October 05, 2012

Romney's Dismal Record as MA Governor

Romney ran for governor of MA promising more jobs, decreased debt, and smaller government (just as he’s doing now, for President). Here’s what they got instead:

He claims he cut spending and balanced the budget but, the reality is that left he behind a $1 billion budget deficit for the next governor and saddled MA taxpayers with more debt per person than any other state.

State budget spending increased every single year under Romney. As the rest of the nation’s economy grew and the median income rose, MA plummeted from 36th to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, and the median income declined. MA manufacturing declined by double the national rate, and was the 3rd-worst overall in the country.

The Washington Post reports http://wapo.st/KBY4bx that as CEO, Mitt Romney advised companies that were “pioneers” in outsourcing jobs overseas. As MA governor, he outsourced state jobs. And now, he has proposed eliminating all taxes on companies’ foreign profits—which would actually encourage companies to send jobs overseas.

Not to mention that he increased taxes and fees by as much as $750 million per year. Personally, it doesn't sound to me like he knows how to fix anything but his personal profit level. Just sayin'.

September 12, 2012

An Election Year Social Network Housecleaning

An election year is an excellent time for a housecleaning. In other words, it's a great way to tell which people need to be booted from my social network friends lists. Allow me to clarify:

If you repeat ignorant bullshit that is easily debunked by reading anything other than Fox News, the Blaze or Breitbart.com...I have no need for you.

If you spew half-cocked, racist memes or quote the uneducated vitriol of Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, Bryan Fischer, Michelle Malkin or their ilk as though you're some sort of 'patriot'...you're gone.

If you call yourself a Christian yet, insist God hates all the people you hate...good riddance.

If you refer to our President as a Muslim, a communist, a socialist-Marxist, a terrorist-sympathizing pussy or a monkey...consider us over.

If you wave the sacredness of The Constitution like a flag to justify your bigotry yet, demand we amend it to keep other citizens from benefiting from the same inalienable Rights that you hold dear, and our Founding Fathers intended for ALL Americans...careful that the door doesn't hit you in the ass.

I hope I've made myself clear.

September 04, 2012

My Response to the Rhetoric of a Conservative Friend From High School

I was having a chat with an old high school friend on Facebook who is a Romney supporter, which I am obviously not. He posed this question to me:

Now, there was not enough room for me to say all that needed to be said in a Facebook reply so, I decided to answer him here.

1.      Unemployment is higher

Really? Obama was inaugurated near the end of January, 2009 so; the first unemployment rate under his Presidency was in February, 2009. It was 8.3%.

The newest numbers released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate currently at 8.4%.

Now, that number would be significantly lower but, during the last four years, there have been major differences in the number of public vs. private sector job growth.

Check out this chart (red is public sector employment, blue is private sector employment):

In case you’re wondering, that spike in public sector employment was due to the hiring of temporary census workers in 2010.

Who, you may ask, is responsible for the massive number of public sector job losses? Why, states that are GOP-controlled.

There were 12 states in which Republicans came into power in 2010 – Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. There was no data available for Mississippi but, the remaining 11 states were responsible for 40% of the total state and local public sector job losses in 2011. Add to these Texas, which because of its large size is responsible for 31% of the total at the state and local level.

Taken together, these 12 red states drove over 70% of the total losses. The rest of the states suffered much smaller losses or even slight gains.

In other words, erosion of public sector employment isn’t a problem affecting the entire country equally—it’s a problem in particular states, thanks to very particular legislators.

2.      He has increased the Nations debt by 60%

I sure would like to know where you’re getting your numbers because that’s absolutely incorrect. Let’s compare the *actual* numbers, shall we?

Increase in the National Debt by President & percentage:

            Reagan - 189%
            Bush 1 - 55%
            Clinton - 37%
            Bush 2 - 86%
            Obama – 35%

Federal spending under Obama, including his stimulus bill, is only rising at a 1.4% annual pace – slower than at any time in nearly 60 years.

            Reagan (first term) - 8.7%
            Reagan (second term) - 4.9%
            Bush 1 - 5.4%
            Clinton (first term) - 3.2%
            Clinton (second term) - 3.9%
            Bush 2 (first term) - 7.3%
            Bush 2 (second term) - 8.1%
            Obama - 1.4%

While it *is* true that Obama has increased the debt, Bush 2 actually increased federal spending by more than 2 times as much as Obama has.

Bush 2 inherited a budget surplus (the first surplus in decades) from Clinton. Then, a recession hit and he took the budget into deficit. Then, Bush 2 cut taxes, which grew the deficit to $400 billion a year. Then, we had a booming economy between 2005 and 2008, which reduced the deficit to $200 billion a year. Then, we were hit with a financial crisis, and the Bush deficit ballooned back to $400 billion a year.

President Obama took over in early 2009, during the worst recession since the Great Depression. He signed an $800 billion spending increase at the same time that GDP and tax collections tanked. The combination of these two factors (a growth in spending and a drop in revenue) exploded the deficit to $1.4 trillion. In 2010 and 2011, the economy and tax collections improved slightly, and the deficit shrank to $1.3 trillion a year.

In addition, the increase in federal spending is not the only factor that has caused the deficit. Another factor—equally, if not more, important--is the reduction in government revenue (you know, tax receipts). That can be blamed on 2 things:

1.      The Bush tax cuts, which reduced revenue.
2.      The weak economy, which reduced incomes of the middle-class and poor and capital gains upon which most federal taxes are based.

And since America is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and we have 3 equal branches of government, even you must admit that Congress plays a big role in spending and debt creation.

3.      His foreign policy stinks

That’s an opinion, not a fact, and I don’t care about your opinion.

4.      The average price of a gallon of gas has almost doubled

I was unaware that the President sets the gas prices. Please, tell me when he was awarded the authority to do that.

I do not have the time to explain how they are ACTUALLY set to you but, a simple Google search yields the answer. And to make things simple, I have done the research work for you: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/fuel-consumption/gas-price.htm

5.      He has increased the gap between the middle class

Between the middle class and what? The rich? The poor? The elderly? The aardvarks? What?

6.      Consumer spending has decreased along with personal savings

Actually, that would make sense in a down economy because, as I previously explained, incomes of the middle-class and poor have been reduced, and many of those households have pulled equity from their homes and overloaded on debt to simply maintain living standards. This has happened while wealth has concentrated at the top 1%.

I can go on on on.

Feel free, because so can I.

Oh and I think it's really sad when the DNC comes to town that all the local hotels kick the homeless out on the street to make room for all the LWingers.

Then, take it up with the ‘job creators” who own the hotels. I guess that’s just the free market at work, right? And perhaps your right-wing blogs or The Blaze…wherever you heard that, forgot to mention that the exact same thing just happened in Tampa for the RNC.

August 29, 2012

Executive Order 13489 seals off Obama's school and birth records? Nope.

There is a false rumor going around that Executive Order 13489 "seals off all of Obama's records". Supposedly, this is how Obama can seal off his school and birth records.

Here's the problem. That Executive Order only affects presidential records and by the definition in the executive order, records made prior to being elected president are NOT "presidential records". People who think that either haven't read the executive order or haven't read the statute it was amending or haven't done the proper statutory analysis. Here's what I offer as proof.

The executive order in question states that the archivist must give the incumbent president notice before disclosing presidential records and must consult with the administration before releasing the presidential records of former presidents. The executive order defines "presidential records" as those defined as such in the "Presidential Records Act". From that act:

(2) The term "Presidential records" means documentary materials, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof, created or received by the President, his immediate staff, or a unit or individual of the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise and assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President. Such term--

(A) includes any documentary materials relating to the political activities of the President or members of his staff, but only if such activities relate to or have a direct effect upon the carrying out of constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President; but

(B) does not include any documentary materials that are (i) official records of an agency (as defined in section 552(e) of title 5, United States Code; (ii) personal records; (iii) stocks of publications and stationery; or (iv) extra copies of documents produced only for convenience of reference, when such copies are clearly so identified.

Presidential records must have been:

1) Created during the course of being president
2) Created by the president or his staff or advisers and
3) Created pursuant to official duties as president

So unless school records, birth certificates or other documents that people seem so interested in were created while Obama was president and created by him or his staff or advisers and pursuant to his official duties as president, then they aren't covered by this executive order.

Further even campaign records are not covered by this executive order. The Presidential Records Act defines campaign records under "personal records". See:

(3) The term "personal records" means all documentary materials, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof, of a purely private or nonpublic character which do not relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President. Such term includes--

(A) diaries, journals, or other personal notes serving as the functional equivalent of a diary or journal which are not prepared or utilized for, or circulated or communicated in the course of, transacting Government business;

(B) materials relating to private political associations, and having no relation to or direct effect upon the carrying out of constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President; and

(C) materials relating exclusively to the President’s own election to the office of the Presidency; and materials directly relating to the election of a particular individual or individuals to Federal, State, or local office, which have no relation to or direct effect upon the carrying out of constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.

So no. Obama did not "seal off his records via executive order". Even if we assume the worst, and that Obama wanted to hide his records in order to be "electable", that would at best fall under "personal records" and not "presidential records".

Finally, this executive order only applies to information under the control of the archivist. It doesn't apply to school records because they are not under the national archivist's control.

August 18, 2012

92 Actual FACTS about Paul Ryan

No rhetoric. Let's talk facts about Paul Ryan, shall we?

1. Ryan budget: 62% of its cuts are on programs that help the poor in order to pay for more tax breaks for the rich; PLUS it raises the deficit.
2. Paul Ryan wants to gut financial aid for college students, food stamps for hungry families, Medicaid, Medicare & Social Security.
3. Paul Ryan voted to preserve $40B in special subsidies for big oil, an industry in which he and his wife hold ownership stakes.
4. Paul Ryan secured millions in earmarks for his home state of WI, including, among other things, $3.3M for public projects.
5. Paul Ryan is heir to a private fortune made through public works projects paid for by taxpayer $$. They had help "building that."
6. Ryan sold shares in Wachovia, Citigroup, and JP Morgan and then, bought shares in Goldman Sachs on 9/18/08 - hrs after meeting with Paulson regarding financial bailout.
7. Paul Ryan opposed funding for public drinking water arsenic removal.
8.  Paul Ryan voted against holding oil companies responsible for their oil spills.
9.  Paul Ryan lobbied Federal officials to speed up approval of a donor's casino.
10. Ryan's campaign received illegal contributions from a Wisconsin trucking company & then supported legislation that directly benefited that company.
11. Ryan received a $6,000 Fed Fine for not disclosing donations in the 1998 election, including large sums from 12 special interest groups.
12.  Paul Ryan voted against $20M to help prevent suicide by combat veterans.
13.  Paul Ryan voted against protecting Veterans’ benefits from the Cut, Cap, and Balance cuts.
14. Paul Ryan voted to imposed a $250 fee for enrollment in VA health care and double the drug co-payment for Veterans.
15. Ryan voted against allowing Veterans w/ service-related disabilities & 20 yrs’ honorable service to receive full disability benefits & retirement pay.
16. In 2007, Paul Ryan voted against a $6.6B increase in funding for veterans' programs.
17. Bowhunter Paul Ryan voted for a $34B corporate tax bill to help US manufacturers of bowhunting equipment.
18. Paul Ryan voted to increase the deficit by $228B by extending the $1000 per Child Tax Credit to the wealthy.
19. Ryan voted for $143B in tax breaks for businesses that added $34B to the national debt and opposed the Dem version that prevented any debt increase.
20. Paul Ryan voted against tax breaks for 1st time home buyers.
21. Paul Ryan has voted time & time again to raid Social Security & Medicare surpluses for tax cuts. Now, he claims the programs are running out of money.
22. In 2003, Paul Ryan voted to add another $2.4 trillion to deficits and the national debt between 2003 and 2013.
23. Paul Ryan voted to “spend every penny of the Social Security Trust Fund” on risky tax cuts.
24. Paul Ryan voted against protecting Social Security & Medicare surpluses while delivering tax reductions to energy companies.
25. Paul Ryan voted to provide a budget busting tax cut for the wealthy by raiding Social Security.
26. Paul Ryan admits he has NO idea if Romney's supposed budget will reduce the deficit because they "haven't run the numbers." Um. Isn't that what a budget is? Numbers that have been run?
27. Paul Ryan voted against the repeal of DADT.
28. In 2007, Paul Ryan voted against providing $95.5B for troops in Iraq/Afghanistan.
29. Paul Ryan voted against imposing sanctions on foreign companies that sell arms to China.
30. Paul Ryan voted against ending the war in Afghanistan, but also voted against $31 billion needed for Afghanistan operations.
31. Paul Ryan voted to exempt blogs, e-mail, videos and other online speech from campaign finance rules.
32. Paul Ryan voted to keep the Fish and Wildlife Service from listing any new endangered species or habitats on the Endangered Species List.
33. Paul Ryan voted against designating more than 2 million acres as Protected Wilderness Areas.
34.  In 2011, Ryan voted against a Combat-Pay increase for U.S. Troops.
35. Paul Ryan voted to approve drilling for oil in the ANWR but, then voted AGAINST keeping that oil in the U.S.
36. Paul Ryan voted against holding oil companies responsible for their oil spills.
37. Ryan voted for a sham refinery plan that did nothing to lower energy costs & hurt taxpayers, but DID improve the bottom line for oil companies.
38. Ryan voted to repeal a Depression-era law preventing consolidation of public utilities that protects consumers from utility monopolies.
39. Paul Ryan voted against the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act, protecting citizens from price gouging businesses during an emergency.
40.  Paul Ryan voted in favor of shipping nuclear fuel to India without India signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
41. Paul Ryan voted against Mining Safety Reform, and he is part owner of an Oklahoma mining business, Ava O Limited Co.
42. Paul Ryan supported waiving environmental regulation on commercial logging in America's National Forests.
43. Paul Ryan owns stock in Wells Fargo and Exxon Mobil.
44. Paul Ryan voted to give Federal land to a private company to allow development of a copper mine, & much of his wealth comes from mining.
45.  Paul Ryan voted to weaken Air Pollution Permit Regulations in the Clean Air Act.
46. Paul Ryan voted to cut Title 1 funding for teachers by $693.5 mil & against enhancing school budgets to avoid teacher layoffs.
47. Paul Ryan voted to cut funds for the GEAR UP program, denying over 130,000 disadvantaged youth the help they need to get into college.
48. Ryan supported extreme cuts to education, including 100,000 new teachers, after-school programs & teacher quality/recruitment programs.
49. Paul Ryan voted to give India access to US nuclear technology.
50. Ryan's plan would increase prescription drug costs for seniors by reopening the Doughnut Hole in drug coverage that Obamacare closed.
51. Ryan's plan reduces Federal spending on each Medicare beneficiary by 35-42%, forcing them to cover the remaining costs out-of-pocket.
52. Ryan's plan raises the Medicare Retirement Age from 65 To 67, but repeals Obamacare, leaving 65 & 66 yr olds w/out any guarantee of care.
53. Ryan's plan would do away with Medicare’s direct payment for health care for seniors, replacing it with coupons for private insurers.
54.  Paul Ryan voted against increasing lending and lowering taxes for small businesses.
55. Paul Ryan supported cutting student loan funding, social programs and agriculture funding but, prevented HMO cuts.
56. Paul Ryan voted against a $2,500 tax credit for college students.
57. Paul Ryan opposed increases for special education & teacher quality programs.
58. Paul Ryan defended Bush’s handling of the economy, saying Bush inherited a recession-bound economy and fought for job growth.
59. Paul Ryan voted against mandatory Rest and Recuperation for American troops in Iraq.
60. Paul Ryan voted against requiring gun show purchasers to undergo background checks then, voted to weaken background check standards.
61. Paul Ryan voted against restrictions on fed funded faith-based groups protecting against employment discrimination based on religion.
62. Paul Ryan voted against banning the slaughter of horses for meat.
63. Paul Ryan voted for a $175,000 study on whether to improve dental benefits for House members.
64. Paul Ryan voted against regulating Wall Street after the financial crisis.
65. During the Bush admin, Ryan voted for the $700mil bailout, yet in 2009(during Obama's term), he voted to prevent the release of the 2nd half of that same bailout.
66. Paul Ryan voted in favor of $19.1 billion in interior spending, including more than $600 million in fossil fuel subsidies.
67. Paul Ryan voted against raising fuel economy standards.
68. Paul Ryan supported legal protection for restaurants that knowingly sold beef of “downed” cows - the ones that most likely have Mad Cow Disease.
69. Ryan opposed the Food Safety Modernization Act which increases the number of required inspections on & verifies the safety of imported food.
70. Paul Ryan lied and said he never requested stimulus funds...until the letters he wrote specifically requesting them surfaced.
71. Paul Ryan voted against giving $3.7 billion in agriculture disaster relief.
72. Paul Ryan opposed a ban on human cloning.
73. Paul Ryan did not oppose ANY spending measures during the yrs Republicans held full sway in Congress or the White House.
74. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Paul Ryan's budget cuts would result in 4.1 million jobs lost through just 2014.
75. Paul Ryan's plan would double the interest rate on student loans ensuring all Americans do not have an equal opportunity to succeed.
76. Paul Ryan's budget cuts SNAP (food stamp) benefits by $133 billion over 10 yrs and eviscerates Pell grants.
77. Paul Ryan's budget would cut funding for health care programs for low and middle-income individuals by more than 75% by 2050.
78. Paul Ryan would outlaw abortion, even for rape and incest or even to protect the life of the mother.
79. Paul Ryan voted for the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq war, and the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, none of which were paid for.
80. Paul Ryan as never held statewide office and has no foreign-policy experience.
81. Paul Ryan supports allowing states to jail women who get, and doctors who perform, abortions.
82. Paul Ryan's budget would add $3.1 trillion to the deficit, more than would be added under current law.
83. Paul Ryan's budget cuts Medicaid by 45%, leaving 19mil people without health care.
84. Paul Ryan possesses only a Bachelors degree, which is fine but, that means his "expertise" in economics comes from a few undergrad courses and Ayn Rand fiction.
85. While destroying medicare, Ryan's budget plan offers huge subsidies and tax breaks for the oil and mining industries.
86. Ryan voted to cut funds for GEAR UP, denying 130,000+ disadvantaged youth the help they need to get into college.
87. Paul Ryan supported trillions of dollars of deficit spending under Bush and now rails against any government spending.
88. Paul Ryan's plan for America was inspired by and derived from the deranged mind of the serial-killer groupie Ayn Rand.
89. Defense Department: “Ryan Inc" has had 22+ defense contracts w/ the fed gov since '96, including 1 worth $5.6M in taxpayer $$.
90. Paul Ryan says, "Rape is just another form of conception" and believes in forcing women to carry and give birth to their rapist's children.
91. Ryan says he'll reduce the deficit, but his tax cuts for big corporations & the rich are so large, there aren't enough tax code loopholes to offset them.
92. Each Medicare beneficiary would be spending $6,359 more out-of-pocket under Ryan's plan.

Enough said.

March 17, 2012

EXPOSED: AWHL Funding GOP's War On Women

The cashier of a local dry cleaning business has said he believes he knows who is truly behind the string of recent attacks on women's rights being waged by the GOP.

Even though he wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal, he was brave enough to express his suspicions to me, "Our regular hanger salesman, he used to be REAL pushy, you know? Kind of desperate for sales; sometimes even crying when I'd say we don't need no hangers."

The cashier told me that all changed once the GOP's War on Women began. "It was kind of suspicious. The hanger salesman hardly comes around now, and when he does, he acts like he don't care whether we buy his hangers or not. Oh, and he's driving a new Hyundai. Something is going on."

At that moment, he was cut off from his story as a customer came in. I watched him with her, the way he handled her grape juice-stained slacks and her dog hair-covered guest room comforter. I thought about how his story was hard to buy; salesmen are always desperate. The customer dropped a nickel on her way out and he called her back to let her know, instead of keeping it for himself. ... I believed him.

My next stop was the headquarters of the American Wire Hanger Lobby (AWHL) to confront their President, Harmon Peepel. I expected resistance to meeting with me, denial of the charges levied against them, but Mr. Peepel was happy to tell me all about what he describes as a "recent windfall."

"We made a killing in the 60's! No environmental regulations on dry cleaners, all that 'free love', restrictions on birth control and no legal abortion... We were living the high life. But, the Roe vs. Wade decision hit our industry pretty hard. The Clean Air Act and the legalization of birth control for all citizens didn't help the situation but, then, the real kicker. The thing that nearly brought our entire industry to its knees... The 1981 release of 'Mommy Dearest'. Our biggest competitors, the Padded-Satin Hanger Lobby (PSHL) jumped on that bandwagon and waved that "no wire hangers" scene all over the media. We've been struggling ever since."

He gets up and pours himself a scotch from the cherry wood bar in the corner of the room. He doesn't offer me anything. I wait. Harmon Peepel stares out of the 15th floor window. Without looking at me, he tells me all about his grand plan to increase sales of wire hangers by funding the GOP to reduce abortion rights and make it more difficult for women to get or afford birth control, thus forcing more private sales of wire hangers. He tells me sales haven't been this good since 1972 and things are looking up; after all, several more states are working on passing legislation designed to directly increase the sales of wire hangers to women.

I asked him if he feels any remorse for attacking women to increase sales. He tells me, "Hey! This is about the free market. We're an industry of tens of people. I have a responsibility to them and their families."

February 22, 2012

The Progressive American Report - Get On PAR!

We are Progressives because we understand the complexity of the many problems that face our country, our world and its people...and we care about moving America forward.  But, let's face it, not everyone understands complex issues. So, how do we reach those people?

Comment with your ideas. I promise to consider and reply to all of them. ;-)

February 17, 2012

Why Christians (and therefore the GOP) Hate Women

I've figured it out. It all makes sense. I now understand why Christians and the GOP hate women. It's a long and preposterous story so, let's get started.

Let's take a look at this issue through their eyes.

In the Beginning

In the Bible, God created man and animals and everything was going great. Adam had the ultimate man-cave, the Garden of Eden, to hang out in - unlimited fishing, bear wrestling, ball scratching...all the great stuff about life.

But after a while, God noticed that Adam was spending WAY more time on ball scratching than necessary & when the light was just right, his eyes were lingering a little too long on the Beaver.  So, God created woman.  She was beautiful and alluring and Adam couldn't stop thinking about her naughty parts.

But, then Eve got hungry and Adam told her he wanted to watch football and didn't feel like going out. Just find something to eat here, he told her. Fine, Eve found something to eat but, then Adam started yelling from the couch that if she was making herself something she could bring a sandwich or something for him. So, she did.

Well, apparently, they had gotten into God's secret stash of Oreos or something and He wasn't happy about it. Not happy at all. In fact, He was so unhappy that he kicked Adam and Eve right out of the ultimate man-cave.

But, that wasn't all. God - knowing how much everyone enjoyed Eve's naughty parts - also put a "curse" on them that made them frightening and confusing for Adam but, yet, he still couldn't stop thinking about them.

So. The first reason Christians hate women is because Woman got Man thrown out of the ultimate man-cave when she pissed off God for eating His cookies...or as the Church labels it - created SIN. [remember that for later]

The second reason is because those naughty parts of ours are confusing and frightening to men yet, they cannot stop thinking about them...and that confuses and frightens them.