Saturday, 9/17/11, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

28 responses to “Saturday, 9/17/11, Public Square

  1. It looks like we finally know the reason why Republicans are refusing to fund FEMA, the federal agency that responds to natural disasters.

    Former Republican Governor Jeb Bush is set to lead a newly formed FOR-PROFIT natural disaster response company.

    Remember the home in Tennessee a couple years ago that was allowed to burn down by the local for-profit fire house because the residents failed to pay the fee? Well, you can bet that same scenario will play out across the country and on a more sickening scale.

    • indypendent

      When people only worship money, is this really surprising?

    • Isn’t it bad enough that the Red Cross sends bills for their services?

      All I want for these people who have no compassion is to experience what those who need a little help have to go through. It’s the old “walk a mile in my shoes” thing. I’m tellin’ ya, Jesus weeps. Present tense.

    • The republicans show their contempt for the average man / woman every time they protect the wealthy, wall street, corporations…

  2. Robert Reich hits the nail on the head with this one!


    Call it the Republican Weapon of Mass Cynicism.

    Republicans didn’t accomplish this alone, of course. They had plenty of help from a Democratic Party too often insensitive to the importance of building public trust. But look at the history of the past four decades and you can’t help conclude that the overall decline in trust and concomitant rise in cynicism about government has been a Republican masterwork.

    Decades of Republican rhetorical scorn – Reagan’s repeated admonition, for example, that government is the problem rather than the solution – have contributed. But the most powerful sources of cynicism have been actions rather than words.

    One has been the misuse of public authority. Consider Nixon’s Watergate, the Reagan White House’s secret sale of arms to Iran while it was subject to an arms embargo and illegal slush fund for the Nicaraguan Contras, Tom DeLay’s extensive system of bribery, and the Republican House’s audacious impeachment of Bill Clinton. To the extent these abuses generated public scandal and outrage, so much the better for the Weapon. The scandals fueled even more public cynicism.

    Another source has been a flood of money pouring into government from big corporations, Wall Street, and the super rich – in return for public subsidies, bailouts, tax breaks, and a steady lowering of tax rates. Democrats aren’t innocent, but Republicans have been in the forefront. (As governor, Rick Perry has raised more money than any politician in Texas history, rewarding his major funders with generous grants, contracts, and appointments.)

    The GOP has pioneered new ways to circumvent campaign finance laws, blocked all attempts at reform, and appointed and confirmed Supreme Court justices who believe corporations have First Amendment rights to spend whatever they want to corrupt our politics.

    A third source has been regulatory agencies staffed by industry cronies more interested in protecting their industries than the public. Here again Republican administrations have led the way: the failure of financial regulators to prevent the Savings & Loans implosion; corporate looting at Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia other big companies; and then the biggest speculative bubble since 1929, bursting in ways that hurt almost everyone except the financiers who created it. A Mineral’s Management Service that turned a blind eye to disastrous oil spills from the Exxon-Valdez to BP; mine Safety regulators whose nonfeasance lead to the Massey mine disaster; an FDA that allowed in tainted meds from China.

    Democrats have had their share of political hacks and cronies, but Republicans have made an art of cashing in on government service through sweetheart deals for their former companies (think of Dick Cheney’s stock options with Halliburton), and cushy jobs and lobbying gigs when they leave office. And the GOP has taken the lead in resisting all attempts to prevent such conflicts of interest.

    The cynicism has been fueled, finally, by repeated Republican threats to bring the whole government to a grinding halt – from Newt Gingrich and fellow House Republicans’ shutdowns in the 1990s to John Boehner and companies’ near assault on the full faith and credit of the United States government months ago. When the whole process of governing becomes bitterly partisan and rancorous – when common ground is unreachable because one side won’t budge – government looks like a cruel game.

  3. Obama adviser David Axelrod put out a memo today that both highlighted and took to task the media’s conservative bias when reporting stories about new polls.

    In the memo, Axelrod wrote —

  4. david B

    Hope everyone is well. I went to the Capitol in Topeka yesterday. Good rally, not bad for Kansas, which has little tradition for mass rallies.

    • Asher Bob White

      Me, too! Many issues stated. Only one main common problem: Gov Sam Brownback. Thanks for being there, David.

  5. indypendent

    I saw another blogger’s comment yesterday and wanted to share it here –

    Republicans are keeping millions of Americans out of work just to put one man out of his job.

  6. indypendent

    If you remember a few days ago, Televangelist Pat Robertson gave a man some advice about his marriage to an Alzheimer’s afflicted spouse.

    Knowing that this man had already been dating another woman, Robertson told this man that since Alzheimers is a ‘kind of death’, he needed to get on with his life and divorce her.

    Well, I emailed Mr. Robertson at CBN and asked him to clarify what he meant by that statement.

    To my surprise, someone from CBN did reply to my inquiry. Of course, they justified their beloved leader’s statement by saying that Alzheimers is like a walking death due to the person not knowing their spouse. And they were quick to point out that their beloved leader also told the man to see an ethicist for the answer.

    So, let’s get this straight – since Alzheimers victims do not know their spouses and it is a walking death – does this also include spouses in a coma, vegetative state and/or mental conditions?

    I replied with the very same question about those spouses in the situation listed above. I then stated that Mr. Robertson’s advice troubled me greatly because I keep askiny myself – What Would Jesus Do? And the same answer keeps coming back to me – I don’t think he would tell this man, who was already dating another woman, to move on with his life and forget about the spouse who became afflicted with a disease through no fault of her own.

    I ended my second inquiry with a comment about this statement from Mr. Robertson is exactly why today’s Evangelical Christians are seen as hateful and downright mean-spirited people.

    I’ll share with the class if I get a second reply……but I will not be holding my breath.

  7. WSClark

    The situation in Reno was/is quite tragic – let’s hope that a lesson is learned by all.

  8. WSClark

    Generally, I am supportive of professional athletes that make tons of money. After all, they ARE entertainers like a Lady Gaga or U2, they do what most of us could never dream of doing and their professional careers are usually short.

    As with any rule, there are exceptions………………………….

    Adam Dunn is a 31 year old baseball player for the Chicago White Sox. He is a Designated Hitter and does not play the field. He is paid $12,000,000 per year to hit a baseball. That is all he is supposed to do. Here are his pertinent stats for 2011:

    AB – 380… BA – .161… Hits – 61… HR – 11… RBI – 40… SO – 161…

    You read that correctly, Dunn has struck out 161 times and is only batting .161. He strikes out in more than 42% of his at bats.

    I put in a call to Ozzie today. For half the money, I can do better than Dunn, despite being 59 years old, with arthritic hands, poor eyesight and an enlarged navel.* I am waiting for a call back.

    (*Dunn weighs 285 pounds, so I am guessing that I am, at 192 pounds, actually in better shape than he is.)

    This post is brought to you by WSClark for no other reason than it is just somehow emblematic of our country as a whole. Remember, the GOP wants to give this guy a tax cut, you know, to create jobs.

  9. So is there really a “scandal” behind what happened to Solyndra? Or is this just one more conservative smear, made up from whole cloth and spread around conservative outlets, talk radio and FOX News, hoping the “mainstream media” will be tricked into propelling the propaganda out to the public?

    The Top Five Lies About Solyndra:

    Now they’re at it again, this time trying to turn the unfortunate bankruptcy of a solar-power company named Solyndra into an all-out, anti-Obama and anti-government attack. Here is a countdown of the top five lies they are telling about what happened with Solyndra:

    5. The biggest investor in Solyndra was an Obama donor.Conservatives (and now picked up by corporate “mainstream” outlets) make the accusation that there was corruption in the process by which Solyndra received its loan because a major Obama donor named George Kaiser is a major investor in Solyndra. The charge is that Solyndra only received the loan guarantee as a result of campaign contributions by people “connected to” Solyndra. The problem with this is that George Kaiser was not an investor in Solyndra. According to Tulsa World:

    In an emailed statement to the Tulsa World, a representative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation said the organization made the investment through Argonaut.

    “George Kaiser is not an investor in Solyndra and did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan,” the statement said. “GKFF invests in a globally diversified portfolio across many different asset classes.”

    The Kaiser Family Foundation is a philanthropic organization, which means Kaiser (or anyone else) could not personally profit from a successful investment by the foundation.

    4. Green energy is a bad investment.Oil-connected conservatives have been trying to kill off investment in green energy for some time. They see opportunity in hyping up a “scandal” over the bankruptcy of Solyndra as a way to attack the idea of developing a green-energy industry in the US. Just today, Heritage Foundation, which for months has been attacking the idea of creating green jobs, has this today: Solyndra Scandal Ends Green Jobs Myth. (I have several examples of conservative attacks on green manufacturing in the post, The Phony Solyndra Solar Scandal.)

    Just in the last year China gave $30 billion financing to 6 solar companies. If the benefits from developing a green energy industry that provides lots of green jobs are a myth then why is China putting so much into this effort?

    3. The government lost money “picking winners and losers.”This is a core line of attack by the right. By tricking the public into thinking that the purpose of government’s efforts to trigger a green-energy industry was to make money for the government by investing in individual companies, they can make this look bad because one company went into bankruptcy. But the purpose of our government’s involvement in this is to help trigger an ecosystem around which a green-energy industry can grow. When a new technology is promising, it might be risky to investors, but very beneficial to us as a country to pursue it. That way we end up with a chunk of the millions of jobs and trillions of dollars that result. That benefits everyone.

    The government does not operate like a venture capitalist, investing in companies with the hope of reaping a profit for itself. Compare the effort to trigger a green-energy industry to government-funded cancer research. Some directions of exploration don’t pan out. But you don’t know that until you fund the tests. This is what happened with Solyndra. The loan guarantee enabled Solyndra to get private investment, and hire researchers as well as manufacturing and other employees, to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the U.S., to develop a supply chain, to buy equipment and the other components that would make a viable business. This was part of the stimulus and all that money was moved into the economy. And all of those are still in the United States, ready to be part of scaling up a green-energy industry. So where the country is concerned, we didn’t lose at all.

    The goal was not to make Solyndra a successful company; the goal was to trigger an ecosystem for the green-energy industry in the U.S. Weren’t the things the money was used for good for the country? Even though the company Solyndra didn’t make it, the money created jobs and leaves behind technology, equipment and facilities that other companies will use.

    2. The Solyndra loan was rushed or pushed.This loan originated under the Bush administration—and for good reasons. Following the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Bush administration began efforts to cultivate a U.S.-based green-energy industry. Solyndra offered a promising technology and applied for loan guarantees. Following a review by career professional in the Department of Energy Solyndra was asked to provide more information. A few months later, under the new Obama administration, the same career professionals received the requested information and proceeded to approve the loan.

    The Energy department imposed some conditions, and a few months later those conditions were met, and the timeline of meeting the conditions meant it happened under the new administration but was handled by the same career professionals. It was the right thing to do for the country to suggest the loan under the Bush administration, which did nothing wrong. Approving the loan under the Obama administration also helps the country because that money went toward helping develop that ecosystem that creates companies and jobs. Stories about rushing the approval are meant to make it sound as if it was done to help a major campaign donor who, as point #1 above makes clear, was not the investor. It is the only reason the timing is an issue.

    The Number One Lie

    And the number 1 lie told by conservatives is:

    1. Something bad happened.The right has been trying to push the idea that something bad has happened involving Solyndra. They are calling it a “scandal.” But it is entirely a manufactured scandal, like those from the Clinton era. This is what they do. Nothing bad happened.

    The supposed campaign donor/investor is not an investor. The timing of the loan is not suspect, it followed the proper, transparent, accountable procedures. The loan assisted the development of a promising technology. The green-energy industry stands to create millions of jobs and trillions of dollars for the countries that are smart enough now to make the investments that help them grab a chunk of it. The loan was good for the country, even though one company went bankrupt.

    But by the time this smear is refuted, five more will have taken its place.

  10. I guess those republicans will just say anything, and it doesn’t matter whether it makes any sense or is true! They know their constituents will believe whatever they say and Fox News airs.


    Bachmann Claims Wall Street Reform Is ‘Killing The Banking Industry’ As Banks Post Record Profits

    Three years ago this week, the financial crisis began in earnest with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the $85 billion bailout of mega-insurer American International Group. However, during Monday night’s GOP presidential primary debate, the candidates proved that they have no interest in learning the lessons of that crisis, as they called for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law in order to “free up” Wall Street.

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) bragged that night about being the lead author of the Dodd-Frank repeal legislation. And during a campaign stop in southern California yesterday, Bachmann explained her rationale:

    And not only repealing Obamacare, also repealing Dodd-Frank, which is killing the banking industry. I’ve got the bill to repeal both of them.

    • WSClark

      Bachmann is obligated to provide one stupid quote per day during her campaign. Generally, she lives up to ‘expectations’ although on some days she out does herself, such as HPV vaccines and mental retardation.

      Bachmann may have a point with the HPV issue – apparently young girls getting the vaccine caused Bachmann’s retardation.

  11. A nut job has declared his candidacy against Bohner. He’s a tea bagger —

    CINCINNATI — A tea party activist is challenging U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (BAY’-nur) in the 2012 Republican primary.

    The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that David Lewis announced his candidacy on Friday.

    Lewis, the father of a 2-year-old girl, says he plans on running on a single issue – Boehner’s support of a federal budget that provides funding to Planned Parenthood, which he calls “the largest killer of unborn babies in America.”

    Lewis tells the newspaper that he plans on running graphic anti-abortion ads against Boehner. He says that people will not reject abortion until they see abortion.

    Boehner beat out two other candidates in the Republican primary for his congressional seat last year with 85 percent of the vote. His staff declined the newspaper’s requests for comment.|mostpopular|text|FRONTPAGE

  12. The Texas unemployment rate increased to 8.5% in August – the highest level in more than 24 years and more than twice the rate when Perry took office in December 2000.

    Rick Perry’s Texas Hits Highest Unemployment Percentage In 24 Years

  13. The Foo Fighters struck back at picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church – by serenading them before a concert in Kansas City, Missouri.

    The church, which is known for its extreme anti-homosexual views, was there to protest the band because of their songs’ lyrics that refer to ‘man-loving’, NBC Action News reported.

    But instead of ignoring them, like most of the objects of their protests do, the Foos donned wigs, hats, costumes, drove up in a flatbed truck and mocked the protestors, video shows.

    Crowds of people, many of them who were there to counter-protest the Westboro Baptist Church, lined up to cheer on the band.

    “I don’t care if you’re black or white or purple or green, whether you’re Pennsylvanian or Transylvanian, whether you’re Lady Gaga or Lady Antebellum, it takes all kinds,” Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighter’s lead singer shouted to the crowd.

    As the crowd went nuts, the Westboro Baptist Church protestors stayed stoic with their signs.

    Read more:

  14. Blackout: CNN, Fox, and MSNBC Ignore 50,000 US Day Of Rage Protesters

    Most Americans are being kept in the dark about the US Day of Rage by the corporate cable news giants at CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC who have imposed a de facto blackout on the protest.

    Even though an estimated 50,000 protesters have flooded into Manhattan to, “nonviolently disrupt the disloyal, incompetent, and corrupt special interests which have usurped our nation’s civil and military power, spawning a host of threats to our liberty, lives and national security,” the three cable news networks have devoted no airtime to the story.

    This is becoming an all too familiar scene. In Wisconsin hundreds of thousands of regular people took to the streets each weekend to protest the theft of their rights, and were completely ignored by CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

    Sarah Palin’s Iowa tea party speech was 1/50 as big as the Wisconsin protests, yet she was deemed worthy of national media coverage.

    The kowtowing of the corporate media to the conservative agenda continued last week as CNN climbed in bed with the Tea Party Express to host a Republican presidential debate that was chocked full of rhetoric about how taxes must be cut to protect the same “job creators” who crashed the US economy in 2008, and have continued to reap record profits by sitting on bailout money, and not hiring any new workers.

    CNN decided that the Tea Party was a worthy news partner, but covering a protest that is happening right under their very noses in New York City is not important to the American people. (In fact as I type this, CNN is running another self-congratulatory segment on their Tea Party Express debate/total sellout to the right). No one expects the pro-business corporate propaganda/GOP propaganda mouthpiece Fox News to devote any coverage to the occupation of Wall Street, but the supposed progressive news network, MSNBC can’t “lean forward” long enough to turn off their true crime doc block to cover an event that is happening minutes away from their studios.

    The corporate cable news media ignored Wisconsin, and now they are ignoring the protests of regular Americans who want their democracy placed back into their hands. The corporate media have proven time and time again that they are an obstacle to, not a provider of truth. Unlike the bogus tea party movement, the Occupy Wall Street protest features people of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes, and political affiliations. These people are protesting a broken system. They are protesting a loss of freedom. They are protesting inequality, and they are fighting for our rights.

    Whether or not the corporate media cameras are in attendance, the protests will go on. Americans will continue to march, and those who love their country will continue to battle to make it better.

    The conservative media bias of the cable news industry can and will be overcome. We don’t need video to feel the heart of America beat strong.

  15. Protesters in N.Y.C. blast money in politics

    (CBS News)

    NEW YORK – A coalition of groups who say they’ve been inspired by “Arab Spring” protests against Middle Eastern despots has initiated a large, Tahrir Square-like protest in New York City, in the heart of the financial district.

    On Saturday, about 1,000 people converged on Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan, near the financial district, to protest the influence of corporate money in American politics. Some will pitch tents with the intention of sitting in for a couple of months.

    Organizers of the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration have called for 20,000 people to “flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.”

    The protesters seek to persuade President Barack Obama to establish a commission that would end “the influence money has over representatives in Washington.”

    Their website is