Monday, January 31, 2011

The American Worker Losing, American Industry Winning.

Young Terk Cenk Uygur, on MSNBC, takes a look at American incomes and what has been good for business but bad for us.

The Generic Disaster Fund Raising Event Song.

I loved this 30 Rock attempt to create a generic, ready to go disaster fund raising special. De Niro and the song "Help the people, the thing that happened, happened too."

What is the Health Care Industries End Game? Wendell Potter Exposes them.

Ed Schultz and former insurance industry insider Wendell Potter take a look at where insurers are headed with Republicans and repeal.

Could Feingold get elected again if he ran? Yes. So much for the Republican Mandate.

I came across this December 14th, 2010 article at the Journal Sentinel online:
The highlights: Kohl leads in hypothetical match-ups with Republicans Tommy Thompson, Paul Ryan and J.B. Van Hollen … Kohl’s approval rating is 50%, his disapproval rating 35%.
Russ Feingold, who lost his 2010 re-election bid, also leads the same three Republicans in hypothetical 2012 match-ups. Public Policy Polling apparently included Feingold in its survey to account for a scenario in which Kohl decides against a fifth term and Feingold runs in his place. Kohl is still expected by many Democrats to run again.
Feingold’s approval rating is the same as Kohl’s (50%) but his disapproval rating is higher (43%).
The pollster also notes the seeming oddity of Feingold performing well when he just lost to Republican Ron Johnson:
The pollster's explanation is that this new poll is not a survey of the 2010 mid-term electorate, whose makeup was atypically conservative. It's a survey of a different and broader population of people who have voted at least once in a recent major election, including the high-turnout presidential elections of 2004 and 2008. That would presumably help explain how Feingold could have a 54% approval rating among independents in this new statewide poll after losing (according to exit polls) self-identified independent voters this past fall by 13 points. The numbers can be found here

Palin bans gun at speaking events. With so many armed individuals, you’d think she would feel safer around Second Amendment supporters?

Here’s a letter to the Capital Times editor about Palin's fear of guns:
Dear Editor: On Monday evening Jan. 24, Sarah Palin returned to her public speaking tour with a fundraising speech for a conservative Christian school in Lubbock, Texas. Her staff enforced what the local press called “tight security.” Despite a Texas law that forbids the banning of concealed handguns held by Texas permit-holders in public venues, all members of the audience had to bring a photo ID, pass through metal detectors, and anyone who tried to bring in a weapon, permit or not, was subject to arrest … even when the owners have completed the mandatory 10 hours Texas training course, should not be anywhere around a speaker whose motto has been: “Don’t retreat, reload.”
I did take the opportunity to call the Lubbock Police Department on Tuesday, and was advised that no one questioned the forbidding of guns by Palin’s staff, and Palin indicated she would do so at all future engagements. Apparently neither Texas law nor Second Amendment rights apply in the vicinity of the self-proclaimed “mama grizzly.”-Daniel Golden

Will Republicans include Student ID’s in the Wisconsin Voter ID Bill? Are you kidding?

Republicans might tell you they’re not trying to suppress student and minority voters, but they would be lying. Why then would Republican state legislators forget to include student ID’s and passports in the new law?
jsonline: The state's chief election officer recommended changes Wednesday to a bill that would require voters to show photo IDs at the polls, including allowing student IDs and passports to be used for voting.
Which drew this shocking respsonse:
Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), the committee chairwoman, said after the hearing that she wanted to see what the photo IDs issued by UW schools look like before deciding whether to allow them.
Yes, that was the committee chair overseeing the change, admitting she had not even considered or viewed our own state issued university ID card. But Lazich’s comment is softball stuff compared to another state Republicans shot at student voters.

A Republican bill in New Hampshire has stripped away all the conservative double talk, about restoring confidence in our elections, and outright bans out of state students from voting. According to Jonathan Turley:
New Hampshire Rep. Gregory Sorg (R- Grafton County) is being accused of trying to prune the voter rolls of presumed liberal voters by barring college students from voting. His “Voters Attending Institutions of Learning” would tell students to vote back home.
The law would establish that “the domicile for voting purposes” of a college student would be the town or city “in which such person had his or her domicile immediately prior to matriculation (admitted into a group, especially a college or university)… even though his or her intent to return thereto is uncertain.”
So, even if the student does not reside in another state and has no plans to return to the earlier state, New Hampshire will refuse to recognize his or her domicile for purposes of voting?  
I have serious constitutional doubts over the viability of the law, particularly in terms of vagueness and equal protection.
However, it is the motivation that is now being questioned after the release of comments by Speaker of the House William O’Brien (R-Hillsborough), who told a conservative group that college students registering to vote on Election Day “are basically doing what I did when I was a kid and foolish, voting as a liberal.”
Foolish youthful liberals. An amazing admission. Fraud you say, really…
Supporters, however, insist that college students increase the danger of voting fraud in the state.
It would bar these voters on highly speculative grounds to fighting voter fraud without a showing that such fraud is the direct result of college students voting or that such fraud can be avoided without disenfranchising young people.
Notably, while politicians are constantly complaining about young people not being involved in politics and voting, this bill would bar students from getting involved. I am astonished not to see any response from educational organizations in opposition to this proposal.
One hope remains for Wisconsin voters:
David Canon, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist said the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Indiana's photo ID requirement, but Wisconsin's law could be found unconstitutional if more types of IDs aren't allowed.

Will Gov. Walker give up another $500 million savings to tear down liberal Medicaid program?

Of course he will. Even his new Health Services Sec. Dennis Smith said the savings is likely, but added ideologically, that taxpayers don’t want to pay for it either through state or federal taxes. Well that makes sense in some down-the-rabbit-hole parallel universe, and it would certainly give Walker a little cover with his base, but it still wouldn't be true. Forget that reform is paid for and will not increase our deficit by over a trillion dollars (a lie our not-to-swift Sen. Ron Johnson claimed-it’ll do just the opposite).
Jsonline: Wisconsin could save more than $500 million from 2014 to 2019 from health care reform as the federal government picks up a larger share of the cost of insuring people with limited incomes.
That projection is based on an analysis of the testimony of Dennis Smith, the new secretary of the state Department of Health Services, before a congressional committee last week.
Oops!! Gov. Walker is going to have to tap dance around that taxpayer savings when he kills it. As I’ve pointed out so many times before…
Wisconsin would save money because its BadgerCare Plus program has relatively broad eligibility. Under health care reform, the federal government would pay a larger share of the costs of that coverage.
Smith did not cite the potential savings to the state directly in his testimony. Rather, he told the committee, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, that the health care reform law would cost the state $433 million. But he then pointed out that other provisions of the law could lead to nearly $1 billion in additional federal payments to the state, which would offset the state's costs. In general, states with a large number of uninsured residents will bear an additional cost. States with fewer uninsured residents, such as Wisconsin, will save money.
Offset the costs? Who cares though, when we all know "Obamacare" will destroy our great country. 
The potential savings would not begin until after the next two-year state budget cycle, ending June 30, 2013, and would not help with the current budget shortfall. Smith noted in his testimony that it makes little difference to taxpayers whether they pay for the expanded coverage through federal or other taxes.
Len Nichols, a professor of health policy at George Mason University, said "There is a lot of ideology involved in the way you present things. I think it's fair to say, on balance, (it is) highly likely that Wisconsin will be better off. But it's hard to get people to be balanced at the moment."
Not just hard, but impossible. No matter how much it will save Americans money, lives and out of pocket expenses, my conservative friend will respond by simply saying, “Government doesn’t have any right to get involved. Period.”

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yea, right...Tea Party's Rebelling Against the Republican Failure under Bush.

Republican extremists, otherwise known as the tea party, are a little late in reacting to Bush, the Republican majority and a long list of recent issues. The "humanity" challenged group of conservative misfits had this to say, in an attempt to distract from their racist, Randian/Dickensian policies. But we know they're lying. 
Washington Post: Virginia Tea Party Patriots leader Jamie Radtke went after the Republican establishment Thursday during an address to the Senate Tea Party caucus.
During her address to the caucus, National Journal reports Radtke said, "The Tea Party movement would not exist today if the Republicans had not failed under the Bush years."

Lobbyist and former State Senator Bob Welch on Wis. Wind Energy: "This is not a good place for wind...not a good place to build them at all"

Remember the Republican mantra of "government shouldn't be in the business of picking winners and loser" as it relates to jobs? Guess what, that exactly what the Walker administration is doing, on steroids, out in the open for all the media to see. Green energy and transportation industries; losers. Old established corporate bullies; winners.

When a powerful conservative group with the deceptive name, "Coalition for Wisconsin Environmental Stewardship" gets involved,  it should send up red flags to everyone that its position will be flat out ballsy against green energy. Even worse, one of the most partisan conservative former state senators imaginable, Bob Welch, is their public spokesperson. True to form, Welch immediately trashes Wisconsin as "bad for business" in the emerging green economy. When you hear him use terms like a "windmill ghetto," and "we can't see these 'green jobs' canceling out the other jobs," the nation will receive his and Wisconsin's unmistakable message; STAY AWAY.!!! From WPT's Here and Now:
Bob Welch: "The whole issue here is where should you build, and if you should build wind. Wisconsin is not a good place for wind, we don't have the kind of wind capacity that they do OUT this is not a good place to build them at the set back issue, if you were talking about 1800 ft. in a wheat field in North Dakota, nobody would care...your stopping other development. So you're saying we're going to create jobs, but your actually costing jobs at the same time."

Humorously, Welch complains the wind industry helped develop the legislation, not an unusual practice and something Gov. Walker is now encouraging with his private/public commerce department.  Or how about the recent Walker backed legislation to allow one business, Bass Pro Shops,  to usurp the state constitution so they could build in a wetland area (which Bass declined to do out of respect for the environment). Welch should be a comedian.

Hypocrisy is about to become a meaningless word due to the Republicans contradictory agenda, and my overuse of the reference.

The Anti-Business "Business" Gov. Walker. Pt 1

What really is a pro-business state climate? We are about to see one vision unfold... 
Joel McNally –Scott Walker could be one of the most anti-business governors in Wisconsin history … consider the rapidly mounting evidence … Enough already has been written about Walker’s rejection of $810million in federal funds for a high-speed train that could have produced up to 15,000 jobs for construction firms … shut down other business opportunities related to improved passenger and freight transportation … chased away the newly opened Talgo train car production plant, one of the few major industries moving into Milwaukee’s economically devastated black community in decades.
Now Walker wants to shut down another major industry that recently moved into Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley with various companies drawing up plans for $1.8 billion in business investment around the state … renewable wind energy industry, one of those “clean energy” businesses that will continue to expand.
Walker talks publicly about reducing regulation of industry, but he is proposing prohibitive regulations on wind farms … the most restrictive in the nation … Walker simply wants to put companies ready to spend billions of dollars in Wisconsin out of business.
It’s an oddly anti-business pattern for a governor who his top priority was “jobs, jobs and more jobs.” The major legislation he has introduced would not create a single job … What Walker’s bills would do is reduce the financial penalties for companies that injure or kill their own workers or manufacture products that injure or kill consumers … Walker touts this vicious legislation as a way of “improving Wisconsin’s business climate.” It would be difficult to imagine a more anti-business statement … When doing bad things starts costing a company money, good companies make higher profits.
When doing bad things starts costing a company money, good companies make higher profits.
That’s what makes Walker an anti-business governor. He would put good businesses at a competitive disadvantage in Wisconsin.

Paul Krugman on what really happened in Europe, and not the fantasy created by Republicans

My friend is always warning me that what happened in Ireland and Europe will happen here. After all, it's just another part of the created myth Republicans have successfully painted of our allies. This might open their eyes:
"Just take a look at what's happening to Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and other nations in Europe. They didn't act soon enough; and now their governments have been forced to impose painful austerity measures: large benefit cuts to seniors and huge tax increases on everybody."
It's a good story: Europeans dithered on deficits, and that led to crisis. Unfortunately, while that's more or less true for Greece, it isn't at all what happened either in Ireland or in Britain, whose experience actually refutes the current Republican narrative.
But then, American conservatives have long had their own private Europe of the imagination — a place of economic stagnation and terrible health care, a collapsing society groaning under the weight of Big Government. The fact that Europe isn't actually like that - did you know that adults in their prime working years are more likely to be employed in Europe than they are in the United States? - hasn't deterred them.
On the eve of the financial crisis, conservatives had nothing but praise for Ireland, a low-tax, low-spending country by European standards. The Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom ranked it above every other Western nation. In 2006, George Osborne, now Britain's chancellor of the Exchequer, declared Ireland "a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policy making." And the truth was that in 2006-07 Ireland was running a budget surplus, and had one of the lowest debt levels in the advanced world.
So what went wrong? The answer is: out-of-control banks; Irish banks ran wild during the good years, creating a huge property bubble. When the bubble burst, revenue collapsed, causing the deficit to surge, while public debt exploded because the government ended up taking over bank debts. And harsh spending cuts, while they have led to huge job losses, have failed to restore confidence.
The lesson of the Irish debacle, then, is very nearly the opposite of what Ryan would have us believe. It doesn't say "cut spending now, or bad things will happen"; it says that balanced budgets won't protect you from crisis if you don't effectively regulate your banks - a point made in the newly released report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which concludes that "30 years of deregulation and reliance on self-regulation" helped create our own catastrophe. Have I mentioned that Republicans are doing everything they can to undermine financial reform?
What about Britain? Well, contrary to what Ryan seemed to imply, Britain has not, in fact, suffered a debt crisis. True, David Cameron, who became prime minister last May, has made a sharp turn toward fiscal austerity. But that was a choice, not a response to market pressure.
And underlying that choice was the new British government's adherence to the same theory offered by Republicans to justify their demand for immediate spending cuts here - the claim that slashing government spending in the face of a depressed economy will actually help growth rather than hurt it.
So how's that theory looking? Not good. The British economy, which seemed to be recovering earlier in 2010, turned down again in the fourth quarter. Yes, weather was a factor, and, no, you shouldn't read too much into one quarter's numbers. But there's certainly no sign of the surging private-sector confidence that was supposed to offset the direct effects of eliminating half-a-million government jobs. And, as a result, there's no comfort in the British experience for Republican claims that the United States needs spending cuts in the face of mass unemployment.
Which brings me back to Paul Ryan and his response to Obama. Again, American conservatives have long used the myth of a failing Europe to argue against progressive policies in America. More recently, they have tried to appropriate Europe's debt problems on behalf of their own agenda, never mind the fact that events in Europe actually point the other way.
But Ryan is widely portrayed as an intellectual leader within the GOP, with special expertise on matters of debt and deficits. So the revelation that he literally doesn't know the first thing about the debt crises currently in progress is, as I said, interesting - and not in a good way.

Ryan used Social Security to pay for College...but that was different?

Under closer scrutiny, Paul Ryan is finally being revealed as the hypocrite he's been for years in Wisconsin. Oddly, despite supporting policies that collapsed the auto industry and outsourced jobs devastating his district, people love to vote for him. Firedoglake helped spread the ironic news I've been posting here for years: 
Here’s what fiscal fraud Paul Ryan (R-WI) said about Social Security in his State of the Union rebuttal.
This is a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency.
Turns out, when Ryan was an able-bodied young lad, he used that hammock to pay for his college education. (h/t Gottalaff)
On the day Paul Davis Ryan was born in 1970, President Richard Nixon unveiled his record-setting $200.8 billion federal budget proposal for the upcoming year – a budget that included a large increase in Social Security payments. [...]
One day as a 16 year old, Ryan came upon the lifeless body of his father. Paul Ryan, Sr. had died of a heart attack at age 55, leaving the Janesville Craig High School 10th grader, his three older brothers and sisters and his mother alone. It was Paul who told the family of his father’s death. [...]
With his father’s passing, young Paul collected Social Security benefits until age 18, which he put away for college.
College costs have skyrocketed since Ryan entered Miami University in 1988, yet Ryan wants to slash the very system that he benefited from because it produces “dependency.”
Figures. This is a guy who requires his staffers to read Atlas Shrugged, and we now know that Ayn Randwas a big welfare queen herself.

American Public says NO to Corporate Person hood

 This is an interesting piece of info about overturning Citizens United:
The Progressive: The vast majority of the American public despises this ruling and favors the only remedy available to us: amending the Constitution.
In a recent poll by Hart Research, 87% of Democrats, 82% of Independents, and even 68% of Republicans support the passage of an amendment that would “make clear that corporations do not have the same rights as people.”

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gov. Walker creates New Health Care Office in secret to replace the old new office, so they will meet…but not meet…to create exchanges, so….god my head is hurting now.

After bankrupting Milwaukee County as its executive, Gov. Walker is taking his “Ideology Express Train of Destruction” across the entire state of Wisconsin to do the same thing. In a sign of "open government and a healthy debate"…
CapTimes: Gov. Scott Walker signed the executive order creating the new Free Market health Care office Thursday. No members of the news media were present. (He) created a new office to fight federal health care reform … to simultaneously create a health care exchange in Wisconsin, as required under the federal health care reform bill, while also exploring "all opportunities and alternative approaches" that would free Wisconsin from establishing that exchange.
"He is setting up an exchange to get out of an exchange," state Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach told me Friday.
It's even crazier:
Walker's new Office of Free Market Health Care will replace the office … created by Gov. Doyle … to make recommendations on how to establish an exchange, but it is now chaired by Republicans and its members have decided they will no longer meet to carry out that mission.
Instead, the state's new office will be tasked with creating an exchange. 
…without meeting? Huh? We’re not even one month into this new administration and they’ve turned Wisconsin into a laughing stock, not to mention a Through the Looking Glass world of Humpty Dumptyisms

New Partisan Health Services Sec. Smith warns Wis. Care at risk. Yeah, from Gov. Walker.

Let’s get the facts straight; Wisconsin will spend less on preparing for health care reform because it is well ahead of all those states now whining about their own heavy start-up costs. That fact flies in the face of our new Health Services Secretary’s dire nonsensical warning, he actually disproves in his own mixed-up statement:
Wispolitics: (New) Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith told the House Budget Committee today that Wisconsin will see little of the benefits promised under the federal health care reform law despite costing taxpayers an estimated $560 million annually. "Wisconsin already has achieved the coverage rates aspired to under PPACA," Smith said ... "We have a strong, competitive health insurance market, which we want to preserve and protect. All of the gains Wisconsin has made should not be put at risk."
Hey Sec. Smith, tell that to Gov. Walker. Think about it; How does being prepared put anything at risk, unless he’s talking about cuts yet to be revealed by Gov. Walker (more on that in the blog above).

The undeniable cost reductions were tempered by paranoid delusions of their own media creation. You know what I’m talking about; losing coverage, costs rising and denial of the actual CBO numbers showing a savings. In fact, Democrats and Obama warned that any savings in the reform package wouldn’t materialize in the first 5 or 6 years, a point completely ignored by Republicans:
He acknowledged that the state would see some cost reductions as citizens moved from other programs to new federal health care credits. "Individuals indeed will lose their current coverage. The cost of health care continues to go up, not down," Smith said. "And most important of all, the promised level of savings for American families will not materialize."
All fear mongering lobbyist talking points that contradict the CBO numbers that say $1.2 trillion dollars will be saved in the next 20 years. That's the same CBO Paul Ryan's brags liked his Road Map plan, that unbelievably, balances the federal budget 50 YEARS into the future. That's after racking up over $60 trillion dollars in deficits. And that supposes nothing major will happen in the next 50 years to throw those numbers off. Good luck with that.

Paul Ryan is trying to confuse: He claims his government health care benefit...which is like like his privatized reform plan in the Road Map...... I'm dizzy

Rep. Paul Ryan, who can’t get enough face time, added more contradictory mumbo jumbo to the already confused misinformation campaign he and his Republican co-harts have been pushing through Congress. No wonder the tea party brain trust is still shouting "keep your government hands off Medicare:"
Ryan, in his opening statement at (a recent) hearing, said "There is an alternative path and it is a path that leads to true choice and competition in health care. It is modeled after the health care system we ourselves in Congress enjoy. It puts patients first -- with providers competing for our business."
 Huh? Did you catch that? Since there is really NO similar country wide private health care model like Ryan's to hold up as an example, he instead portrays his own government-taxpayer paid plan (similar to Obamacare) to the free market theory pushed in his dystopian “Road Map.” Doh!!

Is he crazy or just delusional to take it one step further:
Wispolitics: "But before we can get there, we must reject the notion that a centrally planned, bureaucratically run health care system can produce more favorable outcomes than one managed by doctors and patients."
THE HONEST REWRITE that disproves Ryan's theory, the one he doesn't want you think about, offers up the actual choices: 
"But before we can get there, we must reject the notion that a centrally planned, bureaucratically run health care system can produce more favorable outcomes than the bureaucratically run insurance managed outcomes that supersede doctors and patients now."
If the outcomes and costs reported from every other country with a national health care system is any indication, than Ryan's premised statement is patently false.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Watching the Texas Experiment of Fundamental Small Government and Lies

The hot bed of Republican governance is Texas. How will they deal with their states $300 billion deficit? They won’t:
Rick Perry prevailed upon Republicans to withdraw their children from the state's elementary and secondary public schools while giving a keynote address to a group of Texas conservative business leaders at a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Houston.
While conservative whine about the high cost of public education, the ever growing higher cost of private education is “no problem.” Imagine taxpayers doling out money for the following private school tuitions:
“Now I know most of you present here have already enrolled your children in some of our state's finest private schools. But I want to make private schools more accessible to Republican Christian families that cannot afford to pay high tuition and for those who cannot home school their children. In a city like Houston private school tuition can cost between $10,000 to $25,000 per year per child.”
Huh? So public education is killing taxpayers, but private school tuitions at twice the price will be more affordable?

Even more revealing is his open admission that it isn’t public schools so much as their liberal influence;
“I am concerned that some the highly diverse Magnet public schools in this city are becoming hotbeds for liberalism.  Do we really need free school bus service, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, ESL, special needs and enrichment programs like music, art or math Olympiad? I think we should get back to the basics of the three Rs, reading writing and arithmetic. I mean when is the last time a 6th grade science fair project yielded a cure for a disease?”
The audience chuckled.  
No outrage? Oh yea, this is Texas. Ready for another jaw dropping comment?
“I really don't see why high schools should have to teach college level courses like calculus, economics, physics, chemistry or biology. Oil field workers need to know how to operate machines that extract oil. They don't need calculus to do their job.”
The audience chuckled again.  
“The goal is to establish affordable fundamentalist Christian learning and cultural centers that would serve as an alternative to public schools.  I have no problem if curriculum specialists and teachers decide to replace language arts and literature with bible study. The Christian learning center's students will have to do quite a bit of praying once they graduate and enter the global market place.”
An editorial writer for the Houston Chronicle also reveals the forthcoming pain that will be delivered to the people of Texas; “Those cuts may lead to, among many other things, the elimination of nearly 10,000 state jobs and as many as 100,000 public education jobs, loss of financial aid for 60,000 students; and $2 billion in cuts to programs like Medicaid, CHIP and food stamps that keep our most vulnerable citizens alive.”
Welcome to the first third world state of the United States of America.  

The Republican Wisconsin Legislature, in an unabashed display of outright Racism, Repealing Ban on Race-Based Mascots.

Shoving their November election win in the face of Democratic and independent voters, Republicans are taking one party rule to its racist limit.

Take note of the sponsors of this racist appeal to the Republican base in Wisconsin, and the social agenda that ignores the public will to do away with 19th century racial references.
Livinglakecountry: A bill draft to appeal and amend statutes relating to the use of race-based nicknames, logos, mascots and team names by school boards will be shared with State legislators for cosponsorship on Monday, Jan. 31. The bill draft was authored by State Sen. Mary Lazich and Neal Kedzie, and State Rep. Andre Jacque and Steve Nass. "I am confident that if the bill arrives on Governor Scott Walker's desk, he will sign it into law," said Nass in the letter. 
While schools change their mascot names voluntarily, this racist non-issue is a priority, and an indication that the dictatorial Republican Party never really believed in bipartisan debate or compromise. I guess they'll show us.

Rep. Jim Moran: “…a lot of people in this country…don’t want to be governed by an African-American.”

The dirty little secret is out, racism is alive and well, and disguised as the “take our country back” Republican Party agenda:
Fox News: Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran is blaming his party's losses last November in large part on voters who "don't want to be governed by an African-American." The Virginia congressman compared the political environment to that which preceded the Civil War and suggested race was a determining factor. 
"In this case a lot of people in this country, it's my belief, don't want to be governed by an African-American, particularly one who is inclusive, who is liberal, who wants to spend money on everyone and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society. And that's a basic philosophical clash," Moran said. 
Reached for comment, Moran's office stood by the remarks.  
“Rather than ignore this issue or pretend it isn't there, the congressman believes we are better off discussing it in order to overcome it."

Embarrassing and Pathetic, Republicans and Gov. Walker Exposed as Moral and Ethical Losers by…Big Business.

Looks like Bass Pro Shops, a Missouri-based retailer, had the sense to say, "we don't build on wetlands."

In an OMG moment, Gov. Walker and Republicans were left looking like corporate whores willing to trash Wisconsin’s environment, just to fulfill a hyperbolic campaign pledge to serve business.
jsonline: Gov. Scott Walker said Friday he wants the Legislature to quickly pass a bill that would allow a developer to build on a wetland near Lambeau Field, even as the retailer that was envisioned as an anchor for the development announced it would not build on a wetland.
Walker's comments came just after Bass Pro Shops issued a statement saying the company would not build on a wetland.
Company spokesman Larry Whiteley said "We were unaware of any wetlands issues and have not and will not be in favor of doing anything to harm wetlands wherever they might be." Whiteley declined to say whether the company no longer had an interest in Green Bay, saying only "we don't build on wetlands."
In what would seem outrageous to most Americans, 
The Republican governor wrote a bill this month that would allow a developer to sidestep standard water quality reviews by the Department of Natural Resources. The bill cleared an Assembly committee Thursday. The bill angered environmentalists and conservation groups, who said it amounted to legislation that helped just one business.
On Friday, Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Allouez) said that he recently toured the property.
"It shouldn't even be an issue," Cowles said. "This is no wetland. I walked the site and I thought, 'this whole hubbub is about this site?' Come on!"
Made to look like the biggest a-hole, Gov. Walker tried to save face by ignoring Bass Pro’s scorching indictment of his pro-business sellout.
Walker told reporters Friday he still wants to move forward with the bill despite Bass Pro Shops' position. "I think if we still had swift action I think they'd reconsider," he said. "But I think it's important to send a message with this particular piece of legislation that things have changed."
What a message, and complete tone deafness over Bass Pro's responsible take on the environment, “we don’t build on wetlands.”
Summing it up for me:
The Wisconsin Wetlands Association said in a statement that Walker and Bergstrom "focused on using political capital to circumvent the law. Yet neither of them considered the environmental ethic and business practices of the company that they wanted to bring to Green Bay." 
UPDATE: Jan. 29, 2011-Acting as if Bass Pro Shops didn't embarrass state Republicans for their irresponsible legislative actions to allow Bass to build on a wetland, something Bass said was profoundly wrong:
Rep. Dean Kaufert [R – Neenah] criticized the actions of some state elected officials and groups that have led to the loss of hundreds of new jobs in Wisconsin following the announcement by Bass Pro Shops that they had dropped discussions to locate a new store near Lambeau Field in Green Bay. 
“This is a perfect example of the anti-business sentiment displayed by some state officials in Wisconsin in the past that has hurt job creation in our state and hampered the attraction of new businesses to Wisconsin."
It wasn't anti-business forces, it was Bass Pro Shops, A BUSINESS who made the responsible decision to save the environment. Nice try Kaufert.

Two Republicans, again unhappy with the Constitution, want to change birthright citizenship.

Why not blame everything on babies born in the U.S. for driving up immigration, instead of going after employers and expanding E-Varify for new employees. And aren’t they “foreign” babies too, diluting the current white ruling class?

In yet another diversion tactic, ignoring job creation, the proposed constitutional amendment is about as important as privatizing Medicare.  
Fox News: Two Republican senators have introduced a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the children of illegal immigrants from gaining automatic U.S. citizenship unless certain conditions are met. The move by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and David Vitter, R-La., follows a proposal in Arizona challenging the constitutional right known as "birthright citizenship." 
Under U.S. law, anybody born on U.S. soil is considered a citizen. The proposal in Congress would amend the Constitution so that children born in the United States are only considered automatic citizens if one parent is a U.S. citizen, one parent is a legal immigrant, or one parent is an active member of the Armed Forces. They could also follow the traditional naturalization process to attain citizenship. 
But any constitutional amendment stands a slim chance of passing, as it would have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress and ratified by three-quarters of the state legislatures. Plus critics of the push say it won't address the problem of illegal immigration and would be struck down in the courts anyway. 

But it sure energizes the base for the upcoming 2012 elections. 

It's finally official: Republicans now admit plan to Privatize Medicare!!!

I can't tell you how many times I tried to correct PoliticFact's conclusions that Republicans never said they would privatize Medicare or Social Security. They've said it, and now they're acting on it.
Fox News: Months after they hammered Democrats for cutting Medicare, House Republicans are debating whether to relaunch their quest to privatize the health program for seniors.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is testing support for his idea to replace Medicare with a fixed payment to buy a private medical plan from a menu of coverage options.
It wasn’t so long ago…
Republicans slammed Democrats for cutting Medicare by about 6 percent over 10 years to finance President Barack Obama's health overhaul … said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "Privatization will make the cuts previously proposed by either party look tame."
When insurers know just how much the voucher check will pay, they’ll start adding on costly extra’s that will basically boost prices out reach for most seniors. The vouchers themselves will not go up as fast as medical costs have risen, progressively squeezing seniors to pay more out of pocket, which means stealing cash from their Social Security checks. This proposal will essentially be a cut for both.  
Americans are wary of the idea. An Associated Press-GfK poll last year found 51 percent opposed a voucher plan for Medicare, while 35 percent said they supported it. Opposition was strong among seniors and baby boomers. But those born after 1980 favored the approach by 47 percent to 41 percent.
The millennial generation has actually bought into the phony rhetoric that Medicare and Social Security won’t be there for them. The fact an adult who should know better is play on the more naïve nature of youth to push pure theoretical ideology. Like most Republican ideas, they tend to always create a catastrophic problem down the road.

My 12 year old, Hot Wheels addict, will love this car.

Mattel has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to really playing up their Hot Wheels line of cars, movies and new products. They can’t get it together enough to provide simple updates to their older PC video games to take advantage of the improved graphics cards out there, or create new games based on the recent Hot Wheels: Battler Force 5. My kids loves the fantasy realms most of all because they’re cool, unlike Mattel’s more reality based games, with the same boring landscapes they can see from the van windows.

Maybe they’re waking up. Who would have imagined an onboard Hot Wheels car camera?  
NY Times: The Hot Wheels Video Racer, from Mattel, is a standard-sized Hot Wheels car that is packed with electronics, including a front-view camera, built-in LCD screen, mini-USB port and a rechargeable battery. It costs $60. So what can it do that a traditional 99-cent Hot Wheels car can’t? Think of it as a tiny rolling camcorder, complete with a preview screen on the bottom.
After you start the camera, you zip the car through your track just as you would any other Hot Wheels car. You can then replay the ride as if you were an ant sitting on the nose of the car. You see the tunnels, loops and the violent crash at the end, when your car flies off the table. Because there are no moving parts, there’s little to break. The result is a stomach-bending roller-coaster view of your track.
On-board memory stores up to 12 minutes of video, and can either be played back silently from the tiny, low-quality postage-stamp-sized LCD screen (there are no speakers) or, for higher quality and sound, on your Mac or Windows computer by way of the USB cable. This is also how you charge the car’s internal battery. A small protective case can be attached with Velcro straps to a skateboard or bike helmet, or, with a little creativity, your cat. Now that would be an interesting footage.
The toy is coming in June.

Republicans successfully, in just two days, vilify the word “investment,” like in America's Future. These guys are good.

Ha ha…did you hear how many times Obama mentioned “investment” in the state of the union? Can you believe he wants to spending money on America’s future?

It was a tongue in cheek conservative drinking game, where everyone took a belt whenever Obama said the word “investment” in the State of the Union address. Investment meant “spending,” and spending is bad, even on America’s future. Tax cuts good, grunt!!

I never thought I’d see the day when the idea of “investing” could so easily be vilified without a news media whimper. 

Republican representatives and senators joked about how many times Obama would say the word investing, rolling their eyes and snickering about the very idea of investing in education and infrastructure.

Investing is now a bad word, uttered by big spending Democrats hell bend on destroying our country.  
Ann Coulter: All I kept hearing was, "Ann pays more." That's all I ever I hear when Democrats start in with all that "investing."
Apparently the government will be "investing" in education, "investing" in technology, "investing" in roads and "investing" in lots and lots of government workers. Ann pays more, Ann pays more, Ann pays more.

Here’s one conservative’s comment on the whole “investing” brew-ha-ha:
Humanevents: With complete control in Washington, President Obama and the Democrats have been “investing” in growing government and their self-serving bureaucracy. In contrast, most Americans have been “investing” in food and shelter and not much else. summed it up this way:
United States Senator Mike Johanns, a Republican from Nebraska, said this: “The President alluded repeatedly to investing, implying the expenditure of more tax dollars . . . Continuing to spend money we don’t have only digs us into a deeper hole.” I think I figured this out. Spending money we don’t have on “investing” digs us into a deeper hole. Spending money we don’t have on being “competitive” doesn’t involve a hole at all.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch Plays the Victim, Again, Over comments made by Liberal Radio host Sly.

Air-headed Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is another historically ignorant conservative woman, and victim, of a press that just can't stop picking on and criticizing their own idiotic public statements.

A few weeks back Liberal radio host Sly made a few "theatrically" descriptive comments, one he apologized for, about poor picked on Becky. Keeping in mind this happened weeks ago, Kleefisch decided to exploit her victim hood all over again, for Sean Hannity's frightening Fox News audience.

In other blog posts, I've covered her distaste for poor people with TV's, jokes about climate change and her campaign decision not to appear in public. In front of a national audience, Kleefisch succeeded in proving one thing; Republican women politicians are almost always attractive:  

Rebecca Kleefisch: "Liberals embrace women as a group that sometimes they feel they take ownership of. And there are some of us who don't believe in the same value system that a lot of these liberal groups have. We're independent thinkers, we have traditional values, and we stand on our own merits."
Huh? Beside having a bad case of conservative projection, Kleefisch's rambling nonsensical portrayal of liberal men and women is historically wrong. What is it about conservative political womens lack of historical context and accuracy? I guess women's LIBERATION, opposed by conservative anti-feminist leaders like Phyllis Schlafly, never really happened. And as a voting block, liberal women aren't taken for granted or "ownership of" by liberal politicians. If that were true, then male Republican politicians would be taking ownership of conservative women who will voting their party affiliation.

More importantly, Kleefisch is a hypocrite for opposing health care for average Americans and mis-characterizing it as some kind of government takeover, while bragging about the great care she received for her cancer treatments all paid for by the taxpayer. She is after all getting her own government provided health benefits through her husband and fellow GOP legislator.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Palin's New WTF Moment on Sputnik Moment: Soviet Union Crashed due to Spending on Sputnik?

The Tea Party and constitutional conservatives are as dumb as boards. Republicans were devoid of historical lessons before, they're exploring new territories now...Palin actually calls Obama's reference a WTF moment...classy.

According to the Washington Post: 
On Wednesday night, Sarah Palin attacked the "Sputnik moment" line from President Obama's second State of the Union address.
That was another one of those WTF moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Soviets didn't have an empire-draining debt problem until some 30 years after Sputnik passed over America. And when they did, it was in large part a result of massive overinvestment in heavy industry, which supported Soviet military pretensions. None of this is to argue that the Soviet economy is anything we should emulate. But let's at least get the basic facts right when we criticize it … claiming that the Soviets incurred their consequential debts long before Reagan was president, Palin ends up arguing that the Gipper wasn't nearly that responsible for the USSR spending itself to death. 
She wants to make a point about debt, so she invents a history in which the USSR had a debt crisis decades before this inference could have made much sense. Even worse, it seems that Palin planned her rhetorical disaster, as she goes on to discuss the "Spudnut Shop," a bakery in Washington State that's succeeding without government support. Yet more evidence that her judgment in both what she says and who she has vetting it is pathetic. It's not even cleverly manipulative. It's just dreck.

Business Tax Cut Bill Passes, but Republicans and Scott Walker have never told us how they'll pay for it.

Scott Walker got another deficit swelling tax cut passed through the legislature, all before he ever had to explain to voters what he'll sacrifice to pay for it.
In a bipartisan vote, the Senate Thursday approved 25-8 Gov. Scott Walker's tax cut bill for businesses, sending it to Walker's desk ahead of his "state of the state" speech on Tuesday.
This jobs bill will do almost nothing, but what the heck. The only thing that has changed is the Republican chant, from "Wisconsin's bad for business," to "Wisconsin is open for business." Say it enough and we might even convince corporate big wigs they should invest in our state. That's if they can forget how bad we were before when the Republicans bashed the state unmercifully. Politifact:
In Wisconsin, 98 percent of all small businesses will qualify for income-tax relief under my plan, freeing them to expand and create jobs.  Scott Walker on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 in a news release … Walker provided us state tax-filing data showing that 98 percent of all Wisconsin businesses are under the $500,000 in gross receipts -- and therefore eligible to apply.
The information provided by Walker showed that in slightly more than half of tax returns, the businesses reported minimal gross sales -- somewhere between $1 and $10,000. For that group, there would be negligible tax savings -- based on Walker’s data, it would average just over $1. That’s barely enough for a candy bar, much less a salary for a new employee … there are two problems with the data provided. First, it calculated the tax credit based on an earlier, more generous version of Walker’s current proposal. And second, it doesn’t account for businesses that don’t make a profit.
The state Department of Revenue gave us a chart that projects the average tax credit for personal income tax filers who reported some portion of their income from business. (Most small business owners use the personal-income tax system to report their business income.) The data showed the largest group, with nearly 40 percent of those filers, was under $50,000 in income. The average credit for that group: $37. That’s at the low end … The average credit tops out at $3,205 for a small group of high earners. They make up about 1 percent of those expected to qualify for the credit.
The overall average for all the 252,000 filers who could qualify for the credit -- $145. More than two-thirds would get less than $100 on average.
The problems don’t stop there. Businesses that don’t turn a profit in 2011 would not get a credit -- unless they make money in a future year and take it then … So some percentage of small businesses may be eligible based on gross receipts but won’t qualify for a credit next year because they made no profit and therefore have no state tax liability.
How many is that?  … Walker’s information listed 335,000 business tax returns but revenue officials said a much smaller number -- 245,000 filers -- likely would qualify. So the no-profit issue means those businesses won’t be getting a credit any time soon … Finally, in some cases the tax credit would go to self-employed business people who have no employees. Some critics question how job creation would result from giving them a small credit.
Another small-business group leader, with the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin, said it’s possible that as few as 20 percent of the group’s members would fit under the $500,000 sales threshold.
Let’s return to the bottom line:
Walker said 98 percent of small businesses "will be eligible" for job-creating tax relief under his emergency plan to jump-start the lagging Wisconsin economy. There are that many businesses under the $500,000 threshold -- but that’s just the beginning of the story.
They may all be eligible to apply, but many won’t qualify for a tax credit of any significant size. And the number gets substantially reduced because unprofitable businesses won’t see a credit until they turn around. Even business advocates don’t contend it would help recipients create jobs, as Walker claims.
We rate Walker’s claim False.

Who Caused the Financial Crisis? How about the biggest complainer of the FCIC Report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Bankster had the following comments on the just released Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report that pretty much tells you what you needed to know about our corporate "job creating" masters:
In a response to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission releasing its final report on the financial crisis today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pitched a classic hissy fit calling the report an “abuse of the process” that would create “more job-killing lawsuits.” (So much for the new tone in Washington.)
FCIC the New Wikileaks?
The Chamber quickly goes to the heart of the matter:

“The commission’s final report and its pledge to post raw materials – apparently including information obtained from companies as well as other government agencies – is an astounding abuse of process that would effectively create a government-sanctioned Wikileaks,” said Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform.
This is what the Chamber fears most of all, the FCIC's planned release of those reckless, imprudent and downright ugly emails from the masters of the universe crowing about how well they do their jobs -- fleecing America.

Eisenhower was a leftist socialist commie? By todays Republican Party standards, yes.

This must see explanation from Rachel Maddow detailing the Republican Party's move to the right, from 1950 to now, is jaw dropping. I don't know how she came up with this stuff, but it is amazing, and startling to think Pres. Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower would be considered far left now with the following platform in 1956:
Expand Social Security, broaden coverage in unemployment insurance, give voting rights to the District of 
Columbia, balance the budget with taxes on the wealthy, extend the protection of the minimum wage, improve job safety, and provide equal pay for equal work regardless of sex. 
That was the Republican platform...once. There's more:

Michele Bachmann: Founding Fathers ended Slavery!! Tea Party backs the revisionist history of our now "infallible" founding fathers.

Tea party Strategist Sal Russo found himself defending Michele Bachmann's twisted re-write of slavery, where she claims slavery ended with the help of the founding fathers. Russo tried multiple times to change the subject with Chris Matthews. He wouldn't have it. By the way, this is not an unusual view considering what other constitutional conservatives have said in the past.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CBO offers up a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. Guess which Party took the no tax pledge and won't help the country?

Solutions to our nation deficit woes are out there, it's just the Republicans prefer economic straight jackets and no tax pledges, to managing the country with every tool available. It makes everything so much more interesting.

Before you get the details, it's good to understand the underlying reason for the deficits projection, and for that here's Ezra Klein:

Here's the question: Do tax cuts cause deficits? If not, then there's no reason to worry about the Congressional Budget Office's revised estimate that the deficit will reach $1.5 trillion this year, not $1 trillion, as they'd predicted in 2010. The bulk of the difference, as you can see in this table, is due to the tax deal, which shaved expected revenue by about $400 billion.
Republicans, however, are caught between a rock and a hard place: They don't like deficits, but they do like tax cuts. So they've emerged with a fairly creative answer: A balanced budget amendment that caps spending at 20 percent of GDP and requires a two-thirds vote for tax increases. It's hard to imagine looking at this revised CBO estimate -- or the last decade of fiscal policymaking more generally -- and concluding that one of our major problems is that it's been too easy to raise taxes. Quite the opposite, actually. But if the 21 Senate Republican behind this proposal have their way, the Congress will adopt the two-thirds budgeting rules that have worked so well in, yes, California. Now, don't get me wrong: I'm a native Golden Stater, and I love -- and miss -- the sun and the people and the tacos. But I don't miss the dysfunctional, supermajoritarian budget process, which has sent the state to the edge of total bankruptcy, and I don't know that Washington would be wise to adopt it. Can't we just steal the warm weather, instead? 

Now the details:
MSNBC: The big headline number from Wednesday’s Congressional Budget Office report is a jolting shot of bad news: a budget deficit this fiscal year of close to $1.5 trillion, or 9.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). More bad news: CBO’s forecasters don’t see employment returning to anything like normal before 2016.
Look inside the 190-page report … there’s data in the report that give Democrats ammunition for arguing that the tax increases that Obama called for Tuesday night on upper-income Americans must be part of any deficit solution. “To keep annual deficits and total federal debt from becoming unsustainable, lawmakers will need to increase revenues as a percentage of GDP significantly above historical levels, sharply decrease projected spending, or pursue some combination of the two approaches,” the budget office said.
Due to so many Americans not working, tax revenues have fallen. The government is forced to borrow partly because tax revenues are so low by historical standards
New revenue gained from health care law: And CBO reminds Congress that the health care law does have tax increases and new revenues in it: For example, $91 billion will be collected through 2021 from a new fee on health insurers set to begin in 2014 … And CBO does not back away from its estimate that the health care law, largely due to its cuts in future Medicare spending, will reduce future deficits.
Deficits should shrink to about 3.6 percent of GDP, starting next year and for the next several years … if Congress does three:
Allow the alternative minimum tax to bite more and more middle-class people.
Raise taxes on upper-income people by reverting to the pre-2001 income tax rates. (Obama renewed his call for the tax hike on Tuesday night.)
Curb the annual increase in Medicare’s payment rates for physicians, to bring them into line with the inflation rate in the wider economy. Again, Congress has repeatedly passed temporary “doc fix” bills to shield doctors from these cost curbs.
If Congress can’t find the will to do those three things, Elmendorf said, deficits from 2012 through 2021 would average about 6 percent of GDP

Who cares!! Americans Threatened by Frightened Gun Carrying Losers are told, "Too Bad."

Guns. If we only knew just a little more about guns, we wouldn't be so afraid of them. This ABC News story struck me as a perfect example of what is so wrong about concealed and open carry. It scares Americans.

Epiphany Moment for Americans. Rep. Paul Ryan is Scary.

The country has now met Paul Ryan, and many are shocked, and don't like him much. But it's early in the reveal, and many who heard so many wonderful wonkish things about him, will now look a little closer at why he has been criticized for his proposal, "The Road Map."

Oh there's even more, as punditry wises up and gathers up the courage to tell the truth. Young Turk Cenk Uygur, Ezra Klein, Lawrence O'Donnell:

Here's a quick take on the facts, presented by Ed Schultz: