Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Springsteen is a Republican!

http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/esayet/2009/01/09/bruce-springsteen-one-hundred-percent-republican/

347 comments:

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Dan Coyle said...

If your shame at being a former liberal is so great you have to come up with that, maybe you should get out of politics altogether. It seems to be hurting you, Mr. Sayet, more than anything.

Anonymous said...

Maybe in the course of another decade or so, Evan will realize that discussion of matters like Bruce Springsteen's true political affilation will do nothing to advance the Neocon cause. The times are too grave, due to the domestic and international catastrophes caused by the Bush administration, to successfully galvanize the American people with the nonsense and herd cries of the past.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Evan knows as little about music as he does about everything else. You need to listen to all of Springsteen and also not just one song by Lennon, dope.

Marvelous said...

Obviously, you got an F- in the explication of poetry. You've got no clue, no clue whatsoever.

Rageous said...

Forget your love affair with Springsteen. He's ours.

Pruno said...

Davis is ashamed to be a Republican:

The death of the moderate Republican
Former Republican Congressman Tom Davis, perhaps the smartest man in the GOP:

But let’s not kid ourselves, our party is broken. We talked to ourselves and not to voters. We became more concerned with stem cell policy than economic policy, and with prayer in schools rather than balance in our public budgets and priorities. Not so long ago, it was easy to paint the Democrats as the party of extremists. Now, they say we’re extremists, and voters agree.

As a result, we’ve seen our support erode. Urban centers remain under Democratic control. Exurbs and rural areas remain under Republican dominance. But in the battleground that lies between – the suburbs -- we were winning them; now we’re not. Our candidates are safe in a swath that extends from North Texas across to North Alabama and up through Appalachia. Elsewhere, we are on the run. Almost every voter who can be convinced – who sometimes votes Democratic, sometimes Republican – now votes Democratic.

We’ve long-since given up on the African-American vote. We’re forfeiting the Hispanic vote with unwarranted and unsavory vitriol against immigrants. Youth vote? Gone. We ask for nothing from these idealistic voters, we offer little except chastisement of their lifestyle choices and denial of global warming, and we are woefully behind the Democrats in learning how to connect with them.

Soccer moms? They’re not comfortable with much of our social policy agenda, so many are gone as well. NASCAR dads? They’re our last redoubt, and the trends even there are not encouraging as unemployment rises and 401 (k)s are decimated. They want clean, competent government that meets basic challenges. They don’t see tax cuts or stimulus checks that net them another $500 per year as meaningful, and they are not comfortable with the profligate deficits that result. As one veteran Republican campaign professional told pollster Charlie Cook: Voting for tax increases hurts politically much more than voting for tax cuts helps.

Sounds about right. To put numbers to what Davis writes above, from the 2008 exit polls (2004 results):

Obama McCain Kerry Bush Change
Urban: 63 35 54 45 D+19
Suburban: 50 48 47 52 D+7
Rural: 45 53 42 57 D+7

Northeast: 59 40 56 43 D+6
Midwest: 54 44 48 51 D+13
South: 45 54 42 58 D+7
West: 57 40 50 49 D+16

African 95 4 88 11 D+14
American:
Latino: 67 31 53 44 D+27

18-29: 66 32 54 45 D+25

Married Women 51 47 (n/a)
w/Children:



Davis worries about suburban voters because, yes, they now edge Democratic. But the seven-point swing in the Democrat's direction in the suburbs matched the seven-point swing in rural areas. Davis' rural GOP stronghold is looking flimsier by the day. Gains in the South were driven in large part by increased African American turnout. Take them out, and white southern males are truly the GOP's dead-enders.

The two biggest problems for the GOP, which Davis noted, are the 18-29 year olds and Latinos. Without those two groups, the GOP is fated for DEEP minorities for a generation. Just look at those swings!

So what are Davis' solutions?

First, we eliminate checklists and litmus tests and focus on broad principles, not heavy-handed prescriptions. Free trade. Strong defense – at home and abroad. Government as small as is practicable in these times. Economic, education and energy policies that promote growth, energy independence and a competitive agenda that will allow businesses to grow and compete, not be protected by artificial barriers.

That is the current GOP agenda minus one big, glaring omission: nothing about "Strong family values". In fact, he ignores the issue altogether, pretending that the modern GOP isn't beholden to its Sarah Palin wing. I have no doubt Palin cost McCain support among independents and Democrats, but she certainly energized McCain's campaign by bringing aboard its most motivated foot soldiers. Who does Tom Davis think will knock on doors for GOP candidates if you strip out its evangelical base? Wall Street Rockafeller Republicans? Stockbrokers? Bankers?

He does offer one good bit of advice to his party, hitting a note that I've latched on the past several years:

We also need to stop talking about how much we hate government if we expect people to elect us to run it. Perfecting it, reducing it to its ideal size, having it accomplish what we need with minimal resources requires that we embrace it and study it and work hard at it.

Great advice, but good luck selling it. Because at its core, the GOP hates government. That's why Bush placed "heckuva job" Brownie in charge of FEMA. Because had he nominated someone competent and able to run complex logistical disaster relief operations, government would've worked. And if government works, then all the GOP propaganda about the evil government would be laid bare. If Republicans claim government doesn't work, then of course they can't run government that works. Davis gets this, but his party's patron saint set the tone when he said:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

In an ideological battle between Ronald Reagan and Tom Davis, who do you think will win?

So worthy effort, Tom, but smart move getting out. You go to Congress with the Republican Party you have--not the Republican Party you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Anonymous said...

...of all the recent conservative fantasies, the idea of Joe the Plumber as the voice of conservative American media is the least surprising. That's because it is a persistent belief among many on the Right that training is unnecessary, that education is for elitists, and that wishing hard enough for something can supersede those things.

And I'm okay with all this. To me, it's evolution. By retreating so deeply into this fantasy world of strike forces, pro-torture heroes, and swashbuckling, allied journalists, we're witnessing a self-induced thinning of the herd by conservatives. They're actively choosing not to participate in the reality that is present-day America, instead opting to fall back on the comforting, familiar images of handymen and handsome actors on their television sets.

So much the better for the country. We'll tackle real problems head on -- with real solutions starting next Tuesday. And we will progress without them.

FJ said...

Looks like you left your pissy little trolls snivelling green w/envy in your dust, Evan. Congrats on the new gig!

liberal monkey boy said...

Best watch out, Evan. Your troll's gone on a rampage in Miami.

Alice Gorable said...

Evan,

You ROCK! Watch out Puffington Posties!

Snake said...

What are they talking about?

More fantasy?

Evan Sayet said...

You Roooooooooooooock, Evan!

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha...he just votes Democrat.

The Witty Patriot said...

I, for one, loved the article. It was an original concept with brilliant writing, but I always love your sarcastic tone. I think that's why the liberals don't like you. It's hard to argue with an intellectual smart a--, when you are a moronic donkey.

Anonymous said...

The last congress has destroyed the economy: not Bush. Liberals running congress were told that raising the minimum wage would result in lost jobs but the liberal congress raised it anyway. In the three months following the raise over a million people were laid off. Predictable cause and effect is lost on liberals. Instead they blame the job loss on Bush who had nothing to do with it. When republicans controlled congress unemplyment was under 5%. After liberal in charge for two years unemployment is 7.2%. Good Job Liberals! Way to go! I can't wait to see how it gets after you clowns start enacting you cap and trade on energy.

Oh! and global warming isn't happening. We have been cooling for ten years straight. The sun has been spot-free for several years which indicates a cooling cycle which will last for the next twenty years. But you Anthropogenic Global warming alarmists can't see what you choose not to see. Ski slopes are closing today because it is TOO COLD. But liberals can never see what is right in front of them because they choose not see or hear the truth. They always choose the evil over good. Always.

Huge-O Chavez said...

Oliver Stone chewing coca leaves w/his Bolivian bud, Evo Morales, cocalero extradornaire.

con-servative said...

We ain't ether dum.

Anonymous said...

You ROCK Evan , don't listen what the brain dead liberals say .. truth means nothing to them ..

Anonymous said...

Loved him at the Barack Obama inauguration special! If what you say had any merit, I'd wish that all Republicans were like him.

Wrecktal said...

Haha...get this..."...the say it louder" wing. That is perfect for this creep blogger.

This is his "good friend" David Frum:

Perhaps the strongest reason for doubting Republican chances in 2010 is the collapsed intellectual state of the party. Parties revive when they have something to say — some message relevant to the lives of actual voters. The party offered no such message in 2008, and there are no signs it will develop such a message soon. The dominant wing in today’s GOP is the “say it louder” wing. Rush Limbaugh tells his audiences that the way to win in 2010 is by returning to the template of 1994 and 1980 — campaigns 15 and 30 years in the past!
David Frum

wrecktal Exam said...

...as opposed to the "lie your asses off wing" of the DNC which lead Obama to victory in 2008.

I'll take the "say it louder" wing of the RNC ANY day of the week.

Quicksloth said...

You Rock Evan...even though you are part of the "say it again...and again...and agaaaaaaaain" wing of the wingbat party.

Haha...hey, that was some good shit from your "good friend", David Frum.

veghead said...

You should read Frum more often... but I'm sure you're much too slothful for that.

John said...

Good job, Evan. And congratulations. Great platform.

another lie your ass off democrat said...

More lies from the pervs at the DNC...

PORTLAND, Ore. -- More than a year after denying it, the newly elected mayor of Portland has admitted having a sexual relationship with a male teenager in 2005.

Sam Adams (D), who is openly gay, acknowledged the relationship in a statement Monday, after the Willamette Week newspaper broke the story on its Web site.

In Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, Adams will cut his trip short to issue a public apology Tuesday afternoon in Portland, said Wade Nkrumah, his spokesman.

Adams, 45, said he and the teen were together in the summer of 2005, shortly after the teenager turned 18 in June, and when Adams was a city commissioner. The revelations come nearly a year and a half after Adams and the teen said rumors of a sexual relationship between them were false.

"I lied at the time because I was afraid that people would believe untrue rumors being circulated by an undeclared mayoral opponent that I had broken a law involving sexual relations with a minor. But this is not a good excuse," Adams said in his statement.

Despite the rumors, Adams coasted to victory in his race, making Portland the largest U.S. city to ever elect an openly gay mayor. He was sworn in Jan. 1.

In his statement Monday, Adams apologized to the teen for making him lie about the relationship. He also apologized to colleagues and voters.

The young man, now 21, did not immediately return a request for comment.

send bill ayers to club gitmo said...

Even the Canadians won't let THIS terrorist in...

William Ayers, the 1960s radical whose ties to President-elect Barack Obama caused trouble for his campaign, was turned away from Canada Sunday night as he tried to enter the country for a series of educational events.

Jeffrey Kugler, the executive director for the Center for Urban Schooling at the University of Toronto, said Ayers was deemed not admissible after being pulled aside by Canadian immigration officials while trying to clear customs at the Toronto airport.

may u reap what u sow said...

Democrats never change.

Thomas Jefferson's Inaugural address, 2nd term, 1805:

"During this course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been leveled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science, are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness, and to sap its safety; they might, indeed, have been corrected by the wholesome punishments reserved and provided by the laws of the several States against falsehood and defamation; but public duties more urgent press on the time of public servants, and the offenders have therefore been left to find their punishment in the public indignation."

Well, in the absence of public indignation, perhaps a tit for tat is now in order...

Let the public humiliation of Barack Hussein Obama now begin!

a poor cobbler in need of work said...

Save your old shoes. There will be an official White-House shoe-throwing ceremony on May 1, 2009. Communists and their supporters are also invited.

Anonymous said...

Boy, these Republicans can't control their impotent rage! Obama's approval rating is a celestial 83% and Bush's is 22%.

carpenters w/o chicken bones said...

Bushes approval was over 90% after 9/11...

We've only just begin to work on Barack's numbers!

karen said...

Better work fast, carpenters... we've only got four years to accomplish what the traitors did in eight.

Of course, it'll be much easier for us. We've got the truth on our side.

obama is a radical said...

Getting to know you (BHO), getting to learn all about you...

* Earliest influences include communist pedophile Frank Marshall Davis, who took the young Obama (Sotero?) under his wing while he lived in Hawaii.

* Attended "church" services at the Chicago United Church of Christ, where he befriended its racist, Marxist and anti-US pastor Jeremiah Wright. Until expediently throwing Wright "under the bus," during his presidential campaign, Obama considered him to be one of the greatest influences in his life. The title of his second book, "The Audacity of Hope," was cribbed from a Wright sermon.

* Attended Harvard on the dime of Khalid Mansour, a Muslim and radical with close ties to violent Islamist groups.

* Became a member of the radical socialist Chicago New Party in the 1990s, a group endorsed by the Communist Party USA.

* Admitted to gravitating towards and being heavily influenced by leftwing radicals and Marxists while attending college.

* The two books that vaulted him into the public's consciousness, "Dreams From My Father," and the "Audacity of Hope," were almost certainly ghostwritten by American terrorist William Ayers, who has been a close advisor, political fundraiser and family friend of Barack Obama for at least 20 years. Ayers describes America as a place that makes him puke.

* Obama has received both implied and direct endorsements from the Islamic terror group Hamas, the Marxist thug Hugo Chavez and from Fidel Castro, to name a few.

* Appointed to head up the Chicago Annenberg Challenge ( a program designed to turn Chicago public schools into leftist indoctrination centers) in the late 1990s by his terrorist friend Bill Ayers. While heading the Annenberg Challenge, and serving beside his friend Ayers, the Challenge spent over $ 100 million of donor's money and ended in complete failure. That gross failure comprises Obama's sole executive experience.

* Worked for and advised the radical Left organizing group ACORN, which is currently being prosecuted for massive vote fraud in several states.

* Has maintained a close friendship with Reverend Michael Pfleger, a radical, anti-US priest who espouses Marxist Liberation Theology. Considers Pfleger a formative figure in his life and a close advisor.

* Has never produced a valid Cerificate of Live Birth (COLB), yet he and his supporters have spent millions of dollars to prevent the release of that document and to prevent the release of his Selective Service papers, his college transcripts from Columbia, Occidental and Harvard. May not be Constitutionally eligible to assume the Office of the Presidency. It would cost Barack Obama a $10 fee to release his vault copy COLB and prove his eligibility. Instead he continues going to extraordinary lengths to prevent its release and the release of any document that might shed light on his eligibility to serve.

* Campaigned in Kenya for his cousin, Rail Odinga, who upon losing his country's presidential election, urged his followers to violence against the opposition. Odinga's Muslim followers subsequently locked over 100 civilians into a church, and burnt it to the ground, killing women and children inside. Odinga also signed a memorandum of understanding with local radical Muslim groups stating that in return for their election support he would institute Muslim sharia law upon winning office.

* Promises to grant violent Islamic radicals currently detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base access to the US legal system. Is considering moving those terrorists to US prisons, no doubt inspiring Islamist hostage-for-hostage plots and perhaps enabling the release of terrorists who are acquitted over minor legal technicalities in US criminal courts.

Arbeit macht frei said...

Bye Bye, Hope.

Reality's a bitch!

no surprise at this news said...

Both KKK Grand Kleagle Robert Byrd and Massachusetts Democratikkk race exploiter Teddy Kennedy collapse at the news that a black man had actually assumed the US Presidency.

2 stoopid 2 bow out gracefully said...

Get the wooden stakes ready, and bring some nails for their coffin lids.

old demokkkrats never die said...

Exclusive footage of Ted Kennedy at the Inaugural luncheon...

cling 2 power at all cost said...

Don't worry folks... it turns out it was only a hairball.

2 impotent 2 retire said...

*Gack!!!*

nakid obama pictures said...

Michelle Obama flashes her boobs during the inauguration...

other clothesless emperors said...

The Obama hysteria is not merely embarrassing to witness, it is itself contributory to the scale of the disaster that is coming. What we are experiencing, in the deepening days of a global depression, is the desperate suspension of disbelief by people of intelligence - la trahison des clercs - in a pathetic effort to hypnotise themselves into the delusion that it will be all right on the night. It will not be all right.

we report, u decide said...

The question on every American's mind is, when the new President retires for the evening, will he enjoy a cigarette or a hit from his crack pipe?

president crack head said...

Crack pipe. And it won't be the first time today he's taken a hit off it...

WASHINGTON – Both Chief Justice John Roberts and President Barack Obama stumbled slightly over wording of the presidential oath of office on Tuesday, providing a brief, awkward moment in an otherwise smooth inauguration ceremony.

Initially, Obama interrupted Roberts midway through the opening line, in which the president repeats his name and solemnly swears.

Next in the oath, which is enshrined in the Constitution, is the phrase "... that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States." But Roberts rearranged the order of the words, not saying "faithfully" until after "president of the United States."

That appeared to throw Obama off. He stopped abruptly at the word "execute."

Recognizing something was off, Roberts then repeated the phrase, putting "faithfully" in the right place but without repeating "execute."

Obama then repeated Roberts' original, incorrect version: "... the office of president of the United States faithfully."

Marion Barry said...

You go, Barry!

perverted democrat said...

MADISON, Wis. - Prosecutors charged Racine Mayor Gary Becker (D) with child-sex felonies Thursday and said he had gone to a mall to meet a 14-year-old girl he thought he had met during an online chat.

A state agent had posed as the girl, and the 51-year-old mayor was arrested Tuesday at the mall in suburban Milwaukee. District Attorney Michael Nieskes said during a news conference after a court hearing Thursday that investigators also found records of 1,800 sexually explicit chats on Becker's computer.

The charges include attempted second-degree sexual assault of a child under 16, possession of child pornography, child enticement, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, attempt to expose a child to harmful material and misconduct in office. At least one city official has called on Becker to resign.

Titus said...

Hey, you got your blog back! Congrats!

Pymp said...

Yes!!!

It's starting to look like the dead little shithole it used to be.

Why?

Reichos are now irrelevant.

mr. whitehead said...

Well, almost got it back. All you've got left to do is pop this pymple...

berty said...

Keep on rockin', Evan!

Anonymous said...

Lol...yes, keep rockin...in your dead little vacuum.

Anonymous said...

The Right Chooses Evil Over Good Every Time...

It's Time to Choose Right Over Wrong

McClatchy Newspapers:

"While President Barack Obama was busy closing down our military prison in Guantanamo and shuttering the Central Intelligence Agency's secret Gulag around the world, Republicans on Capitol Hill were stalling a vote on Obama's choice for attorney general, apparently in hopes of negotiating a plea bargain on war crimes. Although it violates everything we know and believe about equality under the law, the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, led astray by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, forced a week's delay in voting on Eric Holder's nomination to be the new attorney general in a crude attempt to get him to swear that he won't prosecute anyone from the Bush administration for violating our laws."

still waiting 4 change said...

BARACK Obama’s approval ratings have nosedived by 15 points after only six days in office, according to a new poll.

The Gallup poll shows that reality is setting in for the new US President after the euphoria that greeted his inauguration last Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

LMAO......and Jeebus was a Mooooslim

president ben dover 4 anyone said...

Larry Sinclair's lover is dropping in the polls quicker than Barack Obama's trousers.

Now that's a shame...

FJ said...

So Evan...

Why don't you cross-post your Big Hollywood essays here?

smoke said...

Yeah, we need more shit to laugh at. Maybe someone would show up here, then.

another retarded democrat said...

We already laugh every time you blow in here, pud smoker... and we're not laughing with you.

Sooo-eeey. DNC Pigs rushing the trough said...

When Barack Obama announced in early December that he had selected Tom Daschle to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services as well as his "health care policy czar," Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi -- who had spent several months studying the inner workings of the 2006 Congress in order to profile its limitless corruption -- wrote the following reaction on his blog:

I know several reporters who are either officially or unofficially on "Whore Factor" duty, watching the rapidly kaleidoscoping transition picture and keeping track of the number of known whores and ghouls who for some reason have been invited to befoul the atmosphere of the next administration.

Obviously there has been some dire news on that front already. When Obama picked Tom Daschle to be the HHS Secretary, I nearly shit my pants. In Washington there are whores and there are whores, and then there is Tom Daschle. Tom Daschle would suck off a corpse for a cheeseburger. True, he is probably only the second-biggest whore for the health care industry in American politics — the biggest being doctor/cat-torturer Bill Frist, whose visit to South Dakota on behalf of John Thune in 2004 was one of the factors in ending Daschle's tenure in the Senate.

But in picking Daschle — who as an adviser to the K Street law firm Alston and Bird has spent the last four years burning up the sheets with the nation's fattest insurance and pharmaceutical interests — Obama is essentially announcing that he has no intention of seriously reforming the health care industry. . . .

Regarding Daschle, remember, we're talking about a guy who not only was a consultant for one of the top health-care law firms in the country, but a board member of the Mayo Clinic (a major recipient of NIH grants) and the husband of one of America's biggest defense lobbyists — wife Linda Hall lobbies for Lockheed-Martin and Boeing. Does anyone really think that this person is going to come up with a health care proposal that in any way cuts into the profits of the major health care companies?

John said...

Eat Evan's dust, losers.

Try posting your crap there. I don't think that management will suffer fools so graciously.

Anonymous said...

You and Evan are the losers, John. The voters gave you guys the bum's rush in the last election. You still don't know what hit you.

Damocles said...

You think THAT was the bum's rush? Just wait until the next election when the voters reflect upon the Obama Adminstration's lack of accomplishments.

Casey's Mudville 9 fans said...

Judges scorecard:

Promises 10
Delivery 0

change u kin b'lieve in, hon said...

WASHINGTON (AP) - Nancy Killefer, who failed for a year and a half to pay employment taxes on household help, has withdrawn her candidacy to be the first chief performance officer for the federal government, the White House said Tuesday.
Killefer was the second major Obama administration nominee to withdraw and the third to have tax problems complicate their nomination after President Barack Obama announced their selection.

"Nancy Killefer has decided to withdraw her nomination, and we accepted her withdrawal," Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Tuesday. The 55-year-old executive with consulting giant McKinsey & Co., was expected to explain her reasons for pulling out later in the day.

When her selection was announced by Obama on Jan. 7, The Associated Press disclosed that in 2005 the District of Columbia government had filed a $946.69 tax lien on her home for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help.

must h8 america demokkkrat said...

I think there's an disturbing trend here... Democrat's no longer seem to think they have to pay their taxes.

cockroaches scram w/light turned on said...

WASHINGTON (AP) - Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary.

That's according to a joint White House statement from President Barack Obama and his former nominee.

Obama said Tuesday he accepted the withdrawal "with sadness and regret."

Daschle has been battling for his nomination since it was disclosed he failed to pay more than $120,000 in taxes.

He said he's withdrawing because he's not a leader who has the full faith of Congress and will be a distraction.

Anonymous said...

Says you, Damocles. You think that the pathetic, rag-tag Republican minority in Congress is going be successful in obstructing Obama's program. Let them try! They'll take another shellacking in the 2010 election, moving them one step further to what they are fated to be - a cranky, impotent party of the deep South, doomed to oblivion.

sword swallowing democrat said...

Today the Republicans knocked off two of Obama's politburo member designates. Wazzup w/that?

The bloom on Obama's rose is fading faster than stink on a fresh pile of dogsh-t.

Anonymous said...

Well, I see this dying shithole is getting the attention it deserves...truly a microcosm of the right.

antidote to Leftism said...

"A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe."

-- President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared "we have chosen hope over fear." Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

Anonymous said...

Bush and Cheny routinely used fear for political purposes, lunkhead.That's the way they held office as long as they did. The ploy stopped working in 2006, when the American people caught on and booted the Republicans out of both houses of Congress.

Anonymous said...

Bush and Cheny routinely used fear for political purposes, lunkhead.That's the way they held office as long as they did. The ploy stopped working in 2006, when the American people caught on and booted the Republicans out of both houses of Congress.

smear the fear queer said...

...and that's precisely what's about to happen to Obama.

Anonymous said...

Nope, the stimulus bill is about to pass. The Republicans holding out will make their party appear even more irrelevant, what with 598,000 people losing their jobs last month.

after the fear is gone, what then said...

...and after the stimulus bill fails to stimulate, what then? Another stimulus? And then another?

Obama couldn't make a "hard economic choice" if his life depended upon it.

Anonymous said...

What do you suggest, moron - more tax cuts? The unemployed don't pay taxes. Virtually every reputable economist says that a massive infusion of money into the economy is necessary to save it.

Anonymous said...

I hear Psychet is in the drunk tank again. Any news on that?

raise interest rates now said...

What do I suggest? That Obama resign. He's not capable of doing anything but throw other people's money at problems. He's a poseur, like you.

Every reputable economist at the time said that Reagan's policies would result in a catastrophe. It seems that the 'reputable' economists of their day have a rather disturbing habit of getting us all into more economic problems then their reputations prove capable of solving.

Anonymous said...

Reagan was the poseur. He cut taxes for the rich, arguing that they would invest, producing ruinous deficits that his successors had to deal with. And Obama's stimulus package is going to pass, which means another total defeat for what's left of the right wing of the GOP.

Bill Pitt said...

Funny site...little, wingo trailer trash talking economics. They still dont' know that Raygun WAS a disaster?

All they have to know about economics is that if they flip burgers til their 80, they still won't be able to afford that third hand trailer they've got their eyes on.

Where's this blogger? I hear he's a riot.

u want fries wi dat, meester said...

Obama's pork bill will pass, but America will end up with a National Crime Museum instead of universal health care as a result.

Way to go, Democrats!

what the world thinks of obama said...

President Obama has turned the will of the American people against him. In one rookie mistake after another, his decisions have shaken even the majority of his supporters. His insisting to not listen to his employer--We The People--is now adding arrogance to his unsteady hand. His policies involving political payback instead of finding genuine solutions are now demonstrating to all of us that the vagueness of his campaign speechmaking was merely the work of a hollow wordsmith after all.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead, convince yourselves that Obama is screwing up, GOP wingbats. You're whistling past the graveyard. In 10 years the Republican Party will be a historical curiosity.

& jimmah cahtah begott Ronald Reagan said...

Convince yourself Obama's not screwing up. Here's today's New York Times:

SOMEDAY historians may look back at Tom Daschle’s flameout as a minor one-car (and chauffeur) accident. But that will depend on whether or not it’s followed by a multi-vehicle pileup that still could come. Even as President Obama refreshingly took responsibility for having “screwed up,” it’s not clear that he fully understands the huge forces that hit his young administration last week.

The tsunami of populist rage coursing through America is bigger than Daschle’s overdue tax bill, bigger than John Thain’s trash can, bigger than any bailed-out C.E.O.’s bonus. It’s even bigger than the Obama phenomenon itself. It could maim the president’s best-laid plans and what remains of our economy if he doesn’t get in front of the mounting public anger.

Like nearly everyone else in Washington, Obama was blindsided by the savagery and speed of Daschle’s demise. Conventional wisdom had him surviving the storm. Such is the city’s culture that not a single Republican or Democratic senator called for his withdrawal until the morning of his exit.

Anonymous said...

Truly a first - a GOP wingnut quoting a New York Times editorial.

Anonymous said...

Truly a first - a GOP wingnut quoting a New York Times editorial.

illiterate socialist said...

OMG- A Dumbocrat that can READ!

rahm the scam man said...

Amazing. Yet another Obama appointee apparently has tax problems. Pardon me, usher, but I think I’ve seen this movie before.

This time it’s White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. It appears that the former congressman found a handy way to save money. Most members of Congress find themselves having to support two households — one in their home district, and one in or around DC. Some members, in the past, have ended up sharing apartments or town houses. Emanuel took that one step further: he moved into the home of his colleague, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), staying there for five years. Rent-free.

To most people, this is “imputed income” — non-financial gifts or compensation that should be reported to the IRS. Emanuel and DeLauro defend their conduct by saying that House ethics rules permit “hospitality between colleagues.”

Apparently they are not familiar with the old aphorism that “guests, like fish, start to smell after three days.”

And no, there was no impropriety or hanky-panky going on. Representative DeLauro is happily married to one Stan Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg, by the way, is not a lobbyist. No, he’s the next best thing in DC — he’s a pollster. And, by wild coincidence, Greenberg’s polling company (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research) lists both Emanuel and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (which Emanuel headed) as clients.

Let’s see… a Democratic representative gets free housing from a pollster who enjoys some very lucrative contracts from both that representative and a very influential group said representative heads up? Why, I’d never even suggest some kind of a quid pro quo arrangement.

All through his campaign, Obama and his surrogates touted his great judgment and his commitment to change and transparency. Yet more and more of his nominees keep getting exposed for their ethical lapses, especially in the area of doing their “patriotic duty” (as Vice President Biden puts it) and paying “their fair share” of taxes.

There are numerous explanations for this pattern of behavior, but here’s a theory that’s becoming less laughable: There simply aren’t enough Democrats who are both competent and honest to fill all the vacancies in Obama’s administration.

Anonymous said...

You are right, Rahm. As the Bush administration conclusively proved, what with its legacy of two wars, a depression, ruinous deficits, and 50 million people without health insurance, there are plenty of competent Republicans around.

the era of responsibility has returned said...

Ruinous deficits...

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

No doubt about it, the Democrats are much MUCH more open and giving when it comes to handing out other people's Monopoly money.

Anonymous said...

Well, Era of Responsibility, the Repubicans should come forward with ideas of their own. They have two: either do nothing or more tax cuts. We all know where Bush's tax cuts got us. The Republicans are as intellectually bankrupt as they are morally. Every reputable economist says that huge infusions of money are necessary to saving Bush's tanking economy. Last month alone, 598,000 jobs were lost. But of course, Republicans never listen to the experts.

oink oink I'm a democrat said...

No Republicans are allowed at the Congressional trencher, this porkulus feast is for Democrat Swine only... and seeing is how Democrats controlled Congress the last two years, no one's believing it's the "irresponsible Republicans" line. It's been ALL Democrat pork since 2006.

disreputable demokkkrats said...

Every reputable economist was supposed to help us avoid the economic crises... see how good listening to "reputable" economists was. Oh, that right, the Republicans raised a red flag in 2003, but Barney fag said there was no problem with FANNIE & FREDDIE just so long as his FreddieMac boyrfriend gave him bj's.

Anonymous said...

Nope, Oink, Oink, Bush lowered taxes during wartime - the first president to do. The Democrats opposed the tax cuts but were overriden by the Republican majority.This resulted in the ruinous deficits we have today. The Democrats won in both houses of Congress in 2006, but their majority in the Senate was by only one vote - not enough to overcome the Republican threat of a fillibuster. The Democrats greatly increased their majority in the Senate in 2008, but they still do not have enough votes to defeat a Republican fillibuster. No, the disaster we face is the Republican's baby.

porkulus at his dnc mothers teat said...

Those deficits from then weren't even 1/10th of what we're seeing today. And the Republicans never in eight years had the votes to over-ride a Senate filibuster, so wtf are you talking about? That fact alone makes this disaster a completely Democratic baby.

It's getting so even Democrats are embarrassed at this porkulus packages parents and are thinking it's time for the abortion...

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C) has further ingratiated himself with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — not — by declaring that Pelosi and Harry Reid "failed" the bipartisanship test on stimulus.

"In order for us to get the confidence of America, it has to be done in a bipartisan way," Shuler said in Raleigh following an economic forum, according to the AP.

"We have to have everyone — Democrats and Republicans standing on the stage with the administration — saying, 'We got something done that was efficient, stimulative and timely.'"

Here's the kicker: "I truly feel that's where maybe House leadership and Senate leadership have really failed."

Plag said...

Where's the whack job blogger?

Hey, anon, in case you didn't know, you're "debating" a dimwitted, little loser that even the wingbats don't ever acknowledge, either here or on Republicus.

Don't lower yourself.

Anonymous said...

Your'e an idiot, Porkulus. The Republicans had a majority in the Senate until 2006. Bush could carry on his wars while extending tax cuts to the rich. The Democrats didn't obtain a majority until that year, a slim one. They didn't have the votes to overcome a Republican fillibuster. They still don't. This castastrophe is the Republican's baby. The American people know it and that's why they drove the Republicans out of the executive and legislative braches.

Anonymous said...

News flash: 67% of the people approve of Obama's stimulus package. GOP: behold your doom!

Anonymous said...

Obama Beating Republicans on Economic Stimulus, Polls Show

By Robert Schlesinger

Today's Washington Post reports that Republicans are relishing their opportunity to stand athwart the Obama-Democratic stimulus push and cry "No!" They think it's a political winner position. Polls say otherwise.

Gallup released a poll this morning in which it asked 1,018 national adults whether they approved or disapproved of the way the three key political groups—President Obama, congressional Democrats, and congressional Republicans—have handled the push for a stimulus bill.

Obama scores a 67 percent approval and 25 percent disapproval.

Congressional Democrats are not nearly as popular but still manage a net plus approval rating, with 48 percent favoring them and 42 percent disapproving.

Then there are the congressional Republicans, who have embraced just saying "No!" with enough gusto that one might think they'd just elected Nancy Reagan as party chair. The public has embraced that tactic, just saying no to the GOP at a clip of nearly 2 to 1 (31 percent approve, 58 percent disapprove).

But at least the Republicans approve of the Republicans. From the Post:

"We're so far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time," said Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), one of several younger congressmen seeking to lead the party's renewal. "It's not a sign that we're back to where we need to be, but it's a sign that we're beginning to find our voice. We're standing on our core principles, and the core principle that suffered the most in recent years was fiscal conservatism and economic liberty. That was the tallest pole in our tent, and we took an ax to it, but now we're building it back."

The problem for the GOP is that because they spent eight years repudiating these core principles, they have no credibility now embracing said principles. Without the protection of those principles, the GOP simply looks like it wants to oppose for the sake of opposition at a time when the country is crumbling.

better get a more up to date poll said...

(CBS - 2/9/09) Slightly more than half the country approves of President Obama's $800 billion-plus stimulus package, a new CBS News poll finds. But support for the bill has fallen 12 points since January, and nearly half of those surveyed do not believe it will shorten the recession.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed support the stimulus package, while 39 percent do not. An additional 10 percent don't know. Last month, 63 percent supported the package and just 24 percent opposed it.

Anonymous said...

History has been made:

The stimulus package passes the Senate, 61 to 36.

honey i shrunk the health care system said...

...and 6 months from now when unemployment breaks 10%, the voters will know exactly who to blame for spending all their universal health care money on porkulus instead of stiumulus.

They'll be saying, "What, we need ANOTHER stimulus bill? Whatever happened to the last trillion we gave you?"

Anonymous said...

Poll: Obama Stimulus Effort Backed By HUGE Majority

Meanwhile, back at the Republican Shithouse, things are bleak.

Even as the media continues to cast the stimulus saga as one of mounting pressure on President Barack Obama to deliver a bill that's become mired in partisan bickering, public opinion remains squarely behind the President's effort. As Obama embarks today on a mini-campaign to sell the stimulus, the numbers indicate that he may be preaching to the converted. Jake Tapper of ABC News provides the essential rundown:

Sixty-seven percent of the American people approve of how President Obama's handling his efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, as opposed to 48% for Democrats in Congress and 31% for congressional Republicans.

In addition, the disapproval rating for Congressional Republicans remains a "staggeringly high" 58%. And the public continues to view the package as a matter of paramount concern. 51% of those polled consider the plan's passage to be "critically important," with "Only 16% say it is 'not that important.'

51 percent is a HUGE majority? said...

(CBS - 2/9/09) Slightly more than half the country approves of President Obama's $800 billion-plus stimulus package, a new CBS News poll finds. But support for the bill has fallen 12 points since January, and nearly half of those surveyed do not believe it will shorten the recession.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed support the stimulus package, while 39 percent do not. An additional 10 percent don't know. Last month, 63 percent supported the package and just 24 percent opposed it.

pork fails to stimulate anything but pork said...

Obama's ramrodding the stimulus bill through Congress now because if it got debated another week in the Senate, public support for knee jerk Congressional pork would fall at least another 10%.

Anonymous said...

Obama Up, Republicans down in Gallup Poll

More than two thirds of the American public approve President Obama's handling of efforts to pass an economic stimulus package, while less than a third approve actions by Republicans in Congress, according to a new Gallup Poll.

In a nationwide survey, taken during the first week of February, Gallup asked adults if they approved or disapproved of Obama's efforts on economic stimulus, and those of Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

Obama received the highest marks by far, an approval rating more than twice that of President Bush when he left office on January 20.


Sixty-seven percent approved of Obama's efforts, just 25 percent disapproved, with eight percent offering no opinion.
Democrats in Congress scored a 48 percent approval rating, with 42 percent of those surveyed disapproving actions by Congress' majority party. Ten percent voiced no opinion.
The Republicans in Congress garnered an approval rating of just 31 percent, with 58 percent disapproving and 11 percent giving no opinion.
Cable TV pundits and such critics as ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- who went on NBC's "Today" and likened Obama to Jimmy Carter -- have claimed that the Obama administration is losing control of the debate.

Not so, said Gallup.

The poll's findings "underscore the degree to which Obama appears to be maintaining the upper hand over his opponents from a public opinion perspective as he and congressional leaders wrangle over the precise form and substance of a new economic stimulus plan," the pollster concluded.

"Recent Gallup polling also shows that a slight majority of Americans in general favor the idea of passing a stimulus plan of around $800 million, a sentiment that has stayed constant over the last several weeks," the pollster added.

The poll data came as Obama was conducting a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, to urge immediate package of his stimulus plan. A second town hall meeting will be held in Fort Myers, Florida.

As well, Gallup asked adults:

"Thinking back to the way you felt before Barack Obama took office, would you say you now have (more confidence, less confidence, no change) in the Obama administration's a) ability to improve the economy, and b) Ability to manage the federal government.

A total of 55 percent said their confidence in Obama's ability to improve the economy has grown. A slightly lower figure, 51 percent, answered that their confidence in his ability to manage government is greater than before Obama took office.

Only 17 percent of those surveyed said they have less confidence in Obama's ability to improve the economy. And 18 percent replied that they are less confident in his ability to manage the government.

A 1992-vintage political slogan would seem to sum up Americans' opinions on the current economic crisis: "It's the economy stupid."

Slightly over half of those surveyed, 51 percent, told Gallup it is "critically important" to improve the economy. An additional 29 percent termed it "important, but not critical."

Just 16 percent opted for "not that important."

Anonymous said...

When Will Republicans Ever Learn?

February 9th, 2009

During the September 26, 2008, Presidential Debate between Senator John McCain and then Senator Barack Obama, the Arizona senator said something that Republicans need to take heed of, even as they continue to act as a grey wall of obstructionism in Washington.

This is what McCain said --applicable then and even more so today: "We Republicans came to power to change government and government changed us."

McCain was decrying the record deficits that the Republican Administration of George Bush and Republican lawmakers created. The same Republicans ruined the U.S. economy by destroying the credit markets when they cut the leash off Wall Street, with their deregulation frenzy, leading to the financial meltdown.

The nation is now suffering from multiple Tsunamis that the Republicans are still preventing President Barack Obama from trying to tackle with their selfish obstructionism. Here are some of the Tsunamis:-

(1) The nation has hemorrhaged 4.8 million jobs; 3.6 million since December 2007 alone. The rate of job losses is now 600,000 per month. This means that possibly in the next 10 months alone, six millions jobs could disappear, leading to calamity and social collapse.

(2) Despite record dole out of billions of dollars to the banks by George Bush and his Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who mostly threw gifts at his friends and Wall Street cronies, the top banks like CitiGroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America are not lending money. They are acting like very bad capitalist; they are letting American entrepreneurs know that they have no confidence in their talents and skills. That's why they are not lending money.

(3) With this loss of confidence by the banks and private investors, employers are taking the same signals and laying off more workers since they cannot get credit from the banks to fuel their own businesses and meet payroll.

(4) As paychecks disappear, homeowners aren't able to pay their mortgages and foreclosures continue to escalate; that's why it's urgent for the president's stimulus to be approved so he can focus on a proper bailout of the banks not the multi-billion dollar freebies that Hank Paulson presided over.

(5) In addition to acting like bad capitalist, even while they pay themselves tens of millions of dollars in salary and bonuses, while their firms register multi-billion dollar losses, the top banks won't lend to entrepreneurs, the engine of American economic vigor, because they are weighed with toxic assets. How were these toxic assets created? The banks were buying products whose value or composition they did not even know; this is because their salary and bonuses are not based on whether they made money for their firms or not. The Republicans have fought tooth and nail and stripped billions of dollars in money that was meant for education and healthcare in the stimulus plan proposed by President Obama. Let's see if they oppose billions more for rich bankers.

(6) The nation, under the Republican Administration and Congress in the last eight years sunk $2 trillion of American taxpayers’ money into the black hole of the Iraq war. This money can never come back; unless oil rich Iraq is made to pay back the money over a 20 year period.

(7) The Republicans are still under the sway and captivity of Radical Right Wingers like Rush Limbaugh; Limbaugh is a multi-millionaire who does not have to worry about missing a meal. The Republicans, even after the rejection of John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Bush Administration are still trying to march backwards.

(8) The Republicans opposed President Obama’s plan to begin funding alternative energy so that we can shift from our dependency on Middle East and foreign oil imports and create green jobs; makes one wonder whether some Republicans are protecting their oil interests in places like Saudi Arabia.

(9) The Republicans are still insisting that only tax cuts are needed to create new jobs and reverse the economic collapse created by the same policy over the last eight years; tax cuts for the wealthy. This is the same policy that has ruined the U.S. and global economy by shifting more wealth to the rich, at the expense of American workers and entrepreneurs.

(10) To paraphrase McCain's September comments: "If the reality of the Republican created calamity does not change them; then the Republican party is doomed to extinction."

edumacated by a demokkkrat said...

Arne Duncan, ex-Chicago educator and now Barack Obama's Secretary of Education, recently divulged the secret to his failure at improving the Chicago Public Schools in his new book, "The Chicago Way".

Isn't he the guy who proposed Chicago's first homosexual high school? Yep, that's our Arne...

Anonymous said...

College funding shows GOP's flawed thinking on stimulus

By DeWayne Wickham

As best I understand it, Republican critics of the economic recovery bill winding its way through Congress this week have divided its contents into things that will give the nation's troubled economy a quick shot in the arm and those that won't.

The bulk of the money in both the House and Senate versions of this legislation, the GOP naysayers charge, amounts to little more than the ravenous spending of the Democrats who now control both halls of Congress. Republicans include in this category the money — $16 billion in the House version of the bill; $14 billion in the Senate's — to increase financial aid that college students can receive in a Pell Grant.

That's bunkum.

For many colleges and universities, the financial assistance students get from the federal government to pay their tuition makes up a big chunk of the money the schools need to operate. Keeping the schools open and at full capacity will give the nation's economy both an immediate and long-term stimulus.

Education for our future

In many communities, higher education institutions are a major source of employment and business activity. But 62% of private colleges and 48% of public colleges surveyed last month by the Chronicle of Higher Education said they expected to lose students this semester in the wake of the recession. An increase in the Pell Grant could help stave off more dropouts in the fall semester — and possibly get some of the students who left to return.

That would be a quick economic stimulus that could have an immediate ripple effect, as schools might then hire more adjunct faculty while increasing the purchases of supplies and services from area businesses.

The long-term effect would be even more significant for this country's economic health. The percentage of Americans ages 25-29 with college degrees is less than that for those ages 60-64, according to the Census Bureau. This nation won't experience long-term economic success if it doesn't reverse those numbers.

No time for politics

"This is not a game. This is not a contest of who's in power and who's up and who's down," President Obama said last week in a speech to House Democrats. "These are your constituents. These are families you know and you care about. I believe that it is important for us to set aside some of the gamesmanship in this town and get something done."

He's right.

Lawmakers have to put the country's needs ahead of their desire to score political points. They must put the nation's immediate economic challenges ahead of a push for political victory.

The objections the Republicans are raising to the stimulus bill sound like a trial run of the kind of arguments they hope to use in the 2010 midterm elections.

Obama was correct, though he sounded a bit cocky, when he proclaimed to House Democrats that a spending bill is a stimulus bill. Sure, Democrats in both houses of Congress loaded their versions of the bill with funds for many of their spending priorities. But in politics, as in war, "to the victor go the spoils."

It is especially disingenuous for Republicans to argue that increased funding of the Pell Grant program would not have an immediate economic impact. Any parent with a child in college — or about to enter college — knows better.

Understandably, the Republicans are eager to get back on the offensive after the drubbing they took in the 2008 election. Nevertheless, their opposition to the economic recovery bill is a losing battle.

fueling inflation and increasing costs said...

It is especially disingenuous for Republicans to argue that increased funding of the Pell Grant program would not have an immediate economic impact. Any parent with a child in college — or about to enter college — knows better.

Indeed we do. We all know that putting kids in classrooms instead of out working in the economy "saves a job"... for a liberal member of a teachers union.

And we also know that colleges will raise their tuitions by the Pell Grant matching amounts, and parents will continue to be forced to pay tuition costs way beyond their FAFSA calculated EFC's with easier to get Parents-Plus loans!

College costs won't be going down anytime soon... because everyone knows the cost of an education varies in direct proportion with people' (or in this case augmented by the government's) ability and willingness to pay.

socialism means ignoring economic reality said...

Why does a single years undergraduate tuition to Yale cost $50K? Does it have anything to do with the expenses incurred in educating the student?

No. It costs $50K because it can.

Anonymous said...

GOP’s outcry over deficits disingenuous

Monday, February 09, 2009

Republicans in Congress and on the TV and radio talk shows claim to oppose the economic stimulus out of concern about the national debt and a moral conviction that we should not saddle future generations of Americans with such a burden.

But who do they think they’re fooling? Apparently they believe the world began anew at noon on Jan. 20, and that everything that occurred prior to that date had somehow been wiped clean from the national memory banks.

Well, it hasn’t.

We do face a long-term problem. Our gross federal debt is at $10.6 trillion, with a good portion owed to lenders in China, Japan and the Middle East. But how did that number get so huge?

Well, of that $10.6 trillion debt — a figure that accumulated over more than 225 years — a shocking $8.35 trillion was racked up during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush. And much as their apologists pretend otherwise, those numbers can’t be blamed mostly on Congress. During the Reagan era, for example, final budgets approved year after year totaled almost exactly what Reagan had requested.

Now, raw numbers can admittedly be misleading. A more accurate way to gauge how much a president has contributed to the problem is to measure debt against the size of the national economy. If the economy grew a lot, debt could grow as well without creating a problem.

Under Jimmy Carter, debt declined as a percentage of gross domestic product, falling to 32.6 percent, its lowest in 50 years. Then came Reagan. By the time “the Gipper” left office, the debt had almost tripled in raw numbers; as a percentage of GDP, it soared to 53.1 percent, and it rose still further, to 66.2 percent, under the first President Bush.

Under Bill Clinton, it fell again, to 57.4 percent, but that reprieve would prove to be temporary. The second President Bush started two expensive wars, one a necessity and one a war of choice. He also became the only president in history to cut taxes in time of war, rejecting the quaint notion that a nation at war ought to sacrifice a bit to pay for it. Bush also created an expensive new entitlement program, the Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors.

The result? The debt almost doubled under Bush, from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion. As a percentage of GDP, it grew from 57.4 percent to 68 percent, the highest since the aftermath of World War II.

And of course, the same congressional Republicans now preaching the dangers of deficit spending were right at Bush’s side, writing and passing the budgets that drove us deeply into the red.

Now, past profligacy is not a good excuse for future profligacy. But most Americans would agree that these are not normal times. Economic activity has come to a halt, with very dangerous signs ahead. President Barack Obama believes — and most mainstream economists agree — that only a big burst of government spending can bring us out of this spiral.

To understand why, imagine that a good chunk of change just landed in your lap. Say you hit the lottery for $5,000 or an uncle remembered you in his will. What would you do with your windfall? Call a travel agent and book a vacation to Hawaii? Put a down payment on a hot new sports car?

A year ago, maybe. Today, most people would pay off bills or sock it away in the bank. In fact, that’s what the banks themselves are doing with their TARP billions. They’re sitting on the cash as a cushion against bad times. Nobody wants to spend.

That’s why tax cuts are not the solution. In this economy, tax refunds would be treated in the same manner as a lottery win or small inheritance; most people wouldn’t spend it, they’d use it to bolster their financial defenses. And that’s as true for businesses as for individuals. Most companies wouldn’t use new cash to invest in a factory or hire workers; they’d sit on it.

When consumers won’t consume and investors won’t invest, only government can step in to buy trucks and military equipment, and build roads and transit, and by doing so create demand for labor and material. That’s just a hard economic reality.

Here’s another one: For most of the past 30 years, huge deficits were not a necessity, yet under GOP leadership we incurred them anyway. With deficits now a necessary evil, this is not the time for them to try to reclaim their inner cheapskate.

Anonymous said...

Commentary: Republican strategy of deny, delay and do nothing

Paul Begala: Republicans are adopting strategy of blocking action on economy

By Paul Begala
CNN Contributor

(CNN) -- As the fight over President Obama's economic recovery package heats up, the two sides are beginning to define themselves with admirable clarity.

The president says we have a crisis that is heading toward a catastrophe.

In announcing his new Economic Recovery Advisory Board, President Obama declared, "The situation could not be more serious. These [new unemployment] numbers demand action. It is inexcusable and irresponsible for any of us to get bogged down in distraction, delay, or politics as usual, while millions of Americans are being put out of work."

The Republicans, on the other hand, have honed their economic message: Denial, Delay, Do Nothing.

Denial

It begins with denial. Former Bush adviser Karl Rove and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly opined in December that it's the media's fault. The said the press is overhyping bad news; the economy, they suggested, is not really all that bad. "So you are agreeing with me," O'Reilly said, "that there is a conscious effort on the part of The New York Times and other liberal media to basically paint as drastic a picture as possible, so that when Barack Obama takes office, that anything is better than what we have now?"

"Yes," said Mr. Rove.

OK. I guess if you're wealthy like Mr. Rove and Mr. O'Reilly you can afford to pretend the recession is a vast media conspiracy. But for the 3.7 million Americans who have lost their jobs in the Bush-Republican recession, Messrs. Rove and O'Reilly seem dangerously out of touch.

Delay

"Let's slow down. Let's take our time," said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska). "Few things are going to be as important as this." Generally that's good advice. But with the economy losing 19,000 jobs a day, is delay really a wise strategy? Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) seems to think so. He told CNN's John King, "We could shelf this bill and start again. That's what we really need to do."

Do Nothing

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is widely considered a rising star in the GOP. He was even mentioned as a potential running mate for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain. His strategy, again articulated to John King on "State of the Union," is to do nothing -- let companies, communities and families fail.

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"We're going to go through a process of deleveraging," Sanford said. "And it will be painful. The question is, do we apply a bunch of different Band-Aids that lengthen and prolong this pain or do we take the Band-Aid off? I believe very strongly: Let's get this thing over with, let's not drag it on."

Set aside the callousness of Sanford's metaphor -- that joblessness at the highest level since the Great Depression is somehow like a scratch that doesn't even need a Band-Aid.

Focus instead on Sanford's substantive message: You're on your own. Write if you get work. This befits a party which has high-ranking members who deny the effectiveness of the New Deal. What's next, denying that the federal government put a man on the moon?

What Bipartisanship?

Given the GOP's combination of flat-earth economics and scorched-earth politics, it should come as no surprise that it looks like 98.6 percent of Washington Republicans oppose President Obama's economic recovery package. They either do not understand the depth of the recession or they do not realize the results of the recent election.

I don't know what more President Obama can do. He has named three prominent Republicans to his Cabinet (Robert Gates at Defense, Ray LaHood at Transportation and Judd Gregg at Commerce). He has helped persuade New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch to replace Sen. Gregg with a Republican.

He has met behind closed doors with the entire House and Senate Republican conferences. He has hosted bipartisan cocktail parties, a Super Bowl party and -- what's left, a slumber party? He has agreed to ditch progressive provisions from the stimulus bill, like support for family planning (earning him a rebuke from Planned Parenthood) and accepted more tax cuts than many Democrats would like.

Still, there's bipartisanship and there's bipartisanship. Real-world Republicans support President Obama's recovery plan. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is a supporter, and as the ubiquitous John King has reported, the very Republican mayor of the very Republican town of Carmel, Indiana, supports Obama's plan as well. "Government should be investing in infrastructure," Mayor James Brainard told King. "That is what government is meant to do. It creates long-term value. I think the stimulus plan is a good one."

So take heart, Mr. President. In the real world of layoffs, foreclosures and plant closings, you have the support of both Republicans and Democrats. They agree with you that Denial, Delay and Doing Nothing is not an economic strategy.

Anonymous said...

Even McCain’s Economist Says We Need Big Recovery Package

by Mike Hall, Feb 9, 2009

The economy is rolling faster and faster downhill—more 1.5 million jobs lost in the past three months—and Republican leaders in the Senate and House, along with their wacko radio talkers, are trashing President Obama’s economic recovery program.

But if action isn’t quickly taken, even darker days are ahead. Says Mark Zandi, a former economic adviser to Sen. John McCain:

Without stimulus, unemployment will rise well into the double digits, and the economy will not return to full employment until 2014.

Tomorrow, some 500 members of the community activist group ACORN, along with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, will rally at 2:30 p.m. on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress to quickly pass the recovery legislation.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the Senate recovery measure is likely to create between 1.3 million and 3.9 million jobs by the end of 2010, reducing a projected unemployment rate of 8.7 percent by up to 2.1 percentage points. The House passed its version last month, and the Senate’s smaller package is up for a vote this week. Many economists say a bigger recovery package is needed.

The CBO puts transfers to state and local governments for infrastructure spending at the top of its effectiveness list, along with direct federal spending on goods and services. All are far more effective than tax cuts, says the CBO. Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), puts it this way:

This school construction money would be a win-win-win in terms of jobs, education and energy efficiency. By even the most conservative estimates, it would create about 150,000 jobs. Moreover, these jobs will be generated all over the country and will create jobs far beyond construction.

In addition, almost every state faces severe budget shortfalls, and the $25 billion of financial aid that was cut in the Senate version would have helped state maintain vital services such as public safety and health. Eisenbrey says those funds offer

immediate assistance to prevent service cuts and layoffs that would accelerate the vicious circle of job loss, consumer weakness, business cuts and more layoffs.

The Senate is expected to approve the trimmed down “compromise” version by midweek and send it to a House-Senate conference, where the a battle over the Senate cuts will be intense, including nearly $45 billion in aid to states. Some $19.5 billion of that was aimed at infrastructure projects, including shovel-ready school reconstruction and repair projects.

Apparently, a more severe recession is just fine with Republican leaders. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, says the Republicans’ fight against the bill is part of a disrupt-and-destroy “insurgency” strategy learned from the Taliban. The Capitol Hill newspaper and website Politico reports that Sessions told fellow Republicans they

need to get over the idea that they’re participating in legislation and ought to start thinking of themselves as “an insurgency” instead.

Senate Republican leaders spent the past weekend on talk shows trashing Obama’s recovery plan, even after significant cuts—more than $100 billion in many vital areas that would create or preserve jobs—were made to win the support of a handful of moderate Republicans.

Says Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman:

The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge.

The only alternative most Republican lawmakers seem to be offering is built on the same flawed economic principles that are the underpinnings of the current fiscal crisis.

Larry Summers, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, told ABC’s “This Week:”

Those who presided over the last eight years—the eight years that brought us to the point where we inherit trillions of dollars of deficit, an economy that’s collapsing more rapidly than at any time in the last 50 years—don’t seem to me in a strong position to lecture about the lessons of history.

just throw more money at it! said...

Yeah, the Republicans are advocating that the government "Do Nothing".

That's the Strawman the Democrats are trying to sell about anyone who opposes PORKULUS, the $850B just print more money solution to the current economic crises. Meanwhile, Mr. Tim I don't pay taxes Geitner will be shelling out another invisible $2 trillion to bankers, but please, don't bother having him explain to us any details, because he doesn't want to say disclose anything about the transactions until he "gets it right".

Anonymous said...

GOP's stimulus strategy: First, do harm

Barack Obama never guaranteed he would end partisan rancor in Washington. He said he'd try.

The assumption was that Republicans might want to work with Democrats to reach shared goals. Passing a stimulus plan to stop the economic freefall would seem an easy place to start.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Although Republicans surely understand the urgency of slapping paddles on the economy's stopped heart, they would like to go out for a smoke first and score some partisan points. Thus, Senate Republicans spent last weekend poisoning the public's feelings toward the stimulus package and offering the same economic snake oil that drove the economy into the gutter.

Yeah, what we need is another tax break for American companies that take their business overseas. So insisted Sen. Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, on NBC's Meet the Press.

On the same program, Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada noted that Japan passed six stimulus bills, "none of which brought their economy out of the severe recession that it was in." The real flaw in Japan's approach was canceling out the stimulus by raising taxes at the same time. The current stimulus plan cuts taxes.

Unhappy that states might get a big chunk of stimulus money, Ensign wags his finger at their "bloated" spending. He seems to forget that unlike Washington, states have to balance their budgets. And so when there's a shortfall, they can't issue Treasury bills and print the money to repay them. They have to fire police and-or raise taxes, which is de-stimulating.

On CBS' Face the Nation, Arizona Sen. John McCain called the legislation "generational theft." He went on, "I know America needs a stimulus, we need tax cuts, we need to spend money on infrastructure and other programs that will put people to work." Actually, the bill does all three. Exactly how are you going to spend money and cut taxes without at least temporarily increasing deficits?

This weak grasp of economic realities was seen in candidate McCain's apparent choice of John Thain as his would-be treasury secretary. Thain is the Wall Street titan who oversaw the wild risk-taking that took down Merrill Lynch – and walked away from the wreckage with a $40 million bonus.

Arizona's Sen. Jon Kyl accuses Obama of using "dangerous words" to describe the situation. Obama's warning of a "catastrophe" if the stimulus doesn't happen is fear mongering.

Unsettling language for sure, and rhetoric that stokes the fires of public anxiety. Alas, Obama has to use scary words to counter GOP efforts to sabotage the stimulus plan.

The new GOP line is that George W. Bush had led the Republicans astray. It's his fault and not that of the party leaders who held both houses of Congress for six of Bush's eight years. Now Democrats are trying to do what Bush did – embark on binge spending.

Let us respectfully point to the obvious: Times have changed. Republicans unleashed half-trillion-dollar deficits when the economy was still OK. Now it's awful, and stimulus spending must be done to save our economic hide.

Eventually paying back the trillions in stimuli and bailouts will be brutal work, but the expensive first-aid can't be skipped. You have to get the patient out of intensive care before you can put him into rehab.

So the game plan, it seems, is to savage the stimulus proposal and let Democrats pass it with little Republican support. The stimulus will go into effect, and Republicans won't have to take responsibility for what could have happened if it didn't.

Must Democrats fix this mess alone? One only hopes that more than a handful of Republicans will decide to be helpful – if only for the good of the country.

drunken socialists on shore leave $$$ said...

Wall Street took a poll today on Phase II of the Obama PORKULUS plan...

Apparently, they also discovered that like the PORKULUS bill, the Obama Team hasn't got clue one about how to save the banks...

DON'T JUST STAND THERE, SPEND MONEY!!!!

when in doubt, spend spend spend said...

"They built this up as being a panacea," he said. "There was so much hope pinned on them to do a good job. The expectations have been so high. It's hard to live up to."

"The good news is they are going to spend a trillion dollars, the bad news is they don't know how," said James Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group.

democrats don't pay taxes said...

Must Democrats fix this mess alone? One only hopes that more than a handful of Republicans will decide to be helpful – if only for the good of the country.

We promise to be 3x as helpful as Democrats were in their support of George W. Bush during the surge in Iraq. Those were the 3 votes that pushed PORKULUS into conference.

The Democrats, on the other hand, demonstrated their unwillingness to be helpful - for the good of the country with ZERO support for the WoT, forcing it to last YEARS longer than it ever would have, otherwise.

Anonymous said...

GOP Group Threatens to Campaign Against Republican Stimulus Backers

The National Republican Trust PAC is threatening to provide financial support for primary challengers to any stimulus-supporting Republican in the next election.

FOXNews.com

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The National Republican Trust PAC put out a statement Tuesday claiming it would provide financial support for primary challengers to any stimulus-supporting Republican in the next election.

"Republican Senators are on notice," the group's director Scott Wheeler said in a statement. "If they support the stimulus package we will make sure every voter in their state knows how they tried to further bankrupt voters in an already bad economy."

The release did not name names, but was obviously directed at the three Republican senators who joined Democrats to advance the Senate version of the bill Monday.

Republicans Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both from Maine, are expected to vote for the bill Tuesday. Specter is up for re-election next year and Snowe in 2012. Collins was re-elected in 2008 and won't be up again until 2014.

Republican Senate leadership continues to speak out against the bill, a blend of spending and tax cuts which they say is too costly and contains too much wasteful funding. House Republicans unanimously opposed the House version two weeks ago.

But Specter told FOX News Tuesday that Congress must take action "promptly and decisively" to prevent "catastrophe." President Obama gave a similar warning in his prime-time press conference Monday.

"This legislation is a bitter pill to swallow," Specter said. "But we're facing a situation where the current economic problems could turn into another depression like 1929."

all the good faith you'll get w/o results said...

I guess that goes to show that Obama didn't exactly win the election, despite his boasts to the contrary. He needed some Republican help.

Gee, maybe the Republicans deserve some input after all...

Anonymous said...

That's right. In the general election Republicans deserted their party in droves to vote for Obama. They could no longer the stench of the Bush years - the legacy of death, corruption and incompetence. And the Democrats gave the Republicans imput on the stimulus bill in the House - and the Republicans rewarded them by voting unanimously for the bill. Guess the Democrats won't make the same mistake the next time.

the shutout said...

I guess that the Republicans won't either. Good luck getting the three turncoats to vote for the "reconciled" Porkulus bill tomorrow! I guess it's been a while since Spectre and Snow saw "The Sting".

Witness said...

February 9, 2009

A Short History of the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict: Past Is Prologue

By Stephen Lendman

A Short History of the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict: Past Is Prologue - by Stephen Lendman

Its roots are from the late 19th century when Theodor Herzl founded modern Zionism at the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland in 1897.

In his book "Overcoming Zionism," Joel Kovel writes:

Zionism seeks "the restoration of tribalism in the guise of a modern, highly militaralized and aggressive state. (It) cut Jews off from (their) history and led to a fateful identity of interests with antisemitism (becoming) the only thing that united them. (It) fell into the ways of imperialist expansion and militarism, and showed signs of the fascist malignancy."

If you accept "the idea of a Jewish state," you mix its twin notions of "particularism (and) exceptionalism (that are) the actual bane of Judaism (and give) racism an objective, enduring, institutionalized and obdurate character." It turns Israel "into a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses," and consider three of its former prime ministers. Menachem Begin (1977 - 83), Yitzhak Shamir (1983 - 84 and 1986 - 92), and Ariel Sharon (2001 - 06) were former terrorists who dispelled the illusion of Israeli democracy, morality, and respect for human rights. Kovel's conclusion: "the world would be a far better place without (the corrosive effects of) Zionism."

Inventing a Jewish People - Creating Myths to Justify a Jewish State

Credit Tel Aviv University scholar, Shlomo Zand, for his 2008 book: "When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?" Forget the myths most Jewish children are taught. Biblical nonsense comprising core Zionist beliefs about Jews:

-- expelled by the ancient Romans;

-- the exodus from Egypt;

-- wandering the earth rootless;

-- enslaved, oppressed, and tormented for centuries; and

-- the notion that God bestowed a "Greater Israel" for Jews alone - the idea of "A land without people for a people without land."

Zand's view (shared by others) is that the Romans didn't expel whole nations, just small numbers from their conquered territories. Most Jews remained, converted to Islam when Arabs took over, and became progenitors of today's Palestinians.

According to Israeli journalist Tom Segev:

"There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile never happened - hence there was no return." So, if ancient Judaeans weren't expelled en masse, how were Jews scattered globally - the so-called Jewish Diaspora?

Zand believes that some emigrated voluntarily. Many more converted to Judaism. "Contrary to popular belief, Judaism was an evangelical religion that actively sought new adherents during its formative period."

Thus, if Judaism is a "religion," not a "people," how can a "Jewish state" be justified? It's not an ancient idea, according to Zand, but a late 19th century Zionist invention, "an intellectual conspiracy of sorts. It's all fiction and myth....an excuse (to justify) the State of Israel" and vilify Palestinian self-determination as a plot to destroy it.

Segev explained that "Zand did not invent (this) thesis; 30 years before (Israel's) Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (Israel's second president), and others."

Zand wrote his book for a purpose - to debunk accepted myths, Zionists who advance them, and promote the idea that Israel should be a democratic state for all its people, not just for Jews alone. Why not if Jews and Palestinians share common roots!

Early Zionists had other ideas. Its Program was: "Establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Eretz Yisrael." It began a process of:

-- settling Jewish agriculturists, artisans, and tradesmen in Palestine;

-- organizing effective action groups in various countries;

-- building Jewish consciousness and a national identity; and

-- beginning a process of gaining worldwide acceptance for a Jewish homeland.

Herzl later wrote: "At Basle, I founded the Jewish state....If not in five years, then certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it." It took 51, but transforming Palestine wasn't simple when Arabs comprised over 90% of the population.

The solution was to transfer or dispossess them, shift them to other Arab countries, deny Palestinians the right to their own land, and create a new Jewish identity, not in the Diaspora but in Palestine - to legitimize Jews as its rightful owner and justify removing indigenous Arabs.

Important also was getting Britain to go along which it did with the November 1917 Balfour Declaration "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people...." It also guaranteed one to Arabs as stipulated in the October 1915 McHahon - Hussein Agreement to return Ottoman Turk land to Arab nationals post-WW I in repayment for their help in the war. Britain instead betrayed them and so did America's Woodrow Wilson.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis convinced him and Secretary of State Robert Lansing to support Zionism and British-French interests under the 1916 Sykes - Picot Agreement that carved up the region after the war.

At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) presented its plan for a Jewish state. It included:

-- all Palestine;

-- South Lebanon up to Sidon and the Litani River;

-- Syria's Golan Heights, Hauran Plain and Deraa; and

-- control of the Hijaz Railway from Deraa to Amman to Maan, Jordan as well as the Gulf of Aqaba.

Other Zionists wanted more - land from the Nile in the West to the Euphrates in the East comprising Palestine, Lebanon, Western Syria and Southern Turkey.

In 1920, WW I allies met in San Remo, Italy, decided to control Ottoman lands, and agreed to a "mandatory" system. The British Mandate over Palestine began in 1920 under a Jewish High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel. He began its transformation by assuring:

-- a liberal Jewish immigration policy;

-- immediate provisional citizenship for Jews;

-- easy Jewish land acquisition at the expense of indigenous Arabs;

-- contiguous settlements to solidify a Jewish presence;

-- employment for Jewish immigrants;

-- favorable customs policies to develop Jewish commerce; and

-- partiality toward Jews overall at the expense of indigenous Arabs.

The World Zionist Organization (WZO) was very much involved. It:

-- founded the Jewish Colonial Trust in 1899 to buy land in Palestine;

-- the Anglo-Palestine (commercial) Bank and investments institute followed in 1902 within the Jewish Colonial Trust;

-- in 1901, the Jewish National Fund was established to buy and develop land;

-- in 1909, the Israel Land Development Company for the same purpose;

-- the 1907-established Eretz Yisrael Bureau assisted the project; in 1921, the Zionist Executive in Eretz Yisrael replaced it;

-- in 1920, the United Israel Appeal was founded to raise funds to finance welfare, health, education, and continued settlement projects;

-- in 1929, the Jewish Agency for Eretz Yisrael was established to represent the WZO in dealings with the British government in administering Palestine; Chaim Weizmann was its first president;

-- in 1942, the WZO's official aim was for a "Jewish Community" in Palestine; the Biltmore Program stated that "Eretz Yisrael will be based as a Jewish (only) community, to be integrated into a new democratic world."

Zionist Divisions

Divisions characterized Zionists from the start. Herzl, Chaim Weizmann (Israel's first president) and Moshe Sharett (prime minister after Ben-Gurion) favored reconciliation with the Arab world. Revisionists, on the other hand, were hard line with Ze'ev Jabotinsky their leader. In 1923, he published an article called "On the Iron Wall" in which he argued that Arab nationalists opposed a Jewish state in Palestine and wouldn't accept one. Thus peaceful coexistence was unattainable, and Jews must build "an iron wall of (superior) Jewish military force."

The idea was to discourage Arab hopes of destroying Israel followed by a second stage - a negotiated settlement in which Israel had the upper hand and could dictate terms.

Ben-Gurion sided with Jabotinsky, chose a military option, and winning the War of Independence was his vindication. Ever since, Israel stayed hard line politically and militarily. It fights and negotiates from strength, not weakness. Confrontation, not diplomacy is its strategy. It believes Arabs only understand violence, so military threats and intimidation are its options. Generals become future leaders. The cycle is mostly repeated. Washington, the West, and most Arab states go along, and military aggression is called self-defense - hence the Israel Defense Forces much like America's Department of Defense.

In a recent article, Middle East expert Joseph Massad put it this way:

"The logic goes as follows: Israel has the right to occupy Palestinian land, lay siege to (its) populations in Bantustans surrounded by an apartheid wall, starve the population, cut them off from fuel and electricity (and all else), uproot their trees and crops, and launch periodic raids and targeted assassinations against them and their elected leadership, and if (resistance is encountered, Israel is entitled to slaughter) them en masse (because it's just) 'defending' itself as it must and should."

Naked aggression is called self-defense. Civilians are legitimate targets. Heroic freedom fighters are "terrorists," and if Arabs don't understand, the process is repeated until they do. Further, international humanitarian and other laws don't apply. Victims aren't entitled to the same rights as Jews because Arabs are inferior and don't warrant them. In addition:

"Israel has the right to oppress the Palestinians and does so to defend itself (its right to exist), but were the Palestinians to defend themselves against Israel's oppression, (to which it has no right, then) Israel will have the right to defend itself against their legitimate defense" without restraint or regard for the laws of war or humanitarian considerations.

Negotiating with Israel is futile because Tel Aviv demands and doesn't yield. It takes and doesn't give. Peace process hypocrisy offers nothing, and all Palestinians have to show for it is continued occupation, death, destruction, oppression, immiseration, and loss of their land and freedom.

Zionists did it in stages:

-- early arrivals saw themselves as "returning natives" and began a process of displacement;

-- from 1918 - 1947, it advanced as the Jewish population increased;

-- from 1936 - 1939, Arab resistance grew against increasing Jewish encroachment; it was clear that unlimited Jewish immigration, combined with Zionist political and military development, meant the eventual transformation of Palestine to a Jewish state; in 1936, Arabs resisted, called a strike, and reacted violently;

-- Zionists countered with a "compulsory transfer" policy; Jewish sovereignty over all Palestine became a priority; accommodating Arabs was rejected; the Biltmore Program affirmed it;

-- Ben-Gurion had a plan, but WW II intervened;

-- post-war, violence again erupted; Zionists wanted unrestricted immigration; Palestinians saw their country being lost; the war bankrupted Britain; it ended its Mandate over Palestine on May 14, 1948 when the State of Israel was established.

America became the first country to extend recognition when Harry Truman signed the following statement:

"This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof.

The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel."

It established an enduring alliance, more firmly in place now than ever - in a strategic part of the world for the mutual benefit of both nations.

Understanding Zionism is fundamental:

-- its reliance on oppression, violence, and dispossession;

-- its belief in exclusivity, privilege, and Jewish exceptionalism;

-- racism at the core of its politics;

-- democracy only for Jews;

-- an ethnically pure state in which half its inhabitants aren't Jewish, are afforded few rights, and none on what matters most.

Zionism justifies a Jewish ethnocracy with built-in structural inequalities. Israeli Arabs may vote, sit in the Knesset, but government rulings aren't "legitimate" without a "Jewish majority." The Law of Return is for Jews alone. All laws are for Jews. On issues of land, housing, education and most everything, Jewish favoritism discriminates against Arabs.

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law prohibits Israeli Arab spouses from the West Bank, Gaza or any Arab country from entering Israel and getting residency rights or citizenship. It's to counter a "demographic problem" or the threat that a faster-growing Palestinian population will soon outnumber Jews and change the character of a "Jewish state."

Ideology becomes policy and Arabs suffer with convenient myths for justification:

-- poor Israel; it's a victim fighting to survive against hordes of hostile Arabs;

-- they reject peace, prefer violence, plan Israel's destruction, so conflict is inevitable;

-- the core problem is Palestinian "terrorism;" Israel acts only in self-defense;

-- Gaza and the West Bank are "disputed," not "occupied" Territories;

-- political solutions aren't possible so Israel must maintain total control under "Fortress Israel;"

-- Palestinians are to be relegated to isolated powerless cantons under Israel's control before a "final solution" dispossesses or annihilates them; Israel is for Jews alone; after the 1967 war, the Allon Plan affirmed it - named after deputy prime minister Yigal Allon; his goal:

(1) "maximum land with minimum Arabs;"

(2) annex around 40% of the West Bank and Gaza, taking the choicest parts; and

(3) dispossess Palestinians from land Israel wants for Jews.

In his 2001 book, "The Iron Wall," Avi Shlaim wrote:

After Israel's victory in 1967, Allon (on July 26) "submitted to the cabinet a plan that was to bear his name (The Allon Plan). It called for incorporating in Israel the following areas: a strip of land ten to fifteen kilometers wide along the Jordan River; most of the Judean desert along the Dead Sea; and a substantial area around Greater Jerusalem, including the Latrun salient. Designed to include as few Arabs as possible in the area claimed for Israel, the plan envisaged building permanent settlements and army bases in these areas. Finally, it called for opening negotiations with local leaders on turning the remaining parts of the West Bank into an autonomous region that would be economically linked to Israel. The cabinet discussed Allon's plan but neither adopted nor rejected it."

He also called for defensible borders, creating a Jordanian - Palestinian state, letting Israel maintain a West Bank military presence up to the Jordan River, and be fully in control of a united Jerusalem, perhaps with a Jordanian status in the Old City's Muslim quarter.

The Allon Plan was in Labor Party platforms in 1974, 1977, 1981, 1984, and 1987, and to large degree shaped Israel's settlement policies from 1967 - 1977. Prime minister Begin then offered Palestinian self-administration (the right to be Israel's enforcer) to Egypt's Sadat in 1977. It became part of the 1978 Camp David agreement and 1993 Oslo Accords.

From 1948 to the present:

-- peace, reconciliation, liberation, and a fair and equitable solution to the region's longest and most intractable problem is unconsidered and unwanted; conflict is the chosen option; seizing all of historic Palestine the goal; and eliminating the Palestinian problem and establishing Israeli regional dominance the final aim.

Post-WW II, Palestinians were nearly 70% of the population, Jews around 30% and owned 6% of the land. Yet the November 1947 General Assembly Partition Plan (Resolution 181) gave Jews 56%. Palestinians got 42% with 2% kept under internationalized trusteeship, including Jerusalem. Jews got the best parts, including choice agricultural areas. Palestinians had no air access or harbor and port facilities, except for isolated Jaffa. Nonetheless, David Ben-Gurion wanted 80%. Israel's 1948 War of Independence got 78%. The problem was keeping it for Jews alone.

Israel agreed to UN Resolution 194 (in December 1948) providing for free access to Jerusalem and other holy places as well as granting Palestinian refugees the right of return. In May 1949, UN Resolution 273 gave Israel UN membership conditional on it accepting Resolutions 181 and 194 and "unreservedly (agreeing to honor) the obligations of the United Nations Charter." However, earlier in June 1948, the Israeli cabinet (with no formal vote) barred Palestinian refugees from returning and directed the IDF to stop those trying with live fire. The same policy remains today to assure a Jewish majority and much more.

"Israelification" and "De-Arabization" are policies to preserve a "Jewish character." Pre-1948, Palestinians owned 93% of Palestine. It dropped to 25% after the war, 7.3% by 1962, and is now around 4%. Palestinians are gradually being dispossessed of their land, country, freedom, and futures. This is the Zionist goal, internal oppression and conflict the methodology.

Treat them like "dogs," said Moshe Dayan, so they'll leave. Use "terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation," and more was David Ben-Gurion's formula. Today it's unilateral separation, "de-Arabization," isolation, confinement, and destroying the will to resist with intermittent conflict and mass slaughter for reinforcement.

Israel's aim:

-- total control of Palestine;

-- Palestinians are "encouraged" to leave;

-- confining those who don't to isolated, powerless cantons;

-- advancing land seizures;

-- co-opting a quisling Palestinian leadership;

-- using it as enforcers;

-- terrorizing the population relentlessly;

-- denying Palestinians any rights; and

-- purifying Israel as a Jewish state (like the Nazis tried in Germany) by removing its Arab population. This is Israel today, the reason many Jews aren't staying, and why growing numbers won't move there. Nominally it's a democracy, but only for Jews. Arabs are disenfranchised, without rights, and unwanted.

Gaza and the West Bank remain occupied. Pre-Oslo, Middle East expert Sara Roy called Gaza a "Case of Economic De-Development," a condition as true of the West Bank and, in today's environment much harsher than she discovered. Her definition was a "process which undermines or weakens the ability of an economy to grow and expand by preventing it from accessing and utilizing critical inputs needed to promote internal growth beyond a specific structural level." Gaza was to be transformed "into an auxiliary of the state of Israel." So was the West Bank.

It's way beyond that now under Israel's policy of oppression, impoverishment, depopulation, destruction, displacement, and genocide to crush the Palestinian spirit, slaughter its people, and end any hope for a viable Palestinian state.

Gaza is under siege and was ravaged by war. The West Bank is checkmated by isolation, land seizures, walls, checkpoints, home demolitions, a nightmarish bureaucracy, closures, agricultural and free movement restrictions, crop destruction, curfews, permits, economic strangulation, random killings, arrests, imprisonment, torture, and overall security force terror against a civilian population.

Israel has total control, aided by the complicit Fatah under Abbas, but this pattern has persisted for decades. For over a half century, Tel Aviv ignored or abused hundreds of UN resolutions condemning or censuring it for its actions against Palestinians and other Arabs, deploring it for committing them, or demanding, calling on, or urging Israel to end them. UN Resolution 242 alone (November 1967) calls for: "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict."

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits:

"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory...." Neither shall "The Occupying Power...deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

Israeli settlements have "no legal validity" under Security Council Resolutions 446 (March 1979), 452 (July 1979), 465 (March 1980), 471 (June 1980), and 476 (June 1980). In addition, Resolutions 267 (July 1969) and 497 (December 1981) say the annexations of East Jerusalem (267) and Syria's Golan Heights (497) are illegal and call for them to be rescinded. Yet Israel continues settlement expansions and maintains a Kafkaesque "matrix of control" over Palestine in gross violation of international law.

In 1967, Theodor Meron, Israeli foreign ministry's legal council, told prime minister Levi Eshkol that: "My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention."

In April 1978, US State Department Legal Advisor, Herbert Hansell, told Congress that:

"while Israel may undertake, in the occupied territories, actions necessary to meet its military needs and to provide for orderly government during the occupation, (the) establishment of the civilian settlements in those territories is inconsistent with international law."

Palestinians are isolated and on their own. Few nations anywhere support them. None in the West or the Middle East, except Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Courage alone sustains them, now powerfully buoyed by a groundswell of world outrage; the global BDS Movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions; calls for criminal prosecutions for Israeli war criminals and expulsion of Israel from the UN System until it fully complies with international law.

In November 2004, law professor Michael Mandel wrote: "Israel's West Bank and Gaza settlements are war crimes in Canada. Under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act 2000, c. 24, Israel's settlements in territories taken in the June 1967 war constitute war crimes punishable in Canada."

Mandel cites Section 8, paragraph 2 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) adopted by 120 states in July 1998. Item viii prohibits: "The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory."

After initially voting against the Rome Statute, the Clinton administration signed it in December 2000. Then in May 2001, the Bush administration revoked the signature and began a worldwide campaign against the Court.

Israel as well isn't a party to the Rome Statute, but that's irrelevant under Canadian law. Grave breaches of Geneva constitute war crimes. Israel (like America) is criminally liable. Mandel states that although "Israel denies it, there is no question that Israel is an Occupying Power for the purposes of the Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute, and the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act." Holding it accountable is essential. It's high time world jurists demanded it.

Anonymous said...

No, Shutout, the three Republicans who voted for the stimulus package are not "turncoats" - they are simply adults who listen to the gaggle of economists who agree that that Obama's stimulus package is the only possible means for rescuing our country from the economic catastrophe - no, that's not strong enough - the economic armageddon the Republican Party inflicted on America during the Bush administration. These Senators, in addition to being adults, are also patriots - they don't want to risk America's future in order to advance the Republican Party's desperate attempt to rescue itself from certain oblivion by defeating the passage of the stimulus bill. And the Republicans won't be able to do these Senators any damage - the people in all three Senator's states are firmly behind the bill.

Anonymous said...

We molest, you arrest:

Fox producer busted for child porn once linked to 'Lohan nipple' photosRon Brynaert
Published: Wednesday February 11, 2009
Online resume claims he spent four years at school he dropped out of after his first arrest
Fox News Channel producer Aaron Bruns, who was arrested and arraigned on child pornography charges in a federal courthouse in Washington Tuesday, once ran a blog heavy on satire called Tanksphere where he linked to naughty photographs of a young actress, RAW STORY has found.

"According to charging documents, investigators say Bruns had been sharing pornography on a social networking Web site," the AP reports. "A Fox News spokeswoman says they are aware of the arrest. She says Bruns was suspended Tuesday without pay."

The AP adds, "Bruns covered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008 and later was a general producer in Washington, covering politics. A judge scheduled another hearing for Thursday, where he will consider whether to continue holding Bruns in jail."

In a July of 2004 post, fellow blogger David Deming wrote about the film Mean Girls, which starred Linsday Lohan, who had just turned 18 years old.

"Which brings me to another point - I don't know how old Ms. Lohan is in real life, but in the movie she is sixteen," Deming wrote. "There's something slightly discomfiting about this, for she is very clearly a sex object, but kind of disarmingly cute at the same time. I can imagine that men watching this movie can't decide whether they want to deflower her or make sure she gets home by midnight. How much conflict you feel over this depends entirely on how old and how sleazy you are."

Bruns left the following reply on the post, "http://www.foundonfloor.com/lohanslip.html just in case you hadn't seen this...should be requird viewing."

The link was to a web site, since scrubbed from the web (archived link), that contained video of the young actress grinding followed by pictures that showed "accidental" cleavage. The five photographs which Bruns said should be "requird viewing" clearly showed her right nipple protruding from her top.

A prior post by Bruns at his blog referenced his Fox News employers: "Special Report with Brit Hume. Gripping stuff. (Had to give a nod to those that pay the bills)."

"FishbowlDC reports this is not Bruns' first run-in with the law," TV Newser notes. "He dropped out of the University of Michigan in 1999 after being arrested on charges of distributing child pornography."

TVNewser's Chris Ariens continues, "So why wasn't Bruns checked out by Fox News? A network spokesperson tells TVNewser criminal background checks were not instituted until 2003. Bruns was hired in 2002."

According to a 1999 AP story not available on the web, Bruns was sentenced to three years’ probation after "6,000 pornographic images of children" were found on his computer's hard drive.

"The judge placed Bruns of Lima, Ohio, on probation last Thursday under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which means his conviction will be expunged if he complies with the conditions of probation," the 1999 AP story added.

In 1998, the University of Michigan school paper reported, "Less than two weeks after Department of Public Safety detectives had arrested him on charges of distributing child pornography, LSA first-year student Aaron Bruns voluntarily dropped out of the University while his case was pending, his lawyer told District Court Judge John Collins on Wednesday."

The story quoted a DPS officer who told the paper that "Bruns has been trading and downloading pornography since at least late January, receiving as many as a few hundred inquiries a day from others eager to trade child pornography."

Bruns' now deleted LinkedIn profile claimed that he attended University of Michigan from 1998 to 2002. It's unknown if Bruns' official resume also claimed the same when he was hired by Fox nearly seven years ago.

Smoking Gun has a copy of the explicit arrest warrant affidavit which was filed in U.S. District Court.

Anonymous said...

They're ALL sick:

Fox Newser In Kiddie Porn Bust
Feds: FBI search found vile videos, photos on producer's laptop
FEBRUARY 10--A Fox News producer who covered Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign for the cable network is facing child porn charges after federal agents discovered photos and videos on his computer depicting "children under the age of ten being sexually abused by adult men and women." Aaron Bruns, 29, was apparently nabbed after a Pennsylvania state police investigator conducting "pro-active undercover investigations" on an unnamed peer-to-peer network determined that Bruns's computer contained llicit images. According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, an FBI search of a Dell laptop in Bruns's Washington, D.C. home turned up several photos and videos showing the sexual abuse of children as young as five years old. A copy of the February 6 affidavit can be found below. The day before his P Street apartment was raided, Bruns, pictured at right, filed a Foxnews.com story about Clinton and Joseph Biden delivering farewell speeches on the Senate floor. This is the second time Bruns has been arrested for possessing vile images. In July 1999, Bruns, then 19, pleaded guilty in Michigan (where he was enrolled in college) to distributing child pornography over the Internet. He was sentenced to three years probation. Bruns was collared in the earlier case after a Florida law enforcement official discovered his illicit online activities. When police raided Bruns's University of Michigan dorm room, they discovered about 6000 pornographic images of children on his computer's hard drive.

pants on fire said...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate approved William Lynn, a former Raytheon Co lobbyist, to be deputy secretary of defense after he received a special White House waiver from strict new rules meant to close a "revolving door" between government and big business.

...and you thought Obama was telling the truth when he told you he hated lobbyists and wouldn't use them...

Suckers!

gov corruption ain't only via earmarks said...

House Republicans are challenging Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the massive stimulus spending bill contains no pet projects after uncovering in the bill more than $30 million for wetlands conservation in her San Francisco Bay area district, including work she previously championed to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse.

"This sounds like spending projects that have been supported by a certain powerful Democrat in the past," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

"It certainly doesn't sound like it will create or save American jobs," he said. "So can Speaker Pelosi explain exactly how we will improve the American economy by helping the adorable little" critter?

Anonymous said...

The death of the moderate Republican
Former Republican Congressman Tom Davis, perhaps the smartest man in the GOP:

But let’s not kid ourselves, our party is broken. We talked to ourselves and not to voters. We became more concerned with stem cell policy than economic policy, and with prayer in schools rather than balance in our public budgets and priorities. Not so long ago, it was easy to paint the Democrats as the party of extremists. Now, they say we’re extremists, and voters agree.

As a result, we’ve seen our support erode. Urban centers remain under Democratic control. Exurbs and rural areas remain under Republican dominance. But in the battleground that lies between – the suburbs -- we were winning them; now we’re not. Our candidates are safe in a swath that extends from North Texas across to North Alabama and up through Appalachia. Elsewhere, we are on the run. Almost every voter who can be convinced – who sometimes votes Democratic, sometimes Republican – now votes Democratic.

We’ve long-since given up on the African-American vote. We’re forfeiting the Hispanic vote with unwarranted and unsavory vitriol against immigrants. Youth vote? Gone. We ask for nothing from these idealistic voters, we offer little except chastisement of their lifestyle choices and denial of global warming, and we are woefully behind the Democrats in learning how to connect with them.

Soccer moms? They’re not comfortable with much of our social policy agenda, so many are gone as well. NASCAR dads? They’re our last redoubt, and the trends even there are not encouraging as unemployment rises and 401 (k)s are decimated. They want clean, competent government that meets basic challenges. They don’t see tax cuts or stimulus checks that net them another $500 per year as meaningful, and they are not comfortable with the profligate deficits that result. As one veteran Republican campaign professional told pollster Charlie Cook: Voting for tax increases hurts politically much more than voting for tax cuts helps.

Sounds about right. To put numbers to what Davis writes above, from the 2008 exit polls (2004 results):

Obama McCain Kerry Bush Change
Urban: 63 35 54 45 D+19
Suburban: 50 48 47 52 D+7
Rural: 45 53 42 57 D+7

Northeast: 59 40 56 43 D+6
Midwest: 54 44 48 51 D+13
South: 45 54 42 58 D+7
West: 57 40 50 49 D+16

African 95 4 88 11 D+14
American:
Latino: 67 31 53 44 D+27

18-29: 66 32 54 45 D+25

Married Women 51 47 (n/a)
w/Children:



Davis worries about suburban voters because, yes, they now edge Democratic. But the seven-point swing in the Democrat's direction in the suburbs matched the seven-point swing in rural areas. Davis' rural GOP stronghold is looking flimsier by the day. Gains in the South were driven in large part by increased African American turnout. Take them out, and white southern males are truly the GOP's dead-enders.

The two biggest problems for the GOP, which Davis noted, are the 18-29 year olds and Latinos. Without those two groups, the GOP is fated for DEEP minorities for a generation. Just look at those swings!

So what are Davis' solutions?

First, we eliminate checklists and litmus tests and focus on broad principles, not heavy-handed prescriptions. Free trade. Strong defense – at home and abroad. Government as small as is practicable in these times. Economic, education and energy policies that promote growth, energy independence and a competitive agenda that will allow businesses to grow and compete, not be protected by artificial barriers.

That is the current GOP agenda minus one big, glaring omission: nothing about "Strong family values". In fact, he ignores the issue altogether, pretending that the modern GOP isn't beholden to its Sarah Palin wing. I have no doubt Palin cost McCain support among independents and Democrats, but she certainly energized McCain's campaign by bringing aboard its most motivated foot soldiers. Who does Tom Davis think will knock on doors for GOP candidates if you strip out its evangelical base? Wall Street Rockafeller Republicans? Stockbrokers? Bankers?

He does offer one good bit of advice to his party, hitting a note that I've latched on the past several years:

We also need to stop talking about how much we hate government if we expect people to elect us to run it. Perfecting it, reducing it to its ideal size, having it accomplish what we need with minimal resources requires that we embrace it and study it and work hard at it.

Great advice, but good luck selling it. Because at its core, the GOP hates government. That's why Bush placed "heckuva job" Brownie in charge of FEMA. Because had he nominated someone competent and able to run complex logistical disaster relief operations, government would've worked. And if government works, then all the GOP propaganda about the evil government would be laid bare. If Republicans claim government doesn't work, then of course they can't run government that works. Davis gets this, but his party's patron saint set the tone when he said:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

In an ideological battle between Ronald Reagan and Tom Davis, who do you think will win?

So worthy effort, Tom, but smart move getting out. You go to Congress with the Republican Party you have--not the Republican Party you might want or wish to have at a later time.

2:11 PM


Anonymous said...
...of all the recent conservative fantasies, the idea of Joe the Plumber as the voice of conservative American media is the least surprising. That's because it is a persistent belief among many on the Right that training is unnecessary, that education is for elitists, and that wishing hard enough for something can supersede those things.

And I'm okay with all this. To me, it's evolution. By retreating so deeply into this fantasy world of strike forces, pro-torture heroes, and swashbuckling, allied journalists, we're witnessing a self-induced thinning of the herd by conservatives. They're actively choosing not to participate in the reality that is present-day America, instead opting to fall back on the comforting, familiar images of handymen and handsome actors on their television sets.

So much the better for the country. We'll tackle real problems head on -- with real solutions starting next Tuesday. And we will progress without them.

government healthcare is here, hurray! said...

South Carolina lawmakers have delayed voting on whether to charge obese public employees higher premiums in the state health insurance plan.

A Senate Finance subcommittee delayed its vote Tuesday. Republican Sen. Greg Ryberg of Aiken said he would be willing to rewrite his bill as a way to reward healthy residents rather than punish overweight workers.

Ryberg said he hopes to have it back on the agenda within a month.

Ryberg said too many residents are overeating and not exercising. He said their deliberate decisions not to take care of themselves are costing the state. He said he wants to motivate people to live healthier.

Senators agreed with the bill’s intent but said it would be difficult to enforce.

Obese public employees would have to pay an extra $25 monthly for their state health insurance under a bill up for debate in South Carolina.

The measure sponsored by GOP Sen. Greg Ryberg of Aiken is on the agenda Tuesday in a Senate subcommittee. It would tie the surcharge to employees’ body-mass index, a weight and height measurement. A BMI of 30 is considered obese. According to a spokesperson for Sen. Ryberg, state employees’ health insurance does not cover preventive measures such as gym memberships and nutrition plans.

The proposal follows a vote last August to increase health insurance premiums of public workers who smoke. The smoking surcharge is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2010. It was approved by a five-member board that oversees the state budget.

Smokers called it an unfair increase, since smoking isn’t the only bad habit that increases health care costs.

South Carolina has among the nation’s highest rates of obesity and diabetes.

Anonymous said...

GOP radio ads to target House Dems who supported stimulus

The Republican House campaign committee will be on the radio in 30 districts next week challenging Democrats who voted for the initial House version of the economic stimulus package. Its argument: The Democrats supported "a trillion-dollar spending bill chock full of wasteful Washington spending instead of working across the aisle to create real jobs."

"Democrats said they would fight for fiscal responsibility in Washington, but went back on their promise by voting for $335 million in STD prevention, $75 million for smoking cessation and even $50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts," the National Republican Congressional Committee said in announcing the ad buys.

Those three items were in the version of the bill passed by the House. The first two are not included in the final compromise with the Senate, due on the House floor by week's end; the NEA money may still be part of the bill.

It's unclear how well the GOP pitch will work, given the broadening impact of the recession. A new Pew Research Center poll out today finds that 42% of people think jobs are the country's major economic problem (up from 10% in October) and "as many as 40% of Americans have been affected by one or more job problems over the past year, when unemployment, underemployment, layoffs, reductions in pay or hours and job losses by other household members are looked at collectively."

Read on for a full list of districts where the radio ads will air.

The NRCC list of districts where radio ads will air:

John Barrow (GA-12); Bruce Braley (IA-01); Chris Carney (PA-10); Travis Childers (MS-01); Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03); Steve Driehaus (OH-01); Chet Edwards (TX-17); Bart Gordon (TN-06); Alan Grayson (FL-08); John Hall (NY-19); Steve Kagen (WI-08); Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15); Larry Kissell (NC-08); Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24); Dan Maffei (NY-25); Betsy Markey (CO-04); Eric Massa (NY-29); Jerry McNerney (CA-11); Charlie Melancon (LA-03); Dennis Moore (KS-03); Glenn Nye (VA-02); John Salazar (CO-03); Mark Schauer (MI-07); Kurt Schrader (OR-05); Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01); Ike Skelton (MO-04); Zack Space (OH-18); Harry Teague (NM-02); Dina Titus (NV-03) and Tim Walz (MN-01).

what economists think of PORKULUS said...

Harvard economist Robert Barro calls the legislation "probably the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s."

"I mean it's wasting a tremendous amount of money," he said in an interview with the Atlantic. "I don't think it will expand the economy. . . . I think it's garbage."

Anonymous said...

What a jackass that Barro is:

Is the stimulus the worst bill since the 1930s? Not by a long shot

by Joseph Hight, Economic Policy Examiner

Paul Krugman applies the term ‘boneheaded’ to Robert Barro’s discussion disputing the existence of a Keynesian multiplier and hence the effectiveness of government deficit spending. Barro responds that Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, knows nothing about the effect of government fiscal policy.

Anonymous said...

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Paul Krugman favor stimulus

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman said Wednesday the US economic crisis is "out of control" and that a renewed push for public investment is the most effective stimulus remedy.

Speaking to a Washington symposium, Krugman said that the current slump is in some ways not as severe as in 1982 but that "this is not that kind of crisis."

"This crisis is out of control and there is no reason to think there is any spontaneous mechanism for recovery," he said.

"My deep concern is not simply that we will have a very steep slump but that we will become entrenched."

He said there is a threat of deflation that could further curb spending and investment and lead to a situation where the economy is "basically stuck in quicksand."

At the forum sponsored by the labor-leaning Economic Policy Institute and the Institute for America's Future, Krugman said the United States needs to move away from the doctrine of former president Ronald Reagan of less government.

"For 30 years this country has been dominated by a political movement that accepted (Reagan's maxim that) that government is not the solution, that government is the problem," he said.

"There is constant pressure to cut taxes, keep revenue down and a crusade against government spending."

But he argued that in the current crisis, government is the only entity that can now prop up demand and avert a deeper slump.

Thus, he said more spending, especially on infrastructure, would be more effective than tax cuts, favored by many Republicans and conservatives.

"Any attempt to make economic sense of the role of the government to sustain demand seems to lean toward increased government spending more than tax cuts," he said.

"We get get a lot more bang for the buck from infrastructure spending than from tax cuts ... the bang for the buck is probably twice as good at least in spending as for tax cuts cuts, maybe three times."

Still, he said that it is hard to overcome "a distaste and fear that if you have a lot of government spending to help us get out of this crisis that people will start to think good things about government spending."

"The crisis is an opportunity to restart that conversation," he added.

Krugman said he believes the financial rescue plan unveiled by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Tuesday may lead to the failure of some major banks based on the so-called "stress test" for further aid.

"The problem is not toxic assets," he said, referring to risky real estate assets being held by banks.

"The problem is that financial institutions have lost a lot of money and many of the big ones, if they are not actually insolvent, are very close."

Krugman said the "stress test" may reveal that "five or maybe seven of these institutions are actually not viable," and thus could be put into government receivership, noting that this is the same process used for smaller banks that fail.

Anonymous said...

Stimulus Support Edges Higher, Now 59%Support up mainly among Democrats; flat among independentsUSA Business and Economy Gallup Daily Government and Politics Americas Northern America by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- Public support for an $800 billion economic stimulus package has increased to 59% in a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Tuesday night, up from 52% in Gallup polling a week ago, as well as in late January.

porkulus package misses the mark said...

A Wall Street Journal survey of 52 mainstream economic forecasters published Thursday found that while most forecasters still think there could be slow growth by the second half of the year, that won't offset steeper-than-projected declines in the first half of 2009.

That means this is essentially a lost year for the economy. Most scenarios envision the economy picking back up again next year.

Anonymous said...

The Republicans are busy with their usual task of destroying our country:

FAILURE TO RISE

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: February 12, 2009

By any normal political standards, this week’s Congressional agreement on an economic stimulus package was a great victory for President Obama. He got more or less what he asked for: almost $800 billion to rescue the economy, with most of the money allocated to spending rather than tax cuts. Break out the Champagne!

Skip to next paragraph

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Paul Krugman

Go to Columnist Page » Blog: The Conscience of a Liberal
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Or maybe not. These aren’t normal times, so normal political standards don’t apply: Mr. Obama’s victory feels more than a bit like defeat. The stimulus bill looks helpful but inadequate, especially when combined with a disappointing plan for rescuing the banks. And the politics of the stimulus fight have made nonsense of Mr. Obama’s postpartisan dreams.

Let’s start with the politics.

One might have expected Republicans to act at least slightly chastened in these early days of the Obama administration, given both their drubbing in the last two elections and the economic debacle of the past eight years.

But it’s now clear that the party’s commitment to deep voodoo — enforced, in part, by pressure groups that stand ready to run primary challengers against heretics — is as strong as ever. In both the House and the Senate, the vast majority of Republicans rallied behind the idea that the appropriate response to the abject failure of the Bush administration’s tax cuts is more Bush-style tax cuts.

And the rhetorical response of conservatives to the stimulus plan — which will, it’s worth bearing in mind, cost substantially less than either the Bush administration’s $2 trillion in tax cuts or the $1 trillion and counting spent in Iraq — has bordered on the deranged.

It’s “generational theft,” said Senator John McCain, just a few days after voting for tax cuts that would, over the next decade, have cost about four times as much.

It’s “destroying my daughters’ future. It is like sitting there watching my house ransacked by a gang of thugs,” said Arnold Kling of the Cato Institute.

And the ugliness of the political debate matters because it raises doubts about the Obama administration’s ability to come back for more if, as seems likely, the stimulus bill proves inadequate.

For while Mr. Obama got more or less what he asked for, he almost certainly didn’t ask for enough. We’re probably facing the worst slump since the Great Depression. The Congressional Budget Office, not usually given to hyperbole, predicts that over the next three years there will be a $2.9 trillion gap between what the economy could produce and what it will actually produce. And $800 billion, while it sounds like a lot of money, isn’t nearly enough to bridge that chasm.

Officially, the administration insists that the plan is adequate to the economy’s need. But few economists agree. And it’s widely believed that political considerations led to a plan that was weaker and contains more tax cuts than it should have — that Mr. Obama compromised in advance in the hope of gaining broad bipartisan support. We’ve just seen how well that worked.

Now, the chances that the fiscal stimulus will prove adequate would be higher if it were accompanied by an effective financial rescue, one that would unfreeze the credit markets and get money moving again. But the long-awaited announcement of the Obama administration’s plans on that front, which also came this week, landed with a dull thud.

The plan sketched out by Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, wasn’t bad, exactly. What it was, instead, was vague. It left everyone trying to figure out where the administration was really going. Will those public-private partnerships end up being a covert way to bail out bankers at taxpayers’ expense? Or will the required “stress test” act as a back-door route to temporary bank nationalization (the solution favored by a growing number of economists, myself included)? Nobody knows.

Over all, the effect was to kick the can down the road. And that’s not good enough. So far the Obama administration’s response to the economic crisis is all too reminiscent of Japan in the 1990s: a fiscal expansion large enough to avert the worst, but not enough to kick-start recovery; support for the banking system, but a reluctance to force banks to face up to their losses. It’s early days yet, but we’re falling behind the curve.

And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach — a feeling that America just isn’t rising to the greatest economic challenge in 70 years. The best may not lack all conviction, but they seem alarmingly willing to settle for half-measures. And the worst are, as ever, full of passionate intensity, oblivious to the grotesque failure of their doctrine in practice.

There’s still time to turn this around. But Mr. Obama has to be stronger looking forward. Otherwise, the verdict on this crisis might be that no, we can’t.

Anonymous said...

Republicans hell-bent on destroying our country:

Republicans get a 'Rush' out of shifting the blame

By Ken Bode

A populist anger is building in America, and the target is the Rot at the Top. It is impossible to ignore the news about CEOs of failed financial institutions paying themselves billions in bonuses on phantom profits of collapsing companies. Or refusing to give up their multimillion-dollar private airplanes because their time is too valuable to fly commercial. Or spending hundreds of thousands of company dollars to redecorate their offices, even as they seek taxpayer bailout funds to cover their losses.

President Barack Obama said a number of things right this week. The party is over. We are not running a welfare state for failed corporate CEOs. It is shameful and the height of irresponsibility for Wall Street to have paid its executives $20 billion in bonuses while the country is sinking deeper into the worst recession in 75 years.


The point is, they are overcompensated and under-competent. As his mortgage company, Countrywide, went down the tubes, its CEO, Angelo Mozilo, was awarded a golden parachute, total severance of $110 million.

Richard Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors, was paid $14.4 million last year at the same time he was closing plants, watching his stock sink almost out of sight, cutting thousands of workers and holding his hand out for a $13.4 billion lifeline from the Treasury.

Right now, the compensation for CEOs of the largest companies is 364 times the pay of the average worker. When Obama announced his intention to cap salaries at $500,000 for executives of companies that are getting bailout money, banking compensation experts called that "draconian." If we don't pay them well, they said, we'll get less capable CEOs! Are there any, you might ask?

An article in The New York Times this week was titled, "You try to live on $500,000 in this town." Mortgage: $96,000. Co-Op maintenance: $96,000. Private schools: $32,000 per student. Nanny: $45,000. Chauffeur: $75-125,000. Gowns for charity balls: $35,000. This does not count the weekend place in the Hamptons, two vacations a year, tutors for the private school students and $700 a month to garage the car. Do any of these folks live like us?

Consider this. Indiana's per-capita income is $27,500 a year. The $500,000 salary cap yields $41,000 a month.

In most Indiana cities, the unemployment rates doubled from December 2007 to December 2008. In Elkhart, of course, the rate tripled, now up to more than 18 percent. During the Depression, unemployment in Southern Indiana was at 50 percent. And that, folks, is where we are headed again if the federal government can't get itself together to fashion an effective recovery plan.

Which is where the Republicans in Congress come in. Last December, their president desperately needed a bailout package for tanking financial institutions. He got it, $700 billion, and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson shoveled it out the door, no strings attached.

But when Obama came back with a recovery package designed to help people with bad mortgages and those whose jobs are drying up, the House Republicans refused to give him even a single vote. "A beautiful goose egg" is how the new Republican National Chairman put it.

What it showed is that Rush Limbaugh really is running the Republican Party. This is how Rush put it: "The country is being forced to bend over and grab our ankles, because Obama's father was black . . . Obama is a little, black man-child." Saying he wants the president to fail, Limbaugh, the patriot, added, "It's up to me to hijack the Obama honeymoon, and I've done it!"

President Obama warned the Republicans that we won't get much done if they take their orders from Rush. But that's exactly what they are doing. Playing the same games they've championed since Newt Gingrich undertook his fundamentalist jihad to purge their ranks of every rational and moderate in the caucus. They've doubled the national debt, destroyed the credit markets and accept no responsibility whatsoever for doing so.

Anonymous said...

Your'e right, Porculus: because of the Republican-caused economic catastophe the recovery won't really start kicking in until 2010:

How will the $789 billion stimulus package affect you?

By Sue Kirchhoff, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The $789 billion stimulus bill moving toward final passage by Congress will not quickly solve the historic problems besetting the economy, but it could reduce the damage, while providing relief for the unemployed and the uninsured.
Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, predicts the biggest effects will occur in 2010 from the bill's spending for aid to state and local governments and on infrastructure such as roads, bridges, transit and other areas.

Moody's Economy.com chief economist Mark Zandi says the bill could help end the economic slide. He warns, however, that the stimulus spending will likely be too small, given the size of the economic decline, and suggests Congress may have to revisit the issue.

Anonymous said...

Ooooooooh!!!! Those Republican "turncoats":

GOP seethes over Charlie Crist's stimulus-plan support

Gov. Charlie Crist may be popular in Florida, but his unbridled support for the Democrats' stimulus package has Republicans seething.

BY ADAM C. SMITH

Herald/Times Tallassee Bureau

As Democrats lavish praise on
Florida's Republican governor for enthusiastically supporting their economic stimulus package, Republicans are questioning whether Crist damaged his future.

''I don't think he's helped any national Republican ambitions he may have by stepping up to the plate and batting for the other team. . . . There's a difference between working in a bipartisan way for the common good and switching sides and putting on the other team's jersey,'' said veteran Republican consultant Alex Castellanos. ``At the one moment when we've finally found our voice and remember who we are as Republicans, Charlie Crist forgets. It's stunning.''

Crist's full-throated support evoked a rare rebuke from one of his closest political allies, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, who said on the Senate floor that Crist doesn't get it.

''I don't know that my governor understands all the details in this package -- that there will be nothing here to help with Florida's housing economy,'' Martinez said, noting the package is light on stemming the tide of foreclosures.

Crist acknowledged that he hasn't seen all the details but said Florida needs federal help, period.

Still, he is way out of the Republican mainstream in supporting a $789 billion package that won just three Republican votes in the Senate and zero in the House. His inability to support the package drove moderate Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire to withdraw his nomination as President Barack Obama's commerce secretary Thursday.

''It certainly hurts Charlie Crist with the Republican base. . . . There's a lot of energy among Republicans across the country in opposition to this. The fury that I have seen directed against Arlen Specter and [Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins] is amazing,'' said Pat Toomey, president of the conservative Club for Growth, referring to the three Republican senators who voted for the package.

Not a single Florida Republican in Congress supported it, but their public opposition is potentially tricky with Florida's most popular politician, Crist, all over TV lately touting his support. Crist was side by side with Obama in Fort Myers on Tuesday, stressing how much help the package could be to Floridians.

''They may not be saying it outright, but the Republican delegation is very angry. If they got Charlie Crist in a dark alley, all you'd have left is a tuft of white hair,'' said Ana Navarro, a Republican consultant from Miami, suggesting Crist has dampened enthusiasm for a potential U.S. Senate run in 2010.

'I've gotten about four or five calls from national Republican donors saying, `What is this guy doing? Is he really thinking of running for Senate?' '' Navarro said. ``We're going to spend $30 to $40 million to get a Republican elected to that Senate seat, and we could end up with a guy who's going to be the 60th vote for Democrats.''

Recent polls show Crist remains enormously popular in Florida, with roughly two-thirds of voters approving of his job performance. He is especially popular among crucial independent voters, and few doubt he'd easily win reelection.

But some Republicans question whether GOP anger of the stimulus package could damage Crist's standing for a future presidential campaign or a 2010 Senate bid -- Crist says he'll decide about the Senate after the legislative session ends in May -- and many Republicans are seething about Crist joining Obama in Fort Myers.

''Every Republican in the state of Florida is wondering where his mind is. He's cooking his own goose,'' said Broward County Republican state committeeman Ed Kennedy.

``I worked for him, campaigned for him, raised money for him. Now, we're sitting back and saying my God, what do we have here?''

Just up the coast Wednesday at a Palm Beach County Republican Party meeting, one activist unsuccessfully pushed for a vote to censure Crist, according to the Palm Beach Post, which reported that his censure motion drew applause before being blocked on procedural grounds.

''You still have the same division in our party between the base who are extreme and the moderates who are interested in getting something done,'' said Republican operative and Crist supporter Roger Stone of Miami. ``The extremists love purity. And they love losing elections.''

Stone said the governor, reading the poll numbers, is betting his position will continue to prove wildly popular with the average voter. Crist needs the federal money to roll into the state to help stave off unpopular budget cuts and even less popular tax increases.

Grover Norquist, the influential conservative leader of Americans for Tax Reform, said Crist should have been wary about embracing an 800-page bill he probably had not read and stands to be loaded with unpopular spending provisions that will surface over coming weeks and months.

''This is the bill that the Republican Party will be running against in 2010 and 2012 and 2014,'' Norquist predicted.

Presumably Crist won't be among those running against that bill. But if the governor has any misgivings about the politics of appearing with Obama, he sure isn't showing it.

''My concern is not about what's best for one party or the other. My concern is what's best for the state and what's best for the people of Florida,'' he said Thursday, when he invited a mostly Democratic group of black legislators to the governor's mansion to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NAACP and the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

''This is our president, and I wanted to show support for what he's trying to do, to help our students in the classroom, the most vulnerable in our society who deserve healthcare and the infrastructure benefit that this will bring about,'' Crist said.

Anonymous said...

Examination of Bush's 'kept

America safe' record turns into a circular argument

Posted by David Hunt February 13, 2009 06:55AM

"Say what you will about Bush, at least he kept us safe from terrorist attacks."

"What about 9/11?"

"He kept us safe from terrorist attacks since 9/11."

"By 'us,' I assume you mean Americans. What about all our soldiers and civilians killed in terrorist attacks in Iraq?"

"He kept us safe from terrorist attacks since 9/11 on American soil."

"What about the anthrax attacks, and the freeway snipers? Weren't those terrorist attacks on American soil after 9/11?"

"He kept us safe from Muslim terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11."

"I'm not impressed. Hasn't every president since Pearl Harbor kept us safe from attacks on American soil? Doesn't that make them more successful than Bush?"

"Ha! Gotcha there, you Bush-hating liberal! Your precious Bill Clinton allowed a terrorist attack in 1993!"

"And just like Bush, he 'kept us safe' for the remaining seven years of his administration. In terms of 'keeping us safe,' Bush's record is worse than Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and his dad, and is equal to Clinton's. Why, exactly, are you touting this as some kind of accomplishment? And, since you want to compare Bush to Clinton, didn't Clinton manage to capture, charge, try and convict the 1993 conspirators in a regular court of law without relying on torture? Where's Osama bin Laden? Which conspirators has Bush convicted? None."

"You're being unfair. Not everything bad that happens during a president's term should be blamed on him."

"But he should get credit for every bad thing that might have happened and didn't?"

"Say what you will about Bush, at least he kept us safe from terrorist attacks."

Anonymous said...

Unredacted documents reveal prisoners tortured to deathStephen C. Webster
Published: Thursday February 12, 2009





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Human rights groups accuse Pentagon of running secret prisons, cooperating with CIA "ghost detention" program

The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously classified excerpts of a government report on harsh interrogation techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These previously unreported pages detail repeated use of "abusive" behavior, even to the point of prisoner deaths.

The documents, obtained by the ACLU under a Freedom of Information Act request, contain a report by Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, who was tapped to conduct a comprehensive review of Defense Department interrogation operations. Church specifically calls out interrogations at Bagram Air base in Afghanistan as "clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance."

The two unredacted pages from the Church report may be found here.

The ACLU's release comes on the same day as a major FOIA document dump by three other leading human rights groups: Documents which reveal the Pentagon ran secret prisons in Bagram and Iraq, that it cooperated with the CIA's "ghost detention" program and that Defense personnel delayed a prisoner's release to avoid bad press.

"In both cases, for example, [prisoners] were handcuffed to fixed objects above their heads in order to keep them awake," reads the document. "Additionally, interrogations in both incidents involved the use of physical violence, including kicking, beating, and the use of "compliance blows" which involved striking the [prisoners] legs with the [interrogators] knees. In both cases, blunt force trauma to the legs was implicated in the deaths. In one case, a pulmonary embolism developed as a consequence of the blunt force trauma, and in the other case pre-existing coronary artery disease was complicated by the blunt force trauma."

In a press release, the ACLU summarized the documents as detailing, "[An] investigation of two deaths at Bagram. Both detainees were determined to have been killed by pulmonary embolism caused as a result of standing chained in place, sleep depravation and dozens of beatings by guards and possibly interrogators. (Also reveals the use of torture at Gitmo and American-Afghani prisons in Kabul).

"[An] investigation into the homicide or involuntary manslaughter of detainee Dilar Dababa by U.S. forces in 2003 in Iraq.

"[An] investigation launched after allegations that an Iraqi prisoner was subjected to torture and abuse at 'The Disco' (located in the Special Operations Force Compound in Mosul Airfield, Mosul, Iraq). The abuse consisted of filling his jumpsuit with ice, then hosing him down and making him stand for long periods of time, sometimes in front of an air conditioner; forcing him to lay down and drink water until he gagged, vomited or choked, having his head banged against a hot steel plate while hooded and interrogated; being forced to do leg lifts with bags of ice placed on his ankles, and being kicked when he could not do more.

"[An] investigation of allegations of torture and abuse that took place in 2003 at Abu Ghraib.

"[And an] investigation that established probable cause to believe that U.S. forces committed homicide in 2003 when they participated in the binding of detainee Abed Mowhoush in a sleeping bag during an interrogation, causing him to die of asphyxiation."

"A large portion of the torture, maiming, and murder of detainees occurred under authority issued under secret rules of engagement in the Pentagon," wrote Scott Horton, a contributing editor with Harper's magazine. "Much of this flowed through Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, a figure who has so far evaded scrutiny in the torture scandal and now serves as vice president for strategy of QinetiQ North America, a subsidiary of the United Kingdom-based defense contractor QinetiQ. Even the Senate Armed Services Committee review fails to get to the bottom of Dr. Cambone, his interrogations ROEs for special operations units he controlled, and the death, disfigurement and torture of prisoners they handled. This is one of many reasons why a comprehensive investigation with subpoena power is urgently needed. But full airing of the internal investigations already conducted by the Department of Defense is an essential next step."

The ACLU's catalog of documents relating to torture under the Bush administration may be found here.

Anonymous said...

February 12, 2009
The GOP's Stimulus Speciousness

In the waning hours of the GOP's unsuccessful effort to derail the Senate stimulus bill, the name of small business was frequently taken in vain. Small businesspeople "are the forgotten folks," lamented Arizona Sen. John Kyl, alluding to Amity Shlaes's revisionist account of the Great Depression, now in vogue in conservative circles. "Small businesses create 80 percent of the jobs, so you would think a good piece of the relief would go to small business. No, it is just three-tenths of one percent."
In fact, as readers of this space know, there's a lot in the Senate bill for small firms, including generous provisions for writing off investments and using current losses to offset prior profits, as well as other measures to loosen up lending. But if that is not enough, the GOP has only itself to blame. In all, two dozen Republican amendments came up for a vote, and just two of them offered additional tax relief to small firms. Both failed, by design. (I'll come back to why in a moment.)

Of course, one could argue that Democrats, in firm control of the Senate agenda, restricted the number of Republican amendments the chamber would consider, although more Republican than Democratic amendments actually went to a vote. But rifling through the 198 amendments filed by the Republican opponents to the stimulus reveals the same paucity: only eight of them remembered the forgotten folks. (I'm not counting here those amendments offered by Olympia Snowe, a moderate from Maine and the ranking Republican on the small business committee -- unlike most of her fellow partisans, she supported the bill.) Instead, Republicans focused their efforts on denying poor people refundable tax credits, stripping Amtrak of stimulus funding, and diverting school construction money to private schools. They sought stringent oversight requirements, but also to relax environmental regulations for infrastructure projects. They tried to use the stimulus to keep the prison at Guantánamo open and to repeal the Children's Health Insurance Program authorization just signed into law.
Even the National Federation of Independent Business, among the most formidable lobbies in Washington and widely viewed as a close GOP ally, found Republican ears deaf to its immediate priorities. The NFIB was particularly keen to see a six-month payroll tax holiday incorporated into the stimulus. "Eliminating the payroll tax for an extended period of time provides a double benefit to the economy by helping struggling businesses reduce costs and providing working Americans with extra money to spend where they see fit," explained the organization's chief lobbyist, Dan Danner, in a letter (pdf) to Congress. "No other proposal will have a more immediate and profound effect on the economy."
Though Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed the idea in late January, the NFIB came up empty-handed once Senate debate commenced in early February. Or nearly empty-handed. It turns out John McCain adopted a variation on this idea in an alternative stimulus package he proposed last Friday. McCain's Amendment 364 drew down the spending (to just military and transportation projects) and ratcheted up the tax relief. Besides a permanent cut in employer (but not employee) payroll taxes, McCain proposed temporarily slashing corporate income rates.
This was one of the two Republican bills with business tax incentives to come to a vote -- the other was a measure by John Thune of South Dakota, which included an income tax deduction for small firms. In each case, though, the small business elements were a small part of a much larger, thoroughly unappetizing package that essentially repudiated the Democrats' priorities. Neither, then, had any chance of passing the Senate, and both failed along party lines. They were not really works of legislation so much as poses.
Republicans, it seems, concluded that the greater political advantage lay not in fixing but in fighting, however futilely, the stimulus. Indeed, Oklahoma's James Inhofe said as much on the Senate floor. This was on Monday, just a few hours before the vote to end debate. As other Republican senators cast their opposition ruefully as a matter of principle, Inhofe laid bare the calculus. "This is something I think is going to end up being a positive thing for Republicans," he began. "In 1992, a very similar thing happened. We had a Democrat in the White House, we had a Democratic-controlled House, a Democratic-controlled Senate, and we saw what happened. They started spending money....I believe we are going through the same thing we did in 1992 and we are going to have the same results we had in 1994."
Yesterday, the Washington Post's Chris ("The Fix") Cillizza wondered if the compromise reached yesterday between the House and Senate might induce some Republicans to switch. Don't hold your breath. The GOP appears set to wait it out until 2010. But that's a long time away. And with each passing day, it only seems for many small firms to get longer.

Anonymous said...

Thank God we spared this man as President:

McCain says Obama needs to work on bipartisanship

Fri Feb 13, 2009

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator John McCain said on Friday that President Barack Obama should include Republicans in his plans sooner if he really wants their support after the bitter debate over the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.

McCain, who lost the 2008 presidential election to Obama, and other Republicans complained they had been left out of negotiations on the legislation by Democrats who hold majorities in both houses of Congress.

McCain said the bill was filled with non-emergency spending paid for with borrowed money that future generations will have to pay back.

"I think that the majority of people understand that this was generational theft," McCain told Reuters.

The Arizona senator said many other issues coming up will require a bipartisan effort that he said has been lacking so far from Obama and the Democrats.

"I hope they've learned a lesson," he said. "I hope that they will reverse course, and sit down, negotiate from the beginning, so you're in on the takeoff, so you can be in on the landing."

McCain met Obama two weeks after the November 4 election and agreed that "Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington" to solve urgent challenges.

Obama initially hoped for an overwhelming majority for passage of the stimulus bill, but the debate quickly dissolved into the traditional argument in which Democrats backed a package more weighted to spending programs and Republicans advocated tax cuts.

Acknowledging scaled-down ambitions for the vote, Obama on Thursday said "I hope they act in a bipartisan fashion, but no matter how they act," the legislation should help the economy.

The stimulus bill ultimately passed the House of Representatives with no Republican support. It was expected to garner the votes of three Republican moderates in the Senate.

"No one could view this as having a scintilla of bipartisanship," said McCain, who has often annoyed his own Republican colleagues by working with the opposition party.

"The message of the election was, sit down and work together. They obviously are not doing that," he said.

Anonymous said...

The GOP's War On Obama: Confirmed

Byron York confirmed that it was Republican partisan pressure that forced Gregg to pull out. The idea that a Republican could help give Obama cover on entitlement reform and that he would preside over a big increase in Hispanic representation in the Census was too much for the Rovian partisans. Shill Kristol lets the cat out of the bag:

they were worried that clever “post-partisan” or bipartisan tactics by Obama could split and weaken an already uncertain and demoralized GOP.

Party first. Country always always last. Welcome to today's Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Republicans who like pork:

GOP lawmakers tout projects in the stimulus bill they opposed

By DAVID LIGHTMAN
McClatchy Newspapers

John Mica was gushing after the House of Representatives voted Friday to pass the big stimulus plan.

"I applaud President Obama's recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America's future," the Florida Republican beamed in a press release.

Yet Mica had just joined every other GOP House member in voting against the $787.2 billion economic recovery plan.

Republicans echoed their party line over and over during the debate: "This bill is loaded with wasteful deficit spending on the majority's favorite government programs," as Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., put it.

But Mica wasn't alone in touting what he saw as the bill's virtues. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, also had nice things to say in a press release.

Young boasted that he "won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small business owners last night in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."

One provision would have made it harder for minority businesses to win contracts, and Young explained that he "worked with members on the other side of the aisle to make the case for these programs, and was able to get the provision pulled from the bill."

Yet later in the day Young - who recently told McClatchy Newspapers that he would've included earmarks, or local projects, in the bill if it had been permitted - issued another statement blasting the overall measure.

"This bill was not a stimulus bill. It was a vehicle for pet projects, and that's wrong," he protested.

That was more in line with the Republican message.

Young wouldn't return a request for comment on the apparent contradiction of his press releases.

Mike Steel, a spokesman for House GOP Leader John Boehner of Ohio, at first ducked when asked about Mica and Young issuing press releases praising the bill they'd opposed.

"I don't work for Mica or Young," Steel said initially.

But then he explained that what Mica and Young did in touting aspects of the bill was in fact consistent with the Republican message.

"Being supportive of one portion of a trillion dollar bill, but voting against the entire trillion dollar bill, is perfectly reasonable," Steel said.

Mica is the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a longtime backer of high-speed rail. GOP committee spokesman Justin Harclerode explained that Mica saw the bill's $8 billion for rail as a "silver lining," and "he's encouraged others are supporting high-speed rail too."

But nowhere in the Mica statement, or in Young's initial statement, was any mention that they opposed the bill.

Harclerode wasn't sure why Mica didn't mention his opposition. "It's not really secret," he said. "I guess it just wasn't the focus."

porkulus aka the fantasyland express said...

One of many highlights of the stimulus bill the Democrats just rammed through Congress is $8 billion for high-speed rail. What makes this appropriation special is that there was no money for high-speed rail in the original House legislation. The Senate bill had $2 billion. The legislation coming out of conference "compromised" on $8 billion.

How did this happen? Well, some of that $8 billion, as the Washington Post reported Friday, seems intended for "a controversial proposal for a magnetic-levitation rail line between Disneyland, in California, and Las Vegas, a project favored by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). The 311-mph train could make the trip from Sin City to Tomorrowland in less than two hours, according to backers." Reid of course played a major role in putting together the final bill.

That's the kind of policymaking the new Obama administration has embraced in its signature legislative proposal: a congressional process as unseemly as ever; an emergency bill that barely addresses the emergency; a "stimulus" bill short on stimulus (is that magnetic-levitation rail line "shovel-ready"?).

What accounts for this debacle? You could start with a lack of presidential leadership. Who would have thought the missing player in the first month of the administration would be Barack Obama? He let his signature economic legislation, the stimulus, be shaped by congressional Democrats. He let internal disputes over the difficult question of how to save the banking system result in a disastrous non-announcement of a non-plan by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week. Before that,
he let Geithner become Treasury secretary after cheating on his income taxes, and waived his own ethics rules to appoint a lobbyist as deputy secretary of defense--undercutting his promises to clean up Washington. He allowed Rahm Emanuel to politicize the Census Bureau, losing as a result his commerce secretary-designee, Judd Gregg, an ornament of his professed hope for bipartisanship.

porkulus fantasland express now departing said...

President Barack Obama on Friday warned that economic recovery in the United States "will be measured in years, not months" as he scored a major victory in his young presidency with the approval in Congress of a $787 billion (£542) bill to revive the economy.

Which is why it was so critically important that the Democrats violate their own rules requiring that the bill be posted for all to read at least 48 hours in advance of any vote.

burris if a lying fraud said...

U.S. Senator Roland Burris has disclosed for the first time that he was asked for up to $10,000 in campaign donations by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother before he was appointed to the Senate seat by Blagojevich, according to a published report.

Burris didn't make the donation, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on its Web site today.

Illinois' junior senator gave the newspaper a copy of a sworn statement about the campaign cash solicitation, which he previously had sent to the head of the Illinois House impeachment committee.

Burris, a Democrat, told the newspaper he sent the affidavit, dated Feb. 5, to Democratic Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie when he realized his testimony before the committee she headed wasn't complete.

"There were several facts that I was not given the opportunity to make during my testimony," Burris said. "I voluntarily submitted an affidavit so everything was transparent."


Burris lied to the US Congress. He lied to the Illinois Senate. Now, he ask unanimous consent to revise and extend his remarks...

Typical Democrat! LIAR!

america rick rolled by the dnc over porkulus said...

In a press conference Thursday, the House Republican leadership spoke candidly about being kept out of the House-Senate conference on the Obama-Pelosi-Reid so-called “economic stimulus” bill. They confirmed they had not yet seen the text of the bill as of 4 p.m.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was unsure how many Democrats would vote with Republicans again on this bill but that he thought Republicans “may get a few” Democrats to side with them. The fact that the Demos have now broken their promise to have the public able to see the bill for 48 hours may drive more Dems into the Republican camp.

“[I] don’t know, ‘cause they haven’t seen the bill either,” Boehner said.


“The American people have a right to know what’s in this bill,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind) told HUMAN EVENTS after the press conference. “Every member of Congress -- Republicans and Democrats -- voted to post this bill on the internet for 48 hours, 48 hours ago. We’ll see if the Democrats keep their word.”

Actually -- as of 5:15 pm, the Democrats had broken their word. The stimulus bill -- which we still haven’t seen -- will be released late tonight and will be brought up on the House floor at 9 am tomorrow.

The following statement was released by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at 4:57 p.m.:

"The House is scheduled to meet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow and is expected to proceed directly to consideration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment conference report. The conference report text will be filed this evening, giving members enough time to review the conference report before voting on it tomorrow afternoon."

Anonymous said...

AP: In Medicaid reform, Fla. GOP saw rich benefit

By TRAVIS REED | Associated Press Writer

MIAMI - While Florida politicians were considering a vast overhaul of the state's troubled Medicaid system, a Tampa company that administered care for half a million poor and needy residents was busy lining their pockets with campaign donations.

WellCare Health Plans Inc., its subsidiaries and executives spent $2.4 million on political contributions in the 2004 and 2006 elections, according to an analysis of campaign records by The Associated Press. More than 95 percent of it went to Republicans, who pushed forward a nationally watched plan that funnels more state and federal Medicaid spending than ever through private companies like WellCare, which profit most by providing the least care.

At the same time, WellCare acknowledges it was cheating Florida out of tens of millions in overpayments and is under investigation for suspected fraud and unfair business practices by a cadre of state and federal agencies.

WellCare manages care for nearly 2.4 million people on government-sponsored health plans in Florida, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Ohio. Florida's Medicaid reforms are being closely monitored by other states seeking to alleviate their own health care costs.



WellCare gave $100,000 to the Republican Party of Florida on Dec. 6, 2005 -- a day after the Legislature convened specifically to consider the Medicaid proposals, and days before they passed. The company spent seven times more on lobbying than its top two competitors combined, skirting state laws meant to cap candidate donations at $500 per person or company by writing checks under nearly 30 different business names.

Half of WellCare's contributions -- $1.2 million -- went to the Republican Party of Florida. State law provides no limit on party donations, and there is virtually no way to tell where the funds go after that.

"It doesn't surprise me that (Democrats) got a lot less money," said Sen. Dan Gelber, a South Florida Democrat and former federal prosecutor. "We thought -- I thought -- it was bad policy. I thought it was a bad idea before it started and I think it's a bad idea every month since it started. This was about essentially forcing Medicaid populations wholesale into HMOs where they were going to receive less care."

WellCare's offices were raided by the FBI, Florida regulators and numerous other agencies in October 2007. In a now-unsealed plea agreement, prosecutors and a former employee said the company inflated expenditures by submitting fake documents to the state. Under some mental health care contracts, WellCare was paid a flat per-patient fee and required to spend at least 80 percent of it on care. Any leftover amount beyond 20 percent was to be repaid to the state, but the bogus expenditures allowed WellCare to keep that surplus.

WellCare agreed in August to repay $35 million, its best estimate of the total wrongly kept from 2002-2006. After the raid, the company restated its quarterly and annual profits -- driving down net income by $32 million -- and saw its top three executives resign.

No criminal charges have been announced against WellCare or its officials but investigations by Florida, Connecticut and federal prosecutors are ongoing. The Securities and Exchange Commission is leading an informal investigation, and Wellcare faces numerous shareholder lawsuits and sealed whistleblower complaints, the company's SEC filings say.

WellCare has since halted all Florida campaign contributions.

"... As part of a broader enterprise-wide compliance initiative detailed in our public filings, we are developing new policies and procedures regarding, among other things, political activities and contributions," WellCare said in a written statement to the AP. "WellCare takes very seriously its responsibility as a government-sponsored managed care health plan, and appreciates that health care is top of mind to many political leaders. Our top priority is to provide our members timely access to quality health care."

Then-Gov. Jeb Bush, who led the reforms, said WellCare didn't pay for favorable policy -- pointing as proof to the company's recent departure from counties affected by the reforms.

"There's no question WellCare lobbied hard as we overhauled Medicaid in Florida, but ultimately reform didn't deliver what the managed health care companies wanted, and patients and taxpayers won instead," Bush said. "Managed health care companies make less under Medicaid reform because they are no longer paid the same for healthy and chronically ill people. Providers are only paid for the services actually required by the individuals in the plan, not an expansive and expensive menu of services never utilized by healthy patients."

Until recently, WellCare was the largest provider under Florida's Medicaid reform, which is testing broad privatization in five counties. The companies are given flat, per-patient fees from the state and federal governments and profit from the balance not paid in care.

Advocates said the plan would cut burgeoning Medicaid costs by shifting risk to the private sector. Opponents worried people would slip through the cracks or be denied access to doctors and medicine. WellCare served about 80,000 patients in the pilot effort before saying this month it would exit in May because recent state budget cuts made the business unprofitable.

Still, WellCare has approximately 330,000 Florida enrollees in traditional Medicaid programs, more than twice as many as top competitor Amerigroup Corp.'s 165,000. While WellCare dropped more than $2 million on Florida's 2004 and 2006 elections, Amerigroup spent just $74,200. UnitedHealth Group Inc., the third-largest Medicaid HMO here, gave $234,000, campaign records show.

Two of the biggest recipients of WellCare contributions were former state Senate presidents -- current Sen. Ken Pruitt, who led the body from 2006-2008, and former Sen. Tom Lee. Pruitt received $25,500, and tied with former Rep. Frank Farkas as the company's largest direct beneficiary. Neither returned telephone messages requesting comment.

Another top GOP recipient was former House member Holly Benson, who now oversees WellCare and all other Medicaid HMOs as secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Benson accepted $18,500 combined in the 2004 and 2006 elections, but said that didn't compromise her integrity. She said it was a small portion of the $125,000 her campaign raised in 2004 and $380,000 in 2006 -- and the state's $35 million settlement was "unprecedented" proof of objectivity.

Lee, who got $23,748 in a failed 2006 state CFO campaign, recalled WellCare's aggressive spending. Perhaps oddly, the Medicare reform package passed in the same week as his long-sought ban on lobbyist gifts.

"I have an enormous history of public frustration with things like campaign finance reform, gift disclosures, etc.," said Lee, who has returned to his Tampa-area homebuilding business. "Nothing would be a better gift for this democracy than to figure out a way to help us clean up this process."

--------

Associated Press writer Kelli Kennedy contributed to this report.

Anonymous said...

Bush is "replenishing the old cBush to hit lecture circuit with speech in Canada
1 day ago

DALLAS (AP) — Former President George W. Bush is getting ready to hit the lecture circuit.

A co-owner of a Canadian company that organizes high-profile speaking events confirmed Thursday that Bush is scheduled to speak March 17 at a luncheon in Calgary, Alberta.

The invitation says Bush will discuss "his eight momentous years in the Oval Office" and "the challenges facing the world in the 21st century."

The event is Bush's first confirmed speaking engagement. Booking agency partner Andy McCreath declined to discuss Bush's speaking fee. A spokesman with the Office of George W. Bush in Dallas also declined comment.

McCreath says he expects about 1,500 people to attend the speech. Event sponsors include the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, an accounting firm, a law firm and an organization for financial analysts
offers":

Anonymous said...

Before we slam Washington partisanship….
3:51 pm February 13, 2009, by Jay

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives Friday voted 246 to 183, almost entirely along party lines, to jolt the nation’s struggling economy with a $787.2 billion stimulus package designed to provide quick tax relief and create or save 3.5 million jobs.
Senate passage was expected later Friday, and President Barack Obama is likely to sign it early next week.

No House Republican voted for the bill. All but seven House Democrats voted in favor. So the obvious takeaway is that the folks in Washington are all hung up on partisanship.

But it’s not really that simple. A Gallup poll earlier this week found that 59 percent of Americans backed the stimulus, while just 33 percent opposed it. That support level was up from 52 percent a week earlier, suggesting that President Obama’s sales effort had an impact.

But the internal numbers were even more revealing. In the poll, 82 percent of Democrats supported the bill, compared to just 28 percent of Republicans. Among independents, 56 percent supported the bill.

Since a similar poll in late January, support had grown by nine points among Democrats and 10 points among independents. Among Republicans, it had fallen by a point.

So the partisan and ideological divide in Washington is merely an accurate mirror of the folks back home. Don’t blame them; blame us.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota: Setback for Coleman on Absentee Ballots

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 13, 2009
The judges in the trial over the state’s Senate seat said in a preliminary ruling that Norm Coleman, the Republican, had not yet shown a widespread problem with absentee voters’ being denied the right to vote. The three-judge panel ordered that rejected absentee ballots from 12 of 19 categories should not be counted. That was a setback for Mr. Coleman, who wanted to count ballots in all but three of the categories. Mr. Coleman is trying to undo Al Franken’s 225-vote lead by arguing that thousands of rejected absentee ballots were inconsistently excluded and should be counted. The judges’ order will limit the total number of ballots to be reviewed for counting.

Anonymous said...

Republicans playing same old politics
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Before House and Senate negotiators could get to work on the compromise stimulus bill, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) rushed to denounce it as a “disgrace.”

Meanwhile, some of his constituents were singing from a different hymn book. In Washington for a meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last week, Alabama transportation officials were gleeful about federal funds in the package for infrastructure development, according to The Birmingham News.

CYNTHIA TUCKER
MY OPINION

• E-mail Tucker
“We welcome all of it, and we are absolutely giddy with excitement,” said Alabama transportation director Joe McInnes.

A similar cognitive dissonance has enveloped the Georgia state Capitol, where the Republicans who dominate state goverment have struggled to stay in tune with the party line — government spending bad; tax cuts good. But Gov. Sonny Perdue and legislative leaders have a problem: like state officials around the country, they are struggling to plug an ever-deepening multi-billion-dollar hole in the state budget, a shortfall that will require unpopular spending cuts. They badly need the billions in federal aid to states included in the stimulus package.

So while the Georgia Legislature has voted to slow down its session to wait for the money tap to open in Washington, its GOP leaders continue to voice opposition to the stimulus package.

“There are no Santa Clauses for grown folks,” declared Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. “The reality is, Georgia does not need to be dependent upon the federal government for filling our budget deficit.”

Such is the state of the Grand Old Party these days, trapped in an outmoded ideology, contemptuous of compromise, bitter about its loss of power. Indeed, congressional Republican leaders seem more interested in finding a cudgel to wield against President Obama and other Democrats in 2010 than in rescuing the nation from the worst economic calamity since the 1930s.

When Obama pledged to reach across the aisle to work with the GOP, he must have believed its members had the best interests of the nation at heart, that they would work toward practical solutions, that they would practice intellectual honesty. If the president believed all that, he was wrong. Instead, he found a Republican Party unwilling to take “yes” for an answer.

To lure Republican support, Obama made sure Democrats compromised on several key GOP demands, the most prominent of which was increased tax cuts. It’s not even clear that was such a good idea, since most economists don’t believe tax cuts will rescue an economy teetering on collapse.

Last month, Mark M. Zandi — economic adviser to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign and chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com, a forecasting firm — told House Democrats that the greatest stimulus comes from increases in food and unemployment benefits. Each dollar appropriated for food stamps and unemployment benefits yields more than a $1.60 in additional economic activity, Zandi estimated, while tax cuts produce less than a dollar for each dollar of stimulus, according to The New York Times.

Still, the Senate approved tax cuts for middle-class Americans who might otherwise have had to pay the alternative minimum tax. Businesses also got steep tax cuts. In total, some economists say the bill may contain the largest tax cuts in U. S. history, about $282 billion over two years. (President George W. Bush’s first two years of tax cuts amounted to $174 billion, while his second series of cuts amounted to $231 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.)Did any of that matter? Absolutely not. The GOP stuck to its old playbook, accusing Democrats of “socialism” and decrying the stimulus plan as wasteful “government spending.” U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, went so far as to suggest that Republicans may need to launch a Taliban-like “insurgency” to disrupt Congress if they can’t get their way.

These are serious times, and the country would be better off with two major parties seriously engaged in finding solutions to difficult problems. The Republican Party has instead resorted to behaving like bitter exes at a wedding party, trying to ruin things for everybody.

Anonymous said...

What are Republican Senators Hiding in Their Tax Returns?

In response to a couple of Cabinet appointments getting hung up over problems with paying taxes, Politico surveyed the 99 sitting U.S. Senators with a simple, five-question survey to see if any of them ever had problems with their taxes:

1. Do you prepare your own taxes?
2. If not, who does?
3. Have you or the IRS ever discovered an error on a tax return you've filed?
4. Have you ever paid back taxes?
5. If the answer to either 3 or 4 is yes, please explain.
While a handful of Senators noted that they have found errors in past tax returns, resulting in payment of back taxes, what I found far more interesting was who actually returned their surveys and who answered (and who didn't answer).

31 Democratic Senators returned complete surveys, compared with only 12 Republican Senators. Further, 9 Republican Senators returned surveys declining to answer the questions, compared with only 3 Democrats who returned surveys and declined to answer. 2 Republicans returned incomplete surveys. 22 Dems and 18 GOP Senators have not responded. (Additionally, Joe Lieberman has not responded and Bernie Sanders declined to answer.)

Nearly three times as many Democrats returned completed surveys - and nearly three times as many Republicans declined to answer the questions about their taxes.

These results suggest that Democratic Senators are more willing to be transparent, and Republican Senators seemingly have something to hide in their taxes - or, at least, are less willing to be transparent. It's certainly not inappropriate to ask "What are Republican Senators hiding in their tax returns?"

For instance, in Alaska, Democratic Senator Mark Begich returned a completed survey, but Republican Lisa Murkowski declined to answer. The Alaska Democratic Party wasted little time in highlighting Murkowski's lack of transparency:

Alaska Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins said Alaska's leaders must be completely open and transparent about whether and how they have fulfilled their personal obligations as taxpayers.

"Openness and transparency are especially important now because we need to rebuild trust in our financial institutions and in Congress. Sen. Murkowski's refusal to answer questions from Politico raises further questions," Higgins said.
Murkowski has had a history of financial scandal featuring a sweetheart land deal. In 2007, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Lisa Murkowski one of the four most corrupt members of the U.S. Senate. Of course, any political junkie need not be reminded of the general taint that Alaska Republicans have earned due to their widespread corruption, headlined by former Senator Ted Stevens' felony conviction.

A lack of transparency and the specter of corruption will continue to play a role, however subtle, in the 2010 cycle. If one scored Senators based on this Politico survey, one would see a big gap in transparency between the more open Democrats and the more secretive Republicans. Additionally, a situation like this could exacerbate existing ethical questions, as in the case of Republican Lisa Murkowski.

Parched said...

Climate change even worse than predicted: expert
Published: Saturday February 14, 2009


It seems the dire warnings about the oncoming devastation wrought by global warming were not dire enough, a top climate scientist warned Saturday.

It has been just over a year since the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark report warning of rising sea levels, expanding deserts, more intense storms and the extinction of up to 30 percent of plant and animal species.

But recent climate studies suggest that report significantly underestimates the potential severity of global warming over the next 100 years, a senior member of the panel warned.

"We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected," said Chris Field, who was a coordinating lead author of the report.

This is "primarily because developing countries like China and India saw a huge upsurge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal," Field said in a statement ahead of a presentation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Without decisive action to slow global warming, higher temperatures could ignite tropical forests and thaw the Arctic tundra, potentially releasing billions of tons of carbon dioxide that has been stored for thousands of years.

That could raise temperatures even more and create "a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control by the end of the century."

"We don't want to cross a critical threshold where this massive release of carbon starts to run on autopilot," said Field, a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University.

The amount of carbon that could be released is staggering.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and estimated 350 billions tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) has been released through the burning of fossil fuels.

The new estimate of the amount of carbon stored in the Arctic's permafrost soils is around 1,000 billion tons. And the Arctic is warming faster than any other part of the globe.

Several recent climate models have estimated that the loss of tropical rainforests to wildfires, deforestation and other causes could increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 10 to 100 parts per million by the end of the century.

The current level is about 380 parts per million.

"Tropical forests are essentially inflammable," Field said. "You couldn't get a fire to burn there if you tried. But if they dry out just a little bit, the result can be very large and destructive wildfires."

Recent studies have also shown that global warming is reducing the ocean's ability to store carbon by altering wind patterns in the Southern Ocean.

"As the Earth warms, it generates faster winds over the oceans surrounding Antarctica," Field explained.

"These winds essentially blow the surface water out of the way, allowing water with higher concentrations of CO2 to rise to the surface. This higher-CO2 water is closer to CO2-saturated, so it takes up less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Field is co-chair of the group charged with assessing the impacts of climate change on social, economic and natural systems for the IPCC's fifth assessment due in 2014.

The 2007 fourth assessment presented at a "very conservative range of climate outcomes" but the next report will "include futures with a lot more warming," Field said.

"We now know that, without effective action, climate change is going to be larger and more difficult to deal with than we thought."

Sayet is a Liberal said...

Wow! This is a great liberal blog.

Anonymous said...

RepublicanDogma Clouds Recovery Act

Watching the House Republicans debate the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is like watching outtakes from the Twilight Zone. Here is a short list of some bizzarro ideas the Republican Party is repeating in defiance of pragmatism, not to mention the laws of physics.

Government Is Not Part Of The Economy
The biggest claim Republicans are making is that "government" is somehow outside of the "economy." Republicans in the house are repeatedly arguing that investing money in government agencies is not related to investing in the economy. "This bill contains spending on government, not the economy." If government is not part of the economy, where exactly is it?

The idea the Republicans want us to buy is this: the "economy" only includes for-profit businesses. Anything that involves investment in public agencies is not investment in for-profit business, therefore, it is not the economy. According to this logic, the only way to invest government money in public works is to give that money to for-profit firms who then use it on government contract work. That is why the Republicans supported giving billions to Haliburton and other firms for no-bid work in Iraq and New Orleans, but reject investing in pay for teachers.

Investment In Infrastructure Will Not Lead to Recovery
Republicans would have us believe that spending money on infrastructure--repairing roads, bridges, railroads, and schools--will not lead to recovery. The Republicans talk about investment on infrastructure as 'government spending.' "Government spending will not led to recovery."

The idea the Republicans want us to buy is this: recovery means only that profit margins in private business have been restored. When profit margins have been restored, tax revenues will increase, and those revenues indicate recovery. According to this logic, any dollar government spends on infrastructure repair is wasted. Is it any wonder that levees nd bridges collapsed after decades of Republican dogma in attendance?

The Recovery Act Will Lead To Rationing of Health care
This claim is so strange that it really makes one wonder how much peanut butter they have been eating: the American Recovery and Investment Act will lead to a communist revolution in American medical care.

The idea the Republicans want us to buy is this: the Recovery Act secretly funnels money to government agencies empowered to take control of all hospitals, clinics, doctors offices, insurance companies, and pharmacies. According to this logic, every dollar spent on public agencies is tantamount to government seizing control of our private lives.

We Do Not Know What Will Happen As A Result Of The Recovery Act
It may seem irrational to claim in one breath that the bill will led to socialism, but in the next breath claim that nobody knows what the bill will do. But Republican dogma is not troubled by this contradiction. "Nobody knows what this bill will do," they proclaim. Nobody knows.

The idea Republicans want us to buy is this: the Recovery Act is nothing more than a hastily made stew of paybacks and Liberal voodoo. Sending large amounts of resources to state governments asking for relief? How could anybody possibly know what effect it would have if places like California, Florida, and Michigan have money to pay for services, salaries, and shovel-ready public works?

Cutting Spending Is The Only Way to Increase Spending
One of the most common make-believe GOP economic theories has to do with cutting spending as a strategy for increasing spending. "The only way to prevent an economic slowdown is to stop spending!"

The idea Republicans want us to buy is this: To revive the economy, government needs to stop spending to match the way the public has stopped spending. According to this logic, all spending comes to a grinding halt, at which point--by magic--spending suddenly starts again. Abracadabra.


A Lesson From The ARRA Debate: Dogma Clouds Common Sense
There are many more odd claims that defy common sense in the Republican arguments. But what we hear in the Republican Recover Act debate is the end result of GOP dogma gone wild.

Over and over and over again, the Republican Party insists that the American people worry about the perils of investing money in a functioning government and advance to the American people the baseless claim that government functions outside the bounds of the economy.

What does the American public actually want to talk about? We want to talk about every possible action that can be useful to our economic recovery--every possibility, unbound by dogma, unfettered by ideological gate-keeping.

If the Republican Party just lift its head from the ideological cloud of its own making, it could join America in the pragmatic debate the rest of us are having.

honey, the dnc just spent ur paycheck said...

As the Obama administration pushes through Congress its $800 billion deficit-spending economic stimulus plan, the American public is largely unaware that the true deficit of the federal government already is measured in trillions of dollars, and in fact its $65.5 trillion in total obligations exceeds the gross domestic product of the world.

The total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, effectively have placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy, even before new continuing social welfare obligation embedded in the massive spending plan are taken into account.

The real 2008 federal budget deficit was $5.1 trillion, not the $455 billion previously reported by the Congressional Budget Office, according to the "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" as released by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The difference between the $455 billion "official" budget deficit numbers and the $5.1 trillion budget deficit cited by "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" is that the official budget deficit is calculated on a cash basis, where all tax receipts, including Social Security tax receipts, are used to pay government liabilities as they occur.

Anonymous said...

Republicans are congenital liars:

Republicans cry foul over $8 billion for high-speed rail

Alleging the money is for an Anaheim-Las Vegas rail project, they accuse Sen. Harry Reid of putting an earmark in the stimulus package. Democrats dismiss the charge, saying the DOT will make the call.
By Richard Simon
February 14, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- A proposed Anaheim-to-Las Vegas high-speed train became a hot topic as Congress prepared to pass an economic recovery bill.

In reality, not a word about the train appears in the 1,000-plus page, $787-billion bill that Congress passed Friday night.



Missing from Congress' stimulus... White House and major banks act on...Economic stimulus money will reach nearly all
'Mostly bleak' is an improvement for investors
Late fix in stimulus bill imposes tighter limits on bank pay

However, the bill does provide $8 billion for unspecified high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects, more than three times as much as allocated in earlier versions of the legislation.

"I guess they hit the jackpot," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said.

In a town that loves to connect the dots, the funding increase raised suspicions that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who played a key role in writing the bill, pushed for it in order to promote home-state interests, namely the Anaheim-to-Las Vegas project.


"Tell me how spending $8 billion in this bill to have a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is going to help the construction worker in my district," House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio complained as he and all his fellow Republicans voted against the stimulus. Republicans cited the rail project in accusing Democrats of breaking their word to keep the bill free of pet projects.

A Reid spokesman said the money was not being earmarked for any specific project but would be available on a competitive basis. "This was a major priority for President Obama, and Sen. Reid as a conferee supported it," said Jon Summers.

"It's not just specifically for us," said Bruce Aguilera, chairman of the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission, which plans to seek a still-undetermined amount of the stimulus money for the $12-billion-to-$14-billion project.

Republicans also criticized the allocation of $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts to fund art projects and activities that "preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn."

Defending the spending, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said: "There are 5 million people who work in the arts industry. And right now they have 12.5% unemployment -- or are you suggesting that somehow if you work in that field, it isn't real when you lose your job, your mortgage or your health insurance?"

Proposals for magnetic levitation trains that could travel 300 mph and whisk passengers between Anaheim and Las Vegas in 86 minutes have been floated for decades as a way to ease traffic on Interstate 15 and reduce pollution -- and, of course, boost the Las Vegas economy. The project's boosters hope the stimulus money will help get it moving.

"This is good for the country," Aguilera said. "Once you get one of these built, everybody's going to want one."

A number of high-speed rail projects have been proposed across the country and are expected to compete for the funds.

California officials are likely to seek about $2 billion for an Anaheim-to-San Francisco train that could travel up to 220 mph. The $33-billion project isn't ready to break ground, but the California High-Speed Rail Authority hopes to secure money from the bill for some preparatory work.

Obey also took issue with Republicans' efforts to portray the rail funding as an earmark.

"The worst thing that people can do in this town is to believe their own baloney," he said. Noting that funding decisions will be made by the Department of Transportation, he added, "The last time I looked, the new Cabinet secretary was a Republican."

Anonymous said...

The Obama Stimulus and the Republican Party Stonewall

Ideology Or Country? - The GOP Has Made A Poor Choice

At a time that millions are facing the loss of jobs and millions more facing the loss of their homes the Republican Party is seen as opposing aid to Main Street – while being more than happy to promote billions in aid to their supporters on Wall Street . There is a price the GOP will pay for that apparent lack of care and sensitivity. Polls show a majority of Americans reject the Republican position and have high hopes the stimulus will be effective. Even those who are critical of some aspects of the package for being too much a laundry list of social projects , want the infrastructure spending to be put in place.

It appears that the Republicans in Congress ( or all but three ) thought that resisting the stimulus would help them take the honeymoon effect off the high ratings for the new President and his early attack on the country' s economic woes. . The results of a recent poll show 58% of Americans are against the GOP position. The massive stimulus package is aimed at reviving the economy – not damaging the Republican Party - but the truculent nature of the GOP is focusing unwanted criticism on the party for not doing right by the country - while attempting to shore up the right wing support of the party.

Investors On Wall Street Support The Stimulus

As a financial writer I have an interest in the politics f the stimulus package and the bailouts to Detroit and ( no doubt ) many other worthy causes such as new golf courses. As investors – you and I - have to be concerned that the stimulus is heavy on social programs and light on actual boosts to growth. The Republican Part new found allegiance to restraint is admirable – but not if they were successful at thwarting the spending the economy desperately needs. It appears that political posturing is being placed ahead of the needs of the country - but voters are not being fooled.

When George W. Bush entered the White House he inherited a $ 128 Billion surplus from ( Democrat ) Bill Clinton. The Republican president entered into a huge spending program accompanied by the reduction of income in the form of “ The Bush Tax Cuts “. The Republican Party and it’s elected members had no problem with the expansion of Medicare entitlements ( $47 Billion and rising for the new Medicare Part D, the takeover of billions in mortgage obligations of Fannie and Freddie and the interest on the debt to fund the deficit and the ongoing military build –up and war efforts.

Bush was able to have ( then ) President – Elect Obama ask for the second round of TARP funding . Now the Republicans are questioning the effect of the first round – put forward on their watch , as well as The Obama Stimulus Package. It may be politically wise to appeal to the right wing of the party faithful but the public is not yet persuaded. Continuing weak economic news will further harm the Republican image of being out of touch with Main Street and too much aligned with Wall Street.. Obama will be able to reach the American public as the stimulus package goes to work creating jobs building bridges ,roads and schools . Those images will be in stark contrast to GOP politicos saying the plans simply isn't good enough.

A Stimulus Recovery Portfolio

As a writer I have expanded my Recovery Portfolio in the new edition of The Apprentice Millionaire Portfolio Book. It is created to take advantage of an upturn in the market when the stimulus spending takes hold. The recent Obama news conference from Caterpillar HQ is an example of companies that will benefit as the stimulus money moves out into the economy. Other firms such as Terex, General Electric and U.S. Steel can already see the potential orders bolstering their operations in a very difficult environment.

The Republican efforts to cut the stimulus or retard it’s progress will bring nothing positive to a country desperate for good news and new ideas. And it will bring nothing positive to the politicians who seem bent on seeing their ideology trumping the practical policy of a popular President.

Anonymous said...

The Obama Stimulus and the Republican Party Stonewall

Ideology Or Country? - The GOP Has Made A Poor Choice

At a time that millions are facing the loss of jobs and millions more facing the loss of their homes the Republican Party is seen as opposing aid to Main Street – while being more than happy to promote billions in aid to their supporters on Wall Street . There is a price the GOP will pay for that apparent lack of care and sensitivity. Polls show a majority of Americans reject the Republican position and have high hopes the stimulus will be effective. Even those who are critical of some aspects of the package for being too much a laundry list of social projects , want the infrastructure spending to be put in place.

It appears that the Republicans in Congress ( or all but three ) thought that resisting the stimulus would help them take the honeymoon effect off the high ratings for the new President and his early attack on the country' s economic woes. . The results of a recent poll show 58% of Americans are against the GOP position. The massive stimulus package is aimed at reviving the economy – not damaging the Republican Party - but the truculent nature of the GOP is focusing unwanted criticism on the party for not doing right by the country - while attempting to shore up the right wing support of the party.

Investors On Wall Street Support The Stimulus

As a financial writer I have an interest in the politics f the stimulus package and the bailouts to Detroit and ( no doubt ) many other worthy causes such as new golf courses. As investors – you and I - have to be concerned that the stimulus is heavy on social programs and light on actual boosts to growth. The Republican Part new found allegiance to restraint is admirable – but not if they were successful at thwarting the spending the economy desperately needs. It appears that political posturing is being placed ahead of the needs of the country - but voters are not being fooled.

When George W. Bush entered the White House he inherited a $ 128 Billion surplus from ( Democrat ) Bill Clinton. The Republican president entered into a huge spending program accompanied by the reduction of income in the form of “ The Bush Tax Cuts “. The Republican Party and it’s elected members had no problem with the expansion of Medicare entitlements ( $47 Billion and rising for the new Medicare Part D, the takeover of billions in mortgage obligations of Fannie and Freddie and the interest on the debt to fund the deficit and the ongoing military build –up and war efforts.

Bush was able to have ( then ) President – Elect Obama ask for the second round of TARP funding . Now the Republicans are questioning the effect of the first round – put forward on their watch , as well as The Obama Stimulus Package. It may be politically wise to appeal to the right wing of the party faithful but the public is not yet persuaded. Continuing weak economic news will further harm the Republican image of being out of touch with Main Street and too much aligned with Wall Street.. Obama will be able to reach the American public as the stimulus package goes to work creating jobs building bridges ,roads and schools . Those images will be in stark contrast to GOP politicos saying the plans simply isn't good enough.

A Stimulus Recovery Portfolio

As a writer I have expanded my Recovery Portfolio in the new edition of The Apprentice Millionaire Portfolio Book. It is created to take advantage of an upturn in the market when the stimulus spending takes hold. The recent Obama news conference from Caterpillar HQ is an example of companies that will benefit as the stimulus money moves out into the economy. Other firms such as Terex, General Electric and U.S. Steel can already see the potential orders bolstering their operations in a very difficult environment.

The Republican efforts to cut the stimulus or retard it’s progress will bring nothing positive to a country desperate for good news and new ideas. And it will bring nothing positive to the politicians who seem bent on seeing their ideology trumping the practical policy of a popular President.

obama a tax and spend democrat painted in blackface said...

Jerome Polk was so impressed with the special edition Obama coins he saw television star Montel Williams hawking in an infomercial, he ordered six sets for himself and some of his grandkids.

Instead of coins engraved with Obama's face, as Polk athought he'd orderedt $18 a pop, the Northeast Portland retailer received four actual U.S. coins -- a silver dollar, half dollar and two quarters -- featuring painted-on Obama images.

"This isn't an Obama coin, it's a 50-cent piece with a picture glued on," says Polk, who paid the U.S Coin Network $145.78 for five four-coin and one three-coin sets, including $25.98 in shipping.

The U.S. Mint doesn't mind if companies decorate its coins and sell them -- in this case -- for nine times their worth. However, the federal agency doesn't like it when companies offer authenticity certificates, as the Coin Network did, that may confuse consumers about who issued the coins.

The Coin Network's certificate assures, "This is to certify and authenticate that the coins used in the Barack Obama Inaugural Collection are genuine and made by the United States Mint."

economic stimulus = welfare 4 everybody! said...

RONALD REAGAN started it, Bill Clinton finished it and last week Barack Obama was accused of engineering its destruction. One of the few undisputed triumphs of American government of the past 20 years – the sweeping welfare reform programme that sent millions of dole claimants back to work – has been plunged into jeopardy by billions of dollars in state handouts included in the president’s controversial economic stimulus package.

As Obama celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday with a return to his Chicago home for a private weekend with family and friends, his success in piloting a $785 billion (£546 billion) stimulus package through Congress was being overshadowed by warnings that an unprecedented increase in welfare spending would undermine two decades of bipartisan attempts to reduce dependency on government handouts.

Robert Rector, a prominent welfare researcher who was one of the architects of Clinton's 1996 reform bill, warned last week that Obama’s stimulus plan was a “welfare spendathon” that would amount to the largest one-year increase in government handouts in American history.

Douglas Besharov, author of a big study on welfare reform, said the stimulus bill passed by Congress and the Senate in separate votes on Friday would “unravel” most of the 1996 reforms that led to a 65% reduction in welfare caseloads and prompted the British and several other governments to consider similar measures.

Anonymous said...

The Only Thing That Doesn't Change Is... The Republican Party
February 6, 2009, 11:45PM


Friday, when it was announced that the country had lost another half million jobs in the month of Janurary alone, the GOP decided to filibuster the stimulus bill in the Senate for the following reasons: Only 42% of the stimulus bill is tax cuts, the bill is just too big, it's not bipartisan enough, and they feel they are being unjustifiably rushed!!!! They have chosen to delay the bill as long as humanly possible, via parliamentary procedure, completely indifferent to the urgency of the economic crisis, and all the facts.

Most economists now agree that our economy is sinking at an alarmingly accelerating rate towards a depression, that based on the "Great Depression" many of our economic indicators now suggest we are actually in the first stages of a depression, and that only immediate, bold and drastic action can stop the economy from sliding into a long, very painful and deep one.

The clear majority of economists are concerned that this stimulus bill won't work if it's not massive enough. Many more economists are concerned that the current bill isn't of sufficient size than believe that it's too big. The vast majority of economists also agree that tax cuts are the VERY LEAST effective method of stimulating an economy that's rapidly spinning toward a depression - the way ours is. A study just released by Moody's shows that tax cuts would garner 57¢ on the dollar LESS in stimulus than that same dollar would produce if spent on infrastructure.

According to Lindsey Graham, one of the most influential members of the GOP Senate, President Obama "has been completely A.W.O.L." in negotiations with their side of the isle. This claim is positively outrageous, considering that for the past two weeks the entire country has watched President Obama do everything but walk their dogs for them on our TVs every night.

This makes one wonder, just what WOULD be bipartisan enough for the GOP? Just what percentage of the bill WOULD be enough in tax cuts? Just how soon WOULD be soon enough for the GOP?

The sad truth about the GOP strategy was revealed last Thursday by Representative Jeff Sessions, who declared that rather than being bipartisan, the GOP should model their efforts after the Taliban. To quote Representative Sessions, "Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban." Obviously speaking about President Obama, he goes on to say what the GOP needs to do is "to disrupt and change a person's entire processes" and "to understand that insurgency may be required". He was simply repeating, in essence, what Michael Steele declared when picked to head the Republican party last week, saying the GOP would "knock down" anyone who dares get in their way.

It appears that the Republican party has but one goal. Following the guidance of their figurehead, Rush Limbaugh, it is clearly their profoundest wish that President Obama fail to right our economy, and that he take the American people, and our country's future, down the tubes with him, so they can then come back in four years and proclaim, "We told you it wouldn't work!" and pretend they had nothing to do with the failure. Proving once and for all that the saying "The only thing that doesn't change is change" isn't true at all. The only thing that doesn't change is the Republican party.

Contrary to Republican claims, most experts who've studied the "Great Depression" agree that any criticism about FDR's handing of it should be leveled at the fact that half way into his public works program, the opposition bullied him into reducing it by 50% because it was too expensive - and as soon as he did, unemployment shot right back up again, and the economy stalled out once more. Thank goodness the Second World War came along when it did, the Republicans say, or who knows how long the "Great Depression" would have lasted.

This leads us to ask a rather scary question... Is the GOP economic plan WWIII? Because tax cuts, their favorite answer to every problem, obviously hasn't worked...

And it would seem that a world war is the only other "effective" economic solution they could conceivably offer.

Anonymous said...

GOP = Gridlock Over Patriotism

by Paul Jacobs

This is no time for political paralysis. In the wake of a financial collapse rippling through the U.S. economy, the Republicans put their party first, not country first. In a despicable deficit of patriotism, not one Republican congressman broke rank to support President Obama's economic stimulus plan.

Most Democratic representatives held their noses and signed the authorization for President Bush to go to war against Iraq, because a government of the people must show a united support for our president in times of crisis. Appearing financially strong is as important for our country as is a show of military might.

An interesting point missed in all this brouhaha over spending hundreds of billions of dollars to help lessen the blow of this global economic meltdown is that nobody seems to question the hundreds of billions spent on the misguided and illegal war in Iraq.

If we can spend trillions to save the country of Iraq from a dictator, certainly we can spend a similar amount to save our own country. Maybe the Obama administration should have sold the economic stimulus as a preemptive war against an approaching depression? War seems an easy sell these days and might attract a few Republicans to the cause.

Maybe the Republican Party has declared war on America? They would rather burn down the economy and destroy the country rather than show any semblance of bipartisanship. Rush Limbaugh blurted out some errant honesty, essentially saying he prefers to see America fail, rather than a successful Obama presidency.

This kind of rhetoric falls just short of treason yet this bloated propagandist is blasted across the country over our public airwaves on multiple radio stations owned by a few media corporations. Progressive talk radio is much harder to find.

Politically, the country is roughly divided, but AM talk radio is saturated with right wing programming. The logical conclusion is that the programs on our radios reflect the views of the ownership, rather than a balanced representation of the listening public. Political programming without balance is propaganda and it is a danger to democracy.

Perhaps this dominance over the public airwaves emboldens Republicans into believing they are still in charge? They lost the White House and Congress, but they still own the airwaves! Maybe that explains the unbridled exuberance in stubbornly bringing back the same failed policies?

This is a time of crisis more threatening than the illusory weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In a shameful display of solidarity, not one Republican congressman would stand with our president in a war against economic collapse.

I was a member of the Republican Party years ago, until they lost their heart. Now I think the party has lost its mind. Nobody seems to know what the Republican Party represents anymore, but it is becoming exceedingly clear that they sure don't represent what is best for America.

Anonymous said...

An Open Letter to President Obama About the Republicans (From a Former Republican)

Frank Schaeffer( The Huffington Post) / February 14, 2009

Dear President Obama: I know that from time to time you read Huffington Post because you’ve written for it. As a Huffington Post reader you’ll know that no one on this web site has more faithfully supported your candidacy and now your presidency than me.


As a former lifelong Republican, son of a co-founder of the Religious Right; my late evangelical leader father, Francis Schaeffer, I’m in a unique position to tell you a few things about the Republicans from inside perspective. (As you know I left that movement in the mid 1980s.)

The lack of cooperation you’re getting from the Republican Party will continue. You were right to indulge in a little bit of tokenism when you had to Pastor Rick Warren pray at your inauguration. But if you think that the Republicans in Congress and the Senate are going to do more than their utmost to obstruct everything you are and what you stand for you’re dreaming.

As someone who appeared numerous times on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson, as someone for whom Jerry Falwell used to send his private jet to bring me to speak at his college, as an author who had James Dobson giveaway 150,000 copies of my one of my fundamentalist “books” allow me to explain something: the Republican Party is controlled by two ideological groups. First, is the Religious Right. Second, are the neoconservatives. Both groups share one thing in common: they are driven by fear and paranoia. Between them there is no Republican “center” for you to appeal to, just two versions of hate-filled extremes.

The Religious Right supply the kind of people who at McCain and Palin rallies were yelling things such as “kill him” about you. That’s the constituency to which your hand was extended when looking for compromise on your financial bailout bill.

There’s only one thing that makes sense for you now. Mr. President, you need to forget a bipartisan approach and get on with the business of governing by winning each battle. You will never be able to work with the Republicans because they hate you. Believe me, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are the norm not the exception. James Dobson and the rest are praying for you to fail. The neoconservatives are gnashing their teeth and waiting for you to “sell out Israel” or “show weakness” in Afghanistan, whatever, so they can declare you a traitor.

The problem is that when you deal with the Republican Party you’re talking to the polished characters in Washington. I wish you could see the hate e-mail’s that I have received over the last two years because I supported you, letters calling for God to kill me, telling me that I hate God because I supported you and that I am “an abortionist” and worse a “fag lover” because I’ve written that I believe that you will be a great president.

What those senators and congressmen are telling you is not what their rabid core constituents are telling them. Their loyalty is to a fundamentalist Christian ideology on the one hand and American exceptionalism of perpetual warfare and hatred and fear of the “other” on the other hand. Between the neoconservatives and evangelical Religious Right Republicans you have no friends.

The good news is that most Americans support you. And if you will just get in the face of the Republican Party and call their bluff you’ll be surprised how many individual ordinary Republicans will support you, not to mention the rest of us. America is sick of the Republicans.

The Democratic Party won for a reason: the Republicans failed and have taken us all down with them! You’re doing your presidency and America no favor by extending an open hand to the perpetually knotted fist of what has become the embittered lunatic fringe of our country. They would rather go down in flames than “compromise” their ideology.

As you showed us again at your press conference of Feb 9, you are a brilliant, articulate and decent man. Your Republican opponents are not decent people but ideologues bent on destroying you. To quote the biblical adage sir, don’t cast your pearls before swine.

Anonymous said...

It's Fun to Watch Obama Driving These Republicans So Crazy

Posted by Bob Cesca, Huffington Post at 11:49 AM on February 12, 2009.

Obama's deft political moves this week have the right-wingers frothing at the mouth, screaming like fools in all directions. Post Tools
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The historical record of far-right ridiculousness has been well-documented here and throughout the blogosphere.



Who can forget Michelle Malkin's inspired cheerleader skit? Or when Rush Limbaugh mocked a guy's Parkinson's disease tremors. What about John Boehner's public sobbing jags? Pat Robertson insisting he could leg-press 2,000 pounds. Sarah Palin's turkey geeker photo op. George W. Bush telling us that Iraq is a "peeance freeance." Remember when Bill O'Reilly shouted down the son of a 9/11 victim?



Already, we're talking about a mélange of weirdness and upside-down logic suitable for the ages, and that's all prior to Jan. 20, 2009.



But I don't think we ever anticipated that the presidency of Barack Obama would, among other things, send the far-right into a freakazoid display of shockingly deranged conniptions and outright crazy talk -- their manic hyperdrive engines, fueled by Rush Limbaugh's gesticulating arm flab, blasting them out of their political Mos Eisley cantina scene and expelling them a thousand parsecs beyond the zero barrier of insanity.



Too much?



Just to be clear, I'm not talking about the lies or distortions or their utter lack of credibility (zero cred) on broad-ranging issues like, you know, foreign policy and the economy.



What we have here is the equivalent level of chaos as, say, the first group-therapy scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In other words: a total berserker meltdown.



Seriously, have you ever seen the Republicans more twisted and kerfuffled than they are today? Movie metaphors aside, I've been hard pressed to find greater examples of insanity from the far-right than have been exhibited in the past week alone.



Here we have a Republican Party that's been discredited and bloodied, and yet in the face of an enormously popular president who is confounding conventional wisdom while building a working consensus among American voters, the Republicans appear to be reflexively coughing up the most intellectually violent chunks of hooey on record.



They're screaming about fear-mongering, even though we had eight years of this.



They're screaming about fiscal responsibility, even though we had eight years of this.



They're screaming about free speech, even though we had eight years of this and this and this.



They're honest to God screaming about fascism, even though we had eight years of this and this and this.



Yes, the Republicans have claimed to have "found their voice." If this is true, then their "voice" sounds exactly like Limbaugh, Matt Drudge and Malkin, depending on the day.



So what are these voices saying exactly?



For starters, Limbaugh -- the de facto leader of the Republican Party -- said on his show Tuesday that the entire economic meltdown was actually precipitated by a conspiracy between George Soros and a cabal of billionaire liberals who deliberately sought to sabotage the world economy in order to get Obama elected.



He, of course, has no real evidence for this, other than what the shadow people told him while he was tweaking his TV remotes.



OK, so I made up the part about the shadow people, but the rest is seriously what Limbaugh was telling his audience of dittoheads yesterday. What Limbaugh doesn't know, however, is that Soros is actually a hobbit who's conspiring with Elvis to fake another Moon landing. (Shh!)



Confined to its own phantom zone of crazy, there's only so much harm this can do. After all, Limbaugh's puffy melon has been bombarded with a mountain of hillbilly heroin large enough to crush God. But I wish I could report that this was wholly the product of Limbaugh's condition.



It's a theory that was also repeated by Donald Luskin: a seriously wrongheaded economist and, go figure, former economic advisor to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.



Speaking of McCain, he was pilfering extra helpings of rich, creamery crazy from Malkin this week. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, were doing it, too. Last month, Malkin nicknamed the president's recovery bill the "generational theft" bill, arguing that the debt it would create will serve to rob future generations.



This, naturally, disregards the nearly doubled national debt and record-breaking deficits created by George W. Bush with programs that, when taken individually, were enthusiastically endorsed by Malkin (Iraq, tax cuts and so on). But there was McCain on Face the Nation on Sunday talking about "generational theft." Whatever, senator, the fundamentals are strong so what's does it matter, right?



Meanwhile, Michael Steele, the newly elected head of the Republican National Committee and pre-emptive excuse for the next time a Republican talk-radio host blurts out a racist remark, tried to tell a national television viewing audience that the government has never in the history of the United States created a job -- only "work." Yep.



Do I really need to outline why this is crazy?



Former White House chief of staff Andy Card, meanwhile, attacked Obama for violating a nonexistent Oval Office dress code.



Republican columnist Fred Barnes cited a former Limbaugh producer named Marc Morano as his "scientific" source on global warming.



Fox News is reading Republican talking points verbatim and passing them off as news copy -- typos and all.



And after eight years of the smirking frat boy named George W. Bush, Malkin went so far as to accuse Obama of being "snippy" during his prime-time press conference.



Elsewhere, another far-right blogger is vowing to never again fist-bump with her friends at her tennis club. And when she's at the grocery store and is confronted by magazines with the president's face in the checkout line, she turns the magazines backward. All of them. I'm not making this up.



They have indeed totally lost their shpadoinkle, and despite purely involuntary spikes in my blood pressure, it's so much fun to watch.



By successfully debunking their lies, rising above their bait and merely presenting a contrast of character, Obama is making the Republican A-Listers appear small, petty and absolutely befuddled.



They're frantically struggling to figure out how to counterpunch, so they're grabbing, borrowing or downright plagiarizing ideas from anywhere, irrespective of the general quality of the idea.



And if the Republicans are at all interested in continued survival, someone they respect should probably smack their hands and scold: Drop that filthy Limbaugh quote! You don't know where it's been!

But if this is their "voice," and they're satisfied with it, I for one welcome the new Republican "voice" and wish them a hearty and very sincere: Good luck with that.

lies, more lies and democrats lies said...

If President Obama signs the $787 billion economic stimulus legislation Monday, he’ll again be dodging a campaign pledge he made on transparency.

During the campaign, Obama pledged to post legislation online for five days before signing it. But administration officials have said they don’t have to do that for the stimulus because the pledge applied only to non-emergency legislation.

“This would certainly meet the President's test of emergency legislation,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a press conference this week before the bill passed.

A copy of the conference report was posted on the White House website at 2:05 p.m. Friday. Under the campaign pledge, it couldn’t be signed until 2:05 p.m. Wednesday. In his radio address today, Obama said that he will sign the legislation “shortly.” The Associated Press has reported that it could be signed as soon as Monday.

The first bill Obama signed into law, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, wasn't posted online until after he signed it Jan. 29.

He signed legislation expanding children’s health insurance on Feb. 4 after posting it online Feb. 1.

Democrats have already violated another transparency pledge on the stimulus. The House had voted unanimously earlier this week to have the bill posted online for 48 hours before a vote. But the House voted Friday after waiting less than 15 hours. That brought bitter complaints from Republicans, but also some Democrats.

“The honorable thing to do is to give us the time to see the bill,” said Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.), a leader of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition. "When you make commitments you follow through on them."

dnc = party of perjury said...

Sun-Times exclusive: State lawmakers are calling for a criminal investigation into whether U.S. Sen. Roland Burris committed perjury before a state impeachment panel, in the wake of a Sun-Times exclusive story published online today. The development comes after the Chicago Democrat failed to initially disclose under oath to a House panel that he was hit up for campaign cash by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother.

Anonymous said...

Talks Could Clear Way for Congressional Testimony by Rove

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 14, 2009; Page A05

White House lawyers and representatives for former president George W. Bush are engaged in discussions that could clear a path for congressional testimony by onetime Bush aide Karl Rove, three sources familiar with the talks said yesterday.

Word of the negotiations came on the same day that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) issued Rove a fresh subpoena regarding his role in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006, allegedly for political reasons.

Rove has deflected congressional demands for information about the dismissals by citing executive privilege and instructions from Bush. But Democrats say President Obama's view of the matter may open the door for Rove's eventual appearance on Capitol Hill.

"I believe that continued defiance of the subpoena is even less tenable in light of the fact that Mr. Rove is now the former adviser to a former president," Conyers wrote yesterday in a letter to Rove's attorney, Robert D. Luskin.

Luskin replied that he and Rove are awaiting advice from White House counsel Gregory B. Craig about whether Obama would back the executive privilege assertion by his predecessor.


"The president is very sympathetic to those who want to find out what happened," Craig said in a statement yesterday. "But he is also mindful as president of the United States not to do anything that would undermine or weaken the institution of the presidency. So, for that reason, he is urging both sides of this to settle."

A clue about the next phase of the dispute will emerge next week, when the Justice Department is scheduled to file legal briefs in a federal court case in the District. The House of Representatives has sued for information about the prosecutor firings from former Bush White House counsel Harriet E. Miers and former chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten.

The issue is heating up even as a criminal investigation into the firings accelerates. Nora R. Dannehy -- a career prosecutor from Connecticut named to examine whether laws on false statements, obstruction of justice or other matters were violated surrounding the dismissals -- began to interview key witnesses Thursday.

Weeks earlier, a federal grand jury in the District issued subpoenas in the case to several people, including former senator Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.). Authorities are seeking information from Domenici about any possible role he played in the firing of former New Mexico prosecutor David C. Iglesias.

Rep. Lamar Smith (Tex.), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, criticized Democrats yesterday, saying their "continued persecution of former Bush administration officials is a waste of taxpayers' time and money."

hurry, don't read it, hurry its urgent! said...

After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway.

Obama arrived at his home in Chicago on Friday, and treated wife Michelle to a Valentine's Day dinner downtown last night. The couple was spotted leaving upscale Table Fifty-Two, which specializes in Southern cuisine, with the first lady toting what appeared to be a doggie bag.

The president plans to spend the Presidents' Day weekend in the Windy City, and is not expected to sign the bill until Tuesday, when he travels to Denver to discuss his economic plan.

Both the House and Senate passed the bill Friday night.

The push to get the bill through before the holiday weekend was so frantic, members of Congress didn't have a chance to read all 1,071 pages of the document before they could vote.

porkzilla destroys washington dc said...

Where is the stimulus to the economy from throwing $6bn at colleges and universities, many of which, unlike their British counterparts, already have billion-dollar endowments? Or in throwing $1bn at Amtrak, a railway re-enactment society that will appeal only to those nostalgic for the masochistic pleasures of British Railways? Or in the more modest $100m being squandered on reducing lead-based paint?

Even the temporary boost that such ploys as spending $5.5bn on the "greening" of federal buildings may give the construction industry have been blunted, at least in the Senate bill, by omitting the E-Verify mandate that was in the House bill. This would allow an estimated 300,000 illegal aliens to parasite on construction jobs; they are even awarded tax breaks in another part of the package.

To call this spendthrifts' wish list a "stimulus" is an insult to America's intelligence. Instead, it is a hotch-potch of politically correct liberal obsessions: $75m to promote "smoking cessation" (that will stimulate retailers); a $246m tax break for Hollywood trash merchants; and even an extra $300m medical appropriation to treat Casanovas who, in the coy euphemism, have been kissing girls with runny noses.

The most blatantly sinister item is the allocation of $4.2bn to "neighbourhood stabilisation", the programme that will enrich the far-left organisation ACORN which played so controversial a role in voter registration during the recent presidential election. In tandem with that goes $1bn to forward Obama's ambition to control the 2010 census, rich in electoral opportunity for the promoters of the one-party state.

This pork barrel is open and stinking. Senate majority leader Harry Reid had concerns about re-election, so he lobbied Obama and was duly gifted $8bn to develop high-speed rail lines between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Presumably easier access for punters to Sin City is designed to stimulate the economy. New York Democrat senator Chuck Schumer insouciantly claimed last week that the American people really don't care about "little tiny, yes, porky amendments".

Anonymous said...

LETTER FROM WASHINGTON:

The hum of the Republican machine
In nearly unanimous opposition to stimulus, a way back to prominence?

By Lisa Mascaro

Sun, Feb 15, 2009 (2 a.m.)

Washington — Just steps from the Capitol complex’s House office buildings stands the grand Republican Party headquarters, a stately structure bathed in clean white that anchors a prominent corner in the circa-1880 neighborhood.

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, somehow missed the memo every property seeker gets when looking at real estate: location, location, location.

Its headquarters is a more modern, salmon-colored complex that could house your dentist’s office, a replacement building for one that stood in an earlier era. It sits a few impossibly long minutes away from the Capitol, quite literally on the other side of the tracks.

From the outside, the buildings seem to capture the internal architecture of the two parties: The renown discipline of the Republicans and the messy jumble of loyalties among Democrats.

It’s sometimes hard to imagine how the Republicans lost power these past few years as they meet weekly in such a smart-looking place to hash out politics and policy.

But that well-oiled Republican machinery was back in action last week as 176 House Republicans stood united against President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic recovery plan.

Not a single House Republican has crossed party lines to support the package. Twice.

In the Senate, the discipline was almost as tight. Three Republican senators joined Democrats to pass the bill.

The Republican message machinery was working at top form. They dug into the fine print, finding and amplifying what they saw as wasteful spending in the bill.

Las Vegas took lots of hits here as the city’s name was bandied on the floor of the chamber as a symbol of excess for potentially getting government money for its mob museum or maglev train.

It all worked so well until you stopped to wonder: Is this right?

Republicans have lost two straight election cycles going against popular opinion on key issues Democrats seem to have understood better.

Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 in large part because they continued to support the war in Iraq when the country was ready for troops to come home.

By the fall 2008 election, the party was unable to present a clear, coherent platform, and it deepened its losses in both the House and Senate. Obama won White House.

Republicans have been searching for their way back from this political wilderness, and they think they have found a route in strict opposition to Obama’s proposal.

Sen. John Ensign and other Republicans say tax cuts for people and business would be a better way to stop the recessionary slide than vast government spending.

Republicans want a return to the fiscal conservatism that was once the hallmark of their party, until their own excesses in government spending and political excesses made their message unbelievable to many.

The Republicans message is coming through loud and clear, but it’s hard to see whether it will be a winning one.

Heading into last week’s votes, polls showed the public wanted a recovery plan for the economy but wasn’t thrilled about Obama’s. But the president is hugely popular.

Republican Rep. Dean Heller voted against the plan, but maybe his mostly Northern Nevada district, where the gold mining industry tends to have an inverse relationship to economic downturns, doesn’t need the estimated 9,000 new jobs the bill would create there.

Plus when the Nevada Republican Party is circulating a no-new taxes pledge, a potential primary challenge from a more conservative candidate is always just an election away for any lawmaker.

Democratic Rep. Dina Titus voted for the bill, but the Republican she defeated last fall had supported the unpopular Wall Street bailout, questioning aloud whether the vote would do him in. Maybe she, too, will suffer for her vote.

Maybe the Republicans are on to something. Or maybe the party has just committed what a top Democratic strategist at Americans United for Change, the liberal group that has been running ads against their votes, calls in his own message: political suicide.

This is the new voice of the Republican Party. Will it be a winner?

payday said...

Scientists: Pace of Climate Change Exceeds Estimates

By Kari Lydersen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 15, 2009; A03



CHICAGO, Feb. 14 -- The pace of global warming is likely to be much faster than recent predictions, because industrial greenhouse gas emissions have increased more quickly than expected and higher temperatures are triggering self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms in global ecosystems, scientists said Saturday.

"We are basically looking now at a future climate that's beyond anything we've considered seriously in climate model simulations," Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University, said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Field, a member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said emissions from burning fossil fuels since 2000 have largely outpaced the estimates used in the U.N. panel's 2007 reports. The higher emissions are largely the result of the increased burning of coal in developing countries, he said.

Unexpectedly large amounts of carbon dioxide are being released into the atmosphere as the result of "feedback loops" that are speeding up natural processes. Prominent among these, evidence indicates, is a cycle in which higher temperatures are beginning to melt the arctic permafrost, which could release hundreds of billions of tons of carbon and methane into the atmosphere, said several scientists on a panel at the meeting.

The permafrost holds 1 trillion tons of carbon, and as much as 10 percent of that could be released this century, Field said. Melting permafrost also releases methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

"It's a vicious cycle of feedback where warming causes the release of carbon from permafrost, which causes more warming, which causes more release from permafrost," Field said.

Evidence is also accumulating that terrestrial and marine ecosystems cannot remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as earlier estimates suggested, Field said.

In the oceans, warmer weather is driving stronger winds that are exposing deeper layers of water, which are already saturated with carbon and not as able to absorb as much from the atmosphere. The carbon is making the oceans more acidic, which also reduces their ability to absorb carbon.

On land, rising carbon dioxide levels had been expected to boost plant growth and result in greater sequestration of carbon dioxide. As plants undergo photosynthesis to draw energy from the sun, carbon is drawn out of the atmosphere and trapped in the plant matter. But especially in northern latitudes, this effect may be offset significantly by the fact that vegetation-covered land absorbs much more of the sun's heat than snow-covered terrain, said scientists on the panel.

Earlier snowmelt, the shrinking arctic ice cover and the northward spread of vegetation are causing the Northern Hemisphere to absorb, rather than reflect, more of the sun's energy and reinforce the warming trend.

While it takes a relatively long time for plants to take carbon out of the atmosphere, that carbon can be released rapidly by wildfires, which contribute about a third as much carbon to the atmosphere as burning fossil fuels, according to a paper Field co-authored.

Fires such as the recent deadly blazes in southern Australia have increased in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue, Field said. Warmer weather, earlier snowmelt, drought and beetle infestations facilitated by warmer climates are all contributing to the rising number of fires linked to climate change. Across large swaths of the United States and Canada, bark beetles have killed many mature trees, making forests more flammable. And tropical rain forests that were not susceptible to forest fires in the past are likely to become drier as temperatures rise, growing more vulnerable.

Preventing deforestation in the tropics is more important than in northern latitudes, the panel agreed, since lush tropical forests sequester more carbon than sparser northern forests. And deforestation in northern areas has benefits, since larger areas end up covered in exposed, heat-reflecting snow.

Many scientists and policymakers are advocating increased incentives for preserving tropical forests, especially in the face of demand for clearing forest to grow biofuel crops such as soy. Promoting biofuels without also creating forest-preservation incentives would be "like weatherizing your house and deliberately keeping your windows open," said Peter Frumhoff, chief of the Union of Concerned Scientists' climate program. "It's just not a smart policy."

Field said the U.N. panel's next assessment of Earth's climate trends, scheduled for release in 2014, will for the first time incorporate policy proposals. It will also include complicated models of interconnected ecosystem feedbacks.

The panel's last report noted that preliminary knowledge of such feedbacks suggested that an additional 100 billion to 500 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions would have to be prevented in the next century to avoid dangerous global warming. Currently, about 10 billion tons of carbon are emitted each year.

fool me once shame on you... said...

7 Broken Promises in Record Time

1. Make government open and transparent.

2. Make it "impossible" for Congressmen to slip in pork barrel projects.

3. Meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public. (Even Congressional Republicans shut out.)

4. No more secrecy.

5. Public will have 5 days to look at a bill.

6. You’ll know what’s in it.

7. We will put every pork barrel project online.

corrupt democrats rule the roost said...

Another Democrat scams the election system for $150K.

Anonymous said...

A tale of two cities: the GOP and the recession
February 15, 2009

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."

-- Abraham Lincoln


Republicans, are you listening to your first president?

More so in Frankfort than in Washington, it seemed last week.

Both capitals had to deal with the deepening recession, Congress by printing money to stimulate the economy, the General Assembly by raising taxes and cutting spending to avoid a deficit in the budget year that ends June 30.

The situation is nowhere near as dire as the one Lincoln faced, but a storm is surely present. And except for the northeastern Rockefeller Remnant that swung the stimulus deal, congressional Republicans are stuck on past dogmas: broad tax cuts that make the rich richer, demonization of useful appropriations as pork-barrel spending and simplistic arguments that appeal to their political base. Perhaps some concluded that if they voted for it, they'd get little credit if it worked but much blame if it didn't.

More Republicans might have supported the stimulus, had President Obama not forfeited control of the national conversation to dogmatic deceivers like Rush Limbaugh, who at times seemed more of a national GOP leader than the Kentucky senator who is the party's ranking official in Washington. He bragged that Obama is "obviously more frightened of me than he is Mitch McConnell."

McConnell's pollster, Jan van Lohuizen, told the Los Angeles Times that Limbaugh "motivates a core Republican, who is a very important part of the Republican coalition, and we need those guys to be interested and active. But it's not enough. The Republican Party has shrunk and it needs to be expanding."

McConnell, who told the Republican National Committee that the GOP must expand, was not dogmatic about the stimulus, focusing his criticism more on its size than its content. He surely knows that all spending is stimulus, but some types of spending are better than others, such as programs with potentially recurring costs. The questionable parts of this Christmas-tree bill were relatively small, but like shiny metal ornaments they drew voters' attention when exposed to the sunlight.

In Washington, the question was largely how much to prime the pump. In Frankfort, it was which taxes to raise.

Most Republicans voted against the tobacco and alcohol taxes that were the easy Band-Aids for the state budget, and some rivaled their Washington counterparts for silly demagoguery. "Is America over with?" state Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown blurted during a radio discussion of state finances.

But the key Republican leaders in the legislature voted for the bill, and in fact were essential to crafting it, cutting Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's cigarette-tax hike by more than half and replacing it by applying the sales tax to packaged alcoholic beverages. Their cooperation gives hope that they can accomplish a larger, more needed, long-term task: modernizing the state's tax system.

The role that Senate President David Williams of Burkesville played in the negotiations, and in squeezing the necessary votes from his fellow Republicans (including most in the Senate), surely surprised observers who remember Frankfort's top Republican in his first nine years in the Senate's big chair -- a partisan brawler who fought tax increases and bested Democrats at nearly every turn.

Before he became a Senate leader, though, Williams was often Democrats' favorite Republican, voting for the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 and avoiding partisan dogma that casts government as a problem to be solved, not a way to solve problems. He was no Rockefeller Republican, but his early career was more like that of his Southern Kentucky neighbors, Gov. Louie Nunn, U.S. Rep. Tim Lee Carter and Sen. John Sherman Cooper.

So Williams finally reached the point where the politically advantageous dogma of spending cuts had to give way to the need to preserve programs. Poor, small counties like those in his district would have found it difficult to cope with cuts in education so late in the year.

Of course, Williams has another constituency, the Senate Republican caucus that makes him leader. He has prided himself on keeping the caucus together on almost every major issue, but this time there was no way to get the votes of most knee-jerk conservatives who signed the stupid, dogmatic pledge to oppose all tax increases.

In this case, more thoughtful Republicans' policy concerns blended with political strategy. Williams and Senate Floor Leader Dan Kelly had practical reasons to play ball with Beshear. If they had given him less revenue than he wanted, he would have blamed the resulting additional cuts on Republicans. Now, every cut he makes will attach more to him. That could prove advantageous for the Republican who opposes Beshear for re-election in the fall of 2011, but if Williams runs, being for tax increases is unlikely to help him -- – unless there is no Republican primary.

Obama didn't come to Lincoln's birthplace on Lincoln's birthday, as we kept pestering him to do in this place. Later this year, perhaps. Reader Donna Hill of Bowling Green asked us to stop asking, saying, "It doesn't seem very likely that a state that voted neither for Lincoln during his bid for the White House, nor for Obama's, has a right to expect some special treatment from a president who is overwhelmed with serious and complicated problems. I would rather he concentrate on those than a trip here."

Well said, but we're not looking for special treatment, merely due attention.

Anonymous said...

February 15, 2009

Republican Taliban declare jihad on Obama
The president wants bipartisanship; the right has promised him all-out war

Republican Judd Gregg pulled out of Obama's cabinet after coming under intense pressure from his party's base

Andrew Sullivan
Goodbye to all that? Washington, it appears, has other ideas. Barack Obama campaigned on a platform of pragmatic liberalism and an end to frothy ideological warfare in Washington. From the beginning of the campaign he went out of his way not to engage in Republican-bashing or even Clinton-bashing. He was intent on bringing reason and open-mindedness to America’s often fraught ideological debates. He was incandescently clear that he rejected the toxic partisan atmosphere that had dominated the Bill Clinton and George W Bush years.

Since November he has largely walked the walk. Yes, there is a down payment on future government spending in the stimulus bill - on healthcare, the environment and education. But given the urgency of the economic downturn and the few tools left to counter it, a little overshooting is not the worst option in the next 18 months. And he did his best to accommodate Republican concerns - adding deeper and wider tax cuts than his own party was comfortable with.

He went to Capitol Hill to talk directly with members of the other party in the more ideological House of Representatives – spending more time with them than even Bush did. He asked three Republicans to be a part of his cabinet, including Robert Gates, Bush’s defence secretary. He went to dinner with key Republican columnists before reaching out to those who had supported him in the election. And this open hand was met with a punch in the face.

From the outset, the Republicans in Washington pored over the bill to find trivial issues to make hay with. They found some small funding for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases prevention; they jumped up and down about renovating the national mall; they went nuts over a proposal - wait for it - to make some government buildings more energy-efficient; they acted as if green research and federal funds for new school building were the equivalent of funding terrorism. And this after eight years in which they managed to turn a surplus into a trillion-dollar deficit and added a cool $32 trillion to the debt the next generation will have to pay for. Every now and again their chutzpah and narcissism take one’s breath away. But it’s all they seem to know.

John McCain gives you the flavour. Fresh from a dinner in his honour hosted by Obama, he abruptly dismissed the stimulus package as the “same old” spending of the distant Democratic past. His closest Republican ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, declared: “This bill stinks.”

Pete Sessions, chairman of the Republican congressional committee, explained that the Republican strategy was going to be modelled on jihadist insurgency. “I’m not joking,” he added. “Insurgency we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban.”

Rush Limbaugh, the dominant figure among the Republican base, fresh from broadcasting a ditty called Barack, the Magic Negro, declared in the first week of the new Congress that he hoped the new president would fail. The stimulus bill got no Republican votes in the House, and only three Republicans - all from the Obama-voting states of Pennsylvania and Maine - backed him in the Senate. McCain went to the floor of the Senate to growl that three votes did not make the bill bipartisan.

Bitter? At the end of last week we saw just how bitter. One of the Republicans who had agreed to serve in Obama’s cabinet, Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, abruptly pulled out, after what he described as “fair warning” to the president.

Gregg had been under intense pressure from the Republican base, especially in his home state, for cooperating with the devil. He claimed the reason for his sudden withdrawal was that he couldn’t stomach the stimulus. Yet only a week earlier he had said: “We need a robust [stimulus package]. I think the one that’s pending is in the range we need. I do believe it’s a good idea to do it at two levels, which this bill basically does, which is immediate stimulus and long-term initiatives which actually improve our competitiveness and our productivity.” He then tried to argue that his authority over the 2010 census as commerce secretary had been compromised. But that turned out not to be true, either: it was just that a census that could well add millions of Hispanic voters to the rolls had the Republicans eager to prevent a Republican imprimatur on it.

Gregg was a victim of fast-shifting Republican politics. Reeling from the election, watching a new president coopt some of their number and get alarmingly high approval ratings from the public, members of the opposition party made a decision to become an insurgency.

From the disciplined House vote against any stimulus bill to the Gregg withdrawal, they are busy trying to revive the clear ideological warfare of the 1990s. As they did with Clinton 16 years ago, they are going to war. The context – the worst global downturn in decades - is irrelevant. If you have safe Republican seats in a party dominated intellectually by rigid ideologues, then your path of least resistance is total political warfare. It is certainly easier than forging difficult and messy legislative compromises that might even redound to the president’s advantage if the economy recovers.

It’s not clear, however, that total war on the president is going to be a better way forward. Before the latest twist, a Gallup poll found that Obama’s handling of the stimulus package had almost twice the public support of the Republicans’. In a period of acute economic anxiety, Americans outside the Republican base may not be so thrilled to find a replay of the 1990s. Obama won in part because he seemed not part of that drama.

The Democrats and the liberal base have responded to all this with a mixture of cynicism and their own partisanship. They rolled their eyes at Obama’s outreach to Republicans; they hated the inclusion of the other party in the cabinet and had to swallow hard not to complain about the postpartisan rhetoric. Their cynicism is well earned. But my bet is that Obama also understands that this is, in the end, the sweet spot for him. He has successfully branded himself by a series of conciliatory gestures as the man eager to reach out. If this is spurned, he can repeat the gesture until the public finds his opponents seriously off-key.

Ask yourself this question: who, in the end, won the partisan warfare of the 1990s - Clinton or the Republicans? In 1993 the Republicans thought they had dispatched Clinton for good; he won re-election hands down three years later and left office, even after Monica Lewinsky, with high ratings. Obama may not believe that history repeats itself. But he’s surely aware that it often rhymes.

unhinged Leftists foam at the mouth said...

The complete intolerance of many on the left for diversity of opinion often goes beyond the mere wish to stifle the expression of opposing political viewpoints via the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" or by other means. Most recently there has been a disturbing new trend, voiced by those like Mike Malloy who called Republicans "domestic terrorists" and wants to prosecute them.

So what was the reaction to Malloy's intolerance by his fellow leftwingers? Unfortunately, it was met by strong approval as one can see in this Democratic Underground thread titled, "Mike Malloy: The Republican Party Needs to be Eliminated." The posts on that thread go way beyond the mere castigation of Republicans and enter into the realm of primitive blood lust. Perhaps you will find it disturbing to read some of the psychotic posts but you ignore them at your own peril:

We must for the sake of the Country and the World, bring them down, expose them, vote them out and prosecute them and if necessary jail them. They must go now and asap.

a strategic hamlet program for republicans. they call themselves an insurgency, we need to use counterinsurgent tactics.

Eliminated with extreme prejudice. By any means necessary.

that party needs to die a swift, merciless, painful death.

You can see a more complete compendium of these DUer Thought Police rantings at the DUmmie FUnnies.

So are these opinions about criminalizing political thought merely the fantasies of sanity-challenged DUers who have a well-deserved reputation for crazed rantings? Unfortunately, such attitudes reach up even into the U.S. Senate. The prime example being the call by Senator Patrick Leahy and supported by fellow Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for a so-called "Truth Commission." Leahy is claiming that his goal is not to prosecute people.

Ironically, if there were ever anybody who needs investigating for improprieties, it would be Leahy himself as you can see in his Wikipedia entry:

During his tenure as Vice-Chairman of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Leahy leaked a number of pieces of classified information, which led to his resignation from the committee. Leaks included information about a Reagan plan to topple the Gaddhafi regime in Libya, and another regarding the Iran-Contra affair. He deemed the Iran-Contra leak "careless" and accepted blame. There is a possibility that a leak of his led to the death of a covert agent in Egypt.

Despite, Leahy's disingenuous claim not to seek prosecutions, many of his fellow leftwingers are upfront about their call for such action. Of course, such prosecutions would conveniently overlook the leaking record of Leahy himself.

Whether it is called Fairness Doctrine or Truth Commission, it is all part and parcel of what the DUers are openly calling for...the suppression and criminalization of political thought. Welcome to Oceana.

the only thing to fear is, obama himself said...

President Barack Obama has turned fearmongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.

In his remarks, every gloomy statistic on the economy becomes a harbinger of doom. As he tells it, today's economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Without his Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he says, the economy will fall back into that abyss and may never recover.

This fearmongering may be good politics, but it is bad history and bad economics. It is bad history because our current economic woes don't come close to those of the 1930s. At worst, a comparison to the 1981-82 recession might be appropriate. Consider the job losses that Mr. Obama always cites. In the last year, the U.S. economy shed 3.4 million jobs. That's a grim statistic for sure, but represents just 2.2% of the labor force. From November 1981 to October 1982, 2.4 million jobs were lost -- fewer in number than today, but the labor force was smaller. So 1981-82 job losses totaled 2.2% of the labor force, the same as now.

Job losses in the Great Depression were of an entirely different magnitude. In 1930, the economy shed 4.8% of the labor force. In 1931, 6.5%. And then in 1932, another 7.1%. Jobs were being lost at double or triple the rate of 2008-09 or 1981-82.

Democrat rolling in her own crapulence said...

Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Norwalk) has collected tens of thousands of dollars in personal income by charging double-digit interest on money she lent her campaign 11 years ago and soliciting donations from Washington lobbyists at "debt retirement" fundraisers.

Napolitano, 72, has taken advantage of a 1998 Federal Election Commission ruling that authorized her to lend $150,000 to her campaign at 18% interest, accepting her argument that the money was from a retirement fund subject to an early withdrawal penalty equivalent to that rate. She lowered the interest on the loan to 10% in mid-2006.

PayDay said...

Obama has once again outwitted the punditocracy and the opposition. The stimulus battle was more of the same magic we've seen from him in the past. “This town talks to itself and whips itself into a frenzy with its own theories that are completely at odds with what the rest of America is thinking,” says Axelrod. Once the frenzy got going, it didn’t matter that most polls showed support for Obama and his economic package: “If you watched cable TV, you’d see our support was plummeting, we were in trouble. It was almost like living in a parallel universe.”
Washington is too insular and the American people are a lot smarter than people in Washington think.”

Republicans are isolated in that parallel universe and believe all the noise in its echo chamber, they are now as out of touch with reality as the “inevitable” Clinton campaign was before it got clobbered in Iowa. The G.O.P. doesn’t recognize that it emerged from the stimulus battle even worse off than when it started. That obliviousness gives the president the opening to win more ambitious policy victories than last week’s. Having checked the box on attempted bipartisanship, Obama can now move in for the kill.

The stimulus opponents, egged on by all the media murmurings about Obama “losing control,” also thought they had a sure thing. Their TV advantage added to their complacency. As the liberal blog ThinkProgress reported, G.O.P. members of Congress wildly outnumbered Democrats as guests on all cable news networks, not just Fox News, in the three days of intense debate about the House stimulus bill. They started pounding in their slogans relentlessly. The bill was not a stimulus package but an orgy of pork spending. The ensuing deficit would amount to “generational theft.” F.D.R.’s New Deal had been an abject failure.

The stimulus held its own because the public, in defiance of Washington’s condescending assumption, was smart enough to figure out that the government can’t create jobs without spending and that Bush-era Republicans have no moral authority to lecture about deficits. Some Americans may even have ancestors saved from penury by the New Deal.

In any event, the final score was unambiguous. The stimulus package arrived with the price tag and on roughly the schedule Obama had set for it. The president’s job approval percentage now ranges from the mid 60s (Gallup, Pew) to mid 70s (CNN). While 48 percent of Americans told CBS, Gallup and Pew that they approve of Congressional Democrats, only 31 (Gallup), 32 (CBS) and 34 (Pew) percent could say the same of their G.O.P. counterparts.

At least some media hands are chagrined. After the stimulus prevailed, Scarborough speculated on MSNBC that “perhaps we’ve overanalyzed it, we don’t know what we’re talking about.” But the Republicans are busy high-fiving themselves and celebrating “victory.” Even in defeat, they are still echoing the 24/7 cable mantra about the stimulus’s unpopularity. This self-congratulatory mood is summed up by a Wall Street Journal columnist who wrote that “the House Republicans’ zero votes for the Obama presidency’s stimulus ‘package’ is looking like the luckiest thing to happen to the G.O.P.’s political fortunes since Ronald Reagan switched parties.” There hasn’t been this much delusional giddiness in these ranks since Monica Lewinsky promised a surefire Republican sweep in the 1998 midterms.

Not all Republicans are so clueless, whether in Congress or beyond. Charlie Crist, the moderate Florida governor who appeared with the president in his Fort Myers, Fla., town-hall meeting last week, has Obama-like approval ratings in the 70s. Naturally, the party’s hard-liners in Washington loathe him. Their idea of a good public face for the G.O.P. is a sound-bite dispenser like the new chairman, Michael Steele, a former Maryland lieutenant governor. Steele’s argument against the stimulus package is that “in the history of mankind” no “federal, state or local” government has ever “created one job.” As it happens, among the millions of jobs created by the government are the federal investigators now pursuing Steele for alleged financial improprieties in his failed 2006 Senate campaign.

This G.O.P., a largely white Southern male party with talking points instead of ideas and talking heads instead of leaders, is not unlike those “zombie banks” that we’re being asked to bail out. It is in too much denial to acknowledge its own insolvency and toxic assets. Given the mess the country is in, it would be helpful to have an adult opposition that could pull its weight, but that’s not the hand America has been dealt, and the stimulus victory showed that even as president Obama can ambush Washington’s conventional wisdom as if he were still an insurgent.

Republicans will be judged by the voters. If they want to obstruct and filibuster while the economy is in free fall, the president should call their bluff and let them go at it. In the first four years after F.D.R. took over from Hoover, the already decimated ranks of Republicans in Congress fell from 36 to 16 in the Senate and from 117 to 88 in the House. The G.O.P. is so insistent that the New Deal was a mirage it may well have convinced itself that its own sorry record back then didn’t happen either.

Anonymous said...

Specter: I'll take my chances
Posted: 10:00 AM ET

From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

WASHINGTON (CNN)– One of the three moderate Republican senators who voted in favor of the stimulus package says he's aware of the political danger he's putting himself in.

"I understand the peril, but I didn't run for the United States Senate to further my own political interests," Sen. Arlen Specter said on CNN's American Morning. "I think when you have a decision like the one that we're facing now, there's only one way to respond, and that's to respond with action."

Specter and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine were the only Republicans to back the $838 billion bill that passed the Senate yesterday. All three senators were involved in cutting spending proposals from the original plan crafted by Democrats, and all three have said they may not vote for the final version of the bill if more spending projects are added to the legislation by House Democrats.

"If somebody else in the Republican Party had stepped up to do the negotiations, to handle it, I would have been glad to step aside," Specter told American Morning anchor John Roberts.

The five-term senator from Pennsylvania said that with the economy facing a possible catastrophe, "the only responsible thing to do is to support the package. And bear in mind, the Republican moderates' program got $110 billion cut. We got the backing of the United States Chamber of Commerce, which is a very conservative Republican organization. They know the economy better than perhaps anybody, because they're in touch with so many thousands of businesses and they say the economy requires it."

Neither Collins or Snowe face re-election in 2010, but Specter does. He faced a bruising primary battle in 2004 against then-Republican Rep. Pat Toomey, a fiscal conservative.

The National Republican Trust PAC, an influential conservative political action committee, is pledging to support primary challengers to any Republican senator who supports stimulus package backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats — the latest public show of dissatisfaction from the right over the massive measure before Congress.


"Republican senators are on notice. If they support the stimulus package, we will make sure every voter in their state knows how they tried to further bankrupt voters in an already bad economy," said Scott Wheeler, executive director of the PAC, which calls for less government spending and lower taxes.

When asked about the possible political backlash from his vote supporting the bill, Specter said "it's a good plan — not a perfect plan, but a good plan — and I'll take my chances."

Anonymous said...

Historians rank Bush in the top 10 of America’s worst presidents.»
Today, C-SPAN released its second Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership, in which “65 presidential historians ranked the 42 former occupants of the White House on ten attributes of leadership.” Coming in first was Abraham Lincoln, followed by George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. Finishing last was James Buchanan. George W. Bush came in 36th, just beating out Millard Fillmore, who ranked 37th.

Anonymous said...

Republicans stew in their own crapulence


AP: In Medicaid reform, Fla. GOP saw rich benefit

By TRAVIS REED | Associated Press Writer

February 13, 2009
MIAMI - While Florida politicians were considering a vast overhaul of the state's troubled Medicaid system, a Tampa company that administered care for half a million poor and needy residents was busy lining their pockets with campaign donations.

WellCare Health Plans Inc., its subsidiaries and executives spent $2.4 million on political contributions in the 2004 and 2006 elections, according to an analysis of campaign records by The Associated Press. More than 95 percent of it went to Republicans, who pushed forward a nationally watched plan that funnels more state and federal Medicaid spending than ever through private companies like WellCare, which profit most by providing the least care.

At the same time, WellCare acknowledges it was cheating Florida out of tens of millions in overpayments and is under investigation for suspected fraud and unfair business practices by a cadre of state and federal agencies.

WellCare manages care for nearly 2.4 million people on government-sponsored health plans in Florida, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Ohio. Florida's Medicaid reforms are being closely monitored by other states seeking to alleviate their own health care costs.



WellCare gave $100,000 to the Republican Party of Florida on Dec. 6, 2005 -- a day after the Legislature convened specifically to consider the Medicaid proposals, and days before they passed. The company spent seven times more on lobbying than its top two competitors combined, skirting state laws meant to cap candidate donations at $500 per person or company by writing checks under nearly 30 different business names.

Half of WellCare's contributions -- $1.2 million -- went to the Republican Party of Florida. State law provides no limit on party donations, and there is virtually no way to tell where the funds go after that.

"It doesn't surprise me that (Democrats) got a lot less money," said Sen. Dan Gelber, a South Florida Democrat and former federal prosecutor. "We thought -- I thought -- it was bad policy. I thought it was a bad idea before it started and I think it's a bad idea every month since it started. This was about essentially forcing Medicaid populations wholesale into HMOs where they were going to receive less care."

WellCare's offices were raided by the FBI, Florida regulators and numerous other agencies in October 2007. In a now-unsealed plea agreement, prosecutors and a former employee said the company inflated expenditures by submitting fake documents to the state. Under some mental health care contracts, WellCare was paid a flat per-patient fee and required to spend at least 80 percent of it on care. Any leftover amount beyond 20 percent was to be repaid to the state, but the bogus expenditures allowed WellCare to keep that surplus.

WellCare agreed in August to repay $35 million, its best estimate of the total wrongly kept from 2002-2006. After the raid, the company restated its quarterly and annual profits -- driving down net income by $32 million -- and saw its top three executives resign.

No criminal charges have been announced against WellCare or its officials but investigations by Florida, Connecticut and federal prosecutors are ongoing. The Securities and Exchange Commission is leading an informal investigation, and Wellcare faces numerous shareholder lawsuits and sealed whistleblower complaints, the company's SEC filings say.

WellCare has since halted all Florida campaign contributions.

"... As part of a broader enterprise-wide compliance initiative detailed in our public filings, we are developing new policies and procedures regarding, among other things, political activities and contributions," WellCare said in a written statement to the AP. "WellCare takes very seriously its responsibility as a government-sponsored managed care health plan, and appreciates that health care is top of mind to many political leaders. Our top priority is to provide our members timely access to quality health care."

Then-Gov. Jeb Bush, who led the reforms, said WellCare didn't pay for favorable policy -- pointing as proof to the company's recent departure from counties affected by the reforms.

"There's no question WellCare lobbied hard as we overhauled Medicaid in Florida, but ultimately reform didn't deliver what the managed health care companies wanted, and patients and taxpayers won instead," Bush said. "Managed health care companies make less under Medicaid reform because they are no longer paid the same for healthy and chronically ill people. Providers are only paid for the services actually required by the individuals in the plan, not an expansive and expensive menu of services never utilized by healthy patients."

Until recently, WellCare was the largest provider under Florida's Medicaid reform, which is testing broad privatization in five counties. The companies are given flat, per-patient fees from the state and federal governments and profit from the balance not paid in care.

Advocates said the plan would cut burgeoning Medicaid costs by shifting risk to the private sector. Opponents worried people would slip through the cracks or be denied access to doctors and medicine. WellCare served about 80,000 patients in the pilot effort before saying this month it would exit in May because recent state budget cuts made the business unprofitable.

Still, WellCare has approximately 330,000 Florida enrollees in traditional Medicaid programs, more than twice as many as top competitor Amerigroup Corp.'s 165,000. While WellCare dropped more than $2 million on Florida's 2004 and 2006 elections, Amerigroup spent just $74,200. UnitedHealth Group Inc., the third-largest Medicaid HMO here, gave $234,000, campaign records show.

Two of the biggest recipients of WellCare contributions were former state Senate presidents -- current Sen. Ken Pruitt, who led the body from 2006-2008, and former Sen. Tom Lee. Pruitt received $25,500, and tied with former Rep. Frank Farkas as the company's largest direct beneficiary. Neither returned telephone messages requesting comment.

Another top GOP recipient was former House member Holly Benson, who now oversees WellCare and all other Medicaid HMOs as secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Benson accepted $18,500 combined in the 2004 and 2006 elections, but said that didn't compromise her integrity. She said it was a small portion of the $125,000 her campaign raised in 2004 and $380,000 in 2006 -- and the state's $35 million settlement was "unprecedented" proof of objectivity.

Lee, who got $23,748 in a failed 2006 state CFO campaign, recalled WellCare's aggressive spending. Perhaps oddly, the Medicare reform package passed in the same week as his long-sought ban on lobbyist gifts.

"I have an enormous history of public frustration with things like campaign finance reform, gift disclosures, etc.," said Lee, who has returned to his Tampa-area homebuilding business. "Nothing would be a better gift for this democracy than to figure out a way to help us clean up this process."

--------

Associated Press writer Kelli Kennedy contributed to this report.

Anonymous said...

George W. Bush Fails History Again

George W. Bush Fails History Again

by Carol Forsloff.

If George Bush Jr. has any serious interest in how history will measure him in the Presidency, he needs to get ready for the bad news. 65 historians have already given their opinions.
Buy an ad on DigitalJournal.com
Bush left the Presidential suite to his successor, Barack Obama, less than a month ago and now has beeb scrutinized for what he did or didn’t do, and some survey results are in.

Obama admires President Lincoln, and likely should everyone else; for historians rank him at the top of the list of Presidents. Just days after the nation honored the 200th anniversary of Abe Lincoln’s birth, he has been ranked as the country’s best president in its entire history. Areas judged included economic management, crisis leadership, vision and agenda setting, and equal justice for all. Lincoln was ranked in the top three in each of the categories the historians evaluated.

Former President George W. Bush is a study in contrast with the greatest President, ranked near the bottom as 36th out of the 42 men who have held that distinctive office.C-Span conducted the survey of the 65 historians who ranked him 41st in international relations, 40th in economic management, 25th in crisis leadership, and 24th in equal justice.

George Bush Jr’s father did much better, at position 18, Clinton at 15, Ronald Reagan 10 and Jimmy Carter 25. These positions have moved only a little in the past few years since the surveys have been conducted and illustrates, according to Edna Medford, one of the advisers and participants in the survey, that the reputations of Presidents are influenced by issues today.

The top Presidents, after Lincoln, according to the historians, include George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman. The five worst, just under Bush Jr. include James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and Warren G. Harding, who have had those distinctions for some time.

Bush’s position among historians is similar to where he stood among 415 historians in 2004. Then the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent of those surveyed considered the Bush administration a "failure." One of them considered him to be the worst President in history.

According to a CNN poll conducted at the end of 2008, Bush’s popularity stood at 31%. The conservative edge placed him at the lowest point of any President in modern history, since the poll of presidents began.

In a few years, historians will rank the presidents again. We can only speculate the ranking the former President, George W. Bush, will receive at that time.

Anonymous said...

A Torture Report Could Spell Big Trouble For Bush Lawyers

By Michael Isikoff | NEWSWEEK

Published Feb 14, 2009

From the magazine issue dated Feb 23, 2009
Palace Revolt 2001 Memo Reveals Push for Broader Presidential Powers A TORTURED DEBATE The Roots Of Torture Where Bush Was Right See All Topics (5) OPR Jay Bybee John Yoo OLC Mark Filip See All 85 Comments Add Yours Share:
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An internal Justice Department report on the conduct of senior lawyers who approved waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics is causing anxiety among former Bush administration officials. H. Marshall Jarrett, chief of the department's ethics watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), confirmed last year he was investigating whether the legal advice in crucial interrogation memos "was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys." According to two knowledgeable sources who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters, a draft of the report was submitted in the final weeks of the Bush administration. It sharply criticized the legal work of two former top officials—Jay Bybee and John Yoo—as well as that of Steven Bradbury, who was chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the time the report was submitted, the sources said. (Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

But then–Attorney General Michael Mukasey and his deputy, Mark Filip, strongly objected to the draft, according to the sources. Filip wanted the report to include responses from all three principals, said one of the sources, a former top Bush administration lawyer. (Mukasey could not be reached; his former chief of staff did not respond to requests for comment. Filip also did not return a phone message.) OPR is now seeking to include the responses before a final version is presented to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. "The matter is under review," said Justice spokesman Matthew Miller.

If Holder accepts the OPR findings, the report could be forwarded to state bar associations for possible disciplinary action. But some former Bush officials are furious about the OPR's initial findings and question the premise of the probe. "OPR is not competent to judge [the opinions by Justice attorneys]. They're not constitutional scholars," said the former Bush lawyer. Mukasey, in speeches before he left, decried the second-guessing of Justice lawyers who, acting under "almost unimaginable pressure" after 9/11, offered "their best judgment of what the law required."

But the OPR probe began after Jack Goldsmith, a Bush appointee who took over OLC in 2003, protested the legal arguments made in the memos. Goldsmith resigned the following year after withdrawing the memos, and later wrote that he was "astonished" by the "deeply flawed" and "sloppily reasoned" legal analysis in the memos by Yoo and Bybee, including their assertion (challenged by many scholars) that the president could unilaterally disregard a law passed by Congress banning torture.

OPR investigators focused on whether the memo's authors deliberately slanted their legal advice to provide the White House with the conclusions it wanted, according to three former Bush lawyers who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing probe. One of the lawyers said he was stunned to discover how much material the investigators had gathered, including internal e-mails and multiple drafts that allowed OPR to reconstruct how the memos were crafted. In a departure from the norm, Jarrett also told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee last year he would inform them of his findings and would "consider" releasing a public version. If he does, it could be the most revealing public glimpse yet at how some of the major decisions of Bush-era counterterrorism policy were made.

© 2009

Boo said...

Finishing last was James Buchanan. George W. Bush came in 36th, just beating out Millard Fillmore, who ranked 37th

How'd he beat out Millard and Buchanan?

patronage system perpetuator said...

ALBANY - Democratic Gov. Paterson has secretly granted raises of as much as 46 percent to more than a dozen staffers at a time when he has asked 130,000 state workers to give up 3 percent pay hikes because of the state's fiscal crisis, The Post has learned.

The startling pay hikes, costing about $250,000 annually, were granted after the governor's "emergency" declaration in August of a looming fiscal crisis that required the state to cut spending and impose a "hard" hiring freeze.

One raise was approved as recently as last month - when Paterson claimed the budget deficit had reached an unprecedented $15.5 billion.

The raises, which have stunned the few state workers who know about them, are outlined in data obtained from the office of state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, prepared at The Post's request.

Two of the raises were tied to publicly proclaimed promotions - granted despite the supposed hiring freeze - of some of Paterson's most important appointees, although the announcements didn't include disclosure of the pay hikes.

The remaining 14 raises appear to have gone to individuals who remained in their same positions, despite claims by a spokesman for Paterson that they had been promoted.

"These are not raises for old positions, rather new salaries for new positions," Paterson spokesman Errol Cockfield insisted.

But a DiNapoli spokesman, Dennis Thompkins, said flatly, "These are individuals who stayed in their same position and received a salary increase."

Paterson's top aide, William Cunningham, a one-time law partner of the governor's father, Basil, saw his pay jump 5 percent to $178,500 - just $500 less than Paterson himself - from $170,000 on Nov. 7, after he was promoted from a temporary "acting" secretary to permanent.

Charlotte Hitchcock, one of Cunningham's deputies and a personal friend of the governor's, received an $18,000, or 11.25 percent, raise on Dec. 22. While a press release said she was promoted from deputy secretary to "chief of staff" and "director of financial regulation," it made no mention of a higher salary.

Cassie Prugh, a confidential assistant, was given a 46 percent pay hike in late November, raising her annual salary to $125,000 from $85,721, while Gaurav Vasisht, an assistant counsel, received a 6 percent, $7,427 increase in December, bringing his salary to $130,279.

Brendan Fitzgerald, a special office assistant, received a 21 percent, or $15,737, pay hike only last month, bringing his salary to $90,000, while Michael Deloach, another confidential assistant, saw his pay leap 29 percent, or $18,200, to $80,000 in August.

Lauren Passalacqua, a confidential secretary, saw her salary jump $12,000, or 31.5 percent, to $50,000, while the salary of another confidential aide, Chardee Mendoza, was hiked $10,000, or 28.5 percent, to $45,000.

Disclosure of the secret pay hikes comes as Paterson is under attack for spending well over $20,000 in state funds on a four-day stay for himself and several aides during President Obama's inaugural last month, and for planning a state-funded junket to Davos, Switzerland, which he canceled only after his plans became public.

Paterson, in his budget proposal outlined in December, demanded that state workers who belong to the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employee Federation forgo negotiated, 3 percent pay hikes that would kick in April 1 or face massive layoffs.

Anonymous said...

"The Bush Recession" - Let's Call it What it Is"

Steve Rosenbaum

Posted February 16, 2009 | 10:12

When Barack Obama took office, it was clearly with a vision of a bi-partisan (or in his mind - 'post partisan') administration. This was clearly naive. Perhaps voters want it, and perhaps there are some enlightened politicians who can see the forest for the trees, but for the large majority - the Democratic win in 2008 is little more than a call for the Republicans to regroup and prepare for a full frontal assault in 2012.

If this wasn't clear before the vote on the Stimulus package, it should be clear now.

Already Republican operatives are drafting commercials for the midterm elections. They'll play like this: "Since Barack Obama took office, XX Americans have lost their jobs, XX Americans have lost their homes, and XX Americans have filed for bankruptcy. In light of the failed programs of the Obama administration, it's time to re-elect Republicans on a platform of tax reform, smaller government, and less handouts to the poor and underprivileged."

These commercials will work, because we all know that however successful the stimulus package is, there will be months, or years of economic pain before we start to see the positive effects of these investments.

So, what to do about this?

The answer is, we must name our pain. We must begin to refer to the current recession as the "Bush Recession." We must talk about the difficult, complex, long-term efforts we'll need to all engage in order to reverse the toxic economic environment created by the "Bush Recession."

The Bush Recession didn't happen overnight -- it took 8 years of careful, purposeful, willful actions to create this cycle of economic devastation.

I understand why Obama isn't focused on blaming the Bush administration. He's right to look forward, rather than back. There's way too much to do to spend any cycles placing blame. At the same time, if we don't name our pain, then we're likely to find ourselves fighting off right wing pundits in 2 years, and 4, who try to re-write history and hold the Obama administration responsible for the very things they're trying to fix.

So, with that in mind, let's catalog the drivers that have created the Bush Recession, and make sure we agree that these collective actions happened long before the Obama administration was in the White House.

First, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. During the 8 years the Bush administration was in charge, we saw a dramatic expansion in available credit to borrowers who where not able to quality for conventional mortgages. This boom in new buyers drove up housing prices, creating a bubble of newfound wealth in the equity of homes, and creating a cycle of borrowing against newly inflated home equity. This bubble was evident to economists and consumers alike, yet in the absence of any legislation or government controls - the trend continued to balloon.

Second, Iraq. The cost of our dramatic increase in military spending provided a huge drain on the Federal Budget, as services that were heretofore part of the military budget became privatized and outsourced. Companies like Blackwater and Halliburton received huge military contracts to provide services - often without bids or oversight. Now, seven years later, we're uncovering fraud, waste, and violations of human rights that reflect both the size of the contracts and the Government's basic lack of ability to oversee or administer these programs. The elixir of privatization and deregulation created an environment that was ripe for fraud and misuse. In hindsight, is this any surprise?

Third, abandonment of a US economic vision. For 8 years the Bush administration focused on security and fear, while any vision of our economic future got put on hold. Gasoline taxes, emission standards or innovation in our core sectors were all either ignored or frowned upon.

Fourth, the environment. As George Bush dragged his heals on any environmental science, things like Kyoto were left unsigned. As former Vice President Al Gore raised the nation's awareness of Global Warming, the Bush Administration sought to minimize and obfuscate the science around climate change. As a result, government funding for new energy was back-burnered, and industries that count on the Government to legislate change and create a level playing field continued to build and produce gas guzzling trucks and automobiles. While world governments have used gas taxes to drive both conservation and innovation, the Bush administration essentially subsidized fossil fuel burning automobiles. The result, our energy industries are desperately behind, and our automotive industry is almost a decade behind in thinking about alternative energy.

Fifth, Wall Street and Banking. For 8 years there has been a dramatic expansion in the services and fast consolidation of what had been separate and in some cases regulated industries. As banking, brokerage, insurance, and financial services companies acquired and merged - the speed of these transactions far exceeded the regulatory ability or resources (not by accident) resulting in such things as credit default swaps that now even seasoned wall-streeters say were hard to understand.

The Bush Recession isn't the result of a single bad decision, or even actions out of our control. For 8 years we've allowed a handful of private industries to operate without oversight or review, with a focus on short term gains, as environmental and world economic issues have loomed large.

The Obama administration will face all the known issues that were the underpinning of the Bush Recession, as well as the need to manage and respond to the emerging crisis. So to suggest that a mere 24 months from the start of his administration, Obama and his Cabinet should be able to show enough progress to push back a full on frontal assault from the Republicans is beyond optimistic, it is impossible. The Republicans have made it clear by voting en-mass against the Stimulus Plan that they are positioning their party to run against Obama - and to essentially do what they can to blunt any potential progress or improvement in the conditions for average Americans that might be held up as a success for the Administration. This kind of partisan politics comes at the expense of average Americans and the country itself. To suggest that after spending 8 years building the largest government, the least oversight, and the largest deficit in history, they will run in 2010 on a platform that is against Stimulus and 'small government' is a clue about just how short a memory the Republican's think average Americans have for the condition of the economy.

We shouldn't let this happen.

It is the Bush Recession. We're deep in the teeth of it now. And we'll need to fight to regain economic stability and future prosperity that once seemed like an American birthright. The Bush Recession didn't happen overnight, and it won't be fixed overnight either.

Republicans should take responsibility for the economic conditions they brought on the country. And that means being part of the solution, rather than standing on the sidelines and looking for a 'Rovian' way to misdirect American anger in a cynical attempt to regain power.

Let's call it what it is -- "The Bush Recession."

Anonymous said...

MORE REPUBLICAN CORRUPTION:

Uncovering the Perks of Albany’s Fallen G.O.P.

By DANNY HAKIM
Published: February 11, 2009
ALBANY — Democrats took control of the State Senate last month after more than four decades of Republican rule, then set out to determine how the Senate’s own budget of nearly $100 million and its attendant perks were being distributed.

They recently realized there are some 75 employees working at the Senate’s own printing plant, a plain brick building on the outskirts of Albany. On Long Island, they found a small television studio, which had been set up — all with public money, with two press aides on hand to help operate it — for the exclusive use of Republican senators to record cable TV shows.

Democrats also came across what they are calling the “Brunomobile,” a $50,000 specially outfitted GMC van, with six leather captain’s chairs (some swiveling), a navigation system, rearview camera and meeting table. Joseph L. Bruno, the former Senate majority leader who was recently indicted on corruption charges, traveled in the van after his use of state helicopters sparked a feud with the Spitzer administration.

Then there are the parking spots, always at a premium near the Capitol. Democrats had been given roughly one spot per senator — there were 30 Democrats last year — and guessed there were perhaps double or even triple that controlled by the majority. Instead, they have learned, there are more than 800.

And Democratic leaders must determine what to do about 45 workers toiling away in a building close to the Capitol who appear to have been engaged in quasi-political research for the Republicans.

“Every time we nail something down, we uncover another rock and there’s another 30 people there — it’s all over the state,” said Angelo J. Aponte, who as the new secretary of the Senate is the top aide to Malcolm A. Smith, the Queens Democrat who became majority leader last month.

Mr. Aponte said the lack of cooperation from Republicans — and their decades-long absence of transparency — has left him poring over payroll records, trying to piece together the money trail. He said an audit would be conducted, either by the state comptroller or by an outside accounting firm.

Republicans have long defended their spending as the prerogative of the majority party, and also characterize as absurd the claim that they have been uncooperative — a smokescreen to hide that Democrats are now giving Republicans fewer resources than Democrats had received when they were in the minority. Indeed, Mr. Smith, while increasing the allotment for individual senators, is cutting the minority’s central staff budget to about $3 million from $7 million, after promising to put the minority party on more equal footing.

“That effectively neuters our ability to function as an opposition,” said Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican and the new minority leader. Still, many in the capital are tittering at the howls of anguish from the Republicans, who for so long gleefully starved the Democrats, and were known for paying their top staffers even more than the governor’s $179,000 salary.

Tensions between incoming and outgoing legislative majorities are not unusual. But the questions of how Senate Republicans spent public money are emerging at a time when the state is financially pressed, and the public is being asked to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more in taxes.

Mr. Smith, who says he will also reduce his own party’s staffing budget, has committed to shaving the Senate’s overall budget by 8 percent, mostly by cutting staff. The Democrats cannot say how many jobs they will eliminate, because they really do not know how many employees there are. Mr. Smith said he believed there were 1,200 to 1,500 people on the Senate payroll, but is not sure.

“We don’t even know where everybody is,” he said.

The transition has allowed for the first real glimpse inside the sprawling patronage machine built by Senate Republicans and operated with a veil of secrecy that sometimes left even rank-and-file G.O.P. members in the dark.

Senator Tom Libous, an 11-term Republican from Binghamton, said even he had not known there was a television studio on Long Island.

“You serious?” he said. “O.K. I don’t have one in Binghamton.”

John McArdle, a spokesman for Mr. Skelos, said calling it a television studio was an overstatement. Yes, there were cameras, lights and a place to record television segments — usually for cable-access programs —he conceded, but only in a corner of a special regional press office at a state building in Hauppauge.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Senator Craig M. Johnson — who had been the lone Long Island Democrat until November’s election — said he had heard “vague rumors” about the existence of the facility. He guffawed when asked if Mr. Johnson had ever been invited by the Republicans to use it.

“No,” Mr. Azzopardi said, “I don’t believe they ever gave us the password that shut down the waterfall to enter the cave leading into the studio.”

Republicans say they provided Democrats with detailed employment lists. Democrats insist that never happened, and are assembling their own.

During an interview, Mr. Smith turned to an aide and asked: “What’s that place off campus? Some building we haven’t even been to yet. It has like 200 people there and we didn’t even know it existed.”

The new Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith, was at the lectern at an event last month. Of the Senate’s total payroll, he said: “We don’t even know where everybody is.”

Beneath the capitol sits the "Brunomobile," with leather captain's chairs and a conference table.
He was referring to the Senate’s printing plant, about seven miles from the Capitol.

Bills, mailings and various brochures were printed there, with Republicans receiving premium service. For instance, the constituent newsletters sent to Republican districts were printed in multiple colors, while those printed for Democratic districts were printed in black and white, with one color. Democratic leaders say the lease for the plant currently costs the state $632,460 per year, and that the payroll appears to be about $2.7 million.

Workers there, many of whom have worked at the facility for much of their professional lives, are wondering about their job security.

“It’s not like it doesn’t go through people’s minds,” said Fred Beck, the good-natured assistant director of mail and printing services for the Senate, during a tour of the plant. He showed a reporter three jumbo Xerox machines that can each crank out 180 copies per minute, as well as thick coils of paper and stacks of Senate mailers.

Are all the employees here Republicans? Mr. Beck was asked.

“Yeah, I believe so,” he said. “It’s not like I go around and ask.”

At 90 Swan Street, in the building across the street from the Capitol, 45 employees worked for the Senate Research Service, which generated a variety of documents for the Senate, though Democrats and Republicans differ on the partisanship of their service.

A memo circulated late last year by top staff members of Mr. Skelos said the research service needed to coordinate with the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, then the majority’s political arm. The memo’s existence was previously reported by The New York Post.

“It was a mistake, it was unauthorized and it should never have been done,” Mr. McArdle said of the directive.

It is not clear what will become of the service, whose employees cost the state $2.1 million annually. A top official at the office declined to comment.

As the spending questions pile up, Republicans are grappling with the more general adjustment to being in the minority. Perhaps the ultimate indignity came last week, when Democrats refused to let a Republican senator interrupt a Democrat during an oration on the Senate floor, a courtesy typically afforded to a fellow senator.

“In 17 years, I’ve never refused to yield to any member’s questions,” said Senator Michael F. Nozzolio, an upstate Republican, after he was denied a chance to speak.

Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat, rhetorically swatted Mr. Nozzolio aside, saying simply, “I’m not finished.”

Anonymous said...

MORE REPUBLICAN CORRUPTION:

Uncovering the Perks of Albany’s Fallen G.O.P.

By DANNY HAKIM
Published: February 11, 2009
ALBANY — Democrats took control of the State Senate last month after more than four decades of Republican rule, then set out to determine how the Senate’s own budget of nearly $100 million and its attendant perks were being distributed.

They recently realized there are some 75 employees working at the Senate’s own printing plant, a plain brick building on the outskirts of Albany. On Long Island, they found a small television studio, which had been set up — all with public money, with two press aides on hand to help operate it — for the exclusive use of Republican senators to record cable TV shows.

Democrats also came across what they are calling the “Brunomobile,” a $50,000 specially outfitted GMC van, with six leather captain’s chairs (some swiveling), a navigation system, rearview camera and meeting table. Joseph L. Bruno, the former Senate majority leader who was recently indicted on corruption charges, traveled in the van after his use of state helicopters sparked a feud with the Spitzer administration.

Then there are the parking spots, always at a premium near the Capitol. Democrats had been given roughly one spot per senator — there were 30 Democrats last year — and guessed there were perhaps double or even triple that controlled by the majority. Instead, they have learned, there are more than 800.

And Democratic leaders must determine what to do about 45 workers toiling away in a building close to the Capitol who appear to have been engaged in quasi-political research for the Republicans.

“Every time we nail something down, we uncover another rock and there’s another 30 people there — it’s all over the state,” said Angelo J. Aponte, who as the new secretary of the Senate is the top aide to Malcolm A. Smith, the Queens Democrat who became majority leader last month.

Mr. Aponte said the lack of cooperation from Republicans — and their decades-long absence of transparency — has left him poring over payroll records, trying to piece together the money trail. He said an audit would be conducted, either by the state comptroller or by an outside accounting firm.

Republicans have long defended their spending as the prerogative of the majority party, and also characterize as absurd the claim that they have been uncooperative — a smokescreen to hide that Democrats are now giving Republicans fewer resources than Democrats had received when they were in the minority. Indeed, Mr. Smith, while increasing the allotment for individual senators, is cutting the minority’s central staff budget to about $3 million from $7 million, after promising to put the minority party on more equal footing.

“That effectively neuters our ability to function as an opposition,” said Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican and the new minority leader. Still, many in the capital are tittering at the howls of anguish from the Republicans, who for so long gleefully starved the Democrats, and were known for paying their top staffers even more than the governor’s $179,000 salary.

Tensions between incoming and outgoing legislative majorities are not unusual. But the questions of how Senate Republicans spent public money are emerging at a time when the state is financially pressed, and the public is being asked to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more in taxes.

Mr. Smith, who says he will also reduce his own party’s staffing budget, has committed to shaving the Senate’s overall budget by 8 percent, mostly by cutting staff. The Democrats cannot say how many jobs they will eliminate, because they really do not know how many employees there are. Mr. Smith said he believed there were 1,200 to 1,500 people on the Senate payroll, but is not sure.

“We don’t even know where everybody is,” he said.

The transition has allowed for the first real glimpse inside the sprawling patronage machine built by Senate Republicans and operated with a veil of secrecy that sometimes left even rank-and-file G.O.P. members in the dark.

Senator Tom Libous, an 11-term Republican from Binghamton, said even he had not known there was a television studio on Long Island.

“You serious?” he said. “O.K. I don’t have one in Binghamton.”

John McArdle, a spokesman for Mr. Skelos, said calling it a television studio was an overstatement. Yes, there were cameras, lights and a place to record television segments — usually for cable-access programs —he conceded, but only in a corner of a special regional press office at a state building in Hauppauge.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Senator Craig M. Johnson — who had been the lone Long Island Democrat until November’s election — said he had heard “vague rumors” about the existence of the facility. He guffawed when asked if Mr. Johnson had ever been invited by the Republicans to use it.

“No,” Mr. Azzopardi said, “I don’t believe they ever gave us the password that shut down the waterfall to enter the cave leading into the studio.”

Republicans say they provided Democrats with detailed employment lists. Democrats insist that never happened, and are assembling their own.

During an interview, Mr. Smith turned to an aide and asked: “What’s that place off campus? Some building we haven’t even been to yet. It has like 200 people there and we didn’t even know it existed.”

The new Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith, was at the lectern at an event last month. Of the Senate’s total payroll, he said: “We don’t even know where everybody is.”

Beneath the capitol sits the "Brunomobile," with leather captain's chairs and a conference table.
He was referring to the Senate’s printing plant, about seven miles from the Capitol.

Bills, mailings and various brochures were printed there, with Republicans receiving premium service. For instance, the constituent newsletters sent to Republican districts were printed in multiple colors, while those printed for Democratic districts were printed in black and white, with one color. Democratic leaders say the lease for the plant currently costs the state $632,460 per year, and that the payroll appears to be about $2.7 million.

Workers there, many of whom have worked at the facility for much of their professional lives, are wondering about their job security.

“It’s not like it doesn’t go through people’s minds,” said Fred Beck, the good-natured assistant director of mail and printing services for the Senate, during a tour of the plant. He showed a reporter three jumbo Xerox machines that can each crank out 180 copies per minute, as well as thick coils of paper and stacks of Senate mailers.

Are all the employees here Republicans? Mr. Beck was asked.

“Yeah, I believe so,” he said. “It’s not like I go around and ask.”

At 90 Swan Street, in the building across the street from the Capitol, 45 employees worked for the Senate Research Service, which generated a variety of documents for the Senate, though Democrats and Republicans differ on the partisanship of their service.

A memo circulated late last year by top staff members of Mr. Skelos said the research service needed to coordinate with the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, then the majority’s political arm. The memo’s existence was previously reported by The New York Post.

“It was a mistake, it was unauthorized and it should never have been done,” Mr. McArdle said of the directive.

It is not clear what will become of the service, whose employees cost the state $2.1 million annually. A top official at the office declined to comment.

As the spending questions pile up, Republicans are grappling with the more general adjustment to being in the minority. Perhaps the ultimate indignity came last week, when Democrats refused to let a Republican senator interrupt a Democrat during an oration on the Senate floor, a courtesy typically afforded to a fellow senator.

“In 17 years, I’ve never refused to yield to any member’s questions,” said Senator Michael F. Nozzolio, an upstate Republican, after he was denied a chance to speak.

Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat, rhetorically swatted Mr. Nozzolio aside, saying simply, “I’m not finished.”

Anonymous said...

GOP: What's wrong with work?
February 15, 2009


The facts are staggering. George W. Bush presided over 22 months of recession during 96 months in office. His first 48 months witnessed a net growth of zero jobs.

But get ready for this: In the last 12 months, his presidency oversaw the loss of 3.6 million jobs. These are the worst employment numbers seen since the close of World War II. Welcome to the Bush Recession and watch it bring you to your knees.

The economy is hemorrhaging, and a large portion of the blame may be placed fairly on Bush and his reckless and incoherent fiscal policies that were unquestionably supported by Republicans in Congress.


The solution is actually fairly straightforward. We need to create jobs. With more jobs comes more paychecks; with more paychecks comes more people spending money; with more people spending money comes more people buying (and demanding) more goods; with more goods comes more people producing (and selling) goods; and so on and so forth.


Economists say the gap in gross domestic product between where the economy would be without the Bush Recession and where it is today is about $1 trillion. So where do we make up this $1 trillion?


Solution No. 1: Companies spend our way out of this problem. Problem: our biggest companies are cutting production and firing workers — Nike, 1,400; General Motors, 10,000; Macy's, 7,000; Caterpillar, 2,000; Cessna, 2,000; Boeing, 5,000; Starbucks, 6,700; Ford, 1,200; Pfizer, 20,000; Microsoft, 5,000; Circuit City, 30,000. All told, 358,490 job cuts have been announced since January.


Solution No. 2: The government spends our way out of this problem. Problem: Republicans are against job creation. As of this writing, Congress has drafted a $789 billion economic stimulus package — $282 billion in tax cuts and $507 billion in spending ranging from education to road repair to unemployment compensation. Economists believe this package could save or create 3.5 million jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. This package boils down to job creation.


The critics exclaim, "Why do we need broadband access to rural areas?" Increasing broadband means Americans in small towns have the same access to information as people in large cities, but somebody has to build the infrastructure. This means jobs for people. The critics complain, "Why do we need a state stabilization fund?" Forty-six states are projecting budget shortfalls totaling $100 billion; Louisiana projects a shortfall in the range of $1 billion. The $44 billion reserved for states could spare Louisiana's universities from draconian cuts. This means jobs for people. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

Now, ready for some irony? Republicans have never met a tax cut they didn't like, but suddenly are opposed to the tax cuts in the stimulus package. Wait, what? When times are good? Cut taxes. When times are bad? Cut taxes. When Republicans are bored? Cut taxes.

I would like to hear these Republicans — Rodney Alexander, David Vitter — explain to their waitress or their driver or their gardener why their taxes shouldn't be cut. I would like to hear these Republicans explain to recently released International Paper workers in Bastrop why they don't deserve 33 extra weeks in unemployment benefits. I would like to hear these Republicans explain to retirees why they don't deserve a one-time $250 payment. Apparently they only support tax cuts for Wall Street, but not Main Street.

Republicans complain the stimulus package is too big. Really? That never stopped them from voting for $3 trillion budgets with $400 billion deficits totaling $10.7 trillion in debts the previous eight years. They will happily spend $600 billion on Iraq, but not $789 billion for Americans. Sorry, but that excuse doesn't make sense either.

The stimulus package isn't perfect, and it's expensive, but inaction would be catastrophic. Something must be done to end the Bush Recession and create jobs.

Why are Republicans against jobs?

Anonymous said...

NO END TO REPUBLICAN HYPOCRISY:

GOP lawmakers tout projects in the stimulus bill they opposed

By DAVID LIGHTMAN
McClatchy Newspapers

John Mica was gushing after the House of Representatives voted Friday to pass the big stimulus plan.

"I applaud President Obama's recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America's future," the Florida Republican beamed in a press release.

Yet Mica had just joined every other GOP House member in voting against the $787.2 billion economic recovery plan.

Republicans echoed their party line over and over during the debate: "This bill is loaded with wasteful deficit spending on the majority's favorite government programs," as Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., put it.

But Mica wasn't alone in touting what he saw as the bill's virtues. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, also had nice things to say in a press release.

Young boasted that he "won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small business owners last night in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."

One provision would have made it harder for minority businesses to win contracts, and Young explained that he "worked with members on the other side of the aisle to make the case for these programs, and was able to get the provision pulled from the bill."

Yet later in the day Young - who recently told McClatchy Newspapers that he would've included earmarks, or local projects, in the bill if it had been permitted - issued another statement blasting the overall measure.

"This bill was not a stimulus bill. It was a vehicle for pet projects, and that's wrong," he protested.

That was more in line with the Republican message.

Young wouldn't return a request for comment on the apparent contradiction of his press releases.

Mike Steel, a spokesman for House GOP Leader John Boehner of Ohio, at first ducked when asked about Mica and Young issuing press releases praising the bill they'd opposed.

"I don't work for Mica or Young," Steel said initially.

But then he explained that what Mica and Young did in touting aspects of the bill was in fact consistent with the Republican message.

"Being supportive of one portion of a trillion dollar bill, but voting against the entire trillion dollar bill, is perfectly reasonable," Steel said.

Mica is the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a longtime backer of high-speed rail. GOP committee spokesman Justin Harclerode explained that Mica saw the bill's $8 billion for rail as a "silver lining," and "he's encouraged others are supporting high-speed rail too."

But nowhere in the Mica statement, or in Young's initial statement, was any mention that they opposed the bill.

Harclerode wasn't sure why Mica didn't mention his opposition. "It's not really secret," he said. "I guess it just wasn't the focus."

all the president's crooks said...

NEWS broke last week that Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, lived rent- free for years in the home of Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.) - and failed to disclose the gift, as congressional ethics rules mandate. But this is only the tip of Emanuel's previously undislosed ethics problems.

One issue is the work Emanuel tossed the way of De Lauro's husband. But the bigger one goes back to Emanuel's days on the board of now-bankrupt mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Emanuel is a multimillionaire, but lived for the last five years for free in the tony Capitol Hill townhouse owned by De Lauro and her husband, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.

During that time, he also served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - which gave Greenberg huge polling contracts. It paid Greenberg's firm $239,996 in 2006 and $317,775 in 2008. (Emanuel's own campaign committee has also paid Greenberg more than $50,000 since 2004.)

To be fair, Greenberg had polling contracts with the DCCC before - but each new election cycle brings its own set of consultants. And Emanuel was certainly generous with his roommate.

Emanuel never declared the substantial gift of free rent on any of his financial-disclosure forms. He and De Lauro claim that it was just allowable "hospitality" between colleagues. Hospitality - for five years?

Some experts suggest that it was also taxable income: Over five years, the free rent could easily add up to more than $100,000.

Nor is this all that seems to have been missed in the Obama team's vetting process. Consider: Emanuel served on the Freddie Mac board of directors during the time that the government-backed lender lied about its earnings, a leading contributor to the current economic meltdown.

The Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight Agency later singled out the Freddie Mac board as contributing to the fraud in 2000 and 2001 for "failing in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention." In other words, board members ignored the red flags waving in their faces.

The SEC later fined Freddie $50 million for its deliberate fraud in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Meanwhile, Emanuel was paid more than $260,000 for his Freddie "service." Plus, after he resigned from the board to run for Congress in 2002, the troubled agency's PAC gave his campaign $25,000 - its largest single gift to a House candidate.

That's what friends are for, isn't it?

Now Rahm Emanuel is in the White House helping President Obama dig out of the mess that Freddie Mac helped start.

The president's chief of staff isn't subject to Senate confirmation, but his ethics still matter. Is this the change that we can depend on?

liars, democrats and roland burris said...

Roland Burris lied on his job application. He lied, under oath, about Rod Blagojevich hitting him up for money before he was tapped to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat. Any middle manager caught doing the same thing would be out on his ear.

I'll admit that I was against Burris' being seated, before this -- letting Blagojevich pick our senator was like allowing a thief caught burglarizing your home to choose what color to paint your living room as the cops hustle him out the door.

Demanding that Burris quit is pointless -- if he had an ounce of civic responsibility, he never would have taken the job. This is just one reminder -- the first of many -- that people speculating on Burris' chances in 2010 are jumping the gun. We've got two more years of this kind of nonsense before we get a say in the matter. Unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Arresting Rod Blagojevich but not Scooter Libby

By Margie Burns, Ph.D
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Feb 17, 2009, 00:25

Some conservative commentators, including Chris Wallace interviewing then-Vice President Cheney on Fox News Sunday (Dec. 21, 2008) initially paralleled the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on Dec. 9, 2008, to the indictment of I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Cheney’s Chief of Staff, on Oct. 28, 2005.

Both legal matters were prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, but there is little similarity in the treatment of Libby and Blagojevich.

One leading difference is that the bureaucratic processing of Scooter Libby, genteel from start to finish, did not include arrest. No guns, few badges; no nightsticks; no handcuffs. Libby was not arrested; he was indicted. This is not singular: In white-collar criminal cases, indictment is more typical than arrest. The news is not that Libby was not arrested; the real news is that Gov. Blagojevich was not indicted.

The absence of an indictment, of course, was not what made news that cold December morning when the U.S. attorney’s FBI troops arrested Blagojevich in a daring pre-dawn raid on his house in Chicago -- but quietly, as they assured the public in a press conference the same day, so as not to wake the children. The headline that flashed around the globe, saturating the 24-hour news cycle from the first moment, was the governor’s arrest. Most media outlets took two weeks or more to cease calling the charges an ‘indictment.’

In another item not making the news, the day before the arrests of Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, the Northern District of Illinois also issued a subpoena for any and all of the governor’s records about 32 other parties. This and other subpoenas, not mentioned at the gaudy Dec. 9 press conference, have been retrieved through FOIA by the Chicago Sun-Times. One person mentioned in the Dec. 8 subpoena is Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko -- the Chicago immigrant fundraiser long since a subject of investigation by the NDIL, tried and convicted in a lengthy trial in 2008.

Rezko’s name on the subpoena at this late date raises questions. Was Dec. 8, 2008, the first or only time Gov. Blagojevich was subpoenaed about Rezko? Why would that be, given that Mr. Rezko had been investigated, tried and convicted already? NDIL press spokesman Randall Samborn replied by email, “I’m sorry, we do not comment on subpoenas or investigations.” Questioned about the date for Rezko’s sentencing and whether Rezko is being held in solitary confinement until sentencing, Samborn replied, “Rezko has a status hearing on February 4. Thank you.”

Right-wing bloggers and media outlets predicted for months that the highly-publicized Rezko trial in Chicago was going to ‘get’ then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. Liberal bloggers asserted conversely that it was going to ‘get’ Blagojevich by getting Rezko to ‘flip’ on the governor, a theory rebutted by the belated subpoena about Rezko, months after Rezko’s trial.

Looking at FBI agents arriving on Dec. 9 to handcuff Blagojevich at his home, one is struck by the different handling of Scooter Libby. Scooter Libby was eventually convicted on four counts in the CIA leak matter but was spared prison time by President Bush, as Fitzgerald undoubtedly anticipated; the notion that Libby would somehow be ‘flipped’ to incriminate the vice president was always wishful thinking in the liberal blogosphere. (See below.) Meanwhile, Libby was extended every courtesy. Unhindered in the performance of all three of his government positions, at no time was he yanked out of his office or his home; he was given notice of every juncture of the investigation. Sensibly enough, prosecutors invited him to appear before the grand jury to make statements -- which resulted in his conviction. That grand jury, by the way, was the second one, convened by Fitzgerald immediately after the first grand jury disbanded, at which juncture -- what were the odds? -- Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward disclosed that he had been leaked that tip about Valerie Plame Wilson’s being CIA by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage (who suddenly realized that he was the leaker after watching television news reports). One has to appreciate the way Woodward and Armitage were slammed into a side pocket just when they presumably thought they had stymied the investigation, their macho-man discussion preserved on tape and in transcript among the Libby trial exhibits. But the point here is that an investigation that went through two grand juries never put Lewis Libby through a humiliating ordeal with investigators. Notwithstanding wishful thinking in the blogosphere about ‘perp walks’ and seeing Karl Rove et al. ‘cuffed’ or ‘frog-marched,’ the entire process was handled punctiliously.

Indeed, prosecutorial courtesy extended so far as to postpone Libby’s trial until after the 2006 congressional elections. This move, officially at the request of defense counsel, blunted electoral damage to the GOP, which lost seats but would have lost more had the Libby trial been held beforehand.

Remarkably, the special counsel agreed to the postponement even though on May 4, 2006, Vice President Cheney and his people were given permission to see everything relative to the CIA leak investigation, permission indicated to Fitzgerald via the Justice Department. As Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) revealed in a congressional hearing on July 24, 2007, on the U.S. attorneys firings, Cheney and other administration personnel had official free rein to be informed of anything transpiring in the CIA leak matter from at least May 4, 2006, onward. Then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signed the one-page Justice Department memo authorizing this remarkable access.

[I HAVE A COPY OF THE MEMO FROM THIS HEARING. SENATE JUDICIARY HAS IT.]

Only fuller transparency over time will disclose the extent to which Cheney availed himself of opportunities to monitor the CIA leak matter, but some clues may be inferred from related events that week. The Gonzales memo came down the day newspapers were reporting that Valerie Plame, the central figure in the CIA leak case, was shopping a book proposal. The same day, former Clinton White House official Sidney Blumenthal published an article in Salon.com reminding the public that both Cheney and President Bush had authorized leaking a classified NIE on Iraq. The day after the Gonzales memo, J. Porter Goss resigned as CIA director, with immediate speculation that he would be replaced by Gen. Hayden of the National Security Agency. The next day -- May 6 -- Plame was reported to have accepted a seven-figure book deal, effectively ending her viability as a witness for the prosecution in any CIA leak trial. Headlines also placed senior White House advisor Karl Rove on the hot seat. Had Libby been treated like Blagojevich, his chance of getting arrested would have peaked during this week, on grounds of otherwise-unstoppable criminal action in progress. In actuality, the week seems to have ended any realistic possibility that the CIA leak prosecution would climb the ladder to the White House.

By May 15, friends of Rove were asserting via news leaks that Rove was not threatened by indictment, a proposition validated when the special counsel informed Rove in June that he would not be charged. In solace for the truncated CIA leak case, however, Fitzgerald did riposte on May 13 by filing in public records a handwritten note by Cheney in which Cheney mentioned Plame, although not by name. (Ironically, the back-and-forth of politics and Bush-Cheney Justice Department maneuverings remains not fully reported even at this date. The White House quietly terminated Patrick Fitzgerald’s position as special counsel very shortly after Patrick Fitzgerald came to Washington, D.C., for a House Judiciary Committee hearing on special counsel law, in February 2008 and mentioned to reporters that he was “still special counsel.”)

The CIA leak investigation was praised, in the center-left political spectrum, as ‘independent.’ However, when Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) held a hearing on the special counsel law, legal experts who testified advocated appointing special counsel from outside the administration -- unlike Fitzgerald in the CIA leak, whom the witnesses praised -- in cases where an administration itself is accused of wrongdoing. No special counsel was appointed by the Bush administration to investigate scandals including politicized appointments at the Department of Justice, torture of military prisoners, selective prosecution at Justice, destruction of CIA videotapes of tortured detainees, and voter suppression and lack of civil rights enforcement in elections.

Returning from the what-ifs to what did happen: Libby received extensive professional courtesy and frequent delays at the request of high-priced and well-funded counsel. No showing up at someone’s doorstep, no unannounced invasion of his home space, no FBI chat about him at press conferences, no leaks from sources ‘close to the investigation,’ nobody wearing a wire, no traced telephone calls, no electronic surveillance. Secretly recorded tapes of Libby’s wife venting in the background in their home were not aired -- in excerpts selected by the prosecutor -- to invite public ridicule. Nobody claimed that even the ‘most cynical’ FBI personnel were ‘shocked’ by Libby’s actions. The investigation ground on, in its sedate white-collar way, while Libby’s office sustained its usual activities and upheld its usual governmental policies. Libby had ample time to round up highly placed supporters who financed his large team of defense attorneys -- with open consent and encouragement at the highest levels of the Bush administration up to and including the White House.

In the Blagojevich matter, on the other hand -- well, exactly where does the public, as represented by its federal law enforcement officials, stand?

Before a 20-day deadline for speedy trial lapsed, the prosecutor asked for and received a three-month extension to bring an indictment, giving him until April.

The Dec. 9, 2008, charging document in the arrest of Blagojevich and Harris contains two counts. The first count is a broad count about “honest services,” based on material gathered from 2002-2004 and in wiretaps from fall 2008, skipping years 2005-2007:

(a) ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS, and others have conspired with each other and with others to commit offenses against the United States, namely to devise and participate in a scheme to defraud the State of Illinois and the people of the State of Illinois of the honest services of ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS . . .

The second count is about the Chicago Tribune:

(b) ROD BLAGOJEVICH and JOHN HARRIS . . . corruptly solicited and demanded a thing of value, namely, the firing of certain Chicago Tribune editorial members responsible for widely-circulated editorials critical of ROD BLAGOJEVICH, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with business and transactions of the State of Illinois involving a thing of value of $5,000 or more, namely, the provision of millions of dollars in financial assistance by the State of Illinois, including through the Illinois Finance Authority, to the Tribune Company involving the Wrigley Field baseball stadium . . .”:

The arrest was announced in a press conference which the U.S. ATTorney opened thus:

“This is a sad day for government. It’s a very sad day for Illinois government. Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low. Governor Blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree. We acted to stop that crime spree.

“The most appalling conduct Governor Blagojevich engaged in, according to the complaint filed today or unsealed today, is that he attempted to sell the Senate seat -- the Senate seat he had the sole right, under Illinois, to appoint to replace President-elect Obama.”

Neither of the two counts charges selling or attempting to sell a Senate seat. Wiretap excerpts pertaining to the Senate seat are part of an included 76-page affidavit containing the signature of an FBI agent, encompassed by the “honest services” count.

While opening with the Senate seat, Fitzgerald particularly emphasized concern about the Tribune:

“There’s a hospital -- a children’s memorial hospital -- believing that it’s getting $8 million, but its CEO has not coughed up a campaign contribution, and the thought that that money may get pulled back from a children’s memorial hospital is something that you cannot abide. There is an editor that they’d like fired from the Tribune, and I laid awake at night, worried whether I’d read in the paper in the morning that when there were lay-offs, that we’d find out that that person was laid off.”

The complaint -- the complaint lays out, in there in fact, when there were layoffs, there were conversations to find out whether the editor who should of -- they thought should be fired, and he wasn’t. And the governor was asking whether there would be more layoffs. So we have a governor in this modern times, the only one who’s looking for more layoffs. You take that, what’s going on and add it to the fact that we have a Senate seat that seemed to be, as recently as days ago, auctioned off to, you know, to the highest bidder for campaign contributions.

Belied by the excerpts exposing the governor’s wife, FBI agent Robert Grant stated at the press conference that agents took pains to spare the Blagojevich children (12 and 5). Grant said that he phoned the governor, “advising him that . . . there were two FBI agents outside his door; asked him to open the door so we could do this . . . without waking the children”:

QUESTION: “Could Mr. Grant describe the arrest?

“There were no cameras there, no witnesses apparently. Can you explain how it happened?

MR. GRANT: “It occurred about six o’clock in the morning, and it was a phone call from me to the governor, advising him that we had a warrant for his arrest, that there were two FBI agents outside his door; asked him to open the door so we could do this as quietly, without the media finding out about it, without waking the children.

“He was very cooperative, and that’s it.”

Perhaps those clean-language types among the FBI agents and attorneys were too shocked by four-letter words to remember that they could have waited until the governor’s children were at school, or gone to arrest Blagojevich at his office, or just called Blagojevich and told him to show up at the courthouse:

QUESTION: “Was he handcuffed?”

MR. GRANT: “Yes, which is normal, standard practice for us.”

QUESTION: “What did he say on the phone?”

MR. GRANT: “First question?”

QUESTION: “What did he say to you?”

MR. GRANT: “Well, I woke him up. So the first thing was, was this a joke? But I’ll leave the rest -- you know, he tried to make sure this was an honest call. So . . .”

QUESTION: “How about his family? Was his wife there when this happened? And his children, did they wake up?”

MR. GRANT: “They did not wake up that I know of. They were beginning to stir as we left, but they were not awake and not aware. But his wife was awake.”

The charging document includes at least 15 pages about the two Chicago newspapers, mostly boosting the Tribune, which has repeatedly lavished praise on Fitzgerald personally and has editorialized in favor of keeping Fitzgerald as U.S. attorney in Chicago. This fact is not mentioned in the document. After press reports of the favor given to the Tribune, Fitzgerald’s people then leaked to the Wall Street Journal that really the arrest was because the Tribune broke the story of the investigation (wiretapping). No more mention of preventing a ‘crime spree.’ The next day, the NDIL revising that item to exonerate the Tribune: “The specific timing of the arrest of Rod Blagojevich wasn’t affected by a Chicago Tribune article revealing that the Illinois governor was being secretly recorded.”

These are the times we live in. Prominent reporters sit on stories the public needs to know, timing their release for political effect -- or lack of same, as in that Sen. Bob Packwood sexual harassment matter some years back -- or holding them for publication in books.

Litigators sit on settlements in civil cases, timing them in the attorney’s financial interest as described in A Civil Action, Jonathan Harr’s nonfiction book about attorney Jan Schlichtmann (played by John Travolta in the movie).

Evidently prosecutors can also sit on cases, timing them in the interests of political or professional strategizing.

There is one other giant difference between the Libby and the Blagojevich matters besides that arrest, of course: The Blagojevich matter resulted in near-instantaneous impeachment. Now we see how readily a public official can be impeached, when the political will is found to do so. Arrest -- even without a case being presented, as in this arrest -- is clearly the disgrace to a public official that it should be when justly handled. So we see by these presents that impeachment -- of Bush and Cheney -- might well have been a viable path forward, had arrest been a factor in the CIA leak investigation.

Regrettably, the investigation into the CIA leak ended up exempting the Bush White House, legally though not politically. It never became an impeachment inquiry. The best historical parallel here might be the Marc Rich investigation, also conducted by Fitzgerald, back in the eighties. Fugitive financier Marc Rich, involved in Iran-Contra up to his ears, was indicted on numerous counts of tax fraud and fled the country; one of his attorneys was Scooter Libby. But the fraud investigation never became part of full-fledged investigation into Iran-Contra and never reached the Reagan White House.

The arrest of Blagojevich, however murky it is as a legal matter, is at least illuminating some recent history.

Dr. Burns is a journalist in Washington, D.C., and teaches English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as an adjunct. She covered the spring 2007 trial of I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby.

Anonymous said...

BOY, REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS LOVE THAT PORK!!!

GOP governors press Congress to pass stimulus bill

By BETH FOUHY – Jan 31, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.

Their state treasuries drained by the financial crisis, governors would welcome the money from Capitol Hill, where GOP lawmakers are more skeptical of Obama's spending priorities.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, planned to meet in Washington this weekend with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other senators to press for her state's share of the package.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist worked the phones last week with members of his state's congressional delegation, including House Republicans. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, the Republican vice chairman of the National Governors Association, planned to be in Washington on Monday to urge the Senate to approve the plan.

"As the executive of a state experiencing budget challenges, Gov. Douglas has a different perspective on the situation than congressional Republicans," said Douglas' deputy chief of staff, Dennise Casey.

Not a single Republican voted with the majority last week when the House approved Obama's $819 billion combination of tax cuts and new spending. The president's goal is to create or preserve 3 million to 4 million jobs.

Republicans led by House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio complained that the plan is laden with pet projects and will not yield the jobs or stimulate the economy in the way Obama has promised.

The measure faces GOP opposition in the Senate, where it will be up for a vote in the week ahead.

But states are coping with severe budget shortfalls and mounting costs for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. So governors, including most Republicans, are counting on the spending to help keep their states afloat.

This past week the bipartisan National Governors Association called on Congress to quickly pass the plan.

"States are facing fiscal conditions not seen since the Great Depression — anticipated budget shortfalls are expected in excess of $200 billion," the NGA statement said. "Governors ... support several key elements of the bill critical to states-increased federal support for Medicaid and K-12 and higher education; investment in the nation's infrastructure; and tax provisions to spur investment."

Clyde Frazier, a professor of political science at Meredith College in North Carolina, said it wasn't politically inconsistent for Republican governors and members of Congress to part ways on the stimulus plan.

"For governors, it's free money — they get the benefits and they don't have to pay the costs of raising the revenues," Frazier said. "Senators and representatives get only some credit for the expenditures, and they have to pay the bill."

That's not to say Republican governors are entirely enthusiastic about the plan. Some worry about the debt incurred through so much federal borrowing.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a former member of the House, said he would accept the stimulus money but would have voted against the bill if he were still in Congress. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said he wasn't sure whether he would accept the approximately $3 billion his state would be in line for.

"Yes, we need some help and we appreciate the help," Barbour said in an interview. "But I don't know about the details and the strings attached to tell you if I'll take all of it or not."

The most outspoken critic has been South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who has warned for months of a steep spike in inflation and a severely weakened dollar if Obama's plan passed. His state is on track to receive $2.1 billion of the stimulus money; Sanford has not yet said whether he would accept it.

"It's incumbent on me as one of the nation's governors to speak out against what I believe is ultimately incredibly harmful to the economy, to taxpayers and to the worth of the U.S. dollar," Sanford said in an interview. "This plan is a huge mistake and is going to prolong and deepen this recession."

Sanford outlined his concerns in December when the then-president-elect met with governors in Philadelphia to discuss the stimulus proposal. Sanford said he had heard nothing from the White House since then.

Associates say Sanford, who recently was elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has been disappointed in how few of his GOP colleagues have joined him in speaking out against the size and scope of Obama's plan.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is widely viewed as a potential presidential contender in 2012, said governors have little choice but to accept the relief being offered. "States have to balance their budgets," he said. "So if we're going to go down this path, we are entitled to ask for our share of the money."

But Pawlenty expressed reservations about the cost of the plan and its impact on the federal deficit, which has already grown to over $1 trillion.

"I'm quite concerned about the federal government spending money it doesn't have," Pawlenty said. "We're on an unsustainable path of deficit spending and borrowing."

nobody believes in $787b porkulus said...

NEW YORK – Stocks tumbled Tuesday as investors grew more doubtful that the government can quickly turn around the still-weakening economy.

The major indexes dropped by well over 3 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average sank near the multi-year lows it reached last November.

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