ON KRAUTHAMMER: More idiocy from the Pundit Psychiatrist

The Duke Krauthammer

 

By Jeff Koopersmith, for American Politics Journal

WASHINGTON DC – 20 January 2015 – It is terrifying how many times Charles Krauthammer turns up like a bad penny on Fox News.  One never knows when that mean-spirited grump will show his face, care of Roger Ailes et al and his usual team of bleached screaming blondes or the likes of Bret Baier who I am forced to write has a far loftier IQ than the con-freak he replaced, Brit Hume – just another reject from the broadcast networks  joining most of the has-beens on Fox.

The Kraut (my pet name for him) appeared on Fox with Baier, mostly to do his duty as a sneering critic of President Obama who has clearly decided to do battle with the new GOP majorities in the House and Senate by helping aliens become citizens and seeking laws to urge the wealthy to provide a bit more of their billions to give at least some relief to the middle class and at even some of the poorest in these United States.

Of course, making a tax  move on the fastest growing kleptocratic cabal in world history is plain nonsense to Krauthammer who may have finally reached the top ten percent of earners through either a drunken Act of God or some Voodoo intonation that allows him to cloud your television screen and your brain in his nonstop appearances and truthless opinion columns in the Washington Post.

I often wonder Whether Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com and the owner of the Post, reads Krauthammer’s fairytales without feeling like texting the newspaper’s HR department with an electronic pink slip.

My anger at The Kraut does not come from anything but his own outrageous flexure of the truth. I am sure he is a wonderful guy to go to a Nats game with, or wonder what it would have been like if we had lost the second World War.

Krauthammer tells us that President Obama’s plan for tax reform is “not about tax reform.”  He adds that this is corruption of the language because it is not tax reform in that it does not “simplify the tax code, lower rates, and eliminate loopholes” when that is exactly what the reform will do.

The only problem for Krauthammer is that he somehow puts himself in the laps of billionaires and sees reform as only that which punishes the poor (as in welfare reform and lack of healthcare “reform“) and rewards the richest among us with tax cuts and lower private medical insurance premiums – both of which are not on the Obama “feed the rich” menu – He doesn’t have one.

Along that line, The Kraut tells of, surprisingly, that Obama’s plan, which the President will announce tonight during his State of Unions speech, is a tax and spend via revenue increases for the federal government – This even though the Cheney Wars have cost us untold trillions that made Cheney himself  a richer than Croesus neocon even as he was arranging the hanging death of Saddam Hussein who he once shook hands with in celebration of Saddam’s agreement to go to war with Iran, thus starting the beginning of the end for hope of any kind of peace in the Middle -East.

Well done Mr. Cheney!

Krauthammer labels tax relief for the middle class and some of the poorest Americans as “handouts” and “curly cues.”  (You can hear him say that and more below on a Fox clip from Real Clear Politics)

Charles Krauthammer lives in the far gone past – this time harking back to the 1980s and what he calls “25 years of almost uninterrupted economic growth” Really, but for whom?

He conveniently forgets that during those same 25 years the average working man and woman has had absolutely no real increase in earnings while the unindicted co-conspirators in our “Open Markets ” were busy  putting  the nation in bankruptcy which only Obama rescued – not Mr. Bush.

During the 2008 presidential campaign Krauthammer posits that Charlie Gibson, of all people,  asked President Obama a “famous question” – Huh? – Whether raising capital gains tax is something Obama would support – even if it lowered revenues. The President said he would.

Again The Kraut acts as if respected economists, not those  in the back pockets of the wealthy, believe that increasing taxes on the richest would indeed cause tax revenue to go down. Right. We increase taxes on the wealthiest against their humongous income and vast estates – but this results in less revenue?  Ah! It must be that they will all flee to the Cayman Islands and leave the nation destitute – Is that what The Kraut believes will happen?

This is not true of course – unless someone like Krauthammer engineered it through other weaselish tax breaks for the wealthy hidden in another part of  the text of the Tax Code.  Obama is not planning to do this, he just wants to provide a modicum and deserved relief for people that actually work for a living – behind a desk, in a mine, in a high school – not around a dinner table at Les Grenouilles in Manhattan.

And predictably, Charles Krauthammer, follows this by explaining to we morons that the point of ” taxes are to bring in revenue.”

Yes, that’s correct Mr. Krauthammer, the point of raising taxes on top tier incomes IS to bring in revenue, but direct that revenue, at least in part,  to the most needy and therefore  abused in this country.

Crikey!  The evil Kraut, to cover his a__, claims that President Obama wants to punish the rich regardless, but that he would agree with the Obama  plan if it would help the economy.

Yup, that’s Krauthammer – correctly himself with no bases in fact.

I rest my case,

See Charles Krauthammer’s appearance here:

Video

(Thanks to Fox News, Bret Baier, and Real Clear Politics.)

 

 

Mapping the Protofascist Money Trail, Wisconsin Edition

Here's a Sunday morning must-read. Scout Prime at First Draft links to a remarkably detailed and researched post at Cognitive Dissonance that maps the money trail from a negative campaign ad running in Wisconsin to the wallets of protofascist billionaires David and Charles Koch. Operatives are identified, email addresses (and a phone number) are revealed, and another structural pillar in the metaphorical edifice of the Bank of Unregulated Campaign Megabucks is exposed.

Suggested Amendments to the U.S. Constitution for 2011

It has become clear that our nation has a severely crippled political system where the will of the majority and the best interests of the nation are being ignored so a very few obscenely wealthy individuals and many international corporations can reap absurd profits. Our American democracy and way of life are under serious attack by elite, powerful forces exploiting grave weaknesses in our system of government.

In my opinion, we need to start serious discussions about how to amend our Constitution in an effort to both correct institutional weaknesses and reduce to power of excessive wealth to undermine our nation.

 

Continue reading Suggested Amendments to the U.S. Constitution for 2011

Game Day! Final Pre-season Primary Results

11:02pm — Carl Palladino has defeated Rick Lazio for NY-Gov GOP slot per AP
10:49pm — Scandal-tainted NY State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada has conceded to Gustavo Rivera. And our sources tell us that NY-Gov GOP favorite Rick Lazio's team is bracing for defeat.
10:30pm — via Twitter, Dave Wasserman tells us that Paul Begala had line of the night: "If Christine O'Donnell can't stand masturbation, she'll hate the US Senate!"
9:58pm — Ann Kuster wins NH-02 Dem (ht: Karoli@Crooks&Liars via Twitter)
9:08pm — AP calls DE-Sen GOP Primary for Christine O'Donnell. [Our bookie Stiggs tonight pegs Democrat Chris Coons as winner in November by 11%.]
9:00pm — NY Times reports low NY turnout. They also report that Lisa Murkowski will decide by Friday on a run as write-in candidate in AK-Sen race.
8:46pm —  Multiple sources call MD-Gov GOP Primary for Bob Ehrlich, no surprise.

Property Rights and Public Accommodations

Libertarians and other dogmatists to the contrary notwithstanding, fundamental rights and abstract moral precepts can and do conflict. Ernest Partridge weighs in on the need to respect the dignity of each individual and each person’s rights.

Continue reading Property Rights and Public Accommodations

Lunchtime Food for Thought: “[I]t was like the royalty was back…”

England's Queen Elizabeth is paying a visit to the Baked Apple, and in honor of her presence, you ought to take a quick look at Thom Hartmann's commentary from late last year on the birth of the USA's New Royalty at the Reagan Inaugural — and the need for populists left and right to unite in common cause.

Game Day: PA, KY, AR

11:08pm EST: AR-Sen Dem primary shows Blanche Lincoln projected to get more votes than Bill Halter, but unlikely to cross the 50% threshold, which means run-off time two weeks from today.
10:27pm EST: Two sources calling the PA-12 Special Election for Democrat Mark Critz.
10:11pm EST: AP calls PA-Sen Dem primary for Joe Sestak. Arlen Specter's numbers were terrible from the get-go; even though Specter had an early lead the first tem percent of precincts reporting, most of those reporting were Specter districts, and his lead was anemic.
10:08pm EST: dKos calls KY-Sen Dem primary for Jack Conway.
7pm EST: No surprise — everyone calls the KY-Sen GOP primary for Rand Paul.

What cousinavi said?

at Bob Ceska's Awesome Blog (in comments, posted 4/24 at 12:14pm:

Anyone in America (or anywhere else…but America most assuredly) [who says], "I don't even SEE color. It's just a non-issue to me. In order to move ahead, we have to stop looking at people as black, brown or yellow," is either ignorant, willfully blind or both.  When Andrew Breitbart and his little preppy camera clone can attack and destroy a community organization who's main mission in life is to increase the level of participation of poor and minority voters in the political process; when the GOP starts demanding power bills as proof of residency – a strategy that clearly obstructs minority and poor voters from casting ballots, and so long as the prison industrial complex is locking up severely disproportionate numbers of minorities WHILE being brown in Arizona can get your Phoenix born ass locked up until you prove it – ANYONE who refuses to RECOGNIZE that the color lines are ALREADY DRAWN, VERY REAL and ain't going away because disingenuous conservatard f&@kwits like [commenter "Political Party Pooper"] pretend to sing Koombyah, is not only part of the problem, but an obstacle to EVER having the "honest conversation" you're not capable of having.

All Hail the Glorious Teabag Comrades!

I direct your attention to this one sentence:

The Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that its chief financial backers owe their family fortune to the granddaddy of all their hatred: Stalin’s godless empire of the USSR.

You know you have to read the rest. Click here for Yasha Levine's terrific article on the Tea Party's Bolshevik bankroll.

Crossposted to Synaphaï

Morality as a Plus-Sum Game: Why Libertarianism Fails as a Social Policy

The libertarian and the liberal, observes Ernest Partridge, concur in their desire to maximize personal liberty. However, the libertarian advocates freedom without order – without, that is, an institutional structure that will ensure freedom for all. The liberal, on the other hand, strives to establish and maintain the social, economic and political order without which there is no freedom.

Continue reading Morality as a Plus-Sum Game: Why Libertarianism Fails as a Social Policy

Victoria, Portrait Of A Serial Tea Party Activist — Part III

Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge.
— Horace Mann

The following is part three of Kaitlin Addams's fictional composite of several individuals who currently embrace the ideologies and activities of Tea Party Nation.

Continue reading Victoria, Portrait Of A Serial Tea Party Activist — Part III

Victoria, Portrait Of A Serial Tea Party Activist — Part II

Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge.
— Horace Mann

The following is part two of Kaitlin Addams's fictional composite of several individuals who currently embrace the ideologies and activities of Tea Party Nation.

Continue reading Victoria, Portrait Of A Serial Tea Party Activist — Part II

Victoria, Portrait Of A Serial Tea Party Activist — Part I

Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge.
— Horace Mann

The following is a fictional composite of several individuals the author has known who currently  embrace the ideologies and activities of Tea Party Nation.  This is not meant to be a psychological profile, but an entertaining,  satirical look at how one might arrive at the gates of Tea Party Nation, and make the personal decision to take part in it's agenda.   Any resemblance to real persons, living, dead, or living dead is purely coincidental.

Continue reading Victoria, Portrait Of A Serial Tea Party Activist — Part I

The War Trap

Why, asks Ernest Partridge, have we failed to benefit from a "peace dividend" from the end of the Cold War? Why are we in the midst of the greatest economic emergency in seventy years, with the public sector of the U.S. economy starved for funds required for economic recovery, and with urgent global climate and energy crises directly before us,? Why, are we instead engaged in two wars in nations that pose no threat to us?

Continue reading The War Trap

Sarah Palin to Resign as AK Guv. Why?

[UPDATED after the jump.] The most interesting aspects of her abrupt resignation announcement (it takes effect in three weeks) are that she did it as a late Friday news dump on a holiday weekend that will be dominated by the late Michael Jackson, and she gave a reason that makes no sense at all. Something smells awfully wrong here.

Continue reading Sarah Palin to Resign as AK Guv. Why?

Franken Wins MN Senate Seat; 2008 Election Over at Last

Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush: Open Season on the World!

"We authorize you to hunt down terrorists wherever you find them!" Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004, with the approval of President Bush, a secret order giving the military new authority to attack the al-Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the USA.
Click here for supersized version.

Jeff Koopersmith on new revelations concerning the Bush Doctirne: the mantra was "Attack any country without warning as we see fit – just make goddamn sure the 'rationale' is getting the terrorist!"

Continue reading Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush: Open Season on the World!

Time for Democrats to Celebrate… But Keep Your Eyes Open!

As the coming Obama presidency quickly comes into focus, Jeff Koopersmith says Democrats should savor the victory – but remain wary of a gaggle of seventeen ultra-right and Neocon legislators.

Continue reading Time for Democrats to Celebrate… But Keep Your Eyes Open!

Game Day: President-elect Barack Obama

11:00pm: Obama Wins with CA, OR, WA, HI. Our long national nightmare is over. – GG

MORE — MSNBC calls VA for Obama.

11:10pm — McCain has called Obama to concede the race, per AP.

11:15pm — MSNBC calls FL for Obama.

11:18pm — McCain's concession speech set a well-balanced, conciliatory tone — and made many of his supporters look churlish with his generous praise and the very kind words concerning Obama's late grandmother. Good on McCain – who outclassed the cat-calling, obnoxious sore losermen in the ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. Networks called CO for Obama.

11:25pm — Rep. John Lewis is speaking on MSNBC about this day, one he said he could never have imagined in his days as a civil rights activist.

11:36pm — MSNBC calls NV for Obama.

For Game Day, evening edition, click here.
For Game Day, afternoon edition, click here.
For Game Day, early edition, click here. 

Game Day!

All projections per NBC unless otherwise specified.

11:00pm: Obama Wins with CA, OR, WA. Our long national nightmare is over. – GG

MORE: MSNBC calls VA for Obama.

10:56pm: NY-13, Vito Fossells’a seat, to Mike McMahon (D-pickup) by a solid margin, per WNBC4.– GG

10:50pm: CO-Sen to Udall. PA-12 to Murtha (D) by a hefty margin.– GG

10:23pm: MS to McCain per CNN.– GG

10:10pm: SD abortion ban fails per AP, per Rachel Maddow. CT-4 to Jim Himes (D-pickup), defeating Chris Shays, per AP. FL-8 to Alan Grayson(D-pickup), defeating the egregious Rick Keller, per AP. – GG

10:00pm: UT to McCain. IA to Obama. MT too close to call. NV too early to call, Obama leads. – GG

9:55pm: TX to McCain. TIME calls election for Obama.GG

9:38pm: WV to McCain.MS-Sen to Cochran (R-hold). AL-Sen to Sessions (R-hold). KS-Sen to Roberts (R-hold). TN-Sen to Lamar! (R-hold). OK-Sen to Inhofe (R-hold). WY-Sen to Enzi and Barrasso (R-holds).SD-Sen to Johnson (D-hold).AR-Sen to Pryor (D-hold). ND-Gov to Hoeven (R-hold). MO-Gov to Nixon (D-pickup). FL-08 to Rick Keller (D-pickup) per Kos. FOX News called Ohio for Obama, then takes it back ? vid at HuffPo. – GG

9:30pm: NM to Obama. – GG

9:22pm: OH to Obama. Joe Scarborough: McCain’s "thread has broken" (translation: calls election for Sen. Barack Obama). KY-Sen to the insufferable Mitch McConnell per CNN. – GG

9:00pm: KS, WY to McCain — along with ND, AK out of the toss-ups. NY. MI, MN, WI to Obama. AZ too close to call. FL, NC, IN still too close to call. TX, CO, OH, LA, NE , SD, MS too early to call. NM-Sen to Udall (D-pickup). – GG

8:36pm: GA to McCain. – GG

8:33pm: AL to McCain. – GG

8:30pm: NC-Sen to Hagen, beating Liddy Dole like a bad piece of meat (D-pickup). FL-24 to Suzanne Kosmas (D-pickup), defeating election fixer Tom Feeney, one of the slimiest corrupt Republicans in the house, per Phoenix Woman at firedoglake, who also reports VA-11 has gone blue. AR too early to call. – GG

8:17pm: NH-Sen to Shaheen (D-pickup), IN-Sen to Durbin (D-hold),NJ-Sen to Lautenberg (D-hold), DE-Sen to Biden (D-hold), TN-Sen to Alexander (R-hold), ME-Sen to Collins (R-hold). – GG

8:15pm: Howard Dean is seeing across-the-board improvement in every demographic in the exit polling. Is it a bellwether outside Pennsylvania, asks Keith Olbermann; Deah says (confidently) let's see. Chris Matthews tells Dean that he was most ipressed by his use of the word "You" as an empowering mantra. Dean calls the Obama campaign even more disciplined than Bill Clinton's two campaigns. – GG

8:00pm: TN, OK, to McCain. PA (an important swing state), IL, NJ, MA, MD, DE, DC, NH, ME, CT to Obama. FL, MO, AL, MS too close to call. Chris Matthews: McCain strategy "has crashed." – GG

7:46pm: SC to McCain. – GG

7:35pm: WV-Sen to Rockefeller, WV-Gov to Manchin (D-hold), IN-Sen to Daniels (R-hold). – GG

7:30pm: NC, OH, WV all too close to call. – GG

7:05pm: VA-Sen to Warner (D-pickup), SC-Sen to Graham (R-hold). – GG

7:00pm: KY to McCain. VT to Obama. IN, VA, GA, SC all too close to call. – GG

For Game Day, afternoon edition, click here. 

For Game Day, early edition, click here. 

Game Day!

9:00pm: KS, WY to McCain — along with ND out of the toss-ups. NY. MI, MN, WI to Obama. AZ too close to call. FL, NC, IN still too close to call. TX, CO, OH, LA, NE , SD, MS too early to call. – GG

8:36pm: GA to McCain. – GG

8:33pm: AL to McCain. – GG

8:30pm: NC-Sen to Hagen, beating Liddy Dole like a bad piece of meat (D-pickup). FL-24 to Suzanne Kosmas (D-pickup), defeating election fixer Tom Feeney, one of the slimiest corrupt Republicans in the house, per Phoenix Woman at firedoglake, who also reports VA-11 has gone blue. AR too early to call. – GG

8:17pm: NH-Sen to Shaheen (D-pickup), IN-Sen to Durbin (D-hold),NJ-Sen to Lautenberg (D-hold), DE-Sen to Biden (D-hold), TN-Sen to Alexander (R-hold), ME-Sen to Collins (R-hold). – GG

8:15pm: Howard Dean is seeing across-the-board improvement in every demographic in the exit polling. Is it a bellwether outside Pennsylvania, asks Keith Olbermann; Deah says (confidently) let's see. Chris Matthews tells Dean that he was most ipressed by his use of the word "You" as an empowering mantra. Dean calls the Obama campaign even more disciplined than Bill Clinton's two campaigns. – GG

8:00pm: TN, OK, to McCain. PA, IL, NJ, MA, MD, DE, DC, NH, ME, CT to Obama. FL, MO, AL, MS too close to call. Chris Matthews: McCain strategy "has crashed." – GG

7:46pm: SC to McCain. – GG

7:35pm: WV-Sen to Rockefeller, WV-Gov to Manchin (D-hold), IN-Sen to Daniels (R-hold). – GG

7:30pm: NC, OH, WV all too close to call. – GG

7:05pm: VA-Sen to Warner (D-pickup), SC-Sen to Graham (R-hold). – GG

7:00pm: KY to McCain. VT to Obama. IN, VA, GA, SC all too close to call. – GG

For Game Day, afternoon edition, click here. 

For Game Day, early edition, click here. 

Game Day!
Early Edition

8:30am (all times EST) – Just got back from voting in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood. In 2004 I had a 15 minute wait; today it was nearly an hour. The turnout is massive and excited. UPDATE: Someone was disenfranchised in my neighborhood, perhaps even at my precinct.
Kommandante Kos posted the very first election tally, from Dixville Notch, NH: Obama 15 / McCain 6 (compare to Bush 19 / Kerry 7 in 2004). – MH

8:45am – MSNBC is showing Barack Obama voting in Chicago as one of his daughters looks on. Nattering ninny Mika Brzeinski is contemplating the possibility that Joe biden will make some sort of gaffe. – GG

9:15am – What a shock: CNN reports problems with voting machines in Fairfax County, VA as MSNBC shows Hillary Clinton showing up to vote. – JG

9:45am – Long lines everywhere on the east coast: Penn State, suburban Maryland, South Philly. – MH

9:50am – It looks like the powers-that-be are using bureaucracy and predictably jammed phone lines to strip some Floridians of their full voting rights. – GG

10:20amAtrios blows through line on election day. – JG

10:50am – Now this is a switch! In Philly, six Republican election board members were expelled from their polling precincts because they failed to receive the mandated court order that would permit them to work on election day. – MH

11:55am – The turnout at my Manhattan precinct (Upper West Side) is massive. I usually vote at around 11 and it usually takes two minutes from back of the line to ballot accomplished. Today? 22 minutes. the precinct was packed. – GG

1:00pm – Cable news infotainment channels dominated by images of long lines across the nation. On MSNBC, Al Hunt (now rumored to be on the Meet the Press short list), is touting the large turnout and saying watch Ohio and Florida. – JG

Election 2008: Who Decides? The People or the Programmers?

From crisispapers.org: Might it be possible that the decision next Tuesday lies not with 100-plus million voters but instead with a few dozen programmers who write the secret software for the voting machines that will record some 30 percent of the votes, and also for the computers that compile (i.e., collect and report) 80 percent of the “official” election returns? Ernest Partridge explains.

Continue reading Election 2008: Who Decides? The People or the Programmers?

The MkKain Klan: The Republican Nominee Is Relying on America’s Bigots

Is McCain now relying on out-and-out Klan-style racism?
Click here for large version.

Jeff Koopersmith takes a look at the latest move by the McCain campaign: tapping into the "white sheet" crowd and reawakening the most violent corners of the American psyche.

Continue reading The MkKain Klan: The Republican Nominee Is Relying on America’s Bigots

Health Care in America: It?s Big Business Vs. Joe the Plumber

Businesses go into a high dudgeon anytime politicians attempt a serious discussion about America's dysfunctional health care "system." Jeff Koopersmith says it's time for pet store owner Dave Ratner and media hog Joe the Plumber to learn the basics – including the fact moving to Ireland is not an option.

Continue reading Health Care in America: It?s Big Business Vs. Joe the Plumber

“Country First?” — The Question of Loyalty

Millions of American citizens who identify themselves as “Republicans” are coping with a daunting question: “What is the primary object of my loyalty? My Party? My Country? My religious faith? My conscience?” Ernest Partridge looks at the new conservative crisis.

Continue reading “Country First?” — The Question of Loyalty

Can the GOP Steal The Election Again? You Betcha!

From crisispapers.org: Private Republican corporations count and compile the votes with secret and unverifiable software. Just as they did in 2000 and in 2004, and we all know how that turned out. Accordingly, the stark fact remains, says Ernest Partridge: the Republicans might "win" this election, regardless of the preference of the voters.

Continue reading Can the GOP Steal The Election Again? You Betcha!

The ?Hero? Who Runs from the Battlefield

From crisispapers.org: The McCain campaign has carelessly served a fat pitch down the middle, and if Barack Obama doesn’t hit it out of the park, perhaps he doesn’t deserve to win the election. The pitch? John McCain, the hero of the Hanoi Hilton, has shown himself to be a wimp – even, dare I say it?  – a coward. McCain attempted to bail out of a scheduled debate, and he sequesters his running mate in various “undisclosed locations” out of reach of the media. Imagine, asks Ernest Partridge, what Karl Rove might do with an opportunity like this!

Continue reading The ?Hero? Who Runs from the Battlefield

The Dam Bursts: John McCain and a ‘Nam MIA Cover-up

Mister War Hero (did you know he was a POW?) has some serious explaining to do. How many of our men in uniformed were left behind, John? (And here I'd been planning to get all snarky over my morning coffee about the Palin-McCain Administration's lie about Alaska producing 20% of the nation's energy [hat tip to Koop]).

Cross-posted to Synaphaï

Sarah Palin Ruins the GOP’s “Pimp for Devastation Show” in the Twin Cities

Babs and cindy Go for Broke, Pimp Hurricane Foundations
Click image for enlarged version.

Jeff Koopersmith: Once again, the GOP feigns sensitivity – and, as always, fails in the grand manner.

Continue reading Sarah Palin Ruins the GOP’s “Pimp for Devastation Show” in the Twin Cities

Chuck Schumer Demonstrates the Art of Smashmouth

here, of all places:

"I thought the Britney Spears commercial was powerful," Schumer said, referring to McCain's television ad casting Obama as a vapid "celebrity." … "I would answer back hard. What do you mean he's not one of us? It's John McCain who wears $500 shoes, has six houses and comes from one of the richest families in his state," Schumer said. "It's Barack Obama who climbed up the hard way, and that's why he wants middle-class tax cuts and better schools for our kids."

What Atrios Said

Short but sweet:

Obama Describes The Modern Conservative Movement

Basically:

Now two points.
One: they know they're lying about what my energy plan is.
But the other thing is they're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.

Jeff Koopersmith's been saying it for years. Why has it taken nearly three decades for a Democratic presidential to say it?

Bushism and Evil as the Absence of Empathy

From Crisispapers.org: In the 2000 TV film “Nuremberg,” psychologist Gustav Gilbert says to the Head Prosecutor Robert Jackson, "I told you once that I was searching for the nature of evil. I think I’ve come close to defining it: a lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants: a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow man. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.” “Absence of empathy” is likewise “the one characteristic that connects” most of the immoral and misbegotten tenets of Bushism: that dogmatic mix of market absolutism, libertarianism, corporatism and simple greed that falsely describes itself as “conservatism.” Ernest Partridge explains.

Continue reading Bushism and Evil as the Absence of Empathy

Barack Obama’s Vision for an Effective Foreign and Military Policy: The Complete Text

Sixty-one years ago, George Marshall announced the plan that would come to bear his name. Much of Europe lay in ruins. The United States faced a powerful and ideological enemy intent on world domination. This menace was magnified by the recently discovered capability to destroy life on an unimaginable scale. The Soviet Union didn't yet have an atomic bomb, but before long it would.

The challenge facing the greatest generation of Americans – the generation that had vanquished fascism on the battlefield – was how to contain this threat while extending freedom's frontiers. Leaders like Truman and Acheson, Kennan and Marshall, knew that there was no single decisive blow that could be struck for freedom. We needed a new overarching strategy to meet the challenges of a new and dangerous world.

Such a strategy would join overwhelming military strength with sound judgment. It would shape events not just through military force, but through the force of our ideas; through economic power, intelligence and diplomacy. It would support strong allies that freely shared our ideals of liberty and democracy; open markets and the rule of law. It would foster new international institutions like the United Nations, NATO, and the World Bank, and focus on every corner of the globe. It was a strategy that saw clearly the world's dangers, while seizing its promise.

As a general, Marshall had spent years helping FDR wage war. But the Marshall Plan – which was just one part of this strategy – helped rebuild not just allies, but also the nation that Marshall had plotted to defeat. In the speech announcing his plan, he concluded not with tough talk or definitive declarations – but rather with questions and a call for perspective. "The whole world of the future," Marshall said, "hangs on a proper judgment." To make that judgment, he asked the American people to examine distant events that directly affected their security and prosperity. He closed by asking: "What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done?"

What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done?

Today's dangers are different, though no less grave. The power to destroy life on a catastrophic scale now risks falling into the hands of terrorists. The future of our security – and our planet – is held hostage to our dependence on foreign oil and gas. From the cave-spotted mountains of northwest Pakistan, to the centrifuges spinning beneath Iranian soil, we know that the American people cannot be protected by oceans or the sheer might of our military alone.

The attacks of September 11 brought this new reality into a terrible and ominous focus. On that bright and beautiful day, the world of peace and prosperity that was the legacy of our Cold War victory seemed to suddenly vanish under rubble, and twisted steel, and clouds of smoke.

But the depth of this tragedy also drew out the decency and determination of our nation. At blood banks and vigils; in schools and in the United States Congress, Americans were united – more united, even, than we were at the dawn of the Cold War. The world, too, was united against the perpetrators of this evil act, as old allies, new friends, and even long-time adversaries stood by our side. It was time – once again – for America's might and moral suasion to be harnessed; it was time to once again shape a new security strategy for an ever-changing world.

Imagine, for a moment, what we could have done in those days, and months, and years after 9/11.

We could have deployed the full force of American power to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, the Taliban, and all of the terrorists responsible for 9/11, while supporting real security in Afghanistan.

We could have secured loose nuclear materials around the world, and updated a 20th century non-proliferation framework to meet the challenges of the 21st.

We could have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in alternative sources of energy to grow our economy, save our planet, and end the tyranny of oil.

We could have strengthened old alliances, formed new partnerships, and renewed international institutions to advance peace and prosperity.

We could have called on a new generation to step into the strong currents of history, and to serve their country as troops and teachers, Peace Corps volunteers and police officers.

We could have secured our homeland–investing in sophisticated new protection for our ports, our trains and our power plants.

We could have rebuilt our roads and bridges, laid down new rail and broadband and electricity systems, and made college affordable for every American to strengthen our ability to compete.

We could have done that.

Instead, we have lost thousands of American lives, spent nearly a trillion dollars, alienated allies and neglected emerging threats – all in the cause of fighting a war for well over five years in a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

Our men and women in uniform have accomplished every mission we have given them. What's missing in our debate about Iraq – what has been missing since before the war began – is a discussion of the strategic consequences of Iraq and its dominance of our foreign policy. This war distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize. This war diminishes our security, our standing in the world, our military, our economy, and the resources that we need to confront the challenges of the 21st century. By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe.

I am running for President of the United States to lead this country in a new direction – to seize this moment's promise. Instead of being distracted from the most pressing threats that we face, I want to overcome them. Instead of pushing the entire burden of our foreign policy on to the brave men and women of our military, I want to use all elements of American power to keep us safe, and prosperous, and free. Instead of alienating ourselves from the world, I want America – once again – to lead.

As President, I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy – one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin. I will focus this strategy on five goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

My opponent in this campaign has served this country with honor, and we all respect his sacrifice. We both want to do what we think is best to defend the American people. But we've made different judgments, and would lead in very different directions. That starts with Iraq.

I opposed going to war in Iraq; Senator McCain was one of Washington's biggest supporters for war. I warned that the invasion of a country posing no imminent threat would fan the flames of extremism, and distract us from the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; Senator McCain claimed that we would be greeted as liberators, and that democracy would spread across the Middle East. Those were the judgments we made on the most important strategic question since the end of the Cold War.

Now, all of us recognize that we must do more than look back – we must make a judgment about how to move forward. What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done? Senator McCain wants to talk of our tactics in Iraq; I want to focus on a new strategy for Iraq and the wider world.

It has been 18 months since President Bush announced the surge. As I have said many times, our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence. General Petraeus has used new tactics to protect the Iraqi population. We have talked directly to Sunni tribes that used to be hostile to America, and supported their fight against al Qaeda. Shiite militias have generally respected a cease-fire. Those are the facts, and all Americans welcome them.

For weeks, now, Senator McCain has argued that the gains of the surge mean that I should change my commitment to end the war. But this argument misconstrues what is necessary to succeed in Iraq, and stubbornly ignores the facts of the broader strategic picture that we face.

In the 18 months since the surge began, the strain on our military has increased, our troops and their families have borne an enormous burden, and American taxpayers have spent another $200 billion in Iraq. That's over $10 billion each month. That is a consequence of our current strategy.

In the 18 months since the surge began, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated. June was our highest casualty month of the war. The Taliban has been on the offensive, even launching a brazen attack on one of our bases. Al Qaeda has a growing sanctuary in Pakistan. That is a consequence of our current strategy.

In the 18 months since the surge began, as I warned at the outset – Iraq's leaders have not made the political progress that was the purpose of the surge. They have not invested tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues to rebuild their country. They have not resolved their differences or shaped a new political compact.

That's why I strongly stand by my plan to end this war. Now, Prime Minister Maliki's call for a timetable for the removal of U.S. forces presents a real opportunity. It comes at a time when the American general in charge of training Iraq's Security Forces has testified that Iraq's Army and Police will be ready to assume responsibility for Iraq's security in 2009. Now is the time for a responsible redeployment of our combat troops that pushes Iraq's leaders toward a political solution, rebuilds our military, and refocuses on Afghanistan and our broader security interests.

George Bush and John McCain don't have a strategy for success in Iraq – they have a strategy for staying in Iraq. They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down. They refuse to press the Iraqis to make tough choices, and they label any timetable to redeploy our troops "surrender," even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government – not to a terrorist enemy. Theirs is an endless focus on tactics inside Iraq, with no consideration of our strategy to face threats beyond Iraq's borders.

At some point, a judgment must be made. Iraq is not going to be a perfect place, and we don't have unlimited resources to try to make it one. We are not going to kill every al Qaeda sympathizer, eliminate every trace of Iranian influence, or stand up a flawless democracy before we leave – General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker acknowledged this to me when they testified last April. That is why the accusation of surrender is false rhetoric used to justify a failed policy. In fact, true success in Iraq – victory in Iraq – will not take place in a surrender ceremony where an enemy lays down their arms. True success will take place when we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future – a government that prevents sectarian conflict, and ensures that the al Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge. That is an achievable goal if we pursue a comprehensive plan to press the Iraqis stand up.

To achieve that success, I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office: ending this war. Let me be clear: we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – one year after Iraqi Security Forces will be prepared to stand up; two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, we'll keep a residual force to perform specific missions in Iraq: targeting any remnants of al Qaeda; protecting our service members and diplomats; and training and supporting Iraq's Security Forces, so long as the Iraqis make political progress.

We will make tactical adjustments as we implement this strategy – that is what any responsible Commander-in-Chief must do. As I have consistently said, I will consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government. We will redeploy from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We will commit $2 billion to a meaningful international effort to support the more than 4 million displaced Iraqis. We will forge a new coalition to support Iraq's future – one that includes all of Iraq's neighbors, and also the United Nations, the World Bank, and the European Union – because we all have a stake in stability. And we will make it clear that the United States seeks no permanent bases in Iraq.

This is the future that Iraqis want. This is the future that the American people want. And this is what our common interests demand. Both America and Iraq will be more secure when the terrorist in Anbar is taken out by the Iraqi Army, and the criminal in Baghdad fears Iraqi Police, not just coalition forces. Both America and Iraq will succeed when every Arab government has an embassy open in Baghdad, and the child in Basra benefits from services provided by Iraqi dinars, not American tax dollars.

And this is the future we need for our military. We cannot tolerate this strain on our forces to fight a war that hasn't made us safer. I will restore our strength by ending this war, completing the increase of our ground forces by 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 marines, and investing in the capabilities we need to defeat conventional foes and meet the unconventional challenges of our time.

So let's be clear. Senator McCain would have our troops continue to fight tour after tour of duty, and our taxpayers keep spending $10 billion a month indefinitely; I want Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future, and to reach the political accommodation necessary for long-term stability. That's victory. That's success. That's what's best for Iraq, that's what's best for America, and that's why I will end this war as President.

In fact – as should have been apparent to President Bush and Senator McCain – the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was. That's why the second goal of my new strategy will be taking the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is unacceptable that almost seven years after nearly 3,000 Americans were killed on our soil, the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 are still at large. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahari are recording messages to their followers and plotting more terror. The Taliban controls parts of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has an expanding base in Pakistan that is probably no farther from their old Afghan sanctuary than a train ride from Washington to Philadelphia. If another attack on our homeland comes, it will likely come from the same region where 9/11 was planned. And yet today, we have five times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan.

Senator McCain said – just months ago – that "Afghanistan is not in trouble because of our diversion to Iraq." I could not disagree more. Our troops and our NATO allies are performing heroically in Afghanistan, but I have argued for years that we lack the resources to finish the job because of our commitment to Iraq. That's what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said earlier this month. And that's why, as President, I will make the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.

I will send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan, and use this commitment to seek greater contributions – with fewer restrictions – from NATO allies. I will focus on training Afghan security forces and supporting an Afghan judiciary, with more resources and incentives for American officers who perform these missions. Just as we succeeded in the Cold War by supporting allies who could sustain their own security, we must realize that the 21st century's frontlines are not only on the field of battle – they are found in the training exercise near Kabul, in the police station in Kandahar, and in the rule of law in Herat.

Moreover, lasting security will only come if we heed Marshall's lesson, and help Afghans grow their economy from the bottom up. That's why I've proposed an additional $1 billion in non-military assistance each year, with meaningful safeguards to prevent corruption and to make sure investments are made – not just in Kabul – but out in Afghanistan's provinces. As a part of this program, we'll invest in alternative livelihoods to poppy-growing for Afghan farmers, just as we crack down on heroin trafficking. We cannot lose Afghanistan to a future of narco-terrorism. The Afghan people must know that our commitment to their future is enduring, because the security of Afghanistan and the United States is shared.

The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan. We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary, and as President, I won't. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps, and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights.

Make no mistake: we can't succeed in Afghanistan or secure our homeland unless we change our Pakistan policy. We must expect more of the Pakistani government, but we must offer more than a blank check to a General who has lost the confidence of his people. It's time to strengthen stability by standing up for the aspirations of the Pakistani people. That's why I'm cosponsoring a bill with Joe Biden and Richard Lugar to triple non-military aid to the Pakistani people and to sustain it for a decade, while ensuring that the military assistance we do provide is used to take the fight to the Taliban and al Qaeda. We must move beyond a purely military alliance built on convenience, or face mounting popular opposition in a nuclear-armed nation at the nexus of terror and radical Islam.

Only a strong Pakistani democracy can help us move toward my third goal – securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states. One of the terrible ironies of the Iraq War is that President Bush used the threat of nuclear terrorism to invade a country that had no active nuclear program. But the fact that the President misled us into a misguided war doesn't diminish the threat of a terrorist with a weapon of mass destruction – in fact, it has only increased it.

In those years after World War II, we worried about the deadly atom falling into the hands of the Kremlin. Now, we worry about 50 tons of highly enriched uranium – some of it poorly secured – at civilian nuclear facilities in over forty countries. Now, we worry about the breakdown of a non-proliferation framework that was designed for the bipolar world of the Cold War. Now, we worry – most of all – about a rogue state or nuclear scientist transferring the world's deadliest weapons to the world's most dangerous people: terrorists who won't think twice about killing themselves and hundreds of thousands in Tel Aviv or Moscow, in London or New York.

We cannot wait any longer to protect the American people. I've made this a priority in the Senate, where I worked with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass a law accelerating our pursuit of loose nuclear materials. I'll lead a global effort to secure all loose nuclear materials around the world during my first term as President. And I'll develop new defenses to protect against the 21st century threat of biological weapons and cyber-terrorism – threats that I'll discuss in more detail tomorrow. Beyond taking these immediate, urgent steps, it's time to send a clear message: America seeks a world with no nuclear weapons. As long as nuclear weapons exist, we must retain a strong deterrent. But instead of threatening to kick them out of the G-8, we need to work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair-trigger alert; to dramatically reduce the stockpiles of our nuclear weapons and material; to seek a global ban on the production of fissile material for weapons; and to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement is global. By keeping our commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we'll be in a better position to press nations like North Korea and Iran to keep theirs. In particular, it will give us more credibility and leverage in dealing with Iran.

We cannot tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of nations that support terror. Preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a vital national security interest of the United States. No tool of statecraft should be taken off the table, but Senator McCain would continue a failed policy that has seen Iran strengthen its position, advance its nuclear program, and stockpile 150 kilos of low enriched uranium. I will use all elements of American power to pressure the Iranian regime, starting with aggressive, principled and direct diplomacy – diplomacy backed with strong sanctions and without preconditions. There will be careful preparation. I commend the work of our European allies on this important matter, and we should be full partners in that effort. Ultimately the measure of any effort is whether it leads to a change in Iranian behavior. That's why we must pursue these tough negotiations in full coordination with our allies, bringing to bear our full influence – including, if it will advance our interests, my meeting with the appropriate Iranian leader at a time and place of my choosing. We will pursue this diplomacy with no illusions about the Iranian regime. Instead, we will present a clear choice. If you abandon your nuclear program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, there will be meaningful incentives. If you refuse, then we will ratchet up the pressure, with stronger unilateral sanctions; stronger multilateral sanctions in the Security Council, and sustained action outside the UN to isolate the Iranian regime. That's the diplomacy we need. And the Iranians should negotiate now; by waiting, they will only face mounting pressure. The surest way to increase our leverage against Iran in the long-run is to stop bankrolling its ambitions. That will depend on achieving my fourth goal: ending the tyranny of oil in our time. One of the most dangerous weapons in the world today is the price of oil. We ship nearly $700 million a day to unstable or hostile nations for their oil. It pays for terrorist bombs going off from Baghdad to Beirut. It funds petro-diplomacy in Caracas and radical madrasas from Karachi to Khartoum. It takes leverage away from America and shifts it to dictators.

This immediate danger is eclipsed only by the long-term threat from climate change, which will lead to devastating weather patterns, terrible storms, drought, and famine. That means people competing for food and water in the next fifty years in the very places that have known horrific violence in the last fifty: Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Most disastrously, that could mean destructive storms on our shores, and the disappearance of our coastline.

This is not just an economic issue or an environmental concern – this is a national security crisis. For the sake of our security – and for every American family that is paying the price at the pump – we must end this dependence on foreign oil. And as President, that's exactly what I'll do. Small steps and political gimmickry just won't do. I'll invest $150 billion over the next ten years to put America on the path to true energy security. This fund will fast track investments in a new green energy business sector that will end our addiction to oil and create up to 5 million jobs over the next two decades, and help secure the future of our country and our planet. We'll invest in research and development of every form of alternative energy – solar, wind, and biofuels, as well as technologies that can make coal clean and nuclear power safe. And from the moment I take office, I will let it be known that the United States of America is ready to lead again.

Never again will we sit on the sidelines, or stand in the way of global action to tackle this global challenge. I will reach out to the leaders of the biggest carbon emitting nations and ask them to join a new Global Energy Forum that will lay the foundation for the next generation of climate protocols. We will also build an alliance of oil-importing nations and work together to reduce our demand, and to break the grip of OPEC on the global economy. We'll set a goal of an 80% reduction in global emissions by 2050. And as we develop new forms of clean energy here at home, we will share our technology and our innovations with all the nations of the world.

That is the tradition of American leadership on behalf of the global good. And that will be my fifth goal – rebuilding our alliances to meet the common challenges of the 21st century.

For all of our power, America is strongest when we act alongside strong partners. We faced down fascism with the greatest war-time alliance the world has ever known. We stood shoulder to shoulder with our NATO allies against the Soviet threat, and paid a far smaller price for the first Gulf War because we acted together with a broad coalition. We helped create the United Nations – not to constrain America's influence, but to amplify it by advancing our values.

Now is the time for a new era of international cooperation. It's time for America and Europe to renew our common commitment to face down the threats of the 21st century just as we did the challenges of the 20th. It's time to strengthen our partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Australia and the world's largest democracy – India – to create a stable and prosperous Asia. It's time to engage China on common interests like climate change, even as we continue to encourage their shift to a more open and market-based society. It's time to strengthen NATO by asking more of our allies, while always approaching them with the respect owed a partner. It's time to reform the United Nations, so that this imperfect institution can become a more perfect forum to share burdens, strengthen our leverage, and promote our values. It's time to deepen our engagement to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, so that we help our ally Israel achieve true and lasting security, while helping Palestinians achieve their legitimate aspirations for statehood.

And just as we renew longstanding efforts, so must we shape new ones to meet new challenges. That's why I'll create a Shared Security Partnership Program – a new alliance of nations to strengthen cooperative efforts to take down global terrorist networks, while standing up against torture and brutality. That's why we'll work with the African Union to enhance its ability to keep the peace. That's why we'll build a new partnership to roll back the trafficking of drugs, and guns, and gangs in the Americas. That's what we can do if we are ready to engage the world.

We will have to provide meaningful resources to meet critical priorities. I know development assistance is not the most popular program, but as President, I will make the case to the American people that it can be our best investment in increasing the common security of the entire world. That was true with the Marshall Plan, and that must be true today. That's why I'll double our foreign assistance to $50 billion by 2012, and use it to support a stable future in failing states, and sustainable growth in Africa; to halve global poverty and to roll back disease. To send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says, "You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now."

This must be the moment when we answer the call of history. For eight years, we have paid the price for a foreign policy that lectures without listening; that divides us from one another – and from the world – instead of calling us to a common purpose; that focuses on our tactics in fighting a war without end in Iraq instead of forging a new strategy to face down the true threats that we face. We cannot afford four more years of a strategy that is out of balance and out of step with this defining moment.

None of this will be easy, but we have faced great odds before. When General Marshall first spoke about the plan that would bear his name, the rubble of Berlin had not yet been built into a wall. But Marshall knew that even the fiercest of adversaries could forge bonds of friendship founded in freedom. He had the confidence to know that the purpose and pragmatism of the American people could outlast any foe. Today, the dangers and divisions that came with the dawn of the Cold War have receded. Now, the defeat of the threats of the past has been replaced by the transnational threats of today. We know what is needed. We know what can best be done. We know what must done. Now it falls to us to act with the same sense of purpose and pragmatism as an earlier generation, to join with friends and partners to lead the world anew.

Barack Obama’s Vision for an Effective Foreign and Military Policy: The Complete Text

Read the complete text of presidential candidate Barack Obama's wide-ranging speech of July 15, 2008, in advance of a fact-finding trip to the Middle East, by clicking here.

Continue reading Barack Obama’s Vision for an Effective Foreign and Military Policy: The Complete Text