Meanwhile in Cheyenne, Wyoming

CHEYENNE — State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into preparing Wyoming for a complete economic or political collapse in the United States. House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a task force to research and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government. It would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment on Friday to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier. — Wyoming House advances doomsday bill 

via: cognitivedissonance

Can I say that with the population at just over 568,000 for the entire state — and with 36% of that total population under the age of 18 or over 65 years of age, that would leave just under 182,000 men between the ages of 18-65 for the draft and ‘standing army.’ And that would be to defend, WHAT, exactly? All the valuable sagebrush and asphalt and dirt? The endlessly blowing wind? The antelope? WITH AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER. Hilarious. Just in time for 2012 though.

President Obama on oil subsidies

“Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year – $4 billion. They don’t need a subsidy. They’re making near-record profits. These are the same oil companies that have been making record profits off the money you spend at the pump for several years now. How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies? … It’s outrageous. It’s inexcusable. And every politician who’s been fighting to keep those subsidies in place should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of their money – especially at a time like this” — President Obama

And the Republican counter-argument to this message will be: Gay marriage! Obama wants to raise your taxes! Food stamps! There’s a new Abortionplex in your town! Job creators! Muslims! Government workers! Democrats will take our guns! Satan! Socialism! Lame-stream media! Contraception! Teachers! Iran has a nuclear weapon! War on Christianity! Illegal immigration! Communism! Death panels! Gasoline prices! Hitler, dammit!

Rush and Hannity and the talking heads on Fox help Team Wingnut feel they’re better than you

“Oh, sure, your average conservative will insist his belief system is based upon a passion for the free market and limited government, but that’s mostly a cover story. Instead, the vast team-building exercise that has driven the broadcasts of people like Rush and Hannity and the talking heads on Fox for decades now has really been a kind of ongoing Quest for Orthodoxy, in which the team members congregate in front of the TV and the radio and share in the warm feeling of pointing the finger at people who aren’t as American as they are, who lack their family values, who don’t share their All-American work ethic.” — Matt Taibbi

What are American Fascists?

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Anti-union, corporations are people, right to work states, Citizens United, lower the minimum wage, tax cuts for the wealthy, austerity for the rest of us, outsource jobs to third-world countries, buy more lobbyists – buy more tax code, lower corporate taxes, deregulation, Caymen Island tax shelters, lay off employees for higher CEO bonuses…

Matt Taibbi on the spiraling Republican disaster that is the GOP’s presidential candidates

“Throughout this entire process, the spectacle of these clowns thrashing each other and continually seizing and then fumbling frontrunner status has left me with an oddly reassuring feeling, one that I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on. In my younger days I would have just assumed it was regular old Schadenfreude at the sight of people like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich suffering, but this isn’t like that – it’s something different than the pleasure of watching A-Rod strike out in the playoffs. No, it was while watching the debates last night that it finally hit me: This is justice. What we have here are chickens coming home to roost. It’s as if all of the American public’s bad habits and perverse obsessions are all coming back to haunt Republican voters in this race: The lack of attention span, the constant demand for instant gratification, the abject hunger for negativity, the utter lack of backbone or constancy (we change our loyalties at the drop of a hat, all it takes is a clever TV ad): these things are all major factors in the spiraling Republican disaster. Most importantly, though, the conservative passion for divisive, partisan, bomb-tossing politics is threatening to permanently cripple the Republican party. They long ago became more about pointing fingers than about ideology, and it’s finally ruining them.” — Arizona Debate: Conservative Chickens Come Home to Roost | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

via: randomactsofchaos

Ever notice how it’s usually only conservative white men who’d like to return to the past?

Rick Santorum’s weird and narrow-minded religious vendetta presidential campaign, which is based entirely on GOP conservative values and HIS interpretations of Biblically-based social guidelines, seems to highlight his personal desire to take our country “back” to some golden, shiny moment in recent history. What Santorum and the GOP don’t want to understand is that returning to any point in the past would be a dream shared only by other white, conservative men (who are primarily of a certain age).

Below, Donna Trussell describes it as Santorum’s “Rockwellian” America. In reality, this is Santorum’s “Completely Fictional” America, because of the many problems that only society and taxes, progress, science, education, and equality solved for people who weren’t born wealthy, white, and male all at the same time.

Rick Santorum’s poodle-skirt vision of America

In Santorum’s “Rockwellian” America, men stand by their devoted wives and delightful children. They all work hard, go to church on Sundays, do their homework. Then the parents launch their competent, well-educated kids into a world eager to employ them. Everything is copacetic in Sweater World.

So what’s the problem with having a kid, even if the pregnancy was unplanned? The baby will give you a reason to settle down, or stay together. Even if the father has disappeared, that’s okay. Your family and community will bundle you up with love and support. That kid will be the best thing that ever happened to you.

It’s not like the parents are unemployed, or the boyfriend is beating up the girlfriend and molesting his stepdaughter. It’s not like a girl or boy has to perform sex acts on adults just to survive.

Oh, if only.

As cornball as Norman Rockwell’s illustrations were, their sentimental scenes would be a welcome break from the violence, uncertainty, poverty, rape and sexual abuse that besets the lives of many women and children.

Let these pro-life Republican men who are so concerned about innocent lives put their money where their mouths are. Let them beef up the welfare system by way of a special tax on the wealthy. Let’s put aside a mandatory trust fund that will pay for decent housing, schooling and food for 18 years of each new life created.

But that’s not what the GOP has in mind. Republicans want to control the actions of women and girls, not provide for them. Continue…

It’s difficult, if not impossible, for a patriarchal system to control the minds and lives of women, when women know they can easily control their own fertility (or lack thereof). There will be no going back, no matter how much Mullah Santorum fearmongers about the Bible and Satan and the ‘dangers’ of contraception in this year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve.

And with regard to people in this country who aren’t rich or white or male, if we could just move the Republican Party’s traditional, knee-jerk viewpoints from the Old Testament over to the New Testament, we might actually experience some progress toward a golden, shiny moment in our country’s future instead of reminiscing over fictional tv reruns and the good times that never were for a majority of people.

The Republican Party’s favorite theme: The Fear Card™

Of course, who can criticize them too much for sticking with what ALWAYS works with their reliably low-info, ‘Omg, all the brown people will git us because of our freeeeedoms!’,  Fox “News” brainwashed supporters? BE AFRAID, VOTE REPUBLICAN!

 
 
 

Images: sandandglass

To which Micah Zenko, writing on the Council on Foreign Relations (blog)‎ calls bullshit [emphasis below is mine]:

Clear and Present Safety: The United States Is More Secure than Washington Thinks

In stark contrast to the prevailing rhetoric from Washington, we argue that the world today is one with fewer violent conflicts, increased political freedom, and greater economic opportunity than at virtually any other point in human history. On average, people enjoy longer life expectancy. The United States faces no plausible existential threats and no near-term competition for the role of global hegemon. The U.S. military is indisputably the most powerful in the world, and the U.S. economy remains the largest as well as among the most vibrant and dynamic.

Rather than multitude of threats, the United States faces challenges such as climate change, pandemic diseases, economic instability, and transnational criminal networks that post little risk to most American citizens and can be managed with existing diplomatic, economic, and—to a much lesser extent—military tools. To confront these challenges, we write, “American foreign policy needs fewer people who can jump out of airplanes and more who can convene roundtable discussions and lead negotiations.”

Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development and State Department (comprising 2,000 and 30,000 employees, respectively) share a $50 billion foreign affairs budget, while the Pentagon maintains more than 1.6 million employees and a budget upwards of $600 billion. When confronted by the numbers, it doesn’t come as a surprise that policymakers tend to perceive challenges through the distorting lens of the U.S. military, and respond accordingly.

Continue…

Related — Bomb, baby, bomb!! 

TGIF morning’s 9 marginally interesting things

1) The Big Deficit Lie: Every GOP Debt Plan Leaves Us With More Debt – These plans don’t accidentally raise the deficit. They just don’t care about the deficit. Deficit reduction isn’t hard to do, arithmetically. You raise taxes over time. You control discretionary spending. You clear the way for health care cost innovation while introducing policies that will limit health care in the future. It’s not rocket science, it’s math. The hard stuff is getting Congress to agree to your math. But how is that supposed to happen if pols refuse to do even the basic addition and subtraction when it’s just them and a blank sheet of paper? What does it say about a party that believes “deficit reduction” is a worthy phrase, but not a worthy goal? And what does it say about our political system, and the GOP candidates in particular, that we’re normalized to the idea that politicians offer debt-reduction plans that can’t even live up to their name?

Report: Debt will swell under top GOP hopefuls’ tax plans – According to the report released Thursday by U.S. Budget Watch, a project of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House speaker Newt Gingrich would do the most damage to the nation’s finances, offering tax and spending policies likely to require trillions of dollars in fresh borrowing. [...] The red ink would gush a little more slowly under former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the report said. Until this week, Romney had paired $1.35 trillion in tax cuts with $1.2 trillion in spending reductions, leaving the debt rising on a trajectory that closely tracks current policies. But that changed Wednesday, when Romney proposed to cut federal income tax rates by 20 percent more for all earners, which would slash U.S. revenue by more than $2 trillion over 10 years.

2) WTF, Newt? – When I was watching the debate last night I did a double-take when I heard Newt say that ‘reforming’ the federal Civil Service system could save “a minimum of $500 billion a year.” [...] Well, we looked into it and it turns out that the federal government’s entire payroll, even including the military, came to just $432.6 billion in fiscal 2011. In other words, if you fired everyone who works for the federal government you couldn’t save $500 billion.

3) FEC warns Gingrich for paying himself with campaign funds – The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has sent a second letter to Newt Gingrich’s campaign asking them to explain why almost $1 million dollars was paid to a small group of people including the presidential candidate. The Washington Times reported on Wednesday that Gingrich, members of his staff and several consultants received “questionable reimbursements.” In January alone, a small group of people within the campaign were paid $220,000 on top of their salaries. That figure included the $88,000 Gingrich paid himself for unspecified “travel” expenses, according to reports filed with the FEC Monday. [...] The Washington Post estimated that the campaign had spent $3 for every $2 it raised.

4) Romney’s ‘Underpants Gnome’ Defense On Auto Bailout – It appears as if Romney’s plan is to get applause at Republican debates for stressing the word “bankruptcy,” and then get indignant when Michigan reporters suggest this would have left the auto industry anything less than booming. All without ever mentioning tens of billions it took to get from one point to the other. The whole game resembles an oft-quoted 1990s episode of South Park in which a group of gnomes gather people’s boxer shorts as part of a grand three-part business scheme: Step 1: Collect underpants; Step 2: ???; Step 3: Profit. Despite their best efforts, nobody can explain what Step 2 was supposed to be. So with Romney, we now have the following. Step 1: Bankruptcy. Step 2: ??? Step 3: Record profits.

5) Mitt Romney Massachusetts Record – Me-Me-Me: The Tale of Romney in Massachusetts – In other words, every Massachusetts governor — even, as Santorum sneered last night, Michael Dukakis, and even John Fking Hancock — has been required to recommend a balanced budget… Anyway, if you listen to Willard, he inherited a debt-ridden hellhole and left us all with a golden little slice of Utah to call our own. He stood tall against the forces of feminism, gay people who wanted to get married, and cloning. He’s proud of Massachusetts’s public schools, but he’d rater if you didn’t mention that whole health-care business, even though it’s immensely popular back here, what with its mandates and all. (Thanks, Willard!) If you listen to him, it’s lucky the poor man came out of it all alive. The truth, need I say, is somewhat at variance with the story that Willard’s telling.

6) Santorum Cites Racist Author To Defend His Views On ‘The Dangers Of Contraception’ – First of all, Santorum’s decision to justify his skepticism of contraception by citing the problem of unwed mothers is like something out of the Bizarro Planet. Here in the actual world, contraception is the solution to the problem of unplanned pregnancies, not the cause. Likewise, Santourm’s decision to rely on Charles Murray is no less distressing. Murray co-authored The Bell Curve, which argues that black people score lower on IQ tests because they are genetically inferior to whites. To reach this conclusion, Murray relied on studies backed by the Pioneer Fund, whose original mission was to pursue “race betterment” for people “deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution.”

image: socialistexan

7) Santorum makes zero mention of jobs in CNN debate – In total, the four GOP contenders mentioned the word “jobs” only 10 times over the span of two hours — and former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) uttered the word a grand total of zero times. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said the word four times each. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) mentioned it twice (one of those mentions was in reference to “the job Barack Obama isn’t doing”). Moderator John King said the word “jobs” four times.

8) Republicans see ‘jobs bills’ as election winner – Tucked in his left breast-coat pocket where he can pull it out to wave before TV cameras is ammunition that House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner believes his Republicans can use to achieve victory in the November 6 elections. It is a four-by-eight-inch card detailing more than two dozen “jobs bills” passed by the Republican-led House last year. They are now bottled up by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, one of President Barack Obama’s top allies on Capitol Hill. [...] The Republican bills focus largely not on creating new positions but on protecting existing jobs by eliminating federal regulations on businesses — from Internet firms and oil drillers to cement factories and industrial boilers. “I have yet to see a single one that was actually a jobs bill,” said Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank. “Everyone of these [Republican "jobs" bills], as far as I can tell, is basically from decades-old conservatives playbook of cut taxes for business, cut regulations for business,” Ornstein said.

9) Bill Maher donates $1 million to Obama Super PAC – During his live comedy performance on Yahoo on Thursday evening, comedian Bill Maher shocked audiences around the world when he announced he’d be donating $1 million to Priorities USA Action — a pro-Obama Super PAC. Priorities USA Action bills itself as an “organization dedicated to mobilizing Americans to preserve, protect and promote the middle class, and to ensure opportunity and freedom for the next generation.”