Snow and Barn Winter wallpaper, Calling on the Middle-Class to Make More Sacrifices

Snow and Barn Winter wallpaper

Blue Holiday wallpaper

It may have been unfair to form a preliminary opinion or preliminary headache about the findings and recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform based on Alan Simpson’s contempt for those Americans ( from August 2005 – Alan Simpson: Social Security Is ‘A Milk Cow With 310 Million Tits’) who are relying on Social Security to get them through retirement. On the other hand it turns out to have been justified. Paul Krugman has looked at the numbers – bullet points and it ain’t pretty.

Actually, though, what the co-chairmen are proposing is a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases — tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class. They suggest eliminating tax breaks that, whatever you think of them, matter a lot to middle-class Americans — the deductibility of health benefits and mortgage interest — and using much of the revenue gained thereby, not to reduce the deficit, but to allow sharp reductions in both the top marginal tax rate and in the corporate tax rate.

It will take time to crunch the numbers here, but this proposal clearly represents a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans. And what does any of this have to do with deficit reduction?

Let’s turn next to Social Security. There were rumors beforehand that the commission would recommend a rise in the retirement age, and sure enough, that’s what Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson do. They want the age at which Social Security becomes available to rise along with average life expectancy. Is that reasonable?

The answer is no, for a number of reasons — including the point that working until you’re 69, which may sound doable for people with desk jobs, is a lot harder for the many Americans who still do physical labor.

There are a combination of tax cuts and tax increases. That the proposals have both is to make every think they’ve taken the mythical high road to spread the pain. It’s the new new math. Taking away the Earned Income Tax Credit for people barely getting by is the same as giving someone who makes $250K a year a tax cut the same. Veterans would take hit paying for more of their own health care expenses. The middle-class – who correctly or not still think of home ownership as the American dream can kiss the home mortgage deduction goodbye. Medium to small businesses which are allowed a tax write-off  for picking up their workers’ health-care costs? Those businesses can kiss that deduction farewell. See a trend here. Sacrifices must be made. Who is going to bare the biggest burden of these cuts in benefits and income? The working poor and middle-class. A slight increase in capital gains tax- back to Reagan era rates? Nope. We wouldn’t want Wall St wheelers and dealers to have to trade in the 7 series Bimmer for a 5 series. How about a progressive tax on polluters so they’ll pay the true costs of what they produce. Not on the table. Back when we were having a debate on financial reform someone floated the idea of levying a tiny transaction fee – like Japan did after their meltdown – so derivative traders pay their share on what will probably continue to be huge profits. Not on the table. Economics is still the dry science, but Dan Froomkin has made it a little more entertaining with this slide show Ten Flash Points In The Fiscal Commission Chairmen’s Proposal

But taken as a whole, the plan authored by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson would have devastating effects on the government and its ability to help the most vulnerable in our society, and it would put the squeeze on the middle class, veterans, the elderly and the sick – all in the name of an abstract goal that ultimately only a bond-trader could love.

While last month broke a record for the Great Recession in new private sector jobs we’re still in the midst of a jobless recovery. So now would be just a dandy time to cut federal employee loose per the Commission recommendations, The Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Plan Doesn’t Add Up

Bowles-Simpson seems to have been put together backwards.  Instead of starting with a plan about what the federal government should no longer do and then determining the savings from the smaller number of employees that would be needed to do what’s left to be done, with limited exceptions the plan focuses on the reduced workforce but makes few assumptions, suggestions, or recommendations about what services the government should no longer provide.  The assumptions it does make don’t appear to justify the cuts in the number of employees and contractors.

We probably all start hearing it when we’re kids. The govmint is a bloated lazy bureaucracy. You could slash thousands of govmint workers and never miss them. That is debatable. In the mean time imagine even more unemployed. Government worker salaries are not black holes. They buy groceries, TVs, cars, houses and children’s toys. How is a massive lay off of government employees and the ensuing degradation of services going to help the economy. Hey we’ll privatize, that’s the ticket. Privatizing does help cost cutting sometimes, but actually increases cost in others – just think Halliburton and Blackwater(Xe).

The best for last and the ultimate irony. One of the Commission”s recommendations is Debt Panel Floats Public Option for Health Care

The plan sets a long-term goal of containing the growth in federal health-care spending – a major contributor to the deficit – so it accounts for no more than 1% in excess of gross domestic product after 2020.

Should GDP growth exceed that target, the report suggests several additional cost-savings measures, including adding “a robust public option and/or all-payer system” into new exchanges that the federal health law calls for in 2014.

Liberal Democrats pushed hard to include a public option in the health law that President Barack Obama signed in March, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada ultimately yanked it out because a handful of moderate Democrats threatened to withhold their votes over it.

Republicans have argued that a public option would saddle the federal government with an expensive new health insurance program. But supporters contended it could actually give the government a new muscle to bend health spending, since such a plan would have new power to pay health-care providers at lower rates

An opt-in Canadian style single payer program? That option is already off the table. Obamacare which the knuckleheads on the Right call socialism was actually a huge gift to health insurance and health care corporations. If the Right blew their caskets over that modest plan to reign in health care costs their heads would explode over a single payer option.

Washington is neck deep in strange ties. Enough so if you wanted to spin out some crazy conspiracy theories, they would hold up, if one didn’t look too close. One of several problems with spinning these elaborate lies is one is bound to snag an ally simply because in the Village everyone knows everyone or is only removed by one degree – Top Palin aide is on Soros’ payroll – Revealed: the surprisingly close link between the liberal billionaire and the Republican superstar

Given Soros’ alleged role plotting to destroy the United States, Beck and his Fox viewership might be surprised to learn that one of Sarah Palin’s top aides has been on Soros’ payroll for years.

That would be Republican lobbyist Randy Scheunemann, Palin’s foreign policy adviser and a member of her small inner circle.

Fall Sycamore Leaves wallpaper

autumn wallpaper

Fall Sycamore Leaves wallpaper

One of the reasons to support a free market economy is that when properly regulated it rewards those with a good work ethic. It should wildly and disproportionately reward wealth at the expense of people that produce the labor and brain power which makes wealth possible. Yet another example of conservatives seeing free markets as rudderless ships which never have to make course corrections – House GOP recommend cutting program that has already expired

One program which House Republicans have consistently seized upon to bolster their budget-cutting bona fides is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund, a successful program that has created 250,000 jobs in 37 states via subsidized employment programs for low-income and unemployed workers. And according to National Journal, Republicans are once again railing against the program, selecting it as one of their first programs to cut….

But the crux of the issue is that eliminating the TANF emergency fund will not save any money because the program has already expired. It was funded at $5 billion for two years, and ended on September 30, 2010. There is no money left for Price to save.

It’s a program that shouldn’t have expired, and which the administration has asked Congress to extend because it’s direct assistance that creates jobs. It expired because of Republican obstruction, along with the 250,000 jobs it created. I guess a quarter of a million jobs lost just isn’t enough. They want to take another crack at it.

The economy crashed for a few reasons. Mostly because of the greedy and irrational behavior of those at the top of the income pyramid. During the housing bubble most of them didn’t pay. During the general crash of Wall St they didn’t pay. In both instances the working poor and middle-class paid. A perverted inverse kind of socialism where risks and failures are paid for by people who had nothing to do with the blinded by greed mechanizations of the fat cats. Now the Republican deficit peacocks who spent like crazy for eight years are back in power. Budgets must be balanced. And goodness forbid the people that can afford to pay for a balanced budget pay a fair share – say the same tax rates of the Reagan administration. Nope, they will having the working poor pay for once again, thank you very much. This is not free markets at work, this is the Conservative plutocracy at work.

George W. Bush stills lives in LaLaLand. British deny George Bush’s claims that torture helped foil terror plots

British officials said today there was no evidence to support claims by George Bush, the former US president, that information extracted by “waterboarding” saved British lives by foiling attacks on Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf. In his memoirs, Bush said the practice – condemned by Downing Street as torture – was used in CIA interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US.

[  ]…Bush also mentioned Abu Zubaydah, waterboarded after his capture in Pakistan in 2002. Zubaydah told his interrogators that al-Qaida had links with Saddam Hussein and that there was a plot to attack Washington with a “dirty bomb”. Both claims are now recognised by the CIA to be false.

Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC said that, by confessing to ordering torture, Bush risked prosecution. “George W Bush has confessed to ordering waterboarding, which in the view of almost all experts clearly passes the severe pain threshold in the definition of torture in international law.”

Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty said: “After the atrocity of 9/11, the American president could have united the world against terrorism and towards the rule of law. Instead, president Bush led a great democracy into the swamp of lies, war and torture in freedom’s name. Democracy can do better and, learning from the past, it will.”

 

The conservative idolatry of Bush can’t stop because to do so would undermine the very foundation of conservative thinking. Bush will never admit blame because of the tremendous hubris and delusion which underpin his world view. It is a view to governing in which their are the elite which know better  and then there is the rest of us, who are obligated not to question but to fall in line and obey. Least we be accused of being terrorists sympathizers. Conservatives have indeed learned nothing from lying us into disastrous wars and crashing the economy.

ForeignPolicy takes us down memory lane with 14 of of the destructive and tragic greatest hits of Bush era foreign and domestic policy.  Delusion Points, Don’t fall for the nostalgia — George W. Bush’s foreign policy really was that bad.

7. Department of Rhetorical Catastrophes, Part II: The “Axis of Evil.” In the months following 9/11, the United States received a surprising degree of help in Afghanistan from Iran, a country which (whatever its history with the United States) was no friend of al Qaeda and a bitter enemy of the Taliban. Intelligence sharing and diplomatic coordination with Tehran helped the United States rout the Taliban and later install Hamid Karzai’s government in Kabul.

How did Bush reward Iran for this valuable assistance? By labeling it part of an “Axis of Evil” in his January 2002 State of the Union address, along with Iraq and North Korea. This foolish bit of bombast derailed any possibility of building a better relationship with pre-Ahmadinejad Iran, which may have been precisely what Bush’s neoconservative speechwriters intended.

Engaging Iran did no require that the two countries be new best friends only to take advantage of their tremendous advantage in intelligence gathering from their anti-Taliban contacts. As usual Conservatives would rather be spiteful than produce results.

14. The Crash Heard ‘Round the World. By lowering taxes while waging costly wars, Bush produced near-record fiscal deficits and a mountain of foreign debt. At the same time,  Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s easy money policy encouraged a vast real estate bubble that eventually collapsed in 2008. Bush’s economic team also paid little attention to regulating Wall Street, thereby facilitating the reckless behavior that produced a major financial collapse in 2008. The resulting meltdown cost Americans trillions of dollars and millions of jobs, and the aftermath will affect U.S. economic prospects for many years to come.

Although Bush does not deserve all the blame for causing the greatest recession since the 1930s, he was in charge when it happened and his actions contributed significantly to the debacle. And because international influence ultimately rests upon a state’s economic strength, the damage wrought by this economic crisis may be Bush’s most enduring foreign-policy legacy.

Just as Bush never paid for all his private business failures in Texas ( daddy’s friend always came to the rescue), he and conservatives also seemed destined to never bare the responsibility for running our economy like a dysfunction circus. That is some bizarre definition of values they carry around inside their foil plated skulls.

Snow Globe Santa wallpaper, The No Plan Conservatives Still Have No Plan

Snow Globe Santa wallpaper

During the run up to the mid-term elections Sharron Angle, Ron Johnson(R-WI), Christine O’Donnell(R-DE) and Joe Miller of Alaska among other tea nut favorites could not spell out any particular plan to balance the budget or create jobs. It was trust me and I’ll think of something while I’m measuring the drapes for my new Washington apartment. While not all of the No Plan party made it to D.C. the result is about the same, Tea Party Favorites Rand Paul & Jim DeMint Struggle To Name Specific Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

On ABC’s “This Week,” Christiane Amanpour repeatedly pressed Paul to move beyond “slogans and platitudes” to “direct information” on how the Republican Party will balance the budget and cut the deficit.

Paul immediately reiterated that he was going to push for a balanced budget amendment and said that cuts needed to come from across the board — including defense spending. Whenever Amanpour asked whether a specific program — such as Medicare, Social Security and health care — would be cut, Paul simply kept reiterating that he was going to be looking “across the board.” He was unable, however, to actually name anything significant that would be on the chopping block

[  ]…DeMint had a similar experience on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” When asked by host David Gregory where the American people should be prepared to sacrifice in order to cut the deficit, DeMint said, “I don’t think the American people are going to have to sacrifice as much as the government bureaucrats who get paid about twice what the American worker does. First of all, we just need to return to pre-Obama levels of spending in 2008. We need to cut earmarks so people can stop taking home the bacon, we need to defund Obamacare and then we need to look at the entitlement programs, such as the way Paul Ryan has done in the House with his Road to America’s Future.”

When Gregory pointed out that going back to 2008 spending levels won’t get anywhere close to balancing the budget, he asked whether everything would be on the table. DeMint said he opposed cutting Social Security.

The tea nuts have all but admitted by their incessant displays of ignorance they were in a cave on some distant mountain 2000 to 2008. DeMint was in Washington in 2008 when the deficit ballooned to $407 billion. An increase of 153% from the previous year. This was due to some basic math. We were spending at levels largely determined by the first four years of the Bush presidency – an expansion of government, one bungled war, one disastrous war – all coupled with the Bush tax cuts. This is the change we can believe in. Monsieur Drooling DeMint with the short term memory and ethics of a dung beetle. Rand Paul has been repeating that same sound bite for a year. It’s like a show tune that he has on repeat inside his its all about me head. Earmarks always make for a nice sound bite. Everyone knows all earmarks are evil. Well they’re only evil when the funds are going to a Democratic district. Earmarks are the proper property of the elite thus should only go to Republican districts where they don’t believe in no stink’n big govmint ? Earmarks for me but not for thy. If tea bagging voters were hoping for some kind of hope and change in the earmark department, think again – McConnell tepid on ending ‘earmarks’

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said that banning lawmaker-directed spending projects known as “earmarks” from congressional legislation is more complicated than it appears but that he is willing to consider such a move.

McConnell said ending the common practice of slipping funding requests for home-state projects into legislation won’t cut spending but will only limit the discretion of where to spend the vast federal budget.

Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has said he wants to ban all lawmakers’ requests for specific spending. President Obama has backed that idea.

McConnell said Republicans are ready to cut federal spending but banning earmarks is not a realistic way to do that. McConnell spoke Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Total annual earmarks are about 1 to 2 percent of the total budget. One could make the case they are a place to start, but there will be no balanced budgets via earmark bans.

Two related items. The thesis that House Republicans are there to stay and state budget cuts. Jonathan Chait on why Republicans are likely to keep the House of Representatives even if they lose a few seats in 2012, The House Is Republican And It Ain’t Going Back

3. Timing. The best way to have a wave election is to have the other party control the presidency during a bad economy or some kind of major scandal. Democratic waves in 2006 or 2008 owed a great deal to the non-existent income growth during the Bush years. The GOP wave owed a great deal to the economic crisis. But in 2012, Democrats will still have the White House, so they won’t benefit from an anti-incumbent wave. (They may pick up some seats due to sporadic voters re-engaging.) The best hope of a big wave would come from a deep and extended economic crisis that gives Republicans control of government in 2012, continues through 2014 and paves the way for a midterm backlash. But that’s not exactly a positive scenario.

The other two major reasons he sites are redistricting ( Republicans won over a few state legislatures and governorships) and natural geography. He might be right. It is another Republican habit to call things by different names depending on who is doing it. ObamaCare was very similar to a plan made up by the right-wing Heritage Foundation. When it became a large part of health-care reform it was suddenly a hallmark of evil Marxism. When Democrats redraw districts it is called gerrymandering by conservatives. When conservatives gerrymander it is just redistricting according to demographic trends. With these things in mind Chait could be right. On the other hand if there is one thing America can rely on is right-wing conservatives over playing their hand. The arrogance and hubris of the Bush years were historic and played a part in Republicans losing two election cycles. That hubris has already started at the state level, Now in Power, G.O.P. Vows Cuts in State Budgets

Republicans who have taken over state capitols across the country are promising to respond to crippling budget deficits with an array of cuts, among them proposals to reduce public workers’ benefits in Wisconsin, scale back social services in Maine and sell off state liquor stores in Pennsylvania, endangering the jobs of thousands of state workers.

States face huge deficits, even after several grueling years of them, and just as billions of dollars in stimulus money from Washington is drying up.

With some of these new Republican state leaders having taken the possibility of tax increases off the table in their campaigns, deep cuts in state spending will be needed. These leaders, committed to smaller government, say that is the idea.

Every job Republicans cut and every project (Like N.J. Governor Chrisitie’s(R) cancellation of the Hudson River tunnel which will lose 3,000 construction jobs) canceled means more people out of work. Which means less consumer spending and a smaller tax base. They’ll blame the job loses on high taxes (even though many corporations and individuals pay zero federal taxes). Or they will blame regulations – Will GOP gains halt a regulatory renaissance?

The likeliest part of health reform that Republicans will want to cut, unfortunately, is its massive expansion of Medicaid coverage, on which the federal government will spend $434 billion over ten years, according to the CBO. The GOP will argue that expanding this state-federal program, which provides health coverage to the poor, is an “unfunded mandate” that the states can’t afford. Democrats will answer that the feds are paying for 96 percent of this expansion over the next ten years (as well they should); the states just need to cough up 4 percent, or about $20 billion over ten years. (According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal nonprofit widely respected for the rigor of its numbers-crunching, between 2014 and 2019 the additional cost to the states will be just 1.25 percent more than they were going to spend on Medicaid without the expansion.) Republicans will answer: We’re glad you brought that 96 percent up, because the federal government can’t afford to spend $434 billion on Medicaid expansion! Then the Democrats will answer: It’s wrong to squeeze budget savings from society’s most vulnerable population. Republicans will answer: We’re not cutting spending here, just cancelling some of the program’s expansion. Then the Democrats will answer: Bottom line is you’re taking health coverage away from poor people who would otherwise get it.

The Republicans will probably win. An eternal (and eternally depressing) fact of life in Washington is that it’s easier to cut programs for poor people than it is to cut programs for anyone else, because poor people lack lobbying and fundraising clout.

This is one factor which Chait left out which is an economic and demographic factor in Democrats favor. Republicans will insist on cutting the very thin safety net for America’s poorest, oldest, disabled and most vulnerable ( children of poor parents for instance. These people vote. Republicans are going to have to find them a job in a jobless recovery which Republicans will probably worsen with their threats of government shut-downs. The vast majority of Americans want a job and the dignity and self-respect that comes with honest work. If Republicans are going to continue to give Wall Street a tongue bath at the expense of lower to middle-class Americans they can kiss their new improved plans for another fifty year reign of power goodbye. Right-wing conservative pundits and bloggers, along with some of the new crop of crazy, just love that scorched earth take no prisoners public policy talk. The problem with that is it catches up to average income earners in the long run and even the culture warriors on the right have to pay the rent.

Thanksgiving wallpaper, The Myth of the Rational Conservative Voter

Thanksgiving wallpaper

autumn wallpaper

Fall Roots and Leaves wallpaper

 

There have been reports of seeing Bigfoot and a right-wing Republican mandate in the wild. As well as a complete rejection of the Obama-Democrat agenda. As is usually the case, unfortunately for urban myth enthusiasts, those reports seem to be more wishful thinking or pure delusion,  Mid-term election results not a mandate for GOP, poll shows

The exit poll (PDF) from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research suggests that while voters gave control of the House to the Republicans, it was not out of a desire to return to Republican policies, but rather out of a lack of other options.

The poll shows voters largely rejected the narrative put forward by Republicans: That the American public rebelled against the liberal-minded over-reaching of the Obama administration.

Roughly even numbers of Democratic, Republican and independent voters — about three-quarters in each case — said the economy was a factor in their vote. No other issue polled nearly as high.

Dissatisfaction with the available political options was also high, with 26 percent of voters saying their vote was a “message to both parties” that they are unsatisfied with the state of US politics. By contrast, 20 percent said the vote was a message specifically targeted at President Obama.

That appears to mesh with a recent poll showing 54 percent of voters would like to see a viable third party rise in the US.

“The results show that voters weren’t necessarily allying themselves with the GOP, but rather were voicing their disapproval with Washington as a whole,” writes Andy Kroll at Mother Jones.

Nor did voters generally align themselves with Republican talking points. Even a majority of self-identified Republicans — 62 percent — said they wanted lawmakers to “keep their hands off” Social Security when addressing the budget deficit. Among all voters, 68 percent opposed cuts to Social Security.

Voters preferred Democratic ideas for tackling the budget deficit. Fifty-one percent said they wanted to see an end to the Bush tax cuts for the rich and a new bank tax to address the deficit, while 39 percent backed the GOP’s proposals to cut $100 billion from domestic spending, raise the retirement age and cancel unspent stimulus funds.

Sixty-six percent of voters agreed with President Obama’s declaration that “we have to reduce our deficits, but [also] make investments in education, in research and innovation” and “we have to lead in the new energy, Green industrial revolution sweeping the world.”

Voters – real people – not the fairy dust dancing around in Victor Hanson or Sarah Palin’s head – voted their pocket-book as voters are apt to do. If their economic fortunes are less than bright under a Republican administration they tend to vote Democrat. Under a Democratic administration the reverse. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is typical of the conservative aversion to reality and it’s adoration for fanciful spin – The voting public doesn’t necessarily believe what Mitch McConnell says it believes.

McConnell is not one of the politicians who pretends not to read the polls. When he argued that Obama and Democrats were out of touch, he used polls to back up his argument. Using the McConnell standard—that is, reading the polls—the views of the people who gave the GOP such a resounding victory Tuesday do not match up with his priorities of cutting taxes, repealing health care, and reducing spending.

Tax cuts: According to exit polls, only 17 percent of the country thinks tax cuts should be a priority for the new Congress. And those that do want tax cuts oppose the way McConnell wants to do it. More than half the country, 52 percent, either wants the Bush tax cuts extended for those making under $250,000 a year or doesn’t want them extended at all. Only 39 percent support the McConnell position of extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone. That 52-39 split is identical to the one McConnell cited at the White House health care summit in February as proof that the American people opposed Obama’s health care plan.

Spending cuts: McConnell is opposed to federal spending to create jobs, but nearly as many voters want lawmakers to spend money to create jobs (37 percent) as want them to cut the deficit (39 percent). Voters in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky are even more bullish on spending: They say Congress’s first priority should be spending to create jobs (39 percent), reducing the deficit (35 percent), and applying tax cuts (21 percent).

Health care: Voters do not list repeal of the health care as a top priority. When asked their opinion, 48 percent support McConnell’s plan to repeal the law. This is hardly a mandate. Forty-seven percent want either to keep the law or to expand it.

These are opinions of Tuesday’s voters—the people McConnell cited in his speech today. Voter sentiment among the broader population is even more against him. In a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, a new stimulus bill is supported by 38 percent of the country. Cutting spending gets 24 percent support; repealing health care, 23 percent; and extending all income tax cuts, 8 percent.

Reading the polls and doing a little research is supposed to be the standard. Goodness knows Republicans have acted like Bozos on acid with every poll that showed the generic race between Republicans and Democrats with a Republican advantage.  McConnell and the rest of the reality denying community has read the polls which indicate they should track toward the center and away from the Mussolini-ish zealotry which they have embraced, but will proceed on their agenda regardless. They’ve been the Darth Vader of ruinous agendas for decades there is no reason to believe they will embrace rationalism now. Lets put polls aside for the moment. When you’re dealing with large groups of people you’re dealing with a lot of stuff that just is not going to be rational. Why did so many moderates stay home and why did so many zealots feel intensely motivated to vote for the same policies they had rejected just two years ago? For some of the same reasons Wall Street collapsed. In The Myth of the Rational Market – A History of Risk, Reward and Delusion on Wall Street Justin Fox writes,

Greenspan struggled to explain what had gone wrong because the intellectual edifice around which he had built his thinking simply didn’t allow room for the events of the preceding fourteen months. This was the edifice of rational market theory. The best-known element of rational market theory is the efficient market hypothesis, formulated at the University of Chicago in the 1960s with reference to the U.S stock market. The belief in the so-called rational market that took hold in the years that followed, though, was about more than just stocks. It held that as more stocks, bonds, options, futures, and other financial instruments were created and traded, they would inevitably
bring more rationality to economic activity. Financial markets possessed a wisdom that individuals, companies, and governments did not.

There is no more a rational electorate than there is a rational market. Things going wrong. It must be the people in charge right now. They have to go. The ceaseless right-wing noise machine and its new found secretive money supply helps drive the message home. Got problems? Just perceive problems? Hey look no further than the Kenyan Muslim socialist statist in the White House. Who let everyone down – including liberals, tea nut conservatives, mom and pop Republicans and centrist Democrats? Wall Street. Who did conservatives just return to power? Wall Street. Conservatives at the top of the power pyramid will continue to become more wealthy. Those mis-spelled sign waving crazy t-shirt wearing town hall swearing enraged conservatives? They’ll continue to suffer the economic consequences. Glenn Beck, Karl Rove and Sarah Palin will continue to convince them it is all those powerful liberals. The economic facts on the side of liberals. Liberals won two world wars, oversaw perhaps the greatest economic expansion of any nation in history after WW II, fought and won the civil rights war and fought for the social safety net the majority of America’s seniors and disabled rely on to survive. Don’t mean a thing for people who like Alan Greenspan – have this blind faith in an ideology. Conservatism has been a dismal failure under every Republican President from Nixon to Ford to Reagan and both Bushes and a Republican Congress. It has not, and will not sink in. Republicans have a tremendous amount in common with hard core socialists – many neoconservatives are former socialists. Both groups keep thinking their ideologies fail because they’re not pure enough. Give them one more chance, than one more and another to implement the really pure conservatism and hey we’ll all be riding on rainbows and living high off the hog.

It is rational for the average American voter to vote in their economic interests. What is not rational is to vote to slam their head into the same wall and expect different results.

There is the day-to-day hypocrisy of the conservative voter that is difficult to deal with. Liberal pundits and bloggers use facts and charts to no avail. Even more perplexing and frustrating is the cognitive dissonance in their thinking and that of their leaders. For the umpteenth election cycle wing-nuts voted anti-government. What they actually voted for was government officials using the apparatus of government to make their lives better. It takes some mighty thick walls of compartmentalizing for that kind of oxymoronic thinking. Exemplified here – Govs. Haley Barbour (R-MS), Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) – Stimulus Bashing Governors Issue Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Stimulus Funded Bonds

Republicans map out their agenda of less

Republicans reject the notion that government spending can spur prosperity. Instead, they favor keeping tax rates steady by extending Bush-administration tax breaks that are set to expire this year and repealing President Obama’s health overhaul. Republicans also want to restrain government regulators and are looking to require congressional approval for any new regulation that imposes costs on the private sector in excess of $100 million a year.

On Friday, Cantor even rejected President Obama’s call for additional tax breaks to spur hiring, such as a proposal to let businesses deduct their expenses more quickly.

Republicans offer “a disciplined approach to removing uncertainty and to allowing the private sector to regain its footing and begin to grow again,” Cantor said in an interview. “Trying to prod business to do what Washington wants is not what is needed. We need to rein in this desire of Washington to tell business how to grow.”

That hands-off strategy – combined with GOP plans for an immediate and dramatic reduction in government spending – would do more harm than good, said Bill Gale, a senior fellow in economics studies at the Brookings Institution.

This “uncertainty” meme that business are supposed to be suffering has been bouncing around as a right-wing talking point since last spring. The problem with that is the facts. Business is making extraordinary profits without hiring new employees – Corporate bosses are whining, even though they’re reporting record profits. And Andrew Leonhard notes some other trends in this “uncertain” era for business – Just in time to offer no help for beleaguered Democrats, a new batch of economic data suggests brighter days ahead

*  Reports from car manufacturers indicate that October was the best month for auto sales since August 2009 — when sales were goosed by the Cash for Clunkers program. If you skip Cash for Clunkers, it’s the best performance in more than two years.
* Factory orders rose 2.1 percent in October, the sharpest rise since January
* Service companies expanded at the fastest rate in three months.
* ADP Employer Services, the largest private sector payroll processor in the U.S., reported that private companies added 43,000 new jobs in October, more than double what economists had been expecting.

Republicans are going to shut down spending? Progressives can start cheering now for when they take back the House, increase their Senate majority and Obama wins his second term.

Republicans cannot find the funds to spend on keeping teachers, police and firefighters in their jobs, but they can find millions to chase ghosts – Republicans To Spend  Millions in Tax payer Funds to Investigate Non-Existent Scandals

Black and White Rocky English Coast wallpaper, Enjoy the Spectacle and Sore Winners

Black and White Rocky English Coast wallpaper

In a word the mid-terms results mean the United States of America are very likely screwed. The good news is the conservatives and independents who voted to return the wrecking crew from the Bush era are screwed as well. Not the millionaires of course, but those median income Social Security and Medicare collecting conservatives who were out holding the signs at town halls in 2009. Not is not much solace to the rest of us, but some people are hard-headed and will not listen to common sense. You tell them not to touch the hot burner and they are just motivated all that much more to burn their hand. In the long term this election is good news for moderate left of center America. Republicans can spin things anyway they like, but Democrats lost the House because of one thing, unemployment. If Obama and Democrats had actually acted like Roosevelt and created public works jobs a modern WPA and whittled unemployment down to just 7% we’d be looking a the loss a handful of conservative victories. That answer is not complicated and does not require 500 words from a paid political analyst. Political analysts, left, right and center have to appear as though they have some keen insights in order to keep their jobs – so don’t hold their instincts for self-preservation against them. Even with a slight Democratic advantage in the Senate ( what with the filibuster) Republicans are now completely in charge of the federal budget. They will have to print more money or collapse the economy. They have to rise revenues or cut the federal budget by hundreds of billions. It is going to be a conflagration of historic proportions. I suggest progressives not get angry, relax and enjoy the show.

A built-in feature of conservatism is their uncanny consistency about being sore winners. After the Supreme Court appointed Bush 43 president in 2000, conservatives accomplished nothing, made government bigger then ever, racked up the biggest credit card bill in history, and made many Americans believe an unnecessary three trillion-dollar war was the best thing since cherry jello in individual plastic containers. All the while accusing anyone who disagreed them a traitor and blaming all their problems on Bill Clinton, George Soros and the vast left-wing conspiracy. They won elections on hate, fear and very thin margins and called their agenda a mandate. That feature of emotional insecurity has not gone anywhere. Right-wing welfare queen Victor David Hanson continues the sore winner tradition. Some unsolicited advice to budding intellectuals – the standards for being an intellectual on the Right are so abysmally low that to be a Hanson-like pundit requires minimal if any effort. Can you pull yourself up to a desk with a PC on it? In a Hanson-standards world you qualify as a “distinguished” intellectual. Obama Doesn’t Get It, November 3, 2010 4:40 P.M. By Victor Davis Hanson

President Obama came close, but he still just cannot admit that his radical policies and their effects on the economy are the cause of his devastating political rebuke. For most of his press conference, an oddly depressed Obama voted present, as he all but said that the problems are mostly ours, not his — or at least not his agenda but perhaps an occasional inadequate communication.

In clingers fashion, he once more is talking down to us, explaining that we confused his necessary solutions with a bogeyman increase in big government, and so typically, in fright and ignorance, lashed out at his party. He is claiming the outrage grew from the same frustration that elected him, rather than arising precisely because of him and his agenda. In short, we are angry because his EU-socialist agenda is progressing too slowly and hasn’t delivered as promised — as it will in time. Perhaps then we will thank him for his proper big-government, big-spending solution.

I don’t know but I suspect Hanson goes to bed every night with his straw man doll. Every president loses some seats in the mid-terms. The psychology is simple enough for even Victor to understand. Vote for change, whatever that may be. Look at the polling numbers. If Republican candidates had to rely completely on the Republican movement vote – tried and true registered conservative voters – Democrats would still be in the majority in the house. Republicans bought enough 24/7 media propaganda to eck out enough of the independent vote to slide by. Victor conveniently skips how Democrats held on to the Senate. Hanson also leaves out the elephant in the room, i.e. the groundwork was there for them to pick up some House seats, for the most part Republicans just bought themselves an election. Spare us the sordid and convoluted BS about the Obama agenda being rejected. Conservatives outspent liberals 2-1 in elections

Conservative groups outspent liberal groups by a more than 2-to-1 ratio heading into an Election Day that brought the biggest Republican sweep in the House of Representatives in decades and sliced into the Democratic majority in the Senate.

•In the 48 House contests in which outside groups spent a combined $1 million or more, Republicans won two-thirds, a USA TODAY analysis of election results and campaign reports shows. In one Upstate New York district, conservative groups such as American Crossroads, the Tea Party Express and the 60 Plus Association bought $2.8 million in negative ads attacking freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy on health care, helping Republican Christopher Gibson win 55% of the vote.

•U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $32 million on 67 House and Senate races. The USA TODAY analysis shows that 72% of chamber-backed candidates won so far. But, it spent nearly $5 million against Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who won.

California was the exception for a couple of reasons. Republicans fielded very bad candidates who were arrogant and showed it. The public had the impression from the get go that two elitist businesswomen were buying themselves a new toy rather than actually caring about governance. The overall spending speaks for itself. If you run commercials day and night that say cow paddies smell like sweet perfume then you’ll convince enough people to have collective amnesia about the Republican era that crashed the economy to think just maybe conservatives learned their lesson. Hanson makes a perfect tea bagging conservative. He lacks the moral courage to admit the polices he and the tea baggers supported for eight years were responsible for the mess we’re in. Gee, Obama and Democrats don’t have big enough shovels to clear out the eight years of bull the Hansonites created in eight years. I would never expend the energy to hate Hanson and the tea baggers, but there is no reason to have any respect for those who have worked so diligently to bankrupt the country fiscally and morally.

It’s still the economy stupid – The voting public doesn’t necessarily believe what Mitch McConnell and Hanson says it believes.

Mid-term election results not a mandate for GOP. Jobs worries head the list

Why we need better journalists and statisticians, Palin Emerges with Even More Clout – Large Majority of Candidates She Backed Won; Do Results Make Her More Likely to Seek GOP Presidential Nod in 2012?

As CBS News Correspondent Jeff Glor reports, .the former GOP vice presidential nominee backed 43 candidates for the House. Thirty of them won, with races involving nine others still undecided.

Her record in Senate races was closer: She endorsed 12 candidates. Seven won.

Does CBS know the difference between a casual correlation and cause and effect. I wish Palin had more influence, I really do, but this is like picking horses. If you become familiar with how to read a racing form you can pick a horse to show most of the time. That does not mean they won because you picked them. Even Josh Green at The Atlantic does not get it, The Tea Party Takes On Washington

Although a few Tea Party stars such as Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle lost, the movement itself proved broadly appealing: Exit polls showed that four in 10 voters considered themselves supporters of the Tea Party, and, according to NBC, 113 of the 129 candidates for the House of Representatives who associated themselves with it won.

The Tea Party is a fringe movement no more. But will it be a lasting one?

That’s not yet clear. Tea Party candidates lost winnable races in Delaware, Nevada, and Colorado that could have handed control of the Senate to Republicans. But the real test lies ahead. And when the winners get to Washington, Democrats won’t be the only challenge that awaits them. As Trent Lott, the former GOP Senate leader-turned-lobbyist said, “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.”

And here – Palin Buddies – Right-wing Tenther Senate Candidates Get Thumped At The Polls

Republicans spent record amounts on this election. The tea baggers are no more than extreme right-wing Republicans. They almost make Bush 43 look liberal. In a mid-term when change meant voting for the party out of power that meant a default selection of wacky proto-fascists. When I say these conservatives are proto-fascist I’m not name calling, but placing them on the ideological spectrum according to work done by historian Robert Paxton.

Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan

They also tried to push Democrats into retirement, using what was described in the presentation as “guerilla tactics” like chasing Democratic members down with video cameras and pressing them to explain votes or positions. (One target, Representative Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, had to apologize for manhandling one of his inquisitors in a clip memorialized on YouTube. Only this week did Republican strategists acknowledge they were behind the episode.)

So Republicans have also made the mentality of James O’Keefe and Andrew Brietbart part of their propaganda tactics. Sadly, it does seem to work enough of the time to make some difference. Than again we’re not talking about a battle of ideas, of high minded political principles – you know like what would Tom Paine, Abe Linclon or Thomas Jefferson do.

This post is continued with some further research here.

Old Blue Watch and Gears wallpaper, Brace Yourself America for Some Core Values

 

Old Blue Watch and Gears wallpaper

 

Most of us have good enough short and long term memories to remember the life under Republican rule just a few years ago. Between then and how they had multiple tea nut breakdowns and continue with their shrill public victim-hood. The conservative movement and President who brought us unprecedented grabs at executive power, utterly irresponsible management of the nation’s wealth, new heights of corruption, lying us into one war while bungling another, are back. In 2009 after about five minutes of inner reflection on where they went wrong they declared they lost sight of their “core values”. The values they never had or did not resemble anything a person of reasonable intelligence or temperament would call values in the first place, got a new adjective attached. Rinse and repeat with the new improved no solutions formula. Since Nate Silver and others say the odds are the craziest crop of wing-nuts ever are about to win a majority in the House of Representatives we’ll get at chance to see them fumble around like blind mice at a cheese factory very quickly – Post-Election Strategy For Congress

The most powerful IED on the road ahead is timed to explode some time this spring. Last February, Congress raised the ceiling on the national debt from $12.4 trillion to $14.2 trillion. Since then, the debt has risen to $13.7 trillion — which means Congress will have to raise it yet again within a few months.

A failure to approve one would, technically, bar the government from borrowing more money. In other words, we would not have the cash to pay our bills.

And yet Tea Party candidates and their fellow travelers in the GOP have vowed to oppose further increases in the legal debt ceiling.

Are they going to stick to that idea when faced with the reality of default?

What are the scenarios resulting from Republicans adhering to their pledge to not rise the debt ceiling? The worse case is another financial crisis. Or a deepening of the one we’re already in with the subsequent loss of perhaps millions of jobs. The crisis could deepen to the point where safety net programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps are overwhelmed. programs which Republicans will refuse to provide more funding. Say hello to beggars, bread lines and new tent cities. That is not a certainty, but one possibility. I like Jacob Weisberg’s columns at Slate and he is correct more often than not. He thinks Republicans are faking Right and will govern from the center. This is one time when I think he’s wrong, but hope he’s right. One thing is for sure it will be more difficult than ever to pass any but the most basic spending bills to keep the government running. Unfortunately it is not as big an issue for many Democrats as it is for right-wing Republicans, but we may actually see no new presidential appointees that require advise and consent from Congress or new judicial appointments ( excepting a Supreme Court opening). Hard to tell with all the other political noise going on, but we’re in the middle of a federal courts crisis. There are not enough federal judges to hear cases, i.e. give citizens their day in court.

Those new core values are eerily similar to plain old conservative values when it comes to influence peddling ( Republicans use the code word “pro-business” when they talk about the subject in public) – Ex-senator tries new K Street venture

A day before his party is expected to make huge gains at the polls, former Republican Sen. Rudy Boschwitz announced a rather novel business venture: playing matchmaker to K Street.

The former two-term Minnesota senator has begun marketing his ability to connect clients looking for Washington representation with the right lobbying firms.

“If you are doing – or want to be doing – business with the federal government, or impact legislation or regulations, call us. … It is our business to find the right person or the right group to represent and enhance your interests. That’s the business,” Boschwitz wrote in a Monday email to several hundred associates, adding that he usually charges the lobbying firm a commission for his work.

In his pitch, Boschwitz touts his political connections and fundraising prowess, saying he was one of former President George W. Bush’s top money raisers. Boschwitz and his son, Gerry, will run the new venture, which hasn’t been named yet.

With so many lobbyists offering their services, “finding the right people to handle specific problems takes some knowledge of the playing field,” Boschwitz said in an interview with POLITICO.

But prominent government watchdog Craig Holman of Public Citizen said the arrangement, which he called a “brand new wave of business,” raises “serious questions.”

“Clearly, the primary objective in setting up this lobbying consulting firm is to avoid disclosure and to avoid lobbying ethics rules. That is what Rudy Boschwitz is doing here,” Holman said.

Republican corruption is like a hydra, you can cut off one head and two grow back. One of the reasons corruption is so deeply entrenched into American politics is because Republicans have managed the Orwellian task of making an evil appear patriotic.

Rumors of Republican plans for endless hearings that eat up tax payer funds and screw the public seem to be on the eminent horizon – Darrell Issa’s Agenda

The second list: Food Safety, Homeland Security, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Health care reform oversight, stimulus spending, the Minerals Management Service, and Climategate (which Issa’s staff calls “Politicization of Science”).

That’s a pretty good guide to the issues that would be targeted if John Boehner picks up the speaker’s gavel. As to the ACORN issue, I’m reliably informed that there won’t be hearings on ACORN per se — it stopped existing — but possibly hearings on ACORN’s splinter groups and voter registration fraud in general.

So Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) basically plans to be Andrew Breitbart and Fox News sock puppet in pursuing scandals where there are none.’ I read a right-wing column just the other day by the same Thomas Sowell who claimed president Obama was a Nazi still trying to lay off the blame for the housing bubble on Barney Frank. This Fannie May-Barney Frank myth may seem unimportant, but it’s propose is to deflect blame away from financial regulation, the lack of enforcement of same and Wall Street’s maleficence. Who is powerless to take up for themselves? The working class families who were the victims of predatory lending and Wall St experimenting with exotic derivative trades – the Street’s losses were indeed socialized. The only Socialism America has seen in the last 24 months has been some corporate socialism Republicans overwhelmingly voted for.

American business is really suffering under a Democratic administration, right? Gosh next thing you know we’ll have the horror of millionaires washing their own Mercedes. Those Anti-Business … Republicans?

So the Kenyan Socialist we have in the White House is so anti-business that America’s corporations are now facing record high corporate profits and undergoing mild criticism for their off-shoring practices. Luckily, Republicans are already itching to restart coordinating policy with the business lobbying community — after they punish any company that tried to work constructively with the Democrats, that is.

Jon Chait calls it the return of the K Street Project, which you may remember was an effort to line up corporate lobbyists behind House Republicans, punishing those who worked with Democrats and rewarding those who didn’t with special access to the legislative process. I imagine Tim Carney will find some way to frame this as virtuous free-market Republicans punishing the corporatist firms who sought to unfairly suckle off the government teat.

I just can’t wait for the Tea Party to realize that, should the Republicans experience great gains today, they’ll have successfully returned the GOP of 2000-2006 to power in Congress. Unpaid-for tax cuts? Sure. Serious about cutting spending? Not at all. Working with the business community to advance their agenda in return for political support? Absolutely.

The link to Motherjones notes the one awful hurtful thing President Obama has done to business – offed some very faint criticism of off-shoring so many American jobs. Obama is not against all off-shoring only that it seems lopsided. Profits are at record highs and yet business still has many of its products made in Asia. For this they rate their rage at Obama a ten. Only America’s spoiled silly business class with all its tax breaks, tax incentives and an army of lobbyist that writes every piece of business related legislation would be so unabashedly petulant and childish.

That Awful, No Good Health Care Law

Things you probably don’t know already: The Affordable Care Act has a tax credit for small business and, thanks to that credit, more small businesses are already starting to get health insurance for their workers.

From Janet Adamy at the Wall Street Journal:

The number of small businesses offering health insurance to workers is projected to increase sharply this year, recent data show, a shift that researchers attribute to a tax credit in the health law. Many small businesses, however, remain opposed to the law.

Some small businesses are benefiting from portions of the law, which includes a tax credit beginning this year that covers as much as 35% of a company’s insurance premiums.

According to a report by Bernstein Research in New York, the percentage of employers with between three and nine workers and which are offering insurance has increased to 59% this year, up from 46% last year. The report relies on data from a September survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

A full tax credit is available to employers with 10 or fewer full-time workers and average annual wages of less than $25,000. The credit phases out gradually and has a cap at employers with 25 workers and average annual wages of $50,000. The White House estimates that 4 million employers will qualify for the credit.

This is the narrative of the Obama administration and the soon to be history of a Democratic Congress – no good deed they have done goes unpunished. Business gets credit which helps them and their employees. It also helps business attract and keep good workers. What’s their reaction? Democrats must be punished. It reminds me of all the states and their Republican representatives and governors who have taken Affordable Care Act money and taken credit for projects financed by the Recovery Act.