The Government Shut-down and Why We Need Better Pundits

This opinion from The Guardian is one of those examples of Why We Need a New Press Pundits Corp, Democrats won’t win a ‘blame the GOP’ game on the shutdown and debt ceiling. Consumer confidence is crashing. If the economy goes south because of default fears, President Obama will be the big loser

So, people currently blame the Republicans more than anyone else for the government shutdown, but predicting the long-term political fallout is not as easy as that suggests. For one thing, the latest CBS News poll shows that while slightly more people believe the Republicans are at fault, a majority of them are upset with both sides for the inability to avert this crisis.

The real story is not revealed by people’s view of the politicians; it’s contained in the indices of economic sentiment. Gallup finds that Americans’ confidence in the economy has dropped like a rock, from -20pt just before the shutdown, to -35pt now. And it would not be surprising to see that measure continue to fall over coming days, with the deadline for raising the debt ceiling looming in ten days’ time.

This is not a story about deep detective work that ultimately turns up the perpetrator. We know who is to blame. It was conservative billionaire money and they planned on having this shut-down, at least since President Obama was reelected. The writer of that column  Harry J Enten is one of the reasons blame either shifts or fades away, because they make it sound plausible that both sides share some of the blame. These far Right conservatives are so extreme they threatened to take out rabid far Right conservatives like Aaron Shcock (R-IL). Mr. Enten wants to be one of those kool moderates who isn’t afraid to call out both sides. Only that is an utterly false narrative. From 2000 to 2008 conservatives cut taxes and ran up the largest deficit in modern history. They crashed the economy with a combination of negligence and maliciousness.


Conservative bloggers, politicians and pundits have conveniently forgotten or suffer from the usual cognitive dissonance when it comes to their economic legacy, an historic shafting of the American people. The most that journo-pundits like Harry can come up with is, look at these polls and hey blame may shift. Facts remain facts.

Harry is looking damn competent compared to some weirdo web-site called The Independent Journal Review ( Independent? It is peppered with gossipy hateful posts just like Free Republic and and other gutters of the conservative web) from which we get this startling super scientific poll, Poll: 62% of the American People Oppose More Debt Without Slashing Government Spending

The poll, conducted by a bipartisan team of polling firms surveying 952 registered voters on land lines and cell phones, was conducted on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. The margin of error is 3 percent.

They put their full confidence in this poorly done poll, but not Nobel Prize winners that say austerity does not work and we are having climate change. Conservatives say they are not dumb so that only leaves two excuses, they’re liars or malevolent cranks. President Obama and Democrats have gotten the debt left by conservatives, under control:


The red line that climbed like a rocket, with a little dip, that started climbing again, that was conservative economics or conservative hypocrisy or conservative voodoo at work, take your pick. President Obama takes office and even in the worse recession since the Great Depression, starts to get the deficit under control – and that is with the stimulus and payroll tax cuts passed by Democrats. No one should care what 952 low information voters think, we should all be caring about the facts.

Joel B. Pollak of tells the world what it is like to have a fantasy dinner party with libruls. He really should get his doctor to renew his meds prescription.

Who is to blame for the government shutdown and budget crisis

Some of the conservative movement’s greatest minds on the government shutdown and blame shifting,

Sean Hannity ( Rush Limbaugh Jr.): Calls Shutdown “The Worst Of The Worst” Then Urges GOP Not To Compromise and Asks “Who Wants This?”. Sean’s triple somersault and back-flip answered below.

Jeff Duncan (R), South Carolina: “I believe Obamacare has shut down America, so I’d rather shut down the government than continue doing what we’re doing, which is penalizing businesses and families in this country.” Well the ACA has been initiated in parts over the last four years. The parts the public has seen and used, they like it so far. If Jeff, one of the dumbest to ever serve in Congress, who owes his constituents a refund for the $179k he is getting from tax payers, going to repeal the part that let’s young adults up to age 26 stay on their parents insurance or is he going to repeal the part that says people with preexisting conditions can no longer get insurance. Or maybe it wants the 30 million families now getting a discount to start paying higher premiums.

Marlin Stutzman (R), Indiana: “We aren’t going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” Marlin had to hire a personal baby sitter to help him tie his shoes in the morning and clean his knuckles after a hard day of dragging them around. Marlin thinks American values come in a plastic bag in the freezer section at the local discount mart and he only buys them when they’re on sale.

There are plenty more, but we’ll end with Paul Broun(R), Georgia: “[The Democrats] need to look in the mirror, because they’re the ones to blame. They’re the ones that shut the government down.” We’ve all seen the TV shows and the movies where the hostage takers ask for ransom. Paul always blames the families for the death of the hostage because he feels very deeply, with great conviction, that if only the families would cooperate these kinds of tragedies would be averted. Hostage taker ( conservatives) are never to blame in Broun World. The people would voted for Broun subsidize his and his families health insurance, so they deserve to live in their circle of shameless hypocrisy.

Who is to blame? A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

“We felt very strongly at the start of this year that the House needed to use the power of the purse,” said one coalition member, Michael A. Needham, who runs Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation. “At least at Heritage Action, we felt very strongly from the start that this was a fight that we were going to pick.”

Last week the country witnessed the fallout from that strategy: a standoff that has shuttered much of the federal bureaucracy and unsettled the nation.

To many Americans, the shutdown came out of nowhere. But interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known.

I have heard conservatives try desperately to make the case that this is democracy at work – in between deflecting blame. No, it is not democracy at work, it is the government being hijacked by a radical minority. How have bills been passed and repealed for mos of this nation’s history? You vote them into law and the president signs that bill. Conservatives cannot get a bill passed that repeals or replaces the Affordable Care Act ( Obamacare). Having failed, they are now holding the economy hostage. Conservatives, who tend to live in an echo chamber anyway, say that the majority of the American people are on their side. That is both delusional and a lie. Many Americans are desperate for all the benefits of Obamacare to kick in. And while the exchanges did not get off to a perfect start – you know much like private sector customer service that has driven us all crazy at one time or another, interests in getting insurance is high.

Conservatives have also thrown in the usual shrill panic about the deficit – the deficit that is largely a legacy of conservative economic policy, has been coming down steadily under Obama’s presidency.

American Conservatives Hook Up With Foreigners To Discredit Global Warming

There are a few fundamental bricks in the conservative wall of truth. One is that anything and anyone who is non-white, non-USA in origin is probably evil and part of the One World Gov’mint Conspiracy. Yet News Corp. which has become a cornerstone of the conservative noise machine is owned by two four’ners, Rupert Murdoch and the second largest holder of News Corp. stock Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king. There are a few conservatives on the internet claiming that Fox News is not conservative enough because of the Prince bin Talal connection, but certainly not the conservative establishment. Now comes yet another connections between conservatives and non-American influence on public policy and science, Global warming sceptics using media campaign to discredit IPCC.

Lord Lawson’s campaign group for climate change sceptics, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has been executing a carefully co-ordinated campaign with its media and political allies to discredit and misrepresent the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

On 27 September, the IPCC published the final draft of the Summary for Policymakers from working group I’s contribution on the physical science basis of climate change for its Fifth Assessment Report.

The official launch of the IPCC document was held in Stockholm, but London became the centre of the universe for climate change sceptics as they sought to exploit the UK’s influential media market.

The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based lobby group for free market fundamentalists, teamed up with a like-minded UK organisation, Civitas, to stage a press conference in London on the same day in an attempt to steal some of the limelight from the IPCC report.

As leaked internal documents revealed last year, Heartland has been paying retired scientists to produce a campaign document for sceptics under the title of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

Two of its authors, Fred Singer and Robert Carter, were invited to London for the Civitas press conference and to exploit the practice by some editors to create a “false balance” by putting up a sceptic to counter the view of climate researchers.

The BBC jumped at the chance and Carter and Singer were soon touring the studios at Broadcasting House giving back-to-back interviews. Radio 4’s The World At One even gave Carter more airtime than the IPCC.

BBC editors appeared to be unaware that Carter and Singer are paid by the Heartland Institute, which gained worldwide notoriety last year for a billboard campaign that associated the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and Charles Manson with a belief in global warming.

The Heartland Institute itself is part of the enormous and well funded conservative astroturf that puts out highly suspect reports to just plain tales of fantasy. They are in turn a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is the modern day version of the smoke filled political backroom – they’re the money people – the ones who can and do fill the coffers of conservatives who carry their water, or in a few instances, punish a Republican who might for instance suggest that climate change was a real possibility. ALEC is not a stand alone entity, but is part of the Koch brothers network of influence – the billionaire brothers who are always complaining about how tough they have it and the USA is going to hell in a hand-basket because politicians don’t just take dictation from them and legislate accordingly. The long history of conservatives believing in nefarious conspiracies and complex entanglements is really just a weird projection of their own corrupt and anti-Democratic agenda.

The Government Shutdown Is As Certain As The 2014 Downfall of Conservatives

Oak Meadow wallpaper

Oak Meadow wallpaper

NMMNB is not optimistic about the government shutdown crisis, Why Republicans are not going to get the blame they deserve.

The reason is that the mainstream political world is heavily invested in the notion that the GOP is a sane, rational, responsible party. We know this because every time the GOP has utterly failed as a party in the past few decades, it’s gotten a do-over almost immediately. Everyone in the political mainstream agrees that the GOP should get a mulligan every time it fails.

[  ]…George W. Bush disgraced himself in office; his party lost Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008. Again, not to worry: almost instantly, the GOP was rebranded, first as the party of “pizza summit” moderation (led by the digraced ex-president’s brother), then as the home of the tea party, which swept congressional, state, and local elections in 2010.

There is some unfortunate truths there. If our culture and political system worked the way it should, conservatives should constitute a tiny marginalized minority of the kind of true believers that no amount of reason can penetrate the tin foil. The Iraq debacle alone is cause for that. The financial collapse of 2007 was the culmination of 25 years of conservative supply side deregulation mania. The reason these calamities do not stick, at least one reason, is the powers of denial of the radical Right base. Iraq? Well Bush meant well and hey, he did kill a lot of Muslim even if the reasons were based on lies about WMD and conspiracy theories about a Muslim takeover of the world. Conservatives blamed the Great Recession on  one individual congressman and Fannie May. Nothing is ever their fault in the conservative river of denial, For a political movement that claims to be all about individual responsibility, they are amazingly adept at denying or talking responsibility for any wrong doing, for any disasters caused by their philosophy. Though as far as the impending and almost certain government shutdown, there is a bright spot. As Steve notes conservatives took a terrible beating in 2008. While they picked up the House in 2010 – largely through gerrymandering, they took a beating then as well. The independent voters and some  – lets call them Clinton conservatives – tend to have a throw the bums out attitude after a big screw-up like Iraq and the financial collapse, so while I would rather win another way, conservatives are setting up Democrats to win the House back in 2014. There is going to be a lot of economic pain between now and then – and it very much looks like those voters who swing elections, are going to punish conservatives, POLL: Voters Are ‘Unmoved’ By Government Shutdown Drama, Still Don’t Want To Delay Obamacare ( note the voice of Clinton conservatives)

Morning Consult’s results track with earlier research that has found that most Americans want to give the health reform law an opportunity to work. A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and USA Today found that even when Americans don’t support Obamacare, they still want lawmakers to try to make it work rather than try to undermine it. And Morning Consult’s last tracking poll found that even Republicans don’t favor defunding the health law.

And if the government does end up being forced to shut down because of Republican brinkmanship over Obamacare, the majority of voters say they’ll put “a lot” of the blame on GOP lawmakers in Congress. According to the new poll, nearly eight in 10 independent voters say they’ll blame congressional Republicans for a shutdown.

This is the point at which I’m supposed to say bring it on House conservatives. I’m not because the American people, regardless of politics have seen too much hard times. I do not have to hope conservatives will be punished at the polls because they certainly will be punished, even if it only by those thin margins created by the middle and the short term memory of the few remaining moderate Republicans. Ted Cruz and his tea smoking fans can gloat all they want the next few weeks, hey enjoy it while you can, because the party is over and you only have yourselves to blame.

Conservatism is a Synonym for Hostage Taker

 Cathedral Bridge wallpaper

 Cathedral Bridge wallpaper

I’ve suspected that Mitch McConnell (Repug-KY) was some kind of automated android made by the Koch brothers, for years. This android has been programmed to repeat the same doggerel over and over regardless of the facts:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared Tuesday that Republicans intend to use the debt limit as “leverage” to extract concessions from Democrats, setting up a direct confrontation with President Barack Obama, who has vowed that raising the debt limit is non-negotiable.

The bulk of the deficit was in fact run up by McConnell (R-KY) and his fellow kool-aid drinkers, and Obama has paid too much attention to bringing the deficit down in order to appease the radical right tea smokers and conservative Democrats. It is all the same old tiresome sky is falling BS. These are the conservative ransom demands,

We’ll refrain from deliberately sabotaging the global economy, Speaker John Boehner and the other leaders said, if President Obama allows more oil drilling on federal lands. And drops regulations on greenhouse gases. And builds the Keystone XL oil pipeline. And stops paying for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And makes it harder to sue for medical malpractice. And, of course, halts health care reform for a year.

The list would be laughable if the threat were not so serious. A failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause a default on government debt, shattering the world’s faith in Treasury bonds as an investment vehicle and almost certainly bringing on another economic downturn. Unlike a government shutdown, a default could leave the Treasury without enough money to pay Social Security benefits or the paychecks of troops.

The full effects remain unknown because no Congress has ever allowed the government to go over the brink before. The Government Accountability Office estimated that simply by threatening to default in 2011, Republicans cost taxpayers $1.3 billion in higher interest payments because of that uncertainty. The 10-year cost of those higher-interest bonds is $18.9 billion.

Conservatives are obviously not fiscally conservative in the vain of being prudent with the nations’ wealth and resources. On the contrary, they would rather sink the ship than act like reasonable representatives of the people’s interests. And no, in no way do far right conservatives represent the interests of the people. The Great Recession pulled back the curtain on the Right’s fake populism. They fought tooth and nail to protect the bankers who caused the financial collapse, fighting then and now against even modest financial reform.

How The Capital Created By American Families is Redistributed to Plutocratic Corporations

Add It Up: The Average American Family Pays $6,000 a Year in Subsidies to Big Business

That’s over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It’s $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy.

The $6,000 figure is an average, which means that low-income families are paying less. But it also means that families (households) making over $72,000 are paying more than $6,000 to the corporations.

1. $870 for Direct Subsidies and Grants to Companies

The Cato Institute estimates that the U.S. federal government spends $100 billion a year on corporate welfare. That’s an average of $870 for each one of America’s 115 million families. Cato notes that this includes “cash payments to farmers and research funds to high-tech companies, as well as indirect subsidies, such as funding for overseas promotion of specific U.S. products and industries…It does not include tax preferences or trade restrictions.”

It does include payments to 374 individuals on the plush Upper East Side of New York City, and others who own farms, including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Ted Turner. Wealthy heir Mark Rockefeller received $342,000 to NOT farm, to allow his Idaho land to return to its natural state.

It also includes fossil fuel subsidies, which could be anywhere from $10 billion to $41 billion per year for research and development. Yet this may be substantially underestimated. The IMF reports U.S. fossil fuel subsidies of $502 billion, which would be almost $4,400 per U.S. family by taking into account “the effects of energy consumption on global warming [and] on public health through the adverse effects on local pollution.” According to Grist, even this is an underestimate.

2. $696 for Business Incentives at the State, County, and City Levels

The subsidies mentioned above are federal subsidies. A New York Times investigation found that states, counties and cities give up over $80 billion each year to companies, with beneficiaries coming from “virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.”

$80 billion a year is $696 for every U.S. family. But the Times notes that “The cost of the awards is certainly far higher.”

3. $722 for Interest Rate Subsidies for Banks

According to the Huffington Post, the “U.S. Government Essentially Gives The Banks 3 Cents Of Every Tax Dollar.” They cite research that calculates a nearly 1 percent benefit to banks when they borrow, through bonds and customer deposits and other liabilities. This amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion, or about $722 from every American family.

The wealthiest five banks — JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs — account for three-quarters of the total subsidy. The Huffington Post article notes that without the taxpayer subsidy, those banks would not make a profit. In other words, “the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.”

4. $350 for Retirement Fund Bank Fees

This was a tough one to calculate. Demos reports that over a lifetime, bank fees can “cost a median-income two-earner family nearly $155,000 and consume nearly one-third of their investment returns.” Fees are well over one percent a year.

However, the Economic Policy Institute notes that the average middle-quintile retirement account is $34,981. A conservative one percent annual management fee translates to about $350 per family. This, again, is an average; many families have no retirement account. But many families pay much more than 1% in annual fees.

5. $1,268 for Overpriced Medications

According to Dean Baker, “government granted patent monopolies raise the price of prescription drugs by close to $270 billion a year compared to the free market price.” This represents an astonishing annual cost of over $2,000 to an average American family.

OECD figures on pharmaceutical expenditures reveal that Americans spend almost twice the OECD average on drugs, an additional $460 per capita. This translates to $1,268 per household.

6. $870 for Corporate Tax Subsidies

We’ve heard a lot about tax avoidance and tax breaks for the super-rich. With regard to corporations alone, the Tax Foundation has concluded that their “special tax provisions” cost taxpayers over $100 billion per year, or $870 per family. Corporate benefits include items such as Graduated Corporate Income, Inventory Property Sales, Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, Accelerated Depreciation, and Deferred taxes.

Once again, it may be even worse. Citizens for Tax Justice cite a Government Accountability Office report that calculated a loss to the Treasury of $181 billion from corporate tax expenditures. That would be almost $1,600 per family.

7. $1,231 for Revenue Losses from Corporate Tax Havens

U.S. PIRG recently reported that the average 2012 taxpayer paid an extra $1,026 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost from offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. With 138 million taxpayers (1.2 per household), that comes to $1,231 per household.

Much More Than an Insult

Overall, American families are paying an annual $6,000 subsidy to corporations that have doubled their profits and cut their taxes in half in ten years while cutting 2.9 million jobs in the U.S. and adding almost as many jobs overseas.

This is more than an insult. It’s a devastating attack on the livelihoods of tens of millions of American families. And Congress just lets it happen.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License by
Paul Buchheit   

Paul is a bright guy and maybe this time they have some solid numbers, but i generally do not trust any statistics from CATO. They are a Right-leaning libertarian think tank.

Conservatives are going to play the coming fight over the debt ceiling a few ways. One is that it is Obama’s fault for not compromising – and we all know that conservatives define compromise as giving them everything they want or they’ll throw another temper tantrumn. One other angle is that they really do not want a shut0-down, but Democrats are giving them no choice, that would also be a lie since the conservative money machine wants a shut-down, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis

Good ammunition in those arguments with Obamascare cons who swear the world is about to end, Obamacare explained. With maps! The curve the ACA was designed to bend is already bending

Conservatives Who Have Bungled Foreign Policy For Years, Have No Humility on Syria

Summer Flowers wallpaper

Summer Flowers wallpaper


MoJo goes out of their way to present all the sides – Democrats for and against, Cons for and against, Bombing Syria: A Running Guide to the Debate. I recommend reading the whole article and their on-going updates, but here are a couple items that stand out,

Steven Cook, a senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, published a piece in the Washington Post on Friday contending that an assault on Syria would do far more damage than good. Cook, who previously had recognized a case for intervention, wrote:

The formidable U.S. armed forces could certainly damage Assad’s considerably less potent military. But in an astonishing irony that only the conflict in Syria could produce, American and allied cruise missiles would be degrading the capability of the regime’s military units to the benefit of the al-Qaeda-linked militants fighting Assad—the same militants whom U.S. drones are attacking regularly in places such as Yemen. Military strikes would also complicate Washington’s longer-term desire to bring stability to a country that borders Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. Unlike Yugoslavia, which ripped itself apart in the 1990s, Syria has no obvious successor states, meaning there would be violence and instability in the heart of the Middle East for many years to come.

While others have pointed out that the goal of a retaliatory attack would be to make the targets ones that would damage Assad’s military capability, causing just enough damage to motivate Assad to come to a negotiated settlement. With aid from Russia and Iran, Assad could run this civil war into a years long stand-off. Mojo mentions the record 2 million refugees produced by the war. There is no reason to believe it will get better without a precise tactical strike. Mojo gives us a look at the same old opinions from the same bungling analyst that served us so well with Iraq, like Fareed Zakaria. Zakaria gets some little bit right once in a while that is not a complete hack, but really, is this guy the one to listen to with a grade of D in foreign policy issues. Though Zakaria looks like a razor sharp analyst compared to “James Ceaser, professor of politics at the University of Virginia (who the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol calls one of “American conservatism’s leading thinkers.” Always Wrong Kristol’s recommendation is like getting a thumbs up from an arsonist. Conservatives and the media have this toxic relationship where they help lead each other off the cliff, repeatedly, yet they keep holding hands and walking towards the cliff, dragging the American public along for the ride. Conservatives, including the bizarre Rand Paul (R-KY) have nothing worth listening to. If they happen to say something someone agrees with, it is pure luck, like getting your number on a roulette wheel. Oh, and former congressional representative Allen West (R-FL) is still a venal cowardly tree stump that can make sounds. If Ceaser, Kristol, West, John McCain, John Bolton and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) had their way we would be neck deep in a war with Iran right now. These conservatives are not concerned with what is best for the USA or Syria, they’re focused on how to best make a Democratic administration look bad, so they’ll take any position on the buffet table to do so.

Senate hearings are ongoing as I post: They will not authorize ground troops and will set a time table or window within which the strikes may occur. I don’t think anyone wanted ground troops anyway, so that was a no brainer.

Liberals disenchanted with this administration, just a reminder of the kind of mindless arrogance we could have in the White House – Rubio: We Wouldn’t Be At This Stage With Syria ‘If I Had Been In Charge’ (VIDEO). Yep Moses Rubio would have spoken from the mountain top and everyone would just stand in awe of his magnificence. I hope every single day that by way of some miracle, the conservative movement gains some modicum of humility. Remember everyone in Afghanistan and Iraq was just going to give up after a couple of months at most.