Saturday, December 31, 2011

Much of the World, Including The U.S., Does Does Practice Capitalism, They Practice Greed

Much of the World, Including The U.S., Does Does Practice Capitalism, They Practice Greed

For those looking for signs of how globalization has woven the world into a web of unexpected vulnerability, 2011 offered a bumper crop.

An earthquake in Japan sent the global auto manufacturing industry into a conniption.

A flood in Thailand drastically reduced supplies of computer hard drives, forcing even a titan like Intel to swiftly reduce revenue forecasts.

State-subsidized solar panel production in China crushed a U.S.-subsidized solar start-up, thereby igniting a Washington political scandal.

It is child’s play to find further examples. The underlying reality is that unexpected consequences make everyone nervous. Sensibilities are on hair trigger. Just two weeks ago, the New York Times captured the new jitteriness in a single quote. In a story reporting how U.S. stock traders were increasingly setting their alarm clocks for the middle of the night, in order to absorb the latest news from Europe as soon as it started to break, one stock analyst, Michael Mayo, complains in a tone of bemused wonder: “Who would have thought we would have to be looking at Italian sovereign debt yields to figure out what Morgan Stanley’s stock will do?”
For those who haven’t been living and dying on every twist and turn of the European financial crisis, some unpacking of that sentence may be in order. Most modern governments routinely auction some form of state-backed bonds or other securities in order to raise cash. If the bond investors aren’t excited about the opportunity — let’s suppose, just for argument’s sake, that they’re afraid the Italian economy is about to collapse — then Italy must offer a higher interest rate, or yield, on those bonds to attract buyers. The higher the yield, the more negative the bond market’s judgment is assumed to be.

But for most of November and December, the health of Italy’s debt sales became not merely a judgment on Italy’s economic health and fiscal stability, but a swiftly translated proxy for investor sentiment about the state of all Europe. If Italy ran into real trouble, so the theory went, France and Germany would soon be swept into the vortex. And a European recession would obviously be bad news for the rest of the world. So one unsuccessful auction in Rome becomes immediate cause for bearish sentiment in New York and Tokyo and Shanghai.

And no one wants to be caught more than one nanosecond out of the loop. If the orders go out to sell or buy, you want to get there first. Since now, more than ever, bad news travels fast, everyone’s got to be quick on the trigger.

It doesn’t seem healthy, but we’re going to have to get used to it. Volatility and vulnerability are built into the infrastructure of our modern world. The jury may still out on the chaos theory question of whether a single butterfly flapping its wings in Botswana can cause a typhoon in the Philippines, but we now know without a shadow of a doubt that the relative success or failure of a troubled European government’s attempt to raise cash can send instant shock waves across financial markets across the globe.

And we know, intimately, that it doesn’t take much to set off a cascade of trouble — after the great global crash of 2008, traders everywhere are in a state of permanent PTSD. Beyond the obvious surface connections between markets — that European recession slowing U.S. economic growth — there are abundant linkages beneath the scenes that are obscure and hard to unravel, interconnections woven by complex derivatives and hedging strategies and computer-driven high-speed trading algorithms that instantly translate woe in one market to panic in another.

The inescapable conclusion: Our modern high-tech markets, in which more money than ever before swirls around the globe in a blink of an eye, are better at transmitting panic and fear than anything heretofore created by humans. If civilization is supposed to imply progress, then something has gone very awry: In the second decade of the 21st century, our infrastructure is increasingly fragile, increasingly prone to disruption. The sword of Damocles hangs above everyone’s head, and the thread that keeps it from falling is fraying perilously thin.

What is perhaps most fascinating about this state of affairs is how it has arisen as a consequence of global capital’s relentless quest for lower operating costs and greater efficiency and flexibility. The better we get at extending supply and production chains across the globe, the more vulnerable those chains become to a disruption at any given point. The faster we enable the transmission of information around the world and through the financial markets, the more volatile those markets become, as every new headline sends a different trading signal.
 If you want to fix this, guess what, according to right-wing conservatives, you're a socialist. If you want a capitalist system, a free market system that does regularly crush the middle and blue collar class, you're a stinking commie. In America we just do not have adult conversations about how to make things better because any talk of making things better, more fair, less catastrophic gets you labeled a communist. Do you hope your kids will live in a fair enlighetned societyand does not have to go through the economic insecurity you have to live with? Forget it. The powers that be have decided that greed is good. The powers that be have decided any attempt to bring back regulations like Glass–Steagall Act to protect average Americans is Marxism on wheels.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Conservative Republican ALEC-Linked Group Revealed As Attacking Average American's Most Fundamental Rights

Conservative Republican ALEC-Linked Group Revealed As Attacking Average American's Most Fundamental Rights

Last month, Maine voters delivered a major rebuke to Gov. Paul LePage (R) and the Republican-held legislature when they approved a referendum restoring election day voting registration rights in the state. Earlier this year, state legislators passed a bill repealing the state’s 38 year-old law allowing citizens to register at the polls on election day.

Tens of thousands of Mainers responded by petitioning for the matter come to a referendum. Issue 1 was one of the most-anticipated votes on election day this year, with pundits watching closely to see how citizens would react to the Republican-led war on voting, which ramped up in states across the country this year.

Recognizing the referendum’s importance, voting rights opponents poured money into the campaign to repeal election day registration. In fact, just two days after the state’s campaign finance reporting deadline, a secret conservative donor funneled $250,000 into the race, allowing the No On 1 campaign to make significant TV ad buys in an inexpensive media market.

Per state law, however, the identity of donors must be revealed within 45 days after the election. In fact, the entire $250,000 worth of late money came from a single source: the American Justice Partnership.

The AJP is a conservative legal organization based not in Maine, but in Michigan. On their website, the group states they are fighting against “the scheming George Soros money machine” which is “trying to sabotage your right to vote,” a claim apparently made without a hint of irony. Though the AJP doesn’t disclose where its funding comes from, the Bangor Daily News notes that it has partnered with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the past, a group that has been instrumental in the proliferation of voter ID laws across the country.

The AJP’s secret $250,000 contribution ultimately accounted for over 78 percent of all the money raised by the No On 1 campaign. In other words, over three-quarters of the funding for opponents of election day registration in Maine came from Michigan. (This money was then used to run ads decrying “outsiders from other states” who were influencing the Maine election.) With Mainers of all stripes explaining to ThinkProgress why they cherish having the option to register at the polls on election day, it’s not altogether surprising that the predominance of financial support for No On 1 came from out of state.

Though AJP’s website correctly warns that “Your right to vote is at stake”, it’s groups like AJB and ALEC that are threatening that right in the first place. Maine voters stood up to the influence of voting rights opponents in November, however, passing Issue 1 by an overwhelming 61-39 margin and restoring election day registration in the Pine Tree State.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Conservatives Keep Mangling American History - Maybe That is Why Their Agenda is Anti-American

Conservatives Keep Mangling American History - Maybe That is Why Their Agenda is Anti-American

The mortgage crisis began in 2006 and it’s all President Obama’s fault—at least according to Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity recently blamed [1] Obama—“his policies, his economic plan, his fault”—for the mortgage crisis, ignoring who was actually president (that would be George W. Bush) as the housing market slipped [2].

Hannity’s is just one example of the selective memory and historical revision frequently on display in the conservative movement. Right-wing pundits, politicians and pseudo-historians are nibbling away at objective historical truths to rewrite history for present-day purposes, and hardly any topic is off-limits: glorifying the “Reagan Revolution” to children, sugarcoating the Jim Crow South and revising textbooks to offer a favorable view on Phyllis Schlafly—among many others.

Below, read about eight ways in which conservatives try to rewrite, sugarcoat or ignore aspects of American history.

1. Michele Bachmann on the founding fathers and slavery. Propelled to the front of the Republican field after her victory in the Iowa straw poll, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann’s historical views are notoriously error-prone. In one her infamous gaffes, she said [3] the founding fathers “work[ed] tirelessly to end slavery” (in fact, George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves) and that John Quincy Adams [4] was a founding father—he was born in 1767.

Bachmann was a research assistant to John Eidsmoe for his 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of our Founding Fathers, in which Eidsmoe wrote, “The church and the state have separate spheres of authority, but both derive authority from God. In that sense America, like [Old Testament] Israel, is a theocracy.”


2. Secession was fine, dandy and legal. Texas Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is fond of pro-secession comments [7]; in 2009, he joked [8] that “we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”

In his dreams. In fact, these attempts at humor sidestep what secession actually leads to: a nullification crisis, a Civil War, hundreds of thousands of casualties and the federal government as the victor anyway. And secession is illegal. In 1866 the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White [9] that Texas’s ordinance of secession was “absolutely null.”

...3. Forgetting September 11? Conservatives have an uncanny ability to misremember when the September 11 attacks occurred. In July, Fox News [12] host Eric Bolling said “we were certainly safe between 2000 and 2008?—?I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil during that period of time.” (In his “apology [13],” he accepted no blame: “Yesterday, I misspoke when saying that there were no US terror attacks during the Bush years. Obviously, I meant in the aftermath of 9/11, but that is when the radical liberal left pounced on us…. thank you liberals for reminding me how petty you can be.”)

A surprising slip came from ex–New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In January 2010 he claimed [14] that “we had no domestic attacks under Bush.”

.....4. Mike Huckabee’s “Learn Our History.” Mike Huckabee’s cartoon history series is whitewashing American history. While claiming to engage children in an easy-to-digest format without “misrepresentations…historical inaccuracies, personal biases and political correctness,” personal biases somehow make an appearance [17]. Each video is produced with consultation from Learn Our History’s “Council of Masters;” one “Master,” Larry Schweikart, is the author of 48 Liberal Lies About American History, including “Lie #45: LBJ’s Great Society Had a Positive Impact on the Poor.”

In a DVD [18] on the “Reagan Revolution,” viewers are invited to “journey to a time when America suffered from financial, international and moral crisis:” Washington, DC, 1977. A knife-wielding African-American man demands “gimme yo’ money!” Ronald Reagan’s arrival—against triumphant music playing and a caption reading “one man transformed the nation…and the world”—changed all that for the better, the DVD suggests.

5. The New Deal did harm. Anti–New Deal views have long reverberated among Republicans. Bachmann [19] blamed FDR for turning a recession into a depression by passing “Hoot-Smalley Tariff” (never mind that it’s Smoot-Hawley and it was passed three years prior to Roosevelt’s inauguration). And a barrage of recent books, including FDR’s Folly, by Jim Powell of the Cato Institute, and Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man, blame FDR and the New Deal for prolonging the Depression. Newt Gingrich has praised [20] The Forgotten Man, with its anti-stimulus message, as a blueprint for a return to “Whig-style free-market liberalism.”

6. David Barton. An amateur-turned-“historian,” Barton is the founder of WallBuilders, a pseudo-historical organization “with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built,” says its website. One of his revisions [21] insists that John Adams claimed that government cannot exist without the Holy Ghost. In his presentations of the subject, Barton misunderstands Adams’s mocking statement about fervent believers in the Holy Ghost as historical truth, omitting succeeding sentences wherein Adams describes those beliefs to be “Artifice and Cunning.”

Barton’s claims about the religious roots of the country have been debunked from academics, even from Christian colleges. John Fea, chair of the history department at Messiah College, wrote [22], “Barton claims to be a historian. He is not. He has just enough historical knowledge, and just enough charisma, to be very dangerous.”

7. Texas Textbook Revisions. Last year the Texas Board of Education revised public school textbooks, expanding [23]discussion of Ronald Reagan at the expense of public figures like Justice Sonia Sotomayor, omitting reference to Thomas Jefferson as an Enlightenment thinker in favor of Protestant leader John Calvin, and offering favorable views [24] on Senator Joseph McCarthy, women’s rights opponent Phyllis Schlafly and the Heritage Foundation.

Many historians opposed [25] the changes—but the board voted along party lines [26] to approve of the revisions. Nearly 5 million Texas students live with the result.

8. Jim Crow wasn’t that bad. Last December, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi sugarcoated Jim Crow–era Mississippi, saying [27] of his native Yazoo County, “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” and, “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders.”

In reality, 1960s Mississippi was 42 percent black, of which only 2 percent were registered to vote, according to the nonprofit African-American Registry [28]. Civil rights activists were murdered [29] and students rioted [30] against integration. “Not bad” indeed! 

The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both based on Liberal political theory. Democracy itself is a liberal concept. As is small-r republicanism. The latter is tricky, trying to find the balance between individual rights and the other extreme where everyone, citing their individual rights, does anything they please. Conservatives plainly do not believe in balance. They believe the financial elite should have all the power and run the country instead of the people.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Republican Anti-American Agenda Exposed

Republican Anti-American Agenda Exposed

In the iconic Christmas film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” an angel offers the beleaguered main character, George Bailey, the stark choice between a hometown named for a cruel banker or one created by and for the middle class.

The banker’s town, Pottersville, is filled with bars, gambling dens and despair. The people’s town of Bedford Falls is made of hope, hard working middle class families, and their homes financed by the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan.

The film’s happy ending is the people of Bedford Falls banding together to rescue George Bailey and the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan that had given so many of them a leg up over the years. Republicans seek a different conclusion. They find middle class cooperation and community intolerable. They want the banker, Henry Potter, with his “every man for himself” philosophy to triumph. In the spirit of their self-centered mentor Ayn Rand, Republicans are trying to disfigure America so she resembles Pottersville.

A building and loan association, like the Bailey Brothers’, uses the savings of its members to provide mortgages to the depositors. Members essentially pool their money to give each other the opportunity to buy cars and homes. At one point in the film, George Bailey explains this concept to frightened depositors who are trying to withdraw their savings during the panic that led to bank runs in 1929.

Bailey urges the townspeople who had crowded into the building and loan office to withdraw only what they need, not empty their accounts. “We have got to stick together,” he tells them, “We have to do this together.” A building and loan doesn’t function without trust and cooperation.

It works well for Bedford Falls. The mortgages it provides help working people move out of the Potters Field slums and into Bailey Park, where homes well kept by their owners increase in value. Despite the success, Potter condemned this practice, saying it was based on “high ideals without common sense.” He criticized the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan for granting a taxi driver a mortgage after Potter’s bank had rejected his application. Potter scoffed at such practices, asking if the building and loan was a “business or a charity ward.”

This is exactly what Republicans do. They describe beloved American programs like Medicare and Social Security as charities – using the euphemism “entitlements.” Like mortgages from the Bailey Building & Loan, Medicare and Social Security are not charities. They’re the American people depositing and pooling their money for the benefit of the American community.

The GOP tries to destroy programs like these that aid the middle class, the vast majority of Americans – the 99 percent – while Republicans protect tax breaks and special perks for the rich – the one percent, the Henry Potters.

This time last year, Republicans demanded extension of tax breaks for the 1 percent, contending tax breaks stimulate the economy.

For the past three months, however, Republicans have fought extension of payroll tax cuts, contending a break benefiting 160 million middle class Americans did not stimulate the economy.

All year, Republicans have demanded an end to programs the middle class created to aid the majority, the 99 percent. The GOP wants to reverse the new banking regulations that were passed in an attempt to prevent another economic collapse caused by risky Wall Street practices. The GOP tried to to rescind the healthcare reform law that prevents insurance companies from terminating coverage when beneficiaries get sick and prohibits the practice of refusing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Influential Republicans this year have called for repealing laws forbidding child labor, laws guaranteeing minimum wage and laws protecting the environment. They’ve demanded elimination of federal funding for organizations like the Public Broadcasting System that educates preschoolers, Head Start, which provides opportunity to poor children, and Planned Parenthood, which uses 97 percent of its funds to provide general, obstetrical and gynecological medical care to women, many of whom are rural and poor.

Republicans have decided to be the party of Henry Potter, the “meanest man in the county,” a man about whom George Bailey’s father said: “he's a sick man, frustrated. Sick in his mind, sick in his soul, if he has one.”

Like Potter, Republicans deride compassion and community as character defects.

In the Republican world, where greed is good, it was appropriate for Henry Potter to keep the $8,000 in Bailey Building & Loan money that George Bailey’s uncle, Billy Bailey, accidentally handed him.

Republicans are attempting to impose that selfish belief system on the selfless American people, people like the citizens of Bedford Falls who rush to the rescue of neighbors.

It won’t work, just like it didn’t in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Republicans will fail in their attempt to make America Pottersville because the 99 percent believe avarice is a sin, not a value. The GOP will fail because greed is not the American way.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Radically UnAmerican, Republicans Intent on Bringing Back Elements of Jim Crow Laws

Radically UnAmerican, Republicans Intent on Bringing Back Elements of Jim Crow Laws

A 93-year-old Tennessee woman who cleaned the state Capitol for 30 years, including the governor’s office, says she won’t be able to vote for the first time in decades after being told this week that her old state ID failed to meet new voter ID regulations.

Thelma Mitchell was even accused of being an undocumented immigrant because she couldn’t produce a birth certificate:

    Mitchell, who was delivered by a midwife in Alabama in 1918, has never had a birth certificate. But when she told that to a drivers’ license clerk, he suggested she might be an illegal immigrant.

    Thelma Mitchell told WSMV-TV that she went to a state drivers’ license center last week after being told that her old state ID from her cleaning job would not meet new regulations for voter identification.

A spokesman for the House Republican Caucus insisted that Mitchell was given bad information and should’ve been allowed to vote, even with an expired state ID. But even if that’s the case, her ordeal illustrates the inevitable disenfranchisements that result when confusing voting laws enable state officials to apply the law inconsistently.

The incident is the just latest in a series of reports of senior citizens being denied their constitutional right to vote under restrictive new voter ID laws pushed by Republican governors and legislatures. These laws are a transparent attempt to target Democrat constituencies who are less likely to have photo ID’s, and disproportionately affect seniors, college students, the poor and minorities.

As ThinkProgress reported, one 96-year-old Tennessee woman was denied a voter ID because she didn’t have her marriage license. Another senior citizen in Tennessee, 91-year-old Virginia Lasater, couldn’t get the ID she needed to vote because she wasn’t able to stand in a long line at the DMV. A Tennessee agency even told a 86-year-old World War II veteran that he had to pay an unconstitutional poll tax if he wanted to obtain an ID.

Conservatives can shroud their radical UnAmerican agenda in five layers of Flags and Bibles to hide the stench. At the end of the day there is nothing patriotic about the conservative agenda. Wake up America, the anti-democracy movement known as conservatism is destroying our democratic republic one step at a time.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Anti-American Fox News Spreads Smears About American Workers and Unions

Anti-American Fox News Spreads Smears About American Workers and Unions

This was a banner year in the right-wing media's campaign to belittle working Americans. In the early part of the year, media conservatives promoted anti-union laws in Wisconsin and Ohio, transitioned to attacking the National Labor Relations Board, and spent the entirety of the year demonizing union workers, low-income Americans, and the unemployed.

Right-Wing Media React To WI Protests Over Collective Bargaining: Insults, False Attacks, Misinformation

Media Conservatives Set Sights On National Labor Relations Board: "Just Get Rid Of The Thing"

Right-Wing Media Viciously Denigrate Union Workers, The Poor, And The Unemployed
Right-Wing Media React To WI Protests Over Collective Bargaining: Insults, False Attacks, Misinformation
Fox & Friends Falsely Claimed "Violent" WI Protesters "Attack[ed]" Grothman

Kilmeade: Protesters Got "Restless And, Dare I Say, Violent." On the March 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced a segment on a Republican Wisconsin lawmaker, Sen. Glenn Grothman, being heckled by a chanting crowd of protesters by falsely claiming the protesters were "getting restless and, dare I say, violent."  Co-host Steve Doocy claimed that, "If you put yourself in [Grothman's]'s absolutely scary." Doocy later claimed, "When you look at that and all the incivility there, you realize that to these people, elections have no consequence, mean nothing." During the segment, the on-screen graphics repeatedly referred to the "angry" protesters as "violent" or "attack[ing]" Grothman. From Fox & Friends:

Kilmeade: "A Mob Of Protesters Ambush A Republican State Senator In Wisconsin." Teasing an upcoming segment with Grothman, Kilmeade claimed "a mob of protesters ambush[ed]" Grothman "who wants to go to work." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11, via Media Matters]

Kilmeade Again Claims Grothman Was "Ambushed By A Mob Of Protesters." Later in the show, Kilmeade again teased Grothman's segment by claiming he was "ambushed by a mob of protesters." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11, via Media Matters]

In Fact, There Was No Evidence Of Violence On The Video

Twelve-Minute Long Video Shows No Violence Occurred.  The video, which was shot by Wisconsin area photographer Phil Ejercito, show that Grothman was heckled by protesters, but no violence occurred. In fact, at one point during the video, a protester can be heard to shout "don't touch him" and at another, the protesters chanted "peace" and "peaceful." [YouTube, 03/01/11]

Grothman Himself Claimed "He Didn't Think He Was Ever In Any Real Danger." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that,  Grothman "told the [Cap Times] he didn't think he was ever in any real danger." From the Journal Sentinel:


Photographer Slammed Fox's Coverage As "Establish[ing] A Fictional Narrative"

Photographer Phil Ejercito: I condemn the use of my work to distort the truth about the spirited but non-violent protests here in Madison. In a statement to Media Matters, Phil Ejercito, the local photographer who shot the footage of Sen. Grothman being heckled by the crowd, said he "condemn[ed] the use of my work to distort the truth about the spirited but non-violent protests here in Madison," calling it a "a genuinely dangerous narrative that Fox News is helping to create."


Fox Suggests CEO Of Multinational Company Represents "Small Businesses." Fox hosted Gary Reynolds, CEO of GMR Marketing to criticize protesters for "attacking small businesses who supported and support Governor Scott Walker," in the words of Fox co-host Brian Kilmeade. However, GMR Marketing says it has 24 offices in 12 countries and that it is "the world's largest engagement marketing agency." The company lists Sony, Microsoft, Bank of America and Visa among its clients. [Media Matters, 3/1/11]

Fox News Forced To Air "Fox Lies" Protests

Protesters Shout "Fox Lies" During Live Report From WI Capitol. On the February 18 edition of Your World, protesters chanted "Fox lies" during correspondent Jeff Flock's live report on the labor protests from the Wisconsin Capitol building. During the segment, guest host Chris Cotter stated, "Well, I'll tell you, Jeff, those folks protesting Fox -- I'm wondering if they would prefer a state-run television network providing all the coverage." [Fox News, Your World, 2/18/11]


Fox Used Dubious Rasmussen Poll To Claim Public Backs Walker, Not Unions

Hannity: "The People Support The Governor." Citing the Rasmussen poll during the February 22 broadcast of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity revealed the results of a show poll on whether his viewers supported Walker or the unions

Blumenthal: "Rasmussen's Results Raise More Questions Than They Answer." Pollster Mark Blumenthal's analysis of Rasmussen's poll similarly argued that the order in which the questions were asked of respondents could have biased the response. He further argued: "The more typical approach would involve asking a more general version of question one ('how closely have you been following the dispute between the Governor of Wisconsin and the public employee unions in Wisconsin?') and then go immediately to something like question four." [The Huffington Post, 2/21/11]
Other Polls Showed Widespread Support For Collective Bargaining Rights

NYT/CBS Poll Shows Overwhelming Support For Public Worker Bargaining Rights. In the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, results show that "Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them." [The New York Times, 2/28/11]

USA Today/Gallup Poll Shows Majority Support For Union Workers. In a USA Today/Gallup Poll from February 22, results show that while Republicans supported limiting the rights of union workers by a 54 percent to 41 percent margin, 79 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents polled were against the limitation of union bargaining rights, representing the majority of total persons polled. As USA Today reported, overall, "[t]he poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law." [USA Today, 2/22/11]

Why do all the talking heads at Fox, most of whom get paid well into hundreds of thousands a dollars a year ( O'Reilly is said to make several million) trash talk working class Americans? Mostly because they represent far Right conservative radicalism parading itself as "patriotism".  They think America should be run on the old plantation model, with coporate bosses at the top and powerless workers who should just shut-up and do as they're told. Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio workers and unions dared to get uppity. In conservative right-wing America you don't have the right to get uppity - even though those workers pay taxes and buy the products that make the anti-American talking heads at Fox very wealthy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Millionaires Who Act Like Scrooge and Those Who Act Like Patriots

The Millionaires Who Act Like Scrooge and Those Who Act Like Patriots

It's holiday season, and mean-spirited misers abound. GOP legislators have Dickensian plans for the 99 percent, aiming at shredding our social safety nets, undermining our healthcare, and making us pay for the financial crisis created by reckless financiers. Naturally, they decry even a modest income tax surcharge on millionaires, channeling Scrooge-worthy logic to justify their worship of Big Money at the expense of everyone else.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase honcho Jamie Dimon, the highest paid executive among the six biggest and most dangerous banks, whines that he doesn't deserve our ire: "Acting like everyone who's been successful is bad and because you're rich you're bad, I don't understand it," said Dimon, whose 2010 take totaled $23 million.

Let us help you understand it. We don't hate you because you're rich, Mr. Dimon. Americans actually tend to admire people who make lots of money and, say, contribute useful things to society and promote the public good. Witness the recent outpouring of love for Steve Jobs. No, we itch for our pitchforks because you are greedy. You want to horde everything at the top and you refuse to acknowledge that you have any responsibility toward your fellow Americans. In fact, the way you make your money makes you look like a public menace. You dealt in risky derivatives and mortgage schemes that helped tank the global economy. You defrauded your investors. Your bank has even had the gall to foreclose on military families. Back in October, thousands of us stood outside your swank apartment on Park Avenue holding signs and telling you in plain English why your statements that bank regulations are "un-American" and such are both stupid and harmful. But apparently the message didn't get through. I guess we'll have to keep coming back until you do get it.

There are plenty of 1 percenters who support Dimon's view of the world, in which crushing ordinary people in the name of greed is something to be applauded.

But not all. And, like Warren Buffett, whose op-ed "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich" sent shockwaves through the country back in August, they are becoming more and more vocal. Philadelphia lawyer and philanthropist Dan Berger, a member of the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, has been hitting the airwaves and writing for months explaining why current tax policy unfairly favors the rich -- and why that's dangerous for everyone. Berger is concerned about the social pathologies and dysfunction created by the concentration of wealth at the top, and worries that we have unlearned the lessons of the Great Depression -- the last time such concentration devastated the country. "We are in a golden age of the cult of wealth," he warns. "Economic, social, and political life by, of, and for the one percent is an old story in the history of world civilization--one which inevitably ends badly."

Over the last decade, incomes for the richest 1 percent of Americans grew faster than that of any other group. CEO pay has soared 300 percent since 1990, while that of the average worker has risen a paltry 4 percent. If 1 percenters can't be convinced that such disparities are morally wrong, Berger suggests they conjure up some "enlightened self interest" in order to grasp what might happen if society becomes further unbalanced. He sees the Occupy Wall Street movement as the mere "tip of the iceberg."

Billionaire hedge fund manager Jim Chanos has also gone public expressing his support for Occupy Wall Street and his objection to tax policies weighted toward the 1 percent: "I have a problem with private capital asking for lower tax rates on certain forms of income that I believe are income, not returns on capital, than say teachers, soldiers, fireman and policeman.” Chanos explained to AlterNet why 1 percenters who can't see why Americans are angry are seriously out of touch: "They say we live in an 'aspirational society,' but many of those in the 1 percent accuse the Occupy Wall Street movement of class warfare and bemoan the fact that the president dubs them millionaires and billionaires. Well, I'm pretty sure most of the 99 percent would still aspire to be called the same thing!"

The aspirational dreams encoded in our American DNA have been increasingly crushed by policies and practices that channel money toward the top and leave students saddled with debt, workers struggling to support their families and elderly people unable to live in dignity.

We do live in a society that redistributes wealth. Every worker in America makes their contribution towards producing the GDP or Gross National Product. At the end of the day the pie (GDP) is divided up. The top one percent get most of the pie and the crumbs trickle down to everyone else. Conservative Republicans want you to believe that the top deserves it because they produce most of the work. Yep, hard to believe anyone would believe that mountain of BS, but many Americans do, just listen to Anti-American Fox News. They will be glad to tell you that supply-side trickle down economics is good and raising taxes just a little on the top is pure communism.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Please Vote for Romney The Corporate Socialist

Please Vote for Romney The Corporate Socialist

During the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney has lashed out at the Obama administration’s taxpayer subsidized grants to clean energy start-up companies. “The U.S. government shouldn’t be playing venture capitalist,” wrote Romney in October. “The very process invites cronyism and outright corruption.” But public records show that Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital, repeatedly persuaded the government to play venture capitalist when it came to its own portfolio of companies.

News outlets have recently focused attention on Romney’s history as a businessman at Bain, which he founded in 1984. What hasn’t been reported, or fully explained by the candidate, is how Romney often got ahead in the private sector by using government help.

The likely GOP nominee made much of his estimated $250 million fortune buying companies, reorganizing them, and selling them for a profit. Though Romney, whose only government experience is his one term as Massachusetts governor, is quick to claim that he turned around investments using sound management and data-driven strategies, he does not mention one aspect of his success. Bain Capital owned companies that padded their profits using millions in public subsidies. In other cases, firms owned by Bain employed K Street lobbying firms to pursue lucrative government programs.

Gosh, are you as shocked as I am. Conservatives say they are all self-made, pulled themselves up by their own boot straps types and always get ahead by hard work. here we have Romney, just one among many conservatives who used big government, de facto tax payer subsidized money, special favors and inside contacts to get ahead - kind of like the Russian mob.

Starting in 2007, Bain Capital began retaining various  lobbying firms to pressure lawmakers to keep open a loophole that allows much of the earnings by private equity managers to be taxed as capital gains rather than the top income bracket of 35 percent. Given Romney’s profit-sharing retirement deal, the campaign to extend the loophole, which still hasn’t been closed, likely boosted the candidate’s fortune. (Romney has refused to release his tax return, leaving questions about his income.)

As Romney pillories Obama for using the government to fix problems in society (health reform, the auto bailout, etc.), he invites a closer examination of his own career. A balanced view of the Romney record shows he has never had any qualms about government help when it came to his own bottom line. Whether through hiring insider lobbyists or funneling taxpayer subsidies to his companies, government assistance has been part and parcel to the rise of Romney.

Is Romney's middle name Marx or Mao or Gov'mint Welfare Baby. He and his comrades are the ones who fed at the trough like pigs and bankrupted the country. Isn't that just the kind of twisted immoral crook America needs as its next president. You know, since G.W. Bush is ineligible to run again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vote For Romney The Choice of Conservative 17th Century French Aristocracy

Vote For Romney The Choice of Conservative 17th Century French Aristocracy

If campaign donations are any sign, Mitt Romney is the runaway favorite candidate of billionaires and Wall Street bankers. Indeed, Wall Street has flooded his campaign with donations and a massive 10 percent of all American billionaires donated to his campaign. So it should probably come as no surprise that, in an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Romney called for the super wealthy to be able to give unlimited sums of money directly to candidates:

    TODD: Do you think Citizens United was a bad decision? [...]

    ROMNEY:Well,I think the Supreme Court decision was following their interpretation of the campaign finance laws that were written by Congress. My own view is now we tried a lot of efforts to try and restrict what can be given to campaigns, we’d be a lot wiser to say you can give what you’d like to a campaign. They must report it immediately and the creation of these independent expenditure committees that have to be separate from the candidate, that’s just a bad idea.

It’s not entirely clear from this interview that Romney understands what happened in Citizens United. That decision emphatically did not follow any “interpretation of campaign finance laws that were written by Congress.” Rather, Citizens United threw out a 63 year-old federal ban on corporate money in politics. Citizens United was a case of five conservative justices deciding they knew better than America’s democratically elected representatives, and it was not a case of judges following the law.

More importantly, however, Romney’s proposal to allow wealthy donors to give candidates whatever they’d “like to a campaign” is simply an invitation to corruption. Under Romney’s proposed rule, there is nothing preventing a single billionaire from bankrolling a candidate’s entire campaign — and then expecting that candidate to do whatever the wealthy donor wants once the candidate is elected to office. Romney’s unlimited donations proposal would be a bonanza for Romney himself and the army of Wall Street bankers and billionaire donors who support him, but it is very difficult to distinguish it from legalized bribery.

As Romney himself said in 1994, when you allow special interest groups to buy and sell candidates, “that kind of relationship has an influence on the way that [those candidates are] going to vote.” Now that Romney’s running for president on the Wall Street ticket, however, he’s suddenly unconcerned with whether or not his big money donors exert a corrupting influence.
 Romney thus believes that corporations are people. If corporations are people that means Prince Romney believes money and free speech are one in the same. Those with the most money get the most free speech. Romney would have been a great French monarch.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Politifact Lied -The Ryan Plan Did End Medicare in Exchange for Vouchercare

Politifact Lied -The Ryan Plan Did End Medicare in Exchange for Vouchercare

The fact-checking website PolitiFact has announced its “Lie of the Year” for 2011. It made a poor, credibility-killing choice.
Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.
Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care “because Republicans voted to end Medicare.” […]
PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.
Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.
This is simply indefensible. Claims that are factually true shouldn’t be eligible for a Lie of the Year designation.
It’s unnerving that we have to explain this again, but since PolitiFact appears to be struggling with the relevant details, let’s set the record straight.
Medicare is a single-payer health care system offering guaranteed benefits to seniors. The House Republican budget plan intended to privatize the existing system and replace it with something very different — a voucher scheme. It would still be called “Medicare,” but it wouldn’t be Medicare.
It seems foolish to have to parse the meaning of the word “end,” but if there’s a program, and it’s replaced with a different program, proponents brought an end to the original program. That’s what the verb means.
I’ve been trying to think of the best analogy for this. How about this one: imagine someone owns a Ferrari. It’s expensive and drives beautifully, and the owner desperately wants to keep his car intact. Now imagine I took the car away, removed the metallic badge off the trunk that says “Ferrari,” I stuck it on a golf cart, and I handed the owner the keys.
“Where’s my Ferrari?” the owner would ask.
“It’s right here,” I’d respond. “This has four wheels, a steering wheel, and pedals, and it says ‘Ferrari’ right there on the back.”
By PolitiFact’s reasoning, I haven’t actually replaced the car — and if you disagree, you’re a pants-on-fire liar.
Indeed, reading through PolitiFact’s defense of its dubious honor, the explanation is effectively a semantics argument — its Lie of the Year, the editors argue, didn’t include the caveats and context that would make it more accurate. But let’s not forget, there were actual, demonstrable, unambiguous lies among the finalists for Lie of the Year. PolitiFact overlooked all of them.
When an outlet puts “fact” in its name, the standards for accuracy are especially high. When its selecting a Lie of the Year, standards dictate that the falsehood should be overwhelmingly obvious and offensive.
Today, PolitiFact, which relies exclusively on its credibility to affect the political discourse, ought to be ashamed of itself.
Update: I’ve seen some suggestions that Paul Ryan influenced the process by stuffing the ballot box. Here’s some additional analysis on this point.
Second Update: I didn’t realize this until later, but my friend John Cole used a similar car analogy two weeks ago. I guess great minds do think alike.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also did a thorough analysis of the Ryan plan and found that for all practical purposes - as per the car example - his plan would end Medicare. It would have shifted everyone under 55 and than eventually everyone to a voucher plan. After your voucher was spent - easily done since it would have been so small - seniors would have been stuck with 100% of their medical expenses.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy New Year From Anti-American Fox News Who Dreams of the Day All Americans Hate Each Other

Happy New Year From Anti-American Fox News Who Dreams of the Day All Americans Hate Each Other - Fox's History Of Mainstreaming Hate

Fox & Friends recently hosted Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has labeled an anti-gay "hate group." Lafferty, who has described SPLC's designation of her group as a "badge of honor," is the latest member of an organization that SPLC has designated as a hate group or otherwise criticized for propagating hateful rhetoric to be invited to speak on Fox News.

...Southern Poverty Law Center: TVC Is An Anti-Gay "Hate Group"

SPLC Labels TVC An Anti-Gay "Hate Group." According to the SPLC, TVC will be listed as an anti-gay hate group as of 2011. SPLC elevates anti-gay groups to hate group status "based on their propagation of known falsehoods -- claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities -- and repeated, groundless name-calling." From SPLC:

    The group has at times enjoyed remarkable access to the halls of power -- during the George W. Bush Administration, Sheldon and Lafferty visited the White House a combined 69 times, meeting personally with Bush in eight of the visits. But that does not mean that it has not long had a record of extreme gay-bashing.

    In 1985, [TVC founder Lou] Sheldon suggested forcing AIDS victims into "cities of refuge." In 1992, columnist Jimmy Breslin said that Sheldon told him that "homosexuals are dangerous. They proselytize. They come to the door, and if your son answers and nobody is there to stop it, they grab the son and run off with him. They steal him. They take him away and turn him into a homosexual." Sheldon later denied that he made the comments, but his website today includes strikingly similar language..

...TVC Is Just The Latest Hate Group Or Individual Criticized For Hateful Rhetoric To Be Mainstreamed By Fox

Fox & Friends Hosted President Of FAIR, Which SPLC Designated An Anti-Immigrant Hate Group. On the March 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Carlson hosted Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) President Dan Stein to attack immigrants. According to SPLC, FAIR is an anti-immigrant hate group. SPLC noted:

    Although FAIR maintains a veneer of legitimacy that has allowed its principals to testify in Congress and lobby the federal government, this veneer hides much ugliness. FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content. FAIR's founder, John Tanton, has expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population: a goal to be achieved, presumably, by limiting the number of nonwhites who enter the country. One of the group's main goals is upending the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended a decades-long, racist quota system that limited immigration mostly to northern Europeans. FAIR President Dan Stein has called the Act a "mistake." [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 3/30/11; Media Matters, 3/30/11]

Beck Hosted Author Who Was Member Of League Of The South Hate Group. On the June 8, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, Beck hosted author Thomas Woods, who has been a member of League of the South, which SPLC describes as:

    [A] neo-Confederate group that advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by "European Americans." The league believes the "godly" nation it wants to form should be run by an "Anglo-Celtic" (read: white) elite that would establish a Christian theocratic state and politically dominate blacks and other minorities. Originally founded by a group that included many Southern university professors, the group lost its Ph.D.s as it became more explicitly racist. The league denounces the federal government and northern and coastal states as part of "the Empire," a materialist and anti-religious society. [SPLC, accessed 8/4/11; Media Matters, 6/8/10]

Beck Promoted Book By "One Man Hate Group" Eustace Mullins. On the September 22, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Beck attacked 20th century diplomat Edward House by promoting a book by Eustace Mullins called Secrets of the Federal Reserve. Mullins was described as a "nationally known white supremacist and anti-Semite" in his obituary and was "described in 2000 by the SPLC as a one-man organization of hate." From the Daily News Leader in his hometown of Staunton, VA:

...Fox Has Repeatedly Hosted Pam Geller, Subject Of SPLC "Hatewatch" Post. Fox News has repeatedly hosted anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller, even after she was the subject of an August 25, 2010, "Hatewatch" post by SPLC titled, "White Supremacists Find Common Cause With Pam Geller's Anti-Islam Campaign." From the SPLC's description of Geller:

    Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement's most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She's relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims, such as that President Obama is the "love child" of Malcolm X. She makes no pretense of being learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to her Stop Islamization of America partner Robert Spencer. Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists, defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and denied the existence of Serbian concentration camps. She has taken a strong pro-Israel stance to the point of being sharply critical of Jewish liberals. [SPLC, 8/25/10; SPLC, accessed 8/5/11; Media Matters, 7/25/11]

Fox Hosted Head Of Anti-Gay Hate Group Family Research Council To Attack Gender Diversity Education. On the May 26 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum hosted Family Research Council president Tony Perkins to attack a school in California that was teaching a gender diversity class. The Family Research Council has been labeled by the SPLC as an anti-gay hate group.  

Rupert Murdoch's Fox news and other right-wing media want Americans to be intolerant, hateful and suspicious of each other because they and their organizations make millions of dollars doing so. It also gets conservatives with radical anti-American agendas elected to office. One might call the whole operation a kind of pyramid scheme of hate. As long as it pays, they'll keep telling the lies, dispensing distorted information and stirring up division among the American people.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Should Military Families Trust Mitt Romney. His Foreign Policy has Flip-flopped and he Is Not Sure What a Wise Decision Is

Should Military Families Trust Mitt Romney. His Foreign Policy has Flip-flopped and he Is Not Sure What a Wise Decision Is

Appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney dodged a question about whether or not the U.S. should have invaded Iraq in 2003. Instead of answering the question about knowing what we know now, Romney, who’s flip-flopped between calling the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq “appropriate” and an “astonishing failure,” stood by his support for the war when he knew only what he knew then:

    WALLACE: [L]ooking back, and hindsight is always 20/20, should we have invaded? [...]

    ROMNEY: At that time, we didn’t have the knowledge that we have now. At that time, Saddam Hussein was hiding. He was not letting the inspectors from the United Nations into the various places that they wanted to go. The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] was blocked from going into the palaces and so forth. And the intelligence in our nation and other nations was that this tyrant had weapons of mass destruction.

    And in the light of that — that belief, we took action which was appropriate at the time.

While running for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 at the height of the run-up to the Iraq war, Romney campaigned alongside President George W. Bush. Then-Romney aide and now-adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told reporters: “Al Gore has been a critic to the president’s policies in regard to the war on terrorism, specifically on the plans with regard to Iraq. Mitt’s position is that he supports the president.”

In his 2007 presidential campaign, Romney answered the same question Wallace posed the same way. “I supported the president’s decision based on what we knew at that time,” he said, noting that Hussein had not allowed inspectors in. But, as Media Matters pointed out at the time, by the fall of 2002, U.N. inspectors had entered Iraq and were making progress taking stock of weapons of mass destruction programs.

Today, Romney repeated the false claim that Hussein never allowed inspectors in, adding that “the IAEA was blocked from going into the palaces.” However, in a March 2003 Wall Street Journal op-ed, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog wrote: “In the past three months they have conducted over 200 inspections at more than 140 locations, entering without prior notice into Iraqi… presidential palaces.”

Ignoring altogether what the Iraqi government wanted, Romney said the U.S. “should have left 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 personnel there.”

Many Romney advisers pushed for invading Iraq in the early 2000s, and now they’re doing the same with Iran.

Asked by Wallace if, as president, Romney would send troops back to Iraq, the candidate replied, “I think the decision to send U.S. troops into a combat setting is a — is a very high threshold decision. This is not something you do easily.” Perhaps he should apply that principle to his reflections about the initial invasion.

How hard can it be to remember and have a straight up opinion on something his buddy George W. Bush one of the three worse presidents in U.S. history did? Bush kicked out inspectors. Why? Because they were not finding the WMD Bush and the conservative media said were in Iraq. Should U.S. military families put their lives in the hands of someone who wants it both ways - to pretend he doesn't remember important historical facts and also says he is an expert on foriegn policy. Maybe he can see Russia from the balcony at his mansion. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wisconsin Right-wing Nut Governor Scott Walker Thinks Corporate Taxes Can Never be Low Enough and he is Willing to Kill Women to Prove It

Wisconsin Right-wing Nut Governor  Scott Walker Thinks Corporate Taxes Can Never be Low Enough and he is Willing to Kill Women to Prove It

First he gutted worker's rights [1], then slashed state education funding [2] and dumbed-down sex ed [3]. Next on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's hit list? Breast and cervical cancer screenings for women. Come January 1, Wisconsinites who rely on Planned Parenthood to access free cancer screenings may be out of luck.

The Wisconsin Well Woman Program [4] is an 17-year-old state service created to ensure that women ages 45 to 64 who lack health insurance can access preventive health screenings. It is administered by the Department of Health Services and provides referrals and screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and multiple sclerosis at no cost. The state currently uses a number of contractors to coordinate and provide those services, including Planned Parenthood. But now, in a move that could leave many women in the state without access to the program, the Walker government is ending Planned Parenthood's contract.

In four Wisconsin counties, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider currently contracted as a coordinator for the cancer screenings. Coordinators evaluate women for eligibility, enroll them in the program, and then connect them to health care providers that can perform the exams. The coordinators also do community outreach, letting women know that there are options for preventative care even if they don't have health insurance. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin has been a contractor since the program began—including during the terms of previous GOP governors Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum—but the group recently learned that its contract is being terminated at the end of the month.

Beth Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health Services, told Mother Jones that no decision has been made on the contract and would not comment on why it might not be continued. But Tanya Atkinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, says they were told that the state is cutting them out of the program. "They have very clearly stated that they were ending the contract with us," she says. [UPDATE: Walker himself has confirmed [5] that the state is ending its contract with Planned Parenthood.]

Atkinson says the DHS cut is politically motivated; as far as she knows, her group was the only service provider whose contract was not renewed. The move puts in question what will happen to the more than 1,000 women that access the Well Woman Program through Planned Parenthood in Winnebago, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, and Outagamie counties every year. Doctors found 15 cases of cervical and breast cancer in the 1,260 women screened in those counties in 2010—cases that likely would not have been detected if women didn't have access to the Well Woman Program. The county health officers in two of those counties have already issued statements decrying the state for targeting Planned Parenthood for the cut and for risking the health of their residents.

"If it's not Planned Parenthood, then who's going to coordinate? Where do women go?" Atkinson asks. "We don't have any indication at this point."

If Walker goes through with the cut, women like Laurie Seim might not get the services they need. Two years ago, the 52-year-old Seim discovered a lump in her breast and started feeling feverish and sick. Even though she had a part-time job as a medical assistant, she didn't have health insurance and had never had a mammogram. The doctor she worked for sent her to the Well Woman Program coordinator at the Outagamie office of Planned Parenthood. She was able to get a mammogram the next day as well as an ultrasound, and both were covered by the program. Thankfully, she learned she had a cyst, not cancer. But without the program, she says, she probably wouldn't have gotten that care.

"I didn't have to worry about anything. It was such a godsend," Seim says. "If I hadn't been referred to that program, I don't know what I would have done." She worked in the medical field but still didn't know how to navigate the system. "Well Woman was there for me."

Just another day among the fake patriots who call themselves conservatives. They honestly believe in having a dog-eat-dog survival of the lucky society. If you have health problems and cannot afford care, conservative Republicans believe you should die. They proved that to the entire nation when they applauded a question during the Republican debates about letting someone without health insurance die

Friday, December 16, 2011

Yet Another Anti-American Republican Ignores Constitution - Gingrich Front Group Calls For Punishing Judges By Eliminating Their Court

Yet Another Anti-American Republican Ignores Constitution - Gingrich Front Group Calls For Punishing Judges By Eliminating Their Court

Earlier this month, a unanimous panel of 9th Circuit judges held that a 43-foot tall Latin cross cannot constitutionally be displayed on federal land in San Diego. Even though this decision flows naturally from the First Amendment and from Supreme Court decisions forbidding the government from endorsing Christianity — or any other faith — above others, the right’s reaction to this decision has been predictably apoplectic.

Perhaps the most unhinged reaction comes from Newt Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership, which proclaims that the judges who decided this case must be punished by having their court abolished:

    Upon ascending to the presidency, Jefferson then did something remarkable — he and his congressional allies passed the Judicial Act of 1803 that simply abolished the newly-created judgeships and the courts they presided over. He reminded the deposed judges that they had no cases to hear, no building in which to hear them, and no funding for their salaries. The former judges took their case to the Supreme Court, demanding that their positions be restored. Under the plain terms of the Constitution, however, they didn’t have a leg to stand on, and President Jefferson emerged victorious.

    Today we face a similar issue: those whose policies are unable to win at the ballot box are seeking to build a stronghold of government power in the courts, without needing to garner a single vote. Just as it did in 1803, the Executive and Legislative branches could take action today and ”reorganize” the Ninth Circuit Court right out of existence!

Gingrich himself made a similar argument last year, when he told the now-floundering CPAC convention that Thomas Jefferson’s “judicial reform act of 1802 abolished 18 out of 35 federal judges, over half…I am more cautious than Jefferson. I would only abolish the Ninth Circuit Court.” This proposal, however, has one big flaw: the United States Constitution.

The Constitution provides that “[t]he judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office,” a provision which exists entirely to prevent Congress from strong-arming judges by threatening their jobs. While there is some precedent for reducing the size of a judge’s area of jurisdiction for non-punitive reasons — the 5th Circuit was split into two circuits in 1981 after it became too large and unwieldy — an Act of Congress which effectively stripped a court’s judges of all their responsibilities would certainly run afoul of the Constitution.

Moreover, while Gingrich is correct that Jefferson did unconstitutionally abolish several federal judgeships, this precedent is best read as a sign that the framers, while brilliant, were no less capable of letting their passions overcome their ability to follow the Constitution than modern lawmakers occasionally prove to be. Indeed, Jefferson himself came to power in part because of a nationwide backlash against wildly unconstitutional laws passed by his predecessor.

Ultimately, however, the most frightening thing about Gingrich’s proposal isn’t its direct conflict with the Constitution, but the implications of such a violation of the Constitution for a fair and impartial judiciary. The framers protected judges from exactly this kind of intimidation because they knew that judges cannot be trusted to enforce unpopular laws or to extend the law’s protection over unpopular groups if they constantly have to watch their backs. At the end of the day, Gingrich’s proposal is nothing more than another sign of the right’s utter contempt for the Constitution and the law.

Gingrich is supposed to be one of the big thinkers of the Anti-American conservative movement. Which just goes to prove how low their standards are to be considered a great thinker.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Indefinite Detention Provisions in the NDAA Does Mean U.S. Citizens May be Detained Indefinitely by the Military. Obama Has Withdrawn Veto Threat So There Goes the 4th Amendment

The Indefinite Detention Provisions in the NDAA Does Mean U.S. Citizens May be Detained Indefinitely by the Military. Obama Has Withdrawn Veto Threat So There Goes the 4th Amendment

Even at this 11th hour – when all of our liberties and freedom are about to go down the drain – many people still don’t understand that the indefinite detention bill passed by Congress allows indefinite detention of Americans on American soil.

The bill is confusing. As Wired noted on December 1st:

    It’s confusing, because two different sections of the bill seem to contradict each other, but in the judgment of the University of Texas’ Robert Chesney — a nonpartisan authority on military detention — “U.S. citizens are included in the grant of detention authority.”

A retired admiral, Judge Advocate General and Dean Emeritus of the University of New Hampshire School of Law also says that it applies to American citizens on American soil.

The ACLU notes:

    Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1031 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens, but it does not have to use its power unless ordered to do so.

    But you don’t have to believe us. Instead, read what one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham said about it on the Senate floor: “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

Another sponsor of the bill – Senator Levin – has also repeatedly said that the bill applies to American citizens on American soil, citing the Supreme Court case of Hamdi which ruled that American citizens can be treated as enemy combatants:

    “The Supreme Court has recently ruled there is no bar to the United States holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant,” said Levin. “This is the Supreme Court speaking.“

Levin again stressed recently that the bill applies to American citizens, and said that it was president Obama who requested that it do so:

Under questioning from Rand Paul, another co-sponsor – John McCain – said that Americans suspected of terrorism could not only be indefinitely detained, but could be sent to Guantanamo:

U.S. Congressman Justin Amash states in a letter to Congress:

    The Senate’s [bill] does not even distinguish between American citizens and non-citizens, or between persons caught domestically and abroad. The President’s power, in his discretion, to detain persons he determines have supported associated forces applies just as strongly to Americans seized on U.S. soil as it does to foreigners captured on a far away battlefield.

Two retired 4-star generals (Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar) write in the New York Times:

    One provision [in the bill] would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would be a thing of the past.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson – General Colin Powell’s chief of staff – says that the bill is a big step towards tyranny at home.  Congressman Ron Paul says that it will establish martial law in America.
One of the reasons this will pass is that most people are more concerned about their holiday shopping than they are about the Constitution and their rights being trampled. people think the military and the government will not come after them by mistake. It will only happen to the bad guys. Its the government by luck theory of rights.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Desperate Mitt Romney Tells Lies About President Obama Instead of Attacking His Sleazy Opponent Newt Gingrich. No Wonder Mitt is Falling in The Polls

The Desperate Mitt Romney Tells Lies About President Obama Instead of Attacking His Sleazy Opponent Newt Gingrich. No Wonder Mitt is Falling in The Polls

Here's something Mitt Romney is being firm and consistent on: lying about the Obama administration's record on regulations. Monday in New Hampshire, Romney said:

    The level of regulation in America, every the regulators, the government, come up with new regulations. And they send them out. The rate of regulatory burden has increased four-fold since Obama has become president. Four times the amount of regulation coming out per year as in the past. And so businesses say, ‘gosh, I’m not sure I want to invest in America.’

Of course, both the claim about the increase in regulation under Obama and the claim about the resulting effect on business are false, but it's not the first time Romney has gone there. Think Progress takes us through the sorry history:

    When Romney made the same claim during an interview with NPR in September, NPR asked the Romney campaign for verification, at which point the campaign was forced to admit that “the Governor misspoke.”

    Instead, the Romney camp told NPR that new regulations under Obama are twice what they were under President George W. Bush. Trouble is, that’s not true either, as Bloomberg News pointed out:

        Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg.

    Later on during the event, Romney claimed that, according to an official government report, regulations costs the U.S. economy $1.7 trillion annually.

You guessed it: That's not true either. Just a fraction of a percent of layoffs have been attributed to regulation under Obama, and more than one study, including an OMB estimate, have found that the economic benefits of major regulations outweigh their costs, sometimes by a large margin. Never mind that regulations keep us safe on the job and give us clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. But while the specific numbers Romney spews on this will probably change, I think we can count on him to be unwavering and neither flip nor flop in his basic commitment to falsehood.

I'm not sure how simply repeating the word regulation over and over again became an attack tool by elitist conservatives. You have rules for your kids so they do not misbehave. Regulations are just rules for business so they don't misbehave or they at least do so less often. Mining regulations save miners' lives - when mining companies adhere to them. You think driving on our highways is dangerous now, try scraping the regulations and see how safe it is simply to get from point A to Point B. Conservatives continue to deal with problems with childish and simplistic answers to complex problems. Not one of them should be reelected until the conservatives movement grows up and becomes responsible adults.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Internet Bill SOPA Was Introduced By Republicans. SOPA is a Clear Attack on the First Amendment.

Internet Bill SOPA Was Introduced By Republicans. SOPA is a Clear Attack on the First Amendment. Why Do Republicans Hate America?

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert at Harvard Law School, argues the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) violates the First Amendment in a memo sent to members of Congress on Thursday.

The bill would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines, Internet providers and payment processors cut ties with websites "dedicated" to copyright infringement.

Tribe argues the bill amounts to illegal "prior restraint" because it would suppress speech without a judicial hearing.

Additionally, the law's definition of a rogue website is unconstitutionally vague, Tribe writes.

"Conceivably, an entire website containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted if only a single page were accused of infringement," Tribe writes. "Such an approach would create severe practical problems for sites with substantial user-generated content, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and for blogs that allow users to post videos, photos, and other materials."

He argues SOPA undermines the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which protected websites from being held responsible for the actions of their users. 

The bill would "effectively require sites actively to police themselves to ensure that infringement does not occur," he writes.

Tribe concludes the result is that the law would chill protected and lawful speech.

"The threat of such a cutoff would deter Internet companies from adopting innovative approaches to hosting and linking to third party content and from exploring new kinds of communication," he writes.

In a footnote, Tribe acknowledges that he was hired by the Consumer Electronics Association, which is lobbying against SOPA, but he adds, "The views expressed in this paper represent my own views as a scholar and student of the Constitution."

A spokeswoman for the House Judiciary Committee Republicans pointed to a competing legal analysis by constitutional law expert Floyd Abrams.
 The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.[2] Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the Protect IP Act.[3]

"In addition to domain-name filtering, SOPA would impose an open-ended obligation on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to prevent access to infringing sites...Preventing access to specific sites would require ISPs to inspect all the Internet traffic of its entire user base—the kind of privacy-invasive monitoring that has come under fire in the context of 'deep packet inspection' for advertising purposes", said Center for Democracy and Technology lawyers David Sohn and Andrew McDiarmid in an article written for The Atlantic.[33]

"Is this really what we want to do to the internet? Shut it down every time it doesn't fit someone's business model?" asks Harvard Business Review blogger James Allworth, concluding that the bill would "give America its very own version of the Great Firewall of China."[44]

The legislation would lead to many cloud computing and Web hosting services moving out of the U.S. to avoid lawsuits, predicted Christian Dawson, COO of Virginia-based hosting company ServInt. "I see SOPA as a stimulus package for Asia and Europe and their Internet economies," he said.[45]

Today In Dishonest Fox News Charts - It looks like Fox is trying to mislead its viewers on the unemployment rate. Again. As more and more Americans are learning Fox News is an anti-American propaganda channel run by the Rupert Murdoch international media empire. Its goal is to spread authoritarian style government over as much of the world as possible. It is a secret conspiracy. Fox personnel frequently espouse the virtues of what historians call proto-fascism.