Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

by jhwygirl

It ended up the do-nothing U.S. House of Representatives passed three kumbaya bills and two not-jobs-creation bills last week. One of those not-jobs-creation bills is the Full Faith and Credit Act that we wrote briefly about the other day – HR807. This bill actually hurts employment by telling the Treasury what order in which to pay bills.

HR807 passed with only Republican votes – while 8 Republicans joined with Dems in NAY to passage. Which tells you what kind of bill this is.

Where was Montana Rep. Steve Daines? He voted yes.

The second non-kumbaya bill and the other real work damage the GOP-led House did last week was the Working Families Flexibility Act – HR1406.

That name sure sounds nice, doesn’t it

The Working Families Flexibility Act repeals a portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 – the portion that requires employers of hourly wage earners to pay time-and-a-half for work hours over 40. Instead of pay, an employer (e.g., not the employee) can opt to pay out those overtime hours as “comp time” – a bank of hours, like vacation or sick time.

And guess what? The employer doesn’t have to pay it out to you when you and your employer part ways. Not only that – imagine the impacts to an employee (i.e., a father or a mother) who turns down overtime?

Where was Montana Rep. Steve Daines on this bill that both destroys job creation and exposes hourly wage earning families to risky and unfair labor practices? Rep. Daines voted yes.

75 years of standing labor law – built on events that brought about its need – and Daines votes to do away with overtime pay.

Now – this bill ties in nicely with the GOP’s never ending quest to damage and roadblock the Affordable Care Act. If employers can’t cut employees back enough to avoid having to provide healthcare, at least then they could force everyone to work 50 hour work weeks, with compensation that only increases what might be nonexistent sick and vacation leave! See how fascism works?

And before you think they’ve given up on this quest to gut-punch the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Michele Bachmann’s bill to repeal said bill – HR45 is schedule for the floor this week.

Used to be “jobs jobs jobs” we heard from the GOP, but that has been quite a while. It’s one thing to myopically focus on other issues (like Benghazigate?) but it’s an entirely different thing when you start taking pot shots at jobs and American hourly wage earners, both already spread thin.

Pay attention here, Montana. Steve Daines is going to be running for something in 2014. Don’t let these votes fade from memory.

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by jhwygirl

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take an upteenth attempt at damaging U.S. economic stability and growth tomorrow with a number of bills coming to floor vote, six of which would once again embrace derivatives as a legitimate stable investment for our financial institutions.

Taxpayers beware. There is nothing prohibiting bailouts.

Passing out of House financial services on Tuesday and coming to a vote tomorrow is the Full Faith and Credit Act coming to a vote will prioritize U.S. debt and interest over the priority of running the government. Things like keeping the lights on, paying soldiers, social security & disability payments. You can see how willing to negotiate the House GOP Republicans are going to be for the upcoming debt ceiling discussion, estimated to come to Washington DC sometimes during that oh-so-pleasant month of August.

Six other bills which also passed out of financial services yesterday will weaken derivatives regulations within Dodd-Frank.

Addendum: Democracy Now reports that only six members of the House financial services committee voted NO to weakening the already
weak Dodd-Frank derivative regulations.

This’ll infuriate people who thought Dodd-Frank was weak to begin with. Pretty sure that both Lizard and JC fall into that category. I know I’m there.

HR992, the Swaps (meaning derivatives) Regulatory Improvement Act, will allow FDIC insured and uninsured foreign banking entities supervised by the Federal Reserve to utilize derivatives.

That’s right – one of the base elementary causes of the 2007 economic crash is being welcomed back for taxpayer insured FDIC banks.

As a bonus, the bill continues the bailout prohibition exemption for these banks. Which means in plainer language that FDIC insured banks can continue to be bailed out. Ahhh, the pleasures of Dodd-Frank.

I’ve seen or heard plenty saying that the Full Faith and Credit act isn’t likely to pass filibuster – but I’ve yet to see or hear the same for the nasty derivative porn. I say it’s amazing but it really isn’t anymore – the crap these electeds get away with. Because truth be told, it rests on us who keep elected these fools. But here we are, an already weak bill being weakened again. Embracing derivatives? Geezus.

What will Daines do? I’ll be calling his D.C. office first thing tomorrow morning (202-225-3211) to let his staff know where I stand – and that I’ll be watching.

by Pete Talbot

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis

Pearls Before Swine

This is in response to the Polish Wolf’s post over at Intelligent Discontent.  While some of his stats are interesting, his premise is flawed.  Basically he says that the 99% are responsible for their economic plight by shopping at WalMart, buying imported clothing and purchasing gasoline.  There’s a grain of truth to this, I suppose, but I’m thinking that the policies of the last few decades have more to do with wealth inequalities: economic policies that favor Wall Street over Main Street, Free Trade agreements that benefit corporations more than workers, and energy policies that promote carbon-based fuels over renewables and conservation.

Montana Supreme Court rules

Or maybe I should say the Montana Supreme Court rocks!  I certainly have more respect for the majority of Montana Supremes than the majority of SCOTUS justices.  In a 5-2 vote, the justices ruled against the kooky triumvirate of Western Tradition Partnership, Champion Painting Inc. and Gary Marbut’s Montana Shooting Sports Association Inc.  Unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, Montana justices don’t believe corporations should be able to buy and sell elections.

Look up pompous ass in the dictionary

And you’ll see a picture of George Will.  In his latest column, he promotes the Keystone XL pipeline, the Canadian tar sands and fracking in general.  He pooh-poohs climate change, the EPA, the National Labor Relations Board and student loans.  He believes “conservatives should stride confidently into 2012” … “because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people … ”  He has that backwards, of course, but because he uses a lot of two-dollar words, people think he’s smart.  He’s not.

And locally

Usually reliable reporter Gwen Florio reports on a woman who’s attempting to disqualify Justice of the Peace John Odlin.  This stems from two misdemeanor charges against the woman for “community decay.”  What the hell does that mean?  Did she beat up on some curbs and gutters?  Forget to paint her porch?  Dump raw sewage into a neighborhood park?  I’m dying to know.  Anyway, the Montana Supremes call her case against Odlin “frivolous.”

by Pete Talbot

I shrugged it off the first few times I heard it or saw it in print, “government picking winners and losers.”

Now it’s everywhere: Republican debates, news stories, op-ed columns and even comments here at 4&20.

It’s directed at Democrats, for the most part, from President Obama (health care, Solyndra) to Missoula’s City Council (Play Ball Missoula).

The irony is that all parties, in all areas of government, from city councils to state legislatures to Congress and the President, have picked winners and losers.

They’ve subsidized railroads and airlines, oil and coal, highways and electrical distribution systems, NASA, mining and agriculture, baseball, basketball and football teams … it’s a long list.

Winners and losers are chosen by the powers that be all the time. There are no-bid defense department contracts for Halliburton, Raytheon and Blackwater. There are tax code revisions that pick winners and losers. There are decisions on food stamps, Social Security and Medicaid that have winners and losers.

It’s a cool sounding mantra, this “government picking winners and losers,” no doubt generated at some Karl Rove or libertarian think tank using focus groups and polling, and distributed to key leaders in right-wing politics, whence it trickles down.

There are no doubt abuses in this system. But the idea that every aspect of American life should be subject to the invisible hand of the free market is unrealistic and anachronistic. And the Republican cry of “crony capitalism” is about as hypocritical as it gets. The art of crony capitalism has been a mainstay of the Republican Party.

It’s dishonest to call all government spending “socialist” and lay the blame at the feet of Democrats. Picking winners and losers has been going on since the founding fathers and is as American as apple pie.

It just depends on who’s doing the giving and getting the rewards that gets the teeth gnashing and pundits whining.

by jhwygirl

Bringing it back. As always, consider this an open thread

If you watched only one The Daily Show this week, hopefully it was this one. He starts off with “Democracy” – brings in Saudia Arabia’s lack of it with regards, especially, to women. Slaps the U.S. for embracing Saudia Arabia and then whips it all together with #occupywallstreet and the NYPD attacks on peaceful protesters.

On that note, here’s The Nation’s FAQ on Occupy Wall Street. Just the basics, for those still wondering what it is.

For your visual pleasure and cultural and even perhaps political curiosity, some pics from an expat living in China, twitterer @lonniehodge – who’s also a TED speaker.

I was seriously asleep on this one – Supermontana reporter John S. Adams broke the story, then Don Pogreba took the Rep. Denny Rehberg Federal land-grab story and pulled it all together with a very thorough analysis.

More hypocrisy from Rehberg. Against National Monuments, but fine with handing over unilateral authority over Montana’s borders to the Department of Homeland Security. Kinda like a double-dip of hypocrisy there, isn’t it?

Speaking of hypocrites..the face of Montana’s reasonable conservatism Montanafesto absolutely rips on Reverend Harris Himes’ criminal activities in this post titled Hypocrite, Meet Karma – Another Righteous Right Winger Down.

Himes, if you haven’t heard, is Blaming the gays.

Jack over at The Western Word had a piece this week about a local drinking-and-driving tragedy there in Great Falls. He has written quite a bit on the topic of drinking and driving, and I had, in fact, had reason to come across this tough criticism on the legislature from this past session just today.

Are you reading James Conner? Because you need to be. James’ latest piece at the Flathead Memo is on the bullying incident at Glacier High School. The story is pretty sick, and I knew it was going to get ugly when the coach resigned as the story broke. For all that, read this earlier post from James, which really rings together the whole sordid thing, along with a local history of the issue, together.

Montana is one of only 5 states in the nation without anti-bullying laws. Congressional candidate and state senator Kim Gillan sponsored SB141 this past session in an effort to address bullying. While it passed the Senate, it was tabled in the House Education Committee. A blast attempt on the floor failed also, 63-34. That’s not a party-line vote, btw – looks like 2 Republicans might have voted with the Dems to try and get the thing a fair floor hearing.

Disgraceful.

2nd Grade Bike Rack got linked to in an Huffington Post piece on the Keystone XL pipeline this past week. Pretty sweet! Kudos to James for that. Wanna read it? Republicans Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline.

That’s all I got – what about you?

 
Reagan Proved Deficits Don’t Matter”
VP Dick Cheney to Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill in 2002

By JC

Big Ingy, in my previous blog post on the rise of a liberal movement to primary Obama was being coy about the nature of tax increases under Reagan. Actually, coy is a nice word. He was being lazy and didn’t want to pony up any real facts. So being the inquisitive blogger that I am, had to do his homework for him.

Well, now I know why he and every other right winger doesn’t want to talk about the actual Reagan record. Ronnie raised taxes by signing into law $132.7 billion worth of tax increases. During the same period he also cut taxes by signing legislation worth $275.3 billion, for a net decrease of $142.6 billion dollars. But, coupled with his deficit spending, the national debt soared $1.873 trillion during his reign of trickle down economic terror, a tripling of the debt.

The obvious conclusion is that tax cuts don’t prevent deficits (as if we need to be reminded of that after Bush the Second’s raiding of the public coffers for tax breaks for the rich), and grossly inflate the national debt. Trickle down does not work.

Reagan’s Budget Director, David Stockman called trickle down, supply side economics a “trojan horse:”

“Do you realize the greed that came to the forefront?’ Stockman asked with wonder. ‘The hogs were really feeding. The greed level, the level of opportunism, just got out of control.”

Greedy hogs indeed!

Furthermore, unemployment went from 7.6% to 5.5% (with a peak of 9.7% inbetween, higher than anything under Obama) in Reagan’s eight years.

My question to conservatives is this: if you are willing to let a republican president triple the national debt to gain 2.1% points of employment, why not let a democrat do it?

Well, the answer is easy: hypocrisy and politics. Compassionate conservatism is dead.

It is clear that republicans are using economic terrorism to hold the unemployed as a hostage in order to aggregate political power in the next election, and collect the tithes of their overlords. Conservative economist and neomonetarist Scott Sumner called these sorts of political actions “treason”.

I’ve included Reagan’s tax increases and some other info and citations below the fold.
Continue Reading »

By JC

A) Global warming is a hoax;
B) Evolution and creationism are equal theories;
C) The stimulus failed;
D) It’s Obama’s fault;
E) All of the above

Ah yes, another open thread for those who want to explore the finer details of republican inanity as they try to out-crazy each other and win the acclaim of the Gipper’s faithful.

In related news, the Reagan Library will be closed to the public today. Ah, a precursor of things to come…

And finally, wherefore art thou, Sarah Palin? Are you running???

For those who don’t want to watch the debate, here is a short preview (after the jump): Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Republicans got no one running the show up there and Democrats are just sitting around waiting for anyone to take the lead. Harry? Put what you got onto the Senate floor. Lead the debate. Lead a debate. Debate. Something. Anything.

At least make us think you all are actually earning that free pizza dinner it appears Boehner & crew enjoyed tonight on the taxpayer dime.

One of the things I’m wondering about is this: Didn’t Republcans, Rep. Denny Rehberg and the rest of the burgeoning pre-2010 tea party complain about voting on bills without 72-hours posting? Didn’t Rehberg refuse to vote on some sort of money/finance/budget bill because it was ‘4 inches thick and who can read this thing overnight?’??

I don’t know what the last Boehner bill scored, yet alone the content of it. Frankly – I don’t know what is in the Reid bill either.

Rehberg’s word isn’t worth crap and too bad Congress doesn’t have a public noticing requirement.

by jhwygirl

First a brief recap: Boehner submitted a budget proposal after he walked away – very publicly – Monday night after President Obama’s speech. His said his bill would save $1.2 trillion, but yesterday, CBO came back with it scored as saving only about $850 billion. So Boehner – who had scheduled the thing for a floor vote Wednesday night – had to pull it due to the disappointing results.

Dems, for their part, had submitted a plan that they said would save “almost $3 trillion.” CBO scored it and – just like the Republican plan – it came back shy of its touted amount: only $2.2 trillion.

For all the tough-talking Boehner and Cantor and Paul have done on the budget, and for the dismissive review they’ve given of anything coming from the other side of the aisle, I’da thought those Einstein’s would have been a little closer. I mean – they didn’t even hit the the $1 trillion point.

Beyond that, Boehner’s bill relied largely on caps on discretionary spending and the interests savings that would have resulted. Boehner tells the nation Monday night that he’ll save the budget crisis – that government is too big – and by Wednesday he’s handed over some sophmoric bill that doesn’t (a) meet the numbers he put out and (b) – more importantly so given all his caucus’ tough talk – doesn’t do any shrinking of government. Doesn’t offer any real reform. Liar. Hypocrite.

But getting back to the topic at hand…

The GOP had a little coaching session last night due to the disappointing review the CBO gave to Boehner’s budget bill. The highlight of the session was a clip from the movie The Town when one thug (played by Ben Affleck) says to another “we’re gonna hurt some people,” and then they proceed to bludgeon two men and then shoot one. In hockey masks.

This link will take you to the full clip – it can not be embedded.

After viewing the clip, Florida Republican and outspoken freshman Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. stood up and said, “I’m ready to drive the car,” surprising even many Republicans.

Ben Affleck was asked what he though – here it is, directly from Huffington Post:

(I)n a statement his spokesperson provided to The Huffington Post, he suggested that Republicans use a different one of his movies next time they need to whip votes.

“I don’t know if this is a compliment or the ultimate repudiation,” said the actor, who is currently in Turkey directing and starring in “Argo,” an adaptation of the Tehran hostage crisis. “But if they’re going to be watching movies, I think “The Company Men” is more appropriate.”

That latter Affleck flick focuses on the plight of middle age men who have been laid off during the recession. (One of them, depressed about being unemployed, later kills himself.)

I wrote yesterday about corporate America thumbing their nose at us unwashed masses?

Last night, the GOP did the exact same thing. Then they beat the crap out of us with baseball bats.

And cheered.

by Lesley Lotto

Oh damn Tim Pawlenty, a devout Christian, is waiting until Monday to announce he’s running for President in 2012.  Joy and #Rapture.  I mean, couldn’t he have announced tonight?  Then I could have watched him on Fox and had his voice lull me to sleep.  I would like to go with everyone else in a peaceful manner and I cannot think of a more boring person to listen to as a take my last wink. snore… If the world really is ending tomorrow, as Harold Camping tells us, why would Pawlenty wait until Monday for his big announcement?

Yes, the former two-term Governor of Minnesota has announced he’s going up against Obama.  You know the President who recently pissed off the right by declaring there should be borders up in Israel like before the “Six Day war”.  (For you non-Jews, that’s one important war.)  As a Jewish person, I find it way offensive when Christians, I’m talking to you Glenn Beck, get all hoity toity about what should be done in Israel and how the US has it all wrong.  George W. knew what to do, but Obama, the Muslim, he knows not.  But I digress…

Pawlenty is believed to be the only serious candidate for the Republican party.  Hell Newt Gingrich’s “campaign” has already taken a death spiral.  (Have you seen that Gay Confetti video?)  Pawlenty could have run for a third term as Governor with his tidy record of conservatism, the not raising taxes and the being against abortion, except for those pesky core issues he mulled for a minute like raising taxes on cigarettes to balance his state budget and that nasty moment he considered Cap and Trade legislation. Then there’s the 5 Billion Dollar Budget hole he left for the new Governor and his taking of Stimulus Dollars from the Fed, what a thing!

Now Sarah Palin has reared her gorgeous mug and mane again, not wanting to stay out of the limelight for even a second, to say, “I’ve got the fire in my belly”.  Oh holy hell, she’s pregnant again?  No, and damn, she’s just toying with a run in 2012.  She wants to stay in the conversation, dontcha know.  After all why would she let Pawlenty  (a really tangible VP candidate pairing for McCain back in 2008) get all of the attention from the “Elite Media”?

Palin and her co-hort, Rep. Michelle Bachman also of Minnesota, oh please let the two of them run on the same ticket, are both considering a run in 2012.  But who could be the running mate when they both have the fire in the belly and all?  Bachman is loved by the “Tea Party” and Palin is loved by angry, old white men.  You know the type that will fondle themselves tonight to the likes of a threesome with Bachman and Palin before the world ends.

Meanwhile, Obama is getting down with the serious issues of our time and has no time for the nonsense of this all.  But then again if the world DOES end tomorrow, why would he care?

By CFS

Since the Republicans showed their true communist colors and adopted the slogan “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” with the passage of SB 423 ridding the fledgling medical marijuana industry of the profit motive patients will inevitably suffer and the black market will invariably fill the void left by the current caregiver system.

I wonder what the Republicans think all these MMJ growers will do once they become outlawed… Sell their equipment on craigslist? More likely, these growers that have sunk thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of dollars into their business will continue to grow for the black market where they can actually make money… Tax free at that. These people are small business entrepreneurs after all, and they just need government to get out of their way.

Anyway, there is a great Slate feature that I suggest anyone interested in this issues should read. The article is written by a woman whose son suffers from a severe form of autism and the only thing that she has found that helps her child is marijuana. There are four parts to the series spanning a two year period of her family’s struggle with the disorder and how, through the use of medical marijuana, they have been able to live a more normal and happy life.

by Lesley Lotto

So Newt Gingrich has announced he’s running for President in 2012.  Whoop dee doodle.  Really?  Has there ever been a more hypocritical run for higher office?  Well, ya, probably.  The overly bloated, egotastical Newt made the announcement via Twitter last week to which his 14 followers all bellowed from the Internets, yahoo, wait, what?

Gingrich was of course the Speaker of the House when Bill Clinton was President. He was swept onto the throne on a tidal wave of popularity when the country was confused, kind of like right now, voting for whatever the opposite is to what there was at the time.  Sort of like an episode of Seinfeld.

Newt was also widely known as one of those who tried to get Clinton ousted from office through Impeachment, but of course Clinton would have none of that, shouting “I did NOT have sex with THAT woman” to which Newt and his clingerson found that so arousing, they had to bring in an investigator to search for semen on a blue dress or was it a cigar that landed in Clinton’s mouth after being in the nether regions of a White House intern?

For me, the best part of all of it during that era was ol’ Newt embroiled in some of his own sexual shenanigans while touting himself as the Family Values type.  Oy Vey.  He married one of his high school teachers when he was 19, she was 26.  He was married to her for 18 years when he allegedly went to the cancer-stricken, bed-ridden, hospital-laying wife and asked for a divorce because she just didn’t do it for him anymore. Besides he was sticking it to someone else and really wanted to marry her, ya know being the family values type and all.

That someone was 23 years younger than Newt and a Congressional staffer, oh my!  All of this happening at the same time Newt led the investigation into President Clinton.  Now I don’t personally care what Clinton did in the Oval office.  Heck, the country was hummin’ along ;) yeah, he lied, so what?  What politician doesn’t?  But Newt, after cheating on wife two with now wife three, to say G-d has forgiven me and so should you?  Ahem…I think not.  I think he needs to sidle right up to Bill and Hillary and ask for forgiveness.  You know, make amends.  Then it should be up to the Clintons to decide if he gets a mulligan.

Newt quit his position in the House after a government shutdown and Republicans made a horrible showing in the 1998 elections.  Not unlike another high-powered Republican leaving a high-powered position who we’ve yet to hear may also make a run in 2012.  They really are the cut and run party.  I hate that saying, but it really works here.

But Newt’s one of those types that went to rehab or went to G-d and saw the light.  He knows he can do a better job than the suddenly upright Obama.  He says Obama’s got it all wrong, he’s the “Food Stamp President” and to blame for all that is not holy.

Newt says he found G-d after seeing the Pope and seeing the peace that exuded from him.  Well Newt, the Pope’s never done it.  Shouldn’t you be way more peaceful than the Pope given how many women you’ve had?  While we’re on the subject, what’s wrong with your wife? She looks so frightened.  Is it me or does she look more plastic than Cindy McCain and Nancy Pelosi all rolled up into one. Newt might want to take a step back for a minute and meditate like Mike Huckabee who just said his heart said no even though his many followers said yes to a 2012 run.

Not as salacious, but just as damning, Newt was embroiled in a nasty ethics scandal which some say was the reason he finally stepped down.  He apparently misused election funds to help sweep Republicans into the majority in 1998 and was fined a stealthy 300-grand.  At the time he was going to borrow the cash from Bob Dole, but then turned up the cash.

Newt was also one of several members of the House involved in “Rubbergate” where the House Bank allowed Legislators to keep overdrawn bank accounts.   And this guy thinks he can bring the economy back from a banking scandal?

Over the weekend Newt said Congressman Paul Ryan had the budget bill all wrong and that his healthcare mandate and changes to Medicare were wrong for America.  When he was called out by his own party, he blamed the “Elite Media”.  Sounds awfully like another Cut and Runner Repub.

And all of this so easily investigated through Googling Newt’s name by a lil’ radio reporter here in Montana… Far from elite.

By CFS

The fight over the budget and debt continues in D.C. and I’m sure that Republicans will be making sacrifices and praying to the patron-saint of B-list Celebrities Turned Politician Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan  for strength and guidance.  I suggest that we on the left use the memory of Reagan to illustrate just how far right the party of Tea has moved since the golden age of fighting tyranny.  Because even Saint Ronnie raised taxes.

Same shit… different day.  Just a week after a compromise was reached to forestall shutting down the government the circus clowns are once again piling out  of the VW to debate the debt ceiling.  And one again nothing will actually change that makes a difference in our country’s fiscal solvency.

Will anything constructive take shape on the revenue side… doubt it.  Instead budget cuts will come at the expense of those that don’t have a voice at the table.  If you can’t afford a six figure lobbyist you don’t deserve to be at the table.  Fuck I’m being pessimistic today.

By JC

(Reagan) Democrats are dancing in the streets! Headlines across the country proclaim: “All Sides Declare Victory” or “GOP Passes Largest Budget Cuts in History!”

Well, which is it? What really happened last night?

I guess because I’m really into self-immolation these days, it seems, I’m going to continue on with this series of articles on the Great Budget Battles of 2011™. I’ve been given fair warnings about casting assumptions, being self-righteous and pious (and a lot of other ugly things–hat tip to Rob and his brother moorcat), that I’m a “radical progressive” (which I take as a step up from our junior senator’s labeling of people like myself as “extremists”–thanks PW), but I take those aspersions as either a sign that I’m touching a raw nerve, or maybe I’m just a raw nerve that’s touched… whatever–that is to say, I have an opinion and a soapbox from which to shout it.

Ok, back to the question: what happened? Everybody came together and sang Kumbaya–the republicans gave up their policy demands, and 1/3 of their $61 billion in demanded cuts, democrats gave up a few billion dollars more, and won the fight for women’s health care… right??? (Or did the dems really just use women’s health issues as a way to ameliorate slashing other democrat-prized New Deal programs??? Or for Boehner to appease teabaggers as a way to force dems to agree to more cuts…but I digress, I didn’t want to delve into conspiracy theory here–that is lizard’s realm, and he does a damn fine job of it, I might add)

Well, no. We got 2 billion dollars in immediate non-discretionary cuts to the likes of high-speed rail transit money, HUD public housing funds, CDBG block grants, FAA airline safety–you know, things democrats like to cut in the name of “responsibly cutting the budget”–let’s just get the easy stuff out of the way first. But let’s not forget all the other budget cuts for the 2011 budget, that will bring the total to $78.5 billion… noooo.

But they got rid of the policy riders, right? Nope. They got some of them–like the Planned Parenthood defunding–out of this round, but in so doing they had to offer up-or-down votes on them in the senate (how many blue dogs are willing to go along with defunding PP…I wonder, and all the rest of the riders???). Oh, and rich Washington D.C-ians (and Congressmen, I assume–oops, there’s that “A” word again–bad writer, bad writer) got to keep their federally funded vouchers to send their kids to private schools. Nice. I wonder if they teach them about sex-ed and birth control, global warming or evolution there.

So where does that leave us? Very good question. I guess there’s another $37 billion in cuts to be worked out (I mean “fought over”–drama, drama drama…) before next wednesday, because, well, they just passed a Continuing Resolution till next week (actually, I think it was more that they decided to use the “KY Jelly” brand in their marketing of the deal, but that would be too nasty of me to say in mixed company), meaning another battle will be fought between now and then, supposedly with the parameters of that $37 billion somewhere agreed upon to finish the budget cycle. OK, just what is the agreement over those cuts??? I think we’ll begin to see that as the next phase of this drama begins to unfold.

I’ll end (sort of–I’m a glutton for punishment) by allowing John Nichols of The Nation do my dirty work for me, lest I be accused of falsely slandering democrats (though I still fully expect to be attacked, as it is easier to shoot the messenger than…):

“So who won the standoff? President Obama says the deal is good for the future, and that might make some Democrats think that he and the Democrats prevailed.

The one-week spending bill enacted by the House and Senate contains $2 billion in spending cuts to transportation, housing and community development programs.

A Senate Appropriations Committee review says that most of the $2 billion in cuts contained in the one-week bill come from a $1.5 billion slashing of the Federal Railroad Administration’s High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program. More cuts are achieved by hacking $220 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Fund. And research into making air travel safer and more efficient took cuts as well.

In other words, precisely the sort of programs that Democrats used to defend were slashed.

The Senate agreed to the one-week plan by unanimous consent.

Seventy House members opposed the bill. Of those seventy “no” votes, forty-two came from Democrats. They did not want a shutdown, as some of the GOP “no” voters did. But the dissenting Democrats said the cuts went too far.

They were right.

And we will need a lot more FDR Democrats to prevent the broader deal from becoming the greatest triumph yet in the GOP campaign to end the New Deal and bend the arc of history against progress.

They didn’t…”

Yes, a lot more FDR Democrats to tip the balance against the Blue Dog and resurgent Reagan Democrats that seem to be running the “grownup” wing of the Democrat party.

Update: Here’s how Ezra Klein described the whole rig-a-marole:

“The Democrats believe it’s good to look like a winner, even if you’ve lost”…

Right now, the economy is weak. Giving into austerity will weaken it further, or at least delay recovery for longer. And if Obama does not get a recovery, then he will not be a successful president, no matter how hard he works to claim Boehner’s successes as his own.

And Krugman concurs in “Celebrating Defeat:”

It’s one thing for Obama to decide that it was better to give in to Republican hostage-taking than draw a line in the sand; it’s another for him to celebrate the result. Yet that’s just what he did. More than that, he has now completely accepted the Republican frame that spending cuts right now are what America needs.

Nice… Austerians, what say you???
Continue Reading »

By JC

Well, I enjoyed the discussion so much on my last post the other day, “Senator Tester Abdicates Role of U.S. Government to GOP in Budget Fight”–about Tester’s avoidance of framing the ongoing budget debate in any other terms than the following:

“Congress has an important decision to make this week: Either work together to responsibly cut spending and keep our government working, or refuse and let our government shut down.”

— that I decided to do another. And surprise, surprise, some folks aren’t interested in talking about how our politicians are–or are not–responding to the ongoing battle. People want to discuss how we need to cut the budget, and how austerity is an appropriate response at this time. And that everything is hunky-dory in our junior Senator’s office (can’t criticize the incumbent during a reelection campaign, now can we). Oh, yeah, and they wanted to throw insults. But I digress.

So today, the OMB released a list of policy riders to H.R. 1, which is the House bill that is being debated in Congress. I assume that those who want to “responsibly cut” either are going along with this list, or feel that they can gain some concessions from Republicans and their conservative/teabagger loony fringe.

it is easy to pretend to be the grownup in the room, doing what you think is right and necessary. But these folks are calling the shots. And the only tools the Democrats have right now are not ones they seem to want to use, or are uncomfortable with: 1) make the case that austerity economics is not the right thing to do now (which I agree with) and offer an alternative to cutting which is tax reform that lowers rates, reduces complexity, and raises revenue; 2) keep making concessions until the Republicans agree to pass their bill; 3) allow the government shutdown to occur, and let public pressure define who wins, and who has to concede the most.

Sure, there are some other avenues, some doable, some not. And I remind commenters that at this point in time politics is the art of the doable. So you austerians and “responsibly cut” folks should pony on up and let us know just how you can justify your position knowing that the Republicans are stuffing a very bitter pill down your throat along with your all growed up budget cuts.

So here is a short list from the OMB’s report on policy riders in H.R.1.

  • Restrict funding of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and defund the “consumer products complaints database.
  • Bans funding for the Department of Education regulations on Gainful Employment, as-yet-unpublished rules that would restrict federal student aid to for-profit colleges
  • Prohibits funding for the Wetlands Reserve Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, the Weatherization Assistance Program or the State Energy Program, EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gases
  • Defines specifically what greenhouse gases are and prohibits the EPA from imposing regulations on those gasses emitted by a stationary source for seven months
  • Prohibits funds for the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) from moving forward with a proposed rule that would effectively eliminate the Stream Buffer Zone Rule, a rule that presently allows surface mining operations with qualified permits to work within 100 feet of a stream
  • Prohibits funds for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Prohibits funds for the EPA to implement regulations to designate coal ash residue as hazardous waste
  • Prohibits funds for EPA to modify the national primary ambient air quality standards applicable to coarse particulate matter (dust)
  • Prohibits funding for the IRS to implement health care reform
  • Prohibits funding for sections of the Public Health Service Act
  • Prohibits funds to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates
  • Strips funding for any provision of the health care reform law, and associated agency actions
  • Prohibits funding for the Sustainable Communities Initiative
  • Prohibits funding for capital advances or rental assistance contracts for HUD Housing for the Elderly projects
  • Blocks funds for the Federal Communications Commission to institute Net Neutrality rules
  • Prohibits funds for the Community Connect broadband grant program administered by the Rural Utilities Service of the Department of Agriculture
  • Prohibits funding for carrying out section 19 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act
  • Prohibits funds to pay the salaries and expenses of “czars,” or special presidential advisers who are not required to go through the Senate confirmation process

And there you have your short list. And these are the guys with whom you are willing to compromise to get your “responsible budget cuts”? This is like negotiating with terrorists, or kidnappers. Ready to make strange bedfellows with the right?

Jon Tester seems ready, judging by the op-ed he put out the other day. Or was that just a bunch of pre-election hot air meant to cast him in the grownup category?

by jhwygirl

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) delivered the GOP’s weekly address on Saturday, delving in to what he believes is the constitutional issue of health care reform. The Hill has the story, and the video.

I do believe that in almost all situations we all have something common….and McDonnell’s position is certainly one I agree with:

Regardless of party, we should all agree that the sooner we know if the law is constitutional, the better for the American people.

In fact, I really wish the Montana legislature took a look at this when they were proposing bills. It’d be really nice if any bill had some sort of constitutional review (for both the U.S. and the Montana constitutions) before any hearing in committee.

Sometimes there will be a comment – if there is a fiscal note produced – regarding legal issues. But not everything gets a fiscal note – and hell, even a lot of bills related to taxation don’t seem to get fiscal notes. I know I’ve heard hearings on tax related bills where there hasn’t been a fiscal note published. How in the hell is the public supposed to comment on bills when even a rudimentary analysis isn’t completed by the non-partisan legislative staff?

That way we’d have some reasonable assumptions about lawsuits that the state would have to defend in the future? I mean – that costs taxpayer dollars too.

Ahh, I’ve digressed…

Anyways…if I could propose a bill, it’d be that one – require any bill to have a informational review for constitutionality prior to committee hearing. That informational review should be required to be published….and not stuck in some “junk folder” in some back file.

By CFS

First they came for the unions,

and I didn’t speak out because I was not a union member.

Then they came for Medicare and Medicaid,

and I didn’t speak out because I was not poor nor elderly.

Then they came for Social Security,

and I didn’t speak out because I was not retired.

Then they came for progressives,

and there was no one left to speak out

By JC

So says GOP Congressman, and oil industry apologist Joe Barton.

So do all you free market believers out there agree that we need to subsidize the most profitable corporation on earth, as a matter of faith in the marketplace?

Or do we really just need to defund social programs and nonprofits like NPR and Planned Parenthood, because that’s how we’re going to balance the budget?

Madness and hypocrisy!

by problembear

see, i don’t think most people in montana or wisconsin or indiana or ohio knew what they were voting for when they marked their x in the box accross from these tea party candidates. and new polls are being conducted all over the country which are starting to show that the wind is shifting for the GOP, who stupidly hitched their wagons to the tea party with a radical anti-union, anti-women, extremist agenda. now the backfire is turning on them…..

old crew boss on a backfire with my cat-skinning crew always told us to check our exits and pay attention when the wind shifts. GOP take heed.

in fact, i think the GOP attacks on unions have started people wondering if they shouldn’t join up.

by Pete Talbot

Of course, with his excellent taxpayer paid health care, he’d get state-of-the-art treatment.  If, however, he was a lower or middle-class man or woman seeking affordable treatment in Montana, his options would be limited.  Whether it was an STD or some other reproductive health issue, or just some condoms, considering the bill he and his congressional cohorts passed, he can forget about Planned Parenthood.

It’s called the Pence Amendment, named after a very nasty little Republican representative from Indiana named Mike Pence.  It’s an attack on Title X family planning and specifically Planned Parenthood. The vote was 240-185, pretty much along party lines.

Here’s a synopsis from Montana Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Stacy James:

In attacking Planned Parenthood, the House Republican leadership including Representative Rehberg, has launched an outrageous assault on the thousands of Montanans who rely on our local clinics for primary and preventive health care, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, family planning visits, birth control, HIV testing, and more.

I suppose that the representatives voting for this bill thought they were targeting abortion providers.  But by restricting access to sex education and birth control, they’re actually increasing the chance that an abortion will be needed.

And Rehberg is leading the pack in this assault on Montana families, particularly woman who don’t have high-end health care plans like Denny.  More STDs and abortions, fewer cancer screenings, less access to birth control, the end of sex education for teens; thanks Denny.

by jhwygirl

In this episode we refer you to Rep. Kristin Hansen (R-Havre) who introduced her pro-discrimination bill HB516 to the House with a first reading on Saturday.

A woman. How refreshing.

Hansen’s bill is designed to prohibit local government ordinances geared at promoting equality. It applies retroactively.

How’s that for conservative small-government? Jobs Jobs Jobs?

Rep. Hansen’s bill would violate the Montana Constitution along with the federal government’s based on current multiple Supreme Court precedents.

Will the GOP speak out to this hateful legislation? Isn’t there anything in this legislation that some true small-government privacy loving conservative doesn’t find offensive?

I do honestly make an effort to try and not lump all GOP together. It is becoming increasingly hard for me to do that. This is one bill where I certainly have an expectation for someone anyone in the GOP to come forward and speak out against this kind of hateful horrible legislation.

Certainly there are a few of you Republicans that think this sort of thing is wrong?

Failing that, it makes it hard not to lump ’em all together. There are dangerous ideas here that need confronted. This is one of them.

As for Rep. Kristen Hansen? You can bet she’s no lawyer (but she’ll be able to play one here in the State of Montana if she wishes after this session, if the GOP get’s their wishes.)

Both Missoula and Bozeman have passed local ordinances geared at protecting and promoting equality in their respective communities. This bill is a direct slap at these communities…and it is also a slap at any other community that may want to embrace a message of acceptance for their citizens.

by jhwygirl

They’re coming – and we’re all dying. You can’t avoid dying. You might want to hold on clinging to life from a drip tube, rotting in your own flesh as cancer rots you inside….but the future is coming and includes you dying. One way or the other.

Eventually folks – and I’m speaking to the faux conservatives up there in Helena that professed that this legislative session would be all about jobs jobs jobs but all they’ve been doing is meddling between me and my doctor’s office and my own private body and concerning themselves with who I marry and what happens in bedrooms across the state between consenting adults – you xenophobes up there will be outnumbered.

Them’s simply the facts.

Frankly, from what I see in testimony up there in Helena, you really are outnumbered. Now, that doesn’t mean the mob of citizens up there testifying is right, but it should be cause for some self-reflection.

Anyone hear what Jenna Bush had to say lately?

This is our future. Zach Wahls is a 19 year old, testifying in front of an Iowa legislative hearing on January 31, 2011:

On the other end of the age spectrum is one of my favorite bloggers, a senior chic who uses the name Helen Pilpot over at Margaret’s and Helen’s (link on right). She’s wise enough and has been around long enough that she really does legitimately get to just spit it out to the Tea Party people of the world: Grow up – Shit Happens.

I hate to even call ’em conservatives – I’d like to think that there really are a few true conservatives or Libertarians up there in Helena – but that group up there is approving and looking at some utterly ridiculous stuff. Today I saw a hearing where law enforcement officers and social service agencies and attorneys got up in opposition to a law that would effectively eliminate the need to obtain a a concealed weapons permit. During the Q&A, wanna know who all the tea partyiers asked for clarification? Gary Marbut. Not legal staff or law enforcement, but radical anti-government activist lobbyist Gary Marbut.

Marbut is so bad that I was told by someone in the NRA that even they don’t really like him.

And Marbut apparently doesn’t work with law enforcement much anymore when it comes to developing better laws and rules – heard that today in testimony, too.

Closing out that testimony was Krayton Kerns – HB271 is his bill – said something to this effect:

We’re not eliminating the concealed weapons permit. People can still go get one if they want – they just won’t have to.

So that is our legislature right now – a group of them are dragging knuckles back to pre-Tombstone days and flying in the face of their tea party pro-sheriff-is-the-ultimate-law-of-the-land mantra they all so seem to love.

In other words – more proof that they don’t make sense. There’s a lack of logic there that just plain is.

By CFS

Its been official knowledge for some time that Michelle Obama hates America, but now she is taking matters into her own hands and is singlehandedly killing Americans… pedestrians that is.

The big news today flying around cantservative “news” sites and blogs is that Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign – a campaign aimed at fighting childhood obesity through encouraging healthier eating habits and a more active lifestyle – has been linked to an uptick in pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2010.  How has this not been called by its proper name yet… an act of terrorism?

The original story appeared in the Washington Examiner this morning in their local section and comes from a recently published report by the Governors Highway Safety Association on PRELIMINARY safety statistics for 2010.  The GHSA representative originally quoted in the Examiner story linking the uptick with Let’s Move has already denied saying any such thing.

The fact that this is getting so much traction is mostly because of the absurdity of the claim and the fact that it makes for a great rabble-rousing headline.  This doesn’t bother me so much as the fact that a “respected” media outlet doesn’t know how to handle statistics and accurately represent them to the public.  As someone who spends most of his workday compiling large amounts of information into databases for the purpose of statistical analysis and mapping the idiocy of the statistical reporting boggled my mind.

The Examiner’s first offence is that data covering six months does not constitute a trend.  Four years of data, yes… two years of data, maybe… six months, absolutely not.  Additionally, this is a preliminary report which means the numbers are likely to change and they don’t even have a margin of error published yet.

Their second offence was cherry-picking the statistics they reported.  The story only talks about the increases in pedestrian deaths and misses a lot of the other information the GHSA report published.  Yes deaths were up significantly in the DC area, but on a national level the increase was only seven fatalities, or .4%, a statistically insignificant number when dealing with close to 2000 total fatalities in that six month period.  They also failed to mention that 28 states saw pedestrian fatalities decrease while only 18 states saw an increase.

Thirdly, the reporter at the examiner apparently can’t read either, given the fact that the GHSA report’s first sentence states, “The number of pedestrian traffic fatalities in the United States for the first six months of 2010 were essentially unchanged.”

And finally, they missed a bigger story embedded in the report.  Just four states make up 41% of all pedestrian deaths – California, Florida, New York, and Texas.  Those four states also happen to be the four states with the highest vehicle miles traveled per year, a total coincidence I’m sure.

These are the kinds of quality stories that are produced when the media, politicians, and the public play at gotcha journalism.  The Examiner doesn’t care that there is not one bit of useful information in the story, or that there are three or four pieces of misleading information, the only thing they obviously care about is driving traffic to their site and stealing five seconds from our precious attention starved web surfing brains.

Now… back to something useful found on the internet… slip nips over at Huffington Post.

by jhwygirl

Unemployment benefits expired for millions of Americans at 12 a.m. Wednesday morning while congress debates whether to spend $56.4 billion for the near 10% of Americans that are unemployed or $700 billion in tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans?

Each week, more millions will be added to that number of people that will have no source of income. Think about what that’s doing for the economy.

I’m of the mindset that President Obama has already compromised on the tax issue by saying he’s willing to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts to ninety eight percent of Americans. It shows some sensible restraint with regards to deficit spending. At a time when our government can’t afford to expend money without great assurance that virtually 100% of it returns back into the economy, keeping more money in the hands of ninety eight percent of Americans is a smart thing to do.

GOP Senators, on the other hand, have said that they are going to filibuster the current tax cut proposal to hold out for tax cuts for America’s richest 2% even though it is going to increase the deficit. They won’t talk START treaty, they won’t talk unemployment benefits.

Baucus, for his part, is once again sitting high. He’s the Democrat’s representative in the Group of Six put together by Obama.

Yeah…..

Baucus has also brought a bill to the floor last night that will extend unemployment benefits for one more year.

So I got a little panicky….

….but I’m breathing a bit of a sigh of relief tonight – because Baucus’ bill is the product of the Gang of Six, and it extends tax cuts to 98% of Americans. It extends Making Work Pay credit, the research and development credit, and lower tax rates on investment income.

Sure sounds like compromise to me.

If Obama or if any of our representation in Washington thinks that extending $700 billion in tax cuts for the top 2% wage earners in America is a “deal” well, they have the wrong idea of how to cut a deal. The current proposal includes tax cuts for businesses and investment income. It extends cuts to 98% of America. What’s to grump about?

Rabble Rouser Republicans like Boehner, McConnell and Cantor have, for the most part, toned down their rhetoric (although they were reluctant to do so as they were doing so):

One can’t help but to see how much the Sun Tan Man seemed to love the limelight, with Cantor a close close second. Yet we have yet to see offer of a compromise.

Big Swede likes videos. I don’t know how to capture this one (but a friend-of-4&20 has offered to work on it), but I hope he (and those folks up in Washington) can see this video from NBC’s KECI Missoula. What would they tell this man if they were standing there?

What will they tell 10% of America?

Would Boehner stand there with his my way or the highway and tell that Montanan that he’s without any income in the middle of winter? 3 weeks before Christmas?

I dare him.

~~~~~
(Big Swede? I don’t know why you can’t post under your Big Swede name. I can’t figure it out, but it isn’t because of any setting here.)

Freedom Scope - Nuclear Disaster

by Pete Talbot

Thanks for making the world a more dangerous place to live. A special “thank you” to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R) for blocking a vote on slashing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

Not voting for the treaty is a lose-lose proposition. There will be no reduction of warheads (by about one-third) and there will be no on-site inspections for compliance (inspections expired about a year ago).

A scorched Earth is now a partisan issue. Disgusting.

by lizard

When I hear Republicans talking about Government spending, my eyes glaze over and my brain recoils. As far as messaging goes, the persistent depiction of Democrats as the main offenders in Government largesse has been wildly successful. As far as reality goes, our national GDP is over 14 trillion dollars, and our national deficit, according to the US National Debt Clock is $13,732,848,917,316.31. If current trends continue, our deficit will be 100% of our GDP by 2025.

We didn’t get to this point because Democrats are the evil socialist spenders the right portrays them to be. We got here because the insane philosophy of unregulated free market capitalism has bought a bipartisan consensus in Washington D.C., and has spent the last several decades spreading across the globe, searching for new markets to exploit. This metastasized form of capitalism has killed and corrupted virtually all the regulatory power of the government, and has incrementally rolled back the advances hard working Americans fought and died for at the beginning of the last century, putting the robber barons in their place.

The result is we no longer have a government or media independent of corporate control. The New Deal is dying before our eyes as Republicans gnash their teeth about spending. And their solution? Destroy the social safety net for millions of Americans who scrape by in the wage-slave service sector economy that has taken the place of the manufacturing base they helped move to China and Mexico.

The corporate stranglehold is sickeningly obvious when it comes to war. Through the most significant bipartisan consensus, “defense” spending will stay “off the table” as the spending crisis heats up, and other top national priorities fill the corporate airwaves, like repealing health care and taking out Obama (politically of course).

So, while Republicans go big with their scorched earth policies of total negation, remember, we will still have enough money to spend more on our war machine than the rest of the world COMBINED. That means billions of taxpayer dollars to support the apartheid state of Israel, and billions of dollars to provide payoff “military aid” to countries like Egypt and Pakistan. And hundreds of millions of dollars to blow on corrupt multinational corporations. And there is absolutely no political will to address this insanity in either party.

*

And now, a personal anecdote.

The only surprise this election produced for me was an e-mail I received from my Father a few days ago. To put this in context, my Father has never been very open with me about his political views. I suspect he voted for Bush in 2000, and since then the only political conversations we have tend to be one-sided diatribes that I unload with such frequency it’s become something like a schtick he quietly suffers through.

The reason I think my Father’s little e-mail rant merits inclusion here is because it comes from a man who dedicated a good portion of his life to working for corporate America, specifically Sprint. What that dedication meant was traveling at least two weeks every month as he climbed the corporate ladder. When my Father learned the hard lesson that loyalty and hard work doesn’t exclude you from down sizing when the company starts going down hill, it’s entirely possible my diatribes began sounding less like relatively youthful defiance and more like legitimate criticism of a broken system.

So I asked my Pops if I could pass on his political disgust, and he said why not. Here it is:

I thought the main goal of elected officials was supposed to be governing well and finding solutions to problems facing the people and the nation. I thought that the political parties were supposed to put our interests first, not their interests (i.e., getting money from special interests and getting re-elected). When I hear that the main goal of the Republican party is to deny Obama re-election, it makes me sick. Pharisees, that’s what they are. They holler in the temple and the streets about their virtue and their godliness, all the while seeking only to enrich themselves. They have no compassion. They have no sense of compromise. They are anxious to do harm to the good of the People if it will benefit them. Anyone who voted for a Republican should be ashamed of their vote to put these scoundrels and Pharisees back into office where they can do harm to the People and our nation. We are in for a very bad two years. If the Republicans disdain any attempt to build a consensus and find compromise solutions, I hope Obama vetoes every bill they put forward and it becomes very, very clear that the Republican party is only seeking to benefit themselves, even at the expense of the nation. Shame on the Republican party and anyone who voted for them.

By JC

While all eyes are focused on the upcoming elections and the big picture about the makeup of the next Congress, many people have been watching the undercurrents, reading the tea leaves for indications about the makeup of the 2012 republican primaries. While the common wisdom has Sarah Palin underperforming in a wide open republican primary, not everybody thinks the same. The CW goes like this, as Moorcat succinctly put it last week:

Palin stands zero chance to be the next president. In every poll run on a possible matchup for the 2012 election, Palin has been (at best) third behind Romney and Huckabee.

But in an article yesterday by John Heilemann in the NY Magazine, “2012: How Sarah Barracuda Becomes President,” he lays out the scenario:

1) The t-party pushes Sarah through to the republican nomination;
2) Obama’s popularity wanes even more amidst republican intransigence aimed to get Sarah Palin elected;
3) Michael Bloomberg enters the race as an independent, intent to assure that grownups (pragmatic centrists) persevere

Then all that needs to happen is the following (the first 2 scenarios being an Obama reelection or a Bloomberg upset):

But there is a third scenario, one that involves a more granular kind of analysis-cum-speculation. By the accounts of strategists in both parties, Bloomberg—especially with the help of his billions—would stand a reasonable chance of carrying New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and California. Combine that with a strong-enough showing in a few other places in the industrial Northeast to deny Obama those states, and with Palin holding the fire-engine-red states of the South, and the president might find himself short of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win.

Assuming you still remember the basics from American Government 101, you know what would happen next: The election would be thrown to the House of Representatives—which, after November 2, is likely to be controlled by the Republicans. The result: Hello, President Palin!

Now, if you happen to be a Democrat, your first instinct might be to dismiss all of this as a dystopian anti-fantasy, or the kind of spook story told around a campfire, scary but ultimately harmless because it’s make-believe, or maybe the ravings of a madman. (I wouldn’t argue with that last one.) Certainly, it qualifies as far-fetched.

But, then, everything about Palin’s story is far-fetched: McCain’s selection of her as his running mate, her ascension after abruptly quitting the highest post she’d ever held, her status as one of the front-runners for her party’s presidential nomination. But here she is, a phenomenon nearly—nearly—unprecedented in modern politics, a figure so electrifying to the most hopped-up segment of her party that at times she seems unstoppable.

“She’s a supernova,” says McKinnon. “The only parallel is Barack Obama. And look what happened to him.”

Talk amongst yourselves as you watch the returns next week. Things will start moving much faster and with more clarity.

Me? I’m thinking of putting up a big fence around my farm, maybe dig in a bunker or two, and start stockpiling some 2nd amendment remedies.
sarah




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