DISCLAIMER: I do not attempt to be polite or partisan in my articles, merely truthful. If you are a partisan and believe that the letter after the name of a politician is more important then their policies, I suggest that you stop reading and leave this site immediately--there is nothing here for you.

Modern American politics are corrupt, hyper-partisan, and gridlocked, yet the mainstream media has failed to cover this as anything but politics as usual. This blog allows me to post my views, analysis and criticisms which are too confrontational for posting in mainstream outlets.

I am your host, Josh Sager--a progressive activist, political writer and occupier--and I welcome you to SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weekly Issue #5 - 8/27/11 - Hurricane Irene and Disaster Politics

Hurricane Irene carved a path of destruction up the east coast just last week, leaving billions of dollars in damage and over 20 dead. living in MA, I saw only the tail end of the storm, way past the point where it was truly dangerous, but even this far north there was flooding and massive damage to trees. The infrastructure in the central and southern portions of the east coast were battered and are in need of immediate repair; power lines fell, entire sections of road were damaged, and coastal structures suffered heavy damage. In the aftermath of Irene, I feel it necessary comment on two political situations which have been illuminated by the storm.
  1. The denial of global climate change is longer simply a manifestation of ignorance and the denial of science; there are severe real-world consequences of not preparing for or trying to address the process of global climate change. Irene is a taste of what is to come in the coming years.
  2. The refusal by many GOP politicians to allocate disaster relief funds to help those harmed by the storm illustrates just what the right wing's world would look like given half a chance to create it.

The subject of global climate change is only a political issue in the USA, where an entire political party has dedicated themselves to obfuscate and politicize the issue. The Republicans either don't believe in the existence of global climate change because of religious beliefs, or are paid enough by the oil companies not to see the obvious. Regardless of the reason, simply refusing to believe in an unnatural disaster doesn't mitigate the consequences of it when it arrives. Global climate change will lead to increased volatility of weather patterns as a function of a climate shift. More powerful hurricanes such as Katrina or Irene coupled with extreme weather conditions such as the Joplin tornadoes will continue to plague the country with increasing frequency as the process of global climate change advances. Whether or not an entire segment of the political landscape believes in the process or not, all of us will experience the effects of global climate change. The ignorance of a few will prevent us from preparing for future disasters and by the time that the ignorant come to their senses, the damage could already be done.

At this point it is essentially impossible to completely revert the coming climate shift, but we can stop adding to the problem in order to mitigate the severity of the shift. Non-believers will always go back to the "natural cycle" of climate in order to argue against the existence of man made climate change. It is true that the world climate has a natural cycle of warming and cooling but, as shown by all legitimate research on the subject, the current shift has been artificially precipitated by human use of fossil fuels and is far more extreme than the previous natural shifts. Humans have essentially pushed the natural cycle of climate change from merry-go-round speeds to roller coaster speeds; in both situations the ride goes up and down but the speed and elevation changes are much higher on the roller coaster than on the merry-go-round. Hurricane Irene was unavoidable, but we do have the power to prevent several Irene power hurricanes per year in the future by addressing global climate change.


In the past year there have been several natural disasters which have damaged large amounts of property and killed several dozen people; the most notable of these disasters are: the southern wildfires, the Joplin tornadoes, the east coast earthquake, and hurricane Irene. All of the recent disasters left extreme damage in the areas which they occurred leading to the political argument of "Who is responsible for the cleanup and repair?". A strictly partisan divide has opened in the policy positions of handling natural disaster damage: Even though many of the disasters happened in Republican controlled areas, the Republican party has championed the point that the federal government has little to no stake in the cleanup after natural disasters. Even where the Republicans have considered government intervention in the wake of disasters there have been calls to couple cuts in spending to match aid spending. On the other side of the political spectrum, the Democrats have proposed providing assistance to those who were harmed by disaster without requiring conditions or cuts elsewhere. 

Put plainly, "What the hell do these right wingers think the government is for if not to help those who are living within our border when they are harmed by outside forces, whether war or natural disaster?". I find it amazing that the political discourse of the USA has become so insane that the suggestion that disaster victims IN THE USA should simply fend for themselves is not met with a mixture of disgust and disbelief. We live in a society and that means that we sometimes need to support one another when disaster strikes. The right wing has stopped caring about the people which has led to attacks on every social safety program, from education to disaster relief. Recent policy choices in the Republican party are aimed to bring about a fractured society based entirely in the free market. If you don't pay for a service, you don't get it, even if you need it to survive. Social programs are not the undesirable results of liberal overspending, but rather what makes a society a society. The right wing has lost sight of the fact that the purpose of government is not the upward distribution of wealth and that they are not representatives of the corporations. 

Eric Cantor is the perfect illustration of disaster politics gone wrong. A house representative's job is to represent the interests of the people living in their district, but Cantor has failed in his duty because of his loyalty to an ideal. The recent earthquake's epicenter was in Cantor's district, which was then followed by the landfall of hurricane Irene. Logic would dictate that a politician representing a district that had been hit by two severe disasters in a month would be requesting assistance for the citizens that he represents, but Cantor has been one of the largest proponents of withholding relief after disasters. Under the banner of "preventing overspending", Cantor has leveraged even his own constituents' health in an attempt to extort even larger cuts to the government. Even if I don't agree with a politician's political views, I don't see them as truly bad unless they are betraying the interests of the people who elected them. Our politicians should represent us, not the ideal of the free market or a faceless corporation, and the right wing has completely betrayed the country in the interest of serving the rich.

I only have one suggestion: Disaster relief is dwarfed by oil subsidies, thus if we channeled the subsidy money to the disaster victims rather than multinational corporations we could rebuild after disasters and still have more left over for future disasters; judging by the current trend in the climate, we will need it.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Minnesota Republican Party: "Let the bidding begin"

For the last several years anybody who has been paying attention to politics has seen the increase in corporate or interest money in the political process, but previously these "donations" have been veiled in secrecy. Despite the fact that every politician must now take corporate donations in order to survive, there has at least been a modicum of privacy to these donations in order to preserve the possibility that all of our country's political decision aren't bought.

You always hear that you can follow the money to determine the reasons for every decision in politics and that sometimes the policy supports the highest bidder, but now the MN Republican party is LITERALLY auctioning off time with politicians for "consulting" to the highest bidder. As reported in several online news outlets such as ThinkProgress, the MN GOP has come up with an interesting new way of determining access to their candidates, a high bid auction similar to eBay in format.

I have three simply questions in reaction to this story

  1. Have we reached a point as a country where are politicians are now little more than corporate prostitutes that must sell themselves in order to get elected, and we are either stupid or lazy enough not to do anything about it?
  2. Is there any way to charge the politicians and lobbyists criminally for there actions, as well as kicking them out of office?
  3. Where are the "grassroots tea parties", media, and ethics investigators with this blatant and disgusting corruption? Doesn't this event merit immediate and severe action to prevent it from ever occurring again? 

We need a complete overhaul of our politics in order to remove or limit corporate and interest lobbying in our policy. Our politicians are no longer representing us but rather a small group of multinational corporate interests and we seem unwilling or unable to stop them.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New GOP Orthodoxy

By Joshua Sager

The Republican Party now has decided to support an increase in the income tax, as shown by statements from the top members of the party. The current talking points for the right wing are that we are in economic trouble not only due to "out of control spending" but also the fact that "50% of all Americans don't pay income taxes". The 50% mentioned in this statement are not the top half of Americans, but rather those too poor to pay income taxes under current tax policy.

The idea that there is "out of control" spending in Washington is actually arguably valid, depending on what you believe that the government is responsible for. If you believe that the government should only provide the functions explicitly outlined in the constitution (defense, three branches of government, trade, etc.) as the right wing do, then yes the government is spending too much. “Excess spending programs” such as those wasteful, social welfare programs, “job killing” environmental/safety regulators, and “wasteful” federal Pell grants are just three examples of how the "excess spending" either takes money from the successful and gives it to the "lazy" unemployed or limits how much the “job creators” can make. As the right wingers say, "They must be lazy, I mean come on, if they really worked they could make something of themselves.”

The new idea that has recently permeated the minds of the right wing is that since half of Americans don't pay income taxes (after deductions and credits), taxes should be made "flatter" and apply to everybody regardless of income levels. The general idea of this philosophy is that anybody who doesn't make enough to pay income taxes isn't paying taxes and is thus a free loader on the system.

Most of the potential Republican presidential candidates have expressed support for flattening the income tax and applying it to even those who are currently not paying any. There is only one conclusion to the flattening of the income tax rate and that is shifting the burden of taxes onto the lower classes. While lower classes don't pay as much in income taxes as the rich, they give a disproportionate amount of their income to other taxes such as the gas tax or sales tax. If the middle class and poor are forced to pay more on income taxes, they are forced to pay a much higher percentage of their income to taxes than the rich (making our tax rates regressive).

As a secondary but connected point, since Republicans are obsessed with cutting the taxes on the rich and corporations, the tax burden on the poor will increase to pick up the slack and services for the poor will be cut. The Republicans are always screaming about the redistribution of wealth through social programs, but in reality, the real transfer of wealth is from the poor to the rich through the regressive tax code.

As it turns out, the Republicans are not in fact against all taxes, only those that tax the rich "job creators" and corporations. Any tax that takes from the poor is apparently just fine to the new Republican Party. Unfortunately, the Republican base is neither intelligent nor knowledgeable enough to see that the controllers of their party are currently selling them out and the Democrats are not effectively making the case as to how perverse the actions of the right wing truly are. If the right wing doesn’t truly believe in their own propaganda on taxes, what do they unify around other than religion and representing the interests of the rich (two concepts that theoretically shouldn't be espoused by any party)? We are gradually, but with increasing speed, turning into a two tier economy where there are the super-rich who control everything and then there are the rest of us, with nothing.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2nd Insightful Opinion Piece From Huffington Post

The Huffington Post has had several very insightful opinion pieces on politics recently. This piece is an analysis on how the Republican policy positions are so mutable. Abrams demonstrates great insight in his analysis of the Republican policy motives as being purely obstructive and corporatist, rather than attempts to create good policy.


A Great Analysis on Politics and Prayer

Raushenbush makes a very good point in his flood analogy that even if a politician thinks that prayer is what we need, they would be a fool to not take advantage of more earthly solutions to our problems. I, for one, don't believe that politics and prayer are able to safely coexist but even this small injection of sanity would be welcome to the more insane religious right wingers.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekly Issue #4 - 8/20/2011 - When the Lunatics Take Over the Asylum

Watching the current political prospects of the Republican party, I only see three different categories of politician:

  1. The Insane: (Bachmann, Santorum)
  2. The Corrupt: (Romney, Perry)
  3. The Irrelevant: (Paul, Huntsman)
To be completely fair, I am biased against the Republican party (in case you didn't read the title of my blog), but what happened to the all of the "moderate" Republicans and "Compassionate Conservatives" that previously dominated the party. Even the patron saint of the tax break, Reagan, would look at the current Republicans with distaste, probably while they boo him for being too liberal. 

The Insane

There has been a distilling of the crazy elements of the right wing which has led to the dominance of the religious right and the Ayn Randian factions of the right wing to dominate the politics of the Republicans. Bachmann is the perfect example of a religious conservative that represents the crazy right wing, while Ryan is a good example of the crazy libertarian fringe of the right wing.

I find it particularly ironic that the religious right and the extreme free market Ayn Randians have coalesced into a single, extreme faction because they should be diametrically opposed. The free marketers are obsessed with maintaining their rights and not having any social obligations to the point that we start to resemble Somalia.  The religious extremist elements of the right wing wish to impose their rights on the rest of us through restricting action that they deem immoral. The Republican party can hold these factions together due to the fact that they don't have control over anything in the government.

The Republican party currently has control over no branches of government (maybe the Supreme court but they are more corporate than partisan) and thus has the luxury of not actually doing any governing. Whether their agenda is religious or extreme free market, the Republicans in power now are unable to actually push anything through the legislature, thus they can promise everything and deliver nothing. The two diametrically opposed elements of their extreme constituency have vastly different views on the role of government, but until  the Republicans have to jettison one side of their ideology by pushing the other' ideology, they can get support from both sides. One side WILL get screwed over by the politicians when there is a time where the Republicans must pick whether they want to push for an anarchic, minimalist government ruled by the free market, or a theocratic autocracy where the state pushes their views into everybody else's lives.

I fear for the country when these extremist candidates push their fact-free policy onto the country. Any religion or belief system which completely disregards the rules of cause and effect should simply stay out of politics.

News link

The Corrupt

In addition to the insane elements of the Republican party, there is a group of corrupt politicians that have risen in the ranks to leadership positions. Politicians have great power to affect change in order to improve the good of many, but in some cases, our politicians use their office for public gain. Romney and Perry are great examples of how corrupt politicians can work their way up to positions of power through leveraging their office for gain. Perry has literally sold public contracts and policy positions for campaign cash and has used his government connections to make a fortune. The use of public service to enrich oneself is not a Republican trait but from what I can see, the current Republicans have embraced corruption to a degree never seen before in the USA. The pervasive influence of the Koch brothers and right wing think tanks funded by billionaires has, in my opinion, led to the wholesale buying of the Republicans by the interest groups. Half of our country's political system has been perverted by money to serve the interests of the rich few. 

Corruption in any form should not be tolerated in our system and the goal of governing should not be to get rich. The blatant corruption of the Republican party eclipses even the worst corruption of the past Republicans or Democrats.

News link

The Irrelevant

There are several candidates who simply have no chance and only serve to muddle the waters. Paul, Huntsman, Trump, Cain, and their ilk all fall into this category. These candidates are serving as distractions from the actual race and are only seen as relevant by the national media.

The Sarcastic Liberal

An Interesting take on the Religious Right

Below is a video from the online show "The Young Turks":

I don't understand how the dominionistic ties of two of the three top Republican presidential picks of 2012 have flown so far under the radar. Never mind the separation of church and state, these people are a cult which has a death-grip on half of the political spectrum. Imagine what these people would would be considered if they didn't believe in Christ, but in Allah; half of the county and all of the media would throw a collective fit and scream of sharia and madrassas.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Assault on the EPA

As a forward to this article I simply want to express one thing: The EPA may on occasion stifle some company' growth, but it is a vital and effective portion of our federal government.

The EPA is a very important protector of the public safety, as much so as any other federal agency which monitors and regulates the activities of people who may harm the general population. The FBI, CIA, and NSA get the credit for stopping the harm terrorists cause both domestically and abroad, but the EPA is never trumpeted as the protector of the people from corporations. I minored in earth science at BU, but that isn't necessary to see that phosgene (a toxic byproduct of some manufacturing processes and a chemical weapon) utilized by terrorists to attack the American population and phosgene leaked by careless companies has the same effect. Whether terrorism or negligence, the environment that we live in can be easily poisoned to the point where it becomes uninhabitable. I for one, am willing to step on the toes of some corporation and decrease their profits if it means preventing toxic spills or accidents; the EPA is the sheriff that protects us from corporate greed which has effects that can rival that of any terrorist attack.

In recent years there have been numerous attacks on both environmental regulations as well as the regulating bodies. At the federal level there have been efforts to de-fund or under-fund the EPA as well as to restrict the EPA's ability to enforce regulations. The EPA has suffered budget cuts and is expecting more, despite how important it is to our welfare. House Republicans have proposed several bills which would invalidate the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions. At the state level there have been numerous efforts to cut restrictions on industry and block specific portions of EPA regulations. West Virginia is an example of a state where the legislature has restricted regulations and in their own words created a "sanctuary" for industry from the EPA's onerous regulations (such as not polluting rivers so badly that they catch fire).  Unfortunately this trend of attacks is still expanding, demonstrated by the attacks on the EPA by all of the Republican presidential candidates.

I seriously doubt that all of the Republicans and some Democrats all got together one day and decided in an open meeting "You know what, cancer, birth defects, sickening toxins, and environmental degradation are things that we need more of and so we should all support restricting and defunding the EPA". As with most aspect of policy and politics in the USA today, in order to find out where the politics are coming from you must follow the money. Industry groups in the energy and manufacturing industries have a long and dark history of "contributing" (read: legalized bribery) to the campaigns and persons of the politicians who make the laws and are supposed to enforce them. The regulatees are bribing the regulators and the policy makers so that they can make a profit off of the suffering of the many. I mean what does it matter if a few more kids get cancer just as long as the oil executives get their bonuses on time? From the house energy committee to the white house, nearly every politician gets a small cut of the proceeds and thus there is no motivation to change.


Above are the statistics that support my claim that EVERYBODY is bought, but the Republicans more so than the Democrats. Notice that the oil lobby contributes to nearly every member of the house and senate but the Republicans (red line) are always more bought than the Democrats (blue line).

In my opinion, the industry's involvement on the attacks on the EPA are no different than a mob family attempting to buy politicians to change the laws so that their activities are no longer illegal. The industry should not be a source of input on the regulations because the public welfare is not in their best interests. Companies want to maximize profit, even if they have to pollute or poison people to do it. The very fact that the politicians can be legally bought by the criminals means that there is very little chance for scientifically based regulations which are intended to maximize the public good.

Without the EPA, industry has the ability to pollute and poison every corner of this country without consequence. Ironically, the attack on the EPA has coincided with an attack on the ability to bring about class action suites (Walmart case), thus increasing the harm which companies can do and decreasing the liability to them for doing it. Below is a chart that explains only a few of the effects of EPA regulated  substances simply on the Human body; the effects of the same chemicals on the environment can be equally as damaging.

Toxic Spills: ecosystem destruction, human death + cancer
Air Pollution: smog, acid rain, crop damage, cancer, and building degradation
Oil Spills: ecosystem destruction and economic disruption such as in the BP gulf spill
Fracking: cancer, environmental destruction, occasional rivers catching fire
Industrial runoff: sickness, death and environmental degradation

The entire issue of environmental protection comes down to a single question: "Do you want to live in a world where corporations are allowed to destroy the world and your body along with it for short term profits?" If you do, don't call your political representatives on their actions and let the corporations chip away at the EPA and regulations as they have been doing. If you don't, support politicians who care about the environment and are willing to give up large industry donations for the good of the planet.

The politicians forget that once we burn out this planet, there is no way to get it back and we (or our descendants) WILL pay for our action or inaction.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nazis punked by shirt designer

While not a domestic political issue, thus it may seem somewhat incongruous with my other articles, this is a very good way to both trick and inform extremists. I only wish that the left could do something similar to the right wing crazies here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chamber of Commerce supports "Genital Deformation"?

I vote that the ban should be lifted if every male chamber of commerce administrator is willing to take doses of these chemicals. I mean, if they are so safe this wouldn't be a problem, right? 


Proof if proof were needed that the Chamber of Commerce will support any decrease in regulations for a little more money, even if a few people will be "deformed" in the process. I wonder if their views will be changed, if they are the ones who are effected by their own toxins


By Joshua Sager

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a completely nonpartisan group of corporate and banking interests that writes legislation and regulations that they believe will improve the economy as a whole. After ALEC members write the laws that they believe will be fair and effective, they meet with politicians and try to convince them to support these model laws. Overall, ALEC is composed of economic specialists who just want to help craft good policy out a sense of altruism and community mindedness. Right, and there is a really nice bridge I want to sell you, sorry no refunds.

ALEC is a right wing think tank supported entirely by big money interests who simply want to wring just a little more money out of the impoverished and jobless. The sample "regulations" are a cynical joke created by the industry in order to profiteer, pollute and harm anybody they want with no consequences. ALEC presents itself as non-partisan, but 95% of its members are Republicans and all of its legislation is in line with the right wing's ideology. ALEC's meetings with legislators are little more than legitimized bribery of our politicians to betray their oaths of office.

ALEC has been working behind the scenes to deregulate every industry represented in its leadership council as well as to increase the profits of every member company. I honestly don't have a problem with ALEC representing the interests of its member companies, but I see two major problems that have arisen due to their actions.

ALEC is represented by some as a non-partisan policy group with society's best interests at heart. This characterization is simply false as they are not a non-partisan policy group any more than a defense lawyer is a crusader for social justice; both serve to advocate for their clients no matter the evil that they have committed in the past. ALEC exists to serve the corporate interest that created and fund it and representing it as anything else gives them the ability to confuse the goals of their legislation. It is supported exclusively by right wingers, demonstrated by the fact that nearly every one of ALEC’s “sample legislation” pushed into law was rubber stamped by a Republican.

The politicians (primarily Republicans/Tea Partiers) who go to ALEC meetings are not revealed as the corrupt, traitors that they are. The politicians know that the legislation they receive from ALEC is not in the interests of the public that elected them, but they push it anyways. In my opinion, any politician to simply sell their office does not deserve to hold it in the first place and should be either recalled (where allowed), voted out of office, or charged if their conduct is criminal.

The USA is edging past the point where it transitions from a democratic country to a corporatist/fascist country. We are at the point where the government is simply a tool of business and no longer representing the interests of the people who live in this country. THE CORPORATE INTERESTS ARE NOW WRITING THE LAWS and we are so inured to the corruption that there are only a few people talking about this.

Every American citizen should be outraged, partisanship be damned, because this type of corruption affects everybody. Pollution and economic collapses don't see partisan affiliation, and we need politicians who do what they were "hired" to do: represent the best interests of society based upon their beliefs. I have no problem with right wingers like Ron Paul because they do what they believe is best for their constituents, and that is what a politician is supposed to do. While I don't subscribe to right wing philosophy, it is perfectly valid and there should always be a debate over what the best policy is. I define a good politician as somebody who always pushes for what they believe is best for their constituents. Left or right wing, every politician who fails to advocate for their voters and the country is in my opinion a failure even if their results agree with my ideological beliefs. A politician who takes money for votes from the green energy lobby is as guilty as a politician who does the same for the Koch brothers.



The Sarcastic Liberal

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weekly Issue #3 - 8/13/2011 - The Iowa Republican Debate

A singularity is an astrophysical definition for an area of space where gravity and space have collapsed in upon themselves to create a point of infinite gravity and density (essentially a black hole). The Republican debate was a singularity of ignorance and falsehood, where all of the Republican talking points have coalesced into an area where the facts of an issue simply no longer matter.

While this debate has little to no actual effect on the USA's policy, I believe that it is very important to analyze the views expressed by the candidates because one of them may just run the country. I can come to only one conclusion when watching this debate: These people are either ignorant, deluded, or intentionally misleading on EVERY issue relevant to the running of this country. The sheer magnitude of false comments and logical fallacies espoused by the candidates leads me to worry about any of them running against Obama; to be fair, Huntsman was much more reasonable and sane than the others but, as pointed out by the moderator, he is almost running in the wrong party. If any of these candidates are elected, the results on policy in the government will be catastrophic, because ignorance about the effects of a policy in no way mitigates the possible harm that can be caused by their decisions.

Rachel Maddow show: "Debunction Junction". WATCH THIS, it is amusing yet entirely accurate.

Huffington Post

As with the last debate there was a very clear hierarchy in the candidates. Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann were both the very clear winners of this debate with all of the other candidates trailing behind by a wide margin. As I have previously written, I believe that there are only three potential candidates for the Republican nomination to president of the United States of 2012: Romney Bachmann and Perry. All of the other candidates really have no chance of actually getting the nomination but are participating either for financial or future political gain Gingrich and Paul have both previously run for the Republican nomination for president and I believe are not actually expecting to get the nomination, but have other goals in mind. Gingrich is simply attempting to remain a legitimate political entity so that he can capitalize on his position financially. I believe Ron Paul means well and while not expecting to get the nomination, is trying to advocate for his libertarian philosophy in the public spotlight. Candidates Santorum, Pawlenty, Cain, and Huntsman simply do not have the support numbers to believe that they should be able to get the nomination; all of them are below 10% in Republican polls and I believe our running simply to advance their political careers.

One interesting development in this debate that has nothing to do with policy is that there seem to be cracks in Republican solidarity. In the first debate all of the candidates played nicely and simply attacked Obama rather than each other. In this debate there were marked signs of strain between several of the candidates, most overtly Pawlenty, Bachmann and Romney. Pawlenty spend a significant portion of his debate time attacking Bachmann in what I believe is an attempt to wrest some of the right wing extremist vote away from her in time to survive the Iowa straw poll. The Republican candidates still most often attacked Obama, but the increase in attacks between each other is a good sign for the Democrats. Republican campaigns tend to be significantly more dirty and negative than Democratic campaigns, thus the eventual winner could potentially be weakened by the other Republicans to the point where they cannot compete with Obama. Ultimately, I see the potential political consequences of what is said in the debate less important than the potential policy consequences if one of those candidates is elected.

As demonstrated by the sheer number of falsehoods espoused in this debate, as well as the minimal challenge to said falsehoods by the Republican moderator, ignorance and delusion have become so commonplace in right wing policy that even the most egregious lack of knowledge is accepted. Good policy and governance cannot be based upon incorrect facts and logical fallacies. When the people who are expected to run this country well cannot determine even basic causal relationships, there is little hope that the country will run efficiently and provide all of the services promised to the population. The single most pervasive logical fallacy of this debate as well as much of the Republican platform is that of tax policy and the effects of altering tax rates.

I truly wonder who the first person to say "every time we lower taxes revenues go up" was, and whether they were a right wing propagandists, or simply ignorant of even the most basic economic theory. While it is true that lowering some taxes at sometimes is capable of stimulating the economy, starving the federal government to the point where it cannot function is simply not in the best interest of the country. As demonstrated in recent years, the money that is given back to the wealthy and corporations is invested somewhere else, such as China or India. The globalization of the United States economy has led to a situation where tax breaks for corporations and “job creators" have little to no feedback or multiplication effects. Of all the Republican candidates in the last debate, only John Huntsman believes that increasing taxes on those who can afford it and instituting stimulus rather than austerity is the way out of our current recession. The failure of trickle down economics is an empirically verifiable fact yet, like global warming, is completely disregarded by half of the political field, which leads to adverse policy decisions.

Simply put, if any candidate who believes in trickle down economic theory is elected, I predict a collapse of the social safety net, increase in income inequality, and decrease in jobs. Everybody who heard the debate last night should keep in mind that these candidates' views are the exact same ones instituted by George Bush when he managed to turn a booming economy and a surplus into record high deficits and a recession.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mitt "Multiple Choice" Romney

Mitt "Multiple Choice" Romney is the front-runner candidate for the Republican presidential nomination as shown in most polls and in terms of campaign cash raised. Neither polls nor fundraising are definitive predictors of nomination, but they do point towards a large advantage Romney has over the other candidates.

Romney has a lot going for him, he is rich, intelligent, and a good public speaker, but has one fairly important flaw: everybody hates him. Romney is the political equivalent to a chameleon, he blends in wherever he wants to be elected, and with video technology this has left a trail of flip-flops and a sense of absolute phoniness to everything he says. When Romney was running in MA, he was a moderate Republican, but now that he wants to ride the conservative to the presidency, is a rabid right winger. For every important issue Romney has been on every conceivable side, thus no side ever trusts him because if it would help his cause he would stab them in the back in a second. In addition to the sheer phoniness, Romney is rich, and got his money through a big money corporation called Bain Capitol. Bain Capitol makes money by acquiring companies, cutting waste (read: firing workers and shafting the ones who remain), and reselling the company for a profit. Romney LITERALLY was the faceless executive who cut you from the payroll and slashed your benefits while making millions of dollars; this is a severe problem when you need a large portion of the population to like you.

Romney is the wall street candidate and thus has a huge amount of anonymous corporate money backing him up in both the nomination fight and the general election. Citizen's United now allows for corporations to buy our elections, but we have yet to see whether even corporate money can scrub the bad taste from people's mouth when the hear Romney speak.

Unless either Bachmann or Perry can really get into gear, Romney is the default choice for the Republican nomination. Nobody likes Romney, but he is very fiscally conservative, and recently has supported social conservative policy. I live in MA, where Romney was governor and I have to say, he wasn't a total disaster in his past policy choices (he was moderate). His health care bill, which now has become a major stumbling block in his campaign, works and he didn't do any real damage to the state. Job numbers stagnated under his governance but that could be attributed to other factors. Current Romney could be dangerous because nobody knows what he will do when he has the top spot, and he doesn't have to worry about climbing to higher office.

If Romney gets the nomination he will be fairly dangerous for Obama compared to the other front candidates. Romney is more moderate and unlike the other two candidates isn't dumb or insane (It kinda worries me that a contender for the presidency of the USA is valid because he simply isn't crazy or painfully stupid). It is entirely possible that Romney could run a legitimate campaign against Obama, thus he is the most dangerous of the three potential candidates.

If Romney gets elected, corporations will be celebrating in the street. He is not only bought by wall street, but IS wall street. The economic policy of the USA will become even more slanted towards benefiting the rich and cutting the benefits to the poor. I don't believe that Romney is principled enough to care about social policy on any side as long as he can get paid, so at most the social right wing will probably be screwed like all of Romney's past allies. Romney's election would be unfortunate and economically unbalancing but I don't believe that his election would be a total disaster.

The Sarcastic Liberal

2012 Republican Primary

Lets be realistic, there are only 3 possible contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination: Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Perry. Just the fact that these three dunces are the Republican front runners should tell you something about the current state of the Republican party. The right wingers are both completely insane and have a need for anyone they support to agree with them on EVERYTHING, which has led to a very sparse field. I almost pity the intelligent republican (if there are any left) because this entire race is a choice between a fool, a christian crusader and a corporate raider.

For the next 3 Posts, I will give my take on each of the contenders for the republican nomination.

Michele "Laser Stare" Bachmann

Bachmann has to be one of the dumbest politicians in the modern era, probably surpassing even the previous crowning champs of this infamous category: George Bush and Sarah Palin. Bill Maher said it best when he described Michele Bachmann as "The candidate to pick when you think that Sarah Palin is too intellectual.".

Bachmann has been fairly visible in recent discussion of policy because of her wide tea party support, thus there are numerous videos of her discussing her views (It seems that in every video of her I can find she has the same mechanical, thousand yard stare, which has led me to conclude that either there isn't a lot going on in her brain or she has a transmitter that tells her what to say directly from the cerebellums of the Koch duo). One only need look at some of Bachmann's gag reel of public appearances to see her demonstrate just how ignorant she is in all subjects involved in governance. Bachmann believes in a completely distorted history where the USA was founded a Christian nation, the founding fathers freed the slaves, and everybody has always been equal. By not acknowledging the mistakes of our past, we will not learn from them and thus will inevitably repeat them. In addition to historical ignorance, Bachmann is borderline psychotic in her economic policy and if allowed to control the country, would reduce the economy to cinders in a matter of years. Bachmann believes that not only can the free market fix anything but that trickle down economics works despite the obvious falsehood to both beliefs. Ironically, Michele Bachmann is possibly the most severe welfare utilizer I have ever seen: the Bachmann family farm receives agricultural subsidies, her husband's clinic is supported by medicare, her family has benefited from unemployment, and Bachmann herself has always worked for the government. One of the most overlooked facts of Michele Bachmann's rhetorical schizophrenia is that not only is she currently running for office on a right wing anti-government/anti-tax platform, which is in itself somewhat hypocritical, but her previous job was as an IRS tax lawyer. That's right, AN IRS TAX LAWYER is one of the darlings of the Tea Party.

While I don't believe that any religious beliefs of the candidates should be brought into the debate, the right wingers absolutely insist on doing it anyway. Bachmann is fundamentalist Evangelical and hold all of the conservative views on abortion, women's rights, gay rights, and as a topper, doesn't believe in the seperation of church and state.

Bachmann has a chance to get the nomination because she is both fiscally and socially conservative enough to please the right wingers and until recently has been the anti-Romney. Everybody hates Romney and thus many conservatives ran to Bachmann by default, but with Perry entering the race I don't know whether she will be able to scoop the nomination.

If Bachmann is the Republican presidential nominee it will be a double edged sword to the non-crazy of this country: on one hand, the odds of Bachmann defeating Obama in the general election are infinitesimally small, her election would be a disaster the equivalent to Nero's reign in Rome. Domestically, the social safety net would be finished, the economy would be subjected to another 4 years of Republican dominance and the rights of women and homosexuals would be curtailed at record speed. Internationally, The USA would lose almost all respect for electing such an unstable and ignorant president. Environmental regulation would be cut and before we knew it, the USA would be polluted, poor and sick. Bachmann's election would be catastrophic, but in my opinion, she is simply to obviously crazy for the nomination, never mind the general election.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Irony of Conservatism

When you hear the label "Conservative" it evokes a controlled, patient and comforting image of the careful planner running the country in a very safe manner. Especially in recent years, this image is totally at odds with the frothing mass of borderline psychotic religious zealots that have crawled out of the right wing woodwork.

1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
2. Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit.
3. Moderate; cautious: a conservative estimate.
4. Tending to conserve; preservative: the conservative use of natural resources

The actual definition of conservative would suggest a very careful group of people who always make rational judgments based on reality. Unfortunately, as in Orwell's 1984, some major doublespeak has led to the conservative label being thrown on the least conservative bunch in politics. Modern conservatives only follow the first out of the four definitions of conservatism, this the label really isn't that accurate.

  1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. -- This segment of the definition is accurate when describing conservatives. The right wing has opposed all social change from civil rights to gender equality in the past 50 years. In this one way, conservatism has truth in advertising.
  2. Traditional or restrained in style -- I want anybody to look at the tea party and then try to say that the conservative movement is either traditional or restrained in style with a straight face; it is simply impossible to refer to these crazy people as traditional or restrained.
  3. Moderate; cautious -- What part of starting two wars, destroying the US economy, or holding a metaphorical gun to the head of the American public in hostage negotiating in recent arguments can POSSIBLY be considered cautious. As for the moderate portion of the definition, the right wing is so far right now that they are starting to fall off a cliff.
  4. Tending to conserve; preservative -- conservatives are the very last people to suggest any conservation of the environment or the entitlement safety net of the United States. 

From now on, I suggest referring to the two political extremes as progressives for the left wing and regressives  for the right wing; there is more truth in referring to the conservatives as regressives because they simply aren't conservative in any way.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Contract for the American Dream

This is a progressive manifesto that outlines a plan to re-right the country economically and bring about increased equality.


I strongly suggest supporting any politician who supports this plan, because it is in my opinion it would not only increase fairness, but lead to a stronger country in the future. None of the components of the plan would be very easy for the Republicans to attack head on without being seen as unreasonable (although I believe that if Obama found the cure for cancer, the Republicans would vilify him for putting some doctors out of work).

Normally, I don't respect political pledges other than the vote for office, but in this case the pledge could be the only way to unify the Democrats under a progressive agenda rather than continue fighting on Republican ground.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Prison Labor = Slavery?


The video posted above is from the Internet commentary show called The Young Turks. Cenk Uyger, the host, often has very good insights and this analysis in particular explains the corporation/prison partnership problem in the USA.

My analysis of the situation:
In recent years, the right wing movement has pushed for increased privatization in many areas formerly run by the public sector; prisons and public maintenance are two of the public service areas which have received particular focus during the right wing push to privatize. There is a very disturbing situation emerging in US prisons where prisons (particularly private prisons) are starting or expanding commercial prison work programs.

There is nothing inherently wrong with prison work programs; in fact, they can actually be beneficial to both the inmates and the guards. Inmates who have something to occupy their time don't cause as much trouble because they are focused on something constructive rather than the constant ennui of imprisonment. In addition to reducing discipline problems in the prisons, trade programs where prisoners learn a craft while working can allow prisoners to find productive employment after their release. While vocational work programs can actually be beneficial to prisoners, commercial prison labor can sometimes become harmful.

Prison labor can unfortunately have very damaging effects when it is combined with some corporatist practices; practices that have become prevalent in some areas of the American government. Politicians have become increasingly bought by corporate lobbyists, leading to policy decisions designed to help corporations. As corporations are completely amoral and based upon the goal of making a profit, most corporations will maximize profit and minimize expense regardless of the social effect of their actions. If a corporation can insource labor to a prison (or be co-owned by a prison) and decrease the cost of labor to nearly nothing, their profits will go up. A decrease in manufacturing costs allows for an increase in profits, thus there is more money for expansion and executives.

Prisons are a public service and their goal should be punishment and rehabilitation, not profit. Once there is a corporation pulling the strings, profit eclipses all other goals and prison labor comes dangerously close to slave labor. When politicians are bought by corporations, they will help the corporation make money. Legislative initiatives such as increasing criminal charges for minor offenses, expanding mandatory sentencing laws, and criminalizing more actions, increases the number of people imprisoned, thus giving a larger workforce to the prison utilizing corporation.

A combination of corporatism, private prisons, and prison labor leads to a situation where the justice system serves to force people into imprisoned employment at no pay. Involuntary servitude without pay is the very definition of slavery. In my opinion, the prison labor situation in the USA sets up perverse incentives and corrupt the entire criminal justice system.

Search for the “Kids for Cash” scandal on Google to see the most egregious example of corporate infiltration into the justice system I have ever seen. Several judges in Pennsylvania were paid by private prisons to send innocent children to jail. While the profit motive found in this case was based in prison occupancy rather than prison labor, the situations are parallel because the motivation remains the same: When putting more people in jail increases corporate profits, these corporations will attempt to increase the imprisonment rate in order to increase profit.

Justice should not have a profit motive, but rather be an end unto itself.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Monday, August 8, 2011

Perry Enters the Race

Governor Rick Perry announced his run for the Republican nomination for president this week. Perry has a history of both social and fiscal conservatism and could potentially shake up the entire race. A candidate that has a combination of religious conservatism (Sunday's Pray-a-palloza in Texas) and fiscal conservatism (tanking the Texas job market and giving handouts to the rich), could triangulate the current runners in the race.

Perry' social/religious conservatism is arguably as extreme as Bachmann, but definitely more so than the entire rest of the pack. The extreme right wing of the Republican/Tea Party would never vote for a non social conservative like Romney or Huntsman, thus a significant portion of the base will support one of the  two social right wingers. I am an ardent supporter of the separation of church and state, and believe that the election of either of these religious zealots would be disastrous for the entire country. Governer Perry perfectly demonstrated the inability of religious fundamentalists to govern rationally when he proposed prayer as a solution to the economic problems of the country. Never mind the suggestion that Christianity is above all other religions implied in his statements, look at the rational result to the irrational statement: A huge problem is swamping the country, do we pray or try to implement solutions? If prayer is a recognized solution in secular problems in exclusion of actual solutions, imagine just how bad things could get before people realize what is happening.

The fiscal conservative credentials of Governor Perry are impeccable: He took money from the poor/students, gave tax breaks to the rich, damaged job growth, and used accounting tricks to hide his damaging economic policy' consequences. When will the right wingers either read basic economic theory or look at history. I can't believe that so many people can think back and think "I'm sure that the conservative president will fix the economy this time, we just need to prevent those Democratic minorities from disrupting the economy just like what happens EVERY TIME a conservative is in the presidency." The right wing fails to see the correlations between their election and the crashing of the economy as well as increases in the income gap. The "fiscal conservative badges for this Republican primary are worn by Perry and Romney. When combining the fiscal conservative label necessity with social issues, I think that Perry has a very good chance to beat Romney in the primary but less of a chance to beat Obama in the general election.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weekly Issue #2 - 8/6/2011 - The USA Credit Downgrade

By Josh Sager

Republicans and Tea Party supporters learned a very important lesson this week: The problem with being willing to take hostages is that sometimes, you accidentally shoot them. While the wound inflicted on the USA this week is only superficial, not only does it still sting, but it was entirely avoidable. Standard and Poors, one of the major credit rating agencies has decided to downgrade the US rating from AAA to AA+.

In recent weeks, the Republicans manufactured a massive crisis over the increasing of the debt ceiling so as to force massive cuts in line with their ideology. In the past, the increase of the debt ceiling has been an uncontroversial, housecleaning, measure in the legislature for two reasons: The first reason is that the increase of the debt ceiling does not increase spending but rather an authorization for payment of expenditures already made. The second reason was that no politician was stupid or ignorant enough to try to stop the increase and destroy the full faith and credit of the USA; politicians (such as Obama) would vote against the majority while increasing the debt ceiling as a protest to how the government is spending, but they knew that the increase would pass.

Enter the Tea Party and radical Republicans, who are a perfect storm of extreme, stupid, and crazy while being completely ignorant of economic theory. Finally we had just what we needed to cure the economy: A bunch of crazy new politicians, who are ideologically opposed to a functioning government, were elected into government (Not hypocritical at all). These freshmen politicians used the tried and true tactic of threatening to blow something vital up if they don't get everything that they want immediately. Unfortunately, as is common with extremists, they didn't take into account the larger effects of their actions on society: Unsurprisingly, when the people running a country threaten to blow up the economy of said country, it makes the people invested in that country a little nervous.

S&P's credit rating is an evaluation of the stability of an entity's currency combined with their ability and willingness to pay; essentially, are they willing and able to pay back loans that are given to them. The debt ceiling crisis was wholly engineered by the right wing, not a genuine crisis like the housing or bank crises. In their statement, the S&P analysts said that they took into account the fact that an extreme segment of the government is risking a crash of the economy if they don't get what they want; a factor that seriously degrades our stability as an investment? Political insanity is a perfectly rational reason to raise the risk level in a country because it casts doubt on the ability of the country to make good economic choices.

This entire situation absolutely disgusts me. The right wing not only got what they want in terms of the debt ceiling bill, but they also were incompetent enough to destroy our credit rating in the process. This is the first time in history that the full faith and credit of the USA has been brought into question; not even during the great depression did we default.

A group of insane right wingers have managed to cause historic harm to the recovering economy while the Democrats let them. I only hope that three things result from this awful and unnecessary situation:
  1. The damage to the economy will be limited to a small increase in bond interest rates, which will be expensive, but not fatal to our recovery.
  2. The Republicans are brought to task over their recklessness. They are squarely to blame for the first credit downgrade in US history and hopefully they will suffer for it in the next election.
  3. The Democrats will learn that you can't negotiate with political hostage takers and terrorists because not only will they come back for more, but their actions often harm the hostage even if they are appeased.
The Sarcastic Liberal




Friday, August 5, 2011

Small good news

I neither like nor support Chris Christie in terms of policy or personality, but in this one case he hit the nail on the head. Christie goes after the Muslim hating of his own party when he supports one of his judicial appointees.

Even if you don't agree with anything else Christie does, this is a commendable step and it should be followed by all other politicians. The abuse of Muslims in the USA is both unfair and completely inaccurate: Statistically, most extremism in this country is right wing or christian based. As a question of fairness, nobody should be judged by their religion in our secular government. A small group of Muslim extremist don't taint American Muslims just as the actions of Anders Breivik or Timothy McVeigh don't taint all American Christians.

A small piece of good news in a tsunami of bad,

The Sarcastic Liberal

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pelosi Pushes Back

Nancy Pelosi is among the first Democrats in a leadership position to actually call the Republicans out on what their actual goal in deficit reduction is.


I think that a vital but previously unmentioned component of the partisan debate is that of bias in the politicians. The openly stated goals of the Republicans is to "shrink government until it can be drowned in a bathtub". It always has astounded me that the Republicans can simultaneously attempt to get elected and at the same time despise the "Washington crowd". What with the current recklessness of the GOP, the Democratic leaders have FINALLY caught on that the anti-government bias of the right wing might be a good thing to point out.

It only took 40 years for the Democrats to recognize the hypocracy in anti-government extremists attempting to get elected to the government, but better late than never.

The Shock Doctrine 2.0

The Shock Doctrine 2.0
© Josh Sager – August 2011

In politics, there is a tactic of pushing unpopular legislation through the legislature by way of using a crisis. The use of a catalyst, such as a disaster, to push legislation that would otherwise be impossible to pass is called the “Shock Doctrine” (as popularized by Naomi Klein). The perfect modern example of the shock doctrine in action is the Patriot Act of 2001, where, if it had been proposed on September 10th, the entire country would have had a collective seizure. Once the seizure subsided, the American people would respond with something along the lines of, "Let me get this straight, you want to spy on everybody, have the ability to rendition people to other countries and to torture anybody regardless of evidence? Are you insane?” followed by a mass call to tar and feather the offending politicians on the House/Senate floor. The catalyst of September 11th, 2001, allowed the passage of the Patriot Act because it made the American public believe that there was no other option.

The Republicans have found a new and novel way of utilizing the shock doctrine: creating a potential disaster, then forcing the Democrats to capitulate before the time runs out and the country suffers the disaster. The Republican strategy is the equivalent to the Austin Powers spoof villain, “Doctor Evil”, threatening to crash the moon into the planet unless he is given what he wants. Only two questions remain in this situation: How are the heroic Democrats (I know it’s a stretch, but it fits the analogy) going to stop the evil geniuses (also a stretch) and secondly, between Mitch McConnell and John Boehner which one is Mini-Me and which is Dr. Evil.

Examples of the shock doctrine 2.0 during 2011:
  • In order to get the Bush tax cut extensions for the rich last December, the Republicans held the unemployment benefits and tax cut for the middle class hostage. A decrease in money flowing to the middle class at this point would reduce their buying power and harm the recovering economy.
  • During the budget fight, the Republicans pushed the country to the brink of shutdown in order to cut spending and defend their corporate supporters. A shutdown would cost many government workers their jobs and require cuts in drastic shutdowns of services; everybody in the country would suffer.
  • The debt ceiling debate was essentially won by the Republicans (they wouldn't say they won because the US government still exists) through the use of hostage taking tactics. They created the debt crisis by refusing to simply accept a debt ceiling increase and forced cuts by the threat of default.
  • The FAA shutdown is a particularly disgusting situation where FAA workers are not only working for free, but are being forced to pay for their own expenses; they are being held hostage in a Republican effort to cripple their ability to unionize.

The Democrats have no ability to truly defend themselves and the country from the hostage tactics of the Republicans. Since the Democrats care about the middle class and fear retaliation from a hurting country, they cannot gamble with the USA’s economic health, while the Republicans have a perverse incentive for the middle class to fail—if the country fails, they can simply blame it on Obama and use that to get back into power.

One of the major predictors of the results of an incumbent presidential election is the health of the economy, thus the Republicans have a very real incentive to intentionally crash the middle class. The Republicans will either force the complete capitulation of the Democrats, or destroy the middle class and blame Obama. With the shockingly low collective knowledge level of the electorate (these are the people who re-elected Bush II) and a lack of media fact-checking, there is a very real chance that the voters will blame Obama for a Republican-created crisis.

The shock doctrine 2.0 has been pioneered primarily by the tea party freshman as well as the Republican Party leaders Boehner and Cantor. The senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has been a voice of reason relative to the others, which should indicate just how insane the rest of the right wingers are. In my opinion, the shock doctrine 2.0 pattern began when Cantor was making a very real attempt to oust control over the house from speaker Boehner, but Boehner responded with a hard line shift and Obama caved. What started out as a matter of political survival by Boehner became a powerful new Republican tactic that they have used in every debate since. Obama and the Democrats cave every time, which reinforces the bad behavior of the right.

Honestly, I have no idea what the proper response to the Republican tactics is, because I don't think they are bluffing when they attempt to blow up the economy. The Tea Party politicians are either ignorant or crazy enough to play chicken with a stuck steering wheel, thus the Democrats can do little but mitigate the damage when they eventually cave. While hostage taking is an effective tactic in the short term, I hope that the voters will remember and respond in 2012.

To Voters: I cannot stress enough that even if one believes in Conservative values and economic theories, the use of hostage-taking tactics is simply wrong and will only result in the damaging of our country. The potential consequences to brinksmanship are catastrophic and it is a citizen’s duty not to vote for somebody who poses a risk to our country—intentionally risking the country’s health for partisan gain is irresponsible and unjustifiable, regardless of ones’ political leanings.