Mad To The Max: Paul Ryan, Beyond Blunderdome

 Posted by on March 19, 2013 at 2:45 PM
Mar 192013
 

MadR'AYN

The barn door has closed on yet another episode of CPAC’s Wingnut Woodstock, the annual conclave of conservaschism‘s most extreme proponents. (See our archives for previous entries.)

Among the 70+ speakers were the party’s last two failed GOP Veep candidates, Rep. Paul Ryan (R- Gault’s Gulch), who couldn’t be bothered to even mention his former running mate, Mitt Romney, who was also there;  and Sarah Palin (R-Alaskan Quitter), who couldn’t resist sucking up some sugar water poison from a Big Gulp and throwing some red meat to the Birthers while attacking Karl Rove:

“If these experts who keep losin’ elections and keep gettin’ rehired and gettin’ millions — if they feel that strong about who gets to run in this party, then they should buck-up or stay in the truck.”

Rand Paul, who won the presidential straw poll beating Marco Rubio, 25%-23%, also implicitly took a shot at Rove and the establishment wing of the party, calling it “stale and moss covered,” in need of a complete do-over.  Rubio took the opposite tack, saying that the party just needed better packaging, everything else is just fine… except maybe their attitude toward immigration, a word that curiously never passed his lips.  Ted Cruz responded politely to GOP’s “grey eminence” John McCain, after McCain called him a “whackobird” for supporting Paul’s 13 hour filibuster against extra-judicial targeted killings, ala drone strikes.

All told, over 70 speeches were given.  And while Donald Trump said nothing of substance, he will be remembered for making a further investment in self-parody, talking to a room full of empty chairs after tweeting enthusiastically about how the sponsors were expecting a standing room only crowd for the pleasure of his company.

Empty chairs TrumpSquint real hard and you might see Trump holding court for a handful of starstruck suckups

Noticeable for their absence were Past GOP luminaries New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell weren’t invited this year because they had committed the unforgivable sin of, you know, actual governance, an activity antithetical to the overriding mission of modern conservatism— the wholesale dismantling of the US government (except as it benefits the 1%).

Which brings us to the substance of Paul Ryan’s speech, his proposed 2014 budget confabulation. The zombie eyed granny starver once again tried to disguise his Ayn Randian flavored social Darwinism as deficit reduction, framing his argument as the only rational approach to a country teetering on the edge of the apocalypse:

Unless we change course, we will have a debt crisis.  Pressed for cash, the government will take the easy way out:  It will crank up the printing presses.  The final stage of this intergenerational theft will be the debasement of our currency.  Government will cheat us of our just rewards.  Our finances will collapse.  The economy will stall.  The safety net will unravel. And the most vulnerable will suffer.

But it’s not too late.  This budget provides an exit ramp from the current mess— and an entry ramp to a better future.  Unlike the President’s last budget, which never balanced, this budget achieves balance within ten years.

Washington Post and MSNBC economic policy wonk Ezra Klein comments:

These are tremendously important paragraphs. They’re emphasized a few pages later, in the first real section of the budget, which is entitled “The Debt Crisis Ahead.”  These paragraphs matter because they serve as Ryan’s justification for his budget.  They are why we need to throw 35 million people off health insurance.  They are why we need to cut deep into education and infrastructure and food stamps and housing assistance.  They are why this budget is an act of mercy rather than cruelty — because if this future is the only alternative, then this budget is painful but necessary medicine.

But it’s not.  Ryan’s nightmare scenario isn’t likely even in the absence of new policy.  A reasonable assumption of future debt is about 112 percent of GDP come 2037 — and that’s assuming the repeal of the sequester.  That’s too high for comfort, and there’s some evidence that debt at that level could harm the economy.  But there’s no evidence that it would create the kind of Mad Max-style scenario Ryan paints.

Ryan’s GOP budget takes a meat ax to the social safety net for the old, poor, and infirm, all the while sparing the military/medical/prison/financial industrial complex or any other corporate interest group from any sacrifice whatsoever. Ryan ignores deficit expanding tax expenditures that overwhelmingly favor the wealthy, which in 2009 cost the federal government a cool trillion; says nothing about eliminating tens of billions of dollars in direct taxpayer subsidies to hugely profitable industries like the oil companies and Big Ag, many of whom don’t even pay any income tax thanks to lobbyist provided loopholes; and lowers tax rates across the board, which again, overwhelmingly favors the rich. Continue reading »

Chairman Issa Is A Asshole

 Posted by on June 27, 2012 at 2:26 PM
Jun 272012
 

 

 Four days after the 2010 election, Issa declared he would hold hundreds of hearings over the next two years: “I want seven bleedings hearings a week,  times 40 weeks.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner has scheduled a vote tomorrow for the purpose of issuing a Congressional contempt citation against the sitting Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder.

This unprecedented action was originated by the Rethuglican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Darrell Issa, pursuant to that committee’s investigation of a botched sting operation code named Operation Fast and Furious by the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agency. (F&F’s purpose can be summarized as: Let’s sell a bunch of automatic weapons to middle men for Mexican drug lords and track them. Gee, what could go wrong with that?)

F&F had its origin in a similar sting operation begun during the George W. Bush Administration, code named Operation Wide Receiver. The details of Wide Receiver remain murky as Issa has refused to allow testimony on it, despite the fact that it accounted for three of the four “gun walking” incidents that ultimately led to ATF agent’s Brian Terry’s tragic death from one of the smuggled guns. Is Issa’s obstruction due, at least in part, to the fact that it was holdover attorneys from the Bush Administration that ran all four ops? Talk about trying to control the narrative.

At issue in the contempt action are private communications between the Justice Department staff that occurred AFTER Terry’s death, communications that clearly fall under long established protections of executive privilege. Justice claims that everything relevant to the actual operation, up to the day of the killing, has already been turned over.

Salon.com explains:

The vote is arguably a partisan witch hunt, but it’s also a long time coming and a rare big win for Issa, who entered his chairmanship with an extremely ambitious agenda that has largely fizzled.

Leading up to and following the 2010 elections, Issa was giddy at the chance of going toe-to-toe with Obama, whom he called “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times” in an interview with Rush Limbaugh in October of that year. A month later, he walked back the claim. “If I had to do it over again, I’d have parsed my words a little more carefully,” Issa told CNN’s Situation Room. “Do I think the president is personally corrupt? No. I should never have implied that.”

That big bravado followed by small payoff would prove typical of Issa’s chairmanship. Four days after the 2010 election, Issa declared he would hold hundreds of hearings over the next two years: “I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks.” That works out to 280 hearings a year. For some context, when Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman chaired the same committee under George W. Bush, he held 203 oversight hearings over two years. In the January he was sworn in, Issa unveiled a long hit list of upcoming investigations on everything from WikiLeaks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to the FDA, to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. He even promised to investigate George W. Bush. “I’m going to be investigating a president of my own party, because many of the issues we’re working on began [with] President Bush or even before, and haven’t been solved,” he told MSNBC. “The enemy is the bureaucracy, not necessarily the current occupant of the White House.”

Right. Barely 24 hours after admitting on Fox News last weekend he had no proof of White House involvement in the alleged F&F cover up, Issa fired off a letter to the White House intimating just that. Guess getting his ass chewed by the NRA and the Tea Party faction of the GOP transcends any sense of hypocrisy that might flitter across his devious little mind.

In spite of all the above,  the Administration has, over the last 24 hours, offered additional disclosures in a order to reach a resolution. Good luck with that. Might as well offer Dracula ketchup instead of blood.

Jealously watching all the free media time Issa has garnered for being just such a dick, Willard Mitt Romney decided to enter the fray, seeing Issa’s hypocrisy bet, and raising.

Via Think Progress:

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul attacked the Obama administration’s executive privilege claim last Wednesday in a statement, saying “President Obama’s pledge to run the most open and transparent administration in history has turned out to be just another broken promise.”

But as Congress sought to compel President George W. Bush’s administration to allow Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to cooperate with an investigation into the U.S. Attorney’s scandal, Romney could not have been more forceful in his support for the executive privilege claim. Asked by a conservative radio show how whether he agreed with President Bush’s decision to simply ignore the subpoenas, Romney said:

“Yeah, he’s got a responsibility to protect executive privilege. That’s just part of preserving the powers of the presidency… He should do what he thinks is the right thing with regards to members of his team but preserve executive privilege.”

The Bush administration asserted “deliberative process privilege” in that case — the same privilege being cited here for the Department of Justice “Fast and Furious” documents.

Other Rethugs couldn’t resist adding their own excremental comments. Failed presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick “Oops” Perry, for example, calls the White House decision “worse than Watergate.” A meme regurgitated over and by the crack(ed) crew at Fux News, memorialized in a mash up titled The Wrath of Cons by Jon Stewart and crew.

But the real kicker is the framing by the NRA that Fast and Furious is really a secret plot by the Obama Administration to reimpose an assault weapons ban. Issa dutifully picked up that paranoid theory, saying:

“Could it be that what they really were thinking of was in fact to use this walking of guns in order to promote an assault weapons ban? Many think so. And [the administration] hasn’t come up with an explanation that would cause any of us not to agree.”

Apparently with the NRA involved, a small number of Democrats are believed to be ready to vote tomorrow with the Rethugs to hold Holder in contempt. Further proof of who really runs Congress these days.

Yet to be heard from (at least publicly) is the testimony of the agents involved. They may yet prove to be the dispositve factor in this whole sick mess. And blow up the whole right wing NRA conspiracy theory in the process.

Stephen offers his own summary of the “conspiracy” below.

 

BREAKING NEWS: Okay, Fortune Magazine has just published a detailed investigative piece by Katherine Eban that alters the previous narrative described above, citing those very ATF agents.

Via Media Matters:

As right-wing media cheer on a partisan Republican effort to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt with regard to Congress’ inquiry into the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, Fortune magazine has released a stunning investigation which concludes that ATF “never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels” in that case.

Quite simply, there’s a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.

Boy, does that change the campaign picture. Now Obama has something substantial to counter the expected Romney Fast and Furious ads.

However, I don’t think it will change the math in the House vote tomorrow among the NRA cowed Dems. When the NRA announces that they are going to “score” a vote, as they are doing here, facts and truth play second fiddle.

 

Dancing With The Zombies

 Posted by on November 20, 2011 at 10:01 AM
Nov 202011
 

Right to Far Right: Pig Newton, Witless Mittless, Insane In The Mem-brain Cain, Ricky Y’all er Crazy Perry, Braindrain Bachmann, and Ron D.O.A. Paul.  If you want to smell their rotting flesh, you must click it.
(Original image)

Never intended to be anything more than a Koch Brothers cut-out for reversing the Tea Party‘s reputation for racism, Herman Cain was as surprised as anyone to find himself suddenly propelled to the top of the Grand Obstructionist Party‘s presidential primary.

Actually, not so surprising given a restive base that includes a large ABM (Anybody But Mittens) contingent, mostly composed of fundamentalist Christians who don’t believe that the Garden of Eden was located in Jackson County, Missouri; and of course the Teabaggers who condemn him for instituting O’Romney Care in Massachusetts, compelling all Bay Staters to become the Zombie slaves of the Medical Industrial Complex.

These discontents have given rise to a succession of straw dog candidates, from Donald Trump, to Michelle Bachmann, to Rick Perry. Each have experienced similar meteoric rises only to come crashing to earth when their utter unsuitability to occupy the highest office in the world was laid bare under the harsh light of media scrutiny.

 Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann star in a remake of Dance Of The Dead
Original Image

So desperate is the GOPer search for someone who could even stand on the same stage as President Obama that they have now lapped themselves in the process of elevating a candidate who was declared dead a mere five months ago— a man who has more political baggage than all the others put together:  Newt Gingrich. Recall that his whole staff quit en masse when it was obvious to them that he was more interested in pimping his numerous business interests than actually running a campaign.  As his prolific record of influence peddling inside the Beltway becomes better known among low information Teabaggers, it won’t be long before he returns to his political grave.

Meanwhile, Herman was busy this week once again sabatoging his own campaign.  Thursday, he issued a last minute cancellation of his interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader’s editorial board, citing scheduling conflicts. As The Hill reports it:

But Drew Cline, the Union Leader’s editorial page editor, seemed to blame Cain for cancelling.

Cain campaign said we’d do a one-hour interview. Then said no video taping. Then said interview only 20 mins. Then canceled,” Cline said on Twitter. That comment came nearly an hour after the interview was scheduled to take place, and it is apparent from Cline’s tweets that the paper was not immediately aware of the cancellation.

Despite his disastrous video taped interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the previous week where he proved his ignorance of current foreign policy issues like Libya,  yesterday Herman doubled down on the dumb by warning about Taliban plans to infiltrate the new, post-Qadaffi government.

Given his record so far, it’s not surprising that Herman is trying even harder to limit questions from the media. Like every other presidential candidate, whenever he moves  from place to place, the press presses him for information and comments.  His staff is known to form a protective barrier around him in an attempt to prevent such interaction.  One reading of his request this week for a Secret Service detail— no other GOPer candidate has one— is to insure that the press are kept at bay.

Herman is still topping some of the polls despite evidence that he tried to parlay his considerable power in the hospitality industry for sexual favors. Appearing on the David Letterman show Friday night, he objected to David’s reference to his four accusers.  “How do you get to four?” asked Herman, feigning innocence. Letterman had a quick comeback: “Well, how many were there?  Nine, nine, nine?”

The latter is of course a reference to Cain’s signature and highly regressive “999” tax policy.  (For details, see NEIN NEIN NEIN! ; and Herman Cain: Bizarro World’s Robbin’ Hood (Koch Bros Update). Turns out that the source of that idea comes from the computer game, Sim City4.

Herman has also come up with some memorable lines, like, “I’m a Koch Brother from another mother”;  and most recently, “I’m a leader not a reader.

Had either of these lines been original to him, he would deserve props for having a clever delivery.  But the first came from the movie Rush Hour 4 with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.  Tucker, the only black man in a room full of Chinese hoods wearing all white suits, delivers the fateful line as he tries to come to Chan’s rescue.

The second comes from an episode of The Simpsons.

As Paul Constant over at The Slog remarks:

Cain is now using that “leader, not a reader” line at rallies to explain that America wants a businessman and not someone who knows about trivial bookish things like “foreign policy” and “making sense.”  This is pretty amazing:  A Republican presidential candidate is now openly mocking books and intelligence. Even Sarah Palin didn’t go full idiot like this.

To explain his chronic cognitive flatulence, Herman pleads “I got all this stuff twirling around in my head.”  Call it the early onset stage of Zombie-dumb.

 

 

 

Hotline To God

 Posted by on November 15, 2011 at 1:35 PM
Nov 152011
 

Moses has a Rick Perry “oops” moment

Is God a Republican? You might think so if you’re a GOPer running for president this year. No fewer than two former and five current GOP candidates have stated publicly that God has told them to run for higher office.

Theweek.com has compiled a list:

Herman Cain

On Saturday, at the Young Republican National Federation, GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain announced that God had told him to get into the race. “I prayed and prayed and prayed. I’m a man of faith,” Cain said. “And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses.”

Rick Perry

In July, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told Iowa’s Des Moines Register, “I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do. This is what America needs.”

Rick Santorum

People have asked me…over these last 18 months whether I’m running, and I always say, ‘I’m walking.’ And I’m walking because I’m trying to walk in the path that God’s leading me in,” the socially conservative former Pennsylvania senator said of his 2012 presidential run/walk in a recent YouTube video.

Tim Pawlenty

The former Minnesota governor didn’t hear the call himself. It was his campaign manager, Nick Ayers, who said in an April email that he had planned to sit out the 2012 campaign, but God had called him to “a higher purpose” — getting Pawlenty elected. “Simply said, we need new leadership,” Ayers said. “I believe that Gov. Pawlenty is best positioned to provide that leadership.” Pawlenty dropped out of the race in August.

Michele Bachmann

Rep. Bachmann said in 2006 that she and her husband had fasted and prayed for days, awaiting a message from God about whether she should run for office. “God then called me to run for the United States Congress,” she said. “Who in their right mind would spend two years to run for a job that lasts for two years? You’d have to be absolutely a fool to do that. You are now looking at a fool for Christ. This is a fool for Christ.”

A fool, yes. But for Christ? I wouldn’t venture to opine.

During the 2008 election, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee were similarly ‘called’:

Mike Huckabee

During the 2008 race for the GOP presidential nomination, the former Arkansas governor was asked what accounted for his rising poll numbers. “There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one,” he said. “It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people.”

Sarah Palin

Steve Schmidt, a one-time top aide to Sen. John McCain, said in a controversial 60 Minutes interview that Sarah Palin believed it was “God’s plan” for McCain to choose her as his running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign.

So, just what is God up to? A number of explanations come to mind, but they can be summarized under two broad categories:

1. These people are delusional, ‘hearing’ what they want to hear, substituting their voice for God’s.

2. The communications are genuine.

Actually, there’s a third possibility, a variation of the first two. Not unlike Mel Brooks‘ Moses, something has gotten lost or rather garbled in the translation. What God is really telling them is that they shouldn’t be running FOR the presidency, but FROM the presidency.

Ours is a merciful God, after all.

Twilight Zone Candidates

 Posted by on October 27, 2011 at 4:56 PM
Oct 272011
 

Watching the likes of  Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich these days, I feel like I’ve been ‘ported to The Twilight Zone. 

In the classic intro to the original Rod Serling series,  the shattering window pane is the Overton Window of radical right wing craziness, pushed off the edge of the political continuum by the Teabaggers and their Birchian ancestors . The ticking stopwatch is the countdown to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. August 27, 2012, a mere ten months away.

Consider the following episodes, available for direct streaming into your consciousness from the wingnut dimension of The Zone , with your favorite GOPer candidates in the starring roles.

1. Michelle Bachmann

“Little Girl Lost” (1962) A little girl crawls through an interdimensional doorway that has appeared in her room.

Opening narration:

Missing: one frightened little girl. Name: Bettina Miller. Description: six years of age, average height and build, light brown hair, quite pretty. Last seen being tucked into bed by her mother a few hours ago. Last heard–aye, there’s the rub, as Hamlet put it. For Bettina Miller can be heard quite clearly, despite the rather curious fact that she can’t be seen at all. Present location? Let’s say for the moment–in the Twilight Zone.

The good news is that at the end of the episode, Bettina (played by a young Michelle Bachmann in her debut role as a media celebrity) is rescued with the help of a physicist friend who knows how to connect the dots between dimensional wormholes. A half century later, we find out that the Bachmann character really returned missing the rational part of her brain.

GOPers desperately reaching into an alternative reality for a viable presidential candidate

2. Rick Perry

“Walking Distance” (1959) While visiting his boyhood hometown, a middle-aged executive (Gig Young) finds himself in the past.

Putatively, the favorite episode of producer J.J Abrams (Lost, Star Trek).  Rick Perry dreams of returning to the glory days of antebellum Texas when people were free to write “Niggerhead” anywhere they wanted.

3. Mitt Romney

“The Four of Us Are Dying” (1960) A con man changes his face to make it look like anyone he chooses.

Not much to add there. A man for all seasons and constituencies, Flipper’s shape-shifting abilities on the issues are legendary.

4. Herman Cain

“Hocus Pocus and Frisby” (1962)  A teller of tall tales ( Andy Devine) meets a group of aliens.

Herman as Frisby owns a pizza joint…

…in a small town, and the townsfolk know him well for the tall tales he spins of his experiences, from his heroism in war to his inventions to his advice to presidents and captains of industry, all of which he fabricates. His friends gather in the store to hear him spin his stories, which they find very entertaining, and he often accompanies himself on his harmonica.

One evening, as he is alone at closing time, creatures from another planet, disguised as humans, abduct him to their spaceship. They want Frisby to add to their collection of specimens from other planets. The aliens accept his exaggerated tales at face value… Frisby admits to them that he is simply a shameless liar, but the aliens have no concept of lying, and ask him to just sit quietly and wait for departure…. After two or three aliens are rendered senseless by [his] harmonica, the remaining ones permit Frisby to escape. Running back to the general store, he finds all his friends waiting to throw him a surprise birthday party. When he tries to tell them what happened, they enjoy a laugh at what they of course take to be another of Frisby’s tall tales.

Some people, not to mention aliens, will believe anything you tell them

5. Rick Santorum

“Static” (1961)  A man’s old radio plays programs from the past that only he can hear.

Rick Santorum, truly a frothy man out of time. If he could only substitute the Old Testament’s Leviticus for today’s penal codes, we wouldn’t have to worry about the whole gay thing.

Ed Lindsay…is dismayed over the mindless and worthless programs and commercials emanating from the television set…He retrieves from the basement the old radio which, in his younger and happier days, he enjoyed as a source of relaxation and entertainment. Installing it in his joyless room, he is astonished to hear the radio transmit 1930s/40s music and programs…He tries to tell the others about the miraculous broadcasts, but they only hear static. What’s more, when he tries to contact the radio station…he discovers the station went off the air (and out of business) 13 years before…

6. Ron Paul

“On Thursday We Leave for Home”   (1963)  The leader of a group of spaceship crash survivors tries to maintain his control over his people when they are finally rescued after many years.

One has to wonder what the man who many consider to be the founding father of the original pre-Koch Brothers Tea Party must feel knowing that the movement he birthed is unceremoniously making him one of the Left Behind.

Thirty years before…an expedition to the hellish Desert planet V9-Gamma was stranded, and the people had no choice but to begin their own small settlement there…When a rescue mission from Earth finally arrives, Benteen is at first as jubilant as the others, but then he begins to raise objections to leaving the asteroid behind and tries to persuade the others to stay... As the ship prepares for takeoff, Benteen pretends his people are still there. Then, remembering the beauty of Earth, he realizes that he wants to go home. He rushes out screaming for the ship to come back, but it is too late. He is now stranded on V9-Gamma for the rest of his life, completely alone in the barren, lifeless deserts.

7. Newt Gingrich

“The Last Night of a Jockey” (1963)  A jockey banned from horse racing for fixing races gets his wish of becoming a “big man” by a man claiming to be his ego.

Dumped as Speaker of the House over ethical issues by his own party…

All he ever wanted was to be respected. He argues with his alter-ego, trying to justify his life and his actions, but the alter-ego knows better. Grady is offered the chance to change his life with one final wish. Grady says his greatest wish is to be big. After Grady wakes from his nap he finds his wish has been granted…He’s “big”.

…A telephone call from the racing commission informs Grady that he has been given another chance – he has been reinstated and can jockey again. We hear the alter-ego laughing mockingly. Why? Because now it’s too late: unbeknownst to Grady, he has grown even larger — he is now not only too tall to ride a horse, but barely fits in his own apartment! Grady screams “I’m too big! I can’t ride!” Devastated, the now-giant Grady wrecks his room and pleads with the alter-ego, “Please! Please! Please make me small, please! I’ll never ask for anything again. Please make me small!”

The alter-ego replies, “You are small, Mr. Grady. You see, every time you won an honest race, that’s when you were a giant. But right now, they just don’t come any smaller.”

When you have the likes of Pat Robertson, the embodiment of Uber Political-Religious Fundamentalism; Karl Rove , the evil genius behind two Bush presidencies; Mississippi’s redneck governor and former GOP Chairman Haley Barbour and former FL governor Jeb Bush warning the current crop of GOP presidential pretenders that they are tacking way too far to the right, you know you have crossed over into The Republican Twilight Zone.

It’s like being called “ugly” by the alien in the movie Predator.

New Teabagger GOP mascot, Predator, after eliminating his elephantine predecessor

Finally, Jon Stewart interprets the reaction of the GOP establishment to its own presidential candidates:

“If you tell people what we honestly believe, an electoral majority of those people will freak the fuck out!”

 

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Oct 162011
 

 

The Teabagger’ search for the anti-Romney has been a long and frustrating one.

First came Michelle Bachmann. After winning the way overrated Ames Iowa Straw Poll in the same week she was featured on the cover of Newseek as “The Queen of Rage”, staring into the camera like the batshit crazy religious zealot she is. In near record time she plummeted to single digits in the polls.

Joining her at the bottom have been other Teabagger presidential candidate wanna-be’s, former Pennsylvania senator Rick “Google Me” Santorum; and former Minnesota governor, Tim “T-Paw” Palenty, now out of the race and vying for a VP slot with Mitt “Flipper” Romney.

Then came the Great Pretenders, former half-baked Alaskan governor Sarah “Quitter” Palin and Donald “Play ‘Em For A Chump” Trump. Together these sideshow hucksters raised the bar on self-promoting narcissism to new highs, pumping their (dis)respective reality tv shows, books, and paid appearances.

Another non-candidate, New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, has been championed by the likes of Roger Ailes and the Coultergiest who all but begged him to run. (Though a “running” Chris Christie sets up an immediate cognitive dissonance in the visual circuits of the brain. I mean, has this guy even seen his dick in the last few decades without a strategically placed mirror?)

Then Texas governor Rick Perry soared to the top of the charts, beginning his campaign hosting a religious conference called The Response. Obviously a political play to ingratiate himself with The Religious Right, the featured speakers turned out to be a group of whacko fundamentalists that in retrospect makes the Rev. Jerimiah Wright, then candidate Barack Obama’s controversial pastor, look like a Boy Scout.  But after embracing the substance of The Dream Act, a program designed to provide financial assistance to the US-born children of undocumented immigrants; performing poorly in two GOPer debates; and revelations of self-dealing with various business interests seeking Texas government contracts, Perry lost some 20 points in a single week, falling from Numero Uno to Numero Tres.

But like the shape-shifting alien in the movie The Thing, even as one Teabagger host body is put down another is found to take its place. The latest to be indwelt is former Godfather Pizza magnate, Herman Cain.

Forget for the moment that Cain was spectacularly wrong when he announced there was no housing bubble two years before The Great Real Estate Crash of 2007 and the subsequent economic meltdown. Or that as the head of the The National Restaurant Association he fought valiantly to eliminate the minimum wage and make eating establishments safe for smokers. Or that he opposes abortion, including cases of rape and incest. Or that climate change is a scam. Or that the way to solve illegal immigration from Mexico is to build a moat along the border and fill it with alligators. Or that he would never appoint a Muslim to his cabinet. Or that the millions of individuals who lost their jobs in the wake of the Great Bush Depression have only themselves to blame.

No, what has rapidly become Cain’s signature issue is his so-called 9-9-9 Plan, essentially a revision of the tax codes that is supposed to simultaneously revitalize the entire economy by transferring even more wealth from the poor and the middle class to the top 1%. As The NY Times ‘Timothy Egan put it:

In essence, Cain is proposing the largest shift in tax burden from the wealthy to the poor and middle class in the nation’s history. Oh, and he apparently would scrap the two great government programs that keep millions clinging to fragile middle-class status — Social Security and Medicare — because he wants to eliminate the payroll taxes that now pay for those insurers of dignity.

We are forced to seriously consider this bizarro-world, reverse-Robin-Hood scheme, one that would junk the entire federal tax code for a 9 percent flat rate on corporate earnings, personal income and retail sales, because of the astonishing news that Republicans have elevated Cain to the top of their field in three polls released over the last 48 hours.

In my state, Cali-forn-i-a, we already have a state sales tax of 9%, food exempted. But Robbin’ The Hood Cain would effectively double that, and would include food. That  should make his fellow but overwhelmingly poor black brothers and sisters in rural and inner-urban America especially supportive.  Rachelle Bernstein, vice president and tax counsel for the National Retail Federation comments:

An additional tax on consumer spending will negatively impact…already weak demand.

That the Cain wealth re-distribution plan is a bit sketchy at this point would be a gross understatement, generating far more questions than answers, evidenced by his response to a reporter about a specific tax deduction:

I have no idea. But it’s a good question.

Indeed. To the extent that his plan can be analyzed at all at this point is explored by Bruce Bartlett, former senior economic policy analyst for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush:

Mr. Cain says these three proposals, which he would put into effect immediately without offsetting the lost revenue, will jump-start economic growth. He offers no evidence for this assertion; it is simply put forward as self-evident. But the experience of the George W. Bush administration was that cuts in tax rates on the wealthy and on capital gains had no effect whatsoever on growth, according to the Congressional Research Service.

And this is only Phase 1 of the Cain plan. In Phase 2, the payroll tax would be eliminated, causing more than $800 billion in revenue to evaporate. The estate and gift tax would be abolished, further reducing taxes on the wealthy. And the 9-9-9 plan would be implemented….

This means that the 47 percent of tax filers who now pay no federal income taxes will pay 9 percent on their total income. And elimination of the payroll tax won’t even help half of them because the earned income tax credit, which Mr. Cain would abolish, offsets both their income tax liability and their payroll tax payment as well.

Additionally, everyone would now pay a 9 percent sales tax on all purchases. No mention is made of any exemptions from this tax, so we may assume that it will apply to food, medical care, rent, home and auto purchases and a wide variety of other expenditures now exempt from state sales taxes. This would increase their cost of living by 9 percent while, at the same time, the poor would pay income taxes.

Bottom line?

At a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity. The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase.

Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain’s tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.

Except if, of course, you are a member of The One Percent.

UPDATE: 10/17/11

My, my, my. What a surprise–Not! Turns out that Robbin’ Hood has been a Koch Brothers front man for some 5 years.

AP via The Washington Post explains it thus:

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation’s capital. But Cain’s economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.

Cain’s campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his “9-9-9” plan to rewrite the nation’s tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans…

AFP tapped Cain as the public face of its “Prosperity Expansion Project,” and he traveled the country in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state’s AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.

Block and Cain sometimes traveled together as they built up AFP: Cain was the charismatic speaker preaching the ills of big government; Block was the operative helping with nuts and bolts…

Read the rest here.

Rethugs Eating Their Own

 Posted by on September 13, 2011 at 8:05 PM
Sep 132011
 

Texas Gov. Rick Perry supports nation building abroad but not at home

The Teabaggers’ latest flavor of the month, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, has enjoyed a meteoric rise to frontrunner status in the Grand Obstructionist Party‘s pursuit of the White House.

But as his positions on issues like immigration, where he supports a state version of the ‘Dream Act’ that provides public higher ed funding for the children of undocumented immigrants; sex ed, where he supports public funding to vaccinate 12 year old girls against the papiloma virus; his jihad against Social Security , upon which the majority of the Teabagger demographic depends for its daily bread; and his support for hugely expensive nation building in countries like Afghanistan while at the same time dissing Dem plans for nation building at home,  Perry is doing a fine job of shooting himself in both feet.

Which suits the Wall Street wing of the Rethug Party just fine. They need the Teabaggers’ votes, just not their choice of candidates. It appears that the banksters have decided that Mittens Romney is their guy. And so they will do their best to set Teabagger faves Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman against each other while Mittens takes the high ground, and the lion’s share of their money, all the way to GOP nomination.