Thursday, April 30, 2009
The basic foundation of our country is the government. Made up of three branches, the government should provide to its citizens whatever they feel it should provide. It's that simple.
There are those who say it should be small, but the truth is, it is what ever the people decide it should be. For many, those who are buying into the idea government is bad, are actually blaming themselves. They have been sidetracked into forgetting the government is us.
Which brings me to the following clip on the swine flu pandemic. It took Democratic Rep. David Obey, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committe, to envision a need to include funding for a possible pandemic during the economic recovery to insure such an event would not make things worse. But the Republican platform has never had a desire to plan ahead or invest in the future, so they managed to remove funding for such an outbreak, branding it "pork." Some spineless Democrats bought into this hot button rhetoric and end up looking foolish for doing so (Sen. Chuck Shumer). From Gov. Jindal's misstatement about volcano monitering to Sen. Olympia Snow's insistence to remove pandemic funding, the snake bit GOP just can't get anything right. Chris Matthews, Keith Olberman and Chris Hayes have a few things to add.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Fiction and nonfiction books about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues Banned in West Bend Wisconsin Library
Free Speech Groups Criticize Dismissal of Wisconsin Library Board Members
By Lynn Andriani -- Publishers Weekly, 4/29/2009
Four members of a library board in West Bend, Wis., were dismissed last week for refusing to remove controversial books from the library’s young adult section—and yesterday, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Association of American Publishers and PEN American Center criticized the firings.
The groups sent a letter to the West Bend Common Council stating that the dismissals threatened free speech in two ways: punishing the board members for attempting to apply objective criteria in the selection of books, and pressuring the library to remove the controversial books. The letter said, “The role of a public library and its board members is to serve the entire community and to evaluate books and other library materials on the basis of objective criteria. By removing half the members of the library board, the Common Council is imposing its opinions on the rest of the community.”
The controversy began in February when two patrons complained that the library’s YA section included fiction and nonfiction books about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. The patrons accused the library of promoting “the overt indoctrination of the gay agenda in our community” and demanded that the library add books “affirming traditional heterosexual perspectives.” They also insisted that the library remove books from the YA section including Brent Hartinger’s Geography Club (HarperCollins), Stephan Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Esther Drill’s Deal With It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain and Life as a gURL (both Simon & Schuster).
Last week, West Bend Mayor Kristin Deiss submitted the names of four members of the library board for a new three-year term, and the council voted 5-3 to dismiss the board members.
The letter to the Common Council is available online here.
Fox News has reason to rejoice as President Obama marks the media-manufactured milestone of his first 100 days in office. The conservative cable network's ratings are sky high under the new Democratic president. Yes, it looks like it couldn't be happier serving as "the voice of [Obama's] opposition," to paraphrase Fox News senior vice president Bill Shine.
Am I imagining the conservative swing to the right? Hardly. No liberal in their right mind would write the following editorial about a zealot partisan ideologue, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, who wanted to turn down his counties stimulus money, privatize valuable publicly owned property and advocate a sales tax holiday at a time when people are afraid to spend money. The following thought process is simply insane:
Walker's run should focus on his strengthsMilwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is expected to announce his candidacy Tuesday for the Republican nomination for governor. We're glad Walker is running. In fact, we wish he had run in 2006.In 2005, we were impressed with his reform-oriented take on state government. While we may have had ideological differences with him on a number of social and economic issues, the former state legislator struck us as having thought harder and better about how to improve state government than other potential contenders.
With glowing admiration, the writer was “impressed with his reform-oriented take” and “struck us as having thought harder and better” than what, an ideology that devastated the global economy.
Scott Walker’s recent appearance on Madison's WTDY 1670, with morning show host Sly, turned up some interesting contradictions.
Walker: “I held the line 7 straight budgets, I’m not raising taxes.”
FACT: True, he let the county board override his veto to pay the county bills.Walker: “I finished off the year with a surplus.”
FACT: “Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker on Monday called for cuttingWalker: “in an interview said layoffs and furloughs of workers should be considered. Nearly half the county budget goes toward salaries and benefits, and finding the necessary saving will be difficult if those are untouched.”-Jsonline. “Walker hasn't released a counterproposal. But he said government should be cut more, including freezing or lowering state employees' salaries and looking at increasing workers' health and retirement costs.”-Forbes.
spending in every county department by 3% this year to offset a projected $14
million year-end budget shortfall.”-Jsonline. Surpluses Scott…?
FACT: Walker would slash jobs, cut pay and make employees pay more out of theirWalker: Sly asked Walker about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s winning offer to pay to move a Wisconsin company to Louisianna and build their new facility for them. Whether that was contrary to Walker’s free market rhetoric. “If we had a natural disaster in any given community … yea you should come in and try and help get a community back on it’s feet again and get it working again. And I think in a time like now, with the economy such as it is, it’s almost like a natural disaster. Government odes need to step in and help, certainly step up, actually get on the phone, get face to face, talk to these officials and fin away to keep ‘em here.”
checks for healthcare and retirement, in a time of record unemployment and tight
family budgets, making the economy even worse.
FACT: Walker just said it’s okay to spend taxpayer dollars to move a private company and build their facility for them if that’s what it takes to compete with other states, a dramatically hypocritical position to take for a free market Republican and an idea that might just meet some public outrage.Walker: “…belt-tightening is needed because of the recession. Cutting 3%, or $3.6 million, from Sheriff David Clarke Jr.'s budget would be "quite a challenge, said Inspector Kevin Carr. "Every year, we have been asked to submit a leaner budget, and at some point, there's nothing left" to cut. –Jsonline.
FACT: Cutting law enforcement budgets doesn’t necessarily make the public safer,Walker: On tying his wagon to Sen. Russ Feingold, Democrat: “We’ve showed how we’ve connected.”
does it. It will slow response times and add to the NRA’s demands for a concealed carry law to make up for the shortfall.
Walker: On concealed carry: “The last people I want carrying, are people who are carrying today are criminals … the people that are carrying right now don’t care about the law.”
FACT: Ironic actually, the people carrying right now illegally are concealed carry and open carry supporters. Every advocate I’ve ever met is packing heat, breaking the law, a law they don’t agree with. Are they the criminals Walker is talking about?
The Man Who Would Be Governor, Scott Walker: “You’ve got to earn your right to govern. I’ve earned it.”
His record is documented on this blog (search: Scott walker), as an irresponsible fraud and rigid ideologue. He’s a lazy privateer, who’ll let the private sector raise the price of service to his constituents, leaving his own record deceptively clean. He’s vetoed county budgets, just so he could get the county board to override his veto, freeing him from taking responsibility for any tax increases.
He’s run social service programs into the ground, declining food aid, child care and medical assistance programs, forcing the state to step in and take control of the programs. He’s proposed a gimmicky sales tax holiday, tone deaf to the economic fear people have during this depression, to get consumers to spend money they’re not inclined to spend.
And like most Republicans in this state, he's ready to tell the rest of the country just how bad it is here. With a slogan like, "Believe in Wisconsin Again," how could you not give people and businesses a bad impression. God I hate snake oil salesmen.
Republican Scott Walker promised to take the state in a new direction of "limited government, economic growth and personal freedom" during one of five stops he made today to officially announce his gubernatorial campaign with a sign reading "Believe in Wisconsin Again." "After six years in office Gov. Jim Doyle says he's not responsible for our current problems. I disagree," Walker said.
Walker also blames Gov. Doyle for not predicting the future, despite the fact that no one else saw the economic crash coming…
“Walker said Doyle ignored the "looming crisis" and continued to spend too much. Walker said he is supportive of parental involvement in education and having quality, affordable health care through “market based solutions.”
Code for: Private school vouchers and the expansion of the private sector health insurance debacle we have in place now.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Paul Ryan’s Slick “Average Guy” Act Falls Away with Refusal to Tax Incomes over $10 Million. Standing up for Little Guy?
House Democrats aren't interested in hearing Republican input on health care reform or the budget, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." Ryan said he would not consider raising taxes for those who make $10 million or more per year.
Carlos Watson: "We saw in Britain recently, they dealt with their deficit. They raised rates on their upper echelon. Would you consider raising rates even for a short period of time on those super rich, if you will - not even the top two percent, but above that - those making north of $10 million dollars in income."
Rep. Ryan: "The answer is no. You gotta remember - more than half of the folks filing at these tax rates are small businesses." [MSNBC, 4/28/09; emphasis added]
Again, a small business owners take home pay would be $10 million bucks, not counting the total business income. That's a "small" business?
Only 1.9 Percent Of Small Businesses Fall Into Top Two Tax Brackets, Much Less Earn $10 Million Per Year. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "Only 1.9 percent of taxpayers with small business income face either of the top two income tax rates. Ryan’s plan again ignores the hard middle class worker and small business owner while benefiting the non-working wealthy investor.
Many "Small Business Owners" With Income Over $1 Million Are Actually Passive Investors, Not Employers. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "...many of the roughly 650,000 filers with small-business income who face one of the top two tax rates are merely passive investors who have nothing to do with running the business. This is because of the Treasury Department's relatively broad definition of 'small business. For example, the $84 of income President Bush received in 2001 from a passive investment in an oil and gas company made him a 'small-business owner.' About 35 percent of 'small-business owners' with incomes above $200,000, and about 58 percent of 'small-business owners' with incomes over $1 million, received some or all of their business income in the form of passive investments. The Treasury definition also counts as 'small-business income' the fees that CEOs are paid for sitting on corporate boards." [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/2/09]
So who are these squealing Second Amendment supporters?
Are they a frustrated group of ex-body builders who found that toned abs or massive chests still didn’t impressed the public enough to garner the respect they deserved?
Are they an impotent crowd of social rejects hoping no one will notice their inadequacies by clinging to their guns like junkies hoping someone will see how cool they were with their holstered jewelry.
Or are they a small faction of insecure paranoid zealots hopelessly looking for a little unearned respect by total strangers using fear and intimidation by wearing a gun in public. After all, who’s going to question or confront someone who appears unafraid to use a loaded gun?
It could be any of the above mentioned reasons and more. These are posers and gun addicts disguised as defenders of the Second Amendment, who conveniently ignore the included word “regulated” as if it were an ink blot spilled by a careless Thomas Jefferson.
Since only a few over compensating losers will want to wear their gun collections in public, the majority of people in the state and country will obviously be afraid to confront these nut jobs and ask them to take their insecurities someplace else.
I used to call the Republicans the party of chaos. I might go back to that after watching AG J.B. Van Hollen’s irresponsible act of issuing a memo that could only stir the pot of crazies into action. I guess he just didn’t think it would be a big deal. What an innocent and naive act from a full grown adult and top cop in the state. “Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said his memo was simply intended to "clarify" the law, and he does not believe more people will start openly carrying guns because of it.”-WISN.Com
Fox11 has the report:
WTMJ-TV covered this story: Nik Clark is a member of the National Rifle Association and opencarry.org. He owns eight guns, and took one of them to a New Berlin grocery store and gas station, as a way to put open carry to the test.
How did WTMJ know Nik was about to test his constitutional right to open carry? He called the media outlets for a sensationalized scoop about his daring social experiment. Sadly, the media giant in Milwaukee gave Nik Clark all the attention this publicity slut was looking for. Watch this massive muscle bound knuckleheaded act surprised that no one seemed to care whether he was packin’ heat or not. Would you have said something?
On the sane side of the open carry argument, WISN.com had this:
State Rep. Leon Young, a former Milwaukee police officer who represents part of Milwaukee's north side, said he's working on fast track legislation to clear up confusion with Wisconsin's gun law. "If you're walking down the street with a gun in your hand and people can see it or you've got one in your holster here and people can see it, it's going to create a disturbance," Young said.
Milwaukee's police chief said he'll go on telling his officers to take down anyone with a firearm despite Van Hollen's finding that people can carry guns openly if they do it peacefully. Chief Ed Flynn said officers can't assume people are carrying guns legally in a city that has seen nearly 200 homicides in the past two years. Flynn said it's irresponsible to send a message that if someone carries a weapon openly, no one can bother them.
Shorewood Police Chief David Banaszynski, the leader of the state chief's association, said "Now, with open carry, which is legal, there may be no training. I could hand you my handgun, you could walk down the street carrying it with no training whatsoever. To me, there is a lot more danger now with people thinking, 'I have the right to carry it so I'm going to carry it, and not have the training."
Guns are still prohibited in schools and any private property owner, including businesses, can ban firearms.
God these people won't be happy until were all afraid to go out of our homes. But we can fight back. Anytime you see anyone carrying a gun in public and causing a public disturbance...Scream real loud!
On Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Alter doesn't hold back...
Monday, April 27, 2009
I might include a list of his dumb ass questions later, but in the mean time, if you have a moment watch this highly edited clip. It's an embarrassing moment in Meet the Press history.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift Blames Capitalism for Woes Facing Obama: Columnist … attacks GOP for blaming the failure of government.Wow. What a stunning revelation. Wouldn't you know it, a Republican pundit was surprised.
Monica Crowley, who is conservative talk show host, scoffed at Clift’s suggestion that Obama is trying to save capitalism … Crowley said. “He’s trying to nationalize health care, nationalize the energy sector, he’s done a ham-handed effort to nationalize the financial sector, federalizing education – there’s no saving capitalism going on.”Wrong. Crowley must be unaware of how FDR saved capitalism by regulating it. Oops. Yawn. And this was my favorite incredible “outrage.”
Inhofe Warns TARP Recipients Giving to ACORN, Other Left-Wing Causes-The same left-wing groups (like ACORN) who complained that bailout companies shouldn’t be awarding bonuses to their executives, might be getting their hands on some of the bailout money according to one senator (Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.).The operative phrase here is “might be getting their hands on some of the bail out money.” MIGHT. It gets even funnier, in a bizarre sort of way:
The senator had sent out a press release the same day which said ACORN, Friends of the Earth, Planned Parenthood, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Conservation International Foundation, could be receiving TARP funds, at least indirectly.“…could be receiving TARP funds, at least indirectly?” And tomorrow the world might end. You will love the reason for this fictionalized accusation:
Inhofe explained it was a media strategy necessary to mention those groups specifically to get the public’s attention and promote his amendment. “Well, the reason that we used those organizations in our press release was number one, to promote our amendment, and number two to show that, even though I can’t say it’s happening today, I suspect it is…”Oh god please, my head is hurting. Luckily, the Business & Media Institute is on the case, making sure the most unsurprising news stories are given an edge and the kind of coverage they think they deserve.
Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.The governments hands were kept off, and look what happened. This shortened 60 minutes piece on hard working Americans 401k losses was the result of Ayn Rand’s “government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off” approach.
This fluff piece in the Milwaukee Jounrnal Senitinal highlighted Ryan’s support of the Wall Street bailout but never mentioned how he thumbed his nose at the auto workers in his own district who are now unemployed. A blue collar bailout? Are you kidding. Not in the world of Ayn Randers.
What happened to the peoples 401k’s in the 60 Minutes video clip would have happened to their privatized Social Security accounts. Ryan has no problem watching people own their own monetary losses. But then, no one ever said they were guaranteed a return on their investment.
He also brings a deep philosophical attachment to market capitalism and "supply-side" economics - a world view shaped by such icons of individualism and free enterprise as Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.
"The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead."
At the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand's writings when he told his audience that, "Almost every fight we are is a fight that usually comes down to . . . involved in here on Capitol Hill one conflict - individualism versus collectivism." In that struggle, Ryan argued that shifting Social Security (which he called a "collectivist system") toward personal investment accounts was not only good policy, but would change the political landscape, according to a recording of the event made by its host, The Atlas Society.
"If we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing Social Security, think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society. that many more people in America who are not going to listen to the likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class-warfare-breathing demagogues," said Ryan.
In a meeting with House Republicans at the White House, President Obama reminded the minority that the last time he reached out to them, they reacted with zero votes -- twice -- for his stimulus package. And then he reminded them again. And again. And again.
A GOP source … said that the president was extremely sensitive -- even "thin-skinned" -- to the fact that the stimulus bill received no GOP votes in the House. He continually brought it up throughout the meeting. Obama also offered payback for that goose egg. A major overhaul of the health care system, he told the Republican leadership, would be done using a legislative process known as reconciliation, meaning that the GOP won't be able to filibuster it. Congress has until October 15 to pass health care or student lending reform under the normal process. If it doesn't, reconciliation can be used to eliminate the 60-vote requirement. GOP
aides, however, said that Obama was pretty clear that reconciliation would be used. "From what was told me, it sounded more like he would almost definitely use reconciliation for health care. I don't think he hedged much," said one.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed back against the decision to use reconciliation. "Senator McConnell and his colleagues want to be part of the solution to reforming our country's health care system … Fast-tracking a major legislative overhaul such as health care reform or a new national energy tax without the benefit of a full and transparent debate does a disservice to the American people.”
McConnell assumes the public is unaware of the last 30 years of debate on both of these important issues. Let's face it, debate is another word for "stall." Kick the can down the road so to speak. Delay and obstruct. Muddy the waters. Stuff their coffers with lobbyist campaign contributions and payoffs to vote against change.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Baby Boom retirees are not only about to drain Medicare, but just saw half their retirement savings vanish, thanks to the Republican vision of a "self adjusting market." 60 Minutes offers a glimpse into the 401k casino
Did I mention how much fun it will be to watch a 24 year old, newly elected conservative mayor, run city hall? Will he be like one of those rare moderate Republicans, who are nearing extinction, or will he fall in line with the new “extremist” party of disgruntled right winger secessionists?
The La Crosse Tribune:
Matt Harter rode promises of property tax reductions and open-door government to a decisive victory Tuesday over Dorothy Lenard. Turnout pitted the young conservative against a progressive baby boomer. Harter rose in popularity by committing himself to reducing the city’s notorious property taxes and reforming the culture at City Hall.
His Democratic opponent Dorothy Lenard pondered the end result on what she called a campaign of lies.
(She) worried Tuesday that the people who influenced Harter’s “negative” campaign message would play an equally strong role in his administration. “If you run a campaign and you try to win it by misinformation and false accusations, I don’t know how you can enjoy the win. If you’re going to go to doors and tell lies, you’re going to win the election.”
While I don’t know how true Lenard’s accusations are, the pattern of campaign lying by Republicans is nothing new. I’ve mentioned it many times here how hard it is to believe that any party would resort to complete fabrication and lying as a way of to deceive the public into voting for them. The old days of merely misleading voters on a few issues is long gone. Which is why this mayoral term will be so much more interesting to watch. According to the outgoing Mayor Mark Johnsrud, “I think it’s going to be the hardest budget year because of the overall economy and the effects ... (that) has had on the value of property. I would say that it’s going to be very difficult to meet next year’s budget without cutting positions.”
And when those cuts are made and services removed, as mandated by Harter’s election, the Republican party of victimization will whine about that too.
And what about the city of Manitowoc?
Justin Nickels was sworn in as the 27th mayor of Manitowoc. At 22, Nickels is the youngest elected mayor in the city's history. What I found really interesting is that after looking at least 15 stories on his mayoral run and win, not one mentioned his political leanings. Dare I say it in public...a Democrat. While Mayor Harter is proudly declared the Republican winner in La Crosse, the slightly younger winner in Manitowoc is never acknowledged as a liberal, something I'm sure he would be ashamed of admitting.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Wilkerson: "Vice President Cheney is a man who frightens easily. All you have to do is go back to his 5 deferments to the Vietnam conflict, his behavior post 9/11, undisclosed locations and so forth, and the immanent and the politics of fear that pervaded the first Bush administration.
Republican AG Van Hollen Campaign of “Keeping us Safe” and Fear Mongering Wastes Taxpayer Money. Tea Baggers Unite?
Wisconsin’s Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s tough on crime position is a thinly veiled taxpayer supported campaign ad. An expensive one to boot and one conservatives are more than willing to pay billions to support. Van Hollen’s memo to police departments that publicly encourages every gun nut to openly carry a weapon has angered law enforcement and could possibly create chaos. WPT's Here and Now with Frederica Freyberg had a field day:
The West Allis gun advocate Brad Krause made this pleasant easygoing observation that carrying a gun creates a "...wise and consistent state of peace."
According to former Milwaukee cop and now Democratic State Rep. Leon Young, on Van Hollen's open carry advocacy, "He's the top guy...he has a possibility of creating chaos, and as an elected official we should try to create peace and hope...!"
Jim Fendry, of the Wisconsin Pro Gun Movement, backs Van Hollen's inflammatory position that carrying a gun by itself is not a crime, but then goes on in frightening detail about coming across a person with a gun and the possible public safety danger they might pose. It's a mind blowing contrast of ideas Fendry didn't bother to notice.
Mandatory Sentencings/taxpayer dollar black hole-Wisconsin State Journal:
Calling himself the voice of public safety for Wisconsin, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said that Gov. Jim Doyle's proposal to release an estimated 3,000 offenders to help balance the state budget shows the Democratic governor's skewed priorities. "Public safety should be the first call on our government coffers … but if we don't spend enough money on public safety, nothing else really matters." But Van Hollen's remarks ran counter to most of the speakers in a two-day seminar in Madison on Wisconsin's corrections system, which has grown fivefold in the past 30 years.
What Van Hollen’s doesn’t mention is the overwhelming evidence against his outdated, emotionally charged call to “hang tough,” and the escalating unnecessary cost to taxpayers.
Marshall Clement, director of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which recently completed a study of Wisconsin's corrections system, said the $29,000 a year the state spends on inmates has failed to reduce crime or the percentage of people who re-offend — roughly 38 percent within three years. "For what you're spending on prisons, $1.2 billion a year, you're not getting a very good return on investment," Clement said. The study recommends boosting community supervision and shortening sentences for good behavior, among other strategies.
Todd Cleary, a professor at John Jay College in New York, one of the sponsors of the seminar, said high incarceration rates cut crime — for a while. But crime goes back up, he said, because of the damage that imprisonment does to families and communities. "The first effect is things get better," Cleary said. "But the long-term effect is that things get worse."
(Former Republican sheriff and district attorney in Dane County) Corrections secretary Rick Raemisch said that Wisconsin's prison system is "broken" and includes mentally ill, drug- and alcohol-addicted and elderly inmates — some of whom, he said, shouldn't be there … Many other inmates are nonviolent offenders who could be released early on supervision. "I'm hard-core law and order," he said. "I walk through these prisons. I see all these young men and I say, 'What are we doing?'
Several speakers said a barrier to reforming the state's corrections policies is that such reform has become highly politicized in recent years. Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said (when she) ran unsuccessfully for attorney general against Van Hollen in 2006 … Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce spent millions of dollars to convince voters that she was "soft on crime." "Fears and phobias drive policies instead of facts," Falk said.
Said State Public Defender Nicholas Chiarkis: "Tough on criminals sometimes is stupid on crime."
But before we get too caught up in all latest research and facts that refute the more guttural reaction:
But State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, said, "Democrats are trying to see what they can do to help criminals instead of seeing what we can do to help victims."
That assumes Democrats don’t care about crime victims and their own families safety. Which we all know is true, right Republicans? Hey, didn't you guys oppose the Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS grant program, that put 50,000 officers on the streets? (Bush) argued that it was not cost-effective. Prisons are?
Friday, April 24, 2009
But in the second ad, big business tries to inflate the "lawsuit abuse" myth balloon for another tour around the country. The one thing business doesn't want more of is any amount of liability to its costumers or communities. Without the worry of being held accountable, corporations are free to "test market" any product they can get away with making, with little or no concern about personal injury lawsuits. The ad points to a few cases where the system might have fallen down, but then, that would be enough of a reason to throw the baby out with the bath water.
I’ve included this short excerpt as a way of directing everyone to the entire story. In my naive world of rainbows, infomercial miracles and tweets, I guess I should have guessed the alternative world of business had been planning their own way of gaming the pathway to recovery.
“Is it too late? I hope not,” said an exasperated Anthony Fortunato, president of the 260-worker United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2604 at an ArcelorMittal steel mill in Lackawanna, New York, as he and his members watched the mill being systematically taken apart.
An eager buyer has been pressing the company for at least two months to sell the mill and thus keep the profitable operation open and the jobs alive. Fortunato is hoping the buyer will remain interested despite ArcelorMittal’s aggressive drive to gut the mill. ArcelorMittal is rushing to dismantle complex, custom-built ovens and other equipment that will take months to replace. Not only are they accelerating
the pace of outsourcing to low-wage nations like China, but there have been several recent instances of corporations closing profitable plants in the United
States and then refusing to sell them to other companies interested in keeping the plants open and retaining the current workforce. The plant has been consistently profitable, earning $48.4 million even in a recessionary year like 2008.
Yet ArcelorMittal is intent on shipping one product line to low-wage Brazil and another to France. Moreover, ArcelorMittal has rebuffed a proposal by another major steel company to buy the Hennepin mill and keep it running.
Republicans Reinstate Litmus Tests, Adopt the same Prerequisite Democrats were Criticized for Using.
Without even a hint of ironic reflection, Republicans and anti-abortion groups now fully support a litmus test for government positions. What wasn’t fair one minute is now completely okay with the flip-flop right wing crowd of hypocrites. According to the Capital Times:
The state Senate confirmed three of Gov. Jim Doyle's appointees to state boards despite opposition from anti-abortion advocates and Republicans ... Opponents argued they should not be allowed to serve because all three support abortion rights.
But then we have the usual Democrat who shoots himself in the foot by making the zealot right appear to have a shred of credibility.
…retired businessman Roger Axtell of Janesville voted with nine other members in February to approve a plan to perform late-term abortions at a Madison clinic ... Axtell said (Republican) state Sen. Glenn Grothman’s opposition was expected. "I can't blame them for taking a strong stand. They have very strong moral and ethical beliefs."
Odd Mr. Axtell, I would have thought that “choice” offered the stronger moral and ethical argument.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Of all those interviewed, I found Col. Steven Kleinman, a former military interrogator, the easiest to understand. Rachel Maddow makes it all look so easy.
2. "This is our due" treats power like it were an "entitlement" to be used by Republicans to control of our country for their own purposes and benefits.
One thing to think about: If "enhanced interrogation techniques" are not considered torture, what would stop some future Republican administration from "not torturing" Americans in our own country while investigating robberies, public protests and corruption?
Maybe this will be the issue their rabid base can finally get behind to recruit more disenfranchised Americans who are forming, as we speak, new kinds of anti-American/Democratic militia groups to take back their country. This is the same base of flag wavers who believe the democratic voting process unfairly took control of government away them, just as everything started to collapse around their failed ideologically driven system. A system they say they can now fix with the exact same tax cuts and deregulation. They truly are in a Bizarro World.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Hey Democrats, “the right of every American to choose their own doctor” Doesn’t Exist Now. GOP Argument Idiotic and Out of Touch
(AP) - Kathleen Sebelius won Senate committee approval as health secretary over Republican opposition … Just two of 10 committee Republicans joined majority Democrats in voting "yes," signaling GOP concerns over Sebelius' ties to a Kansas abortion doctor, as well as some broader skepticism about Obama's health care plans.For a party who once denounced anyone holding up Republican presidents choices for government posts, party opposition over health care reform was the game changer this time. Just another excuse to change the rules when it’s convenient.
Republican Sen. Jon Kyl questioned Sebelius' commitment to ensuring that the government doesn't try to interfere in Americans' health care choices. "I believe in the right of every American to choose the doctor, the hospital, the health plan of his or her choice," Kyl said. He contended that Sebelius had displayed "insufficient commitment to these principles." … Republicans fear a shift toward government-run health care.You mean the kind of insurance our public servants have? The same kind of insurance every industrialized country has, except us. A public plan that could steal away citizens from the dysfunctional private for profit insurance we have now? How unfair.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
McKenna: The people that were there were Democrats and Independents...
When just a few moments later:
McKenna: Republicans tend to be more amenable to messages of fiscal responsibility and accountability. So naturally you're going to see some of those people there...we would have loved to have some Democrats there who are interested in fiscal responsibility and government accountability.
Make up your mind, were Democrats there or not? And oh by the way, the conservative myth of fiscal responsibility and accountability experienced a reality check when McKenna's dear Republican Party left office leaving a $1.4 trillion dollars deficit and an economic depression . Naturally you're going to see Republicans drawn to this steaming pile of tea party rhetoric.
Will: The lawyering that produced the memos flowed from the theory subscribed to by very "intelligent people" called the unitary theory of the president. These are presidentialists...
Donaldson: Where in the Constitution do you find that...?
Will: These are intelligent ...these are intelligent men and women of goodwill...
Donaldson: If the president does it, it's legal.
Will: I'm just telling you there are intelligent people out there that believe it or not, disagree with you.
I'm with Sam.
The Huffington Post:
Senator Russ Feingold, one of the harshest critics of the Bush administration's nation security policies, says he can not bring himself to support President Obama's apparent decision not to investigate or prosecute illegalities from those years.
Later, the Senator took a swipe at some of the rationalizations for avoiding prosecution that have been voiced by Washington lawmakers and pundits. "If you want to see just how outrageous this is, I refer you to the remarks made by Peggy Noonan this Sunday," he said, referring to the longtime conservative columnist's appearance on ABC's This Week. "I frankly have never heard anything quite as disturbing as her remark that was something to the affect of: 'well sometimes you just have to move on.'"
"Some things in life need to be mysterious," Noonan said on Sunday about the release of the torture memos. "Sometimes you need to just keep walking. ... It's hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, oh, much good will come of that."
It is not necessary to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to honor President Barack Obama's campaign promise to add stronger labor and environmental provisions, said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk … Obama said the United States should use the "hammer" of threatening to withdraw from NAFTA if Canada and Mexico did not agree to change the pact. Although most mainstream U.S. business and farm groups credit NAFTA with boosting U.S. exports and increasing economic efficiency in North America, union groups in many manufacturing states blame the pact for heavy job losses.Of course the loss of manufacturing jobs is of little concern to free market Republicans who offer the displaced underfunded job retraining programs as the solution to losing ones lively hood. Enter the Democrats. Obama’s threat of withdrawal helped him win an election from a public already afraid of losing their jobs and homes due to the failed U.S. economic direction Bush and the Republicans were taking us. But corporatism has been firmly implanted in the minds of a formerly demoralized Democratic Party, thinking maybe the Republicans had made their case for unfettered globalization in the arena of public opinion, acquiescing to the now failed policy. Ignoring the statistical data below, the conviction less Democrats are now about to throw middle America under the bus according to the Financial Times:
The US recession has opened up the biggest gap between male and female unemployment rates since records began in 1948, as men bear the brunt of the economy’s contraction. Men have lost almost 80 per cent of the 5.1m jobs that have gone in the US since the recession started, pushing the male unemployment rate to 8.8 per cent. The female jobless rate has hit 7 per cent.
It also means that women could soon overtake men as the majority of the US labour force. Men have been disproportionately hurt because they dominate those industries that have been crushed: nine in every 10 construction workers are male, as are seven in every 10 manufacturing workers. These two sectors alone have lost almost 2.5m jobs. Women, in contrast, tend to hold more cyclically stable jobs and make up 75 per cent of the most insulated sectors of all: education and health care.
The widening gap between male and female joblessness means many US families are solely reliant on the income the woman brings in. Since women earn on average 20 per cent less than men, that is putting extra strain on many households.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Republicans' main attack is a claim that climate legislation will cost U.S. households $3,100 a year. They got the number by doing some additional math based on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, and they're sticking with it, even though John Reilly, an MIT economist and the author of the study, told them that they misinterpreted his work and that their number is wrong.You would have thought that would have been it, the story ends there, right? That would be true if the Republican Party wasn’t already blatantly and unabashedly lying about everything already. Partisan? Not when you consider the facts, including:
Those who back emissions controls say the cost of doing nothing will be higher … In Congress, some Democrats and at least one Republican senator support a plan that would return all the money the government collects in the program to all Americans to compensate for the higher energy costs. Republicans, however, say that there's no agreement yet on how to control costs, so they didn't factor that in.If they didn’t factor that in then the story they’re telling is already a lie. But it gets worse.
Reilly, of MIT and author of the study, wrote a letter to Republicans saying that their figure didn't accurately account for the cost of the permits and that the total cost of those pollution permits would have little bearing on the actual cost to the average person.Republicans dismissed his letter.They dismissed it. There it is in PRINT for everyone to read. They dismissed the hard cold facts the guy who wrote the study warned. Yet the press will still treat their “debate” as if it had substance and credibility? Sure.
It sounds to me like the panicky right wing politicians want to stir up the base while ignoring the eventual rebates to the consumer for now, get some mileage out of the B.S., and vote against it anyway.
Nonetheless, there's some evidence that their political offensive is working. Just before the House approved the budget on a largely party-line vote, Boehner said that the energy plan would "cost the average family $3,100 a year. As we flip on a light ... in Ohio, our electricity rates go up at least 50 percent the day this bill passes - 50 percent. And they could go as high as 100 percent."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that because rates could go up, "you must have a credit immediately, dividends, right on that same bill. ... We can't go forward unless we make the ratepayer whole."
Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker and others, are pushing a form of "cap and dividend" plans. Van Hollen, who's Pelosi's assistant for policy issues, would sell all the allowances at an auction and return a monthly "consumer dividend" to mitigate higher energy prices.
Incredibly, after about three months of the Obama administration, the teabagger base of the same Republican Party that economically destroyed this country, are driven to “take their country back.” For a repeat performance?
That’s the problem.
So what would the business lobby in Wisconsin want changed, with my response first in parenthesis:
Promoting Quality Health Care (Not affordable universal coverage like competing global nations, but expanding the failed dysfunctional private for profit care. More corporate rationing): We should focus our efforts on improving the current private sector health care delivery system ... improving quality and reducing unnecessary or inappropriate treatment.
Enhance Fairness in our Legal System (Perpetuate the myth of outlandish and unfair jury awards/allow companies to make unsafe products with no penalties): We should adopt comprehensive product liability reforms.
Ensure Uniform Employment Regulations (Prevent the labor movement from advancing fairness incrementally in the workplace by again, putting in place a one-size-fits-all set of rules/employee fairness “confusing”): State law should preclude the adoption of a patchwork of confusing and conflicting employment regulations by local units of government.
Keep Wisconsin Competitive (Do away with business taxes altogether/race to the bottom/detach corporate responsibility from local communities): We should strive to maintain the progress made in reducing Wisconsin’s overall state and local tax burden to keep us competitive among the 50 states in terms of taxation.
Encourage Balanced Budgeting (State budgeting that reduces funding flexibility of essential programs with generally accepted accounting approved by Republicans): Encourage balanced budgeting through adherence to generally accepted accounting principles.
Control Property Taxes (Again, a one-size-fits-all artificial cap on taxes unrelated to the economy, market and community need): Control property taxes imposed by municipalities, counties, technical college districts and other special districts, allowing for reasonable growth while keeping Wisconsin competitive with other states.
Understand and Manage Benefit Costs (Privatize government and do away with health benefits and retirement programs/be like the private sector and dump people off into under funded government programs/then cut funding for programs): Provide school districts and local governments with maximum flexibility in managing costs associated with health care and retirement plans, and encourage them to be competitive with the best plans available in the private sector.
Reduce Cost Shifting (Raise the cost of Medicaid by increasing payments to private insurers, making it insolvent): Support sufficient reimbursement for hospitals and clinics under the existing Medicaid program, and the leveraging of the state's fair share of federal matching funds in order to reduce the cost shift that currently occurs to patients and private insurers because of underpayment in that program.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Norris just called the U.S. the enemy of the state. Norris, like many Republicans, wants to cut and run. Secede like a true patriot?
Martial-arts master Chuck Norris has his sights set on becoming more than a Texas Ranger - he has volunteered to run as the state's first president. Norris, who is a staunch Republican, insists Texans want an independent state after being let down by the American government - and thinks he'd be the ideal candidate to lead the Lone Star state's revolution.
He says, "I may run for president of Texas. That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state.
You know what that means…"Anyone who has been around Texas for any length of time knows exactly what we'd do if the going got rough in America."-WIBA-AM
Uh-oh, the right wing is now a target, and they don’t like it. Dept. of Homeland Security Victimizing Republicans.
Back at you GOP:
Right-wing extremists in the United States are gaining new recruits by exploiting fears about the economy and the election of the first black U.S. president, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a report to law enforcement officials.
The April 7 report said such fears were driving a resurgence in "recruitment and radicalization activity" by white supremacist groups, anti-government extremists and militia movements … it warned that home foreclosures, unemployment and other consequences of the economic recession "could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists. To the extent that these factors persist, right-wing extremism is likely to grow in strength," DHS said.
The report warned that military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat skills could be recruitment targets, especially those having trouble finding jobs or fitting back into civilian society. Extremist groups are preying on fears that President Barack Obama, the first African American U.S. president, would restrict gun ownership, boost immigration and expand social programs for minorities, the report said.
Government scrutiny disrupted violent plots following the April 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City by Army veteran Timothy McVeigh which killed 168 people.
A similar assessment of left-wing radicals completed in January was distributed to federal, state and local police agencies at that time. -Reuters
Democratic Head of HSS Napolitano Crumbles Under Phony “Extremist Veteran” Reference, Giving Credibility to Lunatic Right.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized today to U.S. military veterans who took offense at being mentioned in a domestic intelligence report that concluded that a declining economy and the nation's political climate could fuel a resurgence of right-wing extremism, saying any slight was unintended.-Washington PostIt was an unintended "slight" because the patriotic right wing flag wavers created a phony issue. Simply put, it's a projection of their own lack of veteran support (downgrading veteran PTSD, under funding vet health care and in Wisconsin- a free college education with no state funding to back it up).
The Department of Homeland Security's intelligence section stated, "The return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks."Once the Democratic Napolitano gave in, the flood gates of phony legitimacy were opened for this priceless over-the-top right wing reaction:
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, asked the director of national intelligence's ombudsman to investigate the report for "evidence of unsubstantiated conclusions and political bias."I hope Hoekstra shows the same outrage over the “left wing” reports wording and vilification of war protestors and liberal activist groups that pose no danger to the public. Don’t hold your breath. It wasn't so long ago such an investigation was portrayed by the Republicans as a "witch hunt."
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Will this "America first" crowd be so angry that they would dump their slogan God and country and threaten to secede from the union like the Governor of Texas suggested? Two perspectives are presented here: The news coverage of the "event," and Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert's take (on the right).
Foxnews/AP: Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!"
Later, answering news reporters' questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.
"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
The protests, organized throughout the country by conservative groups and talk show hosts, were held on the federal income tax deadline day to imitate the original
Boston Tea Party of American revolutionary times.
Wisconsin State Journal: A man who identified himself as the owner of a ceramic tile business (in Madison)but who declined to give his name held a large red and white sign that said "Obama is the Anti-Christ." Several people stopped to take their picture with him.
"He needs to go," the man said of the president. "This is the first and last warning he’ll get."
Mike Smart, a 51-year-old oil field worker from West Texas, held up a white handwritten sign that said, "I'll keep my freedom, my $ and my guns. You keep the change." Another protester, 38-year-old Melva Fried, said the forced ouster of General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Wagoner was the last straw for her -- a symbol the federal government was moving toward socialism. "When a president can fire the head of a company, that's too much," she said, holding a sign that read "Stop Rewarding Failure."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Teabaggers are not only complaining about the rich paying higher taxes, ignoring their own tax cuts, but they want to kick kids out of college so they won't get a liberal brainwashing. One woman throws in "burn the books" as another helpful suggestion.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Even though the state of Virginia, the home state of Marlboro and the world’s largest cigarette factory has banned most smoking in restaurants and bars, Republican Party members in Wisconsin apparently haven't been paying attention to the last 50 years of medical warnings about the dangers and costs of smoking. Take Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman's comments recently on Upfront with Mike Gousha (goo-Shay).
Democratic Rep. Jon Richards sanely brought up a few scientific facts and researched social costs relating to the harmful effects of smoking. Of course, Sen. Glenn Grothman would have none of it. Here are some Glenn gems:
"This isn't much of a public health problem, this is just a convenience problem...A lot of people out there don't smoke and they say "if I don't smoke, I don't want the guy next to me to smoke either."Right, that's what people are thinking. Oh, but it gets worse. We'll lose our "freedom"... to add to the rising cost of health care.
"Again it comes down to a matter of freedom. As people smoke less, the people that don't smoke seem to get madder and madder. Government continues to expand and it will expand to take one more freedom from us this year in the legislature."
Keep in mind, Republicans think health care costs can be brought down if people would just live healthier lifestyles. That wouldn't include inhaling less smoke would it?
Madison's disabled community can pretty much forget about renting an apartment without a subsidy of some kind. A new report, "Priced Out in 2008," found that it takes about 80 percent of the monthly SSI payment of $720.78 to rent a market studio apartment in the Madison area and an unbelievable 99.3 percent of monthly SSI income to rent a one-bedroom apartment. (SSI, Supplemental Security Income, is a federal program that is the sole source of income for many of the four million seriously and permanently disabled people who receive it.)
Things are even worse in some places. Nationally it takes an average 112 percent of SSI income to rent a one-bedroom apartment. And in three cities, in Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts, SSI recipients would need to spend two times their monthly income to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Not only impossible, but absurd, as the report comments.
The two national advocacy groups for the disabled who conducted the housing study report that the situation worsened under the Bush administration.
In Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' autobiography, My Grandfather's Son, he describes the events surrounding his nomination as if he were a victim of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment claim against him. He betrays his hatred for liberal Democratic citizens when he rants about fearing the Ku Klux Klan’s lynch mobs but “my worst fears had come to pass not in Georgia, but in Washington, D.C., where I was being pursued not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony.”
But Thomas’ emotional well being should be a question. In a recent NY Times article, “He talked about his burdens and his dark moods and about seeking inspiration in speeches and movies. “I tend to be morose sometimes,” the justice said. But he said he had found solace in his den. “Sometimes, when I get a little down,” Justice Thomas said wearily…! Oh boy!
Justice Thomas doesn’t see a problem reminiscing fondly about a time when he could see “a flag and a crucifix in each classroom.” And even though it might be a fond memory, Thomas never seemed to become more enlightened when he reveals, “… how can you not reminisce about a childhood where you began each day with the Pledge of Allegiance as little kids lined up in the schoolyard and then marched in two by two with a flag and a crucifix in each classroom?”
If you had any question about Justice Thomas’ ability to apply a simple objective constitutional judgment in cases before the Supreme Court, this should provide the answer:
And though the dinner was sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute, he admitted to an uneasy relationship with the whole idea of rights. The event … was devoted to the Bill of Rights, but Justice Thomas did not embrace the document, and he proposed a couple of alternatives. “Today there is much focus on our rights,” Justice Thomas said. “Indeed, I think there is a proliferation of rights. I am often surprised by the virtual nobility that seems to be accorded those with grievances. Shouldn’t there at least be equal time for our Bill of Obligations and our Bill of Responsibilities?” He gave examples: “It seems that many have come to think that each of us is owed prosperity and a certain standard of living. They’re owed air conditioning, cars, telephones, televisions.” Those are luxuries, Justice Thomas said.“ I have to admit,” he said, “that I’m one of those people that still thinks the dishwasher is a miracle. What a device.”And like any authoritarian, he finds it insulting to have his opinions questioned.
Justice Thomas seemed a little sensitive to the sort of second-guessing that comes with the territory for those who sit on the Supreme Court. “This job is easy for people who’ve never done it,” he said later. “What I have found in this job is they know more about it than I do, especially if they have the title ‘law professor.’ ”If only we could just do away with these know-it-all educators.