This Year’s December Snow wallpaper – It Is Uncivil To Call a Republican Liar a Liar When They Lie, Got That

This Year's December Snow wallpaper

This Year’s December Snow wallpaper

Backed into a corner on the facts, what is a pompous conservative intellectual and a conservative flame thrower to do? a) Pretend they did not hear the truth and continue taking. This tends to work well n many situations. An old favorite of the Right in cross talk media situations. b) Talk over the member of the reality based argument. Conservatives tend to believe that the louder something is said the more true it is. Videos that feature this technique are usually titled ” Watch…..take down ( insert name of liberal here)”. Yeeeha watch our guy talk over that Democrat, we done won another debate. c) Play the civility card. It does not matter how civil the moderate Democrat, liberal, or even off the reservation Republican is, pretend that they have broken the sound barrier of rudeness. George Will and Mary Matalin decided on c with a little d thrown in ( d is the feigned outrage tactic): Oh, the shrillness of it all

Conservative commentator George Will and former White House aide Mary Matalin both directed pointed remarks at Krugman Sunday that broke with the good-natured banter common among the guests on Sunday political talk shows.

After Krugman called House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget a “fake document” and the columnist said he was “amazed that people haven’t gotten that,” Will unsheathed his verbal sword and went at Krugman.

“I have yet to encounter someone who disagrees with you who you don’t think is a knave, or corrupt, or a corrupt knave,” Will said, borrowing a phrase founding father Alexander Hamilton used to rail against those unwilling to respect the good faith of their political opponents.

“No, I’ve got some people,” Krugman said, suggesting that some conservatives are indeed intellectually honest.

“Specifics have indeed been offered,” Will insisted, referring to Republican budget plans.

That face-off followed a couple of prickly interactions between Matalin and Krugman earlier in the program.

“The Republicans are unable to actually make concrete proposals” about resolving the fiscal cliff, Krugman said, claiming they’ve failed to offer “any specifics” about how they would rein in the deficit.

Matalin called Krugman’s remark “completely mendacious.”

“Are you an economist or a polemicist?” she asked with an expression suggesting she found the Princeton professor and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics to be insufferable. “Do you want to talk about economy or do you want to talk about polemics?” she said.

Will is either dumber than a barnyard fencepost of he thinks that demanding a few trillion dollars and cuts and only having a vague idea of how to get a couple hundred billion is a real plan. In Will’s ivory tower he has never had to go before a group of executives or a committee of House representative and present a budget plan. Your audience will tend to ask where the other couple trillion is coming from. The same goes for Matalin the flame thrower. A little trip in the way back machine to see how Will and Matalin behave and what they consider truthfulness,

Mary Matalin Calls Paul Krugman A ‘Liar’ For Telling The Truth – Ryan himself has specifically referred to his proposal as a “voucher” program in the past. Ryand and conservatives were publicly humiliated by the voucher proposal so they changed the phrase to “premium support”. Shame on man not acting like a trained Orwellian dog and buying into the newest propaganda from Doublespeak Central.

Mary Matalin On Sexual Harassment Herman Cain Allegations: There Was A “Grievance Industry” Where Feminists Found “A Way To Be Offended”.A woman makes an allegation against Cain, which he cannot defend against so he quits presidential run. Matalin’s first response was to smear her, label her a liar. So civil. No mendacity there.

Mary Matalin claims President Bush ‘inherited’ the September 11th terror attacks. This is the Bush who ignored the Presidential daily Brief that said terrorists likely to attack and may use airliners to do so.

Hannity, Matalin falsely claim that cutting taxes raises revenues. This is like believing the moon is made of cheese and garlic keeps vampires away. Not even conservative Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson would validate that ticket.

Matalin is obviously a far superior economic analyst than the Nobel prize winning Krugman, Matalin: ‘Arguably’ George W. Bush’s 2001 Recession Was ‘Worse’ Than Today’s. One generally uses the word arguably to make the case that there is enough daylight to make the case. The Bush Recession of 2007 was the worse economic collapse since 1929. 2001 was not even close.

George Will asserted in a Washington Post column that “organized labor’s ‘card check’ legislation” would “abolish workers’ rights to secret ballots in unionization elections.”

George Will On Public Sector Job Losses: ‘That’s Good’. Another conservative economic genius. Public sector job losses mean less demand. less demand for products and services shrinks the economy. Not a good thing during an economic down-turn. Will thinks like a knave, preaches falsehoods like a knave and so it goes. Will is echoing the failed austerity policies of Europe, The Failure of Austerity.

Remember 2008, not that long ago. The housing bubble had started in 2006 and was very apparent in 2008. Houses were being abandoned and boarded up. Wall Street has melted won. We were hemorrhaging jobs – losing 2.6 million jobs by the end of 2008. George Will, the giant intellectual of conservatism. The Republican guy with a bow tie and the keenest insights. Insights so sharp he makes an income that puts him in the top 10%. He merits that money because he is super smart and has the most civil manners – he would never partake of, propagate or pump up pure unadulterated bullsh*t. George Will is a prince who had this to say in 2008,  Will: Economic Crisis May Only Be ‘A Financial Problem,’ ‘Rest Of Economy Is Doing Rather Well.’ Let us all join hands, take a moment of silence and be thankful for George Wills and Mary Matalins. America is a dumber country because of them and conservatives like it that way.

Related to the Will and Matalin Foundation drive to establish nothing but truth and civility in the public sphere is this post, that includes a video of Professor Krugman making the same point, in pretty much the same words Personal Power Dynamics- a Refresher, oh and shame on Gwen Ifil for buying into the framing of the beltway noise machine,

The squeeze is here.  The outgoing hardasses among our elected officials have a limited time only to solidify the 1%’s stranglehold on the money stream.  They’ve been busy the last couple of years on the cocktail weenie circuit.  Witness this exchange between Gwen Ifil and Paul Krugman from last week’s Noose Hour:

THAT, ladies and gentleman, is what happens to a journalist when all they ever hear is people all around them telling them that cutting “entitlements” is unavoidable.

Every time I see crap like this, I shake my head.  To me, it looks like Ifil is very sincere.  She truly believes that people who do not have wealth *must* give up some little piece of whatever they have.  She doesn’t question why or whether this is the best solution

 

Even if there are no further and immediate cuts to the safety net – like Medicare or veterans benefits, other cuts have already been built into the budget. Yet another reason to oppose any concessions to draconian Conservative demands,  Non-Defense Discretionary Programs Will Face Serious Pressures Under Current Funding Caps

White Four-Masted Sailing Ship wallpaper – The Fiscal Cliff is Another Opportunity for Republicans To Act Like Spiteful Brats

White Four-Masted Sailing Ship wallpaper

White Four-Masted Sailing Ship wallpaper. Amazing or maybe not, Wikipedia has a section on four-masted ships. Many, if not all of the ones you see were built 80 to over a hundred years ago.

 

I do not like to lead with obvious headline stories any more than the substance compels me to. I figure that either as a blogger you have blogged about it or already read the major news coverage. This is just difficult to avoid because of the repercussions both in pocketbook terms of the average American and as a senseless act of political wrist cutting, The fiscal cliff deal comes clearer: a 37% top tax rate and a higher Medicare eligibility age

Talk to smart folks in Washington, and here’s what they think will happen: The final tax deal will raise rates a bit, giving Democrats a win, but not all the way back to 39.6 percent, giving Republicans a win. That won’t raise enough revenue on its own, so it will be combined with some policy to cap tax deductions, perhaps at $25,000 or $50,000, with a substantial phase-in and an exemption for charitable contributions.

The harder question is what Republicans will get on the spending side of the deal. But even that’s not such a mystery. There will be a variety of nips and tucks to Medicare, including more cost-sharing and decreases in provider payments, and the headline Democratic concession is likely to be that the Medicare eligibility age rises from 65 to 67.

Krugman wonders if this is true. If it is, it is very bad news.

First, raising the Medicare age is terrible policy. It would be terrible policy even if the Affordable Care Act were going to be there in full force for 65 and 66 year olds,because it would cost the public $2 for every dollar in federal funds saved. And in case you haven’t noticed, Republican governors are still fighting the ACA tooth and nail; if they block the Medicaid expansion, as some will, lower-income seniors will just be pitched into the abyss.

Second, why on earth would Obama be selling Medicare away to raise top tax rates when he gets a big rate rise on January 1 just by doing nothing? And no, vague promises about closing loopholes won’t do it: a rate rise is the real deal, no questions, and should not be traded away for who knows what.

Considering this from Vice President Biden, it looks as though the White House is considering the possibility,

Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that the Obama administration is flexible about raising tax rates on the nation’s highest earners, as long as they do rise.

“There are two irreducible minimum requirements for us,” Biden said at a lunch with Americans who would be affected by the fiscal cliff. “The top brackets have to go up — this is not a negotiable issue; theoretically we can negotiate how far up. But we think it should go — the top rate should go to 39.6%.”

Biden’s remark is the first official acknowledgement by the White House that they are not demanding rates rise to the Clinton-era level as part of an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, carving out space for compromise with Republicans.

As Krugman points out there is no reason for “compromise”. It is stories and tactics like this that drive the Democratic base crazy. Democrats have all the cards. Letting the top marginal tax rates go up for 4% for 10% of the wealthiest Americans is hardly a burden for them. As Ezra Klein also wrote recently an increase in the Medicare age will shift cost to people who can least afford it, Raising Medicare’s age: Saves feds $5.7 billion, costs you $11.4 billion

Raising Medicare’s age: Saves feds $5.7 billion, costs you $11.4 billion

The new gap years from  65- and 66-year-olds would be eligible for subsidized insurance from Obamacare. While that would help, costs for that group – expected to be about 3.3 million people, would go up. While the insurance industry would have more business, the rest of the economy would take a hit. One might also consider that if these people and their employers have to come up with an extra $5 billion dollars for health insurance, that also means less to spend on rent or consumer goods. So ditto for what Krugman said, “If anyone in the White House is seriously thinking along these lines, please stop it right now.” One blogger and even the soapbox at the NYT cannot, alone, make a difference, but hopefully together we can get the White House to not throw away a win for average Americans just to placate the boneheaded centrist fever which so often infects Washington.

According to Republicans the USA must have slipped into some kind of Dr Who time-slip machine in the 1990s because bringing those tax rates back would send America down a Marxist vortex never to be seen again. I’m just trying to capture the general tenor of Republican shrill false outrage. Jonathan Chait, an analyst I usually enjoy reading, wrote a column claiming the compromise on Medicare was not a bad thing. Shame on him for that. He has rejoined the reality based community with this column, The Psychology of Defeat on the Right

Krauthammer expressed his outrage that Obama, using this oh-so-slender victory margin, opened the negotiations by asking for the extortionate sum of $1.6 trillion in higher revenue. (Less than the Bowles-Simpson plan, by the way.) This, fulminates Krauthammer, is “not a negotiating offer but a demand for unconditional surrender.” Krauthammer’s rage is unmitigated by the fact that Obama explicitly and repeatedly offered to negotiate from his opening bid, and that he’s not “demanding” anything except the extension of the tax cuts on income under $250,000, which Republicans also favor.

Krauthammer proceeds to argue that the entire point of the negotiation — or, rather, “demand” — is to humiliate the poor Republicans rather than actually reduce the deficit:

As for the alleged curative effect on debt of Obama’s tax-rate demand — the full rate hike on the “rich” would have reduced the 2012 deficit from $1.10?trillion to $1.02 trillion.

That’s a joke, a rounding error.

It is certainly true that Obama’s proposal would have minimal effect on revenue in year one. In part that’s by design — if it sucked a huge amount of revenue up immediately, Krauthammer would (justifiably) complain that Obama was proposing to induce a new recession. But Obama’s revenue plan would leave a serious dent in the long-term deficit. If Krauthammer doubts this point, I would refer him to six paragraphs earlier in his own column, in which he bemoans the vast $1.6 trillion in higher revenue Obama’s proposal would raise.

Krauthammer fleshes out his charge by noting that “Obama has never shown interest in genuine debt reduction.” The reference to “genuine” debt reduction is Krauthammer way of turning the question from the mathematical definition of debt reduction — the gap between revenue and outlays — to his more congenial one, in which revenue is irrelevant:

Obama has never once publicly suggested a structural cut in entitlements. On the contrary, he created an entirely new entitlement — Obamacare — that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will increase spending by $1.7?trillion over 11 years.

Krauthammer notes that Obamacare “increases spending,” which is true. But he doesn’t note that it reduces the budget deficit, which is a relevant point in the context of Krauthammer’s larger contention that Obama does not care and has never cared about deficits.

 

Chait notes that Krauthammer is the most influential conservative columnists in the US. Krauthammer has been called crazy many times, and malevolent a few. Considering that those are both somewhat subject – though in Chuck’s case good arguments can be made for both – let’s consider another metric. That Chuck Krauthammer is a shameless hypocritical propagandist. Chuck has been both for and against the infamous Paul Ryan (R-WI). In this column he makes it sound as though the Ryan plan was not just some neat accounting tricks, but holy writ, Ryan’s Leap: The budget chairman is right, bold, and vulnerable to demagoguery.

(3) The final charge — cutting taxes for the rich — is the most scurrilous. That would be the same as calling the Ronald Reagan–Bill Bradley 1986 tax reform “cutting taxes for the rich.” In fact, it was designed for revenue neutrality. It cut rates — and for everyone — by eliminating loopholes, including corrupt exemptions and economically counterproductive tax expenditures, to yield what is generally considered by Left and Right an extraordinarily successful piece of economic legislation. ( in this context, by the Left he probably means Joe Lieberman)

Ryan’s plan is classic tax reform — which even Obama says the country needs: It broadens the tax base by eliminating loopholes that, in turn, provide the revenues for reducing rates. Tax reform is one of those rare public policies that produce social fairness and economic efficiency at the same time. For both corporate and individual taxes, Ryan’s plan performs the desperately needed task of cleaning out the myriad accumulated cutouts and loopholes that have choked the tax code since 1986.

First, whenever a conservative describes something as “bold”, grab the kids and head to the basement. Second, let’s remember that a wacky tea smoking Republican House voted on and passed the Ryan plan twice. What was in the numbers, the wow i cannot believe how great the Ryan plan is for deficit reduction and Obama sucks, Ryan Budget Plan Produces Far Less Real Deficit Cutting than Reported. Plan’s $4.3 Trillion in Program Cuts, Offset by $4.2 Trillion in Tax Cuts, Yield Just $155 Billion in Deficit Reduction. Chuck and other conservatives would rather vote for a deficit reduction plan by a Republican that does less to reduce the deficit than the Obama plan, just out of pure childish spite. Obama’s plan reduces the deficit about $3.1 trillion over ten years. Chuck and Congressional conservatives are still selling the tax increase for millionaires hurts the economy snake-oil. They’re driven more by the desire to create a let them eat cake America. The economy sucks, oh well, let the median income family suck it up or die. The death by ideology prescription. Republicans are concerned about keeping a few lazy elitists rich and dis-empowering workers, not about deficits. That is the way to create a plutocracy and undermine a democratic republic,  GOP, Koch Brothers Sneak Attack Guts Labor Rights in Michigan

After Republican leaders announced Thursday morning that they intended to enact so-called “right to work” legislation—which is always better described as “no rights at work” legislation—the Michigan state House voted Thursday afternoon to eliminate basic union organizing and workplace protections that generations of American workers fought to establish. Several hours later, the Michigan state Senate did the same thing, as part of a bold anti-labor initiative launched in coordination with a Koch Brothers–funded Americans for Prosperity project to “pave the way for right to work in states across our nation.”

As the Republicans launched the attack on unions and their members, Americans for Prosperity—a group developed and funded by right-wing industrialists and billionaire campaign donors Charles and David Koch—was in the thick of things. AFP recruited conservatives to show up at the state Capitol in Lansing to counter union protests and prepared materials supporting the Michigan initiative, including a fifteen-page booklet titled “Unions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: How forced unionization has harmed workers and Michigan.” Within minutes of the announcement by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder that Republicans would ram through the “right to work” legislation, AFP was hailing the move in formal statements “as the shot heard around the world for workplace freedom.”

This is a textbook example of how the far Right defines freedom, crashing the rights of ordinary Americans is a freedom that plutocrats like the Koch brothers should be able to enjoy. The Orwellian freedom to destroy the freedom of others. That is how Kentucky senator Rand Paul rationalized his opposition to civil rights law. Basic equality in the commons of commerce is a burden on the freedom of discriminators. Worker rights are an infringement on the rights of bosses. If there is any liberty in this twisted formula it is the freedom to go home and spend your money on more crap like carpet made from plastic to make the Koch brothers richer.

Ocean Waves and Sea Wall wallpaper – Conservatives Count Mendacity As a Value

Ocean Waves and Sea Wall wallpaper

Ocean Waves and Sea Wall wallpaper

 

Lying is part of the human condition. Children start lying or engaging in deceptive behavior as young 2 or 3. Some studies have broken down the lies into type. One is the type of lies children and adults tell everyday. You love your boss’s new idea or sure spending the holidays with your in-laws will be great. Not to brush them off or encourage, those kinds of lies are an inevitable part of life. They might save your job, your relationship and they are frequently used to keep from telling a truth that will hurt someone’s feelings. These lies also generally fall under the personal lies category. They can be earth shattering, but generally are not. Then there are the big lies with consequences. Those big lies told from a massive soap box like a TV network are deceive and hurt millions of people. Bill O’Reilly: The “Judeo-Christian Tradition In This Country Is Under Attack” And Ministers Must Fight Back. if you did one of those people-on-street interviews, most people would probably define Judeo-Christian Tradition as basically embodying the Ten Commandments and you know, that part about lying. Telling that kind of lie to a large audience without any evidence or compelling logic is ironic coming from anyone, much less from a commentator who has made millions telling it like it, being fair and balanced and telling his audience the unvarnished truth. Part of having values, positive ethical values anyway is not something that O’Reilly should be preaching, considering his very recent record alone: Bill O’Reilly Erases Bush’s Debt To Launch False Attack On Obama

Bill O’Reilly deleted almost the entire tenure of George W. Bush to falsely allege that President Obama has borrowed more money than all past presidents combined.

During his Fox News program, O’Reilly criticized Obama over the size of the national debt and claimed, “It is hard to believe, but in the last four years, the Obama administration has borrowed more money than every other president combined.” Yet O’Reilly then described that time frame as being “from George Washington through the first five months of Bush the younger’s administration.”

Perhaps O’Reilly chose to exclude the majority of Bush’s presidency to avoid acknowledging that the national debt nearly doubled during Bush’s two terms. According to the Treasury Department’s daily debt calculator, when Bush took office on January 20, 2001, total debt stood at $5.728 trillion. The national debt on January 20, 2009, Bush’s last day in office, was $10.627 trillion.

O’Reilly claims Obama “borrowed more money than every other president combined”; if this were true, Obama would have added more than $10.627 trillion to the debt during his tenure. But as of publishing, the Treasury Department calculator states the debt is $16.338 trillion — which means it increased less than six trillion dollars under Obama.

Spending during the Obama presidency has been smaller as a percent of GDP than under Bush and a Republican Congress (chart via the NYT). O’Reilly also joined in the same interview spreading the much repeated lie by conservatives that Sandra Fluke thought the gov’mint should  hand out free contraceptives to everyone. Which is not a bad idea. Conservatives keep saying they are concerned about illegitimate births and abortion, well free contraceptives are one way to help lower those rates. They also took the opportunity to repeat the Romney campaign lie that President ahead gutted the work requirement rules in order to receive income assistance for families with children. O’Reilly, Krauthammer, Limbaugh and Romney have all used their extraordinary public access to sell themselves to the American public as pillars of values. What values would those be. Are the Big Lies they tell, and tell often part of those values or are they part of the deep moral corruption of the conservative movement. O’Reilly and all the usual conservative blogs recently suffered an episode of Republican Exploding Head Syndrome when Fordham banned Ann Coulter from speaking. The only problem with that is that O’Reilly and company were telling the country they claim to care so much about, another lie, O’Reilly lies about Fordham. No one “banned” Ann Coulter from Fordham. Why would O’Reilly besmirch a Catholic school like that?

The debacle should have been embarrassing for the prime-time host of a top-rated if now flailing news show. But O’Reilly reunited with Watters in the studio, after Watters did all the work on the segment, however poorly, and they yucked it up on set. “I asked McShane … Mr. McShane or Dr. McShane or whatever you are … to come on the show,” he said. Actually, Bill, we call him Father McShane, for the record. But O’Reilly said he couldn’t get the university president to appear because, of course,  “you can’t defend this.”

In fact, you can’t defend it,  because it didn’t happen. But you can explain the facts, as McShane did in his original letter to campus, and in his follow-up letter praising the college Republicans for voluntarily rescinding their invitation to a woman who’s gotten rich on hating and baiting, rather than on reason and discourse.

 

If O’Reilly and his cronies want to sit around the house enveloped in the intoxicating cloud of conservative spin, slander and character assassination – well that would not be in accordance with the Christianity or Judaism that most of us are familiar with; nor would it be an example of living one’s life according to some honorable standard. But hey, it’s his life and they say it’s a free country, so they’re welcome to do that. When they repeat these whoppers over and over again in the cause of their ever so moral and righteous political movement, that means they’ve crossed the line into being dangerous zealots. These conservatives are not examples for the nations to follow, they’re daily examples of the kind of sleazebag you hope your children do not grow up to be.

I still pissed at the WaPo’s Dana Milbank for a recent column, but he might have made a good catch here, Conservatives Surrender

One of Boehner’s lieutenants, Pete Roskam of Illinois, stepped to the microphones, essentially pleading for the president to show mercy. “President Obama has an unbelievable opportunity to be a transformational president — that is, to bring the country together,” he said. “Or he can devolve into zero-sum-game politics, where he wins and other people lose.”

The last time president Obama and Democrats tried reaching out to Republicans, the experts in hostage taking, did just that. And gloated about how they’d do it again. Then we had that little election thingy. The results made Republicans pick between a tiny tax hike for some lazy plutocrats and give American workers the social safety net shaft. Cons decided that the tax cuts for plutocrats were holy. Now they can reap what they sowed.

Olive Garden Suffering From Bad PR After Anti-Obamacare Comments

Darden Restaurants, Inc. — owner of Red Lobster and Olive Garden — is battling back negative press attention in light of its October announcement that the company will use Obamacare as a reason to shift to part-time employees.

On Tuesday, the company released a statement revising down its prediction of profits, which led to a huge drop in stocks. Darden attributed the change to the negative attention around its stance on Obamacare, and promised to deal with the health care reform law “in ways that work for our employees“:

“In light of these upcoming changes, we are being cautious about our sales and earnings forecast for the full year,” [Darden’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Clarence Otis] continued. “Our outlook for the year also reflects the potential impact, though difficult to measure, of recent negative media coverage that focused on Darden within the full-service segment and how we might accommodate healthcare reform.” [..]

“We are also committed to accommodating healthcare reform in ways that work for our employees and guests. Darden is a strong business which continues to generate solid cash flows that will support appropriate reinvestment in our brands, effective debt management and consistent dividend growth.”

Darden Inc. made $476m in net income this year. So they could spend $50 million on employee health insurance and still have net income over $400 million. Clarence Otis/Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer made over $8 million in compensation.

NOTE TO WORDPRESS: Have one of your programmers do a post similar to this with graphics and block quotes – make sure it is about this length. I don’t know what you have done, but lately posting is a nightmare.

Snowed in Holiday wallpaper – Republicans Have an Austerity Bomb Counter Offer, Raise Middle-Class Taxes 4%

winter, snow, mountains, cabins

Snowed in Holiday wallpaper

I could just post this heder and my job would be almost be done for the day, Boehner Counter Offer To Obama Includes Higher Medicare Age, Social Security Benefit Cut. Which is mostly what conservative bloggers do. This is a good example. Ashley Judd is considering a run for the Senate against Mad Dog Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Not a bad idea. She is knowledgeable, articulate and a genuine populist. Three things that cannot be said for Mad Dog. After reading that I checked a couple of  conservative bloggers. Their total and in-depth commentary consisted of Hollywood lib to run for senate, anti-gun lib to run and moonbat. These same bloggers have shown a remarkable love of conservation; they have been conserving their great insights in American politics, culture, history, math, economics and public policy for the seven plus years I have been writing this blog. How the party that gave us corrupt airheads from Hollywood such as Ronald Regan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Bono and Fred Gandy ( formerly of the series The Love Boat) can be so dismissive of someone just because they are an actor, singer, producer, business woman, is strange. Anyway, why the smoke and mirrors that the Speaker of the House, no less, says is a serious offer is a wingless plane, What’s Wrong With the Republican Austerity Bomb Counteroffer

1. It’s not really a proposal — it’s just a set of headline numbers without specific policies. The letter says Republicans want to cut $900 billion from mandatory spending and $300 billion from discretionary spending(Raising Medicare’s age: Saves feds $5.7 billion, costs you $11.4 billion), but they don’t say what or how they want to cut. The letter nods toward a proposal sketched out by Erskine Bowles, the cornerstone of which is a gradual increase in the Medicare age, but it lacks specifics.

On the tax side, they agree to $800 billion in new revenue from “pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates.” But they don’t endorse specific loophole closures or propose a new rate structure.

Capping itemized deductions is part of the smoke. That might cost a few millionaires a few bucks, but is hardly the kind of revenue that will close a $500 billion gap compared to what the President has offered.

3. The proposal does not fully avert the fiscal cliff. Republicans describe their proposals as a way to “avert the fiscal cliff.” But this proposal would only partly delay the implementation of austerity measures (tax increases and spending cuts) into future years when the economy is stronger.

Some parts of the Republican approach to cliff aversion are clear. The plan would continue the vast majority of the Bush tax cuts. I assume Republicans would agree to generally uncontroversial items: patching the Alternative Minimum Tax, implementing a “doc fix” to prevent a sharp drop in Medicare reimbursement rates, and extending corporate tax provisions that require periodic renewal.

But the $1.2 trillion in “sequestration” spending cuts wouldn’t be averted; instead they would apparently be replaced by other cuts to entitlement programs and discretionary spending. While mandatory spending cuts (such as a Medicare age increase) would likely be backloaded by design, Republicans need to make clear that they are willing to backload the discretionary spending cuts, too; otherwise, they will constitute a near-term austerity measure.

The letter also says nothing about the payroll tax holiday or extended unemployment insurance benefits, both of which Republicans likely want to sunset. As such, this proposal only constitutes a partial aversion of the fiscal cliff, which would mean a drag on economic growth in 2013.

Boehner’s proposal actually raises taxes on the middle class and working poor. Only about 4%, but I don’t know any households that making the national median (about $52k) that can really spare paying 4% more in taxes, not right now anyway. And of course Boehner and conservatives are willing to raise taxes on everyone, but the top 1%. It is as though any attempts to raise taxes on those incomes the same rate they were paying in the 1990s was some kind of sacrilege. One would think, or in regards Republicans, wish that they would stop jerking the American people around. They are after all, the gravely serious people who know stuff. Instead we get the same recycled  nonsense,

“The new revenue in the Bowles plan would not be achieved through higher tax rates, which we continue to oppose and will not agree to in order to protect small businesses and our economy,” the Republican letter said. “Instead, new revenue would be generated through pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates.”

This is pure unadulterated bunk. Small business? Letting the Bush tax cuts expire will not hurt small business. Conservatives have been playing this combination tax paranoia/faux populist card for years. As a matter of fact letting the tax cuts for the lite expire will increase GDP. If tax cuts were the magic elixir for growth we should all be sitting on the pots of gold we had let over from the Bush-era. This brightly colored story book tale of taxes is part of the conservative Big Lie. It doesn’t matter how many studies show it is not true, they’re sticking with it. If that means making America’s working class retire two or three years later or cutting Medicare, its worth it so that Mitt can buy another elevator for his cars. And it is like the president’s centrist budget ( by no means is it a progressive budget) is going to hurt the wealthy corporations that conservatives are frantically trying to protect are going to going begging, Corporate Profits Hit Record High While Worker Wages Hit Record Low and Apple, Google, Microsoft Avoid Taxes By Keeping Billions In Profits Offshore.

Some very good news, Elizabeth Warren(D-MA) Wins Senate Banking Committee Seat: Sources

Conservatives have already tried the usual blame shifting. The public is not buying it, POLL: Americans Fear The Fiscal Cliff, Expect The Fiscal Cliff, and Blame Republicans For The Fiscal Cliff Though the public is mistaken to be overly concerned. If the Bush tax cuts and the Obama tax cuts expire, the effects will not kick in right away. It might even be a good thing. It will force Republicans to  negotiate cuts for the wealthy in the first quarter of next year. They could choose to vote against payroll tax cuts for the middle-class, and then try running on that in the 2014 mid-terms. That would be fun to watch.

Winter Snow wallpaper – The Cult of Conservatism Discards Facts and Humanity in Favor of Ideological Purity

winter snow

Railroad Snow wallpaper

tree snow, fence and winter snow, holiday

Rail Fence Winter Snow wallpaper

In the total scheme of things former representative Allen West is not very important. It is not much more important than Joe the UnCertified Plumber (Sam Wurzelbacher), remember him? West will become another Sarah Palin, throwing flames from the benches while he lives on the nice retirement and medical benefits provided by tax payers, and makes the rounds of the wing-nut welfare circuit. That he is a good example, almost conservative textbook of the bubble of cognitive dissonance in which conservatives live. Allen West Thinks He is Just Another Abraham Lincoln 

WEST: Well, I think the most important thing that has to happen up here in Washington D.C. is to restore honor, integrity, and character to the political system and process that we have. And also, we have to make sure that people are here for, not their self-interest or special interests, but for the American interest.

Like the movement to which he belongs, West has some disturbing ideas about what exactly constitutes honor, integrity and character. He was discharged from the military for violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice . Unlike the regular character assassinations in which West engages the military went out of its way to be more than far, otherwise West would have been Court marshaled and not eligible for his military retirement benefits. West learned nothing from the generosity from which he benefited. During his tenure as a Congressional representative he told an audience of supporters there were 80 House Democrats that belonged to the Communist Party. As usual, there was no burden of proof on West. If a Democrats had said that they knew that 80 Republican members of Congress belonged to the Nazi Party, they would have flogged by other Democrats and the media. West does adhere to the beliefs of what historian William Paxton called proto-fascism. West joined in with the general hysteria of the radical Right when he called the Dream Act a voter fraud conspiracy. Part and parcel of the Right’s eliminationist rhetoric. West also claimed that food stamps, typically an allowance of about $4.00 a day for the working poor, a form of “enslavement”. This is the bizzaro world of conservatism – people are not seeking better paying jobs because of the high life they live on $4 a day. never mind that if companies like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Papa Johns paid a living wage people would not need food assistance. In the same vein West also said Obama supporters are a “threat to the gene pool”. I know a pretty wide range of Obama supporters from office cubicle jockeys to nurses, retired military to scientists to truck drivers. None of them are perfect, but they are basically good hard-working Americans. I have never heard one of them slander conservatives in the same way that WW II era fascist did to Jews, intellectuals, homosexuals and labor unions. During the election cycle conservatives kept denying that Republicans had declared war on women or gays, West told a conservative conference that liberal women “have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness’ and West criticized openly gay Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) congressional tenure earlier this year. “[He’s] a guy who for all practical purposes should be in a pink jumpsuit for what he did.” West doesn’t want gay men wearing pink triangles, he just wants them to wear pink jumpsuits. West might be one of the most vocal and obnoxious members of the radical Right, but he is far from special. Unfortunately, the conservative movement is filled with Allens. Allen West and his clones would probably be considered honorable, have integrity and character on some planet, just not earth.

Conservative pundits have no sense of shame or remorse for the lies they shoved down America’s throat, FLASHBACK: When Krauthammer Excused Condi Rice For Pushing “Defective” Iraq War Intelligence

With the Republican witch hunt against Ambassador Susan Rice showing no signs of abating as they try to derail her possible nomination as Secretary of State, let’s consider some additional context surrounding the attacks and examine how Charles Krauthammer has altered his view on the central issue.

This is from a Washington Post column he wrote in January 2005, expressing dismay that Democrats were raising doubts about Condoleezza Rice’s qualifications to be Secretary of State, in the wake of her role in marketing the Iraq War [emphasis added]:

Mark Dayton of Minnesota accused her of lying in order to persuade the American people to go to war — a charge that is not just false but that most Americans don’t believe. Rice was not a generator of intelligence. She was a consumer — of a highly defective product.

Note the very specific point Krauthammer made as he tried to minimize Rice’s central role in the unpopular invasion. The columnist and Fox News talker stressed that Rice didn’t generate the intelligence about Iraq, which turned out to be “high defective,” she merely consumed it.

And because she had merely consumed, and then marketed, bad intelligence about Iraq (“We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”), Condoleezza Rice wasn’t really culpable, which according to Krauthammer meant Democrats were misguided in their criticism of her.

Fascinating.

Of course, that conservative spin now seems entirely disingenuous given the fact that a legion of right-wing pundits, including most of the Fox News on-air staff, are waging a war against Susan Rice not for being a “generator” of defective intelligence about the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, but for consuming it.

Related to the concerted and baseless attacks on Amb. Susan Rice is the possibility she will be the next Secretary of State. While she is qualified for the position and would make a good SOS, John Kerry (D-MA) is also said to be in the running. Whether Rice becomes SOS or not is not all that important. There are plenty of qualified Democrats for that position. Though making Kerry SOS seems like an awful idea. That means a Democratic seat in the Senate will be up for special election. Kerry himself should make it known that it is a terrible idea. he is a very good Senator and losing him would weaken a currently strong Democratic Senate. How is it that Democratic leadership has not let it be known how counter productive this would be. Since leadership at least stops by Kos and Talking Points Memo I wish that someone over there would make the case to go with Rice and just about anyone else but a Democratic Senator. And certainly Bush’s then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice knowingly lied to Congress and the public about Iraq. For her lies, or incompetence, Bush awarded her with the job as SOS. Just as Allen West has some dark perverse ideas about honor, conservatives in general have some wacky ideas about merit.

The Republican Speaker of the House is like one of those monkeys with their hands over their ears and eyes, clueless: John Boehner(R-OH), No ‘Difference’ If Revenue Comes From Middle Class Or Super Rich

CHIRS WALLACE (HOST): You talked about the fact that the President won and you came out with a concession the day after the election and they point out that the president campaigned on raising tax rates, you know, and it was the big issue, between him and Romney, and, they say, just as he had to cave, after your victory, in the 2010 midterms, now, it is your turn to cave on tax rates.

BOEHNER: Listen, what is this difference where the money comes from? We put $800 billion worth of revenue, which is what he is asking for, out of eliminating the top two tax rates. But, here’s the problem, Chris, when you go and increase tax rates, you make it more difficult for our economy to grow, after that income, the small business income, it is going to get taxed at a higher rate and as a result we’re gonna see slower economic growth, we can’t cut our way out of this problem, nor can we grow our way out of the problem, we have to have a balanced approach and what the President wants to do will slow or economy at a time when he says he wants the economy to grow and create jobs.

Despite Boehner’s rhetoric, there is no economic evidence to suggest that taxing income above $250,000 hurts the economy. In fact, business thrived during President Clinton’s tenure, as the wealthy paid more.

There is a clear “difference” to where the “money comes from,” however, and asking higher-income Americans who have benefited the most to pay more is fairer than gutting critical entitlement programs during a slow economic recovery. While middle-class incomes have stagnated, America’s top income bracket has enjoyed a period of exceptionally low tax rates thanks largely to caps on investment income and tax cuts put in place by former president George W. Bush. These super-rich Americans have fared well under President Obama, too; corporate profits are skyrocketing and the total number of millionaires in the US has exploded during his term.

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The conservative movement’s beliefs are akin to flat earthers or people who thought the moon was made out of cheese. No scientific evidence to contrary will convince them to give up their weird dogma. We just had senate Republican leadership try to suppress yet another report showing no connection between low taxes and increased economic prosperity. Here McConnell (R-KY), in his new counter offer to President Obama, would rather raise the Social Security retirement age than make the Koch brothers pay 3.5% more in taxes.