Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Memes are a strange thing. One never can really predict what will catch on and what will die with a mingy wimper. Still, economist Stephanie Kelton has to be pretty thrilled that #MintTheCoin has gained traction. She, and the entire rest of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) community of economists, have certainly been waiting long enough. #MintTheCoin is Dr. Kelton’s (@deficitowl) current contribution to Twitter and it’s an important one but I’ll bet you don’t know why.

Hint: the answer isn’t “debt ceiling.”

The meme has caught fire and is being promoted by the likes of both Paul Krugman and Salon (…’nuff said) as a solution to the debt ceiling via the hastily lashed together vehicles of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution and Title 31 of the United States Code Subtitle IV, Chapter 51, Subchapter II, Section 5112. I am not going to repeat the basics of the meme because they are splashed all over the web. If you have been dead for the last couple of weeks and somehow missed them you can catch up here, here, and here. There is also, of course, the idiotic GOP response codified, for the moment, in the bill being introduced by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) to prevent the President and Secretary of the Treasury from taking the option of the now infamous platinum coin. My favorite part of this legislation is that it tacitly acknowledges that the Secretary of the Treasury really does have the right to mint the coin making any argument to the contrary just that much more difficult. Derp. The part of this legislation that makes me want to put my face through glass is when the Congressman drops his pail down into the my-small-business-can’t-print-money-well to which I respond,

Listen up, Dimwit, the US Federal Government is NOT a business or family and it CAN and SHOULD print money.

Now, I’ll grant you that the world is a big place and some of you thought you had better things to do than to read my post on Modern Monetary Theory vs the Fiscal Cliff (this link is to the Daily Kos cross-post because the discussion thread was excellent there) but if you do not understand the statement above, stop now and read the older post. I’m not kidding. Stop. Now. Thump!

For everyone who did not stop I am going to go forward with the assumption that you fully understand the following things:

  • The budget of the Federal government is in no way, shape or form like that of your family or of any business and likening the Federal budget to the budget of a small business is the same as likening kittens to helicopters. (Ok, both look pretty funny when they are flying through the air but other than that….)
  • The Federal government is not balancing a budget, it is balancing an economy and the delimiters of that balance are unemployment, exchange rates and inflation. Period. End of story.
  • Deficits mean NOTHING. Debt means very, VERY little.
  • The US economy has nothing what-so-ever in common with any country which uses the Euro so comparisons to Spain or Greece or Italy are, again, kittens to helicopters.

Again, if there are any of the above which are unclear to you, go back to the older post. I mean it. *glare*

What has to be thrilling the MMT community to the tips of their pointy little heads is the fact that the platinum coin is breaking into consciousness at all because they have been talking about it for a long time for a whole different reason.

Zeroing Out the US Debt

News Flash: the platinum coin could be used to zero out the entire US debt held by the Fed. Done. Gone. I’m going to nibble on some hay while you think about that. … … … … … … Done? I didn’t think so but no one has ever credited me with patience.

There are, of course, two things to know about this approach and the most important is that it is totally unnecessary because given the current (stronger than you realize) position of the US economy and the fact that we have a fiat currency, debt actually means very, VERY little. It is, essentially, a matter of an internal balance sheet adjustment and if someone wants to make a pretty little coin or two or fifty to make it more real, well isn’t that just precious. What this would do instead is allow the funds which are being spent in service of our current debt to be pumped back into the private sector, in a controlled fashion, until we have reached full employment, at which point the spigot would be reduced to a normal flow.

What’s that? I can hear the anguished screams all the way from here. No, inflation is not a factor. Inflation is caused when demand exceeds supply and our economy is no where close to that margin. There is huge room for growth and capacity utilization rates remain exceedingly low. There, there. *pat, pat* I know. It’s a shock because those GOP bullies have been pushing the Debt-bad/Inflation-nigh meme for so long and you actually had started to believe it. If you need more solace on this issue, go to Bill Mitchell’s Billy Blog, for an excellent explanation.

Snipe Hunting

The real truth is that debt isn’t bad. At least, not at our current levels and in our current financial position. Still, we have listened to the GOP and the Tea-baggers rail on it for so long that it is as if we, as a nation, have been on a snipe hunt and we actually believe there are real snipes out there. Let me do you this favor and smack you upside the head, *SMACK!* Wake up!!!

There are not now and there never were actual snipes and because it does not serve our nation and economy for the private sector (all US individuals and businesses) to be in the red and because we will absolutely have a trade deficit for the foreseeable future (which is the international sector), the laws of accounting (if confused, refer to both my previous post on MMT and my previous *glare*) say that the public sector (the Federal budget) MUST be running a deficit . If we just can’t make ourselves comfortable with that than let’s pretend otherwise by zeroing out the debt with a magical coin. Here’s the bottom line. The debt means NOTHING and the coin means NOTHING and using them to cancel each other out so that we feel better is silly but not necessarily a bad thing. Plus, of course, it frees up all the money necessary to get everyone who wants to work back to work… oh, and to invest in the changes necessary to address climate change, invest in education, rebuild our national infrastructure, solve the long-term healthcare crisis…among a few other little things.

The IMF’s Giant Facepalm

…and then there’s the International Monetary Fund (IMF.) These genius’ have been at the head of the austerity bandwagon for years as they have dutifully strong-armed (and worse) economy after economy into the ground with their iron-clad commitment to austerity. …except they were wrong. Totally and completely, absolutely and irrevocably (in some cases) wrong. Now, it’s one thing for me to say this. What is one rabbit against the all-powerful genius of the IMF? So I had to laugh (and cry a little) when they finally acknowledged that they have been wrong all along. As it turns out, when an economy is struggling and it implements austerity, things get worse. Conversely, when countries, like Germany, Austria and the US (thank you, President Obama), use stimulus, they experience improvement. Why? Because (and here I apologize for repeating myself) a country is not balancing a budget, it is balancing an economy. WHO CARES what a ledger says! What matters is that people are working, the temperature of inflation is cold and the exchange rate is reasonable. Those are the only three things that matter. Everything else is just a snipe no matter what the Tea Party or the GOP or the IMF has to say.

In Closing

The Giant Platinum Coin IS an interesting concept. It IS worth thinking about but it is wasted on an imaginary “problem” like the debt ceiling. Oh, it’s not that it can’t or shouldn’t be used there. It’s just that if we really want to get the GOP to shut the thump up and we really want to change the future of our country and the lives of our citizens, we won’t just stop there. But that is, of course, just one rabbit’s opinion.

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You should chisel this moment into stone. In fact you should probably sit down because the shock of my admission may just be too much for some of you.

I was wrong.

Oh, I was not wrong about what I said about Mitt Romney, who will now be consigned to the litterbox of history for failing in a manner so cataclysmic that the entire GOP will be forced to take time away from blaming the black guy to blaming each other for not being able to do arithmetic. I was not wrong about what I said, more than two years ago, about John Bohener having an irreconcilable (and hilarious) problem with the ever-widening solar system of a gap between the Tea Party and reality. I was also not wrong about what I said about about the last fiscal cliff as it applies to the coming so-called “fiscal cliff.” (Personally, I agree with David Waldman, KagroX, that the term “fiscal curb” is more correct.) What I was wrong about was thinking that the GOP would wake the hell up once they had gone splat on the windshield of the Democratic party express.

Republican FAIL

Sure, there are a smattering of GOP pundits talking about substantive changes in message but they are being drowned out both by those who have been unable to get past loudly blaming Mitt Romney for being a candidate who daily demonstrated all the backbone of a windsock and the rest who are madly zeroing in on a few surface issues. Have faith, none of them will get to the core of their problem for three BIG and PAINFULLY OBVIOUS reasons which, of course, the entire bubble-based GOP will overlook and into which Dick Morris will likely do another faceplant.

I will summarize here:

1. If you don’t respect differences and people in general, your policy will reflect that and those people will (eventually) notice.

2. They built it, a base of angry, terrified, white, bigoted, evangelicals who aren’t going to change…ever. It’s going to be impossible to work these folks into a “big tent” platform and waiting for them to die will take a while.

3. Citizens United isn’t really a friend of the GOP. Corporations are their own friend, first, last and always. Corporations will spend accordingly. The demo has now made a huge swing in the direction of the Democrats. Corporations have made a note. They won’t be betting exclusively on the GOP to win from here on out.

The GOP did build a “nuclear option” but they aimed it at themselves because these guys really weren’t kidding, they believed their own spin. Karl Rove’s melt down on FOX News, which will live on in infamy, or, my personal favorite, Mary Matalin’s epic FAIL on CNN, wherein she spends the entire time looking like she just swallowed a fly, are both perfect examples of a simple truth. The GOP had no idea that their message was not landing. They have been locked in their own echo chamber for too long (too long, too long, too long…). As it turns out, only eternally pissed-off white men and a narrow majority of married white women think that a platform of “I’m entitled and the rest of you can go screw yourselves,” is an appropriate way to run a country. The rest of the electorate thinks that things like having a strong and well-coordinated FEMA during a major national crisis, as opposed to a few people handing out canned goods here and there, is essential to maintaining a strong and vibrant nation.

Dems Fail

Still, there are things the Dems should be learning from all of this. (Though, given the fact that we have had Karl Rove, the Dark Lord and Master of the first two items noted below, on our ass for multiple elections and still have not managed to learn these lessons, I am somewhat lacking in hope.)

1. Narrative matters. Yes, our kith and ken all worship at the alter of reality-based information but we tell our story terribly – really, really terribly. President Obama had a strong first term and even now almost no one knows that. Hello! Short, simple, glossy, heartwarming narrative. I mean seriously, people, the very best narratives of this election were provided by the other guy including Big Bird, the pre-1917 Navy and, the corker of them all, the 47% video. Y’all have a year and a half to figure this thing out. If you do, we have a shot at taking back the House and then running the tables for two years.

2. Naming Shit Stuff. WOW. We are so very, very bad at this. The “Affordable Care Act”  – really! Who thought of that? The GOP is a superstar at naming stuff. “Pro-life,” “Obamacare” and “Defense of Marriage Act” these are works of art. Can we please hire one damn Mad Man from Madison Avenue to handle this for us? Where is Don Draper when you need him?!?!?!

3. Self Doubt. During the weeks leading up to the election Republicans were sure they were going to win and Democrats were sure they were going to lose. Dems are genuinely bad at knowing when they have the upper paw and then taking advantage of that fact. Dems are also bad at being who they really are. For years the party has been moving to the right while the country, the electorate, has been moving left on issues while still voting right because *facepalm.* Democrats need to be Democrats.

Democrats have allowed the GOP to run away with the individual freedoms narrative but the fact is that individual freedom is exactly what Democrats support and Republicans oppose on almost every level. Democrats also support the strength of community. These things are not mutually exclusive. Republicans want the world to be either this or that. Democrats understand that there can be a balance where both exist together. (Though, I have to say, in a tip of the hat to BlueGal and DriftGlass, there are not two sides to facts and presenting so-called “balance” on matters of fact is when the media needs to be taken out to the Internet Kitty litterbox and firmly rolled in the material therein.)

On election night all the networks showed coverage of the crowds at the Obama and Romney headquarters. The Obama crowd was all ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic groups. It was all of us. The Romney crowd was white and, based upon the outfits seen on the women, sorely in need of fashion advice. I also think that removing the sticks from up their posteriors would be helpful but that’s really a personal decision.

The Last Word(s)

And finally, that moment for which you have all been waiting, the gloating. These are my favorite thoughts on the subject.

• If you are one of those thinking is that God is involved in each and every little thing that happens to us than His choice is pretty obvious – the black, Kenyan, anti-colonialist, Muslim, socialist, communist, WON. Hahahahahahahaha!

• I’m sending a special “thank you” out to those on the Team Romney who designed Orca, their beached-whale-fail of a get out the vote app . I’m glad those bottles of tequila I sent over while you were in the programming stages proved to be effective. You are welcome.

• Speaking of voting, Florida doesn’t get to vote anymore. They must now turn in their electoral college votes and move to the back of the line, behind Wyoming.

• And this compliments of Second City…

 Through election night God himself was hitting refresh on FiveThirtyEight. He just made the universe, (Nate Silver) turned it into a graph. 

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I just sent $538 to the American Red Cross and I’d like to tell you why. This past week has been filled with right-wing nutbar attacks against a man named Nate Silver. For the three people left who have not yet heard of Nate, go here or here. In simple terms, Nate is a rock star at, among other things, something called “polling aggregation” wherein he has created a method, using statistical modeling, which has proven to be so astonishingly accurate that Time Magazine named Nate one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People. Oh, and as I understand it from people who have met him, he is also just a really “nice guy” by which I take to mean he likes rabbits. This is, of course, beside the point but I thought I would mention it.

Lately, Nate has been under fire because the same people who brought you creationism in textbooks (finally defeated, in Texas, in July of 2011) and a complete denial of climate change* are now taking aim at math.

Where have I heard this story before? Let me think…. Perhaps a blueberry on the half shell well help me to recall? (hint.) Thump! (blueberry arrives) That’s better. Oh, Yes!

During the late eighth to the thirteenth centuries the nations of Islam lead the world in scientific development. For every sixteenth or seventeenth century European scientific great, there was an earlier Arabic polymath who contributed in extraordinary ways to science as a whole. The fields of algebra, geometry and trigonometry either began or were greatly expanded by Arabic genius. Quadratic equations became a part of the mathematical language. Advances in human biology, medicine and pharmacology were so long lasting that books written during this time were still in use in Europe hundreds of years later, as were the designs of astonishingly accurate astrolabes and water clocks. Cartography and sociology grew closer as Arab scientists began to understand the earth in terms of the people who populated it. Modern astronomy still owes the Arabs a great debt. Perhaps most important of all, the baseline for the scientific method was drawn featuring empirical and quantitative approaches to scientific inquiry. The Arabs were at their zenith as a society.

And then they weren’t. The loss of leadership in scientific innovation is described well by Arabs themselves. Senator Adnan Badran, who holds a PhD in molecular biology from an American university and has been both the Prime Minister of Jordan and a longtime Senator said, “Science needs stability, democracy, freedom of expression. You must have an environment that’s conducive to free thinking, to inquiry. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to release the mind’s potential. It’s a very bleak story, a very disappointing story, about the state of science and technology in the Arab region.” Speaking of the past richness of Arabic scientific discoveries he goes on,

We were open. Islam was open, a strong belief with dialogue. It was tolerant, mixing with other civilizations. Then we shifted to being dogmatic. Once you’re dogmatic, you are boxed in.

Gamal Soltan, a political scientist in Egypt says of many modern Islamist scientists,

They’re sure about everything, about how the universe was created, who created it, and they just need to control nature rather than interpret it, but the driving force behind any scientific pursuit is that the truth is still out there.

Remind you of anything?

Science is under assault in this country. From Congressional de-funding of basic research, to the shuttering of Fermilab’s Tevatron Particle Accelerator, to the, now lifted, ban on the use of embryos in stem-cell testing, to the cult of global warming denialism, we are turning our backs on science. We are allowing what happened to the Arab world to happen to us and we are doing it with our eyes wide open. If you want to know how it is that Europe, China and India may well be eating our lunch in just a few years, it starts with all of them being clear that the world is more than 6000 years old and that math is not evil-on-a-stick. Right now, the US is still in contention when young scientists are deciding where to work but it is already an ongoing subject of discussion, in scientific circles, that due to the dogmatic influence of the political right on scientific education, funding, legal support and, most importantly, thought, the United States is on the verge of a scientific brain-drain, something which we will share with Arab nations.

Ankle Biters

I’ll admit it, there was a time when I, myself, was an ankle biter. I grew out of that. Now I box ankles which is, of course, much classier. Still, I think I continue to have some insight into ankle biting in general but for why this matters let’s get back to Nate.

When FiveThirtyEight, Nate’s blog, makes a prediction about the election and says that President Obama has more than an eighty percent chance of winning the election, he is not saying that the President will win. He’s saying, sure, go to that family picnic but you might want to consider taking an umbrella because there is a chance of rain. More importantly, FiveThirtyEight is making no comment what-so-ever on the qualitative value of this outcome. For all we know, Nate is voting for Governor Romney. Nate is doing what it is that scientists do. He is following the data and applying a model he designed which has a past record of success. After the election, he will have a LOT more data because he will be able to verify the accuracy of his predictions and that verification data then becomes part of the larger data set.

Meanwhile, Nate’s ankles are in danger because hedgehogs are out to get him. (If you don’t understand the reference, it’s a thing. It’s called, “reading.” The book is The Signal and the Noise. Read it. Learn something new.) Personally, I wouldn’t put it past one of Nate’s hedgehogs. I mean, some of my best friends are hedgehogs but have you ever really spent an afternoon with one? As Nate describes them, hedgehogs go on and on, for hours, on one subject and they take that same prism and apply it to the whole rest of the world. They are a declarative lot and, despite their name, they rarely hedge. Hedgehogs are all about having everything tied up in one little orderly theory. Just like the over-worn cadre of talking heads brought in both by cable and network television to pontificate on anything and everything, hedgehogs don’t like a mess. They want it all to be black and white simple** and they have to be right. If you knew hedgehogs like I know hedgehogs, you would know Nate is right about this. Clearly, he has spent a lot of time with the prickly little guys.

Like most of those who work in empirical fields, Nate would probably say that scientists are, what he calls, “foxes.” Personally, I find the term a bit off-putting but there it is. Certainly, Nate is himself a fox. According to Nate, foxes understand that when they look out their window and there are no clouds, it still might be good to have an umbrella in the car if the chance of rain is around twenty percent. Foxes see that messy isn’t wrong. In fact, they know that attributing qualitative values to quantitative results is an entirely separate process. Foxes are tolerant of uncertainty and complexity. Foxes aren’t afraid of math as the language of probability.

The science of prediction is fickle and those who are successful in the field require a certain degree of humility just as does all science. Science cannot progress without both the acknowledgement of success and the recognition of failure. The comments made about Nate lately have varied from quite vicious to so outlandish as to be funny (Please, someone tell me that Nate had the good humor to dress up for Halloween as Harry Potter or Gandalf.) But listen up folks, if Mitt Romney wins, Nate Silver said that possibility was among the outcomes. THAT is how probability works.

The value in reading the polling aggregation and blog at FiveThirtyEight is in preparedness. If you are a member of the Romney campaign machine, Nate’s giving you data that is not skewed in the same way as your internal polls and has a better track record for accuracy. Use it as you will. Your choice. Attacking Nate only makes you look small and mean. Shooting the messenger doesn’t change the message. If you really do feel the need to give NRA members someone to shoot, give them Donald Trump and Jack Welch ‘cuz those guys sure haven’t been doing you any favors.

Smack Down

Still, the larger topic is the ongoing attack on science. One need look no farther than Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Egypt to recognize that relegating science to the mercy of dogma is a bad idea. For too long scientists have hidden under their own rocks while other scientific fields were being blasted and de-funded. Science, and everyone who believes in the value of empirical knowledge can and must start to speak out together – loudly. Nate Silver is the whipping boy of the moment and maybe he likes that sort of thing (wink) but he is only representative of a much larger problem.

As the so-called Fiscal Cliff approaches, you can bet that the neck of science is already on the GOP chopping block. Hurricane Sandy was predicted by scientists at the National Hurricane Center doing work that could not be more efficiently done at the State level or by the private sector. The job they did allowed millions of people to prepare for disaster. That’s what funding science buys you.

In Nate’s case, FiveThirtyEight is predicting that there is a less than 20% chance that It will rain next Tuesday. Governor Romney will, most likely lose the election dramatically, especially in the Electoral College. Personally, I’m planning a picnic. I also donated $538 to the American Red Cross.

* Dear Governor Christie, How do you like me now? Signed – Global Warming
** Actually, the hedgehogs of which I speak specifically want it to be white, male simple but that’s for another blog post.

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Now that retired General Colin Powell endorsed President Barak Obama the pressure on me has increased to issue my formal endorsement so here it is: I, Arliss Bunny, am endorsing President Barack Obama for a second term and I ask all those of you who were participating in the #ArlissForPresident meme to join me in supporting the President. In studying both the President’s past success in saving the economy and in evaluating his plan for the future, I believe his is the only logic-based, real world approach available to voters at this time. I am also a big supporter of ObamaCare as I feel that health care for my staff is essential to seeing to it that my needs can be amply met on a daily basis. Though there are many other reasons, several of which have been detailed in my previous blog posts, I have to admit that one of the biggest reasons I am supporting the President is because, unlike Governor Romney, he never said this:

I’m not a big-game hunter. I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then.•


There simply are not enough thumps in the world to describe how insulted I, and I feel I can safely say, every Rabbit American remain about this remark. There was never a hint of an apology. Of course, all this comes from a man who tied his dog to the roof (in a carrier, but still…) for a long family trip so one must consider the source.

On the other paw, the spokesman for the Obama campaign, Ben LaBolt, clarified the President’s position and contributed to this episode by adding,

The president’s record makes clear the he supports and respects the Second Amendment. Mitt Romney is going to have difficulty explaining why he quadrupled fees on gun owners in Massachusetts, then lied about being a lifelong hunter in an act of shameless pandering. That varmint won’t hunt.

Okay, no one really thought that I would be endorsing the Governor. Rabbits really are liberals. We are vegans and when was the last time you met a vegan conservative? Ohhhh, that’s right,  he was that guy sitting next to the lesbian, black, Republican at the last $50,000 per plate fundraiser you attended. It’s simple folks. The Republican Party gets the gun crazies and the Democrats get the vegans. That’s how it is here in the real world.

The problem is, liberals have been pissed, really pissed, for a while now and as a liberal Rabbit American I think there was some question about my being motivated enough to vote in a way that makes my vote count – and by that I mean not for the Green Party. I want you to know that I am voting for the President not just because he is the lesser of two evils, which he most certainly is despite the great rhetoric to the contrary, I’m voting for him because in almost all areas which matter to me he has moved the country in a positive direction. Yes, that doesn’t mean I’m not pissed about the southern leg of the KeystoneXL pipeline or the re-letting of leases on federal lands and it really doesn’t mean I think he has gone far enough on LGBTQ issues but I do know that he stopped the northern leg of Keystone at the border, funding for green tech is way up, DADT is a thing of the past and DOMA is on its way out. Banking regulation is making a comeback and consumer protection already has. Holding fast to end the War on Women, the War on Workers and the War on Voting has occupied departments of his administration on an almost daily basis. For all that, he deserves your vote and another four years. I am proud that, as liberals, we feel unconstrained by our Party and free to call the President out on his litterbox habits but when the election is this close remember that Ross Perot and Ralph Nader have already cost our country enough and we must consider that a lesson learned. Governor Romney is a var-Mitt (and you can quote me on that.)

Congressman Joe Donnelly IS a varmint but I’m endorsing him too. It’s killing me to say this. Voting Donnelly is definitely a “hold your nose and vote” situation for Indiana liberals. While Donnelly does support abortion exceptions, he still believes that he, and a whole lot of other men in Washington, DC, whom you have never met either, should get to control the bodies of women. He also thinks that the parts of the Bible condoning slavery don’t count but the parts he thinks allow for legalized bigotry against the LGBT community are just fine.

Blue Dog

He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition but ObamaCare and the massive fiscal savings it affords are a touchy subject because freedom. He does, however, support Obamacare/ADA as long as you don’t really call it that. Fortunately, Donnelly does accept that climate change is real and, additionally, he is pushing for a massive overhaul of the Mineral Management Service (which dropped the ball so badly in oversight of off-shore drilling rigs in the gulf). Unfortunately, along with that Joe supports drilling off the continental shelf. He is a significant supporter for renewable technologies, however, and understands that we can’t drill our way to the future. Sadly, he opposes all forms of immigration amnesty and I assume this includes the Dream Act though that is not specified on his website. Unions support Joe because he supports them and Joe is backing the President’s plan to bring the troops in Afghanistan home by 2014.

Here’s the thing – anyone who thinks oppressing others is fine is not fine with me. Rabbits have had enough of that and it continues to be a daily struggle for so many of my kind. (Unlike some religious communities of color, I don’t forget that we are not any of us free until all of us are free.) Still, the world is an imperfect place and Richard Mourdock is at the “Gift from God” Rape level of evil. Joe is the best that is available to us now and the race is VERY close. Additionally, picking up the Indiana seat in the Senate would be a huge win for the Democratic Party and, in most cases, work in our best interests.

Which brings me to my final point, liberals are stupid. The Tea Party mapped out a way to take over the country and we sat by and snickered. What were we thinking!?! The way they mobilized was smart. The way they spelled their signs was not. Still, the jokes on us. We know how to mobilize. We’ve done it before. In spite of the 2010 wave, Indiana remains a purple state under its film of GOP induced fear and bigotry. In all less-than-blue states we would not win immediately but running a few genuinely strong candidates in key districts around the state begins a process of education. Sitting quietly by and letting the Blue Dogs run the show gets us where we are now.

Take it from me, rabbits know a lot about fear. We are prey animals, after all. Our motto is, “Everyone eats rabbits. Rabbits don’t eat anyone.” So you know how we have survived? You know what has made us strong? We breed. We make sure there are always a lot more of us than there are of them. Sadly, liberals aren’t really big breeders but we can be big educators and information can be powerful. We can learn to shape and craft a message that appeals on an emotional level instead of just an intellectual one. We can learn that the next election started yesterday. We can learn that even running and losing is important if it serves the greater goal. And we can fight.

My name is Arliss Bunny. I am a liberal Rabbit American and I approved this message.

•Governor Romney said this on April 7 2007. Don’t think the other Republican Presidential candidates didn’t merrily roast him for it, just, apparently, not enough.

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By now most of you have heard the joke about Romnesia and the punch line about it being a pre-existing condition which is, thankfully, covered by ObamaCare. (If you haven’t, go here to listen to the President of the United States tell it better than this rabbit ever could.) I also like the notion of Ryan-itus as an FTD (Fox Transmitted Disease.) As jokes go, these things make me giggle which I don’t do often and surely haven’t done much during the extremities of this election cycle. Last week, however, I broke my long silence and now I’m on a roll. It’s all because of that second debate. [If I have to be honest, I slept through the first debate and, apparently, I wasn’t the only one…Mr. President.]

I thought the second debate was much more interesting, especially since both candidates showed up, but what has been even more compelling to me are the videos of Governor Romney debating himself as seen here and here. All of which serves to bring me to my point, Romney is speaking in tongues. All the Romney reversals, “misunderstandings” and outright lies are so frequent that they can’t really be accidental, can they? I think they have to be strategic. They are locking the doors of the room, dumping snakes on the floor and then speaking in tongues…and somewhere between 44.8 and 48 percent of the electorate is buying it.

Bring on the lies!

Bring on the snakes!

Surely, I am a believer and I will be spared.

Except, of course, that snakes don’t work that way and eventually poison spreads.

Speaking In Tongues

 Romney’s Economic Plan – The economic plan which Governor Romney still refuses to detail can not possibly work. It can’t. That is a fact proven by every single outside, independent organization which has reviewed it. (The only organization to review it and find it workable is owned, in part, by high ranking GOP operatives.)

Romney’s Jobs Plan – though he seems to give a different number every day and I hear that he and Paul Ryan have even been known to give different numbers on the same day, the Governor is promising to add as many as 23 million jobs, with his imaginary jobs plan, while he is the President. Ummm…no. Times three. No. No. No. The plan isn’t his.” The number isn’t 23 million. The time span given in the plan is ten years.

Romney on Women – No matter what you thought you heard during the debates, Romney opposes abortion of all kinds in all cases and has said he would be “delighted” to sign a law and/or appoint Supreme Court judges who say just that. No matter what you thought you heard at the debate, Romney supports the Blunt amendment, which would make it lawful for any and all employers to refuse to include contraceptive coverage in any company sponsored health plan. And all of this is before I even mention “binders full of women” a subject upon which I have a whole blog entry here.

Romney on Medicare – First of all, the President did not take $716 billion dollars away from Medicare thereby weakening it. The money was moved around from one line item to another in an effort to strengthen Medicare. This bureaucratic change extended the life of Medicare for eight more years. Anything else you might hear from the Governor on that subject is likely a lie and is patently disproven here. Second, the Governor really does believe in eliminating Medicare and replacing it with vouchers. Here is the thing that will always be true, Medicare and government-based systems may not be perfect but they are not in health care to make money. They are invested only in providing care. Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield is rewarded every time they deny care for a customer. It is money they do not have to spend. The Governor wants more of that. He wants you on your back with an insurance company’s fangs on your throat. Listen to a rabbit when I say, “don’t do it! Don’t go into the light!”

Romney on China – Then there is the new story about the Governor and his ownership in the company Sensata that is right in the middle of shipping jobs to China. It isn’t the first time Romney companies have done so and it won’t be the last. Oh, he can tell you his investments are in a “blind trust” but know this, he can see through that blindfold just fine. One of the things I would like to know in Monday’s foreign policy debate:

If Bain Capital was to bring back every job they had sent or caused to be sent to China back to the US, how many jobs would that be?

I’m just guessing but mightn’t those jobs be enough to reverse the negative jobs numbers in Wisconsin or Nevada, two of only six states with jobs numbers which are down from over a year ago? Governor, I suspect that when you speak of taking a tough line with China, you mean something entirely different than what the rest of us mean. You mean things like how many kilowatt hours of grid time will your factories be allotted. Or, how do you keep Chinese factories you don’t own from reverse engineering the products of Chinese factories you do own. In the story of the Garden of Eden, the serpent talks Eve into taking a bite of an apple. When the Governor speaks of China, he does so with a forked tongue and we all know where that leads.

Romney on the World – The Governor thinks he is tough. He certainly likes to talk tough. Americans eat that up after all. We love the image of being the biggest and baddest country in the world. We think it suits us. Well, guess what. News Flash. Twitterstorm. The world has changed. National entities are not the only actors on the international stage and they are only an increasingly small percentage of the conversation. The Governor’s tough talk could severely damage our relationship with allies (see the news coverage of his trip to the UK for reference) and it could easily tip us into war with both Iran and Syria. (Regarding Syria see here and here.) What it will not do is make us any safer. What does make us safer is being perceived as going in the same general direction as the majority of those engaging in the conversation worldwide. Governor, in case no one told you, the thing most likely to change the balance of power in the world today is the cell phone. Brace yourself…and learn to use Twitter.

GOP Facts are Fungible

The GOP has struck upon the manna of “facts as fungible commodities” and they have been worshiping at that alter since the infamous “Contract With On America.” Yes, the Contract was able to hypnotize the electorate but it also was the beginning of the rise of the economic policies which ultimately lead to the W’s Great Economic Collapse. Democrats, meanwhile, have steadfastly, and to our past electoral detriment, continued to rely upon facts, logic, luck and the intellectual stick up our proverbial butts. [Note: none of those three things alone are the way to win an election, guys.]

My Thoughts on 2012 Election Cycle Take-Aways

• Lies (aka Romnesia) will be progressively harder to sell and impossible to maintain as fact checking becomes both common and instant…by everyone. (But this is one of my current favorites.) While the GOP has still been successful, to an extent, in 2012, try it again in 2016 and see where it gets you.

• There are and always will be people who are too afraid of change to be willing to accept any truth which encompasses said change. These people are the GOP base from here on out. The GOP is no longer the party of fiscal conservatism, it is the party of fear.

• Demographics do not favor the GOP – not with women, minorities or the young, none of whom are interested in being in binders any more…ever.

• Technology and social media do not favor the GOP either in the US or around the world…and neither does science (but that last part is another blog post isn’t it.)

• Democrats have to remember to show up and fight – not just our President, all of us.

• OH – and when you are a Mormon, Republican and the Salt Lake Tribune endorses the other guy because you haven’t been truthful enough, well that’s just… … … …. I’m sorry, I can’t seem to stop laughing.

To those of you who follow me, this has not been my usual humorous posting. I apologize. As you can tell, I am especially disapproving these days. Besides, I’m allowing others to carry the awesome burden of humor for me and I have to say that Mr. Eastwood has done a fine job. Thank you, sir, and have a seat.

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Okay. I’ve been quiet. I’ve been good. But then, last night, Mitt Romney and his “…binders full of women…” put me over the edge. WOMEN IN BINDERS!!! Really! And this is coming from someone who has eaten a few binders in her time. (Don’t gasp, it’s a rabbit thing.) Now, my issue is not the great humor to be derived from this statement. (See “Women In Binders” on Facebook for some pretty hilarious drill down on this.)  My issue is that it is profoundly, massively, wholly and completely condescending and paternalistic. He treated all females and, frankly, all of us period, like we are dumb bunnies. (Again, this is an area in which I have some expertise because, trust me, I’ve known some dumb bunnies in my time.)

Still, before I get into my thoughts on the scope of this comment, I want to address the facts around it which is to say that, as with oh-so-many other things that come out of Flip-Flop-Romney’s mouth, it isn’t true. Allow me to repeat. It never happened. An initiative existed in Massachusetts, started by the MassGAP organization, prior to the election of Governor Romney, to increase the number of women in leadership positions at the State level. When Governor Romney took office, he inherited this program. Period. End of story. He didn’t initiate it. He didn’t notice that he was surrounded only by wealthy white men (see the post-debate photos for an example of this behavior). He just lived with something which was already in place and which, he perceived, came out of some binder he was shown at some point in time. I know this won’t come as a shock to any of you, not even to Republicans who can remember as far back as the Republican debates, Mitt lied. Again. I mean really, people, this man makes Nixon and Johnson look like friggin’ Boy Scouts. And all of that comes before the part of this that really gets my dewlap*. (*Look it up. It’s your word for the day.)

Let’s take these things in no particular order:

1. Mitt didn’t have enough women in his organization in the first place and when it was pointed out to him he had to resort to a BINDER for assistance.

2.  Once again, Mitt did not answer the question. Obama was over there saying “Lilly Leadbetter Act” and Mitt had a story about a binder!

3. And AGAIN we have Mitt (or his boy-child Ryan) telling a story about a small, individual situation that absolutely does not address the question at hand, instead of answering the question itself. Women don’t deserve fair pay but they do get a binder. Auto workers don’t deserve to have their jobs saved but there was this one family who lost their son in an auto accident and Mittens was really generous to them. [General note to anyone who EVER debates Joe Biden in the future: don’t go after Joe with an auto accident story. His will trump yours every single time. Every…single…time….]

4.  Did you notice Mitt when he answered the woman who asked the tax question. He slowed down, used small words and spoke as if he was speaking to a third grader? Now maybe his treating her like she was an idiot was fine with you. He is used to dealing with  Tea Party audiences, after all, but it sure as H…e…double carrots bothered me. Here is my take on things. Anyone bothering to watch the debate instead of the ballgame passed third grade and is deserving of respect. Oh – and he didn’t answer that question either but don’t worry, you can get the detail on that here.

5. Unlike Obama, Romney sees no relationship between the issues of fair pay, health care, right to choice, the elimination of tax deductions for child care – and women. For Romney, these are all separate things. He never speaks of them in any kind of holistic or integrated way. Despite the efforts of Ms. Crowley to intervene, Obama gets that all of these things are of-a-piece. Obama isn’t changing topics when he speaks of choice in a discussion of fair pay. He is talking about empowering women all the way around. Not so much with Romney. “Knock! Knock!” “Ummm…yes?” “This is a CLUE! You thought your approval numbers among likely women votes were low before! Here, catch.” *crash* *clatter* *muffled rolling sound* “Nope. Missed again.”

Look, it isn’t just that “binders full of women” is insulting. It isn’t just that Mitt is so dense that he can’t imagine why it would be such a fracking paternalistic thing to say. It’s that he doesn’t get it at all. Not any of it. Mitt’s understanding of women, taught to him at the knee of his father and in services each Sunday for his entire life, is that a woman is someone who requires a man to reach back and call her name in order to be welcomed into heaven. [Personally, I’m hoping that Hillary remembers this attitude when she is approving the list for drone strikes during her Presidency.] Mitt thinks of women in binders and uses small words because that is how little he thinks of women. Period. I suggest that on November 6th, all females unite to show Mittens just how little we think of him. Thump!

November 6th – brought to you by the letters F and U, the number 47 and Office Depot. Go get ‘im, girlz.

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Rabbits are, by nature, prey animals and trust me when I tell you that it is a difficult cross to bear. As such, it has taken untold generations of my kind to evolve into a rabbit, like myself, who is entirely capable of managing a household of predators (ie dogs and humans) for my benefit and to do my bidding. So hear me when I tell you, we don’t get it. Why would a human as powerful as the President of the United States or the most numerous political party, the Democrats, relinquish power as if it was a simple thing to get it back?

Touching John in the Naughty Place

Is it possible that these “leaders,” and here I will use that term in the loosest possible way, are thinking that the pendulum will swing back, that the conservative tide will crest, fall and some sort of sanity will be restored? Have they not been paying attention! The Tea Party crazies have been making John Boehner look like a centrist.  I will remind you that I predicted this  (see “John ‘Cheeto’ Boehner Has a Problem“) well before the last election. John Boehner has found himself having to work with actual Democrats, just to keep the doors of government open. It probably makes him feel like he has been touched in the naughty place. Poor John. I digress (and laugh, but that’s just me). What Democrats have failed, either purposefully or not, to notice is that there won’t be much left of their party or anyone with the ability to make a change, unless they start to stem the tide now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about dealing with the Tea Party. Those idiots will flame out in a blaze that will probably be attributed to lighting their own farts on fire. I’m talking about the people who paid for the party, Tea or otherwise. Corporations have won the right, confirmed by the Supreme Court, to buy elections. This is easily seen in the results from the 2010 election cycle. See here and here if you aren’t following me. People, 40% of all the outside money spent on the 2010 election cycle was made possible by the Citizens United ruling. That’s $186 million dollars! Those of you who have walked through the fires of Fundraising Hell know that’s one heck of a bake sale and what was sold wasn’t brownies, it was our government. How do we know this? Because they have worked so very hard to prove it during this recent, manufactured, budget “crisis.”

Meaning, Not You

Humans – I will use very small words here so that you cannot fail to understand. It was never about the budget, it was only about power for those with incomes in the top 1%, meaning not you. I’m going to sit here and munch on some grape stem while you re-read that however many times it takes for it to sink in… … … ….

Oh, you can attend a Tea Party rally, march with your misspelled sign and shout some slogan that references an historical event or movement of which you have no educated understanding but not one wit of the beneficial changes in the budget will be felt by you. No, what 99% of Americans will feel will be all the things that flow from underfunding programs upon which the less fortunate rely and by “less fortunate” I mean everyone not in the 1%.

I’ll give you some examples:

  • the top 1% can afford to hire a personal courier to deliver their mail, can you?
  • the top 1% don’t need farm subsidies, though many of them take them, can the same be said for the average farm family?
  • the top 1% can afford top-notch fire suppression and burglar systems throughout all of their homes so they are perhaps not as reliant on the first responders they have cut back; how about you?
  • the top 1% can afford to pay for 100% of their health care directly out of their pocket, for the rest of their lives, without risking their home no matter what illness befalls them; you?
  • the top 1% send their children to private schools from pre-school through university, their children never need a government backed loan or scholarship and neither do they – also, they don’t give a heck about the quality of public schools because their children aren’t there; you?
  • the top 1% already have the whole retirement thing completely under control; you?

Yeah – that’s what I thought.

Oh – and one more little thing, when the top 1% is using the Tea Party as their meat puppets to push through tax cuts for… you guessed it, the top 1% – it might behoove our Democratic leaders and President to stand up and shout that TARP AND the auto-industry bail-out AND oil company sibsidies AND, in fact, the entire corporate tax structure, already functions as their tax break. …and where, exactly is the trickle down from that? Oh, never mind, I found it.  It’s right there in my litterbox. *blush*

But shouting isn’t the way of our “leaders.” They think it makes them look too crazy. Meanwhile, Michelle Bachman actually says, out loud, that because so many courts are disagreeing with her, Congress should strip federal judges of the right to hear marriage-equality cases. STILL, our “leaders” sit quietly by while those of you who are ill go to the gallows of no health care and those of you who are healthy are headed, via the worst of usury practices by financial institutions and abuse by corporations, for bondage. And not the fun kind.

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