Monday, April 27, 2009

What We Would Lose if Texas Seceded from The Union


Questions to that half of Texas' Republicans
by kos

Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 08:31:31 AM PDT

So we now know that half of Texas' Republicans want to secede from the United States. So I have some questions for that crowd:

Are you flying an American flag? Because you don't get to do that when you cry and take your ball home.

Do you have a bumper sticker that says, "These colors don't run"? Because it sure looks like you're running.

Do you still pretend that your party is the "Party of Lincoln"? If so, what part of Lincoln exactly, would that be?

Since you've spent the last eight years saying "America, love it or leave it", is that an admission that you don't love America? Because we liberals? We loved it and stayed, even when your idiot of a president was trashing the place.

Was your patriotism (My country, right or wrong) so skin-deep, that it depended 100 percent on the guy in the White House?

That $200 billion Texas got in defense contracts between 2000 and 2007? No more of that. No more Ft. Hood. No more NASA. No more federal largesse. You okay with that?

You do realize that the Cowboys will no longer be "America's Team", right? Though they'd dominate the two-team Texas Football League (TFL).
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Tea and Ignorance

From Today's Truthdig one of my favorite real
news sources.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009

By Marie Cocco

There’s nothing like tax-filing season to remind Americans that the only things certain in life are death and taxes—or that few public outcries are considered more patriotic than grousing about paying up.

What’s an ornery tax filer to do? Have a tea party, of course.

With all the simplistic bombast that we’ve come to expect from partisans who are locked out of power and floundering with low public approval, conservative and Republican activists around the country have staged quite a number of these media events over the past few days, and already have begun organizing for more on July 4. The nation, they claim with straight—if angry—faces, is being strangled by high taxes, heavy-handed government and profligate spending. If only we could sweep away all this excess, we’d return to the shining prosperity we enjoyed ... when?

Well, they don’t say.

There is little anyone can do about these rants except worry they will be believed by a wider public. So, on the theory that the truth may one day—some day—set us free, it is worth examining exactly what we’re all paying, and what for.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office keeps track of this sort of thing. Just days ago, it released an updated analysis of the effective federal tax rate—that is, what individuals and businesses pay after they take exemptions, deductions, credits and so forth. And it turns out that the effective federal tax rate that households across the income spectrum pay is lower now than it was 30 years ago, with an average rate of 20.7 percent. That encompasses all federal taxes, including excise and payroll taxes.

The effective rate is now lower than it was during Ronald Reagan’s second term, lower than during George H.W. Bush’s term, and lower than it was during Bill Clinton’s tenure—which is a period most Americans remember pretty fondly as one of robust economic growth. By the time Clinton left office, the deficit had been eliminated and Congress was debating whether it would be beneficial to pay off every dollar of the public debt.

You would think it would logically follow that the tax-and-spending protesters would embrace Clintonomics. But of course, they did not then and they do not now.

They continue to let out a primal scream against high taxes and wasteful spending, without ever identifying whose taxes should be cut further: The wealthy? Or the working and middle-class people whose taxes President Obama wants to keep reducing?

The tea party folks come up with incendiary examples of wasteful spending that this congressman or that slipped into the federal budget. Trouble is, this type of spending is such a small part of the budget that you could eliminate every penny of it and still not have nicked the deficit.

So what do we really spend all this tax money on? About two-thirds of it goes toward defense programs and health expenditures, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Defense spending accounted for 21 percent of the budget last year, including the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—military operations that I’ve heard exactly no one on the right say we should stop paying for. Nor has there been a hint, just yet, of conservative enthusiasm for the deep cuts in Cold War-era weapons programs that the Obama administration recently proposed.

Social Security accounts for another 21 percent of spending, and big health programs—Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program—20 percent. Do the tax protesters want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and insurance for children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid? OK, maybe they do.

But the last time this was tried was in the mid-1990s, after the Republican takeover of Congress and the attempt at implementing the GOP’s Contract With America. The public did, indeed, rise up in revolt—against the idea of cutting the health care safety net for the elderly, the disabled and the poor.

Is it just a coincidence that former House Republican leader Dick Armey, one of the architects of the Contract With America—leads one of the groups that has been promoting the tea parties? Or that, with the 2008 presidential election over, the Fox News network has found in the tea parties a media moment for its conservative audience?

The din grows louder only because it must drown out the facts. But the facts still speak, firmly and correctly, for themselves.

Marie Cocco’s e-mail address is mariecocco(at)

© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rick Perry Is a Menace

Yesterday, April 15th, was tax day and right wing groups are organizing “tea parties” across Texas and the nation Organizers say these events are meant to protest the stimulus plan, and Gov. Rick Perry will speak at three of the tea parties – in Austin, Arlington and Fort Worth (go here for more details: When you hear your Republican coworkers, friends, neighbors and others talking about the "tea party", I encourage you to draw from the points below and share them, and specifically with respect to the hypocrisy of Gov. Perry’s grandstanding at these events.

· BUDGET and SPENDING HYPOCRISY: If Perry wants to talk about reining in spending, he’s in the wrong party - eight years of Republican rule gave us the largest budget deficit in history. And Gov. Perry’s partisan posturing with the stimulus funds is the height of hypocrisy – because the state budget plan supported by his fellow Republicans depends on billions of stimulus fund dollars. It’s clear Perry is using this event as a campaign prop – at the same time he’s counting on stimulus dollars to bail out his failures to provide adequate state funding for the most important state priorities.

· RAISING TAXES: Perry has admitted that his rejection of stimulus unemployment insurance funds would force a tax increase on small businesses to make up for the projected unemployment fund deficit. And that tax increase would come just three years after Perry signed a 2006 tax plan that raised taxes on small businesses. If Tea Party attendees want to talk about “tax and spenders”, they ought to be protesting Rick Perry.

· WASTEFUL SPENDING: By Election Day 2010, Gov. Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund will have handed out nearly one billion taxpayer dollars to corporations like subprime mortgage lender Countrywide and other corporations who have laid off workers after getting tax dollars from Perry's political goodie bag. It’s outrageous for Perry to criticize our President’s efforts to invest in hard working Americans as wasteful while Perry himself wastes tax dollars on a corporate welfare slush fund.

· The organizers of these events are a small but vocal minority – the same people who get their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove. They’re way out of step with most Americans and the direction our country is taking.

· While the right wing is drinking tea and pining for the failed economic policies of the past, the majority of Americans support the President’s efforts to get our country back on track.

Let me hear your thoughts and impressions.

Your County Chair,
Deb Cascino

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Glenn Greenwald in Salon

The individuals Obama chose to be his top economics officials embody exactly the corruption he repeatedly vowed to end.

This article, available by clicking on the title link, is a must read for anyone who wants to know what is happening behind the scenes in the Obama Administration's approach to the current financial crisis.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Former Regulator Outs Obama's Economic Advisors

Last night Bill Moyer's main guest was Bill Black, a Professor and forensic accountant. He lead the forensic audit of the Savings and Loan crash of the late 80's. Professor Black's most recent book is called The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. He stated unequivocally that crimes were committed by the CEO's of the big financial institutions. The following is an excerpt from the transcript of last night's show:

BILL MOYERS: In your book, you make it clear that calculated dishonesty by people in charge is at the heart of most large corporate failures and scandals, including, of course, the S&L, but is that true? Is that what you're saying here, that it was in the boardrooms and the CEO offices where this fraud began?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: How did they do it? What do you mean?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, the way that you do it is to make really bad loans, because they pay better. Then you grow extremely rapidly, in other words, you're a Ponzi-like scheme. And the third thing you do is we call it leverage. That just means borrowing a lot of money, and the combination creates a situation where you have guaranteed record profits in the early years. That makes you rich, through the bonuses that modern executive compensation has produced. It also makes it inevitable that there's going to be a disaster down the road.

BILL MOYERS: So you're suggesting, saying that CEOs of some of these banks and mortgage firms in order to increase their own personal income, deliberately set out to make bad loans?


BILL MOYERS: How do they get away with it? I mean, what about their own checks and balances in the company? What about their accounting divisions?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: All of those checks and balances report to the CEO, so if the CEO goes bad, all of the checks and balances are easily overcome. And the art form is not simply to defeat those internal controls, but to suborn them, to turn them into your greatest allies. And the bonus programs are exactly how you do that.

As evidence of this conscious attempt to make gigantic profits through premeditated fraud he points to a 2004 report by the FBI warning of a looming financial catastrophe.

CNN Friday September 17th 2004

"Assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker said the booming mortgage market, fueled by low interest rates and soaring home values, has attracted unscrupulous professionals and criminal groups whose fraudulent activities could cause multibillion-dollar losses to financial institutions.

"It has the potential to be an epidemic," said Swecker, who heads the Criminal Division at FBI headquarters in Washington. "We think we can prevent a problem that could have as much impact as the S&L crisis," he said."

So action by regulators, agencies and financial institutions at that point could have prevented indenturing future generations of Americans. But we know Bush and his cronies were in charge then and that they chose to ignore the financial crimes that were being committed on their watch. So much for their religion of the "Free Market". American taxpayers and those losing their jobs now are paying dearly for the fraud carried out by these slimy criminals in the name of deregulation.