GOP Flunks Econ101 … Again

November 30, 2010

GOP - the upside down party

Tuesday is the deadline for Congress to pass an unemployment benefits extension that will affect 2 million workers who have no other income.  Republicans claim it costs too much money to help people with no money.  At the same time, the GOP continues to demand an extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of the country.  Republicans claim these tax cuts are imperative to the vitality of the economy.  Let’s briefly examine the GOP stupidity.

For every dollar of unemployment benefits, there is a $2 boost to the economy.  To anyone whose forehead is not also a movie screen, that looks like a nice return on investment.  And as the dailyfinace.com article I linked to in the first paragraph says, the loss of these benefits would come at the worst time of the year and have significant ripple effects.

Retailers fear the dropped payments will result in fewer sales at a time of year when businesses rely on consumer purchases the most. But the loss of benefits could affect traffic at everyday merchants, too, including gas stations and grocery stores, which are likely to see transactions dwindle as unemployed workers go without.

The subsequent loss in business could result in as many as 700,000 more lost jobs as employers cut back further, according to the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of workers. So far this year, benefits extensions have helped 9.5 million households and pumped roughly $6.8 billion into the economy every month, the organization says.

So, essentially, cutting off unemployment benefits — because they’re too expensive, ya know! — could lead to an

Republicans get the pointy hat until further notice

additional 700,000 lost jobs and almost $7 billion in monthly currency that won’t be circulated throughout the marketplace.  But this is really expensive, the GOP says, and they simply can’t justify helping these people.

A far better proposal, according to Republicans, is to extend the temporary tax cuts Prezidunce Bush gave to the wealthiest Americans.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and reported via the New York Times, this handout to the top 2% of our country will cost us $700 billion.  Apparently we can afford that, no problem.

To summarize the Republican platform of ‘fiscal responsibility,’ we can’t afford to help poor people but it is most necessary to help the richest Americans who don’t need (or even want) assistance.  We can’t give $300/week to millions of the neediest unemployed people, but we can definitely give $700 billion to a few hundred thousand millionaires.

Republicans are too dirty for the poopdeck.  We have standards around here.


B Palin Not Gettin’ Jiggy With It

November 30, 2010

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of viewing Bristol Palin’s most recent abstinence/safe sex PSA, I’m here to share the joy.  It’s like a really bad SNL sketch that never made it out of the concept meeting.

I gotta say, though, I’m not entirely sure an unwed teen mother is the best spokesperson for this campaign.  Something rings a little hollow, and, let’s face it: her kid is going to one day grow up and realize that his mother was telling the world that he was a big, regrettable mistake.  Oh, well.  I guess that’s part of what makes the Wasilla Hillbillies so entertaining.

(here’s the link for if/when the video is disabled for a TOS violation.)

Kelly B — my favorite witty commentator on all-things Palin — said, “I’m pretty sure the Sitch would file ‘B Palin’ under grenade.”

Bravo, Kelly!  Well played, as usual.


Ka-ching! The Kardashian Kard!

November 27, 2010

34-23-32 ... 89, the cumulutive IQ of the Kardashians

Unless you’ve been vigilantly Keeping Up With The Kardashians like me, you might not be aware of the girls’ recent social entrepreneurship.  What’s their socially responsible product?  A prepaid debit card designed for teens.  Oh, those Krazy Kardashians are so darn philanthropic.

The K-Kard (I made that up myself because I’m wicked witty and have my alliteration mojo goin’ on) only costs $99.95 per year and $7.95 per month.  That’s not predatory at all.  Not a bit.  Nor is it unethical to target hero-worshipping, impressionable teens.  In fact, it is a socially-responsible educational tool. As explained by the Kardashian’s professional spokeswoman, the card will “teach younger adults how to better manage their money.”  Seriously.  She said that.

Ain’t America great?  It’s where you can be famous for being famous and then use your fame to exploit vulnerable kids for money!

Ever notice the similarities between the Kardashians and Sarah Palin?  Both are bimbos; both are celebrities; both are only famous for being famous; both make their money in the world of gossip/voyeur TV; both market themselves via Twitter and Facebook; both exploit people who are too dumb or naïve to know better, and both are laughing all the way to their Cayman Islands bank.

All of this proves, once again, that there’s big bucks in stupidity.  If you’re not burdened by principles and morals, you too can be fabulous and wealthy!  Just think low.  Very low.


Millionaires With A Conscience

November 19, 2010

It looks like a bunch of millionaires are sick and tired of all the tax cut bullshit the Reich-wingers keep blabbering about.  40 of the richest Americans have penned an open letter to President Obama requesting that he let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans — ie, themselves — expire.  Cuz, ya know, not everyone is a selfish moron.

Uh oh.  FOX and republicans are going to have to find something to counter this with.  I bet they go with the character assassination route, which is always a reliable approach.  And who knows?  If we’re lucky, we’ll see right-wingers call these successful, wealthy capitalists … socialists!  They certainly don’t have a problem doing that with George Soros and God knows these people don’t care about looking stupid, so ….

Will middle-class and poor conservatives finally stop shilling for the wealthy?  Not a chance.

Here’s the letter signed by 40 richie riches.  I suspect many more people will sign the letter in the days to come.

Dear Mr. President,

We are writing to urge you to stand firm against those who would put politics ahead of their country.

For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled.

We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more.

We have done very well over the last several years. Now, during our nation’s moment of need, we are eager to do our fair share. We don’t need more tax cuts, and we understand that cutting our taxes will increase the deficit and the debt burden carried by other taxpayers. The country needs to meet its financial obligations in a just and responsible way.

Letting tax cuts for incomes over $1,000,000 expire, is an important step in that direction.


Nothin’ Cynical Here

November 17, 2010

Eva Longoria -- not bad ... if you're into that sort of thing

Actress Eva Longoria filed for divorce on Wednesday from NBA player Tony Parker.  According to the article at si.com, the couple has a prenuptial  agreement.  However, “she also wants to receive spousal support from Parker but not pay any to him.”  Totally coincidentally, I’m sure, Parker signed a lucrative contract extension two weeks ago.

Gee, imagine that.  Sometimes timing is just lucky.

According to the intergoogles — which is always accurate and reliable — Longoria is the seventh highest paid television star earning $250,000 per episode.  Wikipedia lists 134 Desperate Housewives episodes to date.  That pans out to earnings of $33.5 million.  Yeah, I can totally see why she needs and deserves spousal support.

(Editorial note: we here at the poopdeck rarely follow celebrity gossip and have never seen an episode of Longoria’s Desperate Housewives tv show.  For the sake of dude integrity, it should be duly noted that this story was stumbled upon at a very manly, totally macho sports website.  We refuse to apologize for having eyes that work.)


Does That Ticket Come With A Complimentary Hooker, Too?

November 17, 2010

Emirates First Class Cabin

Oh, my!  This is a description of an Emirates Airlines first class cabin courtesy of the Ask The Pilot column at salon.com.  I’d spring for the upgrade.

“Each passenger is ensconced in a private pod with an electrically operated privacy barrier, minibar, and 23-inch video monitor. The seats have several adjustment points, all controlled electrically, and slide forward into fully flat beds over 6 feet long. The entertainment guide, listing more than 900 choices of movies, TV, music and games, is so thick that it comes with its own ribbon page-holder sewn to the binding. There are two remote-control units, including a hand-held, touch-screen device that is larger than the video screens found on many carriers. The leather-bound menu is restaurant-size. During dinner, the flight attendant came to my seat offering a basket of rolls and breads. I went to choose one, only to learn that the entire basket was mine. When it’s time for bed, the cabin lighting system projects constellations on the ceiling, then slowly brightens with the sunrise. And I shouldn’t neglect to mention the amenities kit the size of a lunch box; the oversize pillows and blankets; the slippers. Oh, and the windows — the windows! — have polished wood-toned frames.”

“First-class digs on an Emirates A380 include showers.”


The Republican Rubber Room

November 15, 2010

A quick perusal of cable news and talk radio and internet news sites and the blogosphere reveals a stunning plethora of ignorance.  I mean, absolutely stunning.  It’s remarkable.  To wit: 41% of Republicans (A.K.A. “birthers”) believe that President Obama is not a natural born citizen.  63% do not know that Bush signed TARP and the bank bailouts.  Less than 10% of Americans know that Obama lowered taxes for 95% of working families and one-third actually think their taxes went up.  Conservatives complain of oppressive taxes yet fail to realize that federal, state and local taxes are the lowest since 1950, and the United States has the fourth lowest tax burden in the industrialized world (and this includes being bested by the Shangri La called Mexico).  Republicans wrongly believe that the housing crisis was caused by the Community Reinvestment Act (ie, them thar colored people) even though such mortgages comprised only 6% of the bad loans.  And on and on and on.  How can so many people be this fucking ignorant???

It’s the echo chamber.  The echo chamber is a conservative media machine masquerading as journalism that creates its

where conservatives get their 'news'

own news and repeatedly disseminates it to its audience from different angles.  The echo chamber is a square rubber room whose walls are made of Republican politcians, FOX News, talk radio, and the internet.  “News” orginates with one wall and then bounces it off the other three walls creating a cacaphony of misinformation and prejudiced propaganda that results in a thoroughly dumbassified populace.  According to a University of Maryland study, FOX News  viewers were, by far, the most ignorant in America.  By contrast, NPR listeners were the best informed followed by people who gathered their news from traditional print media and then CNN viewers.

We see the quintessential manifestation of this determined ignorance in the form of teabaggers.  Teabaggers are not a new phenomenon, per se, as Bill Clinton saw a faintly similar movement of disaffected Americans who were concerned about “Big Government” and thought Ross Perot was their kind of guy.  But the teabaggers are like the Perot supporters on a steady diet of steroids and toxic waste.  Whereas Perot garnered exactly zero (0.0) electoral votes in the 1992 election, tea party candidates won 45 congressional elections this month (5 Senate seats, 40 House seats).  The echo chamber/rubber room is what made this catastrophe possible.  Unlike when Clinton was president, FOX has achieved full market penetration (insert your own sodomy joke here) and the interent is now ubiquitous.  Due to this new media, teabaggers were galvanized, named (ironically revealing their rank stupidity), organized and funded.  Teabagger rallies then validated and affirmed the prejudices and stupidity of its attendees, feeding the beast that should have been starved.  To quote Kurt Vonnegut, “and so it goes …”

The antics of FOX and talk radio are understood quite well by anyone who doesn’t drool on himself.  A prime time FOX pundit like Beck or Hannity or O’Reilly will make an absurd allegation and then FOX’s morning ‘news’ programs will continue the narrative and use their own pundits as ‘sources’ of their reports.  Talk radio blowhards like Rush Limbaugh (Lush Rimbaugh), Michelle Malkin, (more) Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, et al, need no explanation.  They simply lie and lie and lie and get paid well to do it.  Nothing new here.  The role of the internet, however, is a bit more nuanced.

First, email.  This is the fastest way to perpetuate ignorance as it only takes a few seconds to apply (without even understanding, I’m sure) the law of exponents.  We all know someone who sends chain emails making outrageous claims such as Barack Obama swore his oath of office on the Koran.  And you’ve surely noticed that this shameless chain emailer is a conservative.  Websites like snopes.com, factcheck.org, and politifact.com are devoted to debunking these myths, urban legends and lies, but it’s a herculean task that cannot ever be adequately completed nor do the people who accept and perpetuate these lies desire correct information.  And, as you’ve surely noticed, these shameless chain emailers are always conservatives.  Always.  It never fails.  In an article by the Seattle Times, the snopes co-founder said, “Claims relating to Obama are the top searches on the site, but ‘even when there were Republicans in the White House, the mail was still overwhelmingly anti-liberal.’”  It’s a republican thing.

In addition to chain emails believed and distributed by the willfully gullible amongst us, there are also countless ‘news’ websites pandering to prejudice without any regard to facts.  One such example is WorldNetDaily (wnd.com) which has found great success in the confirmation bias market.  WorldNetDaily regularly publishes contemptible articles such as this one which stated that a convicted criminal admitted to snorting cocaine and having homosexual liaisons with Barack Obama.  Seriously.  And these websites are a dime a dozen which conservatives use as their homepages or put in their browser’s bookmarks.

Some websites in the echo chamber/rubber room mimic legitimate websites and alter the content to suit its audience.  Conservapedia.com is one such site, pantomiming wikipedia.org.  While wikipedia is certainly imperfect, it is generally a good starting point for research especially because of the copious footnotes available to the reader.  Conservapedia, however, publishes information that directly contradicts established fact and actively contributes to the dumbing-down of America.  For example, this article makes the laughable argument that bears are smarter than atheists.  The conservapedia author speciously argues that there is an inverse correlation between high per capita Christian churches and low unemployment (North Dakota) and a direct correlation between high per capita atheism and high unemployment (Oregon).  The author’s epic conclusion is that capitalism is the biblically-supported choice of God and atheism is communism.  I shit you not.

The republican rubber room: cable news, talk radio, politicians and the internet.  That is an impressive (mis)information machine never before seen in any democracy.  Ever.  Anywhere.  There’s big money in stupidity and it’s paying handsome dividends to politicians, their corporate masters and the lying liars who do their dirty work.  There’s just one missing piece to the puzzle: dismantle public education.

God bless America where stupidity is a virtue and ignorance is democratized.