Quiz answer: Who ratted out the Republicans like this, and when?

September 3, 2013

I said earlier that you may wish to file this under o tempora, o mores; or perhaps under plus ça change.  

These words seem oddly, perhaps astonishingly appropriate to political discussion today.  They come from the past, from more than a half-century ago, but they refer to issues that have not yet been solved, and to issues that were resolved, but have come undone, or just come around again.

GOP vs. Dems. Image from Addicting Information.

GOP vs. Dems. Image from Addicting Information, “15 differences between Democrats and Republicans.”

I posed this a quiz in a post a couple of days ago.

Does history repeat itself?  George Santayana said history repeats for those who forget what happened before.

Here’s a political speech given in Minnesota.  Without hitting Google, can you tell who said this, and when?

Democracy does not work that way. Democracy is a matter of faith–a faith in the soul of man–a faith in human rights. That is the kind of faith that moves mountains–that’s the kind of faith that hurled the Iron Range at the Axis and shook the world at Hiroshima.

Faith is much more than efficiency. Faith gives value to all things. Without faith, the people perish.

Today the forces of liberalism face a crisis. The people of the United States must make a choice between two ways of living–a decision, which will affect us the rest of our lives and our children and our grandchildren after us.

On the other side, there is the Wall Street way of life and politics. Trust the leader! Let big business take care of prices and profits! Measure all things by money! That is the philosophy of the masters of the Republican Party.

Well, I have been studying the Republican Party for over 12 years at close hand in the Capital of the United States. And by this time, I have discovered where the Republicans stand on most of the major issues.

Since they won’t tell you themselves, I am going to tell you.

They approve of the American farmer-but they are willing to help him go broke.

They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing.

They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights.

They favor a minimum wage–the smaller the minimum the better.

They indorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools.

They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them.

They approve of social security benefits-so much so that they took them away from almost a million people.

They believe in international trade–so much so that they crippled our reciprocal trade program, and killed our International Wheat Agreement.

They favor the admission of displaced persons–but only within shameful racial and religious limitations.

They consider electric power a great blessing-but only when the private power companies get their rake-off.

They say TVA is wonderful–but we ought never to try it again.

They condemn “cruelly high prices”–but fight to the death every effort to bring them down.

They think the American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people.

And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.

Now, my friends, that is the Wall Street Republican way of life. But there is another way–there is another way–the Democratic way, the way of the Democratic Party.

Of course, the Democratic Party is not perfect. Nobody ever said it was. But the Democratic Party believes in the people. It believes in freedom and progress, and it is fighting for its beliefs right now.

In the Democratic Party, you won’t find the kind of unity where everybody thinks what the boss tells him to think, and nothing else.

But you will find an overriding purpose to work for the good of mankind. And you will find a program–a concrete, realistic, and practical program that is worth believing in and fighting for.

Now, I call on all liberals and progressives to stand up and be counted for democracy in this great battle. I call on the old Farmer-Labor Party, the old Wisconsin Progressives, the Non-Partisan Leaguers, and the New Dealers to stand up and be counted in this fight.

What clues does that passage contain that it wasn’t said in the past year?  Or was it?

I’ll post the answer in a day or so — take a guess in comments.

James said it was Harry Truman, and indeed it was.

President Harry S Truman, image from UCSB American Presidency Project

President Harry S Truman, image from UCSB American Presidency Project

Truman spoke to a crowd in Minnesota, in the St. Paul Municipal Auditorium, on October 13, 1948, about three weeks before the 1948 election in which he “upset” New York Gov. Thomas Dewey.  This was part of Truman’s famous Whistle Stop speaking tour of the U.S.

If the words look like they could have been said today, perhaps we should pay attention to them today, no?

Surely someone has a photograph of Truman speaking in St. Paul — but I haven’t found it yet.

More:


Who ratted out the Republicans like this, and when?

September 2, 2013

You may wish to file this under o tempora, o mores; or perhaps under plus ça change.  

GOP vs. Dems. Image from Addicting Information.

GOP vs. Dems. Image from Addicting Information, “15 differences between Democrats and Republicans.”

 

Does history repeat itself?  George Santayana said history repeats for those who forget what happened before.

Here’s a political speech given in Minnesota.  Without hitting Google, can you tell who said this, and when?

Democracy does not work that way. Democracy is a matter of faith–a faith in the soul of man–a faith in human rights. That is the kind of faith that moves mountains–that’s the kind of faith that hurled the Iron Range at the Axis and shook the world at Hiroshima.

Faith is much more than efficiency. Faith gives value to all things. Without faith, the people perish.

Today the forces of liberalism face a crisis. The people of the United States must make a choice between two ways of living–a decision, which will affect us the rest of our lives and our children and our grandchildren after us.

On the other side, there is the Wall Street way of life and politics. Trust the leader! Let big business take care of prices and profits! Measure all things by money! That is the philosophy of the masters of the Republican Party.

Well, I have been studying the Republican Party for over 12 years at close hand in the Capital of the United States. And by this time, I have discovered where the Republicans stand on most of the major issues.

Since they won’t tell you themselves, I am going to tell you.

They approve of the American farmer-but they are willing to help him go broke.

They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing.

They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights.

They favor a minimum wage–the smaller the minimum the better.

They indorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools.

They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them.

They approve of social security benefits-so much so that they took them away from almost a million people.

They believe in international trade–so much so that they crippled our reciprocal trade program, and killed our International Wheat Agreement.

They favor the admission of displaced persons–but only within shameful racial and religious limitations.

They consider electric power a great blessing-but only when the private power companies get their rake-off.

They say TVA is wonderful–but we ought never to try it again.

They condemn “cruelly high prices”–but fight to the death every effort to bring them down.

They think the American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people.

And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.

Now, my friends, that is the Wall Street Republican way of life. But there is another way–there is another way–the Democratic way, the way of the Democratic Party.

Of course, the Democratic Party is not perfect. Nobody ever said it was. But the Democratic Party believes in the people. It believes in freedom and progress, and it is fighting for its beliefs right now.

In the Democratic Party, you won’t find the kind of unity where everybody thinks what the boss tells him to think, and nothing else.

But you will find an overriding purpose to work for the good of mankind. And you will find a program–a concrete, realistic, and practical program that is worth believing in and fighting for.

Now, I call on all liberals and progressives to stand up and be counted for democracy in this great battle. I call on the old Farmer-Labor Party, the old Wisconsin Progressives, the Non-Partisan Leaguers, and the New Dealers to stand up and be counted in this fight.

What clues does that passage contain that it wasn’t said in the past year?  Or was it?

I’ll post the answer in a day or so — take a guess in comments.


Epic political cartoons: Steve Benson on GOP and women’s rights

July 14, 2013

Hard to believe this cartoon was published back in May.

Steve Benson cartoon for the Arizona Republic, May 10, 2013:

Steve Benson cartoon for the Arizona Republic, May 10, 2013: “Speaking of holding women in captivity . . .”

 

Apparently the Texas Lege thought it was a model for action, and not a ridiculing of their ideas.

More:


Moral Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina

June 11, 2013

Unidentified pProtester Thierry Wernaers in Raleigh, North Carolina,  in photo by an unnamed photographer:

Protester in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Moral Monday, June 11, 2013

Protester Thierry Warnaers in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Moral Monday, June 11, 2013; photographer unidentified

Love that sign:  OMG/GOP/WTF?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Devona Wyant. Thanks to Thierry Warnaers for writing in to identify himself (see comments).

More, but not all:


GOP Victory Center, for rent

December 9, 2012

What’s for rent?

Republican Victory Center for rent

Republican Victory Center, for rent. Location and photographer unidentified so far — can you help identify them? Photo taken after November 6, 2012

Not quite so good as Norman Rockwell’s famous painting, but real.  “Republican Victory Center” probably isn’t the name it will be remembered by.

Can you help identify the location, and the photographer?  Notice the photographer is portrayed in the reflection in the window.

More:


Romney disavows sex tape . . . the tape, not the sex act

September 17, 2012

Not an apology.  Not an update on information he didn’t have all those weeks ago (8% of Americans do NOT pay income tax, not 47%).  Not a clarification.

“Ooooh, please, look at all the flags!”

More:


Leaking of GOP ignorance threatens to turn into a flood

August 28, 2012

My GOP friends tried to say that Todd Akin’s odd views on  pregnancy and rape are a brand of stupid unique to him.  ‘Don’t think all Republicans are that ignorant,’ they said.

Hey, I worked with Republicans and in the Republican Party for years.  I know a lot of bright, intelligent Republicans.

Most of them couldn’t get through the door of the  party these days, if they didn’t already have elected or appointed posts.  Many Republidans come well-acquainted with libraries, books, critical thinking  and an appreciation of art and literature, and at least a rudimentary understanding of science — but alas, they and their views are being smothered by the chuckleheads in the party.

When the Akin flap broke, we were all saddened to learn that he had carried some of those odd views for several years, and that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and the entire Texas Republican delegation in the House of Representatives joined with Akin last February to try to change the legal definition of rape to match Akin’s views.  How embarrassing, not just to be caught, but to have done that stuff in the first place.

“Aberration,” the Republicans said.

Pennsylvania GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Tom Smith

Pennsylvania GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Tom Smith told reporters pregnancy from rape is about the same as pregnancy from an out-of-wedlock affair. Photo from Tom Smith campaign

Don’t look now, but that trickle from the dam holding back the stupid swelled to a stream, and it’s threatening to erode the dam and unleash all the stupid behind it.

I refer you to the odd and disgusting case of Pennsylvania Republican Tom Smith, the GOP hope to defeat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, reported in the New York Daily News:

Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Tom Smith sparked controversy Monday after he compared a pregnancy resulting from rape to “having a baby out-of-wedlock” – days after Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) shocked many by claiming that “legitimate rape” doesn’t lead to pregnancy.

Smith tried to distance himself from Akin’s comments at the Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg, saying that the congressman “should have never said anything like that,” the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported.

But when a reporter asked him what he would do if one of his daughters or granddaughters became pregnant as a result of rape, he said that he had “lived something similar to that with [his] own family,” referring to his daughter’s “out-of-wedlock” pregnancy from consensual sex.

“She chose life, and I commend her for that,” Smith said. “She knew my views but fortunately for me … she chose the way I thought. Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t rape.”

When pressed by another reporter, the 66-year-old reiterated the comparison of his daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy to becoming pregnant from rape.

“Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar,” he said.

Smith, who is running against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in November, later clarified his statements at the same event.

“No … I said I went through a situation [with a daughter]. It’s very, very difficult,” Smith said. “But do I condone rape? Absolutely not. But do I propose life, yes I do. I’m pro-life, period.”

Steve Forbes endorses the odd Tom Smith

Steve Forbes endorses Tom Smith? The scary question is whether Forbes bothered to learn Smith’s views, or did he perhaps endorse Smith knowing about Smith’s odd views, and hoping Smith would push them in Washngton? Smith campaign image.

One might wonder if the real reason the GOP cut their convention short was to prevent more leaks of the truth about their candidates views and odd positions on issues.  Cutbacks in news departments and the shrinking news holes in most newspapers could be partly to blame for these late-breaking stories of stupid.  Generally news stories expose gross ignorance and patent stupidity in primary campaigns, and voters of the parties vote away candidates who hold extreme, bizarre, dangerous or silly views.  News organizations don’t have the staff to expose these things early, and they get exposed late only on a catch-as-catch-can basis.

But there is a very real danger that some people with money are pushing these candidates because of their odd views.  In Texas, Tea Party courtesan Ted Cruz defeated a well-known candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination, and part of his appeal may be his odd views that the United Nations is trying to seize U.S. golf courses.  Democrat Paul Sadler faces an uphill battle even in Texas where Cruz’s friends in oil pipelines are seizing private farm and ranch land.  Cruz claims to fight against an imaginary problem, but he lets the real problems roll right over Texans.

A wise voter without a lot of time to study in depth the views of candidates might be compelled to vote Democratic straight tickets as the safest thing to do, even with a few odd views among Democrats.

How many more?   How many other odd, divorced-from-reality views have residence in the penthouses of the Republican mansion?  Waiting for one more shoe to drop would be bad enough — ignorance in the GOP seems to be a centipede with dozens of shoes.

More:


Shhhh! While Tea Party shouts against Sharia law, GOP sneaks some Sharia into national platform,

August 22, 2012

Checking out the main stage for GOP 2012 Convention - AFP photo

While the platform committee meets a few blocks away, GOP planners check out the main stage for GOP 2012 Convention – AFP photo

You’d have a tough time dreaming this sort of stuff up for Saturday Night Live skit, or a comedy movie.

Eric Koenig, one of my few Follower-of-Islam friends, wrote:

The GOP has been talking for quite some time about “creeping Shariah Law,” the notion that, little by little, Muslims are taking over America by demanding that they be allowed to have Shariah rights, in this city, in that city, until the whole thing creeps across, and engulfs, America itself, whereupon we will become an “Islamic theocracy” (there are none, but the “pundits” always love to use the term) such as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, etc. So anything that may have to do with “Shariah Law” is the absolute antithesis of the GOP.

Right?

Yes, that’s right.  In fact, here in Texas the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz, complains about Sharia law almost as often as he warns the United Nations is coming to take away our golf courses.  (See what I mean by, “you can’t make this stuff up?”)  Ted Cruz, who once upon a time had a Harvard education, defeated the rich-but-sane-by-comparison “mainstream” GOP candidate just a few weeks ago.

Eric continued:

Well, the GOP has recently released the draft of the language of their party platform for this month’s national convention in Florida. And they have something to say about abortion. Namely, they call for a Constitutional ban on abortion, even in cases where the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest. No exceptions other than if the expectant mother’s life is at risk.

Here’s the irony: ask anyone from a rather conservative Muslim country — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan etc. — what their country’s policy is towards abortion and they’ll tell you no abortions are allowed except if the expectant mother’s life is at risk.

In other words, in a Muslim nation, no abortions are performed on women who have been made pregnant through rape or incest. Nope; the law states that they should go ahead and have their kids. IT’S THE LAW.

And nobody sees the irony here about the GOP complaining of “creeping Shariah Law” and jumping into bed with the very “Islamic theocracies” they claim to denounce regarding the abortion issue??

I think we got the GOP by the family jewels. They can’t have their cake and eat it too. Either they have to stop with this talk about “creeping Shariah Law,” or drop the language in their platform about a Constitutional ban on abortion that perfectly matches Shariah Law procedure.

Contradictions?  Sure!  My money would go on the GOP letting Ted Cruz and others complain about creeping Sharia law, while at the same time helping Sharia creep in through the Platform Committee’s back door, and keeping quiet about the contradictions.  What do you think might happen, Dear Reader?

In the “More” section, below, you may find articles both decrying Sharia, and inserting anti-Sharia planks in the platform, oblivious to the pro-Shariah planks pushed by other Republicans.  You might say, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”  My prayer would be that they might become enlightened, realize what they are doing, and stop it.

More:


No cookies for this misogynist/misanthrope

February 21, 2012

Conservatives get crazier every day:  In Indiana, a state representative urges colleagues to vote against a resolution honoring Girl Scouts of America, for imaginary reasons.

A state legislator has sent a letter to fellow Republican members of the Indiana House saying he will not support a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts because he believes it is a “radicalized organization” that supports abortion and promotes homosexuality.

In a letter obtained by The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne on Monday, Rep. Bob Morris of Fort Wayne said he did some research on the Internet and found allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, allow transgender females to join and encourage sex.

“After talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing,” Morris wrote in his letter, which also accused the group of promoting “homosexual lifestyles.”

Morris sent the letter to House Republicans on Saturday.

Ashley Sharp, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana, said Monday a statement on the group’s website states that it leaves sex and reproduction questions to parents. The group accepts transgender youth on a case-by-case basis.

Morris is the only House member to refuse to sign a resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts that lawmakers approved last week. He told the Journal Gazette that others would join him in opposing the resolution but later recanted that statement in an interview with The Associated Press.

That old “some research on the Internet” as a source.

It’s scary people can be so delusional without resorting to psychotropic drugs. Is this guy smoking the same stuff Rick Santorum and Rick Perry smoke?

More, and Related Articles:


Grand Old Tinfoil Hat Party — really?

February 19, 2012

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 23.9% of American adults are Catholics.  That translates to 68.5 million Americans, approximately

The GOP race seems to have come down to a Mormon and two Catholics.

How can it be that they got the two craziest Catholics in America to run for the GOP nomination? Surely they do not represent the best we could find among Catholics.

Did you see Rick Santorum yesterday, or today on Face the Nation?  What makes him feel free to be that ill-informed and crazy?  (No, the federal government does not run education in America.)

If we still made tinfoil hats in America, the economy would be booming, from either Santorum’s camp or Gingrich’s camp.

Update:  Video from CBS is now available.  Bask in the insanity:

More, Resources, and Related Articles from Zemanta:


Republicans Unfit to Govern Dept: All laws must quote from the Magna Carta

January 5, 2012

For a biologist, P. Z. Myers is really good at finding historical and legal error, you know?  He’s got this post up at his FreeThoughts blog — I copy here in the entirety because I’m laughing too hard to rewrite it.  And P. Z. writes well, and he won’t mind:

New Hampshire has some world-class lunatics

Too bad they’re in the legislature. The latest wacky idea from a trio of Republicans is to require that all new bills reference the Magna Carta.

House Bill 1580 is the product of such a brainstorming session this summer between three freshman House Republicans: Bob Kingsbury of Laconia, Tim Twombly of Nashua and Lucien Vita of Middleton. The eyebrow-raiser, set to be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes next month, requires legislation to find its origin in an English document crafted in 1215.

“All members of the general court proposing bills and resolutions addressing individual rights or liberties shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived,” is the bill’s one sentence.

You might be wondering why the Magna Carta . . . I think the three stooges should be wondering that, too.

Vita admitted he needs to “bone up” on the content of the charter

In other words, he has no idea what’s in the Magna Carta. I’m guessing he’s also a Christian of the the type that has a similar reverence for the contents of a document they’ve never read.

Yeah, I’ll have a little more to say about it later — especially about how this cuts just the opposite of what Republicans have been screaming about for much of the last four years.


Bigger ditch + higher speed = (Greece X Russia)

December 17, 2011

What to do about the economic ditch the Republicans have driven the economy into?

Campaign aides to Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and Mitt Romney advocate finding a bigger ditch and hitting the gas pedal sooner and harder.

No, seriously:  Jon Huntsman’s economics advisor, a woman with years of experience working for a balanced budget, suggested that Paul’s proposal of cutting $1 trillion from spending in 2013 lacks a great connection to reality.  Aides to the other three, after taking another toke of godknowswhat, said they could do even more cutting.

It’s as if General Washington’s physicians, interviewed December 15, 1799, claimed they could have saved Washington’s life had they bled him two or three more times — but unfortunately, he was out of blood.

At a Wednesday panel discussion hosted by the America’s Future Foundation, a club of young libertarians and conservatives in Washington who meet regularly over beer to network and debate about politics, Jennifer Pollom, Huntsman’s economic director, joined campaign aides for Gary Johnson, Ron Paul and a former Mitt Romney staffer to discuss why their candidate would best represent conservatives as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. The real fun (by D.C. standards) started when Jack Hunter, a blogger for Paul’s presidential campaign, touted his boss’s promise to slash $1 trillion from the federal budget.

“Having been on the Budget Committee and having worked in the federal government and in the Senate for quite a while, I think a trillion dollars is kind of ludicrous,” said Pollom, who formerly served as the counsel for the Senate Republican Policy Committee. “That’s my personal opinion, that is not the stance of Governor Huntsman. We’re more concerned about tax policy right now. We’re deeply concerned about the deficit and the debt, but we’re more concerned about jobs and freezing spending where it is right now.”

That didn’t play well with the representatives for Johnson and Paul, two of the most libertarian-leaning candidates in the race. (Johnson’s plan goes further than Paul’s. He has vowed to balance the budget in his first year, which would require cutting even more than $1 trillion.)

“To call that ludicrous is actually a little surprising because this idea that we can year after year continue to spend more money than we’re taking in, to me that actually seems to be the pretty ludicrous idea from a fiscally conservative perspective,” said panelist Jonathan Bydlak, the finance director for Johnson’s campaign.

“I personally think that cutting a trillion dollars in one year off the budget–I use ‘ludicrous’ sort of loosely–but I don’t think it’s practical,” Pollom said later during the panel. “It may be an excellent aspirational dream but speaking in the real world, I don’t know that it’s actually practically going to happen.”

That’s when Derek Khanna, a panelist who worked for Mitt Romney’s finance team in 2008, jumped in.

“The idea of one trillion is not ludicrous,” Khanna said, which prompted Pollom to put her finger to her head like she was pulling the trigger of a gun. “I think that the idea of saying that being able to balance the budget is ‘ludicrous’ is kind of disturbing. We’re all here saying we support the balanced-budget amendment, but in the end we won’t support cutting a trillion dollars. It seems to be a bit disingenuous.”

What in the world could these stooges be referring to in cutting?  I can see it now:  ‘What do we need Homeland Security for, anyway?  FAA doesn’t fly any airplanes — what could possibly happen if we just shut the agency down tomorrow?  Surely we don’t need more than one aircraft carrier, one for the Pacific, and one for the Atlantic — we don’t have any territory in the Southern, Indian, or Arctic Oceans.’

You can almost hear Ron Paul, wide-eyed, explaining:  ‘President Obama is hurting the energy industry.  BP found a way to quickly get millions of barrels of oil out of ground under the Gulf of Mexico, oil we need to run industry — but Obama made them stop!’

In other news, perhaps, The Onion is considering closing down — they can’t parody this stuff any more.


Avoid death panels; let them all die

September 17, 2011

It’s horrifyingly ironic if you think about it:  Republicans opposed expanding access to the health care system with a false claim that the Democratic plan included rationing of health care in a “death panels” clause.  Completely untrue.  The bill barely passed.

But did you see what happened last week at the Republican Party’s event featuring their candidates for president?  Here a citizen responds to the Republicans:

In their silence, Republicans appear to support rolling back current health care, foregoing “death panels” as not harsh enough, and moving on to “let ‘em all die.”

Tip of the old scrub brush to MoveOn.org.


Claxons sounding from the navigation room: Titanic Republicans plunge full speed ahead to that iceberg

September 5, 2011

A veteran Republican Congressional insider wrote:

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.

It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-​year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages.

The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-​related travel — how prudent is that? — in order to strong arm some union-​busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
Saturday 3 September 2011
by: Mike Lofgren, Truthout | News Analysis

Sheesh!  And I thought they were crazy in 1985!

David Badash analyzed Lofgren’s article, at the New Civil Rights Movement:

GOP veteran Congressional staffer of 28 years, Mike Lofgren, who retired in June, just published a 6114 word attack on today’s Republican party, classifying them as “an apocalyptic cult” “full of lunatics.” Unsurprisingly, it’s gone viral. Included within Lofrgren’s 28 years in Congress is his “16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees,” according to his bio. James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, calls Lofgren “a familiar and highly esteemed figure.” Lofgren likens today’s Republican Party to the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic, and observes that “legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.”

Also unsurprisingly, Lofgren talks about the GOP’s attacks on same-​sex marriage, several times.

And almost exactly like we at The New Civil Rights Movement have been doing, Lofgren particularly targets Steve King, Michele BachmanPaul BrounVirginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, and Allen West. (Good to know we’re on the right track!)

Tip of the old scrub brush to Tony Sidaway.


Will any Republican stand up for America?

August 12, 2011

Ezra Klein’s on-line column this morning worries me more — will any Republican stand up for America?

No, I don’t mean  lip service, I don’t mean flag lapel pins.  I mean, will any Republican stand up for the policies we need to steer through the shoals of economic woe we face in the next 60 months?

At Wonkbook Klein said:

The most telling moment of Thursday’s GOP debate wasn’t when Michele Bachmann cooly stuck a knife between Tim Pawlenty’s ribs, or when Rick Santorum plaintively begged for more airtime, or when Mitt Romney easily slipped past questions about his record on health-care reform. It was when every single GOP candidate on the stage agreed that they would reject a budget deal that was $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. Even Fox News’s Bret Baier couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing. He asked again just to make sure the assembled candidates had understood the question.

Primary debates are usually watched for what they say about the candidates, but they’re generally important for what they say about the party. This one was no different. With the notable exceptions of Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, the candidates didn’t disagree over policy. They disagreed over fealty to policy.

Bachmann didn’t attack Pawlenty’s policy proposals. She attacked him for past statements suggesting he might believe in other policy proposals, like the individual mandate and cap-and-trade. Pawlenty’s assault on Romney took the same form. This debate wasn’t about what policies the candidates believed in. That was largely a given. This debate was about which of the candidates believed in those policies the most.

The best policy in this debate wasn’t the policy most likely to work, or the policy most likely to pass. It was the most orthodox policy. The policy least sullied by compromise. A world in which the GOP will not agree to deficit reduction with a 10:1 split between spending cuts and tax increases is a world where entitlement reform can’t happen. It’s a world where the “supercommittee” fails and the trigger is pulled, and thus a world in which $1 out of every $2 in cuts comes from the Pentagon. It’s not a world that fits what many in the GOP consider ideal policy. But it is a world in which none in the GOP need to traverse the treacherous politics of compromise.

Policies discussed weren’t mainline, capitalist economic policies, either.  They’re so far out in left field they can’t even see the pitcher’s mound from where they are.  Plus, they’re looking the wrong way.

Over and over again, [Michelle] Bachmann misstated basic facts. She said that Tim Pawlenty “implemented” cap-and-trade in Minnesota. He did no such thing. She said “we just heard from Standard Poor’s,” and “when they dropped our credit rating what they said was we don’t have an ability to repay our debt.” Simply not true.

S&P has never questioned our ability to repay our debt. That’s why we remain AA+. They have questioned whether political brinksmanship will stop us from paying our debt. The downgrade “was pretty much motivated by all of the debate about the raising of the debt ceiling,” said John Chambers, head of S&P’s sovereign ratings committee. That is to say, it was motivated by political brinksmanship from the likes of, well, Michele Bachmann.

It’s fitting that the candidate best able to resist compromise is the candidate who seems least able to correctly explain the policies at issue and the choices we face. It’s a lot easier to take a hard line if you don’t understand the consequences of your actions, and a lot simpler to belt out applause lines if you’re not slowed down by the messy complexities of the issues. But where Bachmann is leading, the other candidates are following. Mitt Romney knows perfectly well that a deal with $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases is a great deal for conservatives. What he probably doesn’t know is how he’s going to explain why he pretended otherwise when he was vying for the nomination.

Winners in the debate?  Unclear.  Losers?  You, me, and every American.

Can any Republican explain where in the world they got these nightmare economic policies?  Are they being made up on the spot?


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