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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Limbaugh Pushes Myth That Unemployment Benefits Have "No Stimulative Effect"

From Media Matters:

Rush Limbaugh claimed that "there is no stimulative effect of unemployment benefits." But economists agree that unemployment benefits do have a strong effect on job creation and growth.
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Limbaugh Claims Unemployment Benefits Have "No Stimulative Effect"

Limbaugh: "There Is No Stimulative Effect Of Unemployment Benefits -- None Whatsoever."From the August 30 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:      
[T]his regime, from Pelosi to any number of people, try to make the claim that unemployment benefits stimulate the economy. Jay Carney even said, "Oh yeah, I mean, it really works out there, you putting money in people's pockets that they're gonna go spend, they're not ganna save it. And so, yeah, it'll stimulate the economy."
Where does the money come from? You have to take it away from somebody before you give it to somebody else. It's a wash. There is no stimulative effect of unemployment benefits -- none whatsoever. Whether you borrow the money, or print it, or get it via taxes, you still have to take it from some place in the private sector to give it to somebody else in the private sector. It zeros out. And probably is a net negative because it also has the added benefit of promoting laziness, slothfulness. The longer you pay people not to do anything, the longer they'll not do anything. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/30/11]

But Economists Agree That Unemployment Benefits Have A Strong Effect On Job Creation And Growth

Dean Baker: Unemployment Insurance "Stimulates The Economy" By "Put[ting] Money In ... [The] Pockets" Of People Who Are "Very Likely To Spend" It. In an email to Media Matters, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, stated:
UI stimulates the economy for the same reason that tax cuts provide stimulus to the economy, they put money in people's pockets. However, UI benefits will provide more stimulus per dollar because they are going to people who we know are very likely to spend the money. A large portion of money paid out in tax cuts are likely to be saved, especially if they go to the wealthy. [Email to Media Matters, 8/30/11]
Mark Zandi Estimated That Extending Unemployment Benefits Provides Significant Stimulus. In 2008 congressional testimony, Mark Zandi, Moody's Economy.com chief economist and a former adviser to John McCain, ranked extended unemployment benefits behind only food stamps in terms of economic "bang for the buck." The Economic Policy Institute created the following graphic based on Zandi's figures:
[Mark Zandi testimony via Economy.com, 11/19/08;  Economic Policy Institute, 10/22/08]
CBO Scored "Increasing Aid To The Unemployed" As The Highest-Scoring Policy Proposal To Stimulate Economy. In a January 2010 report on "Policies for Increasing Economic Growth and Employment in 2010 and 2011," the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that extending aid to the unemployed would have one of the strongest stimulative effects on the economy:
Policies that could be implemented relatively quickly or targeted toward people whose consumption tends to be restricted by their income, such as reducing payroll taxes for firms that increase payroll or increasing aid to the unemployed, would have the largest effects on output and employment per dollar of budgetary cost in 2010 and 2011. [CBO, 1/14/10]  
According to a table in the report, CBO estimated that increasing aid to the unemployed would have the greatest effects on GDP per dollar of budgetary cost and the second highest cumulative effect on employment of the policy options considered.
[CBO, 1/14/10

The GOP War on Voting







As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. "What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century," says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.
Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. "I don't want everybody to vote," the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980. "As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP's effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.
All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states – Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.
Taken together, such measures could significantly dampen the Democratic turnout next year – perhaps enough to shift the outcome in favor of the GOP. "One of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time," Bill Clinton told a group of student activists in July. "Why is all of this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate" – a reference to the dominance of the Tea Party last year, compared to the millions of students and minorities who turned out for Obama. "There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today."
To hear Republicans tell it, they are waging a virtuous campaign to crack down on rampant voter fraud – a curious position for a party that managed to seize control of the White House in 2000 despite having lost the popular vote. After taking power, the Bush administration declared war on voter fraud, making it a "top priority" for federal prosecutors. In 2006, the Justice Department fired two U.S. attorneys who refused to pursue trumped-up cases of voter fraud in New Mexico and Washington, and Karl Rove called illegal voting "an enormous and growing problem." In parts of America, he told the Republican National Lawyers Association, "we are beginning to look like we have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are colonels in mirrored sunglasses." According to the GOP, community organizers like ACORN were actively recruiting armies of fake voters to misrepresent themselves at the polls and cast illegal ballots for the Democrats.
Even at the time, there was no evidence to back up such outlandish claims. A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to prosecute a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility. A much-hyped investigation in Wisconsin, meanwhile, led to the prosecution of only .0007 percent of the local electorate for alleged voter fraud. "Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere," joked Stephen Colbert. A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading advocate for voting rights at the New York University School of Law, quantified the problem in stark terms. "It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning," the report calculated, "than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls."
GOP outcries over the phantom menace of voter fraud escalated after 2008, when Obama's candidacy attracted historic numbers of first-time voters. In the 29 states that record party affiliation, roughly two-thirds of new voters registered as Democrats in 2007 and 2008 – and Obama won nearly 70 percent of their votes. In Florida alone, Democrats added more than 600,000 new voters in the run-up to the 2008 election, and those who went to the polls favored Obama over John McCain by 19 points. "This latest flood of attacks on voting rights is a direct shot at the communities that came out in historic numbers for the first time in 2008 and put Obama over the top," says Tova Wang, an elections-reform expert at Demos, a progressive think tank.
No one has done more to stir up fears about the manufactured threat of voter fraud than Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a top adviser in the Bush Justice Department who has become a rising star in the GOP. "We need a Kris Kobach in every state," declared Michelle Malkin, the conservative pundit. This year, Kobach successfully fought for a law requiring every Kansan to show proof of citizenship in order to vote – even though the state prosecuted only one case of voter fraud in the past five years. The new restriction fused anti-immigrant hysteria with voter-fraud paranoia. "In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive," Kobach claimed, offering no substantiating evidence.
Kobach also asserted that dead people were casting ballots, singling out a deceased Kansan named Alfred K. Brewer as one such zombie voter. There was only one problem: Brewer was still very much alive. The Wichita Eagle found him working in his front yard. "I don't think this is heaven," Brewer told the paper. "Not when I'm raking leaves."

Kobach might be the gop's most outspoken crusader working to prevent citizens from voting, but he's far from the only one. "Voting rights are under attack in America," Rep. John Lewis, who was brutally beaten in Alabama while marching during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, observed during an impassioned speech on the House floor in July. "There's a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, minority and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process."
The Republican effort, coordinated and funded at the national level, has focused on disenfranchising voters in four key areas:
Barriers to Registration Since January, six states have introduced legislation to impose new restrictions on voter registration drives run by groups like Rock the Vote and the League of Women Voters. In May, the GOP-controlled legislature in Florida passed a law requiring anyone who signs up new voters to hand in registration forms to the state board of elections within 48 hours of collecting them, and to comply with a barrage of onerous, bureaucratic requirements. Those found to have submitted late forms would face a $1,000 fine, as well as possible felony prosecution.
As a result, the law threatens to turn civic-minded volunteers into inadvertent criminals. Denouncing the legislation as "good old-fashioned voter suppression," the League of Women Voters announced that it was ending its registration efforts in Florida, where it has been signing up new voters for the past 70 years. Rock the Vote, which helped 2.5 million voters to register in 2008, could soon follow suit. "We're hoping not to shut down," says Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote, "but I can't say with any certainty that we'll be able to continue the work we're doing."
The registration law took effect one day after it passed, under an emergency statute designed for "an immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare." In reality, though, there's no evidence that registering fake voters is a significant problem in the state. Over the past three years, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has received just 31 cases of suspected voter fraud, resulting in only three arrests statewide. "No one could give me an example of all this fraud they speak about," said Mike Fasano, a Republican state senator who bucked his party and voted against the registration law. What's more, the law serves no useful purpose: Under the Help America Vote Act passed by Congress in 2002, all new voters must show identity before registering to vote.
Cuts to Early Voting After the recount debacle in Florida in 2000, allowing voters to cast their ballots early emerged as a popular bipartisan reform. Early voting not only meant shorter lines on Election Day, it has helped boost turnout in a number of states – the true measure of a successful democracy. "I think it's great," Jeb Bush said in 2004. "It's another reform we added that has helped provide access to the polls and provide a convenience. And we're going to have a high voter turnout here, and I think that's wonderful."
But Republican support for early voting vanished after Obama utilized it as a key part of his strategy in 2008. Nearly 30 percent of the electorate voted early that year, and they favored Obama over McCain by 10 points. The strategy proved especially effective in Florida, where blacks outnumbered whites by two to one among early voters, and in Ohio, where Obama received fewer votes than McCain on Election Day but ended up winning by 263,000 ballots, thanks to his advantage among early voters in urban areas like Cleveland and Columbus.
That may explain why both Florida and Ohio – which now have conservative Republican governors – have dramatically curtailed early voting for 2012. Next year, early voting will be cut from 14 to eight days in Florida and from 35 to 11 days in Ohio, with limited hours on weekends. In addition, both states banned voting on the Sunday before the election – a day when black churches historically mobilize their constituents. Once again, there appears to be nothing to justify the changes other than pure politics. "There is no evidence that any form of convenience voting has led to higher levels of fraud," reports the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College.
Photo IDs By far the biggest change in election rules for 2012 is the number of states requiring a government-issued photo ID, the most important tactic in the Republican war on voting. In April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld a photo-ID law in Indiana, even though state GOP officials couldn't provide a single instance of a voter committing the type of fraud the new ID law was supposed to stop. Emboldened by the ruling, Republicans launched a nationwide effort to implement similar barriers to voting in dozens of states.
The campaign was coordinated by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which provided GOP legislators with draft legislation based on Indiana's ID requirement. In five states that passed such laws in the past year – Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – the measures were sponsored by legislators who are members of ALEC. "We're seeing the same legislation being proposed state by state by state," says Smith of Rock the Vote. "And they're not being shy in any of these places about clearly and blatantly targeting specific demographic groups, including students."
In Texas, under "emergency" legislation passed by the GOP-dominated legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Perry, a concealed-weapon permit is considered an acceptable ID but a student ID is not. Republicans in Wisconsin, meanwhile, mandated that students can only vote if their IDs include a current address, birth date, signature and two-year expiration date – requirements that no college or university ID in the state currently meets. As a result, 242,000 students in Wisconsin may lack the documentation required to vote next year. "It's like creating a second class of citizens in terms of who gets to vote," says Analiese Eicher, a Dane County board supervisor.

The barriers erected in Texas and Wisconsin go beyond what the Supreme Court upheld in Indiana, where 99 percent of state voters possess the requisite IDs and can turn to full-time DMVs in every county to obtain the proper documentation. By contrast, roughly half of all black and Hispanic residents in Wisconsin do not have a driver's license, and the state staffs barely half as many DMVs as Indiana – a quarter of which are open less than one day a month. To make matters worse, Gov. Scott Walker tried to shut down 16 more DMVs – many of them located in Democratic-leaning areas. In one case, Walker planned to close a DMV in Fort Atkinson, a liberal stronghold, while opening a new office 30 minutes away in the conservative district of Watertown.
Although new ID laws have been approved in seven states, the battle over such barriers to voting has been far more widespread. Since January, Democratic governors in Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire and North Carolina have all vetoed ID laws. Voters in Mississippi and Missouri are slated to consider ballot initiatives requiring voter IDs, and legislation is currently pending in Pennsylvania.
One of the most restrictive laws requiring voter IDs was passed in South Carolina. To obtain the free state ID now required to vote, the 178,000 South Carolinians who currently lack one must pay for a passport or a birth certificate. "It's the stepsister of the poll tax," says Browne-Dianis of the Advancement Project. Under the new law, many elderly black residents – who were born at home in the segregated South and never had a birth certificate – must now go to family court to prove their identity. Given that obtaining fake birth certificates is one of the country's biggest sources of fraud, the new law may actually prompt some voters to illegally procure a birth certificate in order to legally vote – all in the name of combating voter fraud.
For those voters who manage to get a legitimate birth certificate, obtaining a voter ID from the DMV is likely to be hellishly time-consuming. A reporter for the Tri-State Defender in Memphis, Tennessee – another state now mandating voter IDs – recently waited for four hours on a sweltering July day just to see a DMV clerk. The paper found that the longest lines occur in urban precincts, a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act, which bars states from erecting hurdles to voting in minority jurisdictions.
Disenfranchising Ex-Felons The most sweeping tactic in the GOP campaign against voting is simply to make it illegal for certain voters to cast ballots in any election. As the Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist restored the voting rights of 154,000 former prisoners who had been convicted of nonviolent crimes. But in March, after only 30 minutes of public debate, Gov. Rick Scott overturned his predecessor's decision, instantly disenfranchising 97,491 ex-felons and prohibiting another 1.1 million prisoners from being allowed to vote after serving their time.
"Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they've paid their price?" Bill Clinton asked during his speech in July. "Because most of them in Florida were African-Americans and Hispanics and would tend to vote for Democrats – that's why."
A similar reversal by a Republican governor recently took place in Iowa, where Gov. Terry Branstad overturned his predecessor's decision to restore voting rights to 100,000 ex-felons. The move threatens to return Iowa to the recent past, when more than five percent of all residents were denied the right to vote – including a third of the state's black residents. In addition, Florida and Iowa join Kentucky and Virginia as the only states that require all former felons to apply for the right to vote after finishing their prison sentences.
In response to the GOP campaign, voting-rights advocates are scrambling to blunt the impact of the new barriers to voting. The ACLU and other groups are challenging the new laws in court, and congressional Democrats have asked the Justice Department to use its authority to block or modify any of the measures that discriminate against minority voters. "The Justice Department should be much more aggressive in areas covered by the Voting Rights Act," says Rep. Lewis.
But beyond waging battles at the state and federal level, voting-rights advocates must figure out how to reframe the broader debate. The real problem in American elections is not the myth of voter fraud, but how few people actually participate. Even in 2008, which saw the highest voter turnout in four decades, fewer than two-thirds of eligible voters went to the polls. And according to a study by MIT, 9 million voters were denied an opportunity to cast ballots that year because of problems with their voter registration (13 percent), long lines at the polls (11 percent), uncertainty about the location of their polling place (nine percent) or lack of proper ID (seven percent).
Come Election Day 2012, such problems will only be exacerbated by the flood of new laws implemented by Republicans. Instead of a single fiasco in Florida, experts warn, there could be chaos in a dozen states as voters find themselves barred from the polls. "Our democracy is supposed to be a government by, of and for the people," says Browne-Dianis. "It doesn't matter how much money you have, what race you are or where you live in the country – we all get to have the same amount of power by going into the voting booth on Election Day. But those who passed these laws believe that only some people should participate. The restrictions undermine democracy by cutting off the voices of the people."

Lawrence O’Donnell: Nothing more fraudulent than Giuliani as ‘hero of 9/11′

By Eric W. Dolan/Raw Story

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell ripped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for choosing to put the city’s Emergency Command and Control Center in the World Trade Center despite being advised by professionals in his administration not to place it in an “obvious terrorism target.”
“Rudy Giuliani learned absolutely nothing from the first deadly attack on the World Trade Center,” he said. “As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, most of the media will continue to portray him as one of the heroes of 9/11. Know this. There is no more fraudulent public image in our politics than Rudy Giuliani, hero Of 9/11.”
Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below:

Connecticut governor calls Ron Paul an ‘idiot

By David Edwards/Raw Story

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) shocked CNN’s Christine Romans Wednesday with his response to Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s suggestion that FEMA wasn’t necessary for responding to natural disasters.
“I think he’s an idiot,” Malloy stated.
“That’s blunt,” Romans replied, laughing. “That’s quite blunt.”
Malloy continued: “We’re spending $900 million a week in wars, and he is arguing about whether we should spend some amount of money? FEMA now has currently $900 million budget available to it. This is a ridiculous conversation. Really don’t understand what he’s talking about, and I’m not sure he does.
“The reality is that this storm was handled in such a way that we have preserved hundreds of lives, without this warning system, without this system of response. We would not be standing here with as few people who have died in this massive storm that stretches from North Carolina through Quebec.”
The governor has asked residents to immediately report any damage in an effort to secure federal funding.
Watch this video from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Aug. 31, 2011.

Bachmann Doubles Down On Drilling In Everglades, Says Only ‘Radical Environmentalists’ Would Oppose

By Tanya Somanader and Travis Waldron/Think Progress

GOP presidential front runner Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (MN) new notion to drill for oil in the Florida Everglades is compelling the publicscientists, and even a few in her own party to raise their eyebrows at her “incredible faux pas.”
Ever resilient against the onslaught of facts, Bachmann doubled down on her call to drill the Everglades yesterday, stating “Let’s access this wonderful treasure trove of energy that God has given us in this country.” And for thoseinconvenient truthers who point out there’s no actual evidence of oil under the Everglades, Bachmann told Tampa Bay’s 10News that they’re nothing more than “radical environmentalists“:
Tuesday, a CBS reporter in Miami confronted Bachmann about her call for drilling, asking, “Why would you invade that natural resource with gas and oil drilling?” Bachmann responded, “Let’s access this wonderful treasure trove of energy that God has given us in this country. Let’s access it responsibly.”
Is there even any oil beneath the Everglades? 10News sat down with USF Geologist Dr. Albert Hine, and he told us, “There is no known evidence that there is a significant hydrocarbon deposit beneath the Everglades.”[...]
Bachmann hasn’t been deterred by any naysayers, telling 10News, “The radical environmentalists put up one road block after another to prevent accessing American energy. We also have oil in the Eastern Gulf region.”
Watch it:
The list of nay-saying “radical environmentalists” include: fellow presidential contender Mitt Romney, President George W. Bush, and his brother former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) — not to mention most Floridians. Indeed, fellow Tea Party leader Rep. Allen West (R-FL) promised yesterday to to “straighten her out” against targeting “an incredible ecosystem.” Given Bacmann’s renewed obstinence, it’s a promise he’ll most likely fail to deliver on.

In 2004, Cantor Opposed Bill Requiring Disaster Aid Be Offset With Cuts Elswhere

By Tanya Somanader/Think Progress

Treading biparistan backlash against his callous position on hurricane aid, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has pointed to hisprincipled consistency on requiring all federal disaster aid be offset with cuts to other programs.
This claim of consistency, however, lacks consistency. As the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reports, Cantor actually voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid in 2004 that would have “fully offset” the cost of that bill:
[A] bemused Democratic source notes that in October 2004, Cantor voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid that would have “fully offset” the cost of that supplemental with “a proportional reduction of FY05 discretionary funding” elsewhere. Funding for defense, homeland security, and veterans was exempted from the proposed cuts. But the amendment, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), would do precisely what Republican leadership is proposing to do now. [...]
The 2004 emergency supplemental was proposed after five hurricanes hit the United States, including Tropical Storm Gaston, which did damage to Cantor’s home district of Richmond. But Irene and this summer’s east-coast earthquake also hit Virginia, meaning that provincial interests aren’t necessarily what changed Cantor’s tune.
Indeed, Cantor was among the first to request “immediate action” and millions in federal assistance to address “the magnitude of the damage” from Gaston. Cantor’s spokesman Brad Dayspring insists Cantor’s change of heart is justified by the increase in deficit. “We are living in different times,” he said.

Republican Revolt: Virgina’s GOP Governor Splits With Cantor, Rejects Conditioning Disaster Aid On Budget Cuts

By Pat Garofalo/Think Progress

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), along with some of his House GOP colleagues, have been saying that disaster aid for the areas affected by Hurricane Irene must be offset by, in Cantor’s words, “savings elsewhere.” Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) said yesterday on Bloomberg News that budget cuts must be a prerequisite for disaster aid in order to reassure “the business markets.” Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) added that the days when disaster relief could be funded without offsetting budget cuts “are gone.”
However, not everyone in the GOP agrees that disaster funding should play second fiddle to the GOP’s budget-slashing agenda. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) yesterday broke with Cantor, saying that “I don’t think it’s the time to get into that [deficit] debate“:
Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell, breaking with Cantor, on Tuesday suggested that deficit-spending concerns should not be a factor as Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) respond to the hurricane.
“My concern is that we help people in need,” McDonnell said during his monthly radio show. “For the FEMA money that’s going to flow, it’s up to them on how they get it. I don’t think it’s the time to get into that [deficit] debate.”
The Hill noted that “before Irene hit, McDonnell had requested emergency help from FEMA in 10 districts, including Cantor’s. All the requests were granted.”
The offsets that Cantor has said would be acceptable to him include cuts to first responders, which prompted Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to ask, “Does it really make sense to pay for response and reconstruction costs from past disasters by reducing our capacity to prepare for future disasters?” But Cantor hasn’t always believed that disaster aid should be contingent on budget cuts. In fact, in 2004, he requested federal aid following Tropical Storm Gaston, saying that “the magnitude of the damage suffered by the Richmond area is beyond what the Commonwealth can handle,” without a word about offsetting cuts being necessary.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let's Indict Andrew Breitbart!

By Mike Sax/Diary of a Republican Hater


 I have just started the following petition to do just this,

    "Breitbert and his partner in slander, James O'Keefe, have single-handedly destroyed many worthy public servants and institutions, most notably Acorn which provided help and assistance to many low income Americans who desired to buy homes.

    Breitbart and O'Keefe's fraudulent video-based on entrapment, lies, and doctored footage-was the basis for Acorn's slander, defunding, and criminal prosecution.

   While it was ultimately found innocent, Acorn is now broke and its reputation is wrongly sullied.

   Mr. Breitbart needs to be held accountable and found both civilly and criminally responsible as his actions have stolen literally millions from the public in the form of the services Acorn provided.

    Mr. Breitbart and O'Keefe also continue their tireless campaign against the American people and their interests, by targeting any public individual or institution that in any way serves their interests and needs.

    Currently for instance he is attacking among many other falsely maligned targets, Media Matters, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

    A prosecution of Mr. Breitbart-and O'Keefe-will serve the multiple functions of holding him accountable, recompensing his many victims, and also will provide an "ounce of prevention" by slowing down or stopping the harm he continues to work tirelessly to visit on the American people.

   A true social criminal, Mr. Breitbart must be stopped in his tracks."

    Please join with me in stopping him in his tracks by signing this petition.

    To sign please either go here http://www.change.org/petitions/mike-l-sax-indict-andrew-breitbart

    Or follow the link on the front page of Diary of a Republican Hater "Let's Indict Andrew Breitbart."




"Socialist Day": Right-Wing Media Again Attack Obama Over 9-11 Day Of Service


From Media Matters

In the weeks before the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, right-wing media figures have renewed their attacks on President Obama for calling for a National Day of Service on September 11. However, in 2009, a majority of Republican senators voted to establish a 9-11 National Day of Service, and President Bush routinely called on Americans to volunteer on September 11.

Obama: "Once Again, 9/11 Will Be A National Day Of Service And Remembrance."

Obama: "Once Again, 9/11 Will Be A National Day Of Service And Remembrance." In his August 27 weekly address, Obama stated:
OBAMA: This September 11th, Michelle and I will join the commemorations at Ground Zero, in Shanksville, and at the Pentagon.  But even if you can't be in New York, Pennsylvania or Virginia, every American can be part of this anniversary.  Once again, 9/11 will be a National Day of Service and Remembrance.  And in the days and weeks ahead, folks across the country--in all 50 states--will come together, in their communities and neighborhoods, to honor the victims of 9/11 and to reaffirm the strength of our nation with acts of service and charity. [WhiteHouse.gov, accessed 8/30/11]

"Forget About The Terrorists -- Go Serve Soup": Right-Wing Media Attack Obama Over Call For 9-11 Service

Hoft: "This Plan To Desecrate The Memory Of 9-11 And Turn It Into A Socialist Day Of Community Service Is Nothing New." In an August 27 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft wrote:
In his Weekly Address Barack Obama today urged Americans to continue to transform 9-11 into a day of community service and soup kitchens.
[...]
This is what you get when you elect a radical socialist as president.
Forget about the terrorists -- go serve soup.
[...]
This plan to desecrate the memory of 9-11 and turn it into a socialist day of community service is nothing new. [Gateway Pundit, via Media Matters, 8/28/11]
Geller: "This Once Again Illustrates The Huge Void Obama Has In His Thinking. He Cannot Fake A Love For His Country, Nor Does It Appear That He Wants To." In an August 28 Atlas Shrugs post, Pamela Geller wrote:
The call for service on September 11th is inappropriate and sacrilegious. September 11th is a national day of mourning. Not service, remembrance for those who died in a surprise military strike against the United States of America conducted by the military wing of the global jihad, resulting in the largest loss of life in American history.
Is Pearl Harbor a day of service? D Day? This is wrong. September 11 is not about service; it is about honoring our war dead. This is deeply offensive. This is part of the relentless campaign to whitewash 911 and distract from the terrible reality of the day that forever changed this country.
This once again illustrates the huge void Obama has in his thinking. He cannot fake a love for his country, nor does it appear that he wants to. The man is missing a chip.
September 11th is a day of mourning. Service? Any other day. Not the tenth anniversary of September 11th.  [Atlas Shrugs, 8/28/11]
Fox Nation: "Obama Urges Americans To Turn 9-11 Into Community Service Day?" An August 29 post to Fox Nation titled, "Obama Urges Americans to Turn 9-11 Into Community Service Day?" re-posted Hoft's blog post criticizing Obama's address, stating that the president "urged Americans to continue to transform 9-11 into a day of community service and soup kitchens." [Fox Nation, 8/29/11]
Weasel Zippers On Obama's Call For 9-11 Service: "Captain Inspiration Lays Another Egg." An August 27 Weasel Zippers post titled, "Weekly Address: Captain Inspiration Lays Another Egg," linked to a video of Obama's address with a caption stating, "Remarkable waste of time and bandwidth." [Weasel Zippers, 8/27/11]

Right-Wing Media Previously Attacked Obama For Calling For 9-11 Day Of Service

In 2009, Right-Wing Media Attacked Obama For "Demean[ing] The Memory" Of 9-11 Victims For Calling For A 9-11 Day Of Service. In 2009, right-wing media figures attacked Obama for his "decision to remember 9-11 as a national day of service." For instance, radio host Laura Ingraham declared that "marking 9-11 as a day for volunteerism demeans the memory of the thousands who were killed by Muslim extremists on that fateful September morning." Glenn Beck complained that Obama allegedly did not consult 9-11 family members before making the National Day of Service decision. Beck also likened the move to "the rape of a sacred memory." Rush Limbaugh accused Obama of "twisting 9-11 into a nationalist day of service to the state." [Media Matters9/8/10]

But A Majority Of GOP Senators Voted To Establish A "September 11th National Day Of Service And Remembrance"...

Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act Established A "September 11th National Day Of Service And Remembrance." On April 21, 2009, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act became public law:
(c) CALL TO SERVICE CAMPAIGN AND SEPTEMBER 11TH DAY OF SERVICE.-Section 198 (42 U.S.C. 12653), as amended by subsection
(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:
''(j) CALL TO SERVICE CAMPAIGN.-Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Serve America Act, the Corporation shall conduct a nationwide 'Call To Service' campaign, to encourage all people of the United States, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, or economic status, to engage in full- or parttime national service, long- or short-term public service in the nonprofit sector or government, or volunteering. In conducting the campaign, the Corporation may collaborate with other Federal agencies and entities, State Commissions, Governors, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, businesses, institutions of higher education, elementary schools, and secondary schools.
''(k) SEPTEMBER 11TH DAY OF SERVICE.-
''(1) FEDERAL ACTIVITIES.-The Corporation may organize and carry out appropriate ceremonies and activities, which may include activities that are part of the broader Call to
Service Campaign under subsection (j), in order to observe the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance at the Federal level.
''(2) ACTIVITIES.-The Corporation may make grants and provide other support to community-based organizations to assist in planning and carrying out appropriate service, charity, and remembrance opportunities in conjunction with the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.
''(3) CONSULTATION.-The Corporation may consult with and make grants or provide other forms of support to nonprofit organizations with expertise in representing families of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and other impacted constituencies, and in promoting the establishment of September 11 as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.'' [Serve America Act, 4/21/09]

... And President Bush Routinely Called On Americans To Volunteer On 9-11

Bush Established National Service Organization, Citing The Spirit Of 9-11. President Bush, in his January 2002 State of the Union Address, announced that he was creating the USA Freedom Corps, a national service organization, and called "for every American to commit at least two years, 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime, to the service of your neighbors and your nation." Bush said that "[n]one of us would ever wish the evil that was done on September 11th, yet after America was attacked, it was as if our entire country looked into a mirror and saw our better selves. We were reminded that we are citizens, with obligations to each other, to our country and to history. We began to think less of the goods we can accumulate and more about the good we can do." [Bush 2002 State of the Union address, via CNN.com, 1/29/02]
Bush: "All Of Us Can Become A September The 11th Volunteer." According to a USA Freedom Corps press release, on the first anniversary of 9-11, Bush said: "Many ask, 'What can I do to help in our fight?' And the answer is simple. All of us can become a September the 11th volunteer by making a commitment to service in our own communities. You can serve your country by tutoring or mentoring a child, comforting the afflicted, housing those in need of shelter. Whatever your talent, whatever your background, each of you can do something." [USA Freedom Corps, 9/11/02]
2008: Bush "Renewed The Call He Made In The Wake Of The 9/11 Attacks" For Service. According to a September 8, 2008, Corporation for National and Community Service press release, "President Bush today renewed the call he made in the wake of the 9/11 attacks for every American to give 4,000 hours or two years of their lives in service to others." From the release:
The President gave a broad and passionate speech on the power of volunteers to transform lives and tackle deep-rooted social problems. Recalling the heroism of the first responders and the outpouring of compassion Americans displayed after the terror attacks, the President urged American to rekindle that spirit of neighbor helping neighbor that was so strong after 9/11.
"Volunteerism is strong in the country. But the truth of the matter is, the farther we've gotten away from 9/11, that memory has begun to fade," the President said. "And my call to people is, there's always a need. You should be volunteering not because of 9/11, but you should be volunteering because our country needs you on a regular basis. And so today I call upon our fellow citizens to devote 4,000 hours over your lifetime in service to your country. You'll become a better person for it, and our society will be more healthy as a result of it." [Corporation for National and Community Service, 9/8/08]