Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chris Christie Slammed For Staying In Disney World During Devastating Snow Storm

Chris Christie Slammed For Staying In Disney World During Devastating Snow Storm

This will be interesting to follow. Christie shirks his duty and admits that they don't really need him to deal with the disaster anyway. Good at delegating? Now a truly confirmed blowhard? Pay attention to what I say, not what I do? Just a typical braggart....

Memo to Mr. Christie. No. The teachers must keep their jobs. They can't do a Sarah Palin and quit if the going gets a little tough. Your cowardly taunt at one of your own teachers may have been fine conservative political theater, but it is your bound duty to govern! That means making it easier for teachers to do the job required of them by YOUR government is YOUR primary responsibility.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

At Kaplan University, 'Guerilla Registration' Leaves Students Deep In Debt

At Kaplan University, 'Guerilla Registration' Leaves Students Deep In Debt

This is the tragedy of government for profit. The government, it appears. is just to easy to rip off... Private contractors make out like robber barons. This is just one example. That it reveals graft and corruption in the combined fields of education and journalism is doubly troubling.

Thanks for the Tax Cut! - NYTimes.com

Thanks for the Tax Cut! - NYTimes.com

This is the perfect response to those who rejoiced at the two year public theft extension. Pay careful attention to what is said and what is done. The divide between the servants of the wealthy and the servants of the middle class is now crystal clear.

Shine the light.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Virginia Roads Crumble... Want to fix it?

Gov. McDonnell's transportation plans amount to a whimper

No. Mr. McDonnell's answer is loud and clear. He'll kick the can down the road, thank you very much. Actually PAY for something? No, let's borrow and spend. Mr. McDonnell and his GOP friends have starved the beast to the point that things are breaking down fairly rapidly. They are ideologically stuck in the public theft rut. They are happy to steal money from children, from the sick and dying, and from the travelers on the state's highways, but are unwilling to dip into corporate and private wealth to actually keep the state functioning.

What am I talking about?? Public Theft = Tax Cuts. Stealing money from children = bankrupting the public education system. Stealing money from the sick and dying = attempting to deprive Virginians of their health care. Stealing from travelers = this fizzling effort to fix the roads.

It's our state Governor. Fix it!

The Filibuster That Stole Christmas

CONGRESS -- The Filibuster That Stole Christmas

Is this all-out, too-the-death, political warfare an appropriate way to govern the country? When the my-way-or-the-highway crowd says that nothing is more important than what they want and that they get it the WAY they want it, can there be a more morally corrupt bargain possible? Is it even justifiable for a minority party? If the Democrats were the minority party, would I be singing a different tune. No.

The list is long. The items listed in this piece are only the beginning. The GOP is all in. They view the rule of the minority to be more important that the rule of the majority. Think about that for a bit. Rule of law, majority rule, representative democracy.... All of that is out the window with Republican obstructionists. They are fighting to the death for homophobia, xenophobia, death to 9/11 responders, a crippled judiciary, a compromised national defense, a failing education system, a polluted environment and crumbling national infrastructure.

Government for profit? Public Theft? Corporate Cruelty? Political terrorism? Political zealotry? Refusing to compromise? Fighting to the death? Is this an appropriate discourse in the United States of America? Are these "American Values" worth fighting for? Not to me...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sen. Richard Lugar Gives President Obama Credit For Reaching Out To The GOP (VIDEO)

Sen. Richard Lugar Gives President Obama Credit For Reaching Out To The GOP (VIDEO)

"Our program is to stop Obama, some would say. It's to defeat Obama. That it's a two-stage process. You defeat the Democrats, first of all, in the Congress; then you defeat Obama. Then we'll come out and we'll tell you.
Well, that's not going to work. And at some point there really have to be constructive Republican programs." - Senator Dick Lugar (R-Ind.)
Note to restive Democrats.  The most active Congressional session in 15 years should be some comfort to you.  Giving the debate over to the Republicans on each and every issue was poor form though.  Allowing the common discourse to become set in marketing slogans and talking points created by conservative think tanks only deepened the communication gap between Democrats and the citizens of this fine nation.

It is not enough to morally right, or factually right.  We've found that it matters little that what is said is NOT what is done.  Hypocrisy washes off the backs of Congress critters like water off a duck.  It just doesn't matter that the talking points are meaningless and silly.  It's communication that's important.  In this one area, Democrats must realize that they've let down their leader.  As a group, they've also let down the progressive Democrats who took the tough votes on the legislation that was put forward in this Congress.  They've let down the nation.

Communication.... Reclaiming the debate...  Defending political turf...  Standing tall for progressive principles...  For Democrats who'd rather be wonks, selling themselves is like eating glass.  Welcome to the media world we live in.  We've got to find words, terms, and frames for our principles.  Then we need to repeat them over and over.  We've seen the results of only being right.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ted Strickland: Democrats Suffering From 'Intellectual Elitism'

Ted Strickland: Democrats Suffering From 'Intellectual Elitism':

"Talking, unprompted, about the debate over the expiring Bush tax cuts, Strickland said he was dumbfounded at the party's inability to sell the idea that the rates for the wealthy should be allowed to expire.
'I mean, if we can't win that argument we might as well just fold up,' he said. 'These people are saying we are going to insist on tax cuts for the richest people in the country and we don't care if they are paid for, and we don't think it is a problem if it contributes to the deficit, but we are not going to vote to extend unemployment benefits to working people if they aren't paid for because they contribute to the deficit. I mean, what is wrong with that? How can it be more clear?'"

Since this statement by Mr. Strickland, we've seen the debate play out.  Mr. Obama made a deal. The GOP is doing a celebration dance, the Democrats are in mourning.  This is the definition of "crying in your beer."  Strickland asked the essential question.  Mr. Obama called out his supporters and nailed them.  Where was the passion?  Sen. Saunders' too-little-too-late filibuster?  Sure it was passionate, but where was the passion when the issue was being decided back in the late summer?

Clunk....  That's the sound of cans being kicked down the road.  That's all you heard from knee-shaking, fearful Democrats who, being so afraid of losing that they never really stood up for the principles Mr. Saunders expounded for 9 hours, lost and lost big.  Clunk... cans down the road.

There went the tax cuts for the rich. Aren't we all looking forward to two more years of GOP prancing and extolling the virtues of wealth?  Hooray..... There went DADT. There went the DREAM.  Being right doesn't mean much does it...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Surprise, Surprise: Senate GOP letter calls for blocking most bills

The Associated Press: Senate GOP letter calls for blocking most bills:

"'Despite what some Democrats in Congress have suggested, voters did not signal they wanted more cooperation on the Democrats' big-government policies that most Americans oppose,' McConnell and incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote in an op-ed article published in the Washington Post."

Damn it! The "Americans" McConnell and Boehner are talking about aren't the middle class Americans, the latino, african-american, working class, poor, and disenfranchised Americans. They are the wealthy, crony, robber-baron, corporate elite Americans. Where is the press? Who is calling them on this plutocratic treason?

Republicans are very clear about what they want.  It is clear what their supporters want.  They are willing to go to the mat for it.  They are willing to bankrupt the country for it.  They are steamrollering the debate and Liberals and Progressives are just waving the white flag.

No one in the progressive movement seems to want to do the heavy lifting here.  The President is pretty much alone.  No congress critters have stood with him, physically or rhetorically.  Everyone is cowering under the threat of the dastardly scrooges in the GOP.  The prog blogosphere is blasting his tax cut deal and accusing HIM of caving to the GOP.

WHERE ARE YOU?  Are you calling your congressman?  Are you SHOUTING at your congressmen?  Are you contributing to the work being done by MoveOn and DFA?  Why not?

The President has said that he'd like to get a better deal, but he's got no one watching his back.  He's not caving, his supermajority in Congress is caving.  Give 'em a call.  NOW!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Obama Lashes Out At 'Hostage-Taking' Republicans, Sanctimonious Democrats

Obama Lashes Out At 'Hostage-Taking' Republicans, Sanctimonious Democrats

This friends, is leadership. Mr. Obama's hand is on the tiller of the ship of state. He is probably the only one in the room that has the interests of the American people, ALL of the American people at heart. Rich and poor, Red and Blue, urban and rural, and all shades of skin color have gotten something from this. What Mr. Obama has done is pretty close to miraculous. He has succeeded in wringing out a compromise that actually has benefits in it to pretty much everyone.

I predicted long ago (was it really only two years?) that if Mr. Obama were to be truly successful, it would really piss off both the left and right. The mark of genius, and the mark of leadership is the ability to get things done. Add this to a list of accomplishments, not a list of failures. Add this to Mr. Obama's profile of courage.

This kind of accomplishment IS what democracy is about. It's a little ugly, kind of a mess, but the only thing worse is anything else. Thank you Mr. Obama.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Do-Lots 111th Congress An Amazing Record!

Klein: The Do-Lots 111th Congress - Newsweek

Here's a fun exercise. A list of the accomplishments listed in this article: it's a TOP TEN!

1. Health Care Reform
  • 32 Million Americans covered
  • Savings of billions and billions of dollars against the national debt
  • Illegal to turn away pre-existing conditions
  • Illegal to jack up premiums for pre-existing conditions
  • An independent commission will cut Medicare's costs
  • fixes the tax break for employer sponsored health care
  • pays doctors for quality rather than quantity
  • calorie and nutritional information posted at fast food and chain restaurants
2. Financial Regulation

  • Consumer Protection Agency.
  • made the dirivatives market more transparent
  • a systemic-risk regulator
  • the ability to take down banks with out resorting to bailouts
3. The Stimulus

  • Economic relief in the form of "expansions of Medicaid, COBRA, food stamps, tax cuts, and unemployment benefits"
  • millions of jobs created and/or saved
  • more than 75,000 infrastructure projects
  • digitization of medical records
  • massive investments in renewable energy
  • the Race to the Top in education
  • funded research at the National Institutes of Health
4. National Service Legislation
5. Expanded SCHIP for another 4 million children.
6. New regulations on tobacco
7. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
8. Expanded veterans benefits, especially for female veterans
9. Expand the nations wilderness protection by 2 million acres.
10. Preserved our American system of capitalism by saving GM from bankruptcy

Wow.  Add it all up and be impressed.  It's what we voted for.  It's what we can support. It's what President Obama won in the face of the fiercest partisan opposition in history.  

There's more to come.

Friday, December 3, 2010

On Jobs, Robert Rubin Points In The Wrong Direction Again

On Jobs, Robert Rubin Points In The Wrong Direction Again

Ok wonks... this one's for you. How many of us have heard of the difference between cyclical and structural unemployment? Sure we've heard about all of this around the edges, but leave it to the dependable Dan Froomkin to point this out and get us started thinking about who might actually be able to help solve our economic crisis.

This one is short but informative, a good read.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Astonishing Celebration of Ignorance

5 Lessons of Palin's New Book, 'America By Heart' | The Atlantic Wire

Ms. Palin insists on forgetting about Black History or never learning it in the first place. 

It seems that America never had slaves, or Jim Crow, or any racial inequity at all!  Blacks should behave just like her.  Patriotic and happy to be living in the wealthiest country in the world with due deference to Ms. Palin and her adoring white folk.  Richard Cohen's good article is a nice back up read for this point.

No more income tax.

That's right.  Defund the country.  Flush it down the bathtub.  Pay for nothing, just charge it.

Mr. Obama doesn't love America as much as she does.

Mr. Obama doesn't love Ms. Palin as much a she does.  She is really milking the media star routine for the money and status it offers.  Unapologetically too!

She's a "real" feminist.  A strong woman who knows her place.

So why isn't she barefoot and pregnant? oops... been there done that.

She's obsessed with her loss in '08 and now with her pop star status.

 Ditch public service for self service. Nuff said.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tax Cuts, the Reagan Mantra

The Daily News Record: Editorial Opinion

My response to the opinion piece:

@editor - The mantra of tax cut theology started by Mr. Reagan goes like this: Anything wrong with the economy can be fixed by tax cuts. That would be the best solution, the next best solution and of course the solution of last resort.
Tax Cuts are simply the redistribution of the nation's wealth upward. Look up the stats on the income gap. Do the math with regard to the proportion of tax relief going to the citzenry. Who gets the most benefit from tax cuts? More importantly, what are the costs, both in money, and in quality of life? Who actually bears the costs?

Tax Cuts don't now nor have they ever paid for themselves.

It is simply stupid to say that taxes are the reason for ..... anything.

Removing the tax burden from the wealthy defunds the government so that, guess who, needs to step in to provide services for a healthy profit. Individual freedom at that point will be pretty much what you can afford. No money, no freedom.

This is not a serious argument Mr. Editor. It's a stupid one... Any semblance of fiscal sanity has disappeared from the conservative's arguments on this. There is no sanity left and no room for any type of economic recovery with these simplistic, theological arguments in place.
David Stockman, who led the all-important Office of Management and Budget under Reagan and was a chief architect of his fiscal policy, criticized today’s GOP for misreading Reagan’s legacy by adopting a “theology” of tax cuts. Stockman has spoken out before, but took perhaps his strongest stance yet against his own party today, saying “I’ll never forgive the Bush administration” for “destroying the last vestige of fiscal responsibility that we had in the Republican Party.” He also broke with Republican orthodoxy on a number of key issues:
– We need “a higher tax burden on the upper income.”
– “After 1985, the Republican Party adopted the idea that tax cuts can solve the whole problem, and that therefore in the future,deficits didn’t matter and tax cuts would be the solution of first, second, and third resort.”
– The 2001 Bush tax cut “was totally not needed.”
– On claims that Reagan proved tax cuts lead to higher government revenues: “Reagan proved nothing of the kind and yet that became the mantra and it just led the Republican Party away from its traditional sound money, fiscal restraint.”
– Former Vice President Cheney “should have known better” than claim the Bush tax cuts would pay for themselves.
– “I’ll never forgive the Bush administration and Paulson for basically destroying the last vestige of fiscal responsibility that we had in the Republican Party. After that, I don’t know how we ever make the tough choices.”
It's a pretty sad day for me to be quoting Reagan Republicans to rebut this type of fiscal lunacy from the radical right.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

t r u t h o u t | E.J. Dionne, Jr. | The Thanksgiving Wars? Just Say No

t r u t h o u t | E.J. Dionne, Jr. | The Thanksgiving Wars? Just Say No:

"This argument over Thanksgiving strikes me as a symptom of our failure to acknowledge that the American story is not all one thing or all another.

It is, instead, a tale of a healthy and ongoing tension between our love of individualism and our reverence for community. Capitalism is part of our story, but so is solidarity and the idea that no one ever really 'goes it alone.' Our rights are embedded in a web of social bonds and obligations that enrich us. We have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families, but also to look out for one another. And we hope that if we run into trouble, someone, maybe even the entire community, will look out for us."

So... what to blog about on Thanksgiving? I like E. J. Dionne. He's always a clear and patient voice of moderate liberalism. His view that the American experience is not all one thing or the other seems wishy washy when contrasted to the political minefield he navigates on a daily basis. This time it's a good thing to hear that right and left are both necessary to the success of America and those who stubbornly insist on one way or the other are wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deficit Panic Disorder | The Nation

Deficit Panic Disorder | The Nation

At last! Some common sense! Leave it to the Nation to make sense of the crisis de jour, "The Deficit." I just finished listening to the NPR call in show and a caller railed on and on about the debt we are leaving to our children and grandchildren, and that something just must be done!

The danger of a silly punditocracy is on display with all the deficit peacockery and proud strutting of the folks who promise to cut spending and lower taxes and get government off our backs. NONE OF THESE FOLKS KNOW OR CARE IF THEY KNOW what they are talking about.

The mindless recitation of Luntzian messaging is having a tragic, but predictable effect on the American psyche. Most will believe it simply because most believe. How are they convinced? A pervasive echo chamber, some very deep pockets, and a massive and massively expensive advertising campaign designed to turn spin into truth.

The best tool of the wealthy elite is to use their money to control the narrative, create the spin, and push the ideas that help them preserve themselves with ruthless malice towards the rest of us.

Where is the ruthless scepticism of the press corps? A little of it is shown in this editorial. On the NPR show, the commentators did not engage the commenter or inquire into the reason for the earnestly held position. NPR simply nodded and solemnly agreed that the deficit is indeed terrible and that anything we can do to fix it will be OK.

That is insanely stupid.

ThinkProgress Poll: Republicans Who Want To Repeal Health Care Law Should Opt Out Of Gov’t-Sponsored Health Plans

ThinkProgress  Poll: Republicans Who Want To Repeal Health Care Law Should Opt Out Of Gov’t-Sponsored Health Plans

Here's a great example of Republicans campaigning on ideology and talking points and then thudding back to earth to deal with reality. It isn't pretty, and the folks that supported them are probably wondering, WTF!

The emotionalism and energy of the Tea Party was just the steam squealing out of the kettle. It's vanished once the the tea hits the cup. Now they have to drink it. I hope they like tea...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Insider Trading: 'Steal A Lot, They Make You King'

Insider Trading: 'Steal A Lot, They Make You King':
"The smart kids in school, we have learned, went into major-league banking and invented brilliant financial machinery that effectively turned smoldering waste into gold. They lent money to any would-be homeowner with a signature and bundled these lousy loans together. Then they refashioned these malodorous piles of trash into new securities that complicit ratings agencies deemed as safe as Uncle Sam's savings bonds. They sold their inventory to pension funds, municipalities and other institutions that saw a AAA rating and dug no deeper. By the time the world figured out that the bankers had been peddling garbage, somebody else owned it."

Bob Dylan is truly a sage. This is the best simple explanation of the Wall Street Robber Barons I've seen so far.

Decision Points: The Rebuttal

Dan Froomkin :The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable Lies Of George W. Bush's Memoir:

"WASHINGTON -- These days, when we think of George W. Bush, we think mostly of what a horrible mess he made of the economy. But his even more tragic legacy is the loss of our moral authority, and the transformation of the United States of America from global champion of human rights into an outlaw nation.

History is likely to judge Bush most harshly for two things in particular: Launching a war against a country that had not attacked us, and approving the use of cruel and inhumane interrogation techniques.

And that's why the two most essential lies -- among the many -- in his new memoir are that he had a legitimate reason to invade Iraq, and that he had a legitimate reason to torture detainees."
Dan Froomkin was famously fired from the Washington Post when he insisted on a journalistic standard that was more rigorous and critical of the media narrative than could be allowed.  He's now the Washington chief for the Huffington Post.

I've always appreciated Dan's work, though I'm not always in agreement with it.  In this case, his thorough reporting over the entire breadth of the Bush Administration comes to bear.  He once again revisits the debates that occurred during the startup of the Iraq War and with the discovery of the Torture program.  I certainly wasn't very difficult for him to review the mistakes and tragic consequences of the Bush policy decisions.

He takes it one important step further however in dramatically stating that the revisionist version of history surrounding these events is now in the public eye and receiving little critical analysis. His fear is that an apathetic public and a do-nothing-about-it Obama Administration will allow this disinformation campaign to succeed.

I'm very glad for Mr. Froomkin's analysis and that it is in a national forum.  It should have been on the front page and it should be Mr. Froomkin sitting with Matt Lauer on the Today Show issuing his rebuttal.

Thanks Dan.

Tax Cuts, They HURT more than help!

Robert Creamer: Economic History Shows Clearly that Tax Cuts for Rich Hurt the Economy:

"In fact there is a body of empirical, historical evidence that proves clearly that tax cuts for the rich not only do nothing to spur economic growth - they actually do substantial damage to the prospects for economic growth."

The two main points of Mr. Creamer (and many other actual economists) are concentration of the wealth in a small segment of the population and the starvation of the public sector and the subsequent reduction of disposable income (the infamous "demand" half of the supply/demand equation).

Tax cuts equal high unemployment and economic stagnation. Empirical evidence, anecdotal evidence, and real substantiated economic principles back this up.
When you're in a recession, the problem is that demand is too low, so spending that increases demand really boosts the economy, since it creates demand that entices businesses to hire people who then spend more money and create more jobs -- and so on.
But when you give tax breaks to the rich, they don't spend most of those breaks like a family that needs unemployment. They save and invest a substantial portion. But in a recession you don't need more savings or investment, you need more demand.
Time to change the narrative.

The Media Narrative or Reality? Was it really a Landslide?

t r u t h o u t | What Landslide?: A Closer Look at the Midterm Election Results:

"In reality, higher deficits are more the result of a weak economy - both in terms of decreased revenues, increased demand for government benefits (unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etcetera), and the political necessity of stimulating (or at least maintaining) aggregate demand. One can see how some voters, lacking a clear understanding of this reality, might easily misread the causality and opt for new 'managers of the economy.'"

There is much more to the recent election than meets the eye. The media narratives say one thing, the reality speaks a different story. The "analysis" of the media leaves out almost everything that doesn't fit their mutual consensus (the infamous narrative).

There was no landslide. The American People have remained silent once again. The Honkers and Squeakers have stolen the show. Sadly, our apathy, and our collective willingness to be swayed by this minimalist narrative delivered with breathless vigor by a zealous minority has brought us this political nightmare.

The election was about the economy. The narrative says that the Democrats have mismanaged the recovery. The reality says that the economy is recovering slowly, despite the consistent and stubborn attempts to continue its decline on the part of the Republican minority. The narrative says that Republicans are the fiscal conservatives and good managers of the economy, but the reality says that Democratic policies have been much more effective at job growth, expansion of GDP, and deficit reduction.

Collectively, we must learn to look past the narrative and find the voices in the media that bring the realities to light. Peel back the narrative and see what the real issues are. As the 2012 election cycle approaches, will the narrative win the day? One thing's for sure, if it does, the country will be much, much worse off than even now.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TSA At The 'Tipping Point': Passenger Anger At Airport Pat-Downs Threatens To Boil Over

TSA At The 'Tipping Point': Passenger Anger At Airport Pat-Downs Threatens To Boil Over

I'm sorry, but this is amusing. The terrorists have wrought upon us the ignominy of forcing us to grope each other. They've caused us to turn on each other and accuse ourselves of terrorism. There must be some merriment in the caves of Pakistan when news of this comes to Al Qaeda.

Don't we have a better way? I see in a side article that Hillary Clinton would not submit to a groper. See who really has the "balls?"


Warren Buffett: I 'Should Be Paying A Lot More In Taxes'

Warren Buffett: I 'Should Be Paying A Lot More In Taxes'

I just have to keep asking... Who are the Republicans trying to protect from high taxes? What country do they really live in? Is the Confederacy winning the Civil War?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Fake Scandal of Climategate

The Fake Scandal of Climategate

This website is a go to source for any and all who find themselves in need of some good, logical, scientific arguments concerning the whole climate debate. The deniers have convincing arguments that sound like common sense. They've uncovered a scandal that gives them further cover. They've found their narrative and are sticking to it.

Peel back the layers a little though, and the evidence tells a different story. This site sorts through the denier arguments and rebuts them in several different ways, using scientific theory, guest writers, and a clear and substantial explanation. You can get a simple version of each point, or if you have some patience, you can get a thorough research report laden with science talk and jargon. Either way, there is stuff here that needs to be pointed out over and over again.

I just donated. You too?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Associated Press Debunks The ‘Birth Tourism’ Myth

Wonk Room � Associated Press Debunks The ‘Birth Tourism’ Myth

I appreciate Andrea Nill's work on this issue. As Rep. Steve King and South Carolina's Senator Linsdsey Graham gear up to change the constitution to suit their homophobic fear of "anchor babies," it would be good to shine the light on the truth of this issue.

As with lots of good rightist ideas, this much is true: no one thinks the IDEA of anchor babies is fair or just. The problem with this is that the reality just doesn't support the idea. The problem doesn't exist! The AP debunktion shows that so few of these babies exist that to change the constitution and suffer the unintended consequences would turn this small problem into a serious one.

To review: Rightists want to change the constitution to protect America from "anchor babies" that don't exist in significant numbers. They would seek to declare them "persona non grata" and therefore subject only to the jurisdiction of their home country. Any one want to see Mexican police roaming the streets of your home town looking for foriegn criminals? Maybe every now NOT-illegal immigrant will have diplomatic immunity. No green card needed....

Funny how the Rightists can be the wrongest...


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Paycheck Fairness Dies in the Senate | The Nation

Paycheck Fairness Dies in the Senate | The Nation

So what could have possibly caused all Republicans to vote against this bill? Not good for business? Not good for the weathy? They might have to pay for more litigation against their corrupt business practices?

The face of fascism....

Of Nazis and Fascists

Fox News Chief Roger Ailes Blasts National Public Radio Brass as ‘Nazis’ - The Daily Beast

Perhaps some new words need to inserted into the debate now.  Mr. Ailes is a prominent member of the media and has done his utmost to define the debate according to his opinion and observations.  I think it would be perfectly fair to characterize his position as fascism.

Fascism is literally an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.  Mr. Ailes is without a doubt as right a right winger as you can find.  I think folks could argue this point, but Mr. Ailes is certainly as close to being a Fascist as Mr. Obama is a socialist, or NPR is a Nazi organization.

Let's make a vow.  Anytime you hear socialist or nazi applied to someone who holds liberal social views, lets feel free to point out that the the right wing partisans who hold rightist views are just as likely to be fascists.  It is what it is folks.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stop the Earmarks - America has Spoken

The Daily News Record: Editorial Opinion

Actually no. Not nearly so fast.  America has responded to a bad economy and lots and lots of hubris from those who only seek to regain power.  America has sheepishly (Really Mad Sheep... I'll admit) responded once again with a "wave" election that seeks to fruitlessly "throw the bums out." Not much will change.  I do hope that the earmark process can be brought under control though.

The earmarks that get a bad name are in the form of kickbacks to cronies, bribes to wealthy constituents or "pay for play" money channeled in and out of congressional offices. The issue is more  of Congress policing itself through ethics enforcement than curbing the legitimate use of the House funding authority. That's a much harder issue to demagogue when all Republicans are required to march lock-step and view their political mission as all out warfare against Democrats. I conjecture that lots of those shady deals and bribes in the form of earmarks are simply funding the "battle" in the view of those who use them.  

The earmarks that come back to congressional districts as "bacon" are not the congressional excesses that most Americans are objecting to. Let's talk about junkets overseas to proselytize dictators, or Cold War weapons systems that are kept around as jobs programs, or subsidies and bribes in the form of tax breaks for the wealthiest citizens, or, most especially, the imperialistic warfare waged in foreign countries that represent no threat to our national security.

This little sliver of the budget Mr. DeMint and our editor are so willing to nobly slash represents the government working for it's citizens. Check our own representative, the good Republican Mr. Goodlatte's, "bacon" that he's brought to our district through earmarks. Here's just a small sample:
"For example, Goodlatte’s fiscal year 2008 earmarks included $294,000 for the Wayne Theatre Alliance in Waynesboro for renovations to the Wayne Theatre, $245,000 for renovations to a historic theater at the Lynchburg Academy of Music and $245,000 that Goodlatte says was used to make street improvements to the historic market in downtown Roanoke." (source)

Even Mr. Goodlatte, who would like to reform the process, is still in favor of using the earmark process to do good things for the citizens of his district. He realizes that some of his colleagues abuse the privilege but he also realizes that it is one way he can represent his constituents in a direct, meaningful way. In this area, he's doing a good job.  Here's a question for our editor, "Is even Mr. Goodlatte now too liberal for you sir?"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Three Good Ideas And Three Not So Good Ideas From The Chairmen Of The Debt Commission

Three Good Ideas And Three Not So Good Ideas From The Chairmen Of The Debt Commission

At long last, the debate we should be having. Revenue and Spending. We need to decide as a nation what we need to do together, and what we simply wish we had. Then we need to figure out a way to pay for it. Simple.

The best point made in this post by Michael Linden is the cuts in the Defense Budget. It's guns and butter. In this case, the average American would not feel any of the defense cuts. They would not affect any part of anyone's life except the folks actually working in a defense plant and the fat cats pushing needless and pointless weapons programs as a "jobs" program.

Cutting health care, education, science, food and drug safety, and law enforcement actually does make our lives much more insecure and dangerous. Our lives depend on all of the above in a much more real and personal way than anything the bloated defense budget can offer us.

It's time to protect the common folk and not so much the imperialistic capitalists who need to expand their profit base in foreign lands.

On the revenue side, at long last comes the recognition that there must be a way to pay for the things we choose do to together as a nation.  The government must be made to work efficiently FOR the American people who aren't the wealthiest and most powerful.  The government must protect the interests of those who are pretty much powerless to protect themselves.

This is a pretty good start. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

GOP and Health Care - Rampant Endemic Hypocrisy

Richard Cohen - Boehner's health delusion

Yes, let's return to the health care debate. Mr. Cohen accurately points out the realities of the status quo. This is the GOP position. They want to roll health care reform back to where it was in 2009, The Status Quo. Babies don't reach their 1st birthday. Don't get asthma, diabetes, or kidney disease because your chances of recovery are much less than in rest of the world. Don't expect to live as long or as healthy as the rest of the "1st World." Let millions go without adequate health care until it's too little, too late. Allow wealth to determine health and well-being.

According to the GOP, a weak and struggling working class is just fine. They must think if we're a little hungry and something hurts, we'll work for less and be happy to take the crumbs from the rich man's table. According to the GOP, no reform is the best reform. According to the GOP, socialized medicine is only for Senators and Congressmen (including Mr. Boehner and his fellow in the Senate, Mr. McConnell).

If they have their way, the most important government employees of all, soldiers, would be cast adrift in the sea of private health care. "Thanks guys, your sacrifice means nothing to us after we've chewed you up and spit you out. We, after all, are the ones who gave you that chance for glory on the field of battle. You should thank us for the opportunity and then gratefully disappear."

Yes, let's return to the health care debate. Show us your answers. Show us your plan. You didn't like the Democratic Party's plan too much, especially after you filled it so full of shit that even Democrats almost helped you kill it for stinkin'. Can you guys even be serious about this? Do you really have a fatal case of Rampant Endemic Hypocrisy?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yes, this is a Conservative Country.

The Daily News Record: Editorial Opinion

Yep. Most of us say we are conservative. Conservative is the act of conserving what is important to our safety and well-being as a society, conserving our natural resources so that they will sustain us long into the future, and conserve our financial resources so we can pay for what we need as well as some of the things we want.

@editor. You sir are not a conservative. You are a radical capitalist. Good for business is not always good for society. Government is not the enemy, it is us. Hating government is hating its citizens, its ability to govern itself, and its ability to protect and defend us all.

I have just been accused of being a communist on these pages, yet I would say that I am more conservative than my accuser and more conservative than you, sir. I would conserve the rights and freedoms of ALL of our citizens, not just the most privileged. I would conserve our natural resources so that we can be secure and have what we all need to survive. I would conserve our national wealth so that taxes could remain low, and our debts could be paid.

I would approve of a conservative national defense that would protect our interests but not engage in imperialistic nation building. I would approve of a conservative fiscal policy that would rein in Wall Street and the biggest banks by not allowing them to gamble the national treasure on risky swaps and fuzzy financial schemes. I would conserve the nations health by ensuring that every citizen is able to have adequate health care without fear of bankruptcy.

Mr. Editor, I agree that most Americans are conservative. Your advocacy of the radical right has little to do with anything close to conservatism. This blowout you are predicting will not lead to any solutions to the nation's problems. No one knows what the folks that are coming into leadership will do. What does "cut spending" mean? What does "smaller government" mean? How does this translate into actual governance? I don't know, the country doesn't know, and I pretty certain that you don't even know.

I wish us the best. We've survived one "Contract for America," we'll survive this one.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Complaint: Elderly Black Voters Intimidated at Home | Mother Jones

Complaint: Elderly Black Voters Intimidated at Home | Mother Jones

This is the next installment in Suzy Khimm's extensive coverage of the faux issue of "voter fraud." What's really happening is voter suppression and voter intimidation.

Interesting to note is the Republican clerk candidate, Natalie Nichols' response to requests for interviews. She pointedly refused. The tough questions would have been difficult for her to answer outside the conspiracy theory fishbowl of the local Republican Party. Better to avoid all contact with the "outside" world.

t r u t h o u t | Eight False Things the Public "Knows" Prior to Election Day

t r u t h o u t | Eight False Things the Public "Knows" Prior to Election Day

This stuff IS important. These types of contradictions are what this election is all about. It comes down to a blood match between the Frank Luntz talking points, an advertising campaign designed to put Republicans back in power, and the reality-based world we live in.

On one level it is fascinating to watch Wingnuts contort, twist, and try to fit narratives into these talking points. They rail against the stimulus, but celebrate the job creation from it in their own districts. They rail against "the government takeover" of health care and promise to solemnly protect medicare. They wail over the bank bailouts and curse the saving of GM, gnashing their teeth over unemployment while celebrating the jobs these two "government takeovers" saved... in their own districts.

On another more disturbing level, the Power Grab, which has been a part of politics forever, has taken on a historical intensity this year. The end result is that the campaign to attain the power simply doesn't have to make sense. The powerful ad campaign that is generating all the energy from the right is full of contradictions, hearsay, simplistic narratives, and a multitude of contradictions.

The politicians who shamelessly promote this ad campaign wear their hypocrisy on their sleeves as a badge of honor. The proudly spout the bromides that they are sure will put them back in power. That what they say is pretty much the opposite of what they will have to do when they get in power doesn't matter in the Power Grab. Getting control of the government purse strings is the only prize. It won't be pretty...

Go and vote.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Tea Party's Election Spies | Mother Jones

The Tea Party's Election Spies | Mother Jones

Suzy Khimm is doing the heavy lifting on this important election issue. Voter fraud most surely exists. It DOES NOT influence the outcome of any election. The conservative response, let by the (I'm a Little)Tea(Pot) Party is hysterical, ambitious, and crazy. It is also beginning to have a devastating effect in some areas of the country already.

Conservatives MUST suppress the vote to win elections. Their war on the poor, the working classes, and the middle class demands them to try and keep as many of them from voting as possible.

Since the demise of ACORN, there is not much going on these days with regards to voter registration drives and this does not bode well for progressives who MUST have the support of minorities, the working classes and the middle class.

The battle is joined...

Private Prisons to hold Arizona's SB1070 Detainees. Prison for Profit

Adam Serwer Archive | The American Prospect

This then is how a conservative, free market America will work. Privateers create their own demand in collusion with legislators who are funded by the privateers.

This of course, perverts the role of the legislators who are representatives of their constituents. "Representing" the interests of the private sector is legal, but ignoring the rest of the population has a foul smell. The biggest problem?

The private prison system already introduces bad incentives into the policy-making process because people stand to make money from a more punitive, rather than a more effective prison system -- and in Arizona with SB 1070, we're seeing how that dynamic works as applied to illegal immigration. This isn't new; private prison companies have been in the business of detention for years -- but SB 1070, and the possibility that other states will follow Arizona's lead, is nothing short of a bonanza for an industry that profits from a harsh, ineffective immigration system.

Free marketeers are asking us to trust that their motives will match up with what's best for the population. This is but one example of how they don't.  If the Republicans succeed in their quest to repeal government services of all types there will surely be more examples like this, or of the family in Tennessee whose house burned to the ground while firemen watched, or health care denied or dropped because of the profit motive.

What a wonderful world it will be when our roads, our health care, our community safety, our zoning laws, our public lands, city parks, community centers, our utility infrastructure, and our public education system all come under the loving care of CEO's and corporate privateers who will turn all of these into money-making bonanza's.  I wonder.. where will the money come from and where will it go?  That great sucking sound you hear?  That's what's left of the wealth of the working classes swooshing into corporate coffers.

Yes, what a wonderful world...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Weigel : The Incredible Shrinking Joe Miller

The interesting thing here is the involvement of Sarah Palin. It doesn't seem to be helping. I was unaware until today of her unpopularity in her home state.

Obama On 'Daily Show': Stewart Presses President To Defend 'Timid' Policies, Hiring Of Old D.C. Hands (VIDEO)

Obama On 'Daily Show': Stewart Presses President To Defend 'Timid' Policies, Hiring Of Old D.C. Hands (VIDEO)

Now... with regards to my previous post, the President now speaks for himself. Please scroll down for the video interview.

You've heard the lies, now believe the facts - Barack Obama News - Salon.com

You've heard the lies, now believe the facts - Barack Obama News - Salon.com

54% ... Look at that for a little. Now look at it again. That's President Obama's approval rating... up 6 points since August. Now listen to the sadistic advertising campaign against him that's been beaten like a drum since November 2008.

Americans have some resistance to advertising, but a large batch of folks will believe something if they are told often enough. These folks, bless 'em, just don't care to do any fact checking on their own. So we have the misperceptions and lies that Mr. Lyons is referring to. I guess we'll find out if spending cuts, shrinking the tax base, and repeating the refrain that "we've fixing things," will stave off another great depression. That's the Republican plan.

I think Republicans are right about only one thing. If they keep to that last strategy, you know the one where they repeat over and over, loudly, "WE'RE FIXING THINGS!!!"?? Lots of folks will begin to believe it. Maybe that will calm folks down before they read in the small print on the back page of the newspaper that they couldn't do the first two after all....

They'll say their hands were tied by the hole that the Democratic Congress left them in. They'll say that because President Obama would veto it anyway, they won't even try. Then they'll accuse the Democrats of not wanting to "govern" in a fair and democratic way. They may even utter that strange and potent word... "obstructionists!"


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wisconsin: The Tea Party test case - Tea Parties | Tea Party Movement, Tax Day Tea Party - Salon.com

Wisconsin: The Tea Party test case - Tea Parties | Tea Party Movement, Tax Day Tea Party - Salon.com

The contradictions abound. This piece by David Sirota dovetails nicely with my previous blog entry. The great swindle of '10 continues. The Tea Party strength is outrage, anger, and in the end an empty vessel. The brains behind the scenes are succeeding in using this energy to completely subvert the stated aims of the Baggers.

The case of the Wisconsin Primary is not a pure test of Tea Party power though. Mr. Johnson has split with the party line on several issues when nailed by Feingold. The bottom line remains however that the Tea Party support is enabling the Republican.
The key passage from Mr. Sirota:
On the other side is Republican Ron Johnson, the antithesis of everything the Tea Party says it stands for. In business, Johnson built a company propped up by government grants and loans -- otherwise known in Tea Party terms as “bailouts.” As a board member of a local opera house, he lobbied for funds from the same “big government” stimulus bill the Tea Party despises. During the campaign, he has touted NAFTA-style trade policies’ “creative destruction” of Wisconsin’s manufacturing economy. And rather than promoting the freedom the Tea Party says it values, Johnson has praised China’s repressive communist regime for its economic policies.
Mr. Sirota suggests that pure partisanship drives the Tea Party. I disagree. The Tea Party is an emotional response to fear. Name whatever fear you want, including the loss of prestige in our society, it is primal fear that drives the Baggers. Into this empty vessel has been poured the money of plutocrats who stand 180 degrees AGAINST what the Tea Party is fighting so hard FOR. The swindle is on and the results will be in soon.

Bob Cesca: The Republican Swindle About 'Obamacare and Stimulus'

Bob Cesca: The Republican Swindle About 'Obamacare and Stimulus'

This is a spot-on analysis. The Plutocratic machine, the power behind the scenes is running this election cycle. The Republican Party is bankrupt. They have no money. The local organizations have been swept by the (I'm a Little)Tea(pot) Party and the Plutocrats have co-opted their energy, but have kept the power to themselves.

Swindle number one, the Health Care Reform.

CMS said in November 2009 that because of the extension of Medicare and Medicaid for five years, the Health Care Program would end up COSTING $289 billion over the next 10 years. It should be noted that this is not what the Congress uses from the CBO and the same source says that it's not an "apples to apples" comparison. It does give the GOP rhetorical fodder though. In the end, Congress must use the non-partisan CBO scores.

Nobody ever said Health Care Reform would be free. The point was that Health Care for all should be a right, not a privilege. An entitlement? Republicans go all wiggly at just the mention of entitlements. They very honestly and forthrightly assert that rights ARE privileges for those who work hard, inherit a fortune, win the lottery, have enough money to make money, or just plain have money, money, money... moh-ny....

Swindle number two, the Stimulus.

Mr. Cesca says it the best,

...why are they against the stimulus? They really won't say other than to screech about how expensive it was. But, before we go further, read the paragraph about the deficit again. The Democrats cut the deficit. And then factor into the mix that $288 billion out of the $800 billion cost of the recovery act was composed entirely of tax cuts. Tax cuts! As a matter of history and taken as a lump sum, this was the largest American middle class tax cut ever. So it's not a stretch to suggest that the Republicans are suddenly against the largest middle-class tax cut in American history.
Despite the attempt to turn a derivation of the positive word "stimulate" into a negative, there's very little about the stimulus that actually sucked, other than the fact that it wasn't big enough. Beyond that, Republican voters need to ask themselves if the tax cuts were bad -- or maybe was it the new roads and infrastructure that helped to create jobs, or was it the money that was spent to keep the states out of bankruptcy and police, teachers and firemen from losing their jobs? What's awful about any of that?
'nuff said, but I like how Bob ends his piece. These are only the two biggest swindles perpetrated on the American people by the "conservatives."

It's worth noting here that this same Republican deception runs across other issues as well. Republicans are suggesting they'll protect individual liberty, while shrinking government small enough to fit into your bedroom or your uterus. Or they're running on the Constitution, while also having their hired thugs handcuff and detain a reporter in a flagrant violation of the First Amendment. Hell, some Republicans are running for U.S. Senate while opposing the 17th Amendment that established popular elections of senators. Wrap your head around that one.
Amen, Mr. Cesca, Amen.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Wouldn't vote for a Republican, Part 3.

I wouldn't vote for a Republican. The current GOP is literally the War Party.  I'm not talking about the military, I'm talking about the domestic war they are currently waging using inflated and overblown rhetoric, a confrontational style, and extremist tribal behavior and commentary on the Fox Cable News shows.
The conservative government that has been in place since 1980, including the 8 years of the Clinton administration, has been waging a long war on the middle class, on poverty, on minorities, on labor, on education, and on our ability to govern ourselves.  The Republican candidates running for office around the country have embraced extreme, radical positions but their actual ability to govern is untested. 
This domestic warfare is funded by a few princely moguls of big business who are trying to buy America.  They are secretly channelling their funds to candidates of their choice who will be their warriors in a government they’ve confounded and stymied by all-out partisan warfare. There they will fight for a dirtier environment, for a hungrier, poorer less educated working class, and a richer, more secure, and smaller corporate elite.  For this reason alone, I would never vote for a Republican.

Fox News Loses Almost A Quarter Of Its Viewers - Lez Get Real

Fox News Loses Almost A Quarter Of Its Viewers - Lez Get Real

This friends is reality. MSNBC is gaining viewers in a wider demographic, Fox News is losing ground. The prediction that the demographic that drives the (I'm a little) Tea(pot) Party watches Fox News and responds on cue to the Fox News Cycle.

The white, aging folk who sit at home and watch the news on TV is a shrinking demographic. The most telling comment in this article is the statement that Fox is not very internet friendly, MSNBC is. I'm watching Rachel Maddow at this moment, because I'm usually doing something else at 8:00 every evening. I only listen to Countdown via podcast and I'm not the only one.

The energy gap? The problem with that scenario is that the Fox geezers are using up all the energy they have and their supply is diminishing. The rest of the folks in America are younger, more diverse, and have only just begun to show a small fraction of the energy they have in store.

Fox News pedals the antiquated "Southern Strategy" started in 1968 by Richard Nixon. Variations of this strategy have been necessary, but the desired result is still the same. Lock up the white vote, suppress the votes of all the rest. This year's "strangest election season of all time" is driven by the extreme views of candidates who carry the Republican banner. The energy expended and the level of extremism present in these campaigns can not be sustained. There isn't enough energy left in that demographic. They'll fight harder and harder but the awakening demographics of younger, newer citizens is poised to jump into the debate about their future.

My prediction? If Republicans actually do win one of the houses of Congress this fall, the awakening of the left will only speed up.  The extremist policies of the current crop of GOP candidates will become too hard to defend and the new demographics will have a huge effect on the next election cycle.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Obama a success of historic proportions

This article by Tim Dickenson is a must read. It cuts through the fog of political warfare and nails the reality of Obama's accomplishments. Very encouraging to this Old Blue.

Amplify’d from www.rollingstone.com
Less than halfway through his first term, Obama has compiled a remarkable track record. As president, he has rewritten America's social contract to make health care accessible for all citizens. He has brought 100,000 troops home from war and forged a once-unthinkable consensus around the endgame for the Bush administration's $3 trillion blunder in Iraq. He has secured sweeping financial reforms that elevate the rights of consumers over Wall Street bankers and give regulators powerful new tools to prevent another collapse. And most important of all, he has achieved all of this while moving boldly to ward off another Great Depression and put the country back on a halting path to recovery.Read more at www.rollingstone.com

Friday, October 15, 2010

372 Bills That Have Been Passed by the House & Not Yet Acted Upon By the Senate (as of 8/23/10) - TheHill.com

372 Bills That Have Been Passed by the House & Not Yet Acted Upon By the Senate (as of 8/23/10) - TheHill.com

I wouldn't vote for a Republican. There are still hundreds of bills that have been passed in the House of Representatives that are awaiting action in the Senate. The Senate Republicans have embraced the political strategy of blocking these bills as long as possible to try and run out the clock on the Democrats currently in the majority. They are absolutely resolute in their commitment to making President Obama and the Democrats look bad. By not allowing even a vote on these items they are succeeding in bringing the business of the government of the United States of America to a complete halt.

This political strategy puts the GOP against such radical proposals as HR 409, Conveying Land to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, HR 548 Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act, HR 577 Vision Care for Kids Act, and HR 603 Utah National Guard Readiness Act. Could this game they are playing be any more obvious?

With Republicans the most important thing is pledging party purity over country, opposing bi-partisan and necessary legislation simply to play out a political strategy, and voting in virtual lock-step against legislation that has been approved by the majority. For this reason alone, I would never vote for a Republican.

Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics and what the science really says

Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics and what the science really says

I'd vote for anybody but a Republican. The Republican Party has fallen hook line and sinker for the Corporate subsidization of the hard line against the very idea of global warming. That means that Republicans stand aggressively against clean water, clean air, and renewable energy.

The science is complicated, but this much is very clear. If any of those Republicans running for office put their head in a paper bag and started breathing CO2, they'd pass out pretty quick and maybe even suffocate. I don't recommend that experiment to anyone. It's not that CO2 is a pollutant, it's that the percentage of CO2 and O2 is wrong.

Adding CO2 to the earth's atmosphere forces the earth's climate to change. Polluters, deniers, and, alas, Republicans are all for changing the earth's climate. I'd vote for anybody but a Republican for this reason alone.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

You're Radicals! Questions for Mr. Goodlatte and Ms O'Donnell

The Maddow Blog

A Question for Mr. Goodlatte:

If we had privatized Social Security in 2005 and, given the huge losses that would have been incurred to the citizen's retirement accounts, would you have supported a government bailout of the retiree's, both present and future, who would have otherwise had their retirement accounts wiped out?

That of course is a theoretical question. So now sir, do you support the privatization of Social Security? In your view, is this a conservative policy or is it a radical one? How does the privatization of Social Security help safeguard the future of our children and grandchildren?

Would you consign the future generations retirement income to the vagaries of the stock market? You and I know that the only winners are the ones who "let it ride." This is the strategy the US Government uses to fund Social Security. Do you have faith in the United States of America and its ability to insure the welfare of its citizents in retirement? Are the Wall Street investment firms so impoverished that they now need the trillions of dollars that will fund the future well-being of Americans to invest in profits for themselves?

In another political race to the north...

What to make of the O'Donnell campaign… Where are they? No public campaign events, no contact with the media save sanctioned conservative media. Only talking to themselves, only paying attention to themselves, only celebrating with themselves… Sounds an awful lot like group masturbation, no wait! They're against that…


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Behold the leader of the (I'm a Little) Tea(pot) Party. Sanctimonious Bigotry.

Political fundamentalists are as dangerous as any other kind of extremist. This is the politician who would be king, endorsing Tea Party candidates all over the country, channelling money and influence. King maker, country breaker.

Amplify’d from www.salon.com

Sen. DeMint bravely stands up for bigotry

The South Carolina Republican defends his belief that gays and unmarried women shouldn't be allowed to teach

Sen. Jim DeMint is standing behind comments he made Friday about gays and unmarried sexually active women being unfit to teach in America's classrooms. Today, a spokesperson attempted to explain the South Carolina Republican's comments: "Senator DeMint believes that hiring decisions at local schools are a local school board issue, not a federal issue. He was making a point about how the media attacks people for holding a moral opinion." Well, yeah, we do when that moral opinion is discriminatory and the person holding it has the power to influence public policy -- and so do gay rights groups and women's organizations.

DeMint's remarks at a church rally last week were reported by the Spartanburg Herald Journal: "DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn't be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who's sleeping with her boyfriend -- she shouldn't be in the classroom." He said of nearly identical comments he made in 2004: "[When I said those things,] no one came to my defense, but everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn't back down." How brave of him to be the martyr for self-righteous bigotry! He added, "They don't want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion." As the Charleston City Paper puts it: " DeMint's America is one where guns and God are allowed in the classroom, but not good educators who happen to have a functioning, unwed vagina or his and his bath towels."

Read more at www.salon.com

Friday, October 1, 2010

Good Policy. Repeat. Good Policy.

Conventional Wisdom driven by heresay and marketing. It's false. Repeat. It's false.

Amplify’d from motherjones.com

Unfortunately, it's also a testament to how little most people care about good policy and competent execution. As near as I can tell, it's practically conventional wisdom these days that the stimulus package was a complete bust—and all because the Obama administration initially made a lousy projection about the future course of the recession and suggested that the stimulus package would reduce unemployment to 8 percent. If their forecast of the depth of the recession had been correct and they'd predicted, say, 11.5 percent unemployment without a stimulus package and 10 percent with it—which is what happened—elite opinion about the stimulus would probably be completely different.

So there you have it. Good policy and good execution gets you bubkes. All it takes is one wrong forecast number to wipe it all out. Welcome to the real world.

Read more at motherjones.com

Government that Works.

I like the fact that the stimulus has come in on time and under budget. Sounds like good business to me. The fact that it saved our economic butts in the recent crisis is telling.

Of course, we shoulda done more.

Amplify’d from www.washingtonpost.com
Report gives stimulus package high marks

By Lori Montgomery

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, October 1, 2010;
1:38 AM

The massive economic stimulus package President Obama pushed through Congress last year is coming in on time and under budget - and with strikingly few claims of fraud or abuse - according to a White House report to be released Friday.

Coming barely a month before November's midterm elections, which will determine whether Democrats retain control of Congress, the report challenges public perceptions of the stimulus aid as slow-moving and wasteful - an image that has fueled voter anger with the dominant party. Even some former skeptics who predicted that the money would lead to rampant abuse now acknowledge that the program could serve as a model for improving efficiency in government.

"Given the ambitious nature of the stimulus, the fact that things have gone relatively smoothly suggests that they did put appropriate and adequate resources" into program oversight, said Soloway, an early skeptic of the package. "They definitely deserve credit for that," he said.

Bernstein said "people's feelings about the recovery act or the role of government in society" are unlikely to change because of Friday's report. "We have a ton more work left to do," he said.

But the report serves to verify, he said, that "the recovery act has accomplished much of what it set out to do."

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's a Corporate World... Welcome to Plutocracy

This is the most discouraging thing I've heard yet in this campaign season. Corporate Cash is buying what's left of our political system. The minority, wealthy, corporate class is succeeding in buying Congress, the judicial appointments, and will shortly own the Government.

Since they see the Government as their biggest competitor for what's left of the money in the middle class they are making sure that the pipeline for cash runs straight to them.

Peasant revolt anyone?

Amplify’d from motherjones.com

Citizens United After Eight Months

Last January, in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were free to spend unlimited sums to support or oppose candidates for office. Eight months later, how's that working out? Michael Luo and Stephanie Strom report in the New York Times:

"I can tell you from personal experience, the money’s flowing," said Michael E. Toner, a former Republican FEC commissioner, now in private practice at the firm Bryan Cave.

The reason the Times' paints only an "anecdotal portrait" and Toner relies on his "personal experience" is that this new corporate money is increasingly being funneled through 501(c)(4) groups that aren't required to disclose who their donors are. You can see the results at the Washington Post's running tally of campaign spending by interest groups: seven of the top ten spenders are Republican organizations, and they're outspending Democrats by nearly two to one, much of it on ads specifically targeted against Democratic House and Senate candidates.

And all that money is showing up on the airwaves. Jonathan Martin of Politico reports that an internal Democratic spreadsheet has tallied up the spending so far, and the story is grim: as of this week, pro-Republican organizations had paid for a total of $23.6 million worth of ads compared to $4.8 million for Democratic-aligned groups. And it's only going to get worse: Over the next four weeks, GOP groups have $9.4 million worth of TV ads reserved across 40 districts compared to $1.3 million in five districts for Democratic groups.

And what about liberal groups? Even in the best of times they have a hard time competing with corporate PAC money, but this year is even tougher. At the same time that Citizens United has opened the spigot even wider for Republicans, it's run dry for Democrats. While Karl Rove and his buddies are hoovering up over $50 million for American Crossroads, liberal fundraisers are struggling with a base that's dispirited and unhappy over failures on climate change and DADT and shortcomings on healthcare reform. Jim Jordan, who has started up a new group called Commonsense Ten that's airing ads in Senate races, explains things crisply: "The progressive donor base has stopped writing checks," he says.

Which means that liberals had better get out of their funk and start supporting liberal causes and liberal candidates. Because it's a sure bet that all those corporations newly empowered by Citizens United won't be.

Read more at motherjones.com