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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Cain Accused of Sexual Harrassment. Something to Worry About? Or Is He Gonna Get Clarence Thomas’ed?

The website Politico has done an investigation and found that while GOP frontrunner Herman Cain was head of the National Restaurant Association, there were two female employees who accused him of sexual harrassment.  The two were asked to leave the NRA in return for receiving cash settlements and promising to keep what happened under wraps.

You can read the article to get the details of the situation, but what comes to mind for me is simply this: how will this play out?  The criticism from the Left is already flying fast and furious.  He’s been called an Uncle Tom.  He’s being used by the Tea Party to cover up their racist leanings.  And so on.  Now, this gives detractors new ammunition.

But I wonder if many of the most vocal detractors will be people who were willing to give former president Bill Clinton a pass.  People who still talk about Anita Hill’s accusations of harrassment of Clarence Thomas while they were at the EEOC say nothing of how accusations of Clinton’s dalliances were floating around well before he ran for and won the presidency.  Paula Jones filed a lawsuit against Clinton in 1994 and was treated like a pariah–until “the dress” appeared and Clinton had to settle and also deal with getting impeached for perjury.

My point is, regardless of which side it happens to, its always interesting to see the reaction from the other side, whose supporters are usually quick to forget that they were fine with what happened when their person did it.  It’s only bad when the other side does it, right?

Having said that, is this something that, if true, should DQ Cain from the race?  Will this pass over, or will this become a stone around his neck?  Stay tuned.

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Tone Down the Rhetoric? Biden Says Pass Obama Jobs Bill or Rapes Will Increase

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I remember not too long ago that there were calls to tone down the political rhetoric in the wake of the Gabby Jeffords shooting.  Anyone else remember this?

Obviously the message was lost.  Recently, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi implied abortion funding legislation passed by Republicans would result in women dying on hospital floors with doctors not allowed to save them–because somehow, the legislation in question would prevent them from doing so.  Common sense tells us that that assertion is wrong and way over the top.  But lets move on.

Lately, Vice President Joe Biden has been out pushing for passage of President Obama’s jobs bill.  Evidently, it was not enough for him to simply say the bill is needed to create jobs.  Instead, the VP decided to take a different tack.  He decided the best method is to pull out one of the things that terrifies women most–rape. His assertion? That without passage of the bill, the number of police on America’s streets will decrease, and rapes and murders will increase. He first stated this at a rally in Flint, Michigan and even cited statistics. He then said it again a week later at a fireman’s rally in DC.

But there is a minor problem.  As I like to say, don’t let facts get in the way of a good argument.

In general, there are statistics out that show that in many places, even with fewer officers on the beat, crime rates have still gone down.  Specifically, the Fact Checker at the Washington Post obtained numbers for crime in Flint, where Biden first made his assertion, and showed that Biden overstated the number of rapes by a lot. On top of that, the Chief of Police in Flint has previously stated there was no real correlation to the size of the force and the amount of crime:

As the Flint Journal reported in May: “Officials said the fact that 46 police officers were laid off last year had little to do with the escalating crime. Most of the crimes were between people that knew each other. ‘No matter how many officers we have, we can’t stop disputes between two people in their own homes,’ Lock said.”

Lock made a similar assertion in September, 2010, when FBI statistics were released showing violent crime in Flint had decreased in 2009. The Flint Journal reported: “A smaller police force doesn’t automatically mean more crime, said Flint police chief Alven Lock. ‘There’s been years when we had 300 officers and we still had more homicides,’ he said, referring to 1986, when he was in the homicide division and homicides hit an all-time high of 61.”

I’m willing to bet that many other members of law enforcement say the same thing. Of course, that doesn’t make for a good political soundbite when one is trying to paint a picture of the opposing party as being ok with an increase in crime.

8 CEOs Who are Overpaid Based on Performance, via MSNBC

I have mixed emotions about the level of compensation paid to CEOs of some of the largest and most successful American companies.  On the one hand, based on the level of responsibility they take on, the number of hours they work, and other factors, I definitely think they should be compensated well above the average worker.  Let them get their cash, options, limos, and other perks.

However, that understanding gets put on pause if the company that exec is running is underperforming, or just plain out sucking wind.

A new piece on MSNBC.com has a list of 8 CEOs that earn a high level of compensation, but run companies that had a negative performance on the stock market in 2010.  The stock prices of the companies these men helm dropped between 3% and 31.4%, yet they still continued to earn over $18 million in pay and perks (no breakdown of how much is cash, options, or the dollar value of non-cash perks).  Now, one could say that even though the stock price went down, in some cases revenues were flat or increased.  But the writer points out something I’ve believed for a while as well, that the high compensation can be blamed on the stockholders, since  “shareholders who cannot effectively vote to have management removed are saddled not only with those ineffectual executives, but also with their pay packages.”

You can read the article here.

When Repubs do it? “They’re Bad!” When Dems do it? *crickets*

As it has been stated before, the President is taking every possible opportunity to tell the public that Republicans are preventing Americans from getting jobs by not passing his jobs bill.  This, despite the fact that his own party members blocked the bill last week, and despite calls from Republicans to negotiate a more bipartisan approach.

This week we have more of the same.  Democrats have decided to attempt to pass the bill piecemeal in the Senate.  As expected, the Dems first attempt to pass a bill for teachers and first responders failed.  Republicans all voted against the bill, which would be paid for via a 0.5% surtax on millionaires.  There were also two Democrats and Independent Joe Liebermann who voted no.

As expected, the President released a statement condemning the vote and saying its “unacceptable” that Senate Republicans “have chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again.”

However, Republicans brought to the floor a bill that would eliminate a 3 percent withholding tax on federal contractors.  Ironically, the idea came from Obama‘s own plan.  Ten Democrats voted for the bill along with the Republicans, but it was still three votes short.  So here we had a jobs bill, defeated through the efforts of Senate Dems who voted against the bill.

And just like when Dem Senator Harry Reid blocked a vote on the bill, there was no statement from the President.  No condemnation for not passing the bill.  Nothing but…crickets.

President Obama has not shied away from giving his own party a tongue lashing in the past.  But now?  Nothing.

It must be election season.

What I Got Out of Last Night’s Republican Candidate Debate

Just a few thoughts:

1)As Newt Gingrich pointed out, Herman Cain’s plan will be a hard sell.  Cain insisted that people go to his website and read the analysis of his plan.  The problem is, most people won’t.  People only have time for soundbites these days so they take what they hear at face value.  And I can guarantee that if somehow Cain became the nominee, Obama would constantly repeat that the plan would be an increase for low-income people and the middle class.  Cain needs to either refine his message, refine his plan, or move on to another thing to harp on.

2)Romney and Perry REALLY don’t like each other.  Perry decided “screw the debate rules” and repeatedly talked over Romney, even when Romney reminded him he would get time to rebut.  At one point Romney put his hand on Perry.  Since they were in Vegas, someone should’ve erected a ring and let these two go at it.

3)I don’t think Ron Paul has a chance, but I found his plan to cut $1 trillion in his first year as president to be quite interesting.

4)Quote of the night goes to Newt Gingrich:

If you want to understand how totally broken Washington is, look at this entire model of a supercommitte, which has now got a magic number to achieve and if it doesn’t achieve the magic number then we’ll all have to shoot ourselves in the head.  So when they come back with a dumb idea to merely cut off our right leg, we will all be grateful that they are only semi-stupid instead of being totally stupid.

5)Cain was attacked by his fellow candidates over how the additional sales tax would add to the state taxes already being paid by citizens.  Cain said it was comparing apples to oranges.  All he really needed to say was that federal tax policy can’t be dictated by the tax policy of each and every state.   That’s why it’s apples and oranges.  Simple, right?

6)Bachmann is done.  Some of her answers were just plain weird.  When asked what can be done about foreclosures, she starts talking about moms who are losing their nests.  Huh?

Don’t Use the Word “Break.” It’s Racist!

I’ve mentioned MSNBC’s Ed Schultz as someone who comes up with the most outlandish garbage, and no one ever checks him over it.  Fortunately, not many people watch him or his show.

Courtesy of Mr. Schultz, I have now learned something new!  “Break” is a racist term!  Didn’t know that?  I didn’t either.

See, Schultz is now on the taking shots at current GOP frontrunner Herman Cain.  Cain mentioned SC Senator Jim DeMint as a possible VP candidate.  DeMint, back in 2009, during the debate stages of what would become Obamacare, said that if Republicans could stop him, it would be Obama’s “Waterloo.”  For those at home, Waterloo was where Napoleon was defeated for the last time and marked an end to his reign as French emperor, and the term is often used to describe someone’s last stand and final defeat.  But then, DeMint said that such a loss for Obama would “break him.”

Evidently, this is, as Schultz described it, “break” is “an old Southern, racist term.”

He then brings on a Dr. James Peterson, a professor of African Studies from Lehigh University, who concurs with him, saying that it is “a term that was used to destroy, mentally and physically, slaves during the institution of slavery in this country.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying what Dr. Peterson says about how the word was used back in slavery days is wrong.  What I find rediculous is that he would attach DeMint’s comments to such usage.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say people have been using that very same term in that very same manner, with no racist overtones, for years.  Coaches talk about breaking the other team’s back at the end of the game.  Military planners talk of breaking the backs of the enemy.  Even Ivan Drago told Rocky Balboa “I must break you” before their fight in “Rocky V.”  Was he a Russian racist?

Wait, I forgot.  DeMint is supported by the Tea Party.  AND he’s from a Southern state.  Put those in the mix, and I guess he really is racist!  Right?

Bill Clinton Says No Tax Increases Now; Dems Want Supercommittee to Spend, Not Slash

Recently, former president Bill Clinton was on with David Letterman.  Though many in his party are pushing for higher taxes, Clinton advocates a different approach:

“Should you raise taxes on anybody right today — rich or poor or middle class? No, because there’s no growth in the economy,” Clinton said on the “Late Show.” “Should those of us who make more money and are in better position to contribute to America’s public needs and getting this deficit under control pay a higher tax rate when the economy recovers? Yes, that’s what I think.”

He also mentions that there should be no spending cuts right now, either. Seems he is directly opposite of other party members.

Remember the supercommittee that is supposed to find a way to cut a couple trillion dollars from the deficit over the next decade? Well, Democrats are already lobbying for both tax increases AND more spending:

For instance, Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee want the supercommittee to find ways to pay for a six-year surface transportation funding bill at a cost of $500 billion, which they said would create or save 6 million jobs.

Rather than cut, House Democrats want the supercommittee to collect more money — whether from the pharmaceutical industry, in the form of lower drug prices, or from government health care programs by weeding out inefficient and misguided payments.

And of course, there is the constant cry about tax breaks for oil companies–tax breaks that all businesses get–which would produce $43 billion.

I suspect that the supercommittee will fail and that the automatic triggers built in will be activated. Then things will really get interesting.

Obama’s Proposal Stuck in Democrat-led Senate, but it’s Still Republicans’ Fault

On  Tuesday, the Senate held a vote on whether to bring forward President Obama’s jobs bill for discussion.  Mind you, this was not a vote on the bill itself.  Just a vote to bring it forward to debate, discuss, slice, and dice.  The vote was 50 in favor, 49 against, with 60 votes needed to move forward.  The President, of course, issued a statement blaming Senate Republicans for the lack of votes:

President Obama blasted Senate Republicans for blocking his jobs bill Tuesday night, saying the American people “won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

The president said in a statement that his administration will work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to get votes on the individual components of the bill “as soon as possible.”

Yes, with the same Senator Reid who himself blocked a vote on the bill just last week.

But there are two things that the President so conveniently forgot to mention.  First, in the 50-49 vote there were actually two Democrat senators that voted along with the Republicans.  But the second thing he omitted is far more important–some of the Dems who voted in favor of bringing the bill to the floor for discussion would not vote for the bill itself:

The only Democrats to vote against the measure were Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), but a number of other centrists in the party indicated they would vote against the package even though they supported launching a debate on the measure.

Let’s see how long before the President admits that his own party is as much to blame and takes them to task for it.

Reid Goes Nuclear, Blocks Vote on Jobs Bill, President Blames House Republicans??

We all remember the speech.  “Pass this jobs bill right away!”  We all heard that phrase many times during the President’s prime time speech on jobs.  Yet, after a month, there had been no bill brought to the floor of either chamber of Congress.

When I wrote about how Dems weren’t even trying to place the bill in the House, I recall someone saying that there was no point, because Republicans wouldn’t vote for it and it would lose.  My view was (and is) that you at least have to try.

According to President Obama, Republicans are blocking his bill in the house, so he took the time to call out Eric Cantor during a stop in Texas:

President Barack Obama got tough on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Tuesday, calling him out by name for saying he will block a vote on the president’s $447 billion plan to create jobs and boost the economy.

“Yesterday, the Republican majority leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now, he won’t even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives. That’s what he said,” Obama told a crowd in Mesquite, Texas. “Won’t even let it be debated. … Do they not have the time? They just had a week off. Is it inconvenient?”

Now, if thats true, then the President is right for calling him out.  But, Cantor retorted with a good point about support, or lack of, for the bill from the President’s own party:

Cantor said Monday that the president’s jobs bill is dead on arrival in the House and won’t be brought to a vote. “This all-or-nothing approach is unreasonable,” he said. “I would say from a practical side … he’s got problems on his own side of the aisle with provisions in the bill that Democratic members disagree with. There are many issues that I’ve listed here that we can work together on. So instead of continuing to maintain this sort of campaign posture, let’s do something to work together.”

Somehow, the President conveniently left out that many in his own party don’t support his bill as written.  But pointing that out wouldn’t score political points, now would it?

Then, the Obama campaign sends out an email pointing out that Cantor and Co. were blocking the bill. Because of course, the best way to raise money is to call out the other guys, right?

There was only one problem.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who happens to be a Democrat, went “nuclear” in order to block a vote on the very jobs bill that President Obama yelled at Republicans for blocking.  In other words, to prevent a vote, Reid changed the rules of the Senate:

Reid and 50 members of his caucus voted to change Senate rules unilaterally to prevent Republicans from forcing votes on uncomfortable amendments after the chamber has voted to move to final passage of a bill.

Reid’s coup passed by a vote of 51-48, leaving Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fuming.

The surprise move stunned Republicans, who did not expect Reid to bring heavy artillery to what had been a humdrum knife fight over amendments to China currency legislation.

For those who forgot, the last time there was discussion of the “nuclear option,” it was because Democrats were stalling to block Bush judicial nominees, and Republicans were threatening to do what Reid did yesterday.   Of course, back then, Dems were howling that it wouldn’t be right for Republicans to change how things had been done in the Senate for many many years just to get their way, and in the end there was a bipartisan compromise to get past the gridlock.  Yet, Reid jumped in yesterday and opened Pandora’s Box.

Reid claims his move was to prevent the Republicans from offering endless amendments to the bill up for vote, and that Republicans were just trying to “embarrass the President” since they know the bill wouldn’t pass as written–due to lack of support from Senate Democrats.

So, the question is, will the President call out his own party?  Will his campaign send out an email talking about how Reid and friends are blocking the jobs bill and should explain themselves?

Don’t hold your breath.

What’s More Important–Jumpstarting the Economy, or Raising Taxes on the Rich?

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is advocating a plan to overhaul the current tax structure in order to jumpstart the economy.  You can read the details at his website http://www.hermancain.com/999plan.  In a nutshell, his 9-9-9 plan would lower corporate taxes to 9%, personal income taxes to 9%, and introduce a 9% consumption tax.  Loopholes and deductions (with the exception of charity) would go away, as would the inheritance tax and capital gains taxes.  Businesses would save billions in tax compliance costs, and individuals would have more to spend, since it also eliminates payroll taxes.

I see two problems that stand in the way of such a change being passed.

First, politicians would probably balk.  For the plan to be effective, the constitution would need to be amended to prevent politicians from enacting other taxes on top of the 9-9-9 plan.  But we know how politicians are.  They like to provide favors for the donors.  So not being able to provide tax breaks for their favorite people or companies wouldn’t fly.

Second, Democrats wouldn’t go for it either.  Simply put, regardless of whether or not the plan would help the economy, their complaint would be that the rich weren’t paying enough.  Need proof?  In an exchange between Cain and the talking heads from MSNBCRachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Eugene Robinson, Ed Schultz, and that O’Donnell guy, each asked Cain a question.  Of course, the good Rev. Sharpton asked a question racially related, asking if Cain’s talk of states having more control over certain things doesn’t equate to the classic “states rights” debate from the civil war and civil rights eras (thank goodness Cain shot him down quickly).  O’Donnell and Robinson went after him over Social Security–“personalization” vs “privatization.”  But around the 4:30 mark, Shultz plays the class card.  His worry?  That the 9-9-9 plan not only hits the lower class hardest, but that the rich wouldn’t pay their “fair share.”

Well, we know what the real priority is!  (Video can be seen here).

By the way, because reminding folks about it never gets old, a strong argument can be made that high income earners, by virtue of their piece of the tax pie, already pay their fair share, if not more. Here is a piece that breaks down the income tax burden pie in 20% increments.