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gulliver

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Gender: Male
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 10,238

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"Who's debate arguments do you agree with and trust more?"

That's the question that determines who won the debate.

If you just poll people asking who won the debate, you won't know who won.

Making the Republicans' voter suppression backfire

Who wants to see the Republicans' voter suppression tactics actually work for them? What would that look like?

Picture people going to the polls to vote. They take time before going to work or to class. They take time from doing their chores or visiting their family or friends. They drive, they get rides. They walk or manage crutches or wheel in in wheelchairs. And they get there to exercise their right to vote. But then someone tells them they can't. They have to leave.

And the Republicans who made that happen have big smiles on their faces, because it worked. They are glad they did it. They will definitely have to do it again.

Or.

Every single non-Republican makes sure they vote and makes sure all their friends vote and all their friends' friends. For every voter the Republicans succeed in intimidating away from the polls or denying the right to vote at the polls, ten or twenty other voters cast votes against every Republican on the ballot.

You'll get it if you do.

You'd better the hell not tax the job creators! Or they'll, they'll, well you know what they'll do? They'll, they'll, they'll well you just better not that's all! You go to the job creators and bow your heads! Job creators give you everything you have. You wouldn't be worth wasting food on if some job creator somewhere didn't give your life to you.

And you'd better the hell not try to keep healthcare! Oh, you just better not! You'll get it if you do. We already called you European commies. We'll call you even meaner things if you keep it up! We'll, we'll, well you just better not try to keep healthcare. You'll get it.

And you absolutely better the hell not try to vote. You keep away from the polls. We're going to make sure they check your ID. We're going to make sure they give you the stink eye. You vote, and you'll get it. Got it? Do you dig me?

The Republican Party approves this message.

All the Republican Party marbles belong to us now.

The Republicans have lost their marbles. The Dems should simply stake their claim to everything now.

Liberty? Ours. We are the party of Liberty.
Patriotism? Ours. Join the Democrats in our love of country.
Faith? Ours.
Hard work? Ours.
Entrepreneurship. Ours.
Science? Ours.
Honesty? Ours. Republicans finally just handed honesty over to the Democrats lock, stock, and barrel.

Mitt Romney is a flip-flopping professional sham artist who can twinkle his eyes on demand. Paul Ryan is a "serious" image spray-painted on a pile of lies. Dems should just take all their marbles at every opportunity. Those two liars won't be able to hold them.

Government "spending" vs. "recirculation"

There is a very good book called The Gardens of Democracy (Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer) that has a lot to say about economics. The economy is a garden rather than a machine. Cooperation is as important as competition. The government has a key role in a properly functioning economy, etc. The book essentially says it all for me.

One of the powerful points they make, among very many, is that a lot of people have a misconception of government activity as merely "spending." There is this idea that government spending somehow vacuums money away into a black hole. The Republicans encourage this view. They want people to think zero sum, as if the wealth of the country is like a pie. They want people to think government is taking away a huge chunk of the pie, either to redistribute it to the undeserving or just to waste it. That is a central theme in the Republican economic mythos and a keystone in their argument demonizing the government. Unfortunately, the Republicans' simplistic view (and self-serving in the case of the Republican wealthy) is wrong and destructive.

In the book, the discussion starts on p. 103 at the bottom. Italics all the book authors'.

...there is an even deeper misconception at work here. Conventional Machinebrain wisdom conceives of and describes government activity as "spending."...The association we have with the word spending is that when government does it, our money is gone. The unconscious assumption is that our tax dollars are swept into piles and burned or poured down a drain....The government, like a car engine, uses up money like fuel. Of course, this ignores the fundamental reality of the role of money in an economic ecosystem as essential lifeblood that circulates throughout it again and again.

In this Gardenbrain sense, government does not spend money; it circulates it. It does not redistribute money; it recirculates it. Social Security is the largest line item of government "spending" in the budget. But Social Security is simply a collateralized savings account. Understood as circulation, Social Security's main benefit isn't to keep the elderly from living in cardboard boxes, although that is a fine thing, but to ensure that they continue as dynamic consumers in our economy. Social Security circulates money back to the citizens who contributed to it in the first place, and is then circulated again by them, generating increased economic activity that allows others to be paid, to contribute to Social Security and then to receive those benefits in the future, in an endless and essential positive feedback loop that sustains and expands our economy. If Social Security truly were "spending," then our economy would be getting smaller and our nation's net worth would be shrinking as a consequence of its growth.

...Even the lowly, lazy, useless bureaucrat is some small business's best customer.

It's not just a birther joke at all.

When Romney says, "No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate," the birther reference is damaging. Romney isn't a birther, of course, but he is giving himself away as someone who wants to laugh with the birthers, not at them. He is giving them "moral" support, validating them, and probably enabling them. All true.

But I think the more politically damaging aspects of it are about Romney's cloying privilege, and especially about Romney placing himself above immigrants with his quote. Romney may never be asked to show his birth certificate, but a lot of people are asked. I doubt they find Romney's joke funny at all. I would like to see Romney make the same "joke" in Arizona or standing among Hispanics. Romney may have intended a swipe at Obama and a wink to the mouth-breathing birthers, but he stupidly just set himself above Hispanics and other immigrants. Romney made it clear that he's not one of those folks who need their birth certificates checked. I have no doubt they picked up on it.

And then, of course, he lied to CBS about it right away. Romney doesn't want to be caught blowing a kiss to the birthers, and he certainly doesn't want this to be his Akin moment with Hispanics. So he tells everyone it wasn't a swipe at Obama at all. Of course not, Mitt. Of course not.

The Romney/Ryan plan is just a sneaky trap. They've lost the election.

No over-55 senior in their right mind would believe that letting the Republicans screw younger workers would be a one-act play. The second the Romney/Ryan "gradual" Plan passed the Republican Congress and was signed into law, the Republicans would pull out one of their beloved privatization bills. Paul Ryan and his idol George W. Bush were big privatizers, and now there would be no reason for younger workers not to go along. The Republicans would pass privatization without a roll call. Dems wouldn't be able to fight it, because they would be in the minority and because younger workers would be so universally in favor of it.

Then younger workers would pull out of the system in droves, de-funding both Social Security and Medicare.

Why are Republicans playing dangerous political games like this with people's lives and retirement security? Even bringing up a generational divide-and-conquer scheme like this is irresponsible. It's not bold, it's crazy. Either Republicans don't know how destructive they are, or they do.

Why not go to Ryan's Medicare Lite plan right after the election?

If Ryan and Romney win, and the Republicans get control of the House and Senate, I don't see why they wouldn't just implement their Medicare Lite plan right away. Why wait ten years? The Tea Partiers all seem to think it is such a great idea for the country and for people 55 and younger. Why would they not let current seniors in on the fun right away? What would stop them?

The news media says that Republicans say Ryan is a bold thinker and straight talker. He must have a really good reason for delaying and phasing in the major improvements he wants to make in Medicare so that only people 55 and younger get them. Ryan and Romney probably assume that current retirees are much more selfless and willing to sacrifice their Medicare benefits than people 55 and younger. Older people are willing to wait for the Romney/Ryan Medicare bonanza. They would accept putting off the changes until ten years from now.

Well, I just don't think that is fair. Current seniors are entitled to the same good Medicare deal that Romney, Ryan, and the rest of the Republicans have in store for people 55 and under. And I'm sure that if Republicans get back control of the government like they had under George W. Bush, this wrong will be addressed. Current seniors will get the good Republican Medicare right away. Everyone will get the good Republican everything right away.

Wealthy shaking in their boots about Romney's taxes?

I'll bet the very wealthy, Romney's biggest backers, are apoplectic about the idea that he might be forced to release his tax returns. They won't let that happen. The last thing they need is for the American people to be educated on just how far the wealthy can go to avoid paying taxes.

It's not just that Americans would be so disgusted they wouldn't want to see Romney himself as president. They might raise a wholesale backlash against "Romney types." The whole shell game might be given away.

Romney isn't just hiding his own returns. He is hiding and threatening to expose the loopholes and chicanery of everyone like him.

The Real Reason Republicans Have Been Sabotaging America

It's not so much that Obama is black. That is a factor, of course, but that's not the biggest issue.

The real reason Republicans have been trying to sabotage Obama and the country is humiliation, personal humiliation. Their man, George W. Bush, was president for eight years, and their party also held majorities in Congress for most of that time. And the result? Well, to put it mildly, they basically peed their pants on live TV with the world watching. Republicans cheered Bush as he cut taxes. They whistled and applauded when he strutted around on the deck of that aircraft carrier in the full flight suit. They were riding high.

And then everything went horribly, horribly wrong. All on their watch. All in broad daylight. Afghanistan fell apart as Bush's unnecessary, ill-conceived, and falsely motivated war in Iraq dragged on. Osama was on the loose. Bush made a complete ass of himself in every news conference. And the whole country came apart at the seams in 2008. Republicans were wrong, and it was obvious. The whole Republican ideology was caught like a bug in a skillet, and they had nowhere to turn to avoid humiliation.

Now, they could have just backed off and taken a second look at their policies. Maybe tax cuts for the wealthy don't solve everything. Maybe someone should keep an eye on what the scamps in Wall Street do with the matches they seem to like to play with so much. Maybe war wasn't cheap and easy. Maybe going after Osama Bin Laden was worthwhile. In short, Republicans could have looked at revising their playbook.

Not these folks. The first thing these Republicans did was get angry. Like assholes in the wrong always do, they looked for any out they could find. Introspection? Reflection? Yeah, right.

It is important to remember that this humiliation was personal. It was not just an organizational failure. Individual Republicans across the country had been gushing and fainting over Bush since his first term began. These were real people with real families. How were they going to explain to their children and grandchildren? Their party, their president, their Congress had wrecked the country. They themselves had laughed while people at their convention wore purple band-aids, mocking duly awarded military medals. They had swooned over George W. Bush in his cowboy hat as he drove his pickup around "the ranch." Republicans, in short, had made complete asses of themselves.

Enter the Tea Party. After finally and belatedly waking up at the economic switch and discovering that they had caused a catastrophe, the Republicans lost the election in 2008. The Republican Bush Fan Club—essentially their entire party—suddenly decided that Bush wasn't a Republican after all. In fact, neither were they. No one was a Republican. You say you are looking for the Republicans who caused all of this horrible damage to the country? Well, said the Republicans, we don't know this party of which you speak. What are Republicans? We are the Tea Party. We aren't responsible for what Republicans did. Who's George W. Bush?

The Tea Party dodge helped to throw off the bloodhounds, but then the Republicans had another problem. The Republican party still existed. It was their whole infrastructure. The Tea Party didn't have a single building, no checking accounts, no donor list, no elected officials under its banner. It was just a few travel trailers and some Founding Father kitsch provided by the Koch Brothers. Sooner or later Tea Partiers were going to have to be Republicans again.

It is kind of beautiful when you think about it. The most incompetent, most blameworthy, most idiotic Republicans dodged their identity as Republicans to become Tea Partiers. Then they came back and "took over" their party again. It wasn't the old Republican Party that had done all of those bad things to the country anymore, though. All that sin was washed away by the name change and the Uncle Sam costumes. The Republican party rose phoenix-like from the ashes. And all the old, bad ideas were now new and worse.

But they needed one more thing. They needed Obama to fail, and it was not because he was black. Republicans needed Obama to fail because Republicans had themselves failed so badly. America lost horribly under their leadership, and they were not about to let America win under someone else. It is as ugly and simple as that.

Rush Limbaugh said it clearly. He wanted Obama to fail. Mitch McConnell said it only slightly less clearly. Job number one for the Republicans was to make sure Obama was a one-term president.

Now would good Americans fail their country and then deliberately try to make sure no one else could succeed? Would good Americans take the country's economy hostage and play chicken with our national creditworthiness? Would good Americans put down American economic gains and business environment at every opportunity? I don't think so. Good Americans wouldn't do that.

Republican politicians would though. And, by the way, they want to run the country again.

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