USA Land Use Map 1970 – Romney and Ryan Are Running On A Secret Plan They Might Tell America About Somedayn

Land Use map of the USA 1970

From the legend at the top right:

tan – cropland
yellow – brazing and pasture, public land and private
green – forest and woodland, excludes special use land
red – special uses – urban and other built up areas, parks and special facilities
gray – other land – desert, swamp, marsh, sand dunes, and tundra

Notice how little land is set aside for parks east of the Mississippi. Teddy Roosevelt didn’t come along early enough to save the east from poor land management.

Panoramic view of West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach and Lake Worth, Florida. Published by W. K. Pleuthner in 1915. This is the kind of display map one would have found in places like city hall or a tourist office. While still a nice area to visit, also another example of land developers trumping thoughtful city planning.

Just in case anyone is not had enough coverage of the VP debates ( they were stilling talking about them on the Today Show this morning), The Real Paul Ryan Is Bad for America

There is a deeply held Beltway myth of Paul Ryan, Man of Big Ideas, and it dies hard. But, if there is a just god in the universe, on Thursday night, it died a bloody death, was hurled into a pit, doused with quicklime, buried without ceremony, and the ground above it salted and strewn with garlic so that it never rises again.

Setting aside the conservative spin on laughing and smiles, and ignoring the substance (How The Media Used Biden’s Smile To Deflect From Ryan’s Dishonesty)  America got a close look at one of the Young Guns, the allegedly brainy conservatives who is supposed to be the future of the conservative movement.

The Young Guns shared some overlapping goals with the amateurs of the tea party, especially an abhorrence of taxes. But there is no mistaking them for grassroots rubes; all three are career politicians and longtime allies of the hedge-fund managers, bankers, and other corporate interests that fill their campaign coffers. For all they talk about private enterprise, Cantor, Ryan, and McCarthy all went on the public payroll in their twenties, and have cashed government or political paychecks all their working lives.

You cannot be a conservative without being the Lex Luthor of hypocrisy, so no surprise there. Despite that well entrenched myth of conservatives being for small government, they have always believed, betrayed by their actual behavior, that government and the plutocracy should piggy back off each other. From Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin to Michele Bachmann to George W. Bush we’ve seen conservatives who take every advantage of government programs, subsidies and special favors to get the inside track to money and power not available to the average American. Republicans see government as their own personal Politburo. That is one of the reasons for the resentment against Obama. Only the Politburo elite should rule. Democrats will not crack down on the uppity working class Americans demanding their fair share of the nation’s output. Great cartoon here illustrating the point, Ryan at the Trough.

Not all of the media, but much of it has set expectations about the way things are supposed to be. They would have probably been fine with a Biden win done the way they thought it should have been done, but it was done on Biden’s terms. If the talking heads on the TeeVee would like to try a little experiment they could try putting the performance out of mind and just read the transcript. The Vice Presidential Debate: Joe Biden Was Right to Laugh

The essence of the whole campaign for me was crystalized in the debate exchange over Romney’s 20 percent tax-cut plan. ABC’s Martha Raddatz turned the questioning to Ryan:

MS. RADDATZ: Well, let’s talk about this 20 percent.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well – (chuckles) –

MS. RADDATZ: You have refused yet again to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics, or are you still working on it, and that’s why you won’t tell voters?

Here Ryan is presented with a simple yes-or-no answer. Since he doesn’t have the answer, he immediately starts slithering and equivocating:

REP. RYAN: Different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. You see, I understand the –

“We want to have bipartisan agreements?” This coming from a Republican congressman? These guys would stall a bill to name a post office after Shirley Temple. Biden, absolutely properly, chuckled and said, “That’d be a first for a Republican congress.” Then Raddatz did exactly what any self-respecting journalist should do in that situation: she objected to being lied to, and yanked on the leash, forcing Ryan back to the question.

I’m convinced Raddatz wouldn’t have pounced on Ryan if he hadn’t trotted out this preposterous line about bipartisanism. Where does Ryan think we’ve all been living, Mars? It’s one thing to pull that on some crowd of unsuspecting voters that hasn’t followed politics that much and doesn’t know the history. But any professional political journalist knows enough to know the abject comedy of that line. Still, Ryan was banking on the moderator not getting in the way and just letting him dump his trash on audiences. Instead, she aggressively grabbed Ryan by his puppy-scruff and pushed him back into the mess of his own proposal:

MS. RADDATZ: Do you have the specifics? Do you have the math? Do you know exactly what you’re doing?

So now the ball is in Ryan’s court. The answer he gives is astounding:

REP. RYAN: Look – look at what Mitt – look at what Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did. They worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base, and they worked together to fix that. What we’re saying is here’s our framework: Lower tax rates 20 percent – we raise about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. We forgo about 1.1 trillion [dollars] in loopholes and deductions. And so what we’re saying is deny those loopholes and deductions to higher-income taxpayers so that more of their income is taxed, which has a broader base of taxation –

Three things about this answer:

1) Ryan again here refuses to answer Raddatz’s yes-or-no question about specifics. So now we know the answer: there are no specifics.

2) In lieu of those nonexistent specifics, what Ryan basically says is that he and Romney will set the framework – “Lower taxes by 20 percent” – and then they’ll work out the specifics of how to get there with the Democrats in bipartisan fashion.

3) So essentially, Ryan has just admitted on national television that the Romney tax plan will be worked out after the election with the same Democrats from whom they are now, before the election, hiding any and all details.

No Democrat could get away with that answer. Have you heard any commentary – from the broadcast media in particular mention this very specific point and how large an issue it is that the Republican presidential ticket is doing what amounts to faking its way through a job interview. Do you know how to use Excel? Well you know I’m kinda familiar with spread sheets, my roommate used to use them so I’m sure I’ll pick it up easy enough if you hire me. Democrats could not get away with, not because of conservatives so much as left of center pundits at The Nation, or the ones that get aggregated at Common Dreams, Paul Krugman at the NYT, and on and on would call them out on it. When conservatives lie and deceive, conservatives cheer on the new reality, while the press might say that Democrats disagree. Josh Barro gets into the nebulous nature of the Romney-Ryan plan, or stretch they made at lunch on the back of a napkin – The Final Word on Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan

Mitt Romney’s campaign says I’m full of it. I said Romney’s tax plan is mathematically impossible: he can’t simultaneously keep his pledges to cut tax rates 20 percent and repeal the estate tax and alternative minimum tax; broaden the tax base enough to avoid growing the deficit; and not raise taxes on the middle class. They say they have six independent studies — six! — that “have confirmed the soundness of the Governor’s tax plan,” and so I should stop whining.  Let’s take a tour of those studies and see how they measure up.

The Romney campaign sent over a list of the studies, but they are perhaps more accurately described as “analyses,” since four of them are blog posts or op-eds. I’m not hating — I blog for a living — but I don’t generally describe my posts as “studies.”

The Tax Policy Center has done a study, an actual reality based analysis. Romney has had some friends he used to hang out with behind the caddy shack say that his plan looks really cool dude. Acknowledging that politics and political races are not all about being rational and factual, I still do not understand why Romney is polling over 20%. Romney and Ryan are no more than the high school brats running for student council promising free cupcakes if elected. What bozo brained human could take him seriously. Biden was not faking any laughs, it is genuinely difficult for a reasonably mature and informed adult to consider voting these conservative clowns dog walkers much less the nation’s executives. Mitt and Tagg Romney Are Not Capitalists, They’re Looters and Plutocrats

What Tagg lacked in experience in the world of high finance, he made up for with a vast network of political connections forged through his father, who seeded the firm with $10 million and was the featured speaker at its first investor conference in January of 2010. Romney also reportedly gave strategic advice to the company, which secured prominent campaign donors as some of its first investors.

Unlike most private equity firms dedicated to analyzing and buying companies, Solamere specializes in something else: billing itself as a “fund of funds” with “unparalleled networks,” it provides investors with “unique access” to an elite set of other private equity firms and hedge funds. Sun Capital Partners, the fund founded by Leder, is one of at least thirteen Romney-linked firms in Solamere’s network, according to a prospectus circulated among potential investors and uncovered by The Boston Globe last year. Solamere also has an investment relationship with Bain Capital, the pioneering fund founded by Mitt Romney.

Solamere, a firm predicated on its founders’ relationship with Romney, presents a channel for powerful investors to influence the White House if he wins.


Wait a minute, how could this be. Conservatives, legend has it, build things, utterly and completely on their own. Conservatives would never belong to a network of crony capitalists. Conservatives would never take the icing and most of the cake produced at the bottom of the pyramid by people who do actual work. Government is evil so they would never use government to enhance their power, income and build walls through which only the elite may enter.


Old School House Autumn wallpaper – The proposition that there are anti-capitalist Democrats is as much a myth as unicorns

Old School House Autumn wallpaper


Hannity and Carlson hype a 2007 Obama video and prove they’re having an ethnic nervous breakdown

I’m promoting a book that says we need to give most white people the benefit of the doubt: Most of us aren’t in revolt against multiracial America, or the president who heralded its arrival before many were ready.

But sadly, some white people are just that crazy, and Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson are their Pied Pipers, leading them off a cliff.

Tuesday night they hyped a 2007 Barack Obama speech to a group of black ministers at Hampton University in Virginia, and they engaged in the most rancid racial fear-mongering I’ve seen in a long time. Hannity hailed the speech as “a glimpse into the mind of the real Barack Obama,” and he tried out his own black preacher voice for special effect. Carlson insisted Obama was preaching racial division to his black audience and sputtered, “This is not a dog whistle, this is a dog siren!”

He would know.

Mainly, their complaint came down to: How dare a black president (or at the time, presidential candidate) talk to a black audience about black poverty and suffering! And the legacy of slavery, and the endurance of racism! Has he no shame?

If we’re going to talk about dog whistles and coded language than let’s talk about the fact that Carlson and his fellow racist ran this same video with the same hype five years ago – RERUN: Fox, Carlson, Drudge Attacked Obama’s Hampton Speech Five Years Ago. Let’s talk about Matt Drudge’s  history of race baiting. Let’s talk about these same conservatives talking about a cadence change in then Senator Obama’s Hampton speech that supposedly he never uses. It is remarkable that it is Obama’s speech that they find offensive and not the dismal failure of a Republican administration to respond to an emergency. It is a scandal that these conservatives without the ethics of a pile cockroach dung find that speech more offensive than police gunning down New Orleans citizens in the street – 5 Ex-Officers Sentenced in Post-Katrina Shootings. America owes Carlson, Drudge, Hannity and Fox some gratitude for reminding everyone in the United States that conservatives have a difficult to impossible time distinguishing morality from immorality. The recent not very subtle racist dog whistle has not stopped with that reprehensible squad of Republican media icons,  Paul Ryan Fears the 30 Percent

Mitt Romney, in his infamous secretly recorded remarks, divided the American electorate into the lazy-entitled-non-taxpaying 47 percent who support President Obama, and everybody else. Ryan Grim has a speech by Paul Ryan using a different (and, from the right-wing perspective, more hopeful) division of 70-30:

“Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state,” Ryan said. “Before too long, we could become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers.”

Romney’s 47 percent mashed together the proportion of Americans not owing federal income taxes with the proportion of Obama voters. Where does Ryan’s 30 percent come from?

The figure seems to have been concocted by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. Brooks made the 70-30 case in The Battle, published two years ago, a book I reviewed. Like Romney’s 47 percent riff, the 70-30 argument is an attempt to apply to the Obama years an Ayn Rand–inspired analysis dividing society into virtuous makers and parasitic takers.

And this is from  Jonathan Chait’s review of The Battle,

In his general approach, Brooks is a prototypical member of the modern Republican elite. His ideology is rooted centrally in the class war, a struggle between what he calls “the makers” and “the takers.” He inhabits an imaginary world in which the former are being hounded nearly to extinction by the latter. “At some point,” he sorrowfully predicts, “the rich (as defined by the 30 percent) will pay all the income taxes in America. For the 30 percent coalition, this is fair and just.”

Brooks’s portrait of a world in which the rich are ruthlessly exploited in the name of absolute equality is long on hysterical rhetoric and very short on data. What little data Brooks presents is almost invariably wrong. “In America,” he declares, “the top 5 percent of earners bring in 37 percent of the income but pay 60 percent of the taxes.” This is false. The top 5 percent of income earners pay 38.5 percent of all taxes. And a system where the richest 5 percent earn 37 percent of the income and pay 38.5 percent of the taxes is not, I would submit, a draconian left-wing imposition.

Where does Brooks get this wildly wrong figure? The number he cites describes the share of federal income taxes paid for by the richest 5 percent. But the American tax system is a mix of regressive and progressive taxes. State and local taxes, as well as federal payroll taxes, tend to levy higher rates on the poor and middle class than on the rich. The income tax, which is steeply progressive, helps to tilt the balance of the burden back in the other direction. When conservatives portray the tax code as unfair to the rich, they usually cite just the income-tax burden, calculating that their audience will fail to notice that “income taxes” do not mean taxes as a whole. Brooks uses the term “taxes” when he means “income taxes.” He has fallen for his own ruse.

Brooks further claims that the oppression of the rich is getting worse. “From 1986 to 2006,” he complains, “the proportion of taxes that the top 1 percent of income earners paid grew from 26 percent to 40 percent.” A footnote points to a table compiled by the Tax Policy Center. I do not doubt the accuracy of the figure. But why are the very rich paying a higher share of the tax burden?

If you consult two other lines in the same Tax Policy Center table, you can see that the conclusion is the opposite of the one that Brooks draws. From 1986 to 2006, the highest-earning 1 percent of taxpayers went from collecting 11 percent of national income to collecting 22 percent of national income. Meanwhile, their average tax rate dropped from 33 percent to 23 percent. So: their tax rate fell sharply, but their share of income rose even more sharply, and the net result is that they have paid a higher share of the tax burden. This is Brooks’s evidence that the system has gotten too redistributive!

Conservatives from this cultish obsession with the idea that we should all be grateful for the leveraged buyout specialist like Bain/Romney, the vastly over compensated bankers and hedge fund managers because they create the value that we’ll call the Gross Domestic Product – the total value of the goods and services produced by the nation. The worship of the financial elite is tunnel vision at best. At the Romney and too big to fail banks level, sure money makes money, but where does the source of that money emanate – from someone framing a house, from someone building a car, from someone baking a cake, from someone discovering a new vaccine, from someone producing something of value. Without those people – the conservatives who see themselves as the god-like saviors and dispensers of the nation’s wealth have nothing. There have been big banks and high finance crooks for centuries, and credit does play a big role in a successful modern economy. Though we did not always have people who exploit and loot the system – like Bain – and then claim they performed an essential service to the country. The proposition that there are anti-capitalist Democrats is as much a myth as unicorns. Conservatives believe that myth the way they believe the earth is only a few hundred years old, that the Trail of Tears was to bring Christianity to American Indians and that real rape cannot result in pregnancy. From the first line on capitalism at Wikipedia, “Capitalism is an economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit.” Sounds good. There might be some elected Democrat out there in some small town that does not believe in that system and that it is a basically sound idea in general. Brooks like every other conservatives misses a basic fact about government and the Great Recession – all the bail-outs were started by Republicans – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake, Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson ,  President Bush and VP Cheney. Paul Ryan voted for TARP and the automaker bail-outs. Even before the recession Bush 43 tried to jump start the economy with his own stimulus. When the savings and loans went belly up in the 1980s Saint Ronnie did not just go all Marxist and bail them out, he seized control of them. In the world of conservatives like Brooks and the hucksters at AEI all Republican farts smell like sweet roses, all Democratic farts smell like Marx. In ConWorld all economic problems can be solved with federal income tax cuts for the well off and deregulation. Neither of those things has ever proven to be effective at boosting the economy. About those offshore investments…

In some ways, Mitt Romney is a walking, talking self-refutation of his own economic agenda. The Republican presidential candidate believes if Washington uses tax policy to put more money in the hands of the very wealthy, those “job creators” will pump those gains right back into the Americans economy, benefiting everyone else as the capital trickles down.

Romney, meanwhile, is extremely wealthy, has benefited greatly from tax breaks, and sent much of his money overseas. It would appear Romney’s wallet has debunked Romney’s economic agenda.

So Romney asked himself what to do with all the money he saves paying a ridiculously low 13% tax rate. He did not answer himself with hire more Americans, invest millions in American jobs or infrastructure, his answer was move money to offshore accounts. Yet we’re to believe that when Romney gives the wealthy and multinational corporations yet another tax cut, they will not give the same answers to themselves that Romney did. In ConWorld there are rivers of crocodile tears because the terrible Democrats are keeping them from making money. Just in this morning, Taxes and Regulations Are Hurting Economic Recovery? Bank Profits Rebound To 2006 Levels, But Bankers Still Complain About Regulations

In the last four quarters, the six largest Wall Street banks have made $63 billion, the most they’ve made since 2006. Despite having pushed the nation to the brink of economic collapse, and after receiving billions of taxpayer dollars, the banks are back to where they were when the housing bubble inflating.

However, according to Bloomberg News, a return to sky-high profits isn’t enough for the banking industry, which reacted to the numbers by whining about regulation and “a backlash against bankers“:

Those billions of dollars in profits aren’t enough, according to interviews with more than a dozen bank executives and analysts. The lowest leverage in a decade, return on equity at a third of 2006 levels, higher capital requirements, shares trading below book value, declining bonuses, job cuts, the European sovereign-debt crisis and a backlash against bankers have damped the joys of profit, they said.

These six banks — Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley — “will have combined profits of $9.9 billion in the third quarter, $17.4 billion in the last three months of the year and $75.8 billion in 2013? according to estimates. “When the banks say, ‘We’re doing very well but not getting a return on our capital,’ it’s completely incomprehensible, and it’s angering to the average American,” said Michael Greenberger, a former regulator who now teaches at the University of Maryland’s law school.

That is not capitalism – it is a lot of things – exploitation, pigs at the trough, greed run amok, stealing from the economic output of the average American. We cannot and should not try to make everything absolutely equal and fair, that brings its own injustice, but clearly the pendulum of economic justice has swung way too far in favor of the insatiable pigs.

Missouri Senate Candidate Todd Akin is not an outlier in the G.O.P.

Tuesday morning, on a tip from American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal PAC that conducts opposition research on Republicans, I clipped and posted videos for Slate’s Double X blog demonstrating some of the paranoid flights of fancy and routine misogyny that have peppered Todd Akin’s speeches on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Akin, who is challenging Democrat Claire McCaskill for her Missouri Senate seat, became infamous after he said that, based on no science whatsoever, pregnancies rarely happen in the case of “legitimate rape.” That remark was hardly out of character; he is indeed every inch the misogynist and denier of reality that his comment suggests.

The videos prove that Akin is wholly the product of the movement conservatism that controls the Republican Party. While he may be a bit freer of tongue than many Republicans, his basic premises don’t differ from theirs: Feminism is evil. Reality can be denied if it conflicts with ideology. Conservatives are the real victims of this shifting, politically correct America, not the various groups of people they oppress and demonize.

Despite a few conservative pundits speaking out against Akins’ initial remarks about rape, the base and the Republican big bucks machine has rallied to his side.

Forest Waterfall wallpaper – What We Have Learned From Romney, Ryan and The Elite

Forest Waterfall wallpaper


Except for E.J. Dionne and Ezra Klein, WaPo seems hardly worth a visit anymore, so I was surprised to see this great piece of satire by Steven Pearlstein, I am a job creator: A manifesto for the entitled

I am the misunderstood superhero of American capitalism, single-handedly creating wealth and prosperity despite all the obstacles put in my way by employees, government and the media.

…I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a modern and efficient transportation system and protection for my person and property, just as I am entitled to demonize the government workers who provide them.

I am entitled to complain bitterly about taxes that are always too high, even when they are at record lows.

I am entitled to a judicial system that efficiently enforces contracts and legal obligations on customers, suppliers and employees but does not afford them the same right in return.

…I am entitled to provide political support to radical, uncompromising politicians and then complain about how dysfunctional Washington has become.

…I am entitled to load companies up with debt in order to pay myself and investors big dividends — and then blame any bankruptcy on over-compensated workers.

I am entitled to contracts, subsidies, tax breaks, loans and even bailouts from government, even as I complain about job-killing government budget deficits.

Things we learned from Romney and conservatives

I skipped around a bit, the rest is at the link. Steven  could have just as well entitled it the Romney-Ryan World View or This is The Bubble of The Conservative Mind.

Maybe some day after scientists crack the fusion issue and we have all the cheap clean energy of our dreams they can plot the calculus  of Republican shrillness as a function of their desperation, Top Romney Adviser Criticizes Obama For Not Killing Bin Laden Fast Enough

Sununu said that Obama was “timid,” could have gone after the terrorist mastermind sooner, and attributed the successful operation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

The president is trying to take credit for following the strategy and the tactics put into place by George W. Bush. At some point the president is going to have to explain why he was timid on the first two or three opportunities that we had. Thank goodness Hillary Clinton was there was to convince him to do the right thing. […] His trying to take credit for having been decisive belies the fact that he wasn’t decisive until pressed by others.

But former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served in both the Bush and Obama administrations, described Obama’s decision to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden “gutsy,” saying that “people don’t realize” what a tough call it was and not everyone would have made the same call. Vice President Biden and Gates both advised Obama against taking the course he chose on the bin Laden raid, noting that “There wasn’t any direct evidence that he was there. It was all circumstantial.”

As TPro also notes Romney has said “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” Though conservatives certainly thought it was worth what will likely total $3 trillion dollars to invade a country that had no connections to 9-11 and no WMD. While most of the conservatives I know are more moderate they would never go back to a restaurant that served them a bad steak and order steak again. Yet they will continue the same disastrous foreign policies over and  over again. Lead by the same tin-foil wrapped thinking, guided by a nationalistic view of American exceptionalism that spends lives and money as though they hold little value.

CNN Paints Misleading Picture Of Ryan Medicare Plan

CNN’s Sanjay Gupta claimed that the proposed changes to Medicare that Congressman Paul Ryan has offered would allow seniors to choose between “a voucher” system and “traditional Medicare,” while keeping the system affordable. In fact, experts say the Ryan plan would threaten Medicare’s long-term viability and potentially would increase seniors’ medical costs by thousands of dollars.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has looked at the Ryan plan, as has The Brookings Institute. The Ryan plan guts Medicare. CNN should be up to date on the facts – if those matter anymore to modern broadcast journalists or infotainers. When you gut Medicare for most Americans, it also guts a good part of Social Security because seniors without a lot of retirement resources would be forced to dip into Social Security to pay for the new Ryan expenses. Conservatives are of course calling Ryan CBS interview a hack job, it is the only, and as usual lame excuse they have. That was Ryan on the screen with an opportunity to sell himself and Romney as the wiz kids with the answers. It was like watching a raccoon frozen, caught trying to put the lid back on the trashcan, The Paul Ryan Legend Dissipates 

Wallace is trying to do something that Ryan is not used to: ask him how the numbers in his plan add up. The Romney tax plan is premised on a mathematical impossibility. It promises to reduce tax rates by 20 percent and cover the lost revenue by eliminating tax deductions, exempting tax breaks for investment income. Even making a series of assumptions ranging from friendly to impossibly friendly, it can’t add up. The lost revenue from the tax rate cuts on income over $250,000 exceeds the available revenue from eliminating deductions. Even Republican attempts to disprove this finding have inadvertently confirmed it.

Ryan PowerPoint has mostly had the kind of scrutiny that conservatives voters give conservative candidates  – they hang on every word with the unquestioning idolatry which has become a hallmark of the conservative movement. Now someone asks a simple questions about facts that he has laid out in PowerPoint to Republican voters numerous times and suddenly he cannot give even a snapshot of his plan or Romneys’.

And nobody has ever asked him. Because Ryan’s role in the budget discourse was not to be questioned, but to question others. If he was asked to comment, it was to express his sadness over Obama’s alleged unwillingness to enact the bipartisan debt plans that Ryan in fact killed.

Ryan is still an extremely skilled bullshitter — vastly better at it than Romney. But he’s actually seeing, for the first time, questions that attempt to pry information out of him, rather than the batting practice lobs to which he’s accustomed. He’s going to emerge from the race with his legend punctured.

As much as Ryan is being exposed for the clown he is, it’s a pretty safe bet he’ll be back in 2016 as a viable presidential candidate.

Mitt Romney: Free Speech Is for Billionaires, Not School-Teachers

What does a plutocracy look like? How about a leveraged buy-out artist who used his family connections – and gamed the tax code – to amass a $378 million fortune , and whose campaign is almost entirely financed by deep-pocketed conservative sugar-daddies, saying that while money equals Constitutionally protected free speech for his own donors, there should be limits on political spending by teachers making $75,000 per year.

That’s exactly what transpired on Tuesday at an education forum in New York. According to CBS, Romney said that “we simply can’t have” elected officials who may receive contributions from teachers’ unions negotiating with them. “I think it’s a mistake,” Romney said. “I think we have to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns.” CBS adds: “He suggested that money should somehow be diverted or cut off,” but — as is typical with Romney — “he did not offer details.”

One would be hard-pressed to come up with a better example of rank hypocrisy.

Another entry for Steven’s next list of what the entitled think about the little people. Romney, the Koch brothers, BofA, whatever corporation has the right to spend more on lobbyists who have direct meetings with House and Senate staff, than they do on taxes, and teachers should not be able to negotiate with any elected official conservatives deem unfit to do so. I guess that inside the bubble of the noise machine this kind of rhetorical nonsense from themselves and other Republicans makes sense, not so much for non-kool-aid drinkers.

I only have so much time and so I post about my priorities. For those who would like to catch up on some good posts on the whole drone intra Democratic/liberal debate –  Droning on About Drones. Boo makes a fact based point that cannot be repeated enough – the U.S. military is not going around, under Obama’s direction, indiscriminately killing innocent Muslim villagers. Though one can get that impression from reading certain liberal bloggers. Ideals are great but there really is such a thing as real life day-to-day politics in which, yes, I’m sorry to break it to some people, you have to choose between what absolutely sucks and the less than perfect. There is that old saying to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Some bloggers don’t need to read that yet again, they need to really think about it. This is also a good post in that regard,  Dear Freddie: Politics Doesn’t just happen once every four years. Politics happens every day.


Black and White Glass Architecture wallpaper – The Myth of Tax Cuts and Job Creation, The Meme That Should Die a Thousand Deaths

Black and White Glass Architecture wallpaper


Just in terms of pure numbers, the still disappointing statistics, has anyone else noticed that Republicans have suddenly started to love the job statistics put out by the Department of Labor. Its not that conservatives completely hate statistics, they just tend to only site ones made by economic cranks like Art Laffner. I’d call Laffner and his conservative sycophants clowns, but that would be giving them too much credit. When the country or individual states can afford them I love tax cuts, who doesn’t. Though one of the biggest differences in liberals who like tax cuts and conservative who worship tax cuts, as though they were some super-natural force, is the ability to see the real costs. What good does a few dollars in tax cuts do if they’re paid for with education cuts, or cuts to meat inspections, cuts to bridge repair, cuts to college loans, cuts to energy research and innovation. Liberals look at that and connections to the general quality of life and think maybe these tax cuts – the Bush tax cuts that are now kind of the Democratic Party tax cuts – are not producing a net increase in positive outcomes that make the country a better place to live now and for the next generation. Like a lot of what conservatives believe (breast milk cures gayness, government subsidies are only good when Republicans are the recipients) there is a rigidity of beliefs much like that of Iranisn fundamentalists. Those who bother to debate them in forums are keenly aware of the mentality. You would think you were trying to convert someone from one religion to another. You have offended the dogma of their church of the divine tax cut. A large part of the offered justification for tax cuts for those who enjoy large income is that tax cuts create jobs and prosperity. Well, they have certainly made Mitt Romney very wealthy. The other 90% of American so so much: Exposing the “Job Creator” Fraud

With cunning and contempt and catechismal fervor the super-rich have argued that all money should move to the top, where it will be used to stimulate the economy and create jobs. But they ignore the facts that prove them wrong. And it doesn’t take much to prove them wrong.

1. First, a look at the success of the super-rich: Money has quickly moved to the top

Based on IRS figures, the richest 1% nearly tripled its share of America’s after-tax income from 1980 to 2006. That’s an extra trillion dollars a year. Then, in the first year after the 2008 recession, they took 93% of all the new income.

Wealth is even more skewed. The richest 10% own 83% of financial wealth, which they’ve skillfully arranged to be taxed at just 15%, ostensibly because they pump that money back into job-creating ventures. More on that misconception later.

Conservatives claim that wealth inequality has remained steady for the richest Americans. But data from Edward Wolff shows that the excess wealth was simply redistributed among the rest of the top 5%, who saw their share of America’s net worth increase by 18 percent from 1983 to 2007. It was also noted by Sam Pizzigati that much of the top-level wealth was socked away tax-free overseas, a fact largely confirmed by a Tax Justice Network study.

2. Corporations are just as successful: profits have doubled, taxes cut in half

While corporate profits have doubled to $1.9 trillion in less than ten years, the corporate income tax rate, which for thirty years hovered around the 20-25% level, suddenly dropped to 10% after the recession. The biggest firms basically said “We’re not paying.”

That’s a half-trillion dollars a year unpaid by the very companies who have successfully convinced much of America that their tax rates are too high.

The tax they actually pay is very low relative to other countries. U.S. corporations paid a smaller rate of income taxes than all but two of the OECD countries analyzed by the Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau. A Treasury report agreed, noting that the Tax/GDP rate for U.S. companies was 35% lower than the OECD average from 2000 to 2005.

Corporations even pay less than low-wage American workers. On their 2011 profits of $1.97 trillion, corporations paid $181 billion in federal income taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state income taxes (2%), for a total income tax burden of 11%. The poorest 20% of American citizens pay 17.4% in federal, state, and local taxes.

3. Some Non-Job-Creation Facts

The Wall Street Journal noted in 2009 that the Bush tax cuts led to the “worst track record for jobs in recorded history.” 25 million people remain unemployed or underemployed, with 30 to 50 percent of recent college graduates in one of those categories. Among unemployed workers, nearly 43 percent have been without a job for six months or longer.

For the jobs that remain, most are low-paying, with the only real employment growth occurring in retail sales and food preparation. A recent report by the National Employment Law Project confirms that lower-wage occupations (up to about $14 per hour) accounted for 21 percent of recession losses and 58 percent of recovery growth, while mid-wage occupations (between $14 and $21 per hour) accounted for 60 percent of recession losses and only 22 percent of recovery growth.

The minimum wage is shamefully low, about 30% lower than the inflation-adjusted 1968 figure. And the tiny pay can’t be blamed on small business. Two-thirds of America’s low-wage workers, according to another National Employment Law Project report, work for companies that have at least 100 employees.

All these job woes persist while productivity has continued to grow, with an 80% increase since 1973 as median worker pay has stagnated.

4. So what are the “job creators” doing with all their money?

Over 90% of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), the stock market, and real estate. Business startup costs made up less than 1% of the investments of high net worth individuals in North America in 2011. (Note: Fox News is constantly echoing this myth that we have to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy or they will not start new businesses. The wealthy invest very little in entrepreneurial stray-ups. Romney is on record and saying that Bain switched its leverage focus to taking over established businesses because start-ups were too risky)

Perhaps, instead, they’re building businesses on their own? No. Only 3 percent of the CEOs, upper management, and financial professionals were entrepreneurs in 2005, even though they made up about 60 percent of the richest .1% of Americans. A recent study found that less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs came from very rich or very poor backgrounds. They come from the middle class.

That deserves repeating. Entrepreneurs come from the middle class.

Not surprisingly, then, since the middle class has been depleted by the steady accumulation of wealth at the top, the number of entrepreneurs per capita has decreased 53% since 1977, and the number of self-employed Americans has decreased 20% since 1991.

5. Big business is even worse at job creation

First of all, the cash holdings for non-financial U.S. firms increased to $1.24 trillion in 2011, with about 57 percent of it stashed overseas. Commerce Department figures show that U.S. companies cut their work forces by 2.9 million from 2000 to 2009 while increasing overseas employment by 2.4 million.

The top holders of cash, including Apple and Google and Intel and Coca Cola and Chevron, are also spending their money on stock buybacks (which increase stock option prices), dividends to investors, and subsidiary acquisitions. According to Bloomberg, share repurchasing is at one of its highest levels in 25 years.

6. The Big Fraud: Tax us less, and the jobs will come

Despite their unwillingness to invest in jobs, and even in the face of damning evidence against their tax myths, the super-rich fight like wildcats at any suggestion that they support the country that provided their wealth. Way back in 1984, right after the Reagan tax cuts, the U.S. Treasury Department came to the obvious but belated conclusion that tax cuts cause a loss of revenue. A 2006 Treasury Department study found that extending the Bush tax cuts would have no beneficial effect on the U.S. economy. Other sources have confirmed that economic growth was fastest in years with relatively high top marginal tax rates.

Ample evidence exists to show that no relationship exists between the capital gains tax rate and investment. As noted in the Washington Post, “The top tax rate on investment income has bounced up and down over the past 80 years – from as high as 39.9 percent in 1977 to just 15 percent today – yet investment just appears to grow with the cycle, seemingly unaffected.” In fact, the low rate may even have a negative effect on growth. A Congressional Research Service report states: “Capital gains tax rate increases appear to increase public saving and may have little or no effect on private saving. Consequently, capital gains tax increases likely have a positive overall impact on national saving and investment.”

7. So what becomes of the jobs?

Corporations are hoarding over a trillion dollars. The richest 1% take a trillion dollars a year more than productivity-based earnings since 1980. Over eight trillion untaxed dollars is being hidden overseas.

That’s a present value of ten trillion misdirected dollars. Just 1/10 of that would create 25 million jobs, one for every unemployed or underemployed worker in America. Or a $45,000 a year job for every college student in the United States.

But the people who call themselves “job creators” do nothing to make that happen.

( via Paul Buchheit, the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press)

So what I have posted here is heresy. It is in violation of the holy edicts of conservatism to point out that trickle on America economics does not work for most Americans. The value American workers they create in products and services (GDP) is largely redistributed to the top of the pyramid. It used to be, for the most part, if you worked hard, the American worker got ahead. Now work is rewarded by the plutocrats at the top by letting workers keep their heads barely above water and conservatives like Romney and Ryan think you can not being grateful for their generosity. Where capitalism after FDR”s New Deal was about a partnership between labor and management, now its a war and workers are losing that war. But conservatives are appealing to those workers claiming that it’s all Obama’s fault for not cutting taxes. Billionaires. Billionaires, hedge fund brats and assorted elites mind you, are complaining that Democrats are turning the U.S. into a Marxist paradise. Which is like a 600 pound donut shop customer complaining he doesn’t get to eat enough donuts. Oh, the injustice.

Besides having the moral sensibilities of a weasel in heat, the Romney campaign is lying for a few reasons. A Republican explains one of the reasons, Why Paul Ryan thought he could get away with lying: 6 theories

2. And the benefits of lying outweigh the risks
“Romney and Ryan are obviously engaging in some simple cost-benefit analysis,” says Paul Waldman at The American Prospect. And right now, the costs of “getting a ‘Pants on Fire’ rating from Politifact” aren’t nearly as great as the rewards from certain “specific falsehoods they’re telling about Obama.” After George H.W. Bush tarred Walter Mondale’s campaign with a damaging but made-up quote in a 1984 debate, Bush’s press secretary was blunt: “You can say anything you want during a debate, and 80 million people hear it”; when newspapers point out the lies, “So what?” he said. “Maybe 200 people read it, or 2,000, or 20,000.” Indeed, “the Romney campaign is clearly counting on” the idea that “most casual voters don’t read editorials and fact-checker columns,” says Steve Kornacki at Salon. That’s a pretty safe assumption.

The average Republican voter does not want facts, they want their fun-house mirror idea of the world reinforced by their leaders.

Cenk Uygur Unravels Anti-Obama Weirdo Dinesh D’Souza and His Movie, Conspiracy 2016: Obama’s America

D’Souza later tried to revise history by claiming Bush never turned in a deficit of over $1 trillion. “The largest Bush deficit was $500 billion dollars,” he claimed. “The lowest Obama deficit is $1 trillion. Untrue? ”

“Untrue,” Cenk responded. “When Obama got into office, Bush left him a $1.2 trillion dollar deficit in his last year.”

“His last year?” D’Souza said. “You mean 2009?”

“2008,” Cenk responded.

“In 2008, America’s deficit was under $500 billion dollars. It was Obama who carried that on to an over $1 trillion deficit in ’09,” Claimed D’Souza.

D’Souza is on wing-nut welfare at a couple of conservative “think” tanks so of course he has memorized the number writ on stone tablets and handed down to all true believers. The facts however are that Bush and Republicans left a $1.3 trillion deficit ( what an $800 billion error between friends) and projected deficits based on Bush spending levels, of $8 trillion for the ten years after Bush left office. here is the conservative mind ta work: the economy was and is just one big toy. Not just now, but anytime they break the toy – which happens regularly – voters get pissed off and vote in a Democrat. Conservative rewrite history to make Democrats responsible – because conservatives are for small gov’mint, don’t ya know. They than run for office based on the slow pace Democrats are taking to repair the toy Republicans broke. Every time the toy breaks is just another opportunity for Conservatives to take the little toys average Americans worked so hard to get, because look at the economy, we can’t afford to have nice things like Medicare and education.

Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland: “Mitt Romney Has So Little Economic Patriotism That Even His Money Needs A Passport”

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland launched into a brutal assault on Mitt Romney Tuesday night on the opening night of the Democratic Convention, branding him as rich and out of touch.

“If Mitt was Santa Claus, he’d fire the reindeer and outsource the elves,” he shouted, as he shouted his entire speech.

“Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport,” he added, in a series of one-liners designed to fire up the Democratic base. “It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands, and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps.”

This is worth a read as well, Julián Castro’s Rebuttal to the GOP

and Fox’s Dishonest Handling Of Whether Americans Are “Better Off” Than They Were

Mustard Flowers Field wallpaper – Romney’s Unethical MediScare: No, “ObamaCare” Doesn’t Cut Medicare, It Strengthens Benefits And Cuts Costs

Mustard Flowers Field wallpaper


Some of you might want to skip today’s post since it is just a wonkier repeat of the last post about the Romney-Ryan-Medicare disinformation campaign. Getting the facts straight about Medicare are not just about Medicare. With new ads by Romney, Super PACs backing Romney and Republicans down ticket doing imitation ads that use the Romney attack ( the $700 billion dollar lie), conservatives are hoping for a couple of things. They hope to blunt the valid criticisms of Romney-Ryan plans that would gut Medicare as we know it. White seniors in particular tend to lean Republican by about ten percentage points. Republicans are very afraid that if voters start to see that Obama and Democrats are telling the truth about Medicare that could peel off a few percent of that senior vote. While Obama is currently ahead in polls, picking up just two or three percent more of the senior vote would mean the end of the Romney campaign. Between the bought and paid for TV pundits for Romney, the radio shills for Romney, the blogs and newspaper columnists the noise level of the far Right propaganda machine is at record levels. They’re afraid. Very afraid. The facts are not on their side. They hope to create enough confusion that they at least limit the damage. With Ryan on the ticket conservatives may have gotten their ideological hero of the moment, but in addition to threatening their chances at the presidency they have likely lost any chance they had of retaking the Senate and it is just barely possible they may lose their majority in the House. The latter depends on how well local Democrats are able to counter the $700 billion lie. Medicare Scare Ad Makes False Claim of Cuts for Seniors

“There are no reductions in the Medicare benefits promised in law,” said Gail Wilensky, who served as administrator of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare under President George H.W. Bush and is a senior fellow at Project Hope, a health-research organization in Virginia. In a June 28 post similarly concluded that the ACA “stipulates that guaranteed Medicare benefits won’t be reduced.”

[  ]….In Missouri, an ad sponsored by Crossroads that’s run 858 times says Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill voted for Medicare cuts that could slash benefits for the program’s enrollees.

The ACA or Obamacare actually strengthened Medicare finances.

How Obama and Democrats Helped Save Medicare. While part of a much longer analysis this chart comes from this mercifully short summary, Health Reform Strengthens Medicare, Doesn’t “Rob” It

The 2010 health reform law (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) has significantly improved Medicare’s long-term financial outlook, as we have previously pointed out.  Recent claims that health reform “robs Medicare” and does not “shore up Medicare’s finances” are flatly false, as the recent report of the program’s trustees shows.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the ACA will reduce Medicare’s projected spending by $716 billion over the 2013-2023 period.  As John McDonough of Harvard’s School of Public Health explains:  “None of these reductions were financed by cuts to Medicare enrollees’ eligibility or benefits; benefits were improved in the ACA.  Cuts were focused on hospitals, health insurers, home health, and other providers.”

The words cut, cuts, savings, and costs are getting the Republican doublespeak treatment. Romney and all the ads say Obama cut $700 from Medicare. What Democrats did was cut waste, increased incentives for cost savings and built-in incentives for insurers and health care providers to be careful about cost overruns. If you are one to believe the river of conservative bilge pumped out everyday, you might be tempted to think, well saving money and increasing efficiency, isn’t that what conservatives say they stand for. According to Romney and  his surrogates, apparently not.

Because those cost savings aspects in Medicare are tied into Obamacare, for Romney to just return that $700 billion as he promises in his ads, he would have to get both Houses of Congress to repeal Obamacare and the changes to Medicare. Let’s say that Romney has those kinds of dictatorial powers. That means he would in fact add $700 billion to the cost of Medicare.

The trustees also find that the HI trust fund will remain solvent — that is, able to pay 100 percent of the costs of the hospital insurance coverage that Medicare provides — through 2024.  If health reform were fully repealed, however, as the House of Representatives has voted to do, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that the Medicare hospital insurance program would become insolvent eight years earlier, in 2016.

What I’ve written thus far is the foundation of the issue. Romney is lying. Ryan is lying. Republicans down ticket, scared to death of Ryan’s radical plans and the effect on the senior vote are lying. I wonder about the Medicare conservative propaganda campaign in the larger framework of Republicans as the so-called party of values. It is not just Medicare, Social Security ( which Ryan and Romney have proposed privatizing and handing over to the professional thieves on Wall Street), Iraq, tax cuts creating jobs and ordinary working Americans should not have any labor rights. If you could cast some kind of birthday wish come true like the Jim Carrey character in Liar Liar, the conservative movement could not exist. The conservative movement rarely plays it straight with the American public. There are some exceptions. They really do hate government which is why they have no interest in or make any effort to better the governance of the nation or states. If they fail in their governance they don’t really lose – it’s see, government is bad. Except that is a lie as well. Romney used two businesses that rely on government contracts to stay in business in the deceptive editing of President Obama’s business speech. The Paul Ryan family built its fortune on tax payer funded projects. Romney received government subsides to make his fortune. Some of Romney’s first backers when he started Bain were associated with right-wing death squads in Latin America. Values? What values.

ABC news does an awkward fact check, again using the word ‘cuts’, FACT CHECK: Obama, Ryan, Romney Backed Medicare Cuts

One way or another, Barack Obama, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney all have supported the $700 billion in cuts to Medicare spending now in place under the Affordable Care Act.

But you wouldn’t know that by listening to the current debate.

The Romney-Ryan campaign in its latest TV ad assails Obama for approving the cuts in 2010. “Obama has cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare,” says the narrator. “The money you paid for your guaranteed health care…is going to a massive new government program that’s not for you.”

Voters might be left with the impression that Romney and Ryan have both opposed the cuts. The truth is that Ryan himself endorses them in his signature budget plan – the same plan Romney has said he would sign as president if it reached his desk.

Those Medicare savings -achieved through reduced provider reimbursements and curbed waste, fraud and abuse, not benefit cuts – appear in the House Republicans’ FY 2013 budget, which Ryan authored.

His plan would in part repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act — except the reductions in Medicare spending now at the center of debate, according to analysts with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Where Romney and Ryan find shelter for their new line of attack is in what they claim they’d do with the savings.  As the ad suggests, they don’t want the money to underwrite Obamacare, but for deficit reduction or other spending instead.

ABC lets them off the hook for the purely mythical savings of Obamacare repeal. That alone would add $230 billion to the deficit. Not to mention the millions of Americans that would suddenly lose their health care insurance because of the repeal of discrimination against preexisting conditions. Plus the added $700 billion in cost that Romney would add to the Medicare program and we’re darn close to Romney-Ryan costing the nation a little less than a trillion dollars. I’ve lost a lot of confidence in Politifact the last year, but since I have already verified the facts through other sources, kudos to them for getting this one mostly right, Ryan’s plan includes $700 billion in Medicare “cuts,” says Stephanie Cutter

Ryan’s idea is to eventually move Medicare toward private insurance companies by giving people a set amount to buy their own health insurance plans. The new system would be for people who are under age 55 now, and it would give them voucher-like credits to buy traditional fee-for-service Medicare or competing private insurance plans. (The credits are sometimes called “premium support.”)

Though House Republicans voted overwhelmingly for Ryan’s plan, polling shows public opinion is mixed, with older voters the most wary of the plan.

The Republican response to attacks on the Ryan plan has been to attack back, saying President Barack Obama has cut “$700 billion” out of Medicare. And the Democratic response to that: Well, Paul Ryan cuts that amount, too!

For this check, we’re looking specifically at what Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said on Face the Nation when debating Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom.

“You know, I heard Mitt Romney deride the $700 billion cuts in Medicare that the president achieved through health care reform,” Cutter said. “You know what those cuts are? It’s taking subsidies away from insurance companies, taking rebates away from prescription drug company. Is that what Mitt Romney wants to protect? And interestingly enough Paul Ryan protected those cuts in his budget.”

It is part of the Congressional Record(pdf) that Republicans in the House voted for Ryan the serial liar’s plan to gut Medicare.

Well, there are cuts and then there are CUTS. Neither Obama nor his health care law literally “cut” a dollar from the Medicare program’s budget.

Rather, the health care law instituted a number of changes to reduce the growth of Medicare costs. At the time the law was passed, those reductions amounted to $500 billion over the next 10 years.

What kind of spending reductions are we talking about? They were mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. The law makes significant reductions to Medicare Advantage, a subset of Medicare plans run by private insurers. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, and the idea was that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But in recent years the plans have actually cost more than traditional Medicare. So the health care law scales back the payments to private insurers.

Medicare Advantage was a kind of good idea. It was what is called a Medicare gap plan, paying for most of any cost that exceeded someone’s basic Medicare plan. The problem was that tax payers subsidized it and the private sector exploited the hell out of it. Seniors can still buy Medicare gap plans, they’re just no longer subsidized.

This is a good info-graphic from TPro that shows the absurdity of the Romney-Ryan attacks. Everything You Need To Know About Romney’s Dishonesty On Medicare

This week, the Romney/Ryan campaign has twisted itself into a pretzel attacking President Obama for “stealing” $716 billion from Medicare, while trying to explain why Paul Ryan included the savings in his FY 2013 budget.

The infographic below offers a rundown of the campaign’s contortions from Sunday’s proclamations that Romney would have signed the Ryan budget and its Medicare cuts into law, to Romney’s announcement on Tuesday that he would restore the Medicare savings that both Ryan and Obama supported:

The changing rhetoric also presents serious policy problems. Romney’s implied policy of steering clear of Medicare reductions would greatly complicate his goal of reducing all federal spending from 24 percent of the GDP to 20 percent by 2016, which would require unsustainable cuts to other government programs. His specific promise to restore the $716 billion will also backfire and shorten the life of the Medicare trust fund “toward the end of what would be his first term in office.” The campaign has not yet specified how it would extend its solvency.

full size



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.

Key Largo Palms wallpaper – Medieval Republicans

Key Largo Palms wallpaper

The WaPo did a fact check of Ryan’s Medicare/Medicaid plans ( which we should start calling simply the House Republican Plan since they passed it. The plan is not going to become law because thankfully the Senate will not pass it). WaPo practically bends itself into a pretzel to give the Ryan/Republican plan a fair hearing and still finds they are being less than truthy, GOP lawmakers tout Medicare reform by stretching a comparison to the health benefits they receive

Ryan, in his quote, said the new Medicare would be “working like a system just like members of Congress and federal employees have.” But the comparison begins to break down once you consider the premium support payments. Ryan would peg the premium support to the consumer price index, a broad gauge that has been rising more slowly than have health care costs.

The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan arm of Congress, analyzed Ryan’s plan and estimated that by 2030, the government would pay just 32 percent of the health care costs, less than half of what the federal plan currently pays. The other 68 percent of the plan would have to be shouldered by the retiree. (The CBO estimated that if traditional Medicare stayed in place, the government would pay 70 to 75 percent of the costs.)

While we can all understand how Republicans think Ryan is an economic genius – the same people who put a couple of trillion-dollar wars on your grandchildren’s credit card, what about Ryan’s view of the American people. He is assuming the majority of Americans are not aware they health care costs have risen faster than the rate of inflation for every other segment of the economy. That fact was and is one of the driving factors behind health care reform – The Affordable Care Act. The CBPP and Congressional Budget Office also ran the Ryan/Republican numbers and came to the same conclusion, CBO Report: Plan Also Contains Deeper Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid Than Paul Ryan(R-WI) Revealed

For Medicare, the CBO report reveals that the Ryan plan would raise the age at which people become eligible from 65 to 67, even as it repeals the health reform law’s coverage provisions.  This means 65- and 66-year-olds would have neither Medicare nor access to health insurance exchanges in which they could buy coverage at an affordable price and receive subsidies to help them purchase coverage if their incomes are low.  This change, which is not mentioned in the 73-page booklet on his plan that Chairman Ryan released,[4] would put many more 65- and 66-year-olds who don’t have employer coverage and can’t afford insurance into the individual insurance market — where the premiums charged to people in this age group tend to be very high — leaving them uninsured.  People of limited means, such as those who are trying to get by on incomes as low as $12,000 a year in today’s dollars, would be affected most harshly because they wouldn’t be able to afford private coverage.

The CBO report also reveals that the vouchers, or “defined contribution amounts,” that Ryan would provide to seniors to buy coverage from private insurance companies in lieu of current Medicare coverage would be adjusted each year only by the general inflation rate.  For more than 30 years, health care costs per beneficiary in the United States have been rising about two percentage points per year faster than GDP growth per capita.

Ryan/Republican Plan would greatly increase out of pocket expenses for seniors

Drive to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder(R) clears first hurdle

The group said it was part of a grassroots effort and its members “believe that Snyder’s early performance proves he is not qualified to lead Michigan.”

In part, the group cited as reasons for the recall effort Snyder’s law that expands the powers of emergency managers named by the governor to rescue failing schools and cities. Those powers include the ability to break union contracts and remove locally elected officials.

More here on Snyder’s efforts to replace legally elected governance with corporate stooges,

Michigan’s law allows the state to appoint emergency managers to nullify contracts, including labor agreements – which is what has unions upset. But the scope and intention of the law is much deeper and wider than simply anti-union. The legislation allows emergency managers to nullify the powers and authority of local governments of all kinds. One of its supporters gave the game away when he spoke of the need to impose a kind of “financial martial law” in which all pretense of democracy would be abolished in targeted communities. The community the Republican politician had in mind was Detroit, the Black metropolis, where the public schools were promptly put under emergency state control. But there is nothing to stop the state from abolishing democratic governance in any of Michigan’s cities, if an emergency can be declared or created. On April 15, the mostly Black city of Benton Harbor, the poorest jurisdiction in the state, was placed under total financial martial law, its citizens suddenly made more powerless than Blacks in Selma, Alabama, prior to the civil rights movement.

While they only really seem to believe in it when there is a Democratic president or a Democratic majority in the House, Republican philosophy is supposedly centered on local control – Washington bad, local always good. That being the case why is big state government and its dictatorial powers better than a city or town’s elected governmental authority. A Democratic city mayor and city council in Michigan should pass the same kind of “emergency” laws and send their appointed managers to kick out Snyder. If governors like Snyder and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker would to go fascist-lite on the locals, than they can cope with the mentality they created.

Governor says Obama leaving Texas in the dust. Texas Governor Rick Perry(R) has advocated secession, the rights of states to nullify federal law(both clearly unconstitutional) and begged Washington for stimulus funds, bragged about projects done with those funds – all while slinging cheap insults at Washington and the Recovery Act from which those funds came. Now Perry is whining about President Obama and the feds not declaring a state of emergency in Texas. Why does Mr. Secession want his state to be declared in a state of emergency? A federal major disaster declaration could reimburse Texas and local governments 75 percent of the cost of their response. The feds have supplied firefighters. The feds have given Perry 22 grants to help pay fire management – 16 of those just this month. Republicans still think Bush 43 was a basically good president with sound policies – he just had some bad luck in executing those policies. With the current crop of Republican governors we’re just seeing a state sized version of Bush in action. It does not seem to matter how deeply or often their policies fail they keep to the agenda and blame others for their failures.

Twisters Kill 337; 2nd Deadliest in U.S. History….and Republicans and the grand old philosophy of conservatism responds, GOP’s Continuing Resolution Cuts Funding for National Weather Service, FEMA

Nationally, reduced funding will mean upper air observations now made twice a day might be reduced to every other day, buoy and surface weather observations that provide data for warning systems could be temporarily or permanently discontinued and there could be delays in replacing satellites, according to the release.

But Republicans can always find an excuse for corporate tax cuts.