Tinted Barometer wallpaper – Maybe Malevolent is a Better Description Than Sociopath

Tinted Barometer wallpaper

Tinted Barometer wallpaper

There is some of the usual nutty conservative antics going on, and I’ll get to those, but this is probably the most important news of the day, Senator Rockefeller Is Said to Be Retiring

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the scion of the Rockefeller family who established himself as a liberal voice in Congress, will announce his retirement on Friday after five terms in the Senate, Democratic officials said.

The decision was not a surprise. In June, Mr. Rockefeller took to the Senate floor to oppose Republican efforts to block a regulation on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, declaring, “The coal industry today would rather attack false enemies and deny real problems than find solutions.” The speech was greeted with shock in coal-dependent West Virginia and led immediately to speculation that he would not seek a sixth term in 2014.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV  – I know that is a mouthful, but there are quite a few Rockefellers around – mentions in this Politico piece that he did think Democrats might have some difficulty hanging on to his seat. But as The Caucus notes,

With Democratic voter registration still outnumbering Republicans two-to-one in the state, Democrats believe they can keep the seat — and could possibly have an easier time with a lesser known candidate unencumbered by his connections to Mr. Obama.

Let’s just say that Senator Rockefeller would have been easily re-elected and now the seat is in play. Former Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin won the Late Robert Byrd’s seat against millionaire Republican John Raese ( Raese actually lives in Florida). While Manchin is a very conservative Democrat, he did win. What makes West Virginia so difficult is when conservatives run a millionaire like Raese. That means the Democratic candidate has to run against a candidate for whom money is not an issue and big coal  throws around huge dollars to wage their usual smear campaign – the Democrat is always portrayed as a commie who wants to shut down coal mining. Some miners, not many but enough, buy into that to make Senate races there tough for new candidates. Nationally Obama had enough money to push back against Romney and Karl Roves character assassination. Local-state candidates do not always have that kind of resources to draw on.

Unhinged Tactical Response CEO James Yeager Threatens to ‘Start Killing People’ Over Obama’s Gun Control. Yeager, perhaps due to rethinking a public promise to start murdering people, tried to get that video off the net (C&L still has it at the link). Yeager releases another video. In this one he is just so much more reasonable, “Now, uh, I don’t condone anybody committing any kind of felonies, up to and including aggravated assaults and murders. Unless it’s necessary.” No murder unless necessary. That is pretty much the code that all murderers live by. There are quite a few posts on Yeager and many of those post and their commenters, understandably suggest that Yeager is a sociopath. He is not winning over gun enthusiasts who know him. This is a pro-gun rights site that considers Yeager a screw-up and coward. Since people like Yeager live in constant fear – in this instance of gun safety regulations that the president has no intention or constitutional authority to pass simply using an executive order, a fear of something created by his own imagination. The blogosphere has this all well covered by now, but I just wanted to suggest another possibility about Yeager and those who think like him ( Matt Drudge for instance). Maybe Yeager is not a sociopath. That would mean he suffers from a condition that renders him incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. While that is possible, we really do not know that for a fact. All we have to go on is what he said and what he believes. On that basis, Yeager is simply a malevolent individual. He believes in and conducts his life in a way that is contrary to good moral and good citizenship. That is what we know without speculating on his mental health. The Founders did not have single shot bolt action rifles much less a semi-automatic weapon that holds 12 rounds. To suggest some basic changes in the law that would make the use of such urban assault weapons less dangerous is not even within spy glass view of being unpatriotic. pro gun safety advocates say one thing, and acting like we’re using some ancient dead language, the Yeagers and the NRA translate what we actually say into something we did not. It is the far Right ages old crutch, the straw man argument (Don’t Worry, NRA: Obama Can’t Do Much on Guns by Himself). And here, Joe Biden Gun Control Recommendations To Come Tuesday

The recommendations are expected to address a number of angles and topics on gun policy, ranging from the availability of certain firearms and ammunition to data collection between federal and state law enforcement agencies. Biden announced that a top priority would be to create a more thorough system of background checks to prevent those with criminal histories or mental illness from purchasing weapons.

“So far,” he said, there has been “a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks. Not just closing the gun show loophole, but have total universal background checks including in private sales.”

[  ]…”I have never quite heard as much talk about the need to do something about high capacity magazines as I’ve heard spontaneously from every group we have met with so far,” Biden said. An attendee at one of the vice president’s sessions, meanwhile, said that he was leaning towards recommending some form of regulation of assault weapons as well.

Nothing there about destroying the 2nd amendment. Nothing about banning guns altogeter. I’m a little concerned myself with the constant talk about mental health – most people who are mentally ill are not violent. So the NRA shows up to this meeting shocked that VP Biden did not talk about banning violent video games and movies. They also seemed to have been wearing their ear plugs as well,

The NRA released the following statement regarding today’s White House task force meeting:

The National Rifle Association of America is made up of over 4 million moms and dads, daughters and sons, who are involved in the national conversation about how to prevent a tragedy like Newtown from ever happening again. We attended today’s White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals.

We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment. While claiming that no policy proposals would be “prejudged,” this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners – honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans. It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works – and what does not.

Guns don’t kill children video games do. Our prisons population is the highest per capita in the world. Overall violent crime is at an historic low. As information enters the Yeager/NRA brain something happens to the meaning of words. Smaller magazines and better background checks become an attempt for the executive branch to single handedly redact the 2nd Amendment. Now that makes one wonder if there is anyone in the NRA who has the intellectual capacity required to have a simple rational conversation about anything, not just guns. If the entire NRA has the IQ of a fern the nation can safely disregard anything they say since it is like having a discussion about mortgage rates with a two year old. One hates to be negative, but many of these people are the ones that also believe Barack Obama’s parents knew he would be president one day and hatched an ingenious plot to smuggle him into the country.

The gun fundamentalists do seem clueless about the kind of behavior they are perpetuating and unforeseen consequences, Portland residents panic as men armed with assault weapons ‘educate’ the city

“This happens to open that line of communication, to let people know that you can defend yourself in a time of crisis or any time that you want to,” Boyce added.

But KPTV’s Kaitlyn Bolduc reported that the demonstration created a “state of panic” in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood.

What is one those business’s where employees tried to find some place to hide, instead stood their ground and the thinking went…. Those creeps are carrying assault style weapons, they’re a threat, I have no choice except to shoot them. When everyone is carrying guns to walk down the street, to get their hair cut, to get some ice cream who is a threat and who isn’t. Something fun to look forward to the day when you leave the house with gun out ready to shoot just in case one of the other people just practicing their strange interpretation of 2nd Amendment rights, shoots first.

Lemon Tea Splash wallpaper – Both Statistics and Humanity Have a Liberal Bias

summer, splash

Lemon Tea Splash wallpaper. The official beverage of the South.

 

I tend to like my statistics. For some reason they seem to have a liberal bias. Republicans have developed some systematic denials when to comes to facts and statistics. Some of that requires some mental tin-foil. If the facts are not in their favor they argue some supposedly grand principle – that is not what the Founders would do. Few Americans would return to the so-called “original intent”. Most of what we think of as democratic republic – the egalitarian spirit and most the freedoms we cherish would disappear. If the original intent, or their interpretation of it does not work, they also argue from studies they pay for that reach conclusions they like. Conservatives are also adept at taking anecdotal evidence, sometimes hearsay or just something someone told them once and turning that into justification for their stands on public policy that affect millions of Americans. Conservatives have ruined or are trying to ruin the real life narrative. One big example, going on four years now, individual Republicans swear their gun rights are threatened even as gun sales have been a boom industry. I can leave the house now and be back in forty-five minutes with enough guns and ammo for a small army. There are some real stories of real people suffering real hardship. Like statistics and facts, the real stories, the real anecdotes of hardship caused by conservatives are true. Something Wicked This Way Comes

A few days ago, while awaiting the Supreme Court ruling on the Obama health-care law, I called a few doctor friends around the country. I asked them if they could tell me about current patients whose health had been affected by a lack of insurance.

“This falls under the ‘too numerous to count’ section,” a New Jersey internist said. A vascular surgeon in Indianapolis told me about a man in his fifties who’d had a large abdominal aortic aneurysm. Doctors knew for months that it was in danger of rupturing, but, since he wasn’t insured, his local private hospital wouldn’t fix it. Finally, it indeed began to rupture. Rupture is an often fatal development, but the man—in pain, with the blood flow to his legs gone— made it to an emergency room. Then the hospital put him in an ambulance to Indiana University, arguing the patient’s condition was “too complex.” My friend got him through, but he’s very lucky to be alive.

Another friend, an oncologist in Marietta, Ohio, told me about three women in their forties and fifties he was treating for advanced cervical cancer. A pap smear would have caught their cancers far sooner. But since they didn’t have insurance, their cancers were only recognized when they caused profuse bleeding. Now they required radiation and chemotherapy if they were to have a chance of surviving.

A colleague practicing family medicine in Las Vegas told me about his clinic’s cleaning lady, who came to him in desperation about her uninsured husband. He had a painful rectal fistula—a chronically draining infection. Surgery could cure the condition, but hospitals required him to pay for the procedure in advance, and, as unskilled laborers, the couple didn’t remotely have the money. He’d lived in misery for nine months so far. The couple had nowhere to turn. Neither did the doctor.

The litany of misery was as terrible as it was routine. An internist in my Ohio home town put me on the phone with an uninsured fifty-five-year-old tanning-salon owner who’d had a heart attack. She was now unable to pay the bills either for the cardiac stent that saved her or for the medications that she needs to prevent a second heart attack. Outside Philadelphia, there was a home-care nurse who’d lost her job when she developed partial paralysis as a result of a rare autoimmune complication from the flu shot that her employers required her to get. Then she lost the insurance that paid for the medications that had been reversing the condition.

Tens of millions of Americans don’t have access to basic care for prevention and treatment of illness. For decades, there’s been wide support for universal health care. Finally, with the passage of Obamacare, two years ago, we did something about it.

All of the people mentioned in this article would be helped by the Obama/Democrat expansion of Medicaid – part of the Affordable Care Act. Many Republican governors and legislators are already against it. Like the occasional conservative arguments their objections have a slight tint of truth. They claim that if they accept a few years down the road the states will be on the hook for that 10% gap – requiring budget cuts in education. The obvious problem with that excuse is provided by two conservative governors – Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Scott of Florida. In the middle of a recession they cut back public sector jobs – claiming they could not afford them. But both governors passed huge corporate tax breaks – when corporate profits are as strong as ever. They could just increase corporate state taxes to something reasonable – between tax breaks and subsides many corporations do not pay any taxes. Another consequence of rejecting the Medicaid expansion is that charity hospitals and any hospital that takes poor and uninsured in emergencies will be stuck with the bill. Someone – usually everyone who has insurance – is left with the tab. Ever heard of a game called Three-card Monte or three-card carney. It’s been shown in a lot of movies and TV shows. It’s a kind of confidence game in where the mark, is tricked into betting a sum of money, on the assumption that they can find the money card among three face-down playing cards. Republicans do that with money and costs. They always seem to find the money to justify more tax cuts, tax incentives and other giveaways ( corporate welfare). Yet a cleaning lady and her husband, nope, no help for the working poor. How come we have working poor anyway, isn’t our free market system perfect. A system where anyone that works can provide for their essential needs. Apparently it’s not perfect. Until it is maybe its time for less obsequious behavior towards the well off and a little for humanity for the struggling. Related to the games Republicans are playing with the poor and Medicaid – 89,000 Children in Pennsylvania Lose Medicaid.

Another conservative trope is that the U.S. provides such a luxurious safety net it encourages people not to work. The Sharp, Sudden Decline of America’s Middle Class, They had good, stable jobs – until the recession hit. Now they’re living out of their cars in parking lots.

The next thing welfare applicants must do is disclose every possession and conceivable source of income they have. “I can’t tell you how many people come to my office and say, ‘I couldn’t get food stamps because my car is worth too much,'” Kapp tells me. “OK, you have a car. But you’ve lost everything – your house, your job, your pride – and all you have left is that car and all of your belongings in it. And they say, ‘You still have too much. Lose it all.’ You have to have nothing, when you already have nothing.”

Janis Adkins hadn’t been back in Santa Barbara long before she needed to apply for government assistance. She had never asked for aid before. At the California Department of Social Services, she filled out the form for emergency food stamps.

“I didn’t wear my best clothes, but I wore a light blouse and jeans, and I guess I was just a little too dressed up,” she recalls. “Because the woman just looked at me and said, ‘Are you in a crisis? Your application says you’re in a crisis.’ I said, ‘I’m living in a van and I don’t have a job. I have a little bit of money, but it’s going to go fast.’ The woman said, ‘You have $500. You’re not in a crisis if you have $500.’ She said anything more than $50 was too much.”

It is a shame that we cannot force all the conservative Republicans who think they have all the answers  – the right-wing pundits, the conservative bloggers and their commenters, Republican politicians and members of the wing-nut welfare circuit like Sarah Palin and Victor Davis Hanson to trade places with some of the people in that investigative piece for a couple of months. WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. recently wrote a column asking the heck happened to the average Republican’s sense of community and responsibility. I wonder if they have completely lost the ability to empathize with others. It seems they cannot honestly evaluate events outside their own experience and worse than that is they cannot honestly evaluate themselves and their lives. Every Republican I know has not gotten through life without some bad luck and some help. Yet most of them still have this distorted view of themselves as totally self-contained and self-sufficient cyborgs. One of the reason that facts, statistics and real life narratives do not get through to them is not because of politics it is because of something fundamental flaw in how they’re wired makes them incapable of connecting with humanity.

John Roberts Fails to Dictate Another Presidential Outcome, John Yoo Cries. Yoo is a poster child for Republican cognitive dissonance and their lack of humility. having never been right about anything. feeling that the torture policies of the Bush administration did not pose a threat to any of our captured troops. Yoo the great legal scholar who say there is no difference between the powers of a Medieval king and those of the President – which conservatives were fine with until Obama became president keeps trying to convince the public he is not a total loon. Of course Yoo and all the conservative bloggers linking to him believe that the SCOTUS ruling in favor of the ACA makes us, according to one blogger, “We are now subjects, no longer citizens.” These same legal experts and now claim to live in a totalitarian state of Health Care Reform had no objections with the SCOTUS selecting Bush to be president in 2000, making it legal for billionaires to buy elections or doing away with habeas corpus.  The CIA FactBook still lists Canada and Great Britain as liberal democracies and they both have public health care systems. I have yet to see any protesters in those countries asking the government to take their health care away so they can be “free”.

John Coltrane – Blue train