Day: August 12, 2011

The Progressive Magazine: Scott Walker, Fitzgerald, Take Us for Fools

The Progressive

 

Why did Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans claim victory after losing two incumbents on Tuesday?

Simple. They don’t want you to look deep enough to find the truth.

In Wisconsin history, only two legislators have been removed through a recall election. On Tuesday, voters removed two Republicans in one fell swoop. We may not have taken the majority in the Senate, but let’s not let the GOP take our eye off the prize: recalling Scott Walker.

Progressive momentum is easy to see when you compare Governor Walker’s 2010 election with Tuesday’s Senate recall elections. Note, of the six Senate Republicans up for recall, five of the seats are considered by political insiders as safe Republican districts.

In 2010, Governor Walker cleaned up all six Senate districts in 2010, but Republicans lost two of them on Tuesday. GOP enthusiasm in those districts (and dare I say the entire state?) is waning.

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Anti-gay Indiana state rep solicited 18-year-old boy on Craigslist

Just another day in the life of some of the most virulent anti-gay GOPers who just happen to like little boys and grown men.  It seems like every year at least three or more of these hypocrites are exposed for the world to see.

Raw Story

Indiana state Rep. Phillip Hinkle (R) is embroiled in controversy after The Indianapolis Star discovered emails appearing to solicit the paid company of a young man, sent from Hinkle’s publicly listed email address.

In response to a M4M forum Craigslist post, Hinkle emailed the man, named Kameryn Gibson, and offered him $80 cash, with a tip of $50 or $60 “for a really good time” in the hours he proposed spending together at a local Marriott.

Gibson, whose ad lists him as 20 years old but is actually 18, said he met Hinkle at the hotel, and tried to leave when Hinkle said he was a state politician.

The Star writes:

He said the lawmaker at first told him he could not leave, grabbed him in the rear, exposed himself to the young man and then later gave him an iPad, BlackBerry cellphone and $100 cash to keep quiet.

The BlackBerry contained all of the emails between the young man and Hinkle. In one, Hinkle gives a physical description: “I am an in shape married professional, 5’8″, fit 170 lbs, and love getting and staying naked.”

No police report has been filed, but a spokesman for Hinkle said that “a shakedown” had taken place, and did not deny that the emails had been sent by Hinkle.

Peter Nugent, Hinkle’s lawyer, asked “that everyone respect the privacy of the family at this time” while the matter is being investigated.

According to Project Vote Smart, Hinkle is against same-sex marriage, and carries the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. Hinkle, 64, has been in state legislature since 2000 and co-authored a bill to create a license plate inscribed with “In God We Trust.”

“Indiana has no openly gay state legislators and provides no legal rights for LGBT people. Hinkle [and others] recently voted to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-​sex marriage and civil unions,” political blogger Bil Browning pointed out.

The emails between Gibson and Hinkle contain no direct mention of sex acts, and Gibson said that they didn’t have sex. In Indiana, prostitution is defined as an agreement between people to have sex for money.

Megan Gibson, Kameryn’s sister, came to pick him up from the hotel after Hinkle thrust the bribes upon Gibson. She said that she spoke to Hinkle’s wife on the BlackBerry, and told her her husband was gay. Hinkle’s wife offered her $10,000 to keep quiet.

Later, Hinkle himself called the phone, and Megan Gibson told him that she’d spoken to his wife and said he was gay.

“You’ve ruined me,” the lawmaker said.

 

Obama Criticized Over Credit Rating Downgrade, Debt Ceiling Deal, Jobs, Afghanistan

No matter which way he turns, President Obama is being criticized about several issues this month…

The Huffington Post

It has been a lousy month for President Barack Obama. And August is not yet two weeks old.

Running for re-election, he’s getting beaten up from the political left for making too many concessions and for abandoning the positions on which he campaigned. And he’s being attacked from the right by Republican conservatives who claim his spending and taxing policies are hampering the economic recovery.

Over the past days, Obama has been confronted with humiliating blows on both the economy and in Afghanistan, while polls show deteriorating public support for both him and Congress amid growing public disillusionment with the nation’s policymaking process.

Usually, August is a steamy, lazy time in the nation’s capital when not much gets done and when both Congress and usually the president go on vacation.

But so far this month, the government avoided – just narrowly – a first-ever default on its financial obligations as it came just hours within beginning to run out of cash to pay its bills. A last-minute compromise with Republicans helped avoid the default but wasn’t enough to keep the government’s credit rating from being downgraded one notch from AAA to AA-plus by Standard & Poor’s.

Americans want their presidents to be problem solvers. But polls suggest that a majority of the public has lost faith in the ability of both the president and Congress to fix the ailing economy. More than two years into Obama’s presidency, the nation’s unemployment rate remains painfully high, and the Federal Reserve warns there’s little chance of major economic growth over the next two years.

“Obama’s trapped. He’s trapped by what happens with the financial crisis in Europe. He faces a Congress where Republicans will stop him dead in the tracks on his economic and jobs proposals,” said Thomas Mann, a scholar at the Brookings Institution. “And there’s a near consensus of pundits that he’s fundamentally flawed as a consequence of his personality.”

“He should be glad it’s more than a year before Election Day and not next August,” Mann added.

In its downgrade, S&P cited the inability of the political parties to find common ground on getting the U.S. financial house in order – and poor prospects for doing so anytime soon.

Continue reading here…

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Republican Debate: GOP Presidential Candidates Fact-Checked

The Huffington Post

Michele Bachmann cast her opinion as a settled fact when she told the Republican presidential debate Thursday that a key element of President Barack Obama’s health care law is unconstitutional. And in his haste to criticize his fellow Minnesotan, rival Tim Pawlenty appeared to forget about questions he’d raised – obliquely but unmistakably – about Bachmann’s fitness for office.

The first big GOP debate of the primary season brought viewers a flurry of claims and counterclaims, not all built on solid ground.

A look at some of those claims and how they compare with the facts:

BACHMANN: Spoke of “the unconstitutional individual mandate” several times, a reference to a requirement for people to carry health insurance, a central element of the 2010 federal health care law.

THE FACTS: Nothing is unconstitutional until courts declare it to be so. The constitutionality of the individual mandate has been challenged in lawsuits in a number of states, and federal judges have found in favor and against. The Supreme Court will probably have the final word. But for now, the individual mandate is ahead in the count. And the first ruling by a federal appeals court on the issue, by the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in June, upheld the individual mandate.

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PAWLENTY: “To correct you, I have not questioned congresswoman Bachmann’s headaches.”

THE FACTS: Pawlenty was hardly dismissive when news came out about Bachmann’s history of severe headaches, even if he did not go after her directly on the matter. “All of the candidates, I think, are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time,” the former governor said when first asked about the migraines suffered by the congresswoman. “There’s no real time off in that job.”

There was no mistaking that Pawlenty was leaving open the question of whether Bachmann’s health history made her fit to serve as president. But he later tried to clarify his remark, saying he was not challenging her on that front and the flap was merely a “side show.” Bachmann says her symptoms are controlled with prescription medication and have not gotten in the way of her campaign or impaired her service in Congress.

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RICK SANTORUM: “The problem is that we have spending that has exploded. The government’s averaged 18 percent of GDP as the percentage of the overall economy. … And we’re now at almost 25 percent. Revenues are down about 2 or 3 percent. So if you look at where the problem is, the problem is in spending, not taxes.”

THE FACTS: The former Pennsylvania senator might have been mixing statistics on federal spending with federal revenue. The White House budget office has estimated that federal spending this year will equal about 25 percent of the country’s $15 trillion economy – the highest proportion since World War II. But federal spending has averaged nearly 22 percent since 1970. In fact, federal spending has not been as low as 18 percent since 1966. Since the 1970s, federal revenues have averaged nearly 19 percent of the U.S. economy. This year’s revenues are expected to equal just over 14 percent of the economy, the lowest level since 1950.

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BACHMANN to PAWLENTY: “You said the era of small government was over. That sounds an awful lot like Barack Obama if you ask me.”

THE FACTS: Pawlenty did not declare the era of small government over. (Neither has Obama.) Bachmann’s jab was drawn from a Minnesota newspaper interview in which Pawlenty referred to a New York Times column on the subject, as part of his argument that “there are certain circumstances where you’ve got to have government put up the guardrails or bust up entrenched interests before they become too powerful.” At the time, Pawlenty’s office pushed for and received a clarification from the newspaper that he was relaying another writer’s thoughts.

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