Saturday, December 22, 2012

A blast from the so far distant past

U.S. Letter of Resignation Sent By Bush to Rifle Association. NY Times (1995): Following is the letter of resignation sent last week by former President George Bush to the National Rifle Association: May 3, 1995
Dear Mr. Washington,
I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of N.R.A., defended his attack on federal agents as "jack-booted thugs." To attack Secret Service agents or A.T.F. people or any government law enforcement people as "wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms" wanting to "attack law abiding citizens" is a vicious slander on good people. ...
Both John Magaw and Judge Freeh were in office when I was President. They both now serve in the current administration. They both have badges. Neither of them would ever give the government's "go ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law abiding citizens." (Your words)
I am a gun owner and an avid hunter. Over the years I have agreed with most of N.R.A.'s objectives, particularly your educational and training efforts, and your fundamental stance in favor of owning guns.
However, your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country. It indirectly slanders a wide array of government law enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us.
You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre's unwarranted attack. Therefore, I resign as a Life Member of N.R.A., said resignation to be effective upon your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership list. Sincerely, [ signed ] George Bush

A new Troll, everybody say "HI!"

We have a brand new Troll who can actually write in complete sentences. He's still full of crap, but I thought I'd work through his talking points. I saves writing anything new on a Saturday night. 

"The reality is that Obama has already made big cuts to the budget taking us back to 1952 spending levels." The big lie always works best. on Their lips were moving, that's always a dead giveaway  - The thing about numbers is that you can look them up, they have a liberal bias that way.

Limousine liberals have all the answers. They know what is best for the masses. "Hey, boy. Could you polish and shoes?" on You can dock your billions anywhere you want to - Okay, this one doesn't make any sense.

"John Boner" see when you write that, it is very hard to take the rest of your nonsense seriously. Are you 14 years old? Grow up. on Their lips were moving, that's always a dead giveaway - I'm making fun of him because that is how his name is pronounced. There is no language where the combination of letters is pronounced 'bayner', he's just too vain or insecure to admit it. Of course given his orange skin color, maybe he's not from this planet. Hmmm, the leader of an alien invasion bent on our destruction... That's a theory that makes sense. If you can name the medical condition that makes your skin turn that color, I'll apologize.  (it has to be a disease from this planet)  His heavy drinking could cause Sclerosis of liver that will turn you yellow, but not orange.

Per IRS numbers, the top 1% of earners pay 40% of income taxes. Bottom 20% pay nothing. We are all in this together. Except some folks have no skin in game. While other pay a lot. ... How many poor people are job creators? Oh, right. None. Stop singing the praises of the poor. They are friction on the economy. Might not be politically correct to say it. But, in my world, it is called "drug addict" not "chemically dependent". Soft pedal don't fly here. I wouldn't blame all the 1% if they moved to the Caymans. Then who would pay for the welfare state? Poor people? LOL on You can dock your billions anywhere you want to  - Actually the bottom 47% don't pay income taxes, weren't you paying attention during the election? But seriously you could read the last few hundred posts and get some understanding of why everything you said there is stupid crap. 

Is it my money? Or is it the govt's money to pass around as they please? I work, they take. Robin Hood has $16T in debt. But, no matter, just steal more money from citizens to pay for all these wondefulr social welfare/nanny state programs that just get bigger and bigger and never go away. The madness beat goes on. on Plan B fails - No it isn't your money, notice it has the government seal on it?. The purpose of money is to make the economy work, that's why you only get taxed on your income and other transactions. There is no 'wealth' tax, there is no tax on things you actually do on your own like having a garden. Everything else you do depends on the rest of us, so all of the rest of us get to decide how much you pay for the privilege of using 'our money'. 'The government' isn't an independent body, well except for the guys who write your talking points who are pretty much running the government for their purposes, which you are okay with. 

As I predicted 6 weeks ago, we are going over the Fiscal Cliff. No doubt in my mind. It fits the democrat agenda. More taxes, more money to spend. More debt. More welfare/nanny state. More sucking on Uncle Sammy's tit. Merry Fiscal Cliffmas to all. on Plan B fails - Your side created this 'cliff', and you act like it was everybody else's fault. You lost the election. 

Time for the liberals, ur, progressives to drive us right into the dirt. $16T in debt. .. next stop $20T. ... The more they tax, the more they spend. on Time for a new Calender - The deficit is going away, go back and read the explanation as to why. It's just math. 

If you are 65 and have to eat cat food, well, what the hell were you doing for the 1st 65 years of your life to get in that situation? Obviously, you messed up big time. But, heck, Uncle Sammy will throw you a $200 a month food stamps bone. That should cover a few big bags of Friskies for those that squandered 65 years of life and have nothing to show for it. on Time for a new Calender - Sounds like somebody was born third base with a trust fund, and thinks he hit a triple. Work at minimum wage until you die, that's your answer for the rest of America. And I'll bet you think the minimum wage should be zero.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Time for a new Calender

The Tea Baggers 'saved' Social Security by refusing to take any compromise that Obama was rumored to be willing to accept on taxes, even if they had to pass on the chance to put even more seniors on cat food. If you want to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, he certainly knew these hard right wackos would never go along, and he was just setting Boner up. In a worst case scenario the cuts based on 'chained' CPI would have taken many years to have any real effect, and in the meantime the economy could be put back on track.

Obama has to have these people on the ropes if Grover Norquist was willing to endorse the compromise but the baggers wouldn't. The fact is that the Dems only need to pickup a relative handful of votes to pass their own bill. It's not impossible that you'll see such a coalition in the new Congress. If Harry Reid doesn't get out maneuvered by a handful of Democrats in the Senate we are likely to see sufficient reform to the Filibuster rules to start getting things done in the Senate.

Economists are increasingly optimistic about the likelihood of a hiring boom in the new year. The bad news is that wages are likely to be at the peasant class level instead of the middle class rate we tend to associate with economic 'booms'. On the other hand, boom times tend to favor union organizing and a general feeling of well-being that fuels reform movements. The only two things you need for genuine reform is the will to do something, and the knowledge of what needs to be done. Time has ended for the Mayans, time is about to end for the Teabaggers. Time for Progressives to launch the next age of 'liberal enlightenment'.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Plan B fails

As I predicted Boner didn't have the votes to pass his plan B farce. Have your lift ticket ready we're going down the Bunny Slope.

Plan B would have raised taxes on the 1 million plus earners, except on their dividends and capital gains, where the big money is.

You can dock your billions anywhere you want to

There's only one shopping day left to get your Mayan calendars before they are gone for good. The layoff of calendar makers helped drive up initial unemployment claims by 17,000 from the week before. Total claims are down 21,000 compared to a similar week last year.

If you were concerned about people losing Federally extended unemployment benefits if we start down the Fiscal Bunny Slope, it turns out not to be a widespread problem. According to today's ETA press release only NY state is still getting Federal extended benefits. You see the Republicans made off with that during the last phony crisis by severely limiting eligibility state by state. The needs of actual people don't matter of course.

There are unconfirmed rumors that Obama is willing to give into the Republican demand for 'chained' CPI for calculating Social Security and veterans benefits. This is the most cruel approach to CPI they've come up with yet, as increases will depend on lifestyle choice rather than actual prices.

As people on Social Security are confronted with higher prices and adjust their lifestyle accordingly, the CPI will reflect their lower spending rather than the price increase. In simple terms, if grandma spends a dollar on chicken instead of two dollars on beef because beef has doubled, this shows as no increase. If she stops buying meat in favor of cat food, would that show as a decrease in prices? Probably. As rents increase and seniors are pushed into cheaper housing or no housing, this doesn't show in the CPI. Over time benefits will be squeezed more and more as a comfortable lifestyle in old age becomes 'chained' by ever lower means.

The truth is that this isn't new policy, just a new wrinkle. The CPI has been counting the increased power of personal electronics as price decreases for a long time, this is just one of many point shavers put in place by Reagan. Clinton built factors into the food stamp calculation that steadily cut benefits to the point that even Bush was shamed into increasing them. It was actually Bush that was the 'food stamp President', not Obama.

By some calculations benefits should be 70% higher than they are today. This would not only improve the lives of seniors and the disabled, but stimulate the economy as well. How to pay for it? If today's workers received the wages that their grandfathers enjoyed there would be no shortfall in funding future benefits even without lifting the cap on rich people's Fica contributions.

The simple fact is that working people should make double what they currently are paid on average. This doesn't even factor in the remaining union workers who still get full pay. Once that there are only 'second tier' union workers left the average of wages will be even lower.

Employers are constantly whining that they can't get skilled workers, but they don't pay skilled worker wages for new hires. The average factory worker in the US gets maybe $28/hour (it's probably gone lower since this number was calculated). Second tier workers are lucky to get half that, and increasingly employers are 'locking out' workers to eliminate benefits for the second tier. A 'lock out' is where the employer goes on strike for lower wages even if the employees are willing to accept the status quo. The math is simple, a 'half pay' worker pays half the Fica contribution. It's a 'flat tax', except for rich people, they pay hardly anything. Low wage workers are also part of Romney's 47% who pay no income tax and are 'takers' getting government 'handouts' like Medicaid and child credits.

But golly, the rich are the job creators. Not so much, according to the IRS only 3% of the 0.1% of top earners could be in anyway classified as entrepreneurs. The rest invest very 'conservatively', they don't hire anybody and engage in behavior that costs jobs. Even the actual job 'creators' in this group 'create' most of their jobs in China so that they can 'off shore' the profits and pay no taxes.

Economists studying international banking estimate that between 20-30 Trillion USD are residing in tax haven countries. There aren't huge money bins there of course, the transactions are handled from here as 'foreign' investments, and the money flows freely around the world including into the US. Just without those pesky taxes. Just because the 400 foot 'yacht' is registered in the Caymans, doesn't mean it can dock in Miami. You got to show 'job creators' respect, or else they'll leave. So goes the rightwing talking point ala Ayan Rand's novels. Sounds like they already left. We need to start treating them as foreign nationals, 'that green card will cost you $20 billion'.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Borked into eternity

Today Robert Bork crawled back into what ever slime pit right wing hacks come from. Perhaps he died from a broken heart as the list of neo-cons he drew up as Mitt Romney's  judicial adviser will never serve on the Supreme Court.

He was known as an economic libertarian back in the 50s when Dwight Eisenhower was calling those people 'crazy'. He switched to being a 'law & order' conservative in the 60s. This is really a polar opposite position, if either group actually believed what they say. But 'law & order' bloviating was just the ticket to get a plum job in the "I'm not a crook!" Nixon Administration.

Bork rose from Solicitor General to AG as a result of the 'Saturday night massacre' when the serving AG and his Deputy refused to commit the illegal act of firing the Special Prosecutor who was closing in on Nixon. By law the Special Prosecutor could only be fired for cause such as misconduct, in this case that was getting the goods on Nixon. In case you don't know how that all came out, every senior Nixon White House official save the Press Secretary went to prison. To be fair the VP was only convicted of corruption as governor prior to becoming VP. Oh, and the AG and his Deputy that quit had just recently replaced the ones who were on the way to prison themselves.

Bork was rewarded by Reagan with an Appeals Court appointment, and then nominated for the Supreme Court. The corporate media blames Ted Kennedy for 'Borking' his nomination for purely political purposes. The right has made his name into a synonym for rightwing martyrdom. The fact is that not even all Republican Senators voted for him when it came down to it. He resigned from the Appeals Court to write a string of rightwing screeds, and to resume bloviating about there being no right to privacy, civil rights, women's rights and so on, in the Constitution. He was also obsessed with the decline of American civilization, you know not enough rightwing religion, women getting rights, brown peoples' rights, that sort of thing.

In other words the right has lost one of their heroes today. While he is in line for Sainthood (a minor saint after Reagan),  he was no doubt baffled that Romney lost running on Bork's principles. The miracle just didn't happen.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Their lips were moving, that's always a dead giveaway

I guess we should know by now that when Republicans talk about being reasonable and compromising with the President that they would be lying. Obama gave ground to set the threshold of the Bush tax cut roll back at $400,000 instead of $250,000. He even threw in some cuts to Social Security for no reason other than to make the Republicans feel good about screwing old people.

John Boner immediately pivoted after agreeing to these terms and invoked 'plan B', as if naming it gave it some sort of real world legitimacy. His plan will kick in at a million of taxable income and preserve other breaks for the rich as well.

Boner is just putting on a show to convince the tea bag base he's really one of them. He knows this won't pass the Senate even if Obama approved of it, and he doesn't. In fact the little orange man doesn't even have enough Republican votes to pass it in the House. He needs Democrats to pass any tax increase as the 'screw the country' wing of the Republican caucus won't vote for anything that resembles sound fiscal policy. They are still fantasizing about starving the Federal Government to death, so that the Confederacy can return.

The reality is that Obama has already made big cuts to the budget taking us back to 1952 spending levels. Once the war ends the shortfall will be small enough that when the economy picks up to the speed it should be operating at, the deficit will go away. This also requires the additional revenue from ending the Bush tax cuts. It's just math.

To really get the American Dream back the Reagan tax cuts need to be ended, and well, repeal everything the Republicans have pushed through since 1947. Then we can start seeing the kind of growth they have in China. We have the technology to reshape civilization for the better, we just need to wrestle the economy away from the plutocrats who want it all for themselves.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Fiscal Bunny Slope, riding the rope tow

There's been a lot of chatter about the Republicans actually giving in to most of what Obama wants in terms of taxes in exchange for relatively small benefit cuts for the elderly. The very wealthy will get the full tax increase, and low income seniors will be exempted from cuts. This might be something Obama would take, and not the worst that could happen. Programs would stay intact and age of eligibility remain the same. The new Democratic Congress in 2015 can fix this pretty easily.

Economists have been crunching the numbers and it seems that the current budget deficit will evaporate with the end of the Bush Wars, the Medicare reforms included in Obamacare and the tax increases that seem likely. That is if the economy recovers. It adds up to serious money in terms of the additional revenue that we been missing since the Bush Depression began along with safety net spending on the unemployed.

The economy is moving in the right direction, if Obama can keep the Republicans in line there is a real possibility of those 'happy days being here again', actually happening. John Boner's purge of Tea Baggers from critical House committees makes this seem like a real possibility. The only downside is that the Republican Party probably won't go extinct. Democrats are going to need to work on the education of voters to make that happen.   

Sunday, December 16, 2012

rightwing fantasy

Here's what the right wants to cling to in the face of reality: "Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, says he wishes Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, was armed with an M-4 assault rifle when she confronted Adam Lanza, the shooter who killed 20 children.
“I wish to God she had an M-4 in her office locked up so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,” Gohmert said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”"
The rightwing fantasies don't jibe with reality. The 'compound' mentality, where everyone is considered a 'shooter' until identified doesn't work in reality. We need a 'reality' where the truly mentally ill are treated and if necessary confined. The problem is that we need an overwhelming majority to do this, or it becomes an other talking point for the billionaire right.