Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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Video: Denver Riggleman Claims U.S., Israel Are the “Two Strongest Democracies...

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According to Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05), speaking at the AIPAC conference (see video, below), the U.S. and Israel are supposedly the "two strongest democracies...

S&P Downgrades US Debt Rating to AA+ For First Time in...

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Earlier this evening, Standard and Poors downgraded the U.S. long-term sovereign credit rating from AAA to AA+. Why? S&P's reasoning says it all:

*"We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process."
In other words, the Republicans and Tea Partiers holding the debt ceiling increase hostage to their demands did not go over well with Standard and Poors. Shocker! (not)

*"We also believe that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden by the middle of the decade."
Again, thank you Teapublicans for absolutely refusing to touch the revenues side of the equation. In fairness, Democrats weren't exactly jumping up and down to deal with health care spending; also, Democrats should have pushed much harder for a public option when they had a chance, as this would have helped "bend the cost curve" of health care spending. But nooooo....

*"The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed."
Political brinksmanship?  Gee, who could S&P possibly be referring to on that one? Hmmmm.

*"It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options... only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability."
In this case, there's blame to go around, as neither party was serious - with the exceptions of President Obama and, apparently, John Boehner before he was reined in by his own caucus - about dealing with entitlements. And no, the Ryan Plan, which most every Teapublican voted for, does not count as "serious." It's a complete joke.

*"...our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act."
This one's clearly the Teapublicans' fault, essentially 100%, and is a big part of the reason why S&P believes the U.S. is not "likely to slow the deterioration of the government's debt dynamics."  In short, thank you, Teapublicans, for destroying America's credit rating!

UPDATE: This sums it up very well. Also, Matthew Yglesias has some thoughts.

George Bush’s Legacy

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We are at a crossroads. Two unnecessary wars and irresponsible economic policy have stretched our resources to the breaking point. George Bush lit a fuse in the Middle East that is a catalyst for a loosely connected series of events responsible for this moment of inadequacy. History won't be kind.

Days ago the Pentagon realized that the paucity of American presence in the Mediterranean sent a signal for a power grab. The Mediterranean is becoming a Chinese lake filled with Iranian fish. The Chinese are at this instant establishing their hegemony with action in Libya. This moment became imminent the day Bush chose preemptive military action over posturing and leading from a position of strength. The entire United States naval force presence plan lays shattered.

The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. - Sun Tzu

The Republican frat boys whose strategic skills were honed during exam weeks playing all-night Risk and taking speed never learned from overextending their armies on the board. They were happy to defend Kamchatka successfully. But this is real and there are consequences. And they have been laid in President Obama's lap.

Video: Why China Is Winning the Clean Energy Race

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By the way, the World Meteorological Organization just issued a report  which "found that 2009 was the fifth warmest year on record 'since the beginning of of instrumental climate records around 1850.'" But no, the world's not getting warmer or anything. Hey, it snowed last winter! (snark)