Archive for August, 2012

Mitt Romney says Barack Obama’s plan for welfare reform: “They just send you your check.”

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

“Under Obama’s plan (for welfare), you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”

What does all that mean?

“If you can do a better job connecting people to work, we would consider waiving certain parts of the performance measures and use alternate measures,” is how Liz Schott, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, translated the memo’s point. (The center supports the plan.)

Schott, who studies welfare policy, said TANF sets guidelines for what activities may count toward meeting the law’s work requirements: jobs, job training, internships or school, to name a few. Beyond that, it puts restrictions on how many hours a welfare client may spend at school, or how many consecutive months they can attend before that activity no longer counts toward the work requirement.

The result: “States are running less-effective programs than they might be, because they are so driven by performance measurement as it’s set forth in the federal law,” Schott said.

The waivers, then, would allow for flexibility. For example, someone with a special-needs child might require different work arrangements than are currently allowed. Or a person who needs to improve his or her English skills might need more time to take classes.

“It’s really about the underlying program,” Schott said. “The real starting place is: What’s the most effective program to get this person to work?”

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Mitt Romney tells 533 lies in 30 weeks, Steve Benen documents them

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Mitt Romney says many, many things that are not true. He says this despite being in possession of the correct facts of the matter.

Which is to say that Mitt Romney lies. A lot. He lies more than any other national candidate for office in my lifetime. And I was born before the Nixon administration.

This is documented. Proven. Validated, verified, demonstrated, catalogued and quantified. Mitt Romney lies.

Here are 30 — 30! — of Benen’s weekly “chronicling” posts. These are all backed up and sourced. These are not assertions, interpretations or allegations. These are facts, actual instances.

Over the past 30 weeks, Mitt Romney has told lie after lie after lie: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX, XXX.

Click those links. Read the lists. List after list of lie after lie. Hundreds of them — 533, to be exact, although Benen does not make any claim to providing a comprehensive chronicle.

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Romney is lying so much that the media is flummoxed

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I didn’t expect this, but the epic dishonesty of Romney’s campaign is finally prompting something of a debate among media types about whether what we’re seeing here is unprecedented — and how to appropriately respond to it. This debate is focused partly on whether there’s a racial dimension to this attack. But it’s also about (as I noted here yesterday) what the media should do when one campaign has decided that there is literally no set of boundaries or standards it needs to follow when it comes to the veracity of the core assertions at the heart of its entire argument.

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Obama Accomplishments (via “Viper” on HuffPost):

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Obama Accomplishments (via “Viper” on HuffPost):

The largest investment in clean energy in history.
The largest investment in education in history.
The largest middle class tax break in history.

The largest investment in infrastruc­­­ture since the 50s.
Ending a ban on federal funding of stem cell research.
Saving the American Auto Industry.
Overhauled the Student Loan program.
The Lilly Ledbette
r Fair Pay Act.
Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
SCHIP legislatio­­­n providing health care for millions of children.
Preventing the economy from another Great Depression­­­.
Justice Department will no longer defend DOMA
The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act.
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
Major Credit Card Reform.
Small Business Investment Act.
Increased funding for the Land and Water Conservati­­­on Fund.
Expanded the Nurse-Fami­­­ly Partnershi­­­p to all low-income­­­,
first-time mothers.
Sonia Sotomayor becomes first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.
Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Act.
Health Care Reform.
Education Reconcilia­­­tion Act.
New START treaty.
Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services.
Establishe­­­d the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibi­­­lity and Reform.
Reformed deferral rules to curb tax advantages for investing overseas.
Cut salaries for 65 bailout executives­­­.
Wall Street Reform.
Cancellati­­­on of the F-22 weapons program.
New global nonprolife­­­ration initiative to keep nuclear materials out
of the hands of terrorists­­­.
Re-establi­­­shed United States standing in the world.
Kept us safe from another 9/11 type attack.



And all in the face of Republican obstructio­­­n.

Imagine what he could have done with even a little help.–Dave.

This is the nation on Republicans

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

“After she passed away, you know, everything just went sour,” Jerry Inman told the Huffington Post by telephone from the Waffle House where he eats breakfast every morning. “I miss her like it was yesterday. I can’t believe it’s been seven years.”

Millions more poor families face risks to their health, and financial devastation, under a plan backed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to slash federal spending on Medicaid. A version of the proposal authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Romney’s running mate, would cut the Medicaid budget by $810 billion over a decade starting next year.

Romney and Ryan also support repealing President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, which would extend health coverage to about 30 million uninsured people.

The principles underlying Ryan’s Medicaid plan, which House Republicans adopted in March, are that Medicaid spending is growing too fast and that states need freedom from federal rules to determine how to provide coverage to needy residents, according to a report by the House Budget Committee, which Ryan chairs.

But taking that much out of the system without establishing a replacement will result in 14 million to 27 million people losing Medicaid and nearly all of them would become uninsured, according to an analysis by the Washington-based Urban Institute and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in Menlo Park, Calif., two nonpartisan research organizations.

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Mitt Romney NOW PRAISES ObamaCare and changes on abortion too!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This is the Twilight Zone!  He created RomneyCare which was ObamaCare but RomneyCare COVERED ABORTION.  Now he is FOR that and….other insanity.

Video is located here

The Newsroom – Tea Party is the American Taliban

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Yes this is TV but the facts stated are real.

Video is located here

The Teaparty would never elect Reagan…but they have fetishized him. This is their cognitive dissonance of the highest order

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Reagan gave amnesty to undocumented immigrants, expanded the size of the federal government, tripled the deficit and added trillions to the debt, backed bailouts of domestic industries, and called for a world without nuclear weapons. Reagan also routinely compromised with Democrats, met with our most hated enemy without preconditions, criticized Israel, and illegally funneled arms to Iran.

And then there’s his gubernatorial record: in California, Reagan increased spending, raised taxes, helped create the nation’s first state-based emissions standards, signed an abortion-rights bill, and expanded the nation’s largest state-based Medicaid program (socialized health insurance).

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Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan Would Cost 29-Year-Olds $331,200: Report

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Romney’s plan would cost younger Americans even more, since Romney and Ryan want to turn Medicare into a voucher system for Americans under 55 for when they qualify for Medicare. The report estimates that 48-year-olds would have to pay $124,600 more for Medicare during retirement under Romney’s plan, 39-year-olds would have to pay $216,600 more during retirement, and 29-year-olds would have to pay $331,200 more during retirement in total. That’s because the vouchers would not keep up with rising health care costs. For those 29-year-olds, the extra costs would consume 62 percent of their lifetime Social Security benefits.

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The Republican plan for Medicare is that you pay more

Monday, August 27th, 2012

So there it is: the draft Republican platform says of Medicare and Medicaid,

The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model.

That means that instead of Medicare as we know it, which pays your medical bills, you’d get a lump sum which you can apply to private insurance — they’ll yell when we call it a voucher, but that’s what it is.

No doubt I and others will have much more to say about this, but let’s just ask the question: why is this “fiscally sound”?

Bear in mind that health expenses will still have to be mainly paid for by some kind of insurance; that’s in the nature of medical care, with its high but unpredictable cost. So what we’re doing here is replacing government insurance with a program that gives people money to buy private insurance — that is, adding an extra layer of middlemen. Why would this save money? I guess the answer is supposed to be the magic of the marketplace — but we have the experience of Medicare Advantage, plus studies of Medicaid versus private insurance, plus the raw fact that America relies more on private insurance than any other nation and also has by far the highest costs. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in the record suggests that this will do anything other than make health care less efficient.

And for those demanding documentation, it’s coming; too busy today.

So where are the savings? The answer is, it’s basically a way to deny health care to people while denying that you’re doing so. You don’t say, “we won’t pay for this care”, you just hand people a voucher and let them discover that it won’t buy adequate insurance. It’s health-care rationing — but by money instead of deliberate choice.

It would be far more cost-effective, not to say humane, to make actual choices — to decide that Medicare won’t pay for procedures of little or no medical value. (As always, individuals who can afford it can buy whatever care they want). And Obamacare makes a start on that. But hey, that’s death panels.

So instead of making choices, we’ll let people die because of inadequate assets. Fiscal responsibility!

Story is located here

Obama2016 debunking

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Bill Maher took Dinesh DSouza to task over his movie OBAMA2016.  Video is located here


Story is located here

This past weekend I went to see 2016: Obama’s America, the new documentary by right-wing author Dinesh D’Souza that opened nationwide after a limited release last month. I saw it twice, in fact, in two different theaters and chatted with a few fellow movie-goers to get their impressions of the film. And even though 2016 is rife with basic factual errors and logical inconsistencies, and steps on its own anti-Obama message with moments of unintentional comedy, the faithful that the movie preaches to love it, warts and all.

The most charitable thing I can say about 2016 is that it’s poorly timed. The movie argues that President Obama’s true ideology (inherited from his absentee father) is a “failed Third-World collectivism” that seeks to reduce America’s stature in the world, as evidenced (in part) by Obama’s determination to “lower NASA’s horizons” so that it no longer exists as a symbol of American greatness. And this might be a compelling argument had NASA not just successfully deposited a Volkswagen-sized robot with a rock-vaporizing laser on the surface of Mars a few weeks ago.

Similarly, D’Souza’s film argues that this “Third-World anti-American” viewpoint of the president’s leads him to be “weirdly sympathetic to Muslim jihadis” captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Meanwhile, outside the movie theaters, news broke this weekend of an air strike that killed a senior Taliban official in Pakistan. (The obvious counterexample, Osama bin Laden’s demise, doesn’t merit mention in the film)

But again, to merely point out these untimely real-world inconsistencies is to do this movie a favor. 2016 is an outgrowth of D’Souza’s 2010 book, The Roots Of Obama’s Rage, a controversial and much-derided tome in which D’Souza laid out his hypothesis that Obama’s actions are best explained by the aforementioned “collectivist” worldview he inherited from Barack Obama Sr. As Slate’s Dave Weigel pointed out after viewing the movie’s July premier, some of the blatantly false and risible elements of Roots didn’t make it into 2016, but there’s still plenty of nonsense to fill out an 89-minute documentary.

The first 20 minutes or so of the movie aren’t actually about President Obama. They’re about D’Souza himself. He leads us down a hurried biography of his life, starting with his birth in Mumbai, focusing heavily on his education at Dartmouth and Stanford, and moving on to his time spent working for the Reagan White House. (D’Souza prides himself on being a die-hard Reaganite, which I’ll come back to in a moment.) The intended message is unmistakable: Dinesh D’Souza is smart. He knows his stuff. Trust what he’s about to tell you, no matter how insane it might sound.

Then we ease into the crazy. Parts of the first half of the film could be described as “playful.” D’Souza bounds from Indonesia to Hawaii to Kenya, retracing the arc of Obama’s existence and hamming it up for the camera as he learns to hula dance and climbs onto the back of a moped in Jakarta. Interspersed are segments of Dinesh D’Souza: Journalist, in which he interviews a psychologist who specializes in child abandonment and an academic who knew Obama’s mother and stepfather.

This thin veneer of competence gets completely washed away, however, when D’Souza visits the Obama family in Kenya, showing up at the home of Obama’s stepmother seeking an interview and offering three goats as payment. It doesn’t go well. D’Souza and his entourage are turned down and told to leave by security personnel.

But he did manage to score an interview with one member of the extended Obama family: the president’s half-brother George Obama. A community organizer who lives in the slums of Nairobi, George figures prominently in D’Souza’s theory, with the documentarian using him primarily as a vehicle to attack the president for not “lift[ing] a finger to help a destitute close relative.” (George has told reporters that he chooses to live in poverty to identify with the people he tries to help.) In the interview, D’Souza asks George why he thinks his powerful brother hasn’t helped him, to which George responds: “He has a family of his own. I am of older age. I can help myself.” D’Souza tries again, desperate to get George to validate his theory of the president’s callousness, but George won’t cooperate. “He’s got other issues to take care of,” George says.

From there we’re treated to a reenactment of Obama grieving over his father’s grave (Obama himself provides the narration, courtesy of the Dreams from My Father audiobook), which serves as the dramatic, intellectually vacant set-up for D’Souza’s primary argument: that Obama has adopted his father’s political and economic philosophy and is inflicting it upon America, enforcing a sort of global penance for the sins of colonialism as a way of securing his deceased father’s love and respect. This is where things really go off the rails.

D’Souza provides us a dossier for each of “Obama’s Founding Fathers,” drawn from the well-worn rogues gallery of intellectuals and fringe characters (Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, etc.), combined with the standard-issue warning that “we haven’t seen the real Obama.” He whips up some apocalyptic rhetoric about the debt, saying Obama will use it as a “weapon of mass destruction” to tank the country, and his discussion of the debt with former U.S Comptroller General David Walker is accompanied by — and I’m being completely serious here — high-pitched slasher-film music. (The fact that Walker also lays blame for reckless spending at the feet of George W. Bush does nothing to dampen D’Souza’s enthusiasm.)

He whacks Obama for “blocking” the Keystone pipeline (not true) while loaning “billions of dollars” to Brazil to pursue offshore drilling (also not true). There’s a bit of Glenn Beck-inspired paranoia as snaking thorns of red, black, and green encircle the Middle East and North Africa, forming the new “United States of Islam.” This in turn leads to fearmongering about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and attacks on Obama for a) doing “nothing” to impede Iran’s nuclear progress (not exactly true), and b) seeking to reduce nuclear stockpiles globally.

Here’s where D’Souza’s Reagan boosting comes back to bite him. The documentary attacks Obama for signing the New START Treaty with Russia, which calls for steep reductions in both countries’ nuclear stockpiles, and mocks the president for his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. “Dreamy idea,” D’Souza quips, sparing no sarcasm. Unmentioned is the fact that the abolition of nuclear weapons was also the stated dream of… Ronald Reagan, who first proposed the original START Treaty with the Soviet Union. As Reagan told the nation in a January 1984 speech: “My dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth.”

So 2016 suffers a great deal from logical inconsistency and factual error, but what did the audience think? After a well-attended showing in northern Virginia I chatted with two women from Arlington, both white and above middle-age, who came to the movie having never heard of Dinesh D’Souza but wanting to know more about President Obama. “I thought it was dramatic and scary,” said one, who thought D’Souza offered “a very reasonable explanation for what’s happening.” They did not agree with D’Souza’s claim that Obama is “weirdly sympathetic” to jihadists, given recent news about terrorist deaths, but the message on the debt resonated with them: “When they get up in the future projections of what’s going to happen and if we continue on the road we’re on, it’s very scary.”

On Friday, after a sparsely attended showing Washington, I talked with Ray, a white, middle-aged DC resident who first came in contact with D’Souza through Glenn Beck’s Fox News program and was plugged in to conservative commentary (he went to see the movie after reading conservative columnist Thomas Sowell’s rave review). Ray thought 2016 was “very well done” and reinforced his belief that the president is motivated by anti-colonialism, though he was slightly dubious regarding some of D’Souza’s facts. When I asked if he saw any tension between D’Souza’s attack on Obama’s rhetoric on nuclear weapons and his Reagan boosterism, Ray said: “Well, every sane person wants a world without nukes.” And when I mentioned NASA, it was Ray who brought up the Curiosity landing. “Obama said the right things,” after the probe touched down, Ray said, “but does he believe it? I don’t know.”

And that really gets to the point of 2016. The facts, the scholarship, the logic are all secondary to reinforcing the idea that — despite four years in office and a policy record to judge him on — Obama is still an unknown and threatening quantity. D’Souza’s exploitation of that belief is over-the-top and galling, but that’s clearly what 2016‘s target audience wants to hear.


A second review calls it not plausible

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Robert Reich And Jared Bernstein Expose Mitt Romney’s Main Campaign Lies

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Welfare lies and Medicare lies.  Video is located here

Paul Ryan: Rape Is Just Another ‘Method Of Conception’

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Video is located here

In 2008 Romney said he wanted to bring RomneyCare nationwide

Monday, August 27th, 2012

And that became ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act. 

Video is located here

Chris Matthews Confronts RNC Chairman: ‘Obama Being A Foreigner Is The Thing Your Party Has Been Pushing’

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Chris Matthews tore into RNC Chairman Reince Priebus during an appearance on Morning Joe on Monday, accusing the Romney campaign of “playing that little ethnic card” in its false attacks against welfare reform and jokes about birtherism. “You can play your games and giggle about it….[but] Obama being a foreigner is the thing your party has been pushing. [Campaign co-chair John] Sununu pushed it, everyone is pushing it in your party,” Matthews declared.

The MSNBC host criticized Mitt Romney’s birther joke, his consistant claims that Obama imported his domestic policies, and argued that the campaign has sought to foreignize the president. Priebus defended the party by claiming that Obama’s health and economic policies are European, but Matthews quickly dismissed the claim:

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Former Gov. Charlie Crist: Here’s why I’m backing Barack Obama

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Story is located here

I’ve studied, admired and gotten to know a lot of leaders in my life. Across Florida, in Washington and around the country, I’ve watched the failure of those who favor extreme rhetoric over sensible compromise, and I’ve seen how those who never lose sight of solutions sow the greatest successes.

As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years — and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role — I’m confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation. I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility. It is a vision of the future proven right by our history.

We often remind ourselves to learn the lessons of the past, lest we risk repeating its mistakes. Yet nearly as often, our short-term memory fails us. Many have already forgotten how deep and daunting our shared crisis was in the winter of 2009, as President Obama was inaugurated. It was no ordinary challenge, and the president served as the nation’s calm through a historically turbulent storm.

The president’s response was swift, smart and farsighted. He kept his compass pointed due north and relentlessly focused on saving jobs, creating more and helping the many who felt trapped beneath the house of cards that had collapsed upon them.

He knew we had to get people back to work as quickly as possible — but he also knew that the value of a recovery lies in its durability. Short-term healing had to be paired with an economy that would stay healthy over the long run. And he knew that happens best by investing in the right places.

President Obama invested in our children’s schools because he believes a good education is a necessity, not a luxury, if we’re going to create an economy built to last. He supported more than 400,000 K-12 teachers’ jobs, and he is making college more affordable and making student loans, like the ones he took out, easier to pay back.

He invested in our runways, railways and roads. President Obama knows a reliable infrastructure that helps move people to work and helps businesses move goods to market is a foundation of growth.

And the president invested in our retirement security by strengthening Medicare. The $716 billion in savings his opponents decry today extended the life of the program by nearly a decade and are making sure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted in excessive payments to insurance companies or fraud and abuse. His opponents would end the Medicare guarantee by creating a voucher that would raise seniors’ costs by thousands of dollars and bankrupt the program.

We have more work to do, more investments to make and more waste to cut. But only one candidate in this race has proven a willingness to navigate a realistic path to prosperity.

As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around.

But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they’ve proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.

The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.

Pundits looking to reduce something as big as a statewide election to a single photograph have blamed the result of my 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate on my greeting of President Obama. I didn’t stand with our president because of what it could mean politically; I did it because uniting to recover from the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes was more important than party affiliation. I stood with our nation’s leader because it was right for my state.

President Obama has a strong record of doing what is best for America and Florida, and he built it by spending more time worrying about what his decisions would mean for the people than for his political fortunes. That’s what makes him the right leader for our times, and that’s why I’m proud to stand with him today.

Charlie Crist is the former Republican governor of Florida and previously was elected as a state senator, education commissioner and attorney general. He currently is registered as no party affiliation. Crist wrote this column exclusively for the Tampa Bay Times.

Police: All Empire State shooting victims were wounded by officers

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

This is EXACTLY why we dont need more people running around being heroes with guns.  Even trained professionals do not get it right and the result is this.

The officers unloaded 16 rounds in the shadow of the Empire State Building at a disgruntled former apparel designer, killing him after he engaged in a gunbattle with police, authorities said.

Three passersby sustained direct gunshot wounds, while the remaining six were hit by fragments, according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. All injuries were caused by police, he said Saturday.

Story is located here

1956 Republican Party Platform

Friday, August 24th, 2012

The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.
We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs—expansion of social security—broadened coverage in unemployment insurance —improved housing—and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.

We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs—expansion of social security—broadened coverage in unemployment insurance —improved housing—and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.

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Contact the DOJ regarding voter suppression and have UN inspectors look into the election

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Can you do this, and share it with others? Please ask the DOJ to have the UN election monitoring team start NOW to evaluate the preparation, execution, and tallying of our upcoming election, and to have Justice strike down or delay until after the election ALL of the voter suppression laws.
Department of Justice Main Switchboard – 202-514-2000

Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line – 202-353-1555

This matter transcends any thought of political party. We need real help–everyone please contact your local Registrar and WORK or VOLUNTEER at the polls this November. When I worked at the polls, it was all people over 65 and there are election stealers being organized by the Koch brothers out there systematically, precinct by precinct, to steal this election. They tried out a few states in 2000, got away with it. Tried in several states in 2004, some of them not even hotly contested, and got away with it. Don’t let it happen this year!

Rush Limbaugh says they don’t need the Socialist National Weather Service nor the Socialist Hurricane Hunters

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
As 2 count em 2 hurricanes are headed in the general direction of Florida….Rush Limbaugh says they dont need the Socialist National Weather Service and Hurricane Hunters. Story is here

Rush Limbaugh and his listeners don’t trust any science more complex than can be expressed by stick figures painted on cave walls. So how can he tell there’s no cause for concern? He used the formula Republicans always turn to, when empirical evidence contradicts their beliefs: He just sorta knows.

“We, who live in south Florida, become experts on it and we don’t need the National Hurricane Center — we don’t need all these weather dolts analyzing this for us.”


Meanwhile of course Republicans about to invade Socialist Tampa Bay stadium to host their Republican Convention which focuses on the meme of I BUILT THAT….meaning they didnt have help building their company…in the building built almost 3/4 with tax dollars and tax breaks. But the building was built BY THEM….uh…with OUR MONEY.

Story is here

 The punch lines write themselves.

The Lost Decade of the Middle Class

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Fully 85% of Americans who describe themselves as middle class say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living. This downbeat take comes at the end of a decade in which mean family incomes declined for Americans overall for the first time since the end of World War II. But the middle-income tier – defined as all adults with annual household incomes that are two-thirds to double the national median — is the only one that also shrunk in size, a trend that has continued for four decades.

In 2011, the middle-income tier included 51% of all adults, down from 61% in 1971. This has been accompanied by a dispersion of the population into the economic tiers both above and below, with slightly more moving into the upper tier. But only the upper tier has increased its share of the nation’s total household income. In 2010, the upper tier took in 46% of the nation’s household income, up from 29% in 1970. The middle tier took in 45%, down from 62%. The lower tier dropped to 9% from 10%.

Appeals to the beleaguered middle class have been at the heart of the 2012 presidential campaign. The new Pew Research survey, conducted from July 16 to July 26, finds that neither candidate has closed the deal with this group, but that President Obama is in somewhat better shape than his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

The survey also finds that the middle class blames Congress more than any of the institutions or entities tested in this survey for its hard economic times in the last decade.

These are among the principal findings from the Pew Research analysis of U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Reserve Bank trend data

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In 31 states rapists can claim visiting rights to babies of rape.

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Iin the vast majority of states — 31 — men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child.

Story is located here

Republican Convention to be held in massively Socialist venue

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The Republican Party’s convention site is creating an awkward reality at odds with the conservative media mythology that is at the center of the convention’s theme.

In recent days, Fox News has praised Republicans for adopting “We Built It” as a theme for its upcoming convention. “We Built It” is based on the Fox-fueled distortion of President Obama’s remarks tying the success of businesses to “this unbelievable American System” that includes government spending on infrastructure and education.

However, the selection of the Republican convention site actually proves President Obama’s point about the role of government assistance. The construction of the Tampa Bay Times Forum was majority financed by the public; the arena is owned by local government; and the Republican convention has received tens of millions in government funds to help with costs and security.

Republican Convention Site: Publicly Financed, Publicly Owned

Republicans will host their 2012 convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, an indoor arena that is publicly owned and whose construction was majority financed by the public.

The Forum was built in 1996 by the Tampa Bay Sports Authority, which was created as a public agency in 1965 for the purpose of “planning, developing and maintaining a comprehensive complex of sports and recreational facilities” in the area. According to the Authority’s 2011 financial statements, the Forum is actually owned by Hillsborough County, which then leases it back to the Authority. This step was taken specifically to avoid the inclusion of the arena on the county’s tax rolls.

Reports on the actual cost of construction are inconsistent, ranging from $139 million to $162 million [Tampa Tribune, 8/17/97, via Nexis]. But the Forum was reportedly majority-financed using more than $80 million in city and county bonds backed in part by taxes, with additional funding from the Tampa Bay Lightning professional hockey team.

The St. Petersburg Times reported on January 8, 1996 (via Nexis): “Financing for the arena was completed in August with the closing in New York on seven bond issues. Sales taxes, tourist development taxes, and ticket surcharges will be used to repay the bonds. Permanent financing includes $84 million in bonds backed by the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County, and another $60 million worth backed by the Lightning.”

The Forum recently underwent a $40 million dollar renovation, which was privately funded by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. According to the Forum’s website, “No financial burden was placed on the community.” In January 2011, the Lightning ownership reportedly sought “to get reimbursed for much of the work with tourist taxes,” following up on a 2006 deal in which the county pledged to repay the Lightning ownership up to $35 million for those improvements. The Tampa Bay Times reported later that year that “Vinik said he has no immediate plans to ask Hillsborough County to reimburse him, not even in part, for the $40 million renovation to the St. Pete Times Forum he is financing.”

Government Spending Has Helped Republican Convention

Presidential Election Campaign Fund. According to the Federal Election Commission, both Republicans and Democrats received public grants of $18,248,300 through the Presidential Election Campaign Fund for their 2012 conventions. The fund is financed by approximately 33 million taxpayers who direct $3 to the fund on their federal income tax return. In June, the U.S. Senate voted 95-4 to eliminate funds for future conventions.

Security Grants. The host sites have received $50 million each in federal grants for convention security. The Tampa grant money is reportedly being spent on “paying for extra police, technology, vehicles, uniforms and gear.”

Local Project Spending. The Associated Press reported that in preparation for the Republican convention the city of Tampa is “spending $2.7 million in beautification projects, mostly landscaping around the gateways leading into downtown. New trees, shrubs and flowers are sprouting up everywhere, including Florida’s signature tropical symbol, the palm tree. Even St. Petersburg — located across Tampa Bay — put up a new sign with the city’s name along an interstate.”

The Tampa Tribune additionally reported that in the “months leading up to the Republican National Convention, beautification and improvement projects popped up throughout Tampa. Some involved major road redesigns; others were as simple as installing new signs or filling in an eyesore of a fountain.”

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Report: Mitt Romney threatened to boycott the presidential debates

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

” According to the New York Times, the Romney campaign threatened to boycott the presidential debates if any host from MSNBC was chosen. After the conservative news channel, Fox News, was told that they wouldn’t be selected to host any of the debates, the backlash from the Romney campaign came fast and furious…”

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President Obama’s stimulus has been an astonishing, and unrecognized success

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

When will Americans be able to look out and recognize measurable, wonderful gains from the stimulus?

Well, we’re already able. For example, 95 percent of us received Making Work Pay tax cuts of up to $800 a year for a family. But they were dribbled out through reduced withholding, because behavioral economics suggests that we’re less likely to spend money when it arrives in a big chunk, so fewer than 10 percent of us noticed them. The backstory of that decision will make Obama supporters cringe.

Similarly, anyone who received expanded unemployment benefits or food stamps or Cobra subsidies or Pell Grants in 2009 or 2010 benefited from the stimulus. The stimulus saved more than 300,000 education jobs, and preserved over $100 billion worth of health services for the poor. We’re already using more clean energy and less energy overall because of the stimulus; the electric vehicle industry is here because of the stimulus; the domestically manufactured content of U.S. wind turbines has increased from 20 percent to 60 percent because of the stimulus. There are over 100,000 stimulus projects that have upgraded our parks, subways, hospitals, food pantries, and so forth. On our last vacation my family visited Ketchikan, Alaska, where the stimulus upgraded the nature center. It was a very nice nature center.

Also: The stimulus helped prevent a depression, and as Romer says in the book, depressions really, really suck. They create horrible human suffering, and horrible deficits, too. The economy is quite lousy, but it really could’ve been a lot lousier.

The stimulus will produce more good stuff in the future. By 2015, almost all of us will have an electronic medical record because of the stimulus. The stimulus is also pouring $1 billion into desperately needed “comparative effectiveness research” that will help doctors and patients learn what kind of treatments actually work. There’s billions more for data-driven education reforms—Investments in Innovation and School Improvement Grants as well as Race to the Top—that will seek to scale up promising approaches in public schools. And the most exciting changes will transform the way we generate and consume energy. For example, a company called Envia Systems that got a grant from ARPA-E—a modern version of the Manhattan Project—has already developed the world’s most powerful lithium-ion battery, which could slice $5,000 off the price of the next Chevy Volt.

Will Americans associate any of this change with the 2009 stimulus? I doubt it. Maybe they will if my book becomes a runaway best-seller

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Paul Ryan explains perfectly why the Stimulus WORKED

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Again, let’s not forget what makes this story important. It’s not just a simple matter of a congressman opposing the stimulus, but then seeking investments for his constituents once the money was on the table and was going to be spent anyway. Appearances of hypocrisy are perhaps the least important part of the story.

Rather, the controversy matters for two important reasons. First, the revelations undermine the basis for Ryan’s philosophical/ideological objections — the Republican insists government spending can’t create jobs and doesn’t boost economic growth, but in his letters to the Obama administration, Ryan said government spending in his district can create jobs and does boost economic growth.

And second, Ryan got caught lying about his efforts — twice. In 2010, Ryan specifically said he would not vote against something “then write to the government to ask them to send us money…. I did not request any stimulus money.” In reality, Ryan penned at least five letters to two federal departments seeking grants under Obama’s Recovery Act.

Yesterday, talking to a reporter in Ohio, Ryan again said, “No, I never asked for stimulus,” even though he got called out for telling this same lie two years ago.

Late yesterday, hoping to make the problem go away, Ryan said in a statement that he “didn’t recall” his efforts, because they were “treated as constituent service requests.”

So, Ryan lied twice about letters that contradict his entire governing philosophy, but he doesn’t think it should be held against him because he was mistakenly trying to help his constituents with public investments that would create jobs in his district.

He’s off to a great start as a candidate for national office, isn’t he?

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Paul Ryan’s first big interview since being named Romney’s VP choice

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

And it was a big fail

Paul Ryan is not ready for primetime. This is embarrassing. Brit Hume lobs some basic softballs at him but does a very good job in terms of his follow-up questions and I applaud him for that. But Ryan’s responses are cringe worthy.

So let’s cover some of the highlights from the interview:

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10 Things to know about Paul Ryan

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

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10 Things to know about Paul Ryan

1. His economic plan would cost America 1 million jobs in the first year. Ryan’s proposed budget would cripple the economy. He’d slash spending deeply, which would not only slow job growth, but shock the economy and cost 1 million of us our jobs in 2013 alone and kill more than 4 million jobs by the end of 2014.[1]

2. He’d kill Medicare. He’d replace Medicare with vouchers for retirees to purchase insurance, eliminating the guarantee of health care for seniors and putting them at the mercy of the private insurance industry. That could amount to a cost increase of more than $5,900 by 2050, leaving many seniors broke or without the health care they need. He’d also raise the age of eligibility to 67.[2]

3. He’d pickpocket the middle class to line the pockets of the rich. His tax plan is Robin Hood in reverse. He wants to cut taxes by $4.6 trillion over the next decade, but only for corporations and the rich, like giving families earning more than $1 million a year a $300,000 tax cut. And to pay for them, he’d raise taxes on middle- and lower-income households and butcher social service programs that help middle- and working-class Americans.[3]

4. He’s an anti-choice extremist. Ryan co-sponsored an extremist anti-choice bill, nicknamed the ‘Let Women Die Act,’ that would have allowed hospitals to deny women emergency abortion care even if their lives were at risk. And he co-sponsored another bill that would criminalize some forms of birth control, all abortions, and in vitro fertilization.[4]

5. He’d dismantle Social Security. Ironically, Ryan used the Social Security Survivors benefit to help pay for college, but he wants to take that possibility away from future generations. He agrees with Rick Perry’s view that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and he supported George W. Bush’s disastrous proposal to privatize Social Security.[5]

6. He’d eliminate Pell grants for more than 1 million low-income students. His budget plan cuts the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could mean a loss of educational funding for 1 million low-income students.[6]

7. He’d give $40 billion in subsidies to Big Oil. His budget includes oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.”[7]

8. He’s another Koch-head politician. Not surprisingly, the billionaire oil-baron Koch brothers are some of Ryan’s biggest political contributors. And their company, Koch industries, is Ryan’s biggest energy-related donor. The company’s PAC and affiliated individuals have given him $65,500 in donations.[8]

9. He opposes gay rights. Ryan has an abysmal voting record on gay rights. He’s voted to ban adoption by gay couples, against same-sex marriage, and against repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He also voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009.[9]

10. He thinks an “I got mine, who cares if you’re okay” philosophy is admirable. For many years, Paul Ryan devoted himself to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness as a virtue. It has shaped his entire ethic about whom he serves in public office. He even went as far as making his interns read her work.[10]

If there was ever any doubt that Mitt Romney’s got a disastrous plan for America—he made himself 100% clear when he picked right-wing extremist Paul Ryan as his running mate. Paul Ryan is bad for America, but we can’t beat him if Americans don’t know everything he stands for. Share this page with all your friends.

1. “Ryan’s Budget, Robin Hood in reverse,” Economic Policy Institute
2. “12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan,” Think Progress, August 11, 2012
3. “Ryan Budget Would Raise Some Taxes; Guess Who Gets Hit?,” Off the Charts, April 12, 2012
“Middle class could face higher taxes under Republican plan, analysis finds,” The Washington Post, June 19, 2012
4. “Statement on Mitt Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan for His Vice-Presidential Running Mate,” NARAL, August 11, 2012
“Paul Ryan’s Extreme Abortion Views,” The Daily Beast, August 11, 2012
“Paul Ryan Sponsored Fetal Personhood Bill, Opposes Family Planning Funds,” Huffington Post, August 11, 2012
5. “12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan,” Think Progress, August 11, 2012
“Ayn Rand would have HATED Paul Ryan,” Daily Kos, August 12, 2012
6. “Pell Grants For Poor Students Lose $170 Billion In Ryan Budget,” Huffington Post, March 27, 2012
7. “Ryan Budget Pads Big Oil’s Pockets with Senseless Subsidies,” Center for American Progress, March 20, 2012
8. “Koch brothers have Paul Ryan’s back,” Politico, August 11, 2012
9. “Paul Ryan as VP Matches Mitt Romney on Homophobia,” The Advocate, August 11, 2012
10. “Paul Ryan And Ayn Rand”, The New Republic, December 28, 2010


Mitt Romney’s Astoundingly Cynical Medicare Strategy

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

The most significant difference between the two sides, at least for the short- to medium-term, is how they handle the savings these cuts generate. Obamacare puts the money back into the pockets of people who need help with their medical bills. A portion of the money is earmarked for children and non-elderly Americans, who, starting in 2014, will become eligible for Medicaid or receive tax credits to offset the cost of private insurance. A smaller, but still significant, portion of the money is for seniors. It helps them pay for prescription drugs, by filling the “donut hole” in Medicare Par D coverage. It also eliminates out-of-pocket costs for annual wellness visits, some cancer screenings, and other preventative services. Those benefits have actually started already: In the first six months of this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 16 million seniors took advantage of the free preventative care provision.

Ryan’s budget—which, again, Romney has repeatedly embraced and said he would sign—actually takes those new benefits away. The Part D donut hole would open back up. Access to free preventative care would vanish. And where would Ryan and Romney put the money instead? They say it’s for deficit reduction. I’d say it’s really for their big new tax cuts, which disproportionately benefit the wealthy. If somebody is “stealing” from seniors here, it’s not Obama.

The two sides have each proposed additional changes to Medicare, the most significant of which would start to take effect a decade from now. They represent very different approaches to health care policy and are worthy of a serious, honest debate. But it’s hard to have that kind of discussion when one side cares so little about presenting the facts accurately.

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Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Like his new boss, Mr. Ryan has no serious plan to create jobs. America has some of the highest labor costs in the world, and saddles workers and businesses with $1 trillion per year in job-destroying payroll taxes. We need a national sales tax — a consumption tax, like the dreaded but efficient value-added tax — but Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan don’t have the gumption to support it.

The Ryan Plan boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate for “job creators” — i.e. the superwealthy — to 25 percent and paying for it with an as-yet-undisclosed plan to broaden the tax base. Of the $1 trillion in so-called tax expenditures that the plan would attack, the vast majority would come from slashing popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, 401(k) accounts, state and local taxes, charitable giving and the like, not to mention low rates on capital gains and dividends. The crony capitalists of K Street already own more than enough Republican votes to stop that train before it leaves the station.

In short, Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices. And it couldn’t pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have no plan to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nation’s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity — just empty sermons.

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Paul Ryan’s budget plan

Monday, August 13th, 2012

The House budget drawn up by Rep. Paul Ryan would end Medicare as we know it, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders. It also would cut spending on virtually everything but the Pentagon while still spending more than the Treasury takes in by providing $1 trillion in tax breaks for the wealthy and profitable corporations, according to Sanders, a member of the Senate Budget Committee who has monitored and analyzed the Ryan plan.

Paul Ryan’s budget plan-


The Ryan plan will end Medicare as we know it within 10 years by providing an $8,000 voucher for seniors to purchase a private health insurance plan.

The Ryan plan will increase out-of-pocket health care costs for a typical 65 year-old senior by more than $6,000 in 2022 – more than double the cost under current law.

And the problem gets worse and worse over time, so that by 2030, the out-of-pocket health care costs paid by seniors will climb to about $11,000.

Under the Ryan budget, Medicare’s eligibility age would rise from 65-67 from 2022 to 2033.

Prescription Drugs

Under the House Ryan plan, nearly four million seniors would pay over $2 billion more for prescription drugs in 2012 alone by re-opening the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole.

Children’s Health Insurance

If the Ryan plan becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 1.7 million children would lose health insurance by 2016.


The Ryan budget would cut Medicaid by over $770 billion by turning it into a block grant program, and threatening the life-saving nursing home care of millions of senior citizens.

Slashing Medicaid as the Republicans want to do could cost America more than two million private-sector jobs over the next five years.

Affordable Health Care Act

The Ryan budget would completely repeal the Affordable Health Care Act preventing an estimated 34 million uninsured Americans to get the health insurance they need.

Cancer Screenings

The Ryan budget will force over 7 million seniors to pay more for cancer screenings and prevention programs, while requiring senior cancer patients to pay millions more for lifesaving cancer drugs immediately.


The Ryan plan could force at least one million seniors to pay over $110 million more for annual wellness visits in 2012.

Pell Grants

At a time when the cost of a college education is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans, the Ryan budget would slash college Pell grants by about 60% next year alone reducing the maximum award amount from $5,550 to about $2,100.


At a time when over 40 million Americans don’t have enough money to feed themselves or their families, the Ryan budget would kick up to 10 million Americans off of Food Stamps, by slashing this program by more than $125 billion over the next decade.


At a time when our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, the House Ryan budget would slash funding for our roads, bridges, rail lines, transit systems, and airports by nearly 40 percent next year alone.

Defense Spending

Despite the fact that military spending has nearly tripled since 1997, the House Ryan budget does nothing to reduce unnecessary defense spending. In fact, defense spending would go up by $26 billion next year alone under the Ryan plan.

$1 Trillion in Tax Breaks for Corporations and Wealthy

The Ryan budget provides over $1 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent and large corporations by permanently extending all of the Bush income tax cuts; reducing the estate tax for multi-millionaires; and lowering the top individual and corporate income tax rate from 35 to 25 percent.

Protects Big Oil

The Ryan budget protects $44 billion in unnecessary and expensive tax breaks and subsidies for oil and gas companies, even as oil companies are reporting record profits.

Costs Jobs

Mark Zandi, the former economic advisor to John McCain when he was running for president, has said that the Ryan budget plan will cost America 1.7 million jobs by the year 2014, with 900,000 jobs lost next year.

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Obama did not take $500Billion or $700Billion from Medicare

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

First – Republicans can’t seem to figure out how much they think Obama stole. Reince Priebus – the RNC Chairman – says $700 billion today and last week Mitt Romney says it was $500 billion; make up your mind guys. When you’re lying so blatantly … what’s a couple of hundred billion anyway. The reason conservatives are going so hard at the charge that Obama tried to kill Medicare is because they need to insulate themselves from their own budget which actually does the very thing that they falsely accuse the Obama administration of doing.

Conservatives including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are constantly deriding Democrats for pushing for an “entitlement state” or “European style socialism” but at the same time – they want to reassure seniors that THEY will get their entitlements. While at the same time they’re telling kids they’re going to be unlocked from the burdens of socialism that are Medicare and Social Security. Conservatives will sell this to the younger generations that their parents and grandparents who were FORCED having to live with a tyrannical entitlement nanny state ensuring seniors don’t die in the streets poor and without dignity. And conservatives will forget to mention this blissful libertarian paradise that they speak of exists only in Somalia presently. But with a lot of work – it could be coming to America really soon. *Fingers crossed*

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MIT offers free college classes online

Friday, August 10th, 2012

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

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‘We’re with you, sisters’: Nuns amazed by outpouring of support

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

On April 18, the Vatican appointed Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to oversee the nuns’ organization and reform its programs to adhere more closely to “the teachings and discipline of the church.”

Since then, the Nun Justice Project has organized more than 100 vigils across the country, 37 of which took place Tuesday night. At one vigil, Hanna said, someone had driven two and a half hours just to spend two hours supporting the sisters.

“I’ve been blown away by the support,” said Hanna, who is also an associate with the Sisters of Mercy and says nuns have been her role models in life. “People really relate to the sisters.”

The coalition also asked American Catholics to redirect their annual Peter’s Pence contributions from the Vatican to their local communities of women religious.

“We were able to redirect $100,000 from that Peter’s Pence,” Hanna said. “People were able to choose the community that they wanted to redirect their funds to.”

This week, the nuns will pray together and discuss a range of options for the future, from accepting the Vatican’s mandate to starting a new organization independent of the church’s control.

US priests reportedly behind Vatican crackdown on nuns

Sanders said the nuns are expected to announce their decision at a press conference Friday afternoon.

No matter what the women religious decide in St. Louis, Hanna says she believes a new Catholic Church is being formed.

“People are really with the sisters here, they look to their leadership and they model the leadership that they want to see in our church,” she said. “I think people just have a lot of hope in the sisters right now.”

Jim FitzGerald, executive director of the Catholic organization Call To Action, which is also part of the Nun Justice Project, told NBC News there is a growing disconnect between the Vatican and the nuns.

“It’s really two different world views,” he said. “It’s the Vatican, that is very concerned with how Catholics follow rules and you have the perspective from the women religious and how they live out the gospel values.”

A vigil is planned for Thursday night in St. Louis, and the nuns will try to be present to greet their supporters.

“We are a faith where we believe that with God all things are possible,” FitzGerald said, “and I would like to think that those who are seeing the incredible support around the country for the sisters would be moved by that support and be a little more reflective about their actions.”

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People are dying from lack of jobs despite corporations having $2Trillion in the bank and the super rich having $21Trillion in offshore accounts

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

(CNN) — Mannequins hanging from nooses on two Las Vegas billboards Wednesday were part of an apparent publicity stunt that led to dozens of calls from drivers on their morning commute, the Nevada Highway Patrol said.

The dummies were dressed in business suits and hung from signs reading “Dying for work” and “Hope you’re happy Wall St.” It wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the stunt.

See more photos of the dummies

One mannequin dangled above Interstate 15 near the intersection with U.S. 95 downtown, Trooper Jeremie Elliott of the Nevada Highway Patrol told CNN. The other hung from a billboard about a mile from the famed Las Vegas Strip, he said.

July jobs report: Hiring picks up, unemployment rises

Both highways are some of the most highly traveled roadways during commuter hours, he said.

Elliott called it a “clear case of vandalism” and said the owners of the billboards had not sold the ad space to anyone.

“Somebody vandalized the sign to do that,” Elliott said.

Despite the flurry of calls from commuters, Elliott said the signs led to no accidents on the freeways.

“If there would have been, our involvement would be much deeper,” he said.

The first calls came in at 6:30 a.m. (9:30 a.m. ET), Elliott said. Lamar Advertising, which owns one of the billboards, removed one of the mannequins a couple of hours later; code enforcement officials from Clark County removed the second one, Elliott said.

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Jon Stewart again shows how he is the best journalist in America. There simply is no voter fraud in America

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

On Wednesday’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart took the GOP to task for their overblown fury over said non-existent problem, and expressed his hope that “we have our best people on it.” But with Fox News leading the charge, that hope is all but dashed:

“States are spending millions of dollars to combat voter fraud through strategies like purging voter rolls and requiring photo IDs. Even though a study by a group that supports the laws, the National Republican Lawyers Association…which, by the way, if you ever just want to smoke some cigars and play some golf with some real douchebags, they’re your guys…”

That particular group, according to CNN’s Roland Martin, found only 340 cases of voter fraud…over a ten year period.

Jon took a stab at the Republican’s next charge for useless legislation:

“Up next, leash laws for unicorns!”

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Truths about the American economy

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

1. Tax cuts for the rich do NOT create jobs.
2. Trickle down economics does NOT work.
3. DEMAND creates private sector jobs.
4. People do NOT create jobs because they have money; they create jobs because they have CUSTOMERS and believe hiring someone will provide more revenue than that person will cost in wages and benefits.
5. Deregulation as a rule does NOT create jobs.
6. Deregulation largely serves to allow companies to destroy the environment and exploit employees.
7. INNOVATION comes largely from smart people pursuing knowledge largely out of INTELLECTUAL or PRACTICAL curiosity. Most great inventors did NOT start with the goal of making money; they started with the goal of solving simple or complex PRACTICAL problems or SCIENTIFIC questions.
8. Government CAN and DOES create jobs (teachers, scientists, police officers, fire fighters, FDA inspectors, bank regulators, and MANY others.
9. Government DOES create PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS (defense contractors, construction workers, and many others).
10. Unions may not be perfect, but declining union power erodes middle class wages.
11. Offshoring jobs hurts the majority of Americans and almost exclusively benefits those at the very top of the economic pyramid.

U.S. scores dead last again in healthcare study

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

(Reuters) – Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries — Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found.

“As an American it just bothers me that with all of our know-how, all of our wealth, that we are not assuring that people who need healthcare can get it,” Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Previous reports by the nonprofit fund, which conducts research into healthcare performance and promotes changes in the U.S. system, have been heavily used by policymakers and politicians pressing for healthcare reform.

Davis said she hoped health reform legislation passed in March would lead to improvements.

The current report uses data from nationally representative patient and physician surveys in seven countries in 2007, 2008, and 2009. It is available here

In 2007, health spending was $7,290 per person in the United States, more than double that of any other country in the survey.

Australians spent $3,357, Canadians $3,895, Germans $3,588, the Netherlands $3,837 and Britons spent $2,992 per capita on health in 2007. New Zealand spent the least at $2,454.

This is a big rise from the Fund’s last similar survey, in 2007, which found Americans spent $6,697 per capita on healthcare in 2005, or 16 percent of gross domestic product.

“We rank last on safety and do poorly on several dimensions of quality,” Schoen told reporters. “We do particularly poorly on going without care because of cost. And we also do surprisingly poorly on access to primary care and after-hours care.”


The report looks at five measures of healthcare — quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and the ability to lead long, healthy, productive lives.

Britain, whose nationalized healthcare system was widely derided by opponents of U.S. healthcare reform, ranks first in quality while the Netherlands ranked first overall on all scores, the Commonwealth team found.

U.S. patients with chronic conditions were the most likely to say they gotten the wrong drug or had to wait to learn of abnormal test results.

“The findings demonstrate the need to quickly implement provisions in the new health reform law,” the report reads.

Critics of reports that show Europeans or Australians are healthier than Americans point to the U.S. lifestyle as a bigger factor than healthcare. Americans have higher rates of obesity than other developed countries, for instance.

“On the other hand, the other countries have higher rates of smoking,” Davis countered. And Germany, for instance, has a much older population more prone to chronic disease.

Every other system covers all its citizens, the report noted and said the U.S. system, which leaves 46 million Americans or 15 percent of the population without health insurance, is the most unfair.

“The lower the performance score for equity, the lower the performance on other measures. This suggests that, when a country fails to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, it also fails to meet the needs of the average citizen,” the report reads.

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Why Space Exploration is Important to the United States

Monday, August 6th, 2012

What kind of space program should we foster and what to do next with it remains a recurring question. One could argue that this is because we in the aerospace community have yet to articulate a satisfying answer. We talk about the survival of our species, about being made of the stuff of stars, about the romance of exploration. And we talk about spin-offs.

Yet I don’t think the answer revolves around Teflon, Velcro, and Tang.

It is a fact that the general public overwhelmingly supports the space program. Excitement was initially generated by daring feats of heroism undertaken by the astronauts. We have since added to that support with the awe-inspiring pictures returned by the “right-stuff robots:” the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars. Everyone believes that space exploration is a good thing, even if we can’t fully explain why. Americans are incredibly forward leaning when it comes to funding journeys of discovery and we are mostly happy with the results.

Historically, it has been the role of the federal government, when confronted with promising frontier territory, to take a leading role in the development of the infrastructure facilitating expansion into that territory. Whether it was the establishment of an outpost at Ft. Dodge, the construction of navaids across the country to support Air Mail service, or the interstate highway system, Uncle Sam was there to pave the way. Of course, much of that infrastructure also helped to establish the mechanisms for stimulating local economies. Without modern transportation systems, governance and economic opportunities would have expanded much more slowly across our great land.

Clearly, some kind of infrastructure will also be required to expand into the space frontier and to accrue any benefits it may have to offer. Where exactly are the suspected profits to be had from space? Sure, we have profitable communications satellites pushing television signals to cell phones in some parts of the world. While commercial and market-driven, space tourism is more exploitation than commerce, in the general sense of the word. The answer to the profits question is that we just don’t know yet. Following the development of an infrastructure to access the frontier, discoveries will be made. Commerce comes after discovery.

And then what will happen after we make those inevitable discoveries? Analogy may help us here. What has become of those early frontiers opened by Columbus and fellow explorers like Lewis and Clark? Look around! Most of our country’s over-the-horizon frontiers are now covered with parking lots.

That’s right, parking lots.

Shopping mall parking lots.

Filled with cars. Cars driven by real people, with real jobs, paying taxes for the parks that our kids play in, paying for our national security, and fixing the damage caused by Rita and Katrina.

So after we have the infrastructure to reliably get off the planet, we will make those inevitable discoveries on the moon. And those discoveries will be closely followed by opportunities for commerce. And more parking lots.

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Is the US Military a Socialist Institution?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Does anyone disagree that the military is almost entirely government run? And if you agree to that obvious fact, when you attack all government run programs, aren’t you by definition attacking the United States military?

And if there was any question about how socialist the army is, they removed all doubt when they adopted their last slogan: Army of One. That sounds positively communist. Why don’t they just call it the collective? And in the US military everyone pledges to support one another no matter what. No one gets left behind. Everyone gets government provided housing, health care, and even government clothing. The military is the most socialist institution we have.

And while we’re privatizing things, I’ve always wanted to go after the commies in the Fire Department. Always talking about brotherhood, jumping into burning buildings to save others. These pinko commies disgust me. Time to break them up. Besides, I don’t want any bums milking the system for any free fire coverage. If you can’t pay, then burn freeloader burn.

Private fire insurance would be so much more efficient. They can figure out if you have a pre-existing condition before they waste their time going into a fire. Were you a little hot before the fire started? Bingo, pre-existing condition. The free market will figure out who should burn to death and who shouldn’t.

If the free market can decide who lives or dies based on who has health insurance or not, why not apply the same principle to who lives or dies in a fire? The free market is always the best judge. And if it says you should go down in a ball of flames, well, then you had it coming. Do you want the government getting between you and the flames?

Finally, I’ve always loved the principle of love it or leave it. It applies to the old US of A. And it also applies to the government. If you don’t love the government, why don’t you get the hell out? Why don’t all of the Republicans quit their government jobs at once to show how much they hate the government? (Maybe this is what Sarah Palin was doing.)

You want to talk about an inefficient government run program? How about the United States Congress? It doesn’t get any worse than that. So, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, why don’t you all leave your government jobs — with your government provided incomes, government provided offices and government provided health care — and go home? Aren’t you tired of being faceless, nameless bureaucrats? Isn’t it time to put up or shut up about your distaste for government?

Love it or leave it, baby!

PS – On a serious note, isn’t it unbelievable that the media can’t understand the simple concept that the government does some things well and others not so well? How can they let Republicans keep making the same dumb point about how the government can’t do anything right? This should be a simple matter of logic. No one ever asks the Republican politicians why they think the government can’t run this particular program when it runs many other programs perfectly fine (even by Republican admission, since they would never say a bad word about the US military on camera).

Finally, if Republicans are arguing the government can’t do anything right, wouldn’t they want to shut the whole thing down? Which leads to the obvious question — are Republicans anarchists?

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The Failure of Supply-Side Economics Three Decades of Empirical Economic Data Shows That Supply-Side Economics Doesn’t Work

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

When President Bill Clinton, pictured here adressing the nation in 1993, raised taxes that same year did the economy suffer a slowdown, as was predicted by those who believe in supply-side economics? The data says no.

See also: Making Our Middle Class Stronger by David Madland; The Middle Class and Economic Growth by Michael Ettlinger; Video: Once Upon a Trickle Down: The Rise and Fall of Supply-Side Economics by the Center for American Progress and Mark Fiore

Download this issue brief (pdf)

Read this issue brief in your web browser (Scribd)

Infographic: Seven Graphs That Show Supply-Side Doesn’t Work

Adherents of the economic theory known as supply-side economics contend that by cutting taxes on the rich we will unleash an avalanche of new investment that will spur economic growth, and boost job creation, leading to economic improvements for everyone. For most of the past 30 years this idea has dominated the economic debate, resulting in two sustained eras of tax cuts aimed at the wealthy, separated by a brief respite in the 1990s.

Now, as our economy struggles to emerge from the deepest recession in generations—and as we argue over what to do with the expiring Bush-era tax cuts—it is more important than ever to understand one simple fact: When put to the test in the real world, supply-side policies did not deliver as promised. In fact, by every important measure, our nation’s economic performance after the tax increases of 1993 significantly outpaced that of the periods following the tax cuts of the early 1980s and the early 2000s.

Supply-side economics starts from the generally accepted economic insight that tax policy can influence private-sector decisions by changing the incentives to work and invest. But supply-side acolytes take this relatively mundane observation to an extreme conclusion. They argue that lowering taxes for people, especially for those who have a lot of money to invest, will always lead to better economic results, and furthermore, that lower taxes is the single most critical intervention the government can undertake to stimulate growth.

This assertion—that lower taxes for the rich will lead to improved economic results—is testable. Of course, pure natural experiments in economics are few and far between, but over the last 30 years the United States alternated between economic policies that were heavily influenced by supply-side ideas, then were not, then were again. This variation allows us to compare economic performance in the various eras. If proponents of supply-side theory are correct, then the supply-side eras should outperform the non-supply side era. But that’s not what happened.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a large tax cut package into law, which lowered the top income tax rate by 20 percentage points and cut taxes for the rich and for corporations. The next several years saw numerous additional tax legislations passed, much of which represented retreats from supply-side ideology. Nevertheless, this supply-side era continued into the 1990s. In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed a major tax increase into law. That legislation raised the top marginal income tax rate paid by the wealthy, and also extended Medicare taxes to higher income individuals. And despite the capital gains tax cut of 1997, the 1990s represented an eight-year respite from supply-side policies.

Those policies returned in force in 2001 with the enactment of tax cuts by President George W. Bush. To this day, we are still living, by and large, with the tax code from the Bush era—with the only differences being further tax cuts signed by President Barack Obama.

In order to evaluate whether supply-side policies really delivered on their promise, we looked at the economic performance of the three eras, all beginning at equivalent points in the business cycle. Since the 1993 tax increases were passed 10 quarters into an economic expansion, we compared performance for all three eras starting 10 quarters into their respective expansions, and then going forward five years from that point, or—in the case of the 2000s—until the expansion ended in December of 2007.

We compared performance during these equivalent years along seven key economic measures. Here are the facts.

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Are Obama’s records sealed as crazy emails claim?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Q: Are Obama’s early records “sealed”?
A: No. Many records that presidential candidates don’t ordinarily release do remain confidential, but they are not “sealed” by a court. The 16 claims in a widely distributed graphic are mostly false or distorted.

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The Ronald Reagan myth

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

By the summer of 1992, just 24 percent of Americans said their country was better off because of the Reagan years, while 40 percent said it was worse off — and that more Americans (48 percent) viewed Reagan unfavorable than favorably (46 percent). .

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Proof Republicans Don’t Care About You–Bills Republicans Have Blocked Since President Obama Took Office

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Here’s just a short list of some of the bills that Republicans have blocked, or attempted to block, since Obama became President:

Tax on Companies that ship jobs overseas- A bill that would have eliminated a tax break that companies get when they ship jobs overseas. Republicans blocked this, allowing companies to keep the tax break they receive when they ship jobs to other countries.

Political Ad disclosure bill- Would have required all donors to political campaigns to reveal themselves. Republicans blocked this, not once but twice.

Subpoena Power for the Committee investigating the BP Oil Spill – Give subpoena power to the independent committee responsible for investigating BP’s roll in the oil spill. Republicans attempted to block this.

The Small Business Jobs Act -would give LOCAL, community banks access to billions of dollars to loan to small businesses. Republicans blocked this, then attempted to block it a second time and failed.

The DREAM Act- Gives immigrant youth who were brought here as children a path to citizenship by earning a college degree or serving the military for 2 years. Republicans blocked this.

Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”- Would have repealed the law that forces gay and lesbian services members to lie about their sexuality and gives the military the right to discharge soldiers based on their sexuality. Republicans blocked this many times and Democrats were finally able to pass it with the support of just 2 Republicans.

From Crooks and Liars – When John McCain led the filibuster of the Defense Appropriations Act yesterday, he blocked far more than the DREAM Act and repeal of DADT. Here are just a few of the other blocked provisions, courtesy of Mother Jones.

No permanent military bases in Afghanistan.
Report identifying hybrid or electric propulsion systems and other fuel-saving technologies for incorporation into tactical motor vehicles.
Protection of child custody arrangements for parents who are members of the Armed Forces deployed in support of a contingency operation.
Improvements to Department of Defense domestic violence programs.
Department of Defense recognition of spouses of members of the Armed Forces.
Department of Defense recognition of children of members of the Armed Forces.
Enhancements to the Troops-to-Teachers Program.
Fiscal year 2011 increase in military basic pay.
Improving aural protection for members of the Armed Forces.
Comprehensive policy on neurocognitive assessment by the military health care system.
Authority to make excess nonlethal supplies available for domestic emergency assistance.
And those were just some of the progressive provisions. On the conservative side, there are these, and more:

Prohibition on the use of funds for the transfer or release of individuals detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Prohibition on the use of funds to modify or construct facilities in the United States to house detainees transferred from United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Prohibition on use of funds to give Miranda warnings to Al Qaeda terrorists.
And here’s the bills that Republicans had blocked when we compiled our first list;

Senator Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill – Makes it so that women raped overseas while working for foreign contractors have the right to have their case heard in an American court instead of having their case mediated by the company they work for. Only Republican men voted against this, but it passed.

Benefits for Homeless Veterans- Would have expanded benefits to homeless veterans and homeless veterans with children. Republicans blocked this.

Affordable Health Care For America Act- Prevents insurance companies from discriminating against you on the basis of “pre-existing conditions”. Requires that insurance companies spend 85 cents of every dollar that you pay on your actual health care. Limits health insurance companies profit margins. Republicans blocked this for months before it finally passed and have vowed to repeal it if they are elected.

Health Care for the 9/11 First Responders who got sick from being at Ground Zero- Would provide billions of dollars in health care to help the 9/11 First Responders who were at Ground Zero on 9/11 and are now sick because of it. Republicans blocked this.

The Jobs Bill- Offsets the payroll tax for 1 year for companies that hire new employees, or people receiving unemployment insurance. Also gives other tax incentives to companies hiring new employees. Republicans attempted to block this.

Wall Street Reform- Puts stricter regulations on the banks, preventing them from becoming “too big to fail”. Curbs reckless spending practices that caused the banking crisis. Republicans attempted to block this.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act- Pumped billions of dollars into state and local Governments to prevent us from sinking into a second Great Depression. Republicans opposed this but now want to take credit for the parts of it that we know are successful.

Oil Spill Liability- Raises the liability on what companies can be made to pay to clean up after an oil spill. Republicans blocked this.

Immigration Reform- Republican suggested comprehensive immigration reform until Obama supported it. Now they’re rabidly opposed to it and even voted against their own legislation. Republicans blocked this.

Unemployment extension bill HR-4213- Would provide additional aid to the millions of Americans still on unemployment who are just trying to support themselves and their families. Republicans blocked this bill for 8 weeks before it finally passed. Republicans blocked this for 8 weeks before it finally passed.

Fair Pay Act of 2009- Also called the Lily Ledbetter bill. Requires that women receive equal compensation to men for doing the same work. Republicans attempted to block this.

The next time someone tells you that the Republicans care about the American people just give them this list of all the bill Republicans wanted to fail.

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PRIVATE GDP is rising almost as fast during the Obama recovery as it was in the Bush recovery

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The Wall Street Journal — yes, the WSJ — explains: Government Cutbacks Separate This Expansion From Others. Over at Angry Bear, Spencer shows that private GDP — GDP not including government spending — has risen almost exactly as fast under Obama as during the “Bush Boom”; of course, if government spending hadn’t been falling despite a weak economy, there would have been more jobs, and private spending would have risen faster.

It’s really amazing: between miscalculations on Obama’s part and scorched-earth Republican opposition, what we’ve had is insane austerity in the face of depression — yet we’re having an election centered on the claim that the weak economy shows that government spending doesn’t work.

Romney also praised Poland on his trip…and guess what…Poland is quite contrary to the GOP dream for America

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

So on the third leg of his foreign tour, Mr. Bean Mitt Romney lavished praise on the Polish economy. It wasn’t quite as big a blooper as his praise for Israel’s single-payer-plus-price controls health care system, but it wasn’t good.

For one thing, Poland has substantially bigger government than the US; in 2007, that is, pre-crisis, the Polish government spent 42 percent of GDP, compared with 37 in the United States. And despite what Romney claimed, there was no obvious trend toward smaller government; Polish spending as a share of GDP was about the same in 2007 as it had been in 2000.

Oh, and universal health care too.

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