Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Diagnosis: Norquist Blindness

I announce here today, in the pages of this august journal, a new and persistent medical condition.

It seems to affect those primarily on the far right, although can also be seen in some hastily assembled, deadline driven reports by media.

The condition: Norquist Blindness.

Primary symptoms:

1) A compulsive need to utter the phrase:

"I don't understand how Democrats can expect to reduce the deficit based only on raising the taxes of the super rich. Even if we raised the taxes of every member of the top 1% of the nation's wealthy, we would not be able to cover even a fraction of the deficit", or some variant thereof.

2) A complete, utter, persistent blindness to the fact that Democrats have repeatedly stated that both spending cuts and tax cuts are necessary as a solution to the fiscal cliff.

For example, as noted by the New York Times, Obama has said he will not sign any bill that extends the tax cuts for the rich but wants legislation that extends the tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or less. That alone would be enough to mitigate the economic impact of the fiscal cliff.  He has signaled he will accept changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as part of that last portion of savings.

3) An inability to absorb or retain new information if it contains statements by Democrats that they are seeking both tax cuts and spending cuts.


Co-occurring Obsessive-compulsive hoarding; bonds, stock certificates, cash selectively obstructing eardrums; secondary gain via payment for maintaining symptomatic behavior.


Recent epidemiological studies indicate that the occurrence of Norquist Blindness has shown a sharp, significant decrease beginning in November, 2012.

Prospective modeling research indicates that the falloff of Norquist blindness should continue, until it has been entirely extinguished in the upcoming year.

Scientists may wish to preserve samples of the disorder in a bathtub in order for future medical historians to be able to suitably examine the disease.

Norquist Tacks

Norquist, becoming concerned about his own increasing irrelevance, is now attempting to say that the current debate will have nothing to do with him, in an attempt to preserve his own imaginary domain.

One day before, he was threatening various members that exactly such actions would lead to their defeat by actions taken by ATR.

Now, as reality spreads, and is becoming viral, the air begins to flatulate out of the loose bag that is Norquist, and he says--ah, well, nothing to do with me.

Truth-revealing, a child playing sadly in the sand.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Grover and the "People"

The fact that Norquist incessantly states that his pledge is not to "him" but to "the people" is one of the more repellent of the obvious and self-serving aspects of his protection scheme.

The fact that members of Congress are elected to represent the people means that they do not require an external pledge to make decisions. Rather, such a pledge binds those very representative actions through a nakedly coercive, parasitic contrivance: Receive funding from corporate sponsors who wish to have their interests protected; Use this funding to purchase mailing lists; and threaten to blanket the districts of those who refuse to submit to the pledge with a blizzard of negative advertising.

Grover takes his cut, and corporate investments receive their return, as the nation's representatives of the people are faced with a political protection racket.  This wedging of himself between the interests of corporations and the legitimate functions of government in parasitic fashion is what Norquist himself regards as his "entrepreneurial genius."  It acts against the people, who have chosen these representatives to act on their behalf as they fit.

It is, however, entirely consistent with Norquist's prior "entrepreneurship," such as, as detailed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs his organization, ATR, serving as a pass through to hide the origins of funds defrauded from Indian tribes by Jack Abramoff, and passed onto Ralph Reed. 

Sourcewatch reports that:

"Abramoff and partner Scanlon are alleged to have conspired with Washington power broker Grover Norquist and Christian activist Reed to co-ordinate lobbying against his own clients and prospective clients with the objective of forcing them to engage Abramoff and Scanlon to lobby against their own covert operations...Reed repeatedly denied knowing the source of the funds used to campaign against the casinos until prosecutors released emails exchanged between Reed and Abramoff. According to e-mails, Reed and Norquist contacted Abramoff separately in 1999 to say they wanted to do business. Norquist complained about a "$75K hole in my budget from last year." Reed said he was counting on Abramoff 'to help me with some contacts.'"

In 2000, Abramoff warned Reed on February 7 that an initial payment for antilottery radio spots and mailings would be less than Reed thought. 'I need to give Grover something for helping, so the first transfer will be a bit lighter,' Abramoff wrote. The transfer was apparently lighter than even Abramoff expected. In a note to himself on February 22, Abramoff wrote, 'Grover kept another $25K!' Norquist claims he had permission.
Grover always has the slight look of pride and disbelief that he's getting away with it, though covered over with with efforts to hold up self-indoctrination and justification against what he knows to be a scheme, and insipid, childish smugness to indirect away from the essential illusory nature of his emperor-has-no-clothes contrivance and connivance.

Norquist is now aiming smug, contemptuous threats at those who have realized that taking the pledge has become a political liability. His desperate, at times scatological ("poopyhead") phrasing reveals the essential childish nature of the scheme; the threats reveal the inability to actually consider a larger good than his own barely justified, utterly self-serving racket.

The fact that the Republican Party is recognizing that Norquist harms their political interests means that Norquist will soon become a political curiosity; in a perfect irony, small enough to fit in his bathtub.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BREAKING: West Concedes


"Florida Republican Rep. Allen West conceded to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy Tuesday morning, wrapping up one of the highest-profile and most expensive House races in the country."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Allen West Won't Lose: Suggestions for Further Statements Other Than "I Lost" Based On His Prior Commentary

Rep. Allen West (R) has lost his reelection attempt in Florida, having been defeated by Chris Murphy (D).

The result has Murphy winning by 2,146 votes. This is a margin of 0.58 percent, beyond the requirement of .50 percent necessary by state law to trigger an automatic recount.

West nonetheless refused to accept the results.

He called for a recount in one county, St. Lucie.

The results of this recount showed that West had now fallen behind by a greater number of votes. His margin of defeat was now .65 percent.

The West campaign still refused to accept the results.

In response to a statement by the Murphy campaign that it was now time for West to do the right thing and to concede, a spokesman for the West campaign responded, diplomatically, that “As usual, Murphy's people are full of garbage."

Given West's continuing refusal to acknowledge the democratic will of the people, we provide further characteristic statements for West's use in responding to the nation's electoral process.

To provide the full degree of Westian verisimilitude, we have based these on West's own, most famed, prior statements and national commentary (annotated):

'Mr. Murphy, you are not a man, therefore shall not be afforded due respect from me! 1 Take your message of having repeatedly proven that you have won more votes that I have, and get the hell out! You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America. 2

I must confess that when I see anyone with a Murphy for Representative bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool. 3

 We should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled Murphy to win and claim election on the basis of having won the greatest number of votes, and also supported him and applauding him for the efforts. 4 With regard to his recent statement that under Florida law, following the recount, he now legally must be sworn in as Representative, I say: NUTS! 5

With regard to men like Wilson who have not faced the true conflict of battle, I would take such gentlemen over and let them get shot at a few times and maybe they’d have a different opinion. 6

If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine. 7'

Annotations: (Citations via Think Progress) 

(1) “YOU ARE NOT A LADY”: According to Think Progress (TP): "In July 2011, West responded to a perceived slight from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (R-FL) with a fiery letter in which he threatened her and scolded, 'You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!' West later said he had apologized, but Wasserman-Schultz said she had not received one."

(2) TP: "LIBERALS “GET THE HELL OUT”: Speaking at the Palm Beach County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner last month, West said of liberals, 'Take your message of equality of achievement. … You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.'West later tried to walk back the statement, claiming he was only referring to “the message” and not liberals themselves."

(3) TP: “A THREAT TO THE GENE POOL: In a July 2011 post on the website Red Country, West wrote, 'I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.'"

(4)  TP: “WE ALSO SHOULD BE CENSORING THE AMERICAN NEWS AGENCIES: In response to the whistleblower website Wikileaks releasing thousands of pages of diplomatic cables, West declared: 'And I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled [Julian Assange] to do this and also supported him and applauding him for the efforts.' West later claimed he only called for “censuring” the media. Either way, it would be a First Amendment violation."

(5) TP: “NUTS!: West has often clashed with opponents over the issue of Islam. In August 2011, a chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked West to sever ties with anti-Muslim activists. In response, West sent a letter which read only, 'I am writing to you with regard [sic] your recent letter: NUTS!' Why West chose this response is a mystery, although he might have been quoting a World War II general who responded that way when the Nazis told him to surrender."

(6) TP: “LET THEM GET SHOT AT”: In May 2011, the House narrowly defeated a proposal which would have required President Obama to submit a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Of those who voted for the bill, West said, 'I would take these gentlemen over and let them get shot at a few times and maybe they’d have a different opinion.' This was just months after the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords."

(7) TP: "JOSEPH GOEBBELS WOULD 'BE VERY PROUD' OF DEMOCRATS: In December, West told reporters, 'If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.' The link to Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945, drew criticism from several members of Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, and others."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

McCain's Post-Electoral Stress Disorder, Part 2: Buddies

Lindsay Graham is obviously standing by his friend John McCain's burning, aroused, unsatisfied quest for the electoral vengeance of 2008 that he has longed for, and that has burst into a Post- Electoral Stress Disorder, where he seeks--headlong, enraged--to take his nemesis down, Watergate-style.

Graham neatly parsed where he draws the line this morning on 'Meet The Press'--coming out fully in support of his colleague, if with a backdrop of a degree of fearful reluctance as to where dipping his pen in this particular ink might lead, but ultimately coming down with his obviously enraged friend. Some have also suggested that Graham is supporting McCain on this issue to make use of it in his campaign for reelection in 2014.

One can imagine--and in the recent audio of McCain with a producer questioning him about missing a Presidential Benghazi briefing in order to make complaints about not having sufficient information abut Benghazi , one can get a taste of the rage and desire for revenge on McCain's part, one that he has nurtured with persistence over the past four years but now appears to have more uncontrollably erupted.

Lieberman has, in his Rabbinical style, carefully stepped away from this explosion, stating "I respectfully separate myself from my two amigos."

This loss--in a way, McCain's final loss of the 2008 election--is, naturally much to bear.  Let's hope that in the coming days, he allows this to ease into his usual grace, charm, and intellect.

Hilarity Ensues

With loss and demographic changes come changes in immutable philosophies and natural law.

The Party of the "Obama Phone" and ignoring the 47% awakens, in an open, dewy field--refreshed, reborn, brand-new:

Romney adviser Carlos Gutierrez on 'State of the Union' this morning:

Crowley:  "You know what Mitt Romney has said...He was talking to group of donors and talking about the Obama campaign. He said that that 'he (Obama) went out and gave a lot of stuff to people that he hoped would go out and motivate them, specifically the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people, he's talking here about the President's efforts to help those youngsters to who came in with undocumented parents. What do you make of that kind of argument?"

Gutierrez: (The 'Casablanca' reference too obvious to even be acknowledged in his tone): "I was shocked. I was shocked, and, frankly I don't think that's why the Republicans lost the election, why we lost the election. I think we lost the election because the far Right of this Party took us to a place where it doesn't belong. "

"We are the Party of prosperity, of growth, of tolerance! These immigrants who come across, and what they do wrong is they risk their lives, and they work because they want to be part of the American dream. That is what the GOP is!"

Crowley (slightly haltingly, embarrassed at having to phrase with delicacy the obvious): "And you would admit that your candidate said things that were anti-Latino, you yourself said that they (speeding up with emphasis at the sheer undeniability of it) feared the Republican Party and he was the head of it."

Gutierrez: (Over her): "Yeah..."

Crowley: "He failed at that."

Gutierrez: "And...and..that's true, and the unfortunate part, we were just talking about this, I don't know if he understood that he was saying something that was insulting."

Gutierrez is not to blame here, trying to grasp the sides of the gigantic, crumbling hole that Romney has created (though he may be at fault for climbing in with him).

The Kinsleyian definition of a political gaffe--telling the truth--has unmistakeably, unavoidably begun.

Romney likely didn't know that he was saying something insulting, so completely a part of his worldview is the notion that 47% of the nation are stereotypical takers.  

His barely disguised condescension; his willingness to say anything to a group of people whose judgment he held in contempt; his willingness to sell some idea, any idea, no matter how contradictory to the previous one, to win, all reflect his essential understanding of half of the nation: A hurdle, to be traversed by any means necessary, in order to put the ideas that he believed they could never grasp into effect.

He didn't know that people could comprehend his grasping insincerity. He didn't know--in fact, displayed a remarkable invulnerability--to absorbing any such knowledge, despite having intermingled with them, by necessity, for many months.

This remarkable degree of distance from understanding those unlike him--hardened as a personality style, unamenable to actual change throughout the long campaign--shows us with increasing clarity the danger to this nation that we avoided.

Now, as the Republican Party rushes to change the Potemkin storefront,  racing back to cover the rampant, overgrown tangle of its prior efforts to debase, tarnish and diminish; to whip up the base with the most extreme onslaughts--conspiratorial, false, the various manifestations and insinuations of the paranoid style--now, they wish to bring them back--to reality.

I would suggest that they do so gradually.

I suspect that not all will come willingly.

And I believe that what we will be left with is a facade--a smiling face with sharpened teeth, a more seductive pitch to lure the 47%, so blindly, clumsily handled, as if alien, by Romney, to the same place. 

Petraeus and Broadwell: Spoils

The WaPo remarks on whether the "perks" that Petraeus received may have impacted upon his failed behavior. 

People--including the people reading this--will, for the most part, take what they can get, with the amount of justification beforehand sufficient to get it, and with the degree of mental effort afterward sufficient to justify it.

Petraeus seems unremarkable in this respect, and probably many others.

He has filled the American need for a stock figure, a heroic general, at a time when we had no one currently successfully auditioning for that role, and took what he could from the spoils, while cagily managing the perceptions.

Not cagily enough however, to prevent a driven, likely disturbed, likely eating disordered, likely unconsciously motivated to defeat him adversary from mounting his fame to claw her own way to what appeared to be a top.

Her own prior deceits and distortions evidentiary, neither of them come off so well at the end.

Friday, November 16, 2012


This morning, King looked like the cat that had stolen the canary--thrilled and ashamed.

Stirring the pot of the whirlwind, hoping to tar the victors as best as he can.

Susan Rice: Qualifications, Concerns, and Republican's Bitter, Partisan Calumnies

Rice's style is highlighted by a wavering between a dismissive contempt--seen in its most remarkable and revealing form in the unmasked contempt displayed in an interview by Michael Abramowitz at the U.S. Holocaust Museum (, and a defensive anxiety when under direct, pressing questioning.

This seems both puzzling, given her sterling academic credentials, and temperamentally unsuited to the role of Secretary of State, to which Hillary Clinton has brought an increasingly polished, aware, adjusted-to-the-situation gravitas.

Even John Kerry, whose knowledge and experience can be undercut by an interminable ponderousness, would bring a steadiness that is crucial to the role, and that Clinton has mastered with an effectiveness rare in recent memory.

I understand that there are multiple qualifications and reasons for such a choice; but in a role where the translation of national position is often communicated through nuances of intended--or unintended--affect--Rice is particularly unsuited on that critical variable. It is not something that is easily changed.

I admire Rice and her accomplishments greatly. But this issue is, and has been demonstrated to be, incontrovertibly true.

This creates a difficult situation. Republicans, in the sour, bitter antagonisms of loss, seek to take Rice down for reasons that have nothing to do with the above. Their accusations towards Rice are driven, distorted, inaccurate, wrong. The tragi-comedy of John McCain avoiding a briefing on Benghazi in order to voice his own partisan infuriations at a "lack of information" is only one manifestation of this Post-Electoral-Stress-Disorder by Republicans.

And the premature conclusions spilled by Peter King, while consistent with his usual style, also begin with partisanship, rather than with Rice's actions.

Kings ejaculations have been directly contradicted by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, who said after the hearing that Petraeus stated there were two lines of intelligence information were received: that spontaneous protests were occurring that were in response to the anti-Islamic video, and that *after* this, a more organized attack on the Embassy was started.

Rice should be judged on the merits--not, ironically, on partisan "revenge". There are concerns here, however, which, given the very sensitive inter-cultural matters ahead, demand a honed, practiced, in-control temperament that can be directed with intention.  Rice does not demonstrate this, and we will see its consequences if she is selected.

The Contradiction of Peter King

Peter King, who already appeared to have largely reached conclusions regarding what had occurred in Benghazi before Petraeus's testimony this morning, gave conclusions consistent with his consistent anti-Administration bias:

"He now clearly believes that it [the Sept. 11 attack] did not arise out of a demonstration, that it was not spontaneous and it was clear terrorist involvement.”

However, King's statement has been directly contradicted by others in the Petraeus hearing this morning, and by Ambassadorial staff who received the same information as Rice at the time:

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the committee's top Democrat, said after the hearing that Petraeus stated that there were two lines of intelligence information were received: that spontaneous protests were occurring that were in response to the anti-Islamic video, and that *after* this, a more organized attack on the Embassy was started.

At the time that information was communicated to Rice and others, it was believed that the protests were spontaneous, and this was based upon the intelligence information received at that time.

Ambassador Patrick Kennedy confirmed this, stating that he and all Ambassadorial staff had received this same information, and that "if any one of them had appeared on television on Sunday morning, they would have made the same report as Rice did, based on the intelligence that they had received."

Rep. Ruppersberger, after hearing the Petraeus testimony this morning, stated that he was satisfied that the FBI had behaved properly in not notifying the White House or lawmakers about the inquiry sooner, in keeping with post-Watergate rules set up to prevent interference in criminal investigations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Abandon Norquist

Grover Norquist's smug, self-serving reign of opportunistic terror, like that of the "Twilight Zone" child who is given power far beyond his temperamental capacities or basic infantile selfishness, looks to be finally coming to an end.

As reported by The Hill, Republicans are abandoning Norquist's "pledge" in droves, as they recognize in increasing numbers that there is far more electoral power in exposing and castigating Norquist than there has been in blindly cowtowing to his scheme.

Of the Republicans newly elected to the House, a dozen have openly rejected Norquist's "pledge"--an outcome unimaginable just a year ago, but clearly only the beginning of the crest of the wave.

Combined with the incumbent House members who have also recognized that it is in their greater interest to reject the "pledge", the result falls below the number of members necessary for a majority in the House.

The Senate has fallen to only 39 "pledge" holdouts, also far below the number necessary for a majority.

Norquist responded to the curtain being drawn back from his coercive lair in an interview with Norah O'Donnell, in which he provided the incisive and original electoral analysis that he believed Mitt Romney lost to President Obama because, according to Norquist, the President had called Romney a "poopyhead". Yes, Norquist actually said this.

The Hill details Norquist's decreased impact:

Norquist’s diminished clout could have ramifications during intensifying negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff” and a grand bargain on taxes, spending and entitlements that leaders in both parties want to strike in the coming months.

In the wake of President Obama’s reelection, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said Republicans could accept a deal that includes new revenue under certain conditions

Those who have now cast the "pledge" aside come from a wide variety of states. They represent a broad cross-spectrum of electoral positions.

What they share is a desire to no longer be bound by a "pledge." Rather, they intend to act as freely chosen elected representatives of the people.  The Hill:

“I don’t want to sign a pledge that’s going to tie my hands,” Ted Yoho, a GOP congressman-elect from Florida, told The Hill. “I need free rein to do what I think is right for the people in my district and the country.”

Susan Brooks, a newly elected Republican from Indiana, offered a similar explanation on the campaign trail, spokeswoman Dollyne Pettingill Sherman said. “She just took the position that she was not going to sign pledges,” she said. “That doesn’t mean she’s for tax increases. She’s not. She was very clear about it.”
Ignore the frantic man behind the curtain, desperately attempting to retain his posture of smug, pre-adolescent certainty.

The time has come to abandon childish things.

Stewart v. Huckabee: Does an Eternity of Flame Signify Hell Or Unusual Metallurgical Metaphors?

On last night's "Daily Show", Jon Stewart presented guest Mike Huckabee with a commercial that he had voiced during the Presidential campaign.

The ad begins with the image of flames set against a dark, cavernous, dystopian background. The voice begins: "This November, some Christian voters..."

We see that there is a worker submerged in the darkness, laboring with a hammer, and then dipping a forge into the flames.

The voiceover continues "...will be put to the test". The ad then quick cuts to a hand checking a ballot. The voiceover continues:

"Some issues...are not negotiable". The words "not negotiable" then appear against the darkness in bold, golden type.

The voiceover: "The right to life from conception to natural death." Life and death are rendered in the same bold golden type.

The cavern-trapped, flame-licked, darkness immersed dystopian worker now dips the word "marriage" into the flames, as the voice intones:

"Marriage should be reinforced."

Then, there is a close cut that fills the screen entirely with flames.

We see the word "marriage" being consumed by those flames as the voiceover adds: "Not redefined."

The word "freedom" is then dipped by the laborer into the fire that burns in the darkness. The words are spoken and appear on the screen: "It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty for the government to force the choice to buy the kind of insurance that leads to the taking of innocent human life."

The words "violations", "religious liberty" and "human life" are bolded in golden hue. The word "choice" is dimmed--so it can barely be seen.

Quick cut to a woman, in worried thought, walking through the curtain of a voting booth. Voiceover: "Your vote will affect the future..."

And quick hard cut to a menacing picture of the laborer, facing forward, the flames burning beside him, set against the cavernous darkness.

Accompanying voiceover to this image: "And be recorded in eternity".

Voiceover: "This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me and vote November 6th for values that will stand the test of fire."

Stewart, viewing this choice of images and phrases, reasonably queried whether Huckabee was implying that those who cast a vote against Mitt Romney--their vote having been so recorded "in eternity"--would go to Hell.

Huckabee replied that the ad was meant to reference the text of Corinthians 10, and the idea expressed therein that your vote would be tested be fire.

Aside from the perhaps unusual specificity of theological scholarship that Huckabee was bringing to the discussion, Stewart, in his sharp, incisive questioning, missed one question.

For those watching the ad during the campaign, and who just happened to not be familiar with the specific text of Corinthians 10--for that large swath of Americans who are not textual Biblical scholars--perhaps the images and  ideas--lapping flames, dark cavern, man laboring against the increasingly approaching fires, "your vote will be recorded for eternity"--might lead them to a more threatening, emotionally and electorally powerful inference about their fate, should they vote for Obama?

Don't you think that, for that majority of viewers, the flame-devouring, darkness-enclosing, eternal  labors were meant to be understood in "eternal", directional,  flames-lapping-at-your-body, consequential terms, rather than in terms of the strict text? Most people don't know the text of Corinthians 10, Mike!

Why would you expect them to?

Perhaps...he didn't.

Of course--the creative team could have directly cited Corinthians 10, to remove all possible confusion that they were stating that Obama voters would be spend an eternity in Hell.

I wonder why they did not.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Norquist Reemerges

Norquist, now that the smoke has cleared, has emerged from his crevice between Republican candidates and corporate interests to again attempt to safely reestablish the continuance of his ongoing swindle.

Norquist's relationship to government is a parasitic one, based on two simple methods: 1) coercion; 2) deceit.

Norquist coerces Republican candidates into taking a pledge that they will "never" raise taxes. How is he able to effect such coercion? He receives large donations from corporate interests who wish to have their taxes kept low. He uses this funding to collect massive mailing and contact lists for each politician.

If a politician does not sign the pledge, he then threatens to blanket their district with a barrage of negative publicity, using these lists to create maximum coverage. Most politicians fold under this blatant corporate coercion.

Their interests are maintained--and Grover takes his cut. He calls this "entrepreneurship".

Norquist, when challenged, says that he is merely acting for the interests of the people. A scheme which paralyzes Government from the collection of necessary revenue, in order to serve the interest of corporate funders and Norquist is hardly in the interests of the people--as we saw in the recent debt ceiling debacle, and in the continuing fear of Republicans to increase taxes in the face of the threat of Norquist's well-funded electoral fusillade.

Norquist is unbearably smug--a kind of indirection which draws scorn away from his more shameful acts.

Like his well detailed fleecing of Indian tribes, in concert with the now reformed Jack Abramoff. Ari Berman of "The Nation" notes that "just a few years ago he was a central player in the Jack Abramoff scandal, using his connections to launder nearly $1 million from Abramoff’s  Indian tribe clients to conservative activist Ralph Reed and Christian anti-gambling groups who were fighting a proposed state lottery in Alabama, according to an extensive report by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. 'Call Ralph re Grover doing pass through,” Abramoff wrote in an e-mail reminder to himself in 1999.'

His current scheme rests on the essential deceit that the paralyzing coercion of elected officials by corporate funded electoral shock and awe is what the nation and its people want and need.

This is a paper thin fallacy that has driven the nation into an economic crisis.

No matter how much Norquist's maintains his snake oil salesman's smugness, it cannot and should not distract us from his greater and more serious offensiveness against the nation.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Petraeus: Fact, Reality, Delusion and the Nation

There will be attempts over the coming days--tiresome, repetitive, attempts, filled with the manifest forms and registers of false outrage--to link the recent revelations regarding Gen. Petraeus to the events in Benghazi.

We have already seen their familiar beginnings--starting from a predetermined conclusion, then working backward in massive leaps, filling yawning gaps of fact and logic with rage and delusion.

Many conservatives, still stunned in mid-paranoid-style by the results of the election, now see a faint thread dangling which they hope to grab, to continue their flight into factlessness--the very flight that contributed significantly to their loss, which left them surrounded by a bubble of false belief until the very end of the election, when the hard truth of data and reality came rushing in.

Benghazi was a tragedy. During the prior Administration, there were 12 such tragedies at American embassies--tragedies that, curiously, did not evoke the same passionate call to rage that we see among some today.

There are many opinions, and there will be many opinions regarding General Petraeus and his acts. There is no doubt that he has served his nation as he has been asked, over many years.

Conservatives, now attempting to hoist Petraeus, the general's general, as the object through which they can protest Obama's victory, given that his actions were known by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in October, must twist themselves and their usual conspiracy theories into a form of petard that would be objectionable to their most favored, more classically-themed artists and theoreticians.

This appears to be a personal matter between Petraeus and Broadwell. Given his position, he has taken his decision--perhaps arguable, but given that position, a reasonable one.

The Republican Majority Leader knew of this a month ago--long before the President. The director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was informed by the FBI on Tuesday, who recommended to Petraeus that he resign. On Thursday, Petraeus met with the President. The President was not told by the FBI, as Petraeus himself wanted to inform the President of his decision.

Both Sen. Diane Feinstein (D), the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee have both stated that Petraeus can and will still testify before Congress, should that be necessary. His resignation in no way prevents this--in any way whatsoever.

The election is over. Now it is time to let go of election's animus--and for these families, and our families to get on with the work of repair, restoration and fulfillment of the Union. 

Summary and Review

Based on what is thus far known, there is no evidence of a relationship between Petraeus and the woman named today.

Rather, it appears as if Petraeus, while stationed at the Tampa command, became a friend of the family, attending the Gasparilla celebration with both the husband and wife, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

This increasingly seems like a personal matter between Petraeus and Broadwell, who had demonstrated a clear and persistent interest in the General.

The connection that is being drawn by some to Benghazi seems a rather desperate hold over from the lost election.

Tampa, Gasparilla, etc: Part IV

More on life in Tampa, and Gasparilla, from 2007 Tampa Bay Times Social Section. You can see why Kelley had concerns about intrusion:

For 364 days of the year, this is one of the best places in Tampa to live. On the 365th day, homeowners Jill and Scott Kelley hire security guards. Three of them, to be exact. It's not that the Kelleys have anything against Gasparilla. They say they're just protecting their home and three daughters, ages 4, 2 and 1.

"It's the unexpected that makes me nervous - what could happen next?" said Jill Kelley, 31. "Is there going to be a fight or something?"

Her fears aren't without merit. Last year, a drunken man tried to charge their house. He made it 15 feet across the lawn before the security guards tackled him. The Kelleys also caught a woman urinating in their backyard.

Jill Kelley said her neighbors warned her about Gasparilla when she and her husband, a surgeon at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, moved in three years ago. Some neighbors put up fences, but she said that wasn't for her.

"People just push them down," she said. "Besides, there's no reason to barricade yourself."

So she pays $400 per guard to patrol the lawn from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Then she stays inside the house and tries not to look out.

"Ignorance is bliss," Jill Kelley said, laughing. "I usually don't say that, but for one day of the year, it's true. I don't want to know what's going on out there."

When a young woman in a black tank top sat down on the concrete ledge surrounding the Kelleys' yard, guard Sherry Raposo was there to firmly instruct her to move along.

This offended the woman's boyfriend. "Ooohhh," he said, smirking. "I guess these people get paid a lot of money to make sure you don't sit there."

Raposo, 29, doesn't react. It's best not to argue with people in the crowd, she said. "Right now, most of them are fairly cordial. But they'll get more belligerent as the day goes on," she said. "I'm just happy as long as no one throws a bottle at me."

On the other side of the lawn, Joseph Conover, another guard, fended off drunken comments.

"They'll say things like, 'Taser me' or 'Show me your gun,' " said Conover, 29. "Mostly they say, 'Who the hell are you guys?' "

The Third Woman, Part 3

The party was on Saturday, January 30, 2010, part of the Tampa parade known as "Gasparilla".

It was a rain-swept day in which over 150,000 residents strolled to the Sweetbay Supermarket, and, in the parking lot, assembled around a large replica of a pirate ship:

From the Tampa Bay Times:

"There wasn't as much shock this year, but there was definitely some awe. So said the area's best-known military leader.

"Awesome," Gen. David Petraeus said of his first Gasparilla parade.

Petraeus, who runs the U.S. Central Command from MacDill Air Force Base, and his wife, Holly, watched from the comfort of a big tent on Bayshore Boulevard. They were guests of surgeon Scott Kelley and his wife, Jill.

"You have to see it to believe it, even in the rain," said Petraeus, who spent the afternoon chatting candidly with two dozen guests, including state attorney general candidate Pam Bondi and Bern's Steak House owner David Laxer.

Security at Kelley's house was no joke, one paradegoer discovered, running after one zap of electricity from a guard's Taser."

The Third Woman, Part 2

Via the Telegraph (UK):

Although the emails, believed to have been sent anonymously by 40-year-old Mrs Broadwell, reportedly contained hints of classified information, the FBI concluded that there was no security threat and that they were instead looking at a bizarre case of lover's jealousy.

"It didn't start with Petraeus, but in the course of the investigation they stumbled across him," one
Congressional official told the New York Times. "We were stunned."

According to the New York Post, the married mother-of two had told the other woman "I know what you did" and warned her to "back off" from the former four-star general.

 A military official said Gen Petraeus and Ms Kelly were friends who had seen each other often.

There is no suggestion they were involved in a relationship.

A social column in the Tampa Bay Times noted that Gen Petraeus and his wife attended a pirate-themed festival party at the house of a Jill and Scott Kelley in February 2010.

Gen Petraeus was the head of the US Central Command, based in Florida, at the time.

The Third Woman

Via AP:

 WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior U.S. military official says the author who had an affair with David Petraeus sent harassing emails to a woman who was the State Department's liaison to the military's Joint Special Operations Command.

The official says 37-year-old Jill Kelley in Tampa, Fla., received the emails from Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell that triggered an FBI investigation.

The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Another person who knows Kelley and Petraeus confirmed their friendship and said she saw him often.

Petraeus quit as CIA director last week after acknowledging an extramarital relationship with a woman — later identified as Broadwell.
The FBI probe began several months ago with a complaint against Broadwell. That investigation led to Broadwell's email account, which uncovered the relationship with Petraeus.

More on Petraeus and Conservative Delusion

Conservatives lost the election in significant part because of the tendency of many in their party to stray from fact to baseless delusion.

This tendency manifested itself throughout election night, leaving many in the Party stunned by the gap that existed between their shared fantasy and reality.

As evidenced by the nearly immediate response to the Petraeus revelations with conspiracy theories, many seem, with barely a pause for breath, to be continuing that tendency.

Petraeus and the Blossoming of Hopeful Conservative Delusions

Many on the Right must be comforted by the recent news about Gen. Petraeus.

Their flow of factless, delusional conspiracy theories staunched for a moment by Obama's victory, they saw a spark--and leapt to grasp a straw that would allow them to continue their baseline state of paranoia.

So let's see:

Broadwell had an affair with Petraeus.

Neither of them deny this.

The FBI discovered this when investigating a harassment complaint by a third woman.

She does not deny this.

They do not deny this.

She stated that an anonymous woman was harassing her regarding Petraeus.

The FBI investigated this and found that the messages came from Broadwell.

For Broadwell to have known of this third woman, she would have had to have access to Petraeus's private email account.

Concerned that his account had been compromised, The FBI investigated the account--and found that Petraeus and Broadwell had been having an affair.

Neither Petraeus, nor Broadwell, nor the third woman involved, nor the FBI deny this. Any of this.


For your frenzied, blossoming, hopeful conspiracy theories to be true, Broadwell, Petraeus, the CIA, the FBI, the third woman and the Administration would all have to be in--"all in", to coin a phrase--on the "conspiracy"

No one--neither Petraeus, nor the Administration--has stated that Petraeus will not testify regarding Benghazi--indeed, in addition to his replacement, he likely will, as stated this morning.

It's a holiday. Rest your minds from constructing barely connected narratives filled with delusions

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why Husted and His Acts in Ohio Are Critical to Your Voting Rights In Every State

Many people are commenting about Voter ID, showing an ID to get a driver's license, etc.
This is only one of the most serious issues regarding voting rights--now and in the future.

Equally, perhaps more important, is the issue regarding Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, and the actions that he took at 7 p.m. on the Friday night before Election Day.

These were very serious--and very, very clear:

Husted, the Republican Sec. of State of Ohio, and prior to this, an active opponent of voting rights, made an illegal, non-statutory change to Ohio's voting laws on that Friday evening.

The change was designed to put hundreds of thousands of votes under the direct decision making authority of Husted--to either retain them, or throw them away.

The change--according to the Federal Judge who reviewed his actions--was illegal. Nowhere to be found in Ohio law.

The change was this:

1) Ohio law requires that every provisional ballot be completed and reviewed by Ohio poll workers. This is to ensure that there are no errors--so the ballot cannot later be reviewed by Husted and thrown out, as we saw in Bush v. Gore, on the basis of some supposed "mistake".

2) Husted, after state offices had closed on the Friday before the election, changed this.
He illegally placed the burden on voters to review the provisional ballots.

3) He did this so late because his non-statutory change would then not be able to be reviewed until after the election had occurred--which, he hoped, would be too late.

4) In 2008, there were 262,000 provisional ballots. Husted's purpose in making this change was to create a multi-hundred-thousand pool of votes that he would have the power to either keep, or to cast aside.

5) Had the election come down to Ohio, as many believed up until election day, this illegal tactic could have stolen the state, and therefore the election.

6) The day after the election, Husted's attorney was forced to appear before a Federal Judge. The judge found no legal basis for the change Husted had made--either anywhere in the statute or in its legislative history.

The judge asked Husted's attorney to point to any such language--either anywhere in the law, or in its penumbra (its legislative history).

He could not.


The judge's conclusion. There was no legal basis for Husted's change.

Specifically, to quote the judge: "Democracy dies in the dark."

7) This was an unabashed attempt at the theft of hundreds of thousands of votes to attempt to steal an election for President.

It was only the determined will of the people, which prevented Ohio from being decisive, which prevented this.

8) Karl Rove's desperate grasping on the night of the election was founded on the belief that these provisional ballots--as they had for his candidate in 2000--would be present to swing the election. Thanks to the electorate, which came out in overwhelming numbers to overcome this attempt at theft, they could not.

The absurd irony that those responsible for the protection of our votes are those often most willing to corrupt them is an issue which must be changed.

This could occur in any state.

Vote out Husted and his ilk--those most responsible for our votes, and most willing to make a partisan effort to suppress them.

Photo via AP via Westchester Buzz:

Petreaus and the Welcome, Comforting Relief of Delusion for Conservatives

The Petraeus resignation is a personal loss for a man who has defined counterinsurgency for the U.S. in the modern age, and despite his somewhat rocky early tenure at the CIA, will constitute difficult shoes to fill.

Obama is left with the dilemma of having the best, most prepared candidate, Brennan, someone who he value having at his side for matters that extended beyond those of the CIA to other issues of National Security.

None the less, like all such matters, this matter will settle into a quiet resolution.

Conservatives, unfortunately, having perhaps a desperate need to latch onto some issue that will allow them to assuage and comfort their Presidential campaign loss with a barely interrupted dive back into conspiracy theorizing, leap into the strategy that has harmed them most--the break with reality, into the most factless, gleeful hatreds.

This is a shame, not only for the nation; for Petraeus, who has more than enough on his plate without such interminable fantasizing, and for Conservatives, who, the last election shows clearly, must begin to make the difficult move to reality--less satisfying I know, but with the virtue of being correct and non-diagnosable--if they are to gain traction with a nation of the increasingly sane, increasingly skeptical of these wild excursions, and, as we see, willing to leave them behind for a sounder base in facts and truth.

The "Evolution" of Conservatives

I love the use of the word "evolved"--in some political contexts.

The Hill reports that Sean Hannity--who if asked in a line of conservative pundits if he believed in evolution would likely not raise his hand-- along with other conservative acolytes have "evolved" on the immigration issue.

What does this mean? Has Hannity, in Lamarckian fashion, still contrary, and therefore perhaps revealingly comfortably aligned to established Darwinian science--spontaneously seen a structural change in the nature of his cerebral processing, in a single generation--in a single moment?


"Evolved" here means that he saw his party so soundly thrashed that, rather than casting Hispanics as anti-American takers, to be tossed over the nearest wall, along with their dream-suppressed families, he now sees in them opportunity--and so they are instantly transformed from castaways into noble treasures, on the basis of a sound, firm, noble ideology known as opportunism.

"Evolution" here is a scienc-y, meant-to-be-blinding elision, a black box, a veil over the shifting cups with the marble beneath, a way to attempt to get you to accept a cravenly opportunistic, savagely self-shifting movement, a using, from  one place to its direct opposite, with a word that will stop you from thinking about the nature of the process that is driving it, just for one moment.

Because, if you do think about it, you will be forced to see that this is a decision that wholly contradicts the house-of-cards image that has been built up before you--of an ideological truth teller, a sound, honest patriot, only acting upon and expressing the best interests of the nation.

And if you pull that string, however slightly, lifting blinders of warm, unseeing feeling from your eyes, you will see a calculating salesman, attempting to make the leap to the new, contradictory position that will sell, attempting to lead you to embrace those who, only days before, he was casting as enemies of our nation, and attempting to prevent you from asking that question, so caustic upon such attempts at fakery: Why?

So now we recast those who we will treat as humans. We find a new villain--as it's always necessary to have someone to hate to keep the grip, to keep the contrasting engine of "noble truth" running.


If Darwin had used its definition as applied above, "The Origin of Species" would have been a great deal shorter.

Exploitation. Crude chicanery. Expediency. Grasping, bait-and-switch artifice, in the aim of personal survival, the development of an opposable ideology, springing forth with immediacy from a prehensile mind.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Matalin as Post-Election Diagnostician

Mary Matalin, who can be a savvy, experienced pro in representing her side, has published a less considered article at NRO where she refers, among other things, to Obama as a "narcissist" and a :sociopath".

My response:

Obama is not a narcissist--though many of the people feeling wildly enraged, wounded pride today surely are.

Obama is not a sociopath--though many of those who, without the slightest hint of remorse, created false, baseless delusions about his life and his past have more than demonstrated their utter disregard for society and truth most characteristic of Antisocial Personality Disorder.

And you, though unhappy today, are not a diagnostician.

Let your arguments ride upon facts--as you have in the past, and as you can--and not on the impulsive misuse of disorder, which swarmed throughout this campaign in its unrestrained calumnies, and which adds nothing to the argument or to the nation

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Boehner, intelligently, moves quickly to preempt his own extremist wing:.

Lori Montgomery, WaPo:

Quickly pivoting the political conversation from President Obama’s reelection to Washington’s looming budget battles, House Speaker John A. Boehner on Wednesday offered a potential path to compromise, saying Republicans are “willing to accept new revenue” to tame the soaring national debt and avert an ugly battle over the approaching “fiscal cliff.”

With Obama’s decisive electoral victory and Republicans’ hold on the House, with a slightly smaller majority, Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday’s election amounted to a plea from voters for the parties to lay down their weapons of the past two years and “do what’s best for our country.”

"Unskewed" pollster finds Scott Rasmussen wrong

The pollster who became briefly known for his "unskewing" of polls that he believed to be under-representing Republican voters admitted today that he was wrong.

In an interview with Business Insider, Dean Chamber, the pollster said:

"I think it was much more in the Democratic direction than most people predicted," Chambers said. "But those assumptions — my assumptions — were wrong."
Even more interesting, Chambers provided his own commentary on Republican pollster Scott Rasmussen:

"He has lost a lot of credibility, as far as I'm concerned," Chambers said. "He did a lot of surveys. A lot of those surveys were wrong."


Sunday, November 04, 2012

Romney and Women: The Facts Are Clear

A woman who votes for Mitt Romney is not merely voting against her interests.

The fact is that Romney, at every crucial turn, has acted against her health, her safety, her right to equal pay, her family, her role in positions of leadership, and her freedom over her own body.

As Governor, Romney vetoed a bill that would have provided emergency contraception to women who have been raped. Romney vetoed funding for breast cancer detection, prevention and treatment on multiple occasions as Governor--as he did for the prevention, detection and treatment of cervical cancer.   Even after being warned against continuing such actions by his own Lieutenant Governor, Kerry Healey, he continued to act against programs for health issues ranging from breast cancer to teen pregnancy.

He has vowed to cut all funds to Planned Parenthood,  denying women life-saving screenings for cervical cancer, mammograms, family planning services and other critical and necessary care, impairing their ability to work, and to care for and sustain their own lives and that of their families. 

In September, he vowed to replace Supreme Court Justices such as the 79-year old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with those who would remove the Constitutional right to abortion. This would place abortion in the hands of each state--making it a potentially criminal act in those that oppose it, and placing the lives of countless women at risk.

He has opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which provided a historic basis for women to receive equal pay for equal work. At Bain, he did not appoint a single woman as a partner. As Governor, he had to be forced to appoint women to his Administration by outside women's groups, who had to bring him the infamous "binders of women" in order for him to act.

Even on the basic issue of women's safety, Romney has been remarkably detached, disconnected, out-of-touch. When asked during his first run for President in 2008 about the Violence Against Women Act--he never had heard of it.

The fact that Romney is willing to remove from women basic rights over their health; to exercise control over the often life-changing, life-saving decisions that she must make over her own body; to act against their right to equal pay for the equal work that they perform for their own livelihood and that of their families; to restrict them from positions of leadership that they have worked for, earned, and deserve; and fails to recognize even fundamental issues of safety means that Romney has not and will not act for women's basic rights and needs.

A woman who votes for Romney votes against her health; her rights; her safety; the well-being of herself  and her family--and against her freedom.  The facts are clear.  Make sure that you act, to prevent them from becoming a reality.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Morning Line

Donna Brazile, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, regarding the Week of the Dog: Romney's roof vs. Obama's childhood plate:

"I grew up in Louisiana. My mother used to tell us: 'Don't focus on the species, think about the recipe'".