Friday, February 06, 2009

Rios Negroes

Still limping (literally, though, in what is hopefully a sign of progress, a lessening of pain).

It seems by the backlash out on the World Wide Web, our "Howdy Doody Time" reference last evening wasn't entirely off the mark, concerning the dead-and-dying Republican Party's attempts to snuff out the Stimulus Package.

Take Jill, over at Brilliant at Breakfast, for instance;

Of course Republicans don't WANT a stimulus plan that works, because they are already looking ahead to the midterns in 2012 and beyond. Country first? This party is all about Party First, Country Last. And if tens of millions have to be plunged into poverty in the next four years so that they can have their restoration of a Bush dynasty to complete the job of drowning government in a bathtub and assuring a plutocracy for generations to come, or their patriarchal theocratic dream nation, led by their favorite dominatrix-in-chief clad in $180,000 of designer clothing paid for by their campaign contributors, well so be it. They already have the media on board; we'll see if Americans are dumb enough to go along with it yet again.
Or, The Heretik;
A few essential truths? Obama is the only bipartisan being in DC. Dems like being in charge. And Republicans who took no notice of the Dems in minority? “Republicans want bipartisanship now only because they are in the minority.“ Republicans now are willing to negotiate, just so long as they get everything they want. If the donkeys don’t give the elephants all they want, then the Democrats are the problem. A good question: “How [is] bipartisanship [] ever going to work when one of the parties is insane“?

The capper came early this morning, from Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, who minced no sentiment on what was going down;
A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to economic recovery. Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clich├ęs about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts.

[Snip]

So what should Mr. Obama do? Count me among those who think that the president made a big mistake in his initial approach, that his attempts to transcend partisanship ended up empowering politicians who take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh. What matters now, however, is what he does next.

It’s time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation’s future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge.



But wait! (Cue the heavenly, string-laden, music here)

A deal has been struck!

Well, sort of ...

And not the kind of deal that is going to have you humming to that heavenly music.

From Greg Sargent;
I’ve just obtained an internal Senate committee memo detailing the latest cuts being eyed by the gang of Senators being led by Dem Ben Nelson and GOPer Susan Collins. Here is what’s being eyed in the bill right now:

*****************************

Total Reductions: $80 billion

Eliminations:

Head Start, Education for the Disadvantaged, School improvement, Child Nutrition, Firefighters, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Prisons, COPS Hiring, Violence Against Women, NASA, NSF, Western Area Power Administration, CDC, Food Stamps

*****************************

Reductions:

Public Transit $3.4 billion, School Construction $60 billion

*****************************

Increases:

Defense operations and procurement, STAG Grants, Brownfields, Additional transportation funding

*****************************



Hmmm ... And how's that flying?

Brad Johnson, in The Wonk Room;
Because of Republican threats to filibuster the bill, votes of senators like them are key to passage. But the Nelson-Collins gang’s proposed cuts disproportionately harm women, children, and their future. The Wonk Room has already detailed their plan to cut support for education and health care. Nelson and Collins also looking to eliminate tens of billions of dollars in programs that would invest in a green economy ,,,

Eli, on Firedoglake
, cuts to bone;

These cuts to the stimulus aren't economics, they're conservative politics: "You don't want the government taking your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People, do you? It should be given to the corporations so they can create more jobs!" These wankers would rather let us spiral into another Depression than give kids and poor people even a fraction of the compassion they gave the pirates and clowns who got us into this mess.

Paul the Spud
;

Because the last thing people need when they're out of work is education, nutrition for their children, transportation assistance, and fucking food stamps.

Republicans would rather let people starve than give up their tax cuts.

The next time someone complains about the cost of this package, tell them that. Republicans would rather let people starve than give up their tax cuts.

As does Larisa Alexandrovna;

I have said this before and I will say it again. The Wall Street bailout was a corporate coup brought to us by the corporate owned politicians in Congress and their lobbyists. These cuts to "stimulate" the economy are continued to proof of that. Why does Defense need a budget increase after the no-bid contracts of the last 8 years? What the hell does "additional transportation" funding mean if they are reducing funds for public transit? Oh wait, lobbyist are behind this "stimulation" in which the poor are made more poor and the rich more rich. See, public transit - for example - is not something that the gas companies are going to like.

If these people were remotely serious about stimulating the economy, they might start with giving us the banks we purchased, arrested those executives who got bonuses and won't return them (that is called stealing if I recall), but most importantly, confiscating the assets of anyone who was involved in starting the Iraq war and has financially benefited from it (Shooter, you there?). Then sell those assets off and invest the money in the US economy (translated: not Wall Street).

Steve Benen gives us a refresher;
Just to step back for a moment, Obama won an impressive national victory in November, Democrats increased their Senate majority to 58 (59, with Minnesota), and Democrats now enjoy a 77-seat majority in the House. Despite all of this, the strength of the U.S. economy is largely dependent right now on the arbitrary whims of these three center-right Republicans.

And, Tyler Cowen provides a grim reminder;
Yes a slightly cheaper version of the stimulus is about to pass. Here is some detail on the composition of the Senate bill. The final combined bill,as it will come out of conference, might be worse yet.


If my house is ever on fire, I pray that it is a fire truck full of Democrats that shows up.

So, with much more writhing, agonizing drama to play out on this, we turn (again) to Lester Bowie, to provide us a killer tune, with, as I believe you will find, a somewhat pensiveness to it.

Lester Bowie - Rios Negroes



Rios Negroes - Lester Bowie [Artist]



Bonus Links

Think Progress - REPORT: GOP Lawmakers Outnumber Dem Lawmakers By Almost 2 To 1 In Cable News Stimulus Debate Again

dday: An Army Of Krugmans

Steven D: Krugman is Our Cassandra

Attaturk: Calling the intellectually bankrupt, well, bankrupt


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