Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Michele Bachmann Lied Again...

Now that Michele Bachmann is officially running for president, she will most likely be making more public statements, and being that Bachmann is an idiot, we can expect some really entertaining comments to come, like this one:
Fate had blessed her with a strong showing in the most recent local poll, and her confidence was so mighty that she didn't even find it necessary to accept the apology of a veteran newsman who apologized for asking her if she felt she was a flake in the wake of so many gaffes and incorrect statements leading up to her bid for the GOP nomination for president.

And then it happened. A microphone was placed in front of her, and a statement that should have been ingrained in her head came out all wrong. She said that like the famous rugged cowboy star, John Wayne, she too was from Waterloo which was why she was picking the small town to announce her candidacy.

"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," Bachmann told a Fox News reporter.

One small detail: John Wayne Gacy, the infamous mass murderer is from Waterloo. The Duke, although his parents met in Waterloo, is from Iowa, but from Winterset, nearly three hours away by car.
That's right.  Bachmann stated she has the spirit of a serial killer in her, but when confronted with her error, Bachmann didn't own up to it - she doubled down.

"Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa," she told Fox News. "That's the kind of spirit that I have, too."

"John Wayne's parents first home was in Waterloo, Iowa and he was from Iowa and of course the main point I was making are the sensibilities of John Wayne, which is patriotism, love of country, standing up for our nation, that positive enthusiasm is what America's all about," Bachmann told CNN. "And that's of course my main point."

Bachmann did not admit she made a mistake - she tried to ignore it and let it all go away and she had her campaign do some research to try and back up her mistake.  CNN did report backing up her newest claim.
John Wayne the movie star was born in Winterset, Iowa, which is approximately three hours Southwest of Waterloo, Iowa, Bachmann's native city and the site of her presidential announcement Monday. But according to the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, the actor's parents did live in the city at one point.
But, did you notice Bachmann's comments from Fox?  She said she had the spirit of The Duke too, as in addition to a serial killer.

Since Bachmann's gaffe didn't immediately go away, Bachmann felt it was necessary to finally apologize.

"People can make mistakes and I wish I could be perfect every time I say something, but I can’t,” Bachmann said on CNN’s American Morning. "But one thing people know about me is that I’m a substantive, serious person and I have a strong background."

So which is it?  Did she screw up about John Wayne's heritage and just got lucky that his parents owned a home in Waterloo once, or was she just totally wrong?

I recall another politician who recently got into some hot water for immediately denying doing something but then finally coming clean with the truth.  How is Bachmann any different?

I also wonder what Bachmann would say to the rumors surrounding John Wayne's sexual preference?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Big Government's Lori Ziganto Criticizes Obama, Gives General McChrystal A Hall Pass

Lori Ziganto, a homeschooling mom who writes for Big Government, wrote a review of President Obama's speech, complaining that the president was giving too much details on the future troop withdrawal and that Obama's comments on "nation-building here at home" was way out of line because America has been a nation has already been "built."
Note, this is a far greater reduction than military commanders advised, but when did that ever stop him? His surge approval, over which he dithered for months, was for far less than they wanted. I’m sure he’d just remind us all how he is the one with the ‘gutsy calls’ and all. Who needs military experts or the advice of people on the ground? That’s for mere mortals. President Obama once again proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only is he woefully incompetent as an Executive, but he is also dangerously irresponsible as a Commander in Chief...

Secondly, how about you start practicing that preach here. That’s what we Americans want, actually. Leave us be and get out of our way. Our nation was already built and we like it. We do not want, nor need, your ‘nation-building’, which is in actuality tearing us down. I know reality is hard for you to see from your ivory tower perch, but hopefully you’ll get the hint soon enough. Come election time. He ended, in part, by saying “Let us responsibly end these wars, and reclaim the American Dream that is at the center of our story.”
Let's breakdown Ziganto's complaint.

In the first paragraph, she complains that Obama is ignoring military commanders by reducing troop levels by too much, and then points to Obama's initial surge, which was less then what military commanders advised.  Even though Obama's troop surge of 30,000 troops has been a success, do you want to know what military commander advised more troops?

It was General McChrystal, who wanted.the troop surge.  It was also McChrystal who complained about the administration in an interview published by Rolling Stone, but it seems Ziganto is only upset when the president talks about military actions publicly.

Ziganto then goes on to complain that Obama wanting to focus on America.  "Our nation was already built and we like it," she wrote, but Ziganto must live in a fantasy land.  America's infrastructure is crumbling and lacks modern mass transit, like a high-speed rail that conservatives like Ziganto fought against.  Our education system is inadequate, health care is far from affordable, and we continue to rely on foreign energy supplies - again, conservatives like Ziganto have no interest in "nation-building" at home and investing in newer technology that would help us rely less on foreign nations.

Ziganto also complained about the reintegration of the Taliban in Afghanistan.  She makes it sound as if this idea just popped into the president's head, but how exactly do you think this concept came to be?  Those very same experts and military commanders Zigato complains that the president isn't listening to came up with this strategy - General McChrystal believed the the Taliban should play an active role in the political process.

Basically, Ziganto is another one of those ignorant conservatives who believe the president and anything he does is bad, justifying her hypocrisy.  What is even sadder is that Ziganto is homeschooling her daughter creating a second generation of ignorance. 

Georgia Farmers Rewarded For Using Illegal Immigrants Receiving Probation Pickers In Exchange Of Latino Loss

Ray Henry and Kate Brumback wrote the following for Tampa Bay Online:
It's 3:25 p.m. in a dusty cucumber field in south Georgia. A knot of criminal offenders who spent seven hours in the sun harvesting buckets of vegetables by hand have decided they're calling it quits - exactly as crew leader Benito Mendez predicted in the morning.

Unless the cucumbers come off the vine soon, they will become engorged with seeds, making them unsellable. Mendez's crew of Mexican and Guatemalan workers will keep harvesting until 6 p.m., maybe longer. Not so for the men participating in a new state-run program aimed at replacing the Latino migrants Georgia farmers say they've lost to a new immigration crackdown with unemployed probationers.

"Tired. The heat," said 33-year-old Tavares Jones, who left early and was walking down a dirt road toward a ride home. He promised Mendez he'd return the next morning. "It's hard work out here."

Mendez urged another man to stay. "I need you today," he said. "These cucumbers not going to wait until tomorrow."

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal started the experiment after farmers publicly complained they couldn't find enough workers to harvest labor-intensive crops such as cucumbers and berries because Latino workers - including many illegal immigrants - refused to show up, even when offered one-time or weekly bonuses. One crew who previously worked for Mendez told him they wouldn't come to Georgia for fear of risking deportation.

Farmers told state authorities in an unscientific survey that they had more than 11,000 unfilled agriculture jobs, although it's not clear how that compares to prior years or whether the shortage can be blamed on the new law.
So let me get this straight - farmers are experiencing a labor shortage, most likely due to a recent law cracking down on immigration, and instead of those hiring the illegal immigrants being punished, they get cheap labor.

I thought one of the probationers summed it up pretty well. Robert Dawson, who was on probation for commercial burglary and on his fourth day of fieldwork, said farmers were partially to blame for the labor shortage because they hired illegal immigrants.

"I feel like they should have gone and hired us first before they even hired them," he said. "You pay us right and we'll get out here and work. If you don't want to pay us nothing and we're out here in this hot heat, 100-and-some degree weather, it ain't gonna last."

I say let these farmers lose their crops.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Michele Bachmann Is Fake

Michele Bachmann was interviewed on Sunday by Fox News' Chris Wallace.  Wallace, who didn't really press the right-wing presidential candidate on any particular matter, asked Bachmann if she was "fake," which led Bachmann to avoid the question and start on her standard list of accomplishments.

Offended, Bachmann said the following: "I'm 55 years old. I've been married 33 years," she said. "I'm not only a lawyer, I have a post-doctorate degree in federal tax law from William and Mary. I've worked in serious scholarship … my husband and I have raised five kids, we've raised 23 foster children. We've applied ourselves to education reform. We started a charter school for at-risk kids. I've also been a state senator and member of the United States Congress for five years."

Wallace didn't really go any further, and instead decided to council Bachmann on being careful now that she will be scrutinized greater than before because of her candidacy, but that made me wonder - just how accurate is Bachmann's portrayal of herself?

I'm not really interested in her role as a lawyer, although she never mentions she was an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service.  I'm more concerned with her later comments, that she "raised 23 foster children."  If you listen to Bachmann, she makes it sound as if she raised these children from birth.  Bachmann rarely offers details about her fostering, and she usually uses the children's privacy as an excuse - even for information that does not effect the children.

Brian Montopoli wrote the following for CBS News:
Writing in the Daily Beast this week, Michelle Goldberg quoted Kris Harvieux, who worked as a senior social worker in the foster care system in Bachmann's county, who said at least some of Bachmann's placements were likely short term.

"Some of them you have for a week. Some of them you have for three years, some you have for six months," he said. "She makes it sound like she got them at birth and raised them to adulthood, but that's not true."

According to Goldberg, the Minnesota Department of Human Services reports that Bachmann's foster care license allowed her to care for at most three children at any one time; she had the license for 7 1/2 years.

Asked to explain her situation with her foster children, Bachmann said "we took children in as teenagers."

"Their family was facing a challenge and they weren't going to be able to be at home with their parents and so we took them in as teenagers," she continued. "And our job was to see that they graduated from high school and were successfully launched into the world."

Asked how long they lived with her, she said "it varied."

I asked Bachmann to explain the parameters of how long the children lived with her - was it as short as one week? As long as three years?

"It varied, it really varied depending on the children," Bachmann responded. "And we've never gotten into specifics about the children because we've always wanted to observe their privacy and that of their families. As I'm sure you can appreciate."
Goldberg had gone on to explain a little more about her foster children, touching up on Bachmann's charter school, too.
Yet Bachmann clearly had some of her foster children long enough to enroll them in local schools, and it was through them that she got involved in school politics. While she taught her own children at home before sending them to private Christian schools, state law required foster kids to go to public school. Seeing their curriculum, she became convinced that "politically correct attitudes, values, and beliefs" had supplanted objective education. She helped found a charter school but soon left the board amid allegations that she was trying to inject Christianity into the curriculum. Then, in 1999, she decided to run for the local school board.
Bachmann has been known for wanting to teach Christianity in America's public schools (Goldberg also points out in his article that Bachmann believes America was founded as a Christian theocracy).

Elspeth Reeve wrote the following for The Atlantic showing Bachmann's bias:
Michele Bachmann's path into politics was one followed by many conservative Christians: through the schools. Bachmann sent her five kids to religious schools near her suburban Minnesota home, but she sent her 23 foster kids to public schools. She found the materials brought home by those kids to be troubling. So in 1993, she helped found one of the first public charter schools in her state. Only three months after the school opened, Bachmann faced controversy for the religious bent of the curriculum, Bloomberg's Lisa Lerer and John McCormick report. One teacher, for example, had banned Aladdin because the Disney movie mentioned magic.

The Bloomberg profile offers several anecdotes that illuminate the character of Bachmann, the Tea Party favorite whose potential presidential candidacy is looking more serious. The story indicates just how central Christianity is to Bachmann's political career, and drops some interesting anecdotes.

When parents complained that Bachmann's publicly-funded school was overtly religious, the school district investigated and found that to be true. In fact, a board created to guide the school, which Bachmann sat on, advocated mandatory prayer. Bachmann resigned, though she said it was for academic reasons. Bachmann said she wanted to pair at-risk kids with high-achievers. "We were trying to bring kids up, and instead it ended up being a school focused on minimum level of achievement," she told Bloomberg. Bachmann moved on to joining a homeschooling group, then ran for school board office to overturn a state-mandated curriculum.
If Bachmann left for academic reasons, then why would she later run for school board to try and overturn a state-mandated curriculum, unless that curriculum is the reason why she had to leave in the first place?

It is also interesting to note that Bachmann enrolled her "kids" at the New Heights Charter School and joined the board after just one year of being a foster parent.  When she left the board, she later went on to give speeches in church basements regarding education reform - an interesting place to go when considering why she was driven out of school management.

Was Bachmann's foster children an attempt to indoctrinate troubled youth into Christian theology?


Bachmann doesn't seem to divulge information on these children because she probably doesn't know anything about them.  To Bachmann, they are just a prop in her political campaigns - like Trig and Piper are for Sarah Palin.

Oh yeah, these 23 kids were also a nice paycheck for Bachmann, who probably earned over one million dollars from the state to indoctrinate these children into her Christian ideology.  I wonder where all these children are now and what they would say about their "mom."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gingrich To White Crowd: Republicans Can Take Some Black Votes

Evan McMorris-Santoro wrote the following for Talking Points Memo:
Newt Gingrich fired up the crowd in this blue state with the promise that President Obama is so bad that he's made it possible for the Republicans to win over the African American vote in 2012.

Gingrich stopped off at an airport Marriott near Baltimore Thursday to keynote the Maryland GOP's annual Red, White & Blue banquet. Before the speech, he assured reporters that his campaign was still going strong. When he took the podium, he offered Republican donors a long, dense speech full of red meat and warnings about the state of the world around us.

He also said it was time for Republicans to tell African Americans how terrible Obama has been for them.

He broke out the "Obama is the food stamp president" line that got him in racial trouble earlier in the campaign.

But this time, he spun the line into a suggestion that the African American vote is ripe for the plucking.

Here's how the line works: Obama is the food stamp president, Gingrich says, whereas he wants to be the paycheck president. The difference comes down to creating jobs or not, and Gingrich says he knows how to create them.

And that's where the black vote comes in.

"No administration in modern times has failed younger blacks more than the Obama administration," Gingrich said.

He explained that "in May, we had 41% unemployment among black teenagers in America." That means if Republicans can put on a brave face, they might be able to turn the African American vote their way.
It sounds like Gingrich is just trying to spin his  "food stamp" comment away...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Big Journalism Misses The Point About Jon Stewart

Recently, Jon Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, in which he discussed media bias. Wallace asserted that Fox News was indeed biased, reporting with a conservative slant on the news, and claimed the rest of the mainstream media (ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, etc.), as well as Jon Stewart's comedy program, held a liberal bias.

As a side note, it was pretty interesting how Fox News edited out comments made by Stewart that seemed to disprove things that Chris Wallace had said, such as when Wallace insisted the network's employees do not receive "marching orders," Stewart pointed out leaked emails from Fox exec Bill Sammon that specifically tell on-air personalities what to say and how to say it (Fox did however put that clip online in the full less-viewed version).

Anyway, Big Journalism's Christine Rebecca (a.k.a. Christine Mathias, a supposed super-professional capitalist with "a string of letters behind her name," who gave it all away to become a soccer-mom/freelance writer) jumped to help out their right-wing propagandist buddies by writing how she believes Jon Stewart was wrong in saying the media was not biased. She also believes Stewart was wrong when he insisted he was a comedian first and that his show held a political agenda.
So in case you haven’t heard, Jon Stewart was on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend and he spent a lot of time asserting to Chris Wallace that his Comedy Central program, “The Daily Show” doesn’t have a political agenda. He claimed that he has no desire to be a player in politics and that his show isn’t political commentary … it’s just comedy “informed by an ideological background.”

While walking that fine line, Stewart also insisted that the MSM isn’t politically biased, they just trend toward “sensationalism and laziness.” Inherent in that statement is the belief that one couldn’t be sensationalistic, lazy, and biased. Thing is, bullies often are lazy, sensationalistic, and biased … it’s the nature of the beast. But I digress.

As Stewart attempted to explain how the MSM isn’t politically biased in the face of examples from Wallace, he became visibly frustrated and spat out, “In the polls, who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers! Consistently!”

Hmmmm. After the death of Walter Cronkite, a Time poll showed that Stewart was to inherit Cronkite’s coveted title of “America’s Most Trusted Newscaster.” For the record, 44% of respondents named Stewart, 29% Brian Williams, 19% Charlie Gibson, and Katie Couric raked in 7% large.

Seems his viewers, and for that matter Time readers, haven’t received the message that he’s just a comedian. How’s that for consistently misinformed viewership?
So basically, Mathias Rebecca believes Stewart is wrong because more people trust him.  Looking at the names Rebecca lists, I can't help but notice not one of them are from Fox.  Brian Williams is from NBC, Charlie Gibson ABC, and Katie Couric CBS.  Stewart, who people trust the most, comes from Comedy Central.  This would fall in line with what Stewart was saying on Wallaces program - the consistently most misinformed media viewers are Fox viewers.  Fox likes to ignore little things like how many people trust them, though.

Media Matters had just pointed out that Fox News has been touting outdated polls stating Fox "is the most trusted television news source in the country."
It's true that in January 2010 -- a year-and-a-half ago -- Public Policy Polling released a survey saying that respondents trusted Fox News more than any other outlet the pollster asked about. In that poll, 49 percent of respondents said they trusted Fox News, compared to 37 percent who distrusted it.

But that doesn't mean Fox is still the most trusted news outlet. "They are touting the 2010 version of that poll when the 2011 version of the poll came out differently," says Tom Jensen, the director of PPP.

Indeed, PPP published a new installment of the poll in January 2011 -- with very different results. This time, PPP found that PBS -- which wasn't included in the 2010 poll -- was by far the most trusted outlet. Fifty percent of respondents said they trust PBS, while only 30 percent said they distrust PBS. Meanwhile, trust in Fox dropped to 42 percent, while distrust of Fox increased to 46 percent.
Now considering Fox News touts the old PPP poll, then it would seem Fox must also agree that PBS - the target of many negative stories on Fox - is trusted more then their own network.

So let me get this straight - More people trust PBS over Fox and Fox doesn't have any trusted news anchors.  How would Rebecca explain that?

Her whole argument against Stewart is that people are misinformed for trusting Stewart is because he is a comedian (Stewart actually said he was a comedian first in his Wallace interview), but how is it that comedians like Stewart shouldn't be trusted.  If Rebecca ever watched Stewart's show, she would notice that he takes shots at everyone, including Democrats, the president and pundits from the other mainstream media outlets, but one of Stewart's constant themes in his bits is juxtaposing comments made by politicians, and yes, employees of Fox News, against comments made by those very same people highlighting the hypocrisy.

Does it make good comedy?  Yes.

Does it make good political commentary?  Yes.

Does it make viewers more informed?  Yes.

So why again do people trust Stewart more than Rebecca's Fox News idols?  Perhaps it is because Stewart points out how those people consistently lie to their viewership.

Here is a tip for Christine Mathias - if she wants to be trusted as a writer, which she claims she gave it all up to become, then she should probably drop the cartoon avatar, the stupid alias, and leave the right-wing joke of a website she writes for.  Maybe then people would take her seriously.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Obama Impersonator At Republican Event Kicked Off Stage After Insulting GOP Candidates, Not Race Jokes

Updated Tuesday, June 21st, 2011!

According to a Washington Post article by Aaron Blake and Amy Gardner, the comedian was kicked off the stage "after making racial, gay jokes," but in that article, Blake and Gardner quote RLC President and CEO Charlie Davis as saying the impersonator (Reggie Brown) "was funny the first 10 or 15 minutes" but then it started getting "ridiculous." 

Those "racial, gay jokes" were in the first 10 or 15 minutes. It started getting, as Davis called it "ridiculous," when Brown started targeting Republican candidates.  

On Saturday, a Barack Obama impersonator by the name of Reggie Brown performed at a Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.  Brown's routine didn't go as well as planned, with the RLC cutting his microphone and ushering Brown off stage, but the story the media is pushing is that Brown was booted for making racially-tinged remarks.  That is not the truth - the audience received the racial jokes rather well and only started to cool on Brown when he started making jokes about the current field of GOP presidential candidates.

What were some of the racial remarks that the GOP audience enjoyed?

"My mother loved a black man and, no, she was not a Kardashian," the Brown said, referring to Khloe Kardashian, who is married to basketball player Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers (her sister had also dated numerous black men).

Brown also made reference to the "Birther" conspiracy joking that the president was born in Hawaii, "or as the tea partyers call it, Kenya." He also showed a picture of what the first family would look like at the end of his term - Fred Sanford and his sister-in-law Esther (the crowd loved this joke but when Brown commented that George Washington aged considerably during his terms, showing a picture of Barbara Bush as an aged Washington, the crowd booed)..

Brown also said while Michelle Obama celebrates all of Black History Month, he only celebrates half - a reference to his biracial heritage.

Watch the video of the event - you will see that all the racial jokes were accepted and cheered on by the audience.  He was, however, booed when he first mentioned Newt Gingrich's campaign, Mitt Romney's religion, and Tim Pawlenty's "Obomney care" and inability to stand up for his own words - they kicked Brown off stage just as he got to Michele Bachmann.

Here is the video so you can see for yourself that the RLC have no problem with race jokes:

Friday, June 17, 2011

AARP Said What?!

I thought this was interesting - according to The Wall Street Journal, the AARP is ready to abandon Social Security.

Eric Lichtblau wrote the following for The New York Times:
AARP, the powerful lobby for older Americans that has been seen as one of the leading opponents of Social Security benefit cuts, said on Friday that it was open to modest reductions in benefits for future recipients.

The group’s stance, which generated quick reaction from all sides because of its powerful voice on the issue, could provide added ammunition to fiscal conservatives who have sought unsuccessfully to restructure Social Security and chip away at the benefits it promises older Americans.

“Our goal is to limit any changes in benefits,” John Rother, AARP’s policy chief, said in a telephone interview, “but we also want to see the system made solvent.”

Mr. Rother said the group’s stance on possible cuts, which was first reported in The Wall Street Journal in Friday’s editions, should be seen less as a major change in position than as a reflection of the political and financial realities facing the Social Security system and the country as a whole.

“You have to look at all the tradeoffs,” Mr. Rother said, “and what we’re trying to do is engage the American public in that debate.”

He made clear that the group’s willingness to discuss cuts comes with conditions: Reductions in benefits should be “minimal,” they should not affect current recipients and instead should be directed “far off in the future,” and they should be offset by increases in tax-generated revenue.
I am not writing about what the AARP said about Social Security though.  I thought it was very interesting what AARP said in response to The Wall Street Journal article.

David Certner, the organization's director of legislative policy, called The Wall Street Journal's article "inaccurate."

"Our policy for decades has always been that we basically support a package that would include revenue enhancements and benefit adjustments to get Social Security to long-term solvency," Certner said. "That has been our policy stated over and over again for, I mean, literally it has to be two decades, now."

Now why would The Wall Street Journal misrepresent the AARP's position?  Why would Rupert Murdoch - owner of conservative propaganda station Fox News - want to give the impression that one of America's strongest and largest organizations reversed their long-standing positions to support conservative issues?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are The Koch Brothers Really That Principled When It Comes To Subsidies?

From an article by Ryan Grim for The Huffington Post:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is pushing a vote on an amendment Tuesday that would end ethanol subsidies and eliminate tariffs on foreign supplies of the biofuel. That would allow companies to use sugar-based Brazilian ethanol, which is both cheaper and less environmentally damaging than the domestic corn-based variety.

The issue has split the Republican Party, with free market advocates and deficits hawks pushing for elimination of the subsidies and corn-state politicians fighting back. The power broker Grover Norquist has battled Coburn, arguing that ending the handouts is equivalent to increasing taxes, meaning that candidates who signed a no-new-taxes pledge would be breaking their word.
This debate has prompted Koch industries - the corporate backing of numerous right-wing outfits - to write a letter to the Republican senator explaining about how principled they are and how even though they won't benefit from the end of subsidies - they support them, but is that entirely true?

"Koch Industries has opposed federal mandates and subsidies for decades," the letter from Koch reads. "Our aim is to create a free market where consumers decide winners and losers based on which products they decide to buy, instead of government picking winners and losers based on which friends or products it chooses to subsidize. One such government intervention is the tax credit that provides about $6 billion each year to blenders of ethanol."

"We hold this position despite the fact that we benefit from these tax credits," the letter states.

Let's look at Koch Industries primary business interest - oil.

John Aloysius Farrell wrote the following for Alternet:
The money that Koch (pronounced “coke”) has spent on lobbying in Washington has soared in recent years, from $857,000 in 2004 to $20 million in 2008. The Kochs then spent another $20.5 million over the next two years to influence federal policy, as the company’s lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations.

Oil is the core of the Koch business empire, and the company’s lobbyists and officials have successfully fought to preserve the industry’s tax breaks and credits, and to defeat attempts by Congress to regulate greenhouse gases.
"Koch will continue to lobby for the repeal of energy subsidies and mandates," wrote the company in their letter. 

It makes you wonder if there is something else going on.  Here are some more pieces of the puzzle - Koch Industries has been gobbling up ethanol plants in America and they currently buy and market about one-tenth of all the ethanol produced in the United States, they have been lobbying to increase ethanol mixture in American fuel, and in a strange twist, there has been an ethanol shortage in Brazil (a country where Koch Industries is heavily involved in petroleum and natural gas exploration), causing the country to import American ethanol.

How would Koch Industries - Koch brothers - benefit?

Well, since Brazil is currently in demand of ethanol, which has caused the prices of ethanol down there to skyrocket (rising just 65 percent in one month), the Koch's, which admitted in their letter they will continue to exploit subsidies to avoid a competitive disadvantage, will produce subsidized ethanol in America and sell it to Brazil at a premium, and guess who manufactures some oil down there to mix with the ethanol?  That's right!  The Koch's will be selling Brazil their ethanol subsidized by American tax payers and mixing it with their oil!

Now, let's consider the possibilities that these subsidies for ethanol will end (which they probably won't because too many Republicans and Democrats are in the corporate pocket).  What would that mean?

Well, the Koch's company is one of the richest and largest out there.  Considering their note, in which they stated they would "not place our company... at a competitive disadvantage in the mixed-market economy in which we compete," then it would be safe to assume that their "principled" push to end subsidies is motivated by something else.  Since we know the Koch's have pushed for subsidies for their industry in the past, despite publicly crying against them, then we must assume that there are substantial profits to be gained from such a move.  Considering the Koch's produce and mix ten percent of the nation's ethanol, should subsidies end it would probably place the Koch's competitors at a disadvantage, leaving the Koch's to pick up the pieces.  

Makes sense? 

Now ask yourself this question: "Are The Koch Brothers Really That Principled When It Comes To Subsidies?"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jim Hoft Tries To Protect Sarah Palin From Margaret Thatcher Snub

We all know how much Sarah Palin loves to talk about conservative heroes such as Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher - especially strong females - so it came as a surprise (not really) when Sarah Palin wanted to make a photo-op trip to England (perhaps to warn the British) and meet with former prime minister Thatcher, but The Guardian reported that Thatcher wanted nothing to do with Palin.

The Guardian cited a Thatcher "ally" as saying "Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts."

This was enough for Gateway Pundit's (and Big Journalism's) Jim Hoft to run to the defense of Sarah Palin.  While The Guardian used an unnamed source close to Margaret Thatcher, Hoft used a reader of his blog who wrote a letter to The Thatcher Foundation to prove it was all a lie and Thatcher really loves Palin, but check out the response Hoft's reader got from Christopher Collins from the group:
"I have no inside knowledge of this business to offer I am afraid and certainly am not in a position to make any kind of statement on Lady Thatcher’s behalf."
So what does this mean for Hoft, Big Journalism, and all the Sarah Palin supporters out there?

"We were right," wrote Hoft. "The Guardian‘s article was likely just another lame Palin smear by the left."

Wow.  Hoft is one big idiot!

I wonder if Hoft even knows what The Margaret Thatcher Foundation is all about?  One of The Foundation's five goals is to "foster greater contact between Western nations and those of the Middle East in the region's search for a lasting peace with security."

Hoft is a known Islamaphobe, as well is Palin, who defended Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) for saying "a very evil and wicked religion."

"Are we really so hyper-politically correct that we can’t abide a Christian minister who expresses his views on matters of faith?" asked Palin in one of her Facebook notes.

Remember during the 2008 campaign when then Senator Obama called for open dialogue with nations like Iran.

"I do not believe we are going to be able to stabilize the situation without them... we should be talking to them as well," said Obama.

That sounds to be in line with The Margaret Thatcher Foundation's goal of "fostering greater contact" with the Middle East.

During that campaign, Palin's running mate John McCain called that position "dangerous" and Palin stated in an interview with Katie Couric that "Barack Obama is so off base in his proclamation that he would meet with some of these leaders around our world who would seek to destroy America and that, and without preconditions being met," calling it "naive" and "beyond bad judgment."

And let's not get into the hypocrisy about Palin's adoration of people like Ronald Reagan when Reagan and his administration sold arms to Iran to help fund the Nicaraguan Contras.

So it is not okay to talk to Iran but it is okay to sell them weapons?

While Hoft thinks his reader's letter is proof that Thatcher really wants to be BFFs with Palin, in reality, it would appear that maybe The Guardian's article was closer to the pin.  Why would Margaret Thatcher want to meet with Palin anyway?

Palin E-Mails Reveal Conniving, Hateful Woman Interested In Controlling Media and Attacking Critics

Patrick had written the following for Politicalgates:
The publication of Sarah Palin's highly anticipated state emails received mixed reactions. While for exampleToby Harden from the Daily Telegraph concluded that the emails show a Governor Palin who is "refreshing, plain-speaking, open and uncomplicated" and also claimed that "her enemies in the media appear to have overplayed their hand", Bill Dedman from MSNBC.com on the other hand did find some very interesting pieces of information in the emails and wrote...
Read the rest at Politicalgates!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Andrew Breitbart Releases X-Rated Weiner Pic After Saying He Wouldn't

For over a week, headlines involving lewd messages, first allegedly sent by Congressman Weiner and then later admittedly by the congressman, have dominated the news. The story was spearheaded by conservative propagandist Andrew Breitbart on his extreme right-leaning websites. Considering the source (and the target), the story was suspect, but sadly Breitbart released something factual but it didn’t take long for him to slip back into his sleazy ways.

It all began to fall apart when Breitbart released a topless photo of Weiner on his website Big Government on June 6th, which seemingly prompted the congressman to call a press conference to address the situation once and for all. Breitbart, who was coincidentally in New York and nearby the location of the press conference, decided to crash the event and hold a press conference of his own using Weiner’s podium. Breitbart cried about how great a guy he was for trying to “save” Weiner’s family and how he was just being a good little journalist, but then Breitbart began to slip back into his dirty ways extorting the congressman, saying “if this guy wants to start fighting with me again, I have this photo.”

Breitbart was referring to an alleged x-rated photo of the congressman.

Oh yeah. He also played the victim card, insisting this story stole his family’s Memorial Day weekend (I wonder what it did to Anthony Weiner’s).

Breitbart again said, on NBC’s “Today” show the next day, that the photo was indeed “insurance” should the congressman ever speak up, but then reassured interviewer Matt Lauer that he had no plans of releasing the photo – presumably to cover his ass against legal action. Breitbart did however beat around the bush saying there may be certain circumstances in which he may feel obligated to release the photo.

Remember. Breitbart is just trying to save Weiner’s family.

Read the rest at Veracity Stew!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Did Andrew Breitbart Extort Rep. Anthony Weiner?

Sadly, it has been revealed that New York's Rep. Anthony Weiner had indeed sent lewd photographs of himself on the internet.  I am deeply disappointed in the representative, and while I wait for more developments in the story, I will still support Weiner as a legislator.  One major reason is because it is conservatives who claim moral superiority while leading hypocritical lives.

With that being said, I also want to express my concerns regarding Andrew Breitbart's involvement in this situation - I fear Breitbart will try to use this incident to vindicate everything he has done up to this point and beyond.  That leads to the headline of this post - did Andrew Breitbart extort Weiner?

Before Anthony Weiner took to the podium of his press conference, Breitbart hijacked the microphone and held his own press conference of sorts in which he said "I'm doing this to save his family, okay? And if this guy wants to start fighting with me again, I have this photo."

Breitbart had also gone on NBC's "Today" show and when asked directly if the photo was an insurance policy, Breitbart first responded that "I don't like to think that way," but then later called the photo "an insurance policy" should Weiner make future attacks against him.  Breitbart was also very reluctant to say he wouldn't use the photo of Weiner in any other instance as well, opening up the possibilities that he would use this photo as leverage against liberal websites, celebrities, and politicians.

Is Breitbart extorting Weiner?

According to Wikipedia, extortion "is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion."

Coercion "is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, rewards, or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force."

Breitbart wanted Weiner to act a certain way, threatening to release embarrassing photos of the congressman if he did otherwise.  That sounds like extortion to me.

It is interesting that during the "Today" show interview, Breitbart says that sending pictures like the one Weiner sent  could put someone in a "blackmail situation."

Breitbart also claimed in the interview that it only became "news" when the congressman claimed his computer was hacked (although more accurately it would have been his account on others' computers), but if that is the case, why did Big Government and Big Journalism continue to publish "Weinergate" stories, such as the one from Megan Broussard claiming she had talked to the congressman over the phone after meeting him on Facebook and discussed his sex life - she wrote that she was contacted and that prompted her to come forward - or what about Breitbart's own post a couple hours after the press conference, in which he promoted having a new woman come forward with pictures and communications?

If Breitbart felt vindicated that he was right about the underwear shot, why is he continuing to dig deeper into Weiner's personal life, especially while saying publicly he feels sorry for the guy and doesn't want to hurt his family?

I also thought it funny that since Weiner admitted sending the photo, right-wingers are jumping all over anything related to this story, like serial propagandist Jim Hoft, who found a joke-piece on Daily Kos claiming the press conference was a hoax - Hoft insists "leftist cranks" refuse to accept the truth.  He even dhows a screenshot of a poll on the site asking people if they believed the press conference was a hoax - you could vote either "Absolutely," "Of Course," "HR (for thinking otherwise)," "Canucks in 6," or "Bruins in 7."

Looks like Hoft is too dumb to realize a joke when it is staring him in the face.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Big Government On Southwest Airlines and Boeing...

Lawrence Meyers wrote something very interesting for Big Government that I thought was worth sharing:
There is a missing element in the analysis of the situation regarding Boeing. Simply put, nobody seems to be asking how we got here.

The answer lies in teachings I picked up at a lecture by His Holiness XIV Dalai Lama. The Middle Way of the Buddhists is directly applicable to labor relations, yet few corporations recognize the merits of this approach. One only need look at Southwest Airlines to see a nearly perfect relationship between management and labor. A quote from the linked article points out:
87 percent of its employees belong to a union. Southwest has never had a strike, and now that the network carriers have whacked away at salaries and benefits, Southwest staffers are generally the highest paid in the industry. But since Southwest has about 30 percent fewer employees per aircraft than its network competitors, it has the lowest non-fuel C.A.S.M. (cost per available seat mile) of any of the major carriers.
Southwest has never had a strike. It isn’t just because its staffers are the highest paid in the industry. That’s too facile an answer. No, the real reason there has never been a strike is because of the corporate culture that Southwest has created. Southwest’s management has always made a point of making employees feel like partners. It’s as simple as the airline referring to its employees not as “employees” but as “people” — in other words, humanizing them. The airline sells its service, and its people, on “freedom”. Internally, Southwest is about “the freedom to work hard and have fun”.

Have a look at its careers webpage. It almost makes me want to fill out an application. A 10% discount on buying company stock? Comprehensive health benefits? Annual chili cook-off? I’m in.

And wouldn’t you know it? Southwest has been the most profitable airline for years.

Now take a look at Boeing. Wouldn’t you know it — the company recognized a problem in the corporate culture as far back as 2006. Wait, make that 2004. Oh, wait, that article refers to problems going back into the 1990’s. Looks like Boeing got the message and finally got someone in there to help out.
Meyers makes some very good observations about Southwest Airlines, but he oversimplifies the problem with Boeing.

The articles referenced by Meyers all seem to acknowledge problems after the fact, and really, little was done to rectify the problems (or too little too late), which is why Boeing is in this current predicament.  Another issue is that the problems pointed out by Meyers does not provide the full picture.  The articles referenced discuss poor ethics and sex-discrimination against women - not issues regarding union workers and strikes.  Meyers is comparing apples to oranges.

Are the current labor relation problems because Boeing's female employees aren't getting paid as much as their male counterparts?

What Meyers does point out is that Southwest is a better company to work for and that is why they have had no strikes, and using that logic, Boeing is not such a great company and their employees know this hence the problems.  I'll concede that maybe Boeing has recognized some of their problems, but the fact of the matter is they haven't done enough.  To put it simply, the unions at Boeing are just trying to make Boeing more like Southwest, which by Meyers' somewhat admission, is a model aviation company.

Also consider that since the same rules that apply for Boeing also apply for Southwest, these claims from the right of government interference or union thuggery simply don't apply.  It appears the only variable in the equation is Boeing, meaning Boeing is going to have to make some concessions or everyone - including their unionized employees - will lose.

In a 2006 speech from Boeing President and CEO Jim McNerney about the "new" Boeing culture, McNerney said the following: "To open up the culture, we are creating an environment that encourages our people to speak up about their concerns and feel safe in doing so."

It seems that is what the employees of Boeing have done and are being punished for, so all those problems that Meyers identified - had Boeing really done anything or were they just giving lip service to their shareholders and anyone else who was listening?

Ignorant Right Wingers On Planned Parenthood!

I was reading posts on The Blaze today when I noticed this little comment from Godlovinmom:

This comment exhibits the sheer ignorance of those on the right.

Godlovinmom "believes" Planned Parenthood is "all about birth control and abortions."  This is farthest from the truth.

It looks like a majority of services provided by Planned Parenthood include disease and infection testing, cancer screening and prevention, and other women's health services - not just contraception and abortions, which account for just 38 percent of their operations.

As Godlovinmom would say, "it is what it is."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Proof Of Sarah Palin's Manipulation Of The Media

There was a recent post on Politicalgates that I thought was worth sharing regarding Sarah Palin's One Nation bus tour - while Palin's bus tour is supposed to be unconventional, it appears that the media was caught giving Palin a second take when Sarah's daughter Piper wasn't the happy little girl Palin wanted on her publicity stunt.

In this first video, Palin can be seen exiting with an obviously frustrated Piper.

Now watch in the second video(around the 1:53 mark):

Sarah and Piper exit the doors a second time, this time Palin is holding the flowers while Piper holds a water bottle and engages the media enthusiastically.  Sarah also doesn't appear to be as desperate to run and talk to the media the this time around.

While we're at it, I wanted to point out a post from Oz Mudflats that shows some striking similarities between Sarah Palin's bus tour and conservative Australian politician Pauline Hanson's trademarked One Nation brand name.

When will people catch on?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chris Christie Repays State For Helicopter Rides

I am sure by now you have heard of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's latest scandal involving him using state police helicopters to get to his son's baseball games and to a political fundraising dinner, but have you heard that Christie has decided to repay the state for his improper use, and not because he did something wrong, but because he wants the problem to go away.

Ginger Gibson wrote the following for NJ.com:
With his use of State Police helicopters to attend two of his son’s baseball games and a dinner with political donors going viral, Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday reversed himself and wrote a check to the state for $2,151.50 to cover the cost of being taken out to the ballgames.

The state Republican Party, Christie said, will pay the remaining $1,232.29 to cover the cost of hustling him to the governor’s mansion in Princeton for dinner with a delegation of wealthy Republican donors from Iowa intent on persuading him to run for president in 2012.

He said by flying to the games he was trying to balance his role as a father — "sometime when you are a governor you do not control your schedule" — with that as the state’s chief executive.
I find Christie's arrogance to be interesting. He claims he did nothing wrong, only trying to be a good father and a chief executive, but his reasons - child baseball games and partisan fundraising dinners - hardly seems to fall in the category of state business, meaning Christie's use was solely personal.

On Wednesday, State Police Supt. Rick Fuentes claimed the helicopter rides would not cost the state any additional money because those trips were going to be taken anyway because the pilots would have had to be trained on the new equipment anyway, but if that is the case, then why did Christie repay the state? Christie claims his reimbursement will cause a surplus in the State Police's budget.

According to Gibson, it has been common practice for governors to reimburse the state for personal trips.

"In the past, the practice had been to reimburse the state for flights not related to official business," Gibson wrote. "In 2002, the Democratic Party paid the state $18,200 for 14 flights by Gov. Jim McGreevey that were deemed political or personal, including one to a wedding."

Christie also touted the importance of attending his son's baseball game because it was the playoffs, but he only stayed for a few innings before leaving for his fundraiser. Does that sound like balancing being a father with being a chief executive, or more like a man more interested in catching a free ride to get some free money from some donors?