And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
Charles Pierce has some suggestions for a simple, straightforward set of debate questions:
Mr. Romney, please explain in detail how $56 million diverted [by PG&E] from safety measures to incentive bonuses [and directly resulted in an explosion that killed eight and destroyed 38 homes] really is a victory for all Americans in pursuing their American dream in this, the greatest country on earth and the shining city on the hill.
Mr. Gingrich, please explain in detail why a culture of dependency and moral laxity is inculcated among the poor by $200 a month in food stamps, but why it is not inculcated by millions of dollars of “diverted” funds among the executives of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
Mr. Santorum, please explain in detail why two happy gay people who get married is an existential threat to the moral foundation of this country, but sucking up money you gouged out of the ratepayers, allegedly to protect them, is not.
Dr. Paul, please explain in detail why markets work better for all of us when they’re unregulated, and why the real solution to an exploding pipeline that kills eight people and wrecks 38 homes is the fact that, because its pipeline killed eight people and wrecked 38 homes, PG&E will suffer a public-relations problem in the marketplace.
“What’s the effective rate I’ve been paying? It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything,” Romney, a GOP presidential candidate, said. “My last 10 years, I’ve — my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in the past rather than ordinary income or rather than earned annual income. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. And then I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.”
According to his most recent financial disclosure statement, he earned nearly $375,000 for nine speaking engagements in 2010 and early 2011.
Well, now, this would seem to be a rather rich potential political line of attack. In one simple, straightforward stroke you have a narrative that both weakens Romney and advances important information in the broader sense relative to what’s really been going wrong in America these past ~40 years. Not only does Mitt (unsurprisingly) pay the preposterously low 15% rate on his largely-investment-based income, a rate dramatically lower than most Americans pay on far less income and but also Mitt reveals that this is aside from the entirely trivial, “not very much” money he made doing speaking engagements, itself a value fully 10 times the median income in these United States.
At least one top Obama surrogate is pushing for the party to shift the balance of its attacks on Mitt Romney away from his days in private equity and on to his time in the public sector. […] “Bain is a little complicated for people to follow.”
Of course, of course. Who among us can possibly understand that Mitt pays a fraction of the taxes you do on wealth so fucking inexhaustibly vast that he considers income in excess of 10 times what you probably make in a year to be “not very much.” There’s just no way to play that information such that people can follow it.
“So I think this is going to a very, very difficult year and I think, honestly, that HALF-MEASURES LIKE ASSASSINATIONS or sanctions are only going to produce the crisis more quickly. The better way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons is to attack its nuclear weapons program directly, break their control over the nuclear fuel cycle.”
And but also, I’d like to know exactly how an attack is anything less than a half-measure? Even if said attack works perfectly, and utterly eliminates all nuclear facilities “known” and “unknown,” precisely how does this “break their control” over the nuclear cycle? Within six or nine months they are presumably already right back at it, with a deeper, or more secretive laboratory. Or they never stop because, you know, they already had a deeper or more secretive laboratory. And now you’ve done nothing more than provide indisputable proof that they need nuclear weapons. Only way to fend off these Americans and their constant nosing into our bidness.
Bolton’s “plan” only works, in fact, if you a) go nuclear and functionally exterminate all living matter in Iran, —or— b) conventionally or otherwise invade and govern Iran. There is no other way that has any reasonable chance of success. Period.
I suspect the American people would poll dramatically against either of those “kill ‘em all” style outcomes. Therefore it might behoove reporters to ask about them directly such that we are all clear exactly what this lunatic and lunatics like him are talking about. But they never do. Shrill. We have learned nothing from the W. Bush administration and, apparently, never will. So the Republic crumbles.
Disgraced Former Speaker Gingrich: [Mitt Romney] is a man whose staff created the PAC, his millionaire friends fund the PAC, he pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC - it's baloney. He's not telling the American people the truth. It's just like this pretense that he's a conservative. Here's a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in 'Romneycare,' puts Planned Parenthood in 'Romneycare,' raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he's magically a conservative. [...] But, let's be clear, which part of what I just said to you is false? Why is it that if I'm candid in person and I wanted to be honest in person, that's shocking? If [Romney's] PAC buys millions of dollars in ads to say things that are false, that's somehow the way Washington plays the game. Isn't that exactly what's sick about this country right now? Isn't that what the American people are tired of?
Very Serious Person Bob Schieffer: But Mr. [Disgraced Former] Speaker, what you're saying is 'Folks, Barack Obama is so bad that we'd be better off electing a bald-faced liar to the presidency, somebody that we would never know if he was telling the truth.' That is pretty strong stuff
DFS Gingrich: Well, I'll let you go and check his record, Bob. Look, you're a professional reporter. Did he support Reagan in the '80s or not? The answer is no. Did he vote as a Democrat for Paul Tsongas in '92 or not? The answer is, yes, he did. Did he say that he didn't want to go back to the Reagan-Bush years in '94? Yes, he did. Did he run to the left of Teddy Kennedy? Yes he did. Now, why is it politically incorrect to tell the truth?
Lemkin: I've seen no evidence that Bob Schieffer is a "professional reporter," Newt. Why do you lie so much? I'm surprised Schieffer didn't punch him right in the nose. Shrill, I suppose. Better not to take sides...
I’m not sure how many times the Republicans have to say the same stuff, plainly and in modern English, before it begins to sink in to the minds of those in the media that they, the Republicans in Congress, want Obama to fail in his bid for reelection and to achieve that goal, they need the American economy to fail.
You, as a GOP House mover-and-shaker (aka Tea Klan fanatic), are faced with the newly rising popularity of Obama (e.g. he’s in the 50s for the first time in a while), the first positive news on housing starts in a long, long time (driven more or less entirely by huge demand for apartments, since vanishingly few folks can qualify to buy houses anymore, at least not considered relative to the bubble excess and the fact that home foreclosures are still relatively high), a suddenly more optimistic public attitude re: the economy, and none of your own GOP candidates for the nomination are exactly setting the woods on fire, and may well be instead burning down the house relative to your broader chances both up- and down-ticket come 2012.
All that considered, do you, the rank and file Tea Klan fanatic, feel comfortable handing that same Obama you want to fail a sure-fired way to boost the economy even more as 2012 rolls along? Or do you want to apply the emergency brakes? With this most recent nonsense, I think no sensate being could still deny that we have our answer.
Now, of course, there is some subtlety to their position. They don’t want the extension of this particular tax break because it a) doesn’t help their prime audience in any way (aka the 1%), because those folks either don’t draw traditional paychecks and/or said pay is a relatively tiny fraction of their entire portfolio, so they could care less and won’t notice either way b) it legitimately does help the broader economy and quickly since we’re in an aggregate demand slump and this is cash in the pockets of the 99% who actually create that aggregate demand in, uh, aggregate, and c) is a quick and relatively easy way to sand the gears of the economy, and they think they can sell it to their crazed idiocratic supporters through ever-willing conduits like FOXnews and the Wall Street Journal (The latter of which is already overboard) using such time-honored tools as goalpost moving and poison-pill additions. No one will ever know, and if they do, we can convince them to blame “Democrat leaders in the Senate.” Who, for once, have grown a pair and are doing their part to (rightly) hang this on the GOP. They even have a “Tea Klan tax hike” style meme going. It’s like they’ve finally gotten hip to the way the other side messaged in, oh, 1992.
But frankly this is a pretty simple calculation for the GOP. Braveheart and all the rest are just window dressing that, as usual, the MSM is lapping up. The real story, the one far too shrill to actually report: Anyone or anything getting in the way slowing the economy can kindly go die in the streets. Tax proposals benefiting the 1%: always welcome. Wedge issues that reliably bring this or that fractional percent of old white voters to the polls in November: always welcome. Anything that might actually help the economy and, by extension, Obama: forget about it. And they have.
"President Obama is replacing our merit-based, opportunity-based society with an entitlement society. In an entitlement society, everyone is handed the same rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to others. And the only people to enjoy truly disproportionate rewards are the people who do the redistributing — the government."
— Mitt Romney, accurately describing the inevitable and country-destroying results of going from a 35% top marginal rate to a 39.6% top marginal rate. Let’s not have anyone ask him about or call him on this issue specifically. Shrill.
"Most Republican voters believe, with good reason, that Romney stands a strong chance of winning the nomination and beating President Obama. The question is whether he would put repeal front and center—whether he would emphasize it in the general election campaign, and whether he would go to the mat for repeal once in office. Would Romney’s campaign build enough momentum for repeal to achieve 60 votes in the Senate and defeat a potential filibuster? If not, would Romney be willing to advance repeal in the Senate via reconciliation, the complicated and unconventional process that takes only 50 votes but which would also require a far greater expenditure of political capital?"
— Jeffery H. Andersonmakes me wonder if he’s even been paying attention. If we assume that the posited chain of events occurs: GOP holds some kind of House majority and gains a new but non-60 vote majority in the Senate (and, of course, President Mittmentum) then it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to derive the complex psychohistorical formulas for what happens next?!?!?
The GOP eliminates (by simple majority) the filibuster on the first day of the new Congress. The MSM declares this an entirely reasonable, “sensible center” approach to governing. Wholesale dismantlement of the New Deal follows, coupled to and justified by the oncoming tax revenue collapse from a 0% effective tax rate on the rich and consumption-based, maximally regressive tax on everyone else.
It’s what they’ve been talking about for years. They are entirely serious. They mean to do it at the first opportunity, and this would be it. There will be no fiddling with reconciliation or anything approaching “normal order” as we define it in 2011. How many times do they have to say this stuff before someone in the MSM takes them seriously and asks a follow-up or two? Or, for that matter, before The Democrat starts using these positions against them. (Shrill! Class War!!).
The far-right GOP candidates and elected officials are not “blowing smoke” or “providing red meat” for the “true believers.” This is who they are. Everyone else can kindly go die in the streets.
"You don’t want these candidates moving so right in the Republican primary that it becomes impossible for them to win the general election, because it will become a self-defeating message in the primary.
People want to win. They don’t want somebody who goes so far to the extremes of either party that they lack a chance to carry a victory off in November."
— Karl Rove, old turd blossom hisself, opining on the GOP Presidential primary field.
Sorry to be the one to tell you this, Karl, but the “sensibility” ship has sailed, been round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames, and subsequently was no-bid auctioned into a second career as a part-time riverboat gambling operation for KBR executives.
John Huntsman even put his hand up on the “10:1 cuts/revenue is a non-starter deal” question and he’s only running for 2016 positioning. There is no one in the field even trying to be the slightly more sensible, slightly more center-far-right candidate of today’s GOP. Mittmentum, the man made to take up that role abandoned it in 2008. His strong showing then has sensibly pushed him even further to the right now. That ought to fix his issues. If the GOP can’t win the general election from a far right stance, they almost can’t win in 2012. And if the economic headwinds were a bit more predictable, we could drop the “almost” qualifier right now.
But the last thing The Democrat would want to do is start making the GOP take stands against job creation. People just don’t want to hear about that stuff right now. Shrill. Better take a “non-confrontational approach,” get into the defensive crouch, and hope for the best. And this is why they fail.
How to square the circle: Assuming Medicare for all tomorrow and that you can find a way to return the dollars in-between the red and blue lines to the people paying it: the American worker with employee provided health insurance. Right now, that’s all invisible income, spirited away into the employer-shared costs of providing coverage. It’s the underlying reason that real wages have been stagnant for most of my lifetime. Turn that into real wages and the broader economy would explode. There would suddenly spring into existence a middle class with (gasp) actual purchasing power. Who knew?!?
Naturally, the plutocrats would, at least initially, turn that space into more profits for themselves. Sooner or later, though, it seems likely that constraints on quality workers would gradually bring the money over into regular salary as companies competed to find highly trained folks. You’d still have to solve the manufacturing issue and/or something to do with all that idle but essentially untrained labor force out there…but it would be a start.
At any rate, a few more than the 17 Americans vaguely cognizant of this cost gap need to be made painfully and continually aware of it. Every day, every hour, every time a microphone is switched on with a Democrat behind it. Complete with this graph. That Medicare, far from being “expensive,” saves money in dramatic fashion. And that, since they, the average hardworking healthcare consumer, cannot buy into that massive bargaining pool or something very much like it, they are being robbed. Every. Single. Day. With malice aforethought. And that they have precisely one party, the GOP, and Joe Lieberman to thank for it.
But that would be shrill. And Weiner lied to his fellow Democrat. That’s what’s important here.