Why are Republicans Wrong about Everything?


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Jan 25, 2013 - 11:42am PT
"Answering what went wrong with the initial public information on the Benghazi attack matters, just as it did when the Bush Administration gave us misinformation.

Except that, of course, nothing "went wrong" with the initial Benghazi public information. It was simply the best info that was known at the time. Comparing that to the bad intel Bush knowingly used to launch a war is invalid.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jan 25, 2013 - 11:42am PT
"...Now, on a completely different subject,"

OK, Ron...it's safe to come back.

The subject (and page) has changed, shifting attention away from your glaringly ideologically-driven misinterpretation of second term POTUS cabinet reshuffling.

Boulder, CO
Jan 25, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2013 - 07:13pm PT
Deficit Hawks Down


Published: January 24, 2013, NY Times

President Obama’s second Inaugural Address offered a lot for progressives to like. There was the spirited defense of gay rights; there was the equally spirited defense of the role of government, and, in particular, of the safety net provided by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. But arguably the most encouraging thing of all was what he didn’t say: He barely mentioned the budget deficit.

Mr. Obama’s clearly deliberate neglect of Washington’s favorite obsession was just the latest sign that the self-styled deficit hawks — better described as deficit scolds — are losing their hold over political discourse. And that’s a very good thing.

Why have the deficit scolds lost their grip? I’d suggest four interrelated reasons.

First, they have cried wolf too many times. They’ve spent three years warning of imminent crisis — if we don’t slash the deficit now now now, we’ll turn into Greece, Greece, I tell you. It is, for example, almost two years since Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles declared that we should expect a fiscal crisis within, um, two years.

But that crisis keeps not happening. The still-depressed economy has kept interest rates at near-record lows despite large government borrowing, just as Keynesian economists predicted all along. So the credibility of the scolds has taken an understandable, and well-deserved, hit.

Second, both deficits and public spending as a share of G.D.P. have started to decline — again, just as those who never bought into the deficit hysteria predicted all along.

The truth is that the budget deficits of the past four years were mainly a temporary consequence of the financial crisis, which sent the economy into a tailspin — and which, therefore, led both to low tax receipts and to a rise in unemployment benefits and other government expenses. It should have been obvious that the deficit would come down as the economy recovered. But this point was hard to get across until deficit reduction started appearing in the data.

Now it has — and reasonable forecasts, like those of Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs, suggest that the federal deficit will be below 3 percent of G.D.P., a not very scary number, by 2015.

And it was, in fact, a good thing that the deficit was allowed to rise as the economy slumped. With private spending plunging as the housing bubble popped and cash-strapped families cut back, the willingness of the government to keep spending was one of the main reasons we didn’t experience a full replay of the Great Depression. Which brings me to the third reason the deficit scolds have lost influence: the contrary doctrine, the claim that we need to practice fiscal austerity even in a depressed economy, has failed decisively in practice.

Consider, in particular, the case of Britain. In 2010, when the new government of Prime Minister David Cameron turned to austerity policies, it received fulsome praise from many people on this side of the Atlantic. For example, the late David Broder urged President Obama to “do a Cameron”; he particularly commended Mr. Cameron for “brushing aside the warnings of economists that the sudden, severe medicine could cut short Britain’s economic recovery and throw the nation back into recession.”

Sure enough, the sudden, severe medicine cut short Britain’s economic recovery, and threw the nation back into recession.

At this point, then, it’s clear that the deficit-scold movement was based on bad economic analysis. But that’s not all: there was also clearly a lot of bad faith involved, as the scolds tried to exploit an economic (not fiscal) crisis on behalf of a political agenda that had nothing to do with deficits. And the growing transparency of that agenda is the fourth reason the deficit scolds have lost their clout.

What was it that finally pulled back the curtain here? Was it the way the election campaign revealed Representative Paul Ryan, who received a “fiscal responsibility” award from three leading deficit-scold organizations, as the con man he always was? Was it the decision of David Walker, alleged crusader for sound budgets, to endorse Mitt Romney and his budget-busting tax cuts for the rich? Or was it the brazenness of groups like Fix the Debt — basically corporate C.E.O.’s declaring that you should be forced to delay your retirement while they get to pay lower taxes?

The answer probably is, all of the above. In any case, an era has ended. Prominent deficit scolds can no longer count on being treated as if their wisdom, probity and public-spiritedness were beyond question. But what difference will that make?

Sad to say, G.O.P. control of the House means that we won’t do what we should be doing: spend more, not less, until the recovery is complete. But the fading of deficit hysteria means that the president can turn his focus to real problems. And that’s a move in the right direction.

Jan 26, 2013 - 06:39am PT
I've come to the conclusion that the Republican Party is totally batshiit crazy.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Jan 26, 2013 - 07:04am PT
There is absolutely no doubt they are batshit crazy. Fuking dangerous too. The next few years are going to produce some serious fire works. As is by now well established when confronted with changing tides die hard ideologues will only turn to hysterical martyrdom like the well dressed Taliban that they are.

To wit:

Boner just flat out stated "We will end abortion in america within one year". Huh? So I guess the economy is doing ok now?

A bunch of Red States are poised to rig the electoral college system to favor the right wing. About as blatant a fascist move as their usual gerrymandering and vote tweaking so this hardly even gets a yawn at this point.

One can only imagine how they will even more vigorously ramp up legislation opposing the creeping liberalism of rising sea levels, hurricanes, pine beetles, drought, wild fires, locusts, mexicans, Cubans, Iraqis, Cheeseheads and various other forms of anti american pestilence.

You think they're looney now? Hang on. You aint seen nothing.


Jan 26, 2013 - 07:08am PT
You're right, they won't die quietly.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 26, 2013 - 07:15am PT
buncha leg humpers..

Jan 26, 2013 - 07:32am PT
Truth is a bitch
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Jan 26, 2013 - 07:33am PT
Bang on Ron. A bunch of bloody right wing vampire leg humpers.

They will be handing out free hollow points at every school
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 26, 2013 - 08:05am PT
The California Republican party should be a cautionary tale about the relevance of political parties that are unable to moderate their positions.

The Democrats are the centrist Party, they are the moderates
They just look like for left wing liberals to people like John because his party is so far to the right, that they just keep breaking down the right wing extremist walls.

California went down the tubes by Right Wing policies and Republican obstruction
put some pragmatic intelligence back in, raise taxes and all is well after 2 years!!!
Thanks Jerry! Thanks voters for raising taxes!

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Jan 26, 2013 - 08:08am PT
JSTAN.....Very well said....America has become out of touch thanks to an abundnce of natural resources that have enabled us to live beyond our means...Climate change is a result of this gluttonous abuse of energy and climate change is the great unknown that will re-shuffle the economic deck of the planet...Meanwhile the American Taliban keeps their head buried in the sand spending billions to keep their propaganda machine working overtime to maintain the American dream....

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 26, 2013 - 08:34am PT

Scam complete: the US government takes a page from Diocletian’s book…

by Simon Black on January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013
Guayaquil, Ecuador

Early in the 4th century, Emperor Diocletian issued an infamous decree to control spiraling wages and prices in the rapidly deteriorating Roman Empire.

As part of his edict, Diocletian commanded that any merchant or customer caught violating the new price structures would be put to death.

This is an important lesson from history, and a trend that has been repeated numerous times. When nations are in terminal economic decline, governments will stop at nothing to keep the party going just a little bit longer.

I thought of Diocletian’s desperation a few days ago when I read about the recent sanctions imposed on US rating agency Egan-Jones. It’s a similar story–

For years, major rating agencies (S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch) have championed the outright fraud of our financial system by pinning pristine credit ratings on insolvent governments and their heavily inflated currencies.

In doing so, the rating agencies are effectively claiming that the greatest debtor that has ever existed in the history of the world is nearly ‘risk-free’.

Clearly this is a ridiculous assertion. With a debt level over 100% of GDP, the US is so broke that the government must borrow money just to pay interest on the money it’s already borrowed. They’ve lost over a trillion dollars a year since 2008, yet they still spend money on things like drones and body scanners. It’s crazy.

As with any good scam, the government must maintain public confidence. The moment someone says ‘the Emperor has no clothes,’ that shallow, fragile confidence will come crashing down and expose the scam. Dissent must be vigorously and swiftly pursued.

So when S&P finally downgraded the US one notch in August 2011, the SEC and Justice Department announced that S&P was under investigation, just two weeks later.

Egan-Jones, a smaller rating agency, has been even more aggressive, downgrading the US credit rating three times in 18 months. And while the federal government may not have imposed Diocletian’s death penalty, they are just as willing to squash dissent.

In a country that churns out thousands of pages of new regulations each week, it’s easy to find a reason to go after someone. As you read this letter, in fact, you are probably in violation of at least a dozen regulatory offenses.

In the case of Egan-Jones, the SEC brought administrative action against the agency within two weeks of their second downgrade. And a few days ago, the case was settled.

I’m sure you have already guessed the ending: Egan-Jones is banned from for the next 18 months from rating US government debt. They’ve effectively been silenced from telling the truth.

The lesson here is obvious. Just as in Roman times, bankrupt nations today will stop at nothing to keep up the scam just a little bit longer.

Given that all this is happening at a time when Congress is voting to suspend the debt ceiling entirely, these actions are the clearest sign yet of just how desperate the government has become.

Could the warning signs be any more obvious?

Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 26, 2013 - 09:03am PT

According to Rush:

“So we got a hurricane coming. The National Hurricane Center, which is a government agency, is very hopeful that the hurricane gets near Tampa. The National Hurricane Center is Obama. It’s the National Weather Service, part of the commerce department. It’s Obama.“

As I reflect on such idiotic statements, I stand amazed, and so should you: The very man these people portray to be so out of touch with America, stupid when it comes to the economy, socialistic in policy, radical, lazy, and, through innuendo, powerless, they also attribute such magical powers to. You really can’t make this stuff up, folks! Really! Furthermore – and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong – when a team, say an athletic team, loses a game, a series, or a Championship, do they seek external reasons for their loss? No! If they have a brain or desire to win, they take a critical look at themselves and develop solutions as to how they can actually improve their performance, right? Not the GOP! Even Newt Gingrich, not only dumbfounded over Romney’s loss, but also over the GOP nominee’s post-electoral comments to fundraisers via telephone this previous November, attributing his loss to the President providing gifts in exchange for votes, describing the implication as insulting:

“This would be like Wal-Mart having a bad week and going, ‘The customers have really been unruly,’” he continued. “I mean, the job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can’t offer a better future that is believable to more people, we’re not going to win.“

Let’s face it folks: It is pretty bad when Newt Gingrich makes more sense than the rest of the GOP! But this is precisely what has happened since the majority of the GOP has come under control by the Tea Party members who are driven by the consistent lies, myths, rumors, and false information provided by the conservative radio talk show hosts and Fox News. Conservative columnist David Frum elucidates this very point, while stating just how uninformed these people are in a statement on Morning Joe, the week following the election:

“Republicans have been fleeced, exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex…there are too many to name. Because the followers, the donors and the activists are so mistaken about the nature of the problems the country faces…just a simple question, and I went to Tea Party rallies and asked this question, have taxes gone up or down in recent years? They can’t answer this question.”

Jan 26, 2013 - 09:05am PT
I have to admit, it's kind of fun watching the more reasonable elements of the party hand wring and hair pull in frustration over the tea party mess.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jan 26, 2013 - 09:11am PT
"Could the warning signs be any more obvious?"

Credit: apogee

Jan 26, 2013 - 09:14am PT
"“Republicans have been fleeced, exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex…there are too many to name. Because the followers, the donors and the activists are so mistaken about the nature of the problems the country faces…just a simple question, and I went to Tea Party rallies and asked this question, have taxes gone up or down in recent years? They can’t answer this question.”"

They know they're being lied to, but prefer lies to reality, which refutes their failed ideology, and they also prefer repub candidates who pander to them with those same lies.

By 2020 repubs will be just as irrelevant nationally as they already are in CA - the most populous, most prosperous state in the nation.


Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Jan 26, 2013 - 09:22am PT
I have to admit, it's kind of fun watching the more reasonable elements of the party hand wring and hair pull in frustration over the tea party mess.

Yes they do seem to have spilled their Oolong and gotten their doilies in a twist.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Jan 26, 2013 - 09:25am PT
Looks like Sarah Palin is finished and on the path to obscurity and utter insignificance. Her 15 minutes lasted way too long.

Turns out she's even too dumb for Fox news!

Jan 26, 2013 - 09:43am PT
A quote from Sharon Day, Priebus' right hand person at the republican meeting this week intended to plan how they might widen their base.

"I'll talk to a head of lettuce if it will convince them to vote republican."

I think it symptomatic she did not choose to say "head of cabbage." Poor people eat cabbage.

The meeting concluded the election was not lost because of their ideology, which they promised would not change in the slightest. They lost because their technology was not as good as that of Obama's. If that is the case, and they were inferior to muslim technology, they have a real problem.

In one of his episodes Maher pointed up just how absurd this has gotten.

"I really wish Romney had won. After all. I am a comedian."

This is not all that bad. Under Eisenhower you could not find a laugh anywhere.
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