White House Says Marijuana Policy Is States’ Rights Issue, Republicans Disagree and think the Feds should Decide for Everyone

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration believes marijuana policy is a states’ rights issue, the White House said Monday in opposing Republican-led legislation that would prevent Washington, D.C., from using local funds to decriminalize marijuana possession.

The GOP-sponsored House amendment would prevent D.C. “from using its own local funds to carry out locally-passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule,” the White House said in a statement. The White House said the bill “poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.”


via White House Says Marijuana Policy Is States’ Rights Issue.

Just to be clear…if you want freedom in this country, you should never vote for a Republican.

A Couple Republicans Remember Jesus Liked the Poor (and they claim to love the Jesus)

“When you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor. You’d better have a good answer,” Kasich, a Christian conservative, says he told one Ohio lawmaker last week.

“I can’t go any harder than that. I’ve got nothing left.”

Most Republicans oppose Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a costly, ineffective and unnecessary expansion of government. But some Republican governors, like Arizona’s Jan Brewer and Michigan’s Rick Snyder, have broken ranks to embrace the law’s Medicaid expansion as a practical way to help the poor while infusing their state budgets with billions of dollars in federal funding to pay for it.

via Republican Battles Over Medicaid Turn To God, Morality.

The rampant hypocrisy (approaching schizophrenia) on the right on these issues (“we love unborn babies, but hate anchor babies”, and “lazy good-for-nothings popping out kids for more welfare”) is becoming so odious there’s really not an argument against it…it’s just flat out wrong.

Maybe they think people’s hypocrisy meters will simply asplode or something, and not notice there is not moral consistency to the GOP*.

* This was also clear in the recent SCOTUS ruling striking down part of the Voting Rights Act and 2nd Amendment rulings.  For the VRA, the change in voter landscape from 40 years ago is so much the rules don’t matter anymore…but for the 2nd Amendment, 200+ years of technological advancements in the lethality of handheld weapons means nothing and shouldn’t be taken into consideration.


After “Fiscal Cliff” Fix, Dems Draw Hard Line in Sand on Debt Limit

“I feel very confident, it was reiterated multiple times tonight, that the President is not going to negotiate about the full faith and credit of the country,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “If they choose to create a situation where our country cannot pay its bills, that’s their decision.”

“What they did in summer of 2011 was the most irresponsible thing that’s happened in my years in politics, where they were willing to freeze investment in the country for weeks and weeks and weeks, inject such uncertainty in the economy and hurt job creation,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “I know they talk about doing it again, but we’re simply not going to negotiate with those kinds of tactics, because it’s clearly damaging.”

via Dems Steel Themselves For Debt Limit Staredown After Fiscal Cliff Agreement | TPMDC.

This will be curious to see if they can stick to their guns.  The Debt Ceiling Debacle of last summer *was* a huge embarrassment, and negotiating with hostage takers should *never* be the MO of a respectable government.

As regards the deal with the fiscal cliff, my summary is below.

So….regarding the “Fiscal Cliff” resolution….pretty much exactly as I said it would happen.

The sick thing about this, though, and it highlights how skewed the media conversation is vs. the real world…pretty much every single one of my friends will see their paychecks shrink and their taxes go up as a part of this deal. Why’s that, you ask? I though it was about raising taxes on the wealthy?!

Well…that’s part of it. The other part was a 2% payroll tax cut that was part of the much-dismissed-and-even-less-understood Stimulus deal passed to fight the recession. While the Tea Party nutjobs were complaining about socialists and communists, the President fought for, passed, and extended a payroll tax cut for the last three years.

This tax cut was never likely to be extended, and this is facepalm part….BECAUSE REPUBLICANS DIDN’T CONSIDER IT A REAL TAX CUT.

They never wanted to see it extended, Gover didn’t count it, it wasn’t even on their radar.

This is the big disconnect. Multiple media sources are talking about how “tax rates stay the same on the middle class”…and this is true…but payroll taxes are going back to 6.3% from 4.3% on the first $106,000 earned.

So most of my friends (and myself) are going to see 2% smaller paychecks in a couple weeks.

And just to be very, very, very clear. The Republicans spent 0 (zero, none, zilch) time trying to extend the payroll tax cuts. All of their energy was focused on extending the tax cuts for high earners (who don’t even have to pay payroll taxes on their unearned income). I’m guessing, as a consistent watcher of this charade, that when people see their paychecks shrink, and they hear about “tax rates going up”, there are going to be more than a few talking heads (mostly on Fox), that try to convince a lot of these working folks that it was *them* Obama wanted to raise taxes on, and it is *them* Obama considers the wealthy.

So when you start to hear the lamentations in a couple of weeks, and the misplaced blame, try to keep it in context.

Good luck with that.

Note: my prediction from last week.

And.. the fallout of the “debt debacle” a couple summer’s ago.

Romney Stays True to Form, Blames Obama’s Habit of Helping People for Winning a Democratic Election

CNN Political Ticker 

“What the president, president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote,” Romney said in the afternoon call, according to audio aired on ABC News.

Romney, who lost to Obama by 126 electoral votes, said the president courted voters by offering policies — some of them this election year — that appealed to key constituencies.

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” Romney said, according to The New York Times. “Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women,” he continued. “And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.” The president’s health care reform plan, he added, also brought out support from African Americans and Hispanic voters.

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge,” he said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

Looks like Romney being “completely wrong” about his comments on the 47% were themselves completely wrong.  The sad fact here is that I don’t think Romney gets that his “I’ll give you a 20% tax cut that doesn’t affect the deficit” was his own cynical attempt at “buying” the electorate….by advocating policies he thought were right for the country.

This GOP notion that the entirety of the Obama electorate, or even a sizable portion of it, just wants free stuff, is what is costing the GOP support.  It’s a foolish notion, based on bloviating talkers on the radio, that was never based on any objective reality.  It’s always been a subjective opinion.  And a fairly unpopular one.

I think the thing that threw the GOP pollsters and faithful off was the this notion that the U.S. is a “conservative” nation (based on polls like this).  They think that because twice as many people self-identify as “conservative”, they are therefore going to be Republicans.  But when asked to self-identify, we find a greater number of people find themselves to be Democrats.

This is the GOP-Disconnect.  Yes, many more Americans consider themselves to be conservative rather than liberal.  But we also find more Americans consider themselves to be Democrats than Republicans.

Conclusion…Republicans assuming all Democrats are liberals is just flat out wrong.  Republicans assuming all Democratic voters are just poor commies wanting free stuff are just wrong.

Until the GOP (and more importantly, their loudest media representatives) can come to terms with this disconnect, expect more “candid” comments like the ones Romney made…it’s what the GOP faithful truly believe…and it’s just not true.


How is this possible? Let’s ask Rick Santorum

How is it possible that almost four years after we elected Obama president, the number of Republicans who think he’s Muslim could double, and that less than half of all registered voters know what religion he professes (in a country where religion matters)?

via When the big lie works – Salon.com.

Here’s how…

WASHINGTON, DC — Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum attacked the media and “smart people” for not being on the side of conservatives in a speech to the Values Voter Summit on Saturday.

“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country,” Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the audience at the Omni Shoreham hotel. “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.”

No smart people…the whole derptastic platform makes more sense now, there’s not a single smart person so say, “this is stupid.”

BTW, I still love how the most popular cable channel and most popular radio shows in the country aren’t part of the media in Santorum’s fantasy version of the U.S.

UPDATE: In case you forgot, this is a good example of the level of intellectual curiosity that gets one a VP nod in the modern GOP.

On the anniversary of the Sept. 11, Sarah Palin took to Facebook to attack President Obama on foreign policy saying “we already know that President Obama likes to ‘speak softly’ to our enemies,” she wrote on Tuesday evening. “If he doesn’t have a ‘big stick’ to carry, maybe it’s time for him to grow one.”

These types of attacks are standard for Mrs. Palin and Conservative Republicans. She went on to say that “apparently President Obama can’t see Egypt and Libya from his house,” in a self-deprecating reference to a criticized moment in her own past, when in 2008 she said she could see Russia from her home state of Alaska.

Read more http://politicalgroove.com/2012/09/sarah-palin-apparently-president-obama-cant-see-egypt-and-libya-from-his-house.html?fb_ref=wp

Even Palin makes fun of the dumb things she’s said in the past…

Tea Party House Republicans Plan Two Month Pre-Election Vacation, Spend That Time Telling Americans Government Doesn’t Work

In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, Eric Cantor is a douchebag.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced on Friday that, after next week, the House won’t be returning to session until after the Nov. 6 elections.

A planned one-week session in Washington at the start of October has been scrapped. That means when the House adjourns next Friday, the chamber will not be scheduled to cast any votes again until Nov. 13.

Speaking on the House floor, Cantor said that the decision for House members not to return to the Capitol in October has been made given the Senate’s anticipated passage next week of a bill to keep government running beyond the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year, a bill already passed on Thursday in the House.


Here’s the stuff they left on the table.

1. Violence Against Women Act re-authorization. Though a bipartisan Senate majority passed the a strong re-authorization bill in April, the Republican House leadership refused to allow a vote on the Senate version of the bill. The House passed a watered down version on a mostly-party lines vote, leaving victims to wait for House action.

2. The American Jobs Act. Republicans have been blocking President Obama’sjobs legislation for more than a year. Though House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) promised in 2010 that a GOP Congress would focus on job creation, he has blocked this bill’s immediate infrastructure investments, tax credits for working Americans and employers, and aid to state and local governments to prevent further layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public safety officials.

3. Tax cuts for working families. In July, the Senate passed a bill extending tax-cuts for the first $250,000 in annual income. The Republican House leadership has refused to consider the bill, holding it hostage to their demands for a full extension of Bush-era tax cuts for millionaires.

4. Veterans Job Corps Act. The Senate is currently considering bipartisan legislation to help America’s veterans find jobs. The Air Force Times reports that the Republican House has “shown no interest” in the legislation to support those who served the country.

5. Sequestration. A spokesman for Boehner said earlier this week that stopping budget cuts he voted for last August “topped our July agenda and remains atop our agenda for September.” While House Republicans have complained about the imminent spending reductions and passed a bill that would require President Obama to find offsets for spending cuts they don’t like, Republican Leader Canter could not name a single compromise he was willing to make to get a deal.

6. Farm Bill. Despite strong support for a 5-year farm bill from even conservative groups like the Farm Bureau Association — the House leadershiphas not scheduled a vote on the bill. The current law expires September 30. Without passage, 90 percent of the work of the Department of Agriculture could be defunded.

7. Wind tax credit. The Senate may act next week to renew an expiring wind energy tax credit. Despite bipartisan support — including from original author Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Examiner notes that the House is unlikely to pass the renewal. Despite GOP calls for energy independence, the expiration has threatened the wind energy industry and already led to job cuts.


via House Republicans Plan Two Month Vacation, Leaving Key Bills Awaiting Action | ThinkProgress.

Joke I Made Yesterday Gets Literal

Obama to GOP: We won’t take no for an answer http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2011/10/obama-to-gop-we-wont-take-no-for-an-answer/1

Alexandra Franceschi,a spokesman for the Republican Party, said that, while the national unemployment rate is 9.1%, the jobless rate for Hispanics is 11.3%; the GOP spokesman blamed Obama’s “failed economic policies.” “President Obama seems determined to pander to Hispanics, while ignoring the need to put Americans back to work,” he said.

You really can’t make this up.  All you need to do to make Republicans sound like totally disingenuous douchebags is accurately report both what they do and what they say.

That link is here.

Moderate Debt Ceiling Rant

I’ll let this guy speak for his own self.

Couple other links on the topic…these are largely the symptoms of the above phenomenon.

Here’s some general background reading on the changes happening during the period ranted about.

Remember how Wisconsin was broke and teachers needed to take a pay and rights cut to balance the budget?   Yea…turns out that money was just needed by folks more supportive of the Governor.

Remember how people used to take vacations?   Yea, me neither.  But it turns out they do, in other countries.

Working more makes Americans happier than Europeans, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Happiness Studies. That may be because Americans believe more than Europeans do that hard work is associated with success, wrote Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, the study’s author and an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

“Americans maximize their… [happiness] by working, and Europeans maximize their [happiness] through leisure,” he found.

So despite research documenting the health and productivity benefits of taking time off, a long vacation can be undesirable, scary, unrealistic or just plain impossible for many U.S. workers.

[full story]

BTW, that concept that hard work is what it takes to change your stars and it’s easier to do in the U.S. that anywhere else?     Yea…not so much.  

The results are quite spectacular. Figure 3 shows that while in the Nordic countries and the UK, men born in the lowest income quintile (the income quintile of the father) have a probability of 25-30% to stay in this lowest quintile; in the US, this probability is more than 40%. Figure 4 shows that the probability of US men born in the lowest quintile to move to the top quintile is less than 8%, while in the Nordic countries and the UK, this percentage is around 12%.

[full paper]

Obama trumps Birther idiots and their new hero

Obama Says Questions About Birth a Distraction From Issues – Businessweek http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-04-27/obama-says-questions-about-birth-a-distraction-from-issues.html

“Over the last two and a half years I have watched with bemusement, I’ve been puzzled at the degree to which this thing just kept on going,” he said at the White House.

The question has dominated the news in recent weeks even as the country is in the middle of a debate about the federal budget and how to cut the nation’s debt, he said. “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers,” the president said. “We do not have time for this kind of silliness.”

“Carnival barker” might be the best description of Trump I’ve ever seen.

BTW, did you catch how a majority of R’s are still in the wrong, factually, in this one?   Now we get to see how cognitive dissonance works in real time.

UPDATE: Why this went on so long and probably isn’t done yet…

And we all know how the White House lies about everything…right Fox?

Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People

BELMONT, MA—Though Mitt Romney is considered to be a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the national spotlight has forced him to repeatedly confront a major skeleton in his political closet: that as governor of Massachusetts he once tried to help poor, uninsured sick people.

via Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

I made this point, non-satirically, a little while back.  Anybody who calls themself a Republican and a Christian, should also add “hypocrite” to that list.

The reason one should do so is captured in this post, which is about the two completely incompatible ideologies that inform the Republican voter base.  One based on the teachings of Christ, the other on the teachings of Rand.

As we have seen recently, with the Republican “Path to (Greater)  Prosperity (for the top 1%, Feudalism for the Rest)“, the Rand side won, *huge*.

Note:  This Randian fascination is real, and you don’t have to take my word for it.  Today Gary Johnson, former (R-Gov NM), made it explicit in his bid for the nomination.

Gary Johnson, the Republican former governor of New Mexico, skipped formation of an exploratory committee and went right for the big show. “I am running for president,” he blasted on Twitter Thursday as he made the same announcement in person from the New Hampshire statehouse.

He also offers reassurance that he’s not a rigid libertarian. In the Weekly Standard interview, he said his fiancee asked him what she should read to better understand his philosophy, and he recommended “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.

“I think I view the system the same way that Ayn Rand views the system –that it really oppresses those that create, if you will, and tries to take away from those that produce and give to the non-producers,” Johnson said.

[full story]

I remember Jesus’ Parable of the Leeches.  I think it went something like…

John 12: 8 – For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.

John 12:9 – Therefore you must crucify the poor, as you will me, and then they’ll be gone and glorious capitalism can finally take hold.

House votes to Increase Ignorance, Kill NPR (Bonus: We Still Pay for NASCAR)

The bill, passed 228-192 along mainly partisan lines, would bar federal funding of NPR and prohibit local public stations from using federal money to pay NPR dues and buy its programs. The prospects of support in the Democratic-controlled Senate are slim. Seven Republicans broke ranks to vote against the bill.

Other Republicans also denied that the measure was a vendetta against NPR…

[then quickly made themselves out to be hypocrites]

“Nobody’s on a rampage,” said Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who also asked “why should we allow taxpayer dollars to be used to advocate one ideology?”

via House votes to cut off federal funding for National Public Radio – The Washington Post.

Can we play “b.s. assumptions with Eric Cantor?   Yes we can.

For those of you that don’t know, just because you don’t bash on gay marriage, doesn’t mean you are biased.  It means you aren’t.

Just because you report on what the vast majority of scientists believe, it doesn’t mean you are biased.  It means you aren’t.

When you fire people who air their personal biases on national media, it doesn’t mean you are biased.  It means you aren’t.

When you consistently are shown to inform people about facts, and disabuse false notions, it doesn’t mean you are biased.  It means you aren’t.

But enough about that, the real reason Republicans hate NPR?

An informed populace is bad for them.

Hard to lie to boring people

UPDATE:  Here’s a bit more on this, and specifically targets the partisan hypocrisy here…

By eliminating the possibility of amendments, party leadership limits debate and ensures a straight up-or-down vote.

Democrats on the panel objected to a “rush to judgment” on NPR, especially after a failure to hold hearings on the justification and consequences of the ban. “This is a dangerous road we’re going down,” said Rep. James McGovern (D) of Massachusetts, a member of the Rules Committee. “This has become an ideological battle to the Republican Party. Going down this road will have a chilling impact on news organizations.”

To make the point, Congressman McGovern proposed banning federal advertising dollars from being spent on the Fox News network. “If you’re saying we should defund NPR because some people might not agree with the programming, what’s wrong with the idea that I don’t want my tax dollars to go to advertising on stations I don’t agree with?” he added. His proposal failed.

Just to be clear, it’s perfectly all right to spend federal money buying ads on private for-profit “news” networks, but horribly, horribly wrong to use that same money to help produce world-class news in a non-profit environment.

UPDATE2:  Wanted to put another one up here...just in case anyone thought this latest round of targeted budget cuts is anything other than partisan-based vendettas.

The U.S. House voted Friday against an amendment that would have banned military sponsorship of NASCAR teams, but the Minnesota congresswoman who introduced it vowed to continue fighting taxpayer-funded racing.

The amendment lost 281-148. Rep. Betty McCollum ( D-Minn.), who sponsored it, did not vote because she was traveling to the Middle East on government business. Her office, though, issued a statement that she “intends to introduce legislation to prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for sponsorship of race cars, dragsters, Indy cars, and motorcycle racing.”

– The U.S. Army pays $7.5 million to sponsor Ryan Newman’s team.

– The National Guard pays about $20 million in sponsorship fees – down 35 percent from last year – to be with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team.

– The U.S. Air Force pays $1.6 million in sponsorship fees to be with AJ Allmendinger’s team.

Republicans Setting Stage for 2012 by Denying Voting Rights to As Many (likely Dem voters) as Possible

This is what they meant by “jobs, jobs, jobs”….making sure Republicans keeps theirs, no matter what happens.

Boosted by major electoral gains in state legislatures nationwide in the 2010 campaign, Republican lawmakers in 32 states are pushing measures that would require citizens to show a state identification or proof of citizenship to vote.  Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, GOP lawmakers are proposing new limits on college students who vote in the state, potentially eliminating a key base of electoral support for Democrats in the state ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

As the Washington Post’s Peter Wallsten writes, the measures have set off a partisan battle over voting rights across the country, with Democrats accusing Republicans of trying to suppress voters, including young people and minorities, who would cast their ballots for President Obama and other Democratic candidates next year.

In New Hampshire, Republicans are pushing to end rules that allow same-day voter registration in the state, which has often provided key swing votes for candidates from all parties in the state. State GOP lawmakers are also proposing new limits on students, including a bill that would allow them to vote in college towns only if they or their parents had established permanent residency in the state.

Before you get off thinking there is some sort of legitimate, non-partisan reason to try and restrict voting rights for women, college students and minorites, you should know this…of the over 100,000,000 votes cast in 2008, 3 (three) were found to be cast fraudulently in-person (what this legislation purports to curtail).

It is merely a coincidence that this has been introduced by 32 Republican controlled legislatures.   A coincidence explained here…

Some GOP lawmakers in New Hampshire have billed the measures as an attempt to crack down on voter fraud in the state–but recent remarks from the newly elected GOP state House speaker have suggested otherwise.

In a recent speech to a tea party group in the state, House Speaker William O’Brien described college voters as “foolish.” “Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do,” he said, in remarks that were videotaped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students, he said, lack “life experience” and “just vote their feelings.”

[full story]

That’s the top Republican in the legislature, making it obvious what this is really about.

It should also be noted that these laws do absolutely nothing to change voter perceptions about fraudulent votes.

So if, in a few years, you sit there and wonder why the percentage of Americans voting keeps going down and somehow a group that represents the economic interests of 2% of the country and social goals of 20% of the country somehow continues to control the majority of government, you know why.