Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

Happy MUN-dnae, Everybody!

President Obama will deliver his deficit-reduction speech at 10:30 a.m. from the White House’s Rose Garden.  Watch it live here.

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50 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    AdLib On September – 19 – 2011

    For decades, especially since the Regan presidency began in 1980, corporations and the wealthy have been winning their ongoing class war against 99% of Americans. It has become so entrenched and taken for granted by them that any attempt to disrupt it…is ironically and Orwellianally labeled by them, “class warfare”.

    That’s right, doing anything to stop their campaign of class warfare they call “class warfare”…and the MSM presents that as a fair criticism.

    Imagine if a molester was stopped from molesting and claimed that doing so was molesting him. You get the picture (surrealist as it is).

    Many Democratic politicians have fully bought into this doublespeak, they fearfully avoid talking about the ongoing class warfare for fear of being labeled as a perpetrator of it.

    And so, the raping and pillaging by the wealthy and corporations of the majority of Americans continues and the cops look the other way.

    READ ON:

  2. Ametia says:

    Chris Matthews is literally ejaculating over Suskind’s book of fables. Sorry folks, nothing to see here; move along. Just another distraction of made up bullshit. GOP ya got nothing on PBO, nothing. You’re not smart enough

  3. Ametia says:

    The Tsuris
    Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now. Why is that so difficult for Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies to understand?

    .By John Heilemann Published Sep 18, 2011

    The last time Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu shared each other’s company, you could say that the encounter did not go well—if by “not well” you mean abysmally. This was on May 20, the day after Obama gave his big speech on the Arab Spring, in which he unleashed a tsunami of tsuris by endorsing the use of Israel’s 1967 borders “with mutually agreed [land] swaps” as the basis for a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Obama and Netanyahu were seated in the Oval Office for what was supposed to be one of those photo ops devoted to roasting rhetorical chestnuts about the solidity of the U.S.-Israel alliance. Instead, while Obama watched silently, looking poleaxed, Netanyahu lectured him—for seven and a half minutes, on live television—about the folly, the sheer absurdity, of suggesting Israel ever return to what he called the “indefensible” 1967 lines.

    Obama was furious with Netanyahu, who in choosing to ignore the crucial qualifier about land swaps had twisted Obama’s words beyond recognition—the kind of mendacious misinterpretation that makes the presidential mental. The seniormost members of Obama’s team felt much the same. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, Bill Daley, the former Mideast-peace envoy George Mitchell: All were apoplectic with the prime minister, whose behavior over the past two years had already tried their patience. “The collective view here is that he is a small-minded, fairly craven politician,” says an administration source deeply involved in its efforts to push the parties to the negotiating table. “And one who simply isn’t serious about making peace.”

  4. rikyrah says:

    Pennsylvania 2012 General Election Survey (9/19/11)
    by magellan | on 19th September 2011 | in Blog, Pennsylvania, Survey Archives
    Magellan Strategies today released the results of an autodial survey of 702 likely 2012 Pennsylvania general election voters.

    The survey finds Barack Obama comfortably leading potential Republican challengers Mitt Romney by 10 points (50% to 40%) and Rick Perry by 15 points (52% to 37%). The President has solid support among voters that overwhelmingly backed him in 2008, including women, voters aged 18 to 34, and self-described moderate voters. It is clear from this survey that those key voting subgroups are still very much with him. Despite this good news for Barack Obama, the mood of these voters is pessimistic, with 62% of women, 64% of self-described moderates, and 54% of voters 18 to 34 feeling things in the country are on the wrong track. It remains to be seen if the eventual Republican nominee can appeal to these voters after the primary.

    With that said, it should be noted that Pennsylvania is very tough ground for any Republican Presidential candidate, with statewide voter registration at 51% Democrat, 37% Republican and 12% independent/other. Although Pennsylvania has elected many Republican candidates to statewide office, the last time a Republican Presidential candidate carried the state was in 1988.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 09/19/2011
    Obama throws `class warfare’ charge back in GOP’s face
    By Greg Sargent
    This has to be the clearest sign yet that Obama has taken a very sharp populist turn as he seeks to frame the contrast between the parties heading into 2012. During his remarks this morning, Obama directly responded to Republicans accusing him of “class warfare,” but rather than simply deny the charge, he made the critical point that the act of protecting tax cuts for the rich is itself class warfare, in effect positioning himself as the defender of the middle class against GOP class warriors on behalf of the wealthy.

    A senior administration official tells me that parts of Obama’s “class warfare” broadside were ad-libbed. Here’s the key chunk — and it’s a script that could have been written by just about any card-carrying member of the “professional left”:

    Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There’s no justification for it. It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million…
    We’re already hearing the usual defenders of these kinds of loopholes saying, “this is just class warfare.” I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare. I think it’s just the right thing to do. I believe the American middle class, who’ve been pressured relentlesly for decades, believe it’s time that they were fought for as hard as the lobbyists and some lawmakers have fought to protect special treatment for billionaires and big corporations.
    Nobody wants to punish success in America … All I’m saying is, that those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible.

    This is as clear a sign as you could want that the White House is trying a dramatically different approach this time than it has in the past. The White House knows that the GOP is all but certain to reject many of Obama’s deficit supercommittee proposals. But that’s precisely what makes the new approach significant.

    During past standoffs the White House signaled early on in the process that it was prepared to give ground on core liberal priorities in the name of compromise. At the outset of the debt limit fight, for instance, Obama quickly signaled that he knew his initial insistence on a “clean”debt ceiling hike was a nonstarter for Republicans, and that as a result, he’d have to accede to the GOP demand for spending cuts in exchange for it. But this time, the fact that tax hikes are a non-starter for Republicans is dictating the opposite approach — he’s actively seeking a sustained confrontation over something Republicans are reflexively opposed to, in the belief that even if a compromise isn’t reached, it will amount to a political winner for the White House and Democrats.

    Relatedly, there’s a ton of commentary out there today to the effect that this new posture is about nothing more than appealing to the Dem base. But that’s thoroughly bogus: Whether they’re right or wrong, Obama and his advisers have also decided that this is a good way to appeal to independents, too. Polling shows that while indys marginally disapprove of Obama’s jobs plan, and are deeply skeptical of his performance on the economy, solid majorities of them support his actual jobs-creation prescriptions. Obama advisers reportedly believe that the best way to win back independents is to be seen as a fighter for their behalf on jobs. That’s why Obama went out of his way to argue that the “American middle class” needs to be “fought for” as hard as GOP class warriors are fighting for “billionaires and big corporations.”

    I don’t know how long he’ll sustain this fighting posture. And as Jamison Foser notes, the jury is still out on how the ultimate compromise Obama does agree to — if a compromise is reached — will impact lower income folks and Medicare recipients.

    But for now, at least, this is a clear sign that the “professional left” — which has long argued that showing fight is far more important to independents than chasing after compromise for its own sake — is getting what it wants.

  6. rikyrah says:

    What If the Tea Party Wins?
    They Have a Plan for the Constitution, and It Isn’t Pretty
    In the Tea Party’s America, families must mortgage their home to pay for their mother’s end-of-life care. Higher education is a luxury reserved almost exclusively to the very rich. Rotten meat ships to supermarkets nationwide without a national agency to inspect it. Fathers compete with their adolescent children for sub-minimum wage jobs. And our national leaders are utterly powerless to do a thing.

    At least, that’s what would happen if the Tea Party succeeds in its effort to reimagine the Constitution as an antigovernment manifesto. While the House of Representatives pushes Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to phase out Medicare, numerous members of Congress, a least one Supreme Court justice, and the governor of America’s second-largest state now proudly declare that most of the progress of the last century violates the Constitution.

    It is difficult to count how many essential laws would simply cease to exist if the Tea Party won its battle to reshape our founding document, but a short list includes:

    ■Social Security and Medicare
    ■Medicaid, children’s health insurance, and other health care programs
    ■All federal education programs
    ■All federal antipoverty programs
    ■Federal disaster relief
    ■Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
    ■Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
    ■Federal civil rights laws
    Indeed, as this paper explains, many state lawmakers even embrace a discredited constitutional doctrine that threatens the union itself.

    What’s at stake
    The Tea Party imagines a constitution focused entirely upon the Tenth Amendment, which provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”—which is why their narrow vision of the nation’s power is often referred to as “tentherism.” In layman’s terms, the Tenth Amendment is simply a reminder that the Constitution contains an itemized list of federal powers—such as the power to regulate interstate commerce or establish post offices or make war on foreign nations—and anything not contained in that list is beyond Congress’s authority.

    The Tea Party, however, believes these powers must be read too narrowly to permit much of the progress of the last century. This issue brief examines just some of the essential programs that leading Tea Partiers would declare unconstitutional.

    Social Security and Medicare
    The Constitution gives Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” thus empowering the federal government to levy taxes and leverage these revenues for programs such as Social Security and Medicare. A disturbingly large number of elected officials, however, insist that these words don’t actually mean what they say.

    In a speech to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, Texas Gov. Rick Perry listed a broad swath of programs that “contradict the principles of limited, constitutional government that our founders established to protect us.” Gov. Perry’s list includes Medicare and “a bankrupt social security system, that Americans understand is essentially a Ponzi scheme on a scale that makes Bernie Madoff look like an amateur.” And Perry is hardly the only high-ranking elected official to share this view.

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) mocked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for calling upon the federal government to provide “a decent retirement plan” and “health care” because “the Constitution doesn’t give Congress any of those powers.” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who engineered the House of Representatives’s dramatic reading of the Constitution earlier this year, claimed that Medicare and Social Security are “not in the Constitution” and are only allowed to exist because “the courts have stretched the Constitution to say it’s in the general welfare clause.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said we should eliminate Medicare because “that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.”

    Because this erroneous view of our founding document is rooted in an exaggerated view of the Tenth Amendment’s states rights’ provision, many so-called tenthers claim that eliminating Social Security and Medicare wouldn’t necessarily mean kicking millions of seniors out into the cold because state governments could enact their own retirement programs to pick up the slack. This proposal, however, ignores basic economics.

    Under our current system, someone who begins their career in Ohio, moves to Virginia to accept a better job offer, and then retires in Florida pays the same federal taxes regardless of their residence. These taxes then fund programs such as Medicare and Social Security. If each state were responsible for setting up its own retirement system, however, the person described above would pay Ohio taxes while they worked in Ohio, Virginia taxes while they lived in Virginia, and would draw benefits from the state of Florida during their retirement. The state which benefited from their taxes would not be the same state that was required to fund their retirement, and the result would be an economic death spiral for states such as Florida that attract an unusually large number of retirees.

    For this reason, tenther proposals to simply let the states take over Social Security and Medicare are nothing more than a backdoor way to eliminate these programs altogether. If the Tea Party gets its way, and our nation’s social safety net for seniors is declared unconstitutional, millions of seniors will lose their only income and their only means to pay for health care.

    Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other health care programs
    The Tea Party’s constitution has plenty of bad news for Americans below the retirement age as well. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), for example, recently claimed that any federal involvement in health care whatsoever is unconstitutional because “the words ‘health care’ are nowhere in the Constitution.”

    Sen. Coburn lumped Medicaid in with Medicare when he claimed that providing for the frailest Americans is a “family responsibility,” and Gov. Perry includes Medicaid on his list of programs that “contradict[] the principles of limited, constitutional government.” Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) claim that “the Constitution doesn’t give Congress” any authority over health care is a blanket statement encompassing all federal health programs.

    If this vision were to be implemented, all federal health care programs would simply cease to exist and millions of Americans would lose their only access to health insurance.

    Education is also on the Tea Party’s chopping block. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) routinely grills education secretaries at congressional hearings, insisting that the Constitution does not authorize any federal involvement in education. Similarly, Rep. Foxx insists that “we should not be funding education” because she insists doing so violates the Tenth Amendment. And Sen. Coburn does not “even think [education] is a role for the federal government.”

    In its strongest form, this position wouldn’t just eliminate federal assistance for state-run public schools. It would also eliminate programs enabling Americans to pay for their college education. Millions of students would lose their Pell Grants and federal student loans if the Tea Party’s full vision of the Constitution were implemented.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Despite Internal GOP Opposition, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett Stands By His Election Rigging Scheme
    By Ian Millhiser on Sep 19, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) announced a plan to rig the 2012 presidential election by effectively giving up to a dozen electoral votes away to the Republican presidential candidate for free. Under Corbett’s plan, each of the state’s 18 congressional districts — which are being gerrymandered so that as many as 12 of them favor Republicans — would choose how to allocate a single electoral vote rather than having all of the state’s votes go to the winner of the state. The plan is opposed by several GOP congressmen, who fear that its new set of rules will cause the Obama campaign to shift resources from bluer parts of the state into their districts.

    Nevertheless, Corbett and his chief ally in the legislature, GOP Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, are not swayed by these congressmen’s claim that it is more important to protect their seats than it is to steal the election. According to the subscription-only site Capitolwire:

    Gov. Tom Corbett and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, have not budged from their support of a plan to change the allotment of Pennsylvania’s presidential votes. […] Pileggi said “nothing I have heard” from congressional and state party and national party leaders “indicates that the bill does not have the right objective, that it is not a good objective. I have heard about concerns and questions about money, about clout. I’m interested in fairness to the voters and citizens of Pennsylvania, I’ll leave the rest of those issues to political consultants and the political apparatus in Washington, D.C.” […]

    “There’s a real debate in the party about this, about whether Sen. Pileggi’s bill should be adopted or not,” said Matthew Brann, chairman of the Northeast Central Caucus. “If we’re a state in play, with 20 electoral votes, then I think we probably shouldn’t do it. If we are not, then there is a case to be made for doing this.”

    So for those of you keeping track at home, here are the three factions within the Pennsylvania GOP.

    •Just Rig The Election Already: Gov. Corbett and Sen. Pileggi fully support the plan. In Pileggi’s words, they have heard “nothing” indicating that this election rigging scheme “does not have the right objective.”
    •Protect Me First: GOP Reps. Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick care more about keeping their own jobs than they do about electing a president who will eliminate Medicare, so they oppose a plan which might endanger their ability to get reelected in what have traditionally been Democratic-leaning districts.
    •Be More Coldly Calculating: Perhaps the most despicable faction is captured by Matthew Brann’s statement that Corbett should only rig the election if he is not sure the GOP can carry the state. This faction apparently believes that the biggest problem with Corbett’s election rigging scheme is that it could backfire and benefit the Democrats
    Sadly, there does not appear to be any faction within the Republican Party that opposes rigging elections because rigging elections is wrong.

  8. rikyrah says:

    September 19, 2011 2:10 PM

    An aggressive call for tax fairness
    By Steve Benen

    One of the more common reactions to President Obama’s joint session speech two weeks ago noted how fired up he was. Putting aside substance and policy for a moment, we saw a passionate president who, refreshingly, didn’t mind mocking his opponents and making forceful demands. I lost count of how many times I saw folks say this reminded them of the “old” Obama, circa 2008.

    With that in mind, this morning’s speech on debt reduction is worth watching (or reading), because the more aggressive Obama clearly hasn’t gone away. Note, for example, when the president called out House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for rejecting a “my way or the highway” attitude, and then refusing to consider any plan with additional tax revenue.

    But as Greg Sargent noted, perhaps the most important portion of the remarks dealt with taxes and “class warfare.”

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    For those who can’t watch clips online, here’s the transcript of this part of the remarks:

    “I am ready, I am eager, to work with Democrats and Republicans to reform the tax code to make it simpler, make it fairer, and make America more competitive. But any reform plan will have to raise revenue to help close our deficit. That has to be part of the formula. And any reform should follow another simple principle: Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that. Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There is no justification for it.

    “It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness — explain why somebody who’s making $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that — paying a higher rate. They ought to have to answer for it. And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution.

    “Now, we’re already hearing the usual defenders of these kinds of loopholes saying this is just ‘class warfare.’ I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare. I think it’s just the right the thing to do…. All I’m saying is that those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible. We shouldn’t get a better deal than ordinary families get.”

    For what it’s worth, I’ve seen the prepared text of this speech, and much of this portion was adlibbed. All of those folks who whine incessantly that the president should forget the teleprompter and speak his mind? Here you go.

    As for the substance, and the president’s call for tax fairness, it’s hard not to notice the president is playing a strong hand. Republicans believe the mere mention of “class warfare” is supposed to stop any and all conversation, but Obama is delivering a popular, sensible message that will very likely resonate with the American mainstream. What’s more, he’s sending a signal that he’s not afraid of GOP talking points on this.

    Greg added, “[T]his has to be the clearest sign yet that Obama has taken a very sharp populist turn as he seeks to frame the contrast between the parties heading into 2012…. [F]or now, at least, this is a clear sign that the ‘professional left’ — which has long argued that showing fight is far more important to independents than chasing after compromise for its own sake — is getting what it wants.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    Monday, September 19, 2011
    The Texas Miracle Is A Tall Tale, Part 2
    Posted by Zandar
    Rick Perry says he should be President because he knows how to create jobs. But do those jobs keep Texans out of poverty? The closer you look at it, the more Perry’s “Texas Miracle” economy looks like nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

    While it’s true that Texas is responsible for 40% of the jobs added in the U.S. over the past two years, its poverty rate also grew faster than the national average in 2010.

    Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty. Some 18.4% of Texans were impoverished in 2010, up from 17.3% a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data released this week. The national average is 15.1%.

    And being poor in Texas isn’t easy. The state has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita and the highest share of those lacking health insurance. It doesn’t provide a lot of support services to those in need: Relatively few collect food stamps and qualifying for cash assistance is particularly tough.

    “There are two tiers in Texas,” said Miguel Ferguson, associate professor of social work at University of Texas at Austin. “There are parts of Texas that are doing well. And there is a tremendous number of Texans, more than Perry has ever wanted to acknowledge, that are doing very, very poorly.”

    And the vast majority of those new jobs in Texas are minimum wage jobs. The median hourly wage in Texas is $11.20, well under the $12.50 an hour that the US is averaging. And as the article says, being poor in Texas is a pretty raw deal, with the state making major cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs.

    All told, if the GOP theory that people are just on unemployment because they are lazy is true, then the combination of steep social spending cuts and high numbers of minimum wage employees should result in one of the lowest poverty rates in the country, yes?

    Of course the numbers above show Texas is one of the most impoverished states in the union. And remember, Rick Perry wants to do to all of America what he’s done to Texas.

    All hat, no cattle indeed.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Shorter John Fleming (R-Whiner): How do I live on 400K a Year? It’s class warfare! Waaaah!
    by ABL

    Cry me a fucking river, guy.

    Louisiana Republican and giant asshat John Fleming appeared on MSNBC this morning to bitch about how hard is life is because he can only live on $400,000 a year.


    Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) appeared on MSNBC with Chris Jansing this morning to attack President Obama’s new deficit reduction plan, which includes some tax increases on the wealthy. Taking up the typical GOP talking point, Fleming said raising taxes on wealthy “job creators” is a terrible idea that kills jobs because many of these people are small business owners who pay taxes through personal income rates.
    Fleming is himself a businesses owner, so Jansing asked, “If you have to pay more in taxes, you would get rid of some of those employees?” Fleming responded by saying that while his businesses made $6.3 million last year, after you “pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment, and food,” his profits “a mere fraction of that” — “by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.”

    As the first commenter on the post notes:

    Uhh, did anyone do the math on his claims> 6.3 million, 500 employees, etc. Just on employees alone, that’s paying them about $12,000 a year. Obviously he’s full of BS. Or wait, he’s a republican, so it’s likely he has 500 sub-minimum wage workers.

    Republicans are liars and they are assholes. How dare this guy complain about “only” making 400K per year when families of 4 are living on $12,000 a year? Further, how dare they claim that asking the wealthy to pay a small percentage more in taxes constitutes class warfare? Are they fucking high?

    Two things:

    First, this “job creators” meme has got to stop. We’ve been waiting for how long for these richity riches to create jobs? And have they created a single job as a result of tax cuts? NO.

    From Addicting Info:

    Republicans have created the myth the rich are the “Job Creators”. I’ll grant you they are but one ingredient to the recipe, for they offer the supply of jobs. But this does not mean that they, in and of themselves, solely create jobs. No matter how cheap a product may be produced or how cheap a service may be rendered, without demand for those products and services no additional jobs will ever be created.

    The Wall Street Journal reports on “What’s Wrong With America’s Job Engine” and touches upon who the real job creators are.

    -Then there’s the confidence factor. If employers were sure they could sell more, they would hire more. If they were less uncertain about everything from durability of the recovery to the details of regulation, they would be more inclined to step up their hiring.

    How does lowering corporate taxes aid in generating higher job growth? Lower taxes does not address the business’ concerns over lack of sales. That would take a Demand-Side economic policy instead of the established Supply-Side policies.

  11. rikyrah says:

    September 19, 2011 1:30 PM

    The politics of debt reduction

    By Steve Benen

    It seems more than fair to criticize the Obama White House for taking too long to understand the nature of congressional Republican tactics. The president has operated under a set of assumptions — GOP leaders are reasonable people, willing to compromise in good faith, acting with the nation’s best interests at heart — that have always seemed rather fanciful.

    With the introduction of the American Jobs Act and today’s debt-reduction plan, President Obama and his team appear to have thrown out the old playbook.

    “I think this is less ‘Let’s be the grownups in the room and start at the 50 yard line,’ and more ‘Let’s start on our side of the field,’” said Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.

    It’s about time. The White House suffered some major setbacks, but officials have apparently decided to send congressional Republicans a new message: no more Mr. Nice President.

    Trying to shape policies in advance to make the GOP happy is out; presenting credible and progressive plans is in. Preemptive compromises are out; veto threats are in. Asking Congress to consider doing the right thing is out; taking a “pass this bill” message to the public is in.

    It’s possible that for many of the president’s critics on the left, it’s too late. But for those who’ve been urging Obama to adopt progressive principles and show a willingness to fight, let’s not miss what is plainly true: the president has taken their advice.

    Indeed, if we look at the American Jobs Act and today’s debt-reduction as bookends of one large, integrated economic package there were a number of things the left said the White House simply couldn’t do: a regulatory moratorium, cutting Social Security, and raise Medicare eligibility. The old playbook tells us Obama would put all of these on the table as part of an outreach effort to garner Republican support. The new playbook is predicated on more realistic expectations: Republicans are going to say no to everything anyway.

    What are the major concessions Obama has included in his economic plan? There aren’t any; that’s the point. All of the things progressives pleaded with the president to take off the table have, in fact, been taken off the table.

    So, what happens now? If congressional Republicans decide they’re ready to work with the White House, great. If they decide otherwise, President Obama will blame them for Washington’s failures and run against them.

    For quite a while, Republicans have set the parameters of the debate. They’re perfectly willing to consider negotiations with Democrats on economic and budget policy, just so long as Dems realize any policies to be considered must not raise taxes, increase the deficit, expand the scope of government, or spend any money. Once that’s established, then the two sides can talk.

    The White House has finally noticed the value in changing the nature of the conversation. It took a while, but President Obama seems to have decided to break out of the box Republicans have spent years trying to weld shut. Between the American Jobs Act and today’s debt-reduction plan, the White House appears more invested in presenting what should pass, and less concerned about what might pass.

    It’s the difference between following and leading.

  12. rikyrah says:

    September 19, 2011 12:40 PM

    One ambitious White House plan, followed by another

    By Steve Benen

    Given what we’ve seen this year, it’s been tough to know what to expect from the White House when it comes to major policy showdowns with congressional Republicans. As recently as July, President Obama, seemingly desperate to strike a “Grand Bargain” with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), was willing to give away the store. Fortunately, the GOP refused to accept it.

    So when it became clear the president would unveil a jobs bill and debt-reduction plan, we were left to speculate about how ambitious Obama was prepared to be and how willing the president would be to pick a fight over some of the nation’s most important issues.

    The answers this afternoon are a lot clearer than they were a few weeks ago.

    The American Jobs Act, recently unveiled to a joint session, was refreshingly bold and quite progressive. The president’s critics on the left feared he would aim low, fail to call for major new investments, and might even propose a regulatory moratorium. Those fears proved to be largely backwards.

    Going into this morning’s speech on debt reduction, we saw a very similar dynamic, with fears that the Obama plan would cut Social Security and raise the Medicare eligibility age. And again, the president exceeded expectations.

    President Obama on Monday called for $1.5 trillion in new revenue as part of a proposal to tame the nation’s rocketing federal debt and find more than $3 trillion in budget savings over a decade.

    The proposal draws a sharp contrast with Republicans and amounts more to an opening play in the fall debate over the economy than another attempt to find common ground with the opposing party.

    Combined with his call this month for $450 billion in new stimulus, the proposal represents a more populist approach to confronting the nation’s economic travails than the compromises he advocated earlier this summer.

    “We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” Obama said in a speech in the Rose Garden of the White House. “It’s going to take a balanced approach.”

    Here’s an outline of the plan, along with the 80-page pdf sketching out the proposal in significantly more detail. The rough sketch is as follows: the White House plan would produce about $3.2 trillion in deficit reduction. When one includes the savings from the cuts achieved during the debt-ceiling talks, the total reaches $4.4 trillion.

    About $1.5 trillion over 10 years would come from tax revenue, including new rates for millionaires and billionaires. From there, the administration intends to cut spending through drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and changes to Medicare financing, with some additional savings from interest on the debt.

    The “Grand Bargain” on the table in July this isn’t — and that’s a good thing. Clearly, there are provisions that will draw fire from multiple angles, but the point to keep in mind is the notion of shared sacrifice — the Republican approach exempts the wealthy from facing any new burdens at all, demanding that everyone else shoulder the costs. The White House refuses to accept this.

    Given the larger political circumstances, it’s unlikely the president’s proposal will enjoy much support in the right-wing House, making this more of an opening salvo than a realistic legislative blueprint. But in some respects, that’s the most heartening part of the recent White House shift — Obama and his team aren’t playing by the same rules anymore. Indeed, they appear to have thrown out the old playbook altogether. More on the politics behind the plan shortly.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Perry’s Slide
    This poll is from Rasmussen, the GOP-tilted pollster, which makes it all the more striking:

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows Obama picking up 46% of the vote, while Perry earns support from 39%. Fifteen percent (15%) are either undecided or prefer another candidate. Two weeks ago, Perry was up by three. Three weeks ago, the president held a three-point edge over the governor. (To see question wording, click here.)

    Now, Perry’s chief rival for the nomination, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, holds a three-point lead on the president. Another GOP hopeful, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, trails Obama by double digits. The fluctuation in Perry’s, Romney’s and Bachmann’s numbers comes as a Generic Republican maintains a steady lead over the president.

    The debates may be both cementing Perry as a front-runner while dooming him as a general election candidate. When a president has a 40 percent approval rating and he still beats a specific competitor by 7 points, the opposition is in serious trouble.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Home » Blogs » Nicole Belle’s blog
    November 05, 2008 11:28 AM
    You stay classy, Nader
    By Nicole Belle

    Refusing to do any of the work to build up third party infrastructure nationally, Ralph Nader has a bit of sour grapes whine, and calls Obama an “Uncle Tom”.

    It’s really bad when Fox News is classier than a national figure like Ralph Nader. Good on Shepard Smith.

  15. rikyrah says:

    September 19, 2011 10:00 AM

    POTUS to throw down the gauntlet on revenue

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama will present his debt-reduction plan in about a half-hour, and by all indications, it’s going to be a pretty ambitious, progressive approach. I’ll explore the plan in more detail once it’s released, but in the meantime, there’s one position in particular that’s worth pausing to appreciate.

    President Barack Obama will veto a comprehensive deficit reduction package if it includes cuts to entitlement program benefits but no tax hikes on the wealthy or well-to-do corporations, senior advisers said on Sunday.

    The veto threat is an addendum of sorts to a $3 trillion-plus set of deficit reduction proposals that the White House will make to the congressional super committee tasked with comprehensive deficit reduction. But if administration officials are to be believed, it is now a principle by which the committee must act and it raises the specter of gridlock. Just last week, House Speaker John Boehner insisted that tax hikes should be off the table.

    “[W]hat the president is saying is he is not doing [beneficiary reforms] if the Republicans are unwilling to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share,” explained a senior administration official. “What they can’t do is send something to us with the things we propose and without the stuff on the revenue side because we will veto that.”

    By all accounts, the veto threat was explicit. This isn’t a White House asking Congress to balance revenue and entitlement cuts; this isn’t a White House urging Congress to balance revenue and entitlement cuts; this isn’t a White House hoping Congress will balance revenue and entitlement cuts. This is the president throwing down a gauntlet: if Republicans want to make entitlements “reforms” that affect benefits, they’re going to have to accept some tax increases on the wealthy. If seniors are going to be asked to make some sacrifices, the wealthy are going to be asked to do the same.

    Period. Full stop.

    President Obama and his team are generally reluctant to throw around veto threats precisely because they don’t like to close doors to potential areas of compromise down the road. But that’s what makes this all the more striking: Republicans are generally obsessed with establishing the terms of the debate before the process even begins. Today, it’s the Obama White House deciding it’s time to turn the tables.

    I sure hope the president’s detractors on the left are watching this: he’s doing what they’ve long urged him to do.

  16. dannie22 says:

    Hello everyone. Hope all is well

  17. Ametia says:

    Jake Tapper is a shit stirrer, asking Tim Geithner about the Suskind book

  18. thorsaurus says:

    “This is not class warfare, it’s math.” The Potus rocked it. My favorite retort to righties crying class warfare is, “So you are in favor of lifting the cap on SS taxes that now hovers just over $100,000?” It’s generally met with a Bachman-like “duh?” look.

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, thorsaurus. I’ve hit the ground running at work today. Thanks for the brief recap of POTUS’ speech. I’ll post the video when availabl.e

  19. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    September 18, 2011 11:10 AM

    Lindsey Graham forgets what ‘everything’ means
    By Steve Benen

    Lindsey Graham sure does sound confident about 2012.

    South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says the 2012 presidential election is the GOP’s to lose.

    “President Obama has done everything he knows how to do to beat himself,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The reason people have little [confidence] in President Obama’s policies is they’re just not working. Everything is worse.”

    Now, as I recall, Graham’s record of election predictions isn’t exactly sterling. A week before the 2008 election, Graham was in North Carolina touting John McCain’s chances. “[McCain] fits North Carolina like a glove…. I’ll beat Michael Phelps in swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina.”

    A week later, Obama won North Carolina. Michael Phelps was unavailable for comment.

    The senator’s track record notwithstanding, I still think Republicans are making a mistake with this “everything is worse” nonsense. Sure, Graham’s a hack, more concerned with cheap shots than telling the public the truth, but he should nevertheless realize he’s making the wrong argument.

    “Everything is worse”? That might make more sense were it not for the fact that:

    * American job creation is better now than when Bush left office.

    * American economic growth is better now than when Bush left office.

    * Al Qaeda is dramatically weaker now than when Bush left office.

    * The American automotive industry is vastly stronger now than when Bush left office.

    * The struggle for equality of the LGBT community is vastly better now than when Bush left office.

    * The U.S. health care system is better and more accessible than when Bush left office.

    * The federal budget deficit is better now than when Bush left office.

    * The major Wall Street indexes and corporate profits are better now than when Bush left office.

    * International respect for the United States is better now than when Bush left office.

    Want to try that again, Lindsey?

    Whether Graham realizes it or not, he and his cohorts are inadvertently making President Obama’s pitch to voters significantly easier. By that I mean, they’re creating a standard for the debate: either conditions have improved since Obama took office or they haven’t. What the right still doesn’t understand is that this is the best of all possible standards for Democrats.

    If the message to voters is, “The status quo stinks,” that’s a tough message for Dems to argue against, because as much progress as there’s been since late 2008, conditions are still awful for much of the country. We were in a very deep hole, and we’re not done climbing out.

    But if the pitch is, “Obama made it worse,” that’s a much easier message for Dems to argue against because it’s demonstrably ridiculous.

    Republicans, who are usually better at messaging than this, are setting up the wrong question. Instead of asking, “Did Obama make things good?” they’re urging voters to ask, “Did Obama make things worse?” Democrats much prefer the latter for a reason.

    If all Obama has to do is prove he didn’t make things worse, he stands a much better chance.

  20. rikyrah says:

    September 19, 2011 8:00 AM

    The ‘Buffett Rule’ vs. ‘Class Warfare’

    By Steve Benen

    Over the weekend, the White House leaked word that President Obama will push a new debt-reduction idea: the “Buffett Rule.” Named after Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, who’s been urging policymakers to raise taxes on the very wealthy. As Buffett recently explained, millionaires and billionaires “have been coddled long enough.”

    We don’t yet know the details of the proposal — most notably, what the new millionaires’ minimum tax rate would be — but Republicans are already responding with predictable disgust.

    Here, for example, was House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) yesterday on Fox News, making the case for coddling millionaires and billionaires for a while longer. See if you can pick up on the subtlety of his talking points.

    “Class warfare, Chris, may make for really good politics but it makes a rotten economics. We don’t need a system that seeks to divide people. […]

    “[I]t looks like the president wants to move down the class warfare path. Class warfare will simply divide this country more. It will attack job creators, divide people and it doesn’t grow the economy. […]

    “[I]f we are just going to do class warfare and trying to get tax increases out of this, and I don’t think much will come of it…. He’s in a political class warfare mode and campaign mode.”

    So, I guess I’ll put him down as a “maybe” on the Buffett Rule?

    By any reasonable measure, Ryan’s arguments aren’t just wrong, they’re borderline offensive.

    For a generation, Republican policymakers have rigged national tax policy to reward the wealthy, and then reward them some more. We’ve seen the class gap reach Gilded Era levels, only to hear GOP officials again demand that working families “sacrifice” while lavishing more breaks on the very wealthy.

    Remind me, who’s engaged in “class warfare” and “dividing people”?

    Also note the larger policy context here. President Obama wants the richest of the rich to pay a little more, but keep tax breaks in place for the middle class. Paul Ryan and his cohorts want the polar opposite — more breaks for the very wealthy and higher taxes for the middle class.

    Let’s also not forget that one of the GOP’s more common tax-policy arguments is that nearly half the country doesn’t have any federal income tax burden — and they see that as a problem that needs fixing. As a practical matter, the Republican argument on this is practically the definition of “class warfare.”

    I realize much of the political establishment has come to look at Paul Ryan as a wise wonk who deserves to be taken seriously, but it really doesn’t take much to realize how spectacularly wrong the far-right Wisconsinite really is.

  21. rikyrah says:

    September 19, 2011 9:25 AM

    You get what you vote for

    By Steve Benen

    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    It’s not uncommon to hear voters complain that politicians change after taking office. Candidates present themselves one way during the campaign, and then do something very different after the election.

    Generally speaking, the complaint falls short. On individual issues, officials will shift, adapt, compromise, and occasionally flip-flop, but it’s exceedingly rare for politicians to present themselves as having one ideology and agenda before the election, and a very different one once in office.

    The problem, then, is often with the voters themselves. James Surowiecki has a good new item that touches on public responsibility.

    [F]or the past year and a half, the Party has consistently gone for a do-nothing approach and voters have consistently rewarded it. In the run-up to last year’s midterms, Republicans were explicit about their opposition to past, present, and future stimulus programs. They won a landslide victory. And, just last week, in two special elections for the House, Republican candidates who campaigned largely against Obama’s policies won seats in Nevada and New York by margins that were much bigger than expected.

    Americans may be saying that they want the government to use fiscal policy to get the economy moving again, but the way they vote tells a different story. Perhaps fourteen more months of economic stagnation and no job creation will change that. But, for now, it’s not only our representatives who are to blame. It’s ourselves.

    There have been a couple of surprises this year, but in general, things have played out in a fairly predictable way. Republicans said they would reject compromise, push several government shutdown fights, demand fewer public investments, support a far-right austerity agenda, protect breaks for the very wealthy and oil companies, etc. And as it turns out, that’s what they’re doing.

    Americans seem to hate what’s become of Washington, but policymakers didn’t just wander into those offices by accident. Voters put them there, and the policymakers were fairly explicit about their intentions.

    I blame the dramatic radicalization of the Republican Party for most of the political systems’ ills, but on a more fundamental level, who rewarded Republican candidates despite their extremism?

  22. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, September 18, 2011
    Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion
    Posted by Zandar
    Surprise! Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans are immediately playing the “class warfare” card with the Buffett Rule proposal.

    The so-called “Buffet rule” would make sure millionaires pay about the same tax rate as the employees that work for them. It’s named after billionaire Warren Buffet, who has said that he is taxed at a rate of about 17.4 percent, while his secretary is taxed at a rate of about 36 percent.

    “If you tax something more, Chris, you get less of it,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “Class warfare, Chris, may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don’t need a system that seeks to divide people and prey on peoples’ fear, envy and anxiety. We need a system that creates jobs and innovation, and removes these barriers for entrepreneurs to go out a rehire people. I’m afraid these kinds of tax increases don’t work.”

    Of course, Paul Ryan’s lying. That’s what he does. When Bill Clinton raised the top marginal tax rate to 39.6%, not only did it work, it gave America a surplus. Republicans have been screaming about balancing the budget…well, whenever there’s a Dem in the White House, that is. When Republicans are President, deficits don’t matter, remember?

    We can’t raise taxes on the wealthy in good times. We can’t do it in bad times. We can’t do it, period. And yet Republicans suffer no political damage for siding with the top 1% over the 99%. Hell, the Buffett Rule would affect less than 1% of Americans who pay a far lower tax rate than you or I do. But that’s who the Republicans get to play for, and they’re the people with all the power in this country.

    Nice, isn’t it? Steve M. expands on the theory:

    With all the pressure there is on political figures to avoid what’s always sneeringly called “class warfare,” the fact that the president — the fact that this president — is increasingly acknowledging the vast difference between the rich and the rest of us is a hopeful sign. I know this proposal can’t get passed. I know it’s mostly an attempt to draw a line in the sand as his reelection campaign gets under way. But I like the fact that he thinks this is a political winner. I like the fact that it puts a question back on the table that the right and center thought had been asked and answered: no, perhaps we Americans haven’t all decided that we really, really like the rich and regard them as heroes and “job creators” and people who need to be cosseted and coddled because if we don’t cater to their every whim they’ll be too weak and wounded and sickly and depressed ever to get out of bed and try to make even more money by building businesses and hiring people to do jobs.

    Americans are pissed off. It’s time we help them be pissed off at the right people, and Obama contrasting with Paul Ryan whining that our poor, coddled millionaires are the only people the Republicans care about is a real good start.

  23. rikyrah says:

    A Day (Mostly) Without Stupid
    by BooMan
    Sun Sep 18th, 2011 at 08:59:42 PM EST

    I had a great day today. One of my closest friends came to visit me yesterday. He stayed overnight and we took him down to 30th Street train station this morning. Then we headed over to the best restaurant in Philadelphia for their all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. They literally unlocked the doors for us and we ate alone in peace for 45 minutes before another table was seated. After that, we strolled through Society Hill over to the 2nd Street farmer’s market, making sure to explore plenty of side streets. Then it was over to Isgro’s for a Rum Cake. The weather was perfect. Aside from the customary gridlock on the Schuylkill Expressway that we dealt with on the way home, it couldn’t have been nicer. The best part was that I didn’t once have to think about crap like this:

    A top House Republican said Sunday that President Barack Obama was engaging “class warfare” with a proposal to tax millionaires at a higher rate.
    The so-called “Buffet rule” would make sure millionaires pay about the same tax rate as the employees that work for them. It’s named after billionaire Warren Buffet, who has said that he is taxed at a rate of about 17.4 percent, while his secretary is taxed at a rate of about 36 percent.

    “If you tax something more, Chris, you get less of it,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “Class warfare, Chris, may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don’t need a system that seeks to divide people and prey on peoples’ fear, envy and anxiety. We need a system that creates jobs and innovation, and removes these barriers for entrepreneurs to go out a rehire people. I’m afraid these kinds of tax increases don’t work.”

    For today, I’ll let Zandar handle that one.

    Thanks to everyone who made contributions to the site this weekend, and thanks to all the birthday well-wishers, too. You all helped alleviate a lot of anxiety for me. I’m very grateful.

  24. rikyrah says:

    There Is No Establishment. Only Zuul.
    Posted on 09/18/2011 at 2:30 pm by JM Ashby

    According to conservative columnist George Will, Rick Perry need not worry about his crazy comments because there is no Republican establishment. There is only the Tea Party.

    “A lot of establishment Republicans worrying that [Perry] might give the plot away, do you think that is that a legitimate concern or can he come up and be a credible nominee?” ABC’s Christiane Amanpour asked presidential historian Michael Beschloss Sunday.

    “I think he might well be nominated,” Beschloss predicted. “Because this is the year that Republicans think they’re going to have a very good chance to elect a president, they don’t have to be so careful… The more optimistic Republicans are about victory, the more likely they are to go with someone who is as full blooded a conservative as Perry is.”

    “There is no Republican establishment,” Will interrupted. “Google the Republican establishment, you’ll get 20 million hits. Google the Loch Ness monster and you’ll get a whole bunch of hits. They’re both dead or never existed.”

    “There is a tea party and many say they are outside the establishment,” Amanpour noted.

    “They are the establishment today,” Will explained. “In fact, the Republican establishment died at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1964 when Goldwater was nominated against their frenzied wishes.”

    If what he says is true, and the Tea Party has actually become the establishment, and the moderates are now the fringe — a notion which seems to hold up to scrutiny — then a Rick Perry nomination would seem almost inevitable.

    Rick Perry’s recent drop in the polls is not an implosion. It’s simply a sign that moderate voters are dropping their support of him, most likely due to his comments on Social Security and his new status as the Executioner-In-Chief of the nation. Moderates do not chose the nominee, however. It’s the lunatic base who shows up on primary day and chooses the nominee.

    The Tea Party absolutely will not elect Mitt Romney regardless of how much pandering he does. In fact, the more he panders, the worse he looks to them.

  25. rikyrah says:

    September 19, 2011 8:40 AM

    Google exec: more stimulus, not ‘ludicrous’ cuts

    By Steve Benen

    Google Chairman Eric Schmidt appeared on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, and told Christiane Amanpour what the economy needs. In fact, he presented the ideas as if they were obvious truths — which they just happen to be.

    SCHMIDT: The economy is, today, stuck behind the power curve. It needs a lot of encouragement. It needs not just something like the jobs bill but, also, significant government stimulation in terms of buying power and investment otherwise we’re set up for years of extraordinarily low growth in the economy and no real solution to the jobless problem.

    AMANPOUR: But you say significant stimulus. Obviously, this is a political environment where the only real conversation is about cutting. Do you see any expectation or possibility of a climate for more stimulus?

    SCHMIDT: Well, that’s a political question, but the current strategy is ludicrous. You have a situation where the private sector sees essentially no growth in demand. The classic solution is to have the government step in and, with short-term initiatives, help stimulate that demand. If they do it right, they’ll invest in income- and growth-producing things like highways and bridges and schools, new opportunities for the private sector to go then build businesses.

    He went on to say, “Business can create enormous numbers of new jobs in America. All we need to see is more demand. What’s happening right now is businesses are very well-run; they have a lot of cash; they’re waiting for more demand.”

    If it sounds as if Google’s Schmidt was presenting Democratic economic ideas as if they’re just common sense moves, reflecting the consensus view among those who know what they’re talking about, that’s because he was doing exactly that.

    And incidentally, Schmidt happens to be right. The laws of supply and demand are not subject to Republican filibusters or repeal efforts. Conservatives may not care for this reality, but the private sector has the resources to expand, but doesn’t have the customers.

    What Schmidt calls the “classic solution” is straight out of Econ 101 textbooks: during economic downturns, the public sector boosts demand when no one else can, keeping the economy afloat until it recovers.

    Republicans have no use for any of this — when there’s not enough demand, the GOP argues, it’s best to take money out of the economy, rather than injecting capital into the system. When the private sector says it needs more demand, Republicans respond by saying the private sector will flourish with even less demand.

    I’m glad Schmidt explained otherwise. Maybe some other business leaders would be kind enough to join him in speaking up.

  26. rikyrah says:

    “If I Drink Enough, Maybe I’ll Turn White”
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 | Posted by Cedwyn at 6:13 PM

    My early childhood memories are quite a spotty blur. My dad was Army, so I was on school number three, at least, by third grade. But I remember one moment clear as a bell. It was in first grade and there was this one black boy in my class who always, always, always drank white milk instead of chocolate. And, I mean, what kid on Earth prefers white milk to chocolate, right? So one day, I asked him why he preferred white milk. You’ve already read his answer.

    Think about that…this kid was in first !@#$%& grade and understood all about white privilege. And in that moment, I did too, though it would be years and years before I really grokked it.

    For third grade, we moved to Washington, D.C. I lived by the Dalecarlia reservoir and attended Francis Scott Key Elementary School. It was very racially diverse. I had a friend who’s family hailed from Thailand. There was a girl from Brazil. And of course, several of my classmates were African American. We all played together without a second thought.

    In eighth grade, we had a student dance. I told my mom I was going with Jamal. On the day of the dance, he showed up and we went and had a great time. On the day after the dance, mom said to me “You could have warned me that he was black!” Why didn’t I? Because Jamal was Jamal; I didn’t give it a second thought.

    Flip to high school, when I was telling mom and dad that I was going to the amusement park with Chris, Sheila and Dave. Dad said “Who’s Sheila?” I said “The black girl, dad.” Mom said “Don’t say that!” I didn’t see a problem with it. I viewed Sheila’s skin as being as random a descriptor as saying “Chris is the redhead.” I just didn’t give it a second thought.

    But I’ve thought about that boy from first grade my entire life. I wanted to cry when he said that, not because I “understood,” but because one would have to have been dead to not be moved by how he said it. So, when I was formally introduced to the concept of white privilege, I needed no further explanation. I thought of him and it was all crystal clear. Everything clicked.

    I had always perceived the PoC in my life as being no different from me and did not personally witness anyone being treated differently than I was. What I finally understood was that my experience was far from universal and that there was a completely different reality going on elsewhere, that some people just did not have access to the same opportunities. Once I started to look around and give things that second thought, I couldn’t believe I once believed we had moved past race in America.

  27. rikyrah says:

    September 16, 2011
    A cunning fiction

    Paul Krugman:

    [C]ompassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.

    And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Quite true. Why, then, do modern commentators persist in referring to modern conservatism as “conservatism”? While Krugman’s statement is perversely unimpeachable — “modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement” — it also contains a colossally unconcealed contradiction, which is way overdue for journalistic retirement.

    To posit that “conservatism” is a “deeply radical movement” is to untether oneself from intelligible language and customary comprehension. By definition, conservatism is anything but deeply radical. Indeed, authentic modern conservatism arose from Edmund Burke’s revulsion of the French Revolution’s butchery of political order (such as it was), cultural tradition, social institutions, and human life; that is, modern conservatism arose in reaction to modern radicalism.

    Nonetheless most commentators feed conservatives’ deliberate and cunning fiction: the latter are in no way, no shape, no form the intellectual legacy of true Burkeanism, yet the former happily and daily trundle them off — as conservatives — to glistening guillotines of trenchant denunciation. Which of course only delights the “conservative” pols, since most American voters regard their own political sensibilities as either conservative (in the original sense of the word) or leaning that way. These voters naturally if somewhat thoughtlessly identify with politicians who self-label as “conservative” (a label repeatedly confirmed by no less than the Fourth Estate); as well, these voters then interpret the commentariat’s assaults on “conservative” pols and “conservatism” itself as liberally biased assaults on their own politico-philosophical identification.

    So, to Mr. Krugman et al, please cease perpetuating the contradiction. Stop calling conservative pols what they are not: conservative. They are pseudoconservatives, they are reactionaries, they are radicals, and in some instances they are merely lunatics. But they are not conservative.

    If authentic conservatives be left, they would be today’s liberals, who struggle to conserve America’s sociopolitical traditions.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Doof Quote of the Day
    Posted on 09/19/2011 at 7:18 am by Bob Cesca

    “The reason people have little [confidence] in President Obama’s policies is they’re just not working. Everything is worse.” Senator Lindsey Graham

    Everything is worse? Sorry, no. Almost everything is better — and would be more so were it not for the Republican sabotage. Jobs are up. GDP is up. The stock market is way up. Consumer confidence is up. Of course middle class incomes are stagnant due to Reaganomics. President Obama’s policies, no matter how effective, can’t turn around the impact of 30 years of policies aimed at killing the middle class and turning America into a continental shopping mall.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Black caucus head treads line between criticizing, supporting Obama

    As the debate over jobs turns into the latest political tug-of-war, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri walks a careful but candid line.

    As chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, he has been at odds with President Barack Obama over his administration’s response to the soaring unemployment rate in the African-American community.

    Nearing 17 percent, joblessness among blacks is at a three-decade high and almost twice the size of the overall unemployment rate. The black caucus wants the president to do more.

    But the group’s efforts are freighted with political sensitivities, given Obama’s unique role as the first African-American occupant of the White House and the sometimes untethered animosity that his election has triggered.

    “If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House,” Cleaver said. “There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president.”

    The black caucus has 43 members who come from nearly two dozen states. Its concerns about black unemployment are not Cleaver’s only frustration these days.

    One member of the caucus, Democratic Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana, recently said that tea party members of Congress “would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.” Another, Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, told a community meeting that the tea party “can go straight to hell.”

    Relations between the black caucus and the tea party always have been tense. During the health care debate, black lawmakers said that angry tea party protesters outside the Capitol called them racial epithets. Cleaver said he was spat upon.

    Carson apologized for his remarks. He said he was speaking “figuratively,” because tea party-backed cuts in social programs would “take us back 50 to 60 years.” Waters always has been one of the group’s most outspoken members and has been vocal with her concerns about Obama’s response to black unemployment.

    Meanwhile, Rep. Allen West of Florida, the group’s only Republican member and a tea party ally, threatened to bolt over the Carson controversy. Cleaver helped persuade him to stay.

    “It’s tough,” Cleaver said. “I’m chairing a group of people who are former mayors and state senators and judges. I’m trying to develop a very aggressive agenda. But Maxine Waters represents central Los Angeles first and she has to represent her constituents first and she’s going to say things in order to represent them.”

    As a former two-term mayor of Kansas City, the 66-year-old Cleaver knows something about the minefield of special interest politics. He also is a Methodist minister who still occasionally takes to the pulpit on Sundays when he is home.

    In Congress since 2003, he has friends on both sides of the aisle and started the “Civility Caucus” several years ago to combat the deterioration of political etiquette in the House. It has nine members.

    “He is a not a fire breather, that’s not his style, and I don’t think he is, or for that matter, the caucus is genuinely angry at Obama,” said David Bositis, an expert on voting rights and black politics at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “I think they know that Obama is doing everything he can.”

    Cleaver is a lifelong Democrat who prizes political loyalty, and the black unemployment dilemma has put him and the group he leads in the awkward position of criticizing the policies of a president they admire, but not the president himself.

    “It’s not personal,” Cleaver said. “They’re attacking his policies, or lack thereof, with regard to this gigantic unemployment problem among African-Americans. If we can’t criticize a black president, then it’s all over.”

    Indeed, when lawmakers swarmed around Obama as he was leaving the House of Representatives chamber following his recent speech on jobs, caucus members were in the crush, eager for a handshake, a pat on the shoulder or an autograph.

    “This is an unprecedented circumstance where an African-American president who is an iconic, heroic figure enjoys a status with African-Americans that no one since Martin Luther King has enjoyed,” said former congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, who was a member of the black caucus until leaving office a year ago.

    White House spokesman Kevin Lewis said that Obama shares the caucus’s concerns and has pushed for programs to address them. He said that the unemployment insurance extension in the president’s jobs bill, which caucus members have applauded, would help 1.4 million African-Americans, and his proposed payroll tax cut would help 20 million.

    Lewis said Obama, who belonged to the caucus when he was a senator, has a good relationship with the group and will speak at its annual dinner next week.

    Caucus member and Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland said that despite Cleaver’s “solemn and respectful” manner, he displays a hardnosed sense of realpolitik about the group’s role.

    “The chairman always balances the fact that whether it is this president or any other, the White House has one role to play and members of Congress, particularly members of the CBC, have another,” she said. “While sometimes there are parallel interests, there aren’t always.”

    Read more:

  30. rikyrah says:

    Elizabeth Warren to Scott Brown: I wasn’t born at Harvard
    The State Column | Staff | Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren began the race to oust Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown Sunday, meeting with voters and key party figures in an effort to build support for her primary campaign.

    Ms. Warren, who announced her intention earlier this week to challenge Mr. Brown in the 2012 U.S. Senate election, said she will focus her campaign on fighting for the middle class and enhanced consumer protection programs in the the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

    Ms. Warren is likely to channel a populist message, most evident in her campaign announcement video where she empathized with a middle class that’s been “chipped at, hacked at and squeezed” and recounting her own time struggling as part of the “ragged edge of the middle class.” Speaking this week during campaign stops in central and southern Massachusetts, Ms. Warren repeatedly invoked her early career as a special-education teacher in public schools and her working-class upbringing, countering criticism of her time at Harvard Law School.

    Still, Ms. Warren is likely to face a tough race as recent polls show support for Mr. Brown on an upward trend and the Massachusetts is likely to receive support from a number of high-profile Republicans. Mr. Brown’s campaign account bulges with nearly $10 million and a recent Boston Globe poll showed Brown as the most popular major politician in the blue state. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has already focused its campaign against Ms. Warren, issuing press releases in which it refers to her as a “Harvard professor.”

    Speaking with voters earlier this week, Ms. Warren sought to downplay criticism of her time at Harvard.

    “I grew up hanging on to the edge of the middle class by my fingernails,” Ms. Warren told supporters. “All I can say is I’ve been there. I’ve lived this. My family lived one pink slip, one bad diagnosis away from falling off the economic cliff. Yeah, I’ve got a fancy job at Harvard and I’ve gotta tell you, I’m proud of that job. I worked hard to get there. I wasn’t born at Harvard. I was born to a family that had to work for everything it’s got.”

    For Ms. Warren and October 4 debate hosted by the University of Massachusetts-Lowell with her Democratic rivals will likely serve as an early test. While Ms. Warren has never run for office before, the Massachusetts Democrat is likely to garner national support from key interest groups and party leaders, including President Obama who originally choose Ms. Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee said it has received $200,000 in contributions in support of Ms. Warren.

    Read more:

  31. rikyrah says:

    US Labor Department files complaint against Colorado-based cheese producer for discriminating against minority job applicants at California facility
    Back wages and job offers sought for African-American, Asian and Hispanic applicants; debarment from future government contracts recommended

    LEMOORE, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs today filed a complaint with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges against federal contractor Leprino Foods Co. for discriminating against qualified African-American, Asian and Hispanic applicants for on-call laborer positions at the company’s Lemoore West facility.

    The administrative complaint seeks back wages and interest for at least 270 class members, as well as job offers for at least 17 of the original applicants. OFCCP also is requesting that Leprino Foods’ existing federal contracts be canceled and the company be debarred from entering into any future contracts until the violations are resolved and the company corrects its discriminatory employment practices.

    “Leprino Foods’ hiring process simply doesn’t pass the sniff test,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “When workers are denied employment because of factors that have nothing to do with their ability to perform the job, something is not right. Our message to the company is clear: Correct your discriminatory practices and make restitution to the victims or lose your lucrative federal contracts.”

    Under Executive Order 11246, federal contractors cannot discriminate in employment practices with regard to race and national origin. Data collected from Leprino Foods showed that the company’s use of a job skills assessment called the WorkKeys exam adversely impacted minority applicants. During OFCCP’s review, which examined hiring practices for a 22-month period, the agency found that only 49 percent of otherwise qualified minority applicants passed the exam, compared with more than 72 percent of non-minority applicants. OFCCP could not substantiate the employer’s claim that the exam measured applied math, workplace observation and information location skills related to the essential functions of on-call laborers. On-call laborers perform a variety of entry-level tasks, including inspecting products, monitoring equipment and maintaining sanitation at the facility.

    Denver-based Leprino Foods is the nation’s largest producer of mozzarella cheese. The company has contracts totaling $5 million with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide mozzarella and whey products to the Farm Services Agency.

    In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP’s legal authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251.

  32. rikyrah says:

    September 18, 2011
    No criticism from women’s groups
    We asked representatives of the major women’s groups what they thought about Anita Dunn’s comments on the anti-woman atmosphere in the Obama administration.

    But even though these groups often jump to respond to claims of sexism — like with the unflattering Newsweek cover of Michele Bachmann last month, for example — they appear to be staying out of this one.

    Sam Bennett, president and CEO of the non-partisan Women’s Campaign Forum, said she had never heard any allegations of tough conditions for women in the White House.

    “Never once … have I heard anything negative about the Obama administration in regards to its internal treatment of women or is goals,” she said. “I can’t imagine that it would be lost on the Obama administration that it was women, particularly unmarried African-American women, who elected him.”

    Julie Burton, of the Women’s Media Center, also passed on the chance to criticize the Obama administration.

    “Anita Dunn says she was misquoted, and in any case, only she can characterize her experience in the White House,” she wrote in an email. “I can say that women outside the White House are concerned about administration policy as it affects their lives.”

    And Susan B. Anthony List spokeswoman Ciara Matthews declined to comment, saying the issue was outside the scope of their organization.

    Representatives of two other groups — EMILY’s List and the National Organization for Women — did not respond to a request for comment.

  33. Ametia says:

    The cable networks are screeching bout’ de taxes; covering for the GOP and their corporate masters.. HATERS.

  34. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

    • rikyrah says:

      Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!

      • Ametia says:

        Howdy, rikyrah. did you watch the Emmys last night? Looks like Mad Men are at it again. I do like Modern Family and the Good Wife. HawthoRN with Jada Pinkett Smith.

      • rikyrah says:

        hey Ametia,

        I don’t hate against Modern Family, but I think that Community was a good show too, as far as comedies go.

        I’m to thrilled at the acting emmys – finally folks that haven’t been getting noticed before are getting their due.

        I’m not mad at Mad Men. Though I think, when it’s all said and done, Season 3 will be looked at – in retrospective – their ultimate season, Season 4 wasn’t bad.

      • Ametia says:

        Haven’t seen Community. Is this a sitcom?

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