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The GOP’s War on The Middle Class, Families and Seniors

During the last election cycle the Republican party again ran on the same old platform. Less Government, lower taxes(for the top 2%), lower deficit, less spending and the claim that only they can create jobs and solve the economic crisis crippling so many Americans. Their opponents were drowned out by the repeated and often wholly dishonest commercials paid for by their new corporate sponsors courtesy of the Supreme Court. What has the GOP spent it’s time on since taking over the house in November?

Well let’s see……….Speaker John Boehner thrilled house Republicans by bringing styrofoam back the Congressional cafeteria and eliminated the use of the bio-degradable products that were in place before. Oh and they’ve spent $1.1 million dollars and an entire week taking turns reading the Constitution aloud for new members.

They’ve called Emergency sessions to de-fund things like National Public Radio.

They’ve secretly been planning a war on the elderly and neediest in our society to pay for the breaks given to the banks, wall street and corporate America. They’ve held numerous press conferences repeatedly telling Americans they are going to have to work longer, give up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid because the debt is just too high.

Yet at the same time Oil Companies were again rewarded with another tax break hidden inside a ‘transportation’ bill. They’ve also spent their time introducing a bill requiring the Internal Revenue Service to police how Americans have paid for their abortions.

All of this in an effort to keep the scale balanced as it has been over the last ten years so the Top 1% can control 42% of our country’s financial wealth.

They’ve demanded cuts to theWomen, Infants and Children Health and Nutrition (WIC) program by $750 million and Head Start by $1 billion.

Also cutting $50 million from a block grant that pays for prenatal healthcare for 2.5 million low-income women and healthcare for 31 million children each year and dedicated countless hours declaring war on women and children by defunding Planned Parenthood and cutting pregnancy prevention funding by 317 million. This is your Pro-Life GOP America.

A recent chart compiled from IRS and Tax Foundation data suggests the rich have been paying fewer taxes as compared to the middle class for over 20 years.

They want 30% cut to the EPA including $1.4 billion from clean water and drinking water and $1.3 billion cut from community health centers taking away primary care from 11 million patients.

Now about those jobs they’ve been working to create with things like eliminating $1 billion in funding for high-speed rail.
How about adding jobs with a cut of $786 million to invest in renewable energy and alternative energy resources.

All when Americans are again footing the bill with enormous gas prices due to Wall Street’s endless speculation game.

Meanwhile always talk of more war, meaning more money for the billionaires and corporations that have been profiting by billions from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While having the nerve to demand tax cuts for their wealthy financiers while attempting to frame as cut for all and an increase on the wealthy as an increase on the little guy. The don’t need our help anymore America.

They’ve made their largest profits in the last 18 years in 2010 when just two years earlier former President George W. Bush insisted Americans had to bail out the banks to save themselves. Well, when do WE, the workers get a bail out?

So no jobs have been created, no talk of how these cuts could possibly create jobs, Americans will expected to work longer, give up their retirement, go without health-care, pay enormous gas prices and somehow we’ll all be better off?

It’s a desperate attempt to cripple Americans leaving them strapped for money, angry, desperate and ready for a change. You see they think we’re stupid. They think we won’t notice who it really is that is sticking the knife in their side. They’re desperately counting on us to ignore what they’re up to and accept this is just what it is. They expect we’ll get angry at the guy in the White House and decide to vote him out in 2012. They expect us to roll over and ignore the attack on the middle class, women, children, the elderly and the most in need. They think we’re too stupid to know what they’re up to.

But America is catching on. In several states they are now faced with newly elected, corporate funded Republican governors hell bent and financially obligated to bring the war on Americans right to our front door. States like Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and countless others have introduced budgets that eliminate many of the same thing the GOP in D.C. is attempting to dismantle. Many going as far as to attempt to end bargaining rights for the very public servants that maintain our society.

Teachers, Firefighters, Police Officers and countless other public employees are under attack in this country. Accused of being free loaders, lazy, slobs, greedy and anything else the GOP talking points may be. Millionaire Rush Limbaugh even called them ‘whiny’ for caring about their rights and fighting for their jobs.

So there you have it folks, the corporations continue to reap huge profits, get big breaks, tax cuts or in some cases pay no tax at all and it’s now up the middle class to carry the burden of running this country.

Within an hour, the rally spontaneously turned into march. Despite lacking a permit or any prior planning, as many as 1,000 people walked the four blocks to the White House--in the middle of the street. From White House, it was onto the Chamber of Commerce building, which is across from the White House on Lafayette Square.

Americans are beginning to fight back. This isn’t your corporate funded tea-party this is a real movement regardless of party of choice or who they voted for.

Protests have popped all across the country in response to the GOP’s continued assault on education, health-care, women, children and the elderly. After weeks of protests against Governor Scott Walker’s mission to destroy collective bargaining in their state, protesters led by Firefighters have begun withdrawing their money from Madison’s M&I Bank upon discovering the bank took bailout funds which it then used to donate to Walker’s campaign for Governor.

Wisconsin resident Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot in the famous “Miracle on the Hudson” landing removed his money from the bank as well. When folks in the Washington D.C. area learned Walker and the WI Senate Republicans were to be awarded at a big D.C. fundraiser hosted by corporate lobbyists for recently ramming through a bill to end bargaining rights for state employees, they came out in droves. The protesters seized the lobby of the building then later marched to The Chamber of Commerce. As of Friday Mach 18th a judge in WI has issued a temporary restraining order against Walker’s bill while determining if the laws were broken in the passing of the bill.

For more information on the GOP class war peruse some of the items below or check out these pages on Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. Check back soon for more on the other states battling the attack.

This Is What Class War Looks Like: A National Campaign, State by State
The wealthiest 5% of Americans control 72% of America’s financial wealth. The bottom 80% control only 7% of the nation’s financial wealth. The richest 400 Americans have more combined wealth than the poorer HALF of all Americans. That means 400 people have more wealth than 150,000,000 people combined. American corporations saw record profits in 2010. Nearly 80% of all economic gains made in the past thirty years have gone to the richest 1%. In the 1970s, the average CEO made 30 times what an hourly worker made. Today, a CEO makes 300 times what an hourly worker makes.

Meanwhile, unemployment remains around 9%. Underemployment is much higher. Wages are stagnant. The cost of necessities like food, gas and healthcare are soaring.

If you were among the beneficiaries of this trend, if you had more financial wealth than 375,000 of your fellow citizens combined, if you made 300 times what one of your hard-working, middle class employees made, and if you saw the everyday struggle that middle-class and working class families go through, and if you were a humane, reasonable human being, your heart would go out to them. You could conclude that it was time to share the wealth. You would conclude that you are not worth more than three hundred of the people whose blood, sweat and tears really make your company successful. No humane, sane, reasonable and compassionate human being could honestly believe they were worth that much more than a fellow American.

Certainly no one who believes that “all men are created equal” could believe such a thing.

Wall Street Front Group President Sneers At Protesters
On Friday, two dozen protesters gathered outside of an event for the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, where U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue gave a lunchtime presentation about the economy.
U.S. Chamber operated as a front group for banks like J.P. Morgan and Bank of America to kill Wall Street reform.
The local CBS affiliate in St. Louis noted that, while Donohue gave a speech demanding more deregulation of the economy, the protesters outside called for better government oversight of Wall Street.

Asked about the massive protests against Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Donohue said that public servants have “over bloated” compensation:

Donohue turned truculent when asked whether events in Wisconsin are weakening unions and the right of workers to collective bargaining. [….] He went on to express his concerns that public sector pensions are “out of control” and that public workers compensation is “over bloated.”

Entitlements and interest payments will equal total government revenue in a little more than 10 years. Meanwhile, cuts to non-security discretionary spending are occurring in a part of the budget with practically zero projected growth as a share of GDP.

Who’s Waging Class Warfare Now?
Why is it that class warfare is only something middle-class liberals are accused of waging?

How can Republicans get away with this when they are so much more effective at actually waging class warfare than the Democrats? How is giving a $400 billion tax break to the top 2% of American incomes and then cutting $60 billion from programs that benefit the poor not class warfare?

Busting middle-class unions in the midwest. Cutting federal programs that primarily benefit the nation’s poor. Refusing to restore reasonable tax rates on the wealthiest two percent of Americans. Those actions sound like class warfare to me?

Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, and a number of other billionaires are bankrolling the Republican assault on America’s middle and working classes. When members of the wealthy class use their power and resources to inflict damaging policies on the less wealthy, that’s class warfare that has real impact.

If we hadn’t given tax breaks to the rich for the past 10 years while at the same time doubling “defense” spending, we would not have a budget “crisis” now. Those are facts that cannot be denied by the charged rhetoric of class warfare.

“Reduce capital gains tax rates? — That’s the war cry of the rich in the class war.”
That’s what we should say every time anyone advocates a lower capital gains tax. So far, conservatives have almost monopolized the “class war” meme. Rubbish. They get away with it partly because “capital gains tax” is an arcane enough concept that it makes most people’s eyes glaze over. One of the best tests of whether someone is rich is whether or not he perks up when he hears those words: “capital gains tax”.

Why is that? Because really rich people make most of their money as capital gains. Some of that happens because of gimmicks — tax shelters — that dress up regular income so it gets taxed as capital gains. But a lot, perhaps most of it, is because the usual way to get really rich is to own something that becomes fantastically valuable — something like Microsoft, or the mineral rights to an oil field. It’s perfectly fair to call the increase in value of an asset like that capital gain.

What’s not necessarily fair is to tax that kind of income at a fraction of what you pay on income earned from the sweat of your brow.

Some in GOP grow tired of right wing
Many of the critics are close to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who struggles more each day to keep his majority unified as a three-month spending showdown threatens to spill into April. The House passed $6 billion of spending cuts Tuesday, to bring the total cut to $10 billion.

“Yep, it is surprising,” Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson said of the difficulty convincing hard-liners that the leadership is cutting large amounts of spending. “I mean, this is three weeks; we’re cutting $6 billion. You know? It is surprising. This is the only time in my life where I can cut $6 billion in a three-week period and be called a liberal.”

Ohio Rep. Steve LaTourette, an appropriator close to Boehner, said Republicans are seeing a “constant tension” between “the Democratic Party that talks about cuts but doesn’t want to cut anything, and then you have my side, that wants to cut anything that moves.

“That creates this dynamic tension, and you have people in my party that are angry that we are not adding riders, or shutting down the government, things like that, but this is exactly what people expect us to do — find cuts and continue to talk,” LaTourette said.

Other Republicans are quietly complaining that a few bombastic members of their conference who regularly appear on TV create an outsize perception of pressure.

The GOP claims the government is broke; False Motives
In Wisconsin, the Republicans are trying to bust the public service unions, while in Washington they have their sights on bigger game. Using these scare tactics, congressional Republicans want to roll back 80 years of social programs intended to provide a social safety net beneath our capitalist economy. But more than a safety net, these programs are part of our social infrastructure: environmental protection laws, Head Start programs for underprivileged children, Pell grants to send young Americans to college, programs to hire and equip police officers, NPR and the National Endowment for the Arts, national parks, and scores of other programs.

One target offers a particularly vivid example of the GOP scorched-earth policy. The Republicans have hated Planned Parenthood for decades, branding it “America’s largest abortion provider” even though it uses no federal funds to provide that medical procedure. Last month the GOP budget-cutters voted overwhelmingly to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, including its contraception, cancer screening, sex education, and prenatal care programs. Writing at Salon, Rebecca Traister described the GOP war on Planned Parenthood this way: “But this isn’t simply about the question of abortion itself. What … the House of Representatives did today was devalue women’s lives, women’s rights, and women’s ability to participate fully in the democracy.”

Fat Cat CEOs And Their Conservative Servants
In the fight for capital investment, CEOs invest in themselves rather than their companies. No wonder there is a major disparity of income. The workers on the factory floor take pay cuts and furloughs; CEOS take that savings and put it in their pockets.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal,;

CEO bonuses at 50 major corporations jumped a median of 30.5%, the biggest gain in at least three years, according to a study of the first batch of corporate CEO pay disclosures by consulting firm Hay Group for The Wall Street Journal.

When we speak to conservatives, they will tell you that those tax breaks create jobs. They will tell you that the “savings” in taxes will be used to hire more people, build new factories, buy more supplies or increase the pay of existing workers.

It seems to me that the CEOs are taking those tax breaks and shoving them in their own pockets. Profits in corporate America are at an 18 year high, yet many working class people are taking pay cuts. The Republicans do not talk about the disparity of income in this country, because they don’t care about it. In fact, it is their policies that have caused it.

Republicans Set Out To Impoverish Real America Though Shared Sacrifice
Americans are beginning to understand that Republicans want everyone to share in the sacrifices except the wealthy and corporations. Conservatives traditionally force minorities to make sacrifices, but they have broadened the scope to include the poor, elderly, children, and now working-class families in an effort to spread the pain evenly. For one thing, sacrifice means giving something up voluntarily and sharing denotes all parties giving equally. Republicans are forcing 98% of Americans to give up services their tax dollars pay for, but they are not asking the wealthy or corporations to make any sacrifices whatsoever.

In Congress, Republicans are finding it difficult to force Americans to sacrifice for corporations and the wealthy because the Senate and White House are controlled by Democrats. In Republican controlled states though, governors and legislatures are forcing the masses to sacrifice everything to ensure corporations receive all the tax dollars and control of the government. Republicans are not using subterfuge and deceit to hand over control to corporations, and in many cases, Republican governors are flaunting the fact that they are giving corporations a free ride while forcing everyone else to make bigger sacrifices.

In many Republican controlled states that are facing budget deficits, governors have proposed funding cuts to education, law enforcement, and aid programs for the poor and elderly in an effort to reduce budget shortfalls. The same states are experiencing depressed tax revenues so they increased taxes on the poor, retirees, public employees, and the middle class. With all the spending cuts, added tax revenue, and shared sacrifice by 98% of the population, states should be on the road to recovery, but any savings or added revenue is being doled out to corporations to perpetuate the shortfalls. To add insult to injury, Republicans argue that the spending cuts, elimination of services, and corporate entitlements will create jobs as they lay off thousands of employees.


FEAR vs HOPE

President Obama took on the GOP and Senator John Boehner (R-OH) in Cleveland in his continued fight for the middle class today. Today the President reminded us exactly why we elected him to lead our country.

He spoke of the disaster and misguided proposal of the GOP to grant permanent, budget-busting tax cuts to the wealthiest Americansand elaborated on his own proposals.

Some notable portions:
I know that folks are worried about the future. I know there’s still a lot of hurt out here. And when times are tough, I know it can be tempting to give in to cynicism and fear and doubt and division -– and just settle our sights a little bit lower, settle for something a little bit less. But that’s not who we are, Ohio. Those are not the values that built this country.

We are here today because in the worst of times, the people who came before us brought out the best in America. Because our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents were willing to work and sacrifice for us. They were willing to take great risks, and face great hardship, and reach for a future that would give us the chance at a better life. They knew that this country is greater than the sum of its parts -– that America is not about the ambitions of any one individual, but the aspirations of an entire people, an entire nation.

That’s who we are. That is our legacy. And I’m convinced that if we’re willing to summon those values today, and if we’re willing to choose hope over fear, and choose the future over the past, and come together once more around the great project of national renewal, then we will restore our economy and rebuild our middle class and reclaim the American Dream for the next generation.

Near the end:
A few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House came here to Cleveland and offered his party’s answer to our economic challenges. Now, it would be one thing if he had admitted his party’s mistakes during the eight years that they were in power, if they had gone off for a while and meditated, and come back and offered a credible new approach to solving our country’s problems.

But that’s not what happened. There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy that we had already tried during the decade that they were in power — the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: Cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.

Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care for folks who are sick, or let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, they’re asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth and eroding competitiveness and a shrinking middle class.

Cleveland, that is not the America I know. That is not the America we believe in. A lot has changed since I came here in those final days of the last election, but what hasn’t is the choice facing this country. It’s still fear versus hope; the past versus the future. It’s still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward.

It doesn’t take a genius or financial wizard to understand that tax cuts for the top 2% in our country does nothing to help the rest of Americans. Just look back over the last 8 years since the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy went into effect what it has done to our economy.


Ohio Rep Jean Schmidt(R) is a birther too

So, if you’re a Republican respresenatitive and you’re confronted with a ‘birther’, you know one of those that believe the President of The United States isn’t a citizen, and they are demanding you do something about the fact that you believe he isn’t entitled to hold position of President?

Well you agree with them of course. I mean really ya know you work for the United States government, but you don’t believe the commander in chief is really commander. So, what should you do? Why keep your job of course and pretend all along you’re working on behalf of Americans. You keep collecting that congressional paycheck and health insurance provided at no expense to you on behalf of hard working Americans.

Well, then we might want to let Ms. Schmidt know that the majority of Americans think she and any other ‘birther’ are not only certifiable, but just plain old fashioned racist.

From Think Progress:

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) spoke at the Voice of America tea party this Labor Day weekend outside of Cincinnati, OH. Following a tense Q&A session — during which, the congresswoman was booed for acknowledging that the Constitution is a living document — Schmidt engaged in a heated conversation with a birther off-stage. At the conclusion of their exchange, Schmidt whispered to the birther, “I agree with you, but the courts don’t.”

Think Progress attended the event and captured exclusive video of the exchange.
As Schmidt spoke to the birther, one of her staffers spotted the ThinkProgress camera and used his body to push the cameraman out of view of the congresswoman. ThinkProgress continued to film Schmidt from a respectful distance, but was again stopped by another staffer who grabbed the cameraman by the arm and ordered him to “go away.”Schmidt was among the members of Congress featured in Firedoglake’s Know Your Birthers video. In the FDL video, Schmidt can be seen running away from blogger-activist Mike Stark when he asked whether or not she has any questions about President Obama’s citizenship status.

In July, following her 15 minutes of YouTube fame, Schmidt’s office issued a statement to Ohio’s Loveland Magazine to clarify her views:

The President is indeed a Citizen of this country. I voted as a Member of the House to certify the vote of the Electoral College electing him as our President. I may not agree with his politics but there is no doubt he is our President and has my full respect as such.

Schmidt’s exchange with the birther this weekend directly contradicts her July statement. The footage appears to indicate that Schmidt is a closet birther who questions the citizenship of the President.

So there you have it birthers, one more hater to join your group. Maybe Schmidt should resign since she believes President Obama isn’t technically the President. I’m sure you’re group could use another leader since Orly Taitz can’t seem to find the correct Kenyan birth certificate to prove your case. Oh I know Orly will find it someday if she just keeps on trying, but for now maybe she’ll let Ms. Schmidt have a shot at it.

Maybe Ms. Schmidt might have better luck?


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