ON THE RECORD ….
That man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of existing scientific data. It’s shocking and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office.” — Gov. Jerry Brown about Ted Cruz 3/23/15
“We must to do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies.” — Jeb Bush, apparently mistaking the Obama-Clinton foreign policy for that of his brother. 4/13/15
“I don’t really care. I think they’re all losers.” — Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), assessing prospects for the 2016 Republican presidential field.
“Lyndon Baines Johnson was the last profoundly ugly candidate to be elected president, and he was a legacy of the martyred JFK. Voters don’t want a leader who looks frazzled or frumpy. We’re told that Lincoln was too homely to be elected president in an age of television and paparazzi. But Lincoln’s homely face had a dignity, a gravitas. If nothing else, we want a face that reassures us, not one that scares us, a la Night of the Living Alinskyites.” — From the “Top Ten Reasons Why Hitlery Will Never Be President” by Don Feder
“I think it’s fair to say that if you look across the country, the deck is stacked in favor of those already at the top.There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the American worker … There’s something wrong when American workers keep getting more productive … but that productivity is not matched in their paychecks. here’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay less in taxes than nurses or the truckers I saw on I-80” while driving from New York to Iowa over the past two days.” — Hillary Clinton in Monticello, Iowa. 4/14/15
“Hillary might not be much by way of a radical liberal candidate, but one thing she very much is, is an abject nightmare for the conservative male status quo. And sometimes, that’s all you really need.” — Mark Morford 4/14/15
“To put it simply, the President is importing millions of illegal aliens who when they arrive here he thinks, and he’s right, they are undocumented Democrats, and so the next phase of this is to document these Democrats so they can vote,” — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). 4/16/15
“In honor of Earth Day, America must go all out to save a creature that’s on the verge of extinction. I’m talking of course about the Republican politician who believes in science.” — Bill Maher. 4/18/14
“My family is a consideration. Number two, the most important thing is, what does the Lord want me to do with my life?” — Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), awaiting a signal from God before deciding to become a candidate for president. 4/19/15
“The deck is stacked in their favor. My job is to reshuffle the cards.” — Hillary Clinton, about the nation’s wealthiest citizens. 4/21/15
“We have a woman running who got fired from a company; now she’s running for president. She got fired from a company in a vicious manner. They eventually walked her out. And she also lost an election, not by a little bit, by a landslide. I won’t use names. Now I turn on the television, and she’s running for president. I don’t know.” — Donald Trump, not a fan of Carly Florina. 4/20/15
“I think it’s worth noting that Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don’t know what they’d talk about if I weren’t in the race.” — Hillary Clinton 4/20/15
1. The DAILY GRILL
“Washington is afraid to have an honest conversation about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid with the people of our country. I am not.” — Chris Christie calling for raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 and early retirement to 64; requiring wealthier seniors to pay more of their Medicare health-insurance premiums; and gradually raising the eligibility age for Medicare to 67. 4/14/15
“You take a deep breath and try to wonder what world these people live in. What Governor Christie is saying is just the continuation of the war being waged by the Republican Party against the elderly, against the children, against the sick and against the poor, in order to benefit millionaires and billionaires. It is an outrage.” — Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-NH) 4/14/15
“I don’t know who’s more believable.” — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) when asked whether Sec. Kerry’s or Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s version of the Iran nuclear deal are more believable. 4/14/15
“When I hear some, like Senator McCain recently, suggest that our Secretary of State, John Kerry, who served in the United States Senate, a Vietnam veteran, who’s provided exemplary service to this nation, is somehow less trustworthy in the interpretation of what’s in a political agreement than the Supreme Leader of Iran — that’s an indication of the degree to which partisanship has crossed all boundaries.” — President Obama 4/12/15
2. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Religious Freedom and Gay Commerce
3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
Fox’s Charles Payne Attacks Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Video For Not Having Enough Straight White Men http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/04/14/foxs-charles-payne-attacks-hillary-clintons-201/203286
Fox Guest Responds To Hillary Clinton Campaign Event By Comparing Her To Karl Marx And Voldemort http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/04/14/fox-guest-responds-to-hillary-clinton-campaign/203277
VIDEO: At NRA Annual Meeting, Ted Nugent Talked About Shooting Sen. Harry Reid http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/04/14/video-at-nra-annual-meeting-ted-nugent-talked-a/203274
Mark Levin: “Boehner Is The Benedict Arnold Of The Republican Party” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/04/15/mark-levin-boehner-is-the-benedict-arnold-of-th/203292
O’Reilly Lashes Out At Critics: “The Fact That I’m White And In A Powerful Position Makes Me The Enemy” … “What I Stated Is A Fact,” It’s “Open Season” On White Men In America” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/04/17/oreilly-lashes-out-at-critics-the-fact-that-im/203333
Maureen Dowd’s Advice For Hillary Clinton Is Full Of Sexist Tropes http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/04/19/maureen-dowds-advice-for-hillary-clinton-is-ful/203337
Fox News Is Trumpeting The Latest Anti-Clinton Smear Book “Bombshell” http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/04/20/fox-news-is-trumpeting-the-latest-anti-clinton/203342
Clinton Cash Author Peter Schweizer’s Long History Of Errors, Retractions, And Questionable Sourcing http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/04/20/clinton-cash-author-peter-schweizers-long-histo/203209
Karl Rove Misrepresents Abortion Language In Human Trafficking Legislation To Blame Democrats For Lynch’s Stalled Confirmation http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/04/19/karl-rove-misrepresents-abortion-language-in-hu/203338
Fox Host: To Stop Terror Recruitment, We Need A “More Robust, Manly, Not Feminized Version Of Christianity” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/04/21/fox-host-to-stop-terror-recruitment-we-need-a-m/203356
4. Jon Stewart: The Jon Stewart mysteries presents the case of the Iranian agent
5. Late Night Jokes for Dems
“Governor Chris Christie says if he’s president, he will crack down on the sale of marijuana. However, that was before he was told it also comes in a brownie.” – Conan O’Brien
“Hillary’s trying to appear down-home. Earlier today she was sitting on the front porch of a general store whittling a pantsuit. ” –David Letterman
“The only fun thing about filing your tax return is getting a refund. About 80 percent of taxpayers get money back, which is a weird thing to be happy about. That means you’ve been overpaying all year long. It’s like if someone broke into your house and the police recovered the stuff and brought it back and you said, ‘Oh, presents.'” –Jimmy Kimmel
“Hillary Clinton is not the first woman to run for president. That title belongs to Victoria Woodhull, who ran for president in 1872. Her running mate was a young, scrappy John McCain.” –Conan O’Brien
“Jeb Bush welcomed his fourth grandchild. The new Bush grandchild is happy, healthy, and will be running for president in 2048.” –Conan O’Brien
“The 2016 presidential campaign is heating up. Can you feel the indifference, the apathy?” –David Letterman
“Hillary Clinton announced that she is running. Then she drove from New York to Iowa in a van. You can’t be president of the United States unless you agree to eat a corn dog in front of a small group of farmers.” –Jimmy Kimmel
“Marco Rubio announced he’s running for president. Fun fact: Marco Rubio’s wife is a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader. In other words, she knows how to generate fake enthusiasm for someone who’s not going to win.” –Conan O’Brien
“When he was asked about Hillary’s candidacy, Obama said, ‘If she’s her wonderful self, I’m sure she’ll do great.’ He added, ‘If she’s her other self, watch out.'” –Jimmy Fallon
“In a recent interview, Michelle Obama said that the Secret Service taught Malia how to drive. In exchange, Malia taught the Secret Service how to throw a party when her parents are away.” –Conan O’Brien
“Arizona Senator John McCain announced that he plans on running for a sixth term because he is concerned about the nation’s security. He plans to help just like any other 80-year-old: by sitting on his porch with a police scanner.” –Jimmy Fallon
“Jeb Bush is facing criticism after it was just revealed that he checked off his race as ‘Hispanic’ on a voter registration form back in 2009. When asked if he regrets it now, Bush said, ‘Si.'” –Jimmy Fallon
“Jeb Bush identified himself as Hispanic, so I guess it’s actually pronounced ‘Yeb Bush.'” –Seth Meyers
“President Obama and his wife are going to Kenya. Donald Trump said, ‘While you’re there, pick up your birth certificate.'” –David Letterman
“You’ve all heard about the Indiana religious freedom law? Some people think it’s anti-gay. Well, presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Scott Walker have all come out in favor of the new law. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say ‘come out.'” –Seth Meyers
“According to a new poll, Republicans are more likely to have a doughnut for breakfast, while Democrats prefer to eat bagels and croissants. While Independents are that annoying friend who’s still looking at the menu after 15 minutes.” –Jimmy Fallon
“As of this week, the only state that President Obama has not visited while in office is South Dakota. Residents of South Dakota said they’re looking forward to President Obama or any black person visiting soon.” –Conan O’Brien
“During a speech on Friday, Senator Ted Cruz said that if you walk up to someone and say ‘Joe Biden,’ the person will crack up laughing. Which is the same reaction you get if you say ‘President Ted Cruz.'” –Seth Meyers
6. The Borowitz Report: Kochs Defend Purchase of Scott Walker
Koch Industries is defending its acquisition of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker against charges that it overpaid for the Midwestern politician.
After co-owner David Koch revealed that Walker had become a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, he set off a firestorm of criticism that the company had spent too much for a worthless asset.
In a terse statement, Koch Industries argued, “Scott Walker is a perfect fit with our diversified portfolio of elected officials,” but indicated that, if Walker underperforms, the company would be open to selling him at a later date. Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/
7. Obama pro-union rule to take effect
An Obama administration rule that speeds up the process by which employees can unionize took effect Tuesday after Republicans last month failed to block the measure.
Under the new National Labor Relations Board rules, employees could potentially organize a union in less than two weeks, compared to the previous average of 38 days between the time a petition is filed and the election is held. 04/14/15 http://thehill.com/regulation/labor/238775-labor-board-speeds-up-union-elections
8. The Republican war against the poor (cont.)
Not satisfied with cratering his state’s economy, cutting education budgets and rescinding long-established job protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday signed a punitive, intrusive and counterproductive measure placing wholly unnecessary restrictions on how Kansas relief recipients can spend their benefits. http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-brownback-signs-spectacularly-punitive-kansas-welfare-bill-20150416-column.html
9. Obamacare repeal falls off Republicans’ to-do list as law takes hold
After five years and more than 50 votes in Congress, the Republican campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act is essentially over
GOP congressional leaders, unable to roll back the law while President Obama remains in office and unwilling to again threaten a government shutdown to pressure him, are focused on other issues, including trade and tax reform.
Less noted, senior Republican lawmakers have quietly incorporated many of the law’s key protections into their own proposals, including guaranteeing coverage and providing government assistance to help consumers purchase insurance.
And although the law remains very unpopular with GOP voters, more than 20 million Americans now depend on it for health benefits, making even some of the most conservative Republicans loath to cut off coverage.” 4/18/15 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/business/healthcare/la-na-obamacare-republicans-20150418-story.html#page=1
10. Hillary’s Campaign Kick-off Trip to Iowa in 100 Seconds
11. Obamacare is Finally Popular
This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds American’s opinion of the health care law closely divided, 43 percent say they have a favorable view of the law and 42 percent say they have an unfavorable view.
Opinion still is sharply divided by party, with 70 percents of Democrats viewing the law favorably and 75 percent of Republicans viewing it unfavorably. Independents fall in the middle; 42 percent like it and 46 percent don’t.
4/21/15 Read more at http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-april-2015/
12. Watch Sec. Hillary Clinton Defend Reproductive Rights and Family Planning in 2013
1. Daily Kos Staff: The 2016 election is not about the presidency. It is about the Supreme Court
The 2016 election is kicking off in fine fashion. The Republicans are trotting out crazy, crazier, and craziest, and I’ll let you figure out who is who there. The Democrats have Hillary Clinton, and while there surely will be a couple of others in the Democratic primaries, the nomination will likely go to the former secretary of state.
Some on the left are already crying foul about Clinton being anointed by the Democratic Party, that she is the establishment candidate, that she is the corporate candidate, that she has too much baggage, or that we don’t want a Clinton dynasty any more than we want a Bush dynasty.
None of that matters. If she is the nominee, we must support her whether or not we think she is the establishment candidate or the corporate candidate. Why? The U.S. Supreme Court. Considering the ages of the current justices, the next president will likely nominate several Supreme Court justices.
If we fail to turn out on Election Day some 19 months from now and the Democratic nominee loses, the Supreme Court will tilt right for the foreseeable future. If we do turn out, and the Democratic nominee wins, we can change the current makeup of the court and it will lean to the left. We already know what damage a right-leaning court can do—just think about Citizens United and Bush v. Gore, and then imagine if America gets one more conservative justice.
The stakes in this coming election are nothing less than the Supreme Court. 4/19/15 Read more at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/04/19/1377580/-The-2016-election-is-not-about-the-presidency-It-is-about-the-Supreme-Court?detail=hide
2. Gary Hart: Dare We Call It Oligarchy?
The lobbying/campaign finance/access matrix has corrupted American politics, divided our nation, and is well down the road to creating a system of political oligarchy.
Our Founders created a republic and, being keen students of the history of republics beginning with Athens, they knew that placing special and narrow interests ahead of the common good and the commonwealth was the corruption that destroyed republics. They feared this kind of corruption as the greatest danger to America’s success and survival.
By this standard, today’s American Republic is massively corrupt. Every interest group in our nation has staff lobbyists and hires lobbying firms. Thousands of lobbying firms now penetrate the halls of Congress as well as all State capitols and city halls. Those same lobbying firms collect funds for election and re-election campaigns. In exchange, they have access to legislatures and administrations, those who write the laws and make the regulations.
With its monumentally wrong-headed Citizens United decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has now sanctioned this corruption and eliminated any chance for control of campaign contributions.
We will have created a political system and some form of government new in our history. But it will most surely not be the Republic of our Founders hopes and dreams.4/17/15 Read more at http://time.com/3826278/gary-hart-dare-we-call-it-oligarchy/
3. William Saletan: Foreign Saboteurs
Kosovo, Libya, Iran, Israel, climate change. These aren’t breaches of the norm. They are the norm. When Republicans leaders are presented with a conflict between a Democratic president and a foreign government, they tend to oppose the president—and often side with the foreign government.
As a liberal, I’m OK with that. The right to dissent is a core American value. It has kept this country free for more than two centuries. But when Republicans are in power, they vilify dissent. During the George W. Bush years, Vice President Dick Cheney and his henchmen ruthlessly attacked the patriotism of anyone who questioned—even on tactical grounds—their conduct of the Iraq war, surveillance, or “enhanced interrogations.”
Last week, just before McCain gave his interview to Hugh Hewitt, Cheney appeared on the same show. He said of Obama: “If you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing.” When Hewitt played back Cheney’s quote for McCain two days later, the senator agreed with it.
That’s a cold, clear, functional definition of treason. But it could be applied just as easily—and with a better fit—to Cheney, McCain, and their collaborators on the right. If a political party wanted to tear America apart, weaken its position in the world, reduce our capacity to influence events, and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what the Republican Party has done under Democratic presidents. Make of that what you will. 4/14/15 Read more at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/
4. Jonathan Chait: How ‘Negative Partisanship’ Has Transformed American Politics
President Obama’s approval ratings are hovering a few points below 50 percent, and his party is seeking a third straight term in the White House. Most analysts see this as a toss-up scenario. I see it as a highly favorable situation for the Democrats that would require a major event, like an economic downturn, to change. What accounts for the difference? At the bottom, it is about whether American presidential politics are following the same basic rules they have for decades, or whether the game has changed. I believe the game has changed, and the thing that’s changed is polarization.
The logic that predicts a toss-up election is rooted in the perfectly sound assumption that the historical models give us the best guide to the future. A third straight term from a party whose president has middling approval ratings sits right on the probability fault line, historically. As Nate Silver writes, “these cases default to being toss-ups.”
The trouble is that almost all those cases are drawn from a historic period that is very different from the current one. During the 20th century, the two parties were extremely heterogeneous. The Republican Party had a moderate wing that dominated its presidential elections for most of the postwar years until Ronald Reagan. Democrats had a powerful southern conservative wing. In that environment, the old folk wisdom, “Vote the man, not the party,” made a great deal of sense. In that environment, large chunks of the electorate swung easily from one party to the other depending on transient factors, like the current state of peace and prosperity, rather than deeper values.
The splitting of American politics into two coherent ideological parties with very little programmatic overlap changes things. Voters who are fundamentally attached to one party or the other are not going to abandon their team merely because their party has held onto office for too many terms, or because the other party’s president is presiding over a nice recovery. Those factors are not meaningless because some swing voters do still exist. And performance can change voter perceptions to a degree; a deep recession might make some Democrats doubt their party’s economic program. But these temporal effects are muted. 4/17/15 Read more at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/04/negative-partisanship-has-transformed-politics.html
5. Ana Marie Cox: Marco Rubio, Gen-X Fraud
On the surface, Marco Rubio is such a perfect 2016 Republican nominee you might think he was created in a lab. He ticks off all the demographic boxes that the GOP has struggled with for the past decade: A young (43) Latino who likes Tupac! He is adept with social media, talks like a person who watches the same dumb TV as you, and is pleasantly self-deprecatory when the occasion calls for it. Pundits and consultants are giddy with the prospect of a “generational choice” between Rubio and the rest of the field—not to mention Hillary Clinton.
Analysts aren’t wrong to suppose that a race against Rubio, in either the primary or the general, will expose a generational fault line. But it’s far from certain that Rubio will be one with the youth vote on his side.
Take away Rubio’s biography and look at his positions and he becomes less the voice of his generation and more Benjamin Button. If I told you about a candidate that was anti-marriage equality, anti-immigration reform (for now), anti-pot decriminalization, pro-government surveillance, and in favor of international intervention but against doing something about climate change, what would you guess the candidate’s age to be? On all of those issues, Rubio’s position is not the one shared by most young people. The Guardian dubbed him the “John McCain of the millennial set,” which isn’t fair to McCain, who at least has averred that climate change exists.
Marco Rubio is the GOP’s Cousin Oliver, a desperate gimmick by the out-of-touch to spark interest in a moribund brand. That Rubio is a gleeful participant in this exercise makes his distance from the actual dreams and desires of this country’s young people all the more apparent. 4/19/15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/19/marco-rubio-gen-x-fraud.html
6. Valerie Plame & Joe Wilson: America needs Hillary
We have known Hillary Clinton both professionally and personally for close to 20 years, dating back to before President Bill Clinton’s first trip to Africa in 1998 — a trip that they both acknowledge changed their lives, and gave considerable meaning to their post-White House years and to the activities of the Clinton Foundation. Joe, serving as the National Security Council Senior Director for African Affairs, was instrumental in arranging that historic visit.
Our history became entwined with Hillary further after Valerie’s identity as a CIA officer was deliberately exposed. That criminal act was taken in retribution for Joe’s article in The New York Times in which he explained he had discovered no basis for the Bush administration’s justification for the Iraq War that Saddam Hussein was seeking yellowcake uranium to develop a nuclear weapon.
When we were subjected to a vicious character assassination campaign orchestrated by senior White House officials and championed by their allies in the right-wing echo chamber, Hillary reached out to us. Her counsel during that tumultuous period was as timely as it was wise. She reminded us that the personal attacks on us were politically designed to deflect attention from the Bush administration’s falsehoods. She urged us to remain strong in the face of their tactics of personal destruction. Smear campaigns should not trump the facts in the public square.
As president she will provide the seasoned, smart and tough leadership the United States will need to face the challenges of this rapidly changing world. She is by far the most qualified and trustworthy person to protect our national security interests and to create a better American future.
Hillary stood with us, as she has stood with so many over the years, and we are proud to stand with her for our country now. 4/13/15 Read more at http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/04/13/hillary-clinton-presidential-qualifications-valerie-plame-joseph-wilson-column/25707671/
7. Michael Tomasky: The GOP Primary Is Where Ideas Go to Die
So now we have us some candidates, on the Republican side. Who’s the big kahuna? Jeb Bush? He keeps getting called front-runner, and I suppose he is, even though the polls sometimes say otherwise. Scott Walker? Certainly a player. Rand Paul? Pretty bad rollout, but he has his base. The youthful, advantageously ethnicized Marco Rubio? Some as-yet-unannounced entrant who can hop in and shake things up?
Each has a claim, sort of, but the 800-pound gorilla of this primary process is none of the above. It’s the same person it was in 2008, and again in 2012, when two quite plausible mainstream-conservative candidates had to haul themselves so far to the right that they ended up being unelectable. It’s the Republican primary voter.
To be more blunt about it: the aging, white, very conservative, revanchist, fearful voter for whom the primary season is not chiefly an exercise in choosing a credible nominee who might win in November, but a Parris Island-style ideological obstacle course on which each candidate must strain to outdo his competitors—the hate-on-immigrants wall climb, the gay-bashing rope climb, the death-to-the-moocher-class monkey bridge. This voter calls the shots, and after the candidates have run his gauntlet, it’s almost impossible for them to come out looking appealing to a majority of the general electorate.
Might I be wrong about the primary voter? Sure, I might. Maybe the fear of losing to Hillary Clinton and being shut out of the White House for 12 or 16 consecutive years will tame this beast. But the early signs suggest the opposite.
After all, how did Scott Walker bolt to the front of the pack? It wasn’t by talking about how to expand health care. It was by giving one speech, at an event hosted by one of Congress’ most fanatical reactionaries (Steve King of Iowa), bragging about how he crushed Wisconsin’s municipal unions. That’s how you get ahead in this GOP. I’d imagine Rubio and Paul and the rest of them took note. 4/15/15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/15/gop-primary-land-where-ideas-go-to-die.html
8. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: GOP offers new faces, stale ideas: Another view
The Republicans vying for their party’s nomination want to bring back the tired, old trickle-down policies that have failed repeatedly. Their proposals to hand out tax breaks to the very rich and wealthy corporations shift the tax burden onto the middle class.
Instead of a serious plan to expand opportunity for all, Sen. Marco Rubio’s tax plan reads like a wish list written by wealthy donors. It’s exactly what we would expect from a politician who consistently panders to the Republican base.
And, of course, Sen. Rand Paul has been the most vocal about reaching out to new voters. But how can he broaden Republicans’ appeal when he has voiced opposition to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, opposed comprehensive immigration reform, wrote a budget slashing Pell grants, belittled LGBT rights, and sponsored bills to take women’s health care decisions out of their hands?
Paul isn’t a new type of Republican, and neither are his colleagues who are already running or will soon. Jeb Bush isn’t going to fight for middle-class families. Gov. Scott Walker has already brought Washington’s dysfunction to Wisconsin.
Democrats are the party of inclusion, empowerment and expanded opportunity. None of the GOP’s “new” faces can grow their party so long as they’re holding on to the same, harmful policies of the past. 4/14/15 Read more at http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/04/14/republican-democratic-debbie-wasserman-schultz-editorials-debates/25793869/
9. Erika Eichelberger: How the Republicans are trying to make the rich even richer
If Tax Day fills you with dread and anger, that’s not irrational — at least not if you’re poor or middle class. The United States tax code is so warped, so skewed in favor of the wealthy, that it is in effect hastening the arrival of the new Gilded Age.
Since the middle of the last century, millionaires’ tax burden has been cut in half. During the same time period, the share of government revenue coming from corporate taxes has plummeted while the portion coming from payroll taxes has jumped. As a freelancer, I have to give 30% of my income to the Internal Revenue Service. Hedge fund managers, meanwhile, pay 20% because they’re allowed to pretend that their regular income is actually investment income. This particular rich-person tax perk is one of the main reasons income inequality in this country is out of control.
Here’s the really bad news: If the Republicans who control Congress have their way, the tax code is only going to get more unfair.
Today, the top 20% of U.S. households own more than 84% of the wealth in this country, while the bottom 40% holds a mere 0.3%. Of all Western nations, the United States is now the most unequal.
Yet the GOP continues to help the rich get richer. And the party isn’t even trying that hard to conceal its efforts. This week, while millions of Americans scrape the bottoms of their savings accounts and the tops of their credit card limits to pay their share of taxes, the House will vote on a bill to fully repeal the estate tax.
If it passes, the measure would redistribute an average of about $3 million a year to the wealthiest 0.2% of households in America — or about 5,000 rich families. With that in mind, enjoy Tax Day. 4/15/15 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0415-eichelberger-taxes-20150415-story.html
10. Michael Hirsh: How Hillary Jilted Wall Street
At a small Washington dinner party in 2013, the topic of discussion was Gary Gensler’s elbows—specifically how very sharp they can be. Present were Brooksley Born, Gensler’s legendary predecessor at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Mary Jo White, the then-new chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gensler, the mild-voiced CFTC chairman, was proving to be not only the scourge of Wall Street but a major irritant to America’s closest allies. The reason? Gensler was insisting on rules that would allow U.S. regulators to oversee trading by the big Wall Street banks even if the banks operated abroad. He wasn’t going to let Goldman Sachs (his former employer) or anyone else escape whipping by shifting a complex derivatives deal from New York to some affiliate in London, or Bonn, or wherever.
The reported selection of Gensler this week as chief financial officer of Clinton’s campaign follows several days in which the just-announced Democratic candidate—on the road in Iowa championing “everyday people”—has offered up more progressive rhetoric and turned Wall Street into her campaign bugaboo. “There’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses,” Clinton said on the trail, taking a rhetorical shot at some of the same billionaires who have been underwriting her preparations for months.
Now the choice of Gensler to become in effect the financial manager of a billion-dollar-plus campaign, and part of Clinton’s senior leadership team, may be the surest sign that Hillary Clinton isn’t going to just sound populist but intends to distance herself from her Wall Street friends (though she’ll still take their money, of course). The goal seems clear: to reassure and inspire the party’s liberal base, or what’s become known as the “Elizabeth Warren wing,” and tamp down cries for a liberal challenger to rise up and take her on in the primaries. 4/17/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/hillary-wall-street-117092.html
11. David Frum: The Question That Will Decide the 2016 Election
“Will you take away my health insurance?”
That question does not get asked often at Republican presidential forums. Yet it will be the most decisive question in the 2016 presidential election.
Since the last presidential election, the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act have taken effect. Millions of people are now enrolled in Medicaid, or are receiving health insurance subsidies through state exchanges, who were not enrolled or subsidized in November of 2012. Obamacare skeptics may disparage these benefits as inefficient, counter-productive, and excessively costly. Fine. Those who receive them won’t cherish them any less. The mortgage-interest deduction is not exactly a model of economic rationality. Try taking it away. Go ahead. Try.
The next presidential election, like the last, will be decided by whether Democratic-leaning groups show up at the polls in large numbers—and maybe, at the margins, by whether the last few single percentage points of undecided voters choose “change” or “more of the same.” For those economically stressed toss-up voters—for the younger voters who sometimes show up and sometimes vote—the tipping point issue won’t be foreign policy. It won’t be ethics. It won’t be healthcare. It won’t even be the overall performance of the economy, which will be better, but still unwonderful. It will be that single haunting question, “Will I lose my insurance?”
If they don’t hear a clear and convincing “No,” they’re going to assume the answer is “Yes”—and most likely, vote accordingly. 4/22/15 Read more at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/the-question-that-will-decide-the-2016-election/391137/
DIRECT is a FREE web based weekly eZine. On most Thursday mornings subscribers are sent an email notice with the table of contents and link to the current issue.SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION
To SUBSCRIBE: Email email@example.com with “subscribe” on the subject line. NOTE: Your email address will not be shared – ever!
To UNSUBSCRIBE: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “unsubscribe” as the subject.
Your comments and/or suggestions are very welcome!! Please send them to email@example.com
Read what other readers have said about DIRECT at http://www.directzine4dems.com/comments.htm
Fair Use Notice:
This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. “Go to Original” links are provided as a convenience to allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “Go to Original” links.