Conservatives Have Values, Only They’re Generally Nefarious Values

Wet Autumn Leaf wallpaper

Wet Autumn Leaf wallpaper

That wallpaper looks brighter on my desktop than on the net.

It should be a given that humans being flawed regardless of their politics, that Democrats and conservatives would do some things they’re not supposed to be doing. Conservatives, Fox news, Drudge and Michelle Malkin have made it a large part of their job to take the incidents involving Democrats and blow them up as much as possible. Their hope is that no one will notice that conservatives engage in all kinds of finical and moral corruption at a rate that makes Democrats look like amateurs. These two stories are god example: 1. Republican Mississippi sheriff indicted on 31 counts for abusing powers

The sheriff for Jackson County, Mississippi was indicted Friday on 31 criminal counts and accused of abusing his position to not only order a female deputy to give him sexual favors, but pursue a murder case against the wishes of an investigating detective.

WKRG-TV reported on Friday that the charges against Sheriff Mike Byrd include 10 counts of embezzlement, and 10 counts of fraud, two counts of extortion and one count of perjury, among other charges. Authorities contend that Byrd, a Republican currently in his fourth term in office, has used his position to target personal and political opponents and fudge his record to boost his re-election prospects.

Despite the daily shenanigans of law enforcement officers across the country, it is still a respected profession. People inherently trust law enforcement to, well, trustworthy. Conservatives have been toting their “values” for more than half a century. Despite a long and tortuous record of having less than stellar values. Add in the self righteous hypocrisy and they just end up looking pitiful and desperate. And 2. In Effort To Woo Female Voters, Mitch McConnell Touts Women’s Law He Voted Against

A press release distributed by Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) campaign at a “Women for Team Mitch” event on Friday brags about the Senate Minority Leader’s support for the Violence Against Women Act, even though McConnell voted against the measure in 1994, 2012, and 2013.

“Mitch was the co-sponsor of the original Violence Against Women Act — and continues to advocate for stronger polices to protect women. I am proud to call him my senator,” the document quotes a voter as saying.

Joe Sonka, a staff writer for Louisville’s Alt-Weekly first tweeted a copy of the release, hinting at the contradiction and noting that McConnell didn’t address women’s issues at the event or take any questions from women. Former Congresswoman Anne Northup, a spokesperson for the campaign, also told Sonka that bills like the Lilly Ledbetter Act and Paycheck Fairness Act — both of which McConnell voted against — “make the workplace more difficult for women.”

McConnell has embellished on his voting record in the past, insisting that he voted against VAWA because he sought a stronger version. During the event, McConnell’s wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, also claimed that her husband supports increasing cancer screenings and check-ups for women, even though he is campaigning on repealing the Affordable Care Act, which specifically increases women’s access to preventive medicine.

McConnell did sponsor VAWA in 1991, but didn’t support it in 1993 or back the GOP alternative in 2012.

Of course McConnell (R-KY) has to campaign on repealing the Affordable care Act (Obamacare) because the tea smoking base is obsessed with it. This is the same base that includes a lot of people on those government socialized programs called Medicare and Medicaid. No use trying to embarrass conservatives with their lies and hypocrisy. It is like some people are color blind, conservatives cannot see the web of convoluted contradictions their movement runs on. The National Partnership for Women & Families disagrees with Mitch and Elaine about how the ACA will affect women’s health,

Fact Sheets: Why the Affordable Care Act Matters for Women

Summary of Key Affordable Care Act (ACA) Provisions
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the greatest advance for women’s health in a generation. The ACA will improve women’s access to health insurance coverage, make health care more affordable, and expand benefits — all priorities for women. Quite simply, reform is making affordable, quality health care more of a reality for women and their families. More »

Expanding Access to Health Insurance
In 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law, approximately 19 million women — one in five women ages 19 to 64 — were uninsured. By 2014, the ACA will provide nearly all of these women with access to comprehensive health coverage More »

Affordability and Choice in the Insurance Marketplace
Between 2010 and 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) progressively implements an array of rules and protections to make the private health insurance system — including employer-sponsored plans — better meet the needs of women and families. In particular, the ACA will help rein in premium increases, improve the adequacy of benefit packages, and make coverage more reliable. More »

Improving Health Care for Older Women
Access to affordable, quality health care is central to older women’s quality of life and economic security. The good news is that if you are a woman 65 years of age or older, you have a lot to gain from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). More »

Improving Health Care Coverage for Lower-Income Women
The high cost of health care places a particular burden on lower-income women who need health services but often struggle to pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The problem has been exacerbated because many insurers charge women higher rates simply because of their gender, thereby putting health coverage out of reach — especially for many lower-income women. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will dramatically improve access to affordable health care for lower-income women. More »

Better Care for Pregnant Women and Mothers
The Affordable Care Act aims to improve conditions for pregnant women and new parents by providing the services they need to have healthy pregnancies and provide their children with a good start in life. More »

( click over to the click to get those expanded details.)

Here we have some problems with how conservatives define values. They claim to care about women, families, mothers and children yet they constantly fight against even the slightest improvements in the quality of life for working class families and cry crocodile tears over any tax increases for the richest 10%.

Shameless Hypocrisy of the Day, The Supernaturally Incompetent Conservative Donald Rumsfeld Criticizes Foreign Policy

Heroes in Ebony

Heroes in Ebony–The captors of the Confederate steamer USS Planter (1862), Robert Small, W. Morrison, A. Gradine and John Small.

At 04:00 on 13 May 1862, while her captain, C. J. Relyea, was absent on shore, Robert Smalls, a slave who was Planter’s pilot, quietly took the ship from the wharf, and with a Confederate flag flying, steamed past the successive Confederate forts. He saluted the installation as usual by blowing the steam whistle. As soon as the steamer was out of range of the last Confederate gun, Smalls hauled down the Confederate flag and hoisted a white one. Then he turned Planter over to the USS Onward of the Union blockading force.

Besides Smalls, Planter carried 15 other slaves to freedom behind Union lines: seven crewmen, five women, and three children. In addition to the cargo of artillery and explosives, Smalls brought Flag officer Samuel Francis Du Pont valuable intelligence, including word that the Confederates had abandoned defensive positions on the Stono River.

While we’re delving into history, some quotes from former conservative Republican Secretary of Defense in the Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld:

I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that. – Interview with Steve Croft, Infinity CBS Radio Connect, November 14, 2002

But no terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. – Hearing Before the House Armed Services Committee, September 10, 2002 [9]. Quoted on March 14, 2004. Iraq was not a leading exporter of terrorism against the U.S. then or any other time, and they had no connections to al Qaeda or 9/11.

We know where they [Iraq’s WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat….I would also add, we saw from the air that there were dozens of trucks that went into that facility after the existence of it became public in the press and they moved things out. They dispersed them and took them away. So there may be nothing left. I don’t know that. But it’s way too soon to know. The exploitation is just starting. – Interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News This Week, March 30, 2003. This is my favorite quote from Rummy. There was never any WMD, Bush called off the hunt for them several years after he kicked out weapons inspectors and invaded Iraq.

Rumsfeld, like the other neocons never had much humility or honor. That is why he shamelessly weighs in on the current situation in Syria,  Rumsfeld: Obama Administration Hasn’t Made Case for Intervening in Syria

Rumsfeld explained that “there really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation.” (Yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters it is “absolutely in the national-security interests of the United States and the international community” to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.)

In an interview with Neil Cavuto that will air Wednesday night on Fox Business Network, the former Bush secretary of defense blasted the administration as “mindless” for tipping its hand and said he “[couldn’t] imagine what they’re thinking” by giving President Bashar Assad’s regime “crystal clarity, with respect to what they attempt.”

Of course the current administration should listen to the shameless venal rantings of someone who has proven to be singularly incompetent in foreign policy and management of U.S. military forces. Give the country fifty years and scholars will be writing about how the Bush administration, the invasion of Iraq and the management of that invasion was one of the most egregious betrayals of the American people in the nation’s history. The only episode that comes close is Nixon and Kissinger’s malicious prolonging of the Vietnam War for political gain.

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein

“Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein,” Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983. This is after Iraq had used poison gas against Iran and the Kurds.

What Conservatives Believe Versus The Real Economy

Morning Meadow wallpaper

Morning Meadow wallpaper

Even before I started this blog and the Bush-Cheney administration watching conservatives try to be populists was like watching ninety-nine clowns on acid try to fit into a VW Beetle. Something has changed about such mind boggling efforts on the part of the conservative movement. The disconnect between what they say, what they believe and reality has never been greater. Conservatives can try to be on the side of the working class and complain about the pace of job creation under President Obama, even though that goes against the conservative mantra that markets are perfect and will decide how many jobs will be created. Let’s assume that have the trolls on the internet who claim to be conservative small business owners, are actually what they claim. They complain about the lack of growth, or put another way the lack of demand. Yet they shift blame to Obama, not the market, not the salary level of the average worker who cannot afford anything other than the basic necessities. The base, the tea smoking immigrant hating nativists at the bottom seem blind to the fact that hiring is slow, but executive pay and corporate profits at at historic highs. The tea smoker base cannot seem to put two and two together; the corporate elite that crashed the economy with the help of the anti-regulation wave that started under Saint Ronnie Raygun is still stronger than ever because the same tea smoking base don’t want no more stink’n regulations that might help put some of the money the plutocrats are stealing from the economy back in the tea smoker’s pockets: Some Filthy Facts about the Rich

The 400 richest Americans made $200 billion in just one year. That’s equivalent to the combined total of the federal food stamp, education, and housing budgets.First of all, who are they? Mostly the 1%. But the top 2-5% have also done quite well, increasing their inflation-adjusted wealth by 75 percent from 1983 to 2009 while average wealth went down for 80 percent of American households. The rest of the top 20% have been prosperous, realizing a 32 percent gain in inflation-adjusted wealth since 1983. The facts to follow are primarily about the richest 1%, with occasional dips into the groups scrambling to make it to the top.

1. Accumulating almost all the wealth

As evidence of the extremes between the very rich and the rest of us, the average household net worth for the top 1% in 2009 was almost $14 million, while the average household net worth for the bottom 47% was almost ZERO. For nearly half of America, average debt is about the same as average asset ownership.

The extremes are just as filthy at the global level. The richest 300 persons on earth (about a third of them in the U.S.) have more money than the poorest 3 billion people. Out of all developed and undeveloped countries with at least a quarter-million adults, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon.

2. Creating their own wealth

In another alarming testament to wealth at the top, the richest 10% own almost 90 percent of stocks excluding pensions. Consider what that means. The stock market has historically risen three times faster than the GDP itself. Since the recession, as the U.S. economy has “recovered,” 62 percent of the gain was due to growth in the stock market, which surged as much in four years as it did during the “greatest bull market in history” from 1996 to 2000.

Many stock owners see a couple thousand dollars added to their fortunes every time they go online.

But that’s not enough for the very rich. Thanks in good part to the derivatives market, the world’s wealth has doubled in ten years, from $113 trillion to $223 trillion, and is expected to reach $330 trillion by 2017. The financial industry has figured out how to double or triple its buying power while most of the world has proportionately less.

3. Taking ALL the income gains

If the richest 1% had taken the same percentage of total U.S. income in 2006 as they did in 1980, they would have taken a trillion dollars less out of the economy. Instead they tripled their share of post-tax income. And then they captured ALL the income gains in the first two years of the post-recession recovery.

4. Donating a smaller share than the poorest Americans

Two dependable sources provide pretty much the same information. Barclays reported that those with earnings in the top 20% donated on average 1.3 percent of their income, whereas those in the bottom 20% donated 3.2 percent. And according to the New York Times, the nonprofit Independent Sector found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes, while those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.

5. Making enough to feed 800 million people

India just approved a program to spend $4 billion a year to feed 800 million people. Half of Indian children under 5 are malnourished.

In 2012, three members of the Walton family each made over $4 billion just from stocks and other investments. So did Charles Koch, and David Koch, and Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg, and Jeff Bezos.

It’s not the obligation of any one of these individuals to feed the world. The disgrace is in the fact that our unregulated capitalist system allows such outrageous extremes to exist.

Here’s more to provoke outrage. The 400 richest Americans made $200 billion in just one year. That’s equivalent to the combined total of the federal food stamp, education, and housing budgets.

6. Taking two-thirds of a trillion dollars in subsidies

Even all that is not enough for the very rich. About two-thirds of nearly $1 trillion in individual “tax expenditures” (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes) goes to the top quintile of taxpayers. An astounding 75 percent of dividend and capital gain subsidies go to the richest 1%.

And that doesn’t include business subsidies, like the $16.8 billion per year in agricultural benefits paid out to big companies and to wealthy individuals who happen to have farms in their portfolios. The filthiest fact, in terms of detestable extremes, is that much of Congress wants to cut the $4.35 a day food benefit to hungry Americans, almost half of them children, so that money can keep flowing to the top.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Written by Paul Buchheit.  

The Twisted Propaganda Machine of the Conservative WSJ, ALEC and Stephen Moore

Tuscan Spring wallpaper

Tuscan Spring wallpaper

If readers tick to the main news articles the Wall Street Journal is not completely submerged in Murdoch’s patented conservative yellow journalism. Though like many newspaper outlets they shape the news by what they report and how they report it. A main news article may be true, but lacks details important to tell the whole story. By covering certain aspects of, say, legislative news, repeatedly, they can project a picture of something as slightly radical – like equal pay for women working the same or similar jobs as men. That’s not radical, that is a mainstream American value concerning fairness and decency. Where Murdoch and the conservative movement really make their mark is on the editorial pages. In Conservoworld  all news is just opinion, but even actual opinions must have some basis in fairness and reality. If it is my opinion the world is flat, I don’t get off the hook for being a crank. Whatever my opinion on the earth’s shape, it is not flat. If someone feels that the HPV vaccine is bad idea, they still need to justify the death and suffering they might cause by perpetuating voodoo medical opinions from a big soapbox. The WSJ and  WSJ conservative Editorial Board Member Stephen Moore feels they can disseminate all the voodoo they like and do so without regard for basic journalistic ethics, The Wall Street Journal’s latest defense of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), penned by WSJ Editorial Board Member Stephen Moore, fails to disclose Moore’s deep ties to ALEC.

Moore’s op-ed attacks U.S. Senator Richard Durbin for scrutinizing ALEC’s role in peddling the Florida “Stand Your Ground” legislation as a model for the nation for more than six years. That law was initially cited to prevent the arrest of George Zimmerman for shooting Florida teenager Trayvon Martin to death, and that law proved to be instrumental in the failure to convict after the jury was instructed that in accordance with that law Zimmerman had a “right to stand his ground” and had “no duty to retreat.”

However, Moore failed to disclose anywhere in that op-ed that he has a long-standing working relationship with ALEC. These close ties include the facts that:Wall Street Journal Ed Board Member Stephen Moore

since at least 2007, Moore has been on ALEC’s “Board of Scholars,” one of five people with that designation; since 2007, Moore has been the co-author of one of ALEC’s main publications, “Rich States, Poor States,” which claims to rank the performance of states in accordance with their adherence to ALEC’s ideal economic policies, reports that have been strongly criticized; since joining WSJ’s editorial board in 2005, Moore has presented on issues such as reducing corporate tax rates at ALEC’s closed door task force meetings, where corporate lobbyists vote as equals with state legislators on “model bills” to be introduced into law in state capitols; and in 2009, ALEC said Moore “represents what we should expect of all journalists,” and gave him its “Warren Brookes Award” for “journalistic excellence”

[  ]…Byline of ALEC’s Rich States, Poor States Similarly, in the WSJ op-ed when he quoted newly-elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Moore failed to note that Cruz is one of the featured “plugs” for the 6th edition of this piece of work Moore co-writes that is published by ALEC. Likewise, in the op-ed when Moore quoted an unnamed board member of ALEC, he failed to mention his own long-time post on ALEC’s Board of Scholars.

Ted Cruz (R-TX) is remarkable for his ability to be a particular large freak in a conservative tent brimming over with freaks. ALEC is nothing more than the organized crime wing of the conservative movement. I forget his name, But I’ll never forget the Democratic congressional representative that said he was not so much surprised at the illegal things conservatives do, but the things they get away with that are supposedly legal. It is clever to have so much cash and powerful connections that they can twist arms to get anything they want, but ethical it is not. What remains of the old Pajamas Media – a network of conservative bloggers, gleefully and as often as possible bleep about how this administration has not delivered on all the transparency they promised. They is quite the shameless hypocrisy from people who voted for Bush-Cheney Inc. and support ALEC. ALEC is all about closed doors, deals made and legislation passed in the middle of the night. They’re the real deal, the Darth Vaders you see in political thrillers. No wonder Moore and the WSJ does not want the public to know that when they speak, they’re puppets for their ALEC puppet masters.

Extolling the virtues of stupidity is not an American value, Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really.

Conservative Confederacy Lite,  Modern Vote Suppression Better Than Jim Crow, Still Pretty Bad

Conservative Republican Playbook, page one chapter one: When we can’t win by telling the truth, lie, lie some more and lie to cover up the lies, Bogus Study Tries to Scare “Young Invincibles” Away from Obamacare

Conservatives Crashed The Economy and Still Can’t Do Arithmetic

City Towers wallpaper

City Towers wallpaper

I feel a little bad taking down yet another wacky Rand Paul (R-KY) talking point, I am inadvertently helping the conservative establishment getting either Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Marko Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker (R-WI – Walker is the Hosni Mubarak of the mid-west, Michelle Malkin’s crew at Hot Air likes him because of the dirty corrupt way he got the police unions to go ago with busting other public sector workers. Rand Paul Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About (In Charts)

Yesterday, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green interviewed Paul, and when asked about the significant budget cuts he was proposing, the senator said this: “You know, the thing is, people want to say it’s extreme. But what I would say is extreme is a trillion-dollar deficit every year. I mean, that’s an extremely bad situation. I would say it’s a very reasonable proposition to say that we would only spend what comes in.”

First off, saying “that we would only spend what comes in,” i.e. that the federal government will never run any deficit, is not only not “reasonable,” it’s basically insane if you know the first thing about fiscal policy and its effects on the national welfare. But let’s leave that aside for now. What about these trillion-dollar deficits every year? Actually, according to the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) figures, the deficit for 2013 will be $642 billion. That’s a lot of money to you and me, but it isn’t a trillion dollars, and it’s the lowest deficit since 2008. The CBO is also projecting that in 2014 the deficit will fall to $560 billion, and in 2015 it will fall further, to $378 billion.

Those projections will inevitably be revised over time. Maybe the deficit will actually be larger, or maybe it will be smaller. One thing we can say for sure though, is that for the moment at least, there are no more “trillion-dollar deficits,” not every year, and not any year.

And two charts,

Obama and deficits

Rand Paul is a crazy bed bug

Maybe their little toy calculators all broke at once, but conservatives and pretend centrists like Alan Simpson, Erksine Bowles and  hedge fund billionaire Pete Peterson keep running around the country doing their little uncontrollable deceit dance, even though the deficit is shrinking. It is the best it has been since conservative ecknomics crashed the economy, wasted the Clinton surplus they inherited in 2000, lied us into a $3 trillion dollar war and held the country country hostage to keep tax cuts for millionaires. The latter always on the TeeVee complaining about how tough they have it and we need to convert grandpa’s Medicare into vouchers or the country is surely doomed.

 Rush Limbaugh’s looming presidential debate disaster

If some shortsighted conservatives get their way, we may soon be treated to Rush Limbaugh quizzing Republican presidential candidates about which liberal activists should be thought of as sluts. Now that’s the way to appeal to swing voters.

In case you missed it, the Republican Party has pledged to boycott NBC and CNN from their 2016 nomination debate schedule. They are also planning to cut back on the total number of debates. And even if Republicans don’t really decide to spotlight the conservative talk show hosts most likely to remind swing voters about what they don’t like about the GOP, the above is still enough to convince many observers that Republicans have lost all interest in talking to anyone beyond their most dedicated voters.

I watched enough of the 2011 Republican primary debates to lose a few brain cells. i wish them all the best in their version of caged death matches refereed by some freak like Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter. Freaks shows should be run by and for freaks. That way they cannot complain they are not getting their message across. I’ve noticed that most liberal pundits fell the same way. As this reaction reverberates through the far Right grapevine I would not be surprised if they do not back peddle this idea.

Poor, Poor Pitiful Conservatives

The War balloon at General M'Dowell's head-quarters preparing for a reconnoissance

The War balloon at General M’Dowell’s head-quarters preparing for a reconnaissance.  Illus. from: Harper’s weekly, 1861 Oct. 26, p. 679.

 

Its a weekend linkfest:

 The Tea Party’s paranoid aestheticTo understand the powerful appeal of the movement to many of its adherents, a narrative history is first required

Important as this is — and it is very important; its combination of righteousness and victimization is essential to the Tea Party’s image of itself as Innocence Aggrieved — it should not blind us to the second function of Beck’s rhetoric. For not only does his language summon a morally polarized universe (with all the benefits, tactical and personal, of such a scheme), but in doing so it underwrites a basic purpose of any narrative: It creates drama. The first duty of any storyteller is to hold the interest of his audience, and every prospective writer learns that the easiest way to do so is through conflict. But not all conflicts are created equal. Call your book “Deliver Us From a Less Than Fully Optimal Balancing of the Various Interests Involved in the Management of Global Conflict” and relatively few will beat a digital path to Amazon in search of it. But call it “Deliver Us From Evil,” as Tea Party favorite Sean Hannity did in 2004, and the dramatic appeal of your tome increases exponentially. If Beck had told his audience that the IRS’s mistake was just that — an error in judgment by well-intentioned, overworked bureaucrats — he would have been a) vastly more consistent with the available evidence and b) vastly more boring. In Tea Party politics, reasonable is what closes on Saturday night.

But the drama of Beck’s story doesn’t derive solely from his inflamed diction. It has a second, even more important, source. If we set aside the way in which he describes his dramatis personae and focus, instead, on what they do — on plot rather than character — we immediately notice something peculiar. Beck’s cast is crowded: There are federal agencies, journalists, civil rights groups, ministers, political parties, pilgrims. And Dr. King. And hookers. This suggests, superficially anyway, a plot with the potential to be somewhat complex. But the structure of Beck’s narrative mirrors the simplicity of its characters. There are many actors, but only two roles: oppressors and oppressed. The latter are represented by those increasingly rare descendants of our libertarian forbears who will “not abide convenient lies,” the former by everyone else. For Beck, a Virtuous Remnant confronts a landscape that is uniformly hostile. How many divisions do the “circus masters” have? Plenty. The IRS, EPA, ATF and FBI. The Republicans and the Democrats. Journalists. Civil rights and religious leaders. Feminists. Everywhere the Virtuous look, they are surrounded by those who want to corrupt and subvert them, to enslave them.

I did want to correct one thing that Kim Messick did in this very good essay, or at least left readers with the impression, that there was an IRS scandal. Even from hours after the media spread the news with the lede the IRS had “targeted” conservative groups, we knew that no conservative group has been denied its 501 tax exempt status, not one. We have since found out that language was used in the executive summary of the Inspector General’s report at the request of the perennially sleazy Darrell Issa (R-CA). Having grown up around the religious I have developed a automatic ignore mechanism. For my entire life they have been screaming and whining about their victim-hood. Beck is a fair example. he makes tens of millions of dollars a year. he does not make any great products, has never invented anything, if he wants to build a bridge he will have to call someone with the intelligence and expertise to do it. He has a mediocre mind, but is clover at manipulating his core audience. They buy his books, products and give him the ratings to make money from advertising. What does he do. he literally cries over how tough his life is. He goes on and on about how America is going to hell in a hand basket as he counts the stacks of money he has. As the tea party and far Right libertarians will always tell you in a comments section, they have houses and cars and pay taxes. Which is another way of saying they are doing well, yet thw end times are around the corner and they are suffering untold, immeasurable hardships. They’re both doing fine and carrying tremendous burdens. God loves them and is directly looking after them, yet their lives are also pure hell. Conservatives have been one big bundle of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance for decades. They’re going to run that old dog until it dies, then stuff it and run it some more.

6 of the Nuttiest Right-Wing Statements Just from this Week Alone. Conservatives want us to understand two things, they hate immigrants and they will only tolerant their own brand of religious extremism.

Charter school threatened teachers for trying to unionize. And they’re using tax payer money to fight unionization. Hypocrisy is not just a noun, for conservatives it is an addictive drug.

Richard Wolff on Fighting for Economic Justice and Fair Wages. You can watch the video or read the transcript.

BILL MOYERS: But as the economist Dean Baker points out this week, “If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth it would be over $16.50 an hour today.” We talk a lot about what’s happening to the middle class, but the American Dream’s really become a nightmare for the poor. Just about everyone has an opinion about the trouble we’re in – the blame game is at fever pitch in Washington, where obstinate Republicans and hapless Democrats once again play kick-the-can with the problems we face. You wish they would just stop and listen to Richard Wolff.

An attentive and systematic observer of capitalism and democracy, he taught economics for 25 years at the University of Massachusetts and has published books such as “Democracy at Work,” “Occupy the Economy,” and “Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do about It.”

Sarah Palin, Howard Dean, and Liberal Bloggers All Making Mistakes In Discussing the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board. I hope those liberal bloggers will read this and correct accordingly. Palin does not have enough character to admit errors.

The Corporate Elite Are Redistributing Income To Themselves and Giving Americans The Shaft

Panorama View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906

Panorama View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906.  

Located on the Potomac River in the western part of the state, Cumberland was an important transportation hub early in the nation’s history.

In 1906 Teddy Roosevelt, the “trust buster” was president ( he would never get the tea bagger vote). It was the year of the Great San Francisco earthquake, the year Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was published and Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act ( something else that conservatives would defeat if up for a vote today).

Fighting Back Against Wretched Wages

OFTEN relegated to the background, America’s low-wage workers have been making considerable noise lately by deploying an unusual weapon — one-day strikes — to make their message heard: they’re sick and tired of earning just $8, $9, $10 an hour.

Their anger has been stoked by what they see as a glaring disconnect: their wages have flatlined, while median pay for chief executives at the nation’s top corporations jumped 16 percent last year, averaging a princely $15.1 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation analysis firm.

Conservatives, most libertarians and some centrist Democrats have been saying for years that the reason we have to keep wages low is to be competitive – competitive to whom, Asia. That is and has been a race to the bottom for half of the U.S. The truth is slight more complicated, but not so much so that even your kool-aid drinking conservative neighbors can understand. By shipping jobs overseas and using that leverage to put downward pressure on wages, all the while taking away much of organized labor’s power, corporate dreams have come true. Corporate America is making record profits – that means they could be paying people a living wage and keeping jobs in the U.S. rather than do that, these corporations are putting massive sums of money in executive pockets and shareholders. Sure some of the middle-class gets some of that via their mutual funds – but most Americans do not benefit from this capital redistribution from workers to the wealthy. This is a good recent example of how the very wealthy are redistributing capital to themselves, A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts

A major player in the national debt debate, the “Fix the Debt” campaign, is arguing that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are necessary to avoid economic disaster. Meanwhile, the corporations leading this campaign are contributing to Americans’ retirement insecurity by funneling enormous sums into their CEO retirement accounts while underfunding their employee pension funds.

Key findings:

* The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life.
* The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell’s David Cote, a long-time advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65.
* Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average. General Electric has the largest deficit in its worker pension fund, with $22 billion.

Although they have not remedied their own internal pension fund debts, the Fix the Debt CEOs say they have the solution for our national debt problems, which would include cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

In some cases, the Fix the Debt member corporations could eliminate their pension fund deficits with cash they currently have on hand. GE, for example, has more than $85 billion in liquid assets, according to their most recent 10-K report — enough to easily wipe out their $22 billion pension deficit. But rather than fixing their own internal debts, these CEOs have embarked on an aggressive effort to persuade policymakers and the public that savings from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are essential to addressing the country‘s financial challenges. While these CEOs have offered few details on how they would cut costs with these reforms, it would likely be by limiting access to these programs paid for by all working Americans and by yet again raising the retirement age.

The corporate elite tell the public we have to pay sub-living standard wages or we’ll have to rise prices. What they could do is make reasonable salaries – say in the $85k to $125k range. I just suggested some heresy – hey this is America and corporate executives have to make millions or they won’t work. Fine, quite and lets usher is a new generation of hard working ethical executives they care about workers and America. Some conservatives bloggers have linked to this story – Exclusive: Signs of declining economic security, saying this is the result of Obama’s policies. They cannot put two and two together. Corporate profits at at all time highs and wages at all time lows. These companies could hire, they could pay more, but they are hoarding the money for themselves. Not exactly secret information, so conservatives continue to be the worse informed people on the planet. Read the comments on this post – if we made proof of general economic knowledge a requirement for voting, these people would not be allowed to vote. In one crazy-funny comment, one commenter goes off on how the communists are to blame. There is a very similar cognitive dissonance between what the Conservative base thinks about ” free enterprise” corporate America and what they thought about Bush and Iraq. They could not, and still cannot bring themselves to believe that the Bush administration betrayed America and they can’t believe these flag waving, “free enterprise” talking American businesses have betrayed America for more wealth than they will ever need and certainly never earned.

Conservologic, If You’re Attacked By Two Rabbits That Makes All Rabbits Criminals

Canoe Trip wallpaper

Canoe Trip wallpaper

Let me get the freaks, weirdos, racists, crazed zealots and delusional nutwits out of the way first, National Review Tells Young Whites To Avoid Blacks, Again

Victor Davis Hanson, a scholar of military history and longtime National Review foreign affairs columnist, has a habit of dipping his toes into racially uncomfortable water. In a past column, for example, Hanson accused President Obama of attempting to victimize white people for political gain.

[  ]…The thrust of Hanson’s argument — black men are criminals and you should stay away from them, my son — is largely indistinguishable from Derbyshire’s. “Be careful if a group of black youths approaches you,” Hanson quoted his father as saying before a move to San Francisco. “After some first-hand episodes with young African-American males,” he continued, “I offered a similar lecture to my own son.”

The Atlantic also has a good piece up on Hanson. What is moronic is to base one’s world view on an encounter with punks – note their apparent ethnicity and so feel entitled to forever claim that everyone from that group is cause for concern about your personal safety. Conservatives have been playing this game for years ( not all of them, but obviously still many). Norman Podhoretz, thought of as one of the great thinkers of the conservative establishment, once wrote an essay, now in many college English anthologies, that told of his being persecuted by blacks in his neighborhood while he was growing up. That is unfortunate, but says nothing about race, as much as he and like minded conservatives would like to think. Some black kids during that time were literally murdered by whites. So if we’re going to use the Podhoretz and Hanson standards, that means we should have a talk with our kids about how violent white folks can be. I have been shot at once in my life. It was by a white middle-class male. he was so arrogant about it he didn’t even care that I knew who he was. Look at the FBI’s Most Wanted List –  there are no African Americans on that list of very violent offenders. Second worse terror attack in U.S. history was the Oklahoma City bombing – two white guys. Or we could say that individuals are on the FBI list, bad people bombed the Murrah Federal Building, some punks accosted Hanson’s dad. It’s only human to note appearance, but it’s a mistake to infer that millions of people are criminals because of one or two personal experiences. Hanson, being a supposed intellectual, knows better, so that is what makes his thinly veiled racism all the more damning.

Looks like a clean cut white surfer dude I used to hang out with in high school. He is wearing a hoodie though. He is Jason Derek Brown and he is wanted for robbery and murder. I wonder if all his victims and their families are now entitled to be suspicious of all white dudes.

Next,  Rand Paul’s White Supremacy Double Game

Jack Hunter, the Rand Paul social media staffer who wrote columns attacking Abraham Lincoln and defending Southern secession under the name “Southern Avenger,” tells the Daily Caller that he’s leaving the senator’s staff and returning to punditry to clear his name and avoid dimming Paul’s rising star. Even though Paul defended Hunter when the Washington Free Beacon broke the news of his long career of neo-Confederate race-baiting…

I still think it is remarkable how much establishment conservatives are determined to knock Paul (R-KY) out of presidential contention. If liberals had started up on Hunter and Paul everyone would shrug and go on about their business. Though since the conservative media is after Paul (R-KY) the story stays alive.

Pennsylvania police chief: F*ck all you libtards out there, you take it in the a**

Kessler has uploaded several profanity-laced videos to YouTube. In one video, Kessler berates “libtards” and warns of an armed rebellion against the government.

“F*ck all you libtards out there, as a matter of fact, read my shirt,” he says, turning around to show a message on his back which read, “Liberals take it in the a**.”

“You take it in the ass and I don’t give a f*ck what you say so you can all just go f*ck yourselves. Period. I wont be going to D.C. and I don’t give a f*ck. If you f*cking maniacs want to turn this into an armed revolt, knock yourselves out. I’m not about that, so see you on the other side.”

In a video on basic pistol defense, Kessler repeatedly shoots a picture of scary clown, which he says is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Kessler is also known to be a fan of wacko Alex Jones and an antisemitic rock band. The Confederate flag he is wearing on his shirt in the video speaks volumes about his strange brand of “patriotism”.

I still wonder why faux patriots like Kessler and his pals stayed home and cleaned their 86 semi-automatic weapons instead of demanding Bush and Cheney explain their lies about Iraq. Why do they never rant about how Wall Street stole around $17 trillion of America’s wealth. 5 Reasons It’s Just Absurd That America Doesn’t Tax Wall St’s Transactions. The short version,

The Tax Works in Countries with the ‘Freest’ Economies

Unimaginable Amounts are being Traded in the U.S., with zero tax

A Tiny Tax Would Pay the Entire 2013 Federal Education Budget

It’s Easy to Administer — Especially for One of the Most Profitable Companies in America.

Big Revenues, Little Risk

Debunking The Myths of Obamacare Rate Shock

Foggy River Bend wallpaper

Foggy River Bend wallpaper

Jonathan Cohn dives into the “rate shock” and Obamacare debate once again, Un-rigging the Rate-Shock Debate, The truth about what those healthy 25-year-olds will pay.

Still, I think many Obamacare critics and quite possibly some of its supporters don’t fully grasp the significance of one key factor: the subsidies.

To review: Obamacare reorganizes the market for people buying coverage on their own, so that they are no longer at the mercy of insurers who pick and choose the healthiest customers. This “non-group” market is pretty small, in relative terms: The vast majority of Americans will continue to get insurance from employers, Medicare, or Medicaid. But for insurers who sell non-group coverages, the rules for conducting business are changing dramaticaly. Under Obamacare, these insurers must provide all beneficiaries with a core set of benefits, for example, and they can’t deny coverage to people who have pre-existing conditions. Insurers are reacting to this by raising premiums. They really don’t have a choice, since they can no longer skimp on benefits or avoid taking on sick people.

If you want to make Obamacare look really bad, you stop telling the story right there. You imagine a young, healthy person who can get cheap coverage today, compare what he’d pay under Obamacare, and, then, declare that Obamacare has “doubled premiums.” But the real story doesn’t end there. And one big reason is that Obamacare also provides people with financial assistance. This assistance, which comes in the form of tax credits, has the opposite effect of the regulations. It makes insurance less expensive.

Conservatives and libertarians who just hate the Affordable Care Act have not been restrained by ethics in how they talk about Obamacare. They have made statements and illogical arguments that range from wacky exaggeration (Look to Communism to Explain Obamacare – Newsmax.com (Dec. 12, 2009) to stories that dig into new depths of depraved lying. While they have succeeded in convincing much of their base, that was to be expected. The unfortunate effect of the propaganda has to confuse many people who are not especially political and have a combination of personal financial worries and concerns about their health care, and how they’re going to pay for it. Before preparing for this post I read a few of what seemed like sincere concerns expressed in comment sections. With some people wanting to get what they heard was affordable insurance, but they’re afaird – see conservative disinformation – they they’ll be penalized for not having insurance, it will change their tax rate for the worse or they will not get the coverage they need. None of those things should concern anyone – with the possible exception of certain young adults who – when buying insurance on their own, may see slightly higher premiums. Though see bold above, much of that costs in around 85% of cases, will be offset by subsidies.

Not everybody can get these subsidies: They are based on income, so that people who earn more money get less help, and people with incomes of more than four times the poverty line get no assistance at all. (That’s roughly $46,000 a year for an individual and $94,000 a year for a family of four.) But the subsidies are a lot bigger and benefit way more people than many people realize. Most of the commentary I’ve seen doesn’t really convey that.

Let’s go back to former Romney adviser Avik Roy’s 25 year old nonsmoking male buying insurance on his own. If he is making poverty wages, say $15k a year ($7.50 hr, 40 hr week), his insurance will be free. I’m going to try to make the rest of this post as brief as possible, but I do recommend going over to the links to read the entire column and in one case, their full report. Claim About Obamacare Reform “Rate Shock” Is “Unfounded,” Urban Analysis Finds

But, as the Urban Institute paper points out, the large majority of young people affected by this will also become eligible for premium subsidies to help buy coverage in the new exchanges that health reform will create, or for Medicaid (if they live in a state that adopts health reform’s Medicaid expansion).  As a result, the age-rating change “would have very little impact on out-of-pocket rates paid by the youngest nongroup purchasers.”

Specifically, the study found:

92 percent of people ages 21 to 27 projected to buy an individual plan in an exchange in 2017 are expected to have incomes less than 300 percent of the poverty line, so they would be eligible either for Medicaid (if their state expands it) or for substantial subsidies to help pay premiums in the exchange.

Similarly, 88 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds projected to buy a plan in the exchange are expected to be eligible for premium subsidies or Medicaid.

The study also notes that among the estimated 951,000 young adults ages 21 to 27 who now buy coverage in the individual market and have incomes too high to qualify for premium subsidies or Medicaid, two-thirds are age 26 or younger and in families with access to employer coverage.

This is also an important point that Avik and others at Forbes and elsewhere are failing to note. Everyone who is under 27 can stay on their parent’s plan. Those plans are almost always lower cost group plans. Plus they will have the slightly expanded guaranteed benefits specified by the ACA. About that Urban Institute Study,

ACA will not cause rate shock

ACA will not cause rate shock

Quick-Take-on-Young-Adults-with-Current-Nongroup-Insurance-or-Uninsured

This chart shows that the people Forbes claims to care so much about will get some kind of tax break/subsidy. In the category of people who buy insurance on their own – non-group insured – maybe 11% may pay more. Though they too will get better benefits and cannot be denied coverage for preexisting conditions. Again, not perfect, but not the “disaster” or “rate shock” being predicted by partisans with an agenda that trumps the facts.

• Given the age-rating gradient HHS has adopted in regulations, premiums for people age 28 to 56 would be very similar regardless of the age rating limits chosen; premium variation across the rating scenarios is concentrated in the age groups of 21–27 and 57 and above.
• Although the average premiums insurers will charge for 21–27 year-olds are lower under 5:1 than under 3:1 rating, subsidies these purchasers receive will leave average out-of-pocket premiums almost identical under the two methods. Over 90 percent of young adults age 21–27 purchasing single nongroup coverage in the exchanges receive significant subsidies that limit their costs as a share of their income.

The ratio seems like wonky stuff, but it is just the limit the ACA places on premiums for the same benefits between young insured and older insured. This is so younger insured are not forced into paying for the higher health care costs of older insured. The full report is available at the link.

Does Rush Limbaugh listen to his own words, “Yes Virginia, There Are Death Panels”: Limbaugh Exploits Child Transplant Patient To Revive Obamacare Myth.

Rush Limbaugh rehashed the widely debunked myth that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will result in death panels to smear Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, claiming that “Obamacare establishes death panels and right now Sebelius is it.”

Limbaugh used the case of Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old girl awaiting a lung transplant, as evidence that “The government’s making the decision who lives and dies. That’s what Obamacare is.” Later, Limbaugh responded to a caller, saying, “Yes Virginia, there are death panels.”

So Limbaugh wants the gov’mint to intervene in the personal medical care of a patient. That would be something like a death panel would do. The ACA or Obamacare does not give the gov’mint authority to intervene in the diagnostic or medical procedures for individual patients. It could only do so if the government had the authority Limbaugh lies about. And good for Politico (I’m a little shocked that Politico is being so rational) for explaining how the government should not get involved in the case of this one girl because it would likely just mean the death of one or two other girls, Kathleen Sebelius at center of storm over child’s lung transplant

“I can’t imagine anything worse than one individual getting to pick who lives and who dies,” she said. Sebelius said putting Sarah next in line would disadvantage other young people who have also been waiting for transplants — including three in the same area. Helping one child could possibly hurt another.

Some experts agree that the lung allocation policy may need to be revisited; it has been for kidney and liver transplants. But they say no snap decisions should be made because of the media glare.

Should Sebelius step in and do something? No. She doesn’t have all the facts,” said NYU bioethicist Art Caplan. Acting under pressure from a media savvy family “or the noisiest person in line” is bad policy, he added.

[  ]…Caplan noted one reason that may give Sebelius pause: by moving someone up the list, someone else goes down. One child saved could mean another child dies. Sebelius, he noted, “doesn’t have all the information.”

So Limbaugh and other conservatives are the ones acting as Death Panels via media pressure to act on the politics of the moment, not the medical ethics which might save this one adorable little girl, but kill one or possibly three others. This is also a good post on the subject, Suddenly everyone is a backseat expert on medical ethics

Here’s the thing. There are many people waiting for lungs in Pennsylvania now, and few will get them. With so few lungs available, it’s important to come up with a fair, unbiased system that maximizes the potential to make good use of them while also not favoring anyone unfairly over anyone else. There is just no way that it ends well for everyone. When a lung becomes available, someone is going to get it, and others will not. That means one person gets a chance to live, and the rest likely die. It’s tragic, no matter how the decision is made.