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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: PA
Member since: Wed May 11, 2005, 09:48 PM
Number of posts: 10,671

About Me

I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.

Journal Archives

Deficit shrinks in the first year of Joe Biden's presidency

Defncit shrinks in the first year of Joe Biden's presidency
When it comes to the deficit, we've endured a consistent pattern for four decades. As the deficit shrinks in the Biden era, the pattern remains intact.

It starts with a Republican presidential candidate denouncing the deficit and vowing to balance the budget if elected. That Republican then takes office, abandons interest in the issue, and expresses indifference when the deficit becomes vastly larger. Then a Democrat takes office, at which point GOP lawmakers who didn't care at all about the deficit suddenly decide it's a critical issue that the new center-left president must immediately prioritize.

During the Democratic administration, the deficit invariably shrinks — a development Republicans tend to ignore — at which point the entire cycle starts over with a new round of national GOP candidates denouncing the deficit and vowing to balance the budget if elected.


That was plainly true. The White House and congressional Republicans swore up and down in late 2017 that they could slash taxes for the wealthy and big corporations without increasing the deficit because, as they repeatedly insisted, "tax cuts pay for themselves." We didn't need additional evidence that their ridiculous belief was, and is, wrong, but the evidence soon followed anyway.

And then, of course, the pandemic hit, at which point the deficit reached record levels.

The latest data shows the deficit shrinking once more, just in time for GOP officials and candidates to start pretending to care about the issue again.

Why journalists are failing the public with 'both-siderism' in political coverage

Why journalists are failing the public with ‘both-siderism’ in political coverage

American politics has changed dramatically since my post-Watergate generation of journalists began covering the story. Political journalism hasn’t kept up.

For years it was easy to cover “both sides” — Republicans and Democrats — as equally worthy, and blameworthy, partners in democracy. While we reporters had come of age as witnesses to the unprecedented resignation of a Republican president who’d tried to corrupt the institutions of government to affect an election — imagine! — what remained was a Republican Party still capable of a creditable role in a healthy two-party system. After all, Richard M. Nixon was forced to resign when congressional leaders of his party began abandoning him. Again, imagine that, Kevin McCarthy.

Now, when reporters or pundits use the words “both sides” in regard to some political problem, I stop reading or listening.

I started to chafe at false equivalence a quarter-century ago, as a congressional reporter amid Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution. One party — his — was demonstrably more responsible for the nasty divisiveness, government gridlock and norm-busting, yet journalistic pressure to produce seemingly “balanced” stories — pressure both ingrained and imposed by editors — prevented reporters from sufficiently reflecting the new truth.

By 2012, as President Obama dealt with the willful obstructionists, conspiracists and racists of an increasingly radicalized Republican Party, political scientists and long-respected Washington watchers Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein put the onus for the dysfunction squarely on the GOP in their provocative book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks.” Significantly, they implicated journalists: “A balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon is a distortion of reality and a disservice to your consumers.”


Democrats can’t be expected to deal with these guys like they’re on the level. Nor should journalists cover them as if they are.

I read an article in the NYT this morning...

authored by a bunch of so called "moderate repubs" about joining forces with conservative Democrats to vote to keep the Q's from winning Congress back in the midterms. They say they want to protect the country from extremists in both parties. To me it's classic bothsiderism, there is no comparison between the wingnuts on the right and our progressive lawmakers. To top it off they say they respect and admire McTurtle. That was it for me, they can't be be taken seriously if that is what they want to end up going back to.

And then I saw Christie Whitman on Air Melber's show and she spewed the same bothsiderism talking points. So before we join with the people that brought us this madness we better be sure what we would be getting into.

The three biggest and least accountable power centers in America

The three biggest and least accountable power centers in America
The Supreme Court, the Fed, and Big Tech increasingly shape our lives but are less and less answerable to us

Every morning this week I’ve opened up the news and read stories about the Supreme Court (whose term began Monday), the Fed (and whether it will start responding to inflation by raising interest rates), and Facebook (which a whistle-blower claimed intentionally seeks to enrage and divide Americans in order to generate engagement and ad revenue).

The common thread is the growing influence of these three power centers over our lives, even as they’re becoming less accountable to us. As such, they present a fundamental challenge to democracy.

1. Start with the current Supreme Court. What’s the underlying issue?

Don’t for a moment believe the Supreme Court bases its decisions on neutral, objective criteria. I’ve argued before it and seen up close that justices have particular (and differing) ideas about what’s good for the country. So it matters who they are and how they got there.

A majority of the current nine justices – all appointed for life -- were put there by presidents who lost the popular vote (George W. and Trump); three by a president who instigated a coup.

Yet they are about to revolutionize American life in ways most Americans don’t want. This new court, whose term began this week, seems ready to overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that anchored reproductive rights in the 14th Amendment; declare a 108-year-old New York law against carrying firearms unconstitutional; and strip federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency of the power to regulate private businesses. And much more.

Only 40 percent of the public now approves of the Supreme Court’s performance, a new low. If the justices rule in ways anticipated, that number will drop further. If so, expect renewed efforts to expand the court’s size and limit the terms of its members.

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