Bill Scher

Introducing “Weekend Watchdogs”

Do you ever find yourself watching the Sunday morning talk shows, tearing your hair out because the host isn’t asking the most pertinent questions? Let’s see what we can do about that. Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, Common Sense will post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. Then on Monday, we’ll circle back and see if our questions were asked, and if they were answered. Let’s take back our media! For Sen.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Cheap Labor First, Healthy Families Last

The conservative movement has long been split on immigration. Nativist conservatives fear diversity and want to keep immigrants out. Corporate conservatives fear paying fair wages and want cheap immigrant labor. As neither camp cares about the well-being of workers on either side of the border, neither bothers to propose comprehensive, workable solutions to our broken immigration system. The Bush Administration is in the corporate camp, promoting temporary guest worker programs intended to keep wages down. This week, the White House floated its latest proposal, making it very clear that’s still all about the cheap labor.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

“Does That Work For You?”

Another Bush administration official has been caught fixing scientific reports for the benefit of White House cronies and ideological soul mates. The culprit this time is one Julie MacDonald, the deputy assistant secretary for the Fish and Wildlife Service in the Department of the Interior. This is no surprise except in the brazenness of her behavior, as documented in a report released by the Interior Department’s inspector general.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Which Scandal To Focus On Today?

It’s a tough question for this White House: which scandal to focus on today? Today, they’re going for Walter Reed, as President Bush is slated to tour the military hospital. With the Prosecutor Purge scandal getting hotter and hotter, the ploy is to shift attention to the relatively better-managed scandal. But while Bush has sought to delay making any real reforms by kicking the problems to various commissions, it’s the House that has taken the lead, unanimously passing on Wednesday a series of reforms in the Wounded Warrior Assistance Act. The bill includes a one-year moratorium on privatizing key functions at military medical facilities. The White House response? From the AP: The White House, in a statement, said that while those goals were commendable, the legislation is premature.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Politics Over Performance

Much of the focus of the Senate’s questioning of Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ former chief of staff, is on how Sampson’s story squares with other Justice Department and White House officials, especially because Sampson and others risk being busted for misleading Congress, and folks are looking to save themselves and shift blame. But beyond the possibility of crimes regarding a cover-up, there’s a bigger issue in this scandal—the fundamental nature of conservative government. As I’ve blogged before, the Bush Administration has been governing under the guidance of the Heritage Foundation paper, “Taking Charge of Federal Personnel,” issued just as Bush was assuming the presidency.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Politics Over Performance

Much of the focus of the Senate’s questioning of Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ former chief of staff, is on how Sampson’s story squares with other Justice Department and White House officials, especially because Sampson and others risk being busted for misleading Congress, and folks are looking to save themselves and shift blame. But beyond the possibility of crimes regarding a cover-up, there’s a bigger issue in this scandal—the fundamental nature of conservative government. As I’ve blogged before, the Bush Administration has been governing under the guidance of the Heritage Foundation paper, “Taking Charge of Federal Personnel,” issued just as Bush was assuming the presidency.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Conflicting Stories, Empty Excuses, Unanswered Questions

After the first round of Kyle Sampson’s testimony, what’s the news so far? ThinkProgress finds Kyle Sampson making Attorney General Gonzales appear to be a liar. Gonzales had claimed Sampson didn’t share key information about the Prosecutor Purge to him and his deputies. But Samspon says he did. TPMmuckraker sees news in Sampson’s exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein regarding the purge of Carol Lam, who successfully convicted Rep. Duke Cunningham and was continuing her investigation: Two big things came out of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) questioning of Kyle Sampson. The first was a glowing letter about Lam that Feinstein presented from the Director of Field Operations for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

Worsening Income Inequality

There is more evidence today that the Bush administration’s economic policies are widening the gap between the rich and the poor. University of California at Berkeley professor Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Picketty of the Paris School of Economics released two studies this week, one looking at income and another looking at tax policy. The bottom line: Under Bush, the rich aren’t just getting richer. They’re making a killing. How much so? As The New York Times reported Thursday, the nation’s richest 300,000 Americans make as much money as the bottom 150 million. Calculations based on 2005 tax data, the latest available, average incomes for people among the bottom 90 percent of Americans that year declined 0.6 percent, while the incomes of those in the top 10 percent increased about 14 percent. And that is not just a one-year blip.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

Income Inequality Worsens

There is more evidence today that the Bush administration’s economic policies are widening the gap between the rich and the poor. University of California at Berkeley professor Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Picketty of the Paris School of Economics released two studies this week, one looking at income and another looking at tax policy. The bottom line: Under Bush, the rich aren’t just getting richer. They’re making a killing. How much so? As The New York Times reported Thursday, the nation’s richest 300,000 Americans make as much money as the bottom 150 million. Calculations based on 2005 tax data, the latest available, average incomes for people among the bottom 90 percent of Americans that year declined 0.6 percent, while the incomes of those in the top 10 percent increased about 14 percent. And that is not just a one-year blip.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Sampson: Politics, Performance, What’s The Difference!

The Senate’s questioning of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ former chief of staff Kyle Sampson is underway. (Watch it on C-Span 3, or online. TPMmuckracker and Firedoglake are liveblogging.) In his opening statement, he said the reasons for purging eight U.S. Attorneys: the distinction between political and performance-related reasons … is in my view largely artificial Much of the focus today is going to be on how Sampson’s story squares with other Justice Department and White House officials, especially because Sampson and others risk being busted for misleading Congress, and folks are looking to save themselves and shift blame. But beyond the possibility of crimes regarding a cover-up, there’s a bigger issue in this scandal, the fundamental nature of conservative government.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Let The Kids Dance

If memory serves, back in 1995, right after the Republicans took over Congress, a pre-Fox News Dennis Miller looked at footage of a sea of grumpy white men sitting on their hands during a Bill Clinton State of the Union address, and remarked: It’s the elders from Footloose! Let. The. Kids. Dance! This week James Inhofe, who was swept into the Senate with that GOP takeover, has proven Miller prescient. The Hill reports that Inhofe is single-handedly blocking a Senate resolution to allow the planned Live Earth concert event from performing on the U.S. Capitol grounds.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Let The Kids Dance

If memory serves, back in 1995, right after the Republicans took over Congress, a pre-Fox News Dennis Miller looked at footage of a sea of grumpy white men sitting on their hands during a Bill Clinton State of the Union address, and remarked: It’s the elders from Footloose! Let. The. Kids. Dance! This week James Inhofe, who was swept into the Senate with that GOP takeover, has proven Miller prescient. The Hill reports that Inhofe is single-handedly blocking a Senate resolution to allow the planned Live Earth concert event from performing on the U.S. Capitol grounds.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Let The Kids Dance!

If memory serves, back in 1995 right after the Republicans took over Congress, a pre-Fox News Dennis Miller looked at footage of a sea of grumpy white men, sitting on their hands during a Bill Clinton State of the Union address, and remarked: It’s the elders from Footloose! Let. The. Kids. Dance! This week James Inhofe, who was swept into the Senate with that GOP takeover, has proven Miller prescient. The Hill reports that Inhofe is single-handedly blocking a Senate resolution to allow the planned Live Earth concert event from performing on the U.S. Capitol grounds.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Funding Failure Is Not An Option

President Bush, desperately trying to tamp down the rising tide of public pressure against the war, is seeking to misframe the Iraq bill he will soon veto. Realizing he can no longer win the argument about the war itself, he is maligning the bill’s backers as playing politics and risking the safety of our troops. In a speech just delivered, Bush said: Funding for our forces in Iraq will begin to run out in mid-April. Members of Congress need to stop making political statements [and] start providing vital funds for our troops … If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the front lines, the American people will know who to hold responsible. This makes the eventual bill sound like it will cut off funds for troops already in the field, which it simply does not.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Funding Failure Is Not An Option

President Bush, desperately trying to tamp down the rising tide of public pressure against the war, is seeking to misframe the Iraq bill he will soon veto. Realizing he can no longer win the argument about the war itself, he is maligning the bill’s backers as playing politics and risking the safety of our troops. In a speech just delivered, Bush said: Funding for our forces in Iraq will begin to run out in mid-April. Members of Congress need to stop making political statements [and] start providing vital funds for our troops … If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the front lines, the American people will know who to hold responsible. This makes the eventual bill sound like it will cut off funds for troops already in the field, which it simply does not.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Funding Failure Is Not An Option

President Bush, desperately trying to tamp down the rising tide of public pressure against the war, is seeking to misframe the Iraq bill he will soon veto. Realizing he can no longer win the argument about the war itself, he is maligning the bill’s backers as playing politics and risking the safety of our troops. In a speech just delivered, Bush said: Funding for our forces in Iraq will begin to run out in mid-April. Members of Congress need to stop making political statements [and] start providing vital funds for our troops … If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the front lines, the American people will know who to hold responsible. This makes the eventual bill sound like it will cut off funds for troops already in the field, which it simply does not.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Blogger Analysis of Prez Health Care Forum

Some reactions to Saturday’s presidential candidate forum on health care from around the blogosphere. Taylor Marsh and Eteraz.org say Sen. Hillary Clinton had the strongest presentation, while Nevada Today’s Hugh Jackson (link via Nevada Caucus 2008) talks up former Senator John Edwards and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and Critical Condition ranks all the candidates with Sen. Chris Dodd heading the list. Liberal Values offers an overarching take from the perspective of a doctor running a private practice.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

A Healthy Health Care Debate

The following analysis of Saturday’s presidential candidate forum on health care is excerpted from the full essay written by Prof. Jacob S. Hacker of Yale University. Hacker is the author of “The Great Risk Shift,” as well as the “Health Care for America” proposal recently released as part of the Economic Policy Institute’s Agenda for Shared Prosperity. In a piece written before the debate, Campaign for America’s Future co-director Roger Hickey laid out five key questions that all candidates should be required to answer: 1. Will the candidate’s plan really cover everyone —with a decent guaranteed level of coverage—at an affordable cost? 2. Does the candidate offer a public plan, like Medicare, that has a predictable, guaranteed level of benefits that “cannot be taken away?” 3.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

The Health Care Questions I Still Have

After watching Saturday’s presidential candidate forum on health care, and judging the candidates using Roger Hickey’s five health care questions, I’m left with key questions for each Oval Office aspirant. To former Sen. John Edwards: your plan sets up competition between private insurers and a new “Medicare-style” government plans for everyone under 65. You argue that with competition, we will see if Americans want public or private plans. But what will you do to ensure the plans compete on a level playing field? To Sen. Hillary Clinton: You accurately identified the problem with private insurers, how they make a profit by either trying to “avoid insuring you” or “try[ing] to avoid paying for the health care you receive.” But the 1993 health care plan you supported solely relied on private insurers to deliver health care coverage.

Continue Reading...
Roger Hickey

Universal Care: Getting The Right Mix

At Saturday’s health care forum for presidential candidates, John Edwards was bold, detailed and specific—but didn’t diagnose the problem. Barack Obama was vague—but stressed that no president can do it without the people. Dennis Kucinich diagnosed the problem, and pushed immediate transformation. Hillary Clinton, surprisingly, forcefully adopted Kucinich’s diagnosis (before he spoke). Put them all together—in the right way—and you have a winning health care plan. I was at the forum in Las Vegas where the Center for American Progress and SEIU made a real contribution to the political debate by getting seven Democratic candidates together to discuss health care.

Continue Reading...
1 563 564 565 566 567 573