Saturday Open Thread

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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28 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Is Not Giving Up 50 Years of Bigotry for This Guy

    Oh, holy mother of god, just stop this, please?

    Herman Cain’s “rise” consists of a win in a pay-for-play straw poll in Florida, and his ability to muster, at last count, 18 percent support in a poll of New Hampshire Republicans. And that’s pretty much the whole thing, unless you count getting yelled about by Al Sharpton on TV, which, I will admit, some people do. The notion of him as a transformational figure in black politics, based on his embrace of the shopworn notion of “the liberal plantation,” and the idea that a majority of the grumpy white folks in the old Confederacy are so far along on race that they’ll make him the nominee of the Republican party, makes me wonder, seriously, if we all just ought to take the next six weeks off and forget about politics for a while. With all due respect to John McWhorter, if he thinks Cain’s being black “doesn’t bother” the white reactionary voters at the heart of the GOP, well, he likely should just give it time. And please do better than hanging your argument on this:

    “One is that the connection between conservatism and racism has always been exaggerated — or entirely confected, in the view of some Republicans — by liberals. The case for the defense notes, among other things, that it was Lincoln, a Republican president, who freed the slaves; that southern ‘Dixiecrats’ were often outright racists; and that the first black senator of the modern era and the first two black secretaries of state were all Republicans (Edward Brooke, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, respectively).”

    Jesus God, man, read some history, will you? Or, otherwise, some conservative might come up to you one day and you’ll trade him your car for a bag of magic beans. If you don’t want to read, at least Google “Harry Dent” or “Southern strategy.” Republicans made a conscious choice to abandon the traditions that began with Lincoln and produced Edward Brooke in order to profit politically from the backlash against the accomplishments of the civil-rights movement and the remnants of white-supremacy, especially in the South. This wasn’t an accident. It was a shrewd — if amoral — calculation. That is how black voters came to be attached to the Democratic party; hell, it’s why Martin Luther King, Sr. stopped being a Republican. If you think that party is willing to surrender 50 years of profitable bigotry for the political phenomenon that is Herman Cain, well, you should take it up with the future of the GOP, Congressman J.C. Watts, or former chairman Michael Steele, who also represented the new multiracial party for a while. I also wish you luck with your beanstalk.

    Read more:

  2. rikyrah says:

    Qaddafi Was Worth More Than $200 Billion — By Far The Richest Person In The World

    Muammar Qaddafi was three times as rich as Carlos Slim and ten times richer than King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia — easily the richest man in the world.

    Qaddafi was supposedly worth over $200 billion with assets in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the world.

    This staggering new estimate comes from senior Libyan officials and seems to be legitimate, according to the LA Times.

    How did he get so rich?

    “King of Kings” Qaddafi had uncontested personal control over the largest oil reserves in Africa for the past 41 years.

    Unlike Abdullah and other oil-rich leaders, Qaddafi invested little money in national infrastructure like schools and hospitals or any kind of economic diversification. What money Qaddafi did spend went largely to buy support from African leaders.

    While much of this money was held by government institutions like the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Investment Authority, Qaddafi was able to withdraw money at will.

    Read more:

  3. rikyrah says:

    Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon reveal their twins on ’20/20′

    Mariah Carey is never one to do something without a certain degree of media fuss. The most recent example is the grand reveal of her six-month-old twins Moroccan and Monroe on ABC’s news program “20/20”.

    The pop diva and husband Nick Cannon met up with Barbara Walters to discuss the details of their marriage and pregnancy. During the interview, the singer reveals she was “afraid of the concept of marriage” after her first marriage to record executive Tommy Mottola ended in divorce.

    Following a brief courtship with Cannon, the couple wed. After first suffering through a miscarriage, the two tried again. This time around the singer says she changed her lifestyle and began using acupuncture to relax. She also said she used the steroid hormone Progesterone to help the pregnancy.

    As for her pregnancy, Carey says it was difficult and she had to endure long periods of bed rest, numerous false labors and frequent trips to the hospital. Toward the end of her pregnancy she says, “I couldn’t even go to the loo (bathroom) by myself.”

    When the children were delivered via Cesarian Section on April 30, 2011, it was true Mariah event. The singer had her husband play a live version of her song “Fantasy” in the delivery room.

    As for their future, the couple would prefer the kids avoid show business.

    “I want them to get a Ph.D.,” Cannon says.

    pic at the link

  4. rikyrah says:

    Can Obama Win as a War President?

    The Republicans aiming for the White House might be well-advised to pack it in on foreign policy for a while and cede the field to President Obama. While they’ve got a case to make against his economic stewardship, their national security critiques are increasingly at odds with the facts on the ground.

    The narrative from Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and other candidates is that Obama is a weakling who continually apologizes for America, doesn’t believe we’re exceptional, cedes leadership to other nations, mistreats Israel, and is overseeing our march toward lesser-power status. The problem with those narratives is that they are, for the most part, false — and obviously so.

    Obama has brought his party close to parity with the Republican Party when it comes to which one voters trust more to keep the nation safe. In a world ever more complicated, dangerous and economically fragile, he can make a strong argument that he deserves re-election based his record as commander in chief. That may not be enough to offset the pain of the recession and voters’ desire for change, but Republicans are bolstering his case in at least two ways: One, some are making unforced errors on foreign policy and two, as they court conservative primary voters, the GOP candidates may be misreading the type of foreign policy most Americans want.

    The operating assumption among most of them is that the public yearns for the good old bellicose days when George W. Bush divided the world into with us or against us, talked about the axis of evil, invaded two countries, and decided we would stick around indefinitely to rebuild them as modern democracies. Yet Obama’s election was a rejection of that approach. The public had turned against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and remains against them. People have even been wary of Obama’s limited deployment of U.S. military and diplomatic muscle in Libya, though it was in concert with NATO and Libyan rebel forces and there were no U.S. troops on the ground there.

    Now Obama has announced that by the end of the year nearly all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq, a move which Romney and Michele Bachmann attacked as a negotiating failure that put U.S. victories at risk, but which will no doubt seem overdue to some of the two-thirds of Americans who oppose the war.

    Furthermore, Obama has an unmatched record of targeting and killing terrorists and helping others to do so. The list starts with Gaddafi and Osama bin Laden, but it hardly ends there. ABC News includes nearly two dozen “senior terrorists” on a list it headlines “The Terrorist Notches on Obama’s Belt.” And Americans have noticed. A new AP poll finds that 64 percent approve of how Obama is handling terrorism.

    What’s more, whether it’s killing terrorists or navigating the Arab Spring, Obama has been for the most part quiet and judicious and has avoided igniting anti-American sentiment across the globe. The image of the United States abroad improved when he was elected and “views toward the U.S. and Obama remained mostly positive across much of the world” in 2010 and 2011, the Pew Global Attitudes Project reported last month.

    While there was a backlash against American power during the Bush presidency, Pew reports that now there are anxieties overseas about a perceived decline in U.S. power due to the rise of China and the troubled global economy. Republicans are trying to exploit that perception, which is also a nagging concern at home, and blame it on Obama.

    Obama is second to none in his talk about the need to out-compete China, and is increasingly accusing the GOP of blocking his plans to help America “win the future.” Still, this presents an opening for the Republican hopefuls, especially given the Democratic Party’s historically weak standing on national security issues. They also have an opening in Obama’s detached, low-key leadership style, which can mask the roles he, his administration and the country are playing on the world stage.

    The primary process will determine whether Republicans are willing to put up against Obama a nominee like pizza magnate Herman Cain, who was until recently unfamiliar with “the right of return” in the Middle East and the neoconservative movement on the right, botched an answer to whether he’d negotiate with hostage-takers, and says he doesn’t need to know who leads “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.”

    But even Romney, a leading contender, has a chink or two in his foreign policy armor. In a foreign policy speech this month, he declared Obama’s foreign policies “feckless” and said that as president, “I will devote myself to an American Century.” He pledged to make full use of soft power — diplomacy and leadership within alliances and organizations like the United Nations. Nine days later, however, he said Americans should stop providing so much foreign aid and let the Chinese handle it. As The Washington Post editorial board noted dryly, “It turned out to be a short century.”


    Libya has proven particularly unsettling to the field. Bachmann and Huntsman opposed intervention while Newt Gingrich and Romney have supported, opposed and everything in between. (Whatever Obama was doing at any given time, they disagreed.) Now the mission is not only a success, it is a validation of Obama’s strategy of targeted, limited engagement in partnership with allies.

    When it comes to Obama’s economic record, the GOP candidates are determined to make sure Americans judge him by the cold, hard realities of unemployment, foreclosures and falling income. But in looking at him as commander in chief and leader of the free world, they would prefer that people ignore what’s been going on in the real world. It brings to mind the old Marx Brothers joke: “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

  5. rikyrah says:

    A New Video from our favorite POTUS impersonator

  6. rikyrah says:

    yet, ANOTHER reason why he’s FORMER Congressman.

    good riddance.


    Alabama Voices: Should have supported voter ID law

    By Artur Davis

    I’ve changed my mind on voter ID laws — I think Alabama did the right thing in passing one — and I wish I had gotten it right when I was in political office.

    When I was a congressman, I took the path of least resistance on this subject for an African American politician. Without any evidence to back it up, I lapsed into the rhetoric of various partisans and activists who contend that requiring photo identification to vote is a suppression tactic aimed at thwarting black voter participation.

    The truth is that the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt.

    Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally-impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights — that’s suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don’t; I’ve heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I’ve been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.

    There is no question that a voter ID law, in order to pass legal muster and in order to be just, must have certain characteristics. It should contain exceptions for the elderly or disabled who may not drive, and as a consequence lack the most conventional ID, a driver’s license. There should also be a process for non-drivers to obtain a photo ID, and the process has to be cost-free, for the simple reason that even a nominal financial impediment to voting looks and feels too much like a poll tax.

    It is my understanding that the Alabama statute contains each of these exceptions and a few others, including a provision for on-site polling officials to waive the requirement if they attest that they know the voter.

    The fact that a law that is unlikely to impede a single good faith voter — and that only gives voting the same elements of security as writing a check at the store, or obtaining a library card — is controversial does say much about the raw feelings in our current politics. The ugliest, hardest forms of disfranchisement were practiced in our lifetimes, and its still conventional rhetoric in black political circles to say those times are on the way back. Witness a last-minute automated call to black voters in the 2010 general election by state Sen. Hank Sanders, an ingenious lawyer and a skillful legislator who knew better, but who also knew the attack would resonate.

    It also does not help matters that Alabama has become a state where in a general election, race is a prohibitive indicator of how 2.5 million registered voters routinely behave. If in 2008 or 2010, you had observed a white Alabamian standing in line in any precinct in the state, and you had guessed he or she was voting Republican, you had an 80 percent chance of getting it right — there are few safer bets in politics, other than the near 100 percent certainty that an African American standing in the same line is about to vote Democratic.

    Given those racial realities, any effort to regulate voting by a Republican-dominated Alabama Legislature will draw inevitable scrutiny. And Alabama hardly boosts its cause by passing an immigration law that ratifies every national jibe about us, and that has no real effect beyond putting a social fence around a certain class of Latinos. But demanding integrity in voting is neither racist, nor raw party politics.

  7. rikyrah says:

    found this over at THE OBAMA DIARY.

    It’s by ZIZI:


    October 22, 2011 at 11:16 am


    I have been thinking about the President’s actions these past six weeks and my lightbulb went off about a genius strategy that appears to be at play here. Hear me out and tell me what ya’ll think

    I think PBO is constructing a giant sinkhole for not only Republicans but the entire Permagov class in the beltway that will hurt the puppetmasters regardless of what happens to him in the election next Nov. And these puppetmasters like Rove are beginning to sense something is afoot, only they can’t exactly tell what.

    The Republicans and their 1% puppetmasters have placed their entire bet on defeating PBO on the hill of Economic angst; that they think voters will reward Repugs for a stagnating economy. I think PBO is calculating based on the current mood of the American populace that fine, if that is what Repugs want then he is going to make sure they reap worse than what they sow — a truly angry populace boosted with the ranks of large numbers of UNEMPLOYED returning Iraq veterans that cannot be quieted with the usual GOP pablum.

    PBO will bank on the usefulness of Occupy Wall Street’s infrastructure for potential massive civil unrest, the likes of which the GOP cannot fathom, still. There’s a reason that Romney is flummoxed. He is sensing that PBO is laying a trap for him whose contours he cannot yet fathom, hence his flustered lash outs at PBO. In other words PBO is turning REpug’s poison meant for him into hemlock that GOP itself will have to drink if they should win in 2012. PBO is giving Karma or the boomerang a hefty assist.

    Pres. Obama’s actions on the foreign policy and military front are also setting up a very shrewd dynamic. He is shutting down the war machine and imperial adventurousness. What does this mean? Well, should the GOP get into power, PBO is making sure that he is not gonna leave behind any OPEN military/foreign policy vessels for the GOP to fill with their nefarious content. If they want war or foreign entanglements they are gonna have to start from scratch and make the case to the American people themselves. And he is betting that in this economic climate the GOP will find that case very hard to make. The only way the Neocons can indulge their expansionist fantasies is if there is an existing hobby horse that they can ride while hoodwinking the American people.

    So, the GOP’s screams against PBO’s actions have to do with a lot more than jealousy or partisan potshots. It is a fear that PBO is closing the barn door to easy and UNSEEN funneling of defense dollars to the military money trough. Bush’s wars gave cover to siphoning those monies to wingnut cronies. Look at how difficult it has been to shut down Halliburton & Xe (formerly Blackwater) and other shadowy MIC interests? So PBO shuts down the wars instead, and fights missions (e.g. Libya) that does NOT need the services of wingnut hogs. Listen carefully to Lindsey Graham’s pained statements about both Gadhafi’s demise and Iraq withdrawal. his concerns are not about “America’s strength and power”. No, he is concerned about PBO slamming $$$ doors in the face of his cronies. Damn right!!! No HIDDEN rides. Quite a nightmare if you ask me. The smart Repugs know this and have thrown Romney out there to indulge his vanity.

    So no matter what happens next Nov, PBO will have a glorious 2nd term or post-presidency where he’ll be hailed and in hot demand globally for his foreign policy successes, while Repugs sweat it out with a super-angry electorate that will not be appeased with Koch bamboozlement, and certainly not SS/Medicare cuts, or flat tax, or Wall Street bailouts, or deregulation. A win-win proposition for PBO. Ha!

    And if the GOP are smart, they will let the man win his second term unhindered and regroup for 2016. But who am I kidding? They want power NOW, and PBO is simply making sure that if they get it they will rue it. Of course we who are not called Pres. Barack Obama will suffer badly if the GOP get their wish, so let’s make sure that nightmare does not happen.

    What say ya’ll?

  8. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 10/21/2011
    Obama is right to stick to withdrawal in Iraq
    By E.J. Dionne Jr.

    “The tide of war is receding,” President Obama said today. He’s right to withdraw our troops from Iraq by the end of the year.

    I am sure some longtime supporters of the war will criticize him for pulling out too quickly. But as Obama pointed out, we have been at war in Iraq for nine years. The situation there will never present a perfect time for withdrawal. We still have our commitment to Afghanistan. He is far better to stick both with his own promise and also to the agreement President George W. Bush reached before he left office to have our troops out by the end of this year.

    Moreover, the administration seems serious about building the U.S. civilian presence in Iraq. Whether you were for the war or thought it was a mistake, as I do, the United States should want to do what it can to preserve the progress Iraqis have made toward building a more democratic nation. The best U.S. role is assisting in institution-building, not in maintaining an indefinite U.S. troop presence.

    It’s also not clear to me how large a difference leaving a modest number of troops there would make. The risk is that they could get entangled in violence, which could then create pressure to send more troops and create an unhealthy, even dangerous, spiral. It’s time to end our engagement.

    It was appropriate that Obama made this announcement immediately in the wake of Moammar Gaddafi’s death. It’s worth noting that our intervention in Libya, which did not place U.S. forces on the ground, was not only successful but also left the United States far more popular among the Libyan people. Gaddafi would not have fallen without outside intervention, but he was ultimately brought down by the Libyans themselves. Is this not a far better model for democratization?

    My colleague David Ignatius made this point well in an important column:

    What was good about President Obama’s cautious, back-seat approach to Libya was that it denied Gaddafi the final, apocalyptic confrontation with the United States that he craved. Sorry, Moammar, but America was just part of a NATO coalition this time. Indeed, the denouement in Libya has been a good argument for halfway measures (or at least, half-visible ones). . . .

    Obama deliberately kept the United States in the background even when critics began howling for a show of American “leadership.” And most important, he was patient through the summer, rejecting the counsel of those who argued that he must escalate U.S. military intervention to break the stalemate or, alternatively, bail out.

    “The United States is moving forward from a position of strength,” Obama said today. The truth is we will be stronger for ending an intervention in Iraq that has cost us so much in lives, injuries and money. On this matter, at least, we really have “turned the page” that Obama spoke about so often in his campaign.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Why You Can’t Reach Mitch McConnell Right Now
    October 21, 2011
    By Sarah Jones

    Mitch is busy hiding out. See, last night every single Senate Republican (assisted by two Democrats and a traitor calling himself an “Independent”) filibustered the President’s Jobs Bill for no good reason except that Mitch and his golfing buddies don’t understand why you would want a job. If you really, really wanted one, they figure, as they fly over your foreclosed home with a smirk, you would have one.

    The President even took his jobs bill and separated it into teeny, tiny parts to be voted on individually in order to accommodate the Republicans’ infamous refusal to read long bills. Last night Democrats were attempting to get a vote to bring the part that would fund teachers and first responders up for a vote. In case you’re wondering, that was a no.

    But, lest you think Republicans are the party of no, they tried to force a vote on their own version of a jobs bill that would slash $30 billion from federal programs (I’m sure you can imagine what those programs are) just so they could whine that no one would play with them in their Randian sandbox. This “jobs bill” was one portion of the President’s jobs bill – a portion he put in to appeal to Republicans. See how they play?

    Every single Republican voted no on the motion to bring a vote on part of the President’s jobs bill because they don’t want to spend $35 billion to hire more teachers and first responders or keep the already employed from being laid off.

    Bad teachers. Bad firefighters. Bad, bad, bad! Oh, I kid, it’s not that Republicans hate teachers, it’s that they couldn’t bear the thought of the top 1% paying a 0.5% tax increase in order to fund these jobs. My heart weeps for the job creators. Who will stand up for them, against these assaults on their right to hoard money and not pay taxes? Get your violins ready, because this is just soooo sad:

    “It’s hard to understand why Democrats would block this bipartisan effort to protect jobs — a provision of the president’s bill,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a statement after the vote. “I’ve said a number of times in recent days that the president doesn’t want Congress to pass his jobs bill; he wants to blame Republicans and use it on the campaign trail.”

    Yes, but Mitch, but that’s not really what happened. And since when is the GOP for “protecting jobs”? I’m sick, not in a coma. Try it again Mitch.

    How about if Mitch calls it “a government jobs bill”? Does that make it better? No, not really, because Mitch and the Gang have taxpayer-funded jobs. True, the difference is that theirs pay super well and then there’s the perks, including free healthcare for life. So the only difference I can see between an evil government job and a government job is that some of us don’t deserve jobs. You know who you are. You people, standing in line for hours just to fill out an application to work for a Koch Whore are simply not loved by God like Mitch and his friends are.

    Too good for part-time at WalMart, eh? Republicans know that you’re really just going to buy some unnecessary item with that job, like insulin or something extravagant like working all month just to pay your mortgage. Shame on you! Don’t you people see how the other half is living, their jets downsized for appearances even as their bonuses doubled? You know nothing about sacrifices. Lazy cows.

    Mitch added that the Obama Jobs Bill would “impose a permanent tax hike on about 300,000 U.S. business owners and then use the money to bail out cities and states that cannot pay their bills.”

    Ohhhhhh……as if we were too big to fail. Yes, we can’t have that. And we certainly can’t have the very same corporations (aka:people) y’all FORCED us to bailout returning the favor. Oh, no. That would be so unfair.

    Today the mean old Obama campaign told the American people to get on the phone and call little Lord Mitchy, in order to ask him why he won’t even allow a vote on the jobs bill. They wanted to hear from us after we made the call – how did it go, they wondered?

    Since I have been dispatched to bed by fate but am finally feeling well enough to hit “call”, I had all day to try to call Mitch. All day, I tell you. But Mitch must be super important because his phone was busy. Forever busy.

    So, I can’t really let the Obama campaign know how my call went because as usual, I couldn’t speak to the man making decisions for the entire country via petulant obstructionism from his Senate bunker at Fox News. We must be kind to little Lord Mitch, though. After all, the President has shown up the Republicans again with Libya and naturally, we must all pay for their painful but persistent cognitive dissonance screaming that they just might be, in fact, both incompetent and dangerously, expensively wrong about many things.

    Republicans deserve pity, as they are no longer the party that can “protect America” and “keep us safe.” It’s been a long time since anyone trusted them with the economy. They don’t pay the bills they rack up when their guy is in power, so they’re no longer the party of responsibility let alone the party of fiscal conservatism. All they have now is hate: Muslims, gays, abortions, illegals. Sing it, people! It’s the Republican’s national anthem. Kinda has a ring to it.

    Sure, they have Fox to help them, but you can see that their platform has narrowed down to a quickly melting sliver of ice and when examined, suggests that they are in point of fact a religious cult, rather than a political party. For Mitch, who is not as stupid as he appears and at times sounds, this has to be slightly embarrassing on the rare occasions that his thoughts get carried away and leak out of the carefully constructed Fox World.

    Finding the Obama campaign script a bit too pleasant for my current frame of mind, I prepared a little script of my own, and since Mitch and the Republicans are too busy eating crow at their exclusive country clubs on our dime to pick up the phone, I’ll share it with you.

    Dial: (202) 224-2541

  10. rikyrah says:

    “Kerosene Maxine” Explained; Cain is “The Producers” 2011

    by Jason Johnson, Chief Political Correspondent

    “Kerosene Maxine” Explained

    I have long been critical of Maxine Water’s criticisms of President Obama because I felt many of them were steeped in deflecting attention from her own lingering ethics charges and because she was always an old-school Hillary supporter. There are plenty of things to criticize the president about, but in some ways the Congressional Black Caucus needs to take responsibility for their own lack of political fortitude as well (for example why did it take THIS long for a national jobs tour?)

    There is a great story in Politico about Maxine Waters (D-CA), her background and her relationship with President Obama. One of the reasons the piece stands out is because it doesn’t wallow in the “Obama’s got a Negro Problem” rhetoric of the late summer. Instead, it lays out several reasons – both political and personal – why “Maximum Maxine” has been throwing fire-bombs at the White House, putting her actions in the context of her entire career. It may not change your mind about either one of them, but you’ll know them better.

    The Producers 2011

    Finally someone gets my Producers reference, right! Last year when it was still possible to believe that Sarah Palin would run for president, I predicted that she would run a “Producers”– like campaign. In the original 1968 Mel Brooks film two producers convinced investors to give them millions of dollars to put on an extravagant Broadway show.

    However, they never intended to put on a real show, they actually wanted to put on a show so ridiculous, so over the top that it’d be a huge flop and they could run off to Brazil with all of the money they collected from investors. The perfect plan went awry though, when their play actually became a hit. Then they were stuck having to go along with the job of being known celebrities.

    I long believed that this year would have been the perfect time for Sarah Palin to pull off a stunt like that. She could raise a ton of money, give speeches and look ‘relevant’ even though she never really wanted to be president. However, if she stuck around long enough for Iowa she could keep the cash, drop out of the race and stay relevant. So, I had the right theory just the wrong candidate. Apparently Josh Marshal over at Talkingpointsmemo has figured out the same plot – only this time the Herman Cain campaign is playing the role of producer. Cain’s campaign was never really about running for president. It was a vanity run, (almost like a Trump run would have been) and selling books and raising his profile. Now due to a quirk of political fate in the form of “Oh-My-God-We’re-Stuck-with-Mitt!” he’s skyrocketed to the top of the primary polls even though he really doesn’t have a campaign apparatus anywhere in the country. Whether the “Black Steve Forbes” can handle being a front runner has to take a back seat to asking if he ever really intended to compete for this job to being with.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Herman Cain Might Be Anti-Choice But He Isn’t Pro-Life
    October 22, 2011
    By Dusty

    So Herman, can I call you Herb?

    You stated “I’m 100% Pro-Life” correct? You might want to just agree with me on this one statement because I found it in your Twitter feed from your verified official Twitter account. Okay good, let’s continue this discussion even though you also added “End of story,” because it can’t be the end of the story.

    Herman, I am not sure you quite understand that the position of President of the United States is a job where you answer to the people of the United States. You are not running for President of the United States Corporation. We’ll ignore the SCOTUS ruling that corporations are people too for the time being.

    When you are running for public office, the expectation is that people will want to get to know you and understand your views and positions. When you tack on ‘end of story’ to a position statement you are attempting to shut down the conversation. Quite frankly Herman, you are no Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann and we the people are already suffering from Palin-fatigue. We are exhausted from trying to translate her words into English, and Bachmann is just comedy gold right now so we ignore her as well for now. As long as Republicans, and you are one, are trying to regulate women’s uteri, you will have to explain yourself to the people of the United States because not all of us agree with the Anti-Choice crowd.

    It is past time for our voice to be heard.

    How in the heck is it possible to be 100% Pro-Life? Who gets to decide whose ‘life’ is more important? The woman who may have other children at home who need her or is it her spouse who only wants a ‘son’ and doesn’t care about the little girls at home waiting for mommy to come home? Or in your world is it the medical professional who is overworked and hates women? Or better yet, will you create a department in Homeland Security called the Uterus Patrol and require all medical professionals to call in to get governmental approval for a medically necessary abortion? Or will a woman’s neighbors and enemies call in to report a possible abortion so you can have them investigated and charged with a crime? I guess you could do that, just market it as part of your “job creation” package.

    In your mind it really doesn’t matter because I suspect that you are only in it for the sound bite and campaign cash that comes from the Anti-Choice radicals. Tell me this, who is going to care for the child? In your world, there are no social services left in place because we have to cut spending and balance the budget first. But if you are 100% Pro Life, why doesn’t the woman’s life matter or for that matter why don’t the children left behind when their mom dies matter 100%. Why doesn’t that woman’s possible future matter? Why doesn’t the child who will be forced to term for a woman who did not chose to be pregnant and cannot mentally accept that child matter? If you do not have in place a safety net that protects everyone, no matter their circumstances, then you have no right to force a woman or a child to conform to your beliefs.

    You will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood as well? Why in the world would you do that? How can you be 100% Pro-Life when you would kill the funding for a program that provides health care services to millions of people who otherwise would not have access to health care? This decision alone would contribute to death of thousands who would not have had to die.

    I suppose you are also all for the Constitutional amendment that states life begins at conception which would make all forms of birth control illegal?

    How are you 100% Pro-Life when you made that completely insane statement about the electric fence between the United States and Mexico? So apparently you are only 100% Pro-Life when it comes to American Citizens not any of those pesky folks south of the border. I really shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you do know there are other ethnic groups in the US beside just white and black right? I am pretty sure Hispanic Americans aren’t too happy with you or your position, especially when you are advocating for the harming of their fellow man. Heck, Herman, I am not happy with you at all but that is really not the point right now.

    Do you even have a clue where I am going with this Herman?

    The correct answer when asked for your stance on abortion, woman’s health concerns and Planned Parenthood should be this: “The government has no business trying to regulate a woman’s uterus and should be supportive of its citizen’s right to make their own medical decisions. It is time to take politics out of the woman’s uterus and leave it right where it belongs in the hands of the woman.”

    It is time to take the Anti-Choice Movement out of pockets of politicians and put it back under the rock it crawled out under. Until the government regulates a male’s penis and the choices men make with said penis, it is time to get the hell out of a woman’s uterus and back to the job at hand, no pun intended. Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

    When you say you are 100% pro-life and that is the “end of story,” you are quite mistaken. The birth of a child is just the beginning of the story, and you seem to want nothing to do with that part of the story.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Latino Decisions: GOP Candidates Flat

    The new impreMedia/Latino Decisions (IM-LD) poll, co-sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, revealed these results. It also showed these voters are very unfamiliar with the Republican candidates and do not have a favorable image of those candidates they know about.

    “Republicans have a great challenge ahead when it comes to the Latino vote,” said Matt Barreto, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and an advisor for Latino Decisions. “This poll shows they must conduct an intensive campaign if they want to attract part of the Latino vote, since for now, the majority of these voters don’t even know them.”

    Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are among the best known candidates in the group of eight; despite this, 46% have no opinion or have never heard of Romney, and 40% have never heard of Perry. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and apparent favorite to clinch the nomination, is favored by 28% of Latino voters, while 25% have an unfavorable impression of him. The rest do not know who he is or have no opinion. Perry, who as governor of Texas would be the closest to Latinos in the Republican primaries, is someone few of the country’s Latino voters know: 40% of them have no idea who he is. Likewise, his approval level is abysmal and still lower than Romney’s at 22%. His level of disapproval is higher: 39%. Full poll results here.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Continue To Punish America For Electing Barack Obama

    In every country on the planet there are elements within and outside the halls of power that work to subvert the government and inflict damage on the population for a self-serving cause. In countries like Libya, Muammar Gaddafi perpetrated untold horrors on his fellow countrymen to maintain his hold on power that eventually led to his overthrow and death at the hands of the people who could tolerate no more death and destruction from a despotic leader. The election of Barack Obama has exposed a class of Americans who are as evil as Gaddafi and now that their veil of secrecy has been lifted, they have overtly stated their goal to destroy America and its citizens at any cost.

    The recent tea party mandate that their members sign a pledge to abstain from hiring new employees to protest President Obama’s attempt to create jobs and raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans is, although despicable, the latest overt representation of government subversion and continued torture of the American people the Republican Party has perpetrated quietly since Ronald Reagan was president. The Tea Party Nation sent out a rambling, anti-American letter to approximately 30,000 members that ended with the pledge: “I, an American small business owner, part of the class that produces the vast majority of real, wealth producing jobs in this country, hereby resolve that I will not hire a single person until this war against business and my country is stopped. I hereby declare that my job creation potential is now ceased.” If the American people had any reservations that the teabaggers and their masters in the Republican Party were deliberately sabotaging the economy for political reasons, this letter should quell any misgivings that America is perilously close to falling to corporate greed at the hands of conservatives and religious fundamentalists.

    In the letter to members, several resolutions accuse President Obama of seizing dictatorial power to bypass Congress with the help of Senate Democrats, Hollywood, Leftists, Progressive Socialists, and the liberal media. The teabagger leaders claimed the Senate has refused to impeach the leaders who are committing treason by advancing an “anti-business, an anti-free market, and an anti-capitalist (anti-individual rights and property ownership) agenda.” The assertions can best be translated; Obama is not doing what we demand. Of course, the we in this instance are libertarians, Christian fundamentalists, and Republicans owned and operated by corporations and wealthy neo-conservatives. The teabaggers are under the control of the Koch brothers who most certainly penned the letter because it reflects the mission statement of Koch Industries and their secret policy meetings for wealthy industrialists and Republicans’ corporate masters.

    By now, it is hardly a secret that Republicans have taken every step to subvert the economy to portray President Obama as an ineffective leader. It is also no secret that Republicans are intent on transforming the country into a plutocracy with theocratic rulers who will privatize the government to further enrich the industrialists’ wealth and power. There is absolutely nothing Republicans have done since President Obama’s inauguration that helps the American people, and in fact, they have used every means possible to cause pain and suffering for 98% of the population. A brief perusal of the current Republican presidential candidates exposes more anti-American policies that if enacted, will elevate the wealthy class to a position of power this country has never witnessed.

    Willard Romney has proposed giving the wealthy more obscene tax breaks that will add nearly $6 trillion to the national deficit and send the middle class and poor Americans into abject poverty with no hope of ever escaping. Herman Cain, a Koch brothers’ devotee and recipient of support from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) credits a “businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his “9-9-9″ plan to rewrite the nation’s tax code.” The Koch brothers’ front group, AFP, promotes and lobbies for lower taxes, less government regulation, and nearly no government spending. Other Republican presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Richard Perry have promoted eliminating corporate taxes, environmental regulations, and government spending except for corporate and oil industry entitlement programs. All of the Republican hopefuls have offered nothing for 98% of the American people except bans on contraception, anti-gay legislation, and tax increases to fund the wealthy’s tax cuts.

    The teabaggers and Republicans are out to effectively subject the American people to a theocratic plutocracy that will send the majority of Americans into poverty. The Republican-controlled House has attempted to cut funding to programs that help the majority of Americans as well as stifle job creation to keep more Americans unemployed and destitute. They are no better than the evil dictator Muammar Gaddafi who tortured his own people to maintain his hold on power. Although the Libertarians masquerading as Republicans cannot yet inflict physical torture on the American people, they are doing the next best thing by literally starving millions of Americans to death to gain total control of the government. However, the Occupy Wall Street movement may be on the verge of thwarting Republicans’ efforts by bringing attention to the corporate malfeasance the GOP has enabled over the past thirty years.

    The teabagger letter mentioned above singles out the Occupy Wall Street movement and worldwide anti-corporate sentiment as a threat to America’s corporatist takeover and cite them as yet another reason to cease all hiring. There are over 14 million unemployed Americans who are being punished by Republicans and teabaggers because an African American man is president who refuses to follow the commandments of Libertarians and neo-conservatives who have no other desire than to collapse the government. Make no mistake, the goal of collapsing this country’s government it two-fold; first, to install a theocratic leadership and second, to sell ownership of the people’s government to private corporations who will control the military, schools, transportation system, Supreme Court, and both houses of Congress. At that point, there will be nothing standing in the way of physical torture, imprisonment, indoctrination, and subjection of every person in America who is not one of the 400 wealthy families who control 90% of the nation’s wealth.

    For now though, their plans are in jeopardy from the Occupy Wall Street movement and Americans who are sick of banks, Wall Street investors, and corporations torturing 99% of the population. After thirty years of corporate control with Republican support, America stands at the threshold of becoming a true democracy like Libya and Egypt. The conservatives had better hope that they fare better than Muammar Gaddafi because if they continue torturing Americans, they will face the same fate as their comrade-in-torture, and they will deserve to suffer the same brutal demise.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Gifford’s Shooter an OWS Supporter?

    by Steven D
    Sat Oct 22nd, 2011 at 01:26:31 PM EST

    We’ve seen a lot of really low blows over the last decade by Republicans and conservatives against Democrats, Progressives and Liberals. We’ve Been Called Marxists, Fascists, Gun Thieves, Traitors, Lazy Dirty F***ing Hippies, Out of Touch Hollywood Liberals, Baby Killers, Marriage Destroyers, and generally anything that denotes Evil. But this statement by Former Reagan Under Secretary of Education, Former Political Candidate and Outspoken Christian Gary Bauer that Jared Lee Loughner, the man who “put a cap” through Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords’ head in an attempt to assassinate her and who did murder six other people “would fit right in with Occupy Wall Street” is in a category all its own:

    As it turns out, the assassin, Jared Loughner, was an apolitical radical who would fit in well with the Occupy Wall Street movement,” Bauer wrote. “A friend told ABC that Loughner was heavily influenced by a movie called ‘Zeitgeist.’ One left-wing reviewer described the movie as containing three central points: ‘Religion in general, and Christianity in particular, are systems of social control. 9/11 was an inside job… And, finally, International Bankers … control our money and our future…’”

    Bauer knows that the OWS movement has been non-violent and peaceful. He also knows that the people primarily committing the violence have committed that violence against the OWS protesters. The violence has been committed by law enforcement officials. He knows this, and yet he is so enamored of Wall Street Criminals that he has been busy painting OWS as composed of anti-semites. No surprise then that he was willing to smear the thousands of people attending and supporting the Occupy Movement protests by comparing their methods, grievances and demands to those of a deranged mass murderer who targeted a Democratic Congresswoman and her supporters.

    By the way, for those of you who have not visited the the OWS website here is what they say themselves about their movement:


    Nor do any of the various OWS videos show violence by OWS protesters against those who do not share their political views, such as this guy stomping the head of a liberal activist at a Rand Paul Rally last year:

    No. The Occupy Movement has preached non-violent resistance. As a result they have been unlawfully arrested for attempting to close their Citibank accounts, beaten by fists and batons, run over my police motorcycles and horses, and pepper sprayed in their eyes for peacefully exercising their rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble under the First Amendment. Mr. Bauer is — how shall I put this? — pond scum. He knows it, too. But desperate to stop the Occupy Movement at any cost, he brought up the name of a mentally disturbed man, a mass murderer and an attempted assassin and claimed this is a man representative of all the people involved in the Occupy Movement that is spreading across the United States and around the world. Mr. Bauer, if you want to know who represents the Occupy Movement, go to this website. People like this woman:

    Take a look at the messages they are leaving for all to see. They have nothing in common with the actions or motives Jared Lee Loughner and for you to dare to claim that they do is a slander against all of them. Against all of us.

    Mr. Bauer, you claim to be a Christian. Lying and bearing false witness is a violation of the ten commandments. Maybe you forgot that part of the Bible in your zeal to protect the people who ruined the global economy, received Trillions of dollars in bailouts from our government. People and corporations who are making obscene profits at a time of extreme misery and suffering for millions of others who lost their jobs, their homes, their health care and their savings as a result of the actions of these amoral con artists. People who continue to go unpunished for their crimes.

    Mr. Bauer, you can go to Hell. I think you and Satan would get along famously.

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Protests are Irrational, But So What?

    by BooMan
    Sat Oct 22nd, 2011 at 12:08:03 PM EST

    Strangely, I both agree and disagree with Matt Yglesias at the same time. At the most fundamental level, I think that Occupy Wall Street is an irrational protest. So, I wouldn’t call it a rational response. But it is an appropriate response to our current political circumstances. It might seem like a semantic distinction, but it’s an important one. The reason people are acting irrationally is because it has become clear that all rational responses are blocked. For those of us who have sought to bring about needed changes through the ballot box, we’ve seen our hopes dashed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United, which makes it impossible for the small-donor model to compete with corporate cash. Further, we’ve seen that even with healthy majorities in both houses of Congress and a progressive-minded administration, we can’t craft solutions to the left of Senators Ben Nelson and Olympia Snowe. The system is rigged against us to such a degree that it’s hard to maintain hope in our strategy’s likelihood for success. And then we have to fight a rearguard action against the right’s national program of voter suppression. We know things can and will get substantially worse if the president is not reelected, but we have little reason to believe things will get better if he is. This is a byproduct of the Republicans’ unprecedented willingness to obstruct and demagogue every important issue facing the country.

    Therefore, a huge portion of the left, and even the center, has given up on the electoral process, and that is why the Wall Street protests aren’t timed to the legislative calendar or coordinated with the administration or the Democratic Party. Their demands are nebulous and unformed because the moment something is made specific it becomes clear that it can’t happen.

    People with an organizing background are ambivalent about these protests, which have some of the hallmarks of failed organizing efforts of the past. The effort to lead through consensus, for example, has not historically worked out very well. Yet, without an alternative to offer, it’s hard to argue against the idea that something needs to be done, some effort needs to be made, some gesture, no matter how futile, is required. And the mobilization of lots of young people will probably bear fruit in the future.

    In order to be a rational protest, it would need to be more focused and have some kind of direct goal. It would need a logical path from here to somewhere better. These protests don’t have that. But that doesn’t mean that circumstances don’t call for an irrational response. The word “irrational” carries some negative connotations, among which is stupidity. These protests aren’t stupid. This isn’t a bunch of people asking the government to keep its hands off their Medicare. As frustrated as I am that the left has basically given up on the fight in Washington, given the gridlock and hopelessness of breaking it, it would be stupid to tell people we can solve our problems legislatively or electorally.

    Of course, those are the only ways we can change the tax code or hold the banks accountable, but we have no hope of doing that in the near future. With no rational way forward, the irrational route is suddenly justified. It has to be better than the alternative, which is apathy.

    And one key to remember here is that the protesters are not, in general, making radical demands. They’re not making irrational demands. They’re reacting to a system in which entirely modest and reasonable demands have no hope of being met.

    That’s McConnell’s plan. Kill hope and thwart change, and the president will fail. As long as people keep their eye on that ball, I have no problem with the Wall Street protests

  16. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:34 PM ET, 10/21/2011
    Iraq War to end. Have Dems wiped out GOP’s national security advantage?
    By Greg Sargent

    Obama would not be president today if it weren’t for the Iraq War. Hillary Clinton’s inability to explain her vote for the invasion — and Obama’s well-known speech against it — were what enabled a political unknown with little experience to snatch the nomination from a seemingly unbeatable national figure who had actually lived in the White House. Obama’s rise came at a time when Democrats were deeply divided over how aggressively to confront the Bush administation over the Iraq debacle. His victory in the primary represented the triumph of the party’s antiwar wing — which supposedly had been responsible for Dem weakness on national security issues for decades — and a defeat for the “hawkish” wing of the party that insisted the best way to be seen as “tough” on national security was to cede the argument over it to Republicans.

    The argument both Hillary and McCain made against Obama was that he was too green and naive to handle seasoned world leaders and foreign policy crises.

    How odd it is, then, that Obama’s announcement today that all U.S. forces will return from Iraq by the end of the year looks like the latest in a series of national security victories that have essentially wiped away the GOP’s advantage on the issue?

    A lot of debate is centering today on whether the announcement will or won’t help Obama in the 2012 election. Ben Smith gets it right on this point, I think, arguing that it may contribute to generally positive impressions of his character and steadfastness, though the economy is ultimately going to loom largest. But beyond Obama’s reelection, it’s worth asking whether Obama’s string of victories on foreign policy will have a more far reaching effect by putting an end to the GOP’s dominance on the issue for a long time.

    Putting aside the entirely legitimate liberal criticism of Obama’s prosecution of the war on terror, his penchant for secrecy and his disappointing civil liberties record, the Obama administration got Bin Laden, decimated Al Qaeda, and helped set in motion the fall of Gaddafi. He has done this while taking steps to improve relations with the broader Muslim world and, now, while essentially ending the Iraq War, which once was the most polarizing issue in this country. His outreach to the Muslim world and initial opposition to the Iraq War once got him branded as weak, but in light of his larger record anyone pointing to these things as signs of softness on national security will come across as hollow, spiteful, and unpersuasive.

    In other words, Obama has completely scrambled the traditional calculus. GOP criticism of Obama’s policy on Libya — and Mitt Romney’s criticism of Obama’s announcement today — sounds confused and incoherent. The neocons seem to have lost their grip on Republican candidates and officials, with many of them now veering between ill-defined isolationism and a desire to avoid foreign policy completely. The GOP seems rudderless on the issue. Obama gets consistently high marks on his handling of terrorism — and his success on that front has already enabled his campaign to go on offense against Republicans.

    Foreign policy, of course, has receded in the minds of voters because of the economy. When the focus returns to foreign policy and national security we’ll have a clearer sense of just how much Obama has changed the landscape on these issues. But it’s worth appreciating how unlikely it seemed only a few years ago that he, of all politicians, would be the one to shift it to the degree he did so far.

  17. rikyrah says:

    October 22, 2011 10:45 AM
    Governing with a free hand

    By Steve Benen

    Yesterday, we discussed why President Obama has found it far easier to oversee foreign affairs than domestic affairs, and why his successes in the former area haven’t been duplicated in the latter. The key, I argued, is that the president can largely operate with a free hand when it comes to foreign policy, but has to deal with a broken Congress here at home.

    This led to an interesting email from a reader who argued I was pointing in a dangerous direction. The problem, she said, is that I was making the case against checks and balances — when Obama wants a worthwhile jobs bill, he can’t have one because Congress is ridiculous, but when Obama wants to end the Gadhafi regime or take out al Qaeda’s leadership, he can act decisively and effectively.

    When it comes to domestic policy, the reader argued, the president has to put up with the messiness of American democracy and the machinery of Washington policymaking. When it comes to foreign policy, the president can circumvent the Hill and, it turns out, actually get quite a bit done.

    But if I (or anyone else) like to see a leader capable of making decisions and enacting policy all on his or her own, the reader argued, I’m effectively arguing for fewer checks and more power in the hands of the executive.

    That’s not the point I was trying to make, so let’s revisit.

    The observation here has to do with understanding why Obama finds it easier to thrive in international affairs than on domestic policy. I imagined some voters asking, “Why can’t the president’s domestic record be just as good?” The point was to offer an explanation.

    Jon Chait had a related point yesterday afternoon: “Obama’s handling of domestic affairs is the subject of endless recriminations, and his foreign-policy conduct is among his strongest assets. What in the name of Jeremiah Wright brought about this strange turn of events?”

    One answer can be found in the juxtaposition of a second Obama triumph that occurred yesterday: He finally got his Commerce secretary confirmed. You probably didn’t hear, because it doesn’t matter, which is the point. Last June, Obama named John Bryson as his Commerce secretary. Senate Republicans, despite harboring no objections either to Bryson or to his unimportant department, nevertheless held up the appointment for months in order to demand the signing of several trade deals. When Obama signed those, they made other demands.

    They finally confirmed him yesterday — the same day Qaddafi was killed, and the day before Obama announced the final pullout of American troops. The striking contrast is the relative ease with which Obama pulled off these respective feats. At the snap of his fingers he can start a war or end one. But try to install a bland functionary into an unimportant domestic position, and he’ll be ensnared in months of controversy and inertia. This is the current state of “separation of powers.”

    Republicans have the same whatever-you’re-for-we’re-against incentive on foreign policy as they do on domestic policy…. The difference is that Obama can simply do whatever he wants. This makes him look strong — no endless pleading with Congress — and allows him to craft the exact policies he wants, as opposed to half-measures that can attract 60 Senate votes and a House majority. When Obama tries to craft international coalitions to support his policies, he is negotiating with leaders who have different interests than his, but ultimately share a common interest in peace and prosperity. On domestic policy, Obama has to deal with leaders engaged in a zero-sum contest for power, understanding full well that anything that helps Obama hurts them.

    Of course I want checks and balances, as well as legislative oversight over the administration (any administration). My goal was to highlight a fact about the nature of competing attempts at governing. If Americans want to understand why Obama is excelling in foreign policy and struggling with advancing a domestic agenda, this is the reason why. In international affairs, the president can assemble experts, weigh the evidence, consider the consequences, and make a decision. Watching a bill become (or fail to become) a law is a very different ordeal.

    Would I like a more constructive domestic policy process with fewer choke points? Absolutely. Congress needs institutional reforms in a big way. But I’m not suggesting for a moment that we have one chief executive who can act with a free hand in any area of public policy.

  18. rikyrah says:

    October 22, 2011 10:10 AM
    Cain struggles to get his abortion story straight

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain caused himself all kinds of trouble this week when he told a national television audience that he’s against abortion, but it’s “not the government’s role or anybody else’s role” to intervene in reproductive decisions. Cain said this is “ultimately a choice that that family or that mother has to make.” The decision, he added, shouldn’t be made by “some politician” or “a bureaucrat.” And “whatever they decide, they decide.”

    “The government,” Cain concluded, “shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions that they need to make.”

    That, of course, made it seem as if Herman Cain is a pro-choice Republican, though he claims to be the opposite. Many conservative activists, who were just starting to like Cain, were horrified.

    So, yesterday, the presidential hopeful chatted with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum to try to undo the damage.

    MACCALLUM: Do you believe that abortion should be legal in this country for families who want to make that decision [to abort]?

    CAIN: No. I do not believe abortion should be legal in this country, if that’s the question.

    MACCALLUM: So then you’re saying that if those circumstances come up and the family does make that decision, that they decide that that is the best thing for this young person or she decides that on her own, then if that’s what they decided, then it would be an illegal abortion that they would seek.

    CAIN: It would be an illegal abortion! Look, abortion should not be legal — that is clear — but if that family made a decision to break the law, that’s their decision.

    Let me explain that last part. When Cain told CNN a few days ago that people should make their own “choices” and “decisions” when it comes to abortion, his new argument is that he only because people can choose or decide to break the law after he’s done outlawing abortions.

    Seriously. That’s his new spin.

    For Republican primary voters who take this issue seriously, Cain’s flailing explanation almost certainly won’t make his problem go away.

  19. rikyrah says:

    October 22, 2011 9:40 AM
    The speech Cantor chose not to give

    By Steve Benen

    Just two weeks after denouncing economic-justice protesters as an angry “mob,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) seemed to be shifting gears. Last Sunday, Cantor acknowledged the “warranted” frustrations of the middle class, and this week, was even poised to deliver a speech on economic inequality.

    As it turns out, Cantor changed his mind. Yesterday, the oft-confused Majority Leader abruptly canceled, saying the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School invited the public to attend the speech, which meant Cantor would refuse to appear. The Republican appears to have been fibbing — university officials explained that the event had always been billed as “open to the general public,” and that Cantor’s accusation of a last-minute change in attendance policy simply wasn’t true.

    That Cantor was afraid to talk about economic inequalities in front of the public is pretty ridiculous. That Cantor is making dishonest excuses makes matters slightly worse.

    But let’s put all of that aside and consider what the Majority Leader intended to say if he’d kept his commitment and shown up. The Daily Pennsylvanian, UPenn’s campus newspaper, published the prepared text of Cantor’s speech, offering the rest of us a chance to see the GOP leader’s thoughts on the larger issues.

    After having read it, it seems Cantor probably made a wise choice canceling at the last minute.

    How would the Majority Leader address growing income inequalities? He wouldn’t. In fact, Cantor’s plan seems to be to discourage people from talking about the issue altogether.

    “There are politicians and others who want to demonize people that [sic] have earned success in certain sectors of our society. They claim that these people have now made enough, and haven’t paid their fair share. But, pitting Americans against one another tends to deflate the aspirational spirit of our people and fade [sic] the American dream.”

    This is just dumb. Asking those who’ve benefited most from society to pay a fair share isn’t “pitting Americans against one another” or “demonization.” (An actual example would be when Cantor and his ilk condemn labor unions, scientists, teachers, economists, trial lawyers, and community organizers.) What’s more, in context, didn’t use these tired platitudes as a transition to a substantive point; there were no substantive points.

    “Much of the conversation in the current political debate today has been focused on fairness in our society. Republicans believe that what is fair is a hand up, not a hand out. We know that we all don’t begin life’s race from the same starting point. I was fortunate enough to be born into a stable family that provided me with the tools that I needed to get ahead. Not everyone is so lucky. Some are born into extremely difficult situations, facing severe obstacles. The fact is many in America are coping with broken families, dealing with hunger and homelessness, confronted daily by violent crime, or burdened by rampant drug use.”

    And how would Cantor help improve these conditions, clearing the way for income mobility? He’d cut taxes on the wealthy again, and wait for wealth to trickle down. That’s his solution to the growing gap between rich and poor.

    The Majority Leader went on to say, “We should want all people to be moving up and no one to be pulled down.” Tim Noah noted how misguided Cantor’s understanding of economics is: “Cantor’s income inequality solution is to elevate all of the bottom 99 percent in incomes up to the top 1 percent. That would shut up the Occupy Wall Street crowd for sure! A more practical solution — and one that doesn’t violate the laws of mathematics — would be to encourage mobility, by all means (the U.S. has actually fallen behind most of western Europe in this regard) but also to pay close attention to what happens to the people who don’t make it to the top. The bottom 99 percent contribute to prosperity too, and lately they haven’t had much to show for it. Cantor seems not in the slightest bit curious as to how that happened.”

    How many policy ideas did Cantor present to address economic inequalities, in his speech about economic inequalities? None.

    Keep in mind, this was a prepared speech, not comments made off the kuff in an interview. Cantor was able to take his time, think about the subject in depth, and rely on his staff to present a coherent vision with some depth.

    And the intellectually bankrupt Majority Leader still couldn’t think of anything interesting to say.

  20. rikyrah says:

    October 22, 2011 9:00 AM
    What it took to confirm John Bryson

    By Steve Benen

    Nearly five months ago, President Obama nominated John Bryson, a California utility and energy executive, to be his new Commerce secretary. Bryson has extensive experience in the private and public sectors, is an expert on energy policy, and early in his career, helped create the national environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council. He seemed like a wise choice.

    Senate Republicans, as is their wont, weren’t pleased. In 2009, Bryson called a cap-and-trade proposal a “moderate, but acceptable bill,” which led to all kinds of consternation. (A year earlier, John McCain had said largely the same thing, though GOP officials like to pretend this didn’t happen.) One Republican senator accused Bryson of being “an environmental extremist,” while a Fox News personality suggested the nominee might be an “eco-terrorist.”

    As you might imagine, then, Bryson’s nomination did not effortlessly sail through the chamber.

    This week, after a needlessly-long delay, Bryson actually managed to get confirmed, following a 76-to-26 vote on Thursday, giving the president a full Cabinet again. But before we move on, it’s worth remembering how and why Republicans held up this nomination. Matt Yglesias had a good item on this the other day, pointing to the Bryson confirmation process as an example of “how profoundly dysfunctional the American political system has become.”

    Recall that Bryson was nominated way back in June. He was nominated for a post that is only ever the subject of political controversy when a Census with redistricting implications is underway. He was nominated at a time of maximum distance from a Census controversy. Not only was it an utterly uncontroversial job, he was an utterly uncontroversial choice — a kind of old-time moderately conservative businessman with some environmentalist leanings.

    But Senate Republicans vowed to block him anyway. Not because they had objections to him, but because they wanted unrelated policy concessions. Specifically they wanted ratification of trade agreements that the Obama administration already supported. Since President Obama had already agreed to GOP demands, it was extremely difficult for him to give in to GOP demands. Then Republicans made a new demand that the trade deals couldn’t be ratified unless congress also stopped offering Trade Adjustment Assistance funding. At that point, Bryson was being held hostage to the ratification of trade deals that were being held up by Republicans! So the post languished vacant for months. Then finally the trade deals got signed late last week.

    But in the intervening months Bryson had been hanging out there and so various complaints had to be made about him, and now 26 Senators have persuaded themselves that his tenure at the Commerce Department will lead to massive socialism or something.

    I’ve written several times about the normalization of extortion politics, but the way in which Senate Republicans held up the Bryson nomination hostage offers a rather mind-numbing example of just how ridiculous GOP tactics can get.

  21. rikyrah says:

    October 22, 2011 8:35 AM
    This Week in God

    By Steve Benen

    First up from the God Machine this week is a closer look at an interesting question that came up during this week’s debate for Republican presidential candidates. CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked the GOP field a question we don’t often hear: “Should voters pay attention to a candidate’s religion?”

    The responses weren’t exactly encouraging. Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, for example, said, “I, frankly, would be really worried if somebody assured me that nothing in their faith would affect their judgments, because then I’d wonder, where’s your judgment? How can you have judgment if you have no faith? And how can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?”

    Mitt Romney, hoping to become the first Mormon nominee for president, not surprisingly rejected the notion that “we should choose people based upon their religion for public office.”

    Amy Sullivan had a good piece on the bigger picture.

    Americans wouldn’t accept an ethnic or gender test for office. Why then do so many voters impose a de facto religious requirement on their candidates? […]

    The problem is that religion has become so politicized that it actually gets in the way of providing that moral clarity. Yet liberals and conservatives alike have fallen for the idea that a candidate’s religious beliefs are the key to predicting how they will govern.

    I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I taped a segment for On the Media about how reporters cover religion on the campaign trail. In an unaired portion of the interview, I got into a debate about the relevance of candidates’ theological beliefs with host Bob Garfield, who argued that everything should be on the table. “Shouldn’t we know if Rick Santorum believes homosexuality is a sin?” asked Garfield. No. The only thing we should care about is whether a candidate like Santorum would seek to ban gay marriage as President. So just ask him that. In the end, his motivation for taking the position is irrelevant.

    That sounds about right to me. If policy beliefs shaped by faith are what matters, voters should hear about those beliefs — not because of the theological underpinnings, but because we care about the kind of agenda policymakers will pursue if elected.

  22. rikyrah says:

    October 22, 2011 8:00 AM
    GOP candidates decry Iraq withdrawal

    By Steve Benen

    Given the larger political circumstances, it stands to reason that the Republican presidential candidates will simply oppose, reflexively, every decision President Obama makes. Right or wrong, popular or unpopular, the GOP field knows whatever the president is for, they’re against.

    But there have to be limits to this knee-jerk style of politics. The field’s reaction to the end of the war in Iraq, for example, was completely tone deaf.

    Despite their inability to agree on the economy or much else, Republican presidential candidates spoke with one voice in reaction to President Obama’s announcement of a full U.S. withdrawal from Iraq this year.

    They were against it.

    It was an “astonishing failure” that risked all the gains made “through the blood and sacrifice” of thousands of Americans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he was “deeply concerned” that Obama had put “political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) cited it as another example of the president’s foreign policy weakness, and Jon Huntsman, Obama’s former ambassador to China, called it a “mistake.”

    Herman Cain let stand his assessment of last weekend, in which he announced that withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan were “a dumb thing to do.”

    They didn’t necessarily all agree on why they were outraged by the news, only that bringing U.S. troops from Iraq is just awful.

    Keep in mind, the entire field’s combined experience in these areas is practically non-existent — Mitt Romney’s background shipping American jobs overseas doesn’t count as experience in international affairs — and when they try to talk about foreign policy, these candidates generally just end up embarrassing themselves.

    But let’s remember exactly what these candidates were saying yesterday: they want at least some U.S. troops to stay in Iraq indefinitely. This disastrous, costly war began nearly nine years ago, but nearly all of the Republican presidential candidates still aren’t in any rush to end the U.S. mission.

    As the nation’s attention has largely shifted to domestic concerns, there’s been far less polling on the public’s attitudes on U.S. policy in Iraq. The most recent data, however, shows that most Americans simply do not support the war.

    The American mainstream will very likely consider yesterday’s announcement a terrific development. That the Republican presidential field doesn’t care is rather amazing.

  23. dannie22 says:

    Good morning all!

  24. Talking Points Memo:

    Bachmann’s New Hampshire staff quits en masse:

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