15 December, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

My darlings, incontrovertible proof the Cons are incapable of learning from their mistakes:

Paul Krugman takes a stroll down memory lane today, noting the recent history deregulating banks and the financial industry. It was a system created in the wake of the Great Depression, and worked well to prevent catastrophes.

But in time, conservatives were able to remove safeguards. The results were disastrous, producing, among other things, last year's crash.
Given this history, you might have expected the emergence of a national consensus in favor of restoring more-effective financial regulation, so as to avoid a repeat performance. But you would have been wrong.
Talk to conservatives about the financial crisis and you enter an alternative, bizarro universe in which government bureaucrats, not greedy bankers, caused the meltdown. It's a universe in which government-sponsored lending agencies triggered the crisis, even though private lenders actually made the vast majority of subprime loans. It's a universe in which regulators coerced bankers into making loans to unqualified borrowers, even though only one of the top 25 subprime lenders was subject to the regulations in question.
Oh, and conservatives simply ignore the catastrophe in commercial real estate: in their universe the only bad loans were those made to poor people and members of minority groups, because bad loans to developers of shopping malls and office towers don't fit the narrative.
And they're delusional enough to keep telling us they're our only hope for economic prosperity.  It would be funny if it wasn't so fucking pathetic.

In further Con economic genius, Michael Steele thinks the best way to jump-start the economy is to take away unemployment benefits:
This morning on NBC’s Today, RNC chair Michael Steele said that in order for banks to start lending to small businesses, the federal government should reduce the unemployment tax:
STEELE: Well, I think, first off, he should recognize that banks aren’t going to lend money to people who can’t pay them back. … So there’s — there’s this whole cycle of not understanding exactly how the economy works with respect to small-business owners. Take that pressure off of them. Let’s — let’s eliminate the capital gains tax. Let’s reduce the unemployment tax.

The unemployment tax is a tax levied on employers in order to provide payments of unemployment compensation to workers who have lost their jobs. Unemployment insurance provides a vital lifeline to more than 10 million Americans currently looking for work in an environment where jobs are scarce. Moreover, the benefits also provide fiscal stimulus as they are almost certain to be spent and put back into the economy quickly. Economists estimate that one dollar put towards unemployment benefits contributes about $2.15 to economic growth.

So Steele’s solution to fixing the economy is to take away benefits from those who have lost their jobs. If these taxes are reduced, who will pay? Rather than raid unemployment benefits, the Obama administration is proposing to assist small businesses through funding from the TARP program, which Republicans also oppose.

Because, you see, that wouldn't fuck over the destitute enough.  There's just no emotional satisfaction for Cons in common-sense measures.

Right on the heels of Steele's dumbfuck idea comes DeMint, once again trumpeting the completely discredited idea that Social Security should be privatized:
In an interview with Bloomberg News’ Al Hunt, DeMint blasted Social Security as “socialistic,” and advocated reviving President George Bush’s Social Security privatization scheme:
DeMint considers Social Security a “socialistic” measure and blasts the American Association of Retired Persons for promulgating “socialist solutions”…In the interview, he talks of reviving President George W. Bush’s failed plan to partially privatize Social Security by having workers put a small percentage of the current levy in a personal savings account.
As CNN Money’s Allan Sloan wrote back in January, “someday, Social Security privatization will come back into vogue. When that happens, I’ve got two words that will remind you why it’s a bad idea: Remember 2008.” It’s quite shocking that we’re not even through 2009 yet, and 2008, at least for DeMint, is already forgotten.

It's only shocking if you start thinking of Cons as rational human beings with a thread of human compassion.  If, like me, you've gotten over that fantasy, the real shocker is that it took DeMint so long.

Alas, I'm not all that surprised that Senate Dems are turning to McCain's economic dumbfuck for ideas on how to handle job creation, either:
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) has announced that, on Wednesday, it “will hold an important hearing on jobs creation.” “This is a terrific opportunity to learn more about the job creation legislation as it is developed,” said the DPC in an email. Earlier this month, House Republicans held a similar job creation roundtable with a lineup full of former Bush administration and McCain staffers, which House Democrats agreed was worth disparaging. So then why are Senate Democrats calling on two of the same people: Larry Lindsey and Douglas Holtz-Eakin? The inclusion of Holtz-Eakin is especially disheartening because, at the GOP event, he said that the single best jobs policy would be ending “crippling regulation” and “intrusive government expansion”...
Senate Dems seem rather pathologically reliant on right-wing dumbshits for bad ideas.  Apparently, they believe that inviting Cons and their buddies to the table will persuade Cons to stop hitting them in the face and stabbing them in the back.  Hope springs eternal.

Either that, or they're looking for comic relief during what promises to be a rather dry meeting.  There's always that possibility.

In other news, Cons are still shitting themselves in fear:
Bad enough when terrorists bluff about their intent to obtain nuclear weapons to frighten the general populace - now we have Republican politicians doing the terrorists' work for them.  From Talking Points Memo:
Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) was troubled by what might happen when waterboarding and the American right to a fair trial met in a U.S. courtroom. She worried what might happen if terror suspects argued they'd been given "cruel and unusual" punishment at Gitmo.

"This is what scares me because they're in a U.S. court now and the rights are different," she said. "What will they say [about their detention] and what could happen and could they be out among the people again? It's very frightening."
How frightening? Mushroom cloud frightening, according to [Rep. Trent] Franks [R-AZ]. He said that a federal trial would give the suspects "a megaphone to speak to the planet," which he said "only hastens the danger" of, literally, a nuclear terrorist attack.
Yes, we certainly don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud, do we? The only thing we need to fear are the fearmongers themselves.

I really do feel sorry for these people.  It's a sad, scary little world they live in, there in their fevered little heads.

And as far as rationality, forget it.  You may have noticed by now that Cons have a tendency to engage in catastrophizing.  It's a mental disorder defined thusly (h/t):
Catastrophizing - Focusing on the worst possible outcome, however unlikely, or thinking that a situation is unbearable or impossible when it is really just uncomfortable.
And I have a perfect additional example, courtesy of Smokey Joe Barton:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), nicknamed “Smokey Joe” for his persistent advocacy on behalf of polluters, sat for an interview with C-Span this weekend to discuss a variety of environmental issues.

Barton expressed concern that regulation of carbon dioxide pollution would restrict his “convenient” and “modern lifestyle.” “I don’t want to go back to the 1870s where my great-grandparents lived on a dry land cotton farm in Texas with no running water and no electricity and their power source was their own muscles or animal power,” Barton feared.

He then argued that the warming of the planet is actually a “net benefit” for humans...
Joe apparently didn't hear about Tuvalu, the little Pacific Island nation that's going to end up underwater if global warming isn't stopped.  I would dearly love to see him explain to Ian Fry why drowning is a "net benefit" for humans.

And Joe seems to have missed the entire conversation on the green economy.  Not once have horses, buggies, or a return to a world with no electricity or running water been mentioned.  The only people who believe that getting global warming under control means a return to a pre-industrial lifestyle are those who have no capacity for rational thought.  Like, y'know, Cons.

To top off all the stupid, the North Dakota GOP thinks birther jokes are hysterical:
The North Dakota Republican Party has a humorous new image on its front page today: A "Joke of the day" that just so happens to involve President Obama's birth certificate.

The picture shows the photo of President Obama shaking hands with state dinner party-crasher Michaele Salahi. Obama is given a speech balloon in which he asks to see Salahi's invitation. She answers: "If I can see your birth certificate!"

I asked Adam Jones, political director for the North Dakota GOP, whether it was appropriate to have a joke involving the president allegedly not being born in this country. "You said the keyword, Eric," he replied. "It's a joke."

Apparently, he has not yet learned that just because it's a "joke" doesn't mean it can't be inappropriate, in poor taste, and a really fucking idiotic thing to post on an official Con Party website.

No wonder independents are coming to their senses.  These dumbfucks are in no way, not by any stretch of a sane imagination, fit to govern.

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