This is arguably my favorite posting duty of the year, where I get to ridicule the
Bill Kristol (former Chief of Staff to Dan Quayle… which tells you all you need to know) is so routinely horribly bad at predicting, The Rachel Maddow Show actually did an entire segment on it last January (though they omitted his most famous wrong prediction:
“And on this issue of the Shia in Iraq, I think there’s been a certain amount of, frankly, Terry, a kind of pop sociology in America that, you know, somehow the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.” – Bill Kristol defending the decision to invade Iraq to ABC’s Terry Moran, April 1, 2003.
…”almost no evidence of that”… except maybe A THOUSAND YEARS of civil war. Iraq was only “secular” because Saddam knew it was the only way to control religious infighting. What did I say about Republicans and their knowledge of history? (Iraq was currently secular, ergo it has always been secular.)
The so-called “professional psychics” are so routinely bad, it’s almost no fun beating up on them anymore. This list of predictions for 2014 by some of the most famous in their field was so abysmally wrong that it’s easier just to read it than dissect it. Among my favorites: Vladimir Putin wins Nobel prize for his part in Syria and “A tornado destroys most of Kansas City” (KC Kansas or KC Missouri? …like it matters.)
Last year, I made a point of recording “Fox news Sunday’s” Predictions for 2014 on their year-end show. Host Chris Wallace joked that the segment comes under the heading “Often in Error but Never in Doubt”… which sums up Conservatism perfectly. Have you ever seen a group so sure of themselves despite being so consistently wrong about everything? Republicans are SO sure their beliefs are right that their predictions are “predictably”
- ObamaCare will continue to “unravel” and cause economic chaos.
- Republicans win control of the Senate… due to the poor economy.
- An airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by the U.S. or Israel.
- Economy will improve, but not by enough to significantly reduce unemployment.
- GDP growth under 3% (it broke 3.5%)
- “ObamaCare crushes jobs”. Unemployment goes down only because people give up looking for work.
It’s no surprise Fox chose not to (no do they ever) replay their previous years’ predictions yesterday heading into this years’ segment.
The only one bullish on the economy was DINO Joe Liebermann, correctly predicting a strong economy for 2014, “over 3% GDP growth”, “the DOW will break 18,000″ (it did) “and the S&P will break 2,000″ (it did). But even he predicted “unemployment will [only] go down to 6.5%”. Last month, unemployment fell to just 5.8% following
Last week, this was the news on the economy (Dec 23, 2014):
Remember that date because I promise you Republicans will be taking credit for the improved economy next year despite the fact it was a huge success BEFORE they ever took control of Congress.
On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Chuck Todd summed up the Obama economic record for 2014 with these figures:
By contrast, here is a compilation of news reports on the economy after six years of President Bush and Conservative control of Congress (5:54):
My first attempt at predicting the coming year was 2006 when I went a paltry 2 for 10 (20%) predicting 2007. Learning from my mistakes, in 2007 I went 9 for 12 (75%). 2008 went 11 for 15 (73%).
- Wrong: GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. – It’s easy to forget that just one year ago, the economy was still soft and unemployment was still nearly
7-percenct (finally falling to 6.7% by years end)Senate Republicans knew they could vote “Yes” on an extension because they knew it would never pass the GOP controlled House. House Leader Boehner hemmed & hawedfor five months, finally rejecting an extension in mid-May. But by then, it was moot. Three straight months of job growth well over 100K and then two months of job growth over 200K, by then no one was decrying the need to extend unemployment benefits now that the jobs were coming back.
- Wrong: expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200” mark come years end. – The market grew like gang-busters once again in 2014, but slightly slower than it did in 2013. Breaking 18,000 last week was still a record.
- Wrong: Supreme Court to rule that states must recognize marriages performed in another state. – While the Supreme Court did overturn bans on same-sex marriage in
Oklahoma, Utah & Kansasas unconstitutional, they did not go so far as to rule on any “interstate” recognition of marriage. But that’s primarily because no such case was ever brought before the high court. Based on three rulings of declaring state bans “unconstitutional”, there would be no excuse for defending a ban had such a case come before the court. So while I got this one wrong, I still feel vindicated.
- Wrong: don’t expect control of either House to change hands – Well… half-wrong anyway, but no points for half credit. I never expected Democrats to just roll over and play dead like they did this year, eschewing the president and his robust economy with record job growth like he was an Ebola victim that crossed the border illegally. Never
under-estimatea Democrats ability to not take credit for their success as well as Republicans ability to convince you that’s just warm yellow rain they’ve been showering you with.
- Wrong: Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie – The years’ not over with yet as I type this, but I really thought the candidates would declare immediately after the
mid-terms. But Hillary is waiting before pasting that target on her back, and enthusiasm for Christie just never grew as Democrats followed “Bridge-Gate”and Republicans still never forgave him for embracing President Obama after Hurricane Sandy.
- Wrong: expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year. – First half right, but second half just missed the mark. I remember as I wrote that, that 4.0+% growth was probably a tad overly optimistic, but growth of
over 3.5%wasn’t that far off the mark. Still not good enough for me to grade my prediction as correct.
- Wrong: Snowden to move to South America. – As far as anyone is aware, he’s still in Russia, even agreeing to an interview with American television while in Moscow.
- Right: Regarding Congress raising the Minimum Wage, with a number of states deciding no wait for Congress to act and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. – Ah, finally, a win! I was getting worried there. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama asked Congress to raise the Minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10/hour. Republicans in Congress have vowed to block any vote on raising the Minimum Wage, but as predicted, 21 states voted this year to raise their Minimum Wage on January 1st of 2015.
- Wrong: The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. – While I could make a case that I got this right (#SochiProblems was a trending hashtag on Twitter during the games following reports of “unfinished hotels” and a hiccup during the opening ceremonies as one of the Olympic rings failed to expand), but nothing like my expectation of events either being relocated or canceled, and threats of violence against the games that I expected. I’m no hack, so mark this one wrong as well.
- Wrong: Janet Napolitano, hand-picked by Obama to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes to Sochi, was specifically chosen because she herself will come out as gay upon her arrival. – No idea if she is or not, but she certainly didn’t make any such announcement while she was there… not even during an interview with “The Advocate” magazine.
- Right: I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. – Not only was unemployment of just 6.1% obtainable, but the eventual 5.8% is indeed withing 3/10th of that figure as predicted.
- Wrong, but with some caveats: a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck with Iran. – While Iran never did agree to give up its right to pursue nuclear weapons, I also noted an increase in the global supply of oil resulting in a plunge in the per barrel price (but guessing only around $80/$75, never dreaming we’d see
sub-$60 numbersagain. Iran is indeed trading its oil through OPEC.
- Wrong: Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. – Sometimes reality wins out over ego. With just 2% support for a presidential run among Conservatives (a number that is likely falling following his
end-of-yearstunt that has the GOP faithful spitting nails in his direction) support for a Cruz candidacy just never materialized.
- Right: Supreme Court will rule in-favor of Hobby Lobby. – There was no way on God’s Green Earth that this Conservative-leaning Court was going to rule against the Religious
WrongRight in this country. Had the company arguing its religious rights were being violated been Muslims, Hindu’s or Satanists, you can be damned sure the vote would have gone the other way. But the American Taliban wields great power in this country.
- Right: no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. – Admittedly, this one was pretty easy. Lots of talk about the need for “Election Reform” following the 2012 Election, but rampant voter disenfranchisement laws swept the country (in Red states) this past year, sweeping the GOP back to control both houses of Congress due in part to just 39% voter turnout (which is actually just slightly above average for
- Right: a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere. – I’ll admit I was half-joking on this one, but monster storms are becoming
more & morecommon as Global Warming becomes a growing problem. Typhoon Nuri, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the North Pacific (smashing a 37 year oldrecord), brushed the East coast of Japan before breaking up in the Bering Sea.
- Right, with caveats: another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree. – In the wake of Sandy Hook and the Colorado shooting sprees, it seemed most likely that another mass shooting would take place again. On May 23 in Isla Vista, CA, another disturbed young man went on a shooting spree killing six people and wounding thirteen others (I actually expected more deaths) before killing himself. Notably though, 2014 was more the “year of cops killing unarmed black men” (and one black child) than it was noted as a year of mass murders by a single gunman.
- Right… though I’m almost tempted to mark this one wrong: the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. After incorrectly predicting military action against Assad/Syria in
2012 AND 2013, I played things a bit closer to the vest for 2014 topredict only that the conflict would still be ongoing in 2014. And indeed it is. But ironically, Assad’s war on his own people has been disrupted by… of all things… the terrorist group ISIS seeking to take control of the entire region. In an odd and totally bizarre way, ISIS has managed to do what America (nor any coalition nation) has dared attempt: disrupt Syria’s war on its own people by drawing its fire against an even greater threat to their monarchy.
Totaling the damage, 7 of 18 for just 39%. Not my worst but pretty far off the mark. Let’s see if I can’t do better this year.
My predictions for 2015:
- Early in 2015, in a sweeping and feigned show of “bi-partisanship”, Republicans will quickly approve at least two of President Obama’s cabinet appointees (most notably the new Secretary of Defense) in an attempt to show just “how willing” they are “to work with the president”. They will then quickly return to their obstructionist ways though, passing bill after bill they know President Obama would never sign (additional tax cuts for the highest tax brackets, repealing ObamaCare, etc) and point to the president as “the obstructionist” standing in the way of “what the people want.”
(Update 1/7/15: Republicans Move To Gut Social Security Benefits on Their First Day in Power)
(Update 1/9/15: House votes to pass Keystone XL pipeline)
- Tensions between NYC Mayor DiBlasio and the Right-Wing head of the NY “Policemans Benevolent Association” will reach a boiling point with the Mayor finally chastising Pat Lynch by name for breeding discord between him and the NYPD over his own personal political differences. I’m not sure how much longer New Yorkers will tolerate this nonsense. Mayor DiBlasio won with a majority of the vote. Where are they now and why aren’t they rushing to his defense?
(Update 1/31/15: New York Mayor Bill De Blasio Says Back-Turning By Police Was ‘Really Inappropriate’) but doesn’t cite Lynch by name.)
- Hillary will remain the Democratic front-runner all year as her few Democratic challengers fail to ever pose a serious threat to her candidacy. Bernie Sanders will get into the race (as a Democrat so he can take part in the debates) but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will not. She said no; she means no. “
Commander-in-Chiefof the Armed Forces” is not her style. Expect an endorsement from her late in the year (most likely for Hillary, but Hillary has a nasty habit of throwing her Democratic colleges under the bus, so it is difficult to say for sure.) Support for Bernie may swell after one or two good debate showings and may even help push Hillary to the Left some, but the chances of an admitted “European Socialist”… which translates in the dullard Teabagger ear as “Nazi”… becoming the nominee is about zero.
- Fans of Ron Paul in 2012 will find Rand Paul a poor substitute and fail to flock to his candidacy as passionately as they did his father.
- I’m not sure I’m ready to pick the Republican front-runner at this time (my gut says Jeb Bush but I also never expected him to run), but I can tell you that not even Mitt Romney’s ego is big enough to convince him to run again against the likes of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. There isn’t enough oxygen in the rarefied air that is the
GOP-nominationfor three egos that big. I’m not even confident there will be a clear GOP front-runner by years end. And remember folks: #Jeb4President, because two Iraq Wars and three Recessions just weren’t enough.
(Update 1/30/15: Romney Announces He Won’t Run for President in 2016.)
- ISIS will continue to grow, but not at nearly the same rate. Recent barbaric domestic attacks like the massacre of 145 school children in Pakistan by the Pakistani Taliban in response to the rise of ISIS there will anger weary neighbors tired of all the in-fighting. As fewer people flock to join ISIS, their growth will slow and less territory will be taken/held. I don’t expect ISIS to be significantly larger a year from now than it is today (roughly 31,500 members).
- We haven’t seen the last of Putin’s trouble-making. Global insecurity raises oil prices. The recent plunge in oil prices has thrown the Russian economy into chaos, yet Putin still enjoys an 80% approval rating among
Republicanser Russians because they suffer from the same classic inferiority complex as Conservatives (them against the world). So they rally around their dear leader as he makes mischief in the world trying to drive up oil prices by soughing unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East (and my money is on teenage Russian hackers being behind the hack of Sony Pictures that was blamed on North Korea.)
- Which leads to North Korea. I suspect evidence will grow that North Korea was not directly responsible for the computer hacking of Sony Pictures late this year, but instead were only approached for “backing” or “support” just prior to the attack by third parties. Any early “sympathy” that might grow for North Korea as evidence suggests the hacking did not originate there will quickly dissolve as evidence suggests they had prior knowledge of… and were complicit in… the hacking attack.
(Update 1/19/15: NSA confirms NK behind hack attack because they hacked NK’s computers back in 2010.)
- The GOP will NOT attempt to impeach President Obama in 2015 (no bets on 2016 though). They know the voting public just has no appetite for two attempted impeachments of two Democratic presidencies in just the last eight years and would rightly crucify them for such crass political gamesmanship once again if they tried. An attempt to “sue” president Obama over “Executive Action” is still possible, but if they do (likely) it will be incredibly
- Gitmo will still be in operation by years end. Republicans will raise a ruckus as more (already cleared) detainees are released, but for the most part, not much will have changed by years end. President Obama has tried to close it for six years, but with a Republican controlled Congress for his last two, forghedaboudit.
- And that brings us to Cuba (where Gitmo is located.) I never dared predict a thaw in relations with Cuba this past year, but now that it has happened, expect interest in Cuba as a tourist destination to explode, much to the chagrin of Conservatives, torn between their hatred for the Castros/Communism and their love for the economic opportunities including corporations expanding cruise lines, building hotels and reviving the struggling cruiseline industry.
- With no elections this year, don’t expect any more states to pass marijuana legalization laws. But as the year comes to a close, expect a push to get it on the 2016 ballot in more states start to take shape. No, Democrats will not make it part of their 2016 platform and no, president Obama will not take any Executive Action… neither pro nor con… regarding the issue.
- As noted above, Republicans will try to take credit for record economy that we’ve already started to see take shape before they’ve even taken control of Congress. When Republicans held control of both houses during President Clinton’s final six years, even they didn’t try to repeal the tax hike that Democrats passed in 1994 that led to
a Balanced Budgetand unprecedented economic growth. Nor will they try in 2015 because they know what it would do to the economy.
(Update 1/7/15: Sen. Mitch McConnell says the economy is improving because Republicans are in charge)
- I’m stunned oil prices have plummeted so precipitously this past year, and while the decline may continue for a few months more, it has a floor. I’d be stunned if oil fell below $40/barrel in 2015 and if it does, it won’t stay down there for long. Even with Putin out there trying to stir up trouble to get oil prices back up to rescue the Russian economy, expect the price of oil to settle in around $58/barrel give or take around $5… roughly just about where it is right now ($55/barrel).
- The DOW will continue to rise but not at the same rate, as oil prices stagnate and Republican obstructionism leaves Washington in the doldrums. The DOW should flirt with the 20,000 mark by years end, another record but at a slower rate than
2013 or 2014.
And that’s my predictions for 2015. No big moves on the Environment or Renewable Energy. 2015 just won’t be a “shake things up” kind of year. With Hillary’s “inevitability”, even the Presidential Debates won’t draw a lot of interest. Other than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and “Medicare” in 1965, can you name anything of significance happening in a year ending in “5” in the last 50 years? My batting average has fallen every year since 2008, so I’m due for some improvement. We’ll see.
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On March 23, 2003… three days into the invasion of Iraq, Private Jessica Lynch was captured by Iraqi forces following an ambush of her convoy. Publicists in the Bush Administration spun an elaborate tail of how
At it’s peak, the infamous “Abu Ghraib” prison in Iraq, where American troops sadistically tortured Iraqi prisoners, held as many as 3,800 detainees.
of Iraqi prisoners by US forces during the ’91 Gulf War (2007)
It was rather disturbing to hear former Vice President Dick Cheney on “Meet the Press” yesterday cite “9/11″ four (possibly five) times in defending the use of torture, arguing in essence that what WE did “was nothing in comparison to what was done to us on 9/11″… the classic, “
“It wasn’t torture!” Dr. Karl Rove (yes, I’m being facetious) insisted to host Chris Wallace during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. “In fact, the techniques were designed specifically NOT to be torture!” The example Rove gave… which I’m certain he thought up all on his own without consulting anyone… was the fact waterboarded prisoners legs “were elevated” (presumably, in Rove’s mind, to allow water to drain from their lungs) to keep them from drowning. In Rove’s fevered imagination, this is PROOF that we were behaving “humanely” and taking strides to NOT torture prisoners by showing concern for their lives. Of course, Rove is an idiot. Someone really should explain BREATHING to him and how difficult it is to do with
When the Iraqi’s denied they were hiding any “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, the Bush Administration called them liars and demanded they allow in UN Weapons Inspectors. When the inspectors failed to confirm what they were certain was true, they took the position that the Inspectors were too dumb to know they were being hoodwinked by Saddam, ordering all allied personnel out of Iraq and invaded anyway. Similarly, when detainees didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear… most notably regarding connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, they tortured them till they told them what they wanted to hear.
Cheney repeatedly argued that “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (an aside: if you have to use an euphemism to avoid calling something what it really is, it’s as good as an admission of guilt. – Mugsy) DID “provide good intel that lead to the capture” of a number of terrorists including OBL (which is a lie) and/or foiling plots. Even if true, the amount of
Other torture advocates like to cite the “ticking time bomb” scenario, where there’s no time to wait for “traditional” interrogation techniques to work. But in the VAST majority of (arguably ALL) cases, there was no “time is of the essence” situation that was thwarted by way of information gleaned from torture. Of the
Not only does torture not work, but it is COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, producing fewer results in more time at much greater expense. If you truly wished to see America fail, you couldn’t do much worse than to root for the continued use of torture. In 1988/89, the CIA produced two reports on the use of torture on prisoners, stating that “[p]ysical abuse or other degrading treatment was rejected not only because it was wrong, but because it has historically proven to be ineffective.”
Downsides of Torture Program:
- False leads waste an enormous amount of time & money. How many bad leads did we obtain via torture for every good lead? There’s no way to know if a lead is no good until you investigate it. What better way to harm your captors than to waste their time chasing down false leads that you know they desperately want to believe are true? Very quickly, your enemies will learn the quickest route to ending their suffering is to feed you a really good pile of crap that you’ve been begging for. David Axelrod noted during “Meet the Press” yesterday that, according to the CIA report, “torture produced the intel that Iraq was supposedly connected to 9/11.”
- Using torture prolongs war as your enemies dig in their heels and refuse to surrender 1) for fear of what might happen to them if they are captured and 2) it gives them the moral high-ground, with physical proof of their enemy’s barbarism. Ask yourself: “Might we still be at war 13+ years later because of those very reasons?” How many American soldiers died needlessly because they kept encountering enemies that would rather “fight to the death” than risk
capture & torture?
- Which naturally, creates more terrorists. No better recruiting poster than to point to the barbarism of your enemy. And to those (like Cheney) who’ll cite “beheadings” by our enemies, THERE WERE NO BEHEADINGS IN IRAQ PRIOR TO THE INVASION. Darth Cheney even had the gall to cite the barbarism of ISIS in defense of torture, but ISIS WOULDN’T EXIST IF HE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ.
- The more barbaric your tactics, the more barbaric your enemy becomes in response. As noted above, no one was “beheading” Americans before Abu Ghraib.
- Arguing that your techniques aren’t torture just helps ensure that your own troops are more likely to be tortured should they be captured, only to have your enemies use YOUR OWN DEFINITION of what is or isn’t “torture” against you.
- As noted above, some prisoners that were cooperative PRIOR to being tortured may suddenly become useless AFTER being tortured… either out of spite or… in some circumstances, due to psychological or physical damage… even death.
If torture worked, you wouldn’t have to do it TWICE… let alone 187 times like they did to 9/11 “Mastermind” KSM. Seriously, if the goal of torture is to extract information from your prisoner and they are still able to withhold information from you that requires being tortured AGAIN to extract… and they KNOW they will be tortured again if they don’t reveal everything they know yet don’t reveal it anyway, then it clearly didn’t work.
So, if you’re all in favor of America wasting precious time chasing down false leads, destroying our image as a just & noble society, losing valuable intelligence assets as a direct result of abuse, giving our enemies the moral high-ground, putting our own troops in greater danger should they be captured (and then be left with no leg to stand on when you protest), extending wars so they last for decades fighting an enemy that would rather die than surrender, and aiding the enemy’s ability to recruit additional fighters to their side… then by all means defend the use of torture.
POSTSCRIPT: “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]… I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” – George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force,
Sept. 14, 1775
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Plunge in Oil Prices Foretells Looming Economic Disaster. Aribrary pricing can go up easier than it came down.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, after oil climbed a whopping 72cents in one day (yes, that’s sarcasm) to $33.05/barrel, causing gasoline prices to hit an “unthinkable” $1.68/gallon nationally, Interstate “long-haul” truckers across the country threatened to go on strike saying that the soaring price of fuel was putting them out of business. Naturally, the leading candidates,
The range circled in yellow is the relatively flat/stable gasoline prices we had become accustomed to for decades, with a slight dip following 9/11. Gas prices rarely rose more than a couple of pennies per gallon in a month let alone a single day. After becoming president, the price of gasoline under
The range circled in red is the dramatic plunge in gasoline prices after peaking at just over $4.10/gallon in July of 2008 (reportedly, one journalist asked President Bush at the time what he thought about the price of gas breaking $4/gallon, to which a startled president Bush… who last saw gas prices around $1.68/gal during the 2000 campaign… supposedly said in surprise, “How much???”) Breaking the $4.00 barrier was probably the final straw in the looming collapse of the economy, the bankrupting of the banking industry and the implosion of Wall Street, with the price of gas falling to a national average of just $1.89/per gallon in just seven months. The election of President Obama and the promise of getting out of Iraq was seen as likely to bring some stability to the Middle East (don’t laugh), which in turn would reduce the threat to our oil supply, allowing prices to quickly “rebound” back to the “new normal” of over $2.50/gallon in less than a few months (and over $3.50/gal in the year to follow). Again, as you can see from the graph, gas prices began to flatten out (relatively) until this most recent plunge (circled in green.)
I’ve been writing about the skyrocketing price of oil under Bush for many years now, so one might think I’d be thrilled to death to see the price of oil (and gas) plunge back to Earth… and under a Democratic president no less to really rub it in Republican’s faces. Low gas prices are like a shot of nitrous in the economic gas tank. What Republicans think “tax cuts” do for the economy, falling gas prices actually DO (because the benefits hit the
The reason oil prices are falling are manifold. First, the United States, under President Obama, has dramatically increased oil production to
Increased U.S. production has triggered a price-war with OPEC… which represents about 1/3 of all the oil produced in the world… increasing their own production to compete with America. So right now, it’s a fight to see “who blinks first”. Two weeks ago, OPEC voted on whether they should CUT production in an attempt to drive prices back up. In the end, they voted “No” because they knew they would lose Billions in sales as more people purchased American oil. OPEC’s response was that they could withstand the price of oil falling to as low as $50/barrel again… a price not seen since right after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But American oil companies are likely to blink first before allowing oil prices to fall that low again, and would cut their own production to drive prices back up. OPEC would happily cut their own production in turn, the price of oil would skyrocket overnight and the U.S. economy could crash.
And American oil companies have ample incentive to drive prices up. First, when you sell a product billions of people literally can’t do without, you can almost charge whatever you want. And if they want $75 oil again, they wouldn’t break a sweat getting it back up there. And if you’re “TransCanada” and have millions of acres of oily sludge just begging to be turned into a pile of cash if only it were
Of course, U.S. oil production can’t remain at this pace forever. Eventually (very soon I believe), production is going to start falling off (either from actual shortages or artificial ones), thus prices will start inching back up and the U.S. economy will falter. Desperate to eschew blame, Republicans… having missed the lesson entirely… will cry, “If only Democrats hadn’t blocked the Keystone pipeline in 2014, it would be built by now (actually, most of it is already built) and the price of oil wouldn’t be so high!”
No, the lesson to be learned here is that now more than ever, while oil prices are low and the economy is growing, we need to be investing in Green Energy now more than ever. Think of it as
POSTSCRIPT: I decided not to report on the recent protests regarding the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and whomever is next because the subject is already being covered thoroughly by others. Rush Limbaugh went on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday to blame “high taxes on cigarettes” for the death of Eric Garner (the “logic” being that the only reason there was a market for him to sell lose cigarettes was because of the high taxes on them, and the city’s dependence on that tax revenue is why “so many” cops descended upon him to the point of taking his life.) Yes Rush, blame the government; blame the victim; just don’t blame the guy with his arm around Garner’s neck… which “wasn’t
a choke hold”because the cops told him so.
Limbaugh… the man who sang “Barack the Magic Negro” on his radio show to the same Teanut listeners who carried signs of Obama dressed like a witch doctor while protesting “ObamaCare”… complained bitterly that “people thought electing a black president would move the country past racism” (an irony lost on Limbaugh), but instead President Obama is to blame for an even greater racial divide in this country. He went on to lament that “you can’t criticize Obama without being accused of being a racist.” No Rush, before Obama, closet racists like yourself kept their racism in check. Once they were able to openly use racial code to criticize a black politician under the protective guise of simply “criticizing the president”, that’s when you and your ilk were exposed as the racists asshats we always knew you to be.
A week ago Monday, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced (with a disturbing grin on his face) that the Grand Jury had decided NOT to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed
However, this is NOT what Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson repeatedly told reporters last August, following the questionable release of a highly prejudicial video of Brown stealing “cigarellos” from a nearby convenience store just minutes before.
Reporters asked Chief Jackson to explain the release of the video, wondering what… if anything… it had to do with the confrontation between Brown and Officer Wilson. Chief Jackson told the reporters that Wilson was “not aware that Brown was a suspect” and only stopped him because “he was walking down the middle of the street”, corroborated by both Officer Wilson and Brown’s friend who was with him at the time.
The reason for McCulloch implying Wilson stopped Brown because he matched the description of a robbery suspect is clear: to imply Wilson had reason to fear for his life from the moment he confronted Brown and was therefore justified in shooting him in
In the 1996 movie “Phenomenon”, John Travolta’s character couldn’t figure out for the life of him how a wild rabbit kept finding its way into his garden despite building a fence around it. Suspecting the rabbit was burrowing beneath the fence, he kept burying it
Many people are unaware that the United States only issues a limited number of visas to other countries each year, which people in those countries can then apply for to enter the U.S. legally. Because there is a limited number of visas, the application process can make them far too expensive for the average impoverished Mexican
Since not everyone enters the country on foot across our Southern or Northern borders, we can’t do away with the visa system entirely, but when so much of the American economy actually DEPENDS on immigrant workers, it doesn’t make sense to turn them into criminals once they are here. As radio host Thom Hartmann says on his radio show on a near daily basis: “We don’t have an illegal immigrant problem in this country, we have an illegal EMPLOYER problem.” Thom advocates that if we start throwing some of these criminal employers in jail instead of the workers, maybe they won’t be so quick to offer the jobs that lure them here. That’s certainly true, but with the negative side effect of dramatically reducing the workforce, resulting in artificial shortages that drive prices up.
Many who are here in this country illegally would like nothing more than to go home and see their families, but because of our “rabbit-proof fence”, they know if they leave, it’ll be incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to get back. So the stay, trapped in the U.S., living underground, hiding in the shadows in constant fear of deportation.
The solution is painfully simple: establish a series of high-security border-crossing checkpoints and allow free travel across them. Border-patrol agents can check travelers for all forms of contraband, from drugs to guns, even human smuggling. Border-police will still patrol the fence for drug smugglers, gun-runners, even terrorists, but they won’t have to waste precious
President Obama’s controversial move last week to suspend deportation of undocumented parents of American-born children or workers that have been living honest fruitful lives here for years, would be rendered moot.
Another positive resulting from allowing free-travel across the border is a dramatic reduction in “worker abuse”. No more will criminal employers be able to wield the threat of “deportation” over their undocumented workers heads, allowing them to get away with appalling abuses like dangerous working/living conditions, excessively long hours and criminally low wages… which is one more reason you’ll never see this happen. Because empowering workers, possibly even allowing them to unionize, goes against everything Corporate America (and by proxy, the GOP) stands for.
They can now call the police when they are victimized or witness a crime. And (costly) prison space won’t be wasted incarcerating peaceful “law-abiding” immigrants (no longer here “illegally” because they crossed through a legal checkpoint) and can be reserved for the truly criminal.
People who are not American citizens are already not entitled to the benefits of citizenship. They still won’t be able to apply for Food Stamps, get Social Security or qualify for “ObamaCare” subsidies. They WILL however be able to file a 1040 and pay taxes without worry of revealing their presence to the government.
I can’t help but think of the experiment in many states to legalize marijuana. Not only are these states saving millions by not policing/prosecuting/incarcerating many petty drug offenses, but they are actually PROFITING from all the new tax revenue.
Nope. Makes too much sense, and D.C. is where Common Sense & Good Ideas go to die.
Did you know about 1/2 of the Keystone XL Pipeline has ALREADY BEEN BUILT? The KXL project is a 1,200 mile long pipeline extending from Hardisty, Alberta to refineries in Houston, Texas near
Businesses near the pipeline will soon be forced to relocate as the local population moves away. That translates to fewer jobs and less tax revenue. At the destinations of these pipelines, not only will residents/businesses flee the pipeline itself, but the massive lakes of toxic waste (called: “tailing ponds”) will chase away new residents better than being told their house was the site of a brutal murder/suicide.
Ask anyone from South-East Texas about a place called “Texas City”, and the first thing they’ll mention is how bad it smells. “Texas City” is home to three major oil refineries, only a short hop away from “Port Arthur”… one of Keystone’s three destinations… with its three additional refineries. Trust me, no one lives there unless they have to (employed at the refineries). Not only does the air stink of rotten eggs (sulfur) for miles around, but the air actually burns your eyes and throat after just a few minutes (it is common local knowledge to “roll up your windows” when driving past this section of East Texas.)
I keep hearing supporters of the pipeline say, “It will create jobs!” like it’s a universally accepted statement of fact, and to doubt “that one simple fact” makes you irrational. During last Friday’s episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher”, CNN “Political Contributor” Margret Hoover stated as a fact: “The reality is that the Keystone XL Pipeline will create jobs. Who could be against that?” And MSNBC’s Chris Matthews also repeated the mythical “it will create jobs” claim during
Seriously? These are the “jobs, jobs, jobs” Republicans have been promising? We’re risking certain environmental disaster to produce less than half as many jobs as the U.S. economy needs EACH MONTH just to keep up with population growth, over the span of TWO YEARS? Tell me we’re not being ruled by people THAT dumb!
UPDATE: Doing the math, best case scenario of 51,000 temp jobs (9,000 + 42,000) spread out over two years has the same impact as adding just 490 jobs a week for the next two years, or roughly a 0.45% increase in monthly job growth.
While live Facebooking/Tweeting the Sunday News Shows yesterday (click here to follow us on Twitter or here to follow us on Facebook), I found myself in a Twitter “debate” with a “Proud Truther” that thought I wasn’t very bright if I couldn’t figure out all the jobs that could be created from “Construction and maintenance” of the pipeline. Long story short, after I advocated promoting “Green jobs” over the pipeline, he responded with the familiar Republican claim that “government does not create jobs”. This is a common (and painfully stupid) response by Republicans whenever talking about using the government to promote job creation. The “logic” (if you can call it that) goes this way: “If the government creates the job, it costs tax dollars, for a net gain of zero.” And if government were the employer, he might have a point (he’d still be wrong, but at least a defensible argument.)
So I respond back, “Government doesn’t create jobs? That’s demonstrably false. The government creates jobs ALL THE TIME.” May I just point out that this mental midget was arguing with me OVER THE INTERNET… which was a government project and now responsible for
Remember that “failed” government program that lost millions on “Solyndra“… a GOP punchline for the past six years that Republicans pointed to as an example of “money wasted trying to promote green jobs”? Well, it’s slated to turn
Some “reluctant” supporters of constructing the pipeline (and many Republicans, like Sen. John Thune, trying to straddle the fence on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday) like to say, “Construction of the pipeline is inevitable. They are going to sell that oil whether we build the pipeline or not, so we might as well just build it.” Few arguments in favor of the pipeline anger me more than this one. It’s the, “we’re all going to die someday so why not just put a bullet in our brains now?” argument. Former Talk Radio host Ed Schultz made this asinine argument on his radio show last year creating a firestorm. People like myself quickly set him straight and eventually he recanted, but the damage had been done and his show was off the air a few months later.
No. Construction of the pipeline is NOT “inevitable”. Turning tarsand into “oil” is an extremely expensive process, and it is only cost effective with oil between
I heard numerous Conservative Commentators yesterday repeat the “common sense” logic that “increasing the supply of oil” (by tapping the Tarsands reserves) will bring down the price of oil. I’ve already detailed in my “Truth About the KXL” report how there isn’t enough oil in the Alberta tarsands (even when added to our our own Bakken shale reserves) to “glut the market”, and that even if there were, OPEC would simply cut production to drive the price back up. So any idea that the tarsands oil will mean lower gas prices is based on nonsense.
For FAR less money… with the side benefits of creating FAR more PERMANENT high-tech green jobs and without the double costs of environmental and economic disaster… we can REDUCE our dependence on oil… the ONLY thing that would actually have an impact on oil prices. I pointed out a couple of years ago that
There is no economic future in continuing our dependence on fossil fuels. Green jobs pay better and have an actual future, but our government is about to be dominated by people desperate to protect the Blacksmithing Industry from the invention of the Automobile. Senate Democrats are suddenly willing to hold a vote on Keystone because they think helping Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu agree with her opponent on the pipeline will save her job (bang head on wall repeatedly). Have they learned NOTHING from the beating they took just one week ago? Conceding your opponents position doesn’t win you elections. I can think of no better/safer time to kick Landrieu to the curb as a warning to other Democrats. Keeping this notorious DINO in office doesn’t change the balance of power. She’s about to vote with the Republicans (again) in opposition to President Obama (again), so tell me again why I should waste ONE DIME trying to save her seat in Washington? Keystone is
What conclusions can be drawn from an electorate that voted overwhelmingly for Progressive policies in last Tuesday’s election only to also vote for the people LEAST likely to implement them? In EVERY state where raising the Minimum Wage was on the ballot, all
On The Rachel Maddow Show the night after the election, she provided an itemized list of Progressive victories the night before:
Howard Dean, who ran the DNC before Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and whose “50 State Strategy” played a huge role in 2006 Democratic sweep of Congress, said the most brilliant thing on “Meet the Press” yesterday:
“The Republican strategy was simply to say, We’re not Obama. And the Democratic strategy was to say, We’re not Obama either. What in the Hell kind of strategy is that?”
In recent weeks, I too have lambasted Democrats for buying into the Republican meme that “President Obama is wildly unpopular” and running away from him and his policies when they should have been defending them. When given the choice between a Party that does nothing but criticize the president vs a Party that concedes their opponents criticism, why on Earth would anyone vote for the same Party as the president? It was beyond stupid. So it was only natural that the GOP candidates would defeat their
Yet, when it came to ballot issues, the voters STILL expressed a CLEAR preference for Progressive positions. People WANT Progressive government, but they also want stuff to get done. Republicans went out on the campaign trail and told voters that if they want to END GRIDLOCK, they need control of both Houses of Congress. With a metaphorical gun to the electorates’ head, Republicans told voters to, “Elect me before I obstruct again!” NOT ONCE did I hear a Democrat argue the opposite: that giving THEM control of both houses would also end the gridlock in Washington (I find it curious that, despite a 16% approval rating, Control of the House was never in question thanks to Gerrymandering). Republicans already blame President Obama for their own unprecedented obstruction of Congress, but even with control of both houses, President Obama still has his Veto Pen, so if Republicans think they can “repeal ObamaCare” or include the “deportation of 12 Million undocumented workers” in their
So what’s going on here? Did voters just not draw a connection between the policies they were voting for and the people they were electing to implement them (FACT: The more educated you are, the more likely you are to vote Democrat), or something more sinister?
I despise Conspiracy Theories, and I think the moment you start arguing “election theft” when you lose, you lose all credibility when you win. “Voter Suppression” efforts were rampant across the country this election, but they account for the record low turnout (just 36.6%) not for the inconsistent way in which people voted. Yes, there were reports of “vote flipping” on “touch screen” based voting machines (built more than a decade before modern touch screen tablet technology and thus painfully due for an update), but machines were found to be flipping votes in both directions, an indication the problem is more a em>calibration issue than one of nefarious intent.
If one WERE to rig voting machines so that GOP candidates in close races ended up winning big, and Democrats with huge leads ended up winning in squeakers, it is conceivable that the people rigging the machines didn’t think to rig the “ballot issues” as well to keep the results looking consistent. If I were the
In Colorado, where “Personhood” was on the ballot, that measure lost by a whopping
So what can we expect from the next two years? While I do expect to see a LOT of fighting, I predict most of it will be in-fighting amongst Republicans… the “old guard” Republicans that learned some lessons from the past, and brash Tea Party hotheads like Ted Cruz that will make “the repeal of ObamaCare” amongst his highest priorities (NOTE: Thanks to ObamaCare health insurance premiums are slated to rise at just 7.5% next year), as he openly ridicules his fellow Republicans for an unwillingness to consider impeaching Obama (while I still consider the possibility as quite high, I think there are enough Republicans old enough to remember the brusing 1999 impeachment of President Clinton, how it was widely viewed as
2014 was a case study in how NOT to run an election. This was NOT, repeat NOT, a “wave” election for Republicans. Record low turnout is not a “wave”. Did more people show up to vote Republican because they oppose the President, or did more people opposed to the president simply show up to vote? Clearly from all the Progressive ballot issues that won, voters don’t disapprove of the Democratic agenda. But don’t tell that to all the Republicans they just voted for to enact that agenda. 36.6% is not a “mandate”.
One simple number explains the surprising scale of Democratic losses on Tuesday: 65% Percent of those Exit Polled said the country is on “the wrong track”.
o Unemployment is nearly half its 2009 post-Bush peak of 10.0%, down to 5.9% and falling.
o The Deficit is down TWO-THIRDS over what President Obama inherited.
o GDP is up to an amazing 3.5%
o Both the DOW and the S&P are at record highs.
And those exit polled overwhelmingly said the country is “on the wrong track” (only if “wrong track” to you means anything that makes Obama look good). That can ONLY be because Republican turnout was vastly superior to that of Democrats. Only a group of people SO DISCONNECTED from reality as to give this president an absurd SEVEN PERCENT approval rating (and President Bush a 63% approval rating his final year) despite a record like his could claim the country is on “the wrong track” with numbers like that.
Did the number of people believing the economy is on “the wrong track” drive people to vote Republican, or did more Republicans (who already believe the economy is “on the wrong track”) simply turn up to vote in greater numbers? I argue it was the latter.
Even races Democrats were expected to win easily were closer than expected. Many races that should have been close were blowouts. Why? TURNOUT. They had it, we didn’t. It’s that simple.
Nothing moves people to the polls like anger, and the GOP has been stoking Republican anger towards President Obama… who wasn’t even on the ballot… to the point where it moved Conservative voters to the polls in large numbers.
But one thing gnawed at me all last week: With just a 16% approval rating, how come “control of the HOUSE” was never in doubt? Think about it? How does a body with an approval rating lower than sour milk, one in which EVERY SINGLE MEMBER was up for (re)election, not only not have to worry about losing control of the House but actually PICK UP seats? Simple, rampant Gerrymandering, Voter Suppression and cuts to Early Voting locations/hours/days, all of which affect Democrats disproportionally.
Tuesday’s win wasn’t a victory for Republicans, it was a victory for ignorance, theft & apathy.
Probably THE reason I’ve been writing this blog every week for the last ten years is because of the importance of elections. As the subtitle says, “Recording History for those Who Seek to Rewrite it”. Of course, you wouldn’t need to be reminded of something if you had no power to change it. Not only is it about the elections, but also to remind voters of what happens when they vote while uninformed/misinformed. (Side-Note to anyone that thinks elections don’t matter: Ask the people spending BILLIONS trying to suppress your vote why do they bother if elections don’t matter?) Republicans are notorious for their hypocrisy when their politicians do the very things they claim to oppose (eg: GWB decrying “nation building” during the 2000 RNC Convention, to name but one) to a wholesale rewrite of the Reagan Legacy to turn the former
During his 1980 Presidential campaign, Reagan criticized the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to to a “staggering” $800-Billion dollars. Just days after entering office, in an address to Congress in February of 1981, Reagan’s speech-writers came up with the infamous “stack of dollar bills” analogy to give people a sense of just how much money “one Trillion dollars” really is. The Reagan prescription called for a massive
What the Reagan Administration did not count on was that sucking that much money out of the economy meant fewer paychecks. Less than two years later, Reagan’s Corporate tax cuts led to 10.8% unemployment, the highest since
By the time Reagan ran for reelection in 1984… less than four years after lambasting the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to $800-Billion dollars… “Reaganomics” had nearly doubled 204 years worth of accumulated Debt
If the hypocrisy of Deficit Spending under Reagan weren’t enough, how about being “the most corrupt Administration in history”… a title that took some doing barely a decade after the Nixon Administration. Reagan’s presidency ended with
Despite the exploding Debt and record corruption, the country still elected Reagan’s Vice President, George HW Bush, to continue the Reagan presidency. Unfortunately for Republicans, Poppy Bush… who ran against Reagan in 1980 criticizing his economic policies as “Voodoo economics” (the belief that you can increase Federal Revenue by slashing taxes on the rich) was a bit more responsible when it came to Federal spending (not by much mind you, but enough.) Poppy Bush, after assuring cynical Republicans that he wouldn’t raise taxes with his infamous
Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign Theme was “It’s the economy, stupid”, ridiculing Poppy Bush for refusing to even mention the subject on the campaign trail. So upset were most Americans with the Bush-I economy, many (myself included) turned to Third-Party candidate Ross Perot. To this day, I wonder what disasters might have befallen the country if Perot had actually won the election… a man that it turned out had no interest in “negotiating” with Congress or anyone else, believing there was a “mandate” for what he believed was right for the country and would ignore anyone that told him otherwise (that’s not a guess. That’s what we learned after one of his campaign managers, Ed Rollins, revealed when he resigned in protest.) I view my support for Perot as a learning lesson for why it is so important to be an informed voter today.
The 1994 Gingrich Revolution
In 1994, following two years of vicious partisan attacks and recriminations by Republicans against a president they viewed as “illegitimate” (thanks to Perot’s third-party candidacy that allowed Clinton to win with less than 50% of the vote), House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich orchestrated the GOP takeover of Congress during the 1994
Two of Clinton’s key critics, Rep. Newt Gingrich and Sen. Henry Hyde were both currently having extramarital affairs WHILE they were denouncing President Clinton for his, a fact that did not to come out until years later. The sum culmination of six-years of investigations of everything from
During the 2000 presidential race,
The Stock Market continued to plunge and unemployment continued to climb as rising oil/gas prices (thanks to the invasion of Iraq) made everything more expensive, ushering in the first or TWO Bush Recessions. The Bush Administration’s solution was to cut interest rates to the bone and encourage people to invest in real-estate. Millions of people were talked into taking out “Adjustable Rate Mortgages” to purchase well beyond their means, but as the economy continued to decline, those ARM rates started to go
The GOP under Obama
This is the Sh!t storm President Obama inherited. Yet today, less than six years later, the economy is recovering DESPITE unprecedented Republican obstruction. The DOW has nearly TRIPLED where it was following the collapse of the Bush economy (from 6,547 in March of 2009 to 17,390 last Friday), unemployment has fallen to just 5.9% (below where it was when Obama took office) and GDP grew at 3.5%, the strongest rate in 10 years.
o Republicans said Raising taxes on the rich would crash the economy. President Obama raised taxes on the Rich. The economy is strong and getting stronger by the day. The Deficit is shrinking as a result and has NOT ONCE been larger than the Deficit left to him by President Bush.
o Republicans said ObamaCare would push up unemployment as companies laid off employees rather than insure them. Instead, unemployment is at it’s lowest level in over six years… helping prove the point that tax breaks for the rich don’t create jobs, consumer demand does. So employers are hiring, not firing, despite “ObamaCare”.
o Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels”? They never materialized. In fact, people who were denied coverage by insurance companies’ OWN “death panels” before ObamaCare are now covered. The GOP has vowed to repeal that coverage if they regain power.
o They told us “the only way to get gas prices down is to approve the (disastrous) Keystone XL pipeline”. Gas is below $3/gallon and falling thanks in part to increased competition among OPEC nations, not the construction of any pipeline.
o Obama is mishandling Ebola? ONE death by a man that was turned away from a hospital in a RED state. ZERO cases of Ebola spreading within the general public. By all accounts, handling of the Ebola outbreak has been WILDLY successful.
o Mishandling ISIS? First, let’s not forget there wouldn’t even BE an ISIS if it weren’t for the invasion of Iraq ala the GOP.
o Border crisis? As I pointed out last week, the GOP is actually running ads suggesting ISIS is entering into the U.S. across the Mexican border, while others openly wonder if those poor Central American children entering the country may be carrying the African disease of Ebola. Neither of which are true.
The Republican Party, unable to run on their own record or on Obama’s economic record, are instead doing what they always do: make baseless hypocritical claims of criminal wrongdoing (“Fast & Furious” and “IRS-gate” brought to you by the backers of Iran/Contra and Iraq/WMDs), hypocritical claims of incompetency (cries of “Benghazi!” from the people that brought you “9/11″), and threats of impeachment for circumventing GOP obstruction (the same Party that praises St. Ronnie despite circumventing Congress to arm the Contras.)
They can’t win on their record, so they’ve enacted Draconian “Voter ID” laws across the country, suppressing literally millions of traditionally Democratic
Ebola, ISIS and trumped up claims of wrongdoing. Fear & Smear. That’s all they have to offer this election season. “Be afraid! Be very afraid! Oh, and vote Republican!” The GOP thinks you should ignore the economic growth and their unprecedented obstruction, and put them back in charge. The amazing thing is that it seems to be working. Those who do not learn from history…
In mid-2004, the BBC ran a three-part miniseries entitled “The Power of Nightmares”. The subject of the documentary was the idea that where we once elected people with the brightest vision of our future (the “sunny optimist”), today we elect the people with the biggest fears, ridiculing their critics as “naive” and “inadequately concerned” of whatever mortal threat they can dream up, promising to keep us safe from those incredibly remote (if not entirely baseless) threats to
In 2002, just weeks after 9/11, the Bush Administration was already hyping fears of “Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction” to ensure “strong on Defense” Republicans didn’t lose the first mid-terms of the Bush presidency. And despite their catastrophic failure to “keep us safe” on 9/11, followed by the discovery that Iraq did NOT in fact have a WMD program, resulting in a pointless and costly war, the GOP was still able to successfully play
Remember “Death Panels” and how “gays in the military” would destroy “unit cohesion”? The Power of Nightmares, 2012 Edition.
About a week ago, someone tweeted the following incredible factoid:
You have a 400% better chance of marrying a Kardashian than you do of dying from Ebola in the U.S. (one death vs four Kardashian sisters).
Fox “news”… ground zero for “All fear, all the time”… has made encouraging Ebola panic part of their daily routine, seeking to terrify the
Just as “The Power of Nightmares” stated, there is always someone more paranoid with a wilder imagination that can concoct a bigger fear. Republicans LOVE to combine irrational fears into one giant
Problem is, no one can live in blinding fear of Ebola forever… especially when there just aren’t any more Americans dying from it since “Patient Zero” in Dallas last month. Remember ISIS? Weren’t they coming to “kill us all” three weeks ago? Poor guys can’t even grab a headline in your local Pennysaver today. Unfortunately for the GOP, “ISIS crossing the border” fearmongering was only working in border states. But that didn’t stop Arkansas GOP Senate candidate Tom Cotton from claiming ISIS may try to cross Mexican border to attack Arkansas. Right now, Cotton is leading in the polls.
Sorry guys. “ISIS” is yesterday’s news. Not terrifying enough.
So let’s add Ebola to the mix: Perhaps ISIS terrorists infected with Ebola are pouring across the Mexican border to infect Americans? You think I’m kidding? (WARNING: I cannot be held responsible for the stupidity you inflict upon yourself by clicking
So the question remains: Are you going to forget about Shutdowns, Sequesters and pointless investigations, risking two years of eye-rolling impeachment hearings, all to put Republicans back in charge over fears of a disease you’re not going to catch (that by all accounts is being handled incredibly well) and/or a belief that terrorists fighting in Syria/Iraq are sneaking across the Mexican border carrying Ebola-infected piss in
Don’t think for a moment that Republicans won’t declare a capture of the Senate as some sort of “mandate” that Americans have “rejected Obama’s policies”… which includes more pointless investigations and attempts to repeal ObamaCare. And Lord help us all if another vacancy opens up on the Supreme Court.
The people are “frustrated” that their lives don’t seem to be improving “fast enough” (despite the fact most agree their lives ARE indeed improving vs where they were six years ago.) And that’s because of GOP obstruction, shutdowns and a seven month Sequester (that was agreed to only because the consequences of triggering it were so horrific, no one believed the GOP would actually let their budget-cutting insanity go that far.)
I’ve yet to figure out frustrated voters voting for the source of their frustration.
You know what’s next don’t you? Those cars with the defective airbags that resulted in four deaths from flying shrapnel? Perhaps as many as 30% of them were purchased during “Cash for Clunkers”. (Yes, I totally made that up, but doesn’t it sound like something they’d say?)
Be Afraid! Be very afraid… oh, and vote Republican!
The Friday “Rachel Maddow Show” opened with a look at dangerously misinformed House Republicans chairing a hearing on the spread of “e*Boli” from “Guyana”.
Expect more of this if they win the majority in the Senate.
In the Summer of 2001, before “9/11″, reports of an
In 1978, a movie called “The Swarm” capitalized on the hysteria over a report that “Africanized Killer Bees” were making their way up from Central America, across our Southern border and into the United States. The movie may have bombed at the box office in part by people too afraid to leave their homes to go to the movie theater for fear of being attacked by bees. Eventually, the bees did get here, but in relatively small number and reports of “death by killer bees” are incredibly rare. But the panic at the time was very real. Of all the things people had to be frightened about,
This really caught my attention yesterday morning (from the opening minutes of “Meet the Press”):
15 minutes into their hour long Fear Fest over Ebola, Chuck Todd produced the above list of things you have a FAR GREATER chance of dying from in the U.S. than Ebola, yet that didn’t stop them from spending the entire hour preying on people’s irrational fears for the sake of ratings (in fact, ALL FOUR major network Sunday Shows yesterday were dedicated to the topic of “Ebola”.) I’d just like to point out for the record that the name “ISIS” never came up once on ANY of these shows. Two weeks ago, we were
You have an almost 54 THOUSAND TIMES greater chance of catching & dying from THE FLU than Ebola. And you are TWENTY-SIX TIMES more likely to be
And when I say “everyone”, I of course mean Republicans. Because, as I’ve been pointing out for weeks now, Republicans are terrified of EVERYTHING. They live in constant blinding fear of everything from “government plots” (see: “FEMA camps” and “Death panels”) to black kids in hoodies. They sleep with a gun under their pillows and think one guy with Ebola in Dallas is going to lead to
A number of prominent Republicans are harnessing that irrational fear of Ebola for political gain, attacking President Obama’s “failed response to controlling the Ebola outbreak“… which I remind you has been just THREE people in Dallas. And it doesn’t help matters any when a spineless White House seems to concede their ridiculous claims by “admitting” they could have handled their response to the Ebola “crisis” better. And even when Chuck Todd gave several medical professionals an opening to criticize the GOP’s refusal to appoint
One of the (ridiculous) key criticisms being levied by the GOP against President Obama’s choice of “Ebola Czar” is that he’s “not a doctor” (which is stupid because no one expects The Manager to be able to do the job of his staff. Could your boss do YOUR job?). But you know who WOULD be “a doctor”?
The Big Talking Point right now that Republicans seem to be gaining the most traction with is a “Travel Ban” to/from nations in Ebola “Hot Zones”. This
- There are no direct flights between the U.S. and these tiny West African nations dealing with the disease, making identifying travelers a logistical nightmare. It’s not like you know which country a passenger is returning from when they arrive in the U.S.. It would be like trying to screen out people that visited Martha’s Vineyard before allowing them into California when there are no direct flights between the two.
- If you make travel to these regions “a crime”, you drive potentially infected travelers underground, afraid to seek help should they become ill for fear of being arrested.
- And following up on #2, a willingness to come forward and/or seek help means greater tracking & accountability. We are presently able to track/contact other
passengers & coworkersthat might have come in contact with infected patients. Drive the victims underground, and tracking their movements becomes impossible.
- “Bans” & “Restrictions” create panic. If we start restricting travel in & out of these countries, you’re going to see people trying to “sneak in”. And I don’t mean “across the Mexican border” like Rightwing
fear-mongerswould use to terrify their racist hoards, I’m talking about simply getting your passport stamped in a “non-restricted”country so they can fly in without being questioned.
- And when people start to panic, their irrational fears get the best of them. Soon you have every idiot with a mild fever clogging up the ER because their nephew’s classmate has a cousin from Liberia. Add to that, doctors spending additional time running (expensive) unnecessary tests checking otherwise healthy patients for a disease that’s less common than being mauled by a black bear and a brown bear on the same day.
Republican governors across the country that are suddenly worried about the spread of Ebola haven’t exactly helped matters any by refusing Federal Medicaid funding to provide health care to tens of thousands of poor Americans. So now you have an enormous pool of high-risk people that will be slow to seek medical help because they can’t afford it.
One of those governors is Rick “Oops” Perry, who is on a world tour criticizing President Obama (remember when criticizing the president overseas was a major
REMINDER: In many states, Early Voting begins today. Don’t allow Republicans to be rewarded for their obstruction, Sequesters, Shutdowns, pointless investigations, refusal to expand Medicaid, and an almost certain likelihood of attempting to impeach President Obama, by allowing them to win control of the Senate or Governor’s race. Vote!