Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

“They’re Gone” 

In 2005, four Republican senators proposed bringing back a rule called PAYGO, that was implemented during the Clinton administration. Basically. it stands for pay as you go, and forces Congress to compensate somewhere else in the budget for new spending.
However, when President Obama said, that he’d support PAYGO, those same Republicans decided that they did not want it anymore.

The idea of a bipartisan deficit commission was originally proposed by former Republican Senator Judd Gregg and seven Republican senators co-sponsored the legislation. They had proposed setting up a bipartisan blue ribbon panel to work on bringing down the deficit. But, when Obama said, that he like the idea, those same seven Republicans decided they were against it.

Obama complained: “This law failed by seven votes.  When seven Republicans who had co-sponsored the bill, had co-sponsored the idea, suddenly walked away from their own proposal after I endorsed it.  They make a proposal.  They sign on to the bill.  I say, “Great, good idea.”  I turn around, they’re gone.  What happened?”

Same thing with cap and trade.  Democrats wanted to ban certain levels of pollution in the air, but Republicans insisted on using the market. So, Democrats agreed to place caps on the pollution, while allowing businesses and utilities to trade their ability to pollute. Cap and trade was the Republican idea.  Republicans were for it, and so was Obama. Next thing we know, Republicans are against it.

Same thing occurred with health reform. Democrats wanted to require that businesses to cover all of their employees, but the Republicans counterproposal insisted on individual responsible and requiring an individual mandate to purchase insurance. Obama said okay we’ll have individual mandates, but now, Republicans are against it.

When, George W. Bush proposed trying international terrorism suspects in U.S. federal courts, there was no outcry from congressional Republicans, but when Obama proposed doing the same thing.

Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell claimed: “This is really dangerous nonsense.  We have a way to do it.  Interrogate them, detain them, and try them in military commissions off shore. Republicans were for terrorism trials in the United States when Bush was president, but now their against it.

It’s hard to determine what the Republican Party actually stands for?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Undoing Reform

The primary reasons we’ve become a debtor nation is Bush’s two unnecessary wars, and tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans never oppose tax cuts for the wealthy, because they’re committed to being cheerleaders for greedy Wall Street charlatans. Driven by greed, special interest lobbyist frequently prevent members of Congress from considering the common good.  

House Republicans have started their reckless effort to undo Wall Street reform. Their agenda is to bring back the days of de-regulation of Wall Street. One of their strategies is to obstruct funding to two of the agencies which are critical to the implementation and enforcement of the financial reform law, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.



Recently, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated: "anything we can do to slow down, deter or impede their ability to engage in this kind of oppressive over-regulation which is freezing up our economy would be good for the country… The less we fund those agencies, the better America will be."



This is extreme right-wing ideology and payback to their big contributors in the financial services industry, many of whom are working to defeat Obama in 2012.

Republicans are also trying to block the funds necessary to implement the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. House Republicans have demanded that the bureau be run by a five-person commission; Senate Republicans have vowed that they will not confirm anyone to run it.



Congressional Republicans want to cripple our government’s ability to police too-big-to-fail institutions. In the final analysis, their goal is to repeal Wall Street reform completely. They’re determined to re-deregulate Wall St, because the Republican attack on the Democrats’ financial reforms have paid off handsomely for them in the form of millions of dollars in campaign contributions.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Disapproval and Scapegoating

In a rebuttal, to comments I had made in the online forum, of the Oneonta Daily Star, Oldsoldier wrote: “The proffesional (sic) 'reciepiant' (sic) class and third generation welfare reciepiant (sic) is who and what I was refering (sic) to. You really need to take a trip down to NYC and accompany a social worker on her rounds, as ex law enforcement I've been there, and seen first hand who I am talking about.  Go to any grocery as the food stamps are dolled out, as the 'reciepiant' (sic) talks on his/her high end cell phone, as his/her three to four kids scamper around, and then pays cash for cigarettes, alcohol, and whatever 'descretionary' (sic) items that could be prioritized.”

Not only does Oldsoldier find spelling difficult, he doesn’t have a clue regarding how the vicious cycle of desperation, alienation and despair begins, or how to prevent it.

A new cycle of poverty for millions of Americans began during Bush’s presidency, when tax cuts legislation was passed, which mostly benefited the very wealthy. The richest 1% of Americans saw their income go up an average of more than 10% each year between 2002 and 2007. As the richest Americans got much richer, the middle class saw their income stay about the same, and the number of people in poverty gradually increased.

In late 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 777 points in one day, the biggest point loss ever.  Wall Street melted down, because a relatively small number of irresponsible people who controlled a great deal of money had been allowed to get away with breaking rules, that had been put in place to prevent Wall Street from creating a massive public risk in order to chase private gain. 

Bush's appointee, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke the Chairman of the Federal Reserve asked for and Congress approved $700 billion. Welfare for the rich is always a priority, but not for the poor, who may soon be supplying “three or four kids,” by way of economic conscription to our military. Republican will not accept the reality, that trickle down economics is a myth.

At the peak of the Great Depression, Republican President Hoover scapegoated a large group of WW I veterans, who had become upset with their miserable circumstances. He send in the Army to destroy and burn the Hooverville shacks and bust the heads of WW I veterans.

Our leaders don’t like to be presented with situations, that advertises their failed economy. For generations our corrupt version of capitalistic has failed millions of our fellow Americans. The only solution, that oldsoldier and other self anointed Tea Party patriots have to offer is their arrogant disapproval and scapegoating of the poor.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reevaluating Governors

The most recent Quinnipiac poll shows Florida, Governor Rick Scott down to 29% approval, and 57% disapproval. In Ohio, Governor John Kasich has a 38% approval rating and 49% disapproval. A new Rasmussen survey found, that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker earns positive reviews from 43% and negative reviews from 57% of voters statewide.

Surprisingly, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is enjoying a 61% approval and 18% disapproval rating. The Democrat governor is doing incredibly well despite having done a lot of careful cutting, whereas the Republican Governors are taking the meat axe approach, that is making they’re constituent very angry. 

Blunt talk has made Governor Chris Christie very popular nationwide with Republicans, but he’s not nearly as popular in New Jersey. The Governor’s approval rating among men is at 53%, but among New Jersey women, 54% disapprove of his job performance while only 36% approve.

The television image of Ralph Kramden seems to work better with men. Men will say, that Christie is speaking his gut, however, it shouldn’t be a surprise, that loud mouths aren’t as popular among women.

The fact of the matter is that Republican governors implemented policies in a style that seemed to be destructive. Most voters are willing to take some cuts.  They’re not opposed to accepting that things aren’t going to be quite as easy as they were a couple years ago.  Nevertheless, they want a governor, as well as a president, who makes cuts with an eye toward the human side.

Many of the Republican governors are taking a repressive attitude toward public employee unions.  They made a mistake in assuming that public employee unions and teacher unions are very unpopular. In fact, recent polling indicates, that 77% of voters like teachers and don’t mind public employees all that much.

In California, Arnold Schwarzenegger came in on wave of popularity, but he went after the three most popular professions: firefighters, teachers and nurses. His disapproval rating, before his recent marital scandal was publicly revealed was at a dismal 66%.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Bulldog Wrote

An obviously frustrated contributor to The Daily Star online forum, who goes by the name of Cody didn’t approve of what I wrote about liberals. He resorted to claiming, that I believe it’s OK to be dishonest, exaggerate the facts and make up fiction to prove my point. According to Cory: “I spew out rhetoric, but had nothing to back it up, and
believe that "truth" is irrelevant.

Someone, who goes by the pseudonym Bulldog responded by writing: “In support of Jim O’Leary, I would like to offer the following:

“In the history of humankind, all advances in civilization have been progressive in nature. There has always been a struggle between progressives and non-progressives and the labels liberals and conservatives don’t always fit although liberals tend to be progressive and conservatives tend towards the status quo. 

“Advances in civilization would be such things as equal rights for all, voting rights, including secret ballots, accessible and affordable educational opportunities, free speech, free press, representative government, affordable health care for all, protection from racial discrimination, religious freedom, and many more which were fought for and not easily won.  Throughout these advances, progressives, including liberals, have been on the right side of history. 

“Was the Confederacy progressive or non-progressive?  Were those who opposed voting rights for women progressive or non-progressive?  Were those who opposed segregation progressive or non-progressive?  Was the implementation of the Social Security program progressive or non-progressive?  Is the Medicare program progressive or non-progressive?  

“This list could go on and on but the basic idea is that there are people who support such advances, whether they benefit them directly or not, and there are people who have opposed them.  Political party platforms are based, in part, on progressive programs or on programs that oppose what they consider a liberal agenda.  As pointed out by Mr O’Leary we have an economic divide in this country with a majority of the wealthiest Americans in one party and a majority of working class in another.  Which party is progressive?”

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Exclusion Rejected

Last night, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that legalize same-sex marriage in New York State. Our legislature cleared the way with a 33-to-29 vote, and that was the first time a state Senate with a Republican majority had approved such a bill.

In a joint statement, signed by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and seven other Catholic bishops stated: “We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.”

Faith is the antithesis of objective truth. In recent years, I’ve have become increasingly distrustful of the Catholic and Evangelical Christian religions. They seem to be blind to the role their teachings play in perpetuating human conflict.

In “Our Endangered Values” Jimmy Carter wrote that characteristics of fundamentalism are: rigidity, domination, and exclusion. He pointed out: “Fundamentalist movements are led by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers.”

I perceive little difference between male dominated Catholic and Evangelical Christian religions. Historical, arguments bolstered by faith and tradition have been made to support slavery and dismiss as heresy, the heliocentric view of the solar system. Objective truth is not affected by faith, or tradition.

Most Catholics don’t like the way the Catholic Church and other religions treat the issue of homosexuality.  Catholic is the largest single religion in the United States and 70% of them believe that America’s places of worship contribute to higher rates of suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth.

Last year, I paid tribute to the memory of my Uncle John at a St. Patrick’s Day party by singing his favorite songs. Several months later my oldest sister, who is in her 80’s, confirmed my suspicion that our uncle John, who died 45 years ago, was gay.

Uncle John’s favorite song ended with the words: “The greatest thing You’ll ever learn Is just to love and be loved in return.”

Love and inclusion of our children should be the cornerstone of civilization. The cliché hate the sin of homosexuality, but love the sinner, undermines my respect for the leadership of both the Catholic and Evangelical Christian religions.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Working for Us

Our representatives in Congress are supposed to be working for middle-class Americans, not just their multi-millionaire donors. 

Unfortunately, congressional Republicans are doing the opposite by proposing to disassemble Medicare, cut education and eliminate much of our social safety net. At the same time, they’re attempting to extend tax cuts for millionaires and corporations. They’re doing nothing to create jobs. It's not fair that the average millionaire gets over $100,000 a year in tax breaks, while families struggle with a shattered economy and 9.1% unemployment.

This isn't about deficits, it's about who our government is working for. Conservatives in Congress have demonstrated, that they’re working for the corporations and the wealthy elite.

The only political party, that has balanced the budget in the last 50 years in this country are the Democrats. Republicans don’t care about your money.  They’ll say they do at election time, but then they give it away to the corporations in the form of subsidies and tax cuts. 

Actually, 60% of the projected deficit by 2019 will be caused by the Bush tax cuts.  If we only did one thing and went back to the tax rates we were paying when Bill Clinton was president of the United States, 60% of the deficit would disappear. 

Progressive champions, Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders have introduced bills in both houses of Congress to make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. Progressives in Congress intend to end the Bush era tax cuts and make Congress more responsive to working people.

Conservatives in Congress have a plan to end Medicare and give more tax breaks to millionaires. It has already passed the House and is being supported by nearly every Republican in the Senate.



Fortunately, Democrats have Obama and a slim majority of supporters in the Senate, who will stop them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rep. Jared Polis

Democratic Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado was the first freshman congressman elected to the House of Representatives, as an openly gay man.

He believes that Obama is going through a journey on the subject of gay marriage, because it involves issues of faith, and issues of tradition. However, Rep. Polis is confident that Obama as well as the American people will eventually end up on the enlightened side of this issue. Progressives should recognize that getting there is a process, and we need to honor that process.

Obama made a courageous decision not to appeal a court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Basically, he made the statement that the federal government simply shouldn’t be defending a law that’s blatantly unconstitutional. There are very few precedence of a President instructing his attorney general not to make an appeal.

Congressman Polis insists that it also took a lot of courage to get out front by ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and signing a hate crimes law fully inclusive of our community.

Presently, Obama has a Congress that can’t get a marriage equality bills passed. It’s the responsibility of Congress to turn that around, and he’s been working with members of Congress. Most Americans will eventually support the marriage equality issue, and so will President Obama. Polis said: “President Obama is the best president we’ve had on equality issues.”

The President will likely have a political opponent that supports enshrining discrimination in the Constitution, by claiming that gay marriages can’t be recognized even in the states that have them. Furthermore, he will likely have an opponent that wants to turn back the clock on ending “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The recent Republican debate clearly demonstrated the stark contrast between Obama, and Republican candidates, who will be attacking him, for his courageous decision of not the defend DOMA. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clarence Thomas

The New York Times has published details of improper ties between Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and influential rightwing funder and activist Harlan Crow.

Crow is a major contributor to conservative causes and a stalwart supporter of Clarence Thomas. Reportedly, Crow gave Thomas' wife $500,000 to exploit the Citizens United decision and start a shadowy, Tea Party-related group called Liberty Central. He also gave Supreme Court Justice Thomas a bible (estimated value $15,000) that once belonged to Frederick Douglass, and is alleged to have provided Thomas with access to his yacht and private jet.

Although, the Supreme Court isn’t legally bound by the code of conduct for federal judges, Justices Breyer and Anthony M. Kennedy have testified to Congress that members of the Court voluntarily follow the code which explicitly prohibits justices from directly soliciting charitable donations.

Harlan Crow donated nearly $5 million to Republican campaigns and rightwing groups, including a six digit donation to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth which attacked Senator John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election.

Crow isn’t the sole source of questionable ethical behavior on the part of Clarence Thomas. His highly questionable relationship to an ethically challenged Supreme Court justice is simply the latest to be exposed.

Clarence Thomas participated in a secret political fundraising event put on by the Koch brothers to fund Tea Party infrastructure groups, and for years disregarded rules requiring him to report his wife's income on financial disclosure forms. His household received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the conservative Heritage Foundation during a period when he was voting on landmark cases in which the rightwing think tank had a clear ideological stake.

Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas resigned in disgrace in 1969 after it was revealed that he had received gifts from interested benefactors similar to those received by Thomas.

Prior to resigning, Fortas recused himself from voting in cases related to his benefactor. However, Thomas has refused to recuse himself from cases before the court in which organizations related to Harlan Crow continue to file briefs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Warning

The budget proposal in the House of Representatives, offered by Rep. Paul Ryan, and passed by House Republicans is unpopular with most Americans. However, not much has been said about how it will affect our veterans. The Paul Ryan plan will end Medicare, making it a voucher program, leaving seniors to buy their own insurance in the private system.  It will therefore end one of the most popular and successful initiatives ever offered.
 
This plan will also harshly punish veterans and it’s important that you spread the word on how it will do so. Millions of veterans over 65 rely on Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance for their health care.

In fact, according to the last survey of veterans by Department of Veterans’ affairs 39.3% of veterans use the Medicare, compared with 14% of the general population.

The Ryan plan would have an immediate impact on veterans, who rely on Medicare as their sole health care provider, by forcing those falling into the “donut hole” with high-cost prescription drug costs to pay more for their medication in addition to paying more for preventive services.

The Republican budget plan could slash $1.4 trillion in health benefits over the next ten years.  Forty-four states are already facing significant budget shortfall in Fiscal Year 2012, and the cuts could force the state to either ration health care benefits for veterans across the country, restrict eligibility rules and leave thousands uninsured, including veterans, or raise taxes to cover the shortfall.

Finally, many veterans rely on private insurance, mostly through their employer. Because Republicans want to repeal the recent health insurance law, these veterans will no longer have guaranteed access to health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions and may see annual or lifetime caps on coverage under the Republican budget.

In short, Republican plan will strip away care for our veterans, in the name of budget cutting.  These proposals are draconian, cruel, and unfair to those men and women who put their lives on the line for this country.  But, unless we spread the word about how severely the Ryan/Republican plan will hurt veterans, most Americans won’t ever know.
 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Got a Better Plan?

Roughly 50% of the borrowing that will be needed over the next decade stems from Bush’s refusal to pay for the 2001 tax cut, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and a prescription-drug benefit program for Medicare recipients.

Furthermore, we’re not going to be able to pay down the national debt unless more Americans are back at work and paying taxes.  Apparently, the Republican plan to deal with that issue is to guarantee that the unemployment rates remain high so that Obama is defeated in 2012.

Our Congressional Budget Office has found that giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans is one of the least effective ways to stimulate our economy. 

The Fairness in Taxation Act, has been introduced in the House, by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. It would provide new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires. A new bracket of 45% would be created for those earning over a million dollars.  Taxes for those making over $10 million would go up 1% to 46%. For incomes over $20 million, it would be 47%.  For incomes over $100 million dollars, the tax rate would be 48%. The top tax bracket would be for incomes over $1 billion dollars at 49%.

The bill would tax capital gains and dividend income as ordinary income for those with incomes over $1 million. If enacted the Fairness in Taxation Act would raise more than $78 billion.

Currently, the top tax bracket begins at $373,000 of income and fails to distinguish between the “well off” and billionaires. Moreover, the top 20 hedge fund managers average income last year was over $1 billion.

In 2010, Americans paid the lowest level of federal, state and local taxes, since 1950, and 95% of Americans got a large tax cut from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

If Republicans have a better plan that doesn’t destroy Medicare or weakens Social Security, it’s time to announce it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Freeing up $5 Billion

Reportedly, New York is expected to follow in the footsteps of Vermont, which passed legislation on May 26 towards a single-payer health care system.

Sen. Thomas Duane and Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried held a press conference on June 7. They were joined by physicians, nurses, religious leaders and labor representatives, who support the legislation they’re sponsoring to create a publicly funded and government-managed health care system in New York state. Their bill (S.5425/A.7860) would create a single, government-run agency to oversee the financing of health care throughout the state.

Sen. Thomas Duane said: "Let's see whether a public option can compete with private insurance. We believe a public option will be cheaper and more efficient and provide better health care. The private sector says that's not true, but you know what, we're willing to compete."

Richard Gottfried added:"Our current health care coverage system is overwhelmingly accountable to insurance company stockholders. We think we can do a whole lot better if it is accountable to the public."

The legislation would establish the New York Health Trust Fund, which would provide the funding for health care costs. State and local money from Medicaid and Medicare would be pooled into the fund, along with payroll premiums, 8% by the employer and 2% by the employee, and any funds that previously went into health-based services that would be covered by the single-payer health plan.

Reportedly, removing private insurance companies from the system would free up more than $5 billion in the health care system currently used to pay for administrative positions and for the billing and collecting of debt for hospitals.

Dr. Garrett Adams, the national president of Physicians for a National Health Program insists: "This legislation is not just slapped together. I looked at it, and it's very carefully thought out."

According to Shaun Flynn, director of governmental affairs of the New York State Nurses Association, nurses have come to the conclusion that single-payer health care is necessary to control escalating costs for their patients.

Flynn said: "One of the things that we've found in talking with our members who interact with patients every day is that there's a common theme here. Over the last decade people have seen the value of their health insurance coverage diminish while their costs have skyrocketed."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett served as executive director of the Joint Economic Committee and as senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. Today, he’s a columnist for “The Fiscal Times.”

Bartlett insists: “There’s no reason whatsoever to believe that cutting capital gains tax or frankly cutting any tax will help the economy at this time because the nature of the economy’s problem is not amenable to tax cuts.”

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has put forth a proposal to repatriated profits, by creating a permanent tax holiday to allow international conglomerates to bring their foreign profits back into the United States tax free.

Bartlett believes: “A case can be made to move towards what’s called the territorial type system for tax incorporations. But, it’s a very bad idea to do this as a gimmicky way of raising a little bit of temporary revenue.  We ought to talk about this in the context of fundamental tax reform and deal with the whole corporate sector at that time.”

Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty envisions a world of 5% economic growth in America. 

Bartlett explains: “We could certainly get a year or two of plus 5% growth if we ever get a snap back from the current economic recession. But, he points out that a sustained growth rates of 5% have not occurred in major industrialized countries in the post-war era. According to Bartlett: “Pawlenty is promising something at least historically speaking would be impossible to deliver, and there’s no analysis suggesting that his proposals will do anything to bring that about.

He feel that the most important thing to understand is that policies, such as the Reagan tax cut in 1981, which he supported and continues to support, were the right thing to do at that time under those economic circumstances. He insists: “Republicans keep acting as if it’s always 1981, with exactly those particular problems, and they simply refuse to acknowledge that anything has changed in the last 30 years.”

Bartlett thinks the basic problem with the economy today is a lack of aggregate demand and doesn’t see any way of increasing that through the sorts of tax policies that Republican presidential candidates are talking about.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Haley Barbour

Recently on “Face the Nation,” Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour attempted to explain why gas prices are so high in America. He claimed: “This administration’s policy has clearly been to drive up the cost of energy so Americans would use less of it. That’s environmental policy. That’s not energy policy. But that’s their policy.”

In fact, oil production in the United States of America has gone up 11% since President Obama took office. You’re expected to believe, that somehow Obama has been able to drive up gas prices while oil production increased at the same time. Haley Barbour used to earn millions as a corporate lobbyist for the energy industry and he’s familiar with the tactic of lying on their behalf.

A new add campaign by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation is pushing the exact same distorted line of reasoning. They’re launching gas price rallies across the country and an Internet video, that has a man saying: “If you want to see gas prices fall sharply and rapidly, let the Middle East and the other places we import oil know that we’re serious about exploring in America, and about drilling here on our soil. That will have an immediate impact on prices.”

Americans for Prosperity is an organization funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, who have a vested interest in making you believe Obama is personally driving up gas prices.

Reportedly, Koch Industry is one of the world’s top five oil speculators. David and Charles Koch are the most aggressive right-wing activists in America. They supported the Tea Party movement and saw their wealth increase by $9 billion last year. Individually, they’re each tied for the 18th. richest man in the world, but their combined fortune would rank them at number four, right behind Carlos Slim, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.

The CEO of Exxon Mobil is on record saying the oil speculation has driven current prices up by as much as 50%. Claiming that high gas prices are an Obama administration conspiracy is a lie.

Reasonable people, who are capable of thinking critically would question that lie, by asking: "Why would Obama want to drive up oil prices, if he wants to be re-elected?" Unfortunately, many Americans seem to be incapable of thinking critically.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Benjamin Netanyahu

The fake defenders of Israel look ridiculous when they lie about what Obama said about Israel’s future borders. 

Former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch wrote on his “Jerusalem Post” blog, that “he simply doesn’t trust Barack Obama,” and doesn’t think that supporters of Israel should trust Obama as much as they trusted George W. Bush. Obviously, Koch is unable to comprehend that Obama’s position on Israel’s future borders is identical to the position of Israel’s current prime minister.

His outrage is based on the lie that Obama said that he believes the solution is to go back to Israel’s 1967 borders, which he never said.  Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister pretended to be outraged, even though he heard the entire sentence and knew that the Obama position was identical to his own position. 

Obama said: “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feigned outrage over Obama’s suggestion that Israel and Palestinian’s borders should be based on 1967 lines, with mutually agreed and negotiated swaps.  However, in Netanyahu’s congressional address, he made exactly the same suggestion. 

Decades ago when Netanyahu was a junior member of the Israeli government, he told a visiting American official privately, we want to negotiate with these bastards, but you’ve got to force us to. He did that for a very simple strategic reason, first privately annunciated by President Richard Nixon, when he told an aide that Israel always has to feign outrage at initial peace proposals because the Palestinians will never consider a plan they think Israel might like. 

Obama was referred to using the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps for lands that are currently beyond Israel’s borders.  Netanyahu said, “the precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated.” The Obama phrase for that was “mutually agreed swaps.”

They’ll get those mutually agreed upon swaps by negotiating. Both of Obama and Netanyahu are saying to start with the 1967 borders, then mutually negotiate some changes to those borders.  The president’s position and the prime minister’s position are identical. 

 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Incredibly

A current example, that bear witness to the fact, that the Democratic Party is a champion for middle-class Americans.

During the Bush era, reckless Wall Street charlatans were allowed to gamble in the stock market, without observing established rules and regulations. It resulted in millions of our citizens being sentenced to a slow financial death. Fortunately, Obama and the Democrats in Congress are doing everything possible to prevent this recession from getting worst.

Wall Street reforms have brought new transparency to many financial markets. Part of what led to the current crisis were firms, who were making risky bets, using derivatives in ways that defied accountability.

Democrats and Obama believe, that there is a legitimate role for those financial instruments in our economy, because they can spur investment. A lot of companies have use those instruments to legitimate ends. For example, a business might hedge against rising oil prices by buying a financial product to secure stable fuel costs, so an airlines might have an interest in locking in a decent price. The problem was, that some markets operated in the shadows of our economy, invisible to regulators, and invisible to the public. Reckless practices became rampant and the risks accrued until they threatened our entire financial system.

The financial crisis wasn't just the result of decisions made in the executive suites on Wall Street; it also resulted from decisions made at kitchen tables across America, by those who took on unwise mortgages, credit cards and auto loans. Although, many Americans took on financial obligations that they knew or should have known they could not have afforded, millions of others were actually duped. They were misled by deceptive terms and conditions, buried deep in the fine print.

That’s why America needs an aggressive Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the direction of Elizabeth Warren.

Currently, she is under attack from the US Chamber of Commerce and other powerful lobbyists. Incredibly, 44 Republican Senators have pledged to filibuster the nomination of anyone to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless the agency itself is significantly weakened.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bothersome Regulations

Another example, that proves the Democratic Party has repeatedly demonstrated that they support middle-class American. 

Last year, poisonous gases filled the underground tunnel in the Upper Big Branch mine and twenty- nine miners have now been confirmed dead. Many believe, that the responsibility for those deaths should rest with the CEO of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship. 

In 2005, Blankenship, who is a right-wing activist millionaire wrote: “If any of you have been asked by your group presidents or supervisors, engineers or anyone else, to do anything other than run coal, for example, build overcast, do construction jobs, or whatever—you need to ignore them and run coal.” He told employees to maximize coal production, because that was far more important than spending time constructing things like support beams or ventilation shafts. 

Blankenship wasn’t willing to pay for the safety of his employees, because he has more important things to do with his money. He spent over a million dollars, to sponsor last year’s Labor Day Tea Party, also known as the Friends of America rally. At the rally with Blankenship was Sean Hannity of Fox News. 

Massey Energy controls 41 underground coal mines currently in operation in Appalachia and investigators have cited them with 2,074 safety violations since the start of this year. Hundreds of those citations target the same problems with ventilation and methane buildup. Massey Energy, was responsible for a 2006 fire that trapped 12 miners and killed two of them, because the company had removed ventilation controls the year before and had not replaced them. 

The rules that protect workers from negligent employers in this country are so weak that thousands of employers make the rational decision to just ignore them and pay the token penalties if they're forced to. Massey brought in $24 million in income in the fourth quarter of 2009. It saw the fines it incurred for violations of bothersome regulation as a cost of doing business, not as a reason to act to protect its workers from injury and death. 

The Republican candidate in the 20th Congressional District, Christopher Gibson ran on a platform of “eliminating onerous regulations.”

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Update 6/30/11.

According to Mine Safety and Health Administration official Kevin Stricklin workers at the mine told investigators that the company wanted to avoid scrutiny by inspectors and keep coal production running smoothly. Therefore, it kept two sets of books on safety conditions. An accurate one for itself and a sanitized one for federal regulators.

Reportedly, managers at Massey Energy pressured workers at the mine to omit safety problems from the official set of reports.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration has referred the matter to federal prosecutors.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bottom Line

Examples, that the Democratic Party has repeatedly demonstrated their support of middle-class Americans.  

We can reduce our national debt by cutting spending, increasing taxes and encouraging job growth, so that more people are paying taxes. Republicans are against raising taxes, especially on the very wealthy.

Tea Party Patriots succeeded in getting elected by uninformed, frustrated and angry voters on a promise to reduce our national debt. Although, “compromise” is usually the only way to get something done in Congress for the American people, many Tea Party folks consider that word a sign of weakness.

Unless, more people become employed and start paying taxes, we’re never going to reduce our national debt. Innovation, especially by small businesses are the key to our economy, since they create two out of every three new jobs. Congressional Democrats have arranged for small businesses to get financing and have cut taxes in key areas. Obama suggested that Congress specifically eliminate capital gains taxes on small businesses so that when they’re starting up and don’t have a lot of cash flow, they get a tax break.

In 2010, 1.3 million private sector jobs were added, which was the strongest job growth since 2006. Nevertheless, we still have a very long way to go, because 40 thousand factories closed during the Bush era. 

Reportedly, the Carlyle Group is interested in investing $1.8 trillion in China, India and Brazil, because Wall Street is addicted to cheap foreign labor and would much rather pay a line worker in India pennies on the dollar instead of investing in the American way of life. 

Capitalism is not interested in economic patriotism, it’s only concern is the bottom line. Apparently, congressional Republican want to continue to reward their corporate masters, while our unemployed middle class and poor Americans beg for jobs.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

“Shakedown”

Examples, that the Democratic Party has repeatedly demonstrated their support of middle-class Americans.  

On June 17, 2010, Republican Congressman Joe Barton accused the White House of a "$20 billion shakedown" of oil giant British Petroleum after the company agreed to establish an escrow account to pay the claims of people harmed by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the outset of a House hearing where BP's chief executive officer appeared for the first time before Congress, the Texas congressman said: “I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation (BP) can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown, with the attorney general of the United States. But I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure..”

Barton was referring to the agreement that President Obama had made with BP for establishment of a $20 billion relief fund.

Rep. Barton has taken $1.4 million from the oil and gas industry since 1990 and spoke for the dark heart of the Republican Party. The Republican House Study Group has over 100 congressional Republicans, who used the word “shakedown.” It’s not only the oil issue, it’s across the board. Every election is a choice and Barton’s approach to dealing with big oil is to give them whatever they want. 

Furthermore, Tea Party favorite and Republican candidate for the Senate, Rand Paul called Obama’s effort to hold BP responsible for the oil gushing into the Gulf Coast “un-American” and insisted that “accidents happen” in speaking of the oil well blow-up and the West Virginia coal mine disaster.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

“So Be It”

Last year, House Minority Leader John Boehner claimed: “It was clearly irresponsible for Washington Democrats to force this legislation through Congress without being truthful about its full impact on the nation’s finances. Republicans are fighting to repeal this job-killing health care law and replace it with reforms focused first on lowering costs and protecting American jobs.”

Since January, Boehner has been Speaker of the House, but has failed to presented a plan to lower health care costs or protect American jobs. We’re still spending far more per capita than any other industrialized country on health care, because America still has the most cumbersome bureaucratic health care system in the world.

Prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act more than 31% of every dollar spent on our health care went for paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, and profits. Drug companies are charging Americans the highest rates in the industrialized world. According to an independent study by Thompson-Reuters, the international news and information organization with expertise in health care and science, our health care system was wasting as much as $800 billion every year. Up to $200 billion, of waste was created by fraud. Administrative inefficiency and redundant paper accounted for 18% of the waste.

Nevertheless, the Congressional Budget Office projected, that Affordable Health Care Act will result in a savings of $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years. We should be trying to make our healthcare system even more affordable.

On 1/6/11, the CBO released a preliminary analysis of House Republican legislation indicating that, over the 2012-2021 period, the effect of enacting HR 2, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” on the federal budget would increase our deficit in the vicinity of $230 billion. It would seem, that those Republicans, that support HR 2 don’t understand the concept of financial responsibility or care about our national debt.

The Republicans’ federal budget proposals are being forecast to slow down America’s economic growth significantly and to cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Three months ago, Speaker of the House, John Boehner response to that allegation was: “If some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it.” 

Boehner lacks credibility, because eleven times over the last four years, congressional Republicans voted to preserve tax breaks, that encouraged corporations to ship jobs overseas.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Lying Continues

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has announced that America suffers from too much taxation, which he knows is untrue.  He insists, that it’s time to cut our historically low tax rates, by eliminating most of our income tax rates. Pawlenty wants to leave only a bottom income tax rate of 10% and a top income tax rate of 25%. 

This takes the decades of Republican tax cuts to starve the beast, the beast being government, to a new extreme.  The reason Republicans want to cut taxes isn’t to stimulate economic growth. They know that tax cuts don’t work. They want to make government unable to do the things liberals want government to do.  They want to make sure the government is starved and never has enough money. 

Taking the tax rate of 35% down to 25% and crushing all our other intermediate tax rates to a bottom 10% would cut the flow of revenue to the Treasury by at least 50%. 

Balancing the budget would mean cutting government in half and destroying our economy. Pawlenty know this, but he also know that his plan would never even get a hearing in Congress. He believes that lie is worth telling and it will get him elected. 

Republicans know that federal taxes are at their lowest level since 1950. They know; that federal taxes are taking only 14.8% of our gross national product.  They know; that federal taxes have been below 15 % of our income for several years. They know; our taxes are lower than Japan, Britain, Canada and all European countries.

Tim Pawlenty and other Republican politicians will continue to lie about tax cuts benefiting the economy, even after the Bush-era tax cuts provided ten-years of irrefutable proof, that tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires don’t stimulate the economy. 

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fairness in Taxation

“In the United States today, the richest 1% owns 34 % of our nation’s wealth – that’s more than the entire bottom 90%, who own just 29% of the country’s wealth.” And the top one-hundredth of 1% now makes an average of $27 million per household per year. The average income for the bottom 90% of Americans is $31,244. It’s time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, which is why I introduced the Fairness in Taxation Act. This isn’t about punishment or revenge. It’s about fairness. It’s about avoiding budget cuts that harm middle class families and those who aspire to it. We can choose to cut education, job creation and health care, or we can choose to ask those who can contribute more to do so.”- Rep. Schakowsky.

The Fairness in Taxation Act, has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. It would provide new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires. A new bracket of 45% would be created for those earning over a million dollars.  Taxes for those making over $10 million would go up 1% to 46%. For incomes over $20 million, it would be 47%.  For incomes over $100 million dollars, the tax rate would be 48%. The top tax bracket would be for incomes over $1 billion dollars at 49%.

The bill would tax capital gains and dividend income as ordinary income for those with incomes over $1 million. If enacted the Fairness in Taxation Act would raise more than $78 billion.

Currently, the top tax bracket begins at $373,000 of income and fails to distinguish between the “well off” and billionaires. For example, the top 20 hedge fund managers average income last year was over $1 billion.

Those are 21st. century incomes, which are common in our economy. All of those rates are still lower than the top tax bracket when Ronald Reagan was president.  All of those tax brackets are more than affordable at those income levels.  All of those income levels are presently taxed at a maximum of only 35%.

Everyone who lives at those income levels typically employ accountants and lawyers who find legal tax avoidance strategies (loopholes) that reduce their real income tax rate to something far below 35%.  None of them, actually pays 35% of their income in federal taxation.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Unconscionable

Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans. Those tax cuts remain the biggest drivers of our federal deficit.

These massive tax giveaways were supposed to expire at the beginning of this year, but Republicans insisted on extend them. Today, the same politicians who pushed for those tax cuts are now insisting, that we cannot afford our social safety net because "we're broke."

Although, unemployment remains rampant, Republicans who supported the policies that created the deficit are holding Americans hostage in ongoing negotiations over raising the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget.

In the 1980’s we started starving the beast (the beast being our government). Since then our economy has been going down hill. We need to put tax increases back on the table. Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has introduced a bill to raise the income tax rates on people who make more than one million dollars a year. We won't be able repeal the Bush tax cuts anytime soon, but on their anniversary we need to promote the principle that the rich, who are benefiting the most need to pay more.

The growing disparity between the rich and the poor is deeply unhealthy to our society. The richest 1% of Americans are making 24% of the country's income, which is the highest share, since the 1930s. The 1930s were also the last time the richest 1% consistently paid such a low income tax rate. The top 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans put together.

We cannot shred the social safety net when it’s most needed. We cannot allow the budget to be balanced on the backs of the very people who’ve been hit hardest by this economic crisis. It’s time to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Joplin, Missouri

The same day, President Obama visited the scene of the disaster in Joplin, Missouri, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor repeated his demand that emergency funding for tornado victims should be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Rep. Cantor said: “We see in the healing process that there is an appropriate federal role. Congress will find the money and it will be offset... it‘s like this—if when a family is struck with tragedy, like the family in Joplin, you know, they have—let’s say that they had, you know, $10,000 set aside to do something else with, to buy a new car, to do something else, and then they were struck with a sick member of the family or something and need to take that money to apply to that, that’s what they would do, because families don’t have unlimited money and really, neither does the federal government.”

Missouri Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan responded: “But when people are smack down in the middle of a disaster, rebuilding, still looking for lost victims, this is no time to be saying, we are going to have a debate about how we are going to pay for the gas in the fire truck.  That’s not what we do in this country. Congress has emergency powers to deal with this, do it that way.  We should do what Americans do best when there’s natural disasters, whether it’s flooding on the Mississippi River, or tornadoes in St. Louis or Joplin, or hurricanes in the Gulf, we lend a helping hand to those who need it.  That’s what we do.

“This has been not only—that tornado in Joplin was the worst ever that we know of, but around the country, over 500 deaths by these multiple tornadoes in the Midwest and the South, unprecedented weather events but it really requires us as a nation to pull together.  And we’ve seen such incredible events were people have pulled together—from individuals giving, but also the president, as we heard on the program earlier, standing up in Joplin this weekend to tell people there he is going to be there, we’re going to be there for them.”

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill added: “There is no question we have to be careful about the way we spend federal money.  But with all due respect to Congressman Cantor, I have a hard time believing that if this were in his congressional district, he would be talking about how additional disaster relief would not be available unless we found some other program to take it from.”

Apparently, “cut’s elsewhere” is an acceptable response, when your political party is committed to “starving the beast” and never raising taxes on billionaires and millionaires.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Fareed Zakaria

The following are excerpts from remarks made by Fareed Zakaria, of CNN: “On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the world by launching a tiny satellite, about the size of a beach ball, called Sputnik. It weighted about 200 pounds and circled the Earth in a little under two hours.

“America was shocked to find itself behind in the space race and began to put energy, effort and billions of dollars into science, technology and innovation. Less than 12 years after Sputnik, Americans landed on the moon.

“Now, a decade into the 21st Century President Obama in his last State of the Union speech declared: ‘This is our generation's Sputnik moment. We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.’

“In his State of the Union address, President Obama mentioned the word ‘innovation’ nine times, more than any other president ever has. And on this issue most of his opponents agree.  Listen to Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or Mitch Daniels and the word innovation pops up again and again. Everyone wants innovation and agrees that it is the key to America's future.

“The Soviet Union is gone, but other nations have taken its place, challenging our longstanding supremacy as the world's leading innovator.

“How well are we meeting the challenge? In a recent ranking of 40 countries' efforts to foster innovation over the past decade, guess where the United States ranked? Dead last.

“This year China is projected to outpace the U.S. in the number of patents it files. That's the first time any other country has overtaken the United States. The spirit of enterprise, innovation, pioneering and derring-do propelled America standard of living and economy beyond any other nation in the world.

“Indeed, as I wrote in Time this week, ‘Innovation is as American as apple pie. It seems to accord with so many elements of our national character — ingenuity, freedom, flexibility, the willingness to question conventional wisdom and defy authority...

“But how can we move beyond the political rhetoric and get America back on track to being ‘Innovator #1 in the 21st Century?’ Ultimately, innovation cannot work without both significant government support and a vibrant and dynamic private sector that allows people to experiment, fail and try again.”

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Consumer Protection

Recently, 44 Republican Senators pledged to filibuster the nomination of anyone to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless the agency itself is significantly weakened. That threat makes it much more likely that President Obama will have to use his constitutional authority to make a recess appointment to fill the top slot at the agency.

Obama is being urged to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, because she has proven that she is willing to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers, which is why Washington and Wall Street insiders are trying to block her appointment.

Actually, Warren conceived the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to the extraordinary abuses by Wall Street over the last decade that victimized consumers and nearly collapsed our entire economy.

In response to Republican senators threatened to oppose any consumer protection nomination unless the bureau was made less effective, Rep. Barney Frank called the threat: “the worst abuse of the confirmation process I've ever seen. What it clearly says is that the president will have to make a recess appointment.”

President Obama appointed Elizabeth Warren, who is a respected Harvard professor to set up the new Wall Street accountability bureau. She is currently doing an excellent job working to get the CFPB off the ground.

Wall Street has many allies in the Democratic Party, including at the White House. For almost a year, Wall Street Democrats and Republicans worked together to keep Professor Warren from the top slot at the CFPB. The most common refrain heard from Wall Street's allies in Congress and the White House is the contention that Warren shouldn't be nominated for the position because she couldn't get confirmed by the Senate.

The letter to President Obama, from 44 Senate Republicans made clear that nobody can get confirmed, without significantly weakened the agency. In fact, that is the reason we must insist on Obama appointing Elizabeth Warren.

We need to honestly acknowledge the fact that the people who don't want Professor Warren to head the CFPB are tremendously powerful. It's that power, not good arguments, that has thus far has kept Warren from that top slot. The best way to confront that power is to demonstrate that there are a whole lot more of us than there are of them.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Unregulated Businesses

In late 2008, the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers collapsed and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 777 points in one day, the biggest point loss ever.  Wall Street melted down, because a relatively small number of irresponsible people who controlled a great deal of money had been allowed to get away with breaking rules, that were originally put in place to prevent Wall Street from creating a massive public risk in order to chase private gain. 

Under the leadership of George W. Bush dramatic action was taken to try to save the economy. Bush's appointee, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke the Chairman of the Federal Reserve asked Congress for $700 billion. A bi-partisan vote passed the $700 billion the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). By stepping in to limit the damage of that catastrophe our government most likely prevented another Great Depression, with 24.9% unemployment.

We had witnessed 8 years of the same old economic theory that gave tax cuts to billionaires and big corporations with the farcical hope that prosperity would trickle down to everyone else. For 8 years, no one in the Bush administration payed attention to Wall Street because politicians and lobbyists repeatedly killed common-sense regulations.

Today, we face a serious threat to our very fragile democratic society from within. All of us enjoy exercising our first amendment rights, especially freedom of speech. However, due to the growing inequality in our country, we seem to have become an oligarchy. Oligarchy means the rule of the few, and those few are generally the people who are richer and more powerful than the others.

In March 2010, the ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC, the Supreme Court overturned virtually all restrictions on campaign spending by corporations. International corporations can now buy as much TV time as they want to influence our elections.  It’s another troubling assault on the core value of our democracy - "one person, one vote." The Supreme Court’s actions are dangerous, because a narrow majority of five justices reversed decades of congressional legislation and well-established legal precedent.

During the Bush era, a Republican controlled Congress facilitated ever increasing inequality by passing unconscionable tax cuts for the top 1% income bracket. We should be very worried by the increasingly oligarchic nature of American society, because a rising economic tide has failed to lift most boats. More importantly, history tell us that highly unequal societies tend to be highly corrupt. Corruption flourishes when businesses are unregulated or allowed to ignore rules put in place to benefit the common good.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Big Ticket Item

Former senior member of the U. S. intelligence community, Michael Scheuer had two decades of experience in national security issues. While with the CIA, he wrote "Imperial Hubris" under the pseudonym Anonymous.

In 2004, Scheuer wrote: “Unless U.S. led foreign forces are massively increased and are prepared to kill liberally and remain in Afghanistan permanently, the current Afghan regime cannot survive. In Afghanistan, above all other places, familiarity with foreigners breeds not just contempt, but war to the death. The reestablishment of an Islamic regime in Kabul is as close to an inevitability as exists. One hopes that Karzai and the rest of the westernized, secular, and followerless Afghan expatriates we installed in Kabul are able to get out with their lives.”

Obama is expected to begin the first troop withdrawals from Afghanistan in July. The greatest influence on the size of that troop reduction is the price tag of the war. Military operations this year alone has cost $113 billion. Next year, it’ll be about the same amount of money, and that cost alone will force us to accelerate our exit strategy. 

A few months ago, the Democratic National Committee signaled that congressional Democrats are recognizing that we can’t afford these wars and that we have to start paying attention to our domestic agenda.

Collateral damage and civilian casualties is of concern to everyone, but Afghanistan President Karzai seems to be saying, that Americans are now considered occupiers. Our biggest problem with Karzai is that he can’t be trusted. Drug trafficking has gone up in Afghanistan during the time of our occupation, and Karzai’s family is making a lot of money.

Michael Scheuer warned us, that going into Afghanistan would be a mistake. The sooner, that we withdraw out troops the better, since the war in Afghanistan is a big ticket item costing $10 billion a month or $1 million per soldier per year.  

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently demanded that emergency funding for tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri should be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget. Getting out of Afghanistan appears to be a wise choice, but Republican are insisting on more reductions in domestic spending,

 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Supporting Change

Historically, doctors were overwhelmingly male and usually owned their own practices. They favored lower taxes and vigorously fought lawyers to restrict patient lawsuits.

Ronald Reagan came to national political prominence in part by railing against “socialized medicine” on doctors’ behalf. Reagan was a paid lobbyist against Medicare, who claimed: “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine.  It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project.  Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.  Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it.”

Doctors are abandoning their own practices and taking salaried jobs in hospitals, particularly in the North. Furthermore, half of all younger doctors are women, and that percentage will certainly grow.

There are no national surveys that track doctors’ political leanings, but as more doctors move from business owner to shift worker, their historic alliance with the Republican Party is weakening across our country, according to doctors’ advocates.

This change is having a profound effect on the nation’s health care debate. After, doctors had opposed nearly every major health overhaul proposal for nearly a century, the American Medical Association supported President Obama’s healthcare legislation, because the new law provided health insurance to the vast majority of the nation’s uninsured, improve competition and choice in insurance, and promote prevention and wellness.

Because so many doctors are no longer in business for themselves, many of the issues that were once priorities for doctors’ groups, like insurance reimbursement, have been displaced by public health and safety concerns.

Even the issue of liability, while still important to the A.M.A. is losing some of its unifying power because malpractice insurance is generally provided when doctors join hospital staffs.

Doctors’ group once opposed health insurance mandates because they increase costs to employers, but an increasing number of doctors now supports them, despite Republican opposition, because they help patients.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A New Deal

The uninformed claim, that it was WWII that got us out of the Great Depression and not FDR’s New Deal spending programs. 

Actually, WWII did finished the job, but an understanding of supply and demand enables us to understand the economic process, that got us out of the depression.

Demand are those customers, who are expected to be buying those items.  A recession and depression starts with all kinds of items and services for sale, but few people able to purchase them.  The demand side of the economy comes to a halt, because of a credit disaster.  We have supply, but fewer people are buying.  Hence, less demand. 

Whenever, no one is buying, the companies that pay people to make the items, can’t afford to keep those workers on the payroll and they’re laid off.  Unemployed, people can’t buy things, which makes the no-demand problem even worse.  It snowballs into more layoffs, less demand, and it keeps getting worse, until we have a depression.  

The stock market collapsed in 1929, when Republican President Herbert Hoover occupied the oval office.  Hoover insisted on a spending freeze, and by 1933, when FDR became president 24.9% of Americans were unemployed.

The downward cycle, that began in 2007 needed to be interrupted, because it wasn't going to fix itself.   The way to stop the cycle, is by spending a lot of money, as fast as, possible. In 1929 and in 2007, our federal government was the only institution, that had the necessary cash to spend massive amounts of money. 

We must begin to increase taxes on very profitable corporations and billionaires in order to continue revitalizing our economy and paying down the national debt.