Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Headlines - Tuesday September 4

Charlie Lawrence of Johnston, R.I., in the Cranston, Rhode Island Herald:
To the Editor:

I am white. I am male. I am also 68 and a Vietnam Era veteran. And I am angry.

And I know many people my age who are also angry. They see gays and lesbians demanding the right to get married. They see a black man in the White House with a strange sounding name, changing our health care system and suggesting that we as a nation might have something to do with the sorry state of affairs in the world.
To my fellow seniors who are upset and alarmed at this, I have a message: Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Enough of your whining! The world is changing, and it's about time you got off your mental easy chair and did the same! Your stubborn resistance to change is maddening!

Upset about gay lifestyle? I am married more than 40 years ... to a woman ... and I do not in any way feel threatened by gays and lesbians who wish to be wed. Here's some advice – one senior to another – try minding your own business.
When I see you no longer eating pork or working on Sunday, then I'll take your Bible-based opposition to gay marriage seriously.

And while you are at it, stop complaining about this so-called "socialist" president as you sit in your easy chairs collecting both Medicare and Social Security. And don't swallow the hogwash about a Republican saving Medicare and a Democrat "robbing" it. Please, don't make seniors look senile by swallowing that lie. ( I'll deal with that lie in my next letter.)

You constantly lament how things have gotten worse. Yes, they have.
Ours was a noble generation that fought for Medicare, for equal rights for women and blacks, clean air and water and decent wages for all. Now too many of us fight for tax breaks for the wealthiest few and more power and money for corporations. How noble is that?

We admired and respected broadcasters like Walter Cronkite and Paul Harvey. Men of integrity. Now we are taken in by any right-wing blowhard with a microphone, the biggest being a four-times married, self-admitted drug abuser. Another so insane, even Fox News dropped him.

And, yes, there is a black man in the White House. It's a sign of the changing face of America. I fully understand for many this is an uncomfortable sign; your old world is gone. For most, what you feel is not bigotry; it's fear. Deep down fear.

Please! It's 2012. Stop fearing change! Embrace it! Welcome it as we did so many years ago because change is here and will continue with or without our help.

Charlie Lawrence

This deserves to go viral. This man deserves his fifteen minutes of internet fame. Go forth and make it happen.
Wisco: Conservatives, Melissa Harris-Perry has had it with your bullshit
"The then leaders of the United States [Mr Bush] and Great Britain [Mr Blair] fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand - with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us. The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level." - Desmond Tutu, calling for Bush and Blair to by tried for war crimes.
Uh oh. When you've lost Maureen "Queen of the Mean Girls" Dowd, your "Cruel Masquerade Ball" is losing the Media Village:
MESSAGE: They care. Republicans care deeply. They really do.
They care deeply about making us think that they care deeply.
That's why they knocked themselves out producing a convention that was a colossal hoax….
... It was fitting that David Koch was the beaming financial god presiding over this Orwellian makeover of Republicans as generous communitarians who care about grandmas, cherish immigrants and defend Medicare, so movingly described by the vice presidential nominee who tried to turn Medicare into a voucher system as "an obligation we have to our parents and grandparents."
Koch leads the Orwellian movement of oil billionaires playing grass-roots activists. The industrialist ideologue wants to use his money to shrink government the way those vacuum sealers on infomercials suck the air out of plastic bags stuffed with clothes until they're a mere sliver — shriveling all the social services, environmental regulations and taxes on the wealthy.
Koch, who infuses gazillions to build up the Tea Party and tear down the president, was a member of the New York delegation. On Tuesday, he was in the hall, sitting in what had to be one of the most expensive single seats that anyone ever bought.
The stage show looked like America, but the convention hall did not. The crowd seemed like the sanctuary of a minority — economically wounded capitalists in shades from eggshell to ecru, cheering the man from Bain and trying to fathom why they're not running the country anymore. The speakers ranted about an America in decline, but the audience reflected a party in decline….
The convention rebranding as compassionate conservatives is encouraging in that it shows that Republicans feel they are at a disadvantage with their Ayn Rand disdain for altruism, their Kempian trickle-down economics stripped of the humanity of Jack Kemp, their worship of the wealthy as the engine of economic prosperity….Ryan's lies and Romney's shape-shifting are so easy to refute that they must have decided a Hail Mary pass of artifice was better than their authentic ruthless worldview.
With so many Conservatards that don't believe in science, what's the poiint?
If this is true....

A few weeks ago, when fulminating about Mitt Romney's tax returns -- you know, the ones that have a greater right to privacy than my vagina -- I quipped that he might very well be the first candidate in history to campaign his way into a cell in a federal lockup.

If this is true -- and if it can be proven -- we may well look back on my joke as prescient.

Veteran Republican political consultant, unrepentant dirty trickster, and recently reborn libertarian Roger Stone yesterday published a startling accusation against Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney on his personal website, The Stone Zone. According to Stone, the billionaire Koch brothers purchased the Republican vice presidential nomination for Ryan from Romney in late July by promising to fork over an additional $100 million toward "independent expenditure" campaigning for the GOP ticket.

Any such transaction would represent a serious violation of federal election laws and perhaps other statutes, aside from the ethical and character implications for all concerned. Although Stone is not the most reputable figure, to put it mildly, he has been a Republican insider, with access to the party's top figures, over four decades. His credentials date back to Nixon's Committee to Reelect The President and continue through the Reagan White House, the hard-fought Bush campaigns, and the Florida fiasco in 2000, when he masterminded the "Brooks Brothers riot" that shut down the Bush-Gore recount in Miami-Dade.

Here is how Stone led his latest post, headlined "The Paul Ryan Selection, "which also delivers an amusing swipe at a certain Fox News analyst:

I've waited a few days to lay out my analysis of the selection of Paul Ryan for the VP slot on the Romney ticket. Unlike politicos like Dick Morris who badmouths the selection privately and shills for it publicly, I'll tell you what I really think. My sources tell me David Koch played a key role in Ryan's selection and that Koch's wife Julia had been quietly lobbying for Ryan. The selection was cemented at the July 22nd fundraiser Koch held for Romney at the former's sumptuous Hamptons estate. Koch pledged $100 million more to C-4 and Super PAC efforts for Romney [in exchange] for Ryan's selection.

When he mentions "C-4," of course, Stone is referring to the tax-exempt non-profit groups recognized by the IRS under section 501-C-4 of federal tax law - such as Americans For Prosperity, a group largely backed by the Koch brothers that has so far spent nearly $20 million on this year's campaign. The C-4 groups, including another known as Crossroads GPS run by Karl Rove, need not disclose their rich donors, while Super PACs do. This year, the right-wing C-4s are outspending all the SuperPACS combined, as Pro Publica reported recently.

Now here is where it gets dicey -- Stone is no longer a republican, he has morphed into a Libertarian since he foolishly backed Rudy "9/11" Giuliani four years ago, and he is an avowed backer of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico, and these days he's about as welcome in republican circles as a Mormon missionary at the front door of a Jehovah's Witness.

That said, he put the post up on his blog two weeks ago, and Joe Conason picked it up the next day. The charge has been out there, and they haven't bothered to deny it, or acknowlledge it at all -- and they won't unless it gets some traction and becomes a topic of conversation and it's the first question out of the mouth of every reporter they acknowledge at every stop along the campaign trail.

The charges are serious, but they are also wholly believable. I wish they were being made by someone with more credibility than Roger Stone, but on the other hand, the Koch brothers don't hang around with nuns and social workers, so we're not going to get an unimpeachable source when it comes to something like this.


Are we better off?

Recently, the Romney campaign has taken to telling voters that Obama "can't tell you that you're better off" now than four years ago. While the economic numbers suggest otherwise, there's a simpler way to understand the reality of four years ago: take a look at what people were saying at the time. September 2008 was the month where the financial crisis — caused in significant part by Republican-supported deregulation of the financial industry — really took off, a point reflected clearly in the newspaper headlines from the time:

STOCK SHOCK FELT ROUND THE WORLD. Gets 'nasty' as Lehman tanks, Merrill vanishes, AIG wobbles [New York Daily News, September 16, 2008]

Depression Coming? Boil Some Beans; Ladies Who Quilt Give Tips On Surviving Tough Times [Albuquerque Journal, September 21, 2008]

One day on the brink On Wednesday, it seemed U.S. economy might collapse [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 21, 2008]

'Great Depression' closer than U.S. admits, report finds [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 27, 2008]

Will Bush become the new Hoover? [Politico, September 19, 2008]

Developers bend under housing meltdown [Colorado Springs Gazette, September 27, 2008]

Depression seen possible [Florida News-Press, September 27, 2008]

Wall Street Meltdown Continues [CNN, September 17, 2008]

Is It Really the Next 'Great Depression'? [NPR, September 19, 2008]

Behind Closed Doors, Warnings of Calamity [The New York Times, September 20, 2008]

The Secret Service is investigating the above Texas billboard which quotes a Bible passage that calls for God to kill your enemy. This so-called "imprecatory prayer" has been used by pastors and anti-gay politicians in the past.
The sign says "Pray for Obama", but it's the scripture quoted below those words that is raising eyebrows: Psalms 109:8. Psalms 109:8 reads, "Let his days be few, and let another take his office." Milton Neitsch Jr., who has lived in Victoria since 1961, says he didn't intend for people to pick up on the hateful wishes of death and pain surrounding the tiny verse. But some people say it is hateful and inappropriate. They say it misuses the holy scripture and it must come down. Neitsch recently received an email from a friend and decided to post it on his advertising billboard along North Navarro Street. He had no idea the firestorm of controversy it would create. "Pray for the president. He needs it," said Neitsch. When asked what the sign means, Neitsch responded, "Exactly what it says. Hope he's gone soon and somebody different takes his place."
Neitsch, of course, is lying. Christians know exactly what the full passage says.
May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation. May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out. May their sins always remain before the Lord, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.  
The National Review is selling these prints:
Which look just like this:

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