The Rockin Johnny B

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Stuff to ponder

Perry defends controversial vaccine order
   AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Four years ago, Gov. Rick Perry put aside his social conservative bona fides and signed an order requiring Texas girls to be vaccinated against HPV.
   The human papillomavirus is a sexually spread virus that can cause cervical cancer, and he says his aim was protecting against that cancer. But it didn’t take long for angry conservatives in the Legislature to override a measure they thought tacitly approved premarital sex, and for critics to accuse Perry of cronyism.
   Now Perry’s taking heat on the issue anew as he runs for the presidential 
nomination of a GOP heavily influenced by conservatives who are sour on the government dictating health care requirements. Illustrating the delicate politics at play, he’s both defending himself and calling his action a mistake.
   “If I had it to do over again, I would have done it differently,” Perry said Tuesday night as he debated his rivals, insisting that he would have worked with the Legislature instead of unilaterally acting. But he did not back down from his stance that girls should be vaccinated against the virus, which is generally spread by sexual contact. He argued that it wasn’t a mandate and noted that he included the right for parents to opt out of the vaccinations.

Typical Perry.  He's so arrogant it's ridiculous.
AT this point, I've just gotta say a few words about government.  We, the people, in order to have a more perfect government want to have it run like a business.  Really?  Like a business?  You want the government to make a profit?  Let's see how that would work out.

1.  A corporation is mandated to do one thing make money.  The government is mandated to spend money on it's citizens and making a profit is not a the point.
2.  If a corporation cannot make a profit, it is perfectly okay for that company to take out bankruptcy.  In fact, sometimes a corporation will take out bankruptcy in order to make a profit.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the corporation pays back its creditors pennies on the dollar and, in the process, stays in business and can make a profit.  A government should never take out bankruptcy [although some do] because it throws the country into a terrible depression and its citizens suffer immeasurably.  Therefore, a government will run a deficit in order to keep from bankruptcy.
3.  If a corporation faces 'tough times', it will 'lay off' employees or 'fire' them...especially the long term employees close to retirement and about to draw their 'monetary benefits.'  The corporation does not want to pay "bennies" to people who are not providing labor, exception, the VIPs are paid benefits...huge benefits.  A government cannot just 'fire' people.  They can cut programs, but usually they offer their employees other jobs in other programs.  The government pays employees and insures them.  It also insures it's citizens even when they are not employed by it: Social Security Benefits.
4.  Corporations are run by a dictator called a CEO.  This person has great power.  There is a 'Board of Directors' who have power also, but not as much as the CEO.  The CEO says what's what and the employees follow his/her orders without question or face firing.  The government has a President who has 'limited' power.  He cannot just 'order' someone to do something with abandon.  He has to couch his decisions with a lot of thought and caution or he might not be a president longer than 4 years.  The President cannot hold office longer than 8 years...a corporation's CEO can be in power till he dies.

Those are only 4 points.  There are others.  The question is would you want your government run like a corporation?

Crapo really a RINO on debt reduction
   It is time to recognize Senator Mike Crapo for what he really is, namely a RINO (Republican In Name Only).
   He has shown his true colors in wanting to advance the findings of the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction commission as set up by President Barack Obama in 2010. He even went on local TV to tell the people of Idaho what a great way the commission had come up with to reduce the huge deficit as orchestrated by Obama in his first two years in office.  Here's the first error in logic.  How could a president cause a deficit in the first place and in the second, do it in two years.  No, no Mr Maupin, that deficit came long before Obama took office, m'friend.  Look to the Republicans when you want to find out where the deficit came from.  Obama has actually tried to something about the deficit by the Party of No said, guess what, NO.
   What the Bowles-Simpson commission recommended was to eliminate many of the deductions that the American tax payer has in the present federal income tax code. This will mean, according to Crapo, that the American taxpayer will have to sacrifice to pay down the $1.4 trillion deficit that the Obama regime has foisted on the American people through the liberal Democratic Congress of Nancy Policy and Harry Ried.  Here's the second error.  The poor ol' taxpayer who will pay back the deficit will not be you Mr. Maupin, unless, of course, you make more than $250,000 per year.  Only the richest ten percent of citizens and corporations will pay back the money they have bilked from the country through tax bennies in the past Republican administrations gave 'em.  It's time they pay that back to us, the American Middle and Lower Income brackets -- they people who suffered so the fat cats could get fatter.
   This means, for instance, that you and I will not be able to take, as a deduction, the interest on our home mortgage loan, the money we donate to our churches and to such places as the Idaho Foodbank. Even medical expenses deductions would be eliminated if Crapo and the rest of the Congressional supercommission has its way.  Third error.  Only the richest of the rich will have these deductions taken from then on their 1040's.
   So be aware that when Crapo 
and the rest of the Congressional Supercommittee makes its recommendations, it means that they want a $1.5 trillion tax increase for the American taxpayer. Not the big corporations, however, and the 47 percent who do not pay taxes now.  Forth Error.  And probably the biggest.  Forty-seven percent pay no taxes?  How ridiculous.  Those people pay just as much in taxes as you do, Mr. Maupin,  However, they take out exemptions during the year that preclude them from receiving a refund.  They simply pay....during the year....the taxes they are required to pay, no more, no less.  And they pay all municipal taxes and state taxes just like you do.  All Americans pay taxes, some are simply not paying their fair share: the rich.  It's time we take back the money owed to us.  These are scare tactics you have learned from your glorious Tea Party idiots, Mr. Maupin.  Wake up.
   This is going to be interesting to see how this plays out with the American public.  Thinking Americans will be very, very me.
   n Harold W. Maupin, Nampa


Conservatives use fear to achieve goals
   Isn’t it time we stopped letting politicians use our delusions to further their own careers at the expense of the “American Dream”?
   If we want a better Idaho, for that matter a better America, we must start thinking critically. Our thoughts and actions must be 
based on evidence, necessity and the good of humanity, not fear.  Finally, the voice of sanity in a bucket of idiocy.
   Conservative politicians backed by the Christian Right and corporate interest are the primary culprits. They have invested in fear to achieve their goals. They use our religious beliefs and sense of patriotism as tools of manipulation. They make promises to blur separation of church and state, stem the tide of so-called socialism and shrink government. These are distractions used to mask their real goal, which is to protect corporate profits and tax breaks for the wealthy.  Mr. Easley is very correct.  This not a new tactic.  They've been doing this, it seems like, forever.  And we Americans seem to buy it.  It is true what the philosopher said: the bigger the lie and the more it is told, the more apt people will believe it. [If you doubt check out Hitler and Stalin.]
   Let’s break free from the delusions that are shackling our intellect.
   De-lu-sion: A fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact.
   Do you believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old while disregarding obvious scientific evidence to the contrary? Do you believe global warming is non-existent while disregarding time-lapse polar satellite photos proving the contrary? Do you believe trickle-down economics have benefited the average American even though there is two decades of proof that it doesn’t?
   If your answer to any one of these questions is yes, you may be delusional.
   Reality is the key to the shackles on your intellect. Put your trust in what you see and what can be proven. Only then can we rebuild the “American Dream.”  Here, Here!
   n Darrin Easley, Middleton


Rick Perry's Texas Miracle—for Corporations

The governor gave big companies hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to create jobs. When they failed to deliver, he fudged the numbers.
Thu Sep. 8, 2011 3:00 AM PDT
Over the past several years Gov. Rick Perry has crisscrossed his home state, bragging about the Texas Enterprise Fund, his economic program that has given millions of taxpayer dollars to corporations such as Caterpillar Inc., Texas Instruments, and Home Depot. The TEF program is supposed to draw businesses to the state and create jobs. It has been a centerpiece of the so-called Texas economic miracle Perry now touts on the presidential campaign trail. 
But there is a problem behind his happy Texas tale: The program appears not to have worked nearly as well as Perry claims. The governor has repeatedly overstated how many jobs it has created, according to several Texas-based advocacy and research groups. Moreover, Perry's office has stonewalled attempts to get clearer information about the program's lackluster results. 
In January 2010, Perry's office claimed that TEF had created 54,600 jobs since it began in 2003. But company-reported data shows that, by the end of 2009, fewer than 23,000 jobs could be attributed to TEF. And two-thirds of TEF-backed companies failed to meet their job targets. The program handed out nearly $440 million during that period.
The TEF program requires applicants to agree to produce a certain number of jobs by a certain date in exchange for a grant, the largest of which have been a pair of $50 million awards granted to the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine and Texas Instruments back in 2004 and 2005. (Former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty enacted a similar program during his time as governor of Minnesota.) Recipients are supposed to face a "clawback" penalty on the funds if they fail to meet their hiring targets. 
But the Perry administration hasn't exactly gone hard on corporations that have fallen short. In 2007, TEF awarded Lockheed Martin with nearly $5.5 million; in return, the company promised to create 800 new jobs by the end of 2008. Subsequently, Lockheed quietly renegotiated its deal with Perry's office, agreeing to just 550 new jobs from 2007 through 2014, explaining the lower number as a result of "federal cutbacks." In exchange, TEF also lowered its grant to Lockheed to $4 million unless the company managed to meet its original hiring target of 800. Meanwhile, Perry's office didn't collect any clawback penalties from Lockheed—while continuing to report that it had created 800 jobs.
This scenario—Perry's office allowing companies to amend their job targets while continuing to tout the higher, unrealized target—was replicated in more than a dozen other instances in 2009, Texans for Public Justice (TPJ) found. The group's 2010 reportdrew on campaign finance fillings, company-reported hiring data, and the Perry administration's own numbers.
The program also suffers from a conspicuous lack of transparency, according to Andrew Wheat, the research director for TPJ. Wheat says that his colleagues intended to use government data from 2010 to assess the program, but they were forced to rely on numbers from 2009. "We put in a request to get that data covering 2010," he said. "We're still waiting."
Even if Perry's office disclosed its TEF numbers more expediently, Wheat argues, the game would still be rigged. "Imagine what the bean counter's job is like," he said. "On the one hand, you're supposed to be conservatively protecting taxpayer dollars and imposing clawbacks, basically enforcing a contract. On the other hand, you know that this is the centerpiece of your boss' campaign. So it has to be presented as a success."
Don Baylor, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, says there is no way to verify Perry's claims more broadly. "It's quite simply not possible to know whether these companies would have come to Texas without the cash," Baylor says.
One thing is clear, though: Perry paid for a sizable chunk of TEF at the expense of Texas' unemployed. Because the Texas Legislature is required to submit a balanced budget every two years, any new spending programs must be offset by an equal amount in spending cuts. So in 2005, to offset spending on TEF, Perry created a 0.1 percent employer unemployment insurance tax. To offset that increase, the general unemployment insurance tax rate was reduced by 0.1 percent. From 2005 to 2009, that resulted in a transfer of almost $162 million from the unemployment fund directly to Perry's TEF fund.
Politicians of both parties are clamoring for clarity on TEF. Last year, former gubernatorial candidate and mayor of Houston Bill White, a Democrat, called for a formal audit of TEF spending on a biotech lab based at Texas A&M University, Perry's alma mater. His objective was simple: to get a clear explanation of why certain companies had been allowed to reduce their employment goals after they'd already been awarded TEF money. "We asked for basic information, such as whether companies had met the original projections or commitments for increased employment they had submitted to the state when wanting the taxpayers to finance their businesses," White said. His call for a public audit was ignored.
State Republicans also take serious issue with Perry's program—especially tea party members like Rep. David Simpson. "It's legal plunder," Simpson told Bloomberg. "You can't avoid the appearance of impropriety when you take money from everyone and you give it to a select few."
That problem is only compounded by the fact that over the years, a number of the the program's beneficiaries—including huge banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America—have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Perry-associated PACs.
Even without the program, Texas' low-tax, heavily deregulated business climate may well have shielded it from the worst of the recession. But thanks to Perry's not-so-sly system of corporate welfare, we may never know for sure.

Just another Little Ricky story.  He's such a lout.

Fact checking the CNN and Tea Party Express debate in Tampa

The Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla., co-hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express, was feisty and provocative, with many of the candidates relying once again on bogus “facts” that we have previously identified as faulty or misleading.
The debate marked a remarkable shift in tone by Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the issue of Social Security, barely five days after he labeled the venerable old-age program “a Ponzi scheme” doomed to fail. This week, he said it was a “slam dunk guaranteed” for people already on it.
Last week, we explained why the Ponzi scheme label was not true — and also provided readers with a primer on Social Security for those who want to learn more. In Monday night’s debate, Perry and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney tangled over the issue again, and Romney had better command of the facts, as far as the two men’s books were concerned.
“The real issue is that in writing his book Governor Perry pointed out that, in his view, that Social Security is unconstitutional, that this is not something the federal government ought to be involved in, that instead it should be given back to the states … . Governor Perry, you’ve got to quote me correctly. You said ‘it’s criminal.’ What I said was Congress taking money out of the Social Security Trust Fund is like criminal, and that is, and it’s wrong.”
— Mitt Romney
Romney gets points for correctly quoting both Perry’s book, “Fed Up,” and his own book, “No Apology.” On page 58, Perry labels Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and even unemployment insurance as “unnecessary, unconstitutional programs.” While promoting his book last year on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Perry went further, suggesting Social Security should be dismantled and simply become a state responsibility.
“Get it back to the states. Why is the federal government even in the pension program or the health-care delivery program?” Perry said on Nov. 5, 2010. He said that ending the federal government’s role in Social Security would be “one of the ways this federal government can get out of our business.”
(Perry also added: “I wouldn’t have written that book if I wanted to run for presidency of the United States. ... I have no interest in going to Washington.”)
Romney’s book, by contrast, contains mostly a sober description of various ways to fix the long-term funding problems of Social Security, with the exception of the suggestion that members of Congress are doing something criminal with Social Security funding (page 158). People can differ, but we think comparing Social Security (a government retirement and disability insurance program) to a trust fund managed by a bank is an inappropriate analogy.
“We know that President Obama stole over $500 billion out of Medicare to switch it over to Obamacare.”
— Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.)
“He cut Medicare by $500 billion. This, the Democrat president, the liberal, so to speak, cut Medicare — not Republicans, the Democrat.”
— Romney
Bachmann in particular loves to make this claim, but we have repeatedly explained why it just isn’t correct.
Under Obama’s health-care law, Medicare spending continues to go up year after year. The law tries to identify ways to save money, and so the $500 billion figure comes from the difference over 10 years between anticipated Medicare spending (what is known as “the baseline”) and the changes the law makes to reduce spending.
The savings actually are wrung from health-care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries. These spending reductions presumably would be a good thing, since virtually everyone agrees that Medicare spending is out of control.
In fact, in the House Republican budget this year, lawmakers repealed the Obama health-care law but retained all but $10 billion of the nearly $500 billion in Medicare savings, suggesting the actual policies enacted to achieve these spending reductions were not that objectionable to GOP lawmakers. So it is misleading for Romney to say that Republicans did not make these cuts.
For a more detailed explanation, please see our longer examination of this subject in June, when we gave Bachmann two Pinocchios for making this claim at the first GOP debate.
“Let me say I helped balance the budget for four straight years, so this is not a theory”
— Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.)
Gingrich at least indicates there was a president — Bill Clinton — when the nation briefly began to run budget surpluses. And certainly the Republican Congress led by Gingrich prodded Clinton to move to the right and embrace such conservative notions as a balanced budget.
But the budget was balanced in part because of a gusher of tax revenues from Clinton’s 1993 deficit-reduction package, which raised taxes on the wealthy and which Gingrich vehemently opposed. The budget was also balanced because the Democratic White House and Republican Congress were in absolute legislative stalemate, so neither side could implement grand plans to increase spending or cut taxes.
Gingrich is wrong to suggest there were four years of balanced budgets when he was speaker. He left in January 1999; the budget ran a surplus in the fiscal years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. So he can at best claim two years.
During the surplus years, moreover, the gross debt (including bonds issued to Social Security and Medicare) rose by $400 billion. Gross debt is the figure that conservatives tend to use. During Gingrich’s time as speaker, the public debt was essentially flat and the gross debt rose $700 billion.
Obama “had $800 billion worth of stimulus in the first round of stimulus. It created zero jobs.”
— Perry
Perry is wrong. The stimulus created jobs. But there has not been a net gain in jobs because so many jobs were lost early in Obama’s presidency. Since the stimulus bill was signed, the number of overall jobs in the United has declined by about 1.9 million.
Economists differ on the effectiveness of the stimulus, but most say it has at least some effect (ie, created at least some jobs.) A recent review of nine different studies on the stimulus bill found that six studies concluded the stimulus had “a significant, positive effect on employment and growth,” and three said the effect was “either quite small or impossible to detect.”
“I was one of the only people in Washington that said: Do not raise the debt ceiling. Don’t give the president of the United States another $2.4 trillion blank check. You’ve got to draw the line in the sand somewhere and say: No more out-of-control spending.”
— Bachmann
Ever hear of a “blank check” with a number attached to it? In any case, Congress has already committed to spend much of this money, under budgets passed in previous years. Lifting the debt ceiling merely means that the Treasury now has the authority to make good on bills that are coming due.
“We have cut taxes by $14 billion, 65 different pieces of legislation.”
— Perry
That’s one side of the ledger. We are not sure if Perry’s figure is correct but as Politifact Texas has documented, he has also raised taxes repeatedly, including on cigarettes, to make up revenue for cuts in local property taxes.
“What we saw with all of the $700 billion bailout is that the Federal Reserve opened its discount window and was making loans to private American businesses, and not only that, they were making loans to foreign governments. This cannot be.”
— Bachmann
Bachmann is significantly overstating the case. Bloomberg News, which filed the Freedom of Information Act request that resulted in the disclosure of the Fed loans to foreign banks (some of which had had some government ownership), noted: “The Monetary Control Act of 1980 says that a U.S. branch or agency of a foreign bank that maintains reserves at a Fed bank may receive discount-window credit.” All of the loans were paid back, according to Fed officials.
“And I happen to think that what we were trying to do was to clearly send the message that we’re going to give moms and dads the opportunity to make that decision with parental opt-out. Parental rights are very important in the state of Texas. We do it on a long list of vaccines that are made.”
— Perry
Perry skated close to the edge of the truth here as he tried to defend his controversial order to require the vaccine that is said to prevent cervical cancer. As Politifact Texas reported in 2010, Perry “ordered the Department of State Health Services to allow parents dissenting for philosophical or religious reasons from all immunizations — not just this one — to request a conscientious objection affidavit form.”
Just 0.28 percent of students filed such forms, which must be updated every two years to remain viable — and not all private schools accept the form. So as many as 15 percent of girls did not have the possibility of opting out of the requirement to receive the vaccine if they wanted to continue in their schools.
While Perry denied Bachmann’s charge that there was a connection between his order and a $5,000 campaign donation, Texas mediareported that Perry’s chief of staff held a meeting on the vaccine plan on the same day the donation was received. Perry’s aides said the timing was a coincidence.
“This is the election that’s going to decide if we have socialized medicine in this country or not. This is it. Why? I just have to say this. It’s because President Obama embedded $105,464,000,000 in Obamacare in postdated checks to implement this bill.”
— Bachmann
It’s wrong to say the health-care law — which builds on the existing private system — will result in socialized medicine, but apparently some people will never be convinced.
But Bachmann’s assertion of $105 billion “embedded” in the health-care law is another bogus claim for which she has previously earned four Pinocchios. We looked closely at her assertion in March and concluded that her charge that this money was “hidden” does not have credibility. The money for these programs was clearly described and analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office before the legislation was voted into law. And since then, the Obama administration has issued a new release every time it spent some of the funds.
Just setting the record straight.  Liar, liar pants on fire!

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