Big Bird

I went out canvassing for the Democrats out in Antioch, California yesterday. There I met a woman in mid-50s perhaps who said this to me. 

I ain't voting for the other guy after he dissed Big Bird.

And rightly so.

 

When God is Your Lifeboat

Kevin Roose over at the Daily Intel of New York Magazine pointed me over this column by Red State's Erick Erickson who while believing that Mitt Romney will win on Tuesday with an Electoral College split of 285 to 253 over the President also exposes one of the key tenets of right-wing Christian evangelicalism especially as practiced in the United States. Erickson writes:

My world view is pretty simple. I think this world is destined to go to hell in a hand basket by design (his italics, my bold). I think things are supposed to go to pot. So if Barack Obama wins, I won’t be upset. If Mitt Romney wins, I won’t be running through the streets cheering. I think, either way, it is all part of the design. The world is going down hill. Barack Obama re-elected just gets us down the slippery slope faster in my view. For others, it is Mitt Romney who does.

If your way of thinking is that it is God's plan to have this Earth go to hell because in that said aforementioned deity is your lifeboat then what does it matter if life on this planet goes to "hell in a hand basket." Such thinking is delusional and Mr. Erickson in any other country would be dismissed as a lunatic not to mention as a seriously misguided practioncer of Christian theology. That line of thinking is starkly dangerous and should be universally condemned for what it is, insanity.

The Party of Legitimate Rape Strikes Again

It is truly illuminating to hear the current crop of Republicans, especially their not so illuminated menfolk, expound their views on rape. And their views, which are so extraordinarily extreme, speak volumes as to who controls the modern GOP. In Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin now running against Senator Claire McCaskill thinks that not all rapes are "legitimate" basically implying that some women just ask for it. He further went to mouth off such quackery that in any other country, he would have been laughed into oblivion. Said Todd Akin, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

No Mr. Akin, the body does not have that capability. And shame on you for rape is rape.

But the shameful ignorance doesn't end there. Over in neighboring Illinois, first-term Rep. Joe Walsh just last week noted that abortions are "absolutely" never necessary to save the lives of pregnant women. "With modern technology and science, you can't find one instance," Walsh said. "There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing."

While we are all aware that the modern GOP is not the party of science, this ignorance is beyond the pale. My Aunt Miriam, aged 46, died in 1970 having bled to death because doctors refused to abort a fetus that had turned in a malignant tumor. She hemorrhaged to her death in a country where abortion remains largely illegal. It was only in 2006 after decades of pressing for a few exceptions did Colombia's Constitutional Court grant the right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger. So read this correctly, what Joe Walsh wants is for women like my aunt to bleed to death. I find this morally repulsive.

And now we are told that rape is an act of God. In Indiana, Richard Mourdock, the man who ended Dick Lugar's 36-year Senatorial career because he was deemed too centrist, claimed yesterday in a debate that pregnancies from rape are "something that God intended to happen".

One wonders is Mr. Mourdock a candidate for a post in the secular US Senate or is he a candidate for the ministry in some bizarre cult? Well to be frank, he, like Akin and Walsh, is already a member of a bizarre cult called the Tea Party and that cult is who effectively controls the modern GOP.

Please help defeat these extremists by donating to Democrats who fight to keep abortion safe, legal and rare:

Missouri Senate Race: Senator Claire McCaskill

Eighth Congressional District of Illinois: Tammy Duckworth

Indiana Senate Race: Joe Donnelly for Indiana

A Great Question. A Horrible Answer.

He had nine from which to choose. He admitted that he was a great question. His choice was Antonin Scalia as "the model judge" before scrambling back towards the center his discomfort ever evident.

Massachusetts can do better and will do better by sending Elizabeth Warren to the United States Senate.

No Daylight Equals a Whole Lot of Darkness

There has been a debate within the Romney camp as to whether it suits the flailing candidacy of Mitt Romney to use the turmoil in the Middle East for political advantage. Mind you, Mittens already has tried this inappropriate if not heinous comments in the wake of Ambassador Chris Stevens' death in Benghazi.You would think having being once burned, actually twice burned because he of the recent summer tour in which he managed without even to batting an eyelash to disparage friend and foe (at least from his perspective the Palestinians are foes) so unwittingly that it raised issues of mental competency, Mittens might be shy about wading into issues that have singed him in the not so distant past. But if at first you fail, then fail, fail, fail again.

Probably at the behest of John Bolton, the arch neo-conservative who served as George W. Bush's Ambassador to the United Nations and who just last week thought it appropriate to describe US foreign policy during the Obama Administration with a homophobic slur, Mitt Romney has taken to the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal to demonstrate how utterly unfit he is to be President of the United States.

There are numerous outright fabrications in his piece. He writes for example that "in recent years, President Obama has allowed our leadership to atrophy." By what measure and over what time frame? Because while a June 2012 Pew Research Center poll found that "global approval of President Barack Obama's policies has declined significantly since he first took office, while overall confidence in him and attitudes toward the U.S. have slipped modestly as a consequence" but nonetheless remain significantly higher than at anytime during the George W. Bush years.

Romney goes on to write "our economy is stuck in a 'recovery' that barely deserves the name. Our national debt has risen to record levels. Our military, tested by a decade of war, is facing devastating cuts thanks to the budgetary games played by the White House." Well if the economy is in a recovery that barely deserves such assignation, it is thanks to your party which in the words of Senate Majority Mitch McConnell believes that "single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president" and never mind the welfare of the American people. Thus for example it was your party which just last week defeated a jobs bill that would have put some 30,000 veterans returning from serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan to work. The line about the national debt would be more believable if not for the fact that under Reagan-Bush your party tripled the national debt and under Bush the Dumber doubled it. And that line about the military facing "devastating cuts" is an outright fabrication. The Obama budget proposal called for spending $36 billion more on the Pentagon in 2017 than in 2013. Only in the mathematically challenged world of the GOP is more less.

But no line is more egregious nor more dangerous than when Romney writes that there should be "no daylight between the United States and Israel." Now think about what this means. For starters, it means jettisoning a bipartisan bedrock principle of US foreign policy as regards the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Notwithstanding the fact that Israel is an ally, it has been the policy of the United States government to at least back to Nixon Administration to act as a honest broker between the two sides. Romney would have throw us this away. Let's be very clear here. Both publicly and privately, Mitt Romney has expressed a rather one-sided, if not racist, view of the Palestinians. Even when he has a former US Secretary of State expressing that there might be a pathway to a permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Romney is so entrenched in his views that he fails to ask that learned, experienced voice to expound on his views. Such incurosity in a president isn't just remarkable, it is remarkably dangerous and unbelievably dismissive.

No daylight also means accepting the policies of the Likud government as our own. Those policies include an ethnic cleansing of proportions that would make Slobodan Milosevic blush, an apartheid regime unlike even that of P.W. Botha. If Mitt Romney is to believed as he suggests at the beginning of his Wall Street Journal op-ed that US foreign policy has a "human rights" component than means accepting that Palestinians are human beings with human rights. It is not clear that Mitt Romney believes this.

Accepting Mitt Romney's premise that there be "no daylight" between the United States and the Israeli Likud government means accepting a whole lot of darkness.

 

Paul Ryan Doesn't Have the Time

"I don’t have the time. It would take me too long to go through all of the math." - GOP VP Candidate Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee

He didn't the time to explain the Romney-Ryan tax cuts, or is it the Ryan-Romney plan, to Fox News' Chris Wallace. In this case it is not that the math is hard, it is that math is impossible or contradicts their stated view that their tax cuts for the wealthy would have no impact on the middle class. Here is what an August report from the non-partisan Brookings Institution concluded about the Romney-Ryan tax plan:

"Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers. This is true even when we bias our assumptions about which and whose tax expenditures are reduced to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible. For instance, even when we assume that tax breaks – like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for health insurance – are completely eliminated for higher-income households first, and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality– the net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households."

More fromThink Progress.

Fox News Didn't Air a Suicide, Fox News Committed a Murder

You can read the grisly details in The Guardian but let's be clear it was a news helicopter whose feed was broadcast on Fox News with a blow by blow narrated by Shepard Smith that hounded a man, yes a car thief but still a man, to his death. By the time the man stopped the vehicle he had apparently stolen, the police were not in pursuit. Only a bloodthirsty media was in pursuit. What morbid fascination, what depraved sense of what is newsworthy and as if we didn't have serious national issues to debate. An apology (which Fox delivered to its audience, not the victim's family) does not suffice. Criminal charges are in order.

And it is furthermore even more despicable that certain websites at this very hour continue to profit by making such video public for sheer bloodlust.  When one talks of moral decay, this is of which I speak - a capitalism that will profit off the death of an imperfect human being.

 

 

The Definitive Todd Akin

Fresh off attempting to define what "legitimate rape" is, Rep Todd Akin, the GOP candidate for the US Senate in Missouri, now wants to define what "ladylike" behaivor is or is not. After feeling the brunt of Senator Claire McCaskill during a debate last week, Akin told the Kansas City Star:

“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

One gets the impression that Todd Akin thinks women should just sit there, be lecture at and not be allowed to speak much less opine. Did he expect Claire McCaskill to just sit there and listen to his Biblical views on gender? This is a man who thinks the world is 6,000 years old and who has called anyone who believes in evolution "a monkey-lover". He's hardly a suitable candidate for dogcatcher but somehow the state of the GOP in 2012 is such that the party establishment thinks a man with such misantrophic views is eligible to sit in the US Senate. 

There's more...

The Knockout Punch

The ad is entitled "My Job" and it is the latest of pro-Obama ads either from the Obama campaign or from groups supporting the re-election of the President. This ad was produced by the Obama campaign and is slated to run in just seven swing states. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post calls it "brutal". I concur. It is a knockout punch.

The Three to Watch

Since 1960, no one has won the Presidency without winning two of these three states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Combined these three states account for 67 Electoral College Votes, one less than they did in the 2008 election (Florida gained two ECVs while Ohio lost two and Pennsylvannia one). Nonetheless these three states, traditionally swing states, account for nearly a quarter of the total needed to win the Presidency.

Polls so far have put Obama far ahead in Pennsylvania so much that the Romney campaign seems to have conceded the Keystone state spending effectively little money. A landslide margin is considered to be ten points. In Pennsylvania, Obama has maintained this margin consistently throughout the summer. The current polls show give the President a twelve point lead.

Ohio and Florida have from the start of this electoral cycle been seen as tough battleground states where the contest would be won or lost. The latest Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News now point to widening leads for the President approaching landslide margins in both states. In Ohio, Obama leads Romney by ten points and in the even more critical Florida contest Obama leads by nine.

I think there are number of reasons why the President is doing well but in Ohio and Florida, two of those reasons are John Kasich and Rick Scott, the respective Tea Party governors of these two rich electoral prizes. 

The election remains as it has been for quite some time. A close election nationally in terms of the overall popular vote but continuing to move in Obama's direction in the Electoral College as voters in the battleground swing states continue to favor the President. In some of these states, the margin is within the margin of error but in Florida and Ohio, it is clearly not. And if Romney can't reverse this trend in these two states, he might as well start writing his concession speech.

It is clearly too early for Obama to write his victory speech but when that time comes a shout out to Kasich and Scott is clearly in order. 

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