Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Romney Care is Working. Which Means Obama's Health Care Reform - Which is based on Romney Care, Will Work Too

Romney Care is Working. Which Means Obama's Health Care Reform - Which is based on Romney Care, Will Work Too

Fred Bauer has poured over the new health care data in John F. Cogan’s, R. Glenn Hubbard’s, and Daniel P. Kessler’s “The Effect of Massachusetts’ Health Reform on Employer-Sponsored Insurance Premiums” report and points out that health care premiums in the Bay State have grown at a lower rate since the passage of Massachusetts’ signature health care law in 2006.

Relying on data “for average health-insurance premiums from the federally sponsored Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), this report suggested that, up until 2008, these reforms led to a relative increase in health-insurance premiums.” But new numbers through 2010 shows that “Massachusetts’ health-insurance premium growth declined relative to the nation as a whole in the years since Romneycare has been enacted“:

    Increase in employer-sponsored family premiums 2002-2006: MA: 40%; US: 34.50%
    Increase in employer-sponsored family premiums 2006-2010: MA: 19%; US: 22%

    Increase in individual premiums 2002-2006: MA: 32.70%; US: 29.10%
    Increase in individual premiums 2006-2010: MA: 21.70%; US: 20%

While it’s difficult to know how much of the decrease can be attributed to the Massachusetts law — which focused on expanding access rather than controlling costs — (versus decline in utilization as a result of the recession and other factors), the very fact that the law did not meet the doomsday scenario of critics and cause premiums to skyrocket is significant. (In fact, Massachusetts had the third-lowest average family premiums in New England by 2010, Bauer notes).

Ezra Klein notes that we may already be seeing a very similar trend with the Affordable Care Act, which grew out of the Massachusetts experience. The latest spending projections found a “$275 billion (5.6 percent) reduction [in health care spending] for 2020, compared with pre-reform estimates. Moreover, that projection represents a cumulative reduction of $1.7 trillion over the 10 years from 2011 to 2020.” The numbers suggest that providers may be becoming more efficient in preparation for the ACA’s reductions in Medicare reimbursements and updates.

Just think, conservatives may vote for a presidential candidate that passed the same health care reform as President Obama, but conservatives do not call Romney satan or a socialist. That is probably because modern conservatives are not about doing what is right for America, they are not honest, they are all about demonizing progress for average Americans. Kind of historic, a political movement - conservatism - running against progress and the common good.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why Do Conservatives Hate Truth, American Values and Freedom

Romney Gives Bush Neocons Another Chance

Apparently Mitt Romney thinks it's a good idea to make all that's old new again with bringing in a bunch of neoconservative war mongers to advise him on matters of national security. If Mitt Romney thinks running as George W. Bush 2.0 on national security issues with the mood of the country being what it is right now after all the money and lives that have been wasted with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, I've got to wonder what bubble this man is living in.

From The Washington Post -- Mitt Romney taps foreign policy, national security advisers -- here's some of the list of those Romney has tapped to join his team:

    Cofer Black, Vice President of Blackbird Technologies; Director of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center (1999-2002); United States Department of State Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism (2002-2004)

    Christopher Burnham, Vice Chairman of Deutsche Bank Asset Management; United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Management (2005-2006); United States Under Secretary of State for Management (2001-2005)

    Michael Chertoff, Chairman of the Chertoff Group; United States Secretary of Homeland Security (2005-2009); Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2003-2005)

    Eliot Cohen, Director of the Strategic Studies Program at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Counselor to the United States Department of State (2007-2009); Defense Policy Advisory Board Member (2001-2009)

    Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Board, American Action Network; Adviser to the Republican Jewish Coalition; United States Senator (R-MN) (2003-2009)

    John Danilovich, Member of the Trilantic European Advisory Council; CEO of Millennium Challenge Corporation (2005-2009); Ambassador to Brazil (2004-2005); Ambassador to Costa Rica (2001-2004)

    Paula Dobriansky, Senior Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs (2001-2009)

    Eric Edelman, Visiting Scholar at School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (2005-2009); Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs (2001-2003)

    Michael Hayden, Principal of the Chertoff Group; Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2006-2009); Director of the National Security Agency (1999-2005)
So the same lying zealots who brought us the $3 trillion dollar debacle in Iraq are the people Romney is relying on to guide our foreign policy. Same for Rick Santorum - from an editorial in the WSJ by neocon serial liar Michael Ledeen, Santorum Was Right About Iran—When It Was Unpopular

He foresaw that we would eventually have to confront the Iranian and Syrian regimes, and he was one of the first to point out the intercontinental anti-American alliance involving Iran, Syria, Russia, China, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua. He calls this a "gathering storm," as members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps enter our hemisphere through the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, accompanied by military equipment and components.

He is right to be concerned. Former supporters of the Hugo Chávez regime in Venezuela, worried at the direction of events in their country, have told American officials that there are Iranian missiles in Venezuela capable of hitting the U.S. More obvious are the Shiite mosques suddenly popping up in Venezuela and its near neighborhood.
There is no credible intelligence that there are Iranian missiles in Venezuela. This is much like the conservative propaganda campaign about Iraq having WMD before the lead up to kicking out weapons inspectors and proceeding with an invasion even though there was never any proof Iraq had a WMD program.

Five Things Rick Santorum Could have Learned in College

Rick Santorum cries Nazi like a frightened little chicken

7 reasons voters are souring on Mitt Romney 

Romney relied on corporate welfare - How Bain Capital leveraged government assistance to boost profits.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Conservative Republicans and Gas Prices - A Poltical Movement That Lies Constantly is a Movement That Hates Their Country

Conservative Republicans and Gas Prices - A Political Movement That Lies Constantly is a Movement That Hates Their Country. Conservatives hate freedom so it logically follows they hate the USA. They're good at waving flags, they suck at living up to the ideals that flag represents. We don't need flag waving fake patriots, we need good Americans capable of rational thinking about the future of the nation.

The oil industry isn't drilling on leases for millions of acres of land that could be producing energy.

Yet despite claims from several lawmakers, it doesn't appear this is part of a nefarious plan to drive up gas prices or reap huge profits by companies like Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), BP (BP), Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500) or Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA).

Experts say oil companies aren't drilling on the land because it doesn't make economic sense to do it.

During recent congressional hearings many Democrats cited a recent report from the Interior Department showing that over 70% of the offshore acres the industry has leased from the federal government are sitting idle.

Onshore, nearly 60%, or 22 million acres in total, aren't producing any oil or gas.

They were responding to calls for more acres of the country to be opened up for oil and gas drilling.

"They have the drilling rights to an area of public land the size of Minnesota where they could and should be drilling," Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey, a Democrat, said in a statement to CNNMoney. "But instead [they] are coming back and asking Congress to allow drill rigs off our beaches up and down the East Coast."
Drill baby drill won't lower gas prices

How the leases work: The oil industry routinely leases blocks of land from the federal government to explore for oil and gas. The leases typically last for 5 to 10 years and cost anywhere from $75,000 to $2 million to get. Then the companies have to pay an additional fee each year for the duration of the lease.

If oil is found, the company get's to keep the lease for the life of the well, which could be 40 years. They would also have to pay the government a royalty on the production, usually ranging from 12% to 18%. If no oil is found, the land reverts to the government.

Markey and other lawmakers say the industry is purposefully idling production so they can book the oil and gas reserves on their balance sheet as an asset -- a move that might drive up their stock price.

Critics also say they might be saving the oil for a future date, when prices might be higher.

The Interior Department, which supports efforts to put more of these leases into production, says over half the nation's 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves lie untapped in the Gulf of Mexico.

To prod the industry into more rapidly exploring and drilling on these acres, the administration and members of Congress have proposed shortening the period for which leases are awarded -- a so-called "use it or lose it" provision.

They have also proposed increasing the amount of money companies have to pay each year for their leases, which can range from $40,000 to $200,000.

Drilling for oil isn't so simple: But the oil industry and independent experts say it's ridiculous to believe that companies wouldn't be trying to produce all they can from the land they have leased if it made financial sense.

The huge amount of untapped land being leased is accurate, said Erik Milito, director of exploration and production at the American Petroleum Institute. But to just look at that number and say the industry is sitting on its hands is too simplistic, "it doesn't explain the oil and gas businesses at all."
...By forcing the industry to produce on its idle leases, lawmakers hope to raise domestic oil production, which would tend to increase U.S. jobs and add to federal tax rolls without having to open up additional lands for drilling.

Some hope it would also lower gas prices. But it's questionable if forcing production would have the desired effect.
Conservatives keep say the answer is simple - drill baby drill. Oil companies have plenty of leases they are not using, even if the Obama administration was slow to approve new leases. Oil companies like to keep oil production in sync with refinery production, keeping gas prices high is an incentive for them to continue business as usual. No president of either party is to blame for gas prices. gas prices are do to oil company behavior and that of speculators that hope prices go up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Does Conservative Republican Rick Santorum Hate America and The 1st Amendment

Why Does Conservative Republican Rick Santorum Hate America and The 1st Amendment

1. The end of the secular state. Santorum is a big proponent of the religious-right assertion, which he recently reiterated at the Conservative Political Action Conference, that the rights of American citizens come not from the U.S. Constitution or the laws of man, but from God. (To prove their point, they cite the Declaration of Independence, and the line that "men" are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.") Not just any God, mind you, but the authoritarian, patriarchal God of right-wing Christian theology. And Santorum has reserved for himself the role of theologian-in-chief, the arbiter of true religion, the messenger privy to the things God really wants -- and the things Satan really wants, which, according to a 2008 speech he delivered at Ave Maria University in Florida, is the demise of the United States.

Via Mediaite:

    "This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war at all. This is a spiritual war,” Santorum said, describing how American institutions and our nation’s way of life are falling to evil forces. “And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies, Satan, would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age?"

At a February 18 campaign stop in Ohio, Santorum made the case that Obama is not a true Christian, that his overal agenda is based on "a phony theology." From Politico:

    Slamming the president's agenda on a range of points, Santorum said the agenda is "not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology."

On CBS News' "Face the Nation" the next day, Santorum said he was talking specifically about the president's environmental policy and, no, he didn't mean to suggest that Obama is a Muslim or anything like that. (Actually, he was suggesting that the president is an earth-worshipping pagan whose earth-worship is a path to growing the size of government.) Transcript from ThinkProgress:

    When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate — this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.

Some, including me, heard in Santorum's original comments a dog-whistle to right-wingers intent on viewing Obama as a crypto-Muslim. But Political Animal's Ed Kilgore reminds us of Santorum's assertion in a 2008 speech that mainline Protestants (basically, Protestants from the major sects who are not part of the religious right) are not Christian, either. Whichever it is, Rick Santorum clearly reserves to himself the right to determine who is and isn't a Christian, a particularly outrageous claim by a presidential hopeful who asserts that rights are bestowed on humans by his idea of the Christian God. In the practical sense, then, a President Santorum would render himself as God.

2. The end of science. While it may be de rigueur for Republican candidates to deny the science of climate change, Santorum takes it a step further, claiming not just that humans make no contribution to changes in the climate, but implicitly arguing that in order to be a great nation, America needs its citizens to waste energy, especially through such greenhouse-gas producing products as gasoline-guzzling cars and incandescent lightbulbs. For starters, that will give a rationale for raping the U.S. environment through fracking -- of which he's a big fan, especially near population centers -- offshore drilling, and plundering the Alaskan wilderness.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Santorum made the point that, among the nations of the world, those that use the most energy have the highest standards of living. (It doesn't take a genius to accept that people who live in centrally heated and air-conditioned homes, and who have refrigerators and ovens that run on fuel other than dung probably have a higher standard of living than those who don't.) So, by Santorum's reasoning, that means we should step up the energy gluttony if we want an even higher standard of living. (If you can come up with some scientific reasoning for that conclusion, you deserve a very special prize.)

At Talk to Action, Rachel Tabachnick attributes Santorum's anti-green messianism to a strain of religious-right theology known as "Biblical economics," which, Tabachnick says, is " a world in which unregulated free markets are holy and the opposition is literally demonic."

But it doesn't end there. At the intersection of Santorum's anti-science stance and his misogyny stands his opposition to prenatal testing.

3. A return to patriarchy. The leaders of Rick Santorum's religion -- the Roman Catholic Church -- oppose abortion and birth control, and so does he. Combined with his opposition to science, the fact-free mind of the GOP frontrunner has transformed his personal religious beliefs to a contention that prenatal screenings of pregnant women and their fetuses are a bad thing, so he wants to end any requirement on health-insurance companies that they be covered. Via First Read:

    "One of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in America," Santorum, a conservative Roman Catholic, told a Christian Alliance luncheon in Columbus. "Why? Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society. That too is part of ObamaCare — another hidden message as to what president Obama thinks of those who are less able than the elites who want to govern our country."

"That ugly meme is completely made up," writes health expert Harold Pollack at the Reality-Based Community. "By any reasonable measure, the proliferation of genetic diagnostic technologies coincides with great progress in public acceptance and support for people with disabilities."

And those technologies actually save fetuses with anomalies, allowing pregnant women to have healthy babies because their pregnancies were monitored. One case in point is the daughter of writer Sarah Fister Gale, whose rH blood disease was discovered while she was still in the womb, by the use of amniocentesis, which Santorum claims, "does, in fact, result more often than not in this country in abortions." He added, "That is a fact."

Actually, it's not. Here's Gale, writing at Salon:

    If Rick Santorum had his way, I wouldn’t have been able to get that test, and she most likely would have died. Because according to him, tests that give parents vital information about the health of their unborn children are morally wrong.

(Meanwhile, at the Nation, Ben Adler details Santorum's opposition to programs on which disabled people depend.) Yet Santorum talks constantly on the stump about his seventh child, Bella, who was born with a brutal chromosomic disorder.

The truth is, Santorum will use any rationale that suits him to deny women any kind of reproductive healthcare that informs their decision-making process, whether the decision is about getting pregnant or whether to bring a fetus to term. When arguing the merits of his so-called "partial-birth abortion" ban, a law enacted in 2003 to ban a particular abortion procedure, Santorum claimed that the procedure was used to abort fetuses that were not deformed or disabled in any way. But on "Face the Nation," as Slate's Will Saletan points out, Santorum claimed just the opposite, saying the procedure had been primarily used to abort fetuses that, if brought to term, would become disabled children.

Then there's birth control, which Santorum told a right-wing Iowa blogger at Caffeinated Thoughts, is "not okay" because it takes the procreation out of sex. In fairness to Santorum, he does say that, as a matter of public policy, he would not try to outlaw contraception: he just wants to make it harder for you to get (especially if you work for a business that is owned by a church-affiliated institution).

Like the other Republican presidential candidates, Santorum says the Obama administration's mandate that health insurance provided by employers must cover prescription contraception (and with no co-pay) is a violation of the religious freedom of employers whose consciences, like Santorum's, are offended by the very notion of birth control. But what makes Santorum unique is a novel interpretation of what health insurance is meant to do, which is not, according to the candidate, to pay for things that only "cost a few dollars." Which brings me back to the notion that Santorum will use whatever rationale he finds necessary to deprive women of the full range of reproductive healthcare. He has not voiced similar concerns, for instance, over having insurance plans pay for low-cost generic antibiotics, or Tylenol-with-codeine pills.

4. The fostering of ignorance. Although his wife home-schools their own children, Rick Santorum isn't completely against public education. He just wants to starve it. At an Ohio campaign stop, Santorum hailed the fact that most of the early U.S. presidents "home-schooled" their children (he neglected the mention of any tutors), adding, according to the New York Times:

    "Where did they come up that public education and bigger education bureaucracies was the rule in America? Parents educated their children, because it’s their responsibility to educate their children."

Which is great for parents who don't want their kids to learn actual science or facts. (The mind boggles to consider what the Santorum children are learning in science class at the kitchen table.) The Times goes on to note that federal government, which Santorum would cut out of the education process, contributes 11 percent of most schools' budgets, and is targeted for the enforcements of standards which would, of course, include the teaching of science. Meanwhile, the United States lags behind most of the industrialized world in turning out scientists and engineers.

5. The demonization of everybody but white, heterosexual, right-wing Christian males. In Rick Santorum's mind, everybody who is not like him is some form of demon: Obama is like Hitler, gay people are like beastialists, women who have sex for pleasure are licentious, working mothers take the easy way out, single mothers are welfare queens, undocumented immigrants are thieves, black people are lazy and Muslims are bloodthirsty infidels.

At a February 19 campaign stop in Georgia, Santorum compared the 2012 presidential election to World War II, when the U.S. initially stood by as Britain was showered with Nazi bombs. Via The Raw Story:

    "Why? Because we’re a hopeful people. We think, 'You know it will get better. Yeah, I mean, he’s a nice guy. It won’t be near as bad as what we think. You know, this will be OK. You know, maybe he’s not the best guy.' After a while, you found out some things about this guy over in Europe and maybe he’s not so good of a guy after all. But you know what? 'Why do we need to be involved? We’ll just take care of our own problems, just get our families off to work and our kids off to school and we’ll be okay.'"

Santorum later denied he was comparing Obama to Hitler, but it's hard to come away with any other conclusion. Santorum also denied he was talking about black people when he was quoted as saying, at an Iowa campaign stop in January, "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money." (He laughably claimed three days later that he said "blah" people, not "black" people.)

Of working women, Santorum wrote in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family, that they find it easier and "more socially affirming" to keep up their careers than to "stay home and take care of their children." In other words, women who work outside the home are not taking care of their children.

Single mothers often refuse to marry their partners, Santorum told Fox News in December, so they can collect welfare.

And of women who use birth control in order to have sex for (horrors) pleasure, Santorum told Caffeinated Thoughts: "[Contraception is] not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."  And while Santorum disavowed the comments of his sugar daddy, billionaire Foster Freiss, who suggest that women just clamp their knees together as a means of birth control, there have been no reports that he's stopped taking the old sexist's money.

In his, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788], John Adams wrote:

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Is Anti-American Conservative Rick Santorum Sane?

Is Anti-American Conservative Rick Santorum Sane?
Santorum claims that in the Netherlands 50% of all euthanizations are forced and that elderly people flee the country in fear of being euthanized.

He furthermore claims that elderly people wear 'Don't euthanize me' bracelets and euthanasia accounts for 10% of all deaths in the Netherlands.

It is way past time for rational caring citizens of the USA to say no to the crazy fascist-lite weirdos like Santorum. They are like an anchor around America's neck. They are dragging the country into the gutter of weird, crazy and radical.

 Sarah Palin is another fake patriot. She knows nothing about American history, American law or economics. She has followers because of the conservative cult of personality.

Pat Buchanan is Not a First Amendment Martyr. Pat is just an old smiley faced fascist who made millions over the years spreading hatred for the USA.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why Do Conservative Republicans Hate Freedom of Religion and American Tradition

Freedom of and From Religionby Bill Moyers

The president did something agile and wise the other day. And something quite important to the health of our politics. He reached up and snuffed out what some folks wanted to make into a cosmic battle between good and evil. No, said the president, we're not going to turn the argument over contraception into Armageddon, this is an honest difference between Americans, and I'll not see it escalated into a holy war. So instead of the government requiring Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions to provide employees with health coverage involving contraceptives, the insurance companies will offer that coverage, and offer it free.

The Catholic bishops had cast the president's intended policy as an infringement on their religious freedom; they hold birth control to be a mortal sin, and were incensed that the government might coerce them to treat it otherwise. The president in effect said: No quarrel there; no one's going to force you to violate your doctrine. But Catholics are also Americans, and if an individual Catholic worker wants coverage, she should have access to it -- just like any other American citizen. Under the new plan, she will. She can go directly to the insurer, and the religious institution is off the hook.

When the president announced his new plan, the bishops were caught flat-footed. It was so ... so reasonable. In fact, leaders of several large, Catholic organizations have now said yes to the idea. But the bishops have since regrouped, and are now opposing any mandate to provide contraceptives even if their institutions are not required to pay for them. And for their own reasons, Republican leaders in Congress have weighed in on the bishops' side. They're demanding, and will get, a vote in the Senate.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, says:

"The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion. It's right there in the First Amendment. You can't miss it, right there in the very First Amendment to our Constitution. And the government doesn't get to decide for religious people what their religious beliefs are. They get to decide that."

But here's what Republicans don't get, or won't tell you. And what Obama manifestly does get. First, the war's already lost: 98 percent of Catholic women of child-bearing age have used contraceptives. Second, on many major issues, the bishops are on Obama's side -- not least on extending unemployment benefits, which they call "a moral obligation." Truth to tell, on economic issues, the bishops are often to the left of some leading Democrats, even if both sides are loathe to admit it. Furthermore -- and shhh, don't repeat this, even if the president already has -- the Catholic Church funded Obama's first community organizing, back in Chicago. Ah, politics.

So the battle over contraception no longer seems apocalyptic. No heavenly hosts pitted against the forces of Satan. It's a political brawl, not a crusade of believers or infidels. The president skillfully negotiated the line between respect for the religious sphere and protection of the spiritual dignity and freedom of individuals. If you had listened carefully to the speech Barack Obama made in 2009 at the University of Notre Dame, you could have seen it coming:

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem-cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships might be relieved. The question then is, "How do we work through these conflicts?"

We Americans have wrestled with that question from the beginning. Some of our forebearers feared the church would corrupt the state. Others feared the state would corrupt the church. It's been a real tug-of-war, sometimes quite ugly. Churches and religious zealots did get punitive laws passed against what they said were moral and religious evils: blasphemy, breaking the Sabbath, alcohol, gambling, books, movies, plays ... and yes, contraception. But churches also fought to end slavery, help workers organize and pass progressive laws. Of course, government had its favorites at times, for much of our history, it privileged the Protestant majority. And in my lifetime alone, it's gone back and forth on how to apply the First Amendment to ever- changing circumstances among people so different from each other. The Supreme Court, for example, first denied, then affirmed, the right of the children of Jehovah's Witnesses to refuse, on religious grounds, to salute the flag.

So here we are once again, arguing over how to honor religious liberty without it becoming the liberty to impose on others moral beliefs they don't share. Our practical solution is the one Barack Obama embraced the other day: protect freedom of religion -- and protect freedom from religion. Can't get more American than that.

Conservative Republicans do not care one bit about freedom of religion. What they care about is using the government to shove their dogma down the throat of every American. Gee, that would be fun, America transported back in time to when religious zealots hang and burned people who did not conform to the dogma of the state's official religion.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Two of The Biggest Myths of Our Time - Conservatives Are For Small Government and Freedom

Two of the biggest myths of our time - Conservatives are for small government and freedom

A new "emergency" law backed by right-wing think tanks is turning Michigan cities over to powerful managers who can sell off city hall, break union contracts, privatize services—and even fire elected officials.

When the city of Pontiac, Michigan, shut down its fire department last Christmas Eve, city councilman Kermit Williams learned about it in the morning paper. "Nobody reports to me anymore," Williams says. "It just gets reported in the press." This was just the latest in a series of radical changes in the city, where elected officials such as Williams have been replaced by a single person with unprecedented control over the city's operation and budget.

Gov. Rick Snyder put Louis Schimmel in charge of Pontiac last September, invoking Public Act 4, a recent law that lets the governor name appointees to take over financially troubled cities and enact drastic austerity measures. Under the law, passed last March, these emergency managers can nullify labor contracts, privatize public services, sell off city property, and even dismiss elected officials.

Schimmel got to work quickly, firing the city clerk, city attorney, and director of public works and outsourcing several city departments. City fire fighters were told that they would be fired if their department was not absorbed by Waterford Township's. Schimmel has proposed putting nearly every city property up for sale, including city hall, the police station, fire stations, water-pumping stations, the library, the golf course, and two cemeteries.

Williams and his six colleagues on city council have been stripped of their salary and official powers. "Nearly the whole city has been privatized," he laments.

Michigan's emergency-manager law is the centerpiece of the fiscal program enacted by state Republicans after they took over the Legislature and governor's mansion in early 2011. The law's supporters say it allows for a more efficient and nimble response to the budget crisis confronting local governments in the wake of the housing crash and near collapse of the auto industry. Critics are seeking to block and repeal what they call an illegal power grab meant to usurp local governments and break up public-sector unions.

"We haven't seen anything this severe anywhere else in the country," says Charles Monaco, a spokesman for the Progressive States Network, a New York-based advocacy group. "There's been nothing in other states where a budget measure overturns the democratic vote." Williams says emergency managers are able to enact draconian policies that would cost most city officials their jobs: "They couldn't get elected if they tried."

Benton Harbor, Ecorse, and Flint are also currently under emergency management. In Flint, the emergency manager has promised to restructure collective bargaining agreements with the city's police and firefighters unions. Benton Harbor's emergency manager banned elected officials from appearing at city meetings without his consent. Detroit, which is facing a more than $150 million budget shortfall, could be next: Mayor Dave Bing has proposed laying off 1,000 city workers and wrung concessions from public-sector unions in hopes of preventing Gov. Snyder from appointing an emergency manager.

Schimmel has pursued the most aggressive turnaround plan in the state. He says he's simply doing what elected officials have been unable to do: execute a plan for balancing the city's books quickly and efficiently. He's not there yet: The city of 60,000 is projecting a $9 million deficit for 2012. "One thing we can't do is print money," Schimmel says. "We're always chasing the dropping knife, fixing something here and losing revenue somewhere else."

With an indefinite term and a city salary of $150,000, Schimmel doesn't answer to anyone but the governor, at whose pleasure he serves. The city council can no longer make decisions but still calls meetings, which are routinely packed with angry residents. Asked by radio station WJR if the emergency-manager law hands power over to a "dictator," Schimmel sighed, "I guess I'm the tyrant in Pontiac, then, if that's the way it is."

Emergency managers aren't new in Michigan, which has been in dire financial straits for decades. Public Act 4 (officially titled the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act) beefed up a 1990 law that brought in state-appointed managers to several cities in the 2000s, without much success at stemming the flow of population, jobs, and tax revenue. Pontiac has been under some form of state-appointed management since 2009. Schimmel's predecessor laid off dozens of police officers, hired the county sheriff to patrol the city, and dismissed Mayor Leon Jukowski (whom Schimmel has rehired as a consultant paid at half his previous $104,000 salary). During that time, Pontiac's credit rating had dropped from B to triple-C. "They aren't creating revenue," Williams says of the managers. "You can't just cut your way out of a deficit."

Pontiac is not Schimmel's first clean-up job. In 2000, he was named the emergency manager of Hamtramck, where he served for six years. In 1986, a judge appointed him to oversee Ecorse's finances after the city landed in state receivership; he stepped in and privatized city services. Today, the city is back in debt, and back under state management. Schimmel concedes that the privatization strategy can backfire, but he blames inept local government. "If you don't have an overseer of the contractor, privatization can be much more expensive than in-house services," he explains.

Schimmel is also a former adjunct scholar and director of municipal finance at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank that shares his enthusiasm for privatizing public services. The center has received funding from the foundations of conservative billionaire Charles Koch, the Walton family, and Dick DeVos, the former CEO of Amway who ran as a Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2006.

Conservatives say they are the intellectual descendants of the Founders. Where did the Founders say that officials elected by the people are be arbitrarily replaced by little dictators that represent the interests of crazy right-wing corporations and think-tanks. Thus far these little dictators cannot even claim that privatizing everything in sight solves budget problems. If you privatize the fire department the people should have to pay the corporation that owns the fire service. The only thing these anti-American conservatives and libertarians have done is place a middleman - a corporation that has to make a profit - in the mix. Adding a level of unaccountable bureaucracy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

America Please Forget All The Things Republicans Did to Trash The Country From 2000 to 2008

Forget all the horrible anti-American things conservative Republicans did to the USA from 2000 to 2008 and Vote conservative Republican again in 2012.

There's a mythology around politics, one that sees the ballot box and the floor of Congress as a battleground of ideas. In this star-spangled arena, progressives and conservatives square off in the competition to prove the worth of their opposing philosophies and the merit of their plans. Of course it's not all high-minded rhetoric and reasoned discourse, there are selfish motives and personal ambitions, angry outbursts and plain old mistakes, but in the end the best ideas win out in the great experiment that is America! Cue the brass section and wave the flag.

The truth is it was probably never that way. It doesn't take much prompting for people to produce examples of nastiness in campaigns back Jefferson and Adams, or to revisit instances of corruption from decades or centuries gone by. We all know that Mr. Smith is a fictional character.

However, just because it's possible to unearth grizzled examples of ugliness doesn't mean that the current season is not unique. Uniquely dangerous. And what makes it dangerous is the pretense that we're still in that fantasyland were ideas arm wrestle for history's approval. In fact, that time is long past. It's not even that what's now coming from the right consists of 100% emotional, fear-based appeals without a factual basis. In 2012, a campaign of suggestive fear-mongering seems almost quaint.

It's that the Republicans have staked out a position that requires that they lie, 24/7, 365. Not shade the facts their way. Not put their own spin on the situation. Lie. Big, sloppy, and constantly.

The lies go beyond instantly dismissible claims like President Obama being the "food stamp president" (why you have to go back one whole administration to discover that more people joined the food stamp ranks under Bush than Obama, but then the Republicans don't seem to remember Bush in any case).  The blatant lies extend through every aspect of the Republican platform, such as it is. The simple reason is that the Republicans have no ideas left, at least no ideas that have not been tested and proven to be failures again, and again, and again.

The economy didn't just crash under a Republican president, it crashed under Republican policies. It crashed with low taxes. It crashed with deregulated markets. It crashed with huge restrictions on union activity. It crashed with massive cuts in environmental regulations. It crashed with lowered trade barriers. It crashed with big fat Pentagon spending.

They got what they wanted. They got CEOs with no limits on their wealth. They got banks with no limits on their "creativity." They got trade agreements that guaranteed manufacturing could be moved to the dirtiest, cheapest, most desperate source available. They got massive cuts in capital gains taxes and equally large boosts in the wealth they could pass along in estates. They got everything they said would make us all wealthy. They got record oil and gas drilling. They got record giveaways of public land. They got everything they said would create jobs. They got the middle class to shoulder more, more, more of the burden so that those beautiful job creators would be free to work their magic.

They can't say the economy crashed because taxes went up, because they didn't. They can't say that the economy crashed because there was a raft of new regulation, because there wasn't. They can't blame it on "union thugs" or Saul Alinsky or the guy who writes Happy Holidays cards at Hallmark. They can't blame it on a president who was elected when the world was already in free fall. Only, of course they do. They say it because they have no choice.

For the same reason that they have to maintain that global warming is the creation of a conspiracy of scientists, and that evolution is a conspiracy of other scientists, and that gay marriage is a threat to "traditional" marriage. They have to lie about the threat of illegal immigrants. Lie about the state of the national debt. Lie about the effects of the President's health care plan. They have to lie, because lies are all they have left.

They certainly can't admit the truth about the economy. They can't admit that they did it. Own it. That their policies directly caused the worst economic failure in American history. Strike that. Make it "the greatest failure in American history since the last time that these same policies were tried." But then, they've been lying about that bit of history for years.

The truth is that the Republicans have nothing to offer. Not even anything that looks like a governing philosophy. Conservatism has moved out of the ranks of political theories and simply become a cult; one that requires that certain phrases be mouthed, that certain hatreds be nourished, and that purity be maintained regardless of cost. That schism with reality is increasingly large and increasingly obvious. They try to paper over that gap by dismissing little things like science, reason, history. Real science fails to support their contentions, so they have to write it off. Reason doesn't work for them, so any question must be met with red-faced indignity — every question a gotcha question. Real history is full of warts, quirks, and unfortunate truths that don't fit their ritualized beliefs. So they have to try to rewrite history, giving us rewrite Reagan who never raised a tax or increased a debt, rewrite FDR who created the issues he actually solved, rewrite Lincoln who championed the Confederate cause, rewrite founding fathers who never owned slaves, never supported government regulation of the economy, never wavered in their ardent love for a form of religiosity that didn't yet exist. Tricorner hats are the new tinfoil.

The real danger isn't that someone might listen to the Republicans—anyone who lies long enough and loud enough can always find an audience, especially when that someone has three quarters of the television media and ninety+ percent of radio. The danger is that we might forget that they're lying. Too often Democrats, including this president, have felt that the best way to handle Republican fantasies is to compromise with them. You can't compromise reality, no no matter how loud the lies.

Every conservative in America has their fingers crossed hoping that regular working class Americans are idiots with short memories who will return them  to power. So they can trash the nation once again. Conservatives have not learned their lesson. They're in denial about the horrible things they did, all the while wrapping up that horror in the flag and having the gull to call it patriotism. Either it is not patriotism or it is a sick twisted kind of love of country.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Obama, Contraception and Healthcare - Conservative Republican Members of Congress Benefit From Contraception Coverage

Obama, Contraception and Healthcare - Conservative Republican Members of Congress Benefit From Contraception Coverage

Republicans in Congress have gone to war over the administration’s new rule requiring employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage to women. Despite the fact that the regulation already excludes more than 335,000 entities, Republicans have introduced legislation seeking to expand the conscience clause protection to exclude even more religiously affiliated institutions from the requirement. The move, which is opposed by women’s groups, would significantly restrict access to affordable birth control by allowing Catholic colleges, universities, or hospitals to deny contraception coverage. As a result, these women would have to spend up to $600 a year buying birth control without the help of insurance.

But interestingly, members of Congress who seek to limit the availability of affordable birth control all enjoy contraception insurance as part of the government managed Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB). Members first approved the so-called “contraception equity” provision in 1998, through the FY 1999 Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 4328, PL 105-277, and have passed the measure ever since. The language “ensures that federal employees participating in FEHBP have insurance coverage of FDA-approved prescription contraceptives and related services.”

A ThinkProgress analysis reveals that 12 members of Congress who approved the conference report for the 1999 omnibus bill have signed on as co-sponsors of the current GOP-led measure to limit women’s access to contraception by changing the Obama administration’s rule. From the original FEHBP requirement:

    A new law requires FEHB plans to provide contraceptive coverage. For 1999, the Office of Personnel Management will require all plans to cover the full range of contraceptive drugs and devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

    A few plans will be exempt from this requirement, and they are noted below. Because the law was signed on October 21, 1998, after the FEHB brochures for 1999 were printed, the FEHB brochures you will receive during the Open Season do not reflect these additional benefits. You should use this notice when you read the brochures, so that you will have an accurate understanding of the benefits offered by plans that you are considering.

An official at the Office of Personnel Management, which administrates the program, has confirmed to ThinkProgress that all FEHB plans provide coverage for contraception, meaning that every single member of Congress opposing Obama’s rule now has the birth control coverage they’re seeking to deny to others.

Conservatism is just another name for pathological lair and hypocrite. It there any issue on which conservatives do not tie themselves into pretzels trying to have something relevant to say. Want to know what a 16th century authoritarian French Duke thinks about America and public policy? Just ask a conservative. Pretty much the same thing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

When did the requirement that most employers cover birth control and insurers to offer it at no extra cost start?

When did the requirement that most employers cover birth control and insurers to offer it at no extra cost start?
President Barack Obama's decision to require most employers to cover birth control and insurers to offer it at no cost has created a firestorm of controversy. But the central mandate—that most employers have to cover preventative care for women—has been law for over a decade. This point has been completely lost in the current controversy, as Republican presidential candidates and social conservatives claim that Obama has launched a war on religious liberty and the Catholic Church.

Despite the longstanding precedent, "no one screamed" until now, said Sara Rosenbaum, a health law expert at George Washington University.

In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn't provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don't offer prescription coverage or don't offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC's interpretation of the law, you can't offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.

"It was, we thought at the time, a fairly straightforward application of Title VII principles," a top former EEOC official who was involved in the decision told Mother Jones. "All of these plans covered Viagra immediately, without thinking, and they were still declining to cover prescription contraceptives. It's a little bit jaw-dropping to see what is going on now…There was some press at the time but we issued guidances that were far, far more controversial."

After the EEOC opinion was approved in 2000, reproductive rights groups and employees who wanted birth control access sued employers that refused to comply. The next year, in Erickson v. Bartell Drug Co., a federal court agreed with the EEOC's reasoning. Reproductive rights groups and others used that decision as leverage to force other companies to settle lawsuits and agree to change their insurance plans to include birth control. Some subsequent court decisions echoed Erickson, and some went the other way, but the rule (absent a Supreme Court decision) remained, and over the following decade, the percentage of employer-based plans offering contraceptive coverage tripled to 90 percent.

"We have used [the EEOC ruling] many times in negotiating with various employers," says Judy Waxman, the vice president for health and reproductive rights at the National Women's Law Center. "It has been in active use all this time. [President Obama's] policy is only new in the sense that it covers employers with less than 15 employees and with no copay for the individual. The basic rule has been in place since 2000."

Not even religious employers were exempt from the impact of the EEOC decision. Although Title VII allows religious institutions to discriminate on religious grounds, it doesn't allow them to discriminate on the basis of sex—the kind of discrimination at issue in the EEOC ruling. DePaul University, the largest Roman Catholic university in America, added birth control coverage to its plans after receiving an EEOC complaint several years ago. (DePaul officials did not respond to a request for comment.)

As recently as last year, the EEOC was moderating a dispute between the administrators of Belmont Abbey, a Catholic institution in North Carolina, and several of its employees who had their birth control coverage withdrawn after administrators realized it was being offered. The Weekly Standard opined on the issue in 2009—more proof that religious employers were being asked to cover contraception far before the Obama administration issued its new rule on January 20 of this year.

"The current freakout," Judy Waxman says, is largely occurring because the EEOC policy "isn't as widely known…and it hasn't been uniformly enforced." But it's still unclear whether Obama's Health and Human Services department will enforce the new rule any more harshly than the old one. The administration has already given organizations a year-long grace period to comply. Asked to explain how the agency would make employers do what it wanted, an HHS official told Mother Jones that it would "enforce this the same way we enforce everything else in the law."

Like every other issue conservatives run on the current outrage is riddled with falsehoods, lies and exploitation. Sound bites to get the conservative base - who would like to take America back to the good old days of the Salem Witch trails - riled up.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mitt Romney Is Financially Invested In The Birth Control Industry

Note the chart shows most PAC money are large right-wing radical conservative PACs.

 Mitt Romney Is Financially Invested In The Birth Control

Mitt Romney has attacked the Obama administration’s regulation requiring employers and insurers to provide reproductive health care services — including contraception — by arguing that the rule is undermining the religious liberties of Catholics and imposing “a secular vision on Americans who believe that they should not have their religious freedom taken away.” As ThinkProgress has reported, Romney’s newfound sensitivities contradict his record as governor of Massachusetts — where he accepted a very similar contraception equity law — and his previous public commitments to increasing public funding for birth control. In 2005, Romney even asked the Massachusetts Department of Health to issue regulations requiring all hospitals to issue emergency contraception to rape victims, without providing an exception for Catholic hospitals.

Now, an examination of Romney’s financial investments reveals that the very same GOP frontrunner who is now petitioning the White House to extend the regulation’s conscience clause and exclude more women from the benefits of birth control is himself invested in and profiting from pharmaceutical companies that produce the frequently prescribed and extremely common medication:

    Romney’s Goldman Sachs 2002 Exchange Place Fund, valued at over a million dollars in 2010, brought in nearly $600,000 in gains in 2010 and is invested in:

    - Watson Pharmaceuticals: manufacturer of nine forms of emergency contraception (which Romney incorrectly identifies as “abortifacients“).
    - Johnson & Johnson: launched the first U.S. prescription birth control product in 1931 and produces various forms of birth control.
    - Merck: produces various forms of birth control
    - Mylan: produces birth control medication and filed the first application for a generic birth control pill last year.
    - Pfizer: a contraception producer that recently had to recall about a million packs of birth-control pills that weren’t packaged correctly.

Romney often disclaims any responsibility for or knowledge of his own investments by claiming that they are held in a private trust. But since filing his legally-required public financial disclosure reports and certifying that the information is “true, complete, and correct” to the best of his knowledge, the trust ceased to be a “blind trust” as he knew what was in it. Romney signed such disclosure forms last August and during his unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid in August 2007.

Can a conservative run for office that does not have a closet full of skeletons, baggage full of hypocrisies, believe in weird conspiracy theories and have less than two wives. Conservatism is not a system of political beliefs it is just a tent for all the loons in America. Just because they hide their craziness behind patriotism doesn't mean they should be allowed to get away with being swindlers, hypocrites, immoral vultures and serial liars.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Libertarianism The "Party of Oxymoron": "Individualists unite!"

Libertarianism The "Party of Oxymoron": "Individualists unite!"


    In the beginning, man dwelt in a state of Nature, until the serpent Government tempted man into Initial Coercion.
    Government is the Great Satan. All Evil comes from Government, and all Good from the Market, according to the Ayatollah Rand.
    We must worship the Horatio Alger fantasy that the meritorious few will just happen to have the lucky breaks that make them rich. Libertarians happen to be the meritorious few by ideological correctness. The rest can go hang.
    Government cannot own things because only individuals can own things. Except for corporations, partnerships, joint ownership, marriage, and anything else we except but government.
    Parrot these arguments, and you too will be a singular, creative, reasoning individualist.
    Parents cannot choose a government for their children any more than they can choose language, residence, school, or religion.
    Taxation is theft because we have a right to squat in the US and benefit from defense, infrastructure, police, courts, etc. without obligation.
    Magic incantations can overturn society and bring about libertopia. Sovereign citizenry! The 16th Amendment is invalid! States rights!
    Objectivist/Neo-Tech Advantage #69i : The true measure of fully integrated honesty is whether the sucker has opened his wallet. Thus sayeth the Profit Wallace. Zonpower Rules Nerdspace!
    The great Zen riddle of libertarianism: minimal government is necessary and unnecessary. The answer is only to be found by individuals.

Libertarians frequently cite this quote in isolation - While it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from Nature at all ... it is considered by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no one has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land ... Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. - Thomas Jefferson

Libertarians always ignore this passage
- Every society has a right to fix the fundamental principles of its association, and to say to all individuals, that if they contemplate pursuits beyond the limits of these principles and involving dangers which the society chooses to avoid, they must go somewhere else for their exercise; that we want no citizens, and still less ephemeral and pseudo-citizens, on such terms. We may exclude them from our territory, as we do persons infected with disease. --Thomas Jefferson to William H. Crawford, 1816

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Liberal Media - The America Hating Conservative Republican Media Rely On Discredited Evidence To Dismiss Positive Jobs Report

What Liberal Media - The America Hating Conservative Republican Media Rely On Discredited Evidence To Dismiss Positive Jobs Report

Right-wing media are rushing to put a negative spin on newly released jobs numbers showing a drop in the unemployment rate and a net increase in jobs by parroting the discredited claim that government data show that "1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force" last month. In fact, as economic experts have explained, that number reflected an increase in population from 2010 Census figures and is not the result of how many people "dropped out" of the labor force last month.

After The Labor Department Reported January Employment Growth

Labor Department: Employment Rose By 243,000 Jobs In January And Unemployment Dropped To 8.3 Percent. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

    Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Government employment changed little over the month.


    The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in January to 8.3 percent; the rate has fallen by 0.8 point since August. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2/3/12]

NY Times: Two Million Jobs Added In Past Year. The New York Times' Economix blog reported that "[o]ver the last 12 months, the economy added nearly two million jobs, more than in any similar period since early 2007." [The New York Times, Economix, 2/3/12]
Financial Blog Zero Hedge Dismissed Employment Growth With Dubious Claim That "1.2 Million People Dropped Out Of The Labor Force"

Zero Hedge: "1.2 Million People Dropped Out Of The Labor Force In One Month!" A post on economics and finance blog Zero Hedge claimed that the Bureau of Labor Statistics report estimated that "1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force" in January. [Zero Hedge, 2/3/12]

But Experts Argue That The 1.2 Million Number Is Based On A Misreading Of The Jobs Report

Economic Journalist Barry Ritholtz: "The Fact Is 1 Million People Did Not Drop Out Of The Labor Force In January 2012." Economic journalist and Washington Post columnist Barry Ritholtz explained that those who are claiming that 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in January are misreading the Labor Department's jobs report:

    So today following an otherwise pretty darn good jobs report, we get the usual perma-pessimists at Zero Hedge and Rick Santelli over at CNBC proclaiming that the report showed a drop of over 1 million people from the labor force in one month. Of course, as ususal, both Santelli and Zero Hedge have a real reading comprehension problem and completely missed that this million+ people isn't some new January phenomenon, but a result of the BLS using the 2010 census data to have more accurate data. In other words, the changes in the Household Survey to the various measures had taken place over the years prior to 2010, but for simplicity's sake, the BLS incorporates these changes into one month (which they clearly point out).


    [T]he fact is 1 million people did not drop out of the labor force in January 2012. [The Big Picture, 2/3/12]
Rush Limbaugh Cited The 1.2 Million Number To Argue That The Jobs Report Is "Corrupt." On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh cited Zero Hedge and claimed that "1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month" to argue that the jobs numbers report is as "corrupt as it can be." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/3/12]

Sean Hannity Repeated The 1.2 Million Falsehood To Claim Lower Unemployment Rate Is "Phony."
 Between the drugs and alcohol Limbaugh can always claim he has a good excuse - he stays on the radio because the dumb rubes that listen to him make it possible for him to live in a Palm Beach mansion. Hannity doesn't need an excuse, he has the same IQ as his audience, its the same as his shoe size.

Neil Cavuto Gushes Over Trump’s Business Record – And Ignores The Four Bankruptcies. Trump was handed his business on a silver platter from dad, he is hardly a member of the worked hard to earn all he has crowd. Conservatives worship him, despite the lack of any real business expertise anyway.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

President Obama Cites Jesus and Right-Wing Conservatives Lose Their Minds

President Obama Cites Jesus and Right-Wing Conservatives Lose Their Minds

It seems like all we ever hear from the Religious Right is how important it is for our political leaders to let their faith influence their public policy decisions.  But apparently that only applies when it leads politicians to support the conservative political agenda because when President Obama cites Jesus, it seems to make the Right lose their minds.

Yesterday, during the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama cited a passage from the Book of Luke to support his view that the well-off should be expected to contribute more:

    And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.

    But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.”

And now right-wing leaders and Republicans are outraged, with Sen. Orrin Hatch lashing out about it on the Senate floor and Rep. Phil Gingrey walking out in protest while Ralph Reed, of all people, is saying that Obama went "over the line":

    Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition said that for the president to tie his tax policy to Jesus’s teachings “is theologically threadbare and straining credulity.”

    “I felt like it was over the line and not the best use of the forum,” Reed said. “It showed insufficient level of respect for what the office of the president has historically brought to that moment.”

And of course Bryan Fischer, who thinks the Bible ought to be the foundation for all our public policy, including putting animals to death, was incensed that Obama would dare to claim that the teachings of Christ support his agenda when, in fact, his agenda "is in the spirit of Joseph Stalin" and Karl Marx:

As we have said before, it is amazing President Obama even bothers to talk about his Christian faith because nothing he says will ever be acceptable for the "real" Christians in the Religious Right.

Conservatives seem to have habit of skimming the Bible and taking out the parts they can best interpret to mean we should be ruled by a small group of greedy plutocrats. Start citing things like Proverbs 14:21 - He that despises his neighbor sins: but he that has mercy on the poor, happy is he. - and they get very upset.

Soaking the Poor, State by State - From Washington to Florida, why the financially challenged have little to cheer about on taxes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2012 The Election Year in Which Plutocrats Officially Determine The Winner

2012 The Election Year in Which Plutocrats Officially Determine The Winner

Forget about the poor, the unemployed and the sinking middle class participating in the democratic process.

The race for the presidency is increasingly being bankrolled by "1 percenters" — those among the richest of Americans.

Year-end campaign finance reports show that many of the nation's wealthiest individuals and their companies have written huge checks to Republican and Democratic "super committees" that are exempt from the usual $5,000 campaign donation limits.

Texas businessman Harold Simmons and his Contran Corp. have donated $7.5 million to two GOP committees. Las Vegas hotel casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his family have poured more than $10 million into a so-called super political action committee backing Newt Gingrich. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg gave $100,000 to one of several committees aiding Obama.

Partly as a result of the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling that even corporations enjoy the right to free political speech, a 2002 congressional overhaul that was supposed to rid big money from national politics is fast becoming a distant memory. Not only are wealthy Americans serving as financial angels to presidential candidates, but companies also have begun to write multimillion-dollar checks, and some may be doing so secretly.

American Crossroads, a conservative super PAC founded by former Bush White House political guru Karl Rove, has raised $51 million to date, including $33 million garnered by a nonprofit arm that isn't required to disclose its donors. The groups have set a goal of collecting another $200 million to raise Republican prospects in next year's presidential and congressional elections.

Anthony Corrado, a campaign finance expert at Colby College in Maine, says high-dollar donors have gotten active earlier than ever this year and are playing a bigger role — and that may not be an accident.

"If you think about the way the president is beginning to frame the campaign, presenting this as a campaign of the 99 percent against the 1 percent, that in some ways is adding fuel to the fire to keep these donors involved," he said.

Corrado also noted that outside groups have had a disproportionate impact this year because so many candidates, including Gingrich, have lacked "presidential-level money."

Gingrich's campaign raised $9.8 million and closed the year with $2.1 million in cash and $1.2 million in debt. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas raised $13.3 million in the fourth quarter and ended the year with $1.9 million in cash, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign raised $920,000 in the quarter and closed with $279,000 in cash.

"This has actually been a race where a large gift from an individual donor can fund an advertising campaign greater than a candidate's own campaign can muster," Corrado said of the super PACs' clout.

Restore Our Future, the super PAC raising unlimited donations to support Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, brought in nearly $18 million last year — none from donors of under $200.

Donors to the pro-Romney group included a cross-section of conservative businessmen, top executives of the private equity firm Bain Capital that Romney founded and used to make his fortune, and other investment houses, including Goldman Sachs.

Four companies founded by Frank VanderSloot, Romney's national finance co-chairman who has held fundraisers at his Idaho Falls ranch during both of Romney's presidential runs, each gave $250,000 to the PAC. Melaleuca Inc. and its affiliates sell vitamins and household products nationwide.

Others who underwrote the shadow campaign committee included Dallas businessman Harlan Crow and his Crow Holdings, who donated $150,000; billionaire Bill Koch of West Palm Beach, Fla., who along with his Oxbow Carbon Corp. dropped $1 million; major Republican fundraiser Paul Singer, a principal in Elliott Management Corp., who also donated $1 million, and Sam Zell, former owner of the bankrupt Tribune Co., who gave $50,000.

In the first four GOP contests, the super PACs have spent much of their money serving as attack dogs, independently blitzing the airwaves with negative ads that seem in perfect sync with the candidates' campaigns. In addition, wealthy backers are acting as "bundlers," using their connections to raise tens of millions of dollars for President Barack Obama and Romney.

Tuesday night's unveiling of the identities of donors to super PACs came hours after polls closed in the key Florida primary, meaning that voters had no idea who bankrolled more than $10 million in broadcast ads by Restore Our Future.

"This level of disclosure isn't just inadequate. It's laughable," Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York told reporters. "The voters deserve to know the ugly truth of who is behind these super PACs."

Schumer said Tuesday's disclosures are "focusing the public's attention on the rotten state of campaign finance," noting that 70 percent of the $18 million raised by Rove's American Crossroads came from donors of $1 million or more.
Joined by Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Al Franken of Minnesota, Schumer called on Congress to at least pass legislation requiring better disclosure. He said that the Senate Rules Committee will take testimony later this month from people affiliated with super PACs, as well as donors.

In 2010, Senate Democrats twice came within one vote of passing a bill to require all groups engaging in political spending to reveal donors of $1,000 or more and to require top officers of outside groups, as well as their leading donors, to appear on camera in any television ads vouching their approval.

In winning the White House in 2008, Obama rode a tide of small donations as his campaign raised $662 million.

Corrado said that, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, "what we're seeing in 2012 is a test of whether the development of broader financial participation in elections — the rise of small donors in elections — is going to continue to be encouraged, or if big money will once again become a central feature of the election."

If Romney wins the nomination, he predicted that his shadow super PAC would play a leading role in the general election.

Conservatives, with the help of a radically conservative Supreme Court decided that government by and for the people was an outdated concept. So conservatives who identify as the grassroots of their party can thank themselves if the candidates they like don't have a chance.