Tag Archives: republican

The Obvious: Why have Republicans suddenly found religion on the national debt?

First, let’s start with the obvious:

From January 20, 2001 to January 20, 2009 the national debt increased from $5,727,776,738,304.64 to $10,626,877,048,913.08.  For those that still believe in arithmetic this is an 85% increase in the debt over the Bush administration’s term ((10,626,877,048,913.08 / 5,727,776,738,304.64) * 100) = 185% or an 85% increase).

From January 20, 2009 to today July 12, 2011 the national debt increased from $10,626,877,048,913.08 to $14,343,010,710,537.58.  This is a 35% increase in debt over President Obama’s term ((14,343,010,710,537.58 / 10,626,877,048,913.08) * 100) = 135% or a 35% increase).

Don’t take my word for it, check it out on the US Treasury Department site at: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np

So, in light of the simple math, why would anyone suggest that President Obama is big government and the Republicans are not?  This is patently absurd.  President Bush and the 6 year majority of Republicans  in the House of Representatives and the Senate went from the 4 year surplus that President Clinton left to record deficits and an 85% increase in the national debt.

No amount of groveling can erase this FACT so “man up” Repubs.

Myth 1: Republicans do not favor BIG Government.

Myth 2: Republicans favor tax cuts to create jobs.

Myth 3: Deregulation increases jobs

The first part of Myth 2 is true.  Bush cut the marginal tax rates across the income spectrum.  For those making over 1 million dollars a year the income taxed over $373,650 went from a marginal tax rate of 39.6% to 35%.  The lowest income bracket marginal tax rate went from 15% to 10%.  What is not true in Myth 2 is that the Bush tax cuts increased jobs.  It increased unemployment dramatically 98% as this post documents:


The national debt went up 85%.  We lost the four years of budget surplus that the Clinton administration gave us AND gained the stock market and mortgage market crashed as this post documents:


The deregulation of the financial industry, oil and gas and product safety (and almost every other government regulatory function) was a disaster.  The private sector, unregulated market for credit default swaps went from 900 billion to 30 trillion dollars under President Bush.  The financial collapse under President Bush was the result of a 30 trillion dollar unregulated market based on junk mortgages.

Now, after the first African-American president the Republicans deem as “socialist” has actually turned the Republican nightmare of the Bush years around, Republicans are popping out of the the wood work with newly found religion on the national debt.  Where were these disciples during the Bush years?  Could it be that spending was ok when a Republican was doing it, at least judging from the rhetorical decibel level of their party, and now that Democrats “have the checkbook” they are fuming with moral debt rage?  This is two-faced and hypocritical.  It is a laughable elitism that was deferred in part by Dick Armey’s creation of the TEA party.  It was smart to off-load the most intense Republican anger with the Bush administration with a thinly veiled, far right wing group that will still vastly vote Republican.  They can in effect be Republican in their voting habits but fantasize that they are neither Republican nor Democrat.

In any case, I am encouraged by the rising sentiment in the Republican ranks against absurd wars and wish they had joined us during the most costly wars started in the Bush administration.

Across the board, Republican ideology has failed to live up to its essential claims AND historically proven themselves to have opposite consequences.  Their counter claims about what Democrats do to the economy have also proven themselves to be fabrications and historically unfound…oh for the days of the budget surplus and the 4.7% unemployment rate of the Clinton administration. ..I would also take the 2% decrease of unemployment under President Obama to the 98% increase under President Bush.

The only way to understand how the Republicans have succeeded in their claims is to understand how “marketing” or better yet “propaganda” can be used effectively to control voters.  They are the masters of propaganda, revisionist history and sophistry.  Their ideology of “free market based” survival of the fittest gives them the latitude to employ these techniques freely.  Democrats are much less adept at these practices.  They have more resistance to lying and manipulation built into their ideology and are generally awful at it when they try.  If the Republicans succeed, the crony capitalism that results will be disastrous for the masses that gave them the votes to do it and the “middle class” will continue to disappear.

As for me, I still maintain that there are facts that are not private and some statements can be deemed more historically accurate than others.  I hope I am not in the minority.

Saving Social Security

The Republican budget proposal for 2010 correctly states, “Without reform, its Trust Fund will reach exhaustion in 2041; as a result, future retirees face across-the-board benefit cuts of up to 22 percent in that year.”  Their solution is in effect to reduce the primary benefit by 15% overall in increments of .25 percentage points per year over a number of years, in effect a reduction of benefits by 15%…

Reducing the 15-percent Primary Insurance Amount bracket by 0.25 percentage points per year, from the date at which SSA finds it cannot meet scheduled benefits within 5 years.

page 33 in pdf

On page 34 they further state,

This proposal is relatively modest compared with the magnitude of the Social Security challenge. But it will begin a process aimed at developing bipartisan reforms to ensure Social Security’s sustainability over the long term.

So, they admit this is a “modest” proposal.  What they are not saying is that they think further cuts in benefits will be required to save Social Security.

When Social Security was first devised the retirement age for full benefits was 65.  This was almost exactly the life expectancy for that time.  Life expectancy now is 77.9 years (National Center for Health Statistics).  I think that Social Security could be saved by doing the same kind of thing we do with Social Security Cost of Living adjustments.  If we tied the full benefit retirement age to the life expectancy number for those that have not yet starting paying into the system we would not have to reduce benefits and the original intent of the trust fund could be preserved.

One caveat, Social Security was never designed to be a full retirement package.  In those days private company pension plans were common.  That does not really exist anymore.   However, I think we probably should look at Social Security as a safety net not a ‘be all end all’.  I think we can also significantly help seniors on the Medicare front but I will put that in another post…

So my Social Security goal would, in effect, meet the 22% reduction requirement by 2041. 

Wars Started by Republicans Including Vietnam

Eisenhower, Republican, started the Vietnam war and spent a huge amount of money (for the time) on covert operations…it just takes a little research to shoot down most of the Republican myths on the internet.  I would use the word “lie” instead of “misstatement” but I do not think they know better so it is not an overt lie…

 November 1, 1955 — President Eisenhower deploys the Military Assistance Advisory Group to train the ARVN (South Vietnamese Army). This marks the official beginning of American involvement in the war as recognized by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 


Here are more wars started by Republicans (I am not implying all were wrong)…

American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln, Republican; First fought to preserve the Union(the right to secede is still debated to this day) later to end slavery.

Korea(1876); Ulysses S. Grant, Republican; Called Choson at the time, the country attacked and destroyed an American Navy Vessel. The war was fought with similar motives as Perry’s visit with Japan.

Spanish-American War and Phillipine Insurrection: William McKinley, Republican; American Naval Ship Maine sent to monitor alleged mistreatment of the civilians of Cuba and protect American economic interests. The ship was destroyed and the press (the real instigators of the war)of the time placed the now doubtful blame on the Spanish. US fought the war to free Cuba. McKinley announced that giving the Filipinos Independence outright would be like simply handing them over the Germans or Japanese(because of the geographic position) and harm American economic Interests.

Nicaragua: Calvin Coolidge, Republican; Like Haiti the objective was stabilization.

Grenada: Ronald Reagan, Republican; When a Communist government took over the country, it persecuted the American college students studying there.

Panama, Persian Gulf War Operation Restoring Freedom: George HW Bush, Republican; Noriega, leader of Panama was charged with drug traffickingand through Noriega’s power, Panama would declare war(Though retaining the Canal is alleged to be the real motive). Persian Gulf War was fought to Liberate Kuwait from Iraq and protect Saudi Arabia from an Invasion(also to protect oil interests). Troops were sent to Somalia to assist in the feeding the hungry after guerrillas shot up UN aid convoys.

Afghanistan and Iraq: George W. Bush, Republican; Invasion of Afghanistan was the result of the Taliban ruled government’s refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden. Iraq’s invasion is still under debate.

The Odd Thing about the Tea Party

There is something odd about the tea party that I have not been able to pin down until now. The Tea Party is “mad as hell and ain’t gonna take it no more”. I see these older white folks talking about armed revolution and it makes me chuckle. Could you see gray haired, overweight revolutionaries being mowed down by the military? This sounds like a Monty Python skit to me. Anyway, the really funny thing is that these folks are demonstrating to conserve. There is an oxymoron knotted in this thought. The thought of ‘conserving’ is to continue the status quo. Traditionally, conservatives do not want too much change. They support establishment candidates that are not going to rock the boat. It would be ludicrous to demonstrate to stay the same. It would be like painting legs on a snake, a koan. These folks are using the thought ‘conserve’ to covertly introduce a radical agenda.

They do not want to conserve. They want to push an elitist, marginally violent (for now), questionably racist, quasi anarchistic agenda. They all came out of the conservative Republican ranks so they think of themselves as conservatives but they have not worked out the ideological specificities of their own anger. If they really wanted to conserve they would stay in the Republican Party and vote for the ‘true’ conservatives (whatever that is). These folks say they are ‘true’ patriots and ready to spill blood to prove it. Their deacto flag is the American Revolutionary flag that states, “Don’t Tread on Me”. They quote Thomas Jefferson, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” They rarely state the rest of the quote but it is the part that I agree with about the Tea Party, “It is it’s natural manure.” They think of themselves as extreme patriots. They do not think they are racists as they find that position untenable but they make ‘rational’ claims and ‘mere’ jokes about Islamics, women and blacks. Personally, I am all too happy to see them tear the Republican Party to pieces. However, when they find out they do not want to conserve but overthrow traditional conservatives it will be interesting to see how far they will go with their lassie faire capitalism. They are against taxes because they see that their standard of living is going down and they blame it on the liberals. Many of the ingredients are in play for the dictionary definition of fascism.

Only one thing is lacking – a vibrant, charismatic leader. After World War 1 the Germans saw their standard of living go down and blamed it on the Versailles Treaty that ended the war. They saw ‘illegal immigrants’ and ethnic groups such as the Jews as the source of their plight. They still maintained their extreme nationalism after World War 1. Hitler seized the moment and played on their angry emotions. He rightly divined undercurrents that were making the Germans angry as hell and gave those emotions voice and clarity. He played up the ethnic antagonisms and voiced the ‘rational’ concerns of their anger. Like Sarah Palin, he spoke in thinly veiled terms of violence (i.e., locked and loaded, cleaning their guns, scope crosshairs, etc.). He played on the Germans anger with their current government and advocated throwing the bums out. He made the current German government the enemy which is not a conservative inclination. He appealed to the ‘true’ German national. He focused their anger on the liberals of his day the socialists and the communists (contrary to the obscurantism and revisionist history of Jonah Goldberg). He used the corporatism of his day to finance his campaign. There were some differences. He did not play on religious values as his megalomania would not allow it (although he did fan nationalism into a religious zeal). He gave the Germans a revisionist history of themselves.

I do not know if the Tea Party would follow this route even if a Hitler type came along but the Tea Party does need to clarify its ideology and unify its goal. They are ripe for the picking and these folks are not scholars. They distrust ‘liberal’ universities and to the contrary trust the antithesis in folks like Sarah Palin. I think the fascist tendency in this country has been redefined, revised, made virtuous and put lipstick on but the stench has been apparent since Reagan and growing. Fascism is really violent hate disguised. With a little push like a lower standard of living and a vibrant spokesperson it could grow legs. I hope that this is not the case. In any case, on the positive side, these folks will tear the Republican Party to pieces and if, as I have long thought, the religious element checks out the Republicans will be introduced to what the Democrats have been dealing with for decades, plurality.

The Democrats Filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Performed Southern Lynching

Next time you hear this please do NOT let them get away from the “rest of the story”.  Both statements above are true.  After the Civil War, Southerners hated Republicans (remember Lincoln).  They also fought against blacks in the Civil War.  The Union used Northern blacks and Southern blacks that escaped slavery.  This is why Southerners were Democrats after the Civil War in large numbers.  In 1964, the Dixiecrats (Southern Democrats) hated integration (remember busing).  They opposed Civil Rights in large numbers.  The real issue with Civil Rights was NOT Democrat versus Republican – it was North versus South.   See the numbers folks: http://mixermuse.com/blog/2009/12/15/of-all-the-varieties-of-virtues-liberalism-is-the-most-beloved-aristotle/ .

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Dixiecrats joined the Republican Party in mass.  Why do you think they did this?  They found their true ideological home with the Republicans.  The big, bad, evil Federal Government was forcing their kids to go to school with blacks.  Many states in the South are still very Republican.  If Civil Rights happened today without everything that has happened since 1964, the Republicans in the South would oppose it.  They might know how to keep their mouth shut now but speaking as one from Louisiana, the Dixiecrats are Republican now and have learned to keep their bigotry to themselves.

The Greater Good and Scott Roeder

It seems to me that anti-abortion folks have an untenable position if they hold to the idea that some killing is ok.  I have debated abortion with many anti-choice folks.  I have never found one yet that took the position that killing any human for any reason was wrong.  Scott Roeder took the position that killing was ok in the case of self-defense or to protect “unborn children”.  Most anti-abortion folks will not go along with killing someone to protect “unborn children”.   However, most anti-abortion folks do believe in the concept of a “just war” and capital punishment.  In both of these cases they believe that it is ok for humans to kill others. 

In their view, God is good.  God is served in the case of a “just war” or capital punishment.  Therefore, killing in the case of a “just war” or capital punishment is the greater good – the greater good not by man’s standards but by God’s standards.  Many anti-abortion folks that have been around the block tend to resist arguing their point on purely religious grounds since they have been burned too many times with that argument.  They tend to take the emotional bashing, shame and pity method to make their point.   Nevertheless, when push comes to shove, their beliefs are really grounded in their religion.  In any case, the “greater good” argument works whether they are atheists are theists.  Since they believe that a greater good is served by a “just war” or capital punishment, the question is, “Why isn’t the greater good served by murdering an abortion doctor – if you believe that a fetus is a baby?”  How would you draw the line at saying killing an abortion doctor is wrong yet killing is ok in the case of a “just war” or capital punishment? 

I suppose if you are a theist you could maintain that the former is not God’s will while the latter is.  This argument will show itself to have more “subtleties” as in the case of Judas Iscariot cited further down.  So God appears to be more interested in killing “unjust” folks whether in war or in crime.  However, if you think that killing “babies” is murder, wouldn’t you also believe that it is “unjust”?  I suppose that if you question why one “unjust” act justifies humans killing humans but another “unjust” act does not, the theist would proclaim that we cannot know the mind of God.  But if we cannot know the mind of God how can they know the mind of God?  Well, they would say “faith”.  At this point nothing is left to be said since to question this “faith” means that you have no faith or at least not the “correct” faith.  In any case, it appears that there are various shades of faith. 

Scott Roeder’s faith told him it was ok to murder Dr. George Tiller.  The anti-abortion mainstream would disavow this type of faith and wash their hands of it (remind you of Pontius Pilate).  However, by intentionally slicing the kinds of faith so thin, don’t they share some complicity in this?  I have heard many of them (including Rod Dreher) write that they are not heartbroken by the death of Dr. George Tiller but condemn the action of Scott Roeder.  They have a very tight line to walk.  Ultimately, it can only be defended by appealing to their correct “faith”.  My question is. “How is this different from radical, violent Islam?”  They believe that they have the correct “faith” as well.  If everything boils down to the right “faith” then on the surface of it there is absolutely no difference. 

Here is another point – if you believe that Iraq or Afghanistan was wrong then you are in effect saying that those wars were not “just wars” and that your vote for the Republicans and President Bush was complicit in killing unjustly – or, murder (see http://mixermuse.com/blog/2010/01/02/nearly-every-member-of-congress-voted-for-intervention-in-iraq/ ).  As anti-choice, the only way to justify your vote for President Bush is to insist that both wars were just.  This would also include all the post-born women and children that were killed in these wars which no one would contest are not human and that the vast majority was innocent and killed unjustly.  I suppose this also would boil down to not having the correct knowledge of God.  The point is, once one starts down this road the fine distinctions get finer and finer.  When a person like Scott Roeder can’t get too fine with his logical prowess he just believes that he is exercising his faith by killing Dr. Tiller.  He thinks he is simply braver with his faith than most Christians.  He has all kinds of rationalizations about his virtuous motives.  Most Christians that disavow his action would also suggest that God can use evil for his glory as in the case of Judas Iscariot.   

Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ.  Here is what the Bible says concerning Judas:

I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me’.  John 13:18

While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.  John 17:12

 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.  The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”  Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”  Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”  Mathew 26:23-25

But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.  The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.  Luke 22: 21-22

Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.  Mathew 27:9-10

and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus  Acts 1:16

“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms, ” ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, ” ‘May another take his place of leadership.  Acts 1:20

Judas was condemned for betraying Jesus and yet he was fulfilling the will of God.  This is how many anti-choice folks view the act of Scott Roeder. 

It seems to me that at some point we have to just state that “faith” and rationality contradict each other and “faith” wins at the cost of logic.  Even Kierkegaard who thought that faith was the absolute passion of pinning your eternal happiness on the contradiction of the God-Man would not pitch faith against logic.  He would simply suggest that logic is irrelevant for faith.  The square is not a circle in faith; it is just not relevant to that distinction.  However, in the case I am making, faith must conquer rationality and deem logic illogical by the “logic” of faith so the square is a circle.  Faith is another kind of logic that can contradict logic.  It is sort of like saying A is not A because of B.  If you have faith in B then your argument is proved correct.  However, many folks do not hear the voice of God in this proposition – only the confusion of man.

Christians still kill the innocent unjustly and still condemn those that they think do the same.  I believe this is the definition of a hypocrite.  It also shares a nasty complicity in the evil it condemns as the prophecy of God also shares an insidious role in the betrayal of Christ.  Thus, it seems to me that the violent history that marks the history of Christianity, the hatred of the inquisition, the genocide of the crusades still yells much louder in the anti-abortionists than the words of their Christ, “The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.  Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.”  Luke 11:34-35

Republican Spin

“Perception is everything” appears to be the organizing paradigm of modern political campaigns in the US.  Technology and capital have combined into the perfect storm for managing perception.  Perceptions thrust into the early years of technology kept the Republicans largely out of office for decades after FDR and the Great Depression.  Republicans were portrayed as the elitist party of the rich.  They were opposed to the plight of the average working guy.  In the seventies with the economy worsening and gas lines growing long the Republicans saw the chance to grab the reins of perception.  Instead of the perception of concern for the working man in a time of economic affluence the Republicans saw that the economic reality of a weakening economy was a perfect moment to launch their perception of tax and spend.  The Democrats were not the party of the working man.  They opposed the working man by spending frivolously and even selfishly.  The Democrats were the true elitists.  However, the underlying necessary condition that allowed this perception its oxygen was a changing economic reality.  In a time of affluence, social programs are a plus in political marketing.  When money is not a concern it is easy to spend, to create images of ourselves as holy, caring, giving.   However, when economic needs start dominating the day to day experience of voters, the time is ripe for creating the perception that tax and spend liberals are to blame, leftist elitists bent on nothing other than benefiting themselves at the cost of the common Joe.   The Republicans seized the perceptional opportunity with Ronald Reagan and controlled the perceptions and dialogs for decades.  They cloaked their conservative ideology in the modern garbs of egalitarianism and the working Joe’s fight against the liberal elite.  Liberal, the “L” word was profane. 

Now, the managed perception of Republican ideology has become fat and ripe for takeover.  Economic realities have again given an occasion ripe for perception’s paradigm shift.  The elite have now become the ones in power, the ones to blame, the party of the elite.  The true Republican believers have fled into the concaves of their historical, conservative ideology and left the neo-cons to fend for themselves.  The righteous indignation of the true conservatives is set to blast the folks that enabled their political domination.  While Republicans were all too happy to get votes and cater to their perceptual electorate, they also discovered that managing perception came with a cost.  It cost them their conservative soul.  Now that they appear soulless, bereft of new ideas, bearing the burden of the image of fault and elitism they have retreated.  Those that are the party faithful have hunkered down into their ideological roots to regroup and try to re-forge an image for another day, an opportunist day.  Conservatives are looking at perhaps decades in the perceptual doldrums.  The smart ones know it.  The last desperate screams of the dying McCain campaign are shrill and are now working to dismantle the last bastions of their credibility.  As many Joe’s are saying, “If a Republican’s lips are moving they are lying”.

What shows itself in this spectacle is that “perception is not everything”, perception is an opportunistic infection of economic reality.  When reality happens the managers of perception lose.  They are ripe for takeover.  When “management” begins to believe its own propaganda it loses touch with the shifting sands of reality beneath their feet.  However, necessity requires that “Joes” keep a healthy stand in underlying realties, that they do not take the manufactured perceptions too seriously and, when perceptions grow thin, the perceptual power brokers find they are touch with their own economic realities.