Daily Archives: February 18, 2011

Joe Scarborough: Wisconsin Public Unions Are ‘Greedy’ Free Riders

This is precisely the reason I do not watch Morning Joe

Think Progress

Showing solidarity in opposition of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) Budget Repair Bill, which would effectively eliminate collective bargaining for public employees, citizens have continued to flood Wisconsin’s state Capitol today. The Senate was expected to pass Walker’s proposal yesterday, but to support the workers, the Democratic members of the Senate left the state, leaving the Republicans unable to achieve a quorum for the vote

This morning, in apparent opposition of the protests, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said that the unions “free-ride” and are “greedy“:

SCARBOROUGH: Are you kidding me? They are shutting down the state. You see these young students, mike, instead of trying to end a war, they are trying to make sure state employees don’t have to pay off 3 percent of their salary to our — or 4 percent of their salary for health care benefits. They are trying to make sure that these people do not have to pay what every other American who works outside of government has to pay. Are you serious?

You’re going to shut down schools because you have a union that is so greedy that they want their people to be held to different standard than working class americans who sometimes pay 15 percent of their salaries to benefits? [...] hey, we are not going to let you get a free ride on benefits.

More…

Watch:

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Filed under Joe Scarborough, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson Fiscal Crisis, Wisconson GOP

Rep. Anthony Weiner Calls On Republicans to Defund Their Own Health Care Plans

Crooks & Liars

Since as Rachel Maddow noted on her show [last night], John Boehner decided to allow open debate and endless amendments during the House debate on the budget, we got to see Anthony Weiner giving this speech. Rep. Weiner asked the House Republicans to defund their own health care plans since they don’t want every day Americans to have the same options that they have as members of Congress.

I still want single payer but if we’re going to argue about how completely hypocritical Republicans are on this issue, Congressman Weiner is exactly right. There are a couple of models you can take with reforming the health insurance industry and with making sure you provide affordable services to everyone in the country. You either have the government replace the insurance industries and they manage the plans or you still have everyone pay in to private corporations and you regulate the insurance industries the way utility industries are regulated and they are not allowed to make excessive profits from those who are covered.    More…

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Filed under Health Care Reform, Health Reform, Rep. Anthony Weiner

Boehner Falsely Claims ‘There’s Been No Talk Of Shutting The Government Down On Our Side’

John Boehner

Image via Wikipedia

Liar, liar…

Think Progress

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke with Sean Hannity at the friendly confines of Fox News yesterday. The discussion quickly veered to the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. If a new CR is not passed by March 4, the government won’t have any money to fund itself and will shut down. Republicans have been threatening to shut down the government if they don’t get what they want in the CR, but it seems that Boehner doesn’t see it that way:

HANNITY: My question to you then is, when March 4th, comes around, which is the day the government runs out of money, all the Democrats in almost every interview they talk about, they mention Republicans want a government shutdown.

BOEHNER: The only people cheering for government shutdown around here are Democrats, led by Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. There’s been no talk about shutting the government down on our side. Our goal here is to reduce spending. It isn’t to shutdown the government.

Watch:

This simply isn’t true:

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR): “Womack said he would be open to forcing a government shutdown over spending.” [The Hill, 12/12/10]

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA): “If government shuts down, we want you with us. … It’s going to take some pain for us to do the things that we need to do to right the ship.” [9/10/10]

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA): Q: do you think shutdown should be off the table? PRICE: Everything ought to be on the table. [2/11/11]

Rep. Steve King (R-IA): “[King] said last week that he wants Boehner and other House leaders to sign a ‘blood oath’ that they will include a repeal of health care reform in every appropriations bill next year, even if President Barack Obama vetoes the bills and a government shutdown occurs.” [Roll Call 9/10/10]

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): If Obama…responds to the mandate from voters and understands he can’t disregard it, then he thinks Obama will do well “If he doesn’t, he will shut government down,” Walberg said. [Jackson Citizen Patriot, 11/03/10]

Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MI): Q: Are you willing to participate in what would lead to a shutdown of the federal government to stop this monstrosity from going down he tracks? NUNNELEE: I agree with Congressman Boehner. We need to do whatever is necessary to make sure this bill never goes into effect. [11/09/10]

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): “If it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children and our grandchildren.” [11/15/10]

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX): “This is the way the government should adjust. If they can’t pay their bills, wait.” [12/16/10]

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL): “We will do what we have to do, to shut down the government if we have to, to choke Obamacare if we have to.” [2/12/11]

As for the Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called on Boehner to take government shutdown off the table. “Speaker Boehner said his goal is to not shut down the government,” Reid said in a statement Sunday. “If he is serious about that, he should completely take a shutdown off the table and tell other Republicans to stop with the threats.”

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Filed under GOP, GOP Agenda, GOP Hypocrisy, GOP Lies, GOP Obstructionism, Government Shut-down, John Boehner

Rachel Maddow: GOP Goal for 2012 – Spend MORE Money than in 2010 To Eradicate The Democratic Party

This may sound like one of Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories in reverse, but I urge everyone to spend a few minutes and look at Rachel Maddow, Ph.D.’s presentation about the GOP goal.  

As usual, The Rachel Maddow Show brings the truth to light.  Yet, it’s rather unnerving.

This should not be taken lightly.  My question is, why are the Democrats so damned complacent?  Oh never mind, that’s an age old question!

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Filed under GOP, GOP Dirty Tricks, GOP Fundraising

Sarah Palin Bats Michelle Obama Breastfeeding Initiative

The hypocrisy of Sarah Palin is mind-boggling…

Huffington Post

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took a shot Thursday at First Lady Michelle Obama’s breastfeeding initiative during an appearance before a gathering of business officials in Long Island.

“No wonder Michelle Obama’s telling everybody, ‘you’d better breastfeed your baby.’ Yeah, you’d better, because the price of milk is so high right now!” Palin told the crowd in a rare event in which she answered questions from the crowd.

Palin’s comments build on ones made earlier this week by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), another potential 2012 presidential contender, who claimed the first lady’s effort to provide federally subsidized breast pumps as part of her larger mission to reduce childhood obesity amounted to a “nanny state” overreach.  

“For them, government is the answer to every problem,” Bachmann said of Obama’s plan. “To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies? You wanna talk about the nanny state, I think you just got a new definition.”

Palin has also jabbed First Lady Obama for her childhood health program in the past. Last year, she blasted the initiative for infringing on the nation’s “God-given rights.” She later mocked it on her TV show, defiantly saying she planned to feed her family s’mores to protest Obama.

Now contrast the above with this article…

FLASHBACK: Palin Proclaimed Oct. 2007 “Breastfeeding Awareness Month”

Fox News contributor Sarah Palin joined her colleagues today with an apparent swipe at First Lady Michelle Obama’s support of women who choose to breastfeed. Politico’s Ben Smith reported:

Palin knocks breastfeeding initiative

Sarah Palin, who has made a frequent target of First Lady Michelle Obama, poked fun at her attempts to encourage breastfeeding in her Long Island appearance today.

“No wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody ‘you’d better breastfeed your baby,’” Palin said, after suggesting that increases in prices for commodities and gasoline since 2009 are the consequence of her husband’s policies. “Yeah, you’d better, because the price of milk is so high right now.”

Obama supported including breast pumps under a tax exemption that covers medical equipment. Rep. Michele Bachmann has also criticized the push as a feature of the “nanny state.”

The perceived dig is quite a turnaround from the position Palin had as governor of Alaska, when she declared October 2007 “Breastfeeding Awareness Month” and issued a proclamation that said, “government and community organizations have a vested interest in protecting and promoting breastfeeding as a means of preventing infant malnutrition, morbidity, and mortality.”

From a 2007 news release (via nexis):

Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, has issued the following proclamation:

WHEREAS, breastfeeding is recognized as an unequalled means of providing food for infants.

WHEREAS, throughout their lives, breastfeeding can offer children protection against serious health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Breastfeeding also saves lives by reducing the incidence of life-threatening cancers in women and preventing premature death in infants.

WHEREAS, breastfeeding forms the most basic bond between mother and baby and is a foundation for lifelong health and wellness.

WHEREAS, government and community organizations have a vested interest in protecting and promoting breastfeeding as a means of preventing infant malnutrition, morbidity, and mortality.

WHEREAS, during October, organizations throughout our state will promote the importance of breastfeeding. This year, in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week – October 1 through October 7 – the State of Alaska will support networks that encourage and promote breastfeeding in all communities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska, do hereby proclaim October 2007 as:

Breastfeeding Awareness Month

in Alaska, and encourage all residents to recognize and support the important contributions breastfeeding makes in improving the quality of life for all Alaskans

 

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Filed under Fox News, Sara Palinisms, Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin's Hypocrisy

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Ginned Up Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights

With all the focus given to the revolution demonstrations in Egypt and other mideast countries, I think it’s a shame that the news coverage thus far in our own country about middle-class Americans who are being targeted  by their state leadership, has been sparse and with the exception of MSNBC, appear to be quite anti-union.

The immediate issue however, is whether or not the so-called fiscal crisis is real or imagined.  Some believe that it’s imagined since not all unions will be subjected to the draconian cuts proposed by Governor Scott Walker.  It appears that those unions who supported Walker during his campaign for Governor are exempt from the “fiscal cuts”.   Now that’s just wrong…

TPMDC

Wisconsin’s new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker’s collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.

The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures — service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money — rolling back worker’s bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker’s doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.

Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state’s fiscal bureau — the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — concluded that Wisconsin isn’t even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.

“Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control,” says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future — a public interest think tank. “He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts… so he could rush through these other changes.”

“The state of Wisconsin has not reached the point at which austerity measures are needed,” Norman adds.

In a Wednesday op-ed, the Capitol Times of Madison picked up on this theme.

In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.To the extent that there is an imbalance — Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit — it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January.

You can read the fiscal bureaus report here (PDF). It holds that “more than half” of the new shortfall comes from three of Walker’s initiatives:

  • $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation, which still holds $73 million because of anemic job growth.
  • $48 million for private health savings accounts — a perennial Republican favorite.
  • $67 million for a tax incentive plan that benefits employers, but at levels too low to spur hiring.

In essence, public workers are being asked to pick up the tab for this agenda. “The provisions in his bill do two things simultaneously,” Norman says. “They remove bargaining rights, and having accomplished that, make changes in the benefit packages.” That’s how Walker’s plan saves money. And when it’s all said and done, these workers will have lost their bargaining rights going forward in perpetuity.

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson Fiscal Crisis, Wisconson GOP

Aaron Sorkin’s HBO Pilot Features Olbermann-Like TV Host

If Aaron Sorkin has something to do with this project, it promises to be a winner.  Just look at his track record:  The West Wing for seven seasons as well as his mega hit, Social Network

As a huge fan of Keith Olbermann, I will welcome this new HBO special by Aaron Sorkin…

Mediaite

Keith Olbermann may have left his ratings juggernaut at MSNBC for Al Gore’s much smaller and lesser known Current TV, but that doesn’t mean the liberal pundit’s fame or notoriety is reaching some sort of end – at least, not if Aaron Sorkin has anything to do with it.

The Daily takes a look at Sorkin’s pilot for a show based on a character who bears more than a passing similarity to Ol’ Olbie. Sorkin apparently spent some time at Countdown with Keith Olbermann conducting research for the show, which follows the trial and tribulations and on-air rants of one Will McCallister – a left-wing media figure with a successful show and something of an abrasive nature.

Back in January, Deadline.com reported the show’s working title was More as the Story Develops. We’re sure Sorkin is hoping this newest project will turn out to be more West Wing and less Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Other shows about TV, and especially about journalists – like Murphy Brown and The Mary Tyler Moore Show – have managed to capture American’s attention. Do you suppose HBO’s audience will fall for McCallister? What if there’s a story arc where he dates a thin, blonde conservative pundit named, oh I don’t know, Pam Poulter?

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Filed under Keith Olbermann