Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The National Rifle Association Has a History of Supporting Dictators, Yet Has The Gall to Falsely Accuse Obama of Being One

The National Rifle Association and USAAmmo Has a History of Supporting Dictators, Yet Has The Gall to Falsely Accuse Obama of Being One

Apparently there are those who find National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre's exhortation that there is a "massive Obama conspiracy" in which President Obama is planning to follow up his re-election by somehow eliminating the Second Amendment just a touch too subtle.

In an ad emailed out to the list of WorldNetDaily this afternoon, the good people at USAAmmo explain that President Obama is "secretly conspiring to strip American Citizens of the right to bear arms"... just like Hitler. The sane response to this dastardly conspiracy is, of course, to stock up on military-grade assault weapons and ammunition, which the patriots at USAAmmo have helpful put on sale, presumably in honor of Cyber Monday or the impending dictatorship.

While warning that gun control is "One Election Away!" USAAmmo manages to compare Obama to any number of dictators (see update):


Clicking on the ad redirects readers to a web video posted by the company. The first half features haunting music and images of the various dictators who allegedly "established gun control" and the victims who, "unable to defend themselves, were imprisoned, enslaved, and annihilated." In case, you missed the point, the music swiftly shifts to heavy metal as on-screen text warns viewers that "Governments render their citizens defenseless with GUN CONTROL!" because "The defensless [sic] are subject to enslavement, imprisonment and annihilation."

Declaring that "An unarmed American is a subject... an armed American is a citizen," the website urges viewers to "Get armed at," then shows images of the AR- and AK- variants and ammo on sale at the website. The video closes with the cheery/chilling statement, "Get them something they'll love! BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!"

It's not unusual for gun manufacturers, sellers, or advocates to promote firearms sales by fearmongering about impending gun control measures. But this is a little blunt even for them.

UPDATE: USAAmmo appears to have compared President Obama to Chinese dictator and mass murderer Mao Zedong, Soviet dictator and mass murderer Josef Stalin, German dictator and mass murderer Adolf Hitler, Cambodian dictator and mass murderer Pol Pot... and Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker.

UPDATE: USAAmmo also neglects to mention the many ties between murderous dictators and rebel leaders and members of the NRA's own board. Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, lays out the ties between board member Grover Norquist and Nicaraguan Contras as well as murderous African rebel leaders backed by South Africa's apartheid regime; board member Oliver North's connections to the Contras and to Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega; and board member Roy Innis' support for the actual Idi Amin, who reportedly awarded Innis Ugandan citizenship in 1973.

As we've documented, board member and Soldier of Fortune publisher Robert Brown reportedly fought alongside El Salvadoran dictator Roberto d'Aubuisson's death squads and provided supplies to Nicaragua's Contra rebels in the early 1980's.

For more on the ties between the NRA's board and repressive regimes, visit

Not to in any way advocate violence, maybe it is a good idea for moderate Americans to buy a gun. With Right-wing conservatives nuts running around who cannot tell the difference between reality and their own paranoid hallucinations, you may have to defend yourself.

Herman Cain Affair No Biggie, Says Dick Morris and Fox News.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Senate May Trash 4th Amendment - Military May Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window

Senate May Trash 4th Amendment - Military May Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window

While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?

The answer on why now is nothing more than election season politics. The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor.

But there is a way to stop this dangerous legislation. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is offering the Udall Amendment that will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power. The Udall Amendment will make sure that the bill matches up with American values.

In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.

In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention.

The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown. That is an extreme position that will forever change our country.

Now is the time to stop this bad idea. Please urge your senators to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
 I'm shocked at the bill and Carl Levin who has been such a great defender of our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. That conservative Republicans support it is not a shock. They have been giving nothing but lip service to freedom for half a century and counting.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lobbying Firm's Memo Spells Out Plan to Undermine Occupy Wall Street

Are there people with and at least they are with OWS behaving badly. With millions of Americans participating in OWS across the country certainly a few of them are going to be cranks of one sort or another. Much like any group you care to name. As we all now know even some highly regarded football coaches behave badly.
Lobbying Firm's Memo Spells Out Plan to Undermine Occupy Wall Street

A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo obtained by the MSNBC program “Up w/ Chris Hayes.”

The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association.

CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead.

Something strange and deeply Un-American is going on. Maybe it is time for OWS to move on to other tactics to rise public awareness of how Wall Street is stealing billions from the U.S. economy and average working folks. In the mean time there is no excuse for the police preventing citizens from exercising their first amendment rights. Are OWS protesters violent? Not so far. Most of the violence had been perpetrated by police against protesters. There is an irony here in that the police and their unions are part of the 99%.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This is What Conservatives Think Capitalism is: The Average Bush Tax Cut For The 1 Percent This Year Will Be Greater Than The Average Income Of 99% of American Workers

This is What Conservatives Think Capitalism is: The Average Bush Tax Cut For The 1 Percent This Year Will Be Greater Than The Average Income Of 99% of American Workers

As Occupy Wall Street protestors continue to demonstrate across the country, congress’ fiscal super committee failed to craft a deficit reduction package due to Republican refusal to consider tax increases on the super wealthy. In fact, the only package that the GOP officially submitted to the committee included lowering the top tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, even as new research shows that the optimal top tax rate is closer to 70 percent.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who co-chaired the super committee, explained that the major sticking point during negotiations with the GOP was what to do with the Bush tax cuts. With that in mind, the National Priorities Project points out that those tax cuts this year will give the richest 1 percent of Americans a bigger tax cut than the other 99 percent will receive in average income:

    The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).

“The super committee failed to grapple with the extraordinarily costly Bush tax cuts for the richest—tax policies that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, cost more in added federal debt than they add in additional economic activity,” explained Jo Comerford, NPP’s Executive Director. Frank Knapp, vice chairman of the American Sustainable Business Council, added in a statement yesterday, “the high-end Bush tax cuts are a big part of the problem – not the solution…It’s obscene to keep slashing infrastructure and services for everybody on Main Street to keep up tax giveaways for millionaires and multinational corporations.”

The Bush tax cuts have done nothing but blow up the federal debt and hand billions in tax breaks to the Americans who needed them least.

Conservatives want America to believe the top 1% work the hardest so they should reap obscene levels of reward. It that out real world experience. In the real world those who make millions a year work the least. They are not scientists or even brain surgeons or great teachers. So we're not paying them for their "intellectual" contributions. Every one of these millionaires got their money riding on the backs of people who provide the work and services that millionaires takes gigantic profits from.Let's have a day without labor. America would soon shut down. We need a fair and just capitalism not crony conservative capitalism.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Murdoch's Anti-American Fox News Pushes Propaganda On Wisconsin Anti-union law

Murdoch's Anti-American Fox News Pushes Propaganda On Wisconsin Anti-union law

Fox & Friends hosted Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch to discuss a recent court ruling finding that GOP lawmakers may have violated Wisconsin's open meetings law when they pushed through a bill ending most public union collective bargaining rights. During the segment, the co-hosts repeatedly failed to challenge Kleefish's claims about the legality of the proceedings surrounding the bill.

WI Judge Blocks GOP's Collective Bargaining Law

WI Judge Issues Restraining Order On Collective Bargaining Law. On March 18, Judge Maryann Sumi of Dane County Circuit Court in Wisconsin issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the law that would end most collective bargaining rights for public unions from taking effect. According to The New York Times, the ruling delays publication of the law "until at least later in the month, when she plans to hold a full hearing on a lawsuit that accuses Republican lawmakers of violating the Wisconsin open meeting requirements to push through the bill." [The New York Times, 3/18/11]

Fox & Friends Hosts Kleefisch To Claim "The Law Is On Our Side"

Camerota: "Is This Just Another Way For Democrats To Overturn [The Law]?" On March 21, the co-hosts of Fox News' Fox & Friends hosted GOP Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch to discuss Judge Sumi's ruling. The co-hosts did not challenge her repeated claims that "the law is on our side here" and that the judge is "block[ing] publication of a law because she doesn't like what's inside of it." From the broadcast:

    ALISYN CAMEROTA (guest host): A Wisconsin judge is blocking Scott walker's law reducing union's collective bargaining rights. Judge Maryann Sumi says the law may violate the state's open meeting laws. So is this just another way for Democrats to overturn it?

    BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Joining us now on the phone in Wisconsin is Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Lieutenant Governor, thanks for joining us...Can you tell us right now how concerned you are that this law you worked so hard to pass will go through?

    KLEEFISCH: I'm not concerned, because the law is on our side here. What we have is a legal case that is going to talk about how a specific meeting was convened and not at all the content of the law that was signed by Governor Walker after it was passed by the legislature. So I'm not worried.

    CAMEROTA: But since there's this technicality, about how the meeting was convened, is the easiest thing just to reconvene and take another vote?

    KLEEFISCH: Well, that is an option, I guess, down the road, but we think that in this case, justice is going to be swift because the law is on our side. We know that in special session of the legislature which the legislature was in when this meeting was convened, both the Senate and the Assembly rules trumped the open meetings law in the state of Wisconsin, and our attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, has said that Supreme Court decisions have made it very clear that judges can't force the Secretary of State from publishing a law. The secretary of state can't just refuse to publish a law because of procedural or constitutional concerns. And, you know, that speaks to the fact that a judge cannot simply block the publication of a law because she doesn't like what's inside of it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/11, emphasis added]

But Legal Status Of The Proceedings Remains Unclear

Judge's Ruling Delays Implementation Of Law Until "Full Hearing" On Whether Open Meetings Law Was Violated. According to reports, Judge Sumi has ruled that it is not legally clear whether or not Republican lawmakers violated Wisconsin's open meetings law by holding a vote on the collective bargaining bill with less than 24 hours' notice. From The New York Times:

    Efforts to shrink collective bargaining rights for public workers in Wisconsin were slowed on Friday when a judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking a much-debated law from taking effect.

    The decision, issued by Judge Maryann Sumi of the Dane County Circuit Court in Madison, temporarily bars the Wisconsin secretary of state from publishing the law, which limits bargaining to matters of wages. The fight over the law has drawn tens of thousands of demonstrators to the State Capitol, and the issue has become a focus of debate in numerous statehouses.

    Publication of the law -- a procedural requirement needed before it can take effect -- had been expected next week. But Judge Sumi's ruling could delay that until at least later in the month, when she plans to hold a full hearing on a lawsuit that accuses Republican lawmakers of violating the Wisconsin open meeting requirements to push through the bill. State officials said they were pursuing an appeal of the restraining order.


    The lawsuit says that Republican legislative leaders not only failed to provide 24 hours' notice for the conference committee meeting, they even failed to give two hours' notice -- which is permissible under state law if more notice is "impossible or impractical."

    Republican leaders contended that because they were dealing with a bill tied to a special session, they were required only to post a notice of the meeting on a legislative bulletin board. The posts, they said, appeared on boards near the Senate and Assembly chambers two hours before the meeting began. [The New York Times, 3/18/11]

WSJ: Judge Found The Lawsuit "Had Enough Merit For Her To Issue A Temporary Restraining Order To Prevent" Publication Of The Bill. From The Wall Street Journal:

    A Wisconsin circuit court judge put on hold Friday a new law that would curtail collective-bargaining rights for public unions, delaying for now the implementation of bitterly contested legislation that drew thousands of protesters and shut down the legislature.


    Judge Maryann Sumi said a lawsuit filed by the Dane County district attorney had enough merit for her to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the bill while she reviews the case.

    In his complaint, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne argued that the state's open-meeting laws were violated when Republican leaders whisked the bill through committee last week without giving a 24-hour public notice. In emergencies, meetings may be called with just two hours' notice. Mr. Ozanne argued that even that minimal standard hadn't been upheld.


    Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, said the Wisconsin Department of Justice planned to appeal the judge's restraining order. [The Wall Street Journal, 3/19/11]

Contrary To Fox & Friends' Claims, There Is No Evidence That Judge Was Ideologically Motivated

Judge Sumi Was Appointed By Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. Contrary to Camerota's suggestion that the legal proceedings could be "just another way for Democrats to overturn" the law,as well as Kleefisch's assertion that the judge "cannot simply block the publication of a law because she doesn't like what's inside of it," Judge Sumi was appointed in 1998 by Governor Tommy Thompson -- a Republican. [The New York Times, 3/18/11]

WI State Journal: "Sumi Said She Was Making No Judgment On The Merits Of The Bill." An article in the Wisconsin State Journal stated that Judge Sumi said she was not passing a judgment on the merits of the bill and also noted that she acknowledged she has no power to stop the Legislature from reconvening and passing the bill again. From the article:

    Sumi set a hearing on a longer-term order blocking the bill for March 28. That is expected to take much longer, with a number of witnesses expected to testify. But in response to a question from Lazar, Sumi said she can't stop the Legislature from re-convening a properly-noticed meeting and passing the bill again.


    In her decision, Sumi said she was making no judgment on the merits of the bill and was deciding only the open meetings issue. [The Wisconsin State Journal, 3/18/11]

Why does Fox hates honesty, integrity and traditional American values. I'm not sure.  They do make millions feeding America's knuckle dragging community lots of propaganda. So maybe its all the money that blinds them to the kind of values we should have from a true American broadcaster.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wall Street Banks Earned Billions In Profits Off $7.7 Trillion In Secret Fed Loans

There was originally a post here about PERF - a police related organization. I have been unable to confirm some of the assertions in the story-link that was in the post, thus the deletion. Facts matter. The photo above speaks for itself - some police are acting more like thugs than law enforcement officials. That is simply a fact, not a general comment on law enforcement- an honorable profession.

Wall Street Banks Earned Billions In Profits Off $7.7 Trillion In Secret Fed Loans

In the lead-up to the financial crisis (2006-2008) that crippled the American economy and plunged the country into a recession, the Federal Reserve made trillions in undisclosed loans to struggling banks and financial institutions, according to official documents obtained by Bloomberg News. Six of the country’s largest banks then turned those loans into more than $13 billion in previously undisclosed profits.

The total cost of the Fed loans amounted to $7.77 trillion, and unlike the funds made available by the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the loans came with virtually no strings attached for the banks...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Perry Ad Distorts Obama ‘Lazy’ Comment

Perry Ad Distorts Obama ‘Lazy’ Comment

Texas Gov. Rick Perry takes President Obama to task in a new TV ad for recently suggesting — in Perry’s words — that “Americans are lazy.”

“Can you believe that? That’s what our president thinks is wrong with America? That Americans are lazy? That’s pathetic,” Perry says in the spot that’s airing in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

The only problem: the full context of Obama’s remarks made Saturday during a meeting of CEOs in Honolulu indicates he wasn’t suggesting that at all.

Boeing CEO James McNerney asked Obama about his thinking on the perception by some countries of “impediments to investment” in the U.S.

Obama replied that “we’ve been a little bit lazy” about actively trying to attract private foreign investors to U.S. soil — referring broadly to American government and business sectors, not the American people themselves.

Obama’s comments in full:

“I think it’s important to remember that the United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world. And there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity — our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture.

But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America. And so one of things that my administration has done is set up something called SelectUSA that organizes all the government agencies to work with state and local governments where they’re seeking assistance from us, to go out there and make it easier for foreign investors to build a plant in the United States and put outstanding U.S. workers back to work in the United States of America.

Romney has also lied about what President Obama actually said. It seems like we have another crop of Republicans running for office who lack the character and integrity that we should get from our government.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lying Sleaze Bags of the Week - Conservative Nuts At American Crossroads

Karl Rove spending millions lying about everyone - Crossroad GPS launches misleading ads against Elizabeth Warren, Jon Tester and Tim Kaine

An ad by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS attacking Montana Sen. Jon Tester was pulled from the air by a cable service because it contains nothing but very blatant and indefensible lies, unlike the usual defensible lies and distortions most political ads make.

Cablevision’s Optimum cable pulled the ad, which claimed that Tester voted against banning the EPA from regulating farm dust. The supposed EPA rule was completely imaginary and the vote was about Chinese currency manipulation.

I bet Crossroads is super embarrassed about this awful mistake, right? Of course they are:

    Nate Hodson of Crossroads said in defense of the pulled ad, “It was a very small cable system. The four largest broadcast stations in Montana reviewed the facts supporting the ad and will continue airing it.”

    He said later, “We are communicating with the cable system and expect that the ad will be back up and running on cable soon.”

At least the ad pitting Bill Clinton against Obama while falsely claiming that Obama wants to raise everyone’s taxes right now is based on deceptively edited quotes! This is just based on fantasy.

The dishonest Crossroads ad attacking Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine has a similarly weird blatant lie, claiming Virginia under Kaine ran a “big deficit,” which is not the case. (Virginia slashed spending after the recession made revenues plummet, a move Republicans and deficit hawks everywhere support.)

But because Elizabeth Warren, running for Senate in Massachusetts, represents the greatest threat both to a sitting Republican senator and to the conservative economic message in general, Rove and Crossroads are sparing no expense smearing her. Warren took credit for inspiring the national conversation about economic injustice that led to the Occupy Wall Street protests. Or, in Crossroads’ words, she “sides with extreme left-wing protests” while … ignoring “jobs.” Elizabeth Warren supported protesters doing drugs, even though millions of Americans are out of work! For shame.

Warren, unfazed, launched her campaign with an ad attacking Wall Street, because Americans seriously don’t like Wall Street, but Crossroads spent $560,000 on the “radical redistribution of wealth” ad and plans to spend $150 million altogether defeating Warren.

Rove has, it seems, realized that you don’t even need to base your attack ad on something that actually happened.

Very predictable. The cult of anti-American conservatism cannot win based on facts and the truth. never have been able to. Conservative has become a magnet for wusses who hate the very idea of living in a modern enlightened democracy.

Democracy and Freedom Get a Boot in The Face - Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street

Democracy and Freedom Get a Boot in The Face - Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street

They came from all over, tens of thousands of demonstrators from around the world, protesting the economic and moral pitfalls of globalization. Our mission as members of the Seattle Police Department? To safeguard people and property—in that order. Things went well the first day. We were praised for our friendliness and restraint—though some politicians were apoplectic at our refusal to make mass arrests for the actions of a few.

Then came day two. Early in the morning, large contingents of demonstrators began to converge at a key downtown intersection. They sat down and refused to budge. Their numbers grew. A labor march would soon add additional thousands to the mix.

“We have to clear the intersection,” said the field commander. “We have to clear the intersection,” the operations commander agreed, from his bunker in the Public Safety Building. Standing alone on the edge of the crowd, I, the chief of police, said to myself, “We have to clear the intersection.”


Because of all the what-ifs. What if a fire breaks out in the Sheraton across the street? What if a woman goes into labor on the seventeenth floor of the hotel? What if a heart patient goes into cardiac arrest in the high-rise on the corner? What if there’s a stabbing, a shooting, a serious-injury traffic accident? How would an aid car, fire engine or police cruiser get through that sea of people? The cop in me supported the decision to clear the intersection. But the chief in me should have vetoed it. And he certainly should have forbidden the indiscriminate use of tear gas to accomplish it, no matter how many warnings we barked through the bullhorn.

My support for a militaristic solution caused all hell to break loose. Rocks, bottles and newspaper racks went flying. Windows were smashed, stores were looted, fires lighted; and more gas filled the streets, with some cops clearly overreacting, escalating and prolonging the conflict. The “Battle in Seattle,” as the WTO protests and their aftermath came to be known, was a huge setback—for the protesters, my cops, the community.

More than a decade later, the police response to the Occupy movement, most disturbingly visible in Oakland—where scenes resembled a war zone and where a marine remains in serious condition from a police projectile—brings into sharp relief the acute and chronic problems of American law enforcement. Seattle might have served as a cautionary tale, but instead, US police forces have become increasingly militarized, and it’s showing in cities everywhere: the NYPD “white shirt” coating innocent people with pepper spray, the arrests of two student journalists at Occupy Atlanta, the declaration of public property as off-limits and the arrests of protesters for “trespassing.”

The paramilitary bureaucracy and the culture it engenders—a black-and-white world in which police unions serve above all to protect the brotherhood—is worse today than it was in the 1990s. Such agencies inevitably view protesters as the enemy. And young people, poor people and people of color will forever experience the institution as an abusive, militaristic force—not just during demonstrations but every day, in neighborhoods across the country.
Much of the problem is rooted in a rigid command-and-control hierarchy based on the military model. American police forces are beholden to archaic internal systems of authority whose rules emphasize bureaucratic regulations over conduct on the streets. An officer’s hair length, the shine on his shoes and the condition of his car are more important than whether he treats a burglary victim or a sex worker with dignity and respect. In the interest of “discipline,” too many police bosses treat their frontline officers as dependent children, which helps explain why many of them behave more like juvenile delinquents than mature, competent professionals. It also helps to explain why persistent, patterned misconduct, including racism, sexism, homophobia, brutality, perjury and corruption, do not go away, no matter how many blue-ribbon panels are commissioned or how much training is provided.

External political factors are also to blame, such as the continuing madness of the drug war. Last year police arrested 1.6 million nonviolent drug offenders. In New York City alone almost 50,000 people (overwhelmingly black, Latino or poor) were busted for possession of small amounts of marijuana—some of it, we have recently learned, planted by narcotics officers. The counterproductive response to 9/11, in which the federal government began providing military equipment and training even to some of the smallest rural departments, has fueled the militarization of police forces. Everyday policing is characterized by a SWAT mentality, every other 911 call a military mission. What emerges is a picture of a vital public-safety institution perpetually at war with its own people. The tragic results—raids gone bad, wrong houses hit, innocent people and family pets shot and killed by police—are chronicled in Radley Balko’s excellent 2006 report Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America.

It is ironic that those police officers who are busting up the Occupy protesters are themselves victims of the same social ills the demonstrators are combating: corporate greed; the slackening of essential regulatory systems; and the abject failure of all three branches of government to safeguard civil liberties and to protect, if not provide, basic human needs like health, housing, education and more. With cities and states struggling to balance the budget while continuing to deliver public safety, many cops are finding themselves out of work. And, as many Occupy protesters have pointed out, even as police officers help to safeguard the power and profits of the 1 percent, police officers are part of the 99 percent.

There will always be situations—an armed and barricaded suspect, a man with a knife to his wife’s throat, a school-shooting rampage—that require disciplined, military-like operations. But most of what police are called upon to do, day in and day out, requires patience, diplomacy and interpersonal skills. I’m convinced it is possible to create a smart organizational alternative to the paramilitary bureaucracy that is American policing. But that will not happen unless, even as we cull “bad apples” from our police forces, we recognize that the barrel itself is rotten.

Assuming the necessity of radical structural reform, how do we proceed? By building a progressive police organization, created by rank-and-file officers, “civilian” employees and community representatives. Such an effort would include plans to flatten hierarchies; create a true citizen review board with investigative and subpoena powers; and ensure community participation in all operations, including policy-making, program development, priority-setting and crisis management. In short, cops and citizens would forge an authentic partnership in policing the city. And because partners do not act unilaterally, they would be compelled to keep each other informed, and to build trust and mutual respect—qualities sorely missing from the current equation.

It will not be easy. In fact, failure is assured if we lack the political will to win the support of police chiefs and their elected bosses, if we are unable to influence or neutralize police unions, if we don’t have the courage to move beyond the endless justifications for maintaining the status quo. But imagine the community and its cops united in the effort to responsibly “police” the Occupy movement. Picture thousands of people gathered to press grievances against their government and the corporations, under the watchful, sympathetic protection of their partners in blue.

It might be in the best interests of OWS to move on to periodic protests, virtual protests on the net, but that does not make what police across the nation - and the mayors who directed them, right in taking a military response to citizens exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

Recall of right-wing nut-job Scott Walker recall, Day 1, by the numbers

Wisconsin residents can get a recall petition here. Be cautious of signing the fake recall petitions passed around by anti-American conservatives.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Does government regulation really kill jobs

Does government regulation really kill jobs

The Muskingum River coal-fired power plant in Ohio is nearing the end of its life. AEP, one of the country’s biggest coal-based utilities, says it will cut 159 jobs when it shuts the decades-old plant in three years — sooner than it would like — because of new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency.

About an hour’s drive north, the life of another power plant is just beginning. In Dresden, Ohio, AEP has hired hundreds to build a natural-gas-fueled plant that will employ 25 people when it starts running early next year — and that will emit far fewer pollutants.

The two plants tell a complex story of what happens when regulations written in Washington ripple through the real economy. Some jobs are lost. Others are created. In the end, say economists who have studied this question, the overall impact on employment is minimal.

“If you’re a coal miner in West Virginia, it’s not a great comfort that a bunch of guys in Texas are employed doing natural gas,” said Roger Noll, an economics professor at Stanford and co-director of the university’s program on regulatory policy. “Some people identify with the beneficiaries, others identify with those who bear the cost, and no amount of argument is ever going to change their minds.”

The arguing has lately turned into a brawl. In the face of the country’s unemployment crisis, many politicians have portrayed regulations as the economy’s primary villain.

House Republicans have identified 10 “job-destroying regulations” they want to repeal, and a steady stream of bills have been proposed to block environmental rules governing everything from cement plants to boilers. GOP candidate Mitt Romney has vowed that on his first day as president, he will “tear down the vast edifice of regulations the Obama administration has imposed on the economy.” The White House, meanwhile, says it is making a determined effort to assess how rules are affecting jobs.

The critique of regulations fits into a broader conservative narrative about government overreach. But it also comes after a string of disasters in recent years that were tied to government regulators falling short, including the financial crisis of 2008, the BP oil spill and the West Virginia mining accident last year.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that very few layoffs are caused principally by tougher rules.

Whenever a firm lays off workers, the bureau asks executives the biggest reason for the job cuts.

In 2010, 0.3 percent of the people who lost their jobs in layoffs were let go because of “government regulations/intervention.” By comparison, 25 percent were laid off because of a drop in business demand.

One of the most obvious reasons for regulations is to protect hard working Americans from being ripped off - The Telecom Scam: 5 Behemoths That Strangle Innovation and Ensure You Pay Too Much for Bad Service

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Conservative Lying Sleaze Bag of the Week - John Boehner for claiming that taxing millionaires will hurt small businesses

Conservative Lying Sleaze bag of the Week - John Boehner(R-OH) for claiming that taxing millionaires will hurt small businesses

Will increasing taxes on millionaires squelch job creation?

That’s the assertion behind Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, criticizing President Barack Obama’s jobs bill.

The bill, which so far has been stymied in Congress, calls for a 5.6 percent surtax on incomes greater than $1 million to pay for tax cuts for workers, infrastructure spending, hiring incentives and cash for local governments to keep teachers and police from being laid off.

Republicans oppose the so-called millionaires' tax because they say it will discourage investment and expansion by business owners who are best positioned to create new jobs. But the idea is popular with the public, a point raised by Amanpour in her Nov. 6, 2011, interview with Boehner.

"Now, you obviously disagree with the idea of paying for this with extra taxes," Amanpour said. "Some 75 percent of Americans agree with an increase in tax on millionaires as a way to pay for these jobs provisions. Do you not feel that by opposing it you're basically out of step with the American people on this issue?"

"Well," Boehner responded, "over half of the people who would be taxed under this plan are, in fact, small businesspeople. And as a result, you're going to basically increase taxes on the very people that we're hoping will reinvest in our economy and create jobs. That's the real crux of the problem."

We see this argument raised regularly, so we decided to look further.

Who are the small businesspeople?

To determine the accuracy of Boehner’s statement, we first needed to define a small business owner.

To be clear, we’re not talking about large companies that pay corporate taxes. We’re talking about individuals who have some amount of business income that they are able to account for on their personal tax returns.

Still, defining a small business owner is no simple task.

"A person who gets paid to give a speech shows up along with the owner of a small manufacturing plant, the guy who runs a pizza place, a lawyer in solo practice, a small investment firm and so forth," said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow with the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. "Some of them are what we think of as small businesses that might grow and hire more workers while others are not...Tax returns lack the information needed to sort out the different types of small businesses."

For one thing, they don’t distinguish if a business has any employees.

The Tax Policy Center did glean some valuable insights from tax return data, though, namely by calculating how many people in different income categories get various percentages of their income from businesses.

The information, contained in this chart, shows that among people with income over $1 million, about 60 percent of them get more than 10 percent of their income from businesses. But just 37 percent get more than a quarter of their income from those sources and only 29 percent get half or more.

"Are people who get relatively little income from business really small businessmen?" Williams asked.

These millionaires are more likely earning the bulk of their income through wages or capital gains, he said.

What’s a small business?

The Office of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Treasury Department recognized the vacuum in the debate over taxing small businesses without a clear definition of a small business.

In an August analysis, the authors acknowledge that defining a small business is a matter of setting some subjective parameters. The ones they set include a limit of $10 million in income or deductions to be counted as "small" and a minimum labor deduction of $10,000 to distinguish businesses that don’t have any employees.

Other tests they applied excluded businesses on the very low end of the scale, such as those with $4,600 or less net annual income.

Not surprisingly, by narrowing the definition, far fewer tax filers qualified as small businesses.

The authors found that:

• one-fifth of small businesses are employers, using their definition.

• slightly more than half of small businesses reported total income of less than $50,000, and half of those businesses reported a tax loss for the year.

• only 0.5 percent of small businesses reported a profit in excess of $1 million. For those businesses, investment and rental income comprised roughly half of their reported income.

The study paints a clearer picture of what many of us think of as a small business -- a bagel shop or dry cleaner -- that has several employees, earns a modest income for its owner and yields profits of much less than $1 million.

Other evidence

Boehner’s spokesman acknowledged the speaker could have worded his statement better. Then he referred us to a 2010 report by the Joint Committee on Taxation that examined Obama’s previous proposals to raise income taxes on high earners. The top two income brackets would have seen a bump from 33 percent and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively if the proposals had been adopted.

That report said "50 percent of the approximately $1 trillion of aggregate net positive business income will be reported on returns that have a marginal rate of 36 or 39.6 percent."

But half the income being taxed at that rate is not the same as half the earners being taxed at that rate.

Furthermore, the report said, that $1 trillion income figure does not imply "that all of the income is from entities that might be considered ‘small.’ For example, in 2005, 12,862 S corporations and 6,658 partnerships had receipts of more than $50 million."

We know of few bagel shops and dry cleaners with revenues anywhere near $50 million.

Our ruling

Boehner said, "Over half of the people who would be taxed under this plan are, in fact, small businesspeople."

Boehner is wrong on two points -- the "half" and the "small businesspeople."

Of the business income reported on tax returns, half of it would have been taxed at the top two rates, the Joint Committee on Taxation found. But that doesn’t mean half of the earners are paying those rates.

And it’s incorrect to call small business owners and millionaires who would see a tax increase one and the same. The Joint Committee as well as the Tax Policy Center have given credible evidence that for top earners who report business income, it is often just a fraction of their total income. They are not the folks operating small manufacturing plants or neighborhood pizza parlors. In fact, only 0.5 percent of small businesses make that kind of money. More often, small businesses are small in every sense -- most have incomes of less than $50,000 and almost all have profits of less than $1 million -- and they wouldn’t be affected by the millionaires tax. We rate the statement False.
Jon B. continues to shame the state of Ohio with his sleazy lies and corrupt politics.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Most Desperate Sleaze Bags of the Week - The Drudge Report Attempt to Discredit Cain Accuser With Lame Obama Administration Link

The Most Desperate Sleaze Bags of the Week - The Drudge Report Attempt to Discredit Cain Accuser With Lame Obama Administration Link

In continuing to defend Herman Cain, the right-wing media have tried to connect one of Cain's accusers to the Obama administration. The Drudge Report said that the woman in question, Karen Kraushaar, "works in the Obama administration," while The Blaze said she "works for the Obama administration." However, Kraushaar also held positions in the federal government during both the Bush and Clinton administrations.

The Drudge Report:

The Blaze:

According to the story from The Daily that first named her publicly, Kraushaar has served in several government agencies:

    Karen Kraushaar currently serves as a communications director at the Inspector General's Office of the Treasury Department, a position she has held since last year.


    After the settlement, Kraushaar served as a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the predecessor of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She was a chief spokeswoman during one of the agency's most controversial immigration cases -- the custody battle over Elian Gonzalez, a Cuban boy rescued at sea who was then held by Florida relatives against the will of his father in Cuba. The boy was eventually returned to his dad.

    In 2003, Kraushaar was a communications specialist for the Tax Advocate Service, an independent arm within the Internal Revenue Service that helps impoverished taxpayers.

In addition, the head of the agency Kraushaar reportedly works for now, the Treasury Department inspector general's office, is a Bush appointee.

In other words the worse one can say about her is that she is a career bureaucrat. Republicans say they are for small government  try not to laugh too hard at that long held myth, but they stamped like mad cows when it comes to trying to get appointed to a government job, as many will remember - Bush Makes More Last-Minute Appointments. Drudge continues the right-wing conservative tradition of utter contempt for integrity in reporting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Federal Workers Are Underpaid Compared To Their Private Sector Counterparts, Despite What Flawed Republican Study Says

Federal Workers Are Underpaid Compared To Their Private Sector Counterparts, Despite What Flawed Republican Study Says

To hear Republican presidential primary candidates tell it, the federal workforce under President Obama has experienced ballooning job growth and huge wage increases. Such claims are a staple of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) stump speeches, and for months, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has promised to bring the rest of the workers’ pay into line with comparable employees in the private sector.

Speaking at the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity annual summit Friday, Romney repeated this pledge, saying the pay gap between public and private workers “must be corrected.” “Public servants shouldn’t get a better deal than the taxpayers they work for,” Romney added.

But if Romney truly wants to match the pay of public employees to that of private workers, he would have to give the federal workers a raise, according to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And such a raise wouldn’t be a small one — according to the report, federal workers are underpaid compared to their private sector counterparts by an average of 26.3 percent, and that gap is widening, the Washington Post reports:

    The federal government reported Friday that on average, its employees are underpaid by 26.3 percent compared with similar non-federal jobs, a “pay gap” that increased by about 2 percentage points over last year while federal salary rates were frozen.

When asked if, given the BLS report, Romney was promising to give federal workers a raise should he become president, a Romney campaign spokesperson sent ThinkProgress a report from the conservative Heritage Foundation that said federal workers “receive 30 to 40 percent more in compensation than private-sector employees” once wages and benefits were included. “The federal pay system gives the average federal employee hourly cash earnings 22 percent above the average private worker’s. Including benefits raises the average compensation disparity to between 30 and 40 percent,” James Sherk, the report’s author, wrote.

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) took an extensive look at the Heritage study, however, and found that it was riddled with errors and “methodological problems that call into question the validity of its findings and recommendations.” The Heritage study, for instance, used a BLS survey with a much smaller sample size than the one normally cited in such reports, leading to distortions in its analysis of federal worker pay. In fact, POGO found that the less reliable data distorted Heritage’s wage differentials by 21 to 146 percent.

When I was growing up a lot of the older adults - relatives and their friends - who worked for the government used to complain about their pay, but they always ended by saying that at least they have more job security than the big corporations that would lay off thousands of people every year. I think that is why some people still prefer government work even though state and federal government has slashed payrolls over the last 5 years.

Poll: 50 Percent Say GOP Is ‘Intentionally Stalling’ Economy To Hurt Obama

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Herman Cain Carries On the Tradition of Corrupt Elitist Conservative Politics

Herman Cain Carries On the Tradition of Corrupt Elitist Conservative Politics

A major conservative advocacy group, funded by Koch family oil interests, says it is reviewing its "financial dealings" with a Wisconsin charity headed by Herman Cain's campaign manager, raising fresh questions about the source of tens of thousands of dollars in funds that were used to pay expenses for Cain's presidential campaign.

The Center for Public Integrity reported late Thursday that Americans for Prosperity, one of the largest and most prominent of conservative political groups, has confirmed unspecified financial transactions with two closely linked Wisconsin non-profits -- Prosperity USA and Wisconsin Prosperity Network -- that were founded by Mark Block, Cain's campaign manager.

One of those groups, Prosperity USA, paid for $37,000 in expenses, including iPads, charter flights and items, for Cain's presidential campaign, according to financial documents disclosed this week by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Non-profits are barred by law from paying for campaign expenses, and when the allegations  first surfaced this week -- at the same time as the sexual harassment charges against the presidential candidate -- Cain said he would order an investigation of whether there were improper campaign violations.

Right-wing Conservative Scientist Who Testified In Support Of Mining Around The Grand Canyon Stands To Make $225,000 From It

Police almost kill US military vet who was near OWS protests.

 Local El Cerrito newspaper where Sabeghi's Brew Pub, Elevation 66 is located has a story with a photo of Mr. Sabeghi in the sidebar.

    Kayvan Sabeghi, one of the three main [partners] who started the popular Elevation 66 brewpub in El Cerrito, suffered a lacerated spleen and other injuries in a beating by Oakland police on duty for the Occupy Oakland protests Wednesday night, according to the UK Guardian newspaper and one of his Sabeghi's partners. [...]

    Brian Kelly, another partner at Elevation 66, told Patch this afternoon (Friday) that he had talked to Sabeghi Thursday.

    "He was walking down 14th (14th Street in Oakland) away from the protest," Kelly said. "He walking to his house. He got beaten by police. He's got a lacerated spleen, maybe a couple of broken ribs too."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Anti-American Conservatives At Fox Push Cain's Radical Tax Plan That Would Rise Taxes on Blue Collar America

Anti-American Conservatives At Fox Push Cain's Radical Tax Plan That Would Rise Taxes on Blue Collar America

Fox News' Steve Doocy and guest Neal Boortz hyped GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan on Fox & Friends, claiming low-income tax payers would "probably still [come] out ahead" under Cain's plan. However, experts have said that lower and middle income families would bear a disproportionately larger tax burden under Cain's plan, while some higher-income earners would see their taxes decrease.

Boortz Claims Low-Income Earners Would "Probably Still [Be] Coming Out Ahead" Under Cain's Tax Plan

Boortz: Low-Income Taxpayers Would "Probably Still [Be] Coming Out Ahead Of The Game" Under Cain's 9-9-9 Tax Plan. On the September 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy talked about GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain's proposed "9-9-9" tax plan with guest and radio talk show host Neal Boortz. After Doocy asked Boortz how the a national sales tax would affect "the poor,"  Boortz replied that because payroll taxes would be eliminated under Cain's plan, low-income earners would "probably still [be] coming out ahead of the game." From the show:

    DOOCY: [I]t's the backbone of presidential candidate Herman Cain's economic proposal -- his 9-9-9 plan. Have you heard about it?

        [start video]

        CAIN: Throw out the current tax code and pass the 9 percent business flat tax, a 9 percent personal income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

        [end video]

    DOOCY: So what are the pluses and minuses of the 9-9-9 plan, and could it really work? Let's talk to Neal Boortz, radio talk show host extraordinaire and the co-author of a great book called The FairTax Book.


    DOOCY: I know you were at that particular debate down in Orlando last week. You have known Herman Cain for a very long time, what do -- and you're a proponent of the fair tax.

    BOORTZ: Right.

But Experts Agree 9-9-9 Plan Would Disproportionately Tax Low- And Middle-Income Taxpayers

EPI President Mishel Says Plan Would "Disproportionately Tax Lower And Middle Income Earners." A September 27 post on the ABC News blog The Note quoted Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, as saying that Cain's plan would disproportionately tax lower and middle income earners. The post also noted that the plan's provision of cutting capital gains taxes would "allow 23,000 millionaires to pay no income taxes." From the post:

    Lawrence Mishel , president of the center-left Economic Policy Institute, took issue with Cain's plan, saying it would disproportionately tax lower and middle income earners because they tend to spend a higher percentage of their incomes than wealthy people. And with a national sales tax, the more you buy, the more taxes you pay.


    While a formal number crunch has yet to be completed, some economists are already crying foul over whether the 9-9-9 plan can bring in as much revenue as the current tax system.

    "The first thing I think is show me the money," said Joel Slemrod, an economics professor at the University of Michigan. "I want to know whether it adds up and I suspect it doesn't."

    The 9-9-9 plan eliminates the payroll tax and estate tax, which brought in a combined $883 billion in 2010, or about 41 percent of the $2.16 trillion collected by the federal government last year. Cain's proposal also wipes out taxes on capital gains and repatriated corporate profits.
    The Tax Policy Center estimates that cutting capital gains taxes alone would allow 23,000 millionaires to pay no income taxes, a move that would add $11 billion to the deficit each year. Cain's fellow GOP presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman also support eliminating the capital gains tax. [, 9/27/11]

PolitiFact: Cain's Tax Plan Would Make "Some Poorer Americans Pay More Into The System." In an article published on PolitiFact on September 26, PolitiFact writer and St. Petersburg Times editor Aaron Sharockman wrote that "the flat income tax and the elimination of payroll taxes would result in shifting some of America's tax burden, making some poorer Americans pay more into the system while many middle- and upper-class Americans would pay less." From Sharockman's article:

    Herman Cain stunned the Republican political establishment on Sept. 24, 2011, easily winning Florida's Presidency 5 straw poll by trumpeting a platform of specific tax reforms he calls the "9-9-9 Plan." The plan would eliminate the current tax system all together, replacing it with a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent corporate income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.


    Cain has yet to detail hyper-specific points about the 9-9-9 Plan, but we have a good idea of how it would generally function.

    The 9 percent income tax

    The centerpiece of the 9-9-9 Plan is to eliminate the current, complicated income tax system -- with its series of tax credits and deductions and its variety of tax rates based on income -- and to replace it with a flat income tax. Cain's flat 9 percent income tax also would replace payroll taxes, which all workers pay and that fund Medicare and Social Security, and would end the estate tax, which is a tax on inheritances. Currently, about 49.5 percent of all tax filers pay no income tax at all, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, a respected bipartisan committee of Congress. Cain's income tax would be collected equally for workers with two exceptions -- taxpayers could claim a deduction for charitable contributions (we haven't heard him discuss a limit) and taxpayers could earn a type of tax credit for living in an "empowerment zone," which Cain has described as inner cities needing revitalization. While the result of this part of Cain's plan would affect taxpayers differently, the flat income tax and the elimination of payroll taxes would result in shifting some of America's tax burden, making some poorer Americans pay more into the system while many middle- and upper-class Americans would pay less. [PolitiFact, 9/26/11, emphasis original]

PolitiFact: "A National Sales Tax" Like Cain's "Would Raise the Relative Tax Burden On Low- And Middle-Income [Earners]." Sharockman also noted in his article, "Most economists agree that a national sales tax would raise the relative tax burden on low- and middle-income earning taxpayers." From his PolitiFact article:

    Cain's national sales tax, in effect, would attempt to make up for the reduction of federal revenue by creating the 9 percent income tax. The national sales tax, which would help fund the federal government, would be on top of state and local sales taxes, which fund state and local government. In Florida, that would create a hypothetical tax rate of 15 percent in most parts of the state. In the Wall Street Journal, Cain said the national sales tax would be levied "on all new goods." (A good question to ask would be whether services are exempted.) Most economists agree that a national sales tax would raise the relative tax burden on low- and middle-income earning taxpayers. "The main reason is that low- and middle-income households consume more of their income than high-income households do," said William Gale, senior fellow for economic studies at the Brookings Institution. "Another way of saying that is high-income households save more of their income than low-income households do." [PolitiFact, 9/26/11, emphasis original]

Cain's plan in a nutshell is to rise taxes for America's who work the hardest - blue collar workers whose income comes from doing real work, while lowering taxes on people who make a lot and sometimes all their income simply from interests and stocks. Punish work, reward wealth is Cain's plan.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Anit-American Conservative Shift Blame for Recession on Poor and Middle-Class Americans

Private lenders held most sub prime loans

Wealthy homeowners have stopped paying mortgages at greater rate                                         

Myths and Facts about the Financial Crisis

The conservative spin machine went into overdrive after the financial crisis exploded the claim that unregulated markets always work best. Talking points fed to sympathetic columnists and reporters told an alternate, racially tinged tale: poor people were to blame. In the mythos they created, the Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to “loosen underwriting standards” and to lend to the poor and those with poor credit, forcing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the “800 pound gorilla in the room,” to careen down the path of bad loans, dragging other lenders with them. Incredibly, conservatives blame insufficient regulation of Fannie and Freddie, and cite the Clinton administration as the architect of the mortgage industry’s collapse.

Of course, none of this stands up to scrutiny. Here’s a guide to the most widely spun myths:

Myth #1: De-regulation had nothing to do with this crisis

The Facts
Conservative de-regulation left Wall Street with no cop on the beat. Bush’s conservative appointees rolled back regulation and oversight of banks, insurers, lenders, and credit raters. - The explosion in subprime loans after 2000 were made by unregulated mortgage companies, and the vast majority of them were issued to higher income borrowers, not low- to moderate-income borrowers. - The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA) dismantled Depression-era law that had prohibited bank holding companies from owning other financial companies such as investment, commercial banking, and insurance companies. GLBA ignited a wave of mergers and hampered government regulators charged with preventing conflicts of interest and risky financial behavior.

Myth #2: Private lenders were pressured into giving out risky loans

The Facts
Private lenders—not the government-backed Fannie and Freddie—issued the vast majority of subprime loans, and to low- and moderate-income borrowers in particular. Fannie and Freddie did not guarantee and securitize large quantities of subprime loans. - In fact, Fannie Mae actually lost market share because it chose not to “participate in large amounts of these non-traditional mortgages in 2004 and 2005” because it “determined that the pricing offered for these mortgages often was insufficient compensation for the additional credit risk associated with these mortgages.” As economist Dean Baker stated, “Fannie and Freddie got into subprime junk and helped fuel the housing bubble, but they were trailing the irrational exuberance of the private sector….In short, while Fannie and Freddie were completely irresponsible in their lending practices, the claim that they were responsible for the financial disaster is absurd on its face—kind of like the claim that the earth is flat.” - In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld acknowledged that Fannie and Freddie’s role in Lehman’s demise was “de minimis,” or so small that it does not matter.

Why are conservatives acting like mad dogs in a fevered attempt to blame government, or Clinton or anyone but Wall Street for the housing meltdown and subsequent recession. Because the private sector is never to be held responsible for anything according to conservative dogma. The private banks just cannot make mistakes in Republicans fantasy world.

More here - Did the Poor Cause the Crisis?

Did Liberals Cause the Sub-Prime Crisis? - Conservatives blame the housing crisis on a 1977 law that helps-low income people get mortgages. It's a useful story for them, but it isn't true.

Rich Defaulting on Mortgages At Highest Rate