Category Archives: GOP

Oil Companies Are Raking In The Profits — And Tax Subsidies

The big 3 oil companies have reported a combined profit of $44 billion for 2012. The New York Times reported that these earnings have actually dropped based on stated expectations earlier this year. They are attributing it to the lower gas prices. They also note that the top five oil companies receive a total of $2.4 billion in tax breaks each year

According to Republicans, in order to balance our budget, they want to cut tax credits and programs that benefit the middle class, i.e., education funding for Pell Grants and public universities, tax credits like the earned income tax credit and mortgage deductions, Meals on Wheels and food subsidies for low-income families, but they absolutely refuse to end these oil and gas industry subsidies.  

The Center for American Progress Action has analyzed Romney’s tax plan and it would actually lower the top five oil and gas companies yearly tax rates by another $2.3 billion. They say this would double what they already receive in tax breaks. 

Think Progress wrote on this subject and they actually listed some of the ways these oil companies are spending their money. 

ExxonMobil:  

– Exxon spent 42 percent — or $10.7 billion — of its 2012 profits buying back its stock, which enriches executives and largest shareholders. 

– Exxon has spent $17 million lobbying for the past 18 months, making it the top spender in the oil and gas industry. It has spent more than $52 million lobbying for the first three years of the Obama presidency, 50 percent more than in the Bush administration. 

– Exxon is sitting on $18 billion in cash reserves. 

– Exxon send federal candidates $1.3 million in campaign contributions so far this campaign cycle, sending 91 percent to Republicans

– Exxon paid just 13 percent in federal taxes last year, lower than the average American family. Right after Mitt Romney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the top recipient of Exxon federal contributions

– Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson received $24.7 million total compensation.

Royal Dutch Shell

– Shell will start drilling in the Arctic this summer, but its oil spill response plan is still behind schedule. It’s off to an inauspicious start in the Arctic, recently losing control of an Arctic drilling rig. 

– Shell has spent nearly $22 million for the past 18 months, making it the second-biggest spender of the oil and gas industry. 

– Shell has more than $17.3 billion in cash reserves. 

– Shell bought back 15 percent of its second-quarter profits, or $900 million. 

– Shell CEO Peter Voser’s compensation more than doubled in 2011 to $15.3 million. His salary increased (in euros) by 113 percent. 

– In its annual report, Shell noted that the number of oil spills increased from 195 in 2010 to 207 during 2011.

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Republicans Newest Claim: Obama Outsourced NASA

Mitt Romney has been plagued, rightfully so, by claims that he and his colleagues have enriched themselves by taking over failing companies, bankrupting them, and then outsourcing those jobs. Their reaction to this is to flip the argument and claim President Obama is actually the “outsourcer in chief.” There newest example of this is NASA. On Monday former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu went on CNN’s Soledad O’Brien to make this point.  

“You want to talk outsourcing?” Sununu asked Ms. O’Brien. “Let’s go back to the Solyndra, Fisker, BrightSource, First Wind — all of the grants that were given to cronies, to people who bundled, to people who contributed to Obama. In fact, we had an event yesterday that wasn’t well reported. We launched a U.S. astronaut up to the space station. But you know how she was launched? She was launched on a Russian spacecraft because President Obama has outsourced a major portion of the U.S. space program to the Russians. So, let’s stop playing games with this outsourcing distortion.” 

Earlier in the day, Drudge Report, a conservative blog, broke this “ghastly story.” The headline read “OUTSOURCED IN SPACE: NASA SENDS ASTRONAUT ON RUSSIAN ROCKET.” This headline was linked to a story by Andrew Malcolm of Investors Business Daily, which called the mission “real Obama outsourcing.”

What any of these Romney surrogates failed to mention is that it was under President Bush who on January 14, 2004 at the NASA Headquarters announced the retirement of the shuttle program. He spoke about the “New Vision for Space Exploration Program.” It was scheduled to end in 2010, however, President Obama extended it until 2011 for two extra missions.  

Another example of how facts are just not that important to Republicans.

Middle Class Would Find Higher Taxes Under Republican Plan

The Congressional Research Service released a report last month reviewing the Republicans proposed tax reform plan that would broaden the tax base, and what they found was that under their proposal the net result would be cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans while raising taxes on the middle and lower class. The report was actually prepared by Democrats and they then sent their findings to be reviewed by nonpartisan tax experts including The Tax Policy Center. I have noticed this has received very little attention so I wanted to share some their findings.   

Under the GOP plan, they would replace the current tax structure with a two bracket system (otherwise known as a flat tax) — 25% and 10% — cutting the top tax rate from the current 35% to 25%. This would benefit everyone and result in a reduction of federal tax collection by $4.5 trillion dollars. Now on its face it sounds great, the middle class would pay a 10% flat tax rate. 

Here is the catch — Republicans including their golden boy Paul Ryan want to get rid of special interest tax loopholes and tax shelters. 

The Republicans have declined to specify the exact loopholes they would target, but what we do know is, based on their record, they are united in opposing ending any subsidies for industries such as oil and gas. 

The study found that the biggest loopholes that are currently in the system consist of tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and retirement savings, and these all disproportionately benefit the middle class. 

According to the Joint Economic Committee, “although households earning $100,000 to $200,000 a year would save about $7,000 from the lower tax rates in the GOP plan, those savings would be swamped by eliminating major deductions.” 

This would result in married couples falling in that income range would pay an additional $2,700 annually to the IRS, on top of the tax increases Bush tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year. Households earning more than $1 million a year would get a tax cut of about $300,000 annually (multi-millionaires would receive a huge tax break) while people making under $200,000 will see their taxes rise

Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center has reviewed the Committee’s report and he says:

That even though the numbers are rough its conclusions are largely accurate. Even with eliminating fairly major tax preferences, the Ryan tax plan remains regressive. That’s the bottom line. Unless you go after the tax preferences that benefit the wealthy, i.e., capital gains, dividends, tax-free interest on municipal bonds, it’s really hard to undo the regressivity of the rate changes. You’ll be shifting the burden of the tax code toward the middle class

I guess there is a reason why whenever Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans are asked to give specifics on their flat-tax plan, they refuse and then go to their usual talking points, i.e., we need to broaden the base, let everyone have skin in the game…my favorite….we can’t raise taxes on the job creators, etc. This is yet another example that shows who Republicans are working for…the rich.

Romney Responds to NAACP Booing: If “They” Want Free Stuff….Vote For The Other Guy

I wrote a post yesterday about the reception Romney received at the NAACP convention yesterday. Needless to say, he failed to make any progress in his effort to gain support from the African-American community. In fact, there are some political pundits who believe his true intention for speaking at the convention was not to gain support but in fact to shore up the Republican base by going there to incite the attendees. 

Rachel Maddow made note on her show last night that “it was pretty obvious Romney wanted to get booed and he’s not wasting any time showing us why. He’s all ready with the race baiting right out of the gate.”

Later in the day Romney responded to being booed at a fundraiser in Hamilton, Montana.  

Remind them of this, if they want more free stuff from the government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.

 I guess we don’t really need to guess who “them” are.  Also, I am wondering if he even cares anymore about getting African-American support.

Octogenarian World War II Vet Denied Right To Vote

Since the 2010 election, we have seen an unprecedented number of voter restriction laws that are specifically designed to restrict voting for minorities, the poor, college students, and the elderly, and we are now starting to see the effects of these laws.  

Paul Carroll is an 86-year-old World War II vet from Ohio, and he has lived in the same town for 40 years. He was denied the right to vote on Tuesday after a poll worker denied his identification, a photo ID from the Department of Veterans Affairs because it did not contain an address, as required by Ohio law. Carroll told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he got the ID from the VA after his driver’s license expired because he doesn’t drive anymore: 

“My beef is that I had to pay a driver to take me up there because I don’t walk so well and have to use this cane and now I can’t even vote,” said Mr. Carroll who has lived in Aurora nearly 40 years, running his own business, Carroll Tire, until 1975.

“I had to stop driving, but I got the photo ID from the Veterans Affairs instead, just a month or so ago. You would think that would count for something. I went to war for this country, but now I can’t vote in this country.” 

Carroll was offered a provisional ballot, but the type was too small for him to read and “I was kind of perturbed by then,” he said.  

This is not an isolated problem. Tennessee voter authorities denied a 96-year-old woman a voter ID last year because she didn’t have an original copy of her marriage license.  

We are fighting for democratic rights in other countries and yet, since the Republicans big wins in 2010, they have been working state by state to restrict access to the voting booth. They have not even bothered to be subtle about who they are trying to disenfranchise, the people who tend to vote Democrat. This is their game plan. They know a majority of Americans do not support their agenda so this is the best way to get back into office…voter suppression.

Right-Wingers Who Believe Obama Killed Breitbart

Here for some comic relief — the Tea Party.  Just when you thought the right-wing couldn’t get more crazy, here comes this.  The never surprising Tea Party members are speculating that President Obama had something to do with Andrew Breitbart’s death believing that the President was “afraid” of new information he was reportedly getting ready to release. 

Thanks to Buzz Feed, they have compiled a list of some off-the-rocker tweets from people who believe Obama took time away from dealing with things like the wars, Israel, Iran and the Middle East, the jobs crisis, etc, to take out their favorite right-wing nut.  See the entire list here.     

GOP Enough! Women Will Fight Back

I’m beyond anger! 

Since this debate about birth control began a few weeks back, I have felt like I stepped back in time….like I took a “worm hole” in a Stargate episode that shot me back to the 50s. Now I realize the reason for this whole debate — the GOP are going to their playbook and going to the good ol’ reliable social issues in an effort to galvanize their base. In normal years it has worked to their benefit almost 100% of the time, but this time I think (I hope) they will fail.  

Since their big wins in 2010, they have been attacking women’s access to healthcare in unprecedented ways both at state and federal levels. I think the cherry on top of their fudge sunday was the now infamous Congressional hearing by Rep. Issa with the all-male panel of “experts” to discuss women’s healthcare.  

This week it has taken an ugly, sharp turn thanks to the likes of Rush Limbaugh (an utter cocksucker…sorry…can’t stand him). He has been waging an attack on Sandra Fluke all week referring to her as a slut, demanding to see sex tapes of women who get birth control, etc, etc. Keep in mind, the only thing Ms. Fluke did to warrant this vitriol is to testify before Congress. Her testimony didn’t have anything to do with pregnancy prevention but the use of birth control for medical reasons. I want to add that I am one of those women who have had to use birth control for medical reasons after I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I was fortunate enough to have my prescription covered unlike her friend for whom she was testifying about.    

A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome and has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries. […] After months of paying over $100 out of pocket, she just couldn’t afford her medication anymore and had to stop taking it. […] Without taking the birth control, a massive cyst had grown on her ovary. She had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary. […] 

Since last year’s surgery, she’s been experiencing night sweats, weight gain, and other symptoms of early menopause as a result of the removal of her ovary. She’s 32 years old. As she put it: “If my body is indeed in early menopause, no fertility specialist in the world will be able to help me have my own children.” 

As a woman, I am absolutely infuriated by the range of attacks by Republicans on women’s health. These attacks have ranged from transvaginal ultrasounds (I don’t care how you look at it, it is government-mandated rape when women are forcibly penetrated by a device) to personhood amendments to attacking Planned Parenthood.   

Women are fighting back though. This week in Wilmington, Delaware, the City Council passed a personhood amendment for men.  

The Wilmington City Council has a message for men — sperm are people, too. 

The council for Delaware’s largest city passed a resolution by an 8-4 vote Thursday calling on the Delaware legislature, other state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to pass laws granting “personhood” rights to eggs and sperm. The resolution was authored by councilwoman Loretta Walsh as a protest in the current battle over women’s health care access. 

“[E]ach ‘egg person’ and each ‘sperm person’ should be deemed equal in the eyes of the government and be subject to the same laws and regulations as any other dependent minor and be protected against abuse, neglect or abandonment by the parent or guardian,” says the resolution. “[L]aws should be enacted by all legislative bodies in the United States to promote equal representation, and should potentially include laws in defense of ‘personhood,’ forbidding every man from destroying his semen.” 

The vote came the same day that the U.S. Senate voted down an amendment that would have given employers the right to refuse any health care service to employees for moral reasons. 

Walsh isn’t the first lawmaker to introduce such a measure. Sen. Constance Johnson, a Democratic state senator from Oklahoma, introduced and later withdrew an amendment to a “personhood” bill that would have given zygotes the same rights as adults. “However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child,” reads the amendment.  

I think the best way we can fight these attacks on women is to elect women. We presently have a very small voice in our government compared to men and we need women representing us. We are after all 51% of the population!