Right Wing Lies About Libyan Attack

Fox NewsIt’s hard to keep up on what’s happening in the conservative media echo chamber. Sure, I here this and that. I even occasionally read articles in the National Review, although these tend toward the most reasonable of the conservative commentators. I’ve only been vaguely aware of the push of Darrell Issa’s call for an investigation of the terrorist attacks on the embassy in Libya. It is all so exhausting. Don’t these people have real work to do? Is their entire reason for life to stand around waiting for a thread they can grab onto that will cause the entire administration to unravel?

Don’t answer that. I already know: their entire reason for life is exactly this. And although they were different people, this is what their doppelgangers did during the Clinton administration. It is pathetic. I guess the idea is that they aren’t going to do any work until they’re in power. Until then, they will only do things that might help them get into power. I really worry about this country.

The deceptions regarding this made up scandal are even bigger than I had though. Thankfully, Liberal Viewer does the dangerous work of actually watching Fox News. And as usual, he’s great. You really should subscribe to his channel.

Democratic Movement in House Polls

Poll TaxI’ve been one of the people saying that despite what those like Nancy Pelosi have claimed, there is basically no chance of the Democratic Party winning back the House of Representatives. I still feel this way. However, Real Clear Politics’ Battle for the House, just made a change—and they don’t do that very often. They moved three seats from “Leans GOP” to “Toss Up.”

It would still be near miraculous for the Democrats to pull this off, but little by little it looks more possible. Pelosi’s 60% claim is just politics, I’m afraid.

New Romney Tax Plan: “Trust Me!” Pt. 2

Mitt RomneyI am so tired of Mitt Romney, but I’ve got to write about this. The Serious Set are all a titter about Romney’s announcement that he is going to cap deductions at $17,000. I don’t know exactly what this will do to middle class income taxes. But this is more or less the same old song: Romney wants to change federal income taxes such that the top 1% will save huge amounts of money. He would prefer to make the middle class pay for this, but it is politically untenable. So instead, he plans to make the upper class (minus the 1%) pay for it.

This is the main way that Romney has countered the Tax Policy Center study. The claim is, “We don’t have to raise taxes on the middle class; instead, we can decimate the well off making between $100,000 and $200,000.” I don’t cry a lot of tears for this group of people, but it is clearly wrong to screw them for the sake of the 1% who, to put it mildly, have done really well by the tax code.

But this fact doesn’t seem to bother Ezra Klein, who tweeted:

In general, I like the direction Romney is going here. Capping deductions seems more achievable than picking through them one by one.

But if you actually read Ezra Klein’s column on it, it is just a bunch of questions. And it ends in a way that—to me—is a big “Fuck you!” to the Romney campaign:

That’s a promising approach. The question now is whether we get more details from the Romney campaign, or whether they’re just trying to throw something out there so they have something vaguely plausible sounding to say when pressed for tax specifics during the first presidential debate. I asked the Romney campaign for more details and spokeswoman Andrea Saul sent this back:

Governor Romney’s tax reform plan will jumpstart economic growth, cut the tax burden on the middle-class, and lower tax rates across-the-board. He will pursue revenue and distributional-neutrality in reforming the tax code. There are a range of policy options, Gov. Romney referenced one illustrative example, to achieve these goals.

In other words, “I contacted the Romney campaign and they provided me with the usual bullshit: trust me!”

We get the same thing from Josh Barro. But more so. Barro is very impressed with Romney’s new direction. But when he gets down to the specifics, he’s even more skeptical. His point 6 is particularly telling:

Any plan that keeps Romney’s promises on cutting rates 20 percent and holding the middle class harmless has to sacrifice revenue neutrality, and I expect this plan will fall far short of raising the roughly $5 trillion over 10 years that is needed to offset Romney’s tax rate cuts.

In other words: it’s bullshit, but I’m a conservative so, “Yea!”

Note the timing of this announcement: just before the debate. This is so it will be out long enough to sound credible during the debate but not long enough for the Tax Policy Center to analyze it and show that it is just as bad as his previous proposals.

Update (3 October 2012 1:31 pm)

Over at WonkBlog, they are very interested in this topic—big surprise. Suzy Khimm has written an article, Who’s likely to be hit by Romney’s deduction cap? The rich and middle-class urbanites. It notes that 25% of the mortgage interest deduction goes to the 1%. This is shockingly high, but it doesn’t counter my point. What I’m talking about is that Romney will not get rid of the low “any investment is capital improvement” capital gains rate, nor will he even get rid of the “carried interest” loophole. This is what makes the income tax system so dysfunctional (even though it is payroll taxes that are the most unjust of the federal taxes).

In addition, Khimm talks to Roberton Williams, who is a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. She continues:

But Williams points out that a $17,000 itemized deduction cap is also likely to punish middle-class taxpayers who live in areas where home prices and/or state and local taxes tend to be high—namely, urban areas of California, the New York metro area, other parts of the Northeast, and the Washington, D.C. metro area. For example, the owner of a $450,000 house with a 4 percent interest rate on a 30-year mortgage would already be qualified for a $18,000 mortgage interest deduction, Williams points out.

I doubt Romney planned that, but it works out well for him: screw the people who won’t vote for Romney anyway.

Also at WonkBlog, Dylan Matthews writes, Mitt Romney wants to cap tax deductions. Here are five ways to do it. The problem with this is that it gives Romney credit and help that he doesn’t deserve. He’s not serious about this proposal. As his campaign has been very clear about, this is just an “illustrative example.” In other words: don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, when the time comes we’ll make something work.

Just for the record, I know how they will make it work. They will give those 20% tax breaks. And the debt will increase. But it won’t matter, because Republicans will be in the White House. The deficit only matters if a Democrat is in power.

Schwarzenegger Spouting BS

Arnold SchwarzeneggerThe last two years have been really great in California for political junkies. There has been a stark contrast between the governorships of Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m not completely happy with Brown, but he has done a great job as governor under the worst of circumstances. Schwarzenegger, on the other hand, showed himself to be completely out of his depth during his 4 years in office.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, Arnold Schwarzenegger is everywhere these days, promoting his new book. Mostly, I don’t care. The seedy side of his life comes as no surprise—this is what you get from hyper-testosteroned assholes. But on The Daily Show last night, he spoke at length about politics and it really made me sick. Shouldn’t he be alone in a hotel room with some groupie rather than spouting his ignorance about America’s problems?

He claims that he is a fiscal conservative, but then babbles out the same old tired canards. The Chinese hold our debt? Wrong! We have an unsustainable debt? Wrong again! But perhaps the worst thing about the interview was how he twisted himself in knots rather than admit that the Republicans are not the party of fiscal conservatism.

Of course, the Republican Party is the perfect place for Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is perfect at giving those reasonable sounding, vague platitudes about belt-tightening and living within our means. And when he was a governor, he was terrible at actually doing the job. And that pretty much defines a Republican.

Chomsky, Obama, and Swing States

ObamaAs I’ve said, I won’t be voting for Obama this year. This is because I made a promise to the President about something. I don’t quite remember what it was. I think it was over the debt ceiling debate where he was, as usual, willing to abandon liberal principles in the name of “bi-partisanship” that he would never get anyway. But if I were in a swing state, I would go back on my word, hold my nose, and vote for Obama.

I’m not the only one who feels that way. Noam Chomsky has stated much the same thing on the Matthew Filipowicz Show:

Between the two choices that are presented, there is I think some significant differences. If I were a person in a swing state, I’d vote against Romney-Ryan, which means voting for Obama because there is no other choice. I happen to be in a non-swing state, so I can either not vote or—as [I] probably will—vote for [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein.

I’m a little more positive toward Obama than Chomsky is. I’ve long given up on thinking that we could have an acceptable president. Obama is about as good a President as is likely possible. The best thing we can do is push him in the right direction. And on domestic issues he is clearly superior to the Republicans.

This doesn’t mean that I’m happy with the Democrats. In fact, today’s news that Democrats in the Senate are reconsidering the horrible Bowles-Simpson chairmen’s report is greatly disturbing. The DNC kind of won me back. But more of this bullshit and I will be gone for good.

Penis Sizes Shrinking!

Rush LimbaughI’ll just come right out and say it: it is hard to talk about penises without a lot of unintentional puns. See what I mean? And frankly, I don’t like the whole subject. I don’t like biology; I find it disgusting. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it all the time.

This morning, I wrote the following poem:

Every time I defecate
I think of Charles Darwin
I wonder how an enzyme
Went on to create Carmen.

Clearly, I am a weakling. Human biology makes me run and hide. Luckily, we have strong men to look out for the health of the species. Jessica Valenti tells the story:

Rush Limbaugh is worried about penises. Specifically, he’s concerned that feminism (I’m sorry, “feminazis”) have contributed to decreasing penis size. Responding to an Italian study that reports penises are 10 percent smaller than they were fifty years ago, last week Limbaugh pointed to feminism, feminazis and “chickification” as the cause.

Ladies, the cat is out of the bag. Our cover of fighting for equal social, political and economic opportunities for women has been blown. The phallus has always been the centerpiece—and the target—of all feminist thought. The upside is that we can finally be open about our true agenda: A small dick on every man. (‘Cause who likes a big one, amirite?!)

Apparently, Limbaugh gets his science from ChaCha.com, in a little feature they call Weirdest Scientific Discoveries, but which I’m calling, “Shit they just made up because they were on deadline and most weird scientific discoveries do not involve penises.” They link to no paper, but they do claim that, “Male genitalia are roughly 10 percent smaller today than they were 50 years ago.” [Emphasis in original!]

It makes me think. What if there really is such a study? Was it longitudinal? (I kill myself!) Did they really measure penises the same 50 years ago as they do now? Aren’t men more likely to allow their penises to be measured now? And maybe men are just fatter now and it only appears that their penises have shrunk. So many questions! So much conjecture! Ain’t science grand?

Regardless, Jessica Valenti has a theory about the winky shrinky: it’s all the tofu you girls are forcing us to eat. Could be. I’m sure Rush is on the case.

Afterword

To make up for this article, Julia Migenes as Carmen:

I feel better. But I can’t speak for my penis.

Update (1 October 2012 11:39—Yes, I need to fix my posting dates!)

File this under “Why the world is fucked up!” I just checked Julia Migenes on Twitter and she has only 14 followers. Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that she has never tweeted. But her picture is there, so it must be her. She has a nice website though.