••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

miss begot 10

PELLA, Iowa -- Sarah Palin stared a bit uncomfortably at a movie screen Tuesday night watching a montage of Matt Damon, David Letterman, Madonna, Howard Stern, Bill Maher, Louis C.K. and other celebrities malign her, then asked The Hollywood Reporter: "What would make someone be so full of hate?" [more]
hate you? they don't hate you. they love you. you give them so much material.

but, truth to tell, tho they don't hate you, some do hate things you say or do. what things? well, for starters, try 'death panels.'

[googletube video of the day]

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

atlantic wire

Leading birthers Joseph Farah and Jerome Corsi are suing Esquire for $120 million because the magazine published a satirical article headlined, "BREAKING! Jerome Corsi’s Birther Book Pulled From Shelves!," Forbes' Jeff Bercovici reports. The article--noting that President Obama had released his long-form birth certificate and thus resolved the question of where he was born--was a joke, but some readers took it at face value. Esquire clarified its humorous intentions in an update, but insisted the so-called birthers deserved ridicule. That only further enraged the birther duo, it seems. In their complaint they are seeking $100 million compensatory damages, $20 million in punitive damages, and legal costs.

Farah is the CEO of the stridently birther site WorldNetDaily, and Corsi (pictured) is the author of several books, including the poorly-timed Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President. The birthers are suing the magazine--and author Mark Warren--because they say his post hurt their book sales. (Perhaps sales were hurt because the book was released after Obama's birth certificate?) And the update only made things worse, as it subjected Corsi and Farah to "extreme ridicule in the community where they reside and where their works are viewed and read."
his post hurt their book sales? oh! i feel so sorry for them. no more millions from birther claptrap. they'll have to think up some other bullshit to foul the information environment with. poor guys....
atlantic wire

In his White House press conference, today's Media Dieter Chuck Todd of NBC asked President Obama to weigh in on the constitutionality of two familiar legal controversies: presidential war powers and gay marriage. His third was a somewhat novel topic: does the Constitution allow the U.S. to not pay its debts? (Obama didn't offer an opinion: "I'm not a Supreme Court justice so I'm not going to put my constitutional law professor hat on.") The idea has been floating around for a while, but Senate Democrats are now seriously considering giving up on these torturous debt ceiling talks and just declaring the debt limit unconstitutional. Sen. Chris Coons told The Huffington Post, "I don't think, as of a couple weeks ago, when this was first raised, it was seen as a pressing option. But I'll tell you that it's going to get a pretty strong second look as a way of saying, 'Is there some way to save us from ourselves?'"

The argument is based on the wording of the 14th Amendment: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." Simply saying the debt ceiling is unconstitutional would allow the government to pay its bills while "leaving Tea Party-backed Republicans in the difficult position of arguing against the plain wording of the Constitution," Ryan Grim and Samuel Haass write.

Could the White House really take such a sweeping measure? First, a quick primer from USA Today's Richard Wolf on what's at stake if Congress blows the August 2 deadline, which would mean the Treasury Department would have enough money to cover only 44 percent of its obligations:
If Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, payments to defense contractors and interest payments on Treasury bonds were exempt, that would be all the government could afford for the month. No money for troops or veterans. No tax refunds. No food stamps or welfare. No federal salaries or benefits.

Want to protect the social safety net? That would be possible--but only if Treasury stopped paying defense contractors, jeopardizing national security. Plus virtually every federal agency and employee.
To avoid that, could President Obama simply ignore federal law requiring borrowing above the debt limit to be approved by Congress?

Yes Garrett Epps, a constitutional lawyer, writes for The Atlantic. Epps says the wording of the 14th Amendment is "extraordinary."
First, it does not simply say that the national debt must be paid; it says that its "validity ... shall not be questioned." Only one other section of the Constitution--the Thirteenth Amendment's proclamation that "[n]either slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction"--is as unqualified and sweeping.

Second, it suggests a broad definition of the national debt: "...including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion."

From this language, it's not hard to argue that the Constitution places both payments on the debt and payments owed to groups like Social Security recipients--pensioners, that is--above the vagaries of Congressional politics. ... If Congress won't pay them, then the executive must.
Here's How Bruce Bartlett explains in The Fiscal Times.
In the event that congressional irresponsibility makes default impossible to avoid, [Obama] should order the secretary of the Treasury to simply disregard the debt limit and sell whatever securities are necessary to raise cash to pay the nation’s debts. They are protected by the full faith and credit of the United States and preventing default is no less justified than using American military power to protect against an armed invasion without a congressional declaration of war.
Some will raise a concern that potential buyers of Treasury securities may be scared off by a fear that bonds sold over the debt limit may not be backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. However, given that the vast bulk of Treasury securities are 3-month bills that will turn over many, many times before this issue ever reaches the Supreme Court, it is doubtful than anyone will be concerned about that. And the Federal Reserve could assure investors that it will always be a buyer for such securities.
And Congress Couldn't Do Anything About It The New Republic's Matthew Zeitlin writes, because no lawmaker would be able to show how he or she was individually injured by the administration's ignoring of the debt limit, and therefore wouldn't have standing to sue.

But Here's Why Obama Shouldn't Do It argues The Washington Post's Ezra Klein.
[T]he danger isn't that investors never get paid, but that the way they get paid makes them lose faith in the country's management, which in turn forces the entire financial system to reevaluate the safety of a bedrock asset...

Layering a constitutional crisis over political gridlock may work in the sense that the Obama administration will win the court case. But it'll fail terribly in terms of sustaining the market's confidence in our political system. That's a step toward total breakdown, not evidence that agreement can eventually be reached and economic renewal achieved. The debt ceiling needs to be resolved in a way that assures investors that America's other economic problems will be resolved, too.
negotiation volley

ok, dems say raise debt limit so we don't get another economic disaster.

so gops say ok, but only if you cut spending.

so dems say ok, but only if you give up tax breaks for rich.

so? ok. ball's in your court, gops....
karma, neh?
When Glenn Beck ventured out with his wife and daughter to catch a Hitchcock flick in New York City’s Bryant Park, the event “turned into a hostile free-for-all,” according to his Web site.

He and his family weathered verbal abuses and slurs against conservatives, and an angry moviegoer even kicked a glass of wine onto his wife, Beck said in a video on his site. (New Koch video draws parallel between economic freedom, quality of life) [more]
but, um, is that the right video for this story?
miss concept shun

Following in the steps of David Byrne v. Charlie Crist and other legendary artist versus candidate smack downs, Tom Petty is reportedly preparing to take legal action against Michele Bachmann's campaign, after she played his 1977 hit "American Girl" at her 2012 announcement rally in Iowa Monday. [more]

Well, she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn't help thinkin'
That there was a little more to life somewhere else

After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to
And if she had to die tryin'
She had one little promise she was gonna keep

O yeah, all right
Take it easy, baby
Make it last all night
She was an American girl

Well, it was kind of cold that night
She stood alone on her balcony
Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
Out on 441 like waves crashin' on the beach

And for one desperate moment
There he crept back in her memory
God it's so painful when something that's so close
Is still so far out of reach

O yeah, all right
Take it easy, baby
Make it last all night
She was an American girl
democracy now!
is bachmann the gop's waterloo?
(or america's?)
AMY GOODMAN: Congress Member Bachmann flubbed her hometown history when saying in an interview, quote, "John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too," in an interview she did on Fox talking about running for president. Well, John Wayne was born nearly 150 miles away. It was the serial killer John Wayne Gacy who lived for a time in Waterloo.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, what I want them to know is, just like John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa, that’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.
AMY GOODMAN: Bachmann’s flubs are reminiscent of when she traveled to New Hampshire in March to speak to supporters. She suggested the Revolutionary War began in Concord, New Hampshire, rather than Lexington and Concord, [Massachusetts].
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN: What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world, at Lexington and Concord.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

eml from media matters
Here [is] today's news [item] from Media Matters for America, click on the title or 'read more' to read the entirety of [the] story.

Wall Street Journal Spins Fracking Study To Downplay Risks
A Wall Street Journal editorial obscured the fact that a Duke University study strongly suggested methane from a natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, contaminated water supplies. Read More

Here are [yesterday's] news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or 'read more' to read the entirety of each story.
Neal Boortz Uses Mythology To Say The Bush Tax Cuts "Worked"
Writing in the Atlanta Journal Constitutionsyndicated radio host Neal Boortz perpetuated the myth that tax cuts increase revenue to bolster his argument that the Bush tax cuts "worked." Economists have said the Bush tax cuts reduced revenue and had little positive impact on the economy. Read More
Washington Times' History Of Anti-Gay Attacks
The incoming editor of The Washington Times, Ed Kelley, recently suggested he was not familiar with the newspaper's long history of anti-gay attacks, saying the only controversy he had heard on the issue was "a change in whether or not the term either civil unions or gay marriage or something, whether or not there were going to be quotes used around the term or not." In fact,The Washington Times has long history of extreme rhetoric and smears against the LGBT community. Read More

Here [is 6/24's news item] from Media Matters for America, click on the title or 'read more' to read the entirety of [the] story.
Fox Panel Teams Up To Promote A Bushel Of Misinformation On Health Care Reform
A seven-minute segment on Fox News' America Live featured a deluge of falsehoods and distortions about President Obama's health care reform record, including the false suggestion that PricewaterhouseCoopers found that health care reform is responsible for rising costs. In fact, Pricewaterhouse found that reform is "expected to have minimal impact on [the] medical cost trend in 2012." Read More

Here are [6/23]'s news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or 'read more' to read the entirety of each story.
Another "Indoctrination" Freakout: Right-Wing Media Attack MD's Environmental Literacy Education Requirement
Right-wing media have attacked a recent Maryland State Board of Education ruling that requires high school students to be "environmentally literate" before graduating as "indoctrination" and "brainwash[ing]," while using it as an opportunity continue the right-wing's longstanding war on climate science. Read More
Right-Wing Media Strain To Portray Obama's Speech As A "Mission Accomplished" Moment
Following President Obama's speech announcing the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, right-wing media have strained to portray the announcement as a "mission accomplished" moment. However, Obama acknowledged that "huge challenges remain" in Afghanistan and "[w]e'll have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we've made." Read More
Right-Wing Media Launches Kitchen Sink Attack On Obama's Afghanistan Speech
The right-wing media reacted to President Obama's address on troop withdrawals in Afghanistan by dredging up familiar, petty attacks, such as criticizing the number of times Obama referred to himself, and claiming the address was a "campaign speech" instead of a "war update." This follows a long history of the right-wing media launching frivolous attacks over speeches Obama makes on all manner of issues. Read More
Fox Uses Oil Reserve Announcement To Demand More Drilling
After President Obama announced that the U.S. will tap the Strategic Petroleum ReserveFox News figures falsely suggested that government restrictions are encumbering domestic oil production. In fact, drilling is nearing a twenty-year high, and countless economists have explained that expanded U.S. oil production is not a solution to high oil pricesRead More
Right-Wing Media Attack Vargas With Stereotypical, Anti-Immigrant Vigor
Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, recently revealed that he is an undocumented immigrant. Right-wing media responded with virulent anti-immigrant attacks, with Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail writing: "kick the lying, illegal alien Jose Antonio Vargas out." Read More

Here are [6/22]'s news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or 'read more' to read the entirety of each story.
Plane Falsehoods: Krauthammer Continues To Misinform About Boeing's Alleged Union-Busting
Previously, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer misinformed the public on a National Labor Relations Board complaint that Boeing illegally moved jobs away from a unionized facility, claiming that "paying off the unions to [President Obama] is more important than a healthy export economy." Krauthammer spread more falsehoods in a Washington Post column in which he suggested that the NLRB is a political organization "trying to get the [South Carolina] plant declared illegal" because "Democrats need unions." Read More
Beck Guest Falsely Claims Oil And Gas Companies Get "Zero" Government Subsidies
On his Fox News showGlenn Beck hosted several oil and gas industry executives to attack President Obama's energy policies and tout fossil fuels. During the show, Beck hyped the false claim by one of his guests, the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, that "the oil and natural gas industry gets zero subsidies" from the federal government. Read More
Fox News "Headline" Is A GOP Press Release
Fox News adopted its "headline" for today straight from a press release from the office of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, claiming that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that "government spending as a share of our economy will increase by nearly 70 percent by 2035." In its long-term budget outlook, CBO projected that spending would increase from 24.1 percent of GDP in 2011 to 27.4 percent in 2035. Read More
Fox Protects Investment By Attempting To Spin Lack Of Enthusiasm For GOP Field
Fox News has recently tried to spin GOP voter dissatisfaction with the 2012 presidential field by suggesting it is a manufactured Democratic talking point designed to "handicap" the candidates, when, in fact, polling has consistently shown Republicans are dissatisfied with the GOP field. This spin comes as Fox is investing a significant amount of resources into promoting the GOP presidential candidates. Read More
With Renewed National Focus On Immigration Reform, Fox Revs Up Anti-Immigrant Campaign
As immigration reform has re-entered the public debate, Fox News has spent the past several weeks misleading on the issue and slanting its news coverage to paint immigrants in a negative light. Read More
Jon Stewart Gets It Right About Fox News
Fox News has attacked Daily Show host Jon Stewart for claiming that Fox News viewers are "the most consistently misinformed viewers" of cable news. However, Stewart was correct -- Fox News consistently misinforms its viewers, and its viewers are found among the most likely to hold misinformed beliefs about current events. Read More

Here are [6/21]'s news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or 'read more' to read the entirety of each story.

Eric Bolling: Fox News' In-House Corporate Lobbyist
Fox NewsEric Bolling has been promoting what he described as his own stimulus plan, a plan centered on tax breaks for multinational corporations on money currently parked offshore. Bolling's proposal is remarkably similar to a plan reportedly promoted by corporate lobbyists during a Washington, D.C. conference on June 15 - the day before Bolling discussed his plan on Fox News. Read More
Fox Still Misrepresenting NLRB's Case Against Boeing
Fox News has repeatedly suggested that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is engaging in unlawful or "anti-American" activity by filing a complaint against Boeing for deciding to build a new plant in the "right to work" state of South Carolina. But the NLRB complaint alleges that Boeing moved to South Carolina in retaliation for union workers' decision to strike, and experts say that allegations in the case represent an "absolutely standard violation" of federal labor law.Read More
Fox Hyped McKinsey & Co. Study But Ignored Admission That It's Not A "Predictive Economic Analysis"
After hyping a McKinsey & Company survey that predicted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC) would cause millions of employees to lose their employer-basedhealth care coverage, Fox did not cover that McKinsey & Co. admitted that their findings were not meant as "a predictive economic analysis." Fox further failed to note a study reinforcing President Obama's claim that employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) markets would be virtually unchanged by the health care billRead More

Here are [6/20]'s news items from Media Matters for America, click on the title or 'read more' to read the entirety of each story.

Fox News Maligns Scientists With Baseless Accusation Of "Doctoring" Sea Level Data
Following the lead of the Heartland InstituteFox News trumpeted the utterly baseless claim that scientists at the University of Colorado are "doctoring" sea level data to "exaggerate theeffects of global warming." In reality, the scientists used a standard and transparent procedure performed by other research groups around the world, and even the climate skeptic cited by Fox News objects to the implication that the group engaged in scientific wrongdoing. Read More
Fox Hosts Official From Extremist-Linked Pro-Gun Group To Distort Link Between "Carry Laws" And Crime
Fox & Friends hosted John Velleco, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America (GOA), to argue in favor of concealed weapons laws by dubiously claiming that "crime goes down" when "a state tries to relax concealed carry laws." But according to PolitiFact, crime data shows no "straight-line correlation between states with 'right to carry' laws and crime rates"; moreover, GOA's executive director has been tied to militia groupswhite supremacists, and has a history of extremist rhetoric. Read More

Monday, June 27, 2011



RUSH: Chris Christie last night, in New Jersey on public TV, "Christie on the Line." This is why people like the guy. In a prerecorded videotaped question, a woman named "Gail" says (sniveling), "You don't send your kids to public schools, you send 'em to private schools. So I was wondering, Governor, why do you think it's fair to be cutting school funding to public schools?"

CHRISTIE: Hey, Gail? You know what? First off: It's none of your business. I don't ask you where you send your kids to school; don't bother me about where I send mine. Secondly: I pay $38,000 a year in property taxes for a public school predominantly in Mendham that my wife and I don't choose to utilize because we believe -- we've decided -- as parents that we believe a religious education should be part of our children's everyday education. So we send our children to parochial school. Third: I, as governor, am responsible for every child in this state, not just my own, and the decisions that I make are to try to improve the educational opportunities of every child in this state. So with all due respect, Gail, it's none of your business.

RUSH: Now, who talks to constituents that way? See here you have this snooty constituent (sniveling), "You don't send your kid to public schools. So who are you? You're rich! You send your kid to private school, so I was wondering: Why do you think it's fair to be cutting school funding from public schools? You don't send your kids there, nyah, nyah, nyah," and the governor -- talking to a voter! -- says (paraphrasing), "Hey, you know what? It's none of your business. Shut up. None of your business. I don't ask you where you send your kids at school so don't bother me about where I send mine." That's Chris Christie. I'm playing the sound bite just as an example here, but it's why people like the guy. "I spend $38,000 a year on taxes for a public school system I don't even utilize. It's none of your business what I do with my kids. It's none of your business where I send my kids. As governor, I've gotta pay attention to the education for every kid in this state. Where I send my kids is none of your business. I don't call you and ask you where you're sending your kids, so shut up."

That's why people like the guy.

did you get that? "I, as governor, am responsible for every child in this state, not just my own, and the decisions that I make are to try to improve the educational opportunities of every child in this state."

gee, i wonder if that has anything to do with this:

TRENTON — State numbers show there were about 4,700 fewer teachers and 600 fewer administrators in New Jersey's public schools this year compared to the year before.

The employees quit, retired or were dismissed to save money.

The Record newspaper found salaries fell $257 million to $9.66 billion in the past school year, marking the first drop in at least a decade.

The newspaper found the number of full-time teachers with one to five years of experience fell 14 percent. The number of teachers in their first year dipped 32 percent due largely to hiring freezes.

Many long-time teachers also retired last summer. The number with more than 30 years of experience in the classroom fell 18 percent.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rennie Gibbs is accused of murder, but the crime she is alleged to have committed does not sound like an ordinary killing. Yet she faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child.

Gibbs became pregnant aged 15, but lost the baby in December 2006 in a stillbirth when she was 36 weeks into the pregnancy. When prosecutors discovered that she had a cocaine habit – though there is no evidence that drug abuse had anything to do with the baby's death – they charged her with the "depraved-heart murder" of her child, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

Gibbs is the first woman in Mississippi to be charged with murder relating to the loss of her unborn baby. But her case is by no means isolated. Across the US more and more prosecutions are being brought that seek to turn pregnant women into criminals. [more]
oh, right...

just spotted this listing on book tv:
Primetime Propaganda:
The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV
Ben Shapiro
you know, the more the right wing complains about the left running media and education and community organizing groups and international organizations and government agencies, the more hollow it sounds.

but it works! everybody from npr to obama bends over backwards to give them all the "equal" time they want to vent their spleens.

yet they're never satisfied. they always demand more.

and that works too. for them! not for the people or the country or the world.

they keep selling books and oil and cigars and churning out talking points and sound bites and buzz words and coming up with crackpot ideas and hare-brained schemes that make trouble for everybody or get us into worse trouble, like supply-side economics and WMD.

and they're misnamed too. with all their doomsaying about liberals and promises of their own brand of salvation, can anybody recall a time when "the right" was right about anything?
more fox lies

following on the dispute between jon stewart and politifact over whether fox viewers are misinformed, check out how many false stories came from fox "news" in just three consecutive days this month and got posted on media matters.

Friday, June 24, 2011

financial times

it's 11 months since martin wolf, the "premier financial and economics writer in the world," dissected the gop and supply-side economics on his financial times blog, but apparently nobody noticed on this side of the pond, because virtually all players in government and media are still digging in their heels while sinking into quicksand.

so, in hopes that someone will stumble across it this time, here's an excerpt and a link:
My reading of contemporary Republican thinking is that there is no chance of any attempt to arrest adverse long-term fiscal trends should they return to power. Moreover, since the Republicans have no interest in doing anything sensible, the Democrats will gain nothing from trying to do much either. That is the lesson Democrats have to draw from the Clinton era’s successful frugality, which merely gave George W. Bush the opportunity to make massive (irresponsible and unsustainable) tax cuts. In practice, then, nothing will be done.

Indeed, nothing may be done even if a genuine fiscal crisis were to emerge. According to my friend, Bruce Bartlett, a highly informed, if jaundiced, observer, some “conservatives” (in truth, extreme radicals) think a federal default would be an effective way to bring public spending they detest under control. It should be noted, in passing, that a federal default would surely create the biggest financial crisis in world economic history.

To understand modern Republican thinking on fiscal policy, we need to go back to perhaps the most politically brilliant (albeit economically unconvincing) idea in the history of fiscal policy: “supply-side economics”. Supply-side economics liberated conservatives from any need to insist on fiscal rectitude and balanced budgets. Supply-side economics said that one could cut taxes and balance budgets, because incentive effects would generate new activity and so higher revenue.

The political genius of this idea is evident. Supply-side economics transformed Republicans from a minority party into a majority party. It allowed them to promise lower taxes, lower deficits and, in effect, unchanged spending. Why should people not like this combination? Who does not like a free lunch?

How did supply-side economics bring these benefits? First, it allowed conservatives to ignore deficits. They could argue that, whatever the impact of the tax cuts in the short run, they would bring the budget back into balance, in the longer run. Second, the theory gave an economic justification – the argument from incentives – for lowering taxes on politically important supporters. Finally, if deficits did not, in fact, disappear, conservatives could fall back on the “starve the beast” theory: deficits would create a fiscal crisis that would force the government to cut spending and even destroy the hated welfare state.

In this way, the Republicans were transformed from a balanced-budget party to a tax-cutting party. This innovative stance proved highly politically effective, consistently putting the Democrats at a political disadvantage. It also made the Republicans de facto Keynesians in a de facto Keynesian nation. Whatever the rhetoric, I have long considered the US the advanced world’s most Keynesian nation – the one in which government (including the Federal Reserve) is most expected to generate healthy demand at all times, largely because jobs are, in the US, the only safety net for those of working age.

True, the theory that cuts would pay for themselves has proved altogether wrong. That this might well be the case was evident: cutting tax rates from, say, 30 per cent to zero would unambiguously reduce revenue to zero. This is not to argue there were no incentive effects. But they were not large enough to offset the fiscal impact of the cuts (see, on this, Wikipedia and a nice chart from Paul Krugman).

Indeed, Greg Mankiw, no less, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, has responded to the view that broad-based tax cuts would pay for themselves, as follows: “I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don’t.” Indeed, he has referred to those who believe this as “charlatans and cranks”. Those are his words, not mine, though I agree. They apply, in force, to contemporary Republicans, alas,

Since the fiscal theory of supply-side economics did not work, the tax-cutting eras of Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush and again of George W. Bush saw very substantial rises in ratios of federal debt to gross domestic product. Under Reagan and the first Bush, the ratio of public debt to GDP went from 33 per cent to 64 per cent. It fell to 57 per cent under Bill Clinton. It then rose to 69 per cent under the second George Bush. Equally, tax cuts in the era of George W. Bush, wars and the economic crisis account for almost all the dire fiscal outlook for the next ten years (see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities). [more]
The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God's will, and actually fulfill God's will, and not let God's word be desecrated. For God's will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord's creation, the divine will.
— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1925-26

The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.
— Adolf Hitler, proclamation to the German Nation, February 1, 1933

The National Government regards the two Christian confessions (i.e. Catholicism and Protestantism) as factors essential to the soul of the German people. ... We hold the spiritual forces of Christianity to be indispensable elements in the moral uplift of most of the German people.
— Adolf Hitler, address to Reichstag, March 23, 1933

Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.
— Adolf Hitler, during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of April 26, 1933

I have been attacked because of my handling of the Jewish question. The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc, because it recognised the Jews for what they were. In the epoch of liberalism the danger was no longer recognised. I am moving back toward the time in which a fifteen-hundred-year-long tradition was implemented. I do not set race over religion, but I recognise the representatives of this race as pestilant for the state and for the church and perhaps I am thereby doing Christianity a great service by pushing them out of schools and public functions.
— Adolf Hitler, during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of April 26, 1933

For eight months we have been waging a heroic battle against the Communist threat to our Volk, the decomposition of our culture, the subversion of our art, and the poisoning of our public morality. We have put an end to denial of God and abuse of religion. We owe Providence humble gratitude for not allowing us to lose our battle against the misery of unemployment and for the salvation of the German peasant.
— Adolf Hitler, radio address, October 14, 1933

We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.
— Adolf Hitler, speech in Berlin, October 24, 1933

There may have been a time when even parties founded on the ecclesiastical basis were a necessity. At that time Liberalism was opposed to the Church, while Marxism was anti-religious. But that time is past. National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity. The Church's interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of to-day, in our fight against the Bolshevist culture, against an atheistic movement, against criminality, and in our struggle for the consciousness of a community in our national life, for the conquest of hatred and disunion between the classes, for the conquest of civil war and unrest, of strife and discord. These are not anti-Christian, these are Christian principles.
— Adolf Hitler, speech in Koblenz, August 26, 1934

funny how many times, in debates over atheism, religionists claim hitler was an atheist.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

al gore
Rolling Stone

Climate of Denial

Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?

Illustration by Matt Mahurin

The first time I remember hearing the question "is it real?" was when I went as a young boy to see a traveling show put on by "professional wrestlers" one summer evening in the gym of the Forks River Elementary School in Elmwood, Tennessee.

The evidence that it was real was palpable: "They're really hurting each other! That's real blood! Look a'there! They can't fake that!" On the other hand, there was clearly a script (or in today's language, a "narrative"), with good guys to cheer and bad guys to boo.

But the most unusual and in some ways most interesting character in these dramas was the referee: Whenever the bad guy committed a gross and obvious violation of the "rules" — such as they were — like using a metal folding chair to smack the good guy in the head, the referee always seemed to be preoccupied with one of the cornermen, or looking the other way. Yet whenever the good guy — after absorbing more abuse and unfairness than any reasonable person could tolerate — committed the slightest infraction, the referee was all over him. The answer to the question "Is it real?" seemed connected to the question of whether the referee was somehow confused about his role: Was he too an entertainer?

That is pretty much the role now being played by most of the news media in refereeing the current wrestling match over whether global warming is "real," and whether it has any connection to the constant dumping of 90 million tons of heat-trapping emissions into the Earth's thin shell of atmosphere every 24 hours.

Admittedly, the contest over global warming is a challenge for the referee because it's a tag-team match, a real free-for-all. In one corner of the ring are Science and Reason. In the other corner: Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues.

The referee — in this analogy, the news media — seems confused about whether he is in the news business or the entertainment business. Is he responsible for ensuring a fair match? Or is he part of the show, selling tickets and building the audience? The referee certainly seems distracted: by Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, the latest reality show — the list of serial obsessions is too long to enumerate here.

But whatever the cause, the referee appears not to notice that the Polluters and Ideologues are trampling all over the "rules" of democratic discourse. They are financing pseudoscientists whose job is to manufacture doubt about what is true and what is false; buying elected officials wholesale with bribes that the politicians themselves have made "legal" and can now be made in secret; spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on misleading advertisements in the mass media; hiring four anti-climate lobbyists for every member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. (Question: Would Michael Jordan have been a star if he was covered by four defensive players every step he took on the basketball court?)

This script, of course, is not entirely new: A half-century ago, when Science and Reason established the linkage between cigarettes and lung diseases, the tobacco industry hired actors, dressed them up as doctors, and paid them to look into television cameras and tell people that the linkage revealed in the Surgeon General's Report was not real at all. The show went on for decades, with more Americans killed each year by cigarettes than all of the U.S. soldiers killed in all of World War II.

This time, the scientific consensus is even stronger. It has been endorsed by every National Academy of science of every major country on the planet, every major professional scientific society related to the study of global warming and 98 percent of climate scientists throughout the world. In the latest and most authoritative study by 3,000 of the very best scientific experts in the world, the evidence was judged "unequivocal."

But wait! The good guys transgressed the rules of decorum, as evidenced in their private e-mails that were stolen and put on the Internet. The referee is all over it: Penalty! Go to your corner! And in their 3,000-page report, the scientists made some mistakes! Another penalty!

And if more of the audience is left confused about whether the climate crisis is real? Well, the show must go on. After all, it's entertainment. There are tickets to be sold, eyeballs to glue to the screen.

Part of the script for this show was leaked to The New York Times as early as 1991. In an internal document, a consortium of the largest global-warming polluters spelled out their principal strategy: "Reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact." Ever since, they have been sowing doubt even more effectively than the tobacco companies before them.

To sell their false narrative, the Polluters and Ideologues have found it essential to undermine the public's respect for Science and Reason by attacking the integrity of the climate scientists. That is why the scientists are regularly accused of falsifying evidence and exaggerating its implications in a greedy effort to win more research grants, or secretly pursuing a hidden political agenda to expand the power of government. Such slanderous insults are deeply ironic: extremist ideologues — many financed or employed by carbon polluters — accusing scientists of being greedy extremist ideologues.

After World War II, a philosopher studying the impact of organized propaganda on the quality of democratic debate wrote, "The conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power has attacked the very heart of the distinction between true and false."
tom catting?

why are they so out of breath after a minute and 15 seconds? hmmm.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

politifact calls out js

On the June 19, 2011, edition of Fox News Sunday, comedian Jon Stewart -- host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central -- sat down for an interview with Chris Wallace. Many readers asked us to review one of his claims.

"Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?" Stewart asked Wallace. "The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll." [more]


you'll have to use the above link to read politifact's analysis. it cites several polls that don't put fox666 viewers at the bottom in "knowledge" or in being "informed."

but wait! stewart didn't say fox viewers are "less informed" or even "uninformed." he said they're "most consistently misinformed." there's a difference.

fox viewers may learn a lot from fox news. much of what they learn may be accurate. but they may also acquire a layer of false ideas that don't show up in poll questions about facts.

the polls that need to be studied are those that examine which media viewers are more likely to buy into the birther controversy or the death panel claim or the belief that the prez is a muslim/socialist/fascist or that bush intentionally let the 9/11 attacks happen or that gore claimed he invented the internet or that the UN and/or the federal reserve is/are part of an international conspiracy to take away our guns and our sovereignty or that global warming is a hoax meant to terrify us into handing america over to environmentalists or that liberals want to end our freedom and take our money or that saddam hussein hid WMD in iran, syria, or jordan, &c.

it ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. it's what you know that just ain't so.
— attributed to artemus ward, josh billings, mark twain, and will rogers

update 6/23

jon stewart responded to politifact by citing a long list of fox lies found on politifact.com. politifact has not exactly apologized, but they did post the list on their site with links to the stories, here.
flood, drought, & storm deaths don't count

WASHINGTON – A new study says one of the few benefits of global warming — fewer deaths from the combination of extreme heat and cold — may eventually melt away in Europe.

For years, scientists figured that with global warming there are fewer overall temperature-related deaths when those from heat waves and cold snaps are combined. The increase in heat wave deaths during hotter spells is more than offset by reduced cold deaths in milder winters.

But a new study in Europe finds that around 2040, the increase in heat deaths will likely outweigh the reduction in cold deaths. The study suggests that by 2070, global warming may cause 15,000 more temperature-related deaths a year in Europe, which has less air conditioning than the United States. [more]
Some people who need medical care but can't afford it go to the emergency room. Others just hope they'll get better. James Richard Verone robbed a bank.

Earlier this month, Verone (pictured), a 59-year-old convenience store clerk, walked into a Gastonia, N.C., bank and handed the cashier a note demanding $1 and medical attention. Then he waited calmly for police to show up.

He's now in jail and has an appointment with a doctor this week. [more]
has anyone evaluated the quality of medical care in jails and prisons? if a follow-up to this story ever appears, don't be surprised if verone isn't too happy with what he gets.