Wednesday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) Poll: Nearly Half Of Americans Say Deficit Primarily Caused By Wealthy Not Paying Enough In Taxes – A plurality of Americans — 46 percent — say the primary cause for the nation’s deficits is that “wealthy Americans don’t pay enough in taxes,” according to a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll. Just three percent blamed too much federal spending on the elderly, and just 14 percent blamed too much federal spending on poor people. Meanwhile, 80 percent oppose cuts to Medicare, 75 percent oppose cuts to Social Security, and nearly two-thirds oppose cuts to Medicaid. Perhaps for those reasons, Americans prefer President Obama’s budget, which raises taxes on the rich and preserves Medicare and Social Security, by a 10-point margin over the one proposed by congressional Republicans.

via: odinsblog

2) TheTruth Behind The GOP’s ‘1000 Days Without A Budget’ Canard - But the much more important fact Republicans have left out is that the Senate passed a budget on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis last summer — one that unlike an annual “budget resolution” has the force of law behind it. The Budget Control Act — the law that resolved the debt limit fight — set binding appropriations caps for this fiscal year and the next and instituted a mechanism to contain spending on domestic discretionary programs — education, research, community health programs and the like — through the next decade. [...] When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it would be redundant for the Senate to pass a budget, this is what he means. Republicans know this.

3) Poll: Catholics approval of Obama mostly unchanged amid birth control battle – Catholics approval of President Barack Obama has remained relatively unchanged despite facing harsh opposition from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over new contraception rules. A survey released Tuesday by Gallup found that 46 percent of Catholics approved of Obama last week. A week prior to that his approval was at 49 percent, a change within the margin of error. [...] Facing a backlash from Catholic bishops and their Republican supporters, the White House said last week that it would change the proposed rules by exempting religious hospitals and universities, and instead mandating that insurance companies provide those services.

4) The Internal Contradictions of Mitt Romney – And by “internal”, I mean in the same paragraph: “This week, President Obama will release a budget that won’t take any meaningful steps toward solving our entitlement crisis,” Romney said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. “The president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors”. Yep, Obama has failed to resolve the problem of excessive entitlement spending; furthermore, he’s cutting entitlement spending!

5) Rick Santorum doesn’t want to be typecast as a social conservative – Um, Ricky? Too late. Rick Santorum is hoping to turn the political conversation away from the social and cultural issues that have dominated his quest for the Republican presidential nomination so far and focus instead on the economy as he prepares to compete in the big, recession-plagued battleground state of Michigan. [...] So now, after endless moralizing and sanctimonious preaching against sex for fun, Santorum wants to pretend he’s got something else in his pocket? Ha ha ha! He’s a Republican. His job plan is to cut taxes for Mitt Romney. There. Done. Now that that’s out of the way, he can get back to talking about what he really wants to talk about: Your bedroom.

6) BREAKING: Tentative deal reached on payroll tax cut extension - Congressional negotiators have reached a tentative deal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits while avoiding a fee cut for Medicare doctors, according to Republican legislators and aides.

7) Meh: Poll finds low enthusiasm for Republican candidates - Most Republicans believe Mitt Romney will be their party’s presidential nominee and that he has the best chance to beat President Barack Obama in November, a national poll released Tuesday found. But the CNN/ORC International poll found little enthusiasm for the former Massachusetts governor’s presidential bid, instead favoring Christian conservative Rick Santorum over Romney, 34 to 32 percent. The poll findings underscored Romney’s failure to ignite his base weeks into a primary season that has seen one candidate after another surge to challenge his de facto frontrunner status, and then lose steam.

Mitt or get off the pot - Nevertheless, he’s probably right that the GOP is running out of fools, that’s it’s quarter-to-three, there’s no one in the place except Rick and Romney, that it’s time for some hot man-on-man action: “We think this is a two-person race right now,” Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday,“and we’re just focused on — on making sure that folks know we’re the best alternative to Barack Obama and we have the best chance of beating him.” I’ve always said that in this primary, Republican voters love the bad boys. Now it’s come down to a guy who wears sweater vests versus a guy who wears magic underwear. Who’s bad?

8) Wingnuts Furious About … Fox News Going Liberal - What are America’s old white racist exurban cretins on Medicare and Social Security upset about today? Oh, the usual: Obama, liberals, gays, sex, black people, youth, hippies, the poor, the rich, Mexicans, “the hip hop,” Iran, exercise, unemployment, unemployment benefits, vegetables, a talented black woman with addiction problems such as Whitney Houston, [or, now, her young daughter], organic farms, birth control, people having sexual intercourse in general, solar energy, Mormons, national parks, public transportation, Europe, NPR, Media Matters, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. WAIT WHAT IN THE ??? Yes, Fox News. The wingnuts have spastically lurched from one invented outrage to the next with such shallow furor that they finally wound up enraged about the very teevee channel that tells them what to freak out about.

9) 52% Say GOP Agenda In Congress Is Extreme - While positive ratings for Congress remain at an all-time low, more voters than ever see the Republican agenda in Congress as extreme. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 35% of Likely Voters say it would be more accurate to describe the agenda of Republicans in Congress as mainstream, while 52% feel extreme is a more accurate description. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Tuesday morning’s 9 interesting things

GOP Drops Demand For Offsetting Payroll Tax Cut - Facing emboldened Democratic negotiators and a quickly thinning legislative calendar, House Republican leaders have offered to extend the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year without paying for it. The development represents a dramatic reversal for GOP leaders, who nearly allowed the payroll tax cut to lapse in December in part because of their insistence that the package be financially offset. [...] That’s a huge concession to legislative and political realities, and a tacit admission that Republican leaders desparately want to avoid another no-win fight over renewing a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits the middle class.

Jon Stewart mocks Santorum’s hypocrisy in contraception spat – Stewart on the Catholic Church’s opposition: “Yes, we are men of God, that money must not be used for contraception. That money has been set aside for out of court alter boy settlements and of course some priest relocations.” On the media reporting that “many Catholics” are against it: “Seriously, a firestorm among many Catholics? Or the old dudes who run it?” Stewart then asked.

Rick Santorum vs Catholics – Rick Santorum, Driver of Bulldozers – There’s the usual poor-widdle-me defensiveness. (Does anybody who lived through the past 30 years really see liberalism as a “bulldozer”?) And then this: “A penchant for aggressive and sanctimonious use of power is always a temptation in politics, though much more so for progressives than conservatives. Rick Santorum doesn’t need a bulldozer to sustain and reinforce marriage. He only needs to defend what is already in place. The defending rather than invading character of conservatism is one reason why it is so much less likely to inflate the power of the state. Conservatism largely involves sustaining things and tending to them.” Yes, over the past two weeks, as a passel of celibates has decided that their Presbyterian janitors and Jehovah’s Witness orderlies have to abide by a discredited doctrinal prohibition based in a twisted view of human sexuality, I have noticed the non-intrusive nature of organized religion.

Female Republican Senators go rogue, back Obama on contraceptives – Two female Republican members of the U.S. Senate, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, have broken rank with their party and come out in favor of a new rule issued by the Obama Administration that requires private health insurers to fully pay for the cost of contraception products. The two lawmakers extended their support after the administration tweaked its rule to exempt religious non-profits from paying any part of the cost for contraception.

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew: ‘There’s Pretty Broad Agreement That the Time for Austerity is Not Today’ – “…I think that there’s pretty broad agreement that the time for austerity is not today. We need to be on a path where over the next several years we bring our deficit under control. Right now we have a recovery that’s taking root and if we were to put in austerity measures right now, it would take the economy in the wrong way. So the New York Times, for example, has very much argued that 2012, 2013 is not the time for austerity.The challenge is how do you do two things at the same time. How do you put money forward for things like the payroll tax holiday, for things like getting a jump-start on infrastructure, for building schools, and make the decisions for long-term deficit reduction. The president’s proposed a plan that would do that. He was willing over the course of last year to negotiate a bipartisan agreement that would do it.”

Flu season finally arrives, CDC reports – The flu season may finally be picking up steam after the slowest start in nearly three decades, a new government report suggests. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an uptick in the number of samples testing positive for the virus — 10.5 percent in the first week of February versus 7.6 percent the week before. That suggests that the flu season is just off to a late start, CDC researchers say. Interestingly, it’s only the second time in 29 years that the percentage of respiratory samples testing positive remained under 10 percent through January.

Polls show Rick Santorum virtually tied with Mitt Romney nationally – With two new polls showing underdog Rick Santorum gaining on front-runner Mitt Romney among Republicans nationally, the contenders for the GOP presidential nomination are taking advantage of a lull between primary contests to stockpile resources and rally supporters for the next phase of the race. Separate surveys released Monday by Gallup and the Pew Research Center suggest that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, and Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, are virtually tied.

Rick Santorum’s taken a large lead in Michigan’s upcoming Republican
primary
 – He’s at 39% to 24% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Ron Paul, and 11% for Newt Gingrich. Santorum’s rise is attributable to two major factors… // Note: PDF doc

Bob Cesca – This is hilarious. Every time I read about Republicans rallying around Santorum it makes me smile ear-to-ear because it would be like the Democrats nominating Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich — a fringe candidate who has no chance of winning and every chance of generating a massive landslide in favor of the other candidate. No one in the moderate swing states will pay attention to fringe candidates of either party. That’s why it’s suicide to nominate them. That’s why Kucinich on the left, Ron Paul on the right, etc, etc, will never be nominated by their party. And now it looks increasingly good for Santorum to actually squeak out an upset nomination here. Unbelievable, especially for a guy who was laughed out of Pennsylvania in 2006, and now he might actually win this thing.

Romney Thinks Mandatory Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients Is ‘An Excellent Idea’ – Romney’s support for blindly drug-testing welfare recipients dates back at least two decades, to his failed 1994 campaign for the US Senate. Civil rights advocates, meanwhile, have been quick to challenge the constitutionality of drug testing bills that were passed last year, and courts blocked similar bills from being implemented in Florida and Michigan. Rather than saving states money or ensuring taxpayer dollars aren’t used to purchase drugs, mandatory testing laws have succeeded only in proving that welfare recipients are actually less likely to use drugs than the public at large, and implementing laws requiring drug testing is costing states like Florida money they don’t have. // Note: George Romney really deserved a better son.

Romney Gets The Santorum Treatment – Courtesy of the CrateGate scandal, Mitt Romney is now the target of a Google-bomb campaign too. The back-story: We all know the sad story of Seamus, the Romney family Irish Setter who was strapped to the top of the Romney station wagon for at least one 12-hour trip to Canada – and who at least once pooped himself in fear and, after being given an “emotion-free” hosing down by Mitt Romney, was placed once more atop the car for more terrifying hours on the highway.

Saturday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) CPAC Racist Rap (or EVERYTHING you need to know about CPAC in one video)  – Yet another jaw-dropping moment from CPAC, as right wing “comedians” Steven Crowder and Chris Loesch perform an absolutely nauseating “rap” song, wearing “founding fathers” powdered wigs. And don’t miss what happens at about the 2 minute mark, as an African American walks out. Yes, they’re yelling the N word, pretending they’re saying “knickers.”  Right wing humor:

2) Romney Brags AT CPAC: ‘We Prevented Massachusetts From Becoming The Las Vegas Of Gay Marriage’ - “…I successfully prohibited out- of-state couples from coming to our state to get married and then going home. On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage. When I am president, I will defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and I will fight for an amendment to our Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.” [...] In 1994, while running for a seat in the Senate, Romney told the GOP group Log Cabin Republicans, “We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.”

3) Mitt Overdoes It At CPAC – In his address this afternoon, Romney boasted, “I fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a severely conservative Republican governor. …[...] The awkward phrasing reminded Erick Erickson of this bit from Chris Orr in 2008: It occurred to me that the same is true of Romney’s desperate, if never terribly persuasive, impersonation of a conservative Republican. That persona–angry, simple-minded, xenophobic, jingoistic–is exactly what Romney (who is himself cultured, content, and cosmopolitan) imagines the average GOP voter to be. || Note: lol, Romney isn’t the only one who imagines the average GOP that way (see video above).

4) GOP Won’t Yield on Millionaire Surtax in Payroll Deal – House Speaker John Boehner today urged Democrats to come to terms with Republicans on a year-long extension to the payroll tax cut, as negotiations between conferees struggle to yield progress on a path towards a deal. At his weekly news conference, the speaker once again suggested that Democrats should give up on a proposed tax hike on millionaires to pay for the extensions, which Democrats have persistently called for it to cover the cost of the extensions.

5) Rick Santorum: Women Are Capable Of ‘Flying Small Planes’ – In the past 24 hours, Santorum [has] accused Obama of helping Iran acquire nuclear weapons; suggested that male soldiers are incapable of controlling their emotions around female comrades in combat; and said women are better suited to “flying small planes.”

6) White House Seeks To Mute Catholic Uproar Over Contraception Rule – On Friday, President Obama announced the plan… But if a religious institution declines to provide coverage that includes contraceptive services, “the insurance company will be required to reach out directly and offer her contraceptive coverage free of charge.” The administration argues further that because contraceptive services prevent the costs of unintended pregnancies, the rule comes with no financial costs to either the insurer or religious employer. A similar rule resulted in no premium increases in the Federal Employee Health Benefits plan, officials noted, and the White House argues this moots the charge that religious money will be indirectly footing the bill for birth control and other contraception.

7) Anti-Contreceptor, King of the Spermicons, Jumps Into the Lead – If your party’s goal is to make sure every ejaculation has a clear path to its target, it’s Santorum or bust:


8) Obama budget to propose election year spending on jobs, roads – President Barack Obama will project lower deficits and request billions of dollars for infrastructure and jobs in his 2013 budget, laying out a plan he will sell to voters in November, despite Republican criticism of rising federal debts. Obama’s budget proposal, which he will submit to Congress on Monday, will project a $901 billion deficit for fiscal 2013, a sharp drop from the $1.33 trillion funding gap that is predicted for this year, a senior administration official said on Friday. Obama is expected to repeat a call for millionaires to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent, while taking aim at the foreign profits of big U.S. corporations. || Note: To which Bob Cesca adds: And by the following Monday, conservapundits will be asking why the president hasn’t introduced a budget.

9) Walker, Van Hollen: Chunk of mortgage settlement going to state budget - Wisconsin will use a chunk of its $140 million share of a national settlement over foreclosure and mortgage-servicing abuses to help the state budget rather than assist troubled homeowners, Gov. Scott Walker and state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Thursday. [...] But of a $31.6 million payment coming directly to the state government, most of that money – $25.6 million – will go to help close a budget shortfall revealed in newly released state projections. Van Hollen, whose office said he has the legal authority over the money, made the decision in consultation with Walker. || Note: *shrug* no surprise. There will be a recall election sometime between April – June, however. If you didn’t vote last time, maybe you will this time?

How our do-nothing Congress could wipe out most of the nation’s deficit by just being themselves

Don’t you think it will be interesting to see if the GOP led Congress, which has sat on its collective ass since the 2010 election, will suddenly spring to life to defend the one percenters and their current tax rate on capital gains?

[T]he New York Times noted today…plans to raise tax rates are unlikely to move through Congress before the 2012 elections. What that conventional wisdom ignores, however, is that Congress doesn’t have to do anything to raise the tax rate on capital gains. Doing absolutely nothing, in fact, would raise Romney’s taxes by a significant amount.

This is because the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are scheduled to expire January 1, 2013, bumping the capital gains tax back to 20 percent. An obscure provision that limits deductions for high-income earners is set to return on the same day. The Affordable Care Act also enacted a tax on high-income taxpayers that will raise the rate on capital gains. Those changes require no Congressional action — rather, they require Congressional inaction — and would raise the capital gains rate significantly, as the Tax Policy Center pointed out:

Put it all together, and the top tax rate on capital gains is scheduled to increase from 15% today to 25% on January 1.

Romney, meanwhile, would ask Congress to pass a tax cut that would cut his tax bill by millions of dollars. As ThinkProgress has noted, Congress could actually wipe out most of the country’s deficit by doing nothing.

John Boehner has no problem threatening to allow the payroll tax cuts to expire for random political issues. Let’s see what happens in the next few months over the expiration of capital gains tax cuts.


image: socalwayfarer

John Boehner. Worst. Speaker. Ever.

liberalsarecool:

One year. Zero jobs bills passed through to the President. Fifteen bills in the House with absolutely no chance of passing the Senate.

John Boehner. Worst. Speaker. Ever.

In other Boehner news, he’s apparently as sick of the Teaparty as everyone else in the world:

To avoid a second embarrassing defeat for Republicans over payroll tax cuts, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will work around Tea Party-aligned lawmakers to reach a deal, according to congressional aides. “I think Boehner will seek a more accommodating approach to get a good percentage of Democrats to vote for it — even if it costs him a lot of House Republican freshmen,” a House Republican leadership aide told Reuters.

I’ll believe THAT when I see it.

BREAKING: GOP currently reenacting Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

As gently as he could, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to cave and pass the Senate’s payroll tax cut compromise. BREAKING: GOP Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has realized that the House GOP’s political games have backfired

Et tu, Mitch?

At this point, I don’t even care if my taxes go up $1,000 as long as the Dems hold steady on this bill.