Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

An anti-government militant -- on disability
Activist Mike Vanderboegh urged his fellow extremists to break Democrats' windows. But he gets "Marxist" welfare.
By Joe Conason

Robert Kuttner: Next, Banking Reform
Co-Founder and Co-Editor of The American Prospect
It was a pleasure to see President Obama exercise some leadership and muscle towards health reform. Now, we need to see a similar display of presidential leadership on financial reform. The bill that passed the House last December is far too weak on all of the key issues. Gigantic banking conglomerates will remain "too big to fail." The next generation of bubbles is already incubating while we are still recovering from the damage of the previous one.
Does Anybody Remember the "Peace Dividend?"

By Christopher Platt

I really thought I could stop writing angry columns. This was back about 14 months ago, when Barack Obama had concluded the miraculous campaign that finally ended the Dark Ages of the Bush Presidency and heralded – or so I believed – a new era of reconciliation, equanimity, peace – and, of course, prosperity. Yikes! Did I ever get that wrong. The time since Obama’s inauguration has been so filled with rancor, obstructionism, the most venal political opportunism, and ad hominem attacks, that I feel compelled to dust off the olde word-processing software and jump back into the trenches of social welfare warfare. Well, at least I can still mix metaphors with the best of ‘em.

Today’s tirade is about a forgotten phrase, the “peace dividend.” This was a term floated at the end of the Cold War era by the likes of George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The code words – devised mostly by Republicans of all people -- for the peace dividend were guns vs. butter and swords into plowshares. The idea was that, with the fall of the Evil Empire, the defense budgets of the protagonists would shrink miraculously, of their own accord, and that we could use all those dollars, pounds or rubles to better the lives of the citizens who had spent the previous half-century making the sacrifices that enabled the Cold War in the first place. And who doesn’t like dividends? Maybe a better phrase would have been “tanks into dishwashers.”

I only bring this up because, the most egregiously malign of all the specious arguments the Republicans have raised in their kneejerk attempts to derail the healthcare reform and financial reform initiatives, so gingerly championed by their wussy colleagues and de facto opponents across the aisles in Congress, was that all this populist crap would cost a huge amount of money that we didn’t have, and would thus saddle our descendants with intractable debt for eons to come. How are we gonna pay for all this touchy-feely stuff when we’re fighting wars all over the place and bailing out the very banks that managed to knock us off our perch atop the New World Order – something those commies themselves couldn’t do in 50 years of trying? How soon they forget.

An emerging characteristic behavior pattern of the new conservative Republican dogma is a short memory. Whenever their Democratic majority proposes, well, anything at all, the Republicans reflexively announce their strident, lifelong opposition. But, quite often, the ideas they are attacking were their own, not so long ago. Yes, Virginia, “swords into plowshares” was a Republican idea. Yes, Virginia, the idea that “everyone should be required to have health insurance,” an Obama administration proposal that Republicans have wasted megawatts of verbal energy to eliminate, also was a Republican invention, one that found a home in Teddy Kennedy's Massachusetts under Republican Governor Mitt Romney.

Well, Dear Republicans, you also forgot that there IS money to pay for the administration’s hesitant sallies into caring for the electorate, if only we tap the Peace Dividend. I hear you asking, “What dividend? What Peace?” Yeah, well, there was supposed to be peace on Earth by now. That’s what we were promised by the Obama campaign. The fact that our two nasty and costly wars have continued under the Democrats is shameful. We are still spilling our children's blood in the sand, despite all the talk. We are still spending billions of dollars a year while apparently achieving few positive results. In fact, through the end of 2010, we will have spent – fruitlessly – about $1.3 trillion (with a tr) on the longest war in our history. The new healthcare reform bill, in its most-recent incarnation, would cost about the same over time, but could engender a budget deficit reduction of the same order, $1.3 trillion (with a tr) over the next 20 years. Damn! If we didn’t have those two pesky foreign wars to support ($136 billion allocated for FY 2010), we might even be able to boost the Treasury instead of continuing to drain it. Save some kids’ lives, too.

For inspiration, let’s travel back in time to the 1990s, when Bush 41 was talking about the Peace Dividend (also about “a thousand points of light,” but that’s another column), and All That was part of the Nickelodeon TV lineup. One of my favorite parts of the show was Ask Ashley, where a demure young girl, Ashley (“That’s me!”) would sit on her bed and answer questions from her fans. The questions were hysterically stupid, and Ashley would go blisteringly ballistic in reply, deservedly so. One girl “writes” that her room is on the second floor, and she leaves the house by jumping out her window. But she has broken her bones 17 times already, what can she do? Ashley’s caustic reply: “You moron, try taking the stupid stairs!” In another letter, some kid tells Ashley he lives in an igloo in Alaska, and every time he goes out without his jacket, he gets cold. Ashley tells him, in part, “Don’t go out without your freakin’ jacket!”

Now imagine a letter from, oh, John McCain, who writes, “Dear Ashley, Of course, I would like healthcare reform! But we don’t have the money because we are fighting two foreign wars and we’re broke!” Now, I’ll bet you’d be able to write Ashley’s acerbic reply by yourself.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Rage Is Not About Health Care
by Frank Rich
Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by President Obama or Congress — a change that can’t be repealed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Mad Tea Party
by Richard Kim
How Glenn Beck & Co. trumped up a vast left-wing conspiracy: the "Cloward-Piven strategy."
New Rule: You Can't Threaten "No Cooperation for the Rest of the Year" If There Was No Cooperation in the First Half of the Year
by Bill Maher
Democrats in America were put on earth to do one thing: drag the ignorant hillbilly half of this country into the next century, which in their case is the 19th -- and by passing health care, the Democrats saved their brand. A few months ago, Sarah Palin mockingly asked them, "How's that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?" Great, actually. Thanks for asking. And how's that whole Hooked on Phonics thing working out for you?
Charles M. Blow: Whose Country Is It?
It’s an extension of a now-familiar theme: some version of “take our country back.” The problem is that the country romanticized by the far right hasn’t existed for some time, and its ability to deny that fact grows more dim every day. President Obama and what he represents has jolted extremists into the present and forced them to confront the future. And it scares them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

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An Absence of Class
by Bob Herbert
It’s long past time to acknowledge that a party that promotes ignorance and provides a safe house for bigotry cannot serve the best interests of our country.

House of Anger
by Timothy Egan
By embracing the Tea Party movement, Republicans are turning into the party of the hissy fit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care: Signed, Sealed, Delivered .. See Video, Pictures

Why Boehner is angry -- and the GOP should worry
Passage may clear away the propaganda and let voters understand healthcare reform -- a scary prospect
by Joe Conason
Frightening GOP Behavior
by James Zogby
Founder and president of the Arab American Institute
A Republican talking point repeated ad nauseam during yesterday's debate pounded on the theme that they, and they alone, had the right to speak for "the will of the American people."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Arianna Huffington: Health Care Post-Mortem: Dems Feel the Wind at Their Back, GOP Hoisted With Its Own Cynical Petard
House Approves Healthcare Bill
by John Nichols: Congress has begun to forge FDR's "essential link in our national defenses against individual and social insecurity."
Paul Begala: Hallelujah!
I have been working for Democratic and progressive causes for 29 years, and I don't think I've ever been prouder than today. When David Obey swung that gavel, it made a joyful noise unto the Lord.
Obama's Health Care Victory Puts His Critics to Shame
by Frank Schaeffer
Obama is a man who does what works, rather than scoring ideological points. He will disappoint ideologues and purists of the left and the right. He's already made them angry. And because he did that he just won a huge victory.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The New Rove-Cheney Assault on Reality by Frank Rich
The revisionist history peddled by Liz Cheney and Karl Rove must be aggressively refuted, and we must remember who really failed to keep America safe.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

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Christians: "Run As Fast As You Can" From The Church Of Glenn Beck
by Peg Chemberlin
Glenn Beck's recent statement that people should leave any church that mentions "social or economic justice" is nothing short of a call for his listeners to disregard central tenets of their faith because they do not conform to his own political ideology.

This Week in Crazy
This week's winner: Eric Massa
The Democrat's scandal roped together dark conspiracy theories, Glenn Beck and a naked Rahm Emanuel
by Mike Madden

Fueling the Massa distraction
GOP leader John Boehner hopes to embarrass Nancy Pelosi with the Massa scandal -- but his revenge may prove bitter
by Joe Conason


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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The majestic petulance of John Roberts
The whiny complaints from the chief justice reveal much about the self-importance of many judges
by Glenn Greenwald


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A wave of phony indignation over Charlie Rangel
GOP leaders shrieking "Democrat corruption" -- like junket-loving John Boehner -- rarely worry much over ethics
By Joe Conason

Saturday, March 06, 2010

This week's winner: Jim Bunning
He held unemployment benefits hostage in the chamber for days. But behind the scenes, things were even stranger
by Mike Madden

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bob Cesca: The Tea Party Is All About Race
The tea party is an extension of talk radio. It's an extension of Fox News Channel. It's an extension of the southern faction of the Republican Party -- the faction that gave us the Southern Strategy, the Willie Horton ad, the White Hands ad and the racially divisive politics of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. It's an extension of the race-baiting and, often, the outright racism evident in all of those conservative spheres.

Why probe Rangel -- but not McConnell?
Rangel faces charges over fundraising for a center named after him. Didn't the Senate GOP leader do the same thing?
by Joe Conason


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Thursday, March 04, 2010

By Christopher Hitchens
Not long ago, I was invited to be the specter at the feast during "Ronald Reagan Appreciation Week" at Wabash College in Indiana. One of my opponents was Dinesh D'Souza: He wasn't the only one who maintained that Reagan had been historically vindicated by the wreckage of the Soviet Union. Some of us on the left had also been very glad indeed to see the end of the Russian empire and the Cold War. But nothing could make me forget what the Reagan years had actually been like.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Cost of Doing Nothing on Health Care
“Hands off my health care,” goes one strain of populist sentiment.
But what if?

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