Currently viewing the tag: "Republicans"

The infamous Koch Brothers have entered the 2012 Washington State Governor’s race.  Surprise – they are supporting Republican Rob McKenna. McKenna is running against former Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee.

On Thursday, October 18, 2012, Americans for Prosperity, based in Arlington filed a C6 with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission that they were spending $27, 985 on a radio ad supporting Rob McKenna.

Americans for Prosperity  was founded by the oilmen Koch Brothers -  David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch, both of Koch Industries.

Wikipedia notes that:

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is an American conservative political advocacy group headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. AFP’s stated mission is “educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing citizens as advocates in the public policy process.” The group played a major role in the Republicans’ 2010 takeover of the House of Representatives, and has been called “one of the most powerful conservative organizations in electoral politics.”

Sourcewatch writes that:

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a group fronting special interests started by oil billionaire David Koch and Richard Fink (a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries). AFP has been accused of funding astroturf operations but also has been fueling the “Tea Party” efforts.  AFP’s messages are in sync with those of other groups funded by the Koch Family Foundations and the Koch’s other special interest groups that work against progressive or Democratic initiatives and protections for workers and the environment. Accordingly, AFP opposes labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation, which is aimed at making industries pay for the air pollution that they create. AFP was also involved in the attacks on Obama’s “green jobs” czar, Van Jones, and has crusaded against international climate talks.

So far the spending by Americans for Prosperity is small potatoes in this state but this could quickly change. Kirby Wilbur, the Washington State  Republican Party Chair, was the state coordinator for Americans for Prosperity in 2010 and they successfully dumped money into last minute mailers against Democratic legislators who did not have sufficient time to respond to the last minute mailers. They are spending lots of money nationally and are doing it without disclosing their donors. This needs to change in disclosure laws.

As the Guardian in a just released articles states:

Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-aligned group part-funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, is building a state-of-the-art digital ground operation in Ohio and other vital battleground states to spread its anti-Obama message to voters who could decide the outcome of the presidential election.

The group hopes that by creating a local army of activists equipped with sophisticated online micro-targeting tools it will increase its impact on moderate voters, nudging them towards a staunchly conservative position opposed to President Obama’s economic and healthcare policies. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is spending tens of millions of dollars developing its local strategy, already employing more than 200 permanent staff in 32 states. …

AFP has already spent $30m so far this election cycle in opposing President Obama and other prominent Democratic candidates and their policies. It says it aims to reach up to 9 million targeted voters in crucial swing states, through the efforts of its 2 million activists.

 

Sometimes the unexpected happens in campaigns to change everything and it happened this week in Missouri. Republican Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, running against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, spoke out about his beliefs on rape and abortion and shocked even his own party by his outspokenness. The result threatens Republicans up and down the ticket.

As reported by CNN on Sunday, Rep Akin :

Answering a question about whether or not he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape, Akin explained his opposition by citing unnamed bodily responses he said prevented pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said of rape-induced pregnancy in an interview with KTVI. A clip of the interview was posted online by the liberal super PAC American Bridge.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin continued. He did not provide an explanation for what constituted “legitimate rape.”

He added: “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

The Republican response was seemingly to denounce Akin’s comments. As the Washington Post reported on Monday:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the entire GOP national political apparatus launched a swift and relentless crusade against one of their own Monday, seeking to drive Rep. Todd Akin out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri after his controversial comments on rape and pregnancy threatened the party with widespread political harm.

But the reality of the situation is that Akin’scomments are mainstream Republican these days. And Romney’s running mate illustrates the hypocrisy. While asking Akin to leave the Senate race, the truth is that Ryan  is a Republican ally to Akin in  attempts to oppose all abortion. As noted in a New York Times editorial entitled “New Frontiers of Extremism”:

Mr. Ryan has said he doesn’t believe in a rape exception when outlawing abortion, and he worked with Mr. Akin in the House in trying to narrow the definition of rape so Medicaid would pay for fewer abortions of poor women. Mitt Romney says he supports a rape exception, but many of the politicians he has invited to speak at next week’s Republican convention disagree with him.

And the Republican Party as a whole supports this position and has for years, based on the Party platform. As noted on the Huffington Post:

Draft language for the 2012 Republican Party platform includes support for a constitutional ban on abortion without specifying exclusions in the cases of rape or incest, according to CNN.

One issue that seems left out of most of this current discussion is if the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. While Romney is saying he does not support Akin,  an article in New York Times today again raises a question as to what he believes:

Mr. Romney’s views align with that of the Mormon Church, which opposes abortion except in cases of rape and incest or when the life of the woman is in danger. He has said he is personally opposed to abortion; as a Mormon bishop in the 1980s he attempted to talk a congregant out of terminating a pregnancy after doctors advised her to do so because of a potentially lethal blood clot.

Romney has changed his views repeatedly on issues like abortion.  The real question is which Romney would show up as President. The above quote indicates that by trying to persuade a woman to not terminate a pregnancy he was seemingly not even consistent with his professed Mormon beliefs. What is one to believe regarding Romney and the Republicans these days. The best guide is perhaps to look at their history and as the same article notes:

… as a legislator, Mr. Akin has a record on abortion that is largely indistinguishable from those of most of his Republican House colleagues, who have viewed restricting abortion rights as one of their top priorities. …

It is an agenda that has enjoyed the support of House leaders, including Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Eric Cantor, the majority leader, who has called anti-abortion measures “obviously very important in terms of the priorities we set out initially in our pledge to America.”

If you believe that rape, incest or circumstances that threaten the life of a woman should be grounds for terminating a pregnancy, it would be a mistake to vote for putting Republicans in power. They are hell bent to restrict and end abortion for women no matter what the circumstances.

The same New York Times article also had the following which sums it up very well:

“All you need to know is that the House Republicans were willing to shut down the government rather than fund Planned Parenthood,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, in an e-mail on Tuesday. “This is in keeping with their efforts — whether it’s Congressman Akin or Chairman Ryan or others — to deny investments in critical women’s health services, weaken the definition of rape, and take away access to preventive care like cervical and breast cancer screenings.”

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Republicans are great at continually revising history to fit their myth making. A prime example is their constantly using Ronald Reagan as the Great Tax Cutter. What is left out is that Reagan also raised taxes a number of times.

Widely circulated right now is the video of the  60 Minutes interview this last weekend with House Republican and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. When Leslie Stahl asks him about Reagan also being a compromiser and having raised taxes, Cantor falters as his press secretary off screen yells that’s not true.

One wonders where Cantor’s press secretary got his education. And Cantor seems to feel no need to be more responsive or truthful.  It’s a prime example of right wing dogma trying to deny historical reality and rewrite history. 60 Minutes did the public a service by not editing out the press secretary’s comments but making them part of the story.

Here is the interview on Crooks and Liar’s entitled Eric Cantor’s Press Secretary Interrupts 60 Min to Claim Reagan Never Raised Taxes. It includes a a video clip of the exchange with Leslie Stahl, Eric Cantor and Cantor’s press secretary and a clip of Reagan noting the need to compromise.as a reason he raised taxes.

Crooks and Liars in fact goes further than 60 Minutes

“As has been noted here at C&L, the Republican myth about Ronald Reagan being unwilling to raise taxes is just not true. Heaven forbid, Reagan raising taxes 11 times, not just several as the 60 Minutes report stated, might get in the way of their talking points about St. Ronnie.”

The Raw Story carried the story in a post entitledCantor refuses to admit Reagan raised taxes”   They note that:

After his huge tax cut in 1981 slashed all tax rates to 23 percent, sparking a   budget crisis, Reagan realized he’d also have to raise taxes in the years that followed. He raised taxes four times between 1982 to 1984, increasing the payroll tax, broadening the base of Social Security payees, applying the income tax to higher earners and rolling back corporate and individual tax breaks.

Reagan’s historic tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, whose rate went from 70 percent to 28 percent during his administration, ultimately forced the president to raise taxes on more people than any other U.S. president during a time of peace, according to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

In total, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his two terms in office.”

Republicans seem to have no limits these days to telling stories and making up history. It is important for the media to help sort out the myth making and revisionist history from the historical reality.  And voters need to realize that a lot of what is said by Republicans these days is just campaign talk and not true.

 

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Congressman Jay Inslee thinks the Republican plan to privatize Medicare is a bad idea. The Republican proposal by Republican Congressman Ryan would basically shift the burden of paying for Medicare from the nonprofit public sector onto seniors. The costs would increase dramatically over time to seniors as the voucher proposal is static and would not increase over time.

In addition as medical costs increase, seniors would be asked to pay these increased costs as well as salary increases for private health care administrators, financial returns to investors and shareholders and rising costs due to inflation.

As noted in a recent press release from the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

“The Ryan plan does nothing to control private-sector waste in health care costs,” said David Rosnick, an author of the report. “As a result of the waste in the private system, beneficiaries will end up paying substantially more for Medicare, in effect paying a hefty new tax on their health care.”
The report, “Representative Ryan’s $30 Trillion Medicare Waste Tax, documents the potential effects of replacing Medicare with a system of vouchers or premium supports and raising the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 as suggested in the Ryan plan, which was passed by the House of Representatives with almost unanimous support from Republicans and no votes from Democrats. The authors note that each voucher under the plan will initially be worth $6,600, but would be frozen at this amount over the program’s 75-year planning window, paying less and less of a beneficiary’s health care costs over time.
In addition to comparing the costs of Medicare to the government under the current system and under the Ryan plan, the authors also show the effects of raising the age of Medicare eligibility. The paper also demonstrates that while Ryan shifts $4.9 trillion in health care costs from the government to Medicare beneficiaries, this number is dwarfed by a $34 trillion increase in overall costs to beneficiaries that is projected based on the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis”.

The following is an email sent out by Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee stating how he feels about this Republican plan and urges you to sign a petition opposing this blatant effort to end Medicare as we know it and shift the costs unto seniors instead:

 

Lesson number one for any elected official worth their salt is that you can’t outrun the public record. But that’s exactly what many members of the GOP are trying to do. As public opposition to their Medicare privatization plan mounts, they’re doing everything they can to run away — despite overwhelmingly supporting it in the House as part of Rep. Paul Ryan’s extremist budget.Here’s the truth: Rep. Ryan’s budget plan ends Medicare as we know it. It forces seniors into the private insurance market where they’ll pay far more and get far less.The good news is our efforts to show how much people oppose their privatization scheme are having an effect. The privatizers are on the defensive, and if we can keep the pressure on, we stand a good chance of stopping this in the Senate when it comes to a vote next week.Join me and thousands of others who are already speaking out — urge the Senate to oppose this Medicare privatization scheme!Supporters of this plan have made a big show of claiming that it will bring costs down, but they’re not being honest. It doesn’t bring medical costs down — it just shifts them onto the backs of America’s seniors.No one is trying to hide from the fact that we need to seek out creative and comprehensive solutions to fix our long-term deficit. But trying to do that by telling Americans who’ve paid for Medicare throughout their careers that they’re on their own is unfair and wrong.We can win and protect Medicare, but to do it we need everyone who supports preserving this program to stand up and fight back. Can you help?Urge the Senate to oppose this Medicare privatization scheme!Thanks so much for your help.Very truly yours,Jay Inslee      

Tell the Senate: Oppose Medicare Privatization

Tea Party members in Congress are ranting against government expenditures while collecting money from the government. Judge them by their actions, not their talk.

As abc NEWS notes in an article entitled “Tea Party Hypocrisy? Some Lawmakers With Tea Party Ties Are on the Government Dole” (You can also access a video by first clicking on this link):

The Tea Party swept into the 112th Congress with promises of cutting government spending. But according to a report out today, at least five lawmakers with Tea Party connections have been longtime recipients of federal agricultural subsidies.

“There’s nothing too surprising about hypocrisy in Washington,” Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group, told ABC News. “This particular group, you not only have to look at the hypocrisy but you need to watch your wallet.”

While the majority of American farmers receive no government money at all, at least 23 current members of congress or their families have received government money for their farms — combining for more than $12 million since 1995 according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group.

The abc NEWS analysis notes that since 1995 23 current members of Congress, mostly Republicans or their families, have collected some $12,671,166.

Farm subsidies in 2009 totaled some $16.3 billion. Since 1995 some $246.7 billion dollars has been given out for farm subsidies.

“Self described Tea Party Patriot” and Republican Stephen  Fincher of Tennessee received $3,254,324 since 1995.

Republican  Representative Vicky Hartzler of Missouri received $774,489.

Republican Representative Mark Stutzman of Indiana received $180,000 since 1997.

You can read the summary of the Environmental Working Groups report by clicking here:
Government’s Continued Bailout of Corporate Agriculture.

You can access the list of who received farm subsidies by clicking here:
Total USDA Subsidies in United States 1995-2009

Republicans in the US House have come up with their budget cutting ideas and guess who and what loses out? Not the rich or wealthy or corporations but pregnant women and children, childhood immunizations, assistance for blind and disabled children, legal aid for the poor, family planning,  National Public Radio and public television, police hiring grants, job training grants, community health centers, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Republicans, in December, held out for and got an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. As CNN Money reported this came to $81.5 billion over 2 years. No offsetting spending reduction occurred elsewhere and now the bill starts coming due. Republicans in the House of Representatives have come up with a proposal to cut some $74 billion from the current budget.

So just who do they propose should give up the revenue lost by extending Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? None other than the people least able to help themselves in our down economy and who most need help. According to the Washington Post, the Republicans say this is necessary to create jobs.

Yet as has debated and documented, giving tax breaks to the wealthy does not stimulate the economy anywhere near what directly providing assistance to people out of work does. People with little or no money spend what they get right away and it goes into the economy. The wealthy have been shown not to spend the extra money they get.

As reported by Bloomberg.com news “rich Americans save their tax cuts instead of spending”:

Give the wealthiest Americans a tax cut and history suggests they will save the money rather than spend it.

Tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 under President George W Bush were followed by increases in the saving rate among the rich, according to data from Moody’s Analytics Inc. When taxes were raised under Bill Clinton, the saving rate fell.

So much for the benefits of a tax cut for the wealthy. Here’s some more details on what the Republicans want to cut to pay for the tax cut for the wealthy according to the Washington Post:

House Republicans sketched their vision for a smaller federal government Wednesday, proposing sharp spending cuts that would wipe out family planning programs, take 4,500 cops off the street and slice 10 percent from a food program that aids pregnant women and their babies.

Top White House priorities also would come under the knife: Key Republicans are proposing to defund President Obama’s high speed rail initiative, slash clean energy programs and gut the Office of Science by 20 percent – cuts that would deal a direct blow to Obama’s innovation agenda. They would also cut the Environmental Protection Agency by 17 percent.

Here are some more specific cuts attributed to the Associated Press in a Seattle Times article today.

GOP plan

Budget proposals released Wednesday by House Republicans:

Program eliminations:
AmeriCorps $373 million in 2010 budget
Police hiring grants $298 million
High-speed rail $1 billion
Family planning $317 million
Corporation for Public Broadcasting $531 million

Reductions:
Food aid to pregnant women and their children $407 million cut, or 6 percent
NASA $103 million, 1 percent
Environmental Protection Agency $1.9 billion, 18 percent
IRS $106 million, 1 percent
Legal aid for the poor $60 million, 14 percent
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention $894 million, 13 percent
Food and Drug Administration $61 million, 3 percent
Community Development Fund $600 million, 13 percent
Agricultural research $246 million, 10 percent

Washington State’s minimum wage continues to lead the nation. On January 1, 2011 it will increase 12 cents per hour to $8.67 per hour. As reported by Rachael La Corte in today’s Seattle Times, an attempt by business interests in Washington State to challenge the 12 cent increase was rejected by a Kittitas County Judge after a motion for summary judgement to prevent it going into effect on Saturday. The lawsuit still remains active according to the article.

Groups challenging the minimum wage increase included the Washington Restaurant Association, the Washington Farm Bureau and the Washington Retail Association.

According to the article:

A Seattle-based lawyer for Justice for Immigrant Workers said the increase is “a big deal for a lot of people.”
“That 12-cent raise goes further than you think,” Rebecca Smith said. “It’s going to make a difference of a few dollars a week — but a few dollars a week buys an extra loaf of bread, another gallon of milk or a gallon of gas.”
The agency’s decision in October to raise the rate came after conflicting legal opinions from the state attorney general and the authors of the 1998 voter initiative that tied the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index.

The current Federal minimum wage is only $7.25 and has no consumer inflation index adjustment which means that each time inflation goes up nationally, jobs tied to the federal minimum wage see decreased purchasing power for the hours worked.  Republicans have consistently opposed Federal minimum wage increases while Democrats have supported them.

Ten states have minimum wages that adjust to index them to inflation.  Washington State was the first state to enact legislation to automatically raise the minimum wage based on increases in the consumer price index.  The voters enacted the current law by passing Initiative 688 in 1998.

As noted on the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries website:

Initiative 688, approved by Washington voters in 1998, requires L&I to make a cost-of-living adjustment to its minimum wage each year based on the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). This measures the average change in prices on a fixed group of goods and services such as food, shelter, medical care, transportation and other goods and services people purchase for day-to-day living. L&I recalculates the state’s minimum wage in September, and it takes effect the following year on January 1.

The minimum wage in Washington State was $8.55 in 2009 and stayed the same in 2010 because of a decrease in inflation.  The minimum wage will increase to $8.67 on Jan 1, 2011.  It will be the highest in the nation.

In this year’s Senate election in Washington State, Republican Dino Rossi, supported lowering the minimum wage. Other Republicans this year publicly supported lowering the minimum wage. Amanda Getchel notes that:

Republican candidates Joe Miller of Alaska, John Raese of West Virginia, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Linda McMahon of Connecticut have all called for reducing the minimum wage with Raese flat out saying it should be eliminated.

Only Rand Paul was elected by the voters.

The current Federal minimum wage law was passed in 2007. Washington State Republicans Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Doc Hastings joined with  other Republicans nationally to oppose the bill. All 233 Democrats in the House at the time joined with 82 Republicans to support the legislation. 116 Republicans in the House voted no. They include 9 of the incoming 12 members of the House leadership.

Of the members of the incoming House leadership,

Speaker of the House: Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)- VOTED NO

Majority Leader: Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) – VOTED NO

Majority Whip: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) – VOTED NO

Conference Chairman: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) – VOTED NO

NRCC Chairman: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) – VOTED NO

Policy Committee Chairman: Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) – VOTED NO

Conference Vice-Chair: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) – VOTED NO

Conference Secretary: Rep. John Carter (R-TX) – VOTED NO

Freshman Representative: Rep.-elect Kristi Noem (R-SD) – NOT IN CONGRESS AT TIME

Freshman Representative: Rep.-elect Tim Scott (R-SC) – NOT IN CONGRESS AT TIME

Rules Committee Representative: Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) – VOTED NO

Chairman of the Leadership: Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) – VOTED YES

Nine of the 12 House Leadership members voted no to raise the minimum wage. Two other members of the incoming House leadership were not in Congress at the time. Only Greg Walden voted NO – Oregon voters previously passed an initiative to index their minimum wage to inflation. Oregon’s minimum wage is near the top in the country.

Prospects for any Federal increase in the minimum wage in the near future looks difficult as long as Republicans control the House.

As noted in a separate article in the Seattle Times seven states will see an increase in their minimum wage in 2011.

Poverty advocates say the rising minimum wages shouldn’t be seen as raises, just adjustments to keep the working poor at the same level as prices of goods rise.
The National Employment Law Project, a New York-based advocate for workers, estimates that about 647,000 people will see their paychecks go up in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Three other states with their minimum wage indexed to inflation did not see enough of an increase to see a rise in their minimum wage – Florida, Nevada and Missouri.

In the near term any increase in the minimum wage will probably have to take place at the state level. In previous initiative efforts to raise the minimum wage in Washington State voters have strongly supported raising the minimum wage. Initiative 688 in 1998 was approved by Washington voters by a 66% yes vote. A previous vote to raise the minimum wage in 1988, Initiative 518, passed with a 77% yes vote. It was not indexed to inflation.

If you don’t vote, you’ve still made a political decision. In this year’s election it seems that young voters and minority voters decided to opt out and let older voters and the wealthy decide the future direction of the country.  This disengagement in the political process allowed the Republicans to retake the US House of Representatives, decrease the Democratic majority in the Senate, increase the number of Republican Governors, and even change some state Legislatures from Democratic to Republican.

An analysis by Project Vote looked at those who voted in the 2010 General Election on Nov 2, 2010. A research memo from Project Vote, entitled “An Analysis of Who Voted (and Who Didn’t Vote) in the 2010 Election,”  done by Dr. Lorraine Minnite found that ” wealthier voters and Americans over the age of 65 surged to the polls in 2010, and increased their support for the Republican party, while young voters and minority voters (who strongly favor Democrats) dropped off at higher rates than in 2006″.

Here is a summary of some of the study’s analysis as posted on the Project Vote news release:

1.Senior citizens turned out in force, with the number of ballots cast by voters over 65 increasing by 16 percent. While making up only 13 percent of the U.S. resident population, Americans in this age group constituted 21 percent of 2010 voters. This age group also significantly increased their support of Republican candidates, from 49 percent in 2006 to 59 percent in 2010.

2. The number of ballots cast by Americans from households making over $200,000 a year increased by 68 percent compared to 2006.

3. Relative to 2008, minority and youth voters dropped out of the voting population at higher rates than whites, undoing much of the gain in demographic parity achieved in 2008.

4. Women—already one of the most reliable voting groups—increased their share of the electorate, and significantly increased their support of the Republican Party.

If Democrats hope to win in 2012, they are going to have to re-energize the youth and minority vote to turn out. These folks need to realize change takes time and they need to be involved for the long haul, not just one election.

And they need to be involved in getting their elected officials to vote for the things they believe in.

And that may mean raising their voices and passions to outshout the Tea Party and Republican Party of No and the anti tax, pro-corporate, pro big banks, pro insurance companies and the Chamber of Commerce and all the others that put profit ahead of compassion and fairness.

The last thing Republicans want is to let the public know  where  campaign contributions spent supporting them are coming from.  Voting on a party line vote, US Senate Republicans voted to oppose disclosing corporate contributions and expenditures  being spent to try to put them back in power.  The measure known as the Disclose Act also included disclosure by unions but corporate contributions through PAC’s and outside interest groups are likely to vastly exceed that of unions.

The New York Times  in its print edition misleadingly writes a headline entitled “Senate Democrats Fail to Advance a Campaign Finance Bill, an Obama Priority.” It should have instead been entitled something like “Senate Republicans Stop Passage of Bill to Require Disclosure of Corporate Contributions”. The vote was 59 for and 39 against on a procedural vote to cut off debate. No Republicans voted to end debate and all the Democrats did in an effort to bring the actual bill up for a vote.

The online edition headline says “Small-Business Bill Advances; Campaign Finance Bill Stalls” which is more accurate in terms of what is in the article but the lead sentence repeats the statement that “Senate Democrats failed Thursday to advance campaign finance legislation that would force businesses, unions and others to disclose how they were spending money in political campaigns and where they were getting it.”  The NY Times does a disservice to the public and its readers by failing to upfront attribute the failure to move the bill to the Republicans and their use of Senate rules to block a vote that clearly has a majority of Senators in support. Clearly the Democrats are behind disclosure.

Republicans continue to block passage of almost all legislation in the Senate in an attempt to brand the Democrats as unable to get things done.  Yet it is the Republicans who are cynically stopping action on bills, even on things they previously supported.  It remains bizarre that there are Americans who somehow think returning Republicans to power is going to make things work better. Ever since Obama got elected the Republican strategy  was to oppose anything the Democrats proposed. They were not concerned about putting Americans back to work, they were only motivated by putting themselves back in power.

Republicans have no new answers, they knee jerk oppose taxes of all kind – witness their support of retaining the Bush tax cuts for millionaires despite the fact that this would increase the deficit  because money would have to be borrowed at taxpayer expense to cover these tax breaks.Witness their continued opposition to financial reform despite the fact that financial deregulation and lack of oversight and accountability contributed heavily to our current recession. Witness their opposition to health care reform despite the fact that the system was broken and private insurance companies were raising premiums much faster than inflation to add to their profits.

Democrats have accomplished a lot despite Republican opposition to most of what they’ve done. If  Republicans controlled the White House or the US Senate, imagine who might have nominated for the US Supreme Court. As Robert Creamer wrote on the Huffington Post in August, Democrats have been fighting for the average American and winning the battle against corporate special interests.

Democrats won the battle with Wall Street and the Republicans to rein in the power of the big Wall Street banks. We won the battle to begin holding insurance companies accountable and prevent them from discriminating against people with “pre-existing conditions.” We won the battle to rescue the economy from the death spiral created by Bush administration policies and the recklessness of the big Wall Street banks.

Democrats and Independents who want to keep our country moving forward to solve our pressing problems need to turn out and vote and support the Democratic ticket.  There is no such thing as not taking a position in an election.  If you don’t vote, you are letting others make a decision for you.  In this election Republicans have said they are more inclined to vote than Democrats by a wide margin.  Not voting and opposing this Republican enthusiasm is the same thing as voting for the Republicans.  Every voter has a vote. Use it. Democrats can win if those who want to keep moving America forward just get out and vote. Here in Washington State for most voters it is just filling out and mailing your ballot. Not a lot to ask considering the possible consequences of not voting.

You can go to the King County Democrats web pages to see a list of endorsed candidates and ballot measures.

See also NPI Advocate post for more information on the Disclose Act.

In an article in Newsweek’s The Gaggle on Press, Politics and Absurdity, Arthur Romano details how the Republican agenda for the economy doesn’t hold up when examined. The article is entitled Estimates Say Fewer Jobs, Larger Deficits if Republicans Were in Charge”. Romano examines and calculates the figures based on stated Republican positions and actions they have proposed.

The article notes:

As House Minority Leader John Boehner put it in a “major economic address” on Tuesday, President Obama is “doing everything possible to prevent jobs from being created” while refusing to do anything at all “about bringing down the deficits that threaten our economy.” Elect Republicans in November, Boehner assured his audience, and we will put an end to this insanity.

There’s only one problem with Boehner’s message: so far, the things that Republicans have said they want to do won’t actually boost employment or reduce deficits. In fact, much the opposite. By combing through a variety of studies and projections from nonpartisan economic sources, we here at Gaggle headquarters have found that if Republicans were in charge from January 2009 onward—and if they were now given carte blanche to enact the proposals they want to—the projected 2010–2020 deficits would be larger than they are under Obama, and fewer people would probably be employed.

It is good to finally see some response from the media to questioning the absurd pronouncements and posturing by Republicans beyond merely quoting their phony claims. Anyone can repeat the nonsense that many Republicans and Tea Party fanatics have been spouting. It’s something else to actually look beyond the heated rhetoric and rantings of the right wing and analyze what putting these folks and their friends back in power would actually mean.

As just one example of why people should read the Newsweek article to understand just how ridiculous the Republican claims are, let’s look at the claim that extending the Bush Tax cuts for the very wealthy will help small business create more jobs.

As Newsweek notes:

“…it’s unlikely that extending the cuts for the richest Americans would have much of an effect on small-business hiring, which is a claim that Republicans make with some regularity. Why? Because of the taxpayers that report running small businesses on their taxes, only 2 percent fall into the top two income brackets.* The other 98 percent of small-business owners make less than $250,000 a year and wouldn’t pay higher taxes under Obama’s plan.

History isn’t on the GOP’s side, either. If keeping the top marginal tax rate at 35 percent—the rate under Bush, and the rate that Republicans are fighting to preserve—spurs so much hiring, why didn’t America experience any job growth at all during Bush’s time in office? And if a top marginal tax rate of 39.6 percent—the rate under Bill Clinton, and the rate that Democrats are fighting to restore—is such a job killer, why did payrolls grow by 20 percent during the 1990s?”

I urge you to read the article to get more details and understand better why the Republican economic
rantings are just a lot of smoke obscuring the reality that things would be worse off, not better if Republicans gain control of either House of Congress.  If you thought we had gridlock and weren’t getting enough done now, expect nothing to get done if Republicans get back control of either house.

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