Saturday, January 29, 2011

Any Rand and Medicare

Not that this is really a surprise, but Ayn Rand, the Patron Saint of Libertarianism, recieved both Social Security and Medicare under her married name Ayn O'Connor.

This from the woman who wrote in her book “The Virtue of Selfishness” that accepting any government controls is “delivering oneself into gradual enslavement.”

Not really a surprise, but I still find it funny as hell!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Global Warming Data Point

According to the NOAA, 2010 was the warmest year on record.
Confirming one of the essential truths of Global Warming. The globe really is heating up.

And there is no theory that explains this warming better than a greenhouse effect resulting from increasing concentration of gases like Methane and Carbon Dioxide in the upper atmosphere resulting from human activity.

I know its cold outside today.
And its snowing in Atlanta.
None of which contradicts the science of Global Warming.

I understand why the petroleum and coal and natural gas industries don't want people to believe it. And I understand why Republicans and some Conservatives seen intent on doing the bidding of their corporate sponsors. What I don't understand is how they have convinced so many of America's citizens of the unbelievable.

But this all comes at a cost. There is no remaining doubt about what is happening. And while there is debate about how warm it will get and how fast it will warm up and how long it will take to bring temperatures down once we get green house gases under control, there is no scientific debate about the absolute necessity of doing so.

Why is it that people who so often love to wrap themselves in the flag are so willing to believe things that help to keep us dependent on foriegn oil, so willing to believe things that will make our world harder on our children. Quite rightly, our own Department of Defense sees Global Warming as a national security issue because the impacts of Global Warming on poor people around the globe will inevitably lead to instability in many nations, and that instability will likely result in increased threats to our security.

We need to act soon, act urgently, and act boldly. For our country, for our future, for our security.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Believing the Insane

In some of the earliest responses that I saw to the shooting of Rep. Giffords was a piece on a right wing website claiming that the shooter was a liberal because he referenced Hitler and Mein Kampf on some website.

The discussion about incendiary rhetoric aside, anyone who can look at the historical record and try to link Nazism and liberals is either insane or deliberately delusional. I tried to have a discussion with someone who was saying this and this argument was based on the presence of Socialist in the Nazi party name. They ignore the entire history of the Nazi party under Adolph Hitler and decide that Hitler was a liberal. After all, didn't you know that Hitler co-opted several German unions (before he destroyed the unions and put their leaders in the concentration camps). So if the party has Socialist in their name and co-opted some German unions, of course Hitler was a Liberal.

These are the same people who insist that the Southern Democrats who opposed (violently in many cases) had to be liberals because they were Democrats.

Its fascinating for me to have these discussions. I know that many on the right are not all that interested in facts, but this attempt to redefine Nazism as some sort of Liberalism and to pretend that the Southern Democrats doing everything in their power to enforce and protect segregation were Liberals is simply insane.

I have not figured out how they can make such ludicrous claims with a straight face, but they do.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Republicans and Jobs

The first order of business for the new Republican led House of Representatives is to repeal, in toto, the health care reform bill passed by the previous congress.

They gave their repeal measure a real catchy name "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." Cool name HUH??

The problem is that, along with most of what Republicans want us to believe about the economy, they are lying again. Every bipartisan evaluation of the impact of the health care refrom bill estimates a very small impact on employment and most predict that more jobs will be added in the health care industries than will be lost elsewhere.

In otherwords, the President's health care reform law will increase employment.

Republicans have also often referred to the Health Care reform bill as a budget buster despite the independent analysis that indicates that the Health Care Reform bill will actuall reduce the deficit.

Its like they just have to lie about stuff. Its not like these independent studies are not well publicized. They include the CBO study. But they don't seem to care about what is real, they only care about whether or not people will catch them in their lies.

Its like their claim that tax cuts create jobs. Not exactly a lie since tax cuts do create a few jobs. But they will never acknowledge that dollar for dollar tax cuts are far LESS effective at creating job than direct spending like infrastructure projects and extending unemployment benefits.

They clearly don't actually care about creating jobs.

They do like making political points though.

By saying things that aren't true, over and over again, even after what they are saying is shown to be untrue.

And isn't that the definition of a lie.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Republicans and Deficits

It would be funny if it wasn't so cynically dishonest.

Republicans have been complaining about the deficit and the debt since at least Reagan's campaign against Jimmy Carter in 1980. Yet since WWI, the Deficit has consistently been higher under Republican presidents than under Democratic Presidents. Let us not forget that President Obama inherited a $1.2T deficit in the FY2009 budget from President Bush who inherited a budget surplus from President Clinton.

When the Democratic took over in 2009 they passed a bill often called PayGo which required that any new programs that they wanted to pass, had to have funding mechanisms so that the new programs wouldn't increase the deficit and the debt. As a result the Health Care Reform bill had taxes and fees and moved some medicare money around to finance the bill and the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would actually LOWER the slightly over the next 10 years. The new Food Safety overhaul bill had to get voted on twice because the funding mechanisms for that bill has originated in the Senate so it had to be reintroduced in the House to be constitutional. Not a lot of costs in that one, but the Democratic Controlled congress paid for the new programs.
Same for the 9-11 Responders Health Care bill. They closed a loophole in corporate taxes to pay for it.
Cap and Trade was designed to be self financing.

So the first bill that the House intends to vote on is their repeal, in its entirety, of the Health Care Reform bill. The CBO estimates that repealing the bill will COST the federal government $230B over 10 years. The Republicans, who whine and complain constantly about the deficit and the debt, want to add $230B to the National Debt. The have no intention of making any attempt to pay the cost of their proposal.

And it gets worse.

They want to replace PayGo with something they call CutGo. Its like PayGo except that it demands that any new spending be matched by spending cuts elsewhere. It doesn't allow using tax or fee increases to fund new spending. But the really stupid part is that they insist that ANY TAX CUTS DON'T HAVE TO BE PAID FOR!

They repeat the same idiocy that tax cuts stimulate the economy and that they pay for themselves over time. The first is barely true, the second is a complete LIE. Tax cuts are the single worst way to stimulate the economy. Its been tried and it hasn't worked. Study after study comes to the same conclusion. 1 dollar in tax cuts adds about $1.06 in additional economic activity. 1 dollar in direct spending (like infrastructure projects and unemployment benefits) add more than $1.50 in additional economic activity.

What do tax cuts really do.

THEY ADD TO THE DEFICIT. Look at the history. Reagan cut taxes, the deficit exploded. BushII cut taxes, the deficit went to new heights.

One of the bills passed in the lame duck congress was a compromise bill on extending the Bush tax cuts and extending employment benefits for the long term unemployed. Republicans insisted that the bill extend the tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans, at a cost of almost $1T over 10 years and made not attempt to pay for it.

Every time they take an important action the Republicans demonstrate over and over again that they only want to complain about the deficit, not really do anything about it.

And other than the new Teabaggers, most of these people are not studid, they know they are lying and they just don't care.