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Politics.955

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The ongoing war between Republican ideology and the facts

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{Politics.955.1}: Richard Clark {cardo} Fri, 17 Dec 2010 15:11:52 EST (30 lines)

Sadly, David Stockman and Alan Greenspan are just about the only
voices in the Republican Party speaking the truth about the fiscal
devastation wrought by the expiring Bush tax cuts. After all, the
national debt tripled under Ronald Reagan, only to double again
during the tenure of George W. Bush. And as it turns out, the Bush
tax cut windfall for the wealthy accounted for almost half the
budget deficits during his presidency and, if made permanent, would
contribute more to the U.S. budget deficit than the Obama stimulus,
the TARP program, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and revenue lost
to the recession - combined. Of course, you'd never know it
listening to the leaders of GOP.

And that's just the beginning. Here, then, are 10 Republican Lies
about the Bush tax cuts:

Lie #1: Democrats Plan Across the Board Tax Hikes on January 1st
Lie #2: Democrats Want a $3.8 Trillion Tax Increase
Lie #3: Tax Cuts Pay for Themselves
Lie #4: The Bush Tax Cuts Didn't Add to the Deficit
Lie #5: Expiring High Income Tax Cuts Will Hurt Small Business
Lie #6: The Estate Tax Devastates Small Businesses and Family Farms
Lie #7: The Bush Tax Cuts Helped All Americans
Lie #8. Extending Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy is the Best Way to
Stimulate the Economy
Lie #9. Bush Tax Cuts Produced 52 Straight Months of Job Growth
Lie #10: The Rich Pay Too Much in Taxes Already

Read more about each of these lies at:

http://www.perrspectives.com/blog/archives/001932.htm

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{Politics.955.2}: {daveinchi} Fri, 17 Dec 2010 15:16:49 EST (HTML)

And guess who's winning this war? Why RepubliCon Ideology of course!

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{Politics.955.3}: & it's our job to turn it aroun {cardo} Fri, 17 Dec 2010 15:22:07 EST (HTML)

Krugman in today's NYT:

The modern Republican Party is utterly dedicated to the Reaganite slogan that government is always the problem, never the solution. And, therefore, we should have realized that party loyalists, confronted with facts that don’t fit the slogan, would adjust the facts.

Here’s an example:

The bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was established by law to “examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.” The hope was that it would be a modern version of the Pecora investigation of the 1930s, which documented Wall Street abuses and helped pave the way for financial reform.

Instead, however, the commission has broken down along partisan lines, unable to agree on even the most basic points.

It’s not as if the story of the crisis is particularly obscure. First, there was a widely spread housing bubble, not just in the United States, but in Ireland, Spain, and other countries as well. This bubble was inflated by irresponsible lending, made possible both by bank deregulation and the failure to extend regulation to “shadow banks,” which weren’t covered by traditional regulation but nonetheless engaged in banking activities and created bank-type risks.

Then the bubble burst, with hugely disruptive consequences. It turned out that Wall Street had created a web of interconnection nobody understood, so that the failure of Lehman Brothers, a medium- size investment bank, could threaten to take down the whole world financial system.

It’s a straightforward story, but a story that the Republican members of the commission don’t want told. Literally.

Last week, all four Republicans on the commission voted to exclude the following terms from the report: “deregulation,” “shadow banking,” “interconnection,” and, yes, “Wall Street.”

When Democratic members refused to go along with this insistence that the story of Hamlet be told without the prince, the Republicans went ahead and issued their own report, which did, indeed, avoid using any of the banned terms.

That report is all of nine pages long, with few facts and hardly any numbers. Beyond that, it tells a story that has been widely and repeatedly debunked — without responding at all to the debunkers.

In the world according to the G.O.P. commissioners, it’s all the fault of government do-gooders, who used various levers — especially Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored loan-guarantee agencies — to promote loans to low-income borrowers. Wall Street — I mean, the private sector — erred only to the extent that it got suckered into going along with this government-created bubble.

It’s hard to overstate how wrongheaded all of this is. Private players weren’t suckered into a government-created bubble. It was the other way around. During the peak years of housing inflation, Fannie and Freddie were pushed to the sidelines; they only got into dubious lending late in the game, as they tried to regain market share.

But the G.O.P. commissioners are just doing their job, which is to sustain the conservative narrative. And a narrative that absolves the banks of any wrongdoing, that places all the blame on meddling politicians, is especially important now that Republicans are about to take over the House.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/opinion/17krugman.html

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{Politics.955.4}: Just a bit more Krugman: {cardo} Fri, 17 Dec 2010 15:24:09 EST (HTML)

Last week, Spencer Bachus, the incoming G.O.P. chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told The Birmingham News that “my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

He later tried to walk the remark back, but there’s no question that he and his colleagues will do everything they can to block effective regulation of the people and institutions responsible for the economic nightmare of recent years. So they need a cover story saying that it was all the government’s fault.

What we see here is what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts. And the answer is, the facts lose.

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{Politics.955.5}: {daveinchi} Fri, 17 Dec 2010 15:35:42 EST (HTML)

Facts always lose, and usually lose big, when confronted with the well-funded conservative media lie machine . . . or are lost. Or are simply ignored.

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{Politics.955.6}: Richard Clark {cardo} Fri, 17 Dec 2010 16:21:56 EST (HTML)

And somehow we've got to find a way to stop that loss.

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{Politics.955.7}: Colleen Nelson {cole2u} Sat, 18 Dec 2010 00:56:57 EST (HTML)

How??

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{Politics.955.8}: How? {cardo} Sat, 18 Dec 2010 15:01:26 EST (HTML)

Become an informal and free-lance educator. Join the non- formal, 'underground' university without walls, i.e. the universe of people who help expose the lies of Fox 'News,' Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and the core of the Republican Party.

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{Politics.955.9}: Nancy Davison {nmdavison} Sat, 18 Dec 2010 15:17:28 EST (HTML)

Yes, exactly. It's up to us to tell the truth to whoever will listen, even those like my daughter who will invariably put her hands over her ears and chant "la-la-la-la". Luckily I have other daughters who do listen.

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{Politics.955.10}: Every family has its problems {cardo} Sat, 18 Dec 2010 17:42:40 EST (HTML)

How old is that hans over her ears daughter, Nancy?

I used to have political-economic debates with my sister in which she would go pale and begin to shake.

My aunt stopped talking to me and reminded my parents of my bastardly origins after I forwarded her an email from a friend who compared the occupants of the twin towers to little Eichmanns. I told her I largely disagreed with the charge he made, yet it was still one of the stupidest things I've ever done. I had forgotten that she is Jewish and from NYC and I didn't know she had friends who died there.

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{Politics.955.11}: Nancy Davison {nmdavison} Sat, 18 Dec 2010 17:47:23 EST (HTML)

She's 56, Richard, and has always been this way. Won't take the newspaper, doesn't watch news on television, though she has started to listen to Talk of the Nation, which does give me some hope.

And a friend of mine was talking to a friend of hers who lived in NYC. I don't know if that was the day of or a few days after the attacks on 9/11, but my friend told her friend that she thought all the reaction against Muslims was jingoistic. Her friend said that if she lived in NYC she would feel quite differently and hung up on her. So, even when we have the best of intentions.....

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{Politics.955.12}: Richard Clark {cardo} Sun, 19 Dec 2010 23:03:06 EST (HTML)

I guess there's a fairly large number of people in the world who simply cannot handle any exposure to ideas that are much/any different than the ones they have come to feel comfortable with. It's very upsetting to them. They couldn't care less about what might really be true. Any suggestion that their 'truth' may not be the last word is really quite upsetting to them.

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{Politics.955.13}: Brian Bixby {cusco} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 00:58:25 EST (8 lines)

My dad was always interested in archeology, and one time he had a
rather emphatic argument with Mom's grandmother.  The Mound Builders
left several monuments in the area, most notable the Long Snake Mound
near Empire, MI.  Great-grandma was of the opinion that the mounds had
been built by the phantasmagorical 'lost tribes of Israel' (an idea
she got from the Strang-ist Mormons), since the Indians were, "drunken
lazy savages who would never work hard enough to build anything like
that."  No amount of evidence could ever convince her otherwise.

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{Politics.955.14}: Richard Clark {cardo} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 09:22:43 EST (HTML)

Even well educated folks -- scientists and the like -- have that problem of course -- some say often. Look at all the scientists who thought the plate tectonics theory (when it was first advanced) was ridiculous. I still remember how -- I think it was as recently as 1960 -- they branded a guy named Velikovski a lunatic for simply pointing to the evidence that some mountains had once been under water and some now-frozen continents had (based on fossil evidence) once been in a completely different (tropical) location on the surface of the earth.

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{Politics.955.15}: Elizabeth Costello {lizcostello} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 12:18:08 EST (HTML)

Given Obama's record - increasing troops in Afghanistan, refusing to close GITMO, huge increases in drone bombings, keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich, should the heading of this topic be:

The ongoing war between democrat ideology and the facts ?

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{Politics.955.16}: Brian Bixby {cusco} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 12:38:19 EST (6 lines)

Actually Velikovski is the guy who proposed the bizarre idea of Mars
wandering around the solar system, interacting with Earth to somehow
stop the rotation of the planet and other Biblical stupidities.

Can't remember the name of the guy you're actually thinking of, but
know who you mean.

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{Politics.955.17}: Could this be the book? {cardo} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 15:55:47 EST (HTML)
{hidden}

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{Politics.955.18}: Paraphrasing Krugman {cardo} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 16:01:49 EST (HTML)

Everything the right said about why Obamanomics would fail was wrong. Two examples:

* For two years we've been warned that government borrowing would send interest rates sky-high; in fact, rates have stayed consistently low by historical standards.

* For two years we've been warned that inflation, even hyperinflation, was just around the corner; instead, disinflation (deflation) has continued, albeit around a comparatively small core of inflation -- inflation that is now at a half-century low.

So why are we letting ourselves be ruled by what can only be called "zombie economics"?! (Reaganomics has been thoroughly discredited -- it's essentially dead -- yet in some sense it still rules American politics.)

Part of the answer, surely, is that people who should have been trying to slay zombie ideas have tried to compromise with them instead. And this is especially true of the president.

People tend to forget that Ronald Reagan often gave ground on policy substance -- most notably, he ended up enacting multiple tax increases. But he never, ever, wavered on ideas; he never backed down from the position that his ideology was right and his opponents were wrong.

President Obama, by contrast, has consistently tried to reach across the aisle by lending cover to right-wing myths. He praised Reagan for restoring American dynamism -- and when was the last time you heard a Republican praising F.D.R.? Obama even adopted G.O.P. rhetoric about the need for the government to tighten its belt, even in the face of recession. He went so far as to offer (symbolic) freezes on spending and federal wages, for godsake.

Quite incredibly, however, none of this stopped the right from denouncing him as a socialist! And it helped empower bad ideas, zombie ideas, in ways that did immediate harm.

"http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-continuing-hold-of-fai-by- Richard-Clark-101220-444.html"

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{Politics.955.19}: Velikovsky {tonu} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 16:09:54 EST (3 lines)
{hidden}

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{Politics.955.20}: Reagan's Real Legacy {cardo} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 17:19:03 EST (HTML)

Reaganite budget cuts to benefit the wealthy contributed to economic decline for the majority, and especially for the poor and the working poor, and increased child poverty. Under Reagan the programs that got hit the hardest were those for the poor, and especially for the working poor.

As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported in 1984, "Low- income programs were reduced more than twice as deeply (in proportionate terms) as social programs not concentrated on the poor. Overall, the low-income programs bore nearly one-third of all cuts made anywhere in the federal government even though they constitute less than one-tenth of the budget. No other part of the federal budget was cut so deeply."

The Urban Institute also noted: "Because of the president's emphasis on self- sufficiency and productivity, the administration might have been expected to give some emphasis to human resource programs (education and training, public service employment, nutrition programs, Medicaid and social services) as a means of addressing poverty and welfare dependency. Instead, these were the very programs in which the administration generally proposed the deepest cuts."

Early in his first term, Reagan ordered some of his toughest budget cuts in Medicaid, food stamps, aid to families with dependent children, and other programs that were badly needed by large numbers of lower-income families, Black and White.

To make matters worse for workers and families, Reagan also put an end to the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, which threw 400,000 people into unemployment lines. He cut Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), putting another 500,000 people out looking for jobs. He reduced spending for Housing and Urban Development, which drastically reduced affordable housing and triggered the increases in poverty, hunger and homelessness that have continued to the present day.

(The above was quoted from the book, Reagan's Real Legacy.)

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{Politics.955.21}: Tesla compared to Velikovsky {cardo} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 17:22:32 EST (HTML)

A lot of people thought Tesla was a nutcake too, but many eventually realized that he had brilliant scientific insights.

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{Politics.955.22}: Brian Bixby {cusco} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 19:04:26 EST (1 line)

On the other hand, in many respects he WAS a nutcake . . .

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{Politics.955.23}: Nancy Davison {nmdavison} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 20:01:54 EST (HTML)

Many brilliant people are. Look at Einstein, Mozart, Beethoven....

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{Politics.955.24}: Richard Clark {cardo} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 21:28:09 EST (HTML)

Einstein's wife painted their front door red so that he would stop wandering into neighbors' houses by mistake. I guess a lot of the houses on his street looked alike. Plus he only bathed once a week. Or so I read.

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{Politics.955.25}: Lost in thought. {cardo} Mon, 20 Dec 2010 21:29:24 EST (1 line)

One kind of nutcake.

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