Tag - Congress

Floods in The Balkans – US Suspects Floods Caused by Al Quaeda, Balkan Div.

In response to the devastating floods in the Balkans, where they’ve received 3 months’ rain in 3 days, (Making California and most of the Western US Jealous), the US Government is on the alert for the perpetrators.

They’re not looking at the Koch brothers (and other climate change deniers), oh no, they are completely innocent and this was no “extreme weather” event. It’s much more sinister.

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The Problem is not The POTUS, but The GOTUS.

Okay, I ought really be shoveling the 4 foot drift blocking my one and only egress from my apartment, but instead I wondered over to Ian’s blog. After reading this post I left this comment.

If Obama were truly a dictator you could lay the blame for the increased income disparity at his feet. However, he has to contend with another branch of the government. A branch of government that has not even allowed him to hire the people he wants to work in his branch of government.

I’m not a rabid Obama supporter; I believe he is wrong about drone use, as well as not getting behind reigning in the NSA fast enough. However, as an American I’d rather it be recognized that more people than Obama are responsible for crafting and implementing the laws in our country. Had Obama had to deal with a progressive, left-leaning congress, perhaps we would be seeing less of an income disparity.

It’s really an irritating habit of people (inside and outside of the US) to speak of President Obama as some sort of all powerful leader when the rules of being the President of the United States were purposefully written to prevent just that from happening. And as the Constitution of the United States was written by imperfect people (hence the “more perfect union” statement), it’s rather dubious to demand that a leader be perfect.

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Buying the fiction

Today’s media will become rapturous over pretty much any line of bullshit that is fed to it by the power structure these days. A two-year budget that reduces the deficit by $2.3 billion in ten years, we are told by pundits and the media, is a “triumph of bipartisanship.”

Really? For one thing, a two-year budget can’t do anything in ten years; it’s a two-year budget, not a ten-year budget. At best, it reduces the deficit by $4.6 $460 million in two years, and $4.6 $460 million is pocket change.

In this country you can pretty much “fool all of the people all of the time.” The media and voters fall for the fiction that Congress is reducing the deficit by billions (well, two billion), not noticing the fiction in that the reduction is over ten years while the budget is only two years, and falls for the big number (semi-big number), not noticing that the reduction is less than one percent.

And the only thing bipartisan about this steaming pile of dog crap is that both parties looked at the calendar and realized that it is time to go home for Christmas. They bipartisanly agreed that they did not want to spend Christmas in Washington engaging in another futile exercise of shutting down the government, so they bipartisanly agreed to put a bunch of bogus numbers on paper, bipartisanly label it a “budget,” and bipartisanly ram it through both houses of Congress.

Budget deal – Corporate welfare trumps jobless benefits

Same as it ever was....

Same as it ever was….

Christmas came a few days early for corporate interests and won’t arrive for the jobless as a result of the budget deal just announced.  Seeking to avoid the public relations disaster of the last budget fight, Republican negotiator Rep. Paul Ryan worked out a deal to avoid another dust up.   Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), represented the Obama administration

The deal restores some of the cuts from the sequestration process, mainly to defense programs.  It is described as a “small deal” that fails to do much for either deficit reduction or to promote economic growth.

There is no provision for extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits.  Between Christmas and New Years, 1.3 million citizens will lose their benefits.  Another 850.000 will lose benefits by the end of March 2014.

At the same time, airlines got some relief and the planned 24% cut to Medicare physician fees was delayed.  These rates are already low.  The restoration on fees will probably prevent the start of an exodus of physicians away from Medicare.

Some Democrats are upset that the unemployment insurance extension was left out of the budget deal and the Tea Party faction of Republicans complained that there the deal does nothing about deficit reduction.  They’re both right.   Read More

Why are Obama’s poll numbers so high?

Job aproval (+), disapproval (-) ratings since September - Obama and Congress.  Polls since September that measured presidential and congressional job approval. (pollingreport.com)

Job approval (+), disapproval (-) ratings since September – Obama and Congress. Polls since September that measured both presidential and congressional job approval. (pollingreport.com)

 

A new poll found that President Obama’s job approval rating dropped to 42%, and his disapproval rating hit 55%, an all time high.  The popular question is how did his approval rating get this low.?

That’s the wrong question, in my opinion.  Here’s the more salient question.  Why has the president’s job approval rating stayed so high?

In early September, the president got all worked up over the use of chemical weapons, allegedly by arch nemesis Bashar al-Assad of Syria.  Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry reached peak invective at the Syrian government just before either or both the House and Senate stood ready to vote down the request to attack the beleaguered nation.   Russian President Vladimir Putin rescued the administration from an epic legislative defeat through the successful substitution of diplomacy for war.

The administration followed that failure with one closer to home, the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Obamacare health insurance exchanges.  The Canadian company in charge of the web site apparently never heard of Beta testing and quality assurance.  The person designated to fix the initial problems said the site would be working by the end of November.  Maybe, maybe not.  Read More

At our expense

It's the Money Party in action!

It’s the Money Party in action!

The drama of the government shutdown and threatened default on government obligations is entirely unnecessary.  It is also harmful to the people of the United States.  Government workers and contractors are idle and without income.  Their communities feel the economic impact.  The threat of a default is stalling investment and hiring across the country.  And, the world watches and judges as Congress engages in its dangerous games.

The overarching threat is an incremental shutdown of all government services beginning on October 17.  Either the debt ceiling is raised, something that’s been done 78 times since 1960, or the Treasury department begins paying debts from government funds on hand until that money runs out.  It’s not that we lack the money.  This is a tantrum, pure and simple. Read More

The people spoke through the eloquence of unity on Syria

4thjulyI rejoice that America has resisted
William Pitt to Parliament, 1766

Sixteen years before the British gave up their war effort in the American colonies, William Pitt and others told King George III that he was absolutely wrong to kill and maim Americans seeking freedom. (Image)

Every day of every year from Pitt’s warning in 1766 through the end of the British effort in 1782 was wasted time for the people on each side of the Atlantic.  Lives and opportunities were lost.  The only beneficiaries were the war merchants and the insane monarch, George.  His madness was florid, without any restraint.

A leading newspaper characterized Parliament’s action in 1782 to stop funding the war as the end of “an offensive war in America, for the impracticible object of reducing the Colonies to obedience by force.”  Read More

A serious question for Democrats on Syria

The fake cowboy and the fake liberal are real buddiesLeaders of the Democratic Party and their media side kicks are giving President Barack Obama a free ride on his proposal to attack Syria.  Along with the Republican leadership, they’re ignoring the strong opposition to any attack by citizens in both parties and independents.

The president’s proposed military strike targets a government that has neither attacked nor threatened to attack us or our allies.  Obama did so without any intent to get congressional approval and before any evidence was made public.  He and the Secretary of State announced the attack without regard to clear international law which bars the unprovoked attacks on sovereign nations.

We are told, Trust me.  I’ve made the decision.

Does this remind you of anyone?  The president is Barack Obama but the words sound just like those of former President George W. Bush before the 2003 Iraq invasion.  Read More

Approval of Syria Attack by Congress – No Slam Dunk

While the al-Qaeda-allied Syrian rebels murder Christians and desecrate churches, Pres. Obama sends them weapons to continue their rampage—all while the President fights to restrict Americans’ gun rights here at home and treats all Americans as terror suspects who must be constantly spied on. Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), June 15 at 2:40pm

Secretary of State John (Shock & Awe) Kerry - less than a "slam dunk"

Secretary of State John (Shock & Awe) Kerry – less than a “slam dunk”

Congressional approval of the Obama administration attack on Syria is no slam dunk.  McClatchy News cited the concerns of Rep. Peter King (R-NY) who said, “If the vote were held today, it would probably be a ‘no’ vote”

The mood of the House of Representatives was reflected in two open letters to President Obama

Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent the president an open letter urging caution on Syria, stressing the requirement for congressional approval,  and arguing that the administration should work through the United Nations.  Fifty-three liberal Democrats signed it.   Republican Rep.  Scott Rigell (R-VA) sent an open letter to the president stating the requirement for congressional approval prior to any military action in Syria.   One hundred and forty members of Congress signed the letter.  Twelve signatories were Democrats who also signed the letter from Rep. Lee.  Read More

Hitting legislators in the wallet- an idea whose time has come

CHICAGO (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn suspended Illinois lawmakers’ pay on Wednesday, following through on his warning of consequences if they failed to come up with a solution to the state’s nearly $100 billion pension crisis. The Chicago Democrat said he used his line-item veto power in a budget bill that was on his desk, and vowed to not accept a salary himself until a deal has been reached. Lawmakers, who receive an annual salary of $68,000 and additional pay for leadership positions, would have to vote to reject his changes if they want to get paid. Quinn, who has made pension reform his main focus for nearly two years, said he wanted to spur lawmakers into action.

Hitler1When legislators dawdle and engage in political gamesmanship when events call for making tough decisions, it’s easy to understand why We The Sheeple get frustrated. The worst example of this, of course, is Congress, where Republicans have raised obstruction, hyper-partisanship, and lack of compassion to new heights- or depths, depending upon your perspective. Illinois’ legislators are demonstrating themselves to be no different in terms of their willingness to fiddle while Rome- or in this case, Illinois- burns.

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The recession’s over? When do we get our American Dream back?

Greed is good.

– Gordon Gekko, Wall Street

SAVINGSIt seems as if we spend a good deal of attention span on the recession, or at least the mainstream media’s portrayal of it. If you get your news from the MSM, you’re probably thinking that the economy’s in good shape because the stock market has rebounded and achieving new heights. That’s good news to be sure, but the state of the stock market has little to any impact on the financial stability of mainstream America. The recovery on Wall Street may mean the stock portfolio of those who bring us the news are in better shape, but it does little to improve the lives of those not in high-level corporate positions.

We live in an America in which middle class wages don’t begin to keep pace with the rising cost of living. Millions of America could honestly say that their quality of life is lower that what their parents enjoyed…and many of those same Americans are living with their parents.

(Read the full post at What Would Jack Do?)

Assaulted Nuts

What the hell is Harry Reid thinking?

reidReid insisted yesterday that all of these measures deserved a vote — but that including some of them in the main legislative package brought to the Senate floor would sink the entire effort. The main bill that Reid will introduce will have to get at least 60 votes to get past a GOP-led filibuster, he explained. So by starting with a pared-down bill, Reid said he could at least get a gun control measure on the Senate floor. At that point, the assault weapons ban and other less popular measures could be voted on as amendments.

Now, if you’re telling me that this is a maneuver to avoid a filibuster on gun control legislation and the intent is, once past the blockade, amendments (which only need a simple majority to be included) can be added, then hey, that’s OK. The Dems have more than a simple majority and can easily tack on any number of amendments. Read More

Leading Indicator – Utah (and the governor is not happy)

herbertUtah governor Gary Herbert is not amused.  In fact, he’s pretty pissed off at the mindless Frankenstein of the March 1 sequestration that will result in robo-cutting federal programs across the country.  He estimates that Utah will lose $550 million in federal funding abruptly.

“Utah’s fundamentals are strong, as evidenced by continued state economic growth. Unemployment is down, wages are up and the local economy is growing, but nevertheless Washington, D.C., is having a chilling effect on our state’s recovery. We would be seeing even greater growth were it not for the backdrop of federal uncertainty and a fragile national economic recovery. Governor Gary Herbert’s Blog, Feb 25

This is a clear indication that nobody out there, regardless of party, in charge of running a state, county, or city government sides with the Tea Party extremists in their effort to fix everything right now – i.e., sequestration.  Just imagine the phone calls from all of these officials, especially the Republicans.  This may equal the call intensity from citizens in opposition to the first bailout (which was defeated). Read More

Sequestration Stimulus Program No. 1 – Bankruptcies

Michael Collins

iconWe are at the mercy of fools.  If members of Congress won’t stop the March 1 budget sequestration, there is a price to pay.  Congress won’t pay it.  We will.

Let’s start with one of the worst financial crises that can hit an individual or family – bankruptcy.   Increased bankruptcies are just one of the likely outcomes of the latest congressional action to sabotage the barely noticeable economic recovery.  Let’s call it the sequestration stimulus program.

Sequestration is a mandated budget cutting process that kicks in should Congress fails to pass a budget that includes spending cuts required by the 2011 Budget Control Act.  This was part of the deal to get the debt ceiling raised in August 2011, our last budget drama.  Nondefense spending will take a 5% hit and, the sacred cow, defense spending, will be reduced by 8%.   The cuts are applied across the board to discretionary programs (Social Security and Medicare are excluded). Read More