Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for February, 2011

Why isn’t this man in jail?

Posted by Charles II on February 24, 2011

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian (who is citing this article by Russ Buettner of the NYT):

The chairman of the right-wing current affairs channel, Fox News, Roger Ailes, has been named in court documents as the previously anonymous executive who allegedly tried to persuade a fellow boss at News Corporation to lie to federal investigators over a crucial Washington appointment.

In her unfair dismissal claim against her former employers, Regan claimed that a News Corporation senior executive had tried to secure her silence during the process to vet Bernard Kerik as the US head of homeland security. Regan had been having an affair with Kerik, and she alleged in her lawsuit that the unnamed executive had wanted her to keep quiet about it during the vetting procedure in order to protect Rudy Giuliani…..

The court documents reveal his identity and, even more sensationally, say that there is a tape recording of Ailes’s conversation with Regan

Russ Buettner says that the Feds rarely pursue cases of lying to federal investigators. Someone should tell Henry Cisneros. This is yet one more example of how Honduran-style impunity has come to the United States.

Posted in corruption, Fox Noise | 4 Comments »

Wisconsin Isn’t Just About Union Busting

Posted by MEC on February 24, 2011

Governor Walker’s phone conversation with the fake Koch makes it public that his “budget” bill isn’t about balancing the budget, but about busting the unions.

And that’s not really about busting the unions.

Unions are a major source of funding and other support for the Democratic Party. Take away collective bargaining, and unions have no reason to exist. Destroy the unions, and the Republicans have an overwhelming financial advantage in elections.

Destroy effective competition in elections, and we no longer have democracy. There’s the Republicans’ ultimate goal.

Posted in Republicans as cancer | 3 Comments »

Advice for the ages

Posted by Charles II on February 24, 2011

Cats know how to live

(image from ICanHasCheezburger.com)

And while you’re at it, check out the Acro-cats.

Posted in Just for fun | 2 Comments »

Walker Reveals In Phone Call: It’s About Power, Not Budget

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 23, 2011

Ian Murphy of The Buffalo Beast tricked Wisconsin’s Bircher/Koched-up governor Scott Walker into thinking he was talking to Walker’s big patron, David Koch (link via MyFDL). In it, Walker admits — or rather, boasts — that this isn’t about the budget, but about a pure naked exercise of brute-force power:

Walker: I talk to Kasich every day—John’s gotta stand firm in Ohio. I think we could do the same thing with Vic Scott in Florida. I think, uh, Snyder—if he got a little more support—probably could do that in Michigan. You start going down the list there’s a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big.

“Koch”: You’re the first domino.

Walker: Yep. This is our moment.

Your moment, indeed. You just got served, dipwad.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

WI GOP Tries The Pawlenty Gambit: “Fees” Not Taxes

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 23, 2011

Since the boycotting Senate Democrats won’t let Scott Walker disembowel the workers in Wisconsin, he and his fellow Koch Republicans have settled for mimicking California’s disastrous Proposition 13, which single-handedly sent the state from first to near-worst in the nation in terms of education, infrastructure, and other quality-of-life measures, by making it harder to raise taxes:

Madison – Today, Governor Scott Walker signed Special Session Assembly Bill 5 which requires a 2/3s vote to pass tax rate increases on the income, sales or franchise taxes.

But really, it’s not so much California that they’re mimicking, but Minnesota — at least, Minnesota as it was under Tim Pawlenty:

Fees are Regressive

Minnesota’s revenue system has become regressive, meaning lower-income households pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes than do higher income households.  Regressivity in Minnesota’s tax system increased from 2002 to 2004 and is projected to increase again by 2009.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, fees are “considered regressive because they take a larger percentage of income from low-income groups than from high-income groups.”  There can be no doubt that Minnesota’s increased dependence on fees has shifted more costs to those with the least ability to pay.
 

Fees Can’t Replace Tax Revenue

Total FY 2008 state fee revenue-including post secondary tuition-was $2.44 billion.  The state is projected to collect $17.5 billion in taxes, seven times greater than fee revenue.

Since fees are a smaller revenue source, fee increases cannot replace massive drops in tax revenue.  This is one of the reasons why total real per capita state revenue declined by 5.9 percent from FY 2003 to FY 2008, with another large reduction anticipated for FY 2009.  Over-reliance on fees is a recipe for large scale decline in public investment, which is precisely what we have seen over the last six years.

It should tell you something that the Republicans voted down a Democratic amendment that would have kept the Republicans from pulling the Pawlenty Gambit — that is, refusing to raise income taxes (especially on the rich), but being all for using “fees” (i.e., a form of regressive taxation as static fees are more easily paid the richer you are) to try and fund state government:

Assembly Republicans also passed Special Session Assembly Bill 5, a bill that will place prohibitions on revenue modifications by the Legislature at the cost of placing additional burdens on average Wisconsin families. Seeking to address this concern, Rep. Grigsby introduced an amendment to the bill that would prevent an increase in fees on middle class and working families. Grigsby’s amendment failed on a 57 to 37 vote.

So what will likely happen in Wisconsin is what pretty much happened in Minnesota: Once-free services will have fees, existing fees will be jacked up, and revenues will still tank. But rich people will be spared the crushing burden of having to pay a small fraction of a percentage point more in taxes.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on WI GOP Tries The Pawlenty Gambit: “Fees” Not Taxes

Payola Man Armstrong Calling Others ‘Peculiar’? That’s Hilarious

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2011

Wow, the Republican Party sure is providing a lot of good belly laughs lately.

The latest one comes courtesy of none other than Armstrong Williams, who you may remember from his being caught acting as a secretly paid scribe for the Bush administration while pretending to be an independent voice. (Hmmmm, now why does that sound familiar? Oh, that’s right — Michael Brodkorb and James “Jeff Gannon” Guckert. But anyway.) You may also remember him, he who is publicly celibate and conspicuously unmarried, as having been sued for sexual harassment by Stephen Gregory, and for having tried to make a pass at David Brock. Any of these things would have served, were he an ordinary human, to keep him banned from public life forever, especially if the political payola had been done on behalf of a Democratic administration. But since he’s a Republican, well, it’s OK for them, you know.

Anyway, this charming human being, this Armstrong Williams, has decided that Minnesota’s governor is “peculiar“.

What, has he sexually harassed someone and had to settle out of court? No. Has he pretended to be an independent journalist whilst serving as a right-wing partisan puke funnel? No.

Well, then, what has he done? Oh, he wants to make the rich pay for the decades-long free ride they’ve had. That of course is a terrible, horrible, no good very bad crime as far as the millionaires paid to shill for billionaires are concerned.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, GOP/Media Complex, Media machine, mediawhores | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Your Minnesota GOP: Attacking Modest Office Furniture

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 21, 2011

If the Republican Party of Minnesota is good for nothing else — and the evidence seems to show that this is the case — it’s always good for a laugh.

To wit (pardon the pun), we have them claiming that actually being fiscally prudent is a sign of — well, I’m not quite sure what it’s supposed to be a sign of; the Republican bloggers trying to push this whatever-it-is don’t want to spell it out, perhaps out of fear of having to actually offer proof that would stand up in court if it came to that.

Anyway, they seem to think that Governor Dayton’s choice of modest and sensible office digs and furniture, in keeping with the theme of true fiscal prudence sounded by his administration, is somehow a sign of the apocalypse. Well, whatever, gang.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Your Minnesota GOP: Attacking Modest Office Furniture

Chip Cravaack Versus The Public Good

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 21, 2011

Sally Jo Sorensen and a few other sharp-eyed folk have noticed that freshman congresscritter Chip Cravaack thinks Calvin Coolidge is like the Best President Evarrrr. This despite (or because of?) Coolidge’s staunch opposition to anything that might risk inconveniencing the rich for the public good: Flood control, aid for farmers (as opposed to the corporate entities that drove them off their land), that sort of thing.

Then again, we’re talking about Chip Cravaack, the young ‘un who managed to tick off his biggest boosters, the Republicans running the Duluth News Tribune, when he came out against Federal spending on improvements for Duluth’s airport.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Chip Cravaack Versus The Public Good

NPR Smears Wisconsin Workers, Again: TOTN Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 21, 2011

The following is from an e-mail received from a reader of MR. Said reader has given me permission to reproduce it here, with spelling edits:

Just tried to call in to Talk of the Nation while they were doing a program on Wisconsin.

Back in the old days, the show used to allow various comments so long as they were on topic. But today, the FIRST thing the screener said was “With a state budget deficit of $2 billion, what should public employees be expected to give?”

When I tried to say “They’ve ALREADY given sixteen furlough days in the past two years!”, the screener cut me off, saying that they wanted only people who were going to answer their (loaded) question. She was quite brusque, too.

NPR: not even Nice Polite Republicans any more.

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Bye-bye elections in Germany

Posted by Charles II on February 21, 2011

Helen Pidd, The Guardian:

Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered a humiliating defeat in a key German regional election – something that will make governing all the more difficult for her already shaky coalition.

Exit polls released after polling stations closed suggested the German chancellor’s CDU had lost control of Hamburg to the opposition SPD party.

One poll, conducted by the state television channel ZDF, projected that the centre-left SPD was set to win 50% of the vote.

The CDU took just 20%, according to the pollsters – the worst result for the party in the port city since the second world war.

The dramatic plunge in support for Merkel’s party, which polled 42.6% of the vote at the last election in Hamburg in 2008, can be attributed to voter dissatisfaction with the chancellor’s handling of the euro crisis as well as problems within her own party at home and particularly in Hamburg.

It’s just one regional election, and a lot of times local issues dominate. But I think the SPD–all of the European left, as a matter of fact–needs to think through what it is going to do if it does win power. There is a lot of dissatisfaction focused on unemployment, foreign workers/immigrants, and so on. There need to be alternatives that make people happy.

Posted in Europe | 1 Comment »

 
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