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Month: March 2012

Karl Rove’s Audacity of Mendacity

Karl Rove’s Audacity of Mendacity

Karl Rove continues doing what he excelled at doing for President George W. Bush: Presenting the Untruth as Truth.

Today in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece he set his sights on President Obama’s campaign video, The Road We’ve Traveled.

One of Rove’s most mendacious statements is about the debt created under Bush compared to Obama. Rove states that, “the administration has piled up more debt in three years and two months ($4.93 trillion) than his predecessor did in eight years ($4.8 trillion).” Rove, who was deeply involved in the workings of the Bush administration should know better and probably does, but he doesn’t want you to know what he knows. I’ll let The Old Viking explain. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Since 1980 the federal fiscal year begins on October 1.

Bush was elected in 2000 and took office in January 2001. At the end of that budget the national debt was $5.8 trillion (57% of the GDP)

Bush left office in January 2009. He created the 2009 budget under which Obama operated for 8 mos & 2 weeks. At the end of that budget the national debt was $11.9 trillion (84% of the GDP)

Bush’s budgets increased the national debt by $6.1 trillion because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the tax cuts and the bailout packages.

Obama’s first budget year ended on September 30, 2010. Total national debt was $13.6 trillion (93% of the GDP)

As of February 7, 2012 the national debt was $15.4 trillion (101% of the GDP).

Therefore it is fair to conclude that Obama’s budgets–including those that originated in the GOP House of Representatives–have increased the national debt by $3.5 trillion (29%), not $6.4 trillion (64%)

Rove’s numbers in his Wall Street Journal column are way off, and it’s no surprise that the WSJ, now owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (Fox News), let him get away with such falsehoods.

Rove also says the economy Obama inherited wasn’t “the worst” since The Great Depression and goes on to complain about Obama’s stimulus package and very successful auto-industry bailout that saved hundreds of thousands of jobs.

But worst of all, he brushes aside one of Obama’s major accomplishments: the successful mission to find Osama bin Laden that ended in his death. Rove strapped on his big brass balls before writing this:

Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film, “that’s the call I would have made.”

Two problems: First, George W. Bush lost interest in putting himself in that situation, so he never had the opportunity to make the call.  And second, thanks to News Corp, Rove got away with presenting only part of what Bill Clinton actually said:

He took the harder and more honorable path. When I saw what had happened, I thought to myself, “I hope that’s the call I would have made.”

After being attacked by Obama supporters, the WSJ edited the original column by adding “I hope” to Clinton’s quote. If the editors had any balls they would have put in the whole quote, but then that would have underminded Rove’s phony criticism even more than what was done by adding those two words.

Karl Rove is a despicable man that only the likes News Corp would hire to offer political opinions that pit President Obama against his boy George Bush, who will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever.

Son House Birthday Song “Death Letter Blues”

Son House Birthday Song “Death Letter Blues”

Eddie James “Son” House, Jr. was born on this day in 1902 in Riverton Mississippi. He had a huge influence on  many well known guitar players from Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters to Jack White.

Watch this early sixties performance “Death Letter Blues” that was included on the Martin Scorsese produced PBS series, The Blues.
Somewhere sometime today I am pretty sure Jack White will be singing this song.

Obama Shows Romney and Santorum How an Adult Deals with Iran

Obama Shows Romney and Santorum How an Adult Deals with Iran

Amid all the talk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon capability or of Israel launching a pre-emptive military strike, it was reassuring to see President Obama laying out a pragmatic and sensible policy that placed the issue in clearer perspective and offered a coherent plan that represents the best chance of avoiding another Middle East war while preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. In doing so he showed once again that in the company of the pygmies masquerading as Republican presidential hopefuls, he’s the only grown-up in the room.

Messrs. Romney, Gingrich and Santorum shamefully pandered to the pro-Israel lobby last week as they outdid each other in trying to highlight their differences on the issue with Obama. For the most part they sounded like idiots.

Santorum for example loves ultimatums. He would give Israel the green light to attack Iran or maybe push America into doing it if the Iranians responded to Rick with a raspberry. And I mean let’s face it: who wouldn’t? Meanwhile Romney huffs and puffs and makes all sorts of outrageous allegations against Obama (see the Fact Checker in The Washington Post) but beneath all the overheated rhetoric, his own policy differs little. And Newt Gingrich…well who cares?

Obama in contrast has reassured Israel that America does not have a policy of containment, and that Iran will not be allowed to build a nuclear weapon, something that threatens America’s national security as well as Israel’s. However, he stopped short of acceding to Israel’s position that Iran’s nuclear facilities must be attacked before it develops even the capability. Instead, he will allow diplomacy and increasingly stringent economic sanctions to force a favorable result while keeping military force firmly on the table as a last resort. Sounds like a plan to me.

Conventional wisdom has it that the economy and not foreign policy will determine who wins the presidential election in November. That’s a pity because this president has an impressive list of foreign policy accomplishments, which shows that when he has the freedom to act, unhindered by the sort of GOP obstructionism that has impeded his domestic agenda, he can achieve a great deal. And as the world confronts an Iran set on continuing its nuclear program, it’s critical we have someone in the White House with sober, sound judgment who can resist the hysterics of the warmongers.

Friday Night Videos Featuring Barry Adamson, Chuck Prophet, and Mark Lanegan

Friday Night Videos Featuring Barry Adamson, Chuck Prophet, and Mark Lanegan

I know Barry Adamson from his work with Nick Cave on his first three albums. I had not paid much attention to his solo work until I heard tracks of his new album, I Will Set You Free.

This one is from Chuck Prophet’s latest album, Temple Beautiful.

And here’s one from Mark Lanegan’s new album, Blues Funeral.


Fighting for a Woman’s Right to Insurer Provided Birth Control

Fighting for a Woman’s Right to Insurer Provided Birth Control


Birth-Control-Battle Fighting for a Woman's Right to Insurer Provided Birth Control

I don’t know where or when this photo was taken, but maybe it was taken recently at a rally to fight for women’s rights to insurer provided birth control.

To learn or about the absurdity of this battle in these times, watch Jon Stewart’s interviw with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards from last night’s Daily Show.

The Fiscally Irresponsible Republicans vs. Obama

The Fiscally Irresponsible Republicans vs. Obama

It’s not just Mitt Romney that has a tax plan that will bankrupt our country. All four of them have plans that will significantly increase our national debt. Here’s a chart from Krugman’s blog that tells the tale:

Tax-Plan-Comparison-Chart The Fiscally Irresponsible Republicans vs. Obama   

The graph shows your new Republican Party is not much different from the Republican Party of a decade ago. Who was it that said, “Deficits don’t matter”? Oh yeah, that was Dick Cheney, and the four candidates running against President Obama all believe it too.

The chart shows Ron Paul’s plan is close to Obama’s, but only because it relies on spending cuts that would be nearly impossible to get through congress (read Krugman for details). Romney’s plan is more expensive, but Santorum and Gingrich are offering what appear to be national bankruptcy plans.

So why are Republican candidates who are constantly attacking Obama for our huge debt (that he inherited from the last Republican president) offering plans that will make it worse? The answer is simple. Regardless of what Republicans tell you (according to a recent Gallup Poll, the more wealthy the Republicans, the more likely they are to say they are concerned about the debt than they are about unemployment) they don’t give a damn about the debt – they haven’t since the mid-eighties. They are most concerned about keeping their taxes low so that the government can’t give their money away to who they perceive as the undeserving masses. You know; the people who lost their jobs, and the people who lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs, people on Medicare, and people on food stamps.

So now you have four Republican candidates promising to slash taxes to impossibly low rates and cut government spending to impossibly low levels to sell their tax-and-cut plans that make the rich richer and screw everyone else.

Same as it ever was.

Rich People Love Mitt Romney

Rich People Love Mitt Romney

Rich people are turning out in record numbers for their wealthy, capitalist, “job creating,” candidate. The Washington Post reports:

In 2008, 22 percent of GOP primary voters in Michigan made at least $100,000, and that group made up 21 percent of the electorate in Ohio, according to exit polls.

This year, 33 percent of voters in Michigan made that much money, while 30 percent of Ohio voters did.

In both cases, the number of wealthy voters grew by about 50 percent — a pretty stunning increase in that demographic over just a four-year span.

And an argument could be made that the increase put Romney over the top.

In both states, Romney won this demographic by 14 points but didn’t win among any other income demographic. And given he won by such small margins overall — 1 point in Ohio and 3 points in Michigan — it’s not unreasonable to think he would have lost those states without the uptick in wealthy voters.

I wonder if it has anything to his latest tax plan that provides more huge tax cuts for the rich.

Romney’s latest plan would cut the rate of all six brackets by 20% thereby lowering the income tax on top earners from the current, already-too-low rate of 35% to 28%. (Assuming all of their income is earned income and not unearned income that is taxed at a way-too-low rate of 15%.) So for example, if some hotshot Wall Street investment banker was able to skim off $5M dollars in earned income from his clients, his tax liability would drop by $350,000. The average tax break for all households under Romney’s plan would be $2,900.

Romney would also repeal the new ACA taxes scheduled to go into effect in 2013: the 0.9% tax on wages and the 3.8% tax on investment income of high-income individual taxpayers.

And Romney would reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and declare a “tax holiday” for corporations to bring their overseas profits back to the USA.

No wonder the rich are voting in favor of Romney.  He’ll fatten their oversized pocketbooks with hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax cuts!

And you may be wondering what kind of effect Romney’s tax-slashing plan would have on the federal budget.  Two recent studies predict Romney’s plan will add trillions to the deficit over the next ten years. A study by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says it will increase the deficit by $2.3 trillion, and the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says it will increase it by $3 trillion.

That’s what we’d get from the candidate with “business experience.”

Bruce Springsteen Takes on the Marauders with Wrecking Ball

Bruce Springsteen Takes on the Marauders with Wrecking Ball

Bruce Springsteen’s new album, Wrecking Ball, was released on Tuesday. It’s his 17th and most overtly political album. Several of the songs could end up being a soundrack to the Occupy Wall Street movement – especially “Death to My Hometown,” in which he rages against the greedheads on Wall Street:

So, listen up Sonny Boy,
Be ready when they come
For they’ll be returning
Sure as the rising sun
Now get yourself a song to sing
And sing it ‘til you’re done
Sing it hard and sing it well
Send the robber barons straight to Hell
The greedy thieves who came around
And ate the flesh of everything they found
Whose crimes have gone unpunished now
Who walk the streets as free men now
They brought death to our hometown, boys,
Death to our hometown.

…and “Jack of All Trades” using the voice of a working man who sees it happen over and over again:

The banker man grows fat,
Working man grows thin
It’s all happened before and it’ll happen again
It’ll happen again, yeah they’ll bet your life

And they’ll win. (See post below.)

…but not before he thinks some bad thoughts:

If I had me a gun, I’d find the
Bastards and shoot ’em on sight.
The Greedheads are Back and Getting Richer with a Vengeance

The Greedheads are Back and Getting Richer with a Vengeance

Emanuel Saez has updated his study, Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States, with income data through 2010. You can dig right into the Excel file that produced all the charts in that report if you click righ here.

Saez writes that during The Great Recession years of 2007  through 2009, (or the Lesser Depression, as Krugman likes to call it), average real income per family fell by 17.4%, and average real income for the top 1% fell by 36.3%. The fall at the top was mostly attributable to a decrease in capital gains income due to the huge drop in stock prices.

Things started getting better in 2010. Average real income per family grew by 2.3%. Saez describes how that gain was distributed:

Top 1% incomes grew by 11.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.2%. Hence, the top 1% captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of recovery.

And if anyone out there still isn’t sure what Occupy Wall Street is all about, now you have your answer.

Here’s a graph from the report that puts historical income inquality in perspective:

Saez-Income-Inequality-Chart-e1331175325251 The Greedheads are Back and Getting Richer with a Vengeance

The graph shows the greedheads aren’t quite back to where they were before the recession but, incomes grew through 2011 and into 2012, so I have no doubt their ravenous grab of the lion’s share has continued. I suspect the 2012 charts will show them back at their peak or past it.

Montana Chief Federal Judge Richard Cebull Sends Racist Obama Joke

Montana Chief Federal Judge Richard Cebull Sends Racist Obama Joke

Republican jokes about President Barack Obama are so funny! Especially when they are forwarded by a racist federal judge.  Here’s one that Judge Richard Cebull sent to seven of his friends and ultimately to anyone connected to the internet:

Subject:  “A MOM’S MEMORY”

Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

A little boy said to his mother; “Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’ His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!”

Hilarious! It warms my heart so much I just can’t stop laughing.

And what’s even funnier is that Cebull “acknowledged that the content of the email was racist, but says he does not consider himself racist.”

But that’s not all! He also said: “It was not intended by me in any way to become public.” I guess that means he doesn’t consider himself to be very smart either.

Great Falls Tribune story here.

Politico story here.