The Bombastic Ted Cruz – Coulter Constitution Delusions

Classic Chevy wallpaper

Classic Chevy wallpaper

When you combine Mediate’s spin with conservative Ann Coulter’s spin, you get a tsunami of delusional bombast, Coulter Destroys Feinstein Over Cruz Debate On Hannity: ‘Liberal Women Should Not Be Able To Hold Office’

Sean Hannity invited Ann Coulter on his Thursday night Fox News show to get her take on this morning’s Senate showdown between Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Coulter immediately started slamming Feinstein’s response to Cruz, in which she told the younger Senator that she’s “not sixth-grader” and didn’t need a “lecture on the Constitution.”

Comparing Feinstein to another “I am woman, hear me roar” Democrat, Hillary Clinton, Coulter said “as soon as they get a question they don’t like, they start crying.” She called Feinstein’s Constitutional arguments “preposterous” and proclaimed that Sen. Cruz “nailed her so she said ‘I’m offended.’”

As far as perception of personalities go, Cruz looked like an obnoxious creep and Sen. Feinstein like the statesman. To “nail” someone in this context means to have all the facts on one’s side. Cruz seemed out of his depth. Utterly clueless as to what the Constitution actually says, former rulings by even conservatives on the SCOTUS and that a president named Bush signed the previous assault weapons ban into law. Senators Destroy Clueless Ted Cruz(R-TX) Argument Against The Assault Weapons Ban

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) battered Democrats with questions about whether they would support restrictions on the First or Fourth Amendments he claimed were similar to those an assault weapons ban would impose on the Second:

I pose to the senator from California [Sen. Diane Feinstein], would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment, namely, would she consider it constitutional for congress to specify that the first amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?

But Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) obliterated his argument by noting the analogous actual restrictions on the actual First Amendment:

In reference to the question my colleague from Texas asked, would you limit books? Would you name specific books? Yeah. It’s constitutional within the ambit of the First Amendment to eliminate child pornography. And we have lots of laws that are very explicit about that. Very explicit. That are constitutional, that have been upheld as constitutional. Similarly, you can’t falsely scream fire in a crowded theater. Similarly, we have libel laws. Every one of these is an impingement on the sacred First Amendment, upheld as constitutional. There are reasonable limits on each amendment, and I think it is anomalous, to put it kindly, for either side to interpret one amendment so expansively and another amendment so narrowly that it just doesn’t add up because your interpretation of the Constitution should be consistent.

Let’s go to the text of the 2nd Amendment: As passed by the Congress:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In 2008 and 2010 – with a majority of conservative extremists on the court they ruled that gun ownership did not require participation in a militia. Let’s say you like that ruling. Let’s concede that what the court did was interpret the original 2nd amendment in way that they think had implicit meaning, rather than the explicit meaning of the text – individuals could only have guns in the context of membership in a regulated militia.  Cruz and Coulter might want to grab a dictionary and look up the three simple words that begin that amendment – “A well Regulated”. While the court ruled that the right to bear arms extends to almost everyone – the court did not rule out the well regulated clause. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough is a conservative and he knows as much about economics as a tree stump, but even he get how ridiculous Cruz and his defender M’s Coulter, are –

SCARBOROUGH: Did they teach Ted Cruz to read what the Supreme Court said? Especially in the landmark, the landmark decision regarding Second Amendment rights over 200 years was written in 2008? I’m just wondering why would he use his seat on the Judiciary Committee if he went to Harvard to — to — to put forward a willfully ignorant statement about this bill violating the Second Amendment, because it does not. And Ted Cruz knows it does not. So who is he playing for? Is he playing for — for — for people who can’t read, for illiterates? I don’t understand…. When you’re condescending and you don’t even have the facts right. When you’re misstating what the Second Amendment says as interpreted by the conservative court, by Scalia. I have a problem with that.

Indeed, to quote Justice Scalia’s decision in the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” The ruling also allows limitations on ownership of “dangerous and unusual” weapons that are not in “common use” — like, for example, assault weapons.

This is a summary of the assault weapons ban that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is sponsoring. Senator  Feinstein (D) is a trained/licensed gun owner.

After a militant anti-capitalist group called the New World Liberation Front unsuccessfully tried to bomb her house in the 1970s, Feinstein trained to use one.

“I know the urge to arm yourself, because that’s what I did,” she told Senate colleagues in 1995. “I made the determination that if somebody was going to try to take me out, I was going to take them with me.”

To Feinstein, the battle is about keeping what she considers weapons of war out of the hands of those who intend to massacre innocent people. Her personal experience isn’t all that impels her to wage it.

Before the December shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, there was the Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton in January 1989. A 26-year-old man opened fire on a group of children with an AK-47, killing five and wounding more than 30 before taking his own life.

Before the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., last July that resulted in 12 deaths and injuries to 58 others, there was the office tower shooting at 101 California Street in San Francisco in July 1993. A gunman with a grudge against a law firm shot and killed eight people before killing himself.

As time has passed, the tragedies have faded from public memory. But Feinstein has not forgotten.

“This is something I’m deeply passionate about, and I believe it saves lives,” she said. “I don’t intend to stop.”

Intelligent, capable, accomplished women like Sen. Feinstein are just the kind of women that make Coulter go off the rails,

Taking her outrage one step further, Coulter said, “I used to think women should not be able to vote and now I think liberal women should not be able to hold office.”

Like her ideological cousin, Jennifer Rubin at the WaPO, Coulter’s analyses and points of view are located somewhere between 1850 and deranged. The only difference might be is that Rubin wants to be taken seriously as an opinion journalist, while Coulter will seemly say anything to get attention and fatten her bank account.

H/t to Mike for this find, Austrians Should Read their Mises

One thing more must be noted. If within a society based on private ownership of the means of production some of these means are publicly owned and operated, this still does not make for a mixed system which would combine socialism and private property. As long as only certain individual enterprises are publicly owned, the remaining being privately owned, the characteristics of the market economy which determine economic activity remain essentially unimpaired. The publicly owned enterprises, too, as buyers of raw materials, semi-finished goods, and labor, and as sellers of goods and services, must fit into the mechanism of the market economy; they are subject to the same laws of the market. In order to maintain their position they, too, have to strive after profits or at least to avoid losses.” (Mises 1998: 5)

It is quite surprising how much Mises was prepared to concede: an economy with some limited nationalised industry (although run on the principle of profit and loss) where the majority of capital goods are private owned is still a “market economy” with its fundamental characteristics “essentially unimpaired.”

For those not familiar with the term,  Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney and most of the conservative and libertarian movement are Austrians – followers of the Mises school. As compared to Keynesian – and variations of Keynesian – which most Democrats are. The Austrians are not real big on arithmetic. They like to throw some numbers out there that PowerPoint fans will be able to use as justification for continuing to believe in economic pixie dust, Paul Ryan’s $5.7 Trillion Magic Trick

But I was right about the big story: this magic asterisk is worth about $1 trillion more than before. Ryan keeps the same tax cuts he had last year, but he assumes these same cuts will raise an extra 0.5 percent of GDP in revenue. In other words, it’s the same magical budgeting we’ve come to know from Ryan — but now with even more magic!

…Who would pay more under the Ryan plan? Probably the upper-middle class. The Tax Policy Center hasn’t finished updating its distributional analyses of all the different tax expenditures, but the trend is generally the same: households in the $75,000 to $200,000 range take a good amount of deductions. Their tax cuts under the Ryan plan are small enough that they easily could end up paying more if he zeroed out big deductions, like home mortgage-interest.

Of course, Ryan might find that he prefers magic to math — that if it’s a choice between not paying for his tax cuts, and not getting them, he’ll choose to not pay for them. In other words, his $5.7 trillion magic asterisk might just turn out to be $5.7 trillion of red ink.

Hmmm. Budget-busting tax cuts heavily tilted towards the rich? That’s not even a new trick.

Roy Bean, the self-proclaimed “law west of the Pecos,” dies in Langtry, Texas Mar 16, 1903.

A saloonkeeper and adventurer, Bean’s claim to fame rested on the often humorous and sometimes-bizarre rulings he meted out as a justice of the peace in western Texas during the late 19th century. By then, Bean was in his 50s and had already lived a life full of rough adventures.

Born in Kentucky some time during the 1820s, Bean began getting into trouble at an early age. He left home in 1847 with his brother Sam and lived a rogue’s life in Mexico until he shot a man in a barroom fight and had to flee.

…For about 16 years, Bean lived a prosperous and relatively legitimate life as a San Antonio businessman. In 1882, he moved to southwest Texas, where he built his famous saloon, the Jersey Lilly, and founded the hamlet of Langtry. Saloon and town alike were named for the famous English actress, Lillie Langtry.

Judge Roy Bean Saloon & Justice Court, Langtry, Val Verde County, TX
This photo is from 1900. The man sitting behind the table – big hat, beard – is bean. He is trying a horse thief and his friends.
Lillie Langtry as Cleopatra
Actress Lillie Langtry as Cleopatra. London, c1891. Bean never got to meet Langtry while he was alive, but she did visit Langtry after he died.

Bean makes for a very colorful legend. Paul Newman was a in pretty good comedy-western-satire about Bean called The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) . It does not pretend to be a factual biography – just a starting point to tell the kind of fable rich stories we often hear about the Old West.

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Why Do Paul Ryan and Other Conservatives Cling To Bizarre Beliefs Even Once They’re Confronted With The Truth

Democratic Country Road wallpaper

Democratic Country Road wallpaper

 

 

Like the ending to The Wizard of Oz, minus the fun factor, one of the curtains pulled back during the 2012 presidential campaign was that Paul Ryan’s(R-WI) economic credentials were about as honest as the guy who filed Al Capone’s tax returns. Back in August of 2012 some economists noted that Ryan’s numbers didn’t add up. The only thing Ryan was master of was the use of PowerPoint. You can fool some of the people all the time? In the case of House Republicans, 98% of them found a way for 2+2 to equal five with the shear force of belief. They voted for the for the Ryan magical math. Even thought his plan contained less deficit reduction than the Obama plan Republicans said they hated because there were not enough spending cuts. Ryan’s economic vision was based on one thing – lowering taxes by any means necessary for wealthy Americans and cop orations. Despite what so-called moderates like the NYT’s Ross Douthat said, Ryan was not flexible. He was not willing to juggle some revenue increases for spending cuts, and real deficit reduction. 2012 was the year Ryan was stripped of his twin masks of being a genuine economics wonk and a reasonable voice within the conservative movement. So Ryan loses the election, the curtain has exposed him as another voodoo economics pretender. He’s a human being and most of us have had issues in which we have made large ideological and emotional investments. It is difficult for even the most mature and wise to admit that we were wrong and make a change even when the evidence is so overwhelmingly against us. Though a mark of a mature adult and someone who is entrusted with acting in the best interests of their constituents and the country should have the courage and wisdom to acknowledge that maybe a change of course is appropriate at this point. Ryan is not one of those people, Paul Ryan Breaks Down Under Wonkterrogation

Paul Ryan’s great genius has not merely been that he has united conservative Republicans around a single vision – several Republicans have done this before – but that he has simultaneously persuaded moderates that he shares their beliefs as well. That is how Ryan has pitched himself to America not as a rightwing ideologue but as a thoughtful numbers guy.
[ ]…The conversation is worth close examination, because Ryan simply hurls up nonsensical rationales one after another, and finally offers his actual reason when he has run out of gibberish. Ryan begins by pledging his abiding fear of a “debt crisis,” but insists he won’t accept higher revenue, even in return for spending cuts. Ryan replies:

“They already got their revenues,” Ryan said. “So what, we’ll roll over and they get more revenues? That’s not how it works. In the spirit of bipartisan compromise, they’ve gotten revenue increases already. We’ve yet to get anything as a result of it. It used to be 3-1. Isn’t that what Erskine says? $3 of spending cuts to every dollar of tax increase. The president in his own budget last year claimed 2.5 to 1. We’d argue with whether they actually achieved that, but where’s the 3? Where’s the two-and-a-half? Where’s the $1.8 trillion in cuts?”

It is true – there was a $620 billion tax increase at the beginning of the year. On the other hand, there were $2.2 trillion in spending cuts in 2011. So you could just as easily say Republicans already got their spending cuts and there should be no more, right? Ryan replies:

“That was last session,” Ryan said. “We’re going forward now.”

In fact the $620 billion was also last session. In any case, notice how fast Ryan has flipped his logic. First he asserts that there can’t be more revenue because we already increased some revenue. When reminded that we cut spending even more, he says it’s “last session,” and irrelevant.

I have a friend with similar word crutches. If I said you got your spending cuts in that last round of negotiations, more than the cuts you ( and Ryan proposed) so how can you say you did not get your spending cuts, they’ll inevitably say.. well that’s irrelevant. It somehow becomes irrelevant, not because they did not get what they wanted, but because they got what they wanted and now they want more and do want want to consider those very recent concessions part of their new round of demands. In Ryan world every spending cut is agreed to only as a prelude to more spending cuts. When will the federal budget reach the heights of Ryan perfection? When Social Security is privatized and manged by the same hooligans that crashed the economy. We’ll only reach true Ryanism when Medicare is gutted and seniors and the disabled are selling pencils on street corners. We’ll all see the rainbow of Ryanland when they shut down all public prisons, public schools, publicly funded medical research, the EPA is defunded and let the Koch brothers dump their toxic waste in your backyard and the internet is controlled by corporations that can choke off connections to sites they don’t profit from. While at one point during the presidential campaign Ryan (R-WI) said that he had long given up his social-Darwinist beleifs re Ayn Rand, that was also a lie about his ideology. He is still a social-darwinist, still knows more about PowerPoint than economics and still could care less economic policies that maintain a thriving middle-class.

So Ryan having been confronted with facts. Shown that his argument does not make sense, especially if he is arguing that he is a compromiser and having lost his bid for the vice presidency, he is more entrenched than ever in false beliefs. This is typical of most conservatives. Liberals become frustrated because they think that since they have the facts on their side they win. On the contrary. Those people that lean conservatives will look at the truth and claim, well I sill believe the moon is made of blue-cheese anyway. And the more you argue with them, sometimes the more tenaciously they will cling to their beliefs, Why Do People Believe Stupid Stuff, Even When They’re Confronted With the Truth?

What should be evident from the studies on the backfire effect is you can never win an argument online. When you start to pull out facts and figures, hyperlinks and quotes, you are actually making the opponent feel as though they are even more sure of their position than before you started the debate. As they match your fervor, the same thing happens in your skull. The backfire effect pushes both of you deeper into your original beliefs.

Have you ever noticed the peculiar tendency you have to let praise pass through you, but feel crushed by criticism? A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one “you suck” can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happens is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information which lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something which threatens your beliefs, something which conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing.

In a column published around the new Year, conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote that to start off the New Year everyone should start reading the other side’s magazines, pundits and web sites. It struck me as funny because I visit conservative web sites, I probably read The National Review as much as Ross. I grew up on far Right ideology. In other words I give the other side more equal time than most conservatives give us. Read the comments at Free Republic, The Gateway Pundit, Hot Air and the Breitbart sites. These people live and breath in their echo chamber. They still believe that Hillary had something to do with Vince Foster’s death, they belive that annie may crashed the economy in 2007, they believe that president Obama went on some kind of apolgy tour, they have woven an intricate insane tale of events at Benghazi,  they believe that if billionaires had their taxes cut down to nothing the economy would thrive. Not that you can’t find Democrats with some wacky beliefs, it is that this deeply held dogma, this massive playbook of wackiness is what drives conservatism. Take away the pixie-dust economics of Paul Ryan and you have an empty suit who got a decent start in life with the help of Social Security death benefits. Take away the morally repugnant correlations that conservatives draw between cause and events, and you just have some bizarro world caricatures, not statesmen and thinkers.

Listeners and employees quit Georgia public broadcasting as mind-control conspiracy theorist takes

Georgia residents have begun canceling their donations to Georgia Public Broadcasting after a recent report revealed that a former Republican state senator — who believes the United Nations is planning to turn the U.S. into a communist dictatorship using mind control — is receiving a salary of $150,000 to run part of the network.

Not every member of the NRA, but that organization’s official position is that guns equal freedom. Does that mean they’ll be gathering up their militias and stopping Republicans from rigging the 2014 and 2016 elections. How Republicans Plan to Rig the Electoral College and Steal the White House

This Republican Plan would reallocate electoral votes so that a maximum of two electoral votes would go to the overall winner of several key blue states. The lion’s share of the state’s electors would then be allocated one by one to the presidential candidate who won each individual congressional district. (see Figure 1) Thus, in a blue state such as Michigan—which President Obama won by nearly 10 points in 2012—Gov. Romney would have received 9 of the state’s 16 electoral votes because he received more votes than the president did in nine of the state’s congressional districts. In other words, the Republican candidate would receive more than half of the state’s electoral votes despite being overwhelmingly defeated in the state as a whole.

Cashing in on gerrymandering

The Republican Plan does not just apply one set of rules in red states and another set of rules in blue states—it also takes advantage of profoundly gerrymandered congressional maps in order to stack the deck even more for Republican presidential candidates. In 2012 Democratic House candidates received nearly 1.4 million more votes than their Republican counterparts. Yet Republican candidates currently hold a 33-seat majority in the House, due in large part to the fact that Republican state legislatures controlled the redistricting process in several key states. Indeed, Republicans were so successful in their efforts to lock in their control of the House of Representatives through gerrymandering that Democratic House candidates would have needed to win the national popular vote by more than 7 percentage points in order to receive the barest majority in the House. Republicans aren’t particularly shy about touting the success of their gerrymanders either: The Republican State Leadership Committee released an extensive memo boasting about how they used gerrymanders to lock down GOP majorities in the House.

Guns do not preserve freedom and you do not need guns to take it away. The biggest threat to freedom is money, corruption and a morally bankrupt agenda.

This is probably the best report on the subject, but easy to get lost in the minutiae, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell Reach Filibuster Reform Deal [UPDATE]

The deal will address the filibuster on the motion to proceed by changing the amount of debate time that would follow a cloture vote from 30 hours to four, speeding up Senate business and allowing more legislation to reach the floor. But the deal still requires Democrats to muster 60 votes to invoke cloture on that motion, despite Reid’s earlier suggestion that he would bar a filibuster on that motion entirely.

Or This TP report condenses it all down – Three Winners And Three Losers In Today’s Filibuster Deal

Losers

Circuit Judges, Supreme Court Justices & Cabinet Officials: The senior most Senate-confirmed jobs — justices, court of appeals judges and the most powerful executive branch officials — are still subject to 30 hours of delay.
The Tea Party: The package reduces the number of opportunities to obstruct a bill that is supported by the Minority Leader and at least 7 Republicans, meaning that senators like Rand Paul (R-KY) or Mike Lee (R-UT) will have fewer chances to block progress on matters that everyone but a few Tea Party extremists support.
The Future: The most significant changes in this package — the reduced hours for nominees and the two free amendments for the minority — sunset in two years and thus will cease to exist in the 114th Congress unless reinstated.

These are really the only two wins,

District Judges: Currently, Senate rules allow the minority to force up to 30 hours of wasted time before a single nominee can be confirmed. Because Senate floor time is limited, this leads to many confirmations being delayed for months or killed entirely simply because the Majority Leader cannot afford to budget the time to move the nomination forward. The proposal reduces the amount of time that can be wasted while confirming a federal trial judge to 2 hours, significantly reducing the time cost of such confirmations.
Sub-Cabinet Officials: Meanwhile, the 30 hours of wasted time on sub-cabinet officials’ confirmation votes is reduced to 8 hours.

The 60 vote super majority is still in effect. Why 55 or 56 is not a super majority is a mystery. And the very worse part of what modern political watchers have come to think of as a filibuster is still with us – the silent filibuster. If you’re into old movies Mr. Smith Goes to Washington(1939) is a classic tribute to the everyman, a great and unabashedly liberal movie. In that movie Smith has to perform an actual filibuster, He has to stay on the floor and talk. Talk until your opponent literally gives up or you pass out from exhaustion. Now we have the silent filibuster. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn’t like a bill or appointee to the federal appeals court, he sends word to Harry Reid (D-NV) to consider that bill or candidate filibustered. The bill is dead or the appointee is dead. This new deal does not include silent filibusters of federal appellate court of major cabinet appointments. That is also a terrible interpretation of the Senate’s constitutional role as a body that advises and consents.

Republicans are a threat to American workers, grandparents and national security

Black and White Cloudy Night New York wallpaper

 

Five Practical Reasons Not To Vote Republican. Politics are practical for some of us. For many it is a form of endless hysteria, a set of dangerous myths wrapped in red, white and blue, the rantings of a drug addicted lunatic on radio, false indignation, urban myths, character assassination or resentment over pennies instead of resentment over hard scramble lives that don not need to be that way. So appeals to practicality seem out of place, a soft spoken plea in an era where we actually have very wealthy people complaining about how difficult times are for them. Apparently some may be ready to fire all their employees or move out.

1. Economic Darwinism — Republicans want the Poor to Pay

Paul Ryan’s proposed budget would take about a half-trillion dollars a year from programs that support the poor.

[  ]…The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), another vital program that serves 50 million “food insecure” Americans, would be cut by $16 billion under the House version of the Farm Bill. The average recipient currently gets $4.30 a day for food.

Republicans also voted to end the Child Tax Credit, and favor a tax plan that would eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Almost from day one of the Wall Street meltdown conservatives have used the recession to declare war on the working poor. Only about 2% of Americans are chronically poor. The rest are near destitute for a while, get some kind of job and stop getting assistance. So those at the bottom of the economic ladder do pay their way the vast majority of their life times. If our free market system was perfect we would not need much of a safety net for the poor, but its not perfect. While the tea smokers complained about bailing out Wall Street you sure don’t here any conservative running for office this election cycle talk about how when they are elected they’re going to go after the people who siphoned off $15 trillion dollars or more of the nation’s wealth and are still living in their McMansions despite their bad decisions. In ConWorld workers have to be punished for being workers, while the wealthy are rewarded simply for being wealthy.

2. Payroll Tax — Republicans want the Middle Class to Pay

Encouraged by the steady Republican demand for lower corporate tax rates, big business has effected a stunning shift in taxpaying responsibility over the years, from corporate income tax to worker payroll tax. For every dollar of payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.

It’s gotten worse in recent years, as corporations decided to drastically cut their tax rates after the start of the recession. After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, they’ve paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.

Republicans claim that almost half of Americans don’t pay taxes. But when payroll and state and local taxes are considered, middle-income Americans pay at about the same rate as the highest earners. Only about 17% of households paid no federal income tax or payroll tax in 2009. And average workers get little help from people who make most of the money. Because of the $110,000 cutoff for payroll tax deductions, the richest 10% of Americans save $150 billion a year in taxes.

3. Job Shrinkage — Republicans want Young People to Pay

The jobs that exist for young Americans are paying much less than just a few years ago. During and after the recession, according to the National Employment Law Project, low-wage jobs ($7.69 to $13.83 per hour) dropped by 21 percent, and then grew back at a 58 percent rate. Mid-wage jobs ($13.84 to $21.13 per hour) dropped by 60 percent and grew back at a 22 percent rate. In other words, the median wage is falling fast.

Unemployment for workers under 25 stands at 16.4 percent, twice the national average. Half of recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed.

Yet Republicans killed a jobs bill that was supported by two-thirds of the public.

An academic study of employment data over 64 years found that an average of two million jobs per year were created under Democratic presidents, compared to one million under Republican presidents. Similar results were reported by the Bloomberg Government Barometer.

4. Retirement Planning — Republicans want the Seniors to Pay

There’s a common misconception in our country that most seniors are financially secure. Actually, Census data reveals that elderly people experience greater inequality than any other population group, with the poorest one-fifth receiving just 5.5% of the group’s total resources, while the wealthiest one-fifth receives 46%.

The senior wealth gap is further evidenced by data during the great 30-year surge in inequality. The average over-60 wealth was five times greater than the median in 1995, as would be expected with a small percentage of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and a great majority of low-wealth people. Further confirmation comes from 2004 Harvard data that shows rising inequality within all age groups, including the elderly. Indeed, an MIT study found that about 46% of U.S. senior citizens have less than $10,000 in financial assets when they die.

For the vast majority of seniors, Social Security has been life-sustaining, accounting for 55% of their annual income. Because of this successful and popular program, the senior poverty rate has dropped from 50% to 10%, and due to life-long contributions from working Americans the program has a $2.7 trillion surplus while contributing nothing to the deficit. Yet Republicans want to undo it.

5. Public Fire Sale — Republicans want Society to Pay

The common good is threatened by the Republican disdain for public resources. Drilling and mining and pipeline construction continues on public lands, and the House of Representatives has voted over 100 times since 2011 to subsidize the oil and gas industry while weakening environmental, public health, and safety requirements. The “land grab” is pitting corporate muscle against citizens’ rights.

Sadly, most of America envisions a new era of energy independence that increases our world-leading consumption of energy while depending on a proliferation of dirty technologies to extract it. Threats of methane emissions, water pollution, and earthquake activity don’t deter the fossil fuel enthusiasts.

It gets worse. Republicans are eager to sell public land. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” proposes to sell millions of acres of “unneeded federal land” and billions of dollars worth of federal assets. His running mate Mitt Romney admits that he doesn’t know “what the purpose is” of public lands.

That brings us to the heart of the reasons not to vote Republican. Their reckless belief in the free market, and their dependency on corporatization and privatization to run the country, means that middle-class Americans keep paying for the fabulously wealthy people at the top who think they deserve everything they’ve taken from society.

There are some things which can be privatized, but for others the costs far outweigh the benefits – 5 Curses of Privatization That Will Be Haunting Us For a Long Time. Essential public needs are fast becoming the newest products on the market — with the benefits only going to those who buy them. At least in comment sections on the internet the conservative trolls have either never worked for a corporation or their meds are too strong. Corporations are monolithic monsters in many ways. The corporate culture of America is mired in inefficiencies, greed and inept management. I know because I live  and work in the real world. Like everyone else I have to deal with people like telecoms, internet service providers and utility companies among other industries as a customer. Sometimes things go smoothly, but there are also the nightmares of customer service. You hand over national parks to these people and think that some magic will occur that will make corporations better stewards of America’s natural heritage? Step away from the kool-aid. Corporate executives frequently make it to the top, not because they are great at what they do, but because they were the best manipulators, ass kissers or had the right connections.

Memo to Joe Biden about debate with Ryan

Emphasize these points: Ryan’s budget turns Medicare into vouchers. It includes the same $716 billion of savings Romney last week accused the President of cutting out of Medicare – but instead of getting it from providers he gets it from the elderly.

It turns Medicaid over to cash-starved states, with even less federal contribution. This will hurt the poor as well as middle-class elderly in nursing homes.

Over 60 percent of its savings come out of programs for lower-income Americans – like Pell grants and food stamps.

Yet it gives huge tax cuts to the top 1 percent – some $4.7 trillion over the next decade. (This is the same top 1 percent, you might add, who have reaped 93 percent of the gains from the recovery, whose stock portfolios have regained everything they lost and more, and who are now taking home a larger share of total income than at any time in the last eighty years and paying the lowest taxes than at any time since before World War II.)

As a result it doesn’t reduce the federal debt at all. In fact, it worsens it.

On top of all this, Ryan is on record – as is Romney – for wanting to repeal both ObamaCare (taking coverage away from 30 million Americans) and the Dodd-Frank law (thereby giving cover to Wall Street).

Your challenge will be get this across firmly and clearly, with an appropriate degree of indignation – on a medium that rewards style over substance, glibness over detail, and optimistic happy talk over grim reality.

My suggestion: Be cheerfully aggressive. Take Ryan on directly and sharply but do so with a smile. Force him to take responsibility for the regressiveness of his budget and the radicalism of his ideology.

Prepare your closing carefully (unlike the President seemed to have done last week), and tell America the unvarnished truth: Romney and Ryan plan to do a reverse Robin Hood at a time in our nation’s history when the rich have never had it so good while the rest haven’t been as economically insecure since the Great Depression.

Ryan, like Romney, is determined to defend every penny of people who are completely disconnected from the context of how they made their money. Conservatives are willfully blind to all the complexities of a modern economy. They have a Ayn Rand cartoon character view of how capital is created. They’re the saints of wealth at the top of the mountain who got their all on their own. And to make Barack Obama or any Democrat the demon determined to drag them down is laughable. Increasing taxes to what they were under the Clinton administration is no where near the end of prosperity or capitalism. The only reason that morons like Ryan get elected is that sadly, many voters are even dumber or more gullible them he is.

This is not some hot off the presses story that is going to change many minds, but just another tell-tale part of the Romney trail. How when it comes down to the choice between the values he says he has and money, Mitt always goes with the cash. Mitt Romney Lined His Pockets Pimping Big Tobacco In Russia

Which brings me back to my original question: Is there a moral question involved when profits depend on promoting a product clearly proven to cause health problems and which is banned from one’s own religion?

It’s not an easy question to me. If Romney were not Mormon, he would still have to wrestle with whether it was a good idea to introduce products into an emerging market which only harmed people. There’s no question now that tobacco does harm and there was no question then. So even without the Mormon ban on tobacco, how is pimping tobacco products in Russia a moral and right thing to do?

One last bit. It seems that House Republicans lead by the sleazy Darrell Issa (R), in their unhinged zeal to pin blame for the embassy attack in Libya, may have exposed the CIA to some blow back, Letting us in on a secret

Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.

…The Republican lawmakers, in their outbursts, alternated between scolding the State Department officials for hiding behind classified material and blaming them for disclosing information that should have been classified. But the lawmakers created the situation by ordering a public hearing on a matter that belonged behind closed doors.

Republicans were aiming to embarrass the Obama administration over State Department security lapses. But they inadvertently caused a different picture to emerge than the one that has been publicly known: that the victims may have been let down not by the State Department but by the CIA. If the CIA was playing such a major role in these events, which was the unmistakable impression left by Wednesday’s hearing, having a televised probe of the matter was absurd.

The chairman, attempting to close his can of worms, finally suggested that “the entire committee have a classified briefing as to any and all other assets that were not drawn upon but could have been drawn upon” in Benghazi.

Good idea. Too bad he didn’t think of that before putting the CIA on C-SPAN.

Republicans are a threat to grandpa and national security. That is not news, they been like this for years and have no plans to change.

Republicans Did Build It, On a Foundation of Cheap Lies

Highlights of the 2012 Republican National Convention. The quotes are from Andy Borowitz on Twitter and Bill Maher.

Like a lot of blog readers i like to find one or two articles that do a good summary of events. Something that gets down to the nuts and bolts. We have have a lot of sites to visit, work to do and so forth. So thankfully someone has put the RNC convention in a nutshell. This is just the first day of the convention and the falsehoods remain a running theme,

1. The “You didn’t build that” deception. By now, Obama’s rhetorical trip-up on the campaign trail is the stuff of legend, because in the construction of a series of sentences, Obama left an opening for Romney and his allies to suggest that the president meant something entirely different from what he said. At a campaign stop in Roanoke, Va., Obama said that a business owner’s success requires government investment in infrastructure such as roads and bridges. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” he said — meaning, quite clearly, the roads and bridges. Republicans, however, pulled the quote from its context and ran with it. And Romney is determined to carry that ball to the finish line.

 

…2. The welfare lie. The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that it would consider providing waivers to states from the implementation of welfare-to-work requirement in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program if the states could demonstrate that they had a more effective means of helping welfare recipients find work. Romney has seized upon this announcement to claim that Obama is “gutting welfare reform” and eliminating the TANF work requirement — a blatant lie that has been reported as such by many news outlets.

…3. The “dependency” lie. The Republicans have found a useful corollary to the welfare lie in their invention of a Democratic dependency doctrine, which sells the false idea that Democrats deliberately seek to make people dependent on government benefits as a means of winning votes.

The most juvenile articulation of this steaming pile of prevarication was delivered by radio host and former actress Janine Turner, who followed up a Ben Franklin quote with this:

Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Today Obama enables an entitlement society that says, “Give me liberty and gimme, gimme!”

…4. The immigration lie. Back in the primary campaign, Romney encouraged undocumented immigrants to “self-deport [8].” And after Obama announced that his administration would no longer deport undocumented immigrants who, as children, were brought to the United States by their parents, the Republican right cried foul.

…5. The government takeover lie. It’s an oldie but goody, the notion that any new program or regulation amounts to a “government takeover” of some aspect of the economy.

…6. The regulations lie. Another favorite myth of Romney and the Republicans is that Obama has burdened business with an unprecedented level of new regulation when, in fact, the George W. Bush administration issued more final rules in its first three years than has the Obama administration over the same length of time.

I snipped the highlights so those who would like to read the whole plus a bonus lie, will need to click over. So what is the theme of the RNC convention. make up utter falsehoods, spin facts, lie, more class warfare, fabricate a whole new alternate reality and run on that instead of the issues. In other crowds the convention has the same foundation of the conservative movement. I wish that were partisan hyperbole. Yet watching the convention is like watching a horror movie. Lots of special effects to create a narrative that has no bearing, no foundation in the real world. We’re all familiar with the deceptively edited video and quotes taken out of context for the “build it” lie. The Romney campaign has said they will not be corralled by fact checkers. Romney supporters must be god at swimming in the river of denial sense Obamacare is basically Romneycare and President Obama’s welfare reforms were something that Romney himself supported. The ridiculous statements by Janine Turner have been a theme of the conservative movement since Reagan’s imaginary welfare queen stump speech. Crowds ate it up, though no such woman ever existed. There are really only one federal program that offer income support. That is TANF. You know what Janine, the benefits from that program have gone down every year since it was enacted in 1996. Despite what Romney and his deceptive ad says you still have to work forty hours a week to get it. It is almost solely for low income women with children. The program is in fact for the children, but it is generally understood among sane adults that handing checks directly to a cold hungry 6 year old is not prudent. Those women can only collect TANF for five years their entire lifetime so there is no program that people are lined up for so they get benefits to live their entire lives dependent on gov’mint handouts. On the other hand there are very real dependents that leech off the production of the American worker. They’re called corporations and billionaires. Nothing produced in a free market country such as the U.S. exists without directly or indirectly being created by a worker. Workers create capital. The term grand bargain has been used to describe a couple different economic situations lately, but the orinal use of the term in America’s economic history was to describe the bargain between workers and business. of the value produced by workers, corporate executives and their share holders would take a good sized cut, but would pay workers a big enough share to afford the basics, plus some extras – a home, a car, their kid’s college education or special training , etc. Corporate America, with the help of conservatives and triangulating Democrats like the old Democratic Leadership Council broke that bargain. Not completely and not overnight, but pieces at a time over the years. Now Workers, at least half of America gets some crumbs that are trickled down, while people like Romney, the Koch brothers, Shledon Adelson, Bob Perry, CEO of Perry Homes, Wayne Hughes, owner and chairman of Public Storage Inc. and Fred Eshelman, CEO of Pharmaceutical Product Development gorge themselves on the cake. Report: How CEO Compensation Is Fueling Inequality – CEOs were paid 231 times more than workers in 2011.

“CEOs have fared far better than the typical worker, the stock market and the U.S. economy as a whole since the late-1970s,” EPI President Lawrence Mishel said. “Compensation growth for executives and for top-tier financial-sector workers has fueled the enormous growth of incomes at the top.”

According to the new analysis from EPI, on average, CEOs were paid a staggering 231 times more than workers in 2011. In contrast, in 1965, CEOs were paid 20 times more than workers.

The analysis also shows that CEO compensation increased more than 725 percent from 1978 to 2011, while worker compensation only grew by 5.7 percent during the same period.

What is Janine’s, Fox news and the conservative movement in general’s fundamental beef? That some people are getting stuff they did not rightfully earn. I have heard the far Right argue, yea well, things have changed we live in a “knowledge” based economy. These super wealthy have a combination of special skills and knowledge that warrants massive compensation. Really? I have not meant any of the Right’s sugar daddies, but I have meet some wealthy executives. They have skills, but not skills worth 231 times the average worker. None of them are Einsteins. None of them sweat away in the hot sun on a July afternoon. None of them has an aching back from picking lettuce. Bill Gates, left ina room by himself for a year could not write the code currently used in Windows. The Kock’s used technology invented by people who just made a decent living, not billions. The Bulk of their products are fibers synthesized from petroleum, astro turf like floor covering and paper products. And they refine oil. These are not revolutionary leaders in technological breakthroughs, who if they died tomorrow America would suddenly grind to a halt. Neither are any of the other billionaires financing the conservative PACs and feeding conservatives like Janine the same line of crap from almost the moment they’re born. These conservative billionaires are legends in their own minds. In reality they are immoral scabs. With Paul Ryan’s worship of Ayn Rand in mind and her novel Atlas Shrugged. In the end that fantasy nove; the so-called producers have gone on strike to teach the mindless lazy masses to appreciate their betters. A special fantasy metal that never wears out also figures prominently in the story. The problem with this Randian conservative fantasy is very basic. Let’s say someone inevnts such a metal. Is he or she going to run the mill where its produced and all the machines. Is this capitalistic fantasy figure going to mine all the raw materials themselves. Are they going to drive the trucks, build the roads themselves, patrol the highways themselves to ensure their safety. Are they going to fly the planes and simultaneously direct the air traffic, oh and build the planes. By all means let us give credit to the Thomas Edisons, the Marie Curries, the Linus Paulings, Dr. Giuliana Tesoros and Philo Farnsworths credit and just compensation, but let’s not worship them like gods and treat workers like they were disposable ants. Or declare those workers parasites when the system they are not in charge of, is driven off the cliff by malevolent bankers and amoral investors. Why Rand Is Ryan’s Guru and Not Hayek

Judging from the convention conservatives cannot distinguish the real world from fantasy novels, Paul Ryan stands on a foundation of lies

And last night, Paul Ryan made painfully clear that he thinks we’re all profound idiots who’ll believe an endless string of lies, so long as they’re packaged well and presented with conviction. Jonathan Cohn suggested last night’s address may have been the “most dishonest convention speech” ever delivered, and I can’t think of a close second.

It was a truly breathtaking display of brazen dishonesty. Paul Ryan looked America in the eye and without a hint a shame, lied to our face.

Ryan lied about President Obama’s auto-industry rescue, blaming the administration for a plant closing orchestrated by President Bush. Ryan lied about Medicare, falsely accusing Obama of undermining the system. Ryan lied about the debt downgrade, falsely blaming the president for a downgrade caused by Ryan and congressional Republicans.

Ryan lied about the Simpson-Bowles commission, falsely accusing Obama of walking away from debt reduction, and ignoring the fact that Ryan himself fought to ensure the Simpson-Bowles commission never even released a report. Ryan lied about his plans for the safety net, saying he intends to “protect the weak” when he budget plan intends to gut public investments that benefit the poor.

Ryan lied about the debt, saying Obama “has added more debt than any other president before him,” when the truth is, that was George W. Bush — who added over $5 trillion to the debt thanks in large part to congressional votes cast by Paul Ryan.

Ryan lied about the Recovery Act, calling the stimulus “a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst,” when reality shows the exact opposite. Ryan lied about small businesses, accusing Obama of raising their taxes, when he actually cut their taxes.

Paul Ryan, the man the media and Republicans celebrate as a bold truth-teller, told one lie after another, demonstrating a near-pathological disdain for honesty.

Ryan is a walking irony, a reported shining example of values. They’re just grotesque and sleazy values.

And the Black Helicopter report: The 5 Weirdest Bits in the 2012 GOP Platform

The UN is coming! The GOP platform treats the United Nations as a sinister force encroaching on American sovereignty. Though some of this is mere disagreement on policy, elements of the platform incorporate nods to conspiracy theories, like language that says the party “reject[s] the UN Agenda 21 as erosive of American sovereignty, and we oppose any form of UN Global Tax.” As my colleague Stephanie Mencimer reported in 2010 [6], Agenda 21 is a two-decade-old toothless international commitment to sustainable development (“smart-growth communism”) that has roused the imaginations of tea partiers everywhere. Meanwhile, as Foreign Policy’s Joshua Keating notes [7], the UN does not have the authority to impose a “Global Tax.” I suppose that’s a great reason to oppose it!

This is the only two things one needs to understand about the U.N. and any policy or program it tries to implement. The U.S.A. is one of the five major powers on the Security Council. The U.S. can veto anything passed, even if by every single nation in the world. Our UN delegation cannot enter into treaties binding on the country without Congressional approval.

Night Blue City wallpaper

 

Mitt Romney Has Never Built Anything – Mitt Romney Just Destroys Things For a Living

E pluribus unum wallpaper – When It Comes To Women and Rape All Republicans Share The Same Immoral Agenda

E pluribus unum wallpaper. E pluribus unum  is from the Latin,  “Out of many, one”. For about the first 175 years it was the de facto motto of the United States.

 

To review, Rep. Todd Akin (R) the conservative candidate for Senate in Missouri  told a local Missouri station in an interview that “legitimate rape” does not lead to pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin said in an interview with KTVI-TV that caused a furor online Sunday afternoon after being posted on TPM. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin’s comments came during a discussion of his hardline stand against permitting legal abortions for rape victims. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child,” he said.

McCaskill quickly rebuked him — “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases, I’m stunned by Rep. Akin’s comments about victims this AM,” she tweeted — and Republican operatives on Twitter joined in the chorus decrying his remarks and speculating that he would need to be pulled from the race if the GOP wanted to continue to have any shot at taking her seat. Akin, who had been leading in polls, issued a lengthy statement explaining that he “misspoke.”

It may sound like snark but it is incredibly dishonest of the Republican Party and their cabal of commentators to scream for Akin to quite the race. Akin has said or done nothing wrong in the framework of what the conservative movement stands for and the goals of is agenda. As many have already heard, Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Akins (R-MO) co-sponsored  H.R. 3 .

Last year, Akin joined with GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as two of the original co-sponsors of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill which, among other things, introduced the country to the bizarre term “forcible rape.”

Federal law prevents federal Medicaid funds and similar programs from paying for abortions. Yet the law also contains an exception for women who are raped. The bill Akin and Ryan cosponsored would have narrowed this exception, providing that only pregnancies arising from “forcible rape” may be terminated. Because the primary target of Akin and Ryan’s effort are Medicaid recipients — patients who are unlikely to be able to afford an abortion absent Medicaid funding — the likely impact of this bill would have been forcing many rape survivors to carry their rapist’s baby to term. Michelle Goldberg explains who Akin and Ryan would likely target:

Under H.R. 3, only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. Victims of statutory rape—say, a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 30-year-old man—would be on their own. So would victims of incest if they’re over 18. And while “forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code, the addition of the adjective seems certain to exclude acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence—say, cases where a woman is drugged or has a limited mental capacity. “It’s basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape,” says Keenan.

Although a version of this bill passed the GOP-controlled House, the “forcible rape” language was eventually removed due to widespread public outcry.

And just in the news today, Ryan Refuses To Say Abortions Should Be Available To Women Who Are Raped. Mitt Romney has condemned Akins, yet CNN Reports Republican Party Platform Will Include No Exception For Rape, ‘Legitimate’ Or Otherwise. This is Romney’s platform, the agenda on which his campaign rests. Akin’s has offered up yet another strange non-apology in the annals of strange apologies from conservatives,

“I feel just as strongly as ever that my background and ability will be a big asset in replacing [Sen.] Clare McCaskill and putting some sanity back in our government. I’m not a quitter, and my belief is we’re going to take this thing forward, and by the grace of God we’re going to win this race.”

Most of the Republicans in the presidential primaries said God told them to run. Now we have Akins claiming that a man who believes that women should be used as incubators for the babies of rapists thinks God is on his side. The real motivation for the clearly false outrage on behalf of Romney, Ryan and others is over the fact that Akins so openly and bluntly stated what they believe – and have believed for years ( a good history of the bizarre way conservatives view rape and women’s rights here – THE MAINSTREAM CONSERVATIVE ROOTS OF TODD AKIN’S PREGNANCY THEORY (sorry not my caps). They’re not outraged over the substance, they’re outraged at letting an unvarnished version of what they believe out into the world. Todd Akins (R-MO) has had his defenders. Defenders in the sense – with friends like these who needs enemies – Second CNN Contributor Scrambles To Deflect Criticism From GOP Rep. Akin’s “Legitimate Rape”

CNN contributor Erick Erickson jumped to deflect criticism from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) after Akin said that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancies. In his response, Erickson used a discredited criticism of President Obama.

Asked during a local television interview whether he would keep abortion legal in the case of rape, Akin said:

AKIN: First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

Akin has subsequently said: “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”

Erickson responded to Akin’s comments by writing:

Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, made an inarticulate and rather dumb statement about rape and abortion on television in Missouri.  He subsequently clarified his remarks. Congressman Akin, like many devout Christians, does not believe in a rape exception for abortion.

Erickson later added that he’d “take Todd Akin’s inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week”:

Todd Akin was inarticulate. Some are now accusing him of being pro-rape. The people horrid by Todd Akin’s remarks are, I’m sure, thrilled to have a President who defended infanticide. I’ll take Todd Akin’s inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week.

I’m not going to spend too much time parsing this grotesque word salad that Erickson thinks passes for a rebuttal and his lame deflection to a myth regarding president Obama’s service as an Illinois state senator. Many devout Christians, Jews and good folks from various religions support a women’s right to have dominion over her own body, especially in cases of rape, incest and medical issues that make pregnancy medically problematic for the woman. Conservatives, such as the perennially arrogant Erickson do not own Christianity.

Mike Huckabee also chimed in to Todd Akins (R-MO) defense with this stunner, Huckabee to Akin: ‘Horrible’ rapes created some extraordinary people

The former Arkansas governor and onetime GOP presidential contender suggested a couple of cases in which he suggested that rapes, though “horrible tragedies,” had produced admirable human beings.

“Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the late American gospel singer. One-time presidential candidate Huckabee added: “I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”

Huckabee left the seminary in 1976 to become director of communications for the fiery televangelist Robison, who once declared he was “sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals and the perverts and the liberals and the leftists and the communists coming out of the closet.” Robison called on “God’s people to come out of the closet” and re-take control of America.

I wish I could wash my brain of the number of times I have heard similar Republican rationales for treating women and their wombs as though they were petri dishes. In this bizarre Huckabeeian logic be thankful your house burned down and killed your dog, you can build a new house and get a new dog. Ya see folks everything has a silver lining. Be happy that mugger knocked out your teeth, now you can get dentures and never have to worry about cavities. In this upside down world all terrible tragedies are good because some good may come of it, so bring on some more tragedy. This philosophy fits in with the Republican tendency to see themselves as beleaguered martyrs. Like most Americans I believe in trying to make the best of bad situations, but like so many good things the concept can be carried to sick twisted extremes.

If you’re going to keep selling the same snake-oil to voters Rep. Akins (R-MO) should take lessons from Scott Brown (R-MS). brown seems to have had some success in conning the voters of Massachusetts into believing he is a nice guy, a moderate guy/ Like George Bush he even runs around in a work jackets and a truck – see I’m a stand-up guy, not a two-faced opportunist who drinks the same kool-aid as Todd Akins, Two Faced Scott Brown (R-MS) Supports Todd Akin’s Agenda Even As He Calls On Akin To Quit

As Rep. Todd Akin’s despicable comments on “legitimate rape” rightfully provoke outrage, the Massachusetts Democratic Party reminds voters that Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown has given thousands of dollars to other Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate who would redefine rape as “forcible rape” and threaten women’s rights if, with Brown, they gain control of the U.S. Senate.

Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan also supports the bill.

Brown’s PAC, SCOTTPAC, has made campaign contributions to four House members, including three U.S. Senate candidates, after they cosponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

Scott Brown is supporting a Vice Presidential nominee and three of his fellow senate candidates who want to redefine rape, excluding protections to victims of violent sexual assaults. Brown donated to current Senate candidates Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), and Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND), as well as Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA). The Republican nominee for Vice President, Paul Ryan, also cosponsored the bill.

…Scott Brown has made campaign contributions to the following supporters of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would redefine rape:

Scott Brown’s PAC contributed $5,000 to Jeff Flake for US Senate Inc[OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 8/20/12]

Scott Brown’s PAC contributed $10,000 to Montanans for Rehberg [OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 8/20/12]

Scott Brown’s PAC contributed $5,000 to Berg for Senate [OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 8/20/12]

Scott Brown’s PAC contributed $10,000 to Denham for Congress [OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 8/20/12]

Brown – the moderate – has also joined his fellow Senate conservatives in blocking any jobs bills, including – Dem Jobs Bill For Teachers, Firefighters…….Republicans block Bring Jobs Home Act, protecting companies that outsource jobs…..Republicans Obstruct Third Jobs Measure in Senate….and Brown supports Romney’s Tax Plan Which May Cost U.S. As Many As 800,000 Jobs: Report.

This is the party and agenda of Romney, Ryan, Akins, Erickson, Huckabee and Brown – Eight staggering Conservative Republican comments on rape and women

7. When women sign up for the military to hang out with aggressive dudes, they are asking to be raped. Notoriously anti-woman Fox News talking-head Liz Trotta wondered of enlisted women who were assaulted, “What did they expect?” She also blasted feminist calls for infrastructure and support to help the increasing number of women in this position. And refused to apologize.

8. Santorum and Huckabee are all about rape victims taking one for team “Life.” Let’s not forget our Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, respectively, think rape victims should “make the best” of it and see the unwanted child as a gift and sometimes cool people are conceived in rape.

 

Krugman has a good blog post up today on the relentless Medicare –  Mediscare campaign of Romney-Ryan ( which many down ticket conservatives have adopted as talking points) – Understanding Medicare “Cuts”

Jackie Calmes has a very good piece about those Medicare “cuts” Romney promises to repeal. As she emphasizes, all of these involve reductions in payments to insurance companies and health providers, rather than reductions in patient benefits. So what are we talking about?

Sarah Kliff had a good summary. Most of the proposed savings come from reducing overpayments to Medicare Advantage and reducing reimbursement rates to hospitals.

What should you know about these changes?

Medicare Advantage is a 15-year failed experiment in privatization. Running Medicare through private insurance companies was supposed to save money through the magic of the marketplace; in reality, private insurers, with their extra overhead, have never been able to compete on a level playing field with conventional Medicare. But Congress refused to take no for an answer, and kept the program alive by paying the insurers substantially more than the costs per patient of regular Medicare. All the ACA does is end this overpayment.

Indigo Water Drops wallpaper – The Republican $500 Billion Medicare Lie Has Grown To $700 Billion

Indigo Water Drops wallpaper

Deep Sky Blue Water Drops wallpaper

This is an interesting contrast in liberal versus conservative journalism. To call what conservative political analysts write journalism is a stretch, but in the spirit of bending over backwards to be fair we’ll call what Guy Benson writes for Town Hall journalism for today. Brutal: CNN Torches DWS on Medicare Falsehoods

Poor Debbie ( referring to DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz) .  She’s totally out-gunned and has nowhere to hide.  Her talking points are pitifully hollow and cannot withstand even basic questioning.  She stubbornly rejects the (correct) premise that the Romney/Ryan Medicare reform plan exempts everyone over the age of 54, and plays fast and loose with numbers — conflating 55 and 65 on several occasions.  When she is brow-beaten into finally acknowledging — if not admitting — the truth around the 3:45 mark, she quickly realizes her “mistake” and reverts back into denialism.  When Blitzer asks her to specify exactly how current or soon-to-be seniors would be impacted by the GOP plan, she cannot.  Because they’re not.  The Left is intellectually bankrupt on the very subject they claim will allow them to crush Mitt Romney in November.  They despise the bipartisan solution Republicans have offered, but they have no alternative of their own.  Dear Democrats, Medicare is slated to go bankrupt in 2024.  You say it’s wrong for future seniors to be denied Medicare as it currently exists.  Okay, what’s your plan, guys?  We know that your actions have already cut Medicare by $700 Billion to pay for part of Obamacare.

You can watch the “brutal” video here – you can log it and click the dislike button. If Blitzer had done what he does in that video to the RNC Chair, that same writer would be livid. Benson displays the same low standards of honor in his interpretation of events. Blitzer browbeats Schultz over getting her to stay within the limits of how he wants to frame Ryan’s gutting of Medicare – he constantly shouts at her about the Ryan plan leaving everyone 55 our older medicare benefits in place. So what. That is hardly the point. If you’re 54.5 years old in 9.5 years Ryan will hand you a voucher for say $6,000 dollars. If you have a heart condition you go shopping for the best insurance you can find. That insurance pays for say the whole $6,000. Where does the rest of the money come from for your medical care once that is spent. You cross your fingers and hope a doctor and hospital treats you for free or you go without medical care. Blitzer, with cheerleaders like Town Hall want to focus like a laser on the seniors currently on Medicare you have nothing to worry about, and don’t worry about your children or grandchildren. Ryan’s gutting of Medicare only exist in the hypothetical future in which Benson’s idea of solid “brutal” journalism make everything magically OK, or not worth thinking about in terms of medical or moral consequences. “The left is intellectually bankrupt” says the ghost of Pravda adding $200 billion to the conservative noise machine’s $500 billion dollar lie. If Benson is trying to claim some high moral ground, how ironic that he is using gutter scum lies to claim that ground. Romney recently used the $500 billion version of that lie which has been thoroughly debunked, Morally Corrupt Mitt Romney Spreads $500 Billion Medicare Lie

Just one day after President Obama declared that the Republican budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) would “ultimately end Medicare as we know it,” his likely Republican opponent appeared at the Newspaper Association of America and threw the accusation right back at him. Obama, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said, “has taken a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it” and “is the only President to ever cut $500 billion from Medicare”..

[  ]…Romney rarely lets the facts get in the way of his rhetoric, but these oft-repeated accusations ring particularly hallow — and are hardly rare. The savings achieved in Medicare through the Affordable Care Act will help stabilize Medicare by eliminating overpayments to private insurers and slowly phasing in payment adjustments that encourage greater efficiency. As a result, the law extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by eight years and allows seniors to retain all of their guaranteed Medicare benefits. Medicare beneficiaries are already paying less for prescription drug coverage and receiving preventive care as a result of the law, while enrollment in Medicare Advantage has increased and premiums have fallen. The law, in other words, does exactly the opposite of Romney’s claim: it expands Medicare “as we know it.”

That lie that Town Hall and Benson use to smear President Obama and Democrats has also been debunked here – where the $500 billion was a new tax and Medicare Cut, Fact-Checking Romney: Does Health Reform Cut Medicare, Levy $500 Billion Tax?

CMS and the Kaiser Family Foundation tell ABC News that there will be no benefit cuts to Medicare.  They say instead of Medicare’s being cut, there will be much more spending at the end of a 10-year window, but it does slow the rate of that growth. This is all unless Congress makes drastic changes to Medicare, for example passing House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan.

CMS says—and Kaiser agrees—that spending will be reduced by getting rid of fraud and ending overpayments to private insurance companies. It sends a message to those insurance companies: Operate more efficiently.

The changes to Medicare and health care in general through ObamaCare has built-in taxes ( like those on tanning salons and gold-plated insurance plans for those in high income brackets), penalties and cost savings to pay for themselves. No cuts have been made to Medicare benefits. None. None are planned for the future under the current Democratic plan. Benson is not making a point by point counter proposal for a better plan, and how he would accomplish getting our national GDP percentage spent on health care, he is a no nothing taking cheap pot shots, telling lies you might expect from a five-year old and lacks the courage to offer constructive alternatives. In other words a typical conservative. And for the contrast to liberal journalist – Matthew Yglesias admits that his reporting on Paul Ryan’s stock trades was wrong – “Let me apologize.” I have yet to find a conservative site, magazine or blog admit or apologize for all the lies they decimated about Democrats and President Obama. Or apologize for the lies they spread about the economy under Bush or WMDs and Iraq.

Romney recently said he was running on his economic plans, not Ryan’s. Fine, Romney also plans to gut Medicare. He has been amazingly vague about where his cuts would come from. So analyst have to work with what he says he wants to cut in general and what spending he wants to increase. The basket so to speak, only has so many things in it so it is not the most difficult detective work in the world to figure out that Medicare, Medicaid, education, programs that benefit the middle-class and working poor take large hits – Romney Budget Proposals Would Require Massive Cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Other Programs

Romney, Ryan and conservatives have looked at the economy Republicans crashed ( with the help of some conservative Democrats) and decided that the cashier at the grocery store, the brake specialist at the auto shop, high school teachers, the assistant fast food managers should pay for the damage  in loss of safety net benefits and education. While the top 1% who own %40 of America’s wealth need more tax breaks. Corporation who are paying ridiculously low taxes and making history making profits should be worshiped like the comic-book-like heroes of Ayn Rand novels. One of the two big Romney PACs is running ads saying that reducing the deficit will create jobs and that cutting corporate taxes will create jobs. Dealing with conservative points of view is a lot like dealing with a religious cult. It simply does not matter how many charts or how much evidence the reality based community presents, conservative just recite the dogma of their cult. Will Media Find Their Way to Discover Just How Radical Paul Ryan Is?

While Ryan supports current levels of military spending, the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of his budget shows that there will be essentially nothing left for anything else by 2040. The CBO analysis of the Ryan budget (prepared under his direction) shows that spending on all items other than health care and Social Security would fall to 4.75 percent of GDP by 2040 and to 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050.

The military budget currently is more than 4.0 percent of GDP. In the post-World War II era it has never been less than 3.0 percent. This means that Ryan’s budget would leave nothing for running the State Department, the Park Service, the Food and Drug Administration, the Justice Department, the National Institutes of Health and the other areas that comprise the federal government as it now exists.

However to imply that Ryan is some sort of stringent free market fundamentalist would be far too generous. Representative Ryan has never expressed any discomfort with the numerous forms of government intervention that redistribute income upward to those at the very top.

For example, Representative Ryan has never spoken up against the implicit insurance that the government provides to too-big-to-fail banks, a subsidy which has been estimated to exceed $60 billion a year. Representative Ryan has also never spoken up against government-provided patent monopolies for prescription drugs. Patent monopolies raise the price of drugs by close to $270 billion a year above the free market price. While there are more efficient mechanisms for financing drug research, Representative Ryan is apparently not bothered by a government-created monopoly that results in a massive upward redistribution of income.

He has also never spoken up against the professional and licensing restrictions that protect doctors in the United States from international competition. As a result of these protectionist barriers we pay our doctors more than twice as much as what doctors earn in Western Europe. If free trade lowered doctors pay to Western European levels it would be equivalent to a tax cut of $1,200 a year for an average family of four.

And remember that Ryan voted for the Bush stimulus and TARP (funny item from verifying my kinks: there is a Republican site called ‘Commie Blaster” that calls Ryan a RINO for voting for all the bail-outs and calls Romney the “white” Obama). One explanation for Ryan’s votes has been he was rushed or not given enough information. For someone who the media has all agreed to call the conservative Superman, those seem like very lame excuses. I don’t mind that he voted for those items, but it says something about Ryan that he could justify some Keynesian economics under an ultra conservative president, but not under a Democratic president during hard times for the sake American people. Like his fellow Republicans, Ryan is more than willing to throw Main Street America under the bus for the radical ideological goals of the far Right. On the subject of the media’s portrayal of Ryan as a wunderkin, The Paul Ryan Origin Story Is a Heaping Pile

I thought I’d seen the apotheosis of Beltway beat-sweetening in the early 1990’s, when we were treated to a soprano chorus of hosannahs to the Staggering Genius Of Newt Gingrich. But, I fear, that may only have been the historical warm-up to the oratorio of humjobbery that is going to break loose now that the zombie eyed granny-starver, Paul Ryan, Pericles Of Janesville, has hit the big time.

(Also, too: Janesville is not a small town. Luck is a small town. Unity is a small town. Independence is a small town. Janesville is a small-to-middling size city of about 65,000 people, and once was a not-inconsiderable manufacturing center. Janesville is not a small town simply because it happens to be in Wisconsin.)

Exhibit A can be found on the front page of the New York Times today, in which four actual reporters conspire to tell the tale of how Ryan rose from adversity to a position in which he can focus his zombie eyes on your granny and arrange for her eventual starvation.

Anytime a parent dies during childhood that is a genuinely sad event and Ryan surely has everyone’s sympathy on that score. Though let’s also see past the fuzzy warm Hollywoodish story to the actual facts of why he was not suddenly living under a bridge after that tragic event,

How can you possibly write that passage and dismiss idly as a “contradiction” the ironic — not to mention hilariously hypocritical — fact that, after his father passed, and while working the fry station and toting canoes at a YMCA summer camp, Ryan was also the beneficiary of Social Security survivor’s benefits? These did precisely what they were designed to do, which was to help young Paul Ryan get the education that would help him become the adult Paul Ryan who’s been on one government payroll or another since he left college, and who goes around telling half-dim audiences that people on government assistance are mired in a “culture of dependency.”

But don’t you know he grooves to Rage Against The Machine? It is not possible for the Times to disgrace itself further.

Fk Ludwig von Mises. If it weren’t for FDR and LBJ, and for the munificence of the American taxpayer, Paul Ryan would still be in Janesville, looking for a job

More on the Ryan Legend here – Conservatives Should Stop Giving Trophies For Trying

Republicans always seem to be saying that God told them to run for office or told them to vote a certain way. Yet having heard God’s voice, been given that incredible privileged, members of that exclusive club, they expect President Obama to be the one performing miracles, The politics of drought

Ordinarily, Congress easily passes an agriculture bill called the “farm bill,” but that was before the worst Congress ever. This year, the Democratic Senate approved the measure, but House Republicans are blocking it, despite the assistance it would provide to drought-stricken farmers.

Yesterday, President Obama was in Iowa, one of many states hard hit by the drought, and reminded voters of legislation that needs to pass. “Unfortunately right now, too many members of Congress are blocking the farm bill from becoming law,” Obama said. “I am told that Gov. Romney’s new running mate, Paul Ryan, might be around Iowa the next few days — he is one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities.”

The comments apparently rankled House GOP leaders.

On its website and in an email Monday, House Speaker John Boehner’s office said President Obama needs to take personal responsibility for the drought ravaging the Midwest.

Obama, “continues to blame anyone and everyone for the drought but himself,” reads a release from Boehner’s office posted online and distributed to reporters Monday. The quote was attributed to Boehner himself in a Financial Times story. The online post and the press release came from Boehner spokesperson Kevin Smith.

One day President Obama is an atheist Marxist, the next day he is a spiteful Moses. Conservatives all seem to have a coin operated giant ass in their offices which dispenses what they are supposed to think and say on any given day.

 

“I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work…. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable.” Henry Ford

Antique Map of Portugal – Why is Paul Ryan’s(R) Fanaticism Considered Reasonable

A Current and Precise Description of Portugal, Which Was Once Lusitania, by Fernando Alvarez Seco

A Current and Precise Description of Portugal, Which Was Once Lusitania, by Fernando Alvarez Seco.

Seco was a Portuguese mathematician and cartographer. It was known to be first published in Rome in 1561. The very detailed engraving for its day was done by Sebastiano del Re. It was considered such a good map that Abraham Ortelius (1527-98) included it in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theater of the world). The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the first true world atlas and considered indispensable to world leaders and their navies.

For those who try to keep up with Paul Ryan (R-WI), the actual policies and he prescribes and his influence on the conservative movement it might be tempting to dismiss him as a clown. His plan to gut Medicare is not just radical because of the obvious effects it would have on seniors, the disabled and children, but because it accomplished two evils at once. It leaves millions of Americans either without adequate health care or in financial crisis trying to pay for health care. That many people already know. The Ryan plan also cripples Social Security. When  medical vouchers run out, what income are people going to use pay the short fall. Their Social Security. A few might squeak by using their savings or pension plan funds. This has been called social-Darwinism because the Ryan/Conservative movement plan would cause both tremendous financial hardship, but unlike the ACA myths, this plan would actually kill grandma. Since registered Republicans remain about 30 plus percent of the population you have to take this clown seriously. I’ll highlight a few things from Jonathan Chait’s long read The Legendary Paul Ryan, but it contains so much that it is best for everyone to read the whole piece for themselves. Maybe my perception is wrong, but I don’t think of Chait as a typical Beltway insider – he rarely channels David Broder Hack Centrism Disease. Yet Chait writes a perfect example of same,

The Paul Ryan that has been introduced to America is a figure of cinematic rectitude—a Jimmy Stewart character, but brainier. “Through a combination of hard work, good timing, and possibly suicidal guts,” wrote Time last December, “the Wisconsin Republican managed to harness his party to a dramatic plan for dealing with America’s rapidly rising public debt.” He is America’s neighborhood accountant, a man devoted to the task of restoring our fiscal health, whatever slings and arrows may come his way. Last year, a consortium of nonpartisan anti-deficit groups created a “Fiscy Award” (for “promoting fiscal responsibility and government accountability”) and bestowed one upon Ryan—a laying of hands sanctifying his good standing by the good-government, let’s-all-stop-fighting-and-fix-this crowd.

Just because the usual suspects have fixated on the newest conservative wunderkin in order to write the same old garbage about small government – when what they mean is gutting the safety net for millions of the most vulnerable Americans, does not mean anyone should bring out buckets of anointment oil.

I’ve lost count of the number of articles on Ryan that mention how personable he is. We all like ‘nice’ people, that does not automatically translate into good person. A pleasant persona is actually typical of some of histories worse ideologues. Learning this not so secret secret is part of seeing the world through the yes of an adult. Ryan has been successful at convincing a lot of people that deficit reduction in the middle of the worse recession since 1929 is the position of the Serious People. These would be the same people who look at how Japan handled its 1990s crisis and say that wasn’t so bad. They look at how awful the Serious Austerity People in Europe are paving the road for the never ending recession and swearing things are going swimmingly. Democrats have not been especially helpful by offering us austerity lite. Ryan and his strange appendage, otherwise known as Grover Norquist, along with the usual conservative echo have convinced a large part of the country and the Beltway media that we have a deficit problem instead of the real problem, lack of revenue and spending. Ryan’s adherence to long debunked economic dogma is akin to the worse kind of ideological fanaticism. He and the conservative movement are absolutely blind to the cruel consequences of their plans. Which is one reason that Democratic austerity, being the only other choice, doesn’t look that bad right now. Yet regardless of what kind of math one uses, conservatism’s new demi-god’s budgets increase the deficit. If conservatives actually stood for anything, anything resembling the common good, ideological consistency or fidelity to American ideals about fairness and morality, their heads should explode. Yet Ryan is their new king without clothes – Bush with a better haircut. Well OK, that might be, but Ryan is not going to be the conservative nominee for president. Romney likes Ryan’s plans. We will assume – goodness knows why – that Romney has looked at Ryan’s proposals, done the math and likes what he sees. Thus Romney likes the idea of killing the grandparents, having disabled children suffer, larger deficits and spiraling health care costs. All of which is fine with conservatives as long as the goals of their dogma are realized – gutting the safety net. Further on in the piece Chait does call Ryan’s plan what it is,

Whether Ryan’s plan even is a “deficit-reduction plan” is highly debatable. Ryan promises to eliminate trillions of dollars’ worth of tax deductions, but won’t identify which ones. He proposes to sharply reduce government spending that isn’t defense, Medicare (for the next decade, anyway), or Social Security, but much of that reduction is unspecified, and when Obama named some possible casualties, Ryan complained that those hypotheticals weren’t necessarily in his plan. Ryan is specific about two policies: massive cuts to income-tax rates, and very large cuts to government programs that aid the poor and medically vulnerable. You could call all this a “deficit-reduction plan,” but it would be more accurate to call it “a plan to cut tax rates and spending on the poor and sick.” Aside from a handful of exasperated commentators, like Paul Krugman, nobody does.

The persistent belief in the existence of an authentic, deficit hawk Ryan not only sweeps aside the ugly particulars of his agenda, it also ignores, well, pretty much everything he has done in his entire career, and pretty much everything he has said until about two years ago.

In 2005, Ryan spoke at a gathering of Ayn Rand enthusiasts, where he declared, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”( Krugman linked added)

Just this past week Ryan said he did not adhere to Rand’s philosophy. Could that sudden convenient twist of doublespeak be because Romney will be running on the Ryan budget framework and he can’t be seem running on the platform of a crazy atheist who preached the gospel of greed and selfishness, yet ended up living her final years on Social Security and Medicare.

Conservatives are always trying to pick out and portray a Democrat as a fanatic. They almost always end up distorting what they say or putting words in their mouths. This is from a movement which has no leaders, no pundits who are not fanatics. Their fanaticism so deeply embedded in the conservative psyche that the rank and file, not to mention most of the media, sees it as mainstream. Romney teaming up with a fanatic, big yawn – Mitt Romney’s Nutty Professor. Meet W. Cleon Skousen: conspiracy theorist, slavery apologist, tea party icon. Mitt Romney says you should read him.

In an interview with an Iowa radio station five years ago, the former Massachusetts governor acknowledged the influence of a controversial figure from his own schoolboy past—W. Cleon Skousen, the late Mormon historian and tea party hero [1] who taught Romney at Brigham Young University. A former FBI agent, Salt Lake City police chief, and professional conspiracy theorist, Skousen fashioned a narrative of American history [2] that held a unique appeal to religious conservatives—all based on the notion that the Founding Fathers were members of a lost tribe of Israel.

[ ]…But Romney did recommend a Skousen book later in the discussion, when the subject turned to Mormon eschatology. “Cleon Skousen has a book called The Thousand Years,” Romney told Mickelson.

Romney gets the name of the book wrong, but that reference does mean that he read Skousen and recommends him. It was actually a series of books – The Five Thousand Year Leap, The First Thousand Years etc. Someone recently mentioned to me a phenomenon that seemed obvious yet I had not considered. We’re playing by two sets of rules when it comes to President Obama’s religion and Romneys’. It is mainstream, perfectly acceptable to claim that Obama is a secret Muslim or is not a real Christian. On the other hand – even among most liberal commentators; Romney’s religion is off the table. Any critical inquiry into what Romney believes is off limits.

Skousen has also been a big influence on Glenn Beck – Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck’s life

Some good news; It is  “International Jazz Day”

Why International Jazz Day?

Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance;
Jazz is a vector of freedom of expression;
Jazz is a symbol of unity and peace;
Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities;
Jazz fosters gender equality;
Jazz reinforces the role youth play for social change;
Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones;
Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies.

 

Miles Davis –  All Blues