Let’s talk about death and taxes. The Tax Fairy myth’s just been killed (again)- by conservatives:
Bruce Bartlett, who was an adviser to Ronald Reagan and a Treasury official in the first Bush administration, points out that even the Bush administration never claimed such a ridiculous thing. He quotes no fewer than six Bush economic advisers saying that the tax cuts could not possibly have paid for themselves in increased revenue. And then he cites other conservative sources on the question:
In a 2006 article published in the Journal of Public Economics, economist Greg Mankiw, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers during Bush’s first term, estimated the long-run revenue feedback from a cut in capital taxes at 32.4 percent and 14.7 percent for a cut in labor taxes. A 2006 analysis of extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts by the Republican-leaning Heritage Foundation estimated that only 30 percent of the gross revenue loss would be recouped through behavioral effects and macroeconomic stimulus. A 2005 Congressional Budget Office study during the time that Republican Doug Holtz-Eakin was CBO director concluded that a 10 percent cut in federal income tax rates would recoup at most 28 percent of the static revenue loss over 10 years. And this estimate assumes that taxpayers have unlimited foresight and know that taxes will be raised after 10 years to stabilize the debt/GDP ratio. Without foresight and no compensating tax increases or spending cuts, leading to an increase in the debt, feedback would be negative; i.e., causing the revenue loss to be larger than the static revenue loss.
Ye evisceration continues at the above link. And Ed Brayton finishes up with a very good point:
This reminds me a lot of those prosperity gospel preachers who claim that if you send them money it will be returned to you ten or a hundred times greater. If they really believed that, they’d be sending you money.
Remember that when next someone tells you how much money you can make by sending them money. That goes triple for Cons babbling about the magic of tax cuts for the rich.
For more pwnage, see Sen. Bernie Sanders on oligarchy and the Cons.*
*How the fuck did I manage to fuck that one up? At least Cujo’s there to correct matters.
On the frothing idiots throwing a major shit-fit over the planned mosque near Ground Zero:
Compared to those people, Islamic terrorism doesn’t seem terribly frightening at all. Terrorists can never take from us what we are. Americans are the only ones who can do that. What we need to remember from this is that there are clearly a group of Americans who want to do exactly that.
They’re the really scary people.
And do read the rest of the post. It’s well worth your time. Then, should you need to calm your blood pressure, enjoy a lovely sunset.
This week’s seemingly been bonza for Birthers. Cons in Congress have been so afraid to defy them that they’ve been taking all sorts of evasive maneuvers rather than a stand:
Blogger-activist Mike Stark has been staking out Capitol Hill recently, trying to get Republican congressmen on the record about whether or not they believe President Obama was born in the United States. Only a couple of GOP congressmen were willing to state without reservation that Obama is the legal and constitutional President of the United States. Many others said they “think there are questions” and would “like to see the documents.” Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) began running away from Stark — literally — to avoid answering the question. Another congressman avoided Stark by hiding in a book store and pretending to look at pens.
The fact they’re so scared of pissing off the lunatics in their base shows just how far against the wall they’ve backed themselves, doesn’t it just?
At least one U.S. senator, however, is sounding a sympathetic note about the Birthers.
Sen. Jim Inhofe has also tried to find the elusive middle ground.
“They have a point,” he said of the birthers. “I don’t discourage it. … But I’m going to pursue defeating [Obama] on things that I think are very destructive to America.”
That’s not “middle ground.” That’s just ridiculous.
There should be a clear and distinct line between fringe lunatics and the beliefs of U.S. senators. That Inhofe thinks Birthers “have a point” suggests that line is blurring in unhealthy ways.
But wait! There’s more! It’s not the raving lunatics’ fault they can’t understand when their case has been proven bogus beyond all reasonable doubt. Inhofe knows who’s really to blame:
But he’s now clarifying his claim, and blaming the White House for the persistence of birtherism. Inhofe now says that the birther point he was endorsing was specifically that the White House has not done a good enough job of rebutting the birthers’ charges.
Inhofe spokesman Jared Young sends me this new quote from Inhofe:
“The point that they make is the Constitutional mandate that the U.S. President be a natural born citizen, and the White House has not done a very good job of dispelling the concerns of these citizens. My focus is on issues where I can make a difference to stop the liberal agenda being pushed by President Obama.”
That’s right! It’s all Obama’s fault! It’s not enough to produce a birth certificate, have the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health confirm Obama was born in Honolulu, have FactCheck.org confirm the certificate’s authenticity after having “seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate,” or discover a birth announcement in a Hawaiian newspaper. Nope. Apparently, he needs an affidavit from God. And then God will have to have some proof He is God, not that icky Allah guy.
Sweet vindication for the Birthers! Until their knight in shining armor shoves both middle fingers up their noses:
Update: Inhofe’s spokesman confirms it: He does not question Obama’s legitimacy as president.
Thus came the first inklings of trouble, soon followed by a catastrophe:
This evening, the House passed a resolution sponsored by Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) that commemorates Hawaii’s 50th anniversary as a U.S. state by a vote of 378-0. The resolution also contains this provision: “Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii,” a measure that some GOP members may have had trouble supporting. However, many of the Republican representatives who at expressed at least subtle doubt that Obama was not born in the U.S. voted for the resolution. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who had earlier in the day prevented the resolution from coming to a voice vote on the House floor, and Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), who sponsored a bill requiring presidential candidates to prove natural-born citizenship, both voted for the resolution. Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), a co-sponsor of Posey’s bill who expressed doubt about Obama’s citizenship last week on MSNBC, did not vote. [emphasis emphatically added]
Oh, noes! It would seem all their attempts to suck Cons in Congress into their madness failed! Even that nutcase Bachmann voted to confirm Obama was born in Hawaii, and there’s very few nuts nuttier than her. Washington betrayed the Birthers!
Of course, this will not do jack diddly shit to hammer reality into these people’s skulls. Instead, you can expect talk of a vast government conspiracy to begin in 3..2…1…
…show them this:
Our friends at Sadly, No! take a look at the actual outcomes between the US and Canada. I don’t think it will surprise you to see that the U.S. system doesn’t measure up so well:
Canada: 219 United States: 265 Canada: 0.7 United States: 2.2 Canada: 17.4 United States: 20.5 Canada: 5.08 United States: 6.3 Canada: 0.3% United States: 7.3% Canada: 9.5% United States: 12.8%
Read more at Sadly, No!
Then entertain yourselves by asking them how a country with such a no good, very bad, horrible health care system ends up creaming the United States in every single metric.
The editorial board’s arms must be tired after this epic paddling, but it’s a good kind of tired:
Last year’s global average temperature was the 10th warmest since 1850. In fact, eight of the past 10 years, and 13 of the last 14, are among the warmest on record.
So naturally, Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican member of Congress from Missouri’s 9th district, has concluded: “We are undergoing a period of worldwide cooling.”
The opening statements coming from the Judiciary Committee Republicans are predictably revolting, but Senator Whitehouse’s is a thing of beauty. Here’s just a short excerpt:
It is fair to inquire into a nominee’s judicial philosophy, and we will have serious and fair inquiry. But the pretense that Republican nominees embody modesty and restraint, or that Democratic nominees must be activists, runs counter to recent history. I particularly reject the analogy of a judge to an “umpire” who merely calls “balls and strikes.” If judging were that mechanical, we wouldn’t need nine Supreme Court Justices. The task of an appellate judge, particularly on a court of final appeal, is often to define the strike zone, within a matrix of Constitutional principle, legislative intent, and statutory construction.
The “umpire” analogy is belied by Chief Justice Roberts, though he cast himself as an “umpire” during his confirmation hearings. Jeffrey Toobin, a well-respected legal commentator, has recently reported that “[i]n every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff.” Some umpire. And is it a coincidence that this pattern, to continue Toobin’s quote, “has served the interests, and reflected the values of the contemporary Republican party”? Some coincidence.
For all the talk of “modesty” and “restraint,” the right wing Justices of the Court have a striking record of ignoring precedent, overturning congressional statutes, limiting constitutional protections, and discovering new constitutional rights: the infamous Ledbetter decision, for instance; the Louisville and Seattle integration cases, for example; the first limitation on Roe v. Wade that outright disregards the woman’s health and safety; and the DC Heller decision, discovering a constitutional right to own guns that the Court had not previously noticed in 220 years. Over and over, news reporting discusses “fundamental changes in the law” wrought by the Roberts Court’s right wing flank. The Roberts Court has not lived up to the promises of modesty or humility made when President Bush nominated Justices Roberts and Alito. Some “balls and strikes.”
If I may mix sports metaphors here: game, set and match to Sen. Whitehouse.
What does scrotal asymmetry have to do with Sarah Palin? At first, the answer might seem like a mystery and an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. But the real answer is within our grasp, and it reveals something about the unreality of American politics.
And astonishingly, it does.
Taught me something about male human anatomy, too…
A long while back, at the original wordpress incarnation of this blog, I wrote a piece on the reasons that chiropractic is unscientific nonsense. Because it was popular, I moved it over here. Well, a chiropractor has come to bravely defend his field and left us a comment.
A study in the May 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reports health plans that use Chiropractors as Primary Care Providers (PCPs) reduce their health care utilization costs significantly.
The study covers the seven-year period from 1999 to 2005. Researchers compared costs and utilization data from an Independent Physicians Association (IPA) that uses Chiropractors as PCPs and a traditional HMO that doesn’t.
Study co-author James Winterstein, D.C. says that patients using Chiropractic PCP health care groups “experienced fewer hospitalizations, underwent fewer surgeries and used considerably fewer pharmaceuticals than HMO patients who received traditional medical care.”
I know what you’re thinking. You don’t even need to read PalMD’s delicious dissection of the study to know where the problem lies, do you? It wouldn’t really even matter if the study had been written up in a respectable medical journal rather than the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, which hasn’t the most stellar reputation. No, all you’d have to look at is the fact that patients using chiropractors as their Primary Care Physicians obviously didn’t use as much traditional medical care because their PCP is an alt-med fucktard. Duh-huh.
Read PalMD’s smackdown anyway, as it is absolutely delectable. I’ll give you a morsel. Now, keep in mind, this poor schmuck emailed PalMD this study to try to defend chiropractic against charges that it’s complete and utter bullshit, full of pseudoscience, and has no place in medicine outside the treatment of minor lower back pain.
Now savor this:
The goal of the study is quite clearly set out:
In this article, we are not taking a position on the efficacy of any CAM treatment. Rather, we are interested in the current use of CAM modalities and cost effects of such use, regardless of treatment outcome. These clinical utilization and cost outcomes are compared with previously published results.
In other words, they are looking at alternative medicine vs. real medicine to see which is cheaper, not whether it actually works.
Ha ha ha ha FAIL.
Hilzoy explores Obama’s recent bit of political aikido, and gets right down to the heart of things:
Seriously: Obama is a serious student of the civil rights movement, which in turn drew a lot of inspiration from Gandhi. Both Gandhi and the Civil Rights movement made brilliant use of the following method: you do something right, which you suspect might lead your opponents to do something wrong. If you are right about them, they discredit themselves, without your having to lift a finger. If you’re wrong, you are pleasantly surprised. But you do not have to do anything wrong or underhanded yourself, nor do you in any way have to hope that your opponents are bad people.
That’s what he’s doing now. He has chosen a judge who is by any standard exceptionally qualified, and who has, in addition, a fairly conservative judicial temperament. She sticks close to the law; she follows precedent; having read several of her opinions, if I have any criticism of her, it’s that not seen much evidence of an overarching judicial philosophy other than restraint. (To be clear: if a judge has to lack something, I’d rather it be an overarching philosophy than devotion to the law as written. But I’d rather have both.)
But she is also a Puerto Rican woman. If the Republican Party were led by sane and decent people, this would not matter. But they aren’t. As a result, they seem to be unable to see anything about her besides her ethnicity and her gender. The idea that she must be a practitioner of identity politics, a person whose every success is due to preferential treatment, etc., is apparently one they absolutely cannot resist.
All Obama had to do was nominate an excellent justice, and all that is made plain.
And I hate it. I want to have a reasonable opposition party. I also don’t want people of color, and especially kids, to have to listen to all this bigotry. We should be better than this.
She’s right. We should.
Incidentally, if you find yourself debating a snookered Independent or one of those rare Cons who can actually process facts and might possibly let go of Faux News-style talking points, Hilzoy had a piece up linking to SCOTUS blog, where Tom Goldstein combed through Sotomayor’s opinions and managed to thoroughly maim, annihilate, and otherwise debunk the current right wing blather about how her race means she’ll toss out the law and side with the icky brown people. Upshot:
Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals.
Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.
Good luck hammering that through their thick skulls.
Heh heh heh. Awesome:
Wikipedia has banned the Church of Scientology and its members from editing its site after discovering that members of the church were editing articles in order to give the church favorable coverage.
The move is being hailed as “an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving edits,” and it is the first instance in which Wikipedia has banned a group as large as the Church of Scientology.