Friday, November 9, 2012

Right and Left Agree on Clean Energy, Agriculture

I'm wondering what to do with this blog now that the election is over.   Probably let it die. 

But for now, here's a picture I made from this survivalist flash presentation I clicked on.   The extreme right survivalist advocates for wind power, solar power, and organic gardening

He's mostly talking about living high in the post-civilization future.   His goal seems to be to create people who can say "I told you so" when the "liberals" who thought they were "crazy" come "begging for food" in the post-apocalyptic distopia. 

click to enlarge

In case you're wondering why I "Liked" Romney:

The guy is also right that it's a good idea to plan for disaster.   I'm going to take my chances on civilization continuing, but it's good to be prepared to last a few days without power and fuel.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Carol Shea-Porter Beats Frank Guinta

In what seems to be a great night for Democrats, Carol Shea-Porter beat incumbent Frank Guinta in the race for New Hampshire's first congressional district seat.   Congratulations to Carol Shea-Porter.   Thank you for bringing honor back to New Hampshire.

Thanks so much to all the volunteers and staff for Carol Shea-Porter who worked so hard.   Thanks to your donors.

Thank you to CREDO, who put up signs and made lots of calls and knocked on lots of doors and did some fun visibility.  From what I could tell they had nothing to do with Carol Shea-Porter or her campaign staff.   Their goal was to defeat their Tea Party Ten, and Frank Guinta was one of them. (I have affection for CREDO going back to my days as a Working Assets Long Distance customer in the 80s.  The bills came on brownish recycled paper.   I probably still have them in a box somewhere.)

Thanks to the incredible Obama campaign, which got out the vote in a huge way.   They brought UNH students to the polling place by the bus load and had a bunch of lawyers in suits standing by to make sure they were registered according to the rules.   Foster's reports over 3,000 new voters were registered in Durham on election day.

And especially, thanks to all the voters who, despite some obstacles, made the effort to vote.   Students don't generally care too much about state politics, but they notice when one party tries to take away their vote, and they got out in big numbers yesterday.   The students are in Democratic districts anyway, so their votes for state rep and state senate don't really make a difference.  But they sure can help in the statewide races for president, governor, US senator and US rep.   They probably have Democratic pull on the countywide races and statewide ballot questions.  No wonder Speaker O'Brien wants to disenfranchise them.

A huge thanks to my readers, both here and of my comments and posts around the web.   I have no idea if I moved any votes out there, but I feel good I tried.   I started putting links to here in my comments, mostly on Patch, which drove traffic here and also let me get an idea of how many people are reading a particular comment.   Thanks for clicking on them.

And thanks to Frank Guinta, who always maintained a civil manner that distinguished him from his Tea Party peers.   I once heard him say he tries to act as if his children might be watching him on TV, which was a nice sentiment.

Hopefully Rep. Guinta won't just run in the off year again.   We have this idea the the electorate ricochets from backlash to backlash in these two year cycles.   But it's just that a much smaller turnout in the off years lets the enthusiastic groups that always vote (mostly conservative lately) have more power.

I'll keep around in case we need it again.  Time to sleep for a long time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Welcome to Not Inta Guinta

Thanks for visiting    We want to be your site for factual, thoroughly sourced information on Representative Frank Guinta.   And we want to have some fun while we're doing it.

Breaking News 11/3/2012:  AP reports what readers knew a month ago:  There's no evidence Frank Guinta's job fairs produced any jobs, and some evidence that Frank Guinta is lying about it.   Update:  The one source quoted as hiring at Guinta's job fair turns out to be a bigwig Republican and Guinta's partner in his jobs initiative, as I detail in
Fishy Source Claiming Guinta Job Fair Placements.

Voting Pep Talk

It's election day.   Don't forget -- if you're a US citizen living in New Hampshire, even as a college student, you can walk into your polling place on election day, register and vote.   It's your right.   Nothing bad will happen to you.   Students, the Tea Party dominated state legislature is trying to scare you into thinking you'll have to register your car or get a new license, but you don't.   The bad thing happens when you don't vote, and the Republicans who want to keep you from voting ever again get elected.   You don't need ID, but show it anyway.  Do it!  Vote!

The Presidential Election

I discuss a report that appears to undermine the rationale for Mitt Romney's entire economic plan in Highly Respected Congressional Research Service Debunks Romney's Economic Plan.
 I did another infographic: Stock Market, Last 24 Years, Dems vs GOP.  I'm finding that when you inject objective reality into the discussion, Democrats win.

I examine the history of successful businessmen who became president.  It's not a pretty picture, and it does not bode well for Mitt Romney's performance.   Check out Businessmen Presidents: Picture of the Day 2012 10 22.

Representative Frank Guinta's Failings

Frank Guinta's $355,000 loan to his campaign of money he doesn't have
Frank Guinta is running for reelection by pretending he's not in Congress.   If I had his record I would too.
Frank Guinta's misleading attack on Carol Shea-Porter
Frank Guinta's job fairs are just photo ops.    I also cover how he abuses the taxpayer funded mailing privilege, and calls his work bipartisan without actually being bipartisan.
Frank Guinta is OK with violence against some women

Frank Guinta - Tea Party or Not Tea Party?

You can find a list of ideas for more posts here.

Poking Fun At Representative Frank Guinta To Make a Serious Point

Frank Guinta's Plan For America - Congressmen Fix America Themselves

Presidential Election Debate Notes

Back of the Envelope Debate Math
Veep Debate Fauxto Essay

Photoshop Fun and Learning

I Loathe 47%
Frank Guinta's Plan For America
Veep Debate Fauxto Essay
Ryan Raises Debt
Everything in the banner above is from a news source linked from a post on this site (except the joke I just put in the presidential candidates' mouths).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fishy Source Claiming Guinta Job Fair Placements

The Associated Press confirmed a story we broke a month ago here, that Congressmen Frank Guinta's Job Fairs are really just photo-ops for his reelection campaign.

Until the AP story, the only claim that anyone got a job at one of Rep. Guinta's job fairs was this from his website:
So far [employers] report at least two attendees have been hired.
The AP story includes this interesting passage, containing an excuse from Mr. Guinta as to why no actual names of people hired at these fairs, a nod by AP that the excuse is probably a lie, and a claim of placements from all six jobs fairs:

Less clear is how successful the job fairs were for job seekers. Guinta said the feedback he’s received from businesses has been largely positive, but ‘‘there are rules in terms of what I'm allowed to publicize once these people get a job,’’ he said. ‘‘There are privacy issues there.’’
Several of the participating employers contacted by The Associated Press did not mention any privacy issues, however.  EFI VuTek, which designs and manufacturers large-format printers in Meredith, hired one or two temporary workers at each job fair, said Wendy Lague, manager of talent acquisition. Those have been mostly in shipping, receiving and manufacturing positions lasting six months to a year, she said.
‘‘We've done really well,’’ she said. ‘‘I've been pleased to see someone in public office really putting that effort toward building jobs in New Hampshire.’’
If our representatives are going to lie, they should really learn to do a better job.   But let's focus on the hires.   Let's see, six jobs fairs, each with one or two temps hired, makes at least seven people claimed to have gotten a job.   And one company hiring at all the fairs.   I was suspicious.

Who is Wendy Lague?   Facebook, the source of all knowledge, has

Click to Enlarge

OK, so her profile picture is a Romney poster and she subscribes to Frank Guinta's page.   I'm getting more suspicious.   She commented on the Rep.'s page to come down to the job fair, so at least she was there.

She's a Romney/Ryan bigwig of sorts.  She's on the list below right next to Ovide Lamontagne, Republican candidate for governor hoping for a big day tomorrow.   Erin Lamontagne is involved in some new Newt Gingrich scandal.

How about her job?

It looks like she recruits at a high level.   I don't see much about temps.   Unless you're proficient in Swedish.

Does she know Guinta outside the job fairs?

Here's a union leader article talking about Guinta's "Women’s Business Roundtable."   It's a roundtable with a panel of 3 businesswomen.  Guess who's on the panel:
At EFI Manufacturing in Meredith, where more than 300 are employed, business is good, said EFI’s Wendy Lague, but there are problems trying to develop and train more local talent to meet increasing job opportunities.
“We had a record year last year,” said Lague, attending a Women’s Business Roundtable organized by District 1 Congressman Frank Guinta. Temporary workers are finding permanent employment, and they are skilled.
However, “We’re running out of space,” she said of the print manufacturers’ facilities on both sides of Route 104.
Everything's just peachy when Frank's in charge.   Someone should ask Ms. Lague if any of the temps she hired at the Guinta job fairs found permanent employment.    Watch out, when Frank get's reelected he's going to start teaching job training classes.

This picture from the Friday April 13, 2012 Laconia Daily Sun was hard to find.

So far Rep Guinta is praising the "privatize Medicare" Ryan budget and then ranting about Obamacare.   I'm not sure what this has to do with women's business.  I see, the picture goes with an article on page four.   Odd.  Anyway, here's the rest of the first article.   
The Laconia Daily Sun ran the article about Rep. Guinta meeting with three women and a Union Leader reporter in a closed room in the same issue:

This is more of what you find when you google "Frank Guinta Wendy Lague":

Here is Wendy Lague at a Kelly Ayotte function along with Frank Guinta.

Here Frank Guinta attends a ceremony where Wendy Lague is giving an award.

Here Frank Guinta and Wendy Lague are in the same edition of the High Tech Council Newsletter.

What it looks like to me is, in a very real way, Wendy Sykes-Lague is Frank Guinta's "Getting Granite Staters Back to Work" initiative.   She speaks to the press.  She hires someone at every fair.  (Or she just says she does --- I don't know which.)   She sits on the Women's Business Roundtable.   And she's very active in New Hampshire Republican Politics.  

I personally don't think EFI VuTek actually "hired one or two temporary workers at each job fair," as Ms. Lague stated.   I think she's just doing her fellow Republican buddy Frank Guinta a favor by saying this.  

Hey Holly Ramer, you did a great job on this story that you wrote for AP.  Thank you so much.  I'm now your biggest fan.    But please find out more about Wendy Lague for us, OK?   I can't imagine you like being played by a source.  Thanks.

[Actual date 11/5/12 3:55 AM -- changed to keep list on right up through Tuesday]

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Frank Guinta - Tea Party or Not Tea Party?

Frank Guinta, our Representative to the U.S. House from the First District of New Hampshire, rode into office on a Tea Party wave in 2010.   Back then he was proud to be part of the Tea Party.    In 2012 the Tea Party's popularity seems to have waned somewhat, and Rep. Guinta scoffs at suggestions that he's a Tea Party member.    As you watch his attempts to distance himself from the Tea Party, it's good to know Rep. Guinta's history with the movement.

We'll consider Frank's Tea Party membership two different ways.  First, we'll look at what he's said about it.   Next, we'll compare his position on the issues to the Tea Party.

Frank Guinta's History with the Tea Party

The national movement is usually thought to have really begun on February 19, 2009 with Rick Santelli's suggestion on CNBC to have a Tea Party in response to the Obama administration's mortgage refinancing plan.

Frank Guinta hopped on the Tea Party bandwagon pretty quickly.     Here's a video of then Mayor Guinta speaking at a Tea Party Rally less than two months later, on Tax Day, April 15, 2009.

Guinta: This is America. This is grassroots effort at its finest, you all should be congratulated for standing up for your values, your right and the responsibility that we all have as Americans to tell our leaders stop spending our money!  It is not easy to stand alone in the fight against liberals.
Let's skip ahead to the Republican primary for NH first district.    A Concord Monitor article written November 4, 2010 says

During the Republican primary, [Guinta] easily won a straw poll held by the New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition, taking 81 percent of the vote. Guinta's margin of victory over his Republican challengers was the most decisive of any contest featured in the Tea Party poll.
Guinta said at the time that he was honored by the results of the straw poll and cited his attendance at several Tea Party events, as well as gatherings for the 9/12 movement started by Fox News commentator Glenn Beck.

I don't think Mr. Guinta is that enthusiastic about associating with Glenn Beck these days.  It wouldn't work with his "bipartisan" image.

The same article talks about how, once elected, Guinta planned to join the House Tea Party Caucus.

Elected Tuesday with the support of Tea Partiers and pledging deep cuts to federal government, Frank Guinta will soon be one of many freshman House Republicans left to figure out where the fledgling movement fits within the halls of Congress.
The former Manchester mayor has said he would join a House Tea Party Caucus created this summer by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican from Minnesota. So far, the caucus counts 52 members and represents the first formal organizing of the movement at a congressional level.
In March 2011 the House Tea Party Caucus met, but Rep. Guinta was nowhere to be found.  He had decided not to join.  By April and May, the growing unpopularity of the Tea Party was softening Guinta's rhetoric.

In debt ceiling crisis in July, 2010,  Frank ends up parting with some of his more extreme Tea Party colleagues and voting for the debt deal.   It's enacted.   This is the deal that raised the debt ceiling, cut some spending, and created the "supercommittee" to negotiate further cuts.   It includes the now infamous "sequester cuts" of military and domestic programs that are scheduled to kick in in January 2013 (part of the fiscal cliff) now that the supercommittee has failed.

Frank explained how his vote related to the Tea Party this way:
Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., said although the Tea Party is not entirely on the same page, it does not mean members are divided.
"We're in the same book, we're in the same chapter," Guinta told ABC News. "Some might be a little bit farther ahead than others. But we're all going down the road of fiscal discipline and fiscal responsibility.
With the debt ceiling deal, had Frank forsaken the Tea Party?  No, as this Union Leader piece from August 12, 2011, entitled "Guinta Smooths Things Over with Tea Party" points out:
Keeping on the right side of the Tea Party is a priority for U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta. The freshman representative embraced the Tea Party movement sooner than other Republicans, and support from the new activists may have made the difference in Guinta’s narrow primary victory a year ago.
Monday night, Guinta spoke to nearly 100 Tea Party-oriented conservatives at a meeting hosted by the Rochester 9/12 group to address grumblings on the right about his vote to increase the debt ceiling. In an impressive performance, Guinta fielded more than 20 questions over 90 minutes, disarmed most of his critics, and successfully persuaded the group he’s still on their side.
Frank is of course backpedalling furiously now that it's clear the sequester cuts he helped enact will cause New Hampshire to lose jobs.   It seems the Tea Party really didn't mean to cut government spending when it turns out some defense jobs would be cut.   

The Tea Party is a bit muddled on this point.   That's My Congress tells this story about House Amendment 563
In July of 2011, Rep. Barney Frank introduced an amendment to H.R. 2219 which would have cut the U.S. military budget by $8.5 billion, stipulating that no cuts were to be taken from pay or benefit programs supporting members and veterans of the armed forces. These cuts would have reduced the emphasis of the U.S. budget on weapons programs and also furthered the declared aim of Tea Party and GOP politicians to reduce spending. Yet a majority of Tea Party and GOP politicians blocked the cuts: their support for military spending trumped their aim of fiscal restraint. 
Rep. Guinta has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.
A similar confusion over Tea Party ideals occurred the previous May over the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
Reflecting the rhetoric of the broader Tea Party movement, Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Caucus each proclaim themselves to be organizations dedicated to constitutional government.  If we take these declarations seriously, then we should expect members of Congress associated with these three Tea Party organizations to cast votes against bills that subvert the United States Constitution.
Guinta voted for the Act, apparently with little regard to Tea Party concerns about the constitution.

During the debt ceiling debate, it was clear Frank was distancing himself from the Tea Party:
As we move into a 2012 presidential general election cycle, it is unlikely that 2010 Tea Party candidates Bass or Guinta will court the deepest part of the GOP base so closely again.  Whether or not the Tea Party acts on that rejection is another question.

This is getting long, so let's just skip ahead to 2012.   In the recent NPR debate
Guinta said Shea-Porter has resorted to “name-calling” in an effort to undercut what he has accomplished.  “This notion of labeling every Republican as a member of the tea party is ridiculous.”
Well, that Frank sure is a slippery fellow.   He's just your garden variety Republican -- never mind all that Tea Party stuff.   But the Internet has a long memory, and the press and left are now in the habit of sticking Guinta with the "Tea Party" moniker:

Tea Party Lawmaker Frank Guinta Draws Ire Over Medicare Vote

Rep. Guinta's Tea Party Stance on the Issues

 In this very short clip, Frank adopts the "Don't Tread On Me" mantra of the Tea Party:

In the summer of 2010, Frank Guinta actually filled out a survey for Raymond Area Tea Party.  You can read it yourself -- Frank goes almost 100% for the Tea Party line in his answers.   Here are some highlights:
12. Would you support a law that mandates teaching both creationism as well as evolution as theories in public school science classes?
Yes I would. I do think however that the ultimate control of education and curriculum should be left up to parents.
20. Would you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?
Pro-Life. As a father, I understand the value and dignity of every child - born and unborn. It is for this reason that I recognize the importance of defending the sanctity of human life.
It's clear that by this time, in summer 2010, the Tea Party was as concerned about the social issues of abortion and creationism as they were about debt and the constitution.   It was mostly the same people all along.

Frank Guinta has agreed with the Tea Party.   I leave it to the reader to judge if this is just an opportunistic pairing, a movement that Guinta attached himself to, rode to power, and is now trying to distance himself from to remain in power.  Or, is the Tea Party an expression of Rep. Guinta's true beliefs, and his distancing of late is solely and electoral strategy?   Either way, I'm hopeful he and his Tea Party ways will be ended on Election Day this Tuesday.

[Originally published Nov 3, 5:40pm.   Date changed so that list on right stays complete through election day.]

Highly Respected Congressional Research Service Debunks Romney's Economic Plan

“The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution.”
This is the conclusion of the Congressional Research Service report "Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945."   The CRS, often referred to as "congress's think tank" is the highly respected, non-partisan public policy research arm of the US Congress.

CRS reports are not generally made public.   Amid claims that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had moved to suppress the report, it appears to have been leaked in time for the election.

The report challenges the central dogma of Republican tax policy:  lowering the tax rate for businesses and individuals will improve the economy.   For example, Mitt Romney's plan is a 20% reduction in tax rates and a lowering corporate tax rates from 35% to 25%.   

Most of the argument has been over if or how much limiting of deductions and exemptions could make up for the loss in revenue of the rate cut in Mitt's plan.   The CRS report ignores that, instead questioning the very idea that such a policy would lead to economic improvement.   Examining our history since 1945 suggests there's no reason to believe lowering rates will lead to increased GDP growth.   There's no reason to believe lowering rates would lead to increased savings or investment.   

What there is evidence for is that lowering the tax rates leads to more inequality.   Instead of trickle-down, we get "pooling-up," where wealth gets concentrated in the hands of a small number of people.  

In other words, one of the most respected sources of information in government, the Congressional Research Service, has concluded that the central tenet of the Republican's economic plan, tax cuts, especially for higher incomes, don't help the economy.   They just help rich people get richer.

The Republican response, as usual, has been to attack the source when they don't like the conclusion.   Never mind the damage to our society that comes when sources whose value is that they can be trusted to provide facts and analysis upon which to make governing decisions are derided for partisan purposes.


This was posted 5:18am  Saturday, November 3, 2012.   I changed the date so the list of October articles on the right stays up through election day.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stock Market, Last 24 Years, Dems vs GOP

My most popular post to date has been Businessmen Presidents, in which I debunk the idea that successful businessmen make good presidents by looking at our actual history.   So, along those same lines I offer this infographic comparing stock market performance under Democratic and Republican presidents over the last 24 years.
I picked 24 years because it seems fair.  The period covers four presidents, two Republicans and two Democrats.   The parties have been in power 12 years each -- well, almost 12 for the Democrats, as President Obama's first term has a few months left.

I used the Russell 3000.  This is a broad index, covering the 3000 largest publicly-traded stocks, collectively worth 98% of all publicly-traded companies in the United States.   It's a pretty good proxy for investor prosperity.   It includes lots more companies than the S&P 500 or the Dow 30. It's cap-weighted, which means the larger companies count more, in proportion to their market capitalization.   This is the right way to go to find out what happens to the average dollar invested in the stock market.   For the returns shown as percentages I used the monthly RUA (Russell 3000) series, so I started each president at the end of the January in which they took office.    

When you do this sort of thing with jobs, there's a fight about when to start counting each new president, because it takes a while for the new administrations policies to have an effect.   With the stock market there's no inherent lag, so I just used as close to the start of the term as I could get.   I suppose you could argue that you should start from election day, or even before, when the winner is first apparent.   However that would credit bad news to a president-elect who had nothing to do with it and who is powerless to do anything about it, so I didn't think it was right to take that route.

I used Yahoo finance for the graph because it had the series going back far enough, and it was able to do a logarithmic scale for the Y axis, which your math friends will tell you is necessary to make the "stacking up" metaphor work properly.   The percentages are combined by compounding [(1+p1)*(1+p2) - 1] which makes more sense than simple addition.

It's not like I counted billionaires.   It's just that the way people become billionaires is mostly by owning lots of stock that goes up in price.   As the graphic shows, this happened mostly under Democrats in the last 24 years.

I'll admit I even surprised myself when I worked out the numbers and the difference was this stark. Over the last 24 years,  the U.S. stock market lost 4.8% under 12 years of Republican presidents, while it gained 430.4% under almost 12 years of Democratic presidents.

Why aren't the Democrats telling everyone?

I was inspired to make this after my brother-in-law sent me a story about Bernie Marcus, the billionaire founder of Home Depot, telling everyone the world is going to end if Obama gets reelected.    There's a youtube ad that's getting some attention.   It's related to the rather despicable trend of Republican CEOs threatening their workers with dire consequences if Democrats are elected in November.   

So, I first worked this up for Home Depot before I did the picture above.

It turns out Home Depot wasn't an exception.  The market as a whole really has done much much better under Democrats than Republicans.   Another thing to note is how similar this graph is to the market as a whole -- mostly Home Depot and other firms rise and fall together.  

A commenter on the Patch alerted me to a Bloomberg article from February that make a similar point to my stock market chart.  The Bloomberg article uses the more narrow S&P 500 index and goes all the way back to JFK.  It says:

The annualized return for 23 years of Democratic administrations is 11 percent, or four times the 2.7 percent annualized return during 28 years of Republican presidencies.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Federal Fast Track Rape Court - Picture of the Day 2012 10 26

I feel I should get back to chronicling Rep. Guinta's many missteps, but I find I can't stop worrying about how a Romney presidency will affect women's reproductive rights.   Here I make a rather dystopian forecast based on statements made by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

It's difficult to know how any economic policy will play out.   I suspect Romney's economic plans will work out poorly for most of us.   I am much more certain that Romney's plans for women's rights will be a disaster.

When the candidates make their legislative desires known on social issues, it's fair to assume that once they take power, they will work to enact their stated agenda.   President Romney has stated he wants to appoint justices to returns back to the pre-Roe v. Wade days.    It's worse, actually, because a GOP congress would then move to ban all abortions nationally.

Mitt has tried to take the "moderate" position, actually to the left of many leaders in his party, of having an exception that allows aborting pregnancies from rape.    Since this would be one of the few exceptions, it's easy to imagine some women wishing an abortion would make false claims of rape.   In this exercise of imagination, I tried to imagine what the due process of granting the exception would look like.

References:   It seems only a simple majority is needed in the senate to change to rules at the start of a session.

Fixing the Filibuster - Senator Tom Harkin

Paul Ryan: Rape Is Just Another 'Method Of Conception'

Romney: I support overturning Roe

Romney will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Businessmen Presidents: Picture of the Day 2012 10 22

Does prior success in business generally result in a successful presidency?   Historically, how well has the successful business guy done once he's elected president?  This opinion piece in Entrepreneur Magazine picked the four men below as the most successful businessman who became president.   I try to capture their history, as well as a non-partisan rank, on this single page. The ranking and parts of the biographies are from Wikipedia.   For the rank I use the aggregated scholar survey rank, which combines the rankings from 17 different surveys.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rep. Guinta is OK with violence against some women

Frank Guinta is very proud of voting to renew the Violence Against Women Act.   He sent around an email entitled "Frankly Speaking: Keeping Protection in Place -- Renewing the Violence Against Women Act."    You might think from that title that, with Frank Guinta's support, Congress has renewed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), extending into the future the protections it affords, for which we are all better off.    Nothing in the rest of the rather long email would dissuade you of this.

It turns out to be totally wrong.

Joe Biden wrote VAWA, which first passed in 1994.  VAWA is a bipartisan sucess story, breezing through renewals with bipartisan support over its two decades.   The current authorization expired in September, 2011.

On April 26, 2012 the Senate passed S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011.   All the Democrats and a third of the Republicans, including all the women, voted for it.  The House had the opportunity to simply pass the Senate version, which the president would sign and things would go on in their bipartisan way, pretty much the same as always. 

But the Tea Party dominated House had a problem with the Senate's version.   It protected too many women.   It protected the wrong kinds of women.  It protects immigrants.  It protects lesbians.  It protects bisexuals.  It protects the transgendered.  It protects Native Americans.  We can't have that!

So the House passed its own version of VAWA, without all those protections that might help the wrong kinds of women.    The president has threatened to veto the house bill, should it reach his desk.   At this point the renewal has not been passed by congress.    The two chambers' bills await reconciliation, which appears to be stalled.

This is an example of Frank Guinta claiming he's doing something, when all he's doing is passing bills that will not become law.   He could have chosen to support the senate bill, which was truly bipartisan, authored by the liberal Patrick Leahy and the conservative Mike Crapo.   But instead, he went along with the effort to scuttle the bill.   Hey, the house bill got 6 of 190 Democrats to vote for it.   In Frank's book, that's an incredible show of bipartisanship.

The Christian Science Monitor has a balanced explanation of the difference between the two bills:

  • The Senate adds language that explicitly mentions gay and transgender Americans for protection, while the House version is gender neutral. Republicans contend that their measure allows all Americans to receive protection because it does not specify who qualifies for various programs. Democrats, however, say that local law enforcement could use the lack of specificity to discriminate against gay or transgender people.
  •  The House bill does not include a Senate provision that would allow Native American women to take American citizens who abuse them to court within the tribal legal system. Republicans say that the Senate measure is unconstitutional and replace it with a proposal that allows Native American women to apply for protection orders from local US courts. Democrats contend that without the Senate’s proposals, Native American women abused on an Indian reservation are often left without legal recourse. 
  • The House bill does not allow for a path to citizenship for illegal women who have been abused and agree to cooperate with the police investigation of the crime. Moreover, it holds the cap on temporary visas offered to women cooperating in legal investigations to 10,000, below the Senate’s increased 15,000 level. Republicans say the citizenship provision is akin to amnesty for illegal immigrants. Democrats, on the other hand, say that women fearing deportation may never come forward to take abusers off the street under the House bill.

I call the last one the "Husbands, Beat Your Mail-Order Brides With Impunity" law.  Right now there's a special program that shelters abused women whose immigration status depends on staying with their abuser.   Think of all the money the feds will save because abused brides will no longer seek protection, because if their marriage ends they'll be deported.   Thanks for fighting for my freedom to beat my mail-order bride, Rep. Guinta.   And thanks for the free shipping to send her back.

Much as the Republican Party wants to deem only women raped in a particular way ("forcible rape" or "legitimate rape") to be worthy of an abortion, they want to choose only certain women to be worthy of the protection of the law.   Rep. Guinta, if you actually want to be bipartisan, instead of just claiming bipartisanship without working with the other party, get your colleagues in the House to pass the Senate version of VAWA.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Veep Debate Fauxto Essay

I'm going to load a bunch of Photoshop efforts I think may come up in the vice presidential debate tonight.    You may click on any picture to enlarge.

My guess on some things that Joe Biden might bring up:
  • Medicare / Ryan Budget
  • 47%
  • Tax Plan (posted here)
  • Abortion / War on Women / Supreme Court

Here's the first Ryan budget, passed by the GOP house 4/15/2011.

First on the idea that Ryan Budget cures the deficit.  I already posted this one.   I'll just reproduce the picture that uses the debt figures from the bill itself.

 I think the main thing Biden should focus on in the Ryan budget is the Medicare "premium support."   I find the argument over the word "voucher" unproductive.   Call it "discounts on private insurance" maybe. 

It's the folks 55 and under that will be directly effect by the Ryan Medicare plan.   The analogy with Groupon might help them to understand.

One might object that the picture below again refers to the first Ryan budget, passed by the House 4/15/11.  The GOP plan is closer to the second Ryan budget -- it gives you a choice yada yada yada.   In reply, I note that the first Ryan budget is still a live resolution.  It was passed by the current House of Representatives.  If the Senate felt like it they could pick it up and pass it today, at which time it would become a Concurrent Resolution of the United States Congress.   It is not ancient history.  

I believe the first Ryan budget to be a purer statement of Republican desires.   These got watered down in the second budget as adjustments were made to address the backlash from the first budget.   In my view the adjustments are largely veneer, and the first budget remains an important statement of GOP principles and goals.

One thing I don't think has been emphasized enough is the difference in the way Medicare costs are controlled under Obamacare and Ryan 1.   Obamacare genuinely controls overpayments to insurance companies and hospitals (the infamous $716 Billion) which extends 8 years the life of Medicare as it exists.   Ryan 1 throws up its hands at controlling escalating medical costs, instead changing to a system where medical cost increases that outpace inflation are borne by senior citizens.   In their mind it's off the government's books now, so problem solved!

I'd try to get the 47% into the debate.

I think the Democrats see women's issues as a winner for them this time because the Republicans have gone so far extreme.   Paul Ryan has been pretty far right pro-lifer his whole career and I think may properly be tied to Todd Akin and other extreme Republicans.    Since, 2010 there have been so many states whose legislature and executive are Republican controlled, that promised to focus on economic issues but have enacted just a tremendous amount of anti-abortion legislation.   I have no reason to believe the same thing wouldn't happen on a national level.

Here I try to focus on the age of the Supreme Court members and the very good chance the next president will appoint at least two Supreme Court Justices.   If Mitt can replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a Scalia as promised, Roe v Wade would soon be overturned 6-3.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Frank Guinta's Plan for America

Breaking News 10/7/2012:  Rumors are circulating that someone who attended one of Representative Frank Guinta's job fairs has actually found a job through the fair.    We here at are focusing all our reporting resources on tracking down this person if he or she exists.   Please check back for updates.

Update 11/3/2012:  Incredibly, AP just ran a story about how there's no evidence anyone's gotten a job at a Guinta job fair, and some evidence Frank Guinta is lying about that. readers knew this a month ago when they read this post.

Fresh off the success of his “Getting Granite Staters Back to Work” initiative, in which the US congressman himself hosted six job fairs, single-handedly ending the state's unemployment problem, Congressman Frank Guinta announces his "Congressmen Fix America Themselves" initiative.   In the freshman representative's bold plan, members of the United States House of Representatives will do the jobs needed to solve America's problems themselves.

Congressmen running employment agencies.   Unemployment: Solved

Rep. Guinta hosts a job fair for veterans.  
We are investigating rumors someone got a job at this event.

The cost of healthcare for all of us is spiraling out of control.    Congressmen are already being paid by the federal government, and it will cost nothing additional to the taxpayer to have them see patients.

Congressmen working as physicians.   Healthcare: Solved

Our nation's roads and bridges are crumbling.   There's no money in the budget to fix them.  But each congressmen regularly travels back to his own district.   He could easily do some roadwork while he's there.

Congressmen fixing roads and bridges.   Infrastructure:  Solved

Educating our children is vital to our country's future.   All congressmen have attended school, and some even have first-hand experience with our public education system. 

Congressmen teaching public school.   Education: Solved

Foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, presents grave challenges to our nation.   In Frank Guinta's bold new plan, congressmen arm themselves and fight for US interests across the globe.

Congressmen as soldiers.   Foreign Policy: Solved

Republicans are struggling to reconcile their belief that government should be small and nonintrusive with their desire to regulate women's reproductive systems.  But Frank Guinta has put forth a bold solution to this seemingly intractable dilemma.   When congressmen themselves act as gynecologists they can keep women's healthcare decisions private between doctor and patient while simultaneously intervening to prohibit abortion and contraception.

Congressmen as OB/GYNs.  Women's reproductive health care:  Solved

This post is satire.  I obviously have no authority to speak for Rep Guinta or his campaign.