Saturday, April 28, 2012

Last Call

You should be worried about Spain.  Their economic plan is exactly what Republicans here in the US are calling for:  slashing thousands of government jobs and regulations and cutting spending on social programs "we can no longer afford".  Spain's austerity plan continues with the next step in an economy with 25% unemployment being raising taxes on the middle class.  Sound familiar?

Spain is executing the House GOP budget step by step.

Figures released by the Spanish government on Friday show that country with an unemployment rate of 24.4%, the highest in Europe, and a rate of over 50% among 16-24 year olds.

But despite the bad economic news, that country’s leadership appears determined to stick with the austerity program it has pursued for the last two years and has even recently announcing an increase in consumer taxes for next year.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy passed a plan in February to make it cheaper for employers to let workers go while raising taxes and cutting spending including health care and education.”

As explained by The New York Times, the Spanish government’s hope has been that even if growth and jobs suffer from draconian budget cuts, the lower interest rates that result will keep bond investors happy. But instead, foreign capital has been fleeing the country.

Standard & Poor’s just downgraded Spanish bonds by two notches, confirming a sense among investors that “it will be nearly impossible for Spain to meet its current deficit-lowering target amid one of the most severe recessions in the euro zone.”

So no, austerity is causing investors to pull their money out because they know that if the government is cutting spending with 25% unemployment, Spain's economy will descend into a death spiral.  Foreign investors know that with nobody in Spain able to buy their products any longer, there's no point in investing in the country when the economy is shrinking.

That should be the job of the spender of last resort, Spain's government.  Instead they are cutting government jobs, spending on social program,education and healthcare, and axing business regulations, exactly what the Republicans here say we must do now.

It's failing miserably.  But Republicans will do it here anyway if you vote for them.  Period.

Your call, America.

Obama Derangement Employment

Obama Derangement Syndrome is actually good for the economy it turns out as employment in the firearms industry has gone up up up because insane people think Scary President Black Man is coming for their guns nubile daughters.  Of course, there's fierce debate about whether or not all the additional societal damage from all those extra guns outweighs the jobs (and I stand firmly on the hell no side), but it's literally the only thing I've found to indicate there's anything close to a positive benefit to anyone over the massive, deranged hate grudges carried by the bitter clingers.  Still leaves it 99.66% negative, if you ask me.

There's noticeable economic impact in Kansas at least according to the Wichita Eagle via McClatchy:

A report released earlier this month by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gun and ammunition manufacturers and retailers, said nationally that the firearms industry increased jobs by more than 30 percent and improved its economic impact by more than 66 percent between 2008 and 2011.

In that same period, the report said the industry added 1,202 jobs in Kansas and had an economic impact of more than $177 million.

The local firearms retail business has seen the addition of a new retailer to the market, Cabela’s, and the expansion of more established retailers. Gander Mountain, the St. Paul, Minn.-based outdoor specialty retailer, added a Gander Mountain Academy indoor shooting and simulation range and expanded its floor space for broader selection of firearms, ammunition and accessories – which it calls Gun World – at its WaterWalk store in downtown Wichita.

I'm sure the NRA is just bawling its eyes out at the thought of a second term for President Obama, and if Wichita gun range owner Mike Relihan is any example, these small businesses are just crushed by imaginary new regulations on their industry that of course could never pass Congress.

Retailers and industry officials say there are a number of external factors that have been driving sales, not the least of which is who is occupying the White House.

“I think it’s this last Democrat said some things, had a background that had some people worried … whether it’s real or not,” Relihan said, referring to President Obama.

Retailers said it’s not always just the party of the candidate that affects sales of firearms, but more the perception that a presidential candidate could propose legislation restricting sales of firearms or ammunition.

“That underlying fear is always there,” Holman said.

He said he thinks that’s part of the reason why firearms sales were so strong for the Bullet Stop in 2008, a presidential election year.

“It was definitely a big year,” Holman said.

2012 will be another big year for paranoid assholes to buy more guns, more bullets, more "protection" from the Kenyan Soshulist Usurper, more objects specifically designed to kill things. It'll be awesome fun for everyone when these devices get used as intended, but at least they're job creators!

Read more here:

Read more here:

False Equivalence, Get Thee Hence!

Meet Norm Ornsein and Thomas Mann.  The former is the last sane guy at the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute and the latter, one of the last sane guys at the more liberal Brookings Institute.  They team up to go Mario and Luigi on the "Both Sides Do It!" false equivalence Village nonsense and actually drop the blame at the feet of the GOPHow the article got into the Washington Post of all places is beyond me (as the Kaplan Daily is arguably the most egregious example of the Village Temple of the Sensible Centrist), but let's see how far this rabbit hole goes:

It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has shifted sharply to the right. Its once legendary moderate and center-right legislators in the House and the Senate — think Bob Michel, Mickey Edwards, John Danforth, Chuck Hagel — are virtually extinct.

The post-McGovern Democratic Party, by contrast, while losing the bulk of its conservative Dixiecrat contingent in the decades after the civil rights revolution, has retained a more diverse base. Since the Clinton presidency, it has hewed to the center-left on issues from welfare reform to fiscal policy. While the Democrats may have moved from their 40-yard line to their 25, the Republicans have gone from their 40 to somewhere behind their goal post.

What happened? Of course, there were larger forces at work beyond the realignment of the South. They included the mobilization of social conservatives after the 1973Roe v. Wade decision, the anti-tax movement launched in 1978 by California’s Proposition 13, the rise of conservative talk radio after a congressional pay raise in 1989, and the emergence of Fox News and right-wing blogs. But the real move to the bedrock right starts with two names: Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist.

Oh, those are fightin' words, boys...and yet any objective observer would have to agree that those two clowns are indeed the major reason the GOP has been completely intractable.  (I would have added Limbaugh, Rove, and Cheney myself.)  Granted, Ornstein and Mann have to get their shot in at the Donks:

Democrats are hardly blameless, and they have their own extreme wing and their own predilection for hardball politics. But these tendencies do not routinely veer outside the normal bounds of robust politics. If anything, under the presidencies of Clinton and Obama, the Democrats have become more of a status-quo party. They are centrist protectors of government, reluctantly willing to revamp programs and trim retirement and health benefits to maintain its central commitments in the face of fiscal pressures.

The party of Poindexter versus the party of Genghis Khan, indeed.  But if the worst thing they muster about the Dems is that they're acting like normal Dems and that the GOP is off their collective rockers, well, it's only like many of us have been saying since what, 2007 now?

If not longer.  Hope these guys aren't banished from the internet for telling the truth.  Meanwhile, compare that directly with this David Gergen and Michael Zimmerman article at

Sens. Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch -- both stalwarts of the GOP who have committed apostasy by trying to work across party lines -- face primaries this season that imperil their survival: A poll Thursday morning found Lugar down 5 points to a tea party-backed challenger in Indiana, and Hatch failed to secure a 60% supermajority at his party's convention in Utah, sending his race to a primary. Only two years ago in Utah, another stalwart Republican who had worked with Democrats, Bob Bennett, was deposed by an ideologically purer primary challenger.

In the House, meanwhile, the once-robust cadre of "Blue Dog Democrats" -- moderate to conservative members of the liberal party -- has been winnowed out, with two more members (Reps. Jason Altmire and Tim Holden of Pennsylvania) defeated in primaries this past Tuesday by opponents from their left flanks.

As of 2010, there were as many as 54 Blue Dogs, but the midterms knocked their caucus down to 26. With retirements and primaries, that number will probably be well below 20 by next January -- an effect that further turns Democrats into the party of the left.

Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans, both sides do it, literally.  Both sides are equally guilty, and Gergen's stupid, moronic tripe is the Village Mantra.  "It's too bad that we can't have more Democrats who courageously vote exactly like Republicans and Republicans who return the favor and courageously vote exactly like Republicans but don't call Obama names 100% the time.  We need more of these courageous people who will bravely drag the country to the center right."

You know who we need less of in Congress?  Orrin Hatch and Tim Holden.  And good riddance to the both of them.  Hatch co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Act nearly 20 years ago and he voted against it last week.  Bye.

I'll lose no sleep over the loss of "moderates" like that.

Jellybeans Was Behind Assault

The incident unfolded Friday afternoon on the ride home from Forwood Elementary School, according to the 7-year-old's mother, Aisha Williams-Gray.
When the school bus rolled up to her Woodacres apartment, several students carried her crying daughter off the bus, she said."
The kids were all saying that there had been a fight on the bus and that the driver didn't stop it and kept on driving to reach our stop."
The children told Williams-Gray that the fight had been provoked by a fifth-grade girl, who bullied and then attacked her daughter when she wouldn't give up her jelly beans.
The little girl had a concussion from the attack.  Over jellybeans.  The mother is upset that the school doesn't separate the bigger kids, but that isn't the answer.  The answer is dealing with the issue of kids and violence.  The attack is not even a minute long.  It's not fair to say the bus driver didn't respond, it could take well over a minute to find a place and stop the bus.  However, there is zero mention of any response from the bus driver at all.  If that's the case I can see why the school might be in hot water.

Kids mirror what they see.  That may be the most terrifying thing about this.  This is how they perceive us, and in their uncanny no-bullshit kid way, they see right through us.  And this is what they find at the core.

Saturday Morning Goodness: Welcome Home Edition

Yahoo posted this, and made me smile while it broke my heart.  If you have a moment, you should read the article.  We love our pets so much, and it's hard to find anything as pure as the love they have for us.

This dog is happy to see Dad.

Veeps And Creeps

Orange Julius gets in on the Romney Veepstakes handicapping, although I'm not sure why anyone on either side of the aisle would actually want his opinion on that.

House Speaker John Boehner named three Republicans as potential vice presidential picks for Mitt Romney, but said there is a "long list" of qualified candidates.

The top Republican in Congress said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana fit his criteria that the pick be capable of serving as president.

"There are a lot of people that I like. But this is a personal choice for Gov. Romney, and I'm confident that he'll have a running mate that will be helpful to the ticket," Boehner told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley in an interview set to air Sunday. 

Rubio isn't deadly bland like Portman or Daniels, but with his reasonable stance on immigration, Rubio has zero chance (no matter what Greg Sargent thinks about the GOP backing off on immigration).  But here's the money quote:

"I think the number one quality is, are they capable of being president in the case of an emergency?" Boehner added.

You mean like Sarah Palin?

Paycheck Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Senate Dems are testing just how far Mitt Romney and the GOP are willing to go on their "new" stance that they are the party that supports women, by bringing up the Paycheck Fairness Act for a vote again this year.  Greg Sargent:

The looming vote could revive a recent controversy that erupted around equal pay issues. On a recent Romney campaign conference call, HuffPo’s Sam Stein asked Romney surrogates whether Romney supports the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which mad e it easier for people to challenge pay discrimination. The campaign at first waffled, but then released a statement confirming that Romney “supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law.” But Romney’s campaign has not said whether he would have signed that law in the first place.

Now Romney’s rhetorical support for pay equity faces another test in the looming Senate vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act.

This Act would put more pressure on employers to prove that differences in wages are not rooted in gender difference, and would make it easier for employees to divulge information about their salaries, which would in turn facilitate deterring or challenging pay discrimination.

Two years ago Senate Republicans opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which had strong support from Obama, and it’s likely they will do so again. But Romney is on record supporting “pay equity” in principle, so he’d either have to break with that principle, or break with Senate Republicans, at a time when the battle over the female vote is raging in the presidential race. If Romney supports the measure, it could make passage of it more likely.

After Thursday's Violence Against Women Act vote, opposed by 31 male Republican senators while supported by all the women senators in both parties and all the Democrats, another vote on women's issues that will certainly have an outcome almost exactly the same will just prove the Dems' point:  Republicans talk, Democrats do on women's issues.  You don't get much more Grand Old Misogynist party than that.

The ball now goes to Orange Julius and Mitt Romney.  Where will they stand on those issues, and how big of a split will open up for the Dems to take advantage of?

Going to be a heck of a Mother's Day this year.

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