Archive for December, 2014

You really have to wonder what kind of depraved individual feels the need to smear Michael Brown, even in death, with video that falsely claims to depict him. I mean, Michael Brown is dead. Darren Wilson will not be charged with a crime. Having achieved the result that they wanted, you would think conservatives would have such superior moral standing in their beliefs and positions that they wouldn’t feel the need to further lie about a dead man, black or white.

The latest conservative lie making the rounds is a video that purportedly shows Brown assaulting an older black man in order to steal his backpack. It isn’t Brown. We shouldn’t be surprised, as conservatives also lied about Brown’s arrest record, the supposed injuries Wilson received at the hands of Brown, and posted alleged photos of Brown that turned out to be other people.

Open question to conservatives: Why do you lie about something like this?

Of course, now that they’re caught, conservatives will scurry away from their claim that the video is Michael Brown, claiming they were merely asking the question. It’s the best recovery they have, I guess, but it is clear to anyone with an ounce of morality that these same conservatives lack morals of their own, no matter how loudly they assert their claims of superiority.

As 2014 comes to an end, Republicans around the country should be rejoicing in the amazing track record of President Obama, who has accomplished the 2012 Republican presidential candidates’ agendas far faster than they themselves promised they would have!

From Steven Benen:

* The Romney Standard: Mitt Romney said during the 2012 campaign that if Americans elect him, he’d get the unemployment rate down to 6% by 2016. Obama won anyway and the unemployment rate dropped below 6% two years faster.

* The Gingrich Standard: Newt Gingrich said during the 2012 campaign that if Americans re-elected the president, gas prices would reach $10 per gallon, while Gingrich would push gas down to $2.50 a gallon. As of this morning, the national average at the pump is a little under $2.38.

* The Pawlenty Standard: Tim Pawlenty said trillions of dollars in tax breaks would boost economic growth to 5% GDP. Obama actually raised taxes on the wealthy and GDP growth reached 5% anyway.

Fantastic job, Mr. President!

Of course, sadly for Republicans, their own agenda was achieved via some, er, um, unorthodox methods (at least to them). I mean, President Obama and Congress allowed most of the Bush tax cuts to expire, and taxes even increased for the very richest among us.

Republican members of Congress spent much of the beginning of 1993 warning that raising taxes on the rich would destroy the economy.

“It will kill jobs, kill businesses, and yes, kill even the higher tax revenues that these suicidal tax increasers hope to gain,” Rep. Christopher Cox said.

And cut to the best job growth of the century — over 22 million jobs — and the first budget surplus in generations.

Of course, the nineties were an anomaly, with the end of the Cold War and the government’s decades-long investment in the internet suddenly paying off exponential returns. You can’t expect those kinds of returns again.

Cut to 2013, when President Obama’s re-election allowed most of the Bush tax breaks to expire with Republicans making similar warnings.

The result? Well, it wasn’t the best job creation of the century – yet. The 2,331,000 jobs created in 2013 was shy of 2005’s 2,506,000, which was fueled by the tens of billions of dollars the Bush Administrations flushed into defense and Homeland Security. I’d argue that 2013’s job growth could have beaten 2005 if not for Congress allowing a payroll tax to expire as the sequester went into effect. And don’t forget the how the GOP shut down the government for no discernible purpose.

In 2014, taxes again went up on those in the top percentiles to fund the Affordable Care Act. And with that money we were able to help 10 million Americans gain health insurance.

The result? According to the Labor Department, 2014 has already surpassed 2005 as the best year of job growth this century with 2,650,000 jobs projected to have been created through November.

Democratic policies that ask the rich to invest in our economy is the only way we ever created middle class jobs and it pays off for the rich.

“The U.S. economy not only grows faster, according to real GDP and other measures, during Democratic versus Republican presidencies, it also produces more jobs, lowers the unemployment rate, generates higher corporate profits and investment, and turns in higher stock market returns,” Princeton University professors Mark W. Watson and Alan Blinder have found. “Indeed, it outperforms under almost all standard macroeconomic metrics.”

Then there’s the terrible reality that the economy is growing despite the fact that millions of Americans are obtaining health care for the first time. In fact, I have conservative relatives who hate ObamaCare so much that they complain about the bureaucratic hoops they had to jump through to obtain the subsidies that allowed them to actually afford health care. The horror!

And let’s not even get started with all those “job killing” regulations that Americans are swimming in. Yes, we would all have been better off letting the Republican president slow things down in the name of ideology.

UPDATE

And let’s not forget the stock market. The Dow passed 18,000 a few days ago, which brings to mind the words of former George W. Bush adviser Michael Boskin, who on Mar. 6, 2009 penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow.” As Matt O’Brian writes in the Washington Post:

Boskin, though, didn’t think that this once-in-three-generations financial crisis was to blame for the market meltdown. Instead, he blamed it on Obama for … talking about raising taxes? “It’s hard not to see the continued sell-off on Wall Street and the growing fear on Main Street,” Boskin philosophized, “as a product, at least in part, of the realization that our new president’s policies are designed to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy.” What followed was the usual conservative jeremiad against higher taxes on the rich, lower taxes on the poor, and deficit spending. Obama’s trying to turn us into Europe, and that’s why markets are pricing in the possibility of a Great Depression—not the dying economy he inherited.

Stocks bottomed on March 9, three days after the op-ed, as the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying and the Treasury’s stress tests restored confidence in the financial system. Then the stimulus started to kick in, putting enough of a floor under the economy that it began growing again that summer. It’s been a nasty, brutish, and long recovery, but unemployment is finally back under 6 percent and the economy is now growing at its fastest pace in over a decade.

Add it all up, and Obama’s radicalism has killed the Dow to the tune of a 171 percent return since Boskin’s op-ed.

So in his last days as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Darrell Issa chose Christmas week to release the committee’s report regarding the so-called IRS scandal, which according to Issa was a conspiracy in the White House to punish conservatives. Well, no, it wasn’t.

In many ways, this has been such a delightful week. Gasoline prices are low. The economy is growing at the rate of five percent. The stock market is high. Darrell Issa admitted he’s a fraud. I’m just shocked that none of this has made it onto the conservative websites. Shocked, I tell ya.

Issa released a 226 page “report” that contained cherry-picked excerpts from interviews, guesses, assumptions, and conspiracy theories.

The big takeaway from the report is that Issa found no connection to the White House in the IRS scandal. Here is a sample of the kind of guesswork and assumptions that fill the report. On page 161, “Other documents suggest that the IRS may even have aided Democrat legislators in partisan policy initiatives. For example, as Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) engaged in a lengthy correspondence with the IRS about section 501(c)(4) organizations in 2012, IRS personnel assisted his staff by providing information for some of the letters. In one e-mail, with the subject “[w]orking on the next letter,” Senator Levin’s staff sought answers from the IRS about its treatment of six applications, including Crossroads GPS, American Action Network, and the Club for Growth.”

The documents suggest that maybe the IRS could have been working with Democrats.

Issa’s report is such a failure that the main takeaway from it is that California conspiracy theorist Republican couldn’t find any connection to the White House. The New York Times reported, “An 18-month congressional investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s mistreatment of conservative political groups seeking tax exemptions has failed to show coordination between agency officials and political operatives in the White House, according to a report released on Tuesday.”

In over 200 pages, the Republicans could not find one piece of concrete evidence that the White House had anything to do with IRS’s behavior. Issa rejected all evidence that progressive groups were also targeted, and he continues to ignore the reason that the IRS targeted the 501(c) groups. The conservative groups were breaking the law by asking to tax-exempt status despite the fact that they were engaging in partisan political activity.

The IRS should have been targeting the groups because they were trying to get out of paying taxes. Issa’s own report confirms that there was no White House conspiracy. Obama wasn’t using the IRS to hold down conservatives. Issa was lying. He refuses to release the full transcripts of the interviews. The full evidence reveals that there is nothing to the IRS conspiracy theory. That is why Darrell Issa refuses to make all of the interview transcripts public.

Darrell Issa spent two years as chairman of the Oversight Committee trying to get Obama. In the end, Issa fell flat on his face, and his years of conspiracy theory went up in flames.

The Blame Game

Posted: December 21, 2014 by watsonthethird in Conservative Hypocrisy, Current Events
Tags: , , ,

In the immediate wake of the horrific assassination of two New York City police officers yesterday, conservatives have been quick to lay the blame at the feet of everyone from NYC mayor Bill De Blassio to Al Sharpton to President Obama. Pretty much anyone and everyone except for the killer himself.

Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones this morning:

Fair enough. But I assume this means we can blame Bill O’Reilly for his 28 episodes of invective against “Tiller the Baby Killer” that eventually ended in the murder of Wichita abortion provider George Tiller by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder. We can blame conservative talk radio for stoking the anti-government paranoia that led Timothy McVeigh to bomb a federal building in Oklahoma City. We can blame the relentless xenophobia of Fox News for the bombing of an Islamic Center in Joplin or the massacre of Sikh worshippers by a white supremacist in Wisconsin. We can blame the NRA for the mass shootings in Newtown and Aurora. We can blame Republicans for stoking the anti-IRS paranoia that prompted Andrew Joseph Stack to crash a private plane into an IRS building in Austin, killing two people. We can blame the Christian Right for the anti-gay paranoia that led the Westboro Baptist Church to picket the funeral of Matthew Snyder, a US Marine killed in Iraq, with signs that carried their signature “God Hates Fags” slogan. We can blame Sean Hannity for his repeated support of Cliven Bundy’s “range war” against the BLM, which eventually motivated Jerad and Amanda Miller to kill five people in Las Vegas after participating in the Bundy standoff and declaring, “If they’re going to come bring violence to us, well, if that’s the language they want to speak, we’ll learn it.” And, of course, we can blame Rudy Giuliani and the entire conservative movement for their virtually unanimous indifference to the state-sanctioned police killings of black suspects over minor offenses in Ferguson and Staten Island, which apparently motivated the murder of the New York police officers on Saturday.

Or wait. Maybe we can’t do any of those things. Maybe lots of people support lots of things, and we can’t twist that generalized support into blame for maniacs who decide to take up arms for their own demented reasons. Maybe that’s a better idea after all.

The louder the conservative, the more partisan and hypocritical. Remember how much they resented any insinuation that Sarah Palin’s rhetoric incited and informed Jared Lee Loughner, who attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabby Giffords, killing six others in the process? I understand. It was wrong then. It’s wrong now.