Oh, Yeah. Liars AND Racists

A woman at the American Legion was quoted on NPR as saying she hates to look at Obama and wants a First Lady who "looks like a First Lady".

We are days away from "The President is a NI-CLANG!" moment.


Paul Ryan's greatest political skill is the simple and clear way that he lies his well-toned ass off.

The GOP has stones, I give them that.  They are completely, brazenly lying.  It's truly stunning.

Part of my problem - as someone who follows politics too closely for my own good - is that I really hate hypocrisy.

Which is why I'm a Democrat, I guess.

UPDATE: Marshall nails my concerns.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Would They?

Brian Beutler wonders if the political press has reached a breaking point with Romney.  He's lying about Welfare.  He's lying about his own Medicare plan.  He's lying about "you didn't build that.  He's playing the race card.

As I've said, we've finally found a "post-truth" campaign.  Not one that skirts or massages the truth, but one that actively decided: "Screw it!  The truth is irrelevant."

I wish I could say I was confident that ANY major network anchor will look into the TV lens and say, "Mitt Romney is lying to the American people."

We have only skimmed the surface of ugly here...

UPDATE: Chait gives a taste of the hand-wringing going on here.

I saw on Yahoo (America's basement) that Republicans are now saying that the people who threw peanuts at an African American camerawoman and said, "This is how we feed the animals." were - of course - Democratic plants.

The Republican party has disappeared into it's own navel.  They are literally incapable of seeing objective fact anymore.

UPDATE 2: Fallows talks about it, too.  This will be interesting to see how "our failed media experiment" handles the Dadaist Romney Campaign.

UPDATE 3: Holy crap!  Paul Ryan says that Obama didn't support Bowles-Simpson, but Ryan voted against it - WHILE HE WAS ON THE PANEL.  He says that Obama "cut" money from Medicare to pay for Obamacare, when in fact it was savings so well planned that Ryan included them in HIS BUDGET.  Oh, and he blames the debt downgrade on Obama because... LOOK!  FLYING MONKEYS!  This is serious abuse of the concept of objective truth.

I'm feeling stabby and we haven't even gotten to Little Lord Mittens yet.

Well, This Is Lovely

No one could've predicted that dog whistling racism would, you know, bring out racism.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Press Is Pissed

Josh Marshall is somewhat surprised that the press is not only pointing out that Romney's welfare ads are lies, but that they are playing the race card.

When you've lost Ron Fournier, you've lost the mushy middle.

The thing is, the press may hate Romney more than they hated Al Gore.

And they really hated Al Gore.

So, Gore suffered from the fact that - while many in the press agree with his political principles - they just didn't like the man.  Romney is personally unpopular and his policies are bat-shit insane.  Oh, and now he's playing the race card, because... screw it, what else is there.

Romney lost the Media Primary a long time ago.  Tough to make a comeback when your policies are unpopular and people think you're a dick.

What The Hell Got Into Bobo?

David Brooks is the reliable stenographer of Sensible Republicans - all twelve of them.  In this piece he manages to stick a shiv into Willard Romney that must have Gail Collins weak in the knees with admiration.

I wonder after The Economist ripped Willard to pieces and after Chris Matthews chewed RNC PR BS down to the bone, if Brooks isn't preparing to jump ship on Mittens.

GOP Guide To Female Anatomy

Why does science hate America?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Kiss Your Medicare Goodbye

Look, this isn't a "pants on fire" "four Pinocchios" claim.  This ends Medicare as we know it and replaces it with a program that wouldn't come close to covering senior's health care needs.

And if the media won't describe it as such, we are screwed.

And with the Romney camp apparently moving to racial demagoguery we can expect this campaign to get nasty and ugly beyond anything we've seen yet.  Romney will do anything to win.  We've seen that.  But as bad as that will be just wait and see if he gets elected...

UPDATE: Ezra Klein talks about the Romney race-baiting strategy here.  Oddly, he states that "The Romney ads are not racist."  Well, they aren't, if you expect a racist ad to depict Obama eating watermelon in coveralls while raping a white woman.  But if you think those appeals aren't based on race - and Klein himself shows neatly and succinctly how they are - you're nuts.


Chris Matthews apparently unloaded both barrels on RNC PR BS this morning.  Matthews called out the Republicans for running blatantly and demonstrably false ads saying that Obama is gutting welfare work requirements.  Ads that seek to inflame white working class anger against the always potent and dark skinned "Them".

Sadly, the Obama campaign - which is usually quite adroit - has not responded forcefully enough on this.  I think they assumed that Romney's lies would be called out as lies.  And while some news outlets have noted that the claims are "found to be false" that's not the same as saying "Mitt Romney is basing his campaign on racially based lies."

And - Pumpkinhead Matthews aside - until THAT is the story, Romney is winning that argument, just as he is apparently starting to win the argument on Medicare.

Fallows ran a piece saying what a good, disciplined debater Romney is, but I wonder if getting up there and lying will work for him.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The End

Summer's over.  Headed home.

Fun fact: If you take away the vowels from Reince Preibus's name, you are left with RNC PR BS.
       (h/t: Annie Laurie)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thank You God

Thanks to a benevolent and loving God, we have one fewer nights of the GOP convention.  That means they'll have to cram the crazy into three nights.

We might reach the fabled "Peak Wingnut".

The Past

I read a piece in the NY Times today.

It's about a statue to Nathan Bedford Forrest in Selma, Alabama of all places.  They had a bust of Forrest, but it was constantly being vandalized.  Then it disappeared.  Now the "Friends of Forrest" want to build a massive statue with floodlights and fences and security cameras.

African Americans are not amused.

Forrest is more than a brilliant Confederate cavalry officer.  He was a vicious racist at a time when that meant something.  He was the first Grand Wizard of the KKK, he oversaw the massacre of black Union soldiers at Ft. Pillow.

You can see why local black leaders are trying to block a monument to a man who risked his life to perpetuate slavery and then still kept fighting even after the war was lost.

What struck me was a line by a "Friend of Forrest".  He said that (and I'm paraphrasing because of the Times firewall...) "They have their statue to Martin Luther King, why can't we have one celebrating our past?"

Because, you dumb bastard, Martin Luther King won a Nobel Peace Prize.  He changed America for the better.  I'm reading the Oxford History of American Foreign Policy by George Herring.  It's astonishing how racism permeated our foreign policy establishment until Kennedy.  We refused to believe that brown people could govern themselves, and then we embarked on an imperial age that made damn sure they couldn't.

Racism is America's great sin. It's not unique to America, but we institutionalized it so strongly, all the while hypocritically talking about freedom and liberty.  I think it was Samuel Johnson during the Revolution who said, "It's odd that you hear the strongest calls for liberty from the drivers of African slaves."

Selma is a town known - if it's known for anything - for racial violence.  It is also a town that made the Voting Rights Act possible.  And the Voting Rights Act changed America.

My guess is the Friends of Forrest aren't real happy with those changes.  They aren't happy with the current occupant of the White House, even if they can't give you a real definite answer why.  For them, King is just as violent a figure as Forrest, because King tore down their way of life.  What they can't see is that that way of life was built on violence and blood and fear.

One of the criticisms of Obama is that he hasn't been able to bring that amazing "change" that everyone hoped he would bring.  And I think on some level that's tied to race.  That's why people are pissed about Romney's "joke" about birtherism.  Obama can hardly be blamed for the fact that - 150 years later - the South still can't believe it lost the Civil War, that the South can't believe - 50 years later - that the Civil Rights Movement ended American apartheid.

And there is nothing Obama or anyone else can do about it.

Friday, August 24, 2012


As soon as the economy picks up, the price of gas rises, which chokes economic growth.

That's his story and it's tough to argue with the evidence.

Mitt Romney Is A Dick

Large businesses are doing fine because they can afford fancy tax avoidance schemes from lawyer like me.

Ha. Ha. Ha.  I have made a birther joke.

I had no idea the introverted gay student that I assaulted was a gay introverted student that I assaulted.

Hey, your cookies suck!


Seriously, America.  Do you want to spend four years with this asshole?

An Interesting Poll Number

The horse race numbers nationally have tended to give Obama a 2-5 point lead.  That's also true of the battleground states like Ohio, Nevada, Colorado and Virginia.  We'll see how the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver goes over in Florida in time.

But a recent AP-GfK poll had Obama up by a single point.  Interestingly, that same poll says the public thinks Obama will win 58-32.  A CNN poll from August 8th had the public thinking Obama would win 63-33.

That means quite a few Romney supporters have already conceded in their mind.

This goes to Romney's weakness as a candidate and the dissatisfaction that many conservatives have with him.  But it will be interesting to see what happens over the next two weeks.  And in particular if that "expectation"  number budges at all.  That sizable number of Romney support that expects him to lose could change if he successfully connects with people in a positive way.

The horse race numbers have been pretty static.  Many have noted just how few "undecided" voters we have this time around.  But the expectation of victory number shows us just how popular each candidate is.

Keep an eye on that one.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dog Days

I was going to write about this, but as per usual, Booman got there first.

We are likely to see some good polling numbers from Romney in the next week and a half.  Some of them will be from outfits like Purple Strategies and Rasmussen that have notable rightward tilts.  I know PPP is supposed to be a Democratic leaning pollster, but I also know it's as accurate as any pollster in the business.

Anyway, we are going to see Mitt having some good numbers.  Some of that will be the convention.  Some of it will simply be August, which has always played well for the GOP in polls.  Anyway, until the Democratic convention, any polls should be taken with a grain of salt.  If Mitt's numbers DON'T improve, that is seriously bad news for him.  He has to own the next ten days.

UPDATE: We see some of this in James Fallows' piece on Romney as a debater. Basically, Fallows looks at way too many Romney debates and sees a very disciplined, tightly messaged debater, but one who doesn't really get into facts and specifics.  Booman counters by noting that Fallows analysis completely elides the fact that Romney has taken so many contradictory stances and positions, that he'll be on the defensive in a way he wasn't at the GOP debates.

Anyway, get used to a lot more pieces about how Romney has really turned the corner.

The Toxicity Of The GOP

Not much has changed in three years...

People have a very negative opinion of the GOP.  Typically, GOP operatives think this is a messaging problem.  If they could just talk about how awesome the economy will be under Romney/Cantor/McConnell, then the American people will welcome them as liberators with candy and flowers.

The problem isn't how the GOP is getting its message across.  This isn't about the news cycle or the ads being run.  It's because Todd Akin is not out of step with the GOP position on abortion.  It's because Paul Ryan's plan to gut Medicare in order to give massive tax cuts to the rich was voted for by almost the entire GOP House.  It's because - as was tweeted by someone cleverer than me - "The Republicans can't even attract a female hurricane to Tampa."  It's because if you're Hispanic, gay or opposed to invading Iran, the GOP primary was a months long contest to see who could call you the worst names.  It's because the House has spent more time trying to defund Planned Parenthood than create jobs.

I will not watch the convention from gavel to gavel next week.  I'll try and catch the highlights, but I imagine what we will see is an endless parade of lies and mendacity.  They are going to obscure and warp the truth o what they really believe.  Take Todd Akin for instance.  What he believes is firmly entrenched in the GOP platform.  He and Paul Ryan co-sponsored bills that talk about "forcible" rape.  But watch them try and pivot off this.  Watch them lie about welfare and Medicare.  The welfare attacks have gotten so bad that they risk turning every single media outlet against them.  (OK, not Fox, I'm talking legitimate media.)

The question is: Is it possible to change people's minds about the GOP?  How deeply felt is the antipathy towards the Republican party?  Because if they can't change the conversation to something positive, they can't win the election.  Period.

Right now, the general mood of the American people can probably be  described thusly:

"I like Obama, but I'm disappointed we haven't turned the economy around, and I'm not sure what's in this health care thing.  I don't really care for this Romney guy, but he's a successful businessman and maybe that's what we need, but the rest of the GOP seems kind of crazy."

Romney needs to talk about something BESIDES Medicare and abortions and brown people, but his party (and his own pick of Ryan) won't let him.

Obama needs to do this:

Also, too: Romney is a terrible politician.  Good luck "messaging" around that in Tampa.

UPDATE: In related news, Romney has the support of 0% of the African American population.  Not within-the-margin-of-error.... Zero percent.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

God Will Not Be Mocked

Protestant Jesus is apparently sending a hurricane to Tampa to punish the Mormon and the Catholic.

As if Ryan's plan for Medicare wasn't punishment enough for Florida's seniors...

Angry White Men

The beginning of the end...

As an on-line anniversary present for my Lovely and Liberated Wife, let me just observe that the entire GOP seems to based around the primal scream of Angry White Men.

The Todd Akin thing is really about his clarification.  He recently admitted that the whole "legitimate" and "forcible" rape thing is about all the lying that women do in order to get those sweet, sweet abortions.  I mean, who WOULDN'T lie in order to get their uterus scraped with a stainless steel surgical instrument.  I, myself, intend to lie about my bowels in order to get some awesome colonoscopies.  #winning!

The idea that there is rape and "rape" is really about sexual power.  In fact, the idea of acquaintance rape or marital rape is explicitly about power.  It is not about a knife held to the woman's throat, it is about her fear and panic in the moment.  The AWM are basically pissed that anyone could accuse a man of raping a women when there was no weapon involved.  Absent fearing for her life, a woman is just having second thoughts.

The thing is, that's just a post hoc rationalization for being a sexual thug.

The advent of available birth control did alter sexual customs.  And it made pre-marital sex more common.  But the fact that a woman MIGHT have sex with a guy did not mean that should WOULD have sex with a guy.  And for some, that confusion was just too much nuance to deal with.  Then, we add in the whole Biblical subservience of women to men, and the idea that a husband or boyfriend could rape the woman in his life is literally incomprehensible to them.

So you can't help but wonder if a lot of these "forcible" rape assholes can't remember at least one time where the woman left the room in tears.  "But I'm not a rapist!  Rapists are usually blah people."

I have no idea if Todd Akin will win the Senate seat from Missouri.  He very well might.  Because there are an awful lot of Angry White Men out there.  They are pissed about women, pissed about how they have jobs and talk back.  These AWM might not actually watch Mad Men, but that Don Draper guy sounds like the bomb to them.

The AWM is also pissed that there is a Blah person in the White House.  They are pissed that the Blah President is "gutting work requirements in welfare" and "giving health care to those people."  They are pissed that brown people are coming over and taking jobs.  They are pissed that woman are falsely claiming they were raped in order to have sweet, sweet abortions.

Now every example in that above paragraph is false.  It's a lie (except the Blah President).  Obama isn't gutting the work requirement, Mexican immigration is down, women aren't running around making up rape claims.  (Some are, but I guarantee more rapes go unreported than are falsely claimed.)

But facts don't matter when you're angry.  Only your anger matters.  The Nixon Presidency and The Tea Party are monuments to the efficacy of political rage.

I hope that the rage slips out in Tampa next week.  Like the Akin comment, the electorate needs to see the ugliness that is at the heart of the modern GOP.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Let's Do The Time Warp Akin

The RNC no longer hearts Todd Akin.  At least not today.

So, walking embarrassment Todd Akin (R-Asshole) has until 5pm today to drop out of the Missouri Senate race against unpopular Democrat Claire McCaskill.  After that, things get complicated, as he will need a court ruling to drop out.  Presumably "I'm going to lose because I'm an asshole" is not a legitimate reason.

The polling hasn't moved, but then again it takes a few days for things like this to sink in with the public at large.  The RNC and just about any prominent GOP spokesperson has disavowed Akin, because they know they have a real problem with female voters.  It's both a problem of substance and image.  Akin's comments resurrect those problems at exactly the wrong time.  This isn't a Missouri story, it's a national story.  And it ties into Paul Ryan's plan to deny abortions to women who were "illegitimately" raped.

Akin is a problem and they want him gone.  They need to change the subject.  The RNC, RSCC and Crossroads have all said they will cut his funding off.

But the Tea Party likes him and the bigots at Tony Perkins' House of Psycho will back him.  Odds seem to favor him staying in the race.

So what happens in October when the race is close and Akin needs an infusion of cash to bury McCaskill?  You think the principled defenders of women that are Karl Rove, John Cornyn and Reince Preibus will continue to starve Akin of the cash he needs?

Yeah, I didn't think so either.

UPDATE: Another good point by Booman.  Akin has two unpopular positions.  First, he thinks that women who are "legitimately" or "forcibly" raped  don't get pregnant.  That's bonkers.  But it informs his second unpopular position: women who are raped should not get pregnant.  That's the official GOP position in their party platform.  It's a position Paul Ryan has taken repeatedly in his votes in the House.  As Booman says:

In any case, the offensive and toxic part of Akin's remarks was not his false theory of natural spermicide but his position that women should be forced to bear their rapist's children. And that's the position of the Republican Party. So, what's the big deal?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Austerity Doesn't Work, vol 17652


The difference between Ireland and Iceland is more than a consonant and a stretch of frigid ocean.

Iceland avoided austerity and  - despite being the epicenter of the 2008 crash - has recovered nicely.  Meanwhile, the PIIGS are being savaged by the Austerians.

Stupid reality...Always gets in the way of the theory.

Harvard Sucks

The professor at work.

Niall Ferguson - Harvard professor - did some writing about Obama in Newsweek.  Since he is a professor, he presumably applied academic standards to his writing.

Or, you know, not.

I especially liked the smackdown James Fallows delivered.

Ferguson has always been something of a contrarian gadfly, enjoying the outrage his statements can elicit.  But as the numerous criticisms of his article have pointed out, he's just been lazy and misleading and willfully deceitful with the facts.

And that is inexcusable as a teacher.

The point - the very point - of learning history is to look at facts, not invent them.  It is not to learn what year the War of 1812 began, it is to learn how events come to pass.  And in order to understand that, you have to look objectively at the facts.  Now, the world is complicated and trying to determine why things happened the way they did is hard.  And that's why history is interesting.  Because you get to argue and counterargue about why the US went to war in 1812.  What motivated the US? Great Britain?  What was accomplished?  What role did key figures play?  All of that is up for argument.

But not the freaking facts.

A few years ago, "Stephen Colbert" lamented that "facts have a well known liberal bias".  This was in contradiction to the Ron Susskind interview that noted that the Bush Administration "makes its own reality".

Apparently, the GOP has adapted.  They have simply denied the truth, warped the facts and distorted reality.

Don't believe me?  Ask Todd Akin.


I couldn't stop laughing at this.

UPDATE: This is worth a chuckle, too.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wait! What?

Well, the Missouri Senate race just got interesting.  Rep. Todd Akin apparently said that victims of "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant.  They have hormones and shit that send microscopic Christian paladins into her uterus to defend it against rape semen.  Well, legitimate rape semen.  All these "new" forms of rape that those women libbers dreamed up - date rape, acquaintance rape, rape by a lacrosse player from a nice family - those rapes don't count.  If you're not getting raped in an alleyway,Todd Akin thinks you're just playing hard to get.

Look, there are an onion's layers worth of dumbass at work here.

First, the idea that women have some sort of natural spermicidal abilities to protect them from rapists.  Second, the idea of "legitimate" vs "illegitimate" rape.  Third, well... just... DAMN!

Todd Akin's views about legitimate rape are no doubt shared by millions of Americans.  I'm guessing about 27% of Americans agree with Representative Akin on this.  I remember being in college when the idea of date rape began to be discussed openly and frankly.  I remember thinking, "OK, I got it.  No means no."  And then I got tired of being browbeaten by it.  But then you start to talk to women and the startling numbers of them who have been raped or sexually assaulted, and you realize you were being a self-centered little prick all those years ago.

In other words, you develop some empathy and grow the hell up.

Or, as a contrary plan, you could become a dumbass like Todd Akin.

And here's the thing, too.  Akin is - OF COURSE - a Tea Party favorite.  His combination of stupid and mean is not an accident.  It is a product of the takeover of the GOP by the John Birch Society and it's ideological minions.

And if you sit there and rationalize a way to vote for these evil SOBs, then YOU are an evil SOB.  If you convince yourself that Paul Ryan is a "serious" thinker on the deficit, and decide to vote for Republicans, then you are enabling the viciously stupid - like Todd Akin - to help set the course of this nation.  I don't care that Mitt Romney tried to be a moderate in Massachusetts.  I have seen wet paper towels with more tensile strength than Mitt Romney.

If we get a Romney White House, a Cantor led House and a McConnell led Senate, Todd Akin will be writing laws about what constitutes legitimate and illegitimate rape.  Bank on it.  Don't believe me?  Check out what the House has spent this Congress doing.  Not addressing 8% unemployment, no.  They've introduced dozens of bills about abortion and Planned Parenthood.

They have gone insane as a party.  The Republican party has swallowed the Old Confederacy and with it its grudges and racial resentment.  And this blackity black President with the Mooslum name has driven them absolutely insane.

Todd Akin is just stupid enough to say represent what those 27% really believe.

God help us all if they win.

I mean that.

Today Is Sandcastle Day

Competing in the Sand Sculpting contest.  We've done it twice at it seems as if everyone gets a ribbon but us.  Our "SpongeBob Redpants" was awesome, but again we were shut out.

If they snub us again (providing "Catch of the Day" has any artistic merit) I will go Al Pacino on them.

Photos to follow hopefully.

UPDATE: Yeah, we didn't medal again.  We're the Dan Jantzen of sand castling.
It's called "Catch of the Day".  It's a fish, being eaten by a seal, being eaten by a shark.  It was Thing One's idea.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Found "Texts From Dog" again.  It moved to Facebook.

Who Is Booman...

...And why is he stealing all my blog posts?

This is a much better analysis of Romney's post-truth campaign and the problems it forces on the Romney campaign.  Romney is being incredibly secretive about his plans and his past, but he's accusing Obama of a bunch of stuff that's demonstrably false, all the while saying, "Trust me."

Give it a read.

UPDATE: Meteor Blades, who is a very good blogger over at Kos, links to a study of the effect Ryan's budget will have on unemployment.  Guess what...?  How does 13% unemployment sound?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wow, And I Thought I Was Harsh

F-You, Paul Ryan

He wishes he was a real boy...not a puppet.

Paul Ryan, Republican member and poster boy for the Tea Party elements in the House of Representatives, got in front of an audience and claimed that Obama is the most "divisive and partisan" President of his 14 years in Congress.  I guess he forgot some of the following:

The impeachment of Bill Clinton for lying about a blowjob.
Bush v Gore.
Karl Rove's strategy during the 2002 midterms of tying Democrats to terrorism.
Lying America into a war with Iraq.
The smear campaign against John Kerry, questioning the Purple Hearts he earned in Vietnam.
Ignoring the drowning of an American city.
Sarah Palin saying that Obama "pals around with terrorists."

But mostly, he forgets (or ignores, more accurately) the meeting that Mitch McConnell had where he basically said, "Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct."  And then proceeded to abuse the filibuster process beyond recognition.

He must also have forgotten the conduct of Joe Wilson (R-Insane Asylum/South Carolina).  He must have forgotten Obama's misguided efforts last summer to offer the GOP a "Grand Bargain" that blew up in Boehner's face, largely because of - you guessed it, clever reader - Paul Ryan.

When Ryan blew up last summer's "Grand Bargain" he likely did the Republic the greatest service of his career, by the way.

But Obama is only "divisive and partisan" because the GOP has simply abandoned any pretense of working with him.  They simply cannot accept the legitimacy of a Democratic President.  But whereas Dan Burton was kind a fringe figure in the Clinton years (albeit an important one), Burton would be considered too moderate in today's GOP.  This is the party that routed Dick Lugar for working with the President on nuclear disarmament.  You know who else liked nuclear disarmament?  Ronald Reagan.

But screw all that.

Mitt Romney has found his perfect running mate: a telegenic hack with an obvious contempt for the truth.

This shit, combined with Ryan's blatant lying about his request for stimulus funds, shows that the GOP is really and truly trying to win with a "post-truth" strategy.  This is no longer a facet of Mitt Romney's personal hollow core - that echo chamber of absent beliefs - it is a party-wide phenomenon.


Why do business leaders hate America?

Like A Violin

And it plays just for Mitt...

The Obama camp is having some fun with the Romney campaign.

They basically held out what can be construed as a reasonable olive branch: Release five years of tax returns, and we'll stop hitting you.  Five, being less than ten but more than two, makes them seem reasonable.

Needless to say, the Romney campaign said, no.

The reason seems pretty clear.  Romney took advantage of a deal in 2009 (I think, I could have the year wrong) that allowed people with money squirreled away overseas to bring it home and pay no penalty for being scum sucking tax avoiders wise money managers.  Those are the tax returns that Romney doesn't want to disclose.

And, again, they must be whoppers, because this issue is killing him.  Over 60% of voters think he should be more transparent with his tax returns.  That would include a fair number of Republicans.

If he won't disclose his 2009 returns there really must be some ugly stuff in there.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pierce Again

Wow.  Too bad Charlie Pierce spends his Sundays on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me".  If he was on Meet the Press, it might be worth watching.


How do you defend yourself?

Booman makes a point that could be important come November.  Romney has taken political lying to a remarkable level.  It started with his selective editing of Obama's remarks, where Obama was quoting the McCain campaign in 2008 to describe his position in 2012.  It was so remarkably dishonest, that even the DC press corps called him on it.

Now, all campaigns spin the truth.  For instance, when the GOP calls Ryan's plan for Medicare an effort to "save Medicare" that's spin.  Medicare will not run out of money, it will just cease to be Medicare.  That's spin.  The Soptic ad is entirely factual, but it makes a case by insinuation.  That's spin.

But Romney has been remarkable in the overall consistency of his inconsistency.  There was the remarkable moment in the GOP debates where he made crap up about his own name.  Alone it means nothing, but within the context of saying things like "Obama is going to end the work requirement in welfare" or "Obama is going to cut $717 B from Medicare benefits" we see a pattern.

Basically, the tactic is as old as Goebbels' observation about the "Big Lie" (and no, I'm not calling Romney a Nazi).  If you keep lying, people get tired of calling you on it.

This is at the heart of Romney's "unhinged" attack on Obama for Biden-being-Biden.  In order to lie as much as the Romney campaign is, you have to work the refs, ie the press.  You have to caterwaul about how mean a meany mean old Obama is.

First, it shows the limitations on the new trend in "Fact checking" at newspapers.  Kessler in particular has been atrocious.  The pathological need for "balance" by saying both sides do it means that Romney can lie constantly and it's all the same because the Soptic ad implies that Romney "is the leading cause of wife-cancer."  Romney won't release his tax returns because they are obviously politically damaging, but Harry Reid is a liar for saying someone told him something.

Second, it leads to the sort of disgust with politics that will drive down voter turnout.  The more people vote, the better it likely is for Obama.  It's at the heart of the voter ID/poll taxes and voter roll purges that GOP operatives around the country are engaging in.  As Jon Chait has noted, this election might be the GOP's last chance to reverse the changes Obama has made (ACA, Dodd-Frank, various regulations) and capitalize on what is looking like the eventual recovery that will come regardless.  Demographically, they are screwed.  But win one more election and see if you can't rig the game to ride out the demographic trends.

I guess we'll see.  But the press has its limits.  Dana Milbank notes that what makes this season different is that, indeed, "both sides do it".  The Democrats are not going to lay down and get swiftboated.  He rightly points out that was what done to John Kerry was just as ugly - if not more ugly - than what is being done today.  Sarah Palin accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists."  What has made this election different has been both the complete POLICY mendacity of Romney - he's lying about factual things rather than just spinning them - and his whining about being hit back.

I think Romney looks weak as hell when he's whining.  His unfavorables are through the roof.  Obama's are still decent.  Romney simply cannot budge the personal unfavorable numbers at his convention.  But in Charlotte, we will see the old Obama, whom people still like.  Therefore, Romney's only hope is to tear down Obama's personal numbers.

Of course, the Ryan pick means that even if he DOES destroy Obama's favorability numbers, he still has to defend Ryan's extreme agenda.

But he'll probably just lie about that.  No, check that, he's already started.

UPDATE: Here's a good example of how well they are fouling the waters:

Mitt Romney is running the first Dadaist presidential campaign.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Good Plan

Maybe you heard?

So, a group of right wing military types are upset that Obama is saying that he was Presidenting when that bin Laden fellow got shot in the face.  How dare that Kenyan Socialist point out a fact like that?  It's almost as bad as when he says stuff about Mitt Romney.

I'm sure that Obama - who has not campaigned on his foreign policy successes, which are many - is really quaking in his boots about people bringing up the fact that bin Laden got shot in the face.  I don't listen to everything Obama says, maybe he is out there dropping a dead bin Laden into every speech he makes.

But even so, the fact that this fact is out there means that Obama is politicizing this event.  And we can't politicize national security, now can we?

Bad News In Philly

The Republican party makes its position on voting rights clear.

The restrictive Pennsylvania voter ID law was not enjoined by the judge.  It will be appealed.  But there isn't much time before the election.  About 500,000 voters lack the IDs now necessary to vote and most of them are elderly and urban.

It will be interesting to see if the federal courts get involved on the poll tax angle.

But the only way for Romney to win Pennsylvania is to disenfranchise enough voters.


When Robots Attack

Clearly losing in the polls, the Romney campaign leading into its convention has decided to "shake things up".
First they tap Zombie Eyed Granny Starver Paul Ryan for the ticket.

This inevitably leads to Democratic attacks on the Randian wet dream that constitutes Ryan's budget.

Yesterday, Joe Biden replaced Barack Obama as history's greatest monster by saying that the Vulture-Voucher ticket would take the chains off Wall Street and put them on you.

Apparently, this was a dog whistle and only GOP campaigns are allowed to do that.

Last night, Romney - who is running demonstrably false ads and has run some really seamy ads twisting Obama's words - accused the President of running the nastiest campaign in history.

It's difficult to determine whether this is a desperate attempt to change the narrative, whip up the base or just pure psychological projection on Mitt's part.

But it's not something a top of the ticket candidate should say.  That's what the surrogates and spokespeople are for.

Once again, to me, Romney looks weak and whiny.

Recall that everyone who runs against this guy winds up hating him.  Probably because of this incessant whining while libeling people.

Romney isn't Thurston Howell, he's Eddie Haskell.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Romney Ain't Got No Plan

It's all fiction...

Romney’s offerings are more like simulacra of policy proposals. They look, from far away, like policy proposals. They exist on his Web site, under the heading of “Issues,” with subheads like “Tax” and “Health care.” But read closely, they are not policy proposals. They do not include the details necessary to judge Romney’s policy ideas. In many cases, they don’t contain any details at all.

So says Ezra Klein.  And frankly, so says our entire experience with Mitt Romney.  Tax returns?  Retirement from Bain?  PLANS?  That's not for you people.

He's running an opaque campaign, hoping that not being Obama is good enough.  Take taxes, Mr. Klein:

Take taxes. Romney has promised a “permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates,” alongside a grab bag of other goodies, like the end of “the death tax.” Glenn Hubbard, his top economic adviser, has promised that the plan will “broaden the tax base to ensure that tax reform is revenue-neutral.”
It is in the distance between “cut in marginal rates” and “revenue-neutral” that all the policy happens. That is where Romney must choose which deductions to cap or close. It’s where we learn what his plan means for the mortgage-interest deduction, and the tax-free status of employer health plans and the Child Tax Credit. It is where we learn, in other words, what his plan means for people like you and me. And it is empty. Romney does not name even one deduction that he would cap or close. He even admitted, in an interview with CNBC, that his plan “can’t be scored because those details have to be worked out.”
Compare that to Obama’s tax plan, which you can read on pages 37 through 40 of his 2013 budget proposal (though not, it should be said, on his campaign Web site, which is even less detailed than Romney’s). In these pages, Obama tells you exactly how he would like to raise taxes on the rich. He proposes allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for income over $250,000, capping itemized deductions for wealthy Americans at 28 percent, taxing carried interest as ordinary income and more. The total tax increase, compared to current policy, is $1.5 trillion.

This is at the heart of Mitten's problem.  He has run as a cipher for his entire political life.  Now, by making a panic pick of Ryan, he can no longer be a cipher.  He owns Ryan's plan, and so does the GOP.  Which has a lot of GOP strategists very itchy.


The Romney campaign is accusing team Obama of reaching a "new low" Tuesday when Biden warned that without regulation, Wall Street would take advantage of the American people.

"Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they're proposing. Romney wants to let the -- he said the first 100 days -- he's gonna let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street," Biden said at an event in Danville, Va. "They gonna put y'all back in chains."

What?  Really?  THAT'S a new low?  Why?  Because it's accurate?

The Galtian overlords on Wall Street are the biggest WATB in the world.  Their feelings are more tender than a fourteen year old emo, who spends all their day in a dark room moaning about how the world doesn't understand them.

Josh Marshall like to talk about (the unfortunately named) bitch-slap politics.  (Seriously, Josh, come up with another name.)  But a lot of campaigning is being the alpha male.  It's about dominating, about making the other side look weak.  Romney's campaign seems to spend a lot of it's time in a crouch.

I'll let ninja attack spoks Stephanie Cutter take it from here:

Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for the Obama campaign, pushed back on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon. "I appreciate the faux outrage of the Romney campaign," Cutter said.

We all do, Ms. Cutter.  We all do.

The Bourne Legacy

Since I'm tired of writing about zombie-eyed granny starving, I thought I'd talk about the movie I saw last night.

The Bourne trilogy worked well, because at the center of it was a basic question that we shared with the central character: Who is Jason Bourne?  He didn't know, we didn't know.  That created a desperate void in the main character that drove him personally and the narrative as a whole.  The amazing stunts and chases and the usual tropes about secret government whozeewhatsis were all just ornamentation on a strong narrative need: Who is Jason Bourne?

The new film attempts to re-boot the franchise without that central question.  Instead, we basically get the story of yet more superhumans created in  government test tubes.  A kind of cynical X-Men scenario.

The character we are supposed to latch on to is basically addicted to the super-drugs that make him super-awesome.  He wants more so he doesn't become a moron again.  Which, I guess is laudable, but do we really need the idea that there is a pill that can short cut your path to personal improvement?  The film seems to function as an subtle indictment of a pharmaceutical company, while at the same time holding out the hope for a super-drug that can make us smart and strong.

It's not Jeremy Renner's fault.  He plays intelligently feral as well as Matt Damon played dangerously needy.  But this junkie's tale with elaborate stunts and locations doesn't work, because I don't give a damn about Alex Cross.  Jason Bourne's confusion about who he is and what was done to him, gives me a basic sympathy with him.  The loss of Marie in the second movie reinforces that.  Bourne is both potent and damaged.  Cross's character has lost that vulnerability.  The Flower for Algernon subplot never develops beyond - literally - a momentary look of confusion on Cross's face.  Then he gets his shot and all is cool again.

You can't help but compare this to moving from Sean Connery to Roger Moore, from dark and dangerous to light and frivolous.

Monday, August 13, 2012

No BFD, Just A BFD

America recently commissioned its first openly LGBT general.  Her wife put her stars on her shoulder.

Contrary to all the pants pissing cowardly talk of ending DADT eroding our military espirit d'corps (which when you think about it sounds kind of gay in the first place), the transition to openly serving gays and lesbians in the military has been smooth, professional and fabulous.

Which, come to think of it is exactly the same as marriage equality.

This is how change happens.  And it's kind of awesome.

Chum In The Water

How is it that no one else has noticed the serendipitous announcement of Paul Ryan for Veep with Shark Week?
Here quoteth the Quint:

Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black blue eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living… until he bites ya, and those black blue eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and they… rip you to pieces.
Sounds like a House Budget meeting to me.

(cross posted at TBogg's)

Behind The Veil

Romney's decision to pick Ryan was Romney's decision:

His political advisers were against the pick.  Romney was for it, because  Ryan's plan would insure that Romney pays no taxes he respects Paul Ryan.  What his political advisers know is that Ryan's plan is politically toxic, especially for a candidate that the electorate already thinks is a heartless schmuck.  Romney's unfavorables are higher than any presidential candidate on record.  And he has now thrown his arms around a budget that is arguably even more unpopular.

Paul Ryan is not Sarah Palin.  He is much smarter (without being really as smart as his reputation suggests) and a much, much better liar politician.  But he still represents a political risk and he still demonstrates something unfavorable about the top of the ticket.

Palin exposed McCain's impulsive, reckless side - which was only reinforced by the bizarre suspension of his campaign in October.  Ryan exposes Romney's inability to reach out beyond the narrow band of people that he is comfortable with.  You know, rich white people.

UPDATE: Gee, I wonder what his advisers were worried about?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Booman Says It All

So in it's entirety:

No One Can Believe the Ryan Plan is Real

by BooMan
Sun Aug 12th, 2012 at 10:08:18 AM EST
I just don't know how to respond to information like this. Matthew O'Brien is an associate editor at The Atlantic covering business and economics, and he's plugged Romney's 2010 tax returns into House Republican Paul Ryan's budget plan to see what Romney would have paid that year if the Ryan budget plan had been law. It turns out that "Romney would have paid $177,650 out of a taxable income of $21,661,344, for a cool effective rate of 0.82 percent."Meanwhile, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, House Republican Paul Ryan's budget plan would raise taxes on the bottom 30% of earners.
Now we can begin to understand why the Democrats discovered that people simply refused to believe pollsters who described the Ryan Budget to them. How could the House Republicans, under Paul Ryan's stewardship, propose to raise taxes on the lowest income people while effectively zeroing out Mitt Romney's tax rate?
Now, in fairness to Romney, he himself pointed out that wiping out the taxes on capital gains, interest, and dividends would zero out his taxes and would not be fair. But he picked Paul Ryan as his running mate anyway.
At a minimum, I think this puts in stark relief what the president has been dealing with. He suggests that the tax cuts on the very wealthy be eliminated so that we can pay down some of the debt we incurred by running the government with low taxes during a time of two wars and a massive recession. The Republicans respond by saying, "people like Mitt Romney shouldn't pay a 13% effective tax rate, they should pay less than a 1% effective tax rate."
And, remember, this is supposed to be done in the name of deficit reduction. If Romney paid 13% on 21 million dollars in 2010, then he paid around $2.7 million in taxes. Under the Ryan Budget he would have paid $177,650. So, we will reduce the budget deficit by giving Mitt Romney a $2.6 million tax break every year?
Who could propose such a thing? No wonder voters refuse to believe it.

A Howard Dean Sighting

The usual "balance" on Sunday talk shows is to have one Democrat and two or three Republicans, plus some press people who are assumed to be liberal because facts have a well known liberal bias.

Howard Dean was on ABC and made an important point as one of the few people on those shows who actually ran for office.

Election campaigns are not opportunities to educate.  All the handwringing from Peggy Noonan about how that ole meany Obama is going to "demagogue" the Ryan budget is just more Beltway fainting couch nonsense.  ALL elections are about demagoguing.  George Snuffaluffagus pointed out that while everyone was decrying the Priorities USA "wife cancer" ad (which has never run on TV) the Romney PAC is running a plainly mendacious ad about Obama gutting welfare reform.  It's an outright lie with thinly coated racism to appeal to the angry, white blue collar voter.

So, yeah, the Democrats are going to paint Ryan's plan in the worst light they can because no shit they are.  That's what campaigns do.

All the hand wringing about how mean spirited this campaign has become is simply because for the first time in a long time, Democrats are fighting as hard and dirty as Republicans have since Nixon.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Moment For Blackwaterdog

The blogger Blackwaterdog is an unabashed Obot.  She (I think it's a she) is a massive cheerleader for Obama.

Still, she can produce some pretty good homages.

Here's one:

Consolidated Ryan Hit Piece Thread

Even Ruth Marcus piles on:

On the mechanics of the announcement:

Jim Newell wins the Gold:


Under Ryan's plan, Romney would pay effectively NO taxes:

John Heilemann's fair and balanced meat cleaver:

Chait, Too

It seems like every left of center pundit had a Ryan hatchet piece in the drawer waiting for today.

Chait's is especially good, as he has been following Ryan's career closely for a few years now:

The meat:

Romney has made the risky but defensible calculation that, if he is to concur most of his party’s ideological baggage, he might as well bring aboard its best salesman. And Ryan is that. During his rise to power he has displayed an awesome political talent. He is ambitious but constantly described by others as foreswearing ambition. He comes from a wealthy background but has defined himself as "blue collar," because he comes from a place that is predominantly blue collar. He spent the entire Bush administration either supporting the administration’s deficit-increasing policies, or proposing alternative policies that would have created much higher deficits than even Bush could stomach, but came away from it with a reputation as the ultimate champion of fiscal responsibility.
What makes Ryan so extraordinary is that he is not just a handsome slickster skilled at conveying sincerity with a winsome heartland affect. Pols like that come along every year. He is also (as Rich Yeselson put it) the chief party theoretician. Far more than even Ronald Reagan, he is deeply grounded is the ideological precepts of the conservative movement – a longtime Ayn Rand devotee who imbibed deeply from the lunatic supply-side tracts of Jude Wanniski and George Gilder. He has not merely formed an alliance with the movement, he is a product of it.

Paul Ryan, Deeply Serious Thinker

Will Saletan has a noxious piece out on how "serious" Paul Ryan is.  (James Fallows suggests that there be a moratorium on referring to Ryan as "serious". Good luck with that.)  Ryan may have "left some details unclear" but he has "crunched the numbers".  I leave it to you to decide if that statement is so contradictory as to deserve condemnation or should just be left to stand as a monument to how "serious" William Saletan is.

Ryan is "serious" say the pundits, because he is "serious" about the deficit.  Why is he "serious" about the deficit?   Because he's willing to end Medicare as a single-payer system.  Because he's willing to end just about every social program that benefits anyone making under $50,000 a year.  Because he's insistent on cutting taxes for the rich.

Wait?  What?


That's it.  That's the sole purpose - aside from monitoring the vaginas of American womenfolk - for the GOP's existence.

But, surely Paul Ryan is a steely-eyed paladin slaying the deficit dragon throughout his long career in the House!

Or, you know, not: