The Best Among Us

Chris Hedges, Truthdig: "There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave."
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FNC’s Mike Huckabee Reconsidering Presidential Bid?

Two sources close to Fox News Weekend host Mike Huckabee tell Reuters that Huckabee may be thinking of jumping into the race for the GOP nomination for president. “He is entertaining the request for conversations about it,” one of the sources said. “I do not think it is a complete 100 percent ‘I’m reconsidering’ but he hasn’t shut the door on it.”

In May, Huckabee declared on his Fox News show that he would not be making a White House run.

Huckabee talked with his 2008 GOP primary rival, Mitt Romney today in an interview that will air tomorrow on his Fox News show “Huckabee.”

Romney’s press secretary Andrea Saul tweeted the picture, right, of Romney and Huckabee, along with Romney’s son and grandson.


FNC’s Mike Huckabee Reconsidering Presidential Bid? - TVNewser

The Tea Party, Right-Wing Media, And The Dog That Didn't Bark

You could make the argument that the Tea Party movement is the most potent force in American politics today. After all, the evidence is everywhere -- especially in Washington, where Republican lawmakers pushed the previously-unheard-of, tea-flavored notion that disaster aid for hurricane victims can only be paid for by cutting social programs. That was advocated by the same Tea Party faction, swept into office last fall, that has scuttled any talk that higher taxes -- even on millionaires and billionaires who thrived in an era of working-class decimation -- could ever be part of the Beltway's obsession with debt reduction. From making support for generally accepted global warming science melt faster than an Arctic glacier, to folks cheering the death penalty and then booing a gay solider serving in Iraq at GOP presidential debates, the anti-government, anti-science, anti-knowledge 26 Percenters of the Tea Party movement have been the angry tail wagging the confused dog of American police for the last 30 months. Right?

Yes, you could make that argument.

But here's the weird thing -- if the Tea Party is really such a powerhouse of political influence ... where has it been recently?

It wasn't at the small crowds for Tax Day rallies back in April (including small crowds for Sarah Palin and Donald Trump), or at the "small" crowd of only 200 activists who showed up in March for a D.C. rally in favor of shutting down the government, or the less than 100 people who were rousted this summer to rally for the Tea Party's stance on the debt ceiling (pictured at top), even with supposed movement's superstars Sens. Rand Paul and Jim DeMint at the podium.

Where's the Tea Party? It's not in Las Vegas, where the swanky Venetian Hotel has been suing Tea Party Nation for more than $600,000, for canceling a planned convention last fall when it couldn't deliver nearly enough people for the more than 1,800 hotel rooms it had once reserved. You could also fairly ask what happened to the nearly 100,000 people who showed up at the National Mall just 13 months ago for a rally organized by and starring the then-king of all right-wing media, Glenn Beck. But a better question would be simply -- what happened to Glenn Beck? Little more than a year removed from the cover of Time and The New York Times Magazine, Beck has lost his main platform on the Fox News Channel, been booted from the airwaves in Philadelphia and New York, and taken his shtick to the narrowcasting world of Internet TV.

Sure, there's no question that the so-called Tea Party philosophy is fueling the discussion in Washington and in the media these days -- where every conversation on spending begins and ends with "cutting," where every notion about government boils down to "how much less." But the bizarre thing is that this ongoing influence seems to be playing out against a broad canvas that seems to be missing the existence of an actual Tea Party.

Did the Tea Party become, in that famous Sherlock Holmesian expression, the dog that did not bark?

For the most part, yes. So what was all that barking that woke America up in the middle of the night?

It was the right-wing media, and its echoes, that you heard.

When historians look back on the surge and decline of the Tea Party movement in America, and they will, I believe the focus will be how something that was real -- anger and fear among a segment of the middle class that has been decimated by the decline of the U.S. economy -- was hijacked by a band of high-def hucksters, starting with media stars and their bosses seeking ratings, attention, and cash, not necessarily in that order. The behind-the-scene billionaires eager to save their oligarchy, and the craven politicians that they own, piled on later.

I've been thinking a lot about the Tea Party recently. It's been just over a year since my book on the birth of the movement -- The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama -- was published (and it's just been released in more affordable paperback ande-book editions.) When I reported and wrote the book in 2009 and 2010, it was undoubtedly a current event, but now already it has the feel of history -- a moment in American politics that was both remarkable and alarming in nature.

How has the main premise of The Backlash -- that a cauldron of fear among the denizens of the American heartland over their grim economic fortunes and the rise of a non-white majority, punctuated by the election of a black president, was then stirred up by cynical manipulators like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin -- held up over a year's time?

So well that the president of Fox News, Roger Ailes, just essentially pleaded guilty to that central argument. This week, Ailes told Newsweek's Howard Kurtz, in a much discussed article, that his FNC has undergone ...

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The Tea Party, Right-Wing Media, And The Dog That Didn't Bark | Media Matters for America

House GOP tries to cut off all funds for healthcare reform implementation

House Republicans released a draft spending bill Thursday that would cut off funding for many parts of healthcare reform, though the bill remains deadlocked in the Appropriations Committee.
The draft legislation would attempt to cut off almost all funding for implementation of the healthcare reform law. It would specifically block any money from going to the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight — the office handling the bulk of the implementation effort — as well as the recently disbanded office in charge of setting up the controversial CLASS program.
All told, the bill would rescind $6.8 billion in implementation funds, according to the Appropriations Committee. It would block funding for the Affordable Care Act until legal challenges over the law’s individual coverage mandate have been settled.
Read the complete story here.

Stop The War On Women

Let's call it for what it is: a witch hunt. Congressman Cliff Stearns, the Florida Republican who chairs a House oversight subcommittee, has set his sights on Planned Parenthood, conducting a far-reaching investigation against one of the most important providers of health care for American women.

Stop the witch hunt now. Tell Congressional Republicans to end their War on Women and let Planned Parenthood continue providing cancer screenings and other essential women's health care.

This is the Republican War on Women in its rawest form. Stearns is demanding detailed records from every single Planned Parenthood health center in an attempt to find something, anything he can use to discredit the organization.

Make no mistake: the Republicans want to get rid of Planned Parenthood once and for all. They don't care if millions of women are left without the basic care like family planning and cancer screenings they've come to depend on. They don't care if they violate the privacy of women and their personal medical choices. And if this is their top priority, then they must not care about the millions of Americans who are looking for work.

These outrageous attacks must stop now. We cannot stand by while Republicans go after our health, our privacy, and our basic rights.

Click here to tell Republicans in Congress to end the attacks against Planned Parenthood, to stop their War on Women, and to focus on the real problems Americans face every day.

Enough is enough. We cannot -- we must not stand by while Republicans try to destroy Planned Parenthood. I hope you will join me and the rest of the EMILY's List community in standing with them.

Thank you for all you do.
Take care,

Stephanie Schriock

Chris Christie and the GOP’s Messiah Complex

In a speech at the Reagan Library Tuesday night, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blasted Barack Obama as being a "bystander in the Oval Office,” contrasting the president’s leadership style with his own, and ran through a list of what he considers his bipartisan accomplishments in his state. Christie's rhetoric will inspire even more conservatives to view him as their savior, but The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky says it’s too bad Christie is bound to break their hearts.

Think Mitt Romney had fun going at Rick Perry from the right on immigration? I reckon he’ll have himself a little party with quotes like these, uttered by U.S. Attorney Christie in 2008, speaking at a Latino church forum: “Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime. The whole phrase of 'illegal immigrant' connotes that the person, by just being here, is committing a crime.” Being undocumented may be a civil wrong, but it's not a criminal act, Christie said. “Don't let people make you believe that that's a crime that the U.S. Attorney's Office should be doing something about. It is not.”

Michael Tomasky on Chris Christie and the GOP’s Messiah Complex - The Daily Beast

Corporate Media and Larry Summers Team Up to Gut Public Education

 "As the left slid into organizing around mostly single-issue movements since the 1980s, the right moved in a different direction, mobilizing a range of educational forces and wider cultural apparatus as a way of addressing broader ideas that appealed to a wider public and issues that resonated with their everyday lives. Tax reform, the role of government, the crisis of education, family values and the economy, to name a few issues, were wrenched out of their progressive legacy and inserted into a context defined by the values of the free market, an unbridled notion of freedom and individualism and a growing hatred for the social contract."

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Senate agrees to deal that would avert government shutdown

Senate leaders agreed to a deal Monday evening that is almost certain to avert a federal government shutdown, a prospect that had unexpectedly arisen when congressional leaders deadlocked over disaster relief funding.

After days of brinkmanship reminiscent of the budget battles that have consumed Washington this year, key senators clinched a compromise that would provide less money for disaster relief than Democrats sought but would also strip away spending cuts that Republicans demanded. The pact, which the Senate approved 79 to 12 and the House is expected to ratify next week, is expected to keep federal agencies open until Nov. 18.

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Senate agrees to deal that would avert government shutdown - The Washington Post

2008 Republican Race on September 26, 2007

This maybe good news For Mitt Romney. McCain was Only polling at 15 percent in 2007

2008 Republican Race on September 26, 2007

RCP Average on September 26, 2007

RCP Average9/26/200727.622.815.08.84.5--Giuliani +4.8
2008 Republican Presidential Nomination
27.6Giuliani +4.822.8Thompson15.0McCain8.8Romney

2008 GOP Final RCP Average

Polling Data

RCP Average2/19 - 3/4--56.726.36.5------McCain +30.4
Gallup Tracking3/2 - 3/4938 V63204------McCain +43
Rasmussen Tracking2/29 - 3/3800 LV51319------McCain +20
AP-Ipsos2/22 - 2/24381 RV53278------McCain +26
USA Today/Gallup2/21 - 2/24829 A61234------McCain +38
Pew Research2/20 - 2/24482 RV61237------McCain +38
FOX News2/19 - 2/20294 LV51347------McCain +17
2008 Republican Presidential Nomination
56.7McCain +30.426.3Huckabee6.5Paul--Romney

Lady Gaga sings tribute to Jamey Rodemeyer, who was bullied to death

Lady Gaga dedicated a performance of her hit single Hair to Jamey Rodemeyer, a gay 14-year-old Buffalo-area high school freshmen who killed himself after enduring years of bullying over his sexuality.
“We lost a Little Monster this week,” Gaga told a crowd at the iHeartRadio Festival Saturday. “I wanted to dedicate this song to him tonight because he was really young.”
“I wrote this record about how your identity is really all you’ve got when you’re in school… So tonight, Jamey, I know you’re up there looking at us, and you’re not a victim. You’re a lesson to all of us. I know it’s a bit of a downer, but sometimes the right thing is more important than the music.”
“I just wanna be myself / And I want you to love me for who I am,” Gaga sings. “I’ve had enough / This is my prayer / That I’ll die living just as free as my hair.”
The singer announced last week that she wanted to meet with President Barack Obama and urge him to press for laws making bullying a federal hate crime.
Rodemeyer, who had been a big Lady Gaga fan, even thanked her in his final blog post. In a YouTube video posted earlier this year, the teen had said how much he loved the singer.
“Lady Gaga, she makes me so happy, and she lets me know that I was born this way,” he explained.
Police are considering harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crimes charges for the students who bullied Rodemeyer.
Watch this video from YouTube, uploaded Sept. 25, 2011.
(H/T: Gawker)

5 Progressive Candidates To Watch As the 2012 Campaign


Will Democrats take back Congress? Here are five candidates worth keeping an eye on as we get closer to Election 2012.
Watching the news lately, you'd think that Election 2012 was only between Republican candidates for president, each trying to outflank the next to his or her right.
The Republican primaries may be getting lots of attention, but several progressive candidates around the country are gearing up for races that could swing the Congress and put some control back in the hands of progressives.
It can be easy to despair when audiences at GOP debates cheer executions and boo gay soldiers, but the fight is far from over. With Barack Obama striking a new, more populist tone as election season nears, we should all remember that a lot can happen between now and next November. And attention early on for the good candidates can help ensure their success in primaries and general election campaigns alike.
While Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul eat up time on cable news with their latest out-there soundbite, we thought we'd bring you five progressive candidates to keep an eye on. Their message is resonating with people in their districts, and these candidates are ready to steal some of the spotlight back from the ultra-right with policies that would actually improve the lives of working people.
1. Tammy Baldwin—Wisconsin Senate
One of the hardest losses in the 2010 election was Russ Feingold's Senate seat, as conservatives swept Wisconsin's races. Yet just a few months later, Wisconsin was the center of a growing resistance to anti-worker, anti-union, pro-corporate politics, as hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites hit the streets and camped out in the capitol protesting Governor Scott Walker's attempt to strip union workers of their right to collectively bargain.
Walker won't be on the ballot in 2012, but there will be an open Senate seat, as Wisconsin's senior senator, Herb Kohl, is retiring. Tammy Baldwin, the only openly gay woman in the House, where she represents Madison and its surrounding areas, is running to be Wisconsin's next progressive champion.
"I know that, in this campaign, we’ll be up against some powerful special interests. But I've beaten the odds before. All my life, the naysayers have told me that I can't win because I'm a progressive, because I'm a woman, even because I'm a lesbian. And I've proven them wrong because I've had rock-solid supporters like you standing with me," she said when she announced her campaign.
Republicans are going to try to paint Baldwin as too liberal for the state, but as Wisconsinites already held insurgent recall elections this year and removed two Republican state senators from office, Baldwin's early move into the race seems to fit with the mood of her state.
Meredith Clark, a reporter and Wisconsin political watcher, said, “Baldwin has enough character and charisma to get votes from UW-Madison students and their farm-dwelling grandparents as an openly gay woman. She supports policies that are good for all of her constituents, and her constituents care more about that than right-wing moral panic.”
2. Eric Griego—New Mexico House District 1
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee's made its first endorsement for a 2012 Congressional race, and it's Eric Griego, currently a state senator and running for New Mexico's 1st district House seat, as Democrat Rep. Martin Heinrich is vacating the seat to run for Senate.
The PCCC's email called Griego “one of the most progressive members of the New Mexico Senate,” and pointed out that he challenged a more conservative Democrat for his state senate seat. They jumped into the race to try to raise funds for Griego early and warn off more conservative Dems, saying that Griego will “vote to bring our troops home, tax big corporations and the rich, and protect Social Security and Medicare from benefit cuts proposed by either party."
The 1st district,in central New Mexico, in and around Albuquerque, is considered pretty safe, so it's a move by the PCCC and others to get a fierce candidate who will actually fight into the Congress rather than have another Blue Dog in the spot.
And Griego seems to be up for the challenge--"The last thing we need to send to Washington is a Democrat who is a kinder, gentler version of the Republicans, frankly,” his campaign video says.
3. Chris Murphy—Connecticut Senate
At long last, Joe Lieberman is retiring from the Senate. The Connecticut Democrat-turned-Independent was almost driven out back in 2006 due to a primary challenge from Ned Lamont, but managed to remain in his seat as an Independent and seems to have dedicated the last six years of his career to thumbing his nose at those progressive voters.
With Lieberman leaving, it's possible to put a real Democrat back in that seat, and Chris Murphy looks like a good chance to do just that. He's currently leading in the polls against both Republican and former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon, and another Democrat, Susan Bysiewicz.
As the representative from Connecticut's 5th district, Murphy is the founder of the Buy American caucus, a group dedicated to bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US, and has advocated for the end of the Defense of Marriage Act. Recently, as several Supreme Court justices were accused of possible unethical conduct regarding fundraising, Murphy introduced a bill that would end the Court's immunity to federal ethics law—making such fundraising explicitly illegal.  
Connecticut has been one of the few bright spots for progressives since 2010's election, becoming the first state in the country to mandate paid sick days for its workers, and leaning blue in a very red year.
It's too soon to tell what a general election campaign from Murphy might look like, but if his Twitter account is any indication, he's willing to pick a fight. This week, as the House debated continuing to fund the government and John Boehner was grandstanding about government spending, Murphy tweeted: “Question for@SpeakerBoehner: if now isn't a good time to rebuild roads, bridges, etc...when is? Just wondering.”
4. John Waltz—Michigan House District 6
Blue America wrote, endorsing John Waltz in his challenge of Republican—and budget supercommittee member—Fred Upton:
“I want to introduce you to Democrat John Waltz, a movement progressive, who's taking on cartoonish plutocrat, Fred Upton, the Whirlpool heir who has always treated the district as though it were a feudal fiefdom. Upton, by inheritance one of the richest members of the House, was appointed to the SuperCommittee by his crony John Boehner because Republicans know he will never agree to anything sensible that can in any way help dig the middle class out of the economic mess the modern day Robber Barons, in their unparalleled greed, have created for the rest of us.”
Waltz, an Iraq veteran, appears ready for a fight. He's hitting Upton for his family's outsourcing of manufacturing jobs as well as his votes on the issues, and hashtags his Tweets #FedUpton. And just this week, he responded to the booing of a gay soldier at the latest Republican debate this way
"Not one presidential candidate uttered a peep about the hateful and homophobic booing of a gay soldier in Iraq. I challenge any Republican or Tealiban member to sign up for the military and get shipped over there and see if they have any complaint when a gay or lesbian soldier is protecting their lives.

"I know during my time in the service we had a massive fire and several of us were pulled out by a lesbian and not one of us stopped her to ask if she was sleeping with a man or woman that night. This behavior is despicable and should never be tolerated. The repeal of DADT was a major step forward in civil rights for our nation and anyone that is willing to serve our nation to protect our freedoms should never be discriminated against." 
Michigan is one of the states with a widely hated new Republican governor, attacks on workers, as well as a long-standing jobs crisis. Michigan residents have known for years what most Americans have just begun to realize; that big business doesn't have working people's interests at heart.
A populist Democrat running against the heir to a manufacturing fortune whose idea of job creation is the Keystone XL pipeline? In a district, in southwestern Michigan including Kalamazoo, that voted for Obama in 2008, that's already seen protests against that business scion, including a giant puppet?
That sounds like a race worth watching.
5. Elizabeth Warren—Massachusetts Senate
The death of Ted Kennedy was always going to be a blow to supporters of universal health care and the rights of working people. But when his seat went to Tea Party Republican Scott Brown in the special election, progressives felt punched in the gut. A Tea Partier in the Liberal Lion's seat?
Now Elizabeth Warren is stepping into the fray—and doing so in a big way. The plain-spoken Harvard law professor has the banksters and Congressional Republicans terrified, and with good reason.
The Washington Post said of Warren, “She came to keep banks honest; she stayed to keep consumers safe.” She first came to national prominence as the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, keeping an eye on the bank bailouts. From there, she was able to get her brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created, though Republican opposition kept her from being named to lead it. Instead of simply returning to teaching bankruptcy law, Warren decided to challenge Brown for Kennedy's former seat.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has reportedly raised $300,000 for her campaign already--$100,000 of it before she even declared she'd run.
Republicans might try to paint her as an out-of-touch elitist, but Warren's got working-class roots, and her work over the course of her career has been solidly on the side of the people and against the big banks. She's just the kind of person, in other words, that Democrats need to strike back at those “elitist” arguments.
A video of Warren doing what she does best—explaining deficits and progressive taxation, not normally sexy subjects, in a way that both makes them clear and rallies the crowd to fight with her—has gone viral, and it's easy to see why:
She gets a laugh or two, just to get the crowd firmly on her side, and then she gets to her real point:
“I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.' No! There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there—good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea—God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.  But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post noted, “A Warren candidacy could test the electoral limits of true populism in a way that few other Dems have been willing to venture.”
We've seen right-wing populism over the last four years as the Tea Party rose to power. One of the first places it demonstrated that power was putting a Republican in a Massachusetts Senate seat. If Warren can take it back—and take it back as a progressive populist—she'll not only help put another nail in the coffin of the Tea Party movement, but she might inspire other candidates around the country to get a little bit fiercer on the campaign trail.   
Sarah Jaffe is an associate editor at AlterNet, a rabblerouser and frequent Twitterer. You can follow her at @seasonothebitch.