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When Roger West first launched the progressive political blog "News From The Other Side" in May 2010, he could hardly have predicted the impact that his venture would have on the media and political debate. As the New Media emerged as a counterbalance to established media sources, Roger wrote his copious blogs about national politics, the tea party movement, mid-term elections, and the failings of the radical right to the vanguard of the New Media movement. Roger West's efforts as a leading blogger have tremendous reach. NFTOS has led the effort to bring accountability to mainstream media sources such as FOX NEWS, Breitbart's "Big Journalism. Roger's breadth of experience, engaging style, and cultivation of loyal readership - over 92 million visitors - give him unique insight into the past, present, and future of the New Media and political rhetoric that exists in our society today. What we are against: Radical Right Wing Agendas Incompetent Establishment Donald J. Trump Corporate Malfeasence We are for: Global and Econmoic Security Social and Economic Justice Media Accountability THE RESISTANCE

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Republican Way of Life

REPORT: 25 Corporations paid more to their CEO last year than they paid in taxes.

Last year, as Americans across the country grappled with the widespread effects of the Great Recession, tax dodging by corporations and the wealthy cost the average U.S. taxpayer $434, even as corporate profits soared 81 percent. In fact, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, “corporate tax dodging has gone so out of control that 25 major U.S. corporations last year paid their chief executives more than they paid Uncle Sam in federal income taxes”:

Of last year’s 100 highest-paid corporate chief executives in the United States, 25 took home more in CEO pay than their company paid in 2010 federal income taxes.

These 25 CEOs averaged $16.7 million, well above last year’s $10.8 million average for S&P 500 CEOs. Most of the companies they ran actually came out ahead at tax time, collecting tax refunds from the IRS that averaged $304 million.

CEOs in 22 of these 25 firms enjoyed pay increases in 2010. In 13 of these companies, CEO paychecks ratcheted up while the corporate income tax bill either declined or the size of the corporate tax refund expanded.
Included amongst the 25 are well-known corporate behemoths like General Electric, Boeing, Verizon, and Ebay. Prudential CEO John Strangfeld, in one example, made $16.2 million last year while his company reaped a $722 million tax refund. Bank of New York Mellon CEO Robert Kelly received $19.4 million, after his bank got a $670 million tax refund.

Eighteen of the 25 companies that the IPS studied operated subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. In fact, “the firms, all combined, had 556 tax haven subsidiaries last year,” including 128 for just one company (the reinsurance corporation Aon).

Currently, corporate taxes have plunged to historic lows, with many of America’s largest companies literally paying no federal income taxes. Meanwhile, according to researchers at Northeastern University, corporate profits accounted for 88 percent of real national income growth since 2009, while wages and salaries made up less than 1 percent. In 2010, executive pay grew by 27 percent while wages grew by only 2 percent.

The IPS also found that “of the 25 companies that paid their CEO more than Uncle Sam, 20 also spent more on lobbying lawmakers than they paid in corporate taxes. Eighteen gave more to the political campaigns of their favorite candidates than they paid to the IRS in taxes.”


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eric Cantor Raises Bar With Republican Choke And Puke Politics

Cantor: "No Disaster Relief Funding For Hurricane Irene Without Budget Cuts"!

Despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene this weekend, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) today stood by his call that no more money be allocated for disaster relief unless it is offset by spending cuts elsewhere. The Washington Post reported this morning that FEMA will need more money than it currently has to deal with the storm’s aftermath and is already diverting funds from other recent disasters to deal with the hurricane, but Cantor’s comments suggest Republicans won’t authorize more funds without a fight.

Cantor took the position following the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri and elsewhere in the spring and summer, and after last week’s earthquake, the epicenter for which was in his district, but the hurricane’s level of destruction is far beyond that of those disasters. Still, Cantor told Fox News that while “we’re going to find the money,” “we’re just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to do so.”

Cantor referred a bill the Republican-controlled House passed that approves $1 billion in disaster relief, which was financed by a $1.5 billion cut from loan program to encourage the production of fuel-efficient vehicles. But the need in the wake of the hurricane will likely greatly surpass $1 billion, and that spending package was supposed to be used for tornado recovery efforts, for which several hundred million dollars has already been outlayed.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Apples Do Not Fall Far From The Tree

As Irene Devastates, Ron Paul Says We Need To ‘Come To Our Senses’ And Abolish FEMA.

Today, nearly 2 million people are without power and nine are dead as now-Tropical Storm Irene continues to devastate the East Coast. But Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) still thinks that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) needs to be abolished. In a lengthy anti-FEMA screed to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Paul described FEMA as a drain on the economy — a “gross distortion of insurance” that only “bleeding hearts” would support — that “just bail[s] put everybody”:
WALLACE: Congressman, you would really, at this point, do away with FEMA and all the things it’s doing to help hundreds of thousands of people along the East Coast?

PAUL: (Laughs.) Have you ever read the reports that came out of New Orleans and all those wonderful things they did? Giving checks to people who didn’t even live there? Sending in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of trailers that they had to junk because they didn’t meet FEMA’s standards? No. It’s a system of bureaucratic central economic planning which is a policy which is deeply flawed. So no, you don’t get rid of something like that in one day. … I mean, this idea that government can just bail out everybody and vote for money — but I propose that we save a billion dollars from the overseas war-mongering, bring half that home and put it against the deficit, and yes, tide people over until we come to our senses and realize that FEMA’s been around since 1978. It has one of the worst reputations for a bureaucracy ever. … You can’t imagine how many calls we get because FEMA’s getting in the way and they can’t get their checks, they can’t get their bailouts. … Anybody who wants to defend this department and this agency, they have a tough argument to argue for.

Paul has long been a critic of FEMA and voted against hurricane relief funding for his home state of Texas in 2005. He previously has said that FEMA “compounds our problems” because the government shouldn’t “take care of us when we do dumb things“ — like get hit by hurricanes.  

Is it any wonder why Rand Paul son to Ron often sounds like a lunatic and very radical – apples do not fall far from the tree!


Thursday, August 25, 2011








Radical Tea Invokes Its Ignorance Once Again

Tea Partier Tells Rep. Lujan, Life-Long American, To ‘Get Out Of Politics And Make Room For An American’.

The Tea Bag Party continues to claim that racism, ethnocentrism, and xenophobia are not driving forces in its movement, but the actions of its members continue to belie those claims. Many of the movement’s causes have targeted Latinos — advocating for harsh immigration laws, referring to them as “anchor babies” and “welfare queens,” urging followers to attack Latinos, and fighting to rewrite the 14th amendment to remove its guarantee of birthright citizenship.

Tuesday in New Mexico, the strains of racism and ethnocentrism that exist in the Tea Party movement emerged again. As Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) prepared to tour a nonprofit organization in Farmington, he was met by a dozen Tea Party protesters, one of whom asserted that Lujan was not an American. The Farmington Daily Times reports:
Darrel Clark of Farmington said he came for “a chance to see the elusive representative.”
“He needs to get out of politics and make room for an American,” Clark said.
Luján is a lifelong New Mexican. Clark later explained that he meant an “American patriot.”
Though Clark did not elaborate on what he meant by “American patriot,” it’s not hard to understand his implication.  
Lujan, however, was born in Santa Fe, has lived in the U.S. all his life, and is the son of a public school administrator and the speaker of New Mexico’s state House of Representatives. According to the Daily Times, Lujan took the protests and their insults “in stride.” “It’s important that we get out to visit our constituency,” Luján said. “We think that’s important, and we’ll continue to do that.”

With the teas being so hell bent on the founding fathers, we at NFTOS believe this quote suits our situation best – “The USGS has determined that the epicenter of the Virginia earthquake was in a graveyard just outside of DC. The cause appears to be all of our Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.” Keep up the great work radical teas!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

G.W. Bush's Stench Still Lingers Today

G.W. Bush's Tax Cuts at Work

The Congressional Budget Office released its new economic forecast today. It predicts painfully slow growth, unemployment at 8.5 percent at the end of 2012. The CBO also says we're in for big deficits, and provides this handy chart for why. Note the persistent and large chunk of light blue -- that's lost revenue. The footnote explains:
“Extend Tax Policies” reflects the following policy assumptions: Most of the provisions in the 2010 tax act that were originally enacted in 2001, 2003, 2009, and 2010 are extended (instead of being allowed to expire on December 31, 2012, as scheduled), and the alternative minimum tax is indexed for inflation.

Some of those provisions were part of the economic stimulus, like the payroll tax break that was part of the stimulus and gave workers more money in their weekly paychecks. That's the tax Republicans now say workers should start paying again. It's worth about $120 billion a year.

For the rest, look toward the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which Republicans insist we should keep. They've added something like $3.2 trillion to the deficit.

The problem is still clearly the Bush tax cuts. And the hits just keep on coming!


I Love Me Some U.S. Constitution…. That Is Until It Doesn’t Fit My Radical Ideology

Study shows: Tea partiers are deeply in love with a constitution they want to gut.

U.S. Constitution

A study led by a team of UNC-Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt professors examining what “cultural dispositions” unite the Tea Party reaching some interesting conclusions about the political movement’s relationship with the Constitution. They simultaneously revere the idea of the Constitution and hate much of what it actually says:

In our follow-up poll, 84% of those positive towards the TPM [Tea Party members] said the Constitution should be interpreted “as the Founders intended,” compared to only 34% of other respondents. Other respondents were also three times more likely not to have an opinion on the issue, highlighting the salience of the question for TPM supporters. Support for Constitutional principles is not absolute. TPM supporters were twice as likely than others to favor a constitutional amendment banning flag burning; many also support efforts to overturn citizenship as defined by the Fourteenth Amendment. The Constitution – and Tea Party more generally – take on heightened symbolic value and come to represent a ‘way of life’ or a “world view” rather than a specific set of laws or policy positions.

Sadly, the study actually paints a much more reasonable picture of the Tea Party than the reality suggests. Amending the Constitution to literally write your own policy preferences into the document is very rarely a good idea, but it is also an entirely legitimate way of bringing about constitutional change. The Tea Party, however, seems more interested in simply asserting repeatedly and loudly that the Constitution already imposes their preferred policy outcomes on the country — and in ignoring any evidence to the contrary.

In the past two years, we’ve seen Tea Party elected officials claim that everything from Social Security, to Medicare, to Pell Grants and federal student loans, to federal disaster relief, to the minimum wage, to child labor laws, to the ban on whites-only lunch counters all violate the Constitution. In other words, it’s clear that the Tea Party has little interest in following the actual Constitution — they just think the rest of the nation is gullible enough to believe that it says whatever the Tea Party wants it to say.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Gamesmanship Of The Radical Teas

GOP Judiciary Committee Chairman Admits He’s Using Anti-Immigrant Hearings To ‘Embarrass The President’

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) originally promised that he would use his chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee to focus on jobs. But the Texas conservative is so up in arms about the Obama administration’s recent decision not to automatically deport nonviolent undocumented immigrants that he is now committed to holding hearings on the subject.

Smith recently admitted to right-wing radio host Joe Pagliarulo that his goal in holding these hearings is nothing more than to “embarrass the president.” His nakedly partisan purpose has less to do with policy than trying to make the administration look bad “to get the American people on our side”:
SMITH: We can conduct hearings, oversight hearings, we can pull in administration officials, make them testify under oath, find out what’s going on, try to, frankly, embarrass the President and push back and get the American people on our side to push back against the administration. Secondly, the Appropriations Committee can defund any of these efforts, but unfortunately, on the appropriations level, you can only defund it one year at a time, so that’s not a long-term solution.

Smith then told Pagliarulo that the only long-term solution to ensure harsher treatment of undocumented immigrants is to elect a new president in 2012.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Faux News Still Continues With Misinformation

Fox Viewers Overwhelmingly Think We Should Prepare For Alien Invasion Before Fighting Climate Change.

A new (supposedly) NASA-funded study postulating that aliens may attack humans over climate change had all the ingredients for a perfect Fox faux controversy — it bolstered their anti-science narrative, painted their opponents as clownish radicals, and highlighted wasteful government spending on a supposedly liberal casue. Fox reported the “news from NASA” several times several times today, presenting it as official “taxpayer funded research.” A chyron on Fox and Friends read: “NASA: Global warming may provoke an alien attack.”

But as Business Insider pointed out, they’re “wrong” — “That report was not funded by NASA. It was written by an independent group of scientists and bloggers. One of those happens to work at NASA.” NASA distanced itself from the report as well, calling reports linking the agency to it “not true.” Host Megyn Kelly finally corrected the record this afternoon, saying, “I was making that up.”

But before she did, she was so bemused by the study that she directed her viewers to complete a poll on her website which asked how we should respond to the study: “Immediately increase efforts to curb greenhouse gases,” “Develop weapons to kill the Aliens FIRST,” or “Gently suggest scientists research how to create job.”

Not surprisingly, most suggested they research something else. But more than six times as many respondents (19 percent to 3 percent) said we should focus on building weapons to kill aliens before curbing greenhouse gases. Watch a compilation:

The poll is of course not scientific, but you can hardly blame the viewers who did respond, considering Fox’s constant misinformation about climate change. For instance, as she presented the poll, Kelly said of curbing climate change, “just in case, right?” — as in, “just in case” the science is right. She did not make a similar qualifier for alien invasion. Numerous studies consistently show that Fox viewers are among the most misinformed of news viewers, while at least one study has shown that — perversely — watching Fox actually makes people less informed than they were to begin with.

“Trust me folks, this story is hard to understand,” Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson said of the “NASA study.” Indeed.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Koch Brothers Concoct Grandeur of Illusions On Why They Are Above Taxation

Koch Responds To Buffet: ‘My Business And Non-Profit Investments Are Much More Beneficial To Society’.

Lead Tea Baggers Charles & David Koch

America’s current tax system forces people making $50,000 a year to pay a higher rate than hedge fund managers making $2.4 million an hour. Warren Buffett penned an op-ed last week declaring that America’s super-rich have been “coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.” Lamenting the numerous tax loopholes and special breaks afforded to billionaire investors, Buffett noted that in his entire career, even when capital gains rates were as high as 39.9 percent, he never saw anyone “shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain.”

Charles Koch, head of the massive petrochemical, manufacturing, and commodity speculating Koch Industries corporation, has responded to Warren’s call for shared sacrifice: “No Thanks.” In a statement to right-wing media, Koch states:
Much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good; this is particularly true over the past several years with the massive uncontrolled increase in government spending. I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.
Koch’s “non-profit investments” include the group founded by his brother David, “Americans for Prosperity” (formerly known as Citizens for a Sound Economy). It's been reported that AFP was one of the first and most well-resourced drivers of the anti-Obama so-called “Tea Party” movement. Koch-funded Tea Party events have featured speakers comparing health reform to the Holocaust, and in some cases have sponsored rallies with leaders of the “birther” conspiracy theory.

Among the Koch brothers’ other non-profit investments include far-right conservative think tanks dedicated to cheerleading the war in Iraq, spreading anti-science propaganda, and smears claiming that the poor do not really suffer. Koch has given money to educational initiatives, but in exchange for control over academic freedom that simply furthered Koch’s political beliefs. These “investments” at best advance Koch’s political ideology and at worst misinform American voters. Either way, they are hardly a replacement for “government spending” on things like food assistance and basic medical service.

According to Forbes, the Koch brothers have seen their wealth rise $11 billion in recent years, making the Koch brother among the richest in the country by being worth around $22.5 billion each. Much of those profits, however, are due to soaring gas prices and the fact Koch Industries has avoided compensating the public for hundred million tons of carbon pollution the company produces each year. Other Koch companies also receive significant taxpayer subsidies, despite Koch’s supposed opposition to government spending. This company is among the country’s top sources of carcinogenic chemicals and air pollutants.

America has been good to Charles Koch, providing an environment where his family has made billions. But Koch doesn’t want to give back, especially through more taxation. His charitable foundation, which gives largely to right-wing organizations that support his politics and Koch Industries’ business interests, still only donates about $12 million a year — 0.05 percent of Koch’s net worth. If higher rates were imposed on the super-rich, would Koch retreat to the family’s fabulous mansions, like this one in the Hamptons, aboard its fleet of private jets in a John Galt-inspired temper tantrum? Or would they act like any respectable businessman, and continue to make a profit without complaining?


Friday, August 19, 2011

Michele Bachmann On

The Soviet Union, Spanish Language, and Elvis

Of all the candidates vying for the GOP presidential nomination, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) perhaps has the most colorful record of flubbing historical facts. Just this week, she wished Elvis Presley a happy birthday…on the day he died. But yesterday, on the right-wing Christian attorney Jay Sekulow’s radio show, the congresswoman evinced a far more disturbing lack of basic knowledge about world history. Specifically, Bachmann said the American people are worried about “the rise of the Soviet Union.”  

One of Bachmann's better answers

Apparently no one’s told her that America’s one-time Cold War nemesis has not existed for 20 years:
BACHMANN: What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward. And especially with this very bad debt ceiling bill, what we have done is given a favor to President Obama and the first thing he’ll whack is five hundred billion out of the military defense at a time when we’re fighting three wars. People recognize that.

In December 1991, the Soviet Union disintegrated into 15 separate countries. It’s hard to believe Bachmann that the American people live in continued terror of an “evil empire” that no longer exists.

And she wonders why she is considered the biggest harlequin West of England. Ms. Bachmann makes George W. Bush look like Einstein and understand readers that if she wins the Presidential nod she will have access to nuclear key codes. Lord help us all!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The "Drugster" Is At It Again

Yesterday on his radio show, Rush (the drugster) Limbaugh described a new Oreo that will have both chocolate and vanilla cream as a "biracial" cookie and said that "it isn't going to be long before it's going to be called the Or-Bam-eo or something like this." Limbaugh later called it the "Or-Bam-eo" himself.

The Chicago Tribune article that Limbaugh was referencing mentions nothing about race, of course, and it certainly doesn't describe it as a "biracial" cookie.

Limbaugh is clearly aware of the use of the word "Oreo" as a racial slur.

In 2005, Limbaugh repeated the dubious allegation that former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele had Oreos thrown at him in 2002 while he was running to be lieutenant governor of Maryland.

Limbaugh was discussing NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb's statement that some criticism of his play was related to race. Limbaugh listed Steele among the "names of people that the NAACP has tried to destroy." From a transcript on Limbaugh's website of his December 15, 2005, show (subscription required):

LIMBAUGH: But Donny, let me tell you something. You know, you think you're a crusader here, pal, and on the football field you may be. But when it comes to forging progress for blacks, let me give you some names of people that the NAACP has tried to destroy:
Does the name Clarence Thomas ring a bell? Have you heard of Clarence Thomas, Mr. McNabb? Have you heard of Condoleezza Rice? Have you seen some of the cartoons that the mainstream press has written about Condoleezza Rice, talking about how she got where she got because she's performed sex acts on George W. Bush, portraying her as nothing more than an Aunt Jemima and accentuated her African-American features to make her look like a step-and-fetch-it idiot? Have you seen any of this, Mr. McNabb? Does the name Michael Steele ring a bell? Michael Steele is a lieutenant governor of Maryland, not far from Pennsylvania. In fact, it borders Pennsylvania. It's not far from Philadelphia. I don't know if you know about this, but he wants to run for the Senate, and the NAACP and the white liberal plantation owners of this country are out trying to destroy Michael Steele. They're throwing Oreo cookies at the guy when he goes out and makes a speech, and they're claiming he's "black on the outside, white on the inside." Does the name Thomas Sowell ring a bell? He's one of the most brilliant economists and writers in this country who is regularly impugned along with any other successful black conservative in this country by no less than the Reverend Jackson and others from the NAACP.

Once a racist always a racist, and truly the “drugster” is a racist!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Speaking recently in Iowa, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) said that “printing more money” is “almost treasonous”:
If this guy (Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke) prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.

Accusing the Chairman of the Federal Reserve of treason is not only inappropriate, but also betrays a certain ignorance of history on the part of Governor Perry. Under Reagan, after all, the Fed was happy to increase the monetary base.

Governor Perry has drawn fire for his statement from conservatives, including none other than Karl Rove, who said that Perry’s remark was “not Presidential.” “You don’t accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor to his country,” Rove told Fox News. Other former Bush aides have made similar criticisms.

But the Bush camp didn’t seem to mind such language back in 2000, when Perry — then Bush’s Lieutenant Governor — said that supporters of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were “almost treasonous“:

Lt. Gov. Rick Perry, casting his Republican primary ballot early Monday, plugged George W. Bush’s presidential candidacy and urged Texans to join him in voting for the Texas governor.

“Wherever your political philosophy might be, if you’re not for George Bush being the next president of the United States, I consider that to be almost treasonous if you’re a Texan,” Perry said.
It’s instructive to consider how Perry responded in 2000 versus today. Back then, Perry’s aides moderated his language. His spokesman informed the Associated Press that the Lieutenant Governor was simply being “humorous.” No such excuse was offered today. Greg Sargent reports that, given another bite at the apple, the Perry camp “is not disavowing the implied threat in his original remarks.”  
Treasonous, Unconstitutional, Founding Father's, OH MY! The monotonous, reoccurring theme of the radical right.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Gay Families Are Not Families"

Says Michele Bachmann

On Sunday’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory challenged Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann on some of her anti-gay views. After grilling her about whether sexual orientation would be a factor she’d consider in making presidential appointments, he asked whether a same-sex couple raising children constitutes a “family.” She doesn’t:
GREGORY: Can a gay couple who adopt children, in your mind, be considered a “family”?

BACHMANN: When it comes to marriage, and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think that’s been my view —

GREGORY: So a gay couple with kids would not be considered a “family” to you?

BACHMANN: You know, all of these kind of questions really aren’t about what people are concerned about right now.
Bachmann then tried to downplay the importance of the question, even though, as Gregory pointed out, Bachmann has said that same-sex marriage is a “defining political issue of our time.” Bachmann simply responded, “I think my views are clear.”

The 2010 Census shows that there are at least 13,718 same-sex couples living in Bachmann’s home state of Minnesota, and 2,372 of those couples report raising children. If those are not “families,” it’s unclear what Bachmann thinks they might be.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Real Rick Perry

Top 10 Things Texas Gov. Rick Perry Doesn’t Want You To Know About Him.

With widespread discontent on the right over their current presidential field, all eyes are trained on a likely new entrant: Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).

Perry, who has been elected governor three times and served for more than 10 years, enjoys bona fides from social conservatives and Tea Party-types alike. Glenn Beck even described Perry as a man he was so enamored with that he wanted to “French kiss.”

However, as conservatives fawn over their newest presidential hopeful, it’s worth taking a closer examination at his record as governor. On issues across the board, from Perry’s support for dropping out of Social Security and Medicaid to his state’s abysmal pollution levels and his proposal that Texas secede from the United States, the Republican governor has amassed a record of far-right extremism.

Assembled are the top ten hits from Perry’s tenure as governor:

(1) PERRY ALLOWED THE EXECUTION OF A LIKELY INNOCENT MAN, THEN IMPEDED AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MATTER: In 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Huntsville, Texas after being convicted of arson and the murder of his three children. Even after significant evidence emerged showing that arson had not caused the fire (thus exonerating Willingham), Perry refused to grant a stay of execution. Five years after Willingham was executed, a report from a Texas Forensic Science Commission investigator found that the fire could not have been arson. As the commission prepared to hear testimony from the investigator in October 2009, Perry quickly fired and replaced three of its members, forcing an indefinite delay in the hearing.

(2) PERRY WANTS TO REPEAL THE 16th AND 17th AMENDMENTS, ENDING DIRECT ELECTION OF U.S. SENATORS AND THE FEDERAL INCOME TAX: In his 2010 book Fed Up!, Perry called the 16th and 17th Amendments “mistaken” and said they resulted from “a fit of populist rage.” The 16th Amendment allows the federal government to collect income taxes, which is the single biggest source of revenue, accounting for 45 percent of all receipts. The 17th Amendment took electing U.S. senators out of the hands of political insiders and allowed the American public to decide their representation instead. If Perry had his way, the federal government would be stripped of its current ability to fund highway construction projects, food inspectors, and the military, and the American public would not even be permitted to elect their own senators.

(3) PERRY PROPOSED LETTING STATES DROP OUT OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICAID: Despite the programs’ importance and popularity, Perry has argued that states like Texas should be allowed to opt out of Social Security and Medicaid. Were Perry to have his way on Social Security, “the entire system would collapse under the weight of too many Social Security beneficiaries who had not paid into the system,” notes Ian Millhiser. On Medicaid, in addition to stripping 3.6 million low-income Texans of their health care, Perry’s proposal would actually hurt, not help, the state’s budget deficit. This is because, as Igor Volsky writes, opting out of Medicaid would take “billions out of the state economy that goes on to support hospitals and other providers,” while forcing hospitals “to swallow the costs of caring for uninsured individuals who will continue to use the emergency room as their primary source of care.”

(4) TEXAS IS THE COUNTRY’S BIGGEST POLLUTER, BUT PERRY SUED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR DISAPPROVING OF THE STATE’S AIR QUALITY STANDARDS: Texas is the biggest polluter in the country, leading the nation in carbon dioxide emissions. However, when the EPA published its “disapproval” of the state’s air quality standards for falling short of the Clean Air Act’s requirements, Perry sued the federal government to challenge the ruling. Perry’s environmental record doesn’t end there. He is a global warming denier who called the 2010 BP oil spill an “act of God” while speaking at a trade association funded by BP.

(5) PERRY DESIGNATED AS “EMERGENCY LEGISLATION” A BILL REQUIRING ALL WOMEN SEEKING ABORTIONS TO HAVE SONOGRAMS FIRST: In January, Perry proposed requiring all women seeking abortions to have a sonogram at least 24 hours before the procedure. Under the bill, doctors would be required to “tell a woman the size of her fetus’ limbs and organs, even if she does not want to know.” Before a woman is permitted to have an abortion, physicians are also forced to provide an image of the fetus and make the woman listen to the sound of its heartbeat. Perry designated his proposal as “emergency legislation,” allowing the bill to be rushed through the legislature. He signed it into law last month.

(6) PERRY GUTTED CHILDCARE SERVICES EVEN AS TEXAS CHILDHOOD POVERTY HIT 25 PERCENT: Facing a $27 billion budget deficit this year, Perry decided to gut child support services, despite a report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities that found nearly one in four Texas children lived beneath the poverty line. Instead of raising revenue like California, a state facing a similarly sized deficit, Perry scaled back more than $10 billion of child support over two years. As Think Progress’ Pat Garofalo noted, these cuts were proposed despite Texas’ possession of a $8.2 billion rainy day fund.

(7) PERRY WAS A STRONG SUPPORTER OF TEXAS’S ANTI-SODOMY LAWS: Perry was a strong proponent of Texas’s anti-sodomy law that was struck down in 2003 by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. Calling the law “appropriate,” Perry dismissed the Court decision as the result of “nine oligarchs in robes.” Even after being struck down, Perry supported the Texas legislature’s refusal to remove the law from its books.

(8) PERRY IS A STIMULUS HYPOCRITE WHO LOUDLY CRITICIZED FEDERAL RECOVERY MONEY BUT USED IT TO BALANCE HIS STATE’S BUDGET: As the nation struggled to avoid economic collapse in 2009, Perry was a vocal critic of Congress’s recovery package, even advocating that Texas reject the money because “we can take care of ourselves.” Months later, after Perry was able to balance the state’s budget only with the aid of billions in federal stimulus dollars, Perry again repeated that he would reject federal funding, arguing that the government “spends money they don’t have.” Five months later, Perry again took advantage of federal funding to issue $2 billion in bonds for highway improvements in Texas. Even so, the state faces a $27 billion budget deficit.

(9) PERRY SAID THAT TEXAS MIGHT HAVE TO SECEDE FROM THE UNITED STATES: One hundred and fifty years ago, Texas and other southern states seceded from the Union, resulting in a bloody Civil War. 148 years later, Perry floated the idea that Texas may again have to secede because of a federal government that “continues to thumb their nose at the American people.” Perry was roundly criticized for his proposal, yet he repeated his threat the next month on Fox News, telling host Neil Cavuto, “If Washington continues to force these programs on the states, if Washington continues to disregard the tenth amendment, who knows what happens.”

(10) DESPITE HAVING THE WORST UNINSURED RATE IN THE COUNTRY, PERRY CLAIMS THAT TEXAS HAS “THE BEST HEALTH CARE IN THE COUNTRY” : On Bill Bennett’s radio show last year, Perry claimed that “Texas has the best health care in the country.” In reality, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents of any state. More than one in four Texans lack coverage; the national average is just 15.4 percent. As such, there are more uninsured residents in Texas than there are people in 33 states. Despite Texas’s low coverage rates, the state has some of the most restrictive Medicaid eligibility thresholds, and Perry has even proposed dropping out of the program. Texas also has an inordinately high percentage of impoverished children, yet Perry opposed expanding the successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

If we have learned one thing from Glenn Beck, its that republicans and prophets are a frightening political concoction!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Is That Really What The Constitution Says?

Rick Perry Says Social Security And Medicare Are Unconstitutional.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has, to say the least, a very odd understanding of the Constitution. He thinks Texas should be able to opt out of Social Security, and he believes that everything from federal public school programs to clean air laws are unconstitutional. Yet in an interview with the Daily Beast’s Andrew Romano, Perry makes his most outlandish claim to date — Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional:
The Constitution says that “the Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes… to provide for the… general Welfare of the United States.” But I noticed that when you quoted this section on page 116, you left “general welfare” out and put an ellipsis in its place. Progressives would say that “general welfare” includes things like Social Security or Medicare—that it gives the government the flexibility to tackle more than just the basic responsibilities laid out explicitly in our founding document. What does “general welfare” mean to you?

[PERRY:] I don’t think our founding fathers when they were putting the term “general welfare” in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care. What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that. From my perspective, the states could substantially better operate those programs if that’s what those states decided to do.

So in your view those things fall outside of general welfare. But what falls inside of it? What did the Founders mean by “general welfare”?

[PERRY:] I don’t know if I’m going to sit here and parse down to what the Founding Fathers thought general welfare meant.

But you just said what you thought they didn’t mean by general welfare. So isn’t it fair to ask what they did mean? It’s in the Constitution.

Perry’s reading of the Constitution raises very serious questions about whether he understands the English language. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes” and to “provide for the…general welfare of the United States.” No plausible interpretation of the words “general welfare” does not include programs that ensure that all Americans can live their entire lives secure in the understanding that retirement will not force them into poverty and untreated sickness.

Moreover, Perry’s belief that Social Security and Medicare must cease to exist not only puts him well to the right of his fellow Republicans in Congress — who recently voted to gradually phase out Medicare — it also puts him at the rightward fringe of the GOP presidential field. Not even Michele Bachmann has gone on record claiming that America’s two most cherished programs for seniors violate the Constitution, although she did invite a Fox News analyst who shares Perry’s beliefs to lecture her fellow lawmakers on what the Constitution requires.

When House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the GOP’s plan to slowly eliminate Medicare, it was the most conservative budget proposal anyone had seriously considered in generations. Perry’s agenda, however, makes Paul Ryan look like Ted Kennedy.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Classifies as a “Super Committee”?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced today their picks for the fiscal super committee created by the debt ceiling deal, naming Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA), Rob Portman (OH), and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (TX), Dave Camp (MI), and Fred Upton (MI) to the body. The committee is tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November, and one of the key issues will be whether revenue increases are included. Basic economics and the American people call for increasing revenues, with a new CNN poll showing 63 percent of Americans want the committee to raise taxes on the wealthy, but several of the GOP picks are hard-right conservatives who likely oppose such a “balanced approach.” Other critical issue will be entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, and whether the committee makes cuts to military spending.

Here’s what you need to know about each of the GOP super committee members:

REP. JEB HENSARLING (TX): Super committee co-chairman Hensarling only has a tenuous grasp on economic facts, repeatedly making false claims about the deficit and debt and “falsely characteriz[ing] the debt limit fight as a consequence of spending policies enacted by President Obama and past Democratic congresses.” He has called Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid “cruel Ponzi schemes,” and believes that recessions are just “a part of freedom.” Hensarling has said corporate tax dodging is a good reason to cut the corporate tax rate. He also consistently carries water for Wall Street’s biggest banks, saying that bank profits should trump consumer protection.

SEN. JON KYL (AZ): Kyl is the number two Republican in the Senate and takes a hard line on taxes. He walked away from debt ceiling negotiations because Democrats wanted to raised taxes on those who make more than $500,000 a year, but he insisted there should not be a dime of increased revenues. He has also strongly defended tax subsidies for oil companies, and opposed ending an accounting gimmick that deprives the Treasury of up to $72 billion over the next five years in corporate taxes. He is also a staunch defender of military spending and is not afraid to twist arms to get it. For example, he held up the START treaty and extension of the Bush tax cuts late last year to extract more money for nuclear weapons. Like many Republicans, he has voted to privatize Social Security and supported the House Republican budget, which would effectively end Medicare. To his credit, however, he said he did not support tying an increase in the debt ceiling to a Balanced Budget Amendment.

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (PA): Toomey firmly believes in the GOP fantasy that tax cuts don’t actually cost anything, telling Fox News that “it’s not clear” that extending the Bush tax cuts and cutting corporate taxes would decrease revenues. He is firmly in favor of privatizing Social Security because he believes that “personal [Social Security] accounts lead to personal prosperity.” He has said he supports the budget passed by House Republicans (which would effectively eliminate Medicare) and released his own budget proposal that would turn Medicaid into a block grant, severely slash domestic discretionary spending, and likely result in a big tax increase on the middle-class that would fund tax reductions for the rich and corporations. However, Toomey does support cuts to defense spending, saying, “There is waste pretty much everywhere in the government, and that includes the Pentagon. Part of the problem is Congress voting on systems the Pentagon doesn’t even want.”

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (OH): President George W. Bush put Portman in charge of his Office of Management and Budget in order to meet “our goal to cutting the budget deficit in half by 2009.” Under Portman’s watch, the deficit nearly tripled. During the debt ceiling debacle, Portman was one of the GOP senators who actually entertained defaulting as an “opportunity to get our fiscal house in order.” Considering privatization “the greatest force in the universe,” he also suggested privatizing Social Security to bail out bad investors and voted in 2005 to divert Social Security dollars to create private accounts. He did hedge on all-out support of Ryan’s budget plan, but ended up supporting it. Believing that “spending, not tax cuts, causes future deficits,” Portman ran on the idea that “any tax increase would hurt the fragile economy.” As such, he’s continually advocated to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and is pushing to balance the budget in 10 years without a single tax increase. However, Portman did state in the past that he would support defense cuts as “the Pentagon has to be part of the discussion.”

REP. DAVE CAMP (MI): As the lower chamber’s chief tax writer, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Camp is a dogged defender of the wealthy. During the debt ceiling debacle, Camp actually declared that he’d rather have a bigger deficit than see taxes go up on “rich people.” In his struggle to find “a least damaging place” to raise revenue, Camp landed on one “free-riding” group of people that could stand to pay more: the poor. Of course, the preservation or pursuit of tax cuts — like the Bush tax cuts — will further increase the deficit. Camp, however, offers the familiar GOP idea that their expiration creates “uncertainty” and point blankly stated, “I don’t think you have to pay for extensions of current law.” Indeed, the only tax policy Camp seems to be (rightly) wary of is a tax repatriation holiday. Having already declared tax increases “off the table” on Obama’s previous debt commission, Camp is more likely to push a balanced budget amendment and the other disastrous cuts he backed in the House Republican “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan. As for entitlement programs, Camp wavered and then voted in support of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to end Medicare.

REP. FRED UPTON (MI): Though best known for his hard shift rightward toward global warming denial, Upton also backed the radical House Republican budget, the even more radical “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan (which would take spending to a level not seen since the 1960s), and a balanced budget constitutional amendment. However, his position on revenues is a bit wishy-washy. He has said tax increases are “just not going to be part of the equation,” but has not ruled out tax reform that lowers rates but brings in more revenue through the elimination of tax loopholes and credits.

Can we say that the aformention republicans are "The GOP’s Not-So-Super Committee"?

All of the GOP members of the super committee, meanwhile, have signed anti-tax activist Grover Norquist’s pledge not raise any taxes under any circumstances and support a Balanced Budget Amendment, which even former Reagan economics adviser Bruce Barlett calls unworkable, “dopey,” and “mind boggling in its insanity.” If the committee cannot agree or Congress does not adopt their recommendations, a “trigger” of deficit reduction measures, including big defense cuts, will automatically go into place — an option many progressives say could be better than anything the committee may put forward.

If you haven’t had your fill of radical republican choke and puke politics wait, a heavy dose is right around the corner. A good friend sent me this great quote regarding the teas and their holy than thou take on patriotism, and it goes like this:

“Dear Tea Party Patriot, Benedict Arnold thought he was being patriotic too.”


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A “Must Read”

Michelle Bachmann’s ‘Must-Read’ List Included A Book That Claims Blacks Were ‘Better Off In Nearly Every Way’ Under Slavery.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) has already made one slavery-related gaffe during her presidential campaign, signing a pledge produced by the Iowa FAMiLY LEADER that included language suggesting black children were better off under slavery than they are now. Bachmann offered half-hearted apology at the time, saying she had only signed the “candidate vow,” not the part that included slavery, and compared it to “economic enslavement” brought on by taxes.

But in his profile of Bachmann released yesterday, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza revealed that Bachmann’s “worldview” on slavery goes much deeper. In 2002, then-state Sen. Bachmann’s campaign posted a “must-read” list of books on her web site. Included in the list were the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, and a book titled, “Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee,” authored by J. Steven Wilkins. The Lee biography includes this apologetic passage:
Northerners were often shocked and offended by the familiarity that existed as a matter of course between the whites and blacks of the old South. This was one of the surprising and unintended consequences of slavery. Slavery, as it operated in the pervasively Christian society which was the old South, was not an adversarial relationship founded on racial animosity. In fact, it bred on the whole, not contempt, but, over time, mutual respect. This produced a mutual esteem of the sort that always results when men give themselves to a common cause.

After explaining the “cruelty and barbarism” of “pagan” Africa, he goes on:
The fact was (and is) easily demonstrable that, taken as a whole, there is no question that blacks in this country, slavery notwithstanding, were “immeasurably better off” in nearly every way [than they were in Africa].

In Lee’s view, however, emancipation could only be accomplished successfully if it was gradual. Time was needed for the sanctifying effects of Christianity to work on the black race and fit its people for freedom.

Abolitionism was not the best answer.
The idea that the relationships between white slave owners and black slaves were not founded on racial animosity has no basis in history. Whites viewed themselves as inherently superior to blacks, who were bought and sold as property and, for population counts, were worth only three-fifths of a white person. The idea that sanctifying blacks through Christianity made them “immeasurably better off” than they would have been in Africa, meanwhile, ignores the utter loss of humanity caused by enslavement. It ignores the untold number of blacks who died on slave ships, the sale of blacks at auctions as if they were livestock, the families split up at an owner’s whim, and the loss of all basic human rights, not least of which was their own free will.

Bachmann has a history of using slavery analogies, and she has made multiple mistakes regarding American history already in her campaign. None, however, is nearly as disturbing as her love for a book that attempts to explain away the horrors of slavery by rewriting history to make it seem like it was a minor price to pay for the sanctifying favors whites did blacks by bringing them to America as slaves.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the United States’ credit rating Friday night came with clear shots at congressional Republicans who had refused to consider tax increases in the deal to raise the debt ceiling. S&P criticized Congress for allowing new revenues to drop from the “menu of policy options,” criticizing “the majority of Republicans in Congress [who] continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” The National Journal proclaimed it “hard to read the S&P analysis as anything other than a blast at Republicans.”

Unlike his party’s presidential candidates and several of his congressional colleagues, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) seems to have heard that blast, as he sent a memo to congressional Republicans today acknowledging S&P’s calls for tax increases. Despite hearing those calls, however, Cantor is urging his colleagues to ignore them:

Not only has Cantor chosen to ignore S&P, he has his facts wrong about the American people. Polling conducted by the New York Times and CBS News found last week that half of Americans did, in fact, support the inclusion of new revenues in the debt deal, and numerous polls have shown wide support for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, a proposal that would reduce the federal deficit by $830 billion over the next decade. S&P today called the full expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which would save $4 trillion in the next decade, one of the major steps in restoring the nation’s AAA credit rating.
Over the next several months, there will be tremendous pressure on Congress to prove that S&P’s analysis of the inability of the political parties to bridge our differences is wrong. In short, there will be pressure to compromise on tax increases. We will be told that there is no other way forward. I respectfully disagree.

As we have said from the beginning of the year, the new Republican Majority was elected to change the way Washington does business. We were not elected to raise taxes or take more money out of the pockets of hard working families and business people. People understand Washington can’t keep spending money that it doesn’t have. They want to see less government – not more taxes.

Given that S&P downgraded the U.S. in part because of political instability brought on by the GOP taking the economy hostage, Cantor urging his colleagues to ignore the agency’s warning likely won’t help the government’s attempts to avoid yet another downgrade in the future.


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Proof Is In The Pudding

Reuters reports: “The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday, in a dramatic reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy.” The new rating is AA+.

In explaining their decision Standard & Poor’s cites both the decision by Republicans in Congress to turn the debt ceiling into a political football and the Republicans intransigence on tax increases. Some excerpts from the release:
The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.

It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options.

The act contains no measures to raise taxes or otherwise enhance revenues, though the committee could recommend them.

Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.
Standard & Poors indicates that they could improve their rating for the U.S. if “the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for high earners lapse from 2013 onwards, as the Administration is advocating.”


Friday, August 5, 2011

Tea Party Hobbits

A refresher course on what the teas are really all about.

Enjoy your weekend readers, and thank you for your continued support to our blog. We are almost at 9 million readers in a little over a year. We never envisioned this when we created NFTOS. This following truly proves the progressive movement is strong.

Roger A. West

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spoken Directly From the Horses Posterior

Eric Cantor says: Entitlement Promises ‘Frankly, Are Not Going To Be Kept For Many’

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said he is ready and willing to slash entitlements like Medicare, because, in his opinion, Americans have to “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many“:
What we need to be able to do is to demonstrate that that is the better way for the people of this country. Get the fiscal house in order, come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that, frankly, are not going to be kept for many. The math doesn’t lie.

Republicans have been saying for months that they want to preserve programs like Medicare and Social Security for all people over the age of 55, but that those under 55 will have to shift into a different program. But Cantor’s pronouncement is maybe the most explicit explanation that, under the GOP’s vision, the government would be actively reneging on promises made to those who haven’t yet hit the arbitrary age of 55.

Of course, the math would look much better, particularly on Social Security, if the GOP were to back off its insistence that the government not collect a single dime in new revenue. Meanwhile, Jacob Hacker, political science professor at Yale University, has called the GOP’s scheme to raise the Medicare retirement age “the single worst idea for Medicare reform” since it “saves Medicare money only by shifting the cost burden onto older Americans caught between the old eligibility age and the new, as well as onto the employers and states that help fund their benefits.”


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What The Debt Ceiling Will Really Cost Us

Debt Ceiling Deal Will Cost 1.8 Million Jobs In 2012

The Economic Policy Institute, a top nonpartisan think tank, estimates that the deal struck this weekend to raise the nation’s debt limit will end up costing the economy 1.8 million jobs by 2012. Today the Senate is expected to approve the package passed yesterday by the House and send it to President Obama. But while the unemployment rate remains above 9 percent, the deal does nothing to address chronic joblessness.

The agreement would reduce spending by at least $1 trillion over 10 years, but even the near-term cuts could shrink already sluggish GDP growth by 0.3% in 2012. According to EPI, the plan “not only erodes funding for public investments and safety-net spending, but also misses an important opportunity to address the lack of jobs.” In particular, the immediate spending cuts and the “failure to continue two key supports to the economy (the payroll tax holiday and emergency unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed) could lead to roughly 1.8 million fewer jobs in 2012.”

Top economists and CEO’s have also weighed in against the deal and said that GOP concessions to the Tea Party will cost our economy dearly. Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian warned that the deal will lead to less growth, more unemployment, and more inequality. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman called the plan “a disaster” and “an abject surrender” that will “depress the economy even further.”

The Center for American Progress’s Michael Ettlinger and Michael Linden argue that while the deal “goes straight in the wrong direction,” Congress can redeem itself by using the so-called “super committee” mandated by the bill to focus on job creation. The committee, made up of six Republicans and six Democrats, is tasked with finding an additional $1.5 trillion of deficit reduction over the next 10 years, and must report a plan by Thanksgiving.

Linden and Ettlinger write, “It’s especially important for the committee to produce a plan that creates jobs and spurs growth because the committee’s proposals will come on top of a set of already-dramatic spending cuts that will have adverse economic consequences.”


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Republican Motto


I guess this about says it all. I've been asked of late what did I learn most about this debt ceiling crisis. I've learned to never vote republican!

Here is a great read on why we are in this ugly scenerio. While the radical teas will be in denial, this clearly paints the picture of why America is in the state of chaos it is in.


Monday, August 1, 2011

United States Gets World Grand Distinction

As ‘Irresponsible,’ ‘Worst Kind Of Absurd Theatrics,’ U.S. Politicians A ‘Laughing Stock'.

The rhetoric over raising the debt ceiling had become increasingly harsh as Democratic and Republican congressional leaders trade barbs back and forth. But as the U.S. inches closer to defaulting on its debts for the first time in history, criticism of Congress is starting to come from beyond our own borders. From France and Germany to China and India, countries around the world are angry that American politicians play with the possibility of a U.S. default like a yo-yo with little regard for the international economic system that depends on American solvency.

Radical Tea Bags

Despite China’s traditional preference of staying out of the domestic affairs of other nations, senior Chinese officials’ frustrations are growing louder and louder. Stephen Roach, the non-executive chairman of Morgan Staley Asia, said senior Chinese officials told him the debt ceiling debate in the U.S. is “truly shocking.” “We understand the politics,” a Chinese official said, “but your government’s continued recklessness is astonishing.” And newspapers around the world are voicing discontent with Congress’s handling of the debt ceiling:

The German mass-circulation Bild: “What America is currently exhibiting is the worst kind of absurd theatrics and the whole world is being held hostage… Most importantly, the Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition.”

French newspaper Le Monde:”The American politicians supposed to lead the most powerful nation in the world are becoming a laughing stock.”

Chinese state-owned newspaper Xinhua: “Given the United States’ status as the world’s largest economy and the issuer of the dominant international reserve currency, such political brinksmanship in Washington is dangerously irresponsible.”

Conservative German Die Welt: “There are few signs of self-doubt or self-awareness in the U.S. The Tea Party movement sees the other side as their enemy. Negotiations with the Democrats, whether it’s about appointing a judge or the insolvency of the United States, are only successful if the enemy is defeated. Compromise, they feel, is a sign of weakness and cowardice.”
The founding documents of many nations around the world take their inspiration from and quote the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But now, foreigners don’t seem to be too inspired watching the intransigent wing of one political party that controls one house of one branch of the federal government hold the entire U.S. hostage. American soft power has taken a self-inflicted hit as a result of the debt ceiling debate.

Even though Congress seems to have managed a deal and they should be able to deliver a bill to President Obama’s desk today raising the debt ceiling before default, but the damage to our international standing has already been done. Other nations won’t forget how some members of Congress were so careless to allow the international economy fall into another financial disaster in order to score a few political points.

David Frum says his Republican Party should focus on the economy and jobs, but it's so pessimistic and panic-stricken that it's willing to sacrifice America's well-being for a point.