Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘gravy train’ Category

Oh, The Irony

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 13, 2010

The mandate portion of the Baucus-WellPoint “health care reform” law was struck down as unconstitutional by a Federal judge.

Whether or not the Roberts court will allow this attack on the commerce clause to stand is one issue. But another issue is this: Ditching the mandate wouldn’t necessarily kill actual health care reform, as Jon Walker points out:

This problem, of course, could have completely been avoided. You don’t need an individual mandate penalty forcing Americans to buy insurance from a private company to create a near universal health care system. There are dozens of ways to design a health care system without using the government to force people to give money to private companies.

An easy way around the constitutional issue would have been to include a public option and make the whole system more like Medicare. Instead of an individual mandate, you could “tax” individuals and provide them with insurance through the public option. You could then grant everyone who had private insurance a waiver from the tax. Even if the state doesn’t have the right to compel an individual to buy a private product, its constitutional right to tax individuals in exchange for government services is not in doubt.

Walker also notes that there is still time to use reconciliation to add in a public option. Might be something to remind your Senators of. It’s not as if AHIP’s going to keep their word now, is it?

Posted in 2010, gravy train, greed, health care | Comments Off on Oh, The Irony

Floridians: Congressman Kendrick Meek Has A Message For You

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 3, 2010

And here it is:

Marco Rubio stands by his support for expanding offshore drilling in the Gulf. “My message won’t change,” he said in Clearwater last week when asked about the oil spill. And while Charlie Crist now says he opposes new oil drilling, it wasn’t that long ago he was open to drilling closer to the coast. On the other hand, I remain a firm proponent of ending our reliance on foreign oil and harnessing clean energy, but who knows what the long-term impact of this spill will be for our state. We also get the news now that an oil drilling rig overturned 80 miles off the coast of New Orleans. We can’t afford to take more and more of these types of chances by expanding drilling in the Gulf and bringing it closer and closer to the coast that is so important for Floridians and their livelihoods. The cost to Florida families could be permanent and the more we expand drilling, the more likely we are to see more of these types of accidents.

He suggests you sign his petition to Rubio and Crist, asking them to join him in calling for a permanent moratorium on new offshore drilling. (I also suggest that all readers, Floridians and others, sign another petition asking President Obama to do the same.)

Posted in big money, energy, environment, gravy train, greed, Oil | 4 Comments »


Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 25, 2010

In which Goldman Sachs puts it foot in it WRT the “cherry-picked” e-mails:

My absolute first thought when I saw the “cherry-picking” complaint was of Richard Nixon and the Watergate Tapes. I am not a lawyer and as always, just might be an idiot but it sure looks to me that Sen Levin and staff found what can be very close to the “smoking gun.”

Pass the popcorn. This oughta be good.

Posted in big money, capitalism as cancer, gravy train, greed | Comments Off on Busted!

Just Keep Diggin’ That Hole, Mitt

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 17, 2009

Just when you thought you were safe from Willard, he’s tanned, rested, and spewing gibberish in his battle with Tim Pawlenty for the 2012 votes of the Cleon Skousen-Glenn Beck fan base as he attacks President Obama’s eminently sensible decision to scrap the useless and costly Reagan-Bush Star Wars missile shield concept once and for all.

Y’know, it might not be good for the Mittster to draw attention to himself right now, not when the news of the utter health care reform failure of RomneyCare (aka the MaxTax Co-Ops Beta) in his former home state is starting to make it onto the national media’s radar screens.

Posted in 'starving the beast', 2012, eedjits, GOP bullying, gravy train, health care, Iran, Mitt Romney, Professional Christians, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, Russia, safety net | 2 Comments »

Time For Them To Give A Little Back For A Change

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 17, 2009

3-27-08tax2-f23-27-08tax2-f1As do most Americans who have been polled recently on this subject, Robert Reich endorses the tax-the-rich portion of the House health care bill, and here’s why:

According to the most recent data (for 2007), the best-off 1 percent of American households take home about 20 percent of total income — the highest percentage since 1928. Yes, I know: Critics will charge that these are the very people who invest, innovate, and hire, and thereby keep the economy going. So raising their taxes will burden the economy and thereby hurt everyone, including those who are supposed to be helped.

But there’s no reason to suppose that taking a tiny sliver of the incomes of the top 1 percent will reduce all that much of their ardor to invest, innovate, and hire in the future. Yet if this tiny sliver means affordable healthcare for a far larger number of Americans, who will be able to get regular checkups and thereby stay healthy and productive, the positive effect on the American economy is likely to be far greater.

Reich is correct in saying that the amounts mentioned in the House health care bill are a tiny sliver of the incomes of the top one-percenters. The top one-percenters have had more than the lion’s share of the proceeds of America’s economic growth over the past three-plus decades. This is borne out by graphs from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, which are shown at the top of this post.

C’mon, one-percenters. You’ve had over 99% of the bennies while most of us got bupkis — or actually fell behind. Cough up a chunk of it, or risk losing it all.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, gravy train, greed, health care | 3 Comments »

Speaking Of Conservative Screechings

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 12, 2009

Just as national conservatives screeched against the release of the DHS terrorism report because it dared mention right-wing domestic terror, local conservatives are screeching against a report by MN2020 showing, among other things, that 83% of 145 local charter schools have at least one financial irregularity and that while charter schools take in tax dollars, they are not subject to the same accountability rules as regular public schools:

The conservatives swarmed like angry bees. Chief among the angry bees has been the Charter School Partners of Minnesota, a low-key but apparently well-funded nonprofit organization. CSP advocates for high-quality charter schools and, in their mission statement, declare that “[we] believe there are no excuses for poor performance.”

So, how did CSP Executive Director Al Fan react to our report? He declared that our founder is “a playground bully.” I addressed this issue last week and, given their reaction’s stridency, thought that CSP had said its piece and returned to not excusing charter schools for poor performance. Fan’s aspirational Twin op-ed certainly suggested his organization’s desire to lift all flagging charter school boats. Then, I read his Winona Daily News op-ed.

It is, if anything, uglier and more mean-spirited than his June 2 press conference performance. Minnesota 2020’s report may be many things but it is not “specious” nor is it “fabricated from whole cloth.” Four of five Minnesota charter schools have at least one financial red flag raised by their own auditors; we just added up the number of red flags and reported those numbers to the public. It’s a matter of public record, albeit a not-entirely-conveniently-accessible public record stored in the Minnesota Department of Education’s basement.

By attacking Minnesota 2020 in this fashion, Charter School Partners is making excuses for poor performance. That’s unfortunate because Minnesota’s students need every opportunity to succeed in school. In the future, let’s hope that conservative educational policy groups develop more than two stock responses to any situation. Choosing between fairy dust and vitriol is no real choice at all.

Ah, but you’re threatening the livelihoods of these folks. They’re afraid you’re going to take away their limited-accountability sugar teat! They want to keep getting our tax dollars.

This follows hard on the heels of the StarTribune‘s reporting on financial hanky-panky (to the tune of over a million bucks) committed at one local charter school.

Posted in conservativism, education, gravy train, greed, Minnesota | 6 Comments »

Congress Has Big Questions For Big Oil

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 2, 2008

From the AP:

Senior executives of the five largest U.S. oil companies were to appear before a congressional committee Tuesday where they were likely to find frustrated lawmakers in no mood for small talk.

“These companies are defending billions of federal subsidies … while reaping over a hundred billion dollars in profits in just the last year alone,” complained Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., in previewing the hearing.

The lawmakers were scheduled to hear from top executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., BP America Inc., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, which together earned about $123 billion last year because of soaring oil and gasoline prices.

Markey, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said he wants to know why, with such profits, the oil industry is steadfastly fighting to keep $18 billion in tax breaks, stretched over 10 years.

He said the executives would be asked to explain how they can get energy prices down in the short run and “in the long run what are they going to do to shift the focus to a renewable energy agenda.”

The obscene eagerness of oil-company executives to plunder the world’s substance (and America’s Treasury) to pad their own already-cushy bottom line gives the lie to their intense protestations of patriotism. If Dick Cheney was really a patriot, Halliburton wouldn’t be based offshore to avoid giving back some of the tax-money handouts it’s been getting.

Posted in big money, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, bust-outs, capitalism as cancer, climate change, Congress, Congressional hearings, economy, energy, environment, evil, gravy train, greed, Oil, our tax dollars at work, renewable energy | 2 Comments »

Let’s Hold McCain Accountable

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2008



Jane Hamsher has a message for us all:

Dear Friend,

John McCain is breaking the law.

When McCain’s presidential campaign was in trouble, he opted-in to public financing through the primary, limiting him to a $54 million spending cap.

But laws aren’t for “mavericks”…

McCain’s latest spending report, filed by his own campaign, shows he has spent in excess of $58 million so far — a public admission by his own hand that he has broken the law.

We filed a formal complaint to the Federal Election Commission yesterday, and we want you to sign-on for a second delivery of signatures later this week.

Please read and co-sign the letter to the FEC right now.

We’ve had a number of co-singers to the document already including: Political Action
Matt Stoller
John Amato
Robert Greenwald
Jerome Armstrong

All that’s missing is your name.

View the signers and add your name to theirs right now.

If you sign right now, your name will be included in our larger delivery later this week.


Markos and Jane

P.S. We’ve got video of our first delivery up, and you can expect an update with video of the delivery.

You heard the lady. Go and do.

Christy has more.

Posted in 2008, corruption, crimes, false prophets, gravy train, hypocrites, John McCain | Comments Off on Let’s Hold McCain Accountable

If Most Big Economies Worldwide Are In Or Nearing Recessions…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 18, 2008

…then why are commodity prices sky-high?

That’s the question Jeffrey Frankel posits while guest blogging at RGE Monitor:

The popular explanation since 2004 has been rapid growth in the world economy. The strongest growth has of course been coming from China and other recently minted manufacturing powerhouses in Asia, but the expansion has been unusually broad-based – including up to last year the United States and even a reinvigorated Europe. So growth has pushed up demand for farm products, energy and other industrial inputs, right?

This reigning explanation now looks suspect. Since last summer the US economy has slowed down noticeably, and is probably entering a recession. Despite talk of decoupling, it is clear that other countries are also slowing down at least to some extent. In its most recent forecast, the IMF World Economic Outlook revised downward the growth rate for virtually every region, including China. The overall global growth rate for 2008 has been marked down by 1.1% (from 5.2 % in July 2007, just before the sub-prime mortgage crisis hit, to 4.1 % as of January 29, 2008). And prospects continue to deteriorate. Yet commodity prices have found their second wind over precisely this period! (Up some 25% or more since August 2007, by a number of indices. So much for the growth explanation.

I suspect that the state of the dollar, weakened by the huge amount of debt, both public and private, our country has taken on under King George W. Bush, is the reason. The weak dollar is why OPEC’s profits, which are figured in dollars, aren’t as big as they seem — and it’s why there’s a big push to move OPEC to the euro instead. Propping up US debt is endangering other countries’ currency as well — and they’re not in a mind to prop us up any more, hence the efforts to “decouple” from our economy. Bush and his buddies were hoping the other countries would wait until after the Bush Gang left town with the spoils from their bust-out, but that’s not happening.

One thing is certain: The brief boost the market got from its archenemy Spitzer’s downfall is soon going to be a distant memory.

Posted in banking, big money, bust-outs, corruption, credit cards, economy, Eliot Spitzer, faith-based flim-flams, gravy train, greed, income inequality | 3 Comments »

From Hell’s Heart, Spitzer Stabs At Thee

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 15, 2008

If you’re a predatory lender, that is.

Dandelion Salad reminds us of why the banks wanted Spitzer gone. (Funny how David Vitter and Larry Craig are still in office, isn’t it?)

Posted in abuse of power, banking, big money, BushCo malfeasance, capitalism as cancer, David Vitter, Debra Jean Palfrey, distractions, DoJ, economy, Eliot Spitzer, GOP/Media Complex, government malfeasance, gravy train, Larry Craig | 1 Comment »

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