2011-04-21 02:00:32Sorry to get political here on the forum but I think this is really important.
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Rachel Maddow did a piece yesterday that is nothing short of shocking.  I literally can't believe these things are happening in America today.  

This is well worth watching.

2011-04-21 02:54:58blech
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

No need to apologize Rob, it's General Chat!

I certainly agree, there's a huge difference between what the Republican Party claims to stand for, and what they actually do when elected.  I know a few Republicans who agree, and I think the rise of the Tea Party is heavily to blame. 

Really what's happening is that Republican politicians are exploiting the recession to do whatever they want, and contrary to their platform, what they want is intrusive government.  Big government is always okay, as long as you're in charge of that government.

It's pretty stunning that Republicans are rallying behind the Ryan budget plan.  Before the 2010 election, almost nobody would endorse it, because it's little more than a redistribution of wealth to the already wealthy, and a dismantling of the wildly popular Medicare system.  But apparently the fact that it cuts the deficit is enough of a shield for Republicans to support it, even though the way it cuts the deficit is simply outrageous and extremely unpopular.  They seem to be hoping that Americans don't learn the details and just see the nice big $4 trillion cut as a positive.

I really hope the voters make them pay in 2012.

2011-04-21 03:21:40
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

I saw a hilarious photo the other day of a Tea Party protester carrying a sign saying "Keep govment (sic) hands off Medicade (sic)."

I hope you're right Dana.  I hope people flock to the polls in 2012 and get these loonies out of office.  Obama is well positioned to win a second term.  I only have two concerns about that election.  1) How much the Citizen's United case is going to affect the level or corporate spending in the campaign, and 2) The state of the economy come Nov 2012.

2011-04-21 03:39:33agreed
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

With the budget passed, the economy should continue to recover slowly.  Republicans are so split between the loony fringe and the reasonable moderates, I don't see how they can possibly beat Obama.  To win a primary, their candidate either has to be a loon or say loony things, which will turn off independents.  And all their candidates so far are total losers anyway.  When Donald Trump leads the polls among your candidates, you know you're screwed.

That being said, while Obama should be fine, Democrats need to make major gains back in Congress.  Unfortunately I doubt they can get the House back, which means continued Republican obstructionism.

2011-04-21 04:01:04
Alex C

coultera@umich...
64.88.86.200

>>>Really what's happening is that Republican politicians are exploiting the recession to do whatever they want, and contrary to their platform, what they want is intrusive government.  Big government is always okay, as long as you're in charge of that government.

Here in Michigan the government recently passed a law allowing the appointment of an emergency manager by the executive office without approval of the legislature to local governments (or school districts) who have demonstrated financial stress and an unwillingness or incapability to mediate the situation.  I had actually read the bill myself, and while I was thrown off by the amounts of power that this individual would have and how he/she would completely replace the governing powers, I had thought that the implementation of the provisions to get to that point would be a tedious process.

That was about a month ago before it became law.  Since then, EMs have been placed in Detroit Public Schools (whose teachers have all been laid off for the next school year), Pontiac, Ecorse, and another, Benton Harbor, whose EM has suspended the decision-making powers of the city.  As I understand it, this poor (financially, but word choice is intentional) city, where the proposer of this bill is from, has a single important asset: a beautiful park which a local country club had been looking to take control of but without success because of (you guessed it) the local government.

Average income in the town is under 15,000 US dollars per year.  Cost per year for membership to this club would be 5000.

I have not been keeping very close touch with the progress of either event, and have heard these stories from second-hand sources.  I know that Daniel Bailey lives in the UP - maybe he's been paying more attention.

2011-04-21 04:33:45Maddow
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Alex, that's exactly what the Rachel Maddow story was about :-)

2011-04-21 04:41:01
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Haha, really?  I was at school and couldn't open the window :P

2011-04-21 04:48:23
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Has anyone here heard the term "Starve the Beast?"  I think these actions in MI are an indicator of what happens as the broader plan to eliminate government and install corporations takes hold.  The result is voters no longer have a choice.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10054/1037783-109.stm

2011-04-21 05:36:22
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Yeah, basically screw up the government to convince people it doesn't work, screw up the economy to convince people spending cuts are necessary, then cut government programs.  Sounds familliar.

"And presidential hopefuls say things like this, from Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota: "I don't think anybody's gonna go back now and say, 'Let's abolish, or reduce, Medicare and Medicaid.' "

The weird thing is, now that basically is what they're saying.  Except they don't call it abolishing, they call it "vouchers".  Vouchers which cover less and less of health care costs over time, so the elderly have to pay more and more out of pocket.  But the GOP is getting behind this plan.  If Dems are smart, they'll drill them on this ("they're trying to take your Medicare away") and clean up with senior voters.

2011-04-21 06:05:29
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

The problem of "big" government that Maddow talks about is a complex one.  But we also need to recognize that when these types lie and say they don't want "big" government, what the really mean is "big" federal government.  The problem as they see it with federal government is that it is powerful enough to compete with business.  The idea is to shrink the federal government and leave a power vacuum that is filled with local government.  This isn't an awful idea on its face, but as we can see from the Michigan example, if big business takes hold of local elections like the Citizen's United case allows for, the power vacuum is filled with a small number of "leaders", and the populace lack protection from the federal government and has little representation in the polical arena.   This puzzle is further complicated by social issues, class issues, race issues, and, a somewhat new one, voting issues.    New state legislatures are using those phony stories about Black Panther voter intimidation and ACORN voter fraud to make it more difficult for first time voters to register.  This is a really frightening political and radical movement that has gained monetary control over the once conservative Republican Party.   It's not as funny as it once was like when they delivered a thousands and thousands of tea bags to the White House to oppose wasteful spending.

 

2011-04-21 08:33:05Krugman
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Krugman had a good post on this subject:

"What I hear from my colleagues in the next building is basically that issues matter very little; election results are determined by whether the economy is worsening or improving in the year, or maybe even the six months, before the election.

But now we have a major party endorsing policies that are pretty much the opposite of what polls say, overwhelmingly, the American public wants. People love Medicare; they want to see the rich pay higher, not lower taxes....I guess we’ll see next year whether publicly committing your party to deeply unpopular policies makes any electoral difference."

Though if the economy continues to recover (unless people give Republicans credit), Democrats will have both the economy and unpopular Republican moves in their favor.  And Republican internal division, and no decent Republican presidential candidate.

2011-04-22 02:14:43
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Here's a New Republic article from a year ago that is almost perfectly explaining what is going on today.

I also saw a video of Krugman in a verbal battle with Bill O'Reilly from about 6 years ago about what the effect would be of the Bush tax cuts.  O'Reilly was trying to pound on Krugman saying that he was wrong and that the Bush tax cuts were going to spur growth. But almost everything that Krugman was saying has come true.

Krugman is really quite brilliant.  If you do twitter you should follow him.  He's a very prolific tweeter.