Wednesday, 6/15/11, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

42 responses to “Wednesday, 6/15/11, Public Square

  1. I wish we’d never met bush the lesser and his tax cuts. The annual reduction most people received in those tax cuts — all but the uber wealthy top 2% — weren’t enough to cover our losses in our 401K and IRA accounts when the economy went to hell in a hand basket in 2008. The fallout from his 8 years hurt everyone except those he called “the haves and have mores,” and identified as “his base.”

    President Obama took over in 2009. Thank goodness!

  2. Today all American’s tax rates are the lowest they’ve paid in over 60 years! Our economy sputters — well, could that at least partly be attributed to the fact that revenue is the lowest it’s been for those six decades? Of course.

    Any person faced with paying their bills on a reduced income can understand. In fact, with the exceptions of GOP congress critters and tea partiers it’s clearly understood by everyone.

  3. “A majority of Senate Republicans appeared to break Tuesday with two decades of GOP orthodoxy against higher taxes, voting to advance a plan to abruptly cancel billions of dollars in annual tax credits for ethanol blenders.

    The measure, offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster threat. But it had the support of 34 of 47 Republicans, most of whom have signed an anti-tax pledge that specifically prohibits raising taxes by any means but economic growth.”

    “You’ve got 34 Republicans that say they’re willing to end this, regardless of what Grover says,” Coburn said, referring to pledge creator Grover G. Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform. “That’s 34 Republicans that say this is more important than a signed pledge to ATR.”

    And here’s a part of the article that should give pause to everyone. Who elected Norquist? When was he a candidate and who voted for him? Why does he get to authorize senators to advance a bill or put stipulations on what is supported?

    “For his part, Norquist claimed victory, saying he had prevented Coburn from tricking his colleagues into voting for a tax increase. At a Capitol Hill meeting Tuesday morning with more than 100 GOP staffers, Norquist said he authorized senators to advance the Coburn measure so long as they also supported a bill by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to cut the estate tax.

    This strategy, Norquist said, “robbed” Coburn of the opportunity to persuade his Senate colleagues to vote for higher taxes.

    “We won, he lost; he can try again, but he’s not going to get his tax increase,” Norquist said. “Because the House won’t let him have his tax increase, even if he thinks he can get it through the Senate.”

    • indypendent

      I saw this yesterday and posted a link from Huffington Post. It was confusing to me and hard to follow when reading it. But I agree with you – who the hell voted for Norquist?

      But Grover Norquist is the one that has made all the Republicans sign that no tax pledges and like all lemmings do – most of them signed the damn pledge.

      Half the problem with our current Congress is the fact that Republicans act like lockstepping lemmings while the Democrats act like a bunch of cats that will never be herded into one group.

      With the presets of those two groups – nothing gets done.

      • indypendent

        Here’s a question – Republicans like to demonize Obama as a dictator running a Gangster Administration.

        But yet the Republicans signed Norquist’s pledge of no taxes and this is the group that rarely ever breaks party line. Isn’t that also a Gangster mentality with Norquist as the dictator?

        But as we have seen previously, Republicans like certain dictators while demonizing their own president. I still remember Republicans saying that Egypt’s President Mubarak was ‘not such a bad dictator’.

        Hmm, I never knew there was such a thing as a good dictator -have you?

    • Yes, it seems marching orders come from many directions and for the GOP that includes from Grover Norquist. Seems not to matter how sensible the spending, seems not to matter whether any Americans benefit from the spending. Norquist says “NO!,” they bow and kowtow to his demands.

      Now about Medicare…

  4. Speaking of corn, government subsidies… let’s talk a bit about the correlation of government subsidies on the growing of corn, and the increasing rate of obesity, diabetes 2 and health-care costs. Yes, they are related. During the Nixon administration the government began supporting corn at the expense of farmers. A sensible program to protect family farmers turned into a blatant give-away, uncoupled from any sensible policy, under the direction of Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz. If we wanted to be nice we could call all this an unintended consequence.

    You can find links abounding about this problem. Below is from a well-written, succint WordPress blog:

    The farm bill, which is renewed every five or six years, is a vast set of laws and policies that governs how our food is produced and priced. Recently, it has included conservation programs aimed at setting aside land to aid ecosystem recovery and improve water quality, but historically it has provided huge payments to just a handful of crops including wheat, soybeans, cotton, and corn.

    The first farm bill, passed during the Depression, established price supports to protect farmers and rural communities. The Agricultural Act of 1938 mandated price supports for corn, cotton, and wheat; the Agricultural Act of 1949 established supports for other commodities including wool, mohair, honey, and milk. These two laws form the backbone of today’s farm bill, and this is part of the problem. A system established in an agricultural landscape vastly different from today’s is still in place, and the effects are profound.

    Corn is so prevalent in American food that you’re likely to be eating it even if you don’t know it. Chug a Coke, chomp on a chicken nugget, bite into a burger, and most likely you’re ingesting processed corn.

    Why? In part because after years of slumping prices, the price of corn is now growing by leaps and bounds. You see, our representatives in Washington, D.C. have mandated a huge increase in the amount of ethanol in our gasoline. They have also made it all but impossible to import sugarcane-based ethanol from countries like Brazil. So our only viable source is corn. Demand for corn as food and corn as energy has helped its price skyrocket. (Some believe this is contributing to a world food shortage that threatens political stability throughout the developing world — but that is another story.)

  5. Big Food and Big Farming and Big Pharma: How They are Killing Us

    The default condition of a human being in the 21st century is to be obese. Nearly 75 percent of Americans are overweight. This is not an accident. Specific, traceable forms of structural violence promoted by Big Food, Big Farming, Big Pharma (see my recent blog on “Dangerous Spin Doctors”) and government polices is leading to the global spread of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

    Current food policies and subsidies encourage Big Farming to overproduce corn and soy which are then used to create sugary, fatty, factory-made, industrial food products sold as processed, fast, or junk food as I noted above. The government essentially stands in line next to you in fast food chains helping you buy cheeseburgers, fries, and cola. But in the produce isle of your supermarket you are on your own—the 2010 Farm Bill offers little support to farmers for growing fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole foods.

    The resultant omnipresence of cheap, high-calorie, nutrient-poor processed foods (or “food like substances”) in homes, schools, government institutions and food programs, and on every street corner creates default food choices that drive obesity. How can you eat fruits and vegetables when you can’t buy them in your neighborhood convenience store or their price has increased five times as fast as sugar-sweetened beverages?

  6. Sugar Politics and Why Our Children are Paying the Price

    We are facing a major epidemic in this country that could mean our children will be the first generation to not live longer than their parents.

    Nothing illustrates the perverseness of subsidies and our political system better than the politics of sugar, which has led to a major danger for our children and our country: The epidemic of obesity and type two diabetes along with an alarming rise in metabolic syndrome.

  7. It’s all part of the GOP strategy to make BIG business, and the haves and have mores in charge! It takes America back to the time when average citizens meant absolutely nothing and only those white wealthy men made all the decisions. It’s such a tangled web, yet all connected and part of turning America into what we’ve dubbed here as a CORPocracy. To hell with what it does to people, money is all that counts!

  8. Showdown over the debt ceiling

    Watch the short video, click on the link (the small pic of the graphic) so you can study the graphics, continue your research to understanding.

  9. Spread the word, please! There’s plenty of blame to go around, and a little “R” or a little “D” beside a person’s name does not indicate a solution! Lots of money will keep a solution from being found! If we weren’t all so head strong and we didn’t continue this crazy atmosphere of partisan politics we might contribute to a better America.

    Though many companies benefit from government largesse, none has mastered the game of turning government policy to its advantage better than Archer Daniels Midland, the world’s largest corn processor based in Decatur, Illinois. ADM, with $69 billion in 2009 revenue, ranks 27th in the Fortune 500 and is the second largest U.S. agro-processing firm after Cargill, the privately owned Minneapolis company, which pulled in an estimated $110 billion in 2009 revenue.

    ADM has exerted a strong influence on U.S. agricultural policy for at least 40 years. In 1973 Earl Butz, President Nixon’s Agriculture Secretary, engineered a shift away from the New Deal policies of farm price supports, which included limiting production of corn and other major commodities, to encouraging farmers to produce as much as they could, regardless of price. The government henceforth would pay direct subsidies to farmers to make up the difference between the market price and what it considered an appropriate floor price. Naturally, this sharply drove down the price of corn, providing a windfall to major corn processors. Michael Pollan describes this phenomenon in detail in his excellent book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

    Except it wasn’t precisely a windfall, since ADM had done a great deal to engineer this outcome. During the Watergate investigation, Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox indicted then-ADM CEO Dwayne Andreas for giving $100,000 in illegal contributions to Hubert Humphrey’s 1968 Presidential campaign. But Andreas was nothing if not bipartisan. Richard Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods, testified that during Nixon’s 1972 campaign Andreas handed her an envelope containing $100,000 in $100 bills. Between 1975 and 1977 Andreas gave $72,000 in ADM stock to the children of David Gartner, senator Humphrey’s chief of staff at the time, whom President Jimmy Carter in 1977 named to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (he was later forced to resign when the details of the ADM gift came to light).

    ADM continues to lavish huge sums on candidates for high office. During the 1996 Presidential campaign ADM gave $100,000 to Bob Dole’s Better America Foundation, provided numerous free rides on ADM’s corporate jets to Senator and Mrs. Dole, and gave over $1.5m in soft money to the Republican National Committee. Though Bob Dole lost his Presidential race he remained highly influential as a Senator and helped arrange the 54-cent per gallon ethanol tax credit of which ADM, producer of more than 60% of America’s corn-based ethanol, is the main beneficiary. ADM also contributed to Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s campaigns. Although Barack Obama apparently has received no direct campaign contributions from ADM – ADM was, however, a major sponsor of the 2008 Democratic National Convention – as a Senator from ADM’s home state of Illinois Mr. Obama was one of several farm-state Senators who staunchly opposed a Bush Administration proposal to lower the prohibitively high import duties on Brazilian ethanol made from sugar cane. During his Presidential campaign Mr. Obama vigorously defended the corn ethanol subsidy, and as President he has kept the policy firmly in place.

  10. indypendent

    BTW – Nixon was also the Republican president that cozied up to China for trade – how is that working for us?

    Nixon was also the Republican president that changed our health care system into basically a for-profit industry – so how is that working for us?

    I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s – I can remember that everyone went to the doctor. We never knew of anyone that could not afford to go to the doctor. We all went for regular check ups – who does that when they do not have health insurance We had very few specialists – and our family doctor usually treated the entire family – from grandparents down to the grandkids. The family doctor was like a member of the family.

    IMHO – those days were better because we have preventive health care and we had a family doctor that actually knew the family inside and out. We had the doctor sit down with us and actually take care of our health care needs rather than popping in the exam room for 5 minutes and then handing ‘our case’ over to the nearest lower-paid health care worker.

    We had many more family farms back then also – and the corporations we did have strived to be good citizens – not just the raping and pillaging corporations we have today.

    I have no evidence or proof that Nixon started the downfall of health care and corporations being good citizens – but I do find it interesting he was in the White House at the time and he emphatically st ated ‘I am not a crook’ while the evidence in that Watergate scandal pretty much showed that he was a crook.

    But even then – my mother-in-law was one of those die-hard Republicans that actually beleived Nixon was framed. yeah, sure…..

    • indypendent

      I am not naive enough to think one president did all the current damage we are witnessing today – but when I look back at the two political parties – Republicans seemed to be the ones that talked a good talk but could never seem to walk the walk.

      But the topping on that sundae was when Reagan got in and gave the Evangelical Christians power in the inner circle of the GOP. I truly believe that was when their party started really going downhill.

      There is nothing more evil than a self-righteous Evangelical Christian.

  11. indypendent

    Can someone please explain to me the attraction Herman Cain has over these Republicans?

    Here is a black man that wants to take the country back to it’s Constitutional roots and he stated recently that he would not want any Muslim in his administration.

    Let’s review shall we? Herman Cain is a black man who would have been counted as 3/5 of a person in the good ol’ Constituional days. And I wonder how many of those Founding Fathres would have wanted a black man in their administration?

    And as for Cain not wanting Muslims in his administration – please show me the part in the Constitution where a person is probibited from public service simply by means of his religion?

    So a black man is now discriminating against any Muslim – and this is what these REpublicans want us to go back to?

    God help us all if these kooks get anywhere near the button to launch any nuclear weapons.

    • Bigotry doesn’t look any less stupid or less hateful when it’s a black man discriminating against Muslims.

    • A point of clarification, if I may.

      The original language of Article I, Sec. 2, of the Constitution provides, in pertinent part:

      “…which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of Free persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other Persons. …”

      Thus, not all black persons were counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of the Census; only slaves. If Mr. Cain was a freeman, or an indentured servant (there were black freemen and indentured servants), he would have counted as one person for these purposes. If he was a slave, then he would have counted as three-fifths of a person for the Census (and direct apportionment of taxes).

      • indypendent

        I believe Herman Cain has said his ancestors were slaves. But I think Herman is just hoping to ride the Crazy Tea Party Express Train into some sort of historical significance.

      • indypendent

        Just wondering….how many black freeman and indentured servants would have been allowed to run for president or work in any of the government administrations?

        Is there any example of this happening?

      • indypendent

        Looks like 1836 was the first year any of these black Americans was elected to any government office.

        That’s quite a long time away from the Founding Fathers days. But I’m sure Michelle Bachmann was correct when she proudly boasted that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to abolish slavery.

        So I must be mistaken when I thought no black man could run for president in the good ol’ days of the Founding Fathers

  12. indypendent

    I know, but I guess that’s the draw maybe? If Herman Cain can be the Republican nominee then the GOP is not full of racists?

    Is that their strategy?

    • Makes as much sense as anything else I hear from them.

      • indypendent

        I cannot figure these folks out either. Maybe that is a good thing? Because if we ever started to think they make sense – then we become one of them?

        Kinda like the pod people in that old movie? LOL

    • indypendent

      Because I have noticed in the past few months, Republicans take great offense at being called racists and they will yell and scream that they are no such thing.

      All the while – they sit and listen to the Fox anchors go on a rant like that one that just got called out for making racist comments about Obama – remember?

  13. indypendent

    But back to subsidies – if the vote to get rid of ethanol subsidies got shot down (although alot of Republicans did vote for it), is that their feeble attempt to appear like they are serious about cutting the budget?

    Hell, why not go after the big money in subsidies – oil, gas, pharmaceutical, agricultural and military defense contracts.

    I would settle for any Republican to even attempt to find that $6.6 billion of cash that GWB flew over to Iraq that is unaccounted for. Why don’t they ever talk about crap like that?

  14. To be fair to Nixon there was a food shortage in America in the 70s. Or at least a perceived food shortage, due to a perceived fuel shortage… Food shortages can be linked to political unrest, the overthrow of countries… So he was attempting to thwart a worse situation. Problem is those unintended consequences. Another problem is that we don’t update policies to fit today.

    • Even when someone knows and admits policies need to be updated all the time is spent arguing over who did what when and why. This ethanol subsidy should not exist and most people know that but in walks Grover Norquist with his threats.

      • indypendent

        The same goes for these oil subsidies – if these oil companies are making billions in profits – are the subsidies really needed?

        I don’t think so.

  15. Guess you could define our biggest problem as CONGRESS CRITTERS. We all know the job they spend the most time and effort on is reelection, funding…

    • indypendent

      That and filling their own pockets with lobbyist money at the expense of our country’s goodwill.

    • indypendent

      I’ve heard several Republicans use the logic that not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.

      Hmm, that’s funny, I did not know Timothy McVeigh was a Muslim – did you?

      And Timothy McVeigh was certainly a terrorist. But I’m sure if asked, he would have told you quite proudly that he was followimg the Constitution. That’s what these crazy right-wingers are – they are deluded into thinking they – and only they – are the right ones.

  16. indypendent

    All I can say is if we get a right-wing crazy into the White House that wants to ‘take our country back’ – then we can all kiss the Constitution and our freedoms goodbye. Because what we will have is that civil war that some of these crazies are really wanting.

    But by the time these crazies are done with our country, there will be nothing left because they will have sold everything for that extra dime. Maybe they should read their Bible and see what happens to a person when they sell their birth right.

  17. GOP Cuts To Food Aid For Seniors And Food Banks Equals One Day Of Bush Tax Cuts For Millionaires

    Today, the House is debating the Republican’s 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which, as we’ve been documenting, slashes funding for food assistance, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from accessing aid. In addition to lopping more than $800 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the GOP’s bill would cut $38 million from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSIP), as well as $63 million from the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAB).

    The CSFP provides food assistance to 600,000 low-income families every month, 96 percent of whom are seniors, while the TEFAP “provides our nation’s emergency food bank network with food commodities and storage and distribution support.” We previously noted that the cuts to WIC are roughly equivalent to the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires alone for just one week.

    As it turns out, the cuts to CSIP and TEFAB, according to Half in Ten’s Melissa Boteach, are equivalent to the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires alone for just one day:

    • indypendent

      But, sad to say, trying to shame Republicans into putting people first instead of their own ‘have mores’ has not and will never work.

      People who are so desperately greedy that they have an entire group of so-called godly Evangelical Christians to justify their greed do not care, has never cared, and will never care.

      That’s the way things are. The only thing that will stop these people is when the government trough is dry and the GOP piggies do not get their free taxpayer money in their big snouts.

      That will be the only time these people will care – when it hits them in their own pockets.

      When people worship money more than people – nothing good will come from that. And just because some fake Christians try to justify their greed – will not make it godly or right to do.

      But shaming these people will not make them change their minds. They DON”T CARE…..

  18. indypendent

    I am to the point where I hope Sarah Palin wins the White House or any other crazy right-winger wins.

    Just one month of all that craziness will be enough to start that revolution these crazy Tea Party people talk about. But those in power will be the ones that had better watch out – the tide will turn so quickly that impeachment will be just a memory in a short-lived crazy right-winger’s turn at the White House.

    And then, finally, we will be rid of all this craziness from the Far Right wackos. I think the Grand Old Party will be split so wide open – it will never survive. And good riddance.

    I am seriious – just let these crazy right-wingers have their way and we’ll see how long they last in power. I suspect not very long. There is only so much people can take – and fake Christianity wrapped up in the American Flag is enough to make everyone want to throw up.

    • I think even if someone bat-shit crazy wins the White House someone will cover up. Look at Reagan, he didn’t have a clue what was going on. Look at bush the lesser, he didn’t have a clue what was going on. Two different presidents, both incompetent for two different reasons. We have no idea who is in charge, who is making decisions…

      • indypendent

        And I really don’t care anymore. Let them have the country back and let them fall flat on their faces

        I’m sick of all of them.

      • I have to pick myself up one more time than I get down. I have to. I’m a Pollyanna and I know no other way. I know what despair and lack of hope feels like and it isn’t where I want to be. 🙂

  19. wicked

    Happy one-day-late Birthday, Freebird! (Please don’t ask why I’m late. Long, boring, pitiful story.) Hope you had a wonderful day!

  20. indypendent

    This is exactly how much any of these business-mind-only people feel about their employees. And notice that the federal government could not even help in this situation due to not enough employees at this company.

    There is no shaming some people. So why bother to even care anymore. I’m done…