What Conservatives Believe Versus The Real Economy

Morning Meadow wallpaper

Morning Meadow wallpaper

Even before I started this blog and the Bush-Cheney administration watching conservatives try to be populists was like watching ninety-nine clowns on acid try to fit into a VW Beetle. Something has changed about such mind boggling efforts on the part of the conservative movement. The disconnect between what they say, what they believe and reality has never been greater. Conservatives can try to be on the side of the working class and complain about the pace of job creation under President Obama, even though that goes against the conservative mantra that markets are perfect and will decide how many jobs will be created. Let’s assume that have the trolls on the internet who claim to be conservative small business owners, are actually what they claim. They complain about the lack of growth, or put another way the lack of demand. Yet they shift blame to Obama, not the market, not the salary level of the average worker who cannot afford anything other than the basic necessities. The base, the tea smoking immigrant hating nativists at the bottom seem blind to the fact that hiring is slow, but executive pay and corporate profits at at historic highs. The tea smoker base cannot seem to put two and two together; the corporate elite that crashed the economy with the help of the anti-regulation wave that started under Saint Ronnie Raygun is still stronger than ever because the same tea smoking base don’t want no more stink’n regulations that might help put some of the money the plutocrats are stealing from the economy back in the tea smoker’s pockets: Some Filthy Facts about the Rich

The 400 richest Americans made $200 billion in just one year. That’s equivalent to the combined total of the federal food stamp, education, and housing budgets.First of all, who are they? Mostly the 1%. But the top 2-5% have also done quite well, increasing their inflation-adjusted wealth by 75 percent from 1983 to 2009 while average wealth went down for 80 percent of American households. The rest of the top 20% have been prosperous, realizing a 32 percent gain in inflation-adjusted wealth since 1983. The facts to follow are primarily about the richest 1%, with occasional dips into the groups scrambling to make it to the top.

1. Accumulating almost all the wealth

As evidence of the extremes between the very rich and the rest of us, the average household net worth for the top 1% in 2009 was almost $14 million, while the average household net worth for the bottom 47% was almost ZERO. For nearly half of America, average debt is about the same as average asset ownership.

The extremes are just as filthy at the global level. The richest 300 persons on earth (about a third of them in the U.S.) have more money than the poorest 3 billion people. Out of all developed and undeveloped countries with at least a quarter-million adults, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon.

2. Creating their own wealth

In another alarming testament to wealth at the top, the richest 10% own almost 90 percent of stocks excluding pensions. Consider what that means. The stock market has historically risen three times faster than the GDP itself. Since the recession, as the U.S. economy has “recovered,” 62 percent of the gain was due to growth in the stock market, which surged as much in four years as it did during the “greatest bull market in history” from 1996 to 2000.

Many stock owners see a couple thousand dollars added to their fortunes every time they go online.

But that’s not enough for the very rich. Thanks in good part to the derivatives market, the world’s wealth has doubled in ten years, from $113 trillion to $223 trillion, and is expected to reach $330 trillion by 2017. The financial industry has figured out how to double or triple its buying power while most of the world has proportionately less.

3. Taking ALL the income gains

If the richest 1% had taken the same percentage of total U.S. income in 2006 as they did in 1980, they would have taken a trillion dollars less out of the economy. Instead they tripled their share of post-tax income. And then they captured ALL the income gains in the first two years of the post-recession recovery.

4. Donating a smaller share than the poorest Americans

Two dependable sources provide pretty much the same information. Barclays reported that those with earnings in the top 20% donated on average 1.3 percent of their income, whereas those in the bottom 20% donated 3.2 percent. And according to the New York Times, the nonprofit Independent Sector found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes, while those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.

5. Making enough to feed 800 million people

India just approved a program to spend $4 billion a year to feed 800 million people. Half of Indian children under 5 are malnourished.

In 2012, three members of the Walton family each made over $4 billion just from stocks and other investments. So did Charles Koch, and David Koch, and Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg, and Jeff Bezos.

It’s not the obligation of any one of these individuals to feed the world. The disgrace is in the fact that our unregulated capitalist system allows such outrageous extremes to exist.

Here’s more to provoke outrage. The 400 richest Americans made $200 billion in just one year. That’s equivalent to the combined total of the federal food stamp, education, and housing budgets.

6. Taking two-thirds of a trillion dollars in subsidies

Even all that is not enough for the very rich. About two-thirds of nearly $1 trillion in individual “tax expenditures” (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes) goes to the top quintile of taxpayers. An astounding 75 percent of dividend and capital gain subsidies go to the richest 1%.

And that doesn’t include business subsidies, like the $16.8 billion per year in agricultural benefits paid out to big companies and to wealthy individuals who happen to have farms in their portfolios. The filthiest fact, in terms of detestable extremes, is that much of Congress wants to cut the $4.35 a day food benefit to hungry Americans, almost half of them children, so that money can keep flowing to the top.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Written by Paul Buchheit.  

New Jersey Republicans For Sale To Highest Bidding Wealthy Freaks

 New York Harbor

 New York Harbor, 1852 by Fitz Henry Lane (1804 – 1865).

Chris Christie Endorses Koch Brothers Operative For Senate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) endorsed Steve Lonegan (R), the former New Jersey head for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, for U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Though Christie ran in 2009 promising a middle-of-the-road “common-sense approach,” this move puts him squarely behind a far-right Tea Party candidate best known for his attacks on immigration and Spanish-language ads — and his own record of hiring undocumented immigrants.

Lonegan and Christie are trying to get in the good graces of the tea smokers by denying climate science. Lonegan says anyone who acknowledges climate science a has a radical agenda. he and Christie represent the views of people like the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry. The Kochs are worth billions yet they whine about how some green radicals. I guess you have to smoke lots of tea to not be able to see the absurdity. BP makes billions of dollars a day in profits. Profits, not gross income. Americans concerned about the future of their children and their country are not powerless in Washington or New Jersey, but they are the Davids fighting well funded megalomaniacs that have too much money to be running around acting like scared little wussies. Lonegan and Christie believe it is best if they are in charge of every woman’s uterus. I’m not sure what credentials they have to qualify them for having the powers of the Spanish Inquisition. Of course they both claim to have values. Of course they have values, They just happen to be the values of a 17th century feudal lord. Which is something the nation’s Founders were adamantly against.

The Great Emo-Prog vs. O-Bot Debate

Atrios today:

I try to avoid the emoprog-obot debates. I don’t really get them really. It’s just posing. I never claim to have the ultimate authority over things but, honestly, I’m really not posing. That I imagine I call-em like I see-em doesn’t mean I think I’m always right, it just mean that I’m mostly not being a hack. Tell me I’m wrong when I am! I listen.

The surveillance state is obviously out of hand, super expensive, and quite likely totally pointless (for its expressed purpose) and incompetent. I don’t even consider this to be a comment on Obama, except to the extent that he is dishonest/supports dishonesty on this issue.

Translation: If you express anything short of absolute condemnation of everything the NSA has done, your Twitter feed quickly fills up with hysterical proclamations from the emo-progs that you’re a right-wing shill, a government lackey, a useful idiot for the slave state, and an obvious fool. Conversely, if you criticize the NSA’s surveillance programs, your Twitter feed quickly fills up with equally hysterical proclamations from the O-Bots that you hate Obama, you’ve always hated Obama, and you’re probably a racist swine who’s been waiting ever since 2009 for a chance to take down the nation’s first black president.

This happens with other subjects too, of course, but the Snowden files have brought it out more than usual. I’ll confess that although the leftier-than-thou types have always been around, I’ve long been skeptical of the idea that Obama has a core group of supporters from 2008 who really do consider him The One, a shining beacon of light who can do no wrong. But I’m the one who was wrong. I don’t know how many there are, but they’re definitely out there.

UPDATE: Atrios adds a bit more here. “It’s not that I think everyone to ‘the left’ of me is a posing emo-prog and everyone to ‘the right’ of me is a posing o-bot. There are people genuinely to the left and to the right of me on policy….But there are also people who seem to enjoy judging your worth by how righteously you dislike or like the Obama administration. It’s annoying.” Yep. We’re talking about two particular subsets of the left here, not everyone who happens to disagree with us.

As briefly as I can: the NSA stuff. Most of it was and is legal. Want it to stop, get out the vote for progressive candidates in the 2014 election, get a Democratic majority in Congress that will rewrite surveillance law. Obama could reign in some of the worse excesses now and everyone has a right to be upset about that. Though as a practical matter, like all politicians he weighs the costs and benefits. He sees another 9-11 around every corner. If he stops the NSA completely and we have such an attack it will be 10 years or more before we even get close to the White House or a Congressional majority. Even though the NSA is not making us safer, it is the public’s opinion – left and right. The powers that be – the people that support the surveillance state and the Twitter folks who go on about having “nothing to hide,” combined, have a lot more power than the progressive base. Want to change things, get active, make a better case without resorting to Obama is as evil as Bush arguments or Obama walks on water arguments.

Drones: Of course we should all be concerned about civilian casualties. During WW II, the Korean War and Vietnam we had carpet bombing. Clinton used cruise missiles which have a fairly large blast radius depending on the size of the charge. The civilian casualties now, compared the past are a vast humanitarian improvement – though certainly imperfect technology – over how we wage war. Want stricter rules about how and when drones are used, vote in a more moderate Congress. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would be happy to write new drone and surveillance laws knowing that John Boehner (R-OH) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will not be able to shoot them down before they even got started in committee. And as with so many issues does anyone really think that a Romney presidency would be so much better on the surveillance or drone issues.

Malkin probably wonders why no one takes her seriously but the kool-aid drinkers who visit her web site. This is yet another reason why: Fox’s Malkin Invents Conspiracy Theory That Forever 21 Was Intimidated Into Silence On Obamacare. 

The Twisted Propaganda Machine of the Conservative WSJ, ALEC and Stephen Moore

Tuscan Spring wallpaper

Tuscan Spring wallpaper

If readers tick to the main news articles the Wall Street Journal is not completely submerged in Murdoch’s patented conservative yellow journalism. Though like many newspaper outlets they shape the news by what they report and how they report it. A main news article may be true, but lacks details important to tell the whole story. By covering certain aspects of, say, legislative news, repeatedly, they can project a picture of something as slightly radical – like equal pay for women working the same or similar jobs as men. That’s not radical, that is a mainstream American value concerning fairness and decency. Where Murdoch and the conservative movement really make their mark is on the editorial pages. In Conservoworld  all news is just opinion, but even actual opinions must have some basis in fairness and reality. If it is my opinion the world is flat, I don’t get off the hook for being a crank. Whatever my opinion on the earth’s shape, it is not flat. If someone feels that the HPV vaccine is bad idea, they still need to justify the death and suffering they might cause by perpetuating voodoo medical opinions from a big soapbox. The WSJ and  WSJ conservative Editorial Board Member Stephen Moore feels they can disseminate all the voodoo they like and do so without regard for basic journalistic ethics, The Wall Street Journal’s latest defense of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), penned by WSJ Editorial Board Member Stephen Moore, fails to disclose Moore’s deep ties to ALEC.

Moore’s op-ed attacks U.S. Senator Richard Durbin for scrutinizing ALEC’s role in peddling the Florida “Stand Your Ground” legislation as a model for the nation for more than six years. That law was initially cited to prevent the arrest of George Zimmerman for shooting Florida teenager Trayvon Martin to death, and that law proved to be instrumental in the failure to convict after the jury was instructed that in accordance with that law Zimmerman had a “right to stand his ground” and had “no duty to retreat.”

However, Moore failed to disclose anywhere in that op-ed that he has a long-standing working relationship with ALEC. These close ties include the facts that:Wall Street Journal Ed Board Member Stephen Moore

since at least 2007, Moore has been on ALEC’s “Board of Scholars,” one of five people with that designation; since 2007, Moore has been the co-author of one of ALEC’s main publications, “Rich States, Poor States,” which claims to rank the performance of states in accordance with their adherence to ALEC’s ideal economic policies, reports that have been strongly criticized; since joining WSJ’s editorial board in 2005, Moore has presented on issues such as reducing corporate tax rates at ALEC’s closed door task force meetings, where corporate lobbyists vote as equals with state legislators on “model bills” to be introduced into law in state capitols; and in 2009, ALEC said Moore “represents what we should expect of all journalists,” and gave him its “Warren Brookes Award” for “journalistic excellence”

[  ]…Byline of ALEC’s Rich States, Poor States Similarly, in the WSJ op-ed when he quoted newly-elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Moore failed to note that Cruz is one of the featured “plugs” for the 6th edition of this piece of work Moore co-writes that is published by ALEC. Likewise, in the op-ed when Moore quoted an unnamed board member of ALEC, he failed to mention his own long-time post on ALEC’s Board of Scholars.

Ted Cruz (R-TX) is remarkable for his ability to be a particular large freak in a conservative tent brimming over with freaks. ALEC is nothing more than the organized crime wing of the conservative movement. I forget his name, But I’ll never forget the Democratic congressional representative that said he was not so much surprised at the illegal things conservatives do, but the things they get away with that are supposedly legal. It is clever to have so much cash and powerful connections that they can twist arms to get anything they want, but ethical it is not. What remains of the old Pajamas Media – a network of conservative bloggers, gleefully and as often as possible bleep about how this administration has not delivered on all the transparency they promised. They is quite the shameless hypocrisy from people who voted for Bush-Cheney Inc. and support ALEC. ALEC is all about closed doors, deals made and legislation passed in the middle of the night. They’re the real deal, the Darth Vaders you see in political thrillers. No wonder Moore and the WSJ does not want the public to know that when they speak, they’re puppets for their ALEC puppet masters.

Extolling the virtues of stupidity is not an American value, Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really.

Conservative Confederacy Lite,  Modern Vote Suppression Better Than Jim Crow, Still Pretty Bad

Conservative Republican Playbook, page one chapter one: When we can’t win by telling the truth, lie, lie some more and lie to cover up the lies, Bogus Study Tries to Scare “Young Invincibles” Away from Obamacare

Conservatives Crashed The Economy and Still Can’t Do Arithmetic

City Towers wallpaper

City Towers wallpaper

I feel a little bad taking down yet another wacky Rand Paul (R-KY) talking point, I am inadvertently helping the conservative establishment getting either Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Marko Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker (R-WI – Walker is the Hosni Mubarak of the mid-west, Michelle Malkin’s crew at Hot Air likes him because of the dirty corrupt way he got the police unions to go ago with busting other public sector workers. Rand Paul Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About (In Charts)

Yesterday, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green interviewed Paul, and when asked about the significant budget cuts he was proposing, the senator said this: “You know, the thing is, people want to say it’s extreme. But what I would say is extreme is a trillion-dollar deficit every year. I mean, that’s an extremely bad situation. I would say it’s a very reasonable proposition to say that we would only spend what comes in.”

First off, saying “that we would only spend what comes in,” i.e. that the federal government will never run any deficit, is not only not “reasonable,” it’s basically insane if you know the first thing about fiscal policy and its effects on the national welfare. But let’s leave that aside for now. What about these trillion-dollar deficits every year? Actually, according to the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) figures, the deficit for 2013 will be $642 billion. That’s a lot of money to you and me, but it isn’t a trillion dollars, and it’s the lowest deficit since 2008. The CBO is also projecting that in 2014 the deficit will fall to $560 billion, and in 2015 it will fall further, to $378 billion.

Those projections will inevitably be revised over time. Maybe the deficit will actually be larger, or maybe it will be smaller. One thing we can say for sure though, is that for the moment at least, there are no more “trillion-dollar deficits,” not every year, and not any year.

And two charts,

Obama and deficits

Rand Paul is a crazy bed bug

Maybe their little toy calculators all broke at once, but conservatives and pretend centrists like Alan Simpson, Erksine Bowles and  hedge fund billionaire Pete Peterson keep running around the country doing their little uncontrollable deceit dance, even though the deficit is shrinking. It is the best it has been since conservative ecknomics crashed the economy, wasted the Clinton surplus they inherited in 2000, lied us into a $3 trillion dollar war and held the country country hostage to keep tax cuts for millionaires. The latter always on the TeeVee complaining about how tough they have it and we need to convert grandpa’s Medicare into vouchers or the country is surely doomed.

 Rush Limbaugh’s looming presidential debate disaster

If some shortsighted conservatives get their way, we may soon be treated to Rush Limbaugh quizzing Republican presidential candidates about which liberal activists should be thought of as sluts. Now that’s the way to appeal to swing voters.

In case you missed it, the Republican Party has pledged to boycott NBC and CNN from their 2016 nomination debate schedule. They are also planning to cut back on the total number of debates. And even if Republicans don’t really decide to spotlight the conservative talk show hosts most likely to remind swing voters about what they don’t like about the GOP, the above is still enough to convince many observers that Republicans have lost all interest in talking to anyone beyond their most dedicated voters.

I watched enough of the 2011 Republican primary debates to lose a few brain cells. i wish them all the best in their version of caged death matches refereed by some freak like Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter. Freaks shows should be run by and for freaks. That way they cannot complain they are not getting their message across. I’ve noticed that most liberal pundits fell the same way. As this reaction reverberates through the far Right grapevine I would not be surprised if they do not back peddle this idea.

Poor, Poor Pitiful Conservatives

The War balloon at General M'Dowell's head-quarters preparing for a reconnoissance

The War balloon at General M’Dowell’s head-quarters preparing for a reconnaissance.  Illus. from: Harper’s weekly, 1861 Oct. 26, p. 679.

 

Its a weekend linkfest:

 The Tea Party’s paranoid aestheticTo understand the powerful appeal of the movement to many of its adherents, a narrative history is first required

Important as this is — and it is very important; its combination of righteousness and victimization is essential to the Tea Party’s image of itself as Innocence Aggrieved — it should not blind us to the second function of Beck’s rhetoric. For not only does his language summon a morally polarized universe (with all the benefits, tactical and personal, of such a scheme), but in doing so it underwrites a basic purpose of any narrative: It creates drama. The first duty of any storyteller is to hold the interest of his audience, and every prospective writer learns that the easiest way to do so is through conflict. But not all conflicts are created equal. Call your book “Deliver Us From a Less Than Fully Optimal Balancing of the Various Interests Involved in the Management of Global Conflict” and relatively few will beat a digital path to Amazon in search of it. But call it “Deliver Us From Evil,” as Tea Party favorite Sean Hannity did in 2004, and the dramatic appeal of your tome increases exponentially. If Beck had told his audience that the IRS’s mistake was just that — an error in judgment by well-intentioned, overworked bureaucrats — he would have been a) vastly more consistent with the available evidence and b) vastly more boring. In Tea Party politics, reasonable is what closes on Saturday night.

But the drama of Beck’s story doesn’t derive solely from his inflamed diction. It has a second, even more important, source. If we set aside the way in which he describes his dramatis personae and focus, instead, on what they do — on plot rather than character — we immediately notice something peculiar. Beck’s cast is crowded: There are federal agencies, journalists, civil rights groups, ministers, political parties, pilgrims. And Dr. King. And hookers. This suggests, superficially anyway, a plot with the potential to be somewhat complex. But the structure of Beck’s narrative mirrors the simplicity of its characters. There are many actors, but only two roles: oppressors and oppressed. The latter are represented by those increasingly rare descendants of our libertarian forbears who will “not abide convenient lies,” the former by everyone else. For Beck, a Virtuous Remnant confronts a landscape that is uniformly hostile. How many divisions do the “circus masters” have? Plenty. The IRS, EPA, ATF and FBI. The Republicans and the Democrats. Journalists. Civil rights and religious leaders. Feminists. Everywhere the Virtuous look, they are surrounded by those who want to corrupt and subvert them, to enslave them.

I did want to correct one thing that Kim Messick did in this very good essay, or at least left readers with the impression, that there was an IRS scandal. Even from hours after the media spread the news with the lede the IRS had “targeted” conservative groups, we knew that no conservative group has been denied its 501 tax exempt status, not one. We have since found out that language was used in the executive summary of the Inspector General’s report at the request of the perennially sleazy Darrell Issa (R-CA). Having grown up around the religious I have developed a automatic ignore mechanism. For my entire life they have been screaming and whining about their victim-hood. Beck is a fair example. he makes tens of millions of dollars a year. he does not make any great products, has never invented anything, if he wants to build a bridge he will have to call someone with the intelligence and expertise to do it. He has a mediocre mind, but is clover at manipulating his core audience. They buy his books, products and give him the ratings to make money from advertising. What does he do. he literally cries over how tough his life is. He goes on and on about how America is going to hell in a hand basket as he counts the stacks of money he has. As the tea party and far Right libertarians will always tell you in a comments section, they have houses and cars and pay taxes. Which is another way of saying they are doing well, yet thw end times are around the corner and they are suffering untold, immeasurable hardships. They’re both doing fine and carrying tremendous burdens. God loves them and is directly looking after them, yet their lives are also pure hell. Conservatives have been one big bundle of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance for decades. They’re going to run that old dog until it dies, then stuff it and run it some more.

6 of the Nuttiest Right-Wing Statements Just from this Week Alone. Conservatives want us to understand two things, they hate immigrants and they will only tolerant their own brand of religious extremism.

Charter school threatened teachers for trying to unionize. And they’re using tax payer money to fight unionization. Hypocrisy is not just a noun, for conservatives it is an addictive drug.

Richard Wolff on Fighting for Economic Justice and Fair Wages. You can watch the video or read the transcript.

BILL MOYERS: But as the economist Dean Baker points out this week, “If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth it would be over $16.50 an hour today.” We talk a lot about what’s happening to the middle class, but the American Dream’s really become a nightmare for the poor. Just about everyone has an opinion about the trouble we’re in – the blame game is at fever pitch in Washington, where obstinate Republicans and hapless Democrats once again play kick-the-can with the problems we face. You wish they would just stop and listen to Richard Wolff.

An attentive and systematic observer of capitalism and democracy, he taught economics for 25 years at the University of Massachusetts and has published books such as “Democracy at Work,” “Occupy the Economy,” and “Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do about It.”

Sarah Palin, Howard Dean, and Liberal Bloggers All Making Mistakes In Discussing the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board. I hope those liberal bloggers will read this and correct accordingly. Palin does not have enough character to admit errors.

The Conservative Tea Party Still Stoned On Delusions

Lake and Mountain Range wallpaper

Lake and Mountain Range wallpaper

Steve has written one of the must read posts about Benghazi,  WINGERS HAPPY TO SCRAP THEIR ENTIRE BENGHAZI SCANDAL IN FAVOR OF A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BENGHAZI SCANDAL, featured in this post at Crooks and Liars. Another post featured at C and L is this,  There’s A Reason Why All Of The Reports About Benghazi Are So Confusing. Maybe its a just-me situation, but I do not find it especially confusing. Benghazi was basically a CIA op with some embassy personnel. We knew this almost from the first week and President Obama’s official statement and later when House Republicans were told the same thing by the CIA. The only real news that is kinda new is the size of the armed CIA force on the ground. Which is one of the reason the conspiracy theories conservatives started with – unprotected embassy, Obama weak on national security fell apart and now they are literally debating the number of armed agents. Erin Burnett has always been a willing water carrier for the far Right, CNN Benghazi Special Pushes Debunked And Deceptive Claims.

Back to new news or new old news. I check in on Steve’s No More Mister Nice Blog to see if that Benghazi link was working OK and find that he had the gull to criticize the tea smokers. A few of them see the link and the hoards of tea baggers descend writing about how wonderful, perfect, great, shiner than new patriots they are and how liberals kick puppies. You know, the usual. It is the same tiresome lies, sheeple under the delusion they have clear thoughts, feel strongly they can distinguish a lie from a truth they are strangers to, they’re like the nationalists of old Imperial japan though they were holier-then-thou or cultists who have seen the one true light and everyone else is a heretic. They’re literally the blast from the past, a modern version of the Spanish Inquisition mixed with some proto-fascism smothered in ingenuous platitudes, with a cup of outraged plantation master angry at the uppity. They’re the pure true plastic as compared to those fake patriots who founded liberalism and democracy, and created the syntax that became the Constitution, the tea smokers say they believe in, except the parts they don’t. To them the Civil War and White v Texas, decided nothing, if a state wants to conduct its govmint like Tehran, well that is fine with them. I know some of them and on a personal level they can be pleasant. Lots of pleasant people throughout history have believed in some wacko garbage, been great at denying reality, are champions at the utter inability to take an honest assessment of themselves and the shaky foundations of their beliefs.

Since the tea smokers are still around and high on some stuff reasonable adults should avoid, let’s ake a look back at some tea bagger history:

Matt Taibbi on Deluded Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand and How the U.S. Is Like the Soviet Union

MT: I wrote Griftopia really as a crime book about what happened on Wall Street in the last ten or fifteen years. But the politics are an element of the crime, and there had to be a mechanism through which they could get ordinary people to not pay attention to what was going on. To me, the Tea Party was an example of exactly how that works. I see it as a phenomenon where Wall Street has found a way to convince ordinary people to back their political agenda and their deregulatory aims, under the rubric of “we’re going to get the government off our backs,” and it’s really, in the end, it’s just going to be off their backs, but ordinary people believe in it.

MA: People say they don’t want government and yet they still want all the services that government does. But they somehow don’t connect the dots, it seems.

MT: Right, they somehow want their food to be clean; they don’t want to drink poisoned water; they want to have cops to protect them from burglars, but they’re very attracted to this whole idea that the government causes all of our problems. As I travel around the country, most of the Tea Party people I talk to — a lot of them are small business owners. They have hardware stores or restaurants, and they see regulation as an ADA inspector or a health inspector coming to bother them and ring them up with little fines here and there. That’s their experience with government regulation. And so when they think about JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs and regulating those banks, to them it’s the same thing. They have no idea that regulation for these big companies is really a law enforcement problem, that it’s not this little niggling health inspector type of business.

The whole Wall Street collapse was one of the first things one of the tea smokers said the tea baggers were formed in response to. At the beginning I remember hearing that and thinking maybe we had some common ground, but the tea hypocrites killed strong financial reform (After Watering Down Financial Reform, Ex-Senator Scott Brown Joins Goldman Sachs’ Lobbying Firm) and we got the watered down Dodd-Frank bill, which the tea smokers are still fighting against. So that is a lie, a sham, a delusion that goes so deep and at the same time is so ridiculous you wonder if you’re talking to someone from the same planet. Tea baggers till believe that Barney Frank and Fannie May caused the Wall Street collapse. Which is like believing space aliens left a loaf of white bread and mayonnaise on the front porch. So how is an organization that cannot tell the difference between a fairy tale and reality going to lead the nation to a better way. Tea Partiers Who Opposed Bank Bailout Take Campaign Donations From Bailed-Out Banks

Newly Elected Tea Party Conservatives Kill Jobs and Stop Progress. Because the great tea bagger in the sky will send locusts if we practice some old fashioned Keynesian economics.

Texas governor Rick perry is a tea bagger and has the level of integrity they have come to be known for, Rick Perry Sought State Profits From Teacher Life Insurance Scheme

When you smoke too much tea kids, this is what happens, Washington Legislator Calls For Tea Party To Stockpile Ammunition For Dystopic Future. But they claim to be reasonable and well informed.

Since I brought up puppies, as usual it is the far Right who believes it is every America’s constitutional right to treat puppies like sh*t, Tea Partiers barking mad over anti-puppy-mill humane measure in Missouri

And of course tea smokers hate Obamacare. Something to do with freedumb. That is the freedumb to deny working class Americans the right to have health insurance. The freedumb to keep American workers from organizing their purchasing power from the free market insurance industry. This is the way tea smokers define freedom – the right to make everyone else life as hard, miserly and miserable as possible. Those little store owners and big corps like Hobby Lobby have the freedom-right to treat their employees like trash. If the govmint takes way their right to act like little dictators, they fell oppressed. Tea smokers think of workers as disposable barely human-like creatures – 36 Senators Introduce Bill Prohibiting Virtually Any New Law Helping Workers. They like to think of themselves as populists, but they’re more like thugs who say they believe in free enterprise. Free for them, back of the bus for everyone else. Say something, do something about respect and dignity for workers and you’re interfering with tea bagger freedumb. Except, you know the ones that depend on Medicare and Medicaid to keep from falling into financial disaster or just to stay alive. What are no govmint-no way-no how tea smokers doing on Medicaid. They’re getting govmint assistance because the rest of us are subsidizing companies like Walmart. Where does the plasticroots tea baggers movement still get most of its money, from 501s running on Walton and Koch brothers money. Sure your neighbor is sending in twenty bucks a month that pays for the signs at the little rallies. The big bucks that buy legislation is coming from businesses, that the last things they want to see is competition and empowered employees.

The smoke in the tea tent is so thick, they believe – it is one of their “facts” that taxes are too high. They’re at their lowest level since the 1950s and that mean Obama has lowered taxes for small business 16 times. Bu those are real world facts, not the “facts” that come through the pipe and are sucked into the feeble brains of tea baggers.

Tea baggers are pro family? Yea right, Tea Partiers Protest Clean Water Rules Meant To Prevent Bladder Cancer. Because the Founders intended we have the freedumb to get cancer.

I could literally do this all day. Tea smokers, conservatives to the far Right of the far Right, are nothing new, they are the same freaks and thugs that have been fighting human progress since the days of feudal lords who claimed the peasants should shut-up and know their place. That they have convinced some working class Americans  big banks and corporations are their friend is both laughable and pathetic. Many of these tea baggers are paying more for basic services and getting less than. Their votes are giving private business a license, not to fairly compete, but to steal. They think hippie liberals are giving them the shaft. Nope, the tea baggers are so good at shafting themselves we don’t have to bother.

A Post About Obamacare Costs and Conservative Religious Zealots

Marina at Twilight wallpaper

Marina at Twilight wallpaper

Jonathan Cohn has another good post on Obamacare and basically deals with what some people see in their crystal balls,  Six Reasons Hipsters Will Bite on Obamacare

You’re a 26-year-old single dude, holding down a pair of part-time jobs tending bar and painting houses, and making about $24,000 a year. Thanks to Obamacare, you can finally get decent health insurance, just like people with full-time jobs at large companies do. But when you go online to check out your options, you see that even the cheapest “bronze” plan, which has high deductibles and co-payments, will cost you about $100 a month. Obamacare’s penalty for carrying no insurance next year is less than one-tenth of that. Do you buy the insurance anyway?

Obamacare critics think it will be a “tough sell,” as Reason’s Peter Suderman puts it. And they make a credible case. To get coverage under Obamacare, many young people will have to pay more than they’d pay for insurance today. That’s because Obamacare prohibits insurers from offering ultra-cheap, bare-bones policies and restricts insurers’ to vary prices based on health status. It’s safe to assume that at least some young, healthy people will look at the numbers, figure Obamacare’s coverage just isn’t worth the price, and pay the penalty instead. A story by Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal last week profiled several young people from Oregon who were contemplating that very option.

The danger here isn’t just that these people will remain uninsured, leaving themselves exposed to crushing medical bills if they get sick or injured. If too many young, healthy people opt not to get insurance, then the insurers would be stuck with beneficiaries who are disproportionately older and sicker.

He notes that opting out the first year is certainly an option if you fall into that group that makes enough money they do not qualify for subsidies and see the premiums as cutting into their take-home pay. There are going to be bigger penalties down the road. he also points out that while those filled with the spirit of Obamacare hysteria think they young people do not need or want health insurance, two large surveys prove them wrong. I would throw in my personal experience. I’ve been to the emergency room a couple of times. Once I was in the hospital for just under 12 hours. The hospital bill, the radiologists bill and my personal doctor’s bill ( she came in once I was admitted) came to about $2 thousand dollars. When the penalty gets up to $625 a year, what are those young people going to choose. Two thousand or more ( I got out relatively cheap as far as emergency room admissions go) or are they going to pay the, say $90 a month ($1,100 to 1,250 a year. If it is employers supplied insurance with a group plan it could be less) for insurance . Look past the oh my goodness Obamacare is sooo expensive scare stories on the Right. Be afraid of the realities of living in the real world – of the ten most common reason for going to the emergency room, the cost ranged from a low of $10,403 to a high of $73,000. So even the $625 sounds like a bad deal when you could end up paying a half year’s pay for a simple back sprain. Cohn again concedes Obamacare and the insurance exchanges are not perfect – hopefully we’ll see some fine tuning like Congress did with medicare over the years, but it does look like most people will be better off.

Maybe I’m going Godwin here or maybe this is one of those cases where current events and rhetoric mirror history – You can’t be a Christian and a Democrat at the same time, Virginia’s GOP candidate for lieutenant governor E.W. Jackson says,

In a local radio interview this morning, Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson said the Democratic Party is “anti-God” and that Christians should leave it.

…He continued: “I said it because I believe that the Democrat Party has become an anti-God party, I think it’s an anti-life party, I think it’s an anti-family party. And these are all things I think Christians hold to very dearly.”

Religious zealot who think they are the last word on who is or is not a good Christian is an unfortunate American tradition going back to Cotton Mather and the Salem Witch trials to Jefferson Davis who claimed that God approved of slavery  – [Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” – Jefferson Davis. And there is this,

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.

-Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

Jackson seems to be substituting Democrat where Hitler used the Jews. These are the hallmarks of dangerous zealots. They control the ideological gates of who meets the purity  test of a set of beliefs that exists largely inside their minds. I see and hear conservative Christians and wonder how they so conveniently jettison the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t know that it disqualifies them from being Christians, but it does make one wonder about how they so conveniently ignore one of the most important lessons of the Bible. I’ve listened to Pat Robertson for enough years to know that the Christian Right can rationalize just about anything that serves their agenda. Jackson seems to be kool-aid drinking member of the club.