Friday, July 29, 2011

Republicans Being Unreasonable on Debt Ceiling.

Once again, the Democrats have bent over backwards in concessions to the Republicans; this time, in order to avoid a default on our debt. Democrats have agreed to spending cuts in Congress, which Republicans demand. However, Republicans refuse to ask millionaires and billionaires to absorb a tax increase in return.

Yet, ironically, to default, as the Republicans are risking, is to jack up everyone's interest rates, which amounts to a tax!! Republicans claim to be the responsible ones when it comes to spending, but to afford those tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, requires America to spend; and that means borrowing more money!!

So, now, the Democrats are willing to put off the tax increases, so that we can raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default. So, do the Republicans respond by shaking hands on an agreement that gives them the best out of the deal? Nope. They still want more!! The Republican party is behaving like a greedy, bully who never learned in kindergarten that a mature, person shares in both reward and responsibility. Besides, a default that Republicans are risking, would jack up everyone's interest on their mortgages, credit cards and student loans, which would amount to a tax increase for everyone!!

On a related note, It's appallingly out of touch that Republicans have us talking about reducing debt during the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression!! It seems a better idea to focus on jobs, first. President Obama was trying to do just that before Republicans hijacked the agenda to suggest that America not pay its bills. I say, "not pay its bills" because raising the debt ceiling isn't about accruing additional debt but to pay for the commitments we've already made. So, to not raise the debt ceiling would be like buying a new house but refusing to pay for the mortgage.

If we focused on jobs first, then we could strengthen our economy, so that America would be in a more financially secure place to better weather cuts to government programs.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Americans Favor Obama Deficit Plan to Republican Plan: 58% to 36%.

In the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, American's approve of Obama's debt plans over Republican plans. Nearly six in 10 favor President Barack Obama’s proposal to lower the federal deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years by cutting federal spending, raising tax revenue from the wealthy and reducing some Medicare spending. By comparison, only about a third of respondents prefer the House Republican proposal to reduce the deficit by $2.5 trillion over 10 years through cutting spending alone and not raising additional revenue.
In addition, 58% said that the other big issue facing congress, the debt ceiling, would a real and serious problem to the American economy (mortgage rates could increase by double). Whereas a minority of just 36% favor the hardline Republican plan. Despite Republican resistance to brokering a compromise, 73% of Independent voters (the ones who really decide elections) favor compromise from both parties; something President Obama has been trying to get for months. Democrats favor a compromise by a solid majority of 62%. In contrast, however, 52% of Republicans don't want the Congressional Republicans to compromise; whereas only 43% do want them to compromise. That's nearly a 10% gap, which is a wide margin. This really underlines who is interested in working together in Washington for the good of the people, and who isn't.

On the question of, should Congress raise taxes on the wealthy to help bring down the debt, 62% of American agree they should be raised. Whereas only 27% say, no, don't raise taxes!! Again, this shows how out of touch the Republicans are with America. Despite these numbers, Republicans refuse to budge on raising taxes. They are more in touch with their big business donors than the middle-class, working family.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Hell Freezes Over: I (mostly) Agree with Republican Coburn on Budget Proposal.

On Monday, the conservative Oklahoma senator released a 614-page report that has virtually no chance of becoming law because it would turn off just about everyone in Washington. But Coburn, [pictured, left] a blunt and combative pol who plans to retire in 2016, says that’s exactly the point: Every interest group and both parties need to swallow bitter political pills in order to put the country on a sustainable fiscal path.

TPJ: You know what, I actually like much of what's in this proposal!! As a Liberal, I am nervous about the age hike with Medicare. However, after looking closer, it seems like a modest and slow increase in age, over time (a few month increase--every other year is all). I am wildly enthusiastic about a sliding-scale form of means testing, Medicare and Social Security to save $3 TRILLION. So, if you're obscenely, rich, you'll get less; Millionaires and billionaires can easily afford their own health care and retirement funds. Leave the lion's share of the entitlements for the poor and middle-classes.

I also approve of the billions in cuts in tax loopholes proposed by Coburn; though once the economy rebounds, and jobs come back, I think we modestly increase the taxes on millionaires and billionaires. I also like the cuts directed at the military. We need to bring the troops home. We shouldn't be fighting two wars (and Libya) in a economic crisis--that's how Rome fell. All in all, I find a lot to support in the Coburn bill. I think it's time for both sides to be mature, compromise, and get serious. There is no reason that Liberals and Conservatives can't agree on a plan that both reduces debt but leaves essential programs, adjusted for big savings, but not gutted. I think we can figure this out if everyone is honest and willing to balance out the pain.

We'll see how this plan shakes out in the coming days, but I am willing to work with Republicans on such a plan. However, unfortunately, I think the lobbyists and special interests (on both sides) will shred this proposal to pieces before it even gets to a vote. But, I wrote my Senators and Representative, and you should too, if you find anything in this plan to support. We can't "kick the can down the road" any longer, and the sooner we all take some cuts now, the less painful those cuts would have to be, at a later date. I am pleased that the age hike in Medicare won't take place for some time to come. But, I will not support, a total gutting of Medicare. Nor will I support not closing tax loopholes; as well as any plan not to drastically reduce the companies who get subsidies from the tax payer (i.e., oil, factory farms, ethanol, etc).

In the end though, we need to pass something on the debt soon, so that we can move onto a more pressing issue---JOBS!!!! That's all we heard from the Republicans in the 2010 election when Republican Leader John Boehner chided Obama, "Mr. President, where are the jobs?" Well, Republicans, you won that election--so, where are the damn jobs, Mr. Boehner?!!!!" You're the latest ones to get power, so you get to share the responsibility.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

U.S. Credit Rating Under Review for Possible Downgrade.

The non-partisan, credit rating agency, Moodys, has put the U.S. government on notice that their "AAA" bond rating could be downgraded to "AA" if the Republicans have their way and the debt limit isn't raised. So, what does that mean to you? Well, if the U.S. credit rating is downgraded, then interest rates will skyrocket. The interest rates on your mortgage, credit cards and student loans could double. In addition, foreign companies will be less likely to invest in the American economy out of a fear of economic instability. The Republican Party has been hijacked by the Tea Party extremists who seem to believe that political dogma trumps common sense. It's like the religious extremists who feel they can justify anything, so long as they think their "god" would approve.

If they have to bring down the entire economy to cut spending, then by god, so be it. It's kind of like the saying from the Vietnam war that we have to "burn the village, to save the village." This came from a U.S. military officer in the Vietnam war who said the U.S. military had to destroy an entire village, so that none of the enemy could hide there. In other words, burning a village to the ground is an extreme way to prevent the enemy from hiding amongst the population. You might drive out the few fighters in the village but you've also killed innocent lives and made the innocent survivors, homeless. Including vulnerable infants and kids. And, you haven't exactly endeared yourself to the innocent population; who would quite likely go from being passive villagers, to joining the enemy forces in revenge and anger.

So, the Tea Party Republicans seem willing to bring down what's left of the American economy, in order to fulfill a pledge to their followers to cut spending; regardless of the consequences. They seem to be saying, "True, we did bring down what was left of the economy, but at least we cut some spending!!" Another example would be cutting back your family's health care in order to save money; it might kill your spouse, but hey, at least you save some money, right??? (sarcasm).

Everyone is concerned about the debt but now is not the time to start chopping away at programs that are all that countless people have to rely upon to prevent them from ballooning up the unemployed levels. As I've said here before, you cut debt when you have surpluses and an overall, strong economy; as Clinton did in the 90s with his balanced budget. Democrats are simply saying, we should raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires back to the level under Clinton, when our economy was strong and growing.

Another thing people seem to be ignoring or forgetting is that this isn't about spending additional money. As I've said here before, we have to raise the debt limit in order to pay for commitments we've already made to our creditors, veterans and seniors. This is about paying for our bills. Apparently, the Republicans are fine with America defaulting and becoming a dead-beat country that gains a reputation for not paying it's bills and being a bad place to invest. We can discuss the debt at a later date, but until we get more people back to work and grow this damn economy, it's too risky.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Republican Leader Boehner: Debt Limit Not Republican's Problem.

(PICTURED ABOVE: Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell [left] and House Majority Leader, John Boehner [right]. PHOTO CREDIT: AP News agency).

"This debt limit increase is [Obama's] problem," he [Republican House Majority Leader, John Boehner said. So, despite all that borrowing and spending that all Republican president's have done since Reagan, Republicans have no responsibility toward all that debt? Well, isn't that convenient (sarcasm). The Republicans are like the kid who broke the expensive, glass, figurine in the house, and then pointed the finger toward his brother (Democrats) to avoid any responsibility.

It's irritating and disingenuous that the Republicans are trying to pin all this debt onto Obama when the past president ballooned it with two, very, expensive, wars and tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. The point is that both parties should be taking the responsibility for shared responsibility and middle-ground; as President Obama is doing. He's offering up $4 TRILLION in spending reductions, in areas that Democrats hold dear. It's apparently a 4-to-1 proposal where the GOP gets 4 trillion in cuts with only $1 trillion in tax hikes for millionaires and billionaires. It's a deal that the Republican party of old would be pouncing on but with the Tea Party taking over that party, reason goes out the window.

In response, not only do the Republicans avoid offering up sacrifices of their own, such as tax hikes, they give Obama the back of the hand, in rejection!! How do you deal with such intransigence from the other party?!! It takes two to tango; as they say. Obama's the one who looks like the reasonable person in all of this talk because he keeps trying to find a compromise that Republicans always walk away from!! They are becoming political hostage takers; holding America's economy hostage, out of a fanatical opposition to raising $1 in tax hikes for millionaires and billionaires. Does that sound fair to you?

How can the Republicans walk away from the debt ceiling debate and claim it's all Obama's responsibility when they are the ones screaming the loudest about our debt?!! First, it was Republican Senator Tom Coburn who walked out of the talks. Then, it was Republican Representative Eric Cantor and now, Republican Representative John Boehner is trying to pin all the blame on President Obama and the Democrats. It's about time they grow up out of their teen-age temper tantrums, join the Democrats and the president in shared sacrifice.

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Bigoted Pastor, Bradlee Dean.

Michele Bachmann is having a rocky week in her nascent presidential campaign. First she said that she hopes the bad economy helps her win the presidency; basically betting against the American people and economy. Then she commented on children and slavery, and said that they had a better family life then, than now!! Now we find out that her pastor is a vile and bigoted man who has less in common with a loving "God" than a hateful, fear-monger. He could be her Reverand Wright, the pastor who gave President Obama troubles due to his controversial comments. However, while Obama was never in church when Wright said those comments, Bachmann has been recorded to be praying for this bigot's church and the man himself.

Bachmann, whose district covers Dean's suburban Minnesota headquarters, didn't just endorse Dean, but has prayed for him and his ministry. Finally she begs the All Mighty to "pour a triple blessing on this ministry" and expand it ten fold.

TPJ: But, this might actually endear her to Republicans; given that the moderate Republican party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has been supplanted by the radical, Tea Party, Evangelical Christians. So, they might see her pastor's bigoted comments about homosexuals to be a positive trait!! That's how twisted this Neo-Republicanism has become. Bachmann's pastor has also said some bigoted comments about Muslims and President Obama. In addition to being a paranoid conspiracy theorist, who believes in the New World Order. Unlike Obama's relationship with Reverend Wright, Bachmann has raised money for Dean's church and appeared on his firebrand t.v. program; as well as, pushed for increasing the number of schools that Dean has access to, in order to spread his hateful message to the youth.

On his radio show, he's alleged that gays were responsible for the Holocaust, and that gay men will, on average, molest 117 people "before they're found out." He's also suggested that extremist Muslims who call for the execution of American gays are morally justified. "If America won't enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that," Dean explained. "[Homosexuals] play the victim when they are, in fact, the predator."

TPJ: No, Bradlee Dean is the predator!! Now we know where Michele Bachmann gets her vile spew about gays and other minorities.

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Friday, July 08, 2011

Michele Bachmann: Kids Better Off Under Slavery?

Republican, presidential candidate, Representative Michele Bachmann, is one of the most dangerously, ignorant, candidates for the American presidency in recent memory. She has already stated that the founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery when in reality they all had dozens to hundreds of slaves. But, now, she's come out and saying that African-American children essentially had it better under slavery than today!!!
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President, the document said.

Given that families were broken up regularly for sales during slavery and that rape by masters was pretty common, this could not be more offensive, Jack & Jill Politics' Cheryl Contee noted.
TPJ: And, to think, Michele Bachmann is running second in the Republican polls for the 2012 presidential election!!! That's tells you how far Republicans have shifted to the radical conservative end of the political spectrum. This is the same person, Bachmann, who signed a pledge to ban all pornography!! News flash, Michele, Liberals and Democrats aren't the only ones indulging in porn. There have to be plenty of Republicans looking at it too; considering it's a $10-14 BILLION industry in America!! Oh yeah, and then there's that pesky thing called, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution about freedom of speech and expression. But, Michele Bachmann should know all about that being a self-proclaimed defender of the Constitution!! (sarcasm).

But, Bachmann's insanity doesn't stop there; oh no!! She essentially admitted that she's hoping the economy will crash further because it would help her election campaign; now, there's a positive outlook for America's future!!
Let the whole damn thing collapse into a depression and declare victory?!! That's an ingenious plan (sarcasm); ruin the strongest economy on Earth, so that you can win the presidency, be president of the garbage heap left and force Americans to fight over the scraps. Wow, it doesn't get more cynical that that!!

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Monday, July 04, 2011

History, The 4th of July and the News Media.

As any historian will tell you, Americans are woefully ignorant about our history. Budgets across the country have been steadily decreasing funds to history departments and civics courses. The effects are costly to the country. We have students (and sadly, adults) who can't find on a map, the two countries were our soldiers are fighting in wars, which tends to detach people from its consequences.

When we don't teach history, we have people forgetting why unions were formed, why regulations came about, and why corporations need to be tempered. We have people forgetting about the dangers of monopolies and poor working conditions, health care, etc. And, when that happens, you're doomed to repeat past mistakes. Today, for example, we have whittled away so many of the protections put in place after the Great Depression that we are seeing a repeat of the consequences of such recklessness. In short, we are returning to pre-depression policies that led to our history's great economic calamity.

Our middle class is under such stress, and our workforce abused, that we are fast returning to the excesses and oppressions of the Gilded Age. Yet, without knowing this history, we didn't and don't see how we've been down this road before with disastrous consequences. No one has even heard of the Gilded Age these days; let alone know what happened during it. And, now, we celebrate anti-intellectualism as some kind of American value; as if the lack of education in early America is a value to uphold like the values of the Constitution, which emerged from that era!! It's gotten so bad that now we have presidential candidates who seem to succeed in being proud of not knowing our history and shunning progressive ideas that enable our country to adapt and thrive in this post-modern world.

So, imagine my disgust when I woke up this morning, on the 4th of July, only to see the cable news channel, MSNBC spending over an hour and a half talking about the gruesome, grisly and twisted Casey Anthony murder trial!! Thus, I switched over to CNN hoping to hear about the wonderful history of the American Revolution. Instead, I was "treated" to a demonstration on how to properly eat hot dogs in a hot dog eating championship; followed by some zany marathon were people dress up in costumes while running. The really sad thing is that only one of the costumes featured in the piece was a 4th of July theme. I guess, independence day has become independence from knowing and teaching the history of how we became such a free country!! This lack of knowledge and appreciation of our history can be directly tied to this country's decline.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Romney Flip-Flops Again!!!

By IBTimes Staff Reporter | July 1, 2011 4:24 PM EDT

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney backtracked on one of the core tenets of his presidential campaign: that President Obama has made a struggling U.S. economy even worse. "I didn't say that things are worse," Romney said at a press conference in Allentown, Pa., on Thursday.

Mitt Romney has changed his positions, so many times that I'm beginning to wonder if he's going to soon announce that no, he's not a married, Mormon, Republican candidate for president; but, in fact, a gay, socialist, candidate for mayor of Key West.

He's an empty suit who will say anything to anyone if it advances, Mitt Romney. I don't know why anyone would take this fraud seriously. His integrity meter is blinking, empty.

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