47% of Congress Members Millionaires - a Status Shared by Only 1% of Americans
47% of Congress is in the 1% of America's wealthiest citizens. No wonder they act the way they do...
UPDATE: Instead of 1%-er Congressmen and Senators taking care of them and theirs, how about a balanced approach to the economy as proposed by Elizabeth Warren, soon to be a peer of Senators Bennet and Udall?
1. End the war in Afghanistan that costs $2 Billion a week.
2. Tax Billionaires at a rate at least as much as their secretaries.
3. Make targeted cuts in defense and end subsidies for the most profitable corporations in America.
President Obama wants to "criminalize" free speech, according to a leading GOP congressmen.
Trent Franks (R-AZ) (Dang, I was going to guess Texas - Z) discussed the President's response after an anti-Muslim video provoked widespread riots in Libya and elsewhere, telling radio host Mike Huckabee that Obama "has a general trend of subordinating the constitutional rights." Obama had released a statement the morning after the violence that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens saying, "While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants."
Both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the importance of free speech in their responses to the violence.
Franks went on to argue that Obama is taking aim at the First Amendment: "I really believe that this administration is moving towards being willing to criminalize certain things that we hold as free speech in America."
FRANKS: I believe that there is ubiquitous evidence that this administration has a general trend of subordinating the constitutional rights that we hold very dearly as Americans to placate sometimes our enemies who have nothing but derision toward us, and I'm convinced that it is playing out even in the events of recent days. I really believe that this administration is moving towards being willing to criminalize certain things that we hold as free speech in America. [...] When we begin to say that we're going to potentially criminalize people criticizing a religion, then we are stepping away from the First Amendment and one of the foundations that made America the greatest country in the world.
First, I don't think ubiquitous means what this guy thinks it means. Maybe he's just proud he can pronounce it. Second, criticizing Islam is okey-dokee with these guys, so there goes that point. Third, it would actually have to be the morons in congress who pass a law against free speech, and the politicians on the Supreme Court to uphold it.
Both are now firmly in the grasp of Republicans like Trent Franks.
I may have to start grading these this, this was hardly an impressive lie.
"Like the pro-slavery forces who invaded Kansas, the pro-abortion forces in Washington and elsewhere want us to believe that abortion is not murder -- that being born is worse than death, that the unborn baby is property, not a person.
"I am incensed that this president pays money to an entity that was created for the sole purpose of killing children that look like mine -- a racist organization, and it continues specifically to target minorities for abortion destruction. Shame on this president and shame on that party."
The number of lies in that thing is hard to count. The amount of stupidity might be able to be measured.
The source is as usual: An Elected Republican pandering to its Tea Party base.
Republicans seem to be either exposing the depths of their own stupidity or testing the limits of voters' gullibility each and every day. (Google "louie gomert" or "rand paul schooled" if you're not sure.)
Either way they just keep espousing more outrageous ideas as November's election gets nearer.
When I meet with young people, who are just out of college, attending these fairs, I always ask them what they majored in. Far too often, it is a four-year degree that doesn't give them the technical skills that directly leads them to employment.
Now, they not only can't find a job from their four-year degree, but often burdened with debt from their student loans.
I think it is time to question whether a significant number of the majors taught at undergraduate institutions are a good investment.
This relates to the taxpayers, who subsidize the cost of higher education by either bearing part of the cost at public institutions, or by subsidizing loan programs at private ones.
Graduates, with liberal arts degrees, often find entry level jobs that are little better than what they would have gotten had they never attended college in the first place.
ColoradoPols points out some truth regarding liberal arts degrees:
"There has been data to suggest that even though liberal arts graduates in an entry-level position tend to earn less than their counterparts who have very career-focused [degrees], within 10 to 20 years they tend to outpace their counterparts in terms of income," she says.
The holy grail of higher income should have been enough to shut Coffman up about the value of a well-rounded education and the critical need for a modern economy to invest in its citizens workers. Part of America's exceptionalism is the fact that educating its people was a fundamental principle held by most of our Founders. And this is a guy who complained President Obama didn't understand that very principle.
Maybe he skipped class that day.
But I don't think Coffman's goal was to question a liberal arts degree or the value of higher education. His bottom line, in line with modern Republican dogma, is that the government shouldn't educate its citizens to the highest standards of learning, even though that idea is key to our prosperity and a founding principle of our republic.
Coffman's unspoken point was that education should privatized, charterized, profitized, and left to the vagaries of the free market. If someone so happened to end up educated it was because they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps with a philisophical "huzzah" from Ayn Rand. And if they don't have an education, so be it and why should we care?
I can hardly think of a more selfish, self-centered and ignorant congressman from Colorado than Mike Coffman. It's quite obvious a liberal arts education would have done him much good. If he had one, we'd be represented by someone with a little more smarts in their head, concern for the common welfare of his fellow citizens, and committed to educating all Americans to be the best thinkers and doers in the world.
The red line is you, me, our neighbors and friends as we are currently being subjected to the economic austerity plan inflicted on us by Congressional Republicans who are determined to make Barack Obama fail - no matter the cost to their fellow American citizens.
"This is Democrats' best opportunity to pick up a seat in the entire Mountain West." - The Cook Political Report
Both Cook and Rothenberg Political Reports believe Joe Miklosi has a good chance of beating incumbent Mike Coffman in CD6. In today's Cook Report, it states Colorado Democrats "scored a huge coup" from the state judge who redrew Congressional boundaries, and acknowledges that Coffman and Tipton's continuous controversies are making those districts increasingly winnable for Democrats. The article also reminds readers that under the new lines drawn for CD6, Obama won by fify-four percent in 2008.
The Cook article continues on to review Coffman's unpatriotic comment about the President at the Elbert County fundraiser, and his embarrassing string of foot-in-mouth moments trying to do damage control. In their words, Coffman "demonstrated that he hasn't adjusted to life as a swing district candidate".
The Cook Article goes on to say this:
Through mid-June, however, Miklosi has raised $641,000 and should be able to stockpile all of it for November since he's facing only token opposition in the primary. This is Democrats' best opportunity to pick up a seat in the entire Mountain West.
Why do these reports matter? Both the Cook Report and the Rothenberg Political Report influence potential donors who hope to score political points by donating to the candidate with the best chance of winning. Until 2012, that man was always Mike Coffman in CD6. Look for Miklosi's fundraising -- and odds -- to improve as big donors balance their bets on both candidates.
Dear Women of Colorado (And The Men Who Love Them),
While you've been busy raising your children, going to work, and caring for everyone around you, Tea Party crazies have been trying to take away women's rights and plunge us back into a previous century.
In 2010, Tea Party extremists gained power in Washington DC, and in many parts of this country. They've presented more than 1100 separate legislative provisions aimed at making women second-class citizens, of which, more than 135 have been passed. These are the kinds of things they've been trying to do:
* Defund Planned Parenthood, an organization which offers cancer screenings, mammograms, well-woman visits, contraception, treatment of STDs and family planning services.
* Slash Medicaid for 21 million poor women, so women cannot have health care.
* Prevent access to birth control and cancer screenings.
* Repeal ObamaCare, which was the single biggest advancement in women's health in generations. ObamaCare prevents discrimination based on gender, and makes sure insurance companies pay for the things woman deserve, like contraception, pregnancy services, etc.
* Make women wait days or weeks to have abortions. (Sometimes even, when waiting could cause injury to the woman.)
* Force trans-vaginal ultrasounds on women who do not need them (government sanctioned-rape).
* Make women get permission from their husbands or boyfriends in order to get abortions. (What are women and girls who are raped supposed to do?)
Republicans on the radio continue to use the airwaves to insult women, degrade women, and abuse women. Remember Rush Limbaugh who called college student Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute eleven times, simply because she had premarital sex with her fiance? How about the conservative radio talk show host who told a father he should have a friend rape his daughter to make sure she didn't turn out to be a lesbian?
Colorado women and the men who love them will not stand for this lack of respect for women anymore. Join us in a revolt.
Show up to their offices, and make them talk to you. Send them your (clean) underwear to remind them you exist, you vote, and (over your dead body) will they continue to abuse, degrade, mock and insult women in Colorado. Bring your daughters, and granddaughters, and their girlfriends with you.
Picket outside their office with signs, banners, and underwear flags. Call them, fax them, email them, show up to meetings, and generally hound them, until they get the message that they need to go back where they came from.
Raise money for the candidates who seek to replace them (the good guys).
My take: Democrats were handed a golden opportunity to dispute Republican ignorance about the economy and their inability to govern. More importantly, they let the direct and implied criticism of West remain by not reacting forcefully enough. This affects all Progressives, Democrats, and most especially the President, who is attacked every day with these same lies and charges. As idiotic as they are, they almost always go unanswered, and rarely are corrected by Stenographers in major media like The Post.
In this, Democrats like Jared Polis, Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, and our two Senatorial Mutes are in a constant state of failure when Republicans and Conservatives are in a constant state of attack against progressive ideas and principles.
And that's worse than being called "Communist" by an ignorant Republican like Allen West.
When Republicans (I'm talking elected to national office, paid for with US Treasury checks, not little ol' bloggers like Zappatero) get away with lie after lie day after day, stuff like this shouldn't surprise anyone: Congressman Allen West proves they'll keep saying this shit until Democrats call them out:
Rep. Allen West (R-FL), responded to a question about the number of congressional Democrats who were card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA by allowing as how it was a "really good question," and that he's heard there are "70 to 80" of the dirty Reds.
This is in the same rhetorical category as "Obama the socialist", "Obama the muslim", "Obama the anti-Christian". House Dems know West is stupid and his talk is dangerous, but they'll let this one go like all the others.
Renouncing their colleague officially and in public should be the only response from each and every member of our congressional delegation worthy of their paychecks who profess to be Democrats.
Tipton has also been dogged with a campaign violation, revelation that a "sham front group" gave him an award, an investigation and apology to a House ethics committee and accusations that he selectively informed Republicans and mining industry interests about a public meeting over a wilderness proposal in the San Juans while excluding others.
Pace has had a couple of good fundraising quarters:
In the most recent fundraising quarter, Pace raised over $280,000 and a spokesman says he will report over $520,000 in cash on hand, "demonstrating his ability to compete this November." For the quarter, Pace had over 1,400 individual donors, with 90 percent of those contributions coming from in state.
"Our fundraising shows that people are fed up with the partisan politics that have gridlocked Washington..."
Does their fundraising really show that people are fed up with partisan politics? Even the campaign admits otherwise:
After Tipton voted to cut Medicare benefits "to pay for a special interest tax break for multimillionaires," contributions began pouring in to Pace's campaign, according to his spokesman.
People are fed up with Republican partisanship in Washington and are horrified when Republicans implement policies which had been unspoken - except in ALEC legislation memos - prior to their election. That's what the spokesman should know and should have said.
Democrats like Pace need to understand this and take the appropriate steps to 1) make sure voters know that both sides don't act the same way towards enacting common-sense policies, 2) Republicans will not allow - under any circumstances - even the slighest tax increase on the most elite workers to help fund vital programs and pay down the nation's debt, and 3) the delays and obfuscation over what's needed to fix the economy have mostly come from Republicans.
These are people whose whole pose is one of standing between the extremes of both parties, and calling for a bipartisan solution. The problem they face is how to maintain this pose when the reality is that a quite moderate Democratic party -- one that is content to leave tax rates on the rich far below those that prevailed for most of the past 70 years, that has embraced a Republican health care plan -- faces a radical-reactionary GOP.
You don't have to be a fire-breathing blogger, or a falsely accused socialist, to make the case for more fair taxation and a more progressive budget. John Salazar played the "independent" card, tried to pretend he wasn't a Democrat and got promptly kicked out of office. Sal shouldn't use the same failed tactics and shopworn desire for a phony and counter-productive bipartisanship that cost Salazar and Betsy Markey their jobs and persistently hobbles both our Democratic Senators.
The voters don't want it, Republicans won't allow it, and the urgent and necessary goals of our current policies can't survive it. The Krug-man reiterates for the hard of hearing:
The truth, which is obvious from every day's news, is that there is nothing, nothing at all, that Obama could offer - other than switching parties - that would get him any GOP cooperation.
Those who know Former CD6 Candidate Hank Eng, know he is a man of integrity and few words. Hank rarely grabs the media spotlight for himself. Last night, Hank sent this message to me, and gave me permission to distribute it. The letters in bold are my emphasis. ~ NC
Friendship and Conscience - By Hank Eng, Former Congressional Candidate CD6
Friends and friendship are things we cherish and nurture. This is a normal part of being human. We will do anything for a friend, right? Well almost anything. This is where another human trait enters the picture; that is conscience. As human beings we all have one. As much as we may want to suppress a conscience, it is what tells us right from wrong, good from bad and helps us navigate our behavior throughout life.
By now many of you have read the Denver Post article reporting that Steve Farber, a well-known Denver attorney and registered Democrat will co-host a fundraiser for 6th Congressional District Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman. Fundraisers are not unusual. It is that political season once again. What is a bit of a shock is the fundraiser is being co-hosted by a Democrat for a Republican, and hence this commentary.
Rumor has it CO Senator Brandon Shaffer, current candidate for CD4, will be deciding this week whether or not to jump into the CD6 race, abandoning his campaign in CD4. My guess is, he's waiting for CO Representative Joe Miklosi's numbers to come out from the last quarter. For those who have not been paying close attention, Colorado's CD4 became less easily winnable as a result of recent Congressional redistricting.
I respect and admire Brandon Shaffer; he is literally one of my political heroes. Not just that - I am indebted to him. I've even made calls for his race in CD4 very recently.
Loyal readers on Colorado Pols may remember Senator Shaffer's unwavering support of Michael Bennet in the 2010 Senate Race. Not only was Senator Shaffer one of just a few legislators who believed in Michael Bennet from the beginning (add State Representatives Karen Middleton and Daniel Kagan, as well as Congressman Jared Polis to that list), but he also took a lot of grief for Bennet at the Boulder Convention and Assembly. I stood by Senator Shaffer then, and always will.
I got a weird little story about my friend Blitz Krieger to bring to you today.
He's had a crazy car problem, he has, and over the past few months he thought he had found a solution - in fact, he thought he had found the solution of his dreams - but in the end, he's discovered that the things you dream about often don't go according to plan.
The way it's worked out for him so far, it's been a lot of anticipation followed by a sudden wave of frustration, but I feel like he's a lot better off having his particular problem with his car...because if he'd had cancer instead, he'd surely be dead by now.
I don't feel very good about this country this morning, and as so many of us are I'm thinking of how Troy Davis was hustled off this mortal coil by the State of Georgia without a lot of thought of what it means to execute the innocent.
And given the choice, I'd rather see us abandon the death penalty altogether, for reasons that must, at this moment, seem self-evident; that said, it's my suspicion that a lot of states are not going to be in any hurry to abandon their death penalties anytime soon now that they know the Supreme Court will allow the innocent to be murdered.
So what if there was a way to create a compromise that balanced the absolute need to protect the innocent with the feeling among many Americans that, for some crimes, we absolutely have to impose the death penalty?
Considering the circumstances, it's not going to be an easy subject, but let's give it a try, and see what we can do.
I took a break to enjoy the holiday, as I'm sure many of you did, but my inbox kept busy, and on Friday came a doozy, courtesy of the Washington Post.
You remember that little bit of a banking crisis we had a couple of years back, where banks around the world might have possibly, maybe, just a little, conspired in a giant scheme to package toxic mortgage loans into Grade A, investment-ready securities instruments, which then blew up in everyone's faces to the tune of a whole lot of taxpayer bailouts?
Well all of a sudden, it looks like an agency of the Federal Government is looking to do something about it, in a real big way.
Last Friday the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced they're suing 17 firms (I'll give you a list, bit it's pretty much all the usual suspects); depending on who you ask the Feds are seeking an amount as high as $200 billion.
As Joe Biden would say, it's a big...well, it's a big deal, anyway, and that's why we're starting the new week with this one.
I have not been talking about the insanity around the debt ceiling and debt and deficit and the efforts of Republicans to drive us all off the cliff, but I am today - and I'm going to do it by allowing you to grab ahold of this problem and see for yourself just how unbelievably bad this manufactured crisis is going to be.
You will hear a lot of conversation about the consequences from others; today, however, you are going to get the chance to be both the President and the Secretary of the Treasury, and you will get to decide for yourself exactly what bills the Federal Government should and should not pay as the cash runs out if a deal is not made by the time borrowing authority runs out.
At that point you'll be able to see what's coming for yourself - and once you do, you won't need me to tell you what ugly is going to look like.
(FNS - Washington, New Germany, April 17, 1947) America's new Führer, Adolf Hitler, announced today that his official War History would in fact acknowledge that one of the biggest contributing factors to the defeat of the Allies was the insistence of the former United States of America on sticking to its Balanced Budget Amendment, which left them unable to fund the wartime conversion of the US economy for the benefit of the Alliance.
"All those ideas Mr. Roosevelt spoke of", said Hitler, "Lend-Lease, modular shipbuilding, War Bonds, secret weapons...in the end, all of them were just words, since the Americans' Congress was never willing to allow the country to fully fund its war effort."
In America, today, there are three kinds of drivers: those who look at the other gas pumps down at the ol' gas station and think: "Oh my God, I can't believe how much that guy's spending on gas", those who look at their own pump down at the ol' gas station and think: "Oh my God, I can't believe how much I'm spending on gas" - and those who are doing both at the same time.
Naturally, this has brought the Sarah Palins of the world back out in public, and once again the mantra of "Drill, Baby, Drill" can be heard all the way from the Florida coast to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
But what if those folks have it exactly backwards?
What if, in a world of depleting oil resources, the last thing you want to do is use yours up?
To put it another way: why isn't all our oil part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
They tell us we're dropping about $10 billion a month in Afghanistan so we can catch that Bin Laden guy...but eventually, we're gonna catch him, and as soon as we do you can imagine that folks will be wondering why we're still over there - and I gotta tell ya, I'm one of those people.
I mean, we're over here talking about how we're so broke that we have no choice but to cut a couple of billion from heat assistance for the poor, and a billion-and-a-half from the Social Security operations budget, and money from food stamps and childcare assistance and tornado forecasting in Alabama...but every single month, just as regular as clockwork, we seem to be able to find another $10 billion to spend in Afghanistan, even as we have an economy that could badly use another round of truly productive stimulus.
And I don't think y'all even realize just how much money $10 billion really is - but today we're gonna see if we can't fix that with a bit of a thought exercise.
Imagine if we set up a program that took that Afghanistan money and spent it right here at home for a year or two - and it was spent in the form of a lottery, where we stimulate the larger economy, help fix the mortgage crisis, and create a more energy-independent nation, all at the same time.
I got all we need except a catchy name; with that in mind let's move on to the description of how the Happy Super Fun Day Peace Lotto Stimulus Thingy works.
Our system of government seems to be broken, and there is a reason, basically the people who put in the base inputs, the voters who elect governing officials, don't understand how their government works.
We live in a nation that has an increasingly dysfunctional government. We have seen it in the way that the Senate in the 111th Congress was completely broken by the unprecedented use of the filibuster and holds on legislation. More than 400 bills which passed the House never saw a vote in the Senate for this very reason.
It is even worse than that when you have a House of Representatives that votes on a bill that insists that if the Senate does not act on a bill it has already voted down, then the House bill will become and I quote "the law of the land". The fact that this bill completely flew in the face of the tripartite system of government we have did not prevent it from being brought to a vote and garnering a majority of the House, all those voting for it being Republicans.
It is the kind of thing that activists and political junkies know but don't really think about, that most Americans don't have a working grasp of how things actually work in government but a new report out today show just how bad things really are.
There is a set of tests that are given in the 4th, 8th and 12th grades. As part of these tests there are questions about civics, the basic functions of the Federal government. Only one in 5 12th graders answered well enough to be considered to have a proficient or advanced understanding of the subject.