The COIN crew is circling the wagons, telling us to move along, nothing to see in those messy Wikileaks documents but the House will today vote to make us pay another $30 Billion for it all.[...]
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BP has inflicted record losses and immeasurable misery on families and industries across the Gulf states. So, I'm not really feeling bad for BP:
BP announced Tuesday that it lost $17 billion in the second quarter of the year because of the mounting cost of halting and repairing damage from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.It does take a certain skill to have an oil company suffer record losses.
The company also said the executive who has led its spill response effort for the last month, Robert Dudley, would take over Oct. 1 as BP's next chief executive, becoming the first American to run the London-based company.
Dudley, 54, had been widely expected to be chosen to replace outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward, whose dismissal was confirmed after a BP board meeting Monday evening.
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It's too easy to dismiss John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, David Vitter, Virginia Foxx and even Rand Paul and Sharron Angle as merely a gaggle of crackpots and misanthropes unworthy of being taken seriously. All of them have won Republican primaries and some have won general elections. Inasmuch as they can implement their ideas and the agendas of the corporate CEOs and lobbyists who finance their careers, they're actually dangerous to our families and our country.
Two progressive public interest political action committees, Blue America and Americans For America, have teamed up to help expose some of the real dangers behind these characters. Today we're releasing our first video: Think Crazy. Digby's is writing about Rand Paul and John is taking on his gal Sarah. I got stuck with Boehner. Watch the clip and see how this character who aspires to the speakership talks with such alacrity about raising the retirement age to 70. The actual Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, doesn't agree, not one bit. In fact, she told Netroots Nations this weekend that she doesn't see scaling back Social Security as a way to reduce a deficit that's ballooned out of control because of wars and bad economic policies of the conservative ruling elite. "To change Social Security in order to balance the budget, they aren't the same thing in my view. When you talk about reducing the deficit and Social Security, you're talking about apples and oranges."
And that's John Boehner... talking apples and oranges, doing what he can to confuse the voters. There's one way to make absolutely certain this guy never gets anywhere near the Speaker's chair-- elect Justin Coussoule to replace him in western Ohio's 8th congressional district. Think about giving Justin's campaign a boost, against the massive inflow of K Street lobbyist money that Boehner gets from his real constituents, the ones on Wall Street. Coussoule puts Boehner into clear context:
John Boehner has no idea what it's like to work for a living. Or if he ever did, he's long forgotten after spending 20 years in Washington living high on the hog, compliments of corporate contributions and lobbyists' largesse, and collecting $193,000 in annual salary compliments of the American taxpayer.
Case in point. After two decades of voting against the interests of working, middle-class Americans on every issue from the minimum wage, to affordable health care, to extension of unemployment benefits, in one of Boehner's more outrageous assaults on working Americans, he called for increasing the retirement age to 70. In other words, Boehner's answer to patching together the federal budget that he helped blow-up, at George W. Bush's command: make hard working Americans work longer and harder. I guess the super-rich who fund Boehner's lavish lifestyle get a pass.
But then again, why should we expect someone who spends more time golfing than Tiger Woods (119 days last years alone), and twice the median annual income in his District on golf ($84,000 from his 'leadership' PAC on golf) to understand, let alone care, about the struggles of working people.
After all, the fairways of Pebble Beach couldn't be farther from the working-class neighborhoods of Hamilton, Dayton and Greenville in Ohio's 8th Congressional District. And John Boehner has much more important things to think about than the burden he would heap on working people by pushing the retirement age to 70. Like whether he wants lobster tail with his filet mignon when he gets back to the clubhouse.
Timothy Karr has a nice summation of Sen. Al Franken's keynote speech at Netroots Nation this year.
Over the weekend, Sen. Al Franken (D.-Minn.) made the corporate takeover of our media, and the government's acquiescence to these corporations, frighteningly clear. Franken told more than 2,000 bloggers and organizers attending the Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas that our media system is at risk everywhere we turn - from our free speech online to the growing power of companies who own a massive number of media outlets. Read on...
Al did a fantastic job. Part one is above. Parts two, three and four are below the fold.
I've never been one to think that unity was a realistic political goal. We should strive for[...]
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WaPo Wikileaks CW:
-- New evidence that the war effort is plagued by unreliable Afghan and Pakistani partners seems unlikely to undermine fragile congressional support or force the Obama administration to shift strategy.
-- The disclosure of what are mostly battlefield updates does not appear to represent a major threat to national security or troops' safety, according to military officials.
-- The documents' release could compel President Obama to explain more forcefully the war's importance, military analysts said. Some have criticized Obama for not explaining the administration's strategy for bolstering the weak Afghan government and countering the Taliban's rise.
With the GOP's hopes for reclaiming the Senate seeming to hinge increasingly on their success in the west, the NRSC is bringing in a veteran press operative to help Republican Senate candidates in three key races against longtime Democratic incumbents. Brian Jones, a former RNC communications director, is going to advise Sharron Angle in Nevada, Carly Fiorina in California and the GOP nominee in Washington state. The NRSC’s move to bring in Jones comes as Republicans are starting to go public with worries that Angle and her campaign team are out of their depth running against Harry Reid. Jones is currently the managing partner at Mercury Public Affairs’s Sacramento office -- not far from Angle's Reno headquarters.
Maybe they'll advise not talking to the press. Oh, wait.
Not much is going to get passed in the next two years anyway, but the president could lay the groundwork for a whopping second-term agenda: tax simplification, entitlement reform, a new wave of regional innovation clusters, a new wave of marriage-friendly tax policies. If the president is looking for a long-term growth agenda, he could read "Path to Prosperity," co-edited by Jason Furman and Jason Bordoff, or "The Pro-Growth Progressive" written by Gene Sperling. Some of these guys already are on his staff.
Eventually, I see a party breaking out of old stereotypes, appealing to entrepreneurs and suburbanites again, and I start feeling good about the future. Then I take off the magic green jacket and return to my old center-right self. A chill sweeps over me: Gosh, what if the Democrats really did change in that way?
Mark Blumenthal from 7/23:
Thus, the case for true "jump" in Democratic performance on the generic House ballot is weak. If we add the context of other recent polls, it gets weaker still. Their results scatter around a dead-heat margin in ways that are more or less consistent with their typical house effects on the generic ballot.
As always, more data next week will likely settle the issue, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next move in Gallup’s weekly tracking in the Republican direction, not because of real-world events but rather due to what statisticians call a reversion to the mean.
This past week marks the second time since March that either party has held any type of edge on the generic ballot for three consecutive weeks. Exactly what is behind the uptick in support for Democrats is not clear, although last week's gains coincided with the passage of the financial reform bill. Independents continue to be more likely to say they will vote for the Republican rather than the Democratic candidate, while both Republicans and Democrats maintain more than 90% allegiance for their party's candidates.
Democrats' improved position on the generic ballot is counterbalanced by the continuing wide advantage Republicans have in voting enthusiasm. This GOP enthusiasm gap foreshadows a typical Republican turnout advantage in midterm election voting, meaning that Democrats need a substantial lead on the registered voter generic ballot to offset their turnout disadvantage. Still, the results show that expectations of an assured Republican landslide in the congressional elections this fall are not a foregone conclusion.
Keeping Mark Blumenthal's caveats in mind, I'd like to see another week still.
This isn't about Republicans banking on mass economic suffering to help them at the polls. Rather, they're dragging out the discussion of unemployment in the belief that the public will conclude that Dem policies have failed -- and that Dems have their heads in the sand about how much money they wasted on their pie-in-the-sky liberal dream schemes.
The idea is that the argument over who has better intentions towards the unemployed will have become a sideshow to the main narrative: That Dems, whatever their intentions, have lost control of the wheel. That's the real game plan here.
Doesn't mean that the R plan will work. Bringing back the Bush agenda, and mistrust of R's also play a counter-balancing role.
Healthcare reform will end up helping Democrats at the polls this fall, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested Monday.
Reid, who is facing a tough reelection challenge himself, said public opinion is shifting in favor of the new healthcare law Democrats passed through Congress earlier this year and predicted more and more voters would reject Republicans’ calls for repealing the legislation.
The more people know about healthcare, the better they like it, said Reid, who listed several aspects of the new law he sees as popular.
And a follow-up from Sunday:
In the midst of what could be the largest whooping cough outbreak in more than 50 years — and the death of six infants under 3 months of age — California health officials are recommending booster shots for nearly everyone in the state, especially health care workers, parents and anyone who may come in contact with babies.
Jeff Clark, Casey’s Gold & Resource Report
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’ll bet I can tell you how much a house will cost in five years.
UBS released some interesting research last month on how much gold it takes to buy the average-priced home in the U.S. I put the data to a chart, and it’s quite revealing.
What’s interesting is that as much as house prices have fallen and as much as gold has risen, today’s ratio is still above the historical average. You can see we’re at the same number today as 1970, and yet look where it was 10 years later when gold peaked.
Here’s another interesting observation: the ratio was 100 during both high…
CNN's painfully impartial host of "State of the Union," Candy Crowley, asked her opposing guests last Sunday, Was the "Shirley Sherrod incident" a political lesson or a lesson about race?
This irreducible question seemed a lesson itself. It was far from being one of the worst offenders, but its simple polarity in relation to such a complex issue did strike me at the moment as rather odd: OK, guests, this is television, a medium in which preposterous simplicity thrives, so choose A or B, take left or right, line up according to whatever prejudices my producers carefully prescreened and, if you wouldn't mind terribly much, please just pound away at each other for a while.
Ms. Crowley could have asked, Was the Sherrod incident a political lesson, a race lesson, a socioeconomic lesson, a lesson about gender, as well as lessons deeply rooted in sociopolitical psychology, mass psychosis, technological entertainment (see preceding condition) and the demise of professional journalism? -- for starters?
But, for television's purposes, not to mention talk radio's and the neatly, ideologically divided blogosphere's, better to keep the question on strictly a responsive A or B basis -- answers easily consumed and digested. We wouldn't want to complicate the matter, because that would only serve to de-intensify the emotions swirling around it, and that's bad for ratings and page views.
Emotions, ratings and page views. For the right, these have subsumed its erstwhile goal of achieving some inane sort of Gilded-Age Leave-It-to-Beaver social concoction; for the left they've subsumed the virtuous goal of what once was called social justice.
Nothing, absolutely nothing is now more important than stirring the passions of one's ideological base and thus reaping their financial rewards, if for no other reason, to carry on the ideological fight. Politico's John Harris and Jim VandeHei have called this, quite aptly, "The Age of Rage": "there are two big incentives that drive behavior at the intersection where politics meets media. One is public attention. The other is money. Experience shows there?s a lot more of both to be had by engaging in extreme partisan behavior."
It's no mystery why the right is winning the media race; and in a larger context, why political conservatism in general has always tugged with a decided preponderance at the American electorate's heart. For all the left's brooding about proper messaging and clever framing, the right can kick back and smile, because its primal "frame" is profitably centered in human nature's basest instinct: pure self-interest.
It's the ultimate A or B argument, perfect for every political occasion. Shirley Sherrod? Who cares what the subsequently exposed facts are? That typically liberal woman cost you your farm, your home, your job, your future. The story's belated corrections miss the truest mark, since the initial impression of victimization is what lingers in the narrow, emotional, self-interested mind.
And the right knows it. Correct their disinformation with a forceful counterpunch? Be their guest. You'll be politically dead before they hit the floor.
Some on the left will incisively object: But, but, but ... genuine self-interest also entails the greater interests of the larger community. Oh you poor things; that sort of argument demands abundant analysis, and most voters have neither the time nor inclination for vast philosophical seminars. They're complex.
Yet the right awaits, with its easy and simplistic answers to whatever ails us -- and to that let us add, its uncanny artistry of strategic agitprop. As fugitive conservative David Frum wrote: "By the morning of July 21, the Fox & Friends morning show could devote a segment to the Sherrod case without so much as a mention of Breitbart?s role. The central fact of the Sherrod story has been edited out of the conservative narrative.... When people talk of the 'closing of the conservative mind' this is what they mean: not that conservatives are more narrow-minded than other people -- everybody can be narrow minded -- but that conservatives have a unique capacity to ignore unwelcome fact."
And why not? Hell, it works. But whoa, David, let's not get too carried away with that "unique capacity" business. Throughout the last 18 months I've been depressingly stunned by the left's transcendent capacity to ignore whole passels of unwelcome facts, namely its relative electoral disadvantages and President Obama's thundering constraints. The "movement" left prefers a triumphalist narrative instead and, it seems, a chief executive of boundless power -- a virtual dictator, as long as he or she has passed the proper ideological tests.
This Friday as you know will hold my last column on BuzzFlash, because of the latter's melding into Truthout.org, but with my last scribbling breath I'll insist -- although likely to no avail -- that the movement left start appreciating the rather simple concept of unwelcome complexities.
War Is A Crime: I'm not a lying sociopath, I merely eschew reality
culturekitchen: Remember when Arianna Huffington declared identity politics not ony evil, but dead?
Zandar Versus The Stupid:: Another milepost on the road to oblivion
Angry Bear: Forget jumping the shark. The Wapo is doing the tango with it
Runnin' Scared: Jailbreaking Dongle Freedom! IPone users, DVD copiers, oppressed no more!
Meanwhile, can we please leave this completely insane clusterf**k?[...]
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