Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Republi-CON "Hardscrabble, Up-By-Your-Bootstraps Ethos" Myth

"Delivering the official Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst related tales of a hardscrabble upbringing in which she 'worked construction' with her father, took a job in the fast food industry, and placed plastic bread bags over her one pair of shoes so as to keep them dry when it rained. 'Our parents may not have had much,' Ernst said of herself and her schoolmates’ families, 'but they worked hard for what they did have.'

The takeaway, of course, was that we should all be so self-reliant, not depending on government handouts to get by. In her speech, Ernst denounced 'wasteful spending' and vowed that Republicans would cut it. The new GOP Congress, Ernst said, would work toward an America in which 'you don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference.' . .

Here’s what the GOP rising star omitted from her paean to gritty self-reliance: Hard as her family may have worked, and fierce as Ernst may be in her opposition to big government spending, her family benefited more than $460,000 in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009, per the District Sentinel. Beneficiaries included Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, uncle Dallas Culver, and late grandfather Harold Culver. The Culvers’ subsidies hardly set them apart from their neighbors; as the District Sentinel notes, Iowa ranks second only to Texas in farm subsidies, with the largely rural and agricultural state receiving $24.9 billion in subsidies between 1995 and 2012.

The revelation comes three months after Salon reported that Richard Culver’s construction company received more than $200,000 in Montgomery County contracts while Ernst was the county auditor, despite a state conflict of interest law that voids contracts awarded to family members of any county employee.

Ernst isn’t the first Republican to lambaste government spending, even as her family feeds at the federal trough. Four House Republicans who voted in 2013 to drastically cut spending on food stamps had received farm subsidies worth at least $7,883,824 combined, BuzzFeed reported at the time."

Read Salon, Joni Ernst’s family received nearly half a million dollars in federal farm subsidies.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You Don't Know Jack

From an email:

1) How long did the Hundred Years' War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

See comments for the answers.

Banksters Win Again, While Tea Party CON'ed By the Republi-CONs Again

UPDATE:  The Republi-con "party remains at its core committed to fighting solutions that would come at the expense of the very wealthiest Americans, even at a time when that upper-upper echelon is achieving truly historic levels of affluence. Just look at what has been the first order of business for Republicans after they won full control of Congress for the first time in eight years this past fall. It’s not expanding the earned income tax credit, but rather pushing a Wall Street wish list for tweaks to weaken the Dodd-Frank financial reform law of 2010.

This will likely prove to be the primary achievement of Obama’s new tax proposal, which, as he bluntly put it in Tuesday night’s speech, is targeted at 'giveaways the superrich don’t need' and 'lobbyists [who] have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight.' No, it’s not going anywhere in a GOP-led Congress. But it has served to call the bluff of the Republicans now claiming the mantle of inequality warriors. The proposal has led them into a political trap, prompting them into an instinctual, reflexive defense of the wealthiest Americans. And it has thereby clarified the discussions to come on the campaign trail over the next year and a half. Talk all you want about restoring shared prosperity, Obama is saying, but this is the kind of reform it will take to bring balance to an economy that has gotten so top-heavy and out of whack.'"

Read Slate, Obama’s Tax Trap.

"'If it were done,' says Macbeth as he contemplates killing Duncan — his kinsman, his house-guest, his king — ' . . . ’twere well it were done quickly.' A similar judgment seems to inform the newly empowered congressional Republicans’ rush to roll back the modest regulations that the Dodd-Frank Act imposed on Wall Street banks. Deregulating Wall Street is distasteful stuff that can claim no real public support or economic merit, but for reasons both political and financial, the Republicans have decided it’s best done quickly.

But why the urgency? Why the rush to let the banks run amok, even before Republicans turn their attention to authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline, repealing Obamacare and reversing the president’s executive orders on immigration? Those are all causes, however, that Republicans want to highlight, for which their base is clamoring. Deregulating Wall Street, by contrast, isn’t high on the tea party’s to-do list, if it’s on it at all. By scurrying to give the banks what they want, Republicans can get it out of the way and hope that any public memory of this unseemly spectacle is eclipsed by the epic, more popular battles to come.

By pushing mega-bank welfare to the head of the line, Republicans also sent a clear signal to Wall Street that they’ll do whatever it takes to further feather the bankers’ nests"

Read the Washington Post, The GOP’s scramble to court Wall Street.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Obama the Socialist Failure: Lower Unemployment, Deficits, Gas Prices and Inflation (What More Could He Do To Destroy America)

UPDATE XI:  Another graphic representation of Obama's failure to fulfill Republi-con delusions "about inflation, the dollar, and, well, the whole economy the past few years. . .

It was a weird thing to be worrying about. Inflation was just 1.7 percent when Ryan brought up dollar debasement (in early 2011). It's 1.2 percent now. And, as you can see below, rather than being debased, debauched or otherwise devalued, the dollar is actually up 13 percent against a broad index of currencies over this time. Even if you judge the dollar against a basket of commodities, which you shouldn't, since those prices are set in world markets beyond the Fed's control, there hasn't been anything resembling 'debasement': Brent oil has fallen from $100 to $53 and gold from $1,362 to $1,211."

Read the Washington Post, The inflation chicken littles were so wrong: The dollar is on a tear, which included the following graph:

UPDATE X:  "On March 6, 2009, former George W. Bush adviser Michael Boskin offered whatever the opposite of a prophecy is when he said that 'Obama's Radicalism Is Killing the Dow.' Now let's set the scene. Obama had been in office for less than two months at that point, and in that time, stocks had admittedly fallen a lot as markets worried that the big bank bailout known as TARP wouldn't actually be enough to save the banks. It got so bad that Citigroup briefly became a penny stock.

Boskin, though, didn't think that this once-in-three-generations financial crisis was to blame for the market meltdown. Instead, he blamed it on Obama for ... talking about raising taxes? 'It's hard not to see the continued sell-off on Wall Street and the growing fear on Main Street," Boskin philosophized, "as a product, at least in part, of the realization that our new president's policies are designed to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy.' What followed was the usual conservative jeremiad against higher taxes on the rich, lower taxes on the poor, and deficit spending. Obama's trying to turn us into Europe, and that's why markets are pricing in the possibility of a Great Depression—not the dying economy he inherited."

Read the Washington Post, Now that the Dow has hit 18,000, let us remember the worst op-ed in history, which included the following graph:

UPDATE IX:  After a weekend of price cutting at stations, gas for less than $2 can be found in 13 states across the country. Two weeks ago there was only one gas station in the country selling gas that cheap.

Read CNN, Gas for less than $2 is now widespread.   

UPDATE VIII:   What an unmitigated failure Obama has been trying to destroy the economy and country.

Gas prices continue to tumble. 

Read the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Gas prices could drop to $2 gallon in some parts of country by end of year.

And "[s]even years after the credit bubble burst, just two of the 12 countries that went through systemic financial meltdowns in 2007 and 2008 have reclaimed enough ground to reach their previous peaks in per-capita GDP: the United States and Germany. And Germany isn’t looking so hot these days, given that it’s teetering on the edge of deflation.

Many of the other countries that also went through “systemic crises” — as categorized by the work of Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff — still have years to go before fully recovering. The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine will likely wait until 2018 before reaching their pre-crisis peaks in per capita GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund. Even countries that didn’t technically experience a systemic crisis when we did (such as China and Japan) appear to be in serious trouble. As the Economist recently put it, the United States is looking increasingly like a 'lonely locomotive.'"

Read the Washington Post, How the U.S. economy got its mojo back

UPDATE VII:   After predictions of $5-10/gallon for gas, prices are below $3/gallon.

"The gas price tracking app GasBuddy reports that 46% of gas stations around the country are now charging less than $3 per gallon, compared with just 3% one year ago."

Read Time, Last Time Gas Prices Were This Cheap, It Was January 2011.

Another Obama failure! ;-)

UPDATE VI:  Still a socialist/communist failure, Obama can't even destroy the economy.

Read the Washington Post,  Rebounding economy fills state coffers with record tax revenues and The New York Times, Tax Revenue Rockets Up, Helping Lessen the Deficit, Treasury Department Says.

UPDATE V:  Republi-con "predictions about the impact of these policies since they first began in late 2008 have been wrong so far.

Inflation has not spiked, and the value of the dollar has not collapsed. At this point, in fact, there are more worries about deflation than inflation.

But thanks to the tea party influence in the GOP — in particular the Fed-bashing Rand and Ron Paul wing of the party — ripping the Fed and the bigger role it is playing in the economy has become more a litmus test for party loyalty, regardless of whether the dire predictions have come true."

Politico, GOP warnings have not met Fed policy reality.

With respect to David Farragut would say of Republi-cons, damn the facts, full bull ahead!

UPDATE IV:  So much for those invisible [Republi-CON] bond vigilantes'.

"The consumer-price index dropped 0.1 percent, reflecting cheaper energy, clothing and new cars, after a 0.2 percent gain the prior month, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington."

Read Bloomberg, Consumer Prices in U.S. Decline for First Time in Six Months.

Now Obama has fail to create the Republi-con's imaginary hyperinflation.  

UPDATE III:  After predictions of $5-10/gallon for gas, prices are near $3/gallon.

Read The Wall Street Journal, Halloween Treat: U.S. Gasoline May Fall Below $3 a Gallon

Another Obama failure! ;-) 

UPDATE II:   Another Obama's failure, and lost opportunity to destroy capitalism:  Read USA Today, S&P says shrinking U.S. deficit boosts debt outlook

UPDATE:  More evidence of Obama's failure:  "The S&P 500 has risen more than 25 percent over the last year. It’s risen more than 100 percent since President Obama was inaugurated. 

[Even] wages might pick up soon. After all, most everything else is. Housing prices are rising faster than at any time since 2007. Autos are doing great. Consumer confidence just hit a five-year high. These aren’t just the kinds of numbers that foretell recovery. They’re the kinds of numbers that lead to recovery. A rising stock market doesn’t necessarily mean more jobs anytime soon. Rising housing prices and car sales almost certainly do."

When will they impeach this 'Republi-con failure'? [Note: Obama has completely failed to fulfill Republi-con dreams and fantasies.]

Did you know that "the Dow Jones Industrial Average has soared an astonishing 62% (sixty-two percent!) since the Kenyan Socialist Barack Obama seized the White House in a violent Saul Alinsky coup."

The last president was a much better at destroying capitalism, when he "left office the Dow was 25% lower than it was when he took office eight years earlier", and the economy was losing nearly 800,000/month.

Read Wonkette, Dow Soars 62% Since Obama Took Office; Do Stocks Have Liberal Bias?

For more on Obama's socialist failures, read The Republi-CON 'Obama's a Socialist' Myth.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Republi-CON "Not Being Nice Enough to the French" Hypocrisy

UPDATE:  "GOP prez hopefuls like Rick Perry now love France more than anything, as long as it allows them to attack Obama."

Read Salon, GOP’s new French love affair: The romantic story of how it fell in love with an old foe.

"The conservatives are guilty of a bit of inconsistency, if not hypocrisy, in criticizing the Obama administration for snubbing a people they not long ago called cheese-eating surrender monkeys."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans’ inconsistent attacks on Obama’s Paris response