I have to confess when the video hit yesterday - you know which video - I didn’t really think much of it. Sure Mitt hates moochers. Who doesn’t? But then I thought some more about it and realized how nutso the statements actually were. Can someone really believe this kind of nonsense?
Apparently yes because Mitt’s defense today is that he said it “not elegantly”. Huh? Ever meet a hole that could not be be dug deeper Mitt? ‘Cause this just might be the one to bury you.
Now, I’m not a moocher. I pay my Fed taxes every year and you couldn’t get me to vote Mitt if you paid me. (How much we talking about anyway?) Add in most of my friends who work hard to scrape out a living yet inexplicably vote for anti-American socialists - I mean Dems - and I have to wonder what he is talking about. Who is the American moocher?
I’d point my fingers at my parents but they fall a bit short of being class A moochers. They both take social security though they have paid some taxes each year. Neither can particularly live just on SS but it is a primary source of income. However, many of their generation and the previous one are full-on moochers. But do they all vote Democratic? Nope, not the white ones anyway. In 2010, the older moocher vote went strongly for the GOP - 59% according to national exit polls.
What about other moochers? Welfare moms? Sure, if you’re black you’re overwhelmingly likely to vote Dem. White moochers (aka hillbillies, meth heads, et al) ain’t voting for the black guy, no matter what camp Mitt dumps them in. Hey, how many whiteys on welfare, you ask. Mitt’s peeps would probably bet 90% non-white or some such rubbish. However, the number is about the same as blacks - both around 38 - 39%. Those millions of economically challenged white Americans is not exactly Obama’s target demo.
What about farmers eking out a hard living thanks to ag subsidies? Not Obama voters, that’s for sure. Veterans on disability getting free care from the VA? Does Mitt consider a blown off leg enough payment for free medical care? Not if you listen to his convention speech, which shockingly did not mention veterans at all. Those pesky homeless clogging up shelters and eating that scrumptious free food every night? Both sides basically say ‘screw those guys.’ Besides, if you don’t need an ID to vote you sure do need an address if you want to register. Shall I go on?
Oh, to be a moocher with all that free stuff. If only life were that simple. Yeah, sure the 47% (the new 99%?) get all the fringe bennies these days. What am I doing wrong paying my stupid taxes when there are handouts to be gotten? That’s the real shock - not that as a non-moocher I should vote GOP - but that I’m missing out on the awesome freeloader lifestyle. Especially since I’m an Obama voter already.
Honey fire up the meth cookers. We’re going all in on the welfare king & queen market!
The big announcement, flubbed as it was, has happened and the VP choice is shockingly Paul Ryan. There is no way to slice this as anything other than a huge shot in the arm to the Obama campaign as he now gets to run on the toxic Ryan budget and its centerpiece proposal to end Medicare as we know it. Should play real well in FL that one.
Talk about your unforced errors - choosing a running mate who is young, worked nearly his entire life in DC and wrapped both arms around the third rail of reforming Medicare. What was Romney thinking? He’s not even sure he is in favor of the Ryan budget, though in a debate he said he’d sign it if it hit his desk. At least we can give Ryan’s plan points for being specific since Romney’s is little than “cut spending, cut taxes, watch the economy boom.”
Even better is the prospect of Romney embracing the disastrous GOP led House, which has done nothing but pass meaningless Obamacare repeals and obstruct needed reforms of the Postal Service and Agricultural subsidies. Just what Obama needed to cement the race before it even starts. Thanks Mitt.
The London 2012 Olympics has been very fruitful for the Americans, now certain to take the overall medal crown. Even more impressive is that story after story of the games is dominated by women. Sorry guys, but you’re just not that compelling any more.
This year, the US sent more women than men and 44% of the participating athletes are women according to the IOC. In 1984, only 24% of the athletes were women. Even more interesting is that the women are far outpacing the men in terms of medals earned.
Was there any more compelling match than the US vs. Japan for the women’s soccer gold medal? A tense, wide open affair that made male soccer look old fashioned? Why yes, actually. The US women overcoming a scintillating hat trick from Canadian Christine Sinclair to win on a header in the 123rd minute. This was one of the most exciting soccer matches in the history of the sport. Where were the US men? Toiling in the little watched MLS, but even if they had played, it’s unlikely the middling national team would have competed for a medal.
Sure Michael Phelps has been phenomenal but Missy Franklin is poised to dominate the next two Olympics. And if not her, 15 year old Katie Ledecky, who won a gold in London could be next. Ryan Lochte? Just seemed to flame out.
The list of US female achievement is staggering - water polo? Men out, women win gold. Team volleyball? Men out, women competing for gold. Beach volleyball? The highly ranked men did not qualify for the medal round. The women? Two teams including the undefeated-in-21-Olympics-matches team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings - two moms in their thirties - won gold over another American duo. Long distance swim? American girl wins silver, men nowhere to be seen. The US men’s boxing team used to be world class - this year they were all gone within the first week. The only medalist, 17 year old Claressa Shields taking the gold. Only in basketball is their parity due in no part to the ridiculous inclusion of NBA stars in the Olympics. Remember amateurs? Yeah, that was a while ago.
The face of the games may well be Gabby Douglas due to her breakthrough winning the all-around gymnastics title just after the team won gold. You will be seeing her effervescent smile for years to come while the men soldier on, leaving with one bronze medal.
Add in female athletes from Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan plus a one-handed table tennis player from Poland and you have plenty of feel good stories on top of all the medals. Sure Oscar Pistorius is a great story but so are the tales of women who were homeless like weightlifter Sarah Robles, left their families, even suffered rape.
In the end, each of these athletes had hurdles to overcome but for women, just their gender is enough in much of the world and during these games the US has led the way in something truly meaningful. That women can stand up to any challenge and be just as strong and successful as men. Bravo.
Mitt Romney’s wife Ann’s horse Rafalca may be more of a bellwether than anyone realizes. After all, great breeding and impeccable good looks cannot make you loved or a winner. Or President, apparently.
Barack Obama’s best friend in his run up to re-election has always been the present day Republican Party, which is so extreme and unlikable as to make any middling Democrat seem preferable. There is no denying the poor economy or the success of Republicans in blocking the President’s most important job creating measures. But thankfully for the President, he is running against the least liked major party nominee in history. Simply put, America does not like Mitt Romney and the more the President pummels him with ads, the more his approvals suffer. You cannot win the election with a 40% approval rating.
The thing is, Democrats are not looking this gift horse in the mouth for a change. Indeed, Harry Reid ratcheting up the pressure on Romney’s tax return evasion has been classic, keeping the story in the media for a week with no let up. The only solution - release the taxes. While once we believed it was probably just a reluctance to show how rich he is, as time goes on it appears there is something very ugly for Mitt there. Who knows what it is but the sideshow is great fun. Just as important is the constant barrage of ads from the President in the swing state, bashing Bain and outsourcing.
A note of caution - the real campaign has not started. However Mitt has been such a bad campaigner, from the foreign trip debacles to the complete lack of any details in his plans to the outright lies in his advertising, that it is starting to look like it won’t matter. His inability to handle the Bain issue - including the ludicrous claim he had nothing to with the company after 1999 when his name is on FEC filings - shows that Romney just can’t cut it.
Luckily for him, he’ll come in a lot higher than Rafalca. He made the medal round but it’s increasingly clear doesn’t have what it takes to make the top of the podium.
Wow, talk about transparency - here is what is plastered on the homepage of Mitt Romney’s homepage: “Mitt Romney is focused on implementing a set of conservative principles to reinforce the America we once knew.” Which America is that?
The only thing we can think they are pining for is the America of small town conservative values where if you were black you were a slave or a servant, where if you were gay you were ostracized, possibly strung up and women stayed home with the babies. Or maybe is it the America that blew billions on failed wars like Vietnam and overthrew governments in the name of Democracy? Or when rivers caught on fire due to the pollution levels and we drove cars with leaded fuel around? Sounds like good times until Jackie Robinson, Dr. King, Lyndon Johnson, Gloria Steinem, Oprah, Ellen Degeneres and Barack Hussein Socialist Muslim Obama ruined it all.
We’re just not sure what the Romney camp means but we are surprised no one has attacked them for bogus nostalgia for a time that was a) worse and b) didn’t even exist.
Are you friends hemming and hawing on Obama - afraid taxes will go up or big brother government will force them to pay for health care for poor folks or the rich will get pilfered? Here are a few truths to sway them:
Lie #1 - Obama wants to tax job creators and small businesses. FACT - a tax increase caused by ending the Bush tax cuts on the richest would touch just 3.5% of small business according to Congress’s nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. (sub-lie: the rich don’t create jobs, they have all the chauffeurs they need)
Lie #2 - Obama passed the biggest tax increase in history with the ACA. FACT - the CBO estimates taxes collected under the mandate to be $69 billion over ten years, affecting about 4 million people who refuse to get health care. These are all people who can afford it yet choose not too - if you’re poor you get a subsidy or at the very least no penalty. At any rate, $7 billion a year is nowhere near the largest tax increase in history.
Lie #3 - Romney left Bain in 1999 before they did most of their off-shoring work. FACT - Romney is listed as Managing Director on SEC filings in 2000 and 2001.
Lie #4 - Just insert about anything Romney will say between now and November
A lot of money will be thrown at these lies and some may well stick thanks to the egregious Super PAC spending and Romney’s prolific fundraising. It’s up to us to convince our families, friends and co-workers what the truth is. The GOP simply must not win in November and throw all the progress we’ve made in 3 years out the window.
Flash Media Player Listen
Syria in ruin, the GOP obstructs everything and the Jerry Sandusky case - a new OutrageRadio podcast
If you don’t believe that money is nearly everything in politics - keep an eye on Wisconsin tomorrow. NBC is reporting that Walker and his backers are outspending the Barrett forces $30 million to $4 million. That likely puts a winnable race out of reach considering the depressed turnout of an off-cycle election. If this is a harbinger of the Fall, we may be in big trouble as Super PACs load up to take out American democracy once and for all.
No surprise here - the Washington Post is reporting today that Romney took part in pranks and other questionable incidents in high school. The most appalling is the apparent bullying of an assumed gay classmate which included holding him and forcibly cutting his hair. Truly despicable and more evidence that what the modern day GOP stands for is a nasty cocktail of elitism and bigotry.
About friggin’ time Mr. President. It would have been extremely helpful to do this a few weeks ago when you were in North Carolina. Nonetheless, with 50% approval for both same sex marriage and himself (Reuters, 5/8/12), this is one of the biggest no-brainers of all time. The rest of the country will come around just like he has.
This falsehood apparently never gets old - social security will be bankrupt! Insolvent! Bust! WRONG. The program is not going bust, not now or ever. It’s simple math - paying out 75% of intended sums is not bankruptcy. Bankruptcy or insolvency is not paying anything out. Maybe the media should focus on facts for a change when reporting. Wouldn’t that be something? In the meantime, look for this to be fixed in 2032 or thereabouts. No one would get re-elected after cutting grandma’s benefits 25%.
Iowa newspaper the Sioux City Journal did an honorable thing today and devoted its homepage to bullying in light of the death of another teen. You can read the editorial here. This time, the boy’s homosexuality seems to played a role but as the editors point out, bullying takes many forms and is not always related to sexual orientation. In light of the film Bully and other efforts, it’s time that our schools stopped this behavior once and for all.
Theoretically, Florida has a stand-your-ground law so homeowners and others who feel they are in danger can defend themselves. But as we have learned recently, the law is being perverted in myriad ways. The latest example? An abused wife who fired in apparent self-defense above the head of a rampaging husband. Self defense? Standing your ground? How about 10 - 20 in the clink?
The woman’s name is likely to soon go mainstream - Marissa Alexander. The grassroots are in a tizzy and well they should be based on the evidence available. Back in 2010, an abused wife fearing for her life was cornered with her husband threatening to kill her, which he freely admitted in court. She had grabbed a gun to protect herself, this hardly being the first time the man rained violence down on her, and she fired. No, not at him, but above him. The cops came, ignored the order of protection she had against him and arrested her. Self defense and stand your ground were both ruled out. The judge pointedly said stand your ground did not apply since she had escape routes, completely missing the letter of the law which does not require a person to flee. Did we mention she had a concealed weapons permit? Or that she was black?
So we have another perversion in the world of Florida law. A woman just living her life suddenly forced to defend herself and paying the ultimate price. Will the grassroots save her? Will Rick Scott ride to the rescue? Only if the pressure is great and the media takes up the cause. You can read the woman’s plea for help here. It’s simply heartbreaking.
How we think about almost any issue is informed by how it is reported to us, and therein lies the nub of understanding this tragedy. The shooter, George Zimmerman, is invariably identified in press reports as a Neighborhood Watch volunteer or even a Neighborhood Watch Captain, even in the paper of record, the New York Times.
But that assertion is completely inaccurate and should be retracted, because the local Neighborhood Watch organization has long been on record as wanting nothing to do with this guy. So he was acting on his own, proactively and without supervision or coordination, in an attempt to enforce the law as he saw it. Moreover, Mr. Zimmerman was armed with a pistol, which would be in direct violation of the code of conduct for any Neighborhood Watch organization in this country.
There is a word in the English language to describe someone who proactively and without legal authorization attempts to enforce the law. Mr. Zimmerman is, by definition, a vigilante. And because he was packing heat, he is by definition an armed vigilante. That is the central fact of this case, and that is the only way he should be described in the media. If that characterization of Mr. Zimmerman seems incendiary, it is because the indisputable facts of this case are incendiary.
Among the dozens of outrages in this story is one that should trouble absolutely every law abiding American: George Zimmerman was not tested for drugs or alcohol. Where I live, testing any shooter for drugs or alcohol, fatal or not, including the police, is standard operating procedure, and done in every instance. Not testing would have only one purpose: obstruction of justice. The police in Sanford, Florida should be so charged (I would bet the rent that Zimmerman is a steroid abuser). All you should need to know about how the police in Sanford regard young black men can derive from the fact that they made no significant effort to identify Mr. Martin, despite the fact that he was carrying a cell phone. He was taken to the hospital as a John Doe, where his father had to identify the body after searching for him for hours. If that’s not enough, a Sanford police officer corrected a witness, a schoolteacher, who described hearing Trayvon Martin scream for help, telling the witness that it was George Zimmerman calling for help. That’s witness intimidation, a felony in all 50 states.
Here’s a challenge for the media or more likely, given our media’s notorious cowardice, some enterprising criminal justice or journalism grad student: go back over the last several years in the states that have enacted Shoot First laws and investigate the circumstances of each and every instance of “justifiable homicide” in those states. In Florida alone, the average number of such homicides each year has almost tripled since the law was passed, from about 12 each year to more than thirty. That’s a lot of blood, and a lot of grief and loss.
But whether Mr. Zimmerman himself is ever arrested, indicted, and convicted is almost beside the point. Rather, there are two larger points we should carry from this tragedy. First, Florida’s Shoot First law and the laws like it in 21 other states encourage and protect armed vigilantism, which is directly contrary to the interests of public safety and the rule of law. And second, the obvious likelihood that the events in the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin would have unfolded differently had Trayvon been white should have all of us searching our souls at to why still so many of us regard some others among us as less than fully human for literally the most superficial of reasons: the color of their skin.
We live in a country where a black man can be president, but heaven forfend should one of them walk around one of our gated communities unaccompanied. Just what are those gates for, anyway?
In a surprising development, the New Hampshire legislature didn’t vote to repeal gay marriage - it voted to kill the repeal bill by a huge margin 211 - 116. What made the legislature change heart? The people up there are strongly in favor of gay marriage, even Republicans. Looks like the culture wars will be fought somewhere else than the Northeast.
Flash Media Player Listen
The Republican primary drags on while conflict with Iran looms - a new OutrageRadio podcast
Well, this week the GOP came out of the closet - they officially hate women and are no longer hiding it. Obviously this is an atrocious strategy and many are wringing their hands, not at the attack on women mind you, but on the turn the debate has taken. Unfortunately for the party, they are being led off the cliff by none other than pill-popping, four-time married but childless nutbag Rush Limbaugh. The only question is now will women get off their duffs and fight back?
It’s probably a close call who hates women more - Rick Santorum or Rush Limbaugh. Right now, the money has to be on Limbaugh for calling a college student a slut on his national radio show. This forum for hate and prevarication has long lived in the gutter but this was a new low - though one that hits in the pocket book as advertisers flee. But a funny thing has happened so far - no mass protest appeared, just a twitter campaign against the advertisers. Maybe we’re old fashioned, but shouldn’t women be marching in the streets rather than sending 140 characters to some corporation? Can we have a little more outrage out there from women?
Limbaugh, by the way, has been depositing his sperm in various women for years. Four marriages yet no children and this guy is calling someone a slut? What does Santorum think of him? After all, this is sex not for procreation - not that we can understand how this snake charmed his way into four women’s lives. Perhaps he has a bag of evil apples to tempt these otherwise virtuous women? And by the way, if he’s shooting blanks, thank god for that.
Rick Santorum has long been opposed to contraception and Obama’s team finally exposed the truth - that the GOP isn’t much in favor of it either. This is a disastrous policy for the party - not least of all because almost all women use or have used birth control including, apparently, Bristol Palin (allegedly to minimize menstrual pain). If you alienate women, you cannot win national elections and that is certainly the case with Santorum, whose flavor of the week status is just about done.
So where does that leave the party? Following Roy Blunt down the path of no return with a silly amendment that would allow employers to deny coverage for contraception or anything else if it’s against their conscience. There is so much wrong with this, it’s almost impossible to begin. First of all, the government haters want big brother out of our lives yet they are happy to let companies meddle in our personal health? And this is not just about contraception - anything could be denied due to moral reasons - obesity drugs, HIV medication, diabetes meds. That is sick and twisted. Meanwhile, the reporting from our clueless media focused on contraception. The entire GOP just voted to allow any treatment to be banned because some CEO feels like it! What the hell? And a big FU to Dems Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin and Rick Santorum 2, I mean Bob Casey. You three are idiots and at least one of you is gone after this year.
It’s not for nothing that Olympia Snowe, as moderate as the GOP gets these days in Congress, is giving up the ghost. Sure, she’ll blame the growing partisanship. But she was the lone GOP vote against this week’s ridiculous conscience policy and it can’t be a coincidence. Secretly, Snowe knows the GOP is full of women haters and she’s sick of it. There is no other way to spin giving up a safe seat that will make the resulting Senate more partisan, rather than less.
Right about now the GOP is scratching its collective head and wondering - why can’t we have our own Jeremy Lin? Well folks, that’s sports and politics is a whole other game involving money and organization. Only one guy has that and he ain’t much liked.
The media likes to play various scenarios - if Romney wins, he has the nomination sewn up, if Santorum wins, it could go all the way to the convention, Paul who? You get the drift - it’s not reality any more than a Chinese-American basketball player is going to lead the Knicks on a resurgence to greatness. Okay, that could actually happen. But the GOP’s search for an end to their disastrous primary campaign is a long ways off, with no one poised to step in and save the party from itself.
Lin is that classic American story - the rags to riches guy - and it’s easy to see why people got excited. Obama is the same - a scrawny b-ball playing brainiac who inspires millions. Mitt? Not so much. He’s the scion of a wealthy, politically connected family who’s never done what many consider real work. He has the right credentials and is clearly smart enough, but he fails to connect or inspire in any way. Yet he’s the nominee barring a major collapse and even probably not then.
Who does excite? Well you have those in the race - mainly Santorum with his common man conservative approach, and Paul, whose marriage to Libertarian dogma is all-encompassing. Yet neither has hit Lin-heights, in part because politics is a long and ugly road. Santorum has baggage - earmarks, years of appropriations and compromise in running the country - while no one is seriously going to vote Paul if they believe in “American exceptionalism” aka the right to bomb the crap out of people.
So some look outside the race, even to a brokered convention, but who could step in? Sarah Palin? Jeb Bush? Mitch Daniels? These are no Lins let me tell you. We know them too well - much of the phenom’s story is built around his rise from obscurity - and they’d have neither the money nor organization to stand against the Obama onslaught.
In the end, the only guy who has any of that is already in the race. Unfortunately for the GOP, he’s about as inspiring as a wet mop. And that’s not how you win the Presidency against the original Jeremy Lin.
Is it just us or are you excited to see Mitch McConnell endorse a legislative effort to allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage on moral grounds? For starters, companies have morals? We don’t think so. But it is great news to see the GOP continue its kamikaze mission on social issues. It’s the 21st century and the party is going after the pill? Good luck with that.
So today we learn Santorum won Iowa and that four precincts lost their votes. What a joke - is this a banana republic now? We may not like Republicans all that much but they have as much right to a fair election as anyone. And having all votes counted? That should just be a plain American requirement. Will the flood of Super PACs and lost ballots change their attitudes about these issues? Probably not but they do show this stuff is not partisan. Anyone can lose their voting privileges and money is indeed the source of much evil in politics.
Flash Media Player Listen
The wreckage of the Iraq War plus the GOP contest gets ugly in a hurry - a new OutrageRadio podcast
Happy New Year - Iraq is over and we have 11 months to go before the election - not that the GOP isn’t harping on the removal of troops from Iraq. But what was the final toll? A look at Iraq behind the numbers:
Civilian deaths reported between 104,000 - 114,000 according to Iraq Body Count.
American troop deaths: 4484
American casualties: 33,186
Original estimated cost of the war $50 - $60 billion
Amount spent as of October - $800 billion +
Final estimate including equipment replacement & troop treatment for injuries and PTSD: $4 - $5 trillion
Christian Science Monitor
We’d ask if it was worth it but we know the answer. What a sorry waste of money and human life.
The Iraq withdrawal is just weeks away from being complete - today the Pentagon reported only 8,000 troops remain. We look forward to declaring mission over by the end of the month.
Follow us on Twitter for breaking news and insights into the day’s events - www.twitter.com/outragenation
What happens when the Dept of Agriculture wants to levy a 15 cent fee on Christmas tree sales to market real trees, which are losing market share to artificial trees? Drudge gets ahold of it, calls it Obama’s Christmas tax and all heck breaks loose. Here’s the real story. Unsurprisingly, it’s a lot different than the right wing’s typical foaming at the mouth would have you believe.
Democratic and Progressive issues ran the table yesterday and other elections went our direction, for the most part, so the question is now - has the tide turned?
For the last few elections, the American electorate has been remarkably reactive - first against Bush, then for Obama, then against him, then against core GOP ideas. It’s been a topsy-turvy time unlike others in recent politics. Incumbents are increasingly vulnerable even as parties become more desperate to support them. And more and more, ballot initiatives are ruling the day.
The two big ones yesterday were both Dem wins - overturning the GOP’s anti-union law in Ohio and soundly defeating the Personhood Amendment in Mississippi. A less publicized initiative in Maine had voters thumbing their noses at GOP efforts to end same-day voter registration - a heartening occurrence since the GOP has made a mission out of limiting access to the polls.
Add in holding the Iowa State Senate - the last buttress against GOP craziness in that state - and replacing AZ State Senate President Pearce, author of the odious immigration measure, and you have more signs the electorate likes the middle way best.
Will this be the moment people point to as the change in direction back towards the Democrats? Perhaps, but let’s not forget that a year is forever in politics. Even worse, the devastating nature of the Dem losses in 2010 will be reflected for a decade in gerrymandered seats - nothing was more important than holding statehouses and legislatures last year and we failed at that. So the likelihood of the Dems taking back the House - a political must for this country’s future - can be termed very difficult at best.
It’s a long way to go. At least, we know that the electorate is not crazy - even in Mississippi. But this has all been playing defense and you don’t win without some offense. Will Obama bring the big guns or will the electorate snap back into populist Tea Party rage? It’s too early to tell, no matter what the prognosticators today will be saying.
Don’t look now but the Senate wants to fix the mess it created with the postal service. Sure, they’re getting killed by email and services like Fedex. But the danger of running out of money is a completely artificial construct thanks to Congressional action. Time to fix this colossal screw-up.
Back in 2006, Congress forced the Postal Service to pre-pay future retiree benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion a year for 10 years. Not coincidentally, from that moment on the USPS’ financial position has deteriorated quickly. Now a bipartisan group of Senators wants to extend the term to 40 years and to refund $7 billion in overpayments. This would allow the service to remain solvent and manage its cashflow - the alternative is the USPS going bust as soon as next summer.
The hiccup, of course, is the House, which is saying we can’t afford to give back the $7 billion. They also want to establish a financial control board that could result in layoffs rather than the buyouts proposed in the Senate bill. While the existence of their bill does show a basic understanding that something needs to be done, as opposed to say fixing infrastructure, the unfortunate slash and burn nature of their “cut at all costs” must be avoided.
It’s time for Americans to stand up for their postal workers. They’re working for us day in and day out - time to return the favor.
Flash Media Player Listen
Election season hits overdrive with 1 year to go, Iraq winding down & Occupy Wall Street changes the conversation - a new OutrageRadio podcast
Liberals well know the disaster that is the Electoral College - giving us 8 years of Bush when Gore won the 2000 election. Now it seems Republicans are coming around - first with hopefully aborted attempts to split EC votes in PA and WI and now in a new Gallup poll that has 62% of Americans in favor of ending the system. With the movement to tie states’ votes to the popular vote winner (at 9 states now) gaining steam, we can only hope the EC is relegated to the historical dustbin someday soon.
For the first time ever, a majority of Americans have told a pollster that marijuana should be legal. In a new Gallup poll, support has reached 50% - an all time high. And no, we’re not being cheeky. Coupled with similar support for gay marriage means the country continues to evolve faster than either major political party. Let’s hope they catch up soon.
The Internet should come with a giant disclaimer - don’t believe everything you read. In fact, you might want to go with the opposite - don’t believe nearly anything you read.
The Onion got in some trouble this week when it tweeted about shots fired in the Capitol then followed up with more tweets about Congressmen taking kids hostage. Apparently only some people saw the subsequent posts and soon there was a bit of a panic, not to mention a very unhappy Capitol police force already under scrutiny for the shooting of Rep. Giffords earlier this year. Too bad a very cheeky story got lost - the commentary on Republican hostage taking, now routine - in the misinformation and false hysteria.
Speaking of false hysteria - a specialty of Internet nutcases - the latest one was “Muffingate” which Bill O’Reilly trumpeted even on Jon Stewart’s show (shockingly, he was uninformed about the falsity of the story). You see, the government was wasting your tax money by paying $16 for muffins at a conference for the DOJ. Problem is, it wasn’t true. Hilton Hotels later confirmed that the $16 was for continental breakfast including tax and they had just printed the word muffins there. Oops. Meanwhile a search of stories about this fake controversy showed only about 1 in 5 outlets bothered to post correct information. Gee thanks media.
Then there is the march on Wall Street or whatever the people protesting downtown Manhattan think they are achieving three years too late. On Friday news spread like wildfire that anti-corporatist meowers Radiohead were going to play a show in solidarity. The problem was - it was completely wrong. No concert in spite of the rapid proliferation of tweets announcing the show.
It would be nice if everything we read was fact-checked and properly sourced, but alas we live in a world of rapid information (and disinformation) spread. The end result is going to be increasingly false stories taking hold in our national psyche. Thanks Internet, that’s just what a dangerously uninformed populace needs - more rumor, innuendo and outright lies.
The GOP establishment is clearly in a panic over Rick Perry and his Social Security “Ponzi Scheme” rantings. Look for the heavy hitters to come out strong for Romney - Pawlenty was the first and he won’t be the last. In the meantime, we are happy to have the GOP painted as the party that wants to kill off the program. Kudos to the crazy righties for bringing up the issue that could scuttle their chances in 2012.
Seniors have saved $600 million due to reduced drug prices in the so-called Medicare “Donut Hole” and more are also taking advantage of free preventative care. Just a few of the good things the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare has already done. Suck it GOP.
Exxon Mobil today signed a huge deal with a Russian company to develop oil resources in the Arctic. This is directly related to Obama’s “reset” of the relationship with Russia and his team needs to tout this achievement far and wide, especially in the wake of his apparent victory in ousting Gadhafi. Yet another example of the failure of Bush’s “go it alone” worldview and the superiority of actually working with the International community to find common ground on important issues.
As we witness unending lunacy out of the GOP camp as the candidates scramble to appease their insane base, the Obama team should push the following meme - the President is the representative of all Americans, not just certain minority groups of citizens like the Tea Party extremists and the anti-worker corporations. The media may love a primary pissing match but not one of the candidates is responsible enough to lead this country and they know that. Probably no one who could hope to win the GOP nomination would be. But equally important is the role of the American President - to be a leader for all citizens. This is where the GOP is experiencing an epic fail.
Apparently, there is no end to the things we can blame George W. Bush for. This time it’s Gadhafi’s transformation into an insurgency leader. That’s right, he’s taken a page out of Saddam’s book and instead of surrendering, he now intends to lead an insurgency. Yet another tactic learned during the failed W invasion of Iraq.
Gadhafi is nothing if not a crafty bastard and this latest move to sneak out of Tripoli rather than face his doom the way, say Hitler did, is telling. He never cared much for his people and now he’s preparing to launch a guerrilla insurgency from tents somewhere in the deserts of Libya. This is not good news as the rebels needed to capture him - and his son Saif - in order to end the bloodshed. In retrospect, and not surprisingly, they muffed the operation by charging ahead without securing every possible escape route. As a result, the colonel escaped and they have to expend energy cleaning up pockets of pro-government troops. This will take longer and result in more damage and bloodshed, not to mention delay the seating of a new government in the capital.
I will give Gadhafi credit - he survived this longer than I thought he would and his manipulation of the media was entertaining to watch. Of course when the writing was on the wall, he did what all rats do, scurry into a hiding place and wait to reappear. Sadaam learned this and directed the insurgency for a time until he was captured - serving as the spark that ignited a bloody civil war. Unfortunately for the Libyan people, Gadhafi has the same plan.
Rest assured, he’ll be smoked out of his hole someday soon. But in the meantime, he’s going to inflict maximum damage.
Flash Media Player Listen
Discontent simmers over Congress, Debt, the Middle East and more - a new OutrageRadio podcast
As Gadhafi’s regime crumbles, we can now declare the campaign a huge victory for Barack Obama. All that’s left is the mop-up for NATO and it won’t come a moment too soon with the budgetary ax hanging over the US and Europe. Then comes the celebration as the West buries its image of Muslim haters and Obama shows that you can lead as part of a coalition. On the heels of killing Bin Laden, another huge victory for a surprisingly effective foreign policy. Watch the GOP grumble as a Democrat again shows the best way forward in dealing the world’s challenges.
And you thought it was a bad week for Tim Pawlenty? Rick Perry has gone from media darling to bumbling fool in less than five days. The only problem is we kinda liked him as a potential GOP nominee. GW Bush only not charming and much too extreme for America. Oh well… let’s see the damage.
Perry, of course, is a worldclass nincompoop who pretends to be a cowboy and talks tough - witness his comment about carrying a concealed gun or not on a campaign. Bad enough he’s a fundamentalist Christian who famously asked for Texans to pray for rain in April just as the worst of the drought set in (and stayed) then had a miserable failure of a prayer rally that didn’t fill up even though it was free. Now he reveals himself to be a knuckledragging cro-magnum man who believes Ben Bernanke should be beaten and that there are “gaps” in evolution. Instead he is a proponent of intelligent design, which is the opposite of its name - neither intelligent or even particularly well designed. This “theory” is pure bunk backed not by science but by the fictional works of nomadic tribesman who wandered in the desert. But Jesus apparently spoke to him one night and now he’s hooked. This kind of stuff may play well in Texas but it’s a recipe for national disaster, not to mention a guaranteed turn off for a majority of voters.
But what about the Texas miracle? Ha! Revealed as a sham built on taking government stimulus funds and the added employment of 100,000+ government workers - while the rest of the country shed 400,000! That is a miracle. The fact that his state leads the nation in low wage jobs and in workplace injuries means he’s well on his way to the Third Worldification of Texas. His corporate minders will love that, but there is no way he is going to do that to America. Sure, it’s nice to step into office as oil booms and the state expands its population but his house of cards is built on budgetary tricks and he’s looking to get out of dodge before the next budget reveals devastating education cuts. Too bad for him, he’s gonna wind up right back where he came from.
Apparently the word is getting around right quick about Texas two-step. He’s getting heckled in NH for pushing secession and the Wall Street Journal is looking for saner GOP candidates. Welcome to the party Governor. Don’t burn out too fast - we like to see Mitt Romney shake in his boots and we would love - love! - to see you or Congresswoman Bachman head up the crazy party ticket. We want our Congress back.
Seems the Tea Party is largely to blame for our credit downgrade according to the S&P: Senior Director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” Mukherji said. “That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”
Let’s face facts, it’s no coincidence that rioters in London have started rampaging as PM Cameron’s budget cuts have hit. The killing of a man in South London may have ignited this senseless mayhem but the roots can be placed at the feet of the government and its drive for austerity. Will Obama and the Democrats take heed of an obvious lesson? We fear not.
The shocking riots in London are directly related to the economic downturn and its aftermath - including the election of David Cameron as Prime Minister. Since taking office, Cameron has overseen huge budget cuts that have undercut the safety net for the poor such as education and youth programs. This will likely result in the country’s return to recession as gdp drops this year and next. As a result, hopelessness abounds in poor neighborhoods with no release valve save violence. Earlier this year we saw riots by university students as austerity measures were put in place. Now the thugs have come out to play.
Thankfully, the US is not the UK and our police would likely be less inept in the face of three days of rioting. But the larger issue is the effect of cutting government budgets wholesale, which depresses economies when they need stimulus and impoverishes people. Poor people who have nothing left, seething in anger at the system and its inequalities, are the perfect class to go on wanton sprees of deduction. Right now the US has a disaffected class, the Tea Party, and again there is a key difference - they are middle and lower middle class people who want jobs. They are not ethnic minorities who are on the outside of society. Hence no violence.
Now imagine government cuts hitting the urban poor who already have little prospects - black unemployment is nearly double the national average, for one chilling statistic. Cutting aid and programs meant to help the poor can easily lead to the same in this country. Obama needs to get with the program and give up the delusion of huge budget cuts. Tax the rich and get on with rebuilding the country. Because if people start burning stuff, it will only continue the downward spiral.
On Friday, S&P downgraded US debt from AAA to AA+ and we will all suffer as a result. The speed of the downgrade and timing - after a debt deal passed no less - is as curious as the blatant $2 trillion error they made in their calculations. No matter, S&P has a lot to answer for including helping to cause the recession in the first place.
S&P should stand for “stupid” and “preposterous” for how they pumped up debt during the housing boom, contributing heavily to the horrific 2008 meltdown of the global economy. Of course they were not alone as the President, Congress, Federal Reserve (hello Tim Geithner, Alan Greenspan & Ben Bernanke) and every sleazy broker on Wall Street either looked the other way, ignored the obvious, were complicit or profited from the dubious highly rated debt flying around. (And Moody’s is just as much to blame.)
Now we have a debt deal and the framework for more - whether you or I like it or not - yet the US still gets downgraded. I don’t know about you but I smell a rat. While our current debt is high and roughly equivalent to 100% of our annual gdp, our ability to pay it back is not in question. Even more so with the GOP agreeing that we had to pay it back and Obama + some Dems saying we needed to cut future deficits. Yet, like the GOP, S&P didn’t take ‘yes’ for an answer and now has essentially taken the same hostage as our right-wing friends. Cut or else. Economic consequences be damned.
The first downgrade will cause some mild pain. It will pressure the dollar downwards and that sends oil prices up. It will likely mean higher interest rates and that effects nearly everyone with or looking for credit, sucking much-needed cash out of the economy. This is the last thing we need to do right now - especially with the rich getting off scot free - but S&P has spoken. Get your house in order. And it singled out Congress for not working together while noting it expects the Bush tax cuts to be entirely extended. That is worrisome and should give Democrats fodder for an all-out attack on the GOP, not to mention buttress Obama’s argument for ending cuts for the rich.
Meanwhile, we get Nit-Wit Romney and Michele “I Never Done Nuthin’” Bachman crying about Obama’s disastrous handling of the economy and blaming him for the downgrade. Reality is, while Obama should have stuck to his guns and insisted on revenues being included, the downgrade was coming. That is due to two unfunded wars, unfunded Medicare Part D drug plans and the Bush tax cuts. But they are attempting to make hay as they jockey into silly season, aka the GOP primaries.
This all may be the biggest setup in history - corporations sitting on $2 trillion (almost $1 trillion in cash or the equivalent), a do-nothing right-wing Congress and S&P ready to sink the economy. Can you smell a conspiracy among the ultra wealthy leeches and their GOP henchmen, aided by the daft, uninformed suckers populating the Tea Party? Because we sure can. When the head of sovereign ratings shows up on Fox News Sunday, the stink becomes nearly overwhelming.
Fact is, these forces have aligned to an Obama second term at all costs and if the President does not come out swinging now that the GOP is touring the nation’s backwaters that sent it into power, he will be in big trouble in 2012. Then all we’ll have to look forward to is a hefty tax cut and four years of social engineering courtesy of the Christian Right.
By the time the next Dem President arrives in 2016 to fix the mess, it likely will be too late and the GOP will have its wish. A poor banana republic where the rich control everything and pay nothing while impoverished kids and the elderly die in the streets for lack of government services. Yes, the right wing conspiracy is back with big corporate America, the Tea Party and the feckless S&P lending a major assist.
You think Obama is bad? Let’s go to the Alternate Reality version of 2011 with President McCain and VP Palin.
Today the projected deficit stands at $18 trillion due to the McCain tax cuts pushed through in late 2010 as the economy never recovered due to lack of stimulus. Meanwhile our doubling down of troops in Afghanistan continues, with nearly 200,000 men and women now fighting with no end date in sight. We still have no idea where Osama is as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches. And record numbera of gay troops have been thrown out in the last year as President McCain refuses to consider repealing DADT.
Unemployment stands at 11.5% and riots broke out again in Detroit last week as GM’s last assets were sold off for a song. Last year, the long term unemployed created camps in which they share food and chores as their unemployment ran out. States continue to feel the pinch with more than 1 million teachers, firefighters and cops laid off in the past year alone. Foreclosures hit another record in the 2nd Quarter and continue to rise.
Overseas, the Libyan rebels now control the entire country but otherwise our role is limited by our heavy involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Russia does not support our go-it-alone strategy and is miffed that we are building missile defense systems plus refused to finalize the START treaty.
The good news is that in this reality you’d have a Democrat, any Democrat to look forward to in 2012. And the Tea Party would not exist… yet. But frankly, where would you rather live? In this reality with an imperfect quasi-Democratic President or in the other one where Sarah Palin is one heartbeat away from the Presidency? Yeah, that’s what we thought.
One of the most popular news headlines on Yahoo: “Apple has more cash than the Federal Government.” As if the Federal Government was in the business of selling goods and if profits were down it could either layoff the poor and elderly or offshore Americans to China. How dumb is the mainstream media anyway?
Over and over the media is trumpeting the same horse-bleep story - the GOP and Dems not being able to agree on the debt ceiling, as if it were a bi-partisan problem. Nonsense, the GOP refuses to accept yes for an answer and is playing politics with the world’s economy. The Dems have already caved and are no longer demanding new revenues. Granted, capitulation isn’t a better headline. But the reality is the GOP refuses to act on what it said it wanted even when it could have it. It is an obstruction story, nothing more. God forbid the media acknowledges that fact with so-called balanced reporting which is little more than B.S..
If you haven’t noticed with all the hoo hah over the debt ceiling, the FAA is in partial shutdown due to Republican demands over union votes. That means some taxes are not being collected on airfares. Cue the sleazy corporate behavior.
With airport construction projects shut down over the impasse, thousands are out of work over the latest dust up between right wingers and Democrats. The FAA authorization is hung up over union voting - the Republicans want a system where any non-vote is considered a no - but for once Dems are not caving. As a result, the 7.5% tax on airline tickets is not being collected right now. So it’s a bonanza for consumers, no?
The airlines have almost all raised their prices to cover that 7.5% tax - Spirit and Alaska excepted - so it’s a good revenue boost for them. Consumers get screwed in the process. Anyone surprised?
Now that Sec Def Panetta and the Joint Chiefs have signed off, Pres. Obama has certified the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This odious policy will be history in 60 days. With gay marriage starting this Sunday in New York, that’s a great bookend to the weekend.
Remember when politicians felt the responsibility to do the right thing? That’s obviously history for the modern day GOP - they are willing to blow up the world economy to score political points. So much for responsible leadership. This leaves others to figure out a way to extract ourselves from this mess. A good place to start may be the 14th Amendment.
Moodys, the ratings agency in charge of scoring the ability of a debtor to pay, is now telling the US to drop the debt ceiling altogether and to us that makes sense. It’s a legislative construct that has no teeth - and never has. It does not reign in spending and it has been raised by Presidents of both parties. The famous example is that it was raised every year under Bush and voted against (wrongly) by Barack Obama as a freshman Senator. If this ceiling had a purpose, it’s never been met, and as such, it’s time to kill it off.
Since the legislative option is looking dicey, the only other way - yet another so-called nuclear option - is to simply ignore the debt ceiling under the 14th Amendment which states quite clearly that the US can hold debt ("The validity of the public debt of the United States shall not be questioned"). This is much clearer than the 2nd Amendment and indicates to us that Congress cannot question the existence of or decide to not pay our debt. Yet Barack Obama - you know, the Constitutional law scholar - does not want to go there. He instead is trying to have an adult conversation with five year olds. We can all see how well that’s going.
Obama is well known for not knowing how to negotiate, instead preferring to go the reasonable route. Of course when the other side is nutso, anything less than your own nutso position is not going to result in a middle ground. Instead, you’re going to wind up much closer to your opponent’s point of view. What Obama - and Democrats in Congress who have been far too gun shy on all this debt stuff - should be proposing is 75% revenue and 25% cuts. If Republicans howled at 17% you can bet 75% would have been akin to declaring WWIII. But at least he would have something to negotiate.
Instead, while the American people strongly favor taxing the rich and ending loopholes, we discuss yet again cutting aid to the poor, sick and elderly. That’s not a grown-up conversation, on the heels of the recession that’s cruel and unusual punishment. Use the 14th Mr. President and save the world economy. Let them sue if they dare. Something tells me they wouldn’t and then you could ride the building wave of crazy all the way to a second term.
There is no way to mask the horrific job numbers of last week but leave it to the news media to focus on half the story while ignoring certain realities. Sure job growth was anemic but it is still growth and now we are being hampered in part by layoffs at all levels of government. Why? One big reason is that the too small stimulus funding has run out.
One of the most important aspects of the 2009 stimulus bill was aid to the states, which saved the jobs of hundreds of thousands of employees. This was important in stabilizing a labor market in freefall. But as that money has run out, governors and legislatures have gone into austerity mode - even as the economy turned some deficits to surpluses. Why? Because the 2010 election debacle brought Republicans to power in many states and they have decided to slash and burn government. Yet nowhere do you see reports on the effects of this ideological crusade on job numbers. Instead we get one-sided stories about ongoing weakness and the threat to Obama’s re-election.
The end result is an ugly jobs picture - 18,000 net jobs in June and the downgrading of jobs created in the previous two, already disappointing months. Of course, the private sector actually created 57,000 jobs but government shed 14,000. You know, cops, teachers, firemen and other people who do unnecessary jobs. Maybe we can get Mexicans to do them - I hear they come cheap.
The Republicans have set up the Democrats perfectly with their policies of obstruction - first by shellacking them last fall with the backing of the Tea Party and now by shedding jobs in the public sector. If they manage to tank the economy completely by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, all bets are off for 2012.
Flash Media Player Listen
Michele Bachman joins the fray and has a shot unlike almost all the others plus Gay Marriage legal in NY - is cannabis next? A new OutrageRadio podcast.
The New York State Senate has just passed a milestone law legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill becomes law 30 days after signature from Governor Cuomo. Another nail in the coffin of bigotry. What an amazing turnaround for a body that rejected the same type of bill when controlled by Democrats. Kudos to the Republican leadership that put it to a vote even as the majority of their own caucus opposed it. And congratulations to all those who will soon be able to marry.
As Eric Cantor takes his marbles and goes home, it’s time for the Democrats to go on the offensive. They have facts on their side as opposed to the extremist ideology dogging the GOP. Let’s start with the obvious: lower taxes do not create jobs.
Taxes were lowered twice under Bush yet his job creation record is paltry - somewhere around 1 million jobs for 8 years, far worse than even Jimmy Carter. Worse yet, we extended the tax cuts last year, which are the major cause of the budget deficit along with two unfunded wars, and there still aren’t any jobs. Yet this myth continues with clowns like Tim Pawlenty pushing for ever lower tax rates. So now the GOP wants taxes cut lower to do what exactly? Create jobs? Sorry, that’s a broken record. Time to call the GOP out on this charade. A related fact is trickle down economics does not work - tax cuts led to gushing up of cash to millionaires and billionaires, not a trickling down. CEOs got record pay, bonuses on Wall Street went up and the richest got ever richer. Meanwhile, middle class wages are flat compared to inflation and the poor? Well quite simply they are screwed.
Yet the GOP is doubling-down on this foolhardy unproven nonsense and the result is a game of chicken with the world’s economy. Imagine a bunch of stone age thinking religious nutjobs without a basic understanding of economics driving the entire planet right off a cliff. What must the Europeans be thinking about this bunch - Bush was bad enough but Boehner, Bachmann, Rand Paul and the like are so bats**t insane, it defies comprehension. Some of these clowns even say it won’t be that bad. Are you kidding me? The United States of America defaulting on its debts makes Greece look like a pothole. You know those movies where the heroes are driving along a bridge as it disintegrates behind them? That’s the road we are on. How is any debt we ever issue again going to be considered safe? How are our interest rates on already held debt going to deal with being relegated to junk status? And how much are all our kids and grandkids going to be paying for this stupidity.
Time for the Democrats to call the GOP out on this. Chuck Schumer has already started but he didn’t go far enough. The GOP philosophy is bankrupt and demonstrably false. It will lead to the ruin of this nation. There is no alternative but to raise taxes and do it now. Any solution less than that is unacceptable. And backing down only empowers these fools.
Why is it Democrats and Pres. Obama don’t insist that everyone refer to the Affordable Care Act by its proper name? Instead we get hit over the head with Obamacare, as if the guy is going to show up and take our temperature when we’re sick. Newsflash to clueless Dems - you need to label things for Americans and you need to insist that they be used properly. Ceding this issue to the GOP is just stupid since they are going to run against it for the next 16 months.
Developments from the world of marriage equality today - a Federal judge in CA has upheld Judge Walker’s striking down of Prop 8 and New York State will hold a vote on legalizing same sex marriage on Thursday. As of now, 31 of 62 NY Senators have committed to voting yes. If passed, the law is certain to pass the Assembly and be signed into law. If that happens, it would be a huge victory. Sorry haters, we can now say gay marriage in the U.S. is inevitable.
Flash Media Player Listen
The GOP refuses to govern and Obama ignores the War Powers Act - a new OutrageRadio podcast
Once rising Democratic star Rep. Anthony Weiner imploded yesterday as the weight of his sex scandal finally buried him. That’s bad news for Democrats who for once had found a ballsy voice that was willing to push back against the GOP narrative. It also means NYC may get its first Lesbian mayor in two years. What an incredible turn of events.
The liberal media once again shows it only cares about scandal and smut by relentlessly going after what at first seemed a non-story. A combative, media hungry Congressman married to a smart, attractive and accomplished woman seemed to have it all, not least of it a great shot at the NYC mayoralty, potential stepping stone to the governorship. Now it’s all a pile of stinking scandal, another egotistical alpha male taken down by an inability to control his own sex drive.
The scandal’s details show Weiner to be a giant ass. A known horndog prior to his marriage, Weiner has in short order sent a lewd photo to a stranger, lied about it, tried to cover it up, and then revealed he has done far worse in emailing photos to 6 other women - without even knowing them or how old they were. What the F? Is the guy that retarded? Or so powerful - in his own mind - that he’s immune to normalcy. You know, having a relationship, respecting women, doing your job. That he was once considered media savvy is supremely ironic. He’s about as savvy as a brick wall.
It’s a tragedy when this kind of politician implodes. Not because he was always right or always said the proper thing. But because he had balls, didn’t operate out of fear or polling and gleefully took on the odious forces of the right. As we start to see the wheels coming off the Obama Presidency over the sputtering economy - and yes folks the guy is suddenly in danger of losing thanks to years of GOP and Fox News attacks truth be damned - this is terrible news. We need fighters. We need attack dogs. Instead, we get horndogs and losers.
Sorry Anthony, your time is up. We can’t afford you now. Not when Medicare and Social Security, not to mention the world’s economy, are in danger due to the GOP’s anti-Obama, pro-rich, pro-corporate America agenda. You’re a distraction, a sudden has-been. Do us all a favor and slink off into the sunset.
By next year, foreign tourists will no longer be able to buy pot in The Netherland’s infamous coffeeshops. The new right wing government has imposed rules due to take effect late this year and next - Dutch citizens will need to be registered members of a particular shop to buy cannabis and each shop will have a membership limit of 1,500. Not Dutch? You’re out of luck. We can’t think of a more idiotic decision. When are politicians going to learn that legislating humans’ personal choices is a recipe for disaster? Can you say vast underground economy?
Yup, the hits keep on coming. Today, Chrysler announced it paid back the full loan given to it by the US government under the TARP program. Our ownership stake is now 6.6%, which when sold will be pure profit. When 2012’s election rolls around, there are going to be a lot of auto workers who owe their jobs to Obama’s politically risky decision to save GM and Chrysler.
Mark your calendar - wackadoodle Harold Camping has a new rapture date: October 21. He now says Saturday was just a spiritual rapture. He’s also dismissing the Book of Revelations, which is the go to guide to your post-rapture world, and saying the world will just end all at once. Yeah, right.
In spite of rampant media meowing - not to mention outright right-wing lies - Social Security is fine. It will have a surplus for 2010 and can pay all its bills fully until 2036. Some facts for those who say otherwise…
This week’s Social Security Trustees report was barely reported on, and when it was, the lede was along the lines of “Social Security Trust Fund to Run Out Earlier than Projected.” Yup, truth continues to elude the mainstream media, who prefer a good scary story. Sure, a recent report said 2037 would be the final year of 100% benefits being paid out and this year it’s… one year sooner! Alert the media, the same idiots who say it will be bankrupt or run out of money. Of course, facts show otherwise - a fund that pays 75% of benefits is hardly bankrupt or broke. But why should we let facts cloud the reality that Republicans are gunning for the program with an able assist by the so-called liberal media?
So what should be done to ensure the fund pays 100% of the promised benefits after 2036? Simple - lift the cap on earnings subject to withholding. Right now it is $106,800, an amount which covers the earnings of 94% of the population. Once again, the rich are the ones who get off without contributing fully and the easiest solution is nearly painless - lift the cap. This should be the ONLY thing Democrats talk about as it’s a guaranteed winner at the polls. The 6% should pay their full share. If we want to be nice, we can start by lifting the cap to $150,000 then $200,000 then $250,000. After that, the cap goes away entirely.
This won’t cost one job and it will preserve a program that lifts seniors out of poverty and provides for their well being. It’s a no brainer. Just do it Dems.
With the Osama killing finally in the rearview mirror - talk about media obsessions - we’ve started reflecting on Pres. Obama’s record so far. It’s been decidedly mixed but getting stronger. There’s a lot of good and people need to be reminded of his achievements so let’s go to the scorecard.
We are now in the period of solid job gains thanks to the stabilization of the economy in 2009/10. It’s not good economic times in comparison to the 90s but assuming we don’t default on our debt, it’s quite possible we’re set up for strong growth beginning in the next 1 to 2 years. With CEO pay at record rates and corporations sitting on piles of cash - there is money out there. We see that with today’s purchase of Skype, the AT&T-T Mobile merger and expected IPOs for Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Gas prices are a huge worry. A major win was the bailout of GM - today they announced $2 billion in investment in 17 plants. This is on top of 3 straight quarters of growth for the company. Hasn’t convinced Republicans to raise revenues aka taxes but they’re being hit hard on oil company subsidies. Caved on extending tax cuts for the rich, which was unnecessary though did set it up as an election issue which polls well for the Dem position.
SOCIAL ISSUES: B
Barack Obama is perhaps the most dignified, dedicated family man in recent memory and his innate honesty and likability are incredible selling points with the American public. The wrong-headed waffling on gay marriage is still a concern but at least the DOJ is no longer defending the unconstitutional DOMA. A big win on killing off DADT - hopefully this year - done in a deft way that makes critics look mean spirited and bigoted. Immigration is a fail as even the Dream Act couldn’t be passed. However, Obama is now on the offensive against Republicans on this issue and this is a winner for Dems politically. Got Zadroga bill passed - though most of that credit goes to Jon Stewart. Stupidly waded into the Gates incident in MA but used it as a “teachable moment” on race.
POLITICS: C, post election A-
Too often early on Obama was not involved enough in pushing his signature legislation. Seems to negotiate his options away at the start and subsequently get his clock cleaned by Republicans. Got a huge wakeup call in November 2010 and has been kick-ass since. Initially wasted time on a bi-partisan budget panel and overall bi-partisan approach that led to GOP eating his lunch. Since the 2010 election debacle he has woken up - beating down Paul Ryan and the GOP Medicare plan, destroying the birther movement and killing Bin Laden. Dude is on a serious roll now.
FOREIGN POLICY: A-
Shockingly, Obama is strongest overseas. Hillary Clinton was an inspired choice as Secretary of State and keeping Gates was a solid move. Reset relations with Russia and got the START Treaty passed. Reached out to the Muslim world right away. Won dubious Nobel Prize. Built a coalition that seems destined to take down Gaddafhi with minimal risk to U.S. Drawing down Iraq troops - pulled over 100,000 out so far. No realistic plan for Afghanistan though he promises a pull out starting July. We don’t buy it. Too reticent on calling out Yemen and Syria for killing their own citizens. Strongly critical of Israel - rightly so - for thumbing their noses at Palestinian concerns, which led to the disastrous Hamas and Fatah reconciliation. Killed dozens of terrorists via remote and most importantly of all Osama Bin Laden (this alone pushes him from B+ to A- by making him look decisive and kick ass). In essence, Obama has the chance to be a truly great American President who is widely respected overseas. Been a while since we’ve had that.
THINGS WE GOT THAT MCCAIN SCOFFS AT: A-
A big plus was the stimulus, which saved 3 million jobs by one estimate. More regulation by the EPA and higher fuel standards. Tough new credit card regulations that will save consumers millions of $ a year. The Consumer Protection Agency. Modest improvements thanks to the new healthcare law. Kicking private companies out of the student loan market and using the funds to increase Pell Grants. End of DADT. Two new female Supreme Court Justices, both extremely smart and destined to remain on the court for decades.
Not effectively addressing the foreclosure crisis. Weaker than needed financial reform bill and healthcare bill. Failure of Dream Act and record breaking deportations. Didn’t act fast enough on judicial appointments. Gitmo will haunt us forever.
I got my news of Bin Laden’s death like everyone else - from TV. But it was not American TV that I was watching in Istanbul. It was an excellent news network that we can’t even get here - Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera broadcasts in both Arabic and English and this was a godsend when I discovered that the hotel satellite TV choices included about 200 Turkish channels, assorted Iraqi, Afghan, French and Polish (!) networks but neither BBC nor CNN International. (Hotel sucked but that’s another story).
I have to say I was quite impressed by the quality and breadth of the coverage - stories were discussed in depth with actual experts rather than the usual nonsensical talking heads in the US who more often than not are just there to push books. There is a lot of misinformation out there about Al Jazeera, which was meant to be a counter-balance to the Western news organizations. Some intitial missteps led to it being easily dismissed here but the reality is a very strong news organization slowly but surely gained confidence and influence. Now with the Arab Spring in full force, the network has clearly become a major player in the promotion of Middle East democracy, not least of which includes freedom of the press.
Some of the things that I noticed were a godsend - properly prepared anchors, coverage of stories lasting more than 30 seconds, no sensationalism and little coverage of celebrity or crime. This was all hard news and analysis - you know the things that CNN made its name on.
It is shocking that such a high quality news organization is not carried by any major carrier in the U.S. This is due in large part to ignorance and prejudice plus the misconception that Al Jazeera is a propaganda outfit for Islamists bent on destroying the west. This is unacceptable. Americans, call your cable operators and demand the pickup of Al Jazeera.
Unbelievable - conspiracy theorists and Internet wackos, with an assist by many in the GOP - can finally shut up. Here is Obama’s full birth certificate just released on the White House website. Of course, this should have been done years ago. Way to think strategically! Now we can sit back and wait for Internet experts to declare it fake or not enough info.
President Obama has been missing in action too often in his first two years in office and there is a strange connection to many of his failures - human rights. Obama ran on openness, closing Gitmo, ending Iraq and immigration reform. Shockingly, he has achieved none of these. Even worse, with freedom breaking out in the Middle East, he has been nearly silent on the bloodshed in places such as Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.
Granted Obama walked into what can only be described as the mother of all shitstorms and a McCain shoot from the hip presidency would likely have been a disaster. Certainly Obama is due credit for some small successes but based on what he ran on and the hope of a new day, the result is stunningly poor. We simply cannot excuse the inability of the administration to improve America’s human rights record any more than we can excuse their being in far over their heads in the face of Republican opposition.
Today, thanks to Wikileaks, we learned the extent of the disaster that is our unplanned prison at Guantanamo Bay. Based on the reports, it’s clear that we can now expect the prison to stay open for decades. You know, until the last prisoner is dead. Clearly there is no plan for dealing with prisoners who have been tortured in spite of some possibly not even being guilty. The result? The creation of now certain enemies of America. But Gitmo is only one stain on the administration’s record - renditions still occur around the world and illegals are increasingly deported - more than at any time in our history. What about the human rights of workers who want to stay legally and pay a fine or those brought here as children who know no other home? The word ‘screwed’ comes to mind.
Recently we have seen once and for all proof that people around the world want the same things - Middle Easterners have risen up and died for the freedom of expression, fair elections and true democracy. In some places, these brave men and women have been successful. In other places, blood has been shed. Obama’s response to each instance has been shades of tepidity. While we can appreciate the strategic need to keep allies in the Middle East - often to the detriment of the people being ruled by dictators and thugs - we cannot understand the limited response to the actions of Syria against its people.
Syria is the latest, and most surprising, stain on the President’s record. The country is a known supporter of terrorism and has undermined the stability of Lebanon for decades. It’s also an ally of Iran, another thugocracy, and shares its goal of destroying Israel. None of this is acceptable and any democratic movement in Syria should be strongly supported. Some claim that the instability could lead to more danger for Israel - say an Islamist government - but what evidence that is based on is hard to see. Fact is, Syria already is an enemy state bordering Israel and, let’s not fool ourselves, if any government of theirs attacked, the end result would be decimation.
The trademark Obama caution - man are we sick of that - is likely a ruse for something much worse - that the administration has no clue what to do. They can’t bomb, there is no rebel army to support and some minor sanctions are already in place. But while our options may be limited, what is not is the ability of President Obama to go out in public day after day and honor freedom loving Syrians being killed by their own troops. Where is the condemnation? Something of the sort happened on Friday and yet dozens have been killed daily. Where is the immense diplomatic pressure? Why the tepid “mulling of targeted sanctions” we heard about today? Why so pathetic Mr. President? You have a bully pulpit and a worldwide stage sir. Start using it.
Now we aren’t saying that Obama’s human rights record is as bad as George W. Bush. That’s clearly not the case, though many Mexicans, Pakistanis, Afghans and others would not make the distinction. But we are fairly certain that he knew better when he walked into office. That makes his failings all the worse. And to compound it in the face of people struggling to achieve the same ideals we supposedly hold dear is borderline sickening.
We’re not asking for cruise missiles Mr. President. We are, however, asking for you to stand up for the ideals you say you believe in. We’re still out here defending you but I have to be honest. Some times it’s really hard to do.
One word answers the not-so-burning question of why this country is in a financial hole. Taxes. People don’t pay enough taxes to support things like our enormous war machine ($700 billion+ this year in case you’re wondering). So what’s the answer? Cut spending - duh! Actually, it’s simply letting all the Bush tax cuts expire. No one will make Obama sign that legislation if he doesn’t want to. And he’d be doing future generations an enormous service by doing so.
Sure letting all the tax cuts will hurt the Middle Class but what hurts more - no more Medicare or paying a few % more? Let’s not forget that 45% of Americans pay no taxes at all and add that to well over 50% of all corporations getting off scot free. Anyone still wondering why we have the sinkhole we are in? This is unsustainable, to say the least, and I’d rather pay a bit more for the next 20 or 30 years than have debt service + military + entitlements equal the entirety of our Federal expenditures. Good by CDC, FAA, FBI, Border patrol, National Parks - you know, all the stuff we need that works.
Worse, the super rich - the top 400 earners in this country pay far less in taxes today than 20 years ago. The IRS compared the rates of the super rich in 2007 vs. 1992 and the rates are astonishing. In 1992, they paid an average of 26%. In 2007? 17%. The rate for all taxpayers fell to 9.3% from 9.9%.
A new PPP poll has Donald Trump surging to the lead in the Republican primary. He’s now 9 points ahead of Mike Huckabee! This race is going to be a source of endless entertainment. Especially when Trump has to explain this.
While Republicans double-down on the failed policy known as “Drill Baby Drill” our most progressive state makes a bold move for the future. Today, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed a bill requiring state utilities to draw 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. Bravo!
It is well known that this country has the resources to move forward in renewable energy but lacks the vision to make the future a reality. Sure it won’t be cheap and it might be 10 or 20 years before we make a big dent in the coal/natural gas/oil economy that grips the entire planet. But if we don’t invest, then how will we make the future happen? Will we be surpassed by China, India or Europe, all of whom have desperate energy needs arguably worse than our own.
Gov. Brown has show remarkable fortitude in his few months in office - certainly a welcome change from GOP hacks like Walker, Scott & Kasich - but this is the most forward-thinking thing he has done to date. Yes there will be a cost and industry is already complaining about it. But when California leads, the nation is soon to follow.
We have a long way to go - our nationwide electrical infrastructure is poor and the latest fad of natural gas exploration aka ‘fracking’ has taken hold without any EPA oversight - but let’s cheer this first step. Bravo California for stepping up and doing something to address our future energy needs.
We all know the GOP is nuts but what is the Democrats’ problem? Where is the alternative budget - the one that puts the burdens on corporations and the rich to close the budget gap? Why have they punted completely on a certain winning issue?
First of all, Democrats have failed to propose a counter-budget that raises taxes and cuts corporate loopholes. You know, one that increases revenue instead of taking away vital services from the poor, elderly and children. The failure to do so is just inexcusable. Where is the leadership, from Pelosi, Reid and Obama, on this? These are winning issues for Democrats.
It’s bad enough to have no plan, it’s even worse to cede all the strategic thinking to the other side. You know, the guys and gals who are batshit insane.
Now, long-term we need to acknowledge the truth of the matter and create a real plan. Reality is more than half of Americans pay no income tax and much more than half of our corporations pay no tax. Neither gives us the basis for a sustainable future. Frankly, we’re worse than broke. We are so far over our heads that we’re in denial of what needs to be done. The truth is brutal but it is the only way to restore fiscal sanity:
- the top tax rate needs to rise to 40 - 45% for anyone making over $500K a year
- all Bush tax cuts need to be phased out except for the very poorest (who still would have to pay a small sum each year to share the burden)
- all corporations must pay a minimum tax as they do in many states
- all loopholes allowing for the off-shoring of jobs and profits must be ended
- defense needs to be cut by 25% at a minimum
- every soldier must be removed from Iraq and we should remove all troops from Afghanistan by December 31, 2012
- the limits on income subject to Social Security tax (currently $106K per year) must be removed
- the tax rate on Medicare should gradually go up - perhaps as much as double so there are appropriate funds to cover the program going forward
- all Americans must be allowed to choose to enroll in Medicare regardless of age if they have no insurance
This is a true progressive agenda - one that will not only bring the budget into balance but provide a surplus so that we can start paying back the $14 trillion we already owe. That is the dirty secret - even if we balance the budget we will pay ever-ballooning payments to cover the interest on our borrowing. Someday, they will dwarf all other spending unless we act radically now.
Yup, Paul Ryan may yet be the death of the GOP. He is now pushing a plan - backed by the party - to ELIMINATE Medicare in 10 years. The replacement? We’ll give you a hint, it has the word private in it.
You really have to hand it to the GOP - they are determined to undermine whatever credibility they build when they are out of power with ever crazier schemes to gut government. Again and again, they misread voter malaise as granting them carte blanche to go batshit insane. Tossing grandma and grandpa off Medicare for some private voucher program is certainly beyond the pale. It’s a complete loser for them - it won’t pass the Senate and it would never be signed into law by any President wanting to be re-elected. It gets them no new voters and alienates the most active voting bloc there is.
It really is epically stupid and that’s why we are all for it here at Outrage. Of course, not for ending the program. But for trying to do so. In fact, we recommend they hold tons of hearings this year and pass a bill in the House. Then we hope the Tea Party demands that whoever the Republican nominee is next year, he (or she!) fully embraces the lunacy.
I can smell 40 states if they keep up with this.
Flash Media Player Listen
The GOP continues its war on the Middle Class - a new OutrageRadio podcast
Something is being completely lost in the discussion of the ongoing Middle East protests - many of the problems developing countries face could be solved by eliminating the military. This is the dirty secret facing this planet - most countries do not need a military. But the military industrial complex is so entrenched on the world scene that they would never allow it.
The military industrial complex is even more powerful that Eisenhower’s worst nightmare, having weaseled its way into every nook of government. Even in a recession, our military spending keeps increasing and even when the Pentagon wants to cut a program, fierce opposition erupts. Part of this is due to a well engineered strategy that military contractors divide up their projects into dozens of Congressional districts across the country. As a result, they have a powerful constituency that gets the ear of local Congressmen. This year’s fight over the engine for the F-35 was a rare glimpse into this power structure.
However, the real danger is overseas, where tinpot dictators and common thugs are propped up for decades by the military - which is often armed by our own military contractors. You can draw a direct line between thuggish regimes and an active military controlling power - Libya, Egypt, North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, much of Central and Southern Africa. When the military turns on the leaders, they are tossed aside like Hosni Mubarak. All those noble protesters demanding freedom and free elections don’t have a prayer. The military controls what goes on in the country and what happens in the aftermath of a changeover is dictated solely by them. Look at Egypt where the military is slow to embrace change and even banned some protests. Was the 29 year long emergency rule ended? No, it’s been extended.
The developed world no longer has this problem since its militaries are run by civilians and integrated into society. They don’t run the society and enforce its rules. But in the name of capitalism, they run
a much more devious game - one that constantly pushes weapons as the sole means of conflict resolution. Even in a non-war such as the Cold War, weapons were the resolution just because they were a deterrent. Debate rages to this day about whether we bankrupted the USSR with our arms race or they collapsed due to a corrupt, unsustainable political system.
It’s a common discussion among liberals, and especially atheists, that the root of much conflict in the world is religion. But I don’t think that is exactly accurate. History makes clear that militaries invariably are used to quell dissent - something illegal in the U.S. thanks to the Posse Comitatus law. Militaries are easily corrupted and turned against the people they are supposed to protect. And they are a tempting means of intimidation for criminals, thugs and egomaniacs. What isn’t discussed is the fact that it’s impossible to have a civilian war or a dictatorship without a military. Sure you need a border protection force and police but if you’re a small country in most of the world, you don’t need fighter jets and tanks.
Of course, weapons are big business for military defense contractors - many of whom are American - and that means a worldwide movement would have to occur to loosen the military’s grip on developing nations. If that were to happen - and it’s not even being discussed in the media or elsewhere - expect tremendous pushback in the U.S. These are good paying American jobs, you’ll hear. Rubbish. These are empty jobs the way refined sugar is empty calories with tons of unintended consequences. The consequences of these countries having a military are clear - death, destruction, intimidation, torture and more. It’s time to stop the violence enabled by these militaries.
Look at Libya for just one example. Every time Khaddafy’s tanks get bombed, it’s just an extension of the cycle. We’ll need more bombs and that means less money for something else. Meanwhile, whoever is in charge in Libya after this will need new tanks. No one will discuss whether Libya needs an army, only how to get in on the contracts. And sometime in the future, it may happen all over again. Africa, in particular, is littered with carnage from multiple wars. Not to mention the weapons for new ones.
Thinking people need to push this point of view in the media and beyond. It’s not acceptable to have endless war on this planet. It’s not acceptable for dictators to enslave their people backed by the miltary. And it’s not acceptable to continue an almost unlimited arms trade that feeds the very problems we then have to solve… with the military.
More evidence that the GOP is blowing their chances - poll after poll now shows newly elected members of Congress and Governors to be very unpopular. No surprise there given their scorched earth policies and combative nature.
One set of polls shows three new governors tanking badly - all losing to their former foes. Scott Walker, John Kasich and Rick Snyder would all lose do-over races.
More importantly, a poll of 50 battleground House districts shows that the Republican majority would be toast if elections were held today. These swing districts determine control of the House and the results are ugly - GOP incumbents have an average 35% approval rating. Only 40% of voters in this district would re-elect incumbents while 45% say they “can’t re-elect”. Of course, redistricting will help some of these incumbents but having Obama on top of the ticket facing a weak GOP field is going to make things difficult for Republicans.
Given the numbers, Dems are in a tough position in the Senate and may well find themselves in the minority. That makes a takeover of the House vital and they are already in a position to do just that. Add in a possible Walker recall next year and the victory will be very sweet indeed.
Flash Media Player Listen
Disasters abound - Japan, Libya & the Federal Budget - a new OutrageRadio podcast
Republicans have predictably found themselves between a rock and a hard place, having taken power in many places thanks to the November elections and now dealing with the consequences. The Tea Party is insisting on deep budget cuts, the public is souring on teacher bashing and prospective candidates for 2012 look like also rans. Can Democrats capitalize on these turns of events?
The answer to the last question is too often - of course not. That’s why they’re Democrats. They are adept at fumbling messages and losing fights they should win.
But it may not matter this time. Fact is, poll after poll shows people don’t really like the Republican Party. They were great at corralling popular anger last year and using a low turnout, mid-term election cycle to pummel hapless Dems. However, this year is turning into a great reminder that Republican policies are driven by far right ideologies that want to control women’s bodies, think there is no regulation not worthy of over-turning and have no ideas on jobs or true budget reductions. The fact that the GOP jobs agenda is fixated on attacking NPR, Planned Parenthood and teachers is insane - but a huge gimme to the Democrats.
You’ve already seen the loser brigade on the GOP gubernatorial side. Scott Walker is so unpopular, he may get recalled next year. And that might be after enough Wisconsin State Senators get recalled to flip the balance of power. Attacking teachers and unions, apparently does have consequences. At this point, the best Walker can hope for is to be a one-termer and it couldn’t happen to a better guy. Even star Chris Christie is seeing his approval ratings head downwards - now barely above water at 46 - 44 (in December it was 49 - 39). Anyone with half a brain will probably beat him in three years with enough Dem turnout. I won’t even bother to go into details about FL Gov. Rick Scott who is likely a criminal and so horrific for his state that even Republicans can’t stand him. Last anyone checked his approval rating it was in the 30s. With FL being ground-zero for the recession, along with AZ and NV, he is unlikely to win re-election.
Of course, these men will do damage this year in ways the House cannot. There is unchecked power in places like Wisconsin, South Dakota and Idaho - all places where women’s rights and unions are under attack. We will fight and lose in the short term in too many places. But the fires being lit under the Democratic base, not to mention Dem-leaning independents hit hard by the recession, will burn for years to come.
Strategically, all this right-wing action is giving Democrats a ton of fodder for attacks on the GOP. This coupled with an increasingly stronger economy + job growth likely ensures that Obama is re-elected next year. The remaining questions will be - who is the opponent and can we retake the House? The way Boehner is going, this might be one of the shortest House speakerships on records. Again, couldn’t happen to a better guy.
As an NFL lockout and the possible cancellation of the 2011 season haunts the sports faithful across the country, reporters sought the opinion of a certain Chicago Bears fan living in Washington, DC: Barack Obama.
As someone who has watched the president spend three years appearing annoyed over the concerns of organized labor, I was not surprised by his comments. But I was still upset. Obama said, “You’ve got owners, most of whom are worth close to a billion dollars. You’ve got players who are making millions of dollars.... When people are working to cut back, compromise and worry about making the mortgage and paying for their kids’ college education is that the two parties should be able to work it out without the president of the United States intervening.”
The news flash for reporters was that “Obama will not be intervening.” But for me, the part that made my eyes narrow was Obama’s repetition from the bully pulpit that all the problems in the NFL is about “billionaires vs. millionaires.” He might as well have said, “a pox on both their houses”
There are so many reasons why this is wrong and even more reasons why fans, labor activists and progressives should stand proudly with the players.
First of all, it’s a lockout, not a strike. The NFL Players Association has said repeatedly that they will play under the existing contract until a new agreement is reached. Amazingly, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says that this proves there needs to be a lockout. Goodell wrote, “The union has repeatedly said that it hasn’t asked for anything more and literally wants to continue playing under the existing agreement. That clearly indicates the deal has moved too far in favor of one side.” Keep in mind, this is a league coming off its most successful season in history. But for the owners it’s not enough. They want massive wage cuts and an extension of the season to eighteen games. If they don’t get it and if there is no extension, they will be locking the doors by midnight.
A March lockout might mean little to fans, but for players it constitutes a threat to their very health. An off-season lockout means that they will have no access to team trainers, doctors, or physical therapists. Remember, this is a league with a 100 percent injury rate. A March lockout also means that healthcare for players and their families is officially cut off. One player’s wife had her pregnancy induced last week so it would be covered by the NFL’s health plan.
Second, only one side is negotiating in good faith. The NFL owners claim a dip in profits, despite the league’s leviathan-sized success, but refuse to open their books and prove it. It boggles the mind. Imagine sharing revenue with someone in any business and your partner doesn’t let you see how much you are actually making.
In addition, Judge David Doty ruled yesterday that the NFL owners were not acting in good faith when they struck a deal with the television networks guaranteeing them $4 billion in event of a lockout. Doty even said that the NFL had left network money on the table in return for this lockout slush-fund. You have owners crying poor, yet they happily forgo money in return for a lockout war chest. Clearly they went to the same top business school as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Lastly, calling this “billionaires vs. millionaires” is a ridiculous act of moral equivalency where none exists. Here’s the reality. You have thirty-one of the richest people in the United States - people with generational wealth, people whose children’s children will make Tucker Carlson look like Big Bill Haywood - going against a workforce with careers that last just 3.4 years. It’s a workforce that draws almost exclusively from poorer socio-economic backgrounds. It’s a workforce that will die more than twenty years earlier than the typical American male.
And last I checked, no one except the seriously maladjusted, go to games to eyeball the owner’s box, no matter what megalomaniacs like Jerry Jones think. The players are the game, but they are being treated like pieces of equipment.
This is happening for one reason and one reason only. The owners want to show the players who is boss. But it won’t just be the players who get hurt.
As Drew Magary wrote on deadspin - a website no one will confuse with thenation.com, “Make no mistake, if you don’t get to watch football next fall, it will be because 31 rich a- - - - - - - (and whatever cheese-and-sausage co-op owns the Packers) have decided that they aren’t rich enough. Period. Think about that. Think of everything that will be impacted simply for the sake of these 31 people… By the time the fall rolls around, there could be massive layoffs across all teams: secretaries, equipment managers, trainers, everyone. People who are decidedly NOT wealthy and who stand to gain nothing from any of these talks.... Regardless of how this s- - - plays out, starting tonight, this is all 100 percent the owners’ fault.” Magary could have added that it will affect every stadium concession worker, every restaurant worker, every last person who, in these dyspeptic times, depends on the stadium to eke out a living.
The NFL Players Association gets that they need solidarity from working people to win. That’s why they have issued statements supporting everyone from the public sector workers in Wisconsin to the trade unionists of Egypt. They know what side they’re on. I do too. The fact that Barack Obama doesn’t see it that way, only convinces me more that the players deserve our support. The historian Howard Zinn wrote famously, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” The train has left the station.
Dave Zirin is the author of Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games we Love (Scribner) and just made the new documentary Not Just a Game. Receive his column every week by emailing . Contact him at .
Piece courtesy Dave Zirin and TheNation.com
If you haven’t noticed, the right wing has declared war on women. Oh, of course you wouldn’t know. Democrats are inexplicably failing to either capitalize on the attacks or even publicize them.
Let’s start with attacks by giant human slug Rush Limbaugh on First Lady Michelle Obama. This obese, drug addled blowhard has been attacking Mrs. Obama for promoting healthy eating and prevention of childhood obesity. What kind of idiot is this guy? Even Republicans are out there defending her. When you have neither Mike Huckabee nor Chris Christie on your side, you’re a loser.
Even worse is the GOP attacking the right to choose and Planned Parenthood. Daily Kos calls this “forced birtherism” and they are so right. Get knocked up ladies? Shut up and give birth. Who cares what happens after that. That’s your problem.
Now we know the cuts to Planned Parenthood, most of whose services are health related and not centered around killing the unborn, will not survive. But in state legislatures around the country, we’re headed back to the Stone Age. Worst of the proposals may be in South Dakota. Women there already are required to get counseling before an abortion - assuming there is even an abortion provider in the state. We hear they have a total of 2. Anyway, under the bill women would have to call an agency and be subjected to numerous questions over the phone. The law will force this on women in spite of the fact that the number they need to call will be staffed by volunteers, not health professionals. Yup, religious fanatics will be giving out all sorts of misinformation. The result? Who cares. Have your baby and shut up.
The backlash against women is spreading through society too. The Wall Street Journal has excerpted a new book by Kay Hymowitz called Manning Up which purports that men in the twenties and early thirties are living in a new age of adolescence called “pre-adulthood”. Yup, these losers are lamenting that women who are now strong and demanding at work still want to be treated with romance and wined & dined. So instead, men are dropping out to play games and stay kids. Apparently they can’t cope with equality.
While there may be something to this in terms of male ego, the reality is quite simple. Women are to be treated equally at work with the same opportunities and rate of pay. That much I think we all agree on. The question is where does that leave relationships? Apparently in a nebulous zone between 1950 and 2011. And men are supposedly having a bad time with it. The Daily Beast today covered the issue and the venom on the comments was shocking. Apparently, men just can’t cope unless they are the clearly recognized as the superior gender.
Well, I don’t buy it. Today’s young men were brought up in a time where women were treated as equals, not as Suzy Homemaker. So this is a bit nonsensical. Certainly it should not be a surprise to men that women want to be treated equally but with a little romance. Is the concept so hard? I guess young men are turning Republican which is bad news for women. Sit down, shut up, make babies and get us a drink while you’re at it.
The right wing is so proud right now.
Looks like the end is near for the odious Clinton-era “Defense of Marriage Act.” Pres. Obama has just ordered the DOJ to no longer defend it in court. Last year, a Federal judge ruled DOMA unconstitutional and the Obama administration appealed the ruling. Wrongly, of course, as it turns out. Because if they didn’t appeal, the law would already be stricken from the books. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess.
The implementation of health care reform has occurred in fits and starts but one central component is finally picking up steam. Initial reports had the High Risk Exchanges created by the states slow to gain traction but now enrollment has heated up. Over 12,000 people are now covered by the plans with more every day. Any discussion of repeal needs to include the fact that adults and kids will lose insurance if the law is rescinded. In other words, repeal the law and you likely kill people. Why is this so hard to get out to the general public? It’s called PR and Dems should learn to practice it.
OK, we’re not Sarah Palin fans around here, unless she decides to run for President. That will go a long way towards winning back the House and saving the Senate from projected Republican takeover. Don’t believe us? Look at any poll in town and see how poorly she fares. At this point, we suggest you email/tweet/whatever Ms. Former Half-Term Governor pronto and give her your support. The future of America needs her.
Oh my God! The sky is falling. Headline today “Social Security Fund Slides into Permanent Deficit.” Just how dumb is the media? And is the American public gullible enough to destroy Social Security?
The media seems intent on declaring Social Security insolvent two and a half decades before it might happen. Yup, Social Security is perfectly fine until about 2037. The new CBO projections - and that’s all they are - are based on a slow recovery and little more than that. They say that each year SS will pay out more than it takes in… forever. That’s quite a stretch on its face but even worse is the irresponsible news media now reporting it as if an asteroid were about to splatter the planet any second. Newsflash, all the CBO can do is predict. They predicted huge surpluses until Bush arrived. Under Clinton, they predicted huge deficits and then the economy boomed. It’s quite possible that in 2012 or 2013 the economy will bust out. Or not. But to create some sort of panic now is nonsensical.
So what do you tell your friends and all those frightened seniors? Stop watching the news for starters. Here are the facts - SS has a huge trust fund built up that the government has borrowed in the form of bonds. The government is required to pay back that money just as they would have to honor any bonds. Now the money in the trust fund provides for 100% of the money needed to pay every retiree for the next 26 years - until about 2037. If nothing is done - and that’s unlikely - the fund (actually two of them) is empty and current tax revenues from 2037 onwards will be able to pay about 78% of what is owed to retirees. In other words - it’s NOT zero payout.
So SS is not broke, not going broke and would continue to function in some way. But a simple fix - removing the cap on wages that are subject to SS withholding, presently about $106K - will ensure solvency for 75 years. This is a no brainer and the President & Dems should really be out there in full force with this argument. No means tests, no cuts, no raising the retiree age.
Fix it and move on Mr. President. The voters will reward you. It’s not that hard. Because the alternative is the idiot media, the uninformed public and cut-happy Republicans will destroy the program. That’s not something that should even be a possibility.
The latest TARP success - a $12.3 billion profit from the sale of all Citi shares. To recap, we invested $45 billion in Citi, saved the company and now got all our money back plus a 25% profit. Not bad for a socialist administration!
Flash Media Player Listen
Can we talk about gun control after the Giffords shooting? Of course not! A new OutrageRadio podcast.
It seems there is one thing we agree with the Tea Party on - cutting defense. Considering the huge budget deficits and little will in Congress to enact major cuts in defense, this is a welcome development. We won’t agree on the other cuts proposed - schools, health care, infrastructure - but at least Dems can take heart in the pressure the Tea Party will exert on Republicans to cut defense. This plus the modest cuts envisioned by Sec Def Gates is a small start on the road to fiscal sanity.
Remember the Assault Weapon Ban that Clinton enacted and later expired in 2004? It banned the type of magazine that Jared Lee Loughner used on Saturday - he had three of them, the first unloaded into the crowd, the second was knocked away by bystanders and the third misfired. Will we finally have a rational debate on gun laws? Of course not. Don’t be silly.
The media just can’t help itself - false equivalence between venomous right wingers and liberal activists is on display again. Wrong. The hate is coming from one direction, it’s dangerous and getting worse.
As usual, the media is so afraid of offending the radical right that they bring liberals into a conversation about political rhetoric. Well, we here at Outrage call that a crock. There is no comparison between liberal distaste for right wing political ideology - including the deaths and destruction it wrought in the aughts - and those on the right who accuse liberals of being anti-American defeatists, unpatriotic or deserving of assassination. Sorry, liberals don’t go around shooting guns at people or their offices. The right, on the other hand, preaches a steady diet of “taking back our country” from, well, us. Not to mention the black guy in the White House.
Once again the media misses the problem or brushes over it. The problem simply is the hate of the right for President Obama and Democrats. That’s it. Time for the media to tell the truth.
As we reported, the shooter of Gabrielle Giffords was indeed Jared Loughner, not Laughner. Now someone has pulled up his You Tube page. Predictably deranged - click through for a link and choice quotes.
Here is how a nonsensical video apparently created by Jared Loughner ends:
“In conclusion, reading the second United States Constitution, I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar”
“No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver. No! I won’t trust in God!”
Full insane video entitled “My Final Thoughts: Jared Lee Loughner” here.
Good news - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is expected to survive. AP reports a 22 year old named Jared Laughner is in custody. However, our research shows that might be a misspelling - there is a college or former college student with the name Jared Loughner of Tuscon Arizona. This individual’s MySpace page has been taken down but you can see a photo here of the individual - either Laughner or Loughner. At this time, the information is unconfirmed.
The predictable outcome of a year of Tea Party hate has reared its head - Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot and in critical condition at this hour. Ms. Giffords was subject of threats during the health care debate and her office had been shot at previously. That she is a moderate apparently was lost on the wacko targeting her - a clear assassination attempt that we pray is not successful. A very tragic occurrence though not entirely unpredictable.
One of Obama’s biggest surprise achievements is the resurrection of GM. While the right wing and Tea Party haters cried “government motors,” Obama took the criticism and saved one of America’s great companies. Now GM is likely to turn a profit for taxpayers and it’s hiring workers and reopening plants based on very strong growth. How strong? 6.3% in 2010. Let’s see how fast the doubters praise the decision. Oh right, might as well wait for hell to freeze over.
There’s a reason why we elect Democrats to run the country (or should when we don’t). Let’s start with regulatory oversight and equal treatment for all then go from there. America, here are your Christmas gifts for 2010, courtesy of the Democrats.
Kids no longer denied healthcare and post-college kids can stay on parents’ insurance
Gays will be able to serve openly in the military
Everyone gets to pay lower taxes for 2011
Our relationship with Russia is better than it has been since the 1990s
9/11 workers will get the healthcare they deserve
Credit card companies can no longer mislead you and jack up interest rates on balances without reason - not to mention the end of dual cycle billing and payments applied to the highest interest balance after the minimum is reached
We can go on, but you get the point. Merry Christmas America.
Since we are in year end redemption mode, a special word of praise for Jon Stewart’s passionate defense of 9/11 responders and the need to pass the Zadroga Bill. Up to now, this has been Kirsten Gillibrand’s effort and it has fallen short. But with Stewart devoting much of his final ‘10 show to the issue and the first slam of Republicans by Fox News not coincidentally running the following day, the issue may not yet be dead.
We’ve had our areas of contention with Jon Stewart this year - mainly on his harping on TARP rather than its necessity and on his false equivalency between MSNBC and Fox News prior to his silly “Rally to Restore Sanity.” But when he gets ahold of an issue, he can bring it to light the way few others can - or dare to do. For that he should be praised.
Not to mention, he runs one of the most insightful, smart and hilarious shows on television. Strike that. The most insightful, smart and hilarious show on television. Bar none. America is lucky to have him.
Is it just us or is Joe Biden becoming the key point person in the Obama administration on everything? Every recent policy success has his fingerprints on it and we have to say, the showing is impressive. Certainly much better than when Obama had Rahm Emmanuel running point, which will turn out to be one of his worst appointments. In the meantime, Joe is running the show and having a grand old time. From a perceived weakness - which we never bought into - to a major strength, Biden is now the second most important man in the U.S. government. Bravo.
The Democrats and Obama find their mojo. Who woulda thunk it?
Today, the Democrats got something done. And the world did not end. Astounding that it took a year of bashing from the right and professional left (ha ha) to actually get to the point where Harry Reid pushed home a key victory, ending the odious DADT policy.
Can they follow this victory up with ratification of the START Treaty? It’s looking more and more likely that Republicans will fold since they have no real compelling reason to oppose it - especially in the face of numerous Republican supporters. And while we lost the DREAM act, thanks to 5 Democrats voting to filibuster, we sent a message to the Hispanic-Americans watching that Democrats are the party of inclusion. Republicans look like haters and that will be remembered in 2012.
In fact, Obama has set himself up for something quite unbelievable in 2012 - defining himself by real issues that Americans will be voting on. The economy will almost undoubtedly be better and the choice will be clear - A) ending tax cuts for the rich, fixing Social Security and immigration reform or B) more tax cuts, cutting SS benefits and the tired right-wing anti-brown people, anti abortion, anti gay rhetoric. I’ll tell you right now, Americans don’t like option B. Every poll shows strong support for SS and for raising taxes on millionaires. They may have punished Dems in 2010, but after two years of batshit lunacy from Boehner & Co, 2012 is shaping up to be something approaching redemption.
The signs are everywhere - the good, the bad and the ugly all have consequences. Some are quite ironic.
The New York Times today writes about a sad consequence of the Iraq war - the dwindling number of Christians in the country. By all accounts, up to half of the population has already fled and new violence is driving the rest out. Yup, in freeing Iraq we will wind up making it entirely Islamic. And we know how that will go… The irony of a devout Christian destroying a country’s Christian population should not be lost on anyone.
Then we have current affairs - taxes going down and the likely increase in the budget deficit. This has caused Moody’s to threaten to lower America’s AAA credit rating. That would lead to us boring at higher interest rates and damage our credibility around the world. But we simply must have tax cuts, shouldn’t we?
Also making news today is the fact that the Fed’s stimulus program, which was supposed to lower interest rates, will not have that result. Instead, with the tax deal going to pass, the bond market pushed interest rates up. That hurts the recovery by making everything more expensive for Americans. Not good.
Of course all this is the unintended consequence of Presidential planning - or lack thereof. Bush didn’t plan for Iraq and created chaos. Obama and the Dems did not plan to finish the tax bills before the election, not to mention repeal DADT or any of the myriad initiatives destined to die this month, so the result is unfinished business and lost opportunity. If only we could have seen it coming.
The final House race is officially over - Dem Rep Tim Bishop wins by a hair. So where does that leave 2012? Up in the air but not without possibilities.
The House is where all the crazies will go to roost next year so let’s start there. 318 gives a party control and Dems will have 193 - a drop of 63 seats. Pretty terrible showing but not as bad as it could have been with several late races breaking their way. The good news is only 25 seats gives us the House and Repubs will have to play defense in a Democratic Presidential year. Increased turnout should swing a bunch of seats but it’s unclear if they can get to 25. Right now, I say we fall short. But it certainly is possible IF Repubs go crazy and/or have a bad candidate atop their ticket. More on that in a sec.
The Senate is probably a loss for Dems - we have some surprising strengths such as Amy Klobuchar in MN up big and some worrying weaknesses such as Claire McCaskill in MO down early - but the numbers are just ugly. 23 Dem seats are up as opposed to 10 Repub seats - the only one remotely vulnerable this cycle would be Scott Brown. Meanwhile Dems are going to play defense from FL to VA to MT to WI. In otherwords, it will not be pretty and Harry Reid’s majority may indeed be short-lived.
At least we can take heart that no major Republican seems likely to take out Obama. The front runners are all also rans and the dark horses have huge anchors hanging around their necks. Ask John Thune about his TARP vote or Tim Pawlenty about pardoning a child molester who then allegedly molests his own daughter. The word for that is “toast”. That leaves us with Romney, Huckster and Palin - none of whom can win. Palin would be particularly ugly for the Republicans and cost them House seats as well as dozens of state legislature slots. That’s who I’m rooting for.
Anyone want to talk 2014? It looks better but not really. Next good cycle for Dems is likely 2016 though god knows who will be running for the Dems. Amy Klobuchar or Kirsten Gillibrand for President?
The government has sold its remaining common stock in Citibank, ending its investment with a $12 billion profit. More evidence that TARP worked, regardless of what the uninformed Tea Party activists would have America believe.
There are TV shooting moments (Bristol Palin) and then there are TV throwing moments. Yesterday’s pathetic Obama as conciliator in chief post-Republican meeting speech certainly qualifies as the latter. He thinks he can work with a party that obstructed its way back into power? Is this guy an idiot or just inept? I can’t even tell anymore.
Our genius President has managed to squander any real advantage for Democrats with his bogus make friends agenda. Did he forget his position? Does he know what a veto is or how to issue a threat? Why can’t the Democrats produce an asshole like Bush who gets things done? Oh why, oh why…
Yesterday the President had his infamous make nice meeting with the Republicans. Everyone said it was necessary to appease the American electorate - a group of weak kneed, poorly informed, rainy day friends if there ever was one - and the rhetoric was play together to get things done. Afterwards, Republicans went on camera appreciating the gesture, saying they would try. Unfortunately, that lasted five minutes as anyone with a brain could predict.
Today we have a letter signed by 42 Republican Senators blocking confirmation on anything until tax cuts the way they want them get done. So much for being pals and working together. It’s just more of the same.
So here’s what I say - phooey! Grow a pair of balls and say you will not ever sign anything more that a simple bill extending middle class tax cuts. Play chicken because you can. Let’s see if Repubs let them all expire - which they should. Somehow I doubt it will happen like that. But under no condition should Obama accept any kind of extension of tax cuts for the rich. Next thing - estate tax. It comes back if we do nothing. So do nothing. That’s what the Senate is for anywyay. The next thing is to cancel the holidays. Harry Reid can keep the Senate open indefinitely and he should, at least until the new year when all the fun starts with the House playing loony bin with legislation that will never see the light of day.
If Republicans insist on playing a dirty game, play it back. They want Obama to fail and this route is destined for failure. Unfortunately, he’ll drag the Dems down with him. Anyone remember the 00’s? It wasn’t pretty and that’s where we will be in 2012 unless we stand and fight.
Why do I feel like I’ve written this a dozen times already this year? Oh, because I have. How utterly pathetic.
Flash Media Player Listen
Does Democracy work and who are these crazies now in Congress - A new OutrageRadio podcast
With all this talk of pat downs and invasive body scans, you really have to wonder if we’re back in the Bush years. Are we really still debating personal privacy vs. security. Because as far as the government goes, no matter who is in charge, you have no privacy when you want to fly on an airplane.
The government’s hapless approach to airline security may or may not save lives. We don’t know since whenever there is a plot, it is foiled by the ineptitude of its planners and/or the individuals sent to carry it out. Security seems to have little effect.
The result is usually dire and stupid. Shoe bomber? Take off your shoes. Alleged liquid plot? No water for you. Underwear bomber? Invasive measures usually reserved for criminals being locked up. You know where this is headed, of course. Strip and anal cavity search as soon as the next anus bomber is exposed. Yup, there really is no bounds to “security.”
About a year ago, I went through the full body scanner. I didn’t mind. Something set off the detector and it was fine - I actually had no problem with the process since I knew about it ahead of time and had been informed by TSA employees about what was happening. For others, it’s not okay. They don’t want to be exposed. So they could choose a pat down. Of course, now the pat downs are crossing a line and the public - heretofore in favor of the body scan - is crying foul. The pilots like Sully the American hero are also upset. Of course they are. If you can fly a jet, you can kill many people. A full pat down is beyond stupid - it won’t catch a suicidal pilot since he needs no weapon.
We need people in the security apparatus who can think for themselves. We need to know who the terrorist is before they show up at the airport and not spend time cavity searching grandma. Because if we give up our freedoms in the name of security, we’re the suckers. And the terrorists win.
Rep. Charlie Rangel has been found guilty on 11 of 13 counts by the Ethics panel. The full committee will now rule on the punishment, which could include expulsion. Rangel’s behavior is unacceptable and we hope he is unceremoniously kicked out of his seat.