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I don’t like to talk about my personal life here, but my father, whom I love dearly despite his being a staunch Conservative Dittohead, said something yesterday that had me shaking my head with no acceptable response:

“…President Obama wants to cut Medicare.”     

Of course, it’s the GOP that wants to cut Social Security & Medicare, not Democrats, and if the GOP had their way, they’d eliminate and privatize the whole damn thing tomorrow. But my response was muted… not just because I have a rule not to talk politics with my father… but because he wasn’t entirely wrong. President Obama DID indeed say that he was open to the idea of cuts to Social Security & Medicare… an announcement that infuriated most Democrats.

The fact that my father appears to be against cutting Medicare is news in & of itself, and should serve as a word of warning to the White House: Even some of the most hard-Right Conservative Republicans like my father are opposed to cutting Social Security and Medicare. If the White House does allow Republicans to cut “Grandma-sized” holes in our safety nets (so-called for a reason), Republicans will take all the credit for forcing the White House to agree to their demands, while President Obama will get all the BLAME for the negative consequences of those demands. (Are you listening, President Obama?)

Last Friday, Speaker of the House Boehner criticized President Obama’s televised speech on the necessity of raising the Debt Ceiling. Speaker Boehner said, quote, ”
 

“We asked the President to put forward a plan and he hasn’t. We will.”     

“Will”? You “will” put forward a plan? As in, you don’t have a plan yet but you “will” get one to us later? You’re criticizing the president for not producing a plan, while YOU yourself haven’t put forward a plan? Am I the only one that noticed this?

Fox “news” Sunday invited GOP hopeful (read: “wishful thinking”) islamaphobic teanut Herman Cain back on to… to… uh… actually, I’m not sure WHY they had him back on. Last March, Cain proclaimed, ‘I will not appoint a Muslim in my administration.” Cain, who has lectured people on numerous occasions their need to “read the Constitution”, seemed to have overlooked that whole “No religious test” part. On Thursday, Cain was asked about that comment and its obvious unconstitutionality, to which he replied, “No, I said I would not be comfortable with a terrorist in my cabinet.” MUCH better. Who exactly WOULD “be comfortable” appointing a TERRORIST to serve in their Administration? Is that REALLY something you need to tell people you wouldn’t do? Appoint a TERRORIST? So, are all Muslim’s “terrorists”? “No”, said Cain, arguing instead that “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims”, a fact I’m sure Timothy McVeigh would find surprising, as would any of the two-dozen domestic terrorists I could name just since President Obama took office (like the guy that crashed his airplane into an Austin IRS building in 2009, or the Neo-Nazi that killed the guard at the Holocaust Museum with the goal of murdering everyone inside.)

But, whatever the reason FnS invited him back, Cain… who’s currently polling in single digits… was asked to follow up on some questionable comments he had made about the right of Muslims to build a mosque in Murfreesboro, TN, claiming that there mere presence of a mosque in this country is “a violation of the separation of church & state.” Why? “Because,” according to Cain, “Islam is a government-based religion.” The two are inseparable, according to Cain, so you can’t allow a religion that is also a political force “seeking to impose Sharia Law” upon the country. In any other country in the world, this man would be in a rubber room, not running for the nations’ highest office. Setting aside the obvious blinders Cain has for the political force that the Religious Right has become in this country, Cain was arguing that the town of Murfreesboro “has the right to ban the construction of a new Mosque” (in a town where they’ve already been worshiping for over 20 years.) FnS host Wallace never bothered to ask Cain how exactly would the town “ban” the construction of a Mosque without putting it to a vote? Suddenly, that whole “separation of church & state” thing comes roaring back into play. I find myself looking at Mr. Cain the way my dog would look at me if I tried to explain quantum mechanics to him.

During the same edition of FnS, Liz Cheney actually claimed… try not to spit your coffee all over your screen…:
 

“President Obama has added more to the Debt than all previous presidents combined.”        

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME??? The National Debt was $5.7T when President Clinton left office. It was over ten before Democrats even retook Congress in 2006, and over $11 Trillion by the time President Bush left office. Last time I checked, the National Debt wasn’t $22.8 Trillion. Not even close. I HAVE to think Lady McCheney knows this and is counting on the uninformed regular Fox viewers not to know/question her assertion… just as no one on the Fox panel did.

Where did Cheney get the absurd idea President Obama had “increased the Debt more than all 43 prior presidents combined”? Probably here, in this dubious story claiming President Obama has increased our “publicly held” debt by more than all prior presidents combined. Not ALL debt, just the “publicly held” portion, claiming the $2.5 Trillion President Obama has added to THE ENTIRE DEBT (including the wars and defense increases)… not just the “publicly held” portion… is greater than that subset, which they claim was only “$2.19 Trillion”. Their proof? A link to a CBO data sheet. Click the link and you will find our “publicly held” debt in 2008 was “$5.803 Trillion”, NOT “$2.19T”. I searched the entire document and the figure “2.19” does not appear anywhere. I don’t know what sort of creative math they used to come up with that figure, and honestly, I just don’t care, because you know it’s a crap number no matter how they got it. And Ms. Cheney didn’t even get THAT right.

Last May, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed a Draconian new Right-Wing law out to “solve” the non-existent problem of “voter fraud”, requiring that every voter produce a “government issued photo ID”… such as a drivers license… before they are allowed to vote. When it was pointed out that this was likely to disenfranchise many voters, Haley said she would “personally drive” anyone to the DMV “to get that photo ID”. The state government estimated that 178,000 SC voters lack a “government issued photo ID” that would qualify them to vote. Somehow, I just don’t see Ms. Haley driving all those people to get their ID. And I have a sneaking suspicion that if these people don’t have cars, they are probably poor and more likely to vote Democrat. Oh… and who pays for the photo ID once they get there? Can you say “Poll Tax” Ms. Haley?

Two weeks ago when the June unemployment figures were released, Republicans stormed the airwaves to decry the paltry “18,000 jobs” that were created, citing it as “proof” that President Obama’s economic policies were a failure. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported at the time how the “private sector” actually created 57,000 new jobs, but the government cut 39,000 jobs, for a net gain of only 18,000. Republicans DEMAND that the Obama Administration cut the size of government, but when they do, Republicans then point to the job losses as proof Obama is failing.

Early this month, Republican (natch) Congressman Kevin Brady bemoaned that government wasn’t laying off workers as fast as the private sector. I guess people just aren’t losing their jobs fast enough for Congressman Brady. In fact, as I just pointed out, the government is losing jobs FASTER than the private sector. At a time of such high unemployment, Government should be CREATING jobs, not cutting them. Ask someone that’s been out of work for two years if they’d turn down a public-sector job. I’ll give you a buck for every one that says “No” (and no deal if that person is a single teabagging moron living in his parent’s basement).

One can’t be a Republican today without putting ideology over reason. Consider this: Ask any Republican, “Would you cut government food-safety testing to save money if you could buy a ‘home food-safety testing kit’ at Wal*Mart for $5?” I bet you a lot of Tea Party teanuts would think that was a good idea. Can you just see these people testing every pound of hamburger for “fecal matter” or every head of lettuce for e.coli, at a cost of between $1000-$4000 a year for a family of four, every day of their lives for the next 40 years?

I mentioned last week how Sen. Orin Hatch argued that the poor aren’t paying ENOUGH in taxes, noting how “51 percent of Americans pay NO income taxes”. The number Hatch cites is itself a serious twisting of the facts, but the notion that “51 percent of Americans” are so poor that they don’t make enough to pay any income taxes, not only did it not phase the senator when his own Party seems apoplectic over raising taxes “on anyone“, Senator Hatch thinks they should be paying MORE. You have to wonder if he even gives a flying flip about that “51 percent”. They need to pick up the slack that those poor rich people have been burdened with.

These people really do live in their own little reality. The number of Far-Right Republicans (Tea Partiers mostly) denying that NOT raising the Debt Ceiling would cause a fiscal crisis, is frightening. GOP front-runner (depending upon what poll you read) Michele Bachmann, who got most of her Talking Points from Fox’s Glenn Beck, is one of them. Despite a legion of Economists, Nobel Prize winners, Wall Street brokerages, the head of the Federal Reserve, the OMB, and even past Bush economic advisers warning them the economic catastrophe that would occur if the Debt Ceiling were not raised, this band of mental midgets believe they know better. Briefly, should Congress vote against raising the DC, the government doesn’t collect enough money in taxes to run the country, service the Debt, and pay for two wars on top of that. There’s only so much you can cut before you get down to “Veterans pay”, the FBI/CIA/FAA/IRS… the whole alphabet soup of government programs, police, fire-fighters, teachers, highway construction, food inspection, etc and so on. And that’s the point. If you can’t afford to fund these programs, you’re only option is to PRIVATIZE them. And don’t think for a moment these people don’t know this. Problem: You could eliminate the entire Department of Education, privatize all the schools, and still not balance the budget. Yet, they’d do it if they could. And once you make education too expensive for the poor to send their kids to school, you start an economic tailspin that ends with America looking like a scene out of Slumdog Millionaire (actually, that’s a photo of the REAL kids in their REAL neighborhood).

So, let’s say that the teanuts can’t raise enough votes to abolish the FAA, Federal Highway Funds, or what have you. THEN where do you get the money to make up the shortfall? You raise interest rates to encourage people to put their money in the bank. Nothing better for a weak economy than to encourage people to stop spending and put their money in the bank.

Let’s say that Republican opposition causes us to miss the August 2nd deadline, or that they DO decide to raise it… but only for another six months. What do you think it will take to convince foreign investors that we’re still a good risk and it is safe to lend us money? And you’re back to those high interest rates and economic catastrophe. This isn’t rocket science folks. Even Michele Bachmann with her fake law degree should be able to figure this one out.

I love Thought Experiments. Here’s another: What if you “permanently” (avoiding that whole “uncertainty” thing Republicans blame for why their solutions haven’t worked so far) cut corporate taxes to zero. Would companies FINALLY start to hire people if there was no demand? Of course not. Now what if you RAISED taxes on Corporations and used that money to place orders for construction crews, rebuilding our infrastructure, put solar panels on the roofs of every school, and order 100,000 hybrid mail trucks (sign my petition), do you think companies might start hiring THEN? Or are you a wingnut that thinks they’d layoff workers and shut their doors because their taxes went up an extra 2.5%? I think they’d pay the higher taxes and hire like crazy to fill those orders (while fostering entirely new high-tech green industries).

I just can’t believe ALL these disconnects are the result of simple stupidity. I’m more apt to believe many of them KNOW what they are claiming is just plain wrong, but they say it anyway because it plays well to their base… which doesn’t say much about their base… or for that matter what Republicans think about them.

Here’s a thought. If Republicans are SO SURE raising taxes would be a disaster, why not give the president his tax increase and then spend the next year campaigning on the economic disaster that’s sure to follow? You know why? Because they know it would actually have the OPPOSITE effect (just as it did when President Clinton raised taxes in 1996). A sure way to win in 2012 would be to blame the bad economy on Obama’s tax increase. What’s that you say? You don’t want to hand the next president an economic basket case? Welcome to President Obama’s world.
 


 
And as usual: a reminder to Sign my Green Jobs petition:
Support green jobs NOW!

 


 

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