Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Last Call

Want to know where Republicans would like to go on the issue of voter suppression?  Rep. Steve King just dropped a major clue at a House hearing this week on a balanced budget amendment:

As I roll this thing back and I think of American history, there was a time in American history when you had to be a male property owner in order to vote. The reason for that was, because they wanted the people who voted — that set the public policy, that decided on the taxes and the spendingto have some skin in the game

Now we have data out there that shows that 47 percent of American households don't pay taxes, 51 percent of American wage-earners don't have an income tax liability. And it's pretty clear that there are a lot of people who are not in the workforce at all. In fact, of our unemployment numbers — that run in the 13 or 14 million category — when you go to the Department of Labor Statistics and you look at that data, you can add up those that are simply not in the workforce of different age groups, but of working age, add that number to the number of those who are on unemployment and you come up with a number that was just a few months ago 80 million Americans. Just over a month ago that number went over 100 million Americans that aren't working.
Now I don't think they're paying taxes. But many of them are voting. And when they vote, they vote for more government benefits.

Why should the parasites and the looters and moochers get to vote, anyway, right?The irony of course is that if not paying income taxes because you're not employed means you can't vote, a number of Teabaggers on say, Social Security, would be disenfranchising themselves.  The bigger issue of course is that during the historical period King was talking about, it was only white men who could hold property or vote for that matter.  Steve King there seems awfully wistful about returning to that era.
"What if that were transferred into a society like today and it were [only] taxpayers that were voting?"
Why it would  look an awful lot like the 1780's.  I'm honestly not sure what's more repugnant, the fact that a sitting member of Congress is publicly entertaining the notion of eliminating half of America from the voter rolls, or the implication that the poor deserve no representation in our democracy because they don't have "skin in the game".

Like I keep saying, if you refuse to recognize any other difference between the Dems and the GOP, it's the GOP's constant assault on voting rights that are indisputably awful.

Basement Of The Division

Congress has hit a new low in the latest WaPo/ABC poll, and there's still 13 months for them to find new and awesome mathematical ways to get worse.

Whether Republican, Democrat or independent, more Americans disapprove of Congress than at any point in more than two decades of Washington Post-ABC News polling.

Just 14 percent of the public approves of the job Congress is doing, according to the latest poll. That is lower than just before the 1994, 2006 and 2010 elections, when the majority party was on the verge of losing power in the House.

For most it’s not just a casual dislike of Congress: Sixty-two percent say they “strongly disapprove” of congressional job performance. An additional 20 percent “somewhat” disapprove.

Only 3 percent of Americans said they “strongly approve” of the performance of lawmakers on Capitol Hill — essentially as low as possible, given the poll’s margin of error of four percentage points.

With Democrats running the Senate and Republicans in charge of the House, no group of voters is pleased. Just 18 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of independents and 13 percent of Republicans approve of Congress.

Looking at the crosstabs is a bit more revealing than "People hate Congress" (although that's apparently completely true.)   Republicans in Congress get a 20% approval rating on the economy, 15 points under President Obama, and the President is more trusted on job creation, 49-34%.  When asked if POTUS and the GOP care more protecting the economic interests of middle-class Americans or wealthy Americans, 52% say the President cares more about the middle class to the GOP's 32%.  Meanwhile, a whopping 70% think the GOP cares more about protecting the wealthy to Obama's 17%.

Of the 79% of Americans unhappy with our political system, 39% blame the GOP, 25% President Obama, and 27% blame both.

On the President's jobs plan, 52% approve of it, 58% believe it will improve the jobs situation in the US if it passes.

As far as the Clown Car goes, the interesting stuff is near the bottom: Republican voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate if they thought schools should teach creationism/intelligent design (34-31%), wanted to repeal the health care law (67-15%),  and supported banning same-sex marriage (38-27%).  They would be less likely to vote for a candidate that sees global warming as an issue (27-36%) but the real shocker is that they'd be far less likely to vote for a candidate that wanted to extend unemployment benefits right now (25-46%).

So yes, Americans want to see the American Jobs Act passe,. but Republican voters will punish any Republican that extends unemployment benefits right now (which the AJA would do.)

Until they're convinced that they will be punished more for not supporting the jobs bill, I doubt they will budge an inch. You can give Republicans where you live a Twitter nudge with the Tweet For Jobs page on the Obama '12 site.

Unless you think doing nothing about the jobs situation in this country is okay, that is.

Witless For The Defense, Your Honor

New guy gets to handle the "I Read These Morons So You Don't Have To" category, right? And hey, this time it's easy, it's really pretty much all there in Bobo's article title:

In Defense of Romney

And it goes precisely as you expect it would.

The central problem is that Mitt Romney doesn’t fit the mold of what many Republicans want in a presidential candidate. They don’t want a technocratic manager. They want a bold, blunt radical outsider who will take on the establishment, speak truth to power and offend the liberal news media.
They don’t want Organization Man. They want Braveheart.
The question is: Are they right to want this? Well, if they want an in-your-face media campaign that will produce delicious thrills for the true believers, they are absolutely right. But if they actually want to elect an effective executive who is right for this moment, they are probably not right.

If that sounds familiar, it should.  Please notice that Bobo's recycling his own argument as to why he liked candidate Obama in 2008.

And the other thing that does separate Obama from just a pure intellectual: he has tremendous powers of social perception. And this is why he's a politician, not an academic. A couple of years ago, I was writing columns attacking the Republican congress for spending too much money. And I throw in a few sentences attacking the Democrats to make myself feel better. And one morning I get an email from Obama saying, 'David, if you wanna attack us, fine, but you're only throwing in those sentences to make yourself feel better.' And it was a perfect description of what was going through my mind. And everybody who knows Obama all have these stories to tell about his capacity for social perception.

He then goes on to praise Romney for just how much like President Obama he is: perceptive, organized, intelligent, possessed of political expertise, surrounded by competent people and adaptable to a changing political situation.  The funny thing is President Obama is still all of those things, still has gotten a hell of a lot done, still has a lot that he can do, but Bobo here seems to think that Romney's good for America in the end because he's dull (and of course the Tea Party would magically go away if President Obama weren't around.)

It's like watching paint dry.  Unexciting, nondescript, especially boring paint.

In Which Bon Plays Like A Pro Golfer

It's what every geek dreams about.  Once, just once, playing like a pro and knowing what it's like to be One Of Them.  Or, in this case, a pro golfer gets a lesson in what it's like to be a Bon.  This is my famous goof, and I'm good for one every round.

Don't worry too much, folks. Golf rules allow for a "check swing" and though he was close to a penalty, Kevin Na was allowed to continue without an issue.

Yahoo Sports columnist Jonathan Wall had a pretty fun bit:

I honestly don't know what to think. Trying to go for the green late in Saturday's round, Na suddenly altered the path of his driver on the downswing, missing the ball in the process and leaving viewers at home wondering if he had missed the ball on accident.

"I'll take it back ... it feels decent, and my transition is what I'm always working on," Na said after his round. "It's always my bad habit is I get quick. And on the way down my transition doesn't feel right, and I try to stop, and obviously it's impossible for me to stop. The only way for me to stop is I have to come up and go over the ball."

Unlucky Number 66

A Northbrook man accused of repeatedly beating a woman while holding her and her children captive for a week has been arrested for the 65th time since 2001, police said.

Francisco Tirado, 27, of the 3700 block of Salem Walk in unincorporated Northbrook, was charged Friday with two felony counts of aggravated domestic battery and one felony count of aggravated unlawful restraint, the Cook County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Later, Tirado ordered the woman to drive him home, but when she headed toward the Jefferson Park District police station, he held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her children, the statement said.

The woman and children escaped when he fell asleep. I can't imagine another easy sentence, though he has been ordered to stay away from the woman and her family. I hope she has somewhere to hide until he is put behind bars for a long time, or until number 66 does the trick.

All together now: yeah, right.

The Real Cost Of War

In addition to the trillions spent and thousands who have died in our lovely little wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cost to America's veterans include a growing toll of mental illness.

Nearly 20 percent of the more than 2 million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from mental health conditions, according to a new report.

They amount to more than half of the 712,000 veterans from both wars who have sought medical treatment since leaving military service. Nearly a third of those veterans may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, one of the signature injuries of the conflicts.

Veterans for Common Sense, a nonprofit, nonpartisan activist group for veterans' interests, and health care issues in particular, compiled the statistics from a raft of government reports.

In whittling them down to just the bare data, the group created a grim shorthand for the toll the wars have taken on a generation of young men and women.

"A large number of people serving overseas have mental health impacts, and more and more are coming home," said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "I am deeply concerned that we are not ready."

That would require money and resources, which we can't have because we need to give the Koch brothers more tax cuts.  Meanwhile we have hundreds of thousands of our troops who have served this country suffering from various mental illnesses and our brave, patriotic Republicans want to cut health care for veterans.  President Obama's jobs bill includes measures to put vets back to work and get them the help they need financially, but the "jobs bill is dead" because of the Republicans.

"Why do Republicans hate our troops so much?" would be tragically amusing if it wasn't the actual truth.

Profiles In Courage: Pass The Damn Bill Edition, Part 3

As Republicans continue to sabotage the economy, President Obama is unleashing his secret weapon:  the Gipper.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday invoked conservative icon Ronald Reagan to rebut Republican claims his plans to raise taxes on the rich smacked of class warfare.

In a campaign event in Texas, Obama referred to a speech that former president Reagan gave about tax reform in Atlanta in 1985.

“Twenty-six years ago, another president said some of these tax loopholes, and I quote: ‘made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary and that is crazy, it’s time we stopped it.’”

“You know the name of that president? Ronald Reagan,” Obama said.

“Was that class warfare? I know people have short memories, but I don’t remember Republicans accusing Ronald Reagan of being a socialist or engaging in class warfare because he thought everybody should do their fair share.”

That's because today, Reagan couldn't get elected court jester by the TeaGOP.   I personally think the Republicans have sorely underestimated the anger at them right now.  President Obama has been going around the country talking about jobs, jobs, jobs.  Occupy Wall Street is making headlines.  And Republicans?

They say they will do literally nothing to help Americans right now.  Nothing.  "The bill is dead" they say, and the American economy is slipping into another recession.  We can't afford to tax the rich any more or they'll not create jobs.  I have news for you, they're not creating jobs now, and the rich can afford to give millions to Karl Rove to beat President Obama next year.

Once again, time to Tweet For Jobs.  Let the GOP know we can take their jobs away from them.

Impeachment By Proxy

Since Republicans have never forgiven Dems for the US Attorney scandal 4 years ago (and Gonzo's resignation) they're going to get rid of Eric Holder come hell or high water.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee called Tuesday for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate whether Attorney General Eric Holder was honest when he testified earlier this year about his knowledge of a now-discredited federal gunrunning operation.

"Allegations that senior Justice Department officials may have intentionally misled Members of Congress are extremely troubling and must be addressed by an independent and objective special counsel," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama.

So expect "WHAT DID OBAMA KNOW AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT" as the Republicans desperately trying to take attention away from their loser candidates and Occupy Wall Street.   Want to know where Republicans are going with their smoke and mirrors game?  All the way to the top.

Just remember that Republicans were in charge, we got a war that killed thousands and a cover up operation that spanned the entire federal government.  "Operation Fast and Furious" has all the vitamins the GOP box of idiot cereal needs:  Obama's gonna take our guns, scary brown people waiting to kill everyone you love, and of course the black guys are corrupt thugs.

Fast and Furious was a stupid idea.  If that's an impeachable offense, there's nobody left in politics in America.


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