This was a very good clip from Rachel Maddow’s show last night. I particularly like the beginning montage of Senators grilling the oil executives. It speaks volumes about how Washington works and corporate entitlement. It’s just amazing that they will issue threats if they don’t get their way. If they have to give up just a sliver of their PROFITS, they will raise prices. You got that, they’re getting your money one way or another.
I’ve been frustrated since the beginning of President Obama’s election by the amount of carping from the left. I know Democrats went through a rough primary and there were a lot of open wounds from it on all sides. I think it was amazing that the Obama campaign pulled together enough votes to actually win, although I will admit that the Republicans didn’t do themselves any favors by choosing Sarah Palin as the VP. Doh! But even before the President was inaugurated, you had people beginning the assault from both the left and the right. Those “bitter” Hillary supporters who reluctantly voted for him, who never really knew much about him or his policies or cared to find out, began projecting their own hopes and pet issues onto him as if he had embraced them all along.
The perfect example of this is the Afghanistan War, which candidate Obama talked about expanding and how he was going to finish the job that Bush abandoned with his stupid ass venture into Iraq. I heard it, clearly. I didn’t necessarily agree with him, but understood that at least he was going after the people who had a connection to the attacks of 9/11. I don’t know how many times I had to remind people of that in comment sections of blogs or in face to face discussions. These people didn’t have a clue what he actually said in the campaign, but yet they got up on their little soap boxes and proclaimed that Obama went back on his word. Ah, well, he didn’t. You just weren’t paying attention, now were you?
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I love Eugene Robinson, even though he frequently enables the idiots on “Morning Meme Generator with Joe” and lets things go that should be challenged. But at least he is able to get back on that show to counter some of the crap. I liked his recent post a lot. From Eugene’s Washington Post column…(emphasis mine)
Listening to the debate in Washington, you’d think the nation was absorbed by the compelling saga of deficit reduction. You’d get the impression that in households across America, parents put their children to bed and then stay up half the night sifting through piles of think-tank reports on the kitchen table, trying to calculate whether there will be enough in the Social Security trust fund to pay benefits beyond 2037.
But the Post poll found this argument untethered to reality. A definitive 78 percent of respondents said they oppose cuts in federal spending on Medicare. An almost equally impressive 69 percent oppose cutting spending on Medicaid. Social Security, the most sacred of bovines, isn’t even on the table — but Republicans and the debt-obsessed commentariat are trying to goad Obama into taking the first whack.
The wise men and women of Washington complain that the American people are sending a contradictory message — that, essentially, they’re acting like spoiled brats who want luxuries they can’t afford. But I think the people are speaking quite clearly and sensibly, and I think politicians had better start listening.
We want an America that takes care of senior citizens in their retirement. We want an America that ensures medical care for the elderly and the poor. We may not yet know how to guarantee these benefits decades from now, but we know precisely where to start: In both surveys, 72 percent of respondents favored raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year. Both polls showed some doubt about deep cuts in military spending, but suggested that after the wealthy are asked to contribute their fair share, the defense budget would be the next place to look.
Obama is being slammed by the deficit hawks for not providing “leadership” on the debt. But it turns out that Obama’s position is much closer to that of the American people. A president’s job is not to lead us off a cliff.
It’s kind of funny, in a sad way, that the rest of the media doesn’t seem to be able to make the connection between the President’s position and the American people’s, which are in line with each other. Instead, they have absorbed the Republican meme that “it’s the deficit, stupid”, even though there is no evidence in any polls that the American people are more concerned about deficits than jobs. We need more stimulus, but of course with the Republicans controlling the congress, we all know that will never happen. So instead, we are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I blame the idiots in the Professional Left for encouraging people to stay home in 2010. It shows that they clearly do not care for real people, are not progressive in any way and should be run out on a rail…except they probably are against high speed rail, because you know, the President supports it.
I’m just loving the direction that the Republican Party has decided to pursue by hitching their wagon to Paul Ryan and his libertarian ideas. It almost makes me want to create a Jane Hamsher sock puppet to go on their websites and encourage them to “keep it up, you’re doing fine”. I would never do that, who has time, but it’s fun to think about.
I’ve said it before that I never expected that the Republican leadership would get behind Ryan’s plan, with it’s blatant assault on senior citizens who VOTE! But apparently their stupidity knows no bounds. The response at town hall meetings since the announcement of the plan shows that it is backfiring on them big time. They have a lot of explaining to do. From the Washington Post…
Democrats, eager to win back the seniors and independents who abandoned the party in last year’s midterm elections, have declared the vote a “moment of truth” and this week launched a media campaign accusing GOP House members of dismantling Medicare and endangering retirees.
The assault has taken some Republicans by surprise, prompting concerns that the party is ceding ground in a policy debate that GOP strategists already viewed as perilous.
I have a feeling that Paul Ryan is going to be a lonely guy pretty soon, he started a ball rolling down hill that is going to roll right over his party and bring Democratic rule back to the House of Representatives. More from The Washington post…
A Washington Post/ABC News poll published this week found that two-thirds of Americans want Medicare to remain as is. That includes 62 percent of independents and nearly eight in 10 people 65 and older — making for an uphill climb for House Republicans trying to reassure constituents.
President Obama has been out selling his budget ideas this week. He is reaffirming his principles and goals for the country under his leadership. For those of us who are mature politicos, who are realistic with our expectations, who take ALL variables into consideration when judging the President, aren’t surprised at what he has been doing this week. He is out kicking some ass, educating people and reaffirming the liberal ideas that our country has embraced for generations. You know, taking care of our fellow citizens and not leaving them in the cold to fend for themselves, like so many on the right seem to want. At the Facebook town hall meeting yesterday, President Obama forcefully defended his plan and laid waste to Paul Ryan’s. How soon till the rats in the Republican Party flee the sinking HMS Paul Ryan ship? From the New York Times story on the event…
“The Republican budget that was put forward I would say is fairly radical,” Mr. Obama said. “And I wouldn’t call it particularly courageous.” He added: “I do think Mr. Ryan is sincere. I think he’s a patriot. I think he wants to solve a real problem, which is our long-term deficit. But I think that what he and the other Republicans in the House of Representatives also want to do is change our social compact in a pretty fundamental way.”
“Nothing is easier,” Mr. Obama said, “than solving a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless and don’t have lobbyists or don’t have clout.”
He joked to the billionaire Facebook founder that wealthy Americans — “people like me and, frankly, you, Mark” — should pay higher taxes to reduce deficits. But Republicans, he said, would further reduce taxes for rich taxpayers and corporations and cut deeply from clean energy, education and transportation programs “to make his numbers work.”
“I guess you could call that bold. I would call it short-sighted,” Mr. Obama said, provoking another burst of applause.
I used to use a mnemonic device to keep track of the difference between Medicaid and Medicare and it went like this: Medicare has the word care in it, so my thought process was that Republicans only “care” about seniors, not poor people. Of course, now I can’t use that anymore because the don’t care about seniors anymore either. From Think Progress…
The centerpiece of the House Republican’s plan is a proposal that repeals traditional Medicare and replaces it with a health insurance voucher that loses its value over time. Because the value of the Republican’s privatized Medicare replacement does not keep up with the cost of health care, their plan will gradually eliminate Medicare because its increasingly worthless vouchers will eventually only cover a very tiny fraction of the cost of a health insurance plan.
Seniors will feel the effect of the GOP’s draconian plan long before it succeeds in phasing out Medicare. According to the CBO, total health care expenditures for a typical 65-year-old “would be almost 40 percent higher with private coverage under the GOP plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare” in the very first year that the GOP plan goes into effect:
I wonder if the Republicans actually think that complaining about the President being mean and saying things they don’t like, makes them look tough? It may be the new “Blubbering Boehner” strategy, cry like a freakin baby and hope that people feel sympathy for you and give you a pity vote. When the tweets started flying yesterday about the reaction to the speech from Paul Ryan and others, my smile just kept getting bigger and bigger. I was smiling for a lot of reasons yesterday while the Republicans were running to their mommies.
I was smiling because I knew that the President was going to knock the shit out of Paul Ryan’s plan. In the days leading up to the speech, many in the Professional Left were making up all sorts of shit based on their insecurities and lack of maturity. They always underestimate the President in his progressiveness and ability to deliver a message. And then when he rises to the occasion and gives a major speech, many of them fall all over themselves like Rachel Maddow last night. She’s done it on several occasions using words like, “where has he been?” and other silly things like that. He’s been just a little bit busy in his day job. The unrealistic expectations people have projected onto this president have gone beyond ridiculous, they want him to be “Hand-holder-in-chief”, “Explainer-in-chief” and “Do-my-job-in-chief”…for all the people who expect him to sell everything himself, with no help from progressive pundits, politicians or bloggers. I loved it when Al Sharpton called out the whiners at the Black Agenda forum and basically said, get off your asses and do something. President Obama shouldn’t be expected to do your job for you, too.
I was also smiling because almost immediately, the reaction from the Republicans was juvenile. Now, just because Paul Ryan looks like Eddie Munster, doesn’t mean he should act like him. (I couldn’t resist the Eddie Munster reference, sorry) But this isn’t the first time that the Republicans who sure can dish out the nastiness, pettiness, birtherism bullshit, socialist crap….but when the President shares his vision for American, they take great offense to it. Mark Halperin and Joe Scarborough (yes, I watched his stupid ass) were all sorts of upset that, in the words of Rick Klein at The Note tweeted “President Obama took Paul Ryan’s plan off the table and then stomped on it for a while.“…after inviting him to sit in the front row for the speech. I guess it would have been better if Paul Ryan were holding his mommie’s hand in her living room, or something. If that is how they are going to react for the next year and a half of the election, man, they better just get some counseling. I know there are going to be some more asswhoopin’s coming down the road. I’ll say it again, don’t underestimate this President.
Steve Benen, the best blogger there is, of course nails this juvenile response to the wall with big huge nails…
But those expectations notwithstanding, I’d hoped the House majority party would come up with a response slightly less ridiculous than this.
[House Republicans'] responses thus edged beyond substance into the realm of personal grievance. Indeed, they implied that the speech may have poisoned the well so much that working together where common ground exists might now be impossible. [...]
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) attacked the partisan bent of the speech, then characterized it as “a political broadside from our campaigner in chief.” [...]
After the press conference he suggested Social Security might not be doable anymore. “I was hoping Social Security and some budget controls, and I didn’t even hear that,” he said. “I was naively optimistic that the President was going to give us a sincere olive branch.”
Ah yes, the anticipated “olive branch.” This from the right-wing lawmaker who drew up a budget plan that “deliberately constructed to be as offensive to Democrats as it’s possible to be,” and didn’t even bother with insincere “nods in the direction of bipartisanship.”
The president presented a proposal that was entirely mainstream, and would have been considered palatable to the Republican Party before it descended deep into the fever swamp. Yesterday, however, this debt-reduction plan apparently hurt the GOP’s feelings.
I have to say that the Republicans are ruining the tough-guy image that there messaging people have spent decades building. Democrats were painted as the wimps who couldn’t take a punch and quivered when confronted. The “Blubbering Boehner” strategy is an interesting approach to politics, I have to say. But out in the middle of the country, I’m not so sure it is going to play very well. But please, don’t tell the Republicans.
I just read a most excellent post over at Booman Tribune, which is one of the links on my toolbar…he is consistently sane, which is a good thing in the blogotubes. In this post, Booman speaks to the subject of many on the left who never seem to take any larger context into consideration when starting their “whine-fest”. I hate to always go back to the health care debate, but it is perfect to illustrate the immaturity of some lefty bloggers. Single payer hasn’t been talked about by any serious politician since the Clinton’s tried to pass health care. That process basically killed the idea, you have to give the GOP credit for their messaging on that one. They put a stake in single payer as far as public opinion goes a long time ago. Then why would some on the left use that as a starting point, a starting point that isn’t even on the fucking map…it’s like off screen completely. And to criticize the President for not starting there as a negotiator is pretty stupid, considering it has never been a part of any serious politicians plan. Booman does an excellent job at getting to the heart of the matter…(emphasis mine)(sorry Booman, I’m pasting the whole thing because it’s so freakin good)
There is logic in advocating for policies that don’t have any realistic chance of being enacted in the short-term. It’s never wrong to ask politicians to the do the right thing, whether it is to free the slaves, give women the vote, end the war in Vietnam, or to close the prison in Guantanamo. On the other hand, there is something wrong with criticizing a politician for failing to do something he or she simply couldn’t do. Which brings me to Matt Yglesias’s dubious argument that not only can the deficit be safely ignored, and that we can use presently low interest rates as a predictor of future interest rates (how’d that work out in Greece or Ireland?), but that the president would find more stimulus spending to be “very much an option for the United States of America. It’s a good option, an appealing option, an option that will increase our wealth over the long term.”But Yglesias is totally, ridiculously wrong about this. I don’t know how he can sit there in Washington DC watching the House Republicans spew their nonsense and think there is any chance in hell that the president can get appropriations to borrow money “to put people to work on useful infrastructure projects.”
Now, the president could make an argument for why borrowing money while its still cheap is a good way to invest for the future and lower unemployment. But he can’t actually get the money out of Congress. This is the kind of cold reality that Glenn Greenwald so easily dismisses with his theories that constrained politicians are always happily constrained.
The president isn’t powerless, and he can use his bully pulpit to shift public opinion over time. But there is no talking to Boehner’s House when it comes to Keynesian economic theory. So, if more stimulus spending on infrastructure can’t happen, it obviously isn’t an option, good or bad.
And that’s where the disconnect happens. The president isn’t running a seminar. When he builds a decision tree, it’s filled with dead ends. A lot of liberal commentators want the president to take the time to explain to the public why all his decisions are sub-optimal. No thought is put into what happens when the president never takes ownership of his decisions, never sells his own decisions as sound, and always appears to be complaining about his impotency.
We’re not getting another stimulus bill out of this Congress. So, go ahead and keep beating the drum for a Keynesian solution to the unemployment rate if you think it will convince somebody, but it won’t convince John Boehner or Mitch McConnell, and so it isn’t going to happen.
That the president isn’t beating a dead horse is actually something that should comfort rather than concern you.
If you haven’t heard, the details of the 38 billion dollar deal between the White House and Boehner The Orange were released today and it turns out, the President was underestimated by many in the Professional Left, who preemptively accused him of caving, of selling out and of being a bad negotiator. I keep saying people shouldn’t underestimate him…the man is good. JM Ashby over at Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog! Go! broke the news to me, and a lot of folks on Twitter, with another most excellent blog post…
Now that we have the details of last Friday’s budget compromise, and now that we know that President Obama clearly out-played the Republicans in every aspect, will the very serious media and the pants-pissing Professional Left apologize or walk-back their narrative of cave-in and capitulation?
I wouldn’t count on it, even though it’s painfully obvious that a narrative was chosen to run with before anyone actually knew what was included in the bill.
I don’t know about you, but ever since the health care debate that went on and on and on and on, the Professional Left has been spending all their precious blog space and time beating up the President over things that they think he is going to do. So, they have preemptively whined about the health care bill, The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (they called it the ‘cat food’ commission, aren’t they clever?), which tomorrow night will not be embraced by the President and no one is going to be eating any goddamn cat food. They absolutely were beside themselves and convinced that President Obama was NEVER going to pass DADT…they went on and on about that one. And what happened? He passed it and they gave themselves all the credit, turned their heads and spit on the ground and started attacking the President on their next pet project…was it Bradley Manning? So the most recent one was leading up to this budget deal that was just reached. Here are some details about the actual deal, not the one that exists only in the haters minds, from YahooNews…(emphasis is mine)
WASHINGTON – A close look at the government shutdown-dodging agreement to cut federal spending by $38 billion reveals that lawmakers significantly eased the fiscal pain by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.
Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for poor college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives.
As a result of the legerdemain, Obama was able to reverse many of the cuts passed by House Republicans in February when the chamber passed a bill slashing this year’s budget by more than $60 billion. In doing so, the White House protected favorites like the Head Start early learning program, while maintaining the maximum Pell grant of $5,550 and funding for Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools.
Obama also repelled Republican moves to cut $1 billion in grants for community health centers and $500 million from biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health, while blocking them from “zeroing out” the AmeriCorps national service program and subsidies for public broadcasting.
No shit, you mean the Professional Left was wrong and spent all that digital ink and Youtube time blathering on and on about how the President caved in to the Republicans. And since the President supposedly caved so much, I’m sure the Tea Party just loves it right…
Even before details of the bill came out, some conservative Republicans were assailing it. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said he probably won’t vote for the measure, and tea party favorite Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is a “nay” as well.
Huelskamp and other conservatives are also upset that most conservative policy “riders” added by Republicans were dropped from the legislation in the course of the talks.
The White House rejected GOP attempts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to issue global warming rules and other reversals of environmental regulations. Obama also forced Republicans to drop an effort to cut off Planned Parenthood from federal funding, as well as GOP moves to stop implementation of Obama’s overhauls of health care and Wall Street regulation.
The administration also thwarted a GOP attempt to block new rules governing the Internet, as well as a National Rifle Association-backed attempt to neuter a little-noticed initiative aimed at catching people running guns to Mexican drug lords by having regulators gather information on batch purchases of rifles and shotguns.
Late addition to this post, Angry Black Lady pointed us to a post at The Reid Report, new to my blog roll, she is really good. Go look at her post which gives even better details and push back against the false portrayal of the deal…Think Progress and Huffington Post get it all wrong. Now I expect that out of Arianna’s scam site, but not Think Progress. Hmmmm…..
Now I will cut to the chase. I opened Google, typed in something like “Obama caves to republicans” and what comes up, Cenk Uygur in one of his famous internet video rants, which in the last year has been pretty much directed at bashing President Obama for the outrage of the week. I started watching this video after having just read JM Ashby’s piece and clicking over to the Yahoo News story. Wow, Cenk looks like a damn fool, in my opinion. This entire rant was posted Monday, before the details were released. It’s quite amazing to watch, because he is very pompously claiming he was right about President Obama caving and what a bad politician he is – with no negotiating skills. Cenk had apparently built this false narrative in his head, filling in the details with whatever would feed that false narrative. It was like the climax of his contempt and hatred. He was mocking the President with condescension, showing no respect for our President, portraying him as a doofus, an incompetent…watch the video if you can stand it. I understand if you pass on watching it, but if you really want to see someone who exemplifies the wrong-headed thinking and false narrative creating Professional Left, this video will do it for you. I don’t know what motivates Cenk, he is yet another one of those Republicans turned Bush basher, turned President Obama basher and according to the Motor City Liberal in the comments, Cenk says he was a Republican up until 2000. I sense a trend with these folks in the Professional Left…watch the nauseating video.
It is astounding how blatantly the Republican party is giving massive amounts of money to the richest people in our country while asking for “sacrifice” from the poorest and most needy. As I said in a previous post, at some point the separation between the rich and poor will be so great, there won’t be anyone to buy their freakin products or services. A basic macro-economics class would tell them that you need demand in the supply/demand equation. Unfortunately if we were to ever get to the point where they learn that lesson, it will be too late. The stupidity that resides in the Republican party…and there is way too much in the Democratic party too…makes America look like a bunch of idiots to the rest of the world. We have to change that in 2012, bigtime.
It isn’t just our national politicians who are raping the poor, women, children, students and the disabled. As we all have been watching, Republican governors are taking it to extremes. Scott Walker of course is the most visible in the national media, but Rick Snyder in my state of Michigan, John Kasich in Ohio, Jan Brewer in Arizona, Rick Scott in Florida, Chris Christie in New Jersey, Rick Perry in Texas…am I missing someone. Think Progress has some details for us…
…Governor Jan Brewer is proposing to kick some 280,000 Arizonans, mostly childless adults, off the state’s Medicaid rolls. Brewer claims such a move is the only way to get the state’s fiscal house in order, as it would save $541.5 million in general funding spending…
…Instead of balancing out these draconian cuts with additional revenue increases or simply not making the cuts in the first place, Brewer instead signed $538 million in corporate tax cuts into law two weeks ago.
Last week, Gov. Rick Scott announced that he was canceling a proposed high-speed rail line between Orlando and Tampa — something that will cause Florida to forego $2 billion in federally-funded investments and cost the state at least 24,000 jobs…
…Such deep cuts in essential programs and services are necessary to offset Scott’s proposal to cut corporate and property taxes by at least $4 billion.
…As Matt Yglesias has noted, Snyder has an innovative definition of “shared sacrifice.” His plan calls for “$1.2 billion in cuts to schools, universities, local governments and other areas while asking public employees for $180 million in concessions.” In addition, it would raise taxes on individuals by ending many deductions and taxing pensions — all in order to pay for $1.8 billion in tax cuts for businesses. Since the state’s entire budget shortfall this year is only about $1.7 billion, all or most of the cuts to services and programs important to the poor and middle class (many of whom will also see their taxes increases) could be avoided if the governor was willing to forego corporate tax breaks.
…After vetoing Democrats’ plans to raise taxes on New Jersey’s millionaires, Christie closed the state’s multi-billion dollar shortfall through a combination of measures, including simply refusing to make contributions to the state’s pension fund and steep cuts in education funding and assistance to municipalities.
…Christie is also being sued by Federal Transit Administration for keeping $271 million in federal funding for a tunnel under the Hudson — money he insists on keeping even after having personally canceled the project.
…The austerity measures and cuts to programs for the poor will have to be all the deeper this year as Christie is also insisting on cutting corporate tax rates.
Gov. John Kasich demonstrated an early propensity for making future-losing choices when he made good on a campaign promise to kill Ohio’s federally-funded high-speed rail project — a move that will cost Ohio $400 million in badly-needed infrastructure investment, cost thousands of jobs, and derail millions of dollars in related private sector investments in economic development. Kasich, along with numerous other Ohio Republicans, has signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge that rules out any tax increases to help the state make ends meet. Even though the state has an $8 billion budget shortfall, Kasich has gone even further in proposing a variety of tax cuts that would benefit corporations and the wealthy.
In facing down a $25 billion budget crisison par with that of California, Perry categorically rejected any tax increases. Texas, as Paul Krugman said, already takes a “hard, you might say brutal, line toward its most vulnerable citizens,” as indicated by its poor educational performance and sky-high 25 percent child poverty rate.
…Perry also refuses to use any of the $9.4 billion in the state’s rainy day fund (some of which, ironically, comes from stimulus funds intended to help states stave off draconian cuts that Perry instead squirreled away) and is instead contemplating deep cuts to child services programs and education, among other things. Perry even floated a plan to drop Medicaid entirely. Perry’s proposed education cuts are so deep that they prompted an unlikely source to take to the pages of the Houston Chronicle to write in opposition to them — none other than former First Lady Laura Bush.
Walker is of course now famous for his high-stakeswar against Wisconsin’s workers. Walker has used a very small short-term shortfall and larger shortfall to come (which is still smaller than shortfalls the state has faced in recent years) to move forward with an unpopular plan to destroy the state’s public employee unions.
…Walker is also late in offering his budget, but it is believed that in spite of the supposed “crisis” and being “broke,” as Walker himself has said, his budget plans will include “a LOT more tax breaks” for the rich and corporations that will have to be balanced on the backs of workers or with painful cuts to state services and the state’s Medicaid programs, BadgerCare.
Do you see the underlying theme here? Give tax breaks to corporations and wealthy people, cut programs from those most in need. They aren’t even trying to hide it, I guess they are still riding the wave of “President Reagan’s Supply Side Cavalcade of Fun and Trickling“. They firmly believe in it, although every single measure of success of supply side economics shows that is was a monumental failure. But when someone has been brainwashed since birth to believe in it, reversing the cult of Reagan is no easy task. When President Reagan’s budget director, David Stockman, pans your budget plan, you know you are way out in right field.