Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fox News Poll Results Won’t Be Lead Story On Fox…

  …. anytime soon as the polling results show that many people view the  Occupy Wall Street protest as representing their own views.  Fox can’t get their desired polling results slanted to their viewpoint without Republicans or their offspring ( Tea Party ) being the majority in the crowd.

    From carver:

The Brad Blog reported that Fox News conducted a poll  on how the public views the #OWS protests; however, the results are not likely to be a lead story on Fox anytime soon.
The question asked was ,
“Do Occupy Wall Street protest represent your views on the economy?”
..Results below

Do Occupy Wall Street protest represent your views on the economy? [183,148 total responses]
- Maybe. I am not even sure what they want----- [2.8%  4694 votes]
- No. They have no idea how jobs are created or how a free enterprise system works. -----[28.63%  52025 votes}
- Yes.  These folks are right about corporate greed and what's happening to the little guy. ----[67.98%   123509 votes]
- Other (post comment) ---- [.8%  1460 votes ]
67.98% you say..... 67.98%.....oops! 

Roger, we have to bury that nasty little nugget of information because its...uh...unbalanced.

Originally posted to carver on Tue Oct 11, 2011
Also republished by Class Warfare Newsletter: The Plutocracy & WallStreet VS the Working Class and Occupy Wall Street.

#OWS: What Is This?

  I read many overseas news websites just to see what other countries have to say about the events going on in America, and many times their viewpoints/thoughts are much different and more informed than those of the reporters living in America.

  However, the Occupy Wall Street protests seem to be confounding the foreign news outlets just as they are American outlets. The only difference is that the American, corporate-run outlets ( Fox News, CNN,etc. ) make the attempt purposefully to degrade/downplay the #OWS protest while saying that the movement hates the wealthy, capitalism, and on and on. The powers that be do not like this movement because they are afraid that Americans will actually begin to see the huge banks and brokerage companies for the frauds/thief's that they are.

   A few foreign news reporters are even comparing the #OWS protesters with the ill-fated, corporate backed Tea Party going as far as saying that they have many similarities. It has been suggested the the #OWS may be  the Democrats Tea Party.


Le Monde, France                 Watching America
Is the Anti-Wall Street Movement
the Democrats’ Tea Party?

By Charlotte Chabas
Translated By Michelle De Saintfuscien
7 October 2011

Edited by Andrew Schmidt

France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)
As the movement of outraged anti-Wall Street protesters gains momentum, the American press is asking more and more questions about the political implications of this spontaneous mobilization. Just a few months ahead of the presidential election, the White House has sent a strong signal to the protesters. At a press conference, Barack Obama considered that these protests — that he has "seen on television" — express "the frustrations that the American people feel." A statement which proves that the movement has emerged from the "media blackout" denounced by journalist Keith Olbermann, known for his pro-Democratic positions.
Although the Obama camp seems to be gradually taking stock of this mobilization, the influence of these militants is a cause of embarrassment for Democrats. When asked about the similarities between the anti-Wall Streeters and the tea party movement, the president preferred to dodge the question. But his vice-president, Joe Biden, was less reserved, declaring that the two movements "have a lot in common," according to the Los Angeles Times. United by a common rejection of the political system, a certain mass spontaneity and their decentralized organization, the two movements could play a major role in the upcoming election.
Since its emergence in 2009, the tea party has proven to be an important ally for the Republicans, notably contributing to their victory in the 2010 congressional elections. But now, the movement is "pulling GOP presidential candidates to the right in a way that may prove problematic in next year's general election," notes the Los Angeles Times. The movement was therefore a "mixed blessing," which could well repeat itself on the Democratic side this time.
"Double-Edged" Exploitation
"Beleaguered liberals [...] may, unexpectedly, be witnessing the redefinition of a coming election year that was supposed to be all about an ‘enthusiasm gap’ for Democrats against charged-up Republicans," according to the Los Angeles Times' analysis. Quoting a liberal strategist, the daily declares that "you don't have to be a genius to see that you can overlay what is going on with Occupy Wall Street to energize and mobilize a Democratic base." This exploitation of the movement is in keeping with the dual role adopted by Obama lately, both learned and "populist," according to the journalists from Politico.
But many Democratic Party members prefer to remain silent on this growing street movement, "wary of embracing a protest movement whose aims and goals are unclear," notes the Wall Street Journal. The party could indeed lose "moderate, middle-class swing voters, as well as wealthy Democratic Wall Street donors," by too openly supporting the "more radical" protesters, states the daily. Comparing the Obama camp's policy to a "populist puzzle," the Wall Street Journal notes that the Democratic Party is "seeking to tap [the movement's] energy without opening the party to charges of class warfare."
The "Irresponsibility" of the Democrats
The Republicans for their part are trying to exploit the "radical" side of the protests to rally the moderates to their cause. Fox News, known for its right-wing positions, gives voice to Peter King, Republican representative for New York's 3rd district, who highlights the "irresponsibility" of Obama's statements. "[The protesters] should be denounced; they're breaking the law; they're serving no real purpose at all. And for the president or anyone else to give them any credence or credibility is also irresponsible," thundered the representative.
Some Republicans who expressed more nuanced opinions are trying to attract the anti-Wall Street protesters to their camp. In this respect, a spokesman for Republican primary candidate Rick Perry explains in the Wall Street Journal, "we understand the frustration with the Obama economy, but the protests don’t make sense or help create jobs."
What Futures for the Movement?
While the American media were slow to take interest in the movement, they are now asking questions about its future. "The protests have slowly grown in size and attention over more than two weeks, with the president's acknowledgment at a news conference a sign they might be jelling into a political movement," highlights the Chicago Tribune.
But the movement's future remains unpredictable, according to all the American papers. The anti-Wall Street movement remains an obscure movement that will struggle to find its place in today's American political landscape. Especially since the mobilization is not without contradiction. In this respect, the Christian Science Monitor notes ironically that the anti-Wall Street demonstrators "boo CEOs, but mourn Steve Jobs," the founder of Apple who died last Wednesday. On social network Twitter — the movement's main tool — the protesters' official account declared "much of Occupy Wall Street and the tech community respect you & will miss you." Later, under the movement's dedicated keyword, a protester even wrote, "RIP to a creative genius who helped make ALL these movements possible."


Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Funnies: Occupy This

    While Wall Street is being occupied:






David Letterman: "You know who's also joining the Wall Street protesters? Kanye West. That's a real good idea -- a guy with diamonds in his teeth protesting greed."

"The economy's so bad, I was in Central Park today. I saw pigeons feeding old people. To save money we had to fire two writers, so this joke I'm in the middle of right now has no punch line."

They're saying President Obama doesn't have any friends. The problem is that he can't get Congress to approve one."

Conan O'Brien: "At the last Republican debate, the candidates were seated according to how they've been doing in the polls. So Jon Huntsman was seated next to Tim Pawlenty at a Denny's across the street."

Craig Ferguson: "Police were using pepper spray on the Wall Street protesters. That's scary. What if they're spraying them with condiments so the rich people can enjoy eating them?"

The protests are getting pretty rowdy. This morning, they overturned Donald Trump's hair and set it on fire

Herman Cain: A Wannabe President Wants T o Raise your Taxes…

  as is the usual Republican way in order to pay for even more tax breaks for the wealthy.

   ABC News says that Cain’s 999 plan would up the taxes on the middles class and the poor. That should come as no surprise to anyone.

ABC News DESTROYS Cain's 999 plan Shows it doubles taxes on Middle Class

by Lefty Coaster      Wed Oct 12, 2011

Overshadowing the quibbles from the Right this new ABC analysis of Cain's ultra regressive 999 tax plan, broadcast  on the Network News tonight should sink Herman Cain's Presidential campaign more quickly than just about anything I can think of.

9-9-9 Plan Would Almost Double Taxes on Middle Class

By Ben Forer
Oct 12, 2011 6:19pm

Cain developed the plan with the help of a little known accountant from Cleveland named Rich Lowrie.

However, a much longer list of economists say Cain’s plan would be a tax hike for the lower middle class and a tax windfall for the wealthy.

If you have a family of four with an income of just under $50,000, they would pay more under the Cain plan. Currently, they are taxed at just less than 7 percent and pay $3,400 in income tax. Under Cain’s plan, they would be taxed at 9 percent or pay $4,500.

That’s $1,100 more.

Although the family would save almost $4,000 in Social Security taxes, it would have to give up the child tax credit of $4,000. Furthermore, it would pay an additional national sales tax of 9 percent on everything purchased, including groceries and clothes, which totals about $2,000.

That means under the Cain plan that family would be almost doubling its taxes, going from $3,400 to $6,500.

Well not quite double but a hefty 9i% increase in taxes for a typical Middle Class family under Cain's 999 tax plan.

So if the Middle Class is a big loser under Cain's 999 tax plan who would the big winners be? Wealthy Elites that's who. Duh!

The poor would be made to pay more under Cain's 999 tax plan too to pay for his huge tax cuts on huge incomes.

Cain's 9-9-9 plan: Good for the rich, bad for the poor

The changes in income taxes would turn away from the progressive tax policy that's shaped U.S. policy for a century, based on the principle that the wealthier people are, the more they can afford to pay in taxes to the society that's enriched them.

"The plan could be expected to raise substantial amounts of revenue, but does so largely by skewing downwards the distribution of tax burdens," said a new analysis of the Cain plan this week by Edward D. Kleinbard, a professor of tax law at the University of Southern California. He's also a former chief of staff at the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, which analyzes all tax legislation for Congress. "The 9-9-9 Plan would materially raise the tax burden on many low- and middle-income taxpayers."

Others agree.

"It's regressive, relative to what we have now," said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, a joint effort of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, center-left policy-research centers. "It would raise taxes for people at the bottom and lower taxes at the top end."

Essentially Cain's proposition to voters is just a more radical version of the entire Republican Party's efforts to keep taxes on the wealthy low by making everybody else pay more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#OWS Driving Conservatives Crazier


Occupy Wall Street roundup, Day 25

By Hunter for Daily Kos      Tue Oct 11, 2011



Pay to the order of John Paulson (@elliottjustin/twitpic)

Reactions from conservatives and the financial sector are picking up, perhaps because they realize this thing isn't just going away on its own. Significantly, much of the reaction falls into the "delusional, possibly insane" category, which perhaps speaks to a wee bit of panic in the upper echelons. Or maybe they've just lost the ability to come up with any responses to anything that aren't delusional and/or insane.

Among the Occupy-related events, punditry, and other things-of-note for today:

  • Today Occupy Wall Street protestors marched to the homes of some of New York City's wealthiest people leaving giant "checks" made out for $5 billion, the amount of state money that will be lost when New York's "millionaire's tax" expires at the end of the year. The targets were Rupert Murdoch, David Koch, hedge fund manager John Paulson, and JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Wait, Murdoch and Koch live in New York City—an ultraliberal den of high taxes so very oppressive to the wealthy that even conservative stalwart Rush Limbaugh turned tail and ran, rather than pay his share? I don't know if I'm impressed by their apparent courage in the face of such rampant liberalism, or just surprised that they're rich enough to live literally anywhere on the planet, and yet they still chose New York. Huh.
  • John Paulson, meanwhile, says, "Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City and continue to grow." (Note: John Paulson is not related to ex-Treasury Secretary-slash-ex-Goldman-Sachs-CEO Hank Paulson. Also note the giddy praise of the reporter in that piece, relating how some wealthy financial speculators are finally saying "what many are thinking." Sheesh.)
  • The situation in Boston continues to be among the most tense, nationally. Last night, over 100 protestors were arrested. A first-hand account can be found here. Boston Mayor Tom Menino exclaimed, "I will not tolerate civil disobedience in the city of Boston," which sounds like satire until you realize he was serious. I guess we just don't like tea parties like we used to?
  • Eric Cantor continues to be confused about the protests. While no longer quite willing to call the protestors a "mob," he still doesn't like them. You see, the tea partiers were protesting the government, but Occupy Wall Street is "pitting one part of our country against another":
    “The ire from the tea party’s standpoint is at Washington,” Cantor said. “It is about the government and its policies, and how that affects this country.”

    “Do you not see the government as representing the people?” [Politico's David Rogers] asked.

    “Sure, it’s of the people,” Cantor responded. “But we’re in an elected position and trying to lead, to solve problems. I don’t believe that our role is to inflame a division between different parts and sectors of American society.”

    If it doesn't make sense to you, just remember that Eric Cantor has made a political career out of making no sense at all on issues of taxes, economics, government and public opinion.

  • Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, says the protests are a plot against the Jews. Wait, what? Aside from being nonsensical (see: Cantor), I think it also means he's stealing Glenn Beck's only remaining schtick ... so I eagerly await that lawsuit.
  • Conservative fundraiser and consultant Nathan Wurtzel, on the other-other-hand, keeps it classy:


  • It turns out conservative mostly-ex-wunderkind James O'Keefe, who is on probation and lives with his parents, was indeed in Liberty Plaza yesterday in order to edit together a film about (I think?) how those crazy hippies in the park are really just all money-hungry or something. A rather lackluster effort; I'm not sure what about that made O'Keefe think it was worth the possible probation violation.
  • Rounding out crackpot conservative reactions to Occupy Wall Street day: my God, David Brooks is an idiot. Still, if you had told me that Brooks would write a column linking the Occupy Wall Street protests to the need for a third party that would pursue all of his great conservative ideas like cutting corporate taxes, etc., I never would have believed you. No, I would have said: it's just too stupid. Dean Baker responds here.
  • A Ben & Jerry's flavor coming soon? Nope, not quite. Just photoshop. Good name, though.

Herman Cain: Typical Republican Hypocrite

   it seems that the Teabagger Party still does not quite understand that the voting records of all of our elected officials can easily be looked up on the Internet, or they just simply have memory lapses when it comes to their darling critters running for the highest office.

   The Tea Party dislikes the TARP ( bailouts ) idea, but they love one of the candidates who supported it. Their current darling is one Herman Cain, asshat from Florida. He supported Bush’s TARP, as did Romney and Perry, and they are all three of them trying to get their followers to not remember that.

Jed Lewison          Fri Oct 07, 2011

Here's the story tea party Republicans like to tell: infuriated with the TARP bank bailouts (passed in 2008 during the Bush administration), tea partiers decided to take control of their party from establishment politicians and replace them with true conservative outsiders. You know, guys like Herman Cain.

The only problem is that back in 2008, guys like Herman Cain were the exact same establishment figures telling Republicans why they should support the bailouts.

Here's Cain in October, 2008:

Far from Nationalization, Purchase of Bank Stocks Is a Win-Win for Taxpayers

Earth to taxpayers! Owning stocks in banks is not nationalization of the banking industry. It’s trying to solve a problem.

The unprecedented financial crisis has caused the Treasury of the United States to take unprecedented measures to help solve the problem of frozen credit and cash flow for U.S. businesses.

Now Cain tries to spin his support by saying that it's the implementation that he didn't like, not the program, and that he warned people it could go wrong. But this is what he said back then:

These actions by the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank and the actions by the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are all intended to help solve an unprecedented financial crisis. Unlike steps taken prior to and during the Great Depression, these actions have a high probability of success.

In order for these collective actions to work, the media needs to calm its crisis rhetoric, and Congress needs to just shut up with its political rhetoric.

Now don’t tell Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, but if this works, and I believe it will, the Bush Administration will have gotten this one right.

And he still makes the case that bailouts were a good idea—just that they were expected incorrectly.

Of course, it's not like today's Republican primary voters have any great options if they don't want to be complete hypocrites on their "fundamental opposition" to the TARP bailouts. Mitt Romney was a big supporter, and even though Rick Perry didn't specifically mention the word bailouts, he did urge Congress to pass an economic rescue package at the same time that it was voting on TARP. At the time, everybody took his words to be an endorsement of TARP, and he didn't push back until long after they became unpopular.

So that leaves Republicans with either Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul—if they want to be consistent. Or they can listen to what Herman Cain told them to do in 2008, and just shut up.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Oct 07, 2011
Also republished by Daily Kos.

The 99 Percent Do Not Protest Wealth

The Jobs agenda

Dante Atkins for Daily Kos   Sun Oct 09, 2011

What started in Zucotti Park is spreading across America. The playing field of the American economy has gotten so slanted toward the wealthiest among us, the rules so biased in their favor, that with no organizational assistance from a national propaganda network and no funding from shadowy billionaires and their front groups, self-organized demonstrators are peaceably assembling in the thousands and tens of thousands. From Wall Street in New York to Spring Street in Los Angeles, activists among the self-styled 99 percent have decided that living off the trickle-down of the plutocrats and corporate CEOs who crashed the economy, and not only came out clean on the other side, but more likely enriched themselves significantly in the process.

    Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a major corporate CEO passed away.


  Earlier this year, the corporation he managed had the largest market capitalization of any company on the planet. Given the shares he held not only in this corporation but also in several others with which he was affiliated, this man was undoubtedly among the wealthiest one percent of Americans. But far from being reviled for his wealth, power, influence and status as the executive of a massive company at a time when it is highly unpopular, Steve Jobs was nearly universally admired. The sudden announcement of his death, though not entirely unexpected given his recent abdication of his role at Apple, inspired profound sadness among legions of fans and monopolized news network coverage.

The Republican politicians who serve Wall Street and have dedicated themselves to protecting the interests of America's most fortunate have declared that the Occupy Wall Street movement is the enemy, that the participants in the protests sweeping the nation are a mob of anti-capitalists who are jealous that they can't have what rich people can have and want to take by force what they cannot afford to buy—presumably, as Herman Cain might say, because they didn't work hard enough. But if that were the case, why was a figure like Steve Jobs so revered, while the CEOs and hedge fund managers of Wall Street are so reviled? If the left is so interested in punishing success, as so many Republicans claim, why are the supposed anti-capitalists not celebrating the death of the head of the second largest publicly traded company in the world?

Unlike so many of my friends, associates and fellow bloggers, I am not a fan of Apple products. I have a seldom-used iPod Classic. My iTunes library barely exceeds two gigabytes. I have never had an iPhone, nor a Macbook of any kind. An iPad might be in the cards simply owing to the "coolness factor," should I ever be blessed with a combination of an indulgent mood and a confounding excess of spare cash. In fact, my fondest memory of Apple comes from the games I played on the Apple IIe my family had when I was very young. But despite using the products of his company's chief competitors, I have always had an enormous respect for Steve Jobs.

By all accounts, Jobs was not motivated primarily by financial success. He was motivated, rather, by a desire to do something unique, something completely different, to change the way people lived and interacted with each other through technology. To be innovative, to constantly push the cutting edge. Clearly, he succeeded. And along the way—from inventing the personal computer to launching the iPad 2—he created not just a successful product line, but a series of devices that changed the way millions and millions of people work, live and play. And whether in respecting his life or mourning his death, very few will resent Steve Jobs the billions he earned for the value he provided to so many.

The main ire of the occupiers of Wall Street is not directed simply toward people who are wealthy. Rather, it is directed at the financial sector: a series of institutions whose ostensible purpose is to provide the liquidity that greases the wheels of the American economic engine. But instead of fulfilling their mission to help their customers make money, the financial sector has decided to engage in corrupt, fraudulent and abusive practices to extract an ever-increasing profit from the credit they provide, and use those ill-gotten gains to garner legislation and tax rates that favor their agenda and methodology. Not only is the financial sector not providing quality products for the profit they extract; there are doing the exact opposite. They turn people out of their homes illegally through forged documentation like Bank of America, or shortsell the same low-quality investments they sold to their clients to make a shameful profit at both ends of the deal.

That wasn't Steve Jobs' agenda, nor is it the agenda of any other innovator whose desire is to create value that improves people's lives. The legions in New York and across the country do not protest wealth; they do not hate success. Rather, they object to those who extract value through predation rather than contribute value through innovation and creativity.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The House Kissing Christian ( ? ) Ass…

… once again in order to get their votes in 2012. This is nothing new as every time a presidential election rolls around, the Republicans suddenly get the urge to attempt to place abortion restrictions on the books in order to fire up their base in order to get them to the polls. 2012 election is no exception, only this time around the GOP has an added reason to attack abortion.  John Boehner and Eric Cantor haven’t been able to create any kind of jobs bill that would help the American unemployed worker get back to work. Oh wait, they do have one idea! More tax cuts for the corporations who pay zero or very little in taxes in the first place. This will create jobs! Yep, just like it did under Bush.

   The American people ( sane ones ) have finally caught on to this lie from hell so the Republican Party has to change course while making sure that Obama and his brood of Democrats cannot get a jobs bill passed in the House. Anything to make sure that Obama is a one-term President. Obama does not need any of that help as he’s doing fine all by himself.

  Abortion! That’s the ticket which always work for the GOP and their Conservative Christian (?) base. Boehner and the boys will pass some stupid bill restricting some abortion rights and then they will brag about it all over Fox News and the rest of the “ lame-stream “ media. Most of the so-called “ Christians “ will rejoice over the passage and they will go to bed at night thinking that those Republicans are a swell group of Christians. They will not remember that those swell Christians do this every four years, and when they do win the White House, or the House, or the Senate majority, they quickly forget to actually do something of consequence. Won’t be any different this time.

   Have you been watching the television as of late? Every candidate on the Republican side has become a super-Christian lately. Rick Perry I think almost believes that he’s on par with Billy Graham, and so do Perry’s followers.

   Perry, Romney, Cain, and most of the rest of the field are about as  Christian as Satan is, and if you look closely at their ideas for America you see that they are nothing near “ Christian.”

Blue States Support Red States

   Nothing new as anyone who keeps track of this kind of stuff already knows that those states reported as red states receive more money from the federal government than do those states reported as blue states. it should also come as no surprise that the blue states spend more on education and healthcare and that the education spending has resulted in higher test scores than the red states receive. Would you be surprised to learn that many of those red states are southern states?

Blue States to the Rescue. Again.

by Avenging Angel     Mon Oct 10, 2011

In their never-ending attempts to prevent upper-income tax increases at all costs, Republicans have bemoaned the mythical impacts on small business owners and supposed "job creators."  But in pointing out that the Democrats' proposed millionaires' tax to fund the American Jobs Act would disproportionately hit the gilded-class in Blue State America, the right-wing's latest gambit only serves to make liberals' case for them.  As it turns out, for years blue state taxpayers have been willingly funding the education, health care and so much else for their red state brethren.

While Republicans have stonewalled the progress of President Obama's jobs program and the debt super committee's workover modest increases in tax rates for the wealthy, Tucker Carlson's reliably Republican Daily Caller offered a novel argument in carrying the conservatives' water:

The millionaire tax being pushed by Senate Democrats this week would hit taxpayers in Democrat-dominated states almost twice as hard as those in Republican-dominated states, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller...

For example, the 5.6 percent tax on million-dollar earners will hit 0.7 percent of taxpayers in New York, 1.2 percent of taxpayers in Connecticut and 0.4 percent of taxpayers in Colorado, according to an Oct. 6 report by the left-of-center group Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ).

On average, 2.9 percent of taxpayers in the 18 states that elect two Democratic senators would be forced to pay the millionaire's surtax if it becomes law.

In contrast, only 1.7 percent of people in the 15 states that send two Republicans to the Senate would pay the surtax.

Of course, red state socialism - that is, the one way flow of federal tax dollars from Democratic-voting states to Republican ones - has been a feature of American politics for years.


As a 2007 analysis (above) of federal spending per tax dollar received by state shows, the reddest states generally reaped the most green. Eight of the top 10 beneficiaries of federal largesse voted for John McCain for President. Unsurprisingly, all 10 states at the bottom of the list - those whose outflow of tax revenue is funding programs elsewhere in the country - all voted for Barack Obama in 2008.  As Paul Rosenberg demonstrated, net beneficiary states similarly voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

The numbers for Sarah Palin's Alaska are particularly telling. While then-Governor Palin declared she would reject $288 million (31%) of the $931 million in stimulus funds allocated for schools, energy assistance and social services, her state led the nation in earmark dollars received per capita in the last omnibus spending bill during her tenure. (Alaskans got almost $210 per person in earmarks, while Californians got $16 and New Yorkers $13 in comparison.) Overall, Alaska ranked third in the federal gravy train, taking in $1.84 from Washington for each dollar sent there. Which makes Palin's parting words to her state ("We can resist enslavement to big central government that crushes hope and opportunity. Be wary of accepting government largesse; it doesn't come free. And often, accepting it takes away everything that is free") all the more comical.

The red state gravy train is especially full when it comes to federal education spending.


During the battles over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's union-busting earlier this year, conservative commentators tried in vain to claim that "blue state education [is] the shame of the nation" and "the very best public high schools in the country are heavily concentrated in red states."  Sadly for the purveyors of right-wing propaganda, the bigger picture of American public education isn't a pretty one for their side. As the numbers show, reading comprehension, graduate rates, ACT scores and state education funding are generally lowest where Republicans poll best.

The data showed that Wisconsin schoolchildren out-read the kids in states where Republicans poll best and public workers have the fewest collective bargaining rights.  Those know-nothing red states also happen to be where the federal government most heavily subsidizes the local education systems.

The numbers - and the electoral map - tell the tale. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Wisconsin does in fact spend more per student than some of its Midwestern neighbors even as its pupils score less well. But with 34% of its eighth graders students at or above the target reading proficiency, Wisconsin far outperforms the Republicans' solid south (and the national average of 30%). Only Kentucky, which receives substantially more money from DC can match Wisconsin's scores. Florida and Texas? Not so much.

Just as telling (as the table above reveals), the woefully inadequate per student spending levels are propped up only by generous federal spending provided by blue state tax payers. Meanwhile, the bluest of states in the Northeast spend more and get what they pay for. In Connecticut, 43% of eighth graders are at or above reading proficiency. The Nutmeg state spends $14,610 per pupil per year. New Hampshire (39%, $11,951), Vermont (40%, $14,421) New Jersey (42%, $17,620), Pennsylvania (40%, $11,741) and Massachusetts (42%, $13,667) pay the price for better educational outcomes.

A similar dynamic is at work when it comes to health care, too.  Blue state Americans help pay red staters' doctors' bills.

It should be noted for starters that health care is worst in precisely those states where Republicans poll best.  Findings from the UnitedHealth Group project "America's Health Rankings" last year revealed that Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Hawaii topped the overall health rankings. (It should be noted that Hawaii has offered a near-universal health care system for years while the insurance mandate in Massachusetts has helped reduce the ranks of the uninsured to only 3%.) Eight of the top 10 and 12 of the top 15 states voted for Barack Obama in 2008. In contrast, the McCain/Palin ticket swept nine of the 10 worst performers, most of which are in the Republicans' solid south.

Those results echoed the Commonwealth Fund's 2009 state health care scorecard, which similarly found that health care is worst in those reddest of red states, especially in the South.  There, too, Mississippi led the Republican south in providing dismal health care. Again, while nine of the top 10 performing states voted for Barack Obama in 2008, four of the bottom five (including Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana) and 14 of the last 20 backed John McCain. (That at least is an improvement from the 2007 data, in which all 10 cellar dwellers had voted for George W. Bush three years earlier.)  Rick Perry's Texas, which leads the nation in the percentage of uninsured residents, scored a dismal 46th.


As it turns out, these data are as ironic as they are tragic. After all, most of the 26 attorneys general suing to stop the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama come primarily from the same Republican states whose residents are so badly in need of health care reform. And, as the Washington Post explained in "A Red State Booster Shot" two years ago, it would be blue state taxpayers footing the bill:

Health-care reform may be overdue in a country with 45 million uninsured and soaring medical costs, but it will also represent a substantial wealth transfer from the North and the East to the South and the West. The Northeast and the Midwest have much higher rates of coverage than the rest of the country, led by Massachusetts, where all but 3 percent of residents are insured. The disproportionate share of uninsured is in the South and the West, the result of employment patterns, weak unions and stingy state governments. Texas leads the way, with a quarter of its population uninsured; it would be at the top even without its many illegal immigrants.

If you have any doubt that it will be blue staters underwriting red state health care, keep in mind that they already do.


Currently, the $300 billion Medicaid program serves roughly 60 million Americans. On average, the federal government picks up 57% of the tab, with poorer states like Mississippi and Alabama getting 75% of the funding from Washington. Averaging 21.8% of states' spending, Medicaid is now the largest budget item for most. Medicaid not only pays for a third of nursing home care in the United States; it covers a third of all childbirths. (In Texas, the figure is one-half.) As with Medicare, Medicaid provides insurance for substantially less than private insurers (27% less for children, 20% for adults.)

For their part, Republicans have tried to whitewash that reality by pretending, as Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour did, that "We have people pull up at the pharmacy window in a BMW and say they can't afford their co-payment."  And by calling both for Medicaid gutted and to be turned into block grant program and for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, GOP leaders like Barbour and Paul Ryan would guarantee that millions of Americans would go without health care.  Especially in Republican states.

Nevertheless, Republican propagandists will try to frighten Americans about the onerous impact of upper-income tax increases like the millionaire surcharge.  (They will also fret about "America's vanishing millionaires," yet another thoroughly debunked conservative talking point.)  They forget that despite his promise to raise their taxes, affluent voters supported Barack Obama for President in 2008.  More importantly, blue state residents have shown for decades that they will provide the funding and resources for the education, health care and anti-poverty programs their generally less fortunate red state neighbors badly need - and deserve.

That's part of what being an American is - or at least should be - about.

* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

Originally posted to Avenging Angel on Mon Oct 10, 2011
Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Tampa to Enact Panhandling Ban…

    …. and I say that it is about damned time as the massive amount of panhandling has gotten out of control in that town.

   It seems as if these people hang out at most every major traffic intersection in the city, especially on the north side, which is pretty much the “ transient “ hangout area.

   North Nebraska Avenue and Fowler Avenue has at least one panhandler at each divider every day of the week. A few of them hold up their “ I’m hungry “ or “ Need a job “ signs from sunup to sundown, and, at the end of the day they go home to their mobile homes right down the street. Most do have a job; drinking 4-packs of beer all day long in between their sign holding stints.

   They have become a nascence to the motorist who pass by these places on a daily basis, and Tampa is finally doing something to slow this activity down without banning it outright.

   The Tampa City Council passed an ordinance banning panhandling for 6 days out of the week ( Mon-Sat. ) but it is allowed on Sundays, so far. The ordinance passed by a vote of 6-1 on October 6,2011 and is set to go into effect on November 1, 2011 after the final vote on October 20,2011, and it is signed off on by the mayor ( Bob Buckhorn ) who approves of this ban. Good for him.

The ordinance will ban most roadside panhandling 6 days per week, but, newspaper sales would be allowed every day. Charity drives and panhandling would be allowed on Sundays,  but the 10 most crash-prone intersection in Tampa will be off-limits to everyone at any time.

  I have nothing against most of the panhandlers as I do know quite a few of them.Unfortunately, those are the ones who give panhandling a bad name as they are the drunks/crack-heads who blow the cash given to them by the motorist trying to help them out. Hey drivers, you aren’t helping them! You are enabling them!

   Did you know that every time one of these people is arrested for an open-container violation, which you helped support, it cost the taxpayer somewhere in the area of $87 and change for every day that they are locked up for only 1 $1.07 can of beer? It is usually a 5-day minimum stay in the county hotel. On top of that, the jail system charges each resident $25 per day for their visit,and how much of that $25 do you suppose they actually collect from a drunk who has been arrested? I’d say next to nothing based on what I have heard from the drinkers themselves.

   A 6 day a week ban on begging is a good start, but the work needs to begin on getting rid of them totally, particularly those who claim to be homeless but actually have places to live in.

    Did I mention that many of the same also get a monthly check from the government in the form of S.S.I. or either S.S.D.?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

GOP To Create Abortion Bill Because They Have NO Jobs Bill

  You have to love those Republican House critters! Instead of debating the American Jobs Act, or even voting on it, they would rather face that toughest of issues which is of virtually no concern to most Americans at the present time. That issue is restricting abortion. The Republicans cannot come up with their own jobs bill because they have no ideas on job creation, other than more tax cuts, that the American public would like, so they’ll concentrate on something that will please their hard-core ( Christian ) supporters instead.

    These clowns are once again ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of Americans who list jobs and the economy as their top priority. They will not vote on the American Jobs Act for one reason only, that being that it is an Obama administration idea. They must not let Obama get any credit for job creation as that might help with his re-election, no matter how much they fuck the economy up.

Jed Lewison has an even closer look at all of the absurdity in the Republicans House.

Instead of jobs bill, restricting abortion rises to top of House Republican agenda

Fri Oct 07, 2011                                             Original

Even though poll after poll lists jobs and the economy as the top priority of most Americans, House Republicans can't find the time to even bother to vote on the American Jobs Act. Instead, they're going to spend next week focusing on the divisive social issue of abortion:

House Republicans next week plan to pass legislation that would close what they say are loopholes that allow last year's healthcare law to be used to provide federal support for abortions.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House would consider H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, on Thursday. The bill, offered by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) so that federal funds would be prohibited from being used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage for abortion services.

Here's an idea for Republicans: why don't they just go ahead and pass the jobs bill before sucking up to their socially conservative base? Then they can spend however much time they want cuddling with their wingnut friends. But first, do something for the American public.

p.s. The health care reform law signed by President Obama doesn't cover abortion services, but the one signed by Mitt Romney for does cover abortion services. I wonder when Rick Perry is going to figure that out. It's pretty astonishing that he hasn't jumped on it already.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Oct 07, 2011
Also republished by Daily Kos.