The point is that when you put Republicans on the spot and demand specifics about how they're going to make good on their posturing about spending and deficits, they come up empty. There's no there there.
And there never was. Republicans claim to be for much smaller government, but as a political matter they have always attacked government spending in the abstract, never coming clean with voters about the reality that big cuts in government spending can happen only if we sharply curtail very popular programs. In fact, less than a month ago the Romney/Ryan campaign was attacking Mr. Obama for, yes, cutting Medicare.
Now Republicans find themselves boxed in. With taxes scheduled to rise on Jan. 1 in the absence of an agreement, they can't play their usual game of just saying no to tax increases and pretending that they have a deficit reduction plan. And the president, by refusing to help them out by proposing G.O.P.-friendly spending cuts, has deprived them of political cover. If Republicans really want to slash popular programs, they will have to propose those cuts themselves.
So while the fiscal cliff — still a bad name for the looming austerity bomb, but I guess we're stuck with it — is a bad thing from an economic point of view, it has had at least one salutary political effect. For it has finally laid bare the con that has always been at the core of the G.O.P.'s political strategy.
Not a day goes by that I don't thank the Goddess that this country regained sufficient sanity to keep Willard Rmoney out of the White House, to put Paul Ryan back where he can do little damage in the face of other Congresscritters who can't get re-elected in two years if seniors and others turn on them, and to keep the Senate out of the hands of the Republicans.
For eight years, under George W. Bush, Republicans rubberstamped a 48.6 increase in Federal spending. Borrowed money paid for two simultaneous wars fought with little accountability at the same time that the wealthiest Americans enjoyed tax cuts. While government spending increased by 70%, revenue increased by only 25%. One would think that Republicans deliberately decided to drive the country into bankruptcy in order to end up right where we are now. Gone and forgotten is Dick Cheney's assertion that deficits don't matter. With a Democrat in the White House, Republicans decided that suddenly deficits DO matter -- especially during a recession, when austerity would be the worst thing to do to an economy in a fragile recovery. What is astonishing is that over 40% of Americans were unable to put this together during the last election and give the Republicans an even MORE serious drubbing. That kind of cynical hypocrisy should be punished more severely than it was.
That the Republican pearl-clutching about the deficit is really about protecting their billionaire masters should not be a surprise to anyone. What makes them so pathetic is that they honestly believe that their slavish devotion to the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and other less-profile people for whom no amount of money will fill the gaping hole in their souls would give them a place at the table with these men as a reward for leaving a scorched husk where a great nation used to be. They have no idea that they too will be tossed in the trash along with the detritus of the lives of those death-eaters.
Carbon pollution shows no sign of slowing; 2011 emissions jumped 3 percent, and 2012 is on track for another 2.6 percent. According to a new report by the Global Carbon Project, the world's fossil fuel addiction pumped 38.2 billion tons of carbon pollution, or 2.4 million every second, last year.
The world's top polluter, China, and India had the largest increases of 10 percent (to 10 billion tons) and 7 percent (to 2.5 billion tons) respectively. The only two of the world's top polluters with lower emissions were the U.S., the second-largest polluter, and Germany. When the world needs immediate action to cut emissions, this trend of routinely toppling records has scientists uncertain whether the international goal — to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit – is even attainable.
Lunch is served - Hey guys, remember that time when intellectually dishonest word-person and Xristian Xrazie homophobe moral scold D'nesh D'Spousa decided to bang his fan club and introduced her as his fiancee while still married to his current wife, thus making him a would-be polygamist and infamous hypocrite? Me Neither!, and neither does The Salvation Army, who have just chosen him to give a speech at their 2012 annual luncheon. (Zinnia Jones)
Rick Santorum has joined the staff of World Net Daily as an "exclusive" weekly columnist. They crow:
A native of Pennsylvania, Santorum went to bat for conservatives who didn't feel their voice was being represented in the GOP primary. His grass-roots approach to campaigning – including visiting every one of Iowa's 99 counties and his stunning victory in the Iowa caucuses – put him in front-runner status where he ultimately won 11 states and 3 million votes during the Republican primary process. In June of this year, Santorum launched Patriot Voices, a grass-roots and online community of Americans committed to promoting faith, family, freedom and opportunity. With a goal of recruiting 1 million members, Patriot Voices hopes to transform the political landscape of America.
Interestingly, so far their commenters are denouncing the hire because Frothy isn't teabagger enough.
I actually wish they'd bite everyone so they didn't have to be kept in captivity.
A firefighter in Pompano Beach, Florida has been terminated after he placed toilet paper imprinted with the president's face in his station's restroom.
Bob Cesca: We're making too many babies
If someone asks you what is the planet's most dangerous problem, your immediate answer should be overpopulation. There are simply too many people and nowhere near the resources to adequately sustain the current population, much less the population of one, five or ten years down the road.
Here's a cheerful thought. At some point, nature will rise up and correct the human population problem as we reproduce like cancer cells, and I don't necessarily want to be around when that happens, either by an unstoppable global pandemic or some other worldwide calamity. The climate crisis is probably first in line to wipe out large sections of the human population, mostly in densely populated third world coastal nations. Ultimately, though, the planet will be just fine without us, but unless we intend to curb our population growth and the accelerated doubling time (the rate at which the human population doubles) nature will do it for us.
In America, however, everything is fine and dandy. It feels like we're shielded from the overpopulation crisis, which is probably why no one here really talks about it in spite of its critical importance. Actually, the only people talking about population in America are conservatives who are worried that we're not having enough babies — arguing that we need to increase our birth rate and population.
Professor Krugman, on his blog:
... I thought I'd look at the dollars and cents — and even I am somewhat shocked. Those [high income] tax hikes [proposed by the Obama administration] would raise $1.6 trillion over the next decade; according to the CBO, raising the Medicare age would save $113 billion in federal funds over the next decade.
So, the non-serious proposal would reduce the deficit 14 times as much as the serious proposal.
I guess we have to understand the definition of serious: a proposal is only serious if it punishes the poor and the middle class.
Also known as, "The Class Wars of 2012":
... This was very much an election pitting the interests of the very rich against those of the middle class and the poor.
And the Obama campaign won largely by disregarding the warnings of squeamish "centrists" and embracing that reality, stressing the class-war aspect of the confrontation. This ensured not only that President Obama won by huge margins among lower-income voters, but that those voters turned out in large numbers, sealing his victory.
The important thing to understand now is that while the election is over, the class war isn't. The same people who bet big on Mr. Romney, and lost, are now trying to win by stealth — in the name of fiscal responsibility — the ground they failed to gain in an open election…More »