To Republicans, schadenfreude may be a favorite form of entertainment, but hurting people economically also serves a critical purpose. The more desperate people are to find work, the more likely they will be to accept any work at any wages under any conditions. Kick them while they are down, and try to make them beg. Being able to disparage and demonize them is an added bonus.
Jesus worked, lived, and traded in the world as he found it. He was not an economic reformer, although he did frequently call attention to the injustice of the unequal distribution of wealth. But he did not offer any suggestions by way of remedy. He made it plain to the three that, while his apostles were not to hold property, he was not preaching against wealth and property, merely its unequal and unfair distribution. He recognized the need for social justice and industrial fairness, but he offered no rules for their attainment. —The Urantia Book
The cleansing of the temple discloses the Master’s attitude toward commercializing the practices of religion as well as his detestation of all forms of unfairness and profiteering at the expense of the poor and the unlearned. This episode also demonstrates that Jesus did not look with approval upon the refusal to employ force to protect the majority of any given human group against the unfair and enslaving practices of unjust minorities who may be able to entrench themselves behind political, financial, or ecclesiastical power. Shrewd, wicked, and designing men are not to be permitted to organize themselves for the exploitation and oppression of those who, because of their idealism, are not disposed to resort to force for self-protection or for the furtherance of their laudable life projects.
—The Urantia Book
McDONALDLAND — Refusing to answer questions about Mayor McCheese‘s crack cocaine use, McLisa McComb, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s USA, announced the demise of the online presence of the McResource program, following the solicited appearance on their McWebsite of “unnecessary McViews and McCriticism” of their cheeseburgers and fries.
“We have offered the McResource program to help our valued McDonald’s McEmployees with McWork and McLife McGuidance, prepared by independent third party McExperts. A combination of McFactors beyond our control has led us to refuse to expose ourselves to outside criticisms re-evaluate, and we’ve directed our McVendor to take down the McWebsite. Between links to expository irrelevant and horrendous outdated information, along with outside groups we can’t controlexposing taking elements out of context, we realized we were paying for this created unwarranted McScrutiny and inappropriate commentary,” McComb said, in a freshly prepared McStatement with no fillers or extenders.
She munched on: “None of this helps our McDonald’s McTeam McMembers. [laughter] Without the McWebsite, we’ll be forced to provide Mcservice to them through an internal telephone McHelp line, which is how the majority of McEmployees access the McResource McServices anyway.”
The site now shows Ronald McDonald with a speech balloon saying: “We’ll Be Back real McSoon! We are temporarily performing some McMaintenance in order to provide you with the McBest experience possible! Please excuse us while these McUpgrades are being made with only the freshest ingredients!”
The fast-food advice flap is the latest blunder involving the site during the last few months; recent tone-deaf advice to employees included a tipping guide which included suggestions for tipping au pairs, personal fitness trainers, and sure, pool cleaners.
Senator Ted Cruz walked out of the Mens Congressional restroom Friday, talking to a levitating ballpark frank.
WASHINGTON— A partially dressed and apparently deranged Ted Cruz (®Texas), emerged from the Congressional Mens room Friday, alternately sobbing and talking incoherently with an invisible grilled hot dog, which he claimed was hovering just in front of him.
The Senator was met outside the restroom by a phalanx of Capital Hill reporters with recording devices and a few snickers.
When asked why he was sobbing, Cruz responded, “Look! Just look what they did to my sweet little dog; Obamacare grilled my sweet little dog.”
“Where is your dog now, sir? asked Fox News reporter, Ed Henry. “There— there in the lights, just in front of me” replied Cruz. An uncomfortable silence was broken by the arrival of Capital Hill Security, who escorted Cruz from the room.
Cruz, who Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently said was “…a laughing stock to everybody but him,” led the costly Tea Party debacle which shut down the United States Government for sixteen days; current estimates say the shutdown cost 900,000 jobs.
This month’s national laughingstock just happens to be an adult crybaby.
This sorry-assed excuse for a magazine found its way into my personal space yesterday. Not only was it not funny, but it pissed me off in a way that I have seldom experienced since I stopped abusing certain vile foamy liquids and other assorted borderline ingestibles.
Many of you are too young in this adventure to remember National LAMPOON magazine, let alone one of their most memorable covers, from January 1973. (See it here.) But unlike that cover, this parody did not make me feel sorry for the Boner-as-victim of his own groveling attempts to destroy the American government and … you know what, just forget it.
Forget all the antics of the Republican “party” for a moment. Just answer this question: Why is a sniveling crybaby the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States?
Is this really the best creature we can squeeze out of our gene pool?
Apparently it is, so then, go ahead, Repuglican’ts; do your worst, you catatonic douchebags.
Derp Sammy is a Pancake Bunny. Your argument is invalid.
WASHINGTON D.C. — In an increasingly common display of douchey derpiness, Pancake Bunny and Supreme Court Justice Sammy Alito rolled his eyes and wagged his head as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissents from the majority in two employee discrimination cases this week, in which the Court ruled— surprise— in favor of employers.*
Longtime Supreme Court observer and Pancake Bunny expert, Garrett Eppstien-Barr, called it a simple “dickweed-tantrum” and a “childish display of derp rudeness.”
“Alito pursed his lips, rolled his eyes to the ceiling, and shook his head ‘no.’” He looked for all the world like Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, signaling to the homies his contempt for Ray Walston as the bothersome history teacher, Mr. Hand.”
He added that Alito’s acting out “brought gasps from more than one person in the audience.”
A couple weeks ago Alito is also said to have rolled his eyes and shook his head while Justice Sonia Sotomayor was speaking, and “glowered” at Justice Elena Kagan. “Yeah bitches, I got this,” he muttered under his breath.
And remember a few years ago Alito got his briefs in a twist when President Barack Obama criticized the Court’s Citizens United ruling during the State of the Union address— while in Mr. Alito’s presence.
Are you getting this yet? Sammy Alito is simply a rude mother fucker.
The original pancake bunny could not be reached for comment¹, but we’re pretty damned sure he would recuse himself on whether or not Alito is as big a derped-up pancake bunny as he appears.
* (Vance v. Ball State and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar)
Lost amid the tidal wave of media coverage over the Boston Marathon bombings this week was the destruction of a foundational argument of the Avatars of Austerity, aka “deficit hawks.”
Thanks to a little fact checking and spreadsheet analysis by a U Mass grad student and his associates, they proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that key economic data used by the Austerians to justify their slash and burn budget prescriptions is full of shit.
The bogus data is enshrined in a paper by two Harvard economists, Reinhart and Rogoff, frequently cited as Holy Writ by everyone form Erskine-Bowles to Paul Ryan to Fux News. Details to follow, but first, an overview.
Following the collapse of the international financial system during the George W. Bush Administration, deficits worldwide exploded as former tax paying workers were laid off in the tens of millions. Instead of putting them to work building infrastructure and the like, the strategy chosen by FDR during the last Great Depression to re-start the economy and thereby raise government revenues, the uber rich offered their own re-cycled remedy of trickle-down economics, with a twist– tax cuts for them and budget cuts for everyone else.
While the subtext of the Austerians’ campaign to slash government budgets, which overwhelmingly disadvantage the poor and middle class, is obvious: the One Percenters resent having to pay taxes that benefit society as a whole (see Willard Romney’s attack on the 47% as parasites demanding “free stuff”); and while the actual real world results of austerity regimes currently in place in Europe have resulted in deeper economic dislocation and misery — Great Britain is in the middle of a triple dip recession despite deep cuts in vital government institutions like the BBC — one would think that the Austerians would accept reality and admit their anti-Keneysian belief system is wrong.
Fat chance. Depression levels of unemployment in Greece, Spain, and Portugal, accompanied by negative GDP, the contagion effect of austerity is being felt in even healthy exporting countries like Germany, to the extent that even the IMF came out this week against austerity. Despite irrefutable facts, the Austerians remain convinced of the rightness of their crusade. Ignoring Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result — they argue for even greater cuts, and more time for them to work their expected magic.
[T]he Rogoff-Reinhart paper entitled Growth In A Time Of Debt became the intellectual backbone for the austerity movement/plutocrats and their apparatchiks in Washington and elsewhere. The big take away was that a high government debt to GDP ratio – past 90% – would hurt economic growth. Hence, the austerity movement’s central claim that cutting government spending is necessary to restore higher growth levels. And if you are following along, you probably realize why this argument does not even work in its own context. Cutting spending does not eliminate debt – which increases perpetually with interest. Nor is debt itself a reflection of spending levels, debt merely represents borrowing. The government can spend as much as possible and avoid high debt to GDP ratios if taxes are levied to pay for the spending. In fact, the highest growth period in the history of America was during one of its highest tax periods. Neither taxes, debt, nor government spending are, in and of themselves, determinative of economic growth.
Sounds reasonable enough on the surface, assuming that the data they used and its analysis reflect reality. But Houston, we have a problem:
Thomas Herndon, a 28-year-old economics grad student at UMass Amherst, just used part of his spring semester to shake the intellectual foundation of the global austerity movement.
Herndon became instantly famous in nerdy economics circles this week as the lead author of a recent paper, “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff,” that took aim at a massively influential study by two Harvard professors named Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. Herndon found some hidden errors in Reinhart and Rogoff’s data set, then calmly took the entire study out back and slaughtered it.
What Herndon had discovered was that by making a sloppy computing error, Reinhart and Rogoff had forgotten to include a critical piece of data about countries with high debt-to-GDP ratios that would have affected their overall calculations. They had also excluded data from Canada, New Zealand, and Australia — all countries that experienced solid growth during periods of high debt and would thus undercut their thesis that high debt forestalls growth.
Oopsie. Paul Krugman in his Friday column asks the logical, resulting gobsmacking question:
So, did an Excel coding error destroy the economies of the Western world?
Informed of the mathematical mistake that undergirded his and his BFF Alan Simpson’s whole austerity thesis, Democrat deficit hawk Erskine Bowles in essence replied that he didn’t care–he still believes in its viability, the facts be damned.
“I have obviously read the report and have referenced it a number of times,” Bowles said. “I know they had a worksheet error in the report and my understanding is that does make a difference.”
“But what it doesn’t change is the common sense and my own personal experience in both the public and private sector that when any organization has too much debt that is an enormous risk factor and your risks go up then people lending you money will want more money for their money,” Bowles said.
Translation: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
So, Bowles is reduced to playing the “common sense” card so popular among conservatives these days when one of their pet ideologically driven crusades fails an objective analysis of its underlying facts. Sure, there is evidence that debt in excess of 90% of GDP retards economic growth by a measurable percentage. But it doesn’t drive it down anywhere near the level the Austerians maintain, making their Chicken Little The Sky Is Falling routine absurd on its face.
(Reminds me of the cognitive dissonance I used to see operating inside the criminal justice system. As advocacy groups like the Innocence Project has shown, not everyone convicted of a crime is guilty, as post-hoc DNA tests regularly show. You’d think that the original police investigators and prosecutors would eat a little humble pie for being proven wrong, but you’d be wrong. Like chest thumping politicians, they are geniuses at rationalization, maintaining that the victim was guilty for some other reason, because, well, just because. After all, they are professionals, experts who know their stuff.)
Other problems with R&R’s analyses includes the counterfactual case of England, which despite violating the 90% threshold for 19 continuous years, still maintained positive economic growth; and worse, cancelling its influence on the overall data set by giving it equal weight with a single year of severe negative economic growth in New Zealand in the early 1950s. Furthermore, economic conditions change over the decades, and when one analyzes R&R’s data from the beginning of the 21st century forward, the presumed relationship between the 90% level of economic stagnation becomes even more tenuous.
The question now is whether this cold slap of mathematical reality will be enough to end the hysteria of debt obsession that has the Serious People is D.C. so enthralled, and whether the far more critical and economically productive emphasis on job creation is once again the subject of serious policy debate.
Democratic accountability has been sucked out of the nation-state system and deposited into the hands of a planetary bureaucracy of transnational corporations and central bankers. And from their perspective there is no crisis, at least not anymore, just a continued redistribution of wealth up and the necessity of building a police state to protect it. Austerity forever.
As the Master of Disaster W. once said: “Fool me once, shame on, shame on, you. Fool me–you can’t get fooled again!”
Assholes Who Voted Against An Amendment Proposed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) To Require Background Checks For Commercial Gun Sales¹
Lamar Alexander (ASSHOLE-TN) Kelly Ayotte (ASSHOLE-NH) John Barrasso (ASSHOLE-WY) Max Baucus (ASSHOLE-MT) Mark Begich (ASSHOLE-AK) Roy Blunt (ASSHOLE-MO) John Boozman (ASSHOLE-AR) Richard Burr (ASSHOLE-NC) Saxby Chambliss (ASSHOLE-GA) Dan Coats (ASSHOLE-IN) Tom Coburn (ASSHOLE-OK) Thad Cochran (ASSHOLE-MS) Bob Corker (ASSHOLE-TN) John Cornyn (ASSHOLE-TX) Mike Crapo (ASSHOLE-ID) Ted Cruz (ASSHOLE-TX) Michael Enzi (ASSHOLE-WY) Deb Fischer (ASSHOLE-NE) Jeff Flake (ASSHOLE-AZ) Lindsey Graham (ASSHOLE-SC) Chuck Grassley (ASSHOLE-IA) Orrin Hatch (ASSHOLE-UT) Heidi Heitkamp (ASSHOLE-ND) Dean Heller (ASSHOLE-NV) John Hoeven (ASSHOLE-ND) Jim Inhofe (ASSHOLE-OK) Johnny Isakson ASSHOLE-GA) Mike Johanns (ASSHOLE-NE) Ron Johnson (ASSHOLE-WI) Mike Lee (ASSHOLE-UT) Mitch McConnell (FUKHEAD-KY) Jerry Moran (ASSHOLE-KS) Lisa Murkowski (ASSHOLE-AK) Rand Paul (IDIOT FUKHEAD-KY) Rob Portman (ASSHOLE-OH) Mark Pryor (ASSHOLE-AR) James Risch (ASSHOLE-ID) Pat Roberts (ASSHOLE-KS) Marco Rubio (IDIOT ASSHOLE-FL) Timothy Scott (ASSHOLE-SC) Jeff Sessions (FUKHEAD-AL) Richard Shelby (ASSHOLE-AL) John Thune (ASSHOLE-SD) David Vitter (ASSHOLE-LA) Roger Wicker (ASSHOLE-MS)
These despicable assholes and idiots need to be removed from our nation’s government.
Remember this vote on their next election day. Here are their Twitter handles, tell them how you feel about allowing guns to be sold to their fellow assholes and idiots, online and at gun shows:
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) Michael Bennet (D-CO) Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Ben Cardin (D-MD) Thomas Carper (D-DE) Bob Casey (D-PA) Susan Collins (R-ME) Christopher Coons (D-DE) William “Mo” Cowan (D-MA) Mark Kirk (R-IL) Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Richard Durbin (D-IL) Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Al Franken (D-MN) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Kay Hagan (D-NC) Tom Harkin (D-IA) Martin Heinrich (D-NM) Mazie Hirono (D-HI) Tim Johnson (D-SD) Timothy Kaine (D-VA) Angus King (I-ME) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Carl Levin (D-MI) Joe Manchin (D-WV) John McCain (R-AZ) Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) Jeff Merkley (D-OR) Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Christopher Murphy (D-CT) Patty Murray (D-WA) Bill Nelson (D-FL) John Reed (D-RI) Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Brian Schatz (D-HI) Charles Schumer (D-NY) Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Jon Tester (D-MT) Pat Toomey (R-PA) Mark Udall (D-CO) Tom Udall (D-NM) Mark Warner (D-VA) Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) Ron Wyden (D-OR)
¹ But not for sales between “friends and neighbors.”
* More idiocy: Harry Reid (D-NV) had to vote “no” as a “procedural move” to preserve an option to reintroduce the bill.