Sunday, February 3, 2013

Last Call

My junior senator, folks.  Making hard-working Kentuckians proud by ripping them off.  Via The Political Carnival:

Sen. Rand Paul this week introduced the National Right to Work Act, S. 204, which seeks to preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.

“Every American worker deserves the right to freedom of association – and I am concerned that the 26 states that allow forced union membership and dues infringes on these workers’ rights,” Sen. Paul said. “Right to work laws ensure that all Americans are given the choice to refrain from joining or paying dues to a union as a condition for employment. Nearly 80 percent of all Americans support the principles and so I have introduced a national Right to Work Act that will require all states to give their workers the freedom to choose.”

If you think the real problem with unemployment is that union workers are making too much money, and that there needs to be a national bill to destroy unions across the country, then Rand Paul's the senator for you, right?

This is exactly the opposite to everything we are taught to believe in the democratic process.  We can have all the debate we want but in the end, the majority rules.  Now they are taking the minority and placing them ahead of the majority.

This coming from the Senate GOP in the minority, always using the filibuster to prevent majority rule.   Hysterical.

A Bunch Of Split Ends

The Great Conserva-schism in the GOP continues as the money men in the corporate wing of the party have figured out that the teabagger wing cost them the Senate in 2012 (not to mention the presidential primary that pushed Mitt Romney so far to the right he lost.)  Now the billionaires are fighting back against the notion that the GOP doesn't have to moderate any of its positions, and they're planning on dragging the teabaggers kicking and screaming towards irrelevance with the mother of all super-PACs.

The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.

The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races. 

“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.” 

The effort would put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election. 

The GOP money guys figured they had bought the Senate fair and square thanks to Citizens United, and they only lost because they ran across candidates so awful, not even the billions they raised could get them the win.  The Democrats also had plenty of ammunition to make their big money count, too -- enough to actually gain seats in a Senate they should have lost.

But the race for the Senate in 2014 is already underway, and this time the money guys aren't going to let the Tea Party pick the candidates.  Tom Harkin's seat in Iowa presents the first opportunity for the CVP to play the "win at all costs" game:

As Republicans rebuild from losing the White House race and seats in the House and Senate last year, party leaders and strategists are placing a heightened focus on taking control of the Senate next year. Republicans must pick up six seats to win a majority. 

Representative Steve King, a six-term Iowa Republican, could be among the earliest targets of the Conservative Victory Project. He said he had not decided whether he would run for the Senate, but the leaders of the project in Washington are not waiting to try to steer him away from the race. 

The group’s plans, which were outlined for the first time last week in an interview with Mr. Law, call for hard-edge campaign tactics, including television advertising, against candidates whom party leaders see as unelectable and a drag on the efforts to win the Senate. Mr. Law cited Iowa as an example and said Republicans could no longer be squeamish about intervening in primary fights. 

We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Mr. Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”

I've long been predicting open war in the GOP party structure.  The Conservative Victory Project versus the Tea Party means that war is happening in real time.  Pull up a chair, it's going to get interesting.

The Kroog Versus The Austerians

Paul Krugman once again brings up the fact that every country that has tried austerity to get out of the Great Recession is still back in recession six years later.

At one level this is kind of funny: austerity policies have been applied all across Europe, yet the best example of success the austerians can come up with is a nation with fewer inhabitants than, say, Brooklyn. Still, the International Monetary Fund recently issued two new reports on the Latvian economy, and they really help put this story into perspective. 

To be fair to the Latvians, they do have something to be proud of. After experiencing a Great-Depression-level slump, their economy has experienced two years of solid growth and falling unemployment. Despite that growth, however, they have only regained part of the lost ground in terms of either output or employment — and the unemployment rate is still 14 percent. If this is the austerians’ idea of an economic miracle, they truly are the children of a lesser god

Oh, and if we’re going to invoke the experience of small nations as evidence about what economic policies work, let’s not forget the true economic miracle that is Iceland — a nation that was at ground zero of the financial crisis, but which, thanks to its embrace of unorthodox policies, has almost fully recovered. 

So what do we learn from the rather pathetic search for austerity success stories? We learn that the doctrine that has dominated elite economic discourse for the past three years is wrong on all fronts. Not only have we been ruled by fear of nonexistent threats, we’ve been promised rewards that haven’t arrived and never will. It’s time to put the deficit obsession aside and get back to dealing with the real problem — namely, unacceptably high unemployment. 

But Republicans block every jobs bill that comes up, because we must cut everything or else we'll go bankrupt.  Republicans never cared about the bankrupt part, only the cutting.  That was the goal, to give an excuse to jettison the real "children of a lesser god"...those of us in the 99%.
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