Archive for category Republicans

Why We Need To Get Serious About Our Campaign Finance and Communication Laws

Can somebody tell me how the public is being served on our airwaves? I thought there were laws about this sort of thing.

Les Moonves

The CEO at CBS, Les Moonvez, had this to say about that television station’s coverage of the 2016 race, at a UBS investment bank seminar:

…we have the superbowl and we have a year of political advertising that looks like it’s shaping up to be pretty phenomenal, you know, we love having all 16 Republican candidates throwing crap at each other, it’s great! The more they spend the better it is for us and uh… GO DONALD! Keep gettin’ out there and, you know, this is fun. Let them spend money on us and we love having them in there and we’re looking forward to a very exciting political year in 2016.

You can hear the quote at this link from BradBlog’s post on 12/11/2015. [at about 30:00 minutes in]

But let’s not let ABC or all the other outlets off the hook for downright bad coverage of the election, and the debates which haven’t included even one question about climate change from the moderators.

The real story of this election season, is how a self described “democratic socialist” has become the favorite of the American public. Bernie Sanders would easily win a contest with Donald Trump if the election were held today, but except for a couple of debates, he doesn’t exist on the public airwaves:

From Media Matters:

So in terms of stand-alone campaign stories this year, it’s been 234 minutes for Trump, compared to 10 minutes for Sanders. And at ABC World News Tonight, it’s been 81 minutes for Trump and less than one minute for Sanders.

NPR reported 20 seconds for Sanders on ABC World News.

Let “the invisible hand of the market” pick your president.

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Magic Carpet Bombing

Carpet Bombing

Carpet bombing (aka indiscriminate saturation bombing) is actually a war crime. Nevertheless, Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz says he is a fan:

In early December, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, began saying that his military approach to ISIS would be “carpet bombing.” He said during a speech in Iowa on Dec. 5 that “we will utterly destroy ISIS. We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

Senator Cruz doubled down on his campaign rhetoric during this week’s CNN Tea-GOP presidential debate.

What makes this scary is the current mood of the Tea-GOP electorate, which is nothing if not utterly irrational and angry. Public Policy Polling found that “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah. Agrabah is the country from Aladdin.”

To be fair, 19 percent of Dems polled also supported an attack on the made-up Arabian nation from the 1992 animated film. We can’t mince words, you have to call this by its proper name: magic carpet bombing. Which is as good a term as any to describe the insane posturing that dominates the current political debate over national security issues.

More info:
Poll: 30 percent of Republicans want to bomb country from ‘Aladdin’
Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters support bombing any Arab sounding nation — even the fictional land of Aladdin
People Want To Bomb The Fictional Kingdom In ‘Aladdin,’ But Don’t Panic Yet

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Climate Agreement Reached in Paris

Paris climate change agreement

An historic, literally world-changing agreement was reached today in Paris. Almost two hundred leading nations unanimously embraced a plan that will leave most of the world’s fossil fuels unburned.

Following years of abortive talks and failed summits, President Obama said world leaders had finally “met the moment” by coming together and agreeing to a deal that represents “the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve got.”

Historic Climate Change Agreement Adopted In Paris

Some advocates, however, lamented that the deal falls short. They pointed to a lack of a specific timescale for phasing out fossil fuels, for example, as well as weak language on monitoring and verifying countries’ greenhouse gas emission reductions.

“This agreement won’t save the planet, not even close,” Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, a climate advocacy group, told The Huffington Post in an email. “But it’s possible that it saves the chance of saving the planet — if movements push even harder from here on out.”

Indicative of the state of American politics in the age of Faux News Channel, the only Tea-GOPer in Paris for the climate talks was Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former California “Governator.”

Where was the Tea-GOP? Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz held a last-ditch climate denial hearing in the Senate last week.

Ted Cruz Challenged Science At His Climate Change Hearing. Science Won.

All of the Tea-GOP presidential contenders, with the exceptions of Chris Christie and Lindsay Graham, either deny the conclusions of climate science or have been avoiding the issue.

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‘No more than right wing politics turned up to eleven’

Donald Trump

Josh Marshall, like many other political observers, is still trying to explain why Donald Trump remains the front-runner for the Tea-GOP presidential nomination. He has led the polls since he announced his candidacy in July.

Parties and politics inflect and harness trends in the broader society. They don’t create them. There’s nothing new under the sun about Trumpism. It’s just a turbo-charged, more media savvy version of the resentment politics the GOP has been tapping for fuel and riding for decades.

…Trump, in his current incarnation, is no more than right wing politics turned up to eleven.

BTW kudos for the Nigel Tufnel reference from the hilarious “This is Spinal Tap” (1984). Yes, what Trump is saying isn’t really different – only he says it louder.

The right-wing and the Republicans have merged into what I starting calling the Tea-GOP last year (after John Boehner famously said that there was no difference between the Tea Party and the GOP). This means that there is no way for Trump’s primary opponents to attack his actual policy positions as too extreme. On the contrary, they copy his rhetoric.

Before this election cycle, Tea-GOPers used to talk about a border fence (e.g. John McCain’s call to build the “danged fence”). Now everybody calls it a “wall” because Trump wants a wall. When Trump started complaining about so-called “anchor babies,” even John Ellis (“Jeb!”) Bush started using that derogatory term. Now Trump is setting the terms of the hysterical debate regarding Syrian refugees.

None of the serious political journalists think Trump will emerge as the eventual Tea-GOP presidential nominee. Josh Marshall is predicting either Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz or Marco Rubio. Even if he doesn’t win, the Tea-GOP brand is now defined by Trump – and he’ll be giving a big speech at the nominating convention.

More info:
Nate Silver: Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls

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Trump: Your Wages Are Too High!

Trump

Last night’s Tea-GOP presidential debate was a miserable slog through two hours of lies, myths, and disinformation. I gave up after the first hour. But Donald Trump set the tone right away with the very first question from Neil Cavuto. And the Wisconsin audience must have been composed almost entirely of millionaires, because they applauded for every one of the deeply unpopular proposals coming from the eight candidates.

[Emphasis added]

CAVUTO:

…And so we begin. Candidates, as we gather tonight in this very august theater, just outside and across the country, picketers are gathering as well. They’re demanding an immediate hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Just a few hours ago, near Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed doing the same for all state workers, the first governor to do so.

Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?

TRUMP:

I can’t be Neil. And the and the reason I can’t be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I’ve come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It’s going to be a tremendous plan. I think it’ll make our country and our economy very dynamic.

But, taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.

CAVUTO:

So do not raise the minimum wage?

TRUMP:

I would not do it.

(APPLAUSE)

We all laughed when John Ellis (“Jeb!”) Bush told Americans to forget about a raise, just “work longer hours.” Last night, Trump said roughly the same thing.

Americans work an average of 47 hours a week. Our wages have stagnated since 1979. None of the Tea-GOPers on stage last night offered any help at all for the struggling middle class or entry-level workers. Nor did they address the injustice of the low-wage business model, which forces taxpayers to subsidize some of the nation’s most profitable corporations when their employees are not paid a living wage.

More info:
Unemployment keeps going down. So why aren’t wages going up?
Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil
Americans are spending $153 billion a year to subsidize McDonald’s and Wal-Mart’s low wage workers

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Tea-GOP Predictions of Economic Collapse Overtaken By Events

Romney promises 6% unemployment

Via Think Progress.

When he ran for President in 2012, Willard (“Mitt”) Romney claimed that by repealing Obamacare, replacing Dodd-Frank, reining in the EPA, and cutting government spending — he could reduce unemployment to 6 percent by January 2017.

The top-line unemployment rate currently stands at 5 percent, which is close to what economists call “full employment.” Wages for most Americans remain flat, however, and there is significant under-employment.

Today, the Department of Labor announced that 271,000 jobs had been created in October. Overall, there have been 68 straight months of job growth creating 13.5 million new jobs. It is the longest streak of job growth on record in American history.

In 2011, former Speaker John Boehner predicted that Obamacare “will bankrupt our nation, and it will ruin our economy” during a press conference where he used the phrase “job-killing” once every two minutes.

All the Tea-GOP wailing about the Obama administration’s supposed “job-killing” policies seems to have been an exercise in projection or wishful thinking, because it was actually the Tea-GOP committing economic sabotage at every opportunity.

More info:
4 Predictions Republicans Made About The Economy That Are Really Embarrassing Now

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Dr. Ben Carson Offers $2.5 Trillion Federal Deficit

Dr. Ben Carson

Brian Tashman of Right Wing Watch points out that Tea-GOP presidential front runner Dr. Ben Carson’s federal budget numbers add up to an out-of-control annual deficit.

1. Carson proposes a 10 percent flat income tax according to the biblical practice of tithing. This would raise taxes on the poorest 47 percent of Americans, tax the rich at about 1/4 the current rate, and result in an estimated $1.1 trillion in annual revenue.

2. Carson wants a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is unlikely to pass. Such an amendment would make deficits unconstitutional. Carson also says that, as President, he would never sign legislation to raise the debt limit.

3. Carson also would impose a federal hiring freeze, and order cuts of 3 to 4 percent across federal departments, except defense.

Slate’s Jordan Weissmann points out that even if “you were to cut all federal outlays, including Medicare, Medicaid, military spending, and Social Security, by 4 percent, you would save less than $150 billion.” Weissmann also noted that a strict government hiring freeze “would only save about $50 billion over a decade.”

Here’s the arithmetic:

Subtract 4% from the current approximately $3.2 trillion in non-military spending, and you get $3.072 trillion. Add the $600 billion Pentagon budget (which does not include the cost of overseas military operations, BTW). So President Carson would spend $3.672 annually to fund the federal government. Subtract $1.1 trillion in revenues. The answer: Carson would have a $2.572 trillion annual budget deficit, which is more than 6 times the FY 2015 $426 billion deficit.

But wait a minute, he’s for a balanced budget and not adding to the National Debt.

I really hope he gets called on this nonsense in tonight’s debate.

More info:
Ben Carson’s budget plan makes absolutely no sense

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Budget Deal Might Stop Tea-GOP Wrecking Crew

Just before midnight on Monday, congressional leaders and the White House tentatively agreed on a major budget deal. The plan is to end debt limit standoffs through March 2017, and keep the federal government in operation with some sequestration relief. So-called “entitlement reform,” meaning cuts to Medicare and Social Security, was kept within limits.

Presumably, Speaker John Boehner will send this budget bill to the House floor before turning over the gavel to Rep. Paul Ryan.

The good news is, it looks like the U.S. government and economy will survive in the near term. We’ll avoid a looming default on our National Debt, and there will not be a government shutdown on December 11.

The bad news is the Shutdown Caucus, a key block of Tea-GOP members of Congress, still wants to bring about a government shutdown and/or default any way they can. Because of gerrymandering, they are likely to survive the next election. And nobody except Bernie Sanders is talking about taxing the rich anymore.

More info:
Final Major Budget Deal Of The Obama-Boehner Era Forces GOP To Release Social Security Hostages
Dean Baker: Paul Ryan Wants to Shut Down the Government, Permanently

UPDATES:
Paul Ryan On Budget Deliberations: ‘I Think The Process Stinks’
A Whole Lot Of Face-Saving Theater
How John Boehner Saved Paul Ryan From Becoming Boehner 2.0

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The Ultimate Gaffe?

Trump gaffe NYT

Last Friday, presidential candidate Donald Trump committed what might be the ultimate Tea-GOP gaffe. A gaffe is when a politician says something that is true, but politically awkward to mention out loud in a public forum. For example, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Sean Hannity that the Benghazi committee was all about hurting Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. What could be worse than that?

Here’s the quote that’s causing so much heartburn: “When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said. “He was president, O.K.?” Uh-oh.

Tea-GOP orthodoxy clearly states that the Worst President Ever “kept us safe,” and never mind who was in the White House when America suffered the most devastating terrorist attacks in the history of the world. Trump’s mere statement of fact is therefore considered highly controversial, since he’s challenging the biggest big lie of the Tea-GOP.

Think Progress brings the snark: Was George W. Bush President On 9/11? An Investigation Into The Controversy Tearing The GOP Apart

UPDATES:
GOP Presidential Field Split Apart By 9/11
CNN Anchor Asks Bush To Explain His Double Standard For Benghazi And 9/11. It Doesn’t Go Well.

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Tea-GOPers Against ‘Free Stuff’ Unless It’s For The Rich

Monopoly man

Media Matters nails it.

Conservative media outlets are characterizing support among Democratic presidential candidates for raising the minimum wage, making college tuition affordable, and reducing income inequality as giving away “free stuff,” ignoring that tax plans favored by the GOP field are tantamount to huge giveaways for the wealthiest Americans.

In an October 14 article for The New York Times, CNBC’s John Harwood explained that the so-called “populist” tax reform proposals endorsed by most of the Republican presidential candidates are actually giveaways for top income earners. Harwood used estimates from the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation to show that tax plans put out by Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump primarily benefit the wealthy and reflect “a party still wedded to the theories of supply-side economics 35 years after President Reagan championed them under far different circumstances”…

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What? A Guy Can’t Cut A Deal?

Senator Rick Santorum is probably sorry one of his aides didn’t rush him off before the public had a chance to submit questions on the “Overtime” segment of the popular HBO “Real Time” political series from August 28th 2015, which takes place after the HBO cable show signs off. Americans want to know why Republicans are so upset about Obama’s recent diplomacy successes in Iran.

To those of you who are as tired of Reagan worship as I am, this might interest you. Let me try to capsulize a little American history for you here.

Near the end of the seventies, president Jimmy Carter was humiliated by Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” program, which started out every night with a countdown of how many days our second worst enemy – behind Russia – had held American hostages in that “terrorist” country. The American media still avoids touching on what Republican operatives did to gain political prominence during those times.

To make a long story short: Republicans made a secret deal to sell weapons to the “terrorists” in Iran so they could use them against our “friends” in Iraq, while at the same time, making Carter look weak by requiring Iran to detain our hostages until the very moment Reagan was sworn in. Cute. :(

That’s what Maher is alluding to in this video, which was not broadcast on his cable show. The lesson Democrats are supposed to learn, is that only Republicans can negotiate with “terrorists”. When THEY do it, it’s called a “deal”. Notice the, I got caught, look on Santorum’s face. He’ll be telling the same lie starting tomorrow.

Vote Republican. :(

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Meet the Tea-GOP

Last night Rachel Maddow looked at Public Policy Polling’s August 28-30 poll of Tea-GOP primary voters. Aside from the “horse race” findings of who’s ahead and who’s behind (Trump is ahead, followed by Ben Carson, and the other candidates are all in the single digits) the poll revealed just how low-information the Tea-GOPers really are.

Obama a Christian?
Obama born in USA?

President Obama is a self-declared Christian born in the State of Hawaii. Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz was of course born in Canada, and held Canadian citizenship until last year.

More info:
More Republicans Believe Ted Cruz Was Born In USA Than Obama

The number is even more stark among those who indicated that they support 2016 GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Among those voters, 61 percent said Obama was not born in the U.S., while a mere 21 percent concede that he was American born.

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