Archive for funding

GOP Won't Vote To Protect Our Borders But They Do Vote To Protect Wall Street


Wall Street

While the GOP is playing games of distraction with the lives of innocent children at our border, with phony IRS scandals perpetrated by Darrell Issa, and bogus Benghazi fantasies trashing human lives, the Republicans quietly used that to very quietly pass a bill which will impact all of us. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then the GOP has done its job of 'follow the shiny object' while they attack us and our financial and consumer protections.

While the GOP won't vote for money to protect our borders, it quietly found time to vote on a bill to protect Wall Street.

Raw Story:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to slash funding for Wall Street oversight and revamp new agencies dedicated to cracking down on fraud against consumers and policing risks after the financial crisis.

The $21.3 billion funding bill, which covers appropriations for the 2015 fiscal year beginning Oct 1 for financial services and other areas of government, passed the House in a 228 to 195 vote along largely partisan lines.

Ask yourself this: why are Republicans protecting Wall Street over the US citizenry? They claim border security is a major concern. What about our financial security and our customer fraud protections?

It [the bill] would temporarily bar a group of regulators responsible for policing market risks from designating large non-bank companies as “systemically important” – so big that their failure would destabilize markets.

In lay terms, it would make them "Too big to fail, too big to jail." Is that really the GOP looking out for us? Can any Republican say, "Lehman Brothers?"

The legislation would also cut mail delivery on Saturdays. Along with that is another seemingly unrelated issue to the Wall Street funding bill. This piece of legislation would prevent the District of Columbia from using federal funds to pay for abortions [including incest and rape victims] and implement rules that decriminalize marijuana use. What's the connection to Wall Street oversight with these tag-ons? Is this a funding bill or some criminal bill? Maybe the only thing criminal about it is that it passed the GOP house.

So as not to make this sound too one-sided. The House Republicans in this spending bill did take a much needed stab at cutting the deficit with a partial spending off-set.

It includes a ban on using taxpayer funds to pay for oil paintings of government officials, including the president and members of Congress.

If that makes it through the Democratic senate (fat chance there), we'll finally have a cost saver we can all live with.


Romney All In For Another Run To Purchase White House


dollar signs

Six months ago, I posted on The Political Carnival that Mitt Romney was leading in the New Hampshire polls for a 2016 run. And in those six months, nothing has changed. He still leads.

Last week's Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll of New Hampshire Republicans finds Romney to be the overwhelming favorite to be their 2016 GOP presidential nominee, with 24 percent going for Mitt and a mere 9 percent for the second-place finisher, Christie.

On the surface, Mitt is saying no, but in reality, he's pulling out all the stops behind the scenes to make a third go of it, having failed in 2008 to McCain and having bested the GOP crowd in 2012. Romney is actively looking to blunt the fundraising of the other Republicans in consideration, Rand Paul, Rafael Cruz, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and even Jeb Bush.

It takes huge money to run for POTUS. Romney not only has a lot of it himself, but according to this report from THE HILL:

Here is the dirty little secret of the GOP donor class, i.e. the rich establishment bundlers who funded the recent presidential campaigns of the Bushes, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.): They are actively trying to recruit Romney to run again in 2016 — and Mitt is indeed interested.

With the Chris Christie Bridge scandals and the lack of support for Jeb Bush, there's nowhere for the Republican party to turn if they want to beat Hillary Clinton. And for once, this is a smart choice for the Republicans. Romney has a ground organization. He's got name recognition. And he's got the bankroll.

How certain can we be that Romney's really going to go full bore?

At least that was the word sweeping through emails and conference calls heading into mid-June's exclusive Romney-sponsored GOP ideas summit out in Utah.

The truth is that the entire Utah event was actually aimed at beginning the process of having Romney again be the candidate of this Establishment Money Machine — only with some severe, but reachable, caveats.

Romney spoke to this summit — and on Sunday morning TV shows — on "how to beat Hillary," without actually saying what many were thinking: "Mitt Romney is the only Republican who could beat her."



Bridge-it Loves Christie


Pulaski Skyway Bridge Pulaski Skyway Bridge

What is it with boys and their toys? They just won't leave them alone sometimes. They have a fascination that they can't give up -- until they break them.

And NJ Governor Chris Christie may just have crossed that bridge too far.

Now comes another bridge scandal. No, really. Another bridge scandal. You just gotta love this guy, Christie. He doubles down when he thinks he can get away with something. He's determined to leave no bridge unturned.

Here's the latest from the Daily Beast:

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Manhattan district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Christie's office for lobbying the Port Authority to divert $1.8 billion away from a canceled rail-tunnel project and towards repairing the Pulaski Skyway bridge. Pulaski is a state bridge, outside of the Port Authority's purview. The Christie administration recast the bridge as an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel (they're not connected) in order to justify using Port Authority funds. The move is under scrutiny for potentially defrauding bond holders. Under the Martin Act, prosecutors could bring felony charges without proving intent to defraud. The SEC could also take civil action.

What's it all mean? Fraud.

Christie, who boasted he could balance the state's budget in his reelection stump speeches, couldn't. So he diverted funds from a public source, the billion dollar rail-tunnel project. Christie cancelled the project which was already underway then took the unspent funds and used them for repairs that were not authorized. He did it by claiming the bridge was an access road.

A bridge became an access road? Okay, that's stretching it, but we'll move on.

He then claimed this "access road" connected to the Lincoln Tunnel. It does NOT  lead or connect in any way, shape or form to the Lincoln Tunnel. That's like saying the Bridge over the River Kwai connected Burma with London.

So, just when you thought it was safe to return to New Jersey, think again. You may be following road signs from Trenton to New York City and end up in Pennsylvania thanks to Gov. Christie and his new road connection designations.

But if you want to speak to him, you better do it quickly. He may be moving his office to the New Jersey State Department of Corrections.

Looks like he's gonna have a bit more 'splainin' to do, Lucy.


GOP To Starving Unemployed: Live With It. I'm Getting My Nails Done


Marsha Blackburn Representative Marsha Blackburn

Sometimes we as people get in over our heads. It's at times like those that we hope no one calls on us to explain our lack of knowledge or skills. Yesterday, on national TV, we got a glimpse of such an event. The interviewer MSNBC's Chris Jansing interviewed Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. The relatively unknown representative who faces reelection in November was advised to become the sacrificial lamb for the GOP in explaining the Republican's reluctance to extend long term unemployment insurance.

They sent her out unarmed and facing a well prepared journalist in Jansing.

Here is someone that her state of Tennessee elected, entrusting her to look out and protect their interests. Her state, BTW has a 8+ unemployment rate vesus a national 7.1. So of all people, she should be concerned with her constituents. But when you're a paper tiger, you go out and take all the slings and arrows that common sense tosses your way, with a smile and your ignorance. Her defense of fighting the extension is that it's not the problem, jobs are the problem. She dismisses that during the last Republican tenure in the White House, passing this, unpaid for, was standard stuff -- over 7 times.

Instead she blames Harry Reid and President Obama. Noticeably absent from that guilty group was her own, Speaker of the House, John Boehner. His job (oops, there's that word again) is to help create jobs. And as a congresswoman. she is part of Boehner's caucus, not Reid's or Obama's.

The two questions that Jansing didn't ask the syrupy sweet puppet from the Volunteer State is "If jobs are the big problem, what's your jobs plan?" What bill have you brought up that creates jobs?

If you want to see how crazy wackadoo the lemming GOP House has become, and how out of touch the dilettantes are thinking, watch this. Every point the Congresswoman makes, she's shot down by Jansing. When you have nowhere to turn and you're out of ammo, here's what you look like. Priceless is the moment, toward the end when she's asked what she would say to the people of her state who have higher unemployment than the average -- she doesn't offer them help. No, instead she offers them compassion. Tell me how much food you can put on a poor person's plate with compassion. How much heat you can add to your home when the polar vortex comes knocking on your door. strictly with compassion. This clip would be hysterical on Saturday Night Live, if it weren't so real.


Sallie Mae Go Away


Elizabeth Warren

Start with this jaw-dropping introduction by Huffpo:

Student loan giant Sallie Mae is currently under fire from lawmakers, federal regulators, consumer groups and student advocates for allegedly violating numerous consumer protection laws. The company is facing accusations that it cheats soldiers on active duty, engages in discriminatory lending, pushes borrowers into delinquency by improperly processing their monthly payments, and doesn't provide enough aid to borrowers in distress.

Then I say, screw them. No wonder Senator Elizabeth Warren has been calling for investigations into the student loan industry.

The U. S. Department of Education surely has options. Luckily there's a small window of opportunity here before the current contract with Sallie Mae is up in June.

The new contract, which would run through June 2019, is potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Last year, Sallie Mae recorded $84 million in revenue from its Education Department contracts. But the company wants more.

In its latest annual report, released in February, Sallie Mae told investors that in the 2013 fiscal year, the Education Department was projected to originate more than $121 billion in new loans and dole out more than $1 billion in servicing and other fees -- a large slice of which Sallie Mae hoped to capture.

Why isn't the DofE out there soliciting bidders? Something's not right here -- and the implication from this perceived closed bidding is that there's some shenanigans going on here. If we're willing to offer bail outs and support a 'too big to fail' philosophy, why don't we support 'small enough to fail but small enough to care?' Why not a consortium of smaller financial institutions and investors who want to make big money?

Student loan default rates have become alarmingly high. But much of that could be attributed to the onerous overseeing of Sallie Mae and their untoward business practices. If Sallie Mae cheats, why reward them?

Even better put is Senator Warren's comments:

The agency has yet to respond to a Sept. 19 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) criticizing it for its apparent inability to hold Sallie Mae accountable, despite what Warren described as a “pattern of breaking the rules and ignoring its contractual obligations.”

If Sallie Mae’s past actions have not warranted an end to its federal contracts, Warren asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan, under what circumstances would the department terminate a contract with a law-breaking company?

What we need is to listen more to Senator Warren and less to Sallie Mae -- and it's mouthpiece, Arne Duncan. C'mon Mr. Secretary, grow a pair -- a big pair -- and stand up for the students of America, not a corrupt, lawbreaking organization.


Have Republicans Gone 'Big Government?'


Who Are You

Let's play "Who Are You?"

Who's currently pushing for immediate funding in big government? The programs in question-- Military, Veterans, national parks, Head Start, Women and Children in Poverty (WHIP), National Institute for Health (NIH), SNAP, Air Travel Safety, food safety?

That's such and easy-peasy question. The answer is the Democrats.

Well, we'll give you part credit for that answer. The real answer is currently, it's the Republicans. Now that the government shutdown, which they caused is having frightful repercussions, the results of their reckless and perilous game is causing huge backlash.

NBC claims to be "SHOCKED" by the horrible numbers in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. And that hasn't been lost on the GOP and even the Tea Party (yes, they really are two parties but that's a different discussion). What should be shocking NBC more is the list of what this desperate, out of touch, old white man's party are now backing. It's as if Professor Backwards was delivering the new Republican platform.

Professor Backwards

Everything the GOP has fought against, they're now for -- and when do they want it? Now!

Ted Cruz turning over in his grave with this bevy of spending bills hasn't been lost on MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Last night's segment of HARDBALL featured this clip:

The Republicans, in the light of public outcry are both being shown to be selfish elitists and big government. They shut down the government. You'd have to be living in a hole underground not to know that. And there's still some who live down there, but most have come to the surface. After years of being lied to and sold a bill of goods, cut down the government, they don't do anything for you as a mantra, the truth is being realized. While they were in their subterranean bunkers, the Democrats and Independents were above ground working for everyone's benefit.

The Republicans and Tea Partiers, not so much, as the clip above shows.

When this shut-down and debt ceiling fiascoes subside and our short memories return, the battles will rage once again. But hopefully there will be some who remember how they were effected by this shutdown. Whether it was parks, military funerals, food for the poor, business, medical clinics or whatever, the sting might last long enough and snap public opinion around a bit, so we can reinstate and improve both the efficiency of the government as well as respect and acknowledge what part it really plays in our lives.

The only one's who won't forget are sadly those who return to a live in a vacuum life, a bubble, or the Tea Party. They'll resurface another day, armed with wackadoo thinking and plotting to bring down our government. Hopefully intelligence and this current experience will defeat them and their representatives.

Doesn't this shutdown make you wish there was an election right now where you could shout out with your vote how displeased you are with the current crop of Republican elected officials?


GOP Trying To Rebuild Baby Tossed Out With The Bathwater


Baby with the bathwater

In their ill-conceived zeal to  repeal, or disable the Affordable Care Act, the Republicans made some missteps. They forgot to calculate what would be getting tossed or defunded if the government shut down. It's the baby with the bathwater syndrome.

Now just passing a clean CR would rectify all of that, but delusional John Boehner (who one commentator said during the shutdown, the pronunciation of his name would return to how it's spelled) has forgone that option. It would make him look weak. Really John. You, Mr. Crybaby look weak. I just can't see how that's possible.

So the plan to save face after putting over 800,000 people out of work was to rebuild the baby who got tossed. First the GOP started with national parks, or actually they started slowly. Just the WWII veterans memorial part who Fox News reported, via Tucker Carlson, as costing nothing. As I wrote on an earlier post, he must assume that the maintenance and security at the monument are freebies, all done by volunteers.


Anyway, from there, the House Republicans took to more of the Dr. Frankenstein experiment. They added legs and other extremities with their passage of bills funding all National parks, NIH, Head Start, WIC (Women, Infants & Children) nutritional program, Cancer research, Veterans benefits, NSA, and Disaster (FEMA) relief.

Oh, and let's not forget the big one, the torso for this monster baby, funding back-pay for all government officials who were put on furlough. This big body part would be kind of the torso. That got a 100% support from the House. Unfortunately, guaranteeing to pay employees their full restitution without their doing the work isn't  meeting such a staunch support in the Senate. Gangrene or tissue rejection has already begun on that one, according to senior physician, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

This is resulting in the desired small government baby actually becoming a larger, oversize doll.

Large doll

Piecemeal rebuilding is not the same as just using the simple clean CR. Now we're stuck. The odds 'n ends parts aren't being synchronized and working because some of the vital organs, like the heart, liver and a brain still aren't installed.

So while the Republican, change that, the Tea Party-led medical team continues to try to stitch the government monster back together, time is wasting, big business who supports them is being hurt and losing money, the public is turning away from the Republicans and looking for a new set of doctors, the Democrats. With the right Democratic medical team, led by Chief Resident in Charge, President Obama, the patient may survive.

But this is going to involve more than taking two aspirins and calling the POTUS in the morning. It requires the Speaker to call for a vote on a clean continuing resolution and the prognosis is good that the baby patient will survive. Kids are resilient.  We won't get to know for sure until there's a vote, but if it doesn't come soon, this baby is history.

Basically, if there's no clean CR, which most of the House Democratic doctors and a small portion of GOP'ers think would be the best prescription right now, the baby will look like this:

Frankestein baby

Or, Dr. Boehner can go the clean route and have this:

Ken Doll 2


I don't know about you, but I prefer the clean CR and the doll immediately above.

Calling Dr. Boehner, Dr. Cruz, Dr. Lee. Code red. Bring a crash cart to the ER. The patient is waiting.