Friday, May 31, 2013

Erick Erickson Isn't Just a Misogynist, He's Also A Luddite

I'm sure by now you're all familiar with Fox News contributor,  Erick Erickson's idiotic comments about evil female breadwinners. While Erick is (rightfully) being thrashed by people all across the intertubes for his non-misogyny, I want to make sure we don't overlook another one of his major character flaws:

“I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science,” Erickson explained. “But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.”

Yes, Erick feels completely comfortable lecturing liberals about science. You know science, right? That oh so coveted and revered subject by all right-wingers.

Here's Mr. Erickson last year, being all sadfaced that the media was picking on poor Marco Rubio for thinking the Earth was created in only a few thousand years:

Marco Rubio is getting beaten up by the press for not decisively and convincingly saying he thinks the world is billions of years old. The press gave Barack Obama a pass for largely the same answer. This issue has become the new litmus test in the media for conservative politicians. Believing what was believed to be literally true for a few thousand years is now nutty.

Yeah, what's the big deal anyway? It's not like something could be ever proven to be wrong via new information or technology or anything.  
Christian homeschool kids, often taught that the world is not as old as some believe and who routinely kick the rear ends of the ivy prep kids in academics, are considered stupid.
 Imagine that.

 Erick doesn't appear to score very highly when it comes to geology, but let's see if he fares any better at biology:

I reject evolution for the sake of evolution and reject that life on this planet, let alone the existence of this universe, is some random act. I reject that we are little better than the animals we evolved from because I reject that we evolved from anything other than God’s own mind. We were created in his image. We did not evolve into it. The only people certain in their belief on this matter are those who accept theory as fact and Truth as mythology.

Guess not.

To wrap things up, here are a few other things Mr. Erickson actually believes in:
Yes, I believe there was an Adam and I believe there was an Eve.

Yes, I believe there were two cities named Sodom and Gomorrah and yes I do believe they were destroyed
for rampant sin including deviating from God’s intentions sexually.

Yes, I believe there was a man named Noah who spent 100 years building a giant boat and I do believe there was a great flood and the survivors of which were all on that boat.

And yes, I do believe there was a man named Jonah who was swallowed up by a great big fish and survived.

Yeah....I'm gonna have to say that, as one of the major opinion leaders of a party that's still coming to terms with that whole Enlightenment Era thing,  Erick really needs to never, ever make an appeal to science when trying to justify his hatred for women.

*Okay, to be fair, Erick does (grudgingly) say that he believes the Earth is indeed billions of years old. All those years at CNN clearly weakened his resolve.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oh, Joe...

From Joe the (unlicensed) Plumber:

The world has always been a dangerous place but when the President of the United States can’t see his way to send US Marines to Benghazi when our consulate is under attack and our Ambassador has been murdered but he has no problem having Marines hold an umbrella for him, it’s getting more and more dangerous every day.

Forcing a marine to hold an umbrella instead of sending him to engage in a firefight? Have you no shame, Mr. so-called "President"?!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Peggy Noonan Thinks IRS-gate Is Worse Than Iran-Contra

On Friday, an increasingly senile Peggy Noonan penned an op-ed on the Wall Street Journal, reminding everyone that the IRS scandal that occurred on Obama's watch was the worst thing ever done by any administration. Ever.

Today, Nooners was invited to the set of Meet the Press, where I figured she would tone it down a bit since the ambiance would be slightly less friendly than the editorial pages of the WSJ. Seems I was mistaken. Noonan actually doubled down on the batshit. After reading a passage from her piece, David Gregory surprisingly brought down the hammer:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Gregory: I have to say, Peggy. What you don't talk about here is an administration for a man you worked for, who led the Iran-Contra scandal where they ran a secret war and lied to congress and all the rest - overstatement here?

Noonan: I don't think so. I think this is what is going on right now is all three of these scandals makes a cluster that implies some very bad things about the forthcomingness of the administration, and about it's ability to, at certain dramatic points, do the right thing. And I gotta tell you, the - everyone can argue which of these things is most upsetting. But this IRS thing is something I've never seen in my lifetime.

 Oh boy.

All right, let us review what happened with IRS-gate:

-Due to the flood of right wing 501 (c)(4) groups popping up during the 2012 election, some bureaucrats at the IRS thought an efficient way to sort them would be to target keywords like "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in their names.
-However, they did not provide the same type of scrutiny for left wing groups, which hurts the IRS's reputation for being nonpartisan.
-Yet, despite what they did, the IRS did not revoke the tax-exempt status of ANY Tea Party group. In fact, one of the groups that did have it revoked were associated with Democrats.

Got that? This definitely was a bad thing, and needs to be addressed to make sure it doesn't happen again, but nothing more sinister beyond that. Now, let us review what happened with that little Iran-Contra thing:

-Weapons were sold to state sponsor of terrorism, Iran (you may have heard of the place) while there was an arms embargo at the time.
-This was done so that Reagan could free seven hostages held by Iranian terrorists in Lebanon (pro tip: negotiating with terrorists, as with many otherwise bad things, IOKIYAR).
-Profits from the sales were then diverted to fund the anti-communist, right-wing Contras in Nicaragua, which by the way, was also illegal.

Seriously, Peggy? You wanna argue IRS-gate was a bigger deal than this?

This is one of the really annoying things about the current political climate. As time goes on, the line between average conservative chain e-mail forwarder, and "respectable conservative commentator" gets blurrier by the day. Noonan is basically Michelle Bachmann on valium at this point.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If Only Conservatives Spent This Much Time Trying To Actually Help People

Over at the Washington Post, Sarah Kliff did a piece on what would happen if someone didn't pay the Obamacare tax penalty. The question was asked by a 61 year old conservative named "Gene", who is not a fan of Obamacare and has come up with a brilliant plan to really sock it to Obama:

Gene is a self-employed New Yorker  who currently purchases his own health insurance. He also is a strong opponent of Obamacare. And starting next year, Gene plans to drop his health coverage in express protest of the health law’s mandate.

“I will cancel my insurance the instant I can no longer be denied insurance for preexisting conditions,” Gene wrote in an e-mail Sunday night. “I will not fill out the special IRS form.”
 But how will Gene avoid paying the penalty?

If an individual does not carry insurance coverage and does not have exemptions, that’s where a tax penalty could come into play. In 2014, the health law includes a $95 penalty for not carrying health insurance. This penalty is administered by the Internal Revenue Service through the tax return system. In order to collect, the IRS will typically dock that amount from an individual’s tax return.

Gene has, however, already thought this issue through. He plans to adjust his “quarterly estimated payments to ensure I do not have a tax refund, which I understand to be the only source from which the IRS can extract any penalties that I refuse to pay voluntarily.”

 Very clever. Wait, I'm sorry, I meant "douchey".

So just to review, Gene apparently wants to drop his insurance once it becomes okay for him to buy insurance without the need to worry about pre-existing conditions, break the law by not buying insurance, making it impossible for himself to be then punished by the law, and then presumably buying insurance eventually when he gets sick.

Seriously, is there any better encapsulation of the teabagger mindset than this? I thought conservatives hated the idea of people gaming the system? 

Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean Gene's advocating that anyone actually do this (it's one of those thinking-out-loud hypothetical questions that conservatives often ask, like "What if Obama were assassinated?"). It's why he requested that Kliff not reveal his last name, though did request to include a link to his blog, which incidentally, does include his last name.

Wonder if Obamacare covers dementia...

Update: Turns out Gene Schwimmer, isn't any ordinary mouthbreather. He's written several articles for the ultra right-wing American Thinker, as well.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sorry, Conservatives. Reagan's Trickle-Down Powered Economy Wasn't As Awesome As You Think

I was watching a few old episodes of Real Time With Bill Maher the other day, many of which that had Wall Street Journal hack, Stephen Moore as a panelist. Moore, like all modern day conservatives, has this obnoxious habit of invoking the Reagan years as the bestest, most awesomest period of economic growth ever in the history of civilization, every time he appears on T.V. Being very skeptical of anything coming out of Moore's pork trap, I thought  I'd dig into the historical jobs numbers and see just how the great the Gipper's jobs record actually was.

To start off, we'll compare Reagan's record with the record of his immediate predecessor, Jimmy "History's greatest monster (until Obama showed up)" Carter. If you'll recall from every right winger in existence, Carter's record on the economy, just like his record on everything else, was abysmal. But how abysmal? Here's all the monthly jobs numbers from 1977 to 2000:

And here are the yearly net job gains/losses from 1997 - 1980:

1977:  3.96 million
1978: 4.26 million
1979:  1.995 million
1980:  267 thousand

Total: 10.48 million jobs.

So it appears Carter started off really strong during his first two years, and then things started slowing down during the last two. It's important to note that the top tax rate under Carter was a whopping 70% throughout all four years of his presidency. Did all the the job creators suddenly realize their tax rates were at 70% and decided to go on strike in 1979? Not exactly. That mainly had to do with the energy crisis that was going on at the time, which Carter didn't have much to do with. This ended up causing a recession that lasted a few years.

Now let's see how Lord Reagan fared:

1981:  -52 thousand
1982:  -2.128 million
1983: 3.454 million
1984: 3.877 million
1985: 2.500 million
1986: 1.897 million
1987: 3.150 million
1988: 3.237 million

Total: 15.94 million jobs.

So Reagan's first two years were pretty bad, but in fairness, those job losses can't be attributed to him, since he inherited a recession (I'm sure there's a bunch of conservatives equally generous enough to also give Obama a pass on inheriting his recession). But after 1982, things started looking pretty dang good. In fact, even I have to admit some of those numbers were far more impressive than I thought they'd be.

But, here's where it starts to get a little complicated. Whenever supply-siders talk about how Reagan cut taxes, they perform a little sleight of hand where they point out how Reagan cut taxes from 70% to 28%. This is technically correct, but they constantly, some would say intentionally, neglect to mention that it didn't occur all at once. So let's break it down.

In  August of 1981, Reagan signed into law his first big tax cut, that decreased the top marginal rate from 70% to 50%. As the first law of Supply Side Economics states: any time there's a cut in the top tax rate, job creation increases substantially compared to pre-tax cut rates. Well, any job creation didn't occur until way over a whole year after the tax cut was signed into law (first positive month of job growth came in January of 1983). So if this was supposed to take us out of the recession, it sure took a while. In fact, one could make an argument that the tax cut exacerbated the recession since way more jobs were lost immediately after the tax cut was enacted (if the economy started growing right away, you can bet your butts the Republicans would credit the tax cuts).

But it gets even more interesting because in September of 1982, the great tax cutter signed into law, what was called "the largest tax increase in American history". Supply-siders warned that this would deepen the recession, but of course, the economy started booming again a few months later. Some conservatives will quibble that this tax hike didn't touch marginal rates, so it's not a big deal. True, the revenue was generated not by increasing rates but by lowering some deductions, repealing other deductions that were scheduled to take place, and increasing excise taxes.

This may seem like a slightly compelling argument, but there's two problems I have with it. First, while it's true that conservatives generally value to protect marginal tax rates above all else, let's not sugar coat this: a tax is a tax is a tax. It would be one thing if these taxes were offset by tax cuts elsewhere, but they weren't.

But wait! Even including these hikes, wasn't the overall tax burden reduced?  Isn't that the only thing that matters?

I'm glad you asked! This brings me to the second law of trickle-down economics: Whenever a tax cut is enacted, that new rate then becomes the absolute maximum rate that the job creators will tolerate. Anything higher than that will result in catastrophic consequences for the economy.

In other words, in 1980, the top rate was 70%, and then in 1981 the top rate was 50%, therefore, taxes can never be higher than 50%. You cannot then raise it even to something like 51% using the argument that 51% is technically a smaller number than 70%. Sorry kids, it doesn't work that way in Conservaworld, and the same applies to limiting deductions. So those pretty sweet  jobs numbers in 1983 and 1984 should never have manifested. And yet they did. Hmm...

Anyway, moving along, job creation was still good, but slowed a bit in 1985 and 1986. It was then in 1986 that Reagan signed into law the most cherished law in all of Republicandom: his final tax cut, which brought the top marginal rate down to 28% (while the bottom rate increased from 11% to 15%.), a number not seen since the late 20s!

Republicans would no doubt gloat about how 1987 and 1988 showed great numbers. Indeed, 88 and 87 were better than 86 and 85...but notice how they were both lower than 83 and 84. And just to twist the dagger, did you also happen to notice that 87 and 88 had lower numbers than Carter's 77 and 78? For that matter, just to add a bit of salt, Reagan's 1983 and 84 were both lower than Carter's 77 and 78! Let that sink in. The greatest job creator in the history of civilization never had a better year (or two years) creating jobs than one of the worst presidents ever (in fact, Carter had the highest two years for job growth of any president ever!).

Shouldn't that be impossible?

Sure, Reagan presided over a great economy, but even if we attribute every single new job to his tax cuts, well they never showed any noticeable improvement (if there was any) compared to what was occurring before. Also, Carter only had one term, whereas Reagan had two.

And because this is so fun, let's also take a look at the record of the first Democratic president who sinned against the gods of Reaganomics:

1993: 2.810 million
1994:  3.844 million
1995: 2.157 million
1996: 2.810 million
1997: 3.391 million
1998: 3.014 million
1999: 3.170 million
2000: 1.944 million

23.14 million jobs.

Not bad, eh? And Clinton managed to accomplish this with a devastating 39.6% top tax rate every year of his presidency. Obviously, most of that growth was due to the internet boom, but once again, if we're to believe right-wing economics, such a boom should never have happened in the first place. Once Clinton enacted his tax hike, people like Stephen Moore cried that such a thing would be disastrous for the economy, and the job creators would all close up shop and move to China.

Clearly that didn't happen. Now, some conservatives will argue that the spending cuts and capital gains tax cut contributed to the boom. Sure, the possibility exists, I suppose. But 1) the boom was already well under way, and 2) this line of thinking leads down a very dangerous road. You could then start thinking of the possibilities of mixing tax cuts in one area with tax cuts in another, or spending cuts with tax hikes, and that would make the world a very, very scary place for conservatives.

I'm not even bother bringing up ole' Dubya, whose economy should have make Clinton's look like the Great Depression, if supply-side theory worked the way it was supposed to.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rush Limbaugh's Fascinating Theory On The Boston Bombers' Political Affiliation

It seems as time goes on, Rush Limbaugh delves deeper and deeper into conspiracy theory territory. Recently, on his radio show, he let out a doozy: the Boston bombers were (of course) Democrats.

Now, Rush associating anyone committing nearly any heinous crime with Democrats is nothing new. But what caught my attention was his utterly bizarre (even for Rush) rationale for why they were Democrats.

In the beginning of the video, Rush laments the fact that "all these people in the media" are apparently saying that the Boston bombers were driven to do what they did because of Bush's foreign policy. However, these same folks ignore the fact that Obama killed Bin Laden, who, in Rush's own words, was the "head honcho" of Islamic terrorism. Surely such an act would infuriate these people far more than anything Bush did in Iraq, Rush concludes.

So Rush is saying that the same people who attacked one of the most Demoratic cities, in one of the most Democratic states, cause a Democratic President killed the head of terrorist organization they really admire, are clearly, blatantly, and obviously Democrats themselves!

Well, on the plus side, at least he gave credit to Obama on something positive for once.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pat Boone Compares Republicans And Democrats To His Parents

It turns out that singing legend, Pat Boone, has not been the biggest fan of Chairman ObaMAO and his commie buddies in the Democrat party, and has made his disdain clear, many times. Recently, however, he decided to make a slightly more tactful attempt at criticism in article entitled "We'd All Better Become Conservative".

In the piece, Boone writes that he doesn't think Democrats are bad people, but rather good people who just happen to be really misguided. To make the point, he compares our two major political parties with his parents:

I’ve often thought of the Republican and Democrat parties in comparison to Daddy and Mama. Mama was unfailingly generous, always preparing big meals and letting us kids know we could bring our friends home for dinner, without even calling home for permission. She took in stray animals (and a few stray people) and sometimes asked Daddy if we could help some neighbor near us who was in need. And I would hear Daddy respond, “Margaret, I’m having trouble paying our own bills. If we keep trying to help everybody else, we’ll have to find somebody to help us!”

In my analogy, Mama was the “Democrat” and Daddy the “Republican.” Both are good hearted, caring people, but one was generous to a fault and  the other was trying to preserve the structure and live within our means, so we could survive as a family!

Lots of goodies to dissect here:

1) Is it just me, or do conservatives come off as even bigger assholes when they pretend to be nice?

2) Love the comparison of poor people to stray animals. Seems to be a popular comparison among conservatives.

3) Notice how the kids in the family are supposed to represent the American people. What would that make the poor people who Mother Boone keeps trying to help? Following this metaphor, it would seem that poor people are therefore not even considered part of the American "family".

4) Why do right-wingers continue to peddle this idiotic "living within our means" crap? (Rhetorical)

The last two most famous Republican presidents were prime examples of profligacy. Bush Jr. doubled the national debt, and the prophet Reagan (PBUH) tripled it. The last Republican president who come anywhere near displaying any belt tightening was Eisenhower. Though I really doubt Mr. Boone would want Eisenhower's brand of fiscal conservatism.

5) The comparison to his father would have been more apt if Papa Boone happened to an abusive alcoholic who uses a good chunk of the family's life savings in order to buy an expensive boat that turns out isn't seaworthy, while losing the rest in a poker game, and then tries to blame the current financial situation on the children for eating too much.