This is definitely change I can believe in:

“It is important to remember that every defense dollar spent to over-insure against a remote or diminishing risk … is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in, and improve capabilities in areas where we are underinvested and potentially vulnerable. That is a risk I will not take.”
Defense Secretary Robert Gates

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I’m getting more than a little tired of paying attention to the most certifiably batshit insane member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Michele Bachmann.

With that said, her latest frothing screed of lying, incendiary nonsense really takes the cake.

For some background, here’s Steve Benen:

About a week ago, the Senate easily approved legislation to expand national community service programs. The House had already easily passed a similar measure, and the president is anxious to sign it into law. As part of the effort, the number of positions available in AmeriCorps will increase from 75,000 to 250,000.

The right’s reaction has been fascinating. One right-wing blogger compared community service programs to “Hitler youth.” Malkin called funding for the programs a “left-wing slush fund.”

And how did our dear Rep. Bachmann respond?

“It’s under the guise of, quote, ‘volunteerism.’ But it’s not volunteers at all. It’s paying people to do work on behalf of government. […]

“I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.”

Yep, she envisions our poor children being forced into mandatory government servitude and “re-education camps”.

This woman is not only insane, she’s dangerous.

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Today is a very good day. I just found out I passed the Illinois bar exam. Woot!

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Crooks and Liars posted new details about the right-wing psychopath who gunned down three police officers in Pittsburgh:

Thanks to some sleuth work on the Internet, we’re starting to learn more about Richard Poplawski, the 23-year-old who killed three police officers yesterday in Pittsburgh, evidently out of fear that his guns were going to be taken away.

thumb_mediumPoplawski2_a899a.JPGIt appears that what police may be looking at is a budding white supremacist who frequented one of the most popular neo-Nazi websites and harbored an apocalyptic dread of the federal government…

[T]he Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has some corroboration from other sources that indicates he fits this profile:

Richard Andrew “Pop” Poplawski’s ex-girlfriend said he dragged her by the hair and threatened to shoot her.

He slept with a gun under his pillow in a basement room filled with firearms and ammunition, convinced that Jews controlled the media and President Obama was scheming to take away his arsenal, friends and relatives said Saturday.

“He was a violent, abusive man. He dragged me by the hair, pulling me across the floor. I saw him choke his own mother. He was controlling,” said Melissa Gladish, 23, of Verona, his former girlfriend who received a protection from abuse order against him in 2005. She said she had no doubt he would kill someone.

I can’t begin to tell you how frightened this makes me. The radical right wingers that were so prevalent during the Clinton administration went dormant during the Bush years. Now that Obama is in office, and irresponsible sociopaths like Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and Rep. Michele Bachmann are recklessly stoking the fires of paranoid rightwing victimization, I fear we will face countless tragedies like what just went on in Pittsburgh.

When liberal radicals get upset, they engage in protests and damage property, like the nonsense you saw outside the G-20 summit.

When right wing radicals get upset, they either shoot lots of people and or blow up a building with lots of people in it (see, e.g., the FBI building in Oklahoma City).

As Tim F. at Balloon Juice opines:

How is that “orderly revolution” going, Michelle? How about that laundry soap rebellion, Erick? This is what Glenn Beck’s citizen army looks like. People like Michelle Malkin fantasize about citizens rising up against the (Democratic) state. They stoke their followers’ paranoia with bullshit that, mostly, they know is bullshit, for ratings and a shot at political traction. Did they expect the American revolution?

In response to John’s famous Peak Wingnut post I pointed out that political irrelevance will hardly stifle rightwing victimology but feed it like CO2, manure and sunlight. I tend to call the relevant phenomenon ‘toxic victim syndrome’, or TVS. The feeling that one is a powerless victim has a corrosive psychological effect. It exempts self-appointed victims from normal moral standards. It justifies (in one’s own mind) an endless list of behaviors that an ordinary person would never consider.

How many people have to die before the right-wing media acknowledges their complicity in these kinds of attacks and voluntarily dials back their inflammatory rhetoric and incitements to violence?

Sadly, I think it’s going to take a long time for that to happen — and a lot more innocent people are going to die in the interim. I guess this is what “America First” means for the radical right under an Obama presidency.

For the final word, here’s John Cole:

And, of course, when you point out that certain individuals with all their talk about “revolution” and “armed insurrection” are inciting this kind of behavior in unstable people, you will get howls of protest about the 1st Amendment and what not. Sure, crazy people do crazy things. But that doesn’t make it responsible to encourage them, which is what a lot of really foolish people are doing right now for purely political reasons.

Update: One more final word from Andrew Sullivan:

Many of us have worried that the heated, apocalyptic rhetoric of the anti-Obama forces might spill over at some point into violence in the hands of individuals prone to lashing out. We now have what seems to be a clear instance of that and three dead police officers. One wonders whether Fox News or the Second Amendment fanatics will chill it out a little. And then one realizes who we’re talking about.

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Sums up my feelings pretty well:

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I was suddenly struck today by how dramatic it is for a black man named Barack Hussein Obama to be touring Europe today as our President.

Think about that for a moment. No matter how enlightened and progressive our friends across the pond are, there is absolutely no conceivable scenario in which a black man with an immigrant father could rise to the highest government position in Britain, Germany, France, Italy or any other country you could name off the top of your head.

I hate to buy in to the mind-numbing “exceptionalist” meme that so pervades Washington but — you know what — in this specific instance, I am damn proud to be an American. I praise our country for having the ability to elect one of the most daring, innovative and non-establishmentarian Presidents of recent memory. Viva Obama!

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Up until now the debate over whether the Senate Conservadems would actively try to undermine Barack Obama’s agenda and act to pass financially irresponsible Republican-led legislation was largely academic, as they hadn’t made actual votes in line with their new Conservadem strategy.

Well, the debate is over.

Ten Democratic Senators just voted in favor of a reckless, indefensible and supremely financially irresponsible amendment aimed at slashing the estate tax for a tiny sliver of multimillionaires.

As Think Progress reports:

Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) recently introduced a $250 billion amendment to slash estate taxes for the heirs of multimillion-dollar estates. Yesterday, the Senate narrowly passed the bill by a 51-48 vote. Joining Republicans in approving the bill were ten Senate Democrats.

As the New York Times explained, under Obama’s budget, “99.8 percent of estates will never — ever — pay a penny of estate tax. The heirs of the remaining 0.2 percent of estates are who Ms. Lincoln and Mr. Kyl are so worried about.”

As I highlighted in an earlier post:

The proverbial millionaires next door — the plumbers, contractors and accountants who amass substantial wealth through hard work and modest living — are not the intended beneficiaries of the proposed cut. The Obama budget already takes care of them, because it retains today’s law, which imposes the estate tax only on couples with property worth more than $7 million, or individuals with property worth more than $3.5 million. That means 99.8 percent of estates will never — ever — pay a penny of estate tax. The heirs of the remaining 0.2 percent of estates are who Ms. Lincoln and Mr. Kyl are so worried about. Their amendment would increase to $10 million the level at which the estate tax kicks in. It would also lower the top estate-tax rate to 35 percent from 45 percent.

At a time of severe economic crisis, the Conservadems chose to voice their support for dumping $250 billion out of the federal coffers to benefit the heirs of the wealthiest of the wealthy in this country.

At least we now know the following Democratic Senators, who will likely be on my shit list for some time, are more interested in protecting the interests of the powerful and wealthy rather than the other 99.8% of the country:

Baucus (D-MT), Bayh (D-IN), Cantwell (D-WA), Landrieu (D-LA), Lincoln (D-AR), Murray (D-WA), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Tester (D-MT)

I suggest you write to these fine upstanding Senators to make your opinion heard.


Color me cynical but this news out of the Senate raises all kind of red flags for me:

A strong bipartisan majority in the United States Senate took a firm stand in favor of requiring 60 votes to pass any kind of cap and trade legislation…

This is good for Republicans, since it helps them achieve their goal of destroying the planet. And it’s good for Democrats, since it helps them achieve their goal of pretending to try to avoid the destruction of the planet while ensuring that, in practice, the planet is destroyed.[*] And Senators Johanns was born in 1950, so he’ll almost surely be dead by 2050 (along with countless residents of flood-prone areas of the developing world) so it’s basically all good.

The abuse of the filibuster is a huge problem in the Senate that needs to get fixed.

One way to avoid the filibuster is to use the budget reconciliation process, which prevents the minority from invoking a filibuster.

Under President Bush, the Republicans in Congress used and abused the budget reconciliation process to ram down just about anything and everything they wanted (John McCain admitted as much in a speech at the Heritage Foundation).

So, here we stand at a time of great crisis with a rabid, unhinged minority in Congress that has proven itself to be wholly and fundamentally unserious about governing.

Given all that, what do the cynical establishmentarians currently running the Democratic party do?

Yep, they caved and are practically begging the lunatics in the minority to force the country into another failed effort to address things like health care and climate change that so desperately threaten our well-being as a nation their deep-pocketed campaign contributors.

Maybe I’m just in a bad mood today but, well, I can’t shake the feeling that we’re on the road to getting royally fucked.

* – Yes, Yglesias is being imprecise by talking about the “planet being destroyed”. Yes, no one is suggesting the planet will be “destroyed” by climate change. And yes, what he really means is that the quality of human civilization will be negatively impacted.


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