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The Morning Grumpy – 2/27/2012

27 Feb

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.


1. Last week, the Conservative Party of Erie County endorsed the abhorrent Chuck Swanick in the NY-60 State Senate race against incumbent Republican Mark Grisanti. Swanick’s endorsement and nominal membership in the Democratic Party now puts Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan in a tight spot. Does Lenihan endorse a Pigeon loyalist who also happens to be anti-marriage equality, pro-gun, pro-life, and a generally terrible guy or does he endorse some other underfunded candidate looking to go on a political suicide mission? The balance of power in the state senate could very well rest on the outcome of this race. Will Lenihan receive pressure from downstate democrats who want control of the senate by any means necessary or will he stand on principle? Where does the Governor come down on this issue?

This whole chapter is a reminder about the incredible awfulness and small-mindedness of our local politics. Intra-party squabbling, backroom deals, power plays, and control of jobs governs everything.

2. Insinuation as war propaganda. Today 71% believe Iran has nukes. Nine years ago 70% believed Iraq was behind 9/11.

What’s bizarre about this, other than the fact that there is no credible evidence that Iran has nuclear weapons, is that no one in a position of official authority is claiming it either! Every report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, even when framed in a way to make Iran seem ominous, confirms the “non-diversion” of nuclear materials to weaponization purposes. The CIA and intelligence community have consistently stood by the National Intelligence Estimate findings that Iran has not sought a nuclear weapon since 2003 (and Iran doing so back then is only suspected based on very scant evidence produced by the Israeli government).

What’s more, in the last week or so, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stressed that not only does Iran not have nuclear weapons; there is no evidence that Iran even wants nuclear weapons!

In the alternative universe of republican debates and right wing talk radio, the Iranian nuclear issue is of pressing concern and needs to be addressed immediately. This is how disconnected our various spheres of political influence have become. A good portion of Americans believe something to be true that simply isn’t, and they are willing to go to war on this false premise. I don’t usually like to make things this base, but what the fuck? Seriously.

A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.

The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.

Well, 16 agencies agree, but Rick Santorum wants to bomb them into the fucking stone age…America 2012!

3. The Republican reliance on “culture wars” is turning off young voters.

Obama defeated his Republican opponent John McCain, by a 2-to-1 margin among voters under 30 when he won the White House in 2008, widening a political “generation gap” that has arisen since 2000 in which younger voters are increasingly Democratic.

Participation by young people in Republican primary races is down compared to four years ago and pollsters are seeing signs that the culture wars could weaken support for Republicans among younger voters.

“Millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) are a very tolerant generation. They have very much of a live and let live philosophy and when you suggest that government ought to come in and determine how you live, you lose millennials,” said Morley Winograd, a University of Southern California professor and author of “Millennial Momentum: How a Generation is Remaking America.”

The vile ginning up of the hate machine that Republicans rely upon to generate larger turnout amongst their shrinking core demographic of paranoids, greedy assholes, xenophobes, elderly white people and christianists is really turning off sensible people. Rather than moving to a big tent philosophy, they are telling more and more groups that they aren’t welcome. Their immigration stance has alienated much of the massive and growing hispanic vote, their crusade against Planned Parenthood and contraception has alienated women and the young, racist dog whistling has alienated any chance at the black vote, and their knobgobbling of the rich has alienated much of the urban/working class vote. But, they still own the white christian and rural blue collar vote and they’ll do their best to demagogue the shit out of the culture wars while whispering that the black President is a Kenyan neo-colonialist muslim sleeper agent sent here to take your guns and burn your bibles.

4. Rick Santorum doesn’t “believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute“.

Rick Santorum took issue with President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech on the separation of church and state on Sunday, telling This Week’s George Stephanopoulos that he does not believe the separation is absolute:

I don’t believe in an America where the separation between church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and visions of our country.

A candidate who threatens to impose his religion and its laws on the people of a nation, even if they don’t ascribe to the tenets of his faith, is what, exactly?

5. Why is gas so expensive? Let The Center for American Progress introduce you to Charles Koch and the deregulation of the oil commodity market.

A McClatchy investigation found: “Prior to the 1990s, speculators made up about 30 percent of the futures market. In the latest reporting period, the ratio on May 3 stood at 68 percent speculators to 32 percent users of oil.” The following chart illustrates the dramatic changes in the oil speculation market following the Koch-prescribed deregulation campaign, and how non-commercial speculators have pushed the price of oil higher and higher

Free markets!

Fact Of The Day: On Feb. 27, 1991, President George H.W. Bush declared that “Kuwait is liberated, Iraq’s army is defeated,” and announced that the allies would suspend combat operations at midnight.

Quote Of The Day: “All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.” – Edgar Allen Poe

Video Of the Day: The Beauty of Everyday Engineering, The Stay-On Tab

Cartoon Of The Day: “Ali Baba Bunny” – Chuck Jones

Song Of The Day: “Shake A Tail Feather” – The Five Du-Tones

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