Tea Party Latest (was Excitement over CNBC's Rick Santelli)

Amy Peikoff's picture
Submitted by Amy Peikoff on Fri, 2009-02-20 17:27

I hate to use the word hope, not only because of a certain politician's use of the word, but also because my grandmother always told me that "hope is just a little bit better than despair."

(She's followed "science of mind" for much of her life.)  Nonetheless, I ask the question: should we take it as a positive sign that Rick Santelli of CNBC, a self-professed Rand fan who has been boldly speaking out against all things government, has gained so much popular support in the past few days?  Just a few minutes ago, I saw some hard numbers.  Take a look at this poll:




Over 200,000 people have responded to this poll, 94% in the affirmative.  Does this mean something, or is it just wishful thinking on my part? 

( categories: )

White House anxiously awaits Supreme Court ruling on 'Obamacare'

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White House anxiously awaits Supreme Court ruling on 'Obamacare'

Barack Obama will today learn the fate of his signature healthcare reforms as the Supreme Court rules whether to strike down the main political achievement of his first term.

"All eyes in Washington and around the United States will turn to the Corinthian columns of America's highest court, where the nine justices will this morning give their verdict on whether the President's reforms violated the Constitution.

Their ruling, the most anticipated in recent US history, will set the course for the future of American healthcare but may also become a pivotal element in November's presidential election.

Should the court find against Mr Obama, as many veteran observers believe it will, the judges will at a stroke undo one of the main strands of his political legacy...

The healthcare reforms - known formally as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - were the result of a long and difficult political struggle that dominated much of Mr Obama's first year in the White House.

Having pledged as a candidate to make "healthcare affordable to every single American", Mr Obama reached the Oval Office in 2009 with no detailed plan of how to solve a policy question that has vexed presidents as far back as Harry Truman.

To the frustration of his liberal allies, Mr Obama essentially left the intricacies of the policy to Congress. In a bid to secure some Republican backing, Democrats moved ever further from an NHS-style service and eventually settled on the idea of the individual mandate, a proposal first made by a conservative group in the 1990s.

Republicans fought the law at every stage accusing the White House of orchestrating a "takeover" of healthcare by federal bureaucrats. Sensing Mr Obama's political weakness on the increasingly chaotic reforms, one Republican senator warned that the bogged-down policy would be the President's "Waterloo".

Many of the President's senior aides believed he squandered time and political capital when he should have focused on employment and the economy.

The law's eventual passage in March 2010 played a major role in the spawning of the Tea Party, the conservative anti-government movement, and today remains deeply divisive.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 54 per cent of voters favoured its repeal compared to 39 per cent who wanted it to stay in place."

Barack Obama owes his presidency to Michael Jackson

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Barack Obama owes his presidency to Michael Jackson, says late singer's brother Jermaine

"Barack Obama would not have made it to The White House had it not been for Michael Jackson, according to an emotional testimony from the late singer’s brother.

Speaking to The Independent ahead of the third anniversary of his brother’s death today, Jermaine Jackson expressed his deep-seated disappointment at how his brother has been commemorated in America since his death in 2009. "I think America has let Michael down. If he was from any other country they would have erected permanent tributes to him for what he's done for music."

Instead, he said, the Jackson family remain locked in grief and still seeking closure on what really happened during Michael Jackson's final hours. The singer died in a rented estate in California where he was preparing for a comeback tour. "The family still need to know who else came into the house that night. In time we might get answers but there will never be closure."

Jermaine Jackson is currently on a US tour with his three brothers, the first since the 1984 Victory Tour. Speaking from a rehearsal in Burbank in California, he argued that it was brother that had paved the way for America's first black president. Citing Michael Jackson’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993; in which the singer conceded to suffering from Vitiligo, he claimed the admission had the combined effect of reiterating Jackson's Afro-American heritage while propelling Winfrey to fame. Winfrey's backing of Obama in the 2007 primaries is cited by some as the moment that secured his nomination as leader of the Democrats. "Michael invited her [to Neverland] and that was the moment that put her in 90 countries around the world and made her successful. What did she do with that success? She put it behind Obama."

Now Obama

Jules Troy's picture

Now Obama should take note, that gal has bigger balls than he does!

Awesome post Marcus.

President of the United Mistakes of Apology

Marcus's picture

Number 4 on this week's viral charts.

So does

Jules Troy's picture

So does this mean he gets to go to jail too?

Q: What does Michele Obama do every morning after shaving her p*%£y?

A: She sends him off to work....


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Joe Arpaio: Barack Obama birth proof 'may be forged'

"The birth certificate of US President Barack Obama could be a forgery, a controversial Arizona sheriff claims.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County - who styles himself as America's toughest - unveiled the results of a probe into the origins of the document.

His investigators found "probable cause" the certificate may have been made by "forgery and fraud", he said.

Mr Arpaio, known for his tough stance on immigration, is being investigated over allegations of racial profiling.

The US justice department alleges that his office routinely discriminated against Latinos.

He also faces a federal grand jury investigation into the activities of his anti-corruption unit, and a forthcoming re-election bid in Maricopa County.

Announcing the findings of his volunteer "Cold Case Posse", Mr Arpaio, 79, said analysis of an electronic copy of Mr Obama's birth certificate had revealed strong doubts about its authenticity.

"Based on all of the evidence presented and investigated I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic," Mr Arpaio said.

"My investigators believe that the long-form birth certificate was manufactured electronically and that it did not originate in a paper format as claimed by the White House."

The White House released Mr Obama's long-form birth certificate in April 2011 amid persistent speculation that he was not a natural born US citizen.

That would make Mr Obama, whose father is Kenyan, ineligible to hold the office of president.

The release of the birth certificate appeared to placate some so-called "birthers", among them businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump, who had publicly called for greater clarity.

But Mr Arpaio said he had begun an investigation during 2011 after requests from Arizona Tea Party members."

Oh, dear

Ross Elliot's picture

Gingrich is an emotionalist, and a narcissist if ever I saw one. It's all about Newt for Newt.

I like loose cannons, but Gingrich is all over the place like a mad woman's piss.

Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich for president

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Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich for president

"Republican US presidential candidate Newt Gingrich received the endorsement of former rival Herman Cain on Saturday and vowed to fight until the end no matter what happens in Florida's upcoming primary vote.

Cain, who ended his presidential campaign in December under the weight of sexual harassment allegations, made the endorsement at an event with Gingrich in West Palm Beach. It is unclear how much impact it will have for Gingrich in Florida, which has been trending toward rival Mitt Romney ahead of the state's vote on Tuesday.

"I hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse Newt Gingrich for president of the United States," Cain said.

Romney, already confident after strong performances in two Florida debates, is gaining ground over Gingrich for the nomination to take on Democratic President Barack Obama in the 6 November election.

Cain said Gingrich has been going through a "sausage grinder" in his battle for the Republican nomination.

The former pizza magnate has been seeking to remain in the public eye after his presidential drive stalled out. Recently he had declared he would endorse "the people." Both Cain and Gingrich are from Georgia.

Just three days ahead of a pivotal primary race that could determine who has the momentum to win the Republican state-by-state nominating battle, Gingrich and Romney spent the day travelling around Florida in a search for undecided voters.

A Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Saturday showed Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts and off-and-on Republican front-runner, with an 11 percentage point lead over Gingrich, up from 8 points a day earlier.

Romney drew support of 43% of likely voters in Florida's 31 January primary and Gingrich 32%. That compared with a 41% to 33% showing in the online tracking poll on Friday."

How I woke up to the untruths of Barack Obama

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How I woke up to the untruths of Barack Obama

Christopher Booker

"When I happened to wake up in the middle of the night last Wednesday and caught the BBC World Service’s live relay of President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress, two passages had me rubbing my eyes in disbelief.

The first came when, to applause, the President spoke about the banking crash which coincided with his barnstorming 2008 election campaign. “The house of cards collapsed,” he recalled. “We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.” He excoriated the banks which had “made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money”, while “regulators looked the other way and didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behaviour”. This, said Obama, “was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work.”

I recalled a piece I wrote in this column on January 29, 2009, just after Obama took office. It was headlined: “This is the sub-prime house that Barack Obama built”. As a rising young Chicago politician in 1995, no one campaigned more actively than Mr Obama for an amendment to the US Community Reinvestment Act, legally requiring banks to lend huge sums to millions of poor, mainly black Americans, guaranteed by the two giant mortgage associations, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It was this Act, above all, which let the US housing bubble blow up, far beyond the point where it was obvious that hundreds of thousands of homeowners would be likely to default. Yet, in 2005, no one more actively opposed moves to halt these reckless guarantees than Senator Obama, who received more donations from Fannie Mae than any other US politician (although Senator Hillary Clinton ran him close).

A later passage in Obama’s speech, when he hailed the way his country’s energy future has been transformed by the miracle of shale gas, met with a storm of applause. Not only would this give the US energy security for decades, creating 600,000 jobs, but it could now go all out to exploit its gas and oil reserves (more applause). Yet this was the man who in 2008 couldn’t stop talking about the threat of global warming, and was elected on a pledge to make the US only the second country in the world, after Britain, to commit to cutting its CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 80 per cent within 40 years...

A few months after Obama entered the White House, I suggested here that the slogan on which he was elected – “Yes we can” – seemed to have changed to “No we can’t”. It was already obvious that, having won election as an ideal Hollywood version of what “the first black President” should look and sound like, he was in reality no more than a vacuum. His speech last week was as weaselly as any politician’s performance could be, not least in its references to the sub-prime scandal."

NZ tea party movement

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Obama the Clunkster

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Even the Independent is at it! Where are all your liberal friends now, Obarmy?

Obama the Clunkster

"Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Goodness, but Barack Obama can deliver dull speeches. His State of the Union address was pedestrian, even though he read the autocue well and with animation.

But most of the text was boring. It was littered with cliché. The division between “Main Street and Wall Street”, “an America built to last”, “when we act together there is nothing the United States of America can’t achieve”.

Only one phrase stood out for me, and that was a refurbished cliché. Declaring his toughness on illegal immigration, he said “my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before”. And the only bit that was any good was the peroration, which used the story of teamwork in killing Osama bin Laden as a metaphor for America (skip to 1hr 1min on the video)...

(Though I found the 40 or so partial standing ovations in a 65-minute speech creepy, in a cross between North Korea and Iain Duncan Smith.)

Iraq is a difficult subject for a speech writer, but this is a big event, with the best speech writers the greatest nation has to offer. You would have thought they could have finessed the honouring of the fallen with the extrication from an unpopular mission rather better than that.

Instead it was clunk, clunk, clap."

Barack Obama channels the ghosts of Harry Truman & Gordon Brown

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Now the DT are dragging Obama's name through the Brown! There is no worse insult.

Barack Obama channels the ghosts of Harry Truman… and Gordon Brown

"There are good reasons why every postwar effort to emulate the New Deal experiment has failed. For one, the New Deal’s own record was decidedly mixed – mass unemployment was only ended by World War II. Moreover, we don’t live in the 1930s anymore. If Obama tried to build the Hoover dam today, he would be undermined by his own liberalism. Environmentalists would slap a protection order on the surrounding wilderness. Union bosses would demand overtime. Health and safety would cover the ground below in mattresses. And the workforce would be composed entirely of illegal immigrants – the only people prepared to do grunt work for the minimum wage.

Accepting that the government isn’t going to reconstruct the New Deal works programmes, what was Obama’s solution to America’s woes? Surprisingly, he started to sound a bit like the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown. Having pledged to create American jobs for American workers, he then sang the gospel of “skills, skill and more skills!” Imitating Brown’s last great social reform, Obama told Congress that he intended to compel all state governments to make kids attend schools “until they graduate or turn 18”. I’m sure that Obama has no Constitutional authority to do that, but education is always the last refuge of a social democrat. That educational standards have historically declined in relation to how much time and money the federal government has invested in education is unimportant – we must learn our way out of recession!

If Obama really is copying Brown, he’d be wise to reconsider his strategy. For not only did Brown lose the 2010 election, but his admirable lust for growth was subverted by his obsession with regulation. The Labour government of 1997-2010 created an alphabet of programmes designed to deal with everything from youth unemployment to low pay, all under the banner of … the New Deal. And it didn’t work. After 13 years, the country was left with chronic joblessness and debt – aided in some part by Brownite regulation. Obama has a passion for that, too. Last night he announced that he wanted an “all of the above” solution to the energy problem, which earned him a standing ovation from Republicans. But then he went on to list the various regulations that would accompany the effort, and the applause died down.

What we got on Tuesday night was a tub-thumping, historically informed Democrat speech. Obama is going to run as Obama – and that’s a bold, liberal thing to do. He deserves praise for sticking to his guns and refusing to compromise on his vision. One might argue that he was at liberty to offer so many government goodies because he knows that the Republican Congress will never pass them. But he should also be criticised for failing to acknowledge that America’s society and economy have moved on from the 1930s. The old ideas don’t work anymore. Newt Gingrich will tell you that they never did – and it’s precisely because Newt would offer a coherent philosophical rebuttal to this liberal agenda that a part of me would really like to see him debate it with the President in November."

According to the DT...

Marcus's picture

Gingrich has the backing of Palin and 100 tea party members and will, very likely, win the primary in South Carolina.

Go Ginger!

Hugo Chávez says Obama is 'a clown and an embarrassment'

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Hugo Chávez says Obama is 'a clown and an embarrassment'

"On the eve of his first official overseas trip since being diagnosed with cancer, Hugo Chávez has launched a blistering attack on Barack Obama, describing the US president as a "clown" and an "embarrassment".

"Focus on governing your country, which you've turned into a disaster," the Venezuelan president told state TV on Monday. Chávez touched down in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, on Tuesday for a summit of Mercosur, South America's leading trade bloc.

Chávez's comments followed a rare and strongly worded interview with Obama published by the Caracas-based El Universal newspaper. The American president criticised Venezuela's business and political links with Iran and Cuba, and raised concerns at what he called threats to the country's democracy.

"We are concerned about the government's actions, which have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values and failed to contribute to the security in the region," Obama said in the written interview.

"It seems to me that the ties between Venezuela's government and Iran and Cuba have not served the interests of Venezuela and its people."

Referring to Iran, Obama added: "Sooner or later, Venezuela's people will have to decide what possible advantage there is in having relations with a country that violates fundamental human rights and is isolated from most of the world."

Chávez, who travelled to Uruguay to push for full Venezuelan membership of the Mercosur, issued a rebuttal, claiming the interview was motivated by next year's US presidential elections. "Mr Obama decided to attack us," he said. "Now you want to win votes by attacking Venezuela. Don't be irresponsible. You are a clown, a clown. Leave us in peace … Go after your votes by fulfilling that which you promised your people."

Barack Obama is an irrelevance

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Barack Obama is an irrelevance when it comes to the European financial crisis

"Today’s US-EU summit in Washington is little more than a surreal posturing meeting of the clueless, drawing together a deeply unpopular president and the unelected leaders of an undemocratic fledgling superstate that is already in decline. If the dreams of Europe rest upon the likes of Barack Obama, Herman Van Rompuy, Jose Manuel Barroso, and Baroness Ashton, there can be very little hope.

Instead of clinging to a sinking European Project, the president of the United States should be urging greater freedom in Europe, and the kind of national sovereignty that hundreds of millions of Americans cherish and take for granted. He should also be calling on European governments to rein in spending, cut taxes, roll back their generous welfare states, support free trade, and adopt the kind of high growth policies that will create jobs, and attract investment. But unfortunately this is a president who remains an arch Eurofederalist, and a doctrinaire believer in the kind of big government policies that are wrecking Europe, and now threaten to do the same to the United States. He has become by any measure an embarrassing irrelevance to the tragedy unfolding across the Atlantic, one that will have major repercussions for the US economy for many years to come."

Russian newsreader Tatyana Limanova gives Obama the finger

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Russian newsreader Tatyana Limanova makes insulting gesture at Obama

"Online footage of the incident, which occurred earlier this month during an afternoon news bulletin on the privately held REN TV channel, is being avidly viewed in both Russia and the United States.

In the footage, Tatyana Limanova, an award-winning senior newsreader at the channel, can be seen briskly reading out an item about how Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has just assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Cooperation organisation.

She is then heard to say that the post "has (previously) been held by Barack Obama" before mechanically and unambiguously raising her left arm and showing the camera her raised middle finger in an offensive gesture that is sometimes known as "flipping the bird."

The channel, which goes out to 120 million people across Russia, has declined to comment. But sources close to it have tried to defuse the row by claiming that the newsreader had believed she was off camera at the time and merely providing a voice-over for a report. According to the same storyline, the rude gesture was intended for studio technicians who had been trying to put her off her stride...

Sources at REN TV said Ms Limanova would not be punished for her slip-up despite the embarrassment it has caused the channel."

Barack Obama tries to show leadership over debt crisis

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Barack Obama tries to show leadership over debt crisis after Bloomberg comments

President Barack Obama has attempted to counter New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's claim that he was not 'providing leadership' over the debt crisis.

"Mr Obama challenged the US Congress to vote next week to save an expiring payroll tax cut, a day after a high-profile effort to tackle huge US deficits collapsed in acrimony.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll showing that Americans blamed Obama in part for the "super committee" failure underscored the challenges he faces to persuade voters he is the still the best steward of the economy.

Mr Obama, who is seeking re-election in 2012, was in campaign mode when he travelled to New Hampshire – a key voting state where his Republican challengers will hold one of the first primary votes of the 2012 election in January.

He caricatured Republicans as the "Grinch," a mean-spirited character in a popular children's book about Christmas, for failing to back his $447 billion jobs package and an extension of payroll tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year.

Investors are already fretting about the fate of the tax cuts, worried that Congress' failure to extend them could put a damper on fragile economic growth."

Chris Huhne = Bigus Dickus

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Liberal Democrats Party Conference 2011: Chris Huhne to launch attack on 'Tea Party Tories'

Chris Huhne will today denounce the "Tea Party tendencies" of hardline Conservatives, in a speech that risks widening the rift between the Coalition partners.

"In one of the most scathing recent attacks on the Tories from a prominent Lib Dem, the Energy Secretary will warn David Cameron to keep the right of his party under control or risk undermining the work of Government.

Mr Huhne will tell delegates at the Lib Dem conference that British politics "does not need" activists like the American right-wing group which has built a strong base within the Republican Party in the US.

"Let that be a warning to the Conservative right here: we need no Tea Party Tendency in Britain," he will say, according to a leaked copy of his speech.

"If you fail to compromise, if you fail to seek the common ground that unites us, if you insist that only you have the answers, if you keep beating the anti-European drum, if you slaver over tax cuts for the rich, then you will put in peril the most crucial task of this Government."

Mr Huhne, who fell out with Conservative cabinet colleagues over their tactics during the Alternative Vote referendum in May, will criticise the Tory MPs who are calling for Britain to exploit the eurozone crisis by grabbing back some powers from Brussels."

Slightly related...

Marcus's picture

...royal couple are going to make an official visit to California! I wonder what that will look like?

Royal newly-weds to visit US

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to pay an official visit to the US following their first overseas tour to Canada this summer.

Prince William and his new wife will extend the trip with a three-day visit to California from 8-10 July, said their spokesman.

Announcing the visit on its Twitter page, Clarence House said a full itinerary would be published later.

It will be the first official visit to the US for the duke."

Bloggers take legal action over Huffington Post sale

Marcus's picture

Oh, how delicious the irony for Ariana (Obama fan) Huffington.

Bloggers take legal action over Huffington Post sale

"Arianna Huffington, her website and AOL were on the receiving end of a $105m (£64.5m) lawsuit by a group of angry bloggers unhappy that she sold the Huffington Post for $315m without them being paid a penny.

The class action is led by Jonathan Tasini, a writer and trade unionist, who wrote more than 250 posts for Huffington Post on an unpaid basis until he dropped out shortly after the news and comment site was sold to AOL earlier this year.

Tasini complained that "Huffington bloggers have essentially been turned into modern day slaves on Arianna Huffington's plantation" and said he was bringing the action because "people who create content ... have to be compensated" for their efforts.

The complainant and his lawyers estimate about 9,000 people wrote for the Huffington Post on an unpaid basis – and argue that their writings helped contribute about a third of the sale value of the site, the basis of their $105m claim for compensation."

Fox News to drop Glenn Beck's show

Marcus's picture

The Guardian is having a good w**K over this one.

Fox News to drop Glenn Beck's show

"Fox News announced today it is dropping Glenn Beck's daily talkshow – but in its official statement said the network and the controversial host would work together on unnamed future projects.

That may just be a face-saving device for Beck and the network, or it may be an attempt by Fox to find a way to use Beck in a form that avoids alienating advertisers."

@ Marcus

darren's picture


". . . PBS [Public Broadcasting System] President Paula Kerger even recorded a personal television appeal that told viewers exactly how to contact members of Congress in order to "let your representative know how you feel about the elimination of funding for public broadcasting." But if PBS can pay Ms. Kerger $632,233 [!!!] in annual compensation—as reported on the 990 tax forms all nonprofits are required to file—surely it can operate without tax dollars . . .

. . . The executives at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which distributes the taxpayer money allocated for public broadcasting to other stations, are also generously compensated. According to CPB's 2009 tax forms, President and CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison received $298,884 in reportable compensation and another $70,630 in other compensation from the organization and related organizations that year. That's practically a pittance compared to Kevin Klose, president emeritus of NPR, who received more than $1.2 million in compensation, according to the tax forms the nonprofit filed in 2009 . . ."

-Senator Jim DeMint (South Carolina), OpEd piece in The Wall Street Journal

Vivian Schiller bows out at NPR after rightwing sting

Marcus's picture

Vivian Schiller bows out at NPR after rightwing sting brings embarrassment

National Public Radio CEO quits after senior fundraiser caught in video sting by activists posing as fake Muslim group

"The chief executive of America's National Public Radio (NPR) network has quit her post after a video sting by rightwing activists posing as campaigners for a fictitious Muslim group.

Vivian Schiller resigned as NPR chief executive a day after the release of a video of a lunch at a fashionable Georgetown restaurant in which fundraisers for the network and the imposters discussed racist tendencies in the Tea Party, as well as the anti-intellectual streak in Republicans, Jewish media "conspiracy", and a potential $5m donation to public broadcasting.

The undercover operation was engineered by the conservative activist James O'Keefe, who made his name with a previous undercover sting against Acorn, a community organisation much reviled by the right in the US.

The senior NPR fundraiser in the video, Ron Schiller, who is no relation to the former chief executive, had been due to leave the radio network for the Aspen Institute.

But Schiller told reporters on Wednesday he would not be taking that job.

In the 11-minute, heavily edited video, he denounces the Tea Party as scary, seriously racist, and weirdly evangelical. "I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America, gun-toting. I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."

In the video Schiller offers no reaction to the impostors' claims to be a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood and laughs when one of the men jokes that NPR should be known as National Palestinian Radio."

'I no longer hope for audacity'

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'I no longer hope for audacity': Matt Damon turns against Obama as President loses his celebrity friends

Matt Damon joins growing list of celebrities who are turning their backs on the President

Adds Obama's policies on education to list of grievances

Others have criticised him over issues like gay rights and climate change

"It appears the list of Barack Obama's celebrity friends is dwindling.

Actor Matt Damon - who was one of the President's earliest and best-known celebrity supporters during his 2008 campaign - said point blank that he was unhappy with the way the country is being run in an interview with Piers Morgan last night.

He also slammed the President for failing to follow through on many of his campaign promises, particularly on education."

Dickheads unite

Marcus's picture

UK Uncut inspires US groups to attack cuts and tax avoidance

"Hundreds of activists in the US are planning to take part in a day of direct action in a move inspired by Britain's fast growing protest group.

US Uncut groups have sprung up from New York to Hawaii in the last three weeks and activists will demonstrate against government cuts and corporate tax avoidance in more than 50 cities on Saturday.

The US protest movement was inspired by UK Uncut, an anti-cuts campaign group that has temporarily closed scores of high street stores accused of tax avoidance since it was set up five months ago.

Last week it staged demonstrations in more than 30 bank branches. On Saturday hundreds of activists across the country hope to stage demonstrations inside more than 40 branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

"We spent billions bailing out RBS, yet now the government are cutting our services," said Rosa Brown, 42, from UK Uncut. "They are letting RBS get away with the mistakes they caused and rewarding themselves with massive bonuses but punishing us."

This week it emerged that more than 100 bankers at RBS were paid more than £1m last year and total bonus payouts reached nearly £1bn – even though the bailed-out bank reported losses of £1.1bn for 2010.

"It's just not fair," said Brown. "The government should be making the banks pay, not ordinary people."

The chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, said the number of millionaires was lower than a year ago and that a quarter of the group's 18,700 investment bankers would not receive a bonus from the £950m payout pool agreed with UK Financial Investments, which controls the taxpayer's 83% stake in the bank.

The US protests will focus on the Bank of America, which was one of the biggest recipients of taxpayers' money in the bailout that followed the financial crisis.

According to US Uncut, nearly two-thirds of US corporations and 68% of foreign firms operating in the US pay no income tax. A study from the non-partisan US Government Accountability Office found that 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations in the US use corporate tax havens to minimise their tax bills."

GOP defies Obama

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GOP defies Obama veto threat as Congress votes to cut $61billion from federal budget

"The House of Representatives has voted through cuts of $61billion from the federal budget, slashing funding to Government programmes in an attempt to reduce the deficit.

Aid for schools, environmental protection, healthcare and foreign aid will all get hit, as the new Congress won its most important victory since the Republican's took the House last year.

Even with the threat of a Presidential veto, the $1.2trillion bill passed and will be sent to the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is expected to amend it further.

The language between the two main political parties has intensified recently as both try to get the upper hand in the upcoming debate to avoid a Government shutdown if a temporary bill is not passed by the spring.

This vote 235-189 along party lines with three Republicans voting with Democrats will give the GOP a big boost in the battle.

Senate Democrats promise higher spending levels and are poised to defend Obama's health care bill, environmental policies and new efforts to overhaul regulation of the financial services industry.

Changes pushed through the House on Friday and Saturday – with voting ending at 4.47am – would shield greenhouse-gas polluters and privately owned colleges from federal regulators, block a plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and bar the government from shutting down mountaintop mines it believes will cause too much water pollution, siding with business groups over environmental activists and federal regulators in almost every instance.

The gulf between the combatants ensures that difference on the measure won't be resolved soon, requiring a temporary spending bill when a current stopgap measure expires March 4...

The 359-page bill was shaped beginning to end by the first-term Republicans, many of them elected with tea party backing.

They rejected an initial draft advanced by the leadership and produced by Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the Appropriations Committee, saying it did not cut deeply enough.

The revised bill added more reductions, and cut $100 billion from Obama's request for the current year, the amount Republicans had cited in their campaign-season Pledge to America.

But a tea party-backed amendment to slash $22 billion on top of the $60-billion-plus worth of steep cuts already made by the measure failed on Friday almost 2-1."

Sputnik moment

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Frances Fox Piven defies death threats after taunts by anchorman

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Frances Fox Piven defies death threats after taunts by anchorman

Leftwing academic speaks out amid hate campaign led by Fox News host Glenn Beck

"Frances Fox Piven is not going into hiding. Not yet.

The 78-year-old leftwing academic is the latest hate figure for Fox News host Glenn Beck and his legion of fans. While she has decided to shrug off the inevitable death threats that have followed, she is well aware of the problem. "I don't know if I am scared, but I am worried," she told the Observer as she sat in a bar on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

"At the start I thought it was funny, but now I know that is dangerous... their paranoia works better when they can imagine a devil. Now that devil is me."

For the past three weeks Beck has relentlessly targeted Piven via his television and radio shows as a threat to the American way of life, seizing on an essay that she and her late husband wrote in 1966 as a sort of blueprint for bringing down the American economy.

Called The Weight of the Poor, it advocated signing up so many poor people for welfare payments that the cost would force the government to bring in a policy of a guaranteed income. For Piven, a committed voice of the left, known in academic circles but little recognised outside them, it was just one publication in a lifetime dedicated to political activism and theorising.

For Beck, however, Piven is a direct threat to the US. In show after show, the rightwing commentator has demonised Piven and framed her as part of a decades-old conspiracy to take over the country that culminated in the election of President Barack Obama. Beck's heated language has provoked a tidal wave of death threats against both Piven and her academic colleagues at the City University of New York...

Piven joins a select group on the list of Beck's enemies that includes billionaire financier George Soros, green activist Van Jones and long-dead President Woodrow Wilson. Piven likens Beck to a 21st-century version of Father Charles Coughlin, the 1930s rightwing priest and radio broadcaster who many saw as advocating a US version of fascism. "It is very dangerous. Father Coughlin founded a third political party. Glenn Beck has the Tea Party. We should be worried," she said."

And now over to Bill Bonner from Baltimore, Maryland

gregster's picture

"Well, the president gave a bum speech. Full of empty phrases. Hollow words. It was deep space for real ideas; there was nothing there...
And yet, he gave it so sincerely...you almost felt sorry for him. He would have made such a good college president or undertaker. Sad to see him waste his talents in politics.

We were disappointed, too, that he didn't use any of our ideas. Don't expect a balanced budget for this year...or any year of this president's administration. Instead, he'll add 75% to the nation's official national debt - three times more than all the presidents who came before him put together.

Now, that's an achievement. Something to be proud of. Something he can put on his tombstone.

Here Lies Barack H. Obama. America's 44th president.
He bankrupted the US government.
And he could have achieved greatness. We had a dream about it. After the State of the Union address, we imagined a different speech:

"My fellow Americans, I know this is a go-along, get-along town. Everybody gets something. If you're well connected you get a lot. If you're not so well connected, you get less. Well, I'm not going along anymore. Instead, I'm going to change the rules...so that everyone has a fair chance of getting along.

"I propose to get rid of the phony dollar and re-introduce the real dollar. The dollar will be henceforth exchangeable at the rate of $1,500 per ounce. No questions asked. You give us $1,500 dollars; we'll give you an ounce of gold.

"And the US government budget will be balanced. We'll spend what we collect in taxes. Not a penny more.

"Of course, if you gentlemen and ladies want to raise taxes, I'll let you explain why to the voters..."
Whoa. With those two reforms he could save America from bankruptcy...and put the whole world economy back on solid footing.
And if he wanted to make the US economy the world's top performing economy he could go even further:

"I'm also introducing a flat 10% rate. I don't care how you earned your money. I don't care if you're a citizen or an alien from outer space. If you live in the US, you send me a postcard. Tell us how much you earned last year, and send us 10% of it."

Can you imagine? There would be a renaissance...a boom...a revival...like you've never seen.
Not that there wouldn't be problems. Big problems, even. But at least there wouldn't be any problem with the dollar...or the US public finances.

But it was only a dream, wasn't it? And a waste of time. It's never going to happen. We'll explain why, below. Tonight, we're going back to dreaming about women. It's more fun.

Stocks were flat yesterday. Gold dropped $12.

Gold is dipping. How deep will the dip dip? We don't know. But people who try to time the gold market almost never do well. They get out to avoid the dips. Then, gold shoots up again. The speculators are out of luck. They can't bring themselves to buy back in at a higher price. So they miss the explosive final stage of the bull market.

What to do about it? Don't speculate. Buy gold as a way to save money. Then, think of it as you would a collectible...or an heirloom. Don't worry about the price. Just hold on. By 2015, you'll probably be able to use a few ounces to buy a new house.

But remember this: there will also be a time when it makes sense to sell gold. When you can buy all the Dow stocks for a single ounce of gold...it's time to get out of gold and back into stocks. Right now, the Dow is a little under 12,000. And an ounce of gold is only $1,335. Our guess is that the Dow will collapse to under 5,000...while the price of gold soars to over 4,000. Get ready!

When? Hey, you're asking too much from a free e-letter. Just stay tuned."

The Daily Reckoning, e-letter.

It was a Sputnik moment...

Frediano's picture

...without the Sputnick.

Pure gesture politics. There is nothing quite so inspiring as a large room full of lawyers listening to the lawyer-in-chief drone on about how America must get jiggy with science and engineering and technology...

I see a growth opportunity looming on the horizon for next year's SOTU address: barf bags for folks who will yet tune in to listen to more of this nonsese.

Spending freeze? Sure, let's lock in spending...at near record levels. As someone pointed out, when heading towards a cliff the proper reaction is to hit the brakes, not turn on the cruise control. This is the tax and spend libs clinging to their spending until their fingers--and the nation's ass -- bleeds.

The federal public debt is rising up by 10% this year. At that rate, it will double in just 7 years, meaning, debt service as a % of the total budget will about double in the next seven years. This is the 'state of the union' in the homestretch heading out of decades of unprecedented genertional tax paying surplus subsidy, and heading into the period when that record generational surplus is about to invert, as all those fleeced Boomers leave their maximum earnings and tax paying years and with futility attempt to retire. With an inverting support ratio, and nothing but IOUs in the SS Trust Fund and a broke credit card to hand to the next generation as evidence of how well government by force managed 15% of the nation's earnings to address this easily predictable condition, I will be shocked if, outside of 10 years, there aren't bodies swinging from streetlamps in DC, with toppled monuments spraypainted with the words "and don't ever pull that shit again."

Over/under, 10 years? I say under.

DC needs an axe, not a scalpel.

Obama comes out punching

Marcus's picture

Obama's state of the union address: US must seize 'Sputnik moment'

President appeals to Republicans for co-operation to 'win the future' and warns that rise of China is threat to US influence

"Barack Obama warned of the threat to US economic power and global influence from China's rise as he appealed for Republicans to abandon demands for huge budget cuts and back the biggest government investment programme since the 1960s space race.

In the annual state of the union address, the US president appealed for the Republicans to co-operate to "win the future" and said the present generation faces its "Sputnik moment", requiring government investment in research, infrastructure and education.

He said that would be paid for, in part, by eliminating subsidies to hugely profitable oil companies.

"Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we'd beat them to the moon," he told congress. "The science wasn't there yet. Nasa didn't even exist.

"But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets – we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation's Sputnik moment. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country or somewhere else...

Instant polling on CNN showed a rise in support for the president's policies, with more than three-quarters of respondents saying they had a favourable view of the speech. A similar number said they were more optimistic after the address.

The president said the US faced a changed world, adding: "The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business.

"Meanwhile, nations like China and India realised that, with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on maths and science.

"They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world's largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer."

Obama said he would send a budget to congress that invested in research – especially clean energy technology, which he said could see 1m electric vehicles on US roads within four years and break dependence on fossil fuels, although his clean energy commitment involves a heavy reliance on nuclear power. But he did not directly speak about climate change or global warming.

He also called for a leap forward in educational standards, saying: "Think about it. Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet as many as a quarter of our students aren't even finishing high school."

While appealing for co-operation, the president laid bare the ideological divide with the Republicans. In the face of a Republican leadership demanding spending cuts and action on the deficit, he proposed a five year freeze on non-security related spending that would require "painful cuts"...

Ryan said that, if the government did not address spending, the US would face the same sort of crisis as those gripping Ireland, Greece and Britain.

"Depending on bureaucracy to foster innovation, competitiveness and wise consumer choices has never worked – and it won't work now," he said.

"The facts are clear: since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies – an 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus.

"All of this new government spending was sold as 'investment'. Yet, after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9% and government has added over $3tn to our debt."

Obama defended his controversial healthcare reforms – which Republicans are attempting to overturn – saying he was open to improving them but would not abandon the principle of ensuring healthcare for almost every American.

Members of Congress wore ribbons in support of Gabrielle Giffords, their colleague who was wounded during an assassination attempt in Tucson in which six other people were killed, and applauded the mention of her name.

Several members of both parties moved over to the other side's seating in a demonstration of bipartisanship in the wake of the debate over aggressive political rhetoric following the Tucson shootings.

Among those sitting with Michelle Obama were the parents and brother of Christina Taylor Green, the nine year-old girl who died in the shooting."

Rahm Emanuel thrown off ballot for Chicago mayor

Marcus's picture

Rahm Emanuel thrown off ballot for Chicago mayor

Appeal court rules Rahm Emanuel does not meet residency requirements because of his time working at White House.

"Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff and close aide of Barack Obama, was today thrown off the ballot to become Chicago's mayor.

An appeal court ruled that Emanuel did not meet residency requirements because he had spent the past two years working at the White House.

A recent opinion poll found that 44% of respondents backed Emanuel, more than twice the number for his nearest rival, and his support was growing. If he had won more than half the vote on 22 February he would avoided a runoff.

The court said in a 2-1 ruling: "We conclude that the candidate neither meets the the municipal code's requirement that he have resided in Chicago for the year preceding the election in which he seeks to participate nor falls within any exception to the requirement."

Emanuel's lawyer called the ruling a surprise because two other courts had ruled in the candidate's favour. The lawyer said he would appeal to the Illinois supreme court.

The ruling came after two voters objected to Emanuel's candidacy on the grounds that he rented out his Chicago house and moved his family to Washington to serve with Obama.

"If the house had not been abandoned by the whole family ... we wouldn't be here today," a lawyer for the plaintiffs told the judges."

The mystery of "O"

Marcus's picture

O, A Presidential Novel sparks search for anonymous author

Speculation rife that mystery writer behind fictional book depicting Barack Obama may be a political insider

"The language is not the sort we are used to hearing from Barack Obama. "Jesus Christ, do they expect you to be castrated by this fucking job?" the president barks after he has been caught on camera leering at the shapely curves of a young woman.

But then O, A Presidential Novel, is fiction, and the president it depicts – clearly Obama but referred to throughout its 353 pages only as O – is drawn with the benefit of artistic licence. The degree to which it is accurate depends on the credibility of its author, and that we cannot tell because he or she remains anonymous.

The question of who wrote O has become the Washington parlour game of the winter. Simon & Schuster, which publishes it next Tuesday, has said only it is "someone who has been in the room with Obama and knows this world intimately"...

O comes across as tired and tetchy, and fed up of his unfair treatment at the hands of the press (and he is also still smoking). But he is largely affectionately drawn, unlike the media figures who surround him. New media figures come off particularly badly, suggesting the author may be from an old media background. Arianna Huffington, the ebullient founder of the Huffington Post, is prominently represented here as the thinly disguised Bianca Stefani, who calls everybody "dahling" and has only one abiding passion: "Her own notoriety."

Stefani causes havoc in the thick of the 2012 campaign by running a business scandal story that is reported by a young British "citizen journalist" — an echo of the role the Huffington Post played in 2008 when it revealed Obama's comments on embittered voters clinging to guns or religion. Ben Smith's boss at Politico, John Harris, also gets an unflattering walk-on part as the foul-mouthed and bullying editor of Body Politic. And there is a harassed White House adviser who is clearly modelled on David Axelrod.

In the last analysis, O is no Primary Colors. Obama is too controlled to provide a juicy read, and besides, he has already written the best account of his own life in Dreams From My Father. But in today's grim publishing environment, where book houses have to shout to be heard, O is a work of marketing genius."

Ricky Gervais wins rightwing US fans with Golden Globes jokes

Marcus's picture

"He may not be a welcome guest at the homes of Robert Downey Jr, Charlie Sheen or Hugh Hefner in the wake of this year's Golden Globes, but Ricky Gervais may take dubious comfort in the knowledge that he has picked up an unlikely new set of fans: rightwing US bloggers and commentators.

While Gervais's jibes seemed to ruffle the feathers of actors and organisers alike at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday night, they have been lapped up like sugared milk by those who see the Hollywood glitterati as part of a pompous and pampered "liberal elite".

"Had he been as relentless in ripping apart Sarah Palin, her young children, Jesus Christ, or George W Bush, today the comedian would be celebrated as 'edgy' and 'courageous'," wrote John Nolte of Big Hollywood. "Because only in Hollywood is throwing red meat to a hard-left crowd considered 'edgy' and 'courageous'.

"After all, we are talking about an industry that revels in the idea of pushing the boundaries of good taste and decency, that revels in the art of ridicule, shock and satirical character assassination. Except, obviously, when they find themselves on the wrong end of all that 'edgy' envelope pushing."

Meanwhile Roger Simon of conservative and libertarian site Pajamas Media wrote: "Gervais has been roundly attacked for being rude to practically everyone, including the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) whose event it was. Problem is: he was right, particularly about the HFPA."

Ron Jnr ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... has always been a prat. And a "liberal."

Indeed Linz....

Marcus's picture

...liberals love stories like this.

However at least this time they did not start it, his son did.

I know they'd love to start a story that Thatcher too had dementia while in office if they could.

Dementia my ass!

Olivia's picture

A brilliant address by a first-rate mind.

"They" called Bill Clinton the new Thomas Jefferson??
Ye gods, that's like mistaking Peter Keating for John Galt.

Utter crap

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Here is 81-year-old Reagan at the RNC in 1992, four years after leaving office. Judge for yourselves whether this is a man with Alzheimer's. These days, thanks to the "liberals'" education system you'd be hard-pressed to find a 21-year-old able to deliver a 35-minute speech with such polish and verve, or a 35-minute speech at all.

The "liberals" were saying Reagan was senile while he was President. It was just about their favourite epithet for him. This was the President who effected the "Reagan Revolution" in the face of a hostile congress and faced down Communism (reasons the "liberals" hated him) while negotiating complex arms reduction deals with the Soviets. This was the President who conceived and held firm over 'Star Wars.' He even managed to navigate his way through a scandal that nearly undid him. Alzheimers in office my ass.

Reagan was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's in 1994, and announced it himself in a handwritten note that contained an error which he had crossed out.

Folk should heed the last para of the article quoted, which for some reason is not the part up in lights:

Altman returned to the subject in 1997, after Reagan had completed his second term. Having talked to many of the president's doctors in the White House, he concluded that there was no evidence that Reagan had suffered any of the symptoms of dementia while in office."

Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's while president, says son

Marcus's picture

Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's while president, says son

Son Ron Reagan's claim that Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's while in office leads to war of words with half brother Michael

"Ronald Reagan's sons have locked horns over the former president's political legacy after the younger brother, Ron, said his late father's battle with Alzheimer's began while he was in the White House.

The spat opens up a subject that has long been a talking point – when did the 40th president begin to become mentally impaired by the disease. He was formally diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1994, five years after he left office. Reagan died 10 years later at 93.

His sons have written books on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of their father's birth, that falls on 6 February.

The more contentious of the two is My Father at 100, written by Ron, Reagan's natural son with Nancy.

In it, Ron Reagan describes his growing sense of alarm over his father's mental condition, beginning as early as three years into his first term. He recalls the presidential debate with Walter Mondale on 7 October 1984.

"My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with his notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered," Ron Reagan writes.

Against that is the word of Michael Reagan, who was adopted by the president and his first wife, Jane Wyman. His book The New Reagan Revolution, is an appeal for a return to his father's political principles of low taxes and small government as a way to making America great again...

Ron Reagan showed an independent spirit from a young age, declaring himself at 12 to be an atheist when his father was governor of California. He went on to become a broadcaster of liberal and progressive views on outlets that tended to be left of centre, such as MSNBC and the now defunct Air America radio network.

Michael Reagan is a conservative activist and much more in his father's mould. He works as a political consultant through the Reagan Group he founded and makes regular appearances on rightwing outlets such as Fox News and NewsMax. He has a talkshow on the conservative network Radio America.

Their father's mannerisms while in office – including stumbling over his words, his occasional falling asleep in public, his weak memory – led to much speculation about how early on dementia had set in. The New York Times medical writer Larry Altman even raised the question with Reagan during an interview in 1980 just before he entered the White House. Reagan said he would quit if he developed Alzheimer's while in office.

Altman returned to the subject in 1997, after Reagan had completed his second term. Having talked to many of the president's doctors in the White House, he concluded that there was no evidence that Reagan had suffered any of the symptoms of dementia while in office."

Sarah Palin defends 'blood libel' remark

Marcus's picture

Sarah Palin defends 'blood libel' remark

During interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Palin said she would not be silenced by criticism from the left

"Sarah Palin has defended her controversial use of the term "blood libel" in the wake of the Arizona shootings and accused Barack Obama of electioneering in his response to the incident.

In her first TV interview since an attack which left six people dead, Palin appeared on Fox News to insist that the term used in a video statement last week, was justified because she had been "falsely accused of being an accessory to murder".

Palin, who is expected to run for president in 2012, was widely criticised for insensitivity by using a phrase which refers to the false accusation that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering in hospital after being shot in the head in the Tucson attack, is the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.

Asked if she knew what the term meant, Palin told Sean Hannity of Fox News: "Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands." She pointed out that the term had been used in non-religious context in headline on comment piece in the Wall Street Journal, two days before her video statement was released.

The interview came after a new poll showed that Palin's response to the tragedy was judged poorly compared with the president's handling of it.

Almost 80% of those questioned in the Washington Post-ABC survey approved of Obama's response, compared with a 30% approval rating for Palin's response. Obama's speech at the memorial service for the victims of the shootings was widely praised."

Call for Fox News to drop Glenn Beck

Marcus's picture

Call for Fox News to drop Glenn Beck

Ten thousand sign petition for rightwing talkshow host to be removed amid accusations that he has whipped up hatred in the wake of the Arizona shooting.

"A protest was staged against rightwing talkshow host Glenn Beck today, calling for his immediate removal from Fox News.

The organisers, Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), a charity that campaigns for social change, delivered a petition with 10,000 signatures.

In the wake of the Tucson shooting, the TV and radio personality has had to defend his record against accusations that he has whipped up hatred within the public discourse.

For a media figure who has been variously lambasted as a liar, buffoon, clown, bigot and racist Beck is no stranger to the vitriol that currently passes in America as public debate. In fact, he's built a multimillion dollar empire out of it.

So the protest rally that was staged outside the News Corporation headquarters in New York today probably troubled him as much as water flowing off a duck's back.

The petition was part of a groundswell of opinion that when it comes to Beck, arguably the most extreme of America's multitude of rightwing talk hosts, enough is now enough...

There is no love lost between Soros and the Fox News stable. A month after the Puppet Master was aired, Soros hit back that the combination of Fox News, Beck and the Tea Party movement was a threat to America that might lead "this open society to be on the verge of some dictatorial democracy".

Part of the Problem

atlascott's picture

Part of the problem with giving current Americans, 50% of whom pay no net taxes, the choice between freedom (get what you earn) and euro-scoialism, they'd pick euro-socialism in a heartbeat. In fact, they did when they elected Obama. They have been culturally changed by the American school system, and bribed by a nanny state government promising them freebies whether they work or not, and they do not have the first clue about how to be truly successful.

One need not even be a scholar or economist to figure out that spending more than you take in is not a good idea. Yet that is what the US government does, to the tune of trillions. Even if America DOUBLED its tax income, it would still be about a trillion dollars in the red every year. This isn't a problem. It is a catastrophe waiting to happen. The end of America. I won't even get into what happens when the dollar is no longer the preferred currency for trade, which is already underway. Hint: printing more dollars will hasten the process and will not help us.

Today's young Americans are not the young Americans of a generation ago. They all want to keep an open mind, respect all other cultures, while demonizing comparatively trivial injustices found in American society. Unless there is a real awakening, this thing is probably just about over. The Tea Party gives one hope, but the GOP will eventually swallow it up, with its power and influence. The Dems will continue to move us towards totalitarian socialism. The Republicans will continue to move us towards fascist totalitarianism, since more government control over "private" industry means more bribery opportunities.

Ron Paul, the Christian who thinks abortion is murder and who would deny gay couples equal treatment under the law, and who sees the War on Terror as a terribly inefficient means of reaching our security goals, is indisputably the most intelligent and best candidate for president of our current slate of options. The general public (the enlightened ones, anyway) must continue to put pressure on our political ruling class to move this country to smaller and less intrusive.

As goes freedom in America, so it goes for the rest of the world. Keeping America alive and strong should be everyone's first priority. I understand that some positions of Ron Paul's on sensitive issues that are personal to many here make it difficult to support him unequivocally. But it is really a matter of priority. If America becomes powerless before her enemies, she will be powerless to stop Muslim or Communist invaders from stoning hanging folks of certain persuasions in the town square.

It is full-on crisis time.

Craig, I will definitely

KingRandor82's picture

Craig, I will definitely concede that point.

However, don't forget that--despite popular belief--elected officials do represent the very Americans who insist that they're not being represented.

As James Madison once said himself: "What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."

The point is, how can free-market Capitalism be offered when the people not only to continue to insist on voting for the same thing over and over again, but keep promoting people to elected officialdom to do exactly that?

I am under strong belief that the Founding Fathers knew that giving a species that normally puts emotions and pragmatism over logic( as we've pretty much done throughout history) the chance at freedom was like giving a hobo a couple million dollars and expecting him to spend it wisely.

I don't care what's supposedly "on the table" as of now...the understanding for why it's necessary isn't there....by either party. And by "other party", I'm not speaking specifically about the Republicans or the Democrats...or did you not already figure that out?

America dances to the Palin beat

Marcus's picture

America dances to the Palin beat

The jury's out on a presidential bid, but Sarah and daughter Bristol have become an inescapable media force

By David Usborne

"The book is already destined to be a best-seller. Like the television programme Sarah Palin's Alaska, it has the feel of having come from her heart, not from a ghost-writer. It is stuffed with homespun life-lessons and observations that the Tea Party folk – who get great praise from her pen – will devour.

Nor does Mr Obama get off lightly. "We have a President, perhaps for the first time since the founding of our republic, who expresses his belief that America is not the greatest earthly force for good the world has ever known," she writes. Of course, this being the Palins, it's family first. And although the book went to the printers long before the national debate started about Bristol and her dancing abilities, Sarah dwells at length on the glories of her daughter — if not as a performer, as a doting single mother. She proudly ponders her daughter's pluck in raising a baby boy, comparing her to television's Murphy Brown, the eponymous alcoholic journalist in the classic sitcom.

"Which is the more courageous course for a young, single mother: to sit down and shut up and avoid the critics," Palin asks her readers, "or to speak out in a painfully honest way about how tough single parenting is? I'm biased of course, but given a choice of role models between Bristol and Murphy Brown, I choose Bristol."

Outside New York, it’s another country

Marcus's picture

That New Yorkers view the rest of America with contempt is no secret, writes Melissa Whitworth.

'I am so glad I live in New York City and not the United States,” the author RL Stine wrote last week on Twitter. That New Yorkers view the rest of America with contempt is no secret, but the elections last week were a vivid reminder of their alienation from the rest of the country. “It feels like 2004 all over again,” one friend told me.

The mood on the street was sombre on Tuesday night, with most choosing to watch the results from home, rather than seeing events unfold from a bar, as they did two years ago. One friend implored online: “Let sanity prevail!” Another staunch East Coast Republican called the Tea Party “anger without an agenda”. The week before, a magazine writer referred to the Tea Partiers as “Second Amendment zealots and s---kickers”, and went on to call the prospect of Sarah Palin as president “a kind of spook story told around a campfire”...


The Mike Wallace interview

Craig Ceely's picture

KingRandor, I agree with you that it was a fantastic interview, but she didn't quite say what you're attributing to her. In fact, not at all. What she did say was that voters have never been offered the choice of full, free, laissez-faire capitalism. That, on the face of it, is true. My feeling (I think we agree on this, but feel free to challenge me) is that the American sense of life is less positive than when Ayn Rand was a young woman, but even in 1959, she didn't tell Mike Wallace that the average American voter would choose laissez-faire capitalism were it to be offered. What she said was that it never has been offered, and with that, I agree with her.

Funny thing too about Mike Wallace: plenty of conservatives and right-wingers in general hated the guy. And yet he and his staff loved working with Ayn Rand, and I remember reading a Mother Jones interview with him in which, basically, he came off as not Lefty enough for them.

And as for quoting Cicero.....well, you don't lose points here for doing that.

that's nice to know....

KingRandor82's picture

so why then do they generally still show any real resistance to rolling back government?

More Kibbe

gregster's picture

He mentions Ayn Rand at 1,47.


KingRandor82's picture

I couldn't agree with you more.

However, the reality is the majority of humankind regrettably *doesn't*, never has, and shall continue to push us toward the brink each and every day. Will they finally put on the brakes, and go the other way? I certainly think so...just not anytime soon.

Hell, how else do you explain the 75-year reign of King Louis the XVI?


KingRandor82's picture

do you refer to when Ayn Rand mentioned she believed people would gladly accept Capitalism if it was offered to them, or the disastrous appearance on Donahue?

The former is her interview with Mike Wallace--I must admit a fantastic interview--which is available on Youtube.

The second is also available on Youtube and pure hell to sit thru at the same time.

don' get me wrong: I love Ayn Rand, I thought she was simply amazing, and understood things on levels most don't. However there are times when I have to disagree with her perspective...as I disagree with the perspectives of all those I highly admire at various degrees.

I believe she saw a true, honest goodness in general humanity that I have yet to see manifest itself, save for a very small minority. And history in general hasn't really helped Ayn Rand's case either....

I agree with her ideas, and understand that they work...but most of humankind neither agrees with her ideas, understands that they work, nor seems to really desire to pursue them.

A possible reason is--again--because her ideas are based on logic and reason, which is a path that humanity as a whole is not ready to follow yet.

As even Cicero said over 2000 years ago: "Men decide far more problems by hate, love, lust, rage, sorrow, joy, hope, fear, illusion, or some other inward emotion, than by reality, authority, any legal standard, judicial precedent, or statute."

Feel free at any point to let me know when between that time and now things have changed; oh how I'd love to hear that.

Oh, Scott....

Craig Ceely's picture

You'll make me blush....

Excellent post

atlascott's picture

Just excellent and correct in every detail.

We cannot go down any road but small government, respect for the Constitution, and fiscal responsibility is we are going to survive and thrive.

I wonder...

Craig Ceely's picture

KingRandor, could you provide an attribution for that?


KingRandor82's picture

I don't base my opinions on her from that; but not only was Donahue a condescending asshole, but Rand didn't exactly light up the stage with her appearance either.

And btw...resorting to name-calling isn't something I expected to hear after like Grade 5, my good man.


KingRandor82's picture

Considering Ayn Rand believed that the majority would choose Capitalism if it was directly presented to them, and that they were generally smart enough to, yes....I do.

Even Mike Wallace implied it too.


gregster's picture

Here's a tip though: make sure they never watch the utter disaster that was her appearance on Donahue.

Here's another tip: don't make your formative opinions from trash talk shows, loser.

Well, that does explain a lot

Craig Ceely's picture

Reagan is one of your "heroes," and you admit this publicly, and yet you speak of the "naivete" of Ayn Rand?

I suggest, sir, that you check your premises. And your history.

Matt Kibbe on 'Gridlock' in US politics

gregster's picture

I was impressed last night with one Matt Kibbe interviewed on BBC’s Hardtalk. Unfortunately that link doesn't show the full "interview."

From his FreedomWorks site:

“Mr. Kibbe and his organization have a reputation for making good policy good politics. FreedomWorks was instrumental in defeating Al Gore's infamous energy "Btu" tax and "HillaryCare" in the 1990s. Over the last ten years the organization has beaten the trial lawyer lobby by enacting sweeping tort reforms in states like Alabama and Florida. FreedomWorks also stopped billions in proposed tax hikes at both the state and federal levels. In 2006, their grassroots campaign was widely acknowledged as having defeated a proposed $130 billion asbestos trust fund. The Oregonian describes FreedomWorks as "a tightly run and well-financed national group."

Here he is on Fox:

to be fair...

KingRandor82's picture

Reagan is still one of my heroes, but in no way do I think the man was undeserving of criticism; though in his case, I think what really took him down a few notches was how incredibly naive he was.

Just watching his farewell speech it was obvious, much as when I watched his debate against George Bush in '80; I still love him for how strong in his convictions he was...and having the balls to stand up to the Soviets when pretty much everyone else fell short, among other things.

Oh, I'd love to hear people take Ayn Rand and Mises far more seriously.

Here's a tip though: make sure they never watch the utter disaster that was her appearance on Donahue.

And to be fair, I even think Ayn Rand herself was a tad on the naive side; such naivetes even Mike Wallace exposed in her interview with her.

I think the biggest issue is this: people can keep blaming government all they want, but the reality at the end of the day is simply that government represents *them*. If the people generally suck, and don't like to be held accountable for any stupid ideas, their government will be the same way.

Before America gets a better government in power, we have to take a good hard look at ourselves, and decide what our priorities are.

I got really sick of hearing people say "Obama lied to us!", because he totally DIDN'T. He told them exactly what he stood for on his campaign trail...but y'know, it's so much easier to just blame the politician, and not hold oneself accountable for a poor voting choice.

To be honest...I'm under the impression that it will be several centuries before Americans--and humans in general--vote in better government, and I do mean permanently.

Sucks to hear, I know....but again...I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary...

Well now...

Craig Ceely's picture

Where is it written that I expect anything from them at all, or ever did? Not from those soon to be assuming office, not from the activists, not from the voters who first heard of Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive movement from watching Glenn Beck, and got religion and called it political philosophy.

The only thing to be hoped for is that a few from each group -- the politicians, the activists, the voters -- realize just how much trouble is very, very shortly down the road, and assume the responsibility and the leadership of finding out what needs to be done to prevent us becoming the North American Greece. Oh, wait, we already do have our own Greece: it's called California, and the voters out there re-elected Senator Boxer and sent Jerry Brown back to the governor's office. In New York, no Democratic incumbent has ever lost a Senate seat. Ever. I'm glad that Feingold is soon to be gone, but McCain was re-elected. McCain, remember, who spoke of providing "leadership" by interrupting his presidential campaign to vote for Bailout USA. You think the Tea Party Republicans in the House will refuse to fund a California bailout? You think the few Tea Party Republicans in the Senate will filibuster a California bailout bill?

As I did say, I was wrong about how much clout the Tea Party folks would actually wield on Tuesday, and I'm pleased to see how many incumbents were given the toss. And I'm glad as well to see people talking about how destructive the Progressive movement was, and leaning toward Austrian economics. I really do believe that some of them are taking ideas at least somewhat seriously, and that most of them mean well. But when they begin to admit that most of the Progressives were Republicans ... well, that's when I'll start paying more attention to them. When they admit that Reagan was no tax-cutting hero, or start seriously citing Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises and the Articles of Confederation, well.....then I'll figure we're on the right road.

But it has to be the right road: Any road will do if you're just willing to be road kill.

Craig, what can the Tea Party

KingRandor82's picture

Craig, what can the Tea Party do that the country will honestly support?

This is why I didn't emotionally invest in them, and it's why I also didn't vote.

Even my Dad--an admitted Objectivist--squirms at the thought of Social Security being privatized.

Americans--and humans in general--want the ideals of a Socialist utopia with the benefits of Capitalism; that beast doesn't exist. It never has, and never will.

Likewise, at no point in human history have civilizations ever kept their progress going for more than a couple hundred years before everything went to hell again.

What makes this go round different? Cause people are "fed up"? They've been saying that forever; it doesn't mean anything.

Humans don't want freedom; it's that simple. "Everybody wants to rule the world", as Tears for Fears sang; doesn't mean they'd be any good at it, they just all want to do it.

Also worth noting..despite popular belief, government does represent the people; the people just generally have lousy/conflicting beliefs, and they vote people in to act on them.

As long as you know this, you won't be setting yourself up for disappointment when the group that's been emotionally invested in collapses from within. You'll be expecting it long before it happens.

And of course Prop 19 went down in flames; I'll say it again: Americans--and humans in general--DON'T want freedom.

Barack Obama admits he needs 'to do a better job' after midterms

Marcus's picture

"President Barack Obama admitted he had been "humbled" today by the worst Democratic midterm election defeat in 70 years, and promised to work alongside the revitalised Republican party in Congress.

Obama admitted that the Republicans had given his party a severe beating – or as he termed it, a "shellacking" – and said it had given him a late and uncomfortable night. "Some election nights are more fun than others," he said. "Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling."

At a White House press conference, he portrayed himself as contrite after the election results, which saw the Republicans make gains across the country, capturing control of the House of Representatives with a majority of more than 60 and just failing to win the Senate.

He admitted he may have been out of touch with the mood in the US, saying that was a consequence of being in the White House "bubble", and maybe he had got the message wrong during campaigning...

What's a shellacking?

Obama's use of the word "shellacking" to describe the Democrats' defeat was an unusual one. The term is slang for repeatedly and severely beating and can also mean being decisively defeated. But it is also used to refer to coating or finishing a surface with shellack, a kind of varnish. Its origin is French – laque en écailles – literally meaning lac in thin plates. For a president trying to reach out to an angry electorate, it was an odd turn of phrase. He will certainly need more than a thin layer of varnish to weather the political blows ahead."


I was wrong and I was right

Craig Ceely's picture

I was wrong about how much intellectual heft the Tea Party activists would display and I was wrong about how influential they'd actually prove to be at the ballot box. This much is all too true, and i'm impressed by how they've proved me wrong.

But I am not wrong about this: they have not yet shown themselves to be friends of liberty. Proposition 19 in California? Forget about it. Military spending? Forget about it. Other major entitlements, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? Forget about all of those as well. That's been my prediction for some time, and I'm sticking to it.

Of course, when you combine military spending, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, well, that's most of the US federal budget, so.......

Beyond Economics in the Tea Party

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

I'm disappointed that the Tea Party movement didn't seem to back Proposition 19 in California to legalize marijuana. Do these Tea Partiers ever favor social and personal freedom? Do they ever advocate drug and prostitution freedom? If so, I've never heard it. Sad

Voters pass Prop. 26

Marcus's picture

"Under current law, increasing taxes requires a two-thirds vote by the Legislature. With Sacramento paralyzed by partisan gridlock and Republicans firmly opposed to any tax increases, Democrats in control of the Legislature have instead passed a variety of fees, which require a simple majority vote.

A fee is a levy that is used for a specific purpose, such as a user fee for state parks or fees on chemical pesticides that go toward funding the state's pesticide control agency. A tax may be used for the state's general operating costs, to pay for things like public education, prisons and health services.

The state's business community has railed against these fees for years. And with Prop. 26, they sought to erase the semantic difference between fees and taxes -- requiring the same two-thirds vote on fees that currently exists for taxes. The measure effectively expands the definition of a state tax, requiring a two-thirds vote for any new surcharge or levy, even if the money is earmarked for a specific purpose."


This result was a ringing endorsement...

Marcus's picture

...that US voters already regret voting Obama in.

Unless Obama now does a Clinton and works with congress to cut the deficit, all the republicans need to win in 2012 is a candidate who is not Obama.

Chances are that won't happen though. The reason Obama got to this point is that he was a naive idiot shouting feel-good slogans.

With congress now in his way his lack of experience and inadequacy will only be magnified.

True Craig. But this is a

Sam Pierson's picture

True Craig. But this is a GOP with a Tea Party movement watching them very closely; an unpredictable movement likely to do "crazy things" if it don't see some real action. I share your prediction, but give them their second and last chance.

(Bonjour! btw)

Bit of context, people.....

Craig Ceely's picture

Yes, it's sad that Frank got back in, but as the Republicans took the House, he won't be chairing anything, so he's the past. That's certainly all to the good. For the same reason, Pelosi no longer being Speaker is all to the good. No argument from me there.

But the guys who took the House tonight.....well, not to toss a wet blanket on too many people, but speaking as an American ( and a Republican since 1980), I have to say that they are STILL Republicans. The Democrats, to be sure, thoroughly deserved to lose tonight -- and deserved to lose more than they did. I wish, for example, that Boxer and the aforementioned Frank had been given the boot. But.........The Republicans, on the other hand, did not deserve to win. If nothing else, eight years of Bush the Younger gave us Obama.

All we can do is see what they'll do. My prediction: not much.

But I'll give you this: if enough people see these midterm elections as a slap in Obama's face, well then hell, I'll take that as a positive.

Yup, good result. Good

Sam Pierson's picture

Yup, good result. Good speech from Boehner, stressing it was not a time to celebrate. Solid & sober tone. You think he was drunk? Heh. Rubio looks like a rising star.

Obama's been cut off at the pass. Thanks Tea Party. Yah, we'll see what he now does.

Looking good ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"Speaker Pelosi" no more. Great line from Rubio: not an endorsement of the Republicans but a second chance. Great speech from Rand Paul, even if he is a Saddamite. Boehner drunk was funny as a fart. Pity the evil bastards Reid and Frank and Boxer et al got back in.

Now let's see what Obamugabe does.

Obama faces historic backlash

Marcus's picture

"It would overtake the last biggest historic party swing in 1942 when the Democrats, under President Franklin D Roosevelt, lost 55 seats.

The balance of power in the 100-seat Senate is more likely to go down to the wire, but Republican leaders are confident they can win the ten extra seats they need for a majority.

‘The Democrats are about to feel the force of hurricane winds,’ said polling expert Peter Hart. Gallup claims the surge is so large ‘seat projections have moved into uncharted territory’.

Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison added: ‘If history holds, this is the prediction of a Republican wave of genuinely historical proportions.’

All 435 House of Representative seats are up for grabs, along with one-third of the Senate, while 37 states will be choosing governors."


Far-flung Clinton jokes Obama 'envious' on polling day

"US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is on a visit to Malaysia and far from tense US elections, joked Tuesday that US President Barack Obama may be "a little envious" of her.

"I spoke to President Obama... I think he was a little envious that I'm here," she said in a lighthearted interview ahead of the polls widely expected to hand Obama's Republican foes control of the House of Representatives."


Michelle Obama's 'rock star' status fails to draw crowds

"The crowd went wild when Michelle Obama swept into a high-school gymnasium in Las Vegas yesterday morning, with little Harry Reid trailing in her wake and a local Mariachi band, in full dress uniform, entertaining the crowd. But behind the flag waving and anthem-singing, and the sunny optimism of a typical American election rally, there was a palpable sense of unease.

Two years ago, at the height of Obamania, the First Lady was a sort of rock-star; with a following wind, she could fill an outdoor stadium. Today, her stock has fallen. A few hundred people did turn out to hear her speech, but there were swathes of seats left empty at the back, and plenty of standing room around the stage. Ticker tape was conspicuous by its absence.

Mrs Obama’s message, on the eve of a mid-term election that will define the last two years of her husband’s first term as President meanwhile wasn’t so much Yes We Can as Hopefully We Might."


Not unfocused, but dishonest...

Marcus's picture

The article claims that they are not there to bring down those in power.

What a load of tat.

Everyone could see how Stewart gloated when Bush became unpopular and how much time he now spends kissing Obama's ass.

It's no secret Stewart has a liberal audience who like to only laugh at jokes about republicans and the right-wing.

They claim the march is against extremism.

What a load of shit. The so-called "extremism" is what gives Stewart all his material. He would be lost without it.

Why don't they be honest and admit that they were marching against the tea party, in favour of Obama and the democrats.

"The march to preserve the inane" is closer to the truth.

That smug bubble

Sam Pierson's picture

That smug bubble looks like it's about to be deflated. The 'team for (in)sanity' will have a real opportunity to show us all how '(in)sanity' is properly done when things aren't going your way. Signs are that today could be a difficult day for them.

C'mon America!

Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore (in)Sanity

Marcus's picture

Marchers at the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington lampoon the right's practice of putting a Hitler moustache on pictures of Barack Obama.

"Hello! And are you ready to restore sanity?" Stewart asked the crowd when he appeared. He and Colbert then kept the crowd laughing and cheering with a double act that played off their themes of mocking and bickering with each other, while simultaneously making their point about a gentler style of politics. "I'd like to have a more traditional beginning to a rally," Stewart said, to which Colbert replied: "Oooh, a book burning!"

Their stage act was in many ways a continuation of their TV routines, heavy on wit and poking fun at sacred cows. One of the funniest moments came with the introduction of singer and Muslim convert Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens. Islam began to sing "Peace Train", only to be interrupted by Colbert, who said ,"I am not getting on that train", before bringing on heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne to sing his 1980s hit, "Crazy Train". The O'Jays later sang "Love Train".

Stewart has played down any political intent behind the Restoring Sanity rally. "I wanted to come here as a sort of plea for a more commonsense politics," said Jake Edmonds, a 23-year-old student who had made a 14-hour car trip from northern Michigan. His driving partner, fellow student Nick Budes, agreed. "The number of people here is a physical representation of what a lot of people think: that everyone needs to take it down a notch," he said, referring to what many see as the overheated nature of American politics and the media outlets that cover them.

That chimed with Schupp and her fellow Floridian, Mike Puma, who works for the same cable company. "Not everyone is crazy. Obama may not be the best president or the worst, but I am pretty sure he was born here. I am pretty sure he is not like Hitler. We are the majority of people who don't actually believe this stuff," Puma said.

Indeed, the tone of the rally was satirical rather than political. Many of those attending wore costumes depicting the Mad Hatter, Wonder Woman or the scary rabbit character from the cult movie Donnie Darko. Signs waved by the crowd read: "Team Sanity".

The whole mood echoed Stewart's decidedly apolitical behaviour in the runup to the event. He has rarely, if ever, been an advocate for any sort of concrete agenda or liberal politics. There was no real talk, for example, of the intricacies of putting healthcare reform into practice, withdrawing from Afghanistan or job creation.

Instead, the atmosphere was one of irony and humour; of mocking those in power, not seeking to replace them. That fits the role that Stewart and Colbert play the best. They are the court jesters at the palace of the real power players in America. Their job is to point out the hypocrisies of the great and the good, not to oust them.

"The message is incredibly unfocused. They tell us it is not political. We should believe them," said Professor Robert Thompson, a popular culture expert at Syracuse University.

That has been echoed by the Rally for Sanity's cheerleaders in the media. Alexandra Petri, in a column for the Washington Post, gleefully highlighted how her generation had swapped political activism for ironic mockery.

"Call us Generation I. I for irony, iPhones and the internet… Sum up our lives in a phrase? The Importance of Never Being Too Earnest," Petri wrote in a piece that must have broken the hearts of countless former 1960s radicals. But she probably has a point. It was telling that a recent march on Washington organised by the labour movement attracted little attention, either in terms of marchers or media coverage...

Colbert's whole stage persona is one gigantic clown act aimed at conservative news pundits. It is no wonder, they say, that young people like the thousands on the Mall barely know what a newspaper is and never watch the evening network news.

"It is a sad commentary that the two most important news shows are on the Comedy Channel," said Cohen. "In their comedic format they are doing what journalists should be doing."


Riddled with falsities Rosie

gregster's picture

But the country the right wants to return to isn't the America that the Greatest Generation built.

By that he favours a redistributive tax-the-rich setup. He prefers immoral theft and hatred for the creators.

Judging by the statements of many of the Republican and Tea Party-backed candidates on next Tuesday's ballots, it's the America that antedates the New Deal -- a land without Social Security, unions or the minimum wage.

Excellent if true

It's the land that the Greatest Generation gladly left behind when they voted for and built the New Deal order.

The big lie still promulgated by conventional economists.

All of us should want our country back, but that country should be the more prosperous and economically egalitarian nation that flourished at the time when America was not only the world's greatest power, but also a beacon to the world.

He's showing his true red colours. Useless whoever he is.


Rosie's picture

You have asked "Why is the UK Guardian trying to smear the tea party movement?

Here is another article which questions the tea party movement. It is writtten by Harold Meyerson , a graduate of Columbia University and op-ed columnist for the Washington Post. It takes a different perspective from the Guardian article but, I think, provides interesting information about the income distribution since Reagan and, if this information is correct (I haven't checked it but wouldn't see fit to question a Columbian man! ), makes me wonder what is the current big deal with the tea party.

Laughs in short supply as Barack Obama on The Daily Show

Marcus's picture

"The last time Barack Obama appeared on the Daily Show, he was a young, up and coming senator vowing to change the way politics was done in Washington and trading wisecracks with presenter Jon Stewart.

Last night however, in making history as the first US president to be interviewed on Comedy Central's satirical news show, he struck a more sombre tone. Obama appeared to have decided that in the present political climate, with unemployment high and many voters expressing disappointment with his performance, jokes were inappropriate...

Obama stuck with two key messages throughout the 30-minute interview: that he had done a good job in getting healthcare reform through Congress, and passing financial regulation laws. The White House said his appearance was mainly aimed at winning over young voters ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections...

Stewart teased the president about his campaign slogan "Yes, we can", suggesting that these days it was "Yes, we can, with conditions attached".

Obama replied: "When I say that when we promised during the campaign, change you can believe in, it wasn't change you can believe in in 18 months ...What I would say is, 'Yes, we can', but it is not going to happen overnight."


Republicans pull ahead in battle for key seats of power

Marcus's picture

Jerry Brown is a rare example of a Democratic candidate closing in on electoral success

"The old warhorse Jerry Brown may be set to recapture California for the Democrats – but Republicans are poised for big gains in the 37 state governors' races in next week's midterm elections that would strengthen both the party's hand in the 2012 presidential contest, and its future representation in Congress.

When America votes in November of each even-numbered year, governors' elections are often overshadowed by the headline-grabbing battles for the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate. In reality, the US federal system devolves large powers to individual states and their governors, turning them into laboratories for tax, environmental and social policy legislation that have more impact on the country than the arrival of any Senator or Congressman in Washington.

They are political harbingers too. In 2009, Republican victories in the governors' elections in Virginia and New Jersey were the first sign that the political pendulum was swinging away from Democrats after their big wins of 2006 and 2008. This time, the stakes are higher still, as Barack Obama faces what could be a tricky fight for a second term two years hence...

States in play


The importance of this race, between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott, is two-fold. Practically, the state will gain two congressional seats before the 2012 elections, making it crucial to have control of the state government as the decisions are made on how the district lines should be drawn. Florida and its "hanging chads" are infamous in recent US political history: that backdrop makes it a race both sides are desperate to win. Despite the Democrats starting favourites, polls show free-spending Scott has gained ground. The result could be as tight as it was in 2000.


To beat Obama in 2012 the Republicans will need to win either here or Ohio. Polling suggests state Attorney General Tom Corbett (Republican candidate) is ahead of Democrat and Allegheny County Executive, Dan Onorato, but Democrat rallying has narrowed the margins. With the state losing a congressional seat before 2012, the governorship's importance has rocketed.


This race could be seen as the State versus big business: State Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat, leads Republican and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman by 13 points despite Whitman ploughing $142m of her own money into her campaign. Whitman damaged herself by employing an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. Also, clever advertising by Brown connected Whitman with the unpopular outgoing governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Both candidates Ted Strickland (Democrat) and John Kasich (Republican) are battling negative public perception. The Republicans have spent millions in advertising, denouncing Strickland for increasing job losses during his tenure. But as a former member of Congress and Wall Street employee, Kasich hardly presents good economic credentials. He has struggled to maintain his lead."


Why is the UK Guardian...

Marcus's picture

...trying to smear the tea-party movement? Of course they're left-wing, but the majority of voters in this country are unaware and uninterested in the tea party.

The Tea Party movement: deluded and inspired by billionaires

By funding numerous rightwing organisations, the mega-rich Koch brothers have duped millions into supporting big business

George Monbiot
guardian.co.uk, Monday 25 October


Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP

Marcus's picture

Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters

"Obama and Democrats have accused corporate interests and anonymous donors of trying to hijack the midterms by funnelling money to the Chamber of Commerce and to conservative Tea Party groups. The Chamber of Commerce reportedly has raised $75m (£47m) for pro-business, mainly Republican candidates.

"Oil companies and the other special interests are spending millions on a campaign to gut clean-air standards and clean-energy standards, jeopardising the health and prosperity of this state," Obama told a rally in California on Friday night.

Much of the speculation has focused on Karl Rove, the mastermind of George Bush's victories, who has raised $15m for Republican candidates since September through a new organisation, American Crossroads. An NBC report warned that Rove was spearheading an effort to inject some $250m in television advertising for Republican candidates in the final days before the 2 November elections.

But Rove, appearing today on CBS television's Face the Nation, accused Democrats of deploying the same tactics in 2008. "The president of the US had no problem at all when the Democrats did this," he said. "It was not a threat to democracy when it helped him get elected."


Why the US has turned against Obama

Marcus's picture

"Why have American voters gone so sour on Barack Obama's Democratic party? It's a question that must puzzle many in Britain who – Conservative as well as Labour and Lib Dem – welcomed Obama's election two years ago and saw him leading America and the world into broad, sunlit uplands. But now it appears that Obama's party is about to take what George W Bush called a "thumping" in the mid-term elections on November 2.

It looks to be quite a fall. Obama won the popular vote in 2008 by a 53 to 46 per cent margin. That's not quite a landslide, but he won a higher percentage of the vote than any Democratic candidate in history except for Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. More than John Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, Grover Cleveland; more even than Bill Clinton.

And Democrats won the popular vote for the House of Representatives – a key index of public support – by a 54 to 43 per cent margin. That was their best showing since 1986.

Polls now suggest that those percentages could turn upside down. Republicans lead on the generic ballot question – which party's candidates will you support for the House of Representatives – by an average of 49 to 42 per cent. In no previous election cycle since the Gallup organisation started asking the question in 1942 have Republicans led by more than 4 per cent. Now in Gallup's "low turnout" likely voter model they lead by 17. Republicans seem very likely to win more – perhaps many more – than the 39 seats they need for a majority in the House and might, if they get lucky, win the 10 seats they need for a majority in the Senate...

We are making history, the Obama Democrats proclaimed as they passed their health care bill, over the objections of a majority of the US electorate, expressed through polls and the unlikely medium of the voters of Massachusetts (who chose Republican Scott Brown for what had been Edward Kennedy's Senate seat in January this year). What they had in mind was the New Deal historians' version of history. But that was not a fully accurate picture of the 1930s, and America today is a nation even less eager to have government "spread the wealth around", as Barack Obama told Joe the Plumber in Toledo, Ohio, in October 2008.

For economic redistribution is not a contemporary idea. It is an old, fusty idea, first advocated by elite, academic theorists a century or more ago. They saw around them a society in which small numbers of people had built giant firms and aggregated great wealth; in which masses of people, many of them immigrants from unfamiliar places, lived in packed tenements in burgeoning cities and dim factory towns; in which the ordinary person never accumulated significant property, indeed may not even have a bank account. Spread-the-wealth policies, these theorists imagined, would make these people better off and would also prevent revolution. For they did not know, as we do, that violent revolution Paris or Petrograd style would not come to Britain or America.

We no longer live in such a country. Ordinary Americans, over a lifetime, accumulate significant wealth in housing and financial instruments. That process has taken a hit from the recession, but most Americans haven't abandoned its pursuit. They believe big government policies are stifling the economic growth that makes wealth accumulation possible, and that the $400 tax rebate in the stimulus package doesn't make up the difference.

The exact dimensions of the Democrats' rout are not yet clear. Nor is it clear whether Republicans will advance serious policies to roll back their expansion of government, and whether voters will support them if they do. Britain may give us some clues on that. But we do know that Americans who embraced "hope and change" two years ago are now rejecting the change they were given."


Barack Obama video supports gay teenagers

Marcus's picture

The best thing Obama has done in a long time.

Democrats target black vote as Tea Party collects converts

Marcus's picture

Reverend Jerry Stephenson, who has switched from the Democrats to the Tea Party: "There has to be change that we can not only believe in, but we can see.''

"The enormity of the task facing the Democrats in the midterm elections is all too evident at the Midwest church of Christ, which lies in a predominantly black neighbourhood in Louisville. Its pastor, the Reverend Jerry Stephenson, is a registered Democrat but he will be voting in the US Senate race for the Republican candidate and Tea Party favourite, Rand Paul.

Stephenson, 61, is furious over the school drop-out rate among African-American children in his neighbourhood – which has one of the highest crime rates in the city, especially among teenagers – and across the nation.

He felt pride when Barack Obama became the first black US president, but that pride has been tempered by a growing belief that he is not up to the job. "There has to be change that we can not only believe in," he said, echoing an Obama campaign slogan, "but that we can see."

The pastor is so angry that he has embraced the Tea Party movement, in spite of it being overwhelmingly white and repeatedly accused of racism. He speaks at their rallies across Kentucky, delivering fiery speeches in the cadences and rhythms common among southern black preachers.

Stephenson is in a minority of African-Americans likely to back the Republicans, estimated at little more than 10%. African-Americans traditionally back the Democrats and Obama won 95% of their vote in 2008. That loyalty appears to be holding: a Pew Research Centre survey in September found he had an 88% approval rating among black people, more than double that of the white population.

The question for Obama is whether they will turn out in record numbers again to vote Democrat or whether they will stay at home, either out of apathy or disillusionment with the slow economic recovery.

With less than a fortnight to the midterm elections, the Democrats are targeting African-Americans across the country, spending $3m (£1.9m) on adverts aimed at black radio and television stations, hoping that they might make the decisive difference in key contests. The Republican party, in an attempt to woo the African-American vote, is fielding 14 black candidates."


there was a Gallup Poll

KingRandor82's picture

there was a Gallup Poll recently done, indicating most Americans realize that federal spending will create real financial problems for our country in the long run...but still have no desire to cut the majority of the pork from the federal spending. And barely a majority is opposed to increasing taxes.

Translation: America won't get behind the Tea Party for that, regardless of what they think.

I tried to warn you all, and tell you that you're setting yourselves up for disappointment...but I'll let you find out yourselves the hard way.

Tea Party tour to kick off with Sarah Palin address

Marcus's picture

"Sarah Palin will be headlining at this morning's Tea Party rally in Reno, Nevada, that will kick off a 3,000-mile bus tour designed to stand the US political establishment on its head.

Palin will be appearing at a fairground near Reno airport to give a send-off to the Tea Party Express bus tour, the fourth that the group has staged in the past two years.

Billed as the "Liberty at the ballot box tour", it will pass from coast to coast and hit many of the most sensitive Tea Party races that aim to unseat moderate Republicans and replace them with slash-and-burn rightwingers.

The launch point has in itself been carefully chosen to reflect the bitter battle between Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, and the Tea Party Republican candidate, Sharron Angle.

The latest poll in the Las Vegas Review-Journal puts Angle just ahead of Reid at 47% to 45%, with Angle showing a strong lead among independent voters.

Reid would make a dramatic scalp for the Tea Party movement were he to fall to the former state assembly member.

"To take down the Senate majority leader, I mean who wouldn't, he's one of the worst offenders," said Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express...

"If you thought we were just going to quietly go away, or that this Tea Party movement would be just a passing fad, you were mistaken," its campaign literature says. "We're taking our country back!"


Barack Obama fights to avert Republican avalanche

Marcus's picture

"Mid-term elections: President campaigns to shore up Democrat vote as poll shows 25% of former Obama voters may defect.

Barack Obama hit the campaign trail again today in a desperate effort to save Democrats facing a Republican avalanche in next month's mid-term elections.

An Associated Press poll published today showed a quarter of those surveyed who had backed Obama in the 2008 White House election were considering voting Republican. Obama, addressing a crowd of 10,000 in Boston yesterday, acknowledged the problem. "There is no doubt that this a difficult election. That's because we've been through an incredibly difficult time as a nation," he said.

The Democrats, accepting political reality, are cancelling millions in advertising planned for Congressional candidates they no longer believe are capable of winning, and transferring the cash to shore up seats previously regarded as safe Democratic.

The Republicans said today they are expanding each day the number of contests they now see as winnable. They are on course to take control of the House and to reduce the Democratic majority in the Senate to a handful, according to polls. At stake on 2 November are 37 of the 100 US Senate seats, all 435 House seats, and 37 of the 50 governorships."


US midterms: Nancy Pelosi faces a struggle

Marcus's picture

"Republicans have put Pelosi front and centre of their campaign, trying to turn her into a rallying cry and a hate figure. Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is on a "Fire Pelosi Bus" that is touring the country from coast to coast. Pelosi has been used in Republicans attack adverts in an incredible 47 different congressional seats, most of them many miles away from San Francisco. She has been portrayed as extreme, out-of-touch and elitist; a sort of uncaring liberal ogre forcing unwanted legislation down the throats of ordinary Americans. "She is the featured devil this year," said Republican pollster and political consultant Adam Probolsky "She is solid in her hometown, but outside of that it is a very different picture."

That is Pelosi's problem in a nutshell. Her home district voted 85 per cent for Barack Obama in 2008. Pelosi herself romped home in her last election with 72 per cent of the vote. But that will not matter if the Democrats lose the House. She will be ousted as Speaker, after being hailed only four years ago as the most powerful woman in American politics. If that happens, it will be a spectacularly swift fall from political grace. "Her career will be over. At that point she will have no political future," said Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles.

Even Pelosi's Republican opponent in San Francisco is enjoying some of the benefits of her troubles. Usually running against Pelosi in her home city would give new and bloody meaning to the phrase "sacrificial lamb". But this time around John Dennis has won many admirers. He has been the subject of sympathetic press portrayals, including in the New York Times, and even some unlikely praise from anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. He has some 30,000 donors and has raised $2m. With a note of wonder in his voice, he says people on the streets of the notoriously anti-Republican city have been pleased to see him. "It has been surprisingly good. Not all people accept me with open arms, but we are growing in confidence. I am gaining traction," Dennis told the Observer."


Bill Clinton back out campaigning for Hillary

Marcus's picture

"Fear and loathing in the American body politic is not confined to the anti-tax Tea Party. Across the spectrum of the Democratic party, every hue is feeling it too.

With a fortnight to go to the midterms, moderate "Blue Dog" Democrats are in big trouble. The party's left-wing "Yellow Dogs" are up in arms about being taken for granted by the White House "hippy bashers". Even black bloggers are warning President Barack Obama they won't be "pimped" for him.

In this febrile climate within the party, there is one Democratic figure whose soothing tones can help calm things down – the Big Dog himself, former President Bill Clinton. I caught up with him in Española, New Mexico, site of the first European colony in America, last week and he was on vintage form.

Gone was the red-faced, finger-wagging Bill who I saw in South Carolina in early 2008, when he exploded with anger at being accused of racism by Obama allies as the Democratic nomination slipped from his wife Hillary's grasp. Instead, Española saw Chilled Bill, a man vindicated by events and who knows he was right to warn of Obama's shortcomings."


Americans voted for a guy

KingRandor82's picture

Americans voted for a guy because he was black, and for no other reason; that in no way indicates to me that racism has subsided.

Racism is just a form of discrimination, and that rears its ugly head more often than most would like to admit.

Racism is somewhat of a "social hierarchy" thing, as idiotic as that sounds.

And when people stop being "racist", they'll just move to some other form of discrimination...at least for now.

I doubt even Martin Luther King Jr. would've voted for this asshole.

Christie walks the walk and

Sam Pierson's picture

Christie walks the walk and gets things undone. He's fun to watch in action. It's good the Tea Party types stay fluid on presidential options, as it's not the biggest of deals at this stage.

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