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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why regulations matter

Massey Energy Co. could have prevented the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 workers last year and the company failed to disclose some hazards in reports it provided to government inspectors, federal safety officials said Wednesday.

Patricia Smith, the U.S. Labor Department's top lawyer, said not recording hazards where required was a potential criminal violation of the Mine Act and "we have notified the U.S. attorney of that."

The Justice Department's probe of the accident is continuing, it said recently. Its investigation has so far resulted in a criminal indictment against the former head of safety at the Upper Big Branch mine for allegedly attempting to destroy evidence. He has pleaded not guilty.

At a briefing Wednesday in Beaver, W.Va., Kevin Stricklin, coal administrator for mine safety and health at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said, "We found there to be two sets of books" kept by Massey.

Republicans hate regulations and Corporations hate getting caught.

Santorum is outraged that Obama picked on corporate jet owners

Howdare he attack rich corporate jet owners. He promised to bring Americans together. Why aren't those 400,000 teachers who lot their jobs in the last couple of years not be marching in the streets to oppose this divisiveness. Why aren't all those low income women who we denied nutritional aid to marching in solidarity. He's picking on our constituency, rich assholes. How dare he.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"No one could have predicted" - State budget cuts would cost jobs

Republicans stand by their credo that cutting public spending will lead to an increase in private sector job growth as well as overall economic growth. A recent Harvard University study of 107 economies where government spending was cut during recessionary times resulted in further economic decline in all but 3 of the economies. The three economies that didn't decline all saw significant easing of the money supply by the central bank.

This hasn't stopped Republicans at both the Federal and state level from insisting that the 'cut and grow' policy is the only way to stimulate private sector growth.

Logic would predicate that they are wrong. Government cuts inevitably involve reductions on government employment as well as in spending. People who have lost their jobs tend to spend less. That's so fucking obvious is doesn't even warrant explaining but with GOP economics even the glaringly obvious has to be explained.

A new study confirms the obvious. States that have cut more tend to have employment rates in both the public and private sector that have performed worse than average while states that haven't cut spending performed above the national average.

Relative to national economic trends, states that increased spending enjoyed on average:

0.2 percentage point decrease in the unemployment rate

1.4 percent increase in private employment

0.5 percent real economic growth since the start of the recession

In contrast, states that cut spending saw on average

1 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate

2.1 percent loss of private employment

2.9 percent real economic contraction relative to the national economic trend

Steep state spending cuts have gone hand-in-hand with rising unemployment rates, falling private-sector payroll employment, and lower growth in state’s gross domestic product, or GDP.

Michelle Bahmann and facts - casual acquaintances at best

She's managed to be one of the chief promulgators of the 'lie of the year' according to the non-partisan Politifact. She's become the Meryl Streep of Politifact's lie of the year award. Last year she won for claiming health care reform was a government takeover of health, She won that award jointly with many others, but not to be outdone was also nominated for her lie that President Obama's trip to India was costing the taxpaper over $200 million a day.

Her impeccable source for that bit of twaddle was the renowned investigative journalist Matt Drudge who's impeccable source for that item was a single newspaper in India.

She was separated twice in 2009, once jointly with many others for the 'Death Panel' claim but also separately for claiming page 92 of the ACA would bar people from buying private insurance after a certain date. Forget that she had the wrong page but she couldn't have misinterpreted the offending quote, (actually on page 91) if she had tried.

Today she officially launched her Presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, where she as born. She's a bit confuse about the history of Waterloo however. At least the one in Iowa. In an interview with Fox News today she said, ""But what I want them to know, just like John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa, that's the kind of spirit that I have, too."

She was a tad confused, The John Wayne she was probably referring to was born Marion Morrison (way to gay a name for someone like John Wayne) in Winterset IA, wbout 120 miles away. The John Wayne who is connected to Waterloo IA, was John Wayne Gacy who raped and murdered over 30 men before being caught, tried and executed.

Just a slight mix up.

At this rate, her end won't be that different from another delusional little megalomaniac who also had his ass handed to him at Waterloo; not the one in Iowa.

Amy McDonald - Mr. Rock n' Roll

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rick Santorum "There is no such thing as global warming"

97% of scientists are wrong according to 'fetus in a jar' Ricky.

He found a friendly interviewer in Glenn Beck:

BECK: Oil?

SANTORUM: Drill. Drill everywhere.

BECK: Coal?

SANTORUM: Absolutely. Natural gas. We have huge stores. 263 years of oil at the current rate, almost 200 years of gas, and 300 years of coal.

He wants to make sure we use every bit of it as quickly as possible. Who needs clean air. Not Ricky or his family.

David Prosser, the controversial Wisconsin Judge takes judicial activism to new level

During a heated meeting, Judge David Prosser who was recently re-elected with a razor thin margin recently allegedly attacked a fellow judge physically by grabbing her by the neck.

Prosser supporters at the scene claim Ann Walsh Bradley, a fellow Supreme Court judge charged him with raised fists and all he was doing was defending himself after Bradley asked him to leave her chambers during a meeting attended by six of the seven judges.

Prpsser had previously called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a "total bitch" and had vowed to "destroy her.

Based on prior behavior I would tend to side with the account that claims he was the instigator.

Redemption Song - Playing for Change

Another great song from Playing For Change,a great and worthy organization that truly brings the world together through music. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

American justice

Steal $3 billion get a slap on the wrist.  Steal $100 because you're homeless, hungry and need the money to stay in a detox center, then turn yourself in to the police the next day because you feel bad about stealing the $100 - 15 years in prison.

Taken from a Facebook post.

 Clink on image to enlarge.

A couple of charts from Mother Jones

More here.

Michele Bachmann's holy war - Matt Taibbi strikes again

Admittedly, she's an easy target.

This background is significant considering Bachmann's leadership role in the Tea Party, a movement ostensibly founded on ideas of limited government. Bachmann says she believes in a limited state, but she was educated in an extremist Christian tradition that rejects the entire notion of a separate, secular legal authority and views earthly law as an instrument for interpreting biblical values. As a legislator, she not only worked to impose a ban on gay marriage, she also endorsed a report that proposed banning anyone who "espoused or supported Shariah law" from immigrating to the U.S. (Bachmann seems so unduly obsessed with Shariah law that, after listening to her frequent pronouncements on the subject, one begins to wonder if her crazed antipathy isn't born of professional jealousy.)Miche

She would be quite at hope other than believing in the wrong religion.

Some light entertainment

Animals being dicks

Click on older below the video for more.

Fox News - classy as always

A new Gallup poll shows President Obama has lost more support from white women than any other sex/race group. Fox News' response.

The racist dog whistle blows loud and clear.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Newt Gingrich logic fail

Gingrich Calls For Audit Of Fed While Also Urging Repeal Of Legislation That Audits The Fed.

Newt's residential campaign might be end up being the worse since....Fred Thompson. A couple of weeks ago almost his entire staff resigned while he was cruising the Greek Islands with wife Tiffany Callista. Now his campaign finance staff have resigned due to huge debts being run up by Gingrich who is raising little money for the campaign but spending it freely on travel and other perks.

Then again most sane people knew Gingrich, an inveterate grifter, is only in the race to scam more money. Everyone, including himself, knows he is completely unelectable.

Hey, it worked for Donald Trump. A new $130 million contract from NBC for a show that was previously in a steep decline makes Trump the early election winner.

Miss America contestants on teaching evolution

Miss Alabama, "No, I don't believe in evolution and it shouldn't be taught in school."

The most common answer was. "We have to present both sides of the issue." The lunatics and the idiots are winning the argument. There is no, "both sides of the issue." you lip glossed cretins. There is no debate about evolution. Using the canard that it's only a "theory" therefore it isn't true goes against all scientific methodology. Anything that can't be definitively proved in a lab or in an equation remains a theory, thus Evolution can't be proved.

Not one iota of evidence, other than the idiocy of Creationists, has been found to disprove Evolution. Until someone finds a neanderthal skeleton with a Walkman or a Rolex, logic dictates that evolution is a fact. There is no other side of the argument.

Admittedly, the contestants are in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't" dilemma
Miss America was won by Miss California, an admitted science geek who completely endorsed teaching evolution without venturing into the 'both sides' argument. There is some justice.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Aides to GOP Governor indicted for black voter suppression.

They can't help themselves. They do it legally wherever and whenever they can. Sometimes they don't and this time they got caught. Look over there quick, those Democrats are stealing election.

The indictment, handed up by a Baltimore City grand jury, came after an eight-month investigation by State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt into tens of thousands of robocalls that went out late on Election Day. A caller instructed voters in Democratic areas to stay home and “relax” because Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley had already won. In fact, the polls were still open. [...]

The indictment describes a document titled “The Schurick Doctrine” and says that it was “designed to promote confusion, emotionalism, and frustration among African-American Democrats.”

They don't really like Democracy.

How Republicans steal elections

In Texas a license to carry a concealed handgun is accepted as ID for voting but a student ID is not. Despite massive hysteria about "phantom" voter fraud Republican controlled state legislatures have been conducting an all out assault voting eligibility.

There is still a huge segment of Republicans who believe Acorn stole the last election for Obama despite winning the popular vote by over nine and a half million.

Texas, Maine,Kansas, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Tennessee have already passed laws this year restricting voting access.

As EJ Dionne writes:

An attack on the right to vote is underway across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. If this were happening in an emerging democracy, we’d condemn it as election-rigging. But it’s happening here, so there’s barely a whimper.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gov Perry of Texas vetos bipartisan bill to ban texting while driving

In a statement, Perry explained that it was already illegal for people under 18 to text while driving but the Bill "is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults."

Texting while driving is illegal in virtually every state bot not Texas. 25 people died in a train crash in the Lon Angeles area in September 2008 because the engineer missed a red light while texting. I hope the first fatality caused by a driver texting in Texas will see Perry himself being sued.

Perry is actually quite comfortable micromanaging adults lives. He supports the Teas law against sodomy. Now that's what I call micromanaging and that doesn't endanger people's lives.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

RIP Clarence Clemons

Claence Clemons died today as a result of a stroke he suffered last week. The E Street Band that played behid Bruce Springsteen was best epitomized by the looming figure the 6' 5" 270 poud sax player who's energy smile and stage presence reflected the energy and passion of the band almost as much as Bruce Springsteen himself.

He will be missed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cable News cuts away from Nancy Pelosi for talking about jobs and Medicare

She wouldn't talk about Anthony Weiner so for the cretins that run the media there was nothing to report. Weiner or jobs. What do Americans care about?

It was her usual Thursday press conference yet all the networks just assumed she would talk Weiner. The countdown began until Pelosi opened with this:

"As usual we're here to talk about jobs, about protecting Medicare and protecting the middle class. If you're here to ask a question about Congressman Weiner, I won't be answering any."

Thar was enough for the media. Reason #85 this country is fucked.

GOP - Signing statements OK under Bush, not Obama

Signing statements are used by Presidents to circumvent Congress. The idea that this is an excessive use of Presidential power is certainly valid but for Republicans that depends more on who is President, rather than a constitutional issue.

Bush used signing statements to exempt U.S. contractors in Iraq from U.S. laws, to stop Congressional attempts to fight genocide and to the legal obligation to hire qualified people for FEMA. "You're doing a heck of a job Brownie" will live in infamy.

In a House Appropriations bill the House Republicans have barred the President from using funds doe 'signing statements'. It will in all likelihood, be stripped out of the Senate version. Just another example of IOKIYAR (It's okay if you are a Republican).

Robert Reich explains the economy in under 2 minutes

Mitt Romney - "I'm also unemployed"

Keep it up Mitt. What an insensitive tool. He inherited wealth and is worth over $200 million thanks to his former company, Bain & Co. which specialized in buying and breaking up companies while firing thousands of employees.

Anthoney Weiner resigns - Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) still in the Senate

Anthony Weiner has resigned from Congress. It was unfortunately inevitable as the situation got worse and worse. He has only himself to blame but he will be missed. Sen. Vitter, family values man that he is, remains in office despite enjoying the services of ladies of the night in both New Orleans and Washington DC, crimes in both places.

Weiner didn't break the law but lost his moral authority. He will be missed. Here is a classic Weiner rant in the House when the GOP was obstructing the bill funding health care for 9/11 first responders.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's not just for gays anymore

Neil Partick Harris doing the brilliant opening to the Tony Awards. It beats anything the Oscars have done in years.

The GOP debate: tackling issues most people don't care about

bla bla bla. Tax cuts, government bad,tax cuts,Obama bad,health care bad,Muslims scary,gays icky,regulations bad,EPA bad, pollution good,rich people need more money,private sector great,tax cuts good Obama bad,deregulation good,protecting consumers bad etc etc.

One question that should have been asked:

Large corporations are currently sitting on about $2 trillion in cash. Many of them barely pay taxes because of loopholes and credits. What makes you think lowering corporate taxes and eliminating capital gains encourage them to start investing some of that money in expanding and creating jobs?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Worker's share of income in America

No words necessary.

The right's favorite historian, David Barton is a blithering idiot

Barton is the right's favorite historian. He obviously has a lot of influence judging by his twisted view of the facts of history. He recently claimed that the Founding Fathers rejected Darwin's theory of evolution. This is a truly unique view of history considering Darwin was born in 1809, long after the Founding Fathers were done with their 'founding'.

He's also claimed that the colonists wanted to break away from England to make it easier to abolish slavery. Nevermind that Jefferson and many other Founding Fathers were slave-owners or that Britain abolished slavery more than 20 years before America without having to fight a Civil War about it.

No wonder Michelle Bachmann claimed the Founding Fathers worked to abolish slavery

Mother Jones has the story including this gem:

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another potential GOP presidential candidate, says we need to return to our Biblical principles to escape from our current system of economic slavery (yes, he really said this), he's channeling Barton.

Separately, Perry recently claimed that the current economic crisis is part of God's plan, validating Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein claim that his company was doing God's work.

Maine GOP kill same day voter registration to kill phantom 'Democrat fraud

The Maine GOP controlled legislature voted to kill same day voter registration because 'Democrats intentionally steal elections.' It awaits signature by the fat-ass Governor Paul LePage whose approval ratings have been plummeting along with many other new GOP governors.

He gained fame for removing a painting honoring labor from the State Capital and for proposing to roll back child labor laws.

If Democrats are so good at stealing elections how come Lepage and his clown posse of Representatives won the election. Phantom election fraud is the excuse used by the GOP to limit access to voting, something they are working on with more vigor than ever.

Funny that the biggest election fraud case in years sent 8 GOP election officials in Clay County, Kentucky to jail for a combined 156 years for extortion and vote fraud that had gone on for decades.

Those who scream loudest about wrongdoing are often the wrongdoers themselves.

Stormy Monday - Cream

Far from stormy in Los Angeles at 2 PM. Clear sunny skies and 75 degrees. Kick back and enjoy Eric Clapton at his bluesy best.

Grand Theft Iraq - $6.6 billion worth

Rep Dana Rochrabacher (R-CA) was asked to leave Iraq for behaving like a complete idiot by insisting that Iraq repay us for the privilege of being invaded by the U.S.

This makes him look like even more of an idiot.

Missing Iraq money may have been stolen, auditors say, according to the L.A. Times.

Soon after the invasion the Pentagon loaded about $12 billion in shrink wrapped $100 bills on transport planes to Iraq to be used for construction projects. The money belonged to Iraq from came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the United Nations' oil-for-food program. $6.6 billion, a little more than half has not been accounted for. Congressional investigators have now concluded that most if not all of the $6.6 billion was stolen.

The Iraqis are pissed and are suing the U.S. so the U.S. are probably going to have to dig deep and pay out the $6.6 billion. It's one more illustration of the reckless and cavalier manner in which the whole war was carried out.

I'm waiting for the first GOP politician to suggest the $6.6 billion come out of a program for Veterans, child nutrition, woman's health or some such program. I'm absolutely certain one of them will suggest it and when they do I will devote as much time and energy as I can to target that politician on this blog and elsewhere.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Imagine if the excess of the Bachmann tax plan came from the left.

Michelle Bachmann's tax plan is pure right wing class warfare. Eviscerate taxes for the wealthy, the super wealthy and corporations and shift the burden onto the 47% who don't pay taxes even though they do pay taxes in many other ways.

Consider a liberal equivalent.

Raise taxes by the same amount Bachmann wants to lower them. Capital Gains goes to 30% instead of zero. Apply same to estate taxes and corporate taxes. The increase the minimum wage to $12.00 an hour and protect Unions.

The right would be bleating class war, class war in 0.2 seconds. So why is Bachmann exempt from the same charge? There is no need to answer. It reflects the depravity of politics in America today.

Santorum noses ahead in the GOP Presidential crazy stakes:

QUESTION: Do you believe that there should be any legal exceptions for rape or incest when it comes to abortion?

SANTORUM: I believe that life begins at conception, and that that life should be guaranteed under the Constitution. That is a person.

QUESTION: So even in the case of rape or incest, that would be taking a life?

SANTORUM: That would be taking a life, and I believe that any doctor that performs an abortion, I would advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion, should be criminally charged for doing so.

This was on Meet The Press on Sunday, not Fox News or some batshit crazy right wing radio show. That lays down a market in the GOP race. No going back from that unless he pulls a Gingrich and claims that any of his quotes from Sunday are a complete falsehood.

Just this weekend Pawlenty comes out with an economic plan that cuts more taxes than Ryan ans assumes a 5% GDP growth for a decade. Even Chris Wallace makes him look like an idiot, then Bachmann tops that from the safety of the pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Santorum then stakes a marker in the furthest reaches of the abortion debate, a position that anyone marginally beyond the lunatic fringe would find abhorrent.

Maybe Mittens will get the nomination in the end only because he isn't totally insane.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Michelle Bachmann takes the lead in promoting income inequality

First Paul Ryan proposed lowering the corporate income ta to 25%. Tim Pawlenty doubled down and suggested 15% along with eliminating capital gains and the estate ta completely. In the race to the bottom, or the far right which is really the same thing Michelle Bachmann staked out new territory. She wants the corporate ta rate lowered to 9%. That alone will cost $2 trillion over the next decade. She all for eliminating capital gains (68% of which are paid by the top 1%) and the estate ta (paid by 1/4 of the top one percent). God knows, Paris Hilton needs a break.

She also wants the 47% who don't earn enough to pay taxes to offset her largesse to the super wealthy.

Her main goal is to get tax rates down with a broad-based income tax that everyone pays and that “gets rid of all the deductions.” A system in which 47% of Americans don’t pay any tax is ruinous for a democracy, she says, “because there is no tie to the government benefits that people demand. I think everyone should have to pay something.”

Actually that 47% pay taxes in the form of payroll taxes, sales taxes and local taxes but then Bachmann is never one for facts. The Bachann's of the world complain that the rich pay too big a share of taxes. That because they have gamed the system and over the past couple of decades have increased their share of earnings disproportionately while income for 90% of Americans has remained static.

This doesn't create a healthy economy. America's greatest period of economic gain was in the post war years when income gains were spread among all stratas of society. Taxes were higher yet economic growth was far more robust. Maybe lower taxes don't correlate with economic growth the way current GOP tax cutting fanatics would want to believe.

Witness recent reports from Walmart, a canary in the coalmine company if ever there was one. They are reporting far lower sales of everything but basic essentials towards the end of the month. Demand is lower for everything else save items that the wealthy buy. When half or more of the population are cutting back on everything but essentials, the economy can't grow even if you eliminate all taxes for corporations. That basic logic escapes the right.

I am well aware that the GOP doesn't want the economy to grow as long as Obama is in office but it has gone beyond that. Cutting taxes and cutting the deficit on the backs of the less fortunate has become a religion that cannot be violated under any economic circumstances. If Michelle Bachmann were to have her way, the economy would continue to wither while the income gap will approach third world proportions. This is not America, or at least the America that became the greatest nation.

For a comparison red this NY Times article about Germanywhere Unions remain strong and the government and ensures that relative wealth remains proportional. Needless to say Germany is coping a lot better with the world's current economic circumstances.

Rep Dana Rohrabacher enganders troops, asked to leave Iraq

We invade Iraq for non existent WMDs. We screw up the occupation because Rumsfeld et al refused to listen to wiser minds who said, 'whatever you do don't fire the Iraqi army so they did. Rumsfeld refused to listen to the CIA for two years who warned him that an insurrection was starting. Untold lives lost, and are still being lost as a low level civil war continues. 2.1 million refugees fled Iraq and another 2.8 million are still displaced inside Iraq and this little prick Rohrabacher shows up and tells the Iraqis they have to pay us for the war we started.

The Iraqi response:

“Those people are not welcome in Iraq. They are raising a controversial issue which influences the strategic relation between us and the United States,” he said.

“They are asking for compensation for the war and we are not committed to pay anything to any of the people who participated in the invasion of Iraq,” he told Reuters.

Nevermind the arrogance, Rohrabacher's words can only stir up anti-American feelings, which still run deep and strong in Iraq despite the idea that we somehow did them a great favor. No wonder they hate us.

Jethro Tull - Aqualung

The Koch brothers and the John Birch Society

Their father founded it and the brothers and the Birchers still love each other. That's today's GOP for you.

Think Progress has the full story and further links,

Scott Walker sides with foreign corp over small local businesses

If you want to understand why Scott Walker, the lying, dishonest sack of shit governor of Wisconsin. He's often been quoted as saying that small businesses are "the backbone of our economy". If he truly believes that, something he sneakeb in to the state budget takes a huge whack at that backbone.

A law in the budget has outraged the 60 or so Craftsman beer brewers in Wisconsin crippling their businesses and making it that much harder for new brewers to start up, all to mollify a large corporate donor, a foreign owned one at that.

Miller/Coors, now owned by South African Breweries supports the proposal because it shares concerns with wholesale distributors about the possibility of Anheuser-Busch buying wholesalers throughout the country, said company spokesman James Wright.

The craft brewers argue that this is a 'red herring and they are the real target, citing the fact that Anheuser-Busch has passed up 16 opportunities to buy distributors in Wisconsin.

The law prohibits any beer from being sold without a middleman distributor. This will cripple smaller and new craft breweries that may not have enough volume to warrant the attention of a distributor. A start up craft brewer can't sell a bottle until they secure a distribution deal and how do you create any sort of demand when you can't sell any beer.

Wisconsinites love their beer. The trend, not only for beer, but in many foods is towards craftsman or artisan foods and drinks across the U.S. I work in the Artisan food world in California. It's thriving and truly represents what Walker calls the "backbone of the economy". It is wholly entrepreneurial, representing the best of what America is about as a nation. All that is required is hard work, compliance with the same health regulations that apply to all food producers, passion and innovation.

It's changing the way we eat and perceive food in a healthier manner, supporting local businesses in a more sustainable way that benefits the community as a whole. Gov. Scott Walker has chosen a $22,000 donation over this.

If there is a silver lining to this, Walker, who has turned his governorship into a "who can I piss off next" has managed to enrage another sector of the population. The various beer craftsman companies their friends, families and customers include many more voters than the large brewery interests he serves.

He will be facing a recall petition and in all likelihood an election in 2012. Bring it on. What a dishonest jerk he's turned out to be. This isn't even about Union busting or some other goal of the right wing agenda. This goes against everything a true conservative/libertarian would support. Shame on him.

The nutcases will never give up: Natural Born Citizen version

Having lost the birth certificate argument, the dieharders are not going away. They are now using the natural born citizen' argument that a President's parents and especially the father has to have been an American born citizen as well.

The people are sovereign people; they have sovereign political rights. It’s the county sheriff’s job to protect the people in his county, including their political rights, from an unlawful election that has overthrown the Constitution. It’s the sheriff’s job to protect that. Therefore, the first sheriff who has the guts to stand up and say, “There will be no election held in our county which permits Barack Hussein Obama on the ballot. We will use force of arms, if we have to, to prevent him from being on the ballot” could begin an avalanche.

That’s their job; they have the authority to do it under these circumstances and they have the obligation to do it. If they’re not going to do it, then they become the ones who are soldiers implementing the overthrow of the U.S. government. They become soldiers to the Obama criminal regime who rob you of your sovereignty and place you in involuntary servitude to a non-representative government, one that doesn’t recognize your political rights and your sovereign political status such that you can’t even get standing in the courts.

Therefore, it is the sheriff’s job to prevent this from happening by standing up and saying, “Obama will not be allowed to be on any ballots in my county. No polling place will be allowed to function with his name on the ballot.”

I'm not going to link to the drivel. The fact that Obama is the seventh President with a foreign born parent of whom three excluding Obama who had foreign born fathers. Andrew Jackson, for good measure had both parents who were born outside the U.S. Obama is, however, the first President with a black foreign born father who was a Muslim, socialist Kenyan with an anti-colonial worldview and that makes all the difference.
Off line for a couple of days during a move that was a little more complicated that it should have been in, while in the midst of work. Back again and regular posting will resume, although probably a light weekend.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pawlenty and Cain blur the differnce between the Oinion and the Real world

First Tim Palenty comes up with his Google test for government services. If you can find the same service on Gogle, the government shouldn't be doing it. Amtrak was on the list, Government run Amtrak is the only intercity passenger rail service. Extend that to online universities and you get the drift. Definitely Onion territory.

Herman Cain, not to be outdone vowed not to sign any bill longer than three pages to a wildly cheering crowd. The bill that would pass the tax cuts he wants may just be able to be squeezed into 100 pages. Only ceremonial and naming bills would be passed in a Herman Cain presidency and the crowd cheers him on. Are you fucking kidding me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Pogues "When the ship comes in"

The Pogues doing the under appreciated Bob Dylan classic.

Culture - "International Herb"

After reading Tim Pawlenty's "Better Deal" economic proposal I recommend a double dose of the herb. If nothing else, it can create a far more pleasant 'alternative reality'

Pawlenty: If you can Google it, the government doesn't need to provide it

If you're a Republican running for President in 2012 you have one option. Pander to the base so it's a choice of nutty and nuttier or dumb and dumber or you can land up like Jon Huntsman where a recent Iowa poll found one supporter who had voted for Obama in 2008. Gary Johnson was a bit luckier. He had Willie Nelson's support
...for almost 24 hours.

So the only option left is to move as far to the right as possible. No easy task with Michelle Bachman and Rick 'fetus in a jar' Santorum in the race.

Tim Pawlenty is working on it. He's making a major economic speech in Chicago where amongst other things he will accuse Obama of waging class warfare. For Republicans 'class warfare' is a one way street. If it's about the ever widening income gap in America and the destruction of the middle class it's class warfare but if it's budget cuts aimed solely at low income earners that not class warfare, it's being fiscally responsible.

Pawlenty's plan will, in his own words he will take on “President Obama’s big government and heavy handed regulations” with new ideas that will spur Americans “to innovate, invest, compete, and create new businesses and jobs.” or, in other words even more tax cuts for the wealthy. Pawlenty goes further than Ryan in completely eliminating capital gains, dividend and interest income and the estate tax as well as cutting corporate taxes to 15%.

Just imagine the innovation and job creation that will be unleashed if Paris Hilton didn't have to pay any estate taxes.

He would also sunset all regulations unless Congress chose to keep them or replace them. Imagine the chaos. But that's not all. Here's where he goes off the deep end.

I don't want to sound redundant, having covered this over and over on this blog, but his tax ideas will lower federal ta revenues from what is now, a 60 year low relative to GDP so who will get to foot the tax bill, yes the middle class but don't ever dare call this class warfare. Decimating the tax base will explode the deficit and that would force the debt ceiling to be raised, just as it was seven times during the Bush administration when the GOP Congress voted for it unanimously without one complaint.

Then Pawlenty goes into turbo bizarro world mode on how to offset this revenue loss. In his won words:

“If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it,” Mr. Pawlenty says. “The post office, the government printing office, Amtrak, Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], were all built in a time in our country when the private sector did not adequately provide those products. That’s no longer the case.”

Tim, finding the Amtrak schedule on the internet and then finding pictures of your destination doesn't exactly get you there. You can also get a fake high school diploma or a college degree so goodbye public education.

Not wishing to flog a dead horse but it as to be done from time to time. The non financial sector of the Fortune 500 companies is currently sitting on about $1.5 trillion in cash and cash equivalents, yet job growth has been anemic at best so more tax cuts will only create more unspent cash reserves, that's assuming they have bee paying their share of taxes which is a rarity among large corporations.

Republicans then fall back on their other excuse, too much uncertainty. There is always uncertainty. If not uncertainty, then it's over regulation. Somehow, that didn't seem to hinder the creation of 23 million new jobs in the Clinton era.

There is one overriding factor in the current too slow economy. With industrial capacity in America sitting at about 80% there is no reason for corporations to invest on any large scale or hire more workers. Demand for goods is low and the increase in gas and food prices may not be felt by Tiffany but it is being felt by Walmart. As local and state governments, particularly those controlled by the GOP, cut the length of unemployment benefits and lay off teachers and other government workers spending by those affected is dropping further slowing the economy.

The religion of Reaganomics must be served despite the mountain of evidence that it doesn't work. When Clinton raised taxes the Republicans predicted the end of America as we know it. The result was 23 million new obs and a balanced budget. It was the end of America as we know it in a sense.  Most readers weren't born the last time we had such a budget surplus.  When Obama bailed out the auto industry we got the same tired litany, endorsed by every 2012 hopeful. Despite the crappy economy the Auto industry has rebounded, saving not just the car companies but many of their suppliers.

Why are such cockamamie economic ideas such as Pawlenty's still being taken seriously by anyone other than true believers. Here's a better idea. In the current deficit hysteria, that has as much chance of happening as Paul Ryan's "path to prosperity" actually leading the country back to posterity.

UPDATE: Think Progress has since done the analysis. Pawlenty's tax cuts, unless they are offset with huge middle class tax hikes will cosst $7.8 trillion over 10 years, three times more than the Bush tax cuts, lowering federal revenues to an unheard of 13% of GDP. At the same time his plan calls for spending at 18% of GDP. That would create an annual deficit of about $750,000 billion annually. He's opposes raising the debt ceiling. If his economic policy were a term paper he would get an F for both math and logic. He should Google himself a high school diploma first.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Palin movie "Undefeated" gets reviewed.

But its tone is an excruciating combination of bombast and whining, it’s so outlandishly partisan that it makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln and its febrile rush of images — not excluding earthquakes, car wrecks, volcanic eruption and attacking Rottweilers — reminded me of the brainwash movie Alex is forced to sit through in “A Clockwork Orange.” Except no one came along to refresh my pupils with eyedrops.

The full review here.

Calling this movie "Undefeated" is the equivalent of calling the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl hightlight film by the same name.

Zombie brained tax cutting idiots

Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) have written a letter to Treasury Sec. Tim Geitner on why and how we can avoid raising the debt ceiling and still meet our debt obligations.  It's simple, stop paying for other stuff as long as its not for defense or our salaries and benefits. If it were that easy.

As the debt ceiling debate heats up, remember this. These same Republicans who are now demanding huge cuts with Medicare and other programs or no raising the debt ceiling. That a majority of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling is due more to most Americans not understanding the consequences of default than support for such idiocy.

These two facts might help them change their minds.

1 Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling 7, yes SEVEN times during the Bush administration without a squawk.

2 - The Ryan fairy dust "Path to Prosperity" doesn't tackle deficits for at least another 10 years in any serious way and with more tax cuts for the wealthy including eliminating capital gains and estate taxes the deficit will continue to rise unless their wishful thinking that passing the budget will immediately generate a housing construction boom of $89 billion in 2012. BTW, only 18.6 homes are stand empty right now in America.

Zombie brains rule our world.

Sarah Palin fans try to edit Paul Revere Wikipedia entry

Nice try idiots.  Can politics in America get get any more stupid.  Short answer, wait until next year.

Marriage in America

Sarah Palin doubles down on her mangled history

Contrary to Palin’s claim that Revere warned the British they would not succeed, Revere attempted to avoid all contact with British troops or British loyalists already living in the colonies. The entire point of Revere’s mission was to inform the patriots of the British movements without the British knowing they were being informed.

Sarah Palin, the gift that keeps on giving.

todd Rungren: Can we still be friends

Republicans: Homosexuality and Abortion more important than economy

Former boy wonder and Jack Abramoff sidekick, Ralph Reed is back running the Faith and Freedom Coalition. After a scandal plagued career that began rigging elections in College and almost died in the Abramoff scandal where he laundered money for Abramoff to oppose Indian gambling so his mentor could extract higher fees from his clients and a humiliating Primary defeat running for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia he's got most of the GOP Presidential candidates kowtowing to him other than Sarah Palin who was off on her family vacation publicity tour. Even Donald Trump showed up. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were there along with John Boehner and Paul Ryan among others.

This was their chance to confront the problems facing America. Not that the economy or the power o Wall Street, the oil companies or any of the real problems were part of the agenda. No, the biggest problem facing America and the economy is abortionists and homosexuals.

As Tony Perkins, one of the attendees and head of the hypocrites for Jesus, AKA the family Research Council said, "We cannot fix the fiscal until we fix the family.”

Even faux moderate, John Huntsman who managed 0% with only one supporter in a recent Iowa Poll joined the Jesus chorus, "If Republicans ignore life, the deficit we will face is one that is much more destructive. It will be a deficit of the heart and of the soul."

Make no mistake, the social agenda of the GOP will be front and foremost in the Presidential campaign. After all, there have been over 900 separate bills tabled restricting abortion in the GOP dominated states. Job creation bills, none. Job cutting bills, plenty.

In today's GOP, Ayn Rand who was fervently anti religion and the Jesus brigade have disappeared this inherent contradiction. More here.

It seems that only a stake through the heart will stop Republicans like Reed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jobs or deficits? The answer is obvious but not to politicians

For those who want a rational insight into matters economic, I heartily recommend Jared Bernstein's blog.

He was one of the most liberal and rational parts of Obama's economic team. With too many Geitners on the team his was a relatively lonely voice and he left the administration earlier this year. Pity.

Here's an example of his common sense last week:

Someone just asked me, “how does the White House pivot from targeting deficits to targeting jobs?”

How’s this? “Based on new information, we are now pivoting from targeting deficits to targeting jobs!”

Except that deficit hysteria is so pervasive nothing serious will be done. Sure, the Republicans have their jobs plan which is the same old same old that worked so well for President Hoover. Cut government spending, deregulate everything and hand out even more tax breaks to the wealthy. This policy may increase demand for chauffeurs, maids, butlers and salespeople selling Bentlys, yachts and jewelry but little else.

Even during the somewhat impressive job growth numbers over the past few months, prior to that coming to a screeching halt in may, government at all levels shed jobs every single month. Those were relative well paying jobs and for each government job loss we a new, often lower paying service job created.

Bear in mind the Chinese have said they aren't concerned about short term deficits as long as there is progress in the 5-10 year window. Tax revenues, currently at a 60 year low relative to GDP, at 14.8% will have to increase to narrow the deficit. Even the Ryan "Path to prosperity assumes a tax revenue ratio of over 18% of GDP, something that can only happen in the magic dust fairyland of the Ryan plan where even more tax cuts for the people making real money are contemplated.

We cannot seriously reduce the deficit with cost cutting only as long as sacred cows like Defense are left untouched. Repeal of the top level of the Bush tax cuts and tightening of large corporate tax loopholes is essential.

last week Bernstein wrote about America's infrastructure. In 2009 the American Society of Civil Engineers graded 15 areas of America's infrastructure. Of the 15 4 were awarded a C or C-. The other 11 got D's or D minuses. The cost to upgrade them in a 5 year time frame is $2.2 trillion. America needs a new "New Deal" and that expenditure would fit the bill. Yes, it will increase he deficit in the short term but the stimulus to the economy would he huge. Each year wasted in not dealing with infrastructure makes the situation worse and only increases the costs down the road.

When the Republicans expend far more energy trying to shut down planned parenthood and wage their war against abortion while occasionally paying homage to job creation with failed policies and platitudes nothing will get done. Obama and far too many of the Democrats have got caught up in deficit hysteria and do little other than to try to minimize Republican budget cuts so something as sensible as spending money on infrastructure will never enter the dialogue.

The economy is moribund because demand has withered, bot because of uncertainty about taxes or regulations. True seriousness about the economy left the building a long time ago and it isn't coming back. The only hope is that the current radical extreme version of the GOP truly gets its ass kicked in 2012 but that won't happen if the economy starts to worsen and there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that the opposite will happen.

Talking about "The Killer" - Whole Lotta Shakin Going On

"Gay Marriage is like letting a 3 year old drive a car"

You know you're losing the way when you have to resort to idiotic analogies like this. That bit of ridiculousness was uttered by Vicky Hartzler, described by Mother Jones magazine as the most anti-gay congressperson. She was elected in the Tea Party tidal wave in 2010 I wrote about her previously for as the #1 member of Congress in receiving Federal agricultural subsidies and the hypocrisy of her campaign here.

Why not allow an uncle to marry his niece? Why not allow a 50-year-old man to marry a 12-year-old girl if they love each other and they’re committed?

So, pretty soon, if you don’t set parameters, you don’t have any parameters at all, the license means nothing — the marriage means nothing. It’s their right to marry whoever they want, but we’re saying marriage is between a man and a woman. So, there’s a difference there. But it’s not a right in the Constitution as far as that goes either. It’s not a right of anybody — of a 3-year-old to be able to drive a car.

Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old niece in 1958 when gay marriage wasn't eactly an issue so what your point Vicky?

Rick Santorum raved on about marrying box turtles if we let gays marry. Idiocy knows no bounds.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pope's pedophilia adviser arrested for....and drugs on top of it

(GENOA) — The latest sex-abuse case to rock the Catholic Church is unfolding in the archdiocese of an influential Italian Cardinal who has been working with Pope Benedict XVI on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests.

Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested last Friday, May 13, on pedophilia and drug charges. Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys. "I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues," he allegedly said. Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who is the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, had been working with Benedict to establish a tough new worldwide policy, released this week, on how bishops should handle accusations of priestly sex abuse.

Oy Vey. I'm sure he advised the Pope well.

The Who - My Generation

Sarah Palin loves the 'Lamestream Media'

Grreg Sargent:

The sight of scores of reporters chasing after Palin’s shiny new bus is one of the most dispiriting media displays we’ve seen in a very long time. Even worse, it’s happening barely days after the political media got whipsawed badly by Donald Trump’s birther hucksterism!

The media might be more stupid than Palin and that takes a monumental effort.

Glenn Beck can "see slightly over the horizon"

Yeah right? I wonder which Horizon he's looking at. Just go away. The world doesn't need you.

Sarah - mangles history - Paul Revere warned the British?

Warning the British, ringing bells? It was lanterns you twit. She got everything wrong. Bill Maher it the nail on the head, "She should be going to summer school"

Run Sarah run, every comedian is praying for it as are most Democrats.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Republican priorities - What would Jesus Say

The GOP 2012 budget proposed cutting over $850 million from WIC, a program that provides nutritional aid to low income pregnant women and infants as well as cutting millions more in cuts to the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. With the economy in it's current state such programs are literally a lifeline for a growing segment of the population.

At the same time the Bush tax cuts give each of 321,000 households who earn at least 41 a year an average of $2,700 a week in tax breaks. At the very minimum that adds up to $866 million assuming all those households earn no more than $1 million a year. In fact, many earn far more than that.

So one week of Bush tax cuts would more than cover the cost of the program.

According to Think Progress:

Economists have estimated that every dollar invested in WIC “saves between $1.77 and $3.13 in health care costs in the first 60 days after an infant’s birth by reducing the instance of low-birth-weight babies and improving child immunization rates.

Not only that, the WIC money is all put back into the economy immediately. How much of the tax savings to millionaires goes straight back into the economy? A lot less I would imagine despite the GOP myth that bigger tax breaks for the wealthy automatically creates more jobs.

Set aside the immorality of this, it is fiscal idiocy. And I'm not even considering their abortion policy, 'love the fetus, discard the infant.'

And the Bachmanns and Santorums are looking for guidance from God on whether to run for President. Fuck them. It almost wants me to believe in an afterlife because people like that are certainly going to Hell and I would love to see the looks on those self righteous faces when they find they aren't going where they expected.

The 'lamestream media' has it's collective head up its ass

Sarah Palin loves going after the media except Fox. The media lap it up, buying into it. The clueless Chuck Todd of NBS summed it up perfectly.

Over the next 10 months, the race for the Republican nomination will become the chief political story in America, and that will affect the contours of the general election. We even started seeing it yesterday, with Palin, Pawlenty, and Bachmann taking center stage.

The economy, jobs, the budget etc will have to take a backseat as the media breathlessly cover the horse race and every move Sarah Palin makes. For fuck's sake, this isn't a sporting event. We've got a totally dysfunctional economy with the middle class bleeding, an endless stream of foreclosures, a war on teachers and public education while Wall Street and corporate America legally evade taxes and rack up record profits and a race between interchangeable candidates who dare not buck the party line to see who runs against Obama is the story that will consume all the attention of the media.

Republicans are what they are, only more so these days but the media, who should know better, are a total disgrace.

Jon Stewart goes Tony Soprano on Donald Trump

One of his best ever. Trump, allegedly born in New York has no clue about eating pizza.

Republicans determined to go down with the USS Ryan

No Republican dare oppose the Ryan budget plan. OK so a few GOP Senators did like the Maine "moderates" Senators Snowe and Collins but they do so at their own peril and Snowe will more than likely end up facing a Tea Party primary challenge and we all remember Christine O'Donnell.

A new CNN poll shows just how toxic the Ryan Medicare budget will be. Overall 35% favor it while 58% oppose it. 54% of Conservatives oppose it while 74% of seniors over 55 oppose it. The swing in that age group was the deciding factor in the 2010 elections.

Some pundits point out that this us significant because most people haven't started paying attention to the 2012 elections but a lot can happen in the next 18 months. If the Democrats buy into the notion of Medicare cuts in any way they could lose the advantage. They will face an unprecedented barrage of money in 2012 and a party that is more than happy to distort anything and everything.

Win the election first. Nothing else matters from now to Nov. 2012.

Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) is a vile tub of lard

Which is why many in the GOP want him to run for President. His initial honeymoon with the media may be ending soon though. Seen, initially as a personable new Republican Governor, prepared to make the tough choices. Some turned out to be too tough. He turned down federal money to build a new much needed tunnel under the Hudson River to help with traffic into New York, costing the state jobs and ensuring the painfully long commute into New York will continue. It's also going to cost the state $271 million in funds that will have to be paid back to the government.

His cuts to the public schools were so big a court ordered them to be rescinded. Budget cuts were needed but when his budget included $1 billion in tax cuts for people making over $400,000 a year he became just another GOP governor whose idea of shared sacrifice is that it's only going to be shared by middle and lower income earners. He's declared war against evil teachers and other public unions as well.

As NJ Attorney General, Christie had been accused of using his office's role in crafting deferred prosecution agreements to award lucrative federal monitoring positions in no-bid contracts to friends, supporters, and allies. Various other ethics charges followed him but he still won the Governorship in 2009 just as the Tea Party wave was beginning.

Christie has shown over and over again that the rules don't really apply to him or os cronies. As with so many politicians like him, he will eventually step on a gooey dog turd that will stick to him. That 'dog turd' moment happened last week when he used a state owned helicopter to go to his son's baseball game costing the state about $2,500. That's a trivial amount but the symbolism of the governor who preaches austerity so arrogantly showing the rules don't apply to him.

There were already chinks in his armor. His approval rating at the start of the year was 51% but had dropped to 44% before the helicopter incident. It's likely to drop further. Not only did he need the helicopter to get to the ballgame, there was a car waiting to drive him the last 100 yards. The fat fuck couldn't even walk.

His latest budget cutting gimmick won't win him too many friends either but will be less damaging than the helicopter ride. In another draconian move, he wants to cut the Medicaid maximum income for a family of three from $24,645 to $5,317. At that level a parent working part time for a minimum wage won't be eligible for Medicaid.

The good news is that such a change will require a waiver from the Federal government which won't be forthcoming.

There is another aspect of this sort of budget cutting that doesn't occur to people like Christie. Depriving that many people of access to Medicaid will probably end up costing the state more than they're saving. People get sick. People who have health care go to the doctor. People who don't are more likely to delay getting treatment until it becomes an emergency. Who pays the bill then? It's the state and the delayed treatment is going to cost far more than it would have had the person been covered.

The mendacity and stupidity of politicians like Christie is far too commonplace these days. Let him run for President. He already comes with baggage and his complete arrogance and disdain for fairness will only add to it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Herman Cain, yet another constitutional illiterate

Tea Party Republicans worship the Constitution, except for the parts they don't like. You would think they might take the time to study a document that they revere almost as much as the Bible. You would be wrong.

Herman Cain is emerging as one of the GOP Presidential front runners in the early going. He'd better hit the books now if he wants to continue.

He launched his official campaign last week by urging people to read the Constitution. Whether he as read it even once is open to debate but he certainly hasn't reread it judging by the evidence. Firstly he confused the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. I don't expect the average citizen to be that familiar with everything in the Constitution but when a Presidential candidate shows such reverence to it, he should fucking well know what he's talking about.

Apparently not. According to Think Progress Cain is utterly clueless. Last October, on his radio show he said the following:

All of the talk about a national foreclosure freeze . . . all they’re trying to do is appeal to people’s emotions. You see, the United States federal government, folks, has no jurisdiction over bankruptcy law. States do!

So, if some states decide that they want to investigate some of these phony or incomplete foreclosures, it’s up to the states. This is not even under the jurisdiction of the federal government! But it sounds good. It really sounds good, though.

One problem with that statement:

According to Article I of the Constitution, “[t]he Congress shall have power . . . [t]o establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.”

He can't even get past Article 1 without screwing it up as badly as possible. Article I has 10 sections to it so even a professed 'know it all' like Cain might have problems understanding or remembering it all.

Americans suffer from a critical 'satire defiency'

Sad, but hilarious at the same time. "Literally Unbelievable" a collection of Facebook quotes from people who have taken The Onion articles literally. The most common one is 'Planned Parenthood opens $8 billion abortionplex' in Topeka, Kansas no less.

Not even such over the top copy as this tipped people off that maybe this was satire:

"Although we've traditionally dedicated 97 percent of our resources to other important services such as contraception distribution, cancer screening, and STD testing, this new complex allows us to devote our full attention to what has always been our true passion: abortion," said Richards, standing under a banner emblazoned with Planned Parenthood's new slogan, "No Life Is Sacred." "And since Congress voted to retain our federal funding, it's going to be that much easier for us to maximize the number of tiny, beating hearts we stop every day."

Then again, for people who get their worldview from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh something like this fits in perfectly with their paranoid ramblings.

This headline, "Obama makes it through another day of resisting the urge to launch all U.S. nuclear weapons at once" elicited this response:

So much for Obama being the peace President. Reagan was horrified by the thought of nuclear war and pushed his Soviet counter part to seek a treaty banning all nuclear weapons. Is Obama a nutcase or what?

In Glenn Beck's world this all makes perfect sense.

All the atrocities/hilarity here.

Bonus Bob Dylan

Dylan and the Dead,   There is little in music that can equal Jerry Garcia's guitar and Dylan's songs. 

Bruce Bartlett demolishes the GOP clip-art job creation plan

After finally tiring of trying to find different ways to limit access to abortion, including one that would create a massive ta hike for businesses the GOP finally got round to revealing their 'job creation' plan. It was a wonderful touchy-feely document all of 10 pages that looked more like a clip art project than an economic plan, complete with pictures, large type and only one page of all text that could have been said in two words, "cut taxes'.

Bruce Bartlett, who worked in the Reagan and Bush the elder's administration sees through all the bullshit which is why he is shunned by Republicans today.

Yet if one listens to Republicans, one would think that taxes have never been higher, that an excessive tax burden is the most important constraint holding back economic growth and that a big tax cut is exactly what the economy needs to get growing again.

Just last week, House Republicans released a new plan to reduce unemployment. Its principal provision would reduce the top statutory income tax rate on businesses and individuals to 25 percent from 35 percent. No evidence was offered for the Republican argument that cutting taxes for the well-to-do and big corporations would reduce unemployment; it was simply asserted as self-evident.

In all the deficit frenzy, there is one reality that has been constantly overlooked; that tax revenues are at a historical low of 14.8% of GDP, the lowest it's been since 1950. Republicans argue that our statutory corporate ta rate of 35%v is the highest in the developed world, something that is strangling economic growth, yet the effective tax rate for corporations or the amount that is actually paid is the lowest relative to GDP of any developed country.

At an effective rate of 1.3% of GDP it's the lowest in the developed world. While large corporations have he power to lobby for tax loopholes (about 15,000 of them since the last major tax code revision) smaller corporations who do not have the same access to capital borrowing are the ones that end up paying the statutory rate or close enough to it that it makes no difference.

The post World War II average has been 18.5%. With a GDP of $14.7 trillion, the difference between the current rate and the post war rate would cut $660 billion off the deficit annually.

The economic importance of statutory tax rates is blown far out of proportion by Republicans looking for ways to make taxes look high when they are quite low. And they almost never note that the statutory tax rate applies only to the last dollar earned or that the effective tax rate is substantially lower even for the richest taxpayers and largest corporations because of tax exclusions, deductions, credits and the 15 percent top rate on dividends and capital gains.

According to Republicans it's this mythical high ta rate that is stifling economic growth because this rate is stifling corporate investment. Never mind that industrial capacity is at about 80% or that the non-financial sector of the is sitting on a record $1.5 trillion in cash or cash equivalents and current job creation is anemic at best. Never mind that much of that job is in lower paying service jobs.

Here is a graph illustrating the contributing factors to the deficit from the CBPP (Center for Budget Policy Priorities)

Note the three biggest contributing factors, the Bush tax cuts, perpetual wars and the economic downturn.  The one that is projected to expand the most is the Bush tax cuts.   Even Paul Ryan's budget fantasy assumes tax revenues of over 18% which is the bottom line minimum to a balanced budget and that in itself is wishful thinking. 

The GOP idea that lowering taxes will actually raise more revenue is mired in fuzziness because by and large, tax revenues have increase as GDP rises no matter what the current tax rates are.  The idea of lower taxes for wealthy individuals stimulated more investment and therefore more job creation is even more absurd.  Wealthy people get rich by using other people's money .  The wealthy do invest, but mostly in the financial markets which does little to stimulate ob creation.  

The GOP invokes tax cutting as a religious litany that is an immutable given with little or no evidence that tax cuts, particularly for the wealthy and for large corporations is the only solution for growing the economy.  Not that all tax cuts are worthless, but those that benefit the richest amongst us or that benefit large corporations are generally the least effective.  While GE has managed to reduce their tax burden over the last decade to a point where they pay virtually nothing they have also cut their U.S. workforce by 20%.  That stimulates nothing other than their their bottom line.

The Ryan plan proposes a constitutional amendment that any tax increases will need a two thirds majority to pass both Houses of Congress.  It is that same rule that has rendered California incapable of balancing its budget.  The Republicans want to hamstring the Federal budget in the same manner. 

Republicans love to invoke the concept of a 'household budget' that cannot spend more than it earns to fiscal policy.  By making it impossible to raise taxes the analogy excludes the possibility that  the mythical household's income  can increase.   It's this blinkered economic policy that has, prior to the start of Obama's term,  resulted in the past 5 Republican presidential terms creating 87% of total federal debt since George Washington.

Then again, to quote both Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, "deficits don't matter' (as long as there's a Republican in the White House.   

While I was on my self imposed hiatus

Bob Dylan turned 70. Yikes. Truly the voice of a generation.

A body of music with no equal.

"Palin's Historic Bus Tour" - CNN headline

Historic?....because she is stopping off at 'historic' landmarks?  Doing her Garbo routine, claiming her family just wants to be left alone and refusing to talk the the media, except Fox obviously, is only feeding the frenzy. 

No wonder, our entire political discourse has been reduced to sound bites.  No wonder a majority of Americans opposes raising the debt limit, something that no American wants to do but doing so would precipitate an economic disaster.  That's most Americans, not just the 27% wingnut world that would favor nuking New Zealand if Rush Limbaugh told  them we had to do it. 

God help us, because we obviously can't help ourselves.