Saturday, March 31, 2012

Anti-American Conservative Myth of the Week - Corporate Taxes Are Too High

Anti-American Conservative Myth of the Week - Corporate Taxes Are Too High

Republicans have been kvetching today about the fact that, as of Sunday, the U.S. will have the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the world following a scheduled cut in Japan’s corporate tax. “The United States is a world leader in countless ways. ‘World’s Highest Taxes’ is a title we should give up as soon as possible,” wrote Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) in a Fox News op-ed.

“This isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke; as of April 1, the United States of America will have reached the inauspicious position of having the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in a statement “I want America to be number one in many things, but having the highest corporate tax rate is definitely not one of them.”

This is constant refrain from Republicans, who then blame the supposedly high U.S. corporate tax rate for discouraging job creation. But as we’ve noted time and time again, while the U.S. has a high statutory corporate tax rate (meaning the rate on paper), U.S. corporations actually pay incredibly low taxes due to the ever-proliferating loopholes, credits, and deductions in the tax code and the use of overseas tax havens.

U.S. corporate taxes that were actually paid (the effective rate) fell to a 40 year low of 12.1 percent in fiscal year 2011, despite corporate profits rebounding to their pre-Great Recession heights. The U.S. both taxes its corporations less and raises less in revenue from corporate taxes than its foreign competitors:

Politico’s Ben White also pointed out that Japan has a value added tax, so it isn’t actually true that the U.S. will have the highest corporate tax rate on Sunday. As billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said, “it is a myth” that U.S. corporate taxes are high. “Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness,” Buffett added.

Of course, it is theoretically possible to lower the U.S. corporate income tax rate while simultaneously raising revenue to help reduce the federal deficit by closing loopholes and cracking down on tax havens. But Republicans have absolutely no interest in that.

Those who think everyone across the political spectrum just needs to sit down and have a civil discussion and we'll work out our differences, think again. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah has made a career out of lying to the American public. he has time and again voted against the best interests of the American people. He hates having a democratic republic and envisions, as all conservatives do, an authoritarian state run by the right-wing elite. Hatch is a typical conservative. he cannot win any debates that require truthfulness and honor, because he has nothing but contempt for those virtues.

A robot makes robocalls, The deeply immoral charlatan Rick Santorum  Records Robocall Supporting Dictator Want-to-be ScottWalker In Wisconsin Recall

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome to Conservative America Where Wealth is Rewarded and Work is Punished

Welcome to Conservative America Where Wealth is Rewarded and Work is Punished

The Wall Street Journal noted this week that CEO pay lagged behind profits and productivity last year, mirroring a trend that has been occurring with workers’ wages for decades. But even that slight modicum of moderation regarding executive compensation evidently didn’t extend to Bank of America, which gave CEO Brian Moynihan a $7.5 million pay package — six times as much as he made in 2010 — following a year in which the company’s stock plummeted:

    Bank of America gave its CEO a pay package worth $7.5 million last year, six times as large as the year before. It happened while the company’s stock lost more than half its value and the bank lost its claim as the biggest in the country.

    The package for CEO Brian Moynihan included a salary of $950,000, a $6.1 million stock award and about $420,000 worth of use of company aircraft and tax and financial advice.

For those keeping score, Bank of America’s stock dropped 58 percent in 2011 and the bank surrendered its title as the nation’s largest to JP Morgan Chase. A good chunk of the stock award was actually given to Moynihan for the bank’s 2010 performance, when it lost money.

In addition to seeing its stock tank, Bank of America has also been, according to a whistleblower suit, intentionally blocking troubled homeowners from receiving mortgage aid. The whistleblower alleges that BofA misled borrowers about their eligibility for federal mortgage aid programs and that “the bank and its agents routinely pretended to have lost homeowners’ documents.” (But remember, Bank of America will modify your mortgage as long as you erase all the mean things you’ve been saying about it on Twitter.)

BofA has also been tied up in the foreclosure fraud scandal, and just a few months ago paid $335 million to settle charges that its subsidiary discriminated against minorities in its lending. If this is how much Moynihan gets after that sort of year, what will he receive if the bank actually has a good one?

While financial reform passed by Democrats and President Obama does not micro-manage businesses to the point where reform can limit CEO pay, it does address regulation of some of Wall Street's worse abuses like defrauding regular working Americans. This would be the financial reform that conservatives have pulled every obstructionist trick to stop from being implemented. Why? Because they see CEOs like Brian Moynihan as their base of support. Conservatives figure if they protect the financial elite the financial elite will look out for them.

CEOs like Moynihan are the people that Sen Scott Brown(R-MA) considers his best friends.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Conservative Puppet of the Week Sen Scott Brown(R-MA) - Has Strings Pulled by Anti-American Publisher Rupert Murdoch

Conservative Puppet of the Week Sen Scott Brown(R-MA) - Has Strings Pulled by Anti-American Publisher Rupert Murdoch

News Corp. subsidiary Fox News -- which actively aided the Massachusetts Republican during his 2010 campaign -- is playing host to Brown as he promotes his new book, published by News Corp. subsidiary HarperCollins.

Brown appeared on Fox's Hannity last night and Fox & Friends this morning to discuss the book, which Fox's Brian Kilmeade said "is going to be rockin' up the charts."

The Associated Press noted that "highlights" of Brown's book tour include "the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and The Villages retirement community in Florida, where Sarah Palin promoted 'Going Rogue.'" Palin's Going Rogue was also published by News Corp. subsidiary HarperCollins.

According to the FEC, Brown's campaign committee proposed to "use the book to influence Senator Brown's election, such as by distributing books as 'thank you' gifts to campaign contributors and political supporters."

On February 17, the FEC issued an advisory opinion that concluded Brown's campaign committee's proposal to "use campaign funds to purchase copies of the book from the book's publisher at the fair market price, and to have the publisher donate to charity Senator Brown's royalties from sales of the book to the Committee, is permissible." However, the FEC "could not approve a response on whether Senator Brown may host fundraising events in cities where the publisher pays his travel costs to promote the book."

As Media Matters documented in 2010, Fox News repeatedly hosted Brown in the days leading up to his 2010 special election, and Fox News political analyst Dick Morris urged viewers to "go to ... to help elect Brown," because if "we win this fight, then there will never be another victory for Obama."

Fox also repeatedly misrepresented remarks made by Brown's Democratic opponent -- Martha Coakley -- to portray her as incompetent.

Shortly after Brown won the 2010 special election, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich acknowledged that Fox News helped make Brown's "insurgency possible."

Ever hear Sen brown offer up any real solutions for real problems. No, and that is because Brown basically recycles all the worthless sound bites of conservative great thinkers like George Bush. Brown thinks America has a debt problem when we have the lowest revenue in decades. We're over regulated, brown repeats like a little puppet, just like every conservative robot. Except we have much the same regulation we had during the Clinton boom years. Brown wants smaller government? That sound bite is meaningless code speak from conservatives. What they mean is they want government to let corporate crooks and polluters to get away with anything they want. That worked out real well on Wall Street, right?

20 Experts Who Say Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices

Wingnut Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Trayvon Photo Was Lightened to Make Him Look ‘Innocent’

Hold The Broccoli: What Limbaugh And Fox Get Wrong About The Constitution And The Affordable Care Act

Anti-American Conservative Group Crossroads GPS  Launches $650,000 False Ad Campaign On Gas Prices

Friday, March 23, 2012

What Liberal Media - Cleveland Editor Pushes Bogus Paul Ryan(R-WI) Budget Plan

What Liberal Media - Cleveland Editor Pushes Bogus Paul Ryan(R-WI) Budget Plan

In a March 22 column, Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Kevin O'Brien commenced a pedantic cheerleading session in support of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) controversial new budget plan. After glibly comparing Senate Democrats to preteen children, O'Brien argued that Ryan's infamously austere cuts "would not cut government far enough fast enough." Unfortunately, O'Brien's slash and burn philosophy of congressional budgeting ignores the real-world impact those cuts would have on fellow Ohioans.

He wrote:

    If [Democrats] admit that entitlements are devouring revenues at an alarming and ever-increasing rate, they won't be able to demagogue Social Security and Medicare anymore.

    If they admit that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that they passed all by themselves isn't going to do the main things they promised -- save money and insure the uninsured -- they open themselves to accusations that they knew all along that it was a scam. And the accusations would be true.

    If they admit that they fully intend to just keep packing the nation's bedroom closet with debt until it explodes, the voters might punish them.

    So, no honesty, no discussion, no vote, no budget.

Of course, O'Brien ignores the realities of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (PPACA) successes and the harsh human element of Ryan's plan. The PPACA is two years old, and according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, plenty of previously uninsured Ohioans are now covered as a result of the law. More than 2,000 Ohioans with pre-existing conditions are now covered, and more than 80,000 young adults in the state have gained coverage. The health care security of more than four million residents is no longer threatened by lifetime caps on their coverage.

And as for entitlements, O'Brien doesn't tell his readers that under Ryan's budget (which again, he doesn't think goes far enough), more than 1.8 million vulnerable Ohioans will be at risk of losing food stamp benefits and slipping into hunger. This is according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which yesterday released a detailed look at how Ryan's budget would devastate children, seniors and people with disabilities. From the CBPP:

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's budget plan includes cuts in SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) of $133.5 billion -- more than 17 percent -- over the next ten years (2013-2022). [...]

    The overwhelming majority of SNAP households are families with children, seniors, or people with disabilities.  Almost three-quarters of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter are in households that include senior citizens or people with disabilities.

By ignoring this grim picture, O'Brien hasn't simply missed the significance of the cuts. He's revealed volumes about where his priorities lie. As he noted:

    [A] budget isn't just a statement of spending and income expectations. It's also a statement of beliefs -- a numerical representation of what is important.

A true statement, to be sure; and Mr. O'Brien's budget proposals reveal just what -- and who -- is important to him.
Ryan's plan is such a joke that conservatives are not even promoting it. It actually increases the debt. One of the reason none of Ryan's half-baked schemes for the budget work is because they all include massive tax cuts for millionaires and corporations.

Guns don't kill people, hoodies do. Geraldo might want to lay off the whiskey, his logic is getting more wobbly than ever.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why Does CBS and Mark Knoller Hate Facts

Why Does CBS and Mark Knoller Hate Facts - CBS's Mark Knoller Falsely Claims Debt Has Increased More Under Obama Than Bush

Mark Knoller is the White House correspondent for CBS Radio, and a first-class right-wing tool. Monday night, he posted an article titled, "National debt has increased more under Obama than under Bush," which sent wingnuts scurrying to their Twitter accounts. The problem is, the piece is BS. Here's Knoller's key graf:

    The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

Don't you just love the way he capitalizes "debt"?

What Knoller doesn't specify, naturally, is what the debt was when Bush began his presidency. And that's a glaring omission, because unless you don't know that, you can't accurately compare the records. So here it is.

In 2001, the national debt Bush inherited was around $5.7T, give or take. Some of that debt in 2001 has to be attributed to Clinton, just as some of the debt in 2009 when Obama took office has to be attributed to Bush. When W. left office in 2009, the debt was nearly $11T. That's an increase of 89 percent.

Under Obama, the debt has increased from about $11T to about $15T, about 40 percent.

And what's behind that increase? Historically low taxes and historically low revenues -- and the worst financial crash since the 1930s. There's been no "binge" in spending, as Knoller wants you to believe.

America hating conservatives like Michelle Malkin who think a misinformed public is good for democracy, has echoed Knoll's lie. C&L are correct. The Obama administration has not gone on some spending spree, they have been one of the most fiscally conservative administrations in modern history.

Top Romney Adviser Says Romney Can Change His Positions After The Primaries: ‘It’s Almost Like An Etch A Sketch’

FACT CHECK: More US drilling didn't drop gas price

Why Does Paul Ryan(R-WI) Hate America and Seniors

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why Does Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) Hate America and The Middle-class

Why Does Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) Hate America and The Middle-class

In his public resignation letter in today’s New York Times, former Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith said that one of the fastest ways to get ahead with the firm is to persuade clients “to invest in the stocks or other products that [the firm is] trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit.” He lambastes a firm culture where colleagues openly boast of “ripping their clients off.”

The sad thing is, this sort of shady might well have been on the way to being curtailed if not for the actions of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA). After Brown was elected to the senate in 2010, he threatened to join a Republican filibuster of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, using that threat to significantly water down the bill. Among the industry-favored concessions he extracted was weakening of the “Volcker rule,” which was meant to curb risky speculative investments that do not benefit customers.

Thanks to Brown’s maneuver, the final bill upped the amount of risky trading big banks like Goldman could engage in, increasing the amount of gambling they’re able to do by billions of dollars. Since then, financial industry lobbyists have been hammering away at the the rule in an attempt to render it completely meaningless.

The financial sector, of course, has repaid Brown with a flurry of campaign contributions. Between contributions from the firm’s leadership PAC and contributions from company employees, Brown has already received more than $40,000 in campaign cash from Goldman Sachs this cycle.

Brown hates the USA. he hates average Americans - consumers, small investors and middle-class families. he changes course according to which way the wind blows. he stands for nothing except making sure the powerful elite stay in power while the middle-class and working poor struggle. What Brown wants is for the USA to be the Pottersville in the nightmare part of Its a Wonderful Life. Brown and his radical conservative pals have no morals, no vision for America except taking more of what average Americas work hard to earn. he and his unhinged conservative elite want to continue to redistribute most of America's Gross Domestic Product upward to the 10% who work the least.

No, Obamacare’s Cost Didn’t Just Double. Sigh.

Sorting through the deceptive attacks on health care reform gets old, even for me. But on Wednesday the Republicans and their allies made a claim so obviously misleading that they, and the media outlets parroting them, must have known they spreading false information.

The basis for the claim is the Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections for the Affordable Care Act, which critics (and I!) like to call Obamacare. When Congress first passed the law, in the spring of 2010, CBO made official estimates of how much the law would cost, how many people would get insurance as a result, and so on. It updated that estimate one year later and has, now, updated it one more time.

The CBO distributed its report in the morning and, by 11 a.m., Republican offices on Capitol Hill were spitting out press releases about it. According to the Republicans, CBO had discovered that Obamacare was going to cost $1.76 trillion over the next ten years. “The CBO’s revised cost estimate indicates that this massive government intrusion into America’s health care system will be far more costly than was originally claimed,” Tom Price, chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, said. Within a few hours, both Fox News and the Washington Times were carrying online stories making the same claim. According to the Fox News account, CBO was “showing that the bill is substantially more expensive—twice as much as the original $900 billion price tag.”

If CBO had truly determined that health care reform’s cost will be twice the original estimates, it would be huge news. But CBO said nothing of the sort.

To figure out the cost of health care reform, CBO looks at each of the law’s component parts and, for accounting purposes, groups them into different categories. It calls one category “gross cost of coverage expansions”—that’s the amount of money the federal government will spend to help people get insurance, mostly by offering Medicaid to more people or giving people subsidies they can use to help offset the cost of private insurance. Last year, CBO estimated that the gross cost of coverage expansion from 2012 through 2021 would be $1.445 trillion. Now CBO thinks the gross cost will be $1.496 trillion. The number shifted, in part, because the CBO has changed its projections for economic growth. (MSNBC’s Tom Curry has a nice explanation of this.) But, in the context of such a large a budget projection, that’s barely any difference at all.

In the this latest estimate, CBO extends its projection out one more year, to capture the expenses from 2012 to 2022, in order to capture a full decade. In 2022, CBO says, the gross cost of coverage expansion will be $265 billion. Add that to the $1.496 and you get (with rounding) the $1.76 trillion—the one in the press releases and the Fox story.

But there is nothing new or surprising about this. It’s only slightly more money than the previous year’s outlays. The ten-year number seems to jump only because the time frame for the estimate has moved, dropping one year, 2011, and adding another, 2022. Obamacare has virtually no outlays in 2011, because the Medicaid expansion and subsidies don’t start up until 2014, which means the shifting time frame drops a year of no implementation and adds one of full implementation.

Still, doesn’t that just validate what the law’s critics have always said, that the administration was playing games to hide the program’s true impact on the deficit? Hardly. Remember, this is just the raw cost of expanding insurance coverage we’re talking about here—in other words, the money the federal government is sending out the door. The new law also calls for new revenue, in the form of taxes and penalties. It also reduces spending, mostly through Medicare, to help offset the cost of the coverage expansion. When the Affordable Care Act became law, CBO estimated that the net result of all these changes, taken together, would be to reduce the deficit. Now, with this revised estimate, CBO has decided the law will reduce the deficit by even more money.

Yes, you read that right: The real news of the CBO estimate is that, according to its models, health care reform is going to save even more taxpayer dollars than previously thought.

The above picture is yet another example of conservative desperation. Nowhere in his speech does Holder say the word brainwash. Conservatives must lie and lie often to win any debate - read more here, Presents: Eric Holder — The Vettening and here, Right-Wing Media Uncover Holder's Plot To Discourage Lawbreaking

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2012, Another Year and Another Conservative Republican Attempt to Destroy Medicare

2012, Another Year and Another Conservative Republican Attempt to Destroy Medicare

Are Republicans ready to be trusted with the reins of power?

If you’re thinking of answering this in the affirmative, you might want to pause long enough to learn what transpired on the third floor of the Capitol on Thursday. There, four prominent Republican lawmakers announced their proposal to abolish Medicare — “sunset” was their pseudo-verb — even for those currently on the program or nearing retirement.

In Medicare’s place would be a private plan that would raise the eligibility age and shift trillions of dollars worth of health-care coverage from the government to the elderly. “This will be the new Medicare,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the proposal’s author, announced.

For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises.

“The president and Harry Reid have been licking their chops for over three years now waiting for Republicans to actually try to deal with the large problems like Medicare,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told reporters. “So, this is the moment they’ve been waiting for.”

He’s right about that. Don’t expect Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Mitch McConnell or John Boehner to take up the cry; the party leadership isn’t about to line up for abolishing the popular entitlement program. The real question is whether party leaders would be able to repel this conservative movement to end Medicare if Republicans gain control of the White House and Congress, where conservatives already dominate the GOP caucuses.

The end-Medicare sponsors are key figures: DeMint is the godfather of the Tea Party, and he was joined by Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), two conservative rising stars. Completing the foursome was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an influential thinker. Two other Republican senators, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, have introduced a somewhat related plan to deal with Medicare, and Rep. Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget would also privatize Medicare, though on a slower timetable.

But DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014. “I think if Americans actually find out the truth about what we’re doing, it will be a very big positive for Republicans in the fall,” DeMint forecast.

All the details aren’t out, but Paul says his plan would cut funding of Medicare by $1?trillion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s liabilities by $16 trillion. It would do that by enrolling Medicare recipients in the health plan now used by federal workers. The government would pay 75 percent of the insurance premium on average but 30 percent or less for those who earned more than $100,000 a year. The eligibility age would gradually be raised to 70 from 65. If seniors can’t afford their share of the premium, they can apply for Medicaid, the health program for the poor.

Paul claimed his idea came from the Democrats’ 2004 presidential platform. But John Kerry wanted to extend the federal employee health plan to the general population, not to Medicare recipients. The 2004 platform vowed to “oppose privatizing Medicare.”

The CBPP has already run the numbers so this plan - a recycled version of Anti-American Paul Ryan (R-WI) plan and it would mean economic and health devastation to millions of Americans. So conservatives seem to hate America, seniors, the military and the disabled. What's  next apple pie and puppies.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) Freedom Hating Sleaze Bag of the Week - Brown Event Hosted By Anti-American Plantation Owner Where Workers labored 12-hour days to earn just $2 a day.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) Freedom Hating Sleaze Bag of the Week - Brown Event Hosted By Anti-American Plantation Owner Where Workers labored 12-hour days to earn just $2 a day.

Locked in a tight re-election battle, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has been doing a lot of travel lately to expand his already sizable war chest of money from wealthy special interests. But one recent, little-noticed Florida fundraiser was hosted by a highly controversial sugar magnate.

On February 22, Brown attended a Palm Beach luncheon featuring Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). One of the official hosts for the event was José “Pepe” Fanjul, the vice chairman, chief operating officer, and president of Fanjul Corp. and Florida Crystals Corporation, two Fanjul-family-owned sugar production companies (subsidiaries include the Domino sugar company).

Who is Pepe Fanjul?

He and his brother has been called the “Koch Brothers of South Florida” for their long record of political involvement and lobbying against industry regulations. A 1998 Time magazine article by legendary reporters Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele called the Fanjul’s “the First Family of Corporate Welfare,” with more than $60 million in corporate subsidies benefiting their companies annually from the federal government.

But most disturbing are reports about the Fanjul’s Dominican Republic operations. In January, the Palm Beach Post reported that Wikileaks documents revealed the Fanjuls and their companies “muscled” lawmakers to kill the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which might have increased competition. A lawyer for the family dismissed any allegations of illegal or inappropriate lobbying as “chatty gossip.”

Big Sugar, a 2005 CBC documentary raised an even bigger concern. According to their investigation, workers for the Fanjul-owned Central Romano plantation work 12-hour days to earn just $2 a day. The workers go hungry in conditions that have been compared to slave labor. In a 2001 Vanity Fair article, attorney Edward Tuddenham called the treatment of sugar cane pickers under the Fanjul’s “modern-day slavery.” Their treatment of workers and the Florida everglades has been heavily questioned. Pepe Fanjul and his brother denied being barons, denied harming the everglades, and denied receiving subsidies in a 1997 New York Times letter to the editor. And in the CBC documentary, he said Centro Romano is the “most progressive employer in the Dominican Republic.”

Fanjul also made news in 2010 when the New York Post reported that his executive assistant is the ex-wife of former KKK leader David Duke and current wife of the former KKK grand wizard who runs a white-supremacist website. A company spokesman told the paper “While we may not agree with someone’s politics, we wouldn’t terminate them for that.”

Florida Sugar Company did not respond to an email requesting comment for this story.

When he kicked off his re-election campaign, Brown boasted, “Once again I won’t have the political establishment behind me – not the one on Beacon Hill, and certainly not the one on Capitol Hill.” Now we see it is the Florida GOP establishment he has in his pocket. But even with more than $750,000 in political contributions over the years, mostly to Republicans, one still has to wonder why Brown would risk aligning himself with a figure like Fanjul.

Time for the Anti-American smiley faced fascists like brown to retire from politics. Brown and his ilk should not be allowed to be anywhere near the public policy of the USA.

Smearing Sandra Fluke wasn't enough, misogynists move on to Anti-Semitic attacks on her boyfriend

Conservative Catholic Bishops threaten women's health and religious freedom in the USA.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Very Unfortunate That Mitt Romney Hates Medicare and America

How Very Unfortunate That Mitt Romney Hates Medicare and America

On the day of Mitt Romney’s 65th birthday, making him eligible for Medicare — though he’s not signing up for it — his campaign has released five questions about Medicare for President Obama, ranging from why the president is “ending medicare as we know it” to why he’s “creating an unaccountable board to ration care.”

The only problem? None of the issues Romney’s questions point out are true. Here’s why:

QUESTION: Why Is President Obama Ending Medicare As We Know It By Allowing It To Go Bankrupt In Less Than 15 Years?

    FACT: Medicare is not going bankrupt. The Congressional Budget Office reports that one portion — Medicare Part A or hospital insurance — will become “insolvent.” As Igor Volsky has reported, “Dedicated revenues will not be sufficient to pay all of its bills and the hospital fund will meet about 90 percent of its commitments, rather than the full 100 percent. In the succeeding years that shortfall will slowly widen and then contract, so that in 2085, Medicare could pay out 88 percent of its obligations.” By lowering annual payment updates to providers, savings from the Affordable Care Act will extend the life of the trust fund by nine years.

QUESTION: Why Is President Obama Ending Medicare As We Know It By Funding Obamacare Through $500 Billion In Medicare Cuts For Today’s Seniors?

    FACT: The health law does not cut Medicare’s current budget. As ThinkProgress has previously explained, it slows the growth in the program by removing $500 billion from future spending over the next 10 years — not cutting from current senior’s benefits. The cuts help stabilize Medicare by eliminating overpayments and slowly phasing in payment adjustments that encourage greater efficiency. As a result, the law extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by nine years and allows seniors to retain all of their guaranteed Medicare benefits.

QUESTION: Why Is President Obama Ending Medicare As We Know It By Creating An Unaccountable Board To Ration Care For Today’s Seniors?

    FACT: The proposal is statutorily prohibited from rationing benefits or increasing co-pays and will go into effect unless Congress acts to alter the proposal or discontinue automatic implementation. And the board will be composed of doctors, economists, and consumer representatives who will be confirmed by the Senate and will be tasked with designing a savings plan if health care spending increases beyond a certain threshold.

QUESTION: Why Is President Obama Ending Medicare As We Know It By Destroying Medicare Advantage For Today’s Seniors?

    FACT: Far from destroying Medicare Advantage, the choices available through the program are “stronger than ever,” the White House reported in February. Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House deputy chief of staff for domestic policy, explained that premiums for Medicare Advantage are lower and enrollment has been higher since the Affordable Care Act made the changes to Medicare Advantage, which Republicans derided. “As reported last year, 99.7 percent of people with Medicare still have access to Medicare Advantage plans,” DeParle said.

QUESTION: Why Is President Obama Ending Medicare As We Know It By Ending Access To Care For Today’s Seniors?

    FACT: As has been explained, the Afforable Care Act does not cut current benefits, is not disappearing, and has actually expanded options for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage. And many presidents have made changes to Medicare since 1965, including Republican idol Ronald Reagan, without ending care for seniors or destroying Medicare. Reagan even instituted a series of reforms that are strikingly similar to some of the payment changes included in the Affordable Care Act (policies Romney now refers to as cuts or price controls).

It does not seem to matter what denomination they belong to, conservatives always seem to ignore the Ten Commandments and that part about lying. If Romney had any respect for the United States of America he would stop lying. He, like most conservatives have no respect for the USA. On the contrary they want to make the US into a plutocratic authoritarian state like Medieval Europe. 

Georgia Republican Compares Women to Cows, Pigs, And Chickens

Rick Santorum's Crazy Campaign Co-Chair Says Blacks Won't Vote for Mitt Romney Because Mormonism is Racist

Sarah Palin: Obama Twisted My Words In New Ad (VIDEO). Palin claims that President Obama wants to take America back to the days of slavery. Does Palin ever listen to herself. A Democratic president who is half-black wants to reinstate slavery? Perhaps its time for Palin to get some therapy.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How Anti-American Conservatives Plan to Radicalize American Schools

How Anti-American Conservatives Plan to Radicalize American Schools

The Good News Club: The Stealth Assault on America’s Children by Katherine Stewart uncovers a right-wing conspiracy to infiltrate and destroy the nation’s public school system, using recent Supreme Court decisions as a lever. It’s a must-read for anyone who’s seen public school kids, perhaps their own, targeted for proselytizing by peers, teachers and adult volunteers. And for those who haven’t, it’s a wake-up call. 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas once wrote, “Religion is certainly a source of positive values, and we need as many positive values in the school as we can get.” It sounds benign. But what if the particular brand of religion is coercive, and in conflict with the teachings and values of the family of the students being targeted? It doesn’t matter. Because under the law as it stands now, evangelical churches have the right to gather, teach and proselytize in your neighborhood school.

Spiritual Warfare in Your Neighborhood

How did it come to this? If you haven’t personally observed today’s aggressive “spiritual warfare,” it may be difficult to imagine that young children are being taught that their school is a battlefield and they are the warriors who must save their classmates from themselves. With a remarkable amount of grace and restraint, Stewart describes the havoc in communities around the nation as initiatives to evangelize public school students have increased. The effect is always the same: the polarization that results when the Good News Club shows up inevitably disrupts the ability of parents and teachers to work cooperatively as a school community. And the resulting dissension and loss of trust in the schools, says Stewart, is exactly the result the right wing has in mind.

The religious right's big break was a 2001 Supreme Court case, The Good News Club v. Milford Central School, which unleashed a new wave of school evangelization. This decision essentially told schools they could not say no to church groups that wanted to use their facilities for after-school gatherings. Stewart describes “the new legal juggernaut of the Christian Right” —an army of legal advocacy groups, including the Alliance Defense Fund, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Liberty Counsel, and others — that raise hundred of millions of dollars each year for the common goal of injecting stealth evangelism into public schools. They’ve spent the last 10 years figuring out how to use this decision as a wedge to maximize church control over school curricula, personnel and even the physical campus.

The spear point of this effort is the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), which was founded in 1937. For decades, CEF has run Good News Clubs — after-school Bible classes taught by church-trained mothers and pastors’ wives in suburban homes around the country. But the Supreme Court decision made it legal to bring these classes right into the schools; and the volunteers who teach them typically also volunteer as classroom aides, which gives them a mantle of school authority. To a primary-aged child, it looks as though this indoctrination is simply a part of the school curriculum.

Stewart cites CEF figures that claim to have set up Good News Clubs “in 3,410 schools -- up 728 percent since the 2001 Supreme Court decision.” The clubs are sponsored by local churches, which are encouraged to “Adopt a Public School” by CEF and others. And they are aiming to take the program to every public elementary school in the country over the next decade or so.

The court case is still celebrated on the CEF Web site with the words, “God has opened the doors of public schools to the Gospel! CEF is ready and eager to help churches enter the schools, fully equipped to share the Gospel and teach the Bible to school children and extend the biblical influence to families.”

Stewart explains how CEF has used this access to teach children to conduct “student-initiated” ideological warfare in school. Public schools are forced to distribute the club’s media and announcements to all students, and to allow tables with media at all kinds of school events. These tables are typically laden with balloons and sweets in order to draw kids in. The coercion extends from the playground to the classroom, so there’s nowhere non-evangelical kids can go to avoid classmates who are insisting — with support from adult aides — that they’re doomed to hell unless they join the club. According to Stewart, it’s hard to overstate the sense of confusion experienced by young Catholic, Mormon, mainstream Protestant, Jewish, and non-theist children when adult authority figures in their school promote a particular sectarian belief, often while actively denigrating and contradicting the worldview they’re being taught at home.

The 4/14 Window

CEF is just one of an array of organizations targeting children in an international evangelizing effort called the “4/14 Window," aimed at children from four to 14 years old. Stewart’s book points out that this infiltration is a well-orchestrated effort conducted by a “small number of influential actors.” With a few exceptions, noted by the author, the organizations involved teach a literal interpretation of the Bible, and “see their efforts in the schools as a part of a plan to bring the nation’s children back to its founding religion and thereby lay the basis for a Christian control of all the important parts of government and society.” 

The push to infiltrate social institutions is promoted by a theology called Dominionism, which originated in Christian Reconstructionism and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), but is now spreading rapidly across the right wing of the evangelical world. The NAR has simplified the theology into a campaign to gain Christian control over the "seven mountains" of American culture: family, business, media, education, religion, goverment, and the arts. The Good News Club is a leading initiative to achieve domination on the education front.

As a researcher and writer working to defend religious pluralism and secular democracy, I often stress the difference between those with conservative religious beliefs and those who are determined to force those beliefs on the state and everyone else. Stewart also makes the clear distinction between Christian conservatives, the Christian Right, and Christian Nationalists. “All conservatives who are also Christians are not members of the Christian Right,” she writes. “And many supporters of the Christian Right are not Christian Nationalist. However, to a degree that many social conservatives fail to appreciate, it is the Christian Nationalists who are driving the agenda in the public schools.” The people Stewart repeatedly encountered in her research often fell into the latter group, which is the most extreme and dangerous faction of the religious right.

Dominionists have no respect for the separation of church and state or the guarantee of religious freedom for everyone. They have one major objective, to force their very specific radical religious beliefs down the throat of every child in America.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Conservatives Used to Love America at Least a Little, What Went Wrong

Conservatives Used to Love America at Least a Little, What Went Wrong

Does anyone else remember the Western Hemisphere's only functioning socialist paradise? In that bygone land, the top income-tax bracket for millionaires was 90 percent. Thanks to a heavily—and proudly—unionized workforce, collective bargaining resolved most labor-management disputes. To stave off recession, the government instituted the largest public-works program in Country X's history, from which its now largely unwitting citizens still benefit today.

Although Country X did possess a sizable nuclear deterrent, the trade-off was a reduction in spending on conventional military capabilities. "Our most valuable, our most costly asset is our young men. Let's don't use them any more than we have to," was the typically commonsensical explanation given by paradise's wildly popular leader for his reluctance to commit Country X to adventurist foreign wars. Despite an excruciating level of world tension at the time, not a single member of Country X's armed forces died in battle on his watch.

Those happy days were America’s. True, it would be going much too far to call Dwight D. Eisenhower the architect of the United States in the 1950s. From the GI bill's vital role in creating the midcentury middle class to our powerhouse postwar economy, the catbird seat America then occupied wasn't Ike's doing. Well, except in the sense that winning World War II made it all possible, and he'd been the guy who said "OK, we'll go" on D-Day.

But Eisenhower the president was more than paradise's caretaker. At the very least, he's the man who made it all seem normal. That's some achievement when you think of the astounding metamorphoses in American life, self-perception, and role on the world stage that his reign enshrined.

Besides being the most underestimated president of the 20th century, Eisenhower deserves to be every Democrat's favorite Republican White House occupant this side of Abraham Lincoln. The reasons range from creating an Interstate highway system that's rightly named for him and deciding to perpetuate the New Deal, to his crucial decision to enforce Brown v. Board of Education in the teeth of Southern resistance. No militant on civil rights, Ike nonetheless ordered the 101st Airborne to Little Rock in the crunch to remind everybody that even unpopular Supreme Court decisions had better be respected. If not for that resolve, desegregation might have ended before it began.

The record elsewhere isn't all rosy. If Eisenhower kept the military on a short leash, he let the feeling-its-oats CIA run amok. The U.S.-engineered 1953 coup that put the Shah of Iran in power is one sin whose consequences we're still living with, and the scars from our similar operation in Guatemala took a long time to heal (if they have). Nor should we forget that the Bay of Pigs was dreamed up during his tenure, though whether he'd have ever green-lit a plan so patently stupid is debatable. Our whole sorry Cold War pattern of sub rosa interventions and propped-up dictatorships in the Third World was largely created on Ike's watch. While he's seldom thought of as a villain, Latin Americans—among others—would have every right to call him just that.
For patriotic Americans to wish that modern Anti-American conservatives were even half as reasonable and even half as patriotic and competent as Eisenhower is a fantasy that will never come true. They seem intent on taking about law and culture back to the days of the treasonous Antebellum South or some European monarchy of the 15th century.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Refund Please - Why Are Taxpayers Forced to Support Broadcasting Conservative Smiley Faced Fascist Rush Limabugh

Refund Please - Why Are Taxpayers Forced to Support Broadcasting Conservative Smiley Faced Fascist Rush Limabugh

Rush Limbaugh's defiant, halfhearted apology didn't convince anyone that he'd mended his ways.

As of Tuesday evening, Limbaugh's program had shed 35 advertisers, according to ThinkProgress. The count includes AOL, Sears, Allstate Insurance, Geico, and John Deere. As advertisers increasingly respond to pressure, online and off, from angry customers, other activists are turning their anger directly against the radio outlets that broadcast Limbaugh's show.

So far this week, two stations have dropped the program. WBEC in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and KPUA in Hilo, Hawaii, were the first, and if the pressure continues, they may not be the last. WBEC's general manager, Peter Barry, said in a statement, “The nature of Rush's programming has always presented challenges for us and he's always pushed the envelope. But this time he's taken it too far."

Iraq war veterans Miranda Norman, Kayla Williams and Robin Eckstein, and Katherine Scheirman, the former chief of medical operations for the U.S. Air Force, all with the organization VoteVets, released a statement calling for Limbaugh's show to be removed from taxpayer-funded American Forces Network, which is heard by troops serving overseas. (Like all who syndicate Rush's program, AFN pays for the privilege.) They wrote:

    Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform. Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect. When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are “sluts” and “prostitutes” is beyond the pale. It isn’t just disrespectful to our women serving our country, but it’s language that goes against everything that makes our military work. Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone – even Limbaugh. But that does not mean AFN should broadcast him. In fact, it shouldn’t.

The Pentagon, though, doesn't seem interested in dropping Limbaugh yet. A spokesman told the AP it would continue to air a variety of programming. But VoteVets has a petition to remove Rush, and other sites have more information on who to contact to stop spending taxpayer dollars on Limbaugh.

But the real test is how Clear Channel, the mega-conglomerate that distributes Limbaugh's show, will react. A petitioner at MoveOn's Web site is asking for Clear Channel to drop Limbaugh's show, and 200,939 people had signed it as of press time. Curt Hopkins at the Christian Science Monitor pointed out that, “unlike Limbaugh, the San Antonio-based company has quarterly revenue targets to meet and has to be concerned about the immediate reaction of shareholders. Clear Channel operates 866 stations in 150 markets in the United States.”

Clear Channel has been the largest owner of radio stations in the U.S. since telecom ownership rules were relaxed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The company has faced charges of censorship, and has consolidated its hold over radio in part by getting rid of local hosts and programs and syndicating national shows instead. It was bought out in 2008 and taken private by Bain Capital (founded by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who still rakes in the cash from Bain and who has remained mostly quiet on the Limbaugh issue) and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Limbaugh's 2008 contract with Clear Channel goes through 2016, and was worth $400 million in total. Limbaugh broadcasts his show from a 24,000-square-foot mansion in Florida, and has a private jet that alone is worth $54 million.

Premiere Networks, the subsidiary of Clear Channel that distributes shows like Limbaugh's, makes money not only from advertisers, but from the stations that pay to play its programs. A Daily Kos blogger, giving instructions on how to take action against Limbaugh at local radio stations, pointed out that Limbaugh's show is probably the most expensive program the station carries. The combination of advertisers dropping out and stations ditching Rush might be enough to spur the parent company into action.

Or maybe not.

"As long as the Limbaugh show maintains its ratings and notoriety, there will be advertisers eager to utilize it," Michael Harrison, publisher of the talk radio trade magazine, Talkers, told the Christian Science Monitor. “I would imagine Clear Channel is already picking up new sponsors to replace the ones that have publicly defected and I wouldn't be surprised if some of those that have canceled come back after the dust has settled....The American advertising industry is not necessarily known for its taste or dignity.”
 In no way has Limbaugh's "free'speech been infringed upon. he can say anything he likes. The public and businesses also have a right to their free speech and to respond as they wish. Limbaugh is losing because he went too far. or at least this time among millions of hateful smears the public drew a line and said that is enough. he appeals mostly to uneducated rubes who believe the urban myths Limbaugh makes faster than Hostess can manufacture Twinkies. Limbaugh reassures these infantile man-children that all their weird imagined wrongs, conspiracies and fake patriotism are true. Rush is like a warm bottle of milk for right-wing losers. That's fine, this is supposed to be a free country, but tax payers shouldn't have to pay for it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What Did Sandra Fluke Say That Ignited Conservative Rush Limbaugh's Psycho Misogynist Attack

What Did Sandra Fluke Say That Ignited Conservative Rush Limbaugh's Psycho Misogynist Attack

Below is the text of Sandra Fluke's opening statement, who testified before a House Democratic panel in support of the HHS contraception mandate.

    My name is Sandra Fluke, and I’m a third-year student at Georgetown Law School. I’m also a past-president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ. And I’d like to acknowledge my fellow LSRJ members and allies and all of the student activists with us and thank them so much for being here today.


    We, as Georgetown LSRJ, are here today because we’re so grateful that this regulation implements the non-partisan medical advice of the Institute of Medicine.

    I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraceptive coverage in its student health plan. And just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result, employees at religiously-affiliated hospitals and institutions and universities across the country have suffered similar burdens.

    We are all grateful for the new regulation that will meet the critical health care needs of so many women.

    Simultaneously, the recently announced adjustment addresses any potential conflict with the religious identity of Catholic or Jesuit institutions.

    When I look around my campus, I see the faces of the women affected by this lack of contraceptive coverage.

    And especially in the last week, I have heard more and more of their stories. On a daily basis, I hear yet from another woman from Georgetown or from another school or who works for a religiously-affiliated employer, and they tell me that they have suffered financially and emotionally and medically because of this lack of coverage.

    And so, I’m here today to share their voices, and I want to thank you for allowing them – not me – to be heard.

    Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary. 40% of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they struggle financially as a result of this policy.

    One told us about how embarrassed and just powerless she felt when she was standing at the pharmacy counter and learned for the first time that contraception was not covered on her insurance and she had to turn and walk away because she couldn’t afford that prescription. Women like her have no choice but to go without contraception.

    Just last week, a married female student told me that she had to stop using contraception because she and her husband just couldn’t fit it into their budget anymore. Women employed in low-wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face the same choice.

    And some might respond that contraception is accessible in lots of other ways. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.

    Women’s health clinic provide a vital medical service, but as the Guttmacher Institute has definitely documented, these clinics are unable to meet the crushing demand for these services. Clinics are closing, and women are being forced to go without the medical care they need.

    How can Congress consider the [Rep. Jeff] Fortenberry (R-Neb.), [Sen. Marco] Rubio (R-Fla.) and [Sen. Roy] Blunt (R-Mo.) legislation to allow even more employers and institutions to refuse contraception coverage and then respond that the non-profit clinics should step up to take care of the resulting medical crisis, particularly when so many legislators are attempting to de-fund those very same clinics?

    These denial of contraceptive coverage impact real people.

    In the worst cases, women who need these medications for other medical conditions suffer very dire consequences.

    A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome, and she has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries. Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown’s insurance because it’s not intended to prevent pregnancy.

    Unfortunately, under many religious institutions and insurance plans, it wouldn’t be. There would be no exception for other medical needs. And under Sen. Blunt’s amendment, Sen. Rubio’s bill or Rep. Fortenberry’s bill there’s no requirement that such an exception be made for these medical needs.

    When this exception does exist, these exceptions don’t accomplish their well-intended goals because when you let university administrators or other employers rather than women and their doctors dictate whose medical needs are legitimate and whose are not, women’s health takes a back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body.

    In 65% of the cases at our school, our female students were interrogated by insurance representatives and university medical staff about why they needed prescription and whether they were lying about their symptoms.

    For my friend and 20% of the women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription. Despite verifications of her illness from her doctor, her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted birth control to prevent pregnancy. She’s gay. So clearly polycystic ovarian syndrome was a much more urgent concern than accidental pregnancy for her.

    After months paying over $100 out-of-pocket, she just couldn’t afford her medication anymore, and she had to stop taking it.

    I learned about all of this when I walked out of a test and got a message from her that in the middle of the night in her final exam period she’d been in the emergency room. She’d been there all night in just terrible, excruciating pain. She wrote to me, ‘It was so painful I’d woke up thinking I’ve been shot.’

    Without her taking the birth control, a massive cyst the size of a tennis ball had grown on her ovary. She had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary as a result.

    On the morning I was originally scheduled to give this testimony, she was sitting in a doctor’s office, trying to cope with the consequences of this medical catastrophe.

    Since last year’s surgery, she’s been experiencing night sweats and weight gain and other symptoms of early menopause as a result of the removal of her ovary. She’s 32-years-old.

    As she put it, ‘If my body indeed does enter early menopause, no fertility specialist in the world will be able to help me have my own children. I will have no choice at giving my mother her desperately desired grandbabies simply because the insurance policy that I paid for, totally unsubsidized by my school, wouldn’t cover my prescription for birth control when I needed it.’

    Now, in addition to potentially facing the health complications that come with having menopause at such an early age – increased risk of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis – she may never be able to conceive a child.

    Some may say that my friend’s tragic story is rare. It’s not. I wish it were

    One woman told us doctors believe she has endometriosis, but that can’t be proven without surgery. So the insurance has not been willing to cover her medication – the contraception she needs to treat her endometriosis.
    Recently, another woman told me that she also has polycystic ovarian syndrome and she’s struggling to pay for her medication and is terrified to not have access to it.

    Due to the barriers erected by Georgetown’s policy, she hasn’t been reimbursed for her medications since last August.

    I sincerely pray that we don’t have to wait until she loses an ovary or is diagnosed with cancer before her needs and the needs of all of these women are taken seriously.

    Because this is the message that not requiring coverage of contraception sends: A woman’s reproductive health care isn’t a necessity, isn’t a priority.

    One woman told us that she knew birth control wasn’t covered on the insurance and she assumed that that’s how Georgetown’s insurance handle all of women’s reproductive and sexual health care. So when she was raped, she didn’t go to the doctor, even to be examined or tested for sexually transmitted infections, because she thought insurance wasn’t going to cover something like that – something that was related to a woman’s reproductive health.

    As one other student put it: ‘This policy communicates to female students that our school doesn’t understand our needs.’

    These are not feelings that male fellow student experience and they’re not burdens that male students must shoulder.

    In the media lately, some conservative Catholic organizations have been asking what did we expect when we enroll in a Catholic school?

    We can only answer that we expected women to be treated equally, to not have our school create untenable burdens that impede our academic success.

    We expected that our schools would live up to the Jesuit creed of ‘cura personalis‘ – to care for the whole person – by meeting all of our medical needs.

    We expected that when we told our universities of the problem this policy created for us as students, they would help us.

    We expected that when 94% of students oppose the policy the university would respect our choices regarding insurance students pay for – completely unsubsidized by the university.

    We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that we should have gone to school elsewhere.

    And even if that meant going to a less prestigious university, we refuse to pick between a quality education and our health. And we resent that in the 21st century, anyone think it’s acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women.

    Many of the women whose stories I’ve shared today are Catholic women. So ours is not a war against the church. It is a struggle for the access to the health care we need.

    The President of the Association of Jesuit Colleges has shared that Jesuit colleges and the universities appreciate the modifications to the rule announced recently. Religious concerns are addressed and women get the health care they need. And I sincerely hope that that is something we can all agree upon.

    Thank you very much. (all emphasis and highlights are mine)

Conservatives such as Limbaugh have tried to convince the public that Fluke and others had wanted the general public to pay for their contraceptives. That was a lie. A lie repeated incessantly by Limbaugh, conservative hate radio and across the internet. These women want the same full insurance coverage for their health needs that men get. As simple as that. Conservationism continues to be a cancer on democracy. You cannot have a fully functioning enlightened democratic republic when a third of the population - conservatives cannot distinguish facts from lies, or maliciously deceive the public in the name of their radical anti-American agenda.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Conservative Republicans Move So Far to The Anti-American Extreme They Oppose Violence Against Women Act

Conservative Republicans Move So Far to The Anti-American Extreme They Oppose Violence Against Women Act

Does one really need another example of Washington gridlock? Likely not, especially if you read this blog from time to time, where obstruction of judicial nominations is noted often. But we’ll note one anyway, not for the process, but more as an example of just how ridiculous it’s all becoming.

As noted, possibly wryly by an editorial from The New York Times even in the “ultrapolarized atmosphere of Capitol Hill,” one would think that reauthorization of a once wildly bipartisan effort to combat violence against women could remain an exception to the out-of-control congressional obstructionism.

Last month, however, the Senate Judiciary Committee could not muster one Republican vote in favor of “a well-crafted reauthorization,” of the Violence Against Women Act, which has been reauthorized twice with bipartisan support since its inception in 1994. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), not a member of the Judiciary Committee, are sponsoring the reauthorization measure.

Reporting for The Huffington Post, Amanda Terkel, notes that several of the measure’s enhanced features have irked conservatives. Not surprisingly increased protections for minorities, specifically for the LGBT community, Native American women and immigrants, have spurred conservative lawmakers’ opposition.

The reauthorization measure for instance includes more funding for tribal groups to prosecute domestic violence, and provides some limited jurisdiction to tribal courts to prosecute violence committed on tribal lands by those who are not living on the land or not members of the community.

As Terkel notes, Sen. Charles Grassley the Judiciary Committee Ranking Member has also complained about the reauthorization bill’s enhanced support of services for undocumented women.

Committee Chairman Leahy (pictured) blasted the opposition for thwarting a noble proposition to provide protections to a larger number of women who are daily victims of domestic violence.

Norma Gattsek, director of government relations for the Feminist Majority, also knocked Republican opposition of the reauthorization. She called it an “outrage” that Republican’s on the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to support it.

The Times’ Feb. 9 editorial said the Republican opposition appeared “driven largely by an antigay, anti-immigrant agenda.”

A group of academics, as noted by the Gender & Sexuality Law Blog, is urging reauthorization of the VAWA, albeit with a call that more actually needs to be done to confront ongoing and pervasive violence against a wide array of women.

Violence against varying groups of women, the professors explain, is having profound effects on the ability of those women to succeed in this country, and is adding to the nation’s festering economic inequality, the professors write.

The group includes Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, University of Miami School of Law, Donna Coker, University of Miami School of Law, Julie Goldscheid, CUNY Law School, Leigh Goodmark, University of Baltimore School of Law, Valli Kalei Kanuha, sociology department, University of Hawaii, James Ptacek, sociology, Suffolk University, and Deborah Weissman, UNC School of Law.

Though the professors applaud the reauthorization bill for funding for “critical services and includes important law reform that will improve women’s access to justice,” they note that it also falters.

For instance, Congress should focus more on fighting economic inequality that research shows helps domestic violence fester.

“Research shows that downward mobility and economic inequality weakens social controls in neighborhoods, giving rise to increases in domestic violence,” the professors write.

Federal legislation should, they continue, “encourage jurisdictions to link job training or job placement with batterer treatment programs, incorporate domestic violence awareness and programs within every community-based response to the economic crisis, provide more meaningful and targeted funds to help women achieve economic stability, and amend the Trade Adjustment Assistance and Workforce Investment statutes to include domestic violence screening and services.”

Among other suggestions, the professors highlight dwindling legal services funding. “Poor women of color, immigrant women and undocumented women, and Native American women face substantial bias both from service providers and courts, particularly in child abuse and neglect proceedings and in family court. It is critical that victims of domestic violence have zealous advocates who can ensure equal access to justice.”

For more information on another sticking point for conservatives, see the ACS Issue Brief on the efforts to counter domestic violence “in Indian Country by Restoring Tribal Sovereignty” by law professor Matthew L.M. Fletcher.

Fletcher, professor at Michigan State University College of Law, wrote that many violent crimes against Native American women are not prosecuted, in part because the tribal governments are unable to prosecute non-Indians.

Fletcher says the states and federal courts that do have jurisdiction are not helping the matter because “they rarely prosecute these kinds of cases due to lack of resources and other factors have not helped the lack of jurisdiction over these crimes Congress has the authority to fix this gap in the law, but has not done so.”

The conservative opposition to the VAWA reauthorization measure doesn’t bode well for the senators trying to effectively help more victims of domestic violence. 

Conservatives like to say they believe in American exceptional-ism - the idea that the USA is just a little better than everyone else. One thing we all know in our hearts and minds is that you cannot be exceptional if you lose the moral high ground. Conservatives keep pushing American values into the gutter, making it difficult to claim any moral high ground. Conservationism has become exceptional in its own sick twisted way by adhering to a philosophy that denies basic moral principles. So conservatism has just become another fake political movement that promises paradise, but ends up delivering hell.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

America Should Know: Romney Has Deep Convictions About One Thing

America Should Know: Romney Has Deep Convictions About One Thing

If he weren’t so smug, it would almost be possible to feel sorry for Mitt Romney. Beyond the flip-flopping, has any worse actor ever attempted the role of presidential candidate? It’s beyond Romney’s powers to persuade most people of his sincerity about things he does believe, much less the many tenets of contemporary GOP faith he probably doesn’t share — assuming for the sake of argument that anybody, including himself, knows which is which.

There’s little doubt, however, that Romney believes he deserves to be president, in rather the way the fictional Lord Grantham deserves to preside over Downton Abbey. It’s his inability to conceal that sense of entitlement that makes him such an awkward politician.

The candidate’s cringe-inducing attempts to present himself as a Regular Joe almost invariably end in boasting. Campaigning in his native Michigan, he assured voters that his wife drives not just one $50,000 Cadillac, but two — one at their Boston home, the other at their seafront mansion near La Jolla, Calif., as aides subsequently clarified. No word how Mrs. Romney gets around at their New Hampshire lakeside compound or their Park City, Utah, ski palace.

Visiting the Daytona 500, Romney admitted he’s not a keen NASCAR fan, but does have friends who own racing teams. Defending himself on CNN from the perception that his wealth leaves him “out of touch,” he allowed as how, “If people think that there is something wrong with being successful in America, then they better vote for the other guy, because I’ve been extraordinarily successful and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people.”

On the “Today” show, Romney explained that people concerned with income inequality are simply jealous. “You know, I think it’s about envy,” he said. “I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus 1 percent—and those people who have been most successful will be in the 1 percent — you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country, which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

Got that, peasants? God’s behind the 13.9 percent tax rate Romney paid on $43 million he earned in 2010 while technically unemployed. Anybody who thinks differently is merely eaten up with resentment. In my experience, the more money people inherit, the more they’re tempted to lecture others about talent and hard work. And to cry the blues about the indignity of paying taxes.

Romney’s air of personal superiority appears to be the one topic about which the poor dork is absolutely sincere. That’s what makes him such a terrible liar. He’s almost frantic with it, like a golden retriever with his ball. Even with the mute button on the TV pressed, you can almost hear him panting.

Look — modest, humble people don’t run for president. President Obama often appears to have trouble restraining his bemusement at the antics of less intelligent people. Nevertheless, Romney’s unrestrained egotism is the reason I think Paul Krugman (among others) has made far too much of an offhand remark the candidate made seemingly renouncing the central tenet of GOP economic dogma.

“If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting [government] spending,” Romney told a group of Michigan voters, “as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy.”

Well, no kidding.

To Krugman, Romney’s slip of the tongue revealed him as a “closet Keynesian” who “believes that cutting government spending hurts growth, other things equal.” The columnist added that, after all, “Mr. Romney is not a stupid man. And while his grasp of world affairs does sometimes seem shaky, he has to be aware of the havoc austerity policies are wreaking in Greece, Ireland and elsewhere.”

Oh no he doesn’t.

Or, to be more precise, Romney can be perfectly aware and blithely unconcerned. Krugman left off the next sentence where Romney stipulated that cutting spending alone wasn’t enough. “You have to, at the same time, create pro-growth tax policies.”

Translation: even lower taxes for multimillionaires.

But I’d never presume to argue economics with professor Krugman. My point is that Romney’s tycoon capitalism has only partly to do with jobs, money and the real economy. It’s also about cultural revanchism, putting the right people back firmly in charge and the lower orders back in their place.

Tycoon capitalists like Romney see a prolonged slump as an opportunity to render the workforce more docile and grateful. Remember, this is the same guy who opposed government loans to save Chrysler and General Motors. Better to crush the Auto Workers Union. Who said the best way to resolve the national foreclosure crisis would be to speed it up, so that “investors” could buy people’s houses cheaply and rent them out.

In the end, it’s all about No. 1.

Who is Romney or the conservatives who claim that generations of wealthy families are achievers and successful. They took their inherited wealth and made more money from money they already had. Its not hard. Anyone who wins a couple million in a lottery just distribute that around into savings accounts, certificates of deposit, some safe mutual funds and you can live off the interests. That is nice, but is hardly being an achiever. Romney and his friends, seating in leather chairs in big comfortable offices and moved numbers around on spread sheets. OMG, they must have been so tired at the end of those grueling days.

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