Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Is it news if it’s not reported?

August 24, 2012




Since corporate profits keep going up- showing that corporations are benefiting from the many services that our government offers- the fact that corporate tax revenue is decreasing seems relevant and necessary to our political discussions.

Does the very idea of those discussions happening strike anyone else as extremely unlikely?

Apparently so. (Note the third panel especially)


Chart found through Wonkwire. Comic through Political Irony.


Pussy Riot and a How-To for government

August 22, 2012

To recap: The Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church are using their joint power hand in glove and the art collective and political protest group Pussy Riot held a “Punk Prayer” protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. They sang and danced in protest and were, although disruptive, nonviolent.

3 members of the group were arrested, charged with “hooliganism” and sentenced to 2 years in prison. Which is ridiculous and an abuse of state power.

I will state right out front that I admire Pussy Riot and other protesters who issue challenges to a harmful status quo, who challenge political power and/or religious dogma.

But I am not arguing that people should be allowed to disrupt other groups meetings without any legal repercussions, either. After all  if majorities could ruin minority gatherings anytime they wished, tyranny of the majority would be stating the case mildly.

So what would be a sensible way to approach such an issue? How about this:

If the protest is violent, charge the protesters responsible for violence. Treat as you would any other violent crime.

If the protest is nonviolent but disruptive, charge the protesters with disturbing the peace, charge them, give them a court date and release them on their own recognizance. At the court date, the judge can let them choose between forms of community service.

If the protest is nonviolent and minimally disruptive (protesters are not preventing normal communication or activities within a space, etc. beyond their mere numbers) ignore them, you’ve got nothing. Leave them alone unless the situation changes.

Republican Party Platform Prepares to Back Akin

August 21, 2012

At the same time as Representative Todd Akin (Republican-Missouri) said this

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

-The Republican National Party prepares to reaffirm a platform which includes amending the constitution to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest. From CNN, draft language for the platform:

“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

The good news? Conservatives finally see a good side to the 14th Amendment.

The Romneys deserve praise for simply releasing what the law requires…

August 17, 2012

… at least they seem to think so. Should we also praise people for not setting buildings on fire and not shooting people? Should we be telling people “Congratulations on not being a criminal.”?

Ann Romney on the matter of tax releases:

“We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us. There’s going to be no more tax releases given.”

Well, that’s very nice, but since even Mitt’s releases for 2010 were not fully disclosed, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we still have questions. What might be in the other years?

Ammunition.” Sorry, what was that, Ann?

Mrs. Romney said if they release any more information, “it will only give them more ammunition.”

In regards to their finances,  she said “there’s nothing we’re hiding.”

So, they aren’t hiding anything, but the nothing that they are hiding would give ammunition to Democrats and the media? That seems perfectly sensible and not in the least contradictory.

And even though their releases might comply will the bare minimum the law requires, they might be hiding previous violations in their taxes, covered by the 2009 Swiss Bank Account Amnesty. However, even though that amnesty retroactively – there’s that word again – eliminates legal liability, it doesn’t remove political liability.

Over at ElectoralVote, it is pointed out that Romney promised to release his 2011 taxes before the election. Now, since he knew before last year that he would be running for the Presidency, it might be that there is nothing there the least bit shady. But even if that is true, it will bring attention back to the taxes Romney refuses to release, and the fact that he is more secretive by far than any candidate for American high office in modernity.

Elizabeth Warren for President 2016

August 16, 2012

After all of the fake and contrived controversy regarding Obama saying “you didn’t build that” regarding bridges, roads, the education provided to you by teachers, etc…

I am glad to remember that Elizabeth Warren said much the same thing as Obama, but allowed little possibility of the type of creative misunderstanding his words were put through:

Emily reminded me of this here, but I first saw Warren’s speech last year through Steve Benen.

Food, Education and Race.

August 14, 2012


At the same time as the CDC reports that obesity is increasing across the nation…

a study shows that school nutrition laws have a substantial correlation with reduced weight gain.

Also, studies show a persistent gap in health and longevity between people of different education levels and races.

If we were to make education through college- and quality school lunches in K-12- economically available to all Americans, perhaps we could substantially increase the health of America, and reduce health care costs as part of the deal.

Romney’s Ryan-Written 0.82% Effective Tax Rate.

August 11, 2012

With all the talk over Mitt Romney’s tax secrecy, Paul Ryan was probably not the best VP pick Romney could have made. After all, Ryan is an economic Randian who wrote a tax plan under which Romney would pay no taxes at all on the $20 million in capital gains and carried interest Romney makes every year.

Romney even admitted this when commenting on Gingrich’s similar plan in the primary.  The only income (that we know about) of Romney’s that Ryan’s plan would tax is the “not much” (hundreds of thousands) that he made in speaker’s fees in 2010, and the probably similar amounts he made in speakers fees in other years. When O’Brien did the math, Romney’s taxes under Ryan’s plan came out to an effective rate of 0.82% on $21,661,344.

Link found at Political Wire.

Economic solutions are available: Political will is wanting

August 10, 2012

It will surprise nobody to hear that some state budgets have structural deficits.

But solutions may be easier to find than our political discussion indicates. Economist have a striking degree of agreement on some issues that are being heatedly debated by politicians. 40 economists surveyed – including Democrats, Republicans and others- gave answers to public economic policy questions and the results of two questions are as follows:

92% agreement that the stimulus reduced the jobless rate

0% thought that cutting taxes from current levels would create jobs.

If our political system had more respect for facts, perhaps we’d already be a great deal closer to being out of this recession with countercyclical fiscal policy, along with paying attention to what types of stimulus has the greatest impact.

As is, maybe we can pay attention in time to make use of the fact that more stimulus could still help.

Thanks to Wonk Wire for links.

Shitty politics

August 9, 2012

First, Ohio Republican Josh Mandel shorts (bets against) US Treasury bills and then publicly declares that he plans to vote for the United States to default on its debt: if the US defaulted, it would lower the value of US Treasury bills, and increase the value of his investment. Someone so shitty as to actively plan to hurt the country for personal profit has no right to represent its people.

Next, Joe Walsh spews patronizing and arguably racist shit about President Obama:

“There’s something different on the ground, and I think it’s going to overtake us all again, think it’s going to overtake the political class. I think it’s going to respectfully pick this president up and pat him on the head and say, son, son, son, Mr. President, you were never ready to be president, now go home and work for somebody and find out how the real world works.”

Anybody else think “son” was the barest change from “boy” there? (Here’s where to donate to Walsh’s opponent, if you are interested)

Finally, a fertilizer company (Scotts Miracle-Gro Company) stays true to form by donating to Romney’s campaign. And they are still smelling like roses compared to all the companies donating to political campaigns secretly.

Romney’s Tax Policy “Mathematically Impossible”

August 7, 2012

The Republican nominee- Willard Mitt Romney- has yet to release his tax returns, but has given two details about his tax plan. He promises to reduce the deficit, but also to cut marginal tax rates by 20% across the board.

When the nonpartisan group Tax Policy Center (whose work was previously described by the Romney campaign as “objective, third-party analysis”) conducted analysis of Romney’s tax policy while giving it the benefit of every doubt and implausibly favorable conditions, they found that his tax policy was “mathematically impossible” without tax increases on the middle class.

Now that it objects to the Tax Policy Center’s conclusion, the Romney campaign is describing their work as “just another biased study from a former Obama staffer.”