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

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fewer Government Employees

In a debate with economist Paul Krugman, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul tried to advance the Republican myth that the size of government has grown under President Obama.  He asked Paul Krugman: “Are you arguing there are fewer government employees under Obama than there were under Bush?”  Paul Krugman replied: “That’s a fact.”

Senator Paul insisted: “The size and growth of government is enormous under President Obama.”  Krugman pointed out: “If government employment had grown as fast under Obama as it did under Bush, we would have a million and a half more people employed right now.”

Next, Rand Paul asked: “Are there less people employed or more people employed now by government?”

Krugman responded: “Actually, there are approximately 600,000 fewer government employees under President Obama than there were under George W. Bush.  Public sector employment is at the lowest that it’s been in 30 years.  If government employment rates had remained steady, about 1.7 million more Americans would currently be employed in this country.”

Paul insisted: “Federal employment has gone up 140,000.  It’s just a fact.”  Apparently, Senator Rand Paul is playing games with numbers, because his figures don’t include 143,000 Federal Postal workers.  If you include Federal Postal workers, federal employment only went up by 27,000 between December of 2008, or an increase of about one percent.

Senator Paul seems to be talking about federal, state and local employment.  President Obama is not in charge of the state and local governments.  But, Rand Paul is correct, that Obama shouldn’t get credit for state and local layoffs, which includes hundreds of thousands of school teachers.  Congressional Republicans, who were led by people like Rand Paul should be blamed for not passing the American Jobs Act.  That act would have extended aid to state and local governments and stimulated the economy.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ohio Comeback

Ohio’s 7.2% unemployment rate is directly linked to the auto rescue loan.  Surely, Mitt Romney regrets the “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” editorial, that he wrote in a Detroit newspaper.

Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio pointed out: “You know, I hope you all know that Ohio’s coming back from 48th in job creation to number four, number one in the Midwest.  From 89 cents and a rainy day fund to a half a billion dollars, and we have grown 123,000 jobs in the state of Ohio.  Our families are going back to work.”

Governor Kasich neglected to tell voters where he stood on the automobile loan in a state, where one in eight jobs are connected to the automobile industry.  Furthermore, the auto loan rescue occurred before Kasich became governor. 

In an effort to soften his image, Romney said: “And I think throughout this campaign as well, we’ve talked about my record in Massachusetts. Don’t forget, I got everybody in my state insured, 100 percent of the kids in our state have health insurance.  I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy.”  But, he wants to repeal Obamacare.

Most voters will most likely remember Romney saying: “And so my job is not to worry about those people.  I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

At a campaign event in Ohio, Obama reminded voters where Romney was when the state needed him at a critical time.  He said: “When my opponent said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt, that would have meant walking away from an industry that supports one in eight Ohio jobs.  It supports businesses in 82 of 88 Ohio counties.  So when he said that, I said, no, I’m going to bet on America.  I’m betting on American workers.”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Value Driven Differences

Newt Gingrich said, that Barack Obama isn’t:"a real president, he’s a false president.” And, “If you’re for paychecks, you’re with us.  If you’re for food stamps, you’re with Barack Obama.”   

Gingrich also asked:"What if Obama is so outside our comprehension that only if you understand Kenyan anti-colonial behavior can you begin to piece together his actions?"

John Sununu: “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

Romney: “No one’s asked to see my birth certificate.”

The broader invective against President Obama, is that he’s somehow not American, that he’s an appeaser, that he’s under the spell of radical Islamist.  They’re doubling down on a divisive brand of racial politics, that might serve the Republican Party this election cycle, but it doesn’t serve them well in the long term.

Most Americans aren’t buying the relentless right-wing campaign to try to destroy the legitimacy of this president.  It’s clearly an attempt to win an election by delegitimatizing Obama and weakening his likability.

There are value-driven differences between our two political parties, not just policy differences.  Obama and congressional Democrats believe in using government as a progressive force to protect the social safety net and coming together to invest in innovation, education, and infrastructure.

Romney showed little empathy, even before his 47 percent remark.  Mostly, his career has been to make money for investors, while Obama has a much wider set of American values, aims and goals.

Romney is a very wealthy person, who just doesn’t relate to the struggles of ordinary Americans.  He has had this problem for months and it showed up in the polls, even before he made his 47% remark.  That remark clearly demonstrated that Romney is a rich guy who’s very condescending about people who aren’t in his fortunate circumstances.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Playing the Game

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham admitted: “It’s a game we play.  Every American tries to find the way to get the most deductions they can.  I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game.”

Romney’s 2011 tax returns put the focus on the issue of tax fairness.  Romney was asked about his 14.1% tax rate during an interview on “60 Minutes.”

Reporter: “Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?  Romney explained: “One of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent.”

Reporter: “So you think it is fair?  Romney: “Yes, I think it’s the right way to encourage economic growth, to get people to invest, start businesses, to put people to work.”

The idea of rich people being taxed less so they create jobs is ridiculous.  Thirty years ago Ronald Reagan said: “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.  In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable.  But in practice, they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing.  While a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary.  And that’s crazy.  Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less? ”

Paul Ryan insists: “We don’t want to have a situation where we are penalizing businesses for keeping their money, their capital, their headquarters and their manufacturing facilities in America.  So then rather than having Ireland and the Cayman Islands be the haven for capital formation, the place where you hide your money, why don’t we make it America?”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Important Facts

In 2001 and 2003, congressional Republicans passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history.  The richest 1% of Americans saw their income go up an average of more than 10% each year between 2002 and 2007.  As the rich got richer, the middle class saw their income stay about the same, and the number of people in poverty increased.  Those tax cuts resulted in the slowest job growth in half a century. 
Over eight million Americans lost jobs during the Bush presidency.  Outsourcing has led to the loss of four million manufacturing jobs over the past six years.  Romney likes to talk about his private sector experience, but he invest in companies that were considered "pioneers" of outsourcing. 
Sen. McCain continued to defended the economy by reiterating that it was “fundamentally strong,” until the day the stock market dropped 500 points.  Bush didn't admit we were in a recession until two days after the National Bureau of Economic Research made its announcement of 533,000 jobs having been loss in November 2008. 
When Obama took office, we we’re in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  America had lost 650,000 jobs in December 2008.  An additional 750,000 jobs were lost in January, the month Obama was sworn in.  On February 13, 2009, twenty-four days after Obama took office the Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, without a single Republican vote in the House and only 3 Republican votes in the Senate.  By doing so, they prevented the worst financial crisis in a a half century from getting worse. 
The wealth of most American families has declined at a rate nearly seven times faster than when the stock market crashed in 1929.  Nine million hardworking Americans, who had been meeting their responsibilities, have been forced to pay for the irresponsibility of Wall Street charlatans.
Historically, it has typically taken countries up to 10 years to recover from a financial crises of this magnitude.  Today, the economies of many European countries still aren’t growing, and their unemployment rate averages around 11%.  The unemployment rate in Spain is over 25%.
When, Obama took office the projected 2009 budget deficit was $1.2 trillion, more than 9% of GDP.  The projected deficit for 2012 has fallen to 7% of GDP.  Private sector job growth has continued to grow for the last 30 months.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Road to Ruin

Andrew Reinbach posted the following opinion in the Oneonta Star online forum.
“This election offers the American People a clear choice, and I hope that whichever side loses this election will have the grace to accept the will of the people and stop afflicting us with their extremist ideologies, and the lies used to support said ideologies.
“And luckily for us, the proof supporting or refuting those ideologies are easily understood.
“Take, for instance, the main premise of Republican economic policy--that a rising tide lifts all boats, so that helping the rich  by cutting their taxes and increasing the subsidies that benefit them improves the lives of the rest of us.
“After thirty years of those policies steering the ship of state, it's hard to say the results aren't in.  Those results?  Adjusted for inflation, per capita gross domestic product has grown four-fold, but median family income has been flat, while the number of Americans living under the poverty line has more or less doubled.  All the data about increased dependency on government--food stamp use etc.--grow out of those facts.
“Somebody got that explosion in wealth, but according to the data, that wasn't your typical American family.
“Since public policy is about benefiting the entire nation as opposed to a fraction of it, it's clear that the main premise of Republican economic policy is a failure that produces the opposite of what it promises--not prosperity, in other words, but wide-spread poverty.
“Yet faced with these facts, Republicans are offering to double down on the policies that got us here, insisting that these policies are sound, but only need to be given more time, and imposed with more rigor.
“Since Republicans decline to learn from their experience, or at least expect the American People to do so, it's up to the voting public to render their verdict on those policies, as the Republicans are asking us to, and to thank them for giving us such a clear choice this November.
“Based on current polling, that decision will favor the Democrats.  Afterwards, I hope Republicans will accept responsibility for the verdict--which will be, after all, the consequences of their actions--and stop trying to inflict on America what, based on the results, is the road to ruin.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

Protecting American Jobs

Mitt Romney had the nerve to attack President Obama for being too soft on China. 

Obama responded by announcing that his administration would again filed another trade case against Beijing.  He file a complaint with the World Trade Organization against China to combat unfair trade practices, specifically accusing China of $1 billion in illegal subsidies for exports of cars and car parts. 

At a campaign event Vice President Biden said: “Two months ago the president held China accountable for unfair practices that harm the auto industry... I don’t have to tell you that has real impact all across this Midwestern part of the United States.”

Obama pointed out: “When Governor Romney said that stopping unfair surges in Chinese tires would be bad for America, bad for our workers, we ignored his advice and we got over 1,000 Americans back to work.”

Obama put tariffs on steel tubing that was getting dumped in our country from China.  That tariff led to a 700 million dollar steel mill being created in Youngstown, Ohio.  The 4,500 jobs in Youngstown is just scratching the surface of the supply chain.  One in every eight jobs in Ohio is directly or indirectly related to the automobile industry.

China was subsidizing its auto parts companies to come into America and undercut the American companies.  Most of the suppliers in the auto chain are small, midsize companies.  They aren’t huge businesses, but they’ve supported communities in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana for a long time.

The danger of the subsidies that China is giving to its auto sector is that it could slow down the momentum for growth in our Midwestern states, when it comes to auto manufacturing.  There could be a domino effect on the different industries that together make up the automobiles industry in our country.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who Do You Trust?

Although, only 20% of Americans believe the poor pay too little in income tax.  The Romney campaign continue to cast them as a bunch of freeloaders.

Wall Street profits are soaring and productivity has surged, but wages remain stagnant.  If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, instead of $50,000.  The rich are getting richer and the middle class has been left behind. 

The very wealthy have a lot of things going for them like government policy that redistributed income upwards.  The upward redistribution of wealth didn’t just happen over the last 3 decades, it was legislated.

A whole set of policies have been explicitly designed to put our manufacturing workers in direct competition with the lowest paid workers anywhere in the world.  The predicted results of our trade policies has been drive down the wages of America manufacturing workers. 

Over the years, we’ve lost millions of jobs in manufacturing.  We’ve witnessed anti-union and anti-worker practices.  It’s as if the wage earners are the enemy and Congress wants to concentrate the wealth.

Fortunately, we have a progressive tax system in this country and a social safety net, but Republicans want to dismantle them.  Privatizing our social safety net is redistribution of wealth.  The Romney/Ryan plan to privatize Medicare will enable private equity to make a lot of money.  The health care industry is a very large and lucrative industry.  People are making a lot of money on health care. 

On the one hand, Americans are concerned that people won’t be able to count on decent care as they get older.  However, the other side is you have lot of wealthy people who are looking to make lots of money in that very lucrative industry.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Obstruction Legislation

Senate Democrats wanted the Veteran Jobs Corps bill to be bipartisan, so they asked Republicans, what they want to be in the bill to get them to vote for it.  Republicans wrote most of the bill, and got what they wanted, but then they voted no.
Republicans filibustered the Veterans Jobs Corps bill, that was totally paid for and totally bipartisan.  Five Republican Senators cross party lines and sided with Democrats to vote in favor of the bill.  However, Republican Senators Boozman, Johanns, Burr and Toomey, who actually wrote parts of the bill, but then decided to  vote against it, we don’t have a Veterans Jobs Corps bill.

Former congressman Patrick Murphy was an Army paratrooper, who served in Iraq and taught constitutional law at West Point.  He monitored the legislation, and it was a foregone conclusion that the bill would pass.  It seemed to be a done deal in the Senate, although a fight was anticipated in the Republican controlled House. 

Murphy claims: “They’re trying to obstruct any type of accomplishment, even if it’s a bipartisan accomplishment just because there’s an election 6 1/2 weeks away.  They’re bitter, because Obama talked about such a bill in his last the State of the Union address this past year.”

The Jobs Corps Bill would have allow veterans to become police or firefighters back in their own community.  Over 225,000 of our veterans are unemployed, and Congress needed to come together as a country to serve them, by providing them an opportunity.

Murphy concluded: “The Senate should be ashamed of themselves.  Every 80 minutes, a veteran in America commits suicide, every 80 minutes, the least we can do for those men and women, who fought for us overseas is not to force them to fight for jobs, when they come home.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

Never Before

Mitt Romney has changed his language regarding immigration reform, by talking about his dad as an immigrant from Mexico.

He has admitted: “My dad was born in Mexico, of American parents living there.  At age 5 or 6, there was revolution and they came back to the United States.  And my dad had to get help, financial help.  The government helped his family to be able to get on their feet again.  By the way, that’s the way America works.  We have big hearts.  We care for people who have needs.  We help get them back, we help lift them up.  But then we don’t make that a permanent lifestyle.  We don’t have that become government dependence.  We help people.  We get them on their feet.”

A video recording has emerged from when Romney’s father, George Romney, was running for governor in the state of Michigan.  It shows Mitt Romney’s mother Lenore saying: “You know, we’ve only owned our home for the last four years.  He was a refugee from Mexico.  He was on relief, welfare relief for the first years of his life.  But this great
country gave him opportunities.”

If Mitt Romney’s parents were to hear what their son said about 47 % of people who get help, and don’t pay income taxes, they would be shocked. 

In his 47% speech, Romney wrote off 100,000 of our wounded warriors, who served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He dismissed millions of college students, people who are disabled, and citizens who have paid into Social Security, but don’t pay any income tax.

Never before has any Republican or Democratic candidate for president shown such disdain for almost half of our citizens.  Never has a candidate refused to disclose his income tax, when he insists paying income taxes are so important.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pauline Ellen Lee

The Oneonta Daily Star published the following letter submitted by Pauline Ellen Lee of Sidney.
“In her letter titled, ‘Teens abortion should require parental consent’ (Sept. 7), I note that Ms. Kennedy identifies herself as a registered nurse with a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
“As a retired nursing educator with 20 years’ experience teaching baccalaureate-level nursing students, I know that Ms. Kennedy’s education should have included the fact that, by law in most states within the USA and specifically in New York state, pregnant minors are referred to as emancipated minors.  That gives a pregnant girl, no matter how young she may be, the right and the responsibility to consent to health care for herself and later for her child.  It means that she, and she alone, has the legal right to make decisions related to her pregnancy and her child.  It also means that her parent or parents cannot force her to have an abortion or to relinquish her baby for adoption.
“In a perfect world, parents do provide ‘that little bit of guidance’ to which Ms. Kennedy refers, but this is not a perfect world.  Many adolescents are fortunate enough to have parents who are supportive in the decision-making process, but far too many do not.  An effective nurse knows that his or her role is to assist a client to make decisions congruent with the client’s own beliefs and values, rather than decisions based on the nurse’s beliefs and values.  That’s what good physicians, nurses, teachers and social workers do when adolescents seek outside support because they don’t or can’t trust parents to help.”
Ironically, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said: “We will never have the media on our side, ever in this country.  We will never have the elite, smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do.”

In the situation described by Pauline Ellen Lee above, Rick Santorum would in all likelihood disagree with her, and demand the authority to dictate the decision based on his personal beliefs and values.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Unfair Trade Practices

President Obama has filed another trade case against Beijing.  He announced: “Today my administration is launching a new action against China, this one against illegal subsidies that encourage companies to ship auto parts manufacturing jobs overseas.  And we are going to stop it.  It is not right.  It is against the rules and we will not let it stand.” 

The case accuses China of providing one billion dollars worth of illegal subsidies for the auto parts it exports.  Those subsidies caused two major problems in the United States.  They flood the American market with cheap Chinese auto parts, undercutting our own products.  And they encourage the outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs to China.  Obama is committed to stopping China from putting American auto jobs at risk.  

The Romney campaign put out the following commercial in which an unidentified male claims: “Seven times Obama could have stopped China’s cheating.  Seven times, he refused.”

Then, Romney said: “It’s time to stand up to the cheaters and make sure we protect jobs for the American people.”  The unidentified male adds: “Barack Obama, failing to stop cheating.”

Obama answered: “We’ve brought more trade cases against China in one term than the previous administration did in two.  And every case we brought that’s been decided, we won.”

Obama has done several things to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices, that Romney hasn’t agreed with.  In 2009, Obama put a tax on Chinese tires, that put 1,000 Americans back to work.  In his book, Romney criticized Obama by calling it: “decidedly bad for our nation and our workers.”

Romney’s record on China is clear.  At Bain Capital, he profited off companies shipping jobs to China.  According to "the Boston Globe" investments on Romney’s behalf are in Chinese manufacturing companies that profit from unfair trade practices.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The 47 Percent

Recently Romney told an audience: “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them.  Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.”
The top 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans put together.  A new cycle of poverty for millions of Americans began during the Reagan administration, and got worst during G.W. Bush’s presidency, when tax cuts legislation, that mostly benefited the very wealthy was passed.  The richest 1% of Americans saw their income go up an average of more than 10% each year between 2002 and 2007, but the middle class saw their income stay about the same, while the number of people in poverty gradually increased.

Republican have continued to claim, that tax cuts benefit our 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. 

Forbes magazine has estimated that Romney is worth $250 million.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Speaker of the House, John Boehner is worth $3.6 million.  Eric Cantor the second-ranking member of the House Republican leadership has $4.9 million.  Darrell Issa the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is worth $303 million.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is worth $19.9 million.

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership has absolutely no idea what it’s like to go hungry or to go without a roof over their head.

Who are the 47 percent?  Our government admitted that about 18,000 people a year die simply because they don’t have health insurance.  

This economic crisis increased the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track.  A federal report showed that nearly 50 million people including almost one child in four struggled to get enough to eat.

It’s been estimated that more than three million people were homeless at some point over the past year, and the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.

The Veterans Administration estimates that about 107,000 veterans find themselves homeless on any given night.  Mental illness plagues 45% of homeless vets and 70% suffer from some kind of substance abuse, according to the VA.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cynical Calculation

Wealthy donors and corporations are more heavily invested in this presidential election than at any time since the 1972 Watergate scandal led to stricter campaign- finance laws.

A series of court decisions and regulatory changes in 2010 unraveled federal limits on donations, paving the way for a return of the big players.  They’re pooling their money in nonprofits, which keep contributor names secret, and super- political action committees, which amassed $350 million through the end of July.
Sheldon Adelson, the conservative billionaire international casino owner, has pledged to give up to $100 million to defeat Obama.

According to a report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Adelson could see up to $2 billion in savings under Romney's tax plan versus Obama's plan.  It's a highly cynical but straightforward calculation.

Romney would keep in place the Bush tax cuts, and cut Adelson's income taxes by an additional 20 percent.  Adelson saves $1.5 million per year on income he earns as CEO.

Romney's plan eliminates taxes on foreign profits like the ones Adelson makes on his Asian casinos.  Adelson saves $1.2 billion.

Romney's plan maintains the current low tax rate on dividends.  Adelson saves $120 million per year.

Romney's plan removes the estate tax.  Adelson heirs save $8.9 billion.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires index, Tea Party founders Charles and David Koch have a combined net worth of at least $70 billion.  They’re the seventh and eighth richest people in the world.          

Romney has pledge to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law that would lead to less regulation and more profit for Koch Industries.

The Koch brothers have vowed to spend $100 million on television ads and on voter-contact program designed to motivate people to go to the polls.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fever- Swamp Inoculator

The following are excerpts posted on the Daily Star online edition, by a person known as “Fever-swamp inoculator.”                    

“I don't think it can be reasonably disputed that while not all Republicans are racists and bigots of all sorts, almost all bigots and racists vote Republican.  Gee, why is that?”

“Why is it, I wonder, that The Republicans have all but erased GW Bush from their history?  Watching the ludicrous white-fright RNC, you'd never know that he was president for eight years -- you know, right before our current President, who had a lot of work to do, repairing all that damage -- a job he has done well.  The repair work, however, needs to continue and, hopefully, when he IS re-elected, he will be able to do so, even in the face of Continuing right-wing obstructionism.” 

“Obama is one of the best and most intelligent presidents in recent history, who came into office after eight years of one the worst -- ever.  GW Bush came close to sending our nation down the proverbial drain (yes, I know, that's what you baggers like to think about Obama).  But Obama has done an admirable job in the face of unrelenting right-wing, unpatriotic, religiously deluded and traitorous obstructionism fueled by twisted, racist and ignorant far-right Christo-fascist ideology." 
“The Republicans have become totally nonfunctional as a political party, held hostage by a rigid, primitive and fundamentalist fringe-right ideology.  This is not a good thing.  Our system requires two functional parties to operate, and each party must be able and willing to forge compromises with the other in order to effectively govern."
“Those that have the Republican party in such a grip, including the base of their base, will probably have to  -- at some point in the not-too-distant future  -- spin-off into a nativist, Christian- fundamentalist white-nationalist party, which is really what they're all about right now.  They should just own up to it, be plain-spoken about it, and lay their TRUE cards on the table -- and let the people decide (in elections free from fascist, voter suppression).”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stop Whining!

Under Romney’s tax plan, the middle class will pays more while the wealthy pay less.  He has a secret plan to close loopholes and cut taxes, and a secret plan to cut spending, but it doesn’t add up.  

Although, the $700 billion defense budget is the largest in history, when you ask Republican what they plan to cut from a $3.5 trillion budget it’s not defense.  

Republicans complains about entitlements, but have no plan to strengthen Medicare or Social Security.  Social Security is a solvent program and has been for 77 years.  However, for the last 40 years, Congress has been raiding Social Security and spending it on aircraft carriers.  The problem with Social Security is the $2.8 trillion of IOUs that are in the trust fund have nothing behind them.  They’re a pieces of paper, and will never be funded unless we increase taxes.  

Obama was ready to go big on the deficit reduction package, but the Republicans backed off.  Paul Ryan played a major role in telling his leadership that if we do that, they’d be handing Obama a second term. 

Obama wants to go back to the old tax rates, by letting the Bush tax cuts expire.  Letting those tax cuts expire for everyone would bring in over $2.5 trillion over the next decade.

For a very long time Republicans have been blowing up the federal budget deficit.  The Federal Reserve has been printing money and cuddling Wall Street for a long time.  The very wealthy have offshore accounts them allow them to make money in this country, take it overseas, and not pay the taxes that they would pay if they had it here.  They should stop whining about paying a little more in taxes because America is in deep trouble financially.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Primed To Hit Back

Mitt Romney and his supporters seek to draw parallels between the Carter and Obama presidencies, hoping to weaken what has been a major advantage for Obama on foreign policy by advancing the notion, that he doesn't deserve a second term.                                 
Romney’s response to the embassy attacks in Libya and Egypt created a controversy, when he seized on a U.S. embassy statement cautioning against “efforts … to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” and claimed that it was: “disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn the attacks, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” 
The media immediately proclaimed the response “over the top,”and exposed Team Romney as “not ready for prime time.”  Although, Peggy Noonan is usually a reliable Republican partisan, she said: “I don’t feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors in the past few hours... sometimes when bad things happen, cool words or no words, may be the way to go.” 
Whenever, there’s a deadly attack on American officials abroad, it’s reasonable to ask if the president deserves blame.  The question raised by Romney was appropriate, but timing was self-defeating, since the embassy statement came before the start of the protests in Cairo and Libya.  It was an attempt to preemptively defuse them, and it’s hard to begrudge an embassy official under threat of violence.  The Obama administration had disavowed the embassy statement before Romney released his own criticism.  
Romney’s criticism was premature.  Had the attacks expose a major failing on the part of the administration, the media would have been all over it, and Romney would have been free to comment.  
Romney may have been feeling defensive that Obama had tweaked: “my opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy” and was primed to hit back. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Gullible Are You?

The average working American doesn’t know much about loopholes, but they do know about homeowner mortgage deductions.  Mortgages, state and local taxes, and charitable contributions deductions are not usually considered to be loopholes.  They are the major tax deductions for most Americans.  Republicans are talking about getting rid of them so the rich can go from a 35% to 28 % tax rate. 

The Republican game plan is to blame Obama for the deficit, and avoid specifics.  They assume voters are all a bunch of dummies, who are going to buy it.

It’s impossible to cut taxes by $5 trillion over the next decade, spend $2 trillion more on defense and not pay more in taxes or increase the deficit.

The Romney plan is far worse than anything that George W. Bush did when he signed two tax cuts, started two wars, and then expanded Medicare.  Incredibly, Mitt Romney is promising even more tax cuts.  How gullible he must think voters are?

Conservative columnist George Will said: “This uncertainty surrounding the Romney/Ryan tax cut plan because they have not specified the deductions that will be closed, and we know where the big money is.  Mortgage interest deductions, charitable deductions, taxing as compensation which it is, employer provided health insurance, and state and local taxes.  All of those you either hit only the rich in which case you don’t get much money or you hit the middle class.”

Congress could save $1 trillion over a decade if they eliminate mortgage interest deductions, or they could save $1 trillion if they eliminated investment income.  Eliminating investment income deductions would apply to people like Romney who are paying less than half their taxes because their taxes on unearned income is the less than half the tax of earned income.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Bush’s Own Words

Romney said: “Driving home late from that second job or standing there watching the gas pump hit $50 and still going, when the realtor told you that to sell your house, you’d have to take a big loss in those moments, you knew that this just wasn’t right.”  According to Romney, high gas prices, difficulty with mortgage payments, jobs insecurity is Obama’s fault.

On Sept. 24, 2008, Bush admitted: “This is an extraordinary period for America`s economy.  Over the past few weeks, many Americans have felt anxiety about their finances and their future.  I understand their worry and their frustration.  We have seen triple digit swings in the stock market.  Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse.  And some have failed.  As uncertainty has grown, many banks have restricted lending.  Credit markets have frozen, and families and businesses have found it harder to borrow money.  We’re in the midst of a serious financial crisis.”

On October 7, 2008, Bush confessed: “Families are squeezed by the high price of gasoline, and feeling the pinch of food prices, and monthly mortgage payments.  Workers are anxious about whether their paychecks will stretch.  Some workers are anxious about whether or not they’re going to keep their jobs.”

After European Central Bank President Mario Draghi protected the euro and outlined a large bond-buying plan.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 244.52 points, to close at 13,292.00, its highest close since Dec. 28, 2007.
GDP is the most trusted measurement of economic improvement.  The stock market bottomed out in March of 2009, but it’s come back by more than 6,000 points.  That isn’t just growth for Wall Streeters.  It means more money in education accounts, health care savings account, and your 401(k), if you’re a middle class Americans.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Liberty and Justice

American’s must not fall prey to the arguments that seeks to starve our nation of critical investments in our future.  President Obama’s policies have made a difference for people across our nation by cutting taxes for all working families and giving 18 different tax cuts for small businesses.

Obama’s policies and the Democratic platform includes incentives to train and hire our troops returning home.  Not only is it our moral responsibility, but it’s also makes our economy stronger.  

Investing in people shouldn’t stop with our troops, because the most critical investment we can make in a 21st century knowledge based economy is education.

Obama has already doubled Pell Grants, raised education standards, invested in research and development at our universities and early childhood education in our neighborhoods.  Our nation cannot continue to be the world’s number one economy if we aren’t committed to being the world’s number one educator.

The historic hope which has driven generations of Americans, as well as our underlying national aspiration is that no matter who you are, no matter what your color, how you choose to pray or who you choose to love, you should be able to retire with dignity and respect.  And, you should be able to give your children the kind of education that allows them to accomplish even more than you could ever imagine.

Those are the dreams of our parents.  The next generation of young Americans call on our conscience in classrooms from coast to coast, when they proudly proclaim with those words from our original Pledge of Allegiance, that we are a nation “with liberty, and justice, for all.” 

The root cause of our divided country might go back to the words "under God" being added to the original pledge.  Thereby, making it both a prayer and a pledge.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Subverting the Rules

Senator Alan Simpson, who was the Fiscal Commissions, Republican Co-chairman pointed out: “Only 10% of the wealthiest people in America, use them, because they’re the ones that can hire the best lobbyists.  The little guy does the standard deduction and walks away.  We found the top 400 income earners in the United States pay an average of 16% income tax, and it’s absolutely absurd.”

Mitt Romney is hiding the amount he stands to gain from his own tax policies, and he’s hiding the tax loopholes that he exploits.

The issue of tax policy in America isn’t just about whether the rich pay taxes and how they do or don’t pay taxes, but about the entire rigged game that is the American tax system.  People with a lot of money are able to subvert the rules to benefit themselves in ways that people making $40,000 to  $100,000 a year, are not able to.

Mitt Romney’s father George Romney released Form 1040 tax return that he and his wife had filed over a 12 year period.  In some years, George Romney payed more than half of his income in taxes, and paid a total rate for the period released of over 50%.  The top marginal tax rate at the time was 90%.  The amount that George Romney paid was an effective rate was 36%.  In 2o10, Mitt Romney paid an effective tax rate of 14.4% over the last 2 years.

The rules about taxation have changed, but the greatest change is the standard of how our wealth elites conduct themselves.  The entire ruling class have been able to liberate themselves from the bounds of integrity, by not following the law in its intent and spirit.  We’re now seeing their behavior as related to the economic health of our country.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Voters Will Decide

Voters will have an opportunity to choose between giving massive new tax cuts to those, who are already very wealthy, or they can vote to keep taxes low for every middle class American and those striving to get into the middle class. 
Four years ago, Obama promised to cut taxes for middle-class families, and the typical family has seen about $3,600 in tax cuts.  He wants to make sure that taxes aren’t raised on the first $250,000 of any family’s income.  That includes 98% of Americans. 
Unlike Romney and congressional Republicans, Obama wants to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.  Instead, he wants to limit tax breaks to companies that are investing in America.  
Obama’s wants Americans to once again lead the world in educating our children, and training workers for the jobs of tomorrow.  That will require employing more teachers, especially in math and science.  Every family should be able to afford, either a four-year or a two-year technical school, because a higher education is an economic necessity. 
Voters have a choice of having an energy policy written by and for the oil companies, or  an energy strategy, which includes drilling for more oil, mining for more coal, but also a commitment to new energy sources for the future. 
Romney claims, that renewable energy sources are “imaginary.”  Obama want to stop giving a $4 billion a year in taxpayer subsidy to oil companies that are making record profits.  Obama want to use that oil subsidy money to invest in energy sources that create jobs in our country. 
Voters will decide whether we go back to the old health care system that allowed insurance companies to decide when to cover you, or drop you when you needed coverage the most. 

Saturday, September 08, 2012

New American Dream

When Reagan became president, we were the largest exporter of manufactured goods, the largest creditor and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet.  As a consequence of Reaganomics we have become the largest importer of manufactured goods and exporter of raw materials.                                
Republicans have not produced a president in the past 34 years that has balanced a budget.  Of the past 12 presidents the top six in terms of job creation were Democrats.  President Clinton led the country in the direction of creating more jobs, and brought about a budget surplus, which Bush squandered on the way to creating a record deficit.                                                                                                                                              

Since 1961, the Republicans held the White House for 28 years, and Democrats for 24.  In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs.  Under Republicans 24 million, and under Democrats 42 million.                                                                                                                          

Obama ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy, but six weeks before the election, our country suffered the greatest collapse since the Great Depression.  Obama and congressional Democrats put us on a long road to recovery, knowing that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there would continue to be millions Americans trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.                                                                         
President Obama believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation.  "We're all in this together" is the best philosophy.  Economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth.  However, investing in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research creates more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.
Our country works best with a strong middle class, opportunities for everyone, and with business and government working together to promote a broadly shared prosperity. 

Friday, September 07, 2012

Cory Booker

The following is an excerpt from Newark Mayor Cory Booker speech at the Democratic National Convention. 

“Our platform, crafted by Democrats, is not about partisanship but pragmatism; not about left or right, but about moving America and our economy forward.  Our platform and our president stand firm in the conviction that America must continue to out-build, out-innovate and out-educate the world.

“This platform is a clear choice between economic pathways: forward or back, inclusion or exclusion, grow together as a nation or be a country of savage disparities that favor the fortunate few over the greatest driving force of any economy, a large and robust middle class.

“We choose forward.  We choose inclusion.  We choose growing together.  We choose American economic might and muscle, standing strong on the bedrock of the American ideal: a strong, empowered and ever-growing middle class.  Our platform emphasizes that a vibrant, free and fair market is essential to economic growth.

“We also must pull from our highest ideals of justice and protect against those ills that destabilized our economy like predatory lending, over-leveraged financial institutions and the unchecked avarice of the past that trumped fairness and common sense.  Our platform calls for significant cuts in federal spending.  Our platform calls for a balanced deficit reduction plan where the wealthy pay their fair share.

“And when your country is in a costly war, with our soldiers sacrificing abroad and our nation facing a debt crisis at home, being asked to pay your fair share isn't class warfare, it's patriotism.  But we all know, it's common sense, that for an economy built to last we must invest in what will fuel us for generations to come.  This is our history from the Transcontinental Railroad to the Hoover Dam, to the dredging of our ports and building of our most historic bridges, our American ancestors prioritized growth and investment in our nation's infrastructure.”

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A Dramatic Turn

Rather than opposing government health programs, Republican President Eisenhower supported and signed into law the Kerr-Mills Act, legislation that provided for government payment of medical bills for senior citizens.  Kerr-Mills, a forerunner of Medicare, was means-tested and covered 70% of seniors.

On Sept. 1, 1980, Ronald Reagan said: “Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost”  

Republicans used to be very much in favor government health care, and the rights of people who work for a living, their ability to join unions and advocate for better pay and conditions for themselves.  The dramatic turn in Republican politics toward venomous, open hostility towards union rights has political consequences.

Democrats have sought to be the party of the people who have to work for a living and have supported union rights and programs like government health care that benefit working people.  

Historically, Democrats have long benefited from unions not just raising money for Democratic candidates, but unions have also become a large part of the Democratic ground game, of getting out the vote, and knocking on doors to educate voters. 

Republicans have decided to take the opposite side in those fights on behalf of business interests.  They’ve begun to use public policy in the state legislatures to try to destroy union rights.  They’re going after a core structure of the Democratic Party that makes it possible for the Democratic Party to compete with all of the funding that the Republicans get from the corporate side.

After the Supreme Court Citizens United ruling tore down campaign finance laws.  Seven of the top 10 outside spending groups that year were on the right, largely fueled by corporation contributions.

For the last 2 years, Republicans have been going after union right in state legislatures, in order to destroy unions.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Labor Day

In a Labor Day speech, Obama asserted: “It’s working folks like you who fought for jobs and opportunity for generations of American workers.  It’s working people like you who helped delay the cornerstones of middle class security.  Things that people now sometimes take for granted, but weren’t always there, the 40-hour workweek, weekends, paid leave, pensions, the minimum wage, health care, Social Security, Medicare.  Those things happened, because working people organized and mobilized.”

Republican president Dwight Eisenhower said: “Workers have a right to organize into unions and to bargain collectively with their employers.  And a strong, free labor movement is an invigorating and necessary part of our industrial society.  Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of their right to join the union of their choice.”

“Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear from that party again in our political history.  There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things, but their number is negligible, and they are stupid.”  

Eisenhower’s party platform called for action "to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions."  It added: "The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the Eisenhower Administration."

Ike believed that the way to balance the budget was to tax the rich.  The wealthiest paid a top marginal tax rate of 91%.  (The effective rate, 48%, was higher than the current top marginal rate).  The tax rate for capital gains was also 91%; the rate for gift and estate taxes was 77% .  

The Republican Party has changed completely over the years.  Today, Republicans are call for ending all corporate taxes.  

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Rep. Gibson’s Record

After campaigning on a platform of jobs, the first three bills Congressman Gibson voted for in the House were direct attacks on women’s health. 
Gibson supported: H.R. 1, which would have totally eliminated Title X funding for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention.  It included an amendment that would have completely defunded Planned Parenthood.
H.R. 2. “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” would have allowed insurance companies to once again discriminate against women by charging them higher premiums or denying women care because of so-called pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy.
H.R. 3, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” tried to redefine rape as “forceable rape” only, which would exclude statutory rape and women who were drugged or verbally threatened.                        
Paul Ryan’s budget passed with Gibson and 234 Republicans voting in favor of a Medicare overhaul.
The plan, Gibson voted for would have required our government to no longer directly pay health care bills for senior citizens.  Instead, recipients would choose a plan from a list of private providers, which the federal government would subsidize. 
Republicans insist, that we can’t afford our commitment to Medicare, but we can afford $1.3 trillion in new tax breaks for the very wealthy.
There are some Republicans who have thought that, we should have raised taxes to pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  However, Mitt Romney and every Republican in the House and Senate won’t dare say so, because that would violate the written pledge they have all made to Grover Norquist, who is a lobbyist for the very wealthy.
The voting record of the Tea Party controlled House, suggest that it’s those conservatives, who are forcing their ideas down the throat of Chris Gibson’s constituents.  In the video below, they seem quite angry about it.

Monday, September 03, 2012

National Personhood Bill

Apparently, both Romney and Paul Ryan are going to campaign on Ryan’s proposed national ban on most in vitro fertilization and the most popular forms of birth control in the country.

The National Personhood bill that Paul Ryan co-sponsored declares: "the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time each human being should have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood."

They get very specific regarding, when an egg becomes a person: "The term fertilization means the process of a human spermatozoan penetrating the cell membrane of a human oocyte to create a human zygote, a one-celled human embryo which is a new unique human being.”

That is the earliest possible point at which you could define life, and it would effectively prohibit intrauterine devices and some oral contraceptives, since those forms of birth control can stop pregnancy by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.  It would also ban in vitro fertilization.  Even anti-abortion voters of Mississippi rejected a similar proposal. 

Things didn’t go very well for Republicans when they tried to campaign against health insurance covering birth control earlier this year.  After the vote failed in the Senate, the House Republican leadership quietly to walk away from the issue. 

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who is from a swing state, and served in the military was expected to be Romney’s pick for vice president.  Governor McDonnell blew his chance, when he tried to force women in Virginia, who were seeking an abortion to pay for medically unnecessary ultra sounds.  

However, Congressman Ryan supported a federal version of  McDonnell’s forced ultrasound bill.  The federal bill, he sponsored also would have force women to have an ultrasound regardless of whether or not they want it. 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Truth

In his convention speech, Paul Ryan misled the American people.  The following is a list of five fabrication that Ryan told when he gave his speech at the Republican National Convention. 
# 1. President Obama is the "greatest threat" to Medicare.
Actually, Obama didn't make any cuts to Medicare benefits; he made cuts to provider reimbursements, to improve cost efficiency and extend the fiscal security of Medicare by eight years.  According to the Medicare actuary, "[Obama's] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook."
Furthermore, Ryan wants to cut benefits.  He proposed dismantling Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system, leaving millions of seniors to come up with more money to pay for care out of pocket.
# 2. Obama didn't save a General Motors plant in Wisconsin.
In fact, Obama wasn't even in office when the decision to close the GM plant was made.  
# 3. Obama didn’t ignore the recommendations of a bipartisan debt commission.
Matter of fact, Ryan sat on that commission, and led Republicans to vote down the commission's recommendation.  The commission never presented a report to Obama, because Ryan voted to kill the report.
# 4. Obama is responsible for the downgrading our credit rating.
The truth is that Ryan and House Republicans held America’s full faith and credit hostage to try to ransom it for trillions of dollars in cuts to social programs without increasing taxes on the wealthy.  Standard and Poors said: "We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues."
# 5. Ryan wants to protect the "weak."
Ryan would cut Medicaid by one third, take away health care insurance from 30 million Americans, so that he can give more tax breaks to the rich.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Deceitful Republicans

President Obama said: “If you were successful somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business, that - you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so then all the companies could make money off of the Internet.

“The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because individual initiative but also because we do things together.”

Republican only quote Obama saying: “If you’ve got a business, that - you didn’t build that.”

During Paul Ryan’s convention speech, he told about presidential candidate Obama sharing with auto workers his hope that government could help keep their plant open.  Ryan quoted Obama saying: "if our government is there to support you ... this plant will be here for another hundred years."
The decision to shut down that plant occurred in June 2008, prior to Obama winning the election.  The plant halted production and laid-off workers a month before Obama took office in January 2009.  The plant has officially closed in April 2009, well before Obama enacted a robust auto industry bailout that rescued GM and Chrysler.  Predictably, both Romney and Ryan were very critical of Obama’s auto bailout, that is credited with revitalizing both GM and Chrysler.
In fact, Obama wasn't addressing a plant that he knew to be closing, because the closure announcement didn't come until four months after his speech.  And, the closure of the plant was planned before Obama became president.
Ryan purposely neglected to tell the audience, that the decision to close the factory was made in June 2008.