Hear us now?

 Posted by at 18:51  Politics, Republicans
Feb 282011
 

Republicans are always saying that they are listening to America. Can they hear us now?

Poll shows support for organized labor

cbs022811poll.gif

As debate rages in Wisconsin and other states over limiting the power of unions, a new CBS News/New York Times survey finds that many Americans are siding with organized labor.

Fifty-six percent say they oppose cutting the pay or benefits of (largely unionized) public employees to reduce state budget deficits, while just 37 percent favor doing so. And 60 percent oppose eliminating some collective bargaining rights for public employee unions, while just one in three Americans supports that idea.

Meanwhile, a new poll by Public Policy Polling released today shows a serious case of buyer’s remorse in the state of Wisconsin itself. If the election for governor were held today, defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett would win over Republican Scott Walker by a margin of 52-45. The moral of that story? Be very careful of who you are voting for. You never know, they may win. It is sad that Wisconsinites have to learn their lesson the hard way.
 

Weekly Address 02-26-11

 Posted by at 09:13  Politics
Feb 262011
 

“Traveling the Country, Winning the Future”

From the White House weblog:

The President discusses his recent travels and the examples he’s seen of how America can win the future. He urges Congress to heed these examples in the coming budget debate and to tighten our belts without eliminating investments in innovation, education and infrastructure.

Click below to listen to the audio only:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Transcript follows the break.

Continue reading »

Feb 252011
 

Can you believe February is almost over? Seems like the year only started like yesterday. Oh, well. They say time speeds up as you get older.

Click. Enjoy.

auth022211.gif   bagley022411.jpg   beattie022411.jpg

beeler022211.jpg   bennett022311.jpg   bennett022411.jpg

bennett022511.jpg   branch022011.jpg   branch022211.jpg

englehart022111.jpg   fairrington022411.jpg   fitzsimmons022111.jpg

fitzsimmons022411.jpg   hands022411.jpg   jones022111.jpg

keefe022411.jpg   luckovich022011.jpg   morin022411.jpg

pett022411.jpg   plante022411.jpg   plante022511.jpg

rogers022011.jpg   sack021811.jpg   sack022411.jpg

toles022211.gif   wilkinson022211.jpg   wilkinson022511.jpg

As always, our thanks go to the talented and observant cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.
 

The Truth about Wisconsin

 Posted by at 17:37  Politics
Feb 242011
 

As difficult as it may be to believe, there are some out there who still think that the atrocities being perpetrated by Koch Brothers employee and current governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker have to do with balancing the budget of that state. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything young Mr. Walker and his Republican friends and masters are doing in Wisconsin right now is being done with the goal of breaking up the unions, diminishing the influence of the Democratic party and working to ensure a permanent Republican majority. It is all politics. Nothing more, nothing less.

This article by David Cay Johnston may help you understand more fully…

Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin: Who ‘Contributes’ to Public Workers’ Pensions?

When it comes to improving public understanding of tax policy, nothing has been more troubling than the deeply flawed coverage of the Wisconsin state employees’ fight over collective bargaining.

Economic nonsense is being reported as fact in most of the news reports on the Wisconsin dispute, the product of a breakdown of skepticism among journalists multiplied by their lack of understanding of basic economic principles.

Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans.

Accepting Gov. Walker’ s assertions as fact, and failing to check, created the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not.

Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

How can that be? Because the “contributions” consist of money that employees chose to take as deferred wages – as pensions when they retire – rather than take immediately in cash. The same is true with the health care plan. If this were not so a serious crime would be taking place, the gift of public funds rather than payment for services.

Thus, state workers are not being asked to simply “contribute more” to Wisconsin’ s retirement system (or as the argument goes, “pay their fair share” of retirement costs as do employees in Wisconsin’ s private sector who still have pensions and health insurance). They are being asked to accept a cut in their salaries so that the state of Wisconsin can use the money to fill the hole left by tax cuts and reduced audits of corporations in Wisconsin.

Please click on the articles title to continue reading. You will learn a lot. Believe me.
 

DOMA unconstitutional

 Posted by at 17:32  Politics
Feb 232011
 

I love it when the President of the United States and I are on exactly the same page…

Obama pulls defense for law banning gay marriage

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has determined that a federal law that barred gay marriages was unconstitutional and told government lawyers to stop defending it, the Justice Department said on Wednesday, a major reversal that quickly angered conservatives…

The decision by Obama to drop support for the law in federal courts came after he received a recommendation from Attorney General Eric Holder, who had conducted a detailed review over the past several weeks.

“While both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court,” Holder said in a statement.

The Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional when it was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 and it remains unconstitutional today. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has stated that she will introduce legislation to repeal the law, though it is highly unlikely that it will make it past the Republican Tea Party controlled House of Representatives. This is something the Democrats should have gotten off their duffs and done while the adults were still in charge of both house of Congress. I do not doubt that it will be repealed eventually – most unconstitutional laws are – but I don’t think it will be repealed right now. (Elections have consequences.)
 

Feb 222011
 

I realize I seem to have a habit of referring you to newspaper columns I find enlightening and that I believe you may also, but bear with me… here’s another. You need to share this one with everybody you know. It’s by Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. and goes a long way toward explaining why you hear a lot of the noise you hear on the television these days…

The Tea Party is winning

Take five steps back and consider the nature of the political conversation in our nation’s capital. You would never know that it’s taking place at a moment when unemployment is still at 9 percent, when wages for so many people are stagnating at best and when the United States faces unprecedented challenges to its economic dominance.

No, Washington is acting as if the only real problem the United States confronts is the budget deficit; the only test of leadership is whether the president is willing to make big cuts in programs that protect the elderly; and the largest threat to our prosperity comes from public employees.

Take five more steps back and you realize how successful the Tea Party has been. No matter how much liberals may poke fun at them, Tea Party partisans can claim victory in fundamentally altering the country’s dialogue.

Consider all of the problems taking a back seat to the deficit in Washington and the media. You haven’t heard much lately on how Wall Street shenanigans tanked the economy in the first place – and in the process made a small number of people very rich. Yet any discussion of the problems caused by concentrated wealth (a vital mainstream issue in the America of Andrew Jackson and both Roosevelts) is confined to the academic or left-wing sidelines.

Please click on the column’s title to continue reading.
 

Sunday reading 02-20-11

 Posted by at 17:10  Politics
Feb 202011
 

Everybody needs to read this, but most especially those of you who are now feeling “comfortable” with your employer-provided health insurance and those of you who are so fervently in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

Money Won’t Buy You Health Insurance

THIS isn’t the story of a poor family with a mother who has a dreadful disease that bankrupts them, or with a child who has to go without vital medicines. Unlike many others, my family can afford medical care, with or without insurance.

Instead, this is a story about how broken the market for health insurance is, even for those who are healthy and who are willing and able to pay for it.

Most employees assume that if they lose their job and the health coverage that comes along with it, they’ll be able to purchase insurance somewhere. The members of Congress who want to repeal the provision of last year’s health insurance law that makes it easier for individuals to buy coverage must assume that uninsured people do not want to buy it, or are just too cheap or too poor to do so.

The truth is that individual health insurance is not easy to get.

Please click on the article’s title to continue reading. If you’ve had an experience along these lines, I’m sure we’d all like to hear about it.
 

Union busting

 Posted by at 13:02  Politics, Republicans
Feb 202011
 

Have you been following what is happening in Wisconsin? I hope you have, because it is going to have a long lasting effect however it turns out. I also hope you understand that the desire of the Republican governor in that state to bust the unions has nothing whatsoever to do with budget problems. It’s all politics. This, from Agence France-Presse, is perhaps the best analysis I have read…

Republicans attack unions to hurt Democrats: analysts

MADISON, Wisconsin — Republican attempts to disband public workers unions in Wisconsin and other key states are part of a broad strategy to undermine US President Barak Obama and his Democrats at the ballot box, analysts said.

Unions have been the biggest sources of financial and grass roots, get-out-the-vote organizational support for Democrats and have long been a target of business-backed Republicans.

But they’ve seen their power and membership rolls shrink as the manufacturing sector declined and shifted to anti-union southern states, and now represent just 12 percent of US workers.

Public workers account for more than half of union rolls, even though a dozen states prohibit state and local government workers from forming unions.

And now Republican governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa are looking to curtail or even eliminate collective bargaining rights for state and local government employees.

The move to bust public unions is part of a broader attempt “to bring us closer to a more permanent Republican majority,” said Marjorie Hershey, a political science professor at Indiana University.

Republicans won a major victory last year when the Supreme Court overturned a ban on corporate spending in elections.

The flood of new money — $190 million by conservative groups compared with $94 million from liberals — helped propel Republicans to win back the House of Representatives and make major gains at the state level in November’s mid-term election.

It’s really just another salvo in the Republicans’ war against the middle class in America.

Please click on the headline to read the entire article. Thanks.

UPDATE: Also of interest: “What the Right-wing Assault on Women, Unions, the Environment, Health Care and PBS Is All About.”
 

Weekly Address 02-19-11

 Posted by at 09:01  Politics
Feb 192011
 

“Winning the Future at Intel”

From the White House weblog:

The President speaks from the Intel campus in Oregon about educating our kids for the jobs of tomorrow so we can make sure America wins the future.

Click below to listen to the audio only:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Transcript follows the break.

Continue reading »