Friday, August 6, 2010

Last Call

Dick Morris plays the GOP hand far earlier than he should have.  You knew this was the logical endpoint of the whole "any aid to states is evil" crap that the Republicans keep spouting.  Morris gives the whole game away:
As long as the Democrats control Congress, they will continue to rubber-stamp Obama’s requests for bailouts of profligate states. But when the Republicans take control, they will be less than forthcoming. Republicans will ask the central question: Why should taxpayers from states that have cut their budgets and observed spending restraint, pay for the extravagances of the other states? Why should forty-seven states have to pay for California, New York, and Michigan?
Pause.  Reflect.  We're the United States of America.  But Dick Morris has decided we don't need a federal government anymore.  Dick Morris's "central question" is the same one Southerners were asking in 1860, dig?  Should we dissolve this union?  Should we not punish anyone who has a public sector job, because they are being salaried by the taxpayer?  It's time to scapegoat someone, and this is the plan:  such rampant, virulent anti-government rhetoric that the endpoint is literally to take everything from these workers.
The Republican solution to state financial distress should be simple: The Party should insist on a change in the federal bankruptcy law providing for a procedure for state bankruptcy (none now exists). This process must call for abrogation of all state and local public employee union contracts as is usually done in private sector bankruptcies. By freeing states and local governments (including school boards) of their union obligations on wages, work rules, staffing, and pensions, they have a chance to survive and, indeed, to prosper. But merely subsidizing these massive expenditures just prolongs the misery of the states in question.

And there you have the Republican plan:  to strip millions of local and state government workers of everything and to tell everyone else "fend for yourselves, there is no government help anymore."  Randian Libertarian extremism.  Game over.

Like I said, played it too early.  This is all supposed to be the plan AFTER the election.

Don't You Dare Legislate!

Digby notes that the GOP's latest barbaric yawp is to scream bloody murder about the Democrats trying to do anything in the lame duck session in November and December because it will be "agaisnt the will of the American people" and if the Democrats try, they'll be punished or something.

As Dave Weigel reminds us, those of us who remember our history realize that Bill Clinton was impeached in a lame duck session in 1998 by Newtie and the GOP.
Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., won his last election on Nov. 3, 1998. Not enough of his fellow Republicans came with him. Gingrich's party lost five seats in the House of Representatives after a year exploring impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton. Gingrich, who was House speaker, acknowledged the unexpected setback by announcing his resignation. His final act of power was to call a lame-duck session of Congress to deal with the impeachment.

Democrats were horrified and helpless. As far as they were concerned, the election had been a referendum on impeachment, and the Republicans had lost it. Republicans who were retiring or being replaced by Democrats were going to provide votes for impeachment that wouldn't be there when the new, Gingrich-free Congress took over in January. "Listen to the American people," said Democratic investigative counsel Abbe Lowell, one of many members of his party who spent weeks wringing hands, pointing at polls, and watching the impeachment train chug along.

One week before Christmas the majority party held votes on four articles of impeachment, passing two of them. Gingrich cast his final votes in the House for all four articles. Two weeks later, he departed.
You know, if Democrats can't pass legislation now, why would they be able to magically pass anything in November?  Answer:  they can't:  they still would need Republican support in the Senate to defeat the inevitable filibuster.  But the GOP doesn't even want the Dems to dare try to call the session into order.

The minority party is so confident they are threatening the majority party to do nothing or else, and the majority party is cringing like a bunch of beaten stray dogs in the rain.

It's depressing.  After all, the man leading the charge to flog Nancy Pelosi until she stops?

Newt Gingrich.

The Center Cannot Hold

Just remember when conservatives are screaming that government is too big, that government is never and can never be a solution to any problem, that it needs to be starved to death and then drowned, and that raising taxes can only be met with revolution, that America is now literally falling apart at the seams as Double G notes.
Plenty of businesses and governments furloughed workers this year, but Hawaii went further -- it furloughed its schoolchildren. Public schools across the state closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year to save money, giving students the shortest academic year in the nation.
Many transit systems have cut service to make ends meet, but Clayton County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, decided to cut all the way, and shut down its entire public bus system. Its last buses ran on March 31, stranding 8,400 daily riders.
Even public safety has not been immune to the budget ax. In Colorado Springs, the downturn will be remembered, quite literally, as a dark age: the city switched off a third of its 24,512 streetlights to save money on electricity, while trimming its police force and auctioning off its police helicopters.
We have cities that can no longer afford buses, schools, streetlights, police, and basic services.  It gets worse.
It's probably also worth noting this Wall St. Journal article from last month -- with a subheadline warning:  "Back to Stone Age" -- which describes how "paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue."  Utah is seriously considering eliminating the 12th grade, or making it optional.  And it was announced this week that "Camden [New Jersey] is preparing to permanently shut its library system by the end of the year, potentially leaving residents of the impoverished city among the few in the United States unable to borrow a library book free."
We can't even afford libraries and roads in America anymore.  Maybe the fact we have two 8 year plus wars that has cost us trillions of dollars has something to do with it.  Maybe the fact we gave trillions more to the largest banks does too.  And now we're being told that we must cut taxes on the wealthy and on corporations so that they'll save our economy?


Greenwald's right.  We really are at the end of empire here.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Dan Riehl's blog is a just a little bit obsessed with Dave Weigel, don't you think?


Republicans Aren't Racist, Except When They Are Sued For Racism

Former NRSC employee Keith Carter is suing over what he calls "racial bias" in the office.
A longtime employee of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has accused its leaders of racial discrimination after they fired him last month.

Keith Carter, who joined the NRSC in 1995, has charged Republican officials with creating a hostile environment for the two African-American employees who worked at the committee.

Carter, who is black, said he was referred to as “boy” and forced to clean up the feces of dogs white employees had brought to work.

He filed a lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court on Monday.
Nice.  I hope Mr. Carter enjoys the attacks he's going to get from the Right Wing Hate-O-Tron.  Then again, would you put up with all this?
Carter, who was hired as a building engineer, claims he was a respected NRSC staff member for nearly 14 years. He was given the duties of building manager of the committee’s headquarters and often invited to participate in management meetings.

Carter says that changed in 2009.

“In March 2009, Mr. Carter’s duties and the manner in which he was treated changed dramatically,” his complaint states.

He said he was excluded from regular management meetings, stripped of his supervisory responsibility and ordered to perform menial tasks.

The complaint alleges that senior GOP staff referred to Carter and another African-American employee — the only two black members of the staff — as “boys,” even though they were both older than 40.

Carter claims that when one Republican official asked him and his co-worker to do a job, he would often say: “Boys, we need you to … ”

Carter alleges he was instructed to clean up trash after political events, a task not previously included in his job description.

The complaint also states that Carter “was instructed to clean dog waste that other employees (who regularly bring their dogs to work) neglected to pick up.”

Carter said he was not allowed to remind the white employees to pick up after their own dogs.

Carter also claims he was “berated and cursed at” when he explained that he could not immediately fulfill a request to expand the political director’s office. Carter said he told a senior committee official the wall could not be moved without consultation with an electrician.

The complaint alleges the senior official who berated Carter “does not speak to any of the other white employees of the NRSC in this manner.”
Carter seems like a bright engineer and manager.  Of course, I could have told you some Republicans were racist assholes without working for them, but that's just me.

There Are No Moderates Left In The GOP Senate

Certainly not John McCain or Olympia Snowe, who along with Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson has all come out against the "ground zero mosque".

Snowe’s concern with the proposed project lies with the families of those who were murdered by the terrorists in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center. “I think there should be particular sensitivities to the families,” Snowe told me as she was getting on an elevator after the Senate voted to confirm Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. “It is insensitive to the families.”

For McCain, his opinion on whether the Ground Zero mosque should be built, in his own words, is “obvious.” But he insisted, just as Senator Isakson had said, that he was merely voicing his personal preference, not what is acceptable according to the law: “I understand that I am a senator from Arizona, and I’m a long way from New York City. But I am entitled to my opinion. And obviously my opinion is that I’m opposed to it. I think that it’s something that would harm relations, rather than help.”
Right.  Fomenting anti-Muslim sentiments and working to remove religious freedoms from American Muslims wouldn't "harm relations, rahter than help" right?

Bush was an asshole but he kept a tight lid on this because as President he had to.  What I want to know is why is Obama silent on this?  Why isn't he out there saying that American Muslims are our citizens and deserve the same rights on religion as Christians, Jews, and whatever?

Oh right, he's not terribly big on equality.  I forget that sometimes.

Self-Flagellation On Iraq

Village chucklehead Joe Klein of Time Magazine abases himself before you and asks your forgiveness on Iraq in a rare piece where someone from the Village war machine actually takes some responsibility for getting us into a costly and deadly quagmire in Iraq while we were already in a costly and deadly quagmire in Afghanistan.
As for myself, I deeply regret that once, on television in the days before the war, I foolishly — spontaneously — said that going ahead with the invasion might be the right thing to do. I was far more skeptical in print. I never wrote in favor of the war and repeatedly raised the problems that would accompany it, but mere skepticism was an insufficient reaction too. The issue then was as clear as it is now. It demanded a clarity that I failed to summon. The essential principle is immutable: we should never go to war unless we have been attacked or are under direct, immediate threat of attack. Never. And never again.
You get to live with that, Joe, hopefully for a very long time.  Thousands of American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis will not get the chance to accept your apology, because they're no longer with us.

No offense, Joe.  But this is about 8 years too late.  Apology not accepted.  It was assholes like you that got us into this war and convinced others to support it.  You feel bad about this?  Resign from Time Magazine and go work for a non-profit to help our troops.  That's for starters.

Ass.  You will get no absolution from me, nor do you deserve it.

Crazy, Now In The Handy 55-Gallon Drum Size

Hoffamaned GOP Rep. Bob Inglis of SC talks about how the Teabaggers crucified him for daring to work with the Democrats in a bipartisan way.

CNN host Rick Sanchez went over a recent piece on Inglis in Mother Jones, in which Inglis talked about the crazies that he would come across on the campaign trail.

Sanchez read from Inglis's recollection of a conversation with some voters: "'Bob, what don't you get? Barack Obama is a socialist, communist Marxist who wants to destroy the American economy so he can take over as dictator. Health care is part of that. And he wants to open up the Mexican border and turn [the US] into a Muslim nation.'"

Sanchez asked Inglis who these people were. And in response, Inglis conceded he might have done better politically had he humored them.

"That was several 80-year-old couples that were expressing their views. And you know, what I should have said was, 'Over my dead body that's gonna happen. I can guarantee it's not gonna happen,'" said Inglis. "That would have been the better answer, wouldn't it? Rather than the one I gave, which is, 'Well it's not quite that bad, let's keep it within the realm of facts.'"
Not that Inglis was any kind of progressive beacon, but these days a Republican interested in facts gets ripped apart in the primary and loses by 42 percentage points, when to win in the GOP you must practice Obama Derangement Syndrome.

It's the only party plank that matters, an irrational hatred of the president.  Play that game and you'll end up in Congress.  Try to work with the other party and pass legislation to help the American people?  You lose 71-29 and your political career ends, period.

That is your 2010 Republican Party, folks.  The Hoffman Effect rolls on unabated.


Private sector hiring up 71k, but 200k government jobs lost, including 142k census jobs, total loss of 131k.  Rate unchanged at 9.5%.  The unadjusted U-6 number is 16.8%:  exactly where we were in June 2009.  That's the most disturbing news:  unemployment hasn't gotten any better in a year now and the Republicans don't want any improvements, and the Dems are too frightened to help.

We're in serious trouble still.

Politico Helps The GOP Out

The Republican plan to portray any government worker as an evil Randian parasite leeching off the taxpayer and providing nothing in return has progressed to the point where the $26 billion scraped together to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, cops, and firefighters in this rotten economy is now considered to be "politically risky" for the Democrats.
The risk for Democrats as they seek to bolster their flagging election prospects is that some of their vulnerable members will feel like they have to walk the plank, yet again, on a politically unpopular economic-stimulus agenda, while reminding voters of their failure to handle routine budget work this year. 

Many Democrats are already cranky about the abrupt interruption to their campaign and vacation schedule, wishing the House and Senate would have cut a deal weeks ago. But they don’t want to cross Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly.

“You will certainly have many vulnerable and front-line Dems really upset about coming back because the Senate told them to — when they feel they are already defending their seats because of Senate inaction over the last year and a half,” a top aide to a usually loyal House Democrat said in an e-mail to POLITICO.

House Agriculture Committee ChairmanCollin Peterson (D-Minn.) was more blunt in an interview with the Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul: “I don’t know how they’re going to pass it,” he said. “I haven’t really checked with people, but there are a lot of guys who aren’t going to vote for it.” 
If the Democrats are seriously scared to the point where saving several thousand police, firefighter and teacher jobs is politically a non-starter in the House, then they're done.  I mean that.  If they cannot pass this then they deserve the fate that voters have in store for them this fall.

This should be a no brainer.  And yet the Dems are running scared from trying to save teachers.

The GOP has to be laughing their heads off this morning at this Politico article, knowing they now live in an America where they can scare the Dems into doing anything.  Digby seems to think the plan to portray cops and teachers as evil union stooges and apparatchiks of the government machine will backfire like it did in California a few years ago.  I'm afraid she's overestimating the Democrats, and underestimating the sheer level of scapegoating hatred that the GOP can now gin up at will, unopposed by outfits like Politico that pass the GOP view on as gospel truth.

The Dems are in dire trouble if they fail here.  If $26 billion for cops is too risky to pass, then it's over for these idiots.

The Kroog Versus Rep. Paul Ryan

I've said on a number of occasions that the GOP's "budget man" Paul Ryan is full of crap, and today Paul Krugman takes aim.
Mr. Ryan has become the Republican Party’s poster child for new ideas thanks to his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a plan for a major overhaul of federal spending and taxes. News media coverage has been overwhelmingly favorable; on Monday, The Washington Post put a glowing profile of Mr. Ryan on its front page, portraying him as the G.O.P.’s fiscal conscience. He’s often described with phrases like “intellectually audacious.”

But it’s the audacity of dopes. Mr. Ryan isn’t offering fresh food for thought; he’s serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce.

Mr. Ryan’s plan calls for steep cuts in both spending and taxes. He’d have you believe that the combined effect would be much lower budget deficits, and, according to that Washington Post report, he speaks about deficits “in apocalyptic terms.” And The Post also tells us that his plan would, indeed, sharply reduce the flow of red ink: “The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan would cut the budget deficit in half by 2020.”

But the budget office has done no such thing. At Mr. Ryan’s request, it produced an estimate of the budget effects of his proposed spending cuts — period. It didn’t address the revenue losses from his tax cuts.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has, however, stepped into the breach. Its numbers indicate that the Ryan plan would reduce revenue by almost $4 trillion over the next decade. If you add these revenue losses to the numbers The Post cites, you get a much larger deficit in 2020, roughly $1.3 trillion.

And that’s about the same as the budget office’s estimate of the 2020 deficit under the Obama administration’s plans. That is, Mr. Ryan may speak about the deficit in apocalyptic terms, but even if you believe that his proposed spending cuts are feasible — which you shouldn’t — the Roadmap wouldn’t reduce the deficit. All it would do is cut benefits for the middle class while slashing taxes on the rich.

And I do mean slash. The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.

Finally, let’s talk about those spending cuts. In its first decade, most of the alleged savings in the Ryan plan come from assuming zero dollar growth in domestic discretionary spending, which includes everything from energy policy to education to the court system. This would amount to a 25 percent cut once you adjust for inflation and population growth. How would such a severe cut be achieved? What specific programs would be slashed? Mr. Ryan doesn’t say. 
Yeah that's right, cut taxes in half for the wealthiest Americans and make the rest of us pay for it in higher taxes and a massive spending cut across the board in all government services...and all that would actually make the deficit worse than under Obama's proposed plan because of the sheer size of the tax cuts for the most wealthy Americans.

That's what you have to look forward to under the Republicans:  Redistribution of wealth to the richest 1% of Americans.  Supply-side foolishness at its worst.  The party that created the worst bubble economy in history and plunged us into a near-depression wants to roll us back to the 1920's again, at levels of excess for the rich that make the Gilded Age look like poverty.

That's your GOP economic plan, folks.  They think you're stupid enough to believe them when they raid the treasury for trillions.

StupidiNews, Blogiversary Edition!

ZVTS turns two today, folks.

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