When the Supreme Court handed down the Citizens United ruling January 21, 2010 that cleared the way for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of cash in political campaigns with very little transparency, it even prompted the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to mention it in his State of the Union address. It elicited the childish, “nuh uh” look and utterance from Justice Alito — that instead of sparking a debate about the decision, made the media pontificate about whether it was appropriate for the President to mention the ruling and whether Alito’s response was appropriate. To me it signaled that the President really does care about the influence money has in our politics.
Now I know the haters on the left and right will trot out the old, President Obama has gotten a lot of money from big business meme, but when you look at what they base it on, it’s people who work for big business who are giving to President Obama. And yes, some of the leaders of business as well. And in their criticism lies an assumption that everyone who works for a big business is conservative and/or Republican. And that those employees, being all conservative, must be giving to President or candidate Obama because he is conservative too or that they are buying influence with him. They opine that anyone with money must be conservative and therefore if they give to a Democrat, then Democrats must be just like Republicans. It’s quite a twisted line of reasoning when you break it down. It’s just one example of the simplistic logic that permeates our media and punditry.
I had a real world example in my family. My step father was a successful lawyer and businessman, yet he donated to and voted for Democrats all his life. He also was a philanthropist and gave a lot of his money to many different causes and was modest in how he spent money. I go back to a recent post where I derided the concept of generalizing, where it is so much easier for people to just lump everyone together and attack that lump, instead of deal with real people with varying opinions. The same holds true for those who want to vilify everyone who works on Wall Street or for an evil corporation.
Photos by Extreme Liberal
Guest Blogger: Mike Sax
This time the consensus was right. While we had worried earlier that such optimism could be dashed, I had concluded that the trend in data lately has unquestionably been up.
For my earlier piece-that I wrote before dawn-please go here.
As it turns out GDP growth increased by exactly the 2.5 percent predicted. At the moment it seems that while we haven’t felt confident-recent consumer confidence is at its lowest level since the 2007-2009 recession-things have been getting better. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, grew by 2.4 percent as opposed to only .7 percent in the second quarter.
Similarly, business investment picked up:
‘Similarly, while some business surveys have pointed to a contraction in factory output, there is little sign corporate America is cutting back spending. Indeed, recent data has suggested business spending is picking up. Business spending rose at a 16.3 percent pace as companies splurged on equipment and software, and invested in nonresidential structures. ”
Like consumers it seems that business spending exceeds confidence. Unemployment claims were down 2,000 to 402,000 and have clearly shown a downward bias in recent months though sustained job growth is only indicated when they are able to consistently dip beneath 375,000 a week.
“Apart from consumer and business spending, growth in the third quarter was also supported by a smaller U.S. trade deficit, and the careful management of business inventories bodes well for fourth-quarter production.”
“The GDP report also showed a moderation in inflation pressures, with the personal consumption price index (PCE) rising at a 2.4 percent rate in the third quarter, slowing from the April-June quarter’s 3.3 percent pace. Core PCE, which excludes food and energy, rose at a 2.1 percent rate after increasing 2.3 percent in the second quarter.”
Also found at Diary of a Republican Hater
I remember all those many months ago when President Obama made clear that he was going to pull our military out of Iraq by the end of 2011 and how it was met with skepticism and pretty much dismissed by those in the Professional Left, who see everything through a filter that turns President Obama into another one of the Bush children.
Here are just some of the headlines from those supposedly über progressive blogs that have spent the last 3 years trashing on the most liberal president in a generation.
From Salon.com – Justin Elliott on September 12, 2011
Obama poised to break Iraq pullout promise
This one was from May 11, 2011 from Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel
Iraq Withdrawal Date For U.S. Troops May Be Pushed Back Beyond 2011
There are many more where those came from. It’s been interesting to watch as these same people who were heaping blame and skepticism on President Obama’s promise to get all the troops out of Iraq are now failing to give him any credit for it. Glenn Greenwald and others are doing all sorts of contortions in order to avoid admitting that President Obama has kept another of his promises and has ended the Iraq War, which should send the likes of Greenwald into the streets in celebration. Instead, they are, in a round about way, praising President Bush for setting the initial timetable, which everyone met with skepticism as just a temporary measure that would be changed later on. That is why the Republicans are freaking out so much about it, they never intended on leaving Iraq at the end of 2011. Robert Parry spells it out in this piece called “Why the Left Won’t Accept Success”…(emphasis mine)
Wow, this is an amazing dialogue by Jake Lamar. Share it far and wide!
Hat Tip to @cindyloveseric
All of these photos were taken with my iPhone, which is incredibly handy when you don’t have a real camera in your hands.
I’ve been listening to Steve Benen and Bill Simmon’s podcast at polyscifiradio.com and Steve had an excellent description of Mitt Romney in a nutshell. It’s one of those “file away in the vault” summations that might come in handy if Romney becomes the nominee. This part of his rant is the flip side of how Mitt is the presumptive nominee, but it reveals how difficult it is going to be for Mitt to rally the GOP. It’s going to be fun running against Mitt if he is the last man standing in the GOP primary.
Mitt Romney is a French speaking Mormon, vulture capitalist and his real names is Willard. There’s no way in the world that the Republican party is going to nominate a French speaking Mormon, vulture capitalist named Willard for the presidency.
The party’s voters don’t like him as evidenced by these polls that show he can’t quite break the ceiling. They don’t like him, they don’t trust him because he’s flip flopped on more issues than any politician I can ever think of.
And you look at those issues that he flip flopped on – he was pro-choice, pro gay rights, pro gun-control, pro “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.
Ah, moderate on all these issues. He believes that climate change is real and should be dealt with, which Republicans consider to be ridiculous. He distanced himself from Reagan – as a candidate.
He attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers as a candidate – for governor and he helped create the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act, which Republican voters hate with the heat of a thousand suns.
He was for the bank bailout before he was against it. He was for the stimulus before he was against it. He was against the auto industry rescue before he took credit for it.
You combine those factors and I would argue that he’s about as appealing to Republican voters as I am.
I assume you are all readers of The Washington Monthly where Steve Benen resides. If not, you are missing out on some of the best writing and political analysis on the internet.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Guest Blogger: Erin Nanasi
It happens to all of us. We find out that someone we love is a Republican. Well, rather than gnashing your teeth, or weeping into your java, help them. Show them the error of their ways, and maybe, just maybe, you can save them.
The following suggestions may help you with your Republican:
1) Don’t ostracize your Republican. The worst thing you can do is leave them alone with Fox News blaring in the background and Ann Coulter’s latest book on the nightstand. Show them you love them, no matter what.
2) Be gentle. For God’s sake, do NOT suddenly inundate your Republican with articles from Daily Kos, or duct tape them to a chair and make them watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann. This is a process not unlike deprogramming someone who is in a cult. Without the hand cuffs, unless you’re into that sort of thing.
3) Remember that they will fight you. You can point out the 50 times Fox and Friends have lied in the past week, but depending on how far gone your Republican is, be prepared for a battle. Memorize the lingo: libtard, Muslim, anti-American, conservative Jesus. Hugging can help, but in some severe cases, people have been bitten. Head gear may be an option.
4) Take your Republican outside. One of the best ways to show someone the light is to get them out IN IT. Many hard core conservatives sit in their living rooms all day, watching Fox and listening to Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh. Getting the Republican physically out of the house can help. You may need assistance with this step, as some Republicans grab onto the door frame quite fiercely, digging their heels into the hallway carpet.
5) Show your Republican all the great things the government does, every day. Make it personal. For example, if your Republican is retired, remind them, again gently, about Social Security and Medicare. If your Republican is employed, ask them what they did last weekend. Point out that the weekend was brought to them by unions and that the Department of Labor, which is a government entity, helps protect American workers from abuse. Remember to duck after using the word “unions”.
6) When your Republican is at work, or a DAR meeting, go through their personal library. If you find four versions of the Bible, three Sean Hannity works and discover your Republican has subscriptions to both The American Spectator and Townhall, remove them. Yes, this is harsh, but remember, the less propaganda they have available, the less likely they are to throw it at you.
7) Use facts, not emotion. When your Republican launches into a “Obummer is a Socialist” tirade, point out that, in fact, he is not. Find actual Socialists and use them as a comparison. Travel to the library, hopefully with your Republican, and check out some books on Lenin, or Karl Marx or Leon Trotsky. Show your Republican the difference between all the “isms”-Fascism, Communism, Socialism, Marxism, Foxism.
8) By this point, you will either be feeling pretty damn good about your work thus far, or you are in the emergency room, having your earlobe sewn back on, or getting stitches where you were hit with a Bible. Be strong, stay the course. Invest in antibiotic ointment and bandages. This is your Republican and you are the only person standing between them and utter Republicanism. Another “ism”.
9) Now is the time for mainstream media to make an appearance. Mainstream. Please, do not undo all your work by taking your Republican to Mother Jones.com. It’s too soon. My suggestion is HLN. This is the home of Nancy Grace, whom your Republican will love, and interspersed between tabloid shows is actual news. Watch your Republican’s response to unbiased news reports. If their eyes narrow, or a vein pops out of their neck, turn off the television and try again later. This is a painful process for your Republican, who up until now, did not know there were other news channels available. And NO RADIO. Take it with you if you have to. Use force.
10) This is the final moment, when you need to honestly evaluate your Republican. Is your Republican becoming more open minded? Are they less likely to mutter that government health care is Socialism on the way to the bank to deposit their Social Security check? Are they using the word “President” before Obama, rather than calling him “That Muslim”? Have they stopped wearing shirts with sayings like “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands” and moving on to shirts with kittens? Then congratulations. Your Republican is well on their way to becoming a productive member of society, controlled not by irrational hate and Gretchen Carlson’s hair, but by their own mind! However, if there is no change in your Republican, and they are even more obsessed than before, a session or two with Dr. Schadenfreude may be in order.
If you love a Republican tell us about it in the comments section.
Also found at MadMikesAmerica
The Democratic Party is clearly on the side of the 99%’ers and no amount of denial and blame shifting can change that. And yes, the Democratic Party has their share of elected representatives that act more like conservatives than liberals, but that fact shouldn’t diminish the hard working liberals in the party who are fighting for all of us in this country who don’t have lobbyists. When I hear or read people generalize and group all Democrats in with big business, they are ignoring reality and perpetuating false memes.
I had an exchange on Twitter the other day with a person who exemplifies much of that “head-in-the-sand” thinking. Here are a few of his tweets, with my responses.
Tweeter: The difference between a Democrat and Republican is the difference between a man and his mirrored reflection.
Extreme Liberal: How does the mirror reflect the repeal of DADT? Or health care for children? Or Lily Ledbetter? Or the Matthew Shepard law?
Extreme Liberal: Or who’s reflection is opposite Sotomayor or Kagan? Do you want a Republican picking the next nominee to the SUPREME COURT!
The Tweeter in question then sent a tweet that he has since deleted, probably had second thoughts about it, but he basically said that the issues I raised were “petty”, to which I replied…
Extreme Liberal: Tell my niece who now has health care that she is petty or over 60,000 LGBT people now serving openly in our military.
Extreme Liberal: And if you have any females in your family, are you willing to give up their rights to their own bodies? Supreme Court matters!
Tweeter: Bush might as well have been a Democrat, Obama a Republican for the similar aims and interests re: domestic/foreign policy.
President Obama spoke in Asheville, North Carolina this morning as part of his continued push to bring jobs to the American people. He laid waste to the Republican’s “plan” and did a little comparison for us that spells out a stark reality. It needs to be shared with the people marching in the streets across the country…(emphasis mine)
THE PRESIDENT: They said no to helping veterans find jobs.
Essentially, they said no to you — because it turns out one poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the ideas in this jobs bill. (Applause.) So 63 percent of Americans support the jobs bill that I put forward; 100 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against it. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?
THE PRESIDENT: No, it does not.
Now, it turns out that the Republicans have a plan, too. I want to be fair. They call — they put forward this plan last week. They called it the “Real American Jobs Act.” The “real one” — that’s what they called it — just in case you were wondering. (Laughter.) So let’s take a look at what the Republican American jobs act looks like. It turns out the Republican plan boils down to a few basic ideas: They want to gut regulations; they want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants.
(Note from Extreme Liberal: As regular readers know, I think horse race polls this far out from an election are silly. But having said that, sometimes you just have to play along with the rest of the media who live by them.)
As much as the boobirds take any temporary drop in Obama’s numbers as proof he is in deep trouble, he continues to lead all GOP challengers. He leads Romney 46-43 percent among likely voters. He leads Perry 50-38 and the currently surging Herman Cain 49-37.
He also is doing very well with women with a 49-41 lead with women against Romney, 53-36 against Perry and 53-32 against Cain.
While the naysayers belabor his 44 percent approval rating, the large majorities that are concerned about the direction the country is going in and the economy, what they always ignore is Obama is personally liked by the public. I’ve pointed this out to FDLers who scoffed that this could be relevant, but what they fail to consider is how close likability is to trust or at least think of it this way: if you like someone you probably have a decent level of trust for him or at least think his heart is in the right place.
The numbers clearly show why the Republican party establishment quite desperately prefers Romney, he is clearly the only one who has a prayer of winning. Yet he still hasn’t put the primary race away. This is the latest the GOP has been open since Wendell Willkie. Normally the party would know who its candidate is by now. Yet the establishment is struggling. Cain is currently leading the field yet he trails Obama by the most. Rush Limbaugh attacked Romney this week as not a conservative-about as damning as it gets- pointing out that 70 percent of the GOP field is not interested in Romney.
I was at an editing conference early this week and had a chat with a friend. When I brought up politics with him and decried the unfair treatment President Obama has gotten from many on the left, the right and the our dysfunctional media, he started spouting the usual “he caved to the Republicans” and “he could have issued executive orders” and of course, “what about Guantanamo Bay, he didn’t close it like he said.” I asked him if he knew that we also had a congress and that they appropriate money — you know, reality. His response was something like, “those are just excuses.” It was at this point that the session we were in began, I think it was best for him that I had to shut up, I was about to get extreme on him.
It reminded me that a lot of people who either don’t pay a lot of attention to politics or are just blatant liars, continue to pin the blame for Gitmo still being open on President Obama. It’s time for a little “reality reminder.” On President Obama’s SECOND DAY in office, this was MSNBC’s headline on their website…
Obama orders CIA prisons, Guantanamo shut
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday moved quickly to undo a contentious Bush administration national security program, ordering the CIA to close down secret overseas prisons and the Pentagon to close down the Guantanamo prison within a year. The president also banned the harshest interrogation methods. […]
With three executive orders and a presidential directive signed in the Oval Office Thursday, Obama started reshaping how the United States prosecutes and questions al-Qaeda, Taliban or other foreign fighters who pose a threat to Americans.
The centerpiece order would close the much-maligned U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — a complicated process with many unanswered questions that was nonetheless a key campaign promise of Obama’s. The administration already has suspended trials for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo for 120 days pending a review of the military tribunals.
I’m very encouraged by the energy being generated by the “Occupy” movements happening across the country. And even though it is made up of people with many different views on politics, I’m hopeful that it gets people involved and more people register to vote — because elections do matter. If you don’t think they matter, you must have been sleeping through President Bush’s 8 years in office. This movement has the potential to change the corporate hold on Washington and give voice to those who don’t have lobbyists, the 99% of us just trying to survive. Viva La Occupy!
Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a very thoughtful piece exploring the reasons why President Obama, with his many successes in the face of great opposition, is struggling in the polls with white liberals. It is something I’ve been frustrated with since before the President was sworn in — when people on the left began attacking him about his appointments to various cabinet positions.
At first, I didn’t want to believe that race was a large part of that equation and chalked a lot of it up to “bitterness” left over from the contentious primary fight with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and the others. But as his presidency progressed and more evidence continued to pile up, I, as a white liberal, began to see that the source of a lot of that disrespect and vitriol clearly was coming from an elitist and superior attitude, much of it rooted in race.
If you haven’t been following the story, I recommend you read Joy Reid’s piece at The Reid Report. She gives some background on the reaction to some on the left to Harris-Perry’s powerful post.
My first instinct whenever I come across something that is clearly over-the-top rhetoric is to attempt to find out the source of that vitriol. Strong opinions don’t usually materialize out of thin air, they come from somewhere and I like to find out where. Using the Google machine, I decided to go back and read some previous writing by Gene Lyons as it relates to race and particularly, President Obama. What I found was quite shocking, in my opinion. You decide for yourself.
On matters of race, I’ve learned as a white, 49 year old male to listen and defer to those who have a closer connection to the effects of racism. What the hell do I know about suffering from racism, other than what I can learn from those who have suffered through it. It’s impossible for me to completely understand what it is like without having experienced it. I’ve accepted that fact and when a person of color speaks about it, I listen and try to internalize it.
One person that I listen to very intently is Melissa Harris-Perry, a very wise and thoughtful person who always makes sense to me whenever I hear her speak or read her words.