Posts tagged ‘Democrats’

July 6, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince Giordano

“If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern. And they will be right,” – David Brooks, NYT.

H/T: The Dish

May 27, 2011

The PATRIOT Act Stays Alive

by Vince Giordano

This was a bill that was anathema to the Democratic party. It now has bipartisan support. Crazy. Some are even calling this secret bill more secret than we even know.

This law has its objectors. One to mention is Senator Rand Paul. He is basically met with this rhetoric about patriotism: 

Paul and the other dissenting Senators better give up their objections and submit to quick Patriot Act passageor else they’ll have blood on their hands from the Terrorist attack they will cause.  That, of course, was the classic Bush/Cheney tactic for years to pressure Democrats into supporting every civil-liberties-destroying measure the Bush White House demanded (including, of course, the original Patriot Act itself), and now we have the Democrats — ensconced in power — using it just as brazenly and shamelessly (recall how Bush’s DNI, Michael McConnell, warned Congressional Democrats in 2007 that unless they quickly passed without changes the new FISA bill the Bush White House was demanding, a Terrorist attack would likely occur at the Congress in a matter of “days, not weeks”; McConnell then told The New Yorker: “If we don’t update FISA, the nation is significantly at risk”). Feinstein learned well.

Greenwald challenges the myth that there is no bipartisanship in Congress.

So when they were out of power, the Democrats reviled the Patriot Act and constantly complained about fear-mongering tactics and exploitation of the Terrorist threat being used to stifle civil liberties and privacy concerns.  Now that they’re in power and a Democratic administration is arguing for extension of the Patriot Act, they use fear-mongering tactics and exploitation of the Terrorist threat to stifle civil liberties and privacy concerns (“If somebody wants to take on their shoulders not having provisions in place which are necessary to protect the United States at this time, that’s a big, big weight to bear,” warned Feinstein).  And they’re joined in those efforts by the vast majority of the GOP caucus.  Remember, though:  there is no bipartisanship in Washington, the parties are constantly at each other’s throats, and they don’t agree on anything significant, and thus can’t get anything done.  If only that were true.

I would add bipartisan support for Israel to that short list.

Herman Cain’s take on security issues here and Julian Sanchez explains that much of the PATRIOT act would continue on even if parts of it expired.

Conor Friedersdorf explains why this matters to us and brings Barack Obama into the mix:

Contrary to the misleading reassurances of PATRIOT Act apologists, some provisions of the legislation aren’t merely likely to be abused by law enforcement in the future — they’ve already led to civil liberties violations, many of them documented circa 2009 by the Justice Department. Through National Security Letters, for example, law enforcement is permitted to obtain sensitive information from the banks, phone companies and Internet service providers of any American citizen. The FBI doesn’t need a warrant to request this private data, and the target of the snooping needn’t even be suspected of any connection with terrorism! More than 6,000 Americans were spied on in this manner during 2009 (the most recent year data is available), and the federal government has itself documented flagrant FBI abuses. All that’s missing is a desire to fix the problem. There are plenty of other objectionable PATRIOT ACT sections too: the “lone wolf” provision, roving wiretapsSection 215 notices. All are worthy of study, especially since now the American people won’t learn more about them through a Congressional debate.

President Obama’s support for this latest re-authorization matters because it bears on a central promise of his candidacy. During Election 2008, he made it seem as though a vote for him would signify and end to the Bush Administration’s excesses in the war on terrorism: its tendency to needlessly sacrifice civil liberties even when less intrusive measures were sufficient, its disdain for checks and balances on executive authority, its habit of using scare tactics to insist that national security legislation be passed quickly and without a debate. Hope. Change. Those were the slogans. They weren’t about getting Osama bin Laden, nice as that was.

May 26, 2011

Both Sides Incite The Race War

by Vince Giordano

Of all people, Bill O’Reilly showed a few examples of how the Left really does sometimes incite racial anxieties:

Recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the moderator, David Gregory, questioned whether Newt Gingrich’s description of Mr. Obama as the “food stamp president” was a racist statement.

Mr. Gingrich told Gregory his question was “bizarre.”

It was also typical.

When Donald Trump advised the president to “get off the basketball court” and down to business, he was branded racist by a variety of mainstream pundits.

In my Super Bowl Sunday interview with Mr. Obama, I asked him if he was a football fan. Some loon on HBO immediately branded that question racist.

Even for me, those comments listed above are mostly far from racial flame throwing.

When certain yes-no questions are asked that usually intertwine one’s view of race and their political views, answers can draw a thick line in the sand pitting “the racists” against “the tolerant ones”:

These questions, which have been used in a number of studies of racial attitudes, asked respondents to agree or disagree with statements regarding the condition of African Americans in the United States including whether a legacy of racism and discrimination has made it difficult for blacks to get ahead, whether blacks have gotten less than they deserve in the United States, whether blacks would be as well off as whites if they tried harder and whether blacks should be able to overcome prejudice the same way other minority groups did, without any special favors.

Not coincidentally, one can arrive at the “resentful” answers to these questions not only through racism, but also through conservative beliefs. One might say blacks should “try harder” out of a belief that they are lazy — or out of a belief that in America, hard work produces results no matter the color of one’s skin, and is preferable to government aid. One might say blacks shouldn’t get “special favors” out of a dislike for them — or out of a belief that no one should get special favors on the basis of race. These conservative beliefs may be right or wrong, but they are not inherently racist.

Robert VerBruggen makes two mistakes in his piece. One, he insinuates that hard work, no matter your skin color, produces success. That is so far from the truth it is laughable. Tim Wise has dismantled this myth several times. Also, VerBruggen concludes that there is no actual evidence to support conservatives being labeled as racists. I then ask these questions: why is your party almost always represented by whites, hostile to immigrants, represented by race-baiters (Rush Limbaugh), supportive of wealthy (a homogeneous group of whites) business owners and CEO’s over the poor (who, mostly non-white, are because years of education being withheld to them, almost always behind their white counterparts in test scores, school performance, or even the chance of being unemployed)?

May 26, 2011

How America Views It’s Moral Path

by Vince Giordano

has gone up in a positive light and gone down in a negative light:

This is somewhat surprising, considering the right-wing lamentations. But then again, that is only a slice of the pie that is growing in its polarization and being somewhat overshadowed by the rising 20-30s generations.

Also worth noting, these changes in perception follow political lines. No surprise there:

The change in public perceptions about the nation’s morals has come mostly from Democrats. Fifty-two percent of Democrats have a negative view of moral values, down from 65% in 2010. Democrats’ views of morality in the United States have changed direction several times in the past four years — their negativity rose to 77% in 2008, and then turned sharply less negative in 2009, coincident with Democrat Barack Obama’s taking office as president, but increased again in 2010.

Independents also became less negative about morals this year, while Republicans’ views did not change and, as such, remain mostly negative.

May 21, 2011

A New Era in Same-Sex Marriage Opinion

by Vince Giordano

Andrew Sullivan explains:

Democrats’ and independents’ support for legalized same-sex marriage increased this year by 13 and 10 points, respectively. Republicans’ views on the issue did not change from last year. Clear majorities of both Democrats and independents now support gay marriage, 69% and 59% respectively, contrasted with 28% support among Republicans.

To go from 41 points behind to 8 points ahead in a decade and a half must count as one of the most successful political and social campaigns in history.

Update: more details on this here.

May 5, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince Giordano

Oh, welcome back torture to the political debate. So many have wished you’d go away and never come back.

H/T: Tony Auth

April 28, 2011

Conspiracies the Left Believes

by Vince Giordano

I found it refreshing to see OTB remind us of 9/11 truthers (people who believe the U.S government did the attacks on 9/11) as there is an influx of birtherism surrounding Barack Obama. Both sides, after all, have their loony conspiracies. Money quote:

I think that this, along with a good deal of the birtherism we see in the GOP is a reflection of the fact that we now live in a political culture where people are likely to believe the absolute worst about their political opponents. We saw during the Reagan/Bush years when the left spun tails of conspiracies to fix the 1980 election, and during the Clinton Administration with the Vince Foster story and the allegations about Mena, Arkansas. I’m not sure if people actually believe these things, or if it’s just a reflection of the fact that they hate the other guys so much that they’re willing to ascribe the worst possible motives to them.

January 26, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince Giordano

Will things revert back to this as the honeymoon aura wears off from the kumbaya lame duck session and we enter the 2012 election cycle?

H/T: Tony Auth

December 9, 2010

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince Giordano

H/T: Auth

December 6, 2010

The Bush Tax Cuts in One Chart

by Vince Giordano

Ezra Klein provides a short note:

The term “tax cuts for the middle class,” which Democrats like to use, has misled. As you can see from the left side of the chart, the “tax cuts for the middle class” also cut taxes on the rich. A family that makes $750,000 a year would pay lower taxes on the first $250,000 of their income. The question has never been whether only middle-class workers should get a tax cut. It’s how much income the tax cut should cover.

November 3, 2010

Quote of the Week

by Vince Giordano

“Ok American….here is what just happened. Neither Candidate that ran for the House and Senate ran on a promise of bi partisanship. Instead, they ran to “change America” in their own view point which is the exact same reason that they hate the President and the Democrats.

So in short we have decreased bi partisanship and increased ignorance greed and filibusters in an America that does not want to wait.” –Todd Allen, a former Methods classmate of mine. This is true and is worth noting by both sides once the “red high” wears off.

October 18, 2010

Epiphanies, Karma, and Tea: Hosted by Glenn Beck

by Vince Giordano

David Barton, Glenn Beck’s go to ‘history/constitutional scholar’, was one of the “experts” on the Texas Education school panel. This gets deep:

“David is, I think, the most important man in America right now,” Beck said in July, introducing one of Barton’s many appearances on his show. In addition to being a frequent TV guest of Beck’s, Barton is also one of three professors at Beck’s online school, Beck University. He was a member of the expert panel that created Texas’ controversial new history standards, which played down Thomas Jefferson and played up John Calvin. In September, he spoke at a rally for Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, where he was billed as a “constitutional scholar.” Later this month, he and Newt Gingrich will headline a meeting for Nevada pastors at a Las Vegas resort, meant to mobilize them ahead of the upcoming elections.

Let me pass some more tea or should I say karma:

The notion of karma comes with lots of new-age baggage, but it is an old and very conservative idea. It is the Sanskrit word for “deed” or “action,” and the law of karma says that for every action, there is an equal and morally commensurate reaction. Kindness, honesty and hard work will (eventually) bring good fortune; cruelty, deceit and laziness will (eventually) bring suffering. No divine intervention is required; it’s just a law of the universe, like gravity.

This gets scary when the fundamentalist, eye for an eye Christianism (not too different from the Satanically labeled nation of Islam: think about womans roles in society, their way of dress, as well as harsh judgments under the guise of “justice”) is actually being legislated within the second largest state in the USA as well as religiously televised on Fox News. Add to that the volume of text book purchases by the Lone Star state and the political/educational weight it possesses from that alone.

Religiously speaking, the common thinking below the radar is “I do not want to pay for my neighbors boondoggles”. Beyond this dilemma having always been part of our country (yes, before FDR and LBJ’s Great Society) as well as passing along cynical tea per say, this is an under the radar route to hardening ones heart towards the world, those struggling to get past racial systems that have lifted up whites and held down countless minority groups, and Gods will for justice, redemption, and caring for the least of thee (not simply serving at the feet, economically speaking, those making over $250,000 a year, or simply those qualifying for the Bush tax cuts). Where does the welcoming father of the prodigal son fit into these conservative minds? Is the father God or some pious, loving dad? I even have a hard time wrapping my head around that parable and the Christian ethics in question (shall I be harsh to that worthless person or should I care for them?). I could go down the theological road of “denying one self” to dominion theology to the Left Behind / rapture views.

In the end, I find it quite ironic when conservatives claim that liberals and progressives are taking over and ruining America. I even saw a somewhat offensive billboard in farm country this past weekend commissioning those reading it to “vote them out”. Is not their large swath appeal with the Texas school board and over the quasi-religious Glenn Beck show a take over in and of itself? Lastly, it seems to be a matter of time before the Tea Party implodes. It seems easy for them to ride on a high horse now while not having to put forth any policy suggestions (those by the RNC have been vague). Will they exist after the 2010 and 2012 elections still as one blended group?

October 13, 2010


by Vince Giordano

Yikes indeed.

October 7, 2010

Hard Times: Theocrat Responses

by Vince Giordano

First off, I will admit that it is much easier for me to post complaints or gripes with fringe religious groups and not post any positive, guiding words. Let me make an effort on this post.

Bryan Fischer and Newt Gingrich, the first with religious mumbo jumbo and the second via political attacks, keeps the theocratic march going.


Last month, firefighters in Obion County, Tennessee watched a home burn to the ground because the homeowner had failed to pay a $75 fee to receive fire protection from the city of South Fulton.

The fire department did the right and Christian thing. The right thing, by the way, is also the Christian thing, because there can be no difference between the two. The right thing to do will always be the Christian thing to do, and the Christian thing to do will always be the right thing to do.

If I somehow think the right thing to do is not the Christian thing to do, then I am either confused about what is right or confused about Christianity, or both.

In this case, critics of the fire department are confused both about right and wrong and about Christianity. And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability.

This story illustrates the fundamental difference between a sappy, secularist worldview, which unfortunately too many Christians have adopted, and the mature, robust Judeo-Christian worldview which made America the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world. The secularist wants to excuse and even reward irresponsibility, which eventually makes everybody less safe and less prosperous. A Christian worldview rewards responsibility and stresses individual responsibility and accountability, which in the end makes everybody more safe and more prosperous.

Newt Gingrich, advising the 2012 GOP to vilify food stamps and use it as a weapon against the Democrats:

It’s a bit out of left field. Most of the election cycle has centered on rich people and their tax cuts rather than poor people and their food-assistance programs. But there’s a very obvious reason why Gingrich wants to frame the issue this way: food stamp usage has historically gone up with Democrats in office, and down when Republicans were in charge. Frame it like that, and it looks as though Dems are the welfare-state-loving socialists and Republicans are the patriotic capitalists.

Republicans have long struggled to shake the image of the party of wealthy white folks, but belittling food stamps seems a curious strategy to regain the GOP’s identity. That kind of rhetoric might play well with those Tea Partiers who can afford to jet to Washington for a political rally to restore conservativism. But those of them who can’t–the ones who receive food stamps–probably won’t be flattered by the argument.

First with Newt, I don’t know if he wants to outlaw them completely. That wouldn’t happen anyway but it is good his party is proposing some policy ideas even if they are unrealistic.

Second with Fischer, it sounds as if he has taken a very strong stance towards life from a few Old Testament texts out of context (?).

Both seem to stand on a form of self responsibility which everyone in one distinct shape or another is truly striving after. It must be noted that the capitalistic ways of the white GOP can act, and have in the past, as suppressing tools against the poor, further preventing them to rise out of poverty. Many inner cities have been abandoned after industrial industries moved south then over seas. This cyclical (in cycles) issue is inter connected. Many of these pressures on inner city “food stamp usin'” denizens are not on the shoulders or hanging around the necks of the Grand Old Party. I see these harsh circumstances as making inner city families flustered, forcing them to survive and feed themselves and their kids in a more frantic way than most are use to. In the end, the problems with urban families and struggling children are not fully the blame of the schools nor the families. These neighborhoods have been forgotten and continue to be jested about in the media without any medium between programs and hands on work.

I hope Newt and Fischer can see this video:

September 30, 2010

Both Parties Fall Short With the Deficit

by Vince Giordano

Andrew Sullivan, Megan McArdle, Dan Drezner, et al chime in:

The current GOP leadership is absolutely not serious about it, will have no mandate to do anything serious if they win the House this fall, and no-one, Democrat, Republican or Independent, should be under any illusions about that. That includes those well-meaning members of the tea-party movement who somehow think that electing the same Republican party will help us. Remember who told us: “deficits don’t matter.”

That was Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Rove and Mary Cheney are helping to organize and fund the GOP campaigns.

This all makes me disillusioned towards politics but somewhat removes me from its tentacles. I don’t have to feel loyal to one side or standard, and that is nice because both have dropped the ball with the deficit, almost equally in my eyes.

September 11, 2010

“They went to save survivors, not raise taxes”

by Vince Giordano

Another notch against the House Republicans who claim to be from the “patriotic, we speak on behalf of all of those who died or risked their lives on 9/11” party. This leaves me without words.

August 13, 2010

Chart of the Day

by Vince Giordano

Ezra Klein and Andrew Sullivan provide this from a study:

New data from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation show that households earning more than $1 million a year would reap nearly $31 billion in tax breaks under the GOP plan in 2011, for an average tax cut per household of about $100,000.

You can see how this is going back and forth: The Dems are accused of proposing the highest tax hike ever and the Repubs are accused of giving $31 billion in tax breaks to those making more than $1 million a year.

In the end, both sides are accused of not being able to bend the deficit.

President Obama and congressional Democrats have vowed to extend the cuts only for families making less than $250,000 a year and individuals making less than $200,000 — 98 percent of American taxpayers — in a plan that would add about $202 billion to next year’s deficit.

Given the soaring national debt, many economists deem both proposals unaffordable. Even some Republicans, including Reagan administration budget chief David Stockman and former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, have urged lawmakers to let them expire and allow income tax rates to pop back up to their levels during the Clinton administration.

I appreciated this article finally putting a number to the amount of millionaires in the USA: 315,000. Either plan by the Dems or Repubs would not sway their tax rate that much for millionaires: 29.9% with the Dems and 24.6% by the Repubs. I wonder how many millionaires read my blog?

In the end, this is a tough discussion. Many who are part of the “richer” end of society contribute via small businesses but I am not into widening the gap between poor, middle class, and filthy stinking rich.

July 29, 2010

The War Report: July 29th

by Vince Giordano

I feel like starting a special series on the war(s) at hand. I will provide various news reporting’s, commentaries, and analyses.

Andrew Sullivan and the AP report that the Pentagon cannot account for billions of dollars spent in Iraq. The report from MSNBC includes Afghanistani efforts:

A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for more than 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation.

About $60 billion have poured into Afghanistan since 2001 in hopes of bringing electricity, clean water, jobs, roads and education to the crippled country.

The U.S. alone has committed $51 billion to the project since 2001, and plans to raise the stakes to $71 billion over the next year — more than it has spent on reconstruction in Iraq since 2003.

An Associated Press investigation showed that the results so far — or lack of them — threaten to do more harm than good. The number of Afghans with access to electricity has increased from 6 percent in 2001 to only about 10 percent now, far short of the goal of providing power to 65 percent of urban and 25 percent of rural households by the end of this year.

An Afghanistan War funding pact was passed by the House:

The House voted 308-114 to approve the spending boost for the additional 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Other nonwar provisions brought the total bill to nearly $59 billion.

Republicans in Congress still were strongly behind the boost in war spending, but there was unusually strong opposition from members of Obama’s own party. All but 12 of the “no” votes in the House came from Democrats.

In debate before the vote, Rep. Jim McGovern (D., Mass.) said the leaked documents revealed corruption and incompetence in the Afghan government. “We’re told we can’t extend unemployment or pay to keep cops on the beat or teachers in the classroom,” he said, “but we’re asked to borrow another $33 billion for nation-building in Afghanistan.”

Obama’s ace in the hole in all of these wars is seen as Hilary Clinton:

In fact, Clinton, who was supposed to ignite the flames of conservatives’ hatred, is becoming more popular every day across the political spectrum. Her hawkish foreign policy views gain her support on the right, and her well-known views on domestic policy keep the home fires burning on the left. The two fields intersect in one of the areas where she displays the greatest passion, her signature foreign- policy issue: the need to empower women in poor countries in order to transform the world.

Finally, Karl Rove wonders why there isn’t more American hubris in our approach to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars:

The president and prime minister declared their solidarity on the Afghanistan war. Both leaders “reaffirmed our commitment to the overall strategy,” in Mr. Cameron’s words. Mr. Obama said that approach aimed to “build Afghan capacity so Afghans can take responsibility for their future,” a point Mr. Cameron called “a key part” of the coalition’s strategy.

All well and good. But neither leader uttered the word “victory” or “win” or any other similar phrase. They made it sound as if the strategic goal was to stand up the Afghan security forces, leave as soon as that was done, and hope the locals were up to keeping things together.

Rove must not know that the Taliban have never had double-digit popularity levels in Afghanistan.

July 21, 2010

An Extension by the Skin of Their Teeth

by Vince Giordano

The Senate passed today a jobs bill after breaking a Republican filibuster that extends unemployment benefits to 2.5 million unemployed Americans:

Senators voted 60-40 to move ahead on the bill, clearing the way for a final vote Wednesday in the chamber.

The recovery from the long, deep recession has produced relatively few new jobs, and jobless benefits for millions of people began running out seven weeks ago as Congress hit an impasse over whether the $34 billion cost of a new benefits extension should be paid for with budget cuts or added to the $13 trillion national debt.

The filibuster-breaking vote came moments after Democrat Carte Goodwin was sworn in to succeed West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, who died last month at 92. Goodwin was the crucial 60th senator needed to defeat the Republican filibuster.

Two Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, voted to end the filibuster. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the lone Democrat to break with his party and vote to sustain it.

Think about all of the legislation passed by Obama in his first two years.

July 20, 2010

A Case of Flip Flopping?

by Vince Giordano

It has to be more complicated than this:

Gitmo shut-down not a priority, top Dem says

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged Tuesday that closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison is not a top priority for congressional Democrats.

In response to a question from a reporter about where shutting down Gitmo stands, Hoyer said, “I think that’s not an item, as you point out, of real current discussion. There’s some very big issues confronting us – dealing with growing the economy and Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Hoyer added, “I think you’re not going to see it discussed very broadly in the near term.”

How can it be that it’s not a priority to end something which — as Hoyer put it in 2007 — “threatens the safety of U.S. citizens and military personnel detained abroad”?

This, needless to say, is par for the course:  policies which establishment Democrats pretended to vehemently oppose when out of power magically transformed into policies they embrace when in power.