Sunday, July 31, 2011

Debt Ceiling is Raised before Tea Party Understands What It Is: Andy Borowitz


July 31, 2011

Debt Ceiling is Raised Before Tea Party Understands What It Is

GOP Begins Hard Work of Creating Next Crisis

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In an historic eleventh-hour bipartisan accord, the United States’ debt ceiling was raised Sunday night before the Tea Party understood what it was.

In an effort to gain as many Tea Party votes as possible, the debt ceiling bill was drafted entirely in one-syllable words, congressional aides said.

But even as the final agreement was being put to bed, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urged his Republican colleagues not to rest on their laurels: “Now, let us begin the hard work of creating the next crisis.”

According to those close to the negotiations, the GOP in Congress were under pressure to get a deal done before the observance of the official Republican holiday, Shark Week.

Additionally, the Chinese government had warned that if the U.S. defaulted on its Treasuries, China was prepared to take full ownership of Washington and rename it Wang Chung.

In the end, though, Sen. McConnell said the Republicans stood to benefit the most from striking a deal that warded off financial calamity: “We deserve full credit for finding the antidote, even though we were the ones who administered the poison.”


The People My Republican Grandpa Warned Me About

By Bob Burnett
About author:  Bob Burnett is one of the founding executives at Cisco Systems.

When I was a teenager, my grandfather ate dinner with my family and repaid us with a post-dessert homily. His favorite was "the Red menace," where he raised his voice to warn us about the perils of Communism -- "Watch out for those people... they will say and do anything to win." Fifty years later Grandpa's words apply to the leaders of the Republican Party.

Watching Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner respond to President Obama's speech on the debt crisis, I remembered Grandpa Harry's warning. A cousin of President Eisenhower, my grandfather was a lifelong Republican, as was everyone else we knew in fifties-era Orange County California. He was a "moderate" Republican -- a term that's almost vanished from the contemporary political lexicon. He didn't have much use for Democrats -- he reviled FDR and worshiped Richard Nixon. Grandpa had a simple idea of government: leave people alone; balance the budget; and spend whatever it takes to defeat Communism. He didn't mind paying more taxes to strengthen our military.

My father and grandfather owned several small businesses and I grew up working in their stores. Grandpa Harry believed that people like them, hard-working middle class folks, were the lifeblood of the United States And he taught a series of bourgeoisie maxims: "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." "Life is like a grindstone; whether it wears you down or polishes you up depends upon what you are made of." And so forth.

Above all, Grandpa Harry believed in what Robert Reich once called the myth of the "Triumphant Individual... the familiar tale of the little guy who works hard, takes risks, believes in himself, and eventually gains wealth, fame, and honor." He and my father had lived this myth and, while not achieving wealth and fame, had comfortable lives and were valued members of the community.

Grandpa had developed a set of ethics that drove his after-dinner homilies. Some were about service to the community; he believed that those who had been fortunate had a responsibility to care for the less fortunate. (Grandpa had a moderate Republican notion of "the common good.") He valued schools and encouraged his grandchildren to work hard in school and go on to a good university. He believed in "the level playing field" and the notion that in a fair system, "cream rises to the top."

Periodically, my grandfather would deliver his own homespun keys to success: Have a plan. Work hard. Learn from your mistakes; don't quit. Keep your commitments. And tell the truth -- "your word is your bond."

Grandpa Harry didn't regard Communism as an economic system but rather a political order ruled by ruthless despots who didn't tell the truth. "You can't trust the Reds," he'd repeat over and over. "For them, the ends justify the means. They will say and do anything to win."

He never reconciled his steadfast commitment to the truth with his equally emphatic support for Richard Nixon. Fortunately, my grandfather died before Nixon resigned the presidency and admitted to lying.

Nonetheless, if he were alive today, Grandpa Harry would be horrified by the behavior of contemporary Republican leaders -- today's "Reds" -- who believe the ends justify the means. Dwight Eisenhower's cousin would have been appalled by Speaker Boehner's response to the debt crisis. Writing in the CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE Robert Borosage has aptly chronicled the lies in this speech. Boehner repeated standard Republican talking points: First, that the debt crisis was precipitated by a Democratic spending spree on Obama's watch -- it began in the George W. Bush era with ill-considered tax cuts for millionaires and unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Second, that Obama hasn't presented a plan and wants a "blank check" -- the president has presented Republicans with several plans they have rejected, the latest being Senate Majority Leader Reid's proposal for 2.7 trillion in 10 years. Third, Obama hasn't been accommodating, he "can't take yes for an answer" -- the President has gone more than halfway to reach an agreement and, with the Reid plan, essentially offers Republicans what they initially wanted but now reject Finally, Speaker Boehner claimed to have a "bi partisan" solution -- at this writing he doesn't have a bill and the one he has is only supported by Republicans.

Grandpa Harry came from an era where truth-telling was extolled as a virtue and it was expected that everyone -- even politicians -- had honor. For his generation, there was a clear difference between Communists and Americans -- they believed they ends justify the means and we didn't; they believed it was okay to say and do anything to win and we didn't.

A lot has changed in the fifty years since I sat at the dining room table and listened to Grandpa Harry's homilies. In that era, the enemies of the United States were the communists living in Russia and China. In this era, the enemies of the US are Republicans living all around us -- they're the people Grandpa warned me about.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tea Party Calls the Shots -- Boehner Obeys

Tea Party Tail Wags the GOP Dog

By Megan Carpentier, Guardian UK

30 July 11


By capitulating to the Tea Party caucus, John Boehner risks becoming the poster child for all that is wrong with Washington.


hen speaker John Boehner took the gavel from House minority leader Nancy Pelosi in January, Republicans cheered a new era in Washington, inaugurated by an all-out assault on women's reproductive rights, the administration's signature healthcare bill and a series of negotiations intended to bring government spending to heel. But though the speaker sets the agenda, he quite clearly took his cues from a boisterous set of backseat drivers: his new Tea Party members.

Fast forward to July, and the dewy-eyed freshman class (and their more tenured conservative coattail-riding colleagues) are threatening to take the wheel from Boehner altogether, over what they view as his stubborn willingness to compromise one iota with the administration over raising the debt ceiling to avoid a default by the US government. And while President Obama took to the air to encourage his supporters to tweet their support for compromise (and swamp Capitol Hill with calls and emails for the second day this week), Boehner and his consigliere, House majority leader Eric Cantor, were trying to find some way to keep their own members from jumping ship and voting no on their (relatively) grown-up bill to stave off the debt crisis by giving the Senate something it has any chance of passing.

But it wasn't always this way. Less than a decade ago, in the wake of the compounding infidelity scandals that rocked the then House leadership during the time of then President Clinton's impeachment, former high school wrestling coach Denny Hastert held the speaker's gavel and his consigliere, majority whip-cum-leader Tom "The Hammer" DeLay, ruled votes with an iron fist. Didn't like a bill? Delay didn't care - it was your job to vote for the leadership's legislation. Have a Dick Armey-led group threatening you with a primary opponent? DeLay was scarier: he'd set up your primary opponents, kill your earmarks, yank your chairmanship and even, in a case for which he was eventually censured, go after your family. He had no need to kowtow to some upstart ultra-conservative group, because he made sure they knew who was boss from the outset (and, frankly, you could hardly get more conservative than DeLay).

Boehner's willingness to let his freshmen members have sway, lest they complain about his forceful leadership style, set up the situation in which we find ourselves today: a small contingent of intransigent ultra-conservatives who care little about the real-world ramifications of a debt crisis and a great deal about ideology and personal brand are holding their own leadership - and the country - hostage to a plan of spending cuts few people actually thinks is desirable or sustainable. Meanwhile, former speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose forceful leadership style made her the first speaker to lose control of the chamber yet keep her preeminent position within her caucus, has managed to hold almost all her own members firm against the bill as well - something she often had trouble doing as speaker, given some of her conservative members.

Boehner has built his brand within the party around being willing to zing the president and being unwilling to be seen as working with him, which was politically convenient when there wasn't an actual problem at hand. But policy problems require political compromise to solve, and compromising with the administration is something he's allowed the Tea Partiers and his own political posturing to make untenable. With some calling for his head within his own party, the Democrats standing firm against the bill he considers a compromise and, now, the clock running out, speaker Boehner may end up the poster child for all that Americans consider broken in Washington - just in time for voters to choose new House members and who they want in the White House.


Joe Walsh, Deadbeat Dad and Tea Party Hypocrite -- Good video

Lawrence O'Donnell Bans "Deadbeat Dad" Joe Walsh From Appearing on His Show

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As anyone who follows cable news knows, Rep. Joe Walsh (Blowhard-IL) has done quite a job making a name for himself by coming on television and chastising President Obama for lying to the public, asking him if "he has no shame" and with bemoaning the debt that the United States has incurred (primarily due to Bush administration policies) being laid on the backs of his children -- one of the favorite Republican talking points du jour.

Well it appears the recent news that Karoli reported on here about Walsh's troubles with owing back child support was finally enough for MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell to say that Walsh was banned from appearing on his show again -- or at least until he finds out that he's made good with the obligations to his children.

My question is why has the media been giving this guy so much air time he doesn't deserve in the first place? Please do us all a favor Lawrence. Even if he does settle with his ex-wife, don't have him back on again. That said, I do hope the rest of the cable news shows would follow his lead here and spare us his rantings for now.


GOP's New Message: We're Gonna' Hurt Some People

Bill Maher had this segment on his show last night -- there is more truth than fiction in it.  View it at:


Friday, July 29, 2011

Outrageous -- Some employers refuse to let unemployed apply for jobs!

More idiocy/absurdity in our upside-down, backwards world:

"Help wanted."

For millions of unemployed Americans, these two words are a beacon -- a light at the end of a dark tunnel in which they found themselves after Wall Street speculators wrecked our economy. For the unemployed, "Help wanted" means there is hope.

But we've recently learned an outrageous fact -- many employers are discriminating against the jobless by prohibiting them from even applying for open positions. Their "Help wanted" signs come with a caveat -- if you are unemployed, you need not apply.

For millions of U.S. workers, such discrimination is shocking and devastating. And we must make it stop.

So now we need your help.
We've started a petition asking major employment websites like and CareerBuilder to refuse ads from companies that prohibit the unemployed from applying - and it's already having an impact:

Late yesterday, responded to our campaign saying that they “strongly oppose discriminating vs. the unemployed.” But, so far, they have still not committed to refuse ads from employers who openly discriminate against the unemployed.2 Help us keep the pressure on by signing the petition and spreading the word.

It's outrageous enough that 14 million Americans are out of work. But discriminating against jobless people who just want to feed their families and stay in their homes?

Employers should not penalize applicants for a job status that they cannot control, especially when prohibiting the unemployed from applying only compounds the issue.

We need to get America back to work.
By signing our petition, you can let employers know that discriminating against the unemployed will not be tolerated.


Drew Hudson



Social Security payments may be skipped in August--and who knows for how long?

Ah, but not to worry -- the rich won't have to scramble because of it. No, only the middle class and poor--the sick, disabled and the elderly--will suffer. But, you know, as a recent article by Neal Boortz, a wealthy Republican Texan tells us, it's their own fault they don't have jobs or money to pay their bills. It's their own fault that they don't have health care. After all, according to Mr. Boortz, health care is not a "right" -- it's something you earn (if you can get a job to replace the one the rich corporatists took overseas--to avoid paying decent salaries to the workers). And if you find yourself without any way to pay your bills next month, because your Social Security check didn't arrive, well--that's your fault, too. And it's your fault if you were born into a family of poor, hard-scrabble folks -- who, despite being good church-going Christians, can't ever seem to make enough to get by, because jobs keep getting taken away, companies keep closing down, and the workers are left without replacement jobs. It's your fault if you worked hard but couldn't get ahead because your job disappeared right out from under you when the company took its employment to foreign lands. That's your fault and you're stuck with it--and you shouldn't expect any sympathy or help from Neal Boortz or the government. This Texan (such a high and mighty man--a lawyer who's made plenty of $$ in the world) says there is no such thing as good luck or bad luck. You make your own luck. Here are his words: You know the [liberal] mantra: You have the right to a job. The right to a place to live. The right to a living wage. The right to health care. The right to an education. You probably even have your own pet right - the right to a Beemer for instance, or the right to have someone else provide for that child you plan on downloading in a year or so. (how quickly he leaps to these accusations, exposing his prejudices.) Forget it. Forget those rights! I'll tell you what your rights are. You have a right to live free, and to the results of 60% -75% of your labor. I'll also tell you have no right to any portion of the life or labor of another. (What about the bailouts, Mr. Boortz? Did the corporations have a right to our tax dollars, earned by the sweat of our brows?)

I guess he thinks George W. Bush has made his way through the world by his own labor. A man who, in his entire life, has never done any hard work or brought any endeavor to successful fruition (including the Presidency in which he brought our country to its knees) -- a man who lost money in everything he undertook -- a failure who didn't even complete his military service and went AWOL without penalty, because he happened to be born a "Bush", a member of the "elite" -- A man thought of as a fool by his own father -- this is the kind of man to revere, according to this Texas lawyer. As for those who have lost their jobs because their companies took the jobs to other countries,'s their fault that they don't have jobs. It's their fault that they can't pay for health care for their families. It's their fault that they can't pay the rent and can't buy the food, even though they pound the pavement every day looking for work. Yep, as the millionaire Republican Texas lawyer tells us, "It's all your fault." And it will be our fault, too, if we don't get Social Security checks in August. So shut your mouth and don't complain. That's the advice from Neal Boortz. I wonder what Mr. Boortz thought about the bailout of the wealthy by our tax dollars--I'll bet he didn't think those Wall St. corporatists were at fault, and that it was "just and right" for all of us to bail them out. He probably thinks it's "just and right" for those very same bailed-out elite to withhold the money from the middle class now by refusing us loans and jobs, while they use that bail-out money to enrich themselves even more.

Following is an article in today's news that tells all about what we are facing because of right-wing greed and rigidity that never allows for compassion or empathy -- or practical common sense. Their hatred of Obama, based on his color and their false belief that he is a Muslim and not a good "Christian" like themselves, has caused them to force their country to the brink --and bring untold suffering to their fellow man. Ah, but they proclaim themselves to be "good Christians." I wonder, though, if the compassionate, loving Jesus I read about in the Bible would recognize them as his own. Mr. Boortz and his admirers sound more to me like the Pharisees he roundly criticized. (Luke 18:9-14)
And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

As the Treasury Department prepares to hit the swiftly-approaching debt limit with no agreement to lift it in sight, fears are growing that the government might opt to skip the next round of Social Security payments.

Experts warn that the program is such a vital source of support for so many low-income and elderly Americans that even one delayed payment could trigger a domino effect, sending millions of households into delinquency on a broad range of bills.

"What we are talking about here," said Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the National Women's Law Center, "is not the financial markets -- not that they are not important -- but the very ability of millions of Americans to buy food, pay their utility bills, their rent or mortgage and to generally function."

If Social Security payments don't come, Entmacher said, "there are a whole series of very serious, deeply frightening consequences that could, and very likely would, follow."

There are about 54.8 million Americans who receive some form of Social Security benefits each month, according to government data (see Table 2). Most payments are made to retirees, disabled individuals and certain dependent children and adults. The next monthly payment is due Aug. 3. Another 15 million Americans are also due veterans' benefits, federal or postal employee retirement benefits and other payments on that date.

For a substantial share of the people who receive Social Security benefits, that income is essential. About 40 percent of all unmarried individuals who receive social security benefits rely on the program for at least 90 percent of their income, the Social Security Administration's inspector general found in a November 2010 report. About 90 percent of women over age 80 derive nearly all of their income from Social Security benefits.

Losing that income could prove disastrous. Households that don't pay utility bills eventually face shut off. Banks can charge account overdraft fees. And creditors also generally charge late fees for overdue payments. Credit card companies can raise a customer's interest rate due to overdue bills.


Washington vs. America

The people with the pitchforks -- a vast a majority of the nation -- are surrounding the capital.
By Brent Budowsky

Washington is an island drowning in its own self-interest, surrounded by a hurting and unhappy nation of deeply patriotic citizens who hunger for shared national purpose but find our politics to be sickening, insulting and corrupted.

Today huge numbers of the workers of our nation are jobless. The finances of our nation are sinking to banana-republic incompetence. The unity of our nation is being shredded by squabbling factions masquerading as leaders.

The people of our nation view the bastions of power, from Washington to Wall Street, with contempt because they believe, correctly, that those bastions are contemptuous of them, and that those bastions are citadels of selfishness and corruption.

Surely our "leaders" can agree on a modest $500 billion of revenue from wealthy Americans or giant firms that pay no taxes. Surely they can accept a modestly greater contribution to Social Security and Medicare from those with incomes higher than $500,000 or net worth of more than $1 million.

Read the rest of the article at:


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Republican says: Chunk of GOP are either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards

I'd say ALL of the Above!  Even a Reagan adviser is saying it now!

Historian Bruce Bartlett, a former domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan, sat down with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Wednesday to discuss the national debt.

Bartlett said it was a myth that tax cuts are the key to prosperity, noting that Reagan raised the capital gains rate. He was also skeptical that Congress would be able to solve the current budget crisis.

“I think at this point, there’s nothing that can pass the House of Representatives,” he said.

“I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards, who are desperately afraid of the tea party people, and rightly so.”


The American People Are Angry!: Bernie Sanders

Any intelligent person in this country knows Senator Bernie Sanders speaks the truth.  Americans are mad as hell that their so-called "representatives" in Washington pay no attention to the will of we, the people--and are representing only the richest people in the country!  The wealthy should be paying taxes at a percentage commensurate with their income. Republican opposition to this is insane. No one believes their ridiculous claim that the rich are creating jobs -- the truth is the rich are NOT creating jobs. They are not lending money to those who need it. They are hoarding their money (much of it given to them by US, the American people, in a bailout!) and using it for themselves, and themselves alone. That is the truth.  The only people who don't recognize this are the dumb "dittoheads" who watch FOX for their "news."  I am dismayed and disgusted with Obama for not standing up against the Republican crazies -- and for constantly caving in to their obscene demands that are bringing our country to ruin.  I would like to see Bernie Sanders and/or Elizabeth Warren start a 3rd party to champion the causes and carry out the true wishes of the people.  Read below the gist of Senator Sanders' speech on the Senate floor:

As House and Senate leaders fine-tuned rival deficit reduction plans on Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke on the Senate floor about the public's strong belief that additional revenue from the wealthy should be part of any package to reduce red ink. He cited a new Washington Post poll that found 72 percent favor raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 year. Despite those overwhelming numbers, he said, "We are marching down a path which will do exactly opposite of what the American people want." He called Republican opposition to more revenue "fanatical." He also faulted President Obama for a bargaining strategy that sugars down to this: "Retreat after retreat after retreat." Of the competing House and Senate proposals Sanders bluntly concluded that one is bad and the other is much worse. He shared his assessment with radio host Ed Schultz.

The senator also summarized his analysis in this statement:

"The rich are getting richer, and their effective tax rate is the lowest in modern history. Many corporations are enjoying huge profits and, because of outrageous loopholes, pay nothing in taxes. Among many other absurdities, we lose about $100 billion every year from companies and individuals who stash their wealth in tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other locations.

"And yet, the Republicans have been fanatically determined to protect the interests of billionaires and large multi-national corporations so that they do not contribute one penny toward deficit reduction. The Republicans want the entire burden of deficit reduction sacrifice to be placed on the elderly, the sick, children, and working families. That is morally wrong and, in terms of getting us out of this recession, bad economic policy.

"Sadly, the Democrats have yielded far, far too much. In December, with the Democrats controlling the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate they extended Bush's tax breaks for the rich and lowered the tax rates on estates for the very rich. In April, they allowed tens of billions of dollars in cuts to vitally important programs for low- and moderate-income Americans.

"And now, we find ourselves debating two plans. The Reid plan, which calls for $2.2 trillion in cuts over a 10-year period, includes $900 billion in cuts (which will be determined later by committees) in education, health care, nutrition, affordable housing, child care and many other programs desperately needed by working families. Appropriately, it calls for meaningful cuts in military spending and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Reid plan does not require the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations to pay one nickel in deficit reduction.

"The Reid plan is bad. The Boehner plan is much worse. It calls for large cuts in discretionary spending now and demands that this debt-ceiling discussion be revisited next year - which is totally absurd and which will likely keep the Congress paralyzed.

"Lastly, both plans call for a congressional committee to determine future efforts toward deficit reduction. Based on recent committees - Bowles-Simpson, the Gang of Six, etc. - I have little doubt that that new committee will call for major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and will ask very little of the wealthy and multi-national corporations.

"Meanwhile, while all of this is occurring in Washington the American people have consistently stated, in poll after poll, that they want the wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and they want to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. For example, a recent Washington Post poll found that 72 percent of the American people believe that Americans earning over $250,000 a year should pay more in taxes.

"Given that reality, is there any reason to wonder why the American people are so angry and frustrated with what's going on in Washington?"


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The destruction of our country

Krugman is right. By a thousand cuts and now by the chopping off of the head, the Republican fanatics are determined to destroy our country. As more a member of their party than of the Democrats, Obama is aiding and abetting them. On every issue he has caved in, giving them what they were asking for--and more.  Was he part of the plot to pull America down, right from the beginning of his election?  Were all his promises (now lying buried in the political mud) just lies to get our votes?  It is looking more and more that he was always in league with the conservatives.  Either that, or he has been personally threatened, reminded of what happened to the Kennedys when they opted to stand alone against the real rulers of this country and world.  He may have been naive enough to really believe the President has power (just as we who voted for him were fooled). If so, he was reeducated very quickly after taking office. The President only has (apparent) power when he is the tool of the right wing, like Duhmbya Bush who was the puppet of the ultra conservatives.  We are all paying the price for the ascendancy of the right wing crazies to a place of political power.  The founding fathers are spinning in their graves.  And, as a country, we will soon be spinning in ours.

The Cult That Is Destroying America

By Paul Krugman

Watching our system deal with the debt ceiling crisis — a wholly self-inflicted crisis, which may nonetheless have disastrous consequences — it’s increasingly obvious that what we’re looking at is the destructive influence of a cult that has really poisoned our political system.

And no, I don’t mean the fanaticism of the right. Well, OK, that too. But my feeling about those people is that they are what they are; you might as well denounce wolves for being carnivores. Crazy is what they do and what they are.

No, the cult that I see as reflecting a true moral failure is the cult of balance, of centrism.

Think about what’s happening right now. We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.

So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.

The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. Once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on Republican plans, indeed plans coming from the Heritage Foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook.

What all this means is that there is no penalty for extremism; no way for most voters, who get their information on the fly rather than doing careful study of the issues, to understand what’s really going on.

You have to ask, what would it take for these news organizations and pundits to actually break with the convention that both sides are equally at fault? This is the clearest, starkest situation one can imagine short of civil war. If this won’t do it, nothing will.

And yes, I think this is a moral issue. The “both sides are at fault” people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray.

It’s a terrible thing to watch, and our nation will pay the price.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Bush Deficit -- by Jonathan Cohn


Critics of President Obama never tire of blaming him for today's high deficits. But if blame belongs with one president, it belongs with Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush. The chart above, which the New York Times created based upon figures from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, illustrates this point very clearly. But it's worth reviewing the history here, because while it's familiar to most of us who follow politics it doesn't seem to get a lot of attention in the political debate.

By the end of the 1990s, the federal budget was in surplus for the first time in decades. Partly that was a product of unusually strong economic growth, during the internet boom, which had swelled tax revenues. But partly that was a product of responsible budgeting, presided over by the most recent two presidents, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In order to reduce deficits, lawmakers and those two presidents had agreed both to raise taxes and to reduce spending.

In the 2000 campaign, Clinton's would-be successor, Al Gore, campaigned on a promise to, in effect, put those surpluses aside for a rainy day. Bush would have none of it. The government had too much money, he said; the responsible thing was to give it all back to the taxpayers. In office, he did just that, presiding over massive tax cuts that gave, by far, the largest benefits to the very wealthy. Bush promised that the tax cuts would act like a "fiscal straightjacket," preventing government from growing. But then he, and his allies, launched two major wars and enacted a drug benefit for Medicare, all without paying for them. 

Today's fiscal gap is largely a product of those decisions, as the graph above shows. It has very little to do with anything Obama did while in office. In fact, the contrast between the two administrations could not be more striking. Obama's primary undertaking has been comprehensive health care reform. But he insisted that it pay for itself, through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

Of course, tomorrow's deficit problem is a bit different from today's. Looking decades into the future, it's the rising cost of health care that seem likely to wreck federal finances. But health care reform addresses that too, by putting in places the policies and institutions necessary to curb spending on medical care.


Sadly--what we have come to: "Christian" fundamentalists dictate the way things will be

Jesus would not recognize them.  They practice none of his teachings.  Fear and prejudice rule in their narrow-minded belief system. 

EXCERPT:   The American Evangelicals felt that after Reagan, they were entitled to power, Palmer said. That is why they couldn’t understand the election of Bill Clinton. In the Evangelical mind, Clinton was an interloper to “their” White House.

The election of Barack Obama, America’s first black president, came as a particular shock to many white Evangelicals, especially because of his Muslim father and his Muslim name. This resistance to accepting Obama as a “legitimate” president was part of what fueled the hysteria over his supposedly forged birth certificate.

“Obama,” Palmer said, “left them bewildered,” thus the non-negotiating position taken by the right-wing Evangelicals on almost all of the administration efforts.

“I think what you are now witnessing, and it’s not among the majority, is a group of people that thought they were within grasp of taking power and making America once again a holy country, a holy city, the new Jerusalem,” Palmer said.

Their failure would be a rejection of God and must not be tolerated. However, Palmer said, in reality, “this was not the rejection of Christianity, but rather the rejection of this rather narrow kind of Christianity. I think it has driven them to ask why.”

So, the search for the devil continues, with Obama filling the bill and his allies – liberals and Democrats – serving the role that witches once did. There can be no thought of negotiating with these forces of “evil,” as far as the Christian Right is concerned.  (read on for the rest of the article)

The Christian Right’s Rigid Politics

Exclusive: Christian fundamentalism is in the news after a right-wing Norwegian justified his slaughter of scores of people as a protest against European tolerance of Muslims. But the attack was only the most extreme manifestation of how the Christian Right has injected rigidity into the workings of democracy, as Richard L. Fricker reports.

By Richard L. Fricker

July 25, 2011

The rigidity of Christian Right politics has been a complicating factor in governing the United States for the past several decades, stripping away flexibility needed to negotiate on issues as diverse as policies in the Middle East, abortion, health care and the federal budget.

Gone is the more practical approach of assessing government actions based on what might help the country the most – and compromising with those who have differing opinions. Everything, it seems, gets measured by some Christian fundamentalist yardstick of what’s right and wrong.

Adding to this religious style of politics has been a deep sense of victimhood among right-wing Evangelicals, as if Christians were some persecuted minority in the United States, threatened by all-powerful Muslims imposing Sharia law or secular humanists banning Christmas.

Repeated endlessly on right-wing talk radio, these paranoid messages have become real to millions of these religiously inspired voters. So, political adversaries must not only be bested, but crushed. After all, they represent strategies of the anti-Christ.

What happens next with this religious/political phenomenon could dramatically influence the future direction of the United States, a nation founded on principles of religious tolerance and respect for free debate and political diversity.

Martin Palmer, Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), sees hope in the shifting of some American Evangelicals away from hard-right anger in favor of life-affirming environmentalism. In an interview, Palmer notes that Evangelical environmentalists are the fasting growing part of American’s “green” movement.

However, Palmer accepts that American Evangelicals have been a key factor in creating today’s political acrimony. He describes the political movement as “revenge”-based, rather than rooted in any particular Christian philosophy.

Palmer, whose group interacts with religious leaders of all faiths on a global basis to develop environmental programs, is also a theologian and regular commentator on the BBC on ethics, religion and the environment.

The American Evangelical-political leaders, according to Palmer, are upset at not retaining the White House consistently after the presidency of Ronald Reagan. They see evil and the devil as the forces preventing them from creating a faith-based government.

At this point, the Evangelical Right wants the entire administrative structure of the secular state torn down in order to create a “New Jerusalem” and to hasten the Apocalypse.

To understand how this Christian Right movement evolved, Palmer said, one must look back at catastrophes that struck Christian Europe some eight centuries ago.

The Plague created disillusionment with the Church’s ability to protect the faithful. To counter those doubts, a school of thought emerged insisting that some other forces must be at work, with the devil and his agents doing battle with the Church, with goodness and with God.

This fear of the devil gave rise to witch trials and images of a cloven-hooved demons selecting victims and recruiting co-conspirators. It became common for populations to blame “evil” for virtually any failure of an endeavor, bad crops or disease. To eliminate these Satanic forces, the devil’s suspected agents were burned at the stake as witches.

After Europe lost its taste for witch burnings in favor of more scientific explanations, Evangelicals turned their religious passions toward converting heathens in distant lands, like China, India and Africa. The missionary movement came into full flower in the late 1800s.

But Evangelicals never entirely lost their obsession with the devil. In effect, Palmer explained, they found new devils among populations about whom they knew precious little.

“One of the reasons for the re-appearance of the devil or evil in those early missionary days came about through disappointment,” Palmer said. “The missionaries, when they went to China — China had more missionaries than the whole rest of the world put together — they found people really weren’t interested” in the Christian message.

“The dilemma facing the missionaries, primarily Protestants, … was that they were not terribly literate people. They were very much people who came out of working-class backgrounds who had had a dramatic conversion experience.

“That experience had given them an intense sense of the love of God and they felt ‘called’ to go to the mission field. Often they had never traveled more that thirty-five miles outside their home town, and now found themselves on a boat to China or to India. These were people who felt God had called them to leave everything and go to these strange countries.”

The missions were slow getting off the ground and the number of converts tiny. That was deeply contrary to the expectations of the missionaries who thought that the inhabitants of these dark lands would be profoundly grateful to receive the light of the gospel.

“And, that didn’t happen,” Palmer said. “It so didn’t happen on such a monumental scale that this raised huge questions. The missionaries were left with only three possible answers:  that no one was interested,” which was unthinkable.

“The second one was that somehow they had failed,” Palmer said. “They were not able to communicate the gospel, and were failing Jesus. Quite a few of them had monumental nervous breakdowns. … The average life of a missionary in inland China in the second half of the Nineteenth Century was just two years.

“Many of them just fell apart and had to be shipped home and were basically wrecks thereafter, because they felt they personally had failed their commission.”

Or the missionaries could see the challenge in a way less disparaging of the Christian message or their own abilities.

“The third option was … the devil,” Palmer said. “They were not dealing with ordinary human beings who were not accepting the gospel. They were dealing with the devil. And, the devil in the form of anything you wanted, in the form of statues of other gods, Taoist, Hindu shrines or holy men who wandered the countryside, it didn’t really matter.

“These forces of evil were actually blocking the poor people who all wanted to convert but the devil was in the way.”

In Palmer’s analysis, a similar phenomenon has been occurring in America. With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the Christian Right foresaw a national conversion, with Americans accepting the Bible in the way fundamentalist Christians interpreted its teachings. With America providing that light onto other nations, Christianity would be on a triumphant march.

However, that failed to happen. Despite right-wing gains in terms of tax policy and other benefits for the rich, the nation has continued its gradual evolution toward a more tolerant and a more secular society. For instance, polls show growing acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage, two hot-button issues for Christian fundamentalists.

The American Evangelicals felt that after Reagan, they were entitled to power, Palmer said. That is why, they couldn’t understand the election of Bill Clinton. In the Evangelical mind, Clinton was an interloper to “their” White House.

The election of Barack Obama, America’s first black president, came as a particular shock to many white Evangelicals, especially because of his Muslim father and his Muslim name. This resistance to accepting Obama as a “legitimate” president was part of what fueled the hysteria over his supposedly forged birth certificate.

“Obama,” Palmer said, “left them bewildered,” thus the non-negotiating position taken by the right-wing Evangelicals on almost all of the administration efforts.

“I think what you are now witnessing, and it’s not among the majority, is a group of people that thought they were within grasp of taking power and making America once again a holy country, a holy city, the new Jerusalem,” Palmer said.

Their failure would be a rejection of God and must not be tolerated. However, Palmer said, in reality, “this was not the rejection of Christianity, but rather the rejection of this rather narrow kind of Christianity. I think it has driven them to ask why.”

So, the search for the devil continues, with Obama filling the bill and his allies – liberals and Democrats – serving the role that witches once did. There can be no thought of negotiating with these forces of “evil,” as far as the Christian Right is concerned.

“Any manifestation of contemporary society that they feel does not fit their vision of how the world should be is the work of the devil,” Palmer said.

Yet, Palmer believes the Christian Right does not see all obstacles as equally evil:

“I think you need to distinguish those who are active agents of the devil, such as Islam, over those whose misguided compassion is exploited by the devil. For example homosexuality itself is wrong, but homosexuals do not necessarily have to be wrong: they can be saved.”

Put in simple terms, Palmer said Evangelicals see, “A cosmic struggle for the world. The apocalypse is always next. History is irrelevant. … Time is temporal. All you need is the Bible. There is always a conspiracy against God and a weakening of the white family.”

Given the evil perceived by the extreme Evangelical Right, the only solution for the U.S. is to “strip the government to the bone and start over,” Palmer said.

However, Palmer thinks the hard-core Evangelical movement will eventually “burn itself out” because of its unwillingness to search for compromise solutions.

Palmer believes, the movement will “go to sand” as more and more Evangelicals focus their efforts on environmental issues. According to Palmer, “Quite a lot of people in that movement have disavowed themselves from the socio-evangelical political goals … and gone off and become active in the environmental movement.”

Palmer and fellow religious environmentalists will be meeting at the White House in December to discuss the religious approach to preserving the environment.

Palmer is a regular contributor to several BBC programs on ethics and religion, most specifically “In Our Time” hosted by Melvyn Bragg. He explained the evolution of the devil, evil and the missionary movement in a segment, “The Devil.”

Richard L. Fricker is a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based investigative reporter who has covered the “war on drugs” for the ABA Journal and other publications.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dr. Jeffrey Long tells of his research that proves to him there is life after death  -- Dr. Jeffrey Long interview

Whether or not one believes in life after death, the sincerity and earnestness of the people sharing their near-death experiences can't be denied. It can't hurt to listen to their accounts and feel for yourself what seems right and true. There are many short videos on youtube of people telling their own experiences of this nature.  Here are just a few:   -- 26-minute video of several people telling of their near-death experiences   --   Woman tells of near-death experience  -- Man whose NDE took place while he was drowning


Sincere open-hearted woman tells of near death experience

This woman speaks from her heart about her experience and what she learned from it.

Super Congress won't be accountable to the people

But then, do you really think Congress is accountable to the people now?  If you ever thought "We, the people" had any say in anything, with the advent of a Super Congress, you can say goodbye to that notion forever.  Here comes the end of our world as we have known it:

EXCERPT: A Super Congress would be less accountable than the system that exists today, and would find it easier to strip the public of popular benefits. Negotiators are currently considering cutting the mortgage deduction and tax credits for retirement savings, for instance, extremely popular policies that would be difficult to slice up using the traditional legislative process.

The documentary "SPIN" -- a must-watch

A documentary made more than 20 years ago --  imagine how much more advanced
they have become in SPIN these days! Do you believe we EVER get the truth in news?

Behind the scenes at the so-called TV "news." You think the news is manipulated?
This film shows how they do it by catching them in the act over and over again.
You'll never look at TV news the same way again.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hey, ya know what we need in this country? More guns for the idiots!

Any right winger will tell you gun ownership is very important--and that you should never leave your house without your weapon. If you're at a party or a car show,  you never know when you might have an argument with some S.O.B. you will want to shoot.


Six people were shot to death and four others wounded Saturday at a roller rink in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, reported.

The shooting at Forum Roller World took place just after 7 p.m. when an argument during a party got out of hand and someone pulled a weapon and opened fire, Grand Prairie police told the NBC station.

In all, 10 people were shot, six of them fatally, including the gunman, reported.

The gunman died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. The condition, identities and ages of the survivors were not immediately known.

The Dallas Morning News said the shooting occurred during a birthday party.

Grand Prairie is about 15 miles west of downtown Dallas.


Eight people were shot at a a low-rider car show south of Seattle after a fight on Saturday afternoon, police said.

Police were searching for several people believed involved in the shooting, NBC station KING 5 reported.

Hundreds of people were gathered for the car show when a fight broke out and gunfire followed.

Seven victims were taken to hospitals. One person declined treatment. The extent of the victims' injuries was not immediately released but were said to not be life threatening.

"I saw a lot of people running everywhere, running across the street, then the cops showed up," Trish Harvey, who works at a dive shop, told ABC station KOMO. She said she heard about 10 shots.

She described the event as a "very peaceful celebration," KOMO said.

The incident took place about 17 miles south of downtown Seattle.


Republicans will never say YES to Obama, no matter how much he capitulates to their demands

The Party That Can't Say Yes

By The New York Times | Editorial

23 July 11


or days, the White House has infuriated its Democratic allies in Congress by offering House Republicans more and more in exchange for a deal to raise the debt ceiling and prevent default. But it was never enough, and, on Friday evening, it became clear that it may never be enough. Speaker John Boehner again walked away from the "grand bargain" he had been negotiating with President Obama, leaving the country teetering on the brink of another economic collapse.

At the White House podium a few minutes later, the president radiated a righteous fury he rarely displays in public, finally placing the blame for this wholly unnecessary crisis squarely where it belongs: on Republicans who will do anything to upend his presidency and dismantle every social program they can find. "Can they say yes to anything?" he asked, noting the paradox of Republicans, who claim that financial responsibility and debt reduction are their biggest priorities, rejecting yet another deal that would have cut that debt by at least $3 trillion.

Mr. Obama, in fact, had already gone much too far in trying to make his deal palatable to House Republicans, offering to cut spending even further than the deficit plan proposed this week by the bipartisan "Gang of Six," which includes some of the Senate's most conservative members. The White House was willing to cut $1 trillion in domestic and defense spending and another $650 billion from Medicare, Medicaid and even Social Security.

Much of that savings would have come from raising the eligibility age for Medicare benefits and reducing the cost-of-living increases that elderly people depend on when receiving their health and pension benefits. It could have caused significant damage to some of the nation's most vulnerable people.

The "bargain" would require that alongside these cuts, tax revenues would go up by $1.2 trillion, largely through a rewrite of the tax code to eliminate many deductions and loopholes. That's substantially less in revenue than the $2 trillion in the "Gang of Six" plan. The problem is that while much of the cutting would start right away, most of the revenue increases would be put off, in part because a tax-code revision would take months, and in part to allow House Republicans to say they did not agree to any specific tax revenue increases.

Democratic lawmakers were rightly furious when they heard about these details this week, calling the plan wholly unbalanced. But, in the end, it was Mr. Boehner who torpedoed the talks. He said Friday evening that he and the president had come close to agreeing on $800 billion of the revenue increases (the equivalent of letting the upper-income Bush tax cuts expire as scheduled next year - not much of a heavy lift) but could not stomach another $400 billion the White House wanted to raise through ending tax loopholes and deductions.

So, on the eve of economic calamity, the Republicans killed an overly generous deal largely over a paltry $400 billion in deductions. Mr. Obama was willing to take considerable heat from his liberal critics over the deal, and the Republicans were not willing to do a thing to anger their Tea Party base. As the president forcefully said, there is no evidence that House Republicans are capable of making those tough decisions. If last-ditch talks beginning Saturday fail, they will have to take responsibility if the unimaginable - a government default - happens in 10 days and the checks stop going out.


Doing God's work, Nutso style

Another right-wing fundamentalist teaching us how to be a Christian. Fundamentalist beliefs/instructions of the twisted, radical nutso type (Michele Bachmann springs to mind) are these: despise anyone who is a different color or lives a different lifestyle or has a different sexual orientation--and especially fear and hate them if they are Muslim. Tell yourself they don't deserve to live. Buy a lot of guns and then kill anyone you think isn't in step with your beliefs. We've had the abortion clinic murders here committed by religious zealots such as this -- egged on by the fanatical right wing big mouths like Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Beck. Right wing fanatics and their "pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands" love of guns, combined with their fears and prejudices that are being stoked by their Tea Party candidates day in and day out, are a very dangerous crowd.

EXCERPT: As stunned Norwegians grappled with the deadliest attack in the country since World War II and a shocking case of homegrown terrorism, a portrait began to emerge of the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, 32. He was described as a religious, gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threat of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration to the cultural and patriotic values of his country.

“We are not sure whether he was alone or had help,” a police official, Roger Andresen, said at a televised news conference. “What we know is that he is right wing and a Christian fundamentalist.”


How Things Really Work in Washington


By RJ Eskow

EXCERPT:  Psst! Hey, you! Yeah, you, in the expensive suit. Listen, Mr. Banker, are you worried that a little oversight and enforcement might be bad for business? I hear ya. I really do. But listen ... hey, come a little closer, pal. I won't bite ya! I got an offer and I don't want to shout it.

What you need is somebody who can fix this problem for ya. Permanent-like, if you catch my drift. And I think you do. You don't have to get your hands dirty, neither. I know a guy who knows a guy... in fact, he knows a lot of guys.

Here's his number. He'll handle it real discreet-like. I know, I know. You don't want your name drawn into this. You like giving those interviews where you play the wise statesman and complain that people aren't nice enough to folks like you.

No, no, that's not how you say it! It's spelled B-O-E-H-N-E-R, but it's pronounced "Bay-ner." He'll be waiting for ya on K Street. Can't miss him: Orange tan. Cries a lot. Likeable as all get-out. Even the Big Guy says he can "do business with him."

Don't worry, pal. Johnny'll get the heat off your back before ya even know it. I know the right folks. We got that Warren lady outta the way this week, right? Now as for that little "bureau" of hers -- well, stuff happens, right? There could be a fire, maybe, or an accident. Or maybe some kinda new law, I dunno. Johnny'll think of something.

Say hello for me when you see him -- and don't forget to bring your wallet.


Yesterday the House passed H.R. 1315, and the normally humor-challenged Republicans showed unusual wit by naming it the "Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011." That's like naming the German U-boat flotilla the "Improved Safety and Soundness Fleet for Ocean Travel of 1941." The bill actually weakens our economy's safety and soundness, even as it helps banks prey on consumers. U-boats were designed to sink ships, and this bill was designed to torpedo consumer protection.  [Read rest of article at: ]

Psst! Mr. Banker! I'm over here, in the shadows.

Didn't I tell ya Johnny would come through for ya? Yeah, he sure did. Glad you feel that way. If you're happy, I'm happy. What's that? You wanna make sure you keep paying these super-low taxes we fixed up for ya? No sweat. Johnny's boys can fix that for ya, too, if you don't mind hurting a few old people.

Thanks for the envelope. There's a bonus, too? Thanks! It's a pleasure doin' business with ya, pal, a real pleasure.

Like always.

Medicare is the Solution -- Not the Problem

This essay offers sensible, practical wisdom from Robert Reich.  Yet we know Big Pharma and health insurance companies will NEVER allow it.  Their billions (exacted from us for their crummy policies that seldom pay out) will fund their innumerable lobbyists, with bribes/payoffs to our so-called "representatives" in Congress.  Those representatives represent only the big guys, and we, the people are left out in the cold on every issue.  Yet Tea Party believers naively and willingly go along with anything proposed by the elites.  Their simple minds aren't able to understand that they are supporting their enemies and voting against their own interests.  Sigh.

By Robert Reich

Medicare isn't the nation's budgetary problems. It's the solution. The real problem is the soaring costs of health care that lie beneath Medicare. They're costs all of us are bearing in the form of soaring premiums, co-payments, and deductibles.

Medicare offers a means of reducing these costs - if Washington would let it.


Friday, July 22, 2011

What is wrong with people? Have we all lost our minds?

I believe this country's people are either stupid or stupified-- and most are probably both.

Corporate Tax Holiday in Debt Ceiling Debate -- Where's the Uproar?
By Matt Taibi, Rolling Stone

Have been meaning to write about this, but I’m increasingly amazed at the overall lack of an uproar about the possibility of the government approving another corporate tax repatriation holiday.

I’ve been in and out of DC a few times in recent weeks and one thing I keep hearing is that there is a growing, and real, possibility that a second “one-time tax holiday” will be approved for corporations as part of whatever sordid deal emerges from the debt-ceiling negotiations.

I passed it off as a bad joke when I first saw news of this a few weeks ago, when it was reported that Wall Street whipping boy Chuck Schumer was seriously considering the idea. Then I read later on that other Senators were jumping on the bandwagon, including North Carolina’s Kay Hagan.

This is what Hagan’s spokesperson said:

Senator Hagan is looking closely at any creative, short-term measures that can get bipartisan support and put people back to work. One such potential initiative is a well-crafted and temporary change to the tax code that encourages American companies to bring money home and put it towards capital, investment, and–most importantly–American jobs.

For those who don’t know about it, tax repatriation is one of the all-time long cons and also one of the most supremely evil achievements of the Washington lobbying community, which has perhaps told more shameless lies about this one topic than about any other in modern history – which is saying a lot, considering the many absurd things that are said and done by lobbyists in our nation’s capital.

Here’s how it works: the tax laws say that companies can avoid paying taxes as long as they keep their profits overseas. Whenever that money comes back to the U.S., the companies have to pay taxes on it.

Think of it as a gigantic global IRA. Companies that put their profits in the offshore IRA can leave them there indefinitely with no tax consequence. Then, when they cash out, they pay the tax.

Only there’s a catch. In 2004, the corporate lobby got together and major employers like Cisco and Apple and GE begged congress to give them a “one-time” tax holiday, arguing that they would use the savings to create jobs. Congress, shamefully, relented, and a tax holiday was declared. Now companies paid about 5 percent in taxes, instead of 35-40 percent.

Money streamed back into America. But the companies did not use the savings to create jobs. Instead, they mostly just turned it into executive bonuses and ate the extra cash. Some of those companies promising waves of new hires have already committed to massive layoffs..

It was bad enough when lobbyists managed to pull this trick off once, in 2004. But in one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington, companies immediately started to systematically “offshore” their profits right after the 2004 holiday with the expectation that somewhere down the road, and probably sooner rather than later, they would get another holiday.

Companies used dozens of fiendish methods to keep profits overseas, including such scams as “transfer pricing,” a technique in which profits are shifted to overseas subsidiaries. A typical example might involve a pharmaceutical company that licenses the rights or the patent to one of its more successful drugs to a foreign affiliate, which in turn manufactures the product and sells it back to the U.S. branch, thereby shifting the profits overseas.

Companies have been doing this for years, to incredible effect. Bloomberg’s Jesse Drucker estimated that Google all by itself has saved $3.1 billion in taxes in the past three years by shifting its profits overseas. Add that to the already rampant system of loopholes and what you have is a completely broken corporate tax system.

And the whole thing is predicated on that dirty little secret – the notion, long known to all would-be major corporate taxpayers, that there would come a day when there would be another tax holiday.

That time, they hope, is now. According to Drucker, lobbyists met with President Obama last December to ask for another holiday. And now the drumbeats are rolling on the Hill for a new holiday to be included in the debt-ceiling deal.

Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the same Senator who produced the damning report of corruption on Wall Street, has been trying to fight the problem, introducing a measure that would prevent companies from accessing offshored money through correspondent accounts and branches of offshore banks.

Levin’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has also been investigating how companies might use the cash they save from a tax holiday, surveying companies like DuPont, presumably to find out just how many of these firms really intend to create new jobs with their tax savings.

I’m shocked there isn’t more of an uproar about this. Could you imagine what the Tea Party would be saying right now if there was a law on the books that allowed immigrants to indefinitely avoid taxes on income sent back to family members in the old country, in Mexico and Venezuela and India?

Imagine the uproar if Barack Obama, in the middle of this historic revenue crunch and "We're so broke the world is going to end tomorrow!" debt-ceiling hystgeria, decided to declare a second “one-time tax holiday” for, say, unwed single mothers, or recipients of public assistance? Middle America would be running through the streets, firing shotguns out its truck window, waving chainsaws in mall lobbies, etc.

As it is, leading members of the Senate are seriously considering giving the most profitable companies in the world a total tax holiday as a reward for their last seven years of systematic tax avoidance.  Hundreds of billions of potential tax dollars would disappear from the Treasury. And there isn’t a peep from anyone, anywhere, on this issue.

We’re seriously talking about defaulting on our debt, and cutting Medicare and Social Security, so that Google can keep paying its current 2.4 percent effective tax rate and GE, a company that received a $140 billion bailout en route to worldwide 2010 profits of $14 billion, can not only keep paying no taxes at all , but receive a $3.2 billion tax credit from the federal government. And nobody appears to give a shit. What the hell is wrong with people? Have we all lost our minds?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quote of Truth from Jon Stewart

"Democrats: a moment of dissent, a lifetime of capitulation."
--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

A quote from the Diamond Sutra

One of my all-time favorite quotes (helps to keep one balanced in an insane world):

Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud;
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.

And remember that little song we all sang as kids?  (how true it was--and is!): 

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.


Murdoch Henchman may be responsible for Climate-Gate


On November 20th, 2009, somebody broke into a computer server at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and stole thousands of emails and computer files. The documents were leaked to Climate Change Deniers, and although exhaustive analysis later proved that the emails merely revealed scientists' anxiety that Climate Data and Research were being properly handled and studied, the Deniers have treated those emails as if they were a kind of Holy Grail of fraud. They claim the emails not only disproved all of climate change, but also that they proved that scientists had doctored data in order to exaggerate the urgency of an international conference on climate change coming up the next month in Copenhagen in Denmark.

As the corporations and lobbyists who sought to feed the myth that there is no man-made climate change disseminated, exploited and deliberately misinterpreted the stolen e-mails - and used Fox News and other Murdoch enterprises as their principle venues - the victims, the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, decided they'd better hire a public relations pro to help them fight back. They hired ... Neil Wallis.

The Murdoch editor who had supervised electronic hacking at "The News Of The World," but then went to work for Scotland Yard, but then spied on the Scotland Yard hacking investigation for Murdoch's men, but then tried to suppress media coverage of the Scotland Yard hacking investigation, now found himself in exactly the same kind of candy store over climate change denial. And he was the chief kid!...

What, if anything, Neil Wallis had to do with the original hacking of the climate emails at the University of East Anglia, is still speculative ... just as whether or not he was a double-agent for Murdoch in this hacking case, just as he had been a double-agent for Murdoch during Scotland Yard's hacking investigation. But it may not be speculative for long. There is the news from The Financial Times: a possible FBI/DOJ investigation of a Murdoch subsidiary hacking the computers of a business rival. And earlier today, PC World Magazine reported that while we've all been working with a number of 3,870 hacking victims in the Murdoch Scandal, data released by Britain's Home Affairs Committee suggests the number may actually be as high as 12,800.

Only 170 of the victims have yet been notified. If any of the others among the "Hacked Twelve Thousand" turn out to be scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, Rupert Murdoch may be in a lot bigger trouble than he is, even tonight.

He may be the man ultimately responsible for the illegal and inaccurate attempt to dismiss climate change as a scientific fraud.