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While the rest of the country focuses on the looming deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, House Republicans are taking advantage of their distraction to repeal environmental regulations and pass the most severe environmental budget cuts in 35 years. Republicans are pushing a bill that cuts 7 percent from the Department of Interior budget […]/p

via With Default Seven Days Away, House GOP Fixates On Repealing Environmental Regulations.

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Democrats turn ‘Where are the jobs?’ chant on GOP

By CHARLES BABINGTON
Associated Press

Feb 17, 9:17 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans won sweeping victories last November by taunting Democrats with “Where are the jobs?” Democrats are now throwing those taunts back, saying it’s Republicans who will knock thousands of Americans out of work with their demands for deep cuts in federal spending.

The attacks have caught Republicans at an awkward moment, as they shift their chief emphasis from creating jobs to reducing the size of the government and its deficits. They are finding it hard to claim they can do both at the same time.

Republicans say a smaller government eventually will spur private-sector job growth. Many economists challenge that claim, noting that the government helps pays for research, infrastructure, education and other programs that provide both public- and private-sector jobs. GOP leaders already acknowledge that thousands of government workers would lose their jobs in the short run under the $61 billion cost-cutting bill House Republicans are pushing this week.

If that happens, “so be it,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “We’re broke.”

MORE HERE

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During the same historic week in which marriage equality was passed in Maine, the Republicans — the self-proclaimed party of emancipation and “the liberty tree” — attempted to derail hate crimes legislation with some political trickery that succeeded in allowing Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to accuse the Democrats of protecting pedophiles. Stay with me on this.

Rep. Steve King (R-Batshittia) introduced an amendment to the hate crimes bill calling for the term “sexual orientation” to exclude “pedophiles” even though the bill specifically defines sexual orientation as “consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality.” Pedophelia, as everyone knows, is nonconsensual no matter who engages in it.

Not only was King insinuating the derogatory stereotype that homosexuals are pedophiles, but his amendment would’ve further validated this stereotype by writing it into the legal record. By the way, Joe the Plumber — another very serious leader of the Republican Party — advanced the same stereotype this week when he said that he’d never let his “gay friends” anywhere near his kids. Classy. Nevertheless, King making this kind of distinction is sort of like amending civil rights legislation with: “the term ‘African Americans’ shall not include anyone who rapes white women.” It elevates a stereotype while denying one exists. Pretty slick — in a creepy, sinister kind of way.

Obviously, the point of King’s amendment was neither to help to separate the LGBT community from nonconsensual sexual deviants, nor was it designed to make sure pedophiles weren’t covered under the hate crimes law. King’s intention was absolutely to trick Democrats into voting against the amendment — and they did — thus allowing the Republicans to say that Democrats are with the pedophiles.

So the Republicans are seeking a way out of their current mess by defining the Democrats as the party of pedophilia, even though the GOP’s previous attempts to paint the Democrats as the pro-terrorist, anti-American party failed miserably to prevent landslide Democratic victories in the last two general elections.

But of course King’s stupid amendment trick allowed Sean Hannity to repeat throughout his Tuesday night show things like, “Is it safe to say that Democrats were willing to protect pedophiles?” Limbaugh, meanwhile, remarked that the Democrats are “carving out protection for perverts.” This from a guy who successfully wiggled out of a legal situation involving the possession of prescription E.D. meds (not in his name) during a stag trip to a destination apparently known for sexual tourism.

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It only makes sense that a party currently being wagged by fringe crazy people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann would release its alternative budget on April Fools’ Day.

Not only does the Republican plan freeze discretionary spending for five years in the midst of a recession which, by most accounts and proved by history, will countermand any sort of economic recovery, but it also cuts taxes by 10 percent for the same Wall Street executives whose actions largely got us into this economic mess in the first place. In other words: Congratulations, Republicans, you just released a budget that rewards wealthy corporate executives while blocking any attempt to dig us out of the economic catastrophe they created.

Smart!

The only bit of Republican legislation that’d be more ridiculous would be if Michele Bachmann were to introduce a constitutional amendment thwarting a fake plot to eliminate the dollar as the form of currency in the United States.

Oh wait. She’s already done that. And 33 Republican congressmembers so far have co-sponsored the amendment. 30-plus Republicans have irrevocably tethered their wagons to the Bachmann crazy train. Excellent. Next on the agenda: a bill creating the Office of Robot Insurance, protecting us from robot attackers who use old people’s medicine for fuel. Speaking of which, the Republican plan also phases out Medicare.

The marquee item, however, in the Republican plan is their inexplicably regressive tax cut for the super rich. Wealthy Americans in the top three tax brackets would see their tax burden cut to a flat 25 percent from previous rates of 35, 33 and 28. According to the Center for American Progress, CEOs from any of the top 800 corporations would receive a tax break of around $1.5 million a year. Meanwhile, if you earn $15,000 a year, your tax break will be around $0 a year.

But get this. Under the Republican plan, Americans are given the option of paying the old tax rates instead of the new, expensive and regressive Republican rates. So, for example, if your household income is $100,000, you could pay the same tax rate as someone earning $15,000. Or you could be a swell egg and go back to your old rate. Aside from the utter lack of fairness in the notion of a $100,000 household paying the same rate as a $15,000 household, who in their right mind would voluntarily pay higher taxes?

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There’s a killer web graphic that was created back in the post-Republican Convention days while everyone was writing spasmodic, breathless “Obama should [fill in the blank]” blog entries and “Oh crap! We’re gonna lose!” newspaper columns. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, really. The Obama campaign slipped in the polls during Sarah Palin’s very brief golden age — an era of roughly two weeks following the Alaska governor’s successful recitation of a convention speech without, you know, choking on her own vomit.

Very few of us were confident of an Obama victory at the time. After all, previous Democratic nominees had been riding bullet trains to victory in the polls, only to gradually and utterly bonk as the summer segued into autumn. Even candidate Obama was warning us about the Democratic habit of “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” Yeah. Anyone who claims to have been absolutely 100 confident of a Barack Obama victory in the first week of September 2008 is either lying or lying.

However, some people were more confident (hopeful, perhaps) than others.

The web graphic is actually a photograph of Barack Obama from his Invesco Field acceptance speech. In it, he’s looking directly into the camera with an expression of fierce determination on his face — his teeth gnashed in an Eastwood snarl, his left hand gesturing as though he’s kung fu fighting his way through an oversized cinderblock made of SlapChop-minced Republican skulls.

The large, white text superimposed at the top reads: “Everyone chill the fuck out.” The text at the bottom exclaims: “I got this!”

Sure enough, two months later, we watched as this liberal African American man with the noble yet politically unusual name “Barack Hussein Obama” defied the odds and won red states like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana and the commonwealth of Virginia.

Fade out the roaring crowds at Grant Park. Dissolve to late January.

The economy continues to creep nearer to the crumbling ledge of yet another Depression — if it isn’t there already. And yet the Republicans who very nearly shoved us over the ledge are prancing around as if their collective Reaganomics don’t stink.

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