Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rep. Gohmert: Obama Ousted Qaddafi So Al-Qaeda Can "Take Over Libya"

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has spoken about a terror baby plot and supported Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) claim regarding Muslim Brotherhood penetration into the U.S. government. Appearing on Frank Gaffney's radio show, whose host speaks in the same conspiratorial terms, Gohmert offered his latest allegations: “This administration sent planes and bombs and support to oust Qaddafi so that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood could take over Libya.” Gohmert didn't address the fact that Obama ordered the mission that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Listen via Think Progress (Gohmert's conspiracy peddling begins at 1:30):

GOHMERT: What was all the rage a year and a half ago? It was the Arab Spring and how wonderful it was! This administration really embraced blowing out Mubarak – yes, do it up by all means – getting rid of Qaddafi, it wasn’t enough to send verbal accolades, this administration sent planes and bombs and support to oust Qaddafi so that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood could take over Libya.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Upcoming House GOP Committee Chairs: All White, All Male

The Republicans' problems with Latinos, blacks and women are increasingly evident, especially after Election Day. Regarding their own constituency, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said with remarkable candor, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” So how's the GOP's push to appeal to an increasingly diversified America going? Not so well, evidently. House Speaker John Boehner (center) announced the 19 chairs of all major House Committees in the next Congress. Every single one is a white male. In comparison, House Democrats are much more reflective of today's America:

There isn't a single woman or minority included in the mix of 19 House committee chairs announced Tuesday -- a stark reality for a party desperate to appeal to women and minorities after both groups overwhelmingly rejected Republicans just weeks ago in the presidential election. ...While there are still two lower-tier House committees awaiting a chair assignment -- the Ethics Committee and House Administration -- neither committee has any women or minority members.

...House Democratic leaders haven't announced who will be the ranking Democrats on each of the committees, but they clearly dominate on the diversity front. Out of the 19 major House committees, as many as nine of the ranking Democrats are expected to be a woman or a minority...

...A senior Democratic aide reveled in the fact that Republicans can't seem to figure out how to diversify.

"One would think House Republicans would learn from their mistakes. But they have elected a roster of committee chairs that represent their ranks: old white men," the aide said.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Scarborough: It's "Immoral" For Wealthiest To Pay 15% Tax Rate

Breaking with Republican economic policy, Joe Scarborough said that it is "immoral" for the richest Americans to pay a 15 percent tax rate. The statements were made today on a "Morning Joe" panel discussing tax reform and a New York Times commentary calling for raising the tax rate on capital gains. Watch:

SCARBOROUGH: You see again this huge divide between the richest Americans and the poorest Americans... and you sit there going, you know what, these people that live in these mansions and have private jets and live an extraordinary life like few Americans live 30 years ago — they can probably deal with a 20 percent tax rate on capital gains instead of 15 percent... Why are we fighting and risking our [Republican] majorities protecting billionaires that are hedge fund guys who are paying 14 percent tax rates? ...There's something immoral about these people paying 14, 15, 16 percent of their taxes because the tax rates are the way they are while small business owners who make $250,000 a year in Manhattan and may employ four or five people are paying a 35% tax rate.

Fox Ends Interview After Author Calls Network "Wing Of The Republican Party"

Fox host Jon Scott abruptly ended his interview today with author Tom Ricks after just a minute and 45 seconds. Ricks said that "Benghazi was hyped, by this network especially" and that "the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party." Watch:

RICKS: I think that Benghazi, generally, was hyped by this network especially. And now that the campaign is over, I think [McCain's] backing off a little bit…

SCOTT: When you have four people dead, including the first US ambassador in more than thirty years, how do you call that hype?

RICKS: How many security contractors died in Iraq, do you know?

SCOTT: I don’t.

RICKS: No, nobody does, because nobody cared. We know that several hundred died, but there was never an official count done of security contractors dead in Iraq. So when I see this focus on what was essentially a small firefight, I think number one: I’ve covered a lot of firefights, it’s impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes. And second, I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican party.

SCOTT: All right. Tom Ricks, thanks very much for joining us today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fox's Tantaros: I'd Look Fabulous On Food Stamps

Discussing Newark, NJ, Mayor Cory Booker's (D) acceptance of the challenge, for an extended period, to subsist on $133 a month as if he were on food stamps, Fox pundit Andrea Tantaros dismissed the plight of the hungry. Speaking on Thanksgiving eve, Tantaros referred to food stamps as a diet plan: "I should try it because do you know how fabulous I'd look? I'd be so skinny. I mean, the camera adds ten pounds, it really does. I would be looking great." Watch:

Republicans Start To Defy Norquist's Anti-Tax Pledge

Some Republicans are starting to rebel against the pledge, signed by most of the party at the urging of Grover Norquist (left), to never raise taxes. This move comes as Democrats and Republicans attempt to compromise before the country reaches the "fiscal cliff" at the end of the year. In separate reports, Politico cited three who recently voiced defiance:

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA):“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” said Chambliss, who signed Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” when he first ran for Senate. “If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”

Rep. Peter King (R-NY): Rep. Peter King rebuked Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge Sunday, declaring "the world has changed and the economic situation is different."...“We should not be taking iron-clad positions,” King said on fiscal cliff negotiations, adding he didn’t want to “pre-judge” any compromises that could be under discussion between Republican and Democratic leaders.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "I will violate the pledge for the good of the country -- only if Democrats will do entitlement reform," Graham said ABC's "This Week," discussing a possible bipartisan compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff. "I will not raise tax rates to do it. I would cap deductions… I think Grover is wrong when it comes to capping deductions and buying down the debt."

Though Graham states that he will not raise taxes, capping deductions is still a violation of Norquist's pledge.

Timothy Egan: "Give Pot A Chance"

Timothy Egan (left) writes in the New York Times that citizens in Washington state and Colorado will no longer be jailed for recreational marijuana use–unless the Obama administration acts on its past threat to impose an injunction based on federal law. Indeed, it's high time we stopped arresting thousands for supposed marijuana offenses and supporting "a black market that is the source of gangland death and corruption." Egan gives three reasons that the administration ought to "Give Pot a Chance":

Hypocrisy. ...In two years through 2011, more than 2,200 serious illnesses, including 33 fatalities, were reported by consumers of nutritional supplements. Federal officials have received reports of 13 deaths and 92 serious medical events from Five Hour Energy. And how many people died of marijuana ingestion? Of course, just because well-marketed, potentially hazardous potions are legal is no argument to bring pot onto retail shelves. But it’s hard to make a case for fairness when one person’s method of relaxation is cause for arrest while another’s lands him on a Monday night football ad.

Tax and regulate. ...Washington State officials estimate that taxation and regulation of licensed marijuana retail stores will generate $532 million in new revenue every year. Expand that number nationwide, and then also add into the mix all the wasted billions now spent investigating and prosecuting marijuana cases. With pot out of the black market, states can have a serious discussion about use and abuse. The model is the campaign against drunk driving, which has made tremendous strides and saved countless lives ...

Lead. That’s what transformative presidents do. From his years as a community organizer — and a young man whose own recreational drug use could have made him just another number in lockup — Obama knows well that racial minorities are disproportionately jailed for these crimes. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has 25 percent of its prisoners — and about 500,000 of them are behind bars for drug offenses. On cost alone — up to $60,000 a year, to taxpayers, per prisoner — this is unsustainable.

Robertson: "Miserable" Atheists Trying To Steal Christmas

Pat Robertson launched the opening salvo against the annual "war on Christmas." He blamed the Grinch, who comes in the form of miserable atheists trying to steal the holiday because they can't stand others' joy. Watch:

ROBERTSON: It's, well, Christmas all over again. The Grinch is trying to steal our holiday. It's been so beautiful, the nation comes together, we sing Christmas carols, we give gifts to each other, we have lighted trees, and it's just a beautiful thing. Atheists don't like our happiness, they don't want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable. They're miserable, so they want you to be miserable. So they want to steal your holiday away from you.

"Regarding Warhol" At The Metropolitan Museum

Was Andy Warhol the most influential artist of the past 50 years? Regarding Warhol: Fifty Years, Sixty Artists at the Metropolitan Museum of Art goes a long way to proving that he was. The exhibition covers themes that are central to Warhol's cannon: consumer culture and disaster and death; celebrity portraiture; queer identity; appropriating images; and the business of art. These concerns are shared by the 59 contemporary artists who, along with Warhol, are represented here. Shown above, for example, is Warhol's Green Coca Cola Bottles, 1962 (left) and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's mixture of commercial culture and an ancient form in Neolithic Vase With Coca Cola Logo, 2010. The exhibition contains a generous sampling of Warhol's famed icons: Marilyn Monroe, the electric chair, Campbell's soup cans and more images that overturned previous conceptions of appropriate subjects for art–and whose repetitious treatment (as in the image at left above) reflect our media-saturated society.

“Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years” runs through Dec. 31 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St., NYC, (212) 535-7710,

For more on Andy Warhol, see my reviews of the book "Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol" by Tony Scherman and David Dalton and the exhibition “Andy Warhol: The Last Decade” at the Brooklyn Museum, June 2010.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Ivy

Parisian-born Dominique Durand of the New York indie rock trio Ivy sang the lead vocals in this October 2002 studio cover of House of Love's "I Don't Know Why I Love You." To listen to an interview with Durand on NPR, click here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Robert Reich: "Why You Shouldn’t Shop at Walmart on Friday"

Robert Reich cites the weakening of labor unions as a major reason for the decline in the wages of today's workers, who are unable to collectively press for more compensation. He writes that while Walmart made $16 billion last year, its average employee earns $8.81 an hour and one third don't receive benefits since they work less than 28 hours per week. Reich considers the implications of Walmart workers planning a walkout on Black Friday. Since Walmart sets the standard for pay and working conditions among big box retailers, the consequences of labor organizing there could be considerable. Ultimately, the more workers earn, the more they're able to purchase, which also benefits retailers like Walmart. Reich makes a common-sense appeal for demand-side economics:

Consumer spending is 70 percent of economic activity, but consumers are also workers. And as income and wealth continue to concentrate at the top, and the median wage continues to drop – it’s now 8 percent lower than it was in 2000 – a growing portion of the American workforce lacks the purchasing power to get the economy back to speed. Without a vibrant and growing middle class, Walmart itself won’t have the customers it needs.

Most new jobs in America are in personal services like retail, with low pay and bad hours. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average full-time retail worker earns between $18,000 and $21,000 per year.

But if retail workers got a raise, would consumers have to pay higher prices to make up for it? A new study by the think tank Demos reports that raising the salary of all full-time workers at large retailers to $25,000 per year would lift more than 700,000 people out of poverty, at a cost of only a 1 percent price increase for customers.

And, in the end, retailers would benefit. According to the study, the cost of the wage increases to major retailers would be $20.8 billion — about one percent of the sector’s $2.17 trillion in total annual sales. But the study also estimates the increased purchasing power of lower-wage workers as a result of the pay raises would generate $4 billion to $5 billion in additional retail sales.

This seems like a good deal all around.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CNN's O'Brien Challenges GOP Hypocrisy On Susan Rice

CNN's Soledad O'Brien grilled Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) today on the GOP's hypocritical opposition to the potential nomination of UN Ambassador Susan Rice as secretary of state. Ninety-seven House Republicans signed a letter against Susan Rice based on the false conspiratorial claim that she knowingly made misleading statements about Benghazi. O'Brien pointed out that Republicans, including those leading the charge, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), oppose Susan Rice but supported Condoleezza Rice's nomination for secretary of state under the Bush administration. Burgess can't adequately explain why they didn't oppose Condoleezza Rice, who incorrectly assessed WMD in Iraq as national security adviser. Watch:

O’BRIEN: I have asked others before how this does not compare, the Susan Rice issue, to the Condoleezza Rice issue on weapons of mass destruction. She was also wrong when she was the national security adviser, right? … Fast forward three years in 2005 when she was up to be secretary of state, it was Lindsey Graham who was furious that the Democrats were pushing back. It was Sen John McCain who were furious that the Democrats were pushing back on Condoleezza Rice to be Secretary of State. She was wrong on weapons of mass destruction. How is this different?

BURGESS: The difference is the scrutiny provided by our free press in this country. Condoleezza Rice was exposed to withering criticism by the press. I don’t see that happening now. Maybe I’ve missed something in the talking points, but I don’t see that happening...

O’BRIEN: So you’re confusing me there for a moment. When you say the scrutiny on the press — are you saying five days after comments of weapons of mass destruction, you feel like the media was picking apart Condoleezza Rice? I don’t think that’s true, Sir. Most people say that’s not the case. It took a long time. ...Hey, I’m all about scrutiny. I guess I like consistency, too. You were not calling for more scrutiny and you weren’t saying that the fact that Condoleezza Rice was wrong on weapons of mass destruction was going to damage her credibility as secretary of state. Again, McCain and Lindsey Graham were supporting that. It seems just contradictory to me.

BURGESS: You’ll have to take that up with Senator McCain and Senator Graham.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rubio Unsure If Earth "Created In 7 Days Or 7 Eras"

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) must have known he was heading into potential peril in Republican circles when a GQ Magazine interviewer asked him the age of the Earth. Despite the scientific consensus that the planet is 4.54 billion years old, Rubio veered toward creationism when he referred to "what the Bible says" and "multiple theories," all of which should be taught:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

RUBIO: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Monday, November 19, 2012

GOP Governors Evade Question On Tax Cuts For Wealthy

President Obama has called for higher taxes on the wealthy. The American people re-elected him, and most support his position. Regardless, the Republicans can't bring themselves to agree to end the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent. On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin why they continue to protect the rich and hold up a tax deal that will benefit the middle class. Watch as they twist themselves into rhetorical knots and evade the question:

Walmart Workers Plan Walkout On Black Friday

Walmart workers plan a national walkout on Black Friday in protest over longstanding grievances related to pay, benefits and the refusal of management to listen to the concerns of workers:

The union-backed groups OUR Walmart and Making Change at Wal-Mart, and a watchdog group Corporate Action Network, are calling on the nation's largest employer to end what they call retaliation against employees who speak out for better pay, fair schedules and affordable health care.

...According to Anthony Bianco, author of "Wal-Mart: The Bully of Bentonville," butchers at a Wal-Mart supercenter in Jacksonville, Texas, voted to form a union in 2000 -- the first time employees had done so. But soon after that, Wal-Mart eliminated butcher departments in its stores across the country, he said. It has been reported that Wal-Mart said it got rid of its meat department as a cost cutting measure.

A similar thing happened when workers at a Quebec store attempted to unionize in 2005, Bianco said. Wal-Mart closed that store a few months after that. The company said at the time that its decision was prompted by the union wanting to change how the store operated.

Given these conditions, the workers who appear in the following powerful OUR Walmart video are especially courageous. Watch as they answer the question, "Why are Walmart workers standing up all across the country?":

Saturday, November 17, 2012

O'Reilly Blasts "Media Operations" That "Promote Ideology"

In a commentary, Bill O'Reilly criticized "the far left websites" that "started to crank up" after he stated on Election Day that half of the voters "want stuff." Displaying a fine sense of irony, O'Reilly spoke of the "far left media's" viciousness, shamelessness and demonization of its opponents–and concluded, "There are entire media operations that exist solely to promote ideology. This is a bad situation and getting worse." Thank goodness that O'Reilly works for a "Fair and Balanced" media operation. The screen shot below shows O'Reilly at the height of his chutzpah.

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan)

AZ Gun Store Refuses To Sell To Obama Voters

Cope Reynolds, owner of the Southwest Shooting Authority gun shop in Pinetop, Arizona, banned anyone who voted for President Obama from patronizing his store. Reynolds took out a full-page ad in a local paper stating, "If you voted for Barack Obama your business is NOT WELCOME at Southwest Shooting Authority. You have proven you are not responsible enough to own a firearm." He also placed a sign (left) with the same message in front of his shop.

Georgia GOP Meets On Obama Mind-Control Conspiracy

Georgia GOP senators attended a seminar exploring President Obama's participation in an international mind-control conspiracy, complete with a slide presentation comparing Obama's "plan" to those of Stalin and Mao (see image, which cites "Increase renewable energy and conservation" as part of Obama's evil scheme). The meeting was called by Republican Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and held at the state Capitol:

Georgia state Senators held a meeting last month to discuss Agenda 21, a supposed UN conspiracy to deny private property rights, which Obama will help accomplish through a mind-control technique known as Delphi.

The meeting was to discuss Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement aimed at promoting sustainable development. It is also the target of conservatives who believe that it is part of a conspiracy to forcibly move suburbanites to cities.

CBS Atlanta News reported:

View the 52-minute video.

GOP Chair Suspected Fraud Since Black People Voted

Charlie Webster, head of Maine's Republican Party, recently voiced his suspicion of voter fraud due to the fact that black people voted. In an interview, Webster stated, “In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anybody who’s black. How did that happen?” Webster defended himself against charges of racism by arguing, "I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy. He’s a great friend of mine." He has since apologized: "“It was my intention to talk not about race but about perceived voting irregularities.” Of course, the "perceived voting irregularities" happened to be black people casting ballots, as Webster expressed in the following video:

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne covered Slim Harpo's blues classic "Shake Your Hips" at the ACME Recording Studios, Mamaroneck, NY, March 2012.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Romney: Obama Bribed Voters

Soon after he disparaged 47 percent of Americans, Mitt Romney realized that he'd harmed his campaign and declared that he was "completely wrong." Now that the election is over, he's back to criticizing half the country as moochers who voted for Obama expecting that they'd get "gifts." Romney, who's never had to worry about health care costs, complained about the expansion of health care for others through the Affordable Care Act. He lamented giving young immigrants a chance under the Dream Act and easing the cost of college loans. Naturally, Romney's comments have been embraced by Fox News pundits to promote their "makers vs. takers" theme. The following are excerpts from Romney's conference call with backers as he whined about Hispanics, African Americans, the young and women being bribed to re-elect the president:

In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”

...“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”

...“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rachel Maddow: What We Won't Do Following Obama's Victory

After President Obama was re-elected one week ago today, I wrote that I was particularly relieved that the Affordable Care Act won't be repealed and another reactionary judge won't be appointed to the Supreme Court. In the video below, Rachel Maddow cites all the other dire consequences we avoided through Mitt Romney's defeat. Her list of the many things we won't do is cause for celebration. Watch:

MADDOW: That happened! That really happened. We are not going to have a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe versus Wade. There will be no more Antonin Scalias and Samuel Alitos added to this court. We`re not going to repeal health reform. Nobody is going to kill Medicare and make old people in this generation or any other generation fight it out on the open market to try to get themselves health insurance. We are not going to do that. We are not going to give a 20 percent tax cut to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kids' health insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut. We`re not make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth control under the insurance plan that you're on.We are not going to redefine rape. We are not going to amend the United States Constitution to stop gay people from getting married. We are not going to double Guantanamo. We are not eliminating the Department of Energy or the Department of Education or Housing at the federal level. We are not going to spend $2 trillion on the military that the military does not want. We are not scaling back on student loans because the country`s new plan is that you should borrow money from your parents. We are not vetoing the DREAM Act. We are not self-deporting. We are not letting Detroit go bankrupt. We are not starting a trade war with China on Inauguration Day in January. We are not going to have, as a president, a man who once led a mob of friends to run down a scared, gay kid, to hold him down and forcibly cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed for help and there was no apology, not ever. We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton. We are not bringing Dick Cheney back. We are not going to have a foreign policy shop stocked with architects of the Iraq war. We are not going to do it. We had the chance to do that if we wanted to do that, as a country. And we said no, last night, loudly.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Krugman: Obama Should Refuse Tax Cut Extension For The Rich

If Democrats and Republicans can't make a deal by the end of the year, we'll reach the "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts that could mean recession. What should President Obama do about it? Paul Krugman writes that he should let it happen if necessary. In "Let's Not Make A Deal," he argues that Obama can't, for the third time, let the Republicans hold the economy hostage to tax cuts for the rich:

Mr. Obama essentially surrendered in the face of similar tactics at the end of 2010, extending low taxes on the rich for two more years. He made significant concessions again in 2011, when Republicans threatened to create financial chaos by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. And the current potential crisis is the legacy of those past concessions.

Well, this has to stop — unless we want hostage-taking, the threat of making the nation ungovernable, to become a standard part of our political process.

So what should he do? Just say no, and go over the cliff if necessary.

It’s worth pointing out that the fiscal cliff isn’t really a cliff. It’s not like the debt-ceiling confrontation, where terrible things might well have happened right away if the deadline had been missed. This time, nothing very bad will happen to the economy if agreement isn’t reached until a few weeks or even a few months into 2013. So there’s time to bargain.

...Meanwhile, the president is in a far stronger position than in previous confrontations. I don’t place much stock in talk of “mandates,” but Mr. Obama did win re-election with a populist campaign, so he can plausibly claim that Republicans are defying the will of the American people. And he just won his big election and is, therefore, far better placed than before to weather any political blowback from economic troubles — especially when it would be so obvious that these troubles were being deliberately inflicted by the G.O.P. in a last-ditch attempt to defend the privileges of the 1 percent.

Patriotic Millionaires' Message To Congress: "Tax Me"

With Congress debating the "fiscal cliff" and the ending of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, one group, the Patriotic Millionaires, have a simple message: "Tax me." They state that the tax cuts for millionaires were a mistake from the start, resulting in less funding to meet the nation's critical needs. Watch this truly patriotic appeal for progressive taxation:

Traffic Reporter Gives Fleeing Republicans Directions To Canada

Jeff Brucculeri, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, traffic reporter, responded to a request from Republicans who want to flee to Canada following President Obama's re-election. He presented the fastest route to Winnipeg. How horrified will they be when they discover universal health care up there? Watch:

Limbaugh: "There's Going To Be A Gay James Bond"

Just how bad is the country's cultural climate? Bad enough, according to Rush Limbaugh, that a gay James Bond will be depicted in a movie. What's more, he'll get married. Listen:

LIMBAUGH: We've got to see where we're headed here, folks. Of course there's going to be a gay James Bond. He's going to get married in a James Bond movie!

O'Reilly: 50 Percent Of Voters "Want Stuff"

Asked by Fox's Megyn Kelly on election night how an Obama victory could be possible, Bill O'Reilly stated, "The white establishment is now the minority." He cited Hispanics, blacks and women as Obama supporters–part of the 50 percent of voters who "want stuff." Watch O'Reilly restate Mitt Romney's stance disparaging half the country as freeloaders:

Rachel Maddow Gives Conservatives A Reality Check

Following the re-election of President Obama, Rachel Maddow gave conservatives a reality check that countered their resistance to science, math and reality in general. She concluded that the country would be better off if the GOP dedicated itself to solving "real problems" based on "knowable facts." Will they undertake what she called the "painful process" of popping their "factual bubble"? Watch Maddow present some essential truths to today's conservatives:

MADDOW: Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing! And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away anyone's guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism. ... There's real problems in the world. There are real knowable facts in the world. Let's accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let's move on from there. If the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Beck's Post-Election Plan: Buy Farmland And Guns

The right-wing freakout has begun, as their world shatters with the re-election of a supposed Kenyan Muslim Marxist. Now that America is doomed, Glenn Beck advises his listeners to move to Republican counties, buy farmland, get their kids out of the socialist public schools and stock up on guns and ammo. Watch:

BECK: I won’t make a deal with the devil… I will tell you last week we purchased more farmland as a family. May I recommend if you have a chance to buy farmland, you buy farmland. If you live in the east may I recommend get the hell out of the east. Find a place where you are surrounded by like-minded people and the best way to find those people is, you should probably look at the maps on how counties voted and get away as far as you can from where huge densities of people who are like, 'I just need FEMA to help me.' But get your kids away from the school that is indoctrinating them that socialism is okay. May I highly suggest you get grandfathered in to the Second Amendment today. Oh, and don’t forget the ammunition.

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: The Beatles

This week's musical offering, The Beatles' 1964 performance of "Can't Buy Me Love," is dedicated to the billionaires David and Charles Koch and Sheldon Adelson, along with Karl Rove, co-founder of the super PAC American Crossroads. All of them thought that, following Citizens United, they could buy the 2012 presidential election. Instead, they have nothing to show for it except a lousy Romney T-shirt.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Riddance To The Republican Rape Caucus

Six Republicans who lost their political campaigns on Tuesday learned that when one speaks callously about rape, one’s political career will end–quickly. The rogues gallery who spouted poison about this brutal crime includes:

Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri (above), who lost his senatorial quest, said that "legitimate rape" victims rarely get pregnant since their bodies can "shut that whole thing down."

Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (above), who lost his senatorial campaign, said that pregnancies from rape are "something that God intended to happen."

Tom Smith of Pennsylvania (above), who lost his senatorial campaign, said getting pregnant from rape is "similar" to  having a baby out of wedlock.

Rep. Roger Rivard of Wisconsin (above), who lost his re-election bid, said in reference to a 17-year-old charged with sexual assault on an underage girl, "some girls rape easy."

Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois (above), who lost his re-election bid, said that exceptions to abortion bans to save the life of the mother are not necessary since "with modern technology and science, you can't find one instance" of a woman dying while giving birth.

John Koster of Washington State (above), who lost his congressional candidacy, asked, "But on the rape thing it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?”

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Two Huge, Positive Consequences Of The Obama Victory

Along with my happiness following the re-election of President Barack Obama is a tremendous sense of relief. There were many terrible consequences of a potential Romney victory. As the election neared, I became tremendously concerned about two of them. In the short run, Romney threatened to repeal the Affordable Care Act–legislation modeled after "Romneycare" in Massachusetts. Regardless, Romney pledged to visit destruction on President Obama's chief first-term accomplishment and all its benefits: keeping children on one's plan until age 26, the ending of "pre-existing conditions" provisos, millions more covered, investments in women's health care and more. Under President Obama, health care reform is now secure.

There was also the long-term concern: Supreme Court nominees. Though it wasn't mentioned much during campaign season, it is the most important, long-lasting domestic consideration. There are four members in their seventies on a court that often decides along 5-4 lines. We've already seen Supreme Court conservative judicial activism in the Citizens United case, which completed the corruption of our political system. Obama now has the opportunity to restore balance to the reactionary Roberts court. We know that he won't appoint anyone who shares Mitt Romney's goal of overturning Roe v. Wade.

Let's be thankful, then, that the majority of Americans made the right choice in rejecting the harmful policies of Mitt Romney and in re-electing President Barack Obama.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Romney Silent As Protester Confronts Him On Climate Change

Mitt Romney, who mocked the idea of climate change at the Republican National Convention, was confronted about the issue at a Virginia rally by a protester who asked "What about climate? That’s what caused this monster storm! Climate change!" As the man held an "End Climate Silence" banner, Romney smiled and maintained complete silence. The protester's banner was taken as the crowd drowned him out with boos and chants of "U.S.A." Romney then resumed his stump speech. Watch:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Akin Compares Criticism Of His Comments To Beheadings

Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin (R) recently spoke at a St. Louis conference under the auspices of the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly, who supports him. Akin, who had caused a national uproar with comments that "legitimate rape" victims rarely get pregnant, said that he faced greater consequences than Bill Clinton, who was "accused of doing something wrong as opposed to saying something wrong." He then compared the criticism he received with being beheaded, stating, “We see that all the time with [what] the Islamists pull out on us: we’re offended so we’re going to cut your head off slowly.” Watch Akin feel sorry for himself as a victim of "political correctness":

Haley Barbour: Hurricane Sandy "Broke Romney's Momentum"

In what appears to be a preemptive excuse for a Romney loss, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said today on CNN's State of the Union that Hurricane Sandy "broke Romney's momentum." Watch (starting at 1:00):

BARBOUR: The hurricane is what broke Romney’s momentum. I don’t think there’s any question about it. Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs and the economy, taxes and spending, deficits and debt, Obamacare and energy, is a good day for Barack Obama. When you had a blackout on all of those issues that started about last Saturday and lasted until about yesterday — that is what really was good for Barack Obama. Now whether it will be good enough remains to be seen. 

Romney Vs. Sandy

At the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney said, "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family." This crack about climate change is now particularly offensive after the death and destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Forecast the Facts, which is "dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change," produced an ad that compared Romney's absurd remarks with the dire reality of "the rise of the oceans." Watch:

Cher And Kathy Griffin: Don’t Let Mitt Turn Back Time On Women

Cher and Kathy Griffin tell women and all who respect them to stand against those trying to turn back time, including Mitt Romney, Paul RyanTodd Akin and Richard Mourdock. Choice, fair pay and health care are all on the line in this election–and to stop these Republicans and their war on women, we must vote against them this Tuesday. Watch:

What Do Republicans Really Think Of Romney?

In the following video compilation, McCain, Gingrich, Santorum and more GOP leaders state quite clearly that Mitt Romney is a dishonest politician who’s been on every side of every issue. In addition, Republicans criticize him for his poor jobs record as governor of Massachusetts and his gutting jobs with Bain Capital. Watch:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Voices Of Romney Supporters In Ohio

In August 2010, New Left Media went to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally and interviewed participants, who were misinformed and unable to clearly articulate their positions. At a Mitt Romney rally in Ohio, New Left Media found attendees there who demonstrated similar qualities. The video starts with Romney stating that Jeep is "thinking of moving all production to China," a lie refuted by Chrysler itself. The presentation then switches to the crowd, whose members state that Obama supporters want handouts; Obama's father was a Muslim, an atheist and a communist; and Buddhists are taking away our freedom of religion. It ends with Meat Loaf's unique rendition of "America the Beautiful." Watch part one:

In part two, Romney supporters state that abortion is a means of contraception, women's issues are nonsense and gay marriage "takes away" from straight marriage. Watch:

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Raphael Saadiq

Raphael Saddiq performed "Stone Rollin'" on the Jools Holland Show, England, 2011. Saddiq is one of today's finest practitioners of old-school soul and R&B (along with Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, showcased here). For more on Saddiq's influences, see the PBS NewsHour.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg And The Economist Endorse Obama

Mitt Romney cites his business experience as a major qualification for the presidency. Today, however, President Obama was endorsed by both a business-oriented political leader and magazine: Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, the founder of Bloomberg News, and The Economist, the London-based international politics and business magazine. While both express reservations about Obama, they make it clear that he has a more positive vision for America–and that Romney has changed his positions too often to be credible.

In an editorial for Bloomberg View, Mayor Bloomberg compares the candidates' objectives on women's choice, gay marriage and climate change:

One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.

One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.

One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.

The Economist criticizes Romney's reckless fiscal policies:

Yet far from being the voice of fiscal prudence, Mr Romney wants to start with huge tax cuts (which will disproportionately favour the wealthy), while dramatically increasing defence spending. Together those measures would add $7 trillion to the ten-year deficit. He would balance the books through eliminating loopholes (a good idea, but he will not specify which ones) and through savage cuts to programmes that help America’s poor (a bad idea, which will increase inequality still further). At least Mr Obama, although he distanced himself from Bowles-Simpson, has made it clear that any long-term solution has to involve both entitlement reform and tax rises. Mr Romney is still in the cloud-cuckoo-land of thinking you can do it entirely through spending cuts: the Republican even rejected a ratio of ten parts spending cuts to one part tax rises. Backing business is important, but getting the macroeconomics right matters far more.