Archive for category Conservatives
I am about out of energy for this week. But I do have the smoking remains of an irony meter sitting in the corner crying to be heard. And a tiny little mangled… something. Something Confucius might have called Ren. Something I almost forgot about. Read the rest of this entry »
Paul Krugman tries to understand the right-wing Glenn Beck gold craze:
So how can we rationalize the modern goldbug position? Basically, it depends on the claim that runaway inflation is just around the corner.
Why have so many people found this claim persuasive? John Maynard Keynes famously dismissed the gold standard as a “barbarous relic,” noting the absurdity of yoking the fortunes of a modern industrial society to the supply of a decorative metal. But he also acknowledged that “gold has become part of the apparatus of conservatism and is one of the matters which we cannot expect to see handled without prejudice.”
And so it remains to this day. Conservative-minded people tend to support a gold standard — and to buy gold — because they’re very easily persuaded that “fiat money,” money created on a discretionary basis in an attempt to stabilize the economy, is really just part of the larger plot to take away their hard-earned wealth and give it to you-know-who.
But the runaway inflation that was supposed to follow reckless money-printing — inflation that the usual suspects have been declaring imminent for four years and more — keeps not happening.
New York Times: Gold, Long a Secure Investment, Loses Its Luster
Certainly part of the reason why today’s Conservative Republicans come off as so stupid is due in large part to Bill O’Reilly’s bullshit “Talking Points Memo.” Recently Bill said:
Bill O’Reilly: Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, now Cypress, all broke. And other European nations are close. Why? Because they are nanny states. And there are not enough workers to support all the entitlements these progressive paradises are handing out.
Economics professor Richard Wolff punished Bill O’Reilly. Here’s his smackdown on Democracy Now on Monday.
Economic Professor Richard Wolff: You know he gets away with saying things which no undergraduate in the United States with a responsible economic professor could ever get away with. If you want to refer to things as nanny states, then the place you go to in Europe is not the southern tier, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. The places you go are Germany and Scandinavia, because they provide more social services to their people than anybody else.
And guess what, not only are they not in trouble economically, they are the winners of the current situation. The unemployment rate in Germany is now below five percent. Ours is pushing between seven and eight percent.
So, ah, please get your facts right Mr. O’Reilly. The nanny state you call it; the program of countries like Germany and Scandinavia who tax their people heavily by all means, but who provide them with social services that would be the envy of the United States, a national health program that takes care of you whether you are employed or not and gives you proper healthcare.
In France for example the law says when you go to work you get five weeks paid vacation. That’s not an option, that’s the law. You get support when you are a new parent, childcare and so forth.
They provide services and they are successful in Germany and Scandinavia, much more than we are in the United States; and much more than those countries in the south.
So they are not broke in the south because they are nanny states, since the nanny states par excellence are doing better than everyone. The actual truth of Mr. O’Reilly is the opposite of what he says. The more you do nanny state, the better off you are during a crisis, and to minimize the cost of the crisis. That’s what the European economic situation actually teaches. He is just making it up as he goes along to conform to an ideological position that is harder and harder for folks like him to sustain so he has to reach further and further into fantasy.
I post this as a classic example of how the right-wing has hacks the most blunt, vulnerable minds.
John Edwin Jackson
Would you believe this: A movement rises to strip free speech from corporate America, to take the right to speak from PACs and churches and businesses and any other group that is an “artificial entity.”
They would take away free speech — one of the most basic of all human rights — and they would do this right here in America.
The startling thing, to me, is that the movement is winning in so many ways. The startling thing, to me, is that I run into so many people who agree with them. The startling thing, to me, is that while this issue has hardly caught the public’s eye, when it has, people are buying in with it.
The startling thing, to me, is that (if I’ve been told correctly) Montana’s voters have passed legislation calling on leaders to push for a constitutional amendment stripping free speech from corporate America. A citizen’s initiative also passed in Colorado, but it called only for corporate campaigning limits, not actually stripping free speech altogether from corporations. California is considering putting an initiative on the ballot. Voters in about 175 local entities have passed initiatives calling for amending the Constitution, and the governing bodies, themselves, of about 350 local entities have passed measures pushing for a constitutional amendment.
Read the rest of this entry »
Some of my friends and family watch Fox. I make fun of them for it, just as I mock commenters here who link to their tripe. They are, without a doubt, one of the worst “news” sources on earth. They feature people who couldn’t think their way out of a paper bag and who have no connection at all to reality. They regularly lie, or just plain old regurgitate rightwing talking points as if they were news.
They are a place for the ill-informed to go to actually become even more poorly informed.
If you have ever linked to anything they produce as “evidence” to support a claim (except the claim that the entire organization should be shipped to a small asteroid for endangering the human race) you deserve to never be taken seriously again.
Hyperbole? I wish.
Fox News host Eric Bolling on Wednesday accused some schools of “pushing the liberal agenda”
That is hardly, news! They claim that all the time! You have evidence Eric?
One of the things my conservative friends and relatives like to point to as a failure of government is the post office. It may be their favorite non-sequitur. The conversations going something like this:
“…so I don’t understand why they have to keep tax breaks for inheritance and call it a farm protection measure. Almost no family farm ever in the history of the country has to pay any substantial tax in that way. And then they call it a death tax! These people are so Orwellian that it..”
“you know what is a great example of government failure? The post office!”
“That has nothing to do with…”
“I mean can they just break even? Pathetic!”
The fiscal cliff negotiations have simply been too depressing to be believed.
From David Atkins at Digby’s place:
On the long-term consequences, it’s true that the President’s inability to stick to a negotiating position may embolden Republicans to take future hostages. But it’s also entirely unclear that Republicans wouldn’t be emboldened, anyway.
There is no reason to believe that the Republicans wouldn’t do everything in their power to hold the debt ceiling hostage no matter how strongly Obama and Reid had negotiated on the fiscal cliff. If the President takes the Constitutional option to avoid hostage-taking over the debt ceiling, there’s no reason to believe that the Republicans wouldn’t portray him as a dictatorial King George spending hard-working Americans out of their sustenance, justifying their efforts to take even more hostages in the near future out of formerly mundane government functions.[snip]
It doesn’t matter that Americans in general blame Republicans for the fiscal cliff mess far more than Democrats. What matters is that in the vast majority of Republican districts they’re considered heroes for standing up to the evil President, while the few sane or vulnerable ones in the House GOP caucus have no power. So why would they compromise? Why would they buckle? Their voters don’t want them to, and any retreat would only mean a potential challenge from the right. Most of them aren’t the least bit afraid of a Democratic opponent in 2014.
And so the depressing cycle continues. Republicans get crazier and crazier and behave in ever less socially acceptable ways and are rewarded by Republican voters, who as Atkins points out, are even more nuts than elected Republicans: Read the rest of this entry »
Yet another prominent Republican has added his name to the list of those for whom the allure of the Grover Norquist “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” has lost its luster.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has announced that he will no longer honor his commitment to the Norquist pledge wherein he promised not to raise taxes under any circumstances whatsoever. Appearing on a local Georgia television program, Chambliss said, “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge. If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”
While Chambliss expects Norquist to push back on his defection by supporting a primary challenge to Senator Chambliss when he stands for re-election in 2014, Chambliss has decided to take his chances, noting, “But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist.”
While Saxby Chambliss’ sentiment is admirable, is it possible that he has done the math and concluded that the Norquist modus operandi of going after any Republican that dare defy him just doesn’t pack the punch it once possessed?
Judging from the 2012 election results, there is reason to believe that Grover Norquist’s days of bullying candidates into doing his bidding may be a thing of the past.
Going into the elections, 279 Congressional incumbents—along with 286 challengers—had signed the anti-tax pledge. However, at a time when the polls point to an overwhelming number of Americans favoring a rise in the tax rates for the nation’s very wealthiest, some 57 Republican House incumbents or challengers who signed the pledge went down to defeat while 24 GOP sitting Senators or those seeking a seat lost in their race.
Included among the high profile, pledge-signing losers were Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), former Wisconsin Governor and cabinet member Tommy Thompson (R-WI) and two-time loser Linda McMahon (R-CT). Over in the House, long time Congressmen Dan Lungren got beat after a constituent publically challenged him for signing the pledge while two GOP incumbents who had received direct funding from Norquist’s organization, Americans For Tax Reform, in an effort to save their seats, were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, GOP Senate leaders such as Bob Corker (R-TN), John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), have become more vocal in their opposition to Grover Norquist and his tactics as has leading conservative voice, Bill Kristol.
Adding what might be the final nail in the coffin for Mr. Norquist’s brand of political blackmail is the fact that the likely GOP frontrunner for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016, Gov. Jeb Bush—while highly supportive of keeping taxes low—has steadfastly refused to sign the tax pledge saying, “I don’t believe you outsource your convictions and principles to people.” The younger Bush follows in the footsteps of his father, President George H.W. Bush, who earlier this year made his own feelings completely clear when he remarked, “The rigidity of those pledges is something I don’t like. The circumstances change and you can’t be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist. It’s – who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?”
Good question—who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?
While he has managed to become more famous than most, at the end of the day, Grover Norquist is a lobbyist.
In fact, according to Jack Abramoff—the disgraced lobbyist who went to jail after entering a guilty plea to three criminal felonies involving defrauding American Indian tribes and corrupting public officials—Mr. Norquist’s organization served as a conduit for funds that flowed from Abramoff’s clients to surreptitiously finance grass-roots lobbying campaigns.
It makes sense that the GOP is now breaking their promise on tax hikes. As of now, refusing to do so could cost them their seat in 2014.