Blog Archives

Ever wonder how some people get elected to Congress?

I know I do. The fact that there are Republicans who appear to be uneducated, anti-intellectual and just plain outrageous makes me have a very poor impression of the people who vote for them.

Here are 4 samples of what I’m referring to:

Science and Space Committee? Intelligence Committee? How do these mini-brains get put on committees they don’t seem to have any intellectual connection with?

If statements like these keep them from being re-elected to the House, then I’ll have a much better vision of the voting public. I don’t count on it, however.

 

A Quote for the Day… Republicans in conflict: Jeb Bush vs. Grover Norquist

How did Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush get legislation passed?

“Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad – they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party – and I don’t – as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground.

“Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time – they go a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support.”

– Gov. Jeb Bush (R)

This didn’t make Grover Norquist (no elected office – R) very happy:

“That’s foolish, it’s sup-it’s bizarre.

There’s a guy (Jeb) who watched his father throw away his presidency on a 2:1 [ratio of

Grover Norquist

spending cuts to tax increases] promise. And he thinks he’s sophisticated by saying that he’d take a 10:1 promise. He doesn’t understand – he’s just agreed to walk down the same alley his dad did with the same gang. And he thinks he’s smart. You walk down that alley, you don’t come out. You certainly don’t come out with 2:1 or 10:1.”

 – Grover Norquist, Enemy of Americans (R)

As you know, Norquist crafted a pledge to never increase taxes for any reason that current-day Republicans sign or else have trouble getting support from national Republicans.

The Bush comments are part of a small, but growing schism of Republicans who are starting to break with Norquist’s hard-line orthodoxy on taxes. Whether more Republicans start to break, or Norquist’s anti-tax increase orthodoxy continues to rule the Republican Party is yet to be determined.

CBS News

So, if you are wondering why we don’t get anywhere on Jobs, or battling this depression (see Krugman‘s new book “End This Depression Now”), or getting some kind of focus on improving our overall economy, you need wonder no more. Between McConnell and Boehner‘s refusal to to compromise on anything with Obama and the Democrats, and the insistence of Republicans that they are waiting until after the election, assuming any cooperation now is working against Mitt, I don’t expect anything will happen any time soon.

Why Social Security is doing fine… and how it can do better (Republicans take notes)

That’s the situation. The next time the Republicans accuse Social Security of adding to the deficit, play this for them (and tell them to put back the money Bush stole from it.)

Romney, btw, wants to cut a hunk out of Social Security – but he doesn’t need it.

Even a Conservative sees the reality of lobbyists…

“Lobbying is a form of legalized bribery.”

Christopher Buckley

Here is a former speechwriter in the Reagan White House (and a fine American satirist) who made this statement on Morning Joe this morning. Interesting that he also favors President Obama over Mitt Romney… although he is upset that the Bowles-Simpson report was walked away from by the Administration. In reality, libertarian Buckley was dropped as a conservative National Review writer for endorsing Obama in 2008.

However, in commenting on his political involvement:

“My last name happens to be Buckley. That’s my only connection with politics.”

When Mitt ran for Massachusetts Governor – and when he served – he said some interesting things:

…like he was a Moderate Republican with Progressive views…

…what about preserving a woman’s right to choose and the right of women to have a safe abortion and to support Roe V. Wade

…or not trying to be like Reagan…..

…or as an active participant in Federal support for health care with Ted Kennedy.

Of course that Romney NEVER EXISTED (according to Romney)

And the truth will set you free!

Quote of the Day – Applying the Buffett Rule

Thanks to Bob Cesca:

“I’m not the first president to call for this idea that everybody has got to do their fair share. Some years ago, one of my predecessors traveled across the country pushing for the same concept. He gave a speech where he talked about a letter he had received from a wealthy executive who paid lower tax rates than his secretary, and wanted to come to Washington and tell Congress why that was wrong. So this president gave another speech where he said it was ‘crazy’ — that’s a quote — that certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary. That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.

“He thought that, in America, the wealthiest should pay their fair share, and he said so. I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing that we’re calling for now: a return to basic fairness and responsibility; everybody doing their part. And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.”

– President Obama on the Buffett Rule

You can find out where you would stand with the application of the Buffet, er Reagan Rule to your taxes HERE. By it’s calculations, my household’s tax rate would be 19.5% if the rule was applied.

BTW, in 2010 Romney’s tax rate was 13.9%, which is exceedingly low considering America’s 400 wealthiest taxpayers pay an average rate of 18.1%. How does Romney dip that low?

Under the Buffet Rule, if someone’s income (in a Married household like mine) was $1,000,000.00, the tax rate would be 20.6%…compare THAT to Romney.

Mitt Romney would protect a tax code that allows millionaires like himself to take advantage of loopholes and tax havens. Romney’s tax plan gives the average millionaire a $250,000 tax cut. To pay for these massive tax cuts, Romney will either drive up the deficit, gut programs important to the middle class, or both.

The History of Conservatism since ’73…

As Rick Santorum shows himself to be the purest Conservative in Iowa, let’s remember the great model of the right that these guys revere the most: Ronald Reagan

(courtesy Kirk Anderson at Molotov Comix)

And now, as we hear from Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian, is Rick Santorum, who takes on gay marriage in a positive manner:

Rick Santorum is a super-straight dude who just happens to have a selfless obsession with other men licking each other. He now wants to give those men who have married each other something to make them look more Republican: a divorce! Yes, just like Saint Ronald Reagan, America’s only president to sneer at Jesus by divorcing. [Mark 10:11]

And folks wonder why I can’t find a way to be a Conservative. Perhaps it’s because they have been living in illusionland for the past four decades (I find it hard to get into religion, too).

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.

Prediction: Obama will retake Presidency

Cover of

Lichtman's Book

From Washington Whispers in USNews.com:

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

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

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

Start your morning with a quote from Newt:

“Look, Callista and I have a very similar relationship to Nancy and Ronnie Reagan. And people blame Nancy Reagan for things that Ronald Reagan did.”

— Newt Gingrich, on reports his wife didn’t get along with his now departed campaign staff.

Does that make Newt the New Ronnie?

Quote of the Day (perhaps the Quote of the Month) from a Congressional Idiot:

Rohrabacher joins the Ranks of the Inverted

“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases? Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?”

 – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R – California

Rohrabacher was questioning Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s climate change envoy, on whether the nation’s climate policy should focus on reducing the more than 80 percent of carbon emissions produced by the natural world in the form of decaying plant matter.

And was he serious about this question… it seems like he was. So let’s cut down the rainforests and turn the world into an oxygen-depleted desert. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that forests soak up more than 1/3 of the world’s carbon emissions… and maybe we would do better to not cut down any more forests…ever.

Responding to a NY Times article on Rohrabacher’s statement, a Dallas, TX, reader commented:

Rep. Rohrabacher may not be that far out of the GOP thinking on the environment. It was his fellow Californian Ronald Reagan who claimed in 1981 that: “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.”

Is the lack of thinking problem endemic to California? Or to Republicans? Or just to Congressmen in general? As Mark Twain said:

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

Ed Schultz Apologizes to Laura Ingraham… who apologizes to no one…

As I started watching the Ed Show tonight on MSNBC, Ed came out and did a long apology to Laura Ingraham, to MSNBC, to his wife and family and to his audience for making a low and insulting statement, apparently as an improvisation, on his radio show.

This was the statement:

President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday, but you know, like this right-wing slut — What’s her name, Laura Ingraham — Yeah, she’s a talk slut.

“You see, she was back in the days, praising President Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas.  But now that Obama’s doing it, they’re working him over.”

In his statement, Ed said he had been trying to get Ingraham on the phone to apologize in person, has left a message stating his apology and will continue trying to reach her.

Ingraham responded with cool understatement and claws extended.

“I was surprised to learn that Ed Schultz actually hosted a radio show,” she said.  “Is it available only on line.”

Ingraham added a remark about “men who preach civility but practice misogyny.”

Of course, Ingraham is famous for insulting Obama and his family… like this graphic on her web site:

Separated at Birth

Irish pop group Jedward

Then there was her statement on Nancy Pelosi in November of 2009:

“Nancy Pelosi basically did everything except sell her own body” (to pass health care reform bill).

There was her comment about how “black people” love ribs, followed by another statement on Michelle Obama back in November of 2010:

“Michelle’s lunch was baby back ribs. Afternoon snack, more ribs. Bedtime snack, the last three ribs!”

To date, I’ve never heard Laura Ingraham apologize to anyone… and, you know, she IS a talk slut.

Has Obama Lost His Party’s Base?

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter

Jimmy Carter

Steve Kornacki has an article in Salon which is worth reading, since he compares Obama’s numbers with Jimmy carter’s, Reagan‘s, Geo. H.W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s … Obama comes off pretty well…
For instance,  Jimmy Carter’s numbers were much worse:
Mid-April 1979 overall approval: 40 percent
With Democrats: 52 percent
Now this is what a base problem looks like —

Here’s a couple of clips… go in and read the whole thing.

clipped from www.salon.com
Barack Obama’s speech on Wednesday, in which he aggressively challenged the deficit reduction blueprint being embraced by congressional Republicans, seems to have quieted talk — which was rampant earlier in the week — about the president alienating his party’s base. For now.
Rest assured, there will be more occasions between now and November 2012 when Obama’s rhetoric or his policy choices (or both) offend vocal activists and commentators on the left — at which point a stream of news stories will be devoted to the question of whether Obama is at risk of losing the election because of a fractured base.
Gallup‘s latest data has Obama scoring an 80 percent approval number among Democrats; an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll puts the number at 83 percent. Among liberal Democrats, Gallup has Obama at 80 percent, while NBC/WSJ puts his support at 79 percent. His numbers have remained steady in this range since late 2009.
blog it

This from Salon this morning: A great piece by David Sirota:

clipped from www.salon.com

The states’ legislative sadists

Mad scientists of lawmaking are looking to go medieval on America. Here are six examples

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said that states are the “laboratories of

Louis Brandeis Associate Justice c1916
Justice Brandeis

democracy.” Oft repeated over time, the aphorism has helped impart legitimacy to the rough and tumble of state lawmaking. We’ve heard “laboratory” and we’ve imagined staid scientists in white coats rigorously testing forward-thinking theories of societal advancement.

It’s certainly a reassuring picture — but there is a darker side of the metaphor. States are indeed laboratories. The problem is that today, those laboratories are increasingly run by mad scientists.

We’re not talking about the usual Dr. Frankensteins trying to bring alive new corporate giveaways through harebrained cuts to social services (though there are those, too). We’re talking about true legislative sadists looking to go medieval on America. Behold just six of the most telling examples:
blog it

Quote of the Week – from Joe Scarborough of all people!

“This is one Republican who would prefer that the former half-term governor promote her reality shows and hawk her books without demeaning the reputations of Presidents Reagan and Bush. These great men dedicated their lives to public service and are too good to be fodder for her gaudy circus sideshow. If Republicans want to embrace Palin as a cultural icon whose anti-intellectualism fulfills a base political need, then have at it. I suppose it’s cheaper than therapy. But if the party of Ronald Reagan, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio wants to return to the White House anytime soon, it’s time that Republican leaders started standing up and speaking the truth to Palin,”

Joe Scarborough.

Looks like the Repiglicans face a great divide.

David Stockman, Reagan’s Budget Director, says GOP has abandoned fiscal responsibility…

This morning on Fareed Zakaria’s show:

So, is there something we DON’T know?

Matt Taibbi on the Tea Party Movement…

The current issue of Rolling Stone has an investigative article by Matt Taibbi entitled: Tea and Crackers: How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster. Allow me to say that it is both amazing and revealing. Here is a brief section… please, please, please go in and read the whole thing… you will not regret it:

By  Matt Taibbi
Sep 28, 2010 7:01 AM EDT

This is an article from the October 15, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.

It’s taken three trips to Kentucky, but I’m finally getting my Tea Party epiphany exactly where you’d expect: at a Sarah Palin rally. The red-hot mama of American exceptionalism has flown in to speak at something called the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, a gospel-music hoedown in a giant convention center filled with thousands of elderly white Southerners. Palin — who earlier this morning held a closed-door fundraiser for Rand Paul, the Tea Party champion running for the U.S. Senate — is railing against a GOP establishment that has just seen Tea Partiers oust entrenched Republican hacks in Delaware and New York. The dingbat revolution, it seems, is nigh.

“We’re shaking up the good ol’ boys,” Palin chortles, to the best applause her aging crowd can muster. She then issues an oft-repeated warning (her speeches are usually a tired succession of half-coherent one-liners dumped on ravenous audiences like chum to sharks) to Republican insiders who underestimated the power of the Tea Party Death Star. “Buck up,” she says, “or stay in the truck.”

Stay in what truck? I wonder. What the hell does that even mean?

Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn’t a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — “Government’s not the solution! Government’s the problem!” — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

“The scooters are because of Medicare,” he whispers helpfully. “They have these commercials down here: ‘You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!’ Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.”A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.

After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.

“I’m anti-spending and anti-government,” crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. “The welfare state is out of control.”

“OK,” I say. “And what do you do for a living?”

“Me?” he says proudly. “Oh, I’m a property appraiser. Have been my whole life.”

I frown. “Are either of you on Medicare?”

Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!

“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”

“Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”

I’d love to go on here, but I owe it to Rolling Stone to have you go THERE.

Suppose the Republicans aren’t quite doing all they could to shrink their Party…

Did you think they were doing a pretty good job? Well think again. All you have to do is look at the following Resolution that is making the rounds of Republicans called “RNC RESOLUTION ON FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF CANDIDATES,” and you’ll see why they have only begun to place the gun to their collective foot:

Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed that the Republican Party should support and espouse conservative principles and public policies; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan also believed the Republican Party should welcome those with diverse views; and

WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan believed, as a result, that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies and Republican solidarity in opposition to Obama’s socialist agenda is necessary to preserve the security of our country, our economic and political freedoms, and our way of life; and

WHEREAS, Republican faithfulness to its conservative principles and public policies is necessary to restore the trust of the American people in the Republican Party and to lead to Republican electoral victories; and

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee shares President Ronald Reagan’s belief that the Republican Party should espouse conservative principles and public policies and welcome persons of diverse views; and

WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee desires to implement President Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates; and

WHEREAS, in addition to supporting candidates, the Republican National Committee provides financial support for Republican state and local parties for party building and federal election activities, which benefit all candidates and is not affected by this resolution; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support:

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and
lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style
government run healthcare;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade
legislation;

(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by
opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective
action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care
rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government
restrictions on gun ownership; and be further

RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee; and be further

RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, as they become known, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.

Chief Sponsor:
James Bopp, Jr. NCM IN

Sponsors:
Donna Cain NCW OR
Cindy Costa NCW SC
Demetra Demonte NCW IL
Peggy Lambert NCW TN
Carolyn McLarty NCW OK
Pete Rickets NCM NE
Steve Scheffler NCM IA
Helen Van Etten NCW KA
Solomon Yue NCM OR

Wow! If you disagree with three or more of these things (I disagreed with 6 of them right off) then the Party would give you no funds to run. Moderate Republicans, like those running in Primaries in Florida or California could kiss the Big Elephant goodbye.

If this hadn’t been distributed by REAL Republicans, you could have easily convinced me that it was a Democratic practical joke.

But it’s not.

It’s not yet clear that the resoultion will actually be formally introduced. RNC Committeeman Jim Bopp, Jr., the author of this resolution, is general counsel to the National Right to Life. He confirmed that he and others are considering proposing this resolution at the winter RNC meeting, which will take place in late January.

I would encourage them to get this through… like most Democrats I will cheer on their endeavor!

The Health Care Challenge grows clearer as the Right disrupts Town Meetings.

It is now the day after Senator Benjamin Cardin’s Town Hall meeting in Hagerstown, MD, and I have had plenty of time to see what the local papers and television news have covered on it… plus I spent some time looking into the web sites of organizations that pushed attendees to the meeting (like Resistnet.com) and the prearranged instructions they put out to make sure nothing was reasonably discussed.

And this is what amazes me the most: a couple of hundred people who are my age or older who came to protest the benefits which, for the most part, would serve them well and which they actually need. Thinking back to where this kind of behavior, in which ordinary citizens are convinced to work against themselves, started… the incoming of Ronald Reagan 40 years ago… I am as confused now as I was then.  How do middle-class and lower-middle-class individuals justify campaigning for the things that make their own lives worse?

Before the coming of Reagan, things were paid for with taxes on income… including a substantial amount by the income of the upper classes, banks and investments were Federally regulated so that things weren’t stolen from individual Americans and trade unions protected so many people… defended their lives and investments, made sure they got into colleges, etc. Then, with the progress of years, administrations and changing controls in Congresses during times of Republican domination, regulations were removed one by one until banks and insurance companies could set up investments that crewed the public in favor of gross profit margins for a very few individuals, unions were squeezed out… beginning with the air traffic controllers, 401k plans were substituted for strong and subsidized retirement plans, and slowly but surely the middle classes sank lower and lower in the overall economy.

Until we got to where we are now… the money that had been built up in Social Security was grabbed and payed out… and substituted with outrageous credit statements… by people like George W. Bush, the cost of health plans like Blue Cross… once a public service non-profit changed into a profit making Insurance company… rising faster than the amount of money people were earning until insurance costs took up 1/3 of extremely high medical bills, and our National Debt grew to unbelievable numbers leaving the current administration in a situation where, in order to eventually reduce it, it needed to be increased now in order to keep functioning until laws and regulations could be changed.

But those Insurance companies and others, represented by growing numbers of lobbyists… many former Congressfolk who had long ago realized what side of the bread was buttered… who could spend 1 and 1/3 million bucks a day to make ordinary people get scared to death of “socialism” and “federal control of their lives” and any other lie they could put out… these creatures of Reagan’s previous revolution were ready to work as hard as possible to make sure the 1% OR SO OF UPPER-CLASS FOLKS kept their income and rest of us gladly gave them the opportunity.

After all, if we kept things the same, someday we would all be rich and benefit from this kind of life. We would all be in the .02% of citizens who didn’t lose money on State Lotteries. We would maintain our belief in American Success.

So now, at a Town Hall meeting like the one I went to yesterday in Hagerstown, where Cardin was screamed at about a bill that hadn’t even been written yet, and people believed that their grandparents were going to be put up in front of “death panels” who would notify them that the end had come, I could see the Triumph of the Right and could only hope that the Left would wise up to their majority and screw the idea of bipartisanship ( a joke which the Republicans have made their strongest moves with ), that they would start the march back to the normalcy of Government given us by FDR and Harry Truman and, yes, even Eisenhower … who no longer seems like a Republican a all, and JFK and LBJ.

There is a slim chance that we can get there and health Care is the test. It has been the test since Truman tried to get it. It has been the test since Johnson kept the Right from killing Medicare. And it is the test today.

The question is: Will we pass?