Booman Tribune

The GOP Is Going to Be Badly Outsmarted on the Next Budget Showdown

The so-called sequester is designed to be highly unattractive to both sides of the aisle. But it is structured in a way that makes it significantly more unattractive to the Republicans. The problem is the cuts to the Defense Department. The Republicans who serve on the Armed Services committees aredesperate to avoid those cuts and they are willing to cut a deal favorable to the president to avoid them. The progressives don't like the across the board cuts to the discretionary budget, which will take a bite out of nearly everything, but they prefer them to making a deal that makes significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

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Dems Look on in Wonder as Mitch McConnell Filibusters His Own Proposal

If Mitch McConnell wants to be taken seriously when he complains about proposed changes to the filibuster rule, he probably shouldn't go out and do ridiculous things like filibustering himself. He seriously asked Harry Reid to have a vote on the president's plan to keep Congress from destroying our credit rating. And when Harry Reid said, "Okay, let's vote," McConnell refused to grant unanimous consent for it.

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The Corporate Media Are Wrong: A Blow Out Win for Obama Is Possible

I don't like to mince words. Mitt Romney is getting slapped around worse than Cory Booker after a Meet the Press appearance. There are redheaded stepchildren and rented mules who are having an easier time of it than the Mittster. In Nate Silver's model, if the election were held today, Romney would have a 2.2% chance of winning. His chances on November 6th are down to 18.1%, and they are only that high because Silver is still assuming a bit of a convention bounce and some economic headwinds that will keep Obama's numbers down. In any case, things are bad enough that Silver decided to try to figure out if Obama could possibly do as well or better in November as he did in 2008. Things are bad enough that Chris Cillizza decided to tell us all that they won't get much worse. Mr. Cillizza assures us that Mitt Romney won't get blown out, and Mr. Silver basically agrees, although he allows that it's at least as likely as Romney coming back to win.

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How Republicans Ruined the Intelligence Community

Karen De Young of the Washington Post points the finger at informs us that the reforms to America's intelligence community initiated by Ruler of the Galactic Empire, Darth Cheney President Bush and his the Republicans lapdogs in Congress in 2004, the legislation which created the National Counterterrorism Center, were the primary factor in the failure of the Intelligence Community to identify and deter the "underwear bomber."

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Mexico City Becomes the First Latin American City to Approve a Gay Marriage Law

Mexico City showed more bravery then many North of the Border States this year when it came to gay rights, and just in time for Christmas, too:

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Economy Is Going to Get Much Worse

I think the economy is pretty darn awful, but with record profits on Wall Street and all the happy talk about a recovery from the recession (albeit a jobless recovery) it's confusing for many people as to what our economic future really holds. Well, here's relevant statistic that sums it up nicely, one that shows the so-called recovery is mostly a smoke and mirrors vaudeville magician's routine by the same people who either got us into this fine mess in the first place, or enabled the ones who did. Take a peek at this excerpt from Inner Workings David Goldman's blog at Asia Times:

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National Review Bedwetters Wet Bed Over Terror Trial

The main reason that supporters of Bush's anti-terror policies are wetting their pajamas is pretty clear from a look at National Review Online:

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Lindsey Graham Drilled by Big Oil

Republican Senator from the Great State of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, apparently isn't chummy enough with one of the major constituencies of the Republican Party. Neoconservatives? No, not them. Religious Fundamentalists? Maybe, but he's still talking the talk. Glenn Beck and the tea-baggers? You betcha, but that's not the group that he's really offended. Offended enough that they are running advocacy ads against him in his home state. No the group that is really pissed off at Senator Graham is the group that thought he was always in their hip pocket, bought and paid for, as it were: Big Oil

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New Legislation Might Guarantee a Public Option

Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery have a damn good roundup in the Washington Post of the state of play for health care reform on the eve of the big vote in the Senate Finance Committee. If you don't feel like you have a good grasp of the various issues and shifting winds, I recommend giving it a careful read. There's not much to complain about in their report.

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Exactly How Corrupt is Your Congress?

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Why Is the Washington Post Growing More Hawkish on Afghanistan?

I think reasonable people can disagree about our policy and strategy in Afghanistan. My thoughts on the matter are hardly consistent. I disagree with myself. But I have to note that the Washington Post is taking a particularly hawkish line in both its reporting and its editorial stance. Someone leaked Gen. McChrystal's report to Bob Woodward, which the Post front-paged yesterday. They have followed up today with pieces by Karen DeYoung, Greg Jaffe, and an editorial from Fred Hiatt and the board.

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My Experience with Acorn

When I started working for ACORN in 2004, I was one of only four white people employed in their North Philadelphia office. The office was in a very run-down tenement on North Broad Street, abutted by an abandoned lot on one side and a black baptist church on the other. The furniture could only described as ratty and unsuitable for anyone's home. Most of the day-to-day work going on was in counseling. The main area of counseling was for people who had been suckered into predatory mortgages that they quickly discovered they couldn't afford. Every day desperate people filed into the office begging for help in avoiding foreclosure.

A Health Care Horror Story

As everyone knows Canada is the land of the worst health care system in the universe because it's socialized medicine with a Capital S:

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Our Privatized Wars

I always knew the US used a lot of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. I just never suspected that the number of mercenaries the US government employed would be so large it would exceed the number of official, government issued troops over there: 

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Scalia and Thomas Are Nuts

Let's say that you are put on trial for a murder that you didn't commit. And then let's say that you are convicted of that murder. And let's say that you appeal your conviction but the conviction is upheld because the judge, lawyers, and jury in your case all acted appropriately. The facts and testimony made it look like you were guilty, but you weren't. It wasn't the fault of the justice system that you were convicted, but the fault of a cruel twist of fate.

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Palin Lies About Health Care

Not an original title, is it? Yet that is what the journalists and newspapers who report on her should be doing if they are going to publish every stupid, deceitful thing she says, like this:

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Global Warming to Get Worse Sooner Than Expected?

A new study predicts that global warming will increase far faster over the next five years than previous predictions due to increased solar activity and the El Nino southern hemisphere oscillation cycle:

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Why We Need to Investigate Torture

In thinking about Attorney General Eric Holder's deliberations on how and to what extent to investigate Bush-era torture policies, I think it pays to look back at what I consider the closest historical parallel: the Japanese internment camps. Both cases involved overreactions to unprovoked attacks on our homeland. In 1988, Congress determined that the decision to inter Japanese-Americans was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" and authorized $1.6 million in reparations. Ronald Reagan signed the bill. I don't think we want to wait forty-three years to recognize our post-9/11 errors.

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Leading Conservative Group Busted for Pay-for-Play Scam with FedEx

Guess who tried to extort money from sell "services" to FedEx in exchange for "favors" to be done on their behalf in Washington, DC? The American Conservative Union (ACU), allegedly the oldest conservative lobby group in the country. In the offer they made to FedEx, detailing all the great services they could provide his company for the paltry fee of Two to Three MILLION DOLLARS. Here's some of what they promised to do:

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Will Weak-Kneed Blue Dogs Continue to Stand in the Way of Progress?

The Hill has an article about how the Blue Dogs are really upset about having to vote on a health care bill so soon after having to vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. For example, we get to read complaints like this:

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Will the House Pass a Decent Health Care Plan?

I have to say that it looks very likely now that the House of Representatives is going to pass a health care plan in the next couple of weeks that includes a public option and pays for it entirely with cost savings and a progressive tax on individuals making over a quarter million dollars a year (or couples who make over $350,000). I didn't think that was going to be possible. Hell, I didn't even think it would be attempted. I have to give credit to Nancy Pelosi. She engineered Henry Waxman's coup, replacing John Dingell as chair of the Energy & Commerce Committe, and Waxman rammed home a Cap & Trade bill and worked out a compromise health care bill in a mere six months. Henry Waxman was a legendary legislator before this year, but he's headed for the Pantheon now.

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Blue Dog Corporate Whoring

I hear all kinds of excuses for why we need to maintain employer-based health care and the for-profit corporate health insurance industry, but other than a few Republicans I don't hear people making these arguments on the merits. I think employer-based health care is the stupidest thing ever, and I don't know anyone who enjoys interacting with their health insurance provider. As far as I can tell, we're just engaged in the art of the possible here, with almost no attention being paid to the best quality solution at the least expense. I don't like it, but I accept it. What I don't accept are these arguments from Democrats about how the cost is too high but that the public option will cost local hospitals and doctors too much. It's one or the other. Either the bill spends an inordinate amount of money compensating health-care providers or it saves money. It can't do both at the same time. I see so little merit in the Blue Dogs' argument that I think it is fair to call them corporate whores, plain and simple.

Why Do We Pretend the Saudis Are Our Friends?

Bush held hands with Saudi Princes as if he were a blushing bride. Obama has been castigated for "bowing" to the Saudi King. Yet almost everyone on both sides of the political aisle agrees that Saudi Arabia is a key ally of the United States in the Middle East. Why?

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Is the Iranian Theocracy in Jeopardy?

If you do a basic study of Shi'a Islam (as opposed to actually studying to be a religious leader of the religion), you'll quickly come to terms with the basic beliefs and the history, including the traditional quietism of the faith in all political matters. Shi'a Islam has almost always been on the defensive and rarely has enjoyed sustained periods of security from political leaders. There is a strong sense in the religion that politics is a worldly affair that is beneath the dignity of a religious scholar. Iran is probably the only place on earth where the Shi'a have felt secure enough from Sunni domination to contemplate exerting a form of political Islam. So, it's no real surprise that Iran is where the experimentation occurred.

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A Short History Lesson for Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer:
A CIA rent-a-mob in a coup 56 years ago does not balance the hostage-takings, throat-slittings, terror bombings and wanton slaughters perpetrated for 30 years by a thug regime in Tehran (and its surrogates) that our own State Department calls the world's "most active state sponsor of terrorism."

I am not going to dispute that Iran's Revolutionary Government has held hostages, sponsored terrorism, and committed wanton slaughter of innocent civilians. And I am not going to defend it. In fact, I completely condemn it. But it's amazing how Krauthammer can characterize the twenty-six years Iranians had to live under the thumb of the Shah and his CIA-trained SAVAK as nothing more than a rent-a-mob. To Krauthammer, the coup's the thing, and the consequences of the coup are nothing.

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Pro-Israeli Settler Talking Points are Ridiculous

The latest pro-Israeli Settler talking point is that it is unfair to stop settlement growth because it would effectively outlaw 'natural growth' occurring through childbirth. Today, it is Charles Krauthammer's turn to made a stab at this ridiculous argument.

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North Korea Continues Aggressive Actions

One of the costs of committing so many troops to Iraq and Afghanistan is that we don't have the resources to effectively deal with other potential emergencies, like

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Is Obama Creating a Center-Left Liberal Establishment in DC?

I like E.J. Dionne. I think he's on to something in his latest column. He's basically saying that President Obama is creating a center-left liberal establishment in Washington that is reminiscent of what we saw in the glory days between 1933-1968. Here's where I think Dionne is wrong. It's not really Obama who is creating this.

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RNC Launches Appalling Attack Against Nancy Pelosi

Sometimes I wonder if they even know what assholes they are:

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Truce in Gaza? Bush Must Be Exiting the Stage

Funny how the closer we come to the end of the reign of Our Dear Leader and his Merry Gang of Torturers, War Criminals and Assorted Neocon Boobs, the more the Israelis suddenly seem open to the possibility of a cease fire.

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Man Shoots Teenager to Protect McCain Sign

Every election year yard signs for candidates are stolen. I know. I had two Kerry sign stolen from my yard in 2004, and there are numerous reports this year of both Obama and McCain signs being stolen or vandalized. And it's troubling, and certainly annoying if it happens to you. However, I've never heard of anyone going this far to protect anyone's political yard sign -- until now:

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