The Blue Dogs are in trouble (The Political Carnival)Back on Tuesday, two Blue Dogs?Rep. Jason Altmire in PA-12 and Rep. Tim Holden in PA-17?were defeated for re-election in Democratic primaries. This may not have made national political news, but rest assured that every single Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives took notice.
When an incumbent loses a primary, it is a big deal to members of Congress. When two lose, it is a very big deal. When two Blue Dogs lose challenges from the left?Holden to progressive challenger Matt Cartwright and Altmire to the labor-supported Rep. Mark Crtiz?it suggests a shift in power.
Blue Dogs became famous by joining with Republicans to water down, or block entirely, Democratic legislative efforts. With Democratic primary voters dumping two of the remaining twenty-five Blue Dogs in one day, than we are nearing a point where the ability of Blue Dogs to thwart the rest of the Democratic Party is coming to an end.
How this works is pretty simple. If Democratic primary voters keep kicking Democrats who frequently side with Republicans and Wall Street out of office, then all Democrats in Congress will be motivated not to side with Republicans and Wall Street. So, if Blue Dogs and other corporate Democrats keep losing Democratic primaries, pretty soon we will have a more effective and progressive Democratic party.
On June 5 in New Mexico, we have a chance to hand the Blue Dogs another loss. In the Democratic primary for NM-01, two of the three major candidates are outspoken progressive Eric Griego and conservative, anti-labor Marty Chavez. Making sure that Griego wins and Chavez loses will keep the anti-Blue Dog momentum going, and be an important step toward building a better Democratic Party.
Griego is in a strong position to win this primary. Because of national grassroots support, he is ahead of Chavez in fundraising. Back in March, Griego won the local Democratic Party's preprimary nominating convention, leading analysts to start calling him the frontrunner. Griego is running an extremely well-organized voter turnout campaign, and will hit the airwaves with ads this week.
This is a race where a small donation will make a big difference. Not only will it go to a smart campaign that uses money effectively, and not only will it go to a candidate who has been endorsed by both co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but it will play a strategic role in a larger movement that has a real shot to build a better Democratic Party.
Romney top advisor Eric Fehrnstrom says that not only did Mitt Romney not oppose auto bailout but that President Obama actually got the idea from Mitt. [...]
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It's beyond disappointment. The un-American, anti-democratic policies the Obama administration has instituted in the name of the Warren Terra should be the target of massive, constant street protests.
But if you think denying Obama your vote will send a message, consider that your message will read:
"Here, President Romney, have free reign to maintain and expand these horrible policies."
American Attorney General Says It's Cool for America to Kill Americans:
So, not to veer from our happy dance over the impending doom of rotund junkie Rush Limbaugh (not quite so epically Breitbartian, but it'll do), but the Rude Pundit must say a thing or two about Attorney General Eric Holder's sanctimonious, bullshit speech justifying warrantless surveillance, military tribunals, and the murder of American citizens abroad at Northwestern University law school yesterday. If this had been Alberto Gonzales or Michael Mukasey, the cacophony of outrage on the left would have been loud and sustained. Some Democrats would have campaigned on their anger about the executive branch being judge, jury, and executioner. Instead, we'll get a few blog posts and maybe a New York Times editorial, if they're in the mood.
After offering support for military commissions and trials, Holder veered into what ought to be the most controversial aspect of the Obama administration's continuation and expansion of Bush administration policies, the constitutionality of targeted killings, whether on the technical battlefield of Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world, especially whether or not that can include Americans. Said the AG, "Now, it is an unfortunate but undeniable fact that some of the threats we face come from a small number of United States citizens who have decided to commit violent attacks against their own country from abroad...the government must take into account all relevant constitutional considerations with respect to United States citizens - even those who are leading efforts to kill innocent Americans. Of these, the most relevant is the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause, which says that the government may not deprive a citizen of his or her life without due process of law." And then he followed with the chilling statement that "due process" can mean, in essence, that the President has determined an American should be killed, with no judicial review, not even FISA, and that what we've always understood "due process" to mean as Americans is, in fact, worthless. Jesus, that's an expansive, breathtaking, frightening thought because, one day, President Trig Palin might have that power, too.
Holder kept coming back to the question of violent acts. In determining who is worthy of a drone missile in their face, Holder said that one of the principles must be that "the U.S. government has determined, after a thorough and careful review, that the individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." And what does that mean? "The evaluation of whether an individual presents an 'imminent threat' incorporates considerations of the relevant window of opportunity to act, the possible harm that missing the window would cause to civilians, and the likelihood of heading off future disastrous attacks against the United States...the Constitution does not require the President to delay action until some theoretical end-stage of planning - when the precise time, place, and manner of an attack become clear. Such a requirement would create an unacceptably high risk that our efforts would fail, and that Americans would be killed."
Yet when the U.S. blew the shit out of Anwar al-Awlaki, he had not been charged with killing or plotting to kill anyone. And post-shit-blown, there wasn't even a half-hearted effort to paint him as actively involved in violence. He was a propagandist who occasionally hung out with people who did bad shit. Simply put, al-Awlaki's case fails Holder's first test. That renders everything else Holder said the simpering, mollifying lies of the powerful.
The biggest lie, among a pile of Yoo-worthy lies, is that everything is justified because this is a war we're in, goddamnit, and do you want to die? Do you? Hell, Holder even gave an example from the last "good" war: "[D]uring World War II, the United States tracked the plane flying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - the commander of Japanese forces in the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway - and shot it down specifically because he was on board." Yeah, and?
The effort to stop terrorism is not a war. Hell, our actual war, the one in Afghanistan, is barely one. We can keep calling the fight against a few hundred, disorganized, widespread asshole zealots with guns a war. But it ain't one. "War," in this case, is just a legalistic term of art that frees the hand of the Executive to do whatever the fuck he wants, which, if the Rude Pundit recalls, we kind of hated under Bush and Cheney. If Holder or Obama said we were just pursuing criminals, which is what we're doing, they'd have to follow niceties, like civil rights and protections. But we can't have that, now, can we, or we'd just seem weak?
Oh, good, sweet people of the left, this is less about bashing Obama and more about holding to a principle. What Holder's saying is pretty much the exact opposite of what the country was founded on, since the King being able to get all killy without trial was one of the problems mentioned in, you know, the Declaration of Independence. So it's curious that there's so much silence about this on our side, as curious as it is that non-Ron Paul Republicans who can't stand the idea of the government making you have health insurance have no problem with the government just outright blowing you up where you stand.
Don't worry, though. As Holder said, "In this hour of danger, we simply cannot afford to wait until deadly plans are carried out - and we will not. This is an indicator of our times - not a departure from our laws and our values." See? We're murdering Americans in accordance with our values. Of course, Holder also said, just a moment earlier, that "it is important to note that the legal requirements I have described may not apply in every situation." So, you know, there's always an out.
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As Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski aptly pointed out, if you don't think women feel under attack right now, thanks to Republican majorities in the House and in many states, then go talk to the women in your lives. That we can't even get past that notion with the bewildering amount of legislation being introduced that affect directly the rights of women, demonstrates again why our media fails us to get to the real issues. And Republican strategist Alex Castellanos makes damn sure that we can't get to the facts to have a real discussion.
This is why I will never have a career as a news pundit. If I had been in Rachel Maddow's seat, I would have not been able to keep my cool, reasoned temper, as Rachel so admirably did. I would have gotten right into Alex Castellanos' smug, condescending face and rattled off a litany of all the ugly, factually incorrect and disgusting bon mots (can't call them facts) with which he has been allowed to pollute the national dialogue for decades. I would have thundered down on him his culpability for some of the most vile political ads in American history.
And excuse me, but what in the hell was David Gregory and executive producer Betsy Fischer thinking by booking this misogynistic jerk who is clearly overcompensating from years of rejection and insecurity about his manhood to discuss the systematic and coordinated attacks on women's health and freedom? Was there a bigger caveman who refused to come on, so they had to go with the lesser? All ideas are not equal. Condescension and patronizing false and cherry-picked facts about income that have nothing to do with the fact that Republican-led governments think they have the right to control the reproductive organs of half the population do not deserve a place at the table. Fischer and Gregory owe the women both at that table and in their audience an apology for such an abomination as Alex Castellanos opining on the rights of women.
Steve Jobs, visionary American genius of technology (here)?
In one of his last public appearances before his death, Steven P. Jobs, Apple?s chief executive, addressed Cupertino?s City Council last June, seeking approval to build a new headquarters.
Most of the Council was effusive in its praise of the proposal. But one councilwoman, Kris Wang, had questions.
How will residents benefit? she asked. Perhaps Apple could provide free wireless Internet to Cupertino, she suggested, something Google had done in neighboring Mountain View.
?See, I?m a simpleton; I?ve always had this view that we pay taxes, and the city should do those things,? Mr. Jobs replied, according to a video of the meeting. ?That?s why we pay taxes. Now, if we can get out of paying taxes, I?ll be glad to put up Wi-Fi.?
He suggested that, if the City Council were unhappy, perhaps Apple could move. The company is Cupertino?s largest taxpayer, with more than $8 million in property taxes assessed by local officials last year.
Ms. Wang dropped her suggestion.And I give you still more?
Still, some, including De Anza College?s president, (Brian) Murphy, say the philanthropy and job creation do not offset Apple?s and other companies? decisions to circumvent taxes. Within 20 minutes of the financially ailing school are the global headquarters of Google, Facebook, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco.
?When it comes time for all these companies ? Google and Apple and Facebook and the rest ? to pay their fair share, there?s a knee-jerk resistance,? Mr. Murphy said. ?They?re philosophically antitax, and it?s decimating the state.?
?But I?m not complaining,? he added. ?We can?t afford to upset these guys. We need every dollar we can get.?God Bless America, land of corporate extortion (and as a musical response, this never seems to get old ? which is a bit sad, actually).
Our regular featured content-On This Day In History April 29 by TheMomCatThese featured articles-Drones: Killing Me By Remote by TheMomCatStop CISPA: What You Need to Know by TheMomCatour weekly features-My Little Town 20120425: Old Stomping Grounds by[...]
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Two Blue Dog Democrats?aka, corporate Democrats?were defeated for re-election in Democratic primaries last week.
This is huge: if Democrats who frequently side with Republicans and Wall Street keep losing primaries, then all Democrats in Congress will be motivated to more effectively stand up against Republicans and Wall Street.
On June 5 in New Mexico, we have a chance to hand the Blue Dogs another loss.
In the Democratic primary for Congress in New Mexico's first congressional district, two of the three major candidates are outspoken progressive Eric Griego and conservative, anti-labor Marty Chavez. Making sure that Griego wins and Chavez loses will keep the anti-Blue Dog momentum going, and be an important step toward building a better Democratic Party.
Please, contribute $5 to Eric Griego, and help build a better Democratic Party.
Griego is in a strong position. Because of national grassroots support, he is ahead of Chavez in fundraising. Back in March, Griego won the local Democratic Party's preprimary nominating convention, leading analysts to start calling him the frontrunner. Griego is running an extremely well-organized voter turnout campaign, and will hit the airwaves with ads this week.
This is a moment where a small donation will make a big difference. Not only will it go to a smart campaign that uses money effectively, and not only will it go to a candidate who has been endorsed by both co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but it will play a strategic role in a larger movement that has a real shot to build a better Democratic Party.
Please, contribute $5 to Eric Griego.
Campaign Director, Daily Kos
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Friday I noticed a tweet from disingenuous New Hampshire teabagger, Frank Guinta about how he voted to keep interest rates low for students, a topic we took up a few days ago. Carol Shea-Porter, Guinta's progressive opponent, who really is concerned with working families and student indebtedness released a statement within minutes of Guinta's deceitful posturing.
"Congressman Frank Guinta and his party first refused to vote to keep student interest rates at 3.4% for college students. Political pressure from Democrats, students, and middle class families became too great, so Congressman Guinta raided the preventive health fund, that pays for screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer among other things, to make up for the money that would have been collected from higher interest rates. Congressmen Frank Guinta and Paul Ryan, instead of taking away tax loopholes for millionaires, are shifting resources from health screenings to students, hoping voters won't notice. Voters already have noticed."
?Higher education is a down payment on a lifetime of success and future earnings, so we are glad the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives finally decided to support keeping the interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling. However, the Republican House majority chose a scheme to pay for the cost of keeping the interest rate at 3.4 percent by robbing billions of dollars from the prevention and public health fund in the Affordable Care Act.
?It is unconscionable to solve the student loan problems by undercutting healthcare to women, children and others most in need of assistance. A wiser option to prevent higher loan rates would be to end unfair tax loopholes that benefit wealthy individuals and corporations.
?College students are graduating with record levels of debt and facing a precarious job market, so it hardly could be a worse time to raise student loan interest rates. Snatching public funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings, child immunizations and community health centers, while refusing to require wealthy individuals and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, is just plain wrong.?
$143 million for breast and cervical cancer screenings
$107 million for programs to address birth defects, including screening of newborns for hearing loss and congenital heart defects
$72 million for childhood vaccinations
Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would have a devastating effect on women?s health and our work to prevent disease and illness. Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would mean:
? Hundreds of thousands of women could lose access to vital cancer screenings. Prevention Fund resources are expected to help more than 300,000 women be screened for breast cancer in 2013 and more than 280,000 be screened for cervical cancer.
? Programs that help to prevent congenital heart defects, prevent fetal alcohol syndrome, and promote early identification and intervention efforts for children with developmental delays and disabilities could be eliminated.
? Tens of thousands children could lose access to immunizations.
These are just a few of the important ways the Prevention and Public Health Fund will help keep millions of Americans healthy. Keeping college affordable for America?s students should not come at the expense of putting women?s health at risk.
The Senate will soon vote on a more viable solution to keep interest rates low and provide students a fair shot at an affordable education, by closing a loophole that allows people making more than $250,000 a year to avoid paying payroll taxes. Congress should find a bipartisan solution to keep rates low without hurting Americans? health or increasing the deficit. There?s no good reason for interest rates to double for over 7 million students. But Republicans in Congress must prove that they?re serious about setting aside the political fights of the past and actually getting this done.
Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman hit back against the GOP’s claim that American businesses pay the highest corporate taxes in the world during an appearance on ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, lashing out at Mitt Romney’s California campaign co-chair and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
Fiorina — who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) senate seat in 2010 — insisted that “we now have the single highest business tax rate in the world” and claimed that companies are moving jobs overseas to avoid this burden. Krugman snapped back against her assertion, noting, “nothing you said about business taxes is actually true”:
FIORINA: We now have the single highest business tax rate in the world. Guess what, with the highest tax rate in the world, we see the same thing around the world as we see in states. States with lower tax rates have more jobs, more people. People leave states with higher tax rates. The data is crystal clear.
KRUGMAN: Nothing you said about business taxes is actually true. …. If you look at the actual tax collections in the United States on business, they’re lower than other advanced countries. And if you look at the alleged finding that high business taxes cause job loses in states, it goes away. Kick the tires even slightly and the whole thing falls apart. It’s just not true.
Indeed, a recent study from the Center for Tax Justice (CTJ) found that ?the U.S. is already one of the least taxed countries for corporations in the developed world.? As a share of GDP, the U.S. had the second lowest tax rate, behind only Iceland. In 2009, U.S. corporate taxes had fallen to only 1.3 percent of GDP, from 4 percent in 1965.
The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts concluded that “the worst fears of the policy debates over raising additional revenue from high-income households to sustain spending on public services are unlikely to materialize.” Millionaires will attempt to avoid higher taxes by changing the composition of their incomes, but don?t, in fact, move to avoid the higher fees.
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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says that President Barack Obama is "diminishing the presidency" by fighting for low student loan rates, a fairer tax structure and regulations on oil speculators.
"The president and I have a very good relationship," Boehner told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday. "And as a result, I try to avoid personal attacks on the president."
"The president is getting some very bad advice from his campaign team because he's diminishing the presidency by picking fights, going after straw men every day. You know, we had the Buffet rule. You know, it went on for months. Even the president admitted it was a gimmick. And then we had the Rose Garden ceremony talking about manipulation in the oil markets without one shred of evidence. And he has an entire administration to go after speculation or manipulation in the oil markets. And then they pick this student loan fight where there is no fight."
He added: "The president is bigger than this. The presidency is important. America has big challenges."
While both Republicans and Democrats agree low student loan rates should be extended, the White House said last week that the president would veto a GOP plan to pay for the measure by cutting a health care fund that benefits women.
"Women, in particular, will benefit from this prevention fund, which would provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer," a White House statement insisted. "This is a politically motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America's college students deserves."
But on Sunday, Boehner said it was "nonsense" that cutting the fund would diminish breast and cervical cancer screenings.
"There's no women's health issue here," Boehner remarked. "I'll guarantee you that they've not spent a dime out of this fund dealing with anything to do with women's health. What we're trying to do here is to deal with this problem in a responsible way."
Asked about recent attacks where he said Obama had "checked out," made the presidency "smaller" and "lost his courage," Boehner said he was just trying to be helpful.
"The president is getting some bad advice," the Speaker explained. "Somebody needed to help him out. So, I thought I would."