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Bill USA

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Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,436

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

178,000 sign petition for removing Bachman from House Intelligence committee - PFAW


WASHINGTON – Today, People For the American Way will deliver 178,000 petitions to House Speaker John Boehner urging him to remove Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 113th Congress. Bachmann earned rebukes from Boehner, John McCain and others last year when she launched a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, alleging that Abedin and other Muslim-American public servants were agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Michele Bachmann has used her position on the Intelligence Committee to spread baseless conspiracy theories and smear the reputations of honorable public servants,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Speaker Boehner himself called her actions ‘dangerous.’ It’s mysterious, then, why he has chosen to reward her reckless extremism with continued access to sensitive national security information and a powerful platform for her agenda.”

“Members of the Intelligence Committee are responsible for the safety of all Americans,” continued Keegan. “178,000 Americans are sending Speaker Boehner a clear message: we don’t want our national security in Michele Bachmann’s hands.”

People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch has detailed coverage of Rep. Bachmann here.

GOP spirals deeper and deeper into obstructionism

the Republicans don't believe in anything. They exist in a principles vacuum. They are genuine nihilists. The only way they can try to approximate a feeling of being alive is to be opposed to whatever Obama or the Democrats are for. ....They are a cult of zombies.


First Susan Rice. Then Chuck Hagel. Now Jack Lew.

Once upon a time, a norm existed that presidents had right to choose the people they wanted to staff the executive branch. Once upon a time? I mean — from the beginning of the republic right up to January 2009. Oh, Senators could and did use the nomination to affect policy — both individual Senators and, at times, the partisan opposition would demand specific policy commitments before confirming nominees.

But what’s happened since Barack Obama took office is far, far, off the scale of any of that. And because it’s been accompanied by the use of the filibuster — the sudden demand for a 60 vote Senate on executive branch nominations — it’s entirely dysfunctional.

We now have Jeff Sessions attacking Jack Lew for — get this — lack of “gravitas.” Not drinking too much, or violating obscure laws, but…well, Sessions just doesn’t like the cut of his jib, or something like that. Or, as Kevin Drum figures, it’s just that Lew insists on using real math during budget negotiations.


NRA Congressional Republicans seeing big popularity drop - Public Policy Polling


Raleigh, N.C. – PPP's newest national poll finds that the NRA's image has declined over the last three weeks following Wayne LaPierre's controversial press conference the week before Christmas.

The NRA now has a negative favorability rating, with 42% of voters seeing it positively while 45% have an unfavorable view. That represents a 10 point net decline in the NRA's favorability from the week before the press conference when a national poll we did found it at 48/41. Its image has taken a hit with both Democrats (from 29/59 to 22/67) and Republicans (71/19 to 66/18).

The NRA's focus on putting more guns in schools is likely what's driving the decline in the organization's image. Only 41% of voters support the organization's proposal to put armed police officers in schools across the country, with 50% opposed. Democrats (35/57) and independents (38/51) both oppose the push and even among Republicans only a narrow majority (52/39) supports it.

“The more the NRA talks the less popular it becomes,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Americans don’t think the solution to tragedies like Newtown is to put more guns in schools.”

Congress emerged from the fiscal cliff debate with a 7% approval rating, with 81% of voters disapproving of it. But the two parties aren't going in for equal blame. While the Democrats in Congress aren't popular (-12 at 38/50) their approval rating is a net 48 points better than their Republican counterparts (-60 at 15/75). The Republicans in Congress have only a 25/61 approval rating even with the GOP base, suggesting the potential for 2014 to bring a lot of primary challenges.

Joule & Audi Partnering to Accelerate Development & Commercialization of renewable fuels


Bedford, Massachusetts, USA – September 17, 2012 – Joule today announced a strategic partnership with AUDI AG to accelerate the commercialization of its sustainable transportation fuels, Sunflow™-E and Sunflow™-D, for the global ethanol and diesel markets respectively. Derived directly from sunlight and waste carbon dioxide (CO2), these fuels align perfectly with Audi’s vision for carbon-neutral mobility, and can ultimately achieve the stable costs and scale required for global adoption without depleting vital arable land or crops.

Audi selected Joule as its exclusive partner in the development of biologically-derived diesel and ethanol – the result of extensive evaluations of Joule’s proprietary technology and commercial plans. The relationship will help spur production of Joule Sunflow-E and Sunflow-D, including fuel testing and validation, lifecycle analysis and support for Joule’s SunSprings™ demonstration facility located in Hobbs, New Mexico, which began operations this month. Joule will also benefit from Audi’s considerable expertise and global reach as well as from the strength of its brand. In turn, Audi will have a first mover advantage as Joule’s exclusive partner in the automotive sector.

For Audi, the agreement fits with its stated objective to become a carbon-neutral personal transportation provider for generations to come. In addition to this pioneering initiative with Joule, the Audi carbon-neutral mobility strategy is exploring a range of innovations offering the potential to reduce the impact of premium mobility, including developments in manufacturing and recycling vehicles at the end of their lifecycle.

“We are very pleased to announce this strategic partnership with Joule, which offers genuine potential for CO2-neutral mobility,” said Reiner Mangold, head of environmental product at AUDI AG. “Joule and the fuels it is developing can ultimately enable sustainable mobility, as its highly-efficient process consumes waste CO2 emissions, avoids depletion of natural resources and doesn’t require agricultural feedstock or arable land. It is the ideal sustainable fuel platform for Audi to support.”

Before you Talk about the Deficit Take a look at these Charts

(emphases my own)

The fiscal cliff deal did much less to reduce the deficit than either political party had promised: It included $750 billion in deficit reduction, a far cry from the $1.8 trillion to $2.5 trillion deficit proposals that the White House and House Speaker John Boehner had put forward earlier in the debate. That’s prompted deficit hawks to insist that much more still needs to be done in the next phase of budget negotiations.

(Source: CAP)

But the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff deal represented just one portion of the deficit reduction that’s been going on since 2011. The Center for American Progress calculates that President Obama and Congress have successfully enacted $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, which began in September 2010.

About one-quarter of that comes from revenues (primarily the fiscal cliff deal) and almost two-thirds from spending cuts: In it’s research, CAP totals up $585 billion in discretionary cuts from the fiscal 2011 budgets passed under a GOP-controlled House and a lame-duck Democratic Congress and a GOP-controlled House. The debt-ceiling debate brought $860 billion in discretionary spending cuts through the Budget Control Act, which CAP calculates is a “10.6 percent reduction from inflation-adjusted 2010 spending levels.” Combined with the fiscal cliff deal and accounting for interest savings, that totals $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the past two years, CAP concludes:

(Source: CAP)

And here’s how the 2011-2012 deficit reduction lowered the debt-to-GDP ratio (though it still would approach 90 percent beyond the 10-year budget window, which economists like Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff believe is a dangerous threshold to cross):


Tea Party documents show it's the toy of a few super wealthy idiots


(go to article to see view graphs of board of directors meeting of Freedom Works)

FreedomWorks, the national conservative group that helped launch the tea party movement, sells itself as a genuine grassroots operation, and for years it has battled accusations of "astroturfing"—posing as a populist organization while doing the bidding of big-money donors. Yet internal documents obtained by Mother Jones show that FreedomWorks has indeed become dependent on wealthy individual donors to finance its growing operation.

Last month, the Washington Post reported that Richard Stephenson, a reclusive millionaire banker and FreedomWorks board member, and members of his family funneled $12 million in October through two newly created Tennessee corporations to FreedomWorks' super-PAC, which used these funds to support tea party candidates in November's elections. The revelation that a corporate bigwig like Stephenson, who founded the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and chairs its board, was responsible for more than half of the FreedomWorks super-PAC's haul in 2012 undercuts the group's grassroots image and hands ammunition to critics who say FreedomWorks does the bidding of rich conservative donors.

Big donations like Stephenson's are business as usual for FreedomWorks. According to a 52-page report prepared by FreedomWorks' top brass for a board of directors meeting held in mid-December at the Virginia office of Sands Capital Management, an investment firm run by FreedomWorks board member Frank Sands, the entire FreedomWorks organization—its 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) nonprofit arms and its super-PAC—raised nearly $41 million through mid-December. Of that total, $33 million—or 81 percent of its 2012 fundraising—came in the form of "major gifts," the type of big donations coveted by nonprofits and super-PACs. (FreedomWorks' nonprofit components do not have to disclose their funders.)

Well-heeled individual contributors ponied up $31 million—or 94 percent—of those major gifts, according to the FreedomWorks board book. Eight donors gave a half-million dollars or more; 22 donated between $100,000 and $499,999; 17 cut checks between $50,000 and $99,999; and 95 gave between $10,000 and $49,999. Foundations contributed $1.6 million in major gifts, and corporations donated $330,000. Corporations once accounted for more of FreedomWorks' hefty donations. In a memo included in the report, David Kirby, FreedomWork's vice president for development, and senior adviser Terry Kibbe wrote, "This year continued our trend of relying less and less on corporate support." At the same time FreedomWorks expanded its small donor ranks from 41,794 in 2011 to 81,081 in 2012. More than 30,000 of those small donors gave between a dollar and $99 this year.

to understand why we are still in this Republican Economic Dystopia, you need a few more facts...

On the day of Barack Obama's innauguration, the leaders of the Republican party decided they would engage in a campaign of obstruction of everything Obama would try to do. Mitch McConnell declared that the top priority of the Republican party was to see that Barack Obama was not elected to a second term. To that end, the Republicans set records for filibustering legislation. They have fought everything Obama tried to do to produce a recovery from the economic disaster they created. (see "Why Washington is tied up in Knots" - Time http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1966451,00.html ) , (Republicans Filibuster Everything: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/republicans-filibuster-ev_b_2018663.html )

President Obama's first legislative act to repair and rebuild the economy from the Great Recession, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), was filibustered by the Republicans such that Obama had to agree to downsize the stimulus by converting 38% of it to tax cuts in order to win two Republican votes to get the bill passed. At the outset of a depression, people worried about whether they would have a job in six months will not spend a tax cut, but will save it our use it to pay down their debt. Either way, that portion of the ARRA converted to tax cuts would not be stimulative to the economy. The Republicans knew this. That?s why they demanded a large portion of the stimulus be converted to tax cuts. This resulted in the original stimulus being smaller than it should have been (without the conversion of 38% of the stimulus to tax cuts the stimulus would have been 61% LARGER (1/(1-.38) = 1.61).

In the Budget Battle of 2011 the Republicans threatened to force a closure of the Government if the Democrats didn't agree to cuts to domestic programs. In the Debt Ceiling extension battle, the Republicans threatened to force a U.S. default on its debt if Obama didn't agree to significant cuts in Government programs - in that same fiscal year. These domestic spending cuts lead to states laying off policemen, fireman, teachers and other public servants - adding to the number of already unemployed. The Wall Street Journal published an article which pointed out that if it weren't for cuts to Government domestic programs, the unemployment rate would be a full percentage point lower than it was at mid-year 2012 ("Unemployment Rate Without Government Cuts: 7.1%", WSJ, May 8, 2012).

The threat of a default on the U.S. debt lead Standard and Poor's to the extraordinary step - never before taken - of downgrading the United States Credit rating. (Standard and Poors cited among the causes for the unprecedented step "political brinksmanship and public policymaking being less stable, less predictable":

"The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as
America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,
and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt
ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in
the debate over fiscal policy."

United States of America Long-Term Rating Lowered To 'AA+'
Due To Political Risks, Rising Debt Burden; Outlook Negative, Standard and Poor?s, 05-Aug-2011]

The Republican party's threats of Government default and Government closure have so concerned businesses that they have held off hiring full-time permanent workers, keeping the unemployment rate elevated and restraining the recovery. Businesses have been sitting on a five trillion dollar hoard of cash and have refrained from hiring back more people. Businesses do not want to hire full-time permanent people, only to lay them off in six months. Not knowing how far the Republicans might go to kill the recovery, businesses rather than hiring more people, have been making more use of over-time and contract labor ("The $5 Trillion Stash: U.S. Corporations' Money Hoard Is Bigger Than the GDP of Germany", The Atlantic, July 18, 2012; "Cash-Hoarding Companies Neither Spend Nor Lend, Fouling Economy Further", Huffington Post, July 12, 2012).

Any appraisal of the success of President Obama?s economic policies that leaves out the fact that these policies prevented the economy from collapsing even further and reaching an unemployment rate of perhaps 11%, or higher, is incomplete and invalid. The Congressional Budget Office report concluded that President Obama?s economic policies, in fact did just that ("Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output From October 2009 Through December 2009", CBO, February 23, 2010 and ?CBO: Unemployment would have topped 11% without stimulus", USA Today, 2010-02-23).

The Republican filibustered and prevented President Obama's American Jobs Act from being passed. Moody's Analytics concluded this bill would have raised the GDP 2%, increased employment by about 2 million jobs and lowered the unemployment rate about 1% (Analysis of the Obama Jobs Plan, Moody's Analytics, Sept 9, 2011). So, a decrease of the unemployment rate of 1% prevented by the Republicans and an increase in the unemployment rate of 1% caused by Republican demands for more domestic spending cuts to preclude a Government Default and Government shutdown had a significant negative impact on the recovery. The total impact of these acts of legislative sabotage is an unemployment rate that is 2% points higher than it would have been had Obama been able to more fully realize his policies of stimulating the economy out of this Republican Trickle Down Deregulation disaster. The cited efforts to sabotage the stimulus notwithstanding, the CBO has concluded that the unemployment rate without the ARRA, would be 3% points higher than it is now.

The Republicans filibustered and killed the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act, which an independent economic analysis concluded would have created about 1 million jobs, most of which would have been created in small businesses, http://www.remi.com/remi-study-on-s-2237-small-business-jobs-and-tax-relief-act-for-democratic-policy-and-communications-center (See REMI study).

Were it not for the Republicans' strategy to go 'all out' to fight everything Obama tried to do to fix the economic disaster that they created we would have been well on our way out of this Republican Dystopia a couple of years ago.

More: Without GOP Unemployment would be below 6%: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/08/1107585/-Without-GOP-Unemployment-would-be-under-6

Who is the smallest Government spender since Eisenhower? - Barack Obama - Forbes magazine


Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.


So, how have the Republicans managed to persuade Americans to buy into the whole “Obama as big spender” narrative?

It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% —going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I’ll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives…but you would be wrong.

The first year of any incoming president term is saddled—for better or for worse—with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House. Indeed, not only was the 2009 budget the property of George W. Bush—and passed by the 2008 Congress—it was in effect four months before Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Also see EarlG's post: http://www.democraticunderground.com/101790455

When Boehner told Sen Reid to "go F&%# yourself" at least he wasn't pretending to be

.. more human than he is (eg. his histrionic lugubriousness). He was just being the Repugnant that he is. ..Oh, and he was drawing inspiration from the Great Malevolence, Dick Cheney, who said the same to Sen. Patrick Leahy (a member of the Senate actually elected in a legitimate election) in 2004.

The GOP are making D.C. the Toxic Waste Super Cite of the country. the Repugnants seem to fall into two camps. One, abject con-men who will do anything for the right price (and obviously, corporations and the super wealthy are calling the shots by that measure), or the utter idiot ideologues, who really couldn't qualify to run a hot dog stand but think they know something about public policy and how to run a government. They think being zealots qualifies them as 'sincere' when they are really just fooling themselves and believeing that they think being 'sincere' (as they believe they are) over-rules everything else including knowledge, competence and full consciousness.



But Shanto Iyengar, Gaurav Sood and Yphtach Lelkes suggest in a new article that “affective polarization” may better describe the divide between party identifiers. Instead of focusing on ideology and policy positions, Iyengar and his colleagues draw on a psychological concept called social identity theory.

They argue that simply identifying with a political party, as most Americans do, is enough to generate unfavorable attitudes toward the other side, or the “out-party.” (This idea should feel pretty familiar to Red Sox and Yankees fans.) And a variety of survey evidence shows that in recent decades Democratic identifiers have come to view Republicans increasingly negatively, and vice versa.

First, Iyengar and his colleagues examined partisans’ ratings of the other party on a “feeling thermometer” – a measure that allows a survey respondent to say how “warm” or “cool” they feel toward another person or group.

In surveys in the 1980s, about 40 percent of Americans gave the out-party a rating lower than a neutral score of 50. But that figure climbed to 53 percent by the 1990s, 56 percent in 2004, and 63 percent in 2008. In 2008, the average rating of the out-party on a 0 to 100 scale was around a decidedly chilly 30. By way of comparison, the average score that Catholics and Protestants gave each other was about 66.

For those interested in seeing the "open" Talking Filibuster returned tothe Senate

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