Tuesday, November 12, 2013
"Alison Lundergan Grimes Tied With Mitch McConnell In Senate Race The Huffington Post | By Ariel Edwards-Levy Posted: 11/12/2013 12:00 am EST | Updated: 11/12/2013 12:03 pm EST "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) are running neck and neck in the 2014 Senate race, according to a new poll from the liberal group MoveOn.org. "The survey, conducted by the Democratic firm Lake Research for MoveOn, found McConnell and Grimes each attracting 37 percent of likely Kentucky voters in the general election. McConnell had a commanding 50 percent to 17 percent lead over his primary challenger, tea party-aligned businessman Matt Bevin. "The survey also found that 52 percent of the Kentucky voters rated McConnell unfavorably and 42 percent rated him favorably. Nationally, about 49 percent of Americans view him unfavorably -- a fact that Grimes' campaign hopes will give her a boost. "Publicly released partisan-sponsored polls typically produce slightly better results for their clients than do polls with independent sponsorship. A study of publicly released horse race surveys between 2000 and 2002 found that "polls identified as partisan tended to skew in favor their sponsor about 3 percentage points and against their opponent by roughly the same amount." "While a number of surveys have been conducted this year on the Senate race in Kentucky, all have been by partisan firms or sponsors. A previous Lake Research poll, taken in August for the liberal Public Campaign Action Fund, put Grimes 6 points ahead of McConnell. Two other recent Democratic surveys -- an internal Grimes poll by the Mellman Group in July and an Americans United for Change survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in October -- both gave Grimes a 2-point lead. The Republican firm Wenzel Strategies, meanwhile, found McConnell ahead 8 points in July. "Lake Research surveyed 603 likely Kentucky voters by phone between Oct. 24 and Oct. 29." This time let's Ditch Mitch and elect a Democrat to replace him!
Saturday, October 19, 2013
"The Congress, that polls show the American people would like to replace in its entirety, has "kicked the can down the road" again, putting off the government shutdown until January 15 and another debt ceiling showdown until February 7. The polls also show, convincingly, that people blame the stubborn Republicans more than the Democrats for the adverse effects of the impasse on workers, public health, safety, consumer spending, recreational parks and government corporate contracts. There is another story about how all this gridlock came to be, fronted by the question: "Why didn't the Democrats landslide the cruelest, most ignorant, big-business-indentured Republican Party in its history during the 2010 and 2012 Congressional elections? (See "The Do Nothing Congress: A Record of Extremism and Partisanship") There are a number of answers to this fundamental political question. First and most obvious is that the Democrats are dialing for the same commercial campaign dollars, which beyond the baggage of quid pro quomoney, detours the party away from concentrating on their constituents' needs, in a contrasting manner with the GOP. Democrats like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Dem. Ohio) tell me that when the House Democrats get together in an election year, they go into the meetings talking about money and walk out talking about money, burdened with the quotas assigned by their so-called leadership. Last year, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Dem. Calif.) was reported to have attended 400 fundraisers in D.C. and around the country for her campaigning Democrats. Helping Democratic candidates with fundraising is a major way she asserts her control over them. Over ninety percent of the Democrats in the House defer to her and do not press her on such matters as upping the federal minimum wage, controlling corporate crime, reducing corporate welfare giveaways, reasserting full Medicare for all, diminishing a militaristic foreign policy and other policies reputed to be favored by the Party's Progressive Caucus, numbering 75 Representatives. Instead, the Progressive Caucus remains moribund, declining to press their policy demands on leader Pelosi, as the hardcore Tea Partiers do with their leaders. So when election time comes around, voters do not know what the Democrats stand for other than to save Social Security and Medicare from the Republicans. Former senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, now living in Denver, said last year that the local Democrats in Denver didn't know what the national Democrats stood for. The 2010 election was crucial for the winners in the state government races who gained the upper hand in redistricting decisions for a decade. That meant more gerrymandered one-party dominated districts. The Republicans won a majority of those gubernatorial and state legislative races and took over the U.S. House of Representatives with Speaker John Boehner (Rep. Ohio) and his curled-lip deputy, Eric Cantor (Rep. Va.). And there is also President Obama's political selfishness. Obama knew that he could not govern with a knee-jerk blocking Republican House of Representatives. Yet he did not provide serious campaign support and progressive policy leadership for Democratic candidates. Consequently he was overcome in 2011 by the Republican demands for sharp cuts in federal budgets serving people, while exempting corporate entitlements from similar cuts, and the spectre of government shutdowns and Republicans in Congress refusing to raise the government's debt ceiling to pay current debts, during his first term presidency. So you'd think that in 2012 President Obama would run arm-in-arm with Congressional Democrats. No way. He not only signaled his "going it alone" approach by turning down a Democrat's request for $30 million from his billion dollar campaign hoard, but he had little interest in campaigning with the local Congressional candidates as he traveled around the country. The House Democrats were dismayed, but kept quiet. So he got the Boehner/Cantor duo for another two years after the 2012 election. That meant another shut-the-government-down don't-lift-the-debt-ceiling imbroglio -- a clash that crowded out all the necessities and the matters of justice that our government is supposed to champion. The greed and power of the Walmarts, the Exxons, the Aetnas, the Lockheed Martins and the rest of the global corporate power structure that has turned its back on taxpaying, American workers and their families remains unchecked by our government. Fast forward to the elections of 2014. No House Democrat believed, until the recent Congressional impasse, that the Democrats would win back the House in 2014. Given that many House-passed Republican votes since 2011 sided with big business, on the wrong side of fair treatment of children, student borrowers, workers, women, consumers, small taxpayers and providing necessary public services, one would think the Democrats should win next year in a slam dunk. Not likely, unless the Republican echo chamber, with its "mad dog" extremists, hand control of the House to the Democrats. From the Nineteen Forties to the Nineteen Nineties, the Republican Party did not behave as badly as today's snarling version of the GOP. Yet the Democrats beat Republicans in most Congressional races. Imagine what Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson would have done with today's crop of Republican corporatists and rabid ideologues. Today's Democrats with very few exceptions are dull, tired and defeatist. They regularly judge themselves by how bad the Republican Party is, instead of how affirmatively good they could be for our country and its politically alienated people. They cannot even muster themselves to battle for a higher minimum wage on behalf of 30 million American workers, just to the level of 1968, inflation adjusted, which is supported by over 70 percent of the people. Neither Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, nor House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi are really taking this minimum wage fairness issue to the people and directly confronting the Republican Party. Yet they both profess to believe in "catching up with 1968." They just don't believe in themselves enough to generate the focused energy to make it happen. (For those readers interested in letting their members of Congress have an earful, the switchboard is 202-224-3121.) Autographed copies of my book "The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future" are available from Politics and Prose, an independent book store in Washington D.C." You asked for it, you got it. Next time elect more Democrats.
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
What is perhaps most remarkable is that many House Republicans do not find it awkward to send tens of thousands of federal employees home without pay, deny countless services to their constituents, and degrade confidence in the competency of the U.S. government, simply because of a dispute on government funding that their party and legislative body largely failed to take a position on. Rather than exhibit willingness to provide a little more flexibility in light of that rather severe omission, they are insisting on injecting into the legislation an issue that is far more controversial, has nothing to do with the annual funding of government agencies, and is in the jurisdiction of a number of major House committees, none of which include the Appropriations Committee. The backbenchers that have engineered this train wreck may not be embarrassed by their handiwork, but party veterans clearly want no part of it. Perhaps the most telling aspect of the Saturday night debate—which may prove to be one of the most momentous in the modern history of the Republican Party—was the total absence of party leadership. Rep. Rogers was forced to take the floor because, to his obvious discomfort, the legislation had his name on it. But Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Majority Whip McCarthy were all missing in action. They had done their best to protect their party from this unfolding debacle. They were happy to give the limelight to those who somehow thought this was a good idea. Scott Lilly is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Next time, elect more Democrats!
Saturday, September 21, 2013
"Crew's Most Corrupt" Hal Rogers
Let's Ditch Mitch. "Crew's Most Corrupt Mitch McConnell
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Are you proud that America has the highest per centage of population that are prisoners in the world?
Here Are All Of The Nations That Incarcerate More Of Their Population Than The U.S. The Huffington Post | By Nick Wing Posted: 08/13/2013 "A lot has been reported about our nation's prison system and its bloated population, but this is what it looks like when you take all of the countries that jail more people than we do and put them into one GIF. [tumbleweed] Yeah, we're actually number one and that's not a good thing. No country incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than the United States. At 716 per 100,000 people, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the U.S. tops every other nation in the world. "Among OECD countries, the competition isn't even close -- Israel comes in second, at 223 per 100,000. According to advance 2012 counts by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the U.S. prison population was 1,571,013 at yearend. That's actually a decline for the third consecutive year. Including local and city jail figures, however, that number easily tops two million, around 25 percent of the entire world's prisoners. On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced sweeping plans designed to address the issue through drug-sentencing reform. Holder's blueprint included plans to divert low-level drug offenders to treatment and community service programs and implement an expanded prison program to allow for the release of some elderly, non-violent offenders. "We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate - not merely to convict, warehouse and forget," Holder said in remarks to the American Bar Association in San Francisco. "Although incarceration has a role to play in our justice system, widespread incarceration at the federal, state and local levels is both ineffective and unsustainable. ... It imposes a significant economic burden -- totaling $80 billion in 2010 alone -- and it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate." Remember that song line "the land of the free, and the home of the brave? Well, you can't tell that we are the land of the free when you look at the statistics of how many of our own people are languishing in prisons. We should come up with more alternatives to prison. Drug court is one. Home incarceration is another. Maybe we can think up some more, too.
Friday, August 09, 2013
House GOP ups nutrition cuts Published: August 9, 2013 in Kentucky.com, affiliated with the Lexington Herald. House GOP ups nutrition cuts High cost would come due in future Just as the battle against childhood obesity starts to score some victories, the narrow political agenda of House Republicans threatens to undercut the progress. A Centers for Disease Control report found that obesity was on the decline for children in 18 of the 40 surveyed states, the first reported decline in years. But those gains are jeopardized by ideologically extreme Republicans who have committed to shredding the American safety net, with special zeal for destroying the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps. After the House failed to ram through a farm bill that made $20 billion in cuts to the program and then shamefully passed a farm bill that failed to reauthorize the program for the first time in 40 years, the Republican chair of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, has announced that he will propose legislation that would slash food stamp funding by $40 billion. A study by the Health Impact Project found that the proposed $20 billion cut would eliminate 5 million people from the program, increase poverty, contribute to food insecurity for millions of children and cost billions in preventable health care expenses. The new House Republican proposal would cut off aid to even more recipients by eliminating waivers, which states use in times of high unemployment, to ease the strict work requirements for aid. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report found that the new proposal would cut aid to an additional 2 million to 4 million low-income individuals, including 88,000 Kentuckians. "The extreme cuts would hurt Kentuckians who are participating in SNAP who can't find a job regardless of whether they are looking for a job or not," said Ashley Spalding of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, who said that Kentucky has one job for every three job seekers. The cuts in government nutrition assistance would come as private food donation programs are already stretched thin. "We're very concerned with any cuts to the SNAP program at a time when one in six Kentuckians don't know where their next meal is coming from. We're barely keeping up with the pace of the demand," said Tamara Sandberg, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks. Such draconian cuts would penalize the disabled, elderly, working adults and children who make up 92 percent of food stamp recipients. And, counter to Republican demands for fiscal responsibility, the proposed cuts would incur much greater health costs down the line. More children would grow up with heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure from diets of cheap starches and highly processed foods, as well as with developmental disabilities resulting from poor nutrition in the early years. Cutting nutrition assistance expenditures, which inject $1.70 into the economy for every dollar spent, would also weaken the already tepid economic recovery by hurting consumer spending. The advances against childhood obesity could easily be reversed by policies that force low-income families to buy even cheaper food with less nutritional value for their children. Already, the obesity rates are much higher among low-income preschoolers (one in seven) and minorities (nearly one in five for black preschoolers) than the national average of one in eight. Worsening this inequality would be nothing to be proud of. Congress would do well to recoil from the spiteful and unnecessary cuts that will increase poverty, inflate deficits and worsen the lives of millions. And Republicans should stop elevating extreme agendas over the health of children." This time elect more Democrats. Let's not starve the poor children to death. Hal Rogers, and Guthrie want to cut the budget by cutting out food stamps. Don't fall for it. Next time, elect more Democrats and keep the food stamp program. Kenneth Stepp.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
"Robert L. Borosage. "President, Institute for America's Future "GET UPDATES FROM Robert L. Borosage "Republicans Nix Food Stamps: This Is Who They Are "Posted: 07/12/2013 9:21 am "Conservative Republicans have turned the farm bill -- normally a bipartisan grotesquerie of agribusiness subsidies and excess -- from legislation to identity politics. They wanted to make a statement, even though they knew it couldn't survive the Senate or the White House veto. They passed it anyway -- without one Democratic vote -- to proclaim this is who we are. Who are they? They just passed a farm bill that included about $195 billion in subsidies to "farmers" (read: agribusiness) over 10 years, while eliminating food stamps and nutrition programs from the bill as "extraneous." Forty-seven million Americans receive food stamps. Nearly half are children under 18; nearly 10 percent are impoverished seniors. Food stamps are often the difference between hunger and survival. Republicans famously seem intent on being a party of white sanctuary, writing off all people of color, yet more whites receive food stamps (over one-third of all recipients) than blacks or Hispanics. This is how they choose to be identified. They will bring the government to a halt to defend against any tax hikes on millionaires, or to fend off the closing of corporate tax shelters. They will vote in lockstep to take the sequester cuts entirely out of domestic programs -- education, clean water, pre-school -- in order to protect a Pentagon budget that remains the biggest source of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. And they will lavish subsidies on agribusiness while throwing children and seniors off the bus. Having stripped food stamps out of the farm bill entirely, they did not even have the common decency to pass any kind of food stamp provision separately. They haven't gotten around to getting a "consensus" on that. This wasn't intended as legislation. It was intended as a declaration of identity. This is who they are. Think about that." WHEN I WAS A STRUGGLING LAW STUDENT, MY WIFE, MY BABY SON, AND I ALL THREE WENT ON FOOD STAMPS FOR A WHILE. I'M IN FAVOR OF THE FOOD STAMP PROGRAM. THAT'S WHY I'M A DEMOCRAT. KENNETH STEPP.
House snubs food stamps: Left out of farm bill sent to Senate GOP says it'll revisit funding Jul. 12, 2013 | 4 Comments House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, voted for the farm bill although speakers traditionally don't vote. The bill was passed 216-208. / AP Written by Ed O’Keefe The Washington Post Todd Young HOW AREA LAWMAKERS VOTED Voting for the farm bill: • Kentucky Republican Reps. Andy Barr, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Harold “Hal’‘ Rogers and Ed Whitfield, and Indiana Republican Todd Young. • Voting against: Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth. Source: Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives "House Republicans successfully passed a farm bill Thursday by splitting apart funding for food stamps from federal agricultural policy, a move that infuriated the White House and congressional Democrats who spent most of the day trying to delay a final vote. Lawmakers voted 216 to 208 to make changes to federal agricultural policy and conservation programs and end direct subsidy payments to farmers. But the measure says nothing about funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, which historically constitutes about 80 percent of the funding in a farm bill. No House Democrat voted for the measure. Twelve Republicans also opposed it. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, voted in favor of it, even though speakers traditionally don’t vote. The vote made clear that Republicans intend to make significant reductions in food stamp money and handed Republican leaders a much-needed victory three weeks after conservative lawmakers and rural state Democrats revolted and blocked the original version of the bill that included food stamp money. Republicans attempted to tamp down the opposition by assuring Democrats that they will vote on a separate measure dealing with food stamp funding later in the month. But several Democratic lawmakers rose in opposition to the plan early Thursday as debate began, with several of them repeatedly saying that the new bill “hurts the children of America” or “increases hunger in America. Before the vote Boehner acknowledged that splitting the funding was unusual but said, “My goal right now is to get a farm bill passed.” In opposition, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a floor speech, “You are taking food out of the mouths of your own poor constituents.” Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., mockingly made a parliamentary inquiry, saying he had just obtained a copy of the 600-page bill. “It appears to have no nutrition title at all, is this a printing error?” Butterfield asked. The nutrition title is the portion of the bill that sets food stamp funding." Don't want your food stamps cut off? Next time ELECT MORE DEMOCRATS. REPLACE HAL ROGERS WITH A DEMOCRATS IF YOU LIKE FOOD STAMPS. IT'S THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON FOOD STAMPS! ELECT MORE DEMOCRATS! KENNETH STEPP.