Friday Mashup (11/08/13)

November 8, 2013
  • I give you Repug U.S. House Rep Lamar Smith of Texas (here, in a recent column)…

    We must set priorities and get our nation’s spending under control. To accomplish this we must reform entitlement programs. If we don’t, experts warn, future funding for other budget priorities, including scientific research, could be in jeopardy.

    I have to admit that this is kind of an interesting twist on the typical extortion theme of Smith and his party, as noted here; basically, kick “the poors,” steal Grandma’s Social Security and take her health coverage so she dies early, and THEN we’ll decide to invest in scientific research to create industries in this country that (hopefully) will produce good paying jobs so today’s college graduates won’t still be living at home with mom and dad into their 50s (the students, I mean).

    And just as a reminder as to how we got to this point, this tells us about the effect of the ruinous “sequester” on scientific research (which Smith voted for, of course, as noted here). Also, to give you an idea of how supposedly enlightened Smith is on these matters, this (second bullet) tells us how he falsely charged that scientists hid data that supposedly contradicted the science on man-made climate change, to the point where Smith tried to pass a law requiring politicians to approve scientific funding (and he appointed Teahadist extraordinaire Paul Broun as chairman of the committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, a guy who called the evolution and “big bang” theories “lies from the pit of hell” as noted here).

    Oh, and this tells us about Smith’s typical avoidance on the issue of tar sands pollution. And unrelated to science, this tells us that Smith railed about that Kenyan Muslim Socialist prioritizing the deportation of criminals and violent offenders over, say, students, when in 1999, Smith wrote a letter to then-President Clinton encouraging him to do the very thing that Number 44 is doing right now.

    I can’t really think of a wrap-up to this item that tops this pic (applicable to Smith and his pals), so here it is.

  • bird

  • Next, did you know that the disastrous cut in food stamps, affecting about 47 million Americans, was the fault of the U.S. Congressional Democrats?

    Someone named Hughey Newsome at The Daily Tucker tries to explain here

    The expiration of this expanded spending was embedded in the infamous stimulus bill that was rammed through Congress by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in 2009 at the behest of President Obama. Stimulus spending provided for only a temporary increase. After all, people were only supposed to need more SNAP money until the economy recovered. Surely, they figured, the economy would rebound in four-and-a-half years.

    But that was before things like Obamacare and the administration’s war on fossil fuels.

    OWWWWW!!! TEH STUPID!! IT BURNS US!!!

    (And oh yeah, Newsome also blames those pesky, burdensome government regulations which no one can ever seem to identify when they’re bitching about that “big gumint li-bu-ruul” Obama – and I suppose I’ll have to point out yet again here how oil drilling has actually increased under our current occupant of An Oval Office…it’s irrelevant to me whether or not it has increased on federally owned versus privately owned territory.)

    Also, as noted from here, 37 Democratic (including Al Franken of Minnesota) and 2 Independent senators wrote a letter that was sent to a House/Senate conference committee urging that bunch to preserve SNAP funding (nary a Republican on the list, of course). With that in mind, this provides a state-by-state breakdown of the impact of the SNAP cut.

    I think it’s a testimony to the overall moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party that they and their acolytes (including Newsome) have no trouble making the argument that the admitted food stamp boost under the stimulus is supposed to be temporary, and that it should be discontinued lest “the poors” use it for a hammock, or some such nonsense…then turn around a minute later and refuse to say the same thing about those stinking tax cuts of Obama’s wretched predecessor, which were also set to expire over a fixed period of time, as noted here.

  • Continuing, are you looking for someone from Not Your Father’s Republican Party (unless the father is Rafael Cruz, I guess) to put forward some brave, thoughtful policy ideas to address the many critical issues facing this nation?

    Well, Matthew Continetti of The Weakly Standard gives us what Mike Lee has to say on that subject here

    (Lee’s) tax plan would simplify and reduce rates and offer a $2,500 per-child credit (up from $1,000 today) that would offset both income and payroll taxes. His reform of labor laws would allow employees who work overtime to take comp time or flex time in lieu of pay—an option currently available to federal workers but not to the rest of us. His transportation bill would lower the federal gas tax and devolve power to the states and localities. And his education proposal would create a new optional system of accreditation: “States could accredit online courses, or hybrid models with elements on and off campus.” Parents and students would have more flexibility. They’d also have more choices.

    I will readily admit that I’m not an economist, but from my admittedly cursory review, Lee’s tax plan looks like another attempt to try and starve the government “beast” while giving me a pittance in return (and apparently losing my mortgage interest deduction – I’ve never been able to figure out exactly why the Repugs hate that so much). So, count me as siding with Matt Yglesias on this, as noted here; let Lee’s plan be scored by a reputable financial agency first.

    On Lee’s supposedly great plan to give more comp time “in lieu of pay,” Think Progress had something to say about that here. And as far as “lowering” the federal gas tax, do Lee/Continetti realize that the federal gas tax hasn’t risen in 20 years, as noted here? So if anything, the opposite is true (oh, and I can just imagine the zany wingnut hijinks that would ensue if this were left up to the states – can you see a bridge connecting, say, states with one Dem governor and one Repug one, and the Repug guv only agrees to bridge restorations on his or her side?).

    Oh, and under Lee’s “optional” school accreditation, all kinds of fraud and abuse would likely take place without strict federal oversight (here – somebody from WhatsaMatta U would try to market themselves as the online equivalent to an Ivy league school and likely trap a few gullible suckers).

    So basically, when it comes to brand spanking new proposals on how to make government more efficient and improve our lives in the process, look to someone else besides Mike Lee.

  • Further, I have a couple of tidbits related to President Obama and the health care law; first, I give you former Bushie Andrew Card (here – a tad behind the news cycle, I‘ll admit)…

    The man who served as chief of staff under former President George W. Bush and helped sell the Iraq War to the American people said Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s entire team is guilty of misleading the public.

    Andy Card said that the current administration allowed Obama “to mislead the American people for so long” when he promoted the Affordable Care Act. Obama has come under fire recently for his previous claim that those who like their insurance plans can keep them under the health care law, a promise that hasn’t quite panned out as he said it would.

    “Well, first of all, I fault not only the President but I fault the people around the President for allowing him to mislead the American people for so long,” Card told the panel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “His categorical statements were made not as a candidate but as a President of the United States and words do matter at the White House. And it’s usually somebody in the White House that goes to the President and says, ‘Mr. President, you said that but it’s not entirely true. You’ve got to put a caveat around it.'”

    Blah blah blah…try reading this and then get back to me, OK?

    And as TPM notes, Card has no room to criticize anyone when it comes to “mislead(ing) the American people for so long.” This tells us, among other things, that Card even claimed that Dubya was fiscally responsible, or something.

    My personal favorite from Card, though, is here, when he said in 2004 that Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History would give John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in that election, “the respect of more time” before conceding; of course, there had been all kinds of voter abuse and disenfranchisement in Ohio at the time under then-Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and the Kerry team was trying to figure out what, if anything, they could do about it (to me, Card’s line was Bush-ese for “quit stalling and tell everybody I won, you brie-eating, sail boating, East Coast liberal, sponging off your wife’s ketchup fortune”).

    We also had this charming little item from Repug U.S. House Rep Trey Gowdy (with Fix Noise humanoid Megyn Kelly, on the matter of Obama saying that people wouldn’t lose their health insurance, as if Number 44, or any politician, can control what for-profit insurers decide to do)…

    I have never understood why politicians don’t look at their fellow citizens and say, “I made a mistake, I need you to forgive me and it won’t happen again.”

    In response, I give you this item from Gowdy, where he supported immigration reform once before he eventually decided to oppose it.

    So, I guess Gowdy’s original support was a “mistake” as far as he’s concerned? Why doesn’t he just apply his own test to himself?

    As usual, a Repug looks in a mirror and sees everyone’s reflection but their own.

  • Finally, I wanted to point out that I came across the following column recently by Neal Gabler of Reuters, in which he tells us the following…

    An editor championing truth over opinions shouldn’t be an earthquake. But it is. Journalistic extremes have long disregarded fact for ideology. However the bulwarks of American journalism — our mainstream newspapers, websites, magazines, and network news broadcasts — have opted for another principle: Every opinion, no matter how uninformed, deserves equal weight — and journalists dare not come down on one side or the other. It makes balance the new objectivity.

    This careful balancing act is now so commonplace that we hardly recognize it. Most anyone watching the evening network news during the government shutdown, for example, saw man-on-the-street interviews of first one person blaming the Republicans for the fiasco (for which they did bear the greatest responsibility), followed by another person blaming the Democrats, followed by a third blaming everyone in government. That has become standard journalistic practice in mainstream media outlets.

    A large reason for the “on-the-one-hand,” “on-the-other” reporting has been the success of conservatives in creating the shibboleth of a “liberal” media and then working the refs in that media to bend over backward to prove it isn’t true. No one, not least of all liberal editors, wants to be considered one-sided.

    I know this isn’t original stuff, but kudos to Gabler for pointing that out.

    I was reminded of how important it is to stress this over and over when I came across the following item recently on the Op-Ed page of the Bucks County Courier Times, the place where (more often than not) reasoned dialogue and informed commentary die a slow, painful death (by the way, John Carr is no better or worse than any of the wingnuts who fester and take up space in that paper)…

    J_Carr1a

    The highlighted statement is demonstrably false. No, it’s not an opposing point of view or some kind of alternative “take” based on a review of current events. It’s a lie. It is provably wrong (and the Courier Times obviously doesn’t know, or doesn’t care about the difference…sadly, they have a lot of company on that). And for proof, click here.

    The fact that the “fourth estate” has (for the most part) completely abdicated its responsibility to educate and inform (along with the fact that too many of us have let that happen) will be one of the epitaphs of this country over the last 30 years or so. And it is absolutely nothing to be proud of.

    Update 11/11/13: God, this is depressing – definitely thought she was better than that.

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    Wednesday Mashup (12/16/09)

    December 16, 2009

    Trying to get caught up a bit here with some stuff…

  • 1) Yesterday at the LA Times, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm observed as follows (here)…

    It seems President Obama is not quite there yet in fulfilling his hopeful campaign promise to change the harsh partisan tone in the nation’s capitol.

    This Media Matters post reminds us that Malcolm criticized Obama for lighting the White House Christmas Tree. And leaving it lit.

    Seriously.

    So I would say Malcolm has some work to do on the whole “partisan tone” thing also.

  • 2) Also, Matthew Continetti resurrected the zombie lie that tax cuts create jobs here at The Weakly Standard yesterday…

    If the Democrats were smart, they would read Greg Mankiw’s op-ed in the Sunday Times, where he points out that “successful stimulus relies almost entirely on cuts in business and income taxes. Failed stimulus relies mostly on increases in government spending.”

    In response, I give you the following from The New Yorker written in 2003 (sounds prescient now)…

    the President’s tax cuts may in the end destroy more jobs than they create. As tax revenues fall and the deficit increases, interest rates will rise, and the higher cost of borrowing will impede business investment and hiring. The reborn supply-side economists who devised the President’s plan would dispute this, except that many of them were fired or encouraged to quit in the Administration’s recent purge of its financial team.

    The article also tells us that Mankiw himself noted the damage caused by the deficits inevitably resulting from tax cuts (yes I know, water wet, sky blue…).

    And as noted here by Brad DeLong, Mankiw recently claimed that you can’t measure jobs saved from an economic stimulus, though Mankiw claimed exactly the opposite in 2003.

    Also concerning economic policy, Joe “You Lie!” Wilson told us the following at The Hill today (here)…

    In the past two years, the debt ceiling has been raised four times. This week, Congress debated raising the debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion. Congress continues spend, spend, and spend – ultimately passing our debts onto our grandchildren.

    That’s funny when you consider what happened when Wilson’s party ran our government nearly into the ground in the earlier part of this decade; as noted here…

    During 2002, debt subject to limit increased enough to reach the current statutory debt limit, $5.95 trillion. Legislation increased the limit to $6.4 trillion in June 2002.

    In December 2002, the Administration asked Congress for another increase in the debt limit. As the limit was approached in February 2003, the Treasury resorted to accounting measures at its disposal to avoid exceeding the limit. The adoption of the FY 2004 budget resolution conference report by Congress in early April 2003 triggered legislation in the House increasing the debt limit by $984 billion, deemed passed by the House, and sent to the Senate. In May, the Senate passed the increase, which the President signed on May 27, 2003…

    By the spring of 2004, the Treasury began asking for another increase in the debt limit. Congress did not act to raise the debt limit before recessing in mid-October 2004. The Secretary of the Treasury soon notified Congress that he was taking allowed actions to avoid exceeding the debt limit. He also said that these actions would suffice only through mid-November when the Treasury would exhaust its ability to finance all federal activities. In an after-election session, Congress passed and the President signed legislation raising the debt limit by $800 billion.

    And not that it would do him any good on health care at this point, but Harry Reid should note the following…

    In 2005, Congress included debt limit raising reconciliation instructions in the FY 2006 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 95). The adoption of the budget resolution also triggered the automatic passage in the House of a debt limit increase (H.J. Res. 47). No action on raising the limit was taken during calendar year 2005. The Secretary of the Treasury sent letters to Congress on December 22, 2005, and February 6 and March 6, 2006 asking for a debt-limit increase and warning that the Treasury would exhaust its options to avoid reaching the debt limit by mid-March. The Senate passed H.J. Res. 47 on March 16, after rejecting several amendments. The President signed it into law (P.L. 109-182) on March 20. The law increased the debt limit by $781 billion to $8.965 trillion.

    So, as you can see above, the debt limit increased by $3 trillion under Repug “governance” from 2002 to 2006 (and we went from a $230 billion surplus when Clinton left to a $2.8 trillion deficit by ’06).

    And by the way, the best way to get back at Wilson for his demagoguery (to say nothing of his rudeness) is to contribute to his opponent Rob Miller, who is competing for Wilson’s seat in Congress; to help Miller, click here.

  • 3) And finally, I haven’t said much lately about developments concerning Tiger Woods, since his story isn’t something I typically comment on, I know.

    However, I noticed that he was dropped as a corporate spokesman by Accenture, the consulting and outsourcing/offshoring company that spun off from the Arthur Andersen accounting firm in January 2001.

    And before we feel sorry for Accenture over this, consider the following (from February 2008, here)…

    Techdirt brings us the news that in January, the U.S. Patent Office granted a patent to two scientists who work for the consulting firm Accenture for “rapid knowledge transfer among workers.”

    Specifically, transferring knowledge from “experts” in one location to “apprentices” in another, via a Web-based set of templates. As the patent reads: “One application is a system for transferring knowledge in the context of outsourcing job functions of workers.”

    So, no more of that icky hands-on training of the foreign worker who will then perform your job for a fraction of your wages — a “level of personal interaction [that] has proved to be very costly.” Now, it can all be done online, for a fraction of the cost.

    Apparently, Accenture has come up with some means to facilitate the transfer of information from this country to someone offshore who can (in theory) do the job for less. And as we know, such knowledge is the life blood of not only a business, but someone’s career as well.

    And of course, this also adds to the deficit, though our corporate media will never bother to inform us of that, of course.

    So considering the news that this company has severed its advertising relationship with someone who is probably the pre-eminent golfer of easily the last ten years because it turns out that he was also a serial philanderer, I have only this to say.

    I think Woods is too good for them.


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