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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Peporter snow plow fail

Wisconsin Policeman - "Who do you work for?" to Scott Walker

10 other ways Scott Walker is destroying Wisconsin

Flying below the radar are 10 other schemes by Scott Walker to become dictator of Wiscnsin. Sounds a little harsh. Not when you look at what he's doing.

1 - Destroying Medicaid by government fiat. Complete control of Medicaid will be handed over to ultra-conservative and public health enemy, Dennis Smith, DHS director who will have the power “to override state Medicaid laws as [he] sees fit and institute sweeping changes” including reducing benefits and limiting eligibility. You know where that's going.

2 - Selling off state energy assets to the lowest bidder, or in his case non-bidder. The budget that has just been passed will allow Walker to sell state owned energy assets without bids or any oversight or regard for the public interest. Higher utility bills and huge profits for providers in the future in Wisconsin,

3 - Repealing laws requiring municipalities to disinfect drinking water. In 1993, 104 people died and 400,000 became sick when Milwaukee's drinking water became infected. So Walker plans to limit Medicaid and then open the door for water borne illnesses. That's a fine mess you're going to make Scotty.

4 - Walker exempted a GOP donor and crony developer from Wetland restrictions but the way the law has been written an entire county, eliminating all hearings on wetland development in the county. Who cares if he pisses off hunters, conservative lot mainly as long as his donors get their due.

5 - California screwed themselves when they passed a law needing a two thirds majority to raise any taxes. It's made it virtually impossible to dig the state out of it's current fiscal hole. Walker has done this but first handed out huge corporate tax breaks to his cronies. The only solution to fiscal management is going to be to slash Medicaid. Screw the low income population, who cares, the didn't vote for him.

6 - Back to the old GOP playbook, making harder to vote using the phantom 'voter fraud' canard which is always alleged but never actually proven. In this case voters will need a picture ID form the DMV, making it a lot harder for the elderly, the disabled and the poor to vote. Not Scotty's constituency which is the object of the exercise in the first place.

7 - Killing jobs in the name of fiscal responsibility...and it wasn't even Wisconsin's money. In this case, he turned down $810 million in Federal money for high speed rail. The immediate effect is a Spanish company closing up shop and costing 40 jobs. A lot more jobs would have been created down the road. A sluggish economy will hurt the state and hurt state revenue, exacerbating deficits. Such concepts are far too obtuse for Scotty to comprehend.

8 - This little stunt was dead on arrival but it shows Walker's mentality. Walker introduced a bill that would effectively killed wind generated energy. $1.8 billion in future investment plus 11 current projects would have died. Instead, Waker would rather import coal from other states costing the state not to mention more pollution.

9 - The legislature passed a law handing over the state's rule-making process to Walker himself. He will now control the rule making in the Dept. of Education, Justice and most importantly the Accountability Board, the state's ethics watchdog. If you're going to run roughshod over accountability you'd better control the ethics process.

10 - 37 state civil service positions have been turned into political appointees giving Walker even more control, as if he needs it.

Think Progress has the full list
plus links to more in depth articles on the various issues.

There is no doubt Walker has thrown the Democratic process out the window to create a quasi dictatorship. Let's assume the almost obvious. Walker has vastly overreached and is both arrogant and tone deaf. Wisconsin will pay for their folly in electing him and winning a second term is unlikely assuming he maintains his current course. A Democrat is elected Governor with the same expansive rules Walker has created for himself. Sadly, certain acts are irreversible like the tax rules and the giveaway of state utilities.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mike Huckabee - screw government workers but I'm okay because Fox pays me big bucks

I used to have a grudging respect for Mike Huckabee because he seemed to have a little more integrity than the average wingnut. No longer.

He want to kill government unions and slash their benefits. At the same time he bemoaned that he had no nest egg because he was a poor underpaid public servant himself. As Governor I am sure he got a nice salary and a free home among other things. But he's okay now because he's getting paid big bucks to spout complete and utter bullshit on Fox News.

Pity your average public employee can't feather their next egg like he can.

The utter selfish and ignorant venality of the leaders on the far right never ceases to amaze me. I should be used to it my now.

The story here at Talking Points Memo.

Roxy Music - More than this

From their more mellow but beautiful Avalon album

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Goldman Sachs forecast a 1.5-2.0% drop in GDP if House budget passes

Those human wrecking balls also known as the Republican Party House members voted to cut $60 billion in spending. They narrowed their aim and zeroed in hurting the most needy. Children, women, low income families and the environment fared the worst, naturally, Corporations, the wealthy, super-wealthy, and the military escaped the budget axe unscathed, They tried to cut $10 million from the Pentagon's ad budget with NASCAR and judging by the outcry you would think John Boehner had pissed on Ronald Reagan's grave so even that minuscule snip was removed.

Today, Goldman Sachs came out with a report that should the cuts pass (they won't) the cutback in spending will reduce GDP growth by 1.5-2.0% growth. The final numbers for GDP growth was 2.6% and 1.7%. The fourth quarter initial report came in at 3.2% but those numbers are more often than not, revised downwards once the final numbers come in. So should the GOP cuts pass, not only will the neediest get screwed, so will the economy at large.

I know Goldman Sachs is the evil vampire squid but nontheless, their economic forecasting is generally very good, which is part of the reason they are the evil vampire squid.

Which brings us back to a point I made earlier this week. On the Sunday news talk shows all the talk was about the deficit while there was one lonely comment about the economy and job growth, The budget doesn't need trimming so much as tax breaks for the wealthiest, especially obscenely rich Hedge Fund managers and large corporations needs to br trimmed. For the rest, budget cutting is not what's needed, targeted spending is a better solution.

A budget that cuts $2 billion from job training when unemployment is unacceptably high shows just where Republican's priorities lie.

Uterus police law - even more insane than first thought

Now that we have the draft of the bill it is even more insane than first thought. Daily Kos as the details.

“Franklin wants to create a Uterus Police to investigate miscarriages, and requires that any time a miscarriage occurs, whether in a hospital or without medical assistance, it must be reported and a fetal death certificate issued. If the cause of death is unknown, it must be investigated. If the woman can’t tell how it happened, then those Uterus Police can ask family members and friends how it happened. Hospitals are required to keep records of anyone who has a spontaneous abortion and report it.”

15-20% of all prefnancies end in a miscarriage. Accounting for Georgia's population and 4 million births in the U.S. each year about 25,000 miscarriages will occur in a year in Georgia. That's about 70 a day. Any miscarriage that can't be fully explained will be investigated and the woman will be open to being charged with a felony if her explanation is not satisfactory.

Miscarriages happen for a variety of reasons, some of which even doctors can't explain and the uterus police in Georgia will investigate all of them. Look on the bright side. The Bill will create jobs. On the minus side, this is utterly insane.

Fortunately the likelihood of the bill passing is near zero but the fact that is even being seriously proposed is utterly insane and I'm sure Franklin won't be the only one voting for it.

How low can Fox News go in their lies?.

The bottom seems to be infinite. Recent national polls reveal considerable support for public worker unions to retain their bargaining rights. Support is steady in the high 50's and low 60's, rather surprising considering the drumbeat of demonization from the right.

Fox somehow read the results differently.

Note the qualifying second line of the header turning the poll numbers on it's head.   Fox did issue a correction later but long after the lie had served its purpose.   More here.

Scott Walker steps into a huge pile of dogshit

Walker got totally punked by a crank phonecall from a liberal blogger pretending to be multi-billionaire David Koch, his biggest financial contributor and biggest financer of the right.

He's truly a rolling disaster. More here plus a link to the audio of the 20 minute call.

Bernie Sanders spells it out in no uncertain terms

I've always admired him but his epic real filibuster where he read letters from constituents for almost 9 hours non-stop was both heartbeaking and inspiring at the same time.

As Bernie says at the end of the video. "Democrats! wakey wakey, this is a war on the middle class'. Wisconsin is the first battle.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scott Walker is a congenital liar

Firstly the bad news for Walker. Two polls, one just in Wisconsin and the other national Show support for allowing collective bargaining for public employees. In Wisconsin his favorable rating was 39% and unfavorable was 49%. Since the protests have started his support has eroded.

He took to the airwaves tonight for a fireside chat. He started out by claiming that the public employees have refused to accept the cuts. Complete and utter lie. They have accepted cuts, they haven't accepted the loss of the right to collective bargaining. That's quite a lie.

He then started claiming that the crowds are largely outside agitators. Another lie. Outsiders have come in but after the initial protests.

He then threatened 1,500 layoffs before the end of June and another 5-6,000 state workers and 5-6,000 local government workers will lose their jobs by July 1. Mafia tactics aren't going to win him too many fans.

He's also claiming that Wisconsin has a $3 billion deficit. Another lie. That's the deficit projected for the next two years starting when the new budget will begin in the summer. Big difference. Sadly even the non Fox News media are reporting that there is a $3 billion deficit now. Can't they get a simple fucking fact right. Obviously not which is why people like him can get away with lie after lie.

Even Mitch Daniels if Indiana and Rick Scott of Florida, no shrinking violet have come out for public employees to retain collective bargaining rights.

While Walker certainly walked and talked the Tea Party line he never mentioned the idea of killing collective bargaining for public employees.

Lost in all this fuss is the horrific part in his budget about selling giving away state utilities to the private sector without any bidding, oversight or debate. 

The GOP use the rallying cry of 'class war' whenever a Democrat or critic calls for raising taxes for the wealthiest to help the deficit or for any other reason.  The Democrats have largely shrunk away from that, too scared to be tainted by the idea of class warfare.  Meanwhile class warfare has been raging in America for the last decade and longer, with the powerful winning virtually every battle by conning people into voting against their interests.

Wisconsin is the first real battle where class warfare has broken out. Walker created it by handing out $120 million in tax breaks for corporations, his cronies and the wealthy and using that shortfall in state revenue to stick it to public employees and others.

This i a battle the people of Wisconsin and the state Democrats cannot afford to lose. The mafia style thuggery and duplicity of Walker and his ilk needs to be stopped. A win will encourage others throughout the country to finally say 'enough of this bullshit'. Yes, America is going through hard times and tough choices need to be made but as long as America continues to dump all the tough choices on the middle and lower income classes its downward spiral will continue and accelerate.

You're shitting me, Mitch Daniels

Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana and a potential candidate for the GOP nomination in 2012 doesn't know his asshole from a hole in the ground.

Here he is on NPR today,

DANIELS: Well, the most powerful special interest in America today are the government unions. They’re the leading financial contributors. They have the biggest PAC’s. They have muscle. A lot of times their contracts provide for time off to go politic and lobby.

The Koch brothers alone probably spent more on the 2010 elections than all public employee PAC's combined and that doesn't include the multi-millions spent by the health care insurance industry on perpetuating lie after lie about health care reform and 'death panels'. They are 'special interests' you dumb fuck and thanks to a compliant Supreme Court they wield more power than they ever have.

Your 'special interest groups' were able to spend so much money they smothered the airwaves in lies, half-lies and distortions and were able to convince enough brain-dead Americans to vote against their own interests.

Greed is good except when it's teachers

Here's John Hinderaker, one of the more popular right wing bloggers.

It is infuriating to see our President weighing in on behalf of overpaid, underworked and greedy members of public employee unions. They are among the more privileged members of our society, but, as full partners in the Democrats' scheme to suck up ever more money even if it bankrupts the country, they have Obama's complete support.

Public employees like teachers don't do anything useful other than prepare tomorrow's adults for life and trivial things like that.

Here's Hinderaker a couple of years ago talking about $218 million in bonuses given to AIG employees after the company took a $170 billion bailout from the government. All they did was help blow up the economy, costing public pension funds $900 billion in the process.

As I explained on Bill Bennett's radio show this morning, I don't think there is anything wrong with the AIG bonuses, and the people who got them should keep them.

Fucking up teh economy - good, teaching children - bad. Class war has broken out in America and it's not the workers who started it.

What few people are aware of is that about 25% of public employees are not eligible to collect social security once they retire. For those people, their pensions will be their only source of income once they retire and for which they contributed throughout they working years. Now Republican politicians want to force states into bankruptcy which will cause wholesale cuts in pensions.

Read my earlier post with a link to a piece written by a New Jersey policeman on how state politicians looted their pension funds along with Wall Street's profligacy, causing the fund to lose 40% of its money.

Scott Walker - just doing what he's done before

Walker fired public security guards and replaced them with private guards on a ginned up budget crisis. Not that the switch saved any money That's how people like him think.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The dumb discource in Washngton - screw jobs, it's all about the defecit

STUCK IN THE WRONG CONVERSATION.... During the hour-long episode of "Meet the Press" yesterday, there was exactly one reference to the U.S. unemployment rate, uttered by former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D). The word "spending" was used 40 times.

The very first sentence of the broadcast was host David Gregory telling viewers, "The battle to rein in government is shaping up to be the major fight not only of this year, but of the 2012 campaign."

There was no discussion of how, exactly, this became "the major fight," only that the political establishment has decreed it to be. If you thought economic growth and job creation was at the center of the policy discussion in Washington, I'm afraid your attitudes are so 2010.

More here:

Gov. Scott Walkers' hidden agenda - giving away state owned utilities with a blank chek

Hidden away in the Wisconsin budget is this little bit of crony capitalism.

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

Republicans want to privatize everything regardless of cost or efficacy. What this atrocious piece of duplicity does is allow the state to let private companies take over public utilities without any external control or input.

It doesn't take much effort to connect the dots and it all leads back to Koch Industries and the biggest financing force in politics, the notorious Koch Koch brothers. Koch Industries donated over $43,000 to Walker's campaign and another few million indirectly to the campaign through the Republican Governor's Association.

Guess who stand to benefit most from this part of the law and guess who stands to lose the most. If this passes it won't be long before the red carpet is rolled out for Koch to step in and take over the running of State owned utilities and screw the people of Wisconsin. who won't be able to do anything about it. His attack on Public Unions serves to misdirect the people of the state away from schemes like this. It's the GOP's overlord's wet dream and the citizen's nightmare.

Do those Tea Party idiots backing Walker even realize what is being done under their noses. Maybe they will wake up when their utility bills suddenly go up for no apparent reason. I'm a little surprised that this issue has gone under the radar but not surprised that Walker is trying something as flagrantly egregious as giving away control of state owned utilities with a blank check.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pete Seeger - "Which ide are you on"

'Democracy" in Wisconsin


No wonder people are pissed. State Rep. Gordon Hintz vents

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wall Street's profligacy cost Public Worker pension funds $900 billion:

So what's a good Republican to do - blame Public Worker Unions for state deficits naturally. New Jersey is a prime example. When Christie Todd Whitman became Governor, the pension fund stood at %100 billion which amounted to 104% of its liabilities. 8.5% of salaries were deducted for the fund while local governments matched that 8.5%. Whitman's administration secretly withdrew billions from the fund to pay for tax cuts an to balance the state budget.

At the same time she exempted local governments from their 8.5% contributions costing the fund an additional $3 billion over 8 years. Not to worry said Whitman. those financial geniuses on wall Street will more than make up for the difference. This policy was continued under subsequent governors as the $3 billion liability continued to grow. These liabilities are still due sometime in the future. Between these deferred liabilities, the theft of funds to finance tax breaks and the financial meltdown the fund is now down to $66 billion so the pension fund has gone from a 4% surplus to a 41% shortfall.

Gov. Christ Christie has become a hero on the right for tough talk and for blaming the union when it was the politicians who abused and stole from the system for their own benefit and for the wealthy citizens of the state.

Our current governor, facing the same financial crisis of those going before him, has chosen a similar route, but one with a more vilifying tone. He has again found the same victim: Your public employees. When asked about the pension situation in the state of New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie replied “I wasn’t going to put $3 billion into a failing pension system. We need pension reform. I passed some already for new hirees, and this fall we are going after the current employees and pension reform and benefits because we are broke.”

Nowhere does he mention how the public employees had already bailed out this state years before, and now he is focused on “going after” the current employees to fix a mess created and compounded by politicians. To say otherwise for him would be political suicide should he aspire to higher political office, and as most of those before him, he is not about to risk his future. Rather, he would gamble on the future of those men and woman and their families who have served this state with honor and integrity.

The principals of the pension system are not broken Mr. Governor. What is broken is the manner in which the politicians have treated and abused it. Yes, the system is failing now, but not because of your police officers and firemen. As of 2009, the pension fund should have assets of $112 billion to meet its obligations, yet it is currently sitting at $66 billion.

It is the largest unfunded liability in the country. New Jersey is the first state ever to be charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Gov. Christie, strangely, has no comment on this. Yet he continues his rhetoric on the evils done to us by our police officers and firemen, ignoring the truth and lambasting and vilifying us at every turn.

These are the words of Michael Poquat, a police officer in Mount Olive Township in New Jersey. These are not public government leaders who sit on their asses and draw six figure salaries but but people who risk life and limb on a daily basis to protect citizens. In a disgraceful 60 Minutes segment that came across more as a campaign ad for Gov. Christie than a piece of investigative reporting voices such as Michael Poquat went unheard.

Public workers and their unions are being vilified in a manner never seen before. Republicans and right wing pundits have created an perpetuated the big lie that pulbic workers are paid more on average than private sector employees on average but only because the private sector includes young $8 an hour burger flippers for whcih there are no equivalent public sector employees. When you compare apples to apples and similar education and experience, public sector employees average lower salaries than those in the private sector. People working in the public sector trade lower earnings for the security of health care benefits and a pension for retirement. For this they are being vilified for fiscal problems created by Wall Street and politicians.

A public sector worker who averaged a lifetime annual salary of about $45,000 gets an annual pension of $19,000. They paid for that with salary deductions throughout their career yet somehow they are being blamed for their states and local governments fiscal woes.

In Wisconsin public employees and Democratic Party elected reps are finally starting to fight back with a fervor and a commitment that has surprised many. Newly elected Gov. Scott Walker's actions are no less egregious that the politicians in New Jersey. In his case he inherited a $121 million surplus which he immediately turned into a deficit with tax cuts and other favors for his supporters with tax breaks and other favors, using his newly created deficit as an excuse to eviscerate the power of public sector unions.

Interestingly bargaining rights for public employees haven't caused state deficits to explode. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights, such as Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona, are running big deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many states that give employees bargaining rights -- Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Montana -- have small deficits of less than 10 percent.

Worst person of the decade - Judge Mark Ciavarella

I miss Keith Olberman's 'Worst Person in the World' segment more than anything in the world other than his occasional Special Comment. To honor Keith I am awarding the aforementioned Judge the 'worst person of the decade'.

Ciavarella was a former juvenile court judge who took kickbacks from the operators of juvenile detention camps. He and another judge took about $2 million in bribes to steer offenders to the for profit camps. In all they judges sent over 4,000 kids to the camps, some as young as 10 years old for trivial offenses. He's likely to spend at 12 years in jail.

Among his arguments in his trial was that he didn't know it was illegal to take kickbacks. He's a fucking judge and he didn't know it was illegal.

He was allowed to remain free pending sentencing, a decision that galled parents of juveniles who appeared before the judge. Ciavarella often ordered youths he had found delinquent to be immediately shackled, handcuffed and taken away without giving them a chance to say goodbye to their families. Some of the children he ordered locked up were as young as 10.

The mother of a former defendant who was jailed by Ciavarella , and who later killed himself , confronted the judge on the courthouse steps, screaming obscenities and even poking him as he and his attorneys held a news conference.

Privately run detention centers and jails is one of the evils that is becoming far too common in America. Private prisons have no incentive to rehabilitate criminals. There is little or no scrutiny of the staffs these prisons hire, which tolerate employees who are clearly not fit to work in prisons.

The goal of a private company is to encourage repeat business, an admirable goal for a company that supplies goods or services but not when the service is incarcerating prisoners for the state but this creates an environment where repeat offenders results in greater profits. No wonder America incarcerates a higher perentage of the populatoin than any other country in the world including dictorships and the theocracies of the Middle East.

Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who

Until next time.

Or in the immortal words of the imperial chimpanzee and former White House occupant;

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —President George W. Bush, Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker engineered the fiscal crisis to destroy the unions

The media, and in particular Fox News have conveniently lied about Wisconsin's so called 'fiscal crisis.'

The previous Democratic administration had left Wisconsin with a $121 million budget surplus. Newly elected GOP governor Scott Walker wiped that out and then some with a series of tax breaks and spending initiatives designed to enrich is supported while doing hardly anything to 'create jobs' which was the central tenet of his campaign.

TPM has the story here.

Glenn Beck : Muslim faction wants to precipitate the Apocalypse

Beck has conveniently neglected to mention that a significant segment of Christians, particularly in hid own backyard believe in this selfsame apocalypse. Perhaps Bek needs to be reminded that a significant segment of evangelical Christians in America believe that unless I hurry up and find salvation in Jesus, as a Jew, I am destined to burn in hell when the Rapture comes roaring down the Interstate.

Beck is nothing more than a puss filled scab on the face of humanity with an amorality envied even by the most callous Wall Stret banker.

Here comes the 'Uterus police'

From the party that believes in less government and in keeping government out of our lives comes the latest salvo in the war against women.

In Georgia, state rep, Bobby Franklin has already made a name for himself when he proposed a change in rape laws changing the definition of someone who has been raped from a rape 'victim' to a rape 'accuser' until or unless the rapist is actually convicted in court. Will a rape victim be less likely to report a rape to the police knowing that she will be branded an 'accuser' instead of a 'victim'. Very possibly. If Franklin were honest he would call the bill The Rapist Protection Act.

He's come up with a new bill to eat away at the right to have an abortion and it's quite something in its current form.

The Bill begins with the statement that the state of Georgia has the obligation to protect life from conception to death. In Franklin's world the rights of a fetus are more important than the rights of the living. Last year he voted against a law that would prevent the CDC (Center for Disease Control) from requiring mandatory flu vaccinations in a pandemic.

Franklin's bill would require doctors to make an equal effort to save the life of mother and fetus. It goes on to state that any attempt to remove a fetus from the mother except to facilitate a live birth is murder. A miscarriage is not a crime but more on that later.

The proposed law as it stands allows for no exceptions to give the woman's life priority over the fetus. What if the mother develops cancer and needs chemo? What if she starts to hemorrhaging badly? What if she has a partial miscarriage and starts bleeding badly, an ectopic or an anecephalic fetus but it gets worse.

The bill calls for a 'Uterus Police' that has to investigate every miscarriage. Hospitals will be required to report every miscarriage which will trigger an investigation if the reason can't be determined. Any miscarriage outside a hospital where the cause is unclear will trigger an investigated.

The bill is unlikely to pass but that is even being considered is surreal. The party of small government. What a fucking joke.

UPDATE: It appears that the even more insane South Dakota justifiable homicide bill for anyone performing a legal abortion as defined by law looks as though it will be shelved.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Glenn Beck- the drivel keeps flowing

Apparently in his view a Union worker is by definition, a Communist. The Wisconsin Public Employees, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Communists are all in this together plottinga 'New World Order.'

Beck would prefer an Old World Order, one where workers had no rights and business owners and Governors could do what the hell they wanted, pay as little as they could get away with, make people work when and for how long they want to and not give a crap about their workers welfare. Welcome to the Tea Party world.

Paul Krugman nails the bullshit posing as wisdom about the deficit.

There are three things you need to know about the current budget debate. First, it’s essentially fraudulent. Second, most people posing as deficit hawks are faking it. Third, while President Obama hasn’t fully avoided the fraudulence, he’s less bad than his opponents — and he deserves much more credit for fiscal responsibility than he’s getting

And by proposing sharp spending cuts right away, Republicans aren’t just going where the money isn’t, they’re also going when the money isn’t. Slashing spending while the economy is still deeply depressed is a recipe for slower economic growth, which means lower tax receipts — so any deficit reduction from G.O.P. cuts would be at least partly offset by lower revenue.

It's all about really reigning in health care instead of spouting bullshit about death panels. The wisdom de jour of Paul Ryan to replace Medicare with vouchers which will not be enough to provide the health care that is needed as witnessed by the fact that the voucher driven Medicare advantage costs 14% more than normal Medicare yet delivers the same services.

He ends with this.

The bottom line, then, is that while the budget is all over the news, we’re not having a real debate; it’s all sound, fury, and posturing, telling us a lot about the cynicism of politicians but signifying nothing in terms of actual deficit reduction. And we shouldn’t indulge those politicians by pretending otherwise.

E,J, Dionne in the Washington Posts echoes the same sentiments.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The GOP plan to abolish the EPA

For the past 40 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has played a key role in protecting our nation’s air, lands, and water from polluters. Now, if a growing chorus of Republicans get their way, the EPA’s days could be numbered.

Last month, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich became the first high-profile conservative to champion one of the most extreme environmental positions in recent memory: total elimination of the EPA.

On the "bright" side without environmental laws people won't live nearly as long and Social Security won't run out of money.

republicans argue that environmental regulations should be left up to states. The result will be chaos with a hodgepodge of different laws making it impossible for large companies to comply in a national economy where every state has different requirements. That doesn't bother Republicans who only want to make it easier and therefore far less costly to not have to comply to environmental regulations.

More here. More here.

The GOP war against public employees.

Public employees choose a career where almost all of them will never be rich. In return they get health benefits and a decent pension for when they retire. The GOP are waging war, claiming wrongly that public employees are paid better than private sector employees. That's a complete lie but it suits their current narrative.

People are starting to fight back including an incredible showdown in Wisconsin where the hew GOP governor wants to strip all their bargaining rights. The result is huge protests and the departure from the state of all the Democratic Wisconsin state representatives to prevent the measure from being voted on.

The Great Recession and its aftermath are entering a new phase in the United States, which could bring even more severe assaults on the living standards and basic rights of ordinary people than we have experienced thus far. This is because a wide swath of the country’s policy- and opinion-making elite have singled out public sector workers—including schoolteachers, healthcare workers, police officers and firefighters—as well as their unions and even their pensions as deadweight burdens sapping the economy’s vitality.

The Great Recession did blow a massive hole in state and municipal government finances, with tax receipts—including income, sales and property taxes—dropping sharply along with household incomes, spending and real estate values. Meanwhile, demand for public services, such as Medicaid and heating oil assistance, has risen as people’s circumstances have worsened. But let’s remember that the recession was caused by Wall Street hyper-speculation, not the pay scales of elementary school teachers or public hospital nurses.

States are taking it all out on the neediest while tax increases for the rich and tax breaks for corporations have been taken off the table.

But even with the ARRA stimulus funds and tax increases, states and municipalities have had to make sharp cuts in spending. More severe cuts will be coming this year, with the ARRA funds now gone. These include cuts that will reduce low-income children’s or families’ eligibility for health insurance; further cuts in medical, homecare and other services for low-income households, as well as in K–12 education and higher education; and layoffs and furloughs for employees. The proposed 2012 budgets include still deeper cuts in core areas of healthcare and education. In Arizona, the governor’s budget would cut healthcare for 280,000 poor people and reduce state support for public universities by nearly 20 percent. In California, Governor Brown is proposing to bring spending on the University of California down to 1999 levels, when the system had 31 percent fewer students than it does today.

The Nation has the full story.

In an interview today Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont claimed that the middle class in America is collapsing. Without a strong and vibrant middle class America is well on the way to a Banana Republic economy.

Palin goes Groucho Marx - Whatever it is, I'm against it (Michelle Obama edition)

Sarah Palin declared October 2007 "Breastfeeding Awareness Month" and issued a proclamation that said, "government and community organizations have a vested interest in protecting and promoting breastfeeding as a means of preventing infant malnutrition, morbidity, and mortality."

Michelle Obama Feb 2011

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive measures mothers can take to protect their children's and their own health. Breastfeeding helps reduce children's risk of acute and chronic diseases like ear infections, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, rare but serious diseases like childhood leukemia, and even sudden infant death syndrome, thanks to antibodies, cells, and immunologic components uniquely available in mothers' milk. Breastfeeding also protects nursing mothers against diseases like type 2 diabetes and breast and ovarian cancers.

Today Sarah Palin came out and followed Michelle Bachmann by lambasting Michelle Obama for encouraging breast feeding despite the obvious and well documented health advantages.

Nuff said.

Montana legislator introduces bill calling global warming 'beneficial'

The Republican war against science continues unabated. The latest example is a real doozy. State Rep. Joe Read (R-MT) has introduced a bill declaring that global warming is a "natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it,” It goes on to declare that it “beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.”

Glacier Park is one of Montana's biggest tourist attractions. The area brings in about $1 billion in tourist revenues. The last of the Park's 150 glaciers is expected to disappear in the next 10 years. Between 1900 and 1979, the Glacier Park area experienced an average of 181 days every year when the temperature dipped below freezing. Between 1980 and 2005, warming had reduced the number of below-freezing days to 152.

More importantly climate scientists in Montana predict droughts, infestations and more wildfires. Perversely, Read is an emergency firefighter and stands to gain if wildfires increase.

The full story is here at Think Progress.

Glenn Beck - have I got a conspiracy for you

Google among others is the latest subject of Glenn Beck's paranoid rantings. I realized he's missing a glaringly obvious Islamist/radical leftist conspiracy with another internet giant - Facebook.

Have you noticed the symbols next to friend's names when you click on the 'chat' button. Those currently on line and active on Facebook are represented by a circle filled in with green. Below that are friends who have Facebook open but actively using the site represented by a circle with a green crescent at the bottom.

Then it hit me. I pulled up a list of national flags. More than a few nations have crescents in their flags and everyone of them is a Muslim nation. Many of these Muslim nations also have green in the flags as well. Why not the good old red, white and blue.

Facebook could have chosen any symbol like an apple pie and then an apple pie with all but one piece eaten, but no, it had to be a crescent. Facebook started at Harvard, an elitist leftist East Coast college. According to news reports the protestors in Egypt used Facebook as far back as two years ago to plot the protests.

With over 500 million users it's quite obvious, Facebook is the fulcrum of the plot to turn the civilized and and not so civilized world into a Muslim Caliphate.

Unfriend everyone on Facebook and head for the bunkers. Are you listening, Glenn Beck.

Gkenn Beck's latest enemy - Google

Beck's paranoia has reached new heights. Google is in bed with leftists, the government and who knows else. In recent days he's also claimed that the Bush administration is in bed with Communists and radical Islamists.

1,000 posts and counting

Since the birth of Irritable Liberal Syndrome.

Lots to be irritable about. Keep on visiting and click on an ad once in a while to send a few pennies my way.

Thanks for all the support.


Arcade Fire - Ready To Start

Another act that made the Grammys barely watchable.

Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man

One of the few highlights from the Grammys.

Fox News and O'Reilly - 'we don't need no stinking facts'

Shawna Forde is a former Minuteman member now convicted of two counts of first degree murder in Arizona. The Minutemen are the self appointed border patrol vigilantes who police the Arizona border with Mexico. For the most the controversial organization have avoided violence. Forde is a former Minuteman member who was convicted earlier this week after invading a house near the border and killing Raul Flores and his nine year old daughter, Brisenia in the belief that she could find money to finance her vigilante operation from money stolen from alleged drug dealers.

The killings happened on May 30, 2009 but the mainstream media was slow to cover the murders. Fox news remained silent all this time until Bill O'Reilly finally covered the story earlier this week. O'Reilly has often blasted other news networks for not covering stories but this one reflects rather badly on a group and issue that Fox nation normally supports. True to form when Fox finally covered the story it was packed with lies, errors and a concerted effort to distance Forde from the organization.

O'Reilly started with a report of an 'illegal immigrant' committing a murder and then he waded into the Shawna Forde story.

O'REILLY: Now -- exact opposite on the political spectrum, in Arizona. A woman member of the Minutemen breaks into an illegal alien house? GUILFOYLE: Right.

One minor problem. Both Flores and his daughter were American citizens, born here. From there it went downhill. Both O'Reilly and his guessts then misrepresented and outright lied about her connection to the group, maintaining that she had been kicked out of the group afterr 40 minutes. While she was undoubtedly a loose cannon, she maintained a close relationship with Jim Gilchrist, the leader of the Minutemen until well after the murders.

GUILFOYLE: Yes. The organization she belonged to was Minuteman American Defense, otherwise known as MAD. But I did a lot of research on this case, and essentially she was using this organization to say, 'I'm gonna do rip-offs of drug cartels to fund my group.

O'REILLY: Ohhh, so she joined the group to find out where illegal aliens who might be dealing narcotics.

It's true that she didn't 'join' the group, she founded it. One wonders what 'research' Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Fox legal expert actually did.

Long after the murders Gilchrist was still running updates on their website about Forde's patrols. Until it was obvious Forde had committed the murders he and the organization still maintained that the murders were the work of 'illegal immigrants.'

The murders while not political per se are the result of right wing vigilantism gone amuck but you wouldn't know that by watching Fox News.

Crooks and Liars has the full story here including video of O'Reilly's show.

Jeopardy - human versus computer

I am an inveterate fan of Jeopardy, the one game show that requires knowledge and not a bubbly personality that squeals with joy on cue. I was also a one time failed contestant on the show. My answer 'Trans Canadian Highway' was close but no cigar. The correct answer was 'Trans Canada Highway'. The Final Jeopardy category was Award Winning Broadway Musicals and my family in the audience turned to each other and silently said to each other, "he's fucked.' I was, but at least I came in second.

Now the scientists at IBM have harnessed the power of 2,800 powerful PC's and a huge knowledge base to pit 'Watson' against two of the best Jeopardy contestants of all time.

From being up on stage under the bright lights I learned a few things about being a contestant on Jeopardy. A broad general knowledge is critical but not the key ingredient. Quick thinking and the ability to sometimes make an 'educated guest' is key but above all, hand, eye and brain co-ordination is paramount. A contestant can only buzz in once Alex Trebek has finished reading the question. Buzz in too soon and you're shut out for half a second which is more often than not, fatal.

One has to shut out Trebek's voice, scan the question, decide whether you know the answerand time pushing the buzzer to perfection. If you buzz in first, take a second to compose yourself, making sure your brain and mouth are on the same page and then answer. I will finally reveal the wrong answer I gave when I knew the correct answer but didn't take that second to compose myself. The category was 'Let it "B"'. In the first round the categories were Beatle Lyrics and a play on four of their songs. The 'Canadian' answer was in the 'Long and Winding Road' category.

In the category in question the answer began with the letter "B". The question was, "this woman's underwear is derived from French.". The obvious answer, which I know was 'brassiere' but the word 'bloomers' came out of my mouth. To this day friends and family still mock me with one word, 'bloomers'.

The third day of the IBM challenge finished today. It was somewhat anti-climatic with Watson, the computer winning quite easily for one reason alone. Watson was programmed to come up with three possible answers and if it's first choice had more than a 50% certainty of being correct it buzzed in. The difference was that the computer could react faster than the humans and Watson won because it invariably buzzed in first when its answer passed the 50% threshold. It's answers were invariably correct when there was a direct word or words associated with the answer. If it required thinking 'outside the box' where the answer required logic rather than a vast knowledge base it was quite hopeless at times.

Consider the first Final Jeopardy question. The category was US Cities and the question was, 'this city's main airport is named after a Wornd War II hero and it's secondary airport is named after a World War II battle. Both humans and I knew the answer which was Chicago. I had no idea that O'Hare was a Wwar hero but I knew Midway was a battle in World War II. Watsone answered Toronto. Not exactly in the U.S. but at least Watson got a good laugh out of the audience.

Watson won with a final total of about $77,000far ahead of Ken Jennings who won a record 74 games in a row. Jennings had a total of $24,000. It proved that a computer can beat a human on linear logic but even the powerful computing ability of Watson is still a long way off from true AI (artificial logic) The human brain remains an amazing organ even with all our neuroses, doubts and at times frustrating lack of logic. If the programmers who created Watson had slowed down Watson's ability to hit the buzzer by a fraction of a second it would have made a far more interesting game.

On a side note, it was obvious the programmers didn't put much effort into teaching the computer how to wager on Double or Final Jeopardy where the contestant has to strategically wager a specific amount of money. It's wagers in those segments was completely random and bore no relation to the totals of its human opponents at that stage of the game.

South Dakote legalizes murder in the war against a woman's right to choose

Roe v Wade is the law of the land and that is unlikely to change but the GOP has been chipping away at narrowing it's scope. Within a few years the Hyde Amendment stopped federal funding of abortions through programs such as Medicaid, making it impossible or expensive for low income women who are often least able to take care of their new born infants. The original amendment banned abortions for rape, incest and even if the woman's life was in danger. After an outcry from women's groups that part was removed.

Not much changed after that until the fundamentalist Christian right replaced the pragmatic fiscal oriented right. Now it's open season as abortion rights have been under attack on both the local, state and federal level.

South Dakota has been ground zero in the fight to restrict abortions. In 1994 the state banned abortion providers within its borders except for those who can afford it done privately.

Last year Utah passed an insane law that a pregnant woman could be charged with manslaughter if 'reckless' behavior resulted in a miscarriage. The law originally used the term 'negligent' but a marginal level of sanity prevailed and 'negligent' was replaced with 'reckless'. 'Reckless' wasn't defined in the law, leaving prosecutors with a wide latitude to define the term. A traffic accident where a pregnant woman is at fault and a miscarriage results could lead to a manslaughter charge.

The GOP rode to election success in the 2010 midterm elections promising job creation and an economic policies as their priority. Instead they have ignored that pressing problem and have instead devoted far more energy to restricting abortion rights. Their first attempt was to narrow the definition of rape and incest to an accompanying act of 'violence'. After an outcry they backed off on that strategy.

Here is a sampling of some of the proposals at both the state and federal level:

. HEARTBEATS: GOP state lawmakers in Arizona and Ohio unveiled so-called “Heartbeat Bills” to “prohibit women from ending pregnancies at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.” The heartbeat can be heard “within 18 to 24 days of conception” and “in almost all cases by six weeks” — a period in which “many women don’t even know they’re pregnant.” While Ohio and Arizona have such bills in writing, Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia are watching their progress “closely.”

2. ULTRASOUNDS: By dubbing it an “emergency item,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) “fast-tracked” an anti-abortion bill mandating that “pregnant women be shown an ultrasound of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion.” Physicians would have to show the fetus’ dimensions, limbs or internal organs, and — if audible — the fetal heartbeat. The Kentucky Senate passed a similar measure requiring women receive an ultrasound and “if she chooses to avert her eyes, the doctor still would have to describe to her the image.” A Montana House Republican also proposed a bill that “would have made it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion without first providing an ultrasound.” The bill narrowly failed by a 53-47 votes. Last week, the Wyoming House passed a less-stringent bill that “would require doctors to inform women seeking an abortion that they could view an ultrasound image of their fetus before the procedure.”

3. RACE/SEX DISCRIMINATION: An Arizona GOP Rep. Steve Montenegro actually introduced bills to criminalize abortions if they’re sought because of race or sex. The bill would charge doctors with a Class 3 felony if they “knowingly perform abortions for these reasons.” While there is absolutely no evidence to prove that Arizonans seek abortions for these reasons, Montenegro apparently borrowed this idea from U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who introduced the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Discrimination Act which would have “criminalized abortion because of the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of the parent.” Illinois and Pennsylvania already have laws prohibiting sex-selection abortions and other states, including Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, and “tried to enact legislation that would prevent sex- or race-selection abortions.” Oklahoma succeeded in 2009, but a state court struck down the measure “on procedural technicalities.”

4. THE WOMEN-LAST STANDARD: On the federal level, House Republicans took the first two months of the new year to marginalize the rights of women. First, they tried to exclude certain victims — including women who are drugged, women who do not physically fight off the offender, and some minors — from abortion coverage by redefining rape. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) then introduced the “Protect Life Act,” a bill that would “give doctors the green light to let pregnant women die if they have a life-threatening condition and need and emergency abortion.”

South Dakota's lead in the war against a woman's right to choose was under assault. A law banning all abortions is in the works in Iowa as a direct challenge to Roe v Wade. The state rep. Phil Jensen of South Dakota came to the rescue. He sponsored an amendment to a 'justifiable homicide' bill to include language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman's father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.

Think about that. A doctor who performs a legal abortion can legally be killed for providing an abortion. The bill passed 9-3 in committee and is scheduled for a vote in the state legislature. Since 1993, eight doctors have been assassinated at the hands of anti-abortion extremists, and another 17 have been the victims of murder attempts. If this law passes the perpetrators of these crimes couldn't be charged if they do this in South Dakota. Mother Jones has the full story.

Meanwhile, the GOP led House of Representatives hasn't done a damn thing to help the economy. They have proposed draconian cuts to programs that give low income women and children to nutrition, to health services and to education, actions that not only threaten the futures of these at risk people but could also lead the loss of an estimated one million jobs. At the same time the sacred cows of defense and tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy, all well represented by lobbyists and campaign donations remain unscathed.

And they do this all in the name of their so-called Christian beliefs.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Protect the unborn at all costs, abandon the born at all costs

The GOP have been flexing their muscles in Congress and in the various states where they now have majorities to chip away at abortion rights. In some cases proposed laws are horrifically neanderthal. (I will post separately on this). At the same time in their budget cutting friendly the GOP have been taking a hacksaw to programs that help people who follow their wishes and choose not to have an abortion.

Proposed budget cuts by Republicans both in Congress and at the State and lower levels are proposing huge cuts to programs that help low income children. It's a case of tough shit if you get pregnant, we'll create every obstacle possible to force you to give birth but then tough shit, you're on your own. Among the cuts proposed by Republicans in the House are

– Cutting $758 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which amounts to about a 6 percent cut to a program providing food assistance to low-income women and their infants.

– Cutting $210 million from Maternal and Child Health Block Grants, which amounts to about a 33 percent cut in a program giving low-income pregnant women, mothers and their children access to health care.

That's less thaan a billion dollars which will barely put a dent in the deficit but will cause irreparable harm to mothers and infants. Not considered by the GOP House are any cuts to the bloated defense budget, to $4 billion in tax rebates to oil companies who have recorded record profits over the past couple of years or a tax break that allows hedge fund managers to pay 15% in taxes instead of 35% which would generate an additional $20 billion a year in tax revenue. They pay 10% less than a married couple making $68,000 a year or a single person aking $34,000 a year. The argument that hedge fund managers would be reluctant to invest their money if they pay the 35% ordinary higher income mortals pay is pure bullshit because they never invest their own money, only their fund's money.

In yet another attack in the war against children is Head Start which provides early childhood education for low income parents. The Frederick County, Maryland, Board of County Commissioners voted to end the county’s contribution to its Head Start program, cutting overall funding for the program by more than 50 percent. Two Republican commissioners epitomized this neanderthal thinking, saying that women should be married and at home with their kids.

COMMISSIONER C. PAUL SMITH (R): I think its very significant that we did make this marriage week announcement today, because that is the best long-term way to help our children, as marriage is strengthened in our community. As many of you know, I had a lot of kids, and my wife stayed home, at significant sacrifice, during those early years, because she knew she had to be with those kids at that critical age. I know everybody isn’t able to survive doing that, but clearly, as we can strengthen marriage we can decrease the children that we have to reach.

COMMISSIONER KIRBY DELAUTER (R): My wife, college educated, could go out and get a very good job. She gave that up for 18 years so she could stay home with our kids, we had to give up a lot to do that. I agree again with Commissioner Smith, you know, the marriage thing is very important. I mean, education of your kids starts at home, okay? I never relied on anyone else to guarantee the education of my kids.

Their cold-hearted ignorance ignores all the realities of modern life. Nearly 40% of women are the sole breadwinners in households today while almost 63% contribute at least a quarter or more of the family income. In 1975 45% of families relied on the male parent as the only breadwinner, today that number has dropped to about 20%.

Repubicans are determined to ignore the real world in pushing their agenda. A permanent underclass of a struggling, less educated population deprived of nutrition, health care or education is their goal and don't even think about terminating a pregnancy because that would be against God's will. May they rot in hell wbile hedge fund managers get to live in a world where they can buy every luxurious toy and accoutrement and still have millions left over.

A long term study in California found that every $1 spent on Head Start generates $9 in benefits to society. Children who attend Head Start programs do far better in school than low income kids who don't attend Head Start. They are far less likely to commit crimes, These benefits include increased earnings, employment, and family stability, and decreased welfare dependency, crime costs, grade repetition, and special education.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not one Democrat on the Sunday Talk Shows? WTF

The guest list for the Sunday talk shows today where Egypt was the main topic had 8 Republican guests and zero Democrats.

There were two Senators, McCain (who's on so often they might as well ake him a host) and Lindsay Graham. There were 3 GOP Congressman including John Boehner and Paul Ryan, author of the 'fiscal road map to hell'. Also on air were 3 putative GOP Presidential candidates, Barbour, Gingrich and Pawlenty.

Considering the GOP's mixed and often muddled message on Egypt the only question I have is why? So much for the 'Lamestream' liberal media.

Egypt - 28 hours in the dark heart of Egypt's torture machine

The sickening, rapid click-click-clicking of the electric shock device sounded like an angry rattlesnake as it passed within inches of my face. Then came a scream of agony, followed by a pitiful whimpering from the handcuffed, blindfolded victim as the force of the shock propelled him across the floor.

A hail of vicious punches and kicks rained down on the prone bodies next to me, creating loud thumps. The torturers screamed abuse all around me. Only later were their chilling words translated to me by an Arabic-speaking colleague: "In this hotel, there are only two items on the menu for those who don't behave – electrocution and rape."

This is the regime that Glenn Beck and most Republicans believed is our best hope in Egypt. From The Guardian in London.

Paul Krugman - 'Eat the Future'

The public says it wants to see government spending cut — and the Tea Partiers really, really want spending cut — but people don’t want to cut any program they like; and they like almost everything. What’s a conservative to do?

The obvious answer, once you think about it, is to eat the future: to cut spending in a way that undermines the nation’s long-run prospects, but doesn’t impose all that much pain on voters right now.

Krugman goes on to provide a laundry list of cuts. No defense cuts are on the list, the largest and most wasteful part of discretionary spending.

WIC is nutritional aid for pregnant women and women with young children; let’s cut that, because the damage to the nation from malnourishment is a problem for future politicians. NOAA is weather and climate — hey, what we don’t know can’t hurt us. Nuclear nonproliferation — well, we probably won’t feel the pain of a terrorist nuke assembled from old Soviet fissile material for a couple of years. FEMA — well, how often do hurricanes hit New Orleans? CDC — with luck, by the time plague hits someone else can be blamed.

The US Chamber of Commerce and B of A goes after critics and their families

The Chamber of Commerce has been under fire for the huge amounts it spent on its large corporate clients in the past year while marginalizing the interests of small business that they purport to support. Last year they ran a multitude of ads portraying Democrat policies as job-killing attempts to ruin the economy. While doing that they defenced large corporations who use offshore tax haven to avoid billions in taxes and held seminars for these same corporations on how to export jobs to China.

Recently Aaron Barr, a top executive at the security company, HB Gary Federal boasted that his company had infiltrated and begun to expose 'Anonymous', the hacker group that came to the defense of Wikileaks.

Lesson # 1 for Barr. Don't fuck with hackers 'Anonymous' hacked into Barr's company and found e-ails documenting an orchestrated plan between the Chamber of Commerce, the Bank of America and a few hired security companies have started a smear campaign to undermine opponents by planting false documents, creating fake personas and targeting their families and children. Some of it is dirty politics as usual but targeting spouses and children crosses a line as well as probably
breaking the law.

Glenn Greenwald of Salon, one of the targets as a full rundown as well as other links to the story.

Think Progress
has a few pieces on the story as well.

Newt Gingrich denounces Muslin Brotherhood for policy he initiated for the GOP

GINGRICH: Well, I think -- I think we should -- I think we should be very -- we should try every way we can to ensure -- the two things the Muslim Brotherhood will ultimately want are the Interior Ministry and -- and education.

AMANPOUR: But they haven't said that.

GINGRICH: No, but I'm just saying. If you watch them with Hamas, if you watch them -- everywhere in the region, they understand that if they can get control of the schools -- they're very patient. They have -- they have a 20- or 30-year strategy. So this is not an overnight group.

From 'This Week' with Christianne Amanpour. In the 90's Gingrich instituted the policy of focusing on getting conservatives to run for school boards. The result is states such as Texas rewriting history, the exclusive use of abstinence in matters sexual and the move to question and replace the teaching of evolution with creationism.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Classic Pink Floyd - "Set your controls for the heart of the son"

John Lennon is smiling tonight because of the people of Egypt

The people of Egypt have shown the world that people have the power. In a part of the world that has had more of its share of theocracy, autocracy and most other 'ocracies' other than democracy it's a welcome sight. Mubarak may have been a friend of the West and benign about Israel but he was also a thuggish dictator with a vicious scret police that routinely used torture and a kleptocrat of immense proportions. It's rumored he has stashed away $2-3 billion. He must have invested his presidential salary wisely.

Will a true democracy prevail? Time will tell but the ravings of the right in America are so hypocritical so wrong. They have the audacity to preach that Democracy is good, but only for Judeo Christian societies. I hope Egypt proves how ignorant and out of touch they are.

How lies propogate

One of the more absurd right wing tomes to come out of the fertile book writing world where any right wing pundit is guaranteed success, was Jonah Goldberg's ridiculous drivel called 'Liberal Fascism'. He managed to connect liberals to Nazism and Stalinism with tenuous logic and outright lies and misquotes.

A classic was one from the New York Times allegedly praising Mussolini. Problem is the quote in the Times was itself a quote of a writer praising Mussolini and not written by the Times or it's reporter.

This slight misstatement of the facts did nothing to deter Glenn Beck who repeated the claim without obvisously bothering to check. Reporters are fired for less but then Beck is in no way a reporter.

The full story here.

The hypocrisy of the right, "They hate us for our freedoms"

That was the mantra on the right about the Al Qaeda attacks in 9/11. Now that Egyptians want their freedom, we 'hate them for their freedoms". Witness Glenn Beck's paranoia about the coming 'Caliphiate' that will envelop not just the Middle East but Europe.

Witness these comments on Fox News.

MACCALLUM: What about the argument that these people — you know, you hear them, you listen to what they’re saying in that square, they want democracy, they’re tired of being repressed, they want something better.

SCHEUER: Well Martha, you know, it is only in the minds of ill-educated Americans and especially their leaders to expect 32 million Muslims to reach for — in a time of violence and uncertainty and tumult, to reach for an alien ideology like secular democracy instead of reaching towards a thousand years of faith and trust in Islam. It is absolutely counter-intuitive to believe that people will reach for the strange, rather than for the familiar and trusted. And I really think that —

HOLT: I would like to say — can I say — I appreciate people’s sympathy and interest in democracy, that’s an American instinct. But unfortunately in this case, this is the Middle East. And the traditions there do not support their embracing — if they were allowed to vote in an open election, they would put themselves vulnerable, and make us vulnerable, to dangerous terrorism. Egypt has been our friend as an intelligence gathering operation and we need to realize the reality of the situation.

That's Terry Holt, former Bush Cheney national spokeman who previously said, “our efforts to help the Iraqi people build a lasting democracy in the heart of the Middle East,” which was, in his own words, the cornerstone of Bush's foreign policy.

Terry, which is the truth, or are you just another lying scumbag?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Republicans have figured out how to solve the deficit

Senator Richard Shelby suggested raising the age eligibility for Social Security every few years for a while. That will save money, especially on those who work physically demanding jobs and have to keep working. At the same time start cutting access to federally funded health care and the less fortunate among us will die sooner.

A wonderful little twofer for those who don't are about the average citizen. Wait longer and die younger.

More Palin drivel about Egypt

A few days ago I posted part of a rambling, incoherent Sarah Palin interview on CBN (Christian Broadcast Network) that showed just how little she has learned in the past couple of years since she emerged from the frozen tundra.   It wasn't just the complete naivete in assuming that Obama somehow knows exactly how the situation in Egypt will resolve itself, but in assuming that the White House is hiding it from us.  Worse was her complete inability to complete a clear concise sentence. 

It only got worse.   Here is more:

“Remember, President Reagan lived that mantra trust but verify. We want to be able to trust those who are screaming for democracy there in Egypt, that it is a true sincere desire for freedoms. And the challenge that we have though, is how do we verify what it is that we are being told, what it is that the American public is being fed via media, via the protestors, via the government there in Egypt in order for us to really have some sound information to make wise decisions on what our position is. Trust but verify, and try to understand is what I would hope our leaders are engaged in right now. Who’s going to fill the void? Mubarak, he’s gone, one way or the other. He is not going to be the leader of Egypt. That’s a given. So now the information needs to be gathered and understood as to who it will be that fills now the void in the government. Is it going to be the Muslim Brotherhood? We should not stand for that, or with that or by that. Any radical Islamists, no that is not who we should be supporting and standing by. So we need to find out who was behind all of the turmoil and the revolt and the protests so that good decisions can be made in terms of who we will stand by and support.”

huh! Reagan was talking about a nuclear arms treaty, not exactly the same as a million or so protesters are actually thinking. Every time she opens her mouth without a teleprompter it becomes more and more obvious that she cannot be a viable Presidential candidate unless about half of America completely goes off the deep end. Oh fuck, I think they already did.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

She's back - Christine O'Donnell forms PAC to investigate left wing groups

The train wreck formerly known as the GOP Senate candidate from Delaware should have done civilization a favor and started a new organization to prech abstinence before, during and after marriage to her loony followers.

Instead she has formed a new PAC to investigate liberal groups among other things.

"ChristinePAC can investigate and counter attack leftwing groups, many funded with one million dollars or more from billionaire leftist George Soros,"

She went on to say.

"The Left keeps after me because they consider strong, Republican women a danger to their status quo,"

Don't flatter yourself lady. The only reason the media paid any attention to you was because you did the seemingly impossible by proving that you are even more of a dipshit than Sarah Palin.

If only Peter Sellers were still alive. He could reprise his Dr. Strangelove role in the the Tea Party inspired biopic to play George Soros.

GOP House members - clueless and hypocritical about their own health insurance

Republican members of the House voted 242-0 to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 228 of them believe that they deserve Federally subsidized health care while opposing the same for the average American. A mere 14 of them, or a number less than 6% have principles and declined the coverage.

That's only part of the story. The verbal gymnastics and idiocy justifying accepting subsidized health care is amazing. Top of the list is Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) who tried to claim that he isn't a Federal employee. In a sense he isn't because he works for the interests of corporate America rather than the interests of the American people but the undeniable fact is his salary is paid by the Federal government. In response to a reporter's question he asked, "I don't know. Am I a Federal employee." Yes you blithering idiot, you are.

The there was Rep. Andy Harris, (R-MD) who famously thew a hissy fit because he would have to wait 28 days for his health insurance to kick in. Rep. Aaron Shock (R-IL) claimed he was only accepting the insurance so that he could bring down the average age of the Congressional insurance pool. How noble of him to sacrifice principle for the common good.

Rep, Anne Marie Buerkle (R-NY) won instant nomination to the blithering idiot brigade by expressing complete surprise that her health insurance was subsidized. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) told the New York Daily News (without a hint of irony), “What am I, not supposed to have health care?[...] God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation. That can happen to anyone.” I got mine so screw the rest of you.

In a related attempt to join the brigade Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) opined that people with no insurance are better off than people on Medicaid.

CASSIDY: Medicaid, for your viewers who may not know this, is a combined federal-state program that insures, so to speak, the low-income folk. And it’s actually worse than the uninsured! So Medicaid, Medicaid patients in some cases have worse outcomes than patients who have no insurance whatsoever. Now, why that is is not understood, but what is known is there is a problem with the quality of the patients on Medicaid – the quality of health care for the patients on Medicaid receive.

He offered no proof or examples of how he came to that tortured reasoning. Most Americans, especially those who get Medicaid would disagree with him. In the current economy, over 50 million people (a record high) have had to turn to Medicaid for assistance for their health. To even remotely suggest that they are better off without any insurance could only come from someone with the comprehension of a lobotomized newt.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sarah Palin unscripted - a blithering incoherent idiot.

The verbatim transcript of part of an interview she did with the Christian Broadcast Network. I might even give her a pass when she was chosen as the VP candidate as she had no experience on any stage outside Alaska but two years on she is as incoherent without a script as she was back then.

“This is that 3 a.m. White House phone call, and it seems for many of us trying to get that information from our leader in the White House, it seems that that call went right to the answering machine.”

“And nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know. who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and no, not, not real enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from D.C. in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And, in these areas in that are so volatile right now, because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And, we do not have all that information yet.”

Speak for yourself, lady! You have no information yet because you are a stupid lazy self-aggrandizing vacuum of intelligence. The White House's response has been
tepid but your butt buddies on the right are a disgrace, including the person who chose you as his candidate. Sen. McCain's only response thus far has been to call the protests a 'virus'. Inoculate yourself against human rights an democracy by listening and believeing Glenn Beck.

Apparently the Declaration of Independence doesn't apply to everyone

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Most on the right are denouncing the protests in Egypt and are falling in behind Mubarak. For them the Declaration of Independence only applies to white Judeo-Christian societies. Everyone else should be happy with their tyrant as long as the tyrant is our friend.

The Egypt America has supported through the years.

CAIRO — We had been detained by Egyptian authorities, handed over to the country’s dreaded Mukhabarat, the secret police, and interrogated. They left us all night in a cold room, on hard orange plastic stools, under fluorescent lights.

But our discomfort paled in comparison to the dull whacks and the screams of pain by Egyptian people that broke the stillness of the night. In one instance, between the cries of suffering, an officer said in Arabic, “You are talking to journalists? You are talking badly about your country?”

The New York Times has this chilling account by two detained journalists in Egypt.

We saw more than 20 people, Westerners and Egyptians, blindfolded and handcuffed. The room had been empty when we arrived the evening before.

“We could be treating you a lot worse,” he said in a flat tone, the facts speaking for themselves. Marwan said Egyptians were being held in the thousands. During the night we heard them being beaten, screaming after every blow.

No wonder the U.S. has few supporters in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.

10 things conservatives don't want you to know about Ronald Reagan

On the 100th anniversary of his birth Tea Partiers and the like are celebrating Ronald Reagan, the God of the current right wing. They conveniently ignore his true legacy.

* He raised taxes in 7 out of 8 years
* He tripled the national debt
* The size of the Federal Government soared during his 8 years.
* Unemployment surged after his 1981 tax cuts (and they still believe tax cuts create jobs
* He illegally sold weapons to America's arch enemy Iran
* He supported the Apartheid regime in South Africa (on second thoughts, they probably love that.

The full list is here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The venal stupidity of Fox News

They accuse Obama of misquoting a passage from the Bible in their continuing war to prove that Obama is not really Christian but Muslim. It's working as a Pew poll last year found only 34% of Americans believe he is a Christian while 18% believe he is a Muslim.

In the alleged 'misquote' Fox forgot that there is more than one version of the Bible. The quote he used is verbatim from the 'New International' version while Fox was referring to a slightly different quote from the King James version.

They will do anything to perpetuate a lie as long as it supports their agenda.

Those poor rich bankers - how dare we upset them.

From Paul Krugman:

But recent events have also highlighted another kind of financial fragility: the sensitive egos of powerful bankers. I’ve been calling this the Ma! He’s looking at me funny! syndrome; it’s quite something to behold.

Read the link to an article about the fragile ego of Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan.

Anyway, a good read from Reuters about the fragile ego of Jamie Dimon, who is not only wealthy beyond count but has also received a lot of fawning press. But it’s apparently not good enough.

Innovating ourselves back into the 19th century

President Obama called for an 'innovation economy' to spur America to maintain its global leadership. Innovation made America great but the very nature of conservatism looks to the past rather than the future. In some areas that might not be the worst idea but the present crop of reactionaries (calling them 'conservatives' is an insult to rational conservatism which isw not beset with complete idiocy) believes that everything was better 150 years ago, even voting rights, worker protection and child labor laws.

One of the top GOP conservatives in the House, Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan epitomized this on the G. Gordon Liddy show yesterday. The subject was the 'incandescent light bulb'. Liddy started the conversation with the now oft repeated lie that the government has banned the use of incandescent light bulbs to force people to use more energy efficient newer light bulbs. Funny thin though is that I was in a hardware store today that had entire shelves full of what must be illegal light bulbs. Why aren't the authorities taking action against these stores flouting the law? Because the alleged ban is total fucking lie that has lodged in the minds of neanderthal cretins like Liddy's.

LIDDY: Is there any chance that you fellas can talk to [House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred] Upton and get our light bulbs back, for heaven’s sake?

McCOTTER: Yes, yes. I saw that some on the left were praising the end of the incandescent bulb, at the very time they’re talking about an innovation economy. The irony is striking. One of the greatest innovations in American history was the incandescent bulb and I think we got to put it back where people can use them again.

Did the light bulb gestapo come around to Liddy's house and confiscate all his incandescent light bulbs? With cretins like this America has lost the lead in creating more energy efficient light bulbs.

The law that was passed merely encouraged to use of newer, more energy efficient light bulbs. To quote a New York Times article last year, “the incandescent bulb is turning into a case study of the way government mandates can spur innovation.”

Why don't we reinvent the typewriter and the telegraph? Let's just innovate ourselves into oblivion, it's what these retards would have us do.

Homosexuality is like........"second hand cigarette smoke"

You have to hand it to right wingnut groups for their ability to come up a WTF or n LOL moment with in all their apparent seriousness. An anti-homosexual group in Iowa managed to keep me chuckling for quite a while with the above comparison.

What else can we compare it to, the Black Death. Suggestions welcome. The full story here.

Fox News top 10 lies about climate science

They get paid well to do this.

No one does more to spread dangerous disinformation about global warming than Murdoch. In a year of rec­ord heat waves in Africa, freak snowstorms in America and epic flooding in Pakistan, the Fox network continued to dismiss climate change as nothing but a conspiracy by liberal scientists and Big Government. Glenn Beck told viewers the Earth experienced no warming in the past decade -- the hottest on record. Sean Hannity declared that "global warming doesn't exist" and speculated about "the true agenda of global-warming hysterics." Even Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the chatty Fox & Friends, laughed off the threat of climate change, joking that the real problem was "too many polar bears."

Media Matters has the full litany of lies and idiocy.

Glenn Beck is batshit crazy

Just when you think Glenn Beck can't get any more delusional and irrational he goes out and proves it. Following close behind is Frank Gaffney who believes the Muslim Brotherhood is..... just watch the video clip and laugh, cry or scream.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Fox News is confused - what else is new

They're not sure where Egypt is, or maybe it's a subliminal wish to invade Egypt as well.

The Muslim Britherhood has infiltrated the American government

This according to Frank Gaffney, conspiracy nut. Here is an excerpt from an interview he recently gave.

TP: Do you think [Sharia law] has already infiltrated the federal government?

GAFFNEY: There are questionable people who are sympathetic to the program of the stealth jihadists who have influence with the United States government. Some I think are actually working for it, but for sure people who are persuaded that the folks that they need to work with to reach out to the Muslim-American community, for example, who incessantly turn to Muslim Brotherhood organizations for that purpose, are a very real problem.

TP: Can you name a few names, for instance in the federal government?

GAFFNEY: John Brennan. John Brennan is the Homeland Security Advisor for the President of the United States

TP: He’s complicit in this creep of Sharia law?

GAFFNEY: He’s absolutely daft on what the nature of the threat and is insistent upon using Brotherhood-front organizations as sources of information and as vehicles for reaching out to the Muslim-American community. Jim Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, has said that these sorts of groups are “sources of wisdom,” as he puts it, to the United States government. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is incessantly meeting with Muslim Brotherhood front organizations and I think has in the past, if not today, employed people who are associated with them.

The full article here.

Talking about imposing Sharia Law in America

The idea that the 'liberal' elements in America are hell bent on imposing Sharia law in America is so patently absurd yet it has taken hold in certain circles. The courageous citizens of Oklahoma voted to ban the imposition of Sharia Law in the state which had the unintended consequence of banning Indian law and customs as well.

In Utah, the state legislature passed a law that allows any woman who has, or seeks to have an abortion be charged with criminal homicide. Worse, the law applies the same charge to a woman who has a miscarriage due to 'reckless' behavior which could theoretically include drinking, smoking or doing drugs. The law was slightly watered down as the term 'negligence' was used in the place of 'reckless', reducing a pregnant woman to a 'fetus incubator' and little more. Any fan of Sharia law would be proud of such a law.

The annual ultra-conservative CPAC conference was boycotted by many because it included the gay conservative group Goproud.

A bigger threat to women is a new law that will pass the House and might even pass the Senate with the help of a few conservative Democrats. The bill is titled the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act' but it should really be titled 'The Redefinition of Rape Act' as it narrows the definition of rape radically. Based on the original Hyde Amendment ("what will we tell our children") The law would exclude the following situations from coverage: women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, and minors impregnated by adults. As the National Women’s Law Center’s Steph Sterling puts it, this new standard of force “takes us back to a time where just saying no was not enough.”

Read this to get an idea of the thinking behind the Bill

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Napoli says most abortions are performed for what he calls "convenience." He insists that exceptions can be made for rape or incest under the provision that protects the mother's life. I asked him for a scenario in which an exception may be invoked.

BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

Here is Debbie Wasserman Schultz the Democratic congresswoman from Florida said about the bill:

“It is absolutely outrageous,” Wasserman Schultz said in an exclusive interview late Monday afternoon. “I consider the proposal of this bill a violent act against women.”[...]

“It really is — to suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself,” Wasserman Schultz said.

“Rape is when a woman is forced to have sex against her will, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, not mentally stable,” the four-term congresswoman added.[...]

While there is no comparison to the excesses of Sharia Law in America, if the religious right had their way, stuff like this would be pervasive and commonplace.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) - shameless corporate whorre

In December, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) outsourced his job to business lobbyists when he sent letters to over 150 trade associations and companies, asking them to outline which Obama administration regulations he should target as chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He sent the letters to a wide array of fossil fuel producers, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers, telecommunications companies, and other interests.

The scariest and saddest part of this is the coverage of this has been limited to the dirty hippy leftist blogoshpere. The blurry difference between lobbyists, the wishes of corporate America is no longer blurry. Imagine the outrage by Limbaugh, Beck and their ilk if a Democrat Party chair of the Committee were to do the same by sending out letters to trade unions, the ACLU consumer protection groups and others asking them for their wish list on what to investigate.

There is nothing new in this trend by the right. Some time ago the US Chamber of Commerce argued against a ban on dumping of hazardous waste such as Dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals, halogenated organic compounds and cyanide suggesting that banning such practices would only result in an increase in 'illegal dumping.' Might as well repeal laws against rape because all it would do is cause rapists to do it illegally.

Who gives a flying fuck about consumer protections and public safety. Issa certainly doesn't but the brazen hypocrisy of a powerful Congressman openly asking corporate America what should and shouldn't be investigated by his Committee is a bridge too far. In an equally brazen and corrupt act, Issa has refused to share the responses he got from the 150 or so recipients of the letter, something that is a blatant violation of House rules.

The question is who is there to investigate the investigators. The lefty, dirty hippy blog Think Progress has the full story.