Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged 2012

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Elizabeth Warren: Are you asking me if after a year and a half here, I am more attracted to coming to Washington?

David Corn: That’s one way of putting it.

Warren: That’s one way of putting it. Yes, that, or I can stab myself in the eye.

Corn: Is that a no?

Warren: It’s my view about Washington.

That was Elizabeth Warren speaking with MoJo’s David Corn in 2010. Someone please keep the Massachusetts Senator-elect away from sharp objects tonight.

Oh yes.

Filed under elizabeth warren 2012 election senate

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But here’s the thing: most of the crimes Wall Street people commit involve highly specific, highly individualized transactions that won’t fit Eric Holder’s bag of cookie-cutter statutory definitions. That is not the same thing as saying they’re not crimes. They are: the crimes of the crisis period were and are very basic crimes like fraud, theft, perjury, and tax evasion, only they’re dressed up in millions of pages of camouflaging verbiage.

Or, even more often, the crimes have also been sanctified in advance by ‘reputable’ law and accounting firms, who (for huge fees) offered their clients opinions that, if X and Y are signed in accordance with Z, and A and B are stipulated by the parties, and everyone’s sitting Indian-style and facing the moon when the deal is agreed to, then it’s not fucked up and illegal when Goldman Sachs tells you it’s a co-investor in your deal when it’s actually got $2 billion bet against you.

You know that look a dog gives you when you show it something confusing, like an electric razor or a lawn sprinkler? That’s the look federal prosecutors give when companies like Goldman wave their attorneys’ sanctifying opinions at them. They scratch their heads and say: ‘Oh, wow, well since this was signed in Australia by three millionaire lawyers wearing magic invisibility cloaks, it really isn’t fraud! They’re right!’

Matt Taibbi, “Goldman Non-Prosecution: AG Eric Holder Has No Balls

Taibbi has consistently hammered the Obama administration on their non-action regarding Wall Street when other liberal writers have been content to look the other way, or worse, think history suddenly stopped on January 20, 2009. History did not stop, nor did the effects cease from the massive fraud perpetuated by Wall Street. 

Read Griftopia. And think about this: In 2008, Wall Street gave Barack Obama the most contributions of any other candidate. This year, they’re investing in Mitt Romney and the GOP by ratio of nearly 3:1 thus far. They know which side their bread is buttered on — it’s both. But the GOP side looks especially buttery in 2012.

Filed under Matt Taibbi Wall Street politics crime economy Barack Obama Eric Holder fraud Election 2012 2012

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How could any politician with any modicum of sagacity—let alone someone who’s one election away from the Oval Office—venture abroad and question whether his host country was “ready” for the Olympics? Romney came across as simultaneously a know-nothing and a smug know-it-all—at least about the Olympic Games, which he seems to think he owns and which he has regularly treated like one of those enterprises taken over by Bain ever since he took over the 2002 Winter Games. 

He also seemed not to know the name of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who could be prime minister relatively soon into the next presidential term. At the press conference when the two men met, Romney referred to Miliband as “Mr. Leader”—a title that doesn’t exist in Britain but a convenient refuge if you can’t remember who it is you’re standing next to. The GOP hopeful also didn’t know that he wasn’t supposed to volunteer—no one is—that he had just been briefed by the chief of MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service. Such a thing, as they say in London, just isn’t done. 

For his Olympic-level faux pas, his fellow conservatives across the pond peeped rebuke and ridicule on Romney. The current Prime Minister, David Cameron, archly observed that there was a difference between holding the Games in one of the world’s “busiest, most active, bustling cities and the easier” job of holding them out “in the middle of nowhere”—a pointed put-down of Mitt’s role in Salt Lake City a decade of winters ago. London Mayor Boris Johnson poked fun at a “guy named Mitt who wants to know whether we’re ready” and ignited a crowd of 60,00 in Hyde Park to chant: “Yes, we are”—for Romney, a discomforting echo of the 2008 Obama mantra. 

While Rupert Murdoch’s Sun memorably labeled Romney “Mitt the Twit,” it wasn’t just the British press and politicians who scorned his bumbling performance. Karl Rove, who’s assembling hundreds of millions of dollars to elect him president—and who perhaps should go from being “Bush’s brain” to being Romney’s—ruefully said “you have to shake your head” about the way the candidate just stepped into it. The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer was blunter: The episode was “unbelievable…beyond human understanding…It’s like a guy in the hundred meter dash. All he has to do is finish, he doesn’t have to win. And instead he tackles the guy in the next lane and gets disqualified.”

Disqualified is the right word because Romney went overseas precisely to show he was qualified to be president. Seldom if ever has any such an effort made someone look so foolish so fast, with so much blowback coming from across the political spectrum. 

ROBERT SHRUM, in The Daily Beast, “The Ugly American: Mitt Romney’s Disastrous Overseas Excursion” (via inothernews)

Filed under romney mitt romney republicans gop politics news 2012

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I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch a Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.

ERIC FEHRNSTROM, longtime political adviser for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, revealing his candidate’s overarching strategy: flip flopping.

Well no wonder Romney’s gaffe-prone: his chief advisers are, too.

(via the New York Times)

This explains so much. I have a feeling senior staff meetings are less strategy and more congratulating each other on being the most awesomest campaign ever!!! 

And then these things happen.

(Source: inothernews)

Filed under eric fehrnstrom mitt romney republicans gop politics 2012 news

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Romney: I have friends who own NASCAR teams

He’s trying hard to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, isn’t he?

Mitt Romney went to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race Sunday for what should have been a chance to show he’s one of the guys. Instead, in casual conversation with an Associated Press reporter at the Florida track, he reminded people once again that he is not exactly a regular Joe.

Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

Democrats and liberals quickly ridiculed the remark on Twitter. “I don’t know people who fish but I know people who own yachts,” tweeted Brad Woodhouse, communications director of the Democratic National Committee. Ari Melber, a writer for the liberal Nation magazine who apparently was watching the Oscars, tweeted: “Do I like movies? Well I have some friends who own movie companies.”

No, really. Is he just fucking with us at this point? I imagine you make so much money that eventually, you run out of things on which to spend said money. So troll-rific presidential run?

Filed under Mitt Romney He's not serious Politics President 2012 Election 2012 GOP Republican Republicans government

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On conscience clauses and morality police

I’ve decided I want to own a business just in case the GOP manages to pass their overbroad conscience bill. I have a moral objection to providing any kind of healthcare to a person who would strip it from others based on what a sky-god supposedly meant.

Yeah, I have that moral objection. But I would provide comprehensive health insurance anyhow. Why? Because it’s the right goddamn thing to do, even if I feel those folks should reap what they have sown for others.

If you have a moral objection to birth control, psychological treatment, etc. – don’t use that service. Don’t use contraception.

If you want to live by the Bible, hooray for you. Not all of us want that. Some of us don’t see an unintended pregnancy as a miracle. Some of us don’t think you can pray away depression.

No one is preventing you from attending church or practicing your faith. No one is stopping you from attempting to ram your version of Jesus Christ as a science-denying patriarch down my throat. All we ask is that you obey laws passed years ago.

If a church wanted to violate child labor laws, would politicians support an exception? After the start of the 2012 election cycle, I’m afraid to ask. We already allow churches to waive anti-discrimination laws and give them privileged tax status based upon their status as a church. If churches are going to lobby to control my body, the least they can do is acknowledge their organizational purpose is no longer shepherding a flock – it’s ringleading the political circus.

Until you render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, I argue churches pay taxes and follow the laws of any other political organization/business. There’s my moral objection – currently, they’re not. Assuming the GOP throws a successful tantrum on this issue, I will continue to make this moral objection.

I want to think the American people can see this conscience clause BS as a reactionary throwback, little more than circuses in a time of limited bread. But when the people elected to lead us are leading that circus parade of morality police instead, I fear my faith may be misplaced.

So in the future, come work for my law firm. I’ll provide comprehensive coverage for contraception and the like – even for those who change their minds and join the 98% of Catholics and 99% of Americans who admit to using contraception at least once. You won’t have to ask for it because it will already be there.

Why? Because it’s the ethical, moral thing to do.

Filed under politics religion GOP Republican Republicans health care morality conscience clause government Election 2012 2012

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On my Minnesota shock…

 jsenum replied to your post: Rick Santorum wins Minnesota and Missouri

Clearly you have not been paying attention. Bachmann and her foundry brethren have gotten huge. You should the new article in the Rolling Stone about the Anoka/Hennepin schools promoting bullying of LGBTQ kids.

I have been paying attention, but it just stuns me that Santorum gained that much ground in a couple of weeks… just two weeks ago, he was behind Romney, and three weeks ago was behind Gingrich and Romney. Minnesota had their jump to the left multiple times, but I think we’re seeing more of the step to the right thing.


Actually, no. Not if it means heading back to the 1950s alternate universe that never existed and yet is fondly remembered in every GOP primary and caucus…

And I read that article, but here it is for those who didn’t: "School of Hate: One Town’s War on Gay Teens". It’s both hideous and hopeful.

Filed under reply jsenum Minnesota Rick Santorum Caucus 2012 Election 2012 GLBTQ LGBTQ

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The problem with selecting a candidate to “beat Obama”

MSNBC and Fox News are both hammering home that out of all the candidates in the GOP primary in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich’s support was the highest among people who said the most important factor in their selection was a candidate who could defeat Barack Obama. Coincidentally, beating Obama was the most important factor in candidate choice to nearly 50% of voters. Fox News is also pointing out his strong performances in debates with his zingers at the media and fellow candidates and his stubborn refusal to go gently into that good night as factors in his rise in the polls, and his overall victory in South Carolina.

Um, guys?

You know that after January 20, 2013, the president-elect is now the president. That means said president has to actually do shit. Things will not be magically fixed just because you voted out Barack Obama. In fact, much of what Gingrich wants to do in office could make things worse. 

I imagine the thought process of many voters when considering Gingrich goes like this:

  1. Doughy white guy says shit I like. He sounds smart. He says he’s going to beat Obama. He sounds confident, unlike that sputtering asshat with tax problems. Plus, he’ll end Obama’s war on my religion.
  2. Fuck the lazy-ass poor people. Get jobs, douchebags. He’ll even put kids to work, too.
  3. Open marriage? Shit, at least he could beat Obama.
  4. Vote Newt Gingrich. 
  5. *POOF* Teatopia, y’all!

This is remarkably similar to liberal pals of mine who are pissed Obama didn’t unbreak everything in four years and bring about the opposite of Teatopia. If you listened to Obama and examined his voting record, you’d see he’s fairly moderate. In fact, compared to past Republicans, i.e. Richard Nixon, he’s more to the right.

But in the 2012 Electoral Race to the Bottom, sponsored by Citizens United v. FEC (2010), the facts don’t matter and Barack Obama must be defeated. Even if it means nominating a man with absolutely no character or ability to lead. Why is it so tough to wrap my brain around voters supporting Newt Gingrich?

  • Speaking of the Citizens United decision, Gingrich Productions has “produced three films on religion and one each on energy, Ronald Reagan and the threat of radical Islam.” These films are little more than GOP talking point advertisements. Gingrich’s funding partner? As The Wall Street Journal points out, these were “all done as joint projects with the conservative activist group, Citizens United. The latest project: A film on American exceptionalism, another likely campaign theme.” 

  • He’s admitted to multiple affairs, while attacking others on “family values” and holding himself up as a moral paragon. His personal life is irrelevant until he begins throwing stones in his obviously glass house.

  • He doesn’t use a racism dog-whistle so much as a racism air-raid siren. Gingrich defended his diatribe from the Jan. 16th GOP debate, which he launched into when Juan Williams asked him about the racial overtones of his comments regarding poor children lacking “work habits”, employing children as janitors in poor, urban neighborhoods, and the black community needing to demand food stamps versus paychecks. And how did he choose to defend this? 

    Newt Gingrich decided to attack Juan Williams, claiming on Friday, “I had a very interesting dialogue Monday night in Myrtle Beach with Juan Williams about the idea of work, which seemed to Juan Williams to be a strange, distant concept.” So in order to defend himself against charges of racism, he essentially states Williams is lazy. Williams was the African-American man who had the audacity to ask him a tough question, and that does not seem to sit well with Newt several days later.

  • As a US House Representative, he kited twenty-two personal checks using the now-defunct House Bank, charges uncovered during the “Rubbergate” scandal - including a check for over $9,000 to the IRS. One of the whistleblowers on this scandal? Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn.

  • He blasted colleagues for ties to lobbyists and corruption, yet Gingrich accepted a check from Employment Policies Institute lobbyist Richard B. Berman for $25,000. This particular check, supposedly given to Gingrich as a donation for a college course he was teaching, led former Rep. Ben Jones (D-Ga.) to demand an ethics investigation by the US House because the note attached to the contribution raised questions of possible criminal wrongdoing by suggesting Gingrich used his influence on behalf of the lobbyist at a 1993 congressional hearing.
    The note stated in a postscript: “Newt - Thanks again for the help on today’s committee hearing.” The subsequent investigation into this charge, shady book deals, and other fundraising activity lead to over 80 ethics charges against Gingrich and a plea deal with an unprecedented $300,000 fine. Gingrich resigned as well.

A side note from Esquire on the ethics investigation: [Emphasis mine]

The House Ethics Committee started investigating GOPAC’s donations to his college class and caught him trying to hide his tracks by raising money through a charity for inner-city kids called the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation. Another charity of his called Earning by Learning actually spent half its money supporting a former Gingrich staffer who was writing his biography… The Ethics Committee found him guilty of laundering donations through charities, submitting “inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable” testimony, and making “an effort to have the material appear to be nonpartisan on its face, yet serve as a partisan, political message for the purpose of building the Republican party.”

And yes, it’s those same inner-city kids he wants to make janitors

Gingrich is running what he claims to be a revolutionary campaign of ideas. Yet those ideas are little more than attacking fellow candidates, the media, and Barack Obama for issues ranging from corruption and immorality, to favoritism and anti-Americanism. Gingrich employs a set of cliches and fiery debate invective that gets voters in the booth on primary day as evidenced by South Carolina. Can he continue this into the general election?

As multiple news outlets discussed today, Gingrich’s unfavorability rating is the highest of any candidate among moderates and independents. This is a significant voting bloc the GOP will seek to court from Obama. Gingrich is not stupid. He is effective in debates. He calls other candidates “Washington elites” (when he spent significantly more time in Washington than any other candidate running) and the crowd goes wild.

Mitt Romney, the ostensible front-runner, is a terrible candidate in debates. He is easily rattled and incapable of answering a direct question. The GOP field is in disarray and looking for unity. The former Speaker of the House is an experienced politician - though divisive - and may be the one to watch going into Super Tuesday in the next several weeks. Perhaps a theory posited by Gingrich in 1988 explains his success: “In every election in American history, both parties have their cliches. The party that has the cliches that ring true wins.”

The 2012 primary season promises to be a dog and pony show until the bitter end - or until the money runs out. This election cycle reinforces the idea that American politics is little more than contemporary bread and circuses, only less bread and more circuses. Elections are ideally about issues and governance. This year, the only stated mission of the GOP is to rid the White House of Obama, and Gingrich is the candidate best at smearing Obama as somewhere between Benedict Arnold and Benito Mussolini.

Voters are responding well in the primary to this kind of messaging, but the GOP will hopefully discover it’s difficult to run on a platform of needing to do nothing besides regain control of the presidency. To run on a platform that consists of “beat the other guy and BAM! TEATOPIA!" is simply intellectually dishonest. But if it’s intellectually (and morally) dishonest they want, the GOP has their man in Gingrich. If it’s beat Obama they want, they may get it. However, January 21, 2013 and every day after is another day Obama will no longer be available as the executive target, and another day when the new president will be expected to lead. The GOP may be content to run a cliche-machine, powered by egomaniacal bile, but American voters deserve more than just some guy nominated to beat Obama.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Newt Gingrich Barack Obama South Carolina Politics Primary 2012 Elections Government Election 2012 Obama scandal Republican GOP Democrat

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Live-blogging the Southern Republican CNN Debate

And then there were four…

Here’s my live coverage of tonight’s debate. Not as painful as last time, but I do miss Perry’s bumbling. Newt Gingrich lambasted moderator John King for asking about allegations he requested an open marriage from wife #2, Mitt Romney sputtered over taxes, Rick Santorum launched some serious volleys at Romney and Gingrich, and Ron Paul got testy when he felt ignored.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under CNN Debate Politics Rick Santorum Newt Gingrich Ron Paul Mitt Romney GOP Republican Republicans government elections elections 2012 2012

77 notes

GOP Debate Bingo for Jan. 19th

Don’t forget kids, there’s a debate tonight on CNN. The fun starts at 8 PM EST. I’ll be live-blogging on Twitter. Follow me: @meglanker

Also, don’t forget about GOP Bingo! Cards are here and pasted below. Since I don’t have time to update/replace Rick Perry spaces, take any space that mentions Perry as a free space. It’s redistribution of the free spaces so everyone has more. Because I am more of a socialist than Obama. </sarcasm>

I’m going to miss Perry’s head-scratching debate performances. Someone make an emotional montage, please.

Submit your bingo cards here, or email them to




Here’s the link itself to the album. Hover your mouse in the right-hand corner of each image to download the card. As always, submit your card here or via email to GIF prizes awarded for the most bingos on one card, first bingo, most bingos across all cards, and blackouts (Note: Can lead to alcohol-related blackouts). 

What better way to celebrate a day named for Martin Luther King, Jr. than to watch a bunch of old rich white men discuss how they’ll “save” America? Now with the only adult on stage *cough* Jon Huntsman *cough* out of the race, I’m sure it’ll be interesting. Will Newt finally vanquish Romney with his mind lasers? Will Perry strike out on an adventure by counting to our? Watch it and see!

These cards are also good for the CNN debate on Thursday night. I’m only going to change them if someone else drops out.

Live-stream for the Fox News debate is here. I’ll be live-blogging the debate @meglanker on Twitter. 

Spread the word and good luck! Remember, we all lose at GOP Bingo, so let’s lose together. 

Filed under GOP Bingo GOP Debate CNN debate Politics Election Rick Perry 2012 debate bingo government GOP Republican

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BREAKING: Rick Perry to end presidential bid today

NPR Politics has this:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is going to drop out of the Republican race for the White House, sources are telling The New York Times and CNN.

NPR has not independently confirmed the news.

We’ll pass along more as the story develops. Perry is expected to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. ET.

Interesting. Just yesterday, Perry spokesman Mark Miner told CBS News, “Pundits aren’t going to decide this race, the people of South Carolina are going to decide this race. We are in this primary to win it and will continue campaigning.”

Stay tuned, kids. 

Filed under Rick Perry I can haz prezidant 2012 Elections Election 2012 Politics government Republicans Republican GOP