Update 20:00: In a public statement this evening, Rep. Collins announced that he is not going to resign his seat and will remain on the ballot in November. He refused to take any questions from the press. Shades of felon Michael Grimm (R-NY11). Arrogance and stupidity can be a fatal combination, especially to a Republican …
Aug 08 2018
May 14 2014
“Distasteful opportunism”, is how political analyst and author Richard Wolff describes the latest investigation by the Republican led House of Representatives into the attack in the US consulate in Behgazi, Libya that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others. All of the questions that this new special committee will ask have been answered in numerous other hearings over the last two years. During an interview on MSNBC’s “Last Word,” former Bush national security adviser Richard Clarke noted that the independent report (pdf) on Benghazi by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and the former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Michael McMullen should have been the final word. It wasn’t because, as Mr. Clarke states, “people want to make partisan hay out of a national security issue in which Americans died.”
This is also costing American tax payers a bundle of money at a time when Republicans are screaming for budget cuts to undermine social safety nets. Make no mistake, this is politics at its most disgusting no matter who is doing it.
Nov 05 2012
The Congressional Research Service has withdrawn an economic report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economic theory, after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper’s findings and wording.
The decision, made in late September against the advice of the agency’s economic team leadership, drew almost no notice at the time. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, cited the study a week and a half after it was withdrawn in a speech on tax policy at the National Press Club.
But it could actually draw new attention to the report, which questions the premise that lowering the top marginal tax rate stimulates economic growth and job creation.
“This has hues of a banana republic,” Mr. Schumer said. “They didn’t like a report, and instead of rebutting it, they had them take it down.”
The GOP was upset that the report confirmed what most of us already know: Tax cuts for the wealthy have no effect on the economy and don’t create jobs. But, hey if you don’t like the facts them bury them. Writing at The Maddow Blog, Steve Benen explained that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted the report be withdrawn because people outside of Congress concerns about the report. Those concerns were raised by conservatives from think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation who oppose tax increases on the one percent.
It’s important to understand that the Congressional Research Service, generally recognized as Congress’ own think tank, has a well-deserved reputation for non-partisanship. The CRS is counted on to provide lawmakers with the most reliable and accurate information available, and the notion that partisan lawmakers can pressure, censor, and possibly even intimidate independent researchers is simply unacceptable.
In other words, we just can’t have public offices’ scholarship being stifled because Republicans find reality politically inconvenient. Our system of government isn’t supposed to work this way.
Nor as Benen continues is the first time a report has been stifled by Republicans because it was politically inconvenient and didn’t fit their policy agenda.
This was consistently one of the more offensive hallmarks of the Bush/Cheney era. In 2005, for example, after a government report showed an increase in terrorism around the world, the administration announced it would stop publishing its annual report on international terrorism. Reality proved problematic, so rather than addressing the problem, the Republican administration decided to hide the reality.
Soon after, the Bush administration was discouraged by data about factory closings in the U.S., the administration announced it would stop publishing information about factory closings.
When Bush’s Department of Education found that charter schools were underperforming, the administration said it would sharply cut back on the information it collects about charter schools.
The Bush administration worked from a strange assumption: if we get rid of the data pointing to a problem, maybe the problem won’t look so bad. It redefined ridiculous governing, but it seemed to make Republicans feel better to bury their heads in the sand. If a report tells you something you don’t want to hear, the obvious move is to get rid of the report.
“If a report tells you something you don’t want to hear, the obvious move is to get rid of the report”, yeah, that works.
Sep 01 2012
HBO’s series The Newsroom debuted ten weeks ago. Written by Alan Sorkin it is a fictional behind the scenes look at a cable news network, Atlantis Cable News (ACN), its star, Will McAvoy, the Republican anchor for its premier news program, News Night and his staff. Each episode has focused around a major event in the recent past, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. In the last episode of the season, the News Room took on the issue of voter ID laws and the non-issue of voter fraud.
Sometimes it takes a fictional character to poke the hive.
The American Taliban cannot survive if Dorothy Cooper is allowed to vote
Jul 07 2011
There are no more “normal” people in charge of government these days, nor are any of them reasonable:
Paul Krugman Not A normal Party:
But I’m unreliable and shrill, of course – you weren’t supposed to realize that the GOP had gone off the deep end that early in the game.
David Brooks: The Mother of All No-Brainers
If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases.
A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.
The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.
This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.
Richard Cohen: A grand old cult
Someone ought to study the Republican Party. I am not referring to yet another political scientist but to a mental health professional, preferably a specialist in the power of fixations, obsessions and the like. The GOP needs an intervention. It has become a cult.
To become a Republican, one has to take a pledge. It is not enough to support the party or mouth banalities about Ronald Reagan; one has to promise not to give the government another nickel. This is called the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” issued by Americans for Tax Reform, an organization headed by the chirpy Grover Norquist. He once labeled the argument that an estate tax would affect only the very rich “the morality of the Holocaust.” Anyone can see how singling out the filthy rich and the immensely powerful and asking them to ante up is pretty much the same as Auschwitz and that sort of thing.
This intellectual rigidity has produced a GOP presidential field that’s a virtual political Jonestown. The Grand Old Party, so named when it really did evoke America, has so narrowed its base that it has become a political cult. It is a redoubt of certainty over reason and in itself significantly responsible for the government deficit that matters most: leadership. That we can’t borrow from China.
It is miles to go before the 2012 Congressional races begin in earnest, but already some of the 87 freshmen who helped the Republicans win back the House last year are bracing for a challenge from within the party. At least half a dozen potential primary challengers to freshmen are considering a run, and there is heated chatter about more.
In some ways, the freshmen are responsible for their own predicament. Many won their seats after successfully challenging establishment Republicans in primaries, proving that a combination of gumption and the right political climate could overcome the advantages of incumbency.
Now, to some of the impatient and ideological voters who sent them to Washington to change things, the new House members may be seen as the establishment, and they face the disconcerting prospect of immediately defending themselves in the political marketplace.
The White House and the Democratic leadership aren’t any better having dropped the ball and allowed a small “cult” of unreasonable people to dictate the game. Obama was suppose to be “the adult in the room” according to his fans. He could have easily had the upper hand in his first two years in office if he had listened to reason about the economy and put his “foot down” like an “adult”. There is little reason to think that the Democrats will listen to “normal” people now
Jun 09 2011
Well, you’ve got your diamonds and you’ve got your pretty clothes And the chauffeur drives your car/ You let everybody know/ But don’t play with me, ’cause you’re playing with fire
(I wrote about this two days ago posted on another board and today its making headlines. Just goes to show that the bloggers are way ahead of the game.)
May 17 2011
I know better than to go drinking on Sundays, but it’s just been one of those weeks, and I figured I’d grab a few beers, no big deal, and then head hone and get some real work done.
Of course, the reason I don’t drink on Sundays is because that’s when Satan likes to go hang out at my favorite bar – and to be real honest with you, lately Satan’s getting to be a real drag to hang out with once he gets drinking.
I mean, it’s depressing: he’s always talking about how he gets blamed for the economy, even though he claims he has no control over Wall Street, and atheism is a bit of a sore subject – and he’s forever complaining about how all his best customers have been outsourcing more and more work to Varsavarti.
But if you think all that’s a drag to have to deal with…you should hear him complain about Republican Presidential Politics.
May 15 2011
When the Republicans voted lock step on the Ryan Budget plan that would decimate the safety nets of Medicaid ans Medicare, they were not prepared for the harsh criticism from their own supporters and organizations that had praised their agenda in the past. During the Spring recess, House members faced angry constituents and a harsh press. On Tuesday, 42 freshmen sent a letter to the president asking that the Democrats forget that they used Medicare scare tactics fighting the Health Care Reform bill and back off holding them responsible for their votes on the Ryan Budget bill. Sorry, guys, no do-overs. You own it now.
The House Republican budget written by Paul Ryan has received a huge amount of criticism for its plan to replace Medicare with a poorly indexed private voucher program that could result in more and more seniors every year being unable to afford health care. Less focus has been put on how equally devastating the Ryan plan would be to people who rely on Medicaid because the plan would stop federal funding for the program from keeping up with the increasing cost of actually providing people with care.
A study from be the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid(PDF) lays out three likely scenarios of what would happen if the Republican plan were implemented.
Critics Fear G.O.P.’s Proposed Medicaid Changes Could Cut Coverage for the Aged
By Jennifer Steinhauer @ NYT
While the largest number of Medicaid recipients are low-income children and adults, who tend to be far less politically potent voices in battles over entitlement programs than older voters, the changes to Medicaid proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the House budget chairman, could actually have a more direct impact on older Americans than the Medicare part of his plan.
The House plan would turn Medicaid, which provides health coverage for the poor through a combination of federal and state money, into a block grant program for states. The federal government would give lump sums to states, which in turn would be given more flexibility and independence over use of the money, though the plan does not spell out what the federal requirements would be.
Beginning in 2013, these grants would increase annually at the rate of inflation, with adjustments for population growth, a rate far below that of inflation for health care costs. As a result, states, which have said that they cannot afford to keep up with the program’s costs, are likely to scale back coverage. Such a reduction, critics fear, could have a disproportionate effect on Medicaid spending for nursing home care for the elderly or disabled.
Critical Letter by Catholics Cites Boehner on Policies
By Laurie Goodstein @ NYT
More than 75 professors at Catholic University and other prominent Catholic colleges have written a pointed letter to Mr. Boehner saying that the Republican-supported budget he shepherded through the House will hurt the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable, and that he therefore has failed to uphold basic Catholic moral teachings.
“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the letter says. “From the apostles to the present, the magisterium of the church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”
The letter writers criticize Mr. Boehner’s support for a budget that cut financing for Medicare, Medicaid and the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, while granting tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. They call such policies “anti-life,” a particularly biting reference because the phrase is usually applied to politicians and others who support the right to abortion.
The shoe is once again on the other foot and it is up to the Democrats to make sure it causes permanent bunions, by making them own their votes and pay the price.
Feb 13 2011
Seeking to protect fossil-foolish interests is at the core of the Republican House majority’s agrenda.
“We think what we can be is the canary in the coal mine,” Republican Representative Darryl Issa told reporters.
Congressman Issa’s words are prophetic — evidently he and his colleagues consider themselves to be the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ since they are taking steps with the newly introduced Continuing Resolution to kill off as many canaries in the coal mine to protect Americans from environmental, safety, and other risks. For example, the proposal includes a 22 percent reduction in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, massive cuts in basic science research, budgets slashing seeking to essentially eliminate U.S. government research on climate change, … a true anti-science syndrome agenda.
Feb 03 2011
We have seen some amazing days in Egypt, and it’s provided a better lesson than anyone could have ever wanted for how taking action, against long odds, can really get something done.
A secret police mechanism has been pushed aside, an Army has chosen not to attack The People, and a President who was backed by the “full faith and credit” of the US Government on Friday was being told by that same US Government on Tuesday that it’s time to go.
The People, in fact, spoke so loudly that Mr. Mubarak has informed Egyptians that he’s going to “pursue corruption”, which, if taken literally, could eventually look like a puppy chasing its own tail.
The People, however, are unhappy with his answer, and they’re speaking even louder yet…even to the point of being willing to take beatings, gunfire, and, believe it or not…camel charges…to make their voices heard.
And that got me to thinking about Social Security.
You know, we are facing the potential for a great big Social Security fight for pretty much the entire term of the 112th Congress-and it seems to me that a series of great big “Cairo-style” marches might be the way to make our voices heard, so that this Congress understands that great big benefit cuts are something that we will not tolerate.
Sep 21 2010
Originally posted at Citizen Orange.
The fate of almost a million lives could be decided in the next six hours. As a voter, as a millenial, as a migrant, as a Guatemalan, I’m writing to say that I will be watching along with the vast majority of those who will determine the future of the United States of America.
If you already haven’t heard already, Harry Reid is going to offer the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act up as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate is scheduled to vote on taking up the Act tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. If you haven’t called you’re Senator yet in the support of the DREAM Act please do so now by calling:
It is imperative that you focus on these Senators. If you’ve called already, call again. If you’ve called again, ask five friends to do the same. If you’ve done all that, here are some more actions you can take.
Sep 02 2010
Washington – Pandercrats in Congress are poised to play a leading role this month in thwarting their party’s effort to raise votes for the incumbents.
A small but growing number of Moderate Pandercrats are balking at boosting taxes on the rich, now that there has been a sufficient gain of numbers of poor to please Wall Street. Many who are retiring anyway or floundering in the polls, face electorates who are planning their retirement going away parties already, and are anticipating a nice slice of cake. Some represent areas that were loaded with empty foreclosed on sprawlburban mansions, some are reluctant to increase the feeling of voting obligation on anyone while the old 2008 party platform isn’t quite officially ready for the alien autopsy yet.
“The voter’s will is very weak right now. Voting could lower consumer demand for means tested results, at a time when we want people putting more votes into the other party” said Sen. Evan Bye, who is auditioning to become a lobbyist.
“We still expect to have an election at some point in November,” Reed spokesman Bib Man Lee said. “Whether Republicans will allow them to vote for anyone is a whole other story.”
The speaker and the president have been clear they want to extend the middle class tax cuts, but because there is no middle class anymore, they have indicated a willingness to compromise to make the final lame duck session a time of bipartisanship cameraderie.
Rep. Gerald Connolly, DINO -Va., represents the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, one of the nation’s wealthiest districts. Median family income there in 2008 was $117,892, well above the national average of $63,211. He said that repealing the top rates would have political consequences.
“Sometimes we forget how we became the majority. We did it by winning some affluent districts,” he said.
“The general rule of thumb is that you do not raise taxes or cut spending during an economic downturn. That would be counterproductive,” (Sen. Kent) Conrad, (DINO ND) said.
… at a Kansas City fundraiser in July, (senate candidate) Robin Carnahan (DINO MO) said last week that she wanted to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone.
“Now is not the time to raise taxes,” she said.