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Pope Francis's comments and actions have sent the Opus Dei and right wing Catholics over the edge.  Via Ed Kilgore we learn that no less a Holier than Thou Catholic that Pan Buchanan is urging his co-religionists to be more Catholic than his Holiness.  

In his column, Papal Neutrality in the Culture Wars,"  Buchanan criticized the election of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky. to Chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Buchanan linked the election to the influence of the Pope's Apostolic Nuncio, who spoke at the conference before the election.

Buchanan is troubled because Archbishop Kurtz "has a master's degree in social work," and succeeds Archbishop Timothy Dolan, one of the leaders of the fight against the contraception mandate in the ACA."

[H]ere is further confirmation His Holiness seeks to move the Catholic Church to a stance of non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the West.
Yes, God forbid the leader of the Bishops should have gotten a degree in social work.  Whatever could social work have to do with the mission of the Catholic Church.

Pat then ramps up the rhetoric to (his own) 1992 Republican Convention speech levels (of which Molly Ivins famously said, "I liked it better in the original German"):

Our civilization is being de-Christianized. Popular culture is a running sewer. Promiscuity and pornography are pandemic. In Europe, the churches empty out as the mosques fill up. In America, Bible reading and prayer are outlawed in schools, as Christian displays are purged from public squares. Officially, Christmas and Easter do not exist.
Now the only remaining question is the following:
Bears:  Is it really in the woods?

George W. Bush will appear on November 14 at a fundraising event for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute.  The MJBI is a "Jews for Jesus" Group, whose goal is to train "people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah."

[Note -- This is from Mother Jones, not the Onion.]

the former president is helping out with more than just speech-making. The most expensive of the ticket packages, which range from $100 to $100,000, includes 20 invitations to a VIP reception and photo opportunity with Bush, 10 signed copies of Bush’s book Decision Points, and passes to tour the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Bush is following in the footsteps of last year's MJBI honoree, one Glenn Beck, who received the group's "Defender of Israel" award.

At the event honoring Beck, "members of the MJBI’s board of directors explained the organization’s mission of converting Jews to an audience of hundreds who were seated on a professional football field, wearing formal clothes, and eating pork barbecue."

again -- not the Onion.

As Ed Kilgore noted "Sounds like quite the apocalyptic clambake (or should I say, pig picking)."

Unsurprisingly, Jewish leaders are not pleased:

Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said, "It's disappointing that he would give his stamp of approval to a group whose program is an express effort to convert Jews and not to accept the validity of the Jewish covenant."
News Item, August 23, 2005: The Seminole tribe officially sanctions Florida State University's use of "Seminoles" as a nickname and Chief Osceola as a mascot. Max Osceola, the chief and general council president of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, said Tuesday that it was an "honor" to be associated with FSU.
Following the Seminoles' lead, the Hollywood-based Redskins Tribe yesterday officially endorsed the Washington, DC football franchise's use of "Redskins" as the team name.  The Tribe, composed entirely of fictional film, TV and books characters, issued a press release:
The Washington Redskins name honors the poisonous stereotypes that have all but disappeared from popular culture.  For years we were "on the warpath," first in dime novels in the 19th century, then in movies, and finally on TV.  Yes, we were cartoon villains, divorced from historical reality, but at least we existed.

Then, the backlash started.  There was that 1970 movie, "Little Big Man," with a character named "Old Lodge Skins," not "Old Redskins." OLS said things like "Indians think everything is alive... White men believe everything is dead."  I mean, please.  Real movie Redskins never talked like that.

Pretty soon there were movements to change the Indian mascots from teams.The Dartmouth Indians became the Big Green, the UMass Indians became the Minutemen, the St. John's Redmen became the Red Storm.   Then the NCAA  issued a ruling ordering that teams change their names.

If the Redskins football team changes its name, it could be the end of the line for stereotypes.  

We cannot let that happen.

Hollywood Redskins Tribe

CEO: Movie Geronimo
Pres.: Movie Sitting  Bull
Chairman:  Radio/TV/Movie (sort of) Tonto


The Sunday Shows and Cable Networks are trembling with the outrage at the plight of the "poor" under-insured who are losing their crappy policies, and how Obama's "lie" about this is the greatest lie since Cain, or at least Bill Clinton.

But another story about the actual poor, passed with barely a ripple.  On Friday, $5 billion in cuts to food stamps took effect, but as Media Matters points out, these are the food stamp cuts the media won't tell you about.

Therefore, this is an outrage of which few, other than we political junkies are aware.  So here's a modest suggestion both to help some people, as well as raise awareness of the matter.  Make a contribution (if you can afford it, of course) and then post a message like the following on whatever social media you use.

$5 billion cuts in food stamps went into effect on Friday because Congress failed to act.  It would take 100,000,000 people contributing $50 to make up for that.  In light of this, I've made an additional contribution to the NYC Food Bank.

I am sure that most participants here already contribute generously to charities, but this is an emergency for many families, who will be losing, on average, 16 meals a month for family of three.

I'm posting this on Twitter, Facebook and a Linked in university discussion.  I think it's a way to (a) encourage contributions; and (b) make people aware  of this.

If it were to become viral, it might have a substantial effect.

(Except for places like Kos, I'd make it as apolitical as possible to encourage participation.  For example, on the Linked in site, I omitted "because Congress failed to act.")


One of the "startling revelations" in Double Down, the new Halpern-Heilmann political gossip and meaningless trivia book,  is that the guy who told Harry Reid that Romney had not paid taxes for 10 years was Jon Huntsman's father!!!

Of course, that is old news, as we know from having read Kos a year ago. But in all of the talk about this news, I have not read or heard anyone asking the question:

Was Huntsman Sr. Right?  Did Romney not pay taxes for ten years?
I'm amazed at the lack of discussion about the charge itself (even here to some extent)!  During the 2012 election, I was astonished and angry that Romney got away with keeping most of his tax history secret, breaking a long precedent followed even by his father.   I wrote several diaries about it, including: Romney's IRA had twice Madoff's Returns.

It was a classic example of media malfeasance, neglecting a critical issue while trumping up trivia or lies (the Swiftboating of Kerry, the War on Gore).  And it continues even now, with the Beltway Double Down Heathers tittering about who tattled to Reid, without any seeming interest in what the tattling was about.

Yes, the election's long over, but if we still care about who told Harry Reid, shouldn't we also care about whether it was true?

Am I missing something here?


Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:43 PM PDT

ACA Truth Squad Needed

by Upper West

I've been doing my best to correct false or misleading information from friends and others about the ACA.  I've told someone who got a Blue Cross "cancellation" letter that he's likely to do better on the exchange.  I've corrected someone who thought that pre-existing conditions could not bar insurance, but could still affect rates.

But the barrage of "horror stories" needing correction continues.  For example, today, a lawyer at a small firm (under 50) wrote to me:

Our group plan was terminated. Under the new plan, I will go from $868 out of pocket per mo. to $1070 per mo. Plus a $5700 deductible I didn’t have before. The insurance consultant I spoke with said that as a result of ACA, approx. 2/3 of small employer plans would be voided by the end of the year.
This sounds fishy.  I told him that the consultant and the ins. co. were probably blaming the ACA for a change they would make anyway;  Was I right? is it really related to the ACA?

We need a clearinghouse for an ACA Truth Squad.  A place where you can send in a story like this and get a quick response about the truth.  That would be a great Daily Kos feature.

Meanwhile -- what about the guy who wrote me today and his plan change?


Tonight, Jon Stewart showed in a breathtaking five minutes just how corrupt the TV financial Media really is.  Either Cramer, Bartoromo or Kudlow are astonishingly un-self-aware or they just know they can get away with it. I'm betting on the latter.  With just three pairs of clips, Stewart showed what blatant and obvious shills they are.

First:  The financial anchors were shown unanimously condemning the $13B Settlement by Chase on the basis of how terribly unfair it was for Chase to pay the liabilities of the banks they acquired in 2008 (Bear Stearns and WaMu).

Then, Stewart showed clips proving that Chase's deal unquestionably included those liabilities, including Jamie Dimon confirming the simple fact that Chase was picking up the other banks' debts.

Second, Stewart showed Maria Bartiromo dismissing reports in the New York Times by throwing up her hands and saying "Oh, the New York Times!" with dripping, contemptuous sarcasm, as though that source of the news was equivalent to the Drudge Report.

Then, he showed clips of Bartiromo and others citing the Wall Street Journal Editorial page as the sine qua non of factual authority.  So -- Times news pages - no; Wall St. Journal Editorials, Si.  Good to know.

Finally, Stewart showed the same cast of characters going on and on this week about how Chase had done the US government a huge favor by buying the bad banks in 2008.  Jim Cramer was especially demonstrative about the bank's charitable act toward the Federal Government.

You knew what was coming -- Cramer in 2008, right after the same deal, rhapsodizing about how Chase had practically stolen the assets from the Federal government, and recommending a huge "buy" for Chase because of the deal.

Stewart does a lot of these contrasting clips that make present statements seem idiotic or hypocritical or disingenuous - usually all three.  But this one was especially devastating.

If I were those financial TV people I'd better .   ..   ..  Nah.


Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 11:58 AM PDT

David Brooks' Fantasy World

by Upper West

David Brooks is on "book leave" from the NY Times, so readers have been spared his dissembling insights on Tuesday and Friday for awhile.  However, it appears that having a staff of 10 interns actually writing the book does permit David to appear on Meet the Press, and even at something called the "Hero Summit."

Here are a couple of insights from David from yesterday showing once again that he is a hero of disingenuous cluelessness:


Yeah. The question [President Barack Obama had] never answered in all these years is, "How do I build a governing majority in this circumstance?"
What circumstance, Dave?  
When the Baucus committee pissed away months trying to reach agreement on health care with Grassley and Enzi, when it was clear that the chance of their agreeing to anything was less than that of Ted Cruz joining Code Pink?

When he had to abandon the Medicare buy-in at 55 plan not only because of unanimous Republican opposition, but because of Joe Lieberman?

When the stimulus relied on lopping off $100 billion because Susan Collins was "uncomfortable" with that amount of debt?  

When the stimulus included almost half in tax cuts, and still attracted only 1-2 Republican votes?

He's got 40 House Republicans who are never going to be with him. How does he siphon them off and get the other Republicans on his side to get a majority coalition? You have to anger the left a little to build that bipartisan coalition. He's never figured out a way to do that.
Never angered the left?

OK, Dave,  You don't have to read the diaries and comments on Daily Kos to know that the "left" has been furious about many of these:

The NSA Program.

The perception that Obama did not fight hard enough for single payer or the public option.

The 2010 extension of the Bush tax cuts.

The 2011 Debt deal.

The 2012 Fiscal Cliff deal.

Chained CPI.

The threat to attack Syria.

It must be nice to earn tens of thousands on speeches when your fundamental premises are based completely on fantasy.

h/t Driftglass


Today's NY Times has an op-ed titled, Ma’am, Your Burger Has Been Paid For commenting on the phenomenon of people, mostly at fast-food drive-throughs, "paying it forward" by paying for the meal of the person in back of them.

According to the article:

A string of 67 cars paid it forward in April at a Chick-fil-A in Houston. And then a Heav’nly Donuts location in Amesbury, Mass., had a good-will train of 55 cars last July.

Serial pay-it-forward incidents involving between 4 and 24 cars have been reported at Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Del Taco, Taco Bell, KFC and Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Maryland, Florida, California, Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama, North Dakota, Michigan, North Carolina and Washington.

Catherine Hyde Ryan, the author of the novel, Pay It Forward, calls this "an example of goodness gone viral."

I beg to differ.

The people in the car in back of you at Taco Bell obviously can afford their meal, otherwise they would not be in line.  Moreover, if you are in one of those chains, the only real net "kindness" is to the last person, who doesn't pay it forward to the person behind him or her.

If people on line really want to help someone who needs help, they should pay the cost of the meal to the server in the window.  As we learned here last week, 52% of fast food workers rely on government assistance. That's largely because of the stagnating minimum wage.

Two years ago in this space, I proposed a "Tip Stimulus," to help the economy grow by getting millions of people simply to tip cab drivers, waiters and other service workers a few extra bucks each week.  I asked:

What if two million people started giving cab drivers, waiters, etc. tips of a dollar more than usual, adding up to say, $10 a week?  That's a billion injected into the economy in a year.
Then, I was suggesting it to stimulate the economy, which would still be a good result.  But today, I'm focusing on the wrong-headed idea that what is essentially a feel-good game of "paying it forward," really isn't even charity if the guy in back of you is just going to give it to the guy in back of him.

Most importantly, the people who are likely to need it the most -- the person in the window, don't reap any benefits of it.

So if you're tempted to "pay it forward" by paying for the next car's taco, give the money to the person in the drive-through window as a nice 100% tip.  It will be real, needed generosity, not a phony feel-good game.


It is now clear that Wolf Blitzer wants to go into the Viral Music Video Business.  Why else would he spout gibberish so similar to that of Ylvis, the Norwegian What Does the Fox Say? sensation?  Here's Wolf's bid for YouTube greatness, as transcribed by Pipsorcle in a diary yesterday:

"If they had three years to get this ready, if they weren't fully ready, they should accept the advice Republicans are giving them, delay it for a year, get it to work. There are health insurance sites that work great.  If they didn't get it ready in time, make sure to get it right."
In other words:
What does the fox wolf say?
All Wolf needs now are the animal costumes and the choreography:

What does the Wolf say?  I'm an idiot.
Continue Reading
The President and Democrats should broadcast this 24/7, and we should be calling R Congresspersons asking them why they want to endanger my (my parents', grandparents') social security checks by defaulting on the debt.  Let them hear from people other than their ignorant and/or lunatic Representatives who assure them that default is not a big deal.

Here is a list of Republican Congresspersons.

It's an easy connection, it's true and it goes directly to the key tea party demographic.

Let the "Government Hands off My Medicare" crowd become scared of their own Reps and start marching with torches and pitchforks on their Tea Party or "Moderate who's chicken" Congressmen, screaming at them to vote for a clean bill.

Maybe start with the "moderates" (who talk big and then retreat) and work your way down to the crazies. (It won't take long.)

Here's a script:

Hello?  Congressman (Grimm? Hanna? Wolf? Reichter? .  .  . ) "Why are you putting my (my mom's, my nana's) social security checks in danger by threatening default?"
Enough of this crap.

Charlie Pierce is just a brilliant writer.  His blog at Esquire consistently turns up gems like the title of this post, his comment today, upon learning that Ed Meese, Reagan henchman and attorney general led a "loose-knit coalition of conservative activists" to plot the shutdown scenario to force Obamacare repeal.

Continues Pierce:

Will the sad detritus of the Saint Ronnie administration ever stop fouling American public life? We have Our Lady Of The Magic Dolphins on the teevee almost every weekend. We had a whole clutch of the foreign-policy fantasts rehabilitated during the late reign of C-Plus Augustus. And now, this guy, who once advocated concentration camps for student demonstrators, who personally oversaw the most embarrassing "investigation" into the porn industry ever conducted, and who functioned as lookout and getaway driver for the Iran-Contra crooks, up to and including the increasingly dim president himself, comes back to help screw up the nation again.
I had the same reaction when I read Meese's name in the Times piece about this cabal, featuring an unholy alliance between the ghosts of '80s porn sniffers and the billionaire Bircher Koch boys.  Ed Meese -- someone you had (thankfully) not thought about or heard about for years, resurrected to lead the well-bankrolled Pickett's charge against the ACA.  As Forrest Gump would say, "Loathesome is as loathesome does."

So now we have the 'teens version of the "Elves," the group of Federalist lawyers teamed with Arkansas low-life racists and the likes of Anne Coulter to plot the destruction of Bill Clinton shortly after he became President.

Pierce also reminds us that the latest Reagasm release is from ostensible liberal Chris Matthews' new book Tip and the Gipper, a fond look at how Matthews' mentor Tip O'Neill and Reagan began the evisceration of the New Deal in those wonderful early '80s days of -Democratic capitulation- bipartisan cooperation.  I would sooner sit through all 21 hours of Ted Cruz's faux filibuster than read a page of that book -- which will further elevate the Tip-Reagan dealmaking as the apotheosis of statesmanship, rather than the beginning of the war on the middle class.  Ugh.

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