Someone posted a summation of the scheme to destroy the USPS:
Okay so basically the Republicans set up the USPS to fail so they could privatize it? Scary.
Congress can fix the Postal Service's financial problems
Okay so basically the Republicans set up the USPS to fail so they could privatize it? Scary.
“The future rewards those who press on. With patient and firm determination we will press on. I don’t know about you CBC, but the future rewards those who press on. With patient and firm determination, I’m going to press on for jobs. I’m going to press on for equality. I’m going to press on for the sake of our children. I’m going to press on for the sake of all those families who are struggling right now. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on. I expect all of you to march with me, and press on. Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes, shake it off, stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying, we are going to press on, we’ve got work to do-CBC!”
First Lady Michelle Obama travels to Fayetteville, North Carolina to join Extreme Makeover: Home Edition as they build a dream home for Barbara Marshall, a veteran, and her military family. This is what Joining Forces is all about, and because of everyone's hard work and her new home, Barbara Marshall is able to better serve her community but most of all inspire others to do the same.
I Told You So: President Obama to Use Veto Pen to Force Congress' Hand on Revenue
When on August 1, I wrote that the debt limit deal was an unvarnished win for the President and called out Paul Krugman for being a political rookie, TPV got acclaims good and ill - Stephanie Miller picked up and read the piece live on her radio show approvingly, Huff-and-Puff Post and Keith Olbermann were very upset at our establishment of the phrase "firebagger Lefty blogosphere" to describe the knee-jerk pretend-Leftists, and ABC News did a rather factual story about the controversy.
At that time, I told you that the president, by taking social security, programs for the poor and students, and Medicare and Medicaid benefits off the table, would force the 'supercommittee' to come up with revenue increases; with the threat of the Bush tax cuts expiring at the end of 2012. I told you at the time that the president would use his veto pen to force Congress' hands.
Well, guess what just happened...
President Obama called on Monday for Congress to adopt his “balanced” plan combining entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings to reduce the federal deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years, and said he would veto any approach that relied solely on spending reductions to address the fiscal shortfall.
“I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans,” he said. “And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share.
Here's the Presidents speech today at the Rose Garden outlining the plan:
I feel like going to the Firebagger Lefty Blogsphere and doing the "told you so" dance. But first, I will wear my nerdy wonk hat and see what the president is actually proposing in his plan to both reduce the budget deficit and pay for the American Jobs Act. President Obama is proposing about $3 trillion in deficit reductions (far above and beyond the Congressional supercommittee's mandate of $1.5 trillion) over the next decade:
•$1.5 trillion in tax revenue increases.
•$1.1 trillion in savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
•$580 billion in savings to entitlements, including Medicaid, Medicare, the VA and other health and entitlement programs (there are no benefit cuts).
There are a lot of other savings, which I will cover in a detailed post later. Of the $1.5 trillion in tax revenue increases, $800 billion would come from letting the high-end Bush tax cuts expire and $700 billion from limiting itemized deductions for that same tax bracket (top 2% of income earners) and closing down corporate and individual tax loopholes that riddle the tax code and serve as a welfare system for the uber-rich. It would also include something called the Buffet-rule, imposing a minimum tax rate on millionaires, ensuring they pay at least the same tax rate as the middle class, which we all know today they don't.
Before anyone on the Left freaks out about the Medicare savings, the detailed plan from the president lays out no cuts in benefits, nor does it raise the Medicare eligibility age. So where do the savings come from? $224 billion over 10 years from by providing payment incentives based on quality of care rather than number of scans for patients, $24 billion from reducing subsidies to wealthy beneficiaries and $20 billion from raising part B and D premiums on the same group, cutting $20 billion in subsidies to hospitals, several other structural, patient-centric reforms as well as cutting waste, fraud and abuse. Essentially, it follows pretty closely with the reform outlines I pointed out in an earlier article over the Medicare freakouts from the Left.
The president's move is both substantively productive and politically genius. The President is going to get tax revenue increases, one way or another. Either Congress follows his plan, or reforms the tax code as a whole, making it fairer. Or, the president vetoes the bill (IF it can get out of both houses), and the additional cuts included in the debt deal ensue in 2013, the same time as the Bush tax cuts expire (yes, for everyone). Republicans can force this to be an election issue, but if they do, they will lose. President Obama will hold up a choice to voters: re-elect him and elect a Democratic Congress, who will prevent the middle class tax raisers (and some of the cuts) and replace it with revenue in the next Congress, or elect the Republicans who will devastate our social compact.
John Boehner must be breaking into tears right about now. During the debt ceiling talks, the President offered him $4 trillion in deficit reductions, ranging from a 3:1 to a 60:40 ratio of cuts vs revenue increases. Look at it now, and the actual ratio of cuts vs. revenue increases that the president is offering is about 1:3, given that the wars would wind down anyway. Even if you include the $1 trillion in cuts made in the debt limit bill, the ratio is still half and half cuts and tax revenue raisers. On top of it, Boehner's got a veto threat from the president, which, if materialized, would mean over a half a trillion cut from the Republican darling program of Defense (ahem, actually, probably defense contracting) and from other programs including the provider side of Medicare, who, as I noted in my piece in August, donate mostly to Republicans. Can you imagine the lobbyist pressure on Boehner right now? Poor bastard.
Republicans are going to have a choice. Do they want to face the wrath of the VA and the Pentagon by forcing cuts, or do they brush off the Tea Party and do what is right and include revenue raisers? As the president said, it's not class warfare; it's math.
Melissa Harris-Perry, professor of political science at Tulane University, talks with Rachel Maddow about a nation-wide effort by state Republican leaders to reconfigure voting rules, independent of principle, to bias the electoral system against President Obama's re-election.
Obama Gets Credit for Jobs in Michigan Where Voters Disapprove
By David J. Lynch
Sep 12, 2011 9:15 AM CT
Wes Smith probably would have lost his family-owned company if it weren’t for one of President Barack Obama’s signature economic policies: the $82 billion bailout of General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler Group LLC.
“I could be out of business,” Smith said. “Do I think about that often? Absolutely.”
Instead, E&E Manufacturing Co., the Plymouth, Mich., auto- parts maker Smith’s father-in-law founded in 1962, is rebounding from the depths of the financial crisis. Annual sales of about $75 million are up about 50 percent from their nadir. The company has added about 70 jobs since employment bottomed at 280, down from a pre-crisis high of 480.
E&E’s resurgence is part of a broader auto-industry comeback that analysts say vindicates the government’s activism in financing and arranging the 2009 GM and Chrysler bankruptcies.
While Republicans assailed the intervention as evidence of Obama’s addiction to state-centric solutions, the industry has added almost 133,000 U.S. jobs since its 2009 low point, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the U.S. government has recovered all but $1.3 billion of the $12.5 billion it spent to prop up Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler, now controlled by Italy’s Fiat SpA, and almost half of the $49.5 billion devoted to GM in Detroit.
“It was one of the better policy responses to the financial panic and recession,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The auto industry “is one of the more powerful sources of growth in the recovery.”
One thing the industry’s Lazarus-like revival hasn’t done, however, is pay political dividends for Obama.
“I have no faith in this administration,” said Smith, 55, criticizing what he said is the president’s failure to encourage corporate investment in the U.S.
The sour grapes aren’t limited to Republicans such as Smith. In the latest EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan voters, 65 percent gave Obama a negative job-performance rating -- worse than the 50 percent disapproval mark in the latest national Gallup poll. Even a majority of traditionally Democratic union households in Michigan gave Obama a thumbs-down.
James Mead, 46, hired as a welder after six months of unemployment, shrugs at the president’s role in saving companies like his new employer.
“I think it’s something the government had to do,” he said in an interview. “If they didn’t and the auto industry collapsed, we would have had a depression.”
Explaining the Death Penalty to My Children
A family struggles to understand why Georgia prisoner Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed, even though the case against him has fallen apart.
"How does it work?" my eight-year-old asked last Saturday morning . "Will he just stand there and have to -- let them kill him?"
She was asking me about Troy Davis, a man on Georgia's death row who is slated to be executed on September 21.
There's been much talk about Davis in our house, so the night before, I'd tried to explain: Found guilty of killing a police officer, Davis was sentenced to death in 1991, but in the meantime, the case against him has fallen apart.
Seven out of the nine people who said it was him have "recanted" or changed their testimony, I told my daughter and her older brother, explaining what that meant. "What about the other two?" my son asked.
Well, I don't know about one of them, I said, but the other -- Sylvester "Redd" Coles, the first person to accuse Davis -- might have actually been the shooter. Since Davis's conviction, several people have testified that he lied about Davis to protect himself. And boasted about getting away with it.
To make things worse, I said, they don't have any physical evidence against Davis either, nothing you can see or touch. What little physical evidence the State of Georgia once had it has since withdrawn -- new forensics technologies have revealed grievous error, and the assumptions of the past were shown to be wrong.
I explained a little about the appeals process, but also that once you're found guilty of something, it's very hard to get that changed. Try as I might, I couldn't reasonably explain to my children why the judge who heard new testimony at a 2010 hearing rejected that testimony -- I don't understand, I said, why he felt the witnesses must have been trustworthy in 1991, but that they no longer were 19 years later.
Gerald Hankerson and Megan Thomas talked about Troy Davis and the upcoming rally to support him and block his execution.
A Foot On The Scale? Pennsylvania GOPers Propose Splitting State’s Electoral Votes
Eric Kleefeld September 13, 2011, 4:04 PM
Pennsylvania Republicans, who won the governorship and full majority control of the legislature in 2010, are now setting their sites on a major change — to the state’s Electoral College votes, which have been regularly won statewide by Democrats for 20 years, in the winner-take-all system used by nearly all the states.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi are proposing that the state divide up its Electoral College votes according to which candidates carried each Congressional district, plus two votes for the statewide winner. The system is used by Maine — which, despite the system, has never actually split its four electoral votes — and by Nebraska, which gave one of its five votes to Barack Obama in 2008.
Pennsylvania, however, will have 20 electoral votes in the 2012 election. What’s more, the measure would give even greater meaning to the state’s redistricting for the House of Representatives, giving it a powerful effect over the presidency in addition to the House.
Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992, and voted for Barack Obama by 55%-44% in 2008. Indeed, over the past 50 years it has only voted Republican in presidential landslides for the GOP: 1972, 1980, 1984, and finally 1988. While the results have sometimes been narrow for the Dems, it is a state that can be expected to vote Democratic for president in the context of a close national campaign, such as its votes for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.
Had this proposed system been in place in 2008, when Obama won the state by a ten-point margin, he in fact would have only taken 11 out of the state’s 21 electoral votes at the time — due to a combination of past Republican-led redistricting efforts to maximize their district strength, and Obama’s votes being especially concentrated within urban areas.
Top DOT official tells staff not to mention free voter ID cards to the public — unless they ask
An internal memo from a top Department of Transportation official instructs workers at Division of Motor Vehicles service centers not to tell members of the public that they can obtain voter identification cards free of charge -- unless they know to ask for it.
The memo, recently obtained by The Capital Times, was written by Steve Krieser and sent to all state Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles employees on July 1, the same day employees were to begin issuing photo IDs in accordance with a controversial new Voter Photo ID law adopted earlier in the year.
As laid out in the memo, failure to check a box when applying for photo ID with the Division of Motor Vehicles will result in the payment of $28. Interviews conducted about the memo suggest the state is more interested in continuing to charge the fee, which is required for a photo ID used for non-voting purposes, than it is in removing all barriers and providing easy access to a free, photo ID.
"While you should certainly help customers who come in asking for a free ID to check the appropriate box, you should refrain from offering the free version to customers who do not ask for it," Krieser writes to employees.
Krieser, who was recently promoted to executive assistant to the DOT secretary, instructs staff that customers should "self certify" their eligibility for the free ID. They can do that, he writes, if they meet the documentation requirements; if they are at least 17 years old; if they have checked the correct certification box on the new forms; and, most significantly, if they are "asking for a product that is available for free issuance."
The law, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker on May 25, requires Wisconsin residents to present identification before they can vote. Republicans said it was necessary to combat voter fraud.
Acceptable forms of identification under the law include Wisconsin driver's licenses, certain student identification cards, passports, and voter identification cards for the thousands of residents who may not have any of those documents.
Democrats fought hard against the law, and the internal memo will likely provide further ammunition to charges that it is a modern-day version of the poll taxes once used to disenfranchise voters in the South, most of them African-American. Typically under those laws, citizens were required to pay to vote unless they had a father or grandfather who had voted prior to the abolition of slavery. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1966 that such laws were unconstitutional.
"It was clear to me from the beginning that people would be disenfranchised because of this law," says state Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D- Madison, after reading a copy of the memo. "Now we have the proof that people are not going to be getting these IDs unless the say the ‘magic words.'"
Similarly, Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now describes the memo as "the smoking gun" proving the legislation was always about denying people the right to vote. The director of the progressive advocacy group has for months disputed the GOP contention that the bill was needed to thwart massive voting fraud, citing the fact that fewer than two dozen people were charged with casting improper votes in the 2008 state elections.