Who is Saul Alinsky?

Nice to see Chris Matthews (and others) tackle Newt Gringrich’s puzzling obsession with Saul Alinsky. Turns out, just like so many other weird fixations of the deranged right-wing, to be a classic case of projection.

Bill Maher also defused the mainstreaming of this curiously demented talking point in his “New Rules” monologue the other day after admitting that he didn’t have a clue who Saul Alinksy was before reading about him earlier in the week on Wikipedia.

Blood Money

The SuperPAC supporting (but definitely not co-ordinating with!) Newt Gringrich yesterday released another negative “documentary” attacking Mitt Romney.

Called “Blood Money” the film links the former head of Bain Capital to Damon Clinical Laboratories, a medical testing company the equity firm controlled during the early 90s that was subsequently found guilty of having massively defrauded the Medicare system by billing for millions of unnecessary blood tests.

Whether this new line of attack will have sufficient time to influence next week’s Florida primary election remains to be seen.

Harper’s Pension Bomb

Hey, wasn’t it fun learning the other day from a speech Stephen Harper delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that unspecified “major transformations” are coming to our national pension system?

Naïve citizens might have thought a significant issue of this nature affecting the retirement incomes of just about everyone would have been discussed extensively here in Canada beforehand – perhaps even debated in our antiquated parliament! But fuck that noise, apparently. Harper just couldn’t wait to debut his super-secret plan to gut pensions (in mysterious, as yet undisclosed ways) while self-righteously scolding spendthrift world leaders at an elite Swiss resort.

Damn the Paulbots!

As much as I agree with many of Ron Paul’s principled stances on various issues, I just cannot stand the cult of over-zealous fanatics that support him…

Despite all evidence, these folks simply refuse to accept the fact that Dr. Paul will NOT be the Republican nominee for president. To the contrary, they act as if by chanting their mantras loud and long enough, or spamming every damn blog and YouTube video on the Internet with asinine comments… somehow, it will alter reality.

Of course, it won’t do any such thing. At the end of the day, Ron Paul will attract less than 10% of the vote in most contested primaries and while he may have the resources to collect an appreciable number of delegates along the way to the convention… so what? It’s not as if he will have the ability to impact the Republicans’ platform in any significant way – the base of the party has sounded rejected both his isolationist foreign policy proposals and his libertarian approach to controversial domestic issues such as the legalization of drugs. Even most government-hating Republicans realize that his vow to immediately cut federal spending by $1 trillion is an absurd notion that would result in total chaos and economic calamity.

Proud to be Grandiose

Neat little mock ad from the folks at BuzzFeed pivoting off the accusation that Newt Gringrich is “grandiose”…

It’s actually not surprising in the least that Newt would so readily embrace the term given his attachment to the notion of “American exceptionalism” – a view that holds the United States in an entirely unique position amongst nations of the world for various reasons that are mostly bullshit.

Fun Fact: Joseph Stalin was the first person to employ the term “American exceptionalism” when he castigated the American Communist Party for its deviance from Marxist theory. Go figure.

To the Moon, Alice!

It’s beyond absurd that alleged “small government” Republicans are adamantly opposed to “wasting” taxpayer dollars on doing much of anything that would repair the basic elements of America’s crumbling infrastructure (i.e., boring employment-creating undertakings that would fix roads, bridges, airports, etc. and improve daily life for ordinary folks), but will propose fantastic manned missions to Mars or pledge to establish a pointless colony on the Moon. Seriously?

When President John Kennedy engaged the American nation in the “space race” it was not only an aspirational challenge and morale booster at the high-water mark of the Cold War, but also a bold initiative that had the practical effect of helping advance scientific research across the board with resulting deliverables in the realm of new technology developments. By contrast, Newt Gringrich’s ridiculous vow to colonize the Moon by the end of his second term in office (talk about hubris) is nothing more than pandering to a fringe constituency of lunatics in the state of Florida.

Are You a Climate Change “Denier”?

Did you know that according to some folks, if you accept the scientific premise of climate change but happen to disagree with the fatuous and practically ineffective approaches to mitigating its effects by present means of harmful economic tinkering (mostly for political effect), you are now considered to be a “denier”?

I used to just laugh whenever conservatives derisively mocked environmentalists for being a quasi-religious movement, but perhaps in some respects they were on to something…

Seeing reasonable skeptics such as Bjørn Lomborg ostracized and treated as veritable heretics (aka “deniers”) lends significant credence to the argument that environmental fanatics aren’t essentially that much different in mindset from the hierarchy of the medieval Catholic church.