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I just saw a news story from AP that Obama is considering cutting fuel assistance in half. This requires an immediate and vociferous reaction. I urge you all to call the White House first thing in the morning and read him the riot act.

I am absolutely incensed. I'm feeling another edition of 'savage jokes' coming on. But for now, I'll stick to the issues. We need to put this dumb idea in a quick and angry grave.

Please read on....

I realize that DK prefers we do not react to stories, but this one cannot wait. Not only are we in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression and far too many people are struggling to survive; not only are we facing one of the most brutal winters in decades; not only is the matter of fuel assistance a critical matter now, but its likely to become and even more critical issue for decades to come. Yet our DEMOCRATIC President is willing to sacrifice the poor and economically endangered yet again, to please the lunatics in the Republican Party.

According to AP

President Barack Obama wants to cut $2.5 billion from a $5 billion home heating aid program for the poor, two people familiar with his 2012 budget proposal said Wednesday, halving the popular fund as he looks for places to rein in federal spending.

This is creepy beyond belief. I am absolutely incensed. Just when I thought he couldn't stoop any lower, or sell us out any worse than he already had, once again he finds a new way to fall even further below my bottom line.

The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association (NEADA) expects the number of households requiring fuel assistance

"is expected to climb to 8.9 million households, up from 8.3 million last year and 7.7 million the year before. The association blames the increases on the weak economy and continued high energy prices."

The NEADA and Senator Kerry have spoken out against these cuts and I urge all of you to do so as well.

I urge you to email him immediately and let him know that you won't stand for this. Or if you like, call him in the morning at 202-456-1111.

He's done enough damage to the victims of this corruption-produced economic crisis and he hasn't done anything but make life worse for the tens of millions of poor people who voted for him in 2008. Please do not let him do any more.

Time to take action, folks. The complaint session is over. Let him have it.

AP sources: Obama to propose cuts in heating aid

Originally posted to Tom Taaffe on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 07:47 PM PST.


What do you call a politician who cuts fuel assistance in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression and in the middle of the worst winter in decades?

12%10 votes
3%3 votes
1%1 votes
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22%18 votes
35%28 votes

| 80 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  As was tweeted earlier: (7+ / 0-)

    Karoli Karoli
    In 2008-2009, heating oil prices rose. Subsidies doubled for poor. Now prices falling. Subsidy falls. That's the whole story.

    From an editor of Crooks and Liars.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 07:54:57 PM PST

  •  And we find ourselves here. (20+ / 0-)

    Not ok: Taxing rich people.

    Ok: Letting poor people freeze to death.

    Add to that:  The first option saves WAY more money.

    That hope and change stuff sure does ring hollow nowadays.

  •  which two people, (0+ / 0-)

    Boehner and McConnell?

    Kind of sparse on actual facts, no?

    Not that it might not be true, but...

  •  Sigh. It's not going to pass (7+ / 0-)

    That's the point.

    LIHEAP is beloved up on the hill. Especially among the eastern states. Note who's protesting. Kerry/Schumer/Shaheen, I'm predicting Ayotte, Snowe and Collins will also protest. THAT's the point.

    Look what else he's "cutting". Farm Subsidies. You think that has a chance in hell in passing?

    How about cutting back on the Army Corps of Engineers? You think the MS, LA, FL delegation will appreciate that? You think they'll fall in line?

    Of course not.  This is all a game. The Republicans came out with cuts today of OBAMA's programs including Amtrak, Americorps, the EPA and other areas. This is a response that Senators will refuse to cut these.

    Here's what I noticed: At first I was taken aback thinking "why" but read Kerry/Schumer/Shaheen attacking LIHEAP, Vitter/Landrieu attacking Army Corps and we all know about farm subsidies.

    •  Also: "Done anything but make life worse"? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, FiredUpInCA

      How? How has he made life "worse"?

      This would arguably, be the first thing he's done AGAINST those who voted for him. Not taxing the rich doesn't hurt the poor. No matter how much you twist your logic.

      •  Are you kidding me? (8+ / 0-)

        His stimulus plan fed only the banks and wall street. No job creation.

        He's leading the charge on a million lost public sector jobs in the middle of a depression.

        He let the foreclosure crisis reach historical levels, while he defended the banks in the middle of their mortgage crisis.

        he cut food stamps.

        the rich are getting much richer under Obama and the ranks of the poor are growing daily.

        What party do you belong to?

        •  Uh Huh (5+ / 0-)

          Okay. Stimulus didn't help with jobs? I don't think you'll find many progressives agreeing with you on that.

          Cutting a million public sector jobs? You mean the freeze that he implemented? Notice something interesting about that, do you see any GOP legislation calling for cuts in Federal workers? No? Because this was a strategem to outflank them before they did that.

          Give them a lesser cut before the GOP would give them a bigger one.

          Let the foreclosure crisis. You're on somewhat more stabler ground here with HAMP being a mess, but to suggest that he "LET" it rise and is content on that is pretty ridiculous.

          Cut Food Stamps after there was a HUGE increase AND its going to come in 2014 but why did he? TO PAY FOR HEALTHY LUNCHES FOR CHILDREN.

          I belong to the party who understands Nuance and can understand why folks do what they do. I take it you're from the irrational party who screams and shouts without reading the fine print.

          •  No it didn't create jobs (5+ / 0-)

            certainly nothing in proportion to the expense.

            Let me give you an example - its been repeated across the country - but i'll give you the one i witnessed with my own eyes.

            Hartford CT announced the replacement of its sewer system, in part with stimulus money.  A big meeting was held to announce the project. A hundred men showed up - all of them Black or Latino - to hear about the jobs.

            Instead of hearing about work, they got treated to a lecture on contracting, subcontracting and subsubcontracting and this big machine that tunnels underground and eliminates the need for diggers.

            A 2.3 Billion dollar project. How many jobs did it yield? 200 over a three year period, according to the representative from the City.

            Assuming his statement at its most generous - 200 jobs for three years - and assuming a 40,000 dollar wage for each worker (generous, but unlikely) that means that a 2.3 billion dollar investment yielded 2.4 million dollars in local wages.

            To put it more plainly; 1% of the 2.3 billion went to employment.

            Shall I keep going? I could rip that whole bullshit package apart line by fucking line and trace it right into the banks and Wall Street.

            Where do you think that money was spent next? Here or in China, India, etc.?

            •  According to CBO (11+ / 0-)

              Which is a nonpartisan congressional resource:

              3.3 Million Jobs were created. I'm citing this number.

              If you want to attack anecdotal points, go right ahead. But you're suggesting that it HURT people. That's not true.

              •  Yawn (4+ / 0-)

                bullshit. Nobody watching the actual job market believes that shit for a minute. And what jobs were actually created were mostly part-time, low wage and temporary.

                That number was produced using an untested calculus that assumes X jobs are created for every Y government dollars spent. Its a fucking assumption and there's no evidence in the job market to support the assumptions that underwrite that equation.

                And yeah, I am saying Obama's policies are hurting people, badly. The 7 million victims of mortgage fraud have been hurt. The 30 million unemployed and underemployed have been hurt. THe million public sector workers who lost their jobs and all those who can't get those jobs because they don't exist any more were hurt by his policies. The people who saw their food stamp allocation cut, while food prices saw near record jumps were hurt.

                Meanwhile, Obama has poured trillions into the banks and the markets (if you count Fed investment as well) and protected them when mortgage fraud finally spilled all over the news.

                He betrayed us. He betrayed the poor people of Hartford who believed him when he asked them to have the 'audacity to hope' and promised 'change you can believe in'.

                And then he sold them out.

            •  If you want to find out where the money went, (6+ / 0-)

              you can find out here: stimulus funds by state (county, etc.).

              Near me, I find lots of grants and loans to schools, and loans to small businesses.  You just can't say those things don't help at all.

              My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

              by cai on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 08:50:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Those numbers were gamed (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                people already employed were relisted as 'new employees', phantom jobs were created or the same worker counted repeatedly.

                Nobody looking for a job believes that shit. We see the want ads, we know how few jobs were created and we can see how shitty they pay and most of them are temporary and/or part time.

                •  We see those. (6+ / 0-)

                  But I've also seen signs on libraries and historic buildings saying the construction was thanks to stimulus money.  One local business got a loan for expansion, and it indeed has twice the space it used to.

                  And if you check my link, it isn't about jobs, but about projects.

                  My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

                  by cai on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 09:41:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, but did you see the workers? (0+ / 0-)

                    A sign is cheap. Toss a sign up on a hundred sites and move a half dozen workers from one site to another.

                    And even if you did see the workers? How many dollars did it take to put one of them on the job?

                    Far, far more than it would have taken if we had done a public employment program, where most of the dollars would have gone straight into the pockets of workers, instead of contractors, corporate coffers, etc. etc. etc.

            •  Secondly (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              virginislandsguy, elwior, cai, erush1345

              What the individual localities and states do with the money was up to them. The goal was to spend the money QUICKLY.

              From my understanding, that's why a lot of investment and bridge building wasn't happening which would create more jobs. But it likely wouldn't be spent in 2 years.  Hence the dilemma.

              I see what you're saying and for that program, that's pretty shoddy. Nonetheless, to suggest that the entire structure is faulty is ridiculous.

              •  And it was partly bureaucratic. (4+ / 0-)

                For example, they had forms for repaving roads, so a lot of roads got repaved. They had forms for building fire stations, so fire stations got built.  They did not have forms for police stations, so police stations did not get built.

                My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

                by cai on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 08:54:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  And that's why Democrats used to opposed (0+ / 0-)

                block grants. Because the money never ends up where its supposed to. It disappears into a sea of corruption, misuse, budgetary games and bait and switch tactics.

                Like CT cutting the funding for every institution that got stimulus money. Yeah, if your organization wrote a successful grant and got some of that stimulus money, you saw a an equal or greater ammount pulled from your state appropriation.

                That's why even the Wall Street Journal warned against this kind of stimulus plan, because it would be gamed, and diverted to other purposes.

                The stimulus plan became a feeding frenzy of creative bookeeping, phantom job creation, snatch and grab tactics by other funding streams and most of it ended up in the hands of the banks, who got both direct support and benefitted from the fact that the states could keep up their debt payments to them.

                What is the consistent theme of this presidency: feed the banks and wall street. Let trickle down economics do the rest. Meanwhile, pull out all the remaining supports for the poor and the economically endangered and feed the victims to the banks.

                That's Republican economics. I'm sorry, I thought I voted for a Democrat.

            •  qwerty (0+ / 0-)
              'Where do you think that money was spent next? Here or in China, India, etc.?'

              You keep throwing about this "China and India" mantra, as seen in this comment and some previous ones that I had come across. Could you please show me exactly how, and how much, of the $2.3 billion project to replace the sewer system in CT got spent in India? I'd like to see if you have evidence of even $1 of this particular project money having been spent in India as you purport.

              If you don't have any real evidence, and are thus simply pulling such claims out of thin air, then I ask you to stop blaming named countries habitually, as that sort of willy nilly fear-mongering is unhealthy to the debate, and it engenders fears and phobias of unreasonable nature towards the thus named and blamed countries and the people thereof.

              To follow are some macroscopic data points to think about.

              Contrary to the mistaken perception, India isn't a major destination for US Direct Investment (USDI). India gets only about 0.5% of the total USDI:

              See this source spreadsheet from BEA's USDI page.

              Further, there is a HUGE difference between China and India wrt the nature of the trade relationship the US has with the country. While the US suffers huge trade deficits year after year with China, trade between India and the US is relatively much smaller, and quite balanced (in both services and goods):


              -- BEA's trade data
              --'s current release on goods trade.

              It is obvious that US' huge trade deficits with China, Japan, Mexico, Germany, Canada, OPEC countries, and other countries, not only weaken the US economy and increase unemployment here, but they also make it a debtor nation whose sovereignty itself stands in jeopardy as a result of owing so much money to foreign countries with no end to the deficits in sight (eg, China had some issues with US' healthcare reform, which can be considered to be interference from a foreign country in US' domestic policy: China questions costs of U.S. healthcare reform).

              The "proof in the pudding" of the effect of US' unbalanced trade is seen in this treasury table of foreign debt holdings:

              Source: Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities, US treasury

              •  I wasn't speaking about direct US investment (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I was talking about wall street investment. The stimulus money went into corporate coffers, the banks and wall street. From there some of it ended up invested overseas. A lot of it just circulated around the markets, as people made money out of money and added nothing to the production/employment process, even at its most generously defined.

                As for Hartford and its sewers. I didn't say the money went to india, I said it never turned into jobs. It got sucked up by contractors and disappeared into the markets. My point was Hartford is a city full of poor people who voted enthusastically for Obama and they didn't get any jobs out of the deal. Even though 2.3 billion was spent on a project that should have created thousands of jobs.

                My use of china and india was a informal reference to 'emerging markets'. Clearly there are substantive differences in our relationships between those two countries, not the least of which is Chinese investment in T-notes.

                As for the foreign debt problem and the massive trade imbalances - parts II and III of why our economy is so broken - those are legitimate problems.

                The deficit is the result of 30 years of tax cut and spend US budgets. Most of the spending was on the military, augmented by a couple of massive bank bailouts. Not a lot of sympathy from me on that one. I'd like to see most of those people in jail.

                As for the trade imbalance, we've developed far too many ways to off-shore production to avoid a massive trade imbalance. It would be even worse if we stopped being the world's largest arms dealer. Again, no sympathy from me on this one at all. Its part and parcel why I'm so furious with Obama. This shit has to stop.

                The inflow-outflow numbers you posted on international trade mask larger structural problems. If these numbers include "both services and goods" as you say, then I suggest that deeper interogation of the data is required.

                I'll wager if you judged the transactions solely on goods exchanged, the numbers would look awful for us. If you subtracted weapons, the numbers would look even worse.

                This is important because 'services' can include lobbying, banking, advertising/marketing, and financial sector debt servicing (never mind securities, etc.) that add nothing to the fortunes of Main Street and impact little in our wider economy. It's just money making money, and circulating through very few hands. Its also flowing right out of the country.

                These indicate deep structural problems in our economy that sustain high unemployment, ravage our home market, collapse wages. Right now, the structure of the economy means if you pour money into the banks and the markets, it pours right out of the country into whatever country strikes the market's fancy. That's where the job growth is. But Americans can't work for a dollar a day and nobody should.

                And cow-towing to the markets has proven to be a fucking disaster. All the trends we see right now will grow expodentially worse, while our environment is ravaged and our fortunes weaken.

                The debt is a problem. But so are the banks. The debt is mostly war debt and the wars are unwinnable. More than half our national budget is defense, intelligence and homeland security. Having one good product to sell to the world - weapons - only takes us further into the cycle of militarism, war and debt. And by now - as you note - foreign debt.

                And we live in a country with only 2 ajoining neighbors we enjoy very peaceful relations and who don't have significant militaries. And two oceans on either side.

                National security is now economic security, environmental security and political stability. We need to tie our debt to our militarism and dump both in the ocean.

                Keep this country on the path it is, and all these 21st century legs - economic, environmental and political - will be undermined and that a recipe for real disaster.

                Lovely charts though.  

      •  "first thing he's done against those who voted... (5+ / 0-)

        for him.

        except for all those peace activists he's sent the fbi after.

      •  Wrong. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tom Taaffe

        Not taxing the rich doesn't hurt the poor. No matter how much you twist your logic.

        Not taxing the rich causes the gov to have less money.
        Programs that help the poor are always the first to go.

        Ergot, not taxing the rich hurts the poor.

      •  Whimiscal is so correct (0+ / 0-)

        the fact that he agreed to cut taxes for the superrich and then suggested 2 months later we cut fuel subsidies is all the proof you need that cutting taxes for the rich hurts the poor.

        What planet do you live on?

        or, perhaps, what party do you really vote for?

    •  But my question is... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mjshep, Guinho, Uberbah, elwior, Wendys Wink

      ... isn't this a bad suggestion purely for the optics?

      I mean, say the Republicans are bargaining with us trying to redefine rape, or let hospitals let women die rather than perform a life-saving abortion.  Say they don't actually want any of that.  (I'm not sure, but let's say.)  Doesn't it make them look like giant dicks on parade to even suggest those things?

      And doesn't it make Obama look out of touch with the concerns of the poor to propose LIHEAP cuts, even if he doesn't expect to get them?

      My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

      by cai on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 08:57:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lots of people pooh-pooh stupid Republican ideas. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Guinho, elwior, HPrefugee

    IMHO, they might be stupid, but I won't dismiss them. If you pay attention, today's Dem ideas (mostly) are yesterday's stupid repug ideas. Examples? Soc sec "crisis", Reagan's supply side/tax cut policies, Bush/Cheney nation insecurity policies, education deform blah blah blah.....

    Nov 2, 2010: Voters to Obama: "Yes, we did. We looked forward, not backward".

    by Funkygal on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 08:31:52 PM PST

  •  I'm barely getting by on a tiny disability check. (6+ / 0-)

    My area's supposed to get down to about twenty five below tonight and I need my heating assistance to survive.  Sure, there's a lot of waste in the program but do you think the corporation that administrates it is going to tighten its own belt?  Bwahahaha!  Dream on!  They've got so many incompetents sitting on their asses doing nothing it's pathetic.

    If they want to streamline the program they ought to eliminate corporate profits and let state workers do the paperwork.  At least we could be sure they got their jobs through merit rather than cronyism like the people around here.

    Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

    by Ice Blue on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 08:45:24 PM PST

    •  I'm in the same (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Taaffe, Wendys Wink

      boat, disability is about $12,000.00 a year, plus your supposed to pay for a supplement, and Medicare D.  By the time you pay for the necessities in life, there is almost nothing left for food with the rising cost of groceries.  

      So now not only do we starve, but we get to freeze to death while hungry.

      Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Herman (Trauma and Recovery).

      by zaka1 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 12:11:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  According to the US Poverty rate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you aren't poor. How fucked up is that?

        If you keep a roof over your head for 12,000 dollars, they should hire you as 'consultant'. Clearly you know more about how to survive as a poor person than the clowns who are in charge of our social policy.

        And then you might not be poor any more!

        •  It is very (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tom Taaffe

          fucked up, I would be fine if this was the 1950's, but it isn't.  We need to have more individuals in our government that understand living on the average median income or lower.  And not just people that have read about it at an Ivy League school and think they understand, because when you look at our country it is obvious they don't understand at all.

          Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Herman (Trauma and Recovery).

          by zaka1 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 04:50:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think Obama's problem (0+ / 0-)

            is that he's been living in an insular, overprivileged world his whole life. Heck, the current governor of Hawaii was a friend of Obama's family when the current president was a boy. That says a lot. so much for the 'humble roots' mythology.

            He's lived an insular life. The only people he knows as equals are the world's most privileged. He was coddled as a young politician and kept away from the dirty end of the business. Protected for 'greater things'.

            He's a lousy politician, an absentee manager and totally removed from ordinary economic reality. He's also arrogant and stubborn, and I don't think he likes us. He totally bought into the hubris of his own campaign, which is completely dangerous. Every actor knows you should never believe your own press. Because its hype and bullshit.

            But there he goes. We don't even exist to him except as adulant worshipers or pesty nuisances. He only listens to people in his tiny, little club.

            He needs to go.

            •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

              with you, I wish I could give a rec'd, but it is past time to be able to rec'd comments in this diary.  I don't think we've truly had a president in a long time that represents all the people, rich, poor, middle class.  I don't know if we will ever have a president like that in future.  The world keeps changing and I'm unsure where our future is going.  I just think it could be better than what it is right now.

              •  I'd settled for someone who represents the bottom (0+ / 0-)

                80%. The rich can take care of themselves.

                I can see where we are going like a train wreck. I am not impressed.

                We need to stop waiting for the Harvard Boys club to defend our interests, and start doing it ourselves.

  •  I think your diary would be more effective (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, elwior, erush1345

    if you focused just on the issue of fuel assistance, rather than making statements like this:

    He's done enough damage to the victims of this corruption-produced economic crisis and he hasn't done anything but make life worse for the tens of millions of poor people who voted for him in 2008.

    Because the issue of fuel assistance is important, regardless of whether one agrees with your assessment of the Obama Administration or not.

    My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

    by cai on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 08:53:07 PM PST

    •  For me this is the last straw (5+ / 0-)

      I'm so fed up with his moderate republican crap, his cabinet full of wall street cronies, his dialed-out attitude toward the job market and the fate of all the people victimized by this corruption-driven economic crisis.

      I cannot stand this guy any more.

      You may not agree. Fair enough. I didn't write your letter to the president, so say what you like. But I refuse to temper my words about this man any more.

      Let him pay for fuel assistance with his bloody war budget. 5 billion is barely noticable in a DoD budget.

      •  I'm speaking only to effectiveness. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, erush1345, jan4insight

        I think you'd get more agreement/cooperation if you focused on the issue, rather than animosity towards Obama.

        Listen, I am seriously cynical about the Obama Administration by now.  If you'd written a diary just about being fed up with Obama, it'd be different.  But you're writing about an issue and asking people of a range of opinions about Obama to do something for you.

        You don't have to temper your words in general.  I was suggesting you choose which words are most effective for this particular cause.  Is it more important to you to get recs (and thus views), or to rain derision on Obama with every diary and comment?

        Which is more important right now, your dislike of Obama, or the fuel assistance issue?

        My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

        by cai on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 09:11:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hear what you are saying (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zaka1, WaryLiberal, Wendys Wink

          but I'm on the war path at this point. I know too many people in economic danger, including myself and family members.

          We can't wait for the selfish, the blind or the arrogant to understand reason, grow a conscience or learn basic political calculus. Clearly Obama learned nothing from the last election, except how to do a better impersonation of a Republican.

          As I said elsewhere, his willingness to sell out fuel assistance is the last straw.

          I refuse to lay off that man until he starts acting like a Democrat. If he does, it will be the first such moment in his presidency, from where I sit.

          If not, we need a new candidate. Because this one ain't getting past the next election pulling this politically incompetent and totally creepy shit.

          Remember when he sent Axelrod out two weeks before the last election to defend the bankers against the homeowners as the mortgage fraud crisis exploded all around them?

          What the fuck was that? Talk about giving the election away, wow.......

          No, I'm not laying off Obama. He either finds his inner roosevelt or he can flip off and go be a corporate pimp like Clinton.

          •  If Obama isn't re-elected, (7+ / 0-)

            no Democrat with be elected.  And frankly, all the Republicans scare the crap out of me.

            But see?  That is NOT relevant to the issue of fuel assistance.  And whatever happens with the 2012 election, it's the issue that matters right now.  Even if your ideal candidate won the primary (unlikely) and got elected (even more unlikely), that doesn't do anything for the very people you care about in 2011.

            Don't you see?  You don't have to change anybody's mind about Obama's Fundamental Nature and the Right Electoral Strategy for 2012 to get them to write letters and make phone calls for fuel assistance.

            And frankly, you probably won't change anybody's mind about Obama's Fundamental Nature and The Right Electoral Strategy for 2012 with this diary anyway.  So why not focus on where you can do good, right now?

            My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

            by cai on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 09:47:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  None of them scare me as much as Obama (4+ / 0-)

              They ALL have the same agenda, for the most part. That is to save Wall Street from eating itself(which parasites often do), cut the social safety net in the US, lower wages, privatize everything so as to turn the US tax base into a BIG CASH COW for crony corporations, and generally recreate the US into a neoliberal banana republic like they've done all over the world.

              It took a Democrat Trojan horse to pass NAFTA. And it will take another Democrat Trojan horse to usher in an era of "austerity" (which is nothing but Orwell-speak for old fashioned right wing socio-economic Darwinism.)

              Think about it. We the people just got hit with the bill for billionaires' gambling excesses. And now, they expect us to, quoting Obama, "make sacrifices" to pay for it.

              Fuck them. And fuck Obama. We've been making "sacrifices" ever since Reagan and the bankers froze real wages and started allowing factories to be shipped to China.

              I just watched this amazing George Lakoff speech from 2008 where he analyzed the language and framing of the Obama campaign. He was pointing out how, during the campaign, Obama was using all the language of the left talk of "caring for each other" and "my brother's keeper" and compassion and empathy type ideas.

              And as I watch it hit me, this was how they won the base (I know it's how Obama won me). But it was all a con. Obama's actual policy ideas are not about compassion. They are about personal responsibility. The same right framed shit Bill Clinton was selling.

              He deserves one term.

              •  Oh yeah, (5+ / 0-)

                I forgot to add the last part. If John McCain had been elected, we would have gotten the same neoliberal bullshit as Obama. But at least the left would have been in revolt right now. Instead of staring like deer in the headlights as Obama betrays everything we believe in again and again and again. Hell, we might have even beaten Egypt to the punch instead of squabbling with devotees to a personality.

            •  Is Obama electable? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              First, take a look at the outcome of the last election. Republicans ran against Obama and tattooed the Democrats to the wall. Lots of Democrats who used to be elected aren't any more.

              The dems lost 44% of their congressional vote in one election and republicans lost 13% of their vote in a midterm election. That's a stunning drop off.

              If the GOTV wasn't so good - and points to everyone for busting their ass for a bad product - the result would have been worse. How many people stumped for the Democrats, while holding their noses? More than anyone would like to admit.

              Second look around DK these days. Listen to the arguments of the angry. Whether you agree or not with the arguments, the anger at Obama is coming being described in classic democratic terms. And we're talking at least a third to a half of DK.

              Now ask yourself 'who is angry'? The poor, the working class and the economically endangered. The poor stayed home in the last election. The working class stayed home or voted with their anger.

              So the anger you see on DK is the tip of the iceberg. Out in the streets, there are only two emotional responses toward this president, anger and disappointment. And only the disappointed are afraid.

              Anger trumps fear. You may be afraid, but that's a yesterday emotion for me. I'm fucking rip-shit furious at Obama, the Democrats, middle class people who are willing to sell out the rest of us and the labor/progressive movement for sitting on their activists when we should have taken to the streets a year ago to stop his endless fucking sellout.

              At this point, he needs to be stopped. Either he starts protecting the economically vulnerable or he's facing a wipeout at the polls. Even then, trust in Obama is gone, as are the congressional majorities we gave him in 2008. When the only way you can get someone to vote for you is using fear of the other candidate, you run out of popular support. At that point, you are depending on a worse opponent to get elected. That's a really weak strategy and it usually doesn't work.

              The question the rest of you need to start asking yourself is this: is Obama electable any more? Or will he pull the whole party down around his knees with his bad imitation of a moderate Republican in an economic depression?

              With 19 months to the next election, there is still time to address this problem, either by kicking Obama down the street until he shapes up or replacing him.

              But trying to save him with a fear campaign didn't work for the democrats in 2010 and it won't work in 2012.

              His proposed fuel assistance cuts are just tossing dry tinder on a blazing fire.

    •  you are missing the outrage (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I sense a massive backlash coming on.  Keep going like this and he'll be lucky to win four states.

      To hear one must listen; to listen one must be silent

      by Guinho on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 10:10:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are missing my point. (5+ / 0-)

        Even if 100% of DKos agreed we needed to primary Obama, how would that help those who rely on fuel assistance?  I mean this year and winter 2011-2012, before the election.

        Or maybe I am missing the point.  Maybe this diary isn't actually an action diary, asking people to act on this issue.  Maybe it's not about fuel assistance at all.  Maybe it's just about another reason to hate on Obama.

        Which hey, whatever floats your, but I'd prefer it without the misdirect of acting like it was about poor people.

        My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

        by cai on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 10:25:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Advocacy can trump action (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tom Taaffe

          Organize a fund drive to replace LIHEAP and you heat someone for a day.  Get an actual progressive president and you help them for four years.   So it is both.  And both help poor people on different time scales

          To hear one must listen; to listen one must be silent

          by Guinho on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 06:50:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Look (7+ / 0-)

    we have billionaire tax cuts to pay for.

    (Seriously, 5 people voted for "fiscally responsible" in that poll?)

  •  Minus 9 tonite (8+ / 0-)

    My furnace is running and I'm choking back tears. No, I'm not on heat assistance but know people who are. I can't begin to express the contempt I feel for the person(s) who thought of this let alone dared to actually propose it. Vile, loathsome, evil.

    For the first time since I started voting (1972) I'm tempted to vote Republican. Let it get worse faster so we might finally wake up to what this country has become.

    Obama's done a nice job watering the flowers but THE. FUCKING. HOUSE. IS. ON. FIRE!!!!

  •  HEAP question... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paulitics, elwior, zaka1, cai

    Back in the late 80s when I lived in Georgia, my monthly gas company bill had a box I'd always tick to add on $5 which went directly to the state's HEAP program.

    Is that still the norm?  It always seemed like a pretty reasonable way to help out.

    The existence of Sarah Palin just might prove the existence of Satan.

    by here4tehbeer on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 09:36:10 PM PST

    •  Haven't seen that for years (5+ / 0-)

      Not a bad idea though.  I must admit I looked into LIHEAP before winter set in but the paperwork and requirements were just a pain to deal with so I decided to go it alone this winter.

      Contrary, IMHO, to the diarist's sentiments there's no way any Obama or any congress critter will vote to cut home hearing assistance to constituents.  Political suicide....

      All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree -- James Madison

      by paulitics on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 09:43:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Suicide is pretty much it. I can't even imagine (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        paulitics, Wendys Wink

        the fallout from a knucklehead move like that.

        The existence of Sarah Palin just might prove the existence of Satan.

        by here4tehbeer on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 10:07:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  LIHEAP is a dysfunctional program (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The funds come from the Feds and are disbursed to the states.  The states then distribute the aid to qualified applicants seeking relief for their heating costs to get through the winter.  So there's different chains in the process and with any government run program that inevitably gums up the system.

          I'm fortunate that I can (probably barely) heat my house for the duration of the winter. I don't mind keeping the thermostat at 65 and throwing on an extra layer to keep warm.  The cat doesn't mind because she has a heated bed.  I hate her.

          But, getting back to your point no one in their right mind would vote for a cut in home heating assistance, especially here in the Northeast.  I've got six foot piles of snow everywhere and it's below zero tonight.

          But I will survive.  Because I'm here4tehbeer.  Peace...P

          All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree -- James Madison

          by paulitics on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 10:32:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I made the same choice (0+ / 0-)

        It was a finite sum, so first come, first served. There were lots more people - including families and the elderly - who were more desparate than me (a single guy) and i figured I'd just tough it out and battle the gas company in the spring, or take cold showers for a few months, as I have in the past.

        I'm regreting that decision now, but the fund has already been emptied.

        We really need a new president and a new congressional leadership.

  •  This Is Ridiculous..... (6+ / 0-)

    Obama is not trying to stomp out the poor or the middle class.  In 2008 when oil prices were at their peak, oil was $150 per barrel.  Today oil is currently & approximately $90 per barrel.  Of course, that is expected to fluctuate w/ the crisis in Egypt today.

    When the LIHEAP grants were proposed last year they mirrored fiscal year 2008 expected energy needs.

    To intimate that the President wants to be warm & cozy in the WH while low income Americans, their children, their aging parents, & all their relatives are freezing suggests criminal intent.  The proposed LIHEAP grants for 20ll are $2.57 BILLION Dollars.  That's $2.57 BILLION dollars to low income & middle class families.  Stomping them out?


    •  Before accusing others of ridiculousness, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zaka1, Tom Taaffe

      I think a perusal of your heating bill from the past 3 winters may be in order. If your heating bill is 2.34rds less than it was at iss peak, you are doing way better than I am down here in Louisiana where we have only even reached the average winter temperature a handful of times since this year started.

      As you say, oil prices may fluctuate...for the benefit of the very poor and very cold, is it wrong fir a Democratic President to err on the side of caution, especially after handing a heaping shovel full of money to millionaires just last month.

      I don;t need help with heat, I wear a hat, scarf, and jacket in my home. That does not mean I could not find much better places to cut 2.5 billion dollars from than LIHEAP.

      •  I'm Wondering Where the Cuts Should be Made? (0+ / 0-)

        We live in Washington State.  I'm wearing a T shirt, long sleeved shirt, a down vest, a light jacket & a hat as I type this.  Admittedly, we run a cold house.

        Our heating bill has stayed right about the same over the last 3 years.  

        As I remember, the middle class also received a tax cut from that heaping shovel full of money handed to millionaires last month.  

        What would be a good place to cut 2.5 BILLION?  

        •  you really don't know? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Wendys Wink

          What would be a good place to cut 2.5 BILLION?

          ummmm....military, pentagon, wars, armaments...etc

          gee, it's over half the budget.  I been hearing lately there's planes and stuff that are not needed or wanted but they are going to get the planes and stuff anyways.  

          Got Books? Need Cables?

          by sweettp2063 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 01:16:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  OK By Me..... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sweettp2063, Tom Taaffe

            My question was rhetorical.  I have no problem w/ cuts to the military.  Gates proposes military cuts incl Tricare by $50 BILLION/year.

            We had a surplus of $236 BILLION when Bush came on in 2000.  By 2002, he had reduced it to a surplus of $l20 BILLION.

            After Afghanistan in 200l, by 2002 our DEFICIT was $l50 BILLION.  Our current debt is $1 TRILLION, 332 BILLION.

            I want out of both Iraq & Afghanistan.  Let's start the cuts there.  

  •  Thank (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Tom Taaffe

    you Tom for posting this, tipped and rec'd, it is important to get this information out.  I'm in the Midwest, and our windchill is presently at -30 degrees, plus we've had only maybe one or two days where the temps have been above freezing.  I lost respect for our President a while ago, but this move on top of giving the wealthy a tax break is just another slap in the face to real democrats and progressives.  

    How about cutting the taxpayer subsidises to all congress and senate healthcare plans? When candidate Obama was campaigning I had only one question in order for him to get my vote and that was "is this man a corporatist?"  If so, I don't want to vote for him.  What a pile of crap I got in return for my vote.  A big flaming, on fire, pile of crap.  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, about this man that is democrat or resembles what I remember the democrat party being about, the people, including the poor and middle class.  

    This cuts to a level of cruelty to the poor and elderly that is hard to swallow or excuse no matter the reason.  There is no other way to describe this type of policy, cruelty.  If he can be this cruel to the poor and elderly then what is next?  I don't trust him, don't trust him at all!

    Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Herman (Trauma and Recovery).

    by zaka1 on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 11:34:13 PM PST

  •  One more thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Taaffe

    the President's elderly Mother-in-law is living in the White House where the taxpayers are keeping her fed and warm, what about the rest of the people in need?  This really pisses me off.  Oh, as long as it is for them, it's OK.

    Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Herman (Trauma and Recovery).

    by zaka1 on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 11:46:25 PM PST

    •  I don't know if it's true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but someone said the obama's keep their heat in the mid-70's at the white house.  Good to know someone is staying warm this winter.

      I'm so sick of this guy. He's such a hypocrite, a sellout and a fake.

      •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tom Taaffe

        more than anything, I dislike deception.  I remember when Nixon was in the White House and it was during another energy crisis and everyone was conserving, Tricia Nixon gave a tour of the White House on TV, and said that they turned up the air conditioners in order to light the fireplaces.  Ugh, I was in my teens then and learned just how criminal and entitled some thought they were.  The thing that is sad, is I remember Tricia Nixon wore this really pretty dress with ribbons around the waist and all I wanted was to be able to afford a pretty dress like she wore, but couldn't.

        Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Herman (Trauma and Recovery).

        by zaka1 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:07:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I remember those days (0+ / 0-)

          My father worked on a freight forwarding magazine. During the oil crisis, he come home pissed one day and said there was so much oil coming in the country they had no place to put it. So oil tankers were sitting off shore.

          A couple of friends of mine and I biked over to the beach that overlooked the Outer New York Harbor and sure enough, oil tankers as far as the eye could see.

          It was a fucking fraud.

          But then my father trained me not to trust elites at a very early age and think for myself. Crooked is as crooked does. Battle 'em for what you need, but never trust them.

          I hope you've enjoyed a few pretty dresses since then!

          •  Agree (0+ / 0-)

            yes, I did get a few pretty dresses since that time.  But, I have to agree not only with you, but your Dad as well.

            •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

              He'd would have agreed with you as well.

              He also warned me as a boy that 'politics was dirtier than I knew'. He suggested I move to Newfoundland and raise sheep.

              After 40 years of political activism, I'm coming to see the wisdom of that perspective.

              •  LOL, (0+ / 0-)

                I was just thinking about all the sheep that have been raised in this country, and I'm not talking about animals.  Raising sheep might have been a good career choice, at least you would have plenty of good warm sweaters if you lived some place cold.  I think your Dad was a smart man.

  •  It's perfectly reasonable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, Kickemout

    with global warming, winters are now much milder and snow is rare.  We don't need as much fuel to heat our houses.

  •  Unfunded Tax Cuts for Richest 2% Are Necessary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whimsical Rapscallion

    so they can burn pallets of $100.00 bills to heat their mansions.

    Fuck the poor -- they are useless eaters.

    (Police are going to be laid off en masse to because of budget cuts.)

  •  Let's face it, the President lacks empathy. (3+ / 0-)

    He's brilliant and he's humane but whatever time he spent among the poor and disempowered really didn't give him a visceral sense that it sucks to be poor and disempowered, nor did it give him an agenda for government action on their behalf.  This was obvious from the outset for people who were open to seeing it, and it was an acceptable trade-off for people who believed he had come up with an alternative path to humane outcomes based upon a redefinition of politics.  But he hasn't redefined politics at all so now we're left with nothing.  

    On the bright side, it's Thursday as opposed to Monday.

    APSCU is the trade group of diploma mills that rip off students and the government.

    by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 04:46:55 AM PST

  •  Weatherization and efficiency (0+ / 0-)

    In the short run, public subsidy is probably the only way (short of nationalizing the oil and gas companies, which isn't going to happen) to keep people from freezing in the dark. In the long run, however, it makes zero sense to keep paying lots of money to (indirectly) the richest corporations on the planet for lots and lots of fossil fuels to heat old leaky houses (which describes most of the housing stock in question, both urban and rural).

    Obama's stimulus package included money for training and employing teams to weatherize and insulate housing. There's also money -- not sure where it's from -- to build affordable housing to much higher energy efficiency standards. I see projects all over town doing just that, through nonprofits and CAP agencies. It's not a quick process, but could reduce heating and electricity costs by 50-80%, and reduce carbon footprints in the process. Heck, replacing everyone's refrigerator would save people $10-20 a month just by itself.

    •  Curious here. What part of the country are you (0+ / 0-)


      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 06:30:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you have 300 for a refigerator you can lend me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wendys Wink

      I don't know when i'll be able to pay you back. I haven't got a job.

      All these incentives work only for people with the money to spend on improvements. If you are robbing peter to pay paul to keep the lights on, the heat going and a roof over your head - never mind whether you are an owner or a renter - you do not have the money to spend on investing in your home.

      So the only people who benefit from this stuff are the people who still have money.

      That pretty much sums up the last people Obama gives a shit about, middle class people with money.

      The rest of us he threw under a bus.

  •  I've been on energy assistance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Taaffe

    Not easy to qualify if you're considered part of the working poor, which means my income didn't cover my household needs sufficiently but made "too much money" to qualify for any of these programs.  I was making $6 an hour, raising two kids, and receiving no child support.

    Critics say that the program is poorly administered and that, contrary to intentions, it’s become a subsidy for energy companies, most of whom are prohibited by law from turning off services to delinquent bill-payers during weather emergencies."

    •  Its nothing but corporate welfare (0+ / 0-)

      wrapped up to make it seem like they are helping us.

      And its all based on a measure of poverty that stopped being relevant during the nixon administration.

      If you are a single person who worked full-time for 52 weeks at minimum wage (8.25 in my state) you made 17,160 a year, before taxes. according to the US measure of poverty, you are not poor.

      If you live in Boston, the average rent for a studio apartment is over 2100 a month (25000 a year). According But it takes over 22,000 to rent a modest apartment anywhere in this country (special circumstances or lucky breaks aside).

      So anyone making the minimum wage is basically homeless, or living with someone who does earn a more substantial income. But according to the US definition of poverty, they aren't poor.

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