Christy vs. Cantor—Cantor vs. Cantor

August 31, 2011 | Comments Off

8/31/11 With millions of Americans still recovering from Hurricane Irene, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is saying that emergency spending is contingent on offsetting cuts in the budget. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a fellow Republican whose state was hit hard has no patience for Cantor’s nonsense. “Our people are suffering now,” Christy said “and they need support now…(Congress) can all go down there and figure out budget cuts later.” It turns out that Cantor is at odds with himself. When his Congressional district was hit in 2004 by Tropical Storm Gaston, Cantor pleaded with the Bush Administration for help saying “Time is of the essence.” That same year Cantor voted against a bill to offset disaster relief. Eric, when you’re right, you’re right.

8/28/11 The Republican chorus against Medicare and Social Security is growing. Paul Ryan’s plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system was supported by nearly every Republican in Congress. The new GOP frontrunner, Rick Perry called these programs unconstitutional in his recent book Fed Up. Perry’s campaign tried to walk away from those views but the Texas Governor doubled down yesterday telling an Iowa audience “I haven’t backed off anything in my book.” Last week, Marco Rubio, the number one Vice Presidential prospect on a 2012 GOP ticket, said that Social Security and Medicare “have weakened us as a people.” Apparently, the GOP hopes to take back the White House by casting aside the most popular and successful government programs in history.

Al Qaeda Number 2 Killed in U.S. Drone Attack

August 28, 2011 | Comments Off

8/29/11 With the wall-to-wall coverage of Hurricane Irene in recent days, you might have missed this. A U.S. drone attack in Pakistan has taken out Al Qaeda’s new number two man, Abd al-Rahman. The New York Times reports that in the last year Al Rahman had taken over as Al Qaeda’s top operational planner. Conservative commentator Stephen Hayes called the killing of al-Rahman “Huge.” on Fox News Sunday. “It’s a very significant accomplishment. It’s big win for the United States. It’s a big win for the Obama Administration.” We agree.

8/27/11 During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama pointed out that Warren Buffet paid Social Security payroll tax on a fraction of 1% of his income, while the vast majority of Americans pay the tax on 100% of their income. That’s because all income above $106,800 is exempt from the payroll tax. Obama said that was “not fair” and urged that payroll taxes be applied to all income above $250,000. Bernie Sanders will now propose legislation to do exactly that. Sanders says his proposal will keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years without cutting any benefits. Concerned that Social Security is on the table for possible cuts by the Congressional “super committee,” Sanders says that “Social Security is a promise that we cannot break.”

8/27/11 During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama pointed out that Warren Buffet paid Social Security payroll tax on a fraction of 1% of his income, while the vast majority of Americans pay the tax on 100% of their income. That’s because all income above $106,800 is exempt from the payroll tax. Obama said that was “not fair” and urged that payroll taxes be applied to all income above $250,000. Bernie Sanders will now propose legislation to do exactly that. Sanders says his proposal will keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years without cutting any benefits. Concerned that Social Security is on the table for possible cuts by the Congressional “super committee,” Sanders says that “Social Security is a promise that we cannot break.”

8/26/11 Rick Perry raised some right-wing eyebrows not long ago when he said it was “fine with me” that New York State legalized gay marriage. “If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business,” Perry said. Now, however, Perry has signed an anti-gay marriage pledge, vowing to support a constitutional amendment calling for a nationwide ban on gay marriage. So much for state’s rights. Flip flop. Perry has also backed off his “fine with me” statement, telling a Christian radio station yesterday, “Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me.” Apparently Perry’s antipathy toward gay Americans is stronger than his support for federalism.

Perry Surges Ahead in GOP Race

August 25, 2011 | Comments Off

8/25/11 When Rick Perry threatened to get ’ugly” with a “treasonous” Ben Bernanke, we were convinced his campaign was in trouble. We figured it was a very good day for Mitt Romney. Turns out we were wrong. Rick Perry has been a candidate for President for less than two weeks. He has stomped over Michele Bachmann and her Iowa Straw Poll win and has surged into a double digit lead over Romney and everyone else. The latest Gallup Poll has Perry at 29%, Romney at 17%, Ron Paul at 13% and Bachmann at 10%. We clearly underestimated the depths to which the Republican primary electorate has sunk.

Republicans Want to Raise your Taxes

August 24, 2011 | Comments Off

8/24/11 Republicans talk a good game when it comes to boasting of their support for tax cuts. Turns out they really only care about cutting taxes for the wealthy. Back in 2009, virtually every Republican voted against one of the largest tax cuts in history when they voted against the Economic Recovery Act. Those tax cuts were all targeted to middle and working class families. Now, the GOP is lining up to oppose President Obama’s plan to renew the payroll tax “holiday,” which gives a family earning $50,000 a $1,000 tax cut. The same Republicans who insisted on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy now favor a tax increase on working and middle class families.

8/23/11 Eric Cantor demonstrated a lot of chutzpah accusing President Obama of inciting “class warfare,” in his Washington Post op-ed on Monday. As Jerry Iserson wrote recently on this site, “Republicans decry ‘class warfare’ and condemn ‘redistribution of wealth’ at the same time they have presided over the redistribution of wealth from the poor and the middle class into the hands of the already wealthy.” The fact is, the wealthiest 1 percent of families now owns roughly 34.3% of the nation’s net worth. The top 10% of families owns over 71%, The bottom 40% of the population owns well under 1%. Income disparity has never been greater. If there’s a class war going on, the wealthy have won decisively.

8/23/11 Eric Cantor demonstrated a lot of chutzpah accusing President Obama of inciting “class warfare,” in his Washington Post op-ed on Monday. As Jerry Iserson wrote recently on this site, “Republicans decry ‘class warfare’ and condemn ‘redistribution of wealth’ at the same time they have presided over the redistribution of wealth from the poor and the middle class into the hands of the already wealthy.” The fact is, the wealthiest 1 percent of families now owns roughly 34.3% of the nation’s net worth. The top 10% of families owns over 71%, The bottom 40% of the population owns well under 1%. Income disparity has never been greater. If there’s a class war going on, the wealthy have won decisively.

Perry Flip-Flopping on Social Security

August 22, 2011 | Comments Off

8/22/11 Rick Perry is flipping and flopping on his position that Social Security is unconstitutional and a “Ponzo scheme,” The GOP presidential candidate clearly expressed this view in his 2010 book Fed Up, while calling for privatization of the system. A Perry spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that Fed Up “is a look back, not a path forward” written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto.” This back flip is disingenuous. When Perry wrote the book he had no plans to run for President. Now that he’s a candidate, he running as fast as he can from his own words disparaging perhaps the most popular government program of all-time.

8/22/11 Last week Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman tweeted his belief in evolution and global warming—heretical positions for a Republican. Huntsman went on the attack yesterday on ABC’s This Week saying that the prevailing view of the GOP on these issues puts the party “on the wrong side of science and, therefore, in a losing position.” For good measure he took shots at all three leading Republican opponents—Romney, Perry and Bachmann but saved his strongest attack for Rick Perry, saying “I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party, you make yourself unelectable.” Huntsman has gotten himself back in the conversation but we don’t expect the Republican primary electorate to be receptive.

Perry Supports Texas Law Criminalizing Gay Sex

August 19, 2011 | Comments Off

8/18/11 Rick Perry may have argued on the basis of states’ rights that New York’s legalizing of gay marriage was “fine with me.” But Perry is no friend to the gay community. Back home in Texas, Perry still supports an anti-sodomy statute criminalizing gay sex. The law was ruled unconstitutional in the Lawrence v. Texas case in 2002, but at the time Perry said “I think our law is appropriate.” In his book Fed Up, which was published last fall, Perry criticized the Lawrence case as the work of “nine oligarchs in robes.” Rick Perry says he wants to make government as inconsequential in our lives as possible. Except, apparently in the bedroom.

Dr. James McClintock, a renowned University of Alabama-Birmingham marine biologist who has conducted research in Antarctica for more than 25 years, told me the following story. “You work in a scientific lab in the quietest place on Earth —Antarctica. “There’s a Crack! Boom! “You rush to the window of your remote lab with a number [...]

8/17/11 The Wisconsin recall elections are over. Two Democrats up for recall Tuesday night held onto their seats handily. All three Democrats facing recall have now won elections to hold onto their seats in the State Senate. Meanwhile, last week two of six recalled Republicans were toppled in their recall races. The Democrats needed to win three Republican seats to regain an outright majority in the State Senate. They fell short, so the GOP now clings to a 17-16 edge. But one of those 17 Republicans voted against Gov. Walker’s union-busting bill that led to the recalls. So all things considered, Democrats can claim a big victory. They’ve undone Walker’s working majority in the Senate and the next stop: Recall Scott Walker!

8/16/11 Paul Ryan, author of the infamous Ryan Plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, took a lot of heat from constituents at Town Hall meetings last April for his Medicare-killing plan. Ryan didn’t much like the criticism and now, during the current August recess, he won’t meet constituents face-to-face unless they pay $15 for the privilege. We couldn’t believe it either.

Perry Threatens to get "Ugly" with Fed Chairman

August 16, 2011 | Comments Off

8/16/11 It didn’t take long for Rick Perry to let loose his inner cowboy. The Texas Governor told an Iowa audience yesterday it would be “almost treasonous” for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to use Federal Reserve policy to stimulate the economy before the election. “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” Does the Governor’s thuggish statement threaten to derail the Perry boomlet? Perry doesn’t think so. Today he doubled down. “I am just passionate about the issue and we stand by what we said.” We’re thinking Mitt Romney is pretty happy today.

8/16/11 It didn’t take long for Rick Perry to let loose his inner cowboy. The Texas Governor told an Iowa audience yesterday it would be “almost treasonous” for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to use Federal Reserve policy to stimulate the economy before the election. “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” Does the Governor’s thuggish statement threaten to derail the Perry boomlet? Perry doesn’t think so. Today he doubled down. “I am just passionate about the issue and we stand by what we said.” We’re thinking Mitt Romney is pretty happy today.

8/16/11 Lawrence O’Donnell had been saying for months that Tim Pawlenty would end up winning the GOP nomination because he was only candidate without fatal flaws. O’Donnell was off last night due to the death of his mother but emailed his response to Pawlenty’s sudden departure from the race. “This is the year that the irrational vote is controlling Republican politics,” O’Donnell wrote. “Pawlenty’s problem turned out to be, despite all his right wing pandering, he just wasn’t crazy enough.” The Republican Party, O’Donnell concluded, “has decided to go in an irrational direction and I can’t predict the irrational.”

8/16/11 Lawrence O’Donnell had been saying for months that Tim Pawlenty would end up winning the GOP nomination because he was only candidate without fatal flaws. O’Donnell was off last night due to the death of his mother but emailed his response to Pawlenty’s sudden departure from the race. “This is the year that the irrational vote is controlling Republican politics,” O’Donnell wrote. “Pawlenty’s problem turned out to be, despite all his right wing pandering, he just wasn’t crazy enough.” The Republican Party, O’Donnell concluded, “has decided to go in an irrational direction and I can’t predict the irrational.”

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