Monday, May 30, 2011

Democrats: Do not negotiate with hostage-takers!!

RJ Matson - The St. Louis Post Dispatch - Ransom Notes From The Republican Revolution-COLOR - English - Ransom Notes From The Republican Revolution, Federal Budget, Budget Deficits, Budget Cuts, National Debt, Debt Ceiling, Tax Cuts, Medicare, ObamaCare, Health Care Reform, Republican Party, Congress, President Obama

The decision for Democrats is stark but unequivocal. The Republicans are not negotiating. The GOP has boxed its party into a position of, "Do it my way or no way." The path for the Republicans is that they will not support raising the debt ceiling unless big Medicare cuts are part of the deal. That means gutting Medicare.

That also means that the Democrats needs to have guts and say "NO!"

Public polling, the NY-26 outcome, and other objective indicators make it clear Republicans have boxed themselves into a political corner with their plan to end Medicare. It's a big problem for them politically, and there's no easy way out, especially since virtually every Republican in Congress is now on the record, with a vote, that they favor gutting Medicare.

So how are they gonna get out of this jam? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just made it clear in a briefing with reporters on the Hill: They're going to hold the government's debt limit as hostage in order to back their way out of this political tight spot.

How? McConnell just announced he will not support raising the debt ceiling unless big Medicare cuts are part of the deal. Translation: Unless Democrats get us off the hook by agreeing to deep Medicare cuts (meaning Democrats can no longer attack Republicans for wanting to eliminate Medicare), then we're going to force the federal government into default on its debt.

What if McConnell extracted substantial other cuts from the White House to achieve the GOP's spending cuts goal? No matter, McConnell says. If Medicare cuts aren't part of the deal, then no dice on the debt ceiling -- U.S. economy and world financial system be damned.

It's as stark as that. And the decision for Democrats is equally stark: Do you negotiate with hostage-takers?

McConnell went so far to say that all negotiation is off the table. Medicare cuts must be part of that deal to get his support.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says substantial Medicare cuts must be part of a spending and deficit cut package to get his support to raise the debt limit.

In a Capitol briefing with reporters Friday, McConnell declared affirmatively that unspecified Medicare cuts are on the table in bipartisan debt limit negotiations, led by Vice President Joe Biden, and he expects they'll be part of the final deal. But in response to a question from TPM, he went further than he has in the past in laying down a marker on that issue. Medicare cuts must be part of that deal to get his support, he says -- even if negotiators manage to find trillions of dollars in savings elsewhere, even if his other priorities are met.

"To get my vote, for me, it's going to take short term [cuts, via spending caps]... Both medium and long-term, entitlements.," McConnell said. "Medicare will be part of the solution."

To clarify, I asked "[I]f [the Biden group] comes up with big cuts, trillions of dollars worth of cuts, but without substantially addressing Medicare, it won't get your vote?"

"Correct," McConnell said.

The question now is whether Democrats will be on board with this, or whether they'll try to call the GOP's bluff.

In response to TPM's report on Mitch McConnell's uncompromising position, Jon Summers, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) issued the following statement.
"Republicans are holding the United States' credit hostage to ram through their plan to end Medicare. They are now saying they won't accept any plan to reduce the deficit unless it also cuts Medicare. Voters have resoundingly rejected this ideological agenda. Republicans should drop it and move on."
Good response.! Let all Democrat politicians know to stand strong in their response to this Republican nonsense. The GOP
debt reduction plan is nothing more than "a smoke screen obscuring a dangerous far-right agenda."

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is waging radical class warfare and ideological privatization schemes and selling it as a debt reduction plan. His newly released FY12 budget proposal, The Path to Prosperity, ought to have the subtitle: "A Windfall For the Already Prosperous."

As Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research reminds us, the economic policies of the last three decades, by favoring corporations and the wealthy over average Americans, have achieved the world's most breathtaking upward redistribution of wealth. America's richest 1 percent are getting about $1.5 trillion richer each year. Studies also show that the richest 5 percent hold almost 64 percent of our wealth while and the bottom 80 percent of scrape by on just 12.8 percent of the pie.

Yet under the guise of debt reduction, the chairman of the House Budget Committee's budget proposal would take from the already poor, give to the already rich and attempt to achieve debt reduction not by cutting real costs, but by privatizing entitlement programs and shifting costs from the wealthy and corporations to struggling states, seniors, disabled, sick and low-income Americans. And the additional revenues necessary for serious debt reduction is glaringly absent, with proposals that would actually decrease tax-revenue from those most able to pay.

From start to finish, this budget is a smoke screen.
Will Republicans stop at Medicare and Medicaid?

This reverse-Robin Hood scheme cynically claims to "Strengthen the Social Safety Net," yet it eviscerates an already tattered net by privatizing Medicare and converting Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps) from successful, guaranteed benefits programs to limited block grant programs.

It would devastate lives of the at least 44 million Americans living in poverty by slashing spending on critical human needs to below 2008 funding levels and freezing it there for 5 years. At the same time, it would boost the luxurious lifestyles of the tiny percentage of Americans who are genuinely rich by repealing estate and corporate taxes, slashing the income taxes the wealthiest among us pay and instituting a regressive national sales tax that would most likely increase tax obligations for poor, working-class, and middle-class Americans.

Even though this GOP FY12 Budget Resolution doesn't specify details of a plan to privatize Social Security, stay tuned. Privatizing Social Security is another essential piece of Ryan's (and the GOP's) dangerous agenda.
The GOP 's new mantra is that they have a plan to reduce the budget and the Democrats don't. But there are alternatives to the extreme measures the Republicans are all supporting. One answer is a single-payer Medicare system nation-wide.
Under Ryan's health care schemes, beneficiaries would increasingly bear the burden of soaring costs with no guarantee of receiving the remedies prescribed by their doctors. A better and fairer approach would expand the single-payer Medicare system nation-wide, achieving cost-savings, implementing real cost control and retaining guaranteed healthcare for all Americans.

The GOP is right about one thing: We should be serious about long-term debt reduction. Ryan's dangerous and seriously flawed scheme, however, is nothing more than an ideological ploy to shrink government programs that help poor and middle-class Americans while rewarding the already wealthy.
The moral of the story is: Do not negotiate with hostage-takers!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Palin Pushes, Puffs and Plans

Dave Granlund - - Palin bus tour and 2012 - English - Palin, GOP candidates, publicity, attention, PR, 2012, presidency, white house, election, Republicans, conservative, Fox, cameras, spotlight, celebrity, race,

Is Sarah Palin planning on joining the GOP presidential race? This speculation is consuming the media elites.

SarahPAC, the former Alaska governor's political action committee, recently announced that Ms. Palin would tour "historical sites that were key to the formation, survival and growth of the United States of America." The former vice presidential nominee will launch a tour of the East Coast on Sunday.

Her choice of where her tour will be launched has resulted in controversy. It was announced that Palin had accepted an invitation to participate in the annual Rolling Thunder memorial ride. Palin’s decision to participate in the motorcycle rally, which raises awareness of prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action, came as a surprise to some Rolling Thunder officials.

One day after Sarah Palin announced her bus tour, a group sponsoring a Memorial Day weekend event she plans to attend said they never invited her.

"She wasn't invited. We heard yesterday she came out with a press release she was coming to Rolling Thunder," Ted Shpak, national legislative director of Rolling Thunder, told "Andrea Mitchell Reports." Shpak is one of three members of Rolling Thunder's current leadership who says he had no idea Palin was coming until it was posted on her website.

On Thursday, the former governor of Alaska and potential GOP presidential candidate announced her bus tour on her political action committee's website, The tour is to begin in Washington, D.C., where Palin plans to participate in the Sunday motorcycle rally sponsored by Rolling Thunder Inc., a group that raises awareness of prisoners of war and those missing in action.

"She's not invited to speak. We're not endorsing her ... (but) we can't stop her from coming to ride, if she wants to ride," Shpak continued.

Anyone can join in on the Rolling Thunder ride. Palin can also ride in the parade. But for her to use this event as a political tool has been shot down by the members of Rolling Thunder.

So will she or won’t she run? Her staff has deflecting questions about a possible run, saying she’s going on the bus tour “because she wants to see how this nation was built and get fired up about that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The GOP Today: No Credibility, Mucho Money & A Vast Propoganda Network

David Fitzsimmons - The Arizona Star - dumb and dumber - English - republicans, oil, tax breaks, subsidies, medicare

The GOP is ignoring the political analysis of David Frum. Frum is the editor of which is "dedicated to the modernization and renewal of the Republican party and the conservative movement."

The MinistryOfTruth | Via Daily Kos thinks that:

David Frum sees the writing on the wall.

I used to worry that Sarah Palin would be the Barry Goldwater of 2012. My bad. Paul Ryan is the Barry Goldwater of 2012.


. . . The big issues of 2012 will be jobs and incomes in a nation still unrecovered from the catastrophe of 2008-2009. What does the GOP have to say to hard-pressed voters? Thus far the answer is: we offer Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, and tighter money aimed at raising the external value of the dollar.

No candidate, not even if he or she is born in a log cabin, would be able to sell that message to America’s working class. [Bold text added]

Reagan's 11th Commandment is a hard sell

Now, we all know that Reagan's 11th Commandment was "No Republican shall ever attack another Republican", so it makes sense to see the GOP and RW media trying to double down on the disastrously unpopular Paul Ryan plan. They are just going to pretend that this isn't happening. But in reality world, outside of their controlled media environment, people aren't buying the GOP's bullshit on this. Rush can say whatever he wants, Fox can reframe it and Paul Ryan can call his plan "premium care" or "voucher system" or whatever the hell he likes, the voters aren't buying it, and why should they? As Frum admits himself, the real problems are jobs and declining and stagnant wages and incomes, and so far the GOP plan is to cut everything, including our noses off to spite our faces. I think Frum is 100% right. No candidate, not even if they host a reality show or have adonis dna, would be able to sell that message to America's working class.

I think David Frum is one of the very few voices on the right who is smart enough not to believe everything Rush Limbaugh says. Frum can see the tide shifting against the GOP with one of their core constituencies, older voters. Between seniors turning against the GOP, an energized Dem base that is fired up to protect Medicare and recall several already massively unpopular GOP Governor's, and a GOP Presidential field of uninspiring crumudgeons and gaffe prone half wits, what I see is a perfect storm of an electoral ass kicking heading the GOP's way. The best part? The perfect storm of bad things heading the GOP's way is entirely of their own making.

Giving the rich bigger tax breaks while cutting middle-class entitlements

In dissecting the "NY-26 debacle" as Frum puts it, he quotes Henry Olsen of AEI, who Frum calls "as smart a political numbers guy as can be found on the political right." Olsen says of the Ryan Plan to end Medicare so we can give the rich bigger tax breaks . . .

. . . blue-collar voters react differently to issues than the GOP base does. They are more supportive of safety-net programs at the same time as they are strongly opposed to large government programs in general. These voters crave stability and are uncertain of their ability to compete in a globalized economy that values higher education more each year. They are also susceptible to the age-old Democratic argument that the secret Republican agenda is to eviscerate middle-class entitlements to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.
Myth? When your budget call for huge tax cuts for the rich and deep budget cuts to everything that the middle class depends on it isn't a myth. It's pretty damn obvious that the "the secret Republican agenda is to eviscerate middle-class entitlements to fund tax cuts for the wealthy" is hardly a myth, and it isn't even a secret anymore. The ONLY thing you need to know about the Ryan Plan is that it will eviscerate middle-class entitlements to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

A policy askew

My favorite part of this story? Frum will be totally ignored for breaking Reagan's 11th Commandment and daring to challenge another Conservative. Just as Newt was torched for calling the Ryan plan "right wing social engineering that goes a step too far.", I think Frum will get torched by Rush and the Foxaganda Network and the GOP will continue their self imposed death march towards the fountain of true conservatism. They can't help themselves. They can't appeal to moderates without looking like they are compromising to the fire breathing knuckledraggers in teabaggerstan, and the more they pander to the cruel and heartless far right and the rich special interests who rule their world the harder it will be to win votes outside of the farthest right wing of the political spectrum. Of course, I love the schadenfreude of all of this, because I think the GOP should have zero credibility on jobs after the Bush years, they should have zero credibility on balancing budgets, managing the economy or keeping our country safe as well. The GOP has no credibility, just lots of money and an outstanding propaganda network. If they played moderate and then governed to the far right they can get power and run amok, as they did in 2010 in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, but that will not last too long before the middle class figures out that the only thing the GOP of today care about is the not so secret Republican agenda to eviscerate middle-class entitlements in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. Good luck running on that message, boys. You see, it's not just GOP Presidential Candidates who suck and are uninspiring, it's their whole message, their every policy screws the little guy and pats the billionaires on their backs. And now the American public is waking up to that fact again.

As David Neiwert at CrooksAndLiars points out . . .

And even after this disaster, their tune will not change one iota. Because they cannot budge from the ideological corner into which they've painted themselves. Ryan's Path to the Poorhouse is not just an economic and social disaster in the making for Americans, it's one that ordinary, common-sense voters can see coming a mile away. Democrats don't have to "demagogue" to make a clear case that it would be disastrous.

So count me in with others who are watching this unfold and cheering on the GOP to double down on being stupid. When David Frum shouts out DO. NOT. SEEK. THE TREASURE. in the movie theater, I am rooting for the GOP to go for it and see how far this "Trade you your Medicare for Tax Cuts for the Rich" plan can take them. If my hopes are correct, Obama will blow these guys out at every level of government in such a way that will make Barry Goldwater's disaster look less threatening than a current GOP presidential nominee.

The GOP agenda is exceptionally generous to rich, powerful and corporate interests but totally devoid of comprehending issues relevant to the middle class and poor. A definite issue for the GOP candidates in the 2012 election.

DO NOT seek the treasure!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Republican Hopefuls?

RJ Matson - Roll Call - Bestselling Republican Buttons For 2012-COLOR - English - Bestselling Republican Buttons For 2012, 2012 Presidential Campaign, Republican Nomination, Republican Party, Obama, Gingrich, Romney, Huckabee, Palin, Trump, Bachmann, Paul, Huntsman, Daniels, Roemer, Cain, Bolton, Santorum, Pawlenty

The list of potential Republican candidates is shrinking in light of the recent announcements by political pundit Mike Huckabee and talk show host Donald Trump that they will not run for the office of the President in 2012. Rachel Maddow commented that many of the possible Republican candidates aren't viable other than Gov.Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN). Although Gov. Daniels has not even announced that he is a contender for the position, Maddow focused on Daniels and his social conservative policies.

To emphasis her point, especially to the men in the audience, Rachel equated preventative medicine with preventative maintenance. This was Rachel's way of bringing out the fact that Daniels has prevented all money in the state of Indiana to fund Planned Parenthood. This is Daniels' way to appeal to social conservatives. His actions have absolutely nothing to do with abortion, because abortions cannot be paid for with federal funds,
The lack of funding realistically prevents any woman on medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood for any medical reason. It has to do with maintenance.
Rachel took to the man cave last night in an effort to explain to guys the real-world effects of Mr. Daniels' decision to pull all funding from Planned Parenthood:

"Every 3,000 miles, you know what I'm talking about, right? Every 3,000 miles, oil change. Every 6,000 miles, rotate your tires. At a certain number of miles, you check the brakes, you check the differential maybe the spark plugs you can check at home depending on your skill level.

"But when it comes to getting an alignment, rebalancing your wheels and all that stuff, basically speaking, you take it in. Not because there's anything wrong with your vehicle, fellows. It's just preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance, Planned Parenthood Oil change, breast exam. Rotate your tires -- can I say pap smears on TV?

"Imagine that Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana is the fleet manager of, say, 9,000 cars in the state of Indiana. And he's just decided that those cars -- no more oil changes, no more checking the spark plugs, no more tire rotations, no more preventive maintenance.

"There are more than 9,000 people in Indiana whose health insurance is Medicaid, and who get their preventive care, who get their 3,000-mile check ups at Planned Parenthood.

"Because Mitch Daniels can mess with that as a governor and because he wants social conservatives to like him for president, those 9,000 Indiana patients have just been cut off from their preventive care. Breast exams, STD screenings, pap smears, birth control, all of it. This is not about abortion. There's not any public funding for abortion. It's not about cutting off abortion services in Indiana.

"This is about cutting off the proverbial oil changes, preventive care. If you want to be irresponsible with your vehicle, if you want to be penny wise and pound foolish, you stop going to Jiffy Lube, stop doing any preventive maintenance on your car. When your car inevitably breaks down, you will know why it happened."

Watch the entire episode. The first part deals with the field of potential Republican contenders. The information about Gov Daniels begins at about 7:30. The man cave moment begins at about 10:30. WATCH:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Signs of the Times

A few of the signs displayed at the Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity in October 2010 really do reflect the signs of the times.

About the News


About Taxes

About the Economy

Thursday, May 12, 2011

YO FOX, Listen to this Rap!

PHOTO: Common performs at the Only The Brave event presented by Diesel at Gotham Hall in this Oct. 12, 2010 file photo in New York City.

AlterNet acknowledges, Jon Stewart on Fox's Freakout Over Rapper Common: 'I Just Feel Sorry For You Guys Now.'

This week, Fox News' Sean Hannity had a freakout over the fact that Michelle Obama invited the rapper Common to last night's poetry night at the White House, saying Common's lyric about Bush was 'vile.' Here's the lyric:

"Burn a Bush cuz for peace he no push no button/ killing over oil and grease/ no weapons of mass destruction/ how can we follow a leader when this is a corrupt one?"

Anyone who even casually listens to hip-hop knows that targeting Common, of all people, is the most ridiculous and absurd thing imaginable -- this is a dude who's practically one step away from quoting bell hooks, and who took crap in the rap community for years for being perceived as a peace-and-love hippie (the crocheted caps helped). Not to mention that the above 'offensive' lyric is hardly that, a fact perceivable by anyone who can read.

So last night on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart took on Fox hypocrisy to brilliant effect, not only pointing out that the so-called inflammatory language Hannity was raging over is blatheringly common on their channel -- Sarah Palin, anyone? -- but that musical guests that Bush honored when he was in office had much more violent lyrics than Common. Two words: Johnny Cash.

Check it out:

Another flip-flop position for Fox on the issue of rapper Common.

Since his appearance at the White House, News today, with the Fox Nation website are referring to Common as a "vile rapper." However, Eric Hananoki at MediaMatters notes, this is an abrupt change of heart:
But roughly half-a-year ago, Fox News had a different tone about Common. In an October 2010 report for, reporter Jason Robinson interviewed the "rap legend" and told him, "your music is very positive. And you're known as the conscious rapper. How important is that to you, and how important do you think that is to our kids?"

Common replied that it's a "significant role. I just try to show who we are as well-rounded people and I'm happy to be known as the conscious artist."

But rap music and politics isn't new to the Obama White House. Other rap artists have been invited to perform. Here is one involving Eazy-E, from legendary gangsta-rap outfit N.W.A.:
In March 1991, Eazy-E accepted an invitation to a lunch benefiting the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, hosted by then-President George H. W. Bush. A spokesman for the rapper claimed that Eazy-E supported Bush for overseeing Operation Desert Storm.
Once again, Jon Stewart puts this whole issue into perspective....something FOX doesn't have. WATCH:

Can we just note the obvious.? The GOP talking heads have flip-flopped, have contradicted themselves and have created an issue where there isn't an issue because this involves a decision related to President Obama.