Fly Fishing wallpaper III – Conservatives Are Masters of Twaddle

Fly Fishing wallpaper III

 

There are many warning signs that you are about to read of conservative twaddle when it identifies the author of the article as a pround memebr of the the wing-nut welafer circuit. In this case a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. The Hoover specializes in publishing verbal manure as though there was a shortage. They push it regularly without shame. Your average ten year old lemonade stand operator knows more about economics, but far less about insidious lies. Which brings us to Professor  Meltzer H. Meltzer writing at the Rupert Murdoch rag the WSJ, Four Reasons Keynesians Keep Getting It Wrong

Those who heaped high praise on Keynesian policies have grown silent as government spending has failed to bring an economic recovery. Except for a few diehards who want still more government spending, and those who make the unverifiable claim that the economy would have collapsed without it, most now recognize that more than a trillion dollars of spending by the Bush and Obama administrations has left the economy in a slump and unemployment hovering above 9%.

Why is the economic response to increased government spending so different from the response predicted by Keynesian models?

First, did this dipstick poser bother to look at any data on the recession. Why bother with facts when you have garbage to write. Democrats saved the economy from tanking even more. And let’s all conveniently forget that it was conservative polices that got us into this mess in the first place. Tax cuts that would pay for themselves? I have a truck load of fairy dust for sale for anyone who stills believes that.  And remember that three trillion dollar war Republicans put on your children’s credit card.

larger.

Meltzer is a Very Serious Person or advocate of austerity or give the middle-class the shaft while we wait for the economy to turn around. Guess what, austerity is not only not working but risks another recession. England has jumped on the Very Serious Person bandwagon and is sinking. Where as New Zealand and Australia have not and while they are not enjoying a new era of economic prosperity, at least they’re not losing ground.  The UK Fundamental Picture Supports a Weaker GBP vs AUD, NZD

The problem with the UK economy is tight fiscal policy as the government continues its austerity drive, along with increasing unemployment, high inflation and low wages, which are squeezing consumers’ purchasing power and weakening domestic demand.

The implication to consider from Mr. Fisher’s comments is that even the extra quantitative easing announced in early October may not be enough to change the momentum of the economy and if economic conditions do not improve more quantitative easing may be necessary. He also did say that if conditions improve the central bank could cut short its bond purchases. The former seems to be more likely than the latter and therefore the prospect of even more money printing by the central bank should weigh on the pound in the coming months.

And more here, The Crumbling Case for Austerity

Austerity doesn’t work:

The Crumbling Case for Cutting Spending to Stimulate the Economy, by Chad Stone, CBPP: Empirical support for the view that sharp, immediate cuts in government spending would be good for the U.S. economy was never strong, and it’s getting weaker.

The Economist is on the case, highlighting two new studies showing that austerity and growth don’t mix in the short term. …

The professor also throws out some of the same uncertainty/regulation drivel that has been pouring from the right-wing meme machine for the last year,

Third, Keynesian models totally ignore the negative effects of the stream of costly new regulations that pour out of the Obama bureaucracy. Who can guess the size of the cost increases required by these programs? ObamaCare is not the only source of this uncertainty, though it makes a large contribution.

Meltzer is one of the best examples around for ending tenure for professors. The only place that would would employ mindless charlatans like him are right-wing think-tanks. Obama Wrote 5% Fewer Rules Than Bush

Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News.

If you figure in inflation Obama era regulations cost less than those of either Bush 41 or 43. Meltzer probably got his predictions for the cost of health care reform from a fortune teller at one of the conservative debates. The CBO estimates health care reform will save the government over a trillion dollars over the next ten years. And yes it is absolutely safe to completely disregard any statistics that come out of the Hoover Institute. Want to repeal health care reform, that will add about $230 billion to the federal deficit by 2021 and leave 30 million Americans without health insurance. There will be a bump in cost to some small business for about a year. After that small business will save money. Meltzer writes a load of pure crap. The WSJ publishes as an editorial, but even editorials must have some basis in fact. Note the lack of cries for Meltzer to be fired. Note the editor that let that propagandist crap be published still has a job.

In 2010 every tea smoking conservative wacko campaigned on a jobs creation platform. Every Republican congressional representative and every governor. How many jobs have these Super Conservatives created? Zero. Actually less than zero – House GOP’s “Job Creating” Spending Cuts Destroyed 370,000 Jobs. Its like a political cartoon come to life. You have Democrats on one side laying bricks and Republicans on the other side tearing them down – all the while shouting  they love America. You can’t recover from a recession if conservatives are going to do everything they can to make sure we don’t.

I won’t cheat and look up whether Rick perry is pro legalization of marijuana. From the looks of it, he does seem to eat a herbal laced brownie on occasion. Via HuffPo – Rick Perry’s Unusual Speech Performance (VIDEO)

If there is a contest among the conservative presidential candidates to see who can be the biggest buffoon they’re all running neck and neck.

Cain Smears Planned Parenthood: Accuses Group of ‘Genocide,’ Says Its Goal Is To ‘Kill Black Babies’

Today on Face The Nation, GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain claimed that Planned Parenthood wants to “kill black babies” and is part of an organized effort to commit “genocide” against the black community:

[  ]…Cain’s statement about the location of Planned Parenthood clinics is wildly inaccuate. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute from January, “Fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, or those in which the majority of residents are black.”

Politifact previously evaluated the Cain’s claim that Planned Parenthood was created to “kill black babies” and deemed it “a ridiculous, cynical play of the race card.”

In 2004 and 2006 Cain led a radical group that produced radio advertisements accusing Democrats of wanting to kill “black babies.” Cain himself provided the voiceovers for some of the ads.

 

Cain finally got around to making a definitive statement about women’s health care rights. He is against them. Cain is against a woman being able to make her own decision about what to do in case of being impregnated during a rape, impregnated by her father or other relative or when her life is endangered by carrying a pregnancy any further. Cain is continuing his own much loved plantation theme. Cain believes that women should be treated the way they were before slaves were emancipated and clearly before sufferer. Cain, the plantation master as president. Since conservative keep fighting the Civil War, it would be another victory in pushing the entire union into the dream of being a backwards confederacy.

Roger Simon is a conservative – Roger Simon: Being ‘a little bit racist’ helps in GOP primary

Politico’s Roger Simon says that Republican presidential Rick Perry’s recent embrace of birtherism amounts to a racist “dog whistle.”

“It’s not a ‘fun’ issue to poke somebody on,” Simon told CNN’s Howard Kurtz Sunday. “It is more than a little bit racist. Not everyone who believes it is a racist. It grew out of the belief that a black man could not be legitimately elected to the president of the United States.”

He continued: “Now, why would Perry use that in the primaries instead of saving it for the general when he’s running against President Obama? Well, it’s because being extreme, perhaps, and a little bit racist, perhaps, gives you good bona fides in a Republican primary. It shows them that you are on the same side as they are.”

“So, it’s a bit of a dog whistle?” Kurtz asked.

“Absolutely,” Simon replied.

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Mountain Morning Light wallpaper – The Flat Tax Lead Bandwagon and Other News

American landscapes, green, nature

Mountain Morning Light wallpaper

The conservative winds are changing regardless of what the latest straw polls show. Herman Cain has made one too many missteps and the conservative establishment has declared his campaign is just about over. This op-ed is from the web equivalent of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, The Daily Caller –  Cain: Rove attacks me to help Romney

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO says former Bush White House strategist Karl Rove is attacking him in an effort to help former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Washington Examiner reports.

Cain’s comments came after Rove, considered the principal architect of President George W. Bush’s political career, mapped out a list of recent Cain “gaffes” on a whiteboard during a Fox News Channel appearance Monday morning. “The whole effect of this is to not create an image, I think, of him being a flip-flopper,” said Rove. “I think it’s to create an image of being not up to the task.”

“It’s a good thing the voters are not looking at Karl Rove’s little whiteboard,” Cain told the Examiner’s Byron York Monday afternoon. “I believe it is a deliberate attempt to damage me because I am not — quote, unquote — the establishment choice. But why not go with the choice that the people seem to like?”

Rove and Fox may not be crazy about Romney, but make no mistake this is a shot to the heart of Cain’s momentum. Cain’s much inflated persona as the outsider wears a bit thin when you consider that most of his campaign organization is the Koch brothers. The Right has taken to describing the Koches as liberal’s boogeyman. They are not invisible and they do not hide under beds, the millions of dollars they spend through the Cato Institute, FreedonWorks and American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC) the Koches are a major force in the Anti-American conservative movement. They were and are major players in dismantling unions and workers rights. Forget about this meme that conservative voters are anti-establishment. That is the same old window dressing they used at the height of the tea nuts movement to shift blame for the economy and bungled foreign policy away from “true” conservationism. This analysis is spot on. If either one of the Koches started a run for president tomorrow it would shake up the race considerably.

Aging culture warriors on the Right love Rick Perry. He thinks all the batsh*t insane stuff Michelle Bachmann thinks, except he’s male. Perry has now jumped on the flat tax bandwagon. It hardly matters to the average conservative whether it is Cain or Perry’s flat tax, they will lower the taxes for millionaires and corporations and rise taxes on those with average incomes and below. Flat tax fits on a bumper sticker. Conservative pols have always preferred simple over smart or fair. Thinking hurts their pointed heads. For GOP Presidential Field, It’s Survival of the Flattest

As Steve Forbes learned in 1996 and 2000 and Herman Cain is learning now, the flat tax is a bad idea whose time never came. After all, the move to a single income tax rate for all earners inevitably shifts the tax burden from the rich to middle and lower income Americans. And if the rate is too low, the result is a hemorrhage of red ink from the U.S Treasury that quickly becomes an ocean of debt.

Nevertheless, in one form or another, the top tier of the 2012 GOP presidential stands poised to embrace this latest wildly regressive Republican windfall for the wealthy. Hoping to benefit from the hype surrounding Cain’s simple 9-9-9 plan, Texas Governor Rick Perry with Steve Forbes’ endorsement will announce his own flat tax proposal on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the resurrected Newt Gingrich has exhumed his own scheme in the guise of an “optional” 15 percent flat tax rate. And to confirm the growing flat tax popularity among his party’s primary voters, frontrunner Mitt Romney in typical fashion may be on the verge of reversing course.

If conservatives want to be the party of the perennially wacky Forbes let’s not try to discourage them. Forbes went down in flames. Perry and Cain will do likewise. Your conservative family making $40k a year and now pays no federal income taxes has no desire to start paying a minimum tax of Cain’s 9% or Perry’s 20%( as reported by the WSJ). Romney has not specified his flat tax rate yet and as the weeks progress and the feedback starts coming in I suspect it will be one of those flip-flop-flips which he backs off. Rick Perry: Standing Tall for the 1%

He’d allow multinationals to return the trillion dollars in profits that they have closeted abroad at a 5% tax rate, a truly shameless corporate giveaway. He’d lower corporate taxes to 20% immediately, while “phasing out” corporate loopholes – good luck with that.

Then he would blow a hole in Social Security, providing young workers with a choice for private accounts. Since under the current plan, young workers pay for the benefits their parents’ generation receives, this would starve Social Security of significant income just when the boomers are retiring. He does not say how he would replace what is likely to be a trillion dollar shortfall over the next thirty years.

But it will have to be by cutting benefits since he would put a lid on federal spending at 18% GDP (We currently spend about 24%, and it is impossible to imagine an effective government sustaining Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and bare bone essential services at less than 20%).

During the best of the Bush and total control of the federal government by conservatives spending was 20% of GDP. That is without a recession and spending with no compensating cuts ( its the the glorious borrow and spend years). We have trillions to pay in health are for vets of the two wars conservatives bungled. More of the baby boomers will be retiring. We still need infrastructure spending. A Rick Perry presidency looks as bleak as the landscape in The Book of Eli with no green zone left at the end to save us.

An unfortunate trend is to have a reflexive reaction to anything Obama proposes as dead on arrival. It might be cool in some circles, but not very productive – HARP II, Either A Huge Deal Or Not

The FHFA itself is actually not making any particularly grand claims on behalf of this initiative, and other people I’ve heard from in the government are likewise being very restrained and not promising any gigantic macroeconomic benefits.

Sarah Rosen Wartell, who leads the housing work at CAP, put out a statement observing that “some important details are still to come that will determine how much progress will be achieved.” Joe Gagnon goes really big, and says that if this is designed right we could get three to four million jobs out of it which obviously would be a huge effect. By contrast, Felix Salmon says he thinks this will do almost nothing. Personally, I have no idea who’s right about this. It can’t hurt to try, right?

If we split the difference between Joe and Felix that would mean 2 million jobs and quite a few people staying in their homes.

War By Other Means – Why it’s safe to ignore Republican criticism of Obama’s policy in Iraq.

This is getting all too predictable. President Obama announced that all American troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year, in compliance not only with his election pledge but also with the terms of a U.S.-Iraq treaty. In response, the Republicans moaned and hollered that Obama is playing politics with national security, or that he could have negotiated a better outcome, or that he’s surrendering to Iranian domination.

It’s a safe bet that, had Obama announced he was keeping 10,000 troops in Iraq for the indefinite future, most of the same Republicans would have moaned and hollered that he was breaking a promise to the American people, draining the Treasury, and boosting the chance of a terrorist attack by Muslims angered at our continued occupation.
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More than this, their complaints are unfounded, based on either ignorance or deliberate distortion.

First, it is crucial to note that this withdrawal and its timetable were set in a treaty called the Status of Forces Agreement, signed Nov. 17, 2008, not by Obama (who wasn’t president yet) but rather by George W. Bush. SOFAs, as they’re often abbreviated, are treaties—bearing the force of national and international law—that presidents sign with each country that hosts U.S. armed forces. They set the terms and conditions under which those forces can stay.

The SOFA with Iraq states, in Article 24: “All U.S. forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, waters, and airspace no later than the 31st of December of 2011.” That’s as definitive as these things get.

Article 30 does allow for amendments to the treaty, but only in the event of the “formal written approval of both parties and in accordance with the constitutional procedures in both countries.” For the past few months, U.S. officials (including some former Bush officials called back to join the delegation) have tested the waters to see if Iraqi lawmakers would allow—or, more to the point, wanted—an amendment that would permit some of the current 40,000 American troops to stay on. Their conclusion: The Iraqis had no such desire, and not much need.

There is the argument violence will increase on US withdrawal. We’ve been withdrawing troops over the past two years and while there was an uptick for a while violence is down. fewer Iraqis and fewer US military are dying. We’ll still have 40,000 troops on the Kuwaiti border and a Naval carrier group off the coast. Iran talks a lot of smack but they have no desire to have their clock cleaned by US air and naval power.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and some others have suggested that the sticking point was over a clause giving U.S. troops immunity from Iraqi prosecution for alleged crimes. This is a standard feature of such treaties, including of the earlier arrangement with Iraq. It’s true that the Iraqis refused to grant the immunity. But there was no leeway to negotiate an exemption, because the main sticking point was, and is, that the Iraqis simply do not want American troops in their country anymore. One U.S. official in Iraq said in a phone interview, “Even our erstwhile friends [among Iraqi politicians] want us out by the end of the year. None of them lifted a finger to keep us.”

Do Obama’s Republican critics, who have made such a big deal of Iraq’s bourgeoning democracy, really think Obama should (or could) have disregarded the democratically elected parliament of a sovereign nation—a sovereign ally, at that—in order to keep U.S. troops on that nation’s soil, allegedly for its own interest (as defined by us, not by them)? We would then become nothing but an occupying power, sure to trigger an escalation of armed resistance and appear hypocritical in the extreme.

By The Lake Autumn wallpaper – Only The People Should Be Too Big To Fail

fall colors

By The Lake Autumn wallpaper

 

The NYT plays catch-up, Cries of Anti-Semitism, but Not at Zuccotti Park

Among the hodgepodge of signs that have sprouted in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, one man in jeans and a baseball cap has been carrying placards that shout their suggestions: “Google: Jewish Billionaires” and “Google: Zionists control Wall St.”

At the same time, among the sea of tarps under which protesters have been sleeping, a sukkah, a makeshift hut, was erected to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

The Occupy Wall Street protests, now in their second month, have increasingly been criticized by a variety of groups, most of them politically conservative, for flashes of anti-Semitism. Among those calling attention to the issue have been the Republican National Committee, Rush Limbaugh and the columnist William Kristol.

But the protests have also, on occasion, had a distinctly Jewish flavor: The encampment has coincided with the busy Jewish holiday season and has witnessed, in its midst or on its edges, a crowded Kol Nidre service on Yom Kippur, festive dancing with a scroll on Simchat Torah on Thursday night, and the sukkah.

The right-wing Wall Street funded Emergency Committee for Israel seems to be hanging its entire case on finding a few nuts and having conservative freaks like Limbaugh supply the echo effect. Hoping yet another baseless meme will catch on.

Anti-illegal immigration bill stokes backlash in Alabama fields

Farmers fearing a labor shortage are protesting recent immigration laws they say are too harsh, forcing undocumented workers to flee to prevent deportation. They say US workers are unwilling to endure the rigorous conditions of farm work and that state legislators need to come up with solutions to prevent local agribusiness from going under.

More than 100 farmers and three state representatives in Alabama responded to the recent enactment of a slate of anti-illegal immigration laws by holding a public hearing this week in Oneonta, about 35 miles northeast of Birmingham. The farmers complained that they were already seeing laborers pack up and leave the state.

The new immigration laws will result in a $40 million hit to the state’s economy, with 10,000 illegal workers, each making about $5,000 a year, set to leave, according to a report released this week by the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

 

Sorry Alabama farmers conservatives are not doing sane or rational or subtle or compromise at the moment or for the foreseeable future. They have learned nothing from disastrous policies and laws. We could have a nice stream lined process where immigrant workers get a quick seasonable farm work permit and we could all just go about our business. That is just too adult and mature for conservatives. They have a point to make and if it costs you millions, well just suck it up. Funny how the conservative mind works. They have done everything they can to make sure Wall Street can continue to play casino with the nation’s wealth, but won’t let some poor workers make a few dollars. * There has been one conservative in Texas who has proposed a gust worker program, but that seems to be going nowhere.

This graph is ridiculous, but the format is the way it is because Herman Cain’s tax fantasy is so ridiculous, 9-9-9 in One (Really Long) Graph

In my previous post decrying the extreme redistribution of the tax burden from the wealthy to everyone else, I had to use two graphs to tell the story.  I couldn’t fit the increase in tax liabilities for the bottom 80% on the same graph that includes the over $1 million decrease in tax liability for the top 0.1%.

But my CBPP colleague Brian Highsmith could.  So here you have it: the change in tax liabilities, compared to current tax policy, under 9-9-9, for different income groups, in one incredibly unsettling graph.

9-9-9 in One (Really Long) Graph

 

 

The best way to see the full size is to click over to the story link. These long red lines are the tax cuts for the super rich. The blue increases are the tax increases for people with relatively modest incomes. There are a few comments by trolls at the link that display a stunning amount of malicious ignorance about wealth and where it comes from. The belief, akin to how cultists believe in their dogma, that the upper ten percent are the wealth creators and the rest of us should be thankful for their hard work is mind-boggling in its boneheadedness. Every dollar that Wall Street uses for collateral, bets on, uses to buy derivatives and packages CDOs originated with someone who did some labor to create something that created the value in the first place. All capital begins with labor. Everyone else is just hitching a ride. The 1%, but really the upper ten percent, use the capital created by the people who assemble the cars, mine the copper, roof the houses, program the software, collect the trash, empty the bed pans, invent the next drug, do the basic research for the next must have a gadget to accumulate their wealth. Anyone who does actual work for a living should recent the hell out of the kind of financial sector that has evolved over the last forty years.

We the people are the only ones who should be too big to fail

 

The Hermantor has covered every possible position on a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body – Herman Cain: Another 180 Turn on Abortion. Herman’s latest is a federal ban on a woman’s right to be free. In addition, the desert of sorts is his proposal for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The SCOTUS has already ruled that women, being equal citizens and all, have the right to decide what to do with their uterus. Herman and Rick Perry see every uterus as the property of federal marshals. So a federal ban on women’s autonomy would be a job creator of sorts, we’ll need thousands of new marshals and prison guards to enforce this major expansion of government powers. Trying to pass a new Constitutional amendment on marriage might be a good idea, for moderate Americans anyway. The road to changing the Constitution is a long arduous one. Think of the millions of dollars the Right will waste on trying to get such an amendment ratified. Since the majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage the ratification process will be a black hole for the conservative donations that will not be spent on other issues.

Herman is also a Koch tea bagger – Not an Employee? Herman Cain Had Mailing and Email Addresses at Koch’s Americans For Prosperity HQ

Goodbye National Treasures, Ron Paul Calls For Federal Public Lands To Be ‘Sold Off To Private Owners’

Paul’s remarks fall in line with the attacks on public lands from conservative lawmakers and corporate front groups. For instance, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) has been waging war on public lands from his helm as chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, while the Koch Brothers have funded pro-oil events across the West.

For more information, read Center for American Progress President John Podesta’s article on defending public lands or a report from CAP’s public lands team on how public land conservation creates jobs.

Most readers may already know this, but for those that don’t, our national parks, forests and marine sanctuaries are already exploited by private interests. The government allows timber companies like the Koch owned Georgia Pacific to cut trees on federal lands for pennies on the dollar of market value. A great if old example of corporate welfare. If we sell off forest to Georgia Pacific they will manage that land as well as they have land in the south – old growth forests are down to a few percent of what they were just fifty years ago. They get great short-term wind fall profits, but your children and grandchildren get the shaft. Libertarian Ron Paul has spent most of his adult life collecting a tax payer salary and benefits. He has amassed a nice fortune without breaking a sweat. In that entire time he has never issued one solid policy study based opinion about anything. He occasionally sounds good on not getting into expensive wars, but other than that he is a wacko. Pauls view of the Constitution would bring back Jim Crow, women’s bodies would be the defacto property of the state, American workers would enjoy the same wage protections as Asian sweat shop workers. Paul was one of the sponsors of the Marriage Protection Act in the House in 2004. Paul, like Cain and Perry are big government mad-hatters. They don’t think the government should protect your family from toxic chemicals but they do think the government should have the last word on your personal life.

 

Classic Jazz wallpaper – Conservatives and The Art of Voting Against Your Rational Self Interests

Classic Jazz wallpaper

 

Workers in the USA who are making less than $12 an hour probably don’t absolutely love their jobs. In cities such as Dallas, New York, San Francisco and Miami they’re just getting by. They are paying their payroll taxes – for their Medicare and Social Security. This is a group that needs those programs more than high income households because even the best savers are not going to have much when they retire. This is deep working class America. They also pay federal taxes when they buy gas and a few other things. They pay local fees ( frequently which are hidden taxes politicians with no guts vote for so they can clam they did not rise taxes). According to Republicans these people – the bottom 50% of all income earners and who frequently work far harder for their money than the Koch brothers or the Coors family ever will – are freeloaders who need to anti-up their share of the federal tax pie. Romney “Wants” Breaks for the Middle Class: Too Bad His Actual Plan Favors the Mega-Rich 

As part of his critique of Herman Cain’s absurd “9-9-9” tax plan, Mitt Romney said in last night’s debate, “I want to reduce taxes on middle-income families.”

It was a throw-away line, mentioned in passing. But it’s important to realize what Romney claims to “want” is not even close to what Romney actually intends to do.

In fact, there’s no real ambiguity here. The apparent Republican frontrunner has already said he wants to see middle-class taxes go up right away, having endorsed an increase in payroll taxes in 2012. Romney has also backed higher federal income taxes on lower- and middle-income earners for the foreseeable future. He’s been surprisingly explicit on this, recently telling voters, “I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying income tax.”

Of course, those who aren’t paying income taxes include a fairly narrow group of people: lower- and middle-income workers who fall below the tax threshold; the unemployed; students, and retirees. Romney thinks it’s a “real problem” that they’re not paying federal income taxes — and it’s a problem he intends to fix by raising their taxes.

But, the former governor says, that’s only part of the picture. Sure, Romney will raise middle-class income taxes, but he also intends to give the middle class a capital-gains tax break.

Under Romney’s plan, those making less than $200,000 a year would see their capital gains taxes eliminated entirely. And what’s wrong with that? Pat Garofalo explained:

Romney may think he focused his tax cut on the middle-class, but according to a ThinkProgress analysis of Tax Policy Center data, nearly three-fourths of households that make $200,000 or less annually would get literally nothing from Romney’s tax cut, due to the simple fact that most of those households have no capital gains income

To be exact, 73.9 percent of the households upon which Romney “focused” his tax cut will see zero benefit from it. […]

For families making between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, Romney’s tax cut comes out to a whopping $216 per year. Meanwhile, the payroll tax cut enacted by the Obama administration in 2011, which Romney derided as a “temporary little Band-Aid,” gave those same households a tax cut of $800 to $1,000.

Romney also, incidentally, wants massive tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.

“I want to reduce taxes on middle-income families”? What Romney “wants” is irrelevant.

To be sure, there are some who might argue that middle-class taxes should go up, and it’s a subject worthy of debate. The problem here is that Romney just isn’t telling the truth about his own agenda. If he intends to raise middle-class taxes, and his own plan suggests that he does, Romney should prepared to defend his agenda.

 

If most Americans want Medicare and Social Security to remain solvent it is probably inevitable that we do away with the current payroll tax cuts. In Romney’s formula people who my grandmother used to say lived from hand to mouth, or pay check to pay check, just trying to keep their head above water will have to kick in some minimum federal income tax. All the while the richest Americans get yet another cut on their capital gains. Who are the capital gains people – mostly the 1%. They get a huge amount of their income from capital gains, thus a lower effective tax rate than, you know who, Warren Buffet’s secretary. No matter how badly the tax cut our way to economic nirvana plan fails, conservatives are going to stick with it. There is very obviously no evidence that cutting capital gains to historic lows creates jobs. They do make people with lots of money richer. In America, money is political speech and political power. So Romney’s plan is the continued dis-empowerment of the 99%.

This connection between taxes, political power and dis-empowerment of the non-wealthy is enough to make most Americans pause. If we have a free market merit based economy how come so many Americans are working so hard ( or want to work, but cannot find employment) and we’re not getting ahead. How or why is this unwholesome and un-meritocracy system allowed to continue. As much power as the wealthy and their network of think tanks and lobbyist are they only have so many votes. Except they’re counting on a large minority of voters, working class voters, to vote against their own best interests in some Faustian bargain – How Christian Fundamentalists Disempower Themselves and Help Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%

Evangelical fundamentalism helped empower the top 1 percent. Note I didn’t say religion per se, but religious fundamentalism.

Why? Because without the fundamentalists and their “values” issues, many in the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest; in other words, vote for Republicans who only serve billionaires.

Wall Street is a great target for long-overdue protest, but so are the centers of religious power that are the gatekeepers of Republican Party “values” voters that make the continuing economic exploitation possible.

Fundamentalist religion — evangelical and Roman Catholic alike — has delegitimized the US government and thus undercut its ability to tax, spend and regulate.

The fundamentalists have replaced economic and political justice with a bogus (and hate-driven) “morality” litmus tests of spurious red herring “issues” from abortion to school prayer and gay rights. The result has been that the masses of lower middle-class and poor Americans who should be voting for Democrats and thus their own economic interests, have been persuaded to vote against their own class and self interest.

This trick of political sleight of hand has been achieved by this process:

Declare the US government agents of evil because “the government” has allowed legal abortion, gay rights, etc.
Declare that therefore “government is the problem,” not the solution.
The government is the source of all evwww.amazon.com/Sex-Mom-God-Strange-Politics/dp/0306819287/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0il, thus anyone the government wants to regulate is being picked on by satanic forces. The US government is always the bad guy.
Good, God-fearing folks will always vote for less government and less regulation because “the government” is evil.
So unregulated corporations, banks and Wall Street are always right and represent “freedom” while government is always wrong and represents “tyranny.”

All the GOP presidential candidates are exploiting this phenomenon. Herman Cain, a puppet of the Koch brothers said without shame, without having clue from inside his bubble of elitism that the OWS movement should be protesting in front of the White House, not America’s financial centers. Certainly Washington shares some of the blame – if we had not had thirty years of financial deregulation by Washington – the Wall Street meltdown might never have happened. We still might have had a housing bubble but not one so severe – the severity was caused by Wall Street as well – Private Wall Street Companies Caused The Financial Crisis — Not Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Or The Community Reinvestment Act . How do you get people to vote in their own rational best interests. I’ve always wondered about the cultural wing-nuts and abortion. By national budget standards investments in education about both abstinence and birth control, at least a two year degree from a community college and a job that pays a living wage all bring down the abortion rate. Yet the very same culturally conservative vote to increase abortions when they vote to cut programs those programs. Want a lower crime rate, don’t build more prisons, invest in education.

After Confusing Himself, Cain Decides That Rape Victims Should Be Forced To Carry Pregnancies To Term. The conservative tenet that women should be incubators for rapists and child molesters hasn’t quite worn out my outrage quotient. This perverse, immoral unfathomable attitude toward women, toward another human being is something out of some dystopian dictatorship or horror movie.

The Republican Bickersons

That was fun tonight. Attack, defend, attack and attack some more. Texas Gov. Rick Perry had some problems in tonight’s Republican presidential debate, as he’s had before — do we really want to “defund the United Nations”? — but he was a real presence this time, and I thought he put some life back into his campaign.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney found himself on the defensive as he never has been before. His health-care plan in Massachusetts finally got a real going-over, with Sen. Rick Santorum leading the way. Santorum was an important player throughout the discussion, and this has to give him a bump — in attention, if not in the polls.

For the most part, Romney was fluid and fluent, as is his habit. But I thought the particularly bitter exchange he had with Perry, over whether Romney had hired an illegal immigrant, hurt Romney more than Perry. There was petulance and perhaps a trace of arrogance in the way Romney kept badgering Perry. “It’s been a tough couple of debates for Rick” and “You have a problem with letting people finish speaking” are Romney lines that will get played over and over, and I don’t think they came off well. In truth, neither Romney nor Perry looked great when they went into junkyard-dog mode, but it may be a net win for Perry, because he put himself on the same level as Romney. But on the question of Mormonism and the religious faith of politicians, Romney’s answer was very good, while Perry’s response at times came close to incoherence.

 

It’s not difficult to imagine the Perry prep team over the last couple weeks. It’s the political version of Rocky. His team told Perry that it had to land some solid punches or he was down for the count. This is no time to be a gentleman. Romney’s support might not win any prizes for enthusiasm, but his supporters have not been easy to sway either. As feisty as everyone was when you have all those punches being thrown, it tends to distract so much people aren’t sure who won. So they just stay with the leanings they had before the fight started.

Ye Old Sea Cliff Fortress wallpaper – Conservative Economics and Self-flagellation

night, landscape, ocean coast,

Ye Old Sea Cliff Fortress wallpaper

 

Today is mostly a collection of news quickies.

Let’s all keep telling ourselves that conservatives are not trying to sabotage the economy for political gain just to exercise our power of denial muscle: Economist: Senate GOP jobs plan wouldn’t help economy in short term, and could even hurt

The GOP unveiling of the plan was widely treated as major news, and Republicans are challenging Obama to respond to their plan — a challenge that’s also garnering widespread coverage.

But an economist I spoke to just now said there isn’t enough information in the plan to evaluate whether it could even achieve its goals as Republicans themselves have defined them. He said it won’t help the economy in the short term, and could even make matters worse.

“I don’t have enough detail to evaluate how many jobs this would create,” Gus Faucher, the director of macroeconomics at Moody’s Analytics, told me. “I could say, `My plan is to do nothing, and it will create five million jobs.’ And it could work, particularly if I don’t say over what time period.”

Moody’s recently estimated that Obama’s jobs plan, if passed, would add two percentage points to economic growth next year, add 1.9 million jobs, and cut unemployment by a full percentage point. By contrast, the Senate GOP plan isn’t designed to help the economy in the short term, Faucher said.

The Republican jobs plan, and it is being very generous to call it a plan, is really just a reiteration of extreme right-wing talking points that we can all repeat in out sleep at this point. Do way with taxes, Medicare, worker safety regulations, food safety regulations, pollution laws that saves tens of thousands of American lives, kill financial regulation, let women die on hospital floors, trade agreements that kill American jobs and we’ll all be living in paradise living off honey and t-bone streak.

Yet another conservative myth shattered – Over Regulation is not responsible for high unemployment.

Even Business Week and the fact checker at the WaPo think Hermanator Cain’s financial IQ could use a large infusion of facts. Cain’s Sales Tax Would Hurt Consumer Spending ’For Some Years’ and Herman Cain’s 999 plan: a misleading pitch

Right now, nearly half of taxpayers don’t pay income taxes, but they do pay their share of payroll taxes, which amounts to 7.65 percent of wage income (though much of it is capped at $107,000). Cain would also eliminate the earned-income tax credit, which is intended to lift working Americans out of poverty. Many of these workers currently receive tax refunds.

[  ]…Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan administration official who now calls himself an independent, also offered a critical examination this week on the New York Times Economix blog. He (as did Kleinbard) noted that the business tax allows for no deduction for wages, which he said  “is likely to raise the cost of employing workers, even with abolition of the employers’ share of the payroll tax.”

Cain, in his television appearances, glosses over such details.

Difficult to believe, but Cain worked as a mathematician while in was in the military. This is how he explained the extra burden of his 9% sales tax( that would be on top of any sales taxes you’re paying now),

Cain: I’m going to use $50,000 a year, since that’s approximately what the median income is for a family in this country. [For a] family of four, $50,000 a year. Under the current system, based upon standard deductions and standard exemptions, they’re going to pay $10,200 in taxes. Under the 9-9-9 plan, the middle 9, they’re going to pay $4,500. That leaves $5,700 to apply to that milk and bread in terms of the taxes. You have to go through the numbers of each individual situation.

Well the people who are currently not paying federal income taxes or not paying much because of deductions such as the mortgage deduction or earned income credit would be paying that 9% sales tax and they would not be paying it out of what they saved in income taxes because they would no longer have their itemized deductions. It is also at least partly a shell game to say that most people will come out ahead because they can take their income tax savings, tun around and pay their sales taxes with what was savings five minutes ago. Herman is no more a loon than Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich or Santorum, but he is no less loony either. Cain also made this reality defying statement in the same NPR interview:

One of the reasons that I believe that this happened(speaking about the Iranian assassination plot), Scott, is that this president is perceived is weak, and weakness invites attack. I happen to believe that that’s why they attempted to do something like this to thumb their nose at the American people, to thumb that nose at the United States of America because this president is perceived as weak.

Thus far President Obama and the U.S. military under his leadership have killed several high level terrorist that the Bush administration had not during two terms in office. The 9-11 attacks happened on Bush’s watch. Multiple terror attacks happened during the Bush presidency in Europe and Asia. Yet Herman, using his super duper CEO mind concludes, and he, by his public statements wants the world to think, Obama is “weak”. Could someone check Herman’s back and see if the puppet strings are attached to Dick Cheney’s hand.

Rick Perry defends his wife’s claim that he’s been ‘brutalized’ for his faith. Mrs Perry does get one thing right in yet another us true believe’n white right-wing Christianists are poor little victims card; the Right have been the most brutal critics. This all or mostly because of Perry’s stance on in-state tuition for immigrants. In the land of Wingnuttia xenophobia wins out.

As we all know conservative are the grand pooh pahs of Christian values, foreign policy and how to prosecute teenage girls for having miscarriages. So the giant conservative wart known as Rush Limbaugh must be right when he claims – Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army.  And here we are at war with them.  Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn?  How about you, Brian?  Snerdley, have you?  You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army?  Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them.  Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians.  It means God.  I was only kidding.  Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians.  They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan.  And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them.  That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill.

So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and — (interruption) no, I’m not kidding.  Jacob Tapper just reported it.

President Obama explains his sending military advisers to central Africa – Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate Regarding the Lord’s Resistance Army. Max Fisher provides some insight into the reasoning behind sending advisers and why Limbaugh has aligned himself with a child rapist, slaver, child murderer, mass murderer and war criminal who claims he rules in the name of the Ten Commandments – Why Is Obama Sending Troops Against the Lord’s Resistance Army?

Part insurgency and part cult, the Lord’s Resistance Army has waged a 20-year campaign of terror across Uganda, where it originally formed in opposition to the government there, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Sudan. It raids villages, massacres for no other purpose than bloodlust, enslaves child soldiers and child sex slaves, drugs its captives to make them more violent, all in an apparently endless mission that has destroyed countless villages and killed thousands of civilians, transforming one of the world’s least governed spaces into one of its most dangerous.

A 2009 U.S. law authorizing financial support to Uganda against the LRA cites studies finding the LRA had abducted 66,000 children and displaced two million civilians. Last year, Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth — no hawk — called on Obama to use U.S. military force against the Lord’s Resistance Army. Roth cited the group’s overwhelming humanitarian toll, its small size, and (unlike, for example, the Taliban) its extreme unpopularity among the populations it terrorizes.

More on the LRA and their leader Joseph Kony – Girl Soldiers – The cost of survival in Northern Uganda

“A person who believes in God cannot kill, cannot rape people, cannot burn their house … cutting their ears, cutting their necks,” Lucy says. Kony “is a devil, not God.”

“When you first arrive [after being abducted by the rebels], they put all the girls together. Then they call the officers so they can pick who they want for a wife. Even if you are very young. I was given to a very big man. He was blind on one side. So maybe he didn’t see that I was very young.”

[  ]…“They told me to lie down, and they said, ‘You pick: Do you want life or death?,’” she recounts. “Then they brought a boy near me and killed him using a panga. They cut him here (her finger slices her neck), here (waist), here (legs) … Then they told me, ‘Have you seen what has happened with that boy?’ I started crying. ‘You are crying!’ Then, they started beating me.”

She chose “life,” which meant that for 2.5 years she was forced to have sex with her husband twice a week, each time crying and each time being beat for her tears. She would sometimes be denied food for up to five days and almost just as long without water—when deprived water, soldiers would make her drink someone else’s urine. She was only required to fight in the field once, but was forced several times a week to pillage villages to gather food and clothing.
Kony was set to sign a peace agreement in April of this year, officially putting an end to a war that left nearly 2 million people homeless, 80 percent of who were women and children. But he never showed. The LRA still managed to stay in the headlines, however, when they orchestrated over 300 abductions in Congo, Sudan and Central African Republic.

 

So all that means nothing to “Christian”, foreign policy expert, fake patriot, serial liar and drug addict Limbaugh. Kony is anti-Muslim and that is all that matters.

The conservative blog American Power, it should go without saying, also considers itself experts on foreign policy and U.S. history. They write about the military advisers – Obama Administration to Deploy Military Advisors to Uganda

Well, it’s certainly fits the progressive rationale for foreign military intervention: human rights. But 100 “advisers”? Sounds like how the Kennedy administration sent advisers to Vietnam and we ended up with 500,000 troops in country by the end of 1965.

That ragged bit of insight is the sum of their wisdom. First it was president Eisenhower who first sent military advisers to Vietnam. While the public was told at the time there would be no American military intervention it has since become well known that US Air Force pilots flew to support the French during Operation Castor in November 1953. Even if he had managed to use the correct president and got the details correct drawing direct parallels is stretching reality. We’re sending 100 advisers to a country being terrorized by one brutal psycho. What came to be 16,000 advisers in Vietnam were our forward eyes on what many thought was the advance of Soviet communism across Asia with the material support of the Chinese. Central Africa, if we play it right could be another victory in the proper application of U.S. power such as Libya, to some degree Egypt, the Balkans and saving the Kurds after Desert Storm. We actually have small contingents of troops in about a dozen countries right now. They might be preventing the next wave of mass murders. It might be inconsistent to pick our battles, but there is nothing wrong with picking the right ones where we help local civilians. Battles that at least during the Obama administration, has been at minimal cost, either financially or in military casualties.

The 53 Percent Take on the 99 Percent

A number of publications including Slate and the Washington Post have already pointed out that the other 47 percent don’t pay taxes because they are simply too poor. Slate’s Suzy Khimm summarizes neatly:

About half of households within that 47 percent do not end up paying federal income tax because they qualify for enough breaks to cancel their tax obligations out. Of that group, 44 percent are claiming tax benefits for the elderly, like an exemption for Social Security payments. And 30.4 percent are claiming credits for “children and the working poor,” like the child-care tax credit… When combined, it’s all enough to cancel out their income tax requirements… The other half of households are just too poor to pay them.

But Think Progress takes their analysis a step further, looking into the claims of hardship made by Erickson:

The three jobs Erickson wants you to believe he scrapes by on include occasional paid opinion blogging at RedState.com, a lucrative television contract with CNN, and a radio gig that paid the previous host $165,183 a year…The house Erickson can’t sell? Bibb County, Georgia records reveal that Erickson just bought a new $374,900 house in February of this year, and owns another that, according to an estimate by the website Zillow, might be worth slightly less than the amount he paid for it in 2001. And it’s likely that Erickson’s CNN job alone provides him with a personal driver and covered travel expenses when he needs to appear on the show.

Interestingly, many of the claims made in the We Are the 53% blog echo those made in the We Are the 99 Percent blog: “got laid off”, “slept in my car because I couldn’t afford housing”, “after a mildly successful career, I lost everything in 2009”.

It’s not that the 53 percent people haven’t suffered, these pictures seem to say. It’s that having clawed their way out of crisis, they now see virtue in their suffering. One commenter on Think Progress site summarized the mindset:

Look at me. I ran through a field of bear traps and only had to gnaw off one limb. Builds character.

Poor ol Erick Erickson

Besides misdirected resentment at the working poor and believing in all that Glenn Beck -Fannie May-Barnie Frank bull, the 53% seem to have an unhealthy obsession with self  flagellation. What most workers have come to know as hallmarks of modern civilization: a fair wage, a forty hour week, over time pay, worker’s compensation, week ends off, fire exits that are not locked down, health care benefits – are all things the 53% think are signs that we’ve turned into a nation of spoiled brats. I remember seeing a Monty Python sketch on late night TV where several of the troop played the I had it worse than you game. It went something like – I got up in the morning, ate a hand full of dirt, walked ten miles in eight foot snow drifts and worked a 23 hour day in a dark mine digging coal with my bare hands. Than the next guy would one up him on the hardship he endured. This is the game the 53% are playing. Only their version of the skit isn’t funny.

This might be what I was thinking of, Monty Python – Four Yorkshiremen

Part of the dialogue:

… “Oooooh, we used to dream of living in a corridor. It would have been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish [heap]. We got woken up every morning to having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us. House? Uh!”
“Oh, when I said house I meant a hole in the ground covered by a piece of twig. It was a house to us.”
“We were evicted from our hole in the ground. We had to go and live in the lake!”
“You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.”
“Cardboard box?” …

Dreamy Autumn wallpaper – Conservatives Declare War on English and Logic

fall, leaves, colors, landscape

Dreamy Autumn wallpaper

 

Multiple choice: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Gov. Rick Perry(R-TX) are two of the dumbest people alive or they are a real life Orwellian nightmare or just hate America’s seniors – Rep. Ryan: Rick Perry is right on Social Security

Social Security fits the technical definition of a Ponzi scheme, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told conservative Laura Ingraham on her radio show.

“It’s not a criminal enterprise, but it’s a pay-as-you-go system, where earlier investors — or say, taxpayers — get a positive rate of return, and the most recent investors — or taxpayers — get a negative rate of return,” he said. “That is how those schemes work.”

Perry’s description of the Social Security as a “Ponzi sceheme” has been attacked by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Perry’s leading challenger for the GOP presidential nomination. Romney criticized Perry for scaring seniors and wanting to abolish the program, warning that the Republican nominee needs to work to reform the program.

[  ]…The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pushed back against Ryan’s comments.

“Ryan’s belief that Social Security works like a Ponzi scheme proves — once and for all — that House Republicans have really declared a war on seniors,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement. “A Ponzi scheme is Bernie Madoff ripping off Americans — not Social Security benefits that seniors earned and depend on during retirement.

 

Ryan may have well said that yes food could be described as dirt as they are both physical substances. There are many reasons that conservatives cannot have an honest debate, one of them is their Orwellian attack on language and meaning. Why not say life insurance is a scheme. You pay into it and when you die you actually collect nothing. The pay out to your beneficiary may be more than you paid into it – a Marxist ponzi scheme for sure. Trading stocks seems to have become a scheme. The value of stocks, supposedly determined by the value of the company, can suddenly plummet in price based on speculation and rumors.  Words either have meaning or they serve as right-wing propaganda. Let’s not discuss or debate anything because we can all use the same words and mean two different things – conservatives have declared war on the American English language. Is that where we are, everyone gets to create their own reality. As fanatical as Ryan, Perry and the rest sound, the comments at the link do not bode well for the concept of an informed citizenry making wise decisions. There is the often repeated and tedious claim that the government should not run any programs that provide a social safety net because everyone should look out for themselves. I’m pro maximum self-sufficiency. Though unlike that writer and others who think in such simplistic terms I have enough humility to realize that I am not in utter and complete control of my life. I live in a complex democratic society with a complex free market. I do not control all the buttons and gears anymore than the vast majority of Americans. Strangers I will never meet in boardrooms across America, Europe and Asian have a tremendous amount of control over every American’s financial future. When they screw up and they do regularly, all of my and millions of regular working class America’s financial plans go down the tubes. In the recession that started in 2007 millions of Americans with private retirement plans and pensions lost millions in value, not because they were lazy Marxists, but because the people who we trusted to run the economy were greedy, stupid and irresponsible. Social Security is insurance against the craziness and greed. If worse comes to worse you’ll at least be able to have shelter and food. In fact Social Security grew out of the Great Depression. This is a Ponzi scheme from a breaking story at the WSJ, U.S. Alleges Poker Site Stacked Deck

On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department in a civil suit accused Messrs. Lederer, Ferguson and Furst, and another director of the company behind the Full Tilt Poker website, of defrauding thousands of online poker players out of more than $300 million that is still owed to them. The government said that, in total, the 23 owners of the site had taken out $444 million in distributions over the years.

The Justice Department’s civil suit against Full Tilt alleges that in 2010, Full Tilt began having trouble accepting new bets from players, thanks to U.S. efforts to crack down on payment-processing services for online gambling. But the U.S. says that Full Tilt’s owners kept paying themselves millions of dollars anyway, fraudulently depleting the player funds on deposit with the company.

“Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement Tuesday. The U.S. government views online poker operations, at least those that cross state lines, as illegal.

 

Full Tilt was a deliberate fraud. Money was taken in with no intention of paying back people who were owed money. It was supervised by private entities not the federal government. Full Tilt lured people into playing with promises of payoffs. During one of the debates among GOP presidential candidates it was a contest to see who was more like Reagan. When it comes to the social safety net Reagan was a flaming liberal compared to this group of conservatives wackos – By today’s Tea Party standards, the Republican icon would have been a Leninist-Marxist-socialist America hater.

2. Reagan Shored Up Social Security

Last Rick Perry reprised his attack on Social Security, calling the program that has kept millions of seniors out of poverty a “monstrous lie.” But if Perry is going to keep insisting that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, that would make Ronald Reagan its Bernie Madoff.

After boasting of his plans to privatize Social Security so that “those who can make better provisions for themselves” be allowed to do so, Reagan bailed out the program to the tune of $165 billion. In fact, Republicans can thank Reagan that they even have a Social Security to rail against.

The  Reagan-O’Neill Social Security deal was not the best route to take in the long run and it did raise payroll taxes, but it did save Soc. Sec. for the immediate future at the time. The Right wants to have it both ways as usual – to be the party of Reagan yet go full tilt destroying  income security for seniors.

The Four Stooges write a letter – McConnell, Boehner, Kyl, and Cantor’s Letter to the Fed

But an official letter from members of the House and Senate to the Fed is more official, and more threatening to the Fed’s independence than a speech from an individual member of Congress. Robert Reich explains the objections:

The Republican’s Latest Ploy to Keep the Economy Lousy through Election Day, by Robert Reich: …To say it’s unusual for a political party to try to influence the Fed is an understatement.

When I was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, it was considered a serious breach of etiquette — not to say potentially economically disastrous — even to comment publicly about the Fed. Everyone understood how important it is to shield the nation’s central bank from politics.

If global investors suspect the Fed is responding to political pressure of any kind, investors will lose trust in the nation’s monetary policies. Even if the pressure is to tighten the money supply and keep interest rates high, it’s still politics. And once politics intrudes, lenders of all stripes worry that it will continue to intrude in all sorts of ways. The inevitable result: Lenders charge more for lending us money.

The letter puts Bernanke and his colleagues in a huge bind. If they decide against another round of so-called “quantitative easing” to lower long-term rates and boost the economy, they may look like they’re caving to congressional Republicans. If they decide to go ahead notwithstanding, they’re bucking the Republicans and siding with Democrats. Either way, they’re open to the charge they’re playing politics.

Congressional Republicans evidently don’t care. They want Obama out, whatever the cost. Besides, they’ve never met a government institution they don’t mind trashing.

 

Those of us who survived the Bush 43 er are all too familiar with the scorched earth mentality of the conservative movement. Trashing the economy is fair game in the conservative playbook because it is just politics. Blue collar conservatives don’t seem to mind because they think they’ll be miraculously spared when the wildfire spreads. They have this bewildering and sick tendency to enjoy self flagellation anyway. If the economy does grind down another notch that puts them a little closer to starting the country all over again with a clean slate, where they can have that pure perfect free market where nutt’n ever goes wrong. Instead of or rather in addition to fantasy-land Constitutional originalism, they’re pushing and  hope’n for some economic originalism. And if they have to take down millions of American families to accomplish that, well it has thus been divined. Stan Collender’s conclusion on the Four Stooge’s letter,

Today’s letter is far worse than anything that happened last November.  This warning is directly from the Republican congressional leadership instead of just outside economists and strategists, and the letter is almost sinister and ominous in its tone.  The treat that terrible things will come to those who help the economy when the GOP is not in charge of the White House sounds very real.

My question: If Rick Perry — one of the wanna-be GOP candidates for president — says that Bernanke’s actions to date have been treasonous, what do you call today’s Republican demand that the federal agency with the legal responsibility and the potential power to help GDP grow and unemployment to fall not do anything to help the American economy?

BS is the mildest term I can think of for this situation.

 

Many Republicans are positive they love the USA. It is a twisted love. It is the love a parent shouts as social services take away the child that has been beaten into a coma by the same parents. It is the kind of love only rabid nationalists have for their country. History has shown repeatedly that never turns out well.

City Skylines Chattanooga Tennessee wallpaper – Republican Presidential Candidates Are Not American Citizens They’re From Uranus

American landscapes

City Skylines Chattanooga Tennessee wallpaper

Conservatives have always seemed out of touch. Sometimes so much so one has to wonder what country they think they’re in. Michele Bachmann(R-MN) take on where the U.S. is economically, how we got here and her solutions read like a politician on Uranus. What she sees, hears and thinks might well be the reality on Uranus, but not here on earth. Bachmann cites action, not words, in campaign speech

Republican Michele Bachmann on Saturday scoffed at being called extreme, and said she will be “the new sheriff” in Washington, D.C., if elected.

“I pledge to you, I’m not a talker. I’m a doer,” she said, in what seemed to be a response to rival GOP presidential contender Tim Pawlenty’s recent hints that Iowans shouldn’t let themselves be mesmerized by her soaring rhetoric.

Among things she would do: Repeal the federal health care reform law and the Wall Street reform act, “which takes away credit for small businesses in our country,” she said.

One can only understand what “extreme” is if they have a mental connection to reality. Most Americans think Obamacare did not go far enough. They approve of individual changes like being able to put their adult children on their health care plan until age 26 and they like health insurance companies not being able to cancel their insurance because, you know, they got sick and needed it.

WTF “which takes away credit for small businesses”? President Obama has given small business 17 tax cuts. Currently in the works is yet another tax cut/tax incentive for every new worker hired. if she is talking about repealing Wall St financial reform that means she is in favor of letting the same financial calamity that happened in 2007-2008 happen again. So in Bachmann’s future for America, more unemployment, more financial instability, more pensions funds drained, and more personal investment accounts devalued by half or more.

“And I guarantee you the (Environmental Protection Agency) will have doors locked and lights turned off and they will only be about conservation,” the U.S. Congresswoman from Minnesota said. ( It is not just Bachmann who is campaigning on gutting the EPA. In this article from the NYT all the candidates promise to revive the economy by? That’s right, all but destroying the EPA will save us, because as every economist knows it is the EPA that is single-handedly holding back corporate profits)

So Bachmann and the other conservative presidential candidates are running on the death panel platform. They want more American children, families and workers to die so that Massey Energy , Exxon or BP can supposedly increase their profits. Washington’s Anti-Regulatory Crusade, and Why Your Job Hasn’t Killed You Yet

Clearing the Air. Since the days of the Lowell mills, so-called “brown lung” has been a hallmark of the miserable toil of poorly ventilated, dust-clogged textile factories. The disease, also known as Byssinosis, has historically hit women especially hard, spreading its signature coughing and lung scarring to thousands of workers around the world. The epidemic was virtually ignored until the 1960s and 1970s. Then came OSHA’s 1978 rule requiring more lung-friendly machinery, and within a few years the prevalence of brown lung in the industry fell by an estimated 97 percent. And employers’ grumbling about the “costs” of the rule faded when it became clear that the reforms improved the industry’s efficiency as well.

[  ]…Rule of (Keeping Your) Thumb. You’d think a rule that helps keep workers from getting accidentally hacked to pieces would be somewhat popular. But in the late 1980s, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) didn’t mind sacrificing a few extremities here and there to resist the evils of regulatory “burdens.” Industry moguls sued to block the Lockout/Tagout rule, which would force employers to mark potentially hazardous equipment with colored tags and provide safety training for workers. But the rule passed, and according to Public Citizen, made the shop floor a much less terrifying place:

An analysis of two union databases conducted in 2000 showed that hazardous energy-related fatalities declined, depending on the industry, by between 30 percent and 55 percent in the years following the enactment of the Lockout/Tagout rule…. OSHA currently estimates that the regulation prevents a total of 50,000 injuries and 120 fatalities per year.

Even NAM eventually backed off its opposition to the rule, apparently recognizing that workers do a better job when they have all their fingers.

[  ]…OSHA issued safety standards for excavacation-related construction in 1989, designed to protect workers from subterranean collapse. Basic structural protections for trenching and excavation worksites have since become standard practice, and Public Citizen calculates that the reforms correlate with “a 40 percent decrease in the fatality rate.”

[  ] …Fire on the Prairie. A generation ago, America’s farming industry was booming, in a really bad way. Grain facilities like silos and grain elevators were prone to deadly explosions when combustible grain dust mixed with hazardous gases. In spite of initial opposition from agribusiness groups and Reagan administration officials, OSHA enacted the Grain Handling Facilities Standard, which established environmental controls for dust and gas and required protective gear for workers. After seeing a “95 percent drop in explosion-related fatalities for certain facilities,” reports Public Citizen, even industry groups eventually had to admit that workplaces that don’t spontaneously explode are good for business. (Pollution Causes 40 Percent Of Deaths Worldwide, Study Finds)

Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney are all running on the more dead, maimed and crippled Americans equals a better economy platform. Wow those are some Christian? values. Values that might be great on Uranus, but not so great here on earth.

The crowd jumped to its feet to applaud when Bachmann said: “You will never see President Bachmann step one toe out of the United States and apologize for this country. I will stand up for this country, and I will stand up for you.”

This urban myth about President Obama being an apologist for the U.S. to the rest of the world is big among the residents of Uranus. In this world it is just more crap shoveled out in extraordinary regularity by the people who wear their tin-foil hats one size too small.

“It was the tea party movement that stands for ‘We’re taxed enough already,’ ” she said. ” ‘Don’t spend more money than what you bring in and act within the bounds of the Constitution.’ Gee, that’s extreme. To the liberals it is. Not to the rest of us.”

Maybe she is referring once again to the alternative reality on her home planet, here on earth Republicans in the 2010 mid-term elections ran on the Anti-Constitution platform. Taxes here are also not as high as Uranus, federal taxes are the lowest they have been since 1950. Taxes are the price we pay to have a civilized society – roads, universities, science and medical research, weather satellites, fire fighters, and so forth. Oh, taxes also pay for the subsidies that Bachmann and her husband have received from the federal government. Of the current deficit, conservatives and conservatives policies are responsible for the largest share of the deficit. As a resident of earth i can honestly say Bachmann has no idea what she is talking about. Maybe Glenn Beck has loaned her his mental bubble. Call me a perfectionist but one reasonable expectation of people who want to be president is that they have some grasp of reality.

“(The debt) not only drowns us on one level. It leads to something far worse, and that’s enormous job displacement and job loss across the country,” she told a crowd of about 50. “This is something that we cannot abide.”

Bachmann must have slept through the borrow and spend years of her ideological clones like Bush, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner when they passed spending bill after spending bill without paying for them. As a matter of fact they suspended the Pay/ Go rules in 2001.

When Allen West (R-Fl) is not disgracing the U.S. military with an act of blatant cowardice he has the usual fantasies of the typical Uranus resident. He feels he is a beleaguered victim/hero in a world too stupid to understand him – It’s Only The Race Card When You Play It

Heh. Allen West:

Rep. Allen West says he is a “modern-day Harriet Tubman” who wants to lead black voters away from the “plantation” of the Democratic Party. There is a “21st century plantation” of African-American voters unwaveringly supporting Democrats, but the freshman Republican from Florida said Wednesday night that he is out to change that.

    “The people on that plantation are upset because they’ve been disregarded, disrespected and their concerns are not cared about,” West said in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” responding to the anger that black Democrats showed earlier this week at a Congressional Black Caucus town hall in Detroit.

    “I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the underground railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility,” said West, who is the sole Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    Some black leaders are “are nothing more than overseers over that plantation,” West said, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), whose remarks at that town hall expressing frustration with President Barack Obama have drawn widespread attention.

The black voters are presumably the slaves, Waters and company the overseers who do the slavemaster’s bidding, and West the freedom fighter who will lead them to liberty. West is effectively calling Waters a sell-out. West, himself, would of course go into a of frothing seizure should such a charge ever be lodged at him.

West finished his comments by noting that the Republican Party has not always done a very good job at “reaching out” to black communities. Presumably now that West is on the case, the Promise Land is upon us.

West has aligned himself with the modern version of plantation owners. The Right has worked tirelessly to make sure the wage slaves get as small a slice of the pie as possible and has whittled away at the Rights of Americans for fifty years.

On West’s plantation we’re supposed to believe the wealthiest 1% of Americans increased their productivity 281 % and thus based on pure merit deserve these lopsided rewards. GDP is gross domestic product. It is a standard measure of the value of the goods and service produced by the residents of the USA. West, being the new Harriet Tubman wants to lead us to a new reality, one in which the top 1% of Americans do around 281% more work and add 281% more value to the economy. While at least half of America’s labor force should be thankful for any crumbs the top – shall we say wage slave masters – let’s trickle down. Those at the top of this nationwide pyramid scheme will do all this without paying any taxes because to hell with any grand dreams of living in a civilized country. West and Herman Cain are very fond of using this plantation hyperbole against Democrats. As long as they keep doing it, I’ll keep throwing it back in their face. Republicans apparently don’t even know what a plantation and references to it means judging by their determination to pretend that slavery never existed – When Politics and Slavery Mix: A Slide Show

Slavery? What Slavery?

In January, when the Republican-led Congress took to the House floor to read the entire Constitution, members skipped over the slavery bits altogether but ended up drawing more attention to the issue with the glaring omission of several provisions of the document, including the “three-fifths compromise” and the fugitive-slave clause. If all it took to make something disappear from history was to never mention it, there would be a few politicians whose names we’d remove from our vocabularies, effective immediately.

John Stewart discusses Rick Perry’s love of America.


Have to mention Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). He is not running for president, but he does show Americans how the values on Uranus differ from ours. Exclusive: Goldman Sachs VP Changed His Name, Now Advances Goldman Lobbying Interests As A Top Staffer To Darrell Issa

Has Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) turned the House Oversight Committee into a bank lobbying firm with the power to subpoena and pressure government regulators? ThinkProgress has found that a Goldman Sachs vice president changed his name, then quietly went to work for Issa to coordinate his effort to thwart regulations that affect Goldman Sachs’ bottom line.

[  ]..When he took over the chairmanship of the Oversight Committee this year, Issa dramatically shifted the committee’s focus away from its traditional role of investigating major corporate scandals. Instead, Issa has used the committee to merge the responsibilities of Congress with the interests of K Street and Issa’s own fortune.

In June of this year, ThinkProgress broke the story about Issa’s own complicated relationship with Goldman Sachs. We revealed that Issa purchased a large amount of Goldman Sachs high yield bonds at the same time as he used the Oversight Committee to attack an investigation into allegations that Goldman Sachs had systematically defrauded investors leading up to the financial crisis. This conflict of interests, along with our exclusive story about Issa’s earmarks benefitting his own real estate empire, received coverage in a recent piece by the New York Times.

On Uranus they believe that corrupt government and crony capitalism are patriotic and godly.