Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread

Hello my 3 Chics PEEPS!  Giving a shout out to SG2.  Keep the faith, lady.  We love and support you.  You are the SUNSHINE of 3CHICS LIFE.  And don’t you ever forget it.

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56 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    In this debate, the clowns in the audience booed a gay soldier.

    they continue to be disgusting.



  2. rikyrah says:

    Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama

    Electoral racism in its most naked, egregious and aggressive form is the unwillingness of white Americans to vote for a black candidate regardless of the candidate’s qualifications, ideology or party. This form of racism was a standard feature of American politics for much of the twentieth century. So far, Barack Obama has been involved in two elections that suggest that such racism is no longer operative. His re-election bid, however, may indicate that a more insidious form of racism has come to replace it.

    The 2004 Illinois Senate race between Obama and Alan Keyes, two African-Americans, was a unique test of the persistence of old-fashioned electoral racism. For a truly committed electoral racist, neither Obama nor Keyes would have been acceptable—regardless of policy positions, biography or qualification—because both were black.

    One way to determine how many people felt this way is to measure the “roll-off.” In presidential election years, a small percentage vote for the president, but then “roll off” by not casting ballots for state and local offices. A substantial increase in roll-off—larger than usual numbers of voters who picked John Kerry or George Bush but declined to choose between Obama and Keyes—would have been a measure of the unwillingness of some to vote for any black candidate. I tested this in 2004 and found no increase, statistical or substantive, in roll-off in Illinois. Faced with two black candidates, white voters were willing to choose one of them.

    The 2008 general election was another referendum on old-fashioned electoral racism—this time among Democratic voters. The long primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Obama had the important effect of registering hundreds of thousands of Democrats. By October 2008, it was clear that Obama could lose the general election only if a substantial portion of registered Democrats in key states failed to turn out or chose to cross party lines. For Democrats to abandon their nominee after eight years of Bush could be interpreted only as an act of electoral racism.

    Not only did white Democratic voters prove willing to support a black candidate; they overperformed in their repudiation of naked electoral racism, electing Obama with a higher percentage of white votes than either Kerry or Gore earned. No amount of birther backlash can diminish the importance of these two election results. We have not landed on the shores of postracial utopia, but we have solid empirical evidence of a profound and important shift in America’s electoral politics.

    Still, electoral racism cannot be reduced solely to its most egregious, explicit form. It has proved more enduring and baffling than these results can capture. The 2012 election may be a test of another form of electoral racism: the tendency of white liberals to hold African-American leaders to a higher standard than their white counterparts. If old-fashioned electoral racism is the absolute unwillingness to vote for a black candidate, then liberal electoral racism is the willingness to abandon a black candidate when he is just as competent as his white predecessors.

    The relevant comparison here is with the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton. Today many progressives complain that Obama’s healthcare reform was inadequate because it did not include a public option; but Clinton failed to pass any kind of meaningful healthcare reform whatsoever. Others argue that Obama has been slow to push for equal rights for gay Americans; but it was Clinton who established the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy Obama helped repeal. Still others are angry about appalling unemployment rates for black Americans; but while overall unemployment was lower under Clinton, black unemployment was double that of whites during his term, as it is now. And, of course, Clinton supported and signed welfare “reform,” cutting off America’s neediest despite the nation’s economic growth.

    Today, America’s continuing entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan provoke anger, but while Clinton reduced defense spending, covert military operations were standard practice during his administration. In terms of criminal justice, Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which decreased judicial disparities in punishment; by contrast, federal incarceration grew exponentially under Clinton. Many argue that Obama is an ineffective leader, but the legislative record for his first two years outpaces Clinton’s first two years. Both men came into power with a Democratically controlled Congress, but both saw a sharp decline in their ability to pass their own legislative agendas once GOP majorities took over one or both chambers.

    These comparisons are neither an attack on the Clinton administration nor an apologia for the Obama administration. They are comparisons of two centrist Democratic presidents who faced hostile Republican majorities in the second half of their first terms, forcing a number of political compromises. One president is white. The other is black.

    In 1996 President Clinton was re-elected with a coalition more robust and a general election result more favorable than his first win. His vote share among women increased from 46 to 53 percent, among blacks from 83 to 84 percent, among independents from 38 to 42 percent, and among whites from 39 to 43 percent.

    President Obama has experienced a swift and steep decline in support among white Americans—from 61 percent in 2009 to 33 percent now. I believe much of that decline can be attributed to their disappointment that choosing a black man for president did not prove to be salvific for them or the nation. His record is, at the very least, comparable to that of President Clinton, who was enthusiastically re-elected. The 2012 election is a test of whether Obama will be held to standards never before imposed on an incumbent. If he is, it may be possible to read that result as the triumph of a more subtle form of racism.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Who Cares About Capital Punishment?

    William Jelani Cobb was among the crowd outside the prison where Troy Davis was executed last night:

    [W]hat was most surprising and disturbing is that the group was more than 90% black. For all the discussion about the implications of the death penalty for the country at large this broke down, as always, to an issue of race and black people would have to do the heavy lifting if any change were going to occur. The racial balance skewed so heavily that when a young white couple sat down on the grass next to me I asked them what organization they were with. The woman reply hit me hard: “We’re not with an organization. I know Troy Davis — my brother is on death row with him.”

  4. rikyrah says:

    22 Sep 2011 07:22 PM
    Perry Gives The Establishment The Willies

    Chait analyzes some awkward rhetoric from Karl Rove and Jennifer Rubin:

    How to steer the voters away from the guy who makes their right-wing hearts flutter, and toward the electable guy? … If you’re a Republican opinion leader, you want to promote Romney over Perry. At the same time, you have to account for the possibility that Perry might win the nomination anyway, which means that you can’t say anything that could be used against him in the general election. You need to gently suggest to Republicans that Perry is too crazy to be elected president, without suggesting to swing voters that he’s too crazy to be elected president.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 11:08 AM PDT
    Politico is Trying to take Elizabeth Warren Out!!+*

    by joelgp

    Less than 24-hours after Elizabeth Warren’s complete destruction of the entire Morning Joe crew, their co-propagandist is trying to take her out. They are up with a big piece entitled: “Warren’s TARP panel under scrutiny.” Oooohh, the timing, the scandal—the shame! Here’s their opening punch:

    “Elizabeth Warren became a hero of the left for her unrelenting pursuit of accountability and transparency with big banks and Wall Street firms that took billions of dollars in federal bailout money in 2008.

    But when it comes to how her own bailout watchdog committee spent more than $10 million in taxpayer money, Warren has been a lot less forthcoming.”

    So I put on my best reading glasses, placed my finger on my monitor because I first needed to know “who” has her under scrutiny and for what?

    …”it is very disturbing that they [the oversight panel] did not disclose how they spent the money, much less simple and basic things that I asked about in a hearing a few years ago, like making public a telephone number for citizen watchdogs to call in, to disclose some very basic things on the website, which they never did,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a member of the Financial Services Committee who pressed Warren on this issue repeatedly.

    Oh I see– a few years ago, a tea party republican wanted Warren to post a telephone number for right-wing nuts to call in because—um, I guess they didn’t have the Google. And um, Politico is mad about that now??? Hmmm.

    So, what about the disclosures Politico has to have the day after her Morning Joe beat-down?

    TARP didn’t require Warren’s oversight panel to provide a budget, nor did it limit the amount of money it could spend.”

    Hmm, so TARP didn’t require a report so I guess that means she didn’t do one right?

    “The oversight panel ended up issuing 30 reports on the TARP program during its 27-month existence.”

    What? Seriously Politico? What’s really going on here? What’s the real problem here:

    “Warren was criticized by some for using her position to publicly push her own views on the financial crisis and how government should react to such situations, although the oversight panel also won plaudits from many in the financial community and from liberals for its aggressive pursuit of banks.

    Huh? So “some” criticized her for her “view” that banks shouldn’t be ripping off the middle-class, investing in exotic paper and then begging us for a bail-out?

    Is that their complaint with her?

    This attack makes me love her even more because the right is terrified that this dragon-slayer might actually get real power. Expect a boat-load of money to flow to Scott Brown from all over the country and Politico and Morning Joe to try to take her out.!!?via=siderec

  6. rikyrah says:

    N.H. poll shocker: Perry falls, Romney surges as does Jon Huntsman

    Well, here are a couple of — no, make that several — new wrinkles in the Republican presidential contest in New Hampshire:

    With the next televised debate tonight in Florida on Fox News, a new poll of likely New Hampshire Republican voters shows Mitt Romney surging to a commanding 27-point lead over his closest GOP rival, who is not Rick Perry.

    The Texas governor, whose mid-August entry saw him rush to the top of numerous national Republican polls, was pushed way down in the new Suffolk University Poll to fourth place deep into the single digits, barely ahead of the not-even-running Sarah Palin.

    But here’s a surprising, potentially significant development for the New Hampshire contest. Jon Huntsman, who’s been swimming around the bottom of the field like a foraging flounder barely registering in most polls, has himself surged.

    He’s moved all the way up to 10% and third place — ahead of Perry.

    According to the new Suffolk University/7News poll of 400, the field there now stacks up this way:

    Romney at 41%, up five points since June; Ron Paul at 14% and Huntsman at 10%, both up six points since June; Perry 8%; Palin 6%; Michele Bachmann 5%; Newt Gingrich at 4%; and Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer both at 1%.

    Romney’s lead is impressive, though not surprising. He lives in New Hampshire part time, was all over the state’s media as governor and a Senate candidate next door in Massachusetts and has made major investments there of time, staff and money.

    Huntsman’s soft-spoken, laid-back campaign style, which flops during televised debates, suits New Hampshire sidewalks perfectly.

    He seems to have all the time in the world to talk with this one fellow here and then his wife, who comes along. That goes over well in the state where personal conversations are not only expected but demanded of visiting primary pols.,0,4023020.story

  7. rikyrah says:

    September 22, 2011 10:05 AM

    GOPers ‘don’t seem to understand their hypocrisy’ on green jobs

    By Steve Benen

    In their zeal to exploit the Solyndra “controversy,” House Republicans have planned a high-profile hearing today on the Obama administration’s clean-energy agenda. But the lingering hypocrisy issue is a hurdle the GOP doesn’t know how to clear.

    In the wake of Solyndra’s bankruptcy, Republicans want to make a larger indictment against clean-energy programs in general. This, however, looks pretty foolish when the same Republicans complaining about the Department of Energy’s loan-guarantees program for clean tech have also fought for funding from the same program for companies in their own states and districts.

    Yesterday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who’ll chair today’s committee hearing, got caught with his hand in the guaranteed-loan cookie jar, and Michael McAuliffe moves the ball forward today with even more sweeping examples.

    The GOP-led House Oversight Committee may be accusing the White House of a “job killing” green energy agenda in a hearing Thursday — but at least ten Republicans on the panel have signed letters seeking to land green energy jobs in their districts.

    In dozens of letters obtained by The Huffington Post, the lawmakers, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), argue convincingly about Department of Energy funding going to their favored projects, often touting the job-creating potential of numerous endeavors. […]

    Although the guaranteed loan project began under the Bush administration, many Republicans were quick to hammer the deal as evidence of “cronyism” — and proof that Obama’s key green jobs effort was a huge bust.

    As it turns out, many of the committee members set to grill Obama administration officials Thursday were plenty eager to help constituents cash in on the efforts.

    A spokesperson for the committee’s Democrats told McAuliffe, “The Republicans actually don’t seem to understand their hypocrisy. They trash the entire clean energy program after writing glowing letters to commend it. The truth is the program works, which is why they want the money for their districts.”

    To me, the problem isn’t just that congressional Republicans kept seeking loans from a DOE program they believe shouldn’t exist. The more glaring issue is that these same GOP policymakers insisted, in writing, that clean-tech loan guarantees would help create jobs. And yet, today, the same Republicans are pointing to the same loan program as being part of a “job-killing” agenda.

    Did the GOP even try to think this though before scheduling the hearing?

  8. rikyrah says:

    September 22, 2011 2:20 PM

    Those waiting for Romney’s healthcare apology

    By Steve Benen

    I’ve been a little surprised by the extent to which the Republican presidential race has avoided a debate about “RomneyCare.” I expected to be one of the key issues in the race, and so far, Mitt Romney has barely had to defend his record at all. With about five months to go before GOP voters start weighing in, it’s largely been a non-issue.

    But it’s still out there, just below the surface.

    In an interview with Laura Ingraham, Sen. John Thune — one of the original conservative elite heartthrobs earlier this year until he opted against a run — said Mitt Romney needs to go further than he has when it comes to the Massachusetts health care plan.

    “Would you advise Mitt Romney to say something different today on RomneyCare than he has?” Ingraham asked.

    “Well, I think it would be great, I suppose if he would come out and, I mean I think there are a lot of people who over the years who have, since this thing passed in Massachusetts, have looked at it and said gosh I wish he would come out and then disown it or disavow it,” Thune said. “It doesn’t sound like he is going to do that.”

    When Ingraham pressed, asking, “Should he?” Thune answered, “Well, frankly, I would like to see that, but I am not advising the campaign.” [emphasis added]

    It’s easy to forget, but six months ago, this was one of the key questions in Republican circles: would Romney apologize for his only accomplishment in government? Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) expected one, but he was hardly alone. Mike Huckabee said Romney should express regret for his health care policy, and so did Rudy Giuliani. Karl Rove urged Romney to admit he was wrong; and prominent conservative activists throughout the GOP base also demanded he “acknowledge he made a mistake.”

    Romney, for good or ill, ignored all of this in the Spring, and the calculation appears to have largely paid off — the questions have faded and the race has moved on.

    But John Thune is a considered a Golden Boy in many Republican circles, and the fact that even he still wants Romney to “disown” or “disavow” the Massachusetts reform law suggests the issue hasn’t completely gone away.

    For the record, in case anyone’s forgotten, Romney’s health care accomplishment is his only success story during his only experience in public office, but it became toxic when it helped serve as the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act. “RomneyCare” even includes an individual mandate, which the Republican mainstream now considers fundamentally evil.

    If this somehow becomes a dominant issue in the GOP presidential race, I’m still not sure how Romney prevents this from becoming a huge mess.

  9. rikyrah says:

    seems as if Suskind was put through the ringer, both with Bashir and Ann Curry.

    found this comment over at The Obama Diary:
    September 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm
    I watched this live yesterday. Martin Bashir and Jonathan Alter eloquently tore Suskind and his crap book filled with lies to shreds. But the one point that stood out to me and made me very uneasy was that Bashir pointed out that everyone who Suskind lied about has released multiple statements denying that they ever uttered such words and that Suskind either misquoted them or that his book is pure drivel. The only one who hasn’t denied anything is former OMB Director Peter Orzag. When Bashir talked with Suskind last night, he kept pointing out that Orzag gave many many quotes in the book that pretty much painted the Obama Administration in a negative light. Now Orzag is working at the WSJ. If this is so and is a case of sour grapes, then Orzag has done President Obama and his former colleagues a grave disservice.

    I’m glad Alter said that PBO talked to his staff and sent word that they should not all turn on each other based on a book that peddles fiction. They have more important things to concentrate on. Good on PBO. What a decent man and a great leader.

  10. rikyrah says:

    September 22, 2011 1:25 PM

    Leave Buffett’s tax returns alone

    By Steve Benen

    About a month ago, Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, made a strong case in support of raising taxes on those who enjoy enormous wealth. He noted, among other things, that he has a lower tax burden, as a percentage of his income, than anyone in his office. Millionaires and billionaires, Buffett said, “have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

    It led the White House to propose something called the “Buffett Rule.” The general idea is that “millionaires shouldn’t be able to use loopholes and avoidance strategies to end up paying lower tax rates than middle-class families.”

    It’s not surprising that Republicans oppose the idea. But this kind of response is just silly.

    The GOP is making a concerted effort to pressure billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett to release his tax returns to the public.

    Republicans say Buffett — the public face of Obama’s proposed “Buffett rule” to increase taxes on the wealthy — needs to reveal his finances if his views on tax rates are going to serve as the basis for Obama administration policy.

    “Will Warren Buffett release his tax returns so we can see why he should be the standard for tax policy?” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) questioned in a tweet Thursday.

    “If he’s going to be the gold standard, so to speak, in terms of what our tax policy should be, yeah, let’s look at it [his tax returns],” Cornyn told ABC News.

    It’s not just Cornyn, by the way. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) have also said they want to see Buffett’s tax returns.

    These guys are badly missing the point. Buffett, in this case, is a recognizable figure, known for having great wealth and for arguing that the rich need to make greater sacrifices for the public good. The White House is using the Berkshire Hathaway chief to demonstrate a larger point about tax fairness, or in this case, the lack thereof.

    The issue here isn’t some fluke of the tax code affecting one specific Nebraskan; the problem is more systemic. The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers: “40 percent of taxpayers with incomes between 30K and 40K pay more than 12.9 percent of their income in income and payroll taxes; meanwhile, 25 percent of people with incomes over $1M pay less than 12.6 percent of their income in these taxes. This suggests that there are a lot of very-high-income guys paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries.”

    If Republicans want to argue this isn’t a problem, fine; we can have the debate. If they want to argue that the very wealthy should have less of a tax burden, fine; we can debate that, too.

    But if they’re inclined to think billionaires should pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the working class, GOP officials would be better off looking at the inequitable tax code, not Warren Buffett’s returns.

  11. rikyrah says:

    GOP Wants Wall Street Unleashed Again
    All the GOP candidates have come out [NYT] against the Dodd-Frank Act:

    Most of the regulations included in the law fall on the big banks that were at the center of the financial crisis — Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. Those names rarely pass the candidates’ lips, however, as Republicans have turned Dodd-Frank into a piñata. Instead, they invoke community bankers — the small-town lenders who are more likely to be seen coaching a Little League team than wearing a pinstripe suit — as the beleaguered victims of overregulation.

    I’m a little aghast. Very few people who observed the financial meltdown can possibly believe that the financial industry can be effectively self-regulating. What on earth would it take to pound that point across than the current recession, which emerged from the financial crisis? And yet the GOP’s religious doctrines have to be obeyed – even if they have just been spectacularly disproved. Steam pours out of Matthew Boudway’s ears:

    Some of the candidates — call them the honorable fantasists — have been steadfastly opposed to bailouts: if the bankers run aground again, let them all drown; that’s capitalism. This position is honorable because it’s consistent. It’s fantasy because it fails to acknowledge a basic fact about modern economies like ours: what economists call “externalities.” … When the whole financial industry screws up, everyone suffers.

    Innocence offers no protection when microeconomic imperatives cause a macroeconomic meltdown. This is why it makes sense for an institution designed to protect everyone’s interests — namely, the federal government — to force Wall Street to account for Main Street externalities, and that means more rigorous regulation. What about the Republican candidates who aren’t fantasists? Well, they’re also not honorable. The Mitt Romneys of the world want to have it both ways: minimal regulation but also maximal insurance for financiers, to be paid for by taxpayers.

    Stephen Grenville concurs:

    The financial sector does not yet accept that what went wrong in 2008 reflected fundamental faults. The veterans of 2008 see their survival as vindication and proof of their resilience. They criticise the reforms, one-by-one in isolation, arguing that none of the individual problems can explain all that went wrong. They ignore the wider reality that if government had not assisted large banks such as Citi and Bank of America, interconnectedness and contagion would have brought others down.

  12. rikyrah says:

    22 Sep 2011 12:51 PM

    The Texas Non-Miracle
    Some rough data for Perry among the base:

    Of jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81 percent were taken by newly arrived immigrant workers (legal and illegal).

  13. rikyrah says:

    This class war thing is more complicated than you’d think
    by Kay

    I’ve been following the John Doe investigation in Wisconsin because I have a particular interest in the conservative Midwest governors: Daniels, Walker, Kasich and Snyder. I was looking for a good wrap-up of the investigation so far, and two things jumped out while I was reading it.

    First, I wasn’t aware that there had already been a conviction as a result of this investigation:

    The current John Doe investigation already has resulted in the conviction of railroad executive William Gardner. Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. and a major donor to Walker, was sentenced to two years’ probation in July after pleading guilty to two felonies for exceeding campaign contribution limits to Walker’s campaign and laundering additional campaign contributions through employees and associates.

    Second, this:

    Archer, 52, abruptly quit her job on Aug. 19 as the No. 2 official at the powerful Department of Administration. She made $124,000 in that position. She was to start the following Monday as legislative liaison at the Department of Children and Families, but began taking paid medical leave that day.

    She is making $99,449 in that job – $39,129 more than her predecessor. That 65% pay hike was possible because Walker’s fellow Republicans turned 39 civil service jobs into political positions earlier this year.

    That is an amazingly generous raise, don’t you think? It’s as if Governor Walker is lowering the wages and compensation of the lower-tier “front line” state workers, and moving that money up to the executive or manager level, where the beneficiaries are political appointees.

    This got my attention because I’m working in Ohio on the effort to repeal Governor Kasich’s union-busting law, and the best part about doing that is that I’m not working (exclusively) with Democrats and liberals, so I’m hearing some different takes on it. There are more than a few Right-leaning people among the ranks, where I live anyway, and the conservatives or Republicans who are in this are talking about it differently than the liberals or Democrats who are in this.

    Listening to the people who I suspect were or are Right-leaning voters (in this case, fireman) they are not ideological union members, they’re not rallying around any broad idea of worker solidarity, nor do they seem to be focused on “fairness” as an abstract principle. The liberals and Democrats are talking about all those things. The Right-leaning people are saying something different.

    The Right-leaning people are complaining that wages and benefits are being or will be transferred from them, the front-line workers, up the line to managers. In the (majority) conservative county and small city where I’m working, the city executives gave themselves raises totaling $14,000 (not each, $14,000 total among them: it’s a small city) while they were promoting Kasich’s union busting law as necessary to avoid unnamed but horrible consequences. The city firemen noticed that. That got their attention.

    I’m not suggesting that this transfer from front-line workers to managers is indeed the case to the people I’m talking with. It’s not an argument I’m making. I’m simply listening to them frame this issue as a budget transfer rather than a budget cut. They’re repeating variations of this as individuals, independent of the “message” that the We Are Ohio campaign has laid out. They’re convinced there will be no net budget benefit, long-term, and the wages that are taken from them will simply be distributed upwards, either now (which is what they just witnessed with the city executives, who gave themselves a raise while preaching austerity) or as soon as they lose the right to bargain collectively.

    This is of course anecdotal. I’m listening to ten fireman, not one hundred firemen or a randomly selected sample of 1,279 firemen, but I am actually listening to what they’re saying, and that’s what they’re saying. I’m wondering about the two different takes on the issue, Right-leaning and Left-leaning, and whether it matters.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Tan Man is Incompetent
    by BooMan
    Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 11:32:56 AM EST

    John Boehner has proven once again that he just isn’t very good at his job. He tried to pass a bill yesterday that would provide disaster relief to the states affected by Hurricane Irene as well as keep the government from shutting down at the end of the month, and he failed miserably. Forty-eight members of his party voted against him and the bill was crushed, 195-230. The Speaker should be feeling an emotion called humiliation.

    DeLay would never have lost this vote,” noted one veteran GOP lawmaker after Wednesday’s upheaval. The Republican member was speaking of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), known as “The Hammer” by Republicans and Democrats alike. “DeLay would never have brought this thing to the floor until he knew that he had the votes.”

    What happened here is that Eric Cantor’s insistence that FEMA disaster aid be offset by slashing a loan program for fuel-efficient cars aroused the near-unanimous opposition of the Democrats. Meanwhile, Boehner’s effort to talk sense to his Tea Partiers fell on deaf ears.

    Boehner had tried, unsuccessfully, to rally Republicans behind the bill earlier in the day, warning them in a closed-door conference meeting that the level of spending was likely only to increase if their legislation failed…
    …The defeat was a stinging loss for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who pitched the measure to his conference as the lowest spending number they could get. House GOP leaders retreated to the Speaker’s office after the vote to plot their next move.

    The House, of course, has to negotiate with Harry Reid’s Senate, so Boehner can’t respond to this setback by moving the bill further to the right to satisfy his own caucus. He must now regroup and craft something the Democrats will feel like supporting. In the meantime, things are getting urgent.

    Unless Congress passes stopgap legislation by midnight on Sept. 30, much of the government will shut down.
    “Consider making the disaster relief more robust” in the next bill, said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. “Please talk to the Democrats.”

    Landrieu said FEMA Director Craig Fugate told her Wednesday that the agency’s disaster relief fund may run dry Tuesday. That would mean that there’s no money to provide shelter, cash assistance or other help to victims of Irene, thousands of fires across Texas and flooding in Northeastern states.

    The fiasco is threatening to delay Congress’ vacation:

    Suffice it to say there’s not going to be a shutdown,” House Minority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, told reporters after the Wednesday night vote that defeated the spending measure he supported. “I think everybody needs to relax.”
    The House vote Wednesday was 195-230, with 48 Republicans joining all but a handful of minority Democrats in opposing the short-term spending plan.

    Minutes later, House Republican leaders met in Speaker John Boehner’s office to consider revisions to the measure. In a message to House members, Cantor’s office said the temporary spending plan could come up again Thursday and “members are advised that a weekend session is now possible.”

    I don’t know why the Republicans tolerate Boehner’s ineptitude

  15. rikyrah says:

    All the President’s Frenemies

    In publicly attacking Barack Obama are Tavis Smiley and Cornel West upholding the prophetic tradition of Martin Luther King or acting out of personal pique—or both?

    It’s a packed house at St. Sabina’s Church on the South Side of Chicago. The pews are full, and attendees who didn’t come early on this August Sunday must huddle in the back, though they don’t have to strain to hear the speakers, media maven Tavis Smiley and Princeton professor Cornel West.

    Chicago is Barack Obama’s home court, yet this is the last church meeting where you’d find the president, lest he confirm the right-wing fantasy that he’s a fellow traveler of leftist radicals. Fruit of Islam bodyguards stand in their pinstriped suits looking like the Secret Service outfitted by Al Capone’s tailor, fingers pressed to their white earpieces as the man they’re protecting, Minister Louis Farrakhan, sits in the front row. Next to him is Father Michael Pfleger, the pastor of St. Sabina’s, whose caustic remarks about Hillary Clinton prompted the Obama campaign to issue one of its many “disappointed” press releases used to distance Obama from some of his old supporters. Farrakhan and Pfleger are the kind of critics that Obama’s people are happy to have, if only because they remind the nation that the president doesn’t belong to the radioactive fringe of black urban politics.

    Smiley and West, though, cannot be dismissed as fringe. By any definition, they belong to the mainstream—one is a fixture of public television and radio, the other a celebrity academic. Together, they’ve emerged as the loudest voices of dissent in a community where support for the president is stronger than anywhere else. The stop at St. Sabina’s is part of day two of what they’ve dubbed the “Poverty Tour,” a cross-country campaign aimed at telling a grim tale of a punishing recession and a painfully slow recovery. Poor and working people are being bled dry by “corporate plutocrats and Wall Street oligarchs,” West tells the crowd, enunciating every syllable in “plu-to-crats.” A heartless Republican Congress is cutting programs for the needy, assaulting unions, and kowtowing to the rich. A nation that can always find money for war is convinced it must cut Medicare and Social Security.

    This sounds like the standard tale of liberal woe. What makes it different, though, is the villain at the heart of the narrative: President Barack Obama. What makes it noteworthy is that his critics are recognizable black progressives, not the usual conservative hired guns. Three years of unceasing economic distress has whittled away at the hope that drew a million revelers to the inauguration of America’s first black president, so it’s a narrative that the black community might be ready to hear. Maybe.

    At the podium, Smiley has traded his soothing NPR baritone for the chanting voice of a preacher: “He’s got to stop being afraid of saying the word ‘poor.’ Say it, Mr. President. Say the word ‘poor.’ Say it, Mr. President. Say the word ‘poor.’ Say it, Mr. President.” The audience cheers.

    One-on-one, West speaks in a gravelly whisper, as if conferring a secret. Standing in front of the pews, though, in his characteristic three-piece suit, which he calls his “cemetery clothes” (“If you love poor people you better be coffin-ready”), he is electric. His words for Obama are both harsh and personal: “We’ve had so many leaders who have sold out. … Their version of the crack pipe: Just call it success. They want to be a successful leader. You see, Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t into success. He was into greatness. If your success is defined as being well adjusted to injustice and well adapted to indifference, we don’t want successful leaders.” The audience erupts.

    For all their tough talk, West and Smiley are walking a tightrope, and they know it. “For those that think this is an anti-Obama tour, let me, in love, check you right quick,” Smiley says to murmurs of approval from the audience. “It’s not personal—it’s principle.”

    Smiley assures his listeners that he and West are on the president’s side. “This is really about aiding and abetting the president. It’s about helping the president,” Smiley says, recalling the apocryphal story of Franklin Roosevelt telling union and civil-rights leader A. Philip Randolph to “make him do it,” to shore up his left flank with populist protest. The audience cheers in affirmation, and one attendee cries out, “Yes, yes, that’s right.”

    “I still love my brother,” West vows. “I will protect him against vicious lies told by Fox News, vicious lies told by conservatives. They claim that he’s a socialist, how can he be a socialist when he got Tim Geithner—” West’s voice rises, but the audience drowns him out, whooping in recognition at the mere mention of the Treasury secretary.

    Smiley and West’s harsh assessment of Obama has exposed them to considerable criticism from within the black community. They have been tarred as hypocrites and haters, self-aggrandizing public figures with a personal beef against the president, eager to point fingers at Obama for being a corporatist sellout while they maintain their own questionable connections to the moneyed elite. Smiley is seen as the aspiring gatekeeper to power in black America and West as a publicity-seeking academic whose role as a civil-rights leader is as much science fiction as his cameos in The Matrix films.

    Smiley and West, however, see their role as one rooted in a tradition of black protest, best exemplified by Martin Luther King Jr. “The black prophetic tradition has been the tradition that has renewed American democracy even given its imperial practice,” West says. “And the sadness of the age of Obama is that there’s an attempt to silence the black prophetic tradition.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    September 22, 2011 10:40 AM

    Romney’s middle-class problem

    By Steve Benen

    I hate to be the one to break this to Mitt Romney, but he’s not a member of the middle class.

    Mitt Romney suggested Wednesday that he feels the pain of the middle class.

    At a town hall meeting here, the millionaire GOP presidential contender told his audience that he favors a tax policy that will help “those who have been hurt by the Obama economy.”

    “And that’s the middle class,” Romney continued. “It’s not those in the low end; it’s certainly not those in the very high end. It’s for the great middle class — the 80 to 90 percent of us in this country.”

    Look, I understand Romney may feel a little defensive about this. He did, after all, become very wealthy by laying off thousands of American workers. His similarities to Thurston Howell III don’t exactly scream “man of the people.” But the former governor’s net worth is pegged somewhere between $190 million and $250 million. If Romney is middle class, I’m on his short list of potential running mates.

    On a more substantive note, Romney’s plan to help “the great middle class” is to allow those “earning $200,000 a year and less ought to be able to save their money tax-free, no tax on interest, dividends, or capital gains.” And how much would that benefit the average, middle-income earner? About $70 a year. No, that’s not a typo. Romney wants to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, but his idea of boosting the middle class is a tax break that hardly matters at all.

    And in case this wasn’t quite enough, Romney also told voters in Florida yesterday, “I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying income tax.” It’s the second time this month that the former governor has raised the prospect of increasing taxes on those least able to afford it.

    In case anyone’s forgotten, the relevant details matter here: millions of Americans may be exempt from income taxes, but they still pay sales taxes, state taxes, local taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes, and in many instances, property taxes. It’s not as if these folks are getting away with something — the existing tax structure leaves them out of the income tax system because they don’t make enough money to qualify. Indeed, many are retirees who can’t earn an income because they’re no longer in the workforce.

    Romney has now said more than once that he considers it “a real problem” that these lower-income Americans aren’t paying income taxes. It’s apparently a “problem” he intends to fix as president.

    There’s certainly a case to be made that Romney is pursuing a bizarre version of “class warfare,” but even putting that aside, the leading Republican presidential candidate seems to now be on the record advocating higher income tax rates on the middle class.

    I suspect voters will be hearing more about this in the coming months.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Rick Santorum Endorses Pennsylvania Election Scheme Because It Will Rig Presidential Election For Republicans
    By Marie Diamond on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:25 am

    While in Washington yesterday, longshot presidential contender Rick Santorum (R-PA) expressed his approval for a scheme by Pennsylvania Republicans to split up the state’s electoral votes. Bucking the winner-takes-all tradition (which awarded all of the state’s votes to Barack Obama in 2008), the plan proposed by GOP Gov. Tom Corbett is a nakedly partisan attempt to give away as many as a dozen of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes to the Republican presidential candidate for free.

    Slate’s Dave Weigel reports that Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, had no qualms about admitting that the idea is a transparently political ploy designed to advantage his party:

    “Certainly, from the standpoint of a Republican, it’s a winner,” Santorum said. “Republicans will come out ahead in Pennsylvania in every election. The way Democrats win, they have two big cities with huge concentrations of voters — and then overwhelm the rest of the state.” […]

    “All of a sudden, a Republican can win — and would probably routinely win — all but three or four congressional districts in Pennsylvania,” he said. “It would turn it from a state Democrats rely on, as part of the base, to a state that they’re gonna lose under almost any scenario.”

    Weigel observes that Republicans’ real problem seems to be that “because the votes of urban Democrats count as much as the votes of suburban Republicans, Democrats are often able to win Pennsylvania by getting more people to choose their candidate.” So Republicans have devised a scheme to award some votes to their guy even when most Pennsylvanians don’t vote for him! Santorum also seemed to be all in favor of gerrymandering tactics that would pour all urban Democrats into a few seats, thereby allowing Republicans to further maximize their voting power.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    September 22, 2011 11:25 AM

    Snowe diagnoses ‘the problem’

    By Steve Benen

    Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), arguably Congress’ most moderate Republican, issued a statement this week in response to President Obama’s debt-reduction agenda. She has some concerns.

    “Clearly, spending is the problem, so why would more taxes be the solution? We cannot ask the American people to pay more than they already do in order to paper-over the debt problems that Congress created; it is up to us to fix the spending problem, not retroactively justify it by making people pay increased taxes.”

    As a substantive matter, as Jamison Foser noted, Snowe’s analysis just doesn’t make any sense. To believe “spending is the problem” is to ignore all of the available evidence.

    But reading Snowe’s statement also reminded me what a shame it is that Snowe is what passes for “moderation” in Republican politics in 2011. Given the larger landscape, there’s room for genuine GOP centrists — in, say, the Mark Hatfield or Lowell Weicker mold — to have a significant impact. Real Republican moderates, if they existed, would not only generate considerable attention, but could potentially have an instrumental role in shaping policy.

    But that’s not an option. The best of the best — relatively speaking, of course — is Olympia Snowe, who’s somehow been convinced, the year before running in a Republican primary, that “spending is the problem.”

    As Foser added, “If Olympia Snowe had supported a significantly larger stimulus package in 2009, the economy might not be in such lousy shape, and millions more Americans might have jobs. And now Snowe is peddling the same falsehoods as the rest of her party, in support of the same shortsighted and cruel austerity measures that have kept the economy weak.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Rewrites His Own History Again, Claims He Never Considered Secession
    By Ian Millhiser on Sep 22, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Before he announced his presidential bid, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was commendably honest about his radical view of the Constitution. Perry repeatedly and proudly called Social Security and Medicare unconstitutional — even doing so on video at least once. Now that Perry wants to be president, however, he has unleashed a blizzard of falsehoods, claiming untruthfully that he never said Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional.

    Last night, in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Perry showed similar disregard for the truth in claiming that he never suggested Texas might secede from the union:

    HANNITY: Some people said, well, you used the term once “secession.” That’s not anything—is that something you believe?

    PERRY: No, and I never used that term, at all.

    HANNITY: Then why was it reported so heavily?

    PERRY: I have no idea to be real honest with you, because it was never a really factual piece of reporting. It was shouted out by an individual at an event—at a Tea Party, actually—and I said “listen, America is a great country. We have no reason why we would ever dissolve this union.”

    Watch it:

    Perry is technically correct that he never uttered the word “secession,” but he did say that “when we came into the nation in 1845, we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation. And one of the deals was, we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.” Just in case Perry doesn’t remember saying that he is “thinking about” seceding, he can listen to himself saying it here:

    For the record, Perry isn’t just wrong about his own previously stated views on secession, he was also wrong the first time when he claimed Texas has the right to secede from the union. Just in case the Civil War didn’t resolve this question enough to suit Perry’s unusually fluid understanding of the Constitution, the Supreme Court resolved the question just a few years later in 1869. As the Court held in Texas v. White, “[t]he union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States.”

  20. Ametia,

    You are a jewel! Thank you for your thoughtfulness & sweet kindness!

  21. Ametia says:

    69% Israelis say israel shoud accept UN recognition of Palestinian State

    A joint poll by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the Occupied Palestinian Territories found that 69 percent of Israelis think that their country should accept United Nations recognition of an independent Palestinian state, according the Jerusalem Post. The survey also found that 83 percent of Palestinians supported the U.N. bid. Six hundred Israelis and 1,200 Palestinians in the Occupied Territories participated in the poll. Of the Israelis that sided with accepting the U.N. decision, 34 percent said Israel should start negotiating with the Palestinians and 35 percent said the Palestinians should not be allowed to change dynamics on the ground. (HT: Josh Shahryar

  22. rikyrah says:

    September 22, 2011 8:00 AM

    House GOP flubs vote, inches closer to shutdown

    By Steve Benen

    House Republican leaders had a plan and were fairly confident it would work. Last week, the Senate easily passed emergency disaster funding and urged the House to follow suit. This week, House GOP leaders decided to respond by thumbing their noses at the Senate, including disaster aid in a larger spending bill, offsetting the costs by slashing a clean-energy program, and would tell the Senate to pass the bill or they’d shutdown the government.

    All they had to do was pass the larger measure, called a “continuing resolution” (CR), which would keep the government running, and would set the stage for another showdown. Boehner, Cantor, and company thought they had the votes. They didn’t.

    The surprise defeat in the House Wednesday of a special funding measure to keep the federal government functioning past Sept. 30 was a sharp rebuke of the GOP leadership that controls the chamber and a testament to the fragility of the majority itself.

    The rejection of the measure resurrected the specter of a government shutdown at the end of the month and suggested that the heated confrontations that dominated Washington in the spring and early summer are likely to return this fall.

    While it is widely expected that the parties will eventually reach a compromise to avoid a shutdown, Wednesday’s 230-to-195 vote showed what can happen when the GOP majority operates with no more than minimal Democratic support.

    It wasn’t especially close, with Republicans coming 23 votes short of passage. In all, nearly every Democrat balked at the bill, under pressure from party leaders, and 48 House Republicans also rejected the measure. For Dems, it was important to reject the CR that played games with emergency disaster relief, and for the 48 GOP lawmakers who voted no, they wanted their caucus to renege on last month’s agreement and push for more spending cuts.

    There are plenty of angles to keep in mind — most notably the fact that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) just doesn’t have much control over his radicalized caucus — but perhaps the most pressing issue is the calendar. If Congress doesn’t approve a CR over the next eight days, the government will shut down.

    At this point, House Republican leaders have a decision to make. They can:

    1. Give up on holding disaster aid hostage, put the Senate’s FEMA bill in the CR, and pass it. The bill would then sail through the Senate and avoid a shutdown, but it would further weaken Boehner’s leadership.

    2. Abandon the deal Boehner struck with Democrats last month, cut more spending, and pick up votes from the far-right flank. The Senate would reject this immediately, making a shutdown almost unavoidable. The Speaker’s word would become useless, but the right would be happy.

    3. Find some different offsets to pay for disaster relief, which some Dems may find acceptable.

    4. Remove disaster aid from the CR altogether, and take the issue up as a separate legislative debate.

    A decision will have to be made fairly quickly — the deadline is a week from tomorrow, and Congress is supposed to be out next week.

  23. rikyrah says:

    The progressive left didn’t push Obama to the left, he’s been waiting for America to join him there

    President Obama’s new-found populist voice has reinvigorated liberals across the country and across the blogosphere. This week, for example, you would hardly recognize the Daily Kos vaunted Recommended List. Former Obama-bashers are thrilled that the president is coming on strong, naming names and shaming the shameful in his fight to get his new jobs bill passed. Example after example of this New Obama are being praised and touted. Some of them are suddenly interested in donating to Democrats again.

    Many of the liberal commentators in the mediasphere are claiming victory. “See?” they say. “All of our efforts are paying off. President Obama is finally listening to us. Our incessant cries and drumbeats that he is a corporatist shill for Big Banks, Big Oil, and Big Business have finally brought him to his senses.”

    Lost in this conversation is the reality that Barack Obama has stood for “the other 98%” for his entire adult life. Even a cursory review of his biography shows that he has been a champion for the poor, for unions, and for the middle class for as long as he has been in politics. But Barack Obama is also a pragmatist. He learned his community organizing from a group called the Gamaliel Foundation, and was hired by a man named Mike Kruglik. I have attended trainings by Kruglik and wrote a piece called “I Want POWER and I Will Be Ruthless” that describes it. Here’s a snippet of that post:

    The Gamaliel Ladder is basically composed of Values & Faith as the core ideals from which all of our actions are based. These are the things we’re willing to stand up to defend.

    In order to achieve our goals, we must grasp the reins of POWER, the second rung of the Gamaliel Ladder. Yes, POWER. Without power, we have nothing because we will be able to accomplish nothing. We are told that “power corrupts” and many of us have been hurt by the wanton use of power. But this is because the power was wielded by people with different core values than us.

    We must use power ruthlessly to achieve our goals, to further our own SELF-INTEREST, the third rung on the Gamaliel Ladder. And we must use the self-interests of others to get them to work on our behalf. Note that I use the phrase “self-interest” and not “selfishness”. Self-interest is the advancement of oneself IN CONCERT with others. Selfishness is the advancement of oneself at the EXPENSE of others.

    The concepts of power, self-interest and ruthlessness have been cast in such a way as to make those who have no power shy away from trying to obtain power. But the time has come for us to shed our ambivalence to obtain power and to change the world in ways the further the Progressive Liberal agenda. We can do this with no reservation and we can do this ruthlessly because our actions are based on values that most of the country agrees with:

    1-to-1 relationships
    Community-based economies
    Bottom-up management
    Safety and Security for our citizens
    Prosperity for everyone
    Solidarity with the oppressed
    Human dignity
    Children and families
    Equal Opportunity for all

    The rest of this good post is here:

  24. rikyrah says:

    September 22, 2011 8:30 AM

    Clinton, context, and coverage — a case study

    By Steve Benen

    If you perused the headlines on several prominent political news sites yesterday, you were led to believe that former President Clinton, in an interview with Newsmax, expressed his opposition to President Obama’s debt-reduction plan, or at least the provisions related to tax fairness.

    Newsmax’s own headline: “Ex-President Clinton to Newsmax: Raising Taxes Won’t Work”

    Politico headline: “Bill Clinton: No more taxes now”

    Business Insider headline: “Bill Clinton Breaks With Obama, Says No To New Tax Hikes”

    USA Today headline: “Clinton: No new (Obama) taxes?”

    Perhaps the most egregious was Time’s Mark Halperin, who ran this as the lead political story yesterday afternoon. The headline, referring to Clinton as the nation’s 42nd president, read, “42: No Tax Hikes.” The blurb told readers, “In Newsmax interview, Clinton says, ‘I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes … This has been a dead flat economy.’”

    What did Clinton actually say? The quote from the former president is pretty straightforward: “I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending until we get this economy off the ground.”

    Notice the difference between the quote and the media’s coverage?

    First, these media outlets simply chose ignore the part of the quote in which Clinton rejected spending cuts during a weak economy. Halperin went so far as to use ellipses to take out the part in which the former president dismissed the Republicans’ priority, misleading the reader about Clinton’s position.

    Second, while some outlets were eager to tell the public that Clinton’s view is at odds with Obama’s view, both presidents are taking the same approach to the issue. Clinton wants tax increases delayed until the economy is stronger and so does Obama. Reporters who spend even a couple of minutes looking at the White House plan will see that the president wants to boost tax revenue to lower the deficit, but not until 2013. In the short term, Obama wants to cut taxes, not raise them.

    Clinton and Obama are saying the same thing. There’s no excuse for these media outlets telling the public otherwise.

    • Ametia says:

      The crux of this kind of media distortion is purely CRIMINAL. The whole idea is to puch the meme that Clinton is better than Obama. It’s surreal watching and listening to these MOFOs present Clinton as if he’s the current Democratic Party president. It’s all about divide and conquer, profit & power.

      • creolechild says:

        I wondered why Clinton’s face has been plastered all over the news lately. No need to wonder any more~ Apparently, there’s a big bash–chock full of celebrities–scheduled either later this month or next month to honor his efforts in one of his initiatives (can’t remember what…maybe green) AND he has a book coming out in November in which he talks about how to solve unemployment and help the economy. (Ummm….okay….whatever…pfffftttt! I hope he suggests that the GOP/Teahadists pass the Americans Jobs Act while he’s sharing his expertise.)

  25. rikyrah says:

    Unions Breathe Easier After GOP Assault On NLRB Fails

    The AFL-CIO and organized labor in general is breathing a sigh of relief after the Senate Appropriations Committee narrowly defeated — in a tie vote Wednesday night — an effort to gut the National Labor Relations Board and prevent it from filing suits against companies that move operations to right-to-work states.

    After a furious last-minute AFL-CIO lobbying spree, the Senate Committee, which is split 16 to 15 Democratic voted 15 to 15 to defeat language from being attached to a bill funding the NLRB, as well as the Labor and Health and Human Services Departments.

    Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC), motivated by an attempt to help Boeing, managed to convince Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AK) to support his efforts to add the anti-NLRB language to the larger spending bill, but in the end, a wavering Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) stuck with the Democratic party line and voted no. A tie vote in committee prevents language from being added.

    Graham has been leading the charge against the NLRB ever since the agency slapped Boeing with a suit earlier this year charging the defense giant with illegally retaliating against union workers in Washington state by moving a factory to South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

    “If the Graham Amendment were to become law, it would be the first time since the passage of the Taft Hartley Act more than 60 years ago that Congress voted to curb the NLRB’s ability to protect working people, their rights and their jobs — all to protect one corporation,” William Samuel, director of the AFL-CIO’s Government Affairs Department, wrote in a letter to senators sent Wednesday afternoon.

    The stakes were high for unions. If Graham had been successful, the move would not only have affected Boeing’s current lawsuit but would also have prevented the NLRB from protecting unionized workers from retaliation from all companies who might consider moving production lines or operations to another state in reaction to labor protests and negotiations, according to the AFL-CIO.

    “Retaliating against workers for exercising their legally-protected rights, as Boeing is alleged to have one, is against the law, and has been for 75 years,” Samuels wrote. “These attacks, coming from the same crowd that wants to defund and dismantle the NLRB entirely, have nothing to do with creating jobs or helping the economy, and everything to do with political retaliation,” Samuels wrote.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Perry Brags About Texas’ Tax System That Charges The Poor Four Times As Much As The Rich
    By Pat Garofalo on Sep 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was on the campaign trail in Newton, Iowa today, reviving his stump speech promise to make government “as inconsequential in your life as I can.” At one point, Perry bragged about the Texas tax system and its light burden on “job creators”:

    We had a tax policy in place that allowed for our job creators to not be burdened, still delivering the services that the people desire in the state of Texas. So have a tax policy that is as light on the job creators as we can.

    Watch it:

    As Matt Yglesias has noted, in reality Perry’s tax system “has done a great job of soaking the poor.” In fact, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, someone in the poorest 20 percent of Texans can expect to face a tax rate four times as high as a Texan in the richest 1 percent:

    This isn’t really surprising, considering that Perry believes that the poor and seniors don’t pay enough in taxes. At the same time, Perry has admitted that higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires “isn’t going to affect anything” in terms of economic growth.

  27. rikyrah says:

    After Calling Obama’s Taxes On The Rich ‘Class Warfare,’ Romney Calls For Raising Taxes On The Poor
    By Pat Garofalo on Sep 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Many Republicans have played the “class warfare” card when reacting to President Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit, in part, by returning the top two income tax brackets to where they were under the Clinton administration and instituting the “Buffett rule,” which calls for an end to millionaires dodging taxes. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was no exception, telling Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that “attacking business like the Democrats want to do, and class warfare like some members of the administration want to do, is simply the wrong way to go.”

    Romney may feel that hiking taxes on the rich is class warfare, but he evidently doesn’t feel the same way about increasing taxes on the poor. During a campaign stop in Florida (ahead of tomorrow night’s GOP primary debate), Mitt Romney told a town hall audience that low-income Americans having no income tax liability is “a problem” that will ultimately “kill the country”:

    This is a challenge. This is a problem. Ronald Reagan used to say, he was quoting a philosopher but I think it was really his own view as well, he used to say, look, if you get to a point where people recognize that they can vote themselves money from the Treasury, they will do so and ultimately kill the country. And I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying income tax.

    Watch it:

    Romney was trying to reference a quote that Reagan employed (which is unverified but often attributed to the Scottish professor Alexander Fraser Tytler) that said “a democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.” Reagan used to quote to warn against the rise of a dictatorship following poor people voting themselves benefits.

    Regardless of the sentiment, the practical upshot of Romney’s pronouncement is that he believes people who earn too little to have any federal income tax liability should have their taxes raised. But leaving aside that these people likely pay a hefty amount in sales and excise taxes, payroll taxes, and state and local taxes, there’s a simple reason that they have no federal income tax bill: they don’t make enough money!

    Overall, less than a quarter of the nation’s households don’t contribute to federal tax receipts in some way or another — and the majority of the non-contributors are students, the elderly, or the unemployed. 60 percent of those with no income tax bill make less than $20,000 annually.

    Romney, of course, did not express any dismay that there are 1,470 households in the U.S. that reported income of more than $1 million in 2009 but paid zero federal income tax on it.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Limbaugh: ‘Only Obama’s Skin Color’ Is Stopping Black Lawmakers’ ‘Pitchforks’

    | Race-baiting conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said on his show today that black lawmakers would come after the president with “pitchforks” if it weren’t for Obama’s race. Some African-American lawmakers have expressed frustration with the president, prompting Limbaugh to say, “it is only Obama’s skin color that is standing between him and the pitchforks of the Congressional Black Caucus.” Listen here, via Mediaite:

    In fact, it’s people like Limbaugh who are stopping the CBC from going after the president. “Nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president,” as CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (R-MO) said.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Federal Reserve To GOP: Take A Hike!

    Responding to the bleak economic outlook, and the weak prospects for reduced unemployment in the months ahead, the Federal Reserve has announced a new round of monetary stimulus, disregarding a Republican political push to dissuade them from tinkering with the economy.

    In a new iteration of Quantitative Easing — that Fed watchers are calling “Operation Twist” — the Federal Reserve will swap $400 billion worth of medium term bonds for longer term bonds over the next nine months,to drive down long-term interest rates to encourage immediate investment. Separately, it will take steps to drive down mortgage interest rates.

    It’s the first significant action the Fed has taken to juice the economy since a modest second round of monetary stimulus ended several months ago. However, the Fed says it continues to expect unemployment to drop slowly and for inflation to remain below the target rate — meaning it isn’t attempting to spur immediate spending and investment by raising the expectation that prices will soon rise. Though the hope is that the new easing will accomplish that on its own.

    Politically, the action is sure to rankle Republicans, both in the presidential primary, where chairman Ben Bernanke has become a whipping boy, and on Capitol Hill, where leaders have more cautiously criticized Fed policy.

    Read the full Fed statement below the fold.

  30. rikyrah says:

    GOP-Pushed Student Voter Fraud Investigation Finds Zero Voter Fraud
    Ryan J. Reilly | September 21, 2011, 5:25PM180

    Remember how Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster accused over 200 students of committing voter fraud because they were paying out-of-state tuition but registered to vote in the state? Turns out none of them actually voted.

    A two-month taxpayer funded investigation found that zero of the students committed voter fraud and found just one case of a non-citizen voter — and that happened all the way back in 2002, Bangor Daily News reports. Still, Secretary of State Charlie Summers is maintaining that the system is “fragile and vulnerable” and renewed his opposition to same day voter registration.

    David Farmer of Protect Maine Votes called Webster’s allegations “false outrageous and, perhaps, defamatory.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    Hypocritical, Cruel, and Buffoonish Responses from the GOP on Obama’s Tax Plan:

    So let’s be sure we’re absolutely clear here: when President Obama talks about raising revenue by having the wealthy pay their fair share, he is not talking about passing a single tax increase on individuals. What he is talking about is limiting certain kinds of deductions, closing loopholes, and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on people making over a million bucks a year. That’s it. Yes, tax rates do return to a higher level on the very wealthy because the Bush tax cuts were allegedly designed to be temporary, enacted in flush times, but supposedly with a sunset just in case times were rough again. In other words, it was the model of “kick the ball down the road” legislating.

    But to say that President Obama wants Congress to pass higher taxes is a lie. In fact, what he wants Congress to do is make the Bush-era tax cuts on the poor-to-merely wealthy permanent. If Congress doesn’t do that, and Obama doesn’t cave again on it, all the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire and the revenue crisis is over.

    Of course, none of this is preventing the scumsucking pig fellaters of Congress from laying into the very moderate plan Obama proposed. Let’s check out what the most heinous motherfuckers are saying.

    Why, here’s Rep. Joe Walsh, who takes European vacations with his girlfriend while avoiding his child support payments: “The President is in over his head and just isn’t serious about helping American businesses create jobs.” You know who else is in other their heads? Rep. Joe Walsh, who owes over $100,000 to his ex-wife to take care of his children. Most hilariously, Walsh says, “I would encourage the Warren Buffett types, who want to pay more in taxes, to write as large a check as they want to the federal treasury. Nothing is stopping them.” You know who else should write a check that doesn’t come from his campaign funds? Nothing says “motherfucker” like fucking over the mother of your kids.

    Louisiana Senator and whore lover David Vitter said, “The president’s plan is a grab bag of tax hikes in the middle of a recession, pure and simple.” Like a large plastic bag where you can put an adult diaper? (Actually, the Rude Pundit wishes for the sake of easy jokes that Vitter had said what Rep. Jeff Landry said: “My beef is taking any money from any American at a time when our government is wasting money – not just wasting money but throwing it down the toilet.” Beef? Toilet? That would have been comedy gold, baby.)

    From the immoral to the imbecilic, it went. The usual suspects said the usual things. Rep. Joe “You lie” Wilson of South Carolina barked, “I’m just shocked at the level of tax increases. It’s clearly just an effort to grow big government.”

    Unpack that statement, if your brain can wrap around it. Remember: there will be no “tax increases.” The only thing that’s happening is that a “temporary” tax cut might end and some other shit may going away. It’s like saying that when your Groupon offer expires, it’s a price increase on your sushi dinner. No, dick. You’re just not getting it cheaper.

    Of course, some “tax increases” are different than others. ‘Cause, see, the payroll tax cut that Obama got as part of the extension of the Bush tax cuts is also sunsetting. That’s a tax hike, no? No, you prole. The GOP is treating that cash for the middle class like it’s a hooker with a sign that says, “Get hep-c here.” Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions really did say, “If your debt is this large, I think you’ve gotta be very careful about adding debt.” And Rep. Paul Ryan declared that the tax cut “didn’t work.”

    Amazing how quickly they become agnostics when it comes to helping anyone but the rich.

  32. rikyrah says:

    September 22, 2011
    Paul’s Law
    Dana Milbank:

    A few weeks ago, the Post ombudsman questioned why the paper’s reporting on Paul had been so “sparse.” To this, there are two answers. Last time, in 2008, Paul was ignored because his ideas sounded crazy. This time, he’s being ignored because his ideas have become commonplace. What’s changed is not Paul but the party.

    In computer science there is in operation a Moore’s law, which roughly states that computing power doubles every two years. I suppose that in the field of technology, such exponential growth is at least theoretically infinite. Human craziness, though, is self-limiting, as the above chronology suggests.

    By the midterms of 2010, Paul’s quaint political psychosis had indeed roughly doubled within the GOP since 2008, as the explosive invasion of Capitol Hill by Tea Partying freshmen revealed. By 2012, though, the mad contagion of 2010 will have flatlined; it will have completed its GOP pod-personing. It either will have exhausted itself — crazy can only run so far — or it will have exhausted its potential pathogens of pols, districts and states.

    Massachusetts won’t suddenly fancy itself a better commonwealth as a Mississippi doppelganger; Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer and Barnie Frank won’t abruptly realize the despicable errors of humane, compassionate policy; senior citizens in Florida and Maine and Washington and California won’t straightaway return their Social Security checks and burn their Medicare cards.

    Paul himself seems a delightful man; but he’s touched. Not in a clinical way; just in the way of a singular saturation.

    Years ago I would on occasion tune in to a local talk-radio show, wherein — no matter the topic — a self-pronounced philosopher would call to offer Tom Jefferson’s view. If Medicaid came up, he’d tell us what Jefferson would think. If Bosnia or the Palestine-Israel conflict arose on the air, he’d tell us what Jefferson would think. If the local power company raised its rates, yep …

    The caller was a conspicuously affable fellow, who had committed to memory virtually every thought committed to paper by Thomas Jefferson. When it came to our third president, he possessed a kind of photographic memory, which sounds like a pretty spiffy possession of mind until you recall that folks who genuinely have it are intellectually incapable of applying their knowledge to historical or contemporary context. What they know is just that: knowledge, bereft of all contextual understanding.

    Such is Ron Paul’s affliction — a haunting by the ghosts of Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian School. They explain all, portend all; they tidy up a messy, complicated and confusing world. They provide a Weltanschauung indistinguishable in its ready intellectual ease and comfort from Marxism or Maoism. They relieve some humans of their arduous obligation to think.

    Public polling now reflects, however, the self-limitations of doctrine. Paulism and its ideological metastasis, Tea Partyism, are under siege. And by 2013, they’ll be as politically relevant as the Greenbacks and the Grange.

  33. rikyrah says:

    The Death Penalty: A Flawed System
    by BooMan
    Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 08:35:12 AM EST

    Today, I have a little taste in my mouth. I imagine it’s similar to the taste Northern progressives had in their mouths during the Civil Rights Era, where you can’t quite believe the immorality of what’s going on in the South. Are we part of the same country? And why can’t the Supreme Court do anything? Why doesn’t the president act? How can Congress allow laws like these to stand on the books?
    I don’t know if Troy Davis was guilty. I have my doubts. But what I find really appalling is how the law worked in his case. Once he was convicted, his burden shifted from proving a reasonable doubt to proving his innocence. That might make sense for a drug or rape conviction, but it makes no sense in a capital murder case. No fair-minded person could look at the facts of the Troy Davis case and not have some doubt about the quality and veracity of the prosecutor’s argument in court and even some of the police work that was done during the investigation. But that wasn’t the standard the District Court or the Appeals Court or the Supreme Court or the Georgia parole board were using. That’s wrong.

    We have to treat a capital case differently. When the moment comes to carry out an execution, we have to go back over all the known facts and make a fresh assessment. We can’t give so much deference to the original trial, especially when twenty years have lapsed and many parts of the prosecution’s case have fallen apart or come into serious question. You cannot executive a person if there is substantial doubt about whether they even committed the crime.

    The debate about Troy Davis should have been about whether he had been wrongly imprisoned for two decades, not over whether he could prove his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.

    How did we arrive at a system where so much discretion is stripped away from the decision makers?

    This case highlights every flaw with the death penalty. Even from the point of view of advocates of the death penalty, it took 20 years to get ‘justice.’ Whether we abolish the death penalty or not, this case proves that it is in need of an overhaul. Georgia might have killed an innocent man last night simply because the system didn’t allow people to save him, despite the obvious doubts about his guilt.

  34. rikyrah says:

    An under-the-radar defeat
    by Big Baby DougJ

    This isn’t the most glamorous story, but I think it’s a big defeat for Boehner:

    House Republicans tried a fresh strategy Wednesday night: Go it alone on a spending bill.

    The result was an embarrassing setback.

    Wednesday night’s rank-and-file rebuke of GOP leadership — with 48 Republicans bolting on a temporary spending bill — underscored the fact that the House Republican majority is still struggling to find unity on major spending bills. It also showed they still need Democratic votes to help them govern.

    The pressure from an angry Speaker John Boehner didn’t work — he even threatened to strip committee assignments. Four dozen Republicans —mostly conservatives — wanted more cuts, and they just said no, creating an uncomfortable scene on the House floor as the funding bill failed on a 195-230 vote. Democrats showed a rare moment of unity in overwhelmingly opposing the continuing resolution, which would keep the government funded through Nov. 18.

    What happened was this: tehadists voted against the bill because they vote against all spending bills, Democrats voted against the bill because it cut money from a successful auto loan program in order to juggle the numbers and make the bill closer to revenue neutral. The program was popular and Rep. Gary Peters was able to rally support for it, and against the bill that would have cut it.

    I realize this is all a bit “Inside Baseball” but it’s significant. It shows that when Democrats show united opposition in the House, Boehner’s in trouble, because he can’t get the teahadists to vote for much of anything.

  35. Ametia says:


    Young adults gain health insurance under new law
    By N.C. Aizenman, Published: September 21
    Nearly 1 million more young adults have obtained health insurance since the 2010 health-care law began requiring insurers to let adult children stay on their parents’ plans until age 26, according to government data released Wednesday.

    The jump in enrollment caused the share of young adults who are uninsured to drop from 34 percent at the start of 2010 to 30 percent — or 9.1 million people — by March of this year, according to a national interview survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    A Gallup poll also unveiled Wednesday pointed to an almost identical pattern.

    Young adults remain more likely to go without health insurance than any other age group.

    Still, after the recent stream of dismal poverty and unemployment statistics, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius welcomed Wednesday’s findings as “a really great achievement.”

    “The economic downturn has taken a toll on employment among young adults,” Sebelius said during a conference call with news media. “In the past, that would have led to even more young people without health insurance. Instead, thanks to the [new law], the number of young adults with coverage has actually gone up.”

    Technically, neither data source directly addresses how much of this change was a result of the new health-care rule. However, administration officials noted that the insurance rate for all other age groups remained essentially unchanged during the same period and that the trend line for young adults closely tracks the timing of the new rule’s phase-in.

    At the administration’s urging, dozens of plans began voluntarily opening their rolls to young adults in the late spring of 2010, months before the official start date. All plans were required to comply beginning with their next renewal date after Sept. 23 of 2010. For many that meant last January, although some did not renew until later.

  36. rikyrah says:

    1 By James Perry
    7:24 AM Sep 22nd, 2011
    Now Is Not the Time To Lose Love For CBC and the President

    Stand up and be counted like it’s 1984
    This week begins the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. As many of America’s most influential black leaders meet to network and strategize, a difficult question confronts all attendees: At this moment when African-American political and business leaders have made more gains than ever before, why are large numbers of black Americans still failing in nearly every quality of life category?

    Providing an answer is no easy task. However, some CBC members have sought to lay the blame squarely on President Obama’s shoulders. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Ca.), suggested voters “unleash” the Democrats on President Obama. Congressman and CBC Chairman, Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), addressed the issue commenting that if things were this bad under another president, then “we probably would be marching on the White House.”

    But the truth is just the opposite. Things have been this bad before. And black voters did not march on the White House lawn, instead they worked on behalf of the Democratic Party to claim the White House. Precedent suggests that when there is a black candidate and high unemployment, black Americans are most likely to exercise the most important tool allotted to any citizen in a democracy: the vote.

    The current black unemployment rate, 16.7%, is the highest it has been since 1984. That year, President Ronald Reagan, running for re-election, was petitioning voters for a chance to impose four more years of Reaganomics. Reagan wanted to further policies that had contributed to record black unemployment.

    On the Democratic side, despite challenges from Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, John Glenn, George McGovern and even a young Joe Biden; Walter Mondale emerged as the nominee. And when general election time came, black Americans did not march on the White House lawn. Instead, they stood up to be counted. Reversing an almost 20-year steady decline in turnout, black election participation peaked at 55.8%. Black Americans had been energized by Jesse Jackson’s gallant bid to become President.

    “Keep hope alive,” they chanted. Jackson won 6.9 million votes and seven primaries. In the end, the excitement around Jackson’s campaign helped to deliver the black vote to the Democratic Party.

    It seems, black voters are poised to do just the same in 2012. According to poll results from a recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal Poll, despite record unemployment in black communities, 92% of black Americans approve of President Obama’s job performance, with only 5% voicing disapproval.

    The lesson, of course, is that black voters are an exceedingly loyal bunch. Members of the CBC are well schooled in this lesson. Many members’ careers depend on it. Most CBC members represent districts that are overwhelming poor and overwhelming black. Even in the best economic times, the unemployment statistics in most CBC districts are remarkably high.

    Neighborhoods in CBC districts are often times marred with high crime, high drop out rates, high teen pregnancy, poor health care, low wealth and high blight. Despite these dire truths, black members of Congress who represent black districts are among the members of Congress that are least likely to lose re-election bids.

  37. Ametia says:

    GM is back, thanks to Uncle Sam
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: September 21
    Have you noticed that one of the Obama administration’s most successful programs is also its most “socialist” initiative?

    Okay, the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler was not socialist in the classic sense: The government was not looking to hold on to the companies over the long run. Their turnaround was accomplished in significant part by tough, capitalist management steps.

    But, yes, this was socialism — or, perhaps, “state capitalism” — because the government temporarily took substantial ownership in the companies when no one in the private sector was willing to put up enough capital to prevent them from going under. Today, the companies are thriving.

    More than that: The auto industry exemplifies how unions can do their best to protect the interests of their members while also ensuring the prosperity of the companies that employ them.

    This month, the United Auto Workers and GM reached a tentative four-year contract that will add or save some 6,500 jobs, provide workers with a $5,000 signing bonus and enhance a profit-sharing agreement.

    Note that increase in profit sharing. The union and the company are seeking to align the interests of workers and shareholders. The idea should be as American as a Chevy or a Ford: When a company does well, its employees should do well, too.

  38. Ametia says:

    Bibbi & PBO

  39. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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