Category Archives: Congress

Let’s Face the Music and Dance

Government shut down…impending debt defaults that could drive us into a recession, if not depression…. idiots in Congress with no grasp of reality or social conscience…..

Sounds like we need Fred and Ginger, to me!

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Filed under Broadway, Congress, Entertainment, Politics

State by State Impacts of Sequestration: Or How Bad GOP Policy Will Hurt You and Your Friends

There is a great page at the Washington Post showing the real, state by state, impacts of the Sequester that kicked in yesterday.

The Sequester  which no one seems to be paying much attention to yet.

This is another one of those unnecessary crises that Washington Republicans specialize in creating.

And, of course, they don’t care in the least about the impacts on people or government services that help and protect us all.  All they care about is choking off as many of these government services as possible to align with their doctrinaire, Conservative ideologue, Washington-bubble induced vision that all government is bad….

Maybe it will take the people feeling the impacts of these arbitrary cuts to realize how important government programs are for all of us….

It’s a shame when people only realize the importance of what they have when they lose it…

But that may just be human nature…..

Maybe it has to be personal…

The impacts to the Economy from the resulting job and income loses don’t mean much to most people unless it hits them directly….

Maybe this is what it will take for  people to put some pressure on the GOP to stop acting like selfish, spoiled children and vote them out of office in the House and Senate in 2014.

Here is a link to the information at the Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/sequestration-state-impact/

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Filed under Congress, The Economy

Is Google Fiber Internet Service Driving Down Time Warner Prices?

God, I hope so…

There are few companies more justifiably hated than Time Warner.  Their combination of outrageously poor customer service, ridiculous prices, poor quality signals, lack of responsiveness, and sheer arrogance is astounding.

And they and Comcast and a few others get away with it because they have a defacto monopoly in so many communities- thanks to their bought and paid for friends in Washington, as well as Raleigh and most other state capitols.

And let’s not even talk about how much better and cheaper internet, cable tv and phone service is in Europe and other parts of the world.  That conversation always makes a few right wing heads explode as they are incapable of recognizing the fact that things aren’t always done best in the USA

Great article from AmericaBlog on what a little competition can do:

 

 

The Consumerist has an interesting story about this, and other similar stories seem to be popping up.  Google Fiber is a new fiber optic Internet service, along with cable TV, that Google is building, with it’s first test cases in Missouri and Kansas.  Google is offering multiple tiers of service, including a free level.  It sounds rather amazing.  And it seems that suddenly Time Warner Cable has found it in its heart to drop its prices significantly in the areas where Google Fiber is operating.  Imagine that.

As it stands today, Americans pay outrageously high prices for Internet services, yet they still receive low quality. Overseas the competition is much greater, as is the internet speed — and our prices are MUCH lower than what you pay in the states for less service.

Thanks to plenty of friends in Washington, DC, American Internet Service Providers (ISPs, aka the Comcasts of the world) have mostly been able to get away with this lousy deal for consumers, but this may be changing. Unfortunately, Google Fiber is only present in Kansas City today, so the reports of pricing and quality are only there. Secondly, Google Fiber itself is pretty darned expensive.

As I’ve mentioned before, in “socialist” France we have numerous options all around €30 per month, that include high speed internet (including fiber optic, which I have), phone calls around the world at no additional charge and more TV channels than most will ever watch. Other countries in Europe have similar 3-pack deals and Asia reportedly has even better internet connectivity.

As much as the US is the center of the world for many things including leading internet companies, the people of the US are being ripped off with the internet services. (It’s not unlike pharmaceutical prices, which are much more expensive in the US than everywhere else.)

Computer guy via Shutterstock

Will Google Fiber drive prices down as some have experienced? Maybe. But the US still needs a lot more competition in more places to break the market apart from the stranglehold of a few players.

MORE:   Is Google Fiber Internet service driving down Time Warner Cable’s prices?.

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Filed under Congress, Education, Internet

Beer Merger Challenged By Justice Department

I’m so relieved to know our Justice Department has it’s priorities in order…

I’m sure they don’t have anything more pressing than this to consider…

Of course, this does impact a large portion of the population that has to drink to deal with the fact that we have a bunch of incompetents (AKA:  The GOP) in Washington focusing on irrelevant issues instead of addressing the most pressing needs of the country.

Forget the Tea Party, let’s start the Beer Party!

 

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Thursday filed a lawsuit to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev’s proposed $20.1 billion purchase of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo, which would unite the ownership of popular beers like Budweiser and Corona.

The government said the deal could lead to higher beer prices in this country because it would substantially reduce competition in the U.S. beer market, particularly in 26 metropolitan areas. It said the merged firm would control nearly half the beer sales in the U.S.

In response, Anheuser-Busch InBev promised a court fight to preserve its deal.

Americans spent at least $80 billion on beer last year. ABI’s Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the nation and Modelo’s Corona Extra is the best-selling import.

via Anheuser-Busch-Grupo Modelo Merger Challenged By Justice Department.

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Filed under Congress, Politics, Uncategorized

Five Problems Bigger Than the National Debt

I am so tired of hearing politicians talk about the “DEFICIT” like it was the biggest threat to America since communism or some other previous excuse not to deal with real problems…

This is an entirely manufactured “crisis” and the “Conservatives” are trying to use it to kill programs they have always hated  anyway- like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and VA Benefits.  They are also using it as an excuse to cut federal jobs.

For example, I called the Veteran’s Administration 12 times today trying to check direct depositing my Mother’s benefits from my Father’s service.  I wasn’t allowed to do it on the web because it is a Custodial situation.  Each time I got a message telling me they could not take my call because of high call volumes and to call back later.  It took 2 years to get the benefit application approved due to “staffing” issues- and then only with Congressional help…..Hire some people, goddammit!

This is madness….

Anyway….

I’ve had my say on this many times.  We do not have any deficit problem that can’t be solved by higher employment, growth and investment in much-needed infrastructure projects.  The GOP and their Democratic enablers are only making the situation worse by not addressing these core issues responsibly and intelligently.

Someone needs to break the DC bubble and it sounds like maybe, just maybe, there may be some sensibility leaking into the Capitol.

But they still have a long ways to go and need to start by not listening to the Tea Party fools and their Billionaire sponsors or the Corporate chieftains.  Of course ending corporate welfare, such as subsidies to the oil companies, and making the wealthy pay their fair share by closing tax loopholes would also help…

I’ll keep hoping they will hear Paul Krugman’s voice calling from the wilderness.  Meaning outside of DC and it’s suburbs…

From Yahoo Finance:

With even top Republicans such as Eric Cantor beginning to question the political wisdom of waging perpetual warfare over the deficit, it’s possible that Washington may slowly turn its attention to other, more pressing matters.What could be more urgent than deficit reduction? you may ask.My answer: Almost everything.If deficit reduction was ever urgent, it no longer is. We’ve already accomplished most of the deficit-reduction required in this decade, nearly enough to stabilize our debt, but at a great cost to current economic growth. We’ve sacrificed with high unemployment, tepid growth and underinvestment in public goods.Not to mention our inability to get anything else done while we bicker about deficits.The $16 trillion debt sounds like a terrible thing, but no one has been able to show how this high level of debt has had any negative impact on the economy or on the people so far. Has anyone come around looking for your share of it?Interest rates are very low, so the public debt isn’t crowding out private investment. The burden from interest payments is extremely low, less than half what it was when Ronald Reagan was exploding the federal budget back in the 1980s. We survived.

MORE:   Five problems bigger than the national debt – Yahoo! Finance.

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Why Republicans Can’t Propose Spending Cuts

This article, in New York Magazine, is the best explanation I’ve seen yet for why the Republican’s can’t really offer serious ideas for spending cuts:  There really aren’t many options.

As usual, the GOP has based their case on illusions, untruths and sound bite cliches….

I’m a firm believer that the government actually needs to spend more on infrastructure and social programs.  The cuts should come from closing down George Bush’s wars of choice, unnecessary defense spending- that even the Pentagon says is unnecessary- and better management.

And, yes, raise the taxes on the rich and close loop holes that the rich and corporations use to avoid paying their fair share.  End subsidies to big oil and  corporate agribusiness.

The big opportunities are on the revenue side and with ending corporate welfare…..

From NY Magazine:

Republicans think government spending is huge, but they can’t really identify ways they want to solve that problem, because government spending is not really huge. That is to say, on top of an ideological gulf between the two parties, we have an epistemological gulf. The Republican understanding of government spending is based on hazy, abstract notions that don’t match reality and can’t be translated into a workable program.

Let’s unpack this a bit. We all know Republicans want to spend less money. So the  construction of the debate appears, on the surface, to be a pretty simple continuum based on policy preferences. Republicans like Mitch McConnell say government spending is “out of control” and would, at least ideally, like to bring it into line with revenue entirely through spending cuts. Democrats like Obama endorse a “balanced” solution with revenue and taxes. Right-thinking centrists, like the CEO community and their publicists like Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, think we should cut deeply into entitlement spending while also raising tax revenue. (VandeHei, in a video accompanying his execrable story, asserts, “There’s money to be cut everywhere.”)

There really isn’t money to be cut everywhere. The United States spends way less money on social services than do other advanced countries, and even that low figure is inflated by our sky-high health-care prices. The retirement benefits to programs like Social Security are quite meager. Public infrastructure is grossly underfunded.

via Why Republicans Can’t Propose Spending Cuts — Daily Intelligencer.

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Thank You, John Roberts….

I really never thought I would say this to the man behind Bush v Gore and  Citizens United…

Whatever his motivations- to save the name of the “Robert’s Court” or to do the right thing- I really think it was the prior- we all owe a debt of gratitude to the current Chief Justice today…

Now, we can all celebrate- just like he did in the past!

 

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Filed under Congress, Health Care, Uncategorized