Tag Archives: congress

Great White Hope!

It is apparently clear that a certain segment of our population still seems to think that black men should be nothing more than elevator or shoeshine boys!  Either I’m showing my age or watching to many old movies on television; I don’t think that there have been elevator boys since the 1950’s.  But on July 19, 2009 Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins told a crowd of people at a town hall meeting that:

“the Republican Party is looking for a ‘great white hope’ to help stop the political agenda of the Democratic party and President Barack Obama.”

I can’t possibly make this shit up so I am providing a video of the Congresswoman’s remarks and a link to the story.  In case you dont know what the “Great White Hope” is, it’s a term commonly referred to in the early 1900’s to find a white man capable of beating Jack Johnson, the first black boxing heavyweight champion.

How she makes the connection between Barack Obama and Jack Johnson’s dominance in the boxing ring escapes me.  But what it does tell me is that she sees our President as a black man first.  Which is pretty sad because I am sure that there are millions of people out there who see the President in the same light rather than seeing him as the President who just happens to be black.  There is a big difference and they are not to be confused.

Those that see Obama as the black President think that he wants to take away what you have and give it to those,  as my friend Fakename put it, to lazy black people and illegal immigrants.  What these people should be asking their Congressmen like Lynn Jenkins is “why can’t I have or get the same health care that you get?”  And I think that people who see Obama as the President who just happens to be black realize that he has the best interests of all Americans set in his agenda.

No matter what side of the health care debate you are on or your stance on any of the pertinent issues, we need to deal in facts and the truth instead of fear mongering and likening our President to the Nazi’s and Adolph Hitler.  Once you break Godwin’s Law, your argument goes straight down the toilet.  I am not afraid of the next Great White Hope, he or she may be a fantastic leader.  But what I am afraid of are the Great White Dopes out there!

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Dead Chimp Cartoon!

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The New York Post ran this cartoon in today’s edition.  This cartoon can be interpreted in different ways.  Because I have no idea what Sean Delonas was thinking about when he created this, I will keep my interpretation to myself.  Others have decried it as racist.  Do you have an opinion?

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Uphold the Voting Rights Act!

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If you think that by electing Barack Obama as president we have ushered in a new era of “post racial” politics, think again!  The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the spring on an important provision within the Voting Rights Act.  Remember that important piece of legislation signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965?  If you don’t, it eliminated shit such as literacy requirements and poll taxes.  Want to know something else?  It requires the reauthorization of Congress every now and then.  The last time Congress reauthorized the act was in 2006. 

 There is a particular provision within the Voting Rights Act known as Section 5 that is at the heart of the matter.  Section 5 requires some states and smaller jurisdictions to “preclear” new voting rules with the Justice Department or a federal court.  This is required to show that the proposed changes do not have the purpose or effect of discriminating against minority voters. 

Discrimination against against minority voters may not be as blatant as it was in 1965, but it still exists.  District lines are drawn to prevent minorities from winning (gerrymandering), polling places are located in places hard for minority voters to get to; voter ID requirementsts are imposed with the purpose of supresing the minority vote.

To clarify, Obama got only one  in five white votes in jurisdictions in southern states that are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  There is no reason to believe that minority voters will find it easier to cast their votes without the protections of Section 5.  Now there is a jurisdiction in Texas  that is covered by Section 5 arguing that it is unconstitutional, and that it imposes too many burdens on jurisdictions covered by it.

 To the Supreme Court’s credit, it rarely overturns precedents.  But the court as currently constituted, could come down to the vote of Justice Kennedy as the voice of reason.  Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices’ Alito, Thomas, and Scalia have already shown that they are chipping away at Roe vs. Wade.  Voting rights could be next.  Associate Justices’ Sptephens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer can be relied upon to uphold the status quo.

Now is not the time to be messing with legislation that has enfranchised a large segment of the American population

 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/opinion/25sun1.html?scp=1&sq=voting%20rights%20act&st=cse

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GOP, RIP?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly three decades of Republican dominance may be coming to an end.

The Republican-led defeat of President Bush’s Wall Street bailout plan caused an immediate financial catastrophe: The stock market fell an unprecedented 777.68 points, wiping out, by one estimate, $1.2 trillion in wealth. But the greater and more lasting damage may be to the Republican Party itself.

Percentagewise, the Sept. 29 crash was one-third the size of Black Monday, the stock-market crash of Oct. 19, 1987. As I write, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen more than halfway back up (though stock prices remain volatile). It’s still possible to believe that the economy will return to normal in a year or two. For Republicans, though, the events of Sept. 29 could well be remembered as the start of a decadeslong exile from power—much as Democrats remember Nov. 4, 1980.

That’s not to say that John McCain is certain to lose this year’s election to Barack Obama. As I’ve noted before, this race has experienced so many abrupt reversals that we’re all starting to suffer from “game-changer” fatigue. At the moment, though, things seem to be going the Democrats’ way, with Obama up five or six points in national polls and swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Missouri trending toward him. Meanwhile, the GOP has virtually no hope of retaking Congress; indeed, it’s projected to lose seats in both the House and the Senate. Even if McCain wins, his past record of unpredictability combined with the likely imperative of working with a Democratic Congress suggest he’ll spend much of his time fighting with members of his own party. That would seem especially likely given the current banking crisis, which has forced the Bush administration, the House and Senate leadership of both parties, and McCain himself to practice lemon socialism.

The central con of the political coalition assembled by Ronald Reagan and maintained by his successors was that government was a common enemy. Middle-class social conservatives loathed the government for legalizing abortion, forbidding prayer in schools, and coddling minorities through welfare and affirmative action. Upper-class libertarian conservatives loathed the government for soaking the rich through the income tax and weakening businesses through burdensome regulation. The only useful function of the federal government was to provide for the common defense. This was a con for two reasons. First, the middle and upper classes were both dependent on the federal government for a variety of benefits, including Social Security, trade protection, scientific research, and assorted localized spending (termed “pork barrel” by those who don’t receive it and “economic development” by those who do). Second, the distribution of this government largesse greatly favored the rich. In the April 1992 Atlantic, Neil Howe and Philip Longman, citing unpublished data from the Congressional Budget Office, reported that U.S. households with incomes above $100,000 received, on average, slightly more in federal cash and in-kind benefits ($5,690) than households with incomes below $10,000 ($5,560). This was four years before the Clinton administration eliminated Aid to Families With Dependent Children, the principal income-support program for the poor. When tax breaks were added to the tally, households with incomes above $100,000 received considerably more ($9,280) than households with incomes below $10,000 ($5,690). Clinton subsequently expanded tax subsidies to the poor through the Earned Income Tax Credit, but not enough to undo this disparity. “[I]f the federal government wanted to flatten the nation’s income distribution,” Howe and Longman concluded, “it would do better to mail all its checks to random addresses.”

The Reagan coalition survived because nobody wanted to believe this and because both upper and middle classes were bought off with President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. (That the tax cuts favored the wealthy didn’t seem to matter.) But the proposed $700 billion bank bailout made it hard for Republicans to cling to their cherished illusion that government exists only to indulge spendthrift widows and orphans. Moreover, the $700 billion was needed to save the very beau idéal of conservatism, the free market. It was needed so badly that (after a few alterations to protect the taxpayers’ investment) liberal House Democrats like Barney Frank made common cause with conservative House Republicans like John Boehner to urge its passage. To a Republican Party that had come to believe its own propaganda, this simply didn’t compute. So, House Republicans voted against their standard-bearer’s own bailout by a margin of 2 to 1, a dose of free-market principles that sent the Dow into the crapper.

It should be remembered that a fundamentalist belief in untrammeled capitalism is not the first but, rather, the second pillar of Reagan-style Republicanism to fall. The first was the belief that the United States should extend military power wherever enemies lurk, regardless of what our allies do. Reagan didn’t actually practice this doctrine, except to overthrow a teensy regime in Grenada and to deploy (and, after a deadly terrorist bombing, withdraw) U.S. Marines in Lebanon; he preferred to level stern rhetoric against the Soviets (“Evil Empire”) while subsidizing proxy wars abroad, not always in accordance with the law. That the Soviet Union started to disintegrate on Reagan’s watch is mistaken by many for proof that it’s possible to defeat a powerful enemy by calling it names and spending a lot of money on (but never actually using) military weapons. President Bush, alas, took Reagan at his saber-rattling word, waging a war against Saddam Hussein so unilateral that, except for a few Kurds, there was no indigenous fighting force to prop up the way we propped up the ARVN in South Vietnam. The result was and remains, even after violence in Iraq has been greatly reduced, a lingering feeling even among Republicans that the Iraq war was at best a distraction from the more necessary fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

This is not, I’ll confess, the first time I’ve believed that the Republican ascendancy has ended. In 1994, I felt sure that the warmed-over Reaganite nostrums of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” spelled defeat in the midterm elections. Instead, the Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. I also thought the GOP was cracking up in 2000, when, desperate to find fault with every last aspect of the Clinton administration, it started bad-mouthing prosperity. I got that wrong, too. So maybe the GOP isn’t really dead.

It sure looks dead, though.

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Thirty Years and Three Reasons Congress Imploded

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 8:45 AM By Bill Bishop -Slate

 

When leaders of the House looked around for a consensus to confront what they were convinced was a national emergency, consensus had left the room.There are plenty of stories about yesterday’s tactical failings. But Monday’s partisan collapse was also a product of at least three changes that have been taking place quietly for the past 30 years. All were underlying reasons for yesterday’s disarray.

Reason No. 1: The Middle Has Gone Missing
Here’s a chart compiled from vote tallies in Congress collected by political scientist Keith Poole (and others; here’s their site). You can see that a sizable portion of Congress fell into the ideological middle from the end of World War II until sometime in the mid- to late-1970s. Then those who fell into the category of “moderate” began disappearing.
 

 

 

By 2005, only a smidgen of Congress could be described as moderate. By the time of the 110th Congress, Poole writes, “There is no overlap of the two political parties. They are completely separated ideologically.”
In Congress, the time from 1948 until the late ‘60s “was the most bi-partisan period in the history of the modern Congress,” according to a recent paper. Lots of moderates produced lots of bipartisanship. When House leaders over the weekend went looking for a middle place where they could build a bipartisan bill, there wasn’t any middle to be found. There hadn’t been a middle of any appreciable size for nearly 20 years.
Reason No. 2: Congressional Districts Have Grown Lopsided
Members of the House increasingly come from districts where one party or the other has an overwhelming advantage. Members of Congress don’t have to be moderate because their constituency is overwhelmingly Republican or Democratic.

(Most journalists are convinced that gerrymandering is the prime cause of growing House district partisanship. It isn’t. The evidence is pretty thick that districts are growing more lopsided because Americans are choosing to live among like-minded others, not because of legislative monkey business. Check out Alan Abramowitz’s paper here. Keiko Ono comes to the same conclusion here. So does Bruce Oppenheimer at Vanderbilt, but there’s no immediate link.)
Congressional districts have grown more partisan because of how Americans are moving and settling—because of the big sort. Many Americans now live in like-minded communities so isolated that they have little understanding (or sympathy) for those people and places with different opinions. The United States “resembles the population that attempted to build the Tower of Babel,” wrote congressional scholar Nelson Polsby. The trouble is, Polsby observed, “to undertake great public works it helps if everyone speaks the same language.”

Members don’t speak a common language because they represent communities that have been moving apart for the past three decades.

Reason No. 3: They Don’t Live Here Anymore
Members of Congress used to live in the District of Columbia. They’d bring their spouses, and their kids would go to local schools. There was life outside the Capitol. Members would get together on weekends. They would meet at school plays, have drinks after work, eat breakfast on the weekends. Republican leader Robert Michel and Democrat Dan Rostenkowski would share a car on the drive back and forth between D.C. and Illinois.

Members don’t live in Washington anymore. They fly in on Monday or Tuesday and are back in their districts as soon as the week’s business is done. Now “the interaction that occurred over many decades between members, after hours … and on weekends and with their spouses, simply does not occur anymore,” said former Republican House member Vin Weber.

Members don’t live in D.C. anymore because they are afraid to, and have been since at least 1990.

Rick Santorum, a young Pennsylvania conservative, ran against a seven-term incumbent that year. Santorum was losing to Doug Walgren until he started running a television commercial about the “strange” house the incumbent owned in Northern Virginia. It was “strange” because it wasn’t in his district back in Pittsburgh but in “the wealthiest area of Virginia.”

When Santorum unseated Walgren, the social life of Washington, D.C., changed. “Now you don’t move your family to Washington,” Weber told a conference at Princeton. “Now you live in sort of a dormitory with members of your own party.” (After midterm losses in 2006, the homes of former Republican House members went up for sale at 129, 131, 132, 135, and 137 D St. Southeast. Talk about sorting!) The social glue created over coffee while sharing a Sunday newspaper is missing.

Congress works best when members have mixed relationships. If a person is simply an ideological opponent, it’s easy to turn him into the enemy. But if your kids are in the same school play, that opponent is also a friend. Legislatures work most smoothly if they are slathered with some social grease.

Among some African peoples, it was against custom to marry within the tribe. Anthropologist Max Gluckman wrote about how these intertribe marriages created “cross-cutting” relationships among people. The marriage rules forced different tribes to interact, to know one another. Those mixed social ties reduced the chance of misunderstanding or war. The saying was, “They are our enemies; we marry them.”

The simple need for mixed social relations is lost to Americans, who increasingly live in homogenous communities and attend like-minded churches.

It’s apparently lost to Congress, too. We’re living with the result.
 
 

 

 

 

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The Bailout That Wasn’t!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a day!  The much anticipated Wall Street welfare check failed to materialize as the vote on the bailout was defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 225-205.  The resulting effects of that vote caused the stock market to suffer its biggest one day loss ever dropping 777 points.  Even before the vote, banking giant Wachovia collapsed and was quickly absorbed by Citi Group for two billion dollars.  See what happens when McCain goes to Washington to fix shit?

And after the bill went down in defeat the finger pointing started immediately with Republican’s blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  They claim that Pelosi delivered a partisan speech before the vote that alienated Republicans.  If that isn’t a bunch of elephant horseshit, I don’t know what is.  Pelosi countered that the Republican leadership failed on their promise to deliver enough votes.

President Bush came on later and said that he would be meeting with his advisers and would begin a telephone campaign beginning on Monday with congressional leaders (can’t let a thing like a Jewish holiday get in the way of progress).  He was last seen in the White House kitchen curled up on the floor sucking his thumb.

Meanwhile, out on the campaign trail, presidential candidate John McCain blamed Obama for everything from being black as the cause for global warming to being Osama bin Laden’s first cousin.  McCain also announced that he was going back to Washington and personally kick the shit out of everyone fucking up his manifest destiny to become the nation’s oldest president who has survived cancer more times than any fucking local convenience store gets robbed.

As for Vixen-President candidate Sarah Palin, she is being held hostage at one of McCain’s thirty-seven residences.  While the campaign insists that Palin is in debate camp, my source, cub reporter E4BH is reporting that she is secretly being held in a cryogenic chamber keeping her on ice so that she can’t say again that Alexander Putin plays red rover red rover on the Alaska/Russia border.

Perhaps, the only sense made on a day when no sense is prevalent, candidate Obama is telling the truth.  “This is a moment of national crisis, and today’s inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington,” the Obama-Biden campaign said in a statement released shortly after the vote.

The statement went on to say that every American “should be outraged that an era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and Washington has led us to this point.” Damn!  I would love to roll a fatty and rap with that man!

Additional source: Time Magazine

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The Three Page 700 Billion Dollar Bailout Plan!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the document that George W. Bush sent to Congress asking for 700 billion dollars.  3 fucking pages long! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text of Draft Proposal for Bailout Plan

LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY

TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.–The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.–The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for–

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.–The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.–The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.–The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.–The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.

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