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I’m Beginning to Like Josh Barro

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Ted Cruz speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m Beginning to Like Josh Barro

This guy can take this kind of nonsense and instead of being hurt or offended, he turns it into informative and, in a way, defiant essay. I’m impressed.

And he has a good point, this kind of passion (hatred, rage?) is frightening. As a fellow writer, I find this kind of thing daunting but as a politician it must be far more threatening because not only do these people wield influence power in the party, encountering them personally must be an exciting and memorable experience.

James Pilant

One Look At These Emails, And You’ll See Why Republicans Let Ted Cruz Lead Them Off A Cliff

http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-congressional-republicans-let-ted-cruz-lead-them-off-a-cliff-2013-10

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-congressional-republicans-let-ted-cruz-lead-them-off-a-cliff-2013-10#ixzz2i1i1VxFE

The people whose letters I’m printing below are literally the people Republicans depend on to re-elect them to Congress. Keeping these people happy is their job — which is why the Republican Party has become so inept and crazy.

Jim Kennedy says I’m a “low information voter” in league with “the black racists”:

Senator Cruz is right on. I am one of those “crazy people” the liberal left does not like, being former Marine, a supporter of Tea Party, college graduate, member of NRA, member of Sons of Confederate Veterans. It is you low information voters and the black racists that hate us conservatives. Watch out in 2014!

William Neisser found me on Facebook and sent this frank message:

do you really believe the crap coming out of your mouth so 2 million people who think this Obama care isn’t good are wrong and living on another planet wow. life for you must be hard when did it become American to make people eat there vegetables. everyone has something to say but please stop talking your breath stinks like the crap you write come back to reality like the 2 million that are wrong an don’t like Obama’s health care academy for idiots thank you again yours truly screwed middle class living on another planet oh an have a great day

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-congressional-republicans-let-ted-cruz-lead-them-off-a-cliff-2013-10#ixzz2i1hj93is

From around the web.

From the web site, The Left-handed Nib.

http://lefthandednib.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/the-gops-messiah-complex/

The GOP’s Messiah Complex

To paraphrase Dana Milbank, the Republican Party is Cruzifying itself.

Lots of good reads on Cruz in the last few days:

  • Josh Barro writes at Business Insider that “Ted Cruz is living on another planet” — and the Tea Party base is more than willing to hang out with him there.
  • This AP article is one of many I’ve seen lately that talk about how fed up establishment Republlicans are with Cruz and his Tea Party fellow crazies. But look at the establishment Republicans they’re quoting by name! …

Here on Planet Earth.

The distance between the supporters of the shutdown and their “perspective” on public support and actual polling data could not be more stark. It may be that in this nation, threats to destroy the nation’s economy to gain political ends may be considered “going over the top” of what is reasonable. Certainly, I feel that way.

James Pilant

Ted Cruz Is Living On Another Planet – Yahoo Finance

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ted-cruz-living-another-planet-172534587.html

Meanwhile, back on planet earth, the public hates the shutdown, Americans are 20 points more likely to blame Republicans for the shutdown than Obama, the Republican Party is scoring its worst poll numbers on record, Cruz’s colleagues in the House and Senate hate him, and they’re preparing to cave to the president by reopening the government and funding Obamacare.

Cruz is betting that his supporters are too stupid to notice that his strategy is failing and was doomed to fail. He’s probably right.

Lots of people thought that when Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election after months of conservatives proclaiming that the polls were “skewed” and he was on course to win, the party’s base might start to evaluate whether it misunderstood the world around it.

Remarkably, conservative delusion about facts on the ground is more intense than ever. The appetite for stories like the one Cruz is telling is unending, impervious to facts and sustainable no matter how far the Republican Party’s poll numbers fall.

When constituencies become aggrieved minorities, seeing themselves as under attack by the establishment, they are vulnerable to hucksters like Cruz, because they disregard outside warnings and evidence that they are being had.

via Ted Cruz Is Living On Another Planet – Yahoo Finance.

From around the web.

From the web site, Attention Deficit Politics.

http://addpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/vigilante-justice-senatortedcruz-congress-governmentshutdown/

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is defiant towards the needs of the American

people. Ignoring the fact that 48 million Americans were uninsured in

2012, ignoring the fact that Americans with health insurance were

footing the bill for the emergency room vists of the uninsured (by way

of high healthcare costs), he is defiant in an attempt to cloak the

universal health coverage (emergency room visits) formerly provided via

high health and insurance costs.

From the web site, Market Failure.

http://marketfailure.wordpress.com/tag/ted-cruz/

I would note that Mancur Olson would disagree with

the “strategic irrationality” viewpoint, seeing this as a collective

action problem.  Namely, political entrepreneurs like Ted Cruz see great

advantage from forcing a shutdown in terms of publicity, donations,

position within the party, and so on.  This is causing the entrepreneurs

to act in their own best interest, to the detriment of the party as a

whole.  In this story, the devolution of funding power from party

organizations to third-party funding like SuperPACs has destroyed the

coercive element necessary for the party to act in its own best

interest.  In a neat little irony, the GOP’s relentless attacks on

campaign finance ultimately hampered their ability to do pretty much

anything.  Let’s call this “group irrationality“.  Perhaps the Democrats should be glad that their superPAC infrastructure is so much less developed.

 

Ethics Bob has some Choice Words about Mitt Romney

English: Governor Mitt Romney of MA

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Mitt Romney: Liar, liar, pants on fire. Said he didn’t care about poor people, now brushes it off as “I misspoke” « Ethics Bob

(Here’s a representative paragraph. jp)

But appearing so heartless can be costly to a Presidential candidate. So Romney tried to lie his way out of it, saying he misspoke. But he didn’t misspeak. Misspeaking is when I call my granddaughter by her sister’s name. Misspeaking is when John McCain tells a Romney gathering that he’s confident that President Obama will cure the nation’s ills. Misspeaking is not saying something, then when challenged explaining what you said. He didn’t misspeak.

Mitt Romney: Liar, liar, pants on fire. Said he didn’t care about poor people, now brushes it off as “I misspoke” « Ethics Bob

Ethics Bob is holding Romney to the standard of truth.

I also found Romney’s original statement much more credible than his later correction. The conviction that he worked hard and others have not making them unworthy is part of his make up. Otherwise his overwhelming sense of entitlement would make no sense to him.

I do not believe that the struggles and the pain of American workers and the middle class have any relevance to him. His devotion is only to the comically titled, “job creators.”

James Pilant

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Komen Backs Off and We’re Supposed to Forgive and Forget?

English: Prevention Park, is the largest Plann...

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Komen Apologizes; Pledges To Continue Planned Parenthood Grants | Crooks and Liars

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Komen Apologizes; Pledges To Continue Planned Parenthood Grants | Crooks and Liars

Wow, I should be impressed except I’m not.

The organization has already provided solid evidence that women’s health is not their first concern. They have only reversed their decision based on politics. And be clear, they backed down on this particular issue but it is only a temporary setback for their anti-Planned Parenthood stance and their move toward anti-abortion politics.

Think of all the different ways through other grants and political pressure that they can influence the future of women’s health in this country and in the world. They gave up on this point under political pressure but can it be more obvious what the future stance of the organization is going to be? This is not victory for women’s health or a defeat for their organization. It is a truce to allow them to regroup and fight another day.

I want you to read the brief excerpt above. Notice the phrase “disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.” I can drive an ocean liner through that exception. How many district attorneys are there in the United States – just a few thousand? So, all we to do to disqualify Planned Parenthood again is to have one of these district attorney conduct a “criminal” investigation. Now you might object that doesn’t consider the word, “conclusive,” which of course means a conviction. Except that it doesn’t. If they had wanted a conviction to be necessary to disqualify an organization, they would have used that word. I’ll tell you what the word, conclusive means in that sentence – anything they want it to.

From now on they will act to defund Planned Parenthood and services to poor women and we know they will because they have already by their actions demonstrated their intent. If they intended to really reverse the policy decisions of the last few days, there would be firings and changes in personnel at the top of the organization. Do you see any?

One of the most disturbing elements of this whole affair is how stupid the Susan G. Komen Foundation leadership believes the public are. They cut off Planned Parenthood on the most spurious of grounds (a Congressional investigation) against a background of Republican donations and the hiring of a stalwart in the anti-abortion movement. Then they tell us it was non-political. Look at the phrasing of their press release . They claim they were only fulfilling their “fiduciary” duty by cutting off the organization. First, I think they used the word merely because it was multisyllabic and sounded legal. Second, I have to wonder if it was their fiduciary duty to cut off Planned Parenthood what happened between yesterday and today that nullified that duty? Fiduciary responsibilities are not optional, they are binding.

I still believe that giving money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation is a questionable decision based on the events of the last few days. I believe if you look at the evidence you will come to the same conclusion.

James Pilant

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Obama Over Rules His Own Experts – Plan B

I am a more than a little annoyed by this. Didn’t this guy promise to rely on the experts and instead we get some paternalistic crap about 11 year olds? This decision is going to have serious repercussions. Teenage girls are going to get pregnant with all that entails for their futures when they should have had a choice of contraception. We are not yet a nation of Baptists who believe ineffectual admonishments against having sex is an improvement over reality. Every day in this nation, particularly in the South, teenagers have sex, millions of them. They’ve been told not to. However, since the survival of the human species has depended on the young having sex for hundreds of thousands of years, it may well be possible that a church pamphlet and a pat on the head may not discourage them.
President Obama appears to be working his way through all of his campaign promises one by one, tossing them out like softballs at a little league game. I have been disgusted a long time. I don’t know what bothers me more, his fake populism or his gutless inability to negotiate.
Below are some thought from Salon.
James Pilant
Official photographic portrait of US President...

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Obama’s woman problem – Gender Roles – Salon.com

But as an American, I think it is important for my president not to turn to paternalistic claptrap and enfeebling references to the imagined ineptitude and irresponsibility of his daughters – and young women around the country – to justify a curtailment of access to medically safe contraceptives. The notion that in aggressively conscribing women’s abilities to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy Obama is just laying down some Olde Fashioned Dad Sense diminishes an issue of gender equality, sexual health and medical access. Recasting this debate as an episode of “Father Knows Best” reaffirms hoary attitudes about young women and sex that had their repressive heyday in the era whence that program sprang.

Obama’s woman problem – Gender Roles – Salon.com

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The Ideological Fantasies of Inequality Deniers — Daily Intel

The most important thing this article points out is the inadequacy of both the Republican and Democrat approaches to income inequality.

The Republicans wish to impose a system of taxation and corporate rules that will permanently enshrine an economic ruling class whose power will rival the most autocratic figures in history.

The Democrats wish to slow the increasing inequality by slightly raising taxes on the rich and protecting social programs.

One party is whole heartedly devoted to the interests of the corporate and wealthy elites, while the other is mainly motivated to serve the interests of the corporate and wealthy elites.

That’s not much of a choice.

The betrayal of the working class by the Democrats is a far worse crime than the willingness of the Republicans to barter away the middle class like so many butcherable farm animals. The Democrats were supposed to stand like Horatius at the Gate fighting for the great mass of the people, but once they discovered that the really big contributions came from the few, the wealthy and well placed, they found a new allegiance.

The disgusting spectacle of “Democrats” executing Republican policies is an almost daily occurrence everywhere in this nation in communities, counties, States and at the federal level.

The only way to get a party where the elected officials protect the rights and the income of the great mass of Americans is to organize and defeat any candidate who is on the other side, regardless of party affiliation. For too many years, I have been hearing the phrase, “We have to settle for what is possible.” This is used as justification for remaining passive while our supposed Democratic defenders sell us down the river, day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute.

I am fed up. It is better to let the Republicans win than to die bleeding drip by drip at the behest of the people we voted for.

I prefer open conflict than slow surrender.

I want a debate, a struggle, a battle between ideas.

Because when we talk about opportunity, rights, and justice we will win.

We will win because we are on the side of the great mass of working people.

We will win because we are on the side of civilization and history.

We will win because we are right.

Let’s start fighting.

James Pilant

Here’s a quote from the article.

Rising income inequality, like climate change, is an ideologically inconvenient issue for conservatives. They would prefer not to discuss it altogether. If forced to discuss it, they will generally either deny its existence or simply carry on as if it doesn’t exist.

The underlying facts, like the facts of climate change, are stark. Over the last few decades, income growth for most Americans has slowed to a crawl, while income for the very rich has exploded. That’s a reversal of the three decades following World War II, when all income groups got richer, with the poor and middle class rising at a faster rate than the rich. Crucially, the Congressional Budget Office’s new analysis shows that changes in government policy over this period have made inequality worse. (In CBO-speak: “The equalizing effect of transfers and taxes on household income was smaller in 2007 than it had been in 1979.”)

We’re not having a debate about how to reverse or even stop the growth of inequality. Nobody has a real plan to do that. The Democratic plan is to slightly arrest the growth of inequality by hiking taxes on the rich a few percentage points, so as to minimize the need to cut the social safety net. The Republican plan is to slash taxes for the rich and programs for the poor, thereby massively increasing inequality.

The Ideological Fantasies of Inequality Deniers — Daily Intel

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David Brooks: To Hell With the Polls! | Video Cafe

We all know that David Brooks is one of those “very serious people” (I owe Paul Krugman for the phrase.) who believe in Centrism. That is a very pretty word that indicates that if we all play nice we will live wonderful lives. We will also have to give up social security, medicare and a host of other programs because unlike the 1%, we less significant people are the ones supposed to compromise and be nice.

I’m not nice. I believe in conflict. I believe that until we make politicians suffer and lose office over their willingness to compromise on social security that the program will be in danger from the “centrists.”

The centrists believe in politicians governing without the influence of the unlettered masses – that would be us. You, when your social security benefits are taken away from you (the ones you’ve already paid for) that is shared sacrifice when the rich get tax cuts that is a spur to the economy and a reward for the “productive” classes.

You see, centrism is a fancy word for elitists and a top down ethos of enlightened philosopher kings keeping the craven, greedy masses (yeah, that would be you) in line.

It’s a precious belief in the virtue of oligarchies. It’s royalism without the royal family just the next enlightened figure to ignore popular opinion and do what is “necessary.”

This is contemptuous of democracy and the hard working, honest American people.

And this is what passes for intelligent comment at the New York Times.

James Pilant

David Brooks: To Hell With the Polls! President Obama Should Not Campaign on Raising Taxes on the Rich | Video Cafe

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False Equivalence Watch: Et Tu, PBS? – James Fallows – Politics – The Atlantic

I am totally with James Fallows on this issue (and we definitely don’t always agree). But it is just wrong for the beltway media to take “ a plague on both your houses” attitude on the news when it comes to discussing passing or not passing legislation. An accurate description of who voted for what and who used the filibuster is far more relevant and intelligent than an attitude that those Democrats and Republicans should play nice with each other.

I don’t want them to play nice with each other. I want the middle class in this country protected and I’m tired of compromise.

How do you tell who your friends and enemies are if the dominant media narrative is the two political parties aren’t worth a damn and you should leave politics alone because it’s a dirty business?

I don’t like the Democrats and I like the Republicans even less but if the media drives most people from political discussion and action than a small minority are going to be the activists and that is counterproductive in a democracy.

James Pilant

 

James Fallows

False Equivalence Watch: Et Tu, PBS? – James Fallows – Politics – The Atlantic

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Will the Wall Street Protestors’ Movement, Be Absorbed into the Democratic Party?

Robert Reich writing in his blog has this to say on the subject

But if Occupy Wall Street coalesces into something like a real movement, the Democratic Party may have more difficulty digesting it than the GOP has had with the Tea Party.

After all, a big share of both parties’ campaign funds comes from the Street and corporate board rooms. The Street and corporate America also have hordes of public-relations flacks and armies of lobbyists to do their bidding – not to mention the unfathomably deep pockets of the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey’s and Karl Rove’s SuperPACs. Even if the Occupiers have access to some union money, it’s hardly a match.

Yet the real difficulty lies deeper. A little history is helpful here.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, the Democratic Party had no trouble embracing economic populism. It charged the large industrial concentrations of the era – the trusts – with stifling the economy and poisoning democracy. In the 1912 campaign Woodrow Wilson promised to wage “a crusade against powers that have governed us … that have limited our development … that have determined our lives … that have set us in a straightjacket to so as they please.” The struggle to break up the trusts would be, in Wilson’s words, nothing less than a “second struggle for emancipation.”

Reich goes on to analyze the gradual “escape” of the Democratic Party from Populist issues and its transformation into a financial party much like the Republicans. He is, of course, correct – while the movement has some sound bites that seem to the untrained ear to mimic the occasional Democratic politician, the message of the Wall Street Protestors is inimical to the interests of both political parties.

The Republican Party and these Wall Street Protestors are alien to one another but to the Democrats these protestors are only slightly less strange. The Democrats have been selling free market fundamentalism, de-regulation, tax cuts, tax breaks, tax holidays, subsidies, free trade pacts, etc. for years. If that sounds exactly like the Republican Party, it should because it is. The parties vary dramatically on many issues but on the treatment of our financial elites they are both little more than courtiers at the court of the king, the top one percent.

The things that motivate the protestors may from time to time provide the Democrats with useful dialogue for a quick commercial but they haven’t been important to the party apparatus for decades. Once the commercial is cut, the message will be forgotten unless the poll numbers move briskly in which case the line will have a brief second life.

The Democrats are going to do what the Democrats always do, pretend to care. They’ll throw some crumbs to the demonstrators, endorsements, praise, nice op-eds and eventually “proposed” legislation. The legislation will be gradually forgotten, or re-written until there is nothing left or passed in one house to languish in the other. The fix is always in.

When the Democrats care about something like “free” trade deals, it goes right to the top right away. The damn things can annihilate the economic fortunes of millions of Americans but the Democrats vote for them quickly, easily and in almost total lockstep because that is what the “real” Americans, the top one percent want.

A political party built around the protecting the welfare of the bottom 99% of the population is not just a radical idea, for the professional campaigners is simply doesn’t make any sense, by their reasoning, the bottom 99% doesn’t have the kind of money or influence to run elections.

That conventional wisdom is unlikely to change. Campaigns have been run for the interests of the top one percent for decades, and it is no doubt much easier to win with incredible sums of money from a handful of donors, who can be counted upon to give large sums year after year, than it is to actually work an election from point of view of actual human beings.

Is this going to be a turning point in history? I hope so. I don’t see the protestors handing their movement over to the President or anyone else. Identification with either major political party inevitably leads to an absorption of the least controversial elements. It is destructive to the political process to allow such co-option.

Only movements separate from the parties can have a long term effect on the party itself. The reason for this is that parties exist to elect candidates, not to effect change. Thus, we have the spectacle of the Democratic Party developing into a party of professional politicians purchasable virtually at will. To make a party tow the ideological line, you have to beat and humiliate politicians who hold other beliefs. It has to be done outside the party.

James Pilant

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Elizabeth Warren Announces for the U.S. Senate

Elizabeth Warren, Chairman of the Congressiona...

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This is from Daily Kos. The actual announcement is not supposed to be out until tomorrow.

Former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren will officially launch her campaign for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts on Wednesday, challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown.

“The pressures on middle class families are worse than ever, but it is the big corporations that get their way in Washington,” Warren said in a statement. “I want to change that. I will work my heart out to earn the trust of the people of Massachusetts.”

Warren has been exploring a run in recent weeks, and has been on a listening tour of the state.

Professor Warren has addressed many issues particularly  consumer fraud. One of her specialities is the pressure on and the decline of, the Middle Class in America. I have watched this presentation. I recommend you watch it as well. Just click on the link.

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

You may consider this web post an endorsement of Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy. I wish her well and hope to play my small part in the struggle for that Senate seat.

James Pilant

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