Saturday, February 28, 2009

Jindal Can't Explain His Own Stimulus Rail Project. Wasteful Spending, Bobby?

Monday, David Shuster will feature Gov. Bobby Jindal's hypocritical jab at high speed rail connecting Disneyland with Vegas. It seems that weren't being told the whole story. The Times-Picayune explains:

Louisiana's transportation department plans to request federal dollars for a New Orleans to Baton Rouge passenger rail service from the same pot of railroad money in the president's economic stimulus package that Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized as unnecessary pork on national television Tuesday night.

He criticized the stimulus package passed by the Democratic-majority in Congress and the president and noted examples of projects that he found objectionable.
"While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending," Jindal said. "It includes ... $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a 'magnetic levitation' line from Las Vegas to Disneyland."

Asked for comment Friday about the Jindal stance on the federal rail money, the governor's Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell said he does not think the Las Vegas to Anaheim line is a good use of taxpayer money. He did not address the Louisiana proposal.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Free Market, Literally Shop till You Drop Health Insurance Reform.

I came across this definitive critical dissection of the Republican free market plan for health care reform that will explode the idea that this is a viable alternative. It’s based on deregulating the insurance companies, so your able to buy as little coverage as you can afford, from a menu board based on how healthy you feel right now.

You will hear all about this plan in the coming year as the Republican Party tries to sell the nightmare coverage described below. The line that stands out for me: “the proposals stay true to our guiding philosophy…” betray their true intentions. To hell with real solutions, just feed the now failed ridged ideological platform to anyone shortsighted enough to cheer these ghouls on. The Salt Lake Tribune:

Rep. David Clark, the speaker of the Utah House, is promoting his "slow process" of health-care reform. ("Slow process ensures better health-care reform," Opinion, Feb. 15). The problem with the proposed changes is that they move us in the opposite direction from what we need for a simplified and affordable health-care system.

Our current multiple insurance system (Medicare, Medicaid, Workman's Comp and myriad individual and employer-based private insurance plans), with its variety of deductible, co-pays, and reimbursement rates, is already much too complex and expensive for the patient, employee, employer, and health-care providers. Adding additional cafeteria-style insurance "products" will only further complicate the life of everyone involved in the health-delivery system.

Clark states that "the proposals stay true to our guiding philosophy that competition and markets are generally the best way to achieve value in our economy." He is right if he means by this that more dollars will flow to the insurance companies who will continue to maximize their profits by minimizing reimbursement to providers according to the market philosophy that greed is good.

A friend asked me about a low-cost health insurance product offered to him by his employer. It offered family coverage for $75 per month. Upon examining the fine print of the product it seems that the maximum benefit per year was $2,000. This is a real cheap product that is also worthless for any serious illness.

I can see that if you removed restrictions on health-insurance products, like we did for banking products, insurance companies could offer thousands of alternative premiums between $75 and $1,200 per month and adjust covered services, deductibles, co-pays and yearly maximums to maintain good profits for them.

For the buyer to choose the best product, Clark proposes an "Internet portal" that will provide a "single shopping point" in which we can not only compare different insurances but also "judge the quality and cost of different health-care providers." Such a magical portal would require for each of us to know which diseases we will suffer from in the future, what diagnoses and treatments will be needed and who has the best price-performance for such treatments.

The reforms proposed so far are based on the assumption that we can shop for health care like we shop for a car or TV. This is a total misdiagnosis of the health-care disease. To paraphrase Alice in Wonderland: If you don't understand the problem, any "slow cure" will make it worse. We need an affordable, uniform, universal health-insurance plan without thousands of options.

Andy Schoenberg retired from the faculty of the University of Utah Medical Center in 1999, where he worked in the rehabilitation medicine department conducting research in neuroprosthesis and providing rehabilitation services to clients with disabilities.

Republican Lose Again, This Time on Earmarks.

My crazy conservative friend called me today and was bent out of shape over the Democratic budget earmarks being reported in the press. When you consider the actual numbers, not reported in the supposed “liberal media,” the picture dramatically changes. Media Matters explains:
The AP reported that "Republicans assailed" the omnibus bill recently passed by the House as "too costly" and quoted Republicans criticizing the bill as, in the reporter's words, "bristl[ing] with earmarks." At no point did the reporter give any indication that many of the earmarks were included at the request of Republicans. While quoting Republicans attacking the bill for earmarks, AP did not note a handout distributed on February 24 by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) titled "You can't spell 'earmark' without an 'R,' " asserting that "40% of the earmarks in the omnibus appropriations bill are Republican earmarks." The handout also stated that "[t]he earmarks in the omnibus appropriations bill total less than 1% of the budget.”

AP also wrote that “The result was that lawmakers claimed billions in federal funds for pet projects -- a total of 8,570 earmarks at a cost of $7.7 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS). However AP did not note that TCS highlighted both Republican and Democratic earmarks.

In a February 24 McClatchy
article headlined "GOP hates earmarks -- except the ones its members sponsor," David Lightman reported: "Republicans are expected to deliver a daylong rant Wednesday against Democratic spending legislation, yet the bill is loaded with thousands of pet projects that Republican lawmakers inserted." Lightman also reported: "House Democrats estimate that Republicans inserted 40 percent of the earmarks in the bill. An independent budget watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, said the 60-40 Democratic-Republican ratio followed historical patterns."

From CNN:

JACK CAFFERTY: Wolf, the question this hour is, are earmarks a necessary evil or are they just plain evil?S. in Michigan: "It depends on what ends up being called an earmark and who labels it as such. For the state or city getting the money, it is progress money or an investment. For others, it becomes pork, or an earmark, et cetera. For example, for Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, monitoring volcanoes is an earmark, but, for Alaskans, monitoring hurricanes may be earmarks. So, should we stop doing both?"

Fox News:
After President Obama's speech on the economy last night, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal criticized government spending in the stimulus bill, citing examples including "$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'"When he heard Jindal's remarks, John Eichelberger, program coordinator for the USGS's Volcano Hazards Program said he "was frankly astonished" that the governor would use this particular example, given his own state's recent brush with a catastrophic natural disaster.

According to
John McCain, who like me has apparently recently discovered Twitter, is Twittering like a madman with what he apparently thinks people will regard as "wasteful" items in the budget, such as:

$650,000 for beaver management in North Carolina and Mississippi. How do you manage a beaver? Apparently, Senator Straight Talk doesn't realize that the buck-toothed little bastards did a million bucks worth of damage to NC farms, timberland, and roads last year. Guess when you have eight houses, the problems of small farmers out in the sticks don't mean that much to you.

The 1903 Electric Car. The Missed Opportunity

My son surprised me the other day when he opened his library book, "Who was Thomas Alva Edison? by Margaret Frith, to a page describing Edison's attempt at developing the electric car. Edison just missed the chance to change history and the worlds energy dependence on oil, by not beating Henry Ford's mass production of the gasoline powered car by 1903. Here's an exerpt:

Now it was the turn of the century. Automobiles were about to burst on the scene. Tom was convinced that an electric car would be the best car for the future. He set out to make a battery to run a car on electricity. He knew it would be cleaner than the gas that other inventors were trying. But he had to make a battery that would store enough electricity to run a car for a very long time. It also had to be cheap enough to make.

Tom finally came up with a good storage battery. But he was too late for cars. By 1903, Henry Ford was selling his gasoline-powered Model A to costumers.

Amazingly, the storage battery became his biggest moneymaker.

Think of where we would be today had we dealt with the development of a high mileage battery as far back as 1903.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Great Clean Coal "Clean Aerosol" ad by the Coen brothers. More to Come.

GOP Wrong About Home Buyers Crashing Economy

A conservative friend called me today and complained about how the economic crisis started with bad loans that were provided to poor people. I explained that as bad as some buyers incomes were, the firewall was the lender. They didn't have to take the risk. The following video clips is for him and all conservative who think home buyers who should have known better were at fault for the crisis.

My experience in real estate exposed me to those once tough standards of mortgage lending. Interest only loans and other tricks and traps destroyed the dreams of many home owners and buyers. NOW on PBS with David Brancaccio and Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa touched on the problem recently. This is highly edited, hitting the bullet points.

Obama Tax a Job Killer? A Tax on Small Businesses? Republican Myth Exposed.

With the release of Obama's budget proposal, causing cardiac arrest for Republicans who have never spent money for the future security of our country, the talking point your going to hear most is the devastating effect of the increase of taxes on those making more than $250,000.

Republicans will insist that the increase will kill jobs because the tax hit the job creators, small businesses. A complete lie. Here's the story as told by Keith Olbermann:

Republicans and other critics, knowing they will get little mileage from defending the rich, instead are casting the plan as a tax hit on people who run industrious little companies driving job growth.

That's not likely, according to one in-depth analysis, which found that more than 95 percent of small business owners would be off the hook.

Critics reason that owners of many small companies report business income on their personal tax returns instead of filing corporate taxes. But for one thing, most small businesses don't create jobs. They tend to be lawyers, accountants and other professionals who earn some of their money from partnerships or otherwise organize themselves as a business entity. As well, many small businesses with employees don't earn enough to put their owners over the threshold for the higher tax rates.

Obama also proposes to eliminate capital gains taxes on small businesses and make a research tax credit permanent. An independent analysis estimated that 75.5 percent of all U.S. households would get his tax credit for workers. A higher percentage of working families would get it.

THE CLAIMS: "In fact, a majority of those penalized by the proposed tax increase in this budget are small businesses." - Republican Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia. "Small businesses and the entrepreneurs who lead them have been the primary drivers of job growth over the past decade. This plan would punish them with higher taxes, resulting in less government revenue, less economic growth, and fewer jobs - not more." - Bruce Josten of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

THE FACTS: The U.S. has roughly 6 million businesses that employ people, and 20 million businesses without employees. The latter group includes solo operators, professionals in partnerships and those who organize themselves as a business for tax purposes but earn little if any income from the enterprise.

Small businesses are defined as having fewer than 500 workers each. Sizable companies within that group wouldn't be snagged by Obama's personal tax rates simply because they are too large to report income on the individual return of the owner. Many truly small operations simply don't make enough to qualify for the tax hit.

New Deal Recession? The Truth From E.J. Dionne

Here's more on the myth that the New Deal's spending didn't work. On MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann, E.J. Dionne cuts to the facts quickly.

The White House Watermelon Patch. "...You Gotta Laugh Now and Then."

The Republican Party's attempts to reach out to minorities is off to a grand start. What is it they don't they get about being racists?

Oh I know, the picture here was meant to be funny, but certainly not something you'd find on a clan poster. Laugh!
The Orange County Register has the story:

The mayor has sent an apology for an e-mail sent to a local businesswoman and community volunteer that she says is racist and offensive. Keyanus Price, an African American, said she was appalled when she received an e-mail from Mayor Dean Grose's personal account that showed a picture of the White House with a watermelon patch imposed as the White House garden.

Grose sent an e-mail apology to Price, her boss and the City Council saying he did not intend to be offensive. He also called and left Price a message, he said.
"It was just poor judgment on my part, and I am deeply sorry," he said. "It wasn't meant to hurt her."

Grose's e-mail included the picture with a heading that read, "No Easter Egg hunt this year." She responded to the e-mail with: "Hey, that's not nice at all. Not all black people like watermelon… you should know better than that."

Grose replied: "The way things are today, you gotta laugh every now and then. I wanna see the coloring contests."

Price said Grose's response upset her more. "As soon as I saw his response; that put me over the top because it was no big deal to him," she said

Boy, some people see racism in the oddest places. Don't you wish people would stop picking on these poor victimized Republicans?

UPDATE-Huffington Post:
Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose issued a statement Thursday saying he is sorry and will step down as mayor at Monday's City Council meeting. Grose said he didn't mean to offend anyone and claimed he was unaware of the racial stereotype linking black people with eating watermelons.

Deranged Vicki McKenna "Not Ready for TV" Ad Says It All About the Republican Party Today

My last year on talk radio gave me great insight into the bizarre thought process of the conservative mind. I was part of a left/right team on WIBA-AM 1310, with my conservative partner Vicki McKenna, doing the radio version of the old CNN show "Crossfire."

Since those brutal days of on air arguing in 2004, I've found Vicki's unchecked and frantically breathless calls for revolution almost comical if they weren't so psychotic. Sure I might disagree with everything she says, but as a listener, I shouldn't find myself nervously sweating from the intense anger generated by these blame Americans first dead enders.

Which leads me to the sick TV ad here, that never ran. It shows McKenna unwinding after a long day of trashing every Democrat for not wanting to freeload off the America built and paid for by previous generations. Just the concept of this ad is grotesque. And that's from a guy who used to produce some pretty weird mean spirited political attack ads. Conservatives really are deranged.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama Next Hitler or Anti-Christ? Daily Show Exposes Right Wing Psychosis

Over the two and a half decades I've talked to the public doing midday, afternoon and morning radio shows, I've never been able to understand the mind of a conservative. Air America's Thom Hartmann explained it this way, and I'm paraphrasing, "Democrats believe the majority of people are inherently good, while Republicans believe the majority of people are bad."

Having said that, the following piece on the Daily Show by Jason Jones, goes beyond even Hartmann's statement. In fact, it's hard to imagine the kind of sick minded that would lead one man to call Barack Obama the anti-Christ, and another to claim he's the next Hitler. These conservative fantasies should tell how unhinged the party of Lincoln has become, and how wrong it was to legitimize their Kafkaesque world view.

Rabid Republican Jindal is so Far Right, David Brooks Now Moderate Voice of Conservatives. It's Down the Rabbit Hole...

Charlie Rose featured a group of pundits, including David Brooks and Paul Krugman, to dissect Pres. Obama's "state of the union" speech and the Republican response.

Brooks let lose and blasted Gov. Bobby Jindal's disasterous nationwide appearance. Brooks comes across as the voice of moderation.

Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz wrote:

A young, rising star in the Republican Party, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal s often mentioned these days as a possible challenger to Obama in 2012. He may still be -- but he will have to overcome a terrible introduction to many of his fellow party members.

"A wonderful human being, I like him very much, but he is a horrible speaker," conservative commentator Laura Ingraham said on the radio this morning. "Youcan't go on TV and counter Obama with that."

New York Times columnist David Brooks blasted Jindal's performance, saying that the governor offered a "stale" argument and called the message "a disaster for the Republican Party." Brooks was reacting more to the content of Jindal's message: that government is not the solution to the economic crisis and that Republicans should not put their trust in the federal bureaucracy.

On Fox News after the speech … Brit Hume deadpanned that "this was not Bobby Jindal's greatest oratorical moment."And the criticism was savage on the Internet.

Amanda Carpenter of tweeted that "Ok, some conservative needs to start a campaign to fire whoever wrote this cheesy response and coached him to talk like this. I can't watch."

"Jindal didn't have a chance. He follows Obama, who in making speeches, is in a league of his own," said Charles Krauthammer on Fox. "He's in a Reagan-esque league. ... [Jindal] tried the best he could."

Governor Candidate Walker Offers Tax Rebates and Tax Holidays, Known Stimulus Failures.

It's about to get a little crazier in the state of Wisconsin, as Milwaukee County Executive Scott "wacky" Walker talks money on "Upfront with Mike Gousha," and we get another earful of bad Republican math.
The reality: Most people are spending less money because they either don't have it, they've lost their job or they're worried that they might someday get a pink slip. In "wacky' Walker's world, these same people are dying to buy plasma TVs or just plain go out on a shopping spree:

"If you're someone at Harley Davidson ... or any other company that has layed off people here and across the state ... having something that's going to plug a budget hole ... doesn't get you your job back. Giving people money that they put right back into the economy, into the market place over the next several months, and in turn that fuels the economy, that might give people hope that their job could come back."
Isn't this the same advice Pres. Bush gave after 9/11, to "Go shopping?" Walker, like most Republicans, leaves out the first step, and that is; get a job. Rebates don't work in a recession because people will either hold onto the cash or pay off their debt. A sales tax holiday or a property tax rebate are all ineffective temporary patches that sound good to those ideologues clinging to a failed philosophy, but scare the hell of people like you and me who fear it only puts off the inevitable; future economic calamity.

In Walker's world, for example, if you could save the states 5% sales tax, would you drive a hundred miles to Wisconsin to buy something you could have bought on the internet tax free (most people don't report it)? If people aren't buying anything now, with 15 to 30% off at the local big box stores, would an extra 5% make the difference? Of course not:

"Think of all the people coming in from around the midwest to buy their products, to buy the purchases, right here in the state of Wisconsin."
So what if it doesn't make any sense, who's going to remember in a glossy campaign ad.

"Tax cuts is the right way, which is why we're proposing it yet again."
Walker's no math genius either. Voters might be pretty ticked off when they find out they could have paid only $10 million for a $50 million infrastructure project. In Walker's twisted logic, he thinks that's still an extra $10 million obligation, and not a $40 million dollar savings. As Walker explains, "People would realize it's not worth the savings."

I'm not kidding.

NOTE: What does Walker think is worth spending our hard earned tax dollars on? Keeping non-violent offenders in prison under the wasteful Truth and Sentencing law. After all, unreasonable incarceration demonstrates the macho "tough on crime" image Republicans worked so hard on a few decades ago. It was their way to show the court system and judges how disipline should be doled out.

FDR's Failed New Deal Myth Spreading Like Manure on a Crop of "New" Republicans

Sen. John Ensign continues the Republican talking point, "Propelling the propaganda"-Bush so to speak, that FDR's new deal failed or at best delayed the nations recovery from the Depression by ten years. The clip is followed by Jonathan Alter's historically factual account of history.

Do Republicans really believe this stuff? Like Fox News might say: We report, you decide. (like there's really an option)

Gov. Bobby Jindal's Message of...Doh!

From the strange Howdy Doody/marionette like walk onto the set, to the uncomfortable struggle to tie multiple conflicting idea together, Gov. Bobby Jindal's response to President Obama's address was simply bizarre.

MSNBC was a hoot to watch. From Chris Matthews' response to Jindal's entrance ("oh God"), to Rachel Maddow's humorous "speechless" description of the governors kitchen sink speech, you couldn't help but feel reassured that someone else felt pretty much the way you did. Matthews put together a point by point critique of Jindal's revisionist vision of reality. Biased? Maybe, but honest, yes.

Where the Republicans like Jindal talk to us like children huddled around a reassuring parent, Obama decide the nation needed a more adult approach to problem solving. The condescending style of Republican politics is no longer something the American people will tolerate.

In the RNC email response today:
The Republican Response was just offered by Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a rising star in our Party. Governor Jindal makes some excellent points: Let me make this clear upfront: The Republican Party stands ready to work together in a bipartisan manner ... But we will not march lock-step with the President and Democrats when they are wrong. The recently passed "stimulus" bill was one such example. The Democrat plan focused on putting Americans on the public dole...!

... the RNC needs your help to elect more Republicans like Governor Jindal in the 2009 state and 2010 congressional elections who will stand up to the Democrats when they are wrong.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Right Wing Attacking Bristol Palin. Hey, That's Sarah's Base.

I never watch MSNBC's Rick Sanchez, the generic everyman anchorman. Yet his comment recently on Bristol Palin's abstinence statement, and her mothers warning to the press to stay away from her children, hit the right mark. It turns out, Fox News and the religious crazies are the ones dragging Sarah Palin's kid through the mud.

Palin is that slow motion train wreck you can't help but watch, no matter how much it hurts your brain, no matter how much you never want to hear her jagged speech pattern again.

Republican Governors Dump on the Unemployed, Refuse to Help Them. Are They Just Crazy Now?

I’ve been meaning to write a piece on the outrageous balls it takes for the southern governors who have openly pronounced to the citizens of their state they will not expand unemployment benefits in a deep recession. What kind of person would leave Americans and their families in such an incredibly brutal situation?

I can now defer to the NY Times:

Imagine yourself jobless and struggling to feed your family while the governor of your state threatens to reject tens of millions of dollars in federal aid earmarked for the unemployed.
That is precisely what is happening in poverty-ridden states like Louisiana and Mississippi where Republican governors are threatening to turnaway federal aid rather than expand access to unemployment insurance programs in ways that many other states did a long time ago.
What makes these bad decisions worse is that they are little more than political posturing by rising Republican stars, like Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

This behavior reinforces the disturbing conclusion that the Republican Party seems more interested in ideological warfare than in working on policies that get the country back on track. 63 percent said Republicans in Congress opposed the
stimulus package primarily for political reasons, not because they thought it
would be bad for the economy. But even if new taxes are required at some
point, the new federal standards would protect more unemployed workers than ever before and bring states like Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas into the 21st

After dumping on auto workers and the unemployed, it’s hard to imagine anyone who works for a living, siding with the Republican corporate tax cutters.

Conservatives don't care about people. Can it be any more obvious?

Rep. Boehner Likes Feel Good Voucher Program. The Hell with Results

Here’s a story making the rounds about school vouchers.

CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody wrote:

Look over there in the corner! It's House Minority Leader John Boehner raising the red flag. On that flag is a big sign that says:
DC SCHOOL VOUCHERS PHASED OUT. Read below from Boehner:

"The D.C. school choice program has provided hope for thousands of low-income children in the District of Columbia since it was established, and has been demonstrating results when it comes to parental satisfaction and increased parental involvement. Eliminating this program would represent an irresponsible and shameful act on the part of the Democratic leadership in Congress, and the children of the District of Columbia deserve better.

What are the successful elements of the voucher program, according to Boehner?; parental satisfaction and increased parental involvement. That’s it? You couldn’t get that same parental involvement in public schools? What about grades? Test scores? Graduation rates? This has been the underlying problem with the whole voucher argument. Supporters stress “feel good” results, as if that in someway changes the above measurable improvements, which it hasn’t. In fact, one study found that students weren’t impressed at all in the voucher school program and didn’t notice any difference from their public schools experience.
But was Rep. Boehner telling the truth?
Brendan Daly, one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's top aide's tells The Brody File the following:
"The Republicans' claims are misfounded. We fund this program in 2009 but the bills says it must be authorized before we fund it in the future."
Vouchers, the darling Republican wedge issue and union buster, is a funnel for taxpayer dollars to forever disappear with little or no accountability into the private school black hole. As we have seen from our painful economic collapse, private business can be trusted to do just the right thing with the peoples money.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Maddow and the Filibuster Rule

While we contemplate doing away with the Senate filibuster (with the nuclear option), so we can pass universal health care, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow explains how it has been used traditionally and why it no longer relevant.

CNBC's Rick Santelli's Bad Howard Beal Impression Finale

CNBC reporter Rick Santelli's fifteen minutes of infamy has climaxed with this final explosion of asinine greed. The more we see his face, the more we get to know the repugnant truth that is conservatism. This clip makes Ebenezer Scrooge look utterly humble.

Rick Santelli put a face on the "Ayn Randers" theory of self interest and smarmy greed.

America in Shambles

After watching just a few minutes of CNN today, I had to turn it off. After taking a few deep breathes, I saved the sad string of stories that exemplified the current state of chaos Americans are suffering through right now. Is there any way to measure the Republican Party's inhumanity to the citizens of this country? Will we ever hold them accountable for their sick failed ideology, and their unwillingness to fix what they have broken?

The video sheds light on a few auto workers losing control of their families way of life, a small business owners Saturn dealership investment up in smoke, a small towns health department shutting down and thousands of Floridians seeking housing assistance who are turned away.

This is conservative America. This is what they advocate leaving alone for now, a pile of rubble that was once job security, and hand over what's left to the scavenger free market system.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker Wants Sales Tax Holiday Instead of Spending on Infrastructure Projects or Aid to the Poor.

As crazy as it might be for someone who has basically bankrupt everything around him to run for governor, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker just went to Washington to raise possible campaign funds, with the fire power of Wisconsin's three Republican House members and former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson.
Passing arrogance off as a “humble” candidate cheered on by the people,
“Walker acknowledged that the distinction between his status as a potential rather than official candidate often is blurred for many. "It's no great surprise, and even though I'm not saying it, I usually get introduced as the next governor or the guy who should be the next governor," Walker said.”
Walker apparently missed the message sent during the last election that the average taxpayer is tired of two things; defending more tax cuts for the wealthy elite who are living off their capital gains investments (their not exactly retirees), or not taxing the highest income brackets who have made out like bandits the last 12 years under the Republicans. According to
Walker faults Doyle's new state budget proposal for provisions that would raise taxes, such as higher rates on capital gains on investments and on state income taxes for those with very high incomes.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Walker favors short term, fiscally irresponsible tax cuts. Even though:
“Observers on both the left and right have said there's almost no chance of (a sales tax holiday - noting it would take another act of Congress to undo the rules for the just-passed $787 billion Recovery and Reinvestment Act) … He also has been touting his suggestion that most of the $3.7 billion in federal stimulus money … be used for tax cuts, specifically calling for a moratorium on all sales taxes for the rest of the year, instead of spending on infrastructure projects or aid to the poor.

Hey Walker, isn’t it fun to make proposals you know are impossibilities. It sure pushes the necessary buttons for his right wing base.
Walker reiterated … he would take it (the stimulus money) as long as it didn't require county matching funds and didn't require future county spending.
And just to avoid any real work, Walker earlier refused to submit a list of potential county projects for stimulus funding.”
State Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke said he relished the idea of a Walker candidacy for governor."Scott Walker would have to run on what I would view as a pretty miserable record as county executive," Wineke said. County parks have suffered under Walker and the county budget is "a mess," he said.
Warning: The zealot fringe conservative cockroaches are crawling out from under their rocks. Homebuilder and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann said he was seriously considering entering the race but won't announce until fall. I’m working on a list of frightening comments and missteps.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Americans Can Learn Something From The Irish Labor Uprising

While we have seen other countries citizens marching in protest over voter corruption and food prices, Americans hang back, taking a more wait and see attitude while their position in society diminishes.
While Americans fall in line with the angry right wing talk radio hosts rant against unionized auto workers and the foreclosed, the Irish have decided not to take it. Instead of believing in the recently failed Republican philosophy, the Irish know they are getting the short end of the stick. According to CBC News:

About 100,000 people filled the streets of the Irish capital Saturday to protest against the government's handling of the country's economic crisis, police said. The march through the heart of Dublin — organized by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions — was meant as a warning shot to the government, which wants to cut public-sector pay even as it pumps billions of euros into its troubled banks.

The government has argued that wage reductions are needed to keep Ireland's ballooning deficits under control and reassure international markets that Ireland isn't spiraling toward a default. But the plan, which effectively docks seven per cent from the paychecks of 350,000 Irish workers, comes amid revelations of shady dealings and irresponsible lending at the banks now getting taxpayers' help.

Ireland once had one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, but boom turned to bust last year as shockwaves from the subprime lending crisis in the United States spread across the globe. Organizers originally planned the demonstration as a protest over the wage cuts, but later called on all Irish workers to turn out in a show of strength. "Our generations yet unborn have been mortgaged in order to keep this banking system together," Congress of Trade Unions general secretary David Begg told cheering crowds at Dublin's Merrion Square.

The unions are hoping the turnout will convince the government that organized labour is ready to strike if its demands are ignored.

God I’d give anything to see this happen in the U.S.. Instead, I have a sinking feeling our absence in the streets might be a sign were letting it all slip away. Maybe writing this blog is keeping me from hitting those streets…

Saturday, February 21, 2009


The talk on the right (my conservative friend is an invaluable source) will focus in some way on the assumption that racism is no longer a problem, and the election of Barack Obama to the nations highest seat is proof. Affirmative action should no longer be an element of creating societal balance and job opportunities.

A new study supports some progress, but no where near what the Republican spin machine is claiming.

President Obama spurred a dramatic change in the way whites think about African-Americans according to a new study. Florida State University Psychology Professor Ashby Plant and University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Patricia Devine have documented a decrease in racial prejudice during the Fall 2008 period between the Democratic Party's nomination of Barack Obama and the Nov. 4 election.

They call it the Obama Effect."The unprecedented drop in implicit bias observed in our studies indicates that the impact of Obama's historic campaign went beyond his winning the election … we are encouraged by the early returns."

About 300 non-black (white, Asian or Hispanic) college students in Wisconsin and Florida participated in a variety of experiments and surveys designed to measure stereotyping and implicit prejudice - that is, the kind of prejudice that is typically described as "automatic" or "knee-jerk" and, although not directly stated, can influence people's behavior. The researchers found that 51 percent of the participants demonstrated automatic preferences for white people. This is significant because previous research … typically has found that about 80 percent of white people demonstrate an automatic preference for other whites.

They asked participants what comes to mind when they think of African-Americans … Almost 22 percent listed Obama on at least one list, and 50 percent named at least one other positive exemplar such as Martin Luther King Jr. Plant said. "We were able to demonstrate that the accessibility of positive exemplars in people's minds was related to their degree of implicit bias."

Although researchers found a decrease in stereotyping of blacks, it is still notable that 51 percent demonstrated a bias against blacks, Plant said. "It is possible they were less exposed to the campaign media blitz. Alternatively, the strength and stability of their racial attitudes may have resulted in a resistance to change.

"The researchers noted that the longevity of the effects is unclear, and it's also not known whether the positive impact of the exposure to Obama will continue. The success of his presidency may have implications for his future role as an exemplar. "If his presidency is highly successful, he would activate positive traits, thoughts and feelings for most people," the researchers said. "However, the result may be less positive should his presidency prove to be less successful."

Ron Paul Jabbers About Letting U.S. Sink in its Own Swill. What about the People?

Here's the guy anti-war activists supported during the Bush administration, Ron Paul. Paul's libertarian utopia of lawlessness and free market chaos would have been a steep price to pay for the get out of Iraq vote. For Paul, "we shouldn't be doing anything in Washington...let all the companies go bankrupt..!

Imagine a jobless, outsourced, find your own cure for what ails you country of dysfunction. Why do we hold these crazy people in such high regard. Here Ron Paul is asked serious questions on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. Like he's going to give you a serious answer? He's a freak.

Assassination Agenda: Alan Keyes and the NY Post Chicago style Obama

I've been documenting the subtle and not so subtle "assassination agenda" of the new Republican Fringe Party (search this blog for "assassination"). It has kicked into overdrive, first with the NY Post cartoon and now crazy Alan Keyes.

Keith Olbermann and Jonathan Alter talk about the now desperate GOP's tactics, but only touch on what I consider a death threat from Alan Keyes. It's not hard to imagine that some mentally unstable conservative will think it's his patriotic duty to save America from what Keyes describes as "a radical communist."

What God fearing patriot would not want to "stop him," as Keyes suggests, while predicting " the United States of American will cease to exist" if he isn't.

Since Jesus Was Born, We have More Republican Idiots

The American Issues Project thinks they're pretty clever in their new campaign against the stimulus package. From their perspective, if you spent $1 million a day since Jesus was born, you would have spent less money than the Democrats spent on the stimulus bill. MSNBC's David Shuster took another look at it.

In his segment, Hypocrisy Watch, Shuster revealed the U.S. spent $1.3 million a day since Jesus was born on the Iraq war, or $2 million a day since Jesus was born on U.S. credit losses in 2008 alone or how much the U.S. economy makes a day since Jesus was born at $20 million.

Friday, February 20, 2009's Amanda Carpenter Sneakily Spreads Myths by Telling Us How Right Wingers Think

It was fun to watch David Shuster keep the facts in the forefront, as's Amanda Carpenter tries desperately to water them down with pure conservative fiction.

While David Frum accuses the GOP of being brain dead, dumb, for it's blind opposition to President Obama's stimulus plan, Carpenter only adds to the idiocy by claiming the criticism is a little harsh.

She immediately dredges up the paranoid rights fear that the 15-member Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research will be big government telling doctors to deny life saving medical care. Rationed health care basically. It's really an information service for doctors, but that's beside the point. Shuster interrupts Carpenter to correct the misinformation, eliciting this response, "I'm trying to tell you what Republicans are arguing," only to continue to get out the fear mongering talking. They never miss the chance to spread the BS for those whiny victimized right wingers.

No, Amanda Carpenter did not forget to scare everyone over the possibility that ACORN could, if it wanted to, apply for money from the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund. ACORN, ACORN, ACORN.....! Very scary stuff.

Shuster gets the last dig.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Reasons for Accepting Generational Theft in the form of Stimulus Money

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, crazy Republican, debuted the latest talking point arguments for accepting the stimulus, despite opposing it for ideological reasons. Pawlenty claims Democrats were just as hypocritical and did essentially the same thing, giving these examples:

Democrats opposed military spending, but excepted National Guard money. Apple to oranges comparison and a real head scratcher, but a point never the less...

Democrats opposed No Child Left Behind, but took the education money anyway. Another bad comparison because NCLB was grossly underfunded. By the way, Republicans also hated NCLB. States had little choice but to take the money or dramatically underfund public education. Because the stimulus money benefits no one, according to Republicans, they don't need the money. So don't take it.

Democrats are against tax cuts, but also against their citizens receiving the benefits of those cuts. With this comment, I'm sure Pawlenty is just trying to make my brain hurt, like it is right now.

The Bizarro World of Rep. Michele Bachmann

This is an easy post. Keith Olberman dissects the latest insanity coming from Rep. Michele Bachmann. The Nations Chris Hayes throws his two cents in as well. Bachmann is the personification of Republican group think. You don't have to be Dr. Who to visit this alternative world. Its warped inside out version of reality has interfaced with our own.

Ayn Rander Rick Santelli Says: "The 8% aren't a good risk...Probably not Going to contribute after Stimulus.."

The fair and objective CNBC reporter and "Ayn Rander" Rick Santelli continues his elitist class war on suffering homeowners with more woeful stories of those poor mistreated "average" high wage workers who aren't about to lose their house. For starters:

Santelli says: When it comes to helping troubled mortgage holders, government is promoting bad behavior. Like when they bailed out Wall Street bankers with no accountability? Mortgages are merely being adjusted to current values and with low interest rates. The same low interests rates that are available to everyone right now (5.1% 30 yr).

Santelli says: Those 8% in trouble, families who need help, aren't a good risk. "They're probably not going to contribute after the stimulus..." It's nice to know Santelli has God like abilities to see into the future of struggling Americans to predetermine their inability to be productive members of society. Maybe they should just give up and die?

Santelli says: "I don't think it's right in America to reward people that made wrong decisions. Send them to classes on how to read the small print." That's not an elitist smug thing to say, is it? Having been in real estate, much of that small print is written for the protection of the buyers and mortgage holders. Its standard stuff. What isn't standard are the upfront misleading promises made by agents who take an ethical pass so they can con an unsuspecting consumer.

Santelli says: "I don't look at my house as an investment, it's what I live in." Total BS. Ask any homeowner.

Santelli says: The average working Joe can't get the same kind of restructured mortgage. WRONG. I just refinanced at 4.785% on a 15 yr mortgage, and took out $10,000 in equity for some needed home improvements. 30 year fixed rates are at 5.1%. Incredibly low. Anyone can refinance now. Rick, that means you.

Santelli says: Americans should get a tax holiday, or a government check to everyone who has a mortgage. Ah yes, short term solutions that don't produce long term jobs.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

CNBC Reporter Admits He's Ayn Rander, Doesn't Like Subsidizing the Losers’ Mortgages

If you thought the attack on union workers salaries and benefits during the debate over the auto bailout was mean spirited, watch the following video of a CNBC reporter from the floor of the Mercantile Exchange in Chicago go on an "Ayn Rand" rant about bailing out American families facing foreclosure.

The wealthy conservative "elites" class war on the middle class has never been more nakedly exposed to the public than now. Bailing out bankers who created the sub prime market crisis that reverberated around the world is okay, but bailing out a few speculators among the millions of Americans who were conned into mortgages they couldn't afford is "spreading the wealth" to people who don't deserve it.

Incredible stuff. Unspeakable arrogance.

On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter, along with several traders, expressed his outrage about President Barack Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth” for people that didn’t deserve it. He said a stimulus should go to people who live responsibly rather than some sort of housing bailout to people that lived irresponsibly.

I have an idea,” Rick Santelli shouted. “Why don’t you put up a Web site to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages, or would we like to at least buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people that might have a change to actually prosper down the road and reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water.”

According to the CNBC reporter, if a stimulus was given to people who lived responsibly, the economy would run more efficiently and that’s would helped the troubled economy start moving again.

“I know this might not sound very humanitarian, but at the end of the day I’m an Ayn Rander,” Santelli continued. “It’s all about efficiency. If you want the economy to work, maybe we should give these perks to people who will carry some water down the road.”

The Gawker called it “the least sympathetic populist rage ever.”

"This is America" he shouts, referring to the floor at the Chicago Board of Trade, and all the traders shout back about how they don't want to pay for their neighbor's mortgage, and hey, "Cuba used to have mansions," and now they all drive '54 Chevys! We are becoming Cuba, what with this crazy plan to allow people to renegotiate mortgages instead of declaring bankruptcy. Drudge is really excited about this clip because it shows the real America's populist anger toward Barack
's plan to help 9 million homeowners, it is not at all a crazy mob of the least sympathetic people in the country.


Foaming at the Mouth, State Rep. Steve Nass Spews: “…liberals…socialists…comrades…economic tyranny!”

State Rep. Steve Nass is one of the most outspoken partisan extremists of the new radicalized Republican Party nation wide. In a recent press release Rep. Nass rabidly rants about how much he hates, truly loathes, the opposing viewpoints of lawmakers elected to carry out the duty of their more liberal constituents. It would appear only Republican voters and their representatives are qualified to make all of our political decisions for us. It’s hard to imagine the following coming from a public official elected to write and pass laws meant to help all the people. I’m not making it up:
Nass: Doyle brutally assaults the people that create good paying jobs. “Governor Doyle has caved in to the Madison liberals and socialists that despise businesses … From this day forward, almost every person that loses a job in Wisconsin can directly blame Governor Doyle and his comrades in the legislature.”
Comrades, socialists and “Madison liberals?” All this from Nass, a true believer in Fascism (Fascism is strongly associated with right-wing fanaticism, racism, totalitarianism, and violence-Encarta). So Doyle is responsible for all the job losses? That might be believed if we were hypnotized into forgetting who created the national recession and global economic crisis causing corporate closures and layoffs? Was it Gov. Doyle or the Republican Congress and Bush presidency? Nass wants you to think it was Doyle. And like all state Republicans, he also wants to make sure the rest of the country knows just how bad Wisconsin is for business. Hey nation, listen to this…:
Nass noted that Wisconsin was already one of the worst places in the country to start, own or expand a business.

Can you see the bumper sticker now?

"Doyle’s … budget, if passed as proposed, will guarantee that the only jobs being created will be low-wage service sector employment or public sector jobs financed by even higher taxes."
Actually, free market capitalism, union busting and outsourcing has shifted good paying jobs to countries with cheap labor. Nice try Nass.
“The new budget proposal and other ideas … prove that Wisconsin Democrats have adopted a liberal to socialist economic agenda. The taxpayers of Wisconsin will soon feel the economic tyranny that liberals in Madison have planned for them.”
Democrats are so "tyranical."
Nass also raised concerns … “Until the Republicans in the legislature admit their own past mistakes in raising taxes and supporting pork-barrel spending, it will be impossible for us to offer real policy alternatives that the people can trust. It’s all about trust and legislative Republicans must stop faking our fiscal conservatism and actually live it.”

I think Nass is onto to something here. If Nass and his fellow right wing reactionaries turned down state funding and the soon to be spent stimulus money for their districts, we might see how representative they really are to the demands of "the voting public."
My guess is, they won’t be to happy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Republicans Seemed to Have Forgotten Their Past 8 Year Mantra: "Deficits Don't Matter."

Ann Pettifor, the author of “Debtonation - The Coming First World Debt Crisis,” wrote this simple reminder about the last eight irresponsible years and bottom up stimulus.
These points are truly rich coming from the Republicans. Readers no doubt know that during the Bush-Cheney years the US national debt doubled from $5,700bn in 2001 to $10,700bn today. Others may recollect that Mr. Cheney said in 2001: "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."So let's not hear any more from Republicans about deficits mattering or about 'generational theft.'
And on “bottom up” economics, pushed by the Democrats:

The workers get pay checks. They use the income to pay taxes - direct to the US government. So immediately the government can use these tax revenues to fix the budget. Then workers purchase goods and services - boosting the economy. Companies hire more workers to deal with demand for materials from stimulus sponsored programs. More employed workers equals more taxpayers.

Ever-rising tax revenues drop into the Treasury's coffers.

And yet Republicans have made it “complicated” for a reason. Besides defending a failed economic theory, they like to sound like they know what they are talking about.

Under GOP Litmus Test, Sarah Palin Unqualified to take Government Job: Didn’t Pay Taxes.

The Washington Post reported “Alaska Says Palin Owes Tax on Expense Payments,” which for me means she is now disqualified from taking any future government post.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) owes income taxes on thousands of dollars she received as expense money while living in her own home, the Anchorage Daily News reported today. Palin received $16,951 in per diem payments. Palin's office would not say how much she owes in back taxes, or whether she intends to continue to seek the per diem allowance. As of December, she was still asking the state for the payments, the Daily News reported.

"The amount of taxes owed is a private matter," Sharon Leighow, Palin's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail to the Daily News. "If the governor collects future per diem, those documents would be a matter of public record."

To paraphrase Congressional Republicans: “If a person can’t find away to pay what they owe in taxes, they don’t belong in government.”

Another Subtle Rupert Murdock Shot at Obama in the New York Post

As unbelievable as it may seem, this not so innocent cartoon in the NY Post is unmistakable in its meaning. What do you think? Here are a few details.

NY Daily News:
Gov. David Paterson this morning joined the Rev. Al Sharpton in seeking an "explanation" from the Post in connection with today's editorial cartoon.

Al Sharpton made this point: "Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?" "Given that the New York Post cartoonist came under heavy fire in the past for racially tinged cartoons including the infamous cartoons depicting 2001 mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer and me in very unflattering ways that were used as a divisive campaign tactic, one cannot ignore their history when one finds out what they could possibly mean by this morning's cartoon."
The cartoon in Wednesday's Post by Sean Delonas shows a dead chimp and two police officers, one with a smoking gun. The caption reads, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." The cartoon refers to Travis the chimp, who was shot to death by police in Stamford, Conn., on Monday after it mauled a friend of its owner. It links the chimp to Obama, who signed his administration's economic stimulus plan on Tuesday.
Boston Globe:
The Post is standing by the cartoon, and questioning Sharpton's motives."The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut," editor-in-chief Col Allan said in a statement. "It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist."
Yes, we're all seeking more publicity, aren't we?

59% Want Government Health Insurance, Up from 28% in 1979.

Republicans seem to be the only ones missing the change in public opinion over who should provide health care. Why is that? It couldn’t be blind ideology?


HEALTH INSURANCE: PRIVATE ENTERPRISE VS. GOVERNMENT? Americans are more likely today to embrace the idea of the government providing health insurance than they were 30 years ago. 59% say the government should provide national health insurance.

In 1979: 48% preferred private enterprise, 28% government covering all problems and 12% wanting government to cover only emergencies.

Now, people have completely reversed their opinion: 49% prefer government insurance, 10% think government should only cover emergencies and 32% are putting their faith in private enterprise.


It’s not looking good for the old hand held version of the news, newspapers: Most Americans (60%) say they get most of their news from television, with newspapers a distant second (14%), followed closely by the internet (13%), and radio (7%). Thirty years ago, a Los Angeles Times Poll found Americans were equally as likely to get most of their news from newspapers (42%), television (41%).

Zain Verjee and those Nutty Penises

Zain Verjee, the news anchor for The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, had one thing on her mind, and it wasn't peanuts. Apparently, Northwest Airlines are now serving penises. That should improve satisfaction levels for male fliers.

Colbert's Black Visa Card, Laura Ingraham, Fashionable Obama Nails and Ben & Jerry's Bush Names for Ice Cream

Here are some odds and ends that just didn't fit anywhere else. Fun stuff.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

JD Hayworth Is Back, Longing for a Continuation of the Last Eight Years of Tax Cuts and Deregulation

I am basking in the wonder of all the media hosts and reporters who are finally blaming the Republican Congress and President Bush for the last eight years of trickle down, voodoo laissez faire capitalism. Confronting these global disaster deniers pretty much leaves them speechless, unless of course they're still clinging to a their failed ideology. JD still is.

Chris Matthews asked JD whether he would continue to support and expand the same policies that brought us to this point. Hayworth gave Matthews an emphatic yes, FOUR TIMES during the conversation. He also blamed right wing bogey man, George Soros, who seems to have the omnipresence of God.

HAYWORTH: I’ll tell you what was bad, the sneak attack on our economy, the dress rehearsal that was the debacle of IndyBank, when Chuck Schumer helped get that started. The guy in the background, George Soros, manipulating all the currency.

The Washington Independent put it this way:

Matthews is clearly stunned at what he’s hearing: “You can talk fast, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But Hayworth got to Congress after a career in talk radio, and he returned to talk radio after losing in a 2006 upset to his then-Democratic challenger, Rep. Harry Mitchell. In that format, conspiracy theories about George Soros are about as normal as ads for reverse mortgages and natural male enhancement.

Glenn Becks Eyes

Having been in the radio business for 28 years, and a host of a cable access channel for 4 years (does that negatively impact my experience?), guys like Glenn Beck were the station jerks, and deserve what Stephen Colbert dished out the other night.

As imaginative and bizarre as the "eye close-up" was during Beck's Fox News show, it was hardly network quality stuff. Colbert agrees.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele: '..just any black guy?"

Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers described the choice of RNC Chairman Michael Steele so perfectly, I had to include it here. Is there anything the Republican do that isn't calculated and contrived?

Will Bunch on Reagan Myth. A Marketing Success Story!

Finally exploding the Ronald Reagan myth of tax cuts and smaller government, author of "Tear Down this Myth," Will Bunch details on the Rachel Maddow Show how marketing recreated the man Republicans now praise as their hero and ideological guru. The question is, why is it taking so long to expose the truth?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Survey Shocker: Wisconsin CEO's Want Bigger Tax Cuts, Oppose Stimulus!!

Here’s an interesting but not too surprising poll number, showing a majority of wealthy CEO’s disapprove of the Democratic stimulus plan. Apparently:
More than half of northeastern Wisconsin chief executives surveyed about the federal government's economic stimulus plan say they are opposed to it. The Nicolet National Bank Business Pulse survey of 160 CEOs found that 57% were opposed to the plan, 23% favored it and 20% weren't sure. "I think it pretty much says the CEOs wanted to see a little bigger shift to the tax-cut side," said David Wegge, president of Intellectual Marketing, Green Bay, which conducted the survey. Wegge concluded that the CEO attitudes about the stimulus package seem to mirror concerns that Republicans in the House and Senate expressed about it as it was being crafted.
What can one conclude from this survey? The Republicans support the idea that high wage CEO’s should keep more of their money at the expense of putting everyone else back to work and growing the middle class, and these fats cats couldn't agree more.

Republican Gubenatorial Hopefull Scott Walker Wants Stimulus Money Poured into Sales Tax Holiday Hole, Screws Job Creation.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott (wacky) Walker (R) showed us today just how bad he is at economics. He wants to take the federal stimulus money and convert it into rebates and a sales tax holiday. Lets break it down quickly. How successful are rebates? According to the San Jose Mercury News:
The Recovery Rebate Credit, part of the economic stimulus package that was passed by Congress in 2008 … (was to) put more money into the hands of consumers, they would start spending again and help spur more economic activity. But the effect was short-lived. Consumers started pulling back even further, hit by rising prices, falling home values, deepening unemployment and tight credit. And that spelled doom for the economy, since consumer spending is its lifeblood.
What about sales tax holidays? explains:
Sales-tax holidays are just gimmicks that will merely shift taxes onto property owners and workers. Christopher St. John, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy, a liberal think tank in Augusta that focuses on state economic policies, said people generally favor raising the sales tax over other forms of taxation, because they have some control over it. "The way people feel about sales taxes is that they have choice. It only applies if they buy the item, whereas income and property taxes, you have no choice," he said. St. John said Mainers would rather get a break on their property taxes or income taxes than on the sales tax.
Now that you have a little background information, let’s take a look at Scott (wacky) Walker’s plans to take this one time stimulus money and dump it into a one time sales tax holiday hole. Remember, this guy wants to be governor.

Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee County Executive Scott (wacky) Walker wants the state to use most of its share of federal stimulus money for: a state sales tax holiday … property tax rebates and new business tax breaks … (Wacky) Walker said $3.2 billion of the stimulus aid should be used to offset the state's 5% sales tax starting March 1 through the end of the year. That would translate into some $3,000 in saving for the average family … The sales tax hiatus could prove to be a bonanza for Wisconsin merchants if residents from neighboring states flocked to Wisconsin for purchases of cars, appliances and other big-ticket items, he said … Walker … announced his Republican bid for the 2010 governor's race.

Walker's latest move … and dovetails with his controversial stance to refrain from asking for federal stimulus funding for county projects. Critics, including some business community allies, said Walker's refusal to ask for federal aid for local projects was a mistake … Walker’s "blueprint for economic prosperity" (would redirect) $512 million in federal stimulus aid for various county projects to be used instead for suspending the county 0.5% sales tax the rest of the year, rebating the $250 million in county property taxes paid this year. The property tax rebate would come to $652 for the owner of a $150,000 home in Milwaukee.

In the real world, where jobs need to be created, green energy implemented to lower rising government costs and infrastructure rebuilding, Gov. Doyle is taking a more practical and responsible path-minus gimics:
Doyle has said that nearly $2 billion would be used to help offset the state's budget deficit … $550 million would go for road and bridge projects, $150 million for weatherization programs and other funds for sewer and water projects.
So who would you trust to put people back to work, and plan for the future; Scott Walker or Gov. Doyle? But wait, an even better response is delivered by Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke:

“It is pathetic that Scott Walker decided to use his state of the county address as a platform to launch his campaign for governor. It is even more pathetic that he had to use fuzzy math and impossible gimmicks like state sales tax holidays to distract from his countless failures as county executive. “

As Walker has already acknowledged, redirecting federal stimulus money towards a sales tax holiday would be impossible under the law. Furthermore, Walker’s crazy claim that the sales tax holiday would translate into $3,000 in savings for the average family assumes that each household will go out and spend $60,000 on taxable goods. What ‘average’ family has that kind of disposable income? “Walker’s county tax holidays are based on the assumption that Milwaukee County might get as much as $500 million or more in federal stimulus aid, which is ridiculous considering that Walker has already said ‘no thanks’ to the federal stimulus funding.

Walker has a history that should scare any voting citizen, and should be a real test to see how many are swayed by the gimmicks and short sighted planning that brought our economy to a state of crisis.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald Accuses Governor of "Grabbing" and "Skimming" Money to Pay for State Government. Spending Tax Money now a Criminal Activity.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle met a lot of Republican resistance to a proposed increase in the states hospital tax, which would in turn increase federal funding negating the tax impact, because many GOP freeloaders have pledged never to increase taxes while in public office. Not only that, they are always comparing government to a family budget, where mom and dad sit down and cut back on groceries, vacations and heat. But that's only part of what families do. They also get a second or third job to increase their budgets so they can pay their bills. On the down side, some end up going bankrupt and giving up their homes. States can't sell themselves off to their nearest neighbor, but they can increase their budgets by increasing their incomes via taxes. But not Republicans.

They hate taxes. Freeloading and doing very little work, while never having to make tough decisions in office, is so much easier.

Gov. Doyle is accused of "grabbing money from Washington D.C.," and "skimming money off of it each time." Wow, what a crook, huh? It's just a tax increase, but to hear the Republican take on it, it's criminal Mafioso stuff. And that's why Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald is in the minority, because he's makes lousy business decisions and analogies.

Rep. Eric Cantor, Manager of the Assh**e Store

Comedian Lewis Black put House Minority Whip Eric Cantor in the proper frame the other night on the Daily Show.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Republicans Betting Against American, via Stimulus NO vote

Two clips: Sen. Robert Menendez of NJ. commmenting on the Republicans "betting against an economic recovery, betting against the American people..."

And we have Rep. Chris Van Hollen comparing the time when Bush asked Republicans to bailout Wall Street, they "turned on a dime," "but when President Obama has come up and said we need 800 billion dollars for the American people, and turn the economy around, you've got them dragging their feet..."

I love the truth.

Defanged Stimulus Intentionally Watered down to Lessen Impact of Recovery for Republican Mid- Term Elections

The Financial Times honestly evaluated the final stimulus bill and came to these conclusions; the AMT fix for higher incomes watered down the aid to states limiting recovery and short term benefits, and will be nearly invisible to Americans for the first two years. That will benefit Republicans who will claim the stimulus didn’t work and any improvement was part of the normal business cycle. Here are the details:

Stimulus bill marked by political gesturing

The stimulus bill … is expected to be voted on on Friday, has been altered in shape and size during three weeks of being kicked around Capitol Hill. What has emerged, some economists say, bears the marks of political gesturing as much as boosting the economy.

Not only were Senate moderates in effect allowed to dictate a ceiling for the programm of $800 billion, but nearly 10 per cent of the package was given over to the latest of a series of temporary fixes to the perennial alternative minimum tax problem. The AMT, a tax originally aimed at the super-rich, has gradually come to threaten upper-middle-income households. “The AMT fix had nothing to do with stimulus,” says Dean Baker of the left- leaning Center for Economic and Policy

To pay for items such as the AMT, the Democrats had to accept cuts to their priorities, including aid to bail out cash-strapped states and tax reductions for lower-income families, both of which were likely to stimulate the economy more quickly … this appeared to be a deliberate political manoeuvre by the Republicans. The cuts in aid to states … will not only affect the US’s infrastructure through constraining spending on school construction but also reduce the short-term stimulus in the bill.

Macroeconomic Advisers, an economic consultancy, says that such aid can affect the spending decisions of state and local governments even before they receive the money. “For example, they may opt to forgo laying off workers, cutting purchases, or raising taxes, even before the funds may be in their hands,” the firm says. What remains … is still reckoned by most economists to promise a material effect on the
economy. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that an average of
the House and Senate bills would reduce the unemployment rate to between 6.8 8.1 per cent next year, against 8.7 per cent without the stimulus, and increase
gross domestic product by 1.1-3.3 per cent next year. But if the package fails to revive the US economy, Democrats as well as Republicans will have an excuse: that what finally emerged, thanks to political manoeuvring on Capitol Hill, is
smaller and focused on different things than the bill Mr Obama envisaged

'Impact of US plan will be felt slowly

Few economists think its impact will be felt any time soon by average voters. The real impact may be invisible to the naked eye. “You won’t open your door or unseal your latest pay cheque and find that everything’s going to be different,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of “But if people feel the stimulus is going to have a broader effect on the larger economy, it may boost their confidence as consumers.”

Perhaps the most tangible impact will be on people’s withholding taxes … a minor increase in their take-home pay – $32 per two-weekly pay check for a middle class household and $16 for an individual. It will appear small. But that is deliberate. “If you give people the tax cuts in one lump sum, people are far likelier to save it – which is not what you want,” says Tom Gallagher, a Washington analyst.

The impact on jobs will be less easy to measure. Barack Obama has said the bill will create or save 3m jobs over the next three years. He might meet a larger part of that pledge from jobs that are saved. For example, most state governments have been preparing to lay off employees since they are obliged to balance their budgets. “In general, I don’t think people will ‘feel’ the effect of the state/local government subsidies,” says Chris Edwards, an economist at the libertarian Cato Institute. “It will just mean that state/local governments won’t have to restrain themselves as they would otherwise have had to.”

Exceptions could be found in the construction industry, which has suffered the biggest layoffs in the past 14 months and could see a rapid uptick from the infrastructure spending in the bill. Laid off construction workers in the capital are likely to be particularly lucky; Mr Obama plans to spend $6.5bn making federal buildings energy efficient. As for infrastructure, most of the short-term spending will be on repairs of roads and bridges. Here most Americans will see a tangible result – longer traffic jams.