Sarah Palin and Michael Steele Snubbed Together

Hoosier anti-choicers are gathering, and inviting two prime speakers, Sarah Palin and Michael Steele. Both have had rough times lately, with Palin’s volcano trumping Michael Steele having to kiss Rush Limbaugh’s big fat ass. The big snub is at the gathering, where the POPE’S representative is staying home.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Poor, poor Sarah Palin and Michael Steele! Along with Bobby Jindal, these two are attempting to become Vice Leaders of the Republican Party to help the real leader, Rush Limbaugh. All three are sort of competing for the role of Vice. (I suppose the role is open with Larry Craig out of the Senate.) But Sarah and Michael have had some troubles lately.

Sarah, for instance, just had Redoubt, a volcano, erupt in her back yard, spreading ash to the north of Anchorage and disrupting the airport there as well as Elmendorf AFB. This is a major volcano. Now, I’m not sure she can see it like she can Russia, but it is in her state, and that sure has to be unlucky and all. Of course, she promised not to take a whole bunch of that stimulus money, and like Bobby Jindal, she mocked money for volcano monitoring. Yes, nature, in the form of Redoubt the volcano, has defied Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal. Still, if this turns into a disaster, she can depend on the kindness of strangers, just like Sarah Palin will depend on strangers to pay her legal fees.

Michael Steele, on the other hand, has also had a rough time of it. Michael Steele defied King Rush, the dictatorial leader of the GOP, and then had to go and make nice. He caught some flack for redecorating his offices, which he claimed were a bit too masculine, or something like that. (Did he hire these guys, or is that too cliche for a Republican?) Michael Steele can’t seem to get anything right, even getting suggestions he should defect to the Democratic Party, though, as I mentioned earlier, we don’t want him.

Poor Michael and Sarah are both having a bad time of it lately, but now it has gotten worse. According to an exclusive report

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Steven Reynolds |

The Americans Are Revolting

For eight years, the right-wing of America could have protested the destruction of the Constitution. It didn’t. Now it’s protesting a tax program that not only will bring this nation out of a deficit and recession created by the Bush–Cheney Administration but which would benefit 95 percent of all Americans.


Commentary By: Walter Brasch

The Americans are revolting!

All across the country–from Boston to Atlanta to San Antonio–thousands of Americans, inspired by Fox News and radio conservative talk show hosts, took to the streets to protest.

They protested a fascist government that has restricted their freedom of speech and freedom of religion, protected by the First Amendment. They protested thousands of instances where the government infringed upon their rights of privacy, protected by the Fourth Amendment. They called out the government for violations of the rights of due process, protected by the fifth and sixth amendments. They protested the use of about $1 trillion to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq. They protested the apparently unregulated policies of the banks, money lenders, and Wall Street financiers who brought this nation into the current recession that has led to an 8.5 percent unemployment rate and several hundred thousand to lose their homes to foreclosure actions. They protested the fact that about 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance, that as many as five million Americans are homeless, about a fourth of them veterans. They protested the use of torture, of the destruction of the environment, of the awarding of no-bid sweetheart deals worth hundreds of million dollars to companies that do business with the President and Vice-President.

Actually, they didn’t do any of that. Not now and certainly not during the Bush–Cheney years.

What they protested was taxes. For these protestors, April 15, the deadline for paying taxes, was Tea Day.

They cried out against taxation without representation, conveniently forgetting that the United States, because of its revolt against the monarchy more than two centuries ago, has one of the most representative democracies in history. Without understanding either history or government, the protestors wore tea bags on their baseball caps, wore revolutionary era costumes, threw tea bags onto the ground and into the rivers, and even littered the grounds outside the White House with tea bags. Since every protest has to have signs, these protestors also carried signs–”Give me liberty, not debt,” “No more spending,” and “Taxation is Piracy.” Ironically, it was tax-provided rescue equipment that volunteers used to rescue one protestor after she fell into the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

Their “official” website attacked the government for “spending trillions of borrowed dollars, leaving a debt our great-grandchildren will be paying,” conveniently forgetting that it was the Bush–Cheney Administration that left the nation with the largest deficit in history. Underlying the protest was their hatred of the policies of Barack Obama, whom they called a fascist, a socialist, and a Communist, unable to understand or differentiate among terms they loosely threw out. President Obama, although in office less than three months, is riding high with a 67 percent popularity rating. But these souls, very few of whom voted for him in November, have now not only protested policies that are bringing the nation out of a financial abyss, but are often calling for his impeachment, something they never called for during the previous eight years.

So, they complained about fascist–or socialist–or communistic–policies, and failed to understand that it’s only the wealthiest 5 percent whose taxes go back to the rate it was when George Bush took office and lowered taxes for the wealthy.

But, these protesting masses aren’t the rich, and they aren’t being forced to give up more of their income. In fact, the Obama tax cuts benefit about 95 percent of all Americans.

The idea of a Tea Party was probably that of CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who ranted against any government assistance for persons who lost their homes through foreclosure. Pushing the tea bagging of America were Fox mouths Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and dozens of other conservative talking mouths who are among the top 5 percent, and whose seven-figure incomes would be reduced under the Obama plan to restore fiscal sanity to America.

Well, I guess it’s true. Americans really are revolting.

[Walter M. Brasch is a university professor of journalism, social issues columnist, and the author of 17 books. His current book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available from amazon.com, bn.com, and other stores. You may contact him through his website, www.walterbrasch.com]

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 by Walter Brasch |

Tax Freedom Day: 8 days Earlier Than In 2008

Here’s some pocket change you can believe in: Tax Freedom Day 2009 comes much earlier than in 2007 or 2008. Take that, Teabaggers!

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Attention Teabaggers:

Every year about this time, the Tax Foundation calculates the date that the average American will have made enough money to cover their tax obligations for the coming year (federal, state, and local). This date is known as Tax Freedom Day. Guess what?

Tax Freedom Day will arrive on April 13 this year, according to the Tax Foundation’s annual calculation using the latest government data on income and taxes.

This is eight days earlier than in 2008, and a full two weeks earlier than in 2007

That’s change I can believe in.

So, Teabaggers – where were you in 2008 and 2007? Oh, that’s right. Faux News and Rush Limpballs weren’t directing you to attend the “Obama Fail” (tea party) rally near you on Wednesday.

Yeah, I get it.

Brooks Bros Protest 2009

Monday, April 13th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Teabagging and Fox News Douchebaggery

Do they just not understand the pseudo-sexual references (both straight and gay) to the phrase, “teabagging”?? Whoever ginned up this campaign at Fox is looking like a total smacked ass at this point.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

As many have commented here and other places over the past week or so, the upcoming Fox News-inspired “Tax Day Tea Party” this coming Wednesday raises the bar on the concept of total lunacy.

Teabaggin’. Do these morons simply not understand the cultural sexual references, both straight and gay? Perhaps this video will help them grasp the concept:

Every time that I think that Fox News (and GOP media hacks in general) has lowered the national discourse to its lowest possible level, they surprise me. But still, I suppose it “sells” to their core audience.

Friday, April 10th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Get Your Red Hot Whiney Excuses Here!

Billionaire Jeff Lurie and his Philadelphia Eagles are still dodging a $8MM bill they owe the City of Philadelphia at a time when the city is closing libraries. Affidavits have now been given and we hear, for the first time, that there was a verbal deal with the last Mayor, who simply wasn’t trustworthy. Yes, it’s whiney excuses all the way.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Jeff Lurie is a Billionaire, recently assessed as so by Fortune Magazine. He owns my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. And it appears he has a bunch of whiney excuses why he and his Philadelphia Eagles will continue to doge paying what they owe.

The Philadelphia Eagles have owed the City of Philadelphia $8 Million for at least nine years, and they’ve been delaying the payment of that bill for a long time. Yesterday, after several years of “no comment,” the Eagles finally revealed their strategy. Evidently the money was unelected in the mail by the dog, or something like that. Yeah, we’re talking a whiney excuse for not paying what Jeff Lurie and the Philadelphia Eagles owe, an excuse that rests on verbal agreements made by someone who doesn’t have the power to make such agreements. There’s a report in the Philadelphia Daily News, but this one is from KYW 1060:

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie says the city reneged on a never-before disclosed private deal between him and then-Mayor John Street to settle the dispute over Veterans Stadium sky box revenues.

The city has long contended that the Eagles owed $8 million over the sky box earnings.

But Lurie and team president Joe Banner have now filed affidavits in Common Pleas Court, in which they say they struck the verbal deal with Street through intermediaries during Street’s first term. Under terms of the deal, according to the affidavits, the Eagles would pay the city an unspecified amount less than $1 million to settle the matter.

Lurie’s attorney, Tom Leonard, says despite the agreement, John Street never abided by that deal for the remaining years of his tenure. Now, Leonard says, Lurie wants a judge to enforce that agreement:

“The people who were in the room are all prepared to testify that there was a deal. A deal is a deal, and it should be enforced.”

The affidavits do not specify when the agreement was reached. Leonard believes it occurred in late 2000. Banner and Lurie claim that verbal agreement was made during the negotiations between the Eagles and the city over construction of the new stadium, and they stipulate that the sky box agreement helped seal the stadium deal.

Let’s see. The Eagles are maintaining they don’t owe $8MM. After never mentioning a deal with former mayor John Street supposedly made nine years ago (a deal that Street arguably didn’t have the power to make), the Eagles want to force the city to live up to that deal.

Some disclaimers. My wife and I are Eagles season ticket holders, and we’re eager to show our new son Lincoln Financial Field when the NFL season starts. Yes, we are rabid fans who will take a baby to a football game, at least a pre-season one. After that adventure, we’ll reevaluate. We met at an Eagles game, and we’re rabid enough to go to playoff games that cost a ton of cash. But.

I do not jump up and criticize the Philadelphia Eagles every time they make a bonehead player move. Now let me tell you, that shows remarkable restraint around these parts where screaming about the weak wide receiver corps or the lack of a fullback is a full-time job for some fans. I am not a TATEr. (I’ll let someone else explain that term.) But I am a citizen who expects my fellow citizens to pay their taxes.

As such, Jeff Lurie offends me. I rail on this web page about whiney excuses all the time, and the Eagles can’t even figure out which whiney excuse to use here. I am offended, both as a fan and a citizen of Philly. But I am a fan of the Eagles team, and am proud of the players who take the field on game day. I had always assumed that I could be proud of the organization from the top down. That no longer holds.

Jeff Lurie and the Eagles, according to their story, basically put faith in ex-Mayor John Street to hold to an agreement he wouldn’t even put in writing. That’s simply stupid. More than dodging taxes and giving out whiney excuses, the Eagles should be disrespected because they trusted John Street to hold to a verbal agreement. I mean, owner Lurie and team President Joe Banner live here! They know John Street. They know trusting that guy to carry out a verbal agreement he wasn’t even authorized to make is madness. If they really believed they could trust then they are flat out stupid.

All hail and praise goes to Brendan Skwire, who has been pushing this issue for a while.

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Right Wing Tea Parties – Brooks Brothers Riot, Redux

An interesting amalgam of the idle rich, religious fundamentalists, and garden variety asshats got together this past Saturday on a downtown corner in upscale Stamford, Ct. Hilarity ensued.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

I just don’t get right wingers. They can take an issue that has some degree of resonance across the political spectrum, come up with a kicky idea that has PR punch, and then turn it into a steaming pile of fetid compost. (Check that – we all know that dittoheads would never compost their waste.)

You simply must check out this photo gallery from a “protest” in Stamford, Ct. over the weekend. Here’s a taste:

Awesome Goddamn Protest in Stamford, Ct.

And here’s a link to a story on the tea party protest.

Anyone remember the post-election Brooks Brothers Riot in Miami, Florida in November, 2000 that stopped the presidential vote recounts? Yeah, these tea parties feel a lot like that.

(h/t to Bob Cesca’s Awesome Goddamn Blog)

Monday, March 30th, 2009 by Richard Blair |

The Rich, the GOP, AIG and the Tea Bag Revolution

The rich are being blamed for the irresponsible actions on Wall Street, and they are no longer looked at with being worthy. The GOP set this stage with myths that everyone could be rich if we just let the rich escape taxes. Then the GOP pushed deregulation. And the Tea Bagging GOP line now is harming the rich far more than the Dems.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

There’s a nexus coming together in this country, and while some are using the metaphor of pitchforks and the proles storming the castle (the rich, at AIG, at least, seem very afraid of this scorn, as evidenced here and here), it is beginning to seem to me as if the rich, those metaphorically living in the castle, are guilty of tea bagging, if not pitchforking, themselves.

I suppose I come to this conclusion first from Michael Hiltzik’s column in the Los Angeles Times. His title somewhat says it all: “The belief that the wealthy are worthy is waning.” The thesis here is that many in our country rallied against progressive income taxes that hit the rich because they themselves pictures themselves as being rich someday, sort of like Joe the Plumber, you know. They had a myopia concerning the true American condition. We all know that Joe the Plumber will get nowhere unless he milks the right wing media with his image, and Joe will therefore continue in self-delusion. But the average American, Hiltzik says, is beginning to see through this Republican myth.

Let’s face facts. The Republicans are the ones, perhaps further back than Gingrich or even Reagan, who perpetuated the myth that cutting taxes on the wealthy would result in good jobs for everyone, including the possibility that everyman may one day become rich himself. Not so much nowadays. The false veneer on this theory is peeling off, like a Laffer Curve going south. They set the stage with their constant attempts to reverse the progressive system of taxes in this country, led now by Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform, a group Republicans listen to almost as well as they bow to their leader, Rush Limbaugh, as mindnumbingly stupid as that act of bowing is.

What really blew the top off, though, is their penchant for deregulation. We’re seeing an economic meltdown because of unregulated securities now, and AIG’s insuring those risky schemes, but what we’re also seeing on the side is the steadily declining respect for the rich. Sure, many rich people are philanthropists, and there are fine people among the rich. When the taxes go up on them, as the current national feeling will assuredly lead to, they will go up on me and my family as well. But let’s make sure to note that the deregulation was spurred by a system of rewards cloaked as bonuses. Sure, the former Chair of AIG claims he wouldn’t have given out the bonuses that are so controversial now, but he gave out similar retention rewards. It was the name of the game for far too many years. Risky products are dreamed up by money managers whose bonus was directly tied to short-term success. They became the rich. By exploiting the system they have tea bagged themselves.

AIG’s defense? They are now going after taxes they say they don’t owe because they derived from offshore tax shelters. Yes, banking regulations evidently enabled them to legally shelter a whole batch of their tax obligations, and AIG wants that 306 Million Dollars back, even though the funds helping them fight the IRS were provided by the federal government. These folks just don’t know how to leave well enough alone. The gall, we say, at every turn where they spend our money on bonuses or suing us! Should we be so surprised?

Now the Republicans have started this stupid Tea Bag campaign. It mimics the Boston Harbor protest from our American Revolution, but there ain’t no redcoats here. As Bob Cesca notes, the Republican Tea Bag campaign is about reducing taxes on the wealthy at a time when the entire American electorate is glued to the TV waiting for the next shoe to drop in the Wall Street mess, caused by the Republican deregulation and greed that the Tea Bagging goal would ostensibly reward. Sure, Republicans are railing against AIG bonuses, but as usual they have no plan. They’d rather protest using Tea Bags, and referring to an insulting sex act. Yeah, Republicans claim to stand for high moral values, but even their protests are coarse and ugly. What they’ve done with such absurities is tea bag themselves.

It would be enough if the Republicans had only Tea Bagged themselves, but they have done the bidding of the markets and those who pretend to stand for the rich for so long that the rich are the ones feeling the Tea Bag, full in the face. Conspicuous Consumption is coming to an end, I’m guessing, at least for a long time, and I’m betting Thorstein Veblen would be proud. But this isn’t about a 120 year old theory. This is about today, about the dangers of runaway and unregulated capitalism and how it can destroy our economy. The Republicans called for that deregulation, trusting int he blind hand of supply and demand to care for everyone. That ship has sailed, and judging by their stupid Tea Bag campaign, the GOP is far, far from recognizing that fact.

Friday, March 20th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Upon Further Review: Excessive Whackjobbery and Whining By GOP

Sometimes you’ve got to stop and chronicle the GOP whackjobbery, which has hit a high point since the Republicans tried to vote down the largest middle class tax cut in history. From the Washington Times to the FoxNews whack jobs to Rush Limbaugh, the GOP whackjobbery is as ripe as a landfill full of diapers. Smells like Republicans.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Every once in a while you’ve got to stop and smell the manure the Republicans are spreading and just wonder if anyone on their side believes any of their crap. It’s insane. Here’s a party that has fought for every single tax cut since Reagan was in office. We’re talking just under thirty years that the Republicans have identified themselves as the party of tax cuts. Indeed, under Presidnt George W. Bush the Republicans fought for income tax cuts and captial gains tax cuts, largely benefiting the biggest wage earners in the country.

As thereisnospoon at DailyKos notes, The Republicans recently showed what they really think of tax cuts when faced with the biggest middle class tax cut in history. Get it straight. They supported tax cuts for the wealthiest in our society, but only three Republicans in all of the Congress and Senate stuck to their guns and supposed beliefs and supported the Obama tax cut. It appears the GOP has replaced tax cutting with obstruction as the core of its value system. That is clear, perfectly clear, when you see the articles all over the place about how the GOP is planning to punish those Senators, Specter, Snowe and Collins, who voted for the largest middle class tax cut in history. Their crime was supporting a Democrat. That was their only crime, but it is the only crime important to Republicans anymore.

More whackjobbery? How about from the right wing newspaper the Washington Times. Sadly No, as stylish as ever, has the scoop. Seems the Times decided to go all Godwin on its readers and compare Democratic plans for healthcare to Hitler. I know, that sounds completely whack, and it is, but here’s the editorial from the Washington Times, complete with the photo of Hitler. You be the judge.

You want more whackjobbery? Will it satisfy you if I note that the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, newly elected and making the Republicans proud, recently said that, and I quote, from RawStory:

“I’m not going to soft pedal this with you,” Steele said. “The reality of it is, you are absolutely right. You have absolutely no reason, none, to trust our word or our actions at this point.”

Oh, sure, there’s more context. The guy said it on the Glenn Beck Show. Glenn Beck kept pitching batting practice, trying to entice Micheal Steele to play Home Run Derby, slam the Dems, and instead Steele slams the ball into the dugout striking the GOP and injuring it. He said his own team isn’t to be trusted. The big shock here, I suppose, is a Republican uttering the truth.

Want even more GOP whackjobbery? We’ll close this segment of GOP Whackjobbery with Glenn Beck. Evidently he was frustrated at dealing with Michael Steele, so he took out his frustrations on his audience. The video is here, where Beck predicts the end of the world as we know it, all caused by the Obama tax cuts combined with the Obama stimulus spending. It’s funny to see such desperate right wing pundits as Beck. Almost as funny as reading Ann Coulter’s desperate screeds, or hearing Rush Limbaugh whine while at the same time showing his utter stupidity. But that’s the way GOP whackjobbery goes. Whether it is from GOP office holders, GOP supporters, their media supporters, GOP pundits, it’s all good, for the Dems in 2010.

Sunday, February 15th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Match This for Stupidity: Taxing a House of Cards

Sin taxes are a favorite of legislators, and right now legislators of both stripes are looking very hard for more tax revenue. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that a tax on tobacco and fatty food and liquor is going to make anyone healthier. That is neither the aim nor the result.


Commentary By: Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch

My wife is a smoker. Except for one year when she quit, she’s been a smoker since she was about 18. But she’s cut back, from as many as three packs a day to just three cigarettes. And, she now smokes outside the house.

At various times, she was asked to show an ID. When in her 20s she saw it as an annoyance. By her 30s and 40s, it was a compliment. Now it’s just downright annoying.

The law restricts persons under 18 years of age from buying or smoking cigarettes. My wife understands why she must be “carded.”

Yesterday she was carded when she wanted to buy two lighters. The sweet lady at the grocery checkout counter said that the chain store is carding everyone who buys lighters. Something about a juvenile who used a lighter and accidentally set his house on fire.

The law doesn’t say a person must be at least 18 to buy a cigarette lighter. But, the reasoning is that people buy cigarette lighters to–well–light cigarettes. Therefore, cigarette lighters–which can be used for many things other than to light up–also must be controlled. So, every adult, from the 20s to the gray-haired elderly, will also be “carded” when they buy lighters.

If this restrictive and selective enforcement continues, we might soon see stores carding people who buy cups, because they could be used to hold beer. Anyone who buys watermelons would be carded since plugged, spiked, and corked watermelons are a delightful summer treat. Jello, once promoted by all-American “dad” Bill Cosby, would be suspect, since there aren’t many college parties without Jello shots.

Unlike the sale of cigarettes and liquor, there is no age restriction on most foods. So, various health-nut organizations and not-so-bright legislators have decided to tax foods they don’t think are acceptable. Several legislators have tried, but so far have failed, to enact legislation that would tax high-calorie foods. New York Gov. David Patterson wants to levy a 15 percent tax on any juice or drink except diet sodas, bottled water, coffee, tea, and milk.

Eventually, we’ll see a special “obesity tax” placed against anything sold at a fast food restaurant.

When you break through the smoke and mirrors, governments really don’t care about anyone’s health. They do care about ways to generate revenue. Gov. Patterson readily acknowledges that the “obesity tax” in New York would generate about $400 million additional revenue. New York also leads the nation in cigarette taxes. A smoker in New York City pays about $9 per pack, which includes a 39 cents federal tax, a $2.75 state tax, a $1.50 city tax, plus an 8 percent sales tax on top of everything else. Chicago is second, with taxes totaling $3.66 a pack. States and the federal government collect about $26 billion a year in cigarette taxes, according to a New York Times report in August 2008.

Liquor taxes aren’t meant to make anyone healthy, except the state economy. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a five cent a drink tax that, had the legislature not tabled the suggestion, would have raised $600 million a year. Overall, the federal government collected more than $9 billion in taxes, while states collected an additional $6 billion, according to a comprehensive analysis published in June 2007 by the National Center for Policy Analysis.

With budgets being pumped up by numerous “sin taxes,” it won’t be long until someone figures out they need not only to card buyers of cigarette lighters, cups, watermelons, and Jello, but that there also needs to be special excise taxes upon these products as well.

[The assistance of Rosemary R. Brasch is appreciated. Walter Brasch's latest book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available at amazon.com, bn.com, and most bookstores. You may contact Dr. Brasch at brasch@bloomu.edu, or through his website, www.walterbrasch.com]

Thursday, January 29th, 2009 by Walter Brasch |