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Iconic conservative and former congressman
calls Norquist no-tax pledge irrational, childish

“You know, Republicans may complain about the federal debt, but they’re as responsible as the Democrats for the debt being as large as it is. And once you have already done that, then you have an obligation to pay it down.

“You know, so the idea that what you’re going to do is say– you know, ‘We’re not going to raise taxes, we’re not going to close loopholes, we’re not going to do anything’ — that means that we’re not going to pay off what we’ve already created. I mean, that’s childish. That’s childish.

“. . . It’s not conservatism, not rational, not adult. It’s a 12-year-old’s kind of thinking.”

Mickey Edwards, Republican former Oklahoma U.S. representative,
Heritage Foundation founding trustee and longtime movement conservative,
commenting on Grover Norquist’s no-tax-increase pledge
during a Dec. 7 interview with Bill Moyers,
as reported at Think Progress.

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Edwards’ statement provides further proof that truth, like gold, is where you find it.

It should also serve as a reminder that there once was a time when even strongly ideological movement conservatives had some sense of responsibility where governing was concerned.

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What genuine Democrats sound like,
for those who might have forgotten

“No business which depends for existence by paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

—President Franklin Roosevelt, in a statement
on the National Recovery Act, June 16, 1933

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Once upon a time in America the line between Democrats and Republicans was drawn sharply and proclaimed loudly and proudly — by Democrats. There was little chance of hearing scoffers say, “Republicans, Democrats, they’re all the same — not a dime’s worth of difference between them.”

Not surprisingly, in those days the Democratic Party was dominant. It went on to hold the White House for 20 years and controlled one or both houses of Congress for most of that time.

Middle- and working-class people were clear about who in Washington was looking out for their interests, and they looked out for Democrats at election time.

Many of today’s Democrats would do well to think about what Roosevelt said, about his attitude, ideals and convictions, and then strive to regain something precious they seem to have lost in recent decades.

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Theodore Roosevelt recognized
best preventative for socialism

“(Men often) forget that constructive change offers the best method of avoiding destructive change; that reform is the antidote to revolution; and that social reform is not the precursor but the preventive of socialism.”

—Theodore Roosevelt, president, soldier, author, statesman,
quoted in A Theodore Roosevelt Round-Up
by Hermann Hagedorn and Sidney Wallach,
Published by the Theodore Roosevelt
Association, 1958

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Who knew? We’d be willing to bet not a single Wall Street bank or investment house CEO has read or heard Theodore Roosevelt’s prescription for embracing constructive reform to ward off revolution, “destructive change” and socialism. The same goes for Republicans in Congress and at Fox News who are so anxious to brand Occupy Wall Street protesters and their counterparts across the country as unruly mobs of bellyaching troublemakers.

How remarkable it is that one of the few really good Republican presidents this country ever had was so insightful and progressive so long ago. We suspect that if Roosevelt was alive today, you’d be more likely to find him at Zuccotti Park with the OWS demonstrators than in a Fox studio condemning them.

We also suspect that if Roosevelt was alive today, he’d have nothing to do with today’s conservative Republican extremists.

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Naomi Klein: OWS protesters exhibit wisdom
by not sullying cause with acts of violence

“Something else this movement is doing right: You have committed yourselves to non-violence. You have refused to give the media the images of broken windows and street fights it craves so desperately. And that tremendous discipline has meant that, again and again, the story has been the disgraceful and unprovoked police brutality. Which we saw more of just last night. Meanwhile, support for this movement grows and grows. More wisdom.

—Naomi Klein, author, from a speech titled,
“Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important
Thing in the World Now,” included in an
article at The Nation.

Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, excellently makes a point we were about to write a post on. So instead, we present this quote from a longer outtake in a post Dusty has written over at her Leftwing Nutjob blog. (We strongly recommend you follow the link and read Dusty’s post; you’ll be glad you did.)

Understandable though they sometimes are, angry, violent demonstrations turn off the larger public protesters hope to reach and spur to action. So far, Occupy Wall Street people, along with their “Occupy”-named counterparts across the country, have been remarkably peaceable and restrained, even in the face of unwarranted roughness by a few in law enforcement.

The demonstrators’ restraint speaks well of them as people. It also makes clear they’re serious about righting wrongs and restoring a measure of fairness to an economy, polity and society all badly out of whack.

OWS people’s restraint is all the more important because the squawking heads of the right-wing noise machine lie about them daily, depicting them as a mob of lowlife troublemakers, anarchists and slackers envious of others’ wealth and success.

No one should be fooled by these lies. Nor should they be persuaded by the fact these activists don’t have military-trim hair and don’t dress in business casual. Spending days out in the elements in a small park on a very busy street in New York City is no less roughing it than hiking in a rugged wilderness. With all the traffic going by, plus the weather, people get grubby and can do only so much freshening up in restrooms of nearby buildings.

Some things never change

“The reactionaries hold that government policies should be designed for the special benefit of small groups of people who occupy positions of wealth and influence. Their theory seems to be that if these groups are prosperous, they will pass along some of their prosperity to the rest of us. This can be described as the “trickle-down theory.”

—President Harry S. Truman, Nov. 3, 1949,
quoted in Give ‘Em Hell, Harry,
Award Books, 1975.

Stuck on wrong: So it was 62 years ago. So it is now, and apparently, so shall it forever be.

Some people never learn, never change — and amazingly, never cease being able to get away with being wrong.

Bin Laden episode demonstrates once and for all
Democrats’ willingness and ability to defend U.S.

“Everyone who feels pride and satisfaction in bin Laden’s fate must also acknowledge the bold action and sound priorities of President Obama, who has coolly and cleanly fulfilled a promise he made during his campaign. Maintaining the nation’s dignity and his own, he has handled the aftermath of the mission with precise correctness and stayed focused on the policy goals that guide his administration.

“Getting rid of bin Laden won’t mean the instant disappearance of terrorism or the alienation that its perpetrators always exploit — the issues that he sought to symbolize will remain. But in this country, the performance of the president and those around him should permanently dispel the perennial right-wing slur against Democratic leaders as deficient in the strength and courage to defend our security.”

—Joe Conason, in his Creators Syndicate column,
Tough Enough,” Friday, May 6, 2011

You better be scared of insidious shariah threat

“Where Islam and Islamic culture have spread, Shariah has shortly followed. Quote logo

“Of course, many Americans watching a video of a Middle Eastern woman allegedly caught in adultery be buried in the ground up to her head and stoned to death would think, ‘That could never happen in America.’ But they fail to see how Shariah already has been enabled and subtly invoked in our country and that any induction of it is by understated, lukewarm changes, like a frog boiled in a kettle by a slow simmer.”

—Chuck Norris, in a Creators Syndicate column,
Holy Week, Holy Shariah? (Part 1),
April 12, 2011

Conservatives always seem to need some evil, powerful, subversive alien threat to use as a bogeyman. They used to have the supposedly monolithic international communist conspiracy to rule the world. However, that monolith imploded.

Conservatives later seized on the international terrorist threat, getting some good mileage out of it, plus two long-running wars. But now, that has all but petered out.

What to do?

How about the imminent threat posed by The Mosque Next Door — or at least next door to the former World Trade Center site in New York City? But wait, that was really a proposed community center with Muslim prayer and meeting rooms. And in reality it was to be next door to a strip club, not the WTC site.

Hmmm.

Eureka, I’ve got it: shariah law!

Everybody better be scared — real scared — because next thing you know, anyone who doesn’t get on hands and knees, face Mecca and pray six times a day will be subject to beheading, or worse.

Take it from Chuck Norris, noted expert on . . . martial arts and making B movies.

Ahem.

Obama dodged crux of U.S. economic problem

“Republicans and their supply-side economists say the nation got into trouble because government Quote logobecame too large, and the answer is therefore to cut spending, cut taxes, and shrink the deficit. The President, having apparently given up on Keynesian pump-priming, has no retort except to invest for the long term.

“What the President should have done is talk frankly about the central structural flaw in the U.S. economy — the dwindling share of its gains going to the vast middle class, and the almost unprecedented concentration of income and wealth at top — in sharp contrast to the Eisenhower and Kennedy years.

“Although the economy is more than twice as large as it was thirty years ago, the median wage has barely budged. Most of the gains from growth have gone to the richest Americans, whose portion of total income soared from around 9 percent in the late 1970s to 23.5 percent in 2007. Americans kept spending anyway by using their homes as ATMs but the bursting of the housing bubble put an end to that — leaving them without enough purchasing power to reboot the economy. So the central challenge is put more money into the pockets of average Americans.”

—Robert Reich, in a blog post,
“Stocks Up, Houses Down,
And What This Means
for Most Americans,”
Feb. 1, 2011

In short, 90 percent of us are up that famous creek without a paddle.

There’s more to Reich’s post and it’s all well thought out and informative. Do follow the link, read the rest and toss in your 2 cents’ worth here. We can at least console one another.

Gingrich wants 'worker training' for jobless

“I would agree to a short-term extension on employment. But I have Quote logoproposed, since we spent $134 billion last year on unemployment, that we change the entire program into a worker training program, and not give anybody money for doing nothing.

—Newt Gingrich, Republican ex-speaker
of the U.S. House of Representatives,
as reported on The Ed Show,
Dec. 6, 2010.

Gingrich mugLike most Gingrich ideas and all Gingrich attitudes, this one is powered by pure, full-of-you-know-what, ignorance.

First, “we” didn’t spend $134 billion on unemployment last year. The government repaid (if Gingrich’s figure is correct) that much in insurance claims.

Unemployment insurance is taken out of paychecks, 3.26 percent in Washington state, for example. People who lose their job through no fault of their own apply for unemployment benefits that typically amount to between two-thirds and three-fourths of what they had been making — but only for a number of months based on how long employed.

What’s more, a condition of receiving those benefits is actively seeking work. Verifiable written records of job applications and job-seeking contacts are required, so many per week. States also often require benefits recipients to attend classes where they learn job-search, resume-writing and interviewing skills.

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Republicans pitch Hispanic 'anchor babies'as obligatory election-year wedge issue

“The Republican war on the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause Quote logois indeed directed at a mortal threat — but not to the American nation. It is the threat that Latino voting poses to the Republican Party.

“By proposing to revoke the citizenship of the estimated 4 million U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants — and, presumably, the children’s children and so on down the line — Republicans are calling for more than the creation of a permanent noncitizen caste. They are endeavoring to solve what is probably their most crippling long-term political dilemma: the racial diversification of the electorate. Not to put too fine a point on it, they are trying to preserve their political prospects as a white folks’ party in an increasingly multicolored land.”

—Harold Meyerson, in a Washington Post column,
Why the GOP really wants to alter the 14th Amendment,
Aug. 11, 2010″

To put an even finer point on it, radical-conservative Republicans are trying to do two cynically political things by demonizing Hispanic immigrants and their children.

First, Republicans’ election-year M.O. includes ginning up anger and resentment about some wedge issue. Remember Willie Horton and the bogus specter of soft-on-criminals liberals like Massachusetts Gov. Mike Dukakis turning them loose to kill again?

Second, Republicans want to avoid having to choose in the not-too-distant future between a very large, cohesive Hispanic voting bloc and their longtime core supporters in Southern and border states of the old Confederacy. Those, plus whites elsewhere who are unenthusiastic about increasing racial diversity in America.

More and more this year, it appears Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-N.C., and other Republicans are making their choice now, in hopes of stemming sizable increases of Hispanic Americans in coming years.

Toward the end of his column, Meyerson poses a fitting challenge for Republicans who agree with Graham about all those devious pregnant Hispanics, their “anchor babies” and changing the Fourteenth Amendment. You can bet the challenge will go unanswered.