Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ironically Working Class Republicans Are Helping The Wealthy Conservatives With Class Warfare

Ironically Working Class Republicans Are Helping The Wealthy Conservatives With Class Warfare. While this article is primarily about Democrats and cautioning them not to back off the class warfare rhetoric. It notes that blue-collar/working class conservatives are helping the wealthy take away their earning power and labor rights.

While the GOP has been attempting to get the whole “Obama as class warrior’ narrative to catch on for a few years now, it appears that the phrase ‘class warfare’ may finally be taking root in the public consciousness.

It’s about time.

On Sunday, the Republican Congressional leadership launched a concerted effort to sell the notion of the president fomenting class warfare by his insistence that wealthy Americans pay more in taxes to help bring down the nation’s debt obligations while financing the federal government.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday”, GOP Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan, had this to say -

    Class warfare may make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don’t need a system that seeks to divide people. We don’t need a system that seeks to prey on people’s fear, envy and anxiety.

Since Ryan’s appearance - one echoed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during his own Sunday morning talk show turn -the GOP has been using every opportunity to parrot the phrase.

In response, the Democrats have taken every chance presented to them to once again go on defense by rejecting the allegation. By so doing, they are completely forgoing the opportunity to acknowledge that there is most assuredly such a war, it’s been raging for decades, and it’s high time that people begin to focus on who is on the side of the rich and who is on the side of the middle class and the poor.

Considering that this war was launched in the mid-1970’s, when CEO’s decided that it no longer served their interest to continue paying their workers a fair wage, it’s difficult to understand how anyone could be shocked to learn that the middle class has been under attack since Jimmy Carter sat in the White House or be persuaded that, somehow, Barack Obama is responsible for its creation.

Back in the 1970’s, before the first shot was fired, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned 9 percent of the income. By 2007, that 1 percent was taking 23.5 percent of the money. The numbers are even more depressing when we add in the next 4 percent at the top of the income scale. Meanwhile, everyone else has been left to suffer stagnating household incomes.

What does the wealthy class have to do to make it any clearer that they’ve been fighting a war where the other side has not only done little to nothing to fight back but is incapable of acknowledging the war even exists?

With these being the rules of engagement, who can blame the GOP for trying to pin the tail on Obama?

Not only have the forces of the wealthy, under the capable direction of four star generals like Charles and David Koch, managed to have their way with relative ease, they’ve cleverly succeeded in convincing many of their victims to join in on their side.

Exhibit ‘A’ to support that reality would be the Tea Party, a collection of middle class people financed by the Koch brothers who have locked arms with their enemy without even knowing they have done so. By sounding a false alarm about the dangers of big government, the upper class has fooled these people into believing that laying down the only defenses they’ve ever had - government and unions-is the way to solve the problems that plague them.

With successes like this in hand, it’s no wonder that Republicans believe they can sell the notion that Obama is somehow responsible for trying to start a class war that has already been going on for decades.

And yet, rather than take advantage of the opportunity the GOP has presented, the Democrats have chosen to take the narrow, defensive position of protecting the president from the attacks without taking the proverbial bull by the horns and sounding the alert that it is time to join the battle and fight back.

Democrats will not get a better chance to do what they should have done years ago. Not only is it good politics in an election year, it is an obligation that they cannot continue, in good conscious, to pass up.

As the president likes to say, it’s a simple math.

If those tasked with fighting the political battles for the middle class continue to engage in political malpractice by refusing to stand up to the forces of the wealthy, others will take up the fight for them. But these warriors will fight the battle beyond the walls of the Capitol and the White House. They will replace floor fights in the House of Representatives to battles that will play out on the streets of our largest cities.

Is this really the way we want to see this war go?

Democrats who play the game on the national scene need to follow the lead of the courageous Democrats in states like Wisconsin- Democrats who were willing to engage in the fight to stop the advances of the wealthy class.

This week, the President set the tone. Now his party must stop playing defense and step up to the fight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rewarding Stupidity. John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) Show Why They Are Unqualified to Hold Public Office

 Rewarding Stupidity. John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) Show Why They Are Unqualified to Hold Public Office

During a town hall meeting today, Doug Edwards, the former Director of Consumer Marketing for Google, asked President Obama to please raise his taxes. “I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants, infrastructure, and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am,” Edwards said, noting that he is unemployed by choice because he was “fortunate enough to work for a start-up down the street here that did quite well.” “It kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefiting so many of us for so long,” he said.

The spokesmen for both House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) — Brendan Buck and Brad Dayspring, respectively — proceeded to mock the exchange on Twitter by densely insinuating that the man only wants taxes to go up because he is unemployed and wouldn’t have to pay them:

These two — either out of ignorance or because they’re being disingenuous — completely missed Edwards’ point and the point behind the “Buffett rule” that the administration has proposed. Many people, Edwards included, make their income through investments, which are taxed at a much lower rate than wages. The Bush tax cuts not only lowered income tax rates, but also the rate on capital gains, taking it all the way down to 15 percent.

When asked after the event if he supported raising the capital gains tax, Edwards replied that he did. This jives with what billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said:

    The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot…I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off.

Remember, it was the raging socialist President Ronald Reagan who totally equalized the treatment of investment income and wage income, rejecting the argument that investors needed to pay a lower tax rate. Edwards, meanwhile, is earning enough income from his stock options in Google to donate all of the proceeds from a book he wrote to charity, while supporting three children.

But the spokesmen for the two most powerful congressman in the House managed to miss the point entirely. When it was pointed out to Dayspring that Edwards was still likely making investment income, all he could respond with was “he is welcome to pay more.”

Some of you may have heard that we supposedly have a huge deficit problem - those would be the deficits that John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) voted for. Since conservatives used to like to compare government budgets to household budgets, lets do that. John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) both voted to spend all the families money plus max out all the credit cards and than borrowed money to spend on more stuff. Now they're apparently clueless about where the money is going to come from to pay for the financial wreckage they left for President Obama to clean up. Making the people who benefit most from a stable government and infrastructure is apparently unfair to these two clowns even though many wealthy Americans think they should be taxed at a higher rate - say rates similar to those under Reagan or Clinton. Americans wonder why government is broken, it is because we have utterly incompetent clowns like John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA)  in Congress.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Republicans Panic, Desperately Seeking Dirt on Massachusetts Next Senator Elizabeth Warren

Republicans Panic, Desperately Seeking Dirt on Massachusetts Next Senator Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren's surprise lead in Massachusetts polls only days after she got into the Senate race to oust Republican Scott Brown has thrown GOP operatives off balance.

Their first storyline was that Warren was either a creature of the Beltway or a pointy-headed Harvard professor. Neither seems to be sticking.

On Tuesday, when the Democratic-affiliated polling firm, Public Policy Polling, reported Warren narrowly leading Brown, 46 to 44 among likely voters, Brown spokesman Colin Reed put out a statement contending that "we have always known that Scott would be the underdog against whichever candidate wins the Democratic primary next September."

But this past summer, before Warren enjoyed decent name recognition, Republicans were touting early polls showing Brown leading Warren 53-28, and declaring him a winner.

Now Republicans are putting out the word that there was something duplicitous or corrupt about Warren's leadership of the Congressional Oversight Panel that monitored the Treasury's Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

Politico ran a piece this morning headlined, "Warren's TARP Panel under Scrutiny." It quotes a Republican congressman alleging that the panel failed to disclose its own budget, including Warren's own salary; and the authors of the piece rely on undisclosed sources to contend that Warren was cavalier in what she paid her staff.

According to Politico's story,

    "For an entity whose purpose was to disclose where government funds went through the bailout, it is very disturbing that they [the oversight panel] did not disclose how they spent the money..." said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a member of the Financial Services Committee who pressed Warren on this issue repeatedly. "It showed more incompetence than anything else. But it raises concerns about how she led that government agency, especially one in terms of getting [the public] disclosure on TARP."

But in fact, the panel's budget and expenditures were disclosed to Congress in several reports that are public record, and its staff salaries were capped at the level of congressional staff. Its total outlays in its more-than-two-year life, as Politico reports, were a paltry $10.5 million. All of the records of the panel, which went out of existence earlier this year, are now on file with the Senate Rules Committee and available for public inspection.

Back before Warren was a political candidate, and she was critical of a TARP bailout program that was extremely unpopular among both Republicans and liberal Democrats, leading GOP figures lavished praise on her. Spencer Bacchus of Alabama, the arch conservative who now chairs the House Financial Services Committee, told Warren when she testified in July of 2009, "This is a panel [COP] that actually is going to end up making the taxpayer some money. Often the consumer, the taxpayer, is not at the table, and I think they were through this panel."

If a sifting of the entrails of Warren's widely acclaimed service as head of the Oversight Panel is the best that Republican spin-meisters can come up with to raise questions about her integrity or competence, they will have pretty slender pickings.

Conservatives have a few problems with Warren. Instead of getting up everyday of her life and finding ways to make government not work for the people ( the mission of conservatism) she tries to make government a force for good. Warren cannot be bought, unlike your average conservative who is a puppet with strings pulled by special interests. Warren acknowledges that we're all in this together, workers and employers, b oth sides deserve credit. Where as conservatives think corporate CEOs are like holy members of some religious order who should never be questioned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Republicans Try to Destabilize Economy as President Obama Tries to Fix It

Republicans Try to Destabilize Economy as President Obama Tries to Fix It

We’ve noted that the budget plan President Obama released on Monday would produce a substantial accomplishment:  stabilizing the federal debt as a share of the economy in the second half of this decade.  We were surprised, therefore, to see Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget quoted in the Washington Post (a quote that Thomas L. Friedman cited in his New York Times column) as stating that “They don’t even stabilize the debt.”

Her claim seems to hinge on the fact that under one set of assumptions, there is a tiny uptick in the debt-to-GDP ratio between 2019 to 2021.  Yet those same assumptions show that the ratio would be the same in 2021 as in 2017 — and much lower in both years than in 2013.  It is hard to see how a fair observer could conclude that the debt would not be stabilized.

Every major budget commission of recent years has concluded that arresting the rise in the debt as a share of the economy, and then keeping it stable, is the core fiscal policy goal for the decade ahead.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates that under the President’s plan, debt would hit 76.9 percent of GDP in 2013 but then decline to 73 percent of GDP in 2021.  In the second half of the decade — 2017 through 2021 — the debt-to-GDP ratio would be stable, declining slightly from 74.8 percent of GDP to 74.2 percent, 73.8 percent, 73.4 percent, and 73.0 percent.

President's Budget Proposal Stabilizes Debt-to-GDP Ratio
OMB also provided estimates of the debt-to-GDP ratio under its plan using Congressional Budget Office assumptions, and the results are similar.  Under CBO assumptions, the debt-to-GDP ratio would hit 77.5 percent of GDP in 2013 and then decline to 74 percent in 2021.  From 2017 through 2021 the ratio would essentially be flat: 74.0 percent, 73.6 percent, 73.6 percent, 73.7 percent, and 74.0 percent (see chart).

To be sure, without further policy changes — particularly changes that will slow the growth in health care costs throughout the U.S. health care system — the debt-to-GDP ratio would start to grow again in years and decades after 2021, and further action would be needed.  But stabilizing the debt-to-GDP ratio through the end of this decade would be a very large accomplishment.  And under either the OMB or CBO assumptions, it seems clear that the President’s plan would meet that goal, effectively stabilizing the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2017 through 2021.

To understand Ms. MacGuineas’ claim that the plan would not stabilize the debt, we looked at the analysis of the plan issued by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which she heads.  It ignores the estimates under OMB assumptions and says, “Measured against CBO assumptions, the President’s submission would nearly, but not quite, stabilize the debt as a share of the economy.”  It bases this claim on the fact that these estimates show the debt ticking up estimates show debt rising from 73.6 percent of GDP in 2019 to 74.0 percent in 2021.

For starters, one wouldn’t know from MacGuineas’ highly critical quote that her own organization has concluded that the President’s plan “would nearly, but not quite, stabilize the debt.”

More important, it is a stretch to suggest that the very slight increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio from 2019 to 2021 under CBO’s assumptions signifies in any meaningful sense that the President’s plan wouldn’t stabilize the debt through 2021.  Anyone who has ever done multi-year budget projections knows that changes of a few tenths of a percentage point in the debt-to-GDP ratio projected from 2017 through 2021 are not meaningful — the range of uncertainty in budget projections five to ten years out vastly exceeds these small variations.

In any case, no economist would say that a slight reduction in the debt-to-GDP ratio one year followed by a slight increase of the same magnitude over the next couple of years represents an unsustainable budget.

Getting the debt-to-GDP ratio down to 74 percent in 2017 and having it fluctuate slightly between 73.6 percent and 74.0 percent over the second half of the decade (as would occur under the CBO assumptions) clearly qualifies as stabilizing the debt.  And under the OMB assumptions, the debt continues to edge down as a share of GDP over this period.

There are aspects of the President’s plan that budget analysts can reasonably criticize.  But it isn’t reasonable to use tiny variations in the debt projections for the 2019-2021 period to attack the plan for not stabilizing the debt, especially when the five-year path from 2017- 2021 is essentially flat.

Doing so may make a great soundbite, but it doesn’t constitute sound fiscal analysis.
 The fanatical conservative Right would say anything to distract from President Obama's highly conservative and responsible management of an economy Republicans left crashed and burning. If conservatives want a healthy economy they might want to start by becoming good stewards of the public trust. Every time a Republican is in charge they promise free ponies for everyone as they slash taxes and put all their debt on the Future Generations Credit card.. More here - Can't Add It Up: Fox Still Misleading On Economy, Debt, Stimulus

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why Does Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Hate America's Senior Citizens

Why Does Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Hate America's Senior Citizens

The Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee on Tuesday drew fire from Democrats for backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”

Social Security fits the technical definition of a Ponzi scheme, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told conservative Laura Ingraham on her radio show.

“It’s not a criminal enterprise, but it’s a pay-as-you-go system, where earlier investors — or say, taxpayers — get a positive rate of return, and the most recent investors — or taxpayers — get a negative rate of return,” he said. “That is how those schemes work.”

Perry’s description of the Social Security as a “Ponzi sceheme” has been attacked by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Perry’s leading challenger for the GOP presidential nomination. Romney criticized Perry for scaring seniors and wanting to abolish the program, warning that the Republican nominee needs to work to reform the program.

“They’re both right,” Ryan said of Perry and Romney. “[Social Security] is not working, it is going bankrupt, and current seniors will be jeopardized the most by the status quo.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pushed back against Ryan’s comments.

“Ryan’s belief that Social Security works like a Ponzi scheme proves — once and for all — that House Republicans have really declared a war on seniors,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement. “A Ponzi scheme is Bernie Madoff ripping off Americans — not Social Security benefits that seniors earned and depend on during retirement.”

Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and all the millionaire pundits at Fox News have a plan for the 20 million Americas who Social Security keeps out of poverty - they can sleep in alleys and under bridges where they can enjoy their daily can of dog food. Social Security is NOT a Ponzi Scheme, Dammit! (copiously sourced)

Many of my most reasonable friends buy into the myth that Social Security is in deep trouble. It’s so accepted and commonly heard amongst major media talking heads, not to mention Republican politicians. In the debate held 9/7/11 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Rick Perry notoriously labeled Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and “montrous lie.”

    What are the facts about Social Security’s solvency?

    Well, Social Security continues to be in better shape than everything else in government. It has run a surplus not a deficit for the majority of its years in existence.

    Reasonable entities (meaning parties like the Congressional Budget Office not right-wing hysterics) assure us that Social Security will continue to be able to operate paying full benefits for the next 25 years.

 Lawrence Mishel. Economic Policy Institute.

 Top 5 Social Security Myths.

  Straight Facts on Social Security [pdf]. Economic Opportunity Institute.

Why do these know-nothing American hating conservative fanatics want America to believe Social Security is a scheme, so they can funnel those funds to their fiends on Wall St. It was conservatives and their Wall St pals who drove the US economy off the cliff. How can America trust them with the financial security of retirees. It is time for America to wake up and stop believing that conservatives are patriots who care about America.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Conservatives Gone Nuts - The Hysterical Claim By Republicans That Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme

"Ponzi! Ponzi! Ponzi!" Conservative Republican Media Dig In On Social Security Lie

Right-wing media have continued to claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme." However, experts say that people who make this claim "are very wrong."

Stossel: "Ponzi! Ponzi! Ponzi! There, I Said It. ... People Need To Hear It." In a September 13 Washington Examiner op-ed, Fox Business host John Stossel wrote that "[t]o the extent people believe there are trust funds with their names on them, Social Security is absolutely a Ponzi scheme."

- Texas governor [Rick Perry] is under attack for telling the unpleasant truth. At the GOP debate in Florida on Monday, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked presidential contender Rick Perry whether he was changing his tune after other Republicans and pundits slammed him for saying Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme." The Lone Star State chief executive stood his ground: "It has been called a Ponzi scheme by many people long before me."

Mr. Perry is correct in his assessment, but Republicans shouldn't waste air time arguing semantics.

-Hannity And Gasparino Agree: Social Security "Is A Ponzi Scheme." During the September 13 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity and Fox News contributor Charles Gasparino claimed that Social Security "is a Ponzi Scheme."

Experts: People Who Call Social Security A Ponzi Scheme "Are Very Wrong"

SSA Historian: Social Security's "Structure, Logic, And Mode Of Operation Have Nothing In Common With Ponzi Schemes." From a January 2009 post by Social Security Administration (SSA) historian Larry DeWitt:

    In contrast to a Ponzi scheme, dependent upon an unsustainable progression, a common financial arrangement is the so-called "pay-as-you-go" system. Some private pension systems, as well as Social Security, have used this design. A pay-as-you-go system can be visualized as a pipeline, with money from current contributors coming in the front end and money to current beneficiaries paid out the back end.
    Unlike A Ponzi Scheme, Social Security Discloses Its Finances
    Ponzi Schemes Rely On Fictional Accounting To Pretend That Contributors' Money Is Being Invested. From the Securities and Exchange Commission:
        A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk. In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors and to use for personal expenses, instead of engaging in any legitimate investment activity. [Securities and Exchange Commission, accessed 9/8/11]
    But Social Security's Finances Are Fully Disclosed To People Paying Into The System. The SSA publishes an annual report on the finances of the Social Security trust fund. The latest 235-page report was published on May 13 and is available on the SSA website. [Social Security Administration, 5/13/11]
    Social Security Trust Fund Is Invested In Government Bonds. From Dean Baker's "Letter to Gov. Rick Perry on Social Security Comments":
        Dear Governor Perry,
        When asked about Social Security during a recent campaign stop in Iowa, you said:
        "It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they're working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie," Perry said. "It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can't do that to them."
        With all due respect, this is not true. The recommendations of the National Commission on Social Security Reform in 1983 led to the growth of a large surplus in Social Security. This surplus was used to buy bonds and now Social Security holds more than $2.6 trillion in government bonds. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office's projections show that the program will maintain full solvency through the year 2038. [Center for Economic and Policy Research, 8/29/11, emphasis in original] - with minor tweaks Social Security will remain solvent for your great great great grandchildren.

    Unlike A Ponzi Scheme, Social Security Is Not At Risk Of Not Having Enough Investors
    A Ponzi Scheme Inevitably Collapses When The Organizer Runs Out Of New People To Defraud. From the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):
        With little or no legitimate earnings, the schemes require a consistent flow of money from new investors to continue. Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out. [Securities and Exchange Commission, accessed 9/8/11]
    But The Government Can Continue To Collect Taxes To Pay For Social Security Indefinitely. From a CNNMoney piece by professor Mitchell Zuckoff:
        Social Security is exactly what it claims to be: A mandatory transfer payment system under which current workers are taxed on their incomes to pay benefits, with no promises of huge returns. (Of course, it's true that if Madoff had the power to require participation, he would have had an easier time keeping his alleged scheme rolling.)
    Second, Social Security isn't automatically doomed to fail. Played out to its logical conclusion, a Ponzi scheme is unsustainable because the number of potential investors is eventually exhausted. That's when the last people to participate are out of luck; the music stops and there's nowhere to sit.

The Right has always hated Social Security because it is an egalitarian system which helps provide a buffer to keep seniors out of extreme poverty. If Social Security is a scheme than what was that we witnesses from 2007 to 2008 - when the housing market and Wall St collapsed. When it did it wiped out a lot of middle-America's life savings. The only thing they will likely have in retirement is S. Security.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Right-Wing Blogs Condemn White House For Tracking Smears, Then Launch New Michelle Obama Smear

Right-Wing Blogs Condemn White House For Tracking Smears, Then Launch New Michelle Obama Smear

It’s not often that right-wing bloggers actually disprove their own point so publicly and spectacularly in less than 24 hours. But they managed to do exactly that by whining about an Obama re-election initiative to ferret out smear campaigns while they launched a new smear campaign against Michelle Obama.

And no, there’s no indication Obama critics appreciated the deep irony involved.

This week we saw the collective freakout over the new AttackWatch website. Designed to combat smears and lies about the Obama administration, the launch, perhaps not surprisingly, produced widespread condemnation from the people who traffic in smears and lies about the Obama administration.

The fact-checking site is “offensive” and “sinister,” and just like "Big Brother" and “Nazi Germany,” conservatives cried.

But is AttackWatch necessary? The right-wing blogosphere quickly answered that question by (surprise!) launching a nasty smear campaign in which bloggers condemned the First Lady based on what they think she said (yes, lip-reading was the basis for the attack), while recently attending a solemn Ground Zero memorial on Sept. 11.

The attack is almost beyond belief in terms of just how debasing and dishonest it is. But that, unfortunately, is the state of today’s right-wing media, where hating the Obama’s has become an all-consuming, albeit deeply dishonorable, profession.

Yet these are the same people stomping their feet because Obama’s re-election team has the gall to pushback on smear campaigns? If anything, bloggers this week confirmed just how important a site like AttackWatch will be.
Its the new version of the conservative first Amendment - they get to libel and slander the people they hate all day and their opponents are supposed to shut up. That is exactly what the Nazi party did to their oppoenets when they came to power in Wiemar Germany.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Dreams of Being Communist Leader Stalin With One Man Holding American Justice Hostage

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Dreams of Being Communist Leader Stalin With One Man Holding American Justice Hostage

Earlier this year, President Obama nominated Arvo Mikkanen, who would become the only sitting Native American federal judge in the country if he is confirmed, to a federal court in Oklahoma. Almost immediately, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) placed Mikkanen on double-secret probation — vowing to block Mikkanen’s nomination, but refusing to tell anyone why.

Just six months later, Coburn is back to his same obstructionist tricks:

    Sen. Tom Coburn shot down the impending nomination of the dean of the University of Tulsa law school for the vacant seat on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to Oklahoma attorneys who said Coburn was concerned about Janet Levit’s background in international law. [...]

    Levit is a Yale Law School graduate with a distinguished resume that includes serving as a clerk for the former chief judge of the 10th circuit court and arguing cases before the court. She has been dean of the University of Tulsa College of Law since 2008.

    Levit’s academic specialty is international law, and she is a member of the American Society of International Law.

Coburn is one of the leading proponents of a paranoid fantasy that claims that activist judges are on the cusp of replacing American law with some kind of international legal new world order, but his decision to block Levit is bizarre even by Coburn’s standards. Apparently, merely knowing something about international law disqualifies you from service on the federal bench.

Coburn’s veto over judicial nominees within his state stems from a process known as “blue slipping” that effectively enables home-state senators to block nominees within their state that they disapprove of — although this rule somehow doesn’t apply when there is a conservative president. And it is unlikely that any nominee will survive Coburn’s effective veto given his deeply radical views of the Constitution. Coburn believes that Medicare, Medicaid, and education programs such as Pell Grants, federal student loans and Title I are all unconstitutional.

In other words, this is just one more example of how the Senate’s broken rules are failing the country. It makes no sense whatsoever to give a single senator with radical and idiosyncratic views the ability to prevent any new judges from being confirmed within his state.

Whether it is communism or fascism, authoritarianism has come to America dressed up as a Republican. Only history's worse despots think that one man can bring the entire judicial system to a near stand-still. Congratulations to Coburn and his fellow wacko conservatives for using the rules of democracy to push democracy another step closer to destruction.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Hate America First Crowd At Fox News Misleads Public About Jobs Bill

The Hate America First Crowd At Fox News Misleads Public About Jobs Bill

Conservative media figures are citing the discredited myth that the stimulus failed to argue that President Obama's jobs plan also will not help the economy. In fact, economic analysts have repeatedly said that the 2009 recovery act boosted the economy and increased employment, and economists estimate that Obama's jobs plan is likely to add millions of jobs.

Right-Wing Media: Obama's Jobs Plan Won't Create Jobs
-- Just Like The Stimulus

Fox's MacCallum: "$447 Billion In New Money To Stimulate The Economy On Top Of 800 Billion In The Original Stimulus Plan That Didn't Work." Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum discussed Obama's jobs plan with Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ). MacCallum said that "one of the big questions that I think a lot of people were left with at the end of the speech last night was: $447 billion in new money to stimulate the economy on top of 800 billion in the original stimulus plan that didn't work, as evidenced by the employment numbers and every other indication of the economy that we've seen." She continued:

    MacCALLUM: So why would this $447 billion -- where are we going to get the money, and why should everyone be convinced that this time it will work? [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 9/9/11]

But Economists Say Obama's Jobs Plan Would Create Millions Of Jobs

Zandi: American Jobs Act Would Add Nearly 2 Million Jobs. UPI reported:

    President Barack Obama's $447 billion job-creation plan would likely add 1.9 million payroll jobs and grow the U.S. economy 2 percent, a leading economist said.

    The plan, which Obama outlined before a joint session of Congress Thursday, would likely cut the unemployment rate by a percentage point, Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said as Obama prepared to tout the plan at Virginia's University of Richmond. [United Press International, 9/9/11]

Macroeconomic Advisers: American Jobs Act Would Be "A Significant Boost To GDP And Employment." From the blog of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC:

    We estimate that the American Jobs Act (AJA), if enacted, would give a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near-term.

        The various tax cuts aimed at raising workers' after-tax income and encouraging hiring and investing, combined with the spending increases aimed at maintaining state & local employment and funding infrastructure modernization, would:

        Boost the level of GDP by 1.3% by the end of 2012, and by 0.2% by the end of 2013.

        Raise nonfarm establishment employment by 1.3 million by the end of 2012 and 0.8 million by the end of 2013, relative to the baseline.

        The program works directly to raise employment through tax incentives and support to state & local governments for increasing hiring; it works indirectly through the positive boost to aggregate demand (and hence hiring) stimulated by the direct spending and the increase in household income resulting from lower employee payroll taxes and increased employment. [Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, 9/8/11]

EPI: American Jobs Act Would "Increase Employment By About 4.3 Million Jobs." Economic Policy Institute research and policy director John Irons provided a "preliminary breakdown of the package and a first pass look at the job impact" of Obama's jobs plan:

    Overall the package would increase employment by about 4.3 million jobs over the next couple of years. The new initiatives would boost employment by about 2.6 million jobs, while the continuation of the two temporary provisions (EUI and the payroll tax holiday) would prevent a backslide of over 1.6 million jobs.

Conservatives and their America hating friends in the conservative media want unemployment to continue to be high because as Michele Bachmann confessed high unemployment will help get crazy right-wing conservative such as her and Rick perry elected. The Republican party is a movement of rabid foaming at the mouth nationalists, not patriots. Pay attention to what they do. They always put their party first and America last.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gov Rick Perry is a Dangerous Anti-American Ideologue, Social Security Is Not a Ponzi Scheme

Gov Rick Perry is a Dangerous Anti-American Ideologue, Social Security Is Not a Ponzi Scheme

On Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told a group of voters that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" and a "monstrous lie" to younger Americans. It's not the first time the GOP presidential candidate has made such claims. The Texas governor also described Social Security as a Ponzi scheme in his 2010 book, "Fed Up!," and has argued the program is unconstitutional and could be handed over to the states.

When politicians make clearly false claims, reporters have an obligation to explain to readers why those claims are false—or at least quote someone who can. I would suggest political scientist Jonathan Bernstein:

    Very simple: anyone who says that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme either misunderstands Social Security, misunderstands Ponzi schemes, is deliberately lying, or some combination of those...After all, a Ponzi scheme is a deliberate fraud. Saying that Social Security is financed like a Ponzi scheme is factually wrong, but saying that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme or is like a Ponzi scheme is basically a false accusation of fraud against the US government and the politicians who have supported Social Security over the years.

Andrew Sullivan's readers also have a number of good reasons why Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme. The Social Security Administration also has a good web page explaining why Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme. But I find that charts often make understanding things easier, so here's a Venn diagram I made that explains some of the differences and similarities between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme: see above.

The conservative Republican Gov. Rick Perry would send 20 million American seniors into poverty. Sounds like something Hitler or Stalin would do.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Republican Sleaze Bag of the Week Sen. Richard Shelby(R-GA) - Shelby Rushes to Protect Thieves and Screw Over Average Americans

Republican Sleaze Bag of the Week Sen. Richard Shelby(R-GA) - Shelby Rushes to Protect Thieves and Screw Over Average Americans

Last spring, Sen. Richard Shelby(R-GA) promised, along with 43 GOP Senate colleagues, to block any nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless the agency was essentially gutted.

Now that there is a nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, Shelby isn't backing down. What's worse, he made the filibuster threat in his opening statement at Cordray's confirmation hearing. Why even bother having nomination hearings?

    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) reiterated his plan to block former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray from leading the agency, unless it is restructured as a commission and placed under greater congressional control.

    "One of our nation's founding principles is that the government should be accountable to the people," Shelby said in his opening statement. "All of the bureau's power is concentrated in the hands of its director. The director determines which rules are enacted and which enforcement actions are brought. The director makes all hiring decisions and decides how the agency spends its resources."

Noble sentiment, except for the fact that the CFPB is charged with doing nothing other than protecting the interests of "the people." And that's the problem for those whose water Shelby (and the rest of the GOP) is carrying.

    The financial sector has a colossal stake in the hearings, since Cordray could dramatically reshape how mortgages, loans and credit cards are offered to the public.

    "This is akin to a Supreme Court nominee for us," said Richard Hunt, president of the Consumer Bankers Association. "I believe this director has more power at any agency since J. Edgar Hoover."

Yep, because making sure that the paperwork you sign for a mortgage is understandable and that you can actually read your credit card agreement is exactly the same as Hoover targeting Martin Luther King, Jr. in politically motivated investigations.

Who is Shelby looking out for? It sure isn't the average American household, its people like this - Banks Took $6B in Reinsurance Kickbacks

Many of the country's largest banks received $6 billion in kickbacks from mortgage insurers over the course of a decade, according to a previously undisclosed investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The allegations, since referred to the Department of Justice, stem from lenders' demand that insurers cut them in on the lucrative business of insuring the mortgages they produced during the housing boom.

In exchange for the their business, companies such as Citigroup Inc, Wells Fargo & Co, SunTrust Banks Inc. and Countrywide allegedly required reinsurance partnerships on generous terms that violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, a 1974 law prohibiting abusive home sales practices.

During a two-day presentation in the summer of 2009, HUD's team presented DOJ attorneys with a thick binder of evidence that major banks had engineered a decade-long kickback scheme, people familiar with the investigation say.

Shelby is bought and paid for. he is not a representative of the people and the common good. Though it is the ignorance of the general public that allows Shelby to be reelected election cycle after election cycle. Those who wonder how and why government does not work need look no further than corrupt sleaze bags like Shelby wraps himself in the flag, mentions God and swears he is a patriot. Unbelievable that so many people fall for this stinking pile of BS.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rupert Mudoch's Anti-American Fox News and Its Anti-American Team of Hacks Claim Stimulus Failed

Rupert Mudoch's Anti-American Fox News and Its Anti-American Team of Hacks Claim  Stimulus Failed

Fox News' Stuart Varney is citing revisions to economic projections for 2012 to revive the myth that the 2009 stimulus failed. In fact, independent economists agree that the stimulus significantly raised employment and increased GDP, and experts say it is the winding down of stimulus spending that is causing a "fiscal drag" on the economy.

Fox's Stuart Varney: Unemployment Forecast Proves The Stimulus Failed

OMB: Unemployment Expected To Average 9 Percent In 2012. The White House Office of Management and Budget released its mid-session budget review on September 1, projecting that the average monthly unemployment rate in 2012 would be 9 percent. [Fiscal Year 2012 Mid-Session Review, Office of Management and Budget, 9/1/11]

Stuart Varney: OMB's Updated Forecast Proves That The Stimulus Failed. On Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Stuart Varney said:

    VARNEY: Look, there's a lot of pressure on the president to come up with something big, bold and new come next Thursday evening. And there's a lot of skepticism that he can do it. Is he going to propose a brand new trillion dollar stimulus program? I mean, this forecast of nine percent unemployment is an admission that the first stimulus program did not work. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/2/11]

But Economists Have Said It's A Decline In Stimulus Spending That Is Causing A "Fiscal Drag" On The Economy

CBO: 85 Percent Of Stimulus Funds Spent By End Of June. In its latest report on the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Congressional Budget Office reported that 85 percent of the stimulus had been spent by the end of June 2011. [Congressional Budget Office, August 2011]

Krugman: "When The Spending Begins To Tail Off, The Effect On Growth Turns Negative." Paul Krugman, a Nobel prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, wrote in December 2009 that stimulus spending was projected to peak in 2010. He added:

    And when the spending begins to tail off, the effect on growth turns negative. [The New York Times, The Conscience of a Liberal, 12/27/09]

Deutsche Bank: "As Stimulus Programs Wind Down" In 2011 "We'll Then Have A Straight Four Quarters Of Fiscal Drag." According to a November 2010, Business Insider report, Deutsche Bank projected that "the real effect of lost stimulus will start to hit" in the first quarter of 2011. The report continued:

    We'll then have a straight four quarters of fiscal drag. [Business Insider, 11/5/10]

Mark Zandi: "The Benefit [Of The Stimulus] Is Fading, But This Is By Design." According to Talking Points Memo, Mark Zandi, Moody's chief economist, explained that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "was never intended to be a source of long-term economic growth," and that the stimulus provided "a significant benefit to the economy's performance over the past more than two years." Zandi added:

    This benefit is fading, but this is by design. [Talking Points Memo, 7/5/11]

The fact is ( facts are terrible things thus Fox does not report them) Obama and Democrats stopped the economy from hemorrhaging jobs.

Conservatives are always prattling on about how they are for freedom. This is just a recent example of a Conservative being honest about what he thinks of one of the fundamental elements of freedom in the USA. Freedom is for the select few  - Columnist: Registering Poor To Vote 'Like Handing Out Burglary Tools To Criminals'

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Climate Science - Do The Right-Wing Reporters At Fox Have a Reading Comprehension Problem

Climate Science - Do The Right-Wing Reporters At Fox Have a Reading Comprehension Problem

Fox and other conservative media claim that CERN's study of cosmic rays "concluded that it's the sun, not human activity," causing global warming. In fact, at this point the research "actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate," according to the lead author, and it certainly doesn't refute human-induced global warming.

Findings Say "Nothing" About Effect Of Cosmic Rays On Climate

CERN Studied Effects Of Cosmic Rays On Aerosols, Which Contribute To Clouds. From the press release about the study by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research:

    In a paper published in the journal Nature today, the CLOUD experiment at CERN has reported its first results. The CLOUD experiment has been designed to study the effect of cosmic rays on the formation of atmospheric aerosols - tiny liquid or solid particles suspended in the atmosphere - under controlled laboratory conditions. Atmospheric aerosols are thought to be responsible for a large fraction of the seeds that form cloud droplets. Understanding the process of aerosol formation is therefore important for understanding the climate.

    The CLOUD results show that trace vapours assumed until now to account for aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere can explain only a tiny fraction of the observed atmospheric aerosol production. The results also show that ionisation from cosmic rays significantly enhances aerosol formation. Precise measurements such as these are important in achieving a quantitative understanding of cloud formation, and will contribute to a better assessment of the effects of clouds in climate models. [CERN, 8/25/11]

Lead Author: Paper "Says Nothing About" Effect Of Cosmic Rays On "Clouds And Climate." Nature reported:

    For a century, scientists have known that charged particles from space constantly bombard Earth. Known as cosmic rays, the particles are mostly protons blasted out of supernovae. As the protons crash through the planet's atmosphere, they can ionize volatile compounds, causing them to condense into airborne droplets, or aerosols. Clouds might then build up around the droplets.

    The number of cosmic rays that reach Earth depends on the Sun. When the Sun is emitting lots of radiation, its magnetic field shields the planet from cosmic rays. During periods of low solar activity, more cosmic rays reach Earth.

    Scientists agree on these basic facts, but there is far less agreement on whether cosmic rays can have a large role in cloud formation and climate change. Since the late 1990s, some have suggested that when high solar activity lowers levels of cosmic rays, that in turn reduces cloud cover and warms the planet. Others say that there is no statistical evidence for such an effect.


    Early results seem to indicate that cosmic rays do cause a change. The high-energy protons seemed to enhance the production of nanometre-sized particles from the gaseous atmosphere by more than a factor of ten. But, [Physicist Jasper] Kirkby adds, those particles are far too small to serve as seeds for clouds. "At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it's a very important first step," he says. [Nature, 8/24/11, emphasis added]

Kirkby: The Study Adds A Piece To The Big Picture, "But In No Way Disproves The Other Pieces." Live Science reported:

    The research doesn't call into question the basic science of greenhouse gas warming, Kirkby emphasized, but rather refines one facet of the research. Climate models currently predict an average global temperature increase of 3 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

    The data generated by the CLOUD experiment (CLOUD stands for "Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets") will feed into global models of aerosol formation, Kirkby said, which in turn will carry into global climate models.

    "It's part of the jigsaw puzzle, and you could say it adds to the understanding of the big picture," he said. "But it in no way disproves the other pieces." [Live Science, 8/24/11]

Rupert Murdoch's 24/7 America hating Fox News could at least try and sound like they know what they're talking about. No wait, they don't care if they spew a bunch of junk science because their viewers are science illiterates who swallows every piece of right-wing propaganda that Rupert Murdoch's fascist-lite network puts out.