Day: March 10, 2011

Deja Vu all over again?

 Huffington Post – Max 1

Then:

“First they came for the Socialists­, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

==========­==========­==========­==========­=========
Now:

First they came for the Democrats calling them Socialists­, and I did not speak out -
Because I am not a Socialist.

Then they came for the organizing power of Unions, but I did not speak out -
Because I’m not a Union member.

Then they came for the Hispanics and Muslims, but I did not speak out -
Because I am neither Hispanic or Muslim.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Wisconsin Dispute Could Mobilize Democratic Base

Nate Silver – Five Thirty Eight

“If only there were precedent for the upper chamber monkeying around with the fiscal part of a bill to bypass the need for supermajority,” the Republican strategist Patrick Ruffini noted on Twitter last night.

Mr. Ruffini was referring, of course, to the decision by Wisconsin Republicans to strip collective bargaining provisions from Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal and vote on them separately, overcoming the need for the quorum that Democratic state senators had denied them by leaving the state. He was also referring to the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care bill that Democrats passed by using a budget reconciliation procedure that bypassed the possibility of a filibuster.

Democrats paid a price for passing their health care bill, however, which polls had long shown was unpopular. Some of the 63 seats they lost in the House last November were an all but inevitable result of the poor economy, and reversion to the mean after two strong election cycles. My research, however — as well as that of several political scientists — suggests that the health care bill was also a factor in their defeat; Democrats who voted aye on the health care bill were considerably more likely to lose their seats, controlling for other factors.

The quality of polling on the Wisconsin dispute has not been terrific. But there’s a general consensus — including in some polls sponsored by conservative groups — that the Republican position was unpopular, probably about as unpopular as the Democrats’ position on health care. And the most unpopular part of their position — limiting collective bargaining rights — was the one that Republicans passed last night.

Nor is the bill likely to become any more popular given the circumstances under which it passed. Yes, there’s some hypocrisy in claims by Democrats that the Wisconsin Republicans used trickery to pass the bill — they did, after all, approve it with an elected majority, just as Democrats did on the Affordable Care Act. Nevertheless, polling suggested that Wisconsinites, by a two to one majority, expected a compromise on the bill, which this decidedly was not.    More…

Michele Bachmann’s ‘bombshell’ on a ‘hidden’ $105 billion

Michele Bachmann gets FOUR Pinocchios for this whopper!

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker

NBC – Meet The Press

“There was a Congressional Research Service report that just was issued in February, and we discovered that secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the ‘Obamacare’ legislation to fund the implementation of ‘Obamacare’. This is something that wasn’t known. This money was broken up, hidden in various parts of the bill.”
–Rep. Michele Bachmann, March 6, 2011

“This is a crime against democracy. No one knew that Harry Reid, [Nancy] Pelosi and Obama put $105 billion in spending in the bill. … This is a bombshell.”
–Bachmann, March 8, 2011

You have to give Rep. Michele Bachmann credit. The Minnesota Republican certainly knows how to command attention — and how to liven up a dreary discussion of the federal budget on the Sunday morning talk shows by holding up a sign that declares: “$105,464,000,000.”

Even in Washington, $105 billion is real money.

But her assertion raises questions. Is it possible for a major piece of legislation, carefully analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office before final passage, to “secretly” contain so much spending? Let’s find out.

The Facts

Bachmann is correct that there was a Congressional Research Service report issued in February, titled “Appropriations and Fund Transfers in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” It is actually an update of an earlier report first issued in October.

In January, former Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) wrote an analysis of the October report for the Heritage Foundation, decrying what he saw as “an attempt to handcuff the current Congress” with directives on spending in future years. “Obamacare was designed to be the governmental equivalent of kudzu — growing everywhere, propagating by multiple means, and sinking in its roots and becoming impossible to control,” Istook wrote.

Here’s where it gets complicated. There is a total of $105 billion identified over 10 years in the CRS report, though only three programs, worth a little more than $25 billion, are funded the full 10 years.  Most of the other programs listed in the report are funded for just a year or two, or perhaps five years. If Congress wants to alter this spending, it will need to pass a new law.   Continued…

Naomi Klein: Wisconsin’s Shock Doctrine

I read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine about the same time I read Valerie Plame’s Fair Game.  Naomi Klein gives a global perspective of conservative politics and how they operate under “crisis mode”, taking everything from the powerless and giving nothing back.   

The Nation

At a time when Citizen’s United has made it possible for corporations to dominate the political arena, unions serve as the last line of defense against the privatization of the public sector and as one of the few remaining voices for the working class. That’s why the right is trying to take labor down. The Nation’s Naomi Klein joined MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show last night to talk about how the GOP has manipulated the current financial situation to push through unpopular policies that would have never gotten them elected.

Wisconsin isn’t alone in their fight against the GOP’s attempt to end collective bargaining for public workers: sixteen states currently face similar assaults. A particularly egregious bill that recently got an OK from Michigan’s House of Representatives would allow the governor to declare a state of emergency on any city, town or school district, in which the governor could then appoint an emergency power that could dismantle contracts and dismiss elected officials. The most frightening thing about this proposal: it could be used to put a corporation in charge of a whole city. According to Klein, conservatives are trying to consolidate power so that they can begin auctioning off public services, and in Michigan’s case, entire municipalities.

“What this fight is really about is not unions vs. taxpayers, as we’ve been told. It’s a fight about who is going to pay for the crisis created by the wealthiest elite in this country,” Klein says. “Is it going to be regular working people? Or is it going to be the people who created this crisis? That’s the debate we need to have.”

Click here to read all of Klein’s articles for The Nation.

Video: “Shadowy” Rovian Crossroads Group Behind Nationwide Ad Attacking Unions

The following 60 second video is slated to run on cable networks across the country for 7 days. 

Nice Deb

Cue ominous music...“They’re stealing our democracy, spending millions from secret donors to elect Republicans to do their bidding in Congress. It appears they’ve even taken secret foreign money to influence our elections.”

That’s what Obama and the Democrats said about Karl Rove and Ed Gillipsie’s “shadow GOP” group, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies in attack ads last Fall.. Unfortunately,  their attacks had the unintended consequence of causing Crossroads GPS donations to skyrocket.

Now the group is launching national campaign ads against government unions.

Cue ominous music…