Saturday, September 4, 2010

Better The Devil You Know...

...argues Double G on Alan Simpson and his multiple attacks on Social Security, Medicare, and veterans' benefits than the devil you don't know, in this case the rest of the Catfood Commission.

That's why Commission co-chair Alan Simpson -- with his blunt contempt for Social Security and and other benefit programs (such as aid to disabled veterans) and his acknowledged eagerness to slash them -- has done the country a serious favor.  His recent outbursts have unmasked this Commission and shed light on its true character.  Unlike his fellow Commission members, who imperiously dismiss public inquiries into what they're doing as though they're annoying and inappropriate, Simpson -- to his genuine credit -- has been aggressively engaging critics, making it impossible to ignore what the Commission is really up to. 

In June, he walked out of a Commission meeting and proceeded to engage in an amazingly informative, 8-minute colloquy streaming in real time on the front page of FDL, making unambiguously clear that the Commission is working to cut Social Security benefits.  And over the last several weeks, he has used increasingly flamboyant rhetoric to attack both defenders of Social Security and the program itself, as well as even attacking wounded veterans for failing to sacrifice enough by giving up some of their benefits.  Whatever one thinks of Simpson's remarks, I prefer his public, engaged candor to the extreme, arrogant secrecy of his fellow Members.

Greenwald certainly has a point here.  Simpson has single-handedly removed any and all doubt that the Commission's job is to cut these benefits deeply.  The fact that Simpson hasn't been shown the door by the Obama administration is all the evidence that you need that the fix is in.  The Village is fully on board with the plan as well.  It all goes back to the concept of "noble sacrifice" that Digby was talking about the other day.

Official Washington -- and that includes Obama -- has decided that it's time Americans paid for the excesses of the last decade or two.  Never mind the massive wealth imbalance in the country over that same period, one that has gotten far worse even in just the last two years.  Time to tighten your belts, America.  You're picking up the check so that the top 1% can continue the party.

Simpson's comments are being met with outrage and anger by some Democrats, but Republicans are silent, and the Village is too busy telling us it has to done for the "greater good".

Welcome to the new normal.

Orange Julius And The Shutdown

Steve Benen has the right of things when it comes to gaming out how John "Orange Julius" Boehner would have to approach government shutdown brinksmanship as majority leader of the House: he'd have no choice, and he knows it.

The House Minority Leader has already said scrapping the entire health care reform law is his top priority, and Boehner's caucus -- and the party base -- will expect follow-through. Boehner could pass a repeal bill in the House, but after it failed in the Senate or got vetoed, he wouldn't be able to say, "Well, we gave it a shot; let's move on to other issues now." It's too late for that -- defunding the law is already far too popular within the GOP. There's an expectation that the fight has to happen.

Bernstein's right that Boehner's role as Speaker might not survive a failed confrontation with the president, but I'm not sure Boehner's role as Speaker could survive if he decided not to force the confrontation.

OJ's riding his own Tea Party Frankenstein's Monster through the darkness and he no longer determines where and when it stops.  I also believe that not only is a defund health care/shutdown fight inevitable should the GOP control the House, but an Obama impeachment fight as well.

Even if the Dems somehow hold on to the House, those two articles are going to be the entirety of the Republican agenda in 2011.  And anyone who gets in the way of the Monster is going to get crushed.  Boehner damn well knows what happens to Republicans who don't listen to the Tea Party now.  The Monster has already left a trail of political corpses:  Bob Inglis, Bob Bennett, now Lisa Murkowski and next on the Monster's menu is Mike Castle of Delaware.

Orange Julius will be tested very soon, and if he is found wanting, he will be replaced.  Such is the nature of the beast the Republicans have unleashed.

Neo-Know-Nothings, Same Old Revisionist Histroy

The GOP's real political angle to Glenn Beck's "Let's take back Dr. King's legacy" garbage last weekend became far more clear this week when Republican Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi sat down with Newt Gingrich's boys at Human Events and proceeded to change the time-stream on the history of the civil rights movement in the South.

"The people that led the change of parties in the South ... was my generation," the 62 year old Barbour told an interviewer from Human Events. "I went to an integrated college. Never thought twice about it. And it was the old Democrats who had fought for segregation so hard. By my time, people realized that was the past, it was indefensible, wasn't going to be that way any more."

Got that?  The Democrats were the racists, and the implication of course is that they still are.  Rachel Maddow puts this to bed.

But now of course you see what the attack is against the charges of Republican racism: Democrats are the real racists and always have been according to Republicans like Haley Barbour, so of course the modern GOP is fighting for all of us and those nasty Dems can only play the race card.

Never mind the current GOP stance and scare tactics demonizing African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and anyone else who doesn't fit in with the Neo-Know-Nothings.

And if you point that out, you're the racist. QED.

Being completely unfettered by facts is a wonderful thing, especially when those facts produce guilt.

Kill The Interloper, Rip Out Its Lifeforce

At least somebody's been paying attention enough to the GOP plan to run the long-term numbers on what the Tea Party philosophy would mean for the federal government.

Now that we know the Republicans have settled on a campaign strategy pledging to "defund" health care reform if they win back Congressional power, it's time to take a look at what that actually means. Could it be a precursor to a Republican showdown with President Obama repeating the 1995 and 1996 government shutdowns?

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he thinks the Republicans are hinting at shutdown with their promises to defund everything.

"They want to shrink it to where it doesn't work, and then when it doesn't work, they go, 'Look! It doesn't work, get rid of it.' And that's been their strategy all along," Trumka told TPM Thursday after speaking to reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "They don't talk about how to make things effective; they talk about how to get rid of them."

Rich Trumka is dead right on this but he doesn't follow through on the natural, logical progression.  If the federal government's duties involving basic domestic infrastructure and social services are removed as per the GOP plan, the need for those services will still be there.  Somebody will have to fill them, and that's the second half of the plan:  privatizing as much of the federal government as possible, Pentagon military contractor style.

It's disaster capitalism on a Federal scale: to do what Bush and Cheney did to our military, stuffing its ranks full of private contractors on the take and corruption to no end, and do it with the domestic duties of the federal government.  Imagine the corruption of Blackwater spreading to all aspects of the government:  infrastructure, police and fire, roads and bridges, sanitation, you name it, all capitalized with the goal to make a profit rather than to provide a service.

Won't that be fun?  That's what's coming.  Rule by corporation.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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