Here is some information and here is a video about President Obama’s proposed budget:
Here is a video about the cuts:
Many Democrats are not happy (though Democratic leadership is starting to get behind it). Many Republicans are also not happy. But of course Democrats in power must embrace it and Republicans must knock it. That’s politics. I think the fact that a lot of the left is pissed shows that a serious effort was undertaken to make cuts.
It’s often said that the best compromises are those that leave both sides wanting more, so on that note this seems to have struck that sort of balance, though Republican criticisms seem a little harsh when Obama is cutting some of Democrats’ favorite programs.
This obviously isn’t the end of this story, but we have an interesting start.
Enjoy Chicago Code if you’re not already.
There have been plenty of questions about Rand Paul, so it would make sense that once he got into the Senate he would keep a low profile. That’s a tradition for new members – keep your head down, learn the odd rules, and yield to ranking members. But that ain’t Rand’s style, and he isn’t keeping quiet.
Paul is trying to cut $500 billion from the budget, including picking a fight with Israel by planning to cut all foreign aid. By proposing such huge cuts, he’s also putting pressure on other GOP members, lest they look weak in the eyes of the Tea Party. Rand was one of the first to call out Boehner, who promised $100 billion in cuts but only proposed $32 billion. He just got there and he’s got the GOP leadership in a pickle.
Rand has also attacked Henry Clay in a speech to the Senate. Henry Clay, a Kentucky senator, is a hero of Mitch McConnell, also a Kentucky senator. So Rand Paul, a newly elected Kentucky senator, took to the floor to attack the hero of Kentucky’s senior senator, GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also happens to be a legendary Kentucky senator. That takes some balls. Kentucky papers are already running articles denouncing the speech (example).
McConnell walked out of the speech. They’re claiming he had another engagement that forced him to leave, but I’m not buying it. Rand decided to make a splash by denouncing a great compromiser, he is demonstrating that he will not compromise on the ideas that got him elected – lower taxes and cutting spending.
I disagree strongly with Rand Paul’s policy ideas and I think if we had his way we’d be screwed, but I have to admit I admire what he’s doing. It happens all too often that we elect someone thinking they’ll storm D.C. and raise hell. They’ll get in there and dominate those jerks in Washington. It’s one of the most common campaigns there is, and it almost always leaves people disappointed.
I’m hoping Rand’s supporters end up disappointed, but it has to be sweet to see your guy in there getting after it. Recognizing that a beloved historical figure had flaws (though he may have went to far) is something that members of Congress are loath to do. And taking a leading role in reshaping the policy agenda of a party is something newbies are loath to do. So to see someone I think is completely wrong doing it is upsetting.
Why is it this guy who thinks the federal government overstepped its bound enacting the Civil Rights Act is the guy to shake things up? Unwritten rules and protocol are just the way people that have been there forever keep themselves at the top and keep everyone under them in line. Then those that toe the line and keep their head down do the same when they rise. I’m overgeneralizing, but I don’t care. I am a bit frustrated that I’m writing this about Rand Paul.
It shouldn’t be surprising, and I am probably giving him too much credit, but this is just what ran through my mind as I read this article. I begrudgingly admire his political sack.
Enjoy the last (sort of) kind words I am likely to write about Rand Paul.
Before the Super Bowl, which was a solid game, President Obama sat down with Bill O’Reilly. He spoke about Egypt, saying they will certainly change but we can’t dictate what they do. When asked about the judge’s ruling on health care reform, Obama said he disagrees with the judge and doesn’t want to continue fighting the battles of the last two years while championing some of the better parts of the bill. I do like at about the 7:00 mark how Obama makes the argument that the mandate is about responsibility. Obama also talked about his idea of winning the future in various ways. There is also an interesting point at 9:45 when Obama talks about the things that reach his desk. It’s definitely worth a listen.
Enjoy contemplating how long it will be before the next NFL game.
President Obama has a new site that allows you to track the progress we’ve made by your location (if you want you can check their numbers going through their sources by clicking on the source).
You can sniff around and see what you see, but to make it easier I’ll do a rundown of some major areas:
- 41,000 South Dakota residents will now have access to affordable health care because of reform
- 10,169 South Dakota seniors benefited from additional coverage when Democrats closed the Medicare donut hole
- 67,000 South Dakotans age 26 or younger can now stay on their parents’ health care coverage
- 217,000 families in South Dakota will receive tax credits and other assistance because of health care reform
- 46 community clinics were created in South Dakota by the Affordable Care Act
- 23,100 small businesses in South Dakota eligible for health care tax credits under the Affordable Care Act
- 300,000 middle class families in South Dakota received a tax cut through the Recovery Act
- 16,859 new hires in South Dakota for which their emploiyer may be eligible for a tax cut through the HIRE Act, which Democrats passed to promote private-sector job growth
- 9,000 jobs created or saved through October 2010 in South Dakota because of the Recovery Act
- 217,00 families that get health care help (mentioned above)
Economy and Jobs
- 9,000 jobs created or saved (mentioned above)
- 2,215 South Dakota residents who receive relief because Democrats extended Unemployment Insurance
- 300,000 middle class tax cuts (above)
- 23,100 small businesses eligible for health care tax credit (above)
- 23,100 small businesses eligible for health care tax credit
- 70,000 loans issued to small businesses through the Small Business Administration Recovery loan provisions (nationally)
- There is also a list of tax cuts for small businesses (8 listed, though it says Democrats have enacted more than a dozen tax cuts for small businesses)
- 500 education jobs in South Dakota have been saved because of the deficit-neutral state-aid bill Democrats passed
- $5,975 can be received from Pell Grant scholarships by 2017 for eligible students
- 23,000 South Dakota families received college tuition help in 2009 from the American Opportunity Tax Credit
- $130,165,683 invested in higher education in South Dakota over the next 10 years
- 31 Department of Energy Recovery Act projects in South Dakota that will help secure our energy future
- 1,809 South Dakota homes weatherized through the Energy Department between February 2009 and September 2010, reducing energy bills and increasing energy efficiency
- $74,900,000 invested in South Dakota through the Recovery Act for clean-energy projects
There are also stories from South Dakotans about how policies have benefited them. Here is one from Kayla in Brookings, SD:
When Kayla was just 9 years old, she was in a motorcycle accident. While her insurance plan covered her medical expenses, she contracted chronic osteomyelitis, a chronic bone infection. Since contracting the disease she has had over 25 surgeries on her leg. Kayla is now 22 years old and a full time nursing student at South Dakota State University, but in five months, she would have lost her coverage. The new law will make it possible for Kayla to remain on her parents’ plan.
There are other things and stories you can explore, but this should give you an idea of what there is. I think it was a good idea to lay it out state by state (or in larger states, by congressional district).
Enjoy the tolerable weather.
People that are against democracy in Egypt have been citing the violence in Egypt as evidence of radicalism that we should fear. This doesn’t tell the whole story. If the peaceful demonstrations became violent, it is largely due to the actions of a government that fears for its own continued existence. Rachel Maddow has a solid video that questions why journalists are being accosted and arrested. Why would the government not want people reporting on what is happening?
The government has been trying to stoke violence and chaos so they can justify strong action against those seeking democracy. Those horrible looters people say demonstrate the danger of the protesters, but the looters were laregly police. It also makes you wonder how 1000s of prisoners escaped.
Mubarak needs to be seen as the only thing keeping order in Egypt, so in order to make people want to turn to him, he has to create disorder.
I think they made a mistake by having forced confessions run on pro-government networks. It was especially a mistake to have these people claim they were trained by Israel and America in Qatar to overthrow the government. Such claims are obviously false, stink of desperation, and show exactly why people are trying to overthrow the government. They will arrest innocents and force them to tell lies in order to maintain power.
Anyone that called our government tyrannical over the last few years and now defends Mubarak has an odd sense of tyranny, in that it is idiotic. A lot of people just get to define words as they go and claim they’re good based on whether or not they favor the results. For instance, Obama is a tyrant (Tea Party, Dick Armey, etc.) because he works to get legislation they don’t like, even though they have the option to vote him out when the time comes. Which is, um, the opposite of tyranny. Democracy is good, unless we don’t like who we think someone will democratically elect, in which case, tyranny! But it’s not really tyranny, though Mubarak abuses his power to maintain power (or tyranny), because he’s our ally.
I didn’t intend on going on that little tangent when I started this post, but it just struck me how hypocritical people can be. It again feels like people don’t actually support ideals, but rather support them only when they get the results they desire. It’s like how Republicans have claimed for years to be against government spending, then each time elected they only try and change where the money is spent, not the actual amount spent (though some of the current batch do seem serious).
But anyway, the main point is that the Egyptian government is attempting to make things look bad so they have an excuse to come down hard on the protesters. They should know that silencing foreign journalists is not going to do much to help their credibility, nor will having protesters say we trained them.
It sort of seems as though we’ve just been biding our time to react to the situation in Egypt, but we one (sort of):
The reaction is measured and cautious. The reactions of others have been, um, less measured. Here is a favorite quote about what the Egypt unrest could lead to, involving three world powers:
One, a Muslim caliphate that controls the Mideast and parts of Europe. Two, China, that will control Asia, the southern half of Africa, part of the Middle East, Australia, maybe New Zealand, and God only knows what else. And Russia, which will control all of the old former Soviet Union bloc, plus maybe the Netherlands. I’m not really sure. But their strong arm is coming. That leaves us and South America. What happens to us?
If you’re wondering who could conjure something like this out of a country’s attempt to gain democracy, you should know better by know. Imagining the statement on a chalkboard may help. Yes, Glenn Beck said it.
Just watch this video, then try and tell me this guy is stable enough to teach us history/predict the future:
There is fire everywhere! And apparently radical Islamist(ists?) and Marxists are combining, and as a result, the world will implode. If you can follow his various streams of consciousness, congratulations? But it’s easy to see why a lot of people haven’t been tuning in recently
Here is a pretty good breakdown of the differences between 1979 Iran and current Egypt.
The salon article also had a lot of interesting reactions from other Republicans. It’s either we need to support democracy (which seems logical) or we need to fear Muslims. Republican Rep. Peter King seems to be the most fearful. From Salon:
Finally, at home, where House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., will hold hearings to investigate the influence of radical Islam on America – King refers to American Muslims as the “enemy living amongst us” — a study by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security reports that the number of Muslim-Americans who committed or were arrested for terrorist crimes has dropped by almost 60 percent since 2009, to just 20 last year. Maybe more important, according to Think Progress, tips from Muslim Americans led to a terrorist plot being thwarted in 48 of 120 cases involving Muslim Americans, according to the study.
I think The Onion News Network (now on IFC on Fridays) has an awesome video about what seems to be the attitude of people like King:
A person could write about this all night, and I feel I haven’t done enough, but I must run. I’m sure we’ll continue talking about this for quite some time.
After President Obama’s speech, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan will deliver a rebuttal. It is a difficult job to do and is often only remembered if it is bad. It is expected that Ryan will focus on fiscal issues.
I am super excited about this. Who knows what she’ll say? Will she mention Kenya? Maybe she’ll go on a diatribe against Muslims and claim Obama is one of them. Perhaps she’ll talk about the dreaded re-education camps. Either way, I’m sure it will be awesome.
This should trouble Republicans, as it is more evidence of the rift between the Republican leadership and the Tea Party that is largely responsible for the mid-term success Republicans had. It may serve to demonstrate the differences between what Bachmann lovers and establishment Republicans believe.
I, for one, hope Bachmann is full out crazy. If she is, it will only serve to overshadow Ryan’s rebuttal and bring the focus to the fracture in the Republican party.
Of course, I could be reading this wrong. I guess there is a chance that Bachmann’s speech will bring more focus to the rebuttals in general, taking away from Obama’s speech. It’s even possible that Bachmann will dial it down (ha). Any way you look at it, it at least serves to make the night more interesting.
Enjoy the show.
I think it would do the country a lot of good to have Bachmann’s insanity paraded out in GOP debates. Other Republicans might even be forced to respond to it, and you know she wouldn’t have a problem going after less crazy Republicans. And the amount of support she would probably get would be great in exposing just how many people agree with her lunacy.
Perhaps seeing Bachmann’s candidacy would even convince some Republicans that Palin isn’t so bad. They could nominate her, all but assuring a second term for President Obama.
National politics would be hard to take if so much of it wasn’t so crazy. Bachmann definitely is about the craziest politician going. I think this would be hilarious. Do it, Michele.
Enjoy getting on those resolutions.
The START Treaty, an arms control act between the U.S. and Russia, was ratified in the Senate with 13 Republicans joining the Democrats. From the LA Times:
Under the treaty, Russia and the United States agree to limit the number of nuclear warheads to 1,550 each, down from the ceiling of 2,200. The pact also establishes a system for monitoring and verification. The treaty was signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on April 8.
Also from the LA Times:
The partisan politics of ratification were clear in the debate. In his comments, Cornyn mentioned the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Obama in the early days of his administration. The citation praised Obama for creating a new climate in international politics, Cornyn noted.
“You ask what is the relevance of this to consideration to the START treaty,” Cornyn chided. “I fear that the New START treaty will serve as another data in a narrative of weakness, pursuing diplomacy for its own sake or indulging in a utopian dream of a world without nuclear weapons divorced from hard reality.”
Cornyn closed by urging defeat of the START agreement to prove that the era of “unilateral American concessions is over.”
That’s right, we’re making unilateral concessions, like requiring Russia to also reduce their nuclear weapons. Wait. What?
And it’s so scary to only have 1,550 nuclear warheads. How can we ever destroy the world with only 1,550 nuclear warheads. Wait. What?
I think the main problem Republicans are having with this bill is that it’s yet another lame duck victory for President Obama and Democrats. Man, if only the Democrats had pretended they were a lame duck group the last two years, who knows what they could have accomplished?
Enjoy it while it lasts.
A new campaign/website has come together in an attempt to end the tax cuts for people making more than $1,000,000 per year. It is signed by patriotic millionaires that favor having their tax cuts expire (as was intended) in the name of fiscal responsibility. I think it has been signed by about 87 millionaires so far. Here is their message:
We are writing to urge you to stand firm against those who would put politics ahead of their country.
For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled.
We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more.
We have done very well over the last several years. Now, during our nation’s moment of need, we are eager to do our fair share. We don’t need more tax cuts, and we understand that cutting our taxes will increase the deficit and the debt burden carried by other taxpayers. The country needs to meet its financial obligations in a just and responsible way.
Letting tax cuts for incomes over $1,000,000 expire, is an important step in that direction.
Here are some facts they would like you to know:
- Only 375,000 Americans have incomes of over $1,000,000
- Between 1979 and 2007, incomes for the wealthiest 1% of Americans rose by 281%
- During the Great Depression, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 68%
- In 1963, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 91%
- In 1976, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 70%
- Today, millionaires have a top marginal tax rate of 35%
- Reducing the income tax on top earners is one of the most inefficient ways to grow the economy according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office
- 44% of Congress people are millionaires
- The tax cuts were never meant to be permanent
- Letting tax cuts for the top 2% expire as scheduled would pay down the debt by $700 billion over the next 10 years
So why exactly is Obama compromising and why exactly are Republicans so stubborn on this issue? The tax cuts were designed as a way to spread the surplus out over a few years; they were not designed to be permanent. If they were going to be such a great means of creating jobs, why is there such a struggle to find jobs? If reducing the deficit and debt is so important, why would we not let these expire? How is a compromise increasing spending while reducing revenues fiscally responsible?
So many questions, and we won’t ever get answers.
They also have a quote from Nebraska hero Warren Buffet: “There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class – the rich class – that’s making war, and we’re winning. I’m a conscientious objector.”
Enjoy Minnesota’s home game in Detroit.
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