Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

Happy MUN-dane, Everyone!  Whitney Houston week continues…  Have a joyful week.

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76 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    In case you didn’t want to see the GOP CLOWN CIRCUS, here’s the recap by Andrew Sullivan:

    12 Sep 2011 08:12 PM
    Live-Blogging The Tea Party Debate

    9.56 pm. The weirdest debate so far: feisty but surreal. If I had to game this one, I’d say Bachmann stayed alive, Perry began very strong but wobbled, Romney did fine, and Ron Paul shone the way only he can. But clearly the crowd loved Perry the most. God help us.

    9.54 pm. Oh God. Wolf Blitzer is getting cutesy. I’m throwing up in my mouth right now. As to the White House, we’re getting more beds, fewer tsars, the collected works of Hayek, a babe-wife, a bust of Churchill, sacred constitutional documents, flava, and a Harley.

    9.50 pm. Perry all but coopts the Paul-Huntsman view of Afghanistan, but then wants a remaining “presence”. He wants to adopt non-interventionism, while not scaring the horses. Santorum and Gingrich are the only ones with neoconservative knees jerking. It really is over: Iraq and Afghanistan have seen to that. The most we’ll ever do is Libya for the forseeable future. In the end, neoconservatism abolished itself.

    9.46 pm. Santorum wants to banish any notion of blowback. And what does America stand for? American exceptionalism! Then Ron Paul insists that foreign occupations, not American freedom, were the contributing factor to 9/11. And Huntsman reiterates his commitment to getting out of Afghanistan. Another great conservative answer.

    9.44 pm. Gingrich grabs a bowler hat and a cigar. Really: an enormous security crisis? He packed more fear and hyperbole into one sentence than even Cheney can. Meanwhile, altogether now: God Bless Ron Paul.

    9.40 pm. Perry is revealing some kind of compassion – if it weren’t framed merely as a way to crack down on welfare recipients. Huntsman mentions H1-B visas, a vital topic. But, with this crowd, I suspect the point didn’t get across.

    9.34 pm. A tiny piece of reality peeps in: Latinos exist and they can vote. Perry gets booed for providing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. He stands firm. But it’s obviously a problem for him. He has had to live in the real world in a border state so that this issue is not an easy abstraction. But it is for Bachmann and she takes another whack. Perry has a black eye, and Bachmann has had a stronger second half.

    9.32 pm. “What would you do to remove illegal immigrants from this country?” Not: how do we secure the border? But: how do we find these eleven million people and throw them out? Santorum seems genuinely offended by the brutalism of his party base. Perry, meanwhile, seems to want to militarize the entire border region.

    9.27 pm. Just before she stalked off the stage to get her make-up freshened up, Bachmann rallied around her hatred of the Affordable Care Act. It played well to the crowd. But this debate is revealing how much of the far right oxygen Perry has now removed.

    9.23 pm. I was surprised by the ineptness of Perry’s attack on Romneycare. But I am more surprised at the cheering of someone dying because he couldn’t afford intensive care. Yes, the GOP is now not only cheering executions; they are cheering people dying because thay cannot afford any health insurance. Cheering death by poverty. “Yeah!” came the cry at the thought of a twentysomething dying because he didn’t have insurance. I didn’t think I could be more shocked by the instincts of those in the Republican base, but I just was.

    9.22 pm. Romney is now accusing Obama of cutting Medicare spending. Do they hear themselves?

    9.20 pm. Wow. Romney is actually talking about how to cut healthcare costs. No, really.

    9.18 pm. Cain wants to cut healthcare costs by repealing the first systematic attempt to restrain healthcare costs. Then … tort reform. By the way, I count two shots by now.

    9.13 pm. Bachmann is accusing Perry of being a giant, walking syringe from big government. And now she’s accusing him of being corrupt, because of his close association with a drug company behind the HPV vaccine. And then Perry actually says that he cannot be bought for $5,000; you need to bribe him with mch more money than that! Amazingly inept response. Then the Christianists take aim – a Bachmann-Santorum tag-team in defense of “innocent little girls”. And Perry is reeling.

    9.09 pm. Now the recession of 2007 – 2009 is the “Obama depression”. Is there anything these people will not say? Then they’re going to promote tax reform and tax cuts – which is Obama’s position. At no point has anyone intimated that drastic austerity right now might actually hurt the economy in the short term. The sheer crudeness of this panderthon is gob-smacking.

    That must be why this debate has become so execrable. It’s not CNN’s debate. It’s a CNN/Tea Party debate. And so you almost force these people to be as craven and moronic as possible.

    9.06 pm. Huntsman again pushes his tax reform, especially corporate welfare.

    9.03 pm. Perry us alleging that Ben Bernanke is in collusion with Obama to attack the financial stability of the country in order to facilitate Obama’s re-election. And that is close to treason. Seriously. The mild-mannered, principled Republican appointee is now a tool of Obama. And the man making ths kind of charge – and refusing to take back his implicit threat of mob violence – is the front runner. Good God.

    8.56 pm. If this were still a secular conservative party, Jon Huntsman would be an overwhelming front-runner, don’t you think? But they can’t handle him, can they? This debate is depressing me much more deeply than I’d expected. It’s that twinkle in Perry’s beady eyes that reminds me of W – but without even the smidgen of vulnerability Bush Jr had.

    8.51 pm. Every time he has been asked, Ron Paul has brought up spending on wars and empire. It’s his trademark now. And he has the usual support in the crowd.

    8.49 pm. Does Perry really think that the stimulus created no jobs? Truly, a wretched little twerp, dispatched on Tea Party theology by Ron Paul.

    8.46 pm. So far, we have repealed universal health insurance, Dodd-Frank, much of the Pentagon, the Department of Education, and are so-so on Medicare and social security. What should government actually do to help the economy? Cut and reform taxes. Unless Obama proposes to cut taxes. Then that’s more spending.

    8.43 pm. Perry seems to believe that tax cuts will be paid for by tax raises. Seriously, this guy is frightening. He gets asked how to pay for tax cuts, and he gives us a lecture about spending. Now, tax cuts are government spending – just because Obama is proposing it.

    That really is staggering. They will offer no response on Obama’s jobs bill and can only really offer platitudes and doctrines. God this is depressing.

    8.41 pm. Huntsman offers a serious case for tax reform. Goes down like a lead balloon.

    8.39 pm. Round One: Romney wins easily on points, but Perry reveals a kind of smug teflon smirk that this crowd is lapping up. There you see the choice – and Perry seems to me to be winning. As he strutted onto the stage he looked like a rooster in an Italian suit. He really is like W, but as a parody of the brash, slick and callous side of him.

    8.38 pm. I think I’m going to have a shot every time I see a non-white person in the crowd.

    8.37 pm. Bachmann is also on a roll of buzzwords. Is Palinism contagious?

    8.35 pm. So they all want to repeal Obamacare, but no one wants to touch the Medicare Prescription Drug Entitlement. Blow me over with a feather.

    8.33 pm. Santorum just gave us the doctrine – with all the boogey words “big government”, “one-size fits all”, Washington blah blah blah. Zzzzz.

    8.30 pm. And the biggest applause of the night goes to Newt Gingrich for saying that Barack Obama is “scaring” the American people. Then he uses what I think is a reference to the effects of a national default as if it were a free-floating threat to senior citizens. Pretty much disgusting, when you think about it.

    8.21 pm. “Frightful”: a very Romney word. But then he goes for the kill. Is social security unconstitutional and should be taken from the federal government? A really fascinating exchange, this one, with real blood on the floor. And it’s clear who won the argument: Romney did. He pwned Perry on his core position (exposing his latest USAToday flip-flop for what it is), and on his attempt to quote Romney, Romney’s response was devastating. It was a bad misquote.

    And yet, Perry seemed to win the exchange. He is like a distant offspring of Reagan and George W. Bush – but with much more radical ideas. I’m sorry but I do not find him charming. He has the charm of a televangelist, and the smugness.

    8.17 pm. Bachmann blathered on about social security and Medicare. If this was supposed to be her come-back, she barely sputtered out of the gate.

    8.10 pm. Well, it turns out you don’t need that Kazakh sweat pot to get through these debates. This is the trippiest, cheesiest, weirdest debate I’ve ever seen. A little WWF, a little American Idol, a little Olympics, a little reality show.

  2. Ametia says:

    Ok I just turned into the end of the debate and the candidates what they would bring to the White Houe. Of course Herman Cain said he’ bring a sense of humor.


  3. Ametia says:

    anyone watches teh GOPTEABAGGER debate? I can’t, I just can’t….

  4. rikyrah says:

    September 12, 2011 08:00 AM
    Ohio Fights Back Against Voter ID Laws
    By karoli

    That image is a pretty graphic representation of the right-wing’s successful voter suppression efforts, thanks to ALEC and a lot of reactionary state legislatures. But in Ohio, they’re mad as hell and not taking it anymore. Via the ACLU:

    Luckily, Ohio may offer a glimmer of hope for those of us fighting to safeguard voting rights. Voters around the Buckeye State are taking to the streets, circulating petitions that would allow a referendum to be held on Ohio House Bill 194, a bill passed in June 2011 that would severely limit voters’ access to the ballot box by limiting early voting, prohibiting poll workers from assisting voters completing election forms and ballots, and making it more difficult for local boards of elections to promote early voting to all registered voters.

    Ohio is the same state that gathered 900,000 signatures to repeal SB 5, the draconian anti-union law shoved through the state legislature, with ALEC’s willing participation and support yet again.

    But back to Ohio House Bill 194 for now. There’s an energy in the air, an energy that the right wing should worry about.

    People are quickly organizing petitions in all corners of the state. I signed the referendum petition myself last weekend at a church on the east side of Cleveland. A whole team of volunteers were holding signs and talking to passersby about the legislation. Voters came from miles around—the woman in line in front of me made an hour long drive from the Akron area in her minivan with a group of friends because she “just couldn’t wait to find a petition in my town.”

    This typifies the excitement many people are feeling right now. While the legislature and governor passed laws restricting our right to vote, Ohioans are not content to sit idly by. Many people feel that we can — and will — stand up for our rights and bring this bill to a statewide vote. In a time where the legislature, courts, and other elected officials are doing little to stop these types of bills from going into effect, it’s comforting to know the people are still willing to exercise their own veto power.

    The power of “we” is strong in Ohio. They need to gather 231,000 signatures by September 29th to stop the bill from going into effect on September 30th. If you live in Ohio, please sign the petition. You can find locations for petition drives here.

    It is heartening and ironic to see voters stand up for their rights in Ohio, the same state where voting machines gave the 2004 election to George W. Bush. I hope it catches fire in every state.

    • Ametia says:

      Folks better recognize that VOTER SUPPRESSION is the name of the game for the GOP. They HONESTLY CANNOT win unless they lie, cheat, obstruct, and STEAL.

  5. rikyrah says:

    AUDIO: Radio host laughs when caller refers to Michelle Obama as main character in Planet of the Apes
    Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011, 9:58 am by GottaLaff

    Nah, there’s no racism in the GOP.

    Take 30 seconds to listen to a not-racist caller and how Jimmy Lakey, the radio host, responded when the not-racist caller made a not-racist joke about the first lady:


    During his weekly talk show Aug. 21, KVOR’s Jimmy Lakey goes into hysterical laughter when a caller tells him that Michele Obama reminds her of a character in Planet of the Apes.

    You can go to The Big Media Blog to find out how the Operations Manager for Citadel Broadcasting, which owns KVOR, felt about it. You’ll also find Lakey’s contact information there.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Cantor Voted For Billions To Rebuild Schools In Iraq, Now Opposes Funding School Construction In America

    By Judd Legum on Sep 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) voted for over $120 billion to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, funds that were used to construct and repair schools, roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure.

    Now, Cantor is opposing President Obama’s proposal to spend $30 billion to modernize 35,000 American schools. Reuters has the story:

    U.S. House Republican Leader Eric Cantor said on Monday he will not support President Barack Obama’s proposal to renovate U.S. schools as part of the administration’s bill to spur job growth.

    He added that Obama should focus instead on cutting federal regulations that he says kill U.S. jobs…

    The president’s proposal is a modest effort. The total maintenance and repair backlog at U.S. schools is estimated at $270 billion to $500 billion. While the funding Obama is proposing is fully offset, Cantor voted to build schools in Iraq and Afghanistan with deficit spending.

    Construction and building projects generally create about 10,000 jobs per billion spent. At a time of high unemployment, the funding that Cantor opposes would create about 300,000 jobs. Economist Jared Berstein explains that funding to modernize schools is “a smart way to get a lot of people who really need jobs back to work, fix a critical part of our institutional infrastructure, save energy costs, provide kids with a better, healthier learning environment, and do so in way that everyone can see and feel good about each morning when they drop their kids at school.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Our First Black President
    Even after Howard emerged victorious, fools is still trying get at me:

    (In a High yaller Ebonics voice read…) Remember Mr. Coates, Morehouse College put Howard University on the map; the first African-American president of Howard University was a Morehouse Man, Dr. Modecai Wyatt Johnson. Negritude, black nationalist and assimilative constructs aside, Morehouse College does have the better team this year; and Dr. King is this country’s conscious with a HUGE statue in Howard University’s backyard. I’m just sayin’…Go Tigers!! HBCU Love (In a High yaller Ebonics laugh)

    High yaller indeed. That’s Mordecai above, and word has that back in the day if you wasn’t that complexion, you basically had no chance of getting into Morehouse.

    In all seriousness, the commenter is quite correct. Johnson was the first African-American president of Howard University. Howard is, of course, named after General Otis Howard, a fact that I’ve found hard to reconcile while digging through Stephen Sears’ Gettysburg. It blows a bit to discover that your namesake is renowned for getting trampled in two of the biggest battles of the War.

    Johnson was the child of two slaves — the very people Howard (a fervent abolitionist) sought to free. Not to beat a dead horse, but Johnson is evidence of what I mean when I say African-Americans don’t really need lectures on inclusiveness. Indeed, the span of African-American leadership — even the nationalist strain — reflects a tradition of biracialism and cosmopolitanism. “Tradition” is to strong a word. Coercion is more like it. Mordecai Wyatt Johnson was the son of two slaves. It didn’t much matter how he looked. He was black. It’s a stupid rule. But we flipped it.

    In that sense, all the talk of black being passe is bizarre. Not to be to triumphalist here, but we were multiracial before it was something to be bragged about.

    Mordecai can’t really account for Herman Cain, though. Still he was a beast:

    Mordecai Johnson was born on December 12, 1890 in a small Southern town, Paris, Tennessee to former slaves, Wyatt and Carolyn. His father was a preacher and a mill worker. He was a man who set rigorous standards for his son’s chores and behavior. Mordecai’s mother was a “domestic,” employed by one of the prominent families in town. Mordecai had three step siblings: Jonas W., Dora, and Sallie. Three years after Wyatt’s first wife’s death in 1885, he married Mordecai’s mother, Carolyn Freeman.

    When he completed his grammar school education, he enrolled in Nashville’s Academy of Roger Williams University in 1903. The school was destroyed by fire in 1905. Mordecai completed the term at the Howe Institute in Memphis. Later that year, he entered the preparatory department of Atlanta Baptist College where he completed his high school studies. During his college years, from 1907-1911, he was strongly influenced by Atlanta University President John Hope.

    Mordecai Johnson played football and tennis, was on the debating team, and sang in the glee club and chorus. He was appointed to the faculty, where he taught history, economics, and English for two years. He served as acting dean for the 1911-1912 academic year. Mordecai studied at the University of Chicago during the summers of 1912 and 1913, and received a second bachelor of arts degree in 1913. He matriculated at the Rochester Theological Seminary from 1913-1916.

    Johnson led Howard through its golden years, when segregation basically gave HBCUs a quasi-monopoly on the black intelligentsia,

    Last year, I was in Paris, Tennessee for some civil war research. I was being guided by a group of local history buffs, all of them white. One of them was actually a dude from the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. We got along swimmingly. The night before one of his brethren had come to dinner in full regalia and gone on and on about why the South was right. I missed that last portion; feeling like I knew where the evening was headed, I ducked after dinner.

    The SCV guy was pretty embarrassed by it all (as were the rest of the local folks with us.) Some of them certainly felt he was wrong, but more broadly there was a sense that, whatever the politics, he hadn’t been very polite to a guest. Southerners, black and white, are interesting like that.

    Anyway in Paris, we came to a small but distinguished monument. Our guide began talking about how it was erected in honor of a local African-American educator who’d gone on to do great things. I went to look at the inscription. It was dedicated to Mordecai Johnson.

  8. creolechild says:

    How Debt Can Help Save America —By Rick Ungar

    While the structure of what President Obama has proposed to get jobs fired up throughout the nation is an excellent beginning, there will be those—including myself—who believe that far more has to be committed to the investment side of the proposal to really make a serious difference.

    While there is no disputing the importance of the investment being made for badly needed school modernization, the amount left for spending on important infrastructure repairs to our roads and bridges, while also taking a significant step forward in bringing our transportation system into the 21st century, falls far short of what is required to make a real impact.

    Yes, there are political realities. If the President is going to be constrained by only making those investments that he can pay for by raising taxes on the wealthy and highly profitable corporations or by cutting elements from the other federal programs, it is going to be impossible to get the job done.

    But there is a way. It’s called debt.


    Read more:

  9. rikyrah says:

    The Lethal President

    I keep feeling as if I am in a different universe when I read sentences like this one from Maureen:

    The president is weak and House Republicans are obstructionist.

    I know what she is saying. There is a laconic, hang-back style to Obama that can be frustrating for fightin’ Irish bruisers like me and MoDo. But the facts suggest something very different from a weak president. Look at the terror war. In my view, Obama has been more effective and more lethal in two years than Bush was in eight. We’re almost out of Iraq, and yet we’ve developed a global, drone-based relentless focus on al Qaeda:

    Obama is a Democratic leader who opposed the Iraq war and is pulling troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan but has notched up a record as a lethal, relentless hunter of terrorists. He is a president who banned torture in the interrogation of suspected terrorists and pledged — unsuccessfully, so far — to close the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but carried out more drone strikes in Pakistan in his first year in office than Mr. Bush did in his eight years.

    In the process, the White House said, it has killed more officials of Al Qaeda in the last two and a half years than were eliminated during the entire Bush administration. Among the big names: two top Qaeda managers, Sheik Saeed al-Masri and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, and one of its most feared field commanders, Ilyas Kashmiri.

    And it’s important to note that the ramp-up in Afghanistan was in part designed from the very beginning to find and kill Osama bin Laden. It was Obama who pushed that back to the top of the agenda, and Obama who saw it through. Ask Somali pirates if they think Obama is a softy. Ask Qaddafi. Instead of the cowardice and incompetence of torture and absurd displays like the “Mission Accomplished” moment, Obama has focused on refining intelligence and operating lethally in covert warfare:

    Intelligence is certainly an area where the president appears confident and bold. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence who has been running spy agencies for more than 20 years, regards Obama as “a phenomenal user and understander of intelligence.” When Clapper briefs the president each morning, he brings along extra material to feed the president’s hunger for information.

    Those who keep insisting that Obama is weak need to ask Qaddafi or Ahmadinejad. One has been deposed; another is getting desperate because of the sanctions that Obama put in place. That this policy is not dramatized as Bush would have does not mean it is not successful. It means this president means business – and has delivered.

  10. rikyrah says:

    September 12, 2011 3:25 PM

    Paying for the American Jobs Act

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama has spent a fair amount of time over the last few days emphasizing the fact that his American Jobs Act is paid for. It wasn’t quite clear, however, how.

    Now we know.

    During a Rose Garden appearance, Obama pledged to send Congress the American Jobs Act on Monday evening when the legislative body resumes its session. Aides revealed for the first time that the plan will include limits on itemized deductions for individuals who earn more than $200,000 a year and families that earn more than $250,000.

    Eliminating those deductions will bring in an additional $400 billion in revenue, said Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

    The administration also is recommending closing oil and gas loopholes and changing the depreciation rules for corporate airplanes. All of the new rules, which would take effect in 2013, would bring in an estimated total of $467 billion, more than enough to pay for the president’s jobs bill, Lew said during the White House’s daily press briefing Monday.

    Among the highlights, the itemized-deduction measure would raise roughly $400 billion over 10 years; the “carried interest” fix would raise $18 billion, and ending tax subsidies to the oil industry would raise another $40 billion.

    Republicans will, of course, balk at all of this, and many already have. But the Obama administration’s approach to financing is heartening anyway — there’s been all kinds of scuttlebutt about the White House proposing regressive policies to pay for the jobs bill, and the rumors were wrong. The president and his team are pushing the better — and incidentally, more popular — financing option.

    And the more the GOP opposes this approach, the more Obama will pose the options the way he did on Thursday night

    “Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both.

    “This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. These are real choices. These are real choices that we’ve got to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Republicanism As Religion

    The Dish covered the remarkable web essay of Mike Lofgren, but I didn’t comment myself because it so closely follows my own argument in “The Conservative Soul” and on this blog, that it felt somewhat superfluous. But I want to draw attention to the crux of the piece, because if we are to understand how the right became so unmoored from prudence, moderation and tradition and became so infatuated with recklessness, extremism and revolution, we need to understand how it happened.

    It is, of course, as my shrink never fails to point out, multi-determined. But here is Lofgren’s attempt at a Rosebud:

    How did the whole toxic stew of GOP beliefs – economic royalism, militarism and culture wars cum fundamentalism – come completely to displace an erstwhile civilized Eisenhower Republicanism?

    It is my view that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism (which is a subset of the decline of rational problem solving in America) may have been the key ingredient of the takeover of the Republican Party. For politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes – at least in the minds of followers – all three of the GOP’s main tenets.

    That too is my view: that the GOP, deep down, is behaving as a religious movement, not as a political party, and a radical religious movement at that. Lofgren sees the “Prosperity Gospel” as a divine blessing for personal enrichment and minimal taxation (yes, that kind of Gospel is compatible with Rand, just not compatible with the actual Gospels); for military power (with a major emphasis on the punitive, interventionist God of the Old Testament); and for radical change and contempt for existing institutions (as a product of End-Times thinking, intensified after 9/11).

    Lofgren argues that supply-side economics attaches to the fundamentalist worldview purely by coalition necessity. The fundamentalists are not that interested in debt or economics (they sure didn’t give a damn as spending exploded under Bush) but if their coalition partners insist on a certain economic doctrine, they’ll easily go along with it, as long as it is never compromised. If it’s presented as eternal dogma, they can handle it – and defend it with gusto. If it also means that Obama is wrong, so much the better. Most theo-political movements need an anti-Christ of some sort; and Obama – even though he is the most demonstrably Christian president since Carter – fills the role.

    And so this political deadlock conceals a religious war at its heart. Why after all should one abandon or compromise sacred truths? And for those whose Christianity can only be sustained by denial of modern complexity, of scientific knowledge, and of what scholarly studies of the Bible’s origins have revealed, this fusion of political and spiritual lives into one seamless sensibility and culture, is irresistible. And public reminders of modernity – that, say, many Americans do not celebrate Christmas, that gay people have human needs, that America will soon be a majority-minority country and China will overtake the US in GDP by mid-century – are terribly threatening.

    But all these nuances do not therefore vanish. The gays don’t disappear. China keeps growing. The population becomes browner and browner. Women’s lives increasingly become individual choices not social fates. And this enrages and terrifies the fundamentalist even more. Hence the occasional physical lashing out – think Breivik or McVeigh – but more profoundly, the constant endless insatiable cultural lashing out at the “elites” who have left fundamentalism behind, and have, on many core issues, science on their side. So within this religious core, and fundamentalist mindset, you also have the steely solder of ressentiment, intensified even further by a period of white middle and working class decline and economic crisis.

    That’s how I explain the current GOP. It can only think in doctrines, because the alternative is living in a complicated, global, modern world they both do not understand and also despise. Taxes are therefore always bad. Government is never good. Foreign enemies must be pre-emptively attacked. Islam is not a religion. Climate change is an elite conspiracy to impoverish America. Terror suspects are terrorists. When Americans torture, it is not torture. When Christians murder, they are not Christians. And if you change your mind on any of these issues, you are a liberal, an apostate, and will be attacked.

    If your view of conservatism is one rooted in an instinctual, but agile, defense of tradition, in a belief in practical wisdom that alters constantly with circumstance, in moderation and the defense of the middle class as the stabilizing ballast of democracy, in limited but strong government … then the GOP is no longer your party (or mine).

    Religion has replaced all of this, reordered it, and imbued the entire political-economic-religious package with zeal. And the zealous never compromise. They don’t even listen.

    Think of Michele Bachmann’s wide-eyed, Stepford stare as she waits for a questioner to finish before providing another pre-cooked doctrinal nugget. My fear – and it has building for a decade and a half, because I’ve seen this movement up-close from within and also on the front lines of the marriage wars – is that once one party becomes a church with unchangeable doctrines, and once it has supplanted respect for institutions and civility with the radical pursuit of timeless doctrines and hatred of governing institutions, then our democracy is in grave danger.

    If you ask why I remain such a strong Obama supporter, it is because I see him as that rare individual able to withstand the zeal without becoming a zealot in response, and to overcome the recklessness of pure religious ideology with pragmatism, civility and reason. That’s why they fear and loathe him. Not because his policies are not theirs’. But because his temperament is their nemesis. If he defeats them next year, they will break, because their beliefs are so brittle, but will then reform, along Huntsman-style lines. If they defeat him, I fear we will no longer be participating in a civil conversation, however fraught, but in a civil war.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry: Look, I’m Just Trying To Make Social Security Better
    Evan McMorris-Santoro- September 12, 2011, 8:53 AM
    Ahead of the next Republican presidential debate tonight, Rick Perry is out with a softer-sounding attack on Social Security that may signal his opponents’ attacks on his Ponzi scheme rhetoric are starting to have an effect.

    In a USA Today op-ed published Monday, Perry once again casts himself as the one man willing to tell the truth about the current state of the nation’s public retirement system. But he leaves his “monstrous lie” talking points at the door, preferring to discuss how he’ll keep the miserable, failed program alive for the future.

    From the op-ed:

    For too long, politicians have been afraid to speak honestly about Social Security. We must have the guts to talk about its financial condition if we are to fix Social Security and make it financially viable for generations to come.

    Perry’s opponents — specifically Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann — are strongly suggesting that Perry wants to eliminate Social Security completely (which, admittedly, is an easy suggestion to make after reading Perry’s book, which calls Social Security “‘by far the best example’ of a program ‘violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles,’” as Matt Yglesias cataloged.)

  13. Ametia says:

    The American Jobs Act Targets Enduring Economic Change
    September 12, 2011
    By Cassandra Ver

    Last week, President Obama told Congress they should pass the American Jobs Act right away. Here is how President Obama’s American Jobs Act (hallelujah, a clear and simple name!) addresses what has happened to the economy while learning from the 2009 stimulus (ARRA).


    The wealth gap between the top one or two percent of the country and the rest of us has been growing steadily for decades, but the 2008 crash really exposed the fact that much of the country had been living on an illusion of wealth.

    People lost jobs, credit, and home equity all at once. Though measurements are fuzzy, it’s fair to say about 25% are unemployed or underemployed. Interest rates are low, but borrowing standards are high. All homeowners have at least a net loss of equity, and many have lost their homes altogether.

    This has cut a swath of destruction through the middle class economy. Family-friendly restaurants, mid-price department stores, and production home construction are among the sectors hardest hit. Small businesses are hit hardest in any downturn because they are more vulnerable to short-term economic conditions than larger businesses, but small businesses have been hit particularly hard in this recession because their middle-class market has been hit particularly hard. Since the recession started, businesses across the middle class market have consistently said their biggest economic problem was not taxes but lack of consumer demand.


    • Ametia says:

      The White House Blog
      American Jobs Act: Read All the Details
      Posted by Colleen Curtis on September 09, 2011 at 02:19 PM EDT

      On Thursday September 8, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act in an address to Congress. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. We’ve created some fact sheets you can download that explain what the President is asking Congress to do, and what the Jobs Act will mean for you.

      Download the highlights of the Jobs Act

      Read the complete overview of the Jobs Act

      See what impact the American Jobs Act will have in your state

      Watch the enhanced version of the President’s Address to Congress which features graphs, charts and other facts that influenced the President’s decision making.

      Find out how state and local officials are responding to the American Jobs Act

      Still have more questions? Join senior White House officials on Twitter next week for office hours

    • creolechild says:

      Thank you for posting this, Metia!

      • creolechild says:

        The Unemployed “Army” is Now Bigger Than the Actual Army
        By Steve Fraser and Joshua B. Freeman

        (This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.)

        Not long ago, the city council of Ventura, California, passed an ordinance making it legal for the unemployed and homeless to sleep in their cars. At the height of the Great Recession of 2008, one third of the capital equipment of the American economy lay idle. Of the women and men idled along with that equipment, only 37 percent got a government unemployment check and that check, on average, represented only 35 percent of their weekly wages.

        Meanwhile, there are now two million “99ers”—those who have maxed out their supplemental unemployment benefits because they have been out of work for more than 99 weeks. Think of them as a full division in “the reserve army of labor.” That “army,” in turn, accounts for 17 percent of the American labor force, if one includes part-time workers who need and want full-time work and the millions of unemployed Americans who have grown so discouraged that they’ve given up looking for jobs and so aren’t counted in the official unemployment figures. As is its historic duty, that force of idle workers is once again driving down wages, lengthening working hours, eroding on-the-job conditions, and adding an element of raw fear to the lives of anyone still lucky enough to have a job.

        No one volunteers to serve in this army. But anyone, from Silicon Valley engineers to Florida tomato pickers, is eligible to join what, in our time, might be thought of as the all-involuntary force. Its mission is to make the world safe for capitalism. Today, with the world spiraling into a second “Great Recession” (even if few, besides the banks, ever noticed that the first one had ended), its ranks are bound to grow.


  14. Ametia says:


    “The strength of a man
    isn’t in the weight he can lift.
    It’s in the burdens
    he can carry…“

    During a job interview, a question frequently posed to the job-seeker is, “What are your weaknesses?” That question is not asked in order to reveal weaknesses per se, but rather as a way for the interviewer to assess the strengths of the applicant based on the revelations the answer offers. The right response is never, “I have none,” since we all do.

    For the past few months, I have read and heard that our President is weak and doesn’t stand up, and has a habit of caving. This claim, in fact, has been a topic of political conversation for some time. I have reflexively rejected this judgement, but I hadn’t fully analyzed why until now.
    I do ask myself how ironic it is that the strongest black man on the world stage today would be described as a weak man by his critics. But rather than denouncing the name-callers simply out of hand, I’m compelled to examine the meaning of this pronouncement and its intent. Are those critics correct in their assessment? What is weakness and what is strength? And who has it, and who doesn’t? What’s the measurement to arrive at such an adjective, one that is either a mean-spirited put-down or is the unfortunate truth? How do we judge?

    In a society where George Bush was seen by many as forceful, strong and resolute for refusing to negotiate with his foes, and for treating his domestic opposition without respect or due conscience, I can understand why seeing the opposite behavior from the next President could be interpreted as mild, weak and caving. However, does that really make it true, or have we been conditioned to make such analysis without a full understanding of the seriousness of our indictment? What is true is that Mr. Bush and President Obama, although both have borne the title of President, are each as different from the other as night is to day.

  15. rikyrah says:

    This is What Contempt Looks Like:

    By Jeff Simpson On September 12, 2011 ·

    .Here is video of paul ryan(R-Wall St.) and his wife getting ready to walk in the labor day parade in Janesville, WI. A constituent comes up to pink slip paul and asks a legitimate question.

    Q: Do I need to work for $1 an hour to be competitive with China?

    paul ryan: Would you like some candy? Packer/Badger Schedule?

    The look on his face is pure contempt that this plebe is bothering him. You can also see the look on his wife’s face that she can’t wait to shower the smell of the lower class off of her. This is who the people of the 1st Congressional district of Wisconsin want representing them in Congress?

    Also be sure to check out how he holds on for dear life to the stroller using his kids as a human shield. What a brave warrior he is.

  16. rikyrah says:

    the President has passed 10 million followers on twitter

  17. rikyrah says:

    Boehner To Obama: Thanks For The Jobs Plan — Let’s See How Much It Really Costs
    Reflecting the GOP leadership’s new kinder, gentler, less partisan rhetorical tone, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says he appreciates President Obama’s new jobs legislation, despite continuing policy differences between the parties. Obama’s not being quite so gentle, barnstorming the country and seizing the airwaves demanding Congress “pass this bill.” The GOP can’t just sweep the bill into the dustbin under such circumstances, so the question is how exactly will they operate the sausage maker.

    Boehner’s statement offers some clues. “[W]e appreciate the President’s pledge to transmit legislation to Congress and will immediately request that it be scored by the Congressional Budget Office,” Boehner said. “Once we receive CBO’s analysis, we can begin the important work of reviewing the various elements of his proposal.”

    This is a far cry from the “hell no you can’t!” days of health care reform. But there are booby traps.

    At a cost of over $400 billion, the White House says the American Jobs Act is fully paid for. But the way they’ve paid for it, according to Obama, is by asking the new fiscal Super Committee to reduce the deficit by more than the $1.2 trillion the debt limit law requires of them. TPM has an email in to the White House to see whether this is accounted for in the jobs bill itself. If the offsets (tax increases, spending cuts and savings, or both) are contained entirely in separate legislation then the CBO will tell Boehner that the jobs bill blows up the deficit. That would be a big political hurdle for the bill in a deficit-averse Capitol.

    Whatever CBO says, though, Boehner echoes House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) by calling on Congress to examine each proposal in the bill individually, instead of as a unit. Republicans have big political incentive not to pass the bill as a whole with Democratic help. At the same time, the public demand for jobs is probably too great for Republicans to cavalierly shelve the whole thing. So the GOP will more likely move on the tax cut proposals in the bill, and sit on or demand major changes to its infrastructure spending and direct hiring programs.

    So while Obama’s demanding Congress “pass this bill right away,” Boehner’s saying, gently, “we’ll get to parts of it, soonish.”—-lets-see-how-much-it-really-costs.php

  18. rikyrah says:

    September 12, 2011 2:35 PM

    Cantor looks to kill half of American Jobs Act

    By Steve Benen

    Most, if not all, of the Republican congressional leaders have been rather cautious in their criticism of the American Jobs Act. It’s obvious they oppose it, and it’s equally obvious they’ll never pass it in its current form, but they’ve been reluctant to go on the attack, at least publicly.

    But as the White House presents President Obama’s plan in legislative form, and hits the road to promote it, Republicans like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are slowly dropping the pretense.

    Anything that is akin to the stimulus bill I think is not going to be acceptable to the American people,” Cantor told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing Monday. “I don’t believe that our members are going to be interested in pursuing that. I certainly am not.”

    A little more than half of the American Jobs Act is made up of tax cuts. Cantor, at least today, didn’t reflexively rule out these provisions.

    Instead, what Cantor disapproves of are the parts of the proposal most likely to create jobs — infrastructure investments, job training, unemployment aid, and assistance to states to prevent public-sector layoffs. It’s as if the oft-confused Majority Leader looked at the plan, found the measures that would have the great impact to improve the economy, and immediately rejected them.

    Brian Beutler asked Cantor whether the American Jobs Act would benefit the economy or not.

    “I haven’t had a chance to see the bill, there is no bill yet, so I want to wait to see the bill,” Cantor said. “I will tell you that over half, I think, of the total dollar amount is so-called stimulus spending. We’ve been there, done that. The country cannot afford more spending like the stimulus bill.”

    First, over half the bill is made up of tax cuts, not spending. Second, the spending in the Recovery Act immediately improved the American job market. Third, we can afford more spending like the stimulus bill, since we have vital infrastructure needs and it would cost far less to make those investments now than a few years from now.

    It’s really not that complicated. Even Cantor should be able to grasp the basic policy details.

    That said, Cantor’s offer a pretty big hint about the prospects of the American Jobs Act. Republicans aren’t quite willing to use phrases like “dead on arrival” in public, but they have no intention of taking the proposal seriously.

    Why would they? They care more about hurting the president than helping the economy.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Haley Barbour Joins Karl Rove at American Crossroads Super Pac

    Plutocratic terrorist group American Crossroads, what’s known in the post-Citizen’s United world as a “super PAC” was a prominent player in Republican 2010 election victories, and now Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has joined the dark side’s evil mastermind Karl Rove to help raise money for 2012 so he can steal some more elections.

    According to the Washington Post, American Crossroads raised $28 million in the 2010 election cycle. According to Salon, “In August [2010], American Crossroads raised $2,639,052. Fully $2.4 million of that — or 91 percent – came in the form of gifts from just three billionaires.”

    Politico reported in 2010 that,

    Crossroads GPS is registered under a section of the tax code that does not require it to reveal its donors and won’t require the disclosure of any of its finances until as late as November 2011, so it’s impossible to ascertain the fundraising breakdown between the two groups.

    Collegio said the groups, which were created this year at the encouragement of former Bush political advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie and set an ambitious $52 million fundraising goal, have raised a combined $32.5 million.

    It just goes to show, rich folks won’t pay taxes but they’re sure willing to pay to keep from paying taxes. The GOP moneyed class is pulling out all the stops to preserve their privileged status as non-taxpaying citizens who nonetheless control the votes.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Why Hand Obama a Win?
    by BooMan
    Mon Sep 12th, 2011 at 09:48:31 AM EST

    What we have in Washington is something of a political death spiral. It’s a little complicated to understand, but bear with me. In this morning’s Politico we’re treated to the following choice quote:

    Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?” said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely. “I just don’t want to co-own the economy by having to tout that we passed a jobs bill that won’t work or at least won’t do enough.”

    You need to think carefully about this quote. Implied in its logic is the idea that House Republicans can avoid any ownership of a bad economy if they continue to refuse to take any meaningful action to improve it. They can stonewall the president and the public will simply blame the president. The Republicans actually believe this. To see why, let’s go back to Mike Lofgren’s piece from two weeks ago. Remember that Mr. Lofgren is a career Republican staffer who resigned in disgust after the debt ceiling debacle. He explains the Republicans’ strategic thinking on obstruction:

    A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

    Why does this work? Lofgren explains that, too.

    There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters’ confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that “they are all crooks,” and that “government is no good,” further leading them to think, “a plague on both your houses” and “the parties are like two kids in a school yard.”

    To this I need to add that plenty of quite well-informed voters have a rather inaccurate impression of the presidency’s legislative powers. If the president can’t get Congress to do anything on the economy, it makes him look weak, but that is only because the executive branch’s control over the legislative branch is quite limited in our constitutional system. The Republicans’ obstruction may make them less popular than a skunk at the prom, but it brings down the president’s numbers, too. Ultimately, they’ll argue that if the president can’t persuade Congress to act, the people need to find a president who can.

    It shouldn’t need to be said, but this is obviously putting raw politics ahead of helping people find a job. In a just world, the House Republicans would be severely punished. Yet, they sincerely think the benefits of hurting the president outweigh the benefits of putting people to work. They think a weak economy and an ineffectual president are better for them politically, and that they’ll win even though no institution in America is less popular than the Republicans. They think proving that the government doesn’t work will benefit them in the long-run, too. Why trust government to do anything if they can’t even pay their bills on time?

    Yet, congressional leaders in the Republican Party are not quite as convinced that they can get away with blowing off the president’s American Jobs Act. They can read the polls and they know the people are fed-up with their obstruction. They know a motivated president has a big megaphone. They want to pass something, even if only to avoid getting blasted for intransigence.

    Here’s where the death spiral comes in. Because two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the job House and Senate Republicans are doing, the GOP doesn’t stand a chance in next year’s elections if the president is popular or the economy is noticeably on the mend. Their only chance is to continue to chop away at the president, keep as many people jobless as possible, and hope that the “pox on both their houses” narrative is the dominant one with the electorate next year.

    The president is “on the ropes,” but so are the Republicans. As a result, there’s a split in the GOP. Boehner and Cantor want to work with the president and pass at least some parts of his plan. But RNCC Chairman Pete Sessions, who is responsible for recruiting House candidates and keeping control of the House, is less conciliatory.

    “To assume that we’re naturally for these things because we’ve been for them does not mean we will be for them if they cause debt, if they [have] tax increases and if they take money from the free-enterprise sector, which creates jobs,” said Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, who heads up the House Republican campaign arm…
    …“I have great respect for everybody in Republican leadership,” Sessions said. “I found what the president said to be out of balance; … It’s fair to give any [proposal by the] president [a chance] out of respect to him, but also we need to look at the substance.”

    Of course, the president has asked Congress to fully pay for his jobs package, so it shouldn’t cause any increase in debt. The Republicans are against the jobs bill because they’ve made themselves so unpopular that they’re relying on people hating the government, the president, and the Democrats almost as much as they hate the Republicans. Yet, they’re not united on how far they can push that strategy. It’s worked for them so far. It’s worked tragically well.

  21. rikyrah says:

    North Carolina Republicans Try to Star Chamber Marriage Equality
    The more Republicans talk about transparency and rights the more they’re about secrecy and tyranny. The latest example of this Star Chamber mentality comes from North Carolina, where the state legislature hid the existence of a bill banning same-sex marriage, disguising it as a bill about tenure limits in the house and senate. A stark difference between mundane and horrific.

    After all, you can’t protest or oppose something that doesn’t exist, can you?

    At 4:31 pm on Friday, a public notice posted by the Senate Judiciary 1 clerk claimed that North Carolina’s Senate Judiciary 1 committee would be meeting Monday at 1:30 pm on HB 61, “Speaker/Pro Tem Term Limits” – a bill to limit tenure for both House and Senate leaders.

    The bill read in part as follows




    The public, in order to comment, would have to be present between 1 and 1:30 in the Legislative Office Building, Room 643 in order to sign up.

    Eleven minutes later, at 4:42 pm, Susan Sitze, Senate staff attorney, sent the members of Senate Judiciary 1 a copy of the marriage-amendment bill as a “proposed committee substitute” (PCS). As a PCS, it is not made available to the public.

    Forty minutes after that, at 5:25 pm, the Senate Calendar was posted on the website for the public. It still listed the topic of Monday’s meeting as “Speaker Pro Tem Term Limits.” Not a ban on same-sex marriage.

    But as WRAL reported that night, the truth leaked out: the bill to be debated by the committee is not about term limits but a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The new version can be seen here and reads as follows




    The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

    SECTION 1. Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding the following new section:

    “Sec. 6. Marriage.

    Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

    SECTION 2. The amendment set out in Section 1 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at a statewide election to be held on November 6, 2012, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:

    “[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

    Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

    SECTION 3. If a majority of votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Section 1 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office. The amendment is effective upon certification.

    SECTION 4. This act is effective when it becomes law.

    Of course, Republicans say they weren’t doing anything underhanded or sneaky. The Senate Majority Leader, Phil Berger, said through his chief of staff that “Under Senate rules, we don’t have to notice meetings until midnight the day of the meeting, and at the same time send out a PCS.”

    Chief of Staff Jim Blaine said not changing the name of the bill wasn’t required because, as he put it, “Well, that’s the name of the bill.”

    We are in no way, shape or form trying to hide this. If we wanted to sneak this through, we’d put it out Monday at noon. If you notice the members of the committee on Friday, it’s public domain.”


    WRAL’s Laura Leslie reports on her somewhat bizarre exchange with Blaine:

    But the state’s open meetings law requires that the public, not just meeting attendees, be informed about what their elected officials are voting on. How would they know you’re planning to debate this bill?

    “You have it, don’t you?” Blaine asked. “I think they will be given every opportunity to weigh in.”

    The only reason I have it, I explained, is because it was leaked to me by a third party – not because the public was informed about it.

    So how would the public would know what they’re planning to vote on? If the purpose of the state’s open meetings law is to inform the public about elected officials are planning to do, why tell the public you’re going to be voting on something completely different?

    “I think you’re down the wrong track on this. It will be in the public domain well in advance of the meeting,” Blaine said.

    Apparently, honesty and transparency is the “wrong track” as well. We get it, GOP. Trust me, we get it.

    And why pay attention to what the people of North Carolina want (they don’t want to change the constitution) or worry about equal rights since “we need to reach out to them to try to get them to change their lifestyle and back to the normal lifestyle which we can accept,” says the man who introduced the bill, Sen. James Forrester.

    Ah ok…you can’t accept their lifestyle…sounds like the problem is yours, not theirs. The problem is that you need to accept and to tolerate, like the U.S. Constitution demands, not change your state constitution to satisfy your bigotry and intolerance. Naturally, Forrester, who is also a doctor, professes his love for gays. Love like that gays can do without.

  22. rikyrah says:

    White House: Tax Hikes For The Wealthy Will Largely Pay For Jobs Bill

    White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew on Monday outlined plans to pay for President Obama’s new jobs bill largely by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and closing tax loopholes for businesses.

    Most of the new funds, Lew said, would be attained by limiting itemized deductions for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000, a plan President Obama has tried to push since his campaign days. Taking these steps would raise roughly $400 billion over 10 years, Lew said.

    “We have choices to make. In order to invest in jobs and growth, we’re going to have to pay for it,” Lew said. “We think the American people will think this is the right package.”

    The administration also include a long-time policy goal of taxing the income investment fund managers make, known as carried interest, as regular income instead of as capital gains, which has a lower 15 percent tax rate. So far, Wall Street has strongly resisted any attempt to increase the rate on so-called carried interest. That change alone, would provide an infusion of $18 billion in revenue, according to administration officials.

    The elimination of a tax break for the oil and gas industry would raise another $40 billion, and another $3 billion would come from changing the way corporate jets depreciate. Combined with a few other smaller revenue raises, Lew said the total measures proposed by the administration would bring in $467 billion, with some “wiggle room” — $20 billion more than the cost of Obama’s jobs bill, to ensure there’s room to account for Congress’ bean counters score the total a bit differently.

    The President plans to send the actual legislative language of his jobs bill to Congress later Monday and will continue selling the jobs package to the American people with a trip to Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday. A week from today Obama will detail his recommendations to the deficit supercommittee, the panel of 12 members charged with cutting $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

    Obama has said he will urge the panel to “over-achieve” or in D.C. parlance “go big,” and slash $3 trillion, instead of the original goal of the $1.5 trillion, including enough to pay for the additional spending and tax relief in the jobs package.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) immediately shot down the idea of paying for the jobs bill mainly through tax increases, and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called the White House revenue raisers a “rerun pay-for.”

    “It would be fair to say this tax increase on job creators is the kind of proposal both parties have opposed in the past,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “We remain eager to work together on ways to support job growth, but this proposal doesn’t appear to have been offered in that bipartisan spirit.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    September 12, 2011 11:25 AM

    So much for the infrastructure ‘olive branch’

    By Steve Benen

    Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) conceded some additional infrastructure investments may be worthwhile, and offered the Obama administration an idea he said could garner bipartisan support. The Hill called it an “olive branch.”

    The idea wouldn’t actually spend additional money on much-needed projects that would create jobs, but it would in theory free up some funds. As Cantor argued, there’s an existing rule that says states must set aside 10% of federal surface transportation funds for “museums, education and preservation.” If the rule were waived or scrapped, states could divert those funds to roads and highways. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) immediately endorsed the plan in a letter to the White House.

    As “olive branches” go, this is extremely thin. Worse, the Republican leadership’s idea, like nearly all ideologically-driven ideas, starts with the conclusion — don’t make any additional public investments — and works backwards to satisfy an arbitrary, philosophical standard.

    But at least it’s something resembling progress, right? Wrong. The real problem is Boehner and Cantor flubbed the key details.

    There is no requirement that states set aside 10 percent of all federal surface transportation funds for purposes of funding Transportation Enhancement projects, a Department of Transportation official confirms. Rather, the law says that they must set aside ten percent of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding for those purposes.

    It’s not a minor distinction. The FHWA — a sub-agency of the Department of Transportation — was appropriated $927.6 million in fiscal year 2011. The funding for surface transportation during that same period was more than $50 billion.

    In other words: the Republican proposal would result in about two percent of surface transportation funding being freed up for states to use on their own infrastructure projects. The Transportation Department official adds, for good measure, that the projects funded by the transportation enhancement program are not, as Boehner suggests, a cornucopia of questionably useful, largely scenic items. “It’s almost exclusively bicycle and pedestrian projects,” the official said.

    If the GOP leaders are going to try to come with a meaningful policy, they’ll have to do better than this.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Michigan Jobs Save No Hit With Voters
    Wes Smith probably would have lost his family-owned company if it weren’t for one of President Barack Obama’s signature economic policies: the $82 billion bailout of General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler Group LLC.

    “I could be out of business,” Smith said. “Do I think about that often? Absolutely.”

    Instead, E&E Manufacturing Co., the Plymouth, Mich., auto- parts maker Smith’s father-in-law founded in 1962, is rebounding from the depths of the financial crisis. Annual sales of about $75 million are up about 50 percent from their nadir. The company has added about 70 jobs since employment bottomed at 280, down from a pre-crisis high of 480.

    E&E’s resurgence is part of a broader auto-industry comeback that analysts say vindicates the government’s activism in financing and arranging the 2009 GM and Chrysler bankruptcies.

    While Republicans assailed the intervention as evidence of Obama’s addiction to state-centric solutions, the industry has added almost 133,000 U.S. jobs since its 2009 low point, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the U.S. government has recovered all but $1.3 billion of the $12.5 billion it spent to prop up Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler, now controlled by Italy’s Fiat SpA, and almost half of the $49.5 billion devoted to GM in Detroit.

    “It was one of the better policy responses to the financial panic and recession,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The auto industry “is one of the more powerful sources of growth in the recovery.”

    Political Dividends
    One thing the industry’s Lazarus-like revival hasn’t done, however, is pay political dividends for Obama.

    “I have no faith in this administration,” said Smith, 55, criticizing what he said is the president’s failure to encourage corporate investment in the U.S.

    The sour grapes aren’t limited to Republicans such as Smith. In the latest EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan voters, 65 percent gave Obama a negative job-performance rating — worse than the 50 percent disapproval mark in the latest national Gallup poll. Even a majority of traditionally Democratic union households in Michigan gave Obama a thumbs-down.

    James Mead, 46, hired as a welder at E&E after six months of unemployment, shrugs at the president’s role in saving companies like his new employer.

    “I think it’s something the government had to do,” he said in an interview. “If they didn’t and the auto industry collapsed, we would have had a depression.”

    Voted Democratic
    Michigan voters in EPIC-MRA’s mock 2012 ballot preferred former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney — who opposed the bailout — over Obama 45 percent to 43 percent. The president won Michigan’s 17 electoral votes in 2008, capturing more than 57 percent of the popular vote. The state has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992.

    “It shouldn’t be a fight at all,” said Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers union. Obama “should carry it overwhelmingly.”

    There’s not much mystery about the reason for Obama’s troubles here. After falling in April to 10.2 percent from a 2009 peak of 14.1 percent, the state’s jobless rate has risen for three consecutive months to 10.9 percent — well above 9.1 percent nationally.

    “Michigan’s economy is worse than the nation’s,” said Bernie Porn, president of EPIC-MRA, the Lansing, Michigan-based opinion-research company. “The unemployment rate is higher and people are more depressed.”

    Rallying Cry
    Arguing that things could have been worse — as the administration sometimes has — isn’t much of a rallying cry. It may, however, be true.

    “Without the government stepping in, first the Bush administration and then the Obama administration, we would have seen the liquidation of both Chrysler and probably GM,” said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “That would have taken the whole industry down. We would have seen a disaster in terms of the job impact.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 09/12/2011
    Do GOP voters really think Perry is the most electable Republican? Yup.
    By Greg Sargent

    CNN released a poll this morning finding — as have other polls — that Rick Perry has surged past Mitt Romney to become the clear frontrunner in the GOP primary. Of course, it’s debatable whether that finding really matters, because it’s early days and because the primary will be fought out on a state-by-state level.

    But this finding, buried in the CNN poll’s internals, really does seem significant:

    Which Republican candidate do you think has the best chance of beating Barack Obama in the general election next November?
    Perry 42%
    Romney 26%
    Palin 7%
    Bachmann 5%
    Gingrich 5%
    Really? Nearly half of Republicans think Perry has the best chance of beating Obama?

    This is a pretty serious problem for Romney, who has signaled that he intends to make Perry’s alleged unelectability in a general election central to his case against the Texas governor. The poll was taken after last week’s GOP debate, in which Perry reiterated his belief that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and that anyone promising to maintain it as is is guilty of a “monstrous lie.” The poll was also taken after Romney’s camp pounced on Perry for his Social Security comments, claiming: “No federal candidate has ever won on the Perry program to kill Social Security. Never has. never will.”

    Apparently GOP voters beg to differ.

    This underscores a gap between the GOP establishment and the Republican rank and file when it comes to assessing Perry’s chances in a general election. Perry’s “Ponzi scheme” crack, his book’s claim that Social Security may be unconstitutional, its support for repeal of the 16th Amendment, and his implied threat of violence towards Fed chairman Ben Bernanke (which he hasn’t repudiated) have all left GOP establishment figures openly asking whether Perry’s views and personal style will be far too toxic to the mainstream for him to get elected president. Yet despite the emergence of all of these things, GOP voters still see him as the one most likely to beat Obama. If those things weren’t enough to persuade Republicans that Perry is less electable than Romney in a general election, it’s hard to imagine what will.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 09/12/2011

    Will Obama’s jobs plan cause schism in GOP?
    By Greg Sargent

    With the 2012 GOP primary candidates set for the big Tea Party Express debate tonight, top Democrats, including some at the White House, are keeping an eye out for a key dynamic that could play a major role in determining the outcome of the war over Obama’s new jobs bill.

    Specifically: The House GOP leadership is sending new and conciliatory messages about working with President Obama to get parts of his jobs plan passed. Will those messages get stepped on by the 2012 GOP primary candidates’ ever-escalating anti-Obama rhetoric, drowning out House GOP efforts to strike a more compromising tone?

    Dems are eying the possibility of a schism between Congressional GOP leaders and the party’s political leadership, including the 2012 candidates and the heads of the party committees, who are expected to strike an increasingly strident and uncompromising tone towards Obama’s new jobs plan.

    With Obama vowing to take his jobs bill to the American people, House GOP leaders have gone out of their way to signal a willingness to work with the president. Boehner today pledged a “careful examination” of Obama’s plan, adding: “It is my hope that we will be able to work together to put in place the best ideas of both parties and help put Americans back to work.”

    Whatever the true intentions of the GOP leadership towards Obama’s plan, the tonal shift signals a recognition that Republicans must appear prepared to work with Obama on jobs, and must not be seen rejecting his ideas wholesale.

    Contrast that with the tone taken by Republican National Committee chair Rience Priebus, who dismissively declared: “Once again, another speech from Obama making the exact same promises he did before the first stimulus.”

    In all likelihood, the 2012 GOP candidates will increasingly adopt such language and worse, bashing the jobs bill wholesale in an effort to appeal to GOP primary voters — particularly with a Tea Party debate set for tonight. What’s more, this potential schism goes beyond just a divide between the Congressional leadership and GOP candidates and political operatives. As Jonathan Cohn notes, conservatives in Congress have also struck a far more aggressive tone towards the jobs bill than the GOP leadership has.

    How does this all impact the prospect for the jobs proposal itself? Unclear. On the one hand, a divided GOP might struggle to send a unified message on jobs, giving Obama more leverage as he pushes Republicans to pass his plan. On the other, having the 2012 GOP hopefuls out there uniformly trashing the jobs bill could make it less likely that the House GOP rank and file will embrace even parts of it if the leadership appeals for their support. Either way, the prospect for GOP division over the American Jobs Act is a key dynamic Dems will be watching

  27. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    September 12, 2011 12:35 PM

    Huntsman’s confusion about the American Jobs Act matters

    By Steve Benen

    Plenty of Republicans, including some alleged moderates, have complained bitterly about the American Jobs Act, accusing the plan of calling for “nearly $500 billion in new spending.” Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman made the charge on Fox News this morning.

    BILL HEMMER (HOST): You served this president in China, would you back his jobs plan now?

    HUNTSMAN: Of course not. We don’t need another $500 billion, $450 billion in spending. These are half-measures, Bill. We can’t afford, as a country with an economy that is sucking wind, we can’t have half-measures and half-steps here and there. We’ve gotta be big, we’ve gotta be bold, and we’ve gotta be honest with the American people.

    Good idea. We can start by separating fact from fiction, which Huntsman neglected to do.

    I’d be delighted if Republicans were telling the truth and President Obama’s plan did include $500 billion in spending. Given the economic impact of that much direct investment, that sounds to me like a terrific idea.

    But that’s not quite what the American Jobs Act is all about. As it exists now, the White House plan totals about $450 billion, but of that total, roughly $250 billion is made up of tax cuts, not spending. That’s well over half the total package. The rest of the American Jobs Act includes about $60 billion for unemployment aid and job training, and $140 billion for infrastructure and saving public-sector jobs (teachers, firefighters, police officers).

    When Huntsman complains “we don’t need … $450 billion in spending,” the truth is (a) $450 billion in spending doesn’t sound so bad; and (b) that’s really not what this plan is.

    Of course, it’s also worth noting that Huntsman’s criticism is rather ironic given recent history. In 2009, Huntsman argued on statewide television that the Recovery Act wasn’t good enough because — you guessed it — the stimulus didn’t spend enough money. In particular, Huntsman said at the time he wanted fewer tax breaks and more infrastructure spending, putting him to the left of many congressional Democrats.

    And now he’s complaining about the spending in the American Jobs Act? Please.

  28. rikyrah says:

    September 12, 2011 1:55 PM

    Social Security takes center stage

    By Steve Benen

    In last week’s debate for the Republican presidential candidates, Rick Perry had an opportunity to backpedal on his criticism of Social Security, but instead, he doubled down. Among other things, the Texas governor called the program “a Ponzi scheme,” and said anyone talking about “ways to transition this program” is telling “a monstrous lie.”

    For Mitt Romney and much of the Republican establishment, the comments couldn’t have been more important. The party, Romney and others said, simply can’t nominate someone this hostile to a popular American institution.

    And with the next big debate on tap tonight, it seems very likely Social Security policy will take center stage. Going into the event, let’s take a look at how and why this matters to the two leading candidates.

    Perry has an op-ed in USA Today this morning, and it looks like he’s already begun toning down his rhetoric. “For too long, politicians have been afraid to speak honestly about Social Security,” he writes. “We must have the guts to talk about its financial condition if we are to fix Social Security and make it financially viable for generations to come.”

    This is clearly a departure from Perry’s record, which has suggested more than once that Social Security shouldn’t even exist. Now he wants to “fix” it? Yeah, sure he does.

    Romney, meanwhile, is once again counting on public ignorance to advance his ambitions. To undermine Perry, Romney wants to position himself as a mainstream champion of Social Security, but there’s a lengthy public record that paints a very different picture.

    [I]n 2007, when Romney was also campaigning for the Republican nomination for president, he supported his own radical change, repeatedly advocating for the privatization of Social Security, a plan pushed by Republicans and former President George W. Bush that failed in 2005.

    At one debate, Romney was asked where he stood on privatization. Regarding Bush’s plan, Romney said, “That works.” […]

    But Romney’s support of private accounts was hardly a one-time utterance at a single debate. Throughout that campaign, he touted the plan. […]

    Romney did not abandon his support for privatization when his first presidential campaign ended. On page 160 of his book, No Apology, published in 2010, Romney again hinted at support for privatization.

    Romney has spent a week arguing that Perry couldn’t possibly win a national general election because his approach to Social Security is too unpopular. But there’s the rub: Romney’s position on Social Security has been strongly and repeatedly rejected by the American mainstream, too.

    Even the Weekly Standard, of all outlets, said last week, “[I]t’s hard to see how Romney’s hypocritical demagoguery is going to help him win the nomination. “

    This should make for some interesting fireworks in prime time tonight.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Why Democrats Are Losing Anthony Weiner’s Seat
    Benjy Sarlin September 9, 2011, 1:05 PM
    Things are, by every measure, looking terrible for Democrats in New York’s 9th district, where voters will decide on Anthony Weiner’s replacement this Tuesday. Despite the seat’s 3:1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans, David Weprin trails GOP nominee Bob Turner 50-44 in the latest poll from Siena University. But the reasons why may not be what you think.

    According to Siena pollster Steven Greenberg, Weprin’s biggest problem is holding onto Democrats and Independents, which accounts for his lousy numbers in what should be a safe Democratic seat. After all, in the 2008 Presidential election, the district went for Obama over McCain by 55-44. Currently, though, while Turner wins 90% of Republicans and Weprin 6%, only 62% of Democrats are backing Weprin versus 32% who are defecting to Turner. Meanwhile, Independents are breaking for Turner big time: he leads 65-27. A month ago, that number was only in his favor 46-42.

    “I think they have a mini-perfect storm going on here,” Greenberg told TPM.

    There are two major factors behind Turner’s lead, according to Greenberg’s polling. The local factor being Weprin’s relative unpopularity, and the national factor being President Obama’s weak standing in the district given voters’ dismal outlook on the economy.

    According to Siena’s numbers, Weprin’s favorability numbers are at 41-41, versus a friendly 48-34 rating for Turner. Another stat that reflects the dynamic: voters think Turner is running the more positive campaign by a 43-32 margin. And that’s the guy who ran an ad juxtaposing the World Trade Center attack, a mosque, and President Obama.

    But given that Weprin isn’t exactly a larger than life political personality, the latter may be doing plenty to inform voters’ views on the former — Democratic pollster PPP’s field research, still unfinished, is finding that national issues are dominant so far in explaining Democrats’ troubles.

    “The eye popping number for me is that we may have Obama’s approval number as low as the 30s,” PPP polling director Tom Jensen told TPM. “It’s hard for Democrats to win open seat races in places where Obama’s that unpopular. Obama’s at 50%, I have no doubt Weprin beats Turner comfortably.”

    Siena’s numbers show plenty of similar problems for Democrats as well. They put Obama’s approval rating underwater at 43-54, but what really stands out for Greenberg is voters’ overall take on the economy.

    “Nearly three qarters of voters said the country is headed in the wrong direction,” he said. “They’re angry about whats going on, they’re frustrated about the economy and jobs situation, and they’re angry at Washington,” he said. “Couple that with the local campaign, where voters think Turner is doing a better job, and it all comes together.”

    One surprise in Siena’s polling, however, is the relative importance of Israel to the race. Turner has made it an absolutely critical issue for his campaign, slamming Obama’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at every turn in an effort to win over Jewish voters in the district. Weprin, an Orthodox Jew, has a similar position on Israel but Turner has argued that unless he breaks with Obama entirely and refuses to endorse him, he’s still tainted.

  30. rikyrah says:

    September 12, 2011 8:30 AM

    So much for ‘country first’

    By Steve Benen

    In his speech to Congress last week, President Obama reminded lawmakers that if policymakers “act as one nation and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.”

    The problem, of course, is that Republicans really don’t want to act as one nation and one people.

    House Republicans may pass bits and pieces of President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, but behind the scenes, some Republicans are becoming worried about giving Obama any victories — even on issues the GOP has supported in the past.

    And despite public declarations about finding common ground with Obama, some Republicans are privately grumbling that their leaders are being too accommodating with the president.

    “Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?” said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely.

    For all of the debate over what motivates Republicans on Capitol Hill, could this quote be any clearer? GOP goals have nothing to do with boosting the economy or creating jobs, and everything to do with undermining the president during a crisis.

    The correct answer to this aide’s question — Americans get back to work is more important than partisan politics — never seems to enter the picture.

    Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chairman of the NRCC, added that no one should assume congressional Republicans will support policies, just because “we’ve been for them” in the recent past.

    No, of course not.

    The muted response in GOP circles to the president’s speech and the American Jobs Act led to some speculation that this process may not be awful. Obama presented a plan with plenty of Republican ideas, and GOP leaders struck a generally conciliatory tone, suggesting Republicans, if only for their own sake, may want to pass something to prove they’re still capable of governing.

    But so long as rank-and-file GOP lawmakers prioritize hurting the president above all, meaningful progress is very likely impossible.

    The Hill, meanwhile, reports that House Republicans are still pondering how to use the tools of government to improve the economy when they believe it’s impossible to use the government to improve the economy.

    If Americans wanted Washington to focus on improving the economy, they made some very poor choices in November 2010.

  31. rikyrah says:

    September 12, 2011 10:40 AM

    Changing personas like changing suits

    By Steve Benen

    As Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney transitions once again to an entirely new campaign pitch, the conservative Washington Times reports that some Republicans are “stirring” about whether Romney has any “core beliefs.”

    Already dogged by a reputation for political shifts on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney is once again honing a new sales pitch to voters, with the former Massachusetts governor now casting himself as a real-world “conservative businessman” who is in sync with the tea party while eager to slap sense into the “career politicians” he blames for the nation’s problems. […]

    “He’s a politician who would be perfectly comfortable in the 1960s when the media was controlled by a half-a-dozen political reporters and you could say one thing in one place and another thing in another place,” said Michael McKenna, a GOP strategist.

    “But in this era, which is marked by lots of information and a real craving for authenticity, a guy like Romney has real trouble because I’m not really sure that he has any core beliefs except for two: He is mostly a free-market guy and he thinks he should be president of the United States.”

    I don’t agree with McKenna much, but his assessment of Romney seems more than fair. Love Romney or hate him, the knock on him is entirely accurate: there’s no fundamental, unshakable core to this guy. He’ll shift with the winds, wherever they blow, in the hopes of advancing his ambitions. Those who trust that Romney will remain consistent are inevitably disappointed.

    It’s precisely why Romney has flip-flopped on more issues than any politician in a generation. Indeed, if anyone can think of any major issues on which Romney has been consistent, I’d love to see the list.

    In this most recent case, Romney isn’t just changing strategy. The fact that the one-time frontrunner would move away from his inevitability campaign is a sensible tactical shift given the circumstances.

    Rather, what’s more interesting here is that Romney is overhauling his presentation of himself. We’re being introduced to Romney 5.0.

    Romney 1.0 was an independent who distanced himself from Reagan and H.W. Bush.

    Romney 2.0 was a moderate Republican, with liberal positions on social issues, who passed health care reform at the state level.

    Romney 3.0 was a social conservative who cared deeply about the culture war.

    Romney 4.0 was an experienced, above-the-fray voice for the GOP establishment who had no use or time for the party’s Tea Party wing.

    Romney 5.0 loves Tea Partiers, signs right-wing pledges, brags about flying commercial, and hates “career politicians.”

    I’m perfectly comfortable with politicians reaching new conclusions after earnest reevaluations, but there’s nothing even remotely sincere about Romney’s repeated reinventions.

    Romney probably doesn’t want my advice, but I’d suggest he stop trying so hard to figure out the latest in a series of personas. Has he tried being himself? After all of his metamorphoses, does he even know who that is anymore?

    When a politician changes so fundamentally, so often, shouldn’t he expect observers to question his integrity?

  32. rikyrah says:

    Virginia as Biggest Slaveholder Still Sees Civil War Divisively
    Edward L. Ayers knew Virginia was changing when more than 2,000 people arrived on a weekday at the University of Richmond’s basketball arena to hear a new perspective on the cause of the Civil War.

    One hundred and fifty years after the start of the nation’s bloodiest war, the audience sat rapt as a professor displayed a screen image of a single page in a slaveowner’s account book that showed slavery was today’s equivalent of a $100 million-a- year business.

    “Nobody was outraged that we were admitting this,” said Ayers, although some in the audience told him they never realized the extent to which money motivated the war.

    The lecture was part of a two-year effort that Ayers, the university’s president, has co-led to get Richmond — once the center of the nation’s slave trade — to confront its difficult history.

    “We’re never really going to come to terms with having been the largest slaveholding state in the nation — that’s never going to be behind us — but Virginia’s beginning to come to terms with really a complex history,” Ayers said in an interview.

    President Barack Obama navigated those crosscurrents in 2008 to win the state, and his trip to Ayers’s Richmond campus on Sept. 9 to pitch his jobs plan illustrates his desire to keep Virginia in play in the 2012 presidential campaign.

    The president’s success will depend largely on his ability to take advantage of the changed perspective he tapped into three years ago and Ayers saw earlier this year. It is being driven in part by demographic shifts and by generational changes that have distanced voters from a war in which 620,000 Americans were killed.

  33. Ametia says:

    How PBO REALLY handles his oppostion. LMBAO

  34. rikyrah says:

    Johnson backs Perry on Social Security, comparing it to Bernie Madoff

    Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson came to Texas Republican governor Rick Perry’s defense over the weekend, backing the Texas governor’s characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”

    “Certainly, my approach was not to go out of my way to say things that scare people,” Mr. Johnson said in an interview with the National Review Online. “When you just calmly and coolly lay out the facts and the figures, people kind of come to the conclusion that, yeah, I understand why he’s calling it a Ponzi scheme.”

    Read more: http
    The Wisconsin Republican, who was elected in 2010 with the support of the Tea Party, is the first Republican to come to the defense of Mr. Perry. The Texas Republican is facing criticism from both sides of the aisle after reiterating his claim during Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate that Social Security is little more than a Ponzi scheme.

    “It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there,” Mr. Perry said at the time.

    Speaking with the National Review, Mr. Johnson linked the current structure of Social Security with Bernie Madoff, the infamous investor convicted of deceiving investors in the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

    “[Social Security] looks an awful lot like what Bernie Madoff had done to his investors. … When you have an unfunded liability of $17.9 trillion dollars, when you’ve taken $2.5 trillion from the trust fund and basically spent the money, it’s gone, that falls in line with the definition of a ‘Ponzi scheme’: You lure investors in and pay those folks off in return with the new investors’ money,” Mr. Johnson said.

    Still, the field of Republican presidential candidates have increased their criticism of Mr. Perry in recent days. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney slammed the Texas governor in a recent flied sent out to supporters in Florida, saying Mr. Perry would “kill” Medicare.

    Read more:

  35. rikyrah says:

    Exposing religious fundamentalism in the US

    The US media has been downplaying a radical Christian theology that is increasingly influential in the Republican Party.

    With Representative Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Ames, Iowa straw poll, and Texas Governor Rick Perry’s triumphal entrance into the GOP presidential primary, there’s been a sudden spike of attention drawn to the extremist religious beliefs both candidates have been associated with – up to and including their belief in Christian dominionism. (In the Texas Observer, the New Yorker, and the Daily Beast, for example.) The responses of denial from both the religious right itself and from the centrist Beltway press have been so incongruous as to be laughable – if only the subject matter weren’t so deadly serious. Those responses need to be answered, but more importantly, we need to have the serious discussion they want to prevent.

    For example, in an August 18 post, originally entitled, “Beware False Prophets who Fear Evangelicals”, Washington Post religion blogger Lisa Miller cited the three stories I just mentioned, and admitted, “The stories raise real concerns about the world views of two prospective Republican nominees”, then immediately reversed direction: “But their echo-chamber effect reignites old anxieties among liberals about evangelical Christians. Some on the left seem suspicious that a firm belief in Jesus equals a desire to take over the world.” Of course, she cited no examples to bolster this narrative-flipping claim. More importantly, she wrote not one more word about the real concerns she had just admitted.

    Dominionism is not a myth

    “What In Heaven’s Name Is A Dominionist?” Pat Robertson asked on his 700 Club TV show, one of several religious right figures to recently pretend there was nothing to the notion. Funny he should ask. In a 1984 speech in Dallas, Texas, he said:

    “What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours – I’m talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance – it’s going to be ours! God’s going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ.”

    Furthermore, C Peter Wagner, the intellectual godfather of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), actually wrote a book called Dominion! in 2008. Chapter Three was entitled “Dominion Theology”. When pressed, Peter likes to pretend that his ideas are just garden-variety Christianity, based on Genesis 1:26, in which, before the fall, God gives Adam and Eve dominion over the natural world – a far cry from dominion over other people, who did not even exist at the time, as evangelical critics of this dominionist argument have repeatedly pointed out.

    Dominionism is not new

    Dominionist ideas have circulated throughout the religious right for decades prior to Robertson’s 1984 speech. A primary source was the small but influential sect known as Christian Reconstructionism, founded by R J Rushdoony in the 1960s, which advocates replacing American law with Old Testament codes. Centrists like Miller make the mistake of thinking that the small size of Rushdoony’s core of true believers is the full extent of his influence. But this is utterly mistaken. As Michelle Goldberg wrote in Daily Beast, “Rushdoony pioneered the Christian homeschooling movement, as well as the revisionist history, ubiquitous on the religious right, that paints the US as a Christian nation founded on biblical principles. He consistently defended Southern slavery and contrasted it with the greater evils of socialism.”

    A second source traces back to the roots of the Latter Rain movement of the late 1940s, long rejected by orthodox evangelicals because they contradicted scripture and denied primary agency to God – which is why they insist that Christians must actively establish church dominance over all of society, because God can’t do it alone.

    The Latter Rain was denounced by the Assemblies of God – the largest American Pentecostal church – in 1949, not solely for dominionist ideology, but for a variety of related beliefs and practices. When similar teachings and practices re-emerged in the guise of the New Apostolic Reformation 50 years later, the Assemblies of God denounced them again in 2000.

    This time, however, many Assemblies of God congregations have increasingly accepted the NAR influence. Sarah Palin’s long-time church in Wasilla is one such congregation. The most clear-cut example of NAR dominionism is the so-called “Seven Mountains Mandate”, which holds that dominionist Christians should control the whole world by infiltrating and dominating the “Seven Mountains” of culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion.

  36. creolechild says:

    Iraq’s Sadr orders halt to attacks on U.S. troops – By Agence France-Presse

    NAJAF, Iraq — Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers not to launch any attacks on US troops before a year-end deadline for their withdrawal, in a statement seen on Sunday. Sadr’s remarks came just days after he backtracked on a call for popular anti-government rallies. American forces have accused militias linked to the cleric of largely being behind attacks on its soldiers. “In order that Iraq can recover its independence through the withdrawal of the invaders from our territory, I judge it indispensable to halt all armed resistance operations until the complete withdrawal of the occupying forces,” Sadr said in the statement originally issued Saturday.

    “If the pullout is completed and there is no longer a single US soldier on our territory, the military operations will end definitively but if that is not the case and Iraq remains in a state of dependency, they will resume with greater vigour,” Sadr said. He paid tribute to “the resistance for its actions” and said his movement was now working “hand in hand with the government to achieve the liberation of the country and supporting it against US pressure.”

    In July, Major General Jeffrey Buchanan, spokesman for US forces in Iraq, accused three Shiite militia groups of being behind attacks on US troops. He named them as the Promised Day Brigades, formed by Sadr in November 2008, and Ketaeb Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, two splinter groups which broke away from Sadr’s former Mahdi Army militia which fought US-led troops from 2004 to 2007.
    The cleric’s bloc holds six cabinet posts and has 40 seats in parliament.


  37. creolechild says:

    Phone hacking: detectives make 16th arrest – Posted: 7 September 2011 By: Joel Gunter

    Detectives investigating phone hacking at the News of the World arrested a 35-year-old man in the early hours of this morning. The man was arrested at 5.55am at his home on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages, contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, police confirmed today. He was taken to a North London police station where he remains in custody.

    This morning’s arrest was the 16th by detectives from the Met police Operation Weeting team, which is investigating phone hacking. It differs from the majority of previous arrests in that it took place at the suspect’s home, and not at a police station by prior appointment. Operation Weeting has previously arrested a number of high-profile figures in the course of investigation, including former Downing Street director of communications Andy Coulson and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

    Coulson and Brooks both resigned from News International over the scandal, which has also led to the closure of the News of the World and the resignations of two of the UK’s most senior police officers, former Met police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and former assistant commissioner John Yates.
    Former News International legal manager and News of the World editor Colin Myler appeared before the culture, media and sport select committee yesterday, where they challenged James Murdoch’s evidence to the committee in July. Murdoch hit back at the former executives after yesterday’s hearing, claiming that their evidence was “unclear and contradictory”.

  38. creolechild says:

    Baucus, Camp send message their panels will tackle tax reform – By Bernie Becker – 09/07/11

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has scheduled a series of hearings this month on taxes, sending a reminder that congressional tax-writing committees, and not the new debt supercommittee, could have the final say when it comes to tax reform. Officials from both parties are pushing the 12 lawmakers on the special deficit-reduction panel to take a deep look at the tax code in the coming weeks as they try to find a at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts.

    But Baucus and the other chief tax-writer in Congress, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who are both members of the supercommittee, want tax reform to move through the normal committee process. Camp and Baucus have also vowed to work together in their efforts to overhaul the tax code, and both made tax reform a priority before being tapped to serve on the supercommittee. The two chairmen have already held regular hearings on the issue during the current Congress.


  39. creolechild says:

    Palestinian leader vows to pursue UN statehood bid – By Agence France-Presse

    AMMAN — President Mahmud Abbas said in remarks published on Sunday that Palestinians will seek UN membership despite US “threats” to stop financial aid. “We will go to the United Nations to obtain an international recognition to the state of Palestine, despite the obstacles and dangers, including US threats to halt 470 million dollars in annual assistance,” Abbas told Jordan’s government-owned Al-Rai newspaper in an interview. “If Washington uses a veto against us, this does not mean a boycott. We had our differences with the US in the past. Anyway, we will take a suitable decision in line with developments,” he told the Arabic-language daily.

    Abbas is to attend the UN General Assembly summit of world leaders starting September 20, but Washington has already said it would veto any bid to the United Nations Security Council, arguing that a Palestinian state can be established only through negotiations. But if the effort is blocked at the Security Council, the Palestinians say they will turn to the General Assembly, where they are expected to easily win the votes to upgrade representation from observer body to non-member state.

    On reconciliation efforts with Hamas, Abbas said “talks to form a government will resume after October despite Israel’s threats to freeze Palestinian Authority funds.” “The next government will not be a unity government. It will be a government of technocrats that will oversee the general election,” he said, adding that if polls are held in May he will not run for the presidency.

  40. creolechild says:

    The following article is somewhat dated but, imo, still informative and relevant~

    Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload
    November 16, 2010
    By Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel

    Amid the hand-wringing over the death of “true journalism” in the Internet Age—the din of bloggers, the echo chamber of Twitter, the predominance of Wikipedia—veteran journalists and media critics Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel have written a pragmatic, serious-minded guide to navigating the twenty-first century media terrain. Yes, old authorities are being dismantled, new ones created, and the very nature of knowledge has changed. But seeking the truth remains the purpose of journalism—and the object for those who consume it. How do we discern what is reliable? How do we determine which facts (or whose opinions) to trust? Blur provides a road map, or more specifically, reveals the craft that has been used in newsrooms by the very best journalists for getting at the truth. In an age when the line between citizen and journalist is becoming increasingly unclear, Blur is a crucial guide for those who want to know what’s true.

    Ways of Skeptical Knowing—Six Essential Tools for Interpreting the News

    1. What kind of content am I encountering?
    2. Is the information complete? If not, what’s missing?
    3. Who or what are the sources and why should I believe them?
    4. What evidence is presented and how was it tested or vetted?
    5. What might be an alternative explanation or understanding?
    6. Am I learning what I need?

  41. creolechild says:

    Exposing religious fundamentalism in the US: The US media has been downplaying a radical Christian theology that is increasingly influential in the Republican Party.
    By: Paul Rosenberg

    With Representative Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Ames, Iowa straw poll, and Texas Governor Rick Perry’s triumphal entrance into the GOP presidential primary, there’s been a sudden spike of attention drawn to the extremist religious beliefs both candidates have been associated with – up to and including their belief in Christian dominionism. (In the Texas Observer, the New Yorker, and the Daily Beast, for example.) The responses of denial from both the religious right itself and from the centrist Beltway press have been so incongruous as to be laughable – if only the subject matter weren’t so deadly serious. Those responses need to be answered, but more importantly, we need to have the serious discussion they want to prevent.

    For example, in an August 18 post, originally entitled, “Beware False Prophets who Fear Evangelicals”, Washington Post religion blogger Lisa Miller cited the three stories I just mentioned, and admitted, “The stories raise real concerns about the world views of two prospective Republican nominees”, then immediately reversed direction: “But their echo-chamber effect reignites old anxieties among liberals about evangelical Christians. Some on the left seem suspicious that a firm belief in Jesus equals a desire to take over the world.” Of course, she cited no examples to bolster this narrative-flipping claim. More importantly, she wrote not one more word about the real concerns she had just admitted.

    “What In Heaven’s Name Is A Dominionist?” Pat Robertson asked on his 700 Club TV show, one of several religious right figures to recently pretend there was nothing to the notion. Funny he should ask. In a 1984 speech in Dallas, Texas, he said: “What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours – I’m talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance – it’s going to be ours! God’s going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ.”


  42. Ametia says:

    PBO to speak on Jobs bill this morning at 10:40 am EDT

    Watch it live here:

  43. rikyrah says:

    September 12, 2011 8:00 AM

    Winning ugly

    By Steve Benen

    By all appearances, Republicans are poised to win tomorrow’s special election in New York’s 9th, a seat left vacant by Anthony Weiner’s resignation. It’s generally a Democratic stronghold, making the likely GOP victory quite surprising.

    There are plenty of factors at play, including President Obama’s slipping support in the congressional district, but it’s worth appreciating the kind of campaign Republicans are running. They’re pretty confident of success, but not confident enough to avoid trashy tactics like these.

    In anticipation of this somber day [the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks], the New York GOP sent out “a kitchen-sink mailer in the hotly-contested Queens congressional special election depicting a mosque superimposed over the scarred Ground Zero site on one side, and Democrat David Weprin alongside President Barack Obama on the other.”

    The incendiary flier was sent out on behalf of Republican businessman Bob Turner who is seeking to take former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D) seat…. [T]he front of the flier features a gold-domed mosque rising out of the ruins of the World Trade Center site with a quote from Weprin stating “I support the right of the mosque to build.” The other side places Weprin next to Obama and reads “Weprin stands with Obama — and they stand together in support of the mosque at Ground Zero.”

    In case anyone’s forgotten the relevant details, the attack is, among other things, a lie. The Park51 project isn’t a mosque and it’s not at Ground Zero. David Weprin and President Obama, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and plenty of Republicans, were talking about a community center in Lower Manhattan, spearheaded by a Bush administration ally.

    But that doesn’t sound scary, and it certainly doesn’t win votes. What Turner and the GOP need is to make voters feel frightened and angry, so this mailing follows on the heels of a Turner television ad accusing “some” of wanting to “commemorate” 9/11 “by building a mosque on Ground Zero.”

    This is the politics of bigotry and hysteria. It’s ugly, it’s divisive, and it plays voters for fools. And apparently, if the polls are right, it’s going to win.

    Making matters slightly worse, while both Turner and Weprin stopped campaigning on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks yesterday, Republicans spent the day leaking the details of a 25-year old child custody hearing casting Weprin in a negative light.

    Come Wednesday morning, I suspect many of these details will be largely ignored. The pundits will obsess over “Democrats in disarray” and “voters send Obama a message,” because ultimately, a win is a win, and this is a district where the GOP seemingly had no chance.

    But when it comes to decency and honor in public service — or in this case, the lack thereof — I hope some folks will remember what Republicans had to do to flip this seat.

  44. creolechild says:

    Good morning, 3Chics! Thought you’d be interested in this news~

    White House: Obama to send jobs bill to Congress on Monday
    By David Nakamura

    President Obama plans to send the American Jobs Act, his $447 billion plan to jump-start the economy, to Congress on Monday evening, a White House official said Sunday. Obama will appear in the Rose Garden at 10:40 a.m. on Monday to call on Congress to approve the bill, which aims to create hundreds of thousands of jobs through a mix of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and direct aid to state and local governments. The president will be joined at the announcement by teachers, police officers, firefighters, construction workers, small business owners, and veterans, the White House official said.

    Since unveiling his plan in a speech to Congress last Thursday, Obama has launched an ambitious push to win public support. Last Friday, he traveled to Richmond, the district of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), where he repeatedly told an enthusiastic crowd to demand that Congress “pass this bill now.” Obama will tour a school in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday to highlight the bill’s aid package to help communities hire teachers and rehabilitate aging school buildings. He’ll follow that with a trip to the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina on Wednesday to continue to sell his plan.

  45. rikyrah says:

    SEE, I wanna know why Joe Walsh’s ASS ISN’T IN JAIL?


    Unable to pay child support, poor parents land behind bars
    By Mike Brunker
    Projects Team editor

    It may not be a crime to be poor, but it can land you behind bars if you also are behind on your child-support payments.

    Thousands of so-called “deadbeat” parents are jailed each year in the U.S. after failing to pay court-ordered child support — the vast majority of them for withholding or hiding money out of spite or a feeling that they’ve been unfairly gouged by the courts.

    But in what might seem like an un-American plot twist from a Charles Dickens’ novel, advocates for the poor say, some parents are wrongly being locked away without any regard for their ability to pay — sometimes without the benefit of legal representation.

    Randy Miller, a 39-year-old Iraqi war vet, found himself in that situation in November, when a judge in Floyd County, Ga., sent him to jail for violating a court order to pay child support.

    He said he was stunned when the judge rebuffed his argument that he had made regular payments for more than a decade before losing his job in July 2009 and had recently resumed working.

    “I felt that with my payment history and that I had just started working, maybe I would be able to convince the judge to give me another month had a half to start making the payments again,” he told “… But that didn’t sit too well with him because he went ahead and decided to lock me up.”

    Miller, who spent three months in jail before being released, is one of six plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit filed in March that seeks to force the state of Georgia to provide lawyers for poor non-custodial parents facing the loss of their freedom for failing to pay child support.

    “Languishing in jail for weeks, months, and sometimes over a year, these parents share one trait … besides their poverty:

    Debtors’ prisons’?
    “Languishing in jail for weeks, months, and sometimes over a year, these parents share one trait … besides their poverty: They went to jail without ever talking to an attorney,” according to the lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Southern Center of Human Rights in Atlanta.

    While jailing non-paying parents — the vast majority of them men — does lead to payment in many cases, critics say that it unfairly penalizes poor and unemployed parents who have no ability to pay, even though federal law stipulates that they must have “willfully” violated a court order before being incarcerated.

    They compare the plight of such parents to the poor people consigned to infamous “debtors’ prisons” before such institutions were outlawed in the early 1800s.

    “I try very carefully not to exaggerate, but I do think that’s an apt comparison,” said Sarah Geraghty, the attorney handling the Georgia case for the Southern Center for Human Rights.

    “And I think anyone who went down and watched one of these proceedings would agree with me. … You see a room full of indigent parents — most of them African-American — and you have a judge and attorney general, both of whom are white. The hearings often take only 15 seconds. The judge asks, ‘Do you have any money to pay?’ the person pleads and the judge says, ‘OK you’re going to jail,’” she added.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Running for Jefferson Davis’ old seat
    by Dennis G.

    Rick Perry is running for President, but it is worth asking: President of what?.

    His campaign rhetoric, policy solutions, views of American history, the Constitution and our laws are all distinctly Confederate. He finds Federal spending on education, infrastructure, and a safety net to be outside of his understanding of the Constitution. Rights for workers, environmental protection and any regulations that interfere in the God given right of our Galtian Overlords to take whatever they want, whenever they want it are also at odds with his views. It is the CSA Constitution that frames Perry’s understanding of Constitutional law and his founding fathers are more Davis, Forrest and Lee than those fellas from 1776. This is why it is fair to ask which Country does Perry want to be President of: the CSA or the USA? I think the answer is pretty clear.

    Perry talks in neo-Confederate code and a majority of Wingnutopia loves that shit. The majority of voters in any Republican Primary will be Tea-Party-Neo-Confederates. They are the base that will choose the nominee and Perry has them in his pocket.

    In the footsteps of the Confederate elites of old, Perry uses code words—and sometimes blunt language—to pump up fear that minorities are threatening to steal the privileges of white people. He uses this fear as tool to bamboozle the gullible into supporting policies that hurt them. Look at Texas with all those low wage jobs, bad schools and laws designed to help oligarchs steal your labor, savings and health. Folks should be in revolt, but instead they line up to buy the shit sandwich. The wingnut base of the Republican Party will support almost anything if it is presented with some White privilege protection code-talking and wrapped up with a Jesus-loves-this-shit-too pretty ribbon. Telling fools what they want to hear is Perry’s special skill—and he is pretty good at it.

    Rick Perry has won the Modern Confederate Party Primary. And he has won the “Who will save us from that Black Man in the White House” primary. These wins give him majority support of the Republican Party base.

    Winning the Republican Party Nomination for President is now his to lose.

    Old Jeff Davis must be smiling.


  47. rikyrah says:

    PPP: North Carolina Presidential Race Tight, But GOP Contenders All Viewed Unfavorably
    Kyle Leighton September 9, 2011, 3:15 PM
    Right now, there aren’t many voters who view presidential candidates of either party in a very good light. A new poll out Friday from Public Policy Polling (D) shows the race in North Carolina to be a tight one, with President Obama locked in a dead heat with the major announced GOP candidates, but the Republicans have problems of their own: not one of them is close to having a positive favorability rating.

    The survey shows the President’s job approval remains well underwater in the state, at 43 percent approval with 53 against, with 62 percent of independent voters disapproving along with 20 percent of Democrats. There’s also a huge gender gap: only 37 percent of men approve of his performance versus 61, with women breaking 48 – 46. But those numbers reflect the level of discontent nationally and are therefore somewhat unsurprising.

    What is surprising is the low standing of GOP candidates in the eyes of the North Carolina electorate. That’s not to say that the race isn’t close. In fact, Obama is locked in a tie with Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 45 percent a piece, leads former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney 45 percent to 44, and only bests Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) 47 – 45. But each of those Republicans have high unfavorability ratings among NC voters: Perry is already seen unfavorably by 43 percent after only a few weeks on the trail (against 34 percent approval), Romney is well underwater at 28 – 52, and Bachmann is at 29 – 52. So if this is a low point for the President in terms of popularity, there’s room for Obama to outpace his opponents.

    A look within the numbers show that the thesis that Perry will start to pull more conservative voters is proving true. Perry brings 5 percent more Republicans against Obama, but 2 points fewer in terms of independents than Romney. More self-identified conservatives also commit to voting for Perry, as do moderates, but only by a few points.

  48. rikyrah says:

    Tim Pawlenty Endorses Mitt Romney, Joins Campaign As Co-Chair
    Evan McMorris-Santoro September 12, 2011, 8:03 AM
    No more Obamneycare.

    Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who left the race for the Republican presidential nomination last month, has endorsed Mitt Romney and joined his campaign as a national co-chair.

    On Fox and Friends this morning, where Pawlenty made the announcement, he defended Romney’s record on health care reform (which he had unsuccessfully attacked on the campaign trail) and joined in the dogpile on Rick Perry over his rhetoric about Social Security.

    A key quote, gathered this morning by Politico:

    “Gov. Romney wants to fix Social Security. He doesn’t want to abolish it or end it,” Pawlenty said. “Gov. Perry has said in the past that he thought it was ‘failed.’”In a letter sent to Romney supporters Monday morning, Pawlenty praised Romney’s economic plan.

    “By pressing for fundamental change in the way that Washington taxes and spends, issues regulations, uses energy, interacts with our major trading partners, and deals with our labor force, he fully envisions a way to place America back on the path toward rapid economic growth and full employment,” Pawlenty wrote.

    The letter doesn’t mention the phrase “health care,” though Pawlenty told Fox that he had discussed the issue with Romney and determined Romney is “100% dedicated and committed to repealing Obamacare.”

    Pawlenty told the Fox team that he’s not angling for a VP slot on the Romney ticket. “That won’t be part of the path for me,” he said.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Israel’s Bad Month
    by BooMan
    Sun Sep 11th, 2011 at 07:52:11 PM EST

    It has been a bad month for Israel. First, Turkey kicked Israel’s ambassador out of the country because Israel has not apologized for last year’s flotilla incident. Then Egyptian hoodlums reacted to a border incident where Egyptian soldiers were killed by overrunning Israel’s embassy in Cairo. Traditionally, Turkey and Egypt have been Israel’s best allies in the region, but they are beginning to look friendless. It’s disturbing that government officials in Tel Aviv seem to be adopting a fatalistic attitude. Instead of making conciliatory moves, they’re digging in.

    Israel has expressed regret for the deaths in both cases, but has not apologized for actions that it considers defensive.
    The overriding assessment of the government of Mr. Netanyahu is that such steps will only make matters worse because what is shaking the region is not about Israel, even if Israel is increasingly its target, and Israel can do almost nothing to affect it.

    “Egypt is not going toward democracy but toward Islamicization,” said Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo who reflected the government’s view. “It is the same in Turkey and in Gaza. It is just like what happened in Iran in 1979.”

    A senior official said Israel had few options other than to pursue what he called a “porcupine policy” to defend itself against aggression. Another official, asked about Turkey, said, “There is little that we can do.”

    How do you help a friend who isn’t convinced that they have the power to help themselves? It really does remind me of dealing with an alcoholic. You can have an intervention. You can try tough-love. You can wait until they hit rock-bottom and make sure you’re there to lend a helping hand and forgiveness. But sometimes there just isn’t anything you can do.

    Israel’s government believes it can go on occupying Palestinian land. It seems to know that everything is falling to pieces, but it steadfastly refuses to admit that it has a problem.

    America has been immovable in its friendship, but Israel’s isolation is beginning to undercut our military and diplomatic relations with the whole region, and it not fair to us to put us under such strain.

    There is a real risk that people will look back at the Netanyahu government as the most disastrous in the country’s entire history. President Bush could smell of roses by comparison.

  50. rikyrah says:

    The Most Overlooked (and Important) Proposal in Obama’s Jobs Plan

    It’s no big secret that young Americans are hurting. Youth unemployment is double the national average, college debt loads and defaults are the highest in history, and only 25% of young people had traditional jobs lined up upon graduation this year.

    Thankfully, alongside these chronic epidemics, another trend has emerged: the growth of entrepreneurship as a viable career path for young people.

    However, the vast majority of recent college graduates and twenty-somethings face significant hurdles when it comes to starting a business, especially when it comes to obtaining startup capital. Mind you, I’m not talking about hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars — or in most cases even tens of thousands. It takes just the few thousand dollars to start the most basic service-based businesses. But banks require collateral and credit history, a rare combination for eager upstarts. Micro-loan programs (that work as intended) are few and far between. And, in many instances, “friends and family” have their own financial woes to deal with. Bottom line: None of these sources is a reliable or scalable solutions for the vast majority of young Americans looking to join the entrepreneurial ranks.

    But it seems the president’s American Jobs Act may have just the solution young people need to transition from unemployed to self-employed.

    You may not have noticed it, however, because most news outlets have focused on the bill’s headline-worthy small-business benefits, such as the extensive payroll tax cuts, extension of the 100% business expensing provision, and the complete payroll tax holiday for new jobs or wage increases. As worthy of attention and praise as these provisions are, they’re inconsequential for most young and aspiring entrepreneurs. After all, in most cases, millenials are at the very beginning of — or just embarking on — their entrepreneurial journey. No, it is one of the more understated reforms that is actually the most transformative for this generation of eager doers.

    The provision I’m talking about is reform to federal unemployment insurance. (Yes, I’m serious. Hold the skepticism, please.)

    Traditionally, unemployment insurance has only been made available to unemployed individuals who were actively seeking a traditional job. These funds could only be accessed for personal use; all other uses — such as starting a business — were strictly prohibited, and only job seekers qualified for these funds. Individuals with a desire to seek self-employment opportunities were ineligible for any unemployment money.

    Now, imagine if aspiring entrepreneurs — individuals whose main priority is to hire themselves, build revenues and hire others to grow — had access to this sort of guaranteed startup capital. Well, under the American Jobs Act, they will.

    According to Obama’s plan, all 50 states would be able to establish Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs, enabling aspiring entrepreneurs to utilize unemployment insurance money to fund their businesses for up to 26 weeks —providing roughly $10,000 to $13,000 in assistance, or what I would refer to as “seed funding.” Not a bad deal when you consider that the cost of most startups, especially most service-based businesses and tech ventures, have relatively low startup and operating costs. In essence, the president’s plan will create a guaranteed source of startup capital for businesses without any of the traditional credit and collateral requirements as barriers — or the need to give away equity to investors. Someone pinch me.

    This must be too good to be true, right? Or, at the very least, SEA must be some rhetoric-filled, highly impractical, totally unachievable, overly complicated government program. Actually, SEA has a proven track record of success in states that are both red and blue. According to a Department of Labor study of state self-employment assistance programs, SEA participants were 19 times more likely than eligible non-participants to be self-employed. In a handful of states where SEA programs are active, such as Arizona and Maryland, hundreds of businesses and new jobs have been created as a result. In Oregon, nearly half of the successful SEA entrepreneurs have each created an average of 2.63 new jobs.

    Though this program is geared toward people of all ages who wish to start their own businesses, I would argue that young people are the best suited to maximize its advantages. Members of older generations tend to have families and other financial obligations, making it more difficult for them to transition into the roles of entrepreneurs. Young people who have fewer commitments, and therefore more flexibility, can more easily adapt to less expensive lifestyles.

    Further, young people have access to a wide range of resources, such as Income Based Repayment (IBR), a program designed to make it more manageable for individuals with low incomes to repay their federal college loan debts, as well as a slew of private sector mentorship and entrepreneurship education services, such as those provided by organizations like SCORE, Startup America, Partnership and my own Young Entrepreneur Council. If these sorts of government and private enterprise solutions could be combined, and collectively our nation can increase the percentage of the population that starts companies by 1% to %2%, millions of new businesses and jobs would be created as a result, and youth unemployment would sharply decrease.

    Pooling such resources would entail a collaborative effort fueled by good will and a willingness to put aside partisan views for the sake of our country’s economic future. Would this be hard to achieve? Yes. But is it impossible? Absolutely not.

    While $2,000 per month may not seem like enough to feed and clothe someone, let alone capitalize a venture, serious young entrepreneurs will make it happen — as they always have — by sleeping on couches, eating ramen noodles and working 25 hours a day to get their businesses off the ground. If the American Jobs Act is passed into law, the government can help facilitate this process for the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs who may be poised to relieve the seemingly incurable unemployment epidemic affecting young and old alike throughout the nation.

    Read more:

  51. rikyrah says:

    found this over at ANGRY BLACK LADY CHRONICLES:

    It was posted by NMP:

    Comment of the Week: An Open Apology to Andrew Young
    By stopthemadness aka ABL on September 9th, 2011

    “I want Barack Obama to be president,” pausing for effect, “in 2016…It’s not a matter of being inexperienced. It’s a matter of being young,” Young said. “There’s a certain level of maturity … you’ve got to learn to take a certain amount of sh*t.”

    He went on to say that Obama needs a protective network that he currently lacks — a quality that could hurt him if he were to be elected. He said Hillary Clinton already has that kind of network, including her husband to back her up.

    “There are more black people that Bill and Hillary lean on,” Young said. “You cannot be president alone. … To put a brother in there by himself is to set him up for crucifixion. His time will come and the world will be ready for a visionary leadership.”

    When Andrew Young made those comments I was incensed. I was appalled that a freedom fighter who stood with Dr. King through thick and a lot of thin who took the slings and arrows with Dr. King to pave the way for someone like Barack Obama to become president would want to stop this progress either out of fear or some perverse loyalty to the Clintons whose policies by and large were antithetical to what Dr. King fought for. But his words have proven prophetic.

    I’m an absolute believer that history is a window into the future. I was so offended by Andrew Yong’s derisive tone that I couldn’t appreciate what he was fully saying. He was speaking from the experience of standing under Dr. King when he stood atop Mount Sinai after leading us out of the land of apartheid and being there to catch him when white folks and cowardly Negroes pushed him off that rock for daring to believe that he was truly free to speak his mind. He was warning us that Dr. King’s past would be Barack Obama’s future. We just didn’t want to hear it.

    Nowhere on the stones that adorn the new King Memorial–truly a glorious testament to this giant among men—will you see any evidence of the tumultuous last year of Dr. King’s life when he went from a patriot to traitor in the blink of an eye. But certainly those must have been memories Andrew Young was recalling when he made those comments about Senator Obama’s presidential candidacy. I thought he was hating, but he was merely saying “I’ve been there.” Black folks like me just didn’t want to hear it. We all wanted so desperately to get out of the desert and into the promise land.

    While most of us are unaware or elect to pretend not to be aware that Dr. King was arguably the most hated man in America at the time of his death, Andrew Young remembers. He remembers when Dr. King went from Time Magazine’s person of the year in 1964 to being branded a traitor by the same magazine only three years later when he dared to speak out against the Vietnam War. And it wasn’t just editorialist of the all the major magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, that echoed this damning sentiment, other so-called civil rights leaders, friends and clergy turned against him as well. In a Harris poll released before his assassination 75% of whites and even 55% of Negroes expressed an unfavorable opinion of Dr. King. If they could turn on Dr. King so easily, what chance in hell did Barack Obama stand? NONE!

    People will argue President Obama should have done this or should have done that, but there was NOTHING that he could have done or said to have changed the inevitable. He was always going to be held to an impossibly high and double standard. He was always going to have to contend with the opposition of the entire Republican Party who still embrace the Dredd Scott rule that a Negro has no rights that whites are bound to respect and the left wing of the Democratic Party who always cannibalize Democratic presidents, as they ALWAYS do. LBJ is suddenly back in favor with liberals after 40 years of never being mentioned publicly by any prominent Democratic and risk reminding the world that LIBERALS destroyed the presidency of the man who passed the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and Medicare. As Andrew Young correctly notes, Bill Clinton succeeded in defending himself from the left with the protection of the black establishment. The same establishment that sees President Obama as a threat to their access to (white) power.

    I’ve asked CBC apologists like Roland Martin to explain why Maxine Waters, John Conyers and the rest of the CBC that have been in office since before I was born why they didn’t “unleash” on Bill Clinton after welfare reform; three strikes laws; the continuation of the disparity between powder and crack cocaine sentencing; one strike public housing rules which resulted in the eviction of countless poor black mothers and grandmothers from public housing; the Omnibus crime bill which gave rise to the industrial prison complex and historic rise of black and brown for profit incarceration; the drug penalty added to the higher education act which kept tens of thousands of mostly young black and brown kids out of college because of misdemeanor drug convictions, which ironically George W. Bush modified to make less draconian; NAFTA which was the biggest blow to labor since the Reagan era; DOMA which effectively legalized Gay discrimination; DADT; and on and on? His response, “They tried.” Tried what?! The few black folks to speak out against Clinton’s assault on poor black folks were Marian Wright Edelman, Reverend Sharpton and Minister Farrakhan. Certainly not Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Alcee Hastings, Sheila Jackson Lee, Tavis Smiley, Cornell West or Donna Brazil. None of them!

    President Obama has been the most progressive president since LBJ, and he gets, as Andrew Young predicted, crucified. He not only gets blamed for what he hasn’t done to their satisfaction, he gets blamed for not cleaning up Bill Clinton’s sh*t fast enough. Nothing was ever going to be good enough for them, and we couldn’t see it.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have no regrets about electing our president. I am as proud of him today as I was in 2008. And I will work my ass off to see him re-elected. Unlike “progressives” who talk a good game about championing the nameless poor and disenfranchised, I know these people by name. They raised me, nurtured me, sacrificed for me, and prayed for me to have a better future than their pasts. And I will be damned if I’m going to leave them vulnerable the hell the will face from a souless and heartless Republican president and Congress. This country while blinded by impatience, hate and racism may not see it, but it still needs him. The only thing I regret is that neither he nor we, his supporters, were prepared for what he would be up against from the right, left and the Negroes on the Democratic plantation.

    Andrew Young warned us, and we should have been prepared.

    • Ametia says:

      NMP1 is ON POINT. Good to see her back commenting. Thanks for this.

    • NMP1 says:


      You better not send me a bill for acting as my publicist. I saw this site referenced in SG2’s heartfelt thank you to you, so I thought I would stop by to see what’s up. No offense, but a couple of days back at JJP and those haters have my ass itchin to borrow from the late great Bernie Mac. I think I’ll hang out here instead. Glad to see some familiar names. What’s up, everyone?!

      • Ametia says:

        Hi NMP1; it’s soooo good to see you at 3 Chics! It’s Ametia/AKA Shanti. You stop by any time. SG2 and I frequent JJP too. We definitely visit because we adore rikyrah & CPL, and we respect all the work she does to help inform our blogging communities. Looking forwardd to your insightful comments/contriubtions to our community.

      • rikyrah says:


        I thought you were holding it down like ballbuster you are…LOL

        I really did appreciate that wonderful comment you wrote at ABL’s. it was so on point, as well as your good comments over at BooMan.

      • Welcome to 3 Chics, NMP! So good to see you. Sometimes I try to scroll past the haters but there are times I have to jump right in it and then the fight is on. :) Careful now, they’ll run up your blood pressure.

        Rikyrah is a jewel! She works hard in so many places to get the facts out. 3 Chics appreciate what she does for us. So come on it and join us. I do miss your great commentary!

  52. rikyrah says:

    G.O.P. Senators in Albany Block Federal Aid to Fulfill Part of Health Law
    Published: September 11, 2011

    With 2.6 million uninsured residents, a popular Democratic governor and tens of millions of federal dollars at stake, New York would seem to be one of the least likely states to join a growing revolt in the nation’s capitals against facilitating a federal overhaul of health care.

    But several Republican lawmakers in New York, saying they do not want to have anything to do with what they call “Obamacare,” have thus far succeeded in blocking the state from seeking large amounts of federal assistance to put into place a mandatory health insurance exchange — a state-run marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy insurance.

    State Senator Gregory R. Ball of Putnam County described his resistance as his duty as a Republican.

    “I would fight very vociferously to make sure that we’re not seen as implementing and expediting Obamacare,” Mr. Ball said. And then, noting hopefully that President Obama could lose his re-election bid to a Republican who opposes the health care overhaul, he added, “We could be looking at a change of administrations.”

    Although Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed creating the insurance exchange, and the State Assembly, with a Democratic majority, approved it, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to take it up before the Legislature adjourned its regular session at the end of June. Now, Republican lawmakers are balking at returning to Albany to consider the matter, as deadlines pass, and Mr. Cuomo, despite an unexpectedly harmonious relationship with Senate Republicans, appears to be unwilling to force the issue at this time.

    “The question isn’t whether to have a special session,” said Josh Vlasto, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo. “The question is, do we reach an agreement? And that remains the question.”

    Republicans in the State Senate have joined a chorus of conservative lawmakers in other states who are spurning millions of dollars in federal assistance rather than enacting legislation required to carry out the health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act.

    Since the act’s passage, only 13 states have approved legislation to set up exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two additional states, Massachusetts and Utah, set up their own exchanges before the federal law was passed. In more than a dozen states, bills to that end were introduced this year but not acted upon.

    In some places, governors have been blunt about their objections: Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican, has a general policy of rejecting federal grant money relating to the new health care law, which he does not plan to carry out. Several states have returned federal grants earmarked for use in setting up exchanges: Kansas last month gave back $32 million, and Oklahoma returned $55 million in April. And more than two dozen governors and attorneys general — all of them Republicans — have gone to court to challenge the law’s constitutionality.

    Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers who has followed the development of the federal health care law, said it was important for the Obama administration to get exchanges up and running in large states like New York to show voters the fruits of the health care overhaul.

    “This has got to set of some very loud alarm bells in the White House,” Professor Baker said of the objections in New York. “With a state as visible as New York, for the exchange to be obstructed is a very ominous sign for the ultimate implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

    New York has already received $39 million in starter grants to begin planning a state health benefit exchange, which would function as a sort of one-stop shop for individuals and small businesses to compare the insurance plans that are available to them and enroll in one of them. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, nationwide, 11.5 million people will get their insurance through such exchanges when they start operating in 2014.

    In the meantime, the federal Department of Health and Human Services has made available hundreds of millions of dollars to help states start up their exchanges, with quarterly deadlines this year for states to apply for the money and prove that they are proceeding with setting up their exchanges.

    The next deadline is Sept. 30, and New York State is almost certainly going to miss it — to the chagrin of officials in the Cuomo administration.

    In June, Mr. Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to create the structure of the exchange. That would let the state seek more federal financing — perhaps $50 million to $100 million more. Mr. Cuomo said the state’s exchange would “protect consumers and help bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses and taxpayers.”

    But the negotiated bill was tabled by lawmakers after several Senate Republicans insisted that carrying out the federal health care law deserved a more extended discussion than was possible in the final 48 hours of the legislative session. When the bill was discussed in a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans, “people were starting to go, ‘Oh, wait a minute, is this Obamacare?’ ” one lawmaker said.

    The bill was also met with concern in the Assembly, which ultimately approved it. The floor debate featured a discussion about whether the federal health care law created “death panels,” and several Republican lawmakers criticized the president.

    “I will not support forcing a back-door form of Obamacare upon the people of this state,” said Assemblyman Al Graf, a Republican from Suffolk County.

    Now, health care groups and Democratic lawmakers are growing more nervous that the state could lose the chance to have the federal government shoulder the cost of setting up the exchange.

    “What may end up happening here is, if you kick the can, you may end up kicking it off the cliff,” said Blair Horner, a vice president of the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey, which says the exchanges will better enable cancer survivors to get insurance.

    Lawmakers cannot duck the health care law simply by not setting up the exchange. If by 2013 the federal government does not believe a state is making adequate progress in building the health marketplace, it will set up the exchange itself. Some New York Republicans have argued that the so-called deadlines mean little, and do not justify taking action without more debate.

    Democrats in the State Senate have urged the majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, to call lawmakers back to Albany to enact the exchange bill before the next deadline. But a spokesman for Mr. Skelos said Sunday that the Senate had no plans to return to the capital this year.

  53. Ametia says:

    September 11, 2011
    Turner poised for big upset

    Republican Bob Turner is poised to pull a huge upset in the race to replace Anthony Weiner as the Congressman from New York’s 9th Congressional District. He leads Democrat David Weprin 47-41 with Socialist Workers candidate Christopher Hoeppner at 4% and 7% of voters remaining undecided.

    Turner’s winning in a heavily Democratic district for two reasons: a huge lead with independents and a large amount of crossover support. He’s ahead by 32 points at 58-26 with voters unaffiliated with either major party. And he’s winning 29% of the Democratic vote, holding Weprin under 60% with voters of his own party, while losing just 10% of Republican partisans.

    If Turner wins on Tuesday it will be largely due to the incredible unpopularity of Barack Obama dragging his party down in the district. Obama won 55% there in 2008 but now has a staggeringly bad 31% approval rating, with 56% of voters disapproving of him. It’s a given that Republicans don’t like him but more shocking are his 16% approval rating with independents and the fact that he’s below 50% even with Democrats at 46% approving and 38% disapproving. Obama trails Mitt Romney 46-42 in a hypothetical match up in the district and leads Rick Perry only 44-43.

    Beyond Obama’s weakness, Turner has actually proven to be a pretty strong candidate. 45% of voters rate him favorably to 30% with a negative opinion. Independents give him good marks by a 56/17 spread and he has better than normal numbers across party lines with 29% of Democrats expressing a positive view of him to just 43% with an unfavorable one.

    Weprin has been much maligned as a candidate but he actually has positive favorability numbers too with 39% of voters rating him positively and 36% negatively. Over the last few years there have been very few races we polled where a candidate had a postive net favorability spread and still lost. If Obama’s approval in the district was even 40% Weprin would almost definitely be headed to Congress. He’s getting dragged down by something bigger than himself.

    The issue of Israel does appear to be having a major impact on this race. A plurality of voters- 37%- said that Israel was ‘very important’ in determining their votes. Turner is winning those folks by an amazing 71-22 margin. With everyone who doesn’t say Israel is a very important issue for them Weprin actually leads 52-36. Turner is in fact winning the Jewish vote by a 56-39 margin, very unusual for a Republican candidate. This seems to be rooted in deep unhappiness with Obama on this issue- only 30% of voters overall approve of how he’s handling Israel to 54% who disapprove and with Jewish voters his approval on Israel is 22% with 68 of voters disapproving. That has a lot to do with why Turner’s in such a strong position.

    The only reason this election is being held in the first place is because Anthony Weiner had to resign and voters in the district are very down on him. Only 29% have a positive opinion of their former Congressman to 53% with a negative one. That can’t help his party’s prospects for keeping the seat either.

    One final note on the poll and what perhaps should concern Democrats most of all. 55% of voters in the district report having voted for Obama in 2008, which is the actual percentage of the vote he got in the district. Last year a lot of the races Democrats lost were because their voters didn’t show up and the electorate was far more conservative than for a Presidential year. When you lose that way you can say, well, our voters will come back out in 2012 and we’ll be fine. But there is no enthusiasm gap here. Obama voters are showing up in the same numbers they did in 2008. But only 65% of them are voting Democratic. That’s a really big cause for concern.

    Full results here

  54. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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