Archive for April 2013

President’s Press Conference

In the President’s Press conference this morning he said this:

…a regime that is more concerned about staying in power than it is about the well being of its people…

I’m confused. Was he talking about the Syrian Government or the Republicans?

The GOP is Tying Itself Into Knots With Their No Tax Dogma

As another example of the straight jacket the GOP has put themselves in with their no new taxes pledge. Exhibit A is the Internet tax law, or the Marketplace Fairness Act, that “would allow state governments to force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes from their customers and remit the proceeds to state and local governments, just as brick-and-mortar retailers have done for decades.

The states would be required to provide free software that would be embedded in retail Web sites to do the calculations.” (NYT). Meanwhile Grover Norquist, “whose organization maintains the antitax pledge that virtually every Republican in Washington has signed, calls it the ‘Let People in Alabama Loot People in New York Act.’ To Mr. Norquist, the bill is a money grab by cash-poor state and local governments that would get the power to tax consumers who do not have the power to vote them out of office.”

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Do You Want to Be Liked or Do You Want to Be Our Leader?

Last night was the correspondence dinner, and I knew it would be entertaining and clever, he has good writers and he can deliver a line, but I did not watch it because I did not want entertaining, I wanted leadership. Sadly in the world we find ourselves in, I don’t think the President can have it both ways, being liked and being an effective leader. And his fatal flaw is that he needs it both ways.

We have entered a time when what divides us is a chasm that can not be bridged by moderation and compromise. It is not a world he choose and at one point he honestly believed that was exactly what the nation needed, someone with common sense to build bridges. By now he should know better, but I think his need to be liked is his worst enemy, so he keeps falling in to the same trap.

In order to like your opponent you have to respect them. There has to be something there that is worthy. The trouble with the present day Republican Party is that they have nothing that is worthy and they are leading the nation on an irrational and anti-intellectual binge.

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Stay Focused

Okay, a little reality: It is time to understand what the real issues are and get focused, and there is ony one, the economy. Sadly on that one we have been doing all the wrong things and it looks like we are going continue down that path in the face of overwhelming data at this point that we are in a Keynesian world. But wait, we have serious issues facing us with bombing and now Syria you say. Baloney.

Let’s start with the bombing. It was two angry young men and amateur hour. If you want to be worried, then it just says the boy next door can be crazy and make bombs (How to make bombs in the kitchen of your Mom) and set them off, and there is not much you can do to stop them. Get over it. It was a horrible criminal act, but not a world conspiracy. Do you know how many we kill with guns every year? Do you know how many people kill each other while texting while driving?

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Who Said It Best Today: Ezra Klein on the FAA Bailout

Who Said It Best was Ezra Klein when accessing what the Democrats did on Thursday and Friday. I just have to tell that this to me was the most depressing thing I have seen out of Washington and I no longer have any hope those morons we elected to deal with Republican bullshit have either the intelligence or the courage to do it. I lost the will to vote:

In effect, what Democrats said Friday was that in any case where the political pain caused by sequestration becomes unbearable, they will agree to cancel that particular piece of the bill while leaving the rest of the law untouched. The result is that sequestration is no longer particularly politically threatening, but it’s even more unbalanced: Cuts to programs used by the politically powerful will be addressed, but cuts to programs that affects the politically powerless will persist. It’s worth saying this clearly: The pain of sequestration will be concentrated on those who lack political power.

Democrats had other choices, of course. As Politico’s Glenn Thrush pointed out on MSNBC Friday, President Obama could’ve vetoed the FAA bill while standing at a Head Start that’s about to throw needy children out of the program. He could’ve vetoed it from the home of an jobless worker who just saw her benefits cut. Democrats could simply have insisted that the powerful can’t get out of sequestration unless the powerless can, too. But they didn’t — and they show no signs that they’ll start.

But that’s game, then. Absent the willingness to accept the pain of sequestration and use it to overturn the whole policy, Democrats have no leverage to end it.

It is worth noting how different the Democrats’ approach to sequestration has been to the GOP’s approach to, well, everything. Over the past five years, Republicans have repeatedly accepted short-term political pain to win the leverage necessary for long-term policy gain. That’s the governing political principle behind their threats to shut down the government, breach the debt ceiling, and, for that matter, accept sequestration. Today, Democrats showed they’re not willing to accept even a bit of short-term pain for leverage on sequestration. They played a game of chicken with the Republicans, and they lost. Badly.

A Colossal Moment of Stupidity, Missed Opportunity, and Failure of Leadership

In the last two days the Senate on unanimous consent, and the House with a overwhelming bipartisan vote, approved funding for the FAA (shift of funds) so that delays caused by the sequester would be reduced. While 4 million Meals on Wheels, or cancer treatments for Medicare patients, the 70,000 kids in Head Start, the 1000 new National Science Foundation research grants, the low income families that are getting bumped from housing assistance, and reduced food inspection as the FDA cuts back will get no relief. I wonder how many deaths and stifled futures this will cost so that travelers won’t be inconvenienced?

So let’s just summarize. The sequester was brought about because Washington could not get a deal on a rational way to reduce the budget (which did not need to be reduced, just rebalanced) so this was put in its place because it would be too hard to stomach and force legislators to deal. So what do they do? As soon as there is some discomfort for them and their business class constituents, they lift the part that affects them and left the burdens on the poor and disadvantaged. And they did not find new money, they stole if from funds needed to improve airports around the country.
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Current Events: Senate Passes Bill to Ease Air Travel Delay

Isn’t it interesting that as soon as our more affluent class felt a slight discomfort from all the ridiculous across the board cutting our Congress (read Republicans) implemented, we get political action to reduce the inconvenience. Tell that to all the Head Start kids that are being bounce out of their schools, or the reduced day care parents, or …. well let’s just say poor people are suffering and there will be no help for them. Want to know what kind of a country we are, then simply look at these events.

But worse is how they paid for them. Republicans demanded that the cuts stay in place, you could just shift funds. So the funds will come from money supplementing airport improvements. As our infrastructure decays into nonexistence, Republicans remain on their path to destroy the country and our economy. That’s right Paul Krugman, we have now proven that austerity is not only dumb, but disastrous and we continue our plunge. Is there leadership anywhere in Washington? Why did not the Democrats say hell no unless you fix the whole thing? Why will the President sign it and not say, hell no, not to fix it for meals on wells and head start, or cancer treatment for Medicare patients? Why bother with the sequester if you are just going to cave in on every thing that makes your better off constituents unhappy?

No wait! All the news media and politicians are all over the Marx Tsarnavea bothers possible additional attacks on Boston New York. If our focus is on how these two highly unstable and incompetent bombers could cause damage, maybe they all ought to sit in a corner and rock in a fetal position considering what someone with real planning skills could do. Oh, no. We will not be intimidated by terrorists, right?

Bush Revisionism

This goes under the real heading of who said it best today. The Republicans are trying to reinvent George Bush and it is a sad enterprise. In this piece by Jonathan Chait, aptly titled, Yes George W. Bush was a Terrible President, and No, He wasn’t Smart, Jonathan nails reality that the Republicans want to so much reinvent:

But if we’re defining intelligence as an ability to grasp public policy issues, to synthesize information in a coherent way, I would not call George W. Bush “pretty smart.” All the public evidence available to us shows a man who thinks in crude, simplistic slogans. Bush did suffer a lot of ridicule for his speaking flubs. But I don’t think awkward speaking was the problem. His way of discussing policy bore all the hallmarks of a highly simplistic mind…

If you want to look kindly on Bush’s presidency, you can fairly say that, while he deserves significant blame for ignoring warnings of an Al Qaeda strike and the housing bubble, the disasters of his tenure were not entirely his fault. But what did he do? His economic policies exacerbated income inequality without producing prosperity. His massive increase of the structural budget deficit, which ballooned to over a trillion dollars before President Obama took office, left the United States less fiscally equipped to respond to the economic crisis he also left his predecessor. He initiated a costly war on the basis of both mistaken and deliberately cooked intelligence, and failed to plan for the postwar period. His policies not only ignored the crises of climate change and a costly and cruel health insurance system, but made both much harder to solve.

It was a nightmare that I woke up to every day wondering if we have become such a dumbed down nation that this administration looked intelligent to us. I thought the nightmare was over, but like zombies, bad Republican ideas just keep resurrecting themselves and reinventing our past to fit their misguided ideas.

Protect the Constitution!

Here is Jon Stewart explaining as only he can how the Right are protecting the Constitution and our rights:

Isn’t it interesting that the only people that terrorist are really successful with are the ones at the first sign of a terrorist act, want to tear up our Constitution. Constitution loving Right Wing my ass.

A Couple of Breaking News Things

First, apparently there were chemical warfare agents (probably Sarin) used in Syria which would be the red line we told them not to cross. So the hawks will be all over this to get involved. I think the issue is highly complex since al Qaeda is a big part of the opposition to Assad. This to me, has to be a United Nations move, not the US, with a clear exit strategy, and an understanding that we will not tolerate a new regime which is just another Taliban or radical Muslim government that ignores basic human rights and enslaves women. Oh, and just who used them, somebody who wants to embroil us into that war? See John McCain and Lindsay Graham for the twosome that can’t get enough spending in never ending wars.

Then we still have Chris Mathews, aided and abetted by David Gregory, seeing some complex plot in the Boston Marathon bombing instead of amateur hour with a couple of guys who were living out their fantasy of personnel empowerment and striking out at evil America like the video games they probably played. If you follow the events, the bombing was not well thought out to prevent detection, the weapons were crude, the “elaborate” timing was achieved by toy radio car controllers, and the events leading up to their death/capture was a Keystone cop’s dream as the perps did everything stupid to attact attention to themselves and get in a car chase/shootout.

Listening to our media, we get in real trouble if we thought they had a brain.