Mar 17, 2014 in Politics
Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing. – Oscar Wilde
Nov 12, 2012 in Politics
I had somebody interpret this post in such a way that they thought that saying, essentially, “Get a job!” was a proper taunt. Dumbasses, the whole point of everything I said was that I got a job in Iowa that was a terrific opportunity and brought me back close to my family and friends, including none other than the original gangsta Mike G. And I’m super busy doing it or winding down with family when I’m not. But if Republicans could read our country would be in a much better place.
Oh, and high fives all around for President Obama’s second term, and the amazing gains in the Senate, as well as huge victories for gay marriage and against the Drug War. Something is right in America, just not the rightwingers.
Nov 05, 2012 in Politics
Everybody besides the paranoid hicks knows that there isn’t any voter fraud.
Oct 25, 2012 in Politics
Oct 25, 2012 in Politics
Sadly, I’ve landed back in Iowa yet this is precisely what has steered me away from the site. I kind of liked the sudden mysterious cut-off, but basically I’m neck deep in real-person stuff and, well, in an age where one of our best presidents is in a near draw with one of the greatest frauds to ever run for office (or pair of frauds, counting Paul Ryan), what is there to say except this: You’re either on board for giving Obama a real presidency beyond cleaning up the mess that Bush and the Republicans handed him, or you’re down with rewarding those who responded to the worst fiscal crisis in eighty years by focusing all their efforts on destroying the president.
It’s exactly that clear. So what else is there to say? Romney is a proven, serial liar who ran as a hard right Republican until the first debate with Obama, and his unbelievable propensity to lie is only further darkened by the fact that when we got a chance to observe him speak behind closed doors, he burst with contempt for the majority of Americans. Yes, he lies because he thinks you’re stupid.
So are you stupid? Or are you one of the scammers? If not, vote Obama. It’s exactly that clear. This is certainly as close to an existential crisis as our nation has ever faced.
My absence has never meant to downplay the importance of this election. It’s more important than ever. But my voice is needed elsewhere, and so I will join the millions who speak very loudly on November 6th to uphold America’s fundamental decency. Heaven help the lost and corrupted souls of those who would do otherwise.
Aug 23, 2012 in Politics
Jaw drop now:
Sometimes the stars just line up, don’t they?
Aug 11, 2012 in Politics
The best thing about Palin was that as governor she actually was a pretty big socialist. Paul Ryan is the most extreme right VP pick in a century, more right than any VP has ever been left, and his voting record scores approximately the same as Michele Bachman.
Aug 11, 2012 in Politics
What’s hilarious is that the very morning Romney announces Ryan, he’s already running away from Ryan. Oh, well, what choice did the guy have? Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh were about to pull the plug on Mitt’s candidacy, so this is just life support. That didn’t stop Ryan Lizza from declaring this a “daring” decision, but that’s more because of the risks Paul Ryan carries with him. Namely, everything Ryan has ever said or done. Okay, but “risky” or “desperate” might be better adjectives.
Aug 11, 2012 in Politics
All the Internet says Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s pick for vice-president.
So here’s everything you need to know about Paul Ryan.
Get ready for the Republican whining, because this con artist is highly admired for his ability to look handsome and earnest while proposing to cut taxes for the wealthy and pay for it by gutting services for the poor. But don’t you dare suggest he doesn’t care! If he has to kick some poor children out of a doctor’s office, it’s to help those kids go find jobs with health insurance.
Aug 08, 2012 in Politics
First, let’s trot out the whole, “Throw a rock into a pack of dogs…” trope.
So we have Republicans going apoplectic because they’re getting a taste of their own medicine, political dirty tricks. Sure, G-Dubya got elected having Karl Rove whisper into voters ears about John McCain’s illegitimate black baby (his adopted Indian child, mind you). Sure, Mitt Romney is basing his campaign on a premise he doesn’t believe (see my last entry). Sure, Mitt Romney is churning out his best ads by cutting and snipping Obama speeches, and Republicans are cheering. Sure, Mitt Romney is cutting new ads every day that don’t even try to adhere to the remotest truth. But now, ZOMFG, YOU DESPICABLE DIRTY LIAR HARRY REID…
Anybody on the left worth their salt should be sniffing that blood in the water, snorting it hard. Mitt Romney saying “Put up or shut up”??? OH YES PLEASE MITT ROMNEY. Yes please. More of that, sir! Put up or shut up, indeed:)
Oh, tsk tsk, Harry Reid, but ROFLZ!
And there go the fact-checkerz, Politifact and Glenn Kessler, neither of whom has a bloody idea what Mitt Romney paid in taxes or what Harry Reid was told but SHAME ON YOU HARRY REID IZ NOT TRUE PANTZZZZZZZZ ON FIRE!!! Did you already figure out these guys are occasionally useful turds who are completely beholden to the standard Beltway tropes? Good for you. Fact-checking is a narrow pursuit in the world of politics, and to succeed one should stick to facts, and not start trying to be psychic.
Was Harry Reid told by a Romney confidante about Romney’s taxes? NONE of them know, period.
Weak-ass Democrats, flailing about? Check.
And yet, there are the wise ones. The ones who can see what’s plainly in front of their nose: Mitt Romney has every tool in his power to squash this. He can prove, tomorrow, that Harry Reid is just a gossiping old hen (and by any standard, Harry Reid is gossiping, but that doesn’t make him wrong). And make no mistake, if Mitt Romney paid one percent in taxes, the Beltway will come galloping to his defense. Here’s the groundwork, predicted rather than laid down by Michael Tomasky:
That is, maybe the information in the returns is embarrassing but no more than that, and Romney is just stringing everyone along. Say they reveal that Romney paid 11 percent or 9 percent or even 7 percent some years. That’s bad for him politically, but it’s not a nuclear bomb. And indeed, given how dark the speculation is right now about how whatever is in there must be terrible, this would be a pretty brilliant strategy: Let everything build to a fever pitch, with melodramatic speculation, and then, if the released returns reveal anything less serious than Reid’s charge (no taxes for a number of years), the media will decide that the Democrats overhyped the story.
Okay, so he’s laying the ground. Chin up, Tomasky, ya little ponce! If Mitt Romney really only paid about seven percent taxes, it’s completely devastating for Romney. Granted, at some point it may be damage control to release that information, but it’s not at that point right now because still, still, Mitt Romney thinks he is gaining something by continuing to hide. Seven percent would still qualify as insane for somebody that wealthy. Seven percent would still qualify as the embodiment of a system that is rigged in favor of those who can afford to buy the votes. Seven percent is half of the one tax revelation we did manage to squeeze out of Romney. Okay, it puts some egg on Harry Reid’s face, but who cares? He’s just the guy who accused his neighbor of murdering a dozen when his neighbor only murdered half a dozen. Yes, the Beltway is prepared to give it all a pass, but there’s no reason for anybody else to get out their voucher books. Michelle Goldberg:
When it comes to making wild, unsubstantiated allegations, the GOP benefits from the soft bigotry of low expectations—at this point, few people can bring themselves to get that worked up about insane Republican mudslinging. Yet when a Democrat even tiptoes in that direction it’s news, and a chance for pundits to demonstrate the bipartisan bona fides so valued in the Beltway.
Harry Reid may be in for a faceplant soon, but nobody knows, except perhaps Mitt Romney and his team of accountants, and they aren’t (substantively) speaking. Until they do, nobody really has much ground to lobby attacks at Reid. Certainly not Mitt Romney ensconced in his secrecy and hypocrisy, certainly not 99% of the Republican Party running on an entirely fictitious campaign against President Obama, and certainly not the false-equivalence monkeys running D.C. who call themselves fact-checkers until the moment comes where they need to show some balls.
Release your tax returns, Mitt Romney. Put us plebes in our place, as you are wont to do.
UPDATE: Oh, I forgot that just a day or two ago we were dealing with this massive, massive lie from the Romney campaign. So maybe when we’re done flopping out of our chairs over Harry Reid saying what somebody told him, we can deal with the Romney campaign telling us things that are obvious, falsifiable, verifiable lies that could only be spun by deliberate liars?
UPDATE II: A TPM reader points out that we must always listen to Romney’s precise words, because Romney is a professional liar who pays very close attention to his words when he can. If it is finally revealed that Mitt Romney paid minuscule percentages of taxes, expect NRO and other reliable reliables to harp on about how much Mitt Romney paid in other, non-income taxes.
Jul 25, 2012 in Politics
I bought eight tickets. Most are spoken for. How often does Morrissey play the Surf Ballroom? Never but once.
Jul 21, 2012 in Politics
I too was at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, and all I can really say about the tragedy is that we can’t take a reactionary approach and take out our horror over what happened on the movie that brought all those people together. They were there because they loved Christopher Nolan’s painfully brilliant Batman films, and they would have been thrilled with the movie had their lives not been so pointlessly taken off-course.
We must not let such killers have sway over us. Those who wish to terrorize and massacre want to be feared. They want to live in our minds. We must instead soldier on, while mourning the dead.
Celebrate their lives by celebrating their passions. Go see the movie.
Jul 19, 2012 in Politics
So look at what Obama said:
Then look at the ad Mitt Romney has released, editing out-of-context the phrase “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that” where “that” unequivocally refers to the American “system,” and “roads and bridges.
So the question is, did the guy in this ad get the full quote, or just the Romney-ed version? Because he should care about being lied to. And if he did see the full quote, expressing a sentiment that Mitt Romney repeated almost word for word himself just days later, while attacking Obama, then there you have a case study in completely fake winger sentiment. How earnest he is! I’m proud of the guy for what he accomplished, but guess what? So’s Barack Obama, and he said nothing less.
The only remaining question is who’s lowering themselves to the other’s level, Mitt Romney or the GOP base?
P.S. More questions: Are we to believe that maybe Republicans do think they personally built the roads they drive on? Or the Internet they’re spreading this smear around on?
UPDATE: Remember, Romney did this before. This counter-attack, once again, applies:
Jul 19, 2012 in Politics
What do you mean, “you people“?
Release the tax returns, Mitt, and keep Ann away from microphones.
Jul 13, 2012 in Politics
Sullivan was on fire today, going after Romney’s Bain record with a fearlessness.
He was listed as President, CEO, and sole stockholder of Bain until 2002 on SEC filings that carry criminal penalties if they are false.
He doesn’t dispute that he owned the company, lock, stock and barrel.
During that time we know that he was paid at least $100,000 – an enormous sum to most jurors. You don’t get paid that kind of money for doing nothing.
We don’t know how much more he was paid because he won’t release his taxes.
Before he ran for Governor of Mass in 2002, he talked about how he attended board meetings for Staples and Marriott – two Bain Companies during that time period.
He is responsible, like all CEOs, for what Bain did through 2002.
He says it took three years to “change the name of the CEO”? Bain would target a company, swoop in, divert all the cash, pick the bones, fire the employees and be gone in less time than that.
His story is (insert synonym for bullshit)
…could you imagine the outcry from the GOP if Obama claimed to be a “passive” owner of the company that was involved in disposing of aborted fetuses, and that his titles of CEO, etc., were of no significance? They would be apoplectic, and if he had given testimony like Romney under oath that he was not involved, the impeachment charges for perjury would already be drawn up.
What I love is the fake indignation Romney’s trying to muster after building his campaign on one blatant lie after another about Obama. Oh, but Obama suggests Romney might be responsible for Bain, and Romney immediately hurls the charge of “liar,” when everybody and their grandma knows Romney is a liar of such magnitude that cynical political observers are awestruck. But as the document dump continues, more and more evidence piles up that Romney himself hasn’t been able to keep his Bain stories straight.
Because when you lie constantly, it’s tough to keep track.
Jul 13, 2012 in Politics
But on the evening when the divisive former vice president opened his home at the foot of Wyoming’s majestic Teton Range to host a $4 million fundraiser for the presumptive Republican nominee, Romney’s campaign labored to avoid any photos or videos of the two men together.
While Thursday night’s fundraiser in some ways symbolized a passing of the torch from the previous Republican administration to Romney, Cheney remains a deeply polarizing figure, and Romney campaign aides went to great lengths to control how much the public would see from the event.
When Romney arrived at the Teton Pines Country Club for a late-afternoon reception, he was spotted shaking Cheney’s hand and giving Lynne Cheney a kiss on the cheek. But campaign aides quickly escorted reporters who were watching the exchange out of view.
Come on, boys, take one together…
p.s. Dick Cheney is awfully ungrateful to Obama for not prosecuting him for war crimes, isn’t he?
Jul 13, 2012 in Politics
1. Bend me over and call me Candy. Democrats have finally realized it’s okay to go on the offensive with the ACA, and that it was always stupid to run scared from a historic victory. There’s not many historical parallels for such behavior that I can recall, as generally an army did not retreat after sacking a castle. Personally, the fact that Republicans had to constantly make up stuff like “death panels” and blather about socialism is precisely what illustrated how weak and arbitrary the Republican case was, requiring most Republicans to disavow themselves of all previous convictions in favor of the individual mandate. It was always an opportunity to promote liberal values of health care for all, financial responsibility, and to reshape the forces driving health care costs upwards.
While the topline approve/disapprove polling averages may not have shifted much — the country remains evenly divided on the law — there is plenty of polling evidence to suggest positive movement for Democrats. According to a recent Kaiser poll, a plurality of Americans support the Supreme Court’s decision. More important, a clear majority — 56 percent — now say they think opponents of the law should give up and move on. Just 38 percent think Republicans should continue trying to block implementation of the law. A recent Bloomberg poll found that Americans strongly support most of the provisions in the law and that few want to repeal in its entirety when given the option of also expanding it or preserving certain provisions.
2. Always worth understanding what raw financial incentives there are in lubricating politicians friendly to your bottom line…when you’re a megamillionaire like Mitt Romney anyway:
3. The Mormon church is all about prosperity theology. Most of that ten percent tithe goes towards building the Mormon business empire, including giant shopping malls. Really, I am just waiting for the American right to convert to Mormonism. The rightwing version of Christianity is so far deviated from the Bible they might as well embrace the America Fuck Yeah religion.
5. The ACA is the biggest tax in history if you hate math.
7. So it’s $3 trillion in cash America’s largest companies are sitting on now? We’re in a vicious cycle where capitalism has been rejiggered to direct all profits to the top, leaving a smaller middle class to drive the economy with their spending. Thirty years of Reagan’s supply-side economics has led to an explosion of supply, with no demand. When will we return to a balanced approach?
Jul 12, 2012 in Politics
So Romney was part of Bain years after he said that he had departed which isn’t difficult to accept in light of his past troubles with telling the truth but what his company did during that time directly conflicts with his messaging about his sympathy for main street America and Joe Sixpack.
At the time Romney was acquiring shares in Global-Tech, the firm publicly acknowledged that its strategy was to profit from prominent US companies outsourcing production abroad. On September 4, 1998, Global-Tech issued a press release announcing it was postponing completion of a $30 million expansion of its Dongguan facility because Sunbeam, a prominent American consumer products company and a major client of Global-Tech, was cutting back on outsourcing as part of an overall consolidation. But John C.K. Sham, Global-Tech’s president and CEO, said, “Although it appears that customers such as Sunbeam are not outsourcing their manufacturing as quickly as we had anticipated, we still believe that the long-term trend toward outsourcing will continue.” Global-Tech, which in mid-1998 announced fiscal year sales of $118.3 million (an increase of 89 percent over the previous year), also manufactured household appliances for Hamilton Beach, Mr. Coffee, Proctor-Silex, Revlon, and Vidal Sassoon, and its chief exec was hoping for more outsourcing from these and other American firms.
Read the Wall Street Journal editorial page or turn on CNBC at any hour of any day and you’ll be told that companies are forced by lazy, greedy American looters and moochers to off-shore jobs and that’s a good thing BECAUSECAPITALISM. So why would the Romney campaign feel the need to deny doing what the market demands? If they were consistent with industry agitprop they would embrace the label as a virtue, hand the campaign microphone to the Reason magazine staff and have them explain how all rights not bestowed by private property are artificial and that working for seventy cents an hour is as natural as gravity.
They’ll continue to lie about Bain’s activities because they know that when exposed under harsh daylight reasonable individuals will find them contrary to their own instincts of survival and plain common sense. As Josh Marshall pointed out yesterday, when your opponent’s message is that he’s a gazillionaire and that his aim is to make sure that gazillionaires benefit the most from his policies it shouldn’t be difficult to form a reelection strategy highlighting these simple truths.
Jul 10, 2012 in Politics
Rick Perry, who proved in the Republican primaries that he could give Sarah Palin a run for her money for the title of Dumbest Governor Evah, has some partisan points to earn, for some reason.
The man is already at the highest point of his career. And yet BECAUSE TEXAS he will ignore the needs of his constituents and the status of his state as having the most uninsured residents and grab onto the opportunity for a few more Tea Party points by resisting the Obamacare efforts to provide more healthcare for his citizens.
One in four Texans are uninsured, the highest rate of any state. The Medicaid expansion would cover 49.4 percent of uninsured Texans by 2019, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The program is broadened to cover Americans within 133 percent of the poverty line — currently the eligibility for a working Texan parent cuts off at 27 percent. The federal government will cover the full cost of the first three years and pay 90 percent thereafter.
So there’s really no sacrifice for him to speak of. All he has to do is sit back and let the federal dollars roll in to cover Texas residents, but he won’t. What’s their reward? The cool, juicy sensation of avoiding SOCIALISM.
At some point, Americans have to start to wonder how much this Quixote quest against Teh Socialism is going to cost them, and if they’d have to be sacrificing so much if Republicans could figure out some other tactic against a Democratic president after eight years of Bush so thoroughly discredited the GOP brand. What else must we give up before the 1% will stop bankrolling Republicans to avoid paying their taxes?
Jul 06, 2012 in Politics
People excited about the Higgs-Boson particle should enjoy this:
That’s Mitt ‘The individual mandate wasn’t a tax when I did it but it is a tax when Obama does it” Romney. All possible configurations are available in a nanosecond.
Jul 02, 2012 in Politics
I’ll let Mitt Romney explain the Individual Mandate in his own words.
Jun 29, 2012 in Politics
“[W]e established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did … encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.”
Jun 28, 2012 in Politics
Upon hearing the news of the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act:
These are the appropriate reactions. Unless Boehner felt like cheering for affordable health care for all Americans, then he could smile too.
Jun 28, 2012 in Politics
The telly says the ACA upheld, the mandate legal through (as I’ve said a hundred times) the taxing authority of Congress.
Holy smokes. This is the just outcome I had hoped we’d get from a genuinely conservative court.
Another fucking great day in America and for the Obama presidency.
UPDATE: A bad day for CNN and FOX…
Jun 18, 2012 in Politics
Ezra Klein with the historical breakdown on the genesis of the individual mandate in the Republican Heritage think-tank, its championing by Republicans as a free-market alternative to single-payer, and its immediate disavowal upon being embraced by President Obama.
On March 23, 2010, the day that President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, fourteen state attorneys general filed suit against the law’s requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance, on the ground that it was unconstitutional. It was hard to find a law professor in the country who took them seriously. “The argument about constitutionality is, if not frivolous, close to it,” Sanford Levinson, a University of Texas law-school professor, told the McClatchy newspapers. Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California at Irvine, told the Times, “There is no case law, post 1937, that would support an individual’s right not to buy health care if the government wants to mandate it.” Orin Kerr, a George Washington University professor who had clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, said, “There is a less than one-per-cent chance that the courts will invalidate the individual mandate.” Today, as the Supreme Court prepares to hand down its decision on the law, Kerr puts the chance that it will overturn the mandate—almost certainly on a party-line vote—at closer to “fifty-fifty.” The Republicans have made the individual mandate the element most likely to undo the President’s health-care law. The irony is that the Democrats adopted it in the first place because they thought that it would help them secure conservative support. It had, after all, been at the heart of Republican health-care reforms for two decades.
The scumbaggery is jaw-dropping just for the sheer political reversal founded on nothing other than fear of a successful Obama presidency, but Republicans may pay the price if their stacked Supreme Court acts like a bunch of hacks and tosses out the bill, leaving millions of Americans still needing health insurance with no obvious way to compel healthy people to join until they get sick.
But man, the scumbaggery of it all is enough to invalidate the Republicans as a responsible governing party. Nothing means anything to them, other than a big shiny R on the winning team.
Jun 04, 2012 in Politics
Mitt Romney sure has fun pointing fingers at President Obama for having trouble putting out a Republican fire while Republicans continue to splash gasoline like happy toddlers, knowing the fire only brings down Obama’s approval ratings. However, he has some problems.
First of all, he cannot put his policies directly up against Obama’s. And the primary reason for that is that they are Bush policies, updated to be even worse. More defense spending, more tax cuts for the wealthy, and everybody else gets to go borrow money from their parents to keep paying for their parents’ Medicare. So it’s a complete wash.
Secondly, he cannot use his own career. Bain was just a profit seeking venture that gamed the rules to produce millions for Mitt and his pals, but the benefits to the economy were negligible and entirely secondary. And then the truth of Romney’s term as governor is coming out: That he took that same Bain record in and used it to get all the way to 47th out of 50 states in job creation.
Now Mitt Romney being Mitt Romney, blaming Obama for the Bush/Tea Party recession (Obama’s policies almost uniformly added to growth) is absolutely no impediment to Mitt doing an abrupt about face and whining that as governor of Massachusetts, he inherited a bad situation. Aw, you don’t say, Mitt? Were the Bush years tough on the economy? Gee, golly!
And yet, observe a comparison:
Compare the size of the hole each one inherited. And yet Obama is catching up by the end of the chart. Poor, disadvantaged Mitt.
Republicans are slowly warming to Mitt Romney because in an election year where the fundamental task is to lie as egregiously as possible in order to create a case where none exists (and one the Beltway is happily eager to accept as a devastating argument), that Obama is to blame for our problems and Republicans are the answer. Mitt Romney has seized the assignment with gusto, shooting signals every direction he can that whatever needs to be said at any particular moment, he’ll say. Or if it’s something too hot to touch, like birther madness, he’ll happily stand next to those willing to say it.
This is no partisan delusion. The Romney campaign is by every jot and tittle of the dictionary definition, a con job from top to bottom and back to the top again. It depends on people not paying attention. It depends on people forgetting. It depends on liars lying loudly and often. It does not in any sense rest on objective numbers, valid reasons, understandable feelings, or honorable duty. It is relentlessly corrupt, and any who choose to differ from now til November will not succeed in demonstrating otherwise in any comments thread on this blog.
Jun 03, 2012 in Politics
How do Republican presidents get out of recessions? By growing the government, of course.
“After there was a recession under Ronald Reagan, government employment went way up. It went up after the recessions under the first George Bush and the second George Bush,” Obama said last month on the campaign trail. “So each time there was a recession with a Republican president, compensated — we compensated by making sure that government didn’t see a drastic reduction in employment. The only time government employment has gone down during a recession has been under me.”
More broadly, federal spending growth under Obama has been remarkably low by historical standards. The pressure from the GOP and D.C. political elites, who have been hostile to Keynesian economics in recent years, has put the administration in a tough spot.
The Keynesian theory holds that government spending is necessary help lift the economy when it’s under-performing. Data shows that Republicans tend to accept it when they’re in power and that they benefit from it. But they’ve relentlessly attacked Obama’s efforts to stimulate the economy in the wake of the Great Recession, and have led the charge against financially helping cash-strapped states avert layoffs of public employees like teachers and police.
And Mitt Romney has already danced out of the likelihood that he would have the balls to go full-tilt with the disastrously fraudulent Paul Ryan plan. Of course, when a Republican Congress puts it on his desk, he’ll sign it, and then when things go south it’ll be Obama’s fault via some convoluted horseshit logic. Who knows? By then Republicans will probably be saying the stimulus was too small.
We’ve seen private jobs grow at a pretty good rate since Obama became president. The main drag on employment right now is the Teapublican Austerity Disaster: the absolute refusal to allow Obama any significant action on the economy coupled with the slashing of public jobs. Fewer and fewer people are able to spend (lower demand) and the “job creators” have no incentive to increase supply. Would you build a new factory if you still had inventory?
The more Republicans get to wage war on the middle class in favor of the ultra-wealthy, the weaker our economy will become. The less we notice how far the goalposts have moved since Reagan, the more they get away with.
Jun 02, 2012 in Politics
Morgan Stanley put you on the hook to cover a potential $52 trillion in losses:
Then yesterday’s Financial Times brought even worse news. To help save some cash in the event of a downgrade, Morgan Stanley was hoping to park a big portion of its $52 trillion derivatives portfolio inside its bank subsidiary—the portion of the company that functions as an old-fashioned loan-maker, not a hedge fund or investment bank. The reason for doing this is that it would lower borrowing costs that would otherwise shoot up when its credit rating dropped. Why? Because being a bank means you have lots of customer deposits, most of them insured by the federal government, and that you have access to really cheap loans from the Federal Reserve. If, say, you suddenly took a multi-billion-dollar bath on your derivatives bets, Uncle Sam would be there to absorb the losses, or at least help you manage them, and the bondholders who’d loaned you money wouldn’t feel the pinch. And, of course, the bondholders know that in advance, which is why they’re likely to loan you money at reasonable rates in the first place. Hence the low borrowing costs.
Sounds like an ingenious plan—just have the taxpayers subsidize the riskiest part of your operation! And, indeed, it is. As the FT notes, most of Morgan’s Stanley’s American competitors, chief among them Goldman Sachs, already house something like 90 percent of their derivative book in their bank subsidiaries (versus a mere 3 percent for Morgan Stanley today).
Bring back Glass-Steagall already.
May 31, 2012 in Politics
Mitt Romney was never afraid to stick the taxpayer with a bill if it maximized his profits:
Classic crony capitalism: privatize the gain, socialize the risk. When Romney drove GST Steel into bankruptcy, he and his partners made $12 million in profit and another $4.5 million in consulting fees. But Romney stuck the taxpayers with a $44 million tab for the company’s underfunded pensions.
And this is what we know to be true of anybody who preaches the gospel of capitalism and small governments and ooooooh my god MY TAX DOLLARS, etc. They’re just worried that poor people might get a spot at the trough they’ve lobbied for. That means their share could go down, instead of up, and it’s gotta go up. The amount is secondary, it’s the direction, and all must go their way. The absolute last thing that ever matters is the country.
Is it really such a surprise Mitt Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts with that same Bain record and ended up 47th in the nation in job creation? He says he knows capitalism, but he only knows how to look out for Mitt.
May 23, 2012 in Politics
Check the comment thread for the underbelly of the Republican Party that polite company doesn’t like to talk about.
None of them are racist, of course.
May 22, 2012 in Politics
Apparently everything about Mitt Romney is off-topic. The one thing we were allowed to talk about, Bain Capital, is supposed to be off-limits as well, unless Mitt Romney wants to say he created 100,000 jobs (a purely fictional number that even his campaign is starting to back off from). Of course, that doesn’t pass the laugh test, but cue a moron “centrist” Democrat waltzing in to say attacking Romney’s imaginary Bain claims are beyond the pale. Cory Booker realized his comments were so indefensible that he quickly backtracked, but it was too late, the Beltway was happy to jump on that as permission to nod their heads and declare that Obama is wrong to rebut anything Romney says about the small portion of his record he is willing to talk about.
After all, did we forget that it’s actually Governor Mitt Romney? Yes, Romney brought his job-destroying Bain record into Massachusetts and left 47th in job creation, BUT BAIN! Until it doesn’t work for Romney, in which case it’s BUT CAPITALISM!
Because of course, after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, caused by Wall Street, and while JP Morgan is busy losing
$2 billion $30 billion, we must not question fiscal destruction because it means the commies win. So we’re left with Bain being good for Romney BECAUSE CAPITALISM and none of the fact matter BECAUSE CAPITALISM.
Need we even point out that Republicans think we really need to talk about Jeremiah Wright some more without discussing Mormonism’s Jewish Native Americans and Spaceman Jesus, and the possibility that God was just a nice plumber named Fred from another planet who didn’t hurt anybody and went to church every week?
And since it’s an ironclad law in DC that all news is bad for Democrats and good for Republicans, it’s worth noting one of the only loopholes, that it’s good news for any Democrat to stab other Democrats in the back, regardless of how poor their reasoning is. Such is true in the eyes of Washington, though it’s worth noting that Harold Ford jumped on the bandwagon, and how did things work for him in running for office while bashing and betraying Democrats at every turn? It’s not really about loyalty, per se, but the stupidity. Booker’s comments were full of holes, and his regret seems somewhat genuine in that he appears aware he didn’t have a leg to stand on.
Back to Romney, what a campaign. Don’t talk about him, don’t talk about him as Governor, don’t talk about the people that lost jobs while he raked in millions without producing a single thing of value, don’t talk about his religion, don’t talk about his policies that would explode the deficit and slash most spending that isn’t on the Pentagon, and so on. And of course we can’t talk about Obama much either…not his actual foreign policy record, not the actual measures he took to help the financial crisis, not the things he wanted to do that Republicans wouldn’t allow because they were sabotaging the economy, nope. We’re allowed to talk about one thing: the economy is still in rough shape, blame the guy in office…because Mitt Romney says so.
Well, you ain’t king yet, fucker, so stop telling me what I can say and start explaining why I shouldn’t say it. Because I sure as hell should.
I love Star Trek but have never had any interest in slash fiction about Kirk getting it on with Spock. Similarly, i did not enjoy seeing TPM give Ed Schultz a blowjob in the public square.
Don’t nuke the fridge, Marshall.
Paul Cameron finally admits what we know about all anti-gay crusaders, that he has some serious issues with his own gay feelings.
It’s tragic that Cameron was raped as a young boy, but that does not excuse the years of hatred directed at homosexuals that he built his career around. I remember back in the debates of the nineties, when anti-gay sentiment was still the prevailing attitude, Cameron’s studies fueled hundreds of thousands of Christian fundamentalist attacks on gay people. I ran into them in the dorm hallways, the internet, and on the street, all touting studies by Cameron that were quickly laughed out of serious debate by any actual scholars. He was a man with an axe to grind, and he made up whatever numbers would fit into that mission.
This, as is the parlance of our times:
You know, it’s interesting, as an attorney, I spend a lot of time reading the libertarians over at the Volokh Conspiracy. To a man, they purport to believe in the sanctity of contract rights. During the auto bailout, they raged and gnashed their teeth when various bondholders were forced to take losses by the big unions and their lackeys in the administration. Remarkably, they never have anything to say when a worker gets screwed out of earned pension benefits or health care coverage. It’s as if the contract rights of labor are somehow illegitimate or second-class compared to the inviolate rights of the One Percent.
That goes to a very pronounced disconnect in our national discourse. These things are so often about values, and the values of people like Mitt Romney are built upon a foundation of privilege. You lose public services because he deserves a few extra hundred thousand a year on top of his $25 million annual income, but oh, did you have a pension contract with your employer that you worked thirty years to honor? Fuck you, hippie.
May 11, 2012 in Politics
Clearly, we need Mitt Romney to rescue us from this horrible class warfare.
May 11, 2012 in Politics
Shave off some Pentagon money, tax some billionaires and hire back the teachers, nurses, and other public workers.
Reagan and GW Bush benefited from government expansion, but under “socialist cuz I think it’s a bad word” Obama we’ve had extreme public sector cuts that damage the economy. Not that we’re broke as a nation, but because, thanks to Republicans, we’d rather spend money on the Pentagon and lathering up the one percent of Americans for whom this system works.
May 10, 2012 in Politics
The dirty, filthy liberals over at JP Morgan have released a chart showing the benefit of monetary unions within political borders:
The chart above has an unintended lesson: that you can choose to live in a low tax, low regulation paradise like Mississippi and live like RealTrueAmericans but only when there are Left Coast Liberal Elite states around to foot the bill for you.
You’re welcome, Red Staters!
May 09, 2012 in Politics
I realize I’ve only ever spoken here about the political influence of my father, but as I spoke to my mother last night the subject turned to politics and the woman was preachin’ it!
She is reeeeeally not amused by the war on women brought to us by the supposedly economics-focused Tea Party Republicans (hey thanks for that unemployment rate-raising austerity, guys!), the Paul Ryan budget which expands the war to include the poor, young and the elderly, nor is she fooled for an instant by by-the-wealthy-for-the-wealthy Mitt Romney.
Young women out there, you’d best be listening to the ones who remember that what Republicans call the good old days were the bad old days for everybody who wasn’t a straight white Christian male.
May 08, 2012 in Politics
You get no credit for the auto industry recovery, Mitt Romney, because you a) weren’t president b) nobody listened to your ideas, and c) your idea was that we SHOULDN’T HAVE BAILED OUT THE AUTO INDUSTRY. We know because you even wrote an op-ed saying it.
“If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye,” Romney wrote. “In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.”
Romney also spoke out on his opposition to the government loaning money to the industry in 2009, placing some of the blame on Bush.
“Bailout of enterprises that are in trouble, that’s not the right way to go,” Romney told CNN’s Larry King in 2009. “I know President Bush started it with the auto industry. I thought it was a mistake.”
Obama’s campaign immediately responded to Romney’s comments on Monday evening, stating that Romney was attempting to “fool” the public.
“Mitt Romney may think he can fool the American people by hiding his belief that we should ‘let Detroit go bankrupt,’ but the American people won’t let him,” Obama campaign co-chair Ted Strickland said in a statement, referencing Romney’s Times editorial. “Mitt Romney seems to think Americans will just forget the past and his very vocal and clear opposition to the successful auto rescue.”
Mitt Romney would have cratered the auto industry in America and sent millions packing. Because that’s how vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney of Bain Capital roll.
I guess it’s not Mitt, but Me-too Romney, never mind what came out of his mouth yesterday. Man, I guess above all I cannot believe the contempt he has for the voters. He thinks they’re stupid, he thinks they can’t remember how bad things were after eight years of tax cuts and deregulation, and he’s going to lie from now until November because he sees it as the only chance he has to get what he, for some inexplicable reason, thinks he deserves. Amoral doesn’t even come close to summing up the sociopath the Republicans are trying to sell us.
May 08, 2012 in Politics
Oregon is ready to go statewide with health care cost reform, ending fee-for-service in their Medicaid program. The Obama administration is helping them get started because this is one of the most important components of the ACA, creating a path for health care costs to get under control.
On Thursday, the Obama administration made a $1.9 billion bet that Oregon can dramatically reduce health costs in an unprecedented way.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will chip in $1.9 billion of start-up costs to get Oregon’s Medicaid reforms going. In return, Oregon made a big promise: The state says it will keep its Medicaid costs growing 2 percent slower than in previous years.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber thinks he can save the federal government $11 billion in Medicaid costs over a decade. (Bruce Ely – AP)
If Oregon can make good, it will save the federal government $11 billion over the course of a decade — even counting Medicaid’s initial, $1.9 billion investment made Thursday. Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) calls it a “defining moment for health care transformation in Oregon, and the Obama administration.”
Massachusetts wants to go this route also because they already passed a plan, signed and touted by Mitt Romney, very similar to the Affordable Care Act, and it’s entirely self-defeating if the care isn’t affordable.
Most of our future budget worries are about affording health care. While the Beltway can’t quit Paul Ryan’s imaginary fiscal conservatism, Oregon and the Obama administration are practicing it, conserving our medical safety net by making it affordable.
May 02, 2012 in Politics
No apparent way to embed it, but this is a superb epic of television journalism, a four hour opus on the global financial crisis so click and view (tip: Open it in a separate browser window and put it on the right side of your screen to watch while you continue to surf, makes four hours go by easier).
May 02, 2012 in Politics
This is hilarious: Mitt Romney has a 38.7% favorability rating. This is clearly impossible, as nobody likes Mitt Romney. When was the last time you heard a Republican say, “Man, I just really like Mitt Romney”? You haven’t. You’ve never said it. Nobody has said it. Even his family members are all, Obama’s pretty cool too, is even great. Okay, outside of the family and other Mormons, nobody says they like Mitt Romney. He is likable in the way you look at a LED television showing you magical worlds that don’t exist: gee, what a neat effect. He gets up there and looks presidential, and then he opens his mouth and it’s continuous garbage. It’s all about some Straw Man Obama that makes sense only to Republicans hopped up on Fox and rightwing conspiracy bloggers. It’s about saying the stimulus didn’t work when it worked. It’s about saying he is against Obama’s health care plan when he told Obama to adopt his Massachusetts program and Obama replied, ‘Okay, sure! Now we can all celebrate universal health care together!’ It’s about saying he was for the bin Laden operation when he wasn’t before. It’s about pretending he would be capable of that 50/50 roll of the international dice when he still thinks we’re battling the Soviets. It’s about promising us Bush, Updated Inc. and telling us that we need to return to the policies that led directly to the Great Recession and the debt that resulted.
I was about to go back through and provide links, but please…everybody knows this stuff. Because you can’t build illusions about a guy you don’t like, and nobody likes Mitt Romney. And Mitt Romney asks only one thing of us, that we forget everything we know about Mitt Romney and just hand him the job, please, because it’s his turn.
How bloody charming.
Anyhow, don’t look for this number to improve in the next six months as people start paying attention and learning about the man. More gaffes and blunders are on the way, because no matter how nice the LED television looks, you never actually get confused and think you’re battling orcs in Middle-Earth. Ironically, Romney may be at his most authentic when he is an image in a lie-filled advertisement, paid for by One-Percenter SuperPACs.
May 01, 2012 in Politics
This is an absolutely brutal takedown of the Republican whining over the fact that President Obama rolled the dice on an incredibly risky bin Laden mission (and added the helicopters necessary for it to be a success) and isn’t afraid to take credit for it. He notes the most stunning contrast, that Republicans shamelessly politicized the 9/11 attacks when they were a result of Republican failure in the form of Iraq-obsessed/Al Queda-dismissive incompetents George W. Bush and Dick Cheney followed by seven years of coming up empty (after first screwing up in Tora Bora, giving up entirely), yet they can’t stand Obama getting credit for his actual success.
Six months after 9/11:
Yet Republicans have been happy to smear any Democrat as weak or soft on terrorists. We haven’t seen much of it since bin Laden was killed, but Mitt Romney continues to go on the campaign trail deliberately lying about President Obama “apologizing” to the world for America (begging the question of whether or not we actually do have anything to apologize for, since of course we do).
Just for kicks, go into a rightwing blog comments section and point out that 9/11 happened because Bush dropped the ball, watch the fun ensue. They can’t stand it because it burns, it burns!
Andrew Sullivan throws in a few more kicks, especially at the incredible chutzpah of John McCain saying heroes don’t brag. This from a guy who built his career on getting shot down and captured in Vietnam, but I don’t think anybody’s listened to McCain much since he squandered his integrity in his last two campaigns. “If Bush had done it, he would have jumped out of a helicopter in a jump-suit with fireworks,” snarks Sully to great effect.
Really, is anybody fooled by what’s going on here?
UPDATE: One thousand words here:
Apr 30, 2012 in Politics
For those TAXATION IS THEFT!!! types:
Even if you were entitled to your property holdings, you are not entitled to coercive public enforcement of those holdings. Just because we have negative rights doesn’t mean that those rights merit full public accommodation. Once libertarians start demanding that their property is protected and their rights are publicly enforced, we can think of taxes as the public fee for that enforcement. If the public is the guardian of your wealth, who are you to tell your security guard how to spend his paycheck? This isn’t how states work, but it does point to a possible justification for redistribution.
The author is trying to forge a kinder, gentler libertarianism, but I don’t know how many she will convince since she drives this dagger into the very heart of the libertarian conceit. What she’s doing is elaborating on the attempt to draw lines within the libertarian camp between “hard” libertarians and the so-called BHLs (Bleeding Heart Libertarians). This isn’t new, of course. Chomsky always described himself as a socialist libertarian, as do I, and there was a concerted effort to coin the term, “liberaltarian,” by Markos Moulitsas a few years ago. I’d wager the differences between BHLs, socialist libertarians and liberaltarians are pretty slim. They’re people who care deeply about liberty but grow suspicious about private entities accumulating enough wealth and power to bend the government into a tool for control of the majority on the behalf of a few. My liberty is just as gone if a corporation has taken it away.
But the heart (no pun intended but enjoyed after the fact) of the matter is that these people aren’t representative of the group that most often self-applies the libertarian label. This isn’t going to peel off the Randian “fuck everybody I’ve got mine and I’ll sue or legislate to keep it that way!” types. But it can bring new people into the fold, people who want to stand up for liberty outside the usual Republican box. It creates a space for them within the label, so that asshats like Paul Ryan have to clarify what kind of libertarian they are. And it chips away at the notion that if you care about liberty you have to start babbling about going Galt and cleansing the parasite cockroaches from the system by yanking children off Medicaid.
Apr 28, 2012 in Politics
Just in case you didn’t think Paul Ryan was a liar.
Paul Ryan is a Republican, therefore he knows he can’t really talk about what he really believes much. Now, granted, if he were smarter he wouldn’t have created the Ryan (buy bombs with money taken from Medicare, hope lowering taxes on the rich yet again will finally beckon the Supply Side Fairy to help us) budget, as that really does tell the public what Republicans believe in, thus serving as a useful foil.
But like Ayn Rand herself, or like Ron and Rand Paul, the more you find out about these egghead libertarians with their escapist fantasies of free market paradise the more you dislike them. They’re just savvy enough to try putting it in a pretty package, but I think if Paul Ryan weren’t Mr. McDreamy to the Washington Press Corps he’d be getting a lot less credit for such clumsy and blatant lying.