Showing posts with label budget. Show all posts
Showing posts with label budget. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

You know it is the first of April when the Lunatic from Lake Lucille pops her head out of her burrow, sees her shadow, and then goes on Facebook to complain about nothing in particular.

From the fool for every month's Facebook page:

My Own Final Four Bracket For America’s Future Holy Moly! 

Are you kidding? You’d think one who is representing the mighty Badgers, who made it to the Final Four based on sacrificial work ethic and discipline that obviously pays off in the end, he who represents the great state of Wisconsin that hosts this underdog celebrated college basketball team, would understand that future success depends on hard work and sacrifices. (Oh, more basketball references. That never gets old.) The latest Ryan (R, Wisconsin) Budget is not an April Fool’s joke. But it really IS a joke because it is STILL not seeing the problem; it STILL is not proposing reining in wasteful government overspending TODAY, instead of speculating years out that some future Congress and White House may possibly, hopefully, eh-who-knows, take responsibility for today’s budgetary selfishness and shortsightedness to do so. THIS is the definition of insanity. (Well she would know.) Do we still not understand how dangerous it is to allow government to grow unchecked as we shackle ourselves with massive debt – a good portion of which is held by foreign nations who don’t necessarily like us? If we can’t balance the budget today, what on earth makes us think it will happen at some future date? The solution is staring us in the face. (That could be the wig. I think I saw a face on it.) We need to rein in spending today, and don’t tell me there is nothing to cut when we know every omnibus bill is loaded with pork and kickbacks. (Well we could further cut military spending, get rid of tax subsidies for oil companies, and stop paying farmers not to grow crops. Oh she means making budget cuts that only hurt poor people who need government assistance. How silly of me.)

Reading the article linked below gave me the same reaction that my daughter just caused when she punked me with a very unfunny April Fool’s Day announcement. (Really which one said the rabbit died this time?) As my Dad would say after these April Fool’s announcements, “This would kill a lesser man.” This out-of-control debt is killing our economic future. 

- Sarah Palin 

Apparently Paul Ryan has attracted Teabagger scorn by creating a pretend budget that only cuts social programs to the bone, ends government ownership of Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, and repeals Obamacare, but does not suggest selling the first born children of Democrats currently serving in the Senate.

The budget gets 40% of its savings from the repeal of Obamacare which will never happen, and much if the rest from cuts to social programs that would never pass the Senate in its current form. So essentially it is a creative writing piece with no real connection to reality.

However the Teabaggers don't quite get that, and decide to attack it, apparently just for something to do:

Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, told Breitbart News "Ryan's budget should be found in the book store in the fiction department. If there is one thing we know about Washington, increased spending now with the promises of spending cuts on the future means we will get the spending but never the cuts." 

Ben Cunningham, founder of the Nashville Tea Party, told Breitbart News it is fitting that Ryan released his budget on April Fool's Day. "On this day when we celebrate fools, we are once again presented with a budget by Republicans and asked to believe it is something more than a political document," Cunningham said. 

Mark Kevin Lloyd, a Virginia Tea Party activist, was equally dubious. "I got tired of watching Popeye reruns when I was a kid in the '60s," he told Breitbart News. "Wimpy was always asking for a hamburger today, and offering to pay next Tuesday. That is exactly what this budget does for us."

And since the Teabbaggers have their panties in a bunch that means that Palin has to get her granny panties all wrapped around her bony thighs as a show of solidarity. After all what is April first without the resident fool making an appearance?

In my opinion this is yet another indication that Palin is absolutely panic stricken that the Tea Party is leaving her behind, and she is trying to kiss blubbery middle age ass in order to get back into their good graces.

So desperate is she in fact that she is ready to haul her skinny ass down to Florida in order to rub bony elbows with on of her endorsees.

Wow a Facebook post AND a personal appearance. Gee that will almost make up for the fact that Palin is unlikely to pony up any actual cash. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The private GOP infighting goes public.

Courtesy of Politico:  

The simmering feud between House Republicans and movement conservatives is finally an all-out war. The tension exploded on Wednesday morning when Speaker John Boehner and outside conservative groups traded sharp barbs over the budget deal Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) crafted with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). It only escalated later in the day when the leader of the right-wing Republican Study Committee forced out its long-time executive director for leaking private conversations about strategy to those organizations. 

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Boehner (R-Ohio) accused outside conservative groups of “using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals.” 

Republican leaders have long accused those outside groups — Heritage Action, Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, to name a few — of existing solely to oppose them. Many of these organizations accuse Boehner, his leadership team and some Republican members of Congress of being a bunch of squishes willing to abandon their conservative principles in favor of compromises. 

More than 50 members of conservative groups signed on to a statement Wednesday evening responding to both Boehner’s remarks and Teller’s dismissal. 

“It is clear that the conservative movement has come under attack on Capitol Hill today,” the statement reads. All of that was private, relegated to fundraisers and K Street lunchroom chatter, until now. 

“John Boehner has apparently decided to join Mitch McConnell in the war on conservatives,” Senate Conservatives Fund executive Director Matt Hoskins said. “McConnell called us fringe traitors who should be locked in a bar and punched in the nose, and now Boehner is lashing out at us too. Conservatives everywhere need to understand that the party’s leadership has declared war on them. If they don’t fight back, they will always regret it. We’re going to hang together or hang separately. 

I watched Boehner this morning responding to those questions, and I thought he was about to have an aneurism. His face was red, his temples were throbbing, he was clearly pissed!

And already the Right Wing is accusing Paul Ryan of being Judas, the man who up until this point was considered their Messiah.

I think that we are finally seeing the first volleys of what will be a devastating war within the Republican party, that will determine their path forward, and just who is, and who is not, welcome within their ranks.

Pretty sure that the stage is set for a third party to arise. And if that happens the Republicans may find themselves with a debilitating identity crisis moving toward 2016.

Popcorn anyone?

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Top ten infuriating things you may or may not know about this government shutdown.

Cartoon courtesy of the LA Times.
Courtesy of Mother Jones:

1. Democrats have already agreed to fund the government at Republican levels. 

2. Despite what you might have heard, there have only been two serious government shutdowns in recent history, and both were the result of Republican ultimatums. 

3. Democrats in the Senate have been begging the House to negotiate over the budget for the past six months, but Republicans have refused. 

4. That's because Republicans wanted to wait until they had either a government shutdown or a debt ceiling breach as leverage, something they've been very clear about all along. 

5. Republicans keep talking about compromise, but they've offered nothing in return for agreeing to their demands—except to keep the government intact if they get their way. 

6. The public is very strongly opposed to using a government shutdown to stop Obamacare. 

7. Contrary to Republican claims, the deficit is not increasing—it peaked in 2009 and has been dropping ever since, declining by $200 billion last year with another $450 billion drop projected this year. 

8. A long government shutdown is likely to seriously hurt economic growth, with a monthlong shutdown projected to slash GDP in the fourth quarter by 1 percentage point and reduce employment by over a million jobs. 

9. No, Democrats have not used debt ceiling hostage taking in the past to force presidents to accept their political agenda. 

10. This whole dispute is about the Republican Party fighting to make sure the working poor don't have access to affordable health care. 

You know I have to wonder is there ANYBODY left who does not realize what the Republican party is trying to do? Or who are ignorant enough to blame what is happening on the President and Democratic party?

I mean at this point even Fox News is having a hard time covering for these duplicitous assholes.

I think I agree with a commenter from the other day. The GOP is no longer engaging in politics, they are essentially traitors to their own country and should be treated as such.

I ma not one to call for a civil war, but I am afraid that we may already be in the middle of one.

P.S. By the way just in case you doubt any of the points made by this article, if you click the link at the top you can see all of the citations that were used to back them up.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Sarah Palin shamelessly uses the World War 2 veterans as pawns in her attack against President Obama. Update!

Just a graphic to remind people that while Palin shamelessly uses veterans to make political hay she would like to be paid for it as well.
This from Honey Wagon Boo Boo's Facebook page:

My Call For Civil Disobedience Around The “Barrycades” (Cute. I wonder if it cost extra SarahPAC money for that one?)

It’s beyond shameful to see Barack Obama disrespect and mistreat our World War II veterans so blatantly. Obama’s political stunt to “shut down” their memorial by barricade is to elicit an angry response to generate bad publicity for people the president uses in his continual blame game. 

Don’t believe me? Look at the “barricade” at the World War I Memorial:

Source
The difference is obvious. There aren’t any World War I veterans alive today to mistreat in a shameful political stunt. He’s deployed more guards to bar our World War II heroes from their memorial than he sent to Benghazi when our consulate was under attack. (Well of course somebody needs to bring up Benghazi. The evidence for this statement by the way seems to be this tweeted picture of park employees replacing the safety barricades after the Congressional Republicans knocked them down in their rush to get a photo-op with the veterans. Those barriers are NOT there to bar visitors from visiting the site, they are there to keep them safe since there are few park employees to assist them and ensure there is no destruction done to the monuments or injuries incurred by visitors.)

The President is treating our veterans the same way he treated school kids when he cancelled their White House tours. (Does she mean like every other person affected by a government shutdown? Because that list is long and it includes cancer patients, scientists, and infants and children not being fed.) When times called for obvious government belt-tightening, he took it out on kids rather than look for anything that would affect him personally. And while our vets are barricaded from the memorial they built with their heroism, the government “slim down” won’t affect Obama’s golf game or his family’s White House chefs. (You nasty, nasty bitch.)

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are attempting to fund the Veterans Administration and other essential functions, but Democrats are blocking them because they want to make any slim down look as awful as possible in order to deflect from what this whole slim down thing is about, which is their Obamacare train wreck. (Time for a reminder that the budget which the Senate Democrats approved, and which John Boehner is too intimidated to bring to the House floor, INCLUDES the sequestration cuts that the Tea Party helped to win last time they pulled this shit. The ONLY thing they are fighting to cut is The Affordable Care Act, which is a law!)

Good Congressmen are fighting for average middle class Americans to get the same breaks that Obama gave Congress, his pals, union bosses, and crony corporations who financed his campaign and snookered the media into putting him in office. (Actually Obamacare itself GIVES middle class Americans the same breaks enjoyed by Congress, big corporations, and union members. It gives them access to affordable health care. The question is WHY are the Republicans trying to stop them from getting it?)

It is a sad day when We the People have to go cap in hand to the president begging him to give us the same relief he gave his friends by fiat. Thank God we have bold leaders willing to fight for those who can’t afford to pay powerful lobbyists to make Obama and Harry Reid listen. (Does she mean like Ted Cruz? Oh yeah, he's a hell of a leader. Perhaps she should read the post directly below this one.)

Want to know why this whole thing happened? Look at what Obamacare is already doing to our country with health care costs skyrocketing, workers laid off or kicked to part-time, employers shutting down projects, and debt still soaring. See the article linked below. This is what America is up against. (The article she is referring to is a VERY misleading one called "The 100 Unintended Consequences of Obamacare" written by a Right Wing outlet.)

And Obama employees who know in your hearts and souls that punishing our veterans is wrong, know that we have your backs when you say “enough is enough” and then allow our vets to gaze upon our memorials that honor America’s finest. (And those "Obama employees" also surely know that all of that, and more, can be accomplished simply by bringing the Senate approved sequestration CR to the floor of the House and voting on it.) This simple act of civil disobedience will galvanize our nation against atrocious political games, and I promise you’ll sleep well tonight.

 - Sarah Palin 

So to be clear Palin is encouraging OTHER people to risk an overnight stay in jail, and a possible violent confrontation with police, while SHE stays warm and toasty in her fuzzy slippers and terrycloth straight jacket at home?

Why not? After all Facebook posts don't leave handcuff marks on your wrists or pepper spray your eyeballs. It is easy to suggest that others, in this case elderly service men and their families, fight a fight that you would never, ever fight in person.

I always find it fascinating that every time Palin accuses the President of doing something  shameful, like using the World War 2 Veterans for a "shameful political stunt," she does it while essentially doing that very same thing herself.

In this case the President is not "using" anybody, he is simply standing up to a group of domestic terrorists who were elected by the most rabid members of the Right Wing to undermine the government and, as Rachel Maddow has pointed out, to eventually shut the whole thing down.

The President is clearly on the right side in this battle, and it will take a lot more than transparent publicity stunts and crazed Facebook posts to shake his resolve.

P.S. It should be noted that Palin DID do one good thing today. She greatly assisted New Jersey Senatorial candidate Cory Booker, by endorsing his opponent.  I am sure a thank you note is on it's way from Booker's campaign office as we speak.

Update: As some of you probably figured out, I wrote this post before the shooting happened today on Capitol Hill. And the unpaid Capitol police who responded to that emergency are the same folks that Palin was encouraging people to confront about the fact that could not visit some of the attractions in the National Mall.

I'm just saying.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor attempts to humiliate Democrats with photo-op. Gets mocked mercilessly instead.

Okay so the photo-op above, of the Republican's bicameral conference committee, was arranged by Eric Cantor to indicate that they were ready to negotiate a deal with the Senate Democrats on passing a CR. (It should be pointed out, once again, that the Continuing Resolution that the Senate has agreed to keep in place, and the House has rejected, contains the sequestration cuts that the House Republicans forced upon the American people the LAST TIME they pulled a stunt like this. Essentially it is already a capitulation by the Democrats in order to keep the government funded.)

The purpose of course is to give the impression that the House Republicans are the reasonable ones, and it is Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats who are responsible for the government shutdown.

This from the New York Daily News:

Cantor gathered the group, which included House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., for a photo-op and to signal that the Republicans were waiting to open the line of communication. 

"Come talk to us," Cantor pleaded. 

"All of us here, sitting at a table (are) waiting for Senate Democrats to join us so we can begin to resolve our differences," Cantor added. 

To which Harry Reid appropriately responded:

"Shutting down the government is deadly serious. Republicans seem more interested in organizing stunts with empty chairs."

And boy do the Republicans love their empty chairs.

Rachel Maddow on her show last night revealed the duplicity of this action however, by revealing that Senator Patty Murray has been asking for just such a meeting for months, eighteen times in fact, and they have always refused.

So yeah, this was nothing more than another bullshit move to dodge responsibility and lay the blame for the shutdown on the Democrats.

And it probably worked on those conservatives who really want this to be true, but not so muhc on the rest of the American people.

One of who tweeted this graphic to demonstrate his disgust.

The Republicans are working overtime to kill Obamacare in its cradle, and then blame the resulting political mess on the Democrats. But that only works if we aren't paying attention.

I am paying VERY close attention. And so are a lot of Americans who sent tons of money to the Democrats yesterday in frustration over the shutdown.

The train wreck was never Obamacare, the train wreck was what was going to be left of the Republican party AFTER Obamacare. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cartoon perfectly sums up the current GOP strategy.

The Republicans keep hoping that if they repeat a lie often enough people will come to accept it as truth.

However somehow I think that THIS time the American people are paying attention and the BS is not impressing them one little bit.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sarah Palin resorts to nursery rhymes to attack Nancy Pelosi. To be fair Mother Goose was probably the last book she read cover to cover.

An oldie, but a goodie.
The Washington Times featured a quote from Nancy Pelosi concerning the Republican Party's never ending call for government cuts:

 “The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make. It’s really important that people understand that,” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

“We cannot have cuts just for the sake of cuts.” 

Considering the devastating effects from the sequester she undoubtedly has a point.

However the Times decides it also needs to point this out:

The federal budget has doubled in size in 12 years, from $1.9 trillion in 2001 to $3.8 trillion this year. 

I am sure they are hoping that the budget increase will be blamed solely on Obama and the ACA. However what they failed to mention was that George W. Bush's decision to wage two unnecessary wars and create the office of Homeland Security had quite a lot to do with the increased size if the budget.

But it was enough to catch the attention of the Klondike Kracken who posted this on her Facebook page:

Recall that only Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard and cried t'was bare. Today millions see a $4 trillion bloated cupboard overflowing with political goodies to cut. 

And then linked to the Washington Times article.


I assume by "political goodies" she means over inflated defense spending, unnecessary farm subsidies, and equally unnecessary oil subsidies, right?

Nah, this is Sarah Palin. She probably wants to cut education money, food stamps, and medicare. You know what she and her kind consider the "fat" of the budget,

After three posts yesterday I was hoping not to have to write about this poorly wigged wingnut today, however I felt that this ridiculous attack required some attention.

Probably more interesting to those of us in Alaska is THIS photo from her Facebook page:


"Here's my nephew in Wasilla this morning enjoying the first snowfall." Reads the caption.

Yes that is snow, and yes it did indeed fall this morning.

In fact this is very early for us and even beat last year's early snowfall by six days.

Oh well at least I don't have to mow anymore this year.

By the way I have no evidence that she is in Alaska to even see this snow, and based on the fact that the time stamp on her tweet yesterday was several hours earlier than AK time and that her interview appeared to be in studio, I think it's safe to assume that she is not experiencing our snowfall first hand.

Not that I'm complaining, if she wants to spend all of her time out of state we, and her family, are all the better for it.

Congratulations Arizona, you win the fake boobie prize!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Perfect comparison.

You know I am really starting to warm up to John Fugelsang.

Definitely becoming one of the best we have on our side.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Federal budgets are NOT like household budgets. Despite what Sarah Palin would have you believe

Earlier today Sarah Palin posted this misleading video on her ghostwritten Facebook page.

Underneath she had RAM write this out for her:

I say it IS time we furlough the political consultants, the permanent political class, and the politicos who've been part of the problem that got us into this mess. Politicians, listen to your mother... or at least listen to these moms... 

Now admittedly this idea of listening to our moms is something that sounds like it should be right, but of course, and we should know this simply because it is an idea Palin endorses, it is not right. 

This courtesy of the LA Times:  

Decisions about the federal budget are fundamentally different from those of individual households, because policymakers need to account for how their choices affect the economy as a whole. It is more appropriate to liken government budget deficits to prescription medicine. Just as medication can be helpful to a sick patient, deficits can aid a failing economy. 

The U.S. economy slumped largely because of a reduction in spending by households and businesses. For households, this was a reasonable response to declining property values, job losses and insecurity. Likewise, it made sense for firms to cut back on investment as their customers spent less. If the federal government were to act this way, though, it would reinforce the decline in economic activity, not alleviate it. 

To stabilize the economy, the federal government needs to counterbalance the swings in consumer and business expenditures by moving in the opposite direction. When consumers and firms cut back, government can help replace the lost economic activity through direct spending (on infrastructure projects, for example) and through indirect means, such as tax cuts, which increase households' disposable income. 

This idea of "counter-cyclical" policy was the basic principle behind the tax cuts and spending in the stimulus bill of early 2009, as well as the one-year payroll tax cut agreed to as part of the budget deal at the end of 2010. Though the stimulus proved inadequate in scale, it helped reduce the depth of the downturn. Without it, the unemployment rate in 2010 would have been between 0.7 and 1.7 percentage points higher, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That is, the economy has been lousy, but it would have been considerably worse without government action.

The problem with these idiots talking about "common sense solutions" is that if the answers to these complicated issues were really attainable through "common sense"  they would be solved overnight, or never become a problem in the first place, and everybody would be in perfect agreement with how to handle them. Of course such is not the case.

However my REAL bitch about Palin and the other Right Wing nutjobs suddenly freaking out over debts, deficits, and budgets, is that they were completely silent during the Bush years, when the government was spending money hand over fist, while also cutting the taxes that helped fund the government, which of course created the situation that they are now lamenting.

It is impossible to take ANY of these people seriously if they stand idly by while the pyromaniac sets the house on fire and then scream and insult the firemen for not putting it out quickly enough.

By the way the producer of this video is an organization called Bankrupting America, and it is run by a woman named Gretchen Hamel. This is what FactCheck.org dug up about her and her organization:

Public Notice (Now Bankrupting America. Hmm why the name change do you think?)is a group headed by Gretchen Hamel, who has a long history of working for Republicans. She was a press assistant for former GOP Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, then press secretary to GOP Rep. John Carter of Texas and later for the House Republican Conference. She was deputy assistant U.S. trade representative during the final years of the Bush administration. 

This group describes itself as "an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization." Hamel insists that the organization is "an education advocacy group" and not a "political group." Unlike some "super PACs" and overtly partisan groups, it does not attack specific candidates. But it does echo Republican campaign themes and attacks federal spending programs identified with Democrats. 

So this group is yet another thinly veiled Republican propaganda outlet dedicated to spreading misinformation in order to fool the low hanging fruit.

So of course Palin is working with them.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Entering into sequester negotiations, new Bloomberg poll shows President Obama with highest job approval rating in three years, and the popularity of Republicans at record lows.

Courtesy of Bloomberg:

President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low. 

Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party’s brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows. 

Americans by 49 percent to 44 percent believe Obama’s proposals for government spending on infrastructure, education and alternative energy are more likely to create jobs than Republican calls to cut spending and taxes to build business confidence and spur employment. 

“The Republicans are not offering any new solutions,” said poll respondent Cynthia Synos, 62, a political independent who lives in the St. Louis suburb of Greendale, Missouri. “Their answer is always tax cuts and incentives for business. I’ve never heard them say anything innovative to spark the economy that would help the other 85, 90 percent of people that have to deal with the economy as it is.” 

Obama’s positive standing with the public provides him with political leverage as Americans assess blame for any furloughs, disruption of government services or damage to the economy if the spending cuts aren’t averted. The repercussions also could help shape the battleground for the 2014 midterm congressional elections. 

Public views of congressional Republicans’ record places an added burden on them in the standoff over automatic spending cuts. Americans by 43 percent to 34 percent say they are more to blame than Obama and Democrats for “what’s gone wrong” in Washington. Still, another 23 percent aren’t sure which side bears more responsibility. 

Republicans “are not willing to work at all with the president,” said poll respondent Horace Lee Boyd, 64, a political independent and retired wholesale merchandiser who lives in Cullman, Alabama. “When you cease to compromise, you cease to accomplish anything. We’re at a stalemate. He’s willing to compromise and they aren’t.” 

From most perspectives it does not appear that the Republicans have much to work with, especially since the public cannot help but notice that most of the fighting is actually going on within the party itself, between the establishment GOP and the upstart Teabaggers, instead of with the Democrats.

While it is clear that the President wants to do everything he can to avoid the sequester it is clear that he stands to benefit from it politically once it happens and that the Republicans will suffer an even larger slip in the polls as a result.

In other words it appears that the Republicans are still trying to play chess while Obama is beating the pants off of them in a game of three dimensional chess.

P.S. By the way for those still a little confused about what the sequester does, here is a great article which lays the whole thing out in easy to understand language and graphics.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Andrew Sullivan believes he now recognizes President Obama's long game.

Courtesy of the Daily Beast:  

The left often talked of the fiscal cliff as if it were only win-win for Obama. It wasn't, in my view. He faced two dangers: of seeming unable to come up with a compromise (which is integral to his appeal) and of seeing the US economy sink under the weight of an imprudent and drastic reduction in demand. As Josh Marshall has noted, Obama always wanted a deal. No president wants to kick off his second term with a double-dip recession. He got half of a deal that will not have as drastic an effect as the full cliff-divers wanted. 

Does the promised debt-ceiling hostage-taking by the GOP render all this strategy moot? Maybe. But it seems to me that the GOP has hurt itself so far since the election on fiscal matters - appearing, especially last week, as a herd of feral, foam-flecked cats. I don't see their threatening to ruin America's credit unless they get to cut Medicare by $500 billion over a decade as a particularly strong political hand. Any party triggering a self-imposed credit crisis as the economy recovers will not be rewarded politically. On that, especially after 2011, the president has the upper hand. Americans do not like monkeying around with the national credit rating as a way to cut medical care for grandma. 

More to the point, the GOP has yet to even lay out the details of its proposed entitlement cuts (and campaigned in part against them). One way out would be for both parties to focus on cutting the Pentagon bloat - but that's not going to happen any time soon. And so I can see revenue-raising tax reform returning as a way to alleviate some of the political pain on both sides. 

In other words, I can see Obama's logic here. What he's getting - which is a gradual shift toward more fiscal responsibility, with key protections for the working poor and the unemployed in place - is all he really wants right now. Like many of Obama's incremental achievements, you can sometimes miss the forest for the trees. We have the biggest tax hike in decades - without a sudden recession. And we have huge, painful spending cuts looming unless new revenue is found through tax reform. The end result - for all its unseemly messiness right now - may still be a sane, graduated fiscal readjustment as the economy recovers. The sequester can be back-loaded a little to find that elusive sweet spot between structural fiscal rebalancing and economic growth. And we could even clean up the tax code a little. 

It's not great, but it will do. Sometimes, the little advances are preferable under certain circumstances to big breakthroughs. And Obama has to face a rabid Republican House probably for his next four years. They self-destructed on Plan B. They will almost certainly have to swallow hard and vote for big tax increases in the next day or so [and, in fact, now have].

Like most of you I have also been inundated with e-mails and text messages from those on the Left tearing at their hair and rending their clothing in frustration over what they see as Obama's acquiescence in the fiscal cliff deal, but  if I have learned ANYTHING about this President it is that he rarely focuses on short term victories and is usually thinking several moves ahead of his opponents.

That is essentially what Sullivan is pointing out with his article, and I have to say that I agree with his point of view. I firmly believe that in the end Barack Obama will go down in history as one of the greatest President's this country has ever produces, and I also bet that there will be a lot of "aha" moments for most of us looking back at this from the future that we are just too close to the political sausage making to see right now.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Everything you need to know about the Fiscal Cliff deal. But were too confused to ask. Update!

Smokin' Joe Biden rides to the rescue and finally gets through a fiscal cliff package.
Courtesy of the Washington Post: 

 — Tax rates will permanently rise to Clinton-era levels for families with income above $450,000 and individuals above $400,000. All income below the threshold will permanently be taxed at Bush-era rates. 

— The tax on capital gains and dividends will be permanently set at 20 percent for those with income above the $450,000/$400,000 threshold. It will remain at 15 percent for everyone else. (Clinton-era rates were 20 percent for capital gains and taxed dividends as ordinary income, with a top rate of 39.6 percent.)

 — The estate tax will be set at 40 percent for those at the $450,000/$400,000 threshold, with a $5 million exemption. That threshold will be indexed to inflation, as a concession to Republicans and some Democrats in rural areas like Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mt.). 

— The sequester will be delayed for two months. Half of the delay will be offset by discretionary cuts, split between defense and non-defense. The other half will be offset by revenue raised by the voluntary transfer of traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs, which would tax retirement savings when they’re moved over.

 — The pay freeze on members of Congress and all other federal civilian employees, which Obama had lifted this week, will be re-imposed, . 

— The 2009 expansion of tax breaks for low-income Americans: the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit will be extended for five years.

 — The Alternative Minimum Tax will be permanently patched to avoid raising taxes on the middle-class. 

— The deal will not address the debt-ceiling, and the payroll tax holiday will be allowed to expire. 

— Two limits on tax exemptions and deductions for higher-income Americans will be reimposed: Personal Exemption Phaseout (PEP) will be set at $250,000 and the itemized deduction limitation (Pease) kicks in at $300,000. 

—The full package of temporary business tax breaks — benefiting everything from R&D and wind energy to race-car track owners — will be extended for another year.

 — Scheduled cuts to doctors under Medicare would be avoided for a year through spending cuts that haven’t been specified. 

— Federal unemployment insurance will be extended for another year, benefiting those unemployed for longer than 26 weeks. This $30 billion provision won’t be offset. 

 — A nine-month farm bill fix will be attached to the deal, Sen. Debbie Stabenow told reporters, averting the newly dubbed milk cliff. 

I understand that the House is supposed to vote on this by 1:00 EST today. However there are still rumors that many House members are not planning to vote for it and John Boehner has also made some remarks about possible modifications, which would kill the bill outright.

Still there is hope that it will pass.

Of course this bill only postpones those deep spending cuts for two months so it really is nothing more than a Band-Aid applied to a potential internal hemorrhage, but it is still a lot better than many thought the Senate could ever hope to agree on.

I wonder if this new Congress will really be any more rational or if THIS is the kind of thing we will see for the next two years?  God, let's hope not.

Update: There are some who think the President completely punked the Republicans with this deal:

Higher taxes on the richest Americans (the level is yet to be determined, and the president pointedly stayed away from confirming the $400K/$450K numbers floating around, but taxes are going up). He just forced Grover Norquist's Republican party to allow a tax increase. Big. F*cken. Deal. 

The middle class tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, child tax credit education tax credit and other Obama stimulus tax credits are staying in place for 5 years, as are the breaks for small businesses, especially for the clean energy industry (I don't think most people running around with their hair on fire realize how big a deal this is for the environmental community). The Alternative Minimum tax is fixed permanently not to affect the middle class. 

Unemployment benefits extension. 

An increase in the estate tax rate to 40%. 

What do the Republicans get in return? Bupkiss. Nada. Nothing. A big fat zero. So basically, the president permanently protects working people and the poor and the middle class, permanently raises taxes on the rich, and the additional tax revenue from that. Republicans get no entitlement changes, not even a permanent aversion of the cuts hitting defense and other Republican sweetheart industries.

I know there are those on the Left who think the President gave away too much, but in the end it looks like the President did that whole Jedi mind trick thing again.

Update 2: Politicususa agrees that the President (And Joe Biden) cleaned the Republican's clock..

Sunday, December 30, 2012

For those concerned about cuts to Social Security being part of the budget negotiations, don't worry it looks like the Democrats held firm.

As of late today the Senate was still no closer to coming up with a plan to deal with the looming fiscal cliff. 
Courtesy of HuffPo:  

Republican senators leaving a GOP conference meeting Sunday afternoon told reporters that they are dropping chained CPI (a measure of inflation that grows more slowly than the way Social Security measures inflation now.)from their fiscal cliff proposal. 

"CPI has to be off the table because it's not a winning argument to say benefits for seniors versus tax breaks for rich people," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "We need to take CPI off the table -- that's not part of the negotiations -- because we can't win an argument that has Social Security for seniors versus taxes for the rich." 

"There's a realization that in spite of the president's apparent endorsement of a chained CPI, that that proposal deserves more study," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). "My guess, based on what Democrats are saying, is that that reform would not happen during this stage of the negotiations." 

"I don't think anybody ever expected Social Security to be part of this," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). "It's all going to be about taxes of some kind or another."

I ma still not sure that we are going to see a deal before the end of the year, but at least we know that the Republicans are not going to get to starve Granny in exchange for raising taxes on the top 1% of the country.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

President Obama on the Republican's stubborn refusal to compromise on fiscal cliff negotiations, "After this week we should have perspective."


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Now the President has REALLY gone out of his way to negotiate in good faith with the Republicans, and is already getting blowback from his Democratic base over his decision to offer cuts to Social Security. However it is important to note that the changes to Social Security are far less dire than many have been implying:

The White House proposal would raise $1.2 trillion in new revenue, in part by changing the treatment of itemized deductions, which will hit the rich hardest. It would extend unemployment benefits and boost infrastructure spending—both key pieces of economic stimulus. And it would prevent Republicans from holding the economy hostage over the debt ceiling for two years. But it would end the Bush tax cuts only for those making $400,000 or more—a climb-down from the $250,000 mark Obama had previously insisted on—while failing to extend the payroll tax cut, meaning middle-class taxes will rise. It would cut $1.22 trillion in spending. And, perhaps most controversially, it would cut Social Security by changing the way inflation is calculated, meaning payments grow more slowly, by about 0.3% each year.

So there are NO actual cuts to Social Security, however the growth of payments to match inflation is now reduced. Clearly not optimal but hardly catastrophic.

Compare that with the dangers of actual going over the fiscal cliff, or curve if you prefer, and you may have some idea as to why the President is working so hard to reach a deal:

If the current laws slated for 2013 go into effect, the impact on the economy would be dramatic. While the combination of higher taxes and spending cuts would reduce the deficit by an estimated $560 billion, the CBO estimates that the policies set to go into effect would cut gross domestic product (GDP) by four percentage points in 2013, sending the economy into a recession (i.e., negative growth). At the same time, it predicts unemployment would rise by almost a full percentage point, with a loss of about two million jobs. A Wall St. Journal article from May 16, 2012 estimates the following impact in dollar terms: “In all, according to an analysis by J.P. Morgan economist Michael Feroli, $280 billion would be pulled out of the economy by the sunsetting of the Bush tax cuts; $125 billion from the expiration of the Obama payroll-tax holiday; $40 billion from the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits; and $98 billion from Budget Control Act spending cuts. In all, the tax increases and spending cuts make up about 3.5% of GDP, with the Bush tax cuts making up about half of that, according to the J.P. Morgan report.” Amid an already-fragile recovery and elevated unemployment, the economy is not in a position to avoid this type of shock.

So although the President just won reelection, and is currently enjoying the highest poll numbers since he killed Osama Bin Laden, the fact remains that he realizes it is HIS job to protect the American people from a possible recession and dramatic job loss.

I don't think it makes a difference to the President WHO gets blamed, his job  is to make sure it never happens. You see unlike a certain party of douchebags I could name, Obama does not play politics with the lives of the American people.

And how did this party of douchebags respond to these remarks by the President? Much like you would imagine: 

Boehner, R-Ohio, responded to Obama with a defiant tone. In an appearance before reporters that lasted under a minute, Boehner called on Obama to offer a deficit-cutting plan balanced between spending cuts and tax increases and predicted that the House would pass his backup plan. 

"Then the president will have a decision to make," Boehner said. "He can call on the Senate Democrats to pass that bill or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history."

Essentially Boehner said "Fuck it, let it burn!"

I think the next time I see one of those Teabagger assholes holding an "America First" sign I am going to punch him right in the face.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nude AIDS activists try to rouse a Boehner, get arrested instead.

Courtesy of New York Daily News:  

Three women AIDS activists saying they wanted to highlight the "naked truth" about potential spending cuts in HIV programs were arrested Tuesday after taking their clothes off in the lobby of House Speaker John Boehner's office. 

The trio had the words "AIDS cuts kill" painted on their bodies and had linked arms with four men who also disrobed as part of the protest. The nude protesters, along with dozens of other clothed demonstrators chanted slogans, including: "People with AIDS are under attack. What do we do? Fight back." 

The three women were arrested by Capitol Police as they mingled with other protesters in the hall outside Boehner's district office after putting their clothes back on. The naked male protesters appeared to have left. 

"People with AIDS are sick and tired of being pushed over the cliff," said Jennifer Flynn, 40, of New York City, who was among those arrested. "We need to make sure they stop going after people with AIDS." 

What? Only the women were arrested? What in the hell is that all about?

Especially since being topless in DC is perfectly legal.


By the way here is the video. (Beware, there are boobies!)

I understand that people wondered if John Boehner was embarrassed by this display outside of his office, but his face is always so damn sunburned nobody could tell.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Video of Paul Ryan running away from Christian attempting to give him a Bible. Oh, that's an unfortunate visual!

Courtesy of the You Tube site:

After speaking at the 2011 Faith and Freedom Conference, Paul Ryan refuses to answer why he based his budget on the extreme ideology of Ayn Rand and not Biblical principles of economic justice then runs away from the Bible offered to him by the 7000 members of Faithful America who signed a petition asking the same question. 

"I appreciate it. I've got some bibles."

Perhaps but one has to wonder if he has actually read any of them.

The fact is that while Ryan hides behind the camouflage provided by Christianity, his budget is  anything BUT humane or moral.

In fact just the other day he stated that he and Mitt Romney would IMMEDIATELY move to protect defense spending by instead cutting funds from programs that serve the poor and needy.

Courtesy of TPM:

 If Mitt Romney wins in November, he and a Republican Congress will fast track legislation early next year to replace across the board defense cuts with cuts to food stamps and other programs for needy Americans. 

“In January our intention is that if we don’t fix it in the lame duck is to fix it retroactively once a new session of Congress takes place,” Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, told a crowd in North Carolina Thursday, “We have procedural way in the Senate to advance that legislation very quickly and get it to the next President of the United States who I believe is going to be Mitt Romney, to pass that into law and retroactively prevent that sequester from taking place in January.” 

Ryan was referring to legislation House Republicans passed earlier this year to avert sequestration — the penalty Congress imposed on itself, on a bipartisan basis, for not reaching an agreement on more targeted legislation to reduce the deficit. Sequestration will cause deep, abrupt cuts to both defense and non-defense programs starting early next year, and for the next 10 years, unless Congress overturns it or replaces it with other savings.

I don't give too much credit to religion for instilling morality in people, but it certainly could not have hurt for Ryan to have taken that Bible back in 2011 and perhaps read some of the words attributed to this Jesus guy whom his declared faith is named after.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Perhaps we should have let NASA be in charge of coverage for the Olympics!

You know I am usually a big fan of NBC, but they really screwed the pooch with their Olympic coverage. I missed just about every event I was interested in, and saw WAY too much of snooze worthy events like badminton, dressage, and water polo. God I hate water polo!

By the way if you want to see something really cool watch this simulation of Curiosity's landing with the sound from NASA'a control room during the actual event. How awesome was that?

I think it's about time to talk about increasing NASA'a budget don't you?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Once again President Obama takes the fight to the Republicans. This time over their "marvelous" budget proposal.

Obama is currently in the "kicking ass, and taking names" portion of his campaign, and I definitely see a rocky couple of months coming up for the GOP and their presidential candidate.

Let's see how they feel about this President now that he is done wasting his time trying to compromise with these assholes.

For the full text of this speech, click here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

President slams Republican dirty tricks, as well as Rep. Paul Ryan and his ridiculous budget in open mike "gaffe."

Audio courtesy of ABC News:



Transcript from Fox News:

"I remember at one point in the negotiations," Obama shared, with what he thought was a small audience, "One of Boehner's staff people pipes up and says, 'You don't understand Mr. President, you know, we've lost on you know, healthcare, we've lost on the EPA we've given that up, we've got to have something for our--to sell to our caucus.' And I said to them, I said let me tell you something - I spent a year and a half getting healthcare passed. I had to take that issue across the country and I paid significant political costs to get it done. The notion that I'm going to let you guys undo that in a 6 months spending bill, you want to repeal healthcare, go at it, we'll have that debate. But you won't be able to do that by nickel and dimming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?"

"When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, you know, he's just being America's accountant, and you know trying to be responsible," the president pondered with his allegedly private audience, "This is the same guy who voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my healthcare bill, but wasn't paid for."


You know I would not be at all surprised to learn that the President knew full well that his mike was on. And knowing that he still he said the above because he knew it would fire up his base, which it did, and piss off the Republicans, which no doubt it will, while still giving him the excuse of saying that he did not mean for that to be released to the media.  Which I bet, he actually did.

Thoughts?