Why they hate working America: GOP equates benefits with personal failure.

Republicans are tiptoeing closer to a critique of beneficiaries as lazy moochers. But the public won’t stand for it.


Why they hate working America: GOP equates benefits with personal failureTed Cruz, Jim DeMint, Rand Paul (Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron/Sean Gardner/Larry Downing)

To hear conservatives bemoan Obamacare’s exorbitant benefits, you’d think the combination of a coverage guarantee and a subsidy that’s only redeemable to purchase health insurance are so bounteous as to destroy human ambition.

That’s obviously not true. Many conservatives know it’s not true. But it’s all they’ve wanted to talk about for a week now, ever since the Congressional Budget Office updated its analysis of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the labor market. Maybe it’ll prove to be great politics. The GOP’s entire political strategy heading into midterm elections is rooted in the assumption that Obamacare will be the only issue that matters, and by definition a massive drag on Democrats

But there’s a danger here for the right, too. Their confidence in Obamacare’s political vulnerabilities is drawing the same ethos that helped doom Mitt Romney — the idea that any reliance on government benefits is tantamount to personal failure — out of dormancy. Except in some ways this is worse. They’re not condemning 47 percent of people in the country, but they are being much more specific about the class of people they’re condemning. And the implications of their criticisms are especially politically noxious at a time when politics is reorienting itself around the enormous problems of wage stagnation and inequality.

As a predicate to this discussion, keep in mind that the shared economic costs of the Affordable Care Act’s labor supply effects are very small, and the structure of the actual program doesn’t lend itself to promoting indolence, as its critics have implied. As I and others have written here and elsewhere, nobody can survive on subsidized health insurance alone, which means that most people who ultimately choose to leave the labor market as a result of Obamacare’s new benefits will have other sources of sustenance. Savings, perhaps, or a spouse with steady income.

To the conservatives who have portrayed the CBO’s findings honestly, this is still unacceptable freeloading. Some of them have resorted to mocking the class of people who will avail themselves of that option — “Bored with your job? No worries—now you can quit, thanks to the generosity of other taxpayers.” Others, like Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have taken a subtler approach, lamenting that Obamacare means fewer people will be “getting the dignity of work, getting more opportunities, rising their income, joining the middle class.”

Ryan’s conflating two different effects here. But a hairbreadth separates his comments from outright condescension — particularly vis-à-vis those who will be able to retire early or raise a child because of Obamacare’s healthcare guarantee. People who would have left the workforce already had it not been for the perverse incentives the old system created.

He and other conservatives are making an implicit moral argument about these people’s choices — that their decision to stop working is inferior to an alternative in which they must keep their jobs to maintain steady health coverage. Particularly if other taxpayers are on the hook in any way. Scratch at that ideology very lightly, though, and you’ll reveal a more expansive worldview that places the highest moral esteem on the possession of wealth. Early retirement is only for the small subset of people who have accrued enough of it to finance not just food, shelter and recreation but every unforeseen cost the vicissitudes of life might impose upon them.

It’s the same ideology that undergirds GOP opposition to extending emergency unemployment compensation. A view of working people — and really everyone but the truly wealthy — as beasts of burden who will become lazy if they aren’t prodded. If they can’t work, don’t feed them. If the missing pieces separating them from the ability to survive with what they already have are a coverage guarantee and a premium tax credit, it should be denied to them. If they’ve outlived their use, put them out to pasture.

I don’t think this is a view many Republicans actually want to espouse, which is why so many of them are still lying about what CBO said, to bolster unrelated claims about Obamacare being a job killer.

But the media finally seems to have a grasp of the issue, and that means a lot of Republicans are eventually going to have to confront it honestly, in one forum or another, before too long. The two most dominant political narratives in the country intersect right here. One is that Obamacare’s a big mess and a political liability for Democrats. The other is that inequality is a huge national challenge, and Republicans’ existing ideological commitments prevent them from addressing it in any concrete way.

The work incentive nonsense draws Republicans straight out of the former, and into the latter. It is fertile breeding ground for 47 percenter contemptuousness. And it is irresistible to them. Over time, a growing number of people will come to understand that the right is standing in judgment of them specifically, writing them off for availing themselves of a different subsidized insurance plan than they had before. Or for availing themselves of different government programs — Pell grants, Medicare, Social Security — that allow people to leave the workforce in search of other pursuits.

Conservative hard-liners will be sympathetic, but I don’t think many other people will be. Most people believe there’s more to life than working yourself to death, and don’t think the government — particularly wealthy politicians — should be in the business of prodding people into a particular, heavily mythologized work ethic.

Brian BeutlerBrian Beutler is Salon’s political writer. Email him at bbeutler@salon.com and follow him on Twitter at @brianbeutler.

Source: http://www.salon.com/2014/02/11/why_they_hate_working_america_gop_equates_benefits_with_personal_failure/

How the GOP Became the “White Man’s Party”. The GOP’s manipulation of racial fears ensured they became a party for whites. The following is an excerpt from Ian Haney-López’s new book, “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class.” (Oxford University Press, 2014)




GOP Death Watch: The Final Days of the Republican Party.

GOP Death Watch: The Final Days of the Republican Party. We could be witnessing the death throes of the Republican Party


GOP Whips Up Scandals to Avoid Facing Obama’s “Most Rapid Deficit Reduction since WWII”. 

If you were wondering why Republicans can’t stop screaming hysterically about fictional persecutions and scandals, it’s because the deficit is no longer their Big Thing. The “emergency” of the deficit – so important that Republicans had to risk global fiscal confidence – took a backseat to constantly shifting, hysterical and unfounded scandals du jour recently. It turns out that ‘the President’s policies are contributing to the most rapid deficit reduction since World War II.’ Ouch. Change subject!

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported acontinued decline in the federal budget deficit: “The CBO projects a $642 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2013, down more than $200 billion from its February estimate and the smallest annual shortfall since 2008. It is the lowest level of deficit spending to date under President Obama, who faced $1 trillion or more in annual deficits during his first term.”

Here’s a real bitter irony for the GOP. At the same time as their ideology took an ugly beating in the reality department, the man they are determined to destroy has a better record at deficit reduction than any of their recent Presidents. In fact, government spending under President Obama has grown at a slower rate than it did under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to Bloomberg (that’s over 50 years ago, if you’re counting). Ironically, this fact is due in part to their own obstructionism and President Obama’s endless compromises with them.

The White House isn’t averse to rubbing it in. Office of Management and Budget spokesman Steve Posner summed it up in a way that must hurt, “The improvements in this CBO report are yet more evidence that the President’s policies are contributing to the most rapid deficit reduction since World War II.” Is that accurate? Why, yes, actually, it is.

Investors Business Daily reported in November of 2012, “(T)he federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II.” Of course, IBD goes on to say that any more deficit reduction focus and we risk our economic recovery, “If U.S. history offers any guide, we are already testing the speed limits of a fiscal consolidation that doesn’t risk backfiring. That’s why the best way to address the fiscal cliff likely is to postpone it. While long-term deficit reduction is important and deficits remain very large by historical standards, the reality is that the government already has its foot on the brakes.”

You might be asking yourself why Republicans are so good at cracking the whip on others while they are incapable of personifying even the most remote semblance of fiscal discipline when they are in charge. Good question. For that matter, why can’t Speaker John Boehner get anything done in the House without the help of Democrats? Boehner has only been able to pass Sandy relief and the VAWA (finally on both) because Democrats rescued him from his own party’s extremism. Modern day Republicans are keen on demonstrating repeatedly that they can’t govern and aren’t interested in legislating anything other than women’s bodies.

Republican lawmakers are very busy trying to bully the IRS into not looking into whether tea party groups are actively trying to influence elections. Also, Benghazi! And Republicans are very busy embracing a short-lived love for first amendment rights. Have no fear, they are still too busy to get any actual work done. But they do have that 37th vote on ObamaCare because they are the party of anti-discipline and fiscal recklessness.

They just keep wasting our money, as Obama tries to save us all from their childishness.



Who Is The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower? Yes, It’s Barack Obama.

t’s enough to make even the most ardent Obama cynic scratch his head in confusion.

Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Who knew?

Check out the chart –








So, how have the Republicans managed to persuade Americans to buy into the whole “Obama as big spender” narrative?

It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% —going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I’ll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives…but you would be wrong.

The first year of any incoming president term is saddled—for better or for worse—with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House. Indeed, not only was the 2009 budget the property of George W. Bush—and passed by the 2008 Congress—it was in effect four months before Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Accordingly, the first budget that can be blamed on our current president began in 2010 with the budgets running through and including including fiscal year 2013 standing as charges on the Obama account, even if a President Willard M. Romney takes over the office on January 20, 2013.

So, how do the actual Obama annual budgets look?

Courtesy of Marketwatch-

  • In fiscal 2010 (the first Obama budget) spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.
  •  In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.
  • In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.
  • Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion. Read the CBO’s latest budget outlook.

No doubt, many will wish to give the credit to the efforts of the GOP controlled House of Representatives. That’s fine if that’s what works for you.

However, you don’t get to have it both ways. Credit whom you will, but if you are truly interested in a fair analysis of the Obama years to date—at least when it comes to spending—you’re going to have to acknowledge that under the Obama watch, even President Reagan would have to give our current president a thumbs up when it comes to his record for stretching a dollar.



Ryan’s Budget a Blueprint for Republicans’ Electoral Defeat in 2012: Working families are tired of the Republicans’ failed “trickle down” economics

U.S. News & World Report

by Eric Griego

March 26, 2012

The GOP budget plan revealed this week by Rep. Paul Ryan may be a boon for millionaires but it is a disaster for our seniors, children, and working families. It is also a blueprint for the Republicans’ electoral defeat in 2012.

Why? Because most Americans would strongly disagree with the Republicans that we should take Medicare away from seniors, and tell students and parents to pay more for education while extending taxpayer giveaways to millionaires, Big Oil, and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

Congressional Republicans believe that their slash-and-burn budget will rally their base in an election year by claiming it would cut spending deeply. In reality, experts say the huge tax cuts would actuallyincrease the deficit.

Republicans tout the $3 trillion in tax cuts in their budget plan but average working Americans are smarter than Ryan thinks. That is because most of the proposed tax cuts would go to millionaires and big corporations, who would see their tax rates cut by 10 percent. Working families are tired of the Republicans’ failed “trickle down” economics, which has led to higher deficits, less jobs, and a shrinking middle class.

The Republican budget is particularly bad for seniors and women. It calls for ending Medicare’s guaranteed earned benefits and replacing it with a privatization scheme forcing seniors to buy the best insurance they can afford with a fixed amount voucher. What if the voucher’s amount is not enough to cover certain health problems? How about for women who tend to live longer than men, and thus rely more on Medicare’s guaranteed benefits? Republicans say tough luck for living too long or for being on a fixed income.

The GOP budget would also hurt kids and parents by cutting more than $115 billion fromHead Start, kindergarten through 12 grade, and college education. That amounts to 9.6 million students losing $1,000 in Pell Grants, 1 million students losing education loans to go to college, and nearly 2 million kids unable to qualify for Head Start. If the Republicans have any hope of winning the young adult or soccer mom vote, this budget is impossible to defend.

With their latest budget, Republicans in Congress are proving to the American people again that they are on the side of millionaires and big corporations, not children, seniors, and working families. In November, voters will decide who they think will best represent their interests.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-201203261013usnewsusnwr201203230323debate.ryan.grimar26,0,391937.story

10 Reasons the GOP Wants to Ditch the Constitution


One of the great ironies of the Republican Party right wing — which is to say the current crop of GOP presidential contenders — is their alleged reverence to the Constitution and the “Founding Fathers.”  But, many of their more provocative public statements appear to jettison the Constitution. Furthermore, many of the individuals who created the US system of government were Deists and supporters of the Age of Reason (Enlightenment) – believers in the power of the human mind, not advocates of a rigid and mystical religious faith.

10 Reasons the GOP Wants to Ditch the Constitution

1. Individuals such as Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann believe that the New Testament should be the law of the land, and that God should guide a president in his or her decisions, not the Constitution.
2. The Establishment Clause of the Constitution specifically states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” while also preserving the right of individuals to worship their own faith.  The Christian right believes that Evangelical and Catholic fundamentalism should be, in essence, merged with the government.
3. Candidates such as Newt Gingrich echo a long-term obsession of the right wing: that the court system is “activist” (as in liberal).  Gingrich went so far as to say that he would ignore court rulings that he disagreed with, which would violate the three branches of government balance built into the Constitution.
4. The preamble to the Constitution cites to “promote the general Welfare” as one of the six reasons for establishing a nation of laws built upon the foundation of the Constitution. Is there a Republican candidate for office at any level who does not regularly bash the notion of “promot[ing] the general Welfare” of US citizens?  The Constitution does not say that is was written to create a society where individuals engaged in mortal financial combat – and the less fortunate were left behind.
5. There are numerous proponents of repealing the 14th Amendment, which outlines who has a right to be an American citizen.  One of particular objections of the 14th Amendment is that “anchor babies” – children of non-US citizens born in the US — are entitled to US citizenship. Interestingly, the 14th Amendment was enacted largely to nullify the pre-Civil War Dred Scott decision which had denied citizenship to slaves, or even freed blacks who were descendants of slaves.  Is there a whiff of racism in the right’s objection to the 14th Amendment?
6. Then there are those who insist that the United States is a republic and not a democracy in terms of the right to vote.  The most current evidence of this is the numerous voter restrictions that Republican legislatures have set up to obstruct minorities, seniors, and students from voting.  Most interestingly, this desire to make America into a sort of “House of Lords” government is represented in a movement to nullify the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct elections of US senators by the people.
7. Then there is the Fifth Amendment that guarantees, no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Under the Bush administration, these guarantees were usurped in a post 9-11 fear frenzy. They continue to be further violated even under the Obama administration, which just agreed to the possible suspension of habeas corpus for US citizens under certain circumstances.
8. Article VI of the Constitution forbids a religious test for serving in government.  While the removal of this prohibition has not generally been an explicit demand of the right, it has been implicit in the assertions that President Obama as a closet Muslim and in other efforts to attack office holders who do not claim to be saved by Christ.  President John F. Kennedy, running for president in 1960 and facing opposition because he was a Catholic, said: “[N]either do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test, even by indirection. For if they disagree with that safeguard, they should be openly working to repeal it.”  Contrary to right winger Christian-firsters, there is no Constitutional requirement to take an oath of office with one’s hand on a Bible.
9. The right wing generally supports police powers over the 4th Amendment guarantee that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue.”  Ask minorities in the US, Muslims, or almost any non-white citizens if they feel protected by the 4th Amendment. whose guarantees have been whittled away over the years by the courts.
10.  The Constitution sets up a legal framework in which all citizens – regardless of race, religion, or national heritage – are guaranteed equal treatment under the law of the land.  This is equality, in legal theory, at its most distilled essence (of course, it doesn’t always apply in practice).  This is deeply disturbing to right wingers who believe that the nation was founded as a white republic, with only whites being able to vote.  The Constitution enshrines democracy (although it took subsequent amendments to enfranchise women and blacks), and the document and its amendments are a threat to the comfort and power of white privilege.

And that’s just the beginning of why the right wing is anti-Constitutional….

Source: http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13345

Never-Wrong Pundit Picks Obama to Win in 2012

Posted: March 2, 2012 by iactnow in Government

Never-Wrong Pundit Picks Obama to Win in 2012

By Paul Bedard, Lauren Fox

August 30, 2011

Allan Lichtman, the American University professor whose election formula has correctly called every president since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election, has a belated birthday present for Barack Obama: Rest easy, your re-election is in the bag.

“Even if I am being conservative, I don’t see how Obama can lose,” says Lichtman, the brains behind The Keys to the White House.

Lichtman’s prediction helps to explain a quirk in some polling that finds that while Americans disapprove of the president, they still think he will win re-election. [Check out political cartoons about the 2012 GOP field.]

Working for the president are several of Lichtman’s keys, tops among them incumbency and the scandal-free nature of his administration.Undermining his re-election is a lack of charisma and leadership on key issues, says Lichtman, even including healthcare, Obama’s crowning achievement.

Lichtman developed his 13 Keys in 1981. They test the performance of the party that holds the presidency. If six or more of the 13 keys go against the party in power, then the opposing party wins.“The keys have figured into popular politics a bit,” Lichtman says. “They’ve never missed. They’ve been right seven elections in a row. A number that goes way beyond statistical significance in a record no other system even comes close to.”

Lichtman’s earned quite the reputation. In 1992, it seemed likely former President George H.W. Bush would be re-elected, having reached historic highs in popularity after he launched a war that pushed Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. But Lichtman thought otherwise and that factored into former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton’s decision to challenge Bush.“I got a call from this woman with a thick southern drawl. It was Clinton’s special assistant. She wanted to know if it was true that a Democrat could win. I assured her it was and I sent Clinton a copy of my book and a memo and the rest is history.” [See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]

In 2005, Lichtman also hit a home run when he said that the political stage was looking so bad for Republicans that Democrats could pick a name out of the phone book and win in 2008, the year a little known first-term senator became the first African-American to win the presidency.

Now Lichtman’s predicting a repeat performance by Obama.

Below are each of the keys and how it falls for Obama.

  1. Party mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than it did after the previous midterm elections. Says Lichtman, “Even back in January 2010 when I first released my predictions, I was already counting on a significant loss.” Obama loses this key.
  2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination. Says Lichtman on Obama’s unchallenged status, “I never thought there would be any serious contest against Barack Obama in the Democratic primary.” Obama wins this key.
  3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president. Easy win here for Obama.
  4. Third Party: There is no significant third party challenge. Obama wins this point.
  5. Short term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. Here Lichtman declares an “undecided.”
  6. Long-term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms. Says Lichtman, “I discounted long term economy against Obama. Clearly we are in a recession.” Obama loses this key. [Read: Seven Ways Obama Can Gain Credibility on Jobs.]
  7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. “There have been major policy changes in this administration. We’ve seen the biggest stimulus in history and an complete overhaul of the healthcare system so I gave him policy change,” says the scholar. Another win for Obama.
  8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term. Says Lichtman, “There wasn’t any social unrest when I made my predictions for 2012 and there still isn’t.” Obama wins a fifth key here.
  9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal. “This administration has been squeaky clean. There’s nothing on scandal,” says Lichtman. Another Obama win.
  10. Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. Says Lichtman, “We haven’t seen any major failure that resembles something like the Bay of Pigs and don’t foresee anything.” Obama wins again.
  11. Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. “Since Osama bin Laden was found and killed, I think Obama has achieved military success.” Obama wins his eighth key.
  12. Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero. Explains Lichtman, “I did not give President Obama the incumbent charisma key. I counted it against him. He’s really led from behind. He didn’t really take the lead in the healthcare debate, he didn’t use his speaking ability to move the American people during the recession. He’s lost his ability to connect since the 2008 election.” Obama loses this key. [See political cartoons about President Obama.]
  13. Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. Says Lichtman, “We haven’t seen any candidate in the GOP who meets this criteria and probably won’t.” Obama wins, bringing his total to nine keys, three more than needed to win reelection.

Source: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2011/08/30/never-wrong-pundit-picks-obama-to-win-in-2012

Alaska-(ENEWSPF)- A man from Juneau, Alaska, has filed suit with the state’s Division of Elections to bar President Obama from appearing on that state’s ballot on the basis that the President is a “Mulatto“, and “the race of ‘Negro‘ or ‘Mulatto‘ had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution.”

Gordon Warren Epperly, who lists his address as a P.O. Box, filed the nomination petition objection on February 21, 2012.

According to the complaint:

Barack Hussein Obama II, Aka Barack Hussein Obama, Aka Barack H. Obama has the race status of being a “Mulatto.” Barack Obama’s father (Barack Hussein Obama I) was a full blood Negro being born Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya and raised in the Colony of Kenya. Barack Obama’s mother (Stanley Ann Dunham) was a white Caucasian woman being born in Wichita, Kansas on November 29, 1942 and raised in the state of Washington and in the State of Hawaii.


As stated above, for an Individual to be a Candidate for the Office of President of the United States, the Candidate must meet the qualifications set forth in the United States Constitution and one of those qualifications is that the Candidate shall be a “natural born Citizen” of the United States. As Barack Hussein Obama II is of the “Mulatto” race, his status of citizenship is founded upon the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before the [purported] ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the race of “Negro” or “Mulatto” had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution.

View the entire complaint here. (PDF)

Source: http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/latest-national/31089-suit-says-obama-cant-run-in-alaska-because-hes-of-the-mulatto-race.html


Smart v. Stupid

The GOP’s worst enemy is its candidates

A Mormon, a nutbag and a lunatic walk into a bar…

Posted Feb 17, 2012, 11:36 am

Jimmy Zuma TucsonSentinel.com

The low quality of Republican candidates continues to haunt the party. Each remaining contender for the nomination is wildly weird, each more hooker than prom date.

First up, the strangely robotic Mitt Romney (R-Finance Industry). Kind of out of touch, Romney is a strong proponent of bankruptcy, layoffs, and the joys of firing people. To his credit, he’s the only potential nominee not owned by single rich guy. Of course, he is one.

But to evangelicals, Mitt is a devil-worshipping Mormon. Hence the public code language. When they say “he’s not a true conservative” they mean “he’s not a Christian.” In speaking to the New York Times, the Reverend R. Philip Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (until last week) put it this way:

“The concern among evangelicals is that the Mormon Church will use his position around the world as a calling card for legitimizing their church and proselytizing people.”

The evangelical dilemma: do I vote for a Mormon because he can beat the Black Muslim? Both get their benefits package from the Devil right? One can just imagine how that conundrum bounces around and around in the mind.

If that wasn’t enough, Mormons also believe God’s has a wife, who they call the Holy Mother. And they baptize dead Jews. No kidding. Newsweek asked Mitt if he had baptized any dead Jews. Sure he said, but not lately.

So it is no surprise that a Gallup poll found one in five Americans simply won’t vote for a Mormon. One can imagine that’s mostly the in league with the Devil thing, but for at least some of them, the baptizing dead Jews thing probably accounts for some of it.

Then there is Rick Santorum (R-Dirty Industrials) He’s everything an evangelical could want. Except that he is a Papist. You may not know what that quaint, archaic word means. But in evangelical Christianity (like in the Church of England in the 1700s) “Papist” is used as a derogatory term for people who worship false gods (specifically the Pope, all those saints, and the Virgin Mary.)

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That said it is fair to say that evangelical Protestants are OK with Santorum’s Bible-dominated plan for U.S. government. Santorum recently said that the French Revolution was a failure because it focused on “fraternity” rather than “paternity” – paternity meaning God, not your dad.

Women voters of all kinds are divided into two groups, those who enjoy sex and those who wish the sex was better. Men are divided into those who enjoy sex and those who enjoy sex but wish they were better at it.

Still, nearly all conservative women use birth control and Santorum is on record being against family planning because – and I’m not kidding – sex is not supposed to be fun. The anti-sex constituency, though, is very, very small. Women voters of all kinds are divided into two groups, those who enjoy sex and those who wish the sex was better. Men are divided into those who enjoy sex and those who enjoy sex but wish they were better at it.

Santorum now believes he can extricate himself from this problem by claiming his birth control views are personal and that he would never enforce them on others. But this ignores the possibility that most Americans believe anyone who opposes sex being fun is, well, kind of a moron. Nobody wants a moron in the White House.

There is not much left to say about Newt Gingrich (R-Vegas Casinos.) He still has an outside chance but Gingrich is kind of off the radar unless he finds more money. He was able to compete up to now because of his casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson. Shelly is saying privately that he’ll either drop support for Gingrich or maybe give him one more round of funding in order to hurt Rick Santorum. One of America’s preeminent Zionists, Adelson is apparently OK with the whole baptizing dead Jews thing.

Gingrich’s narrative has been written for him. He is pursuing a personal vendetta against Romney, it goes. And this personal-grudge campaign has clearly worn out its welcome.

The more we get to know these guys, the more they come up short. I guess that’s why independent voters have shifted to President Obama by 17 points since January.

Jimmy Zuma lives in Washington, D.C., where he writes the online opinion journal, Smart v. Stupid, and contributes to Technorati. He spent 5 years in Tucson in the early 80s, when life was a little slower, swamp coolers were a little more plentiful, Tucson’s legendary music scene was in full bloom, and the prevailing work ethic was “don’t – unless you have to.”

Source: http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/opinion/report/021712_republican_bar_joke/the-gops-worst-enemy-its-candidates/

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Wednesday rebutted Republicans who accused President Barack Obama of engaging in class warfare.

“They talk about class warfare — the fact of the matter is there has been class warfare for the last thirty years,” he said on MSNBC’s Politics Nation. “It’s a handful of billionaires taking on the entire middle-class and working-class of this country.”

“And the result is you now have in America the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on Earth and the worst inequality in America since 1928. How could anybody defend the top 400 richest people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people?”

Sanders said he was mostly pleased with Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. But he was concerned that Obama signaled he was willing to compromise with Republicans on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are life and death for tens of millions of our people, we’ve got to defend those programs.”

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Sander’s office, below:




Hey GOP/Tea Party 2012ers: You Lie!

Posted: September 14, 2011 by iactnow in Politics

Here are the facts and big lies hiding in plain sight according to Politifact.com!

How many times can a candidate peddle falsehoods before it’s okay to use the L-word?

—By David Corn

Let’s cut to the chase: The GOP presidential field is a pack of liars.

That sounds like a rather intemperate assessment, the sort of statement that is motivated by bitter partisanship or blinding ideology. But taking a clear-eyed look at both the false statements hurled at Monday’s Republican debate (brought to you by the odd merger of CNN and the Tea Party Express) and those deployed at other times in this still burgeoning primary race, it’s difficult to reach any other conclusion. Most of these presidential wannabes are shoveling lies—and forcing fact-checkers to work overtime.

Glenn Kessler, who writes the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker column, spotted numerous whoppers at Monday’s debate. (It was easy work.) Some examples:

  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry repeated the conservative trope that Obama’s stimulus package “created zero jobs.” Zero? The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the bill lifted employment levels—by creating or saving jobs—by up to 3 million jobs. Politifact.com, a Pulitzer Prize-winning site, previously awarded Perry a “pants on fire” verdict for making this untrue claim in September.
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney claimed that President Barack Obama “cut Medicare by $500 billion,” and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), more provocatively (of course) contended that the president “stole over $500 billion out of Medicare to switch it to Obamacare.” Not so. Obama’s health care plan calls for saving $500 billion over 10 years, to be squeezed from payments to health care providers. The amount of Medicare spending will continue to rise. Moreover, the House GOP budget this year calls for the same level of cuts (even though Republican candidates ran against Democrats in the last election, accusing Obama and the Dems of slashing Medicare).
  • Newt Gingrich boasted that he “helped balance the budget for four straight years” when he was the House Speaker. Actually, the budget was only balanced for two of the years covered by his speakership. And it was balanced partly because revenues were increased by President Bill Clinton; Gingrich opposed Clinton’s tax hikes.
  • Bachmann threw out another one of her favorite fake charges: By trying to raise the debt ceiling, Obama was seeking a “$2.4 trillion blank check.” There’s nothing true about this charge. Raising the debt ceiling only permitted the federal government to pay its bills for spending already approved; it did not provide the president with any ability to spend. (Note to Bachmann: Per the Constitution, Congress controls spending.)

Politifact.com found other big lies hiding in plain sight:

  • Under attack from Romney, Perry defended his claim that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” noting, “It has been called a Ponzi scheme by many people before me.” Politifact.com declares, “the analogy does not hold up.”
  • Perry was bashed by Bachmann for issuing a 2007 executive order requiring all Texas girls to receive a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (a vaccine produced by Merck, which had retained Perry’s former chief of staff as a lobbyist and donated to his campaign). Perry, admitting he had erred in how he had imposed this requirement, repeatedly asserted that he had allowed an opt-out for parents who didn’t want their daughters to receive this vaccine. According to Politifact Texas, this claim is “mostly false.”

Oh, and there have been so many more falsehoods flung during the fledgling campaign. At the previous week’s debate at the Reagan presidential library, ex-Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania claimed that Obama was forced to take action in Libya by the United Nations. Not even close. Obama’s ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, had pushed the Security Council for a very forceful resolution endorsing military intervention in Libya. During this debate, Romney, according to Factcheck.org, “misleadingly claimed that the Massachusetts health care overhaul [he enacted] affected just 8 percent of the state’s residents, while the federal law will affect ‘100 percent of the people.'” Both plans compelled everyone to obtain insurance or pay a penalty.

Perry was not speaking the truth when he called Obama an “abject liar” for claiming that overall crime rates in towns on the US-Mexico border had declined. Crime rates had dropped. Perry also sidestepped the truth when he blamed the high rate of uninsured Texans on the federal government’s refusal to grant his state flexibility for its various health care programs. It was the Bush administration that rejected the state’s request for a waiver, because its application was shoddy and incomplete. Then Texas never resubmitted the application.

Bachmann, for her part, dropped one false bomb after another. She claimed the CBO had found that “Obamacare is killing jobs.” (Nope. The CBO had said that under Obama’s health care overhaul a small number of people who are only working to obtain health care insurance would leave their jobs because they would be able to receive health care through other means.) She maintained that “Obamacare took over one-sixth of the American economy.” (It was no government takeover. Politifact.com branded this contention the “lie of the year” in 2010.) And she falsely asserted that Obama has told Israel that “they need to shrink back to their indefensible 1967 borders.” (Obama said that the 1967 borders should be a starting point for the Israeli-Palestinian talks.)

All told, this is a big pile of collective bull. (And we’re only considering two debates.) But this heap of untruths poses a problem to political journalists: Should they take serial liars seriously? Given that one of them might end up in the White House, they must.

The mainstream media tends to shy away from describing candidates as liars. It can be seen as a qualitative judgment, and they like to stick to the facts. Media outlets do provide fact-checking features, such as Kessler’s excellent column. But they don’t see it as their job to call out the candidates. After all, did CNN’s Wolf Blitzer press any of the GOPers on their false statements?

The L-word is heavy artillery—ammo that’s tough to deploy. Lying suggests willfully peddling information known to be false. And who can read the mind of a politician? Yet in many of the instances cited above, the perps are repeat offenders—restating false statements that had already been demonstrated to be untrue. So though one cannot see what a candidate is thinking—perhaps Bachmann truly believes that Obama “stole” $500 billion from Medicare—a public figure who willfully (and repeatedly) neglects facts warrants being branded a liar. If not a liar, there’s another choice: delusional.

Politicians on all sides do tend to mug the truth. But the GOP race has amounted to a crime spree. And that’s as much of a story as who’s up and who’s down.

Dominionism: God, Guns, And Greed
Dominionism: God, Guns, And Greed
What is Dominionism?


Since the introduction of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry into the GOP Presidential race, suddenly the word “Dominionist” is on everyone’s lips. Those of you who read PoliticusUSA daily are well aware of what a Dominionist is, as we’ve been covering this dangerous political movement masquerading as a religious movement for years now. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin was a Dominionist Trojan Horse introduced as a simple hockey mom, who harbored a theocratic agenda for the takeover of the US government for her Dominionist Church. She was their “Chosen One” to take this country “back”. This notion of taking “back” the country to “biblical origins” is the foundation of the political movement referred to as “Dominionism”, or “taking dominion over”.

Both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry hail from the Dominionist movement as well, replete with all of the tells of a Dominionist – the science denying, the sense of entitlement, the inaccurate American history, an understanding of the constitution and America’s laws that conflicts with reality and deliberately tears down the wall of separation between church and state. And of course, the necessity of claiming that the “liberal media” is out to get them, which is the Get Out Of Inaccuracies Free card they all pull when called on their failure to deal with reality. These are folks who are emboldened to lie to your face because they a) believe these lies (Bachmann) or b) feel that they are the Chosen One (Palin, Perry, Walker, et al) and hence lying is justified in order to achieve the goal of taking Dominion over America.

Acknowledging that the term is an umbrella term, but a necessary one, Leah Burton defines Dominionism, “Defined in its simplest form, Christian Dominionism is a political approach to Christian faith based on a literal interpretation of Genesis Chapter 1 verses 26 – 28 of the Christian Bible. Believers perceive themselves as the “chosen” or the “elect”, commanded by God to “subdue” the earth and “have dominion” over all living creatures. The goal of Christian Dominionism in the United States is to abolish Separation of Church and State, establishing it as a distinctively Christian Nation based upon Old Testament Mosaic Law.”

As many of you know, the non-partisan Independent Leah Burton writes for PoliticusUSA about just this subject. She’s taken a brief hiatus from her usual Sunday column because she has a book coming out on September 4 about this very topic. Leah’s book, entitled God, Guns and Greed; A Dangerous Path for America, is a primer to the strange but powerful elements of religious extremism that are enjoying resurgence in American politics.

The reality of “Political Dominionism” is far more complicated than a handful of devoted Christians expressing their freedom of speech. God, Guns and Greed explores these messages (and the frequent hypocrisy of the messengers), and encourages the old guard Republicans to take their Party back, and religious moderates to recognize that these religious zealots are faux Christians who do not share their biblical views.

Leah uses infamous Republicans like Sarah Palin to demonstrate the goals of Dominionists. In a chapter on Rebiblican Politics, she quotes Palin advocating for theocracy, “Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant – they’re quite clear – that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the Ten Commandments.” If you’re not sacred after hearing that, it’s only because you don’t know enough about the success of the Dominionist movement yet.

As she wades into this movement, Leah carefully delineate the mainstream Christians from the Dominionists, as well as explaining the symbiotic relationship between Dominionists and corporate interests in this excerpt:

Dominionism is a bible-based sect of Christianity that does not represent mainstream Christians in America, or elsewhere in the world. This is a very powerful, very well organized and very wealthy religious-political machine that has been driving toward the goal of marrying church and state in America for decades.

For as long as humans have existed there have been politics. And even before the birth of Christianity – beliefs, superstitions and faith have wound their way into the rules that govern peoples. Wars have been fought and massive numbers of lives have been lost in the name of religion. A constant struggle to control land and populations has dictated the formations of rules and laws around the world from the very beginning, so when we see this same struggle for power continuing right before us within our own system of government I am stymied as to why this is such an unbelievable concept for us to take seriously. The refrain “history repeats itself” is not an empty one; rather it is a warning that we must heed.

As time has evolved so have the sophisticated intentions and goals of those who dedicate themselves to obtaining more power and more control. It does not matter whether others agree with them or not, this is about dominion. Religious zealots are undoubtedly a persistent part of this group, but they are certainly not doing this solo. What is making this eternal battle ever more dangerous is the blending of common purposes by other groups who share specific end goals. The common goals are smaller government, privatization, less regulation, a conservative Supreme Court, in order to implement favorable legal findings for private corporations, and conservative religious social laws.

Anthea Butler, Professor of Religious Studies and Graduate Chair of Religion at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, and also a guest on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR as well as a blogger at Religion Dispatches, endorsed Leah’s warning about the Dominionist agenda, “Leah’s long-term work researching and writing about Political Dominionism holds an important message for the future of our nation, and more immediately, the upcoming 2012 election. Burton’s book is a warning about the marriage of the political and religious words that seek to destroy our constitutional rights, and turn America into a nation based on their narrow interpretations of biblical law.”

Leah has gone through what some might call the fires of Hell to get this book published because she is so passionate about the message. Leah’s goal has never to be “the one” presenting the message or getting notoriety; but rather, she is driven by a deep, abiding love for this country. Leah treats this delicate subject with the nuance it deserves, never painting all Christians or all Republicans with the broad and tempting brush of the loudest voices on the Right.

Having watched Leah struggle to bring the Dominionist agenda to our attention, I share her relief that the flame has finally been sparked. It takes thousands of voices to tell the same story in different ways before it truly catches fire – and Leah tells the story in a non-academic, narrative style that will hopefully broaden the appeal of her message outside of the “choir”.

Retired U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson (the Valerie Plame and Wilson V Cheney Joe Wilson) wrote the following, “Leah Burton has written a stirring call to action against the subversion of American democracy as we have practiced if for over 230 years. “God, Guns & Greed: A Dangerous Path for America” exposes the Christian Right, as personified by Sarah Palin, and the Political Dominionists to overthrow our system of government and replace it with their own theocracy. The battle plan, known simply as “Reclaim America” and the program to achieve it, the “7 Mountains Mandate” constitute a betrayal of the political and social mores of our society that most Americans should find appalling. This is an important book for anybody who fears for the future of our nation.”

As we catapult into the stunning semblance of idiocracy that will be the 2012 election cycle, only those who understand the Dominionist agenda will be fully equipped to comprehend the meaning behind what to others will sound like stupidity or gaffes on the part of the Dominionist candidates. This will be the season, even more than 2008, of Dominionist Trojan Horse candidates. With the struggling economy, angry electorate and greedy corporations lurking at the door, our nation is vulnerable to a takeover masquerading itself as common sense values from the heartland.

What is Dominionism? It’s something every American should be on guard against, because its ultimate goal is the takeover of our government.

God, Guns and Greed is now available to pre-order on Amazon and is coming out on September 4, 2011.

Note: I am a contributing author to God, Guns and Greed but have no monetary interest in the sales of this book. My contribution was a labor of passion and love for my country.



Bullying is associated with increased suicide risk in young people. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center recommends the adoption of enumerated anti-bullying policies to help prevent suicidal behavior in children.

Sign the petition;


American idiots: How Washington is destroying the economy

What’s ailing us? It’s not just unemployment. It’s not just Europe’s debt woes. And, no, it’s not Wall Street this time. It’s the takeover of the economic debate by fanatics who are up to no good. Fix that — and maybe you fix the economy.

FORTUNE — What the hell is going on?

Standard & Poor’s, the bond-rating agency, downgrades the U.S., and the world trembles. The markets here go nuts on the first trading day after the downgrade, losing $1 trillion in value. European Union finance chiefs are playing Whac-a-Mole with members’ debt problems. And England … England was literally burning.

Only three short years ago we were all terrified when our financial system was on the brink of disaster after Lehman Brothers went broke in September of 2008. Those scary times seemed to have disappeared in the spring of 2009. But now those fears are back — and things are even scarier, the stock market’s “green” days notwithstanding.

Our current mess is different from the Lehman-related horror because it stems primarily from politics, not economics. The previous fear-fest came about because Lehman’s bankruptcy disrupted financial markets in unanticipated ways. Today’s crisis was completely avoidable. You can blame it directly on the fools who brought our country to the brink of defaulting on its debts in the name of saving us from … I’m not sure what. Yes, the Tea Party types bear primary responsibility — but they couldn’t have done it without the cowardice and incompetence of the Obama administration, which let things get way out of hand. This whole fiasco just enrages me. And it ought to enrage anyone who wants the U.S. to act like a real country rather than some third-rate failed state run by fanatical factions that hate one another.

So why is today scarier than 2008-09? Because this time not only have we got troubled financial institutions to deal with, but we have serious, substantial countries facing possible default on their debts. Including, heaven help us, the U.S.

Things were already bad because of fear and financial fragility afflicting Europe. But the problems took a quantum leap because of fallout from Standard & Poor’s totally justifiable Aug. 5 downgrade of U.S. long-term debt. The U.S. economy was already listless enough, with gross domestic product barely growing — and maybe even shrinking — plus record long-term unemployment. (One telling statistic: The percentage of U.S. adults with jobs is down to 58.1%, from 64.7% in 2000, according to the St. Louis Fed. That, my friends, isn’t good — see chart below.) The fear, loathing, and political divisiveness are going to make things worse, not better.

Now, a few facts. The S&P downgrade is not — as some hate-filled knuckleheads inside the Beltway and in the hinterlands keep repeating — from fear that the U.S. is “broke” or lacks the financial ability to meet its obligations. S&P’s primary worry is that the U.S. may not summon up the political will to pay its debts. (Read the analysis for yourself here.)

The escalation of our problems can’t be attributed to Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial, a favorite villain. You can’t blame it on the other favorite bad guy, Goldman Sachs (GS), or on the other usual suspects: Wall Street in general, greedy lenders and speculators, irresponsible borrowers seeking a free lunch by taking out mortgages they had no chance of repaying.

The root of our current problem is that there are no grownups in positions of serious power in Washington. I’ve never felt this way before — and I’ve written business stories for more than 40 years, and about national finances for more than 20. Look, I certainly don’t worship Washington institutions. I called former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan the “Wizard of Oz” when he was known as the “Maestro.” I’ve said for more than a decade that the Social Security trust fund had no economic value and would be useless when the system’s cash flow turned negative — which I also predicted. But despite being an irreverent professional skeptic, I never felt there was a total absence of adult supervision in our nation’s capital. Now I do.

I spent July on family leave, not writing columns, and watching with increasing horror as market-illiterate know-nothings, abetted by the craven leaders of the Republican Party (from which I’m about to resign) and the unspeakable ineptness of Obama and his minions, brought our country to within an inch of defaulting on its debts.

Washington’s foolish politicians thought they’d reassured everyone when they stepped back from the brink of default with a deficit-trimming deal that’s so absurd that you have to laugh when you think hard about it. Then S&P did what it had previously warned it would do when it became clear that the U.S. might decide not to pay its debts. It downgraded our country’s credit. Triple-A credits are supposed to be rock solid. If there’s a more than remote chance of default, a security shouldn’t be AAA. End of story. I have no love for S&P or its competitors Moody’s (MCO) and Fitch, whose influence vastly exceeds their competence; they should have been stripped of their special regulatory standing because of the AAA ratings they bestowed on trashy mortgage-backed securities. But I respect S&P for standing up and alerting investors to the idea that the once unthinkable — a default by the U.S., the only country in the world that can use its own currency to pay external creditors — has become thinkable. Fitch and Moody’s have kept the U.S. debt triple-A, which I sure wouldn’t have done.

Graphic: Anatomy of a soft economy

Adding to the current sense of foreboding, at least for me, is the fact that the Federal Reserve, which rode to the rescue last time, is legally constrained by provisions of Dodd-Frank legislation little recognized outside the world of regulators and financial techies. Back in 2007, the Fed could invent programs to bail out solvent but illiquid institutions. It could also turn investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (MS) into bank holding companies with access to unlimited Fed funding — and even infuse cash into nonbank basket case AIG (AIG) directly and indirectly to forestall an uncontrolled collapse, which could have made the Lehman Brothers disaster look like a mere rounding error.

The Fed’s actions had their own set of problems, which I’ve written about at length. But once the Fed began acting in the summer of 2007, you knew there was an institution around that could bail out the world, if needed. Now, at least in theory, the only government institution that’s supposed to do this kind of thing is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. I respect the FDIC, but it’s got nothing like the Fed’s power and international clout. We’ve got this problem because our leaders rolled over to pressure from big companies instead of breaking them up into pieces small enough to be allowed to fail.

If I sound angry, it’s because I am. Think of me as an angry moderate who’s finally fed up with the lunacy and incompetence of our alleged national leaders — and with people stirring up trouble from which they hope to benefit politically or financially. Some policies and statements you hear from Tea Party types about the economy and the debt markets are utterly insane. Any competent economics instructor would give you an F if you asserted the same sort of nonsense on an exam.

But all that aside, at least the Tea Party people have a story and a message. The Obama people have none — at least none that I’ve been able to discern. They don’t even know how to spread good news, which actually does exist. One example: This spring I was assigned to figure out how much taxpayers would lose on the Troubled Asset Relief Program — the much-maligned TARP, that supposed financial sinkhole. To my surprise, I discovered that TARP actually stands to make money for taxpayers. During my research, I found that the Treasury had reached a similar conclusion, but had put the information into the public domain in such a low-profile way that few people saw it. Why wasn’t the Obama administration spreading the word that taxpayers had made money saving the world financial system? Beats me.

The one saving grace we have is that the rest of the world seems to be run by midgets too. I don’t want to think what would happen if the U.S., in its current disarray, had to deal with the likes of Mao, Hitler, or Stalin at the height of their powers. Maybe there is some divine power watching over us.

Now that I’ve finished venting , let me make one more attempt to be reasonable — and show how relatively easy it would be to solve our problems while allowing both the Tea Party and the left wing to claim victory and go home. This requires (1) that we survive the 2012 election cycle (boy, that’s going to be a blast) and (2) that the winners recognize that our current federal income tax rules and rates, Social Security benefit formula, and Medicare provisions are historical and political accidents rather than holy writ handed down to Moses by the Lord on Mount Sinai.

We need more jobs, more growth, and more tax revenue. Note that I said more revenue, not higher rates. There are lots of proposals kicking around that would cut rates, eliminate the alternative minimum tax, and broaden the tax base by drastically reducing itemized deductions. Only about a third of taxpayers, primarily higher-income types, itemize deductions, so only they would be affected. Do this right, and you end up with more tax revenue from high-income people (which allows the “tax the rich” types to be happy) but lower rates (which lets the Tea Party folks claim victory). Making the system fairer should be doable.

On the entitlement front, we modify Social Security and Medicare formulas, imposing higher costs on higher-end retirees (which would include me, should I ever retire). What’s in it for the right-wing fanatics? Those programs’ projected costs drop. For liberal wingnuts? They can claim victory because people are living longer than when these programs were introduced and will collect more benefits over their lifetime than originally intended.

Yes, rationality is out of style, and fanaticism is the new normal. But do we really want a national life like the one we’ve had the past few years? All shrieking and no thinking? Today’s problems are horrible, but what are they compared to the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II? Enough screaming. As for me, I’m going back to the beach to finish my vacation.

This article is from the September 5, 2011 issue of Fortune.

Source:  http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/08/18/how-washington-is-destroying-the-economy/

Following an already bad week of polling news for congressional Republicans, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds that Democrats have taken the lead on the first generic congressional ballot poll of the 2012 campaign season.
The poll found that Democrats now have a 51 percent to 44 percent lead over Republicans among registered voters when asked which party’s candidate they would vote for if elections for Congress were being held today.

The 7-percentage-point lead on the new poll isn’t as strong as the Gallup polls that led up to the major Democratic swing elections in 2006 and 2008 (Gallup says Democrats averaged 11-point and 10-point leads in polls before those elections), but it was much better than most Gallup polls leading up to the 2010 Republican victory, which showed near-ties or Republican leads among registered voters.

Forty-two percent of respondents said a tea party endorsement would make them less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress, while only 23 percent said that would make them more likely, according to the poll. Among independents, 25 percent said that would make them more likely to vote for a candidate, and 38 percent said less likely. Surprisingly, while 44 percent of Republicans said they would be more likely to vote for a tea party endorsed candidate, almost as many (42 percent) said that such an endorsement would make no difference to them.

Since this is Gallup’s first generic ballot poll since the 2010 election, this poll alone cannot pinpoint a cause for the Democratic advantage. Other polls taken in the last month suggest that the debt ceiling debate hasn’t had a significant impact on the public’s intentions.

A poll conducted earlier this week by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling for DailyKos.com and the SEIU found Democrats leading Republicans by a 7-point margin when asked if they would rather that more Democrats or Republicans be elected to Congress in the next election. Their previous poll on that metric, taken in early July, found that Democrats held a 6 point advantage.

Surveys by Rasmussen Reports, which have continued to show a Republican advantage on their generic ballot question, have not shown a significant change in Republicans’ lead over the past month.

The new poll was conducted August 4-7 using live interviews among 1,204 registered voters and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The full results are available here.

Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 11:17 AM PDT

Standard & Poor’s CEO Gives $$$ to Romney, Bush, GOP Party

by HughBoyOhBoy

I did some checking this afternoon on the Federal Election Commission’s database of financial contributors to political candidates. Within minutes I found that Harold W. McGraw III, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Standard & Poor’s parent company, is a big money contributor to lots of Republicans.

Repeat recipients of McGraw’s largess include Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, something called the Bush-Cheney Compliance Committee, and many more Republicans. He primarily gives his big money donations to PACs and Republicans, although a few Democrats have benefited as well. He has never given any money to the Obama campaign nor any to the Democratic Party.

Gee, how convenient. Standard and Poor’s issues a politically biased rating with a $2 trillion error. Republicans wave that rating around like Moses just brought it down from the mountain as verification of their defamation about the Obama presidency. And the head of the company making those ratings happens to give money to the likes of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.

It would be interesting to chart political contributions by other executives at S&P.

Source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/08/1004541/-Standard-s-CEO-Gives-$$$-to-Romney,-Bush,-GOP-Party

Republicans in congress have been holding the American people hostage for weeks now. Despite the fact that nearly every credible analyst – economists, politicians, academics, etc. – agree that a default by the United States would bring about an economic calamity, the GOP is still threatening to submit the nation to that fate if Democrats do not capitulate to the Tea Party platform of austerity for average Americans and opulent prosperity for the richest one percent.

Make no mistake, the Republicans know exactly what their threat entails. They know that default would be catastrophic. We know because they’ve said so. And we know because we have their voting record to prove it. Between the years 2002 and 2008 Republicans voted repeatedly to raise the debt ceiling while George W. Bush was in the White House. So what changed?

GOP Debt Votes 

Oh yeah — that.

The Republican’s are playing “Chicken” with our economy. They don’t care about the deficit. They don’t care about taxes. They certainly don’t care about the elderly or the poor or you or me. They only care about their wealthy benefactors, the billionaires and corporations who bankroll their campaigns. And, of course, their obsession with defeating President Obama next year. They know that a bad economy makes things more difficult for incumbents to get reelected, so they are endeavoring to produce such an outcome to achieve their political goals – at the expense of everyone else and multiple future generations.

Thanks GOP. And thanks Corporate Media for failing to report this in context.


The Economist: Playing chicken with the economy, the Republican/GOP/Tea Party way

The Republicans are playing a cynical political game with hugely high economic stakes

Source: http://www.economist.com/node/18928600?fsrc=scn%2Ftw%2Fte%2Far%2Fshameonthem

Declaring that an agreement is not possible without painful steps on both sides, President Obama said that his party had already accepted the need for substantial spending cuts in programs it had long championed, and that Republicans must agree to end tax breaks for oil and gas companies, hedge funds and other corporate interests.

Source: http://bit.ly/jkSBWJ

Did you know that the USA does not have the world’s highest living standard?! Norway, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and the USA, in that order, had the highest incomes per head. On income per hours worked, the USA comes 8th, after Luxemburg, Norway, France, Ireland, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands.

This book offers a concise blast of iconoclastic, eye-opening economic truth-telling; essential reading to understand where free market thinking falls short.

Just take a look at the titles of some chapters, and you’ll know if this book is for you:

(1)There is no such thing as a free market
(2) Companies should NOT be run in the interest of their owners
(3) Most people in rich countries are paid more than they should be
(4) The washing machine has changed the world more than the Internet has
(5) The U.S. does not have the highest living standard in the world
(6) Making rich people richer doesn’t make the rest of us richer
(7) People in poor countries are more entrepreneurial than people in rich countries
(8) More education in itself is not going to make a country richer
(9) What is good for General Motors is not necessarily good for the United States
(10) We are not smart enough to leave things to the market


“Chang, befitting his position as an economics professor at Cambridge University, is engagingly thoughtful and opinionated at a much lower decibel level. ‘The “truths” peddled by free-market ideologues are based on lazy assumptions and blinkered visions,’ he charges.”Time  Magazine

“Chang presents an enlightening précis of modern economic thought—and all the places it’s gone wrong, urging us to act in order to completely rebuild the world economy: ‘This will [make] some readers uncomfortable…[;] it is time to get uncomfortable.’”—Publishers Weekly

“Myth-busting and nicely-written collection of essays”—Independent (UK)

“Shaking Economics 101 assumptions to the core … Eminently accessible, with a clearly liberal (or at least anticonservative) bent, but with surprises along the way—for one, the thought that markets need to become less rather than more efficient.”Kirkus Reviews

“For anyone who wants to understand capitalism not as economists or politicians have pictured it but as it actually operates, this book will be invaluable.”—John Gray, Observer (UK)

“A lively, accessible and provocative book.”Sunday Times (UK)

“For 40 years, I have worked as a journalist and trained thousands of other journalists from my former perches as a University of Missouri Journalism School professor and as executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors. I have written newspaper articles, magazine features and entire books with heavy doses of economics policy and business behavior. I wish the book 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism had been available when I was a rookie; I would have been more alert to the hands-off-business catechism by which Americans are relentlessly indoctrinated.”—Steven Weinberg, Remapping Debate

“I doubt there is one book, written in response to the current economic crisis, that is as fun or easy to read as Ha-Joon Chang’s 23 Things They Don’t Tell you About Capitalism.”—AlterNet Executive Editor Don Hazen

Ten Charts that Prove the United States Is a Low-Tax Country

Our Citizens and Corporations Pay Much Less Than They Once Did and Much Less Than in Most Other Countries

Taxes for the wealthy, and superwealthy like Warren Buffett, have plunged in recent years.

Source: http://bit.ly/mxfjES

by: Ha-Joon Chang, Bloomsbury Publishing

by: Ha-Joon Chang, Bloomsbury Publishing

(Image: Bloomsbury Publishers)

“23 Things They Don’t Tell you About Capitalism” is the Truthout Progressive Pick of the Week.

Source: http://bit.ly/mcKKvX

Center for American Progress (CAP) Report: The Bush Tax Cuts Are the Disaster that Keeps on Giving! Our Current Debt Would Be at Sustainable Levels Without Them! The 10-year-old Bush tax cuts are clearly an economic failure that has made our country fiscally weaker…


STUDY: Finds the GOP/Tea Party movement is rife with racists. These are the findings of a 94 page report released last week by The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights. It’s these people, the report argues, who have connections to white supremacist groups; Ku Klux Klan, Women of the KKK, Assembly of Christian Soldiers, Liberty Lobby, Hammerskins, White Aryan Resistance, just to name a few!

Source: http://www.teapartynationalism.com/

May 12, 2011

Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee released its 302(b) allocations for Fiscal Year 2012. These numbers reflect the amount of spending each appropriations subcommittee will have for the programs under their jurisdiction for the coming year. 302(b) allocations are based on the Budget Resolution which was introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), and which the House adopted back in April. The Budget Resolution serves as the framework within which appropriators will now build the detailed spending plans for FY2012.

302(b) allocations represent the roughly one-third of federal spending that make up the discretionary budget – that portion of the budget that the White House must request and Congress must approve each year.

All the subcommittees received 302(b) allocations below the Administration’s request for FY2012. For Defense, the allocation is $8.9 billion below the FY2012 request of $539 billion (not including military construction, the nuclear weapons-related work of the Department of Energy or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), yet it is $17 billion above FY2011 levels – a “real” or inflation-adjusted increase of roughly two percent. All other subcommittees received allocations that were both below the FY2012 request and the FY2011 budget.

Here are the details for the other 11 subcommittees:

For Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, the recommendation is $5.0 billion below the Administration’s $22.3 billion request, a reduction of 22.6 percent, and $2.7 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for agricultural subsidies, food assistance programs including SNAP and WIC, and funding for enforcement of food safety regulations.

For Commerce, Justice and Science the recommendation is $7.4 billion below the Administration’s $57.7 billion request, a reduction of 12.9 percent, and $3.1 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for economic development, law enforcement and scientific research.

For Energy and Water the recommendation is $5.9 billion below the Administration’s $31.7 billion request, a reduction of 18.6 percent, and $1.0 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for energy research, the nuclear weapons-related work of the Department of Energy, water quality, and waterways construction.

For Financial Services and General Government the recommendation is $5.8 billion below the Administration’s $25.7 billion request, a reduction of 22.6 percent, and $2.1 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for regulation of the financial industry, the Treasury Department, and federal government operations.

For Homeland Security the recommendation is $3.0 billion below the Administration’s $43.6 billion request, a reduction of 6.8 percent, and $1.1 billion below the FY2011 level.

For Interior and the Environment the recommendation is $3.8 billion below the Administration’s $31.3 billion request, a reduction of 12.2 percent, and $2.1 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for the National Park Service, oversight of federal lands, and environmental protection.

For Labor, Health & Human Services and Education the recommendation is $41.6 billion below the Administration’s $180.8 billion request, a reduction of 23.0 percent, and $18.2 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for the majority of social programs include worker protections, special needs programs, and all federal education assistance.

For Legislative Branch the recommendation is $541 million below the Administration’s $4.9 billion request, a reduction of 11.1 percent, and $0.2 billion below the FY2011 level. This funding supports the activities of Congress.

For Military Construction and Veterans Affairs the recommendation is $1.3 billion below the Administration’s $73.8 billion request, a reduction of 1.7 percent, and $0.6 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for military base and housing construction and a broad range of Veteran’s programs including housing and education programs.

For State and Foreign Operations the recommendation is $11.2 billion below the Administration’s $50.8 billion request, a reduction of 22.1 percent, and $8.6 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for State Department operations and the majority of foreign assistance programs.

For Transportation and Housing the recommendation is $27.1 billion below the Administration’s $74.7 billion request, a reduction of 36.2 percent, and $7.7 billion below the FY2011 level. This includes funding for national infrastructure programs and housing assistance.

When looking at these numbers its important to note that the spending categories are so broad it’s impossible to determine exactly where the cuts will come. NPP has done some additional analysis that shed light on what House Republicans are proposing. The first, The President’s Budget to the Chairman’s Plan, looks at Chairman Ryan’s proposal as it relates to the Obama Administration’s FY2012 request, while the second, Defining the FY2012 Budget Debate, compares the Ryan plan to a budget alternative offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Finally, recent news reports indicate that the House GOP leadership wants to push through the majority of the 12 annual appropriations bills before Congress’s August recess. Stay tuned for what promises to be a wild summer in Washington.

Source: http://nationalpriorities.org/en/blog/2011/05/12/house-spending-levels-cut-everyoneexcept-defense/

Exxon Mobil Dodges the Tax Man — Exxon Pays a Lower Effective Tax Rate than the Average American!

Download full data on Exxon Mobil’s effective tax rate from 2008 to 2010 (.xls)

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s robust balance sheets have become a poster child for what The New York Times dubs the “paradox of the United States tax code.”

The company’s large 2010 profits allowed them to lead Fortune 500’s annual ranking of the nations’ most profitable firms for the eighth time in a row. But the oil giant’s average effective tax rates are roughly half the 35 percent tax rate that currently stands as the high-water mark for American corporations. Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil and other big oil companies continue to exploit tax loopholes for nearly $4 billion in subsidies each year. These subsidies include write-offs for drilling costs and a deduction for domestic production that was intended for manufacturers, not big oil producers.

Exxon Mobil registered an average 17.6 percent federal effective corporate tax rate on its annual earnings in the three years spanning 2008 to 2010. Its average domestic profits exceeded $6.8 billion. And as a 2011 Citizens for Tax Justice report points out:

Over the past two years, ExxonMobil reported $9,910 million in pretax U.S. profits. But it enjoyed so many tax subsidies that its federal income tax bill was only $39 million—a tax rate of only 0.4 percent.

Even when Exxon Mobil had a record profit of $40 billion in 2008 due to record oil prices it had only a 31 percent effective tax rate. That’s 13 percent lower than the maximum 35 percent despite being Exxon Mobil’s fifth year as the top corporate earner in Fortune 500’s annual listing. The company paid no taxes at all to the U.S. federal government in 2009 on its domestic profits of nearly $2.6 billion. It appears that they avoided the tax man that year by legally funneling their profits through wholly owned subsidiaries in countries like the Cayman Islands, and reinvesting their earnings overseas.

More striking still is the discrepancy between Exxon Mobil’s rates and those of most American breadwinners. The company’s effective rate of 17.6 percent is nearly 16 percent below the average individual federal tax rate, which according to the Congressional Budget Office was 20.4 percent as of 2007.

Individuals in the highest quintile pay an average tax rate just over 25 percent in the United States. Exxon Mobil, meanwhile, paid approximately the same effective tax rate as Americans in the fourth income quintile—which includes Americans earning from $62,000 to $100,000 a year.

Exxon Mobil’s accounting methods mask its relatively low effective tax rate. According to CNN Money the $3.1 billion in taxes the company claims to have paid since January 2011 includes both federal and state gasoline taxes—that are really paid by drivers—as well as employee payroll taxes.

Think Progress’s Pat Garofalo rightly observes that “Exxon is counting as part of its tax burden [taxes] that it simply does not pay,” making the exorbitant subsidies the company receives even more unnecessary.

These strategic maneuverings have not been lost on congressional Democrats. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) introduced a bill to repeal at least one of these tax loopholes for large oil companies including Exxon. The legislation would result in $12 billion in revenue over 10 years by removing the Section 199 domestic manufacturing tax deduction.

House Republicans successfully blocked Democratic attempts to force a vote erasing this unnecessary oil subsidy on May 5 by passing a motion, 241-171, on two drilling bills.

But this promises to be only a temporary respite for Big Oil tax breaks. And a short one at that. The Senate is expected to vote next week on the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, legislation introduced by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and other senators to address oil prices and subsidies for the five biggest oil companies.

Seth Hanlon, Director of Fiscal Reform at the Center for American Progress, explains that the glaring contrast between:

Today’s high gas prices and inflated profits have undermined the industry’s argument that their tax breaks benefit consumers.

Meanwhile, federal budget deficits have sharpened Congress’s focus on eliminating wasteful government spending—of which oil subsidies are one of the worst examples.

Right on cue, Rep. Max Baucus (D-MT), on the morning of May 6, called on executives from Exxon Mobil and its Big Five compatriots—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell—to stand before the Senate Finance Committee for a May 12 hearing on “Oil and Gas Tax Incentives and Rising Energy Prices.” As of this writing, top-level representatives from each company have confirmed attendance, including ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson. He now finds himself with the difficult task of publicly rationalizing Exxon’s share of billions in subsidies, despite the company reaping enormous profits and paying relatively little in the way of taxes.

Download full data on Exxon Mobil’s effective tax rate from 2008 to 2010 (.xls)

Thanks to Seth Hanlon, Director of Fiscal Reform, Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy, and Tony Carrk, Policy Analyst at American Progress.

Source: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/05/tax_man.html

Tell the President and Congress:
It’s time to repeal DOMA.

It’s time for some real change we can believe in. It’s time for the federal government to stop punishing loving same-sex couples. It’s time to repeal DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act).

It’s becoming clear that the walls excluding LGBT Americans from equality under the law are coming tumbling down. The Judges and state legislatures who have come down on the side of equality are doing their jobs — now Congress and the President need to do theirs. Take action now to make sure that President Obama and Congress eliminate DOMA.


On ABC’s This Week today, House Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-01) falsely claimed that his House Republican budget would not hurt seniors. “The Democratic National Committee is running phone calls to seniors in my district, TV ads, saying we’re hurting current senior, when in fact that’s not the case,” said Ryan.

[Note: the ads and phone calls are being run by the DCCC]

In reality, Representative Paul Ryan and House Republicans overwhelmingly voted for a plan that would force seniors to pay an addition $2.2 billion for prescription drugs next year alone and dramatically cut seniors’ nursing home care.  Additionally, future beneficiaries would also pay more for their health care.


The Republican Budget Will Force Nearly Four Million Seniors To Pay An Additional $2.2 Billion For Prescription Drugs Next Year Alone. “Since passing their reckless budget plan last week, Republicans nationwide have continued to make the false claim that their plan protects today’s seniors. But seniors need to know the facts about the GOP plan. The Republican-passed budget will force nearly four million seniors to pay an additional $2.2 BILLION for prescription drugs next year alone.” [DPCC, 4/21/11; Associated Plan, 4/06/11]

AARP: Budget Undermines Vital Programs for Older Americans. “Among its provisions, the proposal would drive up costs for people in Medicare, take away needed coverage for long-term care from millions of older and disabled Americans and reduce critical help for seniors facing the threat of hunger.”  [AARP, 4/7/11]

GOP Budget Would Almost Double Healthcare Costs For Seniors. “The Republican congressman’s proposal to privatize Medicare would mean a dramatic hike in U.S. healthcare costs for the elderly, an independent analysis finds. Seniors would pay almost double — more than $12,510 a year.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/7/11]

CBO: Elderly People Would Pay More for Health Care Under the Republican Plan. According to the CBO, “most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system.” [CBO, 4/05/11]

Medicare Cost Would Rise for Many Under Ryan Plan. “The House Republican plan for overhauling Medicare would fundamentally change how the federal government pays for health care, starting a decade from now, likely resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs and greater limits to coverage for many Americans.” [WSJ, 4/6/11]

GOP Budget Raises Health Costs for Retirees. “Most future retirees would pay more for health care under a new House Republican budget proposal, according to an analysis by nonpartisan experts for Congress that could be an obstacle to GOP ambitions to tame federal deficits.” [AP, 4/6/11]

Source: http://dccc.org/blog/entry/fact_check_paul_ryan_falsely_claims_the_house_republican_budget_wont_hurt_s/