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Rachel's Reality-Check for Republicans

This is what we need to repeat for everyone.This is Reality. Share it. Repeat it ad infinitum.

Make sure this reality - ~actual~ reality - is propagated everywhere. Help quench the pseudo-reality that the GOP, Tea Party, Libertarians & conservative "media" have been living in for the past 4 years.

We need to wake them up. We need this term to be the defining one - the one where our nation actually, truly begins recovery.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Update: Here's the transcript -

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night.

And he really did win.

And he really was born in Hawaii.

And he really is legitimately President of the United States, again.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.

And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.

And the polls were not screwed to oversample Democrats.

And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.

And climate change is real.

And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.

And evolution is a thing.

And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us.

And nobody is taking away anyone's guns.

And taxes have not gone up.

And the deficit is dropping, actually.

And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.

And the moon landing was real.

And FEMA is not building concentration camps.

And U.N. election observers are not taking over Texas.

And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.

Listen, last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons, but it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country, we have a two- party system in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides, both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. and we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea.

That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff.

And the if the republican party and the conservative movement and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum-sealed door-locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate about competing feasible ideas about real problems.

Last night the republicans got shellacked, and they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them in realtime, in real humiliating time, not believe it, even as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to is secede, they are going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not want to get shellacked again, and that will be a painful process for them, but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center.

You guys, we're counting on you. wake up. There are real problems in the world. There are real, knowable facts in the world. Let's accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let's move on from there.

If the republican party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation. and in that spirit, congratulations.

This is our opportunity to clearly, succinctly & competently set the record straight, wash the crap from the walls & floors & challenge any remaining denialists to step forward into the light of reason to begin anew as clear-thinking, reasonable adults.

Thank you.

Namaste. Make the jump»

Delusional & Deceptive: Artificially Created "Issues" Causing Real Problems

Originally posted as a note on my Facebook page.

The long & short of the ongoing "fiscal crisis" is that it is, at this point, an artificially manufactured crisis that is causing serious real-world issues. The delusion & deceptive "national conversation" that the traditional media insists on promoting isn't helping.

Case in point: a piece from the Washington Post1 makes the following statement:

Ideally, the budget environment for weather and climate research wouldn’t be an either/or situation. State of the art computing resources should be available to both areas.But during a time when our nation faces a fiscal crisis and the government is having to make tough choices about what the highest priorities are - leadership within NOAA and Congress should take a close look at the balance of resources...

There are a couple of things wrong with that. The first one that leaps out and grabs my face like one of the creatures from Alien is "during a time when our nation faces a fiscal crisis" - really? Simply letting the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich expire would substantially resolve that, but the fiscally feral Republican, Tea Party & Libertarian extremists keep pushing for more tax breaks for the wealthy...hoping, apparently, that the rest of the nation is either too pre-occupied or distracted to notice just how much damage that those tax cuts have done, or who has benefited. Make the jump»

The Politics of Disaster Capitalism, Extreme Edition

In Sunday's Abbreviated Pundit Round-up, Daily Kos editor and front-page contributor Mark Sumner notes via an excerpt from Byron Williams that the problem with our deficit isn't what pundits and politicians are making it out to be - and nobody appears to be listening:

Byron Williams says President Obama isn't standing his ground.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bipartisan federal agency that provides economic data to Congress, more than half the current deficit is attributed to the tax cuts during the presidency of George W. Bush and the two wars that were financed on borrowed dollars during the same time period.

It's not health care legislation, it's not TARP, nor is it the stimulus package -- the troika with which most seem obsessed -- it's the tax cuts and wars that many who sit at the table negotiating with the president supported, but have irresponsibly drawn a line in the sand in opposition to any revenue increases.

Republicans sank the economy and ran up the debt, now they're looking to capitalize from their own destruction. Don't let them.

If you're familiar with the title and premise of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, then you're familiar with how extreme - and dangerous - the current antics of conservatives and the Republican Party in general are to the well-being of our nation.

Contact your local news media (unless, of course, you're stuck with Fox) and demand that they start pointing out the realities behind the current fiscal issues. Recommend that they read Byron's column. Demand that they stop catering to the dialog that the politicians are refusing to correct. We need EVERYONE who can to work with us to force the media and the politicians (the ones who are still listening) to start driving the debate on getting actual issues addressed, instead of permitting the ongoing smoke-and-mirrors that characterizes what has become the typical game of "kabuki theater in a Potemkin village" that our Congress has engaged in.

Our nation, and our people, can't take much more of this idiocy.

 

Democrats selling ownership rights to the Koch brothers?

I had a rare morning, today, that didn't require two cups of coffer to fire me up for the day.

Instead, NPR provided the spark for my engines when they reported a piece on the status of hiring and focussed on government jobs.   And as has become routine anymore, NPR set the tone of the report with reference to an 'expert' at one of the Koch Brothers' agenda-laundromats, the policy factory of the Cato Institute.

Unfortunately I'm very short for time this morning and I could not devote the energy needed to ferret out the audio report with appropriate excerpts and analysis, for discussion here.  But it's the familiar talking point that government jobs and bureaucrats are unworthy, inefficient, and take what is rightfully due to the corporate person.

On what used to be the other hand, one of our ePluribusMedia friends added some nitro to my caffeine-free fuel mixture, elsewhere, by pointing me to a short piece @ Politico showing that the Kochs will soon hold a vertical political monopoly in this country, from the ground on up. Make the jump»

Michael Collins: Questions for The Money Party - Negative Job Growth for 11 Years

The Money Party is a very small group of enterprises and individuals who control almost all of the money and power in the United States.  They use their money and power to make more money and gain more power. It's not about Republicans versus Democrats.  The Money Party is an equal opportunity employer. It has no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. Democrats are as welcome as Republicans to this party. It’s all good when you’re on the take and the take is legal. Economic Populist

Negative job growth for eleven years is the best evidence concerning our economic troubles.  There were 135 million jobs in 2000 for a workforce of 144 million.  Today, there are 139 million jobs for a workforce of 154 million.  That represents negative job growth when you factor in population growth. Make the jump»

Keeping It Short

YouTube: 

Did I say "short"?

Maybe I meant "dwarfish."  All I could think of, as I watched the seven Republican hopefuls "debate" in New Hampshire, was of Doc (Ron Paul), Grumpy (Newt  Gingrich), Happy (Mitt Romney), Sleepy (Tim Pawlenty), Bashful (Rick Santorum), Sneezy (Herman Cain), and Dopey (Michele Bachmann).

Oh yes, and about the format, part of which makes them all so small.  The New York Times, in an editorial, calls the mash-up "full of historical error, economic obfuscation, avoidance of hard truths and even outright bigotry."  That it was, but that it was meant to be.  The ability to delve deeply into a topic, to consider anything of any real size or importance, has long been stripped from televised American presidential debates in favor of the show.  We've even reduced it to the level of the "reality" show, trotting out so-called 'average citizens' to ask questions. Make the jump»

Bill Maher - Facts about Republicans and Reality

While I'm not thrilled with the "How many muslims does a black guy have to kill before the crackers climb down off his ass?" - I would have preferred "terrorists" or even "radical muslims" instead of broad-brushing muslims as a whole, the overall takedown of the GOP is otherwise pretty good:

In essence, the GOP is neither a party of fiscal responsibility nor a party that's strong on national defense - it's a party that's strong on fear-mongering, ignorant self-service and self-propagation at the expense of everything and everyone.

 

 

"They're not just crazy, they're evil." - The GOP's Ongoing War Against the Poor

Via Susie Madrak on Crooks and Liars comes this stultifying new revelation:

They're not just crazy, they're evil -- and un-Christian, should they have the audacity to claim otherwise. If only we could force them to live like this, they wouldn't last a week:

St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.

[...Read More at Crooks and Liars...]

What's the vehicle that the Minnesota Republicans are proposing for this, and who will it affect?

House File 171 would make it so that families on MFIP - and disabled single adults on General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid - could not have their cash grants in cash or put into a checking account. Rather, they could only use a state-issued debit card at special terminals in certain businesses that are set up to accept the card.

[...Read more at Crooks and Liars or FightBackNews.org...]

The underlying "thought" process justifying this type of draconian, unConstitutional and highly offensive measure is an unfortunately common one among conservatives and teabaggers alike, from what I've seen. A recent example in the form of an exchange with an individual sympathetic to the Minnesota Republican efforts illustrates this nicely - below is my response to one of his excerpted comments, where he rolls the presumptive meme into his "logic" as a ploy to justify his "thinking:"

>> The reason these rules are put in effect is because the welfare recipients who have cash in their hand will buy liquer, drugs and anything else the want and are prohibited from buying under rules of welfare. Welfare money is for NECESSITIES ONLY. <<

You're making bad assumptions in your arrogant ignorance.

"welfare recipients who have cash in their hand will buy liquer, drugs and anything else the want" - whereas I know welfare recipients who do none of that, and need more than $20 cash to pay their rent or baby-sitter for when they have to go to the doctor.

Several welfare recipients I know of don't have or maintain bank accounts, so don't have checking accounts. When they get their checks, they cash them and then either get cashiers checks (which cost a fee) or make payments in cash to those facilities, utilities, transportation, child-care, medical, retail outlets and individuals who don't or can't accept welfare cards but who provide necessary services.

Just because you have no clue what it takes to live on welfare - or less - per day, per week, per month, that doesn't mean your ignorance is any excuse to make invalid, ignorant, arrogant and mis-informed statements as if they're based on fact.

What continues to amaze me, and shouldn't, is that even as the GOP's plan to further disenfranchise the poor and (shrinking) middle class becomes more blatantly obvious - both in terms of how damning it is for the nation and economy as well as for the affected classes of people - there are still many members of the poor who'd be directly affected by all this, and yet they are so agitated by frustration, conflicting messages and the constant onslaught of propaganda that they continue to vote against their own best interests...which, at this point, also serves to further worsen the GOP-spawned problems that got us into the worst of this mess to begin with.

 

Hat-tip Pulling to the Left for the heads-up.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Magic Legislation, Montana Alternate Reality Edition

From Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse of DailyKos comes this incredible tidbit of reality disconnect: Montana Legislator Proposes Bill Declaring Global Warming 'Natural' and 'Beneficial'.

Yes, folks, you read that correctly -- by simply passing a bill, the Montana legislature has solved the global warming "problem" and turned all the scientifically supporting studies into just another pile of worthless paper. Abracadabra! It's magic Montana legislation, not anti-science Republicans!

It's not some cataclysmic case of denial that further undermines our nation, it's the GOP coming to rescue us from the dauntingly dismal effects of unrestrained reality!

Huzzah!

...oh, and in other Montana news, "Glacier National Park has lost 83 percent of its glaciers, seasons have shifted, insect outbreaks have devastated forests..."

Good times, good times.

Now we just have to patiently wait for Montana's magic legislators to resolve the national jobs situation, fix the economy and do something about that pesky HCR.

In the meantime, keep doing whatever you're doing -- good or bad, Montana's magic legislators will fix it. And remember, this is an Open Thread.

Stochastic Terrorism

There's a term for the type of "rhetorical" behavior we've seen increasingly used to stir the pot -- the same type of verbiage and same concept behind the "who will rid me of this meddlesome priest" talk that put an end to St. Thomas Becket.

It's a term describing the actions of domestic enemies, domestic terrorists, zealots and radicals -- you know, Republicans and Tea Baggers. It makes its home among the hallowed halls of inappropriate political discourse, and calls forth the lunatics from the fringe whenever enough critical mass can be built up to trigger bloodshed, violence, chaos and destruction.

It's called stochastic terrorism, and it's a doozy:

__________

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.

This is what occurs when Bin Laden releases a video that stirs random extremists halfway around the globe to commit a bombing or shooting.

This is also the term for what Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and others do.

[...snip...]

The person who actually plants the bomb or assassinates the public official is not the stochastic terrorist, they are the "missile" set in motion by the stochastic terrorist. The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media as their means of setting those "missiles" in motion.

Here's the mechanism spelled out concisely:

The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media to broadcast memes that incite unstable people to commit violent acts.

One or more unstable people responds to the incitement by becoming a lone wolf and committing a violent act. While their action may have been statistically predictable (e.g. "given the provocation, someone will probably do such-and-such"), the specific person and the specific act are not predictable (yet).

The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm not responsible for what people in my audience do."

The lone wolf who was the "missile" gets captured and sentenced to life in prison, while the stochastic terrorist keeps his prime time slot and goes on to incite more lone wolves.

Further, the stochastic terrorist may be acting either negligently or deliberately, or may be in complete denial of their impact, just like a drunk driver who runs over a pedestrian without even realizing it.

Finally, there is no conspiracy here: merely the twisted acts of individuals who are promoting extremism, who get access to national media in which to do it, and the rest follows naturally just as an increase in violent storms follows from an increase in average global temperature.

__________

So, to answer the unasked question, "do you believe the constant, relentless use of violent imagery and rhetoric by Conservatives, Tea Partiers and their ilk is terrorism?" is "Yes. It's terrorism. A most insidious form of terrorism, with a long and bloody history."

OK? Good. Glad that's settled.

It's official! You're on your own

Michael Collins


Some of us have known this for a long time.  Some of us just found out and some will find out very soon.  There are few, if any,  elected officials who really care about our interests unless we're one of the few thousand ultra rich who control  Congress and the White House. Make the jump»

Open Thread - Uncompromise Starring Barack Obama

Mark Fiore has a recent animation up concerning how Obama has been reacting to the Republicans:

Fiore also has a newer animation up titled "Mad as Hell" talking about the people he is supposed to be reaching out to for bipartisan efforts. Open Thread, anyone?

Make the jump»

Obama to Switch Party

Michael Collins
(Satire)

(Washington) President Barack Obama has confided his plans to become a registered Republican some time before the end of the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress. Speaking to his inner circle, he lamented failing to bring the two major parties together. One of his confidants reported Obama saying, "It's really just one party anyway and clearly the Republicans have the confidence of the people. I can finish my original mission much easier within the GOP." Sources wouldn't elaborate on what that mission is. (Image: juvetson)

Obama clearly signaled his intentions through two recent tactical moves. He relented on ending the Bush-era tax breaks for the top 1% of income earners. The 3% reduction in the top rate accounts for over $1.0 trillion in lost revenues. Prior to the 2010 midterm elections, Obama hinted that he opposed a renewal of the tax breaks. It looked like the president might win this one with speculation that the tax breaks would likely die due to the post midterm atmosphere. Make the jump»

From A "Contract On" To A "Plague Upon"

First they took out a Contract on America. Then they weakened it, undermining democracy and freedom, crippling national security and taking away liberties, then they crippled the economy, the environment and our educational system.

Now, they're trying to call down a Plague upon America.

Make the jump»

BRILLIANT! Pelosi forces vote on Tax Cuts for Job Outsourcers, Idiots fall for it hook line & sinker

Speaker Pelosi pulled a brilliant move at the end of the last weeks legislative session.

House Democrats are home for a long Memorial Day break with a gift-wrapped wedge issue delivered just in time for district campaigning. One of their final actions before adjourning late Friday was passing a measure that would strip tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas by a 215-204 vote.

talkingpointsmemo.com

The Grand Outsourcing Party. Expect Dems to run on this come election time.

More brilliance below the fold. Make the jump»

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