Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What to Expect for the 2014 Elections

"Lawmakers’ own expectations modest for 2014" by Noah Bierman |  Globe Staff, January 08, 2014

WASHINGTON — Modest efforts, despite bipartisan support, face obstacles. After lawmakers muddled through a historically unproductive year in 2013, many in Congress expect even less work will get done in this year’s session….

So says the conventional wisdom.

The House, for instance, is poised to pick up where it left off in 2013 and hold its 47th vote targeting aspects of President Obama’s health care law. Like the 46 votes before, the latest effort to derail the law is doomed in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Related: Obummercare Driving Me Crazy

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, have said they will make increasing the minimum wage a major theme of 2014. Chances of passage in the GOP-held House? Virtually zero.

Election years occasionally produce big legislative deals, including a series of major tax changes under President Reagan in 1986 and a Clinton administration welfare overhaul in 1996. But the climate in today’s Congress is far different, a zone where compromise often is viewed as surrender.

Unless it means funding Israel or the war machine.

Some still believe House Republicans will revive stalled efforts to overhaul the immigration system and reach a deal with the Democratic-run Senate, which approved a wide-ranging immigration bill last year.

What is going to come out of Congre$$ are work visas in this age of epidemic unemployment.

And on Tuesday an extension of jobless benefits cleared an early hurdle in the Senate 60-37, with the help of six Republicans, but faces an uncertain future in the House.

Don't get your hopes up, guys.

Some lawmakers hope House Speaker John Boehner’s scolding last month of outside interest groups could be a sign he will push aside the more obstructionist elements of his party to at least avoid the sort of crisis-driven showdowns that dragged congressional approval ratings to historic lows in 2013.

Translation: he's turned on the Tea Party as we knew he always would.

That optimism will be tested soon, as another debt debate looms.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has said he expects the nation to run out of borrowing authority again in late February or early March, setting up another potential standoff that risks a government default and substantial harm to the economy.

Related: Inaugurating Obama's Dictatorship 

The debt crisis may bring it out into the open.

House Republicans are planning a two-night retreat in Maryland at the end of this month where they will discuss a range of strategic issues, including conditions for raising the debt limit.

Related(?): Maryland Mall Mystery

A House leadership official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal strategy, said Republicans will not agree to raise borrowing authority without setting some conditions….

And the blame, as usual, will be placed on the Tea Party. They must be doing something right if my agenda-pu$her is constantly distorting politics, which is “more of the same.”

Both parties are trying to force symbolic votes to excite key voting constituencies or appeal to top donors.

That used to work with me years ago. Not now. Sick of shit-show fooleys from the War Party factions.

Even in losing, Democrats believe they will benefit politically as they try to paint Republicans as obstructionist. Republicans argue that Democratic initiatives are simply taxing, spending, or regulatory bills designed to look appealing, while distracting voters from the health law’s failures….

Democrats are making a strong push to galvanize middle-class women, labor unions, and liberal activists.

Every two years they rediscover you.

In the Senate, where they wield the gavel, they plan to highlight income inequality by pushing an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Keep that minimum wage increase at the federal level in mind.

They expect to renew efforts to raise some corporate taxes and extend safety net programs. Democrats in the House have also released an agenda specifically targeting women — where they have a traditional electoral advantage — with measures to enhance family and medical leave and income equity.

Had their chance when Obummer had a filibuster-proof majority -- and all we got was a crappy health law. 

You ladies out there not stooped enough to fall for this again, are you?

Republicans in the House believe they have the stronger political hand and will focus more narrowly on measures that draw attention to what they say are the damaging effects of the health law. The party intends to use its oversight role in the House to further spotlight perceived vulnerabilities and administrative failures.

They will also court conservatives, business interests, and middle-class voters with additional measures designed to roll back other regulations…..


Sums up how I feel about show-fooley politics in one word.

Meanwhile, the Democratic-led Senate took its first shot Tuesday morning at highlighting the gap separating the wealthy from poor and middle-class Americans. 

I have a flashback below regarding that.

A measure to extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months unexpectedly cleared its first procedural hurdle, which needed a 60-vote majority, with the help of six Republicans, including Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Boehner said he would consider an extension as long as it was paired with other measures to improve the economy, and its future in the House remains very much in doubt.

We will be keeping an eye on that.

Beyond economic issues, Markey said he believes both parties will open a broad debate on climate and energy issues. Obama has said he would use greater authority to regulate greenhouse emissions, something some Republicans have said is usurping the authority of Congress…. 

It is a usurpation but we are used to it now.

Many Democrats view the environment as a winning political issue. Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, who is up for reelection this year but has yet to draw opposition, has used his efforts to combat global warming to build his grass-roots network and fund-raising.

Related (same day):

Deep freeze bedevils the Deep South

Little salt in the ass there, huh? 

Newly related: 

Brutal cold returns to Midwest for extended stay
Midwest shivers as arctic cold returns

And he is pushing for pipelines, too!

But in coal-dependent states, there are clear benefits to Republicans, given the impact the industry has on their economies.

Related: West Virginia Water Test

I guess that is why it washed away quick. 

McConnell faces a potentially difficult reelection campaign in Kentucky. Republicans may also use the energy debate to highlight divisions within the Democratic Party over the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed connection between the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, and refineries along the Gulf Coast.

Even if major new laws seem unlikely, many lawmakers are hoping simply to approve some of the basics that have been elusive in recent months. The more optimistic among them say they could serve as building blocks toward broader cooperation. House and Senate negotiators plan to soon unveil a new farm bill, which usually passes without significant opposition but failed last year, [that] includes drastic cuts to food stamps. A Senate version of the bill cuts spending by $4 billion while the House reduces it by $40 billion.

Yeah, you are waiting on unemployment and food stamps while the Pentagon and Wall Street are fed first!

Lawmakers also expect to hash out a more specific $1 trillion one-year spending bill by Jan. 15.


About that spending deal: 

"The deal buoyed Wall Street investors. Guggenheim Partners, a financial services firm, concluded that as a result overall Pentagon spending will remain relatively the same for the next several years before it begins to grow once again, at about 2.5 percent per year."

And yet food stamps gets a cut any way you slice it. 

Also see: 

"New England political leaders and environmental groups are lobbying for increased funding for the region’s national parks after the one-two punch of automatic budget cuts and last fall’s government shutdown hurt park operations, and the local economies that rely on them, [and] with another battle over federal spending looming as Congress gets back to work."

Can't even find a decent place to hang out waiting for the unemployment checks:

"Effort to extend jobless benefits makes progress; But some GOP senators want costs tied to cuts" by Jonathan Weisman |  New York Times,  January 08, 2014

WASHINGTON — A Democratic push to extend unemployment benefits that have expired squeaked past a Republican filibuster Tuesday, setting off intense negotiations to find a way to pay for the program and win over a skeptical House leadership.

The Senate’s 60-to-37 vote to take up a three-month extension of benefits passed with no room to spare, and some of the six Republicans who voted yes made clear they want the cost of the extension set off by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Still, it was the rarest of Washington moments, a genuine surprise….

What a crap narrative!

President Obama, flanked by unemployed Americans as he spoke in the East Room of the White House, tried to keep up the pressure, first on the Senate to pass the bill and then on the House.

It disgusts me that he would use the unemployed as a political prop.

“We’ve got to get this across the finish line without obstruction or delay,” he said, even as he praised the surprise outcome.

But House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio made clear he would exact a price for consideration in the House, saying that not only would an extension of expired benefits have to be paid for but that it must also be tied to Republican priorities, such as building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, expanding exemptions from the Affordable Care Act, and opening energy exploration on federal land.

“One month ago I personally told the White House that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work,” Boehner said after the Senate vote. “To date, the president has offered no such plan. If he does, I’ll be happy to discuss it, but right now the House is going to remain focused on growing the economy and giving America’s unemployed the independence that only comes from finding a good job.” 

Like being a lobbyist? 

Boehner really giving the boner the the American people there.

On Monday night, Senate leaders abruptly postponed a vote on the measure.


Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, was about to call the vote when the Senate’s number two Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, accused him of manufacturing a political issue by holding a vote with 17 senators absent, mostly because of weather delays.

Is there a political issue that isn't manufactured in the AmeriKan body politic?

Reid then gruffly asked for consent to postpone it until Tuesday.

Confirming Yellen was no big deal though.

Conservative Republicans remained resolute in opposition, contending that issuing emergency unemployment checks would only discourage job seekers….

Yeah, except THERE ARE NO JOBS! The offerings in my Saturday newspaper were putrid!

Democrats were cautious about the bill’s chances of being enacted.

Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York said it had taken weeks to reach a budget deal that included savings about twice as large as lawmakers need to find for the unemployment extension.

He said he feared Republicans allowed the bill to go forward only to steer Democrats into a “cul-de-sac” or a “Mexican standoff” in which both sides offer their own measures to pay for the benefits but neither would compromise.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, offered a glimpse of that when he suggested that the bill be paid for by a one-year reprieve from the mandate that uninsured individuals purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty, and the reversal of a measure in the just-passed budget that slows the growth of veterans benefits.

The issue of extending unemployment benefits and a separate push to raise the minimum wage, which is also on the Senate’s docket, are looking as much like campaign themes as legislative ventures….

It's the same old shit fooley we see every two f***ing years!



Efforts to extend jobless benefits fail in Senate
No deal in sight for the long-term unemployed

And that is really the last we saw of that. Unemployed must not have good lobbyists.

At least they are doing something about that minimum wage down there:

"Minimum wage battles are shifting to the states; Chances appear slim for a vote to increase federal minimum" by Kimberly Railey |  Globe Correspondent, January 13, 2014

Then it is just more greenhouse gas and hot air coming from the campaign!

WASHINGTON — President Obama pledged in his 2013 State of the Union message to pursue a minimum wage increase nationwide, an issue all but forgotten since his first White House run.

And all of a sudden they found it just in time for campaign $ea$on again, just like in 2012 with Mitt Romney!

Declaring that “no one who works full time should have to live in poverty,’’ Obama called for boosting the hourly minimum to $9.

Keep that in mind when I fill the food stamp order further below.

Nearly a year later, that goal remains unfulfilled, derailed by a slowly recovering economy and opposition from Republicans in Congress.

Yeah, yeah, blame Repuglicans for another of his broken promises.

So with the federal rate stuck at $7.25 and few prospects for change, the real focal point for wage battles in 2014 is moving to individual states….

That is an abysmal rate of pay!

Wages have surged to the national agenda as a strong stock market and better business climate have continued to concentrate American wealth in the top 1 percent of earners….

Must be election season once again then!

Democrats are planning to make wage disparities and opportunities for the middle class a major issue in the 2014 congressional elections. They believe that strategy can galvanize low-income voters, as well as portray Republicans as insensitive and out of touch….

You gonna fall for this $hit-fooley game again?

Although some small businesses back a higher wage, opposition is strongest from the retail and business industries. Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said increasing the minimum wage would raise the cost of doing business, as well as the cost of goods and services. Consumers, he said, no longer have “very much loyalty” and would turn to businesses in New Hampshire or to online vendors with cheaper prices.

“You create a disincentive for Massachusetts consumers to spend money in the economy,” he said.

Then this global economy that the 1% designed and administer is $hit!

Economists have not reached a consensus on the effects of a minimum wage increase. Some studies have reported that higher minimum wages lead to higher unemployment, while others report no significant effect. Some critics say wage increases force employers to cut costs in other ways, leading to fewer hours and jobs. The result, they argue, hurts the workers the wage increases aim to help….

The same principle apparently does not apply to banking thieves.

RelatedTop economists weigh in on minimum wage at MIT

Translation: toss them some chump change crumbs quick before they come to eat us!

Governor Deval Patrick, who backed Obama’s proposal to increase the federal minimum wage, indicated he favors a state increase. The state’s current minimum wage is one of the most generous in the country, but the bill’s sponsor, state Senator Marc R. Pacheco, said employees working full time on that salary cannot meet basic needs.

It's only $8 and that's "one of the mo$t generous?"

Most of them hold two or three minimum-wage jobs, the Taunton Democrat said.

Then give one or two of them up because we need them.

“The economics of it don’t work for the vast majority in our economy,” said Pacheco, a steady ally of organized labor….

Oh, then forget him and his $elf-$erving legislation. 

Can't tell you how sick I am of whining labor taking money out of corporate and 1% pocket!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm glad some people have plenty of money!

Much of the activity around wage increases is a result of fallout from the recession, but specialists say states tend to ratchet up minimums in years after Congress raises the federal level. Congress last lifted the rate to $7.25 an hour in 2009.

That was supposed to have ended FIVE YEARS AGO!

“Once Congress enacts an increase, it starts picking up in the states,” said Jeanne Mejeur, a senior researcher at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “There’s been a groundswell.”




Need a tax break?

"Congress lets 55 tax breaks expire once again; Businesses decry uncertain climate" by Stephen Ohlemacher |  Associated Press, December 31, 2013

WASHINGTON — In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty — once again — for millions of individuals and businesses.

Lawmakers let these tax breaks lapse almost every year, even though they save businesses and individuals billions of dollars. And almost every year, Congress eventually renews them, retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them by the time they file their tax returns.

No harm, no foul, right?

I'm finding anything this government does is most foul and harmful these days.


But trade groups and tax experts complain that Congress is making it impossible for businesses and individuals to plan spending. What if lawmakers don’t renew the tax break you depend on? Or what if they change it and you’re no longer eligible?

‘‘It’s a totally ridiculous way to run our tax system,’’ said Rachelle Bernstein, vice president and tax counsel for the National Retail Federation…. 

The liars of the holiday season.

Some of the tax breaks are big, including billions in credits for companies that invest in research and development, generous exemptions for financial institutions doing business overseas, and several breaks that let businesses write off capital investments faster.

I keep telling you, it's a Congre$$ and government that $erves one ma$ter and I'll give you one gue$$ as to what it is -- the same Congre$$ and government that says you must accept an austerity program because of their looting and mismanagement. 

Others are more obscure, the benefits targeted to film producers, race track owners, makers of electric motorcycles, and teachers who buy classroom supplies.

Why profitable Hollywood needs a tax sub$idy is beyond me, and we all know who got the race tracks an exemption.

"The tax package includes several elements sought by powerful lawmakers, including a tax break for race horse owners important to Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate minority leader

Just good old fashioned hor$e trading, huh?

There are rebates to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from a tax on rum imported into the United States and a credit for expenses related to railroad track maintenance.

A deduction for state and local sales taxes benefits people who live in the nine states without state income taxes. Smaller tax breaks benefit college students and commuters who use public transportation.

Several tax breaks promote renewable energy, including a credit for power companies that produce electricity with wind turbines.

Siemans will not be whistling over that.

The annual practice of letting these tax breaks expire is a symptom a divided, dysfunctional Congress that struggles to pass routine legislation, said Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a senior Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. ‘‘It’s shameful.’’

What is shameful is that false narrative.


Related: Expiration of Transit Tax Break Proof of Tyranny 

Time to move on:

"Election year is likely to sway agenda; Minimum wage, health rollout in partisan playbook" by Donna Cassata |  Associated Press,  January 06, 2014

WASHINGTON — Congress returns to work on Monday with election-year politics certain to shape an already limited agenda.

Republicans intend to focus on every facet of President Obama’s health care law. They see a political boost in its problem-plagued rollout as the GOP looks to maintain its House majority and seize control of the Democratic-led Senate.

First up in the House, according to majority leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, is legislation addressing the security of personal data, part of his party’s effort ‘‘to protect the American people from the harmful effects of Obamacare.’’

He's not as worried about the NSA dragnet vacuuming up every damn communication on the planet as well as every thought and movement.

Republicans also promise closer scrutiny of the administration’s tally of enrollment numbers in the program.

Democrats will press to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour and extend unemployment benefits, trying to cast the party as more concerned with the less fortunate and intent on dealing with income inequality. The issues resonate with liberals, the core Democratic voters crucial in low-turnout midterm elections…. 

Low turnout is good for Republicans so the Dems can kiss the Senate goodbye (thus Obama's feet will be held a little closer to the fire for Israel's sake), and I really, really can not believe liberals will fall for this again after four years of failure. 

See: Obummer For Youth 

I don't think the stoner vote is going to get it done, sorry. 

What do you mean the vote was, like, two days ago?

However, Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he is unsure whether Democrats can cobble together 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle.

‘‘If we don’t get the 60, we will come back at this issue,’’ he promised.

You got the 60 and it still stalled!

Obama already has scheduled a White House event on Tuesday with some whose benefits expired at the end of December….

 I resent him using them as a political prop for a photo-op, sorry.

Republicans hinted they might go along with extending benefits if they win spending cuts from Reid elsewhere to pay for them….

They just did a deal to fully fund the Pentagon!

Schumer, one of his party’s leaders, said Democrats would prefer to pass the proposal as is — without a way to pay for it, as has been the case for previous extensions. But he told reporters Sunday he would listen to GOP suggestions.

During a separate interview, Reid predicted widespread inaction would be the norm ‘‘unless the Republicans in Congress decide they should do something for the American people, I’m sorry to say.’’

I'm sorry to see this slop.

Such rancor ruled in the first session of the 113th Congress, with few bills passed and sent to the president. The combination of divided government and the upcoming elections stand as an obstacle to major legislation in the second session….


Still, Congress must deal with some significant unfinished business before delving deep into political votes and extended breaks for campaigning.

The Senate is to vote Monday on Obama’s nomination of Janet Yellen to become the head of the Federal Reserve. If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman to fill the powerful post, replacing Ben Bernanke.

She sailed through despite the lack of several senators. No big deal.

Lawmakers face a Jan. 15 deadline to agree on a spending bill to keep the government running and avoid a partial shutdown that roiled Congress last fall.


Passage of legislation in December scaling back the automatic, across-the-board cuts gave the House and Senate Appropriations Committees time to draft a massive, trillion-dollar-plus measure to run the government through September.


A short-term measure is likely this month, just to let the government continue operating.

The GOP-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate spent a chunk of last year wrangling over renewing the nation’s farm bill after passing competing versions of the five-year, roughly $500 billion measure.

It's all about food stamps because the rest was split off and funded.

And you wonder why my appetite for anger is insatiable?

In dispute are crop subsidies and how deeply to cut the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program, with the House slashing $4 billion annually and the Senate $400 million annually.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has been made whole again and will see an increase in the near future. Your government has decided its guns over butter when it comes to you, AmeriKan citizens.


And the main reason I will not be watching Obummer tonight:

"Obama pitches antipoverty zones" by Jim Kuhnhenn |  Associated Press, January 10, 2014

WASHINGTON — Invoking his own personal story, President Obama made a plea on Thursday for bipartisan work to combat poverty and declared, after a 2013 marked by struggles and disappointments, that ‘‘this is going to be a year of action.’’


Obama offered a glimpse at his coming State of the Union address and its expected emphasis on economic disparities while announcing five communities that will be targeted for tax incentives and federal grants under a government ‘‘Promise Zone’’ program.


‘‘We’ve got to make sure this recovery — which is real — leaves nobody behind,’’ he said. ‘‘And that’s going to be my focus throughout the year.’’


It already has left millions behind, moron!

Obama named the new zones at a bipartisan White House assembly, underscoring the type of actions Obama wishes to employ that don’t all require congressional action.

That's dictatorship!

Amid a slow recovery that has not reached many at the lowest rungs of the economy, addressing poverty has become an emerging issue in Washington.

Yeah, now that the campaign season is upon us. I didn't know the bottom 99% was the lowest rung. Must be a one-rung ladder.

Obama has made it a central part of his agenda, and leading Republicans, including potential 2016 presidential contenders, are using the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty to offer policy proposals aimed at the poor and struggling workers. Obama welcomed the bipartisan interest, saying, ‘‘this should be a challenge that unites us all.’’

Until the elections are over and then it will be back to bu$ine$$ as usual.



"Since ’12 election, drive to end tax loophole fizzled out; No serious attempt to halt benefit for investors despite campaign rhetoric" by Noah Bierman |  Globe Staff, December 01, 2013

WASHINGTON — Democrats eagerly stoked outrage during the 2012 presidential election over millionaire Republican Mitt Romney’s low effective tax rate of 14 percent. Did Romney, they suggested, benefit from a special tax loophole for hedge fund and private equity investors, so “fat cats’’ like him can pay taxes at a much lower rate than many regular Americans?

The issue was simple in its appeal to populist anger.

But a year later, the heated rhetoric of campaign season has fizzled.

As predicted on these very pages as it was happening.

Concerted initiatives from the White House and Democrats in Congress to close the loophole have not materialized. The “carried interest” loophole — which allows some fund managers to pay taxes at the rate for investments, now 20 percent, instead of the top income tax rate, now 39.6 percent — lives on.

It’s the tax break that won’t die.

The contrast between Democrats’ demands for action during the campaign and the merely desultory efforts in the year since reveals how the Democratic Party’s commitment to the issue is more complicated than its campaign slogans of 2012.

$ay what?

Yes, Republicans are dug in so deeply against any change that might raise taxes — in this case, the removal of a tax cut benefit — that odds of passage are small.

I'm a Republican. I don't care what it is, this government already takes in way too much money and spends it in the wrong places.

But specialists on the issue say they also detect Democratic ambivalence: crusading against the “carried interest’’ loophole at this stage would inflame an important source of campaign contributions for Democrats.

$ay what?

Since 2000, private equity, hedge fund, and venture capital managers have spent a combined $352 million on federal elections, fairly evenly split between the parties, 53 percent for Republicans and 47 percent for Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

It is called PLAYING BOTH $IDES and it en$ures why there is NO CHANGE to the $TATU$ QUO! 

Related: Sunday Globe Specials: Fiscal Cliff Fraud

Oh, look, $omething el$e they can agree on! 

So the TAX INCREASE on the WEALTHY was actually a TAX CUT?

Even with a special committee considering a budget pact in December that could include tax code changes, few are speaking up strongly on the subject.

“The issue has been an effective fund-raising tool for both parties,” said Victor Fleischer, a University of California San Diego law professor who is a leading authority on the issue. “The Republicans, because their base doesn’t like tax increases, and the Democrats because private equity firms believe some legislators can be persuaded.”

Democrats, Fleischer said, “consistently said some of the right things” on the issue but have not put much effort into promoting tax overhaul.

Because they are being BOUGHT OFF and PER$UADED!

Massachusetts, despite its liberal politics, is one of several epicenters for the financial sector executives who benefit most from the break. Though the state’s Democratic politicians have railed against the tax break, they have a mixed record on follow-through....

Both of the state’s new senators, Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren pledged during their campaigns to end the break for wealthy fund managers. But neither has so far made it a priority in office. They blame Republican obstruction for thwarting efforts to close the loophole.


“Change occurs over time,” said Warren, who says she is adamant that carried interest should be part of any budget or tax code negotiations with Republicans. “There have to be enough people to stand up and speak loudly enough.”

I've run out of patience waiting for change. I've been speaking up loudly for a decade now and nothing. I know she is a well-meaning women, but she is caught in the $y$tem as well. The $ad and $imple fact is the $y$tem is broken beyond repair. The best thing that could be done is dissolve it and start over. Wa$hington can not fix it self, and corporate governance has failed for all those but the very $elect few.

Still, their elections marked a departure from their predecessors. In the Senate, Scott Brown, a Republican, opposed any change in the tax rate, while John F. Kerry, a Democrat, showed ambivalence, warning about “unintended consequences’’ of the change and at times echoing the industry’s argument that eliminating the tax break posed a risk to the economy, even while voting for the change at least twice. 

Not really a $urprise coming from him, is it?

The tax break may be the best example in Washington of why it’s so difficult to take on a special interest.

No me$$y parti$an$hip problem, huh?

The Private Equity Growth Capital Council, a chief lobby for the industry, has pushed hard to link the tax break to bedrock American principles of rewarding risk-takers. Its website has a video depicting a pair of fictional sisters who open a restaurant, noting that the tax structure for billion-dollar private equity firms is no different than it is for small businesses.

The industry group insists that the exemption isn’t a loophole. It asserts that eliminating the exemption would curb investment, including real estate.

Tax specialists say the industry has done an especially good job at capitalizing on the confusing aspects of tax law to sow seeds of doubt about the benefit, which allows much of their income to be taxed at the lower, capital gains rate rather than the higher income tax rate.

Meaning they are deceiving you for their own $elf-$erving benefit. Such good guys running the AmeriKan economic $y$tem these days.

“There really is no argument for carried interest to receive capital gains treatment,” said Edward D. Kleinbard, a former chief of staff at the Joint Committee on Taxation and now a law professor at the University of Southern California. “They’re just designed to confuse and bamboozle.”

Oh, so they serve the same function as an AmeriKan new$paper?

Though many big businesses tend to favor Republicans in their giving, private equity, hedge funds, and venture capital executives have given generously to both parties. Two of Massachusetts’ top 20 Democratic donors in the most recent election, for example, Jonathan Lavine and Joshua Bekenstein, are top managers at Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Romney.

Do I need to type it? 

The state’s fifth and eighth biggest Democratic donors, brothers Douglas and George Krupp, cofounded a real estate investment and private equity company. Number six on the list, Walter Gilbert, is a venture capitalist.

And where does venture capital come from? Pension funds and college endowments. 

Now you know why, among other reasons, college tuition is skyrocketing and why workers are being asked to give back even more of their flat pensions -- so money junkies can have more, more, more, to ply into politics!!

The industries have been especially helpful to Majority PAC, a “super committee’’ operated by allies and former staffers of Senate Democrats including majority leader Harry Reid that can accept unlimited contributions. James H. Simons, founder of the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund, gave Senate Majority PAC $3 million ahead of the last election. Vincent Ryan, founder of Boston-based Schooner Capital, donated $350,000. Multiple donors contacted for this story declined to comment or did not respond to requests.

Sure is plenty of money out there for such a shit economy.

“The venture community has over the past few decades become an important fund-raising constituency for the Democratic Party and they’ve earned their seat at the table,” said Larry Rasky, a Democratic bundler who runs the public relations firm Rasky Baerlein.

Have you had enough imagery and illu$ion yet?

Though Democrats have campaigned on changing the tax rate, many have quietly found ways to weaken those changes. 

$ay f***ing what? 

Even Obama, who campaigned against the tax break to draw attention to Romney’s low tax burden, has narrowed his proposal this year to inflict less pain on the industry. Obama’s initial plan would have garnered $24 billion in new taxes over the next decade. The latest version, which excludes more investors, raises $16 billion.

“It’s a good one to demagogue for the Democrats,” said Robert McIntyre, director of the Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal advocacy group. “It’s also a dangerous one for them to do because there’s so much money out there. Even if it’s not going to them, they don’t want it to flood to the other side.”

Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, is often cited for his role in protecting the financial industry. In 2007, he was pivotal in slowing momentum for a bill that passed the House by insisting it apply to more industries, a move both sides saw as a poison pill.

“He broadened it to death,” said former US representative Barney Frank, who backed several bills that passed the House.

Though Schumer consistently ranks among the industry’s top donation recipients, Frank said he believes Schumer was motivated by the impact on his state, the world’s financial capital. Schumer has since voted to close the loophole.

He didn't vote for it when it really matter, that slimy piece of shit!

Kerry’s role in protecting the financial industry’s interests is less well-known. His 2004 presidential run coincided with the industry’s initial forays into political activism, and he continued to tap the them when he returned to the Senate. Kerry, like Schumer, has voted to close the loophole at least twice.

But advocates like McIntyre say Kerry did more to tamp down prospects for closing the loophole behind the scenes, using his post on the Senate Finance Committee to breed skepticism. At a series of 2007 hearings, for example, he grilled industry foes and invoked some of the arguments put forth by the industry’s lobbyist, including the notion that any change in the tax structure held risk for the economy.

Wow, did Kohn Kerry ever sell out to money!

“The thing we have to think about carefully in the committee are the downstream impacts of how you begin to treat this,” Kerry said then. “If you single out one piece and say we are going to get our chunk here on some theory, that theory may well have a lot of impact on how other deals are made and how other capital is treated.”

But he is all for carbon taxes on YOU! 

Charles Kingson, who testified in favor of imposing higher taxes on the industries, said he was not prepared for Kerry’s and Schumer’s questions, which he considered hostile.

“I was very surprised,” Kingson said. “These guys are liberal Democrats.”

Thus it does not $urpri$e me at all!


"The rally has been fueled by higher corporate earnings, but because of the slow recovery, only about half of the general public noted the market’s strong performance, according to the poll. Investors were more aware of the booming market, however."

Meaning "we" didn't share in any gains, which is why "we" did not notice.

They bickering bastards down there also agree on this

"US Capitol’s restoration project begins" by Steve Hendrix |  Washington Post, December 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — When the Capitol dome was built in the 1860s, cast iron was the high-tech building material, lighter and easier to erect than stone, more fireproof than wood.

But if the people’s business never stops below, neither do the wind and rain above. Now, after 150 years of duty as Washington’s all-weather symbol of democracy, the dome is getting an overdue metal makeover.

Preparations for the long-planned $60 million restoration project got underway this month as officials suspended tours of the upper structure and prepared to string protective netting in the vaulted, vaunted space above the Rotunda.

Had this country been managed properly and not been looted by Wall Street banks while having its foreign policy hijacked by Israel, I would not have minded this. However, coming at a time of needed social services being cut across the board it's an in$ult!

Capitol architects took reporters for a final climb to show where leaks coming through the battered dome are beginning to threaten the historic interior. Some massive metal parts have been removed to keep them from plunging to the always-crowded floor below….

Did they call the White House because Obummer is obsessed with leaks.

‘‘I’m just glad they are taking care of [the dome] — it’s so beautiful,” said Janice Bradley of Pennsylvania, who toured the Capitol during a holiday visit. ‘‘I just wish they would fix our roads.’’

F***ing idiot Amurkns get the gummint they deserve!

Moviemakers may be more put out, according to John Latenser, a location scout who has set up shots of the Capitol for ‘‘The West Wing,’’ ‘‘Veep,” and other productions.

‘‘It’s one of the shots that tell you you’re in D.C.,” he said. ‘‘It will change some scripts, change some angles. Some people may try to take out the scaffolding” in post-production….

Aww, the poor movie folk. 

Can't just green screen it for computer-generated effects?


Also seeTaxpayer Dollars Put to Good Use 

The furloughed fed workers got paid for watching movies at home.  

Ought to send them all to prison:

"Sentencing laws draw attention in Congress; Fairness, cost concerns foster bipartisan effort" by Henry C. Jackson |  Associated Press, January 12, 2014

WASHINGTON — An unusual alliance of Tea Party enthusiasts and liberal leaders in Congress is pursuing major changes in the country’s mandatory sentencing laws.

What’s motivating them are growing concerns about both the fairness of the sentences and the expense of running federal prisons.

The congressional push comes as President Obama and his Cabinet draw attention to the issue of mandatory sentences, particularly for nonviolent drug offenders.

Supporters say mandatory minimum sentences are outdated, lump all offenders into one category, and rob judges of the ability to use their own discretion.

They also cite the high costs of the policies. The Justice Department spends some $6.4 billion, about one-quarter of its budget, on prisons each year, and that number is growing steadily….

The push is being led by the Senate, where tough-on-crime drug policies once united Republicans and Democrats who didn’t want to appear weak on crime. Now reversing or revising many of those policies is having the same effect.

The Fair Sentencing Act, passed in 2010, drew bipartisan support for cutting penalties on crack cocaine offenses….

Must be smoking it because they are still working on it.


Also see:

Two House Democrats say they will retire
Katherine Clark has hope despite gridlock

So what is in the budget that got through gridlock anyway?

"Congress releases details of budget; Deal would avert some military cuts" by Andrew Taylor |  Associated Press, January 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — Top congressional negotiators released a bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill Monday night that would pay for the operations of government through October and finally put to rest the bitter budget battles of last year.

The massive measure fleshes out the details of the budget deal that Congress passed last month. That pact gave relatively modest relief to the Pentagon and domestic agencies from the deep budget cuts they would otherwise face.

I guess fully-restored funding for the next two years and a 2.5 percent increase while we see cuts in social services is just mode$t.

The bill would avert spending cuts that threatened construction of aircraft carriers and next-generation Joint Strike Fighter jets.

SeeNew Aircraft Carrier a Piece of Crap 

That was how many billions for a real pos?

It maintains rent subsidies for the poor, awards federal civilian and military workers a 1 percent raise, and boosts security at US embassies across the globe. The Obama administration would be denied money to meet its full commitments to the International Monetary Fund but get much of the funds it wanted to implement the new health care law and the 2010 overhaul of financial regulations.

Every cloud has a $ilver lining.

The 1,582-page bill was released after weeks of negotiations between the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Harold Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, and his counterpart in the Senate, Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, who kept a tight lid on the details until its release. ‘‘This agreement shows the American people that we can compromise, and that we can govern,’’ Mikulski said….

Then why all the secrecy and the "either vote for it or against it, but you better vote for it" attitude?

The measure doesn’t contain major victories for either side. Its primary achievement was that both parties agreed to a comprehensive approach after the collapse of the budget process last year, followed by a 16-day government shutdown and another brush with a potential default on US obligations. After those crises last fall, Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, struck an agreement to avoid a repeat of the 5 percent cut applied to domestic agencies last year and to prevent the Pentagon from absorbing about $20 billion in new cuts.

Yeah, it made Wall Street and the Pentagon happy. Thanks, Patty.

Overall, the measure keeps funding for day-to-day domestic agency budgets at levels agreed to last year before broad cuts were applied.

So there are really no budget cuts for bureaucracy?


"Mass. fishermen among winners in budget deal; $1 trillion pact also restores Head Start funds" by Kimberly Railey |  Globe Correspondent, January 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — Massachusetts fishermen, MIT scientists, and low-income parents with young children are among the winners in a $1.012 trillion spending deal released Monday night by Congress….

The benefits are part of a bipartisan bill to fund the US government through Sept. 30. The compromise signals a break from years of budget cuts and congressional funding fights….

The White House and leaders of both parties praised the agreement, which would relax steep spending cuts known as the sequester. It would provide an additional $45 billion for military domestic discretionary programs for fiscal year 2014 and an additional $85.2 billion for Afghanistan war funding….

Head Start, the early childhood development program, will receive a $1 billion funding boost nationwide….

$85 billion for war, $1 billion for kids. That's about right.

The bill also will help MIT, Harvard, and other research universities with its inclusion of $7.1 billion for National Science Foundation funding….

Under the spending bill, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office in Gloucester will remain open. The provision would save more than 200 jobs….

Jobs we could do without!

The bill contains trade-offs for both Democrats and Republicans as it fills in the details of the budget deal Congress passed last month. That agreement came after a 16-day shutdown of many government agencies in October.

Another shutdown was expected to occur midnight Wednesday if Congress did not pass new spending authority.

They did.


True Tea Party also opposed to empire. Thus they get the back of the jewsmedia's hand.

"$1.1 trillion budget easily clears Senate; Measure would ease effects of last year’s cuts" by Andrew Taylor |  Associated Press, January 17, 2014

WASHINGTON — The huge bill funds every agency of government, pairing increases for NASA and Army Corps of Engineers construction projects with cuts to the Internal Revenue Service and foreign aid. It pays for implementation of Obama’s health care law….

RelatedIn report, IRS cites need for increased funding

Also included is funding for tighter regulations on financial markets….

The compromise-laden legislation reflects the realities of divided power in Washington and a desire by both Democrats and Republicans for an election-year respite after three years of budget wars that had Congress and the White House lurching from crisis to crisis….

Blah, blah, blah.

Obama’s budget director, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, called the bill’s passage a positive step for the nation and the economy. ‘‘It ensures the continuation of critical services the American people depend on,’’ she said in a blog post.

Shortly before the final vote, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, delivered a slashing attack on Senate Democrats, accusing them of ignoring the problems caused by the health care law. ‘‘It is abundantly clear that millions of Americans are being harmed right now by this failed law,’’ Cruz said.

He have a knife, did he?

The 1,582-page bill was really 12 bills wrapped into one….

The bill would increase spending by about $26 billion over fiscal 2013, with most of the increase going to domestic programs.


Pentagon got $20 billion of it!

Almost $9 billion in unrequested money for overseas military and diplomatic operations would help ease shortfalls in the Pentagon and foreign aid budgets. 

Yeah, whatever.

The nuts-and-bolts culture of the appropriators is evident in the bill. Lower costs to replace screening equipment, for example, allowed for a cut to the Transportation Security Administration.

See: TAOtapping at the NSA

Lawmakers blocked the Agriculture Department from closing six research facilities. And the Environmental Protection Agency is barred from issuing rules on methane emissions from large livestock operations.

Because humans are to blame for fart mi$t and mu$t be made to pay!

Another provision would exempt disabled veterans and surviving military spouses from a pension cut enacted last month….

A provision I applaud while also recognizing the absolute militarism of political culture and society.


And look whose pension is getting cut:

"Federal workers’ pensions targeted for savings" by Alan Fram |  Associated Press, December 17, 2013

WASHINGTON — Top lawmakers have found easy prey in their hunt for savings for Congress’s budget deal: federal workers’ retirement programs, which are notably generous compared to the norm in private industry….

That's not the way you buy off the thin line of bureaucrats.

With federal employees low on voter priority lists and a scant presence in most congressional districts, they proved an irresistible target for lawmakers. And at a time when pensions for private industry workers are edging toward extinction, some said diminished retirement programs are a sign of the times….

Yeah, just hand all the loot over to the government, who can then turn it over to the 1%.

Besides having pensions, most federal workers can also put money into a 401(k)-like retirement savings program, the Thrift Savings Plan, to which the government makes matching contributions.

And let Wall Street steal, I mean, handle it?

That combination is far better than what’s available to most private industry workers. There, only 11 percent of employees had both savings plans and monthly pension payments to look forward to in retirement, according to the research institute’s 2011 figures….

Federal workers and their supporters argue that their pensions tell just part of the story.

I don't want to hear the rest, sorry.

The 2.2 million federal civilian employees have had their pay frozen for the past three years.

We have had pay cuts out here, so shaddup!

In addition, most were furloughed for one day or longer without pay this year, thanks to the sequester — automatic spending cuts — imposed because of the two parties’ budget standoff.

That's a lie though, because a bill that guaranteed furloughed workers back pay!

Federal workers aren’t the only public employees facing growing pension expenses. Such plans remain common for many state and local workers, and 30 states imposed higher pension costs on their employees between 2009 and 2012, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.


America’s Retirement Crisis Grows as Cities Raid Pension and Health Plans

Detroit Bankruptcy Means Government Can Break Promises 
Loyalty is a one way street when it comes to this government.

Such plans have been fading in the private sector for decades, as companies shed those expenses. Many firms have shifted to savings plans to which they make a defined contribution, transferring the risk to workers.

Federal workers ‘‘have to be careful about crying foul over something for which the other solution would be to eliminate it,’’ said Lynn Dudley, senior policy vice president for the American Benefits Council, which represents big companies that provide retirement benefits.

Yes, li$ten to your corporate masters!

Most federal employees hired before 1984 are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System. They contribute 7 percent of their earnings for their pensions, but are not covered by Social Security — and don’t pay the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax due from other workers….

Good deal for them!

Related: U.S. Government Stole Social Security Surplus

Why not? They have stolen everything else.


Cutting back pensions for the living while the dead continue to farm the system for collections.

At least you can take your leave of work:

"Democrats introduce family crisis bill" by Frank Eltman |  Associated Press, January 24, 2014

BAY SHORE, N.Y. — Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said Thursday that she and other Democrats have a plan that would make every American eligible for up to three months of paid leave from their jobs in the case of a family emergency, and that the average cost would amount to one cup of coffee a week.

If you are lucky enough to have a job, and no, I'm not giving up one of my lone luxuries a day (the other being a printed Boston Globe).

Gillibrand has introduced federal legislation to establish a program to be run by the Social Security Administration that would give workers two-thirds of their salaries for up to 12 weeks in a family crisis.

So it isn't really three months pay, is it? It's more like two months, now make due.

‘‘Too many families can’t afford to take that time off unpaid,’’ Gillibrand said. ‘‘They have mortgage payments, they have car payments, they have to feed their children, and so taking a leave that is unpaid isn’t feasible.’’

Under the proposal, which also has been introduced in the House by Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the Social Security Administration would operate the program. It would be funded by employee and employer contributions of 0.2 percent of wages. Gillibrand said that would amount to an average of $2 a week. ‘‘It’s such a small amount,’’ she said.




Parties Seize on Abortion Rights as Midterm Issue
Democrats view shift in opinion on gay marriage as boon

They are hungry for your vote!

"Food stamp users now often workers" Associated Press, January 27, 2014

WASHINGTON — For the first time, working-age people make up the majority in US households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.

Some of the change is due to demographics, such as the trend toward having fewer children. But a slow economic recovery with high unemployment, stagnant wages, and an increasing gulf between low-wage and high-skill jobs also plays a big role.

It suggests that government spending on the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program — twice what it cost five years ago — may not subside significantly any time soon.

Food stamp participation since 1980 has grown the fastest among workers with some college training, a sign that the safety net has stretched further to cover America’s former middle class, according to an analysis of data for the Associated Press by economists at the University of Kentucky.

What an incredible paragraph. The "former" middle class being saved by the "stretched safety net." Only in the propaganda pre$$ would they frame things in $uch a way. Net has a huge hole in it, but….

Formally called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or SNAP, the program now covers 1 in 7 Americans.

Economists say having a job may no longer be enough for self-sufficiency in today’s economy. 

Hey, at least more wealth is being concentrated in the top 1%, and I'm so glad they are holding onto it (the wealthiest philanthropists did not give as much in 2013 as they gave before the Great Recession)! 

Bon appetite!


UPDATE: Farm bill to include $9 billion in food stamp cuts

And to wash it all down?

"Senate advances bill to delay flood insurance hikes" by Andrew Taylor |  Associated Press,  January 28, 2014

WASHINGTON — Bipartisan legislation that would delay flood insurance premium increases for hundreds of thousands of people living in coastal and low-lying areas cleared its first hurdle in the Senate on Monday.

Will it stumble like unemployment?

The 86-to-13 vote demonstrated that the measure had filibuster-proof support in the chamber, which was likely to pass it in a few days.

The legislation would delay for up to four years premium increases set to phase in next year on homeowners facing whopping premium increases under new flood maps and would allow homeowners with subsidized insurance policies to pass them on to people who buy their homes.

The higher premiums were the result of changes made to the federal flood insurance program less than two years ago — widely praised as long-overdue reforms of the program — that were designed to make it more financially stable and bring insurance rates more in line with the real risk of flooding.

But the new rates have caused sticker shock for hundreds of thousands of people who could face big premium jumps as flood maps are updated in coming years. And the loss of subsidies when homes are sold has put a damper on the real estate market and threatened home values….

All the biparti$an$hip because of a richer fart poot and the undergirding of the economy, housing prices.

At issue is the federal flood insurance program that was established in 1968 and has incurred big losses, most recently with Sandy in 2012. It is more than $24 billion in debt to taxpayers for losses from big storms including Sandy and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

A debt I don't mind having if it were to help people and not money disappearing down a black aid hole. 'course, banks were bailed out with a much bigger sum.

The 2012 overhaul made several changes to the program, which helps 5.6 million policyholders, 20 percent of whom receive subsidized policies for older homes built before communities joined the flood insurance program.

Owners of second homes, frequently flooded properties, and businesses in flood areas would gradually lose their subsidies and pay 25 percent more a year until they reach an actuarially sound rate. Others get to keep their subsidies but cannot pass them on when selling their homes.

Translation: they tightened regulations based on fart mist to get dough and then retreated like the shore when richers raised a ruckus.



Those not so rich:

"Underwater homeowners could face tax shocker in 2014" by Amrita Jayakumar |  Washington Post, December 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — Struggling homeowners could be hit with an unexpected tax bill in the new year.

A law that spared people who owe more than their homes are worth from being saddled with additional taxes when their banks provide mortgage relief expires next week. Congress hasn’t extended it. 

(Blog editor is beside himself because if this $hit Congre$$ really cared about the American people this absurdity and in$ult would have been addressed. But nope, no more food stamps, no more unemployment checks, no home relief from banks! Nope, the military was made whole and Congre$$ has agreed on $o much $ince but we got broken f***ing city down there! Pfffft!)

Underwater homeowners often try to negotiate with their bank so that they can sell their homes for less than they owe in a short sale or have their mortgage balance reduced. But the difference between what the homeowner owes and the lower sales price approved by the bank is considered income for the homeowner and subject to tax by the IRS.

Wait a minute; you take a LO$$ and the GOVERNMENT counts it as INCOME!?

For example, someone with a $100,000 mortgage who is allowed to sell their house for $80,000 is supposed to pay taxes on the remaining $20,000.

RelatedState Street Stealers

Oh, but BANKS, FINANCIAL INVESTMENT FIRMS, and CORPORATIONS can use those losses as write-offs for years so they can avoid paying taxes on future record profits after their losses were bailed out?!! Not only did they and others not pay taxes, they got a big old tax check from the government!

You $EE where your TAX LOOT is going as "au$terity" is pushed upon you by the very cla$$es that have benefited so tremendously from your misery? 

And now they are LOOKING for LIBRARY BOOKS!

But a law known as the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act saved such homeowners from the tax burden. Last year, Congress rushed to extend the law during negotiations about the so-called fiscal cliff, but only through the end of 2013. Now it’s down to the wire again.

Related: Sunday Globe Specials: Fiscal Cliff Fraud 

Oh, the TAX HIKE on the wealthy was actually a TAX CUT, huh? Makes one wonder what was in the recent agreement.

Lawmakers and housing advocates argue that the rule hurts those who are already financially strapped.

That's 21$t-century AmeriKa for you.

Since 2009, more than 220,000 homeowners have sold their houses for less than they were worth through a short sale with help from a government program.

That's some help, especially since they told AIG to pay dollar for dollar back to Goldman Sachs.

Yeah, government helped you take a loss, taxed it, and then saw that you were thrown out.

Bailouts would have been better (and cheaper) had they just paid your mortgage for you.  But then banks wouldn't have been able to seize property to put assets behind their worthle$$ paper.

There are more than 6 million homes still underwater across the country, according to a third-quarter report from research company CoreLogic.

Literally drowning in debt.

That is down from more than 11 million homes during the peak of the housing crisis in 2009, but it shows that despite the sector’s strong recovery, many homeowners aren’t out of the woods.

‘‘What you’re looking at is people who have lost their house,’’ said Marceline White, executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition. ‘‘And then to have them hit with this [tax] just boggles the mind.’’

They didn't lose it, it was taken from them, same as their jobs.

Related: Battling Big Banks a Moot Point in Massachusetts 

And the Globe is their mouthpiece.


At the federal level, there are three bills — two in the House and one in the Senate — that call for the law’s extension. One of the House bills enjoys strong bipartisan support, but it is unclear whether Congress will make the law a priority next year.

Do I even need to f***ing type it!?!


Next thing you know they will be throwing folks in jail for overdue library books.

"A bipartisan commission recommended a series of steps Wednesday to make it simpler to cast ballots in the next election, but largely avoided the most politically contentious issues in a debate over voter access that has become deeply partisan."

Also see
The unending divide

Mine will be a third party or write-in ticket this year -- if I even bother to go vote.