Saturday, January 26, 2013

If the House GOP weren't allowed to throw away money on right-wing boondoggles, could the economy nevertheless be saved from disaster?


This infographic devised by the Center for American Progress and LGBT Progress (click on it to enlarge, and let's hope for the best) envisions other ways that the $3M dumped down the Paul Clement sinkhole by the House GOP leadership might have been spent, thereby sparing us the horrors of reneging on the economic bulwark of right-wing legal Keynesianism. (You can also view the infographic here.)

by Ken

It has come to my attention that I have been perhaps a tad rough on that toxic pile of human uselessness House Speaker "Sunny John" Boehner. Not "too rough," mind you -- could there be such a thing as being too hard on that festering hemorrhoid in the rectum of American democracy? Just rough. And maybe not rough enough on his reluctant sidekick, Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- the man who forces us to ask the question: Are the anti-Semites entirely wrong? Why, I haven't even given the cockroach a nickname! (Hmm, "Cockroach"? That might work.)

Still, this division of abuse still seems to me approximately correct, in that it's Sunny John who bears the burden of the responsibility. He is, after all, the speaker of the goddamn U.S. House of Representatives. Even as I type it, my astonishment is no less than when this appalling development first developed. Speaker "Sunny John"? This is, after all, a man who reached his career apogee, at least aptitude-wise, as a bagman, handing out tobacco bribe money on the floor of his revered chamber.

Most recently, I've been harping on that $3 million (and counting) that Sunny John (and, yes, the Cockroach Man) have shoveled into the pockets of the Great Right-Wing Law God, Paul Clement, to defend against court challenges present and future the shamefully dishonestly named Defense of Marriage Act. (Of course shameful dishonesty is the currency of the day for right-wingers, whose motto might be "No Lie Too Large." They're just acting out a sentimental attachment to Republican-style marriage as the institution that did so much to turn them into the raging sociopaths they became.)

Most recently I reported the hardlly shocking news that the original $1M House GOP DOMA boondoggle investment has indeed been reauthorized -- by stealth, naturally, now the preferred Republican way of doing business -- at the new $3M level ("So what are we getting for that $3M we've shelled out to defend the indefensible DOMA? Glad you asked!"). And I shared with DWT readers the astonishment of ThinkProgress Justice's Ian Millhiser at Super Paul's latest bit of "save DOMA" legal briefery ("House GOP To Supreme Court: Gay People Are Too Powerful To Get Equal Rights"), which argued that gays and lesbians have become so influential -- alarmingly influential, one might read between the lines -- as to neither need nor deserve any kind of protection for our rights, and fuck any issues of equal rights!

Which, by the way, is what a number of commentators have been pointing out is just what Super Paul's pathetic brief did -- fuck any issues of equal rights, that is. They're pointing out that for most of the brief Superman simply ducked the issue us gays and lesbians have any constitutional right to equal rights, merely tacking on a few pages at the end in answer to the question that the Supreme Court itself had indicated it itself wanted briefed. One commentator I read was so shocked by the unresponsiveness and general ineptitude of this brief that he wondered whether it was in fact authored by Super Paul -- and if so, whether that said anything about his vaunted legal beagledom. (My own feeling is that if we taxpayers insist on paying the super shyster a paltry $520/hour, we can hardly expect every last word, or every last brief, to come straight from the word processor of the great legal genius.)

As a matter of fact, I guess I haven't been terribly respectful of the great man's legal bona fides. Last October, after another round of court thumbs-downs on his DOMA defensery, I asked: "As DOMA goes down again, will ideological hack shyster Paul "Ohfer" Clement be kicking back any of that $1.5M?" Now that the stakes have at least doubled, and the quality of the shyster's work product seems to have gone totally down the crapper, I think the question might be asked with double force.


Yes, as we know, there are always two sides to every question, even when there really aren't, when for example the minions of the Far Right have chosen to duck the actual question in favor of some hot-off-the-presses psychotic hate- and ignorance-mongering propaganda point(s). There are, as far as I can tell, two basic lines of response to the charge that Sunny John and Cockroach Eric have authored a $3M heist from the U.S. Treasury for the benefit of legal ignorance and indecency -- you know, the kind of cause they can really get behind.

ANSWER NO. 1: "Aw c'mon, dude, it's only $1M -- or maybe 1.5, or possibly 3, or whatever. For the feds that's pocket change."

This is a pretty hilarious answer, though, coming from the apostles of to-the-bone slashing of gummint spending. These are people, after all, who not only wouldn't hesitate to yank milk out of the mouths of growing babes, or the necessities of life out of the grasp of our sinking seniors.

ANSWER NO. 2: "But Ken, if we try to withhold these sums, unemployment will be rampant and the economy will sink back into the very recession we worked so hard to create do, er, something about."

Ah, in other words, legal Keynesianism, to complement the few other kinds of Keyesian stimulus that right-winger are on record as favoring: the military Keynesianism that makes it impossible to reduce military spending on the ground that to do so would make unemployment rampant and cause the economy to sink back into recession.

Or the national security Keynesianism that applies the same logic to the shadow economy so starkly revealed in that fantastic 2010 Washington Post series on "Top Secret America," which garnered a few weeks' worth of headlines before sinking into obscurity, just as we all knew it would. (At this late date, even though, as the Web note tells us, "More than a dozen Washington Post journalists spent two years developing Top Secret America," and no doubt many more Post staffers contributed significantly to the project, I think another salute to lead reporters Dana Priest and William M. Arkin is in order. Heck, they did their job, and they could hardly have done it better. It's the kind of work that in a remotely just world could fairly crown a journalistic career. And now it's as if it never happened.)

Or the guns 'n' ammo Keynesianism by which our elite industrial merchants of death and their toadying mouthpieces in the NRA recently threatened anyone who dares to speak of diminishing the economic clout of our armaments business, which they would like to see officially designated as Too Big to Mess With.

Clearly not all of that $3M went in the pocket of Beagle Clement. And if we were to try to renege on such commitments (and if there's anyone who would know about reneging on commitments, it's the right-wing crazies who think it's appropriate to play hardball on the debt ceiling, which merely authorizes the government to pay the bills we've already incurred), can we not anticipate that unemployment would skyrocket and the economy sink back into recession?

It's in this spirit that I changed my mind about passing along the infographic at the top of this post, from the Center for American Progress and LGBT Progress. Here it is in fuller form. Again, click to enlarge, or view in in the ThingkProgress ProgressReport "What The GOP Wasted $3 Million On," pointing out: "Republicans are against government spending -- except when they aren't."

My original thinking was that, clever as the graphic is, it so clearly posits forms of expenditure that would never be countenanced by people like Sunny John and Cockroach Eric or their so-called House "conference" that it hardly seemed worth passing on even as a gag. But now I see that it's not a partisan issue, it's an issue of saving the economy from slipping back into recession.

It's true that if Beagle Paul were denied any future income from the House GOP leadership boondogglers, or were even asked to kick back some of the booty he's already pocketed, he would have to cut back his expenditures on yachts or crocodile-skin briefs or whatever he spends his booty on, he might be reduced to shopping at WalMart. But as our creative infographickers have demonstrated, that doesn't have to spell economic doom for the U.S. as would, say, in any way limiting access to assault weapons.

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