Tag: TMC Politics

No Reason to Believe

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Why would anyone believe ratings or projections by the S&P or Moody’s after their part in crashing the economy?  

Rather than assess risk accurately, two major rating agencies sold their top seals of approval to their investment bank clients, blessing products that the agencies themselves knew to be undeserving, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concluded in a report released Wednesday. By repeatedly debasing their standards, these agencies helped banks sell shoddy securities to unsuspecting investors, inflating the value of assets that turned out to be worth far less, the report has found.

The senate panel, led by Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), levels a two-part charge against the rating agencies: Not only did these companies help inflate a dangerous bubble, the report says, but they also bear responsibility for popping it, as their abrupt downgrades of mortgage-linked securities in 2007 helped set off the panic that caused markets around the world to collapse.

Wall St. wants more austerity and and their puppets in Congress will help them every step of the way. So why should anyone take this seriously? Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars reminds that “the banks liked the recession”

You’d think, considering the part played by Standard and Poors, Moody’s and Fitch in covering up these stinking piles of crap inadvertently rating mortgage derivatives as sound and crashing our economy, they would have the good grace to shut up and sit down.

But since nothing happened to hold accountable any of these craven clowns, what possible incentive do they have to tell the truth? And what reason do we have to believe them? After all, they’ve already displayed their willingness to sell their ratings to the highest bidder.

Let me remind you that bankers actually like the recession. They like the falling wages and the weak job market. The only thing that really worries them is inflation, and only because it raises wages and depresses the value of their holdings. Don’t trust anything that comes out of their mouths, or the feckless minions who sell their souls to them.

No reason to believe them now.

GOP Strategy: Ply Them with Liquor

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

They say liquor is quicker.

Wisconsin Recall Fight Heats Up As Democrats Complain Of ‘Shots For Signatures’ Deals (AUDIO)

by Amanda Terkel

WASHINGTON — In an effort to gather enough signatures to trigger recall elections of state senators in Wisconsin, some backers are turning to peculiar, unconventional and, it appears, even intoxicating means.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party is planning to file a complaint to the state Government Accountability Board alleging that a Republican signature-gatherer offered alcoholic beverages to a group of women to get them to sign a recall petition against a Democratic state senator.

Although that’s not illegal in Wisconsin, it is strongly discouraged and, Democrats argue, evidence that Republicans don’t really have enough grassroots support for their recall campaigns.

Wisconsin Democrats Laugh Off “Republican Recall Racket”

by David Weigel

Today, a bit less than a week before the deadline, recall petitions are being filed against three Wisconsin Democratic senators. State Democratic party spokesman Graeme Zielinski has given me the party’s response to the petitions, which can be summed up as “ha, ha.”

Without any real enthusiasm on the part of the citizens of the districts to support the anti-Wisconsin Walker agenda, the Republican recall racket was forced to rely on road agents from a Colorado firm and elsewhere, mercenaries from out-of-state who came in and were paid money per recall signature. The only real press that this practice got was the reporting on a Colorado canvasser with a dangerous felony record who was was preying on visitors to Lambeau Field and taking stolen items to a motel room paid for by Republicans. But that dangerous Colorado felon employed by the Republican Party was just the tip of the iceberg.  At the heart of the Republican effort from the start was a mercenary spirit that naturally used deception and fraud to gain signatures.

snip

The Republican recall racket used unethical practices to gain signatures. In Burlington, for instance, a Republican canvasser offered patrons of a tavern shots of liquor in exchange for recall signatures against Sen. Bob Wirch. And in Green Bay, Republicans left recall signatures unattended with a sign that said, “Out to lunch,” an unethical and forbidden practice.

Budget Proposal Creates Surplus in 2021

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A balanced budget with a surplus? No way not happening. Well it seems that there is a counter proposal by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that does just that.

The CPC proposal:

• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021

• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program

• Protects the social safety net

• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)

What the proposal accomplishes:

• Primary budget balance by 2014.

• Budget surplus by 2021.

• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from

a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.

• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.

• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021.

There was debate this morning in the House about the austerity budget put forward by Tea Party Rep. Paul Ryan’ (R-WI) that decimates Medicaid and Medicare. When Rep Keith Ellison asked  Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) when the Ryan budget plan would produce a surplus, Rokita was clueless:

   ELLISON: When does the Ryan budget create a surplus?

   ROKITA: The budget proposed and voted on by the committee – […]

   ROKITA: With responsible, gradual reforms to the drivers of our debt, like Medicare and Social Security, this budget will balance –

   ELLISON: I asked the gentlemen when the Ryan budget created a surplus. He could have given me a year. He didn’t. That’s because he’s probably embarrassed about when that is. Let me tell you when the Progressive Caucus comes to surplus: 2021. That is known as a responsible budget.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Ryan’s budget will not produce a surplus until 2040 (pdf). The Economic Policy Institute looked that the Progressive Caucus budget. Their analysis said that it who produce a $30.7 billion surplus in 2021 (pdf).

h/t to Travis Waldron at Think Progress

Another Congressional Game of Chicken: The Debt Ceiling

Cross Posted from The Strs Hollow Gazette

Will there be another “cave exploration by our Spelunker-in-Chief? Despite President Obama speech on Wednesday and his demand request for a “clean bill” to raise the debt ceiling, there are those who have their doubts about Obama resolve to stand his ground considering his past capitulations in the name of bipartisanship for the last two years.

Now Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has threatened to filibuster the bill should it not contain “other fiscal reforms” like a balanced budget amendment.

A top conservative senator on Thursday indicated he is willing to go to extreme lengths to prevent a vote on raising the debt ceiling, even if it hurts the Republican Party politically.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said on the conservative Laura Ingraham Show he is considering filibustering an upcoming vote to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit if it doesn’t contain other fiscal reforms.

While the Senate Minority Leader Mitch “The Human Hybrid Turtle” McConnell (R-KY) has said that the ceiling should be raised to avoid the dire consequences, he would like to see it passed with only Democratic votes.

Mr. McConnell is discouraging his colleagues from filibustering a vote to increase the federal debt limit because he knows that, if push came to shove, some of his colleagues would almost certainly have to vote yea. He’d rather it pass in a 51-vote environment, where all of the votes could come from Democrats, than in a 60-vote environment, where at least seven Republicans would have to agree to a cloture motion.

In the same New York Times article by Nate Silver the consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling would lead to another recession:

If the Congress does not vote to increase the debt ceiling – a statutory provision that governs how many of its debts the Treasury is allowed to pay back (but not how many obligations the United States is allowed to incur in the first place) – then the Treasury will first undertake a series of what it terms “extraordinary actions” to buy time. The “extraordinary actions” are not actually all that extraordinary – at least some of them were undertaken prior to six of the seven debt ceiling votes between 1996 and 2007.

But once the Treasury exhausts this authority, the United States would default on its debt for the first time in its history, which could have consequences like the ones that Mr. Boehner has imagined: a severe global financial crisis (possibly larger in magnitude than the one the world began experiencing in 2007 and 2008), and a significant long-term increase in the United States’ borrowing costs, which could cost it its leadership position in the global economy. Another severe recession would probably be about the best-case scenario if that were to occur.

The bill will not get to the Senate until sometime in May. When it does reach the “upper” chamber, it most likely will be loaded with hundreds of riders from the House Tea Party Republicans. The President and the Senate Democratic leaders have a limited choices. However, if that choose  to  stand their ground and push for that “clean bill”, there could be “savior”, Wall St., which stands to lose billions or more if the US  defaults on its debt. As David Dayen at FDL suggests this is a plausible solution. But is it possible  considering Obama’s inability to win at this “Congressional Game of Chicken”?

Goldman Sachs and Criminal Fraud

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Oh, wouldn’t this be lovely? Now lets see if Timmy and Bill can convince Eric that there is nothing to see here.

Goldman Sachs Misled Congress After Duping Clients, Levin Says

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) misled clients and Congress about the firm’s bets on securities tied to the housing market, the chairman of the U.S. Senate panel that investigated the causes of the financial crisis said.

Senator Carl Levin, releasing the findings of a two-year inquiry yesterday, said he wants the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine whether Goldman Sachs violated the law by misleading clients who bought the complex securities known as collateralized debt obligations without knowing the firm would benefit if they fell in value.

The Michigan Democrat also said federal prosecutors should review whether to bring perjury charges against Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and other current and former employees who testified in Congress last year. Levin said they denied under oath that Goldman Sachs took a financial position against the mortgage market solely for its own profit, statements the senator said were untrue.

Goldman criticised in US Senate report

By Tom Braithwaite in Washington and Francesco Guerrera and Justin Baer in New York,

Financial Times

April 14 2011 00:15 | Last updated: April 14 2011 00:15

US Senate investigators probing the financial crisis will refer evidence about Wall Street institutions including Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank to the justice department for possible criminal investigations, officials said on Wednesday.

Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the powerful Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations, said a two-year probe found that banks mis-sold mortgage-backed securities and misled investors and lawmakers.

“We will be referring this matter to the justice department and to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” he said. “In my judgment, Goldman clearly misled their clients and they misled Congress.”

Last year, Goldman paid $550m to settle SEC allegations that it defrauded investors in Abacus, a complex security linked to subprime mortgages.

Naming Culprits in the Financial Crisis

By Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story

New York Times

A voluminous report on the financial crisis by the United States Senate – citing internal documents and private communications of bank executives, regulators, credit ratings agencies and investors – describes business practices that were rife with conflicts during the mortgage mania and reckless activities that were ignored inside the banks and among their federal regulators.  

The 650-page report, “Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse,” was released Wednesday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations…

…The result of two years’ work, the report focuses on an array of institutions with central roles in the mortgage crisis: Washington Mutual, an aggressive mortgage lender that collapsed in 2008; the Office of Thrift Supervision, a regulator; the credit ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service; and the investment banks Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.

“The report pulls back the curtain on shoddy, risky, deceptive practices on the part of a lot of major financial institutions,” Mr. Levin said in an interview. “The overwhelming evidence is that those institutions deceived their clients and deceived the public, and they were aided and abetted by deferential regulators and credit ratings agencies who had conflicts of interest.”

Last Week’s Budget Crisis: Reality Check

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The House and Senate will put the finishing touches on last week’s budget crisis over the budget for 2011. While the President and the Republicans were busy in front of the cameras praising themselves for “victory”, the Congressional Budget Office was counting the “beans”. Remember the much publicized $38.5 billion in cuts? Well, it will only reduce the deficit by $352 million. That is less than 1% in claimed savings:

   The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending. […]

   The CBO study confirms that the measure trims $38 billion in new spending authority, but many of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts like water-and-sewer grants that don’t have an immediate deficit impact.

As Alex Seitz-Wald at Think Progress notes budget cuts helped Obama save some programs from the worst cuts “the fact remains that the cuts will be harmful to the economy and to the people who depend on valuable social safety net programs that will have their budgets cut.”

There is also the damage by $8.4 billion cut from the State Department and foreign aid budgets, a 14% budget reduction, that will affect some “critical diplomatic tools”

[C]hopping off $122 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s operating expenses and more than $1.4 billion from the State Department’s Economic Support Fund may cost us the ability to help critical countries transition to democracy, including Egypt and Tunisia. Turning our back on such assistance now is particularly problematic given how vulnerable nascent democracies in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as elsewhere, are to upheaval and violence.

It leaves military budget nearly intact so that any saving are wiped out by inflated defense spending”. The budget deal was suppose to cut $18.1 billion but Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for at least $540 billion for FY2011 and this budget deal funds DOD “just north of $530 billion” a figure that includes military construction.

That’s some victory, Barack.

How Low Will They Go?

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Obama administration has gone over to the dark side with stretching the “terrorist” category, going far further that Bush or Cheney would ever had dreamed. They have now compared an uprising in 1818 by the Seminole tribes in Florida to Al Qaeda to justify prosecutions of detainees at Guantanamo

Bitter analogy in war crime case: Indians, al Qaeda

By Carol Rosenberg

Seminoles in 1818 similar to al Qaeda in 2001? Some Pentagon prosecutors appeared to make this analogy to support a Guantánamo war crimes conviction, then clarified in a war court filing.

Pentagon prosecutors touched off a protest – and issued an apology this week – for likening the Seminole Indians in Spanish Florida to al Qaeda in documents defending Guantánamo’s military commissions.

Citing precedents, prosecutors reached back into the Indian Wars in arguments at an appeals panel in Washington D.C. Specifically, they invoked an 1818 military commission convened by Gen. Andrew Jackson after U.S. forces invaded then-Spanish Florida to stop black slaves from fleeing through a porous border – then executed two British men for helping the Seminole Indians.

Navy Capt. Edward S. White also wrote this in a prosecution brief:

“Not only was the Seminole belligerency unlawful, but, much like modern-day al Qaeda, the very way in which the Seminoles waged war against U.S. targets itself violate the customs and usages of war.”

A native American advocacy group complained to the military court. Defense lawyers for two Yemenis convicted of war crimes at Guantánamo countered that the behavior of Jackson, the future U.S. president now on the $20 bill, was no shining example of American military justice.

A politically ambitious Jackson, defense lawyers wrote, waged “an illegal war” that set fire to entire Indian villages “in a campaign of extermination.”

In the legal precedent, U.S. troops convicted two British traders, Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert Ambrister, for helping the Seminoles and escaped slaves and sentenced them to a whipping. Jackson, a slave owner, declared the punishment too soft. He had them executed.

Florida historians are familiar with the episode.

“Arbuthnot was hanged from the yard arm of his own ship,” said University of Florida history professor Jack Davis. “Ambrister was killed by firing squad.”

At issue in the Court of Military Commissions Review is whether a newly minted post 9/11 war court crime – providing material support for terror – is legitimate for prosecution at a war crimes tribunal.

Marcy Wheeler at FDL comments that “our government is siding with slavery, genocide of Native Americans, and Andrew Jackson’s illegal belligerency, it is citing our own country’s illegal behavior-to find some support for the claim that material support is a military crime.”

Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson sent a letter of apology to the Seminole tribe but didn’t back away from the analogy.

But Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson made clear in the single-page letter that the U.S. government was standing by its precedent from Gen. Andrew Jackson’s Indian Wars in its bid to uphold the life-time conviction of Osama bin Laden’s media secretary at Guantánamo’s Camp Justice.

Johnson delivered a speech at the Pentagon in commemoration of Martin Luther King day that twisted Dr. King’s antiwar philosophy into support for the Afghan and Iraq wars.

What Marcy said:

And so it is that our government clings desperately to one of the darkest chapters of our history to legitimize its current actions. Rather than reflect on what that means-how damning it is that we can point only to Andrew Jackson’s illegal treatment of Native Americans to justify our current conduct-the government says simply, “a precedent is a precedent!”

Obama’s boys have now thrown Native Americans under the bus. Welcome, my friends, you have lots of company.

#Not Intended To Be A Factual Statement

Cross posted from [The Stars Hollow Gazette]

Stephen Colbert has had a grand time taking on Sen. Jon Kyl’s blatant lie on the Senate floor that Planned Parenthood is using 90% of its services for abortion, when it’s actually about 3%. Kyl’s spokes person tried walking back the lie but Stephen took it to Twitter creating this hash-tag, #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

Transcript provided by Bruin Kid @ Daily Kos

Stiglitz: The Cost Of War and Redistribution of Wealth

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz has consistently pointed out that the US is on the wrong track for economic recovery and that the continued support for the money pit of Iraq and the shifting the countries wealth to the 2% elite will be the downfall of economics growth, He recently wrote an excellent article in Vanity Fair, Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, pointing out that even the wealthy will come to regret this path.

t’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous-12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades-and more-has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

(emphasis mine)

This is well worth the time to read the entire piece and save it as a reference as this country sinks further into the morass and becomes a “Banana Republic”as the Tea Party Republicans try to drag this country back to the 19th century by repealing laws that protect children and workers.

Stiglitz also appeared on Democracy, Now! with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez to discuss his article and the current US “budget crisis” that has been fabricated by the right wing, Obama and the ever beholding MSM:

This week Republicans unveiled a budget proposal for 2012 that cuts more than $5.8 trillion in government spending over the next decade. The plan calls for sweeping changes to Medicaid and Medicare, while reducing the top corporate and individual tax rates to 25 percent. We speak to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who addresses the growing class divide taking place in the United States and inequality in a new Vanity Fair article titled “Of the 1, by the 1, for the 1%.” Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and author of numerous books, most recently Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. “It’s not just that the people at the top are getting richer,” Stiglitz says. “Actually, they’re gaining, and everybody else is decreasing… And right now, we are worse than old Europe.” includes rush transcript

Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Assault on Social Spending, Pro-Rich Tax Cuts Turning U.S. into Nation “Of the 1 Percent, by the 1 Percent, for the 1 Percent”

The Budget Battle: From Here To Thursday

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Government has avoided a shut down in the last minutes, however, this isn’t over, by a long shot. While the Obama supporters will be touting tonight’s passing of a “Bridge CR” and agreement for the 2011 budget a “victory’, is it? Yes, they managed to remove some of the most egregious riders that the “Full Mooner” Tea Party Republicans were trying to jam through but it cost Obama almost $39 billion more than the $40 million that he originally proposed for a grand total of $79 billion in cuts that will only carry through until September that is if they pass it next Thursday. It still isn’t very clear just what is in that extra $39 billion in cuts.

There are still give aways in the bill which includes the riders to ban DC from using its own funds to pay for abortions for poor DC women and approval of the unpopular DC school vouchers which was opposed by the DC city council. So much for Republican respect for state’s rights.

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post sums it up, this is “2011 not 1995”:

The substance of this deal is bad. The rhetoric of it is worse.

The final compromise was $38.5 billion below 2010’s funding levels. That’s $78.5 billion below President Obama’s original budget proposal, which would’ve added $40 billion to 2010’s funding levels, and $6.5 billion below John Boehner’s original counteroffer, which would’ve subtracted $32 billion from 2010’s budget totals. In the end, the real negotiation was not between the Republicans and the Democrats, or even the Republicans and the White House. It was between John Boehner and the conservative wing of his party. And once that became clear, it turned out that Boehner’s original offer wasn’t even in the middle. It turns out to be slightly center-left.

But you would’ve never known it from President Obama’s comments following the conclusion of the negotiations. Obama bragged about “making the largest annual spending cut in our history.” Harry Reid repeatedly called the cuts “historic.” It fell to Boehner to give a clipped, businesslike statement on the deal. If you were just tuning in, you might’ve thought Boehner had been arguing for moderation, while both Obama and Reid sought to cut deeper. You would never have known that Democrats had spent months resisting these “historic” cuts, warning that they’d cost jobs and slow the recovery.

Although there will now be a separate Senate vote to cut Title X funding for Planned Parenthood, which will most likely fail, this is a major capitulation by Obama and the Democratic leadership that gives 1/6th of the government 2/3rds of the budget cuts it wanted. All of these riders will appear again and again and many will pass the House and, perhaps, even the Senate. What matters more to Obama than anything else is his notion of “bipartisanship” which is shifting this country further and further to the right to the detriment of the majority if Americans and the future.

Nice spelunking by the Spelunker-in-Chief.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

There has been this aura of sameness about the current budget stand off and the past. The impasse is not about money, it’s about ideology concerning women’s reproductive rights and the environment. The Tea Party Republicans refuse to remove the riders that would block funding to Planned parenthood, ban the District of Columbia from using its own funds to pay for abortions and severely restrict the EPA ability to regulate emissions and green house gases. Meetings at the White House, while productive about the amount of money set to be cut from the long-term budget:

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid said Thursday that he is “not nearly as optimistic” as he was last night about avoiding a government shutdown before a Friday deadline, saying of a federal funding gap: “it looks like it’s headed in that direction.”

The Democratic leader said that the two sides have essentially agreed on the amount of money set to be cut from the long-term budget but that Republicans have drawn a line in the sand over “ideology”  – including policy issues dealing with funding for Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Our differences are no longer over the savings we get on government spending, Reid said. “The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”

The President has reasonably suggested that a “clean bill” to extend the budget for one week and a provision that the troops would be paid in the event of a government shut down was rejected by the Tea Party who passed a bill this afternoon they know the President will veto, if it even gets past the Senate.

We’ve been there before in 1995 with the same issue over women’s reproductive rights and the so-called less government gang insisting on interfering with matters that should be between a woman and her doctor. But no, they can’t give it up:

   “Gingrich and Dole are offering the funding and higher-debt bills but have loaded them with ‘riders’ such as the Medicare bill that the president won’t accept and with other items such as limits on appeals by death-row inmates. [Denver Post, 11/15/95]

   “One of the largest spending bills, for the Commerce, Justice and State Departments, is still being negotiated because it has riders on social issues like school prayer. The spending bill for the District of Columbia has been bogged down over a provision to bar Federal money to pay for abortions in the District and would prohibit public hospitals and clinics from offering abortion services.” [New York Times, 11/29/95]

   “Congress has been unable to send any bill to the president because of the excessive number of anti-environmental riders.” [U.S. Newswire, 12/8/95]

The fanatics just can’t let go of some issues so women should incorporate their uteruses as the Florida ACLU has suggested:

Incorporate Your Uterus

…before some politician gets between you and your M.D.

Of course, you can’t legally Incorporate Your Uterus, but you can online. And by doing so, you can send a message to the Florida Legislature that less regulation and government intrusion begins with a woman’s uterus. So “Incorporate Your Uterus” below, sign-up to receive updates about the important fight going on in Tallahassee and utilize our social networking tools to spread the word about this critical effort. After all, no politician should get between a woman and her doctor.

Learn how you can “Incorporate Your Uterus”

Time To Stand Up To The Radical Right, Barack

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Federal Government is being held hostage by a few radical right corporate puppets that want to destroy this country’s social safety net and further shift the wealth from majority to the wealthy with more tax cuts for corporations, millionaires and estates and destroy Medicare and Mediciad for the elderly and neediest Americans. The assault is now be led by the pretty boy, Paul Ryan (R-WI), who defeated Russ Feingold in November (a lot of buyer’s remorse in that state). Last night President Obama had a late night meeting with Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid and Speaker of the House John Boehner with no success at a compromise to avoid a shut down of the federal government this weekend. For what’s at stake here, Mike Lux hits it on the head, “All the hue and cry about this year’s budget fight – whether or not we’ll have a government shutdown; whether we’ll cut $33 billion or $40 billion out of the remainder of this year’s budget – is a minor sideshow compared to the implications of the Ryan budget.”

Mike explains just what those some of those implications are for senior citizens:

With his proposal, Ryan will radically cut and privatize Medicare, ending the guarantee of health care to our senior citizens; radically cut Medicaid and throw it into a block-grant program that will end any guarantee of coverage for the poor, people with disabilities, and many, many children; deliver breathtakingly large tax cuts to the wealthy while raising taxes for the middle class. As far as I can tell, more than 90 percent of his cuts impact either low-income people or senior citizens who are currently middle class but might no longer be if these Social Security and Medicare cuts go through. As to who benefits, while some things remain vague (like which middle-class taxes will have to go up to cut down the revenue losses because of lower taxes in the high-end brackets), it is likely that more than 90 percent of the benefits go to the very wealthy, who not only get to keep their Bush tax cuts but get some big and lucrative new tax cuts besides. As Citizens for Tax Justice (pdf) notes, under Ryan’s proposal, the federal government would collect $2 trillion less over the next decade, yet require the bottom 90 percent to actually pay higher taxes. Ryan leaves a lot details out, but if you read in between the lines, it is clear that the reason certain details are missing is because of how awful they are.

snip

Without Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, retirees would live in poverty, and family incomes would be wiped out trying to take care of parents, grandparents, and disabled family members. Without unions, wages and benefits would be ever more stagnant, or would decline in many sectors. Without student loans, fewer young and poor people would make it onto the first rungs of the ladder into the middle class. Without rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in our schools, fewer American businesses would be able to compete in the world economy. Without research and other government investments, the technological breakthroughs that have helped fuel our economic growth over the last 70 years would stop happening. And without some restraint on the power of multinational companies, our economy would be rocked by more financial collapses, and our pluralistic democracy will get more and more dysfunctional.

And this is what the callously, heartless, self centered, Tea Partier, Republican Eric Cantor said the other day:

So 50 percent of beneficiaries under the Social Security program use those moneys as their sole source of income. So we’ve got to protect today’s seniors. But for the rest of us? Listen, we’re going to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office‘s (CBO) analysis of Ryan’s plan:

1. SENIORS WOULD PAY MORE FOR HEALTH CARE

2. ELDERLY AND DISABLED WOULD LOSE MEDICAID COVERAGE

3. THIRTY-TWO MILLION AMERICANS WOULD LOSE HEALTH COVERAGE (pdf)

4. SHORT TERM DEBT INCREASES RELATIVE TO CURRENT LAW

5. NO CONFIRMATION ON TAX REVENUES (pdf)

The rest of it is even worse and pure fantasy that included “wildly optimistic revenue assumptions that dramatically changed the effect the plan would have on the federal debt.”

OK, Barack, it’s time for you to not cross that line you drew and stand up for the people.

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