Archive for the people

Harry Reid To GOP: Get serious

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The GOP whined that President Obama’s bully pulpit is no fair! Then they presented their idea of a “fiscal cliff” counter offer.

Next, the Twitter trolls oozed out to tweet their disdain for anyone who agreed with the president's plan to allow the disastrous Bush tax cuts to expire for those making over $250,000.

Again, everyone would still get a tax break on all income up to $250,000. Those making over that would start seeing a slight increase on $250,001 and over. So if you make $251,000, only $1,000 would be taxed at the Clinton rates.

But Republicans want none of that. It's more important to them to keep taxes low and raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, which was part of Paul Ryan’s Kill Medicare budget plan. They'd rather keep their wealthy buddies happy by sticking it to poor and middle class Americans. They'd prefer putting the health and well-being of their fellow Americans at risk than make very rich people pay the same tax rates they did during the prosperous years under President Clinton.

They'd take healthier people out of the Medicare risk pool, and leave sicker ones to pay more. That's their priority. That's the priority of those who take pride in calling themselves "pro-life."

Oh, and there's this:

Raising Medicare’s eligibility would save the federal government money by shifting costs to individuals, employers, and states.  These increased costs would be twice as large as the net federal savings, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Harry Reid isn't thrilled about this so-called proposal, or as Vanity Fair contributing editor and bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald calls it, a "press release." Here's Reid's statement, via BuzzFeed:

To protect millionaires, Speaker Boehner’s offer would force middle class families to pay higher taxes. Raising taxes on the middle class is bad policy and flunks the test of balance. To protect the middle class while reducing the deficit, simple math dictates that tax rates must rise on the top two percent of taxpayers next year. The sooner Republicans grasp that reality, the sooner we can avoid the fiscal cliff.

Democrats are willing to compromise, but any agreement must protect the middle class. We have also been clear that we have no intention of kicking the can down the road. Not only does Speaker Boehner’s proposal delay revenues into 2013, it sets up another destructive fight over the debt ceiling first thing next year. 

Republicans have made an offer, but now it is time for them to get serious about forging a balanced approach.”

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For whom the shills troll

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Link

The tweet you see above is pretty typical of the responses I get from conservative troll accounts on Twitter, ones that usually have no followers, or at most a handful, like this one:

However, others belong to authentic right wing accounts, often ones that include words like "freedom," "Blessed by the Almighty Creator of the Universe," and "Small Government" in their profile bios. They initiate the exchanges (such as they are), appearing suddenly, uninvited, and seem to swarm when they feel threatened by good Obama news, or when they feel the need to defend the latest gibberish from the GOP.

Today they came out in droves, several in the space of only a few minutes, right after some of us tweeted replies to the president's Twitter Q and A, using the hashtag #My2K. Following that was the Republican counter offer to the President Obama's tax plan, the one he's been campaigning on for the past couple of years. Details of that are here: GOP waaahmbulance alert: President Obama’s bully pulpit is no fair! GOP has “fiscal cliff” counter offer.

Note to trolls, from @MiltShook: Social Security and Medicare are NOT part of the general fund, have NOTHING to do with "fiscal cliff."

But enough about reality.

Here are some of the talking points, er, Twitter responses that I wanted to share with you, because 1) I found them amusing, and 2) their tone and content are what many of us have become accustomed to day in and day out. And yes, I blocked them all:

 

 

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Note: This one from the same account wasn't tweeted to me, but I noticed it in her stream:

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@gottalaff  top 10% pay 70% of tax burden. How much do you want them to pay? We need taxpayers not more taxes.

@gottalaff President also wants ability to raise debt limit w/out Congress. OVERREACH.

@gottalaff "working people" have seen increase in gas, food, utilities. less take home pay. You are being sold a bill of goods.

-- Jean Hall  (@JeanHalljgh) December 3, 2012

This account's stream included a tweet to President Obama with a "you're a nincompoop" message. That's what they're reduced to:

@gottalaff @richardtrumka Yeah Mr. President, shift the costs of your social programs to the non-working, non- income, non-producing people

— Dennis Miller (@millerpost) December 3, 2012

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@bgilson1212 @gottalaff @richardtrumka Will ya look at that. #My2K has the union clowns jumping on the train to raise taxes & cut nothing.

— Wilbs999 (@Wilbs999) December 3, 2012

But then along comes someone like this to compensate for all the insanity:

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BREAKING: GOP waaahmbulance alert: President Obama's bully pulpit is no fair! GOP has "fiscal cliff" counter offer.

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It really, really surprises and bugs Republicans that President Obama has a spine, has won an election and support for his tax plan, has the upper hand, and that he is a new and improved version of Bargainer in Chief who, in his second term, has learned not to give ground before negotiations even get off the ground.

And as I said in my post Republicans are somehow shocked– SHOCKED!– at White House proposals and the president's ability to reach out to Americans:

What’s he doing running around the country communicating when he should be back where he belongs, in his D.C. bubble! Who does he think he is, the leader of the entire nation? Why, if he had any sense at all, he’d put the brakes on such discussions and devote his time to endless bickering with the Republicans whose primary goal was to obstruct his every proposal and make him a one term president.

The very idea!

This is seriously getting under John Boehner's bizarrely orange skin. Roll Call:

A day after the November elections, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicans are ready to be led by President Barack Obama. Much to their dismay, they feel like they are being bullied instead.

The frustration is seeping through, as, for the first time in a while, Republicans do not seem to have an upper hand in negotiations. Instead, they are a step behind, relegated to reactive politics as Obama, emboldened by a decisive re-election and more Democrats on the way in the next Congress, takes his case to the public and presents private offers the GOP is certain to reject. [...]

Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, a Boehner ally and a key player on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee:

It’s just shocking to me that a president who gets fewer states in this election than the previous election and a smaller percentage of the vote, acts like he got a mandate,” he said. “This is unacceptable. This is not leadership. This is not leadership in any way shape or form from the president, and I’m personally very frustrated.”

Instead of scoffing and harrumphing and whining their elephantine asses off, maybe Boehner and Co. could try coming forward with specifics that don't sound like Ryan Budget Redux and start, you know, negotiating. Turning on your heel and tantruming was so Eric Cantor ago.

As Roll Call reports, the president is out on the trail talking to crowds at campaign-style rallies, while The Boehner and his conference "were left stewing in the Capitol." That didn't seem to bother Republicans when George W. Bush used the bully pulpit to push for privatizing Social Security:

Bush embarked on a 60-day national tour, campaigning vigorously for his initiative in media events, known as the "Conversations on Social Security", in an attempt to gain support from the general public.[151] Despite the energetic campaign, public support for the proposal declined[152] and the House Republican leadership decided not to put Social Security reform on the priority list for the remainder of their 2005 legislative agenda.[153]

Sucks to be them.

UPDATE: Per MSNBC and the AP just now, the GOP has a counter offer:

GOP proposes Medicare cuts, reduced Social Security inflation adjustment in fiscal cliff talks - @AP

Email alert via Politico:

POLITICO Breaking News: House Republicans have made a $2.2 trillion counter offer to the White House on the fiscal cliff negotiations that does not raise tax rates on upper income Americans but does include $800 billion in tax reform, $600 billion in health care cuts and $600 billion in other cuts in discretionary and mandatory spending.

Per Think Progress's Igor Volsky, a couple of tweets:

RT @chucktodd: ... the House GOP plan has another 1.4 T in new cuts/savings (Medicare/CPI for Soc Sec and other programs/Farm Subs).

GOP counter offer includes raising Medicare eligiblity age from 65 to 67 yo. This was part of Paul Ryan's plan and is a very bad idea.

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VIDEO: "The polling is with the president on this." So what does $2,000 mean to you?

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Of course, Republicans are shocked– SHOCKED!– at the years-old White House proposals.

But “Can the people of this land do something to live happily ever after?”

And per the New York Times, despite what GOP talking points tell us, Americans aren't exactly "paying ever more to finance the expansion of government" considering the tax burden for most Americans is lower than it was in the 1980s:

[I]n fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980. [...]

Tax rates at most income levels were lower in 2010 than at any point during the 1980s.

Who was president from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989 again? Oh that's right. Ronald Reagan.

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Share Your Story: http://OFA.BO/AGsY8R

For more than 19 months, President Obama campaigned on the idea that if we're going to be successful, every American has to do their part and pay their fair share.

A centerpiece of his platform, and the campaign you built, was that income taxes should not go up on the middle class -- that the responsible way to pay down the deficit, while investing in education, job training, research and science, is to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more.

Right now, President Obama is asking you to think about what $2,000 a year means to you and your family.

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VIDEO-- Tax the rich: An animated fairy tale. "Can the people of this land do something to live happily ever after?"

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Gather 'round, kiddies...

"Question: Is there no alternative, or can the people of this land do something to live happily ever after?"

Of particular interest: The segment at about 3:00.

And doesn't the politician receiving all those donations at about 5:30 remind you just a wee bit of... Scott Walker?

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Tax the rich: An animated fairy tale, is narrated by Ed Asner, with animation by Mike Konopacki. Written and directed by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. An 8 minute video about how we arrived at this moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality. Things go downhill in a happy and prosperous land after the rich decide they don't want to pay taxes anymore. They tell the people that there is no alternative, but the people aren't so sure. This land bears a startling resemblance to our land. For more info, www.cft.org.

I believe...I believe... it's silly, but I believe...

H/t: @KingsburyQc

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Republicans are shocked-- SHOCKED!-- at White House proposals

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I could barely watch the Sunday political talk shows today (why should this Sunday be any different, right?). Republicans were falling all over themselves to ridicule, mock, belittle, poo-poo, eyeroll, or any other synonym you can think of to harrumph and sputter over President Obama's/Tim Geithner's budget proposals. What could the White House be thinking?

They're apparently "flabbergasted!" by his tax plan! Who could have guessed that after a couple of years campaigning (and winning) for a plan to let the Bush tax cuts to expire for those earning over $250,000, President Obama would bring it up again now? And in front of so many people! The GOP is shocked, shocked, I tells ya! No, sorry, they're flabbergasted!

Boehner ‘flabbergasted’ at fiscal cliff proposal

Graham: 'I think we're going over the cliff'

Cole: Obama's proposal a 'Christmas wish list' 

Or maybe they're just taken aback by a new and improved Negotiator in Chief who came in with a few powerful bargaining chips right up front without giving ground before the haggling even got off the ground.

And don't get my started on Candy Crowley's comments about the president actually taking his ideas directly to the people... to the voters.. to the voters who re-elected him. Those voters.

Why, that's crazy! What's he doing running around the country communicating when he should be back where he belongs, in his D.C. bubble! Who does he think he is, the leader of the entire nation? Why, if he had any sense at all, he'd put the brakes on such discussions and devote his time to endless bickering with the Republicans whose primary goal was to obstruct his every proposal and make him a one term president.

The very idea!

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Fiscal Cliff Notes

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My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up at HuffPo; hence, because Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He has comedic insights that rival those of our mutual friend, the hilarious Lizz Winstead. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here:

[W]e're now forced to confront a band of enormously wealthy people who've benefited from - or bestowed upon others - large financial bailouts and ill-considered tax cuts who like lecturing Americans living on earned benefits about "shared sacrifice". As in, you give up a meal each day, and I'll give up a pair of yacht shoes! Deal? 

It is this truth that often goes unreported during discussions of our so-called "fiscal cliff" (besmirching my good name, I might add), a supposed doomsday scenario where the economy will turn into some sort of a combination of the prom scene from Carrie and Fox News' "1/2 Hour News Hour", if we don't all sing kumbaya by year's end.  [...]

As cognitive linguist Anat Shenker outlines in her enormously insightful book, Don't Buy It: The Trouble With Talking Nonsense About The Economy, the economy isn't a living, breathing thing. It can't be hurt. In fact, as Shenker says, the problem is that the debate is still often about "who loves the economy more, when it should be about people". 

Because, you see, people are actually hurt by layoffs, lack of health insurance and the austerity-police, or those plutocrats who'd consider it unclean to fly coach. [...]

Thankfully, there is reason for optimism, as a number of groups with whom I've worked closely, such as Social Security Works and USAction, have led a grassroots effort to point out who's leading the charge to starve grandma - while wearing their finest Italian suits. [...]

[R]oughly nine in 10 respondents don't want their Social Security or Medicare cut in any way. [...]

It seems the President is paying close attention to all this, with his much tougher bargaining stance so far, which is heartening.

Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. 

Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter

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