Wisdom From President Obama On “Compromising”

This video of President Obama talking to the college students in Massachusetts back in March is showing up all over the internet. There is one passage that I particularly liked that will hopefully help to educate some of the people who bristle at every compromise with Republicans…(emphasis mine)

“And so, one of the challenges of this generation is, I think, to understand that the nature of our democracy and the nature of our politics is to marry principle to a political process. That means you don’t get a 100% of what you want. You don’t get it if you are the majority; you don’t get it if you are in the minority.And you can be an honorable in politics understanding that you are not going to get 100% of what you want.

“And that’s been our history. You think about our greatest presidents — Abraham Lincoln, here is a guy who didn’t believe in slavery, but his first priority was keeping the Union. I’ve got the Emancipation Proclamation hanging up in my office, and if you read through, it turns out that most of the document is: those states and areas where the Emancipation doesn’t apply because those folks were allies with the Union so they can keep their slaves. Think about that. That’s the Emancipation Proclamation.

“So, here you’ve got a war time president who is making a compromise around probably the greatest moral issue the country ever faced because he understood that, ‘Right now my job is to win the war and to maintain the Union.

The Tea Party on the right and the Firebaggers on the left have both staked out intransigent positions. In my many years of obsessing over politics, I’ve never seen anything like it.

It’s astounding that this unprecedented polarization has effectively changed the way our government functions. It’s been perpetuated primarily from the Republican side of the aisle where the President has been thwarted at every turn. Watch our very wise President in explaining this to a politically mixed group of college students, it once again proves that we elected the right man for the job and need to reelect him in 2012.

In a press conference last week, President Obama referred to this craziness and how it puzzles him that Republicans can oppose ideas they once supported, just because he now supports them. Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly picked up on that line and wrote a great post about it. Here are some of Steve’s thoughts on this puzzling situation…

It is, to be sure, quite a pattern. For two-and-a-half years, Obama has run into congressional Republicans who not only refuse to take “yes” for an answer, but routinely oppose their own ideas when the president is willing to accept them.

This seems especially relevant in the context of the current debt-reduction talks. At a certain level, it’s almost comical — here we have a Democratic president agreeing with a conservative Republican House Speaker on a massive deal that would lower the debt by over $4 trillion over the next decade. It would tilt heavily in the GOP’s direction, and address the problem Republicans pretend to care about most. Obama is even willing to consider significant entitlement “reforms,” which should be music to the ears of the right.

And yet, in the latest example that “puzzles” the president, Republicans aren’t interested.

I think the President has adapted to this strategy and is exploiting the Republican intransigence by making offers that help to reveal this stupidity and also help him politically by making him seem like the reasonable one. The debt ceiling debate is a perfect example how he has adapted. The President’s position from the beginning has been to get a clean raising of the debt ceiling and after his masterful negotiating, it looks like that is exactly what he is going to get.  Go back and watch Lawrence O’Donnell’s great rant on this from last week, he nails it to the wall.

The truly amazing thing is that President Obama has accomplished a ton in this atmosphere, can you imagine how much more he could have accomplished if the congress had just operated the way it has for the last….well, how about since our country’s founding.

Adam Green’s Dishonest Attack And Appeal For Cash — Grifters Gonna Grift!

Adam Green recently sent out a mass email attacking President Obama based on several lies concocted from a press conference on July 11, 2011. These lies were born and reside only in the mind of Adam Green, as well as the rabid Obamahaters who cling to Green’s every word to justify their irrational hatred for our President.

Green’s group, the PCCC (Progressive Change Campaign Committee), is probably the most organized group of people suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome.

So what was so dishonest about his appeal?  How about EVERYTHING!

Whether blatant or subtle lies, exaggerations, misrepresentations or selective omissions of reality, they are lies – pure fucking lies.

Lie Number 1: The lie upon which most of the other lies were derived: Obama “came right out and said” that he’s pushing for benefit cuts in important programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Adam Green cherry picked Obama’s statements in order to concoct a lie.  He plucked one utterance of the word “benefits” from a general statement by Obama in which he discussed the broader issues of how we get the country’s fiscal house in order. Bear in mind — the word “benefits” does not appear anywhere near the words “Social Security,” “Medicare” or “Medicaid”  (the big 3), and considering the President had addressed those issues before and after that question in the press conference, it shows that Adam Green doesn’t give a shit about the truth. If he did, he would have looked at everything the President said and not cherry picked  one word and then connected it to previous words in order to manufacture a lie.

Adam Green is using scare tactics to raise money from his vulnerable and apparently very gullible followers. I’ve been waiting for him to talk about “death panels”.

The following passage is where Adam Green plucked that word from. Of course, I’m including the context — unlike Mr. Green. The bold type is where he grabs that lone word, “benefits”.

And if you’re a progressive that cares about investments in Head Start and student loan programs and medical research and infrastructure, we’re not going to be able to make progress on those areas if we haven’t gotten our fiscal house in order.

So the argument I’m making to my party is, the values we care about — making sure that everybody in this country has a shot at the American Dream and everybody is out there with the opportunity to succeed if they work hard and live a responsible life, and that government has a role to play in providing some of that opportunity through things like student loans and making sure that our roads and highways and airports are functioning, and making sure that we’re investing in research and development for the high-tech jobs of the future — if you care about those things, then you’ve got to be interested in figuring out how do we pay for that in a responsible way.

And so, yeah, we’re going to have a sales job; this is not pleasant. It is hard to persuade people to do hard stuff that entails trimming benefits and increasing revenues. But the reason we’ve got a problem right now is people keep on avoiding hard things, and I think now is the time for us to go ahead and take it on.

As you can see, in the preceding two paragraphs, the president is talking in general about the difficulty of getting our fiscal house in order so that we can do things that progressives, I say liberals, care about. He was talking very broadly. I can just picture Adam Green wetting himself when President Obama said the word “benefits.” And I can also imagine him jumping on his computer and starting to type that dishonest appeal to his listserv for money, even before the President finished his sentence. He must have missed what came after that benign and very general reference to “trimming benefits”.

Click Read More for the rest of the post!

Continue reading

Mark Halperin’s History Of Misguided Rhetoric!

Being the political junkie that I am, I have had the opportunity to see Mark Halperin offer his opinion and “political analysis” countless times. He certainly isn’t always wrong, in my opinion, but a lot of the time when I hear his take on things, I end up scratching my head and thinking, whaaa? Many times I’ll even do the *face palm* or the *head desk*. As far as his bias to the right, it has been obvious to me for years. After what happened on Thursday with Mr. Halperin, I decided to do a little research and was reminded of some previous “gaffes”, shall we say. There is a clear pattern with Halperin.

When President Obama was filling a Supreme Court vacancy, Mark Halperin actually went with this title for a story, which can’t be found now…

There is just so much wrong with that. First, of all the angles to take on the story of picking our next Supreme Court justice, his is the perceived “reverse discrimination” (a racists dream phrase) against poor white men. Because over the years, you know, white men have had such a hard time getting on the Supreme Court. I’m sure he thinks it is just innocent “pointing out the obvious”, but you know damn well that the audience for that statement was all the good ole boys who pit themselves against minorities as if everything is zero-sum. It is a not-so-subtle dog whistle to all the racists and classists in our country. It is a blatant appeal to the Fox News viewers, which have large numbers. There is more on the reason for that later on in this post.

Here is an example of Mark Halperin’s analyst skills and his unique perspective on things, to put it way too politely. This is Mark Halperin’s reaction to President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address.

What is funny is that if you look at polls of people who watched the speech, it becomes apparent that Mark Halperin sees things differently than ordinary folks. From CBS New’s Political Hotsheet…

Of the randomly selected 522 speech viewers questioned by CBS, 83 percent said they approved of the proposals the President made. Just 17 percent disapproved…


Six in 10 of those asked said they thought Mr. Obama conveyed a clear plan for creating jobs, and seven in 10 said his plans for the economy will help ordinary Americans. Another seven in 10 said President Obama has the same priorities for the country as they have.


The same individuals were interviewed both before and after Wednesday’s State of the Union, and after the speech, 70 percent said Mr. Obama shares their priorities for the country, up from 57 percent before the speech.

Did you notice how he called him “this troubled president” as if that is the conventional wisdom of the day. It certainly was the wisdom that Halperin and other skewed journalists were trying to push, thank goodness Media Matters for America is around to sort out the truth for us.

Here is another list of the accomplishment of President Obama through November of 2009, not even a year into his presidency. Does that look like “a troubled president” to you?

I saw this next one live, back when I used to torture myself by watching Morning Joe. It was after the President invited Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, to a speech where the President laid out his budget and took on the draconian, now much abandoned Paul Ryan plan. After listening to Paul Ryan and other Republicans touting his plan, using everything in their arsenal to twist and spin the plan as bold, the President laid waste to it. Apparently Mark Halperin took it personally and proceeded to defend those poor Republicans who were called out on their assault on the poor and seniors. First, let’s take a look at what the President said that upset Halperin and Scarborough, from The Media Research Center…

BARACK OBAMA: This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America . . . Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said there’s nothing serious or courageous about this plan . . . There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill . . .  That’s not a vision of the America I know.

Here is what Halperin and Scarborough said on Morning Joe in response to that passage from the President’s speech…

MARK HALPERIN: I think if a Republican president called the Democratic proposals on something like this un-American, I think the press would be up in arms.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: They would savage him.

HALPERIN: They would be up in arms. I think that kind of rhetoric: for the president to say, that what Paul Ryan is doing is not consistent with his vision of America, I think that’s rhetoric that only added insult, injury to the insult of inviting him to sit in the front row.

SCARBOROUGH: Republicans have said a lot of really, really tough things about Barack Obama. Really tough things. So, it’s not even the words, it’s not the rhetoric. I think the president does believe that the Ryan plan is not the America that he grew up in or the America he wants.  I’m just saying, for negotiating reasons, why invite him to sit in the front row and say that his budget is not serious and is un-American when Paul Ryan’s been fighting his entire life for this?

HALPERIN: I totally agree. It seems like a weird decision to make.

Now, maybe these two boneheads were sleeping during the 8 years of President (with us or against us) Bush, but I doubt it. They both clearly spend most of their time defending the Republican brand and trying to convince people of liberal media bias and false equivalencies. In this post, warning, it’s a Huffington Post article, he blames President Obama for Republican opposition to the stimulus. Amazing.

Mark Halperin believes that there is a liberal bias in the media and is doing his part to swing the pendulum back to the right. It is just one more example of how absurd his thinking is. That pendulum swung to the right immediately after the horrible events of 9/11 and it’s been stuck there ever since. The Bush cabal did a masterful job of using a national tragedy to cow the media into doing it’s bidding. Wrapping everything they did in patriotism and daring the press to go against them. I remember it clearly, but apparently Mark Halperin was sleeping through all that.

Does anyone else see a pattern – President Obama stands up to Republicans and the media narrative and Mark Halperin is offended and jumps to the defense of those poor, poor Republican’s who are so cordial and nice in their rhetoric. There are many more examples of Halperin’s misguided rhetoric, but who has the time to go through all of it. I just wonder if Time magazine is really willing to offend so many people who support President Obama by continuing to employ this man who has proven his bias and terrible analyst skills Time and Time again.

Republicans Sabotaging The Economy For Political Reasons, Obviously!

From Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly, go read the whole thing, but these last couple of paragraphs were simply golden.

Republicans said a payroll tax cut would help create jobs, and now they’re opposed to their own idea. Republicans said the Economic Development Administration is great for the economy, and now they’re opposed to that, too. Republicans have traditionally supported infrastructure investment, but the “infrastructure bank” idea appears likely to be killed by the GOP. Many Republicans endorsed the TANF Emergency Fund last year as an incredibly effective method of lowering unemployment, and the congressional GOP killed that, too.

Republicans are blocking qualified Treasury Department nominees who could also be working on economic policy. Republicans are blocking qualified Federal Reserve nominees who could also help improve the economy, while demanding that the Fed do nothing to promote economic activity. The GOP is demanding that Congress and the White House agree to immediately take money out of the economy and eliminate public-sector jobs, even when conservative economists say that’s crazy. What’s more, these same Republican officials have made it abundantly clear that failure to give them the cuts they want would force them to crash the economy on purpose.

And it’s against this backdrop that one of the most powerful Republican officials on Capitol Hill has argued, more than once, that his “top priority” isn’t job creation, but rather, “denying President Obama a second term in office.”

This is a conversation worth having.

Republicans Are Trying To Hurt The Economy For Political Gain!

Some respected journalists have been dancing around the issue of whether Republicans are purposely trying to hurt the economy and job growth for political gain. I’m not afraid to say it. It is very obvious that’s exactly what they have been doing since President Obama took office. Sure, they’ve tried to couch their opposition to everything in ideological terms, but anyone with their eyes open wide, knows that they are doing everything they can to try and hurt him, and consequently, the country. ThinkProgress has the facts for us…

From the moment Obama entered office, right-wing conservatives embraced the posture of hell-bent opposition. Recall, in Jan. 2009, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh expressed his hope that Obama fails. One month later, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proudly embraced Limbaugh at a conservative conference. The fringe rhetoric of far right activists had quickly become the de facto governing strategy of the Republican leadership, as they adopted a posture of obstructionism.

Believing that the Republican strategy of opposition has played to his political benefit, McConnell is pledging to do more of the same if Republicans win back the Senate. In an interview with the National Journal’s Major Garrett, McConnell candidly acknowledged that he feels his “single most important” job is to defeat President Obama in 2012:

MCCONNELL: We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, “Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.”

NATIONAL JOURNAL: What’s the job?

MCCONNELL: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

And the Republican’s have been doing everything in their power to achieve that end. It started all the way back at the beginning of President Obama’s first term. Even before he took office, Bush administration economists and Obama’s people were having very urgent meetings about preventing a complete collapse of our economy. It was serious shit, very somber. The stimulus plan was devised by all the greatest economists in our country from the right and left. As these serious people were working hard to prevent the next great depression, the clowns in the Republican Party were already starting to play their games with our future. They helped to water down the stimulus package so much that the positive effects were minimal, which made it easier for the GOP to later sell their idea that the stimulus didn’t work. It was clear that they weren’t going to be able to stop the stimulus, so they did the next best thing. Most of the blame for the watering down rests with the spineless Democrats in congress, who let the Republicans push them to right. They bowed to the coordinated attacks from the right and the media and didn’t get a single one of their votes after all the watering down. I can think of another word besides watering.

Of course, almost every economist who is truthful will tell you that the stimulus did work and had it been bigger, it would have worked even better. From USA Today (August 2010) with the title “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created Nearly 3 Million Jobs“…

The White House says the multiyear $814 billion stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009 boosted employment by 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs and raised the nation’s annual economic output by almost $400 billion. A recent study by two prominent economists generally agrees, crediting the pump-priming with averting “what could have been called Great Depression 2.0.”

I remember clearly – the dire predictions, the fainting couches breaking, the screeching of “do something quickly” and “the sky is falling, run for your lives.” And our calm, cool President did what he had to do to stop it, with ABSOLUTELY NO FREAKIN HELP FROM REPUBLICANS. In fact, there was lock-step opposition to it. That is when I knew that the Republicans were serious about sacrificing the economy of the country they call home, for their own political gain. It wasn’t enough that they got the chance to screw up the country for 8 years with their buddy Bush, but they were desperate to complete the destruction of America. And I’m not being hyperbolic either, those scum are anti-American pieces of shit. The next paragraph in that USA Today piece points to how successful the GOP and the media’s twisting worked…

If President Obama expected anyone to say, “Thank you,” however, he’s been disappointed. In a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 59% of respondents disapproved of the president’s handling of the economy. In the partisan war over the economy’s performance, the word “stimulus” has became synonymous with “boondoggle,” making the notion of a repeat any time soon highly unlikely — especially if Republicans seize control of one or both houses of Congress in November.

Once the weakened stimulus passed, after the Republican’s pulled every trick they could, with the help of the idiot “conservadems”, they immediately started saying how it didn’t work. It started even before most of it was even implemented. The right-wing noise machine and the brain dead media, just pushed the “it didn’t work” meme ad nauseum. They were relentless. And there was very little push back from anyone in the Democratic Party. Some of them seemed to join in the bashing and fell in line with the right-wing media’s bullshit, collapsing like spineless jellyfish. It must be nice to be able to hide amongst fellow wimps, dodging any responsibility (credit) for bills they voted for, but taking that credit when they presented the big checks.

The complicit media just bought into the right-wing memes of the stimulus not working and that the Obama administration “promised” that the unemployment rate would go down to 8.5%. Of course, those projections were based on the information the crooked Bush administration handed them when they walked into office and they were in no way “promises”. They were anything but “promises”, they were cautious forecasts with all sorts of caveats. But what the hell, media, call them promises, that’s what your right-wing overlords like. Must. Please. Bosses. Once the Obama administration had been in a couple of months, they revised those estimates and said the Bush administration projections were off. Did the media pick up on that, of course not. They continue to trumpet the original number, never even mentioning the revisions. That wouldn’t fit with the narrative now, would it?

But of course the Republican opposition to all of President Obama’s policies and particularly the stimulus plan didn’t prevent them from claiming credit in their districts and having pictures taken with the giant checks. Rachel Maddow, our one national treasure in the current media, nails one of them to the wall on Meet the Press

 Vodpod videos no longer available.

The DCCC has a Hypocrisy Hall of Fame for all those Republicans claiming credit in their districts while decrying the stimulus out of the other side of their mouths. But hypocrisy is the new norm in the Republican Party and because of it, the American people are desensitized to it now and just accept that all politicians are hypocrites, whether they are or not. It’s part of their scorched earth tactic to bring everyone down into the mud with them so they all look nice and dirty to the people. It will work, but only to a certain extent.

Even though respected journalists are avoiding “going there” with the idea that the GOP is purposely sabotaging our economy, they are hinting at it big time. E.J. Dionne goes there a little bit with this post…

Welcome to the miserable world of no-way-out politics.

The economy needs another jolt, but Congress is in gridlock. Democrats, or most of them, realize that their political futures and the well-being of millions of households hang on whether unemployment can be brought down. Yet Republicans have the capacity to block even the smallest steps forward.Here’s what the Democrats’ agony looks like from the inside. Last Thursday, Senate Democrats devoted their weekly policy lunch to a simple question: What proposals to spur job-creation have any chance of passing Congress, given Republican control of the House and the effective veto power the GOP has in a Senate where a simple majority no longer rules?


For the moment, Republicans have no interest in moving the nation’s debate toward investments in job creation because they gain twice over from keeping Washington mired in discussions on the deficit. It’s a brute fact that Republicans benefit if the economy stays sluggish…

I have to say that anyone who hasn’t noticed the Republicans very blatant attempts to stop the President from implementing any policy that would help the economy is simply in denial. They have either put their heads so deep in the sand OR so far up their ass, that they can’t see a damn thing. It’s one or the other, take your pick!

Fighting Big Oil – Democrats Standing Up To Power

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.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Repubican’s Big Lies On Social Security – Why Do They Hate Seniors?

Updated Below with just found information!

Republican’s have consistently lied about Social Security and for many years. As with most of their lies, they come to believe them after repeating them enough. We’ve all known liars who are sociopathic and truly believe their own lies, well, I put a lot of the GOP in that category because it’s hard to explain how they can continue the lie, even in the face of the actual facts.

Social Security is not “on-budget” and has no effect on the deficit or the national debt. People pay in and people draw on it. There have been many accounting gimmicks used over the years to use Social Security surpluses to hide the actual debt for any given year. Go here for a detailed history of Social Security, it’s interesting to read if you are a total geek like me. Here is a summary of Social Security and it’s “on-budget” and “off-budget” status…(emphasis mine)

Summary –

So, to sum up:

1- Social Security was off-budget from 1935-1968;
2- On-budget from 1969-1985;
3- Off-budget from 1986-1990, for all purposes except computing the deficit;
4- Off-budget for all purposes since 1990.

Finally, just note once again that the financing procedures involving the Social Security program have not changed in any fundamental way since they were established in the original Social Security Act of 1935 and amended in 1939. These changes in federal budgeting rules govern how the Social Security program is accounted for in the federal budget, not how it is financed.

It’s interesting to note that during Reagan’s term, they did a hybrid approach, make it off-budget except for computing the deficit, nice little trick Ronnie and Company.

Another lie being perpetuated by both Republicans and Democrats has to do with the life expectancy of Americans and whether it has increased very much over time. This is new information to me, I have to admit, but it makes complete sense. Thanks to Steve Benen once again for his great writing and insight, from Steve…(emphasis mine)

After Simpson made some bizarre remarks about retirement ages and the history of Social Security, Grimm pressed the former senator on his understanding of the basics.

“HuffPost suggested to Simpson during a telephone interview that his claim about life expectancy was misleading because his data include people who died in childhood of diseases that are now largely preventable. Incorporating such early deaths skews the average life expectancy number downward, making it appear as if people live dramatically longer today than they did half a century ago. According to the Social Security Administration’s actuaries, women who lived to 65 in 1940 had a life expectancy of 79.7 years and men were expected to live 77.7 years.”

I don’t think a lot of Democrats even know that fact, to be honest. I often hear them say that we have to do something because people are living longer. When in reality, they are only living slightly longer because averaging things out tends to skew reality and give people like Republican’s a kernel of misinformation that they can run with.

The other big lie is that Social Security is in dire straights and something has to be done immediately to fix it. It just isn’t true, the latest estimates that I found say it is solvent for the next 27 years, nearly 3 decades. From Pacific Progressive…

Many policymakers and analysts are insisting that there is an urgent need to make major changes to Social Security. Their argument that long-term imbalances make the case for action now have even swayed some who consider themselves supporters of the program. A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, calls attention to the fact that Social Security will be fully solvent for the next 27 years and any premature action to make changes to the program will have a severe impact on millions of near retirees.

“Misinformation about Social Security has led many to believe that Social Security is in immediate danger of insolvency” said Dean Baker, a co-director of CEPR and author of the report, “but the program will be fully solvent for almost three more decades. Furthermore, even if no changes are ever made, a child born in 2010 can expect to see a benefit that is more than 50 percent larger in real terms than what current retirees receive today.”

So don’t believe the “sky is falling” folks who are trying to create a false urgency in order to undo the social safety net that Americans have been relying on since it was implemented 70 plus years ago. I always have to think that these people must be extremely rich if they don’t see a need for Social Security for themselves, their parents and grandparents. Damn, it must be nice to be so comfortable that they don’t have to rely on Social Security when they retire. But to me the larger issue is how can they care so little about the people who aren’t rich and have paid into the Social Security trust fund their whole lives, counting on it for their later years. What sort of person is willing to hurt the seniors in our country who I was taught to take care of, respect, and who’s wisdom should be cherished.

I’m encouraged by the announcement yesterday by Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, when he said “he doesn’t think Congress will address Social Security as part of an effort to reduce government borrowing.” I would have preferred a more definite statement, but I’ll take that one. I wonder if the whiners in the Professional Left, who wasted so much time and energy bitching about the “cat-food commission” and their recommendations, will spend just as much time lauding the President and Democrats for not touching Social Security. Yea right!

Update: The People’s View has a post up responding to an Ezra Klein post that sheds more light on the above. I’ll just send you over their if you want to get into the minutia. There is more to the idea that people aren’t living that much longer. Go read it for a great analysis, albeit pretty deep, of Social Security. That’s a great site over there.