Thursday, August 23, 2012

Remember When That Dictator Obama....

Remember When the Evil Dictator Obama...

From via TeaPartyJihad on Facebook 
The last line is particularly noteworthy:  
Remember in November!

Found at Tea Party Jihad at Facebook from by John Sheirer:  Don't forget!   And visit the TeaPartyJihad and Real American Liberal!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

$716 Billion Medicare SAVINGS Not Cuts; Republicans Lie!

That $700 billion represents Medicare SAVINGS, not cuts!  It's about THRIFT not DEPRIVATION!

The RRR (Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Republican) 
attacks on Democratic Medicare savings are nothing more than bold-faced lies which reached a disturbing new height when Paul Ryan trotted out his elderly (not to mention wealthy) Mom as someone who might benefit from the Republican cat food, er, voucher plan and would be hurt by the Democratic thrifty Medicare changes.

From DonkeyHotey at Flickr. License and credit see below.

One of the pillars of the Republican attacks on Medicare is that ObamaCares (the Affordable Care Act) will "take" $718 billion (or $716 billion) from Medicare over the next ten years. 

This isn't true!

The Republicans are trying to attack a decent and necessary program, the Affordable Care Act,  a program that will result in millions MORE people having access to medical care, a program that will result in tens of thousands FEWER people dying needlessly each year from preventable or treatable illnesses, a program that will move us closer to the other developed countries in the world.  They are attacking this program by claiming that it is being funded by "cuts" to Medicare.

They are lying!

Now, most of the bright people reading here at Both Parties are NOT the Same know better, but some may not quite understand the controversy, and some of our older family members and neighbors may not see the difference.   So here's a way of looking at what is happening to Medicare under ObamaCares that older people will understand:

Let's say you want to cut your food bill by 10%... You don't want to deprive yourself, but you want to spend less on groceries so that you can do something else with that money. How might you do that and still buy as much food as you do now?  How would you guarantee the nutrients that you need while cutting your food budget? 
  1. Watch for waste. Don't buy stuff you don't eat or buy smaller sizes of things you throw away because they go bad. 
  2. Clip coupons. 
  3. Watch for sales. 
  4. Carefully compare prices and buy generics whenever possible.
  5. Keep to a list so that you don't buy stuff you really don't need or won't use.
  6. Go shopping when you aren't hungry so you aren't tempted to buy extra stuff.  
  7. If possible, go to a different grocery store or go to a couple of different stores to buy their sales. 
  8. If possible, grow some of your own food.
I can still remember my mother at the kitchen table reading through the sales, writing lists from each of the different grocery stores in the area, putting coupons and a limited amount of money into envelopes for each store.  As I got older, I was stunned at how well we ate on an absurdly small food budget.. and there was money for the occasional pizza or ice cream treat.

Unless you're already religiously doing most of the things listed above, there is no reason that you can't do some of these things and save yourself a nice chunk of change each month... and still eat well with all of the nutrients you need. We already know that most seniors are very careful with their food budgets.

And that is the same thing that the Democrats are doing with that $718 billion in Medicare SAVINGS in ObamaCares. They aren't "cuts", inferring a loss of benefits or a lower quality of care; they are SAVINGS, accomplished by addressing issues of waste and fraud, accomplished by paying less for services, accomplished by allocating less for privatized Medicare programs that don't work as well and cost more.

Medicare SAVINGS based on THRIFT:  Something we all are familiar with that helps our dollars go farther... while preserving the Medicare plan that we know, love, and depend on.

No, Both Parties Are NOT the Same!

Fact-checking links about this (some links added in 2014; some updates in 2016):

(Image licensed via Creative Commons composed by DonkeyHotey at Flickr)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rosemarie, Open Your Mind!

Somewhere on Facebook I addressed the criticisms and complaints of a woman named Rosemarie:   

Rosemarie, do you remember what was happening four years ago?  Try to remember how difficult things were back then in the fall of 2008 and the winter of 2009.

We were losing 700,000 jobs a month when Obama took office, and weekly first time unemployment claims kept increasing to over 600,000 to 700,000 a week. We had lost a total of 4,400,000 jobs BEFORE Obama took the oath of office.

The stock market had tanked, the banks were virtually insolvent, the auto industry was bankrupt and on its last legs, and people were scared. I didn't know anybody in those months and weeks who wasn't terrified and unsure of what the future was going to bring.

Deficit?  Certainly you realize that you can't put a dent in the deficit when the economy is in a shambles and there are millions of people out of work and plenty without enough money to pay for their basic necessities; surely you understand that, Rosemarie? As it is, the percent increase in the federal deficit in the past fiscal year is one of the lowest increases on record, which is actually pretty amazing. Remember that the GDP, the Gross Domestic Product or all products and services produced in this country, was DECREASING when Obama took office and, within 6 months, it had turned around. But if you are watching Fox or listening to right-wing talk radio or reading right wing blogs, you won't know these things.

Jobs: As I said above, we were losing 600,000 to 800,000 jobs a month the last few months of the Bush administration and the first few months of the Obama administration. We now have added 4,500,000 new private sector jobs since that time. Yes, we need more jobs, but considering that we lost 8 million jobs, regaining 4,500,000 jobs while the Republicans plotted to make Obama fail, obstructed decent laws with impunity, and created the most relentless, nastiest opposition for decades, is actually quite an accomplishment.  Too bad you can't see that. 

Considering the situation of the economy (and knowing the problems of the Great Depression), it's clear that we were right at the edge of an abyss.  That things are as well as they are now is an accomplishment. Now, if you were driving down the street and saw a house on fire, would you obstruct the fire department when they come to put it out? You know it takes time to get that fire under control, to put it out, to clear the debris, to start rebuilding, right? If the fire fighters don't put the fire out fast enough, would you heckle them? Would you blame them the firefighters or the clean up people or the rebuilding people for the fire in the first place?  And think about how long it takes to pull a car out of a ditch and fix it so that it is again driveable. 

How long do you think it would have taken McCain and the despicable P woman to start adding jobs?  How many jobs would you have had to see by now to feel that job growth was adequate?  

Yes, many people are still struggling, particularly older people due to serious age discrimination, and some parts of the country are experiencing more problems than other parts.  However, the business people that I know have all said the worst is over.  I see new businesses popping up in empty store fronts all over town. I don't know any young people with degrees right now who are still unemployed, and some of the people I know who lost jobs and started mini businesses a couple of years back are now seeing earnings and profits from those businesses. Are things as they should be? Of course not! The middle class has been decimated for decades now, since the Republicans began increasing power in the 1980's, and it is going to take a lot of work to get things turned around.

Rosemarie, it is absolutely shameful that you have such a poor understanding of the issues of this country. Rampant income and wealth inequality, which will only get worse with the policies of the Vulture and the Voucher, should scare all of us unless we are filthy rich. Please review that Ryan Budget and tell us why you think it will help you and your loved ones.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Why Do We Always Have Money for War?

If you support the Republicans, how would you answer this?  

A simple question, the kind of question that has been around for decades now:  

From a Facebook friend--  

Why do we always have money for war? Why do we always have enough money to incarcerate people? Why do we always have enough money for chauffeur driven vehicles for high ranking politicians? Why do we always have enough money to repair the buildings of government? and....
At the same time there is no money for schools, for health care, for feeding the hungry, for housing the homeless, for recre
ation programs for kids, for higher education, for caring for the elderly and disabled.
I don't care which side of the political aisle you inhabit and vote. You are a human being, with an infinite capacity for loving, compassion, and goodness. None of those things will harm you; they will make you feel good. So why do you fill your body with the poisons generated by hatred and intolerance for one another? Why do you neglect your brother, your neighbor, your friend? Why do you celebrate death dealing and vilify the gifts of a good life?

  A friend answered:

The answers to these questions elude me as they do you. I just don't get it, and I never will. I will say this. It's taken thousands of years, but I think we've succeeded at getting the gun pressed up against our head as a species. I can only hope that we can grow up before we pull the trigger and put an end to further questioning.

Monday, August 6, 2012

"Freedom of Speech" For Rich Guys Has a Different Meaning

Freedom of speech for rich guys is different than freedom of speech for you and me:  Comments on the Disclose Act.

From Disclose Act petition on
"What is the final difference between one $10,000 check and 1,000 $10 checks?," asked Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, co-author of a bipartisan 2002 campaign finance law. "Other than the impact on trees, very little. So why should one be free from having to disclose its origin?"

The CNN article on outside political donors in which McCain was quoted seems to initially support the "Both parties are the same" meme, but if you continue to read the article, you will notice something else:

Nearly 700 independent political groups have poured more than $187 million into 2012 campaigns nationwide so far, according to FEC records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. More than $41 million of that has come from groups that disclose only a limited amount of information about their donors, or none at all.  
About $140 million of the total has been spent by conservative groups, with most of that laid out during the Republican presidential primary battles, according to the group, which runs the campaign-finance website

Yes, that's right.  140 million over 187 million means that about 75% of those contributions from "independent political groups" has come into and been spent by conservative groups.  

So the Democrats introduced the Disclose Act, which met its death at the hands of Senate Republicans.  The Republicans put an interesting spin on this:  

"Democrats can call this bill whatever they want, but they cannot conceal its true intent, which is to encourage their allies and discourage their critics from exercising their first amendment right to speak their mind," (Minority leader Senator Mitch) McConnell said.

As is often the case when I read such twisted Republican logic, I just can't think of what to say.  Why don't the citizens of this country have a right to know who is funding which candidates in our elections?  And if some organization really believed in a candidate, why would they be "discouraged" from exercising their "freedom of speech" (Repubtalk which means "giving great big bundles of cash to a candidate who will support our interests")?

Some Republican/TeaParty websites actually accompany propaganda against the Disclose Act with pictures of people with their mouths taped shut.  On the tape the words "Disclose Act" are written.  I guess their base actually believes that insisting that the mega-rich people tell us to whom they are giving their bundles of cash somehow interferes with the freedom of speech of the attractive young lady with her mouth taped shut?
The the Republicans try to compare unions with mega-rich corporate types:

Republicans also complained that the measure gave an unfair break to labor unions, which typically contribute to Democrats. Unions have to disclose their expenditures, but individual members' dues would most likely fall below the $10,000 threshold for disclosure.
"What is the final difference between one $10,000 check and 1,000 $10 checks?," asked Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, co-author of a bipartisan 2002 campaign finance law. "Other than the impact on trees, very little. So why should one be free from having to disclose its origin?"

What's the difference between one $10,000 check  and 1,000 $10 checks (presumably from middle class people who are struggling to pay bills)?  Come on, McCain... are you really that clueless?  I didn't vote for you in 2008, but I did respect you.  Now.. not so much.  And the hypocrisy from someone who co-wrote a campaign finance law.  No, these are not your parents' Republicans!  

Do you remember why we have unions, McCain and the rest of the Republicans?  Hello?!!?  The rights that unions fought for would be gone in a year or two if the Republicans have their way.  Isn't that obvious? 

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, says ... "But unions already disclose the amount they spend, and its source -- members' dues -- is a known quantity, she said.
"What we don't know is who is bankrolling these patriotic-sounding but vague and unfamiliar groups which are funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by individuals, by corporations and trade associations," she said. "... We don't have good enough and routine enough information about union spending to these outside groups, but we have no information from the other side." (emphasis added)
Labor groups now have to report political expenditures of more than $5,000, though they don't have to disclose individual members whose dues are pooled to provide that money. Philadelphia labor lawyer Richard Poulson told CNN that's not a break for the unions, just a reflection of the comparative wealth involved.
"The Republicans are essentially crying foul because individual union members are not wealthy enough," said Poulson... "If we were to go back to square one, I don't think anyone on labor's side of the fence is particularly happy the floodgates have been opened with respect to political spending," Poulson said. But he added, "Workers are never going to have as much money as the bosses, and that's just a fact. And you shouldn't punish workers for banding together to get some sort of a voice in the process."  
One of the conservative movement's biggest triumphs over the past few decades has been the complete villainization of unions.  There are millions of people in this country who have forgotten why we needed unions, why we had them in the first place.  These same people buy the "union thugs/unions bosses" slogans while they seem to forget that corporate chieftains are usually much bigger, much more influential, and much more destructive bosses and thugs.

No sense repeating any more of the article, but certainly worth a read if you actually believe that both parties ARE the same.Because that article should make it crystal clear --- again--- that the "Both parties ARE the same" meme is a myth.

No, Both Parties are NOT the same!  
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