ir America died not because of the power of conservative talk radio, but because of both liberal and journalistic incompetence.

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Glenn Beck's dark shadow

cross posted from Daily Kos

Reading KingOneEye's piece on Glenn Beck and the corresponding news piece, it dawned on me that history may be repeating itself.

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The Censure of Senator Graham

The Charleston Post and Courier reports that Charleston County Republican Party's executive committee has voted unanimously to censure South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham for continuing " to weaken the Republican brand and tarnish the ideals of freedom, rule of law, and fiscal conservatism."

County Chairwoman Lin Bennett said the unanimous vote "is an effort to get his attention. They (party leaders) are just fed up, and they want him to know they're fed up."

The resolution mentions Graham's cooperation with U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., on a bipartisan energy bill, and his support for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program and the time he called some opponents of immigration reform "bigots."

"U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham -- in the name of bipartisanship -- continues to weaken the Republican brand and tarnish the ideals of freedom, rule of law, and fiscal conservatism," the resolution reads.

Bennett said the resolution passed unanimously by a voice vote among about 50 of the party's 104 executive committee members.

She said party faithful have talked about the resolution for a while. "The feeling is if you're not going to uphold the platform, then why bother to run as a Republican?" she said.

Senator Graham's crime, it seems, was co-authoring with Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts an op-ed in the New York Times that laid out a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and explored a  "blueprint for a clean-energy future that will revitalize our economy, protect current jobs and create new ones, safeguard our national security and reduce pollution."

The two Senators called for:

- Aggressive reductions in emissions.

  • Nuclear power as a core component of electricity generation.
  • Financial incentives for carbon capture and sequestration.
  • Additional domestic oil and gas production.
  • Ensuring that U.S. companies are not put at a competitive disadvantage.
  • Establishing a floor and a ceiling for the cost of emission allowances.

Moreover, a part of their argument was couched in national security terms:

Both of us served in the military. We know that sending nearly $800 million a day to sometimes-hostile oil-producing countries threatens our security. In the same way, many scientists warn that failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will lead to global instability and poverty that could put our nation at risk.

The Kerry-Graham framework is a road to 60 and it deserves consideration but it speaks volumes to the intransigence of certain quarters of the GOP who see any and all attempts at forging a bi-partisan solution on any issue as something akin to treason.

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House Calls, Theirs and Ours

After being driven to "despair" at the prospects of Americans receiving healthcare, Representative Bachmann called on her Tea Party constituency to “scare” members of Congress into killing healthcare reform. “Republican organizers are planning for activists to go into the House office buildings and the U.S. Capitol and confront members directly.” Leave it to the right to try and intimidate Congress with a plebian mob.

In surveying the news about today's rally I am reminded of an old joke about Brooks Brothers, the venerable men's tailor founded in 1818. It runs every time that there's a funeral, Brooks Brothers loses another customer. The same might be said for conservatism. Here's how the New York Times describes the angrier-than-thou Bachmann insurgents that have descended upon the Capitol by the thousands to make a "House Call" as she put it.

A series of spot interviews suggests that the protesters have come to Washington from all across the country - Texas, Ohio, Oregon and the greater Washington area. It's a generally older crowd, many in their 50s and 60s, predominantly, white, and many self-identified as Christians. They are fiercely conservative and deeply skeptical of the government, many of them adamantly opposed to abortion rights.

More angry white fundamentalist Christians who live in rural areas and read Free Republic. Talk about your dying demographic. This is the death cry of conservatism. I tend to agree with Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida who thinks we are "witnessing the disintegration of a major political party."

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly thinks Representative Bachmann chose today because it's Guy Fawkes Night, the 304th anniversary of foiled plot by English Catholics to blow up the British Parliament and assassinate James I, the first Stuart monarch. I doubt that Bachmann is that versed in English history.

Rather than listen to the deranged or try to read the mind of the clinically insane, I'll take my cue from Congressman Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat, who said House leaders expect to have the 218 votes needed to pass on Saturday. It's over for the Republicans. There will be healthcare reform. From the Associated Press:

Hoyer acknowledged the vote could be tight, though, and timing of action in the Senate remains uncertain.

"I wouldn't refer to it as a squeaker, but I think it's going to be close," Hoyer said in an interview with wire service reporters. "This is a huge undertaking."

The Maryland Democrat said language on abortion and illegal immigrants was still being worked out, but predicted those issues could be solved by Saturday.

"We certainly have well over 218 people who say they want to vote for the bill," Hoyer said.

"The trick is making sure they have a comfort level with the provisions they are particularly focused on to allow them to do so," he said.

Obama planned a rare trip to the House on Friday to try to win over wavering lawmakers.

Now that's more like it. That's a long overdue "House Call."

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"Yeah, That Number is Zero"

A word to the moronic, otherwise known as conservatives, if you're going to come to a Congressional hearing that is graced by the presence of Senator Al Franken, come armed with facts or don't bother opening your mouths. Yesterday at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on "Medical Debt: Can Bankruptcy Reform Facilitate a Fresh Start," Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a Senior Fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, claimed that that moving towards a European-style system of universal health care would increase bankruptcies.

Odd because the United States leads the world in medical bankruptcies. In fact, a Harvard study released earlier this year shows there has been a 50 percent increase in bankruptcies linked to illness and medical bills since 2001. In most of the cases, the people who filed for bankruptcy protection had health insurance. The study found that 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States in 2007 cited medical costs as the driving factor.

In the exchange, Senator Franken repeatedly pressed Ms. Furchtgott-Rott to back her case with facts. Problem is that conservatives seem allergic to facts. She didn't "have those numbers." Could be because the number is zero and they undermine her case.

FRANKEN: I think we disagree on whether health care reform, the health care reform that we're talking about in Congress now should pass. You said that the way we're going will increase bankruptcies. I want to ask you, how many medical bankruptcies because of medical crises were there last year in Switzerland?

FURCHTGOTT-ROTT: I don't have that number in front of me, but I can find out and get back to you.

FRANKEN: I can tell you how many it was. It's zero. Do you know how many medical bankruptcies there were last year in France?

FURCHTGOTT-ROTT: I don't have that number, but I can get back to you if I like.

FRANKEN: Yeah, the number is zero. Do you know how many were in Germany?

FURCHTGOTT-ROTT: From the trend of your questions, I'm assuming the number is zero. But I don't know the precise number and would have to get back to you.

FRANKEN: Well, you're very good. Very fast. The point is, I think we need to go in that direction, not the opposite direction. Thank you.

The answer remains single-payer national health insurance program and moving the country in that direction is a national imperative. Otherwise, we are just spitting money into the wind and ruining people's lives for naught.

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