GOP is an Economic Death Cult

That’s harsh, I know.  Who else was a death cult?  The original “n” word, that’s who. But stay with me.  As everybody who isn’t a registered Republican can tell you, their economic ideas are pure cloud cuckoo land fantasy.  As Obama says, they “defy logic”, as economists have said since the early days of Arthur Laffer and his curve and Reagan’s “voodoo economics” it only takes a non cult deluded mind to know that whether you call it supply side or trickle down, whether it’s austerity or “starve the beast”, whether your fetish is flat taxes, low taxes or abolish the IRS no taxes at all, it’s only a road to ruin. These ideas have been proven wrongheaded over and over again, but they are zombie ideas that never die.

The Nazis were not a real political party, they were a death cult because they demanded unyielding fealty to their philosophies and means, which were infallible. They believed they could only fail by a lack of purity and a failure to faithfully adhere to their methods. It may sound like we’re just laughing at Godwin’s law here but today’s conservatives believe the same thing:  conservatism never fails, only its adherents fail conservatism.  And that leads to conservatives running governments aground over and over again like a Keystone Kops navy.

Ask people in Kansas or Oklahoma how it goes when you have a committed GOP governor and legislature enact their economic wet dream of tax cuts and lower government spending. But you don’t have to travel to the mid-west for this.  If you lived through the George W. Bush years you remember. Because while Bush wasn’t allowed to take it as far as Govs. Brownback or Fallon, his tax cuts for the rich while fighting two wars and creating a massive new Homeland Security uber-agency, exploded the deficit that they say they care so much while investment, jobs and savings dried up.  As far back as the 1790s Alexander Hamilton bemoaned the people who hated deficits but also hated the only real means of lessening them – taxation.  He thought they were ridiculous.  And whenever they’ve grabbed the reins of power they’ve done the same thing over and over again to bad result.

The scariest thing here is that these zombie ideas keep on, dragging their ratty rotting carcasses slowly, inexorably towards state capitols and D.C.  They keep getting shot, stabbed, blown up, burned and drowned but they do not die.  GOPers keep feeding them their own brains and becoming zombies with them, doubling down as they fail, again.

The economic death cult will destroy every tax base it lays its hands on and declare victory from their crypts unless the living and thinking say never again.

First Polling (sort of) & It’s Meaningful

Normally I would go along with the conventional wisdom (which is almost always unwise) and say a national head to head poll this far out is as useless as a first quarter NBA score. But… I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a more followed, discussed and engaged primary process as this 2016 cycle.  Everybody seems to know who is running and has an opinion, already. So in this unique case I am willing to look at this initial poll of Trump v. Clinton as really, truly (but not officially) the presumptive nominees as having some credible significance.  And it’s pretty much what you’d expect. Clinton 45.9% to Trump 38.6%.

Eventually Clinton will get over 50% and Trump will get over 40% as the sides solidify, but the 7 point spread seems to me pretty close to what we’ll end up with next November.


Many very smart people will claim all along that it’ll be another close election that comes down to the wire like 2008 and 2012.  They will be both inaccurate in their memory and prognostication.  Both 2008 and 2012 were fully baked by October and 6 points is really not that close (at least by our polarized national standards).  As awful as Trump is, I think people are right that it won’t be a landslide.  It’ll be between 7-10 points and that is huge. That alone can deliver the Senate to the Dems and put significant gains in the House in reach.


The Sound of Summer was Mr. Softee

softeeimagesLes Waas, an old school jingle writer wrote the most familiar tune anybody who grew up within ear shot of a Mister Softee truck will ever hear. He just died at age 94.

According to Eater, Waas’s distinct jingle could be heard blaring from 1,000 trucks during its peak in the 1960s. Today, there are 600 Mister Softee trucks operating in 15 states — not just in the northeast — and that song still plays, despite an ill-fated attempt to silence it in New York.

Give a listen and smile.

1st Female Infantry Soldier Graduates

Meet the Army’s 1st Female Infantry Officer from Army Times. Capt. Kristen Griest passed Ranger school last year, this year she passed the infantry officer course.  That makes her a professional badass.

No, GOP tough guys, the sky didn’t fall, just glass ceilings.  Once again, the military leads on the normalization of equality.

“An incremental and phased approach by leaders and soldiers who understand and enforce gender-neutral standards will ensure successful integration of women across the breadth and depth of our formations,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley previously said in a statement.

Sadly, The Cruz Dream is Dead

Well, it always was.  But it’s really, really double plus dead now. Obviously Trump is going to be the nominee and no establishment fairy dust nonsense is going to change that now.

Now, Trump will never be president.  He may even be fun to run against and watch meltdown in hilarious ways, like feeding peanut butter to a dog and watching them try to clear it from their upper palate for the next couple hours. But running against Cruz, a predictable ideological Christianist right winger who even pushes things like a flat tax (no “legitimate” GOP candidate has pushed that since Steve fucking Forbes!), would have been a breeze for Clinton.  Just a Goldwater debacle waiting to happen.  Josh Marshall called Cruz a Goldwater without the personal appeal.

Illustrative of how easy it would have been, he’s probably naming Carly Fiorina as his running mate today at 4pm.  I want that tee shirt.  It’s the unlikable leading the loathed. It would have been early Democratic Christmas (if Democrats believed in Christmas).

Cruz would have been a fat slow pitch right in the middle of the plate while Trump is, for better or worse, a knuckleballer.  We’ll beat him because his control of the pitch is TERRIBLE, there’s no catcher’s mitt big enough to catch him. But that element of unpredictability is uncomfortable.


Places for Progressives to Go Post Bernie

So many very motivated young people have come to politics this year through the Sanders campaign, which is wonderful.  I hope, hope, hope that when (if) the nomination battle goes against him that these energized and aware people put their energies into the many campaigns around the country for progressives (and Democrats) that can make a real difference.

Obviously, it would be great if the Democrats can get back control of the Senate, whatever one thinks of the establishment party. There was always a good chance of this, but with Trump or Cruz leading the ticket the chances are fucking great.  This is worth rallying and phone banking for.  There are some very good people running who can join Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley in pushing the Senate leftward.  Bringing back Russ Feingold alone would be a mitzvah!

Tammy Duckworth – IL
Maggie Hassan – NH
Russ Feingold – WI
Patrick Murphy – FL
Ted Strickland – OH
Ann Kirkpatrick – AZ
Any of the 3 people running for the nomination in PA
On Tuesday we’ll know if Donna Edwards will be the senate candidate from MD to hold Barbara Mikulski’s seat.  Edwards would be awesome!  But her establishment opponent, Chris van Hollen, is still a good guy.

“Considering the rise of Donald Trump, the polarization in U.S. politics, and a higher rate of straight-ticket voting, this could be bad news for the GOP,” a team of analysts at the UVA Center for Politics wrote earlier this month when they moved Senate races in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania in the Democrats’ direction.

In the House there are many great candidates around the country, but the one any Bernie fan should be working overtime for is Zephyr Teachout, the super progressive law professor (like Liz Warren) who ran to keep Andrew Cuomo honest in his last governor’s race.  She’s running in the NY 19th district (Hudson Valley) against a lame Republican who is too conservative for that district by a lot.  The district voted for Obama over Mitt by 6 points and voted for Teachout over Cuomo in the 2014 primary by 17!  Give her some love here:


259 out of 8,342 is good enough for the NRA

As any sentient person could have suspected, facts show that there are very few  actual incidents where a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun. Their entire raison d’etre is a myth. Not that that’ll get even one gun advocate to change their mind, but whatever.  I’m sure their answer is that if 300,000,000 guns is not enough.  Maybe if we had 600,000,000 guns in America there would only be justified homicides.  Now wouldn’t that be fun?

In 2012, across the nation there were only 259 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program as detailed in its Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR). That same year, there were 8,342 criminal gun homicides tallied in the SHR. In 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides.  And this ratio, of course, does not take into account the tens of thousands of lives ended in gun suicides or unintentional shootings that year…

For the five-year period 2008 through 2012, there were only 1,108 justifiable homicides involving a gun.

Out of about 30,000 gun deaths a year in this country, including suicides, between 250 and 300 a year are good guy taking out a bad guy.  Pro-gun advocates claim that there are 2.5 million times a year where people defend themselves with a gun. Every responsible researcher believes that number comes from the bureau of the NRA’s ass.


In 2012, 35.5 percent (92 of 259) of persons killed in a firearm justifiable homicide were known to the shooter,6 51.4 percent (133) were strangers, and in 13.1 percent (34) the relationship was unknown. For the five-year period 2008 through 2012, 32.9 percent (364 of 1,108) of persons killed in a firearm justifiable homicide were known to the shooter, 56.0 percent (620) were strangers, and in 11.2 percent (124) the relationship was unknown.

So 50% of the time even those justifiable homicides are somebody you know. Not some stranger that threatens you and your family. Not a crazed maniac, murderous terrorist or thuggish gang banger, but rather your drunk belligerent buddy, with a gun, who thinks you fucked his wife and so you have to shoot him.

Which just adds insult to injury if you did fuck his wife.


The Demon Sheep of 2016 is Upon Us

The hilariously bad Carly Fiorina ad known as “Demon Sheep” was the most famously bad ad of the 2010 election cycle, just classically, horrifically bad (see clip from Rachel Maddow below). We may have a challenger here in 2016 in this awful ad for Kentucky Republican Mike Pape.  Really how did he even get actors to do this?




Energy Question in Debate Was Wrong

Errol Lewis (not Unidentified Male) asked this question last night:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: — jobs are one thing, but with less than 6 percent of all U.S. energy coming from solar, wind and geothermal, and 20 percent of U.S. power coming from nuclear, if you phase out all of that, how do you make up…

  1. Renewable energy was 10% of U.S. consumption in 2014, the last full year we have statistics on, it was certainly greater in 2015, maybe significantly so.
  2. Nuclear power in 2014 was 8% of the overall national energy pie; however it was 20% of the primary fuel used to make electricity (a secondary fuel), which is a much smaller piece of a smaller pie.

It’s a shame nobody on the stage could have gotten those numbers right, but here’s the more important story.  Clinton’s incrementalism is the de facto accepted way of doing things for the very reasonable, very kool kids of the Beltway and the press corps that covers them.  Sanders answer was the right one for me.

SANDERS: If we approach this, Errol, as if we were literally at a war — you know, in 1941, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we moved within three years, within three more years to rebuild our economy to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. That is exactly the kind of approach we need right now.

You have to keep reminding people that there are already more solar energy workers in the country than coal miners, even if coal still represents a rapidly shrinking 15-18% of the energy pie.  The fact is that coal is dying and it’s not Barack Obama doing it.

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest privately-owned coal company, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday — and it wasn’t because of President Barack Obama’s so-called war on coal

As The Huffington Post has reported, the entire domestic coal industry is now valued at only $22 billion — about $38 billion less than it was five years ago. And as The New York Times editorial board pointed out last month, coal has become a bad investment, period. Banks aren’t financing new coal projects, because it makes no business sense.

The economics of coal suck and are only getting worse, not even counting that people around the world get that every aspect of coal is unsustainable.  Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world, just divested $2.3 billion of coal holdings in 52 companies.

Nuclear holds onto 8% of the total energy pie, all in the production of electricity.  The problem with nuclear isn’t just the age old question of what to do with the waste. No new nuclear has come online in 30 years and plans for new nuclear are murky because nobody wants to write insurance policies for nuclear plants.  Nuclear is on literally borrowed time as plants that were commissioned in the 50s and 60s were planned to be phased out by now, but are still in service despite safety concerns.  A huge number of nuclear power plants in the U.S. are no less antiquated than the 1950s cars on the streets of Havana. They’re on their way to being decommissioned and off the grid.  The good news is that that 8% will be replaced by solar and wind without breaking a sweat.

Whether the next president wants to phase out nuclear and coal or loves them enough to want to get them pregnant behind the middle school, they’re going away.  In the face of such inevitability, incrementalism in these matters may not matter, but it sure seems shortsighted.  Any government involvement in supporting the nuclear, coal, or oil industries is a complete waste of money and an exercise in misguided priorities in the face of the climate crisis.

Oil Industry More Evil than we thought? Is that really even possible?

New Documents Show Oil Industry More Evil Than We Thought

Like with the tobacco companies, the oil industry knew about the link to climate change and potential devastating environmental repercussions to the mass release of carbon into the atmosphere, as early as 1977.  Because they have so many scientists on their payroll, they knew about this before anyone, really.  And like the tobacco companies their first impulse was to cover up, deny and obfuscate what their own research showed.  They started colluding to influence (again, cover up, deny and obfuscate) the public discussion of smog and pollution as early as 1946!

In 1968, a pair of scientists from Stanford Research Institute wrote a report for the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for America’s oil and natural gas industry. They warned that “man is now engaged in a vast geophysical experiment with his environment, the earth” — one that “may be the cause of serious world-wide environmental changes.”

The scientists went on: “If the Earth’s temperature increases significantly, a number of events might be expected to occur including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, a rise in sea levels, warming of the oceans and an increase in photosynthesis.”

They’re already the devil, so no, they can’t be more evil than we thought.  The point is they’re evil and have no credibility on public safety issues where their profits are impacted. So you need government to step in and take the side of the public. And when they don’t, it’s generally because somebody became a corporate whore.

Oops, that term again.  I’m not civil.