Tuesday, August 31, 2010

OMG! It Turns Out That NO ONE Qualifies For A Loan!

MeanMesa sympathizes with the President as he points out what America's banksters (half bankers and half gangsters) have done to divert the Recovery Act money into nothing more than the latest layer of cash in their money bins.

"Hey guys!  The idea was to start lending to small businesses who need credit!"

Senate Republican "Closet" for TARP and Recovery Act  Dollars Image source

Well, Short Current Essays has already been there.  This self-serving, bankster  phenomenon did not begin last week! 

Take a moment to visit an old posting from January, 2009.  Unofficially dubbed "The Winnebago Solution," you can visit the old post here

Otherwise, spend a few minutes with this re-printed version.

January 23, 2009 - MeanMesa

Everything that is "extra, extra complicated" really is "extra, extra complicated."
How to selectively avoid understanding almost anything.

Oh darn. That $300 Billion bail out was supposed to help get credit started back up again, whatever that means. (For the numerically challenged, 300 billion is 300,000,000,000.) Gosh, we put the money into the “thing” at just the right places, but there are still all sorts of folks who can’t borrow anything. Nothing. Certainly not enough to keep business going and jobs in place.

Well, most of the most important people who could have signed off on those bail out checks, have. They are okay. They have enough money to last them through the disaster the rest of the country is facing. After what’s left straggles back to its feet, they can start the “trickle down.” Again.

“Trickle down” means that their banks will finally start loaning the money businesses need to keep going. Just before these "trickle down" folks start “trickling down,” most businesses will be in a failure state. They will be on their last legs. or, perhaps, on their backs. You know, “for sale” at a really cheap price. If the neo-con wet dream has come true by this point, it will be a shopping extravaganza if you have any money.

Gosh darn it, no one seems to have any money, though. Wait! There’s still the “trickle down” folks wandering around with what’s left of their $300,000,000,000! After all, they certainly haven’t lent much of it to anyone. Maybe, out of the goodness of their hearts and their great love of our country, they might be inclined to take a risk here and there, buy a few American businesses at bargain basement prices, and try to start the economy again.

That would be something new. Once again, they would wind up owning everything, strangling the rest of us not by “innovation,” “invention” or “competition,” but by good old fashioned business sense, funded with the tax dollars they took from us back in 2008. This next chapter of the “American Dream” just happened to have fallen into their laps by extraordinary good fortune!

They will have solved the labor problem, too. Labor problem? That means excessive wages and benefits will have been curtailed just in time for prosperity! The American worker's race to the bottom will be well under way by this time. No business means no jobs. No jobs means extra, extra low wages and plenty of desperate workers ready to gobble up any job (and any wage) they can get. It will be paradise! You know, just like "the good old days."

Captains of Industry. Maybe Dick Cheney will feel well enough to be President for a while. You know, well enough to “git ‘er did!”

Solution-wise this travesty makes the black hole of Calcutta look like a Sunday school social. Turn on your television. The man in the suit will explain everything. There is no solution. We just have to pump as much money as possible into these banks and then patiently wait and see if they start making loans again. Sort of like pushing a lobster through a key hole. It might work....

The reason it is all so complicated is because we just have to wait for these frightened bankers to get themselves into a little better frame of mind. They must be reassured. Right now, they are so freaked out with the prospect of being poor, they won’t even loan money to each other! The television man will provide you with 97 reasons why that is the case and another 231 reasons why this insanity is the only chance we have to get the lobster through the key hole.

Well, there is another solution.

A surprisingly American solution.

Here’s the plan. Split off a few billion of the bailout money and convert it to cash. (Bushie’s old Iraqi viceroy knows how to do this. And how! He was tossing around pallet loads of bundled U.S. hundreds to everyone who would stand still!)

Next, buy two or three thousand used Winnebagos. It’s okay. Gas is cheap right now, and we’ll be done with them before the price can get back to $4/gallon. Put a cot and a coffee maker in each one. Pack the back half of each Winnebago with cash.

Hire ten thousand bankers. There are plenty of unemployed bankers running around loose right now. Loan officers would be good.

Divide the bankers into three groups. Make them all Federal employees. The first group will go in the Winnebagos to make loans. The second group will be in charge of bookkeeping. The third group will be in charge of catching bankers from the first two groups when they cheat.

Next, park the Winnebagos in every city where the banks have not started loaning money, put out a sign, open the door and start making loans. I have to suspect that business will be good.

Pretty soon all those frightened bankers will get over their fright. Oh, whatever. In any event, they might stop buying each other, paying stock dividends and huge executive bonuses with our bail out money and start making loans again.

Total cost? $30 billion ought to get things rolling right along. Bailout money going to banks ($300 billion) hasn’t done much yet. Bailout money to businesses who need it and qualify might accomplish quite a bit.

God, is this ever complicated.

For a quick review of the journey of bail out money so far:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Please Don't Squeel While Your Democracy is Being Crushed

MeanMesa has spoken often in previous postings about the autocracy's lingering legacy of corruption and class warfare.  Perhaps even the most generous of MeanMesa visitors has occasionally considered some of this ranting a bit hyperbolic.  However, now -- almost two years after the end of the despot -- very material, tangible toxins are still emerging from that fetid attack on the nation.

Of course, we are speaking of the so-called Roberts' Court.

Just because democracy once again gasped a breath in the atmosphere of a ravaged country, an empty treasury, a wrecked economy and a street-wide riot of every hill billy and bigot sober enough to stagger out of a VFW bar, there is one institution of power and ideology which remains starkly in tact.

The Supreme Court.

Now, we've seen the Roberts Court in action -- the entire world of jurisprudence, not to mention justice, has been cast into a medieval "battle of the Titans" between the fascist Justices appointed by the unelected autocrat and the more or less rational justices who populated the court before the coup.  The reign of this monstrosity has been formidable.  The 5 Reactionary Supremes of the autocratic ilk have made real any cheezy wet dream of every corporation rich enough to catch their ears  -- that is, any sociopath with a more corrupt scheme to catch their fancy.

The most recent outrage is, of course, the Citizens United ruling which invited absolutely anyone with a pocket full of money to sabotage any election they wished.  MeanMesa has posted about this insult before ( Two Tales of "Corporate Personhood"  --  Monday Morning With the Chief Justice -- The Supreme Court Address the WRONG PROBLEM  -- Finally Quotes From the Decision ) but now -- at the dawn of the 2010 mid-term elections this November -- the "reeking, far from fresh chicken" has finally come home to roost.

Our corporate masters have dug deep into their pockets to purchase a few more scraping servants in the next Congress.  Is MeanMesa off on another of those irritating exaggeration rants?

The numbers say not.  Gliding through the Google, MeanMesa has collected a very abbreviated list of some of the more interesting PAC (Political Action Committees) who are now "flexing their new gossamer wings" to make shadow contributions protected by the Citizens United ruling.  Each block of cited material follows a source link.

From Democracy21 -- Link here.

Here's a quick guide to the groups, the interests behind them, and how much money they are planning to raise ahead of November:

American Crossroads: Founded in March by Rove and Gillespie to counter ad spending from liberal outfits like MoveOn.org and labor unions, this 527 group says it plans to raise and spend upwards of $50 million before November. So far, the group is focusing on 11 key Senate races, including Nevada, where the group has run two ads attacking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But Collegio says American Crossroads will begin targeting House races closer to Election Day. According to Internal Revenue Service records, the group has raised roughly $8.5 million so far — including $1 million from Dallas energy executive Trevor Rees-Jones.  $50,000,000

Crossroads GPS: A spinoff of American Crossroads, this 501-c4 group can keep its donor list private — a major selling point for individuals and corporations who want to anonymously influence elections. While it won't run ads, the group is picking up some of the pricey administrative tasks that the RNC has usually taken on, including building a database that allows them to microtarget voters in certain congressional districts with outreach specific to their interests.

American Action Network:
Modeled in part after the liberal Center for American Progress, this 501-c4 group is headed up by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman and managed day-to-day by Rob Collins, a former top aide to House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. Together with its sister group, the American Action Forum (see below), the outfit plans to be something of a GOP think tank, helping to craft the Republican message. But this side of the operation will focus more on advocating candidates than on policy development. A GOP source tells The Upshot the group is looking to spend as much as $25 million to influence the midterms. Already, the group has launched an ad against Charlie Crist, who quit the GOP to run as an independent in Florida's Senate race. The group has just launched a $450,000 campaign trashing Democrat Paul Hodes in New Hampshire's Senate race.  $450,000

American Action Forum: An offshoot of the American Action Network, this group will focus more on formulating policy and helping GOP candidates deliver their message than on running ads attacking specific candidates. Fronted by Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former economic adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign, AAF lists Coleman and former governors Jeb Bush and Tom Ridge as board members.

Resurgent Republic: Founded by Gillespie and several GOP pollsters last fall, this group aims to be the Republican equivalent of Democracy Corps, a polling and research group founded by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and former Clinton operative James Carville. The nonprofit group will try to improve GOP messaging through polling and research groups and will work directly with other Republican groups in the network.

Republican State Leadership
Committee: This 527 group plans to spend at least $40 million to influence state elections, including gubernatorial races, ahead of next year's planned redistricting debate. While Gillespie is the chairman, other advisers on board include former Rep. Tom Reynolds, who used to chair the House GOP campaign committee, and former RNC chair Mike Duncan (who is also working for American Crossroads). $40,000,000

From TalkingPointsMemo -- Source:  Link here.

CongressDaily (sub. req.) crunches the numbers and finds that the Citizens United Political Victory Fund has given almost $200,000 to candidates in 2010 races, all to Republicans.  $200,000

The PAC, which is behind the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that opened the door for campaign contributions directly from corporations, donated thousands to conservative and tea party-type candidates.

From the New Yorker -- Source:  Link here.

Americans for Prosperity, meanwhile, has announced that it will spend an additional forty-five million dollars before the midterm elections, in November. Although the group is legally prohibited from directly endorsing candidates, it nonetheless plans to target some fifty House races and half a dozen Senate races, staging rallies, organizing door-to-door canvassing, and running ads aimed at “educating voters about where candidates stand.” 

Though the Kochs have slowed Obama’s momentum, their larger political battle is far from won. Richard Fink, interviewed by FrumForum.com this spring, said, “If you look at where we’ve gone from the year 2000 to now, with the expansion of government spending and a debt burden that threatens to bankrupt the country, it doesn’t look very good at all.” He went on, “It looks like the infrastructure that was built and nurtured has not carried the day.” He suggested that the Kochs needed “to get more into the practical, day-to-day issues of governing.”  $45,000,000

Interested in even more of this stinky stuff?  Just Google PAC money flowing into GOP campaign coffers for the 2010 midterm elections.  It's all there.

The old law preventing direct corporate contributions is still in effect, but the Citizens United ruling opens the flood gates for what MeanMesa calls "corporate assistance" contributions.  The plutocrats such as the Koch Family (Grampa Koch started the John Birch Society -- the family's latest hobby projects are a squid cluster of "think tanks," the CATO Institute, the American Heritage Foundation, etc.) has declared open war on the Obama administration and are among those unAmerican billionaires who are willing to sacrifice the country to get the black man out of the White House at any price.

So, after raising a few thousand bucks to get your favorite Democrat on the ballot, don't be shocked when your candidate is suddenly facing a multi-million dollar "movie" about his child molesting and cannibalism problems.  Naturally, no one will actually be responsible for the movie because the Roberts Court has decided that such a requirement would violate the "freedom of speech" rights of a corporate person.

Register to vote.
Learn about the candidates.
Then VOTE!

Your country and your democracy
are calling for your help!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tea Bagger Hill Billies Visit the US Capitol

From Randi Rhodes Daily News (August 24, 2010), we find the following tips for Tea Baggers attending this week's Hate Rally, sponsored by radio psychopath, Glenn Beck.  We all know that the place is literally crawling with wrong colored people, and the idget crowd rolling in on the buses "jes't cain't be too kerful!"

After all, "Lots a' them cab drahvurs is A-A-ARABS, 'n thet means they's probbly smarter then yew are!"

To visit Randi's Daily News site, link here.

August 24, 2010
Good news for xenophobes who would like to get out more—a tea party blogger has put together a handy guide to Washington, DC for visitors who are coming for Glenn Beck’s rally this weekend. It covers the basics—inexpensive places to eat, and how to avoid black people, Arabs, and other minorities. Really. It’s kind of a Frommer’s guide for racists. The guide warns attendees about which subway lines and neighborhoods to avoid. It doesn’t specify why they should be avoided, but I don’t think it’s because of pricey restaurants. Classic. So Glenn Beck and the Tea Partiers have stolen the Lincoln Memorial for the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. And they mark the occasion with a handy-dandy guide to avoiding black people. Hey Tea Partiers, you don’t have to wo rry about avoiding black people. Just go out in your crazy colonial outfits, and the black people will avoid you. But then so will any sane person.

This guide basically confines visitors to the area around the National Mall and all the monuments. So if a person follows these directions, they will probably only run into white people—extremely white people, as in “carved out of marble.” And they won’t see any minorities, unless you count Franklin D. Roosevelt in his wheelchair. Tea Partiers are warned that “Most taxi drivers and many waiters/waitresses (especially in local coffee shops like the Bread and Chocolate chain) are immigrants, frequently from east Africa or Arab countries.” So don’t be shocked when your waitress isn’t Flo from Mel’s Diner. And do people really have to be alerted that taxi drivers may be immigrants? I don’t think there’s been a white guy taxi driver since Travis Bickle. I’ll stick with the immigrants, thank you.

The guide specifically warns “Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line.” Ahem. You need to use the Green/Yellow line to get to the National Archives, where the Constitution is kept. Is the government aware what a dangerous neighborhood it’s in? Oh, and the guide also gives the home addresses of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, in case any Tea Partiers want to drop in when they’re not busy avoiding Middle Eastern cab drivers. If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want to be safe, maybe they should move to some place off of the Green or Yellow line… where Tea Partiers are afraid to venture.

The weirdest part is that in the middle of all this xenophobia, the guy’s restaurant recommendations include Indian tandoori and middle eastern restaurants. Hate is hate, but it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying a good baba ganoush. 

Your tour guide also points out that “As a rule, African immigrants do not like for you to assume they are African Americans and especially do not like for you to guess they are from a neighboring country (e.g. Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia) with whom they may have political or military tensions.” Great. Now he’s Emily Post for racists. Something tells me this guy has had a few uncomfortable exchanges while ordering breakfast. “I’ll take the Denver omelet. Where you from anyway? Somalia? Am I right?”

MeanMesa shudders to think that this crowd used to actually be the Republican Party. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oooops! Was That A "Boner?"

MeanMesa is delighted to once again elevate our clean little blog with the latest White House rebuttal to the endless "gloom and doom" messages from House Minority Leader, John Boehner (R-Ohio).

This guy could completely fill an entire blogspot with nothing besides his own ranting.  MeanMesa promises that our postings will not get stuck in this swamp of misinformation, and this commentary from the White House is a good way to put that plan in motion!

From the White House Blog: Recovery Act.  Read the article here.

An Increasingly Awkward Dance

Ever since the Recovery Act passed last February, Congressional Republicans who opposed this economic rescue plan have had to do an awkward dance around the truth.  After all, when you declare from the beginning that the Recovery Act won’t create a single job, you’re going to be forced to do a little two-step around the facts as week after week leading economists, the nation’s governors, and even your own constituents say otherwise. 

But yesterday, when Representative Boehner declared that “all this ‘stimulus’ spending has gotten us nowhere” on the same day the nonpartisan CBO said the program has created or saved as many as 3.3 million jobs nationwide and his own home state’s Department of Transportation said nearly 9,500 construction workers were on the job in July just on Ohio Recovery Act transportation projects alone… well, let’s just say that dance got a little more… awkward.   

Now, Representative Boehner was one of the first to declare the Recovery Act dead on arrival - the day it was signed into law, he declared it would “do little to create jobs.”  But as soon as June 2009, as funding for Recovery Act transportation projects began to flow into Ohio, he said those dollars would be used for – get this – “shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs.”  [Boehner.House.gov, 6/15/09]

And then when the nonpartisan CBO, Congress’s top watchdog and an institution widely respected on both sides of the aisle, began weighing in on the job impact of the Recovery Act, the dance got a little more complicated.   Check out these quotes from Rep Boehner, followed by the facts:

AUGUST 2009: Maintains that stimulus hasn’t created any jobs:  “You know, after the $1 trillion dollars stimulus bill that didn’t create any jobs.”  [Hugh Hewitt Show, 8/29/09]
  • NOVEMBER 2009: The nonpartisan CBO announces the Recovery Act created or saved as many as 1.6 million jobs through September 2009.  [CBO Report, 11/30/09]
JANUARY 2010: Says the stimulus “clearly hasn’t worked”: “Their trillion-dollar stimulus plan from a year ago clearly has not worked.”  [NPR, 1/27/10]
  • FEBRUARY 2010: The nonpartisan CBO announces the Recovery Act has created or saved as many as 2.1 million jobs nationwide through December 2009.  [CBO Report, 2/23/10]
MAY 2010: Still asking where the jobs are: “Where are the jobs?” [Boehner Statement, 5/7/10
  • MAY 2010: The nonpartisan CBO says the Recovery Act created or saved as many as 2.8 million jobs through March 2010.  [CBO Report, 5/25/10]
And then, of course, yesterday was the most difficult dance step of all: on the very same day that he declares in a major speech that the Recovery Act has “gotten us nowhere,” first,the nonpartisan CBO announces the Recovery Act has created as many as 3.3 million jobs nationwide and lowered the unemployment rate by as much as 1.8 percent through March of this year [CBO Report, 8/24/10], and then the Ohio Department of Transportation announces that nearly 9,500 construction workers were on the job on Ohio Recovery Act transportation projects in July, the highest monthly total since it began.  [Columbus Dispatch, 8/24/10]

I suspect those nearly 9,500 Ohio construction workers and 3.3 million Americans at work thanks to the Recovery act would disagree with Rep. Boehner’s statement that the Recovery Act has “gotten us nowhere.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When Your General Orders You To Love Jesus

When thousands of US military troops and Marines are risking everything to "win the hearts and minds" of Muslims in occupied countries, should one expect an active duty General to undercut the effort?

How does an insipid "Sunday School graduate" get those stars?

Sure, this type loves the prospect of Armageddon, but couldn't we have a few minutes to think it over first?

Where is the line between stupid and treason?

MeanMesa offers the following news article without further comment.  From Truth Out (read the article here. )

Troops Punished After Refusing to Attend Evangelical Concert

Christian musician Jeremy Riddle opened the July 22 Spiritual Fitness Concert at Williams Stadium. (Photo: CMCENTRAL .COM / Flickr)

Update: An Army spokesman now says the Pentagon will investigate soldiers' claims that they were punished for refusing to attend the Christian-themed concert.

Pvt. Anthony Smith is the type of guy who stands up for what he believes in. That's why he decided to hold his commanding officers accountable for punishing him and fellow soldiers after they refused to attend an evangelical Christian rock concert at the Fort Eustis military post in Virginia.

After a day of training at Fort Eustis, Smith and other trainees were normally released to have personal time, but on May 13, Smith and dozens of others were "required" to march in formation to a concert headlined by an evangelical Christian rock band. Smith spent six months training at Fort Eustis before moving to Arizona to serve on active duty with the National Guard.
"No option was presented to us off the bat," Smith told Truthout about the required concert.

The Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concert that Smith and others were told to attend was headlined by BarlowGirl, a "band of tender-hearted, beautiful young women who aren't afraid to take an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God," according to the group's web site.

The group Smith marched with included at least two Muslim soldiers who fell out of rank and stopped marching on their own, according to a first-hand account published by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).

Once outside the concert, Smith and the other trainees were finally given an option and told to split into two groups: those who wanted to attend, and those who did not. Smith and about 80 others decided not to attend, even though they were obviously being "pressured" to do so. Smith and the others were sent back to their barracks on "lockdown," a punishment that Smith said withholds even basic freedoms like using their own electronics.

The concert was part of a series of "spiritual fitness" music events at Fort Eustis and nearby Fort Lee instituted by born-again Christian Gen. James E. Chambers, according to an article on the Army's web site.

"They call them 'spiritual' events, but the vast majority of spiritual events are Christian-based," Smith said.

Smith said that the events often involve Bible readings and testimonies from evangelicals.

Headlining acts like BarlowGirl cost tens of thousands of dollars, and researchers with the MRFF later discovered that the Department of Defense has awarded multi-million dollar contracts for consultants behind spiritual fitness events.

A spokesperson for Fort Eustis did not have any information or statements prepared regarding the May 13 incident as of Friday afternoon.

"I'm not somebody who just stands down to pressure and gives in," Smith said about choosing not to attend the concert. "But there were so many people who weren't willing to stand up for themselves."

So, Smith and another anonymous soldier decided to take action. They filed an Equal Opportunity (EO) complaint against their commanding officers, but Smith said the complaint fell on deaf ears.

Smith said the first EO officer they spoke with told them that nothing was wrong, and their complaint would simply become another "statistic." Smith and the anonymous solider sought out other EO officers and took their case up the chain of command.

"We were wasting our breath," he said.

Smith said his commanding officers did offer an apology, but asserted that they did nothing wrong on May 13 and it was perfectly within their "rights" to march Smith and his fellow soldiers wherever they wanted, evangelical Christian event or otherwise.

Barlow Girl band member Lauren Barlow said if she and the other members of the group knew soldiers were being forced to attend the concert and were then punished for refusing to attend "we would have said something."

"That's horrible," Barlow tweeted in response to the revelations first published Thursday by MRFF's head researcher, Chris Rodda. "We never knew that. We thought they had a choice. If we would have known we would have said something."

Smith turned to the MRFF, an organization that represents 19, 200 military personnel and veterans, according to founder Michael "Mikey" Weinstein.
Weinstein called Smith a hero for "breaking the silence barrier" and "speaking truth to power."

He said that Smith and the others who were pressured into attending the concert - and then punished if they chose otherwise - were "spiritually raped by their commanding officers." Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate, said that service members are supposed to defend the Constitution, which clearly establishes the separation of church and state.

Weinstein questioned what would have happened if Smith's commanding officer was a Muslim or atheist and demanded that his subordinates attend an Islamic or secular music event.

"He would have had his head cut off," Weinstein said.

Weinstein said that a majority of MRFF clients are Christians who are told that they are "not the right kind of Christian" while serving in the military.

Weinstein considers Smith a hero, but for Smith, the truth is quite simple: he is just doing his duty as a defender of his country and Constitution.

I've always stood up to my beliefs, it is kind of ridiculous that I have to deal with this in the military," Smith said.

Most Recent Email from Congressman Alan Grayson

MeanMesa is pleased to "pass along" this recent email from our favorite Congressman, Alan Grayson (D-Florida).  Not much more need be added.

Sometimes we progressives begin to simply accept the mushy words of Democrats as inevitable -- "Well, that's just the way it is.  That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it always will be.  Grumble.  Grumble, grubs again."

Get over it.  Find $5 bucks to send -- protect the Constitution and reinvigorate the country.

Dear MeanMesa,

Today is the final day of our moneybomb, at www.CongressmanWithGuts.com. Tomorrow, the attacks from the Republicans begin, because tomorrow is when the Republicans choose their candidate to run against us.

It's a good time to reflect. I have five young children, and they range in age from 5 to 15. A while back, my youngest asked me, 'what does tomorrow mean?' I've always found that question hard to answer. I think that if a five year old could understand this, I'd explain that tomorrow means the place where our hopes live. It's the place where we imagine a better world, and try to make it happen.

That's what courage means, too. Being audacious enough to dream, and tenacious enough to make those dreams come true.

The fundamental choice we face today is about what tomorrow we want to have. There are two groups in this country right now. I call those groups Us, and Them.

We want more jobs, better schools, better health, better pensions, and we want to keep our homes. We want not just jobs but jobs that mean something, jobs that pay a decent wage. We want to live a good life.

And then there's them. They simply have one goal and one goal only. And that is to destroy the government. They're not conservatives. They're anarchists.

 I don't know why they want anarchy. In fact, they don't know, either. Even they don't know what kind of inner darkness causes them to seek wars without end, to burn the planet, to welcome poverty for so many, to leave the old and the sick helpless, to cheer oil in the Gulf. I've spoken to enough of them to be able to tell you that they themselves don't know why.

But that's what they want. So, now we have to decide who is going to run this country. Is it Us, or is it Them? And what's at stake is the future. The future in a country that my five children will live in, that your children will live in, that you'll live in for the rest of your life.

Are we going to have a country with a decent middle class life for everyone - jobs, health care, roads, schools? Or, are we going to have poverty, cheap labor, helplessness and hopelessness? The choice is yours.

The only way to make everyone better off is to make everyone better off. Not just a few, but everyone. Each day, I fight for a good life for all; I fight for the common good. I have a tough race in November because of that. Not in spite of that, but because of that.

This is our fight. And I'm grateful that you're a part of it.

Alan Grayson

The White House "Fires the Next Salvo" at the "Boner" & Cronies

MeanMesa has had the lingering irritation at the tsunami of unchallenged lies and half-truths vomiting from the neo-con throats of the "Bagger's" national "talking point" mouth pieces.  Aside from the fact that famed Australian fascist, Rupert Murdoch, and his medieval, Saudi Prince Wahhabi henchman own every word broadcast under the heavily soiled label of Fox "News," there remains the fact that all sorts of other corporate "media news" fraud outfits have taken up the same drooling allegiance to these insipid "free range" cracks.

If you are a Senator, a dirty shirt preacher or some other slack jawed right wing pundit, these "two sides of everything" idiots have a microphone for you.  Further, whether PBS, CBS or whomever, there will not be so much as the faintest little "peep" of accountability for what you've said!

No wonder every hill billy and bigot in the country thinks Obama is a Muslim.

Well, there's a little relief.  The White House has continued on its campaign to bring back a little common sense to the discussion.  Although this new evidence of having actual gonads seems tragically limited to the internet world, it's still a good start.  When the folks who are seriously trying to save the country go main street with their comments, MeanMesa will be happy, indeed.

From the White House Blog, August 24, 2010:  (visit the site here.   )

Their Economic Policies Haven’t Changed, So They Won’t Bring the Change We Need

Later today, House Minority Leader John Boehner is slated to give a speech at the City Club of Cleveland laying out the major planks of his party’s economic agenda.  Unfortunately, families in Ohio and across the country don’t need to wait until the speech to learn about these economic policies because they’ve been living with the impact of many of these same old policies for years.  Today, Ohioans will hear an argument for a return to the economic policies that turned a surplus into record deficits and helped create the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

While the rhetoric today may be new, the ideas remain the same: out-of-control deficits, decreased oversight of the big Wall Street banks that helped create the financial crisis and putting special interests first by maintaining tax loopholes for corporations that ship American jobs overseas.  Ohioans are also likely to hear a case for extending the Bush high income tax cuts, which provide an average of $100,000 to households making more than $1 million per year while providing nothing for the middle class.  This tired approach to cutting taxes for the richest is the poorest way to support our economy, according to the independent CBO (PDF), and it adds more than $700 billion to our deficits.  At the same time, Rep. Boehner has repeatedly voted against efforts to cut taxes and extend credit to America's small businesses - putting partisanship above what our economy and our small business owners really need. 

And American families haven’t forgotten that after years of economic policies that lined the pockets of the special interests while leaving middle class families out in the cold, it was Rep. Boehner who said earlier this summer that the reform bill strengthening oversight on Wall Street was , “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.”  Americans who felt the impact of a financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly 8 million jobs and cost people their homes and their life savings considered it more than an “ant.”  

Today, Ohioans will hear the Minority Leader’s support for the same old failed economic policies that steered our economy into the ditch that we’re just now beginning to climb out of.  We cannot afford a return to the past. These failed economic policies haven’t changed, and they won’t bring the change American families need.

Instead, after 22 straight months of job loss, we have now seen our economy create private sector jobs for seven months in a row.  We are cutting government spending, and reducing the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next ten years; putting ordinary Americans at the front of the line; cutting taxes for and extending credit to America’s small businesses; and investing smartly in our children’s future with a better education and a stronger economic foundation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The GOP Tax Plan - Don't Expect Much

Stand By.  Please stand by.  The "trickle down" will begin in, uh, a few minutes.  Please stand by.  Please ... stand ...

MeanMesa is posting the following graphic -- our last post, August 16, 2010,

Rep. John Boehner - The "Tangerine Dream" Ain't Done Lyin'

linked to this beauty, but it seems that some of our visitors neglected to follow the peanuts.  Please remember that the infamous, economy wrecking Bush Tax Cuts were passed by a 50 vote majority in the US Senate -- yes, by the dreaded reconciliation.  The reason those tax cuts require another Congressional approval this year is because they expire -- like all reconciliation bills -- after 10 years.

Granted, this is no reason for the neo-con hill billies not to start screaming Democrat Tax Hikes.  That poop will probably sell "jest fahn" to folks who aren't interested enough in our country to actually care what's happening.  Maybe that half-baked crowd will just keep chewing on the Obama's a Muslim lies to keep busy.

Now we have all heard about the top 1% of Americans receiving these huge tax cuts and, as a result, seeing their after tax income increase by 300%.   The top 400 earners increased their net worth by $630 Billion during the W's unelected autocracy --  much more than half a trillion dollars.

What may be a little harder to see is the fact that the entire tax cut program was paid for with borrowed money, Treasury Notes sold to China, Japan and various Arabs along with anyone else dumb enough to take George Bush's IOU.  Yeah -- his IOU, but, of course, it has our signature on the bottom line.  Tea Baggers and other Republican miscreants are genetically allergic to this information.

Here's the graphic.  Is everybody all that sure that there are actually "two sides" to this question?   From the Washington Post (click to enlarge):

See the original story here.

Comparing Democratic and Republican tax plans

The Republicans' plan to extend the Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthy would cost $36.6 billion more than the Democrats' plan, which extends cuts only for families making less than $250,000 a year and individuals making less than $200,000.

And, for the follow up story from the same article,

Article | A Republican plan to extend tax cuts for the rich would add more than $36 billion to the federal deficit next year -- and transfer the bulk of that cash into the pockets of the nation's millionaires, according to a congressional analysis released Wednesday.
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Support the President and the Democrats in our Congress who are trying to save what's left of our country.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rep. John Boehner - The "Tangerine Dream" Ain't Done Lyin'

MeanMesa feels strangely energized by the "stick-to-it-iveness" of the White House spokesman and the Obama administration.  They have clearly decided to remain "nose to nose" with the neo-con mouth junk machine.  The irritatingly orange Congressman, House Minority Leader "Boner," continues in his desperate mission to inflame the hill billies with lies, great lies, small lies, and more lies.

Mr. "Boner" (or the oligarch billionaires who own him) is sinking deeper and deeper into the morass of half-ass lies which have "come home to roost."  Yup.  Stuff that already didn't make sense last year begins to stink even worse when Mr. "Boner's" orders came down to add more poop to the pile.

These guys have a real problem with a competent, elected black man in the White House not to mention the Constitution or the idea of a middle class.

In better times, "The Boner" would be no more than a tragic, dancing puppet of his GOP masters.  When his outrageous comments sabotage the economic recovery those masters so joyously foisted on the rest of us, his continuing lying approaches the criminal.

Enjoy the latest posting on the White House Blog:

The White House Blog

Who’s Fighting for Whom?

In a blog post on this site yesterday, we noted that if Congressman Boehner really wants to end the stimulus, then he really wants thousands of Ohioans to lose their jobs.

In response, the Congressman was quoted as saying that our administration owed his constituents “…an explanation of how raising taxes on small businesses will do anything but further hinder job creation in Ohio and across the country.” 
Again, Congressman Boehner is confused.  So we thought we’d take him up on the invitation to explain to the people of Ohio who has been fighting for small businesses here in Washington and who’s been obstructing that fight.

President Obama has consistently worked with anyone who would join him to help small businesses lead this economy back to health.  But in virtually every case, House Republicans led by Rep. Boehner have opposed our attempts, while Republican Leaders in the Senate have used procedural gimmicks to keep them from even coming up for a vote.

Most recently, and most egregiously, House Republicans voted against the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (the Democratic majority passed the bill, only to have the vote blocked by Senate Republicans).  This bipartisan bill would have reduced taxes on small business by zeroing out capital gains taxes on their investments, “bonus” depreciation, and immediate expensing of equipment purchases (all three of these significantly lower their investment costs). The bill would also create a fund for small, community banks to lend to small businesses.
So here’s a bill that helps small businesses and small banks, strongly supported by the White House (and, for that matter, small business advocacy groups like the Chamber and NFIB), yet Rep. Boehner’s team opposed it.

Unfortunately, that’s not a new position for them.  They tried to block the HIRE Act (a tax cut for businesses that hire the long-term unemployed), Recovery Act loan guarantees and fee forgiveness supporting around $30 billion of small business lending, and let’s not forget their opposition to a $40 billion tax credit for small businesses that provide health care to their workers.

What, then, was Rep. Boehner talking about in that quote?  He and his team want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest households, and they’re trying to do so under the guise of helping small business. 

Again, the facts of the case point exactly the other way.  Virtually every small business would benefit from President Obama’s plan to preserve the tax cuts for families with incomes below $250,000.  Only three percent of filers report small business income above that level, and they’re mostly high-end professionals like someone with a small legal practice—perfectly worthy business folks, of course, but not the small entrepreneurs we’re trying to reach with the plans the Republicans continue to block.

Check out this graphic to see for yourself who benefits from the tax cut Rep. Boehner is advocating.  Compared to what the President wants to do, it delivers less to the middle class, and, at the expense of adding billions to the deficit, massively delivers to millionaires.

So, collecting his positions over the past couple of days, Rep. Boehner wants to: a) end the Recovery Act that has put more than 100,000 Ohioans to work, b) add $37 billion to the deficit by cutting taxes of the wealthiest households, and c) block tax cuts and new lines of credit to middle-class, small businesses.

It all sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?  That’s because it’s precisely the policy prescription that got us into this mess.  And it’s the last place we want to go back to.

Jared Bernstein is Chief Economic Advisor to the Vice President 

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The New Mexico PRC Answers MeanMesa's Letter

MeanMesa visitors may recall a recent post "MeanMesa Says 'NO' to PNM Rate Hike"  If you missed it, you can read the posting here.

Well, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission wrote a nice letter back.  For those visitors who are too cynical to believe that complaining about something such as the proposed PNM rate hike can't have any effect, a copy of the letter is posted below.

Now, we of course don't know if our letter and the other letters from New Mexicans who oppose the rate increase will actually have any effect.  However, as a constant proponent of participating in our democratic institutions  -- in this case, the state Public Regulation Commission -- we thought that publishing the PRC's answer would be appropriate.

If you happen to be a PNM electricity consumer and this is the first you have heard about the proposed rate increase, there is still time for YOU to write your own letter to the PRC.  You can use the address on the letterhead.  You can also monitor the "News" section of the PRC website to keep track of the scheduled hearing dates for this matter.

Friday, August 13, 2010

We Asked For It - The White House Fires Back, Again!

Now, debunking Representative Boehner ("the Tangerine Boner") is a pretty lame past time already, but his last offering of "facts" just begs one more pass.

Come on, John.  Beck and Limbaugh have already duped all the hill billies into voting Republican.  Does more "mouth junk" mean that you're getting campaign contributions from a company that makes air sickness, vomit bags now?  


After eight years of the autocracy, the Treasury is empty and the economy is comatose in the wake of the "looting festival" of your party's last greed binge!  Why not clear the air waves so the rest of us can get on with saving our country? 

This email came from the White House Recovery Blog.  Visit the site here.

The Myth of Idle Recovery Dollars

John Boehner wants a lot of people to lose their jobs.

We were awfully surprised to hear Rep. Boehner come out for killing jobs en masse in his own state and district by stopping the Recovery Act on last Sunday’s news shows. 

Though we’re sure he didn’t know it, the Congressman is advocating to kill the expansion of the Butler County Community Health Center and bring some of the twenty-five highway projects across the district to a grinding halt.  Across the state of Ohio, he said that approximately 4 million working families should get an unexpected cut in their paycheck as the Making Work Pay tax credit disappears, unemployed workers should go without unemployment benefits, and major Ohio road projects like the US-33 Nelsonville Bypass project and the Cleveland Innerbelt Modernization project should be stalled or stopped.  Oh, and some of the more than 100 clean energy Recovery projects employing workers across the state should be shut down.

That would be the direct consequence of his suggestion that we shut down the Recovery Act: “There's still about $400 billion or $500 billion of the stimulus plan that has not been spent. Why don't we stop it?”  Now if you have been following this blog, you know that the notion there is “$400 billion or $500 billion” in Recovery Act funding unspent couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, we’re right on track to hit the goal set when the Recovery Act passed: that 70% of the $787 billion in funds would be “outlaid” or provided in tax benefits by September 30, 2010. But you don’t have to take our word for it – independent fact-checker Politifact.com recently rated Rep. Boehner’s claim flat-out false.  As they noted:
[R]ight off the bat, Boehner's $400 billion to $500 billion figure is much too high.
But then they go on to say:
[W]e think it's misleading to refer to even that lower number as "unspent" stimulus, because much of the $292 billion has been obligated, even though it has not been paid out.
But here is where things get interesting.  We discussed a couple of weeks ago that Recovery Act dollars are put to work creating jobs and jump-starting projects long before they cross this final step of being “outlaid.”  First of all, two-thirds of the Recovery Act is tax cuts and relief payments which were largely designed to spend out gradually over time, generally over a two year period.  So that “unspent” money is things like the tax cuts owed to working families in their paychecks and the upcoming unemployment checks owed to those hit by a job loss. 

The other one-third of the Recovery Act is projects where the money largely isn’t paid out until work is underway or nearing completion.  If you were renovating your house, you wouldn’t pay for the whole thing up front – you would make progress payments as the key targets are being met and work is being completed.  And you would expect the government to do the same thing with your taxpayer dollars, right?  But an awful lot happens with the commitment of those dollars before anyone gets paid.  If the bank pre-approved you for a loan for your renovation, you would certainly start drafting up plans, lining up contractors and securing permits.  And then once the bank deposited that money in your account – just like when the government contracts with a Recovery Act awardee to give them a grant or loan – you would start hiring a contractor who would hire workers, buy materials and start the project.  Well, the same is true of Recovery Act projects – that “unspent” Recovery Act project money has already started tens of thousands of projects nationwide.

Big picture that means that 94 percent of the Recovery Act is either in tax cuts, payments, or projects under contract.  Of the remaining 6 percent, half has been awarded and contracts are being finalized - and half is in the final stages of the award process.  So when critics like Rep. Boehner talk about stopping the spending, they’re essentially talking about taking away middle class tax cuts, leaving unemployed workers unexpectedly high and dry without an unemployment check, halting road and bridge projects and leaving them unfinished, leaving contractors unpaid for the work they’ve already done and more.

So when it comes right down to, is Rep. Boehner really ready to tell Ohioans they’d be better off if we stopped the Recovery Act?

Jared Bernstein is Chief Economic Advisor to the Vice President