Tag Archives: RNC

Waterloo by David Frum

Posted by: BuellBoy

Op-ed by David Frum

David Frum

David Frum

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Conservative, Health Care Reform, Republicans, RNC, Uncategorized

Pitts: That Tried and True Recipe for Success — Fear Itself

Posted by: BetsM
Written by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Fear again.

Not hope, nor patriotism, nor progress, nor any of the nobler emotions and impulses by which human beings are driven. Nope. None of those.

Instead, fear. Again.

We’ve seen this movie many times. So there is little that is surprising about the Republican National Committee fundraising document recently reported by Politico, the one that offers strategies to get donors to part with their money. Donors can, it says, be persuaded to give by appealing to their egos, by offering them tchotchkes, or by promising them access. And some, the small donors, the $5 and $10 Janes and Joes, can be persuaded if you play to their fears. The sole surprise is that someone actually wrote it down as a PowerPoint presentation and was absent-minded enough to leave a hard copy in a hotel.

Here, then, is the smoking gun, concrete validation for those of us who contend that since Sept. 11, 2001, fear has been the GOP’s leading export, that under the aegis of George W. Bush’s political guru Karl Rove, the party’s message boiled down to a single command: Be very afraid.

And some of us have eagerly complied, fearing Muslim terrorists, Muslim-Americans, Latino immigrants, gay people, black people, even “salespeople,” if they say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Some of us see socialists around every street corner.

The use of fear as a political expedient is neither new nor limited to the GOP. In the ’60s, Democrats ran an ad suggesting a nuclear holocaust would ensue if Americans elected Barry Goldwater. A GOP ad from the ’80s suggested Willie Horton would kill you if you voted for Michael Dukakis.

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GOP Trashes Its Own Donors: Urge Fundraisers to Prey Upon Fear and Ego

Posted by: LibbyShaw

The Party of No and Obstruction not only despises jobless and uninsured Americans, apparently it also loathes its donors, both big and small.
According to Politico, The RNC Finance Director gave a 74 page power point presentation to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Florida a couple of weeks ago. The presentation mocked at its donors urging fundraisers to appeal to their egos and play upon their fears.

The memo candidly confirms that the aim of such caricature is to amp up “fear” among the GOP’s conservative base. The memo also makes fun of major RNC donors, categorizing some as “ego-driven” and easily pacified with “tchochkes” (a Slavic word for toys).

Go ahead Republicans. Keep on emptying your pockets for those who disrespect and ridicule you.

The reason we know about this no longer secret strategy is because someone attending the retreat had left behind a paper handout of the presentation. As we can see, the handout is now making its way through the tubes and Internets. The mainstream media, including FOX “News” has covered this.

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Thanks for making our day you careless and irresponsible silly ones.

The Evil Empire
As we saw, the GOP fear and smear campaign includes a poster that depicts President Obama as the joker from Bat Man. The President’s face is painted white. Underneath is a cartoon of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shown as Cruella de Ville and Senate leader Harry Reid as Scooby-Doo.

It looks like the work of eighth graders to me.

RNC Chair Michael Steele defends it.

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Politico reveals that the RNC intends to launch a campaign charging the Obama Administration and Democrats with driving the country toward socialism. The purpose of course is to confuse and evoke fear among voters.

The fright fest frenzy is a strategy the Republicans have used for decades. From its 1950’s hysteria over communism through the 2008 election cycle in which Republican attack ads warned about impending and imminent terrorist attacks should God forbid, Barack Obama, were to win, a party of little or no ideas seems real comfortable operating from a sewer.

Republican smear and fear campaigns are not new. We see them every election cycle, though some are more over the top than others. I predict the 2010 cycle will be one in which Republicans win an Oscar in the beyond the pale of anything remotely decent or true category.

But what is truly weird and strange this time is the RNC’s blatant contempt for its donors.

From Politico, cited above, below are the RNC’s categories of donors.

Visceral giving. Those to manipulate and scare.

The most unusual section of the presentation is a set of six slides headed “RNC Marketing 101.” The presentation divides fundraising into two traditional categories, direct marketing and major donors, and lays out the details of how to approach each group.

The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as “fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;” and “Reactionary.

Appealing to deep pocketed fat cats. Whose butts to kiss and how.

Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.”

Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure“; “access“; and “Ego-Driven.”

If my party had shown such cynical disrespect and scorn for me it would be a cold day in hell before I’d ever vote for one of its members or give any of them a dime.

UPDATE: The fall out from the offensive, insulting and juvenile pitch has begun. A major GOP contributor said he is ashamed of the presentation and he will no longer give to the RNC.

A prominent Evangelical figure and Republican donor says he will end his contributions to the organized Republican Party in reaction to the leaked fundraising presentation that advised using “fear” to solicit contributions and displayed an image of President Obama as the Joker from Batman.

Mark DeMoss, who heads a major Christian public relations firm in Atlanta and served as a liaison to the Evangelical community for Mitt Romney in 2008, wrote Chairman Michael Steele yesterday that he was “ashamed” of the presentation, calling depictions of Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Harry Reid “shameful, immature and uncivil, at best.”

DeMoss rightfully calls out the RNC for its current culture and mindset.

While I realize your office made steps to distance you from this presentation I’m afraid the presentation is representative of a culture and mindset within the Republican National Committee; consequently, I will no longer contribute to any fundraising entity of our Party-but will contribute only to individual candidates I choose to support.

Finally someone called the GOP out for what it is. Maybe the mainstream media will finally do the same.

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Filed under (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Creepy right-wing antics, Michael Steele, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, RNC, Uncategorized

Why Do People Often Vote Against Their Own Interests?

Posted by: Buellboy

Americans voicing their anger at the healthcare proposals at a town hall meeting


The Republicans’ shock victory in the election for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts meant the Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. This makes it even harder for the Obama administration to get healthcare reform passed in the US.

Political scientist Dr David Runciman looks at why is there often such deep opposition to reforms that appear to be of obvious benefit to voters.

Last year, in a series of “town-hall meetings” across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama’s proposed healthcare reforms.

What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

Polling evidence suggests that the numbers who think the reforms go too far are nearly matched by those who think they do not go far enough.

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform – the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state – are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

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Republicans Stand by Their Man: Fat Cat The Banker

Posted by: LibbyShaw

Meet Fat Cat the Banker

Meet Fat Cat the Banker

Who would have thought? In its true and hypocritical form The Party of No and Obstruction opposes President Obama’s proposed fees on banks.

Dick Cheney must be hard at work at that printing press in his undisclosed basement.

Prominent Republicans are coming out in opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposal for a $90-billion fee on large banks that took bailout money, a move that political observers say could force the GOP to choose between their traditional anti-tax position and populist anger over the bailout.

On Thursday, GOP Chairman Michael Steele declared that the bank fee — which would be levied only on banks that took bailout money and have more than $50 billion in assets — is “another tax on the American public.”

The GOP is standing by fat cat the banker in yet another effort to oppose President Obama. Republicans demonstrate time and time again that they are willing to put politics ahead of working on solutions to solve the daunting challenges that we face on local, state and national levels.

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All of the Republican’s ranting and raving about the federal bailout is nothing but ginned up rhetoric. Apparently GOP lawmakers hate the bailout and yet they love the banks so much that they do not believe Wall St., aka gambling casinos that put Las Vegas to shame, should have to make reparations to the taxpayers for squandering and stealing our money. God forbid should the big banks have to pay fines for its appallingly irresponsible and over the top reckless behavior that annihilated the U.S. and global economy.

The financial services industry lobbied for the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in 1999. That allowed banks to use their custodial power over your money to assume huge risks in investment markets.

They also lobbied for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed banks to trade their crooked insurance in secret and exempted from all supervisory authority.

And to help grow the hurricane, then CEO of Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson made a personal plea to the SEC to allow banks to leverage more money against their capital. As much as $4,000 for every $100 in capital they held.

Wall Street may claim this was caused by a perfect storm, but the only thing perfect about it was their ability to line their pockets at the expense of our country.

Republicans apparently think it is a good idea for the banks to return to its wild, careless and out of control gambling practices that all but destroyed our financial security.

The proposed tax would apply to bank, thrift and insurance companies with more than $50 billion in assets and would start after June 30. It would not apply to certain holdings, like customers’ insured savings, but to assets in risk-taking operations. The levy would raise an estimated $90 billion over 10 years, according to the White House.

But it would remain in force longer if all losses to the bailout fund, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, were not recovered after a decade. The Treasury now projects that the losses from the $700 billion loan program, which was created in October 2008, could reach $117 billion, about a third of the loss that it projected last summer — an improved forecast that reflected the renewed strength on Wall Street.

After all, last week during the Texas Republican gubernatorial debate Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she and John Cornyn hated voting for the bank bail out. But, alas, they did so only because then President G.W. Bush instructed them to do so in order to save the U.S. and global economy from a complete melt down.

A glimpse at a Texas Republican clown show.

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In their twisted logic Republican politicians insist they hated saving the banks but now they hate imposing punitive fees on the banks’ biggest gamblers.

I suppose now that Sarah Palin has been hired as a professional analyst by FOX, the Propaganda Arm for the RNC, all of the GOP’s verbal inconsistencies and contradictions will soon be fully explained.

Republican lawmakers will howl like possessed banshees about terrorism and the profound urgency for our national security. They also routinely cry for border fences, racial profiling and full body scanners at all airports. And yet when it comes to safeguarding our financial and economic security, Republicans, it appears, are not in the least bit concerned. For them Fat Cat the Banker can do no wrong.

According to an article written by Mr. Frank Rich of the New York Times:

The Other Plot to Wreck America

Americans might be fluent in global terror and the horrors of terrorism but we are woefully uninformed about our domestic financial weapons of mass destruction.

Americans must be told the full story of how Wall Street gamed and inflated the housing bubble, made out like bandits, and then left millions of households in ruin. Without that reckoning, there will be no public clamor for serious reform of a financial system that was as cunningly breached as airline security at the Amsterdam airport. And without reform, another massive attack on our economic security is guaranteed. Now that it can count on government bailouts, Wall Street has more incentive than ever to pump up its risks — secure that it can keep the bonanzas while we get stuck with the losses.

The Director of the Financial Crisis Commission intends to shed some light on the big banks and its financial practices (greed, hubris, stupidity – gosh, why this sounds like a typical old home week of the W. Administration of arrogance and incompetence) over the last several years.

He wants to examine the financial sector’s “greed, stupidity, hubris and outright corruption” — from traders on the ground to the board room. “It’s important that we deliver new information,” he said. “We can’t just rehash what we’ve known to date.” He understands that if he fails to make news or to tell the story in a way that is comprehensible and compelling enough to arouse Americans to demand action, Wall Street and Washington will both keep moving on, unchallenged and unchastened.

Maybe the W. Administration and all of its lackeys including Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison were far too distracted by non-existent WMD’s in Iraq and no bid contracts to the military/industrial complex to worry much about Wall St.

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Filed under Bailout, Banking, Barack Obama, Capitalism, Creepy right-wing antics, Economy, Greed, Media and Entertainment, Money, Mortgages, MSNBC, News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Presidents, Republicans, RNC, Small Business, The Morning Meeting w/Dylan Ratagan, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC

Republicans Delivered the Worst Decade in Modern U.S. History

posted by: LibbyShaw

Republicans ruled for 80% of the last decade, 60% of which Republicans were in total control

At least when W. ran his companies into the ground Daddy’s friends would step up and bail junior out. But Daddy’s buddies are nowhere to be found now that W. and his GOP drove the country straight to hell. Tragically for the American taxpayers, we, our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will have to clean up the squalor. It will take generations to undo the GOP’s financial carnage.

A recent article published in the Washington Post reveals that the American worker lost big time during the past decade.

This news should come as no surprise to any hard working middle class American. We have been living the pain for 10 long years.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation’s growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism — there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

The Washington Post also reveals that there has been zero net job creation since December 1999. Conditions have not been this grim for decades. Essentially, the American worker has not had a raise in a very long time.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

Click to enlarge

As we well know, our home values have declined as have our retirement and savings accounts.

What happened?

Economists attribute the decline to economic stagnation, an out of control housing bubble, too much risk and too much debt. Money was invested in mini mansions instead of business investments that would have created jobs and economic growth.

The housing bubble both caused, and was enabled by, a boom in indebtedness. Total household debt rose 117 percent from 1999 to its peak in early 2008, according to Federal Reserve data, as Americans borrowed to buy ever more expensive homes and to support consumption more generally.

An experiment called an unbridled free market economy ended very badly for we the people.

The first decade of the new century was an experiment in what happens when an economy comes to rely heavily on borrowed money.

A big part of what happened this decade was that people engaged in excessively risky behavior without realizing the risks associated,” said Karen Dynan, co-director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “It’s true not just among consumers but among regulators, financial institutions, lenders, everyone.”

The experiment has ended badly. While the stock market bubble that popped in 2000 caused only a mild recession, the housing and credit bubble has had a much greater punch — driving the unemployment rate to a high, so far, of 10.2 percent, compared with a peak of 6.3 percent following the last such downturn.

In short, the big banks, enabled by Republican free market ideology, gambled with our money and they lost it. And they lost it big time. As we know we the taxpayer had to step up and bail out the banks so there would not be a complete and thoroughly devastating global economic melt down.

The G.W. Bush era was one in which the GOP rewarded every one of its fat cat sugar daddies, including Halliburton with its no bid contracts for a ginned up war called Iraq.

We the people are dearly paying the price for the Bush era’s unforgivable mistakes.

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I am with Dylan Ratigan on this one. The banks should pay the taxpayers back with interest. Why on earth did Hank Paulson give away our money with no strings attached? What was he thinking?

So next time we hear about the virtues of an unbridled free market economy we need to say no way in hell. Any politician who embraces this voodoo notion of economic devastation should be run out of office on a rail for they are unfit to serve the people.

Speaking of unfitness to serve, why is that Republicans have to blame their short comings on others? Why can’t Republicans ever step up and take responsibility for their mistakes?

Republicans are obviously inept at running the economy and they are also incompetent at keeping our nation safe whether from terrorist attacks or national disasters like Hurricane Katrina. It seems that the only thing Republicans are good at is playing the blame game.

A coordinated, successful attack, with sufficient warning, carried out by 19 terrorists, killing 2,973 people, on the 234th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President… who happened to be a Democrat.

HOWEVER, an unsuccessful attack, attempted by 1 terrorist, killing absolutely no one on the 339th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President… who happens to be a Democrat.

SIMILARLY, a complete and total meltdown of the financial system, including a stock market collapse and levels of bankruptcy/foreclosure not seen since the Great Depression on, or around, the 2415th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President (and Congress)… who created Acorn, and just happened to be Democrats.

BUT, 10% unemployment and lackluster job growth on the 215th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President (and Congress)… who want to institute socialism (in the form of Acorn) and happen to be Democrats.

NOW, making a statement from your “brush farm” 144 hours after a dude with bad facial hair is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s fighting some serious war on the baddies.

AND YET, making a statement from the beach 72 hours after a dude with bad genital burns is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s “pretending the war on terror doesn’t exist“.

If folks really have a desire to destroy what is left of their financial security, go ahead and continue to vote for Republicans. Hopefully most of us won’t have this death wish in November.

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The GOP Refuses to Read a Bill it Opposes

Posted by: LibbyShaw

What is it with Republican Party? Does it utterly despise hard working and desperate Americans?

Is the GOP too stubborn, lazy or too dumb to wrap its head around a very complex bill? Or maybe reading is a very tedious and beyond boring act that takes time that could be otherwise spent playing golf or sipping martinis with health insurance lobbyists.

Hundreds of Americans die every month because they lack health care insurance. Do Republicans, including the self-serving,vindictive and tool for the health insurance companies, Joe Lieberman care?

Can obese pigs fly?

I did not think so.

Everyone is entitled to one’s opinion but not to making up the facts.

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Whether it is health care reform or the economic meltdown, Republicans refuse to realistically acknowledge the domestic disasters that confront us whether it has to do with thousands upon thousands of Americans who die because of lack of access to health insurance. Republicans are also unmoved by the thousands upon thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs, homes and everything they have worked so hard to achieve.

Check out how the Republican tools for health insurance lobbyists operate.

Witness a work in narcissism.

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Oh, so, Republicans want to improve the bill? For whom? The insurance health care industry?

You betcha.

Oh, Joe, come on, be brave and come out of your Republican closet. Admit that you are a tool for the fat cat health insurance lobbyist. And so is your wife. Come on Joe, admit this is all about you and you don’t give a rat’s derriere about your constituents who will die sooner than they should because you care about your ego more than you do about the people who elected you.

The inconvenient facts.

Disaster and Denial.

Given this history, you might have expected the emergence of a national consensus in favor of restoring more-effective financial regulation, so as to avoid a repeat performance. But you would have been wrong.

Talk to conservatives about the financial crisis and you enter an alternative, bizarro universe in which government bureaucrats, not greedy bankers, caused the meltdown. It’s a universe in which government-sponsored lending agencies triggered the crisis, even though private lenders actually made the vast majority of subprime loans. It’s a universe in which regulators coerced bankers into making loans to unqualified borrowers, even though only one of the top 25 subprime lenders was subject to the regulations in question.

Oh, and conservatives simply ignore the catastrophe in commercial real estate: in their universe the only bad loans were those made to poor people and members of minority groups, because bad loans to developers of shopping malls and office towers don’t fit the narrative.

In part, the prevalence of this narrative reflects the principle enunciated by Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” As Democrats have pointed out, three days before the House vote on banking reform Republican leaders met with more than 100 financial-industry lobbyists to coordinate strategies. But it also reflects the extent to which the modern Republican Party is committed to a bankrupt ideology, one that won’t let it face up to the reality of what happened to the U.S. economy.

Republicans are not going to lift a finger to help our country recover from the carnage wreaked by its ideologies and agendas since Ronald Reagan.

I think we can safely trust that Republicans will never get it b/c their salaries, as quoted above, depend upon their never getting it.

Nor do the Republicans give a rat’s derriere about the recent poll that reveals the full extent of the horrible misery and suffering taking place throughout the United States.

A few mere examples of the extent of the suffering.

More than half of the nation’s unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. An equal number have cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments because they are out of work.

Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children that they attribute to their difficulties in finding work.

Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities.

The results of the poll, which surveyed 708 unemployed adults from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, help to lay bare the depth of the trauma experienced by millions across the country who are out of work as the jobless rate hovers at 10 percent and, in particular, as the ranks of the long-term unemployed soar.

Roughly half of the respondents described the recession as a hardship that had caused fundamental changes in their lives. Generally, those who have been out of work longer reported experiencing more acute financial and emotional effects.

Republican solution: Tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics works.

With unemployment driving foreclosures nationwide, a quarter of those polled said they had either lost their home or been threatened with foreclosure or eviction for not paying their mortgage or rent. About a quarter, like Ms. Newton, have received food stamps. More than half said they had cut back on both luxuries and necessities in their spending. Seven in 10 rated their family’s financial situation as fairly bad or very bad.

But the impact on their lives was not limited to the difficulty in paying bills. Almost half said unemployment had led to more conflicts or arguments with family members and friends; 55 percent have suffered from insomnia.

“Everything gets touched,” said Colleen Klemm, 51, of North Lake, Wis., who lost her job as a manager at a landscaping company last November. “All your relationships are touched by it. You’re never your normal happy-go-lucky person. Your countenance, your self-esteem goes. You think, ‘I’m not employable.’ “

Republican solution: Let the banks continue to rip off and rob the American people. Block all efforts at regulating the banks. Fight President Obama’s job efforts. Solution: tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics is what we need.

“Every time I think about money, I shut down because there is none,” Ms. Linville said. “I get major panic attacks. I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Nearly half of the adults surveyed admitted to feeling embarrassed or ashamed most of the time or sometimes as a result of being out of work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the traditional image of men as breadwinners, men were significantly more likely than women to report feeling ashamed most of the time.

There was a pervasive sense from the poll that the American dream had been upended for many. Nearly half of those polled said they felt in danger of falling out of their social class, with those out of work six months or more feeling especially vulnerable. Working-class respondents felt at risk in the greatest numbers.

Nearly half of respondents said they did not have health insurance, with the vast majority citing job loss as a reason, a notable finding given the tug of war in Congress over a health care overhaul. The poll offered a glimpse of the potential ripple effect of having no coverage. More than half characterized the cost of basic medical care as a hardship.

Many in the ranks of the unemployed appear to be rethinking their career and life choices. Just over 40 percent said they had moved or considered moving to another part of the state or country where there were more jobs. More than two-thirds of respondents had considered changing their career or field, and 44 percent of those surveyed had pursued job retraining or other educational opportunities.

Joe Whitlow, 31, of Nashville, worked as a mechanic until a repair shop he was running with a friend finally petered out in August. He had contemplated going back to school before, but the potential loss in income always deterred him. Now he is enrolled at a local community college, planning to study accounting.

“When everything went bad, not that I didn’t have a choice, but it made the choice easier,” Mr. Whitlow said.

Republican reaction: Fight, block and obstruct the Obama Administration and Democratic Party’s efforts at reform. Solution: tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics is the solution we need.

Sure, that and there is a boatload of cheap oceanfront property for sale in the middle of the blistering Mojave Desert.

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Thrown Under the Bus Again: The GOP Made a Pact with the Devil

Posted by LibbyShaw

The Republican Party threw the American people under a high speed train fast tracked straight to hell.

Again.

Predictably Republicans made a pact with yet another devil. This time the GOP sold its and our souls, too, to the hottest and most irresponsible devil in hell.

Let me introduce the banking devil for whom we emptied our U.S. Treasury in an extraordinary effort to save the American economy.

Tragically the Bush Administration and its rubber stamping Republicans in Congress failed to set up any rules, enforcement mechanisms, proposals for accountability, transparency or pay back benchmarks before it allowed the devil to empty our national piggy bank. Sure, guys, just back up your 18 wheeler big mother trucks to the U.S. Treasury and we will help y’all load the bags of taxpayer cash.

Clearly the GOP is totally on board with the banker devil run lawless casinos on Wall St. The devil is gambling with our money that includes our savings accounts, investment portfolios, retirement savings and bail out taxpayer dollars. The GOP also gave its blessing to a continuation of the banks extensive abusive consumer practices. Usury level interests rates and fees anyone? Worse, the GOP obviously does not have a problem with the obscene Wall St. bonuses, earned on the backs of our savings accounts, portfolio investments, not to mention again, the sucker U.S. taxpayer bucks, thank you.

I guess the sold-out Republicans are also supportive of the banks refusal to lend money to small businesses and consumers because it is more profitable for banks to gamble with our money instead.

Hell, at least we know for certain that the Republicans are completely on board with obstructing our nation’s economic recovery. If small businesses cannot get jump started with an influx of cash, it cannot do business. It cannot meet its inventory needs nor can it make payroll. If mortgages cannot be re-negotiated, bankrupted homeowners cannot hold on to their homes. Consumers cannot purchase new homes or cars if we cannot borrow money, either. Nor can we improve or make substantial repairs to our homes if the banks won’t lend home equity funding.

Republicans don’t care. They simply do not care about the people.

Yesterday Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) informed the Huffington Post that the GOP signed a political pact with the banks to kill off regulatory reform measures.

The allegation of a quid pro quo was based on an email that Durbin received last spring after his amendment to allow judges to modify mortgages for homeowners who enter bankruptcy was defeated on the Senate floor. During a discussion to promote publicly-financed elections on Friday, the Illinois Democrat relayed that, shortly after the defeat of his “cram-down” amendment, a “banker friend” forwarded him the note from Tanya Wheeless, president & CEO of Arizona Bankers Association.

I have contacted the market presidents for each of the three banks (Chase, Wells and Bank of America) and explained that in my humble opinion it’s a big mistake to cut a deal with Durbin and alienate our (in Arizona) Senator,” Wheeless’s email reads. “I also told them that I thought this would drive a wedge in our industry. [Senator Jon] Kyl has pointedly told them not to make a deal with Durbin and then come looking to Republicans when they need help on something like regulatory restructuring or systemic risk regulation.”

Repeat:

…Come looking to Republicans when they need help on something like regulatory restructuring or systemic risk regulation.

The smoking gun email is included in the link above.

According to Senator Durbin:

The email, he added, “is a total smoking gun as far as I’m concerned. It tells the whole story and it is in writing as to what is happening behind the scenes… So when people say I don’t know if we should have public financing because that is my tax dollars, I can tell them that their resources, whether tax dollars or personal wealth, are being impacted every day by decisions being made by the special interest groups.”

Special interest groups obviously own most if not all of the GOP and 12 lousy Democrats. Earth to Democrats, having a D behind your name means you are supposed to vote as a Democrat, not as a pimped out Republican, sell-out Republican lite or an anti-democracy, reactionary teabagger. Nor are you supposed to cave into to the greed infested fat cats.

Fortunately, Senate Democrats have not given up. New cram down legislation is likely making a come back.

An amendment allowing judges to modify mortgages on primary residences for homeowners in bankruptcy will finally find a home as part of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173).
The amendment, which is being offered by Representatives Conyers (D, MI), Turner (R, OH), Lofgren (D, CA), Marshall (D, GA), Cohen (D, TN), Miller (D, NC), Nadler (D, NY), Delahunt (D, MA) and Waters (D, CA), is potentially the best news homeowners and our economy have had in quite some time.

The amendment is essentially the same as H.R. 1106, a bill passed by the House on March 5, 2009, by a vote of 234-191, but subsequently defeated in the Senate by a vote of 51-45. The measure needed 60 votes to pass over Republican objections, and 12 Democrats succumbed to pressure from the banking lobby and voted nay.

Check out Senator Durbin’s searing indictment of bankers on the Senate floor:

One other argument that I think takes the cake: “Senator, you understand the moral hazard here. People have to be held responsible for their wrongdoing. If you make a mistake, darn it, you’ve gotta pay the price. That’s what America is all about.” Really, Mr. Banker on Wall Street? That’s what America is all about? What price did Wall Street pay for their miserable decisions creating rotten portfolios, destroying the credit of America and its businesses? Oh, they paid a pretty heavy price. Hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money sent to them to bail them out, to put them back in business, even to fund executive bonuses for those guilty of mismanaging. Moral hazard, huh? How can they argue that with a straight face? […]

We want America to be strong, but if it’s going to be strong, you should be respectful, Mr. Banker, of the people who live in the communities where your banks are located. You should be respectful of those families who are doing their best to make ends meet in the toughest recession that they’ve ever seen. You should be respectful of the people that you want to sign up for checking accounts and savings accounts, and make sure that they have decent neighborhoods to live in. Show a little loyalty to this great nation instead of just your bottom line when it comes to profitability. Take a little consideration of what it takes to make America strong…

I’ll offer this Durbin amendment as I did last year. When I offered it last year, they said, “Not a big problem, only two million foreclosures coming up.” They were wrong. It turned out to be eight million. And if the bankers prevail today, and we can’t get something through conference committee to deal with this issue, I’ll be back. I’m not going to quit on this […] At some point, the Senators in this chamber will decide, the bankers shouldn’t write the agenda in the United States Senate.

Bankers and their enabling Republican lawmakers are oblivious to the notion of moral hazard. Since the Reagan Administration, the Republican Party has been on a crusade to insulate the banks and the corporate sector from its own risk taking. Those big government loathing, tax paying hater Republicans stuck the entire fat cat enabling mess on the backs of the American people.

At least the folks in Illinois can count on their lawmakers like Dick Durbin to step up. Unfortunately for those of us in Texas, however, we have no such luck.

We are tragically saddled with cartoon like characters and carnival barkers. The three below are just a few examples.

Senator Cornyn claims in one sentence that Senate Democrats want to kill private health insurance companies. In the next he says Senate Democrats intend to hand over $450. billion to to private insurance companies. Talk about double speak and stupid talk.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Senator Hutchison tells serial lies about health care reform and uses the usual GOP scare tactics. Ohmigod! Health care reform would be disastrous for the American people. Not. What we have now is horribly disastrous for 47 million uninsured Americans.

And then there is this.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet our distinguished governor.

The Party of No says no to everything that would help the people whether it is with extending unemployment benefits, banking regulation and fairness practices, jobs, health care reform and the economy. Today,in his speech at the Brookings Institute, President Obama told us precisely where Republicans stand on everything.

Hat tips to Jed Lewison over at Daily Kos for providing the video clip of President Obama’s talk below.

It is about time, Mr. President. Your words are long overdue.

In a sober tone, President Obama portrayed the Republican Party as opportunistic, obstructionist, and deeply hypocritical, accusing them of both having created the economic crisis we face today and having done nothing to help solve it. He also slammed their hypocritical attacks on government spending, reminding them that they are the ones who created the deficit, and that the recovery act represents just a small portion of it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Texas, more than a few really rather drop dead and serious kick ass changes are long overdue.

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Federal Stimulus Program is Not Working… Except That It Is

Posted by LibbyShaw

VP Joseph Biden greets construction workers after delivering a speech in Kalamazoo, Michigan

The Republicans and their water carrying blustering blowhards in the conventional wisdom alternative universe bubble have been frantically working 24/7 to fabricate the perception that the federal stimulus program is not working.

Those Americans who reside outside the Republican and conventional “wisdom” bubble, i.e. Joe, Jose, Jane, Yolanda, Chen, Hui, Omar and Laqueesha (to name a handful) have a far different view of the federal stimulus program.

It seems that Republicans and the Party’s blowhards ignored the recently released Congressional Budget Office report. Or perhaps the Republicans and its tools did not like what they read. Yikes, this stimulus can’t work or we are dead. Change the message! If the government works we lose! No matter what, kill off any good news about the stimulus program! Who cares what happens to the average Jane and Joe Americans? WTF are they?! This is all about us and our ability to stockpile as much money for ourselves as we can! Heaven help us! Change the bleeping bleepity bleep message! Jeeze oh Pete – gin up a freaking war if need be!

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the $787 billion stimulus package approved in February lowered the nation’s unemployment rate by between 0.3 and 0.9 percentage points while boosting the economy by between 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent. The analysis also found that three-quarters of the money provided in the stimulus had yet to be funneled into the economy by the end of September.

The report is a boost for the administration, which faced renewed questions last month over how many jobs the stimulus has produced after the Government Accountability Office said it found “significant” problems with the White House’s tally. The administration has estimated the stimulus created or saved 640,329 jobs through October.

The report released yesterday “leaves no doubt that the economy would be in much worse shape if the recovery act had not been implemented,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, a California Democrat. “As the Obama administration and Congress continue to explore additional strategies to create jobs and build a foundation for long-term economic growth, it is critical to acknowledge the progress that has already been made.”

But Republicans, especially Texas Republicans and their propagandists at FOX seem to have a problem with facts that the party and its spin meisters do not manufacture.

Sigh. Oh, how we tragically know all about the GOP and its fiscal irresponsibility with its tax cuts for the 1 or 2% of the wealthy, the deregulation of the financial and energy sectors, while waging war on two fronts. Tell us about a war of choice vs. one of necessity. Tell us why we took our eye off of Afghanistan to go looking for Al-Qaeda and WMD’s that did not exist in Iraq? Thanks, too, Louie and Sean, for leaving both wars on the back of a new Administration. And please do accept our deep and heartfelt thanks for your leaving both wars on the backs of the American people, our children, grandchildren and generations of our great grandchildren to come.

Reality check on the federal stimulus program.

Where Texas is concerned we have been awarded $10,680,470,000 in stimulus funding. So far we have received $1,826,240,000.

Jobs created so far: 19,572.

Check out the facts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The so-called conventional wisdom sounds like a bunch of conventional self-serving lying and hysterical stupidity to me.

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John Cornyn’s Serial Lies About the Senate Health Care Reform Bill

Posted by LibbyShaw

Cross posted on Daily Kos, Texas Kaos and The Burnt Orange Report.

This morning I received the following electronic newsletter from Senator John Cornyn on the Senate Health Care Reform Bill.

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released his 2,074-page health care bill, which Senate Budget Committee analysis shows will cost American taxpayers $2.5 trillion when fully implemented over ten years. (My bold.)

Until we have had a chance to read the full 2,074 page Reid Bill, it’s impossible for Americans to fully grasp what the Majority Leader has cooked up behind closed doors. It is my hope that Sen. Reid will afford all Americans the same courtesy that he had: ample time to study the legislation and deliberate the best way to proceed.

Lie 1 debunked: The proposed Senate bill saves $127 billion over first ten years.

And in the second ten years we will realize even more savings.

Over the second 10 years, CBO projects even greater cost savings–up to $650 billion, with the caveat that after 10 years, their analyses become highly uncertain.

Do you have a problem with saving lives and money, Senator?

Why are Republicans constantly moaning and bellyaching about having to read a long and complex bill? If they are too dumb or lazy to read, why bother running for office? And as far as cooking stuff behind closed doors, isn’t that what you Republicans did since Ronald Reagan?

Come on sore loser, give us a break.

There is more.

What we do know so far, as reported by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), is that this bill will have a wide, negative impact on Americans across the board – from seniors on Medicare to small business owners to future generations of Americans who will be footing the bill. The bill will increase taxes on all Americans by nearly half a trillion dollarsand breaks the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on working families earning less than $250,000—at a time that unemployment is at a 26-year high.

Huge whopper 2 in bold above.

This is a disgusting fear mongering LIE. The vast majority of Americans will not receive a tax increase. The link above will give readers a glimpse into the Republican’s record of lying on just about every piece of legislation proposed by Democrats. Lie, obstruct, scare. Repeat lie, obstruct, scare. That is what the GOP has become.

And there will be a wide negative impact on Americans across the board from Seniors on Medicare to small business owners to future generations? Huh?

Lies 3, 4. 5. That, Sir, is called a bold face lie and you are using scare tactics. The bill is not going to hurt Medicare. Period. It will impact Medicare Advantage which some folks, not all, have. Honestly, I find it disingenuous and hypocritical for Republicans, who have wanted to get rid of Medicare for years, are suddenly concerned about and defending it.

A national public option means competition. Therefore small businesses will finally be able to afford to cover employees, or at least offer plans that their employees can afford. What on earth is wrong with that? And as far as hurting future generations this is all a bunch of fear mongering sewage. If anything we’ll have a healthier population precisely b/c 94% of Americans will have access to affordable health care coverage.

While CBO has not been given time to analyze the Reid bill’s impact on premiums, every other independent analysis to date has found that Reid’s new mandates and taxes will increase health care premiums on American families. The Reid bill increases taxpayer spending and liability for health care over the next ten years—instead of reforming our already insolvent entitlement programs. It will gut the already insolvent Medicare program by $464.6 billion, hurting access to care for seniors. It includes a government-run public option that will, according to CBO, have premiums higher than private plans and cause millions of Americans to lose the coverage they currently have. The largest expansion of Medicaid since it was created means the Medicaid program will be the only coverage option for 60 million Americans. It will also impose $28 billion in punitive taxes on employers who do not comply with Washington’s new job-killing mandates.

I should put this entire excerpt in bold b/c it one pack of lies after another.

Lie 6. The so-called independent analysis comes from the Lewin Group that is tied to big insurance.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the Lewin Group, a health care research consulting firm, is owned by Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group.

Sure, they are independent.

Huge whopper 7. Cornyn said the bill would gut Medicare.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Edward Coyle, AFSCME Director of Retiree Programs Steve Regenstreif and the Florida Democratic Party today responded to the lies and misinformation the GOP is spreading about seniors and health insurance reform–including RNC’s lies, which today announced a misleading ad on their “Seniors Bill of Lies.”

Since the health insurance reform debate began, the GOP has attempted to spread lies and misinformation about how health insurance reform will affect seniors. But the truth is, President Obama’s reforms will lower costs, protect choice and provide more options. Seniors in particular will benefit from health insurance reform as it will eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, will end wasteful subsidies to the insurance companies and close the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole.” For seniors age 50 to 64 who are not yet eligible for Medicare, the reforms proposed by President Obama will ensure that seniors who are between jobs or have a pre-existing condition cannot be denied coverage by the insurance industry.

Indeed, AARP has come forward to debunk the lies spread by Republican lawmakers.

There are many naysayers who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and will stop at nothing – including lies — to derail health care reform. Many will try to scare Americans with myths and fabrications about proposed health care legislation —tactics they believe will block vital changes to our nation’s broken health care system.

Make no mistake: opponents of health care reform have powerful tools at their disposal, including the ability to spend exorbitant amounts of money on television, newspaper, and radio ads to spread their myths.

AARP is committed to debunking these myths so that our nation can move toward the ultimate goal of quality, affordable health care for ALL Americans. Here are a few of the most popular myths about health care reform, followed by the facts that debunk them.

The link above debunks the lies one by one.

Myth: Health care reform will weaken Medicare and reduce benefits.

Fact: This is a scare tactic used by special interest groups trying to block progress on health care reform. The plain fact is that none of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services. In fact, rather than weaken Medicare, real health care reform will strengthen the financial solvency of the Medicare program. Let me make this absolutely clear: AARP does not support legislation that would weaken Medicare benefits.

Huge whopper 8. Cornyn says the health care reform bill includes a government run public option that will have premiums higher than private insurance. This is where we see just how joined at the hip John Cornyn is with the health care industry.

Fact: CBO Estimates Show Public Plan With Higher Savings Rate.

In total, a public plan based on Medicare rates would save $110 billion over 10 years. That is $20 billion more than earlier estimates, a spokesman for House Speaker Pelosi said.

There is more.

Lie #1: “trouble … for the national debt.” The public option has been deemed a cost-saver by the Congressional Budget Office, $110B for the strongest proposed plan, $25B for the weaker plan (that is in the Senate bill).

Huge whopper 9. Senator Liar, Liar Pants on Fire insists that millions of Americans will lose coverage they already have. As we know by now, this laughable and is pure nonsense. Cornyn as all other delusional Republicans who are 100% pimped out to the health care industry believes if we have a robust public option, folks will be automatically pushed into and it and the poor innocent health insurance companies will lose patients. Please. Cry me a freaking river. Republican lawmakers should be reminded that insurance companies are spending millions upon millions of dollars to fight health care reform. Even Fox Fixed News gets it! Maybe if the health insurance industry put those millions into actual health care instead of denying it and handing out death sentences we wouldn’t have needed major HCR in the first place.

The five largest private insurers and the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans spent a total of $6.4 million in the first quarter, an increase of more than $1 million from the same quarter last year. The industry is working to counter proposals endorsed by the White House that would offer a government health insurance option for millions of Americans.

Besides as Paul Krugman states below, the magic of the marketplace does not work in health care. A public option is less expensive than no public option.

Serious students of health care have known for a long time that the magic of the marketplace doesn’t work in health care; the United States has the most privatized health-care system in the advanced world, and also the least efficient. The pale reflection of this reality in the current discussion is that reform with a strong public option is cheaper than reform without — which means that as we get closer to really doing something, rhetoric about socialism fades out, and that $100 billion or so in projected savings starts to look awfully attractive.

It has also been clear from international evidence that universality is cheaper than leaving a few people expensively without care. That’s reflected now in the projected savings from a strong employer mandate.

Lie 10. John Cornyn implies that health care reform will introduce a new level of entitlement. There they go again with their big ugly entitlement obsession. God forbid should poor folks and the struggling working and middle classes receive something they deserve as everyday hard working Americans.

Lie #2: “it still creates a whole new government entitlement program”. An entitlement program is a government program that people of a certain criteria have a legally enforceable right to get benefits from, meaning the government has to find the funds one way or another. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are entitlement programs.

The public option simply is not an entitlement program. It would be a choice alongside private plans in a health insurance “exchange” or marketplace. And it would be “self-sustaining,” funded primarily by the premiums of its customers, just like with private insurance.

Government subsidies would help those who couldn’t affordable the premiums. But that is true with any of the plans in the health insurance exchange, public or private.

That big bad guvmint run socialized health care is really about choice and competition. And if our esteemed Republican lawmakers have such a problem with big guvmint run single payer socialized taxpayer funded health care, well, why don’t they give up their own?

It must be nice for folks to have a representative in Congress who will actually stand up for his constituents.

John Cornyn has not only been busted as a serial liar on health care reform, he’s also been outed for his heartless cruelty in blocking health care reform.

John Cornyn say he and his staff will be pouring over the bill.

These initial findings are troubling, to say the least. My staff and I will be pouring over the 2,074 pages, assuming we are given the time to do so. You can access the full text of the Reid bill from my web site:http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/?p=HealthCareReformHQ.

Is that right? It seems to me, Senator, that you have been against this bill before it was even written. If you and your staff really poured over the bill you would have never sent me your misleading, disingenuous and fictional newsletter either. Representatives Weiner and Grayson show respect for their constituents. You, on the other hand, continue to ignore the needs of most of yours, Sir, and you continue to insult our intelligence on a daily basis. Texas has the highest number of uninsured residents and yet you and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison simply do not care. Period. The two of you have the finest health coverage tax payer money can buy so to hell with the people of Texas.

Republican Talking Points:

Lie. Obstruct. Scare.

Lie. Obstruct. Scare.

That and this:

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