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Don’t Blame Bunning

Posted on Mar 3, 2010
AP / Harry Hamburg

Jim Bunning, R-Ky., during Senate Banking Committee hearing in 2009.

By Robert Scheer

How convenient that seemingly everyone in the liberal blogosphere, and even at many points to the right, got to use Jim Bunning as a scapegoat. The venom of the attacks suggests that the maverick Republican senator from Kentucky provided a welcome alternative to the real villains: bankers much closer to the centers of power. As if Bunning’s denial of unanimous consent to a stopgap extension of unemployment insurance—easily overcome, as was demonstrated Tuesday night—is at the root of our economic crisis. 

It isn’t, and it is vicious nonsense to transform Bunning, who has a long record of opposition to the bipartisan policies that caused America’s financial mess, into a poster boy for economic heartlessness. The issue was not one of extending aid for another month to those whose benefits had run out but rather holding the government accountable for the means of payment. 

Bunning’s action was a sideshow, a boneheaded symbolic gesture that backfired with slight consequences. Yet the senator was made to look the dangerous fool in media accounts while many of those who enabled the financial catastrophe continue to be treated as reasonable experts after being rewarded for their folly with the highest posts in both the Bush and Obama administrations. 

The real issue here is the banking bailout, a bipartisan swindle that Bunning opposed and that has led to a dangerously spiraling deficit without providing relief to ordinary folk. It is the same issue that carried Texas Gov. Rick Perry to victory Tuesday in his state’s Republican gubernatorial primary, in which he defeated U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in part because of her support of the bank bailout. 

As with the January defeat of the Democratic candidate in the Massachusetts election for a U.S. Senate seat, the message from voters is loud and clear: The political establishment cares only about the fat cats and not the people who are hurting. Bunning’s gesture was not intended, as his critics insisted, to increase that pain but rather to hold the government accountable for the money it is spending. He has consistently blasted the bailout as a shameless gift to the Wall Street hustlers and urged that the money being wasted on them instead be spent to aid homeowners and other victims of their greed.


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This is not the first time that Bunning has stood alone in Congress. He was the sole member of the Senate to vote against the nomination of Ben Bernanke to be head of the Federal Reserve. That appointment came from Republican President George W. Bush, and yet it was Republican Sen. Bunning who warned that Bernanke as a Fed governor had been allied with then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in his disastrous policymaking. 

That was four years ago, when Greenspan was still being lionized by most Democratic and Republican politicians as well as by much of the media. On Jan. 28 of this year, Bunning once again rose in the Senate to challenge Bernanke, this time after President Barack Obama had nominated him for a second term:

“Chairman Bernanke … bowed to the political pressure of the Bush and Obama administrations and turned the Fed into an arm of the Treasury. … Instead of taking that money and lending to consumers and cleaning up their balance sheets, the banks started to pocket record profits and pay out billions of dollars in bonuses. … So if you like those bailouts, by all means vote for Chairman Bernanke.  But if you want to put an end to bailouts and send a message to Wall Street, this vote is your choice.”

He is right to point out that enormous sums always seem to exist to aid Wall Street but that assistance to average Americans has consistently been only an afterthought. And he does have a point in noting that if the latest spending extension was felt to be so important, why wasn’t it funded in a timely manner or in an orderly procedure by his congressional colleagues from both parties who are now trouncing him? 

The money is always there when they want it, as we have witnessed throughout the banking bailout when enormous sums have suddenly been made available to those who least need it. The Treasury Department managed to find $200 billion last week to deposit with the Fed to increase the purchase of toxic mortgages to $1.25 trillion to make the bankers whole.

But the level of vituperation unleashed against this senator is so disproportionate to his role in the economic catastrophe as to raise questions of motive. The overreaction to Bunning’s protest was never anything more than a ploy for Democratic and Republican leaders to profess great sorrow for the folks on Main Street while they continue to coddle Wall Street.

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By David Ehrenstein, March 11, 2010 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

RACISM IS NOT A CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By ardee, March 11, 2010 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

ThatDeborahGirl, March 7 at 11:22 am

Oh Deborah, use the race card, that all encompassing final criticism when logic and reason fail to carry the day.

That there are undoubtedly folks in this nation of ours that detest a black man in the White House, or on their own street for that matter, is a truism. But when used to deflect all criticisms of this presidency it is also a simplistic and anti-intellectual failure to analyze said criticism ,especially from the left but also from certain segments of the conservatives as well.

Obama has been an abysmal failure, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with the melanin content of his skin.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 11, 2010 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

ThatDeborahGirl is right on the mark.  As vituperative as Re-thugs were against Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (who both committed the cardinal sin of being LIBERAL White Southerners) it’s NOTHING compared to the blatantly racist attacks on the legitimately and duly elected sitting President.  It’s as if his election gave legitimacy to the KKK, the Aryan Brotherhood and the John Birch Society (which has been revitalized like it hasn’t been since the early 60’s). 

Why?  Because the President isn’t White and has a “funny” name.  Ironically, his FIRST name, Barack, is an ancient HEBREW name, long before it was a Moslem name, and is still used today in Israel, both as a first and last name.

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By ucansave, March 7, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While many are bummed out by Bumming, have you, Bob, listened to Barry Nitzberg, my nephew and your cousin, ask why the banks and lenders weren’t saved by giving some large credit to debtors to be used only to pay off their debt, thereby preserving their buying power and avoiding the bonusing of those bail outs?  The main difficulty would be how to figure that credit so as not to reward profligate spenders at the expense of the thrifty.

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By David Ehrenstein, March 7, 2010 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

You got it, “ThatDeborahGirl”!

They can’t stand taking orders from a black man.

That’s also why the egregious “Precious” has been so widely embraced. In the age of Obama it’s a cheery reminder that “Niggers Ain’t Worth Shit!” to those (black as well as white) who firmly believe it.

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By Peetawonkus, March 7, 2010 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Yes, yes, Bunning is a dick and a goof and he’s not solely to blame for the current mess. And he’s not to blame for the Chilean earthquake or salmonella or the Black Plague. He is, however, symptomatic of the new Republican Party. Which is to say: a resurrection of the Confederacy, with all its Biblical insanity, class hatred of the poor and racism.

I see no reason NOT to blame Bunning, as well as heap massive amounts of vitriol, abuse, mockery and contempt on his snowy head. It’s good exercise and it’s fun for the whole family.

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By ThatDeborahGirl, March 7, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

...the level of vituperation unleashed against this senator is so disproportionate to his role in the economic catastrophe as to raise questions of motive.

You have got to be sh*ttin me? I think if you replaced “President” with the word “senator” you’d be on to something. Because no one is willing to admit that conservatives of all persuasions have become the party of “NO” for one reason and one reason only. The President is black and none of them can stomach taking “orders” from a black man. It is too much against the grain - Bunning, his sidekick Mitch McConnell & minority leader John Boehner (who shames me being from my home state) deserve whatever castigation comes their way for supporting this mess.

Why not scapegoat Bunning? Or McConnel? Or Boehner? Why not pick one guy in the GOP and tar & feather him? They certainly don’t mind doing that to the President, or Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton?

Seems the only person the right doesn’t seem to target is the vice president. I guess because he’s white & male he’s beyond reproach except for the occasional gaffe, but jibes at him never last long.

Bunning for Scapegoat 2010. Sounds good to me. He’s playing with people’s livelihoods as if it were a game. I have no patience, tolerance or pity for him & his ilk.

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By ardee, March 5, 2010 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

“Do not bare false witness against your neighbor.”  Ex 20:16

While I refuse to contemplate exactly what Mr. Ellis ‘bares’ to his neighbors I am rather well aware of the false witness he bears around here alomst daily.


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By bogi666, March 5, 2010 at 5:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bunning with his obvious intellectual genius and knowing that Kentuckians have no need for unemployment benefits because Kentucky is an economic wonderland without the poor or unemployed.Otherwise Bunning would have never “objected” to the funding. Or, could it be that Bunning is courting after Senate employment by blaming the ills of the country on those not responsible, workers and middle class,  to gain favor from THE CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS and the WEALTHY those whom he has supported by voting for the Federal deficits which support them.

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By Garo, March 5, 2010 at 12:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

[“Human Events” is a giant steaming pile of shit.]


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By Lily Maskew, March 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bunning was wrong to choose the time when some of our most vulnerable citizens needed help.  He should have been concerned about the national debt when he voted for the Bush tax cuts.  But no, he bided his time, and then complained about the debt.  I can’t help thinking that he just wanted some attention, and he received it on the backs of others.

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By David Ehrenstein, March 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

“Human Events” is a giant steaming pile of shit.

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By truedigger3, March 4, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

This is a very good insightful article that cut throug the bullshitting by the political class and the Media whores who are serving them.

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By BBFmail, March 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

From the website:

Bunning Takes Heat for Expired Funding, But Is Harry Reid to Blame?

by Elisabeth Meinecke (more by this author)

Posted 03/02/2010 ET
Updated 03/02/2010 ET

The world may place the furloughing of 2,000 Americans on Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) “I object” last week, but it’s Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who decided the issue wasn’t important enough to discuss sooner.

Reid—who controls the Senate calendar—put off extending funding for Highway Trust Fund projects, unemployment benefits, and other programs to instead discuss two bills politically beneficial to him.

“Everybody knew when these benefits expired,” said Bunning’s communications director Mike Reynard. “It’s not like they didn’t know this was coming.”

Reid scrapped a bipartisan jobs bill last month that included three month extensions for some of these now-expired programs.  Reid then created his own, smaller jobs bill—which didn’t include the extensions. Reynard says he’s not sure why Reid’s office didn’t include the extensions in the smaller job bill.

After his jobs bill, Reid moved on to a tourism bill, a primary beneficiary of which is Nevada, the state he represents. The Senate voted on the tourism bill (which passed with 78 votes) Thursday, the same day Bunning filibustered the extensions.

When Bunning shouted his “I object,” Reid had several political cards he could have played to get the extensions through—Reid could have filed cloture or kept the Senate in session over the weekend.

“He has the tools at his disposal if he really wanted to bring it up and get it passed,” Reynard said, and borrowed a quote from his boss: “If we can’t find $10 billion dollars to pay for something that all 100 senators support, we will never pay for anything.”

Reynard says all that Bunning is objecting to is the spending and that Democrats shot down opportunities to work with Bunning on making sure these programs extensions don’t add to the debt.  All told, these extensions—had they passed Thursday—would have added $10 billion to the deficit.

One of Bunning’s suggestions was to pay for the extensions out of stimulus funds that haven’t been spoken for, but the Democrats haven’t let that provision reach the floor.

“He believes we should pass these extensions, but they need to be paid for,” Reynard said of Bunning. “It’s very simple: all he’s asking is for the bill to be paid for.”

The buzz on the Hill appears to be that the needed program extensions will be include in a more comprehensive bill the Senate is currently working on and that the provisions will be retroactive.

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By TAO Walker, March 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

Now that the last ‘Winter Olympics’ is over, and ‘March MADness’ is just around the corner, let The Blame Games begin.


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By Jon, March 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

But why did Bunning seek to block badly needed unemployment benefits to Americans who had no part in 1)the bank bailout,  2)the decision to fund Afghanistan to the tune of 100bn/yr, 3)the continuing decision to fund Iraq for about 100bn/yr?  The extension of unemployment benefits is not large enough to be even the round off error in the budget.  So, ok, he grandstanded, using unemployment benefits to make a point.  But THE point actually is he chose a group who would be put in severe difficulty by his mini-fillibuster-bluster.  I get him about the deficit, but why single out the unemployed to make his point, and why did he make such harsh comments about the unemployed?  It’s like deciding not to feed the kids because their mom overspent on her credit card. 

The GOP (and Democrats too) are two faced about the deficit—-tax cuts for corporations, the allowance of dark pool and high frequency stock trading without those transactions being taxed, the DOD budget, etc., never get front and center ‘deficit worry.’  Instead, the unemployed take the potential hit. 

Let Sen. Bunning be intellectually honest, unlike is party, and truly lay out where the deficit breakers are and then propose to do something about it.  Chastising unemployed Americans is not the way, and it’s not intellectually honest.

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By David Ehrenstein, March 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

Bunning’sd a piece of shit who—like all Republicans and a good many Democrats—deserves a prolonged and painful death.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 3, 2010 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

Jim Bunning was a nasty pitcher who’d knock someone down as soon as throw strikes.  He pitched a perfect game and rode that SOLE qualification all the way to the Senate.  He’s been one of the dumbest and most malevolent Re-thugs for many, many years.  He deserves every bit of contempt he receives.

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By Suzi W, March 3, 2010 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

what’s with the anti-EFCA ad accompanying the article???

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By FiftyGigs, March 3, 2010 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

Bunning happens to be a member of a political party
that believes debt doesn’t matter.

That’s the true bait-and-switch of this story.

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By ocjim, March 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

For the corporate media, citing Wall Street as the villain, is not an option for them. First Wall Street represents the media bosses—you don’t attack yourself. Second, the profit motive and the adolescence of the media’s audience can’t see spectacle or entertainment in bashing a bunch of greedy and incompetent bankers and last of all, most politicians, including Obama, fear the power of Wall Street.

So the attention will center on teabaggers, maverick senators, Obama’s rhetoric, which more and more, seems only that, and the lies of the right. This spurs more interest among profit-minded media and shallow audiences.

All of it gives the fat cats another target for to blame for their greed and folly, something the Pavlovian massies can growl at.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A radical worth listening to in these times when truth
is trampled on every day:

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prole's avatar

By prole, March 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

“How convenient that seemingly everyone in the liberal blogosphere, and even at many points to the right, got to use Jim Bunning as a scapegoat”…when they shoulda’ been doing it all along. It’s true enough that “Bunning’s action was a sideshow, a boneheaded symbolic gesture that backfired with slight consequences”…but some of Bunning’s many other actions over the years – while every bit as ‘boneheaded’ – aren’t. For which he along with some of his recent critics, such as the ‘boneheaded’ Susan Collins, as well as many Dem’s, can share in the blame. For instance, the illegal war in Iraq, “a bipartisan swindle that Bunning [supported] and that has led to a dangerously spiraling deficit [and death toll] without providing relief to ordinary folk.” Bunning not only voted in favor of the original Senate authorization for using force but has voted for every single funding bill for the invasion cum occupation since then. In Nov. ’05, Bunning voted against a bill for investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan, to prevent fraud and abuse. Even more ironically, given the current flap, in Apr. ’05, Bunning voted against a measure requiring on-budget funding for Iraq, not emergency funding. How convenient that Scheer, just like many of Bunning’s huffy senate colleagues, aren’t so outraged over the “maverick” senator’s fiscal irresponsibility when it comes to massive military spending. This year’s Pentagon bonanza is over sixty times the $10 billion that Bunning was allegedly so eager to hold the government accountable for in social spending. “Bunning’s denial of unanimous consent to a stopgap extension of unemployment insurance” may not be “at the root of our economic crisis.”…but runaway military spending – which far exceeds the bailout boondoggle – is. “The venom of the attacks suggests that the maverick Republican senator from Kentucky provided a welcome alternative to the real villains”…the military-industrial complex. “The money is always there when they want it as we have witnessed throughout”…good times and bad, Repub and Dem, the Pentagon is never made the richly deserved scapegoat by either the penny-pinching senator or his spendthrift colleagues – or Scheer. “It is vicious nonsense to transform Bunning, who has a long record of” support for the bipartisan policies that caused America’s foreign policy mess, into an unfairly maligned maverick senator. Bunning is a “poster boy” for foreign policy “heartlessness” – are as most of his hypocritical critics. The senator and his detractors should be “made to look the dangerous fool[s] in media accounts”. He and all “of those who enabled the” Iraq/Afghanistan/Palestine “financial catastrophe” – and humanitarian disaster – “continue to be treated as reasonable experts after being rewarded for their folly with the highest posts in both the [Senate and] Bush and Obama administrations.” “This is not the first time that Bunning has stood” in Congress in support of “boneheaded” action, symbolic or otherwise. Bunning has pitched a lot of political shutouts in his big league senate career, scoring 0% voting ratings from NARAL Pro-Choice America, The League of Conservation Voters, Peace Action, the AFL-CIO, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Alliance for Retired Americans, and Citizens for Tax Justice, among others. You can put this good ‘ol boy on a lot of posters, Bob! “The level of vituperation unleashed against this senator is so disproportionate to his role in”…so much harm in so many ways “as to raise questions of motive”. The underreaction to Bunning’s lack of protest to the wars and slashing social programs was “never anything more than a ploy for Democratic and Republican leaders to profess great sorrow for the folks on Main Street while they continue to coddle Wall Street”...and the Pentagon.

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By Biberkopf, March 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Knowing Bunning’s resume (against TARP, a maverick, etc.), I already feel so much better. Thanks to his principled stand, I was about to lose my unemployment benefits, with a bleak bleak future ahead. Hunger and other negative conditions would have been so much easier to bear because an anti-TARP hunk was responsible. Thanks, Mr. Scheer, bringing this to this unemployed prole’s attention.

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By gerard, March 3, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Of all the really important things to write about ....?

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By Thomas Dooley, March 3, 2010 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

“Don’t blame Bunning?”

I understand that Bunning is making a symbolic gesture, but surprise, surprise, he’s making it at the expense of the unemployed. Why did he choose them rather than the wealthy and powerful? Gee, I wonder why.

Besides, there is a special tax already levied to pay for unemployment benefits. Employers figure this tax into the total compensation package for each employee. Company accountants treat it as wages as though the employee had received the funds. The assumption is that if the unemployment tax did not exist the employee’s take home pay would increase by that amount. This is money that has been earned by the employee and has been set aside as a form of forced savings on the Social Security model.

Like Social Security the unemployment fund has been running in surplus taking in more than it paid out. If brave boy Bunning wanted to go after someone’s store of wealth to make a point why not go after the wealthy’s store of wealth rather than the unemployment surplus? Isn’t he a brave maverick? I guess not that brave or mavericky.

The only way to not blame Bunning is to blame the Senate and here we can make a good case.

The Senate is anti-democratic. In a democracy no one, not Bunning nor anyone else should be able to invalidated public policy after candidates have been selected, elections held, legislative battles fought and won, and the policy passed into law. Doing so is a disgrace to anyone’s notion of democratic ideals. This insult is due to our tolerating the existence of the profoundly anti-democratic Senate. It should be abolished and Bunning gives a crystal clear, unmistakable example why it should.

Bunning isn’t the only example. Look at how our health care policy is being handled, mangled and strangled in the Senate. There plenty of other examples. The House of Representatives has passed many good bills in the past few years only to see them buried in the Senate at times on the whim of a single Senator.

So sure, don’t blame Bunning, but if you don’t want this sort of thing to happen then we must advance a constitutional amendment to abolish the Senate.

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By Jon, March 3, 2010 at 11:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

But Bunning used unemployment benefits—-relied upon by a lot of people on the financial edge—-as his billboard.  While I get the idea, I don’t think it helped his cause, or that of those who want to reel Washington’s spending in, to use unemployed Americans to highlight the deficit issue.  The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are costing 100bn/year each.  The banker bailout cost 22+ trillion. The DOD budget is 700+ bn a year. Corporate tax breaks, compared to what American workers pay in taxes, mean that American workers pay a lot of income for taxes that corporations don’t have to pay. The unemployment benefits are the round off error in the U.S. budget/deficit, and these benefits help a lot of people who would be homeless otherwise.  So, while I think Bunning has a point and a cause regarding deficits, he needn’t have used unemployed Americans to make his plea.  America has no ‘economic, industrial plan,’ other than to outsource, to close factories, and to move even high level jobs off shore.  This should be on Bunning’s agenda too—-rather than targeting the unemployed who are already on their backs.  What is Bunning’s suggestion for getting America back to work, back to the job of making products for export?  Same question for Democrats! Is war and outsourcing the new American plan?

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By balkas, March 3, 2010 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Ellis, tnx for ur input!
Yes, i do hate and seldom use a label like stupidity unless i put it under single quotes to indicate its false-to-fact symbolic value.

There is no laziness. If a person is lethargic, tired, or unmotivated, it is due to that person`s feelings which selves are caused by invisible, but real factors: chemical inbalance, among others.

And i think u understood, that the omission by collumnists to tell their readers this, constitutes a `teaching` that people are lazy; while in fact they are ill.

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By Dominick J., March 3, 2010 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

Bunning did what he did out of spite and vengence.
Bunning was “howdy-doody” for about 4-5 days. The real “scoop” on Bunning is that the other Kentucky senator - Mitch McConnell - HATES Bunning - says he’s a “wacko” - + is running Kentucky “badmouthing” Bunning - ruining his chances to run for re-election. Bunning is so BITTER about this - he’s pissing all over any meaningful legislation.  AND he’s retiring.  Now could it be he doesn’t stand a Rats Behind because of what will happen if he did try to run again??  You bet your bippy!!  Good riddance to another thorn in side of President Obama!

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By Gorky, March 3, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Mr. Ellis,
Certainly your point about greed and its ability to destroy is well taken. 

On the other hand, my allusion to complex problems requiring deep analysis, that includes complex decision making, preclude some of the sweeping generalizations you make, such as a dark mysterious Empire pursuing its global plunder -not quite the analytical track I had in mind.  I probably did not express myself well.

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By balkas, March 3, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

As i see it, blame and praise of one or more bankers, pols, collumists [possibly everywhere] appears always present in discourse.
At the same time, the most important issues are eschewed.

MSM collumnists do more of that than any other ‘educators’ only because they are almost the only ones who are allowed to talk.

If collumists wld evaluate important issues such as the constitution, law making, causative factors for warfare, trapezoidly-structured society, lack of education, etc., they’d be fired very quickly.

What collumnist wld dare say that there was never an important law in US? And that the laws were/are written by them against us.

Clearly, there are limits imposed on them. Anent warfare, collumists merely put dwn pols’ rationalization for wars.
Which constist of evocaton of catastrophies if US doesn’t go to war, halflies, omission of facts, etc.

Collumnists ‘teach’ -mostly by omisssion- that poverty is caused by stupidity, laziness, etc., and wealth by either divine intervention, smarts, hard work, etc.

They teach- and they are not de only ones] that the superrich have earned their right to govern the nation as they see fit.

And the governing class of people, having divided people into less- and more-valuable, have indeed caused people to feel inferior and thus behave in an inferior way.

And the ruling class having created ‘bad’ people are proving that ‘bad’ people are really ‘bad’ and not manufactured by them, the ‘good’ people.

And since most people evaluate that there is ‘bad’ and ‘good’ people, the much blame-praise ensues.
Worst yet, there is a self blame; more vitiating by far than blame by others.

Yes, i thought i was the stupidest person alive; thanks to politoco-educational-priestly ‘teachings’.

With so much institutionalized self-blame and blame, is it any surprise that so many people turn to drugs, drinks, sexual prowess, viagra, pornography, blame, divorse, violence, sport, etc.

All this, thanks to clergy and pols! tnx

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By djnoll, March 3, 2010 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Senator Bunning may have stood against Bernanke and against the bailouts, but this play was an orchestrated set-up from the get-go.  Reid takes a jobs bill that included the items in this bill, and dumps it in the trash.  He then introduces a bill that does not include these temporary extensions, knowing full well that when the extensions come up for a vote that the GOP in its usual style will try to delay it.  He knew Bunning was a wild card who had been fighting GOP insanity for years, and while he did not know who would pull this stunt, he knew Buning was being dumped by the GOP.  Bunning acted true to form, and so many Americans were scared witless at what appeared to be the loss of their only source of income.

No, Mr. Scheer, I do not hold Sen. Bunning completely responsible for this charade. His responsibility ends with his being fool enough to fall for it to begin with.  But I do not hold the bankers culpable either.  I hold Harry Reid responsible for setting up the scenario in order to play politics with this nation’s jobless and the medical profession. 

Why do you think Harry did not call for a vote to shut down the filibuster or move more quickly to bypass Bunning, instead opting to try to convince the Senator to stop his objections, finally giving him a vote on a dead issue amendment to another bill?  Since the AMA backs Medicare reform and the public option, something Harry does not despite his protestations otherwise, what better way to kill two birds with one stone:  put a scare into doctors, and make the GOP look bad.  He orchestrated this the minute he dumped the jobs bill put forth by Baucus-Grassley and the House bill.  Bunning is just the pawn and the scapegoat - the guy who actually stood up to the GOP and the White House.  Funny how that worked out, isn’t it?

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By Gorky, March 3, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

On one level the attacks on Bunning are disproportionate.  On another level, media outlets should do more to identify the staggering number of congenital boneheads that are truly destroying this country.  They reside in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.  Let’s not forget the lobbyists!!!  I want more and more names. 

However, while the Republican Party currently has a disproportionate number of morons and zealots, I’m most cynical of the American electorate.  The failure of the electorate to take the time to understand complex problems and complex decision making (assuming most people are mentally able to make complex decisions) produces more ideologues espousing more slogans with simple-minded answers to increasing complex problems.

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By liz allen, March 3, 2010 at 6:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bunning is mentally ill. Such a heartless repuke he deserves ALL the critizm we can lay on him. Of course, he is not the only one too blame. The Bankster Gangsters are too blame, but so are the dimwitted corporate whores who comprise the entire republican party. Those who voted for tax cuts for the 1% while destroying the middle class. Scheer I like some of your stuff, but this really takes the cake.

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Mike789's avatar

By Mike789, March 3, 2010 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

Okay, I can see where he’s coming from, but it’s a little out of sorts to first pretend to go along with the structuring of the bill and then grand stand against it when it came to a vote. But that is not the more important fact which has been tacit though implicitly clear which is the fate of the families who need to put food on the table. To cathex the extention of unemployment bennies with so-called “banker geniuses gone mad” is a little obtuse. Let him eat spagetti 3-4 times a week and come back b_tching about a problem that has been there since Reagan began deficit spending.

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JohnMcD's avatar

By JohnMcD, March 3, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

Absolutely agreed that the media and politicians would usually like to distract from the real causes and direct the growing anger & frustration at those who haven’t enabled their little takeover scheme. 

While the banks and politicians have teamed up to bankrupt our nation, we’re begging for scraps of welfare and temporary unemployment assistance instead of demanding the entirety of what they’ve stolen.  We become complicit to the theft by asking for a cut of the profit instead of demanding it all be returned…

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By FiftyGigs, March 3, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

So, let me make sure I’ve got this.

Liberal websites such as this one exist to provide the
latest news on Sarah Palin, apologia for Bunning, and
criticism of President Obama. (Apparently, there’s not
a single Democrat on the entire globe who is doing
anything worth “reporting”).

Whew, thank goodness I have an alternative to Fox.

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Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, March 3, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

I’m not angry with Bunning because he’s making a very
good point; we’re so totally screwing up the very
financial foundations of the country that it’s even
possible we won’t pull out of this depression (yes,
depression) for a decade.
I live overseas and I’ve seen, first hand, my income
drop 20% because of the weakness of the dollar
against 3rd world currencies. That should give one
serious pause. The country I live in is dependent on
exports, but it’s currency is gaining strength
against the dollar in spite of said countries
attempts to weaken their own currency to make them competitive…and they’re losing and so am I.
The U.S. economic policies are a rolling disaster and
you’re all going to end up living a serf-like
existence. Welcome to neo-serfdom.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 3, 2010 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Jim Bunning did provide a little distraction. Here in Ohio, The Cincinnati Enquirer gave his opposition headline space. Bunning’s opposition to Bernanke is well taken. Investor Jimmy Rodgers once said of Bernanke that he thinks the Federal Reserve is a printing press. Bunning’s disapproval of the nincompoop should be applauded.

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By ardee, March 3, 2010 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

Bunning is a lame duck who is making what he thinks is a principled stance, and others think otherwise. This is not the issue. Mr. Scheer may correctly note the scapegoating yet seems reluctant to take the next, and logical step; what exactly to do with a Legislature and an Executive devoted only to about one percent of the nation…..

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