Watering Hole: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 – No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal

I went to a rally on Saturday.  It was held in front of the local office of Representative Jim Gerlach (R).  He represents the Pennsylvania 6th Congressional District.  Of course, neither Jim nor his staff were there as they don’t work on weekends.  The Republicans in Congress want us to work until we are 70 years old before we can collect our Social Security retirement money.  On the other hand, they only want to work 1/3 of the year and still collect full pay and full benefits.

Rep. Jim Gerlach was re-elected in November and that is because he tells his constituents that he is a “moderate”.  That’s bullsh*t.  He is a placeholder for Republican votes and he votes as he is told to vote by the House Speaker, John Boehner.  Gerlach voted to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid yet the local press was silent about his vote.  His opponent didn’t have much money and he had a large territory to cover to get name recognition.  The media area is the greater Philadelphia area which makes it expensive to advertise.  Rep. Jim Gerlach refused to debate his opponent because he didn’t want anyone to know anything about his opponent, Manan Trivedi.  As for town hall meetings, they are held via the telephone because Gerlach does not want to be confronted by unhappy constituents.  Yeah, I’ll say it.  Rep. Jim Gerlach is a coward.

Enough of my rambling.  Here is a picture of the poster that I was holding.  H/T to Outstandinginthefield for the wording and thank you to everyone else for your good ideas.  I will hold onto those for possible use at another time.

https://i2.wp.com/i336.photobucket.com/albums/n347/paforchange/DontBeaGrinch.jpg

Live in your strength!

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!  Be heard!  Contact your House Representative!

(this is cross posted at Pennsylvania for Change)

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 20th, 2012: New York, The New Battleground State?

It’s always been pretty much a given that New York State’s electoral votes in a Presidential election go to the Democratic candidate. While most of the state is Republican-leaning, the heavily-populated centers of New York City and Albany tip the electoral scales in favor of Democrats. And despite the recent redistricting, which lost the state two of its electoral votes, its 29 votes should still be reliably blue. Okay, while not an actual guarantee, New York should still be able to be counted on for President Obama in the upcoming Presidential election. Regardless, I don’t expect to see either Presidential candidate, or their surrogates, doing any campaigning in New York.

On the other hand, some of the Congressional races within the state are now, frighteningly, likely to remain in the grasp of the Republicans. Our own district, now redistricted as The Fightin’ Eighteenth (as Stephen Colbert would say), went from Democrat John Hall to Tea Party Republican Nan Hayworth in the 2010 Tea Party tempest. According to Salon.com:

“In 2010, no state was stung by the Republican sweep of the House more than New York. Before the election, New York had three Republican representatives. After the dust settled, Republicans increased their numbers in the New York delegation nearly three-fold — eight of New York’s 29 seats were Republican.”

Those eight Congressional seats are now in play again, and, as Salon puts it:

“For Republicans, simply retaining the gains of two years ago would be a major win, both in the state and nationally. And they’re confident that they’ll even pick up new seats. “They’re more likely to pick up two than lose two at this time,” said New York Republican consultant Susan Del Percio.”

However, the website ballotpedia.org, paints an even more dire picture in New York. The site references the New York Times race ratings, which indicate that 10 New York congressional districts could go Republican: “the 1st, 11th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th and 27th districts.”

If Republicans retain their current eight Congressional seats, that would be bad enough news for us and for President Obama. If they gain any more seats on top of those eight, it bodes even worse for all of us. And if you combine such a scenario with the fact that so many Republican-governed states are doing their utmost to suppress Democratic votes, well…do I need to draw a map?

This is our daily open thread — got any good news?

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

The Watering Hole: December 3 – Education

A Golden Apple for Education or Complete Failure

One of the aspects identified by the Occupy movement is the process of reducing our educational work force – teachers. As this process continues the number of students in each classroom increases. This dilutes the education of each and every child. Funds available for education are being cut at both the state and federal levels.

Tax relief for a privileged few has motivated bribes by “corporate persons” and the wealthy to members of Congress. These bribes were enabled by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Anyone making or receiving these bribes should be imprisoned.

This process has to stop if an adequate education is to be offered to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Those denied a proper education will never attain the education levels of their forbears. It is a threat greater than Condi’s ‘mushroom cloud.’ Right now an entire generation is being denied access to an adequate education.

This process has already diluted the value of a high school diploma to the point that an associate degree is required for access to jobs that were formally filled by those with a high school degree. That dilution goes up the scale for each degree level up to the doctorate level (But excluding PhDs in Divinity.) where some are still blessed with a full education.

If allowed to continue, our nation will lose its place in innovation. A future Einstein or Edison will miss an opportunity. At that point, America will begin to lose its place as a world power and slip into the third world or at best assume the same status that Britain has today. America will never recover as the end generation will lose its ability to provide children with an advanced education. The rest of the world will pass us by as a result.

This is our Open Thread. Am I being too pessimistic?

The Watering Hole: November 5 – Then and Now

Then

The Marshall Plan or the European Recovery Program (ERP) was the large-scale American program to aid Europe in which the United States (US) gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of WWII in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism.

The monies involved were $13 million in US aid (5% of US GDP, a drop in the bucket!) on top of $12 billion in American aid already spent in Europe up to that time.. The monies provided were eventually returned to the United States. In addition, Germany also repaid 16 billion marks of debts from the 1920s which had defaulted in the 1930s, but which Germany decided to repay to restore its reputation.

Former enemies as well as allies were recipients of this aid.

At that time, the US economy was, by far, the most powerful in the world.

During the Eisenhower(R?) administration the Interstate Highway System began as a military asset, but made it was available to every American.

This describes post-war America through the 1950s.

The United States put men on the moon in July 1969. The rescue of the crew in the Apollo 13 mission riveted the world in 1971. The rapid response to a potentially fatal outcome was diverted by United States’ can-do attitude and technological prowess.

The Space Shuttle was first launched in 1981, a heavy lift vehicle that has never been matched. It served for 30 years. It was used to assemble the International Space Station as well as deploy and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

The collapse of the USSR between January 19, 1990 and December 31, 1991 left the United States as the sole major power on earth.

Now

From then on, the United States has rested on its laurels. Tax revenues from corporations and the rich have been pared to the bone. The Iraqi invasion and occupation has depleted the national treasury simply because there were no “matching funds”. The nation was trying to drive a Lamborghini on a burger flipper’s salary. The solution was to slash entitlement and infrastructure programs which had served the nation very well since the mid 1930s.

Now China has been asked for assistance by European for assistance in support of the economic collapse resulting from weak economies in Greece, Italy and Spain. The US is in a position where it cannot help – the dollar is weak and US manufacturing is struggling at best! And China rebuffed the request until Europe gets its house in order.

Just this week, mainland China demonstrated a first step towards development of its own space station which when completed be truly international – available to all nations (There are nations denied access to the “International” Space Station.).

China is starting the development of naval airpower and stealth aircraft.

China is in the process of becoming a world power in solar energy conversion using either steam or silicon.

This is our Open Thread. Now how did we get into this fine kettle of fish?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 15th, 2011: THIS EARTH IS NOT FLAT

Published in the Pawling Press, Pawling, NY, Friday, September 9th, 2011, under the title “Not So Flat Earth”

Note: I wrote the following in response to an opinion piece by the Pawling Press‘s conservative columnist, Mr. Paul Keyishian. Mr. Keyishian’s piece was entitled “Achieving Ideological Balance at the Federal Level”; it should be available in full at http://www.pawlingpress.com next week.

I found it aptly ironic that both Frank Matheis [liberal columnist] and Paul Keyishian, in their opinion pieces of September 2nd, referred to the idea that no sane person these days believes that the world is flat. However, while Mr. Matheis went on to discuss the dismissal of science by climate change deniers, including many of today’s prominent Republicans and Tea Partiers, Mr. Keyishian took a different route. Mr. Keyishian’s column centered around the idea that, while “established scientific facts” are either right or wrong, opposing political philosophies are “not so cut and dried.” While this is true to a certain degree, some political philosophies are readily proven to be wrong, simply by looking at history.

I am compelled to dismiss Mr. Keyishian’s base premise where he “assume[s] that each side of the political spectrum has something meaningful to contribute…” or “that we all possess the sincere desire to ‘even things out’ politically.” Anyone who has paid attention to the political arena in the last few years since President Obama was elected has to realize that, even before the 2010 mid-terms, the majority of sitting Republicans became the party of Obstruction, the party of “No!” and even “Hell, NO!” Senior Republican Mitch McConnell outright stated that the party’s goal was to “make President Obama a one-term President”, which doesn’t exactly sound like meaningful contribution in my view. The only solution that the Republicans offered to mitigate the effects of the recession and the rampant, increasing unemployment rate were tax cuts, especially for the wealthy and big corporations.

Here’s where we go back to the ‘flat-earth/established science’ idea: Republicans, and I mean every single Republican Congressperson and Senator, still pronounce that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations actually create jobs and must be continued, some believe permanently. This flies completely in the face of established historical fact. Historical facts tell us that, when President Clinton raised taxes, including on the wealthy and corporations, the country gained millions of jobs (and provided his successor with a budget surplus); historical facts also tell us that, when George W. Bush reduced taxes on the wealthy and big corporations, the country LOST millions of jobs. Republicans paid no attention to the burgeoning deficit during the Bush years, but suddenly it became the number one priority when a Democrat, President Obama, took office. (Sorry, that one should be filed under “Hypocrisy”, not “Established Science”.)

Mr. Keyishian’s dream scenario that having a Republican President, a majority Democratic House, and a more-or-less evenly split Senate would help to make Congress, and therefore the country, work better together to accomplish ideologically central, moderate legislation, is just that: a dream scenario. First, this idea is totally dependent on the premise that the members of the House and Senate are all reality-based, competent and honest public servants. Unfortunately, there are very few of those to be found, in this age of big-money-influenced politics. Take the big money out of politics with real, effective campaign finance reform and lobbying reform, and this scenario may become slightly less dreamlike. Second, let’s turn Mr. Keyishian’s scenario on its head and look at the current makeup of the legislative and executive branches: we have a Democratic President, a majority Republican House, and a more-or-less evenly split Senate. If Mr. Keyishian’s hypothesis held true, wouldn’t one have to believe that there would be more cooperation, compromise, and resulting ideologically central, moderate legislation, instead of what is actually happening in today’s Congress?

Lastly, the scenario that Mr. Keyishian proposes has Michele Bachmann as his choice for the Presidency. Like most of the Republican candidates, Ms. Bachmann is a climate-science denier and doesn’t believe in evolution. She has also signed the Grover Norquist pledge (compulsory for Republicans, although one Congressman just recently disavowed the pledge) of no additional taxes, not for anyone, not ever. This past weekend, Ms. Bachman went as far as saying that she ‘would consider’ the idea of ZERO taxes on corporations. Ms. Bachmann has also signed a ‘no abortions for any reason’ pledge, and is anti-homosexual: she and her husband truly believe that one can “pray away the gay.” To sum up, Michele Bachmann is a “Flat-Earther”, and not someone who is qualified to lead the United States of America, especially not in this century.

By Jane E. Schneider

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Watering Hole – Monday, August 15, 2011 – The Congressional Reform Act of 2011

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

Introducing:  The Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

(The Congressional Reform Act is not my creation.  I received this in an email.  The author is unknown).

This is our Open Thread.  Perhaps we should all send a copy of this to our members in Congress.   What do you think?  Speak Up!

Sunday Roast, July 31st, 2011: If George Washington Had Only Foreseen…Oh, Wait, He Did

The current political environment is marked by a small minority holding the entire nation hostage to its demands, with special-interest groups and the wealthiest among us not-so-secretly directing the strategies of said minority. The term “public servant” no longer applies: today’s Congressional Representatives and Senators do not have the best interests of their constituents, or their country as a whole, in mind. What we are witnessing now is the beginning of the destruction of our government and our nation. Who would have thought that it could possibly come to this?

Actually, the first President of these United States, George Washington, thought that it could easily come to this. In his farewell address, published in The Independent Chronicle, September 26, 1796, President Washington warned of the influence and divisiveness of special interests:

“To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable…This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”

“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.”

“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

The “Father of Our Country” was truly an amazing man. It’s a shame that the like of him has not been seen since our Nation’s founding.

This is our Sunday Roast. What’s on your mind today?

Get Your Act Together! Now!

The Economist:

TODAY is July 19th. Two weeks from today, it will be August 2nd. On that day, or very soon thereafter, the Treasury will run out of room to use extraordinary measures to keep meeting its obligations without issuing any new debt. To avoid a default at that point, which most economists agree would be catastrophic, the Treasury will then need to slash spending immediately and precipitously—by about 44%. The process won’t be tidy; depending on what bills are coming due on a particular day, the shortfall will affect payments to state governments, public employees (including soldiers), payouts to entitlement beneficiaries, and so on. Absent an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, spending would be slashed by $134 billion over the month of August. That would represent a sudden fiscal consolidation of over 10% of GDP—enough, in all likelihood, to tip the economy into recession. And at some point, if no agreement were reached, default would become inevitable. (read all)

Anybody home in Republicanland? Are you sure you know what you’re doing? I am pissed. So, setting the economy on fire wasn’t enough in 2008? Want to blow it up one more time? A really spectacular blowup this time that destroys government, so Grover Norquist will love you all and rapture you into everlasting economic bliss, as promised for his true believers?

You know what? YOU ARE THE PITS!

Greek people go hungry, because your rating agencies saw fit to play monopoly with their assessments and caused the worst currency crisis ever. Hey, just a hint. If the agencies and banks thought Greece’s debt was a problem, why not stop lending before? Maybe because you could get top interest and then socialised your losses to a point where the beast you so busily starved can’t do anything to relieve you anymore? Now it’s time for bilking, eh?

Being able to eat to sustain yourself is by now considered an entitlement obviously in the US. We don’t want that over here, we don’t think like you do, we actually practise a Democracy on Christian principles of caring for our neighbour! Now you are about to present us with another economic crash three years after the last one, which we, using our socialist methods, mostly rode out fairly well. But we won’t be able to just right now. We can’t breathe anymore.

Corporate greed Republican-style caused the stock market crash in 1929 and gave the Fascists here the final push into government. With the most terrible consequences imaginable. In 1945 Europe was reduced to rubble.

This time around fascism rears it’s head on your side of the pond, the consequences may well play out on your soil. So be careful what you wish for. And don’t expect any help. We can’t, your style of capitalism has already stripped us clean.

You’re on your own.

The Watering Hole: June 25 – It’s My Ball

On Thursday, Republicans walked out of budget negations. Eric Cantor basically said that it was his ball and you can’t play if you don’t do it his way. At stake was a government shutdown in August.

One reason for disagreement centered around whether or not the final legislative language would include restructuring the way federal money is dispersed to family planning services. Republicans insisted that the system be amended so that funds would be sent through state governments instead of directly to organizations. Democrats, insisted that the former would result in the denial of routine testing for women’s problems; I.e., pap smears, breast exams, etc.. Added to the mix was Republican refusal to narrow the budget gap by allowing tax increases for the wealthy and the removal of subsidies for business and big oil. Also on the table was a tax holiday for corporations that could transfer profits being kept overseas.

Isn’t it about time for Democrats to grow some balls?

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

It’s Was Just A Matter of Time

The greedy Republicans want ALL of our money.  Last Friday, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), introduced a bill that would allow workers to immediately stop contributing 6.2% of their pay to Social Security and instead, put this money in a “Savings Account for Every American” (SAFE).

That would take the place of the 6.2 percent the workers now contributed to Social Security.

Another 6.2% is sent to Social Security by employers. Under the Sessions bill, employers would continue to make this matching contribution to Social Security, but after 15 years, employers could also send that amount to the employee’s SAFE account.

(Source:  The Hill)

Under the bill, employees would be able to make tax free contributions to their SAFE account, and take tax-free distributions at retirement age. The bill would also allow employees to stay with the Social Security program if they wish.

From “the bill”…

‘‘(2) The trustee is a bank (as defined in sec20
tion 408(n)) or such other person who demonstrates
21 to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the manner
22 in which such other person will administer the trust
23 will be consistent with the requirements of this sec24
tion.

A bit more from “the bill”…

‘‘(3) No part of the trust funds will be invested
2 in life insurance contracts.
3 ‘‘(4) The interest of an individual in the bal4
ance in his account is nonforfeitable.
5 ‘‘(5) The assets of the trust will not be commin6
gled with other property except in a common trust
7 fund or common investment fund.

H/T Blatant Liberal

So here it is, the privatization of Social Security.  This is what the Republicans have been working towards since the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

To the Republican plan, I’ll be saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.  I’ll be staying with Social Security.”

With all due respect?

The Hill blog

I have respectfully declined the president’s invitation to the White House today,” Rep. Jeff Landry (La.) said in a statement. “I don’t intend to spend my morning being lectured to by a president whose failed policies have put our children and grandchildren in a huge burden of debt.

Rep Jeff Landry (R-LA) is in a bit of a snit, eh?  Funny, he took the time put out such a nasty little statement, but couldn’t take the time to explore the actual source of our debt, nor could he be bothered to look up the word “respect.”  Of course, that assumes he’s teachable.

Respectfully, Rep Landry, shut the fuck up.

The Cut That Isn’t a Cut

As you may have heard, President Barack Obama and the Republicans (who, oddly enough, are not, technically, in power yet), have struck a deal extending the Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy (their official name) for another two years. In return for these tax “cuts”, the Republicans have agreed to extend unemployment benefits for currently unemployed people for another thirteen months along with a few other helpful things for the poor. The stage has been set to make this a campaign issue for 2012. Do you support extending tax “cuts” for millionaires and billionaires who don’t need them? Or do you finally agree that rich people do not use their tax savings to create jobs? But is anybody really going to be paying less in taxes because of this? Not necessarily.

In Washington, DC, and only in Washington, DC, a “cut” is merely a Continue reading

Rachel Maddow: “Watch what the Republicans do, not what they say..”

If you missed this, it is totally worth watching..

In this first segment “Pin The Debt On The Donkey”:

Rachel Maddow completely debunks the myth of Republicans trying to cynically portray themselves as the “party of fiscal responsibility” by examining their irresponsible tax cuts and efforts to repeal health care legislation (aka “Obamacare”), which, together with other Republican proposals, will increase the deficit and debt by $1 trillion dollars, rather than reduce it.

Then Rachel examines the phony Republican “Earmarks” ploy to portray themselves as fiscally responsible by embracing policy that sounds like it will reduce the deficit and debt, but which will instead, INCREASE it.

The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC – aired November 16, 2010.

So, how do you plan to pay for it..?

Taxes.. What a wonderfully confusing and contentious subject. When President Bush enacted his tax cuts for the rich in 2001 and 2003, they weren’t paid for, and the way it was set up, they were set to expire in ten years.

A refresher course on “The Bush Tax Cuts” from the New York Times:

Why are the tax cuts set to expire on Dec. 31st?

The bills were written that way because the Republicans had only the slimmest of majorities — in fact, Vice President Dick Cheney had to cast a tie-breaking vote to pass the 2003 bill. To avoid a Democratic filibuster, the cuts were rolled into a so-called budget reconciliation measure, which cannot be filibustered. (It is the mechanism President Obama and the Democrats used to pass health care reform.)

But under Senate rules, reconciliation cannot be used for any bill that would add to the federal deficit after 10 years. The “sunset” provision that called for the measures to expire in 2010 meant that the deficit was calculated as if the higher tax rates were back in place for succeeding years, a step Democrats criticized as camouflaging the bill’s true cost.

In the years that followed, Democrats vowed to let the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers expire as scheduled after this year. In the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama called for repealing the tax cuts for the rich in 2010, a year before they would otherwise expire. But once in office, he quietly set aside that promise because of the recession, proposing to let them lapse in 2011 as the original law provided.

Both parties agree on one thing: that the 2001 income tax cuts will be extended for everyone else — that is, for the roughly 98 percent of households in which couples have less than $250,000 in annual income or individuals earn less than $200,000. The fight is over whether to extend the income tax cuts of 2001 for the top 2 percent on income that exceeds that level, and whether to extend the cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes that were the heart of the 2003 bill.

The tax cuts were not paid for and thus added greatly to the current national debt (yes, the debt that everyone is so concerned about, especially [apparently] Republicans). (Oh, and did I already mention the two wars that Bush started that weren’t paid for..?)

Continue reading

Watering Hole – September 18, 2010 – Constitution Day: A day late and a dullard short

Yesterday was a little observed day of national importance: Constitution Day. On September 17, 1787 thirty-nine white males signed the foundational document of the United States Government. It was a compromise document, most notably for its three-fifths solution which gave southern states more representatives in the House of Represenatatives based on their slave population, while agreeing not to address the slavery issue for 20 more years. Given the typical lifespan in those days, they basically expected their children to have to deal with the problem; i.e. they passed a major contentious issue to the next generation to decide. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

For all the Teabagging hoopala over upholding the Constitution, this writer was not aware of a single Teabag Rally in honor of Constitution Day.

The Constitution, like the bible, is subject to interpretation. Unfortunately, those who are hollering the most about upholding the Constitution derive their understanding of it from radio and tv talk-show hosts. They then believe they know more about the Constitution than a Constitutional Law Professor. That this is absurd on its face is beyond their grasp: fear, hatred, prejudice and racism trump reason.

You’ll find the text of the Constitution here, with links to the Amendments.

This is our Open Thread. Exercise your First Amendment right to free speech!

Senate Republicans vow to raise taxes.

Republicans in the Senate have unanimously joined forces to oppose any extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the middle and lower class, unless they get their way and extend it for the rich as well.

Without the Republicans on board, the Bush Tax Cuts will expire at the end of this year, raising taxes for everyone. Obama would like to keep the tax cuts in place for those earning $200k or less ($250k for couples). While any extension of the Bush Tax Cuts adds to the deficit, the break given to the upper crust of society adds $700 billion to the government’s flow of red ink over the next 10 years.

So, do we go another $700 billion into debt and let the rich keep that much more of their money? Do we want our grandchildren paying off that debt? Or do we want to gut the social safety net for the poor and for our seniors, so that the rich can have $700 billion more to play with?

I object! I object!! I OBJECT!!!!

As the Democratic Women’s Caucus took to the microphone on the House floor to offer their arguments for how the bill would benefit women, House Republicans — led by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) — repeatedly talked over, screamed, and shouted objections.  (ThinkProgress)

What the hell is this about?  Ok, the Republicans OBJECT — wait your damned turn!  We will not be shouted down on the floor of the House of Representatives.

HT: Media Matters

Had Enough of This?

I’ve had enough of the Republicans and their lapdog media yapping about  Nancy Pelosi and what and when she was told about torture in 2002.   These Republicans and media pals have memories shorter than a worm’s.  It was Dennis Hastert (R) that was Speaker of the House in 2002 and he led the actions or better yet, led the inactions of Congress during the Bush/Cheney years.  Nancy Pelosi was not in a position of power during the Republican dominated Congress.  There was little that she could do at that time.  It was the responsibility of Dennis Hastert to speak up against torture.  Instead, Hastert and the Republicans in Congress along with their friends in the media turned their backs on the Constitution and the American people and did nothing.

Ultimately, however, the greatest horror of Hastert’s House was not confirmed by its specific failures to serve the American people who most needed a Congress to counter the malignant neglect of the Bush-Cheney administration. Rather, it was defined by the remaking of an essential legislative chamber as nothing more than an extension of the executive branch of the government. The damage to the Congress has been severe, as has been the damage to the Republic.

All this talk about Nancy Pelosi is a diversionary tactic by Republicans that are guilty of negligence.

Hastert’s House was a crude and unworkable place, where members who sought to uphold their oaths to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic” were held up to ridicule and forced to hold hearings on issues involving the most extreme abuses of presidential authority — lying to the Congress and the American people about matters of war and peace — in basement rooms.

So what exactly did Dennis Hastert know about torture?  When did he know it and why didn’t he do something about it?  Nothing more than Republican lies.  I’ve had enough of it.

(cross posted at PennsylvaniaforChange)

“CO2 is a natural byproduct of nature!” So is shit, honey…

The Crazy Bachmann does it again!  😆

HT:  ThinkProgress

UPDATE:  Rep Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) smacks Bachmann for her idiocy:

My good friend, the gentlelady from Minnesota, doesn’t think there are any problems with the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It’s interesting to listen to her say that something that was naturally occurring simply couldn’t be harmful, ignoring the fact that we have the highest concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 2/3 of a million years.

If you think about it for a minute, it’s obvious this is a problem, but having the science to back it up makes it rather devastating.

Oops, I said “think” in regard to Michelle Bachmann.  Nevermind…

HT: The Wonk Room at ThinkProgress

Republican “budget” — There are no numbers…WTF?

AND the Republicans’ only actual budget plan is the BIGGEST TAX CUT IN THE WOOOOORLD!

Anyone making more than a $100,000 would pay the top rate; those under would pay 10 percent.

The “top rate” being 25% — down about a whopping 10% from what it is now.  Actually, since I’m just an impoverished student, wouldn’t that raise my taxes?  R dudes, I’ve got issues with that…

It’s just lame stunning adorable how John Boehner (R-OH) tried to make out that President Obama was a liar two nights ago by holding up his cute little copy of the Republican “budget” — no numbers!! 😆 — today, and announcing:

“Two nights ago, the president said, ‘We haven’t seen a budget yet out of Republicans.’ Well, it’s just not true, because here it is, Mr. President.”

When do you think old Boney realized he’d taken the President’s bait, and made a serious miscalculation by presenting this “budget?”  Before or after reporters remarked, “There’s no detail in here” and “What’s your goal?” and “What about some numbers?”  OUCH!

From Nate Silver at 538.com:

The Republican “Road to Recovery” budget alternative, rolled out today by John Boehner, has been criticized by left and right for its lack of specificity and its promise to eliminate the national debt while significantly cutting taxes. FiveThirtyEight.com, however, has received an advance copy of additional details prepared by the Minority Leader’s office. Although some elements of the proposal are still under discussion — Eric Cantor is said to want to eliminate North Dakota rather than Idaho, while Thaddeus McCotter has suggested using the balance of TARP funds to purchase scratch-off tickets — the final plan can be expected to contain most or all of these components.

From Nate Silver and 538.com

Here’s Ezra Klein’s take on his most favorite “budget” ever:

There are no numbers. Let me repeat that: The Republican budget proposal does not say how much money they would raise, or spend. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “budget” as “an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.” This is not a budget. It talks about balancing the budget but doesn’t explain how. It advocates tax cuts but doesn’t estimate their costs. It promises to cut programs but doesn’t name them.

Apparently, the real Republican “budget” will be out next week.  Boehner whined something about the President not presenting HIS budget until several days after he laid out the blueprint in his sorta SOTU address.  Sheesh…

The Republicans wildly exaggerated the size of President Obama’s sizable health care proposal, saying it’s “nearly $1 trillion dollars,” when actually it’s only $634 billion.  I guess when you’re a Republican used to spending money like a drunken sailor for the last eight years, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Here’s Ezra again on the Republican health care plan:

The Republican proposal, as you might expect, doesn’t actually have a health care plan. But it does have this: “Republicans will be on the side of quality versus mediocrity, affordability versus unsustainable debt, and freedom of care versus bureaucrats in control. And we will be on the side of patients, doctors, and the American people.” They are also in favor of good things rather than bad things, moving forward rather than going backwards, the hobbits rather than the orcs, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

That Ezra is a funny guy.

Dear Republican Congress,

If you want us to take you seriously, please stop presenting “budgets” with no numbers, stop trotting out non-plumbers who are not named Joe as the “ordinary American” face of your party, stop kowtowing to that drug-addled rage-aholic Rush Limbaugh, and for heaven’s sake, stop letting Newt Gringrich contradict himself in front of recording devices of any kind.

Yours truly,

A concerned citizen ♥

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