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Archive for the ‘Southern Strategy’ Category

Pity Washington DC

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 20, 2010

All of its major newspapers are in the hands of neocons or paleocons, and none of them have your interests at heart.

Case in point: Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson, the Nixon Cabinet member who has been trying to destroy Social Security for the past two decades in the name of “fixing the deficit”, apparently now shares control of the WaPo’s newsroom with Fred Hiatt and can dump anti-SocSec and anti-Medicare pieces from his Fiscal Times propaganda rag into the Post whenever he wants:

It told readers that: “On the fiscal commission, Stern [Andy Stern, former head of the Service Employees International Union, one of members highlighted in the piece] is already looking for ways to break through the ideological camps on deficit-reduction.” In fact, individuals who are not motivated by ideology would note that the country’s projected long-term deficit problem is driven almost entirely by the broken U.S. health care system.

If per person health care costs were the same in the United States as in any other wealthy country, then the projections would show huge budget surpluses rather than deficits. It also should be possible for the people in the United States to take advantage of lower cost health care systems elsewhere even if the power of special interests like the insurance and pharmaceutical industry prevent reform here. This basic fact should feature prominently in any discussion of the long-term deficit that is not motivated by ideology. It is never mentioned in this piece.

But of course this is all part of the Southern Strategy: The corporate-religious bigot alliance to con white working-class Americans into voting for corporate tax cuts and against their own economic interests as a way to hurt people with darker skins than theirs. Once again, I bring Reagan advisor Lee Atwater back from the grave, all the way from 1981, to explain:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Ni–er, ni–er, ni–er.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘ni–er’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Ni–er, ni–er.”’

This is why his fellow Republicans were and are so angry at Michael Steele, who while he tries to be a good Republican has this unfortunate habit of remembering that he is a black man, and thus is incapable of hewing to the GOP lie that the Southern Strategy was never used after Nixon’s time. It is, in fact, not only still in use today, it is the basis of all Republican and conservative actions worth dignifying with the name.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, deficit, distractions, Pete Peterson, phony scandals, privatization, safety net, Silver Spoon Squad, Social Security, Southern Strategy | 3 Comments »

The Republican War On Reality: Virginia Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 2, 2010

Not content with seeing Arizona walk off with the title of Most Batshit Crazy State, an honor that up to now has largely been reserved for states of the former Confederacy, Virgina’s Republicans have moved to reclaim the Stainless Banner from those pesky Western upstarts. Their new state Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, is leading the charge, with not one but three asinine acts in row.

Asinine Act #1: Fear the Boobie! From the Virginian-Pilot (h/t PZ Myers):

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli apparently isn’t fond of wardrobe malfunctions, even when Virginia’s state seal is involved.

The seal depicts the Roman goddess Virtus, or virtue, wearing a blue tunic draped over one shoulder, her left breast exposed. But on the new lapel pins Cuccinelli recently handed out to his staff, Virtus’ bosom is covered by an armored breastplate.

When the new design came up at a staff meeting, workers in attendance said Cuccinelli joked that it converts a risqué image into a PG one.

The joke might be on him, said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato.

“When you ask to be ridiculed, it usually happens. And it will happen here, nationally,” he said. “This is classical art, for goodness’ sake.”

Asinine Act #2: Open Season on Gays! From that same V-P article:

It wouldn’t be the first time that Cuccinelli has found himself in a punch line since taking office. The conservative Republican made Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” in March after he advised state colleges and universities they lack the legal authority to protect gay employees from discrimination.

“You can’t be gay in college?” host Jon Stewart asked in mock disbelief. “That’s the whole point of going to college!”

Asinine Act #3: Open Season on Scientists! Cuccinelli apparently wants to use a SLAPP to shut down climate studies in Virginia:

No one can accuse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of shying from controversy. In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann.

In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

I’m waiting for him to announce John Wilkes Booth Day soon. You know he’s thinking about it.

Posted in abuse of power, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, Silly Republicans, Southern Strategy, WTF? | 1 Comment »

Pawlenty Sure Loves Him Some Regressive Taxation!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 4, 2009


Minnesota’s Republican governor, Smilin’ Tim Pawlenty, has presidential ambitions. He also has a long history of cutting taxes on the rich and then, while pretending to be anti-tax in order to please Republican presidential tastemakers, using “fees” to hit middle-class and lower-class Minnesotans where it hurts.

Minnesota 2020 has the scoop on how Pawlenty’s regressive taxation works:

From fiscal year (FY) 2003 to FY 2008, real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) per capita state fees increased by 20.8 percent. In other words, growth in state fees has exceeded both inflation and population growth by nearly 21 percent.

Based on projections for FY 2009, real per capita state fees have increased by 19.1% from FY 2003 to FY 2009. Because state tax revenue is more than seven times greater than state fee revenue, a 19.1 percent increase in fees is no where near enough to make up for a 13.0 percent decline in taxes, so total state own-source revenue (i.e., all state revenue generated by the state excluding federal aid) is down 9 percent.

Most importantly, the increase in state fees has financial implications for the typical Minnesotan.

* Getting married? Congratulations. That marriage license will cost you $110-$40 (57 percent) more than six years ago.

* Lose that birth certificate? In 2003 it would have cost you $20 to get it replaced. Today it will cost you double.

* Going pheasant hunting? Good luck. Your pheasant stamp will cost $7.50-50 percent more than six years ago.

Each of these fees has one thing in common: the increase is much higher than inflation. While some fee increases may be necessary to pay for increased costs, it is clear that fee increases are also being used to back fill a hole in the state budget.

Fees are Regressive

Minnesota’s revenue system has become regressive, meaning lower-income households pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes than do higher income households. Regressivity in Minnesota’s tax system increased from 2002 to 2004 and is projected to increase again by 2009.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, fees are “considered regressive because they take a larger percentage of income from low-income groups than from high-income groups.” There can be no doubt that Minnesota’s increased dependence on fees has shifted more costs to those with the least ability to pay.

But Smilin’ Tim doesn’t care about all that — especially not now, when he plans to run for national office. Why? Because of what Paul Krugman explained about the Republican Party a few days ago:

Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision…

Contempt for expertise, in turn, rested on contempt for government in general. “Government is not the solution to our problem,” declared Ronald Reagan. “Government is the problem.” So why worry about governing well?

Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.’s “Southern strategy,” which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: “You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.

There’s a reason Republicans generally don’t do well in cities, especially big ones — these entities know that they need government to survive. (Well, so do suburbs, but they often try to pretend they don’t by mooching off the core cities they surround.) If you’re a white person and you live in a city, you’ve probably made your peace with nonwhites and don’t begrudge them their share of the fiscal pie. Conversely, this is also why Republicans do their best in the South and in white-flight exurbs such as those that make up most of Michele Bachmann’s congressional district.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, 2012, Minnesota, racism, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, safety net, Southern Strategy, taxes, Tim Pawlenty, wrong way to go about it, You're On Your Own-ership Society | Comments Off on Pawlenty Sure Loves Him Some Regressive Taxation!

Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 20, 2008

— MI5, the UK’s domestic spying agency (their version of the FBI, as opposed to MI6, which is their version of the CIA) has realized that being gay isn’t a security risk when you’re open about it.

— Want an easy way to save both energy and money while reducing your carbon footprint? Wash your clothes in cold water. (It’s better for your woolens anyway.) Want to save even more? Use a clothesline or (if clotheslines aren’t a feasible option) a drying rack instead of a dryer. If you have the space for it, drying racks help provide indoor humidity during the winter. Another option is to use the dryer’s lowest heat setting for the minimum amount of time and to air-dry those clothes that aren’t fully dried at the end of the cycle. Your towels might not be as fluffy, but they’ll last longer, as will everything else you launder.

Thomas Schaller explains why the populism card won’t win and hasn’t won back Dixie for the Democrats (and why Webb’s squeaker of a victory in Virginia is in fact a demonstration of how difficult it is for Democrats to win even in the bluer parts of the old Confederacy). There’s a reason why the GOP’s main tool for electoral dominance over the last four decades is called “The Southern Strategy”.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez met with leaders of the World Jewish Congress last week as part of efforts to boost his country’s relations with the international Jewish community. These relations had been strained by his willingness to criticize Israel for its bombing campaign against Lebanon and his refusal to treat Iran as a pariah state.

Posted in 2008, Chavez, civil rights, climate change, conservativism, Democrats, energy, environment, gay rights, international, Southern Strategy, Venezuela | Comments Off on Wednesday Morning News Roundup

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