Republican Obstructionism So Bad, Even Trent Lott Saying It’s Out of Control

Sometimes, things get so bad you just have to laugh.

Former Republican Senate majority leader, Trent Lott, had some interesting advice for incoming Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and what he thinks about the obstructionists in the current Republican party.  The quote speaks for itself:

“The leadership is going to have to find a way to deal sternly with some of these members…. I wouldn’t put up with some of the stuff that they’re doing,” said Lott. He characterized last year’s partial government shutdown – spearheaded by tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – as a “fraud.”

And they’ve been hard at work at hardly working.  There have been more cloture motions filed in the 2013-2014 Congress, 227, than all Congresses from 1917-1980 combined, 218, according to the Senate’s website.

The great irony here is Lott lost his leadership position for praising the hypocritical racist, Strom Thurmond, a Senator famous for carrying out the longest filibuster in history because he wanted segregation to continue so badly.  You might think Lott would be a big fan of the record amount of filibusters the Republican Party has used in recent years.  Guess not.

Sometimes, you just have to laugh at the crazy.

EPA Announcement and Kentucky

KENTUCKY1-articleLargeToday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new regulations that would cut U.S. carbon emissions from power plants by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030. And this would mainly target the 600 coal-fired power plants that exist today, closing hundreds in favor of new, less-polluting energy sources.

Since STL is headquartered in the Bluegrass State, we know that coal is an essential part of our economy as implied by Democratic Senate Candidate Ms. Alison Lundergan Grimes today in Covington, KY. As the NYT reports:

On Monday, Ms. Grimes pledged to “fiercely oppose the president’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry” if elected.

Running against Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, in a fierce battle for votes, even a Democrat is coming out against the EPA’s announcement today for the supposed “war on coal” is such an important issue here.

So this whole issue has me  pondering a complex question: what would become of Appalachia if these cuts go through?

Eastern Kentucky is one of the poorest regions of the U.S. and there only reliable industry is coal mining. So what should be done about these people barring significant and costly social programs that have been failing the area for decades. I am all for the protection of the environment at almost all costs due to the gravity of the situation, but I am also concerned about the poorest people of the Commonwealth.

So I am making a call to all those who read/follow this blog to comment on how this conundrum can be solved. What do you say?

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McConnell Tied With Grimes

1399917485000-GrimesMcConnell1-300x194As reported in Louisville’s own Courier-Journal, the latest The NBC News-Marist Poll finds that Senate Minority-Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan-Grimes are statistically tied in the race for the Kentucky Senate seat that McConnell has held for over 30 years.

Also, the February Bluegrass Poll, which was conducted by the C-J and three other news organizations, showed Lundergan-Grimes leading McConnell 46%-42%, which is also a statistical tie.

So it looks like that us Kentuckians just might “Ditch Mitch!” this November and really shake-up Washington.

Read Here.

Mitch McConnell Wants to Give Tax Break Extensions to “People” With $7.9 Trillion in Their Mattresses

When politicians talk about the need for tax breaks for businesses, we are always to assume it is because business is struggling and needs more cash to invest in their ventures.  When politicians on the right talk about it, it comes with the assumption that, as long as these businesses have enough money, that money will “trickle down” to the masses in the form of higher wages and new investments creating new or additional jobs.

That, however, is clearly not true.

Mitch McConnell has pushed hard for an extension of tax breaks for businesses and corporations that expired at the end of last year and he has asked that these breaks not be paid for since they are “existing tax policy”, even though they expired.  The reason he wants this is not because he has the interest of his constituents in mind but because he has been lobbied hard by the “people”* with money who can make his campaign coffers a lot fatter.

Looks about right.

(*”People”, of course, stands for corporations since five justices on planet Earth decided they are people so the rest of us have to go along with that…for now.)

These tax breaks, known as “tax extenders,” largely benefit big corporations like General Electric, HP and Citigroup. The report finds that between January 2011 and September 2013, 1,359 unique lobbyists representing 373 companies and trade associations contacted members of Congress or their staff about the tax package…McConnell alone has received more than $100,000 in total from the top 10 companies who have lobbied most intensely…

The tax-extender package…would add $46 billion to the deficit in 2014.

Obviously, the “people” these tax breaks are for must be struggling to put food on their collective tables.  They must be down to their last pennies and at their breaking point and will be closing up shop very soon.

Except their not.  According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, David Cay Johnston:

Instead, the biggest companies are putting profits into the corporate equivalent of a mattress. They are hoarding what just a few years ago would have been considered unimaginable pools of cash and buying risk-free securities that can be instantly converted to cash, which together are known in accounting parlance as liquid assets…

My analysis of the latest data from the Federal Reserve, the IRS and corporate reports shows that American businesses last year held almost $7.9 trillion of liquid assets worldwide.

Those who follow the news may be surprised, because the figure that’s been mentioned lately has been just under $2 billion. That figure, which comes from the Federal Reserve, is only for domestic cash…My estimate is conservative. I did not count cash due to American companies from their offshore subsidiaries as accounts receivable because the IRS does not provide fine details on these additional trillions of dollars. (Emphasis added)

Which brings about two important questions.  First, how much more money do corporations need in their mattresses before they are willing to say we have enough to increase wages, pay a higher minimum wage that is truly a living wage, or hire back the tens of thousands of workers they have shed?

Second, why do politicians, mostly on the right like McConnell, continue to coddle these “people” while thumbing their noses at the real and actual people that they are supposed to serve?

Trust McConnell With Majority Power?

04MCCONNELL2-master675Why should anyone trust GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with hopes for a more civil Senate? He’s the greatest of obstructionists in power now!

Read Here.

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The “Nuclear Option”

fd489c51fA good piece in The Atlantic on the filibuster change in the Senate lead by Democratic majority leader Harry Reid.

It will be interesting to see if, in time, this bold measure will comeback to bite the Senate Democrats when, someday, the GOP is in control. Changing the rules after decades of existence could change Washington forever, and not necessarily for the better.

Read Here.

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