Author Archive: Tim Hogan
imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.
The Democratic Stimulus Bill worked. Nearly 600,000 new private sector jobs were created and millions more jobs were not lost because of the funding to the states and the money put directly into the pockets of Middle Class consumers by the Democratic Stimulus Bill.
States were able to keep first responders like cops, firefighters and emergency medical technicians on the streets and teachers in their classrooms for the duration of the Stimulus. Now the funds are winding down and nearly gone and states are slashing payrolls which had been, ahem, “stimulated” by the federal dollars allocated to the various states See here, here and here.
For each of the past 23 months there has been private sector job growth totaling some 3.7 million jobs, says President Obama. Unemployment is now at 8.3 percent and trending downward from a high of just over 10% in September of 2009. Interestingly, government employment is down under Obama with mostly states and local governments having shed some 535,000 jobs. If states had been able to receive the extra monies from President Obama’s Jobs Act, it is likely the unemployment rate would be under seven percent.
After the debacle of the end of last year when Republicans took a beating for delaying the renewal of the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans and the extension of unemployment benefits for some 2.5 million of the 15 million unemployed as well as the “doctor fix” on Medicare, Republicans cooperated with the President to extend those to the end of 2012.
President Obama has been less conciliatory towards Republicans and their intransigence in opposing every effort of the President to improve the economy. The President’s new found resilience in the face of steadfast opposition from Republicans has born fruit as many voters blame the Republicans for the economy and see Republicans as more of an obstacle to what is needed to keep the recovery on track. As a result, the approval ratings of President Obama have gone over 50% for the first time in eight months. It seems the only way backwards for Mr. Obama is if he is not partisan enough as voters flock to his banner in better numbers than 2008.
The Catholic bishops’ caterwauling over the proposed HHS rule on employees’ benefits is just more of the same type of anti-Obama shark hunting on the Mississippi that the bishops engaged in even before Obama was sworn as President. The issue then was the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) and it was “religious freedom” and “freedom of conscience” then too. All the same far right wing quasi-Catholics, pundits like George Weigel, decried the Obama administration then as now. Too bad there wasn’t even any such bill before the Congress at the time. Congress wasn’t even in session but, we Catholics heard it from the pulpits and pews and bishops all across the nation about the evils of Obama.
Thousands, maybe millions, of anti-FOCA postcards were sent to Washington. I sent one but, modified the text because I thought the bill would unconstitutionally usurp some states’ rights to regulate abortion under Roe v. Wade. Then, I found out there was no bill. Imagine my surprise as an Obama supporter.
Now, the Catholic bishops and their piling-on sycophants decry a “mandate” where no such thing exists at all. There is a proposed rule, which isn’t even in effect, that says that if an employer offers health insurance as a benefit to its employees, the insurance must cover contraceptive services. Strictly religious institutions are exempt from the proposed rule. No mandate, law, rule or regulation exists now or will exist that absolutely requires any Catholic employer to do anything against its conscience.
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I remember the song “You Don’t Get Me, I’m Part of the Union,” by the Strawbs, from my high school days. My father often told me of the early days of union organizing in the rock quarries in the St. Louis area. In the early 30’s my dad worked with my grandfather who was an organizer for the Crushed Rock and Gravel Workers’ Union, Local 1. It was often pitched warfare between unions and management. There were often riots and violence when miners struck, with management armies, deputies and National Guard troops shooting down striking miners. Mother Jones, a famous United Mine Workers organizer and supporter of all things labor, is buried with striking miners who where killed in the Union Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive, Illinois off Highway 55 as one goes north from St. Louis up to Litchfield, Illinois.
I’ve traveled to the Union Miners Cemetery, said prayers for the workers buried there and all workers and left a rock on Mother’s grave as a promise to remember the sacrifices which have given me the life I have today. As I walked the cemetery grounds, family members of the miners buried there drove by. I went over and introduced myself and told the guys what I was up to and asked if there were anyone in particular they wanted me to pray for that day. We talked about family and unions and went our separate ways.
Republicans have declared war on unions. The first shot fired in The Republican War on Christmas was President Reagan’s firing of all the members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO). Please understand, the firings had nothing to do with the legality or illegality of any public employee union strike but, manifested a deep visceral Republican hatred of any union at any workplace. All over the country, public employee unions are under attack by Republican Governors and Republican legislatures to cut off the collective bargaining rights of millions of employees. Now, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is about to pass from any ability to protect union members’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act, passed in 1935, which allows unions to organize in workplaces.
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Catholic bishops are having conniption fits over a recent HHS regulation which requires employers which provide health insurance to employees to have coverage which includes contraceptives. The HHS regulation is comparable to 28 states which have laws which also require insurers to have such coverage as part of their policies. The regulation, as do many states’ laws, explicitly excludes purely religious institutions from its purview but, schools, hospitals and foundations among others would be included.
Many critics of the regulation call it a “mandate” but, the requirement is only imposed as to those employers which voluntarily provide insurance coverage as an employee benefit. If the employers chose to not directly provide insurance coverage to their employees as a benefit, they would have no requirement to provide the contraceptive coverage to which the bishops and other religious groups and employers object.
If the institutions covered by the new regulation were to instead provide a cash benefit to an employee equivalent to the cost of health insurance for that employee and their dependents, there would be no conflict between the regulation and the “conscience” of the respective religious institutions. The employees then would be free to exercise their individual informed conscience as to what coverage they would then purchase, if any, from the health insurance exchanges which must be set up by next year under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some employees might instead choose to pay the new fines under the ACA and keep the difference in cash they obtained from their employer.
All I see here is more anti-Obama rhetoric by neo-conservative Catholic Bishops much as was ado about nothing over the supposed threat of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). Even before President Obama took office we Catholics were bombarded with scares and flares of inflammatory rhetoric about how the first thing President Obama would do as President would be to sign FOCA into law. Post cards were laid in pews, to be signed and after strident sermons against FOCA, to be sent to Washington opposing FOCA. Just as there is now no “mandate” regarding the choice of employers to provide any particular benefit, no such bill even existed at the time of the scares and flares. It was all shark control on the Mississippi.
The whole shibboleth about “religious freedom” is a stalking horse for the neo-conservative bishops to inflame independent Catholic voters into supporting Republican candidates with their votes and reward the wealthy contributors to the Church which have taken over donations to the Church after the masses’ rebellion against the clergy sex abuse scandal in the US and abroad.
Religious freedom is not threatened by the recent Obama administration’s guidelines about employer’s voluntary benefits to employees. Religious freedom is threatened by the neo-conservative Catholic bishops’ adherence to a world view which only supports Republican candidates and wealthy contributors.
Much was made of the “magnitude” of former Governor Mitt Romney’s recent win in the Republican Presidential Primary in Florida. However, it may have been much ado about nothing. Rachel Maddow pointed all this out days before the Florida Primary, so I decided to fact check her.
As Ms. Maddow accurately reported, Florida ran up against the arcane and mechanistic RNC Delegate Selection Rules and the punditry followed like the mythical lemmings off the bluffs into the sea to drown. The Florida delegation has just 50 delegates to award in its primary because it held its primary before April 1, 2012. Had the Florida GOP followed the rules for delegate selection mandated by the Republican National Committee (RNC), Florida would have been able to award 99 delegates per the normal “winner take all.” Florida may also have a RNC Convention delegate problem by holding its primary before April 1, 2012 because the RNC Rules also mandate that for any such early primary that the delegates be awarded on a proportional basis.
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OK Cardinals fans. Now that we’ve won our 11th World Series and Tony La Russa has retired, it’s time to look after the future of America. I know we’re concerned about whether losing Albert will sink us in the NL Central Division as well as Matheny as the new manager and all the other player issues. Some issues are just for us as Cardinal Nation. Cardinal Nation has a call to duty for the rest of America which needs to be done first. I mean, we aren’t the best baseball town in America for nothing, eh?
We’ve had our tussles with proposed constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage and to keep the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Before the GOP brings up another proposed constitutional ban of flag burning or to punish children born to illegal aliens and foreign visitors, I say it’s time to for Cardinal Nation and the rest of America us take up the fight against the greatest threat to American values which MUST be stopped—we have to pass a US Constitutional amendment to ban foreign teams from winning baseball’s World Series.
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There is only one thing the President should talk about in his State of the Union and that is Jobs. If we look at what President Obama inherited, the GW Bush administration had eight years of private sector job losses and only had a net job increase due to government hiring
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that private sector employment decreased by 673,000 over the eight years of GW Bush, while public sector employment increased. Total jobs created under the eight years of the GW Bush administration totaled 1.08 million. Ironically, increased public sector employment allowed for the Bush administration to not be the first to have net negative employment over its term since Herbert Hoover.
Total private sector jobs created since 2010 by the Obama administration number over 2 million (more than the total for the eight years of George W. Bush). President Obama has cut public sector employment by over 357,000 since taking office.
President Obama’s initial 2012 budget, despite yowling from the right that he never submitted any for a vote in 2011, was rejected in the US Senate at the same time as the Senate rejected the US House Budget plan drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-WI).
But, the US House Budget plan passed through the House on an almost party-line vote and supported by all the GOP Senators was projected to cost as many as 800,000 jobs and a 2% decrease in GDP in 2012.
The next jobs effort of the Republicans was to foment a false debt ceiling “crisis” which if the US had defaulted on its debt would have been catastrophic in causing a 5% GDP drop in 2012 and a loss of some one third of the value of US equities.
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I offer this report from Missouri-Faux News:
Missouri residents outraged over recent deaths and injuries to Missouri motorists in collisions with deer have banded together to form Fanatics against Ruminant Terrorism (FART). Missouri FART Spokesman, former State Senator Chuck Purgason, had this to say: “Look, I know my only claim to fame is making fart noises during Governor Holden’s State of the State speech but, we have to stop these ruminant terrorists roaming Missouri from killing and maiming our citizens willy-nilly!”
FART was started by Purgason and other concerned fanatics to put an end to vehicle and deer collisions in Missouri. There are thousands of collisions yearly between deer and motorists and Missouri, some resulting in deaths. Nationally, there were nearly 1.1 million collisions between deer and vehicles between July 10, 2010 and June 30, 2011. See here and here.
FART has put out a publication called FART News which details the dangers of ruminant terrorism in Missouri.
It’s mostly about sex” says FART spokesman Purgason. “In the latter parts of November, deer go into rut and forget about anything except getting laid and commit suicide by abandoning any caution in their pursuit of coitus.
FART News also details many accidents in Missouri that have resulted in death or other serious injuries involving collisions between deer and vehicles. FART also issues cautionary instructions for avoiding deer bent upon suicide attacks upon Missouri motorists.
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I’m moving to Delaware! Yep, soon I’ll be an official resident of “the First State.”
My corporate counsel buddies have always told me that Delaware has the most corporations domiciled there because Delaware corporation laws are very liberal (read vague, ambiguous and authorizing anything one might wish their corporate entity to do while being hostile to lawsuits against corporate management). Delaware is very proud of its reputation as a corporate haven.
And, soon thereafter I will have set my very own corporation “person” on the path to be President of the United States. The recent US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC makes all things possible for our state’s corporate citizens.
I’ll move to Delaware because our decennial census did not count the over 1 million corporate citizen persons who reside in Delaware. The US Census takes place every 10 years as mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the US Constitution. Census data are used in apportioning the numbers of US House of Representative seats for each state, the numbers of Electoral College votes for each state and the distribution of billions in federal aid among the various states. The actual numbers used from the 2010 Census will not be distributed to the states until February, 2012.
Next I’ll sue in federal court to overturn the 2010 Census for failure to include any of Delaware’s 1 million corporate citizen persons in the Census count for all of the government goodies that are apportioned using Census numbers. Citizens United actually gives us an idea of the numbers of corporate citizen persons disenfranchised by the failure to include corporations in the Census (5.8 million for-profits filed tax returns in 2006, 558 U.S. ___, p.22 (2010)).
“Frivolous lawsuit!” you say? Nope. After the decision in Citizens United v. FEC, corporations are people and have the same free speech rights as any other person under the First Amendment and therefore under all the laws regarding the census and apportionment of federal goodies by the United States pursuant to the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, Section 2.
“Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed…”
But, that’s not all, folks! The 14th Amendment also now makes corporations the same as you and me. “Corporations are people, my friend.”
Remember how when we were kids we were told that anybody can grow up and be President of the United States? Someday soon, maybe one of my new states’ properly recognized and federally certified corporate citizen persons will run for and win the Presidency of the United States. The velvet glove will be off then and the corporations won’t have to get together and invent a candidate and call him George W. Bush or Mitt Romney, again.
Gee, maybe that corporation will be one of my own.