Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hey Georgia, Your Peaches Are Rotting: Throughout South, Immigration Crackdown Backfires

How's that hate-y, white separatist-y thing workin' out for ya?

Turns out the Aryan master race doesn't do agricultural labor. Or framing, or sheetrocking, or roofing. Or electrical or plumbing, except, as any homeowner knows, at astronomical rates with lots of breaks and long lunches.

Southern states which enacted tough Arizona-style white supremacy laws requiring law enforcement to routinely and continuously demand citizenship documents from persons of color based solely on their race are suffering crippling backlashes as Hispanic agricultural and construction workers flee persecution.

It's what the great political satirist Will Durst might call "a Darwinian police action." Instant karma: just add racists.

In Georgia, where the law Republican Gov. Nathan Deal recently signed goes into effect July 1, the state's crops are rotting in their fields. Deals' scheme to fill 11,000 agricultural labor jobs with probationers has been a dismal failure, and the Georgia Agribusiness Council warned the industry might lose $1 billion as fruit and produce ripe for the plucking go to waste.

"Those guys out there weren't out there 30 minutes," Jermond Powell, one of Deal's probationers, said of his fellow ex-cons. "They just left, took off across the field walking."

Rotting crops are one thing, but sitting helpless amid the splintered ruins of what had once been your home is quite something else.

In Alabama, where a savage series of tornadoes wiped out much of the northern half of the state this spring, folks were discovering that construction workers were hard to come by.

"Hispanics, documented and undocumented, dominate anything to do with masonry, concrete, framing, roofing and landscaping,"  Bob McNelly of Nash-McCraw Properties complained. "There are very few subcontractors I work with that don't have a Hispanic workforce."

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley arrogantly signed Alabama's white supremacy measure into law June 9, boasting it was the toughest in the nation. He and his white separatist cohort probably hadn't counted on it being toughest on the state's white residents. Alabama's law goes beyond constantly hassling persons of color for their long-form birth certificates. Alabama's law prohibits anyone transporting, or renting to undocumented persons, and even prohibits undocumented children from enrolling in schools. That'll teach 'em. Or not teach 'em.

As though the state's omniscient Neo-Confederates, white separatists, Ku Klux Klanners and evangelical supremacists home-schooled on hate and misinterpretations of the Bible would ever deign to attend the newly ethnically-cleansed public classrooms anyway.

Talk about instant karma: Bentley's home town of Tuscaloosa was among the hardest hit this spring. A fair-sized twister plowed through the middle of town, trashing some 7,200 homes and businesses and killing 43.

Now, with Hispanic workers fleeing the white supremacist crackdown set to take effect September 1, the townsfolk are left holding their Makitas.

"Tuscaloosa will feel it," said undocumented construction worker Miguel Ramirez. "The talk in our community is that people are packing their things."

"They're leaving," said Dorothy McDade of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, which saw it's Spanish language collection plate triple over the past decade before crashing in recent weeks. "Anybody with family in another state is going to go."

Whenever an earthquake hits California or a hurricane rolls through Florida, folks around the Red neck of the woods are keen to claim God is punishing those places for supporting the LGBTG community or some such. Wonder what God's punishing Alabama and Georgia for.

In South Carolina, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, anxious to get into the spanking line, signed her state's white supremacy measure into law Monday. Better watch out: hurricane season is just around the corner.

In Mississippi, another Republican governor named Haley, this one Barbour, had the advantage of experience in dealing with a state smashed to bits by natural selection.

"I don't know where we would have been in Mississippi after Katrina if it hadn't been for the Spanish speakers that came in to help rebuild," said Barbour, who hadn't yet signed his state's white supremacy law.

Where Mississippi would have been is where Alabama is now, cartographic contortions notwithstanding.

When Bentley signed Alabama's white supremacy law, State Sen. Scott Beason (R-Gardendale) crowed,  "This will put thousands of Alabamians back in the workforce."

Or, they could just stay parked in front of their TV sets, collecting disability checks, swilling beer, and screaming about President Barack Obama and other persons of color destroying America. Unless God destroyed their homes, in which case they'd stay parked in front of their emergency shelter's TV set, collecting disability checks, swilling beer, and screaming about President Barack Obama and other persons of color destroying America.

"There are plenty of people capable of working, " said Rich Cooper of Bell Construction. "If they'd just get off their butts and do it." C'mon Rich, most folks haven't slung stacks of asphalt roofing shingles over their shoulders and climbed up twenty-foot ladders in 90+ degree heat in generations.

Among those able to work, Alabama's May unemployment rate was 9.6%. Sshhh... Bill O'Reilly is on Fox.

"We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country," Deal had said. Spot on. Too few immigrants. Crops rotting in fields. Whole towns levelled with no one to rebuild them. What happens to a nation when it can't feed or shelter itself?

McNelly said of the Hispanic labor force, " It's not the pay rate. It's the fact that they work harder than anyone. It's the work ethic."

Sounds exactly like the kind of folks you'd want in your country.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Like Most Republicans, Anti-Spending Zealot Bachmann LIkes Scarfing Her Federal Dollars

Sure, GOP Presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) seems to spend a lot of time shrieking about federal spending, but, like most Republicans dedicated to transferring all of America's wealth from its citizenry to the favored few, Bachmann considers herself to be one of those few God chose to be favored.

Tea Party darling Bachmann alternates between screaming tirades against federal spending and burying her nipped, tucked, botoxed snout in the public funding trough. Bachmann, aside from occasional forays into interpretive history, such as her recent precept that the founding fathers abolished slavery, spends most of her time looking to slash heinous wastes of taxpayer money on such useless extravagances as lavishing benefits on veterans who hadn't had the good sense to get themselves killed for their country.

Now, on top of the recent revelation that the Bachmann family farm enjoyed fat federal subsidies, NBC has revealed that her husband's clinic enjoyed fat Medicaid billings.

The Wisconsin farm owned by Bachmann's late father-in-law, Paul Bachmann, and in which the candidate is still a partner, over the years received $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.

"Again, we've answered that question so many times that everyone's tired of it," Bachmann said snippily. "There's nothing to it. We've never gotten a dime."

Aside from it being unseemly whenever anyone other than Queen Elizabeth II of England or Rickey Henderson speaks in the royal plural, Bachmann is technically correct in asserting that she'd never gotten "a" dime from the farm or the subsidies.

Actually, she'd gotten anywhere from $32,503 to $105,000 from the farm between 2006 and 2009. That's anywhere from 325,000 to 1,050,000 dimes. Get with the program, people. And, some founding fathers, such as Alexander Hamilton, were really, really against slavery. Really. Hamilton was an early abolitionist.

Of course, the anti-slavery torch bearer Bachmann named was John Quincy Adams, who was about nine when folks were whipping up the Declaration of Independence.

In current events, NBC stated Bachmann & Associates' Lake Elmo, MN clinic collected more than $137,000 in Medicaid payments since 2005. The clinic, founded by Bachmann's clinical therapist husband, Marcus, also accepted $24,000 in state and federal funds to train staff on dealing with drug dependant and mentally ill patients.

According to its website, the clinic provides "quality Christian counseling in a sensitive, loving environment." It wasn't immediately known what was meant by "Christian," although Bachmann's harangues against wasting taxpayer dollars would be quite understandable if they were being used to pay for laying on hands, handling snakes, and speaking in tongues.

Bachmann spokesperson Alice Stewart defended her boss Wednesday with a statement to the effect that turning away Medicaid patients would be discriminatory.

Yes, that's lovely. We have nothing against Medicaid patients, although we're not convinced of the efficacy of waving snakes at them. We're all for expanding Medicaid and Medicare, which are the most efficient ways of delivering health care, bypassing all those insurance company corporate suites and all the mega-yachts, corporate jets and fat executive compensation packages they tend to devour.

What we have a problem with is Michele Bachmann constantly dissing Medicaid for adding to the welfare rolls, then finding out some of those Medicaid dollars, after going in an out of Bachmann bank accounts, end up nipping and tucking and botoxing the quintessential nipped, tucked, botoxed, faux-thirty trophy Legislator who struts onto Fox News and tells Bill O'Reilly, "I don't need government to be successful."

Let's see: $260,000 + $137,000 + $24,000. Most people would count a $421,000 haul as pretty successful.

Perhaps people who get $421,000 from the government can afford some sort of secret Republicans-only time machine that enables folks like Bachmann and Sarah Palin to go back in time to discover that nine-year-old John Quincy Adams refused to eat his broccoli as part of a hunger strike protesting the institution of slavery, and that Paul Revere really did warn the British, and let Benedict Arnold take the fall.

More recently, Bachmann dissed Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's January executive order expanding the state's Medicaid program, saying, "Right now, Gov. Dayton is wanting to commit Minnesota taxpayers to add even more welfare recipients on the welfare rolls at very great cost."

Of course, what Bachmann, and Tea Party zealots, and just about any Republican means is that Americans shouldn't be spending money to benefit the poor, or people of color. What Bachmann, and Tea Party zealots, and Republicans really mean is that all that money should just be handed directly to Bachmann, and Tea Party zealots, and Republicans, preferably ones who are white and rich and filled with hate for anyone who isn't a Bachmann or a Tea Party zealot or a Republican. Money going to Bachmann and her cohort is not only okay, it's fulfilling the ultimate destiny God meant for all money, joining the 84% of America's wealth that's already been concentrated into the hands of 20% of America's most blessed Bachmanns and Tea Party zealots and Republicans and their string-pulling patrons.

"It's clear when it feathers her nest, she's happy for Medicaid expenditures," said Ron Pollock of the health care advocacy group Families USA. "But people that really need it, folks with disabilities and seniors, she's turning their backs on them."

Bachmann said, "They want to see two girls come together and have a mud wrestling fight," changing the subject.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

US Treasury Must Cut Spending 44% If No Debt Hike Agreement

The non-profit Bipartisan Policy Center Tuesday passed around Capitol Hill a new analysis which estimated the US Treasury Department would immediately have to cut federal spending by 44% if the nation's debt ceiling is not raised by the August 2 deadline set by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

The report found that sometime between Aug. 2 and "probably" Aug. 9, the government would no longer be able to pay all its bills. "Handling all payments for important and popular programs" will "quickly become impossible," the report stated.

As destroying America and dismantling the US Government is a top Republican priority, the report is certain to embolden Republican intransigence on the normally pro forma raising of the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

"We will not miss this opportunity," taunted House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). For thirty years, Republicans have relentlessly fought to destroy America and cripple its ability to govern through massive transfers of the nation's wealth from its people to the handful of trans-national plutocrats who rule the Republican party. Whether to avenge the South's defeat in the Civil War, or simply to allow their corporate patrons free rein to run roughshod over America's people and natural resources, Republican hatred of the nation that nurtured them has brought them to the brink of their final victory. Grover Norquist was undoubtedly filling his bathtub.

Thirty years of diligent Republican treachery has already concentrated 84% of America's wealth in the hands of 20% of America's rich. Republicans are poised to devour the final portions.

"Dealing with the deficit problem is far more important than meeting some artificial date created by the Treasury Secretary," Boehner told Fox News' Hannity. In exchange for raising the debt ceiling, Boehner and Republicans have demanded trillions in additional tax subsidies for their wealthy patrons in the form of crippling spending cuts to every aspect of government.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blamed Democrats for the impasse on the debt ceiling. "So far, they're saying its essential," McConnell wheezed about the essential additional revenue needed to meeting the nation's revenue crisis. "We think it's a job-killing step that shouldn't be taken, and Republicans are not interested in going in that direction."

McConnell did not specify why closing a loophole in the depreciation schedule for corporate jets to more closely match that of commercial jets was a job killer, although, being a Republican, McConnell may have been concerned that an American resurgence arising from government stimulus might threaten the jobs in China and India that Republicans fought so diligently to ship there.

"Yes, we do want to remove tax subsidies for big oil," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). "We want to remove tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas, the list goes on." Pelosi and House Democrats had largely been ignored in the debt ceiling talks, and were sidelined during government shutdown hostage negotiations over the 2011 Budget tussle earlier this year. However, numerous Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances, and Boehner may need Democratic votes to pass any measure.

Pelosi said there "won't be an agreement unless House Democrats are part of that," unless "the Speaker comes to the table with 218 votes."

More heartening for McConnell and all the America-hating Republicans was the BPC revelation that, barring a debt hike agreement, the government would likely not have the $23 billion it would need to send out Social Security checks Aug. 3. The BPC studied 2009 and 2010 receipts and expenditures, and figured Geithner would have about $12 billion in revenues Aug. 3, but would need $32 billion to cover the Social Security checks and all the other payments due that day.

If the government were to prioritize Social Security checks, along with Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, payments to defense contractors and interest on Treasury bonds, there'd be no money left to pay troops or veterans' benefits, send out tax refunds, or fund food stamps or welfare. Or, for that matter, to pay any federal employees.

"So, to fund any of the unfunded items, you would have to cut from the six major programs," said Jerome Powell, a Treasury official for George H.W. Bush and one of the BPC report's authors. "It would be chaotic and unfair."

In other words, it would be a Republican nirvana.

However, the report shot down one Republican fantasy scheme to make only payments on existing debt, shielding the bond markets for their plutocrat masters, and to keep shovelling piles of cash to defense industry cronies, keeping the champagne flowing in corporate boardrooms. As Geithner has been warning for months, the report concluded such a scheme would not be possible.

To make matters worse, or better, if you're a chaos-loving, America-hating Republican, government computers are set to send out checks when they come due, so there is no mechanism for making some payments but not others.

All told, the BPC figures the US will face a $135 billion shortfall in August. The BPC poured over thousands of documents, and concluded the government would take in $172 billion in revenues and have $307 billion in obligations.

Further, during August, about $500 billion in maturing debt will have to be rolled over, and, Powell said, "the Treasury might lose market access to sell the equivalent amount of debt to pay the maturing debt."

And that would be the best-case scenario, in which the US manages to avoid defaulting on its debts altogether. That would lead to a collapse of the dollar, and a catastrophe in the bond markets that would likely crash the global financial markets...again.

No wonder George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill called intransigent Republicans who refused to raise the debt ceiling "a version of Al Qaeda terrorists."

"Republicans don't seem to care about the consequences for middle-class Americans," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) after meeting with President Barack Obama Monday.

Reid, for one, apparently awoke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Supreme Corporate Declares Corporations Supreme: High Court Strikes Down Arizona Campaign Law

In dealing yet another blow against free speech, the Supreme Court, by the proverbial 5-4 margin, Monday struck down an Arizona campaign finance law that gave candidates in that state public matching funds when being outspent by well-heeled corporate stooges.

In a brazen display of partisan zealotry, Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. assumed all the corporate stooges would be Republicans, and once again led the five-man charge to shred Bill of Rights. Roberts wrote, "Laws like Arizona's matching funds provision that inhibit robust and wide open political debate without sufficient justification cannot stand." Roberts apparently believed that the Arizona law inhibited the robust and wide open buying of political offices, and moved decisively to stop such nonsense.

Roberts and his pals on the High Court's ideological right consider corporations to be people, and cash to be speech. It was not immediately known exactly how many conversations Roberts and his cohort, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Jr., Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy, got for their decision.

In a mind-bending rationalization of their toadying to the ultra-wealthy, the right-wing Supreme Corporates reasoned that big-money interests might be discouraged from monopolizing all the TV airtime, radio spots, campaign flyers and phone calls in an election if they knew that, whatever they spent, the other side would get public funds to match them. The Roberts Court essentially said free speech meant that not only do the very rich get to speak, they get to prevent others from speaking because the others might make the very rich shy. Roberts and his pals certainly earned many conversations with those acrobatic musings.

Apparently, to Roberts and his cohort, the only free speech is paid corporate speech.

The Arizona 1998 Citizens Clean Elections Act had allowed candidates to opt out of unlimited privately-funded campaigns and accept public financing instead. To level the playing field, as long as the candidate participated in a debate and agreed to give back any money she didn't need, the state would match the amount well-heeled private donors lavished on pet candidates opposing her.

In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagen, one of the four non-partisan judges arrayed against the five corporate activist ideologues, wrote for the minority,
"The First Amendment's core purpose is to foster a healthy, vibrant political system full of robust discussion and debate. Nothing in Arizona's anti-corruption statute, The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, violates this constitutional protection. To the contrary, the act promotes the values underlying both the First Amendment and our entire Constitution by enhancing the 'opportunity for free political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people.'"
As usual, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor joined in the dissent.

"What the law fund more speech," Kagan said.

Roberts wasn't interested in more speech. Roberts only cared about speech pushing the ultra-wealthy's agenda. "Levelling the playing field can sound like a good thing," Roberts said of something that was as good as it sounded. "But in a democracy, campaigning for office is not a game." Roberts did not specify what it was instead, although his decision implied some sort of auction.

As they did with their infamous Citizens United case in 2009, the Roberts Court figured the candidates with the most money behind them should win all the elections. Roberts and his gang refused to countenance the notion that poorly-funded candidates and issues had any business trying to get their message out to the electorate.

Roberts didn't say when his cohort planned on dispensing with elections all together, and moving to a system in which the candidate backed by the largest corporations would simply be anointed.

In the 2009 Citizens United case, the same Roberts Court gang of five struck down decades of precedent and unleashed unlimited corporate funding of elections. Laws in 24 states that prohibited corporations smothering elections with mountains of cash fell before the juggernaut of right-wing plutocratization.

Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas appeared confident Republicans would always get the lion's share of corporate patronage, but the Chief Justice hedged a bit against the day the GOP figured out how to plunder public campaign funds. "We do not today call into question the wisdom of public financing as a means of funding political candidacy," Roberts elevated himself to the royal plural. "That is not our business."

The business of the Supreme Court is, apparently, Business.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Debt Ceiling Histrionics Reveal GOP Allegience To Norquist, Not America

In an ostentatiously choreographed grandstand play Thursday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) melodramatically announced he was scuttling high-level talks with Vice President Joe Biden over the normally pro forma raising of the nation's debt ceiling in what many have described as an especially vulgar display of pandering to right-wing uber-lobbyist Grover Norquist and his plutocrat-coddling plunderers of America's wealth.

"The reality here is that, until our Republican colleagues are more concerned about the need to reduce the deficit than they're worried about what Grover Norquist will say, we're going to have a really difficult time reducing the deficit," said Rep. Chris Van Hollern (D-MD), who had participated in the Biden talks to raise the nation's debt ceiling so the federal government could continue to fund operations, send out Social Security and Medicare checks, and pay off existing obligations.

Norquist and his Americans for Tax Relief syndicate have all but taken over the Republican Party, which has devolved into a special interest machine seeking ever more and greater tax cuts, tax breaks and tax subsidies for the ultra-rich, funded by ever more and greater spending cuts destroying Americans' ability to govern their nation.

"I don't believe now is the time to raise taxes," Cantor smirked despite the nation's critical revenue crisis.

Norquist and ATR don't believe anytime is the time to raise taxes. Norquist, a known confederate of convicted terrorists Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi and Dr. Sami Amen Al Arian, has vowed he would gut America and drown it in a bathtub, and his scheme to destroy America by transferring all its wealth to his international plutocrat cronies has found legions of supporters among rich tax-dodgers and the ignorant poor.

Al-Amoudi, convicted of illegal dealings with Libya and plotting to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, and Al Arian, guilty of conspiring with designated Palestinian terror groups, funded Norquist's so-called Islamic Institiute. Norquist famously palled around with convicted scammer Jack Abramoff, and the two of them, along with Faith and Freedom Coalition organizer Ralph Reed, have been scamming folks since their college days.

Cantor's grandstanding walkout broke up Biden's efforts to build a framework for a debt ceiling agreement.

"I know the frustration that he feels," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), "Democrat members continue to want to bring tax hikes into the conversation, and insist that we've got to raise taxes on the American people."  Well, not exactly the American people, but ultra-wealthy trans-national plutocrats who like to reside in the United States and take advantage of its luxurious living standards without paying for them.

Van Hollern said Democrats had offered Republicans, "a menu of eliminating different kinds of special interest tax breaks and dealing with tax exemptions for the very wealthy."

"Yes, we do want to reduce tax subsidies for Big Oil," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). "We want to remove tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas, the list goes on."

Now that the Biden talks have collapsed, Pelosi insisted she be included in any deficit reduction talks going forward. Pelosi had been excluded from talks during the recent 2011 Budget-slashing deal-making when Republicans threatened a government shutdown. Having gotten $39 billion in spending-cut funded tax subsidies for their wealthy minders, Republicans still couldn't muster enough votes to pass their deal, and Pelosi had to bail Boehner out with Democratic votes on a budget deal she'd had no part in forging.

Pelosi now appeared determined to have a seat at the table, as numerous Republicans have pledged they'd nix any debt ceiling hike under any circumstances, and Norquist sycophants were intransigent even on eliminating loopholes on depreciation schedules for corporate jets, making Democratic votes for any deal a critical reality.

Pelosi wasn't impressed with Cantor's grandstanding and Republican intransigence. "Leader Cantor can't handle the truth when it comes to these tax subsidies for big oil, for corporations sending jobs overseas, for giving tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our country while they're asking seniors to pay more for less as they abolish Medicare," Pelosi told CNN's State of the Union.

"We cannot balance the budget solely on the backs of the middle class," said James Clyburn (D-SC).

Biden and President Barack Obama were to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) separately Monday to resume horse-trading.

"In the Bush years, the Republicans said that tax cuts will produce jobs," Pelosi said. "They didn't. They produced a deficit."

Decades of coddling the ultra-wealthy with tax breaks have concentrated 84% of America's wealth in the hands of 20% of Americans. Norquist and the Republicans have their sights set on the rest.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bernanke Reveals GOP Scheme To Kill Job Growth Is Working

Republican legislators like taunting Democrats over not creating jobs. "Where's your jobs bill?" they cackle.

The answer, of course, is that all the Democrats' jobs bills went wherever bills go after intransigent Republican ideologues destroy them.

For their part, Republicans figure their incessant demands for more and greater tax cuts, tax breaks and tax subsidies for the ultra-rich paid for with spending cuts on everything else count as jobs bills. They also count as environmental bills, education bills, infrastructure bills, health care bills, and just about any other kind of bill you can think of. Not defense bills. Defense bills consist of shovelling dumptruckfuls of cash at defense contractors for any or no reason at all. Or immigration bills. Republicans are still working their way toward a Final Solution on immigration.

Granted, pushing incessant demands for more and greater tax cuts, breaks and subsidies for the ultra-rich is the Republican pols' job, so technically, one could argue that those are jobs bills. In fact, many Republican bills create lots of jobs in China and India. It's just that nothing Republicans do has anything to do with creating jobs in America.

Ben Bernanke, the harried Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank, Wednesday admitted that the previous, less-than-rosy outlook on annual U.S. economic growth had in fact been too rosy. Instead of growing 3.1%-3.3%, the Fed now figures the economy will grow 2.7%-2.9%. Unemployment, instead of dropping to 8.4%-8.7%, now looks like it'll drop to 8.6%-8.9%.

Unemployment is presently hovering around 9.1%

"We don't have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting," Bernanke said with a completely straight face, and reiterated earlier findings by the Federal Open Market Committee that, "the economic recovery is continuing at a moderate pace," but "somewhat more slowly" than anticipated.

Of course, if the only economic measures half of Congress would countenance consists of demanding ever larger and more extravagant tax cuts for the ultra-rich, economic growth might be a bit problematic.

Tuesday, Republicans killed Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) bill to fund the Economic Development Administration by loading it down with so many spurious and pork barrel amendments that it had no chance of passing. The EDA was established in 1965 to create and retain jobs and stimulate economic growth in economically distressed areas, which today should include just about the whole country except for a strip along midtown Manhattan where Donald Trump and David Koch live.

Naturally, since the EDA creates jobs and stimulates economic growth, Republicans want to kill it, and hand all its funding to the ultra-rich in the form of more and greater tax cuts, breaks and subsidies. New carpets and drapes for Donald Trump and David Koch in that little strip of midtown Manhattan.

Toward this end, Republicans, and some non-goal-oriented Democrats, tacked on more than 100 nongermaine amendments to Boxer's bill, including self-serving ramblings about estate taxes, right-to-work laws, and light bulbs.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) couldn't find a way through all the chaff, and said Republicans didn't care about job creation.

The Senate ended up voting down the measure 49-51.

Republicans have been taking advantage of a new deal unwisely agreed upon earlier this year that allowed unlimited amendments to any legislation. Democrats made the mistaken assumption that Republicans weren't really evil America-hating secessionists who dreamed of destroying the United States and plundering its carcass on behalf of multi-billionaire trans-national plutocrats, despite thirty years of evidence to the contrary.

Republicans used the same tactic to block funding of the Small Business Administration, another agency that creates jobs and stimulates economic growth.

Leaving Ben Bernanke wondering why slow economic growth was so persistent.

Bernanke Wednesday also warned that cutting too much federal spending too quickly would imperil America's meager economic recovery.

"In light of the weakness of the recovery, it would be best not to have sudden and sharp fiscal consolidation in the short term," Bernanke said. "I don't think that sharp, immediate cuts in the deficit would create more jobs," he went on, showing he knows more about economic growth than many give him credit for. He might not have a Nobel Prize in Economics, but Princeton's Paul Krugman, who does, would agree.

"...Republicans are demanding immediate spending cuts as the price of raising the debt limit," Krugman wrote in a recent op-ed piece for The New York Times, a newspaper widely circulated around midtown Manhattan. "If this blackmail succeeds, it will put a further drag on an already weak economy."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who doesn't have a Nobel Prize in Economics, and probably has someone balance his checkbook for him, was one of those blackmailers. "It is my preference that we do this thing one time," Cantor said of raising the debt ceiling while insisting on trillions in spending cuts to fund more tax breaks for the ultra-rich.

The federal government has exceeded its $14.3 trillion debt limit, and needs a normally pro-forma Congressional approval to raise the cap if it wants to continue funding operations, sending out Social Security and Medicare checks, and making payments on existing obligations.

"Putting off tough decisions is not what people want," Cantor said. "Tough decisions" is GOP code for destroying America. Apparently, Cantor would like to destroy the whole country all at once and write the Koch brothers one check, instead of defunding the EDA and the SBA and all the other agencies one at a time and handing the Koch brothers separate tax payouts for each one.

U.S. corporations are presently sitting on a $1.9 trillion horde of cash, and showing no signs of hiring anybody not named Deepak anytime soon. Lavishing corporations and the ultra-rich with more and larger tax cuts, breaks and subsidies simply isn't going to create jobs in America now, just as lavishing corporations and the ultra-rich with more and larger tax cuts, breaks and subsidies has never done anything for ordinary Americans at any time over the past thirty years. The only thing lavishing corporations and the ultra-rich with more and larger tax cuts, breaks, and subsidies has done is to concentrate 84% of America's wealth in the hands of 20% of its most fortunate citizens.

Of course, all those taxpayer funded windfalls to the rich have allowed the ultra-wealthy to fund lobbies and PACs so pliant politicos can enjoy lots of junkets, parties, rides on mega-yachts and private jets, and lots and lots of visits with professionally compensated sexual service providers.

That keeps lawmakers focused on their job of demanding more and greater tax cuts, breaks and subsidies to their wealthy patrons, and sticking ordinary Americans with the bill in the form of reduced and eliminated services, crumbling infrastructure, environmental catastrophe, and unregulated corporate juggernauts running roughshod over them.

Now, that's a jobs bill.

CREW Ethics Committee Complaint About Bribery, Not Diapers

The latest effort from those tireless worthies over at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the group whose name implies the Sisyphean task they've taken upon themselves, takes to task none other than Sen. David Vitters (R-LA) not for wearing diapers while dallying with professionally remunerated sexual service providers, but for trying to use professional remuneration to coerce Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar into letting oil companies drill lots and lots more oil wells.

Seems that last month, Vitter sent Salazar a letter saying he would continue to block Salazar's pay raise unless the good Secretary came across with a little love for the oil companies.

CREW's Executive Director Melanie Sloan sent Senate Ethics Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) a five-page epistle going over Vitter's demands in exhausting detail and suggesting the Committee might want to take a gander into Vitter's doings.

"Our country's criminal laws apply to everyone, including Senators," Sloan's letter said. "There is no exception to the bribery law allowing a senator to influence a department secretary's official acts by withholding compensation."

Vitter, for his part, probably needs to be excused for believing he was above the law, since he routinely frequented a Louisiana bordello and called up the D.C. Madam for compensated companionship without repercussions. Those escapades were widely reported over the years, even if the particularly unsavory allegations that he liked to wear diapers while dallying were, perhaps thankfully, not as thoroughly documented.

Despite excruciating coverage in all the papers back home and around Capitol Hill, Vitter managed to get himself re-elected. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the notable D.C. Madam, had records of Vitter's take-out calls, and a Louisiana brothel had miles for Vitter's frequent flyer card, but somehow no one seemed to make the connection that Vitter's illegal actions were against the law.

Perhaps Vitter's misadventures back then might just have gotten lost in the shuffle as they came to light roughly the same time as Sen. Larry Craig's (R-ID) even more unseemly misadventures in an airport men's facility. Craig's hanging around an airport bathroom and accosting an adjoining stall occupant who happened to be an undercover cop just might have filled some sort of cringe quota that month, or folks might simply have been relieved Vitter's adulterous assignations were of a relatively conventional nature, notwithstanding the diapers, which admittedly precluded any need for bathroom facilities at all.

In a different kind of pay-for-play scandal, Vitter now stands accused of threatening to block Ken Salazar's salary hike unless Salazar made handy with the rubber stamp and speeded up oil drilling permit approvals. If one considers citing a letter Vitter himself wrote outlining his demands an accusation.

"Perhaps given that Sen. Vitter escaped accountability for soliciting prostitutes, he also thinks he can evade responsibility for violating the bribery laws," opined Sloan. Or, Vitter thought he could evade responsibility for violating bribery laws because he previously blocked another Interior Department official's nomination until the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved 15 offshore drilling permits.

Vitter lifted his hold on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chief Dan Ashe June 1.

"I said I would lift it when we got to 15 permits," Vitter said. "We finally reached that mark today, and I'm lifting my hold."

The D.C. Madam never said Vitter didn't pay. Neither did the Louisiana brothel.

In Salazar's letter to Senate leaders last month asking to set aside his pay hike because Vitter doomed it anyway, Salazar complained that Vitter's intransigence over the pay raise amounted to "coercion."

"This crosses the line," Salazar wrote. "The bribery statute makes it a crime to offer anything of value to a public official to influence an official act."

"Vitter is basically saying, 'Do what I say, and I'll stop blocking this routine pay equalization measure for you,'" Salazar complained.

There's an arcane rule - who'd imagine that? - which says any legislator who voted to increase a Cabinet Secretary's pay can't turn around and take that job at the higher rate he or she voted for as a legislator. While Salazar was a senator, he voted to increase the Interior Secretary's pay, so as Interior Secretary, he was obliged to toil under the old, pre-raise salary. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), being the responsible public servant he is, introduced legislation to bump Salazar the $19,600 that would bring his pay in line with those of the other Secretaries, and Vitter, recognizing the main chance when he saw it, blocked Reid's unanimous consent agreement to bring the bill up for a vote.

Then, Vitter sent the letter that got him trouble because it says all the things Salazar and CREW says it says.

"Given the completely unsatisfactory pace of your department's issuance of new deepwater exploratory permits in the Gulf, I cannot possibly give my assent," Vitter said in the letter CREW said said what it said.

Vitter quickly defended himself, saying of Salazar's pay hike, "It was truly offensive to Gulf energy workers who are struggling under his policies." The Big Five oil companies struggled to clear a combined $32 billion in Q1 2011.

Perhaps Vitter is confused about the whole offering-something-of-value part of bribery. If Vitter figures $32 billion constitutes "struggling," surely the $943,885 oil companies shovelled his way over the years is nothing at all. Which makes $19,600 for Salazar hardly worth filling a diaper with. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Debt Ceiling Talks Focus On Slashing Medicaid

In the unconscionable shadow play over the normally pro forma raising of the nation's debt ceiling, Congressional leaders wrestling to find $2.5 trillion in spending cuts to fund tax giveaways to the rich have run into a brick wall trying to cut Medicare. Angry mobs descending on Republican town hall meetings this Spring to denounce Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) scheme to gut Medicare put paid to that idea. Howling townsfolk with pitchforks and torches.

Privatizing Social Security was equally unpopular with the ever-powerful senior lobby. Privatizing Social Security, while a coveted goal for Republicans and their Wall Street cronies, doesn't have anything to do with balancing budgets anyway. Contrary to right-wing demagoguery, Social Security is solvent for decades, and is, with the slightest of tweaks, likely to remain solvent as long as Republicans don't start plundering it.

As the relentless Republican juggernaut blundered ahead demanding ever larger and more extravagant tax subsidies for the ultra-rich in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, Democrats, instead of holding the line on profligate tax expenditures for those who already have so many mega-yachts and private jets they have to find whole new countries to park them in, decided the best way to help Republicans keep the fat cats gorging themselves on very, very fancy feasts was to throw upwards of a quarter of America's population under the bus.

68 million Americans, including uninsured low-income adults, children, the disabled, and millions of seniors needing nursing home care, count on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program for health care.

For politicians looking to subsidize billions in tax giveaways to the ultra rich, the bugaboo in cutting Medicaid was those millions of seniors in nursing homes. Democrats, and possibly a few Republicans dosed with Adderall and Ritalin, understood Not Touching Medicare applied to any program that provided health care services to seniors.

Thus, Medicaid was eminently slashable except for those pesky seniors in nursing homes. Seniors vote, have lobbies that can take you on cushy junkets, and, possibly owing to their age and experience, know their way around a pitchfork or a torch.

Politicos figured the best way to deal with Medicaid was to separate the well-represented senior wheat from the under-represented low-income chaff.

"A lot of us are concerned that Medicaid as it effects nursing home patients and people with a disability is irreplaceable," said Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), cleverly buzzing in and telling Alex which two groups dependent on Medicaid have powerful lobbies that can treat you to expensive junkets. Andrews said, "For low-income people who are otherwise healthy, there may be creative ways to help fulfill our obligations for health care," neatly disposing of those on Medicaid who don't have powerful lobbies that can treat you to expensive junkets.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who inherited enough money to pay for his own junkets, said, "Medicaid suddenly looks like the sacrificial lamb." Rockefeller co-authored the CHIP legislation that extends health insurance to millions of kids from low-income families.

Andrews did not specify which creative ways might fulfill health care obligations to low-income people, as Republicans would surely obstruct any attempt to cop bullets from defense appropriations for the poor to bite.

Of course, low-income folks who are otherwise healthy with Medicaid will rapidly become otherwise very unhealthy without Medicaid.

Now, if anyone was really interested in controlling costs and balancing budgets, the real correct answer is to extend Medicare to everyone.

Talk about saving money. Medicare's administrative costs run at around three percent, not least because there aren't any high-flying fat cat CEOs shovelling dumptruckfuls of cash at mega-yachts, private jets, trophy wives, trophy mistresses and trophy private service providers. Administrative costs make up 5%-10% of large corporate group insurance plans. For small groups, as much as a quarter of premiums goes toward administrative costs. Administrative costs on individual policies, like the ones Ryan wanted seniors to buy in his Medicare Couponization scam, run a whopping 40%.

Implementing efficiencies, such as utilizing physical therapists and nurse practitioners wherever possible instead of ordering up MRIs, CT scans, and countless tests, then referring patients to expensive surgeries every time someone has a nosebleed would go a long way toward cutting health care costs, to say nothing of cutting off all those useless layers of insurance company profit parasites intent on gorging themselves on dumptruckfuls of cash for mega-yachts, private jets, and trophy partners.

To say nothing of cutting off all those useless layers of hospital corporation profit parasites intent on gorging themselves on billions for their mega-yachts, private jets, and trophy partners. After gorging on a few billion here and there, they're likely to make themselves governor of a large southern state, as did Rick Scott of Florida. As both a Rick, like Texas' Rick Perry, and a Scott, like Wisconsin's Scott Walker, billionaire ex-hospital mogul Rick Scott must surely be in the topmost eschelon of Republican Scott-Rickhood.

Which brings us to the real problem. No one around the Beltway is really interested in controlling costs or balancing budgets. If they were, they'd be extending Medicare to everyone and seriously reforming revenue so 20% of Americans won't always own 84% of everything in America. What Republicans and not a few Democrats really want is to keep coddling the richest, most powerful capitalists on Earth with trillions in tax giveaways paid for by slashing trillions in services for the rest of us. The real problem is all those Beltway pols pandering to all the Rick-Scotts among them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

House GOP's Reply to Smoochie Khadafy: We'll Cut Libya Action Funds

The smoochie, smoochie love tome Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy sent House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has apparently set the Republican leader's heart all aflutter. Boehner and his moon-faced cohort in the House GOP caucus are falling over each other to protect their hunky beau from nasty President Barack Obama's evil campaign to to be mean and horrid to him. Boehner announced the House might vote this week to cut off funding America's role in NATO's Libya intervention.

"Congress has the power of the purse!" Boehner crowed, apparently fussing over which handbag matched his shoes. Boehner last week said the President had failed miserably answering the 21-question essay test Boehner had sent him demanding an explanation of the motives, costs, and legality of why everyone was being so awful to Boehner's dreamy hunk o,' hunk o' burning love.

Sunday marked 90 days since NATO began enforcing the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya, and America's involvement in the air campaign against Khadafy's forces. House Republicans have ostensibly been tussling over application of the 1973 War Powers Act, which arguably required that the President obtain a Congressional thumbs-up for continued hostilities, although most of the GOP reps seemed only to care about wiping Obama's eye.

Hearing of Boehner and the Republican's diligent efforts to obstruct Obama, Khadafy sent Congressional leaders and the White House a smoochie, smoochie love letter gushing, "I want to express my sincere gratitude for your thoughtful discussion of the issues," and that he was, "counting on the United States Congress to its continued investigation of  military activities of NATO and its allies to confirm what we believe is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973."

Boehner, swaying to bird song, whined, "The White House says there are no hostilities taking place, yet we've got drone attacks under way!" Sounding alarmingly like a thirteen year old girl pursuing a forbidden love, Boehner stamped his feet, "Part of the mission is to drop bombs on Khadafy's compound!" Awful, awful bombs!

It was not immediately known whether Boehner then screamed that he hated President Obama, and flung himself on his bed to cry his eyes out.

Fellow Republican Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was appalled. He told ABC's This Week, "If we had not intervened, Khadafy was at the gates of Benghazi. He said he was going to go house to house to kill everyone. That's a city of 700,000 people. What would we be saying now if we had allowed for that to happen?"

It was not known whether Boehner kicked and screamed, "I don't care! I love him! I love him!" and buried his face in a pillow, sobbing.

McCain's pal Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stepped up and announced sternly that he would have, "no part of any effort to defund" the Libya operation. "Congress should shut up and not empower Khadafy."

It was not known whether Boehner howled, "You always take his side!" and cried inconsolably while House Republicans stroked his head and glared at Graham.

Boehner had said disgraced Twitter exhibitionist Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) should go for showing women pictures of his wee-wee, but was apparently intent on shielding dreamboat Moammar, whose only crimes involved killing countless thousands, subjugating his country, and blowing Pan Am Flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland.

After all, Khadafy was a billionaire oil mogul, and George W. Bush's valued ally in the War on Terror. Or Terra, as Bush always said, making much more sense grammatically. 

Graham and McCain have taken Republican presidential hopefuls to task for the field's dovish posture. On Afghanistan, Graham compared Mitt Romney to Jimmy Carter, the GOP equivalent of a third-grader saying a classmate's father was a member of the LGBTG community.

"We cannot move into an isolationist party," McCain railed. "We cannot repeat the lessons of the 1930s, when the United States of America stood by while bad things happened in the world."

On foreign policy matters, neither McCain or Graham appeared to back fellow Republicans' automatic opposition to Obama's actions. Many Republicans, especially from the Tea Party wing, have suddenly turned uncharacteristically dovish in the name of fiscal restraint, although none have countenanced meaningful revenue reform to deal with their supposed concerns over debt and deficit spending.

"So, the Congress of the United States should pass a resolution," McCain said.  "And, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and I have the resolution that's ready to go, that would comply with the War Powers Act."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated he backed Obama on Libya, and that the War Powers Act did not apply to the US's limited role in the NATO operation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) concurred, as did Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican whose day job had been running the vaguely-monikered defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation. SAIC is the nation's ninth largest defense contractor, employing 44,000, and was a notable player among interventionist neo-cons in the run-up to the Iraq war.

It was not known whether Boehner locked himself into his room, screamed he hated everyone, and said he and Moammer were going to get married.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Georgia Immigrant Crackdown Begets Prison Labor Pitstop On Road to Slavery

With Georgia's Arizona-style white supremacy law weeks away from going into effect, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal announced criminal probationers would be a great solution for planters facing the looming peach harvest with scant immigrant labor.

The impending crackdown on immigrant labor has intimidated many workers, and the state's planters have complained HB 87, Georgia's new white supremacy law going into effect July 1, has already caused a labor shortage. A state survey revealed 11,000 farm jobs have gone begging, as the state's white population has disdained tough agricultural labor despite white supremacist claims their law would be a boon for job-seekers.

The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association reported planters were only getting 30%-50% of the laborers they needed. Georgia has a $1.1 billion fruit and vegetable industry.

Georgia's impending white supremacy law exposes persons of color to repeated and continuous harassment, questioning and detention based on the color of their skin. As in Arizona, Georgia law enforcement may detain and demand citizenship documents at will. As in Arizona, all persons of color are suspect, including Asian-American business owners, Latino-American scientists and President Barack Obama, while all whites, including German neo-Nazi skinheads, British soccer hooligans, Russian mobsters, and IRA terrorists on the lam from Scotland Yard, not to mention home-grown murderers and child molesters, are considered to be valued all-American members of the superior white race.

Workers convicted of possessing non-compliant identity papers face 15 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. 

Now, according to Deal's deal, such undocumented workers could presumably be incarcerated, fined, then made to work the fields anyway to pay off their fines. Presumably, President Obama would be picking peas for failing to produce his long-form birth certificate. As the President knows, white supremacists ultimately won't accept any documentation a person of color might produce. White supremacists consider "American" to be a synonym for the white race.

Tapping probationers and prisoners would open a vast pool of non-white laborers. According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, the state has 55,252 inmates, 62% of whom are African-American. Many may have a future of labor in the fields beneath the overseers' lash. Deal claimed there were as many as 100,000 people on probation in Georgia.

In contrast to its prison population, which is 62% black and 34% white, the state of Georgia is 59.7% white, 30.5% black, and 8.8% Latino.

Georgia is a stronghold of the neo-Confederacy movement and other white separatist and evangelical supremacist covens, many of which covet a return to a hazy antebellum vision of leisured white slave holders exploiting and brutalizing subjugated non-whites.

Deal Tuesday said he had directed state corrections and agriculture commissioners to get probationers out to the farms.

"I believe this would be a great partial solution to our current status as we continue to move towards sustainable results with the legal options available," Deal said, apparently bemoaning the overbearing federal burden imposed by the Thirteenth Amendment.

Grower Roscoe Hutcheson was not convinced. He blamed HB 87 when no one showed up to pick blackberries at his Baxley, GA farm. He told reporters he had three small children, and didn't want probationers on his spread.

"I don't want bad people around my young 'uns," he said.

Alabama is set to join Georgia with its own, even more restrictive, white supremacy law September 1. In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour is still considering signing into law his state's version of the white supremacy measures, but, to the chagrin of fellow Republicans and Tea Party activists, has balked at categorically criminalizing tens of thousands who gave his state a leg up during its darkest hour.

Immigrant labor was critical to getting Mississippi back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina devastated the state in 2005, according to Barbour.

"I don't know where we would have been in Mississippi after Katrina if it hadn't been for the Spanish speakers that came in to help rebuild, and there's no doubt in my mind that some of them weren't here legally," Barbour acknowledged. "If they hadn't come and stayed...we would be way, way, way behind where we are now."

Many in Mississippi don't share Barbour's reticence. White supremacists believe non-whites are subhumans to be exploited, abused and discarded at will.

Should Barbour sign his state's new white supremacy bill into law, it would create a 600-mile wide white separatist bastion through the heart of the Deep South. Barbour has walked a fine line between extremism and propriety, at first refusing to denounce, then vowing to veto, license plates commemorating Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, who many considered to have been a terrorist.  American Democracy is certainly in critical condition if Haley Barbour represents its last hope against white racist dominion.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stung By Medicare Vote, House GOP Scrambles For Crib Notes

By voting for Paul Ryan's (R-OH) disastrous 2012 Budget proposal, they dutifully followed their GOP leaders off a cliff and got smashed on the jagged rocks of political backlash below. All but four House Republicans loyally voted to dismantle Medicare, hand all its money to insurance industry cronies, and pawn off future seniors with worthless coupons the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office revealed wouldn't cover a third of the cost of the private premiums, co-pays, deductibles and other expenses elders would be forced to incur. All but four Republicans were left naked and exposed to merciless scythes of Medicare rage.

Now, the House Republican cohort is being asked to consider raising the nation's debt ceiling, and the rank-and-file are reportedly too terrified of the consequences to think straight.

After voting to destroy Medicare and condemn to horrible destitution and death anyone not rich enough to pay cash on the barrel head for doctors and hospitals, House Republicans went home on their Spring break to discover the townsfolk weren't waiting to shower them with rose petals and garlands in grateful obeisance. They were stunned by the howling, angry crowds that descended on their town hall meetings to vent their wrath. The GOP frosh were especially stunned their constituents weren't falling over each other exclaiming adoring exaltations for the Republican triumph that gave the nation's great plutocrats more tax cuts and subsidies while doing away with disgusting government handouts to poverty-stricken filth like themselves. Surely the unwashed masses could understand they had to die as painfully and miserably as possible in the service of bigger tax breaks for their betters?

Horrified by their experience, Republicans now faced voting to raise the nation's $14.2 trillion debt ceiling. Unless Congress raises the debt ceiling, the federal government won't be able to borrow money to fund operations, send out Medicare or Social Security checks, or make payments on existing debt obligations. The normally pro forma vote would allow the US government to continue paying its bills, and avoid a meltdown in the global bond markets that would crash the world financial system.

Astonishingly, Republican legislators who got third degree burns voting to dismantle Medicare are terrified they'll be fried into scorched bits of crispy, blackened cinders unless they vote against raising the debt ceiling.

That's right, Republicans are so afraid of what'll happen if they raise the debt ceiling, they'd destroy America's credit rating, torch the bond markets, and crash the world financial market; they'd cut off everyone's Social Security and Medicare payments; they'd grind the entire vast mechanism of government to a halt to avoid a backlash.

"I don't think you are going to see a lot of Republicans, after what they've done on Medicare, willing to put their necks out any more before the next election because the heads were already chopped off in New York and all the demagoguery," said Steve Chabot (R-OH), referring to last month's special election for disgraced shirtless e-stalker Chris Lee's perennially Republican New York 26th Congressional District seat. Upstart Kathy Hochul (D-NY) scored a stunning upset victory in what has largely been seen as a referendum on Ryan Medicare Counponization.

Although the Republican leadership has demanded trillions in additional tax giveaways to the ultra rich in the form of spending cuts before they'll make any move toward raising the debt ceiling, many Republicans, burned by their Medicare-busting vote, have sworn they won't hike the debt ceiling no matter what.

Republicans are obsessed with the exhortations of Tea Party fanatics back home who promise to scourge any Republican who would vote to hike the debt limit. These are the very same Tea Party fanatics who swore they'd scourge any Republican who didn't vote to destroy Medicare.

Republicans, fearing the same sort of backlash they got listening to Tea Party knuckleheads on Medicare, are too terrified to defy the Tea Party knuckleheads on the debt ceiling. Go figure.

If Johnny tells you to stick your hand in the fire, and you do, and your hand turns into a charred stump of searing, excruciating pain, most of you have enough sense to ignore Johnny when he next tells you to jump off the bridge. Johnny told House Republicans to stick their hands in the fire, and the House Republicans ended up with charred stumps of searing excruciating pain. Now, Johnny is telling House Republicans to jump off the bridge, and House Republicans, anxious to avoid another disaster, have decided their only alternative is to listen to Johnny again.

House Republicans, you need to stop copying off your jock and cheerleader friends. Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) look good, but that's just the problem. You need to be copying off of nerds. You need to cast your mind back to the time you weren't going to get to play in the Big Game unless you passed your Civics exam, and coach brought in that nerdy four-eyes who didn't know a zone coverage from a back-side blitz and told you to copy off of him.

Remember how you howled that nerdy four-eyes wasn't ever going to get you through Civics, 'cause Civics was so way too stupid for anybody to figure out, let alone some geek who couldn't even do one push-up? Remember how coach just smiled wisely, like when he called for the dive play against that three-deep zone? You copied off the cheat sheet the nerd gave you:  a.; c.; c.; d.; b.; Executive, Legislative, Judiciary; thinking this ain't gonna work, no way, and you were gonna miss the Big Game with all the scouts and there'd be no celebratory making out with Becky Sue afterward, when, whaddayaknow, coach was right all along, and you aced the test and got all the way to State, and that rich alum said how you were so smart he'd be happy to help you get started in politics, remember?

This is just like that time. And, just like that time, even though it makes no sense to you, you're going to have to copy off some nerd, because you're in this wacky upside-down world where showing a girl naked pictures of yourself is thought of as a bad thing.

So, here's some nerds you can copy off of:
  • Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) - All your jock and cheerleader friends make fun of Nancy all the time, and she's nowhere near as hot as Michele Bachmann, so you know she's good to copy off of.
  • Barney Frank (D-MA) - Same as Nancy.
  • Paul Krugman - Krugman is a real egghead at this super-egghead school called Princeton. He won that stupid prissy Nobel Prize thing which is so nerdy it's European.
Krugman is probably your best bet to copy off of, as your GOP pals would notice you hanging around Nancy or Barney, and get the wrong idea. Krugman doesn't even work in Washington. He has a column in The New York Times, which you can take into the bathroom shoved inside a copy of Playboy, and you can just copy off what he says there.  In fact, you could just click here to copy off what Krugman says.

House Republicans would do alright if they could just get straight in their heads who they should be copying off of.

Monday, June 13, 2011

To Balance Budgets, Racist Red States Shouldn't Get Federal Dollars

In an action that revealed the magnitude of its deep-seated racist hate and anti-American radicalism, Alabama Thursday became the latest Red State to enact a sweeping white supremacy law subjugating persons of color. Going far beyond even Arizona's infamous white supremacy laws, first-term Republican Governor Robert Bentley signed into law the draconian measure set to take effect September 1.

The state that conspired to bludgeon and bomb the Freedom Riders has done Bull Connor proud.

In addition to requiring law enforcement officers to demand citizenship documents from anyone they deem might not be citizens, the Alabama law:
  • Prohibits schools from accepting students who cannot provide birth certificates or other citizenship documents, including asylum-seekers and refugees.
  • Prohibits anyone from transporting, harboring, or renting property to someone who might lack approved citizenship documents.
  • Presumes that any person not in possession of approved citizenship documents or a driver license is an illegal immigrant.
  • Voids any employment contracts with undocumented aliens, encouraging employers to hire such persons for the purposes of exploitation.
All persons of color are subject to constant harassment, detention and arrest based on the color of their skin in an unvarnished effort to drive all non-whites from the state. Even the US citizen children of undocumented aliens would be subject to arrest for "transporting" or "harboring" their parents. Churches will be violated for "harboring" asylum seekers.

Clearly, no whites will ever be required to show documentation proving citizenship. Throughout the Red States, "American," is considered to be a synonym for "white." Thus, among the neo-Confederates, white separatists and evangelical supremacists that comprise the core of the Republican constituency in such states as Alabama, German neo-Nazi skinheads, Russian mobsters, and IRA terrorists on the lam from Scotland Yard are all considered to be "American", while Asian-American merchants, Latino business owners and President Barack Obama are illegal immigrants. To the white supremacists, what makes a person, immigrant or not, "illegal" is skin color.

"There will be no profiling," taunted State Rep.Mickey Hammon (R-Decatur), who co-sponsored the measure with fellow de facto white separatist champion State Sen. Scott Beason (R-Gardendale), glossing over exactly how law enforcement officers would apply their racist detentions. "We welcome legal immigrants with open arms."

Hammon did not specify what caliber or types of arms would be employed in welcoming immigrants.

In enacting its white supremacy law, Alabama continued to flaunt its unmitigated disdain for the federal authority that props up its institutions and its people. Despite continuous railing by its Republican politicians against government spending, Alabama continuously receives more federal dollars from Washington than it collects in taxes. For every dollar in federal taxes Alabama raises, it receives $1.67 from federal coffers.

If Republicans really wanted to balance the federal budget, they should just cut off states like Alabama.

Alabama joins other fellow debtor states Utah, Georgia, Indiana, and Arizona in enacting white supremacy laws. Utah receives $1.07 for every dollar it raises, Georgia $1.02, and Indiana $1.05. Arizona gets $1.19.

Arizona is the stronghold of such white race icons as mass-shooter Jared Loughner, who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and murdered Judge John Roll, and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Utah's enacted its white supremacy law despite having a population that's already 89% white.

Alabama's population is 68% white, 26% black, and 4% Latino.

"We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country," claimed Bentley, a Southern Baptist Deacon. "I campaigned for the toughest immigration laws, and I'm proud of the Legislature for working tirelessly to create the strongest immigration bill in the country."

"Illegal immigrants have become a drain on our state resources and a strain on our tax-paying, law-abiding citizens," said Alabama Republican Party chair Bill Armistead.

Armistead did not address the drain the state of Alabama is on the diverse law-abiding taxpayers of California and New York, who have to prop Alabama up. For every dollar in federal taxes Californians pay, their state receives just 78 cents back from Washington. New Yorkers get only 79 cents. The balance goes to Red States like Alabama that incessantly deride their sponsoring states and those states' taxpayers.

Despite their dependence on California dollars, folks in Alabama and other Red States are quick to taunt California any time there's any sort of disaster. Whenever there are wildfires or earthquakes in California, Red State evangelical supremacists quickly declare that God is punishing California for championing liberal positions or supporting the LGBTG community.

God, however, apparently was not punishing Alabama when the northern half of the state, including Bentley's home town of Tuscaloosa, was wiped out by an unprecedented series of tornadoes this spring. After all, Alabama will be rebuilt with generous blessings of California and New York tax dollars, many of which were paid by the Latinos, Asians and other subhuman mongrel races Alabama's superior whites disdain.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Khadafy Thanks Congress For Their Aid and Comfort

Members of Congress seem to have been having an inordinate number of problems with their communications of late. From ex- Rep. Chris Lee's (R-NY) bare-chested e-stalking, to future ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) Oscar Meyer tweets, Legislators have had all sorts of issues with their texting, sexting, tweeting and bleeping.

Finally, an older, wiser, more sober person of the Congressional persuasion had to step in and show everyone how it was done. Eschewing newfangled electronic social media, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) Thursdsay demonstrated true epistolary disgrace by receiving a plain old-school snailmail love tome from none other than Moammar Khadafy.

That would be bloodthirsty psychotic dictator Colonel Moammar Khadafy to you, plebe. Khadafy sent Boehner and Congressional leaders a smoochy, smoochy missive thanking them for all the helpful, comforting hearts and kisses Boehner, Congressional Republicans, and some Democrats toiled so diligently to give him in crafting and passing through the House Boehner's recent rebuke of President Barack Obama on the Libya intervention.

Now, line me up against a bullet-pocked wall and shoot me dead, but isn't there some blindfold-and-cigarettish sort of thingee in the US Constitution about providing aid and comfort to the enemy? Like it's generally frowned upon in certain patriotic circles. Surely, all those Republican Strict-Constitutionalists wouldn't have to buy a vowel to work out those blank spaces beside Vanna.
Article III.
Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.
There you go. No exchanging smoochy, smoochy love packages filled with cookies and potpourri and squishy fat cushions with folks whose day job consists of firing heat-seeking missiles at your pilots and generally prosecuting death and mayhem on the good guys.

Khadafy's love tome to Congress read, in part:
"I want to express my sincere gratitude for your thoughtful discussion of the issues.... We are counting on the United States Congress to its continued investigation of military activities of NATO and its allies to confirm what we believe is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1973."
Khadfay sounded pretty comforted by all the aid Boehner and his pals were giving him with obstructing Obama and trying to derail NATO's efforts to dislodge dreamy paramour Moammar.

Sounding astonishingly like a third-grader accused of liking a classmate of the opposite gender, Boehner spokesperson Brendan Buck sputtered, "If authentic, this incoherent letter only reinforces that Khadafy must go. There's no disagreement about that."  Sounding inauthentic and incoherent, Buck went on, "That's why so many Americans have questions - which the White House refuses to answer - about the Administration committing US resources to an operation that doesn't make his removal a goal."

Never mind that Obama said on March 3, "Moammar Khadafy has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave."

As soon as the President uttered those words, no Republican this side of John McCain and Lindsey Graham wanted anything to do with harming a hair on little Moammar's head.

Boehner personally crafted the bill passed through the House 268-145 June 3 which took Obama to task for green-lighting airstrikes against the Republicans' beau, and demanded the President answer 21 questions justifying the objectives, length, costs, and reasons for being so horrid to such a dreamy hunk as Moammar.

Now, Buck is flipping and flopping like a mackeral, trying to sound as though Boehner never, ever, pever, jever liked Moammar or thought he was the coolest dreamboat. Unless, of course, when Buck said Moammar "must go," he meant to the Iowa Caucuses, or, better yet, directly to Tampa, Florida for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Step aside Mitt, here comes a real hunk o,' hunk o' burnin' love.

Perhaps Republicans just have a hard time working out the whole America-is-our-side and the "Enemy"-is-the-other-side thing. It would go a long way toward explaining Sarah Palin's Paul-Revere-warning-the-British deal.

In fact, Boehner's resolution may have headed off embarassing passage of Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH) competing measure calling for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from the Libya intervention. Growing support of pacifist Kucinich's bill among anti-war libs, fiscal hawks, and Republicans eager to wipe Obama's eye alarmed Boehner and the more sober elements of the Republican leadership, prompting the hasty drafting of the bill that eventually garnered Khadafy's smooches.

The letter was addressed to the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who had acted like an icky shrew and voted, "No," on Boehner's aiding, comforting measure.

It was not known whether House Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) framed his copy, or decorated it with pink hearts and kisses and pressed it with dried flowers in his Memory Book.

It should come as no surprise to discover Republicans sit up at night under the bed covers with a flashlight swooning over mushy turtledove cooings with Moammar. After Khadafy blew Pan Am Flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, President George W. Bush declared the dictator was a bestest "friend" forever and a staunch bulwark against international terrorism.

While taunting the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is generally unseemly and unacceptable:
Boehner and Moammar sitting in a tree,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Republicans Gleefully Sabotage US Economy In Quest For White House

Vice President Joe Biden, Jr., aka "the Hostage," met with a half-dozen Congressional leaders in the latest of a half-dozen futile rounds of talks ostensibly aimed at reaching a debt reduction deal to clear the way for raising the nation's debt ceiling.

Futile not because raising the debt ceiling is normally a pro forma vote, and no discussion of slashing trillions from the federal budget while coddling the richest, most powerful plutocrats in history is really necessary. Futile not because addressing debt and budget deficits is vital to America's well being.

Futile because a solution is the last thing Republicans want.

Unfortunately for Biden, Congressional Democrats, and the American people, recent reports of a weakening economic recovery are sure to bolster and embolden Republicans, who are demanding an additional $2.5 trillion in tax subsidies to the world's wealthiest moguls in exchange for letting the federal government continue to lift the heaviest loads in running the world. Republicans are sure to be emboldened not because their schemes would actually reduce budget deficits or help grow the economy, but because the Republicans' real goal is to wreck the US economy and destroy Barack Obama's presidency.

To recapture the White House in 2012, Republicans would need an economic catastrophe like the disastrous free-market, trickle-down, supply-side, unregulated funny-money pyramid crash they caused in 2008. Fortunately for Republicans, they have the lingering effects of their disastrous free-market, trickle-down, supply-side, unregulated funny-money pyramid crash from 2008 to work with, and no one knows how to crash an economy better than Republicans. To guarantee Obama won't save America's economic hide, Republicans have been diligently obstructing any attempts to stimulate the economy, save for more tax giveaways to their plutocrat patrons, and relentlessly hammering Democrats to slash the spending that's been keeping America and the world treading water.

It is the perfect venue for the venerable Republican scam to create a disaster, then insist that they and the very schemes that caused the disaster are the only solution to the disaster they created. Fortunately for Republicans, most people nowadays have the attention span of an amoeba, so the scam works every time.

Biden's negotiations have reportedly netted $200 billion in spending cuts, or $200 billion in tax giveaways to the ultra-rich, depending on how you want to look at it. Republicans want trillions more, as the cost of their patrons' high-priced service providers has gone through the roof. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) boasted Thursday's talk would include GOP demands on entitlement reform, meaning that Republicans would demand slashing Social Security and Medicare, despite the electorates' universal rejection of GOP scams to privatize those vital lifelines.

Republicans have been demanding spending cuts that would exceed the amount the debt ceiling is raised. Across America, ignorant bumpkins who couldn't balance a checkbook to save their lives, and who form the core of the GOP constituency, cheer without understanding the issues in even the vaguest Sarah Palinesque way.

Republicans can be pretty smug, as Biden and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) are negotiating to save America, while Republicans are after the very opposite. If Democrats cave in to Republican demands, the GOP pols know as well as anyone the spending cuts alone would plunge America into another recession. If Democrats don't cave in, Republicans will refuse to hike the debt ceiling, cause America to default on maturing obligations, and plunge the entire world into global financial Armageddon.

Slashing spending has nothing to do with debt reduction. Anyone really interested in reducing debt would be talking about revenue reform. Slashing spending has nothing to do with stimulating the economy. Anyone really interested in stimulating economic growth would be investing in infrastructure, new technologies and education.

Neither have Republicans ever really been interested in fiscal restraint. Throughout the George W. Bush years, Republicans spent money like drunken sailors on a three-day pass in New York City after finding Donald Trump's wallet. Hardly a day went by Republicans didn't fling another billion dollars at Dick Cheney's Halliburton Corporation.

But, when the sober folks of America put Barack Obama in the White House, Republicans couldn't cut the purse strings fast enough. Granted, Democrats spent money on stupid things like propping up the financial system, saving millions of jobs in the auto industry, and building and repairing roads and bridges so they wouldn't fall down like the one Tim Pawlenty deferred maintenance on in Minnesota when he was ungovernor there. Republicans want money spent on important things, like vital subsidies to oil moguls who every year want an extra four billion dollar bills to stuff into strippers' g-strings.

When Republicans chant their mantra, "More tax breaks for the rich, more spending cuts on everything else," they do so not to grow America's economy or to create jobs. Growing America's economy would probably offend the GOP's Chinese and Russian plutocrat friends. And, why would Republicans want to create jobs in America after they'd diligently toiled thirty years to get rid of all the jobs in America and ship them to China and India? Those Chinese plutocrats friends would really be tee'd off, then.

No, Republicans chant the mantra, "More tax breaks for the rich, more spending cuts on everything else," solely to make sure their very, very rich and very, very powerful patrons over at all those Republican-boosting PACs and clubs become even richer and more powerful. And, lest anyone claim Republicans can't accomplish anything, let it be known that Republicans have succeeded in concentrating 84% of America's wealth in the hands of 20% of America's richest, whiniest, and most spoiled moguls and tycoons.

Republicans have no intention of doing anything to pull America out of the economic doldrums any time soon. Real economists and Republicans alike know that, after the crash of 2008, America needed government stimulus to pull the economy up by its bootstraps, needed more stimulus than it ever got, and still needs more stimulus now. That's why Republicans are so thoroughly focused on obstructing any sort of stimulus and thoroughly committed to slashing even baseline spending. All they have to do is destroy the economic recovery, plunge America into the second dip of a double-dip recession, blame it all on Obama, and wait for the amoeba-attention-spanned electorate to vote a Republican back into the White House.

Then, Republicans could really get on with the important work of handing every dollar, dime and penny in Medicare and Social Security to their very, very, very rich and powerful cronies.