Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | “Old School Week”

Happy HUMP day, Everyone!

Wiki: Evelyn “Champagne” King (born July 1, 1960) is an American R&B, disco and post-disco singer. Some of her best-known songs are “Shame“, “Love Come Down,” and “I’m in Love.” 

Evelyn King was born in the Bronx, New York, and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her uncle Avon Long had played the part of Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess and worked with Lena Horne at the Cotton Club. Her father sang back-up for groups at Harlem‘s Apollo Theater. She was discovered while working with her mother at Philadelphia International Records as a cleaning woman. A producer, Theodore T. Life, overheard her singing in a washroom and began coaching her. She was eventually signed to a production deal with Life’s Galaxy Productions and a recording contract with RCA Records.[1]

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49 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | “Old School Week”

  1. Am Funniest Home Video-Kid and President’s Legacy

  2. DAOWENS44:

    Top 10 Racist Ron Paul Friends And Supporters | News One

  3. ThinkProgress:

    FACT: Obama’s job-crushing economic policies have created 1.67 million private sector jobs in 2011

  4. My Political Prediction for 2012: It’s Obama-Clinton

    My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.

    So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.

    Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.

    • Robert Reich, please kick a pitch fork. Hillary is not going to be on any ticket with President Obama. Get it through your thick skull. Joe Biden is not going anywhere. Just stop it already!

    • Ametia says:

      …”stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans.”

      Translations: White folks who thought PBO was the magical negro want him to take on the racist GOP, without confronting their own white privileged, entitled, racist AZZES!

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Greenwald Elidings

    Glenn Greenwald has only one story to tell, over and over again. It’s titled Obama Hates Peace and Freedom but Ron Paul Loves Them. His latest riff on this theme ran in the Guardian yesterday:

    In the last GOP foreign policy debate, the leading candidates found themselves issuing recommendations on the most contentious foreign policy question (Iran) that perfectly tracked what Obama is already doing, while issuing ringing endorsements of the president when asked about one of his most controversial civil liberties assaults (the due-process-free assassination of the American-Yemeni cleric Anwar Awlaki). Indeed, when it comes to the foreign policy and civil liberties values Democrats spent the Bush years claiming to defend, the only candidate in either party now touting them is the libertarian Ron Paul, who vehemently condemns Obama’s policies of drone killings without oversight, covert wars, whistleblower persecutions, and civil liberties assaults in the name of terrorism.

    Greenwald actually describes the conundrum of Republican politics quite well for several ‘graffs before reaching this conclusion. The piece is an excellent example of his talent for appealing to the rational, liberal center before he makes the pitch for a crazy idea. If that sounds familiar, it’s what Ron Paul does all the time.
    First, let’s dispense with the idea that Republicans love Obama’s Iran policy, because they don’t. The Obama doctrine is actually a kind of cold war containment that is nowhere near hot enough for any Republican who isn’t Ron Paul:

    If there’s an area GOP presidential candidates seemed to agree on Saturday night, it’s that President Barack Obama is not doing enough to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Obama’s Iran policy was his “greatest failing,” and did not rule out military action against Iran in a potential Romney administration.


    “If in the end, despite all of those things, the dictatorship persists you have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its capacity to have a nuclear weapon,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said.

    Mitt Romney warns Obama’s reelection would actually cause Iran to build a nuclear bomb: “If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.” In the debate to which Greenwald refers, Michele Bachmann raised the chimera of global caliphate. They have the pulse of the Republican Party; Ron Paul does not.

    Against them, Greenwald declares Obama a “centrist Republican.” Doctrinally, it is more correct to call President Obama a centrist Democrat, and his cold war with Iran Truman-like. Nevertheless, if Obama seems to be channeling Eisenhower, that is because the Republican Party now belongs to latter-day John Birchers. Islamophobia is the new McCarthyism and caliphate is the new Comintern, but according to Greenwald, all of this is the president’s fault — because he’s a radical centrist!

    And the center, he says, might as well be the right because the president has stolen “their” wars from them. Never mind that the war on al-Qaeda was originally theirs to prosecute on Americans, or that the ensuing prosecution of that conflict on al-Qaeda still has overwhelming support from left, right, and center. To get around this problem, Greenwald compounds all wars, and the various issues of those wars, into a single monolith: Iraq is Afghanistan is al-Qaeda in Yemen is Libya is Guantanamo. They’re all the same, even when they’re not.

    The linchpin of Greenwald’s story is what he calls “the due-process-free assassination” of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen. That death is supposedly a harbinger of terrible times for American freedom, as all Americans will in future suffer the outrage of due-process-free assassination. Really, I’m not making it up — Greenwald is.

    If this sounds like Alex Jones barking about black helicopters in the 1990s, maybe that’s because both Greenwald and Jones are Ron Paul fans. The paranoid narrative informs all three of them. All three tear at the center in order to promote the fringe. Glenn Greenwald is not a mainstream voice; he speaks for a very narrow point of view.

    Anwar al-Awlaki, who exhorted jihadis to blow themselves up and kill Americans, was also a fringe figure. Even if ‘all Awlaki did was make videos,’ as many detractors of his killing say, then we must note that making videos is essentially the only thing Osama bin Laden accomplished in the last decade of his life on Earth, either. Neither of them was engaged in free speech.

    Some 84% of Americans across partisan lines see the death of Osama bin Laden as a great thing. Greenwald, on the other hand, thinks Osama should have been arrested. By these lights, Anwar al-Awlaki wasn’t cheerleader of an organization actively trying to kill Americans, but a poor misguided little boy who should be protected from the consequences of his own actions. Just like Osama. See how that works?

  6. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011
    POTUS Plays The “You Mad, Bro?” Card
    Posted by Zandar
    Republicans are preparing to go into full OUTRAGE MODE over the Obama Administration’s request to the Treasury to raise the debt ceiling another $1.2 trillion. The debt ceiling deal worked out earlier this year gives the Republicans a chance to pass a resolution of disapproval, but the President would have to sign the resolution after it somehow passed a Democratically-controlled Senate in order to stop the debt ceiling hike. In other words, there’s nothing the Republicans can really do other than complain loudly.

    Except President Obama has outfoxed the elephants once again: the GOP may not even get the chance to do that much, because they’re on winter break until January 17. Brian Beutler explains:

    The key issue is the 15-day deadline Congress has to vote on a resolution of disapproval of the President’s request to raise the debt ceiling. The timing of the administration’s planned certification implies that the 15 days would be up before Congress returns in January from its holiday recess. Whether this was an accident or not, we’re told that the calendar issue created a behind-the-scenes mess — with Republicans threatening to return early from recess — and that the administration is trying to figure out a way to keep it from spilling out into the public.

    I’ve reached out to the administration for further guidance on both questions. It’s still unclear whether this was a hardball political move, a dumb mistake, or just a misunderstanding — or what, if anything, can be done to avoid a public clash with the GOP over the timing.

    The size of the debt hike — easily getting the country through 2012 without having to bring it up during the election — and the timing seems to indicate to me that A) this was done on purpose, B) it was done to pants the GOP, and C) most importantly the Obama administration understands full well that raising the debt ceiling was going to be portrayed by the GOP as an impeachable offense no matter what the President actually did about it. So the White House is looking to get this out of the way.

    Pretty sure this was the plan all along, and the GOP is now facing having to blow their vacation or miss their big chance at portraying the President as the most vile of all villains when of course previous Presidents jacked up the debt limit all the time, including Dubya’s seven times and Reagan’s 18 times. Your move, Republicans. You already lost that fight once.

    You mad, bro? If you ask me, President Obama’s got them by the short hairs. Again.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Debt Limit Hike Causes Behind The Scenes Commotion On Capitol Hill

    Brian Beutler- December 27, 2011, 3:40 PM

    We’re trying to sniff out exactly how this happened and what’s being done to sort it out. But the Obama administration’s announcement that it will certify this week its intent to raise the debt limit didn’t sit well on Capitol Hill.

    The key issue is the 15-day deadline Congress has to vote on a resolution of disapproval of the President’s request to raise the debt ceiling. The timing of the administration’s planned certification implies that the 15 days would be up before Congress returns in January from its holiday recess. Whether this was an accident or not, we’re told that the calendar issue created a behind-the-scenes mess — with Republicans threatening to return early from recess — and that the administration is trying to figure out a way to keep it from spilling out into the public.

    I’ve reached out to the administration for further guidance on both questions. It’s still unclear whether this was a hardball political move, a dumb mistake, or just a misunderstanding — or what, if anything, can be done to avoid a public clash with the GOP over the timing.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Latinos Not Down With GOP
    by BooMan
    Wed Dec 28th, 2011 at 07:07:46 PM EST

    Staking out a position on immigration well to the right of Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry hasn’t done Mitt Romney any favors with Latinos, according to a new survey from the Pew Hispanic Center. Let’s remember that Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 despite (pdf) getting 32% of the Latino vote, and he barely won the Electoral College in 2004 despite (pdf) getting 44% of the Latino vote. When John McCain only mustered 31% of the Latino vote in 2008, his campaign was crushed. A Republican can no longer hope to win less than a third of the Latino vote and still scrape their way into the White House. Those days are over. So, how is Romney doing?

    President Obama holds a wide lead among Hispanic voters when matched against potential Republican challengers, even as widespread opposition to his administration’s stepped-up deportation policies act as a drag on his approval ratings among these voters, according to a new poll.

    The survey, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, revealed a dramatic general election weakness for Republicans among an increasingly influential voting bloc – with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry each winning less than one-fourth of the Hispanic vote in hypothetical matchups against Obama.

    Obama leads Romney 68-23 and Perry 69-23 among Hispanic voters, with an error margin of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points for the voter sample.

    Twenty-three percent isn’t going to get it done. And the numbers would be considerably worse if the Obama administration were not deporting 400,000 Latino immigrants a year. That aggressive policy is tearing apart families and hurting Obama’s standing in the Latino community. But the Republicans are far from being able to capitalize on this weakness. They do everything they can to make sure Latinos know that they aren’t welcome in this country, whether they’re here legally or not. Mitt Romney may have hired undocumented Mexicans to mow his lawn, but he’s campaigning on a much bigger deportation program.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Is President Obama a Centrist Republican?
    Posted on 12/28/2011 at 12:06 pm by Bob Cesca
    Glenn Greenwald thinks so, and his primary evidence is that Paul Krugman thinks so.

    He also off-handedly dismissed the president’s progressive record on such meaningless issues as abortion, the Supreme Court, civil rights, the rescuing of the national economy from the brink of another Great Depression with the stimulus package, and Wall Street reform (he printed “reform” in quotes). Feh. Civil rights. Whatevs.

    Greenwald entirely neglected to damn with snarky faint praise the president’s “expansion” of children’s healthcare, the federal funding of “embryonic” stem cell research, “equal pay” for equal work, the expansion of healthcare benefits for “women”, increased infrastructure spending, tougher new emissions standards, new hate “crime” laws, and the president’s numerous declarations ending trickle down, deregulatory Reaganomics, etc, etc. [Quotations sarcastic.] All during an era of impossibly divided government and ideological entrenchment.

    And if you parse Greenwald’s criticisms, you’ll find they’re not entirely consistent with reality. For example, if a government worker or soldier with security clearance leaks classified information and violates the National Security Act, he or she has broken the law and ought to be prosecuted, “whistleblower” or not. You know, like when the Bush administration outed Valerie Plame.

    While I’m here, what exactly is, as Greenwald wrote, a “due-process-free assassination”? If there was a trial and a conviction, would an assassination still be in order? And would Greenwald support that?

    Regarding progressive foreign policy items, President Obama banned torture, signed an executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo, ended the Iraq War despite pressure to violate the Status of Forces Agreement, pledged an end to the war in Afghanistan and cut military spending.

    Yet his positions on indefinite detention, drones, cluster bombs and Libya make him a centrist Republican — in fact, as Greenwald wrote, to the right of Ron Paul. Ron Paul who, by the way, wants to criminalize abortion, is attached to racist newsletters and whose hero is the far-right fiction author Ayn Rand. That’s rich.

    I’ll end with this: Greenwald supported the Citizens United decision upholding corporate money in elections as a form of free speech. Does this make Greenwald a corporatist?

  10. DECEMBER 28: U.S. President Barack Obama’s motorcade heads toward Ko’olau Golf Club on December 28, 2011 in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Obama is spending the Christmas holiday in his native Hawaii with his family.

  11. Ametia says:

    10 Ultra-Rich Congresspeople Who ‘Represent’ Some of the Most Financially Screwed Districts
    Members of Congress have only gotten richer over the last 25 years, while their constituents have gotten poorer.

    December 27, 2011 |
    The hard times that most Americans continue to experience don’t seem to be making an impact on their representatives in Washington. Now a new report might shed some light on why. According to a Washington Post story this week, “Between 1984 and 2009, the median net

  12. Ametia says:

    Anthony Weiner Wanted Threesome With Another Man, According To Mistress
    Posted on Dec 28, 2011 @ 02:00PM

    By Amber Goodhand – Radar Reporter

    Disgraced former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner was caught in online trysts with numerous women, but has exclusively learned that according to one of his mistresses, he expressed wanting a threesome – with another man.

    In old conversation excerpts obtained by from mistress Traci Nobles’ proposal for a tell-all book, the former politician brings up the topic of “3 ways” and reveals that the idea of being with another man is a turn on.

    “I’m not really talking about other chicks… How about with another guy?” Weiner asked Nobles.

  13. December 2011 White House Photo of the Day

    Eight-month-old Cooper Wagner grabs President Barack Obama’s face while taking a picture with his parents, Captain Greg Wagner and Meredith Wagner, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama visited with members of the military and their families during Christmas dinner at Anderson Hall.

  14. Scott Brown Aligns Himself With President Obama

    Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) continued his re-election strategy of positioning himself as an independent thinker and voter, going as far as to align himself with President Barack Obama on Wednesday. Speaking on “Fox 25 Morning News,” Brown cited pieces of legislation that he and the president both supported.

    “The president just signed into law my 3 percent withholding bill, the Hire a Hero veterans bill, the Arlington Cemetery bill,” he said. “I mean I could go on and on and on.”

  15. Obama Retains Hispanic Support

    In a hypothetical general election match-up against Mitt Romney, a new Pew Research poll finds President Obama wins the Latino vote by a 68% to 23% margin.

    These results are quite similar to the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, when Obama carried the Latino vote over Sen. John McCain by 67% to 31%

  16. rikyrah says:

    I believe he’s gonna work me into the ground
    by Sarah Proud and Tall

    Gnoot has a post up about his proposal to prepare kids from poor families for the low paying, menial jobs they will often be forced to take after leaving school by giving them low paying, menial jobs while they are at school.

    Wouldn’t it be great if New York City schools served their students as well as they serve some of their custodians?

    Students—especially those from very poor families—would be better served if they had the opportunity to earn money part-time at school by doing some of the tasks custodians are now performing so expensively.

    Dozens of poor students could have part-time, paying jobs for the $100,000 a year New York schools pay some custodians. For that amount, more than 30 children could work just two hours each school day and each take home $3,000 a year by the time they are 12 or 13 years old.

    Some of this work could be clerical; other tasks could be janitorial, such as cleaning the cafeteria, or emptying the trash, or vacuuming the classrooms. These are similar to the chores many parents require their kids to do at home, and it would allow 12- and 13- year olds to make money they desperately need. Giving children the opportunity to earn money would help teach work habits, and letting them do so in their schools would build a stronger commitment to that community.

    Here’s the thing, Gnoot, you crap-filled, sociopathic blowhard.

    I may be a fictional, sweary old lady who knows two fifths of fuck-all about poverty and the challenges facing inner city kids, or about how we could improve their financial position while increasing their self esteem and encouraging them to learn.

    However, I’d be willing to bet quite a lot of money that the answer is not making them stay back after school to clean up other students’ shit for six bucks an hour.


  17. rikyrah says:

    December 28, 2011 11:34 AM
    Rick Perry “Gives Some Thought” To Rape and Incest
    By Ed Kilgore

    As noted in my last post, one of the most counter-factual assertions about the Republican presidential nomination contest is that it’s “about” the economy.

    Guess that’s why Rick Perry, who began his campaign boasting of his world-beating jobs record (sic!) in Texas, is now ending his go-for-broke comeback effort in Iowa by announcing he is suddenly adopting the most extreme position available on abortion:

    Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that he had undergone a “transformation” on the issue of abortion and now believed that there should be no exceptions made for rape, incest or the life of the mother….
    “I really started giving some thought about the issue of rape and incest,” Mr. Perry told a local pastor who had questioned whether he had changed his position on the issue.

    While it’s good news to hear that Perry is “giving some thought” to any issue, having pretty much campaigned on the basis of what the reptilian segments of his brain dictated, the reality is that his campaign is now focused monomaniacally on outflanking Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum in appealing to Iowa’s divided Christian Right activist base.

    This isn’t Perry’s first lurch to the right on abortion; back in August, under interrogation from Christian Right chieftain Tony Perkins, he repudiated his previous “states’ rights” position in favor of the more radical proposition of a federal constitutional amendment to repeal the right to choose.

    But the more Perry “thinks” about it, the more determined he becomes to bend the knee to the most hard-core anti-choicers. If the Iowa caucuses were somehow delayed a couple of weeks, he’d probably come out for a national compulsory pregnancy mandate.

  18. Federal Judge Orders Sheriff Arpaio To Stop Arresting People Simply Because He Thinks They Are Undocumented

    Less than two weeks after the Department of Justice found widespread lawlessness and abuse of Latinos by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies, an Arizona federal judge ordered Arpaio to end one of his most abusive practices — detaining and arresting people who have committed no crime merely because his office suspects them of being undocumented. The court also certified this lawsuit against Arpaio as a class action, thereby empowering any Latino stopped or detained by Arpaio’s office since 2007 or at any point in the future to enforce the court order.

  19. rikyrah says:

    We Don’t Need More Centrists
    by BooMan
    Wed Dec 28th, 2011 at 12:23:52 PM EST

    John Avlon is acting like a dummy. He identifies a real problem, but he doesn’t understand its cause nor does he have any solution. Let’s look at his opening:

    The Blue Dog pack is thinning. Centrist Democrats saw their ranks cut in half after the 2010 midterm elections. Now, with Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s announcement that he will not seek reelection, an endangered species warning is appropriate. This is bad news for Democrats and, more important, the nation.

    There was a time when divided government did not mean dysfunctional government. The presence of conservative Democrats and progressive Republicans helped ensure that cross-aisle coalitions could be formed to find solutions on the most pressing issues…

    Right at the start we have to confront something that isn’t all that critical. Do we know what Mr. Avlon means by “Centrist Democrats”? When he goes on to call them “conservative Democrats,” does that help us at all? I know this is semantic nitpicking, but it pays to be precise with language. Ben Nelson is conservative on most issues. His career in the Senate has been more conservative than, say, Arlen Specter’s or Lincoln Chafee’s. He and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania are both anti-choice, but most people wouldn’t describe Casey as a conservative Democrat. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo is anti-choice but no one would call her a Centrist Democrat. Avlon uses another term: Blue Dog Democrat. He considers them to be conservative and centrist, too.

    Why are we worse off with fewer politicians like Ben Nelson? Is it because we need Democrats to cross the aisle to help Republicans cut taxes on rich people or loosen pollution regulations or make it harder to file for bankruptcy? Is it simply because fewer Democrats means more Republicans? Or, is it that the Senate rules won’t allow anything to get done if the members line up in rigid opposing teams and the minority filibusters everything they don’t like?

    I think it’s the latter explanation, and “centrism” or “conservatism” really has little to do with it. The problem is orthodoxy. The problem is orthodoxy and an abuse of the rules. The reason that Congress functioned fairly well between 1945 and 1994 is that one party (the Democrats) were in a dominant position and the two parties were too heterodox to allow either one of them to cohere around a rigid party line on procedural issues. There were plenty of conservative Democrats, especially on issues like race and sexual morality. And there were lots of pro-enviroment or pro-labor Republicans who thought, e.g., that Jim Crow was a travesty. As a result, conservatives didn’t look to one party to do their bidding, and progressives could find allies on the right side of the aisle.

    This relatively successful system began to break down once the Republicans took over Congress in 1995. The two parties have been purifying themselves ever since, and now have reached a point of orthodoxy where they can unite in opposition to almost any motion to proceed in the Senate. In other words, we now need 60 votes rather than 51 to pass anything through the Senate for the president to sign into law. If the filibuster disappeared, the problem would largely disappear, too.

    Many political scientists think parliamentary systems are superior to ours because the parties offer a clear platform and a clear choice. We have to shove every political belief into two vehicles. Under the circumstances, it’s better for the two parties to clearly define themselves than to have a muddled picture. A progressive-minded person in the mid-20th Century had to deal with a Democratic Party that built its power on the back of the Jim Crow system. Is that preferable to the choice facing a progressive today?

    Unfortunately, the price of clearer choices is congressional gridlock. But that is not written into our Constitution. The Senate can change its rules and the majority would be able govern (at least, in the Senate).

    Of course, we’re living in a period of divided government. Even with a majority-rules Senate, the president would have to contend with a Republican House of Representatives. But, again, the problem with the House of Representatives isn’t that there aren’t enough centrist Democrats willing to cast their votes with John Boehner. The problem is that there aren’t enough Republicans who will work in a serious manner to help craft solutions that are acceptable to the Democratic Senate or the president. Periods of divided government are not supposed to produce dramatic change, but they can be functional. Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan all had functional administrations with a divided government. Bill Clinton did his best, despite the Republicans’ effort to humiliate, disbar, and throw him out of office. But, isn’t that the point? The Republicans are built to be a minority party, but they’ve had too much of a taste of power to fill the role. Speaker Boehner cannot even control his conference.

    Our government is screwed-up and dysfunctional right now, but it’s not because we don’t have enough corporate-hogs like Ben Nelson serving in the U.S. Senate. It’s because the Republicans in Congress are abusing the Senate rules, which is only possible because they are so rigidly ideological. It’s because the House Republicans won’t allow their Speaker to negotiate in good faith with the Senate or the president.

    We don’t need more Ben Nelsons. We need to change the Senate rules. And we need to figure out what is making the Republicans insane and see if we can provide a cure. In the meantime, it would be better if red state Democrats would stop acting like country club Republicans and go back to being farmer-labor populists. Clear distinctions, remember?

  20. Ametia says:

    Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 12/28/2011 Is Obama ready to make recess appointments?
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Will President Obama make recess appointments before the second session of the 112th Congress begins? He hinted at it three weeks ago, but there’s been nothing since. Granted, we’re hearing more about turtles these days than about anything else, although vacation didn’t prevent the nomination of two people to serve on the Fed, so there’s at least some related progress.

    Still, this is an extremely important story, and it’s worth a reminder of what’s going on, what’s at stake, and what the president’s options are right now.

    What’s going on: unprecedented obstruction of executive-branch nominations by Republicans, who, you will recall, are in the minority in the Senate. I’m not going to drag you through all the details again, but basically they are filibustering every nomination by insisting on 60 votes, and successfully blocking many, including blanket refusals to confirm anyone at all in some cases. On top of that, they are attempting (successfully so far) to block the Senate from taking a normal recess in order to prevent Obama from making recess appointments.

  21. ThinkProgress:

    Perry pledges to openly defy Supreme Court #radical

  22. rikyrah says:

    I usually would never give a link to Townhall, but I thought this analysis of Willard was actually on the money.

    I no more believe in Willard’s ‘ ELECTABILITY’ than I did Hillary Clinton’s in 2007. And, like Hillary, if you get rid of ‘electability’, ain’t no reason to go with Willard.


    7 Reasons Why Mitt Romney’s Electability Is A Myth

    Mitt Romney was a moderate governor in Massachusetts with an unimpressive record of governance. He left office with an approval rating in the thirties and his signature achievement, Romneycare, was a Hurricane Katrina style disaster for the state. Since that’s the case, it’s fair to ask what a Republican who’s not conservative and can’t even carry his own state brings to the table for GOP primary voters. The answer is always the same: Mitt Romney is supposed to be “the most electable” candidate. This is a baffling argument because many people just seem to assume it’s true, despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary.
    1) People just don’t like Mitt: The entire GOP primary process so far has consisted of Republican voters desperately trying to find an alternative to Mitt Romney. Doesn’t it say something that GOP primary voters have, at one time or another, preferred Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and now even Ron Paul (In Iowa) to Mitt Romney?

    To some people, this is a plus. They think that if conservatives don’t like Mitt Romney, that means moderates will like him. This misunderstands how the process of attracting independent voters works in a presidential race. While it’s true the swayable moderates don’t want to support a candidate they view as an extremist, they also don’t just automatically gravitate towards the most “moderate” candidate. To the contrary, independent voters tend to be moved by the excitement of the candidate’s base (See John McCain vs. Barack Obama for an example of how this works). This is how a very conservative candidate like Ronald Reagan could win landslide victories. He avoided being labeled an extremist as Goldwater was; yet his supporters were incredibly enthusiastic and moderates responded to it.

    Let’s be perfectly honest: Mitt Romney excites no one except for Mormons, political consultants, and Jennifer Rubin. To everybody else on the right, Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama would be a “lesser of two evils” election where we’d grudgingly back Mitt because we wouldn’t lose as badly with him in the White House as we would with Obama. That’s not the sort of thing that gets people fired up to make phone calls, canvass neighborhoods, or even put up “I heart Mitt” signs in their yards.

    2) He’s a proven political loser: There’s a reason Mitt Romney has been able to say that he’s “not a career politician.” It’s because he’s not very good at politics. He lost to Ted Kennedy in 1994. Although he did win the governorship of Massachusetts in 2002, he did it without cracking 50% of the vote. Worse yet, he left office as the 48th most popular governor in America and would have lost if he had run again in 2006. Then, to top that off, he failed to capture the GOP nomination in 2008. This time around, despite having almost every advantage over what many people consider to be a weak field of candidates, Romney is still desperately struggling. Choosing Romney as the GOP nominee after running up that sort of track record would be like promoting a first baseman hitting .225 in AAA to the majors.

    3) Running weak in the southern states: Barack Obama won North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida in 2008 and you can be sure that he will be targeting all three of those states again. This is a problem for Romney because he would be much less likely than either Gingrich or Perry to carry any of those states. Moderate northern Republicans have consistently performed poorly in the south and Romney won’t be any exception. That was certainly the case in 2008 when both McCain and Huckabee dominated Romney in primaries across the south. Mitt didn’t win a single primary in a southern state and although he finished second in Florida, he wasn’t even competitive in North Carolina or Virginia. Since losing any one of those states could be enough to hand the election to Obama in a close race, Mitt’s weakness there is no small matter.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Electability
    by BooMan
    Wed Dec 28th, 2011 at 09:24:25 AM EST

    I think John Hawkins does a pretty good job of explaining why Mitt Romney’s electability is a myth. Yet, with one dubious exception, he doesn’t explain why any of the other candidates would be better suited to win a general election against the President of the United States. That lone exception is Hawkins’ assertion that Romney will underperform in the South in a way that Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich would not. He bases this on Romney’s performance in the primaries in 2008, and on his Mormon religion. I’d argue that the primary results are terrible indicators of general election outcomes. As for the Mormon religion, I don’t know how many evangelical Christians would be more concerned about giving it a giant boost in credibility than they are about Roe v. Wade or gay marriage. I suppose there are some people in that category, but there are a lot of factors that go into choosing a political team. If people are concerned about Romney’s religion, they’d also be concerned about Perry’s competence and Newt’s mental stability and temperament and history of infidelity and…on and on and on.

    Mitt Romney’s greatest asset is that he doesn’t frighten anyone. He doesn’t breath fire. When he throws bombs, they sizzle and fizzle like wet firecrackers. He doesn’t have much of a temper. He’s trained to knock on your door and talk to you about the merits of the Book of Mormon. To do that effectively, you have to eliminate the slightest hint of danger from your persona, and Romney has succeeded. He’s a salesman, and he will adjust his pitch to his customer. In this sense, he’s almost an ideal candidate to throw up against the president. His happy, healthy face masks the sociopathic and irrational movement he seeks to lead. His lack of principles and willingness to turn with the wind make him hard to pin down. He’s slippery.

    And, if he isn’t exactly a good retail politician, he at least has the basic competence to get himself on the ballot in all 50 states, which is something Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry cannot say.

    I think Hawkins is correct when he says that most of Romney’s advantages in the primaries will disappear in the general election, but he’s still the most electable Republican. So, in that sense, Hawkins’ argument fails.

  24. Rick Perry Sues to Get on Virginia Ballot.

  25. Talking Points Memo:

    Civil rights groups press DOJ to block other voter ID laws:

  26. rikyrah says:

    Dec 27
    Mitt Romney: The Real Austerity Candidate
    By Charles P. Pierce at 12:17PM

    Over the holidays, Willard Romney has been seeking once again to define himself, a job that is very similar to that undertaken by the people who renovate old country homes. The first thing you have to do is to tear down the accumulated improvements and renovations of the past 40 or 50 years, and get back down to the basic intent of the original architects. (Maybe changing the solarium into a replica of the Jungle Room at Graceland back in ’62 wasn’t the smartest move in the world.) So, basically, Willard is taking the sledge and the pry-bar to everything he’s done politically since he bum-rushed his way into the governor’s chair in Massachusetts to reveal the original moral architecture of Willard Romney, International Man of Privilege.

    And, yeah, it turns out he’s pretty much a smug, arrogant, and, yes, entitled rich kid who divides the world mentally into two kinds of people — himself and The Help. Lately, he’s been sounding a new theme in his campaign to be our national CFO. He’s railing against what he calls President Obama’s attempts to turn the United States into “an entitlement society.” (This charge, of course, coming as it does from a guy whose gifts as a liar are as rudimentary as his skills as a demagogue, is utterly false, but let’s all be big-boy pundits and pretend for a while that truth isn’t necessarily ever the point.) What is important is how easily Romney has managed to slide into the essential character of the most rabid evening-drive radio morons on your dial. Willard Romney has never known a day of peril in his life. He grew up with a silver spoon lodged so deeply in his gums that he had his baby teeth until he was 25. He did his Mormon mission in Provence, for the love of god. He moved onto a lucrative career in predatory capital. If, as was said, George W. Bush was born on third base and thought he hit a triple, then Willard Romney was born in the dugout with four runs in, nobody out, and the bases loaded.

    Comes now this pure piece of manufactured product, this vacant replicant of American plutocracy, to lecture a country in the middle of a fragile recovery from an economic disaster brought on by the other soulless replicants on the topics of our vanishing work ethic, and the great moral cleansing power of onrushing poverty. And, because he cares less about the country he’s planning to lead than he does about the next nickel he can squeeze out of it, he’s doing so with rhetoric that owes more to George Wallace than it does to George Romney, who was a decent Republican in the days before greasy-beaked vultures like his spalpeen hijacked the party. (Which is pretty much what E.J. Dionne was saying recently.) Willard is working the old poor-people-are-robbing-you-blind melodeon again while his real targets are anyone who receives any kind of federal government assistance of any kind whatsoever. And don’t fall for the old “states do it better” dodge. Willard knows full good and well that the states can’t carry this kind of load, either, and that the costs will just get passed down to lower and lower levels of government until nobody can pay for anything, and the programs that he’d like to see eliminated because it will help him get elected simply disappear.

    He is the real austerity candidate, the guy who will run the ball here for the banksters who are crippling Europe, and a lot of Europeans, with economic strategies that keep themselves afloat while children die of preventable diseases, and guaranteeing that whatever recoveries there will be in places like Ireland and the UK will be the sole property of the people who most deserve them. This is what Willard Romney would like to bring to America. He just has to convince enough people that the pain will be imposed upon the undeserving Them. It is a vicious puppet show of a campaign he’s running.

    He is really the only true class warrior in the race. He’s counting on prejudice and ignorance because he is running in the Republican primaries and that’s the coin of the realm. But he’s also counting on the desperate dreams of desperate people who want to believe that there is a big bag of money out there that’s going to the Wrong People, and that, if someone would only re-direct it, their lives would be better. Well, there is a big bag of money out there, and it is indeed going to the Wrong People, and those would be the people in whose company Willard Romney has spent his entire, cosseted, entitled existence. He has embarked on a divisive campaign of misdirection, hoping against hope that nobody notices that he mortgaged himself to his ambition on an adjustable rate, and that he’s underwater on his soul.

    Read more:

  27. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Sues Virginia Republicans Over Ballot Access

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who along with Newt Gingrich didn’t submit the required number of signatures to petition to make it onto the Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot, is taking the fight for ballot access to federal court.

    In a release sent late Tuesday, Perry’s campaign announced it has filed suit against the Republican Party of Virginia and the state board of elections in the Eastern District of Virginia over what the campaign claims is a ballot access statute that “limits the rights of voters to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

    The Perry suit claims Virginia’s entire statutory scheme for getting on the presidential primary ballot is constitutionally flawed, but it zeros in on the state’s ban on the use of out-of-state petition circulators to gather signatures. Perry argues that the requirement that petition circulators be either registered voters in Virginia or eligible to vote in Virginia is what prevented him from gathering the necessary number of signatures.

    “Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multi-candidate election,” Perry spokesperson Ray Sullivan said in a statement. “We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support.”

    Normally, suing a state Republican Party in federal court is not seen as the best way to endear your candidate to state Republican voters. But Perry’s suit can be seen as an attempt to turn an embarrassing episode — failing to collect the proper number of signatures to get a slot on the ballot — into an advantage by putting the process on trial. A victory in court is probably the only way Perry can hope to be counted in the March 6 Virginia primary, as the state legislature has shown no interest in altering the rules to allow write-ins in primary balloting.

  28. rikyrah says:

    The Lie Matters: Unearthed Gingrich Divorce Doc Reveals The GOP’s 2012 Problem

    In small Georgia towns, they know you better than they do in big cities.

    This is Newt Gingrich’s problem (in addition to not qualifying for the ballot in Virginia and the new video showing him arguing passionately for the public mandate), because in Carrollton, Georgia, they remember Newt all too well. Specifically, a CNN reporter named Alan Duke who grew up in Carrollton and began his career covering politics in Carrollton — including Newt’s first campaign for office, knows Newt Gingrich and the town all too well for the Gingrich campaign. And that’s how the previously reported “sealed” first Gingrich divorce pleadings were unearthed last Thursday and reported early this morning on CNN.

    It turns out that Gingrich’s first divorce pleadings had been hidden from the public for years, ostensibly locked away in a Carroll County court clerk’s drawer by a now retired county clerk for security reasons (as an aside, small southern towns also tend to protect their own from the glaring eyes of outsiders).

    Small towns keep secrets but they also function with surprising swiftness when the parties inquiring know the people who know the secrets. Thus, seemingly at the request of the reporter who grew up in Carrollton, the current clerk picked up the phone and called the retired clerk who told him where to find the secured Gingrich divorce pleadings.

    This unearthed file tells a story in black and white that is quite different from the story the Gingrich campaign is selling about his first divorce. The Gingrich campaign tells us that Jackie Gingrich wanted this divorce.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s surprisingly good 2011
    Posted by Ezra Klein at 12:55 PM ET, 12/23/2011
    Politically, this has been, in many ways, a bad year for the White House, as a quick look at the polls will show. Economically, it’s been rough, as a look at the jobs numbers will show. But as far as the administration’s bitter, high-stakes negotiations with the Republicans in Congress go, it’s really been a surprisingly good year for the White House.

    Thursday’s payroll-tax deal concludes the final of the four major negotiations of 2011. The first was in February, when Congress needed to fund the government or risk a shutdown. The next was in August, when Congress needed to raise the debt ceiling. Then there was the supercommittee. Then, finally, the expiration of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance.

    These negotiations were ugly. Their endgames were alarming displays of Washington’s polarization and dysfunction. They drove the approval ratings of both President Obama and the Congress to new lows. But, in terms of the substantive concessions the two parties have won for themselves, the fact of the matter is that the White House begins 2012 in a very, very strong position. Much stronger than most would have expected at the beginning of this year. And not always through any fault of their own.

    For starters, the government did not shut down — not once — and the deal Democrats cut to keep it from shutting down ended up being a nothingburger. The $38.5 billion in cuts ended up being more like $20-$25 billion, with less than $400 million falling in 2011.

    The debt-ceiling debate was a mess, and it probably did real damage to the economy. Some of the deals that Obama offered Boehner — which would have taken the Bush tax cuts off the table, and raised the Medicare eligibility age — would have dragged federal budget policy far to the right. But Boehner didn’t take those deals. And, in the end, the debt ceiling was lifted in return for $900 billion in discretionary spending cuts and the establishment of the trigger-backed supercommittee — a deal that ended up dragging federal budget policy far, far to the left.

    The key here was that the supercommittee failed. That left two major events on the budgetary horizon: the spending trigger, which cuts $1 trillion from the budget, half of which comes from the Pentagon, and none of which comes from Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare beneficiaries, or assorted other programs for low-income Americans; and the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which would raise taxes by almost $4 trillion. Both events are scheduled to happen simultaneously and automatically on January 1, 2013 — a dual-trigger nightmare for the GOP. And taken together, they are far to the left of anything that Democrats have suggested over the past year, as this graph shows:

  30. rikyrah says:

    President Obama Plays The GOP Yet Again
    by Zandar

    Republicans are preparing to go into full OUTRAGE MODE over the Obama Administration’s request to the Treasury to raise the debt ceiling another $1.2 trillion. The debt ceiling deal worked out earlier this year gives the Republicans a chance to pass a resolution of disapproval, but the President would have to sign the resolution after it somehow passed a Democratically-controlled Senate in order to stop the debt ceiling hike. In other words, there’s nothing the Republicans can really do other than complain loudly.

    Except President Obama has outfoxed the elephants once again: the GOP may not even get the chance to do that much, because they’re on winter break until January 17. Brian Beutler explains:

    The key issue is the 15-day deadline Congress has to vote on a resolution of disapproval of the President’s request to raise the debt ceiling. The timing of the administration’s planned certification implies that the 15 days would be up before Congress returns in January from its holiday recess. Whether this was an accident or not, we’re told that the calendar issue created a behind-the-scenes mess — with Republicans threatening to return early from recess — and that the administration is trying to figure out a way to keep it from spilling out into the public.

    I’ve reached out to the administration for further guidance on both questions. It’s still unclear whether this was a hardball political move, a dumb mistake, or just a misunderstanding — or what, if anything, can be done to avoid a public clash with the GOP over the timing.

    The size of the debt hike—easily getting the country through 2012 without having to bring it up during the election—and the timing seems to indicate to me that A) this was done on purpose, B) it was done to pants the GOP, and C) most importantly the Obama administration understands full well that raising the debt ceiling was going to be portrayed by the GOP as an impeachable offense no matter what the President actually did about it. So the White House is looking to get this out of the way.

    Pretty sure this was the plan all along, and the GOP is now facing having to blow their vacation or miss their big chance at portraying the President as the most vile of all villains when of course previous Presidents jacked up the debt limit all the time, including Dubya’s seven times and Reagan’s 18 times. Your move, Republicans. You already lost that fight once.

    If you ask me, President Obama’s got them by the short hairs. Again.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Apparently, the Economy Isn’t Going to Hell in a Handbasket
    Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 3:06 PM

    This is what the President’s opponents were afraid of:

    An improving job outlook helped the Consumer Confidence Index soar to the highest level since April and near a post-recession peak, according to a monthly survey by The Conference Board.

    The second straight monthly surge coincided with a decent holiday shopping season for retailers, though stores had to heavily discount to attract shoppers. […]

    The Conference Board, a private research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose almost 10 points to 64.5 in December, up from a revised 55.2 in November. Analysts had expected 59. The level is close to the post-recession high of 72, reached in February.

    Combine that with the news from earlier in December that according to the Household survey (as opposed to the employer survey), 1.28 million jobs were created in the last four months along with a lower cost of financing the US debt (we are drawing more bids for every dollar sold in bonds and treasuries than ever thanks to investors flocking to US treasuries as the safest investment), and the economy might indeed not be heeding the dire warnings of the Republican party and falling off a cliff due to the infamous “spending problem.”

    Much of the holiday consumer spending spree can be tied easily to the deal the President made last December with the Republicans to pay the price of keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich in place for a couple of years in order to extract economic stimulus measures such as a payroll tax cut, a yearlong extension of unemployment benefits, and kept in place President Obama’s other targeted tax cuts for working families and the middle class: the American opportunity tax credit for students, the expanded earned income tax credit, and the expanded child tax credit. When direct spending isn’t legislatively available, the next best stimulus is tax cuts targeted to people that will most readily spend it: namely to the poor, the middle class, and students – all people who have a relatively low level of discretionary income to begin with.

    I said it back then, and I will say it now: the President got a second stimulus from the Republicans by paying the price of their dear tax cuts for the rich. The result? Read up.

    I have been hearing on TV that the year-end economic news is good for President Obama. And it is. But it misses the point. The news is good for the American people, for American businesses, for American jobs, for the American consumer. And President Obama is not simply the beneficiary of this good economic trend. He is the architect of it. He held the economy from falling off the cliff with the American Recovery Act, he relentlessly pursued and extended unemployment benefits and preserved the jobs of teachers and firefighters; he fought hard for the middle class and got the payroll tax cut and other targeted measures to inject consumer demand; he brought a 35% tax relief to small businesses for providing health care; he gave the fragile economy some breathing room even as the Republicans were trying to choke it off.

    If anyone has any doubts about why the Republicans wanted to eliminate the payroll tax cut for middle class and working class Americans, there is your answer. They do not want positive economic news in an election year. After all, Barack Obama has already taken away national security (see: Osama bin Laden dead), fiscal responsibility (see GOP logic: tax cuts do not need to be paid for except the payroll tax cut), and damn nearly every other issue. Their only hope was to demagogue the economy, and the President’s efforts seem to be paying off there too. Darn.

    And if these trends continue – if jobs keep being created at a good pace, consumer confidence keeps heading north, new unemployment claims continue heading south, and so forth, there isn’t much that will stand in the way of President Obama and a second term.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    December 27, 2011 3:40 PM
    The ‘progressive’ question Romney won’t answer
    By Steve Benen

    A couple of weeks ago, a pretty damaging video of Mitt Romney in 2002 started making the rounds. At the time, the then-gubernatorial candidate told a local news station, “I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican, that I’m someone who is moderate. My views are progressive.”

    Because Romney’s rivals are either incompetent or broke — or I suppose in some cases, both — the revelation didn’t really go anywhere. But some Republicans heard about it anyway, and on Fox News this morning, Romney’s press secretary, Andrea Saul, was asked about the 2002 quote. She replied:

    Anyone that wants to know how Governor Romney would govern — they need to look no further than his record in Massachusetts. Everything he did was as a conservative.”

    The Fox host followed up, asking, “If he’s as conservative as you say, then why did he call himself a ‘moderate’ and ‘progressive’?” Saul added:

    “Again, look at this record. As Governor of Massachusetts, he cut taxes 19 times, he balanced the budget without raising taxes, he always stood on the side of life, he vetoed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.”

    It’s curious that the Romney camp has known about this video for two weeks, and this is the best it could come up with.

    There are basically two angles to this. The first is that Team Romney would have voters believe the candidate was simply lying in 2002. You’ll notice that the campaign press secretary simply couldn’t answer the Fox News question directly. Why did Romney say he’s a moderate with progressive views? It doesn’t matter, the campaign said. Pay no attention to the actual words coming out of the candidate’s mouth.

    The other is that Republicans are supposed to look to Romney’s one term in office to know how he’d govern. Is that really the line the campaign wants to take? As a rule, Romney doesn’t want to talk about those four years at all — he forced the public to buy health insurance; he hired undocumented immigrants to take care of his lawn; he directed public money to pay for abortions and medical care for undocumented immigrants; and he repeatedly raised fees and taxes. Romney left office after one term wildly unpopular and with a miserable jobs record.

    If Romney were part of a credible field of challengers, it seems like his rivals might be able to do something with this.

  33. Ametia says:

    Behind the GOP’s Sudden Civil Rights Crusade
    —By Stephanie Mencimer
    | Tue Dec. 27, 2011 3:00 AM PST
    Republicans have abruptly embraced anti-discrimination laws—for fetuses.

    Generally speaking, the Republican Party isn’t known for its stalwart defense of civil rights these days. The party has helped to obstruct legislation that would require equal pay for women. In 2006, many congressional Republicans voted against renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights law that helped ensure equal access to the ballot box. But lately, Republicans have enthusiastically embraced the expansion of anti-discrimination laws to at least one category of individuals: those still in the womb. Their sudden interest in civil rights for the unborn is part of a broader anti-abortion strategy designed to ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade by passing legislation aimed at abortion restrictions that are supported by a majority of the public.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011
    Capitalism: Working As Intended
    Posted by Zandar

    Chris Hayes mentioned this Steve Waldman post at Interfluidity on banking, capitalism, and the game theory behind why proper investment, the lifeblood of any capitalist system, requires good ol’ fashioned lying to really work well:

    Like so many good con-men, bankers make themselves believed by persuading each and every investor individually that, although someone might lose if stuff happens, it will be someone else. You’re in on the con. If something goes wrong, each and every investor is assured, there will be a bagholder, but it won’t be you. Bankers assure us of this in a bunch of different ways. First and foremost, they offer an ironclad, moneyback guarantee. You can have your money back any time you want, on demand. At the first hint of a problem, you’ll be able to get out. They tell that to everyone, without blushing at all. Second, they point to all the other people standing in front of you to take the hit if anything goes wrong. It will be the bank shareholders, or it will be the government, or bondholders, the “bank holding company”, the “stabilization fund”, whatever. There are so many deep pockets guaranteeing our bank! There will always be someone out there to take the loss. We’re not sure exactly who, but it will not be you! They tell this to everyone as well. Without blushing.

    And instinctively, we understand that capitalism is a zero-sum game: as Guy sang it in the theme from New Jack City, “Somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose.” We get that. We don’t want to actually believe that, as Doug J and Charles Pierce remind us. But we instinctively get that.

    Waldman goes on to explain that the occasional Gilded Age/Depression is a feature of the system, not a bug.

    This is the business of banking. Opacity is not something that can be reformed away, because it is essential to banks’ economic function of mobilizing the risk-bearing capacity of people who, if fully informed, wouldn’t bear the risk. Societies that lack opaque, faintly fraudulent, financial systems fail to develop and prosper. Insufficient economic risks are taken to sustain growth and development. You can have opacity and an industrial economy, or you can have transparency and herd goats.

    A lamentable side effect of opacity, of course, is that it enables a great deal of theft by those placed at the center of the shell game. But surely that is a small price to pay for civilization itself. No?

    In other words, the dynamic connection between “It takes money to make money” and “A fool and his money are soon parted” is the real engine of American growth. When the winners are winning this much, you have to have a proportionally massive number of losers losing badly, that’s what zero-sum game means.

    The cynic in me agrees with Waldman. The optimist in me remembers that eventually all systems break down completely and are replaced with other systems, and yes, that qualifies as “hopeful” in this situation.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011
    Moving Forward At Your Own Perry-il, Part 13
    Posted by Zandar

    I’m not 100% sure I have the gist of things here, but it looks to me that Rick Perry is trying to energize his all but dead campaign for President by saying “Vote for me, I’ll remove the checks and balances on the Oval Office!”

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s latest campaign advertisement in Iowa calls for a part-time Congress and knocks four fellow GOP presidential hopefuls who’ve served there.

    “If Washington’s the problem, why trust a congressman to fix it? Among them, they’ve spent 63 years in Congress, leaving us with debt, earmarks, and bailouts. Congressmen get $174,000 a year and you get the bill,” an announcer in the 30-second ad says.

    A recent Gallup poll found that more Americans are dissatisfied with Congress than ever before. The governing body is now set to end 2011 with the lowest one-time approval rating in its history: 11 percent. Their annual average for 2011 came to a whopping 17 percent, which is also the lowest ever recorded.

    “Gov. Perry is the only Washington outsider in this race. He has never served in Washington or been an establishment favorite,” Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan explained in a statement.

    Sure, Congress has the approval rating somewhere between that of breeding velociraptors next to hospital nurseries and setting your own genitals on fire, but it doesn’t mean we should basically eliminate Congress.

    On the other hand, as I said yesterday all the Republicans are more or less running on a platform of getting rid of the federal government. Rick Perry certainly is no different in this respect, and in many ways he and Newt Gingrich (who wants to all but rid the country of the Judicial branch) are almost running for dictator.

    On the gripping hand, Congress is full of a lot of people whose job apparently is getting richer for being on Congress while their constituents get poorer. Something does need to be done about Congress and Washington DC politics in general, but giving more power to the Executive Branch isn’t the solution.

    Still, “Washington doesn’t work, let’s complete the transition to the Imperial Presidency!” is ludicrous, and yet these jokers keep screaming that President Obama is just waiting to take over the country and round us up into FEMA camps. Funny how that works.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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