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.


High Speed Train II wallpaper – Conservatives and Dishonest Budget Negotiations

High Speed Train II wallpaper

High Speed Train II wallpaper

It was difficult to decide who to star with, the reasons for putting CPI and cuts to the safety net as a bargaining chip on the table again or Paul Krugman’s criticism. A coin toss decided to go with the administration’s reasoning first,  Obama Budget: Administration Explains Why It Started With A ‘Compromise Proposal’

President Barack Obama’s budget, which will be introduced on Wednesday, takes a political position that some of his base is bound to bemoan. Rather than present an outline of progressive priorities, the White House has chosen to stake claim to the middle ground, offering up a mix of modest tax hikes to go along with spending cuts and entitlement reforms that Democrats have long warned against.

The specifics are as follows:

The budget would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over ten years — $600 billion of this reduction would come from revenue raisers, and $1.2 trillion would come from spending reductions and entitlement reforms;
It would change the benefit structure of Social Security (chained-CPI);
It would means test additional programs in Medicare;
All told, it would include $400 billion in health care savings (or cuts);
It would cut $200 billion from other areas, identified by The New York Times as “farm subsidies, federal employee retirement programs, the Postal Services and the unemployment compensation system;”
It would pay for expanded access to pre-K (an Obama priority) by increasing the tobacco tax;
It would set limits on tax-preferred retirement accounts for the wealthy, prohibiting individuals from putting more than $3 million in IRAs and other tax-preferred retirement accounts;
And it would stop people from collecting full disability benefits and unemployment benefits that cover the same period of time.

Looked at piece-by-piece, nothing in the above is all that surprising. President Obama has proposed these policies in various offers in the past. Most recently, they’ve been discussed as part of replacement options for the sequester.

Adults know that in the real world you do not always get everything you ask for and in the art of negotiation starting out with some tolerable compromises is usually not an unreasonable starting point for negotiations. Though for the last five years conservatives have made it clear that any proposal about anything must start far Right of center and move further Right during the negotiation process. Knowing this the administration has once again – probably – made the mistake of starting off giving away too much. A spokesperson from the White House says,

While this is not the president’s ideal deficit-reduction plan, and there are particular proposals in this plan — like the CPI change — that were key Republican requests and not the president’s preferred approach. This is a compromise proposal built on common ground, and the president felt it was important to make it clear that the offer still stands. The president has made clear that he is willing to compromise and do tough things to reduce the deficit, but only in the context of a package like this one that has balance and includes revenues from the wealthiest Americans and that is designed to promote economic growth. That means that the things like CPI that Republican leaders have pushed hard for will only be accepted if congressional Republicans are willing to do more on revenues. This isn’t about political horsetrading; it’s about reducing the deficit in a balanced way that economists say is best for the economy and job creation. That’s why the president’s offer –- which will be reflected in his budget — isn’t a menu of options for them to choose from; it’s a cohesive package that reflects the kind of compromise we should be able to reach.

I’m aware and prominent liberal political commentators should be as well, that conservatives in the senate will us the filibuster to stop any budget that does not meet their every whim. Democrats are in the minority in the House. Just in political terms there is the awful business of facing that reality and still passing a  new budget – one that restores some of the spending from the sequester. And Krugman, Desperately Seeking “Serious” Approval

So what’s this about? The answer, I fear, is that Obama is still trying to win over the Serious People, by showing that he’s willing to do what they consider Serious — which just about always means sticking it to the poor and the middle class. The idea is that they will finally drop the false equivalence, and admit that he’s reasonable while the GOP is mean-spirited and crazy.

But it won’t happen. Watch the Washington Post editorial page over the next few days. I hereby predict that it will damn Obama with faint praise, saying that while it’s a small step in the right direction, of course it’s inadequate — and anyway, Obama is to blame for Republican intransigence, because he could make them accept a Grand Bargain that includes major revenue increases if only he would show Leadership (TM).

Oh, and wanna bet that Republicans soon start running ads saying that Obama wants to cut your Social Security?

The part that should drive everyone crazy – anyone who cares about seniors, the disabled and children anyway – is the implication that the deficit or the national debt is somehow connected to Social Security. No the administration does not say that, but by always including it as part of budget negotiations it is something many Americans believe. As Krugman and others note, we should be increasing benefits. Those benefits are not giveaways to lazy moochers. Because pensions and personal savings plans (IRAs) are not the great panacea that everyone thought they would be back in the early 90s, people need more to pay for basic living expenses. Society doesn’t loose anything. That money is not given to someone and it disappears into the Great Lazy Moocher Void. People pay rent and buy stuff with it. It goes back into the economy. Unlike Mitt Romney’s money and quite a few bankers, that money does not get hidden away in offshore tax havens – Offshore tax havens ($32 trillion hidden) rocked by bank account leaks $32 trillion (€25 trillion).

Dear Dr. Ben Carson, current darling of cultural conservatives, this is one of your comrades, Judge Who Sent Racist, Anti-Obama Email Will Retire From Bench

Last year, former Chief Judge Richard Cebull, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal district court in Montana, admitted to sending a racist email forward comparing President Obama’s conception to sex with a dog:

“A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’” the email joke reads. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’”

In the wake of this email, and the serious questions it raised about whether Judge Cebull is capable of handling politically charged cases or cases alleging racism with professionalism and neutrality, a judicial council overseeing Cebull opened a formal misconduct hearing into his actions at Cebull’s request. Late last year, Cebull announced that he would take senior status, a type of partial retirement for judges. Late last week, he upgraded this to a full retirement from the bench — effective May 3rd.


Italian Hills Spring wallpaper – Republicans Come Up Short On Economic And Constitutional Values

Italian Hills Spring wallpaper

Italian Hills Spring wallpaper

I have heard otherwise pretty sensible people repeat the now firmly entrenched myth that the federal budget is like your household budget. A testament of sorts to the power of repeating an untruth for long enough. Why the federal budget can’t be managed like a household budget

The Romney campaign said it. Paul Ryan claimed it, as recently as a little more than a week ago. It’s not, you can all but hear them saying, that we want grandma eating cat food when she’s 90, but gosh damn it, we need to restore some integrity to our federal finances. After all, you, John and Jane Q. Voter, reconcile your family accounts regularly and can’t spend a penny more than what is coming in. Why should those big spenders in Washington, DC get away with doing something you mere Americans cannot?

“Every family in America has to balance their budget,” recently thundered Speaker of the House John Boehner.

I guess that’s why an online poll last year found 69% of us never reconcile our checkbook and another 10% rarely bother.

So what can be the appeal of this less than truthful analogy? The sad truth is it is a product of our profound financial ignorance.

It makes a nice argument crutch to make the comparison even though people generally tend to just trust their memeory and the bank. The same people who, after eight years of “spending like a drunk sailor” as one senator from Arizona once put it, suddenly discovered they were vastly overdrawn. So in a recession no less, they decided that mending their fences should take priority over infrastructure and job creation.

Now, of course you could say a certain percentage of government spending is also a long-term investment. Just look at the economic stimulus plan enacted by the Obama administration. Not only does issuing debt and using it to build bridges and educate children offer an economic stimulus in the short term, it also boosts our prospects in the long run, as these investments ultimately improve our productivity for years to come.

Yet this nation of current and former mortgage holders doesn’t believe it. Internal Republican party polling obtained by the online publication Politico revealed that a majority of voters believe balancing the federal budget would “significantly increase economic growth and create millions of American jobs.”

Been to Great Britain lately? Greece? Italy? That austerity thing is working out just great for them. The more they cut, the worse the hole their economies face. That’s why Britain is likely entering its third recession in less than five years.

These are the facts. They are pesky things. Remember that recent blog post I did or the column by Ezra Klein about Republican strategist and pundit Mike Murphy. When confronted with the facts about how austerity has failed everywhere, Republicans just go into denial mode. As important as fact denial in the conservative mental bunker, beliefs are as important if not more so. Given a choice between the historical record and what conservatives hold as a belief, the belief wins. Given a choice between a study showing there is no connection between low taxes for the wealthy and job growth, the conservative will still go with their agenda. So what if the conservative agenda is ultimately a break on progress, bad for the nation morally and ultimately bad for the economic prospects of 90% of American workers. The conservative mind is only interested in seeing the fulfillment of its agenda.

Why Do Senate Republicans Hate Traditional American Judicial Values

Caitlin Halligan, facing a Republican filibuster, officially withdrew from consideration for a judgeship on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. This is not surprising or unexpected. Halligan, who was nominated to fill the seat vacated by Chief Justice John Roberts, had seen her nomination languish since 2010. The successful filibuster that snuffed Halligan’s nomination early this March represents another example of why real reform or (better yet) elimination of the filibuster is desperately needed.

The filibustering of Halligan is striking, even in the context of an utterly dysfunctional Senate, for two reasons. First, Halligan is a mainstream nominee, with broad support for her credentials and temperament from across the political spectrum. And second, Obama is the first president in at least 50 years not to get a single nominee confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, despite a relatively large number of vacancies. Obama isn’t packing the court or looking to staff it with radical liberals, and yet a minority in the Senate is preventing him from replacing a seat that has been vacant for seven years and counting.

Scott points out that Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made sure that he referred to Halligan as a judicial activist, twice. Truly a head spinner. This from the guy who supported the judicial activism of the SCOTUS in the Citizens United case and supported Janice Rogers Brown for the Circuit Court. Janice might be one of the most radical far Right judicial activist to ever serve on a federal bench, Bush Nominee to to D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

Brown has exhibited hostility to protections against discrimination. For instance, she has argued that victims of age discrimination should not have the right to sue under common law, that the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission did not have the authority to award damages to housing discrimination victims, that victims of disability discrimination are not entitled to raise past instances of discrimination that occurred, and that verbal conduct that creates a hostile work environment does not constitute employment discrimination.

Janice does represent conservative legal radicalism. She believes, as does the conservative movement, that those in power – corporations, state government should have the freedom to take away your freedom. In these Orwellian circle logic when victims of discrimination or harassment seek legal remedies, they are interfering with the freedom and rights of those in power to abuse others, because hey, that is how the conservative constitution works.

In a case involving a company sued for making false statements about the conditions in its overseas factories, Brown argued that the court should expand the contexts in which corporations could make false or misleading representations with no legal ramifications. In another case, she argued that the court should restrict the ability of investors to sue corporations that provide fraudulent financial reports.

For a movement that uses the word values so much, a look at the context, at how they apply those “values,” consistently comes up short on the accountability that forms the backbone of any values worth having.

Heart Shaped World Map 1536

Heart Shaped World Map 1536

Heart Shaped World Map 1536. As far as map fame goes, this one is somewhat famous. The heart shape lends the image to a variety of causes, beliefs and general artistic appreciation. It was created by cartographer and mathematician Oronce Fine ( Orontius Finnaeus or Finaeus; Italian: Oronzio Fineo)(1494-1555).

Other than Peggy Noonan, who has suddenly decided to be a weird version of Paul Krugman and other economists who think that job creation should take priority over balancing the budget, most conservatives are pro European-style austerity. That austerity even has the same self defeating math, The Ryan Budget’s Tax Cuts: Nearly $6 Trillion in Cost and No Plausible Way to Pay for It. New Tax Policy Center Estimates Show $5.7 Trillion Revenue Loss

The new budget from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposes a series of dramatic tax cuts that would cost nearly $6 trillion in lost federal revenue over the next decade (see Figure 1), and that would provide the lion’s share of their benefits to high-income households and corporations.  But, despite its stated promise to the contrary, the budget does not include a plausible way to pay for it all.

Ryan budget plan

Ryan budget plan

But the very serious zombies of conservatism have put on their blinders. Ryan’s budget has two super important things going for it. It cuts taxes for the wealthy. It is not an Obama-Democratic budget. Thank you, good night and drive home safely. Those are the only things America needs to know. For dessert conservatives get to chip away at the Marxist safety net, known to rational Americans as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.

Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr

STARR, BELLE. “A wild western amazon. The noted Belle Starr is arrested on the border of Indian Territory and being released on bail vanishes on horseback.” Wood engraving in The National Police Gazette (1886 May 22), p. 16. The NPG published a lot of tabloid style journalism. Belle or Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr (February 5, 1848 – February 3, 1889) was not much of a heroine, though she was far from the most evil person around at the time. In a recent post I mentioned Judge Roy Bean who went from rowdy drunk and part-time criminal, to highly eccentric man of the law. Belle was somewhat a creature of her time. Fine upstanding men in business and politics stole far more than she and her gang ever did. I kind of like the legend and the illustration. Though from what i understand a horse would never run with all four legs flung out in that position. Eadweard Muybridge did show that horses sometimes have all four legs off the ground, but if the front legs were extended the back legs would have been under the horse and vice versa.

Top Republicans Confess They’re Using Deficit As a Hammer

The national capital, Washington, D.C. Sketched from nature by Adolph Sachse, 1883-1884.

The national capital, Washington, D.C.” Sketched from nature by Adolph Sachse, 1883-1884. This is a wonderful color map on its own, but the included commercial ads are a great addition. On the left are some ads that include breweries, a brick maker, an auctioneer, real estate agents, lawyers and insurance agencies. On the right are a ‘Swiss” laundry, a millinery, a soap works, a patent agent, and Uroscopia – a medical office. The last is the “diagnostic examination” of urine. Which qualifies as my something new learned everyday.

I think it was back in 2001 that Eric Alterman made the observation that in addition to some conspiracy theories being true, the conspiracies in which conservatives were involved were relatively easy to see and document. Though in some cases you might have to put the pieces together and ignore the thick layer of  faux patriotic wrapping. And so it is that both those things are true about the deficit and why having a deficit serves the radical conservative agenda,  Republicans: We’ve been lying all along

America owes this debt of gratitude to Boehner after he finally came clean on yesterday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week” and admitted that “we do not have an immediate debt crisis.” (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS’ Face the Nation).

In offering up such a stunningly honest admission, the GOP leader has put himself on record as agreeing with President Obama, who has previously acknowledged that demonstrable reality. But the big news here isn’t just about the politics of a Republican House Speaker tacitly admitting they agree with a Democratic president. It is also about a bigger admission revealing the fact that the GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not merely some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends.

Before considering those ends, first remember that Boehner (like Obama) is correct on the facts.

As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has pointed out, “Even if we do run deficits, federal debt as a share of GDP will be substantially less than it was at the end of World War II” and “it will also be substantially less than, say, debt in several European countries in the mid to late 1990s.” It is also lower than the 80 percent of GDP level that many economists say starts to put countries in a precarious position. Additionally, citing Congressional Budget Office data, the Center for American Progress notes that the long-term debt outlook is only dire because the projections simply assume without question that “future Congresses will enact huge new deficit-increasing tax cuts and spending hikes.”

Thus programs like Social Security, which as David, Krugman and anyone who can do basic arithmetic can tell you, has nothing to do with the deficit. In reality, if you want to see a one horrendous economic crisis, shut down Social Security tomorrow. In 2009 SocSec paid out about $675.5 billion. The recipients didn’t put that money under their mattress, they paid rent, bought groceries and shoes. Imagine taking $676 billion out of the retail economy. And who are among the endless stream of people claiming that the social safety net – what conservatives like to call the nanny state – people like billionaire Pete Peterson. I’m not sure what Peterson’s problem is. He seems to believe that the safety net is like a rabid dog that is ready to bounce on all his cash – leaving him trying to scrape by on half a billion. Remember in the 2004 election cycle when presidential candidate John McCain’s economic advisory Phil Gramm said that the recession was all a “mental’ thing and we were a nation of “whiners”. There was some truth to that. We have some very wealthy people, corporations and banks complaining about how hard they have it. Now if someone making $9 an hour whines, they must have good reason. When the 10% of the nation who own 74% of the nation’s wealth have nothing to do but cry and whine about how tough things are, that is absurd. Yet for the most part, especially on broadcast and cable news, their voices – through pundit proxies – are the voices America hears. I’m not sure how – maybe the collective noise of bloggers, the few good newspapers that are left and maybe even some Main Str. conservatives see the disconnect when Sarah Palin makes millions as a professional demonizer, yet gets up at CPAC and complains about how tough she has it, the message seems to be getting through, Republicans: People see us as ‘scary,’ ‘narrow minded,’ and ‘out of touch’. Though the strange thing about their own research is that they did not bother with finding out what public policy stances they should change in order to get back in sync with at least some normal Americans.

Note to CNN and other right-of-center news outlets; rape victims do not ruin people’s lives, rapists do that to themselves when they make a decision to act like human scum. Candy Crowley Oozes Sympathy for Steubenville Rapists.


Evening Light and Snow wallpaper – What’s Wrong With Republicans? A Fatal Case of Zombism

Evening Light and Snow wallpaper

Evening Light and Snow wallpaper


There’s A Way To Close The Deficit Without Raising Taxes Or Cutting Spending

Earlier today, John Boehner showed a chart projecting a gigantic budget deficit if current spending plans are in place.

It’s well established that the primary future driver of spending is going to be Medicare, ergo everyone wants to figure out how to reduce the cost of Medicare (either by privatization, reduced benefits, or some other fix to healthcare inflation).

But there’s a simple way to get deficit reduction that doesn’t involve Medicare: Lower the unemployment rate.

[  ]….This chart has been floating around for awhile, and at least I, personally, didn’t think much of it the first time I across it. There is an element of tautology to it. When the economy improves, unemployment goes down, and deficit/GDP shrinks, as tax revenue goes up. When the reverse happens, deficits rise. Duh, right?

But not so fast…

The post-2009 period is associated with a virtually unprecedented pursuit of government spending and deficits (as far as the eye can see!). Not only did the deficit go up because tax revenue collapsed, but Obama announced a historic stimulus the likes of which weren’t seen since the New Deal.

And yet! The relationship holds. Even when the government purposely spends like crazy to increase the debt and fight the weak economy, deficits/GDP have shrunk alongside unemployment. There is a big gap between the red and blue lines, perhaps in part because the downturn was so severe, but the clear lesson is that spending to reduce unemployment does have the effect of reducing deficits as a share of total GDP.

No tax increase at all is probably not a good idea in the long run, even if they are only modest income tax increase on the top 10% and an increase in taxes on capital gains. It is not all about Medicare, we need some infrastructure improvements and to make a larger investment in scientific research. Though just as important is the need to end the race to the bottom. The race corporate America, with the help of the radical Right, to have a permanent under-class of American workers. Wal-Mart, Apple and Darden Inc ( Applebees) are among corporations that are making record profits, yet many of their employees are not making a living wage – Corporate profits hit record as wages get squeezed. Not only would these workers thus contribute more to the safety net that they will need sooner or later, they will also rely less on programs like food assistance. Yet we’re dealing with John Boehner (R-OH) and his charts and the Koch brothers and their freakish zeal to make every worker in America wage slave.

Graphic via

The Walton family, with a net equal to the bottom 40% of American workers – about $89.5 billion – are the real welfare cheats. Every working American is subsidizing their business. McDonald’s pays workers an average of $8.25 hr and their CEO makes $8.7 million a year. So an average employee makes about $17.1 thousand a year. Their CEO makes as much as 509 workers. CEO pay has become completely disconnected from any rational values. An elite class of people with money and political power equal to those massive paychecks have decided to break the social contract with their employees. And as the Wal-Mart chart shows they are also passing off the cost to everyone else. The conservative movement keeps claiming that it is the social safety net or union wages that are holding back growth. A lie so ridiculous that no one with basic reading and math skills should believe. Yet the Republican Speaker of the House is very serious about selling the plantation dream to the public. If we can just race to the bottom, through some convoluted logic, America will then and only then, truly prosper. Conservatives even use magic to sell this dark dystopian dream to the public. Look at the one or two union guys being mean. Look at the woman using her food stamps to buy candy. This constant highlight of the petty is to distract people while conservatives steal billions from working Americans and their children. These corporate Robin Hohhs who steal from workers to give to each other are deeply afraid of their workers organizing and having any kind of power – Why Most Walmart and Fast Food Workers Didn’t Strike.

Fox News revealed selective editing of punched Fox News Thug Steven Crowder  contributor
Video of Steven Crowder getting punched is being used as evidence of union thuggery, but who got hit first? VIDEO. Of course violence is wrong. So with that I have done the required disclaimer for stories like this. Everyone has probably seen the Michigan video that Crowder has posted on the net. One major problem with that is that video is it does not show the union protester on the ground, before he gets up and punches Crowder. How did that protester start a fight from the prone position. Someone mentioned this on Tweeter ( sorry I do not remember who caught it first to give proper credit). How about what happened is that Crowder made threatening gestures and words towards the protester and the protester “stood his ground”. If conservatives want to love stand your ground laws and mentality, than they can suffer the consequences when it backfires. Let’s say that this was as Crowder described. One guy committed assault and battery; in reality aggravated assault. One guy out of thousands of protesters. So if one Republican picks his nose in an elevator that means all Republicans pick their noses in elevators. If those are the rules, if that is the logic we’re using, conservatives are in much deeper mud than America’s unions. Virginia GOP Official Calls Union Members ‘Terrorists’

Union workers who were protesting the passage of so-called “right-to-work” laws outside the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan are “terrorists,” according to a former high-ranking official in the Republican Party of Virginia who now serves in a county-level elected office.

Shawn Kenney, who formerly served as the communications director for the state GOP and is now the chairman of the Fluvanna Co. Board of Supervisors, posted an entry on his blog titled, “We Don’t Negotiate With (Union) Terrorists.” The post features a video of a brief fight that occurred outside the Michigan state capitol. Before the video, Kenney writes: “…and these people are terrorists.”

[  ]….Another former Republican Party of Virginia official wrote on the same blog this week that by passing “right-to-work,” Michigan had “finally unshackle[d] itself from slavery.”

Maybe we should thank these two clowns, they have given anyone license to call them any names they like. “Slavery”? Sure. Everyone’s dictionary defines slavery as the right to make workers into powerless wage slaves who better not get too uppity and ask for a living wage and health insurance. How dare unions ask for fair compensation, benefits or decent working conditions. That infringes on the right of conservatives to treat people like dirt. As usual these freaks are projecting their agenda on decent Americans seeking simple economic justice. Krugman seems to understand Mr. Kenney’s pain, The G.O.P.’s Existential Crisis

No, what we’re having is a political crisis, born of the fact that one of our two great political parties has reached the end of a 30-year road. The modern Republican Party’s grand, radical agenda lies in ruins — but the party doesn’t know how to deal with that failure, and it retains enough power to do immense damage as it strikes out in frustration.

Krugman, myself and other Democratic bloggers have described Republicans as zombies. That is what we’re seeing. If they can eat your brains they will. They lost the election, so that leaves them trying to eat fingers. It is all they know and all they will ever know. They’re not any more or less venal now than they were in 2010 or 2000.

Since the 1970s, the Republican Party has fallen increasingly under the influence of radical ideologues, whose goal is nothing less than the elimination of the welfare state — that is, the whole legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society. From the beginning, however, these ideologues have had a big problem: The programs they want to kill are very popular. Americans may nod their heads when you attack big government in the abstract, but they strongly support Social Security, Medicare, and even Medicaid. So what’s a radical to do?

The answer, for a long time, has involved two strategies. One is “starve the beast,” the idea of using tax cuts to reduce government revenue, then using the resulting lack of funds to force cuts in popular social programs. Whenever you see some Republican politician piously denouncing federal red ink, always remember that, for decades, the G.O.P. has seen budget deficits as a feature, not a bug.

Arguably more important in conservative thinking, however, was the notion that the G.O.P. could exploit other sources of strength — white resentment, working-class dislike of social change, tough talk on national security — to build overwhelming political dominance, at which point the dismantling of the welfare state could proceed freely.

From just after 2000, after Bush has spent the surplus left by Bill Clinton, conservatives spent like crazy, They whined, but there was no holding up spending bills for grand bargains, no lines drawn in exchange for new revenue to offset their new spending. Dick Cheney famously said that deficits did not matter. He and every conservative were suddenly out of the closet Keynesians, when we didn’t need Keynes. Now that we need Keynes, conservatives are back in the closet. They have no convictions. They just hate the democratic republic model of government. They hate fairness. They hate workers. They hate science. They hate justice. They hate education. That is the only real Republican conviction, hate.

City Plan For Philadelphia, Pennsylvania1776 – Paul Ryan Is As Morally Corrupt As Mitt Romney

City Plan For Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1776

1776 was a big year for the City of Brotherly Love.  The delegates to the Continental Congress started the Declaration of Independence. That sounds awkward since we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, but the Declaration was not completed until August. Even then Philadelphia was an American melting pot with native Indians, English, a large German population ( very resistant to adopting English as their official language), African-Americans and some Scottish-Irish settlers. The Pennsylvania territory was the third largest concentration of settlers in America at the time. Philadelphia is estimated to have had a total population of about 30,000. Today’s population is an estimated 1.6 million.

Hudson and East Rivers Chart as of 1812. This year was the bicentennial of the War of 1812.


Today in August 18,1920: 19th Amendment is ratified guaranteeing women the right to vote.


Rep. Ryan’s Undeserved Reputation for Fiscal Responsibility – His Votes in Congress Added $6.8 Trillion to Our Nation’s Federal Deficits

The reputation of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as a fiscal hawk is at odds with his record of supporting nearly every single budget-busting law of the past decade. Since 2001 he has voted for at least 65 separate pieces of deficit- and debt-increasing legislation, with the total tab for all those votes a whopping $6.8 trillion in cumulative deficits.

Rep. Ryan has served as a member of the House of Representatives since 1998. That year the budget was in surplus and stayed that way for the next three years. But with the start of the George W. Bush administration came the return of the red ink. In January 2001, before any Bush administration policies had been passed, the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, was projecting budget surpluses totaling $5.6 trillion over following decade. Instead, we got cumulative deficits totaling $6.1 trillion, an $11.7 trillion difference. CBO estimates that laws passed by Congress and signed by Presidents Bush and Barack Obama are responsible for $8.5 trillion of that difference. Rep. Ryan cast his vote for about 80 percent of that $8.5 trillion.

….Rep. Ryan also voted numerous times to increase nondefense spending. Of course, the most well-known of these votes was on Medicare Part D, which added over $270 billion in unpaid-for spending. But there are many lesser-known examples. In 2002 he voted for an agriculture bill that added $80 billion to the deficit. He voted for changes to military retirement in 2003 that cost $20 billion in added spending. And he voted for increased borrowing authority for flood insurance that increased federal spending by $17 billion.

Medicare Part D was a very good and very public display of how conservatives are like corrupt kids in a candy store when they holds the spending reigns. While most Americans thought a drug benefits for seniors and the disabled was past due, conservatives managed to make it both a gift to their friends in the pharmaceutical industry and not pay for their spending. The other most obvious example for Ryan and Republicans of the Bush era was Iraq and Afghanistan. In both instances like the responsible brats they are, they left the bill to be paid by someone else down the line. They know the public gets into a throw everyone out mood every other election cycle. By that time the bills have not only increased, but just like any credit, the interests must be paid as well.

All told, Rep. Ryan voted in favor of increasing federal spending by $3.2 trillion—all without offsetting the costs. Combined with his support for $2.4 trillion in tax cuts, Ryan’s votes contributed to adding trillions of dollars to the national debt, which itself led to more spending as the interest payments on that debt grew. Put it all together, and Rep. Ryan voted for over $6.8 trillion worth of cumulative deficits over the past 11 years.

But…but…but look at the deficit now, its all Obama’s fault. No, not really. To pay off the debts left by Paul Ryan and his pals you need revenue. Government revenue in relation to GDP is, like taxes, the lowest they have been in decades. Conservatives want everyone to believe we can run a civilized nation with a necessarily large intense infrastructure without paying for it. Which is like a candidate promising free donuts, caviar and unicorns for everyone and you don’t have to pay for it, except for those cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, medical research, preparing for climate change and so on and on. As everyone knows at this point, quite a few adult age Americans believe, deeply and angrily, that they can have it all without paying for it. Thus they buy the new improved Republican snake oil the next election cycle, forgetting how it did not work the last go round.

Rep. Paul Ryan(R-WI) has jumped on the Fox News Bandwagon of Denial. He is just going to pretend that the whole financial meltdown happened after President Obama was elected. This is just another way of Ryan saying that he thinks the USA is filled with morons who he has such contempt for he will not even bother with a plausible lie, Ryan criticizes Obama on ’08 GM plant closure from before he took office. If he can get away with glowing neon red lies, Ryan’s moral standards permit that, Paul Ryan denied he sought stimulus funds – Questioned, he acknowledges his requests

After seeking millions of dollars from a stimulus spending program he had publicly opposed as wasteful, GOP vice presidential candidate and congressman Paul Ryan repeatedly denied making the requests, first on a Boston radio station in 2010 and again Wednesday in a television interview.

Audio from 2010 provided Thursday by WBZ indicates that Ryan, responding to a caller, said that he would not vote against something and “then write to the government to ask them to send us money.” He added: “I did not request any stimulus money.”

He repeated that response this week in an interview with Cincinnati’s WCPO-TV. “No, I never asked for stimulus,” he said, adding, “I don’t recall.”

But Thursday evening, Ryan acknowledged having sent the letters above his signature. “After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled. This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that.”

…“Those are different than getting assistance for a company in the district and getting $20 million,” he said.

But Ellis said a bigger question is why Ryan signed the letters if he didn’t know what they were requesting and why.

One would hope that lawmakers are engaged when they are asking the federal government for money,” he said. “Due diligence is required on something they are affixing their signature to.”

Use your imagination to speculate how low, how corrupt, how immoral, how seedy, how tawdry conservatives can be, and they will always sink lower than your imagination. Anti-Obama Navy SEAL leader: I’m a Birther

President Barack Obama is a socialist, was raised by communists, and wasn’t born in the United States, according to the former Navy SEAL who founded the group Special Operations Speaks (SOS), which aims to portray Obama as anti-military in this election season.

…”I have to admit that I’m a Birther,” said SOS founder Larry Bailey, a retired 27-year veteran of the Navy SEALs, in an interview. “If there were a jury of 12 good men and women and the evidence were placed before them, there would be absolutely no question Barack Obama was not born where he said he was and is not who he says he is.”

Well Larry, try to keep up, its not 2007 anymore. There have been several court cases brought by birther and they have lost everyone. The Supreme Court including the extreme Right Justice Scalia refused to hear a birther case because it lacked merit. I’m related to an actual SEAL and  the conservatives Larry represents do nothing but bring shame on them.

I thought Vice President Biden’s recent comments about conservatives trying to put American workers in chains was a fair description of conservative economic policies that are destroying much of the middle-class and creating a plutocratic cabal of wage slave masters at the top. Apparently the right’s allergy to anything resembling honest descriptions of their agenda had their feelings hurt, so they went ballistic over a false report of the smiley-faced fascists at The Daily Caller and The Drudge Report, Conservative Republican Media Falsely Claim Obama Donor Received Taxpayer Loan

Fox & Friends, the Daily Caller, and the Drudge Report are falsely charging that a businessman that has supported President Obama and Vice President Biden is receiving a taxpayer-financed loan to expand his business overseas. In fact, the loan comes from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which does not use taxpayer funds, and exists for the purpose of helping “U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets” overseas.

The Daily Caller charged:

In late July, John Hynansky — a longtime friend of Vice President Joe Biden, and a major donor to Biden’s campaigns as well as President Barack Obama’s — was awarded a $20 million taxpayer loan to build a foreign-car dealership in Ukraine.

Drudge highlighted this false claim with the headline, “Biden’s ‘good friend’ receives $20M federal loan to open luxury car dealership — in Ukraine.” And Fox News also hyped this claim with co-host Gretchen Carlson saying: “Talk about friends in high places. A major donor to President Obama’s campaign getting $20 million in taxpayer money to build a luxury car dealership in the Ukraine.”

However, the claim that this loan uses taxpayer money is false. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation states that it is “the U.S. Government’s development finance institution” and “helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets.” While it receives administrative funding from Congress, OPIC “operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers” and has actually reduced the federal budget deficit for 34 consecutive years:

Are OPIC services U.S. taxpayer-funded?

OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. In fact, it generated net income of $269 million in Fiscal Year 2011, helping to reduce the federal budget deficit for the 34th consecutive year.

Indeed, during the early 1980s, OPIC returned the taxpayer money used to start up the agency to President Reagan. At the time, Reagan praised OPIC for helping advance the cause of economic freedom in the world.

The Daily Caller, Fox, and Drudge also highlight Hynansky’s political contributions and relationship to Biden, but at no point do they present evidence that these donations or his friendship with Biden had any effect on his loan application.

Retro Telephone wallpaper – Neat Trick, Republicans Have Convinced Many Americans To Vote Against Their Own Interests

blue tint

Retro Telephone wallpaper

Green Retro Dial Telephone wallpaper

Crooked Timber notes the significance of Republican Federal Judge Richard Posner, who recently said among other things calls crtics of Chief Justice Roberts “lunatics”. Posner dumps (on) Repubs

Posner is one of a small minority on the intellectual right who have responded to the economic crisis by changing their view of the world, rather than by finding more and more absurd defenses of the indefensible. There must be quite a few others who realise they have backed the wrong  horse, but have chosen to remain quiet rather than making an open break.

Second, the terms of his attack on the US Republican party are scathing by any standards, but particularly for a professor and Federal judge, talking about his own erstwhile allies. His discussion is peppered with terms like “goofy”, “crackpot” and “lunatic”. That’s a pretty fair description of the US right these days, but it’s still not commonly heard on NPR.

The far Right and Democrats both have the occasional internal critic and generally too much is made of it. Oh look one their own says they’re wrong. Certainly to be expected among liberals since they have the larger tent. In the U.S. Senate alone we have super moderates like Harry Reid (D-NV) and progressives like Al Franken(D-Minn), and  an assortment of ideological ranges between them. Posner was one of the ideological leaders. He spoke and conservatives listened. Not like the rank and file that cheer on the Ted Nugent-Sarah Palin just because of some knuckle dragging appeal. Conservatives listened to Posner because he had ideas and some justification for them – at least what passes for ideas in the conservative movement. Regardless of Posner or former Republican presidential candidate John Huntsman who also said he will not be attending the RNC convention or any convention until Republicans start addressing,” problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit,” there is a deeper issue at stake. While there are not many, there are a sizable minority of Republicans who feel the same way as Posner and Huntsman. Yet they cannot seem to do what would force change in their own party – form alliances with Democrats. It is not because Posner and Huntsman type conservatives cannot find plenty of common ground( Huntsman was an ambassador for the Obama administration) and there is probably little ideological light between say former Obama adviser Larry Summers and Posner. There seems to be some kind of psychological hurdle conservatives – even the few last remaining reasonable ones – that keep them from pushing for, including voting for Democrats and more moderate policies. There is some version of horse track psychology at work. They have always bet on the jockey with the red silks and always will regardless of how much pain they cause themselves. Now Posner and Huntsman are going to be fine in terms of their personal economics regardless, but it is amazing that so many median income conservatives have been convinced that billionaires, big multinational corporations and shadowy PACs have their best interests in mind. The half of the USA at the median income level and below are losing ground – have been for thirty years – even though Clinton slowed down the pace a bit. Some of them watch Fox News and read the right of center media and really believes the birther secret socialist nonsense. Others are willing to shoot themselves in the foot over single issues like abortion – why someone would sabotage their lives and their families by an obsession with what goes on in the uteruses of women they don’t even know has always impressed me as deeply strange. Still others see conservative leaders and pundits wrap insidious public policy in the flag and they actually buy that chicanery as patriotic. No wonder conservatives fight against education and for indoctrination at private “schools”. One of the biggest threats to right-wingerism is an informed and educated public.

Fanaticism is putting the agenda of conservatism before the best interests of the country, 5 Ways Republicans Have Sabotaged Job Growth

1. Filibustering the American Jobs Act. Last October, Senate Republicans killed a jobs bill proposed by President Obama that would have pumped $447 billion into the economy. Multiple economic analysts predicted the bill would add around two million jobs and hailed it as defense against a double-dip recession. The Congressional Budget Office also scored it as a net deficit reducer over ten years, and the American public supported the bill.

2. Stonewalling monetary stimulus. The Federal Reserve can do enormous good for a depressed economy through more aggressive monetary stimulus, and by tolerating a temporarily higher level of inflation. But with everything from Ron Paul’s anti-inflationary crusade to Rick Perry threatening to lynch Chairman Ben Bernanke, Republicans have browbeaten the Fed into not going down this path. Most damagingly, the GOP repeatedly held up President Obama’s nominations to the Federal Reserve Board during the critical months of the recession, leaving the board without the institutional clout it needed to help the economy.

3. Threatening a debt default. Even though the country didn’t actually hit its debt ceiling last summer, the Republican threat to default on the United States’ outstanding obligations was sufficient to spook financial markets and do real damage to the economy.

4. Cutting discretionary spending in the debt ceiling deal. The deal the GOP extracted as the price for avoiding default imposed around $900 billion in cuts over ten years. It included $30.5 billion in discretionary cuts in 2012 alone, costing the country 0.3 percent in economic growth and 323,000 jobs, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. Starting in 2013, the deal will trigger another $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years.

5. Cutting discretionary spending in the budget deal. While not as cataclysmic as the debt ceiling brinksmanship, Republicans also threatened a shutdown of the government in early 2011 if cuts were not made to that year’s budget. The deal they struck with the White House cut $38 billion from food stamps, health, education, law enforcement, and low-income programs among others, while sparing defense almost entirely.

None of this – NONE – was because of honest concerns about deficit spending. We know that because Republicans voted for the Paul Ryan (R-WI) budget twice and that budget actually increased the deficit.

Via here this is Mittens saying that he inherited a bad economy as governor – from his Republican predecessor by the way, Gov. Romney on Poor Job Growth in Massachusetts: ‘To Suggest That Somehow the Day I Got Elected, Jobs Should Have Immediately Turned Around, Well, That Would Be Silly’

[When] Romney himself was running a government, in his case the state of Massachusetts, he was even more defensive about his lack of control of the employment picture than Obama is today. A new video unearthed by the liberal research group American Bridge shows Romney at a press conference in June 2006 admonishing reporters on disappointing jobs data. “You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling right off a cliff, I came in and they kept falling for 11 months,” he explains.

“And if you are going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should have immediately turned around, well that would be silly. It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession, we were losing jobs every month,” he added.

Krugman on Romney and the daily delusions of a guy so out of touch he could be calling in his campaign from Mars, Off and Out With Mitt Romney

Consider one of Mr. Romney’s most famous remarks: “Corporations are people, my friend.” When the audience jeered, he elaborated: “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets.” This is undoubtedly true, once you take into account the pockets of, say, partners at Bain Capital (who, I hasten to add, are, indeed, people). But one of the main points of outsourcing is to ensure that as little as possible of what corporations earn goes into the pockets of the people who actually work for those corporations.

Why, for example, do many large companies now outsource cleaning and security to outside contractors? Surely the answer is, in large part, that outside contractors can hire cheap labor that isn’t represented by the union and can’t participate in the company health and retirement plans. And, sure enough, recent academic research finds that outsourced janitors and guards receive substantially lower wages and worse benefits than their in-house counterparts.

Just to be clear, outsourcing is only one source of the huge disconnect between a tiny elite and ordinary American workers, a disconnect that has been growing for more than 30 years. And Bain, in turn, was only one player in the growth of outsourcing. So Mitt Romney didn’t personally, single-handedly, destroy the middle-class society we used to have. He was, however, an enthusiastic and very well remunerated participant in the process of destruction; if Bain got involved with your company, one way or another, the odds were pretty good that even if your job survived you ended up with lower pay and diminished benefits.

There are many tools of a healthy economy which have been perverted by conservatism and triangulating Democrats that have gone along. One is the corporation. Say someone invents a machine for removing seeds from cotton. They could make one a month, sell it, than make another one. Or they could sell stock, rise capital, build a factory and make a lot of cotton gins. The inventor makes money, the cotton farmer makes more money, suppliers for bolts and wood make money, employees make money, shareholders make some money on their investment. Now we have corporations that take over other corporations – outsource, lay off people, cut salaries, charge exorbitant consultant fees ( like Bain did) or they just put on a fresh coat of paint, make a few changes that look good and sell off the new stripped down carcass for a profit. Little to no  innovation, morality, ethics or invention is required. It is the exploitation of a system. This is what conservatives think capitalism is. They’re doing more to damage the reputation of capitalism than all the imaginary socialists they see could ever do.

Mitt Romney and jobs


Voter fraud rampant? You’re more likely to report a UFO

People are 3,615 times more likely to report a UFO sighting than they are to commit in-person voter impersonation, according to national data.

The striking statistic has surfaced at the same time as the news that a new voter ID law in Pennsylvania could render nearly 10 percent of the state’s residents ineligible to vote in the presidential election this fall.

A quote from the Philly link,

House Republican leader Mike Turzai acknowledged the law’s political implications at a Republican State Committee meeting last month.

Voter ID – which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done,” Turzai told the crowd, which burst into applause, as he listed legislative accomplishments under GOP control.

Like convincing some working class Americans to vote against their own rational self interests based on obsessive cultural issues, voter ID laws are about disempowering average Americans. The more control the financial elite like Romney have, the more America looks like a conservative plutocratic fantasy come true.


The Debt Ceiling and How To Define Winning

We’re in spin phase. The spin of the House’s debt ceiling vote is almost as bad as the last few weeks of inventing the fake deficit and spending crisis. The moderate to liberal side of the spectrum should not be shocked or angry, and they should not be any more pessimistic than usual. The shoe was going to drop. It dropped and there is some good news and some bad news. I will grant that House Speaker John Boehner(R-OH) really believes what he says. Remember these words. They are the kind of canyon sized gaffes that break politicians and lose elections:

Pelley: You were unable to get your own caucus behind your bill a few days ago. Do you intend to remain Speaker of the House?

Boehner: I do. When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the white House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.


I wrote a post about the political Jiu-Jitsu in play with the budget talks and it worked out exactly that way. President Obama offered up $4 trillion in cuts. Boehner settled for half those cuts. He is happy with what he got. What did he get for the people of Ohio and the rest of the nation? He got an extension of the tax depreciation schedule for corporate jets. He got not reforming the tax code so there would be fewer loopholes. The Congressional Budget Office has the general outline:

What Are the Main Elements of the Legislation?

The legislation would:

Establish caps on discretionary spending through 2021;
Allow for certain amounts of additional spending for “program integrity” initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of improper benefit Payments;
Make changes to the Pell Grant and student loan programs;
Require that the House and the Senate vote on a joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution;
Establish a procedure to increase the debt limit by $400 billion initially and procedures that would allow the limit to be raised further in two additional steps, for a cumulative increase of between $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion;
Reinstate and modify certain budget process rules;
Create a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to propose further deficit reductions, with a stated goal of achieving at least $1.5 trillion in budgetary savings over 10 years; and
Establish automatic procedures for reducing spending by as much as $1.2 trillion if legislation originating with the new joint select committee does not achieve such savings.

Much of the spending is left up to Congress or this special committee. The creation of such a committe will suck down millions all on its own. The debt deal provides for adjustments to the caps in each fiscal year to account for funding designated for emergency requirements and disaster relief and to allow additional funding for “program integrity” initiatives. Program integrity is basically stepped up policing over payments. No one likes someone getting money they are not entitled but this by definition means more of the kind of auditing of individuals that conservatives say is the strong-arm of government. Just another hypocritical bump in the road.

The conservative Mr. Boehner(R-OH) and by and large House teahadists are happy with this deal. That’s good because it is their deal. It is a lot like the Reid plan and Vice president Biden’s plan in terms of dollars, the special committee is an expensive and absurd twist. The promise to put a balanced budget amendment up for a vote is the cheapest kind of window dressing. Such a bill is dead on arrival. Conservatives are happy with it and it is their bill, so that means they own the recession. Conservatives own the anemic growth we can expect and us Keynesian know will occur. Brad Delong is estimating ,”0.4% off of fiscal 2012 real GDP growth, with an unemployment rate in November 2012 0.2% above the baseline.” The original Recovery Act funds will be gone by the end of the year, as will extended unemployment benefits and the Obama payroll tax cut. I thought or rather hoped that Paul Krugman was at least exaggerating a little about the lost decade. The conservative who drove the economy into the ditch just extorted the country into that ditch for another five years ( that is unless Democrats take back the House in 2012 and pick up a few Senate seats – real possibilities as of today).  OK, taking into account that conservatives have intrinsically anti-American priorities they will be able to take credit for reducing the long-term debt, right? Not so much – Could This Deal Raise Budget Deficits?

In fact, this deal could manage to do the exact opposite of what it promises — raise the deficit.

If that happens, it will be because a major determinant of tax revenue is the health of the economy. Profits and growth bring revenues. This could damage the economy enough to send tax receipts down again. Although you never would have guessed it from the rhetoric, tax receipts are at the lowest level in years, as a percentage of gross domestic product. Get a healthy economy and tax revenues rise while a lot of spending, on such things as unemployment benefits, goes away.

As we have seen in Wisconsin, Florida, New Jersey and other states with tea bag governors and at the federal level – austerity, the holy grail of deficit reduction – has resulted in more unemployment ( public sector payrolls can certainly be too big and there are times to cut them. This just is not one of those times). Expect more unemployment. With fewer employed expect fewer tax receipts. Less revenue equals higher deficits. Conservatives, in a mental head lock transfixed by deficit reduction – can only see business leaping on the debt ceiling deal as lifting the ominous cloud of uncertainty that was keeping them from hiring. That is what they said about the Bush tax cuts. We’ve had 6 quarters of renewed cuts and anemic growth in the economy and employment remains statistically unchanged from a year ago. Magic does not work no matter how much conservatives believe in it.

The Economist, not exactly friendly to liberal policies notes, Nuts and bolts

As for long-term fiscal consolidation, the deal also falls short. Total deficit reduction of $2.4 trillion is less than the $4 trillion that bipartisan groups and political leaders had more or less agreed was necessary to put the debt on a meaningful downward path relative to GDP. It’s also the number Standard & Poor’s, a credit rating agency, had suggested was necessary for America to avoid a downgrade to its AAA credit rating. And it’s worth noting that now that GDP has been revised to be smaller than we’d realised, debt is larger as a share of GDP.

The Senate still has to vote on this deal, but let’s assume it passes. The uber conservative Republicans have let the average American hostage go, but they crippled them. Some of that damage is going to haunt them as they struggle to justify why they cut less than the ransom Obama offered, they had to tinker unnecessarily with the details, the Bush tax cuts are still set to expire and the economy is still tanking, but no one can pass a jobs bill because part of the deal entails no new spending. The cherry on top is that the nation’s credit standing may have been damaged enough anyway to the degree that we’re paying more interest on the debt. Everyone knows that states must balance their budgets. Besides some accounting tricks one way they avoid draconian cuts is to go begging to the feds for funds. As of today good luck with that. Expect more cuts – i.e. firefighters, teachers etc to lose their jobs.

Who won this round of stage craft? Depends on how you define winning. We’ve seen what Boehner and House teahadists think is winning. Not much of a win when you add up the numbers. What Republicans and their lamestream media friends won was another round of Framing the Debate. Welcome to the Tea Party’s Austerity Recession

Propaganda Trumps Research

For almost a century, the prevailing economic paradigm has held that when the private sector is in recession, and people aren’t spending money, the public sector needs to step in and act as a “buyer of last resort,” running deficits to keep people working until the economy gets going again. While the fine details of “Keynesian” theory have been the subject of debate, in broad strokes, it remains the thinking shared by most economists across the political spectrum. But even as it remains the dominant economic paradigm, a network of deep-pocketed conservative donors has, to a large degree, successfully discredited that idea in the political realm, replacing it with the simplistic and ahistorical narrative that deficits “destroy jobs.”

As Think Progress reported, “Since the end of the Bush presidency, shadowy right-wing groups, many of them formed for this very purpose, have primed the public with a sophisticated public relations campaign to shift the national discourse to a focus on debt reduction.” That’s resulted in what Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent describes as a “deficit feedback loop,” in which “the relentless bipartisan focus on the deficit convinces voters to be worried about it, which in turn leads lawmakers to spend still more time talking about it and less time talking about the economy.” Sargent highlighted a study released in May by the National Journal confirming his thesis. It found, “a dramatically shifting landscape of coverage over the past two years, as the debate over how to fix the federal deficit has risen to prominence and the question of how to handle still-high unemployment has faded from the media’s consciousness.”


As noted in that article, president Obama also bought into the deficits outweigh jobs debate. Politically and publicly that might have been the best thing to do when you see the tide of concern shifting. Democrats have so little of the kind of communications infrastructure to fight the of right-wing disinformation campaigns, tactically it might be best for Democrats to buy into such arguments and try to shape them the best they can. This is something that I have shades of disagreement with some liberals about – the power of the presidential soapbox or bully pulpit. Democratic presidents – with no Rupert Murdoch communications empire behind them, no Koch brothers, no Coors family, no Chamber of Commerce – can only nudge messages a certain way. Too much presidential messaging from a Democrat can even backfire. Until Democrats have the kind and size of the noise machine the Right has they will always be at a great disadvantage in sustaining a message.

I’ll leave on some more semi-good news. About those”triggers” – Five Things for Liberals to Like in the Debt Ceiling Deal

The trigger: This is counterintuitive, but the trigger is actually pretty good for Democrats. For all that MoveOn thinks that it would force benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, it actually wouldn’t trigger benefit cuts to any entitlements. The only cuts it would force would be a 2% or more haircut for Medicare providers. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with most Democrats, has never opposed provider cuts. Not only that, most progressives actually want the Pentagon cuts. So if the committee deadlocks and the trigger is pulled, Democrats won’t be miserable.

The commission: Again, for all the liberal carping about a “Super Congress,” the commission of 12 members — three from each party in each chamber — set up to find the second phase of $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving is actually rigged to force some revenue increases. Yes, the Bush tax cuts are off the table. But there are plenty of loopholes, subsidies and other corporate welfare programs that are on the table. And with such a strong trigger, it’s hard to imagine at least one Republican not voting to kill corporate jet subsidies over slashing $500 billion from the defense budget – even if the revenues aren’t offset. The question is: who are Republicans more afraid of, Grover Norquist or the joint chiefs? Democrats’ money is on the joint chiefs.


OK, think of this as a P.S. One tea smoker put down her bong long enough to see that they didn’t get all the ransom they think they deserved. Ann Barnhardt writing at the right-wing American Thinker – We The Stupid

I stand here in abject stupefaction.  The so-called “right” or “Tea Party” in this republic is being so thoroughly rolled and defeated that I am struggling to come up with an adequate violent submission metaphor that does not involve prison rape . . . and they honesty think that they’re “winning.”  Really?  You call this winning?

She uses some very suspect numbers and suggests that Obama be “removed” from office, but she does get the general drift of some of the cuts, like “not spending” money on Afghanistan being counted as a spending cut.