Vintage South America map circa 1654 – Pawlenty and Bachmann Race to The Bottom

Vintage South America map circa 1654

Back in high school, you know the public institution packed with capitalist hating liberals of the radical Right’s sick imagination, we were introduced to the capitalist concept of bidding for contracts. We divided up into groups and each became a transportation company trying to sell our services to wholesalers and manufactures. We did have a cost sheet. The concept is very much like selling vegetables on a road side stand. If a tomato cost you so much plus the costs of gas, bags, little baskets and any other expenses, how much do you need to sell the tomato for in order to make a profit. We came up with a bid based on our costs and what we considered a reasonable profit. We lost the bid. I’m wasn’t than and I’m not now crazy about losing. So the next round of bids our bid allowed for costs plus pennies in profit. We lost again. I almost glared at the other groups. Their bids could not be this low. Well they could be this low but promising services based on their bids they could not make a profit and thus could not stay in business for long. On the next bid our group just took the last winning bid and subtracted a few dollars. We still lost. At that point I turned to the instructor who seemed to know this would happen. How can these people keep bidding so low. They’re not considering costs. They would soon be out of business in the real world. They’re not letting their actions be shaped by the  realities of running an actual business. The instructor repeated by what I was thinking. The groups had let their bids be shaped solely by the goal of winning the bid. A short-term, short sighted victory. In the real world if my group had thrown up their hands, refused to bid and bide our time we would have lost business in the short-term, but in the long-term our competitors would have gone out of business. Except for the details on the cost sheet the game was simple. That’s because the basics of generating revenue are simple. They’re so simple that even radical presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann should be able to understand them. Yet both are in the race to bankrupt the country. Pawlenty’s plans include massive tax cuts, Pawlenty Moves from Sam’s Club to the Country Club

Pawlenty’s windfall for the wealthy would make George Bush and Paul Ryan blush. While the corporate tax rate would be slashed from 35% to 15%, Pawlenty would create two tax brackets of 10% for those earning up to $50,000 and 25% above. (As with the Paul Ryan plan, the loopholes Tim Pawlenty would close remain unnamed.) At a time of when the federal tax burden is at a 60 year low and income inequality at an 80 year high, Pawlenty insists “we should eliminate altogether the capital gains tax, interest income tax, dividends tax, and the death tax.” (It is worth noting that less than one-quarter of one percent of U.S. families pay the estate tax, while George W. Bush’s last round of capital gains and dividend tax cuts in 2003 delivered 70% of their savings to “top 2 percent of taxpayers, those making more than $200,000.”)

In the race to see who can have the lowest bid and the fastest track to crippling the economy the Republican majority in the House has already placed its bid. They have voted for Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan twice. So it is not as though Pawlenty is part of a fringe within the bubble of his own party anyway. Our bids thus far all break the bank. What a great opening for an astute conservative to be the voice of sanity. Michele Bachmann(R-MN) has never been one to be attracted to reason or sanity, Taking Michelle Bachmann Seriously

If she were to take her shot, she’d run on an economic package reminiscent of Jack Kemp, the late congressman who championed supply-side economics and was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996. “In my perfect world,” she explains, “we’d take the 35% corporate tax rate down to nine so that we’re the most competitive in the industrialized world. Zero out capital gains. Zero out the alternative minimum tax. Zero out the death tax.”

Such a reduction in the corporate tax rate alone would reduce federal revenue over the next 9/10 years by over $900 billion dollars. Who knows I might have some billionaire readers, though the chances of anyone paying are about as great as someone’s chances of winning millions in their state lottery ( where odds of 12 to 14 million to one are common). Now who is going to benefit from doing away with the estate tax completely – the one that few people pay anyway – 0.24% of estates pay estate taxes. A hand full of billionaires. Bachmann is a true voodooist when it comes to the supply-side assault on the American way of life. Do away with the capital gains tax when 68% of capital gains profits go to the richest 1% of Americans. These tax rates have been in effect for over a decade. When they were enacted the promise was they would crate jobs and prosperity across the board. Where are those jobs and where is that prosperity. Supply-siders promised the Bush tax cuts would create jobs, balance the budget, pay for themselves and toast your waffles into golden brown goodness. None of that happened – The Bush  Tax Cuts, a Decade Later: How They Helped Break the Economy

We are, in other words, talking about a party that tried an ambitious and radical experiment, saw it fail, and decided what’s needed now is significantly more failure.

I mind that Republicans got this wrong and we’ll be dealing with the consequences for many years to come, but I really mind that Republicans think they were right. As Ezra noted the other day, the party not only “hasn’t learned anything from the failure of the Bush tax cuts,” it’s actually managed to “unlearn some things, too.”

Conservatives enjoy the fact, as many of us do, that communism has been a failure. They still write articles about it. They rarely mention that  progressive social policies such Medicare, the minimum wage, child labor laws, Social Security and public education help save capitalism. Bush, Ryan, Pawlenty, Bachmann, Palin, Gingrich, the current cadre of radical Right republican governors, the tea bags all have one thing in common if not the exact numbers and how fast they would accelerate the race to the bottom for the middle-class, the desire to take the United States back to the Age of the Robber Barons. America as the land of monopolies, rampant corruption, vote buying via corporations like Koch Industries, gutting the social safety net that keeps millions of seniors and children out of poverty, crippling public education from grade school to public universities and sabotaging environmental laws that save millions of lives. The Right’s deeply radical agenda is clear enough. For reasons that defy rational explanation conservatives think this plutocratic model is compatible with a healthy democratic republic and a modern progressive industrialized economy. Or more likely they have no desire to have an enlightened society. The worse kind of authoritarian Pottersville seems to be  their goal.

Ten Charts that Prove the United States Is a Low-Tax Country

The United States is a low-tax country. That’s true for individuals and for corporations, and it’s true whether you compare us to other countries or the America of the past. No matter how you slice it the conclusion is the same.

Conservatives like to claim that our budget deficits are purely a “spending problem.” Said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “We don’t have this problem because we tax too little. We have it because we spent too much.”

It’s a popular talking point, but it simply isn’t true. Deficits do not stem from spending levels alone. They are the product of a mismatch between spending and revenue. And when revenue is as low as ours is, you end up with big deficits.

I’ll just post the section on taxes on investments, which include capital gains,

Taxes on investments lowest since 1933

And taking into account President Obama recent attempts to extend the hand of compromise, estate taxes are down to 0.14%. One would think conservatives, supposedly fans of hard work and self-sufficiency, would want the families of the extremely rich to go out and earn at least some of their own money. Kind of like that Paris Hilton reality show where they go off to work on a farm to send how the other half lives.

Fox News has a new game show on with  Eric Bolling seeing how many bizarre attempts he can make at being hip in between hurling not too thinly veiled racists comments at President Obama – Fox’s Eric Bolling: Obama Is Hosting “Hoodlums” In “The Hizzouse” 

During the opening of Fox Business’ Follow the Money on Friday, Eric Bolling teased a segment about the White House hosting the president of Gabon by saying, “Guess who’s coming to dinner? A dictator. Mr. Obama shares a laugh with one of Africa’s kleptocrats. It’s not first time he’s had a hoodlum in the hizzouse.”

[  ]…As Bolling said that Obama had previously hosted “a hoodlum in the hizzouse,” footage of the rapper Common aired…

I was fair. I searched to see if there was a similarly tainted story on Fox which was as insulting to MBA frat boys like Bush 43 who also meet with President Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon. I am shocked to find that no such racist slanted “journalism” exists in regards Bush.It is fairly common practice among those rascals in the executive branch to meet with people. That way you can tell them you do not approve of their human rights record, as President Obama took the opportunity to do with Ondimba.

President George W. Bush and President Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon meet in the Oval Office Wednesday, May 26, 2004.

Glass City wallpaper – Republican Medicare Lies Continue

Glass City wallpaper

Republicans demand TV station yank ad claiming GOP plan would `end Medicare’

Attention, people, this is important: The battle over whether it’s true that the Republican plan would “end Medicare” is about to play out in a critical way in New Hampshire.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which oversees House races for the GOP, has written a sharply-worded letter demanding that a New Hampshire TV station yank an ad making that claim. Whether the ad gets taken down could help set a precedent for whether other stations will air Dem TV ads making this argument, which is expected to be a central message for Dems in the 2012 elections.

Here we are 7 months after the mid-term elections and Republicans, who made job creation a center of their platform, have yet to introduce a jobs bill. What they have done is voted twice to end Medicare.

Unfortunately as we mark the 150th day of Republican control of the House today, Republicans have yet to bring a jobs bill to the House floor. In fact, the only votes this Congress has taken to create jobs have been on Democratic bills, which were either voted down by Republicans or which Republicans voted against even considering:

An American jobs effort to end government contracts rewarding corporations that ship American jobs overseas. [Vote 19]

Build America Bonds to Create Jobs Now Act – leveraging public dollars to strengthen the private sector, growing our economy by rebuilding America’s schools, hospitals, and transit projects, supported by American businesses, the construction industry, mayors and governors. [Vote 38, Vote 30, Vote 189]

American Jobs Matter Act – to give preference in federal contracts to U.S. manufacturers that create jobs here at home. [Vote 257]

National Manufacturing Strategy Act, which calls on the President to lay out a plan to help ensure American manufacturers can compete, grow, and thrive. [Vote 279]

Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing Technology Act to help ensure the cars of the future are built here in the U.S., by investing in a broad range of near-term and long-term vehicle technologies to improve fuel efficiency, support domestic research and manufacturing, and lead to greater consumer choice of vehicle technologies and fuels. [Vote 310]

Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act to provide our government with effective tools to address unfair currency manipulation by countries like China, which could help create 1 million American manufacturing jobs by leveling the international playing field for American workers and businesses. [Vote 9, Vote 199]

Have Republicans stooped to new lows in parsing out the meaning of words. I wish that were true. They were just as bad when it came to lying about WMD and the economy during the Bush years. Imagine someone took the warhead and rockets boosters off an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Would we still call that a missile or just a very expensive metal shell that used to be a missile, What’s In A Name?

As Greg says, this is important — because if they can get away with this, it will amount to a serious infringement of free speech, preventing people from running truthful ads.

Because the fact is that Republicans are trying to end Medicare. The program we now call Medicare is one in which the government acts as your insurer, paying your major medical bills; coverage is guaranteed to all seniors. The program Republicans want gives you vouchers and tells you to go buy your own insurance, if you can. That’s not at all the same thing.

Oh, they’re also trying to stop anyone from calling it a voucher plan — but that’s what it is.

What about the claim that the Ryan plan actually does guarantee coverage, because it says that insurers can’t turn you down? That’s based on word games. What the plan says is that you can’t be turned down because of medical history — it imposes community rating. But it says nothing about requiring that insurers sell coverage at a price you can afford. And the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Ryan plan makes it clear that it would put insurance coverage beyond the financial reach of many seniors.

The shell that Republicans would leave is what they would like to call Medicare. Just like they call torture just “enhanced integration”. Just as Sean Hannity will never live up to his bet to be “interrogated”, we will never see seniors clambering to have a half empty shell of health care. yea but Ryancare/Wing-nutcare will not kick in for years so old folks have time to get their Canadian citizenship or some how gather the same guaranteed resources they will need down the road. Not true, Republican Medicare, Medicaid proposal would hurt current seniors, too

You know that whole schtick from the Republicans about how anybody over 55 won’t be affected at all by their draconian budget and Medicare elimination scheme? They’re lying about that two. That’s according to analysis by Tim Fernholz writing at the National Journal.

“The retirees are going to be taken care of; there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it,” House Speaker John Boehner vowed in an interview with CBS last month. The plan’s architect, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has said time and again that the changes wouldn’t affect anybody getting close to retirement. “We propose to not change the benefits for people above the age of 55,” Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, insisted last week.

There’s only one problem with the strategy: It’s not true.

The policies in the House GOP budget, if enacted, would begin affecting millions of seniors almost immediately by increasing their costs for prescription drugs and probably long-term care. Further, Medicare costs could rise over time if healthier seniors choose to abandon the traditional benefit program.

[  ]…Some 9 million seniors qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and about two-thirds of all nursing-home residents are covered by Medicaid. The GOP budget proposes cutting some $744 billion from Medicaid over 10 years by turning the system into block grants that limit federal contributions and give states more choice in structuring benefits. No one knows exactly which Medicaid services states would choose to cut back, but senior citizens account for a disproportionate share of Medicaid outlays and would almost certainly bear some of the burden.

“We know that two-thirds of the dollars in Medicaid go to people who are disabled or over 65, so this is the big funder of long-term care in this country,” said David Certner, AARP’s legislative-policy director. “We also know this could have an impact on home- and community-based care, which is the kind of care individuals prefer the most [and] often the ones that will be cut first.”

Final piece of Orwellian doublespeak to deal with: Ryancare is just like ObamaCare. No it is not. This one is silly beyond words. If they are the same, why repeal one and try to replace it with the other. Children trying to get away with something make up better lies on the fly than the average Republican.

Democrats(see the above on jobs agenda) do seem to be trying to create jobs. Because they are the minority party in the House they cannot even get bills up for a vote. Just as the public saw that FDR could not solve the problems of the Great Depression in one term, Democrats and President Obama cannot fix the loss of $17 trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth by Republicans in four years. Democrats need to get out the message they are the party that is trying and obviously the Republicans are the party of obstruction. For most readers that snip of bills that Republicans stopped is probably the first you have heard of those job creation bills. A suggested recipe for Democrats, A Path to Democratic Ascendancy on the Economy. I disagree with the recommendation to stop reminding people where the economic calamity started and why it is still with us. It is possible to look back and forward in the messaging. We have hard time learning or remembering lessons in this country. Supply-side economics and the insane contempt for regulation that protects workers, consumers and investors keeps failing and keeps coming back like a zombie.


Everyone has probably read these by now but just in case, CASE CLOSED! CONGRESSMAN WEINER WAS FRAMED!

The screencap of Congressman Weiner’s page — the one featuring the infamous “crotch shot” — lacks the URL. As far as I can tell, the only way to create that anomaly is when someone other than the account holder places an image on Yfrog, using the simple strategy outlined above.

[   ]…The only way to create a URL-free header is to have someone else send a pic to one’s Yfrog address. Milowent did just that. You can see the result: The header now has a blank space beneath Dowson’s name.

Why does Yfrog work that way? I don’t know. Ask their programmers.

The important point is this: The anomaly in the header indicates that the image was not sent by Weiner. It had to have been sent by someone else.

Not only that. Believe it or not, when an outsider sends a pic to someone else’s Yfrog account in this fashion, the action creates a message in the “twitterstream.” The message seems to originate with the Twitter account holder — but it doesn’t. It comes from somewhere else — from someone mailing a picture to the account holder.

This is a serious security flaw in the design of Yfrog and Twitter. It allows a malicious outsider to “spoof” a tweet that seems to come from someone else.

ABC reported on the exploit described by that blogger and have since closed that security hole. The full post gives you all the ins and outs of the technical aspects. it boils down to anyone with the knowledge of this exploit being able to post to someone’s Twitter account via e-mail. Someone did some forensics on the photo, New Forensic Details About Weinergate Photo

Farid confirmed that the photo known to have come from Weiner’s camera was “inconsistent” with the controversial photo. In fact, Farid says, the photo appears not to have come from a Blackberry at all. But here’s the even stranger part: The controversial photo does not match any camera in Farid’s database, which consists of about 15,000 kinds of cameras, phones, and tablets.

It is important to remember that Breitbart, all the right-wing conservative blogs and pundits have not produced a single shred of evidence that Congressman Weiner posted that photo. If you’re visiting a site that insists that Weiner still did something wrong, ask for proof. They will not produce any because there is none. The arguments seem to have boiled down to Rep. Weiner’s oddly worded denials or they just “know” it is true. That does not pass any legal or logical benchmarks. Andrew Breitbart is even backing off, throwing “Dan Wolfe’ under the bus and a Tommy Christopher is trying to claim that Breitbart had nothing to do with any of this. Which is just ridiculous as the screenshot taken after Weinergate broke shows, Big Government was all Weineragte all the time, Andrew Breitbart’s Employees Are All-Penis, All-The-Time. Besides the basic premise of this cooked up scandal be completely fabricated, Breitbart is afraid he has hooked up with a couple of right-wing perverts, The Dark Past Of The “Weinergate” Co-PilotTwitter avenger Mike Stack not your typical conservative agitator

The Twitter user who first floated the rumor that a lewd photo scandal was brewing for Representative Anthony Weiner is not your typical conservative avenger, an investigation by The Smoking Gun has determined.

Mike Stack, a 39-year-old New Jersey resident, is known as “goatsred” in the Twitterverse, where he has helped lead a months-long assault on the New York City politician. Stack was joined at the hip in this pursuit by “patriotusa76,” who gave his name as “Dan Wolfe” and was the online avenger who happened last Friday night to discover the notorious tweet emanating from Weiner’s account.

As TSG reported yesterday, “Dan Wolfe” has conveniently evaporated in the wake of “Weinergate.” In fact, today Wolfe’s entire Twitter page was deleted.

But Stack, the other Twitter Twin, remains online. An examination of his background has discovered:

* Stack, who aggressively pushed the story about Weiner’s underpants shot, has worked as a moderator on a pornography web site, and been a regular commenter on several other X-rated sites. Stack describes himself as a “Pervert” on one site, where his avatar, captioned “Antichrist,” is a drawing of President Barack Obama as Jesus Christ.

One of the family values centered activities of this bunch of conservative stalkers – Wolfe, Stack and apparently a few women – did was harass some of the teenage girls who were Rep. Weiner followers. We await the media to do a couple things it should have done in the first place: The MSM picked up the story as a he said she said kind of story without any inquiry into hard evidence that Congressman Weiner had done anything inappropriate. At this juncture the Congressman and the country should be getting an apology for the shoddy reportage they consider journalism. We also await the same media to use it’s considerable resources to work holding Wolfe, Stack, Breitbart and assorted accomplices to account.

William Jacobsen, or at least this one – So Now All These People Will Apologize to Sarah Palin About Paul Revere, Right? – believe it or not is a conservative law professor who works at Cornell. He post this as, one would assume, jury ready proof that Palin was correct,

I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back,and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from,& what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms ( Paul Revere)

Clearly that is Revere’s account of what happened after his famous ride. Here is what Palin said,

PALIN: He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.

There were no bells ringing or shots fired. At the time we were all British. He rode with two other men and they were all caught and either escaped or were released afterwards. The goal was to quietly deliver a warning to John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British Army was going to arrest them. Palin’s actual words are that Revere’s ride was to warn the British. Palin was incorrect.

In this undated letter, written at the request of Jeremy Belknap, corresponding secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Paul Revere summarizes his activities on 18-19 April 1775: he recounts how Dr. Joseph Warren urged him to ride to Lexington (to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of British troop movements); how he had previously arranged with some fellow Patriots to signal the direction of those movements by placing signal lanterns in the steeple of Old North Church; and how he left Boston from the “North part of the Town,” was rowed across the Charles River by two friends, and there borrowed a horse and began his ride.

The manuscript letter includes some interlineations, apparently in the hand of Jeremy Belknap. In printing the account in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1st series, vol. 5 (1798), Belknap assigned to it the date of 1 January 1798. At the end of the document, Revere signed his name but then, apparently choosing to remain anonymous, wrote above it “A Son of Liberty of the year 1775” and beside it “do not print my name.” Either he changed his mind or Belknap ignored his request, for the two phrases are crossed out in the original document, and the name is included in the printed version.

Revere fills most pages of his letter to Belknap (pages 2-6) with the description of his ride. He writes of avoiding British soldiers and reaching Lexington, where he conveyed information to Hancock and Adams and where he met up with William Dawes. After Revere and Dawes set off for Concord, they were joined by Samuel Prescott, who helped them “allarm all the Inhabitents.”

Borrowed a horse? Sounds like socialism. Why didn’t he make one by himself from weeds and tree bark the way Palin would have.

Republicans – Grand Poobahs of Cynical Hypocrisy and Crass Exploitation

Those who think Politico leans too far Right – and I agree – they’re practically fair and balanced compared to Real Clear Politics who ran with this gem, Burlingame After Meeting With Obama: He Turned His Back On Me

Debra Burlingame, the sister of Charles “Chic” Burlingame (pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon) met with President Obama today, along with other families who were victims of 9/11. Burlingame said she confronted Obama about Attorney General Eric Holder prosecuting the men who interrogated KSM, which may have produced intelligence leading us to bin Laden.

Burlingame describes the encounter with Obama: “As a former attorney I know you can’t tell the Attorney General what to do, he said, ‘No, I can’t.’ But I said ‘we — that shouldn’t stop you from giving your opinion. We wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t done their jobs. Can’t you at least give them your opinion.’ And he said ‘no I won’t,’ and he turned around and walked away.”

Isn’t it well known that Presidents are always committing to agreeing with people they stop to shake hands with that as soon as they return to Washington they will forthwith politicize the Department of Justice. Just because Bush did it, one assumes. RCP makes no mention of the fact that Burlingame is also a rabid right-winger who is one of the founding members of Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol’s Keep America Safe. Cute name for an organization that is pro law breaking even to the point of demonizing anyone who wants to investigate whether – probably just a coincidence – former VP Dick Cheney broke the law – Is that “Keep America Safe”—or “Keep Cheney Out of Jail”?

A few days back I took a look at a new organization launched by Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol called Keep America Safe. They claim it is designed to put the Obama Administration on the defensive about national security issues, and they promise to run ads against Democrats in marginal districts. But turning to Keep America Safe’s advocacy page, we find an absolute obsession with one issue: a criminal probe into the origins of the torture program by the Justice Department. The whole Keep America Safe campaign is geared to making the point that the torture program and other Cheney-authored measures that probably crossed the threshold into criminal conduct were perfectly legitimate policy alternatives. Keep America Safe seems largely dedicated to keeping Cheney out of jail.

Now Michael Isikoff unearths more information that supports this thesis. Who’s bankrolling Keep America Safe, he asks? It’s Florida real-estate developer Mel Sembler, whose last foray onto the political stage was as chair of the Scooter Libby Defense Trust. Is Keep America Safe a related operation, also geared to the legal defense of the Vice President’s office? It sure looks that way.

Consider Cheney’s latest speech, in which he accused Obama of “dithering” about how many more troops to commit to Afghanistan—a peculiar charge to fall from the lips of a man who sat on a request from his Afghanistan commanders for ten months without action. The setting for this latest volley was an award dinner at which Cheney’s former chief-of-staff Scooter Libby, now a convicted felon whose sentence was commuted by President Bush following a furious lobbying campaign by Cheney, was presented with the “Service Before Self” Award. What exactly was the nature of Libby’s service? According to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Libby failed to give an honest account of the role played by Dick Cheney in the outing of a covert CIA agent as an act of petty political revenge. The Cheney speech at the event honoring Libby went up immediately at the Keep America Safe website, more evidence of seamless coordination between the legal defense efforts and the fearmongering Keep America Safe campaign.

Focusing on one extremely unhinged defender of the Bush administartions law breaking and her poor vitim play, is the conservative media’s idea of breaking news. If so, the least they could do is include some important facts. Burlingame has no faith in the American system of justice, thinks the DOJ is just supposed to be a puppet for the Right or the prevailing winds of public opinion rather than justice and is happy to use what was supposed to be a non-partisan tribute to the victims of 9-11 into a cheap-shot political opportunity. The Burlingame crowd helped manipulate this country into an unesccary, expensive, bloody and counter prodcutive war. It is Burlingame, both Cheneys and Keep America safe who should be on a national apology tour for turning their backs on truth, justice and American values.

Burlingame is one of those head in the sand sore losers who hate it that torturing KLM did not lead to the capture or death of Bin Laden or he would have been killed in 2004. Like many on the rabid Right it absolutely pisses them off that it was President Obama that revived the CIA’s Bin Laden unit and it was under his leadership that Bin Laden was brought to justice. She jions the illusratious company of the crank Koch brothers, David Koch Says Obama Doesn’t Deserve Credit For Successful Bin Laden Operations

Obviously it’s not the case that Obama is temperamentally more of a unilateralist than Bush or McCain. But he may just have a better sense of what’s important and what’s not. I like to think, though, that part of the difference is that Obama takes the United Nations seriously. The UN Charter is often viewed in American circles as circumscribing American sovereignty, but in this case it’s relevant that the US had authorization from the UN Security Council to take “all necessary steps” to neutralize the “threat to international peace and security” posed by al-Qaeda. The President’s judgment was that that entailed striking the compound without telling the unreliable Pakistani security services in advance. Both Obama’s predecessor and his opponent in the campaign said they wouldn’t do that, and if they’d followed through on their word Bin Laden might have gotten away.

The Koch brothers are to good judgment and Americanism what clogged drains are to good water flow,

In 1958, Fred Koch became one of the original members of the John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known, in part, for a highly skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover. Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent. In a self-published broadside, Koch claimed that “the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Parties.” He wrote admiringly of Benito Mussolini’s suppression of Communists in Italy, and disparagingly of the American civil-rights movement. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he warned. Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment “a vicious race war.” In a 1963 speech that prefigures the Tea Party’s talk of a secret socialist plot, Koch predicted that Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.”

[  ]…In 1967, after Fred Koch died, of a heart attack, Charles renamed the business Koch Industries, in honor of his father. Fred Koch’s will made his sons extraordinarily wealthy. David Koch joked about his good fortune in a 2003 speech to alumni at Deerfield, where, after pledging twenty-five million dollars, he was made the school’s sole “lifetime trustee.” He said, “You might ask: How does David Koch happen to have the wealth to be so generous? Well, let me tell you a story. It all started when I was a little boy. One day, my father gave me an apple. I soon sold it for five dollars and bought two apples and sold them for ten. Then I bought four apples and sold them for twenty. Well, this went on day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, until my father died and left me three hundred million dollars!

The Koch brothers typify the elitist attitude of the modern conservative movement. They took their wealth and surprise, they created more wealth. Just like anyone else with that kind of start in life would do. Now they think of themselves as blessings to America, John Galt-like superheroes of capitalism with a sense of entitlement and no sense of humility. No sense of gratitude for all the peons on their payroll or all the working class people who buy their products and make their wealth possible. They are the poster children for libertarian conservatism who think any regulation – like regulating the amount of arsenic in your drinking water to protect you and your children – is no less than a pinko commie plot to keep them from squeezing even more money out of the masses.

Some of the rightie bloggers are having a smile at this story, 9/11 Family Invited To Presidential Ground Zero Visit Snubs Obama

As 50 carefully selected families prepare to join President Barack Obama for a ceremony at the World Trade Center site Thursday, one of the invited 9/11 families have decided to pass on the Commander-in-chief’s visit.

Although many consider it to be a once in a lifetime invitation, the Vigiano family of Deer Park, Long Island have respectfully declined.

“If this form letter was the invitation, it was kinda lame,” John Vigiano told PIX 11 News when describing the email invitation sent to him from the White House.

This one family expressed those thoughts. Everyone got the same e-mail from the White House. Sure a nice letter on White House stationary would have been nice, but considering the breaking news and the issue of time constraints, well we do live in the digital age. The White House even called to apologize. The Vigianos expressed the view that they were still in mourning to some extent and even Bin Laden’s death did not bring closure to the death of two sons. There is no arguing with their pain. They feel what they feel. I’ve suffered loss of loved ones myself and to some extent I will never get over it.  The Lonely Conservative in posting about that story writes, I Get Better Spam Emails

Is there anything the people in the White House don’t bungle? They really must think of us as one big herd, only distinguishable by our ethnicity, gender, social status or groups of victims. The White House invited fifty families to join President Obama today as he visited Ground Zero for the first time in his presidency. One family declined, saying they didn’t want to be part of a photo-op. What turned them off? The invitation they received.

Oh my. This president has clearly insulted all of “us”  in the worse imaginable way. Why he includes himself as being among the families of 9-11 victims he fails to explain. President Obama will have to go a long way to match the insults directed at the families of 9-11 victims by conservative Republicans, Media figures, GOP strategists defend Coulter’s attacks on 9-11 widows

Coulter’s comment that has perhaps drawn the most attention is an attack on the widows of 9-11 victims, read by Lauer: “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”

[    ]…On the June 7 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Sandy Rios stated that Coulter’s “words are laser-focused on the truth,” comparing them to “Holocaust pictures” that “we have to see … to understand what happened.” Rios also compared Coulter’s words to a “clarion wake-up call,” and “cold water” that — in O’Reilly’s words — “wakes you up.” Rios further praised Coulter’s “gift of words and imagery,” calling her “unique” and “frank” and adding that “she plays an important role.”

[  ]…On the June 7 edition of MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, Republican strategist Jack Burkman defended Coulter’s statements “[a]ll the way,” asserting that Coulter “understates the point” and is “telling the truth.” Burkman added that the 9-11 widows — whom he compared to anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan — “exploited commercially” the deaths of their loved ones, that they had “breathlessly … stepped just into the fame thing,” and that “before the bodies are cold, they’re out selling and trying to make money.”

[   ]…Also on the June 7 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Republican strategist Karen Hanretty asserted that Coulter’s attacks on the 9-11 widows were not “mean spirited,” but rather “tongue-in-cheek,” “satire,” and examples of “Ann’s own personal style.” Hanretty further argued that “this entire discussion” of Coulter’s book “proves the point” that “liberals regularly trot out these heroes, or as she calls them, ‘human shields’ that Republicans can’t refute.”

[  ]…On the June 8 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck stated emphatically that Coulter was “right” about the “9-11 wives.” Beck agreed with Coulter that “[j]ust because you lost somebody in a tragedy doesn’t mean that you get a free pass for the rest of your life.

It is another round of Conservatives Can Get Away With Anything. Even the blatantly crass exploitation of 9-11 for political gain. The sleaze-fest known to history as the 2004 Republican Convention,

Organized Labor and Conservative Credibility


Video: CWA union thug strikes young female FreedomWorks activist. If M’s Hale was assaulted that is obviously a bad thing. I have watched this video twice. There does seem to have been some kind of confrontation – the supposed CWA worker perhaps shoving someone or using his sign to push away the camera, which is very close to his face. While the pushing or shoving, if it did occur is poor behavior, the police would call it aggravated assault at best. The law does recognize the concept of personal space. If someone gets too close to you in a way meant to maliciously cause distress and fear of further attack is considered justification for responding. M’s Hale is actually not to be seen. Except that might be a shot of her shoes as the camera points down. The Right has a couple of problems with this video and future videos which do not display a clear and unedited version of events. These are issues of their own making. One, we recently had a tea bag activist call for posing as union members to cause trouble –  Tea Party plan to impersonate union protesters: “Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes & pictures will linger as defacto truth.” We actually do not know if the person depicted in the video is an actual CWA member of what his political affiliations are. Another credibility problem the Right has is its recent history of editing video to make themselves look good and people, and organizations they hate look bad,  See Andrew Breutbart, Big Hollywood, Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe – ACORN Sting Tape EDITED: Rachel Maddow Dissects Edit-Bay Trickery (VIDEO). Just a month ago, having learned nothing from their previous video hoax we had the James O’Keefe inspired Lila Rose try to pull an ACORN-like con-game on Planned Parenthood, A Refresher Course On Andrew Breitbart’s Dishonest Tactics -Planned Parenthood Actually Reported The “Potential Sex Trafficking” To Law Enforcement Officials. If this M’S Hale was shoved or hurt that is unfortunate. Besides the credibility the Right and their sugar-daddy organizations have when it comes to exposing alleged wrong doing by the subjects of their never-ending hate campaigns, there is the immediate issue of lack of other reports in the Wisconsin press and why hasn’t Hale in fact filed a police report. A quick search of broadcast affiliates and newspapers in Wisconsin showed no reports of assault or an account of the confrontation. The only place you’ll find the video – besides YouTube – is on right-wing Republican web sites. Yes, the Right can claim the big bad librul press is hiding this breaking story, but that would mean an admission that no public report was filed – perhaps from lack of evidence? And a lost opportunity for the Right to portray middle-class workers and unions as “thugs”. Considering the tens of thousands of protesters on the public workers side, this one incident – if it occurred as the Right claims, is nowhere near having the moral weight to indict the vast majority of workers, their families and friends.

Hale even admits the video was edited or framed in a certain way to serve her purposes,

I was not asking for this. There was no confrontation between the thug and myself prior to this. He had not asked me to put the camera away. I was not as close as the video implies (it was cropped from a vertical iPhone video so it would fit on youtube). I was simply filming a protest, as I have done for the past two years. Amazingly enough, none of those crazy right wing extremists ever hit me.

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano ‘bloody’ comment becomes flashpoint in union flap. This was definitely not a proud moment in Democratic history. To Rep. Capuano’s credit he did apologize. A lost art on the Right,

“I strongly believe in standing up for worker rights and my passion for preserving those rights may have gotten the best of me yesterday in an unscripted speech,” he said in a statement. “I wish I had used different language to express my passion and I regret my choice of words.”

Rep. Edward Markey(D) was at the same rally as Capuano,

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey also took on the Tea Party protesters, telling the News Service prior to his public remarks Wednesday that they bordered on “economic illiteracy.”

Where were they when George Bush was squandering the surplus? Where were they when George Bush was fighting two wars without paying for it? Where were they when George Bush turned the keys to our economy over to Wall Street? Where were they then?” he said. “The blame that goes down to school teachers for being responsible for what happens just shows you how completely and totally ignorant of the actual operations of the economy over the last 10 years they are.”

The tea smokers would never lose the taint of living in a bubble for eight or nine years, suddenly waking up, indignant at how the nations’ finances have been run. If we did not have Bush’s debt plus the three trillion dollars from invading Iraq we’d be in much better shape.

Before we move on one more note on the Civil Discourse wars, Conservative Indiana Official Jeffrey Cox On Wisconsin Protestors: ‘Use Live Ammunition’.

Wisconsin Governor Hosni Mubarak Walker, like most far Right cons have convinced themselves they are the gurus of economics. Actually that is an understatement. They truly believe whatever they say about economics is the last word even if they contradict themselves. While the nation and working class Americans economic problems can all be traced back to them and conservative Democrats. Walker keeps claiming he is just getting Wisconsin’s’ fiscal house in order. There is no connection between union busting and a better economy,

“As a state economist and policy analyst, I was surprised that no one asked me about this proposal. I analyzed it for its economic impact. If public employee salaries are cut (through increased withholdings as proposed) by enough to fill the $137 million budget gap, the resulting drop in consumer spending will lead to: 1) a loss of over 1,200 nongovernment jobs; 2) a loss of about $100 million in business sales statewide; 3) a loss of nearly $35 million in personal incomes of nongovernment employee households; 4) ironically, a loss of nearly $10 million in state tax revenues.” — Robert Russell, economist and analyst, Madison.

The Republican Deficit Hysteria Will Not Solve Our Economic Problems or Why Budget Cuts Don’t Bring Prosperity

Similarly, there is no evidence that the government is gobbling up too many workers and keeping them from the private sector. When John Boehner, the speaker of the House, said last week that federal payrolls had grown by 200,000 people since Mr. Obama took office, he was simply wrong. The federal government has added only 58,000 workers, largely in national security, since January 2009. State and local governments have cut 405,000 jobs over the same span.

The fundamental problem after a financial crisis is that businesses and households stop spending money, and they remain skittish for years afterward. Consider that new-vehicle sales, which peaked at 17 million in 2005, recovered to only 12 million last year. Single-family home sales, which peaked at 7.5 million in 2005, continued falling last year, to 4.6 million. No wonder so many businesses are uncertain about the future.

Without the government spending of the last two years — including tax cuts — the economy would be in vastly worse shape. Likewise, if the federal government begins laying off tens of thousands of workers now, the economy will clearly suffer.

Leonhardt is likely correct about some tax cuts. Republicans went too far in insisting on keeping the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250k. All we hear now from those same Republicans is  we ( the middle-class and poor) have to start making sacrifices. It was not asking for much of a sacrifice for someone who was making $395k a year to somehow get by on $5k less. Yes, the wealthy should pay more, not because they are all mean and greedy, but because they are the ones who benefit most from the basic infrastructure that makes their wealth possible.

AssRocket at Powerline sends out his deepest, and as usual, weird compassion to the poor beleaguered Koch brothers who have to suffer the mean things libruls say about them, Wanker of the Day: Assrocket.

Map Delaware Bay and River 1776

Map Delaware Bay and River 1776. Wikipedia has an entry on the Delaware Bay. There is a Delaware Bay ecology focused group on FaceBook called Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Speaking of FaceBook, Twitter and social media, thanks to those who are sharing my posts.

By way of The Sideshow this timely article on how the village nuts argue, The Rules, all of them (so far)

Rule #1: Deny, deny, deny.

Rule #2: Attack, attack, attack.

Rule #3: When facts are undeniable, change the subject. This can be done in various ways, for example:
– Introduce irrelevant details on a tangential point.
– Pluck out from what your opponent said an individual phrase you think you can attack, even if it’s one that was just tossed off quickly, and treat that as if it’s the focus of the entire discussion.
– More subtly, try to tie your opponent up in piles of minutia to the point where everyone, including your opponent, loses track of the thrust of their argument.
– Apply Rule #4.
Whenever possible, insist that your changed subject is the “real” one under discussion.

Rule #4: Issue a lengthy, ranting denunciation of “the left” of the form “What about…,” being sure to include the words “hypocrites” and/or “hypocrisy,” thereby arguing that the left can’t legitimately criticize the right, while by using this tactic insisting that the right can continue to criticize the left. (Note: Where possible, include the phrase “you liberals.”)

There are 13 more and they get better as you go down. The ones above are especially true in regards to Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Where would they be in terms of the ongoing debate without their deep convictions that shouting a lie, a distortion or a half-truth over and over again magically makes it the new reality. #5 seems to have had a dog whistle effect – “Make the particular stand for the whole. Find something offensive or silly some liberal or leftist, somewhere, sometime, said or did and label it as identifying the entire left half of the American political spectrum. Demand that your opponent spend their time denouncing that example rather than discussing the original topic.” PowerLine’s Assrocket joins the on the Glenn Beck pile on. This may be news to many liberals but it turns out that when Woodrow Wilson is not shoving America into Stalinism from beyond the grave, an elderly professor named Frances Fox Piven is part of the all powerful cabal of radical leftists who secretly control everyone’s life, up to and including your taste in Popsicles.

Who is The Left?

The Left is someone in charge of how to discuss shootings in Tucson. Also the Left is in charge of where elected officials sit at the State of the Union address. Also the Left mixes metaphors to profit and is in charge of speech shutdowns.

Many in the center to liberal part of the political spectrum has have co-opted the term “left” to apply to liberalism. A political tradition and philosophy grounded in such classic political philosophers as John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. The far Right likes to use it is a wide net to include everyone who works for a living, thought about joining a union, does not want their children to have to drink water with toxic waste it or thinks the police should be held accountable when they shoot an unarmed man. In other words it has never been easier to qualify as a leftist. AssRocket present this video as his smoking gun that Piven is pro violence so any death threats made by the Right must be justified. There are a few problems with that. In the video her frame of reference is the Civil Rights movement in which far more heads were busted by anti-protesters than civil rights activists. In the end Piven asks, in the way professors tend to do, if violence is something you want to be a part of in addressing social issues. AssRocket, a lawyer, seems to have conveniently forgotten what a rhetorical question is. Add this to the list of rules, not just for liberals, but left of center libertarians, independents and assorted unaffiliated Americans. When asked about any violence under any circumstances, you must always condemn it and advocate absolute pacifism. Any other answer will be twisted by the Right to be a gotcha. All that said I’m not particularly a fan of Piven, but she has hardly earned the designation of “Marxist Machiavelli” who hates the U.S. Constitution, Glenn Beck’s Attacks on Frances Fox Piven Trigger Death Threats

In fact, Piven has never encouraged or celebrated violence in any of her writings or speeches. She’s long been a proponent using the combined power of voting and grassroots protest to bring about change. In her writings, she examines the history of protest and documents how tactics such as pickets, rallies, strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and civil disobedience – the kind of activism that once catapulted a young Baptist minister in Montgomery to the national limelight, an icon whose birthday we just celebrated as a national holiday – often pressure powerful figures in business and government to pay attention to grievances they had previously ignored and level the political playing field.

As Piven explains in her books, articles, and speeches, protest can give powerless people a voice and lead to important reforms, like the eight-hour day, women’s right to vote, desegregation of public schools and universities, and increased funding for social programs like food stamps and welfare.

When protest turns violent, Piven has documented, it is typically because the police, the National Guard, or private militias and goon squads hired by business attack the protestors with billy clubs and guns.

But sometimes angry people do riot. Piven is hardly the first academic to note that when people are frustrated by the slow pace of change, or by an incident of police brutality, they occasionally resort to civil unrest. Langston Hughes, the celebrated African American writer, made the same observation in his famous poem, “Dream Deferred,” written in 1951. “What happens to a dream deferred?” Hughes asked. “Does it dry up, Like a raisin in the sun?…Or does it explode?”

Neither Hughes, nor Piven, nor the hundreds of other social observers who explored why angry people sometimes explode – southern lynch mobs, Old West vigilantes, and the urban poor – were condoning violence. They were simply explaining it as a persistent reality in American history.

But Piven has also been interested in the other side of that question – why, in the face of much suffering and injustice, do so many people, especially the poor, remain passive, as if they accept their lot in life as something immutable, or blame themselves, or “bad luck,” for their misfortune, rather than channel their frustrations and anger in political action, such as voting or participating in protest?

Hotair is the Right’s Daily Kos according to Alexia traffic figures, so not an out on the fringe place to grab quotes from. This is from a March 8, 2009 post by Ed Morrissey bragging about the tea bagger’s right to do what Piven advocates,

KFI’s John and Ken decided to put a little local star power behind the “tea party” tax protest movement in Southern California, and it succeeded beyond all expectations.  As many as 15,000 protesters descended onto sleepy Fullerton to noisily demand an end to tax hikes in California and the nation…

Bloody Arnold Schwarzenegger head on stick at tea bagger protest

Another episode of Conservative Jeopardy. When is it OK for thousands of protesters to “noisily demand” their agenda be fulfilled immediately. When right-wingers do it. What are they protesting? Taxes. Who had just advocated a tax cut for the middle-class ( one of his first of two)? That would be President Obama with the help of Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). So the Right not only thinks their civil disobedience is OK, they are not required to have protests based on real things to protest about.

Another right-wing rule. When you’ve lost the debate – facts have been presented which render the Conservative side of the argument false and irrelevant – wait a while and pretend like the facts never existed. Thus the meme which lives on like a Republican Zombie. Wing-nut Mike Stopa writing at the Boston Globe ( darn that liberal media) states, The reality of death panels – ObamaCare’s end-of-life planning comes down to economics

In December, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a regulation, since rescinded by the Obama administration, that would have allowed doctors to be reimbursed for “voluntary advanced care’’ planning. When the regulation was publicized, it resulted in a renewed outcry that such end-of-life planning provisions presage the inevitable death panels of ObamaCare.

Stopa admits such counseling is purely voluntary. His beef seems to be based on making such counseling available in any form. He wants to take away a patients right to voluntarily get end of life counseling. Having openly admitted he is wrong and tacitly admitting he wants to greatly deter the personal freedom of patients, he asserts one of the more bizarre and sick fantasies as fact as I’ve read,

Moreover, the suspicion that such programmed advance planning conceals ulterior motives is exacerbated by the fact that relatively few patients will ultimately benefit from it. It is mainly of value for those who do not die suddenly, who have no trustworthy relations to maintain their power of decision, and who lose their wits a potentially long time before their death.(bold mine)

Where did he get the “programmed advice’ from? As Stopa is basing his entire argument on pure speculation, we have license to speculate Mike pulled that out of some part of his anatomy through which doctors perform prostate examinations. So a few patients voluntarily request end of life counseling and a few patients benefit. What’s his point? Just because it benefits some people we should not make such counseling available under any circumstances. Stopa obviously flunked logic class. Other than finding that out he does not provide much in the way of  insight. Conservatives4palin( isn’t that clever using a 4) thought this essay was the best thing since Cheez Whiz on stale white bread – their intro and part of the excerpt they use, Mike Stopa: The Reality of Death Panels

In a piece at the Boston Globe, Mike Stopa explores Governor Palin’s metaphoric use of the term “death panels” and concludes that she was exactly right, given the rationing required in any socialized health care system. Stopa also describes how the price controls contained in Obamacare will necessarily stifle the innovation required to develop new, life-saving pharmaceuticals. Excerpts follow:

[  ]…To the extent that ObamaCare ultimately succeeds in imposing uniformity on basic health care, it will likely lead to the creation of secondary markets for providing insurance against various health eventualities and access to “heroic’’ procedures to extend life. Water runs downhill and it’s a good thing that it does. First, we need to have people buy the expensive medicines and experimental technologies. Europe has discovered this as its regulated system of medicine has driven its pharmaceutical industry farther and farther behind that of the United States. Capping costs kills innovation.

Lets say for a moment pretend that the Affordable Care Act (health care reform or Obamacare if you like) is a government program. That would kill medical innovation and the development of pharmaceuticals like what? The fifty year old Medicare program or veterans medical benefits guaranteed by the government starting in 1811 should have killed and buried medical innovation a hundred times over by now. If every dime of drug research money comes from drug companies someone needs to get a refund for the American public. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) taxpayer-funded scientists conducted 55 percent of the research projects that led to the discovery and development of the top five selling drugs in 1995. According to another study only 22% of the drugs drug companies brought to market during the 80s and 1990s were innovative drugs that represented important therapeutic gains over existing drugs. And thanks to tax breaks and subsides the drug industry realizes one of the lowest tax rates of any industry. It is no surprise that Palin acolytes would not bother with a little research in order to grab on to anyone willing to defend one of the originators of the death panel myth – voted Politifacts lie of the year in 2009. And a reminder that Republicans were for “death panels” before they were against them,

Yes, that’s right. Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!

Let’s go to the bill text, shall we? “The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary’s need for pain and symptom management, including the individual’s need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning.”

Where are conservatives getting their advice on what is or is not Constitutional? Everyone knows the best place to start is to base one’s views on the same folks who remain steadfast in their allegiance to the treason of the Confederacy, Idaho Lawmakers Cite Founder Of Neo-Confederate Hate Group To Justify Plan To Nullify Health Reform

One of the worst examples of the right wing’s contempt for the Constitution is the bevy of unconstitutional proposals state lawmakers have introduced attempting to nullify the Affordable Care Act. The Constitution expressly states that Acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding,” so our founding document specifically denies the states a veto power over federal laws.

Nonetheless, a group of Idaho lawmakers are drawing inspiration for an unconstitutional nullification bill from an unusual source — a co-founder of a neo-Confederate hate group:

Though a 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirmed that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land,” Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is promoting the nullification idea, too. In his January 10 State of the State speech, he told Idaho residents “we are actively exploring all our options — including nullification.”

Sen. Monty Pearce, an Idaho GOP lawmaker who plans to introduce a nullification bill early next week, wanted to be the first one to give Otter a recently published book on the subject, “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.”

But Otter beat him to the punch.

“I took that copy and tried to give it to the governor,” he said, pointing to a copy on his desk. “He already had a copy.” . . .

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., author of the 2010 book “Nullification” that Otter and Pearce have in their Idaho Capitol offices, argues states have the final say on issues as grave as when the government forces citizens to spend their hard-earned money.

Woods is, to say the least, a questionable source of counsel for a sitting state governor and state senator. One of the founders of the neo-Confederate League of the South, Woods once published an article declaring the Confederacy to be “Christendom’s Last Stand.” In it, he endorses the view that the Civil War was a battle between “atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, jacobins on the one side and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other,” and he concludes that “[t]he real watershed from which we can trace many of the destructive trends that continue to ravage our civilization today, was the defeat of the Confederate States of America in 1865.”

Glenn W. LaFantasie recently wrote about the Right’s love affair with secession, treason and revisionist’s history of the Confederacy and the Civil War, 150 years later, a campaign to deny that the South’s exodus from the union was a revolution is in full force

If by defeating the Confederacy during the Civil War, the Union did not prove conclusively that secession could not be legally sustained, the point was made emphatically clear in the 1869 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Texas v. White. In the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase (a Republican appointed by Lincoln), the court ruled that under the Articles of Confederation, adopted by the states during the American Revolution, “the Union was solemnly declared to ‘be perpetual.’ And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained ‘to form a more perfect Union.’ It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?”

Republicans Are Lying About The CBO, Health Care Reform and the Deficit

The American Spectator, for those not old enough to remember, was one of the right-wing rags that was part of the vast right-wing conspiracy to go after the Clintons in the 90s with every kind of smear, unfounded gossip and bald-faced lies that could dream up. There is no reason any rational person should believe the rantings of an organization that deals exclusively in character assassination, wild baseless accusations and right-wing spin. They writes about repealing health care reform, BREAKING: CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion ( the link also gives one a look at the genuflecting right-wing bloggers who echo these assertions without doing the slightest bit of fact checking)

The Congressional Budget Office, in an email to Capitol Hill staffers obtained by the Spectator, has said that repealing the national health care law would reduce net spending by $540 billion in the ten year period from 2012 through 2021. That number represents the cost of the new provisions, minus Medicare cuts. Repealing the bill would also eliminate $770 billion in taxes. It’s the tax hikes in the health care law (along with the Medicare cuts) which accounts for the $230 billion in deficit reduction.

Whether the alleged e-mail is real or they have extracted parts of it without some important coveats is up for speculation. The CBO itself says no such thing and the CBO punishes it’s finding to the public on its own blog, Additional Information on CBO’s Preliminary Analysis of H.R. 2

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have not yet developed a detailed estimate of the budgetary impact of H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, which would repeal the major health care legislation enacted in March 2010. Yesterday, we released a preliminary analysis of that legislation indicating that, over the 2012-2021 period, the effect of enacting H.R. 2 on the federal budget as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in deficits in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections for that period.

We have been asked to provide the revenue and direct spending components of that total. Extrapolating the estimated budgetary effects of the original health care legislation and accounting for the effects of subsequent legislation, CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections.

Republicans are have given their bill to repeal health care reform the inane name Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. As the CBO reports repeal of health care reform will result in a net increase to the deficit of  $230 billion. Republicans and blog trolls who respond to these numbers are pretty desperate to sound like they know better often citing – without any numbers or evidence, that these numbers are wrong. Without hard facts those claims are baseless lies. The opinions of armchair conservative clowns. The NYT also analyized the  numbers and the CBO report and found that the American Spectator and Boehner(R-OH) are lying. The Job-Killing Health Care Law Act would cost tax payers $145 billion from 2012 to 2019 and by $230 billion between 2012 and 2021. In addition the Republican bill would take away insurance from as many as 54 million American workers. The new Republican House of Representatives have been in power for three days and they are already breaking promises about openness and transparency (from the NYT link) –

At Mr. Boehner’s news conference, reporters peppered him with questions about repealing the law — including the cost analysis and a plan by Republicans not to allow amendments on the repeal measure even though the party had promised to maintain a more open legislative process.

“Well, listen, I promised a more open process,” Mr. Boehner said. “I didn’t promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill.”

Mr. Boehner grew testy when a reporter noted that Democrats who controlled the Senate were unlikely to bring up the repeal measure, let alone support it, and that Mr. Obama could veto it.

“Don’t you think it’s a waste of time?” Mr. Boehner was asked.

“No, I do not,” he said, raising his voice. “I believe it’s our responsibility to do what we said we were going to do. And I think it’s pretty clear to the American people the best health care system in the world is going to go down the drain if we don’t act.”

Boehner and his mindless immoral Republican sycophants are in fact the death panel party. Repealing health care reform will condemn 45,000 Americans to death annually.The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Debunking False Claims About Health Reform, Jobs, and the Deficit

Claims that health reform will destroy jobs by harming the economy are sharply at odds with the findings of leading non-partisan experts. [5]

* House Republicans have charged that the bill will destroy jobs by adding greatly to businesses’ costs.  In fact, health reform is unlikely to raise most businesses’ health insurance premiums.  CBO estimates that it will reduce premiums for employers with more than 50 workers — who account for 70 percent of the total insurance market — by up to 3 percent by 2016.  For small employers, the estimated change in premiums ranges from an increase of 1 percent to a reduction of 2 percent. [6]
* Similarly, Moody’s Analytics says that the Affordable Care Act’s “net long-run impact on the economy will be minor” and that any disincentives from higher Medicare payroll taxes “will hardly make a difference.” [7]  Moody’s also points out that “there is the potential for the new law to reduce ‘job lock,’ when workers stay in a particular job because they are afraid of losing their insurance. . . .  If the bill works as planned, Americans will be more able to switch jobs and open new businesses.”  The result would be a more productive economy.
* The health reform law may also have other positive impacts on the economy.  Expanding health coverage improves health outcomes by helping people obtain preventive and other health services and improving continuity of care. [8]  CBO has suggested that this could enhance the nation’s economic productivity.[9]


And a related article – ‘Job-killing’ regulation? ‘Job-killing’ spending? Let’s kill this GOP canard. And here – Harvard Economist Estimates Health Repeal Would Destroy Up To 400,000 Jobs Per Year Over Decade. CBPP also debunks the claims about costs and those baseless accounting gimmicks – ‘

Claim: The law uses a gimmick to make it appear fiscally responsible: its biggest spending increases don’t take effect for four years, so CBO’s cost estimate for the first decade (2010-2019) includes ten years of revenue increases but only six years of significant spending.  The unstated implication of this charge is that in subsequent decades, when ten years of revenue increases are accompanied by ten years of spending increases, the law will greatly increase deficits.

Fact: There is no gimmick here, and this charge is groundless.  CBO estimates that the law will reduce deficits not only over the 2010-2019 decade, but in the second decade and subsequent decades.  In fact, the law will reduce deficits by more in subsequent decades than in the first decade, because its most important cost-saving measures are phased in and produce larger savings over time.

And two separate reports: Health Reform Will Reduce the Deficit Charges of Budgetary Gimmickry Are Unfounded and No Evidence for House Republican Charge that Health Reform Is a “Job-Killer”. Republicans, who as exemplified during the Bush and Reagan years know how to kill jobs better than a an exterminator knows how to kill pests. Taking job creation advice from these guys is like taking nation building advice from Dick Cheney. Perrspectives also has an easy to read run down of the latest round of Pravdaish disinformation disseminated by the Pants on Fire Party, CBO: GOP Health Care Repeal Adds $230 Billion to Deficit. Honor and integrity have never been the Right’s strong suits. Those virtues seem to trip them up at every turn. It has been said we cannot have a strong and enlightened republic with an uniformed citizenry. That seems to be the Right’s major goal.

If Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) is evil socialism than why do so many Republicans want to participate in the version of Obamacare we have set up for members of Congress – Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) Justifies His Government Health Insurance: ‘I’m Actually Lowering’ The Premiums For Older Congressmen

One of the first orders of business in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is a move to repeal the landmark health care reform law that was passed last March. However, following Rep. Andy Harris’s (R-MD) infamous rant about the delay in his congressional health care coverage, the media is beginning to question whether the GOP is hypocritical for decrying the specter of “government-run health care,” yet accepting government-sponsored health care plans for themselves.

For instance, yesterday, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) justified accepting government-subsidized health care for himself because, “God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation…That can happen to anyone.” In an interview with ThinkProgress, Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) said that he supported congressmen receiving government-sponsored health coverage because “it’s not unreasonable to offer those benefits.” Seven Republican congressmen, however, are trying to remain consistent by opting out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.

This week, ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) to ask whether he would be joining his colleagues in rejecting government-sponsored health care for himself, given his push to repeal health care reform for the nation. Schock told us the “only” reason he would stay on the congressional health care plan because he was “a 27-year-old single male” who was “actually lowering” the premiums of his older colleagues. He also brushed off the notion that this was hypocritical on his part, calling them “completely separate issues,” despite the numerous similarities including taxpayer subsidies and a highly-regulated exchange:

SCHOCK: It is, yeah. I had Blue Cross Blue Shield when I came here as a 27-year-old single male. I paid about $80 a month. And now, because I’m in a risk pool with a bunch of older seniors, my health care costs me $170 a month now for the same Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage. So I think it’s kind of interesting how people make such a big deal out of the health care coverage we have, which is not bad by any means. But I haven’t given it much thought because quite frankly I think I’m helping out the institution by lowering the risk pool for some of my older guys.

TP: I just know there are a lot of people who have made the hypocrisy charge, that there’s an average of $700 per month in taxpayer subsidies on these employee government health care plans, yet saying that the general public is not getting the same types of subsidies and help in buying health insurance for themselves.

SCHOCK: No, I get that argument. The only thing I would submit is because I’m an outlier in the group, I’m actually lowering the…(crosstalk)…When you’re under 30 in a body of…but, so.

TP2: Sir, you receive taxpayer subsidies even though you do have a lower rate. And you’re within a pool that’s highly regulated, as health reform does for the rest of the nation. Don’t you think it’s fair if you’re going to repeal health reform for everyone else, you should at least reject this subsidized, highly-regulated plan that members of Congress and their staff benefit from?

SCHOCK: No, I really actually think they’re completely separate issues.

TP2: Why’s that?

SCHOCK: Because I don’t think what we do with the health care bill has anything to do with what kind of health insurance programs members of Congress pay for.

TP2: No, it’s quite similar. There’s an exchange, there’s subsidies, just like you benefit from an exchange and subsidies, that are paid for by taxpayers.

SCHOCK: Well, I think the bill we voted on is completely different.

Schock cannot be specific about the differences because there are much in the way of differences. he pays for some of his insurance out-of-pocket and tax payers pick up the tab for the other part. Schock sees government as a way to benefit conservatives just as they see government as a way to fill the pockets of business via crony capitalism. Everyone else can get out their hat and try to catch some of the crumbs as they trickle down. If Schocks twisted pretzel logic was not enough – Some Republicans embrace their federal healthcare plans

At least two new GOP members of Congress said they’ll keep the plans some of their colleagues have shunned.

Rep. Joe Heck’s (R-Nev.) office and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said they’ll take advantage of the insurance coverage they’re eligible for through the Federal Employees Health Benefits program — the same health insurance available to other federal employees. The plan is not a single-payer system, but offers different private plans from which federal employees can choose.

“What am I, not supposed to have health care?” Grimm told The New York Daily News. “It’s practicality. I’m not going to become a burden for the state because I don’t have health care, and God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation.”

But Grimm and Heck would gladly condemn millions of Americans to the emergency room health care plan. You wait until you are in agonizing pain or at death’s door then go to the ER. Everyone ends up paying those bills – being a burden” to the state.

Black and Red Clock wallpaper

time wallpaper

Black and Red Clock wallpaper

Tea Nut Rep Andy Harris (R-MD) Complained About Not Getting His Government Health are Fast Enough Punished by Republican Politburo.

Remember Rep.-elect Andy Harris (R-MD)? The anti-health care reform physician who got a heap of bad publicity when he made a fuss about having to wait a few weeks until his employer- (a.k.a. government-) provided health care kicked in? And who asked whether the government had a… public option, of sorts, from which he could buy insurance in the interim?

Turns out hubris has consequences.

According to The Daily Times, “The Maryland Republican didn’t get his top choice for a committee assignment, the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over public health issues.”

There is of course has some playable deniability here as committee assignments are somewhat competitive. Competitive in the case of the Politburo nature of conservative leadership meaning who you know and how much power you have. Though in order to give their policy views on health related issues the specious glow of expertise, right-wing Republicans have a history of giving such committee assignments to their water carrying doctors.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington(CREW) Calls for Criminal Investigation into Christine O’Donnell for Campaign Fraud

Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed complaints with the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against newly-minted Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell (R) for using campaign funds for personal living expenses.  By misusing campaign funds, Ms. O’Donnell committed the crime of conversion; by lying about her expenditures on forms she filed with the FEC, she committed false statements; and by failing to include the campaign funds she misappropriated as income, she committed tax evasion.

“Christine O’Donnell is clearly a criminal, and like any crook she should be prosecuted,” said Melanie Sloan, CREW Executive Director. “Ms. O’Donnell has spent years embezzling money from her campaign to cover her personal expenses. Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, but both sides should agree on one point: thieves belong in jail not the United States Senate.”

CREW’s complaint is based, in part, on the affidavit of former campaign aide David Keegan.  Mr. Keegan explained that in 2009, when Ms. O’Donnell was out of money, she paid her landlord, Brent Vasher, two months rent out of her campaign funds. On FEC forms, Ms. O’Donnell called the expenditures “expense reimbursements.” Mr. Keegan also attested that Ms. O’Donnell routinely used campaign funds for meals and gas, and even a bowling outing. This is not surprising given that Ms. O’Donnell has not held a steady job or had a discernable source of income for many years.

Not a good sign when your behavior is so egregious even your campaign aid is willing to throw you under the bus. Very likely misplaced pity, but I’d let the money for rent slide and have her pay a small fine for the other infractions. Like many conservatives who seem to make money solely out of the political ether, O’Donnell has a sense of entitlement. At the age of forty plus she has never held a real job. She has been a trooper in the Right’s culture wars. In many cases – such as millionaire Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell and Ralph Reed, that can pay handsomely. O’Donnell has not seemed to be able to make it work. I would not be surprised if billionaire sugar daddy Richard Mellon Scaife came to her rescue or the right-wing Pravda Regnery Publishing offered her a book deal – with her book suddenly and mysteriously getting thousands in bulk orders to pull her out of her financial troubles and clean up her image in time for the next election cycle.

Jonah Goldberg is another arrogant and talentless voice on the right. That has not stopped him from getting a job on the wing-nut welfare circuit as a pundit. Gay marriage will be Bad News for Liberals, Jonah argues, because liberals hate monogamy and ABC sitcoms

Jonah Goldberg has a doozy of a syndicated column today arguing that the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the inevitability of gay marriage are both Officially Good News for Conservatives, because they are Bad News For Liberals, because now the gays are bourgeois. As we all know, what liberals have always actually wanted is not “equality” or “equal rights,” but for our radical bohemian values to undermine society until it crumbles and we can erect a glorious anarchic state built on free-gay-child-love. But gay marriage will ruin our plans!

A smart person could write a good column about the trajectory of the gay rights movement, the long journey from Gay Liberation to NOH8, the story of how America deals with radical movements by eventually allowing formerly marginal minorities to join mainstream society. But Jonah Goldberg is not a smart person and this is not a good column.

The column encapsulates Goldberg’s pathetic conservatism: It’s a philosophy defined entirely by opposition to whatever those stupid liberals want. There’s no principle beyond the adolescent desire to be contrary.

Two decades ago, the gay Left wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy, capitalistic enterprise, and patriotic values and bask in the warm sun of bohemian “free love” and avant-garde values. In this, they were simply picking up the torch from the straight Left of the 1960s and 1970s, who had sought to throw off the sexual hang-ups of their parents’ generation along with their gray flannel suits.

As a sexual-lifestyle experiment, they failed pretty miserably, the greatest proof being that the affluent and educated children (and grandchildren) of the baby boomers have re-embraced the bourgeois notion of marriage as an essential part of a successful life. Sadly, it’s the lower-middle class that increasingly sees marriage as an out-of-reach luxury. The irony is that such bourgeois values — monogamy, hard work, etc. — are the best guarantors of success and happiness.

Any sources or citations for quote for any of this? (Monogamy is the best guarantor of success! QED!) No. But don’t worry, he has a really good example coming up:

The gay experiment with open bohemianism was arguably shorter. Of course, AIDS played an obvious and tragic role in focusing attention on the downside of promiscuity. But even so, the sweeping embrace of bourgeois lifestyles by the gay community has been stunning.

Nowhere is this more evident — and perhaps exaggerated — than in popular culture. Watch ABC’s Modern Family.

Yep. “Gay people are all bourgeois now, I learned it on a TeeVee show I watch. Liberals stink!”

Goldberg has been learning at the knee of the National Review gurus of revisionism, spin and straw man arguments. Mix thoroughly with a throwing out every conceivable 70s chicle about liberals and you end up with the average fetid stew which constitutes the bile which flows from NR. Syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and some other STDs – primarily heterosexual diseases were causing death and misery for centuries before AIDS came along. If disease is the cause de celebre for the condemnation and end of sex than heterosexuals should have made the ultimate sacrifice and died out years ago. Humans are flawed and tainted with original sin – so several clergymen tell me – so sense no one is going to be untainted or  giving up sex any time soon maybe it is best to get over the blame game and get people educated about sex and its consequences so they’ll make responsible informed decisions. Now back to dealing with dysfunctional  momma’s boys. There is patriotism and there is patriotism. Goldberg’s is really a substitute for fidelity to conservatism, not the USA. He and his collectivists brethren on the Right don’t have the cojones to admit that is what they mean by patriotism, to march in ideological lock step with the power obsessed and greedy authoritarian goons who call themselves conservatives. These would also be the same perverted capitalists who caused the recessions of the 80s and the millenium. The ones who have created an economy that rewards wealth, not work. The kind of broken down ragged ass capitalism that rescues millionaires and lets the working class get cake. Conservatives do not and never have believed in competitive capitalism. They believe in corporate cronyism – a few Democrats do too unfortunately.

If our dog-eat-dog culture was not harsh enough Glenn Beck(like O’Donnell and Limbaugh has never had a real job or even possessed valuable work skills that an employer might need) and Joseph Lehman double down on the social-Darwinism – The Poorhouse: Aunt Winnie, Glenn Beck, And The Politics Of The New Deal

That movement’s most outspoken proponent is Fox News host Glenn Beck, who doesn’t merely pine for the pre-New Deal era in general, but regularly prevails upon his audience to recognize the particular genius of some of the period’s presidents, whose ideologies of inaction he holds up as the American ideal.

Democratic President Grover Cleveland is one such hero. When Beck and guest Joseph Lehman were discussing the proper roles of welfare and charity this summer, Lehman noted that one “extreme [position] is, you’ve got welfare only as a last resort and all assistance is private.”

It wasn’t too extreme for Beck. “And this is where we actually were a hundred years ago,” Beck said, rightly thinking — or not — of people in Aunt Winnie’s situation.

“We used to be here. In fact, Grover Cleveland has this excellent statement. In 1887, President Cleveland said, ‘Though the people may support their government, the government shall not support the people,'” Lehman responded.

“That’s great,” said Beck.

While lifting up presidents like Cleveland, he wants to tear down their successors. At Beck University, he offers a course titled “Presidents You Should Hate.” Part one focuses on Woodrow Wilson, part two on Franklin Roosevelt.

Until those men rose to power, the political field belonged to politicians in the command of business. Cleveland, however, is a distant second in the Beck view of the world to Calvin Coolidge. Beck told his audience this August that Coolidge was Ronald Reagan’s favorite president, and that he was “one of best presidents I think we’ve ever had that you don’t know very much about.”

Coolidge earned his place in Beck’s heart for refusing to send federal help to the Gulf region during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. “And under 30 feet of water, hundreds of people died. This is the Katrina of the 1920s,” said Beck. “And, to show you the difference in how far we’ve come with progressives, at the time that this happened, nobody was standing on their roof with signs saying, ‘Help me.’ They were helping themselves.”

Whatever the victims of the flood may have done, Wall Street certainly helped itself during Coolidge’s reign from 1923 to 1929. The Dow ran from under a hundred to a high of nearly four hundred. Corporate profits and consumer debt soared. Coolidge slashed taxes. By 1929, the top 0.1 percent had income equal to 42 percent of all Americans and held 34 percent of all the savings — while eight in ten had no savings at all.

Those eight-in-ten people without savings had no cushion against the economic crashes that relentlessly afflicted the economy and had no relief against the one calamity that is entirely foreseeable: old age.

Let them die in the streets that will teach them. Beck and the Right’s class warfare is showing. That upper part of the economic ladder is populated, according to the Right, by the hardest working and the most virtuous. Certainly some well off Americans are both, but all of them are never held to the same standards of the woman who empties the bed pan of a wealthy dowager. I have heard conservatives and right-wing libertarians willing to admit that it would be harsh at first but after a generation only the strong and deserving would survive and we’d finally have that conservative utopia where only the right kind of people will remain. The intro to this article tells the story of the real Aunt Winnie and her plight.

Poverty statistics are unreliable before about 1960, when the elderly poverty rate was 35 percent, but that figure likely represents a steep decline from the day Social Security became law. Though there were no national measurements, in surveys taken between 1925 and 1932 in Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin, nearly half of elderly people lived on less than $25 per month, which survey administrators deemed “insufficient subsistence income.” A third in Connecticut had no income at all. An attempt to quantify elderly poverty in 1939, deep into the depression, using census data, found the rate may have been close to 80 percent. Whatever the national numbers, by 1974 official elderly poverty had fallen below 15 percent and by 1995 it had dropped to ten.

Snow and Barn Winter wallpaper, Calling on the Middle-Class to Make More Sacrifices

Snow and Barn Winter wallpaper

Blue Holiday wallpaper

It may have been unfair to form a preliminary opinion or preliminary headache about the findings and recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform based on Alan Simpson’s contempt for those Americans ( from August 2005 – Alan Simpson: Social Security Is ‘A Milk Cow With 310 Million Tits’) who are relying on Social Security to get them through retirement. On the other hand it turns out to have been justified. Paul Krugman has looked at the numbers – bullet points and it ain’t pretty.

Actually, though, what the co-chairmen are proposing is a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases — tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class. They suggest eliminating tax breaks that, whatever you think of them, matter a lot to middle-class Americans — the deductibility of health benefits and mortgage interest — and using much of the revenue gained thereby, not to reduce the deficit, but to allow sharp reductions in both the top marginal tax rate and in the corporate tax rate.

It will take time to crunch the numbers here, but this proposal clearly represents a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans. And what does any of this have to do with deficit reduction?

Let’s turn next to Social Security. There were rumors beforehand that the commission would recommend a rise in the retirement age, and sure enough, that’s what Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson do. They want the age at which Social Security becomes available to rise along with average life expectancy. Is that reasonable?

The answer is no, for a number of reasons — including the point that working until you’re 69, which may sound doable for people with desk jobs, is a lot harder for the many Americans who still do physical labor.

There are a combination of tax cuts and tax increases. That the proposals have both is to make every think they’ve taken the mythical high road to spread the pain. It’s the new new math. Taking away the Earned Income Tax Credit for people barely getting by is the same as giving someone who makes $250K a year a tax cut the same. Veterans would take hit paying for more of their own health care expenses. The middle-class – who correctly or not still think of home ownership as the American dream can kiss the home mortgage deduction goodbye. Medium to small businesses which are allowed a tax write-off  for picking up their workers’ health-care costs? Those businesses can kiss that deduction farewell. See a trend here. Sacrifices must be made. Who is going to bare the biggest burden of these cuts in benefits and income? The working poor and middle-class. A slight increase in capital gains tax- back to Reagan era rates? Nope. We wouldn’t want Wall St wheelers and dealers to have to trade in the 7 series Bimmer for a 5 series. How about a progressive tax on polluters so they’ll pay the true costs of what they produce. Not on the table. Back when we were having a debate on financial reform someone floated the idea of levying a tiny transaction fee – like Japan did after their meltdown – so derivative traders pay their share on what will probably continue to be huge profits. Not on the table. Economics is still the dry science, but Dan Froomkin has made it a little more entertaining with this slide show Ten Flash Points In The Fiscal Commission Chairmen’s Proposal

But taken as a whole, the plan authored by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson would have devastating effects on the government and its ability to help the most vulnerable in our society, and it would put the squeeze on the middle class, veterans, the elderly and the sick – all in the name of an abstract goal that ultimately only a bond-trader could love.

While last month broke a record for the Great Recession in new private sector jobs we’re still in the midst of a jobless recovery. So now would be just a dandy time to cut federal employee loose per the Commission recommendations, The Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Plan Doesn’t Add Up

Bowles-Simpson seems to have been put together backwards.  Instead of starting with a plan about what the federal government should no longer do and then determining the savings from the smaller number of employees that would be needed to do what’s left to be done, with limited exceptions the plan focuses on the reduced workforce but makes few assumptions, suggestions, or recommendations about what services the government should no longer provide.  The assumptions it does make don’t appear to justify the cuts in the number of employees and contractors.

We probably all start hearing it when we’re kids. The govmint is a bloated lazy bureaucracy. You could slash thousands of govmint workers and never miss them. That is debatable. In the mean time imagine even more unemployed. Government worker salaries are not black holes. They buy groceries, TVs, cars, houses and children’s toys. How is a massive lay off of government employees and the ensuing degradation of services going to help the economy. Hey we’ll privatize, that’s the ticket. Privatizing does help cost cutting sometimes, but actually increases cost in others – just think Halliburton and Blackwater(Xe).

The best for last and the ultimate irony. One of the Commission”s recommendations is Debt Panel Floats Public Option for Health Care

The plan sets a long-term goal of containing the growth in federal health-care spending – a major contributor to the deficit – so it accounts for no more than 1% in excess of gross domestic product after 2020.

Should GDP growth exceed that target, the report suggests several additional cost-savings measures, including adding “a robust public option and/or all-payer system” into new exchanges that the federal health law calls for in 2014.

Liberal Democrats pushed hard to include a public option in the health law that President Barack Obama signed in March, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada ultimately yanked it out because a handful of moderate Democrats threatened to withhold their votes over it.

Republicans have argued that a public option would saddle the federal government with an expensive new health insurance program. But supporters contended it could actually give the government a new muscle to bend health spending, since such a plan would have new power to pay health-care providers at lower rates

An opt-in Canadian style single payer program? That option is already off the table. Obamacare which the knuckleheads on the Right call socialism was actually a huge gift to health insurance and health care corporations. If the Right blew their caskets over that modest plan to reign in health care costs their heads would explode over a single payer option.

Washington is neck deep in strange ties. Enough so if you wanted to spin out some crazy conspiracy theories, they would hold up, if one didn’t look too close. One of several problems with spinning these elaborate lies is one is bound to snag an ally simply because in the Village everyone knows everyone or is only removed by one degree – Top Palin aide is on Soros’ payroll – Revealed: the surprisingly close link between the liberal billionaire and the Republican superstar

Given Soros’ alleged role plotting to destroy the United States, Beck and his Fox viewership might be surprised to learn that one of Sarah Palin’s top aides has been on Soros’ payroll for years.

That would be Republican lobbyist Randy Scheunemann, Palin’s foreign policy adviser and a member of her small inner circle.

NewsBuster’s Major Fail on Obama Religion and Church Attendance

NewsBusters is the media watchdog site out to save the world from all the liberal media conspiracies. That mission statement is like saying sugar companies are on a mission to make people thinner. The uber right-wing bootlickers of  conservatism at Newsbusters travel in more factless conspiracy theories and sleazeball punditry than Glenn Beck could hit with a laser guided chalk board. WaPo Laments False Rumor Obama’s a Muslim: He’s Been a ‘Diligent and Personally Committed’ Christian?

But what’s really shaky is the story’s accuser, Obama “faith adviser” Joshua DuBois, trying to tout how the president is deeply, “diligently” Christian, when the president is much more diligent at golfing than he is at church attendance. The number of Sunday church services Obama has attended since the Inauguration doesn’t get beyond counting on one hand, even bypassing the pews at Christmas.

Last time I read the Constitution it said Americas are guaranteed the right to worship as they please. That included going or going going to the house of worship of one’s choice. Clearly NB has made church going a litmus test. if you don’t attend church – one of which the Right has final say is a worthy church – than you’re not a good Christian, not a good patriot and cannot be a good president. Can we get an amen for that. According to the rules – and conservatives are the only one allowed to make the rules – Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were sucky fake Christians and patriots. While that might be true, I’m not saying it, I’m just going by the rules laid out by the ever so humble Cons who make the rules. Politico article on Obama’s recent church attendance ignored Bush’s sporadic attendance as president

* In a November 17 article, the Associated Press’ Matthew Barakat reported  that Obama “could choose, as many presidents have done, not to attend services at all. President George W. Bush, for instance, has only infrequently attended services in Washington, occasionally going to St. John’s [Church, near the White House].”
* In a November 14 article, Time magazine senior editor Amy Sullivan noted that “Ronald Reagan didn’t go to church at all” and reported that while “[t]he Clintons drove down the street every Sunday to Foundry United Methodist … George W. Bush never became a regular member of any local church, preferring to worship most often at the chapel at Camp David.”
* In a November 11 article, The Hill’s Jordy Yager wrote: “President Bush is widely known for his religious beliefs, but for eight years has not frequented a local church, at times citing security concerns.” Yager added that “security does not make regular worship impossible. Both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, for example, attended D.C.-area churches. Clinton’s church, Foundry Methodist Church, installed metal detectors because many tourists attended services on Sunday — some simply to catch a glimpse of the president.”

Reagan kept a diary. It’s release is reviewed here – Reagan on Reagan – and includes some thoughts on his entries about religion,

Reagan’s religion, in turn, comes across as important, but quirky. Entries for early 1981 include references to Armageddon being in the air. Reagan also sets down his strong feelings that the fetus is a living human being and that the Shroud of Turin is authentic. He was obviously bothered by his limited church attendance, especially in the wake of the 1981 assassination attempt, as we can glean from his comments about how “elaborate security measures” made his visits “a hazard to others.” On the quirky side, the 1988 flap over the Reagans’ interest in astrology gave some church groups pause — the Southern Baptist Convention briefly considered withdrawing the speaking invitation it had extended to him — and it must be said that Reagan’s easy dismissal of the astrology question in these diaries is too brief to be convincing.

Ronald and Nancy’s fascination with astrology is always going to be a point of embarrassment for conservatives like NB. Right-wing conservative minister Pat Robertson had this to say about astrology,

Q: Pat, I just wanted to know if astrology and reading your horoscope is wrong. My friends and I started reading them just for fun. I don’t want to do anything against God. Is it wrong if we just read them for fun?

A: Get a concordance and look up astrologer, soothsaying, necromancy, caldeans and some of those other terms. Yes, it’s wrong. It’s like saying, “Well, I have a lion, and I wonder if it’s okay to go into his cage and pet him from time to time.” Well, he might be a friendly lion. On the other hand, he might be hungry, and you’d become dinner. Those things are deadly, and once you open the door into the occult, it’s one crack, and then the next and the next and the next. Of course, you shouldn’t be involved in horoscopes and that kind of activity. It’s unbiblical, and it’s wrong.

To go back to the Reagna diaries for a moment. Newt Gingrich is obviously running for president in 2012. He was not not one of Raygun’s favorites,

Much as he favored tax cuts and spending reductions, he drew a line at supporting zealots in the House of Representatives like Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich, explaining to himself why he thought their economic proposals were simplistic.

Not much has changed.

From an interview with East Carolina University History Dept. chair Gerald Prokopowicz about his book, “Did Lincoln Own Slaves? And other frequently asked questions about Abraham Lincoln.”   (Pantheon).

Wasn’t he secretly baptized when he was older?

No, nor was he planning to convert to (fill in the church of your choice) on Easter Sunday, 1865, only to be tragically murdered on the preceding Good Friday.

The answers to questions about Lincoln’s church membership are not the ones that most people are hoping to hear. He was never a member of the church you attend, or any church. His religious beliefs were dynamic, complex, and powerful, but not conventional. He wasn’t a Baptist, despite being raised in a Baptist tradition. He wasn’t a Presbyterian, although he attended Presbyterian services much of his adult life. He was not a Catholic, contrary to rumors started by the ravings of Reverend Charles Chiniquy, who published a bizarre diatribe called Fifty Years in the Church of Rome (1886), which accused Catholics of claiming that Lincoln had been born into their Church. According to Mrs. Lincoln, who ought to have known, he was not even a Christian. Many stories have circulated about Lincoln being secretly baptized, or planning to be, but they are all unsubstantiated.

And yet, Abraham Lincoln was in many ways the most deeply spiritual person ever to occupy the White House. In the same 1866 interview with William Herndon where Mary said that her husband “was not a technical Christian,” whatever that might mean, she also said that “he was a religious man always” who “had a Kind of Poetry in his Nature.” Certainly no one who reads the Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln’s profound meditation on God’s role in earthly events and the proper response thereto, can doubt this.

For most of the 20th century, historians tended to respond with dismayed contempt to the public’s desire for a conventionally religious Lincoln. They argued that Lincoln’s real faith was his almost mystical devotion to the Union, and harked back to one of Lincoln’s earliest speeches, in which he called for Americans to make a “civil religion” out of “obedience to the laws.” Lincoln’s many Biblical references in his speeches and writings were treated as metaphor or rhetorical embellishment.

While I doubt Lincoln would have anything to do with the wackos who constitute modern right-wing conservatism and call themselves Republicans; if he were running for office today he would not stand a chance of being nominated with the Right’s fixation on religious litmus tests.

This story is already induced outrage fatigue, but Shaffer adds some humor, Greetings, 18 Percenters! Let’s meet the knucklehead Americans who think Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Don’t these people read newspapers or watch TV? As a matter of fact, many do. According to the poll, 60 percent (PDF) of those who believe Obama is a Muslim also told the pollsters that they learned it from the media. Seeing as I can recall no major or minor media report that presented proof that would convince any sentient creature over the age of 10 that Obama is a Muslim, I’m starting to feel better. The 18 percenters are imagining  things. Non-media sources cited by the poll’s respondents include Obama’s behaviors or own words (11 percent), nonspecific things they’ve heard or read (7 percent), the Internet (7 percent), things heard or read during the presidential campaign (6 percent), Obama’s ancestry (4 percent), and so on.

Over the back fence and water cooler gossip still works. It might originate with Wing Nut Daily or Glenn Beck, but their followers create the echo. Many of them the urban myths wing-nuts just feel that Obama, or whatever Democrat,  is something because they feel it and believe it. Facts are wasted on them. Facts even seems to make them more determined to spread the myth.