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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.

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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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AP Nails GOP for Hypocrisy on Health Care Reform

Posted by LibbyShaw

The Associated Press, Houston’s Channel 2 News and The Houston Chronicle reminded readers and viewers that the very same Republicans who oppose current health care reform had, in 2003, supported an expansion of Medicare. Unlike the Democrats today with HCR, Republicans in 2003 had no plan to pay for the Medicare expansion just like they had no plan to pay for the war in Iraq and tax cuts for the wealthy. All were charged to our, our childrens’, our grandchildrens’ and our great grandchildrens’ credit cards.

This is certainly a new twist with the mainstream media given its tactic sympathy and support of the GOP over the years. As we know, since at least 9/11, the media has given pass after pass to George W. Bush and his irresponsible and devastating crusade in Iraq, his Administration’s culture of corruption in Washington and the failure of the Department of Justice to meet some of its judicial responsibilities. The media failed to disclose that non-partisan federal agencies had been invaded by partisan hacks and had been turned into political arms for the RNC.

It is nice to see that the media has, hopefully, returned to the task of real reporting.

Democrats are troubled by the inconsistency of Republican lawmakers who approved a major Medicare expansion six years ago that has added tens of billions of dollars to federal deficits, but oppose current health overhaul plans.

All current GOP senators, including the 24 who voted for the 2003 Medicare expansion, oppose the health care bill that’s backed by President Barack Obama and most congressional Democrats.

The Democrats claim that their plan moving through Congress now will pay for itself with higher taxes and spending cuts and they cite the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office for support.

By contrast, when Republicans controlled the House, Senate and White House in 2003, they overcame Democratic opposition to add a deficit-financed prescription drug benefit to Medicare. The program will cost a half-trillion dollars over 10 years, or more by some estimates.

With no new taxes or spending offsets accompanying the Medicare drug program, the cost has been added to the federal debt.

That’s right you so-called fiscal conservatives. Just shove more debt on the backs of middle class taxpayers.

The irresponsible Republicans rationalize their behavior in 2003 as DOH! We didn’t know we would bust the nation’s piggy bank so quickly. And, Vice President Dick Cheney assured us deficits don’t matter because Ronald Reagan had said it was so.

Some Republicans say they don’t believe the CBO’s projections that the health care overhaul will pay for itself. As for their newfound worries about big government health expansions, they essentially say: That was then, this is now.

Six years ago, “it was standard practice not to pay for things,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “We were concerned about it, because it certainly added to the deficit, no question.” His 2003 vote has been vindicated, Hatch said, because the prescription drug benefit “has done a lot of good.”

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said those who see hypocrisy “can legitimately raise that issue.” But he defended his positions in 2003 and now, saying the economy is in worse shape and Americans are more anxious.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said simply: “Dredging up history is not the way to move forward.” She noted that she fought unsuccessfully to offset some of President George W. Bush’s deep tax cuts at the time.

Apparently only Democratic deficits matter now.

Some Republicans and conservatives are not buying the Republican lawmaker’s lame excuses above.

From Bruce Bartlett of Forbes:

The human capacity for self-delusion never ceases to amaze me, so it shouldn’t surprise me that so many Republicans seem to genuinely believe that they are the party of fiscal responsibility. Perhaps at one time they were, but those days are long gone.

Republican fiscal irresponsibility according to a fiscal conservative:

This fact became blindingly obvious to me six years ago this month when a Republican president and a Republican Congress enacted the Medicare drug benefit, which former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has called “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”

Recall the situation in 2003. The Bush administration was already projecting the largest deficit in American history–$475 billion in fiscal year 2004, according to the July 2003 mid-session budget review. But a big election was coming up that Bush and his party were desperately fearful of losing. So they decided to win it by buying the votes of America’s seniors by giving them an expensive new program to pay for their prescription drugs.

Recall, too, that Medicare was already broke in every meaningful sense of the term. According to the 2003 Medicare trustees report, spending for Medicare was projected to rise much more rapidly than the payroll tax as the baby boomers retired. Consequently, the rational thing for Congress to do would have been to find ways of cutting its costs. Instead, Republicans voted to vastly increase them–and the federal deficit–by $395 billion between 2004 and 2013.

There is more. Check out this piece on the Hall of GOP Lying, Hypocrisy and Shame.

Today the Medicare prescription-drug debate is remembered mainly for the political shenanigans Republicans used to get their bill through. Bush officials lied about the numbers and threatened to fire Medicare’s chief actuary if he shared honest cost estimates with Congress. House Republicans cut off C-SPAN and kept the roll call open for three hours-as opposed to the requisite 15 minutes-while cajoling the last few votes they needed for passage. Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay was admonished by the House ethics committee for winning the eleventh-hour support of Nick Smith, a Michigan Republican, by threatening to vaporize Smith’s son in an upcoming election. It’s worth remembering these moments when Republicans criticize Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid for his hardball tactics.

The real significance of that episode, however, is not their bad manners, but what Republicans ordered the last time health care was on the menu. Their bill, which stands as the biggest expansion of government’s role in health care since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, created an entitlement for seniors to purchase low-cost drug coverage. Grassleycare, also known as Medicare Part D, employs a complicated structure of deductibles, co-pays, and coverage limits. Thanks to something called the “doughnut hole,” drug coverage disappears when out-of-pocket costs reach $2,400, returning only when they hit $3,850. Simply stated, the bill cost a fortune, wasn’t paid for, is complicated as hell, and doesn’t do all that much-though it does include coverage for end-of life-counseling, or what Grassley now calls “pulling the plug on grandma.”

In their 2009 report to Congress, the Medicare trustees estimate the 10-year cost of Medicare D as high as $1.2 trillion. That figure-just for prescription-drug coverage that people over 65 still have to pay a lot of money for-dwarfs the $848 billion cost of the Senate bill. The Medicare D price tag continues to escalate because the bill explicitly bars the government from using its market power to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers or establishing a formulary with approved medications.

And unlike the Democratic bills, which won’t add to the deficit, the bill George W. Bush signed was financed entirely through deficit spending. While Grassley and his colleagues accuse Democrats of harming Medicare through cost cuts, it is their bill that has done the most to hasten Medicare’s coming insolvency. Between now and 2083, Medicare D’s unfunded obligations amount to $7.2 trillion according to the trustees. Numbers like these prompted former Comptroller General David M. Walker to call it “… probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”

Grassley is not alone in his incoherence. Of 28 current Republican senators who were in the Senate back in 2003, 24 voted for the Medicare prescription-drug benefit. Of 122 Republicans still in the House, 108 voted for it. There is not space here to fully review this hall of shame, which includes Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, and Orrin Hatch of Utah, among many others. Here is Kansas Republican Sam Brownback in 2003: “The passage of the Medicare bill fulfills a promise that we made to my parents’ generation and keeps a promise to my kids’ generation.” Here is Brownback in 2009: “This hugely expensive bill will not lower costs and will not cover all uninsured.” Here is Jon Kyl of Arizona: “As a member of the bipartisan team that crafted the Part D legislation, I am committed to ensuring its successful implementation. I will fight attempts to erode Part D coverage.“* Kyl now calls Harry Reid’s legislation: “a trillion-dollar bill that raises premiums, increases taxes, and raids Medicare.” (Bold is mine)

As we can see the Republican lawmakers’ opposition to health care reform legislation is as usual, a boatload of garbage loaded down by lies, hypocrisy and self-serving agendas.

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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.

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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.

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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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Disgraceful: Senator John Cornyn Opposed Anti-Rape Amendment

Posted by LibbyShaw

Senator John Cornyn (R)

It seems that 30 misogynist Republicans in the U.S. Senate are totally OK with rape, at least where women are concerned. Predictably in yet another routine attempt to serve their corporate masters, (this time the GOP stood by Halliburton) Republicans voted against women and for corporate contempt of rape victims.

Some Republican senators are taking heat for voting against an amendment that would allow employees of military contractors to sue their employers if they are raped at work — and they want the Democratic senator who wrote the amendment to help them fight off the bad publicity.

In October, 30 Republicans voted against Sen. Al Franken’s amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would de-fund contractors who prevent their employees from suing if they are raped by co-workers. Since then, those Republicans have faced outrage for what critics say amounts to support for rape.

Instead of standing up to take responsibility for or clarifying their disgraceful votes, Republican cowards are instead attacking Al Franken, blaming him for their votes.

Jamie Leigh Jones

Jamie Leigh Jones

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) accused Franken exploiting the story of Jamie Leigh Jones — a former KBR employee who says she was locked in a container in Iraq after alleging she was raped by co-workers — to further his political agenda.

Trying to tap into the natural sympathy that we have for this victim of this rape –and use that as a justification to frankly misrepresent and embarrass his colleagues, I don’t think it’s a very constructive thing,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in an interview.

I guess Franken held a sledge hammer over Cornyn’s head and said if he did not vote against the anti-rape amendment Franken would crack it over his head.

What shameless cowards.

I could not agree more with Laura Clawson over at Daily Kos.

To summarize the Republican position: As women, we are not “average Americans,” and gang rape is not a “serious” issue. As women, no matter how powerful we become on our own merits, the Republican establishment will still be hoping for a man to come along and put us in our place.

Not every Republican signs onto these views — indeed, 10 Senate Republicans voted for the Franken amendment, giving the lie to the NRSC’s claim of partisanship — but this is the undercurrent of the party’s policies. This is what they’re hoping to get voters to overlook when they run a Sarah Palin or a Kelly Ayotte for office. This is why Bob McDonnell’s campaign for Virginia governor has been such a popular campaign stop for 2012 prospects: because of, not despite, his opposition to marital contraception and women in the workplace. This is why David Vitter (who voted against the Franken amendment) is still a senator in good standing with the party of alleged sexual morality.

You don’t have to go very far beneath the Republican surface claims of equality-but-not-really to get to the rock-bottom sense that women just don’t count, that our rights and our wellbeing are always subordinate to whatever interest of men they might conflict with. When it comes to it, even the (themselves sexist) notions of chivalry and protecting women come behind protecting the right of corporations to imprison their female employees to shield their male employees from rape charges and still get government contracts.

This latest vote against anti-rape legislation should be a chilling and sober wake up call for all women.

In October 2009, Sen. Franken tears into KBR’s front man. It is well worth watching.

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Thousands Show up for Free Medical Treatment in Houston

Posted by Guest Contributor Libby Shaw

Hundreds of people lined up for free medical care in Houston on Saturday morning.

Hundreds of people lined up for free medical care in Houston on Saturday morning.

Yesterday in Houston nearly 2000 folks came to Reliant Stadium for, in some cases, desperately needed medical treatment. Shamefully, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country. The story is particularly ugly in Houston where 1 in 3 adults are uninsured.

Dr. Oz who runs the free health clinic compared the number of uninsured, untreated people as a national disaster comparable to that of Hurricane Katrina. According to him, Houston and the rest of Texas, a health care Katrina happens everyday.

Despite the shameful statistics on the lack of health coverage, our elected U.S. Republican lawmakers John Cornyn, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and in my case, John Culberson (Houston-7), continue to wage war against health care reform. As with Katrina while the world watched, Republicans showed they were not in the least bit concerned about the hurricane’s victims, some of whom horribly drowned and others who, to this very day, are displaced. Republican behavior with health care reform is exactly the same. The message: Let ’em eat Advil or drop dead. It ain’t our problem. Me and mine are just fine.

When not running free health clinics Dr. Oz is a professor of cardiac medicine at Columbia University. He also hosts a TV show about health issues at 3:00 p.m., M-F. Needless to say, the doctor’s show is very popular.

More from Libby @ daily kos logo

The Doctor Oz Show

National Association of Free Clinics

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