House Lights and Snow wallpaper – The Stench of Conservatism Continues to Thrive In Small Minds

winter snow, holidays

House Lights and Snow wallpaper

Black and White Canyon and Clouds wallpaper

Gingrich: Poor kids have bad work habits ‘unless it’s illegal’

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday that “really poor children” have bad work habits and no knowledge of how to make an income “unless it’s illegal.”

Doubling down on his argument that children in poor neighborhoods should be employed as janitors in schools, Gingrich argued that the best way to teach children in poor neighborhoods good working habits is to put them to work as soon as possible.

“Start with the following two facts,” Gingrich said Thursday at a campaign stop in Iowa.

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich said.

“They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.”

Gingrich said every successful person he knows started working at an early age in explaining his position that schools should hire poor children in their neighborhoods for part-time jobs as assistant librarians or assistant janitors.

I’m not particularly outraged by this, after all I did blog through most of the Bush 43 administration and the national mental breakdown known as the tea bagger uprising. Some thoughts do come to mind. Newt is an intellectual, he and his supporters will be happy to tell that to anyone who will listen and even those who have better use for their time. What jobs does Newt plan on finding for the janitors and librarians the kids replace. If he is not going to replace, but supplement the janitorial staff, where is the money going to come from to pay them. Janitors and librarians work for schools that are financed by a combination primarily of property taxes and federal grants. Why does an intellectual conservative think the children of America’s poor families have no work ethic, knowledge of where money comes from and poor families are somehow innately lacking in morality. Is that from a study or is that a known certainty which Newt has magically divined from out of the ether. Is it Newt’s contention that wealthy children work their little fingers to the bone for everything they have. Newt was Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999. In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform or Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act into law.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, Pub.L. 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105, enacted August 22, 1996) is a United States federal law considered to be a fundamental shift in both the method and goal of federal cash assistance to the poor. The bill added a workforce development component to welfare legislation, encouraging employment among the poor. The bill was a cornerstone of the Republican Contract With America and was introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL-22) who believed welfare was partly responsible for bringing immigrants to the United States.[1] Bill Clinton signed PRWORA into law on August 22, 1996, fulfilling his 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we have come to know it”.[2]

PRWORA instituted Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which became effective July 1, 1997. TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program which had been in effect since 1935 and also supplanted the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program of 1988. The law was heralded as a “reassertion of America’s work ethic” by the US Chamber of Commerce, largely in response to the bill’s workfare component. TANF was reauthorized in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

Newt, the guru of ideas, the wizard of facts, the grand pontificater of all things shiny and true should know – since he was there, that in order to collect TANF – what everyone commonly refers to as welfare – one had to work thirty hours week as TANF was originally passed. Thus the program was not a free ride even then. During the Bush 43 administration the work requirements were increased to forty hours. If you do not have a job you will most likely not be able to federal welfare * see below. If you’re single woman or man without a job, do not bother to apply for TANF, you have a better chance wining the lottery. No one, for any reason, may collect TANF for more than 5 years during their entire lifetime. You’re face down in a gutter, poor and hungry. Too bad if you have no job or you collected TANF for five years. Conservatives have been puling this class warfare stuff against imaginary lazy poor people living high off the hog for decades. I would even agree that the requirements and benefits got a little crazy for a few years back in the 1970s. So hey Newt, the 1970s are calling and they have your moldy old taking points ready.

Highlights of TANF
Work Requirements:

With few exceptions, recipients must work as soon as they are job-ready or no later than two years after coming on assistance.
To count toward a State’s work participation rate, single parents must participate in work activities for an average of 30 hours per week, or an average of 20 hours per week if they have a child under age six.  Two-parent families must participate in work activities for an average of 35 hours a week or, if they receive Federal child care assistance, 55 hours a week.
Failure to participate in work requirements can result in a reduction or termination of a family’s benefits.
States cannot penalize single parents with a child under six for failing to meet work requirements if they cannot find adequate child care.
States must engage a certain percentage of all families and of two-parent families in work activities or face financial penalty.

The fact is  – my facts tend to be based on the realities here on earth rather than the facts Newt has pipped in from another time and dimension – that most poor Americans work and poor teens tend to seek work so that they will have money. Teens, still children, yet old enough to work and nothing prevents them from getting a job if they can find an opening – Poorest teens have hardest time finding summer jobs

Perhaps the Newtster knows why employers tend to prefer to hire white middle-class kids rather than poor minorities. Across the net, conservative radio and other right-leaning media is the constant admonition to the poor to find a job. It turns out they would love to have job if they do not have one, would like full-time work if they can only find part-time and get part-time jobs when possible to help pay living expenses:

Those looking for part-time work has rocketed during the recession. Calculated Risk Blog

Some people see ghost and goblins all around, conservatives see lazy Americans everywhere. Which brings up a rhetorical question – I already know the answer – why do conservatives claim to love the U.S.A. yet constantly claim that Americans are lazy schemers trying to get something for nothing. I think we all know people like that. They come in a variety of religions, colors, economic backgrounds and educational levels. I tend to think lazy scheming is bad regardless of where it originates, while conservatives are only concerned with moral slacking when it comes from the working poor. It was the wealthiest people in the U.S.A. that stole trillions of dollars from the nation. While I know those Wall Street ratbags would claim they work hard, they hardly shingle roofs all day, or take temperatures and urine samples, or lay asphalt in blistering heat or freezing cold. Just a few stats from The Working Poor Families Project  policy brief for the winter of 2010-11(pdf)

* There were more than 10 million low-income working families in the United States, an increase of nearly a quarter million from the previous year.

* Forty-five million people, including 22 million children, lived in low-income working families, an increase of 1.7 million people from 2008.

* Forty-three percent of working families with at least one minority parent were low income, nearly twice the proportion of white working families (22 percent).

* Income inequality continued to grow with the richest 20 percent of working families taking home 47 percent of all income and earning 10 times that of low-income working families.

* More than half of the U.S. labor force (55 percent) has “suffered a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers” since the recession began in December 2007.

I’m not picking on this particular commenter at a right-wing conservative site called The Lonely Conservative, he just happens to typify the thinking of the conservative mind – Did Newt Bash Poor Children Before or After Declaring He Will Be the Nominee?

Denny on December 1, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Actually, Newt certainly did not “bash” poor children, but just the OPPOSITE, wanting to better their lives with some ideas that he hopes will end up becoming the solutions that people coalesce around. I worked a paper route when I was about 12 years old.

With so-called “friends” such as mud-throwing, inaccurate, character-assassinating fellow Conservatives helping Obama with their attack ads with scurrilous and misleading headlines, Obama is getting the help he needs to win re-election so that he can seriously and finally solidify his power for good and fundamentally transform the United States from a Constitutional Republic into the Fascist States of America, with him at the helm. Go Newt! 777denny

What’s Denny’s point? I’m a progressive Democrat. I had a paper route. I’ve been in management and had direct P&L responsibility. I’ve worked hard. I know the value of a dollar and how difficult it is to get ahead. Denny must be aware, with his depth of knowledge that the old U.S.S.R was a constitutional republic. The devil is, as they say, in the details. We might be evolving into some fascist-lite state, but that trend was started by a political movement that believed in the unitary executive. If Obama is continuing that trend to some degree, see George or Dick, or movement conservative thinkers such as Newt,  Bill Kristol ( there is a thoughtful evidence based article that puts Kristol and the intellectual foundation of modern conservatism much closer to proto-facism than Obama), John Yoo or anyone at right-wing think-tanks like the Hoover Institute. Two more facts. One is that America’s largest corporations are making record profits under the Obama administration. If that is fascism than America’s power brokers only want more of the same. Most of the legislation passed by Congress is written by American business and special interests. Conservatives and a sizable minority of Democrats have not shown the inclination, desire or backbone to put the power of the legislation process back into the hands of the people. Newt is a long time paid up member of this elite club of policy makers.

Here is a business man who belongs to the reality based community – Raise Taxes on Rich to Reward True Job Creators

It is a tenet of American economic beliefs, and an article of faith for Republicans that is seldom contested by Democrats: If taxes are raised on the rich, job creation will stop.

Trouble is, sometimes the things that we know to be true are dead wrong. For the larger part of human history, for example, people were sure that the sun circles the Earth and that we are at the center of the universe. It doesn’t, and we aren’t. The conventional wisdom that the rich and businesses are our nation’s “job creators” is every bit as false.

I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software. I founded the Internet media company aQuantive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in 2007 for $6.4 billion. I was also the first non-family investor in Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)

Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.

Mr. Hanauer also has what is sorely lacking among conservatives like Newt or any of the conservative presidential candidates, humility. Robert Reich wrote about this phenomenon recently, Meet the new Social Darwinists – Newt, Mitt and other GOP candidates are peddling policies based on this discredited justification for inequality

They call themselves conservatives but that’s not it, either. They don’t want to conserve what we now have. They’d rather take the country backwards – before the 1960s and 1970s, and the Environmental Protection Act, Medicare, and Medicaid; before the New Deal, and its provision for Social Security, unemployment insurance, the forty-hour workweek, and official recognition of trade unions; even before the Progressive Era, and the first national income tax, antitrust laws, and Federal Reserve.

They’re not conservatives. They’re regressives. And the America they seek is the one we had in the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century.

It was an era when the nation was mesmerized by the doctrine of free enterprise, but few Americans actually enjoyed much freedom. Robber barons like the financier Jay Gould, the railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, controlled much of American industry; the gap between rich and poor had turned into a chasm; urban slums festered; women couldn’t vote and black Americans were subject to Jim Crow; and the lackeys of rich literally deposited sacks of money on desks of pliant legislators.

While it would seem that writing a blog is about changing minds I have few goals in that regard especially with conservatives who pass by. They have never been interested in facts, the common good, individual rights ( except maybe the 2nd amendment), economic or social justice. They seem completely motivated largely by money as a route to power. If America becomes a nation of cold dog-eat-eat dog survivalists who will trample over others to get at the crumbs they let trickle down, they’d be perfectly happy with that. It would be an America of sorts, the America of 1860.

Not a great jobs report for this quarter, but not Michele Bachmann’s dream come true either – Jobless Rate Drops to 8.6%, Economy Adds 120,000 Jobs

Ideologically, what group of Americans does this report remind you of,  Saudis fear there will be ‘no more virgins’ and people will turn gay if female drive ban is lifted

Repealing a ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia would result in ‘no more virgins’, the country’s religious council has warned.

A ‘scientific’ report claims relaxing the ban would also see more Saudis – both men and women – turn to homosexuality and pornography.

The startling conclusions were drawn by Muslim scholars at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University.

One does not have to look far in the U.S. to see similar “scientific” studies and claims – Right-wing conservatives at Daily Caller Promotes “Grossly Inadequate” Study Linking Abortion And Breast Cancer.

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?” …

Farm Country Field wallpaper – Conservatives Weave a Ragged History of Being Contrary

midwest landscape, wheat, fall colors,

Farm Country Field wallpaper

 

On any given day politics and politicians, regardless of political leanings, have a unique ability to elicit a what the heck moment. President Obama make the cut for today’s moment by way of comparison with conservatives Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Ronald Reagan, Steve Forbes, Bob Dole, Pat Buchanan and the notoriously corrupt Phil Gramm ( former Texas senator). The time Republicans embraced the Buffett Rule
It wasn’t long ago that top Republicans were appalled by the idea of giving super-rich investors a big tax break. Steve Kornacki writes something of a second part to an Ezra Klein post from a few months ago – Obama revealed: A moderate Republican. Obama and Congressional Democrats have implemented or tried to implement several public policy initiatives that conservatives supported….before Obama was president.

What does feel different, though, is how often we’ve heard Obama-era Republicans frantically sound the alarm over ideas that they themselves once embraced. The rendering of the individual healthcare mandate, a concept with deep conservative roots and one that numerous GOP member of Congress actively pushed for in the mid-1990s, as a jobs- and freedom-killing abomination is a good example of this.

Another, as it turns out, involves tax fairness. The outcry from the right over Obama’s renewed insistence that the wealthiest Americans assume a slightly higher tax burden has been fierce and unrelenting.

[  ]…Case in point: Reagan’s campaign for tax reform in the mid-’80s, during which he blasted “crazy” and “unproductive” tax loopholes that “allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.” A clip of the Gipper making that argument has been circulating online since last week.

[  ]…Forbes launched a lavish advertising campaign decrying the IRS and touting his own plan’s simplicity (you’d be able to do your taxes on a postcard!) while promising that it would unleash torrential economic growth. The idea, and Forbes, caught on. He began moving up in polling and attracting serious press coverage (like the Newsweek cover story that you see at the top of this piece). By January, he’d actually taken the lead in New Hampshire and had become a legitimate threat to win the nomination.

Which is when his fellow candidates started paying a lot more attention to him and to his flat tax plan. The attacks that they launched are notable in that they ran counter to just about everything the GOP now says about taxation and the wealthy and “class warfare.”

Take Gramm, who was positioning himself as the “pure” conservative in the race and offering a flat tax of his own. But there was a difference: His plan would still tax capital gains income, while Forbes’ wouldn’t. Gramm decried this as a politically suicidal giveaway to the rich, one that would sentence Forbes to a landslide November defeat if the GOP were to nominate him.

“There’s no doubt about the fact you could buy every ad on the Super Bowl,” Gramm said, “and you could never convince the American people that you ought to have a 17 percent tax on wages and salaries, but much of investment income should go untaxed.”

[  ]…What’s notable in looking back, though, is that Gramm, Alexander and Dole were all essentially endorsing the Buffett Rule. But just 15 years later, that position is now regarded as heresy in the GOP.

[   ]…Just consider the case of Buchanan, who remains a prominent voice in politics today.  On the McLaughlin Group recently, he asserted that the Buffett Rule is “rooted in the philosophy of envy.” He could have added, but didn’t, that it’s also rooted in the Buchanan ’96 campaign platform, because back then he savaged the Forbes plan, claiming that it was “worked up by the boys at the yacht basin.” And he introduced his own version of the Buffett Rule. “David Rockefeller,” Buchanan declared, “could move to Florida and pay less in taxes than the guy who’s serving him drinks.”

No exactly the same, but certainly on the same flat tax page is Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. It would worsen the deficit, but we all that conservatives don’t really care about the deficit as much as they do making sure right-wing sugar daddies do not pay taxes on their capital gains – America is still waiting for those low capital gains taxes to trickle down. While some years ago I heard a fairly good liberal argument for a flat consumption tax, no one has ever figured out a way to make it non-regressive. That 52% of the population that makes under $52k a year would be paying a huge share of taxes, way out of proportion to their earnings. Cain, Gramm and Forbes don’t care because, well they’re very wealthy. Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda outlet Fox News frequently floats the flat tax promise of nirvana.

If I said that there is a rumor President Obama might be challenged in the primaries by a candidate who is pro-choice, supported reasonable gun control like background checks for felons, was pro campaign finance reform, pro gay rights, pro immigration reform like the Bush bipartisan bill that Michelle Malkin called “shamesty” and was pro health care reform. Many readers would at least take an honest look at that candidate. That candidate would be Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. Mitt’s flip-flop-flips probably scare progressives as much as they do the Perry-Cain-Bachmann crowd, but if Mitt got into office and returned to his roots so to speak, he’d be more liberal than Obama. Today’s polls have Mitt and Herman leading in among right-wing voters. Herman is probably an outlier ( I’ll get to more of that in a moment), but how or what are conservative voters telling themselves about Romney. One thing Romney does do well and is consistent about, is pandering. Sure Mitt truly drinks the conservative economic kool-aid, but other than that he is willing to take any position that gets him into office. He is this election cycles vanity candidate. Where does Cain fit in. First a little armchair analysis of Cain’s thinking and Cain’s supposed conversion moment by We are respectable negroes, The Pain of Herman Cain: How a Chance Encounter at an African American Barbershop Helped to Create a Black Conservative 

Perhaps it is my love of theoretical physics and chaos theory. Or maybe I have watched the Star Trek TNG episode “Tapestry” too many times, but I wonder how that one moment impacted Herman Cain’s future political attitudes and life trajectory? Would Herman Cain have become a different person, one who is an upright and proud Morehouse man, and not a professional racism denier and enabler of white supremacy, if one of the brothers had given his woolly head a proper cut?

These conservative conversion stories are a dime a dozen…they were going down that dark path to Medicare and other atrocities perpetrated by liberals.. when duh, they saw the bright light of self obsessed greed, unhinged nationalism and trickle down economics. The kind of greed and self-absorption that supposedly was the key to making America great – Not the Constitution, the Civil War and emancipation, not the suffrage movement or 60s civil rights or the New Deal. I am always reminded of paleo wing-nut Norman Podhoretz and his encounters with black youth while he was growing up. What did I learn after reading that story – if some girls had assaulted Norman when he was young he would have grown up to be gay. If green people had assaulted him he would have grown up hating Martians. In Herman’s case it was all about a hair-cut. As to why Cain is doing well in conservative polls, Herman Cain, the Polls and What Race Has to Do With It

A few days ago on WRRN’s Richard French Live, however, former NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter and former Connecticut congressman Rob Simmons, a Republican, got down to it, musing that Cain’s appeal to white conservatives is related in large part to the Bradley Effect—the phenomenon of white people who, for fear of appearing racist, tell pollsters they’re going to vote for a black candidate but actually vote white (named after LA mayor Tom Bradley, who lost the 1982 gubernatorial race after polls showed him far ahead). French admitted he was relieved his guests brought up the Bradley Effect, so he didn’t have to.

I understand the feeling. In an age when even the most rabid birthers and mosque molesters fly into a rage at the suggestion they might be bigots, it’s become impolitic to state the obvious: that a lot of Tea Party types are crazy for Cain because he shields them against charges of racism. As the current hard-right favorite, Cain is proof of widespread Tea Party colorblindness, writes conservative pundit Ron Christie.

Some conservatives even want extra credit for favoring a “real black man,” as Cain calls himself, over someone like Obama. Laura Ingraham (who wrote in her Barack Obama “diary” that Michelle Obama eats baby-back ribs at every meal) clumsily endorsed that notion last week when she said that Cain “would be the first black president, when you measure it by—because he doesn’t—does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents? No, right?”

Cain’s candidacy can be used as a weapon as easily as a shield.

 

Throw in the obvious that Cain has been spouting his right-wing agitprop for 25 years and he is a reliable echo of well worn right-wing talking points. A good recent example – Herman Cain Defends Remarks On Racism, Occupy Wall Street (VIDEO)

Herman Cain on Monday defended comments about racism he’d made over the weekend.

“I don’t have a lot of patience for people who want to blame racism on the fact that some people don’t make in America,” he said on ‘The Sean Hannity Show’.

The GOP candidate claimed that his business and academic achievements were “walking proof ” that racial discrimination doesn’t hold people back.

His remarks backed up a similar complaint he made on Sunday’s ‘Face The Nation’.

“I don’t believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way,” he had said.

Cain also attacked Occupy Wall Street protesters for blaming banks rather than the president.

“I believe this a coordinated effort of the unions and Obama supports to distract the American people from the real problem which is the failed policies of the Obama administration,” he said.

 

You have to love how Cain uses the triple somersault of economic denial – Obama was not president when Wall Street gambled away almost $17 trillion dollars of the nations wealth.

I would be happy to admit that Cain is some small percentage of correct about people using racism as an excuse. People similarly use religious discrimination, gender discrimination, height discrimination and dozens if not hundreds of other reasons not to get their ass in gear and stop blaming others for their failures. Cain’s problem, like every other conservative is they take the very small percentage of people who wrongly use those claims to tarnish everyone. That is the very essence of racism, misogyny and other forms of discrimination – like being overweight. The fact is that there are  about five applicants for every job opening might explain why people are having problems finding jobs. The recession has hit black Americans especially hard – Black unemployment: Highest in 27 years. Older while males are having a tougher time than the past getting back on their feet – Older white males hurt more by this recession, but statistically they are still doing better than their black counterparts. Statistically the only group doing relatively well is older women – Big winners right now in the job market: older white women. The reasons for the last statistic is  related to who is hiring. Jobs have opened up in temporary and retail positions that pay lower wages. And in employment areas where women have traditionally done well like healthcare and education, there has been either some hiring or better retention. Cain should listen to Tavis Smiley’s fact based views instead of  the Koch brothers and knucklehead AM radio wing-nuts, Poverty ambassadors blast Herman Cain’s views on racism

“There are disparities in this country in every [socioeconomic] factor that we follow.  In every aspect of our human endeavors in this country there is a racial disparity element that’s a part of it. It’s almost silly to respond to [Cain] because the evidence is so overwhelming,” Smiley said in the interview with CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux.

“There’s disparity in healthcare. There’s disparity economically.”

Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich, Ron Paul and Romney all believe in these myths – 5 Conservative Economic Myths Occupy Wall St. Is Helping Bust

2. Rich people are “job creators.”

This is the old “trickle-down” idea — that if you give enough money to the already-rich eventually some of that money will trickle down to the rest of us. This is also called the “getting peed on” theory of economics.

The basis of this thinking comes from the theories of Ayn Rand, who argued that society consists of “producers” and “parasites.” Rand’s fundamentally anti-democratic ideology says that democracy is a form of “collectivism” in which people who don’t want to work and produce use their numbers to steal from a gifted few who are the “producers” of goods and services. Rand’s followers claim that wealthy people are rich because they “produce.” The rest of us are “parasites” who “take money” from the productive rich, by taxing them. This revenue is “redistributed” to the parasites to pay for our “entitlements.”

They say that if wealthy people have more money they will use that money to start businesses and hire people. But anyone with a real business will tell you that people coming in the door and buying things is what creates jobs. In a real economy, people wanting to buy things – demand – is what causes businesses to form and people to be hired.

History – and a quick look around us today – shows that when all the money goes to a few at the top demand from the rest of us dries up and everything breaks down.  Taxing the people at the top and reinvesting the money into the democratic society is fundamental to keeping things going.

Annie Lowrey has a related article up today, another myth buster –  Why Small Businesses Aren’t Innovative. Everyone says small businesses are dynamic, market-shaking, job creators. But new evidence suggests that’s not true.

The researchers attempt to figure that out by surveying entrepreneurs, asking why they decided to start their own companies and what they hope to achieve. The bottom line? “Few small businesses intend to bring a new idea to market,” they write. “Instead, most intend to provide an existing service to an existing customer base.” And a relatively small proportion of small businesses have aspirations to get any bigger, either.

Indeed, the new business owners responding to the survey were lawyers, plumbers, doctors, shopkeepers, real estate agents, and the like—common village professionals. Fewer than half started a business because they “had a good business idea.” Many chose to start a business for “non-pecuniary” benefits, like being your own boss and keeping flexible hours.

The bulk of small businesses being created, in short, are not particularly innovative ones.

 

It is not that no one is out there “innovating” only that the innovators are a pretty small slice of the small business pie. So when it comes to public policy it is important to distinguish between tomorrow’s Steve Jobs and a doughnut franchise operator. The latter is hoping that people do not change their habits. There is nothing particularly wrong with that, only they are not the ones who are going to pay the wages that spur a lot of new demand.