Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sharron Angle stumps for military dictator’s retirement program

Sharron Angle stumps for military dictator’s retirement program

Reid opponent Sharron Angle stumps for military dictators retirement program. To those who've actually studied recent history, former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was a cruel tyrant.

But to Sharron Angle, the tea parties' favorite U.S. Senate candidate from Nevada, he had at least one good idea: replacing the country's Social Security-like program with compulsory private retirement savings accounts.

Or, that's at least what she said -- that Medicare and Social Security must be "phased out" for "private" programs -- in a recent interview.

Sound familiar? That's because Pinochet's former labor minister, has since become one of the world's leading advocates of privatizing pension accounts. After demolishing the nation's political stronghold, he went to work for the conservative-leaning Cato Institute to advocate around the world for private retirement accounts. He's even credited as the man who convinced former U.S. President George W. Bush to pursue an agenda of privatizing Social Security.

Angle, in a recent interview with News 8 Now in Las Vegas, appeared taken aback when asked if her position on Social Security is a "flip flop". While she's been advocating privatization as of late, she's also released a television advertisement that would seem to convey quite the opposite message.

Confronted by a journalist with the apparent conflict in her messaging, she replied, according to the report: "It is when we have a $2.5 trillion raid and pillaging going on and an empty trust fund and now we are upside down. As of last Friday, they said, (there was a) $41 billion shortfall in Social Security. $41 billion less going in than coming out. It's broken.

"When I said privatize, that's what I meant. That I thought we would just have to go to the private sector for a template on how this is supposed to be done. However, I've since been studying and Chile has done this."

And just what happened in Chile after the country's public pension system was taken private? Barbara T. Dreyfuss, writing for Mother Jones in April, 2005, explained:

The transition was expensive and funded by slashing government programs, selling off state-owned industries, selling bonds to the new pension funds, and raising taxes. Privatization costs, which also included a government subsidy for workers unable to accumulate enough in their private accounts to guarantee a minimum income in retirement, averaged more than 6 percent of Chile's gross domestic product in the 1980s and are expected to average more than 4 percent of GDP each year until 2037.
Modeling America's care for seniors and the disabled on a banana republic dictator's program? No wonder right-wing extremists like Angle are called banana republicans.

The tea baggers are the new reformed Republicans? They seem a lot like the old Republicans - Revealed: took $469,000 in donations, spent none of it on candidates

Report: Arizona-based website took nearly $500,000 in donations but didn't turn out support for tea party or candidates

teapartyplate Revealed: took $469,000 in donations, spent none of it on candidatesA website run out of Arizona, ostensibly to support the so-called tea party movement, is under scrutiny after a local news organization dug into their finances and ownership, only to find what some may characterize as a remarkable scam.

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure forms, took in approximately $469,000 in donations this year and spent roughly half its budget on marketing, with the rest going to distinctly non-political avenues.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The tangled web of Republican deceit and shadowy conservative groups

The tangled web of Republican deceit and shadowy conservative groups

ThinkProgress deserves a boatload of credit for turning the nation's attention to the huge amounts of money very shadowy groups on the Right--and the handful of people who are pulling the strings. Case in point, a story done today by NPR: "'Independent' Groups Behind Ads Not So Independent."

With these advertisers and others, the same words come up again and again: Grass-roots. Nonpartisan. Independent.

Their ads seem to imply the groups are homegrown. But every single one mentioned here is based within 20 minutes of Capitol Hill. Most of them, in fact, are in just two office suites.

As for their independence: It would be illegal for them to coordinate their attacks with the candidates they're helping, or with Republican Party committees. But among themselves, they're proud of the way they synchronize their efforts.

"If one group puts an ad on television in a certain congressional district, they let everyone else know that," says Jonathan Collegio with American Crossroads. "This way they don't double up on the advertising."


This teamwork didn't happen by accident. But it's hard to grasp just how interconnected these secret donor groups are — so it may help to take a look at this map....

This clearly isn't a bunch of individual, independent groups — as you can see from the map. It's one big network: a Republican campaign operation, working outside the official party.

Here's the map, or in keeping with the season, a spider web with Karl Rove and John Boehner as the big fat spiders connecting just about all the strands.

GOP influence chart

Here's sort of a thumbnail from the story:

Rove co-founded American Crossroads, which later set up Crossroads GPS.... They both use the same media services firm to buy airtime for their ads, Crossroads Media.... Other clients of Crossroads Media include House Republican leader John Boehner, the Republican National Committee, and the Republican Governors Association, or RGA.

This fall, the RGA received a donation of $3.5 million from Bob Perry. You might recognize that name, since Perry helped to fund the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads against presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.

This fall, Perry made another donation: $7 million to American Crossroads, the group co-founded by Karl Rove.

Huge amounts of money (including all that from the Chamber--they're up there in the upper right of the map, linked to Steven Law who is in turn hooked up with, Crossroads GPS, American Crossroads and through American Crossroads, just about every group and every individual on the list) that is almost entirely secret.

Which, yes, is a big issue for American voters: "71 percent of registered voters are concerned that 'a candidate who is helped' by groups like the Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, and the Rove-inspired money mills 'could be beholden to their interests.'" And we don't have any idea who they're beholden to, because it's all secret.

While both parties may share some guilt, Republicans have become the slaves of special interests. That must be what conservatives mean when they say we should return to democracy the way The Founders intended. Anyone get the feeling Thomas Jefferson is turning in his grave at America being ruled by flakes and corporatists instead of an enlightened citizenry.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rand Paul Followers Are Thugs. Attack Protester to Prevent Free Speech

Rand Paul Supporter Stomps Head Of Female MoveOn Member Outside KY Debate - video at link.

Josh Green flagged an incident that occurred outside of the Rand Paul-Jack Conway debate in Lexington, Kentucky Monday night that's already dominating the news in Kentucky and could easily make headlines nationally.

As the candidates arrived, a group of Paul supporters pulled a female MoveOn member to the ground and held her there as another Paul supporter stomped on the back of her head and neck.

According to the Louisville Courier Journal, "Lauren Valle of approached Paul and tried to give him an "employee of the month award" from Republicorp...a fake business MoveOn created to symbolize what it says is the merger of the GOP and business interests controlling political speech."

The whole thing was caught on video. Watch:

At the end of the clip, Valle is alert and speaking with the press. However, MoveOn's political director Ilyse Hogue tells TPM that Valle is in the hospital and they're awaiting word on her condition. We'll get you more information when we have it.

We have a call out to the Lexington police department's public affairs office for further comment. According to WTVQ, an assault report was filed but there have been no arrests.
Typical of the Rand Paul crowd - free speech for them, but no one else. Rand Paul is known to be a wacko so it is only natural that he attacks that kind of person. In order to deflect from their attack on a woman - fully armed with petitions no less - Paul supporters are claiming someone stepped on the feet of one their side. Yep, accidentally stepping on someone's foot - if it did happen - is the same thing as several men beating a woman. I guess it would take several male Paul supporters to beat up one woman since they're known to be some of the country's biggest wussies.. Here is a picture of one of the fascist conservatives who attacked her. There is also another man who kicked her head once she was held down.

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's Ethics Problems, Then and Now

It is now nearly forgotten that Thomas's ethics record gave Hill's accusation traction. Briefly a federal appeals judge, and before that a Reagan operative charged with undercutting civil rights enforcement, Thomas had a long habit of telling untruthful stories. As the late civil rights scholar Haywood Burns, dean of the law school at City University of New York, testified during the '91 hearings before Hill's accusations surfaced, Thomas's testimony and record were marked by "a lack of candor, compassion and ethical judgment."

Reporting to Congress as head of the EEOC, Thomas misrepresented his agency's nonenforcement of age discrimination law. As a federal judge he sat on an appeals court review of the criminal conviction of Col. Oliver North, despite having spoken out in support of North's actions in the Iran/Contra scandal. He failed to recuse himself from a case involving his political patron, Senator John Danforth.

To score points, Thomas even lied about his sister: falsely describing her in speeches as pathetically welfare dependent, a mocking depiction utterly at odds with the proud and hard existence of a woman who worked a series of minimum-wage jobs for most of her life to support her family.

Perhaps Ginni Thomas's phone call was a smokescreen—an attempted distraction from the reporting on Liberty Central's funding. Maybe it was unrelated. Either way, twenty years later it bears remembering that Hill's accusations were not just a matter of "she said, he said." Hill, in 1991, testified as a credible witness of unquestioned probity. Thomas had a documented ethics problem then—and, it appears, an ongoing ethics problem now. Back then, Thomas's truth problem obscured his shameful role in undoing the very civil rights tradition that made his nomination possible. Today, the Thomases' evocation of that old episode obscures an ethically challenged Supreme Court justice complicit in handing American politics over to corporations and anonymous far-right donors—that is the real scandal.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Under 30? Vote Republican So They Can End The Net Neutrality You Grew Up With

Under 30? Vote Republican So They Can End The Net Neutrality You Grew Up With

If Democrats want to turn out the 18-30 year-old voters, my message to Organizing for America is to text the mobile phone numbers you have from 2008 with a simple message about what is literally about to happen to net neutrality if they stay at home at let Republicans take Congress. For one thing, such a text message will no longer be possible--or, at least, not without paying a high price to do it.

Here's what's cookin':

In January, 2011, the Koch Boys and their rightwing ultra-rich comrades will gather for a secret meeting to discuss what to do with the Congress they just purchased.

First on the agenda: kill and bury net neutrality, the principle that all messages are treated equal, that there are no "fast speed" and "slow speed" lanes based upon one's ability to pay.

Once destroyed, net neutrality can never return. Messaging to return to net neutrality will be routed to the bridge to nowhere. With the news media under corporate control already, you do not even see this issue covered, even by good people like Ed Schultz.

Otherwise, voters, especially those 30 and under who were raised on and expect a neutral internet, would be flocking to the polls.

This is no joke. Invitations to the "Kochs and comrades" meeting have already been sent. [If you didn't get yours yet, let me know. Justices Scalia and Thomas may have a few left over].

A brief note to so-called 'pundits': if the electorate had really soured on progressive policies, just why did Kochs and comrades have to pour one-quarter billion of their inherited money to win? It is not as if the Democrats are adept at political strategy.

The 'pundits' don't get it, but the Kochs and their comrades get it very well. Their self-interests and the interests of 350 million Americans are different. They cannot sustain support for what they want--no taxes, no regulations, the globalization of labor markets to pressure wages even lower, and unfettered pollution. It's a simple set of goals, but many Americans cannot square that with their own modest savings and jobs and social safety net being demolished by policies the Kochs and comrades want pursued.

They did not make their billions by wasteful spending. Purchasing the Supreme Court was far less expensive than buying Congress (9 lifetime appointees vs 435 two-year stints). And so, carefully grooming a legion of faux-Constitutionalists through the benign-sounding 'Federalist Society' cost chicken feed. (Harriet Myers was hounded by the rightwing when "the smartest man she ever met", George W Bush, appointed her; the Kochs and their comrades could not be certain of her votes as she was not a card-carrying member of the Federalist Society despite George W's curious 'guarantee' that she would never change).

The reason the rightwing hates war-hero John McCain, and never credited him with his obsession with fiscal conservatism and militarism, is he committed the cardinal sin: he restricted how they spent their money in elections. They went after the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law--and failed. Finances of the electoral playing field were not leveled, but brought into some balance.

Leveling, balancing--the big-moneyed interests lose. They then must spend all their money on buying individual votes on specific issues(which they did with reasonable success), but were always subject to popular opinion overcoming their largesse and their lies being exposed.

So, first they purchased the Supreme Court.

Step 1: Citizens United, in which the Supreme Court found that the original intent of the Founders was to define Corporations as Persons for purposes of the Free Speech protections of the First Amendment, they just forgot to insert the word. [I had American history in the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades, and never learned that the Founders intended that, but then we did not use history textbooks written for schools in Texas].

Without limitations on corporate spending, and without disclosure of the source (so that those who objected could vote with their feet by not purchasing a company's products), paid advertising overwhelms unpaid speech.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to plutocracy. The internet.

So long as we are still able, we can organize, debunk lies and slanderous claims, and disseminate widely and--here is what sticks in their craw--equally. All messaging is treated equal.

Hence, with the first step achieved, the number one item on the "Kochs and comrades" January agenda must be to destroy the last bastion of equality and democracy, the last threat to their power.

Step 2: End Net Neutrality.

With newspapers and magazines in inexorable decline, with one major TV network that has declared itself to be the communications arm of the rightwing, and the others under corporate control, and with the population under 30 getting most of their "news" online anyhow, ending net neutrality will not end the principle of free speech, but it will certainly diminish its value and rig the "market place of ideas".

Couldn't happen in America, you say?

Give Republicans control of Congress, and it is guaranteed.

Young voters, 18-30--the group who will suffer most under such a regime--can stop them.

But, only if they vote. In large numbers. Like they did in 2008. It didn't really interrupt their lives then. It won't now.

The end of net neutrality--that will interrupt their lives.


‘U.S.’ Chamber Of Commerce Is Fueled By Foreign Oil

The United States Chamber of Commerce is running an unprecedented $75 million campaign to unseat progressives from Congress, in defense of a big-oil agenda. As a ThinkProgress investigation has learned Chamber’s donors — who send their checks to the same account from which the political campaign is run — include multinational oil corporations, and even oil companies owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain. The oil-fueled Chamber has hammered candidates who voted to limit our dependence on oil, falsely claiming they supported a “job-killing energy tax” (like Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH), Rep Joe Sestak (D-PA), Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), and Rep. Harry Teague (D-NM)).

The Chamber has repeatedly questioned the science behind climate change, even calling for a “Scopes monkey trial” in 2009. Numerous companies, including Apple, Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, and PSEG, quit the Chamber because of their reactionary opposition to climate legislation, determined by right-wing board members like coal giants Massey, Peabody, and Consol. Multinational oil companies BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Hess, and Shell Oil fund the Chamber of Commerce through its Business Civic Leadership Council. The Chamber’s anti-clean-energy agenda serves not only domestic coal barons and oil majors, but also the following foreign oil and coal companies, who are some of the dozens of foreign corporations that pay member dues to the Chamber of Commerce’s 501c(6) account, which is used to fund its political ads - list of companies at the link.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dear Wisconsin Welcome to Ron Johnson's Tea Party

Dear Wisconsin Welcome to Ron Johnson's Tea Party

What is the tea party? Many have tried to answer that question ever since CNBC's Rick Santelli first launched the backlash with his trading-floor rant against the poor.

Democratic operatives, for instance, say the tea party is merely a Republican Party facade. As proof, they point to GOP-linked corporate groups' involvement in tea party events, and cite the absence of tea party deficit and bailout protests during George W. Bush's presidency.

Social scientists, meanwhile, suggest that the tea party is not the entire Republican apparatus, but specifically the extreme conservative edge of the GOP. The data add credence to that argument: As the Public Religion Research Institute and the University of Washington report, tea party followers are disproportionately part of the Christian right and are more racially resentful than the general public.

For their part, tea party activists brush off these pesky facts with nostalgic paeans about the Constitution and indignant bromides against partisanship.

"Although we are conservative in political philosophy, we are nonpartisan in approach," insisted a tea party leader in a typical platitude. "Both parties need to re-dedicate themselves to the principles of our Founding Fathers."

Thus, with both sides at loggerheads, the only way to objectively define the tea party is to find a test case. And thanks to Wisconsin's Senate race, we have exactly that.

On one side is Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, who has made his name championing many of the tea party's purported views about the state, the Constitution and national sovereignty. For instance, when it comes to "big government," Feingold has opposed wasteful pork barrel spending, worked to trim the defense budget and voted against financial bailouts. When it comes to the Constitution, Feingold was the only senator to vote against the Constitution-defying Patriot Act and has boldly questioned both parties' willingness to let the state trample citizens' civil liberties. And Feingold has been one of the few senators to consistently oppose NAFTA-style trade deals – pacts that usurp domestic control over our economy and lay waste to the very industrial heartland the tea party claims to cherish.

On the other side is Republican Ron Johnson, the antithesis of everything the tea party says it stands for. In business, Johnson built a company propped up by government grants and loans – otherwise known in tea party terms as "bailouts." As a board member of a local opera house, he lobbied for funds from the same "big government" stimulus bill the tea party despises. During the campaign, he has touted NAFTA-style trade policies' "creative destruction" of Wisconsin's manufacturing economy. And rather than promoting the freedom the tea party says it values, Johnson has praised China's repressive communist regime for its economic policies.

Candidate contrasts rarely get starker than this. And clearly, if the tea party is as nonpartisan as it asserts, then its supporters should be flocking to Feingold.

If that were happening, though, Feingold would be winning. Instead, polls show Feingold trailing Johnson – and as CNN notes, Johnson "owes much of (that) political success to the tea party." Indeed, despite contradicting most major tea party positions, Johnson has been featured at Wisconsin Tea Party events; touted in the local media as a tea party favorite; called a "Champion of Freedom" by national tea party activists; and promoted by tea party opinion leaders like George Will as the epitome of "what the tea party looks like."

This, of course, gets back to the questions surrounding the tea party's true motive. Is the movement inspired by principle, as its leaders claim? Or is it propelled by partisanship?

Johnson's recent success suggests the latter, and should Feingold ultimately lose, any debate about that reality will finally be put to rest.

Pop The Cork? The Democrats Create Biggest Deficit Reduction In U.S. History Occurred From 2009 to 2010

In previous years we would have been breaking out the champagne on this news: The monthly budget review released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal budget deficit fell by $125 billion from 2009 to 2010. This by far is the biggest one-year nominal drop in the deficit that has ever occurred.
Many of us will be old and gray by the time Democrats finish repairing the damage done by Ron Johnson's conservative pals, but this is a good start.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Democrats Cut Taxes and Make Profit for Tax Payers on TARP - No One Notices

Wall Street Bailout Returns 8.2% Profit Beating Treasury Bonds

The U.S. government’s bailout of financial firms through the Troubled Asset Relief Program provided taxpayers with higher returns than they could have made buying 30-year Treasury bonds -- enough money to fund the Securities and Exchange Commission for the next two decades.

The government has earned $25.2 billion on its investment of $309 billion in banks and insurance companies, an 8.2 percent return over two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That beat U.S. Treasuries, high-yield savings accounts, money- market funds and certificates of deposit. Investing in the stock market or gold would have paid off better.

When the government first announced its intention to plow funds into the nation’s banks in October 2008 to resuscitate the financial system, many expected it to lose hundreds of billions of dollars. Two years later TARP’s bank and insurance investments have made money, and about two-thirds of the funds have been paid back. Yet Democrats are struggling to turn those gains into political capital, and the indirect costs of propping up banks could have longer-term consequences for the economy.

“From the perspective of the taxpayers getting their money back, TARP has been a great success,” said Todd Petzel, chief investment officer at New York-based Offit Capital Advisors LLC, which has more than $5 billion of assets under management.
How did this happen - conservatives and tea baggers claim they are honest people of good character and only tell the truth. Tea baggers and their conservative brethren have said Obam, Reid and Pelois are socialist and have wasted tax payer money. Gosh, that turns out to be a lie. Yet the media has decided not to report on the fact that President Obama, Senator Reid(D-NV) and Speaker Pelosi (D) saved this capitalist economy and made a profit for tax payers. From Obama, the Tax Cut Nobody Heard Of

What if a president cut Americans’ income taxes by $116 billion and nobody noticed?

It is not a rhetorical question. At Pig Pickin’ and Politickin’, a barbecue-fed rally organized here last week by a Republican women’s club, a half-dozen guests were asked by a reporter what had happened to their taxes since President Obama took office.

“Federal and state have both gone up,” said Bob Paratore, 59, from nearby Charlotte, echoing the comments of others.

After further prodding — including a reminder that a provision of the stimulus bill had cut taxes for 95 percent of working families by changing withholding rates — Mr. Paratore’s memory was jogged.

“You’re right, you’re right,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you: it was so subtle that personally, I didn’t notice it.”

Few people apparently did.

In a troubling sign for Democrats as they head into the midterm elections, their signature tax cut of the past two years, which decreased income taxes by up to $400 a year for individuals and $800 for married couples, has gone largely unnoticed.

In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know.
The tea baggers didn't notice because they are not as knowledgeable about politics, taxes and public policy as they and the media would have us believe. The tea baggers are willfully ignorant because it interferes with their sad shrill whining about problems they either do not exist or are a legacy of financial recklessness left by a Republican Congress and George Bush.

Are Republicans drinking something which makes them batsh*t insane? - Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) Says That The Stimulus And Health Care Laws ‘Are Gonna Kill’ Elderly And Disabled Americans

The only things resembling death panels that do exist are the rescission and denial practices followed by private health insurers that the bill is slowly outlawing. A congressional investigation recently found that “the nation’s four largest for-profit health insurers denied coverage to more than 651,000 people over a three-year period, citing pre-existing conditions” — one out of every seven Americans who applied for insurance was denied. If anyone supports health care being denied to Americans, it is Broun, who has a long history of fearmongering about efforts to reform the American health care system.

Monday, October 18, 2010

GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) Has All the Answers

Asked 7 Times, Fiorina Fails To Give A Frustrated Wallace One Solution To Cut

Touting her outisde, business-executive saavy, GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) constantly chants the GOP mantra to cut government spending. She even released a budget plan last month intended to prove that she’d “rein in out-of-control government spending.” But, in telling her constituents that she will cut government spending, Fiorina seems undaunted by one minor fact: she has no idea how.

Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace gave Fiorina a chance to lay out her actual plan. Touting her “tough, bottom-line business executive” motto, Wallace pointed out that Fiorina also wants “to extend all, all the Bush tax cuts which would add $4 trillion dollars to the deficit…where are you going to find $4 trillion dollars to cut?” But when Fiorina retreated to recycled response of government waste and an earmarks ban, a frustrated Wallace begged Fiorina seven times to “name one single entitlement expenditure you’re willing to cut” because “that’s where the money is.” Fiorina’s only response? “You’re asking a typical political question”:

WALLACE: You’re campaigning and you just alluded to it, to your record as a tough, bottom line, former business executive. But you want to extend all the Bush tax cuts which would add 4 trillion to the deficit. You say balance the budget by cutting spending. Question, as a bottom line businesswoman, where are you going to find $4 trillion to cut?

FIORINA: …We don’t know how taxpayer money is spent in Washington, D.C, which is why I think we ought to put every agency budget up on the internet for everyone to see, ban earmarks, and we ought to give citizens the opportunity to desginate up to 10% of their federal income tax toward debt reduction. If we did, that we would reduce our debt by $95 billion a year.

WALLACE: Miss Fiorina, the traditional ways that people talk about non-discretionary – I mean discretionary, non-defense spending is only 16% of the budget. You could cut all of that out, all for education and energy, and for police support and government worker support around the country, it wouldn’t be anywhere close to $4 trillion. Where are you going to get that kind of money if you extend all of the bust era tax cuts. That only adds to the deficit. It doesn’t even deal with the deficit we already have.

FIORINA: Well, of course, first the thing we need to do, to deal with our debt and our deficit is to both cut spending and grow the economy. That’s fundamentally what we have to do. Those tax cuts are central to growing the economy. Indeed, I would argue there are some additional tax cuts we need to make.[...]

WALLACE: Miss Fiorina, let me ask you a specific question because I still haven’t gotten many specifics on how you will cut $4 trillion and more out of the budget. Back when there was talk about a non-partisan, or a bipartisan deficit, debt commission you blasted that idea in January and said we know all the solutions. We don’t need another commission to study it. Now…you tell me specifically what are you going to do to cut the billions, the trillions of dollars in entitlements?

FIORINA: First, I didn’t blast the commission saying we already had solutions. I blasted the commission because I believed it was a feint for tax increases.[...]

WALLACE: But forgive me, Miss Fiorina, where are you going to cut entitlements? What benefits are you going to cut? What eligibility are you doing..

FIORINA: Chris, I have to say, with all due respect, you’re asking a typical political question.[...]

WALLACE: It may be a typical political question but that’s where the money is. The money is in Medicare and Social Security. We have baby-boomers coming. There will be a huge explosion of entitlement explosion and you call it a political question when I ask you to name one single entitlement you are willing to cut.

FIORINA: Chris, I believe to deal with entitlement reform, which we must deal with, we ought to put every possible solution on the table, except we should be very clear we are not going to cut benefits to those nearing retirement or those nearing retirement or those in retirement.[...]

WALLACE: I’m going to try one last time, and if you don’t want to answer it, Miss Fiorina, you don’t have to.

FIORINA: It’s not a question of not wanting to answer it!

WALLACE: Let me ask the question, if I may, please. You’re not willing to put forward a single benefit – I’m not talking about the people 60 or let alone 65, or 70. I’m talking about people under 55. You’re not willing to say there is a single benefit eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security that you are willing to say “Yeah, I would cut that?”

FIORINA: What I think we need to do to engage the American people in a conversation about entitlement reform is to have a bipartisan group of people who come together and put every solution on the table, every alternative on the table. Then we ought to engage in a long conversation with the American people so they understand the choices.

Watch it:

Wallace’s exasperation is understandable. For all of Fiorina’s bluster about government spending, her solutions don’t add up to any serious impact. An earmark ban would only account for less than one percent of the federal budget and eliminating ineffective or duplicative programs would not come close to addressing the deficit. As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo points out, she’d have to eliminate the entire discretionary budget — which includes defense spending defense spending, all federal education funding, some veteran’s benefits, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, federal highway funding, and Congress itself — to eliminate the deficit. In fact, the only “solution” Fiorina has offered is to defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — an agency that does not yet exist.

While frustrating, Fiorina’s lack of solutions should not be surprising. As a member of the GOP, Fiorina joins a slew of Republicans in their refusal to offer any deficit solutions no matter how many times a reporter may beg.

Nothing shocking here. tea bagger conservatives from California to Wisconsin to Kentucky to Delaware to Florida have NO concrete plans. It's a case of trust them they'll figure out something once you vote them into office. What cave were these neanderthals sleeping in when Bush and a Republican Congress were spending like crazy and letting wall St run wild.

The Small Business Case for Ending Tax Cuts for the Wealthy - Small business owners, often used as a prop by anti-tax lobbyists, say letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire is a good business decision.

Enter several refreshing new voices in this debate: the American Sustainable Business Council and Business for Shared Prosperity, networks of enterprises rooted in their localities. In their recent report, “Restoring Top Tax Rates Makes Sense for Small Business,” they make a business case for allowing the top tax rates to expire.

These business organizations point out that very few small businesses are affected. Less than 3 percent of tax filers with any business income earn enough ($200,000 as individuals or $250,000 as couples in a year) to be affected—and many of those that do are Wall Street investment partners, big business CEOs paid to sit on boards of other big companies, and wealthy folks renting out investment properties and vacation homes.

If Congress wants to help small business, the small business owners argue, it shouldn’t spend $700 billion over the next decade in poorly targeted tax cuts.

“Letting high end tax cuts expire is a good business decision,” said Frank Knapp, CEO and President of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “Boosting our local economy by helping real small businesses create jobs should be our goal. We can either cut taxes for CEOs and Wall Street traders, or we can invest the money to generate more customers for small business by keeping teachers, police officers, and other Americans on the job rebuilding the crumbling transportation, water, and energy infrastructure small business depends on.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Some Conspiracies Are True and Glenn Beck Should Know

Glenn Beck Brings ExxonMobil-Linked Religious Front Group To Tell Christians Not To Believe In Climate Change

Today, Fox News hate-talker Glenn Beck brought on a representative from the group to tout Cornwall’s new DVD, “Resisting the Green Dragon,” which claims the climate change movement is a “false religion,” and a nefarious conspiracy to empower eugenicists and create a “global government.” The DVD, which Cornwall is distributing to evangelical churches around the country, seems to be designed perfectly for Beck’s world view, and unsurprisingly, the Cornwall guest and Beck exchanged bizarre conspiracy theories. Watch it:

The Cornwall Alliance appears to be a creation of a group called the James Partnership, a nonprofit run by Chris Rogers and Peter Stein, according to documents filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Rogers, who heads a media and public relations firm called CDR Communications, collaborates with longtime oil front group operative David Rothbard, the founder and President of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and Jacques Villarreal, a lower level staffer at CFACT, for his James Partnership group. In the past, Rogers’ firm has worked for the Bush administration and for the secretive conservative planning group, the Council for National Policy.

According to public records, the following entities are all registered to the same address, 9302-C Old Keene Mill Road Burke, VA 22015, an office park in suburban Virginia:

– Rogers’ consulting firm, CDR Communications
– Rogers’ nonprofit hub, the James Partnership
– The Cornwall Alliance
– The new “Resisting the Green Dragon” website

In late 2005, evangelical leaders like Rick Warren joined a drive to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying “millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors.” To counter this historic shift in the evangelical community, a group called the “Interfaith Stewardship Alliance” (ISA) was launched to oppose action on carbon emissions and to deny the existence of climate chance. One of the men guiding this group was Paul Driessen, a consultant for ExxonMobil, the mining industry, and for CFACT.

For “stream lining” reasons, ISA relaunched as the Cornwall Alliance in 2006. With the new name came a redesigned website, highly produced web videos, and an organized network of churches to distribute climate change denying propaganda to hundreds of pastors around the country. The branding for the Cornwall Alliance is derived from the “Cornwall Declaration,” a 1999 document pushing back against the creation-care movement in the evangelical community. The Declaration “stressed a free-market environmental stewardship and emphasized that individuals and private organizations should be trusted to care for their own property without government intervention.” CFACT President Rothbard has been hailed as the “driving force” behind the Cornwall Declaration public relations effort.

CFACT is a gimmicky right-wing organization that does everything it can to try to discredit the science underpinning climate change. For instance, staffers from the group traveled to the Copenhagen conference on climate change to stage silly press conferences with Rush Limbaugh’s former producer and stunts aimed at mocking Greenpeace.

Chris Rogers and David RothbardBut who is the “driving force” behind CFACT? According to disclosures, CFACT is funded by at least $542,000 from ExxonMobil, $60,500 from Chevron, and $1,280,000 from Scaife family foundations, which are rooted in wealth from Gulf Oil and steel interests.

CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance, according to disclosures filed with the Washington State Secretary of State’s office, share a common fundraising firm, ClearWord Communications Group. ClearWord has helped raise millions of dollars not only for CFACT and Cornwall, but also for infamous polluter front groups like FreedomWorks, the Institute for Energy Research, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Last year, Cornwall produced a video with former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) attacking clean energy legislation as part of a campaign by the ExxonMobil-funded “American Energy Freedom Center.”

In a call to the Cornwall Alliance’s media office, spokesman Quena Gonzalez said Cornwall has no relationship to CFACT and said CFACT President Rothbard has no official capacity with his group. Gonzalez said that in “several years of working” at Cornwall, he had never heard any questions about working with CFACT, and instructed ThinkProgress to contact Calvin Beisner, the national representative for Cornwall. Beisner is a board member of CFACT.

Rothbard had a central role in sparking the founding of Cornwall and is currently a partner with Chris Rogers, the man who runs Cornwall and CDR Communications. Nevertheless, under his capacity as CFACT President, Rothbard’s anti-Greenpeace publicity stunts are reported regularly on the Cornwall blog as breaking news, without any acknowledgement of Rothbard’s relationship with Cornwall.

Gonzalez also said he had never heard of CDR Communications. But according to his own LinkedIn profile, Gonzalez works for CDR Communications as the “Director for Religion and the Environment” at the firm. ThinkProgress contacted Chris Rogers on Monday, who contradicted Gonzalez and said his firm CDR Communications provides “support” for Cornwall but did not clarify.

It appears that Cornwall attempts to carefully hide its backers. Not only did Gonzalez refuse to provide much information, but Cornwall’s website is registered with a special service to hide the identity of the person or group who purchased the domain address.
Beck - known to those in the reality based community as Mr. Bizarro World - illustrates a new conspiracy almost daily on his little chalk board. He never ever provides any proof, using the overwhelm the audience with BS school of political analysis. he does seem to be a master of the fundamentals of conspiracies, since it seems he is part of an actual conspiracy to foist junk science on the public.

Doocy attempts to conceal Sharron Angle's position on Social Security

During an interview with Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle (NV), Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy suggested that it is "misinformation" and "not true" that Angle wants to "get rid of Social Security." In fact, Angle's campaign website advocates "transition[ing] out" Social Security.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Republicans Have the Best Ideas. Here's Proof

Republicans Have the Best Ideas. Here's Proof
- The GOP's Disastrous Ideas
Why Brazil, India, and China will be thrilled if Republicans win the midterms.

"There you go again." Those now-famous words pretty much sealed the deal in the Ronald Reagan-Jimmy Carter debate in 1980 and proved what we have seen over and over: In politics, charm and wit usually count more than facts and logic. After Reagan's victory, we set out on a path of deregulation and tax cuts, a 30-year run on borrowed money and borrowed time that ended horribly in 2008. We know now where we stand in terms of what matters: a jobs crisis, declining middle-class incomes, structural federal budget deficits, trade deficits, and on and on.

And what do Republicans offer now? The Pledge to America, the guiding document of the surging Tea Party, and the resurgent Republican Party, is about as vapid a document as one can imagine. It is nothing more than an offer of candy to kids on Halloween, with no concerns about what happens after the sugar high wears off. Its numbers simply do not add up, and its deregulatory language is remarkable in the context of the past several years we have lived through.

I asked one of the perceived sensible leaders of the conservative movement where the spending cuts would come from to balance the massive tax cuts offered to all citizens. He proposed two areas: the National Endowment for the Arts and public radio. It was a good laugh line, at least. These two suggested cuts—traditional conservative targets—total about $250 million, less than 1/100 of 1 percent—less than 1/10,000th—of a federal budget that totals about $3.5 trillion. Not what a true executive would consider major areas of budget concern. Realizing that this answer didn't really measure up, he then tried to suggest that privatizing Social Security—letting people out of the government system—would be the answer. No sane person thinks that would have worked out well for our seniors over the past couple of years.

Sometimes simple facts are worth repeating: During the Clinton years, marginal tax rates were raised to restore fiscal sanity, leading to federal budget surpluses, and 23 million jobs were created. During the George W. Bush presidency, marginal rates were cut, the budget was left with a severe structural deficit, only about 1 million jobs were created, and we descended into an economic cataclysm.

There is no simple causal relationship to any of this, of course, especially since global macro trends have a greater impact on the American economy every year. But the simple mantra of the Tea Party and the Republican Party—low taxes and government deregulation will lead to economic vitality—is demonstrably counterfactual.

Many of us had presumed that after the events of the last two years the appeal of pseudo-libertarianism would have worn off. The image of Wall Street being bailed out should have restored some sense to the debate, challenging everybody to refocus on a more rational conversation about when, how, and why government intervention in the market could work.

Surely the role of a "smart" government—investing in the infrastructure and social capital necessary for long-term competitive success while setting reasoned rules to insure competition and fair play, and limit risk of over-leveraged excess in the market—would make sense to people. Could we not agree that the current demand-side crisis—with an effective unemployment rate hovering in the low teens and corporations sitting on close to $2 trillion of cash—requires another stimulus of some significant magnitude to put the 20 million unemployed back to work? And could we not also recognize that as soon as the economy stabilized, we would have to take dramatic action to restore sanity to entitlement programs that are simply unaffordable over a 25-year time horizon? Can we not oppose bonus bailouts and bridges to nowhere without opposing building the modern equivalent of the Erie Canal or the interstate highway system—the critical tunnel between New Jersey and New York, for instance?

Unfortunately, it appears not. I really don't care whether Christine O'Donnell is a witch. I do care about her plan to make us competitive in a global economy. I really don't care that she didn't go to Yale, but I do wonder how she thinks we can prevent another financial sector meltdown if we don't change banking rules.

We had better face up to a stark and uncomfortable reality: The clock is running out on our status as the world's dominant political and economic power. Platitudes, make believe, and hoping it will be so are not going to carry us any further.

We have three weeks to make this choice. Because if we end up with a Congress and a White House that fail to re-chart our course over the next two years, it is clear who the winner will be. It will not be the person sworn in as president in 2013. It will be China, Brazil, and India. They are loving every minute of this.
If tax cuts and deregulation were the magic solution to all our woes we should be living in paradise instead of the worse economic collapse in 75 years. Republicans are the walking cartoon of the guy who keeps banging his head agianst the wall thinking he'll get different results with each bang. If Republicans want to bang their heads against walls for eternity that's fine, but they're trying to make the rest of us into idiots too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller is a Scared Bunny

Bold Tea Party candidate starts to hide - After more damaging revelations, Alaska Republican declares he will no longer answer questions about his past

In a bizarre press conference Monday, Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller announced he will no longer answer questions about his past and blamed the media for focusing on personal attacks instead of the issues.

"We’ve drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask about personal issues — I’m not going to answer. I’m not," he said, continuing:

This is about the issues. This is not about continuing the personal attacks, it’s not about continuing the diversions based in illegal acts. This is about moving the state forward. And that’s our commitment.

There have been a steady stream of revelations in recent weeks about Miller, who was a little-known attorney until he beat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in an upset in the August primary (she is now running as a write-in candidate). It has emerged in recent weeks that Miller took advantage of various programs that he thinks are unconstitutional or should be gutted, like Medicaid and federal farm subsidies.
One of Miller's former employers would not comment on Miller except to say that no one tried to keep him from leaving. A high recommendation indeed.

8 Ways to Fight the Right-Wingers Conservative Republicans Buying Off Our Government

Not only is income and wealth in America more concentrated in fewer hands than it's been in 80 years, but those hands are buying our democracy as never before -- and they're doing it behind closed doors.

Hundreds of millions of secret dollars are pouring into congressional and state races in this election cycle. The Koch brothers (whose personal fortunes grew by $5 billion last year) appear to be behind some of it, Karl Rove has rounded up other multimillionaires to fund right-wing candidates, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling corporate dollars from around the world into congressional races, and Rupert Murdoch is evidently spending heavily.

No one knows for sure where this flood of money is coming from because it's all secret.

But you can safely assume its purpose is not to help America's stranded middle class, working class, and poor. It's to pad the nests of the rich, stop all reform, and deregulate big corporations and Wall Street -- already more powerful than since the late 19th century when the lackeys of robber barons literally deposited sacks of cash on the desks of friendly legislators.

Credit the Supreme Court's grotesque decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, which opened the floodgates. (Even though 8 of 9 members of the Court also held disclosure laws constitutional, the decision invited the creation of shadowy "nonprofits" that don't have to reveal anything.)

According to FEC data, only 32 percent of groups paying for election ads are disclosing the names of their donors. By comparison, in the 2006 midterm, 97 percent disclosed; in 2008, almost half disclosed.

Last week, when the Senate considered a bill to force such disclosure, every single Republican voted against it -- thereby revealing the GOP's true colors, and presumed benefactors. (To understand how far the GOP has come, nearly ten years ago campaign disclosure was supported by 48 of 54 Republican senators.)
Republicans have always been for the best government by and for special interests. They shipped off American jobs to China and called it patriotism. Many middle-class American still believe conservatives have their best interests at stake. Which explains why some people believe burying a potato in the backyard will heal whooping cough. Some people will believe anything.

Conservative Republican and Terrorist Byron Williams attack follows numerous right-wing terrorism incidents in recent years

As journalist John Hamilton wrote, Byron Williams was arrested after he allegedly opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers. Williams reportedly told investigators that "his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU." Williams' alleged actions follow numerous right-wing terrorism attacks in past years.

Williams is a big Glenn Beck and Fox News fan.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Does Republican Dan Webster Stand For?

What Does Republican Dan Webster Stand For? Well, it is not good math or honest debate. Does Washington need another dishonest Republican that is great at babbling nonsense but has no honest answers.

Despite their history of running up the national debt when they are actually in power, leading conservatives have made complaining about the national debt a central theme of their political campaigns.

It was this theme that GOP candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Dan Webster was touting at a meeting with voters late last month. While fearmongering about the amount of public debt the United States now holds, the congressional candidate went as far as to say that “you could combine all the economies of the world and you could not sustain the borrowing that we’re doing”:

WEBSTER: We’re borrowing 4 billion dollars a day, that’s impossible. We are in trouble. We’re in big trouble. Even Hillary Clinton said two weeks ago that if the borrowing continues it will be a threat to national security. That’s not us. That’s them saying that. Even the congressional budget office has said that is unsustainable. You could combine all the economies of the world and you could not sustain the borrowing that we’re doing. So we have to turn off the faucet.

When Webster refers to the “the borrowing that we’re doing,” he’s talking about the $1.3 trillion dollar budget deficit. It is simply incorrect that the rest of the world’s economies combined would not be able to sustain those levels of debt. The CIA World Factbook estimates that the Global World Product — the sum of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the world’s nations — was approximately $58.15 trillion for 2009. Meaning that the global economy produced 44 times as much in 2009 as it would take to completely pay down the U.S. budget deficit.
Webster is one of those guys who have to lie and exaggerate to make a point. Maybe that is part and parcel of also believing that women are second class citizens. From 2000 to 2008 Bush Republicans like Dan did a lot of whining about the deficit even as they created the largest debt in history - leaving the mess for Democrats to clean up ( not very responsible or patriotic behavior). Right-wing conservatives like Webster are doing a lot of complaining now - and as before they have no serious plan - complaining and making up math is not a plan, Neocons Talk Deficit but Won’t Budge on Defense Cuts

This hypocrisy was on full display on Oct. 4, as American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol penned a joint op-ed for the right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page on why the defense budget should be totally off limits to budget cutters.

First, they claim the military is not the “true source of our fiscal woes.” No one is saying the defense budget is the sole source of the deficit, but the fact is that it has risen from 3 percent of the gross domestic product in fiscal year 2001 to 4.7 percent this year. That additional 1.7 percent of GDP amounts to $250 billion in spending — almost 20 percent of this year’s budget deficit. And according to a recent Congressional Research Service report, the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone accounted for 23 percent of the combined budget deficits between fiscal years 2003 and 2010.

Brooks, Feulner and Kristol then claim that “terrorism and piracy in sea lanes around the world,” potential future threats from a “nuclear Iran” or a China “that can deny access to U.S. ships or aircraft in the Asian-Pacific region” justify a defense budget only slightly smaller as a share of GDP than at the height of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear missiles targeted directly at the United States.

Tufts University foreign policy expert Daniel Drezner was underwhelmed by the argument. “Terrorism and piracy are certainly security concerns — but they don’t compare to the Cold War,” he said. “A nuclear Iran is a major regional headache, but it’s not the Cold War. A generation from now, maybe China poses as serious threat as the Cold War Soviet Union. Maybe. That’s a generation away, however.”

American University defense expert Gordon Adams was equally unimpressed by the trio’s rationalization:

It is little more than a façade to justify growing defense budgets as far as the eye can see, affordable or not. First, we are leaving Iraq as we speak and will be drawing down in Afghanistan starting next year… [which] frees up a considerable amount of military personnel. Second, anyone who thinks terrorists and pirates justify a $700 billion defense budget and a 2-million-person force (actives and reserves) has clearly drunk way too much Kool-Aid. These missions are important, but they do not drive anywhere near that number of forces. Third, …The U.S. has ample sea and air power to cope for decades with a rising China, whose economic pursuits pose a much more significant problem for the U.S. than their military pursuits.

The fact of the matter is that China spends half the share of its GDP on defense as the U.S. — less than $100 billion last year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the primary source for internationally comparable data on military expenditures. That’s less than 15 percent of what we spent. According to SIPRI, the military budgets of every nation on earth other than the U.S added together would only come to 46 percent of the total. In other words, the U.S. defense budget is 54 percent of world military spending.
Republicans lied us into Iraq and bungled victory in Afghanistan the least they could have done is pay for their treachery. Instead they left it and now claim to be pissed off at how slow it is taking to pay for their screw-ups.

Sharron Angle's pastor on Harry Reid: "His religion's a cult". - The pastor of the Reno church where Nevada's GOP Senate candidate worships shares his opinions on Mormons. gee what happened to conservatives who said they believed in freedom of religion. Does Angle realize that Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is a Mormon.

Another tolerate conservative Republican Glenn Beck - How many anti-Semites does Glenn Beck have to cite?

The problem with conspiracy theories (well, one of the problems with conspiracy theories) is that they function as a playground for bigots. Theories like birtherism or 9-11 trutherism come to be popular in anti-Semitic and racist circles because they help to validate in the minds of these people that which they already believe to be true -- that the world's problems can be laid at the feet of ethnic group X or religion Y.

For someone like Glenn Beck, who tries (and fails) to walk the line between conspiracy theorism and legitimate history, encountering anti-Semitic cranks is unavoidable. This puts him in the somewhat comic situation of having to carefully weed out the bigoted aspects of already disreputable theories, and then trying to convince everyone that he's a historian, and not a lunatic.

Beck, it seems, isn't up to that challenge. Over the past few months, several anti-Semitic authors and theories have popped up in his TV and radio monologues, and Beck's audience of millions is, unwittingly or not, being exposed to some of the most hateful rhetoric of the last century.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska Buddy Joe Miller Admits He Got Government Health Care

Despite Bashing 'Obamacare' As Unconstitutional, Joe Miller Admits He Got Government Health Care

Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller says his family benefited from Medicaid and a state-run health care program for low-income children and pregnant women.

Miller previously acknowledged receiving federal farm subsidies for land he owned in Kansas in the 1990s, as well as low-income hunting and fishing licenses for him and his wife in Alaska.

As a conservative candidate, he's criticized certain entitlement programs. Sitting Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who's running for re-election as a write-in candidate against him, called Miller a hypocrite.

As The Huffington Post has reported, Miller on his campaign website clearly defines his position on the health care issue:

I support the repeal of ObamaCare. First and foremost, there is no Constitutional authority for it. Currently nearly half of the state governments have filed suit in federal court because they share this view.

Second, even if ObamaCare were Constitutional, its baseline benefit is built upon a crumbling foundation, and it will do nothing to control costs. This legislation adds millions of new beneficiaries to the already broken Medicaid program and relies in part on finding hundreds of billions in savings from the broken and going bankrupt Medicare program. The reimbursement rates on both of these programs are so low that many doctors in Alaska will not see patients or greatly limit the number of patients they will see.

The Tea Party-backed candidate has also reportedly communicated a desire to phase out Medicare.
Miller belongs to a long line of Tea Nuts who have derided various government programs from which they benefited either directly or indirectly.

Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) - Bachmann Farm Subsidies: Anti-Handout Rep. Personally Got $250K . In several polls of tea baggers many of them admit to receiving or even depending on government programs. What they seem to be against is the use of those programs by "other" people, but it is Ok for tea baggers to collect government benefits.

Nevada's smiley faced proto-fascist Republican wacko Sharron Angle And Her Husband Receive Government Health Care

Stimulating Hypocrisy: 114 Anti-American Conservative Republican Lawmakers Block Recovery While Taking Credit For Its Success

Rand Paul Runs From His Own Medicare Record With TV Ad Edits - Why does Rand hate America's senior citizens?

Connecticut Republican right-winger and candidate for senate Linda McMahon's Body Count
Imagine if someone ran for the Senate on the strength of their experience as CEO of a billion-dollar company. Now imagine if, as an aside, their employees kept ending up dead. They would routinely die [1] of heart attacks, drug overdoses, suicides and strokes before the age of 50. Imagine if their company had put a "death clause [2]" in their contracts that prevented employees and their families from suing the company. Imagine if they had gag orders to prevent family members from speaking out against what could be fairly called the most dangerous working conditions in the United States. Imagine if this candidate was so sociopathic that she would look at this billion-dollar business built on broken bodies and death as a source of pride and even as a motivator for why she deserves the power of public office. And lastly, imagine the media happily joining in with the sociopathology and giving her a free pass.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Missouri Tea Partiers Scream Their Support for Cruel Puppy Mills

Missouri Tea Partiers Scream Their Support for Cruel Puppy Mills

The state of Missouri is known throughout the humane community as "puppy mill central," a state which by some reckonings is home to nearly a third of the nation's wretched breeding factories that churn out litter after litter of puppies that can be high-priced and sometimes less than healthy, from mothers that are kept like brood sows and wind up exhausted and ailing after delivering endless litters -- I know; I've adopted one or two of such poor exploited ladies.

Dog-loving groups have been hopeful that Missouri's Prop. B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, would help to put a stop to some of this, by requiring commercial breeders with more than 10 breeding females who produce puppies for the pet trade give those dogs clean facilities, enough food and water and exercise, and what I would call decent intervals between pregnancies.

Simple, right?

Well, not according to some. As reported on Talking Points Memo, Tea Partiers are claiming that this is a manifestation of the Humane Society's sinister plan. Some, including people who either can't read or won't read -- to paraphrase Mark Twain, the latter has the same disadvantage as the former -- are applying Tea Party politics to this, declaring that the Missouri measure saving animals from misery and exploitation is part of a "radical" agenda.

The group calls itself the Alliance for Truth -- don't you love the grandiose labels these groups bestow on themselves? -- and one member, astonishingly, told the TPM site that Prop. B supporters "don't like animals."

Now, let's figure this one out. Who doesn't like animals? The Humane Society, with a decades-long track record of trying to give animals healthy and safe living conditions, or the people who seized on this, either with deliberate, cynical political intent or by a misreading of the law, to cast Prop. B as another effort by traitors and socialists to destroy the American way of life, which way of life also evidently includes the right to destroying animals' lives and health if that's what some red-blooded real American wants to do. What does the Alliance for Truth think about dog fighting? Maybe Michael Vick can show up at the next rally, so long as it doesn't interfere with his NFL schedule.

JoeThePlumber Overlaying the tragicomedy of this is the involvement of not-Joe-and-not-a-registered-Plumber, the supposed Everyman of the John McCain presidential campaign. Here's what he wrote: that the Humane Society is "cowardly [sic] hiding behind animal cruelty, lying to our citizens and taking our constitutional rights away -- one state at a time."

Today, humane conditions in puppy mills -- tomorrow, ending states' rights!

Come on, 'fess up, Comedy Central -- did you sneak a plant into Missouri and start up this group just to gin up good material for your writers?

Another of this group's contentions is that the Humane Society's real goal is "making it more difficult for middle-class American families to be dog owners."

Do I laugh or cry at that one, or both? Humane organizations would love for every middle-class American family to be a dog owner, and there's a really easy way, a cheap way, to make that happen -- without having to pay the hundreds or even thousands of dollars that puppy mills can charge per pet.

Millions of American-born dogs are waiting for you -- to live with your middle-class American family -- in shelters and with rescue groups all across America. There's just about any breed you want, any age, either gender, and all the all-American mutts you could hope for. None of your fancy hundreds or thousands-of-dollar price tags, either. Most shelters, you can walk out with the canine of your dreams for a hundred bucks or so, sometimes less.

In as you folks in the Show-Me State know, that's a demonstrable bargain.
Take a tour of a puppy mill - maybe we can get the Missouri tea nuts and Joe the Idiot plumber to stay caged up for a few years and tell us how they are enjoying their "constitutional" right o be treated like living garbage.

Over in Florida Republican weirdo Rick Scott - when he is not busy stealing millions from Medicare and screwing over senior citizens enjoys telling lies about his opponent Alex Sink. It is the only way a criminal sleazeball conservative like Scott can get into office.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fox News Has Almost All Republican Presidential Candidates on Their Payroll

Fox News Has Almost All Republican Presidential Candidates on Their Payroll

A note to Tea Party activists: This is not the movie you think it is. You probably imagine that you’re starring in “The Birth of a Nation,” but you’re actually just extras in a remake of “Citizen Kane.”

True, there have been some changes in the plot. In the original, Kane tried to buy high political office for himself. In the new version, he just puts politicians on his payroll.

I mean that literally. As Politico recently pointed out, every major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination who isn’t currently holding office and isn’t named Mitt Romney is now a paid contributor to Fox News. Now, media moguls have often promoted the careers and campaigns of politicians they believe will serve their interests. But directly cutting checks to political favorites takes it to a whole new level of blatancy.

Arguably, this shouldn’t be surprising. Modern American conservatism is, in large part, a movement shaped by billionaires and their bank accounts, and assured paychecks for the ideologically loyal are an important part of the system. Scientists willing to deny the existence of man-made climate change, economists willing to declare that tax cuts for the rich are essential to growth, strategic thinkers willing to provide rationales for wars of choice, lawyers willing to provide defenses of torture, all can count on support from a network of organizations that may seem independent on the surface but are largely financed by a handful of ultrawealthy families.

And these organizations have long provided havens for conservative political figures not currently in office. Thus when Senator Rick Santorum was defeated in 2006, he got a new job as head of the America’s Enemies program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank that has received funding from the usual sources: the Koch brothers, the Coors family, and so on.

Now Mr. Santorum is one of those paid Fox contributors contemplating a presidential run. What’s the difference?

Well, for one thing, Fox News seems to have decided that it no longer needs to maintain even the pretense of being nonpartisan.

Nobody who was paying attention has ever doubted that Fox is, in reality, a part of the Republican political machine; but the network — with its Orwellian slogan, “fair and balanced” — has always denied the obvious. Officially, it still does. But by hiring those G.O.P. candidates, while at the same time making million-dollar contributions to the Republican Governors Association and the rabidly anti-Obama United States Chamber of Commerce, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns Fox, is signaling that it no longer feels the need to make any effort to keep up appearances.

Something else has changed, too: increasingly, Fox News has gone from merely supporting Republican candidates to anointing them. Christine O’Donnell, the upset winner of the G.O.P. Senate primary in Delaware, is often described as the Tea Party candidate, but given the publicity the network gave her, she could equally well be described as the Fox News candidate. Anyway, there’s not much difference: the Tea Party movement owes much of its rise to enthusiastic Fox coverage.

As the Republican political analyst David Frum put it, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox” — literally, in the case of all those non-Mitt-Romney presidential hopefuls. It was days later, by the way, that Mr. Frum was fired by the American Enterprise Institute. Conservatives criticize Fox at their peril.

So the Ministry of Propaganda has, in effect, seized control of the Politburo. What are the implications?

Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that when billionaires put their might behind “grass roots” right-wing action, it’s not just about ideology: it’s also about business. What the Koch brothers have bought with their huge political outlays is, above all, freedom to pollute. What Mr. Murdoch is acquiring with his expanded political role is the kind of influence that lets his media empire make its own rules.

Thus in Britain, a reporter at one of Mr. Murdoch’s papers, News of the World, was caught hacking into the voice mail of prominent citizens, including members of the royal family. But Scotland Yard showed little interest in getting to the bottom of the story. Now the editor who ran the paper when the hacking was taking place is chief of communications for the Conservative government — and that government is talking about slashing the budget of the BBC, which competes with the News Corporation.

So think of those paychecks to Sarah Palin and others as smart investments. After all, if you’re a media mogul, it’s always good to have friends in high places. And the most reliable friends are the ones who know they owe it all to you.
As Krugman notes money has always played a huge role in U.S. politics. Now with Fox and Murdoch's News Corp already determining who will be the next Republican nominee for president it is at last official that the winners in the right-wing political machine are not determined by the self deluded tea baggers who think they're part of a "grass roots" movement. Glenn Beck once admitted that anyone who listened to him was an idiot. Thus admitting that is is playing his audience to make himself extremely wealthy ( some estimates put his current annual income at $32 million). It turns out the tea baggers are just rubes. It is difficult to fell sorry for them since they seem so willing to dive head long in the anti-American propaganda put out by the likes of Fox.

Glenn Beck, the conservative television and radio host, is an amateur historian. Very amateur.

Alaska right-wing nut Joe Miller Adds The Minimum Wage To The Long List of Things He Thinks Are Unconstitutional

Republicans put corporations ahead of citizens in their view of the Constitution.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Tea Party and The Founders

The Tea Party and The Founders

As they wrap themselves in the Constitution they mean to shred, that is the self-evident Truth the Tea/GOP Party ultimately cannot face.

Our legal godfathers---the ones Glenn Beck loves to conjure---were Deistic liberal humanists whose core beliefs he hates.

They dumped that tea because they despised the corporation that owned it and the idea of empire it (and today's corporate-military right) stood for.

The very first phrase of this nation's defining document, the Bill of Rights, says:

"Judaeo-Christian? Not a chance."

The grassroots farmers that made the Revolution were free-thinking hemp growers. Their favorite scribe, Tom Paine, was the son of a Quaker whose Age of Reason assaulted the church with unsurpassed fury. Today's Tea/GOP would have it burned.

Our greatest genius, Ben Franklin, was a proud and joyous sexual adventurer. His very presence today would induce howls of (envious) outrage from the religious right.

It was Franklin who most loved Native America. He introduced himself to the French as "an American savage." He stamped the Hodenosaunee (Iroquois) gifts of personal freedom and a democratic confederation into the soul of the new nation.

More formally, our tradition of direct voting, still alive in many New England towns, where the Revolution was born, was conceived in Athens, 508 BC. The Republic ("if you can keep it," as Franklin warned) came from Rome, 509 BC. Long before the "Christian Era."

The federal structure adopted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, was---with Franklin's mentoring---based on the Iroquois Confederacy. That union was born at latest 1540 AD. It sustained a functioning democracy for at least 250 years, still longer than the US has been in existence.

The matriarchal Hodenosaunee were defined by a love of nature and communal land stewardship. Open dialog was as easily accepted as abortion and homosexuality. Along with so many other lethal diseases, Original Sin was an unwanted import.

It is the humanistic liberalism of America's Founders that STILL enrages today's neo-Puritan Tea/GOP. The Jefferson they love to claim fathered at least five children with his slave Sally Hemings, thirty years his junior. Some were conceived while he lived "alone" in the White House.

He and Franklin and Madison and Paine had no time for the Christian faith. It's by their intelligent design that Jesus appears nowhere in the Constitution. Their liberal Deism said a Creator got the universe going, installed the laws of nature, endowed humans with free will (and inalienable rights), then left.

Franklin's disdain for church services spices his autobiography. Jefferson clipped all references to a divinity for Jesus out of his personal Bible. Paine's Age of Reason still enrages the official church. Madison's First Amendment enshrines disdain for an official religion. Unitarianism in all its liberal diversity was shared by presidents two through six, including two Adamses, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.

Their system of checks and balances was based on the Socratic proposition that with the freedom to dialog, human reason will prevail. Thus the First Amendment's very first phrase exalts freedom from Religion, ie separation of church and state, a phrase coined by Jefferson, demanded by the new nation as a whole.

Like virtually all other American farmers, Washington and Jefferson raised serious quantities of hemp, and made good money from it. Franklin owned a paper mill that ran on it. All may well have smoked its psycho-active cousin, now known as marijuana. If you told them the nation they founded would make this versatile herb illegal, they would laugh at you.

They'd be equally horrified to hear the Foxist Tea/GOP claiming them as icons in a sectarian crusade for repression and empire.

Today's religious right is an unholy fusion of theocratic authoritarianism---which our Founders hated above all---and corporate tyranny, whose tea they pitched in Boston harbor.

Along with George III, there's nothing they loathed more than the anti-human hypocrisy we hear from the Foxist Legion.

Likewise, Beck, Pailn, Limbaugh, O'Reilly and their ilk would have shrieked with rage at the actual Franklin and Paine, Jefferson and Madison, not to mention the populist farmers and sailors, workers and women who fought and died for the Revolution we all Revere (yes, him too!).

So next time those Tea/GOP phonies gaze off in the distance to claim kinship with the Founders, remind everyone you know who really did win that Revolution and write that Bill of Rights.

Those hemp-growing, tree-hugging, corporate-hating deistic free loving and free thinking present-at-the-creation Americans believed above all that the Truth would keep us free.

Now more than ever, it's our patriotic duty to prove them right.
The truth will only set those free for who facts matter. The Tea Party - who are conservatives who didn't give a damn what Republicans did to our constitutional rights or the deficit during the Bush years- are just right-wing Republicans who have avowed never to take responsibility for their part in running the economy into the ground and starting a baseless counterproductive war in Iraq.