Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Source Of Ben Carson's Political "Knowledge"

Prepare yourself: Cleon Skousen.

Click here for his Wikipedia entry, which describes him as a "faith-based political theorist" (!?)and a "notable anti-communist and supporter of the John Birch Society."
In 1981, the first year of Ronald Reagan's presidency, Skousen was asked to be a charter member of the conservative think tank the Council for National Policy, founded by Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series of books. Other early participants included Paul Weyrich; Phyllis Schlafly; Robert Grant; Howard Phillips, a former Republican affiliated with the Constitution Party; Richard Viguerie, the direct-mail specialist; and Morton Blackwell, a Louisiana and Virginia activist who is considered a specialist on the rules of the Republican Party.
I'm aware of the wingnuttery of LaHaye, Weyrich, Schlafly, Viguerie, and Blackwell; Robert Grant and Howard Phillips are new to me, and I have no desire to learn anything about them.
Skousen disregarded all federal regulatory agencies and argued against the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.[25] He also wanted to repeal the minimum wage, eliminate unions, nullify anti-discrimination laws, sell off public lands and national parks, end the direct election of senators, eliminate the income tax and the estate tax, remove the walls separating church and state, and end the Federal Reserve System.
Here's an excerpt from an article by Hunter in Daily Kos entitled "Oh, Lord. Ben Carson's been getting his policy ideas from one of the kookiest kooks in conservatism."
For you youngsters out there who have never been exposed to the name Willard Cleon Skousen, think of him as a Cold War-era conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, but with about three Joe McCarthys and Glenn Beck's chalkboard stuffed inside his noggin via his ear-holes. He saw secret communists everywhere. He was convinced that Marxist forces had infiltrated Hollywood, and schools, and banking, and the arts, and architecture, and everything else you can name. He considered the American founding fathers to be descendants of "the Lost Tribes of Israel." He argued that American slaves had it pretty good, all things considered. He was certain that homosexuality was part of an elaborate plot to weaken America for the Ruskies.

In short, there's not many ridiculous conspiracy theories he wasn't an active proponent of. For all these reasons, he continues to hold disproportionate sway among the stupid and the paranoid—oh, and it doesn't hurt that Glenn Beck has been peddling him for a long while now, making sure a raving lunatic's half-century old fever dreams still get a fair shake. In general, if you're a fan of Cleon Skousen you should damn well keep it to yourself.
"President Carson"? God almighty.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Krugman On Boehner's Resignation

Click here for another spot-on article by Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman in The New York times entitled "The Blackmail Caucus, a.k.a. the Republican Party."

The article starts off:
John Boehner was a terrible, very bad, no good speaker of the House. Under his leadership, Republicans pursued an unprecedented strategy of scorched-earth obstructionism, which did immense damage to the economy and undermined America’s credibility around the world.

Still, things could have been worse. And under his successor they almost surely will be worse.

"It's Even Worse Than It Looks"

"It's Even Worse Than It Looks" is the title of a 2012 book by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein. Click here for an article in The New York Times, dated April 27, 2012, by Mann and Ornstein. The title of the article is "Let's just say it: The Republicans are the problem." Mann is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (probably the most influential think tank in the world, generally considered to be bipartisan), and Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (considered to be center-right).

The article starts off with a reference to the totally irresponsible remark by Congressional freshman Allen West that there were "78 to 81" Democrats in Congress who were members of the Communist Party. A lie, of course, and completely unsubstantiated; but such was and is the sorry state of American politics and the Republican party.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Answer Is Yes

Click here for an article by Mark E. Andersen at Daily Kos entitled "Did we lose the War on Terror?"

The answer is yes. I have frequently observed that on March 19, 2003, the night of "Shock and Awe" in Baghdad, the happiest person on the planet must have been Osama bin Laden -- the 9/11 attacks had been an amazing success.

Click here for the Wikipedia entry 2003 invasion of Iraq. It's a fun read.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Party Of Reagan?

Click here for an article in The New York Times Magazine entitled The De-Reaganization of the Republican Party.

The party base has shifted so far to the right that Reagan wouldn't recognize it -- and would probably be drummed out of it for his political views, which would be considered far too moderate.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fox News Ginning Up War With Iran

Here's a short (about 3-minute) clip from Brave New Films, published in 2007, chronicling Fox News' support for and encouragement of the war in Iraq.

Eight years later, in 2015, here's a compilation of clips from Fox News by many of the same people, saying the same things -- about war with Iran:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Contrasting Sanders And Trump

Click here for an article in Daily Kos by Laurence Lewis entitled "Nate Silver: 'Stop Comparing Donald Trump And Bernie Sanders.'" It discusses and links to a piece by Nate Silver pointing out ten major differences between the two, and why, in a head-to-head contest, Sanders would be far more electable.

Thank You, Digby, For This Article

Click here.

Just do it.

And, as Digby says, read on. Copy and paste this into your address bar:

Daily Kos Blast From The Past - Summer, 2002

Click here for the Daily Kos article, entitled "Putting the horse before the cart," dated September 11, 2002. In the summer of 2002, of course, the Bush/Cheney White House was gearing up to attack Iraq, which they did in the spring of 2003. USA Today published an article which included the following paragraph:
The White House still has not requested that the CIA and other intelligence agencies produce a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, a formal document that would compile all the intelligence data into a single analysis. An intelligence official says that's because the White House doesn't want to detail the uncertainties that persist about Iraq's arsenal and Saddam's intentions. A senior administration official says such an assessment simply wasn't seen as helpful.
In other words, the White House -- determined to attack Iraq -- didn't want to gather and compile all the available information, because it was riddled with uncertainties and inconsistencies which would undermine their case for war. Damn the torpedoes facts -- full speed ahead!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Suspected Credit Card Fraudster Taken Down Hard!

James Blake, tennis pro formerly ranked #4 in the world, standing outside the Hyatt hotel waiting for his ride to the US Open, texting on his mobile:

Like that's how the cops treat all suspected credit card fraudsters -- right? I'm sure they'd arrest Jamie Dimon -- or Bernie Madoff -- for white-collar fraud in the same way -- right?

Trump - The Movie

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Movement Conservatism Since The Civil War

An excellent article, demonstrating political parallels between today and the Gilded Age, around 1900, when -- as today -- conservatism went too far. Click here. Heather Cox Richardson, at Salon.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

How Did Colin Powell Handle His Emails?

Colin Powell was Hillary Clinton's predecessor as Secretary of State. So, in light of the Hillary email flap, it's interesting to see how he handled his emails: He deleted them. End of story.

Here's a portion of an interview he gave on George Stephanopoulos's Sunday show:
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. So we'll cut back to you on that later on.

But I do want to ask you one final question on this Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy. Which, of course, put you back in the news a bit this week, as well.

You were secretary of State during the early days of e-mails. You were one of the first secretaries, I believe, to set up a personal e-mail account. And you pushed to modernize the State Department's system.

Based on your experience, what do you make of these revelations this week and what would you recommend that she do now?

POWELL: I -- I can't speak to a -- Mrs. Clinton and what she should do now. That would be inappropriate.

What I did when I entered the State Department, I found an antiquated system that had to be modernized and modernized quickly.

So we put in place new systems, bought 44,000 computers and put a new Internet capable computer on every single desk in every embassy, every office in the State Department. And then I connected it with software.

But in order to change the culture, to change the brainware, as I call it, I started using it in order to get everybody to use it, so we could be a 21st century institution and not a 19th century.

But I retained none of those e-mails and we are working with the State Department to see if there's anything else they want to discuss with me about those e-mails.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So they want...

POWELL: (INAUDIBLE) have a stack of them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- they've asked you to turn them over, but you don't have them, is that it?

POWELL: I don't have any -- I don't have any to turn over. I did not keep a cache of them. I did not print them off. I do not have thousands of pages somewhere in my personal files.

And, in fact, a lot of the e-mails that came out of my personal account went into the State Department system. They were addressed to State Department employees and the domain. But I don't know if the servers the State Department captured those or not.

And most -- they were all unclassified and most of them, I think, are pretty benign, so I'm not terribly concerned even if they were able to recover them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

Friday, September 4, 2015

St. Reagan, Defrocked

Click here for an article by Timothy Egan entitled "Ronald Reagan, Heretic."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Republlicans v. Minorities

Click here for an editorial in The New York Times by Thomas Edsall entitled "What Donald Trump Understands About Republicans," a history of Republican anti-minority positions since Goldwater opposed the newly enacted Civil Rights Act in 1964.