Open Thread 12/12

- What the Seattle City Council members are doing with their surplus money from previous campaigns.

– There’s a lot going on at NPI.

– Everybody hates John Boehner.

Right to Work isn’t a one way fight. It seems like if the GOP want to open that up, there are plenty of states where there are right to work laws that could be repealed.

– Wait. Nick Kristoff wants people who are on disability to join the military? I mean I’m sure there are some people who are on disability who would thrive there, but in general that seems problematic.

– Third Avenue is totally awesome and the Memorandum of Agreement looks like it will keep being awesome.

If people just worked harder they wouldn’t need entitlements.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Why You Should Never Vote For Republicans

    There are lots of reasons, e.g. they’re liars. For example, Michigan’s GOP Gov. Snyder said “right to work” wasn’t on his agenda. But it was. Within hours after GOP legislators railroaded it through Michigan’s legislature, on a “fast track” and without debate, and in the face of strong public opposition, Synder signed it into law. And he lied again when he told the state’s congressional delegation that he would “consider” their concerns. That was nothing more than a brushoff designed to get them out of his office.

    Of course, it’s not news that Republicans are sneaky dishonest liars. They’re the minority party, and are pushing an agenda hardly anyone wants, so deceiving people is necessary to get their way. I guess this isn’t surprising, because many Republicans come from the business community, where dishonesty and deception are a way of life.

    Another reason why you should never vote for Republicans is because they bitterly oppose anything that protects consumers from dishonest and predatory businesses.

    For example, a California woman discovered a $16,159 “judgment” on her credit report from a credit card she never had. The bank ignored her — until a local TV station aired her complaint against them. Then, they issued a letter stating there was no judgment against her. That’s what it took to get the credit bureaus to remove the bank’s mistake from her credit reports.

    What if there had been no TV publicity to pressure the bank to correct its own mistake? Today, you can get help from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new federal agency created to help consumers who have been victimized by predatory lenders or just plain sloppy recordkeeping by banks.

    The CFPB was the brainchild of Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, who was just elected to the U.S. Senate, and supported by the Obama administration. Republicans bitterly fought CFPB’s creation; and, after Democrats established it over their obstructionism, they blocked Warren from being appointed its director. (In retrospect, not such a smart move.) Mitt Romney promised to dismantle it. Republicans in Congress undoubtedly will try to defund it and obstruct it in every way they can.

    Why? Because they want to make it easy for dishonest businesses to cheat consumers.

    I could go on about the massive nationwide fraud perpetrated by banks in the “robo-signing” scandal, and all the other crappy things taht greedy, dishonest, predatory banksters have perpetrated. But why bother? These are familiar stories to a public that is clearly fed up with the pervasive dishonesty of businesses, especially those in the financial industry, and their Republican enablers.

    There’s a simple solution to this problem: Never ever vote for any Republican.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Personally, I think it’s great that Republicans are ignoring public opinion and behaving like Bolsheviks. This will save Democrats a lot of effort and expense in the next election.

  3. 3

    Michael spews:

    This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency.

    This is bullshit and Kristoff ought to know better. Conservatives don’t have a point here, they don’t say that sometimes the safety net can cause problems. They say the safety net does cause problems. Period. The left says that safety nets do some times cause problems. But, we can’t work with the right on fixing the problem because the right’s fix is to throw out the safety net. So, the problems go unfixed.

    The right’s agenda for at least the last decade has been to tear up the (conservative) social contract. Fuck that and fuck them.

  4. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    More Republican Lies!

    Tonight we learn the “fiscal cliff” talks are stalled because Republicans are still holding out for preserving the Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich (TM).

    John Boehner, the GOP’s lead negotiator, and his minions have tried to portray President Obama as the obstacle to a deal.

    That’s bullshit.

    “Republican opposition in the face of support from the White House, Democrats and a majority of Americans, as shown by Obama’s re-election and consistent poll results, showed GOP conservatives were holding hostage the continued tax cuts for the middle class to prevent higher rates on nation’s wealthiest 2%, argued House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.”

    The fucking Republicans haven’t given an inch. They talk about “compromise,” but they demand surrender. They want to cut Social Security and Medicare for senior citizens so billionaires can keep their special tax privileges. Fuck ‘em. We’re going over the cliff, and it’s their fault. The whole country knows it; they’re fooling no one.

  5. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    IBM Squeezes Workers Again

    Several years ago, IBM switched from a defined-benefit pension plan to 401(k)s. Now it’s squeezing workers again by changing its contribution schedule from monthly to once a year. If you leave before Dec. 31 — voluntarily or involuntarily — you don’t get the company’s contribution even though you worked most of the year.

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: This is newsworthy because IBM is a trend-setter; other companies are sure to follow its lead.

    Today’s employers don’t want to train workers, don’t want to provide health or retirement benefits, and want to pay low wages.

    They expect you to get a college degree at your own expense, go into debt for it, then accept field-labor wages for skilled work.

    At some point, people are going to decide that working just isn’t worth it. At some point it becomes easier and more profitable to live out of dumpsters than trade your labor for crumbs.

    And when America’s economy collapses and we become just another poor third-world country, the greedy bosses and their conservative buddies will blame it all on the workers. You can count on it.

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    401(k)s are a bad deal because they force you into poor investments. The only reason for having a 401(k) is to get the employer match. If there isn’t one, you’re better off with an IRA or Roth, so you can pick your own investments. I don’t own mutual funds, period; my investment kitty is 100% individual stocks. Studies show 80% of mutual funds underperform the market. So, when you have no choice, a market-index ETF is better than a mutual fund.

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren will be on the BANKING COMMITTEE! Yay!

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: I wonder if the banksters and their Republican lackeys are now wishing they hadn’t blocked her from being appointed to the consumer agency she created. Warren also has been nominated to serve on the Senate’s Aging and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committees.

  8. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Elizabeth Warren is going to be a great U.S. Senator. And she’s going to be a Senator for a very long time. Fuck you, Republican assholes.

  9. 11

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    I wonder how other countries look at the way we elect our Congress? Not just th single-member districts, but letting, in most states, the politicians draw the districts, partisan politicians at that? In Washington, the Governors race was 51-49 Democratic, while for Congress, we had the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 8th Districts go Republican, while the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, and new 10th go Democratic. If Koster had not made the comments he made, the 1st probably could have swung to the GOP. Not too proportional, but not a blow out. The Independent Redistricting COmmission did it’s job, although with the State Senate, it has always given us the position of being where we could see a party coup. That does not mean the old ways in this state were any better. In 1963, the Republicans conspired with an Eastern Washington Democrat to oust then-State House Speaker John L. O’Brien(then halfway through his half-century tenure representing the Ranier Valley in Olympia). Disputes over redistricting was one of the reasons that coup happened.

  10. 12

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Roger Rabbit@9,

    The bankers spend a lot of money making sure Dodd-Frank was not as strong as it could be, then on buying the votes to repeal it, and when that failed, they lobby to keep Warren off the Banking Committee. I guess they were trying to use the spectre of Citizen’s United to scare the rank in file into putting somebody else on the commitee.

  11. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Money doesn’t buy policy the way it used to. I guess that shows how fed up everyone is with our corrupt political system.

  12. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 The GOP has a House majority despite getting a million fewer votes than the Democrats because of gerrymandering. There’d be no “fiscal cliff” stalemate or any other bullshit if the GOP hadn’t turned our democracy into a banana republic.

  13. 15

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Roger Rabbit @14

    That is the ugly side of American politics, and I think we are one of the few countries that let’s the parties draw the district lines. Although Ireland once had a practice known as Tullymandering, the alteration of districts, but since all seats in the lower house of the Dail Eirrean(Irish Parliament) are multi-member districts, what was done, was varrying the number of seats, which can vary from 3-5 seats. They changed later to a independent commission drawing the districts.

  14. 16

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    The Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction has finally been called. Republican Challenger Sandy Welch has dropped her request for a recount, citing an inability to put up the money for the bond required.(Montana law requires the person asking for a recount to pay, even if it is within 1 half of one percent). Earlier reports had the RNC and the Montana GOP willing to pay it, but the latter did not have the money, and the former, is silent. There had been accusations of voter fraud by the GOP.

    Democratic incumbent Denise Juneau was re-elected, and is the first Native American woman to hold statewide office in Montana.

  15. 21

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Roger Rabbit at 17,

    Very rarely. When they did not, they were screaming about it before the election. In this case, besides some of the more urban counties(like Cascade, Lewis and Clark, and Yellowstone), they were also looking into alleged irregularities in counties that were home to Native American Reservations.

  16. 23

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Another day, another week goes by and the House Republicans still will not bring forward the Middle Class Tax Cut bill for a vote.

    Why is that?

  17. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 The latest WSJ/NBC poll shows that even half of the country’s Republicans think the impasse is the GOP’s fault.

  18. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 Gerrymandering has produced an undemocratic House of Representatives (Dems got a million more votes than Reps, but the Reps got a House majority anyway), but I don’t see how it affects the Electoral College unless states start awarding EVs by congressional district instead of statewide. I suppose GOPers will push for that next.

    So far, courts have struck down redistricting schemes when they disenfranchise minorities, but that could change. When it becomes clear a party is gerrymandering to disenfranchise voters of the other party, courts could decide it violates the “one man, one vote” rule of Baker v. Carr. It’s hard to look at these maps and say this is constitutional.

  19. 26


    This poll says a majority of Americans think the Republicans are “too pro-rich”..

    Even 16 percent of Republicans are dissatisfied with the party…

    I’m sure the actual reasons for this dissatisfaction are varied but from my humble perspective:

    The Republicans believe their party is “too socialist”, i.e NOT “pro-rich” ENOUGH!

    Heh. If this is true, we have little to worry about.

  20. 31

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Another reason why they had to pass it the way they did(and I do NOT condone the actions of the MIchigan GOP), was they do not have the votes for it next year, and they exempted existing contracts. Whose contract does not expire until 2015? One of the biggest unions in Michigan, just approved a 4 year contract last year, with three major companies in the Detroit area. The UAW. They might have really awaken a sleeping giant on this one, time will tell though.

  21. 32

    EvergreenRailfan spews:


    What I cannot stand, about that headline, was not just that they are trying to use disaster relief as an excuse to cut other programs, but the “again” part.

  22. 34

    Czechsaaz spews:


    Didn’t actually read the article did you? Blue Shield wants to raise rates on INDIVIDUAL plans. If you still want your personal coverage instead of joining an employer/state group plans is going to continue to be more expensive.

    But Obamacare, rightly, incentivizes individuals to get into group plans. Kind of like every plan offered currently by every government agency, private business and Union in the country. If you have the means to decline your employers’ coverage and seek individual coverage, go for it.

  23. 35

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Since August of this year the Republicans in the House have had the opportunity to diffuse their Austerity Bomb and bring the Middle Class Tax Cut to the floor.
    Since the day after the election, when all the “skewed poll” dreams were dashed by reality, the President has been asking the House Republican leadership to bring the bill to the floor and get it passed.

    And what has the Republican House Leadership been able to do? Nothing.

    In the words of BooMan

    Boehner is a fraud and a buffoon. He can’t even figure out how to cave in. He’s just paralysed.

  24. 36

    Tea for everyone spews:

    16.4 trillion and counting, tax the rich ain’t going to go S with 1.4 trillion dollar annual deficits. Get Real!

  25. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    UBS will pay a $1 billion fine for its role in rigging the London interbank rate (LIBOR). “Libor is used to price financial products worth more than $300 trillion worldwide and regulators across the world are investigating more than a dozen banks for alleged rigging of rates going back to 2005 or even earlier.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Somehow $1 billion doesn’t seem nearly enough. How many billions of illicit profits does this bank get to keep?

  26. 39

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @28 Maybe the straw that gave the camel a backbone was when the Rethugs, after losing an election, demanded the Democrats privatize Medicare and give the proceeds to billionaires.

    They’ve already instituted this financing scheme in the private sector. We’re familiar with the technique: A vulture capitalist buys a company with its own money, then strips the equity out, and dumps its carcass. You don’t need a cent of your own money.

    Now they want to do the same thing to Social Security and Medicare. Social Security is the granddaddy of them all. Its assets dwarf anything in the private sector, so it’s the world’s #1 target for ambitious equity skimmers. The Mount Everest of theft.

    How can anyone in their right mind vote for these fucks?

  27. 41

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @29 That should make Rethugs popular in New Jersey — NOT!!! Cristie will have to switch to the Democrats if he wants to keep his job. Except we won’t take him. As for hostage-taking, two can play that game. Those Reps are from Wyoming, Idaho, and Iowa. No disaster relief, no farm aid.

  28. 42

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Another reason to be a proud Democrat from the fine state of Washington

    Senate passes Murray bill to expand VA fertility services for wounded service members

    The Senate today passed a bill to provide additional fertility treatments to catastrophically wounded service members and their families, but the measure faces a tight deadline in the House of Representatives.

    Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., campaigned for the bill two months ago in Seattle flanked by paralyzed service members from Spokane and Tacoma. Her bill compels the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer in vitro fertilization services to severely wounded service members and their spouses.

    Take note Republican assholes, Senator Murray is showing you what ‘support our troops’ means as a legislator.

  29. 43

    rhp6033 spews:

    Meet Tyree Johnson. He has worked at McDonalds for twenty years. But he still gets only $8.25 an hour in pay (minimum wage in Illinois), and less than 35 day-a-week shifts, making him ineligble for benefits. So he works at two Mcdonalds a day in order to afford his one-bedroom appartment. In his last review, the excuse they gave him for not giving him a raise was that they could smell the grease on him from his last job. He would have to work over five centuries to make the annual salary of the McDonald’s CEO, who earned over $8M last year.

    McDonald’s $8.25 p/hour man shows pay gap

    Don’t these CEO’s realize that at some point these workers are going to be so frustrated that they will resort to more than just voter campaigns?

  30. 44

    Deathfrogg spews:

    How “right to work” laws originated.

    Names mentioned: The John Birch Society, the Ku Klux Klan, Steven Levitt etc. Interesting read, and it jibes with other similar papers I’ve read on the subject.

  31. 45

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    @42. I bet he is fired for drawing attention to this problem. Not immediately, but within 6 months.

    Shareholders, not employees, have reaped the rewards. McDonald’s, for example, spent $6 billion on share repurchases and dividends last year, the equivalent of $14,286 per restaurant worker employed by the company. At the same time, restaurant companies have formed an industry wide effort to freeze the minimum wage, whose purchasing power is 20 percent less than in 1968, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank that advocates for low- and middle-income workers.

    Obviously he just needs to buys stock in the company, then he’s be getting some money.

  32. 46

    dont bogart it dude spews:

    who in the hell flips burgers for 20 years?

    flipping burgers is for HS students and retirees. Its not a CAREER!

  33. 47

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @41 I think Republican draft dodgers should supply the next generation of cannon fodder. Fucking people is all they know how to do anyway.

  34. 48

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @44 With McDonald’s stock at nearly $90 a share, he’d have to work almost 10 hours just to buy 1 share. But that will earn him $3.60 a year of dividend income!

    (Full disclosure: Roger Rabbit owns shares of McDonald’s stock.)

  35. 49

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @45 It is if our wonderful capitalist economy that produces a handful of $billion-a-year jobs for hedge fund managers and a few $million-a-year jobs for bankers fails to produce enough $20-an-hour jobs for people who actually WORK for a living.

  36. 50

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Finally a Republican I agree with …

    “Bartlett, a former adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and Congressman Ron Paul, explains why the GOP tax pledge has harmful consequences for the economy. Government spending will rise over the coming decades as more baby boomers retire. But if tax increases don’t keep pace with spending, the federal government will be forced to increase borrowing …. Bartlett is not advocating big spending increases … but he says revenues must keep up with spending. … ‘Revenues are too low rather than spending too high,’ he [says].”

  37. 52

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Because Republicans refuse to propose any spending cuts, I will:

    1. Save 10% of the prison budget by not incarcerating people for non-violent drug crimes. 10-year savings: $68 billion

    2. End the useless and ineffective “war on drugs.” 10-year savings: $150 billion

    3. Save 20% of the Medicare prescription drug budget by letting Medicare shop for the best competitive drug prices. 10-year savings: $100 billion

    4. Stop revenue losses to offshore tax havens. 10-year savings: $1 trillion

    5. Reverse Republican-era privatization and return outsourced work to lower-cost federal employees. (There are currently 7.6 million contractors vs. 2 million federal employees; and contractors cost on average two to five times as much as employees.) 10-year savings: $1.6 trillion

    6. Use less expensive methods than detention to supervise non-criminal illegal immigrants. 10-year savings: $18 billion

    7. Cut Pentagon spending by 10% of the increase since 2000. 10-year savings: $350 billion

    Total 10-year savings: $3.29 trillion

    And that’s without cutting a penny from Social Security or Medicare benefits to seniors, and without raising taxes on anyone by even one cent. So, Republicans, don’t tell us it can’t be done. It can be done! The only things standing in the way are lobbyists and partisan politics.