Sunday, August 1, 2010

Last Call

It's a good thing Moose Lady isn't cheapening our public discourse or anything.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Sunday that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has "the cojones" that President Obama "does not have" to take on illegal immigration. Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Palin blasted Obama for suing Arizona to block the state's controversial new law without addressing "sanctuary cities" -- in which local law enforcement are prohibited from asking people about their immigration status. 

The former governor said the president and congressional Democrats "are all wet" on plans to allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire. "It's idiotic to think about increasing taxes at a time like this," Palin said. She added that her "palm isn't large enough" to write all her notes down and she proceeded to read prepared notes about tax policy from a sheet of paper.
They were all GOP talking points, too.   And in about 28 months, you will be asked if you believe she should be your President.  Won't that be fun?

Entitled To Their Own Facts, Too

The Republicans asking for your vote in November so that they can take over leadership of the government sure don't seem very intrested in obnoxious things like "facts" or "figures".  Those are for egghead liberals.  Real Americans just make things up, like GOP Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona continuing to lie about Latinos and crime numbers in the Grand Canyon state.
Arizona politicians who support the state’s new immigration law have spent the past few months justifying the passage of SB-1070 by pointing to the high levels of crime that undocumented immigrants have brought to their state. However, over the past few weeks, the media has countered their claims of kidnappings and beheadings with reports that the border is “safer than ever” and “one of America’s safest places.” Today, when pressed by guest anchor Harry Smith on CBS’ Face the Nation, SB-1070 supporter Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) called the reports a “gross generalization”:
SMITH: One of the things that’s come to light over the past last couple weeks is that in some of these border towns that were thought to be susceptible to lawbreaking of illegal immigrants. Crime is actually down. Crime in Phoenix for instance is down significantly over the past couple of years.
KYL: Well, that’s a gross generalization. Property crimes are up, certain violent crimes on certain parts of the citizenry are up. Phoenix is a very large source of kidnapping. It’s called the kidnapping capital of the United States…So there’s a great deal of violence and crime associated with illegal immigrants.
Who needs fact when you've got an agenda to smear Latin Americans and scare voters into scapegoating them?
Far from being a “gross generalization,” as undocumented immigration has increased, crime in Arizona has dropped in almost every category — including property crime. FBI statistics show that Arizona’s overall crime rate dropped 12 percent last year and 23 percent between 2004 and 2008. More specifically, Media Matters reports that the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the per capita property crime rate in Arizona was lower in 2006, 2007, and 2008 than any year since 1968
Silly American.  Facts do not matter to Republicans.  Scary brown people are taking over your country!  Booga booga booga!

FOX Hits Pay Dirt

Just goes to show you, no bad deed goes unrewarded by a President terrified of the Right Wing Noise Machine.
The White House Correspondents Association is moving Fox News up to the front row in the briefing room, according to sources familiar with the process. The WHCA board's decision was unanimous. [It's now confirmed; see update below]

Since veteran journalist Helen Thomas retired, three news organizations—Fox News, Bloomberg News, and NPR—have argued that they should move to the front row. Fox News will join the broadcast networks and CNN up front.

However, Fox News will not be taking Thomas's long-held seat in the center.

The Associated Press moves to the center under the new set-up, with Fox News taking the wire service's spot in the front row. (The Upshot reported last week on briefing room speculation that this is how the move would play out.)
I'm sure this will make FOX stop sliming the Democrats in general and Obama in particular.  Best part:
The WHCA, in a statement, confirmed the news and described the decision as "very difficult." However, the board said it was "persuaded by Fox's length of service and commitment to the White House television pool."
The same "committed" to the White House television pool FOX that refused to show this President's press conferences, no doubt.  I'm sure this will make FOX be even more "fair and balanced".

Sunday Funnies: Economy Of Words Edition

Uncle Alan and Mike Bloomberg explain it all in this week's Bobblespeaks.
Gregory: Welcome everyone to Recovery Summer! What the hell is wrong?

Bloomberg: Well Democrats won’t cut spending and the GOP won’t raise taxes and nobody knows what the future holds so no one hires anyone

Gregory: people won’t spend so employers won’t hire and so people won’t spend

Greenspan: our problem is that America doesn’t make anything anymore - we just shuffle financial papers around

Gregory: hey that’s very lucrative

Greenspan: that’s true

Gregory: how can we reinflate the housing bubble?

Greenspan: it’s touch and go

Gregory: Ed America has run out of money

Rendell: we need stimulus and re-build infrastructure and that’s perfect because we can do both at once

Bloomberg: the stimulus went to buy flat screen tvs

Gregory: what is the unemployment level

Greenspan: it’s half past Matlock

Gregory: what does that mean?

Greenspan: the unemployment I caused is very tragic

Gregory: Mike should we let the tax cuts for the rich expire?

Bloomberg: oh no it’s much too risky

Rendell: we raised taxes in 1993 and created 23 million jobs

Bloomberg: yeah but Bill Clinton cheated by not starting any wars 
Funny how that works, the one President in the last 22 years that didn't inherit or start a war in the Middle East balanced the budget.  I wonder if there's a correlation...

Greek Fire, Part 21

The Greek Fire has reached a new stage as austerity measures are being forced on the Greek public, the fire spreading from economic to social unrest.
Greek security forces have warned of a wave of violence reminiscent of the terror that stalked Italy in the seventies after urban guerillas threatened last week to turn the country into a "war zone".
"Greece has entered a new phase of political violence by anarchist-oriented organisations that are more murderous, dangerous, capable and nihilistic than ever before," said Athanasios Drougos, a defence and counter-terrorism analyst in Athens.
"For the first time we are seeing a nexus of terrorist and criminal activity," he said. "These groups don't care about collateral damage, innocent bystanders being killed in the process. They are very extreme."
The threats came from a guerrilla group called the Sect of Revolutionaries, as it claimed credit for the murder of Sokratis Giolas, an investigative journalist. Giolas was shot dead outside his Athenian home on 19 July, in front of his pregant wife.
The gang promised to step up attacks on police, businessmen, prison guards and "corrupt" media – and, for the first time, threatened holidaymakers.
"Tourists should learn that Greece is no longer a safe haven of capitalism," its declaration said.
"We intend to turn it into a war zone of revolutionary activity with arson, sabotage, violent demonstrations, bombings and assassinations, and not a country that is a destination for holidays and pleasure."
In an accompanying picture, the group displayed an arsenal that included AK 47 assault rifles, semi-automatic pistols and brass knuckledusters.
"Our guns are full and they are ready to speak," it said. "We are at war with your democracy."
No doubt the Greek government is playing the revolutionary card with the most heavy hand possible here, but there's a kernel of truth to the notion that there are people taking to the streets and violence is growing.  Peopl have been hurt and killed over this so far, and it's only going to get worse.

Greece is choosing to make the people pay for the government's mistakes...unfortunately, so are the revolutionaries.  It's going to be a long, hot summer.

No, The Bush Tax Cuts Didn't Help The Economy

They helped the rich, period.  Yves Smith at NakedCap takes a look at this morning's piece in the Washington Post on the subject.  The Post's article's last point is especially important:

One theory holds that the country's long-term budget shortfall is "just" an entitlements problem, the result of rising costs associated with growing Social Security rolls and increased health-care spending (via Medicare and Medicaid). Republicans like this idea because it plays down tax increases as a potential solution. Democrats like it because it makes the recent health-care package seem like even more of a triumph.

But it just isn't true. The deficits we face over the next decade reflect a fundamental imbalance between spending and revenue, one that goes beyond entitlements. Based on projections by the CBO, Alan Auerbach of the University of California at Berkeley and myself, among others, even if the economy returns to full employment by 2014 and stays there for the rest of the decade, the continuation of current fiscal policies, including the Bush tax cuts, would lead to a national debt in the range of 90 percent of GDP by 2020. That's already the highest rate since just after World War II -- and Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security aren't expected to hit their steepest spending increases until after 2020.

According to these same projections, the yearly deficit would rise to 6 to 7 percent of GDP by 2020. The Bush tax cuts would account for a significant chunk of this, considering that in each year they are in effect, the revenue lost because of them amounts to nearly 2 percent of GDP.

Compounding the problem: By increasing the government's debt, the tax cuts have already led to higher interest payments on that debt. So even if all of the cuts expire on Dec. 31, we will still be paying for them for years to come. 
As I have been saying for some time now, the largest single factor in our deficit is not Obama, is not entitlement spending, but Bush's tax cuts.  Period.  They are indefensible, especially on the rich.  We've lost hundreds of billions in revenue already over the last five years, and how has that helped the economy?  We're now in the worst economic straits in generations.

Yet Republicans keep spouting idiocies about how tax cuts pay for themselves when they are costing us billions, and eventually trillions.

Yves sums it up:
John Quiggin and others have pointed out that the benefits of income tax cuts over the last 30 years have accrued disproportionately to the top 10%. The Bush tax cuts were so egregiously skewed towards the well off that Warren Buffett objected to them, with Buffett noting that as a result, his secretary paid a higher percentage of her income in taxes than he did. Similarly, 100 uber rich individuals, including Steven C. Rockefeller and other members of the Rockefeller family, Metropolitan Museum board chairwoman Agnes Gund, and George Soros, signed a letter opposing a proposed 2001 estate tax repeal.

It's always been about restoring the Gilded Age for the Republicans, and always will be.  That is at the heart of everything they do:  taking the country backwards.
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