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The Slim-line Obama-phone

12 October 2012

I admit I haven’t been all that wrapped up in the U.S. elections, and I haven’t seen Fox News in years, so the whole “Obama-phone” thing passed me by.

Back when Ronald Reagan was President… and the whole conservative response to poverty was “get a job”… somebody with a few brain cells realized that to get a job (even a temporary one… especially a temporary one) your potential employer had to have some way to contact you.  Which, at the time, meant having a telephone.  So, since 1985, the “Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers” has provided a discount on phone service for poor people in the United States.

When the program was upgraded (just like communications technology itself) a while back, cell phones were included in the program… which only makes sense… so naturally, given that the new regulations came in under the Obama Administration, Fox has decided it’s some nefarious plot to perpetuate what they weirdly consider “socialist”  for using government programs to foster U.S. businesses (sort of like… oh… pumping the railways via the Homestead Act of 1862) .

Of course, the Reagan Administration was also the beginning of the whole “Free Trade” mania that affects the U.S. although when it’s not U.S. companies exploiting foreigners and driving down U.S. wages, the party of Reagan, it’s all part of the socialist plot, too.

And… with the Foxistas having branded the whole idea of making it possible for poor people to earn a pittance in an honest way some sort of evil socialist plot, there has to be an evil socialist villain (well, Obama, obviously… but then, he’s only the tool of someone… anyone).  Even better if he can be a foreign villain.  And, if not an Arab, then a MEXICAN villain.


The lady with the “Obama-phone” apparently got her cell phone through “Trak-Phone” … the bottom of the line, utilitarian cell-phones sold by a company, owned by a company, controlled by Carlos Slim.  Geeze, I don’t think you can do anything involving telephones in the Americas without some connection to Carlos Slim.  He should be a hero to the heirs of Ronald Reagan, having not only taken over a government enterprise (and actually made it better, I do have to admit), but made himself beyond filthy rich in the process and actually trickling down some jobs.  Should… but he’s a Mexican.  And worse, the President of Trak-phone doesn’t support the Republican Party.  Which — to those great minds at Fox (a few digits short of an area code in the brains department) means Carlos Slim is an “Obamination”.

Slim has, on occasion, worked with leftists, and rightist, and centerists.  As Fidel Castro once pointed out, he’s the kind of guy who’d be a “one percenter” in any economic system.  And he ain’t stupid.  He was a child prodigy in mathematics, and could probably still figure out the Republican tax plan… which means… if he was giving his own money to U.S. politicians, I doubt it would be to the Rs.  After all, Slim’s whole fortune rests on having people earn enough to buy the stuff he’s selling.

But, did I mention he’s a Mexican?  Wait until Fox figures out that his dad was an Arab.


(16-October 2012:  for the first time ever, I closed comments on a site.   Not that I didn’t appreciate the comments, and not that I didn’t enjoy them, but   the post was about Carlos Slim, and how Fox News reports on his business activities … nothing to do with U.S. tax policy and the two neo-liberal political party positions on the same. )

  1. david permalink
    12 October 2012 3:56 pm

    According the FCC, in 2014 the cost of the phone program would total $3.4 billion. Yes, with a B. For kicks, lets say the average phone cost a generous $50 a month or $600 a year. $600/$3.4 billion is 5.6 million cell phones. The government covers the tab. There is some sort of overhead as this is the government. But when does it become the government (taxpayers money) responsibility to pay for 5.6 million phones every year? And from ‘want’ to a ‘need’?

    And more..

    The Washington Free Beacon reports that TracFone Wireless CEO F.J. Pollak “has donated at least $156,500 to Democratic candidates and committees this cycle, including at least $50,000 to the Obama campaign,” while his wife Abigail has bundled over $632,000 in Obama donations during this campaign cycle. They hosted a $40,000-per-plate fundraiser for Obama in Miami Beach this year, and they’ve made seven White House Visits. Abigail received an appointment to the presidential “Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino.”

    Keep on walking, nothing to see here folks…

  2. 13 October 2012 10:12 pm

    David apparently prefers that 5.6 million people have no chance at a job, since a phone number and address is required on practically every single application there is.

    Maybe he prefers that 5.6 million people plead with local TV stations to portray them as cute poor unfortunates (oh wait, it’s doubtful they’re all blond young women) deserving of rich people’s charity.

    Rather than bitching and moaning about the cost of this program which enables people to work, maybe we should ask why so many people have income so low that they qualify for the program? Why are there insufficient jobs in America?

    With Bain Capital, where Romney still has millions upon millions invested, sending jobs overseas right now, today, shutting down successful, profitable factories in the USA to earn ever greater profits for Bain in China where the new workers will be paid 99 cents a day, the short-sighted focus on a program which enables people to get jobs – enables people to get jobs! – seems a bit odd.

    The company Romney founded, with the game plans he developed, is destroying US jobs TODAY , and we should bitch about a program that Saint REAGAN started, because it is now managed by the Obama administration just seems a bit rich.

    Cognitive dissonance is the specialty of Fake News watchers. They continually cut off their noses to spite their own faces. Actually figuring out priorities is never their strong suit.

  3. 13 October 2012 10:25 pm

    Quoting from phony news sources is also a modern day conservative tactic.

    The Washington Free Beacon was started in Feburary 2012 by a 31 year old life-long employee of conservative cause publications. It’s little more than a blog dressed up in fancy clothes – a consolidator and repeater of other conservative cause articles. Websites like that are what people are talking about when they say “right wing noise machine.” All repeating things which are marginally true, but false in totality.

    Human Events is likewise a scurolous website / newspaper, with contributors like Ann (never-make-a-lick-of-sense, let-alone-decency) Coulter, the racist Pat Buchanan, rabig Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, evil Oliver North, Ted Nugent, and always smarmy Newt Gingrich. And that’s a source for data? Really?

    Why not just put Fake News into print and throw it up as a website. Oh? Yes, you’re right, those are all Fake News contributors too.

    Right wing noise machine.

  4. David permalink
    14 October 2012 12:15 pm

    Facts please. ‘Prefer’ is not a fact. You do not know what I prefer. And no need for name calling. Typical liberal noise machine 🙂 Back to the original post. Not off in outer space. Let’s look at You know, the conservative website. If the links work, not sure.

    POLLAK, FJ Tracfone Wireless Miami Beach FL $25,000

    $500,000 Pollak, Abigail Miami Beach FL Attorney 168,700

    The $500,000 is an upper limit. Meaning she bundled at least $500,000 and up to Obama.

    “Rather than bitching and moaning about the cost of this program which enables people to work, maybe we should ask why so many people have income so low that they qualify for the program? Why are there insufficient jobs in America?”

    Answer: Under Obama, the poor and the middle class are poorer and the rich are richer.

    Income inequality also increased between 2010 and 2011 when measured by shares of aggregate household income received by quintiles. The aggregate share of income declined for the middle and fourth quintiles. The share of aggregate income increased 1.6 percent for the highest quintile and within the highest quintile, the share of aggregate income for the top 5 percent increased 4.9 percent. The changes in the shares of aggregate income for the lowest two quintiles were not statistically significant.

    Since 2009, the middle 20% of American households saw their average incomes drop 4%. In 2011 alone, they fell 1.7%. The poorest 20% have fared even worse under Obama, Census data show. Their incomes have dropped more than 7% since 2009, and are now lower than they’ve been at any time since 1985, after adjusting for inflation.

    Another conservative website…

    Yes another answer: Little net job creation for the past 4 years.

    “it’s only a net gain of 300,000 over the course of the Obama administration to date”

    Any replies that involve name calling, degrading comments, etc will not be responded to.

  5. 16 October 2012 12:46 am

    “The poor and middle class are poorer and the richer are richer.” And why is that? Because the Republicans in Congress block any efforts to reassert a more progressive tax structure, which is directly responsible for the rich getting richer.

    Massive tax cuts for the top income rungs are part of the entire issue. And yet the Republicans hold the middle class tax cuts hostage to prevent the raising of upper income tax levels.

    Republicans in state houses across the nation have been slashing programs designed to help the poor and education, particularly college education, which helps the middle class the most, rather than ask the very rich for more money to help balance budgets.

    Under Obama, the job losses – which were massive under Bush who saw a net job loss for 8 years in office along with stagnant wages and salaries for most Americans – have ended in less than 4 years and become positive again.

    How is it that the swing from negative to positive is not to Obama’s credit but the amount of growth is held against him?

    Any discussion of changing economic conditions which leaves out the Republicans’ role in Congress – threatening to shut down government, refusing to hold votes, holding up secretary appointments to vital agencies – does not give the whole picture.

    Did Obama start the “phones for the poor program”? No. Ronald Reagan did. Does he operate it under the laws passed by Congress? Yes.

    Does someone raising money for a candidate mean that is how a program originated or is run? No, it originated nearly 30 years ago and is run under the laws passed by Congress.

    Why is it that Obama is criticized for running Reagan’s program, but we’re not getting into the no-bid contracts that the Bush administration provided to Halliburton and KBR?

    Frankly, I could care less whether David responds to this or not. This information is provided to offset his obviously “truthy” statements to other readers. Quoting facts doesn’t tell the whole story.

    Let’s look at it this way: What would David have Obama do – a plan which would be accepted by the Republican-controlled House and could pass a filibuster in the Senate – to change things? There is only one goal of this Congress, as announced by Repuiblican leaders: To insure that Obama is a one term president. Therefore, they oppose nearly anything and everything that would improve our economic situation.

    And notice too, that the economy showed a significant swing from negative to positive before the Republicans took control of the House during the Tea Party Revolt in 2010 and thereafter, the statistics – as quoted by David above – got worse.

    The economy was collapsing at its fastest rate since the Great Depression when Obama took office. In his second month he got Congress to pass a jobs stimulus bill worth about $900 billion. This helped stop the collapse and heightened the first spike in job growth. But the Republicans blocked more stimulus and by August 2010, falling stimulus spending began reducing job growth.

  6. 16 October 2012 1:06 am

    Here, we can see how much Inequality shifted between the end of Carter’s presidency and near the end of “W” Bush’s presidency. The massive inequality was brought about precisely because of Reagan Bush Bush policies, not because of anything Obama did. In fact, the Republicans in Congress have prevented Obama from making small attempts at redressing the situation.

    This nation has never gone to war without attempting to raise the income – the taxes and revenues to the Federal government – in order to pay for war. But under “W”, we started two wars and had tax CUTS which affected the upper income levels the most.

    Under supply side theory, tax cuts are supposed to cause wonderful economic growth. Yet tax levels are at the lowest in decades and the economy is clunking along in sorry shape. Why is that? Because the ideology-based theory is not based in facts. Clinton both balanced the budget and had a good economy. “W” slashed taxes and went to war. And he saw the economy collapse.

    Where’s the stock market been under Bush and Obama? Where has business growth been?

    What about taxes? Here’s a good slide show that will demonstrate what’s been going on with taxes and the molly coddling of the extremely wealthy:

    Romney promises us he will do more of! (By the way, did everyone catch today’s announcement that Willard Mitt Romney’s father’s own close advisor, executive assistant and campaign advisor would be voting for Barack Obama? Yes, he said that Willard is no comparison to George Romney and has changed positions on at least 30 issues 180 to 360 degrees:

    “Mitt Romney and the people around him see campaigns as television marketing and voters as targets to be manipulated. Voters, they believe, make up their minds late and will be swayed with saturation television advertising. The campaign managers seek – daily it seems – for a magic bullet to force on the electorate that will move undecided and weak voters to Romney. Policy papers, positions are rare and short on content and meaning.

    “I’ve tried to track Mitt Romney’s shifts – some 180 degrees others 360 — on key issues during the campaign. I’ve stopped at 30: abortion, stem-cell research; climate change and global warming; campaign finance; and equal pay for women are just a few.”

    “As you campaign, so shall you govern.” That lesson from father to son, seems to be lost in the win-at-any-cost fog of politics in the 21st century. — Walt de Vries

    From 1961 through 1967, Walter De Vries served George Romney as a campaign strategist during Romney’s terms as Michigan governor; heading campaign research and strategy for three campaigns and as executive assistant in the office of the governor.

    • David permalink
      16 October 2012 9:15 am

      One look at this website and we see the below. Obama app. All we need to say about that ‘non-biased’ website.

      Thanks for all the “Likes” and “Shares” — a real help.
      Get the new, free “voteFacts!” Obama App for your smartphone.

      “The poor and middle class are poorer and the richer are richer.” And why is that? Because the Republicans in Congress block any efforts to reassert a more progressive tax structure, which is directly responsible for the rich getting richer.

      The top 1% according to the IRS pay 36-38% of all income taxes. The bottom 50% percentage pay approx. a whopping 2.25%. Or the top 50% pay approx 97% of fed income tax. Really can’t see how more progressive we can get….show me old wise one how 🙂

      Under Obama, the job losses – which were massive under Bush who saw a net job loss for 8 years in office along with stagnant wages and salaries for most Americans – have ended in less than 4 years and become positive again.

      As you can see below Bush had a job gain! Where are the massive job losses speak of under Bush??

      President Took office Jobs at start Jobs at end Change Pct. change
      Truman 4/12/1945 41,443,000 50,145,000 8,702,000 21%
      Eisenhower 1/20/1953 50,145,000 53,683,000 3,538,000 7%
      Kennedy 1/20/1961 53,683,000 57,255,000 3,572,000 7%
      Johnson 11/22/1963 57,255,000 69,438,000 12,183,000 21%
      Nixon 1/20/1969 69,438,000 78,619,000 9,181,000 13%
      Ford 8/9/1974 78,619,000 80,692,000 2,073,000 3%
      Carter 1/20/1977 80,692,000 91,031,000 10,339,000 13%
      Reagan 1/20/1981 91,031,000 107,133,000 16,102,000 18%
      Bush 1/20/1989 107,133,000 109,725,000 2,592,000 2%
      Clinton 1/20/1993 109,725,000 132,469,000 22,744,000 21%
      Bush 1/20/2001 132,469,000 133,549,000 1,080,000 1%
      Obama* 1/20/2009 133,549,000 *130,462,000 -3,087,000 -2%
      *Note: The “end” jobs number listed for Obama is the preliminary estimate for October 2010.
      Source: Plain Dealer analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

      No offense, love to have a discussion. Don’t have the time to point out all the mis-statements etc. Need to work to pay taxes so half of the country doesn’t!

      Facts speak for themselves and do not need a spin.

  7. 16 October 2012 11:50 pm

    “Truthy” continues to be posted, but nothing close to accuracy prevails:

    The top 1% according to the IRS pay 36-38% of all income taxes. The bottom 50% percentage pay approx. a whopping 2.25%. Or the top 50% pay approx 97% of fed income tax. Really can’t see how more progressive we can get….show me old wise one how

    Say we accept that the Top 1% pay 36-38% of income tax. But how much income do they have? How much wealth? What percent of the nation’s income and wealth do they hold? (back to that in a moment)

    Let’s say the Bottom 50% pay 2.25% of the income tax receipts. Who are these Bottom 50%?

    Elderly: 10.3%</b? – earning reduced income in the form of modest pensions and Social Security benefits

    Non-elderly: 6.9%: low income, no filing requirement, students living off of loans or parents, some ultra rich who pay no taxes thanks to tax loopholes, and Armed Forces who receive nontaxable combat zone pay.

    Pay Payroll Tax: 28.3%has jobs, but are working for very low pay or part time. They pay into Social Security and Medicare through payroll withholding, but because their incomes are so low, they end up owing nothing in income taxes. (Read the link for the truth on large corporations who skimp on pay so that their workers collect EIC (earned income credit – a Reagan program) or hire two part timers instead of one full timer to avoid benefits).

    Others: 1%hodgepodge of others, inlcuding self-employed individuals who are suffering business reversals. They file tax returns with the hopes of carrying backward or forward their business losses. No tax is due if you threw your money into a business that is not yet giving you a return on your investment.

    the 47% is a varied group. Some are elderly, living modestly on small pensions. Some work and pay into the system in other ways. Some are thrown by the bad economy, unemployed and looking, losing their businesses, losing their homes.

    On Mitt Romney’s website is the following declaration: “Mitt Romney has scrupulously complied with the U.S. tax code, and his income is reported and taxed at the applicable rates, and he has paid 100 percent of what he has owed.”

    It’s likely that most among the 47% can say the same.

    Remember, that’s from Fox Business News.

    So, David

    Need to work to pay taxes so half of the country doesn’t!

    which are the elderly, students, armed forces serving in combat, a few millionaires exploiting loopholes, businesses suffering reversals and very low paid workers.

    Personally, I don’t resent those people nor do I think I’m paying their taxes for them. The EIC program, for example, is a Reagan program designed to make it more profitable to work – even at very low pay – than to stay home collecting welfare by reducing or eliminating taxes on low paid jobs.

    Personally, I think Reagan got that one right.

    Now, how much wealth do the Top 1% hold?

    From Forbes Magazine:

    The average annual income of the top 1 percent of the population is $717,000, compared to the average income of the rest of the population, which is around $51,000. The real disparity between the classes isn’t in income, however, but in net value: The 1 percent are worth about $8.4 million, or 70 times the worth of the lower classes.

    Average income of the 47% who pay no taxes due to low income + the next 52% who do pay taxes = $51,000 per year.

    Average income of the Top 1% = $717,00 or over 14 times as much as the average income. And their net worth is 70 times the average American citizen. That is not a typo – Seven – Zero – Times as much. And they only pay “36-38% of the taxes?”

    But what income level accounts for the most revenue in income taxes? Those at the 15% tax bracket – far below the Top 1%:

    People in the 15 percent tax bracket pay roughly 30 percent of the total tax gathered in the country, and their income tax accounts for more revenue for the government than any other bracket.

    Again, that’s Forbes, not a “liberal biased source.”

    Finally, let’s look at that nice long column of Employment numbers, meant to show the disaster of Obama’s term in office.

    First, it has already been explained that Obama has been stuck with the ultimate in a do-nothing Congress where the Republicans have blocked every move needed to help the economy. Nothing refutes that because it is true.

    Secondly, while every president is measured by a 4 or 8 year period, Obama’s number shown by David – check closely – includes only the first two years. Why is that? Much more recent figures are available.

    As of September 2012,, owned by the Ohio Plain Dealer showed the figure was not as low as the -2% figure shown:

    0.05 percent: Decline in jobs since President Obama took office in January 2009 through September 2012, a loss of 61,000.

    And Obama still has October, November, December and 2/3 of January to be given to his credit. But, hey, let’s just cut the months off, so it looks worse, right?

    And while we are at the Plain Dealer’s site, favored by David, let’s notice this:

    12.1 percent: Job growth in the nearly 32 years of Democratic presidents since President Truman took office in April 1945, with the addition of 57.5 million jobs.

    6.5 percent: Job growth in the 36 years of Republican presidents during the same time, with the addition of 34.6 million jobs.

    There’s plenty of other evidence as well: (data source is Bloomberg Government (Republican owned))

    The Washington Post:

    The BGOV Barometer shows U.S. factory positions have grown since early 2010, arresting a slide that began toward the end of the 1990s. It’s the best showing since the era of Bill Clinton …

    Manufacturing jobs have grown more under Obama than Bush

    Here’s Business Week:

    More jobs have now been created than lost since President Barack Obama took office, preliminary revisions to the U.S. payroll count showed.

    Obama last September [2011] proposed the American Jobs Act, which would have cut payroll taxes for workers and employers, provided aid to states for schools and emergency workers and increased spending on public-works projects. The $447 billion package was blocked by Senate Republicans a month later.

    Chosing a date nearly two years ago allows David to make his claim, but his claim doesn’t stand up. “truthy” not the truth.

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