Tax Cuts for the Rich, Service Cuts for Everyone! (and we all share the debt…oh…and why Revolutions happen)

I’ve written/ranted about this before, but I just was exposed to yet another instance of it, and wanted to bring it up once again (plus I get to recycle my graph, which I like).

From none other than the occasionally rational David Brooks comes the mantra…it goes something like this…

But I have to say, many of these great people [who do good work in useful publicly funded programs] are suffering under a misimpression. They assume that if they can only persuade enough people that their programs are producing tremendous results then they will be spared from the budget ax. They are wrong about that. The coming budget cuts have nothing to do with merit. They have to do with the inexorable logic of mathematics. Over the past decades, spending in nearly every section of the federal budget has exploded to unsustainable levels. Each year, your family’s share of the national debt increases by about $12,000.

Now I want you to do what I did.  Click on this link, it goes to David Brooks myopic offering, then hit CTRL-F and type “taxes”.

“Myopic”, for those that haven’t googled it yet to make sure, means “short-sighted”.  As in, it is incredibly short-sighted to claim that our current “crisis” has been driven by anything other than tax cuts.   From Reagan to Bush to Bush to, sadly, Obama, by faaar our largest deficits come directly after our largest tax cuts.   This has been done because it has been claimed, each and every time tax cuts were not accompanied by equal spending cuts, that the resulting “increased economic activity” would pay for the difference.

Thirty years after this ridiculous idea (the “Laffer Curve”) was put into practice, our national debt has jumped by 1,400% from 1 Trillion (roughly) in 1980 to 14 Trillion (roughly) in 2010.  We do, however, have pretty low taxes, so we got that going for us.  In fact, they haven’t been lower since the mid 20th century.

So we have this huge debt, driven by cutting revenue…and what does the party of “fiscal responsibility” do… force through $400,000,000,000 of tax cuts, and is now fighting amongst themselves to come up with $100,000,000,000 worth of spending cuts.

I don’t think it takes really much of a math genius to see that leaves “us” $300,000,000,000 further in the hole.  That’s with Congress cutting hard and deep.  Add to that the Rand Clan egging on the “let’s default on our debt/end the Fed” brigade and  “our” debt may very well get very expensive to maintain.  (That $300,000,000,000 they just added?  Costs about $25,000,000/day in interest).  It may very well get impossible to maintain.

In fact, it is impossible…if you suffer from tax myopia.  If you can look at the U.S. debt, try to offer solutions, and not even mention the word “taxes”, you shouldn’t be listened to.  You should be roundly mocked, if not flogged in the public square for being so damn myopic.  Nothing like a public intellectual flogging to cure ideologically based short-sightedness.   We need to raise taxes.  We need to do it now.  We need to do it on “us”.

So by now you’ve picked up on my little “quote” trick.  Us, our, us, us…all in quote…all talking about the wealth/debt in the U.S.   Oh…you didn’t realize they were the same thing, did you?   Yea…that’s what debt is.  It means you have more and you owe more.  Well, not “you” per se, dear reader.   A small percentage of you has most of the wealth here.

And most of the debt.

Sure, sure, folks like David Brooks can talk about how “each year, your family’s share of the national debt increases by about $12,000″, but somehow, for some reason, your family’s share of the national wealth goes up by, well, whatever you grab that year, it would seem (relative to your “neighbors” on Wall Street, but of course, ).   

Just to be extremely clear here, I don’t think everyone’s wealth should go up like everyone’s debt does.  I’m actually pretty fine with that whole “whatever you grab” kinda thing, with the requisite rules and regulations of a robust modern economy.    My point here is how we talk about it.    We socialize the debt, and privatize the profit. We do this so much we don’t even notice it.  This is a mistake.  In the real world, when it all falls apart, the “debt” isn’t paid by everyone.   The debt is paid directly proportional to the wealth.

When you have nothing to lose, losing everything means nothing.

Which, in a long and roundabout way, bring us to the final bit of the title of this post, the Revolution part.  There’s a lot of revolutioning going on right now, for reals.  Good stuff, for the most post.   Here’s my theory about why that stuff happens, ultimately.  Yes, yes, there are always proximate causes and triggers (in this case it was seven men setting themselves on fire, the spirit of the people of the Middle East followed), but the explosive fuel of revolutions, what really drives them over the top, is *always* economics.  Or more precisely, the lack thereof.

I brought this point to a very fine edge while honing my theory against a libertarian friend of mine (yes, one of those…the kind it takes ten minutes of examples to finally get them to admit that yes, there is a reason to inspect food, and yes, it is  legitimate reason for gubmint to exist).   In our meanderings back and forth he mentioned that one of purest reasons for a government to exist was to protect the property of its citizens.   Fair enough, I said, how well does that work when half the country’s property is in the hands of 1% of its citizens? Or even just one?

What happens when half, or more than half have no legitimate need of that government.    That’s when the thing turns over, that’s when it revolves.

When your citizens would rather burn in hellfire than live under your government, that’s when it revolves.

..

I want to finish this back wherefrom I began, that myopic fool in the top tax bracket preaching to the pandering peons while assiduously ignoring that such things like “taxes” exist…

Over the next few weeks, Republicans will try to cut discretionary spending to 2008 levels and tell their constituents they are boldly reducing the size of government. That is a mirage. Anybody who doesn’t take on entitlement spending is an enabler of big government.

Yea…take on “entitlement spending”.  Take on those “promises we made”.   Tear apart that “social security”.    How close to Revolution, do you think, the U.S. came during the early years of the Depression?  What were the promises made to avert it?    How did that work out for us?

And I’m sorry, but WTF is “big government”?  Is it one that can pay its debts? One that keeps its promises?  Is the “big” a moral reference?  Or one of stature, like the “big man of the tribe”. I thought having a government big enough to cover its costs was called  “fiscal responsibility”?

Republicans now want to cut spending back to 2008 levels, when we ran huge deficits.  How about taking taxes back to 2000 levels, when we had a balanced budget?  And what about the population?  You can’t cut that back with rhetoric, myopia, or horrid math.  It’s not going back to 2008 levels.    Doing less, for more, leads the country one direction.   Down.

Cutting services four times less than cutting revenues, leads the debt one direction, up.

I guess some take solace when Rush gets his tax cuts and Big Bird gets the ax.

Not me, I call bullshit.

..

And no, I don’t think there’s near enough Americans calling bullshit at this point.  Many of the current crop are completely dependent on the government for income and healthcare (Hi! Tea Party!).  The only revolutions they are starting are on their rotary phone dials.

But cut out that social safety net, create a permanent underclass of “illegals”, keep the wealth pooling at the top, wait twenty years….and you’ll find a whole lot of people who realize their “share” of the national debt is many, many times their “share” of the national wealth.  In other words….bullshit.

And so it revolves.

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Santorum steps on the Palin Victim Mine, leaves a frothy candidate-flavored mixture on the campaign trail (oh, and Egypt)

I’ve largely avoided talking about the idiocy emanating from CPAC this week, as the nation’s top conservative “thinkers” come together to pander to people hoping to ingratiate themselves to the self-same group.  Political masturbation isn’t really my forte, and frankly I find it rather distasteful when done so publicly.    Yea, right, Trump is a serious candidate.  You can see how serious on Thursdays at 8 on NBS.

Im going to stay away from too much policy and direct this one at how they all missed what can only be called an EPIC SEA CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST TOWARDS DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT.  I mean, seriously, can you stop bashing the President, or taking offense at every little thing, for one dang second to sit back and just go “wow!”?

Didn’t think so…

The would-be contenders – and others who addressed the gathering – struck a series of common conservative themes, such as reducing the size of government as well as projecting strength and muscle abroad. All attacked President Obama for his domestic and foreign policies.

But for the most part, they had little to say about the nation’s policy toward Egypt, whether to praise the demonstrators whose protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down, or to offer the principles that should guide U.S. policy as the American and Israeli ally takes the next steps toward democracy.

It was left to Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) to step into the vacuum. The libertarian conservative, who drew an enthusiastic audience of supporters, offered a contrarian view. In a party that has championed the spread of freedom as part of its recent foreign policy and whose leaders helped keep Mubarak in power for decades in the name of stability in the Middle East, Paul stood out as a dissenter.

Saying he disagrees with the idea that the United States has “a moral responsibility to spread our goodness around the world,” Paul added to cheers from the crowd, “We need to do a lot less a lot sooner, not only in Egypt but around the world.”

Romney devoted much of his speech to economic issues. He called the president’s economic program “the most expensive failed social experiment in modern history.” On foreign policy, he said, “The cause of liberty cannot endure much more of Obama’s ‘They get, we give’ diplomacy.”

Pawlenty won his biggest applause when he called for a more muscular foreign policy. “Bullies respect strength, they don’t respect weakness,” he said. “So when the United States of America projects its national security interests here and around the world, we need to do it with strength.” He called on Obama to “get tough on our enemies, not our friends,” adding, “Mr. President, stop apologizing for our country.” That, too, produced a standing ovation. [We are bullies]

[full masturbation log, with copious loud finishes]

So we’ve got Paul saying we shouldn’t do anything (more on him later, his first witness for his “End the Fed” hearing was a freakin’ secessionist), Romney not saying anything, Pawlenty just saying “let’s go be bigger bullies” [he’s got a tough guy image to project, after all], all of them saying that Obama is wrong about everything, NONE OF THEM ACKNOWLEDGING THAT EGYPT IS FREE, and the best one…for last…a double dose of Santorum….

On Thursday, the opening day of the conference, former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) set himself apart by mentioning the turmoil in Egypt. He took a different tack than Paul, accusing Obama of siding against Egypt, which he described as an American ally in the Middle East.

..

He accused Obama of siding with Iranian leaders during those demonstrations two years ago.

“And so what does this president do when faced with that situation? He sides with that regime,” Santorum said. “This time, what does the president of the United States do? He sides with the protesters.

He said the administration sent a message of weakness in each case. “President Obama has refused to look at the situation in Iran and Egypt and around that world and to call evil, evil. To identify the enemy,” Santorum said. “This is someone who doesn’t believe in truth and evil and America.”

I’m pretty sure here that Santorum wants us to bomb the protesters, Mubarak, and Iran, just to be sure we kill at the Mus, errr, “evil” in the world.

That, BTW, got him a pass from the Victimized One.   It’s all right to make up stuff about the President (he, in no way shape or form, took Iran’s government’s side during those protests),  and then condemn him for supporting Revolution and Freedom…but you better not criticize the Mama Grizzly, or the way she raized her Babby Grazzlies.

Santorum touched off a media firestorm Tuesday with remarks that appeared to denigrate Palin, and the response from the former Alaska governor and her supporters was swift and unforgiving. The episode proved instructive: Not only is the Republican outline against Palin taking shape, but so too is the Palin outline for how she’ll fight back.

Asked why he thought Palin wasn’t attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, he responded: “I have a feeling that she has some demands on her time, and a lot of them have financial benefit attached to them.” He added that Palin had “other business opportunities” as well as “all these kids” to look after as a mother, both of which caused constraints on her time.

Though Santorum later insisted otherwise, his comments seemed to imply that Palin was more interested in cashing in on her celebrity than running for office, a critique rarely voiced in public by Republican officials.

Santorum might have been all right if he had kept up the attack.  Two problems: one, he’s a pussy and doesn’t know when he’s got the right of it (Palin is very weak to the profiteering hillbilly charge, as the evidence speaks for itself) and two, he doesn’t have one of the most powerful corporations in the world at his back.

Santorum’s remarks were delivered to a small audience via the Internet. Palin’s response came on Fox News. And she didn’t hold back, asserting that she took particular offense to his suggestion that she as a mother had “other responsibilities” that he as a father of seven does not.

“My kids don’t hold me back from attending a conference,” [And I don’t hold them back from gettin’ knocked up. -ed] Palin said in an interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity. “I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. I’ll let his wife call him that instead.”

The story dominated conservative media, with Fox & Friends calling it the “first political kerfuffle of the 2012 presidential campaign.” Palin-friendly bloggers and pundits savaged Santorum for the remarks.

Within a day, Santorum was walking back his comments.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49394.html#ixzz1Dljj175v

And there you have the first skirmish in the 2012 Presidential Campaign (Sacrificial Lamb version).   This is probably how it will play out… the meta-game, if you will…

  1. Everyone will “Attack Obama” (that’s the slogan) relentlessly regardless of conditions on ground (Egypt being the obvious and HUGE foreign policy victory for Obama the scope of which is still being measured by some and ignored by all serious Republican candidates).
  2. Somebody says something off-hand about Sarah Palin, that could, possibly, be seen as offensive by someone who is hyper-sensitive about everything.
  3. Romney ignores his record in Massachusetts and elsewhere, smiles  a lot, has great hair, nails the talking points.
  4. A bunch of other guys all say varying degrees of the same thing (Thune, Pawlenty, Daniels).
  5. A celebrity gets thrown in the mix so Fox’s Entertainment division has a reason to push the story (2008: The dude from Law and Order, 2012: the guy from Celebrity Apprentice)
  6. Palin takes huge offense to whatever was said and dominates media coverage of whatever event happened by playing another of her never-ending stack of victim cards (Only Al Sharpton had a more exposed playbook, using cards of the same type all the time.  Think of the Palin as a white Sharpton, and you’ll probably have the right of it; good at turning a phrase and a dime, never a serious candidate).
  7. I do a snarky post about the whole thing.

And that’s pretty much it.

Oh, and I’ll call it now…Romney wins the nod. (and gets slaughtered in the election, much like Cain did to Abel….and that, my friends, <——- wins the obscure-theological-slam-of-the-week award.)

In which RPN tries to find some Republicans to Agree With re: Revolution, Egypt

This is not an easy task, I assure you.  This is a group that, when not whining about the size of the debt, is either clamoring for war, tax cuts, or both simultaneously.  Finding prominent ones that say things one could construe as “sane” and “rational” is rare.  When it happens twice in a day, well…there’s a post for ya.*

I also really wanted to talk about Egypt and the Revolution there.  I mentioned it here, back on Jan 25.  This meta-news analysis story, talking about the ratings cable news war and the ideological struggle going on between Fox and CNN (i.e. between news coverage and batshit insane conspiracy theories) didn’t even start tracking coverage until a week later.  The only real coverage from the get go was on Al Jazeera, as mentioned here (with hilarious screen grabs of the schlock Fox was peddling that with a hottie that afternoon).   This is one event where I was most sad I had no cable, but later I learned that the market censorship in the U.S. already made that a non-starter…

Among the markets where [Al Jazeera English] was available was were Toledo and Sandusky, Ohio; Burlington, Vermont; Houston, Texas; and Washington, DC. Industry giant Comcast originally planned to carry Al Jazeera English in 2007, but reversed its decision shortly before the channel’s launch, citing “the already-saturated television market”*. The two major American satellite providers, DirecTV and Dish Network, had similar plans but also changed their minds, with speculation that the decision may have been influenced by allegations by the Bush administration of “anti-American bias” in the channel.**

* read as “Comcast threatened by News Corp and probably CNN” to drop them
** par for the course, 2001-2009

So I’ve been following a freakin’ Revolution online.  I’m watching my generation use my internets and their outrage to just say…..no more.

That’s what I’m seeing.  I’m being inspired as I see crowds shout perhaps my favorite political slogan of the 21st century, “IF THE GOVERNMENT TAKES DOWN YOUR INTERNET, TAKE DOWN YOUR GOVERNMENT.”   That’s one I whole-heartedly agree with.  Whole-souledly.  There are people marching and standing, and running and dying for their own freedom.

I heard when the ultimatums were set and passed, when the hounds were unleashed and the blood began to flow.    I watch and read…and then…I see…

…I see that half of my country seems to want the Revolution to fail.  They are more scared about something they know nothing about (the Muslim Brotherhood..oooohh, scary!), than something they do (freedom).  Or something they claim to know better than anyone else.

So instead of celebration and solidarity, instead of a nation standing as one with Freedom, I see some god-damned blithering idiot warning our President about supporting Operation Egyptian Freedom during the Superbowl (’cause that might lead to the Bad People!!FEAR THEM!!)!!   Again, trying to bring someone down, a revolution down, a people down, rather than everyone together under the banner of freedom.   That damn liberal media, at it again.

Speaking of that damn liberal media…I’m goin to awkwardly seque into the NYTimes trying to make a strange point with their bold-faced-lie of a headline, “CNN Rises to the Top in Egypt Coverage“, by Alessandra Stanley.  Unless perhaps they meant “quality”, not “viewers” (which is still a bold-faced-lie)….

In the first week of extensive live coverage of the uprising in Egypt, CNN got a ratings bump, knocking MSNBC into third place overall in the critical demographic of viewers 25-54–but Fox News quietly cleaned up, attracting more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined on a hard news story.According to Nielsen ratings data from Monday through Thursday of last week (Friday numbers will be released today), Fox News averaged 628,000 viewers 25-54 in primetime, compared to CNN’s 341,000 and MSNBC’s 254,000.

Fox News also led in terms of total viewers, with 2,452,000 in primetime, compared to CNN’s 959,000 and MSNBC’s 961,000.

[ed note: the first week of “extensive live coverage” was the second week of the revolution]

So what are the *most* viewers seeing instead of actual coverage of the Revolution on Al Jazeera?   *le sigh*

A word and a concept that until this week was relatively obscure and then FOX TV‘s Glenn Beck decided to explain the word and it’s meaning to his sizable audience.

And so Beck’s chalkboards were used to explain the meaning of Caliphate.  But as he always does, Mr. Beck challenged his audience to do their own homework and investigate all of the information he delivers on his nightly program.  Google recorded so many searches for “caliphate” and “caliphate definition” that both cracked the top five in Google trends.

[BTW, and for those that don’t know…the Christian equivalent myth about a “Caliphate” is Jesus coming back and setting up his 1,000 year reign.  Yes, that’s what Beck thinks in happening right now in Egypt, except for it’s teh Muslims.]

Oy, to the vey says this Spinoza convert.

 Yes, you read that right; the biggest idiot, on the biggest networked lie, is pushing a large portion of the most powerful country, to all being as insanely fucking paranoid, as Glenn Beck.

Instead of supporting Freedom and popular revolution rising directly from the streets against a corrupt and oppressive regime, Beck, O’Reilly and the whole Tard Brigade have half the country CHEERING FOR THE DICTATOR.

As such, I’m distressed once again.  It is in such moments of darkness that the strangest of things happen, and I find myself agreeing with Bill Kristol.

Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it’s a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.

But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.

[link to full post, for which I feel kinda dirty]

Bolded for, ya know, emphasis.  ^–This x9001.

I can’t say it better myself, since no one would believe me making the same dang point.

Kristol ends with words of wisdom every soul should learn upon attaining sentience…[bolded, so you can tell it from his filler]

Let’s hope that as talk radio hosts find time for reflection, and commentators step back to take a deep breath, they will recall that one of the most hopeful aspects of the current conservative revival is its reclamation of the American constitutionalist tradition. That tradition is anchored even beyond the Constitution, of course, in the Declaration of Independence. And that document, let’s not forget, proclaims that, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”

I will remind Bill, in closing and in reference to his final, partisan paragraphs, *we* won the Revolution and built *our* country.  That is how it has to work, that’s the best way for it to work.   Bill, that’s the only way it does work.  That’s the legend we have to tell ourselves to hold it all together, and it needs to be true.  Forcing revolution from the outside, well, we learned what pitfalls and IEDs lie that direction, yes?  Okay, then.

Now perhaps, is when we actually do need a man of George W. Bush’s enormous but limited talents, a man to sit on the sidelines and cheer.

LOUDLY.

For Freedom. 

* I like this guy too.  Supporting START was a no-brainer, hence the typical nature of the opposition.

You Say You Want Some Revolutions, Well ya know…

…here’s a couple. 

From the recent past…

The reign of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali is over. His government’s response to the steadily growing unrest in the country was marked by successive tactical retreats: On Jan. 12, he declared his intention to immediately do away with restrictions on the press and step down once his term expires in 2014. When that concession only emboldened the protesters further, he responded on Jan. 14 by sacking his government and announcing that new elections would be held in six months. And now, the latest news suggests that the military has stepped in to remove Ben Ali from power and the president has fled the country.

Given the historical ineffectiveness of Arab publics to effect real change in their governments and the Tunisian regime’s reputation as perhaps the most repressive police state in the region, the events of the past week are nothing short of remarkable. And while reports and analyses have focused on the extraordinary nature of the protests, it is equally important to consider what has been missing — namely, Islamists.

[full article]

BTW, don’t feel bad if this link provides you some information you didn’t ask for.  😉

This week’s revolution is taking place in Egypt.

You will find a lot of info here, it could be in arabic so you will have to use translate.google.com. Please reddit get the word out, you will find pictures and videos posted.

Twitter is blocked right now, probably facebook later that’s how people managed to organize this. Right now I am trying to make a guide how to use proxys, if anyone could help me with any other simpler way I would appreciate it.

I will try to update as much as I can

Main requests:

  1. Reassembling of people’s assemble.
  2. Canceling(is that the correct word?) marshal law which has been up for over 30 years now.
  3. Not allowing the president to reelect himself after 2 times.
  4. Setting a minimum for wagers of 1200 local pounds.
  5. Sacking of minister of interior affairs.

Excuse my grammar and english, I am pretty tired.

  • The main protest in AlTahrir Square(stream is down) is still holding, they cut off all supplies from them, including mobile network. pic
  • Confirmed news that food and water and tents are getting through to protestors in AlTahrir.
  • Live ammunation is being fired in Suez, Alexandria and Ismailya.
  • First death in Suez, 20 year old Moustafa Reda Mahmoud.
  • Second death in suez, 31 year old Soliman Saber Aly.
  • Sources say army units are being dispatched in Cairo and Alexandria.
  • Unconfirmed sources that Gamal Moubarak – the president’s son – have fled with his wife along with 97 bags of luggage to london.
  • After live ammunation being shot in Alexandaria and crowds were scattered, they are regrouping right now and it’s said the numbers are in 7000 right now.

[full link with requisite nonchalance]

This should, hopefully, make the real news soon.  With foreign desks slashed or non-existent for all the 24-hour-outrage stations, don’t expect this latest revolution to be a big story.

Here’s another first hand account of the day’s action.

We’ll see how both of these turn out, and if the internal, technology-driven revolutions provide better results than the external, bomb-driven ones.

Clearing off the desktop…

…sometimes I fall behind.  So to catch up, I just dump a lot of stuff with short commentary and reboot the browsers so my computer can think again.

Here goes…

First up is an acknowledgement of the change to Arizona law.  This took away the worst of it, but I’d expect the rest to be bad enough to fall on its own.

Here’s some of the local reaction to the immigration law.  The march took place before the changes.

Some Fox revisionism.  Seriously, WTF.

The smoke monster gets lose in the gulf.

They caught some guy who doesn’t know how to make a good bomb.

Who did what now?  You don’t say.

Federal money is only *sometimes* evil.  How very Hindu of you

No need for that extra $130 for a 3G iPad.  $99 3G iPhone works fine.

Some speculation by a sci-fi guy about Jobs hatred of flash.

More on the immigration law change in Arizona.

Tattle tales!  How silly.   I say let people strip in the name on art, like that.  This’ll get tossed.

The global warming witchhunt continues in VA via the Cooch.

A good Street Fighter movie? Unpossible.  Possible…

It’s like a cliche now.

The Tea Party takes the Republicans to a new dimension, and beyond.

The alternate question about who “introduced” nukes to the Middle East.

Wonderful reading about the longest living organism(s).