Archive for the 'Clueless Conservatives' Category

US Right-wing Honors self in UK

Jul 05, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

Like the statue of Saddam in Iraq, and the statue of Mao in China, the US right-wing have thought to honor themselves not on US soil but in UK.

Read about it here

I would just add one more paragraph to the article, in addition to Reagan’s Latin American legacy.
Let us not forget that it was his policies, and his proxy war in Afghanistan. He who funded the training and gave birth to the predecessors of the Taliban, and created a political vacuum in the country which allowed Taleban and Al-Qaeda to flourish.

Yes, let us raise a drink and statue to them man, without whom 9/11 could never have been conceivable or possible.
–AA

Republican economic terrorism.

Jun 30, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Crazy Tea Party People, Deficit, Economy

As the kids say nowadays, this.

Over at Dana’s blog the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of the validity of the US debt has produced a sort of nervous chuckle without anybody really willing to explain how Republicans could force the US to default without violating the Constitution. Something tells me they’re feeling a bit blindsided.

But when your only goal is to do whatever hurts President Obama, even if that means tanking the economy, you gotta be careful of those blinders.

Sounds to me like Democrats just need to show a little spine to save the country and themselves.

Ah, shit. We might be screwed anyway then.

-hw

UPDATE: Fourteenth Amendment fever popping up here and here.

The last line of defense.

Jun 27, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Deficit

Over at Dana Pico’s blog I’ve noticed that when all arguments about why we must ONLY cut spending and not increase revenue are dismantled and packed into little boxes and shipped to the Bad Idea Depot, Dana and others fall back on an excuse that rests mostly on belligerence, suspicion, and megalomania. Let me explain.

The excuse is, roughly, “If Democrats succeed in raising taxes, they’ll just spend the money!”

Now, let’s look at the ways this is all the things I described it as and more. Perhaps most importantly, Dana and the Republicans don’t seem to realize something: They aren’t in complete control of the government. They have the House, not the Senate, and not the White House. Yet notice something funny about these debt ceiling “negotiations”? Yep, every Republican is dead set that there will be no tax increase. Sound like a compromise to you? Republicans get everything, Democrats get nothing (deficit doesn’t get fixed)? In Republicanland, that is exactly their definition of compromise. Any fair American must reject this approach.

Let’s look at the flipside: If we cut spending, Republicans will just cut taxes more and we’ll be in more deficit trouble. Is that true? Well, considering the Bush tax cuts are the biggest single contributor to our deficit problems today, and that they were enacted at a time when we were just starting to get ahead of our deficit problems, I’d say it’s a very real risk. In other words, since it just bloody happened and we’re still paying the price, I’d say the inverse of Dana’s statement is far more true.

Another point: Right now, there’s not much room for more spending. Our deficit has grown so large and we have such problems ahead keeping Medicare in the black that it’s unlikely we’ll see any new programs soon, and that’s a shame as one thing we could spend on would be more jobs programs, but Republicans are dead set against that. Dana doubts Democrat sincerity about wanting government to be solvent, but Dana also wanted Dick “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter” Cheney as president in 2008. The historical record suggests that Republicans tend to be most foolhardy when it comes to deficit spending, not Democrats. Democrats want government to be solvent and functional so that it can be robust and ready when problems arise. We could have been so much better prepared to handle the crash of 2008 had we not already been neck deep in Bush credit card spending. So the realistic order of events is we cut spending sensibly, raise revenue, pay down the debt, and then where there’s extra money and good use for it, we spend.

Finally, this is barring a concrete solution now over prejudicial insults. Whereas Democrats are trying to meet Republicans in the middle in a fiscally smart manner, Republicans are threatening to let the US default on its debts and bring on an economic Dark Ages that will make 2008 look like a boom. Yet Republicans have no ground on which to stand to claim to be more fiscally responsible than Democrats, and if one insists on being completely fair, both parties have sinned. It’s nice that Dana doesn’t trust Democrats, but why should anybody trust Republicans? It’s supposed to be a bipartisan negotiation, so bite the bullet, give the other guy some of what he wants, and get some of what you want.

Failure to do so will only underscore Republican irresponsibility, and the country will soon see that the price of the 2010 amnesiac vote returning Republicans to power has been to ensure at every step we will make things worse than they could have been. If Republicans can’t grow up, and do so quickly before the US gets downgraded further, they’ll prove what I’ve been saying along, that Republicans have played the part of arsonists jeering the Democrat firefighters for not putting out the fire, meanwhile they’re still running around spraying lighter fluid and calling it holy water.

-hw

Privatized tyranny.

Jun 14, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

While looking through the comments on Paul Krugman’s column I cited yesterday, I noticed a great insight:

If you stop and think about it for a while I think you will conclude the Republicans also want a single payer health care system. Their single payer would be a huge privately owned insurance conglomerate. This entity would exist because of a series of mergers and buyouts that Republicans would be loath to oppose. This insurance giant could make the kind of political donations that would effectively neuter congress and any future president who might want to break it up.

This single payer privately held company could protect its bottom line by denying benefits who don’t follow its recommended diet and exercise program. It could also insist that in utero testing be done to identify any fetuses that have a high risk of needing expensive health care during their lifetime and recommend either abortion or a life time of much higher premium rates. Those too poor or too sickly would be expected to die early.

Since this is a private company protected by a myriad of laws passed by a compliant congress the only option for the average citizen is to leave the country if he doesn’t like it.

Those who advocate giving away the power of government to the private sector should consider where this road leads. At some point any semblance of democracy ends and we like the Romans enter a new period of our history.

Precisely. The idea that power in private hands is always preferable to power in public hands is inane. Free market principles don’t work in delivering cheaper health care, and in Republican deregulatory paradise we’ll be left with fewer and fewer options, until all health care is under the pervue of a few major corporations, and it is doled out at their whim for one express purpose, maximizing profit. This is the case already, but in a free market it could get so much worse.

Whenever I say I’m a socialist libertarian, Republicans fall out of their chairs and their eyeballs do this sort of googly rolling-around bit, sometimes worse. It violates every bit of dogma they’ve been huffing for the past several decades, it makes no sense to them whatsoever. Yet it’s a simple principle: I’m against all forms of tyranny, and will not welcome it merely because, “inc.” appears after the name of the entity. In a post-Citizens United world, private entities more than ever are capable of bending the will of our elected representatives to represent them instead of the people.

Sure, it becomes sort of obvious, but that’s what Republicans are for. Through advertising, think tanks, rightwing radio, Fox, and the various loyal disciples lurking on the internets, you are told, “Be responsible, work hard, don’t whine, don’t be a parasite, be a Republican!” Money is speech (how come if I give a cop a hundred bucks while asking him not to arrest me I get arrested for bribery then?), and don’t you read the Constitution? It is a constant grift, but one that pays well…at the top.

-hw

Quick question about Romney…

Jun 14, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy

He seems to be willing to talk the most smack about Obama, but has anybody noticed anything in his punch lines that involves any substance whatsoever?

It’s obvious Republicans have one strategy for 2012: Hey, look at those job numbers, Obama failed! But where’s the beef?

Republicans have held the veto pen since the beginning, using the filibuster to unprecedented levels when they had only 40 votes in the Senate, and now they control the House. Obama has only been able to get a weak stimulus that was mostly tax cuts that Republicans hate and weak financial reform. Oh, he saved GM, but Republicans hate that too. Anything, anything whatsoever that could be classified as “spending” was verboten.

So what is the Republican plan for jobs?

More tax cuts. Because we know how well those worked the last ten years.

You can’t attack Obama for the slow job growth (after suffering the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression on Bush’s watch with GOP deregulatory policies), when you stopped him from doing anything effective and all your plans are worthless.

Romney, a Gordon Gekko type who made what fortune he didn’t inherit by butchering companies and destroying jobs, can run around with his smile and his scolding tone all he wants. He’s got nothing, and if he emerges as the GOP nominee, he’s not going to like the scrutiny he’s going to get. It’s a lot easier up there on the stage with a bunch of Republicans who refuse to attack each other. And it’s easy to look like a contender when you’re up against Herman Cain, Michelle Bachman, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Tim Yawnplenty, and Ron Paul. By merely being the only candidate who wasn’t a complete disaster, Romney walked away with the debate.

Go ahead, Romney, tell me what you’re going to do for jobs without spending a dime or raising a dime in taxes. Cutting Medicare and SS payments is going to stimulate the economy, is it?

-hw

Paying less in taxes excuses paying more out of pocket?

Jun 13, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Deficit, Health Care

Andrew Sullivan and his readers have been speculating about the precise moment where America became a decadent nation. The Lewinsky impeachment hubbub, Bush vs. Gore, torture legalized, etc. have all popped up. Let me nominate one, as much as I was happy with the result: “Read my lips: No new taxes.”

Now Bush I got rightly cornholed for getting caught violating a very explicit campaign promise. Except two things: He shouldn’t have made such an irresponsible promise, and the anger directed at him over lying to the public was transmutated into a dogmatic commandment on the far right that spread throughout the entire Republican party that taxes must never be raised, and whenever possible should be lowered ever further.

Today? Massive deficit spending because our political establishment has lost all will to adjust tax rates in any direction but down, while demand for government services remains the same or larger.

Republicans dogma constructs this as some kind of moral failure, where poor scumsuckers siphon off the wealthy heroes of capitalism to provide for them. All increased spending is intrinsically bad, while all lowered taxes are intrinsically good. Moral certitude has replaced accounting.

Yet health care spending is something nobody can get away from, and so it makes no sense to make a moral distinction between health care paid for with taxes vs. health care paid for with private dollars. Almost everybody, even the well off, pays for their healthcare out of a collective insurance program, whether private or public. The question is, which is a better use of the money?

The idea of Medicare as a money-saving program may seem hard to grasp. After all, hasn’t Medicare spending risen dramatically over time? Yes, it has: adjusting for overall inflation, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose more than 400 percent from 1969 to 2009.

But inflation-adjusted premiums on private health insurance rose more than 700 percent over the same period. So while it’s true that Medicare has done an inadequate job of controlling costs, the private sector has done much worse. And if we deny Medicare to 65- and 66-year-olds, we’ll be forcing them to get private insurance — if they can — that will cost much more than it would have cost to provide the same coverage through Medicare.

By the way, we have direct evidence about the higher costs of private insurance via the Medicare Advantage program, which allows Medicare beneficiaries to get their coverage through the private sector. This was supposed to save money; in fact, the program costs taxpayers substantially more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare.

Krugman nods to Bruce Bartlett, who notes that Americans have lower taxes but most of the benefit is really due to health insurance costs being handled privately. The article contains a lot of numbers, but this stood out:

The impact on the tax burden can be dramatic if one views family allowances as negative taxes. For example, in Luxembourg, an average married worker with two children pays a nominal income tax rate of 16.5 percent (including state and local income taxes), while an American in the same situation would pay 5.2 percent. But once family allowances are subtracted from the Luxembourg worker’s income-tax payment, the effective tax rate falls to just nine-tenths of 1 percent.

More importantly, almost every other country has some form of national health insurance that covers, on average, 72 percent of all health costs. The comparable figure in the United States is 46.5 percent, and almost all of that is accounted for by Medicare and Medicaid, which largely benefit the elderly and the poor.

Average American workers must pay for health care out of their pockets, or through their employers in the form of lower wages. Europeans prefer to pay higher taxes and get government health care for every resident in return.

Conservatives universally believe that whenever the government provides a service it will be vastly more costly than if the private sector does so. This is why they support the plan offered by Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, to essentially privatize Medicare. Conservatives believe competition will drive down health costs for the elderly.

But O.E.C.D. data show that Americans pay vastly more for health care than the residents of any other major country. In 2008, we paid 16 percent of G.D.P. in total health care costs, public and private combined. The people with the next heaviest health care burden were the French, who paid 11.2 percent of G.D.P. Indeed, at 7.4 percent of G.D.P., the governmental share of health spending in the United States is about the same as total health care costs in many other countries, including (as a percentage of G.D.P.) Luxembourg (6.8 percent), Israel (7.8 percent), Japan (8.1 percent), Britain (8.4 percent) and Norway (8.5 percent).

Indeed, the American experience in the last decade is best summed up as: Hey, nice tax cut! Hey, my health care costs doubled! Hey, I got fired and have a crappy job with no health insurance!

Americans are paying through the nose for health care. Why should they be happy to pay more in premiums than they would in taxes? Or pay the ultimate price by not being able to afford health care at all?

Are taxes inherently evil? Of course not. You’re either getting your money’s worth or you’re not, and few people have the luxury of feeling better about paying more just because it’s going to Aetna and not Uncle Sam.

-hw

Trusty handybits.

Jun 09, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Deficit

Great compilation here:

Here, then, are 10 Inconvenient Truths About the Debt Ceiling:

1. Republican Leaders Agree U.S. Default Would Be a “Financial Disaster”
2. Ronald Reagan Tripled the National Debt
3. George W. Bush Doubled the National Debt
4. Republicans Voted Seven Times to Raise Debt Ceiling for President Bush
5. Federal Taxes Are Now at a 60 Year Low
6. Bush Tax Cuts Didn’t Pay for Themselves or Spur “Job Creators”
7. Ryan Budget Delivers Another Tax Cut Windfall for Wealthy
8. Ryan Budget Will Require Raising Debt Ceiling – Repeatedly
9. Tax Cuts Drive the Next Decade of Debt
10. $3 Trillion Tab for Unfunded Wars Remains Unpaid

Click through for the details. It’s pretty frustrating trying to have deficit debates with Republicans when they simply refuse to acknowledge the basic realities and fundamentals of the problem. They got their spin, and they don’t want to unlearn it, even if the good of the country depends on it.

-hw

Republican paradise.

Jun 08, 2011 in Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives

Ali should enjoy this:

With Tea Party conservatives and many Republicans balking at raising the debt ceiling, let me offer them an example of a nation that lives up to their ideals.

It has among the lowest tax burdens of any major country: fewer than 2 percent of the people pay any taxes. Government is limited, so that burdensome regulations never kill jobs.

This society embraces traditional religious values and a conservative sensibility. Nobody minds school prayer, same-sex marriage isn’t imaginable, and criminals are never coddled. The budget priority is a strong military, the nation’s most respected institution. When generals decide on a policy for, say, Afghanistan, politicians defer to them. Citizens are deeply patriotic, and nobody burns flags.

So what is this Republican Eden, this Utopia? Why, it’s Pakistan.

It’s really not that difficult to notice that most of human history involves very concentrated wealth among a tiny group of elites while the bulk of humanity is left to toil away in poverty for the few crumbs necessary to keep the machine chugging along. It’s never in the nature of those elites to surrender wealth or power on their own. Far more often, the masses have to resort to revolution. Why should today’s dynamics be any different? Usually the answer is some incoherent ranting about America being exceptional, God’s preferred country, etc. The point that Pakistan is Muslim explains enough for most Republicans. Yet the Christian God exhorted each follower to reject wealth entirely, and was very explicit about this throughout the New Testament. Such sentiments did drive many of the efforts of the 20th century that gave America a prosperous middle class, but the climate today has turned quite sharply against any effort to redirect the flow of capital anywhere other than upwards.

Already that limp fool Tim Pawlenty is trying to stir up the base and score some points by saying Obama engages in “class warfare.” Naturally, “class warfare” is already underway, what Pawlenty means is the middle and lower class daring to fight back. The world is full of what happens if we don’t.

-hw

More “gotcha” questions about American history.

Jun 03, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Sarah Palin, things so depressing that categories shun them like wou

There’s the possibility that defending all of the stupidity that comes out of Sarah Palin’s mouth will have such a draining effect on the right-wing that they’ll be too spent to continue on until the November 2012 presidential election. The other possibility is that the marks that have already contributed to her latest Tour de Grift will be all tapped out during the important final stretch. Both seem unlikely when you consider how much cash her preferred demographic has handed over to charlatans like Pat Robertson and Newt Gingrich over the years. One difference between these two and Palin is that I’m quite sure both of them are familiar with the story of Paul Revere’s midnight ride to warn the early Patriots that the British were coming.

Add elementary American history to the list of things Sarah Palin doesn’t feel compelled to read.

-mg

It’s not privatization!

Jun 02, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

Republicans always have a difficult dilemma in front of them. Since they serve the rich and no one else, they have to devote extra time and attention to message control so that people who aren’t rich will vote for them. And since they serve the rich and no one else, their plans inevitably involve privatizing government social services and directing that money towards the rich while giving Americans the shaft. They start out talking about privatization with each other because to them privatization is a great word. Unfortunately, when their plan to privatize Social Security was unveiled by George W. Bush in 2005, the public hated the idea of privatization. The Republican solution? Demand people stop calling it privatization. Why? Who knows! It wasn’t polling well, that’s what mattered.

The Post: Will you talk to Senate Democrats about your privatization plan?

THE PRESIDENT: You mean, the personal savings accounts?

The Post: Yes, exactly. Scott has been —

THE PRESIDENT: We don’t want to be editorializing, at least in the questions.

The Post: You used partial privatization yourself last year, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes?

The Post: Yes, three times in one sentence. We had to figure this out, because we’re in an argument with the RNC [Republican National Committee] about how we should actually word this. [Post staff writer] Mike Allen, the industrious Mike Allen, found it.

THE PRESIDENT: Allen did what now?

The Post: You used partial privatization.

THE PRESIDENT: I did, personally?

The Post: Right.

THE PRESIDENT: When?

The Post: To describe it.

THE PRESIDENT: When, when was it?

The Post: Mike said it was right around the election.

THE PRESIDENT: Seriously?

The Post: It was right around the election. We’ll send it over.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m surprised. Maybe I did. It’s amazing what happens when you’re tired. Anyway, your question was? I’m sorry for interrupting.

Ah, gosh, if only we could have that guy back, right?

And now here we are with Paul Ryan’s plan to kill Medicare and give seniors vouchers that they must use to buy private insurance, if anybody will have them. The public is already strongly rejecting the plan, which actually only polls around fifty percent among Republians. Solution? Ryan, quickly turning into the whiningest whiny-baby in a party of whiny-babies, is demanding President Obama and the Democrats stop calling his voucher plan a voucher plan. Why? Who cares? The plan isn’t going well, and when things aren’t going well for Republicans, they call things different names. See the “Tea Party” for further evidence.

Here’s Ryan admitting that the only reason he doesn’t think it should be called a voucher is because the check is sent directly to the insurer, so you can’t go sell it or something. Because that’s why people oppose a voucher program, right? Of course not. The point is you get a lump sum, that lump sum is for buying insurance only, and it won’t work at delivering good care or even guaranteeing care.

Did I mention the worst part of Ryan’s plan? Yeah, the whole thing isn’t even designed to reduce the deficit, it’s designed to offset the costs of even more tax cuts which will, this time they SWEAR, send the economy through the roof. Just like those Bush tax cuts did…

-hw

Every day is a good day to point out that Mitch McConnell is the sleaziest Senator.

Jun 02, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

If you’ve ever listened to Mitch McConnell speak and thought you were hearing a single true word, you got your pancake flipped.

McConnell benefits from the lingering good feeling that still permeates the institution in which he serves—because people insist on presuming that the leader of the minority party speaks in good faith. But there’s no good faith here…Raising the ceiling is extremely unpopular in polls (of course it always has been, but that fact that didn’t prevent a certain M. McConnell from voting to raise it seven times during George W. Bush’s presidency).

McConnell has said one true thing, actually, confessing that his sole purpose from 2010 to 2012 was doing everything he could to making sure Obama had a one-term presidency. Likely futile, sure, but the damage he’s doing to the country will endure.

-hw

“We don’t support rationing.”

May 24, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

Republicans who want to kill Medicare, hand seniors some vouchers and say, “Good luck out there in the private insurance market!” don’t want to staff a board that will oversee Medicare spending and make intelligent reductions while providing comparable service, because, says Orrin Hatch, “We don’t believe in rationing, nor do we believe in an unaccountable organization like that. I mean that’s crazy.”

Of course, private insurance companies who don’t want to touch sickly old people with a ten-foot pole are completely accountable, right? See, folks, you may not be able to have any kind of decent plan anymore, or one at all, but you’ll be free. But if a government board with members selected by Congress makes decisions about better spending, that’s unaccountable “rationing.” Yes, having this board allows some degree of tough decision-making, but don’t Republicans believe that Congress is generally ineffective at reducing spending by itself?

I just don’t know what to make of America anymore if it continues falling for this crap much longer. Republicans said DEATH PANELS at the prospect of Medicare balking on a heart operation for a 89 year old cancer patient, and then turn around and say, hey, let’s end that Medicare anyway, right?

Exactly how much more transparent do they have to be before people say enough?

-hw

America willing to pay for the government it wants?

May 13, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Deficit

Or maybe just realizing that talking about cutting spending without raising taxes to reduce the deficit is like talking about not paying on your car loan while refusing to take a better paying job to balance the checkbook. Grown-ups know better:

* A May 11 Ipsos/Reuters poll found that three-fifths of people favor raising taxes to reduce the deficit.
* A May 4 Quinnipiac University poll found that 69 percent of people, including 49 percent of Republicans, support raising taxes on those households making more than $250,000.
* An April 29 Gallup poll found that only 20 percent of people say the deficit must be reduced only with spending cuts; 76 percent say that taxes should play a role.
* An April 20 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that by a 2-to-1 margin people favor a combination of higher taxes and spending cuts over spending cuts alone to reduce the deficit. It also found that 72 percent of people favor raising taxes on the rich to reduce the deficit and this is far and away the most popular deficit reduction measure.
* An April 18 McClatchy/Marist poll found that voters support higher taxes on the rich to reduce the deficit by a 2-to-1 margin, including 45 percent of self-identified Tea Party members.

Republicans are working hard to enforce their no-tax-increase-ever orthodoxy, but there are signs that the dam is beginning to break. On April 7, former Reagan budget director Dave Stockman said, “It is simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn’t part of the solution. It’s a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes.”

You can’t keep telling people that we’re in a budget crisis and that we have to all be adults, but BTW TAX CUTS ARE OFF THE TABLE I SAID!!!

-HW!!!

Any day Michael Gerson is lambasted by people smarter than him is a good day.

May 12, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Drugs

Most 7/11 clerks would qualify, but this drizzling beatdown from Daniel Larison is to be savored:

At last week’s debate, one of the Fox panelists posed a question to Ron Paul about heroin and prostitution as “exercises of liberty.” Paul demurred a little, objecting that the panelist was putting words in his mouth, but then went on to object to the insulting paternalism that holds that drug prohibition is necessary to protect people from themselves. Paul was assuming that most people would be personally responsible and wouldn’t rely on government prohibition to steer them on the right path in these areas. Gerson could accuse him of having too much confidence in people, but that wouldn’t go over nearly as well as attacking him for having contempt for the poor and destitute. Most irritating of all, Gerson presents himself as a defender of the weak and downtrodden, when these are the Americans disproportionately harmed by the drug war that Gerson is quite happily defending.

Although I do have to recommend this column by Gerson, where he slaps around people even dumber than him: Ayn Rand fanboys.

Rand’s novels are vehicles for a system of thought known as Objectivism. Rand developed this philosophy at the length of Tolstoy, with the intellectual pretensions of Hegel, but it can be summarized on a napkin. Reason is everything. Religion is a fraud. Selfishness is a virtue. Altruism is a crime against human excellence. Self-sacrifice is weakness. Weakness is contemptible. “The Objectivist ethics, in essence,” said Rand, “hold that man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”

If Objectivism seems familiar, it is because most people know it under another name: adolescence. Many of us experienced a few unfortunate years of invincible self-involvement, testing moral boundaries and prone to stormy egotism and hero worship. Usually one grows out of it, eventually discovering that the quality of our lives is tied to the benefit of others. Rand’s achievement was to turn a phase into a philosophy, as attractive as an outbreak of acne.

Yes, Ron Paul qualifies, but on the drug war issue Paul is right about Gerson, whereas on the issue of whether Rand is meant to be taken seriously by anybody over 19, Gerson is right.

-hw

Holy smokes.

May 12, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Huckabee isn’t running for president, ever. To do so after having made this would make Sarah Palin’s Alaska look like a masterstroke of vexing genius.

-hw

Imagine if President Obama said this…

Apr 26, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Mitt Romney thinks we’re in peacetime.

On the other hand, Romney is such a helpless dissembler that nobody really takes what comes out of his mouth seriously. He’s saying it because the fame-whore inside him can’t ever, ever stop pandering. This is Mitt “Double Gitmo!” Romney we’re talking about here. If he got the nomination, the only thing that I’m afraid of his the chiseled good looks. There’s no doubt about it, Mitt Romney is a handsome man with movie star hair who almost looks like Reagan if you squint hard enough (but better looking than Reagan). And…he’s most famous for passing “Obamacare” in Massachusetts. And…? These are dark times for Republican 2012 prospects.

-hw

The obvious.

Apr 26, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Sullivan sounding like a dirty hippie:

When you are as broke as the US is, and when there is no rival military hegemon able and willing to do us harm, the military-industrial complex is an obvious place for massive cuts. If the US were a corporation that needed to make a profit, the Pentagon building would be a shopping mall by now. But to make these cuts as a government would require conceding that America’s sixty years of global domination are no longer affordable, or even relevant. It would require owning the relative decline of the US. No leading politician can do that. And many, like Romney, will run on the dangerous delusion that we should still act in the world as if it were 1963.

Which is how all empires eventually collapse: in a welter of debt, denial and over-reach.

Sullivan then rightly identifies the nature of Beltway sickness: A bunch of urbanites dreadfully afraid of being pegged as liberal, they consistently over-compensate by fawning over rightwing talking points and lurching away from anything that might offend people who thrive on being offended. Thus Paul Ryan’s sick joke of a budget “fix” that slashed Medicare to pay for more tax cuts that would then propel the economy into mystical Reaganland is taken as “serious” while Democratic proposals that increase taxes and slash defense aren’t worth talking about. Sullivan earlier wrote this:

China’s rise is also abetted by the US still pretending it can run the entire planet with a bigger military than everybody else’s put together. It cannot do this much longer without hollowing itself out from within. And slashing funds for infrastructure because we refuse to raise any taxes or seriously means-test Medicare and social security is not exactly the way to go about stabilizing this.

Repealing Obamacare and cutting taxes, then plundering Medicare to invade even more countries should fix our problems, right?

Anyway, Sullivan has been erratic lately, but it’s always fun to see him say things liberals have been saying for decades like he just figured it out. Sullivan really owes Noam Chomsky an apology for the way he’s sneered at and marginalized him before eventually adopting a good number of ideas that Chomsky had been expounding on for forty-plus years.

-hw

Republicans represent Wall Street but really don’t want anybody to think of it that way.

Apr 19, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

While one can usually turn to Michelle Bachman for an easy target and example of the latest, craziest Republican meme, her desire to pin public anger over Wall Street’s near destruction of the country on Obama is par for the course among Republicans. They can so rarely figure out how to do so, since Obama, despite doing most of his economic recovery work for the sake of Wall St., is hated by Wall Street for the financial regulation bill that he passed. Even daring to suggest that Wall Street has a problem has earned him self-righteous fury from the entitled masters of the universe who live by a simple rule: privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

Yes, these people who threatened to take down the country with them, who have seen nothing all this time but bigger and bigger bonuses, have also demanded nobody ding their egos or reputations. Yes, we the people had to save them, but we should have been thankful for the privilege.

And so while Obama has done a lot for Wall Street (even re-regulation was necessary to restore some integrity and trust in the system), he can’t compare with the Republicans, who have done everything from fight re-regulation to blaming the entire crash on blacks and Jimmy Carter. Recovery attained, Wall Street had nothing to lose by going back to the GOP.

It’s hard to be stupid as spectacularly as Michelle Bachman, but in this case it’s just standard Republican mendacity, she’s just the latest and loudest one. The Party of Wall Street is ever tasked with fooling the public into thinking they’re fighting for the ordinary American too, and Reagan’s supply side voodoo economics has been the ready-made tool that answers all questions while the middle class crumbles.

-hw

UPDATE: This whole debt ceiling talk is mostly bluff, because Wall Street is cracking the whip:

Congressional Republican leaders know full well that they have to raise the debt ceiling. It’s not optional — to fail is to crash the economy again, only this time would be the result of partisan stupidity on a historic scale.

But GOP leaders also know they have some leverage, and want to see what they can get out of Democrats in the form of ransom before doing what has to be done. Indeed, we learned last week that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has already reached out to financial industry leaders, asking how much time he has to screw around before doing lasting damage. He was told that “even pushing close to the deadline — or talking about it — could have grave consequences in the marketplace.”

I’m starting to wonder what the hell the point of a debt ceiling is. If we hit it, disaster, so we always raise it. Excessive debt does its own damage, but adding an artificial cap with even more destructive potential doesn’t seem to have any upside, except to give politicians something to bitch and moan about. Yeah, Tea-tards think they want to vote against raising it, but the inmates haven’t taken over the asylum quite yet. Republicans will get them under control, or else. Wall Street will probably never give up on the GOP entirely as the GOP usually does whatever they want, but this kind of out-of-control clusterfuck would be just another bubble, a shortsighted bad investment in a gang of idiots that finally blew up in their faces. Democrats and the last few (relatively) sane GOP senators will have to save the day, even thought Democrats know they will only get beat up more for doing the right thing…but that’s serving your country;)

Throw’em in the clink and smelt the key.

Apr 15, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Deficit, Drugs

Hey, budget hawks, turns out all that bullshit about throwing ever more Americans behind bars, usually over the insane Drug War on America that we can never seem to find the will to truly end, costs us something dearly. But hey, we better bust up some teachers’ unions…

Not all the money spent on incarceration was wasted, but the Pew study makes it clear that we’re now beyond the point of diminishing returns. Even as the prison population has ballooned, the study states that only about a third of the drop in crime is attributable to incarceration, and notably, 19 of the states in the study that cut their prison populations also experienced a drop in crime. The recidivism rate alone doesn’t always tell the whole story, since some policies can make it look like states have developed effective policies for preventing people from reoffending when they’re really just incarcerating more people who are less likely to recidivate.

And…

…the point here is that when ex-offenders don’t recidivate, that means they’re more likely to get jobs and be parents to their children. There is a serious negative cumulative impact created by ex-offenders being unable to find licit employment and lead productive lives, one that has a drastic effect on the poor communities in which their populations tend to be concentrated. So states have a public safety and fiscal interest in getting this right, but there’s more at stake here than just money.

Of course, the Drug War, while usually acceded to by cowardly Democrats, is and always has been driven by the very people who are so vehement about Big Government Spending. Well, seems to me that letting the government break the bank throwing people in jail for preferring kicks besides booze violates every tenet of such a belief system, but this would be, again, giving them some actual credit for meaning anything they say.

-hw

I got the Beltway-itis real bad, Poppa!

Apr 15, 2011 in Beltway-itis, Clueless Conservatives, Journamalism

Republicans shrieked in horror that President Obama was being “partisan” after he pointed out certain facts like their intent to dismantle Medicare (however hard that may be to get them to admit, you can if you press long enough or, y’know, actually spend any time hanging around Republican chat forums), and Mark Halperin, always mindful that his future seat at FOX be kept warm, leads the charge for the Beltway press to dutifully regurgitate whatever Republican strategists say. Miraculously, Obama is getting some serious street cred from a lot in the media for actually proposing a halfway sane budget solution instead of Ryan’s wet kiss to the Tea Party nutbaggers, but let’s examine, oh so briefly, the claim in dispute-

Quick cut to the Great Communicator:

… America is on the mend, but this recovery could be stopped dead in its tracks if big spenders in the Congress have their way….

Right now, House liberals are pushing a budget — the so-called liberal Democratic budget — that, if implemented, would reverse the progress we’ve made and wreck our program to rebuild the economy. They want to throw out the window much of the domestic budget savings we’ve achieved over the last 2 years. And they would go much further, seeking $181 billion in higher domestic spending over the next 5 years, excesses that would send the budget, prices, and interest rates soaring out of control and our economy into a tailspin.

To cite just one example, Medicare would be driven into bankruptcy by the failure of their budget to address its problems….

Now, how do they propose to pay for their reckless binge? Two ways: by compromising America’s defense security and by slapping massive new tax increases on every working family. Ignoring the Soviets’ tremendous advantage in military forces, the liberals would cripple our efforts to modernize America’s defenses. To put it bluntly, their budget gambles with our security and safety….

I dunno. Simply believing a single word the Republicans say puts you at risk of utterly debasing yourself, yet good people just can’t accept that and keep trying to lend them good faith. But they’re always, always, always gaming the message. Taking them at face value is simply surrendering your intelligence and choosing fear. The slightest scrutiny always, always, always sends them running.

-hw

Black rightwingers just as dippy as white rightwingers.

Mar 29, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Racism

Herman Cain knows how to shuck and jive for the white, I mean the right:

White conservatives really like it when black conservatives draw parallels with ideological and racial persecution in a way that allows them to imagine they’re a persecuted minority even as they assert themselves as the singular, genuine voice of Real Americans. For this reason, remarks like Cain’s go over really well, even though he’s actually saying something profoundly racist (most black people vote for Democrats because they’re practically slaves who can’t “think for themselves”), no one bothers to point that out.

Gay Republicans often face the same kind of pressures that black Republicans do: Why are you on the side of those who have such antipathy towards your ilk? And I honestly sympathize with somebody who identifies with Republican on most issues and wants to change the party from the inside via the power of example. Gay Republicans can do a lot to squash Republican anti-gay tendencies, and black Republicans can do the same for Republican anti-black attitudes.

Except when they traffic in anti-black rhetoric.

-hw

Reality check on Republican “conservatism.”

Mar 29, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Andrew Sullivan has been standing still while Republicans race to be as extreme right as bloody possible:

Income tax rates are now lower than they were under Ronald Reagan and far lower than they were under Eisenhower. And yet it has become a Norquistian non-negotiable that no taxes can be raised at all on anyone, let alone the beneficiaries of the last thirty years – and those who differ must be “leftists” – even when the US is facing debt of historic and dangerous proportions. Someone advocating what Eisenhower was perfectly comfortable with would be regarded by the Republican right today as a communist. And yet, of course, Eisenhower was emphatically not a Communist, whatever the John Birch society believed. In retrospect, he might even be seen as the most successful small-c conservative of the 20th century. (This was indeed Paul Johnson’s take in Modern Times.)

Similarly, those who view Obama as some kind of radical have to come to terms with what Glenn Greenwald spells out here:

Since Obama was inaugurated, the Dow Jones has increased more than 50% — from 8,000 to more than 12,000; the wealthiest recieved a massive tax cut; the top marginal tax rate was three times less than during the Eisenhower years and substantially lower than during the Reagan years; income and wealth inequality are so vast and rising that it is easily at Third World levels; meanwhile, “the share of U.S. taxes paid by corporations has fallen from 30 percent of federal revenue in the 1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009.”

Do they have to come to terms with it? Republicans apparently don’t think so, and the corporate press isn’t likely to force them to, so who will? Voters, likely, yet whatever yahoo the Republicans finally settle for in 2012 is still going to get a minimum of 55 million votes. That’s simply too many for a bankrupt party that doesn’t deserve 10 million votes (a rough guess at the actual number of people whose interests they serve). Crazy irresponsibility just doesn’t deserve that much success, even in failure.

-hw

When wanting to hate Obama leads you to invent standards you can’t pass…

Mar 29, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Trump doesn’t have a birth certificate.

51% of Republicans are birthers, and another 21% are unsure. Only 28% of Republicans can acknowledge the basic, long proven fact that he was born in Hawaii. Once again, there is the difference. Whatever the subject, Republicans invent their own facts to satisfy their emotional needs and can not be unconvinced, because most anybody trying isn’t a Republican, and the last few sane ones are castigated as traitors. How can we possibly expect this crowd to fix our country’s problems? Basic competence eludes them when ideology is at stake.

And yes, birtherism is racist. This has always been about the need to portray Obama as Other, a foreigner with a foreign name, typically also having a foreign religion, steeped in foreign ideologies from Mao, Stalin, etc., resentful of hard-working white Americans and American (white) culture. Naturally, since they can convince themselves of all of this, it’s easy to convince themselves they aren’t racist and get all pissed about it, but as they demonstrate, basic credibility is beyond their reach. It doesn’t have to be that way, but until the remaining 28% start getting pissy about things like paying attention to facts and basic objectivity in determining them, the Republican label (and, of course, Tea Party, since they are just the GOP base trying to put on a new face) will remain saddled with this baggage. Unfortunately, just being white means getting tagged with a little bit of this baggage too, so to my fellow white people, you need to calm the hell down.

-hw

UPDATE: Trump seems to have produced a genuine birth certificate. Guess what? Obama was still born in Hawaii. Sorry.

Anti-whatever-Obama-does is not a principle.

Mar 23, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Newt Gingrich flip-flops so hard on Libya that the earth shakes. Few politicians have as much contempt for the intelligence of the public as Gingrich. He, along with Frank Luntz, helped pioneer the GOP strategy of controlling the language of debates to sway public opinion, finding buzzwords that got visceral reactions and getting every GOP politician repeating them. This is another level of brazen pandering that reveals Gingrich is so crooked that he sometimes can’t even think straight, because he long ago forgot what it meant.

-hw

Getting a pig to whistle Dixie.

Mar 17, 2011 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Deficit

As time passes and the GOP’s best idea for the deficit is throw red meat at their base and hope it’ll keep them satisfied while trillions continue to accumulate. And people are starting to notice that after the Republicans get done with Planned Parenthood, NPR, teachers, and big infrastructure projects that would bring money to states and create actual long-term growth are turned down…I mean, I just want to keep going on, but the point is that after all is said and done, the GOP isn’t any closer to serious budget reform.

In the poll, 21% of Americans said they believed Congressional Republicans had a better approach to the deficit than did President Obama, while 20% felt the reverse. In addition, 52% said there wasn’t much difference between Obama and the GOP House.

That’s a sharp reversal from last November, when 35% said the GOP had better plan, compared to 24% who said Obama knew best how to deal with the deficit. And while Democrats haven’t soured much more on the GOP’s capability — not very many were so hot on Republicans to begin with — the poll shows Republicans and independents turning away from the GOP in huge numbers.

So is Obama that confident he can call their bluff? Is he actually ready to come in with a plan that will outdo them next year in time to win the election? I’m not confident. But handing the baton to the GOP to demonstrate to the public what a pile of shit they’ve been talking since 2008 is smart and necessary. He signs whatever they come up with anyway, so if they slash the deficit, they did it with Obama!

By doing little and putting the onus on the Republicans who trash-talked their way into office, Obama also illustrates to the public how truly complicated and unpleasant reducing the deficit can be if you immediately rule out denting the military or taxing the rich at historically normal levels.

Worst case scenario, however: Obama has actually bought into GOP rhetoric and is truly just as bad as them, content to try waiting out deficit troubles after making some big promises to capture his second term. Some liberals would say, “Duh!” but I rate it at about 20% probability.

Then again we’re letting ourselves get sucked into another Middle East conflict, so let me bump that up to 35% probability. Naturally, the cost implications ne’er appeared on the lips of any Republican I’ve heard clamoring for war, but feel free to correct me. Please.

-hw

Today’s travesty: an NPR executive said the teabaggers are racist.

Mar 08, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Racism

Just random rabble, surely, even though there are a few representatives there. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee, Republican front-runner for the 2012 presidential race, is talking about Obama growing up in Kenya and possibly daring to think poorly of British colonialism.

Of course, if you tune into rightwing radio these protesters and politicians aren’t saying anything new. Let’s listen now and see if any traveling winger will leave a sorry excuse in our comments thread!

-hw

Six of one, half dozen of the other!

Mar 08, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Such is the theology among “serious” people, but actual serious people pay attention to the facts:

Look: until 1980 or so the United States generally paid its way; the ratio of debt to GDP generally fell over time. Then starve-the-beast came to power, and fiscal realism went away. That’s the story; anyone who glosses over that, who makes it a plague-on-both-houses issue or, worse, makes it seem as if Obama is the villain, is in an essential way misleading his readers.

Bear in mind, too, that the signature initiatives of Republican presidents — the Reagan tax cut, the Bush tax cut, the Medicare drug benefit — have all been unfunded deficit-raisers; the signature initiatives of Democratic presidents — the Clinton tax hike, Obamacare — have all been deficit-reducing. (Yes, the stimulus — but that was intended to be temporary, and has in fact proved too temporary; and Bush I’s tax increase was an exception, but the GOP has made it clear that nothing like that will ever happen again.)

Democrats aren’t fiscal saints. But we have one party that has been generally responsible, and tries to pay for what it wants, and another party that consistently, deliberately, takes actions to increase deficits in the long term. Saying this may be shrill; but not saying it is being deceptive.

Always trying to be balanced ignores the fact that life is not balanced. For the past 30 years, GOP fiscal irresponsibility has steadily deteriorated the health of the country, leaving us in such dire straits that when it came time for a crisis (created by Republican deregulatory fever), we were unable to respond in a manner befitting the scope of the crisis. Yet more crises await, bigger than before, and we’re nearly paralyzed by fear of institutional deficit that keeps rising…and by GOP dogma that rules out half of the budgeting process, laying the necessary taxes.

Add to that a Republican Party in power that seems to be more concerned with busting unions, restricting birth control and fighting gay equality, and eventually one starts to wonder if Charlie Sheen isn’t the sane one, sucking up every ounce of joy in the world he can scrape together before it all goes to hell. Then again he’s no less of a threat to women than the GOP, so where does one find a hero who will party for all us sinners? I need the Jesus of Parties. I can’t do it, I’m a family man and my body is just too delicate any more to handle excess (a beer just gives me heartburn and makes me pee double the amount of liquid I take in). Who will distract us in our last minutes?

As Krugman points out, the GOP is so stupidly twisted that they’ll cut funding for things that save money. Yet they do it because politically they see the Democrats letting them get away with it. What are the Democrat ideas for saving money? Sure, the Affordable Care Act can do a lot to bend the cost curve down over time and rescue Medicare, but that’s mostly already done and good luck finding a Democrat to defend it anyway. Have you heard any of them proposing big defense cuts? Any Democrats saying, “Let’s cut defense in half. If we get invaded, we’ll apologize!” would immediately be “unserious.” Yet if the Pentagon did simply concentrate on securing America’s actual defenses and not on playing international chess, it would take far, far less money than we currently spend. We could cut the defense budget in half and China would still never catch up to us.

But this is the stuff reserved for obscure bloggers who don’t get how things really work to rant about. After all, when it comes to the military, everybody is a Keynesian. Republicans will instantly talk about how base closings and bankrupt weapons manufacturers will devastate the economy, which goes to show you what they think about socialism.

We’ve got problems, the Republicans are either standing in the way or making things worse, and as always the Democrats are shuffling around like timid mice looking to play “me too.” And just when you thought it seemed like an obvious win to get tougher on the deficit quicker than Republicans, Obama goes and lets them take the initiative. Yes, they’ll fall short and he may be able to follow up with a better and more popular plan, but I have a hard time believing he’d be able to supplant their desire to cut the minor programs that their base hates. We’re going to lose, and lose much bigger than we ever had to, and yet no matter how much the Democrats disgust me for caving, I must always direct the blame towards those actively doing the damage. It’s not even-handed, it’s not just two kinds of good people, it’s one party gripped by destructive madness, and they’ll perform any wound upon the country that will gain them power or satisfy their ideology.

-hw

The War on Women, among other things.

Feb 22, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Women

Of course, the Tea Party was simply the most diehard rightwingers, the cultural base, going apeshit and spouting pure babble about socialism, going after the things Republicans have been talking about wanting for years yet providing no real solutions to real problems. Well, guess what? They didn’t change on the social conservatism. Given the chance to reorganize our taxes and spending, the Republicans are punting on it no differently than Obama. Instead, they’re going after the little pet peeves in the budget they’ve hated for years for entirely different reasons, things that don’t amount to more than a few drops in the budget bucket. Going into discretionary spending and taking revenge on all their bugaboos, e.g. those who don’t perpetuate the Republican agenda like NPR. One Republican even introduced a bill that cut funding for Obama’s teleprompters (once again, teleprompter talk = stone cold crazy Rovian anti-truth bullshit reversal of plain truth that Obama can manhandle a roomful of Republicans in unscripted debate). And, of course, in Madison, WI they’re using the budget excuse to simply bust the unions even when the unions have made all monetary concessions.

Well, another not-so-secret surprise is their rapidly unveiled War on Women, seeking to turn back the clocks on women’s rights in multiple domains in a perfectly telic array of swiftness and boldness. So not only are they playing culture war games in the budget by cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, but they’re defining rape down, telling women to stay at home instead of working, and trying to ban abortions even when the mother’s life is at stake. Gosh, obvious much?

So it’s on. It was really easy for Republicans to bitch and moan for two years, having no responsibility but to say no and block everything that could be blocked, and then evading responsibility for the blocking. But as soon as they got back into power they turned into the biggest pile of incompetent and useless dicks, reminding us that when they were in power it was a daily process of ruining the country by working against working people, women, and minorities at every step. It just boggles the mind what ammo they will have handed the Democrats by 2012. The thought in the public mind of trusting a Republican Congress and president again will seem indefensible. Obama just has to promise to keep the brakes on the Republicans while pushing a solid middle-class based agenda to win a second term.

But really, our country has to stop acting surprised when they elect Republicans and get this kind of shenanigans. How many times can we fall for the same bait-and-switch? Republican Leader Rush Limbaugh has been on the air for twenty years and is generally detested by the public, yet he was railing against “feminazis” back in 1990. It’s always been the agenda. They called themselves the Tea Party and bought themselves another chance, so what’s it going to be next time? What new moniker can the same old people with the same old ideas apply to beguile the public next time?

-hw

Was for Middle East democratization before Bush discovered it as a rationale for war, still for it now.

Feb 21, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

Somehow, amazingly, the media icons on the right like Beck and Limbaugh are reverting to George H.W. Bush/Reagan Republicans, who knew that it was better to strike a deal with a dictator than risk a populist uprising that could lead to a government actually representing the interests of the Middle East.

There is, of course, great potential for bad as well as good in these kind of transformative moments in history – the Arab 1848 as it were. We should be vigilant on that score. But it is bizarre to read conservatives who praised the Iraq war that led to the empowerment of al Sadr and the deaths of hundreds of thousands in a country occupied by the US to be now retroactively endorsing the other Saddams of the Middle East.

Their thinking is also predicated on the 1979 Iran revolution that tossed out the Shah, who we had installed in the ’50s. It just led to “America is Satan,” so who needs more of that, right? Except one example of one country in an era already thirty years past doesn’t write the rules for everybody until the end of time. This is about sunshine hitting the Middle East, and dictators losing the ability to control what their citizens learn. This is about a group of countries mostly composed of young people with cell phones and internet cafes. This is about truth getting in where it couldn’t get in before.

Plus, we’re so in the middle of the storm right now. What do you want the Middle East Revolution to be about? Say it. They’re listening. It should go without saying that we reserve the right to dislike a democratic government’s choices, but we must always advocate for democracy over totalitarian regimes.

If you can’t hold that simple line in the sand, don’t talk to me about the Constitution, which was based entirely on philosophies that extend to all human beings. We don’t have rights because we’re Americans, we recognize rights that are universal to our species and enforce their boundaries in the courts. Siding with an authoritarian regime as a matter of principle is to have no principle at all.

It’s one thing to make do with a ruler that cannot be easily displaced, but when the people are storming the castle, one roots for the people, not the corrupt dictator inside. That’s the kind of principle that resonates with me.

-hw

Wisconsin, unmasked.

Feb 18, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

The curtain has dropped…the unions conceded on the finances, but Governor Walker isn’t having it. It isn’t about the budget, it’s about using a fiscal crisis to go after Republican dreams of destroying unions. All that’s left to disagree about is the right to form a union, yet there’s no deal because that’s what Republicans are hungry for.

Much like cutting funds for NPR or Planned Parenthood, it’s never really about a balanced budget. Only question…when will these guys ever stop acting like scumbags and govern semi-responsibly?

-hw

Early Christmas

Feb 18, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Please, Santa, let them do it. Recent comments from GOP players indicate that they think they’ll be able to blame the Democrats for shutting down the government; far be it from Iowa Liberal to deny these guys their dreams, but we all remember how the last GOP-led shutdown ended. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

Knock yerselves out, GOP friends. Have all confidence in your ability to control the spin, and we’ll see you at the polls!

Double-take.

Feb 05, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Deficit

I just used this link, but by Jove you’ve absolutely got to give it a second look. Quick question: How much would anything the Tea Party said make sense if Republicans stopped labeling the 2009 budget as Obama’s?

Strangely, CATO, the actual libertarian guys, were pointing out the inanity all along:

What about the so-called stimulus, they will ask, with its $787 billion price tag? Or the omnibus fiscal-year 2009 appropriations bill? And how about Cash for Clunkers and Obama’s expansion of the children’s health insurance program? Didn’t these all boost spending in 2009?

The answer is yes. But these boondoggles amounted to just a tiny percentage of FY2009 spending — about $140 billion out of a $3.5 trillion budget — as the pie chart nearby illustrates.

I always wonder why reality offers so many opportunities for people with loose regard for the truth to fudge the facts. It’s just so obvious, yet so subtle. Just like the crash. I mean, Bush walked out of office handing Obama an economy in freefall and a massive deficit, and the GOP has just painlessly and guiltlessly labeled it all Obama’s doing. Call the Bush budget Obama’s budget, call the Bush recession Obama’s recession, and keep saying it over and over again. They certainly got rewarded for the constant lying, so what’s going to get them to stop?

-hw

Chris Christie, Democrat-eater.

Feb 05, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Deficit

Supposedly one of the sharper tools in the GOP shed, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, heard that Illinois cranked up its taxes through the roof so he pulled a stunt worthy of James O’Keefe, traveling to Illinois (on taxpayer dollars?) for this pitch (hat tip to Atrios):

Christie, along with governors in Indiana and Wisconsin, has been trying to pry jobs from Illinois after Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed a record 67 percent tax increase Jan. 12.

Illinois raised its flat personal income tax rate to 5 percent from 3 percent, but that is below New Jersey’s graduated rates for taxable incomes above $40,000, Quinn’s press secretary, Brie Callahan, said in an interview last week. And while the Illinois corporate rate is increasing to 7 percent from 4.8 percent, that is still below New Jersey’s 9 percent rate, she said.

“We, of course, welcome Gov. Christie and we welcome him spending New Jersey dollars on the Illinois economy,” Callahan said Friday.

Illinois faced a shortfall of at least $13 billion in the 2011 budget year.

What are the Republicans shaving off the budget for next year, $70 billion? Even a hundred billion? Let’s be nice and say so. Not much of a dent in a trillion-plus deficit, is it? Yet according to each and every Republican Obama is responsible along for the huge deficits of the past two years (even Bush’s 2009 budget, with its $1.2 trillion deficit). So it’s plain to see that Republican talk on spending is always, always superficial and insufficient to address our challenges. Yet when one state buckles down and tells citizens they’re going to have to pony up to pay for the government they democratically chose, this Republican Christie can’t wait to try pulling a stunt to punish their act of responsibility. And, yet, like most Republican stunts, it is composed of pure fail. Imagine dragging your $3 hot dogs over to the next stand because you heard they doubled their prices…to $2.50.

Meanwhile, Christie nixed a Jersey/New York tunnel that would have put a lot of his citizens to work and brought much-needed infrastructure to the region, forcing 45 extra minutes of commuting onto the citizens driving economic productivity.

Senator Frank Lautenberg issued a statement today that read, in part: “The Governor was given a deal from the federal government on Sunday that put no extra imposition on the state of New Jersey for its obligation to the ARC Tunnel project, and the Governor refused it. It was clear from the beginning that Governor Christie planned to kill the ARC Tunnel no matter what… This is a tragic day in New Jersey’s history. Two weeks ago, Governor Christie made the biggest public policy blunder in New Jersey’s history. Today he repeated it… The Governor has put politics before performance, and it is the people of New Jersey who will pay the high price.”

Politics over performance? That’s GOP dogma, purely expressed.

-hw

So how’s that new Republican Congress working out?

Feb 02, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Well, besides doing a deal after the election to gouge the country for another trillion dollars in the name of continuing a tax cut policy that didn’t work the past ten years, they’re also expanding the number of permissable forms of rape, trying to make sure the country doesn’t have universal health care, and working on plans to further allow the destruction/poisoning of the environment.

No, I’m not using hyperbole, that’s what they’re actually doing. I guess we’ve just entered this frame of mind that they couldn’t possibly be doing those horrible things because patriotic Americans wouldn’t possibly do such horrible things, but no, they do. Like pro-Mubarek counter-protesters in Egypt, there is always a constituency for barbarism.

Senate Democrats and Obama should make a field day out of squashing every screwed up thing the GOP tries. If you can’t win on protecting rape victims, providing health care for all, and preserving our environment, then you just don’t belong in politics (politics being a very different thing from governing effectively).

-hw

P.S. And we’re talking about an EPA already so neutered by corporate interests that it approved bee-killing pesticide for use on all major crops. Hey, it’s only our food chain at risk here.

About what (TT and) I said, them not really believing most of what they say…

Jan 26, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
24 Hour Nazi Party People
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

What, the FOX audience is going to fact-check FOX? Just say it’s not true, doesn’t matter if it’s true. The audience stays happy, and just those dirty liberals will make noise but that’s okay because whatever pisses off liberals is good.

-hw

Don’t call them stupid!

Jan 26, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Mean Chris Matthews, lambasting Michelle Bachmann for saying the Founding Fathers ended slavery and the big Tea Party honcho who can’t help but run cover for her.

Republicans really hate when you call them stupid, and the last thing that matters is whether or not they were actually being stupid. They just run to their friends and talk about how mean liberals are and swear to get revenge at the ballot box. Maybe they can, but the result is rewarding stupidity, and it’s coming from the party that says it’s about personal responsibility. But they say all sorts of stupid things, that turn out not to be true, don’t they? And the supposedly smart ones like this Sal Russo are ever too cowardly to push back against the maroons on their own side.

-hw

Not surveyor scope marks.

Jan 12, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

So, there’s this excuse running around on the right that the marks on Sarah Palin’s map

…were surveyor marks, not gun sights.

First of all, it was gun sights until Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Now we find out it’s just a surveyor’s scope after somebody’s been shot? Ah, but don’t waste your time:

A shooting target, of course. Or still a gun sight, there’s no reason to think otherwise.

As far as damage control efforts go, I’d call this one a backfire. The surveyor’s scope story should be a red flag to any reasonable person that they’re being sold snake oil by a GOP lackey. I don’t think this story is going to gain much traction though. Too much slime to gargle…

-hw

The constant trainwreck resumes.

Jan 07, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Politics

The 2010 election is a story that remains to be told. We’ve always maintained that the rhetoric of the past two years was a mishmash of unserious mumbo jumbo and crack junkie promises from a defunct and bankrupt party that has lost sight of how to govern and thrives on resentment and paranoia. Not to mention they just cannot stop fibbing, fabricating, and fudging the facts. So what happens when such a group arrives in power?

-The paltry promise to cut $100 billion is already shoved aside.

-They want tax cuts to not be counted as contributing to the deficit, Reaganism by fiat instead of results.

-Two House Republicans missed their swearing in because they were at a fundraiser, thus violating the Constitution when they voted.

-$1 million was blown so the Constitution could be read aloud, excerpting all the nasty parts about blacks being 3/5 a person, etc.

-The repeal of the Affordable Care Act is being tossed out there with no alternatives, and no response to the devastating CBO news that it would cost $100-200 billion to repeal except to attack the CBO. Yeah, because Republican numbers are always so much more trustworthy…(Comprehensive rebuttal here, but do we need to even bother anymore wondering if Republicans are getting their facts straight?)

-Paul Ryan, supposed champ of fiscal responsibility, has blown it and proven that he doesn’t really have any plans whatsoever.

-Republicans block amendment that would require members of Congress, public employees, to disclose their health care benefits. Democrats voted for it, Republicans against. So Republicans want to keep tens of millions of Americans from getting health insurance while keeping it mum that they get government health care.

-Darrell Issa is walking back his stupid claim that the Obama administration was teh most corrupt evah. It’s funny how you go on Rush Limbaugh’s show and you can’t help but join in with the lying bullshit, no?

-Bawl-baby Boehner can’t name his budget cuts in a Brian Williams interview.

Should be a good two years. At least they convinced the public to give them another chance in 2010 instead of 2012.

-hw

Republicans want to kill grandma!

Jan 05, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

One of Dana’s crackpot authors got aroused after reading this bit of theater in The Hill:

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner’s office (R-Ohio) pointedly vowed on Tuesday to push ahead with legislation repealing healthcare reform.

Boehner’s office responded to a letter sent by the Senate’s top five Democrats, vowing to block a House bill repealing healthcare reform, with a terse, 65-word note.

Boehner’s office wrote:

Senators Reid, Durbin, Schumer, Murray and Stabenow:

Thank you for reminding us – and the American people – of the backroom deal that you struck behind closed doors with ‘Big Pharma,’ resulting in bigger profits for the drug companies, and higher prescription drug costs for 33 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D, at a cost to the taxpayers of $42.6 billion.

The House is going to pass legislation to repeal that now. You’re welcome.

– Speaker-Designate John Boehner’s Press Office

Just to clear up any confusion, Boehner is talking about Medicare Part D, a bill written and passed by a Republican congress. Boehner voted yes on Medicare Part D and also voted yes to the amendments that would guarantee exclusivity to stateside drug manufacturers.

Here’s John Boehner singing the praises of the bill:

When I first arrived in Congress I promised to be an advocate for fiscal responsibility and accountability. Here are some things I’ve been working on to keep that promise; to curb the growth in government spending and to ensure that what is spent is spent wisely.

… Even the Medicare reform act that passed in 2003 contains provisions aimed at lowering costs in the long-term. The inclusion of Health Savings Accounts, which allow individuals to save money in a tax free account for routine medical expenses, will go a long way towards reducing the liabilities of the Medicare program.

John Boehner is a deficit peacock who has no real interest in going up against Big Pharma but he is clever enough to know that Teh Librul Media will dutifully transcribe and disseminate anything he wishes to proclaim regardless of it’s accuracy. Especially if it conforms with Beltway free-spending-Democrats and fiscally-conservative-Republicans stereotypes. But the result in two years would be that Democrats wouldn’t have to spend a dime producing “Boehner wants to kill grandma!” themed 30 second spots because companies like Novartis and Pfizer will have them ready to run during prime time.

Boehner can strut all he wants but he can’t go back and change his voting record nor does he have the backbone to attempt to sell free market theology to the DC pharmaceutical lobby.

-mg

That was easy.

Jan 05, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Deficit

How are Republicans going to balance the budget? By using disappearing ink in the books.

Republicans’ deficit reduction platform, which may have helped catapult them into the majority, is about to run headlong into a hard reality: Many of their key policy goals will increase the deficit dramatically.

To get around this fact, they’ve included measures in their new rules package to exempt some of their biggest legislative priorities from deficit consideration. Among the exceptions, which the House is likely to consider in the 112th Congress, are the health care repeal bill (scheduled for a vote a week from Wednesday), the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, an AMT patch, extending the estate tax, and more…The health care law, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will reduce the deficit by $143 billion through the end of the decade, and more so in the decade after that. Thus, repealing the law will blow a similarly sized hole in the deficit.

Republicans wave this off.

Of course, Very Serious People still aren’t sure if the Republicans are serious about the deficit or not. Because it’s so difficult to tell whether or not a party that believes in only cutting taxes, never raising them, is serious about paying the bills.

-hw

Marxist Uprising update

Jan 03, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

George Will says we need to increase spending on scientific research and development.

Research, including in the biological sciences, that yields epoch-making advances requires time horizons that often are impossible for businesses, with their inescapable attention to quarterly results.

George Will just suggested the government can do some things better than corporations, and that they can improve the country and improve its fortunes to boot! Communists also wear bow ties, I guess.

-hw

Bottom feeders at the National Review

Dec 30, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

Intellectual gods:

The blizzard is definitely a force for conservatism, and not only because it has had the global-warming crowd scrambling for explanations.

No, we’ve always had the same standard explanation that anybody with the slightest knowledge of statistics can understand, and you’re an idiot Charlotte Hays. For further evidence, refer back to the first half of your sentence, “The blizzard is definitely a force for conservatism.” As an Iowan I can surely attest that it was always so horrible when the street sweepers cleared and salted our roads after a blizzard. Sometimes it took them an extra day. The horror.

The main point is that anybody, and I mean anybody, who makes a global warming crack during a blizzard is nothing more than a smartass, and likely a scientifically illiterate one as well. Nothing in global warming theory says there will be no more blizzards. Nothing. Nowhere. Never. Nobody said it, nobody ever will. If Charlotte Hays is intelligent enough to understand that, then she’s a pathological panderer. Not that being such keeps one out of the National Review.

-hw

The mandate is constitutional, this is a distraction.

Dec 18, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution

Gee, a Republican judge not actually heeding the Constitution, I didn’t think that was possible.

As Orin Kerr pointed out, Judge Hudson made a significant error in his reading of the Commerce Clause when he wrote “if a person’s decision not to purchase health insurance at a particular point in time does not constitute the type of economic activity subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause, then logically an attempt to enforce such provision under the Necessary and Proper Clause is equally offensive to the Constitution.” As Kerr notes, “the point of the Necessary and Proper clause is that it grants Congress the power to use means outside the enumerated list of of Article I powers to achieve the ends listed in Article I” (or as Justice Marshall famously put it “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.”)

The Commerce clause is not what the government is claiming as authority for a mandate. The Necessary and Proper Clause is. And there is a long history and fairly well developed tests for determining what is necessary and proper. If critics want to bemoan this perceived expansion of federal power, they need to consider the necessary and proper clause and its associated tests (rational relationship basis) used to assess the constitutionality of any federal action claiming it as a source of authority.

Look, all this business with Republicans and the Constitution is, much like everything else, a bumper-sticker not an actual position. These are the same people who have been attacking liberties for years treating the Constitution as a complete list of our rights when the Ninth Amendment specifically forbids reading the Constitution this way. If they don’t like something they call it unconstitutional, and being a judge doesn’t make any difference.

-hw

Fake Real American alert.

Nov 15, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

Over at CPST, DNW told a weird anecdote about how he was watching a film by French director Francois Truffaut, and he noticed something peculiar. An extra was holding an axe wrong! Thus, it had to be, that the socialist French director Truffaut and all the Frenchies on set were clueless liberals who were out of touch with real working class folks.

Heh. So anyway, Sarah Palin apparently can’t shoot or fish properly. I mean, c’mon…pointing a shotgun at other humans? Man, she could pull a Dick Cheney, and whoever got shot would have to apologize to her. REAL MERKINS DON’T STEP IN FRONT OF A REPUBLICAN HOLDING A GUN!

Republicans use crap like this to try to turn politics into a culture game. Hey, Republicans may be responsible for our massive deficits and economic collapse, and they may have no solutions, but they shoot, and they hunt, and they go to church, and they wear suits, and they don’t swear, and they know how to build a porch, etc. etc. etc. Until they don’t, and then it doesn’t matter, because they’re on the side of those who do. And it doesn’t matter if liberals do those things too, because they’re crazy for not being Republicans, because Republicans shoot, hunt, go to church, etc. It’s really a great recipe for selling tax cuts for the wealthy, polluting the earth, and campaigning against health care for all Americans. Hey, I just had a kid, it’s time to start voting Republican! It’s bullshit, and if you don’t see the con, you’ll get conned.

-hw

Break those Jew eggs before they hatch!

Nov 12, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

A look at Glenn Beck’s anti-Semitic tirade against George Soros here. Of course, Beck only perpetuates most of the vilification that has been directed at George Soros by the right over the years. Hey, they aren’t saying it’s all the Jews’ fault…just this Jew!

-hw

Wait, health care reform is indefensible???

Nov 05, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care, Politics

If anybody has been listening to Mitch McConnel ever, but more specifically since the election, it should be clear that McConnell is such a practiced liar that he would regard anybody who even expected him to tell the truth as naive. He says what he believes will serve his interests, and he will not be bothered by truthfulness.
Already McConnell admitted he pulled a good one by telling Republicans that he will get the “indefensible” health care bill repealed as soon as he gets a Republican Senate and President too.

But wait, what? Indefensible? What? I seem to recall shortly before HCR was passed Obama taking down a room full of Republicans on the issue, but furthermore, I’ve yet to hear what is so wrong about the HCR bill that Obama ran on passing in 2008.

I mean, I know the leftist problem with it: it’s not single payer, it doesn’t have a public option, negotiating prices is ruled out…concessions to business, to the right, to the “center.” But Republicans knew a successful HCR would be a potential death knell for them and a huge success for Obama. As Senator Jim DeMint urged, Republicans had to make HCR his “Waterloo.”

Well, they failed to do that legislatively. But dampened lefty enthusiasm left HCR with few avid defenders, so Republicans just kept up the intense assault and now have supposed 48% support for repeal among those who voted this week.

Yet the only thing Republicans have really rested their case on is the one part of HCR that doesn’t have majority support (surprise, people like all the good things it does), the individual mandate.

You know, that Republican idea from Heritage and Mitt Romney, that delivers customers to the insurance companies and allows them to stay afloat while covering those with pre-existing conditions.

So if you unplug the mandate, then all you get is insurance premiums skyrocketing even more than they did during the Bush years.

Republicans have attempted to sidestep this by going after the liberty angle. Because you’re a slave to the state if you get taxed extra for being irresponsible and not signing up for health insurance.

Um, yeah.

Of course, the way discourse in the media goes, leftist concerns don’t matter, and whatever Republicans say, no matter how extreme or nuts, must be taken very seriously. And so it goes that without many on the left really able to get super-excited by a super-compromised version of what they wanted, the anti-compromise right is getting close to establishing the meme that HCR is “indefensible.”

Oh, yeah, and Republicans love to point out that there were cuts to Medicare as part of the reform. Yeah, those spending-cutting fiscally responsible Republicans…

Against the squawking from the right, HCR is easily defensible. And considering the state of health care as it is, it is absolutely defensible, in fact it was mandatory.

I’m going to stand this ground, and break every Republican who tries to claim McConnell was remotely truthful. It is his claim that is indefensible, and I issue the challenge now.

Of course, right-wingers know they visit this site only to meet their doom, so don’t expect many challenges. Their attacks are to be spammed in venues where they think it can find purchase.

That’s what people who can’t make a case do.

-hw

I can only do so much.

Oct 27, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Election crap, Politics

I’ve spent the last two years making a few observations which I find virtually incontestable. By that I mean I’ve found nobody who can seriously debate them, though anybody is welcome to try. Let’s make a list.

1. Obama has essentially done much of what he promised, on the surface, yet has made appalling compromises that have lessened the quality of his achievements. At the same time, he’s done more for Democrat causes than any Democratic president since Johnson. Nevertheless, the air taken out of Democrats’ sails was devastating, and most have had great difficulty getting excited about the good things the Obama administration has accomplished.

2. The “Tea Party” is the re-branding of the GOP base, trying to overcome the complete failure of the Republican politicians they all loved just a few years ago. In doing so, they have managed to avoid nearly all responsibility for the people they so desperately campaigned to elect in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

3. Perhaps it’s fair to say the base has gained complete control of the party, and while they adore most of what Bush/Cheney and the GOP did in the 00’s, they say they’re really different on spending and they really mean it this time, and that’s how they say they want to be judged.

4. They say their concern about spending is primarily reflected in our deficit problems. However, they oppose all tax increases and favor extending the tax cuts that got us into such deep deficits, so they clearly have different priorities. Their proposed spending cuts are largely cosmetic, and many of their candidates still declare military spending to be sacrosanct, so they don’t seem to be very serious about spending. Things like earmarks, the NEA, and defunding NPR get their energy up, little else. They talk about cashing in the last few dollars of the stimulus left over, and gutting the budget-friendly cost-controlling health care reform bill. So they can’t be taken very seriously on spending either.

5. By far their leaders and public faces have been folks who have capitalized on knowing next to nothing and holding extreme and unpopular views otherwise. They have mostly fled the press and anybody else threatening to practice journalism in their vicinity. People on the right who fancy themselves intellectuals rush to make excuses for them, yet we’re supposed to believe that somewhere out there there are serious Republican candidates with good ideas. One would think the GOP would try capitalizing on them, no? Alas, where such “serious” candidates aren’t pleading fealty to the crazy Fake Tea Party people, they’ve still failed to describe any real policy roadmaps that are themselves serious and reflect how to pick up the country’s ailing fortunes.

6. The congressional Republican leaders don’t seem to promise much more than to demand Obama do everything they want, do nothing he wants, start witch-hunt investigations and issue endless subpoenas, and do everything in their power to stop Obama in 2012. The contrast to Democrats who came into office in 2006 with bona fide war criminals in the White House yet backed down from impeachment investigations is palpable.

7. Republicans have claimed not that Obama’s policies didn’t go far enough, as Democrats and polls seem to disagree, but that they were actually really extreme and for all intents and purposes a Communist takeover of the nation’s industry. This description is supposed to describe a giant loan towards Wall Street that has mostly been paid back and may even profit, temporarily taking over GM’s debt obligations and returning it to healthy status, rolling back some of the deregulation of the past ten years that got us into economic trouble, and…yeah, that’s about it. Oh, and a stimulus that was 40% tax cuts along with about 20% emergency relief funds for Medicaid and other state programs. See a breakdown here. The actual direct spending was less than half of what many economists saw as necessary to breathe life back into the economy.

8. On that note, Obama entered office with the economy in freefall, and in two years has returned Wall Street to abundance. Unemployment and wages have stagnated, yet most serious analysis concludes the stimulus made this situation better, not worse. Low demand seems to be at the heart of our troubles, yet any measure aimed at helping the middle and lower class and increasing demand faces stiff opposition from the Republicans.

9. Speaking of stiff opposition, Republicans smashed all records for filibusters into splinters, turning measures into half-measures and stopping the rest. This follows their stated plans at the beginning of Obama’s term.

10. Oh, vague babbling about TEH CONSTITUTION aside, I’ve yet to hear any Constitutional complaints about the Obama administration that betray either any Constitutional misdeeds or knowledge about the Constitution from those yelling the loudest. Betraying the rightwing base’s nature, a lot of this has devolved into further horseshit about the First Amendment and the separation of church and state, from people who usually toss out the Ninth Amendment and complain about judicial activists “finding rights” that aren’t specifically enumerated in the Constitution, like privacy, marriage equality, women’s choice, etc. For those who don’t know, the Ninth Amendment literally forbids reading the Constitution as an exclusive list of rights.

11. Most attempts at taking down the Pseudo-tea-partiers formerly known as the GOP base only inflamed them further, perpetrating a view of themselves as victims. Refuting arguments was treated as counter-productive when it was easier to go back to the base and cite the attacks as further evidence of their martyrdom. The more devastatingly a candidate or somebody like Palin was punctured, the more credibility it gave them in the eyes of the base.

12. The House changing hands this fall is pretty consistent with electoral trends, with the President’s party losing seats. It’s not pretty in the House but potentially better than it could have been, and the Senate situation has improved dramatically, likely leaving Democrats in control.

13. Most populist claims of the GOP base have been followed by their continued insistence, as loyal Republicans, that Wall Street and the wealthy get everything they want. Appease the gods, and they will look kindly upon us!

Given all these things, I have a hard time believing most of the trumpet blaring going on in the rightwing media. Am I supposed to think that this is some great signal that, despite all these things I’ve seen, and despite my inability to find anybody who can seriously challenge me on my observations (Mike Thayer screaming BUT THEY SAID THE UNEMPLOYMENT WOULD BE EIGHT PERCENT and running away does not count), that I’m wrong, just because this election doesn’t go my way?

In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin: “appeal to the people”) is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or all people believe it; it alleges: “If many believe so, it is so.”

Furthermore, a Republican winning of the House doesn’t even translate into a clear statement of “what many believe.” To me, it looks like the Obama administration deflated the left with its compromises and occasional betrayals, taking it for granted, and the right responded to a President Barack Hussein Obama with a mandate to pass Health Care Reform as a fundamental threat to their existence, a sign of their ultimate irrelevance to where our nation was heading, and they exploded into a mass of craziness and blatant dishonesty, refusing to be daunted by anybody pointing out that they were largely full of shit and out of control.

This election stands to be a travesty of justice, ultimately. Despite the flaws of the Obama administration, it still came down to a choice of moving forward or backwards, and the electorate seems to be tainted by the right’s mania into retreating, even though there was nothing good behind them. For all the talk in the 00’s that Democrats had to do more than point out how terrible Republicans were to win elections, it seems that, once again, the rules don’t apply if you’re a Republican. They offered nothing and, regardless of everything I’ve said here, will see the upcoming results as vindication of their efforts, regardless of their likely failure to recapture the Senate.

Theories of reward and punishment certainly apply here, yet as a textbook case of what not to do. Neither Democrats nor Republicans will improve with the GOP grabbing the House. And that being the case, it is very difficult to see how the country can improve.

-hw

So I guess there won’t be any of that bipartisanship stuff.

Oct 23, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

Atrios:

I expect the Republicans will succeed in making “Do Exactly What We Say” the “compromise” position between “Doing Nothing” and “Doing What Obama Wants.”

More here.

Republicans aren’t interested in compromising with President Obama on major issues if they retake the House or Senate, a senior GOP lawmaker said.

“Look, the time to go along and get along is over,” said Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference. “House Republicans know that. We’ve taken firm and principled stands against their big government plans throughout this Congress, and we’ve got, if the American people will send them, we’ve got a cavalry of men and women headed to Washington, D.C. that are going to stand with us.”

Pence said his party wouldn’t compromise on issues like spending or healthcare reform, two of the weightiest items on Congress’s agenda next year, when the Republicans could control one or both chambers.

Well, that should solve everything.

-hw

I’m shocked, SHOCKED.

Oct 22, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Racism

People who couldn’t see Helen Thomas or Rick Sanchez fired quickly enough are now screaming about free speech when Juan Williams gets fired.

Self-awareness is a liberal plot.

For the record, all three made statements that are somewhat defensible as rough yet honest talk among contentious Americans, but when you work for CNN or NPR, you should know you’re expected to be pretty lukewarm. What was especially admirable was NPR applying the same standard to anti-Muslim bigotry. Of course, at FOX that gets you a raise.

But don’t call them racist!

The person who really got screwed this last year was Octavia Nasr:

I wondered if these online pundits expressed similar outrage at CNN’s firing of Middle East editor Octavia Nasr for an offense that didn’t even occur on a major news outlet. CNN’s reason for terminating Nasr in July was for a now-deleted tweet that merely expressed sadness for the death of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a beloved Muslim leader in the Middle East whose death was mourned even by our own allies. Because Fadlallah had been reported to be a “spiritual leader”of Hezbollah by some sources, neo-conservatives accused Nasr of being a terrorist sympathizer despite the fact that her tweet didn’t include any support for Hezbollah actions or policies.

So how did conservative bloggers’ coverage of Nasr’s firing compare to Williams’? The conservative Hot Air said today that an “NPR opinion journalist had better not admit to having a normal human reaction about potential for terrorism nine years after 3,000 Americans got killed by radical Muslims on commercial air flights, or else.” This was, the blogger said, “an object lesson about the range of opinion tolerated by management.” But with the Nasr firing, this same blog asked whether “after having outed herself as a Hezbollah sympathizer,” CNN owed “its viewers and readers a complete accounting of their coverage in the Middle East and a complete explanation of Nasr’s role in it?”

There’s plenty more in the article, but will you be surprised by any of it? Yes, they try using NPR’s government funding against it, somehow, but that gets swatted down with facts. Go read it anyway, I’m just saying: Anybody could have seen this coming.

-hw

I hurt the feelings of rightwingers by besting them at debate.

Oct 20, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution

While perennial punching bags like blubonnet and Perry are debated endlessly at CPST, after my last epic shutdown of both assovertincups and DNW in one thread they just don’t want to talk to me anymore. In this thread on separation of church and state, after the gang effortlessly swats away Thomas Jefferson’s words, I cited James Madison’s reaffirmation of the separation of church and state and his interpretation of the Establishment clause (Madison even acknowledged that the chaplain in Congress was a violation). Crickets.

Eh, so it goes. If you can’t serve their agenda, they ain’t interested. And dismantling their arguments while remaining intellectually honest sure as hell doesn’t serve their agenda.

-hw