Archive for category Elections
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans have a new No. 1 problem. Nearly one in four Americans mention jobs and unemployment as the most important problem facing the country, up from 16% in January. The government and politicians had topped the list since the government shutdown in October.
For the moment at least, right-wing Republicans have stopped deliberately trying to plunge us into another Great Depression. Maybe we can do start doing something about the mess they created. Too bad Dems have given up trying to re-take the House of Representatives. Howard Dean wouldn’t have given up if he were still in charge.
The 113th Congress is not producing legislation. It’s on track to be the least productive in history. They took 239 days off this year. Among their few accomplishments are the economic setbacks caused by public sector job cuts, the threat of defaulting on the National Debt, the sequester, and the government shutdown last October.
Amazingly despite these terrible poll numbers well over 90 percent of the current members of Congress are expected to be re-elected in 2014. There is something wrong with the design of an election system when the connection between job performance and election outcome can be so weak.
If you’ve been following the news lately, you will know that Count My Vote is attempting to be a citizens initiative to change Utah’s caucus system to a primary system. At a minimum, it’s gotten Utahns talking about how we select our candidates for public office which is good. I’m not convinced Count My Vote’s solution solves the problem they claim to want to solve. Will switching from the current caucus system improve voter engagement and turnout? That depends on whether it addresses the reasons people don’t vote.
On Maddowblog, Steve Benen highlights the problem of Republicans trying to escape responsibility for the Republican Shutdown of the federal government. Citing Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) as an example, Benen wrote (emphasis added):
[I]t’s not “disingenuous” to say Republicans were “playing politics” when they shut down the government for no apparent reason, since that’s pretty much exactly what happened.
But just as important was Tipton saying, “I never voted to shut down government.” I emphasize this not just because the Colorado Republican is misleading the public, but also because I suspect this will be what nearly all House Republicans say over the next year, when they’re forced to defend their fiasco.
The problem for the GOP is that the claim is so easy to disprove – House Republicans voted, en masse, for resolutions intended to fail because they wanted to shut down the government. Once the shutdown began, it was Republicans who bragged about the stoppage, and Republicans who admitted that they were responsible. The crisis was resolved when Republicans gave in.
How many times did Colorado’s Scott Tipton break ranks and vote with Democrats against his party’s ridiculous tactics? None.
Obviously, the congressman’s dishonesty matters on its own, but be prepared to hear most of Tipton’s GOP colleagues repeat the same lie quite a bit as the 2014 midterms draw closer.
Also, what are they going to do in January when another Republican Shutdown looms?
Remember Joe The Plumber? He posted this article today. The article was taken down as this post was being written.
I’ve posted the entire article with permission below.
America Needs a White Republican President
Admit it. You want a white Republican president again.
In the pre-black president era, criticizing the president was simply the American thing to do. An exercise of one’s First Amendment right. Criticism had nothing to do with color, because there had never been a black president, or at least one whom people recognized as black.
So to criticize the president meant that you didn’t like his policies.
The election of a recognized black president was not supposed to change anything. In fact, it was supposed to (1) ease any perceived racial tensions, and (2) allow the government to focus on legislating without race. So America would be more free than ever to discuss the issues.
Not the case. And that is why having a white Republican president is best for the country.
Consider that nobody is ever accused of being racist for disagreeing with white presidents. Mexicans disagreed with most white Republican presidents over America’s immigration policy. Many deranged Mexicans believe we should open the country up to them, some saying that much of America belongs to Mexico anyway. They are not called racists.
Liberal blacks have disagreed with most Republican presidents since Eisenhower, yet these blacks are not considered racists. In fact, when blacks had sanity and disagreed with the policies of racist white Democrat presidents, nobody accused black people of being racists.
Fighting for one’s civil rights was not racist then, nor is it racist now. Blacks (and Republicans) were on the side of righteousness, when they disagreed with the racist policies of Andrew Johnson, and adopted by every Democrat president since.
Never has a black person been called racist, because they didn’t like one of the white presidents’ policies. Blacks were just exercising their First Amendment rights to speak freely. Blacks have disagreed with policy positions of about every Republican president in the modern era, including those who have helped them.
Take Reagan for example. Reagan ushered in a veritable Renaissance for blacks, as Fox News showcased.
And the Reagan record?
African-American columnist Joseph Perkins has studied the effects of Reaganomics on black America. He found that, after the Reagan tax cuts gained traction, African-American unemployment fell from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989. Black-owned businesses saw income rise from $12.4 billion in 1982 to $18.1 billion in 1987—an annual average growth rate of 7.9 percent. The black middle class expanded by one-third during the Reagan years, from 3.6 million to 4.8 million.
Real Politics reports Obama’s statistics as follows:
Median family income for black Americans has declined a whopping 10.9 percent during the Obama administration…This decline does not include losses suffered during the financial crisis and the recession that followed, but it instead measures declines since June 2009, when the recession officially ended.
That’s not the only bad news for African-Americans. The poverty rate for blacks is now 25.8 percent. The black labor force participation rate, which rose throughout the 1980s and 1990s, has declined for the past decade and quite sharply under Obama to 61.4 percent. The black unemployment rate, according to Pew Research, stands at 13.4 percent. Among black, male, high school dropouts, PBS’ Paul Salmon reports, the unemployment rate is a staggering 95 percent
That report was from 2011, and it’s gotten worse since then. Facts don’t lie. Yet blacks want to put Obama on Mt. Rushmore and hang Reagan in effigy.
The only way you can argue with those stats is if you are a racist. Truth be told, most Liberal blacks are racists.
Nobody wants to discuss it, because racism by black Liberals has been sanctioned by the Left, even encouraged. Black racists get a pass, as black race-baiters are unchallenged on the most idiotic ideas and statements.
MSNBC’s Touré said that using the word “angry” to describe Obama is racist. Juan Williams of Fox News said that mentioning the Constitution is racist, and the list goes on.
But it gets worse. These Lefty racists do a far bigger disservice to blacks and America in general, as they rationalize Obama’s (and the Left’s) inability to create opportunity. When their policies wreak havoc, they pose insane arguments. They say that Republicans are trying to starve people by reducing the welfare rolls that Liberals have happily increased by 16M Americans.
Race-baiting, poverty-pimp Al Sharpton argued recently to keep 3M known deadbeats on welfare.
Black racists don’t complain when black people are marginalized and insulted with policies that dumb down black America, like the lessening of academic standards. They are fine telling black youths that those youths are less smart than all other ethnic groups. Certainly no future ramifications from that policy, said nobody ever.
These same racists allow for black children to be cheated in education and ultimately, opportunity, as their enablers—guilty white Liberal racists—turn a blind eye.
I long for the days of a white president, because under white presidents, at least black people had pride. Liberals have stolen pride from blacks, and they have no intention of giving it back.
At least if we had a white president, black people might have a shot of regaining a modicum of respect.
© 2013 Kevin Jackson – The Black Sphere, LLC – All Rights Reserved link
Read more at http://joeforamerica.com/2013/10/america-needs-white-republican-president/
So says Jonathan Chait.
In a merciful twist of fate, Juan Linz did not quite live to see his prophecy of the demise of American democracy borne out. Linz, the Spanish political scientist who died last week, argued that the presidential system, with its separate elections for legislature and chief executive, was inherently unstable. In a famous 1990 essay, Linz observed, “All such systems are based on dual democratic legitimacy: No democratic principle exists to resolve disputes between the executive and the legislature about which of the two actually represents the will of the people.” Presidential systems veered ultimately toward collapse everywhere they were tried, as legislators and executives vied for supremacy. There was only one notable exception: the United States of America.
Linz attributed our puzzling, anomalous stability to “the uniquely diffuse character of American political parties.” The Republicans had loads of moderates, and conservative whites in the South still clung to the Democratic Party. At the time he wrote that, the two parties were already sorting themselves into more ideologically pure versions, leaving us where we stand today: with one racially and economically polyglot party of center-left technocracy and one ethnically homogenous reactionary party. The latter is currently attempting to impose its program by threat upon the former. The events in Washington have given us a peek into the Linzian nightmare.
Both House Republicans and the President lay claim to democratic legitimacy and there is no system to resolve the dispute. So we’re left with a slugfest.
Sanford Levinson’s book, Our Undemocratic Constitution, lays out some of the inherent problems with the US system. He argued:
Significant distortions and outright failures of American politics are produced because of-and not merely in spite of-the structure of the government imposed by the Constitution, whatever the contribution of other factors like the mode of campaign financing. [snip]
However divided we are as a country these days, what paradoxically may unite far more than a majority of Americans are deep feelings of inefficacy with regard to being able to participate in what are ostensibly institutions promoting self-governance, as well as feelings of dismay at the actual legislation that is passed (or not passed).
The point is incredibly simple - our system of government as designed includes too many veto points to function if a minority is able to block one of those veto points. What we’re seeing, right now, is the result of that system in action. The shutdown, in which a minority of the House Republicans are able to take the entire nation hostage, is a result of a governing system which diffuses both power and authority.In a parliamentary system, the head of government is chosen by the majority party (or governing coalition) from the legislative branch. The head of government is empowered to enact a specific policy platform and is able to do so because he/she is the same party as that which dominates the legislative branch. The US system, with two, equally powerful houses of Congress, and a separately elected President, includes multiple points at which a minority party can frustrate the will of the majority.
Our current governing crisis is a covert Constitutional crisis. House Republicans essentially argue that the polling shows the ACA is unpopular and therefore they are on the side of the people. That’s simply the convenient, current argument. The deeper battle is informed by a Republican party controlled by movement conservatism which denies the legitimacy of any Democratic president. It’s not just that conservatives deny Barack Obama’s legitimacy, the denied Bill Clinton’s as well. As a result, what we’re seeing play out in DC right now is a slow motion attempt to strip a Democratic president, any Democratic president, of presidential power by a Republican congress which refuses to acknowledge the validity of the outcomes of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. It’s not about any specific policy. Any and every policy supported by a Democratic president is considered inherently invalid and illegitimate.
At Americablog, Becca Morn argued:
It should come as no surprise to regular readers of AMERICAblog that many Republicans have never accepted the legitimacy of the Obama presidency. They’ve been cooking polls to make themselves and their policies seem more popular than they are. When the overwhelming majority of legitimate mainstream polls say their GOP candidates are going to get trounced, they deny the polls are accurate. When they lose elections, they cry fraud, and if there’s any way to tie up the election results in court, they’ll do so.
The Democrats, whatever their many and manifest flaws, don’t do this. Crooked Democratic ballot box shenanigans pretty much ended with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Democrats don’t need to cheat. Republican candidates and policies are unpopular enough, all the Dems really need to do is turn out enough legitimate voters.
Which is, of course, why the Republicans are pulling out all the stops to prevent Democrat-voting demographics from being able to cast a ballot. Their claims it’s because there’s rampant fraud are absolutely bogus.
Everyone is familiar with the ridiculous “birther” conspiracy theories about Barack Obama. Anybody who isn’t as loony as Orly Taitz or ego-maniacal as Donald Trump knows those allegations are total rubbish. Unfounded. Ridiculous. Would not last ten seconds in a legitimate court of law. Nevertheless, the persistence of this meme is an important insight into the psyche of the political opposition.
Birtherism, along with other lies — such as referring to Obama as a Nazi/Communist/Socialist and/or secret Muslim — plus the constant lies about Obamacare “death panels” and the like are how the GOP leaders and their wingnut media lackeys keep the rubes both afraid and entertained. While Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachman and Sarah Whatshername might actually believe the nonsense crossing their pouty, poxy lips, some ‘serious’ Republicans will dance around with birther language, but they don’t buy the snake oil they’re peddling.
The constitutional crisis is grounded in the refusal of conservatives to accept the outcomes of elections with which they disagree. The result is that conservatives are attacking the constitutional system they claim to venerate.
And so the crisis grinds on with enough Republican believing the nonsense to keep the government shutdown and to cause yet another crisis at the next opportunity. It’s not about any actual policy or bill or program. Movement conservatives have defined American-ness in such a limited way that there is no way for them to accept a black Democratic president as legitimate. And in the face of a system which seems to refuse to accept their arguments about his illegitimacy, they believe they have only the most extreme tactics available to them.
“Yes – Fox News actually just admitted that Obamacare would reduce the deficit. Republicans have continually repeated the lie that Obamacare increases the deficit; it doesn’t.”
From Fox News’ September 6 2012 Democratic National Convention coverage:
Full video HERE.
This chart shows both the increase in revenues and costs and the line in the middle shows the impact on the deficit by year. If the line is below zero then it reduces the deficit and if the line is above zero – it increases the deficit. You can see…the estimate is that it reduces the deficit: Source
The new estimates reflect a couple of factors. The Congressional Budget Office lists them:
- An increase of $168 billion in projected outlays for Medicaid and CHIP;
- A decrease of $97 billion in projected costs for exchange subsidies and related spending;
- A decrease of $20 billion in the cost of tax credits for small employers; and
- An additional $99 billion in net deficit reductions from penalty payments, the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans, and other effects on tax revenues and outlays—with most of those effects reflecting changes in revenues.
Jonathan Cohn at the New Republic digs into the details and rebuts those Republicans who INCORRECTLY say Obamacare now costs double:
To figure out the cost of health care reform, CBO looks at each of the law’s component parts and, for accounting purposes, groups them into different categories. It calls one category “gross cost of coverage expansions” – that’s the amount of money the federal government will spend to help people get insurance, mostly by offering Medicaid to more people or giving people subsidies they can use to help offset the cost of private insurance. Last year, CBO estimated that the gross cost of coverage expansion from 2012 through 2021 would be $1.445 trillion. Now CBO thinks the gross cost will be $1.496 trillion. The number shifted, in part, because the CBO has changed its projections for economic growth. (MSNBC’s Tom Curry has a nice explanation of this.) But, in the context of such a large a budget projection, that’s barely any difference at all.
Politicians are always trying to tug at our heart strings by bringing children or handicapped people into the discussion. Today, we are supposed to believe that congresspeople have to spend their entire time in congress getting money to “win” their next term, so they can help the children and the handicapped people.
Actually, that is old stuff. Today, politicians seem to think the best way to woo us is to break unions, take away governmental programs that help children, handicapped people, seniors, and the poor.
I’m not that great a writer, but I can refer you to someone who is.
This piece reminded me of a video I saw on YouTube which proves things could possibly change VERY SLOWLY over generations:
Are we that generation?
Media Matters gives us the short version: Liz Cheney: Get Over 2012 And Start Embracing Romneyism. Of course, it was President George W. Bush who originally said “We ought to make the pie higher.”
Cheney’s Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday un-apologetically recycles just about everything that voters rejected in 2012, and claims, without evidence, that “President Obama is the most radical man ever to occupy the Oval Office.”
This is from someone who was part of the Worst Administration Ever, that brought about truly radical right-wing policies from massive tax cuts for the rich to the torture of detainees and an outright war of aggression in Iraq. The Bush administration came close to wiping out the American middle class when the collapse of the financial sector caused U.S. households to lose about $16.4 trillion of net worth.
Jonathan Chait: Liz Cheney Is Even More Bonkers Than We Suspected
Even after four years of bug-eyed right-wing paranoia, Cheney’s op-ed stands out for its utter dearth of the slightest whiff of perspective or factual grounding.
This stuff is getting old. We had legitimate criticisms of the Bush administration’s actual radicalism, and Republicans dismissed it all as “Bush derangement syndrome.” Now prominent Republicans won’t stop ranting about their imaginary “radical” President Obama despite the fact he’s been center-right all along, even to the point of implementing Republican policies. At last year’s GOP convention Clint Eastwood presented a prime-time portrayal of the right-wing, yelling at an empty chair.
Certainly part of the reason why today’s Conservative Republicans come off as so stupid is due in large part to Bill O’Reilly’s bullshit “Talking Points Memo.” Recently Bill said:
Bill O’Reilly: Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, now Cypress, all broke. And other European nations are close. Why? Because they are nanny states. And there are not enough workers to support all the entitlements these progressive paradises are handing out.
Economics professor Richard Wolff punished Bill O’Reilly. Here’s his smackdown on Democracy Now on Monday.
Economic Professor Richard Wolff: You know he gets away with saying things which no undergraduate in the United States with a responsible economic professor could ever get away with. If you want to refer to things as nanny states, then the place you go to in Europe is not the southern tier, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. The places you go are Germany and Scandinavia, because they provide more social services to their people than anybody else.
And guess what, not only are they not in trouble economically, they are the winners of the current situation. The unemployment rate in Germany is now below five percent. Ours is pushing between seven and eight percent.
So, ah, please get your facts right Mr. O’Reilly. The nanny state you call it; the program of countries like Germany and Scandinavia who tax their people heavily by all means, but who provide them with social services that would be the envy of the United States, a national health program that takes care of you whether you are employed or not and gives you proper healthcare.
In France for example the law says when you go to work you get five weeks paid vacation. That’s not an option, that’s the law. You get support when you are a new parent, childcare and so forth.
They provide services and they are successful in Germany and Scandinavia, much more than we are in the United States; and much more than those countries in the south.
So they are not broke in the south because they are nanny states, since the nanny states par excellence are doing better than everyone. The actual truth of Mr. O’Reilly is the opposite of what he says. The more you do nanny state, the better off you are during a crisis, and to minimize the cost of the crisis. That’s what the European economic situation actually teaches. He is just making it up as he goes along to conform to an ideological position that is harder and harder for folks like him to sustain so he has to reach further and further into fantasy.
When you see the word “grand” in front of the word “bargain,” look out. They are trying to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This is why President Obama is treating right-wingers to lunch and dinner, while ignoring progressives.
After first making nearly all the Bush-Obama Tax Cuts For The Rich permanent, key members of Congress and the White House now say there is a deficit problem that can only be solved by austerity budgets. Well, the last election wasn’t about dismantling our earned benefits programs and the social safety net that Americans have relied on since the New Deal. President Obama is proposing a BAD bargain.
Sign Senator Bernie Sanders’ petition today.
Send a Message to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Boehner: No Budget Deal on Backs of the Elderly, the Children, the Sick and the Poor.
At a time when the middle class is disappearing, poverty is increasing and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider, we demand that the federal budget not be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our country.
A federal budget that reduces the deficit by cutting cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security and disabled veterans, raising the Medicare eligibility age and lowering tax rates for the most profitable corporations in this country is not a grand bargain. It is a bad bargain.
We oppose the chained-CPI, a new way to measure inflation and consumer prices designed to cut benefits for Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and their survivors.
We demand a budget that puts millions of Americans back to work in decent paying jobs.
We demand a budget that makes sure that the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations pay their fair share.
UPDATE: Rep. Ryan, announcing his budget plan today:
“This to us is something that we’re not going to give up on, because we’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.”
Definition of a Bushism: when a right-winger accidentally tells us what he really wants to do.