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We Deceive, You Believe: A New Reality Show For Sarah Palin And Fox

I have a great idea for a new show on Fox. It would be  a reality comedy show with Sarah Palin as the host. It’s what Hollywood calls  “high concept.” The idea would be that all the Republican presidential  candidates would travel across America in Sarah’s RV. Hilarity follows.

Late night comic Jimmy Fallon put it best: “Obama was  in Ireland. He thought about buying a four-leaf clover for good luck, and then  he looked at the field of Republican candidates and decided it wasn’t  necessary.”

Dramatis personae include:

Gary Johnson—Ex-governor of New Mexico who  favors the legalization of pot. He didn’t get an invite to the next GOP debate,  but his hopes are high and he has grassroots support.

Herman Cain—Multi-millionaire and former CEO of  Godfather’s Pizza. He’s rolling in dough.

Newt Gingrich—Former speaker of the House. If he  really is a fiscal conservative, he would use his $500,000 revolving charge  account at Tiffany’s to make a payment on the federal debt. He is clearly the  jewel in the GOP crown. The former speaker is currently on a cruise with his  wife in the Mediterranean. He will return to the campaign trail after he  decides whether he supports or opposes the Ryan plan to gut Medicare. It might  be a long trip.

Palin—Can the former half-term and half-baked governor of Alaska see Russia from her magic bus? This trip is her  magical mystery tour because we have no idea where it will lead. She rained on Mitt Romney’s parade by showing  up in New Hampshire on the day of Romney’s formal announcement and popping him  for his support of a state run healthcare program in Massachusetts with a  personal mandate. National surveys indicate that twice as many voters dislike  her as like her. So, I don’t think she will get a mandate from Americans.

Michele Bachmann—Tea Party favorite and conservative  congresswoman from Minnesota. When baseball players have a short stay in the  majors, it’s a cup of coffee. She will have a cup of tea in the  presidential race. Last week, Representative Bachmann said she and former half-governor Palin were friends. That didn’t last long. This week, Bachmann’s  campaign manager said Palin wasn’t a “serious” candidate. At least the  Minnesotan and I agree on something.

Chris Christie—Governor of New Jersey. Teddy  Roosevelt described the presidency as a bully pulpit. Christie is just a bully.  Don’t be surprised if he helicopters into the race.

Rudy Giuliani—The former mayor of New York City. Why  not? He did so well last time. If he runs, he should borrow Donald  Trump’s toupee and MapQuest Iowa so he can find it this time.

Jon Huntsman—Ex-governor of Utah who served two years as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. He will charge  Obama with  incompetence. Just look at the clown the president made ambassador to China.

Bobby Jindal—The governor of Louisiana who is not  ready for prime time TV. But that hardly disqualifies him in this field.

Mitt Romney—Former governor of Massachusetts and the  father of Obamacare.  This would be the grudge match of all time. Healthcare reform 1.0 vs. 2.0. A Romney position is like the New England weather.  Don’t like it, just wait, because it changes every 15 minutes.

Ron Paul—Paul is the anti-Romney because the Texas  congressman sticks to his positions for more than 15 minutes. Actually, he  still holds Herbert Hoover’s positions. But will socially conservative voters  buy his opposition to drug laws and will the neocons accept his opposition to  the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? I don’t think so.

Tim Pawlenty—The former two-term governor of Minnesota is as  bland as his fellow charismatically challenged Minnesotan, Walter Mondale. Jay  Leno described T-Paw to a t when he joked, “You know, I don’t want to say Tim  Pawlenty is boring, but his Secret Service codename is Al Gore.” Bland is good,  though, because the other GOP candidates have enough baggage to fill a Boeing  727 headed for LAX.

Rick Perry—In 2009, the governor of Texas threatened to  secede from the union. The question is whether he wants to lead or to secede.  Too bad Jeff Davis isn’t still around to be his running mate.

Rick Santorum—Why does he torture himself with  the hope he could win? Is the GOP this desperate for a candidate? He  lost his Senate seat in a presidential battleground state, Pennsylvania, by 16 percent.

This may be  why four out of 10 Republicans in a new Pew Research Center poll say they are not  impressed with the GOP presidential candidates. But I think the reality TV show would get  good ratings hammocked between Family Guy and The Simpsons on Sunday  nights.

 

By: Brad Bannon, U. S. News and World Report, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Deficits, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Government, Health Reform, Ideologues, Ideology, Iowa Caucuses, Neo-Cons, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bush Tax Cuts Turn 10: Wall Street Celebrates, Americans Suffer

Break out the bubbly, because there will be celebrations today on  Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms and mansions all across America. Why?  Because today is the 10th anniversary of the big Bush tax breaks for  bankers and billionaires and the businesses that bankroll their big-budget  campaigns.

Today is an opportunity to ponder these questions: If the Bush  tax cuts are so great, why has the economy been so bad since they became law 10  years ago? And how about this brain  teaser: If the GOP theology of cutting taxes for the rich brings in more  revenue, why is Democratic President Bill Clinton the only president in the  last generation to leave a surplus behind for the next president?

In 1980, President George H.W. Bush called it voodoo economics.  Bush 41 conveniently changed his position when he became Ronald Reagan’s  running mate that year. But the first President Bush was right the first time.  The idea that tax revenues will go up when you cut taxes has cast an evil spell  over the U.S. economy going all the way back to Ronald Reagan. In 1981, the new  GOP math became 1 + 1 = 3. With this kind of fuzzy math, it’s no wonder that  President Reagan left behind a massive budget deficit.

George W. Bush may have had George H.W. Bush for a father, but Ronald  Reagan was his role model. The latest incarnation of voodoo economics was the  creation of the second President Bush. The tax cuts for bankers and  billionaires that became law in 2001 quickly turned the Clinton surplus into  the Bush budget deficit as big as Donald Trump’s ego. Voodoo is what  Republicans do so well.

But Bush 43 did not stop there in handing out goodies to Wall  Street. In 2008, the president asked his Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, the  former CEO of Goldman Sachs, to bail out Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street  investment firms to the tune of three quarters of a trillion dollars. Of  course, President Bush never even considered an attempt to rescue the millions  of working Americans who first lost their jobs and then their homes because of malfeasance  on Wall Street.

Last month, the Center for Budget Priorities released a study  that demonstrated that the two biggest reasons for the current budget deficit  were the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So what do the  Republicans do? Do they vote to cut  Pentagon spending or end  dole welfare for wealthy Americans? Of course  they don’t. They gut Medicare. Genius!

Yesterday, Frank Patitucci, CEO and Chairman of NuCompass  Mobility Service, called on Republican Speaker John Boehner to increase taxes on  Americans making more than $1 million a year. Patitucci explained his position  by saying businesses need a strong middle class to prosper.

But I don’t want to be a party pooper or rain on Wall Street’s  parade, so party hardy, guys. Don’t scrimp on the Dom Perignon and the caviar.  Santa Claus comes only once a year. Let’s worry about the GOP cuts in healthcare for seniors and nutrition programs for women and their infant children another day.

By: Brad Bannon, U. S. News and World Report, June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Banks, Budget, Businesses, Conservatives, Consumers, Corporations, Debt Crisis, Deficits, Economic Recovery, Economy, Financial Institutions, GOP, Government, Health Care, Ideologues, Ideology, Jobs, Medicare, Middle Class, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Seniors, Taxes, Wall Street, Wealthy, Women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boehner The Extortionist: “Give Us Trillions In Cuts In Medicare and Medicaid Or We Blow Up The Economy”

Stripped of its politician’s gloss, this is the message that House Speaker John Boehner delivered to Wall Street Monday in discussing the price Republicans demand for raising the debt ceiling.

Boehner portrays himself as a reluctant extortionist: “It’s true that allowing America to default would be irresponsible.” But he told the barons of Wall Street he has no choice. The Tea Party made him do it: “Washington’s arrogance has triggered a political rebellion in our country. And it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without simultaneously taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.”

Notice the Speaker’s phrasing. He curses deficits and debt but he isn’t focused on them. He is focused on “our spending addiction.” “Everything is on the table,” he says, “with the exception of tax hikes.”

And even that is a half-truth, since Boehner and his party have also no appetite for real cuts in the defense budget. Boehner isn’t pushing to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and roll back the costly U.S. global police role. In the budget that Boehner pushed through the House, Republicans voted to give the Pentagon back most of the relatively nominal defense cuts that Defense Secretary Robert Gates had projected over the next years. And many harshly censored the president for suggesting that another $400 billion in cuts might be chipped out of the more than $8 trillion the Pentagon will spend over the next 12 years.

So if tax hikes aren’t allowed—even though the wealthiest Americans are now paying a lower effective tax rate than their chauffeurs—and defense cuts are off the table, how does Boehner propose to get “trillions” in spending cuts? Medicare and Medicaid get the ax. Or as Boehner puts it in politician speak, “Everything on the table” includes “honest conversations about how best to preserve Medicare.”

The budget math is inescapable. The federal government, as Paul Krugman puts it, is basically an insurance system for our retirement years that also has an army. About half of the government’s spending is in retirement programs—Social Security, Medicare, much of Medicaid and other insurance programs. Defense is half of the rest. All of the rest of government —public health, environmental protection, the IRS, the FBI and Justice Department, education, Pell grants, roads, health research, R&D—consumes the last fourth. When Republicans take taxes and defense off the table, and call for trillions in spending cuts and you have no choice but to go after Medicare, Medicaid and/or Social Security.

Which of course is what they are doing. The House budget cuts nearly $800 billion out of Medicaid over the next five years—and ends Medicare as we know it.

There is a bitter irony to this. The current deficits stem largely from three sources—the Bush tax cuts, the two wars that were fought on the tab, and the Great Recession that cratered tax revenues and lifted spending on everything from unemployment to food stamps to the recovery spending. Boehner argues that “adding nearly a trillion to our national debt—money borrowed mostly from foreign investors—caused a further erosion of economic confidence in America.” But he ignores the trillions added to the debt by the Bush tax cuts, the wars and the Great Recession, focusing only on the Obama recovery spending, which made the smallest contribution of all of these to the deficits. And, he rules out reversing the top-end tax cuts or cutting the military spending to address the deficits that they helped to create. (And if we actually adopt his policies, he’s likely to extend the Great Recession as well).

Boehner argues that adopting his position would show that Washington is “starting to get the message” from the American people. But Boehner isn’t hearing what most Americans are saying. Americans are concerned about deficits, and they are certain that government wastes significant portions of their money. They also oppose the billions squandered on subsidies and tax breaks for Big Oil, Big Pharma, Agribusiness and the like—tax breaks that Republicans defend, arguing that repealing them constitutes a tax increase.

In fact, the vast majority of Americans don’t agree with Boehner’s priorities. The Campaign for America’s Future, which I help direct, has started an American Majority campaign to remind the media of this fact. Three quarters oppose cutting Medicare to help balance the budget. Two thirds oppose raising the retirement age. Three fourths oppose cutting state funding for Medicaid. Over 60 percent favor raising taxes on those making over $250,000 to help reduce the deficit. A growing majority think defense cuts ought to be on the table.

Boehner wants to extort his cuts now—at a time when the economy is struggling, and the country is suffering from mass unemployment. With interest rates near record lows, the construction industry idle and our infrastructure in deadly state of disrepair, the country would be well advised to use this occasion to invest in rebuilding the country, and put workers back to work.

Instead, Boehner offered Wall Streeters a shower of conservative shibboleths, stuck randomly like pieces of lint on a serge suit. “The massive borrowing and spending by the Treasury Department crowded out private investment by American businesses of all sizes,” he argued to what must have been a bemused audience well aware that with interest rates low, and business sitting on trillions in capital waiting for demand to pick up, the only “crowding out” comes from ideology displacing reality in Boehner’s head..

Boehner argues that business people crave stability. Even the mere threat of tax hikes causes them to retreat from investments they might otherwise make. Regulatory changes are similarly disruptive:

“For job creators, the ‘promise’ of a large new initiative coming out of Washington is more like a threat. It freezes them. Instead of investing in new employees or new equipment, they make the logical decision to stand pat.” Sadly, Boehner didn’t explain why the threat to blow up the economy if he can’t get trillions in unidentified spending cuts doesn’t constitute the “promise” of a large new initiative coming out of Washington.”

What happens now? Boehner’s position is untenable. He is holding a hostage—the economy—that he dare not shoot. He is demanding trillions in cuts from programs that he dare not name. He is looking for a back room negotiation in which he can get the president to give him cover in enacting cuts that are unpopular to the American people and likely to be ruinous to the economy. If the president falls for it, Republicans make progress in dismantling the Medicare program that they have always opposed, and the president takes the rap for the bad economy.

What’s to be done? Jonathan Chait gets it right. The president—and the country—would benefit from an open discussion, not a backroom negotiation. The president needs to call Boehner out. What are the trillions in cuts that he wants as the price for letting the economy go free? If he lays them out, as in passage of the House budget plan that ends Medicare as we know it, the President can show Americans why they are unacceptable, and use the bully pulpit to take the case to the country. If Boehner isn’t prepared to lay out his cuts, call his bluff. Surely he can’t long threaten to cripple the economy if he doesn’t get cuts that he isn’t prepared to define.

One thing Boehner says rings true. Americans are sick of the arrogance in Washington. But it is hard to imagine a more arrogant politician than one threatening to blow up the economy if he doesn’t get his way.

By: Robert Borosage, CommonDreams.org, May 10, 2011

May 11, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Businesses, Congress, Conservatives, Corporations, Debt Ceiling, Deficits, Economic Recovery, Economy, GOP, Government Shut Down, Jobs, Lawmakers, Medicaid, Medicare, Pentagon, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Social Security, States, Taxes, Tea Party, Wall Street | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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