I have not tuned into the festivities in Tampa this week. I have a pretty good idea what is being said. There may be variations but I would guess that one of the recurring themes is ‘Freedom.’ Republicans are fond of this word because it evokes so much of the ‘brand’ they aspire to. The brand and the imagery, however, do not match the reality of today’s republican party. That reality is closer to Sheldon Adelson than Patrick Henry. More like Donald Trump than Abraham Lincoln. To a republican today, ‘Freedom’ means ‘Ownership’. Liberty means a license to steal. Democracy means dominance over those who threaten wealth and the power it brings. The speeches mean nothing. They are a side show. The main event is on November 5…
Revolt of the Rich
Our financial elites are the new secessionists.
Mike Lofgren | The American Conservative | 27 Aug 12
It was 1993, during congressional debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican congressmen who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. To this day, I remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens.”
That was only the beginning of the period when the realities of outsourced manufacturing, financialization of the economy, and growing income disparity started to seep into the public consciousness, so at the time it seemed like a striking and novel statement.
Tropical Storm (Hurricane?) Isaac is more than just a logistical inconvenience for Republicans gathered in Tampa: it is a powerful reminder both of Republican incompetence in handling Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, and the party’s no-less-disastrous plans to further cut emergency-related spending.
That is not something you will hear Paul Ryan talk about this week at the convention, nor any of the other lawmakers who make simplistic promises about the power of slashing government spending. But the budgets assembled by Mr. Ryan and warmly embraced by Mitt Romney severely cut spending for emergency preparedness, exactly the kind of money needed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and scores of other states for this and future storms.
This is exactly the kind of smug, country-club crap that Romney personifies. We had four years of it with Bush Sr and eight more with his nitwit son. Isn’t that enough? Can’t these people come up with something better?
Romney Makes Birth Certificate Joke
Luke Johnson | Huffington Post | 24 Aug 12
Mitt Romney made a joke about his birth certificate at a rally in Commerce, Mich. on Friday.
Speaking about his Michigan roots, he said, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”
The joke was received with hearty applause by the audience.
Let’s get serious, folks. When a president gets elected there is a period following the election when he is given a pass, so to speak, before being held accountable for events ‘on his watch’. The same principle must apply to presidential, or vice-presidential, candidates. After a while we must stop winking and nodding and actually listen to what they are saying. Such is the case with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. If your aim is to destroy our government and send this nation into economic Armageddon then these are your guys. Just listen…
An Unserious Man
Paul Krugman | NYTimes | 19 Aug 12
Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate led to a wave of pundit accolades. Now, declared writer after writer, we’re going to have a real debate about the nation’s fiscal future. This was predictable: never mind the Tea Party, Mr. Ryan’s true constituency is the commentariat, which years ago decided that he was the Honest, Serious Conservative, whose proposals deserve respect even if you don’t like him.
But he isn’t and they don’t. Ryanomics is and always has been a con game, although to be fair, it has become even more of a con since Mr. Ryan joined the ticket.
Years ago they used to make black people recite the Gettysburg Address before they could vote. Today we’re more efficient. We just charge you with a felony which bans voting for the rest of your life. How neat and tidy…
Numbers can be cruel. They take away the soft, gauzy rhetoric that shrouds political platitudes and subject them to a hard-edged reality. So it is for the Ryan budget. The document was lengthy enough that it—and he—automatically acquired gravitas. Yet it was examined carefully by precious few, which is probably a good thing for Ryan. Here is the number that is perhaps the key to his view of the future: 3.75 percent.
Some of you who are old enough will remember David Stockman as Ronald Reagan’s budget manager who got “taken to the woodshed” for having the temerity to describe his boss’s budget as trickle-down in disguise and being quoted as saying, “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers.” It is therefore deliciously ironic to read David Stockman’s candid assessment of the latest incarnation of conservatism in action, Paul Ryan, whose budget proposals make Reagan look like the biggest spender in history…
Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan
David Stockman | NYTimes | 13 Aug 12
PAUL D. RYAN is the most articulate and intellectually imposing Republican of the moment, but that doesn’t alter the fact that this earnest congressman from Wisconsin is preaching the same empty conservative sermon.
Thirty years of Republican apostasy — a once grand party’s embrace of the welfare state, the warfare state and the Wall Street-coddling bailout state — have crippled the engines of capitalism and buried us in debt. Mr. Ryan’s sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to “job creators” (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse.
In a provocative new book, “The New Jim Crow”, law professor Michelle Alexander points to the disparity of how this nation has waged it so-called ‘War on Drugs’ and the resulting imbalance in the racial makeup of America’s prison system as evidence of a de-facto ‘Jim Crow’ policy toward non-whites in this country. There is no conspiracy afoot, no midnight meetings of hooded zealots. But the net effect of America’s drug laws and their enforcement is the disenfranchisement of a significant percentage of the non-white population of this country. In age of a black President and seeming colorblindness in all other aspects of our society this idea may rankle some who thought we had buried that hatchet a long time ago. But then, they’re not sitting in jail or dealing the consequences of their non-status as a drug felon…
Drug Policy as Race Policy: Best Seller Galvanizes the Debate
Jennifer Schuessler | NYTimes | 6 Mar 12
Garry McCarthy, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, did not expect to hear anything too startling when he appeared at a conference on drug policy organized last year by an African-American minister in Newark, where he was the police director.