Blog Archives

The Final Results of the Election…

If you haven’t seen where everything finally ended up after Florida was called (which took an awfully long time and right up to the very end the GOP said Romney had it… but he didn’t), then here it is:

This, to me, is a sure sign that Obama has a mandate to finish his agenda. To win by 126 electoral votes is not insignificant… it is a real rollover.

Now we will listen to Boehner claim that he is ready to cooperate, but will keep the House just a opposed to increasing taxes on the very rich and solving the rest of the economic problems. Will the House Republicans finally support Obama’s goal to increase jobs? Looks like they are going to stay just as opposed. Didn’t they learn anything from the election?

Mitch McConnell will probably keep the Republicans in the Senate from letting things go through, although they are still in the minority. McConnell is up for reelection in Kentucky in 2014, so maybe he will cooperate a little bit just to show that he’s not a schmuck. We’ll wait and see.

 

Employment growth picks up in October with addition of 171,000 jobs

Today the Government released the October Labor Statistics and we see that employers have added a larger-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October across a broad spectrum of businesses. In this, the  final snapshot of the economy before election day, we have an interesting picture of job growth… more than double what it was in September.

Unfortunately, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.9% from 7.8% in September. This was because more people jumped back into the labor market, including a very large group of 18-year old first time workers. This, of course, is a positive sign that workers may be feeling more confident about their job prospects.

The new Labor Department report, which also revised sharply higher job growth in September and August, may give a boost to President Obama, who continues with a slow but positive economic growth. There is still enough information for the undecided to support Obama who has kept us going even though Mitch McConnell and his Republicans have worked overtime to keep Obama’s Job Creation proposals and other forward moving activities from passing or getting any Congressional support. It’s interesting that Obama has gotten as far as he has… and it is even more interesting how little the Republicans have been concerned with helping to relieve our economy.

 

Obama was blocked by Republicans from passing so many bills. Romney doesn’t seem to know that.

In 2010, Mitch McConnell set the Republican Senators’ goal to make sure Obama didn’t get the legislation he promoted approved. Both the Senate and House Republicans set working AGAINST Obama as more important than working FOR America.

Here’s the Republican record for the past 3.5 years:

  1. Tax companies that ship jobs overseas – BLOCKED (Source)
  2. The Dream Act – BLOCKED (Source)
  3. Political Ad disclosure Bill – BLOCKED 2x (Source)
  4. Small Business Jobs Act – BLOCKED 2x (Source)
  5. Anti- Rape Amendment – BLOCKED (Source)
  6. Benefits for Homeless Veterans – BLOCKED (Source)
  7. Affordable Healthcare for America – Voted 33x to Repeal (Source)
  8. Healthcare for the 9/11 First Responders – BLOCKED (Source)
  9. The Jobs Bill – BLOCKED (Source)
  10. Wall Street Reform – BLOCKED (Source)
  11. Oil Spill Liability – BLOCKED (Source)
  12. Immigration Reform – BLOCKED (Source)
  13. Fair Pay Act of 2009 – BLOCKED and DEFEATED (Source)
  14. Unemployment Extension Bill – BLOCKED (Source)

In 2012 they want you to think that Obama is to BLAME!! What do Americans think? If your neighbor blames Obama, pass this list on and let them know the way the GOP congress has acted.

Republicans, As Usual, Block Bill to Bring Jobs Home

 

The best piece I’ve read on this subject is over at PoliticusUSA… and while anything I’d write on the Republicans and their ongoing program to outsource jobs overseas, benefit the wealthy and convince the middle class voter that they are really on their side doesn’t come close to this piece by Rmuse, I have condensed it here. You can read the whole article HERE.

Mitch “I won’t let Obama get anything passed” McConnell

Last Thursday, in another attempt to protect corporations and kill American jobs, Republicans blocked a measure to reward companies that brought jobs back to America, and protect their candidate Willard Romney. Republicans in the Senate refused to allow a vote on a bill, The Bring Jobs Home Act, which provided a 20% tax break for costs related to moving jobs back to the United States, at the same time rescinding deductions for companies that moved operations and jobs overseas. The bill was number one on the President’s congressional “to-do list,” but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to amend it with an Affordable Care Act repeal and Bush-era ta x cuts for the wealthy extension.

——-

Willard “The King of Outsourcing” Romney

With the Senate Republicans action on Thursday, they exposed their agenda of corporate profit protection at the expense of Americans’ jobs. In one fell swoop, they obeyed the Chamber of Commerce, guaranteed more companies will outsource Americans’ jobs, subsidized outsourcing with taxpayer dollars, provided millions for Romney, created jobs in foreign countries, prevented economic growth, and most importantly, killed millions of Americans’ jobs. Their claim the bill was a political ploy by the Obama Administration is patently false because this is the second time in two years Republicans blocked an anti-outsourcing bill.

——-

The Republican focus on jobs since January 2009 has been killing them, not creating them. They voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus), opposed the auto industry bailout, payroll tax cut and extension, all of the President’s jobs bills, and have blocked any new revenue sources that would fund rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. All of the Republican job-killing measures have as their basis protection of the rich and keeping unemployment figures high, and they are not close to being finished if they win control of the White House and both houses of Congress.

——-

It is a mystery why Republicans get any support from Americans when they have spent the past three-and-a-half years deliberately killing jobs and holding up economic recovery. They have, at every step, demonstrated their allegiance to the wealthy and corporations over the American people, and continue claiming a laser-focus on creating jobs while obstructing job creation and giving corporations tax breaks for outsourcing existing ones. Their contempt for Americans looking for work, or barely holding on to their existing jobs, is nothing short of despicable and by blaming President Obama, they reached a new low in hypocrisy.

So, do you believe what these sociopaths are telling you? The only thing I believe is when McConnell says Obama will never get anything passed… whether we need it or not.

Don’t vote for these people. Keep your jobs here. Encourage businesses to make more. You can bet that the upper 1% aren’t going to make any… and they don’t need the tax deduction because their money is invested in tax free havens like the Cayman Islands.

 

A Quote for the Month – No matter what Obama proposes, the Right will show its racist values…

From Sen. Bernie Sanders:

…you have a Republican mindset that says, hmm, let’s see we can repair the infrastructure, save money long time, and create millions of jobs, bad idea. Barack Obama will look good, and we’ve got to do everything that we can to make Barack Obama look bad, so despite the fact that we had a modest bipartisan transportation bill, roads, bridges, public transit pass the senate with over 70 votes, Inhofe, the most conservative guy in the senate, working with Barbara Boxer, we can’t get that bill moving in the House of Representatives. So if you’re asking me why, I would say hundred percent political. If it’s good for America, if it creates jobs, if it’s good for Barack Obama, we can’t do it.”

Do the Republicans really think if they get Romney elected, the Democrats will not get even for this atrocious activity? The Dems have never filibustered EVERY legislation… but if they lose the Senate, watch them show what they learned from Mitch McConnell ( but watch for them to let REAL joint ventures that benefit Americans pass… Dems just can’t get as malicious as Repubs.)

Then again, the last three and a half years of Republicans’ anti-Obama activity may just become the convincing argument to keep Obama in power AND get back more of Congress.

Quotes of the Decade – A New Series

I’ll start with a recent quote by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY):

“This is certainly the most anti-business administration since the Carter years. At least you can say this for President Carter, he was largely incompetent. This administration has actually done a lot of damage to the country.”

And, of course, this was the Administration that saved and revived GM, that cut the amount of Government Spending in relation to it’s income (something Bush and the Republicans never did), and who at least started to increase employment, rather than shoot it into the sewer as in the 8 years preceeding his presidency.
Yet McConnell is listened to with sincere attention by the Press.
This is the same McConnell whose most famous quote this decade was:
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
…and this lack of cooperation started on day one of Obama’s presidency… and persists to this day.

Republicans shoot down Equal Pay law in the Senate.

From RTTGlobal Financial News:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that Democrats say would increase paycheck equity for women. Republican lawmakers argued the bill would put an undue strain on businesses.

Voting 52-47, the Senate fell eight votes short of the 60 necessary to hold an outright vote on the bill. All 47 Republicans in the chamber voted against it, with the exception of Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who was absent.

The bill, dripping with election-year politics, was intended to close a pay gap between women and men by increasing litigation opportunities for women, closing a variety of legal loopholes, strengthening federal enforcement authority and barring employers from retaliating against employees who share pay information with colleagues.

Even though women make 84¢ an hour for every buck a man makes in the same job (some say 77¢), the attempt today to remedy that situation in the U.S. Senate was pretty much pissed on by 100% of the Senate Republicans.

There are two problems here… problems which won’t go away while we still have the same Democratic-to-Republican ratio:

- The need to have 60 votes, and not a simple majority, to pass an item. This is what is called a “filibuster” and used to be pulled out only rarely, on extremely important bills that had strong disagreements. And it used to require all Senators to be present and those filibustering had to keep speaking on the floor or give up (remember Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington“?). This all changed when Republicans decided when Obama was elected to make ALL votes filibusters… and no one has to speak. They just declare it and it automatically goes to the 60 vote requirement. As Mitch McConnell told us in 2008, he’s not going to let any legislation brought in by Obama pass.

- A significant realization that Senators (both parties) can be influenced (read “instructed”) to vote as requested by their major funders. Corporations and Chambers of Commerce did NOT want to equalize the pay of women to that of men. Why? It would cost them more. So this is why 100% of Republicans…even women… sat on their hands on this one.

Obama was a major supporter of this bill. Romney never said a word about it, even though many expected he would show his relationship to his party by expressing his support for their action.

In his statement on the Republican negative vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked Romney why he had not at least called some of the Republican Senators to say he supported this bill (one of his assistants had e-mailed a response to the net that Romney had always supported equal pay.)

“This is a common-sense measure with broad public support. Nine out of 10 Americans – including 81 percent of men and 77 percent of Republicans – support this legislation. But once again, the only Republicans who are left opposing a common-sense measure to improve our economy and help middle-class families are the ones here in Washington.”

What do you women readers think of this? Does it affect you? Are you paid less than men where you work for similar occupations?

Quote of the Day – Criticizing his own Party

Alan Simpson regarded the current Republicans in Congress unwillingness to compromise on proposed tax increases as their greatest failure.

“If you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the east or something. But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise. And you learn to compromise on the issue without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rock for brains.”

- Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.)

It’s certainly time to remember that before the teabaggers got in and before Mitch McConnell said publicly he would not support ANYTHING that Obama wanted, compromise is what kept the system running. And now it is, at best, stalled out.

“For heaven’s sake, you have Grover Norquist wandering the earth in his white robes saying that if you raise taxes one penny, he’ll defeat you. He can’t murder you. He can’t burn your house. The only thing he can do to you, as an elected official, is defeat you for reelection. And if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we’re in extremity, you shouldn’t even be in Congress.”

I never really cared for Alan Simpson before…but this gives me a whole new understanding. And to stick a finger in Grover Norquist’s eye… Bravo!

Remembering when Republicans were admired by ALL Americans…

 Read Robert G. Ingersol’s piece on Abraham Lincoln written in 1894. This gives a clear perspective on a Republican leader who served the WHOLE country:

http://www.archive.org/stream/abrahamlincolnle00inge#page/n3/mode/2up

(ever wonder what Lincoln would have thought of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner?)

All things considered, Barack Obama is one of the Best Presidents we have had…

Mother Jones has printed an intro to an upcoming Washington Monthly commentary by Paul Glastris concerning the evaluation of Barack Obama’s first term. The cover story is called “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama,” a headline almost guaranteed to set your teeth on edge.

The main text of the Glastris article refers to what Obama has accomplished as opposed to the criticism of what he hasn’t.

It turns out that damn few Presidents have accomplished as much in under four years.

From the Mother Jones commentary by Kevin Drum:

Obama deserves to be judged by ordinary human standards, not by standards of perfection. A sidebar to Glastris’ piece lists Obama’s top 50 accomplishments, and I think it was a mistake to create a list so long. It ends up looking like the usual boring laundry list that any president can trumpet. Better to pare it down to 10 really top achievements in order to highlight how many truly major accomplishments Obama has been responsible for. So I did. Except I couldn’t get there. I cut it down to 13 and got stuck. Here they are, in the same order as the original Washington Monthly list:

1. Passed Health Care Reform
2. Passed the Stimulus
3. Passed Wall Street Reform
4. Ended the War in Iraq
6. Eliminated Osama bin Laden
7. Turned Around US Auto Industry
9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies
14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program
16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards
18. Passed Mini Stimuli (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011)
22. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants
27. Achieved New START Treaty

These are all big deals. Big fucking deals, to quote our vice president. Unless you’re just bound and determined to sulk in your tent while insisting that health care was a sellout and the stimulus was too small and Dodd-Frank was feeble and the mini stimuli were more like micro stimuli, there’s just no way around the fact that this is a historically colossal set of progressive accomplishments, especially in the face of a historically hostile political environment.

Remember, this was all during a term when Mitch McConnell went public saying he would make sure none of Obama’s desired legislation would get passed; when tea party members elected to the Congress spent more time criticizing the POTUS than promoting the better lives of the people.

Obama hasn’t done everything I wanted, either. I wish we were out of Afghanistan by now, and I wish we had single-payer health. Maybe someday these will happen. I do believe that no one is perfect… but some people currently in the presidential office are more perfect than others.

Listen to the noise!

Tea Partiers are complaining bitterly that Boehner and the Republicans gave in on the Payroll tax problem. Obama supporters are cheering because Barack finally stood up to the House. Boehner is apparently in tears while Eric Cantor fishes for his Speaker seat.

What a way to spend a Friday. I’m exhausted just watching Chris Matthews argue with guests.

As for me… it’s the weekend, Christmas Eve is tomorrow night… and politics will be gone for at least two days.

Has the Republican House Sealed its Fate?

“Based on the historical record we can confidently predict that if a large number of incumbents lose their seats next November, it will be because 2012 is a wave election and that almost all of the defeated incumbents will come from the party on the losing side of the wave.”

- Alan I. Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University

Boehner Leads the Ranks of the Inverted

So Boehner turned out the lights and sent the House home, even though Democrats were calling for a continuing discussion to get the interim Payroll bill of the Senate passed, giving 60 days to come up with the final compromise without attacking the economic lives of middle Americans.

Even the Wall Street Journal, not a left leaning publication, tried to get the Republican leader and his Tea Party Poopers to see the three reasons that made the House Majority the bad guys:

Reason #1: House Republicans allowed the Senate to break for the Christmas holiday without explicit orders it would need to come back. In fact, Politico notes that the silence from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is deafening. Reason #2: The Senate passed its legislation by a bipartisan 89-10 vote, raising the question whether a conference committee could produce a deal that could get 60-plus Senate votes. Reason #3: The House GOP didn’t allow an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, suggesting that it could have passed if they did. Those three reasons will be hard for the House GOP to explain away if the tax cut expires after Dec. 31.”

We are left with no payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers and aid for several million long-term unemployed Americans expiring on Dec. 31. If the Republicans wanted to make Obama look good in this situation, they couldn’t have done it better.

The question now is what will the majority of Americans think when an extra cut comes out of their paychecks and they bring their anger into the public venue (think of the Occupy movement)? Too bad we can’t vote for House members tomorrow!

Quote of the Day – Looks like the Occupy Movement will benefit Obama

“While people were pretty evenly split on whether the administration favors the middle class, the rich or the poor, they were all but unanimous about which class the Republicans favor; 69 percent said Republicans in Congress favor the rich, while just 9 percent said the middle class and 2 percent said the poor. That’s a significant perception problem for the GOP, and the Occupy Wall Street protesters — for whatever bad press they have created and will create due to the actions of some participants — are rallying support against the very class that the GOP is thought to favor.”

- Chris Cillizza, The Fix, Washington Post

I’m not sure the GOP cares… nothing else that has been said, polled, complained about or done has gotten them to listen to the Middle Class that they started to disable with Reagan. The day one of those turkeys comes out to Tax The Rich and gets the Republican Party behind him (or her) is the day the world will end.

Congress is back in session… don’t expect anything new.

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

- Mark Twain

So now there is a reason to find the day’s comedy on C-Span and C-Span2 once more. Unfortunately, this is no longer comedy, but the essence of our national tragedy.

Tragedies have tragic figures, of course, who fall into the inescapable fissure of their own inabilities. The tragic figures here are not Democrats, not Republicans, not the President,

Mitch McConnell LEADS the Ranks of the Inverted

not Mitch McConnell, not John Boehner, and for heaven’s same not the Tea Party.

We are the Tragic Figures: Americans. Americans who no longer vote because they have  been alienated by one party or the other with the marketing assistance of Corporations and that 1% of the population that controls 80% of the money. Americans who hear politicians say “Put America First” and “Put Americans Back To Work” – yet cancel each other out on their own votes in Congress. Americans who are bought off without even knowing it… have been since Reagan… and who attack their own state of well being while they think they are standing strong.

The major point of tragedies is that they prove their point, but don’t end well. The Tragic Figure dies, or has eyes pulled out, or loses everything necessary to maintain life.

In a recent  Truthout article called “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult”, Mike Lofgren shows the strategy that Republicans use to carry us further into unending misery:

Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.

John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

“Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today’s Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.”

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters’ confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that “they are all crooks,” and that “government is no good,” further leading them to think, “a plague on both your houses” and “the parties are like two kids in a school yard.”

…and, of course, the resulting action is that65% of Americans at a minimum no longer vote.

And that’s the real tragedy.

It was a long night… hopefully today ends it all…

They decided last night and the Senate took a late vote… now it’s up to the House. The new Debt bill is not very strong on Democratic points and overburdened with Republican points (although it is House Republicans who can possibly kill it today) and we are hearing comments from all sides:

“Real spending cuts. No tax hike. Gang of Six said it could not be done. 1982, 1990 are now bad memories we learned from. Onward.”

- Grover Norquist

“The compromise we have agreed to is remarkable for a number of reasons, not only because of what it does, but because of what it prevents.”

- Harry Reid

“This is an important moment for our country. I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is a framework in place to assure a significant degree of cuts to Washington spending.

- Mitch McConnell

“Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need.”

- Barack Obama

“Now listen, this isn’t the greatest deal in the world. But it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.”

- John Boehner

So now we wait for the vote.

The Idiots are “debating” all day…

… but are they coming up with anything? The Senate has  kept the Boehner Bill from getting voted on…. the House has voted down the Reid Bill (which he Senate hasn’t even voted on and which they can’t agree on an up-and-down vote… in which it would pass… or a 60 person vote…which it would fail.)

The Senate is coming to a decision at 1:00 AM… I don’t know if I want to stay up this late and find that nothing takes place.

I wonder if this Congress has any idea how stupid they appear to the rest of us in America? If they did, this would probably not be happening.

Quote of the Day – From the Democratic Governor’s Conference

Concerning the walls Republicans have built up to block Obama‘s Debt Ceiling proposals:

“I think that there is an extreme wing within their party who have as their primary goal not the jobs recovery, but the defeat of President Obama in 2012.  They know that their formulations, their policies of less revenues and less regulation badly failed our country and plunged us into this recession. So their only way of evening the playing field is to keep the president from being successful in the jobs recovery.”

- Martin O’Mally, Governor of Maryland at the Democratic Governor’s Conference in Salt Lake City.

Truer words were never spoken.

Jobs Bill Killed!

This was sent to me this morning in John Case’s Daily Mailing:

Another Jobs Bill Killed via Open Congress : Blog by Donny Shaw on 6/23/11

On June 6th, the Senate opened debate on the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011, a bill to reauthorize and expand a long-running and consistently successful job-creation agency, the
Economic Development Administration. The EDA has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, and this reauthorization bill was introduced with bipartisan co-sponsorship and passed out of committee without any dissent from Republicans. But after two weeks of debate, the bill was unanimously filibustered by Republicans and has now been pulled from the floor.

Like the last jobs bill to die in the Senate, the bill was bogged down and ultimately killed by dozens of controversial and unrelated amendments that were submitted to it. Senate rules do not requireamendments to be germane to the bill they are submitted to, so individual senators can choose to use any bill to force a vote on any of their pet issues. By the time the EDA bill was killed, 99 amendments had been submitted, and the list read like an overview of current hot-button political topics. The amendments included everything from raising the debt ceiling, to repealing health care reform, repealing financial regulatory reform, expanding offshore oil drilling, and more.

This problem of non-controversial bills being killed by controversial amendments has its roots in a deal on procedure that Democratic and Republican Senate leaders agreed to at the beginning of this session.
In exchange for Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] keeping bills open to amendments, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] and his caucus agreed to not mount filibusters of bringing bills to the floor as a matter of routine. As a result, the Democratic majority has been able to hold debates on their legislative agenda, but the Republicans have also been able to turn every debate into an attempt to repeal health care reform.

The Senate Majority Leader has almost complete control over what bills get brought up for debate, so it is the case that most Republican issues stand no chance of being voted on this session outside the amendment process. But the Senate can’t vote on every contentious political topic for every bill, so Reid has to make a decision when to cut off the amendment process and start moving towards passing the underlying bill. In this case, Reid allowed two Democratic amendments and two Republican amendments to be voted on before filing a motion to end debate and move forward towards passage. But since most senators didn’t get to have their pet amendments voted on, they voted against
 he motion to end debate and essentially forced a filibuster. Even Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK], an original co-sponsor of the bill, voted for the filibuster.

And so gridlock prevails, even on the one issue that everyone claims to care about — job creation. Just another example of why Americans have less confidence in Congress than any other institution in American society.

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So the next time Mitch McConnell complains about Obama not doing anything to create jobs, send this article to his office and ask “Why?”

Why are we being taken over by utter stupidity?

I start the morning with a guy ringing the front doorbell and, rather than run downstairs holding the dogs so they don’t run out the door, I open the window and say “Yes?” He asks me if I want information on the celebration of the death of Jesus Christ.

“No, thank you. No, I don’t.”

Perhaps I should put an “atheist lives here” sign on the door… that might keep these folks from coming around (and there are more and more of them lately.) Or perhaps I should go door to door asking if people want information on pure logic as it relates to religious myth. Probably not.

Then I get back to the computer and I’m reading Taegan Goddard‘s morning posts and find this:

House Denies Global Warming is Real

The House of Representatives defeated an amendment to a bill that “would have put the chamber on record backing the widely held scientific view that global warming is occurring and humans are a major cause,” reports The Hill.

The amendment, which stated that “Congress accepts the scientific findings of the Environmental Protection Agency that climate changes is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare,” failed by a near party-line vote of 184 to 240. The only Republican to vote for the amendment is Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), while three Democrats voted against it.

These are people who have control over money given to scientific research (which they are now probably going to try and eliminate) and who represent any possibility of protecting ourselves in the future from destroying our world.

Of course, the Congressfolk are now working as hard as it can to shut down the government without making their own parties seem responsible. Each side claims to not want the shutdown. At least one group (read “Tea Party”) has taken a stand against ANY compromise, and that will keep Republicans in a muddle.

We are being governed by the brain dead… led by people walking backwards into an existential hole.

I’m going back to bed.

And it begins again… this time in the Senate

 

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

- Mark Twain

As I settled in this afternoon awaiting a coming ice storm (the first of these just missed us last night) and curious about what’s going on in Egypt where around 2 million people were demonstrating today for Hosni Mubarak‘s resignation (in a speech this afternoon he said he would not run for reelection and would be out of office by the Fall… as you might guess, this does not seem good enough for the demonstrators who want him out now) I wondered what was happening on C-Span 2.

I thought I’d watch the Senate debate the FAA Funding Bill and what do you think happened? Senate Republicans have attempted to repeal last year’s sweeping health care law via an amendment to a FAA funding, proposed by the beloved Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Not since the Earth’s creation some 6000+ years ago, when men and dinosaurs peaceably shared the world, have I heard such idiocy.

So, instead of solving the major problem of supporting and improving Airline regulations, we are listening to Republicans tell us that most Americans are opposed to the Health Care law (although recent polls indicate that an average of 80% of those Americans DON”T WANT IT REPEALED!) They are adamant that 50 million people who became covered due to parts of the Affordable Care Act should be dropped from coverage… and at the same time they will continue to waste our time and money with this kind of folderol. I thought Harry Reid was going to keep this crap off the floor.

I guess this is going to be Mitch’s strategy… no matter what bill is proposed, Mitch will see to it that an amendment to repeal Health Care will be included. And we will look on in disbelief. Maybe we need 2 million Americans to stand outside of Congress until Mitch and his pals decide to take an early vacation.

 

How the GOP will force a repeal vote in the Senate

This from Salon, by Alex Pareene… something to start your depressing morning with:

 

clipped from www.salon.com
Exciting news! Having already wasted a day of everyone’s time pretending to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House of Representatives, Republicans are now set to force a vote on repeal in the Senate, where purely symbolic expressions of legislative sour grapes can take weeks.
It was previously thought that Harry Reid would simply block a vote on repeal and that would be the end of it, but Minority Leader Mitch McConnell always finds a way. He could use “Rule 14″ to bring it to the floor, for example. Or — and this is what he’ll probably do — he could attach repeal as an amendment to something likely to pass the Senate.
The Heritage Foundation even has a little FAQ on how the Senate can repeal Obamacare. Of course, irony of ironies, every repeal option requires either 60 or 67 votes.
I am expecting basically weeks of make-believe repeal of Obama’s cootiecare health bill, over and over again. It just feels good, to the GOP.
blog it

It’s January 1st…A New Year!

I woke up at 5 minutes to 12 last night and saw the ball drop a Times Square, so I know it’s really a New Year. Now, here I am on Saturday morning, the first day of January, and I’m watching the Editor in Chief of Hotline taking calls on C-Span and, all of a sudden, I feel like we’re back in the same old political swamp.

Listening to the usual flow of call-ins, Republicans who are convinced that the Left controls the media and Democrats who know that the Right is going to fix the 2012 elections and Independents who think that we’re screwed no matter which way we go, I realize that the next two years is going to be at least as abysmal as the last two.

The economy may well start turning around (which is the only way I think Obama can get reelected) so I expect the President’s focus, aside from the wars that we are pumping our future financial debt into, will be on shrinking unemployment. If he gets it below 8% he probably can’t lose. If Mitch McConnell is going to fulfill his pledge to keep Obama to a single term, he’ll probably be doing as much as possible behind the scenes to keep Americans unemployed (he won’t say so, of course… but watch how he steers Republican votes with Boehner.)

And then there is the flood of Tea Party folks who start serving this month. Could they really split the Republicans? Will they push for a Newt Gingrich for President? Do they have ANY idea of how we will function if the things they campaigned for actually happen?

The Pew Charitable Trust polled Americans to find out that the first decade of this century was rated negative by a 2 to 1 majority. They thought, by a sizeable majority, that the coming decade will be better.

Let’s hope so.

The Embarrassed Republicans and the 9/11 First Responders… an American Drama

When the Senate passed the 9/11 First Responders Bill yesterday it was over 6 Billion Dollars lower than it was originally proposed… primarily because the funding now ends in 2016 instead of 2031… due to Senator Tom Coburn.

Senator Tom Coburn

Coburn vowed to block the 9/11 First Responders  bill, saying he wanted it to be funded through spending cuts. He also claimed the bill had been fast-tracked and skipped committee (but, in fact, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the bill in June — Coburn, a committee member, missed it.)

 

And then two major things happened that shined the light on Republicans in an embarrassing way: Jon Stewart used a whole evening of The Daily Show not to joke, but to interview New York police, fire and other officials who suffered from the physical affronts that effect first responders; and then a large number of those responders swarmed into Coburn’s office:

As John Feal, head of the First Responders, said:

“Mr. Coburn should be ashamed of himself, because I think before he was a senator he was a doctor and he took an oath to help people that are sick. He’s going against his oath as a doctor. He can vote any way he wants as a senator, but as a doctor, he just embarrassed the medical profession.”

Apparently all the Republicans were so embarrassed that the revised bill got 100% support. Mitch McConnell even made a public appearance to say that they were all for the bill before they were against it (well he had to say something).

This became one of Obama‘s big wins yesterday and Mitch McConnell must have suffered through the press conference the President held in the afternoon which certainly pointed a finger at the Republican opposition.

Looks like Obama got more today than anyone expected…

Both the Senate and the House (finally) passed the health bill for 9/11 first responders and it was sent to the White House for Obama‘s signature. The Senate was unanimous (after offices of Senator Coburn and others were stormed by 9/11 first responders this morning.) The House took very little time to pass it… and now it’s going to be law. It looks like the Republicans were “shamed” into coming in on this after tromping it the other day.

The Senate also finished up with and passed the START arms reduction treaty with Russia by a 71-to-26 vote. The treaty had needed at least two-thirds support for passage.

The President signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell bill that was passed yesterday.

I’ll bet Mitch McConnell will have to agree with Lindsey Graham that Harry Reid has “eaten our lunch.”  And the President, at his Press Conference this afternoon said “we are not doomed to endless gridlock.”

Today, Obama and the Democrats lived up to their word. They maintained their focus and, despite the agreement on the Tax Cuts, brought in the majority of their bills. It’s going to be a Happy Holiday for Democrats.

Watching the Senate stage an intelligence dump as they go through Tax Cut votes…

I don’t know if  any of this stuff is really believable. I watched a gloomy couple of hours of debate this morning when the Republicans held off any changes in the Obama-McConnell Tax Cut extension, keeping Democratic changes from coming into play. Now I’m watching as all the amendments proposed by Republicans and Bernie Sanders get voted down (they need a 2/3 majority under these rules), which, I think, it was previously agreed upon.

I guess they will then put the 61 votes necessary behind the Bill as written (and complain about how they HAD to do it… especially from the Democratic side)… and then it will go to the House and go through the same kind of brouhaha with the same results.

I wish I felt that the main motivation here wasn’t “vote for it now so we can go home for Christmas” or some other pathetic excuse. But it seems pretty clear that this will be a day cheered on by the rich, who will make out like bandits for the next couple of years. Sanders’ amendment, which is currently being voted (down, I’m sure… there’s no way it can get the 67 Aye votes necessary) which would remove the tax cuts from the top 2%. As I watch them muddle around on the Senate floor I am more and more aware that this is a crowd of rich people… many who became rich by becoming Senators. Why would they vote against themselves?

And then there’s my Senator, Joe Manchin, and Joe “the sleeze” Lieberman who are voting NO with the Republicans on taxing the rich.

This is going to be even more fun in January when there are more Republicans in the Senate and a Republican Majority in the House. We might as well give our country to the Chinese now and get it over with.

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