The Derangement of the Confantisphere

“Show respect,” that’s what you demand when you don’t have anything else, when people of color, women, the current generation, laugh at you because all you have is being an angry old white guy who thinks the world owes you something.

Stonekettle Station

Can someone please tell me what Barack Obama did that is worthy of so much hatred? What is the conservative conspiracy fantisphere (I will be shortening that phrase to confantisphere from now on. It is catchy) saying about him that I’m just not hearing? Let’s set all the crap about the Clinton’s aside here and nail down just exactly what Obama did that conservatives hate so much. Because I really can’t get a handle on that.

Obama was the most conservative federal spender since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Conservatives should be singing his praises, but don’t hold your breath waiting for conservative outlets to spin this the right way, they won’t. They’ll probably take the Heritage Foundation’s tack on the subject and insist that Bush II’s war costs should be saddled on Obama. From a liberal perspective, it’s easy to see why the headline should read Obama Best President Since Eisenhower.

Also. Also. Detail for me anything, ANYTHING that Trump has done. Anything. Go ahead, I’m waiting. Can’t name anything can you? That’s because he’s done nothing but golf and Tweet for six solid months two solid years. And he called Obama lazy in a typical racist fashion. He’s spent more time on vacation than Obama did in his first few years in office in his first six months. Trump is a mooch. A tax cheat. A con artist. A fraud. But he is not a president.

Fair warning. If you take me up on my challenge to detail what Obama has done, and your response has anything to do with #benghazi, then I’m recommending a straightjacket for the person uttering it. I’m not kidding, don’t go there.

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#6 Emoluments

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#5 Immunity

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How to Calculate the Federal Budget

I’ve gotten into several arguments over the years about what the US Federal Budget is and how it should be calculated. Planet Money tried to do a humorous take on the budget this week, and frankly, now I want to argue with them about it.


Here’s the problem with Planet Money‘s budget. Social Security and Medicare are paid for in advance with premiums like any other insurance program. So, the cost of their outlays should be (and are) on a separate ledger because (and this is the important bit) if the premiums do not cover the cost of outlays that is not the beneficiaries fault. The government must honor the rightful demands of beneficiaries or it will cease to serve any real purpose. The government will fail because the people who paid for benefits they won’t receive will make sure it comes crashing down.

The end of government is (again​, important) the real goal of those who call these program’s future into question. They want to end government and enjoy the knife & gunfire filled blessings of anarchy. Oh, who am I kidding? The brief period of anarchy involving nuclear physicists building hydrogen bombs for the highest bidder (at the point of a gun if necessary) before whatever form of life succeeds after humans are gone establishes their unquestioned rule of the planet. Here’s hoping that form of life is smarter than human life was.

The budget presented by the Planet Money Team is similar to this one,

You should immediately note that most of the budget is already spent, as in mandatory expenditures. These are the services that have already been paid for. The services that the average citizen can be said to expect from their government in this day and age. Access to healthcare. Insurance against disability. Assistance to families with dependent children. The latter being properly seen as investing in the future, something we don’t do nearly enough of. Something that the Orange Hate-Monkey‘s budget wants to do a lot less of.

The discretionary spending, the only part of government outlays that the currently sitting government should have any control over, looks like this;

As this image should make clear, the only thing that can be easily cut from these expenditures is the military. A military that we spend as much on as the next 9 countries combined. Now, we probably need a good portion of that to continue, but I’ve heard many people say over the years “we need those numbers to continue because they provide jobs for people who need them.”

Here’s a thought. How about we don’t spend money on new and better ways to destroy the world another ten times over? How about we just give the people working for the military the same amount of money but not require them to do any work. The soldiers, I mean. All of the poor, for that matter. I hear you saying “but what will they do to occupy their time?” Let them decide, or give them constructive advice on what kinds of things need done. Forestry and game observation. Construction of infrastructure in other countries as well as infrastructure in our own country.

Spend money on the future and not on the biggest, most glorious explosion ever seen in human history, a history ending nuclear holocaust. Food for thought.

#4 Spending

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NRA = Propaganda Mill

I had to check and see if this NRA advertisement was real. It felt fake watching it. It feels like fakery everytime I watch it.

NRA “Shoot All the Liberals” advertisement

And while some are outraged by the video, Jonathan Auerbach, who teaches English at the University of Maryland and is a co-author of “Weapons of Democracy: Propaganda, Progressivism and American Public Opinion,” called the video “pretty standard” for a group like NRA.

“(It’s a) routine example of propaganda designed to recruit new members by rousing indignation against a perceived enemy,” he told TPM in an email. “Not especially innovative or nuanced, but perhaps effective for a brief clip since (there’s) no need to address the substance of ‘the enemy’s accusations.”

Talkingpointsmemo.com: Most Sinister Propaganda

OK, it’s real, but it’s still fake. This is an example of some real Goebbels-level propaganda right here. Might as well be calling for the rounding up of all the Jews, since the media in question has Jews somewhere in it. If they were trying to convince anyone that the Orange Hate-Monkey wasn’t Hitler, this isn’t how you accomplish that. You might as well suggest we put yellow stars on all the undesirables so that we can tell the difference between them and good Americans, that is how blatantly obvious the dog whistles are in this ad. This is why the NRA has to be disbanded. This right here.

These people, these gun nuts, the ammosexuals, the militias, the sovereign citizens, they’re not building personal armories to repel foreign invaders. You never hear them talk about needing a gun in case the North Koreans or the Iranians or even the Russians decide to invade Idaho.

No.

They’ve amassed all that firepower for one reason and one reason only.

Because they’re planning on killing US.

Stonekettle Station

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Editor’s note: 2019. The talking head in the above propaganda piece, Dana Loesch, has been given the old heave-ho by the NRA along with its entire NRATV arm. Too little, too late. Jim had something to say about that too.

Requiring Personal Loyalty? #ImpeachTrump

For Trump, loyalty to him is more important than loyalty to America.

1. “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump told then FBI Director James Comey in January – even though FBI directors are supposed to be independent of a president, and Comey was only 4 years into a 10 year term. After Comey refused and continued to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, Trump fired him.

2. Preet Bharara, who had been the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Trump tried to create the same sort of patronage relationship with him that he did with Comey. Bharara’s office had been investigating Trump’s secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, and also looking into Russian money-laundering allegations against Deutsche Bank, Trump’s principal private lender. When Bharara didn’t play along, Trump fired him.

3. Although most of his Cabinet still don’t have top deputies in place, the White House has installed senior aides to monitor their loyalty. As Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser, explained to the Washington Post, “they’re functioning as the White House’s voice and ears in these departments.”

4. Last Monday, the White House invited reporters in to watch what was billed as a meeting of Trump’s Cabinet. After Trump spoke, he asked each of the Cabinet members around the table to briefly comment. Their statements were what you might expect from toadies surrounding a two-bit dictator.

5. His top advisers are his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

6. To run his legal defense and be his spokesman on the investigation into collusion with Russian operatives, Trump has hired Marc Kasowitz – who’s been Trump’s personal legal fixer for almost two decades – representing him in his failed libel lawsuit against a journalist, the Trump University fraud case that ended in January with a $25 million settlement from Trump, and candidate Trump’s response to allegations of sexual assault by multiple women last year. Bypassing the White House Counsel, Kasowitz has instructed White House aides to discuss the investigation as little as possible, and advised them about whether they should hire private lawyers.

When loyalty trumps integrity, we no longer have a government of laws. We have a government by and for Trump.

What do you think?

Robert Reich

Which is why #ImpeachTrump will be a thing, if not for any other reason. He will have to be impeached because he cannot do the job the presidency requires. He cannot because he doesn’t understand what a president is and so cannot fathom the responsibility of the office. He’s not alone in this. There are many other Tea Party Republicans who don’t understand the responsibility of their offices. Anyone who thinks they are in office to execute the things they believe is not representing anyone other than themselves. This is the problem with conservatism in general, Republicanism and to some extent neo-liberalism and the Democratic party of the Clinton era.

All of these groups were made of individuals that were put into positions of power because they were sure of the things they believed and could present their certainty as a selling point. That is not the way that a representative democracy works in principle. A representative democracy is made up of a power-wielding citizenry that delegates portions of its authority and power to trusted individuals who will act in their collective interest. The federal and state legislatures should feel they are as beholden to the homeless in the cities they represent as they are to the people who fund their campaigns. The truth of their corruption by campaign finance bribery is evident in the way they treat the least of us in our midst.

It is a troubling time in America, with dark possibilities ahead of us.

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#2 Appointment and Removal

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#1 Judicial Legitimacy

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