Sunday, December 9, 2012

Republicans Go After "Entitlements" (i.e., Medicare and Social Security)

Sen. Corker: Debt ceiling is Republican ‘leverage’ to cut ‘entitlements’ | The Raw Story

 "Moderate" Republican Sen. Bob Corker is willing to go along with raising taxes on the top ONLY to get what he and the Republicans really want, "entitlement reform," i.e. CUTS to Medicare and Social Security BENEFITS.  This is the "Grand Bargain" that the GOP will try to get President Obama to agree to again, and if progressives don't push harder from the left to oppose ANY CUTS to SS or Medicare BENEFITS, Obama will probably cave.

 Monday is a national day of action to call Congress and ask representatives in the House and Senate to OPPOSE any cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits, and let the "Bush Tax Cuts" on the top 2% expire.
  GOP Offers to Throw Middle Class, Elderly Over the "Fiscal Cliff"
  The Obscenely Rich Men Bent on Shredding the Safety Net
  Debt and Deficit Delusions 4 Ways to Leap the "Fiscal Cliff" to a Better U.S.A.
  Robert Reich: Understanding the Fiscal Cliff
 10 Things Republicans Don't Want You To Know About the "Fiscal Cliff"

Like Newt Gingrich, John Boehner May Drive the GOP Tea Party/Corporate Express Off the Fiscal Cliff

Like Newt Gingrich, John Boehner May Drive the GOP Tea Party/Corporate Express Off the Fiscal Cliff

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT                      boehner35 Driving the GOP off the Fiscal Cliff
In the '90s, Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich tried playing a game of chicken with Bill Clinton to see who would blink first – and Gingrich lost badly.   
The federal shutdown precipitated by a GOP effort to cut Medicare benefits, among other austerity measures, resulted when Clinton vetoed a Republican budget that would impose hardships on public services and the earned benefits of seniors, among others. The federal government general closure occurred during two periods in late 1995 and early 1996.
The so-called "fiscal cliff" (although it differed in details from the current one) was eventually resolved with Bill Clinton's popularity soaring, while Gingrich was generally perceived as playing a losing hand.  Clinton went on to easily win a second term against GOP candidate Bob Dole in 1996.  In 1998, when the House Republicans lost seats in a mid-term election – the first time in more than 50 years that the party not holding the presidency lost House seats in an off-presidential year election – a GOP House coup occurred and Gingrich (who had other ethical issues weighing him down) resigned amidst, ironically, the Clinton impeachment.
Clinton completed his second term after the Senate rejected the impeachment jihad; meanwhile, Gingrich was not only no longer the Speaker of the House, he was gone from Congress.
That's something to keep in mind as John Boehner wrestles with a split caucus while vowing to, in effect, close the government down over keeping tax cuts for the rich and imposing an austerity agenda, along with increasing costs on those Americans with earned benefits (given the negative name of "entitlements" by the DC insiders who passively accept the Republican "frame").   
But Barack Obama, even if he is allegedly willing to increase Medicare burdens to those who have earned it, has Boehner in a bit of a box.  The tax cuts on the rich expire on their own at the end of 2012. No vote needs to be taken.  But with their demise, the tax cuts on the working class also expire.
Obama, it appears, will not sign any bill that extends Bush era tax cuts on the rich.  Meanwhile, the so-called draconian across the board cuts in the United States budget would kick in without an increase in the debt ceiling, which the Republican caucus in the House is refusing to do given the dominance of the Tea Party.
According to Josh Marshall, that leaves limited options:
So the only thing the President can do — if he’s really not going to negotiate — is continue to service the existing debt and shut down big enough parts of the federal government to be able to fund it through existing tax receipts. And no, shuttering the national parks would by no means cut it.
Just how much you’d have to shutter and which parts I’m not completely sure. But a whole, whole lot.
In such a scenario, what worked for Clinton will probably work to Obama's favor also.  Current polls show the public overwhelmingly would blame the GOP, by a landslide margin.  The Republicans can't take credit for going "halfway" by voting for eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy, even if they felt it was politically necessary, because the Bush tax cuts disappear automatically at midnight on December 31. Meanwhile, those Americans with incomes under $250,000 are going to be screaming. Then Obama will go out on the stump and say, "I'm with you. I've introduced a bill to restore tax cuts to middle income families; it's the Republicans you need to talk to."  Also, the White House wants the GOP to go first in publicly proposing Medicare and other safety net cutbacks, wherever they come from.  Already Boehner has hinted at raising the eligibility age of Medicare.
The White House has positioned itself so that the popular proposals on earned benefits (although again, Obama is widely seen as likely to give in a bit on Medicare) and tax cuts for the majority of Americans come from the Obama administration.  The Republicans are stuck proposing unpopular cuts to achieve their made-for-the-rich austerity.
Hypothetically, once all the tax cuts expire and the Democratic Senate were to vote out a bill restoring the savings to the middle class but not the wealthy, Boehner and his Barbary Pirates are going to have to suck lemons and vote for it – regardless of debt negotations – or the Republicans will pay a big price in the mid-terms in 2014.
As for the so-called "deficit reduction," let it be the burden of those who ran up the deficit under Bush after Clinton left the Republicans a balanced budget in 2001; let it be their proposals as to what would be cut.  Because the truth is it would finally provide the lie to their claims of an indulgent government budget; they'd have to cut the earned benefits of seniors, veterans, the disabled, education, health and other programs that are vital to most Americans. They'd clip the US government down to the size of a Bonzai Tree, except for the military-industrial complex and subsidies for corporations and research that gives free technological and biomedical patents to businesses developed at taxpayer expense.
Those sort of policies, when shown the light of day, don't win elections; they lose them.
That is unless the GOP House goes after the US war budget, which they won't unless water boarded.
And there's one final fact to remember: US voters elected a Democratic president,  a Democratic Senate, and by more than a half a million votes preferred a Democratic House.
The only reason that the House is still Republican is due to gerrymandering after the 2010 election.  It's perfectly legal, but the 2012 vote count showed that the majority of Americans preferred a Democratic House and the policies articulated by President Obama.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Progressive case FOR Obama


A note to all the progressive/leftists opposing Obama's re-election: Most of your criticisms of Obama's timid responses to the Great Recession, etc. are correct: Obama didn't do enough to regulate the banking and financial industry, he didn't push a single-payer national health insurance plan, he didn't prosecute the Bush/Cheney war criminals, he didn't turn water into wine, etc. He DID get the most progressive expansion of health insurance (including the largest expansion of Medicaid since it's inception), he DID pass the largest public investment ("stimulus") since the New Deal, he DID push and get some needed financial regulations and reforms, despite substantial opposition from the business community,  and created the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, he DID end the Iraq War and is finally winding down the Afghanistan War. Obama hasn't done enough on the environment or climate change, but he has supported and passed some regulations that will help even if they are not enough. ROMNEY OPPOSES ALL OF THEM AND WILL REVERSE THEM!

Romney and a GOP controlled Congress will overturn what regulations Obama and the Dems passed, they have vowed to repeal "Obamacare" and the expansion of Medicaid to the poor. Obama may not have deserved that "Nobel Peace Prize," but he is willing to cut some military spending, Romney and the GOP want to INCREASE it $2 trillion. Even with Obama's shortcomings, the list of differences between him and Romney is long, and not insignificant.  

So you are free to vote for a third party candidate who cannot win ONE of 270 electoral votes, but don't play "holier than thou" toward PROGRESSIVES who vote for the better of the the two candidates who CAN win 270 electoral votes. And we will not be voting for the "lesser of two evils," we will be voting to expand healthcare for those who will qualify for Medicaid etc. who do not now. We will be voting to keep moving forward on the other issues we care about (the environment, gay and women's rights, etc.) because we know for a FACT that Mitt Romney, and a GOP congress will take us BACK, not forward. 

So as great as Green Party candidate Jill Stein may be on these issues, she will not, she CANNOT, win ONE electoral vote in this election. So voting for her will not do ANYTHING to address these issues since she will NOT be elected to do ANYTHING about them. The only REAL choice is between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. One of them will be President from 2013-2016. You should think about that...

Progressives should support Obama's re-election, BUT be prepared to push him to the left, and organize to stop a "Grand Bargain" to cut Social Security and other social programs in a deal to get a budget deal with the House Republicans.   As long as the Tea Party controls Congress, no progressive legislation will be possible, so we must focus on winning back Congress in the 2014 midterm elections.  

The Bottom Line:  Yes Obama has made a lot of mistakes, and his policies, at least what he was able to get through a hostile Tea party controlled House and a divided Senate, leave much to be desired.  But he did  a lot of good PROGRESSIVE things in the short time he had a Democratic House to work with.  The stimulus was too small, but was still the largest public investment program since the New Deal, and created the foundations of a Green economic revolution.  The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was  not the single-payer national health program we wanted, but it is the largest expansion of publicly funded healthcare since the LGJ's Great Society, and the largest expansion of Medicaid since it was created.  Those are the two big accomplishments.  More needs to be done, more can be done if he is re-elected and the Democrats win back the House in 2014.  The choice is do we go "forward" with Obama or backward with Mitt Romney?  That is the only real choice in this election, and the answer should be clear to anyone who supports a progressive agenda for the future.

Why Progressives Should Vote for Obama (The Nation)

A Romney Presidency Would be a Threat to Peace We Cannot Allow  (Tom Hayden)

The Price of Political Purity  (Robert Perry-Consotrium News)

Thinking Makes it So (The Problem with the Green Party)

Beyond November (The Jacobin)


Here is a list of differences between Obama and Romney on Issues (to be updated..)

Obama vs. Romney on the Environment: A Stark Contrast

Obama's Tax Cuts Favor Lower Incomes

The Romney-Ryan Plan to Obliterate Medicaid

The GOP's Crackpot Agenda

Election 2012 Voter Guide (National Priorities Project)

Obama is Bad on Civil Liberties, But Romney Would Be Much Worse (Mother Jones)

Obama vs. Romney on Gay Rights


Obama's Accomplishments (to be updated..)

What the F*ck Has Obama Done So Far?

Obama's Achievements Center

200 Accomplishments in Obama's First Term

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (The "Stimulus" that saved the economy)

The White House's Economic Case for Reelection in 13 Charts

The Economy has Recovered All Private Sector Jobs Lost Since Obama Took Office

Spending, Taxes and Deficits are All Lower Today than When Obama Took Office

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Obama's Green Revolution

Top 50 Things Accomplished By President Obama in First Term

Accomplishments (

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Mississippi Tea Party Chat

A Mississippi Tea Party Chat

Janis Lane, President, Central Mississippi Tea Party:
"Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I do not see that in men. The whole time I worked, I'd much rather have a male boss than a female boss. Double-minded, you never can trust them."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Tea Partier Decided To Pick A Fight With A Foreign President. It Didn't Go So Well.

A Tea Partier Decided To Pick A Fight With A Foreign President. It Didn't Go So Well.

Michael D. Higgins (who was elected president of Ireland last year) is fed up with over-the-top Tea Party rhetoric, and he isn't afraid to show it. Listen to him call out radio host Michael Graham on everything from health care to foreign policy. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tea Party Movement Evolves, Achieves State Policy Victories

Tea Party Movement Evolves, Achieves State Policy Victories

The Tea Party is not dead, on the contrary, they may determine which party controls the Senate and the White House in 2012 (they already won the House..) They are now focused on electoral politics, and are out organizing the left across the country.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tea Party Nation: Obama Might Be a Gay Drug Addict

Tea Party Nation: Obama Might Be a Gay Drug Addict |

The president of Tea Party Nation Corporations, based in Tennessee,  Judson Phillips, recently wrote an essay that made several ridiculous assertions that if Mitt Romney was going to be forced to release his tax returns that President Obama should, in kind, release medical records. This, Phillips feels, would help prove that the president is not a drug addict, and that he has never had gay sex.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Action Alert: Healthcare For All Rally (Thursday)

Healthcare-Now! Will be joining Tennessee Health Care Campaign and Physicians for a National Healthcare Program and other activists at a rally/press conference the day the Supreme Court releases their veridict on the Affordable Health Act ("Obamacare")--supporting a single-payer (Medicare for All) universal healthcare plan... We expect the decision will be released THURSDAY morning, if so, meet us at the Federal Building on N. Main downtown Memphis at 5 PM

If the decision is not released on monday, check back for new day!

What: Rally/Press Conference
When: THURSDAY (June 28), 5 PM
Where: Federal Building, Downtown Memphis

Contact: Jim Maynard
(901) 619-2679

Physicians for a National Healthcare Program
Contact: Dr. Arthur Sutherland, III, MD, FACC
901 237-6440

Tennessee Health Care Campaign
Brad Palmertree
Director of Communications
Tennessee Health Care Campaign
Office: 615.227.7500 Ext. 8

Progressive Democrats of America

Memphis DSA (Democratic Socialists of America)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fox News contributor laments ‘mistake’ of letting women vote

Fox News contributor laments ‘mistake’ of letting women vote | The Raw Story
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a Fox News contributor, tea party activist and personal friend of Sean Hannity’s said in a sermon recently published to YouTube that America’s greatest mistake was allowing women the right to vote, adding that back in “the good old days, men knew that women are crazy and they knew how to deal with them.”