Arranology

The GOP: Having It Both Ways

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I haven’t been reading newspapers for several years but when last I did, the GOP was basically getting a pass from “journalists” when they said one thing and then did something else or criticized the Dems for doing something they themselves – Pubs – had advocated. IOW, when they practiced hypocrisy as a political weapon, they got a free pass from the corporate press. Apparently, in the intervening years the Pubs’ hypo has become so outrageous that even the once-fully-tamed WaPo has been forced to notice.

Cutting federal health and retirement spending has long been at the top of the GOP agenda. But with Republicans in striking distance of winning the Senate, they are suddenly blasting the idea of trimming Social Security benefits.

The latest attack came in Georgia, where the National Republican Campaign Committee posted an ad last week accusing Rep. John Barrow (D) of “leaving Georgia seniors behind” by supporting “a plan that would raise the retirement age to 69 while cutting Social Security benefits.”

Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit group founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove, has run similar ads against North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D), Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.). Crossroads accused Hagan of supporting a “controversial plan” that “raises the retirement age.”

This has been SOP for GOP attack ads for a decade, but at least now someone has noticed and the story isn’t about a “New” GOP stance so much as it’s about a “New Pretend” GOP stance. Instead of taking the kabuki seriously, which is what they’ve been doing for 15 years or so, they’re finally calling attention to the make-believe. They’re still a little tentative about it but at least they’re doing it.

In Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner (R) appears in a new ad with his “Grandma Betty” and vows to“honor every penny we promised today’s seniors”a pledge that seems to conflict with demands by Republican congressional leaders for a less-generous inflation formula to calculate seniors’ cost-of-living increases. (emphasis added)

Yah, no kidding. But “seems to conflict”? That’s a little lame. But after all, this is the paper where the opposition to Charlie the Kraut is the likes of Zakaria and Ignatius who  have made their “careers” by being apologists for the powerful. Still, this is more than one could expect 5 years ago, especially when a writer puts the last nail in the coffin with such dexterity.

Older voters typically dominate the electorate in non-presidential years, so the resort to Social Security as an issue in the Nov. 4 midterms is hardly surprising. But what has drawn attention – and charges of hypocrisy – is the decision by Republican groups to attack Democrats for supporting conservative ideas in a proposed “grand bargain” on the budget drafted by Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Republican senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming.

***

Both Crossroads GPS and NRCC, the party’s campaign arm for House races, have cited Democrats’ support for Bowles-Simpson as the basis of their charges on Social Security, though many Republicans — including Rove — have criticized President Obama for failing to support the Bowles-Simpson package.

So just to sum up, we have the Pubs, in one and the same election, condemning Dem candidates for supporting a law and the President for not supporting it. Yah gotta luv it. GOP hypocrisy has reached an all-time high and even the Post is noticing.

Too late, of course. Most of the damage has already been done. But I guess it’s better than nothing.

(via Eschaton)

Written by Mick

October 24, 2014 at 8:20 am

Posted in Democrats

Pride of the Pubs in Tennessee

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Republicans seem to have a monopoly on getting scumbags elected. Sure there’s a corrupt Dem in every other pot but the Pubs have cornered the market on running sleazy, slimebucket, greedhead pervs who promptly get caught perving all over themselves, usually in public.

The latest must make them so proud. Presenting Rep. Scott DesJarlais:

In 2012, Tennessee Republican Representative Scott DesJarlais was exposed as having had extramarrital affairs, having slept with his medical patients, and having supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage, despite his staunch public pro-life stance.

A liar, a hypocrite, a sexual predator and an adulterer who is pro-abortion. The pubs hit the trifecta plus 2 with this beauty. Rick Perry will be passing out cigars about now. When your whole political party is dedicated to spookery, slander, and selfishness, a cad like DesJarlais is a real star. Especially when, despite his you’d-think-crippling negatives, he actually wins his primary and is favored in the general against a (heh-heh! *sneer*) retired accountant.

Brilliant. Give him 2 weeks of Fox-attention and 10-1 he’s the Pubs’ next Great White Hope in the GOP presidential lottery.

Written by Mick

August 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Industrial Farming: Expensive, Inefficient and Dangerous

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But let’s do it anyway, shall we? Let’s eliminate family farms despite the fact that on only 25% of the planet’s arable land, family farms provide about 70% of the world’s food while the industrial farms of Big Agro own 75% of the land and produce only 30% of the food supply.

Yessir, that’s the right system for us.

The world is increasingly hungry because small farmers are losing access to farmland. Small farmers produce most of the world’s food but are now squeezed onto less than 25 percent of the world’s farmland, a new report reveals. Corporate and commercial farms, big biofuel operations and land speculators are pushing millions off their land.

“Small farmers are losing land at a tremendous rate. It’s a land reform movement in reverse,” said Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN, an international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers, which released the report Thursday.

Nothing about this way of handling a basic human need makes sense. The rationale for allowing industrial farming has always been its supposed efficiency and ability to increase the food supply. Yet a new study by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization shows quite clearly that industrial agriculture is inefficient, wasteful, dangerous, and a breeding ground for speculators. So why are we doing it? All over the world?

If all farms in Central America matched the output of small farms the region would produce three times as much food, the report said.

“Every day we are exposed to the systematic expulsion from our land,” said Marina Dos Santos of the National Coordination of the Brazilian Landless Movement.

We’re doing it because we’ve given up fighting the money. They own the world’s governments, they make the rules, they do whatever makes the most profit the quickest, and we get out of their way and let them do it even though it means destroying more than building and we get starved in the process.

Might be we ought to reconsider that strategy before we’re all living on cat food.

 

Written by Mick

May 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Corpo Tax Breaks Finally = Discretionary Spending

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What that means is that all the money the govt has to spend exclusive of fixed costs is now equal to the amount of money in tax breaks given to corporations. Dig:

In 2013, the cost of tax breaks was equal to the entire U.S. discretionary budget [1]. However, the discretionary budget is subject to an annual appropriations process, where Congress debates the proposed spending. Tax breaks, on the other hand, remain on the books until lawmakers modify them. As a result, over a trillion dollars a year in lost revenue – more than 1.6 times the 2013 budget deficit – goes largely unnoticed.

tax-breaks

 

The cost of corporate tax breaks has trended upward in recent decades, totaling nearly $176 billion in fiscal 2013. In other words, the overall U.S. corporate tax bill was $176 billion lower than it would have been without the special deductions, credits, and exclusions written into our tax code. To put that in perspective, that’s about $1,328 per U.S. household. [2]

 

Which is bad news, right? Wrong! Look at that other box. That’s the deficit and it’s only 2/3 what the tax breaks are worth. So, when you get all frantic anxious about how the deficit is ruining the economy like FauxNews keeps telling you, just know that we can fix it in a single year by canceling some – not all, just some – of the tax breaks corporations that don’t actually need them have blackmailed the Congress into. See, easy!

Oh, who am I kidding? This will never happen. Case in point, a Republican named David Camp, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Paul Ryan at the House Budget Committee have both submitted Tax Reform bills intended to “reform” the tax code to varying degrees. What? Republicans reforming the tax code to eliminate corporate tax breaks? Has the world turned upside down?

All of them claim to “reform” a discredited cesspool of a tax code, of course, but they have also been submitted in an election year. The GOP, if it knows nothing else (and it doesn’t), knows how to get credit for proposing popular legislation they don’t actually want at a time when there is no chance whatever for it to pass.

It doesn’t matter how easy the fix is if the fix is anathema to the Congress’ owners.

Written by Mick

May 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm

BP Dumps on Gulf Clean-up

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BP has decided that it’s done with that “responsibility thang.”

In an op-ed article this month in Gulf Coast newspapers, John Mingé, the chairman of BP America, highlighted the coast’s record tourism numbers, emphasized the $27 billion BP had spent and dismissed environmentalists skeptical of the gulf’s recovery as advocates using the spill “to raise money for their causes.”

They took a lot of credit in their PR for their continuing resolve to stick with the clean-up after they damn near destroyed the whole Gulf Of Mexico. They were, they said, “committed to returning the Gulf to its previous greatness” Or words to that effect repeated again…and again and again…over the past years. Until now. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mick

April 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Obama Lets Corporate Predators Buy His “Trade Policy”

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Barack Obama’s support for corporate trade goals, no matter how unethical and/or borderline illegal, is nothing new. His early and lasting backing of the Panama trade deal – a stellar performance wherein he convinced Democrats to vote for a bill which made it legal for US corporations to violate US law – was a brilliant part of his strategy to move the Democrat party onto Wall Street.

So it was no surprise to anyone familiar with his history that he has been appointing hired Wall Street guns – or goons – to write his TransPacific Trade Policy. Nor is it surprising that he has had nothing to say against their “former” companies paying them for writing and negotiating the deal.

Stefan Selig

Officials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.

Stefan Selig, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.

Michael Froman, the current U.S. Trade Representative, received over $4 million as part of multiple exit payments when he left CitiGroup to join the Obama administration. Froman told Senate Finance Committee members last summer that he donated approximately 75 percent of the $2.25 million bonus he received for his work in 2008 to charity. CitiGroup also gave Froman a $2 million payment in connection to his holdings in two investment funds, which was awarded “in recognition of [Froman's] service to Citi in various capacities since 1999.”

Do I have to explain what this means? How their companies are basically paying these guys in advance to continue promoting their interests even as they pretend to work for the govt? Or that Obama just about had to be working hand-in-glove with these corporations to come up with these guys’ names in the first place? Or that these payments are a measure of how deeply corrupt our system is now?

That’s what I thought.

Written by Mick

April 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm

The Liberal Game Goes On

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For a long time I have been listening to liberals and progs talk as if something has gone wrong with the system and if we could just adjust this or tweak that, everything would be hunky-dory. They understand that the Republicans are out of control, the corporations are in control, and the financial sector calls the shots. What they consistently refuse to do is admit that those three sectors are and have been working together for 30 years or that the fourth of the united sectors consists of Third Way Democrats. Here’s a recent Krugman.

[W]e had our own version of the sorta-kinda left utterly failing to take on austerian macroeconomics in the United States – President Obama’s “pivot” from jobs to deficits, which actually began in 2009, back when Democrats still controlled both houses of Congress.

Sounds like a policy switch on Obama’s part, doesn’t it? Only it isn’t. In his famous keynote speech at the ’04 Dem convention, Obama was careful to eschew any too left-leaning rhetoric that might dismay corporate backers; just before the ’08 election, Obama met secretly with some of the most powerful financiers on Wall Street; and one of his early acts as president was to name an anti-deficit commission to which he appointed a number of powerful and long-term opponents of Social Security including Pete Peterson.

Seen from that angle, not so much a pivot as a straight line. Krugman seems to think the Dems are just listening to the wrong people because they lack “moral courage”.

[T]he nature of our current economic situation is that smart policy requires that you ignore what supposedly responsible people, who sound as if they know what they’re talking about – and hey, they’re rich, so they must know something – have to say.

And no government of the moderate left has had the intellectual and moral courage to do that.

Fraid not. An objective analysis of Democratic actions over the past two decades leaves little room for doubt: in virtually every instance when the Dems had to choose a path, they chose the one that was corporate-contributor friendly. Maybe we should stop pretending that the Dems are liberal, hm? They’re just slightly less obsequious than Pubs when it comes to kissing 1% ass. Get used to it.

Written by Mick

April 15, 2014 at 6:18 pm

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