Richard Rorty said that in America, people on "the left" think that there is a better, more just, more free, future we should aspire to while people on the Right like things as they were in some made-up past Golden Age. That's no longer true. The people who most insist on being called "the left" look to the past and the supposed Golden Age of the New Deal. They have a backward looking ideology in which Harry Truman's combative rhetoric, FDR's supposedly uncompromising stand, and aggressive government regulation of corporations are venerated in a way that has little to do with the actual historical record. Where they can, they call for restoration or protection of New Deal legislation: bring back the Glass-Steagall act, don't touch Social Security, and so on. Past the limits of the New Deal, they have latched onto talismanic legislative proposals like the "public option". Anyone doubting the necessity of these proposals is a "neoliberal" or, even worse, a "centrist". But it would be strange if the solutions of the 1930s were precisely suited to the economy and society of the 21st century, even if they had been perfect solutions. In particular, it's worth thinking about the regulations on banking.
If you listen to the Right wing ramble on, you would think that the financial meltdown was caused by poor people who took out mortgage loans and black people who ran Freddie and Fannie. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, chaired by former California Treasurer Phil Angelides, has issued its final report (although it is embargoed until tomorrow), and The New York Times has some details. It comes down to a lot, among them partisan division within the panel (with one Republican writing a dissent blaming government policy goal to increase home ownership), but what it really comes down to regulatory failings:
While the panel, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, accuses several financial institutions of greed, ineptitude or both, some of its gravest conclusions concern government failings, with embarrassing implications for both parties.And why would such regulatory failings happen in 30 years of deregulatory mindsets culminating will full speed in the last decade? Hmm. Let's follow the money. Only fair, since this is all about money, after all.
The report could reignite debate over the influence of Wall Street; it says regulators “lacked the political will” to scrutinize and hold accountable the institutions they were supposed to oversee. The financial industry spent $2.7 billion on lobbying from 1999 to 2008, while individuals and committees affiliated with it made more than $1 billion in campaign contributions.But hey, at least the Supreme Court still thinks unlimited campaign spending by corporate giants is a great idea.
I can't live-blog the State of the Union Address, as I'm about to head into a meeting at work. But the President is now speaking. Republican Paul Ryan will be giving the Republican response (and some workout tips, I presume). Michelle Bachmann will be giving the response to the response! Ooh.
But in all seriousness, these are damned serious times that demand serious solutions and serious governance. The President will lay out a positive agenda for the American people, and the Republicans must stop playing chicken. And it's time for people on our side of the isle to stop pontificating also and start getting into the nitty gritty details of policy.
This is your thread. Update each other on the address, and discuss it here!
Glen Greenwald, cowardly insinuated that blackwaterdog is propagandizing a dangerous, murderous, fascist movement, by calling her Leni Riefenstahl and later rescinded. No one does shape the message that goes out to electing more and better democrats better than BWD. If you don't agree, I will give you a test of the kind of messaging that gets little attraction at progressive sites like FDL and Dailykos that is dedicated to electing more and better Democrats just below the fold. How many times have you heard folks saying the Whitehouse lacks messaging, is poor in communicating their achievements or getting out their message? I have heard it many times and the same folks who tar this Administration are the same folks who caricature the message. Between The whitehouse.gov, OFA and many other independent sources, there is a wealth of information for folks like us to use and run with to spread the positive message about what is being done by this Administration. However, most often that would be considered "kissing the floor Obama walks on" by some.
Recently, there has been a new favorite of the portion of the ideologues on the Left who like to use the President as their proverbial punching bag. Barack Obama is making overtures to business! He hired a business guy as his Chief of Staff! He is ordering federal agencies to do a top-down review of federal regulations, including those that may be unnecessarily burdensome to business and may present a problem in job creation. Everyone's freaking out, charging the President with embracing Reaganomics.
It's situations like these that frustrate me about the establishment on the Left blogosphere and Left media. They look at a President who, along with the last Democratic Congress, has done more than any in recent memory to regulate big business, banks and insurance companies and ensure consumers and patients get a fair process when they are wronged, and they accuse him of Reagan-esque qualities. They look at the President who signed health care reform that contained a patient's bill of rights on steroids, and they think he's weak on regulating big insurance. They look at the President who signed the most significant re-regulation of Wall Street since the Great Depression (which also created an independent federal consumer protection agency for the first time in history) and they see someone cozy with the banks. They see a President who lead and signed into law the nation's most significant food safety regulatory overhaul since the 1930s and magically morph him into Harbert Hoover. They never even talk about credit card and student loan regulatory reforms this President instituted.
The "progressive" or left punditocracy has, unfortunately, bent to the peer pressure of the larger media and too often substituted narrative for reporting and analysis. President Obama just appointed GE's CEO Jeff Immelt as the chair of his outside council of economic advisers with a mandate to focus on jobs and manufacturing. Progressive commentators who have previously demonstrated little interest in manufacturing condemned this appointment in the most peculiar way. The usually level headed Mike Konczal complained "GE has been at the forefront" of a “financial services”-centric model of business". FDL's Marcy Wheeler contributed a typically overwrought "Obama’s Kabuki Jobs Council, Brought to You By “Nut on China” Jeff Immelt." DailyKos featured a number of horrified articles and Senator Bernie Sanders speech about Immelt's 2002 call for China investment was widely cited. What's so strange about this reaction is that nobody mentioned the inside the White House manufacturing adviser, former SteelWorkers Union official Ron Bloom, or discussed Immelt's announced change of heart in the wake of the financial crisis and the significant investment in manufacturing GE has made since that change. There was no actual analysis, just more reflexive "OH NOES" and a lot of the borderline racist theory that Obama is an empty suit, ready to blindly follow whatever adviser gets in the headlines.
Ok, I'm finally ready to get back to the Blogosphere, and just wanted to give everyone an update on my absence. The beginning of the year, with some personal issues got a little worse before getting better. Recently my mother was in 4-car pile up on the freeway - thank goodness she wasn't seriously hurt. Physically that is. Psychologically she was very shaken up and needed a support system. And then I was in no shape to do serious thinking in the past week as I had been struggling with a strep throat, which is only today a little bit better.
So those are the primary reasons for my absence. I want to thank the contributors here for keeping this place going in my absence, and I want to thank you all for sticking around.
Here's to being back. :-)
Cross-posted at Eclectablog.com. Updated to correct a mistake regarding Medicare vs. Social Security. It all started when somebody (Digby?) derisively labeled President Obama's deficit reduction study committee "The Catfood Commission". The complete asinine nature of such an offensive characterization is epic. I assume it's called that because they believe it will lead to old people eating catfood instead of human food because it will be all they can afford after President Obama is done gutting their social security and other benefits. In other words, they are suggesting that President Obama is a foe to poor people. No, really. That's the implication: that a man who spent most of his early career on the front lines fighting for the rights of those at the lower reaches of the socio-economic ladder is, now that he's in a position of true and awesome power, going to use that power to further damage the position of poor people. It's positively ludicrous.
Even the better progressive economics commentators criticize the Obama administration for not "fixing" the housing slump, but housing prices are still too high and the idea that the economy can be restarted through real-estate transactions is just wrong. The important economic news of last week was that manufacturing employment increased for the first time in a decade but that news was ignored by progressive and conservative economists who share a mistaken theory that the huge size of the US Finance, Insurance and Real-Estate (FIRE) sector and our post WWII long housing boom followed by the Bush era housing super-boom are normal or good things. As a homeowner myself, I know that drops in housing prices hurt, but if the progressive economists mean what they say about caring about poor and ordinary working people, they should be more concerned about the effects of the high costs of housing on the income and wealth of ordinary Americans -far too much of our disposable income goes into keeping roofs over our heads- and about the gross unfairness of the way the government subsidy of housing favors the wealthier. And if the conservative economists mean what they say about family values they should object to the transformation of "homes" into speculative investment assets which transforms families into short term tenants without the stake in community and nation that the Founders thought was so important - and they would object to the massive government subsidy of the housing market which pulls investment funds from other, more productive areas.
I concur that there are a number of so called progressives in the Professional Left who are in the business of bitching all the time about anything this President does. It seems like what they really want is for him to fail. "If he fails, then they were right! If he succeeds, they are proven wrong" and they just don't want to be wrong. That is it. It is about them more than moving a democratic agenda forward regardless of the many small step forward move we are making or have made. No kind of good accomplishments can be good enough for them. These includes the bitching pundits who are in the business of improving their rating stature by any means necessary even if it will cause a destruction to the Presidency while catering to the Hippies, the loud ones. These people were never on President Obama’s side to begin with. It seems they just wanted to make history saying they had voted for the first African American Presidential candidate and now think it is ok to tear him down since they have made it to the history book.
I am a man with great test and appreciation for a nice women dress (my wife says so) and what Michelle was wearing last night at the State Dinner for the Chinese President Hu Jintao was out of this world and hope you enjoy the rest of the pics below the fold. Before catching a glimpse of the knock out dress Michelle Obama was wearing yesterday, a little mishmash: President's Ratings Climb By JONATHAN WEISMAN And DANNY YADRON:
President Barack Obama is riding a surge of public support into next week's State of the Union address, with more Americans approving of his performance and more seeing him as a political moderate, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. //snip In the survey, 53% said they approved of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, up eight percentage points from December. Forty-one percent said they disapprove of the president's performance, down from 48% last month. The poll surveyed 1,000 adults from Jan. 13-17.
Cross-posted at Eclectablog.com. The Republicans have now been in office two weeks so I thought it was worth taking stock of what they've accomplished. I've just completed a rather in-depth analysis of the bills and resolutions that all 242 GOP members of the House (not the Senate) have either sponsored or co-sponsored. What I found was that, on the average, 46% of the bills/resolutions an average GOP member of the House has sponsored or co-sponsored are directly related to either repealing all or some of the Affordable Care Act or to defunding it so that it will fail. Nearly half. 13 (maybe 14) bills are involved. 3 resolutions. In just two weeks. Want to guess how many jobs bills they've introduced? You got it: ZERO. These are the bills that I looked at:
H.R.2 : Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act H.R.4 : Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011 H.R.21 : Reclaiming Individual Liberty Act H.R.38 : To rescind funds appropriated to the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund under the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. H.R.105 : Empowering Patients First Act H.R.118 : Stop the Federal Exchanges from Destroying States Act H.R.127 : To deauthorize appropriation of funds to carry out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. H.R.141 : To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. H.R.144 : Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011 H.R.145 : Revoke Excessive Policies that Encroach on American Liberties (REPEAL) Act H.R.154 : Defund the Individual Mandate Act H.R.215 : To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and title I of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 while preserving the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. H.R.299 : To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, repeal the 7.5 percent threshold on the deduction for medical expenses, provide for increased funding for high-risk pools, allow acquiring health insurance across State lines, and allow for the creation of association health plans. This next one is too fresh so the text of it isn't up yet but it was introduced by Rep. William Thornberry [R-TX13] so I suspect it will be a repeal bill. I did NOT include it in the analysis: H.R.315 : To reduce the amount of paperwork and improve payment policies for health care services, to prevent fraud and abuse through health care provider education, and for other purposes. The next three are resolutions: H.RES.9 : Instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing the job-killing health care law H.RES.26 : Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2) to repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; providing for consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 9) instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing the job-killing health care law; and for other purposes. H.J.RES.19 : Disapproving a rule submitted by the Department of Health and Human Services relating to "Health Insurance Issuers Implementing Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Requirements Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act".
When Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis he was working as a labor union organizer, supporting the Sanitation Workers strike.
The strike followed the death of two black workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, who were crushed by a faulty garbage truck compressor. The needless deaths became a rallying cry for recognition—of the union, of the workers’ rights, and of their basic humanity as African-American men in the still-segregated South. In response to the tragedy, the city’s sanitation department gave each of the grieving families one month’s pay and $500 for funeral expenses. No one from the city government would attend the funerals. [TDU]The strike was eventually won. King's last speech, the powerful and foreboding speech about having seen the promised land was a speech given in Memphis. King did not consider himself to be limited to "civil rights" - although "limited" is not the right word. He did not see civil rights to be separate from other issues of social justice. And his analysis of the War and economics is still relevant.
When MLK was murdered, I was conceived and swimming in my mother's womb expecting a world of equality in the outside. Almost half a century since the infamous "I have a dream" speech, MLK's dream of tolerance and progress for African Americans is still a dream while some progress have been achieved. It is a 7% upward progress today to be exact as the average African American family income has now reached 63% of the average white family income. It is no hidden agenda that the overwhelming majority of African Americans still deal with the difficulty to move up the ladder to claim their rightful place in society to fulfill THE DREAM.
This is a Picture/Video ONLY diary courtesy of blackwaterdog's blog about these two most beautiful people for they exemplify excellence in everything they do. I can say a lot about President Obama's political achievement but LOVE is not something to mix up with politics. "A picture is worth a thousand words" indeed. So today, I just want to salute them for showing the world how to LOVE. Life is too short so LOVE to the fullest like this beautiful couple as they are a symbol to behold. The floor is yours to share your sentiments about the first couple. Hat tip to BWD for producing this video.
(By guest blogger: Jordan Flaherty.)
One year after an earthquake devastated Haiti, much of the promised relief and reconstruction aid has not reached those most in need. In fact, the nation's tragedy has served as an opportunity to further enrich corporate interests.
The details of a recent lawsuit, as reported by Business Week, highlights the ways in which contractors – including some of the same players who profited from Hurricane Katrina-related reconstruction – have continued to use their political connections to gain profits from others' suffering, receiving contacts worth tens of millions of dollars while the Haitian people receive pennies at best. It also demonstrates ways in which charity and development efforts have mirrored and contributed to corporate abuses.
Lewis Lucke, a 27-year veteran of the US Agency for International Development (US AID) was named US special coordinator for relief and reconstruction after the earthquake. He worked this job for a few months, then immediately moved to the private sector, where he could sell his contacts and connections to the highest bidder. He quickly got a $30,000-a-month (plus bonuses) contract with the Haiti Recovery Group (HRG).
HRG had been founded by Ashbritt, Inc., a Florida-based contractor who had received acres of bad press for their post-Katrina contracting. Ashbritt’s partner in HRG is Gilbert Bigio, a wealthy Haitian businessman with close ties to the Israeli military. Bigio made a fortune during the corrupt Duvalier regime, and was a supporter of the right wing coup against Haitian president Aristide.
The level of bad prognosis provided by "left" pundits like Duncan Black ("Atrios"),Yves Smith, DailyKos's "Bobswern" and others has been stupendously high - and even intelligent analysts like Krugman, Stiglitz, and Dean Baker have been swept up in the flood of nonsense. Here's something that you never would have expected if you had listened to those people.
The US Federal Reserve made a record profit of $80.9bn in 2010 and sent $78.4bn to the US Treasury as income poured in from its programme of quantitative easing. The figures show how the financial crisis has turned the Fed into the most profitable bank in history, earning income of $88.1bn in 2010 but paying only $2.7bn in interest and $4.3bn in operating expenses. FT
I was touched by so many things at the Eulogy given by President Obama for the shooting victims yesterday in Tuscan, Arizona. My tears were rolling especially when he spoke about Christina. It was an amazing, kind and sincere speech and I just want to acknowledge it too that I want to see this country the way Christina Taylor Green believed it can be.
And in Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic. So deserving of our love. And so deserving of our good example. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives - to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents.
The Illinois Senate voted yesterday to abolish the death penalty by a 32-25 vote and now the Bill is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn(D) signature to become law. In the fall campaign Gov. Quinn had said, he supports "capital punishment when applied carefully and fairly," but also was in favor of the previous Governors' 10-year-old moratorium on executions. The State Journal Register reports:
Ten years after Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois and nearly eight years after then-state Sen. Barack Obama sponsored reforms to the system, a bill abolishing capital punishment is headed to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk. Quinn’s press office declined to say whether he would sign the bill. Quinn has said previously he favors the death penalty for the worst crimes. //snip The vote was not along party lines. Twenty-eight Democrats and four Republicans voted to abolish the death penalty. Eighteen Republicans and seven Democrats voted to keep it. The measure needed 30 votes to pass. Some of the most passionate debate was between fellow Democrats.
There's a reason I still watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann. It's for these interviews. Steven Daglas, an Illinois State Republican party committeeman has found 26 ways to pay for the transplants of the patients who are now subject to Arizona governor Jan Brewer's real life death panel.
These are not Republican or Democratic questions. These are human questions. I wish we had more Republicans like Daglas. There's a true compassionate conservative for you.
I wrote this blog entry on Eclectablog nearly a year ago in March 2010. When you read it, consider the fact that Democrats made a concerted effort back then to rein in the use of violent metaphors and language/rhetoric. In the wake of the passage of the Affordable Care Act when emotions were high and passions were higher, the Democrats (along with many liberal commentators) recognized that the use of violent images and references could lead to someone getting hurt. And they were right. And they were rebuffed by the Republicans.
March 27, 2010 I shouldn't say this is "unbelievable" but it is. I suppose nothing should surprise me anymore. Representatives from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) drafted a bipartisan statement urging civility and decrying violence in the wake of the threats and violent rhetoric that erupted across the country this after Sunday's historic vote on health insurance reform. This is it:
There has been a lot of back and forth over whether the shooting that dangerously wounded Congresswoman Giffords, killed a nine-year-old child and a federal judge was directly linked to the vitriolic, violent rhetoric spread by the extreme right on the radio, on TV and even on the floor of the United States Congress. It cannot. Not directly. That is the thing with all social ills. They are much like climate change. You usually cannot point to a single blizzard or a single heatwave and say definitively, "this particular event was caused by climate change." But you can say that a rise in global temperature is responsible for the shift in climate, and the increase in natural extremities.
It's pretty clear who the culprit is in this shooting: the shooter. But social dynamics, causes and ills are often factors in crimes committed by those who are easily movable, short-tempered, and mentally unstable. I'll tell you a little story. Once at a family friend's house, I met a man who seemed to be fairly nice at first. His politics were ideologically puristic left, but he didn't seem like a violent person. He and I got into what seemed like a fairly innocuous debate about President Obama. He brought up the President's Nobel peace prize and told me that I could not possibly defend it. I could, of course, and I did. At this point, he became not just angry but violent. He put his right palm into a fist and charged at me. I stood up, ready to defend myself, and he finally backed down, perhaps also because he was embarrassed to see everyone else seeing his temper with a bad eye. I later had a chance to find out the political environment he had surrounded himself with, and was not at all surprised to learn it was super-Leftist revolutionaries who demonized and ostracized anyone who dared to take an equal platform and disagree with them. He saw me - and they saw my kind - not simply as an opponent but an enemy.
(Editor's Note: I am publishing this despite some disagreements I have with this, because this is a well-written, thought-provoking piece about the status of our society, government, crime and free speech. Also, welcome our newest contributor!)
This loud, shrieking noise about the AZ mass shooting + "Sarah Palin" has got to stop.
How is it that one person so quickly became such a lightening rod, this larger-than-life focus, yes, a target, for such hasty blame-assignment? Easy: we enable her. Easier: we love to hate and deeply cherish our despised scapegoats. Easiest: she permits herself to be used in this way.
Sadly for Sarah, she misplayed her political cards this weekend. David Frum, one of Palin's conservative detractors put it best this morning.
Palin’s post-shooting message was about Palin, not about Giffords. It was defensive, not inspiring. And it was petty at a moment when Palin had been handed perhaps her last clear chance to show herself presidentially magnanimous.Don't count on that. Sarah Palin has never shown any interest in appearing "presidential", so I'm still not clear on why people like Frum still expect presidential behavior from her.
Insinuating the Palin name into every oversized news story of the hour has served her and her family well, financially, at least. Who really expects her to change up her pitch today, when her beleaguered camp can now point to every liberal blog on planet earth (except Oh Crap) and cry about how unfair everyone is to poor, martyred, messianic/angelic her?
Media responsibility is a term for the belief that mass media have a basic responsibility to help strengthen and support democratic processes. [Wiki]The media and some law makers in Congress have been irresponsible entities during the showdown with Iraq. They collaborated with the criminal Bush Administration in allowing and promoting the war without asking tough questions. Thousands of Americans and Iraqis died because our media silenced those with legitimate proof that the reason we were entering a war was based on a lie and illegal premises. However, with all the evidence available, our law makers failed us, the media failed us, aided a propaganda war, helped in wiping out our treasury and today Americans are faced with a disastrous economic challenge because of it all. All done in the name of Democracy. We all thought by now we would live in a post-racial society especially since electing the first African American President, Barack Obama. At least I did. On the contrary, the view of race in America has never gotten more polarizing that a post racial society is a thing of the future and the media has everything to do with it.
Historians have long debated whether the mobs of the Birmingham Riots were a spontaneous expression of rage- leaderless and self-organizing - or whether they had been deliberately stoked by outsiders (The evidence suggests that it was a little of both.) But by the time Church and King protesters arrived at Fair Hill, the madness of the crowd was beyond the direct control of the original ringleaders, whoever they were. A later report claimed that the insurgents had brought an immense gridiron to Fair Hill, "where they said they meant to broil an anti-constitutional philosopher, by the blaze of his own writings, and light the fire with the Rights of Man. (from Steven Johnson's The Invention of Air )Interesting to think about just as a Democratic Congresswoman gets shot down after being put in the cross hairs by reactionary politicians. The mobs were right-wingers angered by the "free-thinking" of people like Tom Paine whose "Rights of Man" they wanted to use as kindling. The inhabitants of Fair Hill were the scientist Joseph Priestley and his family. Priestley was soon to flee for America (measuring the Gulf Stream on the way ) where he was welcomed as a hero by President John Adams.
News is just entering the wires that Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords have been shot in the head during a meet and greet she was holding with Constituents in front of a local Safeway. She dubbed those events "Congress on Your Side." Reports MSNBC.
The motivation and the identity of the assassin is still unknown. It is notable, however, that Congresswoman Giffords had been a target of right wing and tea party harassment and threats, especially in the wake of her health care vote:
Let us all show her staff and her family that we stand by her. If you wish to send her office a message of support, you may do so here.
Updates @ 12:55 pm Pacific:
- MSNBC is reporting that according to the hospital the Congresswoman was taken to, she remains alive but in critical condition and in surgery. The deputy mayor of the city is saying that she is expected to survive.
- Chief Judge John Roll of the US District Court of Arizona was shot and killed at the shooting.
- President Obama has released a statement and is expected to speak momentarily.
- 22 year old Jared Laughner has been identified as the person in custody for the shooting.
While all of three Republicans have announced that they are rejecting their own government subsidized health insurance, and while all the Republicans seem poised to withdraw government assistance from the American people in obtaining health insurance, the Republicans apparently do not want you to know about their hypocrisy of accepting subsidized health care from the evil federal government. Every single one of them in the House voted today to hide the benefits they enjoy at taxpayer expense. Every last Democrat voted to shine sunlight.
Guess it'd be embarrassing if the public found out that they were accepting subsidized health insurance from the government while trying to pass a bill to deny the rest of us a fraction of that assistance. Them's the chops, I guess.
Anyway, the floor is yours.
So the House Republicans are going to hold a vote to repeal health care reform on January 12. They will pass the bill but ultimately fail in their attempt to repeal health care reform. That's probably about as given as it gets in the world of politics. They are all busy citing a poll that shows 50% of the American public opposed to the health care reform law, "based on what they heard" (ahh, we'll talk about that in a bit), while 43% support it. Digging in a little, only 37% oppose it because they buy the Republican line of it being too liberal. 13% of the American people oppose the law because they think it's not liberal enough.
And this is what I have got a problem with. Liberals can and should think the new law is not liberal "enough." But to oppose the law based on that view? That is absurd. Even more so because saying that one opposes the law essentially lends their support to repealing the law, as the Republicans will attempt to do. For those who oppose the health care law, especially those who oppose it from the liberal side, I have a question. Can you live with going back to this?
[NOTE: Edited to include the name of the sponsor of each bill.]
Here's a snapshot of what we have to look forward to this year from the Republicans. As of this writing, just over 200 bills have been submitted in Congress. Here are some of the most odious ones.
H.R. 2 (Eric Cantor)- Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act - Repeals the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
H.R. 21 (Scott Garrett) - Reclaiming Individual Liberty Act - Repeals the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
H.R. 38 (John Fleming) - Defunds the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund under the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
H.R. 39 (Don Young) - Polar Bear Delisting Act – Delists polar bears as a "threatened species".
H.R. 42 (Darrell Issa) - Health Care Incentive Act – Allows employers to count health care benefits when determining wages of minimum wage workers.
H.R. 49 (Don Young) - Expands oil and gas drilling in the Coastal Plain of Alaska.
H.R. 68 (Doug Lamborn) - To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after fiscal year 2013 – Self-explanatory.
H.R. 87 (Michele Bachmann) - To repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – Repeals Wall Street reform.
H.R. 91 (Joe Barton) - To repeal certain amendments to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act with respect to lighting energy efficiency – Self-explanatory.
H.R.97 (Marsha Blackburn) - To amend the Clean Air Act to provide that greenhouse gases are not subject to the Act, and for other purposes – Self-explanatory.
H.R. 105 (Dan Burton) - To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related health-care provisions and to enact in its place incentives to encourage health insurance coverage, and for other purposes – Self-explanatory.
H.R. 118 (John Fleming) - To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to permit a State to elect not to establish an American Health Benefit Exchange – Self-explanatory.
H.R. 127 (Tom Graves) - To deauthorize appropriation of funds to carry out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 – Defunds the PPACA.
H.R. 140 (Steve King) - To amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth – This is Pete King's bill. The text is not yet available but I assume this would disallow children of undocumented immigrants from being U.S. citizens even if they were born in the U.S.
H.R. 141 (Steve King) - To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 – Self-explanatory.
H.R. 145 (Connie Mack) - To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) and related health-care provisions – Self-explanatory.
H.R. 199 (Shelley Moore Capito) - To suspend, during the 2-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, any Environmental Protection Agency action under the Clean Air Act with respect to carbon dioxide or methane pursuant to certain proceedings, other than with respect to motor vehicle emissions, and for other purposes.
UPDATE 12/7/10: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today that The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.4 percent in December, and non-farm payroll employment increased by 103,000. FULL REPORT HERE. I am ducking for having made the prediction that we will have a much better payroll data than the 103,000 reported by BLS. I guess this time ADP's numbers have unforeseen elements, a reason to take it with grain of salt going forward but we do have a good news - Unemployment rate is down. --------------------- Since January 2009, the U.S. private sector has added more than 1 million jobs. With the December 2010 job news of 297,000 new jobs created by the private sector, it makes it the elevenths-straight month that we have seen promising private-sector job growth. According to the figures from ADP Employer Services December 2010 National Employment Report,
Private-sector employment increased by 297,000 from November to December on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report®.Now, I don't want to jinks myself as the official U.S. Department of Labor data comes out tomorrow but it is very likely that we should see a report with a strong jobs report beating the prediction of the low 100,000s forecast for the month of December and possibly reducing the unemployment rate to 9.7%.
The 112th Congress is ready to stab Americans right at the heart with the Hell You Can't style of leadership, and an agenda with a lot of lip service that offers no solution not to mention the first bill they plan to introduce is the repeal of the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In a nut shell these are the things they want to take away from Men, Women, children and seniors of this country by introducing their first Bill - Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. They want: 1) to prevent the ability of adult children to remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 26th birthday. 2) children under age 19 be excluded for coverage for pre-existing conditions. 3) to permit lifetime or annual caps on coverages.
Cross-posted at Eclectablog.com.
Battle lines are being drawn. Republicans have a bill ready to go called Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act (pdf) that will be introduced next week. They aren't talking about fixing things. They are talking about dismantling things. And, fuck the deficit. They have even exempted the repeal of health insurance reform from their own requirements that any new laws are paid for.
Which side of the battle will YOU be on?
The heavy-hitters on both sides of the issue are getting their battle plans ready.
IN THIII-IIIS CORNER! we have Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. These astroturfed, corporate-backed groups will continue their intensive and well-funded efforts to completely repeal (replace, my ass) what the derisively call "Obamacare" and "the Big Government takeover of health care".
AND IN THIII-IIIS CORNER! we have Organizing for America (OFA), Families USA and Healthcare of America NOW! (HCAN), truly grassroots groups that fought long and hard for the legislation that got passed. While many of their members are not entirely happy with the final law that was enacted, they know full well that repealing it would set back the cause for universal healthcare as a right and not a privilege for years and years to come. OFA, in particular, will be fighting this tooth and nail until we are victorious.
While we should be in a fight to improve the law, we're now in a fight to just to keep it breathing.
Which side will YOU be on?
I'm just askin'...
Electoral victories are sometimes built on hopes and dreams, sometimes on fear and anger, sometimes on both. Over the past 30 years progressives have often resorted to emphasizing fear of the Republicans – completely justified, in my view. President Obama’s 2008 campaign, however, showed that progressives can also win by inspiring hope. And yet, particularly in bad times, hope can be a hard emotion to come by. The President stepped into what may be the worst economic situation in American history, which I will explain in a bit. Since the President couldn’t wave a magic wand and make up for decades of economic decline in two years, enough people in enough suburban districts got confused and voted for Republicans in 2010. While their wins are certainly sobering, it doesn’t mean we have to give up on hope – on the contrary, it is important to be as audacious as ever. What I want to suggest is that we need to think in the long-term, say, in at least a ten-year time frame, so that we can articulate programs and policies that have a realistic chance of solving our economic problems. Note that I didn’t say, “a realistic chance of political victory”, because there is a difference. Right now, anyone with the audacity to propose sweeping changes will be accused of tilting at windmills…or wind turbines, as I will explain below. But people want solutions that will solve their problems. What to do? If you propose realistic solutions, you will be accused of being politically unrealistic. I think the way to deal with this is to say, “these are our long-range goals. We can’t get them now, but if you help us build a progressive majority, this is what you will get – and you’ll like it a lot better than what you’re going to get from the Republicans”.
There are these memes that calls out on the Obama Administration as an Administration that doesn’t care about the poor or the "Black poor" and Obama is not fighting enough to reduce poverty to help low income Americans. I just don't buy it. It seems like a Rovian Strategy - if you continue to repeat it, it will stick and destroy. I ain't having that so I will highlight what this Administration is doing to fighting poverty. According to Census Bureau, one in seven Americans household(44 million) are now living at poverty level, living at $22K or less a year. This makes the increase in poverty rate during the Obama Administration for 2009 from 13.2% to 14.3%, an increase of almost 4 million people living in poverty. Assuming there are 2.55 people in a household, it means the lose of 1.57 million jobs out of the 5 million lost during 2009 has most likely contributed to the increased level of people living in poverty.
Think of the government as a restaurant and the Congress as a waiter. The restaurant is losing money and it turns out that the waiter has been giving discounts to some customers - the waiters friends who give the waiter big tips. "No problem" says the waiter, "when I don't charge them for caviar, champagne, and prime rib, I'm not stealing, I'm just letting them keep their own money". A waiter would get fired and risk jail, but the US Congress has been handing out free caviar at public expense to the rich and well connected using exactly this excuse. The bipartisan deficit commission estimated that "tax expenditures" cost the public over one trillion dollars a year ($1,000,000,000,000/year) and that most of that goes to rich people and big well-connected corporations. The deficit commission said that we could balance the budget, increase critical spending (for education and new green manufacturing for example) and still reduce tax rates if we stopped special tax reductions and tax credits for favored groups of well off taxpayers. There are some tax expenditures for low income people who need help, but tax expenditures are a sneaky way of giving away tax money and, of course, those who can employ the most lobbyists and give the most in "contributions" (tips) get the most. The thieving waiter might want us to think that giving $1000 "discounts" to his buddies (just 2 bottles of Cristal champagne) is completely different from lifting $1000 from the till - he's not giving money to his buddies, he's just letting them "keep their own money". If he was as baldfaced a crook as some congressmen, he might argue that the restaurant is in trouble, not because of the "discounts" he handed out, but because the restaurant spends too much buying groceries and paying cooks! But people go to jail routinely for under-ringing the cash register and special tax breaks are pretty much the same thing.
How dare he sign a bill in a foreign country? I bet that is what the Teabaggers and Fox News are saying right about now. Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the bill Republicans were trying to throw under the bus that will now funds medical care for Firefighters and other responders to the September 11, 2001, attacks who got sickened by the toxins during the cleanup work at ground zero and he did it in Hawaii, United States of America (his birth place)wearing a polo T-shirt. Another accomplishment to add in the long list of accomplishments for the 111th United States Congress and President Obama. The Bill has a $4.2 billion price tag reduced from the original $7.2 billion (thanks to that hypocrite Sen Tom Coburn and his obstructionist buddies)where the $1.5 billion will now go to health benefits for the first responders, while $2.7 billion will go to compensation for them.
Have you heard about the Obama administration group that ended 2010 $1,600,000,000 UNDER budget?
It was the United States Census Bureau who completed their Herculean task and came in 22% under budget.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that it is 22 percent under budget for the 2010 Census, largely thanks to the unanticipated cooperation of the American public.That report is from August 2010. The U.S. Census pulled off an amazing feat and did so with far less taxpayer money than expected. Locke described their accomplishment thusly: "With proficient management, the cooperation of the American public and a little bit of luck, the census stayed on track with significant cost savings to taxpayers." In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau returned only $305 million from their $7 billion budget (~5%.)
"Before the census began, experts inside and outside the government predicted that longstanding operational and fiscal problems at the U.S. Census Bureau would doom the 2010 count," said Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, adding that it was also ranked one of the federal government's "most likely to fail" programs. "That didn't happen."
According to Census Bureau Director Robert Groves, approximately $1.6 billion has been saved so far. About half of those savings, he said, can be attributed to improvements in management and productivity, as well as the country's high participation rate. Seventy-two percent of Americans mailed in their census forms by the deadline, saving taxpayers nearly $600 million, as a smaller workforce was necessary to implement the bureau's door-to-door follow up stage.
No headlines. No bumper stickers. No fanfare. Just good government run by competent people under President Obama.
I'm just sayin'...
Cross-posted at Eclectablog.com.
Image via WikipediaI have been wanting to do a piece on this for a while, but the holidays have kept me away (for which I apologize). So as you all know, the Phildelphia Eagles gave Michael Vick a second chance, after he served time for his dog-fighting charges. And President Obama praised the Eagles for having done so, in a phone call with the Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. Vick wasn't the topic of the call, but he happened to have come up and so this happened. And of course, anytime Barack Obama weighs into anything that has to do with the criminal justice system, the media drives itself up a wall. Oh my god, Barack Obama kicks puppies!!!! essentially became the tagline.
No one should take lightly the crime Michael Vick committed. He's banned from owning a dog ever again, and he should be. But why is everyone surprised that the President spoke out - not necessarily for one man but for the integrity of the American justice system, where, at least technically, one should get a second chance after paying their debt to society? A lot of animal rights groups' argument seems to be that for the Eagles, this was a decision about money and not second chances.
The real division in US politics is not left versus right but Managerists versus pragmatists. During the BP Gulf oil spill, cable TV-pundit David Gergen said that one of the things President Obama should have done was:
Given Cabinet officers an ultimatum: Get this under control in the next 30 days, or else.As if all it took to stop a high pressure flow of petroleum starting a mile under the ocean surface in a tangle of broken piping and extending miles down from that, in the dark, in pressure that can crumple submarines like foil was a showing of management determination and "toughness". This ridiculous advice was applauded on cable news, on Fox, and on the supposedly left/liberal DailyKos web site. There was a hard technical problem that was not easily solved, that would take time to address, that maybe didn't have a good solution: but in Managerism, all problems are solvable by Leadership and Vision and, of course, marketing.
Happy New Years to all of you who frequent the People's View. We all have been out on vacation or taking a well deserved break to attend to other personal matters including spending quality time with family but wanted to say on behave of deaniac, contributing editors and the People's View, the porch we have created here is one I am very grateful to be a part of and would like to say thank you all for your participation and most insightful comments and contribution. ************************************************************ So, today is January 1, 2011. The President's Weekly Address:
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