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Friday, November 30, 2012



Thursday, November 29, 2012


Same old rerun on child deaths: Cabinet should give review panel the records it needs

If the topic weren't so serious it would almost be funny.

A panel established by Gov. Steve Beshear to review cases in which children die or come close to dying while under the supervision of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is struggling to get the files on those cases from the cabinet.

In its first meeting Tuesday, the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel was met with the same wall of silence that news organizations have met even after courts ordered the cabinet to open its files.

Even though the panel was created in July to review these cases, when it convened this week, the cabinet had not gathered the case files for the group to review. Additionally, the cabinet said it will use its own discretion in redacting information in the files before releasing them to the panel.

Essentially the cabinet is saying "trust us" to give you the information you need. But, the point is this, if the cabinet could be trusted there wouldn't be a panel and there wouldn't be a long history of litigation over these documents.

Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, a member of the panel, expressed her frustration at Tuesday's meeting. "If we can't get full reports or documents, you don't know the whole story."

The cabinet has legitimate concerns about opening to the public the identities of siblings and other family members who might be endangered as well as informants who report abuse and neglect. However, decisions on what will be redacted cannot be left with the cabinet alone.

Although this particular cabinet has been painfully, expensively (in terms of both money and human life) mulish about opening its actions to review, it's not unique. Things go wrong in any organization when something's awry on the inside and rarely, if ever, do they get sorted out from the inside. It is human and organizational nature to circle the wagons, accept the excuses, prevent nosy outsiders who really don't understand from getting involved.

That's just why they must get involved.

Dr. Melissa Currie, chief medical director of the University of Louisville Pediatrics Forensic Medicine unit, made this point when Beshear created the panel, which includes law enforcement, prosecutors and medical experts as well as legislators and others. "The lessons we learn by reviewing child deaths have come at an enormous price — the life of a child," she said. The panel "will ensure that no child's death in the Commonwealth of Kentucky will go unexamined by objective and knowledgeable eyes."

She's right, of course, but if those eyes are denied access to all the pertinent records, Kentucky children will also be denied the protection they need and that Beshear promised.

Read more here:

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Lessons in politics from ‘Lincoln’

Steven Spielberg didn't want his new movie about Abraham Lincoln to open during the election campaign. It would have become a political football, its message distorted by speculation about the similarities between the two tall presidents from Illinois and their political circumstances.

Steven Spielberg didn't want his new movie about Abraham Lincoln to open during the election campaign. It would have become a political football, its message distorted by speculation about the similarities between the two tall presidents from Illinois and their political circumstances. Besides, “Lincoln” isn't about a campaign. It focuses on just a few weeks in Lincoln's life, as the newly re-elected president faces the challenge of getting a piece of critical legislation through a lame-duck Congress with the clock ticking. Sound familiar? Actually, it's coincidence that Speilberg's riveting story hits theaters just as a high-stakes congressional debate looms. Tony Kushner started working on the script years ago, long before Barack Obama's re-election was predictable or a fiscal cliff was added to the contemporary landscape. But it's a happy coincidence. It reminds us that what happens in Washington is important, that bitter partisanship can give birth to great changes, and that the exercise of political power is messy and ethically compromising, even in pursuit of a noble cause. Spielberg paints stunning pictures of Civil War battlefields, but “Lincoln” is a story of a piece of legislation, not of war. At issue is the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which would forever prohibit human slavery in the U.S. Through his Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln already had freed the slaves in Confederate states. But that was an exercise of emergency wartime powers, he explained to his cabinet. Like some other things he felt he had to do to win the war, it was possibly — no, probably — unconstitutional. In any event, the Emancipation Proclamation didn't apply to border states, where slavery had continued. Nor would it apply if states were no longer in rebellion. There was nothing in it to ensure that slavery wouldn't return at the end of the bloody war America had fought over it. With the closing acts of that war in sight, the window to write abolition into the Constitution was closing. The 13th Amendment had been passed by the Senate, but had fallen short in the House. As Grant's army chased Lee in a punishing retreat across Tidewater Virginia, Lincoln chased the dozen votes he needed in the House. Based on a small section in Doris Kearns Goodwin's “Team of Rivals,” Spielberg's story of the 13th Amendment carries her emphasis on Lincoln as a crafty politician as well as a visionary, courageous leader. “I am the president of the United States, clothed in immense power,” Lincoln says in both the book and the movie, and he uses that power. His agents trade appointments for the votes of House members who had lost their seats in the election. Lincoln plays fast-and-loose with the truth, promising one faction he'll meet with a peace commission from the Confederacy while reassuring another there would be no such talks. In Daniel Day-Lewis' riveting performance, Lincoln's ethical corner-cutting comes across as tragic, noble and, given the circumstances, necessary. Seven score and eight years later, another drama is about to unfold in a lame-duck Congress. Again, a president may have to scramble for enough votes in the House to navigate the fiscal cliff on his own terms. And how's this for historical coincidence: George Pendleton, leader of the House Democrats arguing against the 13th Amendment, had been, just weeks before, the vice-presidential candidate on the ticket Lincoln defeated. And who'll lead the House Republicans in negotiations over whatever bill Obama puts forth to avoid the fiscal cliff? The vice-presidential candidate he just defeated, Rep. Paul Ryan. Deals will be cut and loyalties tested in the weeks to come. Likely, they will involve the more than 80 members who'll be leaving Congress in January. Lame-duck sessions are always unpredictable, with the departing members tempted by revenge and self-interest, even as they are freed to rise above the political considerations that guided their careers. With so many moving parts at play in today's fiscal quandary — taxes, spending, budgets and economics — the narrative will be hard to follow and the compromises may seem petty and corrupt. But the moral choices facing Lincoln and his peers weren't nearly as simple as they seem from our historical distance. And the road toward what he and the Founders called “a more perfect union” was neither straight nor smooth. It was paved, then as now, with politics. Rick Holmes, opinion editor for the MetroWest, Mass., Daily News, blogs at Holmes & Co. He can be reached at

"Lincoln plays fast-and-loose with the truth, promising one faction he'll meet with a peace commission from the Confederacy while reassuring another there would be no such talks."







Tuesday, November 27, 2012



Monday, November 26, 2012

How Political Campaign Spending Brought Down The Roman Republic: A SAD Lesson For Us American "Citizens United"!

How Political Campaign Spending Brought Down the Roman Republic
If Cato, Cicero, or Julius Caesar were here today, they would recognize the danger posed by Citizens United.
By Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni

Two years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, which allowed unlimited corporate and union money into American politics, there is one line that continues to echo: “The appearance of influence or access … will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

That line lasts because it’s a testable prediction. It’s not a question of precedent or constitutional interpretation, but of public opinion—and as such, we all feel competent to judge it. Loss of faith, the Supreme Court allowed, is itself an argument against our increasingly unregulated campaign spending regime.

Of course, democratic faith is a slippery concept. But it is always on display in an election's aftermath. In the best case, the election's winners and losers have a shared, if grudging, agreement about the fairness of the process and its outcome. In the worst case, the winner's legitimacy is just one more "fact" to disagree about.

Does massive campaign spending move us closer to the worst case? One view of the 2012 election holds that super PACs proved far less effective than feared. "But ultimately," argues Nicholas Confessore in the New York Times, "Mr. Obama did not beat the super PACs; he joined them." His re-election, therefore, doesn’t settle the question raised by the Supreme Court; it simply postpones it.

Rather than letting the Citizens United experiment in confidence play out over the next several elections, we can find evidence now, by looking to political history. How has the “appearance of influence” affected faith in other elected governments? History tells us that such faith is far easier to tear down than to rebuild. And one of the best examples of this faith under strain comes from one of the earliest experiments in elected government: the Roman Republic.

Our political culture is saturated with historical appeals to the founders, but when the founders themselves wanted to make such appeals, they turned overwhelmingly to Rome. As inspiration and as practical example, that republic’s history is written into our own. For Alexander Hamilton, the republic represented "the utmost height of human greatness." The authors of the Federalist Papers cited the republic as an influence on the American Constitution 14 separate times. In early America, Rome before Caesar served as the quintessential republic of virtue; its collapse was the ultimate cautionary tale of political corruption.

A crucial part of that story was the corrosive influence of money in politics. To be sure, Rome was never a true democracy; its elections were always designed to heavily favor the wealthy and well-born. Further, the kind of money that consumed Roman politics—personal spending by wealthy candidates—isn’t the prime source of controversy in our time. Nevertheless, the last generation of the Republic’s politics was dominated by two trends: universal complaints about money’s corrupting effect on politics and near universal unwillingness to do anything about it.

Ancient politicians were just as skilled as modern ones at identifying and exploiting loopholes in election law. In Rome, the key loophole lay in the fuzzy distinction between ambitus (electoral bribery) and mere benignitas (generosity). Roman elections were often won on the strength of free food, drinks, entertainment, and sometimes hard cash offered directly to voters and financed by private fortunes. In fact, Roman campaign slogans were sometimes inscribed on the bottom of commemorative wine cups—you could drain the cup and find out whom to vote for. Most of the Roman elite relied on the gentleman’s agreement that the line between bribery and generosity would not be strictly patrolled. At worst, rank vote-buying was something your opponents engaged in; you, on the other hand, were simply being a good neighbor.

That explains the curious fact that continually rising penalties for corruption had almost no deterrent effect. Toward the republic’s end, the penalty for ambitus had risen to 10 years’ exile. The general Pompey, who presented himself as a clean-government advocate when he wasn’t buying elections for his allies, even proposed raising the statute of limitations for corruption charges to two decades, meaning that virtually no Roman politician would be safe.

Yet the money continued to flow: Politicians able to afford the massive bribes were usually able to afford protection after the fact. Worse, with no enforceable limits on spending and a heavy premium on one-upsmanship, the price of elections skyrocketed. Five years before the republic collapsed, Cicero made an astonishing claim: The wealthy had injected so much cash into election season that the interest rate in Rome temporarily doubled.

Nor could the power of money be confined to election season—its influence spread throughout the republic’s government. Rome had long sent politicians to govern a province after their year in office; ultimately, they felt entitled to fleece those provinces in order to recoup their election losses, a practice that spread deep resentment of the capital. The biographer Plutarch records bribery of civil servants, who were paid off to erase debts owed to the public purse. Jury verdicts, too, were regularly bought and paid for.

Julius Caesar, who brought the republic to an end, walked a path to power paved by charisma and military accomplishments—and his mastery of Roman campaign-finance practices. He won his first election to Rome’s highest office with the backing of a single wealthy donor (who, in exchange, planned to serve beside Caesar). And if there was a moment when civil war between Caesar and the conservative Roman Senate became inevitable, it was probably the day Caesar paid off the debts of Gaius Scribonius Curio. Curio, an up-and-coming conservative, had won election as a tribune of the people, and with it the tribune’s power to veto any law. But he had heavily indebted himself along the way. Caesar satisfied his creditors, but only on the condition that Curio switch sides. From that point, Caesar, who already had an army, owned a veto in the Roman government. Political deadlock was assured.

Julius Caesar, who brought the republic to an end, walked a path to power paved by charisma and military accomplishments—and his mastery of Roman campaign-finance practices. He won his first election to Rome’s highest office with the backing of a single wealthy donor (who, in exchange, planned to serve beside Caesar). And if there was a moment when civil war between Caesar and the conservative Roman Senate became inevitable, it was probably the day Caesar paid off the debts of Gaius Scribonius Curio. Curio, an up-and-coming conservative, had won election as a tribune of the people, and with it the tribune’s power to veto any law. But he had heavily indebted himself along the way. Caesar satisfied his creditors, but only on the condition that Curio switch sides. From that point, Caesar, who already had an army, owned a veto in the Roman government. Political deadlock was assured.

Caesar’s fiercest personal enemy was also Rome’s most consistent enemy of electoral corruption. Marcus Porcius Cato, a Stoic and Senate conservative, made his name denouncing the influence of money on private and public life. Yet Cato failed, just as other would-be reformers did. He obsessively cast corruption as a failing of personal morality rather than a systemic crisis, which dramatically understated both the scope of the problem and the means needed to control it. As a result, Cato’s proposed remedies were usually ad hoc, and they predictably fell short.

In one instance, he managed to persuade a group of candidates to appoint him as an informal election judge, with the power to investigate bribery and publicly expose any candidate he found guilty. Each pledged to forfeit money to Cato if he was caught breaking the deal. Days before the vote, an enthusiastic Cicero wrote, “If the election proves free, as it is thought it will, Cato alone can do more than all the laws and all the judges.”

On the day of the election, Cato stood before the Roman people and duly announced that one of the candidates had cheated. The rivals huddled and came to their own decision: The guilty man should be let off with no further penalty, and he should keep his money. That’s how deep corruption ran in the culture of the Roman elite.

Even as ambitus weakened the republic, each member of the governing class preferred a strategy of maximizing his own gains in a broken system. Vote-buying made sense for individual politicians at the same time as it undermined the elite as a whole. Cicero, for instance, passed a strong anti-corruption law and even named it after himself—and then, he secured the acquittal of the very first man charged under the law because he was a political ally.

Several years later, an ex-governor was tried for extorting money from his province to finance a campaign for higher office. Six different lawyers, drawn from the cream of the Senate—the equivalent of a Roman legal Dream Team—rose to defend him. The corrupt former official was acquitted with ease.

By the end, chronic election-buying had helped grind down all faith in republican government. Why was Caesar able to dissolve the republic and set Rome on a course to one-man rule? Because, in large part, enough people believed that the republic was too rotten to be worth saving. And while most classical sources dwell on the aristocracy, there’s also strong evidence that ordinary Romans grew increasingly alienated from politics during the final years. Radical leaders like Catiline and Clodius drew massive followings with their attacks on a corrupt elite; their riots, in turn, helped convince much of that elite that Rome was in grave need of a strongman.

Unlimited money in politics certainly doesn’t guarantee riots and civil war. Nor does “the appearance of influence” always undermine republican government. But legitimacy matters, and it rests on a delicate understanding: the belief that those who govern have a right to govern. It’s devilishly hard to measure or quantify, but (to paraphrase the Supreme Court again) we know it when we see it.

How much democratic faith do Americans have today? How many liberals think George W. Bush won in 2004 because of electronic voting shenanigans in Ohio? How many conservatives think Barack Obama won in 2008 thanks to ACORN, or in 2012 because of handouts to the 47 percent? Unlimited money in politics adds one more cause for doubt, perhaps the most powerful of all, to a list that has grown in recent years. How long until we have a presidential election in which a dangerous percentage of Americans view the final result as illegitimate on account of money?

Editor's comment: While I believe the Constitution gives individuals, organizations a right to speak freely with their money for any purposes, including political, I also believe that NO constitutional right is beyond reasonable governmental limitations.

On this issue of reasonable limitation is where I part ways with the Citizens United majority on the U. S. Supreme Court.

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"The eyes of the world being thus on our Country, it is put the more on its good behavior, and under the greater obligation also, to do justice to the Tree of Liberty by an exhibition of the fine fruits we gather from it."

-- James Madison, letter to James Monroe, 1824

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Paul Prather: My Prediction About White Evangelicals And Politics.

My prediction about white evangelicals and politics
By Paul Prather

I don't mean to brag, but as a seer of our culture's future, I proudly have logged a perfect record. You might keep that in mind as you read this piece.

As far as I can recollect, in my 20-odd years of writing newspaper columns my prognostications have been wrong 100 percent of the time.

A prophet I am not.

But I keep predicting the future anyway, on that well-worn principle which says even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I'm expectantly awaiting the moment when my fortuitous hour rolls around.

Here's my current prediction.

In the not-very-distant future, white evangelical Christians — now one of the Republican Party's core constituencies — will withdraw from politics altogether.

I started thinking about this in the aftermath of Mitt Romney's defeat. The reaction of his evangelical supporters really struck me.

Several articles I read documented these Christians' utter shock and dread, not to mention their sense that an errant nation had rejected them personally.

To cite just one example, a Nov. 11 Washington Post article followed Beth Cox, a Tennessee pastor's wife and Republican activist, as she dejectedly helped dismantle Romney's campaign headquarters in Hendersonville.

In the words of reporter Eli Saslow, "Cox and many others spent last week grieving not only for themselves and their candidate but also for a country they now believe has gone wildly off track. The days after Barack Obama's reelection gave birth to a saying in Central Tennessee: Once was a slip, but twice is a sign."

A sign to evangelicals that the United States is damned beyond redemption.

As Saslow's article explained, Cox felt that "in a single election night, parts of her country had legalized marijuana, approved gay marriage and resoundingly re-elected a president who she worried would 'accelerate our decline.'"

Other news articles recorded similar sentiments elsewhere.

Maybe this was just post-election blues. Maybe some of these same evangelicals are already feeling refreshed and gearing up for the next partisan fight.

But at least in the immediate aftermath of the election, their rhetoric reminded me of a previous period in evangelical history: the 1920s.

For much of the 1800s and early 1900s, white evangelicals ranked among the more potent of political forces. But generally not of conservative forces.

Yes, my friends, believe me or not, evangelicals started their American (and British) political careers as bleeding-heart do-gooders on the avant-garde of the left.

For well over a century, they mightily and successfully championed every liberal cause imaginable: abolition of slavery, women's rights, prison reform, government-funded public education, child labor laws, a federal income tax.

They produced fascinating leaders along the way.

By the late 1800s and early 1900s, their shining light was William Jennings Bryan, a brilliant orator, three-time Democratic presidential nominee and Woodrow Wilson's secretary of state.

According to historian and journalist Garry Wills in Under God: Religion and American Politics, Bryan's presidential campaigns still rank as "the most leftist mounted by a major party's candidate in our entire history."

However, the same theological system — a strict reading of the Bible — that led Bryan and others to struggle on behalf of the poor and dispossessed also motivated them to a nearly obsessive opposition to Darwin's theory of evolution, which they believed devalued individual human lives and would lead to the oppression of society's weakest members.

This wasn't as cockeyed as you might assume. In Bryan's day, biological Darwinism had given rise to social Darwinism, a movement that claimed natural selection meant some people were more fit than others to rule or even to live. Social Darwinism was, even then, birthing such philosophies as Nazism.

For evangelicals, evolution gradually became the chief evil. They grew hysterical about it almost to the exclusion of all else.

Caught up in their own rhetoric and fervor, they misjudged the shifting direction of the larger culture.

This culminated with the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. Anti-evolution forces, led by Bryan, won a technical victory against the teaching of evolution in Tennessee's schools — but suffered a degrading rout in the court of public opinion, where they were ridiculed mercilessly by defense lawyer Clarence Darrow, journalist H. L. Mencken and the national media.

It was a watershed moment.

Blind-sided, humiliated and crushed by this derision, evangelicals fled the arena en masse. They gave up on politics and on the rest of the country.

Individuals still voted, of course, or occasionally ran for local office, but as a major political force, white evangelicals disappeared.

They weren't heard from again for a half-century.

(In the meantime, black evangelicals had successfully led the civil rights movement. But that's another story.)

Then, in 1979, the Rev. Jerry Falwell reactivated white evangelicals with his Moral Majority, reinventing them as — get this — the bedrock of the Religious Right.

Talk about your historic ironies.

In any case, current evangelicals have, over a few decades, managed to do almost exactly what evangelicals a century ago did: in a world abundant with causes to champion, they've hitched their wagons to just two, opposing abortion and gay marriage. These are practically their only issues.

Societal trends being what they appear to be, evangelicals are certain to lose on both. Whether you find this outcome good or bad is largely irrelevant; it simply is. Evangelicals will lose. Both those trains have left the station.

And as white evangelicals become gradually more aware they've lost, my guess is that, like their forebears, they'll throw up their hands and walk away, praying for God's wrath to consume those whose opinions differ from theirs.

Read more here:


Saturday, November 24, 2012



Friday, November 23, 2012



Thursday, November 22, 2012


The text of Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation follows:

October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States
A Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln



Wednesday, November 21, 2012





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Real Reasons The GOP Lost In 2012.

The Real Reasons the GOP Lost in 2012
By Brad Bannon

Last week, Republicans lost a golden opportunity to win the White House. The GOP also lost two seats in the Senate when there were many more Democratic seats up for grabs than Republican ones. The GOP retained control of the House of Representatives but nationally more voters actually supported Democratic House candidates. Please forgive the length of this post. There are so many Republicans to blame and so little space.

Rush Limbaugh

Defeat had a thousand GOP fathers, so I don't know where to start. Limbaugh is a good place. The Republican rout was not a fluke. Limbaugh was part of the team effort that helped Democrats hang on to the White House and the Senate. Limbaugh and his "ditto heads" set the tone for the Republican Party. Due to his visibility, Rush, not John Boehner, is the de facto leader of the GOP. Republicans need a Sister Souljah moment and a prominent Republican needs to take Limbaugh on to make the party more attractive to moderate voters and to save the GOP.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

Mitch McConnell

The Senate minority leader was the biggest loser who was not on the ballot. He blew his chance for the second straight time to run the Senate, because of the Tea Party candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin. The two unsuccessful Senate candidates played the parts that Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle played in 2008. McConnell also failed in his own priority, which was to deny the president re-election. Since he failed in job no. 1, it's no wonder that he whiffed on his secondary goal, which was to work with the president to create jobs. The senior senator from Kentucky runs for re-election in 2014 and it would be fitting if a Tea Party candidate takes the minority leader out in the GOP primary and a Democrat wins the seat.

The Tea Party

The Tea Party gave us Richard Mourdock in Indiana and Todd Akin in Missouri. The Tea Party also drove Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine out of the politics and she took any hope of GOP control of the Senate with her. You would think that some Republicans would have already taken on the Tea Party and pushed it aside. In 2010, the Tea Party produced Sharron "Second Amendment remedies" Angle of Nevada and Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell of Delaware and killed the GOP's chance to control the Senate then. It will be interesting to see if a Republican leader challenges the Tea Party before the midterm Senate elections in 2014. The president's party usually does poorly in the sixth year of his presidency, so the GOP will get another shot. But the GOP and the Tea Party will probably piss away this opportunity too, and make Harry Reid majority leader for life.

Karl Rove

The Koch brothers would have done better investing their money with Bernie Madoff. The GOP's failure to flip the White House and the U.S. Senate means American Crossroads was a flop. Turd Blossom's (George W. Bush's nickname for Rove, not mine) groups spent more than $170 million and he directed 98 percent of the money to losing Republican candidates. Republican strategist Rick Tyler described Rove's operation as a "colossal failure." My guess is that Rove is still in the Fox News Channel studio trying to convince Megyn Kelly and Michael Barone that Romney will win Ohio.

Religious Right

Their fanatical opposition to abortion led Republicans to make rape a campaign issue. Attacking the victims of sexual violence became part of the GOP brand and was a stone cold loser for the party. The success of socially liberal ballot measures means trouble for fundamentalists. Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington approved gay marriage. Voters in Colorado and Washington legalized pot. Things will get even worse for the religious right as the socially liberal millennial generation becomes a bigger and bigger voting bloc.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Donald Trump.]

Older White Males

The first 12 years of this of this century—not the 1960s—represented the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. After ruling the roost for the last few hundred years in the United States, older white guys are losing traction. (Disclaimer, I'm an older white guy.) They overwhelmingly supported John McCain and Mitt Romney but that wasn't enough to defeat the nation's first black president. The power of older white voters will continue to decline as the fast growing young Latino population becomes a larger share of the electorate.

Donald Trump

Calling The Donald a loser is like shooting fish in a barrel. His constant questioning of the president's birthplace distracted the GOP from the issue that they should have talked about—the economy. Plus he forgot that "news" means something new. After he built up the announcement that he said would radically shake up the presidential race, he trotted out a $5 million award for anybody who could give him Barack Obama's college grades, an issue that Trump pushed unsuccessfully for months. is circulating a petition that asks Macy's to drop Trump from their TV holiday advertising campaign. Where do I sign?




Monday, November 19, 2012

Secede? Yes! And Please Go NOW! AND I ADD: GOOD RIDDANCE.

Secede? Yes! And Please go NOW!
By Frank Cerabino

Thousands of Floridians have gotten the idea this week that seceding from the United States is the proper reaction to last week's presidential election.

This is good news for me, especially if these foes of tyranny follow through on their rugged individualism by extending their symbolic gesture into action.

It's going to make my commute much easier without having to share the federal interstate highway 95 with freeloading secessionists.

Since President Barack Obama was re-elected -- an outrageous perversion of democracy that ended with the person with the most votes being declared the winner -- online petitions of secession have popped up in more than two dozen states.

Florida's go-it-alone crowd has two petitions to choose from.

There's the "Peacefully grant the State of Florida to withdraw from the United States" petition and the "Petition calling for the Independence for the State of Florida."

The second one appears on a Web page featuring the Confederate flag with a "Never Apologize for Being Right" motto. So that one is apparently geared for people who are dismayed at the results of both the 2012 and the 1860 elections.

"Reform is not possible," that petition says. "We must now demand our independence."

Please. Do us a favor. Many of the states where these secession petitions were filed are states that receive more federal assistance than they pay in taxes. So it's a win-win proposition.

Your quest for freedom is our freedom from underachievers.

But I do feel a little sorry for you secessionists and your Founding Bubbas.

It's going to be rough at first, considering that you'll need your own currency, national defense and disaster relief funds. And it will be challenging to grow old without your federal retirement and health care plans.

To wean yourselves off Medicare and Medicaid, you might consider experimenting with leeches, mustard plasters and tincture of opium.

Also, it wouldn't be fair for you to still take advantage of all that tyrannical federal support of education.

And you're going to need some educating. One of the Florida petitions, the non-Confederate one, was apparently written by somebody sorely in need of a Pell grant.

"We therefore as free men and women of our great state do believe that it is time to take matters upon ourselves to ensure our continued freedom, and to enact our own laws and here buy govern ourselves without the federal government's involvement in our internal matters from this day forward," it says.

I hereby declare that you here should buy into the idea of a more perfect union of your secession language with the English language.

But go, please go. You can always bone up on English while you're trying to protect your sovereign citizens from the next flu pandemic.

Many of the people who signed the Florida petition for secession live in other states.

Knock it off. You're only allowed to secede from your own state. And what you're doing is unnecessary.

Because Florida has proven over the years that it doesn't need outside help in embarrassing itself.

Read more here:




"In the formation of our constitution the wisdom of all ages is collected -- the legislators are antiquity are consulted, as well as the opinions and interests of the millions who are concerned. It short, it is an empire of reason."

-- Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

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Sunday, November 18, 2012



Saturday, November 17, 2012



Friday, November 16, 2012

Fooled, Again!


Thursday, November 15, 2012



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Andrew Kohut: The GOP Might Be Out Of Step With Some Voters, But Mitt Romney Was An Unusually Unpopular Party Standard-Bearer.

Misreading Election 2012 The GOP might be out of step with some voters, but Mitt Romney was an unusually unpopular party standard-bearer.

Postelection talk of "lessons learned" is often exaggerated and misleading, and so it is in 2012.

A week after President Obama won re-election, two themes are dominant. First, that Mr. Obama kept his job because key elements of his base—notably young people, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans—turned out for him. Second, that the growing size of these voting blocs represents a decisive challenge for the Republican Party.

Both points are true, but most observers are overstating the gravity of the GOP's problem. In particular, they are paying too little attention to how weak a candidate Mitt Romney was, and how much that hurt Republican prospects.

Here is what the exit poll found. Mr. Romney's personal image took a hard hit during the primary campaign and remained weak on election day. Just 47% of exit-poll respondents viewed him favorably, compared with 53% for Mr. Obama. Throughout the campaign, Mr. Romney's favorable ratings were among the lowest recorded for a presidential candidate in the modern era. A persistent problem was doubt about his empathy with the average voter. By 53% to 43%, exit-poll respondents said that Mr. Obama was more in touch than Mr. Romney with people like themselves.

Mr. Romney was never fully embraced by Republicans themselves, which may have inhibited the expected strong Republican turnout. Pew's election-weekend survey found Mr. Romney with fewer strong supporters (33%) than Mr. Obama (39%). Similarly, a much greater percentage of Obama supporters (80%) than Romney supporters (60%) told Pew that they were voting for their candidate rather than against his opponent.

Surprisingly, Mr. Romney proved unable to exploit Mr. Obama's biggest weakness: the economy. Seventy-six percent of exit-poll respondents rated the national economy "poor" or only "fair," and just 25% said their finances were better off than they were four years ago. Yet voters expressed roughly equal confidence in Mr. Obama's ability to handle the economy (48%) as in Mr. Romney's (49%).

Mr. Romney was hurt by the perception—reinforced by Democratic attack ads and his secretly recorded comments about the "47%"—that he wasn't for the average voter. With 55% of voters in the exit poll saying they think the U.S. economic system favors the wealthy, a large majority believed that Mr. Obama's policies favor the middle class (44%) or the poor (31%). By contrast, 53% thought Mr. Romney's policies would favor the rich.

Despite their weak candidate, Republicans increased their share of the presidential vote among many major demographic groups. Compared with 2008, they made significant gains among men (four percentage points), whites (four points), younger voters (six points), white Catholics (seven points) and Jews (nine points). Mr. Romney also carried the independent vote 50% to 45%. Four years ago, independents voted for Mr. Obama 52% to 44%.

Republicans can take some solace from these gains. In addition, only 43% of voters this year said they wanted an activist government (compared with 52% in 2008), and 49% continued to disapprove of Mr. Obama's health-care law (compared with 44% approving).

In short, the current American electorate is hardly stacked against the Republican Party. But Republicans should recognize that, on balance, Americans remain moderate—holding a mix of liberal and conservative views. They generally believe that small government is better and that ObamaCare is bad. But the exit poll shows that 59% believe abortion should be legal, 65% support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and a surprising plurality support legalizing same-sex marriage in their states.

Threading the ideological needle with this electorate is vital for the Republicans in the future—and for the Democrats, too.

— Mr. Kohut is president of the Pew Research Center.

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Those who persecute Jews for crucifying our Lord Jesus Christ need to quit doing so and get a REAL life, for real!

Jesus was killed by The ancient Roman, Pontius Pilate, at the behest of SOME Pharisees and Scribes, chief among them, Caiaphas.

Also, Included in this group of malcontents are those in the angry mob who shouted "crucify Him" and "give us Barabbas"!!

So the most these Jews can be guilty of is being accessories to Jesus' murder, but not for His murder!!

And remember who attempted to evade all blame for the dastardly deed by washing his hands?

If ALL Jews are forever guilty of Jesus' death, then ALL White people, are guilty of the Holocaust and other killings, such as Emmitt Till and the Clvil Rights workers in Mississippi and all the lynchings of Black people, et cetera, et cetera and et cetera!!!

You get my drift?

Now what logical sense does that make, eh?

Well, NONE, I tell ya!!!!




Tuesday, November 13, 2012


‘People Are Afraid of Change’
Republicans got complacent. Now it’s time to rethink.

President Obama did not lose, he won. It was not all that close. There was enthusiasm on his side. Mitt Romney’s assumed base did not fully emerge, or rather emerged as smaller than it used to be. He appears to have received fewer votes than John McCain. The last rallies of his campaign neither signaled nor reflected a Republican resurgence. Mr Romney’s air of peaceful dynamism was the product of a false optimism that, in the closing days, buoyed some conservatives and swept some Republicans. While GOP voters were proud to assert their support with lawn signs, Democratic professionals were quietly organizing, data mining and turning out the vote. Their effort was a bit of a masterpiece; it will likely change national politics forever. Mr. Obama was perhaps not joyless but dogged, determined, and tired.

Apart from those points, everything in my blog post of Nov. 5 stands.

So what does it all mean?

It’s hard to improve on the day-after summation of the longtime conservative activist Heather Higgins, of Independent Women’s Voice: “A majority of the American people believe that the one good point about Republicans is they won’t raise taxes. However they also believe Republicans caused the economic mess in the first place and might do it again, cannot be trusted to care about cutting spending in a way that is remotely concerned about who it hurts, and are retrograde to the point of caricature on everything else.” She notes that in exit polls Republicans won the “Who shares your values?” question but lost on the more immediately important “Who cares about people like you?” “So it makes sense that many . . . are comfortable with the Republicans providing a fiscal brake in the House, while having the Democrats ‘who care’ own the Senate and the Presidency. And that is what we got.”

Ms. Higgins wasn’t happy with it but accurately reported it

It is and has been a proud Republican assumption—a given, a faith—that we are a center-right country and, barring extraordinary circumstances, will tend to return to our natural equilibrium. That didn’t happen this time, for reasons technical, demographic and I think attitudinal: The Democrats stayed hungry and keenly alive to the facts on the ground. The Republicans worked hard but were less clear-eyed in their survey of the field. America has changed and is changing, culturally, ethnically—we all know this. Republican candidates and professionals will have to put aside their pride, lose their assumptions, and in the future work harder, better, go broader and deeper.

We are a center-right country, but the Republican Party over the next few years will have to ponder again what center-right means. It has been noted elsewhere that the Romney campaign’s economic policies more or less reflected the concerns of its donor base. Are those the immediate concerns of the middle and working classes? Apparently the middle class didn’t think so. The working class? In a day-after piece, Washington Post reporters Scott Wilson and Philip Rucker wrote: “As part of his role, [Paul] Ryan had wanted to talk about poverty, traveling to inner cities and giving speeches that laid out the Republican vision for individual empowerment. But Romney advisers refused his request to do so, until mid-October, when he gave a speech on civil society in Cleveland. As one adviser put it, ‘The issues that we really test well on and win on are not the war on poverty.’“

That is the authentic sound of the Republican political operative class at work: in charge, supremely confident, essentially clueless.

It matters when you show people you care. It matters when you’re there. It matters when you ask.

The outcome was not only a re-election but on some level and to some degree a rejection.

Some voted for Mr. Obama because he’s a Democrat and they’re Democrats, some because he is of the left and they are of the left. But some voters were saying: “See the guy we don’t like that much, the one presiding over an economy we know is bad and spending policies we know are damaging? The one who pushed through the health-care law we don’t like, and who can’t handle Washington that well? Well, we like that guy better than you.”

That’s why this election is a worse psychic blow for Republicans than 2008, when a confluence of forces—the crash, dragged-out wars, his uniqueness as a political figure—came together to make Barack Obama inevitable.

But he was not inevitable after the past four years. This election was in part a rejection of Republicanism as it is perceived by a sizeable swath of the voting public.

Yes, Mitt Romney was a limited candidate from a limited field. Yes, his campaign was poor. It’s also true that the president was the first in modern history to win a second term while not improving on his first outing. He won in 2008 by 9.5 million votes. He won Tuesday night, at last count, by less than three million.


Many things would have propelled Mr. Obama to victory, but one would be a simple bias toward stability, toward what already is. People are anxious, not as hopeful as they were. Two memories. One was a late-summer focus group of mothers who shop at Wal-Mart. One asked, paraphrasing, “If we pick Romney, does that mean we have to start over again?” Meaning, we’ve had all this drama since 2008, will that mean we’re back at the beginning of the crash and have to dig out all over again? The other is a young working mother in Brooklyn, a member of an evangelical church, who told me 10 days ago her friends had just started going for Mr. Obama. Why? “People are afraid of change right now.”

When America is in a terrible economic moment and the political opposition can’t convince people that change might be improvement, then something’s not working.

A big rethink is in order. The Republican Party has just been given four years to do it. They should get going. Now. For clarity they could start with essential, even existential, questions. Why does the party exist? What is its purpose? What is possible for it in the new America? How can it prosper politically while leading responsibly?

From there, the practical challenges. Some of these are referred to as “the woman problem” or “the Hispanic problem”—they presumably don’t like the GOP. But maybe they think the GOP doesn’t like them. What might be the reasons?

Those who say no change is needed, who suggest the American people just have to get with the program, are kidding themselves and talking in an echo chamber. What will they do if the same party comes forward in 2016 to the same result?

The great challenge for the Republican Party now is how to change its ways without changing its principles. Its principles are right and have long endured because they’re right. But do all the party’s problems come down to inadequate marketing, faulty messaging, poor candidates? Might some of it be policies, stands, attitudes?

That will be a subject here in the future. For now, in politics as in life, you have to play the hand you’re dealt. You have to respect reality. Which is where conservatism actually starts, seeing what is real.



Good riddance to Mitt Romney

On Tuesday night, as I watched the election returns roll in, there were moments of great joy – but one of the happiest moment came after the losing candidate delivered his concession speech and disappeared through the backstage curtains at the Boston Convention Center. I realized at that moment that I would likely never again have to write or even, for that matter, think about Mitt Romney.

Now, I understand that, as a general rule, you don’t hit a guy when he’s down. Romney suffered a crushing defeat, one that according to aides he was completely unprepared for.

But at the end of the day, Romney’s campaign should be assessed in the most accurate possible manner. Its failings should not be sugarcoated or glossed over. Instead, it should be described precisely as it was: One of the most cynical, dishonest and disreputable presidential campaigns in modern American history.

From the Republican primaries to practically the final days of his failed presidential campaign, Romney was either blatantly lying about his opponent’s record, adopting policy positions of convenience that ran counter to his past positions, regularly misleading Americans about his own plans or stirring racial acrimony. I don’t feel sorry that Romney lost on Tuesday night; I feel sorry that a great nation had to be subjected to his presidential campaign.

Think I’m being too harsh? Well, harken back to the GOP primaries and the ad run by Romney ran against Rick Perry. It attacked Perry for allowing illegal immigrants to attend Texas state universities and then used a supporting statement from former Mexican President Vincente Fox as a bludgeon to castigate Perry – as if being endorsed by Mexico’s president were a scarlet letter.

Over the summer, he produced an ad attacking President Obama for lifting work requirements for those on welfare – a charge that not only wasn’t true but was almost certainly intended to promulgate the notion that Obama was providing government benefits to people who didn’t work. Anyone who questions the racial implications of this charge is severely unfamiliar with decades of Republican welfare politics.

Later, when toxic curmudgeon and Romney campaign surrogate John Sununu went on television and insinuated that Obama needed to “learn how to be a real American” he wasn’t upbraided by the Romney campaign - he was sent back out on television to make such cheery arguments like the only reason Colin Powell endorsed Obama was because they both were black.

Then there was the “you didn’t build it” charge – an out-of-context statement uttered by Obama but in the hands of Romney and his minions became proof positive that Obama hates the free market and entrepreneurship.

This was all at pace with Romney’s regular assaults on the truth, such as his oft-repeated charge that Obamacare would lead to government-run health care; that the President had doubled the deficit; that he intended to cut more than $700 billion from Medicare; or that Obama had ventured on a global apology tour. All were untrue, but none of this stopped Romney from repeating them over and over and over again on the campaign trail.

Indeed, Romney finished his campaign on yet another lie – an ad claiming that Chrysler was intending to move its Jeep production to China. Once again, even after being called out by reporters who pointed out that the assertion wasn’t true, Romney was unfazed – as he ran another radio ad that made the exact same false charge.

Now to be fair, President Obama had his share of truth-stretching assertions, but it was hardly endemic to his campaign. For Romney, daily assaults on the truth were not simply par for the course; they were reflective of his campaign’s overall political strategy. Over the past several years, conservatives have created their own alternate reality with their own set of “facts” about President Obama and the federal government. Romney regularly fanned the flames of conservative delusion, recognizing that an angry, misinformed yet enthusiastic GOP electorate was key to his political aspirations. It was a cynical ploy – and in the hands of a more competent politician it might actually have succeeded.

Finally, there was Romney’s extraordinary and unprecedented refusal to engage in traditional campaign transparency. He never released his tax returns. He refused to reveal the names of people who raised money on behalf of his campaign. He was even less forthright about his plans of he were to be elected. The cornerstone of his economic plan was a proposal for a 20% across-the-board tax cut, which he claimed would not explode the deficit and would be paid for by closing loopholes and capping deductions. Never once did he detail what those loopholes or deductions might be.

Quite simply, Romney and his campaign were simply allergic to truth, veracity and openness.

Now as Romney fades off into the sunset he will likely be little remembered. Democrats feel no affection toward him, but neither do Republicans. Romney was a distinctly unloved presidential nominee. During the GOP primaries he was forced into a protracted political struggle against a motley collection of cranks, also-rans and mediocrities. In the end Republicans accepted him as the party standard bearer because frankly they didn’t have much of a choice.

He was just a means to an end for Republicans desperate to defeat the President they hated, a warm body that if he was lucky enough to win the presidency could sign the legislation they pined to enact.

Beyond that, Republicans had little use for Mitt Romney.

Like Michael Dukakis in 1988, Romney will almost certainly fade into political oblivion, rarely to be heard from again in the realm of national politics. In the end, I’d like to feel a little sorry for a man who suffered such a public defeat and humiliation. But sometimes in life, you get what you deserve.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Lack Of Diversity Among Kentucky Elected; Both Parties Must Do Soul-Searching.

Lack of diversity among Ky. elected; both parties must do soul-searching

Anyone who has been awake the last few days knows that a new, more diverse day is being hailed in American politics.

This presidential election was not primarily decided by white men, as so many have in the past, but by women and people of color.

Commentators credit that shift for re-electing a black president, Barack Obama, and playing a role in sending more women to the U.S. Congress than ever in our history.

In Kentucky, though, we stuck to the original game plan. It would have been hard to do otherwise, since we didn't have a Senate race and not one woman nor one member of a minority group was on the ballot for our six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

There's, of course, a good reason for that. People who run for congressional seats have often gotten there by working up the ladder of elected offices, and in Kentucky not many women or minorities make it past the first rungs.

Although women are a majority both in population in Kentucky and among registered voters, they made up only 15.8 percent of the members of the 2012 state Senate and 20 percent of the House.

Minority officeholders in Kentucky don't do any better.

Although 8 percent of the state population is black, that group claims no U.S. senators or representatives or state constitutional officers, one state senator and five representatives.

A 2009 study by then-Secretary of State Trey Grayson, found no minorities in any county elected positions other than magistrates (three).

Remarkably, this is something of an improvement. This year, Kentucky ranked only 38th in the percentage of women in the state legislature, up from 47th in 2008.

But it's not good enough. As national results indicate, we will be left behind if we continue to rely on a white-male minority to provide the time, energy and intelligence to guide our communities and the state into a better future.

Perhaps the most crippling force holding our state back is poverty, a plague visited disproportionately on women and racial minorities.

The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey reports that women in the Kentucky work force make on average about $10,000 a year less than men (41,691 compared to 31,362) for full-time, year-round work.

Over half of single-parent families in Kentucky headed by women with young children in the household live in poverty.

So, many, if not all of the economic issues being debated in state houses and the national Capitol can be termed women's issues. Access to education good jobs, health care and day care all go directly to the ability of these women to provide for their families.

A number of organizations work diligently to increase the representation of women and racial minorities in our public life. Clearly, they have had some positive impact, but more needs to be done.

As the national Republican Party contemplates its failures with women and minorities, both parties in Kentucky should take this opportunity for some serious soul-searching.

As individuals, we should all keep in mind the messages we're sending to children about who has the capacity to lead.

Read more here:


The Five People Who Won The Election For [POTUS Barack] Obama.

The Five People Who Won the Election for Obama
By Michael Moran

Many, many people deserve to be singled out by President Obama for their role in his re-election. Dogged fundraisers, the legion who mobilized his voters on Election Day, countless brave souls who held their own in barroom debates, late-night dorm room arguments, and dinner-table squabbles all over America.

But my list is a little different. Today, I salute the true drivers of opinion, men and women who deserve a shout out for driving people to the polls—and driving them away, that is, from the scarier aspects of the GOP platform.

1. Sheriff Joe:

Topping this list—first among equals, really—is Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sadly, the “Adios Arpaio” movement led by the county’s Latino population failed. So Arpaio rides again, having been re-elected along with Obama on Tuesday night.

If I were Obama, I would be tempted to send some of the proceeds of my best-selling biography to help fund Arpaio’s re-election victory party. (He’d have to send it, of course, because a personal visit by an African-American to them parts is liable to end in a justified search and seizure and Obama in the hoosegow.)

Obama and other Democrats know that the longer Sheriff Joe remains a national figure, and the more his actions jibe with the anti-Hispanic stance of the national Republican Party, the more secure the near lock Democrats have established on the growing Hispanic vote.

As my colleague Matt Yglesias noted Wednesday, this goes deeper than immigration policy. The lack of rapport between Republicans and this country’s most important ethnic bloc is stunning in its depth, and the party’s efforts to address it only made things worse. It’s going to take more than flying into Miami and saying, “Look, I’m having cocktails with a handsome, wealthy right-wing Cuban who may someday be a vice presidential candidate!”

There was a moment during the GOP convention that encapsulated everything Hispanics ran from on Election Day. A Republican delegate from Puerto Rico was introduced and approached the podium, and the imbeciles in the GOP mob harangued her with chants of “USA, USA, USA!” Here’s how Fox News reported, in case you think I’m making this shit up:

A visibly upset Zoraida Fonalledas, Chairwomen of the [GOP Convention’s] Committee on Permanent Organization, was greeted by chants of "USA, USA, USA" when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus introduced her to the convention crowd. The chants kept coming until Priebus stepped back up to the podium and told the delegates to let Fonalledas take care of her business. Just a little bit awkward.
Solo un poco? Adios Arpaio? No, lamentablemente. Pero muchas gracias, Sheriff Jose. Y viva Arpaio!

2. Donald Trump

Just when Mitt’s team had finally managed to lift and shake the might Etch-a-Sketch, The Donald pops up again to remind all of us just how truly crazy the Republican Party has become. His YouTube “Important Announcement” in the last week of the election was classic Trump: low class, low production values, and lowdown and dirty. It also was perfectly timed to turn the stomachs of independents everywhere.

I personally have never understood the reverence this man receives from people. My one contact with him—or with tendrils, more accurately—was as a young Associated Press reporter in the late 1980s. Trump was going bankrupt (he’s always doing that, you know) because he had gambled badly on the Taj Mahal, one of flagship casino properties of Atlantic City, N.J.

Marvin Roffman, a financial analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott Inc., did what he was supposed to do: He pointed out that the Taj might take The Donald down. The Wall Street Journal ran a story, and then my AP colleagues and I started writing about it, too. We got calls from his flaks warning us that we’d be sued if we didn’t stop writing about him. There was no accusation that we were falsifying anything. It was pure, raw politics: I’m big, you’re a bug, I will squish you.

One of my old colleagues, AJ Hostetler, takes up the tale:

The brokerage fired Roffman after he was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying that the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, N.J., which was nearly completed at the time, could suffer financial problems once it opened. After Roffman made his comments, Trump complained to the brokerage and threatened to sue. After writing a letter of apology at the urging of the brokerage, Roffman retracted his apology and was fired.

His predictions proved correct when the Taj Mahal's business fell consistently short of the $1 million a day needed to cover its interest costs and operating expenses. The lavish casino opened in April 1990.

Roffman endured a lot, but he also got a big fat (undisclosed) settlement – as well as the satisfaction of seeing The Donald eat a copious plate of crow when the Taj went bust.

Fast-forward a few decades and you get Trump’s idiotic ranting on YouTube. It must befuddle him that Obama completely ignored the stunt—The Donald is not used to being ignored. But happily, public officials are immune to civil suits, even presidents who were “born in Kenya” (or is it Indonesia?) and thus are an affront to the Constitution. So Trump’s normal modus operandi failed him as thoroughly as his political antennae, and he was forced to appeal to the court of public opinion. I’d say he lost that case, too.

Thanks, Donald. Now keep your hands off the Jersey Shore. I want my bungalows back, and the middle class, too. The last thing we need is another gold-plated condo kingdom for your golf buddies.

3. Ann Coulter

Spare a moment to thank blonde bomb thrower Ann Coulter. Author of seven—count them, seven—New York Times best-sellers. All of them say the same thing: Liberals suck, and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is a liberal. And probably a lazy parasite, and sucks.

They say doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a definition of crazy.

But Ann and her many, many imitators and predecessors made life easier for Obama. “Not looking crazy,” after all, is a whole lot easier than being in a constant state of paranoid, race-baiting, Armageddon-tinged crisis. I’ll concede Obama went a bit too far when he dosed himself with Valium before the first presidential debate. But even that stunt only levelled the playing field briefly for Romney.

Hatred is a powerful foe, but also a very convenient one to have. Not hating requires thought, empathy, reason—all those things Democrats and cheese-eating surrender monkeys are supposed to have in spades, according to Coulter. But hatred on steroids, which is what a good portion of the GOP caucus has come to resemble, not only drives people crazy, it drives votes away.

“But the election was close,” I hear you say. Yes, but consider the facts.

The Democrats had an incumbent president whose race automatically alienated some people, who was forced to do things Americans abhor(bailing out banks, saving bad auto companies) because of the mess he inherited from George W. Bush, and who took two years to realize no one was going to play nice in Washington just because he was a nice guy.

Unemployment averaged above 8 percent for two years. Two unpopular wars raged on, and people (though not Ann Coulter, it should be said) continued to make the case that he wasn’t even American—he was some kind of African Muslim, right?

Against this troubled presidency the Republicans put up a Wall Street guy. A moderate Republican, I believe, would have made mince meat of Obama. But Romney was such a flawed candidate, a gaffe-prone campaigner and plutocrat, that he never really won anyone’s heart. In the end, a measure of this incompetence is that Obama took two states of the Old Confederacy (assuming he gets Florida). He was competitive in North Carolina, Georgia (-8), and even Indiana (-10). Obama also he won the income-tax-protest state of New Hampshire, not to mention Mitt’s “home states” of Michigan and Massachusetts and Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin.

Now, we can’t blame Ann for all of this: She’s had plenty of help. But be true to yourself, cheese eaters. The least you can do is empathize, smile at her, and say, “Thanks.” And maybe buy her eighth book when it comes out: Keep ‘em coming, I say!

4. David Cameron

I’d imagine that this gem of a moment failed to get the coverage in America that it did in the U.K., where I’m living at the moment. But in a campaign where images vastly outweighed substance, I believe it mattered. If nothing else, it put to rest the silly notion that Republicans are somehow “better at foreign policy.”

I’m referring, of course, about Mitt Romney’s bizarre summer holiday to London, Israel, and Poland. The trip was probably designed by a sentient being, sold as a way to bolster Romney’s foreign policy credentials. You could imagine the “strategy session” where someone must have argued that a Republican candidate should find these three places friendly platforms for looking presidential, for reinforcing Romney’s street cred as organizer of a successful Olympic Games (Salt Lake City 2002), and for generally striking presidential poses to get people used to the idea of him replacing Obama as Drone Pilot-in-Chief.

Certainly, the Likudniks of Israel, as well as the right-leaning Civic Platform government ruling Poland right now, and the Tories who currently govern Britain, generally prefer Republicans. But it went badly from the start.

When Romney got off the plane in London and inserted himself directly into the inflammatory debate over security at the upcoming Olympics, the wisdom of making such a trip quickly unravelled. Gaffes followed him from stop-to-stop:

In Israel, he basically said Jews were ethnically superior to Palestinians. This was not merely a diplomatic gaffe dumping on the Palestinians; it also showed Romney and his advisers to be ignorant of a basic fact of Israeli politics: About 44 percent of Israeli Jews are Mizrahi (or Sephardic) and thus ethnically indistinguishable from their Arab neighbors. Both, in effect, are Semites. Not to mention the fact that 20 percent of Israel’s population is Arab.
In Poland, he found that Solidarity leaders wanted nothing to do with him because he supported Scott Walker’s union busting in Wisconsin. (Telling a trade union movement that helped overthrow communism in Europe that they shouldn’t have the right to bargain with their employer probably isn’t the best way to get invited to introduce your policy toward Poland.)

But the true thanks here go to a guy I’ve otherwise been quite hard on for driving Britain back into recession, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. When Romney opined that London wasn’t ready for the Olympics and the security challenges that would ensue, he probably thought it was a good bet that something was going to go wrong and he’d look like Nostradamus in retrospect. In effect, he was wishing for a failure to prove him right.

Instead, London Mayor Boris Johnson put the colonial in his place. And then David Cameron issued the coup d’grace:

“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” the Conservative prime minister told reporters. “Of course, it is easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

Cameron subsequently disinvited Romney from a Cabinet-level meeting during the visit, and throughout the rest of the campaign, in that very so British way, made it clear without ever saying so that he was hoping Obama would win.

Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. (Now loosen up on the austerity already!)

5. Men in Black (and Red)

Yes, my former spiritual stewards in the Catholic hierarchy deserve a mention, too. Their attacks on contraceptives and abortion rights marshalled all the fire and brimstone at their disposal. Oddly, they said virtually nothing about GOP candidates who argued that women who are raped should just shut up and have the baby. (They said nothing about Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, either—but maybe that’s being unfair.)

The Catholic Church is a very big tent—I know, I slipped out of it, altar boy surplice and all, sometime back in the mid-1970s. From the U.S. Conference of Bishops down to pro-life rabble-rousers like the Rev. Frank Pavone, their statements and strangely timed silences left the impression that the official view of the Catholic Church is that women who have an abortion, under any circumstances, will burn in hell.

Oh, wait. That is the official view of the Catholic Church! Mi scusi, padre.

I haven’t seen numbers yet, but I imagine a significant number of Catholic families in America were visited by the gender-gap fairy during this election. It’s one thing to exhort people to try and emulate Jesus and resist sin. That makes sense to me, whatever my doubts about organized religion.

But it’s another altogether to cast someone into the eternal pit because they’ve been raped and don’t want to have the criminal’s child. In parts of the Muslim world, of course, such women are simply stoned to death as assumed to be harlots. I suppose letting them live out their lives in the shadow of eternal damnation is a bit more civilized, but not much.

This puts the U.S. Catholic Church about where it should be in the 21st century. After years of posing as a more progressive wing of the great empire of Rome, the U.S. church finally has landed right where it has belonged for decades: allied with the Koran-burning pastors and angry white men of the far right.

Even after losing my wrestling match with faith all those years ago, my career as a foreign correspondent let me witness up close the many, many self-sacrificing Catholics sheltering the poor from death and starvation around the world. Over the years, the church stood up for the rights of those forgotten by most of us, lent its name to the civil rights movement, fought against nuclear weapons, genocide, and for the dignity of those behind the Iron Curtain and in other totalitarian societies.

But never has the Church managed to embrace the idea that women are equal souls, that their problems and lives deserve slightly different considerations than men. The church fought the idea of women voting a century and a half ago, has kept them out of the priesthood, and believes its College of Cardinals has a better grasp of the moral issues facing a woman than the women themselves.

So thanks, you Cardinal and Bishops, you princes of the church, for your work on the women’s vote.

Honorable Mentions:

Former President George W. Bush for his eight-year imitation of the Hindu God
Shiva, destroying all before him before retiring to Crawford, Texas. His endorsement of Romney was remarkable primarily for the fact that Obama was the only one hoping it would happen.
The Rev. Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla., for supporting Mitt Romney after burning the Koran.
Roger Ailes, impresario of the American right, for letting his network call it for Obama even though his pal Karl Rove nearly had an aneurism.
JP MorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon for proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that America’s largest banks still have no clue (nor any remorse) for the disaster their deregulatory religion has visited upon the country.


Mitt Romney Is President!

Romney Is President

IT makes sense that Mitt Romney and his advisers are still gobsmacked by the fact that they’re not commandeering the West Wing.

(Though, as “The Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver jested, the White House might have been one of the smaller houses Romney ever lived in.)

Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.

Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.

Maybe the group can retreat to a man cave in a Whiter House, with mahogany paneling, brown leather Chesterfields, a moose head over the fireplace, an elevator for the presidential limo, and one of those men’s club signs on the phone that reads: “Telephone Tips: ‘Just Left,’ 25 cents; ‘On His Way,’ 50 cents; ‘Not here,’ $1; ‘Who?’ $5.”

In its delusional death spiral, the white male patriarchy was so hard core, so redolent of country clubs and Cadillacs, it made little effort not to alienate women. The election had the largest gender gap in the history of the Gallup poll, with Obama winning the vote of single women by 36 percentage points.

As W.’s former aide Karen Hughes put it in Politico on Friday, “If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue.”

Some Republicans conceded they were “a ‘Mad Men’ party in a ‘Modern Family’ world” (although “Mad Men” seems too louche for a candidate who doesn’t drink or smoke and who apparently dated only one woman). They also acknowledged that Romney’s strategists ran a 20th-century campaign against David Plouffe’s 21st-century one.

But the truth is, Romney was an unpalatable candidate. And shocking as it may seem, his strategists weren’t blowing smoke when they said they were going to win; they were just clueless.

Until now, Republicans and Fox News have excelled at conjuring alternate realities. But this time, they made the mistake of believing their fake world actually existed. As Fox’s Megyn Kelly said to Karl Rove on election night, when he argued against calling Ohio for Obama: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?”

Romney and Tea Party loonies dismissed half the country as chattel and moochers who did not belong in their “traditional” America. But the more they insulted the president with birther cracks, the more they tried to force chastity belts on women, and the more they made Hispanics, blacks and gays feel like the help, the more these groups burned to prove that, knitted together, they could give the dead-enders of white male domination the boot.

The election about the economy also sounded the death knell for the Republican culture wars.

Romney was still running in an illusory country where husbands told wives how to vote, and the wives who worked had better get home in time to cook dinner. But in the real country, many wives were urging husbands not to vote for a Brylcreemed boss out of a ’50s boardroom whose party was helping to revive a 50-year-old debate over contraception.

Just like the Bushes before him, Romney tried to portray himself as more American than his Democratic opponent. But America’s gallimaufry wasn’t knuckling under to the gentry this time.

If 2008 was about exalting the One, 2012 was about the disenchanted Democratic base deciding: “We are the Ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Last time, Obama lifted up the base with his message of hope and change; this time the base lifted up Obama, with the hope he will change. He has not led the Obama army to leverage power, so now the army is leading Obama.

When the first African-American president was elected, his supporters expected dramatic changes. But Obama feared that he was such a huge change for the country to digest, it was better if other things remained status quo. Michelle played Laura Petrie, and the president was dawdling on promises. Having Joe Biden blurt out his support for gay marriage forced Obama’s hand.

The president’s record-high rate of deporting illegal immigrants infuriated Latinos. Now, on issues from loosening immigration laws to taxing the rich to gay rights to climate change to legalizing pot, the country has leapt ahead, pulling the sometimes listless and ruminating president by the hand, urging him to hurry up.

More women voted than men. Five women were newly elected to the Senate, and the number of women in the House will increase by at least three. New Hampshire will be the first state to send an all-female delegation to Congress. Live Pink or Dye.

Meanwhile, as Bill Maher said, “all the Republican men who talked about lady parts during the campaign, they all lost.”

The voters anointed a lesbian senator, and three new gay congressmen will make a total of five in January. Plus, three states voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, told The Washington Post’s Ned Martel that gays, whose donations helped offset the Republican “super PACs,” wanted to see an openly gay cabinet secretary and an openly gay ambassador to a G-20 nation.

Bill O’Reilly said Obama’s voters wanted “stuff.” He was right. They want Barry to stop bogarting the change.

Editor's comment:Mitt Romney is a lying, opportunistic PHONY, snake oil salesman, who led a cabal of some angry NEANDERTHAL White men (and some angry women, too) to near ruination.



To My Fellow Republicans: Please Quit Trying To Turn My Party Into The Party For The TALIBAN To Be Proud Of. Enough Already!




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Words To Live By, Words To Ponder, And Words Of Wisdom.

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.

-- My hero, Abraham Lincoln

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Sunday, November 11, 2012


Saturday, November 10, 2012




Friday, November 09, 2012

CONDI RICE: "GOP Clearly Losing Important Segments Of The Electorate". OK, GOP IDIOTS WILL START CALLING HER A RINO NOW!

GOP ‘clearly losing important segments’ of the electorate, Condoleezza Rice says
Reuters and Associated Press

Condoleezza Rice has entered the growing debate over the future of the Republican Party fueling growing speculation the former Secretary of State may herself run as a presidential candidate in 2016.

Rice claimed the party must adapt better to rapidly changing demographics in the United States, saying the GOP sent “mixed messages” in the election campaign on immigration and women’s issues.

Rice told CBS This Morning the changing face of America “really necessitates” new thinking. She says, quote, “When you send mixed messages, sometimes people hear only one side of that.” Rice says the GOP came close to matching the Democrats in the popular vote. But she also acknowledges that “clearly we are losing important segments” of the electorate. Rice adds that the party needs to “appeal to those groups.”

Rice says she wouldn’t be interested in succeeding Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, even if asked to do so by President Barack Obama.

Time MagazineCondoleezza Rice posed for a photograph in Time's 2016 politicians to watch photo essay.

Tuesday’s decisive win by Obama highlighted how population shifts — ethnic and generational — have buoyed Democrats while forcing Republicans to rethink their message.

Without recasting their core message and actively trying to expand their base beyond older mostly white Americans, conservatives could struggle even more in future elections as the nation’s population incorporates more Latinos, Asians and other minorities as well as young voters, analysts said.

First-time voters, including many young people and immigrants, favored the president by large margins, while older voters leaned to Republican Mitt Romney, Reuters/Ipsos Election Day polling showed.

Although Rice has not said if she has any further political aspirations, her name has often been thrown around as a potential 2016 presidential candidate for the Republican party. Notably, she was part of a Time Magazine‘s “TIME’s Class of 2016: The Political Leaders to Watch“ which, essentially, laid out the current top contenders for the 2016 race, including Hillary Clinton.

National Post GraphicsClick here to see a detailed breakdown of who voted for Obama

Obama won an estimated 66% of the Hispanic vote, according to Reuters/Ipsos election day polling, at a time when the Latino population is growing rapidly in states such as Florida, one of eight or so politically divided states that were crucial in the presidential race. Other estimates put Obama’s share of the Hispanic vote above 70%.

“The nonwhite vote has been growing — tick, tick, tick — slowly, steadily. Every four-year cycle the electorate gets a little bit more diverse. And it’s going to continue,” said Paul Taylor of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

“This is a very powerful demographic that’s changing our politics and our destiny,” Taylor said, adding that the number of white voters is expected to continue to decline a few points in each future election cycle.

Data has shown for years that the United States is poised to become a “majority minority” nation — with whites a minority of the country — over the next several decades. But Tuesday’s results highlighted the political impact.

About 80% of blacks, Latinos and other nonwhite voters cast their ballots for Obama on Tuesday compared with less than 17 percent for Romney, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. Obama also won about 63% of total voters age 18 to 34.

Overall, Romney won nearly 57% of the white vote compared with 41% for Obama, the polling data showed. The vast majority of votes cast for Romney came from white voters.

Demographer William Frey said that division is troubling.

Karl Rove says Obama won by ‘suppressing the vote,’ many Republicans blame Rove himself

Nate Silver’s book sales jump 850% after the NYT statistician predicts outcomes in 49 of 50 states

Matt Gurney: God save Canada from the pro-drug wasteland of America

The United States has long history of racial divide stemming from its roots in slavery and including the civil rights battles of the 1960s.

“We still are a country that’s kind of divided, and a lot of that fissure in the population tends to be based in race and age and ethnicity,” said Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. “There’s kind of a dangerous result in this election when we see older whites moving in one direction and younger minorities moving in another direction.”

Frey said he sees the gap less as racism and more as a cultural generation gap.

“It’s a little bit of a warning sign that we need to pay attention to,” he said.