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Speaker Boehner Stop Lying, Broke Nations Can’t Borrow

6:28 am in Economy, jerks, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

Bank Of Montreal

Bank Of Montreal by Galt Museum & Archives on The Commons, on Flickr

We’re flat broke. What do you think of when you read that? Having been busted more than a few times in my life it means no money and no prospect of getting any. Pretty simple and straight forward, unless, of course, you are the Speaker of the House; then “broke” can be parsed and spun and twisted.

We have all seen the great orange Speaker saying “We’re broke” over and over again as he tries to sell a justification for what his masters (the Freshmen Republican “Tea Partiers”) insist on him doing with the budget. It is really an effective statement, powerful, short and direct. It would be perfect if it were not for the fact that it is flatly a lie.

The United States has a deficit. That is true. The United States also has a lot of debt, but to say that we are “broke” is ridiculous. It is just another half truth scare tactic from the party that has made a performance art-form of the practice.

Even Speaker Boehner’s office has had to admit that he is parsing the word. When they were challenged on the claim the U.S. is broke they came out with a statement that said when the Speaker says “broke” he means spending more than you have for an extended period of time. Sheesh! It is hard enough to communicate in this life without making twisted and tortured parses of common words.

What gets up right up my nose about this meme is that is completely ignores the fact there are two things to do when one does not have enough money. Spend less or get more money. As State Rep. Joe Gibbons (D-FL) put it so succinctly on NPR this morning:

If my family checkbook at home is short, you know what I do? I get a second job. I don’t just eat three days instead of seven. … What they’re telling us we got to do is, you got to eat three days.”

There is a lot of opportunity and in fact lot of desire on the part of the citizenry in the nation to raise taxes on the wealthy both at the state level and the national level. Nationally 88% of folks surveyed said they would rather raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires than cut programs in an effort to balance the budget. In Wisconsin where this fight is playing out on the smaller scale 67% percent said they would like to see higher taxes on people making $150,000 a year.

Of course this shows the basic Republican ideological bankruptcy. They have been trumpeting (that’s what Elephants do, trumpet, right?) about the freaking deficit for two entire years. Yet in that time they have not been willing to raises taxes on the ultra-wealthy. Just so it does not go down the memory whole, they were the ones that held the extension of unemployment benefits for millions of out of work Americans hostage to get an extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the Paris Hilton’s and Koch Brothers of the nation.

They are also the ones that are now trying to claim that the modest job growth that we are seeing as the final bits of the stimulus money from the American Reinvestment Act are spent is due to keeping taxes at the same rate as when their deregulatory policy crashed the national and planetary economy.

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Water Cooler – Pawlenty II, The Return Of Tim

6:48 pm in 2012 election, banality of evil, Elections, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

When his first introduction add was posted I made fun of ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The ad was so completely stolen from a Bruce Willis movie that it was more than a little bit sad. Well in the United States nothing exceeds like excess and Gov. Pawlenty has learned that lesson.

Check his newest effort where he trying to pander the Tea-hadists :

What made me laugh the most in this minute and sixteen second comedy clip (Oh, wait, this was meant to be serious? Golly) was the way that after he panders to the Tea-hadists he then goes on to try to cloak himself in the mantle of both Reagan and Lincoln, going so far as to crib the end of the Gettysburg Address.

Nearly as entertaining is the way that this video is cut together when Gov. Tim is talking. It is a lot of quick cuts and the has soaring music behind him that I am 100% was not at there at the speech that they taped. Why do that?

Well, Gov. Tim has a problem, it can be best summed up this way: What is the difference between Tim Pawlenty and Plain Dannon Yogurt? The yogurt has active culture. Gov Pawlenty is about as interesting as a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread.

In a word he is boring, and so this is probably not the last of the slickly produced soaring movie music ads we will see from the Republican hopeful. The sad part about all of this even if he is successful in crafting a “Bruce Willis saves the world” type image as he is introduced to the nation, the minute people see and hear him on the campaign trail, he’ll give them a case of mental whiplash like you will not believe.

Like Gov. Tim, I am going to wrap up by quoting Lincoln: You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

That is what it will take for Gov. Pawlenty to really be a viable candidate, he would have to not only fool his own party, but the whole nation for the whole of a presidential campaign and all the slick introduction videos in the world are not going to do that for a fella that lacking in charisma.

What’s on your mind’s tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours.

Water Cooler – Fear In A Handful of Dust

6:58 pm in Republican Party by Bill Egnor

Dust in the Wind

Dust in the Wind by Paul McRae (Delta Niner), on Flickr

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

T.S. Elliot – Wastelands

Tonight I see the handful of dust. I see the Republicans in the State Houses and in the Congress acting without regard for the people. I see a bunch of hapless morons who have pushed ideology to the breaking point, but what is breaking is not the ideology but the nation itself.

Men and women who have lost the thread of what public service means, who will act in the narrow ways that will please their base without any regard for the needs of the people. They were elected by chanting “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” but over and over again all we have seen is anti-abortion legislation and forced birth rhetoric.

Defunding Planned Parenthood while allowing the Pentagon to continue to fund NASCAR teams? Insisting in December that we had to continue to give millionaires and billionaire tax cuts and now in February saying that we are broke? Are these the actions of serious sensible people?

They talk about shutting down the government unless the Democrats and the President allow them to make cuts that would force the Social Security administration to furlough their entire workforce for a month.

Do they care? No, it is clear that they don’t. They don’t care that if they shut down the government that millions of people will not see their Social Security checks or veterans benefit checks. They don’t care the tens of thousands of people who would be applying for those benefits won’t be able to do so and there will be a backlog of work that will increase the misery of the people who need that help.

Say what you like about weak Democrats but they are not the ones that are trying to destroy a woman’s right to control her own reproduction. They are not the ones that want to strip unions of the right to collectively bargain. They are not the ones who want to cut off funding to the EPA to prevent them from enforcing the laws that created the agency, especially in regards to limiting the emission of carbon dioxide. They are not the ones who are trying to prevent the marginal gains from the ACA from happening.

And lets face it Democrats are not the ones who are trying to continue to cripple the economy. No, that all comes from the blind and malignant idiocy of the Republicans Party. I know that I have a reputation for being an optimist, the guy who can see the upside of anything and has hope and faith in the basic good will and decency of our system of government. But tonight all I can see it slack jawed grinning faces of political nihilists who would rather shout about culture war issues than govern a nation.

Tonight I have been shown fear in a handful of dust and it is Red, White and Blue dust forming the shape of an elephant.

I know that in this forum I will get comments about how it is not just the Republicans, that some how all politicians are the same. Well I say to those who will say that you are nihilist too. Democrats may do things we don’t like, they may make mistakes, big mistakes and they may not take the strong actions we would like, but just look at the choice!

I have very strong doubts that the people who propelled the Republicans into control of the House and who gave them governorships and control of State Houses across the nation wanted or expect this. I did though, but even with what I expected I find myself gob smacked at the basic lack of decency from the Republican Party. I was wrong above they are not the dust they are the hand that holds the dust, which if they get their way is the ashes of our nation and its people.

That is what is on my mind tonight, how about yours Firedogs? The floor is yours.

2012 Election And The 11 Republican Dwarves

6:32 am in 2012 election, Elections, Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

Will 2012 be the year of the Republican Dwarves? Let me through some names at you;
Mike Pence, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Haley Barbour, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann. Now being political junkies you are probably going to at least know those names, with the exception of Herman Cain, who is the founder of Godfathers Pizza (a so so chain that has had decent success) who is also a regional Rightwing radio talker. But try to think outside your political knowledge bubble for a minute. Do you think anyone really knows these folks?

Sure folks know the last VP candidate from the Republican Party. She has made a business of being famous, but it has only worked because she stays either to mediums that don’t allow back and forth or safe outlets like Fox News. Her response to the Arizona shootings showed that she really does not have what it takes to be president no matter how popular she is with her fans.

Newt Gingrich is a disgraced former speaker who is better at throwing bombs than he ever was at legislating. He has a problem with the family values crowd both for leaving his wives and for the fact that he is now a Catholic. Don’t underestimate the problems this can cause with a party that 50% of all members are Evangelical Christians. There is also his distressing “Do as I say, not as I do” problem that might play with the authoritarian Right, but not with the middle that is required to win the presidency.

Mitch Daniels – Who? Sure you know his name, do you know what he stands for? Does he know what he stands for given that the Tea Party base is going to require that every candidate denies global warming, a balanced budget, continued tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy (even though this policy has bled the U.S Treasury dry) an unswerving devotion to the supposed intent of the Framers of the Constitution and an “America, Fuck Yeah!” attitude that insists we can do nothing wrong because when the U.S. does it, then it is right.
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Washington Post’s Gerson Hacks Up Another Fur Ball Into National Debate

6:17 am in banality of evil, Conservatism, Democratic Party, Liberalism, Media, Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

Michael Gerson of the Washington Post Editorial page really phones one in today. I know it is the day after Thanksgiving and there is a tendency to just rehash old arguments in an effort to get a column or blog post out, but really this is beautiful example of false equivalency and intellectual laziness topped with a cherry of partisan world view.

The basic premise of this steaming, tightly coiled pile of crap is that now that there has been electoral defeat for the Democrats liberalism is turning to conspiracy theories to explain what happened. Is it a Truther conspiracy? Is it a Bilderburg Group conspiracy, with shadowy billionaires running the planet? Is it aliens? No, none of those (well we know the Space Alien vote was bought, those damned Gray’s will do anything for fresh people to probe!) the so-called conspiracy is the idea that the Republicans have done and will do everything in their power to keep the economy from recovering as long as President Obama is in the White House.

Gerson points to recent posts by Matt Yglesias, Steve Benen and Paul Krugman, all of whom have pointed out that Republicans have said they are out the get the president, that they have constantly blocked economic measures that every serious economist says will help, that they have done everything they could to claim (falsely) that the stimulus has not helped, and that the health care reform law would cost money, even though the Office of Management and Budget has said it would save 100 billion over ten years.  . . .

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Rounds 2 And 3 Of Republicans Screwing The Little Guy – Austerity

6:46 am in 2010 election, banality of evil, Economy, Elections, Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

To hear the Republicans tell it, the problem with things, the reason they are likely to take over the House of Representatives tomorrow is all the spending that the Obama administration has engaged in. Personally I think a big part of it is all the spending groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Cross Roads GPS have done, but that is for another post.

The big push from Republicans as the campaign season is ending has been about the need to cut spending. They look at our deficit situation and they say that the reason we have such high unemployment is the massive federal spending. Things like the COBRA subsidy and unemployment benefit extensions. Of course this includes the stimulus bill with its 300 billion (300,000 million) in tax cuts, which all but the ultra wealth have received some share of in terms of payroll tax reductions.

This is where you get prominent Republicans like Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on TV saying things like this:

“The American people do not like Obama’s policies,” Barbour told anchor Harry Smith. “They don’t like all of this outrageous spending. They don’t like running up the deficits. They don’t like piling trillions of dollars of debt on our children and grandchildren, and they don’t think it works. They think it’s been bad for the economy, that it has made it harder to create jobs.

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No Exceptions Caucus – Will They Imprison Women For Having An Abortion?

6:19 am in 2010 election, banality of evil, Culture, Elections, Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

There are five Republican Senate nominees who would outlaw abortion in all cases, no exceptions for rape or incest. You probably know them but I’ll list them anyway, Ken Buck (here the great State of Colorado), Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller and Rand Paul (real freaking Libertarian of you there Rand, how do you sleep at night with that level of hypocrisy weighing you down?) . This is what the Tea Party has brought us, people who believe that no matter what the Supreme Court has said time and again there abortion should be illegal and should have no exceptions for health or criminality.

It all seems to be part of their toughness shtick. Where everything is a life and death fight and they will take any position to the maximal and then declare that it is main stream. I love this tactic when it is my seven year old nephew and he insists he is a super-hero just because he says so, but it is more than a little frightening in someone who could be a United States Senator and be one for the next six years, at least.

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No, Newt, There Won’t Be Shariah In The US, Trust Me

6:19 am in 2010 election, banality of evil, Conservatism, Culture, Elections, LGBT, Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

There is a meme out there in the radical Republican Party about Shariah (Islamic law based on the Qur’an and other works) being imposed here in the United States. It has so much acceptance that a supposed 2012 Republican Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, could call for a Federal law banning it, at the Value Voters summit in Washington and get a standing ovation. To say that this kind of crazy gets right up my nose is an understatement on the level of saying the razing of Carthage was a minor property dispute.

It is hard to know where to start in on the stupid on this issue, but let’s begin on a point near and dear to my heart, the Constitution. The First Amendment makes it clear when it says:

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

That means all religions, not just one. There is also the Article VI, Clause 2, the Supremacy Clause which makes the Constitution, Federal Laws and Treaties the supreme law of the land. No other law can supersede these laws, whether they be religious laws or State laws.

This whole “their going to try to impose Shariah!!” hysteria is just that, fear mongering to whip up the base of the increasingly insane Republican Party. What is particularly galling about all of this is the level of unselfconscious hypocrisy that goes along with these fears of religious law being established in the United States.

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Borrow And Spend Republicans Unveil Tax Cut Package

6:37 am in Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

There is something about Washington and taxes that seems to destroy the ability of law makers to do simple math. This seems to afflict Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats the worst. The Washington Post is reporting about the roll out of the Republicans Orwellianly named tax plan, the Tax Hike Prevention Act. Sen. Mitch McConnell (the man voted most likely to turn into a snapping turtle in our lifetimes) has put the idea on the table permanently extend all of the Bush era tax cuts, including the ones for the ultra wealthy, that top 2% of all earners.

From the WaPo :

"We have a spending problem. We spend too much. We don’t have a taxing problem. We don’t tax too little," McConnell told reporters Tuesday. "And if we want to begin to get ourselves out of this economic trough that we’re in, the only way to do that is to grow the private sector."

This is insane. We are currently collecting tax revenues at the same we did in 1950. In 2009 taxes were 9.2% of all personal income, just like it was when Harry Truman was president. A lot of things have changed since that time, the population has doubled and unlike now, in 1950 the United States was running a surplus. For Senator McConnell to say we are taxing too much is just another example of Republican bizzaro world, where black is white and up is down.

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November 2010: Looking Into The Abyss

10:00 am in 2010 election, Democratic Party, Elections, Government, Legislature, Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

Nietzsche said:

“When we look into the abyss, searching for monsters, the abyss looks into us as well.”

Right now we are staring the abyss in the face and there are indeed monsters there. This abyss is the elections this fall. The chance that radical Republicans will take over the House and perhaps the Senate has grown. The affect of constant lies from Fox News and Talk Radio have energized the Republican base. The limp leadership from the White House and from Majority Leader Reid has demoralized the Democratic base.

The passing of many of the Lefts long term wish list items, barely and with tons of ridiculous and galling compromise has created a situation where the Right is fired up and the Left is angry at its own leadership. The conditions are in place for a wave election and the wave is not likely to go the way that we Liberals are going to like in any fashion. . . .

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